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Archive for April, 2010

Writer Tip: Tawny Weber

“Goals and Goal Timelines

Writing goals are fabulous tools. They get us to put the words on the page, they motivate us to submit our manuscripts, they push us over hurdles when we’d rather give up. You’ve sent goals, right? Finish the first draft – or better yet, finish the first draft by XYZ date. Maybe even goals like pitching or submitting to a certain number of editors and agents before the end of the year.

But what about those ultimate goals we’re all striving for- the goal to sell a book? How can we set that goal when the decision is in the hands of someone (or someones, in the case of books bought by an editorial committee) else? Can we put a deadline on something like that?

Yes and no.

We can create a goal timeline. If the ultimate goal is to sell a book, make a list of everything that has to be done first. Write the book, polish it (maybe get critique partners or enter it in contests for feedback). Submit, resubmit, revise, use feedback and revise again. Realistically look at your time – do you work full-time? Have kids who take up time? Are you a fast or slow writer? Where are you at in terms of knowledge of your craft?

So taking into account where you’re at, what you have to learn, and where you want to go – how long, realistically, would it take for you to complete all the steps on the timeline? This is what you can control. This is the part to focus on. This is what your goal should be – to do all the things on your timeline. Then, after you’ve submitted the book, to do them all over with another book while you’re waiting to hear.”

Tawny Weber is usually found dreaming up stories in her California home, surrounded by dogs, cats and kids. When she’s not writing hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze, she’s shopping for the perfect pair of boots or drooling over Johnny Depp pictures (when her husband isn’t looking, of course). In September 2010, her tenth Blaze, RIDING THE WAVES hits the bookshelves. Come by and visit her on the web at www.tawnyweber.com

Writer Tip: Helen Hardt

“Seize the moment with sensory detail! Have you ever read a story that just didn’t grab you, even if the plot was compelling and the conflict abundant? The prose probably lacked sensory detail. Sensory detail is what infuses writing with emotion and helps the reader get inside your character’s skin. It is especially important in romance writing, where the success of the story depends not only on the reader’s allegiance to the hero and heroine, but also to the building emotion and sexual tension between them. Help the reader see, hear, taste, smell, and feel everything the character does. While writing a scene, ask yourself what your heroine sees. Are there any smells? Tastes? How does she feel on the inside, both physically and emotionally? How do her surroundings affect her? Your scenes will come alive, and your reader will turn the pages rapidly, and then feel a sense of sadness when the story ends and look frantically for your next book!”

Visit Helen Hardt’s website
Purchase Loving Eve, one of Helen’s recent releases.

Writer Tip: Lorie O’Clare

“Something I started doing a couple years ago has really helped me a lot. I keep a notebook next to my keyboard. Every morning when I start my day, I write the date down. Then whatever I do gets written in my notebook. If I go through all email, spend an hour catching up on blogs, or focus on some research to help me build a plot or characters, it gets written down in my notebook. Then of course, when I start writing for the day, I write down the page number and word count at the beginning of the day, then write it again at the end of the day when I’m through writing.

I always make sure my notebook is something pretty. I like spending a few extra pennies to buy a notebook with an attractive cover. For some reason it’s always more fun writing in a classy notebook than in a plain, normal every day notebook.

I’m on my third notebook and I must say, after sticking to this little routine daily I’ve become much more efficient with my writing. When you clock yourself every day so that you’re able to see when you had good writing days and bad writing days, it helps you stick to it and not let your word count for that day dwindle down too low. It’s that competative nature in us. Keeping this notebook has also helped me with my absent-minded memory. I can tell how long it takes to finish certain types of promotional tools. I can see how much time I spend on the Internet, chatting with people, and going through emails in the morning before I start writing. It’s nice to know a schedule, know it’s tried and true, and know there is always room to grow and improve.”

Visit Lorie O’Clare’s website at www.lorieoclare.com
Purchase one of Lorie’s recent or upcoming releases – Strong, Sleek and Sinful or The Bodyguard

Writer Tip: Maggie Robinson

“Be patient and don’t ever give up. I started writing “for fun” in 2003 and did not know anything. And believe me when I say anything. It took me three years of knocking around before I got a clue (well, a couple of clues) and met like-minded writers online. Thanks to some positive contest feedback, in 2007 I got really serious about publication—finishing, revising, querying. I landed my agent in 2008, got contracts for 8 (!!!) books in 2009, and will have 3 books out this year—the first out almost seven years to the day I woke up in the middle of the night itching to write.

Seven years is a long time and I’m not exactly a dewy-eyed debutante. My author photo is wonderfully photo-shopped. :) But I didn’t give up—and I became a better writer with every book, even the ones stashed under the bed. I learned what works—after experimenting with a number of genres, shape-shifting cats are really not for me.But I found my historical voice and hope it strikes a chord with readers over the next couple of years.

I’m debuting soon under two names. On April 27, the first of Maggie Robinson’s Courtesan Court series Mistress By Mistake, comes out from Kensington Brava. On June 1, Margaret Rowe’s edgier erotic Tempting Eden will be on the shelves from Berkley Heat. On November 30, I’ll be part of the Brava anthology Lords of Passion, also featuring romance legend Virginia Henley and Kate Pearce. Even though I’m a “real writer” now, I can’t express in words how excited I am by this turn of events.

Come visit both of me at http://www.maggierobinson.net and http://margaretrowe.net There are always contests and giveaways on one or the other site! And write, write, write, every day if you can. But if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up—life happens.”

Writer Tip: Monica Burns

“The middle of the book is often a really crucial turning point for a writer. For me, I usually find myself at a crossroad not sure where to turn with the book. I’ve found that printing out and reading what I’ve written so far helps me reconnect with the characters so that by the time I’ve read through the book, I’m ready to roll with the last half of the book. Another thing I’ve found very useful when editing is to read the book out loud. It helps me catch things the eye generally overlooks.”

Visit Monica Burns’ website.
Purchase Monica Burn’s upcoming release, Assassin’s Honor.

Writer Tip: Crystal Jordan

“My biggest tip to any writer is to write consistently. I used to say people should write every day, but if you miss a day or two, the guilt starts snowballing. So, now I just say you need to make writing a habit that you stick with. If it’s a habit, you train yourself into needing to do it, and the only way to finish a story is to write. Nothing else will get you there, so make sure to make time for it, even if it means using a pad of paper and pen in the car while you’re waiting the ten minutes for the kids to get out of school.”

Visit Crystal Jordan’s website at www.crystaljordan.com
Purchase Crystal’s next release, In the Heat of the Night

Writer Tip: Sarah Mayberry

“I always read when I’m writing – Stephen King calls it “refilling the word well” – and I often re-read my favorite authors and my favorite books. Finding a chapter or scene I love and really analysing how the author put their sentences and descriptions and paragraphs together has given me some of my best writing lessons over the years. Staying open to new ways of doing things and looking at my own work keeps the writing interesting and challenging for me, and hopefully for my readers.”

Visit Sarah Mayberry’s website
Purchase Sarah’s latest release, Her Best Friend

Writer Tip: Sandra Hyatt

“Have faith in your own story and your own process. When I first started writing I heard talks from authors who’d written practically since they could hold a pencil, and I heard about authors who plotted out entire stories before they wrote a single manuscript word. I, on the other hand, came to writing late, and I start a story, sometimes with as little as a single sentence, and having little if any idea of the path my characters will take to get to their happy ever after. I had to learn to trust that my way was okay. It works for me and that’s the only thing that matters.

Related to this point is not comparing your journey to, and through, publication with anyone else’s. To quote from the Wear Sunscreen song, The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”

Visit Sandra Hyatt’s website
Purchase Sandra’s upcoming release, His Bride For The Taking

Writer Tip: NJ Walters

“Revision is your friend. Nobody writes a perfect first draft. It’s in the rewrites where you turn an ordinary story into something special. Don’t be so in love with your words that you’re afraid to cut them. If they don’t serve the story, they have to go. It doesn’t matter how beautiful they are or how hard you worked to make them perfect. An author has to be fearless, unafraid to slash their work with a red pen. It’s part of the process. Personally, I enjoy the rewriting stage. The story is written, but it’s at this point where you get to refine your ideas, catch your mistakes and polish your manuscript.”

Visit NJ Walter’s website.
Purchase NJ Walter’s latest release, Embroidered Fantasies

Writer Tip: Kate Pearce

“One of the most important things I’ve learned during my years trying to get published is that things in publishing happen very fast or very, very slowly. Sometimes I was so keen to follow up on a lead or a request that I’d forget to take a deep breath, read through my work one more time, and properly research who I was sending the manuscript to. I’m sure most of us have done that. We’re so keen to be published that we treat it as a sprint rather than the marathon a writing career really is. I’ve learned to take my time. Editors and agents are horrendously busy people so it’s worth waiting until your manuscript is as good as you can get it at that point in your writing experience, before you send it out. They usually won’t notice if you take that extra week.”

Visit Kate Pearce’s website at www.katepearce.com
Purchase one of Kate’s recent or upcoming releases – Simply Insatiable or Some Like It Rough