In General

Kansas City Love Train

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get on the train.

The love train!

After nine months of not submitting or really writing the wips I have for the submission process I have finally been jolted back into why I write.

Because I love it!

Thanks to the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City, Missouri I have watched my friends who are published have great fun and success at their events.  I’ve also made new friends and attended fantastic panels on craft (how to write) and business (how to sell to agents, publishers and editors).

So, I hit send on my email and sent off my short story last week.  Don’t worry – the nail biting has already begun on that one.  Thanks to the “Write 50 books in a Year” panel I now have an organized spreadsheet up until October of this year of what I’m writing and submitting.  Which will hopefully turn into a column of what gets accepted and what gets rejected on the spreadsheet as I continue writing, editing and submitting.

Kansas City, MO.  What a great city.  Home of jazz and historic downtown buildings.  With fun trips to the shopping centres and busy highways leading out of the city.  My drive from the airport took me past the Majestic Restaurant and Jazz Club http://www.majestickc.com/ and other hole-in-the-wall restaurant and clubs.  I even sped by the Friday Night Farmers Market http://www.badseedkc.com/farm/the-farmers-market/ which caught my attention with the words “Bad Seed.”

And thanks to Author Shawna Romkey’s family I visited and ate at the famous Arthur Bryant’s BBQ restaurant.  http://www.arthurbryantsbbq.com/index.htm

The convention really kept us hopping from morning until late at night.  It was fun but I found parts of it long winded so you really have to choose what you want to see and do.  Also, I know authors who had agents stand them up at appointments.  Meh.  It’s over 2,000 people – what do you do?

Had a great time at publisher spotlights on Entangled Publishing, Sourcebooks and ChocLit.

Oh, and I did visit JC Penny and Macy’s.  What’s a girl to do when you have one shopping day?

 

Shawna Romkey Book Launch Tonight “Speak of the Devil”

Tonight 5pm-9pm AST at the Lower Deck Taproom Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Author Shawna Romkey reveals her debut novel “Speak of the Devil” to the public!

 

 

ShawnaRomkeyAuthorPhoto2

About Shawna:

Shawna grew up in around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to the University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons, two rescue dogs and one overgrown puppy from hell. She’s a non-conformist who follows her heart.

 

She has her BA in creative writing from the University of Kansas where one of her plays was chosen by her creative writing professor to be produced locally, and two of her short stories were published in a university creative arts handbook.  She earned her MA in English from Central Missouri State University where she wrote a novel as her thesis.

She’s taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can’t quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she’s managed to stay the same.  She’s a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kick ass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.

 

 

 

 

http://www.shawnaromkey.com/

 http://www.amazon.com/dp/1939173191/?tag=trkaz-20

 

 

 

Here’s her excerpt for you:

Rain fell, not uncommon for late spring in Missouri. “If you don’t like the weather here,” my grandfather would say, “wait five minutes.” Of course, I’d visited distant relatives in Maine once before, and they said the same thing.

Julie fumbled with the wipers while I pulled the sun visor down to check my face in its little rectangular mirror, even though I’d only left my vanity like five minutes ago. The lights on either side lit up the interior of the car. I reached into my tiny party purse to find my lip gloss, which was easy to locate since I’d only packed the essentials in my bag: phone, some cash, and make-up. As I glanced at myself, I saw Mike in the reflection, smiling at me from the back seat. I stuck my tongue out at him, making him laugh, and put on the lip-gloss, fully aware of how flirty I acted.

The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up with the sudden downpour. The pitter-patter turned to thumping. Hail came down in gumball-sized pellets. “Damn.” Julie jerked the steering wheel to keep The Whale off the curb.

“Slow down, Jules.” Mike gripped Julie’s headrest. “We can pull over until it passes.”

“Yeah.” She squinted to see the road before her.

I pressed my lips together to smooth out the gloss. “Damn is right. I didn’t bring a jacket.”

The Whale swerved to the right crunching along the gravel on the side of the road. I braced myself in my seat. Julie leaned up to the steering wheel and peered over it as my grandmother sometimes did when she drove. I squinted because of the stupid light up visor mirror. I slammed it shut, but Julie panicked and over corrected, pulling The Whale to the left and careening over the yellow dotted line in the middle of the street.

“Julie!” Mike shouted.

Time slowed and ticked out in heartbeats.

Ba bum.

Julie cringed, her hands moving up to shield her face. Her head turned away from the highway.

Ba bum.

Mike reached protectively from the back seat.

Ba bum.

The headlights illuminated the rail of the overpass.

Ba bum.

The car hit the rail on the opposite side of the road with a hard thud.

Ba bum.

Crap. We’re going over the bridge.

Ba bum.

The Whale’s nose pointed down toward the water.

Ba bum.

A jolt forward and my forehead slammed into the dashboard.

Ba bum.

The Whale flipped in the air. I’m upside down.

Ba bum.

Pain.

Ba bum.

Did my mom say good-bye when I left?

Ba bum.

Cold water rushed into the car.

Ba bum.

Is this it?

Ba bum.

I can’t breathe. Oh my God, I can’t breathe. I can’t see or breathe!

My heart quickened. It pounded. The Whale leaned on its side under the surface of the water which rushed in fast, and I couldn’t see a damn thing.

Calm, stay calm. Don’t panic. They say when you’re drowning not to panic because you use up your air faster.
Dammit, am I drowning?

I tried to get myself upright and jerked out of my seatbelt. Luckily, it gave way. I fought the latch to open the door facing up, but the pressure of the water from Black Water River held it closed, trapping me inside.

Jesus. I know this river. It’s more of a creek. It can’t be more than fifteen feet across and ten feet deep.
I pushed at the door. Opening my mouth to scream, I swallowed water.

I couldn’t see or hear Julie or Mike. My watch ticked. Or was it my heart beating?

Ba bum. Ba bum. Ba bum.

Darkness.

Silence.

Cold.

Wet.

Defying gravity.

Nothing.

The dreams came. Like a good sleep you don’t want to wake up from. I felt heavy and floaty. I wore this long white gauzy gown and the wind blew my dress and my hair like in some feminine hygiene commercial. I could breathe slowly and deeply. Completely relaxed and at peace, but I was alone.

I floated along in a white space for a while. Drifting. Breathing. Relaxing. Had I gone to a spa? After an immeasurable amount of time, others appeared. They wore white clothing, too, and they floated like me, reaching out. They opened their arms as if to welcome me to them.

I stopped and frowned. I heard no sound, and I didn’t know who these white floaty people were or why they welcomed me. They smiled, genuinely happy, and held their arms out to me. I panicked.

Where’s my mom? My family? Wait, Mike and Julie were just with me, where are they? Are those wings?
I noticed the others floating with me had white feathery wings.

“Lily,” one of them called out.

Holy hell. I’m dead.

The Next Big Thing: Blog Hop

The amazing Debbie Robbins tagged me for this Blog Hop so here I am posting away secrets on my WIP.

And, guess what.  It’s a contemporary.

I’m frantically writing away as my New Jersey RWA group heads towards the finish line for Jerowrimo 2013 at the end of Feb.  So far, so good re: results!  However, this writing challenge I am working on book 2 of the fishermen characters.  These three brothers are getting into all kinds of trouble!

 

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Working title of my next book is Depth.  This is the story of Riley and his past that only Molly can help heal.

 

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Idea for the book came from the Deadliest Catch tv show and from reading a lot of contemporary stories out there.  While the perception of fishermen can be that they are “rough and tough” I thought I’d expose a softer side and a reality check for how dangerous this job really is.  The fishermen in my books live and breathe just like everyone else in their village but as it’s a small community they have wounds now that only these two new characters (the minister and his daughter Molly) can heal.

 

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Book is contemporary which is a slight deviant from my paranormal writing as Tara MacQueen.

 

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Actors… Riley would be Scott Anthony Smith (photo attached) and Molly would be Stevie Cooper (photo attached).  These are two actors I’ve worked with before and really see them in the role.

From Camden, Maine, USA I directed this actor at Maine Media Workshops

From Camden, Maine, USA I directed this actor at Maine Media Workshops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actress Stevie Cooper has been in a few of Charlie Mac Productions' works.

Actress Stevie Cooper has been in a few of Charlie Mac Productions’ works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
One sentence synopsis (hate these)…  Riley’s fisherman future drowned with the death of his parents until Molly Gregan moved into town to shake it up.

 

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will be submitting to small press on this one.

 

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
November has 30 days, so 30 days part of Nanowrimo.  30 long days of wondering if I was going to make my deadline.  And now, as I go through some self editing I’m glad I did that challenge.  The book has brought my writing up a level.

 

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This story feels like Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay Series with the brothers and the boatbuilding business.  I don’t claim to be Nora      Roberts but it feels like I was inspired by this even though I read it all in 2002.

 

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See #8.  Definitely the great Nora Roberts.  I like Debbie Macomber, too.  Oh, and Donna Alward.  Check out this website http://www.chocolatebox.com  for other great authors along with https://www.facebook.com/pages/Romance-Writers-of-Atlantic-Canada-RWAC/

 

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
This book also involves a community broken by the devastating loss of Riley’s parents and Molly’s father, a United Church Minister helps to bring it together.  Wounds don’t heal in silence.  This book involves pain and redemption not just by a woman helping to heal a broken man but also a village finding love again after loss.

 

 

Cover reveal: Author Shawna Romkey’s “Speak of the Devil”

Author Shawna Romkey's cover reveal

Author Shawna Romkey’s cover reveal

 

 

http://www.shawnaromkey.com

 

 

What happens when falling in love and falling from grace collide?

 

 

After dying in a car accident with her two best friends, Lily miraculously awakens to grief and guilt. She escapes to her dad’s to come to terms with the event and meets some people at her new school who seem all too eager to help her heal. Sliding deeper into sorrow and trying to fight her feelings for two of them, she finds out who…what they really are and that they are falling too.

 

 

Can she find the strength to move on from the past, reconcile her feelings for Luc, find a way to stop a divine war with fallen angels, and still pass the eleventh grade?

 

 

What do you think of this great cover?  Due out March 15th, 2013 from Crescent Moon Press.  http://www.crescentmoonpress.com/

An Unpublished Author’s Check List Re: Author Shawna Romkey’s post

As I read Author Shawna Romkey’s latest blog post (found here http://www.shawnaromkey.com) I thought – OMG!  I feel pressure from reading that.

 

The next thought I had was – I’m a *little* different as I’m unpublished.

 

1.  Write.  This is the most important one for an unpublished author IMHO.  Not only do you need to practice the craft of writing and take workshops offered through a writing group like Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwa.org) but you need to keep writing after the first manuscript is done.  Why?  So you’re writing can improve and so when you pitch an agent or editor you have a backup when they ask “What else are you working on?”  Also, markets change for books each year.  One manuscript may not sell but the other one might.

 

2.  Read.  My recommendations are:  (A) Read in your genre.   (B) Read books to help you write such as “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler.  Pick up books or workshops online/offline on grammar, beginnings, middles, ends, story, dialogue…Another great book is “Goal, Motivation and Conflict.”

 

3.  Listen.  Find at least one critique partner.  Someone you trust to read your book (not rewrite it) and give commentary on story and grammar.  Or, find an editor and pay them to read your work plus provide a copy edit or a story edit.   I use Angel Editing http://www.angelediting.com  but there are others.  Nancy Cassidy has The Red Pen Coach at http://www.theredpencoach.com  and I haven’t used her but it’s a great place to start as she’s also an author under the name Lilly Cain and a member of my writing group.  Be prepared to mentally argue every point but reliquinsh your hold on your novel as a pristine object.  It’s time to dig in and think about the changes they all suggest.  Grammar has to be done.  Story has to unfold.  Your work can only get better.

 

4.  Travel.  Or enter contests or check out Savvy Authors http://www.savvyauthors.com  I travel to conferences to pitch my work to people I won’t be able to see and to get around being in the slush pile.  However, I also recently just entered three contests to have my work judged by editors/agents/writers to see if there’s a new suggestion I can use and see how I do.  Check out this article written by an agent http://pubrants.blogspot.ca/2012/08/68-queries-in-60-minutes.html  and realize that while this process is daunting to you it is also daunting to the people in the industry but they tackle new submissions with what fits them.  Your work may not fit an agent or editor.  Have a cry and move on to submitting it to someone it might fit.  But keep submitting!

 

5.  Make your promo list now.  You have the time and energy.  Local media, online media, radio/tv/paper, reviewers, giveaways…  Start with your calendar and learn what the peak times are for your genre.  If you know where your book will enter the market start searching and making friends on Facebook/Twitter/Blogs.  You’ll need another author’s promo on your published work and it’s easier to do it if you’ve had a conversation with that author.  Plus, for my genre, there’s outfits like Author Buzz and Eye on Romance that have specific databases that let you in to a world you can’t get into yourself:  reaching The Reader.   Also, check out Goodreads if you haven’t already.

 

6.  Write some more.  Use Twitter’s #1K1HR for support as you slave over your computer hoping for the best possible outcome for your unpublished work.

 

7.  Let yourself refresh each day with something you enjoy.  This “writing thing” that your family labels for you is a long process.  I’ve heard authors at conferences speak about the length of time it took to find an agent or editor – some are 2 months and others are 3 years.  Do not give up but treat yourself to do something besides staring at the rejection letters.  You’ll need to re-energize once a day.  Listen to music with a candle or watch a movie.  Go for a walk.

  And sometimes you just need a little wine…

 

 

Disneyland, Laguna Beach and #RWA12

 

Over the past week I enjoyed a trip to Calgary, Alberta for my Grandmother Clem Woods’ memorial and then I was whisked away by WestJet to California.

 

Oh, California!  What a great time!

 

First off, I arrived a day early so that I had plenty of time to figure out the hotel and get situated before thousands of writers (published and unpublished) descended upon Anaheim, California for Romance Writers of America 2012 Conference.  I also visited the pool and beat away children from my seat.  How dare they try to have a good time in the world of Disneyland!  LOL.  That was my pool chair, dammit.

 

Next, I ran into writer Nikki McIntosh from my RWA chapter in Atlantic Canada randomly near the hotel Lobby.  We made plans for supper the next day – Cheesecake Factory baby!  And it was awesome.

 

Wednesday I caught the bus to Disneyland (could’ve walked) and ran around taking pics before the major crowds occurred plus bought some souvenirs.  Then, I splurged on a cab to visit Laguna Beach.  Y’know.  Where they filmed The Hills?!  I had the best lunch at BJs at Laguna Beach and did some major beach sitting as close to the Lifeguard station as I could.  He was a hottie.

 

Nikkie McIntosh and Donna Alward were up for awards.  Nikki for the Golden Heart and Donna for the Rita.  (See pics below).

 

Here are their Facebook pages for you to “like”

https://www.facebook.com/nikki.mcintosh.908

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Donna-Alward-Romance-Author/114558931895535

 

 

I’m sad to say these two great writers did not win.  However, like I said to Nikki they were stars among thousands of entries and would always have the honour of being nominated plus bonding with their other award nominees.

 

I went to workshops, I pitched to two agents and two editors and I had the best time!  I also tweeted like crazy with the #RWA12 because there was so much going on I felt like I was double booked.  And I have to say, the line up for the Kensington signing didn’t warn me that by the time Nikki and I got there 20 mins after they opened that there would be no books.  We managed to grab advanced reading copies of Victoria Alexander’s new book which I had signed for my Aunts in Calgary, Alberta.  Victoria Alexander was so gracious!

 

If I go to the next one I’ll bring a Fed Ex box with me.  All those free books would’ve compromised my weight at the luggage scale at WestJet so I shipped quite a few back.

 

And, I managed to plop down Trindiebooks.com bookmarks in the Goodie room and was happy to see the pile reduced by the end of the day each day.

 

Had a blast.  Made new friends.  Secured books.  What more could you ask for? Oh, right… that publishing contract.  😉

 

Trindiebooks in the Goodie Room at RWA 12

Pitches waiting area for Agents and Editors

Line up for Kensington Authors SigningOther part of the Kensington Author line up

20 mins after Kensington Author Signing opened its doors

Nikki's Nomination

Donna's nomination

 

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter: From good to great!

 

I was skeptical when I heard about this film.  After all, you could say the most revered president’s image was being tarnished into a paranormal or horror punching bag.

 

Then I saw the film.   OMG.   It was soooo good!

 

What we know about this president tied in seamlessly with what we need to discover on how he took on a vampire nation fighting him for control of the entire USA at the time.  His personal losses fit in neatly with the vampire legend.

 

Also, these vampires do not sparkle.  They are horrific and scary as hell.  They are ruthless and physically strong.  How will he ever win?

 

With a little help from a history we can only imagine and the grace of the ideal nation he does win.  He wins the nation and ends slavery.  He doesn’t do this overnight and the film shows the passage of time, the rhetoric, the beliefs that he has plus the gruesome battle of Gettysburg.   http://www.gettysburg.com

 

Props to the cinematographer for not dropping my attention to the film – Caleb Deschanel.  http://www.fandango.com/calebdeschanel/overview/p87553

 

Three writers: Julia Phillips Smith, Shawna Romkey and Taryn Blackthorne

This photo is the early morning view at the White Point Cottage for RWAC Annual Retreat

 

 

 

As part of my RWAC membership I have the opportunity to brush elbows with other authors.  I am choosing these three writers to focus on today because they have given me encouragement, hope and laughter over the past few years.

 

1.  Julia Phillips Smith

http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com

 

Her latest novel, Bound by Dragonsfyre, contains nobility, intrigue and action.  Without a doubt one of the most polished works I’ve had the opportunity to read from this author.  Making the book trailer for her with photographer Caroline Ruyle was a great accomplishment and with model/actor Bobby Rossong’s help Julia was able to pull together what she wanted. *Note to self – unsharpened swords are still sharp.  Thanks to Darksword Armory we had an authentic Norman Sword to use.  And I now have manacles in my small studio to use.  For what, you ask?  That’s top secret.

You can find Julia at @apieceofmymind on Twitter  and on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/juliapsmith

 

2.  Shawna Romkey

http://www.shawnaromkey.com

 

Shawna has evolved from being a writer hoping to be published (le sigh) to someone with an awesome book coming out with Crescent Moon Press this Fall.  Working with her at Charlie Mac Media has been rewarding and helped put the fun back into my job.  We worked with author Jennie Marsland http://www.jenniemarsland.com to bring sales for her book and helped this published author get into bookstores and independent stores with her self published title “Shattered.”  Not to mention media interviews, blog tours and a piece in the regional paper on her book plus a signing at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.  When Shawna wants something she goes after it.  I usually curl up under the covers first and then come out with a strategy.

Shawna also runs Trindiebooks – a Kobo site for authors and I believe she still has a few free spots available for authors.  http://www.trindiebooks.com

Find Shawna at @sromkey and @trindiebooks on Twitter.  Pinterest? http://pinterest.com/shawnarp

 

3.  Taryn Blackthrone

http://www.tarynblackthorne.com

 

Taryn came to me looking for a critique partner.  I tend to get gushy when I love something I read and this is what happened with her last WIP.  I haven’t heard from her since.   LOL.  Her story “Even for Me” published by Samhain Publishing was a fantastic read that had me guessing on the mystery it gave the reader.  Which is hard to do with me.  Usually I have it figured out.  I’m looking forward to her new work when it comes out and I want to thank her for the book “The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction.”  She’s a great writer and fantastic addition to our RWAC group.  Love her boards on Pinterest.

Find Taryn on Twitter at @tarynblackthorn  and  Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/tarynblackthorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/CharlieMacProds/status/213020181704876032

 

BanffMediaFestival2012

 

 

For a little bit more on Robert Lantos’ background:

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/robert-lantos

 

I also quoted Robert Lantos as stating “if you want to do a Canadian Film in Canada right now you must be crazy” (based on his previous discussion about Canadian broadcasters not showing Canadian films in primetime in contrast to other countries).

 

So, I’m done.

 

I now turn my attention to the income I received and needed when there is no consistent work in the film industry – Fifth Avenue Collection.

 

I am your Fifth Avenue Collection Independent Jeweller and I am now full time.  This career allows me to continue my novel writing and provides me with the safety and security of owning my own business with a consistent paycheque.  Here are some pics from some of the experts at Fifth Avenue Collection that share their experiences and provide knowledge to the jewellers every year.

http://www.fifthavenuecollection.com/taram

 

Gwen Greenstock after her presentation on Retirees

Joanne during her presentation on "Shut up and Drive"

Dale and Betty discuss how they got into jewellery

This purse is to a hostess if she exceeds a certain show amount ends August 2012

 

Guest Julia Phillips Smith: Dragonsfyre Trilogy

Author Julia Phillips Smith has released her second book. The first in the Dragonsfyre Trilogy called: Bound by Dragonsfyre.  Check out her website at http://www.juliaphillipssmith.com

 

The book can be found on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Bound-Dragonsfyre-trilogy-ebook/dp/B0087L258O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338777718&sr=8-1

 

 

Julia says:

The fun of being an indie author doesn’t stop at writing books that are all books of the heart. An enormous source of fun for me is working on the book covers.

For book one of my new dark fantasy Dragonsfyre series, my producer and I hired a local model to portray my main character Scorpius for both the book cover and book trailer.

I set to work procuring clothing from thrift stores which my mom reworked into the costumes I designed. As always happens, the preparation for the shooting day took weeks, while the shoot itself took only hours. Yet everything fell into place.

It’s such an incredible thrill to have the physical embodiment of a character who has lived only in my mind’s eye suddenly appear in 3D before me. I look forward to that moment for all my future indie releases with breathless anticipation.

 

 

Here’s the hook:

No one is safe when the dragon glides low over the Eighth Dominion. Not the high born who plot and spill blood. Not the low born who serve with one eye to the sky and the other glancing back.

Young Scorpius is fetched from the estate nursery, once raised to live among the nobility – claimed finally not by his family, but by a falconer to serve as his apprentice.

Scorpius soon learns that a noble hides his monstrous appetites beneath velvet and jewels, while the leathery-winged dragon is honest about his own. His master does his best to shield Scorpius from the world outside their cottage, but the falconer is merely a servant who must obey his own masters.

An attempt on the life of a young lord while on a hunt sends the falconer’s apprentice on an abruptly different path, bringing Scorpius into the service of the House of Pruzhnino. Court intrigue sinks its talons into everyone, even Scorpius–especially a former falconer’s apprentice once raised to be a lord in his own right.

 

Here’s the book trailer:

 

Here’s the book cover: