Lissa Linden’s Successful Query Letter

Lissa Linden’s Successful Query Letter

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Lissa it’s wonderful to welcome you to my blog, and thank you for taking part in sharing your querying experience with us. It’s so helpful to be able to actually read the query letter that got you that coveted YES. I know many aspiring authors out there will be supremely grateful for your generosity in sharing, because let’s face it, for most of us the querying process is daunting, and the more successful examples out there, the better!

Thanks for having me! Querying can feel like such a slog, so I’m happy to share some of my experience. I hope it makes the journey a little smoother for some of your readers!

 

So let’s begin with your query letter itself and then we’ll get into the questions:

 

  • How long did you spend writing your query letter?

Oh gosh, I’m not even sure. I probably wrote it over the course of a few days. I tend to be way too general when I first draft a query, so I do like to sit on it for a bit before revising to clarify the conflict and stakes.

 

  • Did you revise your query letter at all during the querying process?

I didn’t, but I would have if I hadn’t had any bites from the requests in the initial query round. One of my requests was from a publisher’s Twitter pitch contest and I held off on querying further until I’d heard back from that submission.

 

  • How long did it take you from when you started querying to when you got your first partial or full manuscript (ms) request?

I sent the queries at the end of May and received the first partial request at the start of July, but I’d entered #CarinaPitch in June and received a full request from that, too. The submission was sent with the same query letter, but it was originally requested from a 140 character pitch. There are so many paths in publishing, but I have yet to encounter one that didn’t require a solid query letter!

 

  • How many partial and full ms requests did you receive?

I received two partial requests – both of which eventually upgraded to fulls – and one full request from the Twitter pitch party.

 

  • Did you receive any rejections, and if so how did you cope?

Oh, yes. Many. This was the third manuscript I’d queried, and it might sound odd, but I was grateful for rejections. To me, the worst part of querying was always the waiting – the lack of response and never knowing if that meant that it was a rejection, or if my email was still in the queue somewhere. So, I supposed you could say I coped by crossing agents off my list and deciding who to add for the next round of queries.

 

  • Did you use any particular software, or system for keeping track of the queries you sent out?

I used an Excel spreadsheet to track queries. I would make note of the agent and agency, what I sent and the date, and whether any further materials were requested. I also had a column for rejections. It was a well-used column.

 

  • How many query letters did you send out at a time?

With this book, I started with an initial list of eleven agents. The idea was that I would sent a new query out whenever I received a pass on one.

 

  • How did you choose who you sent your query letter to?

I used resources like Manuscriptwishlist.com and checked the #MSWL hashtag on Twitter, but supplemented this with my previous query experience. I may not have landed an agent with my other manuscripts, but I did gain some insight into agents I would be particularly interested in working with, so they were priority queries this time around.

 

  • Did you personalize each one?

Honestly, I didn’t personalize this query to the same extent I had with previous manuscripts. I did, however, make sure each query was personally addressed, and that I’d spelled the names right.

 

  • Can you tell us a bit about when you received ‘the call’?

This is where things get a little less linear in my query journey. Remember that #CarinaPitch Twitter event I mentioned? Well, I spoke with my editor before my agent. I received an offer of publication on ONE MATCH FIRE while I was contemplating an R&R for one agent, and before my agent requested the full. This was a week of calls that I can sum up as, “Way more stressful than I’d anticipated.”

 

  • Did you have multiple offers for either representation or publication, and if so, how did you decide who you were going to accept?

I did. In one week, I spoke to an agent about doing an R&R, an editor who wanted to acquire the manuscript, and an agent who offered representation when nudged about the publication offer. Oh, and yes, the R&R agent offered representation at that point, too.

There was a lot of balancing and weighing of thoughts and emotions.

Ultimately, though, my decision came down to who seemed to “get” my book the most. When I spoke with Laura, she zeroed in on the things I loved most about the manuscript as the things she loved most about it. Her view of romance as an empowering genre really echoed my own feelings, too, not to mention she was so well-versed on the genre and had worked with the offering publisher before. I ended the call feeling more grounded than I had during that entire whirlwind week, and I took that as a good sign!

 

  • What questions did you ask when speaking with the agent/acquiring editor that you were considering?

I asked about representing subsequent works, as well as other genres. I also asked to speak with/email existing clients, as well as how she would assist me given that I already had an offer on the manuscript, but the last question I asked was the most pertinent for me: what was her ideal outcome from this phone call? I wanted to be sure we were on the same page moving forward.

 

  • What questions do you wish you’d ask, but didn’t?

Honestly, I probably should have asked a lot more questions about the submission process when it comes to selling future projects, but it wasn’t on my mind at the time.

 

  • Any advice and top tips for others about the querying process and writing the query letter itself?

Be specific with regard to stakes for your characters. You want your query to be clear about why your manuscript is special – what makes it different from the one before yours in the slush, and how it stands apart from the query that will come next.

 

  • Anything else you want to add?

I honestly wasn’t sure that this query letter worked. I’d sent out so few queries, and had a reasonably small return rate. But then much of it ended up as my back cover copy. So, I’m going to take that to mean it was indeed as effective as I’d hoped it would be!

  • What does your Agent, Laura Zats, have to say about what exactly was it in your query letter that got her attention?

Here’s what my agent, Laura Zats had to say:

“When it comes to romance, voice is, to me, the most important thing. Since it’s a genre with tropes, pacing and plot often feels like a vehicle for the characters and the feeling of the book. So the problem with a romance query is this: how, without quoting my own book, can I show an agent/editor that this book is sexy and voice-y, while still following the rule of The Three Questions (who’s your MC, what do they want, and what’s standing in their way/how are they going to get it?) The key, which Lissa perfectly executed, is in keeping it simple. First paragraph is about the heroine (with a little nod at the end to her meeting the hero), the second paragraph is for the hero (with a little nod to the heroine), and the third is about the Problem–now that they’ve found one another, what are they going to do? Keeping this formula standard allowed Lissa to add little hints that pointed towards the voice without getting lost in it, which means I could read in-between the lines to figure out exactly what this book is beyond the simple facts of the plot. We feel that Amy is interested in being in charge, that she has something to prove, but is also running from what she told herself she wanted. We know that Paul, because he can’t believe his luck, is less interested in being in control, but we also know he’s on a ticking clock. Telling us this right before we hear about celibacy tells us exactly what’s going to happen–this book is going to be full of sexual tension and unspoken words. Adding in the fire/combustion imagery means that when these two give in, it’ll be intense. And intense is exactly what I’m looking for in a book that has a quiet setting. That dichotomy is my weakness, and so I was SOLD.”

 

Lissa, thanks so much for sharing your Successful Query Letter with us, as well as your road on the querying journey!! It was wonderful to read and I’m sure will inspire many other authors out there, who are about to embark on the querying path 🙂

And for those of you who want to have a read of Lissa’s debut novel ‘One Match Fire’, which is available now, click on the pic below for more info.


ONE MATCH FIRE:

A sexy, summer camp-set reunion romance from debut author Lissa Linden

When Amy left her beloved summer camp, heartbroken and ashamed, she swore she’d never return. Twelve years later, she’s desperate to unearth the person she was before turning into a workaholic. When her old camp advertises for a new director, Amy leaps at the chance to start over—only to find herself face-to-face with the very guy who broke her heart.

Paul hasn’t forgotten kissing Amy beneath a shooting star, or how she bolted from camp without saying goodbye. When she shows up to take the job he never thought he’d leave, Paul can hardly believe his luck. Amy is now a woman with killer curves and a sexual appetite to match. With serious vibes between them, and him nearly dead from the celibacy of life at camp, they strike a deal for a few days of sexy fun in the wilderness.

But when feelings that started long ago enter the mix and it becomes clear Amy will only trust him with her body—not her heart—Paul desperately wants to break through the armor she’s built to protect herself. And although Amy knows there’s something special about the way she reacts to Paul, something beyond skin on skin, the stakes are high enough to scare her.

With a past like theirs, they’ll either ignite a future…or burn out for good.

 

About Lissa:

Lissa Linden writes contemporary romance about women she’d like to hang out with, and the men who can keep up with them. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading, traveling, or reading about traveling. Luckily, her husband is completely on board with spontaneously booking trips to say, eastern Europe. A proud history and languages nerd, Lissa is fluent in Shakespearean insults and dirty jokes through the ages.

 

Lisa can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:https://lissalinden.com/
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/Lissa_Linden
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17470446.Lissa_Linden
Buy link for your latest or soon to be released book:https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488097041_one-match-fire.html

Interview with Sharon Wray

Interview with Sharon Wray

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Sharon’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with the lovely Sharon Wray, the debut author of ‘Every Deep Desire’, who shares with us her path to publication. Her debut ‘Every Deep Desire’ was released March 6 2018!

Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines retell Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

Hi Sharon, I’m so excited to have you on my blog, and thank you so much for sharing your ‘Path to Publication’ experience with us all. I know so many of my readers will love to hear about how you went from an aspiring author to a published one, and many will gather inspiration from the journey!

Thanks so much, Maddison, for inviting me to your blog today! I can’t wait to get started. 🙂

  • How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing since I was in middle school, but I never considered myself a writer until I was an adult.

  • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published (or soon to be) published author?

It took me 8 full manuscripts, 2 partial manuscripts, and 12 years to sell my Deadly Force series. It then took another 2 years before my debut book Every Deep Desire hit the bookshelves. .

  • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

I usually write at home. I have a small desk in the kitchen and then I move around between the couch, my bed, and then back to my desk. Sometimes, if I simply can’t get out of my own head, I go to a nearby coffee shop. The problem is that I live in a busy, congested area outside of Washington, DC and the coffee shops—and outlets—are often full. But if I can get there early, I can usually snag a seat in the corner.

As far as prewriting rituals, I do have a few. I scan my email and texts and make sure I don’t have anything to do for my editor or kids or husband (My main priorities, lol). Then I look at a few news sites, make a cup of coffee, check my to-do list so I don’t miss any appointments, and then sit down and write.

  • Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

I am an in-between writer. I like to have an outline with all of the turning points and major scenes worked out. I’d like it to be more detailed, but it never works out that way. So I use my general outline and move forward, constantly readjusting between the turning points to make sure I’m not off track.

  • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

I hate the first draft because I find it so stressful. I much prefer to edit a page than face a blank one!

  • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

Characters are the most important because they’re the most interesting and drive all the action.

  • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):

It takes me nine months to write a novel, with the first 6 weeks or so doing all the background outlining work. The rest is drafting, changing things around, editing, and polishing and submitting. Every book is different, though. Some take longer to draft and others longer to edit.

I’ve written two full novels so far and am on my third. I’d say on average it takes me anywhere from 8-12 months to write the first draft.

  • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

It takes me about nine months to finish a book, then another few months with my editor in revisions. I’d like to pick up the pace but right now I’m just a very slow writer.

  • How did you get your agent, or your publishing contract (if applicable)?

I’ll try and keep this short! It took me six years of querying, writing, learning, entering contests, and finishing manuscripts to get my agent. She’d already rejected me a number of times but had left the door open. So every time I had a new manuscript, I sent it to her. I guess you could say I bugged her until she finally signed me. LOL

            It took another six years of writing and rewriting until I sold. It all started with a tweet I sent about another author (a nice tweet!). Her editor saw it, contacted my agent, asked to see my current manuscript, and we decided to send it to her as well as other editors. We went on submission on a partial and the book went to auction about six weeks later.

  • How did you cope with rejection during the querying process?

I had many, many years of learning how to deal with rejection. After a while, I was so used to it that I turned it into a game. Every time I got rejected, I went out to lunch with a girlfriend. Sometimes, we’d even order a split of champagne! I was rewarding myself for trying and for not giving up.

  • Describe the time when you got ‘the call’ regarding publication:

We’d been out on submission for about six weeks when my agents (I have two in the same agency—it’s an unusual-yet-wonderful mentoring situation) asked to talk on Skype. I knew there were still two editors who hadn’t responded, but all of the other ones had passed. When my agents told me that two editors were interested, I was stunned and when the shock wore off I was so excited there aren’t words to describe it. I eventually went with Sourcebooks and my amazing editor Deb Werksman. She helped me craft the book into something I’m so proud of and that I hope readers will love.

  • What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing journey?

1.To expect the unexpected.

2. Keep your eyes on your own journey and don’t compare yourself to others.

3. Even the smallest thing like a tweet can change your life.

  • Looking back, what do you think you did right that helped you break in?

I stayed active in the writing community and I never gave up.

  • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?

Everything that Stephen King says in his book “On Writing”. It’s filled with brilliant insights about what it’s like to be a writer.

  • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?

This is from Winston Churchill. “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” In the case of writers, the enemy is our own self-doubt

  • What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?

When building a platform, do what you love. Talk and write about things you are passionate about –besides writing—and engage on platforms you’re comfortable with. And DON’T compare yourself to other authors. As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

  • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

I’m working on book 2 in the Deadly Force Series titled One Dark Wish. It should release in January 2018.

  • How can people connect with you?

Through my website and on most social media platforms. Although I hate to admit this, but when I’m under deadline I may not check in with SM for days. So please be patient with me!

They can connect with me through my website: www.sharonwray.com

I can also be found on FB: https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Wray-Author-644867762246756/timeline/?ref=hl

Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharonbwray    And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sbwray/

  • Anything else you want to add?

Thank you so much for hosting me today. I’ve enjoyed getting to know your readers!

Thank you so much Sharon for sharing your Path to Publication with us! What an awesome journey, with many more adventures to come. Good luck on your release of ‘Every Deep Desire’ – can’t wait to have a read 🙂

And for those of you who want to have a read of Sharon’s awesome book ‘Every Deep Desire’, was released on March 6th, 2018. Click on the pic below for more info.

‘Every Deep Desire’

He’s taking it all back
His honor, his freedom, and the woman he loves

Rafe Montfort was a decorated Green Beret, the best of the best, until a disastrous mission and an unforgivable betrayal destroyed his life. Now, this deadly soldier has returned to the sultry Georgia swamps to reunite with his brothers, and take back all he lost. But his wife Juliet must never know the truth behind what he’s done…or the dangerous secret that threatens to take him from her forever.

It took Juliet Capel eight long years to put her life back together after her husband was taken from her. Now Rafe is back, determined to protect her at any cost, and it’s not just her heart that’s in danger. The swamps hold a secret long buried and far deadlier than either of them could have imagined…

About Sharon:

Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines retell Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

Sharon can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:ww.sharonwray.com
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Wray-Author-644867762246756/timeline/?ref=hl
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/sharonbwray
Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/sbwray/
Goodreads link:https://www.instagram.com/sbwray/
Buy link for your latest or soon to be released book:Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Every-Deep-Desire-Deadly-Force/dp/1492655600/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/every-deep-desire-sharon-wray/1126633208?ean=9781492655602

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/every-deep-desire/id1295142828?mt=11

 

Interview with Christina Britton

Interview with Christina Britton

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Christina’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with the super lovely Christina Britton, who is not only a fellow Historical Romance Author but she is also a fellow Patronesses of ‘The Drawing Room’, a Facebook Historical Romance Group, that I’m very proud to be a part of. Christina shares with us her Path to Publication relating to her debut novel ‘With Love in Sight’, which released last week with Diversion Books.

 

Christina is just wonderful, and her book is awesome! I’m so excited to be able to feature her on my website, and share with you all her Path to Publication. So let’s get started!!

 

  • How long have you been writing for?
  • I’ve been writing since I was fourteen (and I will NOT tell you how many years ago that was, though I will say that New Kids on the Block was quite popular). 
    • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published (or soon to be) published author?

    Though I’ve been writing with the hope of one day being published since I was a teen, it wasn’t until my second child started school that I truly put all of my focus into getting published. From that life-changing decision to the publication of my first book, it’s been four years.

     

    • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

    I live in a super small house that was built in 1915, and there isn’t any room for an office or even a desk of my own. And so I tend to write wherever I can. Right now I’m on the couch, as it allows my writing partner and pup, Miss Emma, to curl up with me. I also meet some writing friends of mine several times a week at a local bakery (which, funny enough, makes certain I don’t eat everything in creation like I do when I’m at home). As far as rituals go, I make sure I have water and tissues handy (allergic to everything), and that’s about it! I’ve quickly learned that I have to grasp at any chance I can to write, whether that’s scribbling on a receipt while waiting at the school to pick up the kids or on my AquaNotes in the shower, and so I can’t be too picky. 

     

    • Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

    I’m what I like to call a ‘plotster’, which basically means I’m a hybrid who does whatever feels right at the time. I’m very character driven, and so I can only plot out the key moments in a book; anything more and I begin to feel trapped in by the story and flounder.

     

    • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

    Writing ‘The End’? But seriously, I love the very beginning where I’m fleshing out these new characters and learning who they are so I can get into their minds. They are becoming people to me at that phase, and it’s kind of amazing. Also, that moment when you sit down to a blank file and type out the very first words of a story. Pure bliss!

     

    • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

Characters, hands down. I let them take the helm throughout the book in order to up the emotional stakes.

  •   
    • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):

    Each book is different; it all depends on what’s happening at the time (Do the kids have a long break from school? Have I gotten edits back for another book that I need to work on? That type of thing). Typically I will spend just a couple days fleshing out my characters and any plot ideas before I dive right in. I write linearly, and so will start at page one and go from there. I spend perhaps 3 months writing, maybe a month revising, then while the book is out with beta readers I will start  work on the next one (I have to keep moving or I panic!). Once the feedback comes in I usually take a week or two to polish, then it’s off to my agent or editor.

     

    • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

    Typically anywhere from two to three books a year.

     

    • How did you get your agent, or your publishing contract (if applicable)?

    I actually got my first publishing contract with Samhain via a Twitter Pitch. My agent had already requested my full manuscript, so I contacted her and let her know about the offer and asked if she wanted to represent me. I signed with her not long after. Then, to my dismay, Samhain closed. Thank goodness I had my agent. She got my rights back and immediately began querying other publishing houses. Less than a year later I signed with Diversion Books!

     

    • How did you cope with rejection during the querying process?

    Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. 

     

    • What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing journey?

    How long everything takes when you’re being traditionally published (see my comment below about patience…)

     

    • Looking back, what do you think you did right that helped you break in?

    I kept at it, even when my heart was breaking, even when it seemed like becoming published was far out of my reach and would never happen. That is I think the one thing that helped.

     

    • Is there anything you wish you could do differently?

    I do wish I could be more patient. I can see a present under the tree for the entire month of December and have no wish to open it early, I love the suspense so much. But when it comes to the business of publishing, I am so eager to move forward that I tend to rush my fences.

     

    • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?

    Don’t. Give. Up. If you keep at it, it WILL happen.

     

    • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?

    First and foremost, this is a business. When you get that rejection (for me it was 26 before I signed with my agent—yes I counted), it is not personal, nor is it about you. And it doesn’t mean your writing is horrible either. Agents and editors are looking for that special something that calls to them. Keep at it and you will find that person who HAS to have your work. Oh, and stock up on chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

     

    • What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?

    One thing I learned about using social media as an author is to limit promotion to about 20% of your posts. All other posts should engage your readers and provide them with something fun/useful. Do you have cooking in your book? Share recipes. Do you have an adorable pet? Share pics and stories. Love to travel? Post pictures from your travels and tips on travelling. Give your readers something that will interest them and keep them coming back!

     

    • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

    Book two of my Twice Shy series will be out in the fall, and I’ve already sent my publisher book three! Right now I’m working on something new, something super secret. Though I will say that my hero is modeled after Charlie Hunnam, so the eye candy is superb.

Thank you so much Christina for sharing your Path to Publication with us! I had such fun reading about your Path to Publication, and I loved your debut With Love in Sight! I cannot wait to read more of your books 🙂

And for those of you who want to read Christina’s amazing debut book ‘With Love in Sightl’ just click on the pic below for more info.

‘With Love in Sight’

An aging spinster at twenty-six, all Imogen Duncan sees ahead of her is a life of servitude to her overbearing mother. Her London Season has passed and her desperate shyness and reserved demeanor have destroyed any chance for a match. As her younger sister Mariah begins her own Season with a selection of suitors, Imogen believes her chances for excitement are well and truly lost…Until a case of mistaken identity and an accidental kiss bring adventure into her life.

Burying his guilt from a decade-old tragedy beneath a life of debauchery, Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbridge is content enough to meet willing widows in dark gardens to numb the pain. But he is wholly unprepared when an innocent miss stumbles into his life, turning his superficial world on its head.

Drawn to the rogue that mistakenly stole her first kiss, Imogen finds not a suitor, but a friend. Free to be herself for the first time in her life, she begins to see a new beauty in the world around her…and see a strength in herself she never knew she possessed. But when friendship turns to passion, Imogen will accept nothing less than Caleb’s heart. Can a healing of the past lead to the promise of a future together?

 

About Christina:

Christina Britton developed a passion for writing romance novels shortly after buying her first at the tender age of thirteen. Though for several years she turned to art and put brush instead of pen to paper, she has returned to her first love and is now writing full time.  She spends her days dreaming of corsets and cravats and noblemen with tortured souls.

She lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.  A member of Romance Writers of America, she also belongs to her local chapter, Silicon Valley RWA, and is a 2017 RWA® Golden Heart® winner.

Christina can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:http://christinabritton.com/
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaBrittonAuthor/
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/cbrittonauthor
Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/christinabrittonauthor/
Pinterest link:https://www.pinterest.com/cbrittonauthor/
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17234227.Christina_Britton
Buy links for your latest or soon to be released book:https://www.amazon.com/dp/1635761964/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/with-love-in-sight-christina-britton/1127280312?ean=9781635761962#/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/with-love-in-sight/id1332860904?mt=11

Review of With Love In Sight

Review of With Love In Sight

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Maddison’s Book Review

With Love In Sight

by Christina Britton

From Romance Writers of America’s® 2017 Golden Heart® winner comes a story of passion that is much more than meets the eye.

An aging spinster at twenty-six, all Imogen Duncan sees ahead of her is a life of servitude to her overbearing mother. Her London Season has passed and her desperate shyness and reserved demeanor have destroyed any chance for a match. As her younger sister Mariah begins her own Season with a selection of suitors, Imogen believes her chances for excitement are well and truly lost…Until a case of mistaken identity and an accidental kiss brings her adventure.

Burying his guilt from a decade-old tragedy beneath a life of debauchery, Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbridge, is content enough to meet willing widows in dark gardens to numb the pain. But he is wholly unprepared when an innocent miss stumbles into him, turning his superficial world on its head.

Drawn to the rogue that mistakenly stole her first kiss, Imogen finds not a suitor, but a friend. Free to be herself for the first time, she begins to see a new beauty in the world around her…and see a strength in herself she never knew she possessed. But when friendship turns to passion, Imogen will accept nothing less than Caleb’s heart. Can a healing of the past lead to the promise of a future together?

This was such a wonderful debut! I absolutely love a good wallflower and rake story, and this one was simply marvelous. I loved watching the heroine, Imogen’s journey of growth, and Caleb was just perfect for her. This was a winner and I cannot wait to read more of Ms Britton’s novels!

Interview with Renee Dahlia

Interview with Renee Dahlia

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Renee’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with the wonderful Renee Dahlia, a fellow Australian Author, who shares with us her path to publication. Her latest book, a short story ‘The Bluestocking’s Legacy’ is available now.

Renée is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side-note of dark humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse racing industry doing data analysis. She writes for two racing publications, churning out feature articles, interviews and advertorials. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée wrangles a husband, four children, and volunteers on the local cricket club committee.

 

Welcome to my blog, Renee! I’m excited to have you here, and thank you so much for sharing your ‘Path to Publication’ experience with us all. I know so many of my readers will love to hear about how you went from an aspiring author to a published one, and many will gather inspiration from the journey!

 

Thank you, Maddison, for this opportunity to chat with you about my path to publication. There are so many wonderful stories out there waiting to be published, and I can read far more books than I can write, so my advice to all aspiring writers is to please keep writing.

 

  • How long have you been writing for?

About a decade. My journey started in an unexpected place. I studied physics and maths at uni, because none of the course work included any essay writing! Years later, an opportunity came up to write a series of statistically based ‘myth busting’ articles for a horse racing magazine. It grew from there, and I still write regularly for two magazines. A few years ago, I ghost-wrote a biographical book for a famous Australian racing personality. That gave me a taste for longer form writing, and I started writing a romance as a creative exercise. To see if I could. Why romance? Because I’m a voracious reader of the genre, and it seemed a natural place to start.

 

  • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published author?

Please don’t hit me, but my first book, To Charm a Bluestocking, the aforementioned creative exercise, was published by Harlequin’s Escape Publishing in March 2017, only a year after I started writing it. I know how rare my experience is, and I’m very grateful to Kate and the team at Escape for this opportunity.

 

  • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

I have a laptop and can write pretty much anywhere. My second book, In Pursuit of a Bluestocking, was mostly written while watching my kids play cricket. Normally, I write from home, and am fortunate enough that my magazine writing earns enough so I can call myself a full time writer.

 

  • Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

Somewhere in between. Maybe it’s my scientific training? I love the concept of romance beats, and I put them together to form the backbone of a book. I often take a few chapters to write my way into a story, and learn the characters. Those first few chapters usually don’t make the final cut.

 

  • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

Dialogue. I love the way characters talk to each other and go to unexpected places.

 

  • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

Characters and the way they banter together.

 

  • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):

I’m trying to get to a place where I can write a novel, let it rest while I write the next, then come back and edit the first, on rotation. Because I was lucky enough to get published (virtually) straightaway, I still feel like I’m playing catch up. I’d like to be able to let my books ‘rest’ for longer.

 

  • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

I’ve written six books in my first two years of writing. Two are published, one is due out in September, two are on submission, and the other is a completed first draft at this stage. I’ve also written a couple of short stories, and one, The Bluestocking’s Legacy, is available now. It’s the great-grandson of the heroine from my debut novel, To Charm a Bluestocking, and he’s an Olympics hero with a twist.

I’m aiming to write five books in 2018.

 

  • How did you get your publishing contract?

I pitched the Bluestocking series at Escape Publishing at RWA 2016 and the first one was publishing in March 2017, the second in October 2017, and the third will be out in September 2018.

 

  • Describe the time when you got ‘the call’ regarding publication:

The speed of turnaround gave me whiplash. I pitched at RWA in August, and submitted the full manuscript in October on a Wednesday late at night. I got an email on Sunday, asking if Escape could take my book to an acquisition meeting the next day. Kate, Managing Editor at Escape, rang at 10am to say they’d agreed to take on my book. My initial thought was “but you haven’t had time to have coffee, let alone make a decision!” 😊

 

  • What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing journey?

Getting ‘the call’ is only the start of the game. Publishing is similar to the queue at the airport. Everyone wants to get through customs to the other side, but once you get there, you realise there are so many more people and they are all going to different places at different speeds.

 

  • Looking back, what do you think you did right that helped you break in?

The concept of three female doctors just graduating from medical school in the Victorian era (and based on my own great-grandmother who did this) makes my series appeal to readers who want strong female characters. My writing is quite light-hearted for a fairly serious concept, and maybe that appealed to Escape as it’s a good balance. In the end, it’s the characters that readers fall in love with, regardless of concept or setting, and I hope readers enjoy the different personalities of Josephine, Marie, and Claire as they navigate their world.

 

  • Is there anything you wish you could do differently?

Take the time to build a good network within the industry. Because I got published so early in my journey, I’ve had to do much of my learning and networking after my book was already out in the world. I think I missed many marketing opportunities due to the speed.

 

  • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?

Read.

 

  • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?

Be resilient and keep going. Keep learning your craft. Listen to people who’ve been in publishing for a long time. Read.

 

  • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

I’m writing a contemporary series set in Sydney which is on submission. It’s at the finger’s crossed stage 😊 I’m interested in becoming a hybrid author, and will go down that road with this series if it gets rejected. In terms of historicals, I have two more books to write in the Bluestocking series, and a fun new series idea to explore.

 

  • How can people connect with you?

I’m very active on Facebook, otherwise all my information is on my website. I blog quite frequently, and send out a newsletter about twice a year.

 

Thank you so much Renee for sharing your Path to Publication with us! What a great journey you’ve had, with many more adventures to come. And I must say I’m looking forward to reading your next novel in the Bluestocking Series – and you’re contemporaries sound exciting, so fingers crossed for you.

And for those of you who want to read Renee’s fantastic book ‘The Bluestocking’s Legacy’ just click on the pic below for more info.

‘The Bluestocking’s Legacy’

A modern short story.

Alex St. George can’t live up to his family legacy of academic success. He has turned his disadvantage into a quest for an Olympic medal. When he meets Dr Seo, he realises he can make a difference for other kids.

Dr Seo Yu-jin always wanted to be a sports doctor, until one athlete made her question everything. When she meets Alex St. George, she is reminded of her braver self. Can she confront her fear to create a future with Alex?

 

 

Renee can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:www.reneedahlia.com
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/reneedahliawriter/
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/dekabat
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16450970.Ren_e_Dahlia
Buy links for your latest or soon to be released book:https://www.books2read.com/u/ml57N9

Interview with Amanda Knight

Interview with Amanda Knight

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Amanda’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with the absolutely lovely Amanda Knight, a fellow Australian Author, who shares with us her path to publication. Her novel ‘Situation Critical’ is about to have it’s very first book birthday this April!

I first met Amanda way back in 2010 at the RWA of Australia’s inaugural 5 day Manuscript intensive workshop, and then we touched base again in 2015 at the yearly RWA Australia conference. It was wonderful to reconnect with her, and I think there was something magical in the water at the 2016 conference because since then we’ve both gone on to finally get our debut books published!

And let’s all CONGRATULATE her for being nominated as a finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards for 2017, in 4 different categories!! Well done, Amanda, and I’m so excited for you !!

* Favourite New Romance Author (first published 2017)
* Favourite Romantic Suspense
* Strongest Heroine from a Romance Published in 2017
* Favourite Couple from a Romance Published in 2017

 

 

Amanda is one of the loveliest Authors you will meet, and I’m so excited to be able to feature her on my website, and share with you all her Path to Publication. So let’s get started!!

 

  • How long have you been writing for?

I’ve always written—whether it be angsty teen poetry, short stories, blogs, journals or workplace newsletters… I’ve tried to stop—but I can’t NOT write! My romance writing career started around nine years ago when I’d finished a short story, and wanted to ‘learn’ how to craft a page turner, and to find out whether my manuscript had any potential. After Googling books, courses and everything in-between, I stumbled on Romance Writers of Australia.

 

I went along to my first conference that same year, and pitched my work to a seasoned editor, who’d asked for the first 5000 words of my manuscript prior to the pitch. The book I pitched was loosely in the genre of thriller with romantic elements (and wasn’t finished!) The editor told me that they felt I was stifling something in my ‘voice’ and perhaps it was romance, to let it ‘flow’ within my work and then send it back for review… I went away, stopped pushing the romance aside (which I’d previously done when those characters screamed at me to include it!) and indeed let it flow… and then I was hooked!

 

  • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published author?

The next big step along my journey after I decided to get serious, was my selection for the Romance Writers of Australia Inaugural 5 Day Intensive workshop in 2010 (a bit like you Maddy!) That was the catalyst for making me ‘finish’ a book – up until then I’d started plenty, but not finished! (Although that one is in the bottom drawer for now!) As an aside, some of my nearest and dearest friends were forged from that experience!

 

After 5DI, I dabbled around the edges for the next few years, finalled in a few competitions and then decided enough was enough. I gave myself another swift talking to, which included issuing a self-imposed deadline to finish the book by July 2016, and to pitch the book at the Romance Writers of Australia conference the same year.

 

Not without hesitation, (many) crises of confidence and a little help from my friends, I did submit the book, and was thrilled when I received the call from Kate Cuthbert at Escape (well, it was an email!) just before Christmas, accepting the manuscript for what is now known as Situation Critical… and the rest, as they say, is history!

 

  • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

I write in my office, a little ‘study in the cupboard’ and at my desk (where I can close the door when the family are home) or at the dining table (big windows, lots of light) when there’s no one else around. I also write on the train heading into work (that’s usually scribbling ideas in my notebook), at the library when my home is just too busy for concentration, and sometimes, at my local café where the comings and goings become a little like white noise, that somehow helps me immerse in the words. Although, once, I had a fellow guest tap me on the shoulder, and ask if I was alright – I’d been writing a scene where my villain killed someone, and it seems my facial expressions whilst doing so were a little alarming! Perhaps public writing isn’t such a good plan?!

 

  • Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

I am definitely somewhere in-between! I used to be an all-out plotter, but found it stifled me creatively. So now, once I have my core idea, and an inkling of my black moment/and or story ending, I spend quite a bit of time ‘listening’ to who my characters are as the initial step, filling in a character bio of sorts (mine is a bit of a combo of the detail in Cherry Adair’s Writer’s Bible, Jami Gold’s Character Worksheets and KM Weiland’s Character Interview with elements of my own thrown in!) I then learn all I can about my characters. I research the specific or unique elements of each of their worlds; see life through their eyes and experiences – a bit of an immersion experience.

 

Often, I’ll write the first couple of chapters when I’m still in the ‘getting to know the character’ phase, but usually, by the time I’m at chapter four to five-ish, I am fairly well acquainted with my primary characters, and the essential elements of their goals, motivation and conflict. At this stage, I’ll general plot out the main scenes/chapters for the remainder of the book. If I don’t do this, I can end up procrastinating or heading down a rabbit hole that doesn’t end up working!

 

  • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

The part when the tiny idea explodes into an amazing array of characters, scenes and an entire storyline emerges – often faster than I can write it down! I love when I am in ‘flow’ and not really even conscious of the twists and turns that fly out of my finger tips (during the planning and the writing…) it’s super exciting. I also love the feeling of reaching the end, although, by then I think I loath and pine for my characters in equal parts!

 

  • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

Each of these is as important to me as the other… I do love intricately woven characters and so, perhaps, that’s a little more important than the other two for me! But only by a smidge.

 

  • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):

Hmmm – that has never been the same! My process now is planning and plotting around four to six weeks. I aim to write five thousand words per week, and give myself four to six months to complete a first draft (depending on the length I’m aiming for). Sometimes, I am able to write the synopsis during this phase, but usually work on that near to the end or when I’m finished. Generally, capturing the tag line and nailing the blurb comes for me after the process. I’d love to sort this earlier, but so far, not a lot of luck! I hold out hope!

 

I work a full-time job outside of my writing life, and am mum to three children, so I have to be pretty regimented in committing to my writing time, or it just doesn’t happen. At the very least, no matter what kind of day I’ve had, or how tired I am, I force myself to write 500 words a day, and have one day dedicated to reaching at least a 2k word count. I aim for 5k per week, at the very least. I find if I miss a few daily sessions, I lose my mojo, and can then go a number of weeks without writing a thing – super dangerous! So have learned I must make that 500 words happen EVERY day!

 

  • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

One per year at this stage but would really like to make that two, or even a full length and novella. That’s my next goal!

 

  • How did you get your publishing contract?

I pitched to the editor at the Romance Writers of Australia conference in 2016, and on request, submitted my full manuscript including cover letter and synopsis.

 

  • How did you cope with rejection during the querying process?

It’s an awful feeling, so I do allow myself a bit of a boo-hoo… and then take the time to review the feedback objectively, decide which parts are a great opportunity for improvement or a different way of thinking, and if there’s anything that I don’t agree with… that’s okay too.

 

  • Describe the time when you got ‘the call’ regarding publication:

I was knee deep in a time sensitive project at my day job, had ducked up the road for a coffee and loaded my personal emails… I think I might have gasped really loudly, and then actually, found myself in this weird state of wondering if the words I’d read were actually what they said they were! I immediately called my fabulous crit partner (and the person who’d most closely travelled this journey with me!) and I think she screamed, and cried… and then it kicked in! I shook, cried, laughed, gasped and overall, couldn’t quite believe it! AND then, I had to go back to work, and deliver to my deadline (was super hard, was so distracted!) I saved all the celebrating and absolute excitement for after that! It is such a surreal feeling to finally achieve what I’d been striving for, for so long!

 

  • What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing journey?

Time… and how quickly you have to move once it’s a ‘yes.’ Editing and all the tasks needed to have your book reach its audience happen at warp speed compared to everything that’s gone before! Also, the amount of dedicated time needed for promotions – this is a definite to be factored into the planning!

 

  • Looking back, what do you think you did right that helped you break in?

Perseverance… you can’t give up, you really have to want this and keep at it. Listen, learn and be respectful. Take advice, consider it – there’s always something new to experience and learn, that may help you hone your craft. Behave like a published author, remain professional at all times and remember that sometimes it’s a long game, and who you are at the beginning, middle and end matters.

 

  • Is there anything you wish you could do differently?

Get serious, without compromise, sooner!

 

  • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?

Keep writing; keep submitting… stay true to your voice and your story. Your story will find a place, when it’s the right place to find. J K Rowling said, “Sometimes you have to get your writing done in spare moments here and there.” It’s so true – life is there, and you have to do what you can to keep moving forward… don’t let excuses get in the way! Read – often and widely! Super important…

 

  • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?

DON’T give up… be curious – read craft books, listen to podcasts, ready other writers journey stories… there IS a place for you. Sometimes, the road is long and hard, but you WILL move forward… follow the rules when submitting – anything can happen after!

 

  • What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?

Behave like you’re already published… follow and help other writers, join relevant groups, spent time in reader environments (volunteer to help!) and become a great advocate within these environments for when your time comes… be kind and respectful, these people WILL remember!

 

  • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

A Christmas novella with a side of suspense!

 

  • How can people connect with you?

Best place is here: http://www.amandaknightauthor.com/connect-with-amanda.php

 

  • Anything else you want to add?

Thank you so much for your support, time and such a comprehensive interview Maddison! And to all the writers who’ve not yet achieved their dream – whatever that is, keep going… every step forward, is a step!

 

Thank you so much Amanda for sharing your Path to Publication with us! What an awesome journey, with many more adventures to come. I cannot wait to read more of your books – and that Christmas novel sounds great (after all I just love a side of suspense)!!

And for those of you who want to read Amanda’s fantastic book ‘Situation Critical’ just click on the pic below for more info.

‘Situation Critical’

A taut debut novel about a wounded soldier, a courageous doctor, and a dog in desperate need of a rescue.

Soldier, surgeon, traitor, dog…

 

When Sergeant Nate Calloway is carried into the field hospital with no memory of how he got there or where the other members of his unit are, Australian army surgeon, Captain Beth Harper cares only about repairing his broken body. But it’s clear that something went terribly wrong on the other side of the wire, and as Nate slowly recovers, he becomes more and more anxious to return to duty, go back into the field, and rescue his friends, his unit, and the bomb detection dog that he loves.

 

The only way Nate can be released to active duty is if a doctor agrees to accompany him, and Beth surprises everyone by volunteering. Her role is to monitor Nate and take him right back to hospital the instant that his health deteriorates enough to put their rescue operation at risk. But as she stays close, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to his courage, his determination, and his commitment to his fellow soldiers.

 

Instead of a straightforward recovery, however, Nate and Beth soon realise they’ve stumbled on a tangled web of deceit and danger, and the enemy is no longer outside the wire. He is one of their own, a traitor, and he has them in his scope.

 

About Amanda:

Raised in suburban Sydney, as a child, Amanda loved to escape the bright lights and bustle, and visit the home of her mother’s rural roots, deep in Sydney’s Blue Mountains or historical Bathurst, the dusty cattle country her father’s family hails from. The ramshackle farmhouses, and wonderfully unique characters (both animal and human!) along with paddocks fringed with mysterious bushland, provided an endless canvas of sensory delights, and unending fodder for her writerly imagination … and still does!

 

Intrigued by the machinations that motivate human behaviour, particularly crime, for as long as she can remember, and a little partial to a man in uniform, it seemed only natural Amanda study psychology and marry said man in uniform!

 

When she’s not writing about psychopaths, soldiers and police officers, or love and loss in small town communities, Amanda fills her cup in the field of people and culture development.

 

Amanda resides in a beautiful beachside suburb in Sydney with her husband and children, a cranky (but still lovable) Ragdoll cat, and the most gorgeous Golden Retriever dog that ever lived.

 

Amanda can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:www.amandaknightauthor.com
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/amandaknightwrites/
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/AKnightWriter
Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/amandaknightauthor/
Pinterest link:https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandaknightaut/
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34521448-situation-critical#other_reviews
Buy links for Situation Critical·      Amazon Australia: http://amzn.to/2nhpTLX

·      GooglePlay: http://bit.ly/2nBp2oP

·      iTunes: https://apple.co/2p43wvG

·      Booktopia: http://bit.ly/2ub2UoP

·      Amazon: http://amzn.to/2IfFAhI

 

 

 

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Dianne Freeman’s Successful Twitter Pitch Query

Dianne Freeman’s Successful Twitter Pitch Query

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Dianne it’s fantastic to welcome you to my blog, and thank you so much for sharing your Twitter querying experience with us, which is different to the usual route, but becoming such a popular way of querying. Also a very big thanks, for sharing your Twitter pitch, that lead to you getting that coveted YES. I know many aspiring authors out there will be supremely grateful for your generosity in sharing, because let’s face it, for most of us the querying process is daunting, and the more successful examples out there, the better! And I love that this example is of a different method of querying!

Thanks so much for having me, Maddison.

 

So let’s begin with your Twitter Pitch itself, and then we’ll get into the questions:

 

  • How long did you spend writing your Twitter Pitch?

Not counting the time I sat staring at it, willing it to write itself, I’d say 5 hours or so over the course of a week.

 

  • Did you revise your pitch at all during the twitter query process?

Oh, yes! I did a first draft in 30 minutes, but condensing it into 50 words that both conveyed the storyline and the spirit of the story was a slow and painful process. I finally settled on 55 words for the pitch, and had to remove five words from the first page. It’s a process.

 

  • How long did it take you from when you started tweeting your pitch to when you got your first partial or full manuscript (ms) request?

Because it was a contest, all the agents were able to view my submission and request pages at the same time. I started getting requests immediately.

 

  • How many partial and full ms requests did you receive?

20

 

  • Did you receive any rejections, and if so how did you cope?

Ultimately, I received 19 rejections. Two came within a day. The manuscript just wasn’t for them. It was disappointing but I wasn’t surprised. I hoped someone would love it, but I knew not to expect everyone to love it. After Melissa offered representation, I “nudged” the remaining agents who had fulls and partials and they all eventually stepped aside. By that time, I was so thrilled with Melissa’s vision for the book and the series, I was perfectly happy to let them.

 

  • Did you personalize each pitch/submission?

When I submitted, absolutely.

 

  • Can you tell us a bit about when you received ‘the call’?

This is so embarrassing—I was a nervous wreck. And I really don’t know why. I had no problem with rejection, but as soon as someone showed interest, I choked. It took a full ten minutes into the call before I could speak in complete sentences and even longer before I relaxed enough to ask questions. Poor Melissa. I still marvel that she didn’t just hang up on me.

 

  • What questions did you ask when speaking with the agent/acquiring editor that you were considering?

We discussed both our visions for the book.

Whether she was interested in representing just this book or future work.

We discussed her process, both for editing and submission.

After the call, she sent me a contract and we went over that via e-mail.

There were more questions, but those were the important ones for me.

 

  • What questions do you wish you’d ask, but didn’t?

I wish I’d asked her if she’d be willing to read and comment on my future work. I really value Melissa’s feedback, but when I finished book 2, I was nervous about asking her. (Again, with the nerves!)

 

  • Any advice and top tips for others about the querying process and writing the query letter itself?

First, get feedback on your query before sending it out. Lots of feedback. If your friends don’t understand it, neither will an agent. Second, don’t take rejection to heart. Third, don’t panic when someone says, yes!

 

  • Anything else you want to add?

Here is my agent’s response as to why she requested the manuscript from me:

I was attracted to Dianne’s pitch and sample because the joy and effervescent spirit that embody A LADY’S GUIDE were already so apparent in that short introduction to her work. There is a light touch– a bounciness, a sparkle– to the writing that makes it clear that this book is going to be a delight to behold. The subject matter itself already intrigued me, because I enjoy stories about Victorian England and have a soft spot for mysteries, but when you add that special timbre that Dianne employs? It just jumps off the page. I think this is an important lesson for queriers. Try to match the tone of your query to the tone of your manuscript. If your book is spooky, your query should be so as well. If your book is lyrical and full of imagery, so too should be your query. Dianne’s book is funny and irreverent, and her pitch echoes that perfectly. I specifically loved the image of a gossip circle of Victorian women solving a murder. The incongruence of the image just gets me. Further, the sample itself is snappy, yet descriptive. We can so easily picture the scene, wherein Frances is setting these gowns aside, tired of black crepe, frustrated with her current lot in life, but oh so ready to improve it! And that is where the novel comes in!

 

Thanks so much Dianne for sharing your Successful Twitter Pitch with us, as well as your road on the querying journey!! It was wonderful to read and I’m sure will inspire many other authors out there, who are about to embark on the querying path. I’m sure it will also encourage others to enter Twitter Pitch events in the future!

And for those of you who want to have a read of Dianne’s awesome book ‘A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder’, it’s scheduled for release on June 26th, 2018. Click on the pic below for more info.

About Dianne:

Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona.

Dianne can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:https://difreeman.com/
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/DianneFreemanAuthor/
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/Difreeman001
Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/diannefreemanwrites/
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17347322.Dianne_Freeman

Whoo Hoo! The Devilish Duke is Available!!

Whoo Hoo! The Devilish Duke is Available!!

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Yay! It’s RELEASE DAY!! My book baby is finally out in the world… Surreal is the only word that comes to mind!!

If you haven’t already grabbed yourself a copy, click on the links below to grab one 🙂

 

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Check out these AMAZING Reviews…

“What a marvelous debut novel, by a new author to my must read authors list, her name is Maddison Micheals. And the Book title is The Devilish Duke. From the wonderful cover to the recommendations and the description, I knew I was in for a wonderful reading experience. The Handsome Devlin the hero and Lady Sophie the heroine just made this historical romantic tale a must read and a keeper. I stayed up two nights in a row and nearly missed an appointment to finish this page turner.” – Patrica Liebe

 

“Ms. Michaels weaves an engrossing tale… Told with mystery, angst, romance and sensual scenes.
This is not-to-be-missed.” – Amary Chapman

 

“The Devilish Duke is one of those books which have everything, romance, intrigue, suspense, mystery, rakish hero, independent and strong heroine, and a lot more. It’s a really well-written historical fiction, the kind of book which has the ability to make you fall in love with the genre. I genuinely enjoyed reading it, especially because of the characters. They are all amazing and fun to read about.”wrecked_life

 

“I absolutely loved this book. The character were likeable and well developed. The sass from them had me grinning from ear to ear at times. The murder and mystery had me so consumed, I finished this book in just three days!” – Simone Ventura-wharton

 

“One afternoon, one book! This was one of the quickest reads this year so far because I loved Devlin. It’s such a well written story with a good mix of passion, blue stocking ideology, love of the poor etc… Well written. Worth reading!” – Eva

 

“I thoroughly enjoyed this engrossing debut novel which was very accomplished, there was everything you could want in a historical romance, mystery, murder, humour, a tortured gorgeous hero, a determined heroine & of course romance. I’ll be impatiently awaiting the next novel.” – Janet

 

” A great fast paced story filled with mystery, intrigue and sizzling romance to keep things extremely interesting. 5 STARS!!!” – Debbie Glenn Brown

 

“Absolutely captivating and witty, The Devilish Duke by Maddison Michaels was a great historical romance! I loved it, couldn’t put it down. She had me from the very first chapter, this book was engaging and entertaining. It had me laughing out loud, but it was also heartfelt and at times suspenseful. I think Maddison did an excellent job bringing these characters and their story to life.” – Up All Night With Books

 

“The Devilish Duke was a fantastic read and I enjoyed it from beginning to end. This book has it all; romance, wit, humour, danger, mystery and suspense – lets just say there was never a dull moment.” – P Leslie

 

“A marvelous debut novel for Maddison Michaels!!! Skillfully plotted and full of romance and a mystery to be solved, I really could not put this one down.” – Lori

 

“This is an incredible story! It is heart poundingly scary! It is an Awesome Romance, it is a Wonderful First Book!” – Carol Bisig

Author Spotlight – S. T. Young

Author Spotlight – S. T. Young

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Author Spotlight

On today’s Author Spotlight Series, I’ll be featuring brother and sister Author team Samaya and Taffin Young, and discussing their debut novel GIRL IN THE MIST, scheduled for release February 26th 2018, with Entangled Publishing!

Read on to learn more about their new book and the authors behind the words!

MEET SAMAYA AND TAFFIN

Siblings Samaya and Taffin grew up in a somewhat unorthodox family. Born in the Netherlands, their early childhood was a relatively normal one, but their teens were spent traveling through Europe with their mother and siblings before they settled down in Southern Spain to build their home from scratch. In 2015 they returned to their country of birth.

Though different in character, brother and sister shared a love for strong, character driven stories with one recurring element they both needed in all their reading—romance. Though Samaya can get side-tracked by horror, and Taffin can get lost in sci-fi from time to time, they always return to the genre that never fails to draw them into any plot—romantic fiction.

In 2008 they started working together, first on Samaya’s earlier manuscripts, but other, newer stories, too, to see if they could find an audience for the work they’d put their hearts and souls into.. In the process of learning to work together, many fierce discussions followed as they argued grammar, plot, and even something as simple as comma placement (doesn’t everyone?). Girl in the Mist was their first joint effort, but there are many more on the way.

GIRL IN THE MIST

Infamous for infiltration and becoming her undercover identities, Nina Hernandez disappeared without a trace. Three years later, Naval Intelligence agent Rory O’Donnell finds her in a tortuous mental hospital. He’s unsure if it’s really Nina, or if she’s undercover and faking it. Either way, he’s pretty sure something sinister is going on…

 

Rory springs Nina, and together they elude their determined pursuers. He needs to get her to safety…all while keeping his hands off the beautiful, mysterious young woman. As he works to convince her to trust him and share her darkest secrets, he wonders if he can trust her not to betray his…

 

Between her mercurial changes, sexy come-ons, and her exasperating independence, a protection assignment has never been so hard. On a dangerous trek across the country as they tumble from one danger into the next, Rory finds that resisting Nina might just be his toughest task yet.

Interview with Negeen Papehn

Interview with Negeen Papehn

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Negeen’s Path to Publication

Today I chat with the lovely Negeen Papehn, the debut author of ‘Forbidden By Faith’, who shares with us her path to publication. Her debut ‘Forbidden By Faith’ is scheduled for release on February 20th 2018!

Born and raised in California, Negeen spends half her week dreaming up stories between lovers and the other half as a dentist. FORBIDDEN BY FAITH, set in Los Angeles, is a Contemporary Romance that encompasses the journey of self-discovery, while battling family and cultural expectations, in the name of true love.

 

Hi Negeen, I’m so excited to have you on my blog, and thank you so much for sharing your ‘Path to Publication’ experience with us all. I know so many of my readers will love to hear about how you went from an aspiring author to a published one, and many will gather inspiration from the journey!

Thanks Maddison! I’m very excited to be here with all of you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story.

 

  • How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing in some form since I was a teenager. Back then, I wrote a lot of poetry and even a handful of original songs. But the novel writing is relatively new. I started about four years ago.

 

  • How long did it take you from when you started writing, to when you became a published (or soon to be) published author?

It took me a year to finish my first novel then another year to find representation. By the time the book is released in February, it will be almost three years, start to finish.

 

  • Where do you write from, home, office, coffee shop, etc? And do you have any pre-writing or actual writing rituals (such as lighting a candle, listening to music, etc)?

I literally write everywhere! I never have mapped out writing time, but rather, I write in small sprints. Usually thirty minutes to an hour before an interruption, if I’m lucky. So wherever I am and I can get a moment to write, I do. But mostly, you’ll find me at my desk in the spare bedroom or the dining room table if I’m at home, at my desk in my office if I’m at work, or at the local coffee shop. No matter where I am, though, I always have my headphones in and music blasting. It’s the only way I can block out the world around me. And it also helps set the mood for the scene, so I strategically pick the playlist.

 

  • Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between?

I am a pantser to a fault. I wish I was a plotter. I’ve tried to write it all out, create a step-by-step outline, but once I start writing, the story changes course and veers off in directions I wasn’t anticipating. The problem that arises with that is that I get stuck a lot, trying to plot my way out of a hole I’ve written myself into, LOL.

 

  • What is your favourite part of the writing process?

My favorite part of the writing process is when my manuscript is ready for the first round of beta readers. I love sharing my work with people. Hearing their reactions and listening to their responses is my drug of choice. I just love picking their brains! And it doesn’t have to just be praise. I welcome their constructive criticism as well. Makes the story better, and makes me a better writer.

 

  • What is the most important part of a novel to you: plot, characters, or setting?

Definitely characters. In my opinion, they’re what create the story. If they are complicated, emotional, raw, and real, you could have any plot or any setting and your readers will still be invested. Or at least that’s how I feel.

 

  • Describe your writing routine (how long do you spending plotting the novel, time spent writing, editing, submitting it):

Hmmm….I don’t have this down to an exact science yet. I spend the least amount of time plotting, which may be one of my weakness, truthfully. Reason why I end up lost at times and stuck on the storyline. It usually takes me a week or so to work out the basics on the plot.

 

I’ve written two full novels so far and am on my third. I’d say on average it takes me anywhere from 8-12 months to write the first draft.

Editing is the longest of the processes and most complicated for me. I usually have my critique partners reading along with me as I write, and edit throughout the process. Then once the first draft is completely done, I do a read through myself and try to catch any plot holes/issues I may have missed. Then I give it to the first round of betas. I take their feedback and make changes based on what I see fit. Then another round of new betas. Last read through on my end and edits. Then I’m ready to submit.

I’ve only submitted one novel so far. The entire submission process took around six months. I sent it to about 20 agents/editors. The first response came about a month later. Some were outright rejections, others requested fulls. Took another few months before I heard anything from those. In April of 2016, City Owl Press made me an offer.

 

  • How many books a year do you usually write (or are you aiming to write):

I write one book a year. I’m usually editing the book from the previous year simultaneously. I’d really like to be able to have two manuscripts completed in a year, at some point.

 

  • How did you get your agent, or your publishing contract (if applicable)?

I came across City Owl Press one night after the sting of the most recent round of rejections was fresh, and the wine wasn’t helping, LOL. I started researching agents and publishers to gather a new set of people to send submissions out to and came across their site. I liked what I saw and sent my submission late that evening. A few weeks later, my editor Amanda reached out and asked for a full MS. A few months passed and I didn’t hear anything. I’d given up hope. One morning, as I was getting ready for work, an email popped up on my phone screen. I took the ever dreaded deep breath to prepare myself for yet another “thanks but no thanks,” but when I opened it, her first line read, “Sorry it took me so long to get back to you but I have good news, City Owl Press would like to publish your novel!” I just started screaming from the bathroom, which brought my husband running because he thought something had happened. I was jumping up and down squealing when he got there.

 

  • How did you cope with rejection during the querying process?

Friends. I made some author friends in various social media outlets that were going through the same thing so we coped together. I also had family and friends in my personal life that kept encouraging me forward despite the fact that there were times I really wanted to give up. So I had an awesome support system. I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.

 

  • Describe the time when you got ‘the call’ regarding publication:

My ‘call’ was actually an email. My editor lives overseas, so the email came in at some ungodly hour. I think it was like 2AM my time, or something like that. I was obviously asleep being that it was a Thursday J So I saw it pop up on my phone when I went to turn my alarm off. I didn’t immediately look at it, preparing myself for the worse. I’d already gotten a handful of rejections at that point, and was assuming it was just more of the same. I got my kids up and ready for school. When I finally made it to my bathroom to start putting myself together for work, I couldn’t resist any longer. I took a deep breath and opened the email. My eyes scanned the first two lines quickly, bracing myself for the disappointment that I’d become accustomed to. But instead of ‘thanks but no thanks,’ it was ‘thanks and we want you.’ I started screaming, which brought my husband running, thinking something terrible had happened. I was squealing and jumping up and down when I told him the news. Then I sent a text message to my family, spent my forty-minute drive to work on the phone with my sister-in-law, and then blabbed it to my boss and all my co-workers. It was definitely a good day 🙂

 

  • Can you describe what your own path to publication was like?

My path to publication felt like a whirlwind. It moved at light speed from getting my first draft completed, to submitting and getting a publishing deal. It all happened so fast that I still have a hard time believing it!

It took me one year to finish the manuscript, another year to do multiple rounds of edits utilizing my beta readers and critique partners. Then, about six months after submitting, I received my publishing deal.

 

  • What were your biggest learning experiences or surprises throughout the publishing journey?

The people that have been alongside me through this journey are amazing. I’ve made so many fabulous author friends. I never expected to make so many connections and find so much support in the writing community.

 

  • Looking back, what do you think you did right that helped you break in?

Honestly, I think timing really is what did it for me. I wrote a story about a very touchy subject, at a time in this country where very touchy subjects were rearing their ugly heads. I caught a lot of attention that way, and rather quickly. So I don’t think I personally did anything special. I think that the timing was just right.

 

  • Best advice you’ve ever been given, or have heard, about writing?

“No matter what happens, you’ve already won.” My boss said that to me. He’s one of my biggest fans. I was having a panic attack over covers and marketing and the idea that this whole thing will flop because I make the wrong choice on color or don’t know how to get the word out there correctly, etc. I was freaking out about failing. He said, “The reason why you were able to go through this entire process so quickly is because you were fierce. You didn’t start this thinking you’d become some big famous author. You told me you did this because you wanted to and you loved it. And because of that you had nothing to lose; you were fearless. Don’t you see, you’ve already won? This has become so much more than you ever imagined. Remember that. Hold onto that. You can’t fail.”

I repeat it like a mantra when I’m having the many panic attacks I have over this whole thing, LOL.

 

  • Any advice for aspiring writers on writing and submitting?

Hang in there. It’s a bumpy road, I won’t lie. But stay determined and keep going because amongst the rejections, you will get that call.

 

  • What advice can you give to other writers on building a platform and gaining a readership base?

Put yourself out there as much as you can. It’s tough manning all the different social media platforms and making a presence. It almost feels like a full time job! But I have found quite a few author friends and a fabulous support team, so it’s well worth it.

 

  • What’s up next for you, and what are you working on now?

I’m currently writing the second book in the Forbidden Love Series. I’m also getting ready to start submitting my stand alone novel, What Will Be, for representation.

 

  • How can people connect with you?

They can connect with me through my website: www.negeenpapehn.com

I can also be found on FB: https://www.facebook.com/NegeenPapehn/

Or Twitter: @NegeenPapehn   And Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/negeenpapehn/

 

  • Anything else you want to add?

Thank you so much for interviewing me! I hope my answers help other author’s forging on their own path to publication.

 

Thank you so much Negeen for sharing your Path to Publication with us! What an awesome journey, with many more adventures to come. Good luck with your release of ‘Forbidden By Faith’ – can’t wait to have a read 🙂

And for those of you who want to have a read of Negeen’s awesome book ‘Forbidden By Faith’, it’s scheduled for release on Feb 20th, 2018. Click on the pic below for more info.

‘Forbidden by Faith’

Sara knows her life would be easier if she married a Muslim man, but when has love ever been easy?
​Raised by her immigrant Iranian Muslim parents, she’s been taught that a good daughter makes decisions based on her family’s approval, and she’s spent most of her life doing just that. Then one night, she meets Maziar, and her world is turned upside down. She feels an instant electricity between them, and it seems like fate when he tells her he’s also Iranian. Just as her mind begins to soar with the possibilities, he shatters her hopes when he tells her he’s Jewish.
Despite the centuries of unrest behind them, Sara and Maziar embark on a forbidden love affair, attempting to navigate through the cultural and religious prejudices that beat them down and attempt to tear them apart.
Deep within the trenches of her battle, Sara finds herself more empowered and careless than ever before. Angry at and disappointed by the people she’s idolized all her life, she’s determined to forge her own path. But choosing who to be could mean creating a life that’s no longer acceptable to those around her.
Sara feels herself growing into an independent and confident woman, but will it be worth the ultimate cost: her family?

 

About Negeen:

Negeen Papehn was born and raised in southern California, where she currently lives with her husband and two rambunctious boys. She wasn’t always a writer. A graduate of USC dental school, Negeen spends half of her week with patients and the other half in front of her laptop. In the little time she finds in between, she loves to play with her boys, go wine tasting with her friends, throw parties, and relax with her family.
Her debut novel FORBIDDEN BY FAITH will be out with City Owl Press February of 2018

 

Negeen can be found on the following platforms:

Website address:www.negeenpapehn.com
Facebook link:https://www.facebook.com/NegeenPapehn/
Twitter link:https://twitter.com/NegeenPapehn
Instagram link:https://www.instagram.com/negeenpapehn/
Goodreads link:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17379780.Negeen_Papehn
Buy link for your latest or soon to be released book:Amazon: http://smarturl.it/FLove1Amz

Amazon Print: http://smarturl.it/FLove1AmzPrt

BN: http://smarturl.it/FLove1BN

Kobo: http://smarturl.it/FLove1Kobo

Apple: http://smarturl.it/FLove1iBooks

Google: http://smarturl.it/FLove1Google

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