Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sayonara Baby!

Yesterday, I received my third edit from my newest publisher. I thought I was done with edits except for maybe a few pesky line edits.

Sigh. Not so.



That's okay. It's all part of the job. I can and will do it.

The thrust of this edit is my hero's speech patterns. His sentences and his thoughts are too long, like a woman's. I have to go through every line of his dialogue and his thoughts and make them shorter, more masculine. Although my editor didn't say this, it makes me think of Arnold's dialogue as The Terminator.

Maybe it's a coincidence that I happen to be watching the original movie, The Terminator, as I write this article. Maybe watching this movie made my editor's words gel.

Of course each character is different. At least they're supposed to be. In many past manuscripts I've agaonezed over each piece of dialogue to the point past editors said I went overboard. So I have to find a happy medium it seems.

But let's look at some of Arnold's short, to the point phrases:


"I'll be back." (He calmly walks out then crashes back in with a speeding car.)

"Hasta la vista, baby."

"Where is she?" 

"Fuck you, asshole."

"Get out."

"Talk to the hand."

Most of his sentences are less than four words. In subsequent movies when he's learning to be more human, his sentences only lengthen a tiny bit.



Even The Terminator knows to change his speech patterns when he imitates Sarah's mother to trick her, and John's foster mother to try to trick him. The speech pattern is completely different.

Don't worry. I don't want my sexy small-town sheriff to sound like The Terminator, the good or bad version, but it gives me insight. Hopefully, the heroes in the 40 plus books I've already written (and are published) don't sound like their heroines or a heroine. I didn't think so at the time and I'm a little scared to look back to see.


There's so much to learn and with each new editor, even each new edit from a returning editor, I learn something new. At the beginning of my career, I would have thought after 40 or 50 books under my belt, I'd be an expert at every nuance of the writing game. Obviously not. But we can always learn, always get better as long as we live.

So don't worry. I'll do as my editor wisely suggests, and I'll be back, baby.

You have to see thius Terminator clip I found when I was looking for the other one. It's hilarious.

This one has the embedding disabled, so click on the link to go to it if so inclined to have a good laugh:

"Sayonara Baby"

Recent posts you might like to read:


Don't Bomb Your Audience With Turkeys

Are You Writing Me Into Your Book?

Dont Give Up Too Early

Kenzie Michaels Guest Interview
Twitter Works Do You Really Want To Post That?

 
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. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Are You Writing Me Into Your Book?

This weekend I diligently worked on my books while I was in attendance at my daughter's softball game. Since my computer battery envies the lifespan of a lightning bug and my Alpha Smart cord has gone to the computer junk yard, I was writing by hand again.

People often make comments when they see me writing. Perhaps it would be different if I had my computer or my Alpha Smart instead of a cheap pad of paper and pen. Maybe not.

Most of the comments are probably meant to be friendly and joking, but occasionally they seem condescending. I'm not usually one to speak my mind and I usually keep the peace, but enough's enough.

One of the team fathers asked, "Are you writing about me?"

He was probably teasing. WHY would I write about someone I barely know?

But I said, "Why? Do you want me to?" (I've had more than a few people who want me to write their story.)

He shook his head, chuckled and said, "No!"

I almost said, tongue not so in cheek, "Only if you make me mad."

Unfortunately, that might be true.

It's not a good practice to write about people you know. You can be sued and fired, maybe even shot for doing something like that. At most, you might make a composite of several people you know or have observed, to create a single character.

But sometimes, when someone infuriates me, in particular when they're very mean to me, I'm ultra tempted to make them my villain and do lots of dastardly things to them in my books that I could never do to them in real life, at least not if I don't want to go to the deepest levels of hell and get locked in Alcatraz for the rest of my days.

So now you know my deepest, darkest secret--I'm human. Or maybe I'm an extremely wicked person. Somehow, however, I doubt I'm the only writer who has tortured or killed off their villain(s) to work out real aggressions.

So bwahahahaha! If you don't want to be in my book, don't piss me off. If you do want to be in my books, piss me off. Now you're warned. :)

Recent posts you might like to read:


Dont Give Up Too Early

Snippet Saturday: Kick Ass Heroes and Heroines
Nudists on Strike
Kudos to Harlequin  (It's their anniversary month - lots of free books if you hurry)
Kenzie Michaels Guest Interview
Twitter Works Do You Really Want To Post That?

 

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. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Don't Bomb Your Audience With Turkeys

Do you remember the wonderfully funny TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati?" from the 90's?

I'll never forget it and not just because Cincinnati's my home town and I get extremely homesick every time I see the intro with Fountain Square and views of downtown Cincinnati. I won't forget it because it's so laugh out loud funny.

As I'm trying out different forms of promotion and hopping from one blog to another and filling my brain with awesome tidbits of information, I was reminded of a particular episode of WKRP where they bombed their audience with turkeys.

The turkey "bombing" started very innocently with the very best of intentions - to give free turkeys to the radio station's listeners for Thanksgiving. There was a lot of build up and it looked as if the promotion would make a lot of people happy.

Then the unthinkable happened. The people in charge of the promotion did not research turkeys. They thought turkeys could fly and so they dropped them out of a helicopter onto their unsuspecting fans. Instead of floating down to their fans, the turkeys instead *bombed* the fans. The former fans panicked. They were horrified, maybe scared for their lives.

Instead of being a wonderful promotion, it was just the opposite.

Of course WKRP pushes the limits of comedy and is fictional.

I sincerely doubt any of my writing colleagues would drop live turkeys on their public to promote their books. The people I know personally agonize over their promotional efforts. At least they give sufficient consideration to avoid doing such idiotic things.

Sometimes, I still see some ill-thought-out promotion. Spamming, whether it's on Twitter or Yahoo Groups, turns people off. Speaking ill of someone certainly turns me off, in particular if there's name-calling and/or flame wars. This happens much too often in blog comments and email loops.

Before you launch a promotion, research any unknown facts. Put some thought into it. Don't mimic this fiasco intentionally or unintentionally and bomb your audience with turkeys and make them run for their lives. Sure you'll be remembered (this is probably the best-remembered episode of WKRP) but you'll wish you hadn't been the person to go down in history this way.

For your entertainment, here's the clip of the famous WKRP Thanksgiving Turkey Bombing. (No, I don't think it's funny if any living being is hurt - just the idiocy of the people involved - the turkeys are only talked about, not shown).

* Note: My husband claims this video had a virus so I deleted it. So sorry. You might be able to find it at http://www.youtube.com/ if you search for "WKRP in Cincinnati Turkey" or "WKRP in Cincinnati Turkey Bombing". Unfortunately, I don't know if all the copies there have a virus or not. I guess I was a turkey positing this. My apologies.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Don't Give Up Too Early

Do you have a story or a blog that seems hopeless? Perhaps sales are low for your book(s). Or your blog seems like the loneliest place on the planet. You feel like giving up, at least on that particular project.

Why throw away time and/or money on promoting that book? Why waste time on that blog?

Don't. Not without trying new things and giving it fertilizer.

About a year ago, a little palm tree I had planted looked dead. It was just an ugly, pathetic brown stick in front of my house. I almost pulled it up and threw it away. But then my daughters and I decided to give it another chance. We gave it new soil, plant food, and watered it daily.

Although it didn't sprout a new frond the first day or even the first week, it revived after a few weeks. Now it's a beautiful, healthy palm tree. This is a picture of it below. Pretty, right? Healthy, right?






Maybe you have a blog that isn't getting much traffic. Few people if any are signing up for subscriptions even though you put the nifty RSS feed in the top of your side bar. Or maybe you have a story that isn't selling well and you want to throw up your hands in defeat. You figure your time is better spent elsewhere on a new project.
 
Ask yourself first, have you given the project a fair trial? Have you tried new things? Does your blog need a face lift? If a blog, are you advertising it sufficiently? Are you posting good content? Is it aesthetically pleasing? Does it take too long to load? Have you posted links to your former posts to increase your page views? Do you post regularly? Do you answer comments and interact with your community? Do you ever give gifts to your readers? Do you help your readers or do you focus on yourself? Do you bore the shit out of them? Do you analyze your blog?

There are several analysis programs available, some free. I use StatCounter. To register at StatCounter click here. Once you're a member, you can view your daily and weekly summaries which includes how many new visitors, returning visitors, and page views your blog has had for this time period.

There are several links on the left sidebar that allows you to check which keywords people use to google your posts, show you where visitors surfed in from and how long they stayed, which links they exited on, etc. I found it quite interesting to see that people surfed into my site the most after using the search terms "naughty" and "nympho".  

Hmmm...

Perhaps I should use these keywords as labels more often. A lot of people surf in from Twitter. The times correlate with my posts that include my blog links. Surprise surprise.

As per book promotion and sales, I recently read that half of all marketing works but unfortunately you'll never know which half.

What does this mean?

It means to try many types of advertising and promotion then keep doing them. Try new things but keep doing the old ones, too. Most authors build a readership over time. It's a process. Few people are overnight successes.

Keep going.

Don't give up.
Former posts you might like to read also:


Snippet Saturday: Kick Ass Heroes and Heroines
Nudists on Strike
Kudos to Harlequin  (It's their anniversary month - lots of free books if you hurry)
Kenzie Michaels Guest Interview
Twitter Works Do You Really Want To Post That?

 
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. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Snippet Saturday: 1st Paragraphs

Today's Snippet Saturday theme is "First Paragraphs".

I looked through my first paragraphs and chose a few fun ones to brighten up your weekend.

First paragraphs are tough to write. They're supposed to hook your reader. Even before that they have to hook your acquiring editor.

Thus, you might have to polish (rewrite!) your first paragraph until you have it right. It's your audition and if you fail, you might not get another chance.

Truth, Justice

& The Vampire Way

Acid rose in Genevieve’s throat. Biting back a sigh, she shook her head with resignation. Pushing her dark sunglasses down the bridge of her nose, she hid her intense displeasure. Would she have to baby sit Constantine forever? Sometimes this vampire queen biz sucked!

Read an excerpt...

American Beauty

“You want me to pretend be what?” Brad Mueller shook his head. Maybe he should get his hearing tested. The Ft. Lauderdale criminal element had been using him as target practice a lot lately. Perhaps the ear-shattering gunfire had affected his eardrums more than he’d realized. He certainly couldn’t have heard what he thought he’d just heard.

Read an excerpt...

Purrfect Justice 
  

“Meow! Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”

Another creep fancies himself a stand up comic. Haley Yates rolled her eyes and suppressed a sigh. She took a long swig of the soda in her hands, about ready to spike it. Why, oh why did every cop with at least one drink in him think he was a comedian? They’d been meowing at her since she’d first crossed the threshold to the Ft. Lauderdale-Miami Policeman’s Halloween party. Read an excerpt... Here are several more great authors with lots more scintillating first paragraphs for you. Kelly Maher Jody Wallace Shelli Stevens Michelle Pillow Lauren Dane Leah Braemel Jaci Burton Elisabeth Naughton McKenna Jeffries Moira Rogers Taige Crenshaw Vivian Arend Juliana Stone Anya Bast Lacey Savage Shelley Munro Sasha White Former posts you might like to read also: Why Write Free Short Stories (How to) Send the Pirates to Davy Jones Locker How Long Does It Take To Be Published? Snippet Saturday: Kick Ass Heroes and Heroines Kudos to Harlequin Twitter Works 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. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fill-ins Edition 143

1. One week ago I was upset with a friend but now everything's okay with us and so I feel much better. 2. I rode horses, water-skiied, danced at the Disco all the time, and read Harlequin romances all the time when I was young. 3. Mama told me High-School would be my best years and that boyfriends took priority over girlfriends. I love my mom but I don't think that was the right advice, especially not the second part. 4. Forever you and me. 5. Take your time. It takes longer to do something over than to do it right the first time. 6. Today's troubles will pass! When God closes a door he opens a window. 7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the season premiers of Smallville and Ghost Hunter then working on my edit, tomorrow my plans include finishing my pre-edit and hopefully also my latest short story, and Sunday, I want to add a lot more words and possibly finish the first draft of my novel in progress - while at my daughter's softball tournament all day! Yipee! It's Rising Starz again. (No, I'm really not being sarcastic - I like it, I love watching the girls, I hope my daughter gets a scholarship to play ball out of his, but sitting outside in the sweltering Florida heat ALL DAY on a Sunday is draining - just the idea is already draining me.) Have a great weekend. I'll prepost here for the weekend - Snippet Saturday tomorrow and a scintillating post for Sunday about the writing life. Also, if you didn't catch my short story "A Hard Time" at the Long and Short Reviews, it's still up. So please hop over to the L&S Reviews for my free short story for you. Other writing, reading, and promo related posts by Ashley you may enjoy: Snippet Saturday: Kick Ass Heroes and Heroines Nudists on Strike Kudos to Harlequin Kenzie Michaels Guest Interview Twitter Works Do You Really Want To Post That?

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. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Free Short Stories: A Hard TIme

From time to time I write short stories and give them away as a gift to my readers. Today is one of those days. My short story "A Hard Time" releases at the Long & Short Reviews. It will be the spotlight short story for the next week. Then it will be archived and thus still available for reading. Free samples are good for business. It's a win-win for the reader as well. Readers get to sample the product, in this case my storytelling, without risk. What do I, the writer receive? Free advertising from the story itself of course. Also I get the joy of sharing my stories. I enjoy giving gifts to my readers. In this case, I also receive two months of an additional ad on the site. What a good deal for the author, the site, and especially for the reader. So please hop over to the L&S Reviews for my free gift to you. Other writing, reading, and promo related posts by Ashley you may enjoy: Snippet Saturday: Kick Ass Heroes and Heroines Nudists on Strike Kudos to Harlequin Kenzie Michaels Guest Interview Twitter Works Do You Really Want To Post That?

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. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Good things you get from writing

If you're a writer, what do you get out of writing? Writing, publishing, and promoting has improved my life, personal and professional in many ways. Please feel free to share in the comments how writing makes your life better. Here are several good things I get from writing. 1) Keep your mind active. Unfortunately, sometimes people who don't keep their minds active, get dimensia. A family friend is one. She rambled around her alone in her house for years, as far as we could tell, doing nothing. Eventually, she couldn't remember if she ate or took her medicine. It's a real shame. It's no guarantee that writing or another way to keep your mind active will prevent this, but that's the theory and seems to work. 2) Give you something worthwhile to do with your time now. 3) Makes you smarter. Writers do a lot of research. We have to stay current with our industry. We have to promote. To be an effective writer and promoter, we have to keep learning and researching new things. 4) If published, writing earns money to help our families, perhaps even enough to make a living. I'm not yet earning enough to say goodbye to my day job, but my writing certainly helps pay for the groceries and the occasional entertainment we wouldn't have otherwise. 5) Stay on the cutting edge of technology. Writers in today's world must know how to use computers, the Internet, and promote. We learn how to make our own websites, code html, use editing software such as tracking, power point, excel, word, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and many other computer-related programs. 6) Gives us a way to donate our work to help charitable efforts. Many authors give away free stories. Some conduct auctions and raise funds other ways with their writing. 7) Helps you to make friends - with other writers and readers. Some of my best friends are other writers. We work closely together. We commiserate about our triumphs, dreams, and woes. 8) It's fun to create new worlds and living vicariously, and so is going to writing conferences and meetings. 9) Writers can set their own schedules. Since I write as my second job, I do it evenings and weekends. I can do it when my children are asleep. I could sleep all day and write all night if I so choose. 10) Writing is portable. Writers can write anywhere in the world. And we can work with publishers and editors on the other side of the world, often with people we've never met in person. I live in Florida. One of my editors lives several states away. Our publisher lives in England. I could move anywhere in the world and not have to give up my writing job. It will travel with me wherever I go. 11) Writing makes me feel like I've accomplished something fantastic. Not just for now, but something that will stand for all time. When I am gone and buried, my stories will live on. People will still be able to enjoy them. They're my legacy to my children and their children and to all readers. 12) Writing makes the world a smaller, more intimate place. As I mentioned in number 10, I work with people around the world. I converse with friends I've made in Australia, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, England, Ohio, Indiana, etc. That's not to say writing and promotion isn't hard work. It is. Sometimes it's incredibly hard. Some edits have made me tear out my hair. Some stories have sat unfinished for a year or two until inspiration hits. But it's hard work I and many others love. We do it for the love of writing and storytelling. I feel very blessed that I am able to earn money to help my family doing something I love.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Send the pirates to Davy Jones Locker

The other day I reported that I was acosted by pirates. At the time, I was filled with rage and righteous indignation. How dare someone steal my work that I slaved over! I reported the thefts to my publishers and sought commisseration on Twitter. And then I calmed down and remembered this is something every published author, indeed every business owner encounters. That doesn't mean theft is acceptable, but it's part of working in retail business. I found the pirate through Google Alerts. I signed up for Google Alerts so I would know when someone mentioned me on their blog or when a new review of one of my books popped up. I didn't know at the time it would be very useful to catch people pirating my books as well. At the time, I had wondered how other authors knew precisely which day I mentioned them on my blog to pop up when they had never visited before. One of them shared this nugget of gold with me. It's time I share it with other authors. Google Alerts is very simple to use. First, I typed in www.google.com. Then I typed into the search bar, "Google Alerts". When the link popped up, I clicked on that. A screen came up to "Create a Google Alert". (Unfortunately, the screen I snagged refuses to show here.) Enter your search terms: i.e. "Ashley Ladd", "Astatalk" Select "type". I chose "Comprehensive". Select from the drop down menu "How often". I chose "Once a day" Enter your email: i.e. youremail@aol.com In the box called "Search terms" place the name or term you wish to track. Authors would want to watch for their pen names. They may also wish to put the name(s) of their book(s). You can also put the name of known pirate sites. After your information is entered, click on the "Create Alert" button. This message will come up: You must click on the verification link Google Alerts sends to your email to activate this program. Congratulations! You will begin receiving Google Alerts. Finding the pirates is only the first part of the job. Next you must convince them to stop violating your copyright. Many publishers, perhaps all, have a designated person at their company who deals with ebook pirates. Find out the process with your publisher and use it to report the pirate. At Total-E-Bound, there is a copyright abuse report form linked from every page of the sight. At Ellora's Cave there's a specific person to email the report. In addition to reporting the violation to your publisher, you should send a polite cease and desist notice to the site hosting your books without permission. Sometimes the site is only the host of a link from the actual pirate, so give them sufficient time to remove the link. Also, you may have to dig deeper to find the person who is giving away free downloads of your books without your consent and petition them to cease and desist their objectionable activity. Many sites post their procedure for reporting abuse so it is proper to follow that in addition to reporting the violation to your publisher(s). If all else fails after sufficient time has been granted, legal counsel and representation should be sought. Good luck. Hopefully none of your books will be pirated, but if they are, I hope these steps help. Ashley

Monday, September 21, 2009

Interview with author Jeanne St. James

Please welcome my guest today, erotic romance author Jeanne St. James. I'm thrilled to have her with me. Isn't her cover gorgeous? 1) In what genre do you like to read? Write? Why? I like to read a variety of romantic subgenres. I enjoy most erotic romances: paranormals and contemporaries. I even read some urban fantasy. Once I find an author I like I stick with her. I love to write m/f erotic or steamy contemporaries. I’ve just finished a m/m erotic novella and a ménage a trois (m/m/f), both of which are submitted to publishers. 2) What was your favorite fantasy as a child? Has it changed? If so, what is it now? Oh, boy. I guess my favorite fantasy as a child was to own an Arabian horse breeding/showing farm. That fantasy has long disappeared! Now, I’d say my fantasy is to stay home and write full time. I’m working on making that come true. 3) If you could choose what time period you lived in, what would it be? Why? Now. I love computers and the Internet and having running water. J 4) If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be? Why? Queen Elizabeth I. She was a very strong woman who overcame a lot of challenges. 5) What fictional character would you most like to have come to life? Why? Anita Blake. She is a kick-ass character who is not afraid of her sexuality. 6) What is your idea of the perfect man? My perfect man is one who knows what he wants and how to get it (without stepping on other people to obtain it). But I do love a man in uniform (police, fire, football players – LOL!). My fiancé is a State Trooper. He looks great in uniform. 7) What makes you laugh? Cry? What makes me laugh is stupid movies like Super Troopers or movies that Will Ferrell puts out. What makes me cry is sappy romance movies and when animals are abused. 8) If you couldn't be a writer, what else would you want to be? Why? A musician. I play the piano, but would love to play the drums AND I’d love to learn to play the violin. I would have an electric violin and just jam. 9) Do you have a mission in life? What is it? Why? To retire. J To write great books. I want to make people enjoy reading. 10) What are your thoughts on ebooks and epublishing? I think it’s the best thing since the Internet! Epublishing has opened up a whole new world for writers. Epublishers seem to be more open to different types of stories. And makes books more affordable and accessible for readers. I’d love to have an e-reader (soon, soon!). 11) How long have you been on Twitter and what do you think of it? I think about 8 months or so. I love it. It’s fun but can be time consuming. I don’t get on Twitter as often as I’d like. I don’t have a Blackberry so I have to be on the Internet to be on Twitter. 12) Besides Twitter, what else do you do to promote? I have a website at www.jeannestjames.com, a MySpace page at www.myspace.com/jeannestjames, a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jeannestjames, and a blog at www.jeannestjames.blogspot.com. But you can find me all over the Internet. 13) Do you have any appearances coming soon and if so where and when? I am doing guest spots and interviews all over the Internet. I actually can’t keep track. I have to keep a calendar. Keep an eye on my blog or my Facebook page. I will try to keep my appearances updated there. 14) What is your website? Blog? Publishers' website? My site: www.jeannestjames.com My blog: www.jeannestjames.blogspot.com My publisher: www.liquidsilverbooks.com 15) Tell us about your current book. Banged Up will be releasing on September 21st at Liquid Silver Books. You can read an excerpt on my website, but here’s the blurb: Two scarred souls: one physically, one mentally. Both on the mend, hiding from their pasts… Mace Walker can’t wait to get home. Being buried deep undercover for the past two years, on the most complex case of his career, has torn him down physically and mentally. Now the FBI agent has come home to recover after having his leg badly injured from a gunshot wound. Arriving home late one night, his relief is short-lived as he’s faced with a stranger pointing a gun to his head, acting like he is the one who doesn’t belong there! Colby Parks, a biochemist at the local university, had come to town a year earlier to escape an abusive relationship. She vows never to put herself in that situation again. Then the perfect opportunity comes along: house-sitting for Mace’s sister while making the house she purchased habitable. But she couldn’t anticipate this big snag: the one wearing the tight Levi’s and worn leather jacket, looking like he had just escaped prison. Being forced to share a house creates sparks between them in more ways than one. However, things take a turn when their pasts catch up to them, threatening to pull them apart forever. 16) Do you have more books coming out soon? What are they. Tell us about them. I have two manuscripts in the hands of publishers: my m/m erotic novella titled Rip Cord and my m/m/f ménage a trois erotic romance, Double Dare. Visit my website for more information and excerpts! 17) Is there anything else you'd like to share with us today? I’m a HUGE Steelers fan. Go Steelers! Thanks Jeanne! I'm not really into football but if I was, I'd root for the Begals or Dolphins, my home teams.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How long it takes for a book to be released once contracted

I just found a new blog of note: Ramblings of the Bearded One by Kim Ayres It's quite entertaining and the author talks about his home in Scotland from time to time and since I've always been fascinated by Scotland (ever since I read Harlequin romances set there when I was a kid and loved them) I joined its readership. I'm a fan. This post in particular caught my eye Well That's All Right Then. It asks a very important question to writers and needs to be addressed for writers who plan to be published. Mr. Ayres commented on a post by another blogger/author Khanh Ha entitled "Dear Author" about the length of time his contracted novel is projected to be published. Mr. Ha is speaking about his personal experience with this one book. He did not say all books take this long. As with everything else, some can take shorter, some the same, and some longer. As in this case, it can take a long time from having a book accepted for publication to actually be published. This is not always the case. It depends on the publisher. It depends on the publisher's schedule. It depends on a lot of different factors, one being if you're a first time author with that publisher or one already in their stable. It also depends on your editor, their schedule, their motivation, etc. The author herself can make the process longer if she's having trouble with the edit, personal problems, or not getting along with the editor. There could be outside factors like 911 or Hurricane Katrina. I'm a published writer of more than 40 stories. I've had stories published within three months of their contracted date. That's very quick and unusual but it has happened. I've had stories that took three + years to finally make it to publication. That felt like forever and I seriously doubted that story would make it to publication, but it finally did. The only thing that kept my sanity during that process was having other books published in the interim and works in progress that kept me busy. This book was not with a publisher that was new to me, but it had gone through four editors. Yes FOUR. At least two of the editors left the company during this time. Another had too many authors so had to lighten her plate, and the fourth finally brought it to publication. This is the only story where editors were switched mainstream, so I have to count myself very lucky. At a different company, I've had the same editor for two years and more than twenty stories. My norm from acceptance of the story to publication is about 6 months. Last month I contracted three stories. Their release dates are March, April, and May 2010 respectively. Not bad. In fact, it can be a problem also if the time between acceptance and publication is short. The author needs times for edits (in particular if she has multiple stories contracted that require editing plus other small things on her plate like kids, husband, a day job...) and promotion. Marketing (for me anyway) is tougher than writing the book. Typically, the newer the publisher, the more you write for a publisher, the sooner publication tends to take place. Or sometimes, another author can't deliver on time and if your book is ready, they'll push your book through the process much faster. This happened to me once at the same publisher that took more than three years to publish the other novel. Whereas it was nice in one way, it threw off my marketing plan since I was given notice only a couple weeks before it was released when I was setting up promotion six months out. I panicked for at least a few minutes after finding out. When I was a newly published first time author, a much more experienced author told me I needed to start my marketing efforts nine months in advance or not be able to effectively promote the book. I've since discovered this is probably true if the book being published has a shelf-life of two months. If it's an ebook also, they live a lot longer so the time crunch is not as pressing. Still, it's good if you can have a decent amount of promotion in place to greet the new book and make readers aware of its existence. Fortunately, nowadays the Internet and its social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo Groups helps tremendously for fast and inexpensive promotion. The reason I write this post is to enlighten pre-published and newly published authors with only a couple contracts under your belt. I hate to see someone who wants to be published be scared off because the time *might* sound prohibitive. Remember also that once you contract that book, you should be working on the next. Then submit that and start working on yet another book. Once you're into the cycle of having several books in various stages of the publishing process you won't worry that one specific book is taking a year or two years to be released. A writing friend of mine that you've probably heard of, Holly Jacobs, advised when I first started writing, you should have at least seven works submitted at a time. In other words, keep writing, keep submitting, keep promoting. You'll be too busy to stress out about any one particular project. Of course a brand new writer won't have seven works to submit at once. Don't wait until you have seven to submit one, but once the ball is rolling, keep going. Don't stop.

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. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Snippet Saturday: Kicking Ass excerpts

TGIS!

Thank God It's Saturday. Saturday means I don't have to go to the day job, so I'm FREE! Free to work on my books. Free to have fun. Free to sleep in.

It also means it's time for Snippet Saturday. Today's theme is "Kick Ass Protagonists". Thus, here's a treat from my vampire romance "Blessed Be" published by Ellora's Cave and prequel to "Truth, Justice, & The Vampire Way".

An Excerpt From: BLESSED BE

© Copyright ASHLEY LADD, 2004.

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave, Inc.

“I see you’ve let that mangy cat inside now. I should call the Health Department. Or maybe I should just take him to animal control.” The sneer on Gerald’s lips leapt to his eyes. He snatched the cat and sprinted for the door.

The tomcat screeched and clawed frantically at Gerald’s face, drawing blood, forcing Gerald to drop him in a heap at his feet. Then it tore off across the room, its eyes glowing oddly silver in the dim light.

A look of utter amazement etched comically across the doctor’s countenance as blood clung to his fingers after he touched his torn cheek. “That does it. He’s going to the pound tonight. Or maybe I’ll just tie an anchor around his neck and sink him to the bottom of the ocean.”

“No! Don’t you dare touch my cat.” Chloe dove for the cat.

The vile Gerald scooped up the struggling, spitting creature first.

The door burst open, and the vampire from Chloe’s dream stamped inside. A legion of wicked-looking dwarfs hobbled closely behind, big ears sticking out, long hair billowing behind them. The raven-haired woman pointed a talon-like finger at Chloe and leered. “Take her back to the manor. Alive.”

Chloe gasped, her heart ready to burst from her chest and her respiration became shallow. She faced off against the trespasser, planting her feet wide apart. “You can’t be real.”

One of the hunch-backed ogres batted Chloe’s feet out from under her, so that she fell to the floor and thumped her head. Intense pain slashed through her, stealing her breath.

The cat let out a horrible screech and before her eyes, transformed into Luke, just as he always looked in her dreams.

Blinking, Chloe couldn’t believe her eyes. She had to be dreaming. Cats didn’t transform into humans. Luke was dead. The vampire was a figment of her dreams. Yet Gerald and Shawanda also stared open-mouthed at the ensemble.

“Who are you?” Chloe finally found her voice and gouged the fiend in his eyes, making him howl as he retreated.

“I know karate!” Shawanda threatened, shrieking and swinging her leg in a high kick.

The vampire merely chuckled and flew into the air, avoiding the blow easily. Hissing, her fangs burst from her gums. She punched the nurse, reeling her backward into Gerald who was cowering in the corner.

Furious, Chloe threw the phone at the cackling vampire who ducked so that the phone smashed through the window. “What do you want from us?”

“I want you to leave Lukas alone. He’ll never be mine as long as you’re alive.” The vampire swooped down on her, scooping Chloe into her strong arms.

Luke delivered a deadly chop to the attacker, making her drop Chloe. Cursing loudly, he caught Chloe just before she hit the floor. “Are you okay, darlin’?”

Confused, dazed, Chloe shook her head. “Yes. No. You were a cat…you flew in the air…”

“Shhhh. I’ll explain everything as soon as I take care of Anika. Will you be okay for a moment?”

“Long as one of those things doesn’t try to devour me.” Chloe couldn’t stop staring at Luke. He couldn’t really be here. Or maybe she was dead. If so, this obviously wasn’t heaven. And yet, what could be more heavenly than to be held in Luke’s arms one more time?

“You’ll be okay for a few moments? You’re not going to faint on me?”

She touched her fingertips to her spinning head, feeling like she was being sucked into a force five tornado. It felt heavy but she wasn’t in danger of passing out. “Yeah. I think so.”

Luke brushed a kiss across her lips shooting volts of electricity through her and laid her back gently. “I’ll return shortly.”

“Promise?” On second thought, she wasn’t at all fine. She was talking to a ghost and envisioning vampires and all manners of monsters. It was probably all a bizarre dream, but it had a very real quality to it that alarmed her.

“Promise.” His eyes glowed silver and he lifted his head and howled, an earsplitting, inhuman sound that sent chills through her.

“Damn you to hell, Anika! I will have your head for this.” The vigor in Luke’s voice made Chloe blink and shrink back from him.

Anika hovered high overhead, her eyes glittering darkly. “As you are so fond of telling me, Lukas, we’re already in hell. Your threats mean little to me.” She dissipated into mist and shimmered away.

Luke swore under his breath and turned to Gerald and Shawanda. He approached them furtively but non-threateningly. He waved a hand over their eyes, which instantly glazed over. “You need to sleep now. When you awaken, you will think this was a dream.”

Chloe absorbed his words, turning them over in her mind. Luke controlled dreams? So, maybe she hadn’t been hallucinating. Maybe all her fantasies had been real, cloaked in the auspices of dreams. Struggling to her feet gingerly, her head still reeled and her heart raced. A jumble of emotions threatened to tear her up. “You promised me an explanation. Am I dreaming? Was I dreaming all those other times? Are you real?”

Luke rejoined her, supporting her to the couch in her private office. “Let me settle those two and I’ll be right back.”

Fear that he wouldn’t return grasped her and she grabbed at his hand that felt very durable and not the least bit transient. She let her hand slip to his warm wrist and felt for a pulse. To her dismay, she didn’t detect a single beat. “Don’t leave. Explain first. I don’t understand. If you’re real, why have you pretended you were dead? Why did you leave me?”

"Blessed Be" and it's sequel "Truth, Justice & The Vampire Way" are available at Ellora's Cave.

Don't miss the rest of the kick ass excerpts by the Snippet Saturday authors.

Jody Wallace
Jaci Burton
Elisabeth Naughton
Moira Rogers 
Taige Crenshaw
Lauren Dane
Victoria Janssen
Vivian Arend
TJ Michaels
Juliana Stone
Lacey Savage
Eliza Gayle
 Sasha White
Shelli Stevens
Shelley Munro

Read last week's Saturday Snippets about World building.

Then don't miss my other post today at the RomErotica Writers blog. I'm talking about "The Power of 3 (4, and More)" when writers work together.


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. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fill-ins edition #142

1. My car is paid off and I love having no car payments.

2. "Recipe for Disaster", my romance at www.total-e-bound.com is coming up next. It's scheduled to be released Monday October 5th.

3. Lately, things seem like somebody is sticking pins in voodoo dolls of everybody I know. Everybody is having some kind of major problem.

4. When I was a kid, my treehouse in the woods behind my house or the cubby hole under the basement stairs was my favorite hiding place. Now the movie theater is one of my favorite 'hiding' places.

5. What happened to disco, CBs, and all the fun things we did in the 70's?

6. Selling short stories and books is not impossible! Keep writing, keep submitting, keep trying! You'll get published if you really want it and work hard.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to swimming at the gym, work on my novel, and blog a lot, tomorrow my plans include swimming and working out at the gym and finishing my newest short story and submitting it to the Long & Short Review site, and Sunday, I want to swim and work out at the gym and work on my novel!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Be sure to check out my post today "The Power of 3 (4, or More)" at

http://romeroticawriters.blogspot.com/ It's about writers working together to multiply their power.

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. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nudists on strike

This is officially a Halloween costume. It could also be a picture of erotic writers on strike. Or erotic writers with a severe case of writer's block. If you're a writer with writer's block, what can you do to break the block? Surf the web for fun things like this to blog about or just to kill time. The web is full of ideas. Go for a walk or a swim. Any form of exercise gets your adrenaline flowing and your mind working. Brainstorm. This can be done alone or with a friend. Write down as many ideas as you can, at least twenty, no matter how far fetched. This can be done for the major plot ideas and also for scenes within the story. Enjoy sex with your partner. Lots of ideas for erotic stories evolve during sex. Eavesdrop on conversations. Sit anywhere in a busy mall and listen to people. Jot down notes. You can also observe different character types and make up mini stories for each. The mall is full of diverse people. If you go on a weekend and sit in the food court, you'll find plenty of character descriptions. Read book and articles. If you're at the doctor's office pick up a magazine you wouldn't normally read. This also makes you a better rounded person as well as open up new ideas out of your normal sphere of influences. Ditto for movies. Relax and watch a movie at home. Keep a notepad and pen or recording device available at all times. Jot down notes of anything story worthy for future reference. Take plenty of pictures. This is also good for future reference for story ideas, blog posts, and Twitter Twit Pics. Keep a log of story ideas. Once you finish a story, if a new one doesn't come to you right away, no worries. You already have a list of stories waiting to be worked on. If you can, take a vacation. Visit new places. See new people. Experience new things. Everything is food for stories. It doesn't have to be a week or two. Even a day trip to a new place can spark new ideas. Play. Have fun. Relax. Stress can inhibit your creativity. Maybe you just need a small break to rejuvenate.

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. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kudos to Harlequin: Job well done

Harlequin has long been a top romance publisher: 60 years long. This month they're celebrating they're 60th anniversary and YOU benefit if you're a romance reader. Harlequin is not only giving away one free book, but several, one for each of their lines. How cool is that? The only catch is that you must go soon to take advantage of this offer. Here's the link: Harlequin Not only is Harlequin giving away free books so readers can sample their wares, they have a very friendly and fun interactive sight. You can be the heroine or hero in your own short story. Type in your name, the name of your hero or heroine, 3 of your personality traits (from a list), the place in the world you want your romance set (i.e. the Australian outback, NYC, the Caribbean), and push submit. YOUR story pops up immediately. The stories I made were a little corny, but cute. After signing up at Harlequin, you may be selected to be part of their reader panel to give feedback on their products. How smart is this? Very. Not all companies have the financial means to be so generous, but a lot of other companies who do are not this innovative. Check it out now, before it's too late. The free Harlequin ebooks that is. these are full-length novels, not mini stories or mere excerpts. Go to Harlequin.

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. :)

Website Content and Copy: Ashley Ladd, 2008.|Blog Design by JudithShakes Designs.
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