Friday, March 09, 2007

Surprise Blog--Lisa Childs

Harlequin American Romance is acquiring. You heard Kathleen say it in her post! This line is happening. You'll see books from established authors new to the line (Lisa Childs, Roxann Delaney, Cathy McDavid, Tanya Michaes) in 2007-2008 and you'll see a new, first sale author (we'll post more on her after March 17). You'll see those authors being added to this blog on a permanent basis in the upcoming months.

Right now, here's Lisa Childs, and I'll turn it over to her!

Hi, I’m Lisa Childs. I’ve written for Harlequin Intrigue, Harlequin NeXt, Silhouette Nocturne and now Harlequin American. I’m thrilled to be writing for Harlequin American with some of my favorite authors. My four book series, THE WEDDING PARTY, will be released in 2008.

When four old school friends reunite for one’s wedding, romance ensues between everyone but the intended bride and groom. UNEXPECTED BRIDE Abby Hamilton is used to getting blamed for everything that goes wrong in Clover, Michigan – that’s why she ran away eight years ago and never returned until her best friend asked her to stand up in her wedding. She agreed to be a bridesmaid, never a bride. Clayton McClintock isn’t thrilled Abby’s back in Clover; she’s always been a troublemaker. But now he’s the one having trouble resisting her and her adorable daughter.

In THE BEST MAN’S BRIDE, Dr. Nick Jameson never gets a chance to hand off the ring to the groom, but he finds himself tempted to slip one on the finger of the bride’s younger sister, Colleen McClintock. Too bad watching his friend get hurt has made him even more mistrusting of women.

In FOREVER HIS BRIDE jilted groom Dr. Adam Towers isn’t too upset to find himself left at the altar with the maid of honor, Brenna Kelly. While Brenna is attracted to the groom, she knows her friend will come to her senses and claim her man and his cute twin boys. Despite loyalty and friendship, she finds herself falling for Adam and his sons.

FINALLY A BRIDE Molly McClintock ran out on the wrong man into the arms of the right one. But Eric South isn’t convinced that anyone, let alone Molly, can love him and his scars. She’s already broken one engagement with Eric since she first promised to marry him when they were in second grade. Can he trust her to finally be his bride?


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Writing for Fun or Profit?

Two events made me think about writing commercial fiction; first, our lunch group (comprised of seven published and unpublished authors) is going back to our roots as a critique group. Second, I’m presenting my workshop “Writing a Synopsis That Sells” in Austin on April 10. Both critiques and synopses are necessary only if you are trying to sell your writing project. If you are writing for the pleasure of the process, you don’t need either. (In my opinion, of course!)

Critiques can be a tricky thing. Whoever is critiquing your work, whether they are multi-published or non-published readers, gives you their opinion and brings their own experience and preferences. Hopefully, they will let you know if something is a personal preference rather than a universally held truth. For example, I don’t like romances where there are two possible love interests for the heroine. (This was quite popular years ago.) That doesn’t mean some very wonderful books can’t be written with this premise. I would always tell a person I was critiquing that, if their book contained two possible heroes, it wasn’t my personal favorite. However, in another example, if someone wrote an ending to a romance where one hero and one heroine didn’t have a happy ending, I would tell them this was not workable in commercial romance fiction. The happy ending is a rule in romance. It’s one of the reasons I absolutely love reading and writing romance novels.

A synopsis is often prefaced with “dreaded,” which I don’t understand because I love to write synopses! I sold my first two books – one a historical and the other a short contemporary – on a synopsis and three chapters. I always write a synopsis before I write the book because I must. I’m not a “pantser,” who writes “from the seat of their pants.” This is a perfectly legitimate method, but it’s not mine. So, my synopsis serves as an outline to the story, defines the characters, shows motivation, action and reaction, the black moment, and the resolution.

Here’s the “commercial” part – if you’re not trying to sell your work, you don’t need to put yourself through a critique or write a synopsis. You can create what you want in any format, style or length you want, without putting yourself through hoops. That’s the joy of writing non-commercial fiction. The only problem may come when you try to mix the two! If your heart is set on selling to Harlequin, for example, there are limits to content, length, sensuality, etc. for each line. On the other hand, if you write for the joy of the written word, then don’t feel you must ever fit the mold.

Writing can be a wonderful hobby or a wonderful career. Happy writing, whatever you choose to pursue.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Old Dishes

My mom has a dozen off the most unique and beautiful plates I’ve ever seen. Her father—my grandpa— bought them for her when she was newly married. They were wandering around the Jewish section of New York City when Mom saw the big, dark-blue plates with scenes of people in the woods, on the mountains, farming, and other outdoor settings. The details are slightly raised and hand painted. Mom wanted these plates, which are about one-third larger than normal dinner plates and were designed to hang on the wall, for Thanksgiving. Her father bought them for her. We ate off them just once that I remember, back when I was a little girl. Using those plates felt so special. Recently Mom asked if I wanted the set. Do I ever! We live far apart, she in Indianapolis and I in Seattle, so she’s having them carefully wrapped and shipped to me.

I plan to use them more often than Mom did. But what if we chip one? That’s a fear I have. My grandpa wouldn’t want me to worry about that. He’d say what he always used to say, “Use them in the best of health.” And I will, but carefully.

They’ll have to be hand-washed, too, but that’s a small price to pay. The warmth I feel from this gift is deep and lovely. I’ve never considered myself sentimental, but I guess I am. It’ll be as if my grandpa, who died in 1976, were here with us.

Anyone out there feel sentimental about certain inanimate objects? Please share your stories because I’d love to know I’m not alone.

Ann Roth
It Happened One Wedding, April, 2007
Another Life, April, 2007

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Just go with the flow!

I left town before sunrise this morning, traveling half the state away to take a test for what I do when I'm not writing, AKA the day job.

Performance test, they call it. Ha! Stress test, those of us who know better say.

I've lived through this torture before, you see, and first time around, I did stress. I studied, practiced, agonized. Tore hair, gnashed teeth, sweat blood.

This time, I said, "Forget it. I'm just gonna wing it."

And I did.

Funny thing was, this time, I felt better. I have no idea about my test results, but it felt good just to go with the flow.

"Flow" is a word that's been kicked around in psychology circles for a while now. According to the literature, flow is something you get. Something you experience. Something that is produced by doing something you really want to do.

In other words, when you're truly involved in a job or a task or a hobby, you lose yourself in the moment.

You get flow.

You could be at the office creating the perfect spreadsheet or at home polishing silverware to a diamond-bright glare. You could be cooking, painting a sunset, grouting the tub, or teaching your three-year-old to tango. You could be lazing in a hammock watching the fluttering progress of a nearby butterfly.

What you're doing doesn't matter. What's important is how you feel when you're doing it. If time stops for you, you're in flow.

That happens to me when I'm writing. Hours can go by; I don't notice. The world could go away; I wouldn't care. Heck, I can miss a meal when I'm writing—and if you knew me, you'd realize that's a very big deal! Food doesn't matter when I'm wrapped up in something I truly enjoy.

When I'm winging it.

When I've got my flow.

You know when you've got yours, too. And I'd love to hear when that is.

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille