Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Guest Blogger: Author Emily Bryan

Please give a big, hearty welcome to my guest author today, Emily Bryan. She has a great article for us that all writers should read, IMHO. First, however, is my interview with Emily. At the end is an exciting excerpt from her latest novel.

How much time do you spend writing versus promoting?

It depends. Right now, with my 50day/50 blog marathon AND a looming deadline for my next project, I’m dividing my time pretty evenly. Each morning I start by checking my previous day’s blog, having my DH randomly pick the winner, and then I begin spreading the news about the current day’s blog. Once I’ve done all I can to make the blogtour work, I turn to my current WIP (my Christmas novella—It’s part of an anthology with USA Today Best Seller Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson). I spend a couple hours in Writerland, doing all I can to thwart my hero and heroine before I reward them with love everlasting. If I’ve hit my target page count for my WIP, I spend some time writing ahead for the next week of blogposts, trying very hard not to repeat myself. I have some very loyal blog “touristas” and I don’t want to bore them.

While I’m walking my dogs, I kick around ideas for the next proposal. I run dialogue in my head while I fold the laundry. By the time, my DH calls to say he’s on his way home, I’m ready to leave Writerland and lounge around with him in the real world.

What part of the world is your favorite?

I have two and I can’t choose between them. One is the village of Hana on the windward side of Maui. It’s only accessible by a narrow road that snakes through miles of tropical rainforest, past bamboo thickets and waterfalls and views of the Pacific that are postcard perfect on each turn. I go to Hana in my mind almost every day. My other favorite is an isolated valley in the shadow of the Bear Tooth Range in Montana just outside the northeast entrance to Yellowstone. A creek riots down the mountainside and then wanders through the lowland, backed up with beaver dams into quiet pools. Wildflowers bloom in profusion, Indian paintbrush and Shasta daisies nodding in the tall grass. It’s the only place I’ve ever been that’s more beautiful than I remembered it each time I return.

Where would you like to visit that you haven’t yet? I’d love to go to Rome. The music, the art, the food and my daughter assures me the most handsome men in the world live there!

What is your most dearly held fantasy?

I would love to circumnavigate the globe. I fantasize about taking a world cruise with my DH, visiting exotic ports of call and making love in every time zone.

What would people be surprised to know about you that most are unaware of?

I have ridden an elephant. Is that surprising enough? Not a recommended mode of travel. They have very bony spines.

Where can we find you during the next year? 2009 is going to be a busy one for me. I have 2 releases—Vexing the Viscount on February 24th and the holiday anthology at the end of October. Check for updates on my blog tour and signings. I’ll be speaking at several conferences all over the country. Hope to see you along the way!

What is your best advice for pre-published and newly published writers? Almost everyone says they’d like to write a book. If you’ve finished a manuscript, you are light-years ahead of the writer wanna-be’s. Be proud of yourself. But at the same time, be teachable. Writing is an ocean. I’m still just dabbling my toes in the shallow end. There is always more to learn. Don’t give up.

For newly published writers, I’ll pass on the advice NY Times BestSeller Bobbi Smith gave me.

“Stay published.”

Writers are expected to be prolific. Be prepared to produce. If you let too long lapse between titles you run the risk of losing your readership. Work toward at least one title a year, more if you can manage it without sacrificing quality. Good luck!

Thanks for hosting me today, Ashley! I’d like to give away a copy of Vexing the Viscount to one commenter today, so be sure to leave your questions. My DH will draw the winner first thing tomorrow, so be sure to check back to see if you’re the lucky one!

And now for an excellent article from Emily with advice to heed.

Emily Bryan’s Fool-proof System for Avoiding Publication

Anyone can give you ideas to help you get published. Here's a few helpful hints to make sure you never have to worry about getting The Call.

1. Never finish a manuscript. Surely just your premise scrawled quickly onto the back of a napkin ought to be enough. It's the idea that counts.

2. Don't accept critique from others. It's your story. You should be able to tell it from the heroine’s dog’s points of view if you want. And be sure to ignore the publisher's guidelines. They want your manuscript double-spaced in Courier New 12 pt? Well, isn't that silly? You can fit twice as many words if you single-space. And if you use Ariel 8 pt., I bet you can cram even more on each page.

3. Never be willing to revise. Why mess with perfection? Your mother loves your story just as it is.

4. Agent-schmagent! Who needs another hand in your pocket? Sure, the publisher's guidelines require agented submissions, but that's just for those other less-inspired writers. Besides, if you're a tough negotiator on your advance, that editor will think twice about trying to cross you with pesky revision requests later.

5. Be as nasty as you can to other writers. After all, we're all going for the same finite number of slots. Leave the encouragement and mentoring of other authors to the Mother Theresa's of the writing world.

6. When you pitch, make sure you tell the editor how lucky he/she is to have found the next Nora Roberts. Of course, once she reads your 800,000 word manuscript, she'll realize how brilliant you are. But it never hurts to be cocky . . . er, I mean, confident.

7. Don't join RWA or some other writer's group. If they knew so much, they'd all be published. Besides, one of them might steal your idea for that genre-bending futuristic, erotic, chick-lit western mystery.

8. If you attend a writer's conference, be sure to stalk the editors. They like the attention. If you want to be totally memorable, shove your complete manuscript under the bathroom stall door to them. That'll get your work noticed! And I guarantee they'll remember your name. They might even tell their friends.

9. If you do finish a manuscript, make sure you don't start a second one before the first one sells. Just keep sending the same manuscript out to as many houses as you can, whether they publish your type of story or not. For good measure, if one editor at a publishing house rejects you, make sure you send it to all the other editors at the same house. Won't that first editor feel silly when the fifth editor buys your work? After all, it's not as if they talk to each other or, heaven forbid, consult with each other on their acquisition decisions.

10. Don't give away the ending in your synopsis. What better way to make an editor request the full manuscript than to finish up your outline with a coy, "If you want to know how it all turns out, you have to read the full manuscript!" Besides, they really need to read the whole thing to understand why you decided to kill off the hero on the last page.

If you follow these guidelines, I can virtually guarantee you'll never be bothered by a contract offer. However, if your goal is actually to see your writing in print, you might want to forget these rules or even do the opposite.

Happy Writing! And now an exciting excerpt from Emily's latest book:

Daisy masquerades as a French courtesan, she and Lucian are playing a very naughty card game!

Daisy felt like a plucked string. Her whole body seemed to vibrate in concert with her breasts.

One side of Lucian’s mouth hitched upward as he slowly pulled back his hand.

Daisy bit the inside of her cheek to keep from crying out for him to continue. Who would have thought a woman’s nipples were so sensitive?

“And now, mademoiselle,” Lucian said, “I believe we have a card game to finish.”

Whether by accident or design, Lucian’s luck soured. Daisy found herself fighting to control the tremble in her hands as she undid his breeches buttons. More than once, her fingers brushed his hardened groin in the process.

What’s he got in there? A lead pipe?

He was still covered by his drawers, but only barely and he’d just turned up the losing hand.

He made a ‘tsking’ noise with his tongue and teeth. “Looks like I can’t draw a winning card to save my soul.”

“Oh, my dear Lucian,” she said. “I greatly fear this game is of no benefit to your soul whatsoever.”

“Maybe not, but the rest of me enjoys it immensely.” Lucian stood, the better to present his remaining buttons.

She willed her hands not to tremble as she unfastened one side of his drop-front fly. The thin cotton fell forward and the tip of him was exposed above the cloth.

She’d seen artistic representations of penises in terra cotta. The little Roman lamp sprang to mind. And a few in granite, most notably the one on the nude statue in Lord Wexford’s grotto in the center of his garden maze. There were even one or two displayed in quiescent form in the classical painting in Aunt Isabella’s boudoir.

But this was the first one Daisy had seen in the flesh. Of course, she could only see the head, the dark skin pulled smooth. Already, she could tell the little Roman lamp hadn’t been anywhere near life-sized. Lucian’s penis leaned toward her of its own accord, straining at its cotton prison.

“Remember,” he said, his tone husky, “in this game, what we can see, we can touch.” Thank you, thank you, Emily for being such an awesome guest today. Please stop by often. Ashley You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)


EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for having me, Ashley. I'm looking forward to visiting with your readers AND to giving away a FREE copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT to someone who leaves a comment or question.

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

Excellent advice, Emily, and timely as well. I've been reminding a good friend and fellow writer of point #1 earlier this week.

With all the bookstores I frequent, there's not one with a "great idea" or "first three chapters" section. It's full books, which mean full manuscripts, which mean bottom in chair, fingers on keyboard. Proceed until The End.

May I also suggest another gauranteed method for avoiding publication? You know that voice that says "this setting/character type/tone/voice/etc" will never sell? It's right. Listen to it. Risks never pay off so there's no point trying something that hasn't been done before/isn't popular right now.

Snort. :)

Shirley said...

Hi Emily,

Loved your list of ten! I have a question, though. Do you recommend that someone trying to market a first novel, like category romance, get an agent first? I've heard in the past that you SHOULD send to several agents, because even if they don't take you as a client, they'll often make comments.

EmilyBryan said...

Anna-- I'll have to add your suggestion as my 11th "Thou Shalt Not . . "

Shirely-- I've heard people say category authors don't need an agent because there is no wiggle room in the contracts at all. But for me, it all comes down to thinking long term vs a book-by-book plan.

What if the category writer wants to break into single title? Or a different sub-genre? What if the editor who loves your category work leaves for a different house and can't take you with him/her? What if the copy editor re-writes your novel in her voice? (I know a category author this happened to.) Do you really want to fight this battle or would you like a pro in your corner?

For me, I need an agent, a business parter who can help me navigate the shark-filled waters of publishing.

If you have a completed manuscript that's won a few contests, you're very close to publication. IMHO, you need an agent.

blessedheart said...

Great excerpt, Emily! I can't wait to read this!

Rhonda :-)

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Rhonda! Please tell your reading friends. :)

Anonymous said...

I loved your excerpt. Makes me want to read more. And isn't that what you want to hear all the time? Your blog tour is inspirational to my hopefully future need to do promotion. (May I be so lucky.) See you at NEC.

Mariee said...

Loved the excerpt!

LuAnn said...

I love your advice on how not to get published. Fun way to start my day!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the advice on how not to get published! It is priceless!
I think you may have commented on this, sorry if I missed it, but do you have a say in your book covers? they are so pretty!

Unknown said...

*Takes notes* another great read!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, that spot in Montana sounds lovely... I really have to make it beyond New England sometime!
And another very nice scene :)

Jane said...

I love your tips to avoid publication. I wonder how many aspiring authors have compared themselves to Nora Roberts.

Babyblue22 said...

I loved your
And I loved the excerpt even more can't wait to read the book.

Asylumgirl said...

I really liked #7 for it's humor, but I'm curious, isn't it nice to be part of a larger group of which all members are pretty well in the same boat, for support?


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the excerpt and I have added this one to my TBR list

EmilyBryan said...

Jane L--Not being Nora Roberts, I do not have much control over my covers. For instance, I know the costumes on VEXING THE VISCOUNT's cover is more Regency than Georgian and I don't have the authority to change it. But the goal of a cover is to tempt someone to pick up the product and I think Dorchester does a great job of putting together beautiful books.

Deidre--Remember that list is about how NOT to get published. So whatever I've said here, do the opposite. I would not be published without help from other authors and writing groups. I belong to RWA National, my local New England RWA, and I maintain membership in Eastside RWA in Belleview WA (where I got my start!) and Ozarks Romance Authors in MO. Writing may be a solo sport, but we definitely need a team behind us.

Anonymous said...

Loved your tips, Emily. LOL ... AND, rest assured, you are NEVER boring!!

Looking forward to Vexing very much!!

Colleen Thompson said...

Great list, Emily! Thanks for sharing!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Emily! Looks like your blog tour is going great! Thanks for an entertaining interview and excerpt, as well as for the vision of a magical place in Montana!


Unknown said...

Emily and everyone - thanks for stopping by and commenting today. Your book, Emily, iis also on my must tbr list. I love your article, too.

Sue A. said...

The blog tour’s been great fun and informative. I hope to see more excerpts too!

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for having me here, Ashley at your excellent site! And thank you to everyone who commented or dropped by. (Yes, you lurkers, I know you're out there!)

My DH has chosen our winner for today. It's MICHELLE P! Please contact me through with your mailing info.

Today, I'm inviting you all to come on over to my house! My blog tour is lounging around my EmilyBryanRomance Blog. Help yourself to a cup of coffee and put up your feet. I'm answering a few frequently asked questions and giving away another copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT to someone who leaves a comment or question.


Sandra Cox said...

Good blog ladies!

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