Friday, September 30, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAY: Revisions, revisions


Cate Masters mentioned something that struck me this week. She said that revisions are the most arduous but also the most important part of the writing process. I believe there is no way that a writer can get a book done and think it's ready without going through some form of revision and/or editing. This has held true for me this week because rather than write new stuff, I've been revising, revising, revising, and then doing some more revising :).

My latest WIP has had more revisions than I've tried different diets. When I look at the original manuscript and then read the current one, although the basic plot is the same, it's still barely recognizable! Between that time and now, I've attended countless workshops, found amazing critique partners, read tons of books on the craft, done loads of research, and generally applied everything I learned to the story. And even now, I'm finding room for improvement. There is a quote that is very relevant in this context. It's a quote by Dennis R Miller, who, it is claimed, took 25 years to finish his novel The Perfect Song: "Life is what happens to a writer between drafts." In many aspects, this is so true for me, although 25 years is a bit much, don't you think? Lol.

In the end, it's all about making it work, and using free time to one's advantage. John Irving's words of wisdom ring true: "The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn't behave that way you would never do anything."


Another thing Cate said related to rejections. What writer doesn't dread receiving rejections? However, it's all about perspective. Cate stated that a rejection meant to her that she needed to go back and work more on the manuscript to make it better. I do agree with her to a great extent, but I also think that sometimes a writer just happens to be not at the right place at the right time with the right story. Have you ever read a published book and wondered, how on earth did the publisher want this? Then, I've also read manuscripts by unpublished authors - brilliant stuff - and wondered how on earth nobody had the sense to pick them up yet. Sadly, it's not only about talent. It's also a lot about the bottom line.

Luckily, as Cate has proven to herself and her readers, small presses and self-publishing offer a respectable alternative to NY publishers these days. They're not a substitute, of course, merely another option or two. But whatever a writer decides to do, it is always vital to do lots of research and understand the mechanics of the industry before making a decision. Power lies in knowledge.

And finally, another thing that struck me about Cate: She has published work in multiple genres, including literary work. She did not put limitations on herself or try to put herself in one little box. In the age of branding, when everything has to be neatly classified and catalogued, this can be a challenge. However, everything is possible if an author can identify him/herself strategically with different sets of readers. As mentioned in previous blogs, some authors handle this with the use of multiple pseudonyms.

And now, seeing that it's Friday, here's my eye candy of the week... there's something about a guy who's working his buns off, isn't it?


Also, please drop by my best girl and critique partner Zee Monodee's blog today. She's the mistress of revisions, and one of the people I've learned from most!

Finally, remember, whatever your story is, just keep writing and above all...

Live well and love deeply!

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAYS - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with CATE MASTERS


Cate Masters is a very approachable lady who, despite her busy schedule, always finds time to cheer on other authors and pop in on their blogs to comment and share her insight. Yet behind the humility and ready smile lies a hard working woman with 21 published books in her arsenal and more to come. My belief is that readers who are not yet familiar with Cate Masters should stand up and notice. I couldn't resist pulling the following from her blog because I think her achievements are many and deserve to be highlighted:

Her novellas, short stories and flash fiction appear at various epress sites and web zines as well as Flesh from Ashes (2005), Quality Women's Fiction (2005), Phase (2004), and The Writer's online edition.

Her freelance articles have appeared in The Sentinel, Carlisle.

In 2011, four stories finaled in the EPIC competition: One Soul for Sale (paranormal); Going with Gravity (contemporary); Picture This (contemporary); and Wilderness Girl (contemporary erotic romance).

In 2010, The Pearl S. Buck Foundation awarded first place to her short literary story, Christmas Eve at the Diner on Rathole Street.

Her short literary story, All is Calm, All is Bright, was awarded second place in the annual Pennwriters Short Story contest in 2005.

In addition to her own blog, she's a contributor at The Susquehanna Writers and The Paranormalists.

I am therefore proud to have the talented Cate share her writing journey and experience with my blog readers.

How long have you been writing?

Yikes, if I told you that, you’d know how old I am. Since grade school, I’ve always written in some form – poetry, essays, the school newspaper. In my 20s, I turned to fiction and just fell in love with the wonderful freedom of creating worlds.


When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?

I can’t recall any moment of epiphany. I simply wrote, and submitted. The more I write, the more ideas my muse throws at me, so I have to scramble to keep up with her!

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

There was never an announcement, really. Like my parents, my kids saw me writing so it was just another day for them to stalk the computer, waiting their turn to play games (ah, the days before Facebook!). Though now that I think about it, maybe that’s an important step writers should take – stand up in front of friends and family and firmly state that they’re writers. Not that they want to be writers. If you write, you’re a writer. Period. The admission may work in our favor, too – then we can say, “Sorry, can’t make dinner, I have to finish this story” and our families would know better than to interrupt our flow!

Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?

While my kids were little, writing took a back seat to parenting and the day job. I was lucky that my hubby encouraged me to stay home and write, and I took advantage of that for a few years.

Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?

More than I can recall. Over the years, I’ve taken local classes, seminars and workshops, taken online courses, gone to conferences, and bought tons of how-to books. It’s something I’ll always continue, and a few remain on my bucket list such as Robert McKee’s Story seminar.

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?

Absolutely. My crit partners are a critical part of the writing process. Each has a different take on the story so each adds a valuable perspective. I’d never put any work out there without them vetting it first.

Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?

When I first began submitting, I used my maiden name of Masterson. Later I shortened it to Masters so it was easier to remember, but I’ve always loved the idea of retaining that original part of me, the girl who discovered who she was through writing.

How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

For a few years, I’d had some success with submitting short stories to literary and web zines, and had amassed quite a backlog of stories of longer, varying lengths. One of my critique partners encouraged me to submit to The Wild Rose Press. Until then, I didn’t know about online presses, so I researched several, and submitted to several. In the first year, I had more than a dozen acceptances, so it was a bit of a whirlwind year! I had a large learning curve ahead of me, but I absolutely love that online presses accept such a wide variety of story lengths. To me, that’s one of their greatest strengths. They have so much more flexibility, their catalogues offer something for every reader.

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

No, that novel’s yet unpublished, though I haven’t given up on it. Someday when I have more time, I’ll revise it. I spent years researching the constellations and their associated mythology, and the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties, over which the novel spans. The story’s very dear to my heart.


How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?

I rewrote it a few times, but then after several rejections, set it aside. It still needs work. But over the years, I’ve learned revision’s the most important part of the writing process. At first it seemed horribly grueling work, and now it’s still horribly grueling, lol. But I realized the age-old advice held true – revision’s where the real story comes through.

Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

I subbed directly to small online presses. At this point, I don’t know what value an agent would add to the process. Maybe after the playing field levels out and online presses operate in line with the Big Six, offering advances and publicity, etc., an agent might become necessary.

If you signed with an agent, how did you go about the process of finding your agent/publisher?

Without benefit of an agent, I researched the publishers’ guidelines before submitting. There’s no use subbing stories to a publisher which doesn’t accept that genre. It takes months for editors to consider a story, so why waste my time and theirs?

Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?

Over the years, I collected rejection slips in a file, until the folder bulged. One day I decided to burn them all – my personal Bonfire of the Vanities. It was so freeing! Of course, those were the days before electronic submissions. Now I can just hit delete. :)
Rejections can be difficult, but I learned they serve a purpose. If you submit to a publisher you respect and receive a rejection, your story’s lacking something. So you revise again. If it’s a “good” rejection containing suggestions, you take their advice to heart and resubmit. It’s all part of the learning process.

What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?

I honestly can’t say. Perhaps a mix of both? I’ve no experience as far as agents, but I’d hope that publishers would disregard trends, at least to some degree – and perhaps try to start their own! As a reader, I don’t look for certain genres, but base what I buy on whether the blurb or story premise hooks me, and if the author’s a good writer.

What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)?

It’s exciting and scary. So many have made predictions, but I don’t believe anyone truly knows how it will all pan out. Or maybe it will never stop evolving – who knows? I’m just grateful to be along for the ride, and reaching readers.

Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?

As an author who does self-publish, yes. :) As rights have come up for renewal, I’ve asked for them returned, and self-published those stories – after revising and changing the covers. For the few I’ve self-published without subbing to publishers, those stories went through the same rigorous revisions and critiques as subbed stories. I wanted to be sure they were as good or better. I’ve had some experience with layout and graphics, so did my own covers and am excited that the covers for The Magic of Lavender and Dead to Rights won cover contests.

With the industry shifting as it is, the stigma of self-publishing has faded. I believe it’s up to the author to prove herself to her readers, and if readers like your work, they’ll support you regardless. As always, it’s all about the story.

Are your books available in print or in digital format?

Some are available in print, but most are electronic.

What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

To me, the standard advice applies – learn your craft, take it seriously enough to do your best, and write the story you’d want to read.

What are you working on now?

So many WIPs are calling my name… At least three more in The Goddess Connection, a paranormal series I kicked off this year with The Magic of Lavender. Some short fantasies and paranormals, a few contemporaries and another historical. I actually just finished a short fantasy, so haven’t yet dug into one specific project.

What's your website URL?

This year, I consolidated everything into my blog: http://catemasters.blogspot.com

Are you on Facebook?

Yes, my page is here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cate-Masters/89969413736?ref=ts

How do you connect with readers?

Any way I can! My blog, Facebook, Goodreads, chats, booksignings and other “live” events. I love talking to readers.

Some info on latest and upcoming releases:

This year’s been another crazy one. I’ve re-released eight previously published titles, plus self-published another four stories that I’d worked on for more than a year. Lyrical Press released my contemporary, Rock Bottom, and Whiskey Creek Press released my mainstream The Bridge Between.

On Oct. 26, The Wild Rose Press will release Romancing the Hero, and follow on Nov. 30 with my Christmas story, Ground Rules – both very fun fantasies.

What is/are your favourite book(s)?

I can never pick favorites. My bookshelves are literally bursting, and contain nearly every genre of fiction, as well as nonfiction. I’m a research addict, so love to keep reference books handy.

Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story?

Not generally. I’m afraid reading another story will influence my thinking, if only in subtle ways. I prefer to focus fully on my own story, then read in between writing.

What book inspired you to write romance (or whatever genre you write in)?

I think it was more a collective inspiration. Margaret Atwood’s dark speculative fiction had an incredible impact, as did Alice Hoffman’s magical realism, Michael Chabon’s mainstream and fantasy, and TC Boyle’s mainstream and speculative. As eclectic as my reading is, my writing reflects that, and sometimes defies neat categorization into a specific genre.

What hero/heroine/character was the most fun or challenging to write for you?

I fall in love with every character as I write each new story. That may sound like a cop-out, but to me, it’s an essential part of writing. It allows me to get inside each character’s head to feel what they feel and hopefully, convey it well enough so the reader feels it too.

Anything you wish to add?

I do have a freebie I just put out with four other authors, all paranormal romance short stories that's available from Smashwords. We just put it out Friday and it's already become very popular! Maybe everyone's in the Halloween spirit early. :)




About Cate:

Multipublished, award-winning author Cate Masters loves stories with a dash of magic, mayhem and romance! Reviewers have described her stories as “so compelling, I did not want to put it down,” and “such romantic tales that really touch your soul.”

When not spending time with her family, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.

Thanks so much for having me as a guest, Angela! It’s been a pleasure.


~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Monday, September 26, 2011

KICK START MONDAYS: A late start


Today it's been one of those days. A day when you do a lot of things but in the end you feel like you didn't accomplish much. First, I had to catch up with housework. Then, I needed to try out some new recipes to try to keep my 2 year old interested in healthy food (Herculean task!), after which I had a visit from my dad. To be a good host I made some peanut butter cookies, and burnt the first batch.

When my dad left, the little one wanted to play and somehow, the day flew just like that. Hence why this blog comes late in the day. I now feel tired but don't know why. Yeah, it's one of those days, lol. All along I kept thinking of my writing, and missing it, wanting to be with my manuscript. I love being with my son but apart from that, I wish I had a house fairy to get the cleaning done for me, and a work fairy to get my client projects completed. This would leave me alone with my computer, having fun with my characters. Activist Gloria Steinem made a really good point when she said that “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.” Because it's fun!

This Wednesday's interview is going to be with the lovely Cate Masters. I am having such a blast interacting with these authors and finding out more about them. We all have such different paths that we've taken but ultimately it boils down to the same thing - the need to persevere, and the willingness to go out of our comfort zone. Jessamyn West admitted that talent is a good thing to have, but "guts is absolutely necessary" in writing.

So if it's so hard, why do writers do it? Is it a masochistic trait we all share? No, I don't think so. What I really believe is that Graham Greene was on to something when he wrote: “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition.” I agree that writing fiction can be compared to writing a journal. We give traits and dialogue to our characters, inject challenges in the plot, because that particular trait or situation stirs something inside us. At the very least, we enjoy doing it so much that the therapy unfolds in the simple process of writing. It's the same thing as saying that when we laugh, when we are happy, we are actually healing ourselves.

In the end, writing is just a job like any other...lots of hard work, a great deal of thinking, researching and learning, craft rules to abide by - only it's a job we love to love :-D. It's all good as long as it gives us joy.


~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY: An Eternity of Roses, Snippet #1


I finally join the fray of Six Sentence Sunday madness! This is totally new territory for me, and I'm excited about sharing more of my work with readers.

I decided that for this first time I want to share a snippet from the last manuscript that I finished. I'm still looking for a home for this story, but I've lived with these characters for so long that I don't want to keep them locked up until I do.

This book is titled, An Eternity of Roses. The focus of An Eternity of Roses is Lady Emmaline Deramore and her struggle to reunite with the man she loves and loses because of a witch’s curse. The power behind the curse finds itself in a centuries old feud between two brotherhoods of immortals—the Valthreans, who live side by side with mortals, and The Cult of the Snake, whose main purpose is to annihilate the Valthreans and gain control over mankind.

The snippet is from a scene that sets the stage for the birth of the Valthrean brotherhood, establishes the myth and signals the start of their long journey on Earth. The character Valther's fate determines the future of his people.



A dark cloud of terror hovered above Valther. Its evil shadow had him in a stranglehold. A few hundred pairs of eyes burned into his sides, back and neck. He knew the hell that faced him so he summoned the courage to shut out the emotion crushing his heart.

And then, he prayed. He prayed that the others would live, that his sacrifice would count for something.

Over the weeks I hope to entertain you with more tidbits from my works in progress, as well as some from my already published books. And now, I'm off to do a bit of writing before chaos descends on my house at lunch time. Luckily, breakfast has been served, lunch is ready and waiting, and I might, just might, get an hour of peace to set my mind adrift...

Live well and love deeply,

~ Angela ~ No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.
"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Friday, September 23, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAYS: Drawing the curtain


This week was a week of adjustment, thought and not enough action. The latter meaning I got little to no writing done. I did do one thing, however, I jotted down the idea for a new story. Sometimes quite some time passes before I get new ideas popping in my head. However, thankfully, so far I have enough plots in my head to last me for a year or two of heavy writing.

This week's REV UP WEDNESDAYS interview with Cassandra Gold made me think about the notions we have of people. It also made me think about a writer's perception in contrast to anyone else's. Writers look at people and they may see the actions, face, or mannerisms of a new character they're working on. Judgements or perceptions become a springboard for ideas. We assume what that person is like, and we create a clone in our imagination. The clone may have a mixture of attributes and traits drawn from different people. This is how we draw the curtain on out characters, a curtain with layers of fabric that we pull back one at a time. We discover them as we discover the reality around us. I read an article recently on a local newspaper that writers conceive their characters in a sort of "mental pregnancy". I think that's very true because it's all about growth and development... the unfolding of a new life within ourselves.

So, I think that in the same way we draw the curtain on our characters, we also go through this process with ourselves as we determine our path in life. Realizing our desire to write - that is, finding our core "truth" - comes easily for some of us, but in some cases it's a stunted journey fraught with doubts, backtracks, and hidden trails. It is tricky especially when we know we can't show our full selves to everyone around us for fear of being judged or discouraged.

On Monday, I wrote about my initial fear to admit the genre I write in, or even to admit that I decided to write for a living, because I didn't want to feel the heat of others' prejudice. Cassandra Gold mentioned this too, admitting she lives a double life - but luckily for her, she loves both of her "selves", and wouldn't do away with either. Therefore, she's content with keeping them separate.

Ultimately, I guess what matters is that we are always true to ourselves. We are never only one thing, and it's okay to follow our instincts, even when they take us in multiple directions. Who said we were only meant to do one thing in life? On the other hand, following our heart may sometimes mean going contrary to other peoples' expectations of us. In my case, I know that my family doesn't always understand my preference to identify myself as a "writer" rather than a "lawyer". They figure, I went to almost 7 years of college to get that pretty piece of paper I have hanging on my wall... why not be proud of it? What they don't get is not that I'm not proud - it's a matter of how I "see" myself.

I have come to terms with it, finally, after many years - and I know the true "me". I'm not apologetic about it, because fighting myself or worse, lying to myself, is not an option. Since I realized what I wanted to do, I could start making a living at it - thanks to my husband's encouragement, I've been freelance writing and editing for 5 years, and my earnings have put food on the table and paid the bills. It wasn't the legal profession that kept us above water in these times, and I don't mind that one bit. I was meant to take this fork in the road.

Yet, there are members of my family who think I'm only "playing" at writing; they've never offered to read any of my work, and they have that mocking, indulgent look on their faces if I so much as mention the word "writing". I fancy a loud sigh escaping their lips and a resigned shake of their heads. Then, I imagine them patting my head and telling me in a half-humorous, half-grave tone - and with that forced, tired patience with which we treat a repeatedly errant child - what are they ever going to do with me? Of course, they never say anything. They don't have to. I know exactly what they're thinking.

This week, therefore, was one of reflection. I got some client work done, at least. I do think there's something in the air because several of my friends admitted to getting little done in the last few days. My sister-in-arms, Zee Monodee, admitted that this morning, saying that this was the "week from hell" for her. But I know it's only temporary because she knows that writing is her life, just like the t-shirt from Zazzle says; she never regrets making that decision even when she hits road bumps.

Right now, as far as I'm concerned, thank goodness for that gourmet goddess, Mona Farrugia,who gave me my chocolate fix yesterday at Angelica - this fantastic new cafe' that's conveniently (for me) located two blocks up from my mom's house in Archbishop Street, Valletta. My, my, those Irish chocolate cupcakes were melt-in-your-mouth decadent, luscious, everything-you-want-it-to-be chocolate orgasm. Then the amaretto cupcakes...crumbly, light, almost make you think you're eating calorie free "ambrosia air". The key is no preservatives, only genuine ingredients, and as Mona declares, making me feel all happy inside, good chocolate shaves off pounds - so I'm resolved to having lots of it!

And here comes that loud sigh, tremulously escaping my lips, not with forced patience, but with pure longing. Today, Mona, I want some of that chilled lemongrass and ginger iced tea you promised...and one of those lovely savoury pies you mentioned. So later on I'm dragging my little man up to your kingdom and getting my slice of heaven, literally. Oh, I wish, I so wish I could bring my bestie Zee Monodee with me. She'd pilfer anything chocolate within reach, I'm sure, wouldn't you, Zee? :-D.

Now, for yummy goodness of a different kind, a little something to dream about this weekend. This one's for you, Zee. I know I mentioned you a lot today because you need a little pick-me-up, and what are friends for if they don't cheer you up in those blue moments? :-D



~ Angela ~

No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAYS - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with CASSANDRA GOLD


This week's spotlight is on mild-mannered middle school teacher by day, wildly imaginative erotic romance author by night, CASSANDRA GOLD. Cassandra is one of a growing number of female authors who loves to write gay romance. Apart from 15 stand alone novellas and short stories placed with various publishers, she's also an author of three series, and presently working on a fourth. Her spicy tales have found homes with publishers such as Total E-Bound, Phaze, Red Rose Publishing, Cobblestone Press, Freya's Bower, Torquere Press and Amber Allure.

If you'd like to get an idea of her work, catch some of Cassandra's free reads here.

ALSO - CASSANDRA WILL BE GIVING AWAY A FREE DIGITAL COPY OF QUINN'S HART TO A LUCKY COMMENTER! THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON TUESDAY, 27TH SEPTEMBER. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT OR EMAIL YOUR DETAILS TO ME AT ANGELAGUILLAUME@GMAIL.COM.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for publication for 5 years. Cassandra Gold was “born” in August of 2006, lol.

When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?

I don’t really write for a living. It’s something I do for the love of it, although making money is nice too. :) And I never really decided I wanted to write, at least not that I can remember. I’ve always wanted to write.

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved writing, so nobody was surprised when I started publishing. My parents and husband are all proud, although I don’t discuss the actual content of my writing with my parents. My hubby endures the odd questions and ideas I pop out with all the time. He doesn’t read the final products—gay romance isn’t really his thing.

Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?

I have a day job. I teach English at a middle school. I love both teaching and writing, and have never considered quitting my teaching job in order to write full time.

Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?

I took a creative writing course in college, for fun mostly. It covered poetry and drama, with a bit of writing short stories thrown in. Other than that, I’ve taken grammar and English classes, but no classes geared toward writing a novel.

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?

I didn’t have anyone to help me when I first got started. It would have been nice to have a crit group or mentor then! Now I have a couple of people I do a lot of reciprocal critiques with. I couldn’t live without Beth and Qwillia’s help these days.

Do you use a/several pseudonym(s) and if so, why did you choose to have one/them?

I have one. Living and teaching in a conservative area, and writing gay erotic romance, I decided it would be best to have a pen name. The name I'd always imagined using had already been taken by someone else, but luckily my husband came up with Cassandra Gold. He just tossed it out there during a car trip, and it stuck!

How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

It didn’t take me any time at all to make my first sale. I’d say it was a month or less wait time. I entered a contest, and very shortly afterward I got the call that my story had been chosen as one of the winners. My husband came to wake me up because the call came after I'd gone to bed, and I thought he was joking! It wasn't until I got to speak to the editor on the phone that I realized I was actually going to be published.

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

Yep. I wrote my first gay romance story on a whim, for a contest offered by a now-defunct e-publisher, and they took it.

How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?

I’ve never been much of a novel writer. I have written many novellas and short stories, but only two novels. The first one is still sitting in a folder on my computer, waiting to be completely reworked. That probably won’t happen with all the other things I’d like to write. The first novel I wrote that I actually felt was publication-ready took me years to write because I kept interrupting it to work on other things. I don’t really write in “drafts,” per se, but it’s been tweaked and reworked many times.

Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

I don’t have an agent. I prefer to work with publishers myself. If I ever decided to submit to one of the New York publishers, I would probably try to get an agent.

Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?

I’ve been rejected several times. As a perfectionist, rejections tend to really get me down. The first thing I do is try not to beat myself up too much. Then, I try to figure out what I can learn from the rejection. If I get a personalized rejection, I use the editor’s remarks to improve the manuscript. If I just get a generic, “nice, but not for us,” rejection, I submit the story elsewhere.

What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?

I would say publishers are looking for both talent and trends. They have to make money, so no amount of talent is going to make up for an unmarketable story, but a trendy book that’s horribly written won’t sell either.

What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)?

I think the changes are great. I’ve been reading ebooks since a couple years before I started writing, and I love the convenience of them. What could be better than carrying hundreds of books around on one tiny device? I’m glad to see big publishers jumping on the bandwagon too (although I prefer to buy from indie publishers). The only real negative I see is how much some publishers want to charge for an ebook. In my opinion, they ought to be cheaper than the print version.

Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?

It’s not for me. I prefer having the structure of a publisher, and access to cover artists and editors.

That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to it for others. If an author has a story that may not be what publishers are looking for, but they think there’s an audience for it, I say go for it. However—they need to get a good editor! I can’t tell you how many self-published books I’ve seen that the author clearly did not have edited. It’s a shame, because some of them are great stories.

Are your books available in print or in digital format?

All of my books are available in digital format. A couple can be found in print as well.

What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

I think the biggest advice is to be able to take help from others. Ask around about publishers. If an editor or another author gives you advice about your writing, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Really think about it.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the sequel to The Institute, Book 1: Healer (October 30, 2011 from Amber Allure). The series features a group of people with special abilities who work to help others.

What is/are your favourite book(s)?

Oh wow, that’s a tough question. As a child, I loved Black Beauty and anything with horses. Other favorites included Wait Till Helen Comes (a ghost story), The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (A wonderful adventure book), and anything by Poe. Today, I love Regency romances and too many gay romances to count.

Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story?

I read all the time. Writing doesn’t stop me from reading. When I first started writing, I neglected my reading, but not anymore. If anything, I read more than I write these days.

What book inspired you to write your particular brand of stories?

The first full length gay romance I ever read was Jumping the Fence by Stephanie Vaughan. It’s a great book, very realistic with characters I fell in love with. I generally blame that book for my love of the genre, although I had read some gay short stories before.

What hero/heroine/character was the most fun or challenging to write for you?

I find a lot of my characters challenging because they’re as stubborn as I am. I think the most fun to write has been Ciaran from the Outcasts series, because he’s a demon (my favorite paranormal being), and he’s so quirky and sheltered. He reacts to things much differently than a normal person would, making him a blast to write.

The most challenging character to write was probably Ian from “One Night Stand.” I didn’t want him to come across as a shallow jerk, so I had to walk a fine line between making him self-protective and scared, and making him a total jackass. I like to think I stayed on the right side of the line.

What's your website URL?

www.cassandragold.com

Are you on Facebook?

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000682134145

How do you connect with readers?

I love connecting with readers through Facebook, e-mail, and Goodreads. My email is cassandra@cassandragold.com.

Some info on latest and upcoming releases:

My latest release:

Clay’s Challenge

Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself...

Tired of being judged by his appearance, Clay Pennington decides the time has come for drastic action. Partying and one-night stands have gotten old, but how’s a boy supposed to find someone when nobody looks beyond his surface to the man inside? A wilderness retreat seems like just the ticket for proving he’s more than everyone else believes—until he actually gets there.

Everything is a lot more difficult than he expected, including the man he’s partnered with for the week. Sexy, surly Trent Raines is a puzzle Clay would love to solve, but the man pushes him away at every turn. Totally out of his element and stuck with a survival partner who barely tolerates him, it’s not long before Clay starts to wonder if he’s made a huge mistake.

If Clay can get through the week, he just might find himself...and a whole lot more...


Coming soon:

The Institute, Book 1: Healer

Coming October 30 from Amber Allure!

For years, Dr. Tristan Matheson has hidden his abilities, pretending to be an ordinary doctor. He’s eluded detection—until now. When he’s targeted, Cam, a mysterious shapeshifter, becomes Tristan’s only means of escape.

A member of the Delphic Institute, Cam is capable of taking the shape of anyone he’s ever seen.
Retrieving Tristan was supposed to be an ordinary mission, but the feelings the doctor stirs are surprising and unwelcome.

Tristan and Cam have a bigger problem, though. A war brewing between groups interested in “recruiting” people with special talents could tear them apart before they ever get together.


Thanks!
Cassandra
www.cassandragold.com


A little about Cassandra...

By day, Cassandra is a (relatively) mild-mannered middle school teacher. At night, she lets the characters in her head out to play as she writes stories of men falling in love. Unfortunately for her husband, neither of Cassandra's personas enjoys doing housework.

For more information on Cassandra, please visit her website at: www.cassandragold.com. She also loves to interact with readers and authors on Facebook.



~ Angela ~ No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.
"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Monday, September 19, 2011

KICK START MONDAYS: Who are you? Crushing the Stereotype


An incident that happened to me recently made me think about misconceptions, mostly applied to what I do. How often do we generalize? How much do we jump to conclusions?

A truth about me - I'm a romance writer. Most of the writers I'm interviewing for REV UP WEDNESDAYS are romance writers.

And here's a general perception of those who are not so familiar with the genre - All romance writers are women.

Wrong!

As Julie Beard writes in that tome of tomes, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Your Romance Novel Published":

"You don't have to be a woman to write romances. There has been some gender-bending in the publishing industry ever since Mary Ann Evans wrote under the pen name George Elliot. It should come as no surprise, then, that some of your favorite romance writers may belong to clubs for men only."

Some names Ms. Beard drops are:

1) Leigh Greenwood, a historical writer, is in reality Harold Lowry.
2) Jean Barrett, a category author, is in reality Bob Rogers.
3) Jennifer Wilde, author of sexy historicals (Love's Tender Fury), was in reality the late Tom E. Huff.
4) Andrea Edwards is the pen name of husband and wife team Ed and Anne Kolaczyk, who together wrote over 50 romances.

So, my point is, things are not always what they seem but misconceptions exist anyway. We have rules for everything, guidelines for how people should be, work, think and look like. Perhaps the authors above were afraid of others' perception of them. In this context, what if in society's eyes you would be the least likely candidate to write in this genre? What if you had some executive job or profession that may make it pointless or "unseemly" to go about writing books with sexy scenes in them? Is this all that constitutes a romance novel - a sexy scene here and there and vapid language all around it?

After all, we're not writers of high-brow literature or tragic tales about the human condition. We offer a source for entertainment. A good source, hopefully, one that evokes emotion in the reader. One that may even pull a reader from a bout of melancholia or a moment of desperation. But it's still entertainment.

Now here's the question - Knowing that you really want to be a romance writer despite years of studying for some other profession and people telling you "there's no money in art"... would this stop you from following your dreams? Or would you use a pseudonym and live a double life, so you don't have to explain yourself?

Also, do you think others would wonder why you'd rather be like Sabrina Jeffries than Sylvia Plath, or like Mary Higgins Clark than Maya Angelou? All these writers are amazing in their own fields, so there shouldn't be an issue either way.

I had started by thinking this way, although it feels so long ago when I did. When I first started writing, my focus was on erotic romance. I was a bit ashamed to admit it to others. I figured, I'm a lawyer, I need to keep my writer persona and my professional persona separate. I created a pseudonym and opened a Facebook account. In the meantime, I started writing, and my friends - those who know my real name - started to send me friend requests via my author page. So, I accepted those friend requests. Bit by bit, more people came into my network...people I've known in college (university, as we call it here), who probably wondered what I was doing prancing around Facebook as "Angela Guillaume". Probably thought I was either haughty, loony...or full of pipe dreams.

Now, I've progressed in my writing style, abandoning erotic romance for more plot driven stories - still sexy, though, still emotional, and still with the happy ending. What can I say? I'm a romantic at heart :-). Add to this, I no longer give a flying pig about who knows my real name, and what they think about what I do, but I had to work hard to get to this way of thinking. I had to convince myself that I'm doing nothing disgraceful; and really, I've found that many of the people I've known in my teens and twenties haven't been mean or nasty about it - rather, they send me messages of encouragement every now and then. Yet others say nothing to me, and perhaps it's best that way.

Not everyone can afford the luxury of not using a pseudonym because the world is what it is. There are some areas where judgements are fast made, based on the most banal and twisted of motivations. Prejudice. Envy. Disbelief. Insecurity. Snobbery. You name it. But the great Mark Twain said it well: "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great." For some of us, the best way to "keep away" is to use an alias.

NOTE - It is understood that pseudonyms are used not only to "hide" an author's real identity. In many cases they are useful as a branding tool, and some writers use several pseudonyms in order to identify their diversified work to their readership. Think Jayne Ann Krentz, for instance.

That clarified, let's move on to the essence of "being" a writer. Many seem to forget that being a writer is not about the glory. It's not about doing something "cool". Those who are in it know that it's nothing but hard work and study. We must plot, build, sweat, research, write, juggle, and dish out. Once we have the finished product, we will keep polishing it, producing an infinite number of drafts. Then, it's all about deciding how to get it out there - shall we look for an agent, publisher, or simply self-publish? Then comes more work - letting people know we exist! Of course, many of us also have jobs and families to take care of, too.

So, where's the glamour? Granted, there is a lot of satisfaction in putting your work out there. Once Teresa Medeiros gave me an autograph that said, "Dare to dream!" Writers take on this dare every day, and work tirelessly to keep it alive. Ultimately, what really brings about the success is constant effort and dedication. Shame has no place here, only belief in oneself, because...

"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy." (Kahlil Gibran)

Back to the name - Because I know what my purpose is, I'm not ashamed any more, except for the fact that I'm a teensy bit ashamed of having been ashamed (do I make sense here?!?!!!). Lol. So, in my case, I've decided it's not so important that people don't know about the real person behind the name. But this is just my situation. At the end of the day, what matters is that I am who I am. I have come to terms with it, and so should others. The real friends, including those who are in the boat with me, encourage me and take me through the challenging times that a rocky journey to publication brings. The distant acquaintances may be indifferent about it. Some may eventually turn out to be not such good friends, after all. Others may still think me crazy or misguided, but fact is, I have no misconceptions.

The bare bones truth is, I'm a romance writer, and my birth name is Natalie. But, you can call me Angela (which also happens to be my middle name). I like both my names :-D.

The author I'm interviewing next knows the importance of separating one's personal life from the writing life. Tune in this Wednesday for an interview with erotic romance author, Cassandra Gold. She's a prolific writer who's published with Cobblestone Press, Total E-Bound, Phaze, Freya's Bower and Torquere Press (hope I didn't miss one!)


~ Angela ~ No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.
"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Friday, September 16, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAYS: First week in the cockpit


Well, the first week has gone by smoothly! On Monday, I posted my first blog in a while and felt really good about it. On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of hosting Hope Tarr, who told us about her journey toward becoming a published author.

There was something that really struck me about this interview, something in particular that Ms. Tarr mentioned. It was that even after all these years, after being published by Berkley, Medallion Press, Harlequin Blaze and Carina Press, she still gets rejections! Isn't that absolutely amazing? I had to think real hard to wrap my head around this one.

Basically, every writer wants to be strong enough for the rejections. They want to be brave and not feel hurt about those "no's", to keep telling themselves that one day they will be able to finally claim that one "yes". The "yes" that will change everything. Yet, the cycle doesn't end there. There are times, in a published authors life, when the rejections will come. There will be more "no's" and, if the author persists, more "yes's". Or there may be only "no's". Does this mean one must stop dreaming? Definitely not, but it's good to keep one's feet firmly planted on the ground. The fact is that it doesn't matter that one has big publishing houses on one's resume - it's still a question of having the right book in the right hands at the right time.

Hope didn't say this to discourage other writers from pursuing their dreams. Rather, she said it to share the thought that published authors still come under the gun sometimes. More importantly, she wants to say that the only way to get through this is to stay dedicated to your craft, and have a clear idea of what you want. Be realistic, but don't lose hope. The modern world still offers many opportunities to those who don't give up.

So what am I doing on the writing front? This week I had a few private editing projects to finish, then, I had to get over the excitement of planning this blog and collect author interviews. I'm now booked solid until mid-January 2012! In the last two days, I picked up a story I had already finished and started to tweak the first three chapters. I'm working on tightening the dialogue, inserting some new, impactful scenes, and increasing the pace. All in a week's work :).

Now, to wrap up this Friday in a neat little package, I'd like you to check out what my best girl is doing over at her blog. This lady is not only one of the most talented people I know, as well as a wonderful critique partner - one who has taught me so much about writing. She's also an amazing person (love ya, Zee!). Don't miss tuning in to her page - I have no doubt she'll have something super cool to say!

And here's just a teensy weensy distraction (uh, eye candy) to carry you through the weekend :-D...


~ Angela ~ No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.
"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAYS - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with HOPE TARR


My first "REV UP WEDNESDAYS" interview brings to the spotlight an award-winning author I greatly admire: Hope Tarr. First, for her love of animals and advocacy efforts, she gets an A+ as a human being. Second, she lives in the Big Apple, and those who know me well will vouch for the fact that I'm positively nuts about NYC! And, last but certainly not least, for writing some of the most "grown up", sexy and intriguing historical (and contemporary) romances I've ever read, she gets five dozen pats on the back. But, I think the greatest achievement - and this is a quality she shares with many other writers - is her tenacity to persist through the rejections and obstacles and come into her own, fully, as a writer.

NOTE: I invite readers - and writers - to ask any questions they want to in the comments section. Hope will be hanging around all week to answer them!

And now, it's time to learn a bit more about this down-to-earth, petite lady with a big heart, big dreams, and a mischievous smile...

1. How long have you been writing?

I started writing my first romance novel when I was twelve. It was a Tudor set historical, and I still have the now yellowed pages of onion skin typewriter paper. (Erasable bond was really important in those pre-word processing days of yore).

2. When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living—that “aha” moment?

Pretty much when I was twelve—see above. At the same time, I developed an early and fairly realistic appreciation for what hard work writing a book is.

3. Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit down and write a book?

For me hands-on learning is usually the best way to go. That said, once I joined The Romance Writers of America (RWA) in 1997, I benefited enormously from sitting in on craft workshops, reading the articles on craft in the monthly membership publication and more than anything, talking with published authors, women who were living what for me was as yet a dream.

I started writing my first romance novel—first as an actual grownup—in 1993. It currently lives in a file cabinet for good reason. It’s awful. That said, I finished it and doing so gave me the push to write a second, a Regency-set historical that later sold to Berkley, which published it as A ROGUE’S PLEASURE. I recently resold that book to Carina Press.

4. Do you use a pseudonym and, if so, why did you choose to have one?

I don’t currently use a pseudonym. Hope Tarr is my legal name. Actually I always intended to write as “Hope C. Tarr,” but my first publisher inadvertently left off the “C” and as the book cover was already printed, it was too late for a change.

5. How long did it take you to make your first sale? What was your first thought when you did?

If we count the book I began when I was twelve, ten it took a v-e-r-y long time indeed.

The short answer is I started pursuing writing romance seriously in 1993. I sold in 1999, so six years all in all, which was fairly typical at the time. (Now with the shift to digital-first books, people are being published not only sooner but quicker).

As to my “first” thought? When I got The Call from Cindy Hwang at Berkley, I was in a car on my way to visit friends in Virginia Beach. I pulled off the Interstate and took the call in a MacDonald’s parking lot. I had so many “first” thoughts, it would be almost impossible to unscramble them all. For sure they included, “Finally!” “Thank God!”

6. Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

For the first completed manuscript, the awful one, I submitted directly to publishers as well as agents. Interesting fact: my first rejection letter in 1994 came from an editor at Berkley, the first publisher to whom I later sold. It was typed and signed with pink crayon pen. (Editors didn’t have access to personal computers until later). I still have it.

7. Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?

I still get rejected. If you’re going to be a career writer, rejection is inevitable. You may not embrace it but the sooner you accept it, the saner you and your work will be.

My first book received about thirty rejections from agents and editors. My second book, which did sell, was agented and still received a slew of rejections. But you only need one “yes.” I dealt with the rejections, and continue to deal with them, by reminding myself that just one “yes” is all I need. In the interim, I keep writing.

8. What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry e.g., e-books vs. books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)?

I think they’re inevitable. I’d only add that several literary agencies (six at my last count) are establishing or have established digital first publishing lines of business in-house since last year.

9. Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?

I think all writers, whether published or unpublished, should consider all viable commercial avenues for selling their work. That said, I do think some new writers are too quick to decide to self publish. You can always self-publish. There’s no time limit. My best “advice” (note, the quotes are entirely purposive) is to first give your work a chance to be read by agents and editors and then weigh your options. If you do ultimately self-pub, you can hopefully use the feedback received to make your book even better.

10. Are your books available in print or digital format?

Both. Selected titles are also available as audio books.

11. What advice do you think aspiring writers should heed today?

See my response to #9 above. I’d add that none of us, published or not, are ever so amazingly gifted that our books can’t benefit from an editor’s input. Whether you publish with a New York house, an indie press, or self-publish, it behooves us all to make sure that our work is as positively polished and professional as it can possibly be.

12. What is your website URL?

Readers can find me at www.HopeTarr.com as well as on Twitter @HopeTarr and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/hopetarr (see below)

13. Any exciting news to share?

Indeed, Angela! My fab publisher, Medallion Press, is offering free e-book downloads of VANQUISHED from Monday, September 12th through Monday, September 26th. For these two weeks, you can download VANQUISHED for free across all platforms.

Whether you’re an Amazon Kindle user or a fan of the Barnes & Noble Nook or other e-reader platform, you have two weeks to download VANQUISHED. For free.

Here are the links:

KINDLE:

http://www.amazon.com/Vanquished-Victorian-Romance-ebook/dp/B005G5EMSK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1312915171&sr=1-1

NOOK:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Vanquished/Hope-Tarr/e/9781605425160

VANQUISHED is the first book in my “Men of Roxbury House” Victorian-set trilogy. The other books are ENSLAVED and UNTAMED. Obviously we’re hoping that readers who try VANQUISHED for free will fall in love with the characters and want to purchase the other books in the series, but there’s certainly no obligation to do so.

Angela, thanks so very much for having me as your guest and congratulations on your new blog. I can’t wait to read the other guest posts.

Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of fifteen historical and contemporary romance novels including her Men of Roxbury House trilogy: Vanquished, Enslaved and Untamed. She is also a co-founder and current principal of Lady Jane’s Salon (www.LadyJaneSalon.com), New York City’s first—and only—monthly reading series for romance fiction. Visit Hope online at www.HopeTarr.com and find her on Twitter (@HopeTarr) and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/hopetarr.

From Vanquished:

A devil’s bargain…

“The photograph must be damning, indisputably so. I mean to see Caledonia Rivers not only ruined but vanquished. Vanquished, St. Claire, I’ll settle for nothing less.”


Known as The Maid of Mayfair for her unassailable virtue, unwavering resolve, and quiet dignity, suffragette leader, Caledonia – Callie – Rivers is the perfect counter for detractors’ portrayal of the women as rabble rousers, lunatics, even whores. But a high-ranking enemy within the government will stop at nothing to ensure that the Parliamentary bill to grant the vote to females dies in the Commons – including ruining the reputation of the Movement’s chief spokeswoman.

After a streak of disastrous luck at the gaming tables threatens to land him at the bottom of the Thames, photographer Hadrian St. Claire reluctantly agrees to seduce the beautiful suffragist leader and then use his camera to capture her fall from grace. Posing as the photographer commissioned to make her portrait for the upcoming march on Parliament, Hadrian infiltrates Callie’s inner circle. But lovely, soft-spoken Callie hardly fits his mental image of a dowdy, man-hating spinster. And as the passion between them flares from spark to full-on flame, Hadrian is the one in danger of being…vanquished.

Read the full excerpt at: http://www.hopetarr.com/bookshelf/vanquished.php

***[Hope's photo by BizUrban.com]

### ###

~ Angela ~ No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.
"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Monday, September 12, 2011

KICK START MONDAY: PILOT

Welcome to my first blog in, well, a long, long time! I've been so excited while planning this - and I promise to have some interesting things to share with you over the weeks.

So, here I am, introducing my fresh foray into regular blogging! I'm literally turning over a new page, making a clean start - both as a fiction writer and a blogger.

This shall be the weekly blog schedule: I will blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as follows:

Kick Start Mondays - Mondays are the days so many people hate because they have to return to the drudgery of a routine life. For writers, Mondays may mean the start of a new chapter or scene, a need to drum up fresh inspiration. But Mondays don't have to be boring! In this blog I will share my experiences, ask for feedback, and share some motivation and inspiration so that we can all be the best we can be all week long! Who knows, I may even throw in some eye candy every now and then :-).

Rev Up Wednesdays - a weekly booster shot for inspiration ...This is going to be interesting! On Wednesdays I'm going to be posting author interviews with some amazing writers. Whether they're NY bestselling authors or extremely talented self-pubbed or e-pubbed authors, they all have something truly important to say. Their experiences are those all writers can relate to but what's great about these individuals is that they weren't afraid to take the plunge and follow their chosen path. These authors will share in candid terms how they have "made it", and you will see that the journey of a writer is not all glam and roses. It's hard work!

Wrap Up Fridays - This is when I'll blog about my week, my WIP, and discuss writing related stuff. Hope you will be able to share yours with me too, by giving feedback :-).

With these blogs I hope to connect with many authors and aspiring writers from around the world. Our journeys may be different, but the motivation that gets us there is the same. In my mind, there is no difference - it doesn't matter whether you are a literary writer, a romance writer, a mystery or thriller writer, a poet, a novelist, or a non-fiction guru. We are all on a boat, crossing the ocean of corporate interests, wading through the murky waters of the publishing world, seeking the Holy Grail - seeing our book on a shelf (a real or virtual one), with a beautiful, intriguing cover and our name printed across it. Isn't this the ultimate goal? To be known, to give hours of pleasure to our readers, to inspire others and let them look into our souls, so they can see a glimpse of us through our work. This is what we strive for every day.

So to those who are still plagued by self-doubt, I kick off this first blog by sharing a quote by an inspirational writer, Lynn Andrews, who wrote a book called "Writing Spirit" - a book every writer should own. In the final pages, she writes:


Agnes Whistling Elk said to me so many years ago that we are all called and we are all chosen, but so very, very few of us have the courage to follow our dreams. You are a writer; you can't but follow your dreams if you are to be true to yourself.(p. 226)

And being true to yourselves, I add, means not shying away from hard work, and toughening up when it comes to rejections and closed doors. Keep your heart and mind open, give all of yourself to your craft, and claim the success you deserve. Success may not come in the form of a neat looking publishing contract from a NY pub house, but the market today offers many wonderful possibilities. Authors have the power to make change. All they need to do is be aware, and open their arms to opportunity.

Now, on a final note -

I'm so excited about the first author interview next Wednesday! Here are some hints as to who it's going to be: Her Roxbury House trilogy holds a place of honor on my bookshelf. She is super cool, has a beautiful smile, loves animals (her pets often feature in her stories - just for this, she has my love!) and lives in the city that never sleeps.

Between 9/12 and 9/26 her publisher will be giving away a copy of one of her books - VANQUISHED (the first in her "Men of Roxbury House" historical trilogy) as a free e-book download across various platforms. This author knows her history, and her writing is haunting, evocative and passionate. She is one of three founding authors for Lady Jane's Salon, Manhattan's first and only reading series devoted to romance fiction. She describes her stories as "sexy, sophisticated reads." Her books are published by Medallion Press, Carina Press, and Harlequin (Blaze imprint). Also, on her website it is stated: "A segment on NBC’s Today Show included [this author] gamely suggesting that romance novels "would make great how-to books for men." Roving reporter Mike Leonard then filmed himself sitting on the edge of his hotel room bed, ostensibly reading Tempting from cover to cover."

Lots of clues! Can you guess who this mystery author is?


~ Angela ~ No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.
"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.