The release of a new novella by Susan Scott Shelley and me is today! OMG. What started out as a lark, turned into a pretty cool novella. Susan and I spent hours in my kitchen and hers plotting and revising “Flirting on Ice.” We’re damn proud of the result.
After all that time together, I’ve discovered a few things about Susan you may be interested to know.
Susan takes sports seriously. She’s crazy smart about players, stats, and rankings in both football and hockey. I can’t tell you the number of times she rewrote a few plays I created for our fictional hockey team the Atlantic City Hustlers. Thank God she did or the team would have been playing four quarters and skating over the end zone.
In addition to her sports expertise, she can make a heroine likeable, probably because she is likeable herself. While this may not seem like a feat to some people (and yes I’m talking to all you “nice” people out there), I tend to make my heroines unlikeable to the extreme (and no, I don’t think there is a parallel with me and unlikeable heroines. Do you?) Working with Susan, we created a heroine who is truly a person I’d want to hang out with.
The villain in the story is not evil to the core, but he is selfish and greedy. Just enough evil to make you root for the hero. I would have had him kill a few people and kick a puppy or two, but Susan was opposed to random violence in a romance. That’s not to say there’s no tension in the book, just less blood than I’d like.
In celebration of the release, we’re doing a Release Day Power Play. Whoever gets the most likes or tweets from their hockey social media posts will make a donation to Hockey Fights Cancer,and we encourage all of you to donate too. It’s a great cause.
And we may publicly humiliate the loser too, although I hate being publically humiliated, so that part is optional!
Welcome to the Romance Weekly blog hop! I’m taking the baton from the awesome Victoria Barbour http://victoriabarbour.com/
The Passionate Kisses Boxed Set includes 10 Sizzling Contemporary Romances. Victoria’s contribution to the anthology includes: AGAINST HER RULES.
Elsie Walsh has one rule—no sleeping with the guests at her luxury inn on the rugged coast of Newfoundland—but Scottish playboy Campbell Scott is determined to show her that he belongs not only in her bed, but by her side at the Heart’s Ease Inn.
Don’t tell anyone, but I think it’s on sale now.
Here are my answers:
- How do you respond to someone calling your writing smut or demeaning your work in some other way?
I don’t respond. People who insult the romance genre will rarely be convinced to read and enjoy it. Instead, I focus on finding the people who will enjoy my work.
Writers need extremely thick skin. We pour stories onto paper and hope someone appreciates them. And most of the time, that happens, but the words don’t always reach a friendly audience.
Do the insults sting? Yes. I wish they didn’t, but I’m human and I have this strange desire for everyone to like me. It helps if I remember that taste in reading material is subjective. Not everyone wants to read Stephen King and not everyone wants to read Jane Austen. Some people prefer comics to novels and others won’t read a book unless it has been awarded a Pulitzer. The key for me is sending out my books to readers who will enjoy them.
The occasional, but brutal comments from people who don’t like reading my chosen genre are softened by readers who truly enjoy my stories After winning several writing contests in the past year and selling most of my finished manuscripts to publlishers, I’m confident I’ve found my audience.
- When critiquing or beta reading, do you ever find the voice of the other author creeping into your writing?
Yes? Although my voice is strong enough to dominate most scenes that I write, I allow another writer’s voice to infect my writing when it fits my manuscript.
I’ve had critique partners or beta readers suggest changes to my words that have not been in my voice, but nevertheless made the scene much stronger. I care about making my stories as solid as possible and sometimes that means accepting suggestions.
In addition to my own novels, I co-write novellas with my critique partner Susan Scott Shelley. When we write together, our writing blends in a unique way. I have no idea how it happens, because our individual voices are very different. Her writing voice is amazing. She writes powerful characters, beautiful descriptions, and sensual scenes. She has the ability to take a scene I write and ramp it up to another level.
When critiquing each other, however, we respect each other’s individuality and work to provide feedback that doesn’t alter what makes our voices different. I’ve tried to incorporate some of the lyrical flow she creates so effortlessly in her stories and I think my manuscripts are better because of it.
- What’s one quirky thing you do or must have around you while writing?
As I write a manuscript, I give myself permission to jump onto social media whenever I need a break. I try to write six plus hours per day and it can be mentally exhausting. A quick break can relax my mind enough to carry me through a tough scene or even provide me some inspiration.
Okay, you have my answers. Now hop on over to Rhenna Morgan http://rhennamorgan.com/
The wonderful Kristin Contino, invited me to be part of a Baton Blog Hop. Each writer involved answers four questions and then passes the baton on to another person. I’m receiving the baton from Kristin Contino. Her debut novel, THE LEGACY OF US, will be published by Sparkpress in September. It’s a wonderful journey in the lives of the women in one family through three generations.
WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
Susan Scott Shelley and I are preparing to publish a novella, TACKLED BY THE GIRL NEXT DOOR published by The Wild Rose Press this October. We’re in the “Oh my God, we have to promote this thing?” stage of the process, but we’re a good team and have been learning about marketing books from our friends who have published before us.
Last week, I finished the third novel in my Truth series. It’s been sent to my beta readers and will hopefully be at a publisher at the end of the month. I have another book in the series that requires a full overhaul. It should take a month to whip it into shape and then I’m starting a new romantic suspense series about three brothers and the women who bring them to their knees.
Susan and I are finishing our third novella together and have started plotting the fourth. I love plotting sessions with her, because our imaginations run in opposite directions and create amazing storylines.
HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
My characters, especially the female ones, are often hampered by society or their family’s expectations or lack of expectations for them. I love stripping characters down to their true selves and having them become who they were meant to be. Authenticity is a real issue for me.
WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
My writing style does not include long descriptions or narratives. It tends to jump between dialogue and actions with enough narrative and description to keep the plot moving. Romantic suspense fits that style of writing.
My tendency to be a wise ass bleeds onto the page. In some cases, I create the most unlikeable characters ever. If there is a contest for characters people hate the most, some of the earlier versions of my characters would win (ask some of the contest judges for my earliest manuscripts). Making characters that are real and not Disneyesque versions of people or characters you don’t want to slap up side the head is a challenge, but I love challenges.
The novellas I write with Susan are fun, fast, and full of action. Our voices aren’t similar, but very complimentary. We combine our styles to create really interesting storylines and cool characters.
HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I usually start with a character I obsess over, often for months. Finding a partner for that character also takes time.
Creating the plot is fun. It sometimes takes days, weeks, and an army of friends to keep a plot moving in a believable direction. I love when all the pieces of a story are linked together in a cohesive manner. I tend to redo the plot when I hit the middle after I run into logic problems or find myself becoming bored. If I don’t like the story, no one else will.
When writing, I try to complete about 2,000 words per day. I spend my mornings revising what I’ve written the day before. Each scene is edited about five times before I finish the book.
I rely heavily on my critique partner (Susan!) to catch flaws in my logic and confusing issues in the book. When she’s finished, I send it out to my beta readers.
So that’s all about me! Next week, I’m passing the baton to my critique partner/writing partner Susan Scott Shelley.
WOW! I’m excited to have three manuscripts in the finals this year, and even more excited because one of the manuscripts was co-written with Susan Scott Shelley.
The DAPHNE DU MAUIER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MYSTERY/SUSPENSE –Unpublished Division Finalists for 2014 are:
CATEGORY (SERIES) ROMANTIC MYSTERY/SUSPENSE
Veronica Forand and Susan Scott Shelley for Dangerous Play
Jeannie Hall for Violation of Innocence
Annette Keuning for Trust No One
Kairee Krause w/a Kairee Taylor for Secrets Wait
Jo-Ann Terpstra w/a Jo-Ann Carson for Covert Danger
HISTORICAL ROMANTIC MYSTERY/SUSPENSE
Marlene Dunsheath for Game of Chance
Jane Fox for Broken Treaties
Cheryl Honigford for The Darkness Knows
Alison Jill McMahan for The Saffron Crocus
Rosemarie Simonelli w/a Kate Colbert for The Pickpocket
INSPIRATIONAL ROMANTIC MYSTERY/SUSPENSE
Jackie Layton for Kentucky Deadly
Carolyn Miller for Unscarring Hearts
PARANORMAL (FANTASY/TIME TRAVEL/FUTURISTIC) ROMANTIC MYSTERY/SUSPENSE
Margaret A. Golla for Air Beneath a Dragon’s Wings
Janet Halpin for A Moment After Dark
Janet Halpin for Beryl Blue, Time Cop
Sarah Kuest w/a Sarah Brady and Shannen Kuest w/a Shannen Brady for Healer
Roshani Chokshi for The Glass Garden
SINGLE TITLE ROMANTIC MYSTERY/SUSPENSE
Susye Bowles for Out of Control
Veronica Forand for Untrue Beliefs
Veronica Forand for Untrue Colors
Vicki Tharp for In Her Defense
William C. Walker for The Homecoming
Roxanne Dunn for Murder Unrehearsed
Barbara Gerry for Reel Power, An Annie McCabe Mystery
Barbara Nickless for White Line Fever
Christa Selnick for The Kill List
Tami Wirth for The Messenger
Winners will be announced during KOD’s annual Death by Chocolate Party at the RWA® National Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Thank you so much to everyone who entered the contest and to all our wonderful judges as well as our very hard-working coordinators.
For any questions, please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com
2014 Daphne Contest Overall Coordinator
As I rush around trying to complete a first draft for an upcoming novel, I’ve decided to give you a photo tour of my past month. It’s been crazy, but crazy good.
April started with the Washington Romance Writers Retreat. What a fantastic time. Highlights included Liliana Hart’s keynote address, Cathy Maxwell’s encouraging speech, and Romance Jeopardy with a Steampunk theme.
My critique partner and writing partner Susan Scott Shelley (The woman above in the large blue hat!) spent the month working on edits for our novella, “Tackled By The Girl Next Door.” We have so much fun writing together. I hope our laughter and smiles show up on the page! It’s scheduled to be published by the Wild Rose Press in the end of October.
On April 30th, I spent a fun morning hanging out with authors at Lady Jane’s Salon with Susan Scott Shelley, Kate Forest, Penni McGee DePaul, and many others. A local news station interviewed the authors about our upcoming releases. Thank you Susan for giving the interviewer our blurb for “Tackled By The Girl Next Door.” I was too tongue tied.
And to start off the month of May with a bang, I attended a workshop with Margie Lawson sponsored by the Valley Forge Romance Writers. I immediately went home and rewrote pages and pages of text to make the words more creative, interesting, and compelling. Thanks Margie, your lectures always push me to improve my craft.
Today, I learned my two novels, Untrue Beliefs and True Deceptions earned first and second place in the Golden Pen Contest for Romantic Suspense. Unbelievable. Written last December, Untrue Beliefs, was my first ever romantic suspense. True Deceptions made its debut in the Golden Pen this year.
I discovered that Susan Scott Shelley, my critique partner, won her category in the Golden Pen because she happened to be sitting next to me discussing our next manuscripts when the emails arrived from Lorenda Christensen. Her entry, Shielded Hearts, won the Daphne du Maurier Contest this year as well as a few other contests. It’s a great story.
There’s definitely something sweeter in success when you have a friend to share it with.
So I’m taking this moment to say thanks to Susan
- for last minute reviews of 300+ page manuscripts (and yes, another is on the way in a few days- sorry for the short notice over the holidays),
- for a willingness to rehash my latest version of a scene over and over and over again,
- for creating beautiful language in her own WIPs and making me strive to produce something comparable (a little friendly competition brings out the best in us),
- and for a million smiley faces in the margins to soften her critical, yet accurate comments (and for never once making me cry, but occasionally causing major bouts of laughter).
Let’s hope 2014 is just as fun and twice as successful!