Monday, December 26, 2011

We wish you a Happy New Year!

As we get ready to say good-bye to 2011 and welcome the new year, I'm grateful for the many new experiences and life lessons learned this year. Most of all, I'm grateful to welcome 2012 with these three gorgeous people in my life. Hubby and I could not be more proud of the young men and woman they are growing up to be. They are the reason we smile (and pull our hair out every day) and the motivating factor to be better people every day.

We wish you all a avery happy and prosperous new year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Book releases, awards and reviews, oh my!

So many great things going on today and this week in general as the holiday fast approaches and I do my best to close out the last projects in my inbox so I can enjoy it with the family without work interruptions. I'm the queen of lists so here we go:

  1. New Releases from Clients Today: Click on covers to purchase books
    • Battered Hearts: Defying the Odds Book 1 - by Kele Moon is available for purchase today. This steamy holiday tale will certainly keep you warm throughout the holiday and is features a sinfully delicious UFC fighter with a heart of gold and a body that won't quit!
      Book blurb: When struggling waitress Melody Dylan gives a handsome, lonely stranger a simple gift she has no clue her life is about to take a drastic turn.

      The stranger ends up being Clay Powers, a famous UFC heavyweight fighter. Clay’s large build and dangerous fists have always intimidated. People in his hometown keep their distance and Clay is fine with that. Everything changes when a new waitress at the local diner buys him a piece of pie on Thanksgiving. Touched by the gesture when it’s obvious she can barely afford to survive, her warm smile and lush body churn up powerful feelings that leave Clay wanting more from her than pie.

      Melody is running from her past and the small, country town of Garnet is the perfect hiding place. With an ex-husband after her and scars from her abusive marriage etched deep, the last thing she expects is to fall for a man who makes a living with his fists, but she can’t resist Clay or the tender connection they share.

      Finding love in the most unlikely of places, the passion is undeniable, but Clay and Melody know their haunted pasts and unpredictable futures leave the odds stacked against them.
    • The Vampire and the Werewolf by Louisa Bacio is also available for purchase today. This prequel to her very successful The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf series features her gorgeous and darkly delicious vampire and werewolf before their lives were forever changed by the enigmatic Lily made them a family.
      Book blurb: Vampires and werewolves don't mix ... or do they?
      Before there were three, there were two. When a vampire swoops in to save Trevor from a rogue gang's blood sport, the werewolf must fight his own inhibitions. The magic of New Orleans and the holiday season bring together these two unlikely lovers.

  2. Awards and Accolades:
    • Rainbow Awards - So proud of client Heidi Cullinan for her THREE awards:
      • Nowhere Ranch: First Place, Best Gay Erotic Contemporary
      • Dance With Me: Honorable Mention, Best Gay Contemporary Romance
      • Nowhere Ranch: Third Place, Best Character Development
    • So excited to see that The Rainbow Awards made history this year and were featured on the website. Love to see these authors getting the recognition they deserve!

  3. Reviews Are In:
    • Valiant One by Jay E. Hughes gets 4 hearts from The Romance Studio. This Historical M/M Romance, dubbed the Gay Braveheart, is one you do not want to miss!
      Valiant One surprised me. I do not know what I expected but what I found was better than any expectations I have.
    • The Chameleon Goggles by Maureen O. Betita gets 5 stars from The Romance Reviews and awards it a Top Pick!
      THE CHAMELEON GOGGLES was unlike anything I've ever read before. With a combination of steampunk and pirates, [piratepunk] it was full of adventure and fantasy, [with] an underlying love story.
    • Finding Eden by Kele Moon gets 5 hearts from MM Good Bok Reviews.
      "Highly recommend to anyone who wants an intense love story between two young men, trying to find themselves and each other."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Career Paths: Livejournal Writer's Block

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

I'm almost in the career path I've always wanted. I love working with authors and working in the publishing industry so being an agent has certainly been the right step for me. I love public speaking though so I'd love to be one of those folks that travel across the country talking and teaching about some of the things I'm passionate about: writing, family and GLBT issues.

Originally posted on here

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Queries Update

Have finally gone through all of my queries. If you have not received a reply from me, please resubmit the work after the new year when I re-open to submissions. I tried to reply to all queries received but I'm sure I missed a few so forgive me if your work was not acknowledged or replied to. A few folks have been gracious enough to poke me nicely about their submissions and I truly appreciate it.

I hope to re-open to submissions in a few weeks (mid-January) and will update this blog with new submission requirements and what I will be shopping for at the time so keep watching this space. Lots of great stuff coming up in 2012!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Go vote for Damon Suede!

Did you know Damon Suede's made it to the finals in the Goodreads Best of 2011 contest? Did you know he's the ONLY M/M author in the romance category to reach this feat? Go vote! It's time the romance category got some real diversity, don't you think?


Vote now for your favorite books!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Are you an active listener?

Active listening
is a communication technique that requires the listener to understand, interpret, and evaluate what they hear. - Wikipedia

Listen, Understand, ActImage by highersights via FlickrIf you've ever wanted to learn how to communicate effectively, sit among a group of teenagers. If your words can get through all of the noise around them (literally not just metaphorically as they're usually listening to music while texting and updating their Facebook page) then you may just be an effective communicator.

I'm surrounded by teens at least once a week, if not more, as my kids are notorious for bringing their friends over, using my house as a hang-out place or just a place they can come and be "themselves". Hubby and I are very open-minded and encouraging of our kids to look at all of the sides of a situation before accepting anything they hear or see as "fact" and their friends tend to enjoy that about being in our company. Doesn't hurt we have HD TV, high-speed Internet, a Wii and XBox 360, but I digress! Teenagers like to come over mainly because they can act and say what they feel without worry their parents, family members are going to judge them for their words.

Listen twice as much as you speak. It's crucial to be an active listener before you can be an effective communicator. Active listening means you don't just pay attention to the words thrown at you. It means you can listen without judgment. You take in the information presented and store it for future interpretation and evaluation but at the moment the words are received, you simply absorb. Become a sponge for the words and allow the person "venting" to really get their thoughts off their chest. 

Active listening also means you don't offer opinion or rebuttal without asking if it's expected. When I talk to my teenagers, I always tell them "I'm going to listen as a Mother and a friend but I'm always going to respond to you as a Mother. Do you want a response or do you just want to vent?" Everyone deserves to be heard but not everyone expects a response. Part of being an effective communicator is making sure the other person knows what is expected of the verbal exchange.

Know your audience and speak to the audience. If a response is expected, if the person venting says, "yes, I want to hear your thoughts" then take a moment to gather your own thoughts and sift through the responses before vocalizing them. Having diarrhea of the mouth is never pretty. Take the information you've received and provide your opinion without malice. You may not agree with their viewpoint or thought process but saying "you're an idiot for thinking that" is not really going to help move the conversation forward. Instead, think about the person receiving your feedback and how they may interpret it. If you're unsure about that, simply ASK them! "Do you understand what I'm saying?"

My grandmother used to tell me people speak with their mouths but listen with their hearts. Is what you're saying touching their heart or skewering it?
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

What do you mean I have to edit my manuscript? It's perfect!

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Findler

I don't usually create a formal editorial letter for my clients' works but I tend to make comments throughout the manuscript with both constructive criticism as well as praise for things I've loved. Before sending your manuscript to agents, editors, publishers, give it a quick once-over for these common editorial missteps:
  1. That and Which - I despise these words. I use them sparingly in my own writing and speech as I consider them unnecessary most of the time. If you're trying to tighten your manuscript, removing these words is a great first step. Read the next sentence and tell me if you need the word.
    • Sara knew that she would get more from Adam if she softened her words. 
    • Now re-read the sentence without the word: Sara knew she would get more from Adam if she softened her words. Did you even notice the word was gone? Probably not. Before submitting your manuscript, go through and remove these superfluous words.
  2. Repetitive Words are Repetitive - Remove and/or change similar words in a paragraph if they appear more than once. Definitely remove them when repeating in a sentence (unless it's necessary for dialogue, inflection or characterization). 
    • Example: Carmela was lost in thought watching the waves roll in, her weapon tucked safely against her thigh. The pounding of the rolling waves made a soundtrack to the rolling memories of the previous night. Are your eyes rolling yet? If I read one more "roll" in this paragraph, I'd roll someone's head off their shoulders! 
    • Rephrase: Watching the waves roll in, Carmela was lost in thought. With her weapon tucked safely against her thigh, she let her mind drift to thoughts of the previous night, finding the sound of the waves pounding the rocks below her a fitting soundtrack. Or something along those lines. I just threw these sentences together but you get the idea.
  3. Passive Voice is Not your Friend - Don't use it. Period. If your character is always getting ready to perhaps do something, maybe... you're going to anger your reader and annoy your agent/editor. Passive voice also leads to "telling" and "telling" leads to the Dark Side of the force.
    • Example:  The enormous picture window was broken in the struggle. (Thanks @ashlynkane who provided the example.)
    • Rephrase: The enormous picture window broke in the struggle. This is probably a poor example of a rephrase as the context of the paragraph may lend to rewriting the sentence altogether: In the struggle for control of the weapon, a single shot pierced the glass of the enormous picture window in the corner.
  4. To Prologue or Not to Prologue - It doesn't matter to me whether you have a prologue or not. I know some editors and agents prefer to either have or not have them (most I know prefer NOT to have them) but it really doesn't matter to me if it works with the context of the story. Don't call your first chapter a prologue if it doesn't give necessary insight into a character's past, for example. Don't label your prologue, Chapter 1 if it's really the start of the story.
  5. Hook, hook, where's the hook? - If your hook is as buried in your manuscript as this section in this blog post, you're doing it wrong. Your hook should capture the reader and "hook" them in. Your story should engage the reader and keep them turning those pages from the first. If your hook is buried in the second chapter, you've lost the opportunity to keep the reader reading. In some instances, if your hook is not on the first page, you've already lost me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Digital Publishing Does Not Equal Sub-par Quality

A lot of what I do involves editing works from my clients. If the work is not clean when I get it, I have no qualms about sending it back to them for a quick polish and reserve line editing manuscripts to those works I know need just a little extra push to make them submission-worthy. After all, I don’t want my name or my client’s name attached to a sub-par manuscript. Sometimes, editing takes a little longer than my client is willing to wait. Believe me, it’s worth the wait!

Now, I’m going to say something here some folks may not like but… *shrugs* It’s the truth.

Digital Publishing does not equal sub-par quality publishing any more than Traditional Publishing equals quality publishing. I’ve read crappy books in both and even more in the Self Publishing arena but I’ve also read some fantastic gems as well. Just because your digital publisher can publish your work in less than 12 months (in some instances) it does not mean the quality of the work published has to suffer. The story has to be good. Period. If your agent, critique partner, editor say “it’s not ready”, don’t take it as an affront. Gird those loins with a bigger set of draw’rs and clean up the work. We’re doing it for your own good… and for our own as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Aging Process

This weekend I realized I'm crossing another milestone in my life. I'm approaching the middle-aged years and while these may seem scary years for some, I welcome this new stage in my life as I have every other stage I've come across. As a child, I couldn't wait to grow up and every year, I'm more excited about the coming experiences. I even get excited when new white hair sprout on my head. I don't dye my hair and don't plan to. I look forward to the day I have the crown of white hair my grandmother had. I'm not eager to be a grandmother and my children are well-aware of this fact but I don't fear aging. I truly welcome it.

Christmas 2009
The thing about aging is... others age just as fast. This weekend, for the first time, I noticed how much my parents have truly aged. They're 61 and both look fantastic and have always looked young, not just to me but to others too. When people would look at pictures of my father, they couldn't believe he was in his fifties in the photos. Yesterday, he came over to take my daughter with him to the shooting range and for the first time, I realized... he's old. It wasn't just what he was wearing, he's starting to thin out in places like his legs and arms. Arms and legs that have done martial arts for 45 years shouldn't start to look frail, should they? My brain tells my heart to stop being melodramatic and accept that aging is a part of life but seeing it in my parents... it's tougher than I thought it would be.

Mom & I, 1974
Then last night, after coming home from the ER with daughter who slammed her fingers in the garage door, I stopped in to check on my mom (my parents live next door to me) and she was anxious. Wringing her hands and just worried, not just about her granddaughter but because she cracked the stovetop after leaving a burner on, she didn't remember turning on. She's been having these little episodes where she forgets things and I know her mind takes her to seeing her own parents' and mother-in-law long road with Alzheimer's. I don't think she's getting senile yet but seeing that fear in her eyes... it was rough.

I'm now becoming the parent... already am to my children and now moving into that role for my own parents.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Weekend Update

Talk about having a day full of anything and everything.

I've had to get on the kids and husband about cleaning and keeping up with their chores. This weekend, I made sure to lead by example. This weekend, I washed 10 loads of laundry, cleared out mine and hubby's closets and dresser, cleaned my bathroom, kitchen and made dinner three nights. I didn't get any of the reading I wanted to get done but still managed to submit 2 manuscripts and talk 2 authors down. Did I mention my sister also came over for dinner? Yeah, lots done! Was awesome!

Today, I slept in for a bit and decided to just manage email for the agency but devote rest of the day to really relaxing. Unfortunately, my kids and my knee thought otherwise. The kids woke coughing and sneezing and i had mild body aches--summer cold. Nooooo! Gave everyone some cough meds and sat down to work with my coffee and bowl of cereal. Around noon, Hubby woke and went to the store to pick up some sandwich stuff. As I went to stand up from the table after lunch, I turned one way while my knee turned the other. I haven't twisted my knee like this in a year so the pain felt stronger than I remember it.

A few hours later, as hubby left for work, daughter went to close the garage door and the door fell on her hands. She came in crying out in that silent scream babies do when they're really hurt and the pain chokes the sound out of their scream. I thought she'd broken her hands. Quick trip to Centra Care found she just had contusions in 2 of the fingers on her left hand which a splint helped. She's excused from physical activity until Friday but she's upset because this week is the try-out for the ROTC drill team and she may not be able to twirl the rifle correctly with her left hand.

So... That's the highlights of my weekend. Back to work tomorrow so I suppose I should get to bed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Change to Submission Guidelines

ClosedIn order to get through all of the queries received to date and be able to continue to serve my current clientele, I will need to close my submission queue.
I will be closed to queries starting July 15, 2011 through end of the year.

All queries received prior to Friday, July 15th will be responded to but all received on and after July 15th, will be auto-deleted.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Call me Spin Master Fresh, yo!

11A: Pratos chinos / spinning platesImage by fonso via Flickr
I was talking with one of my clients this weekend about the importance of time management in our lives and how it's not just about managing your time but the quality of that time. I'm usually pretty good about managing to keep all of the plates spinning or balls in the air but today it's felt like a daunting task. I think it's harder to stick to my routine when anyone is sick at home. This week, I have 2 of the kids down with a cold and hubby too. The kids being sick is not as bad considering they spend most of the day sleeping and playing their handheld video games but when hubby is sick... well, that just throws all kinds of monkey wrenches into my schedule.

Those of you who have gotten to know me a little better know that I have schedules for everything. My schedules even have schedules and I truly live by my Google Calendar. I keep tasks and deadlines on it, jot down birthdays and events and since my iPad is a permanent fixture in everything I do, I'm always aware of my schedule and what I need to get done. I wouldn't be able to get anything done if I didn't.

So what's the difference between time management and quality of that time management? Simple, when you look at your schedule does it make you feel bogged down? Are you dedicating enough time to your well-being in that schedule as you are to your obligations? If not, then the quality of your time management sucks and needs to change. In my schedule I add things like "Read for fun", "Stand up", "Date Night". The quality of my time needs to be as important as the things that get done during that time.

Authors forget to schedule times like these for themselves and I often find myself reminding my clients to take things in stride. Yes, you want to have all six of those manuscripts out to your editors today but have you thought about how you will manage edits, marketing/publicity, and writing projects into the crazy schedule you just committed yourself to? When are you going to have time for your family, for yourself? You'll find yourself burnt out very quickly and suddenly, the career you've mapped for yourself feels like a job you don't want to get up to go to.

If you suddenly feel like you're constantly having to keep the plates spinning in your life, ask yourself if you're doing too much and then check to see where the quality of your time management needs to improve. Don't forget that in managing your time, you should have support to keep the plates spinning. If you don't have someone who can help you do that... make that a priority in your schedule.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lust After Death - Client Book

This was one of those manuscripts that after reading the first draft I knew wasn't ready for submission but held great promise with a bit of guidance. Having an author who is open to constructive criticism and patient with edits made it a fun collaboration. We worked together to improve the story. In fact, Daisy rewrote most of it and when it was ready for submission, I was so excited about it, my pitch to the editor practically wrote itself!

Go buy the book... yes I'm biased about how great it is, but who cares? It's awesome and everyone should buy it! :D

Book Blurb:

In the Pacific Northwest, where life hurries to keep pace with technology, a re-animated bride named Josie struggles to escape her creator and to find her identity in the half-erased circuitry of her mind and body.

Assassin Bane Connor just wants to get the girl to the Zombie Underground and receive his payoff—a mental reset that will erase his memories as well as his guilt. But an attack by a rival faction derails his rescue, and the wide-eyed female whose circuitry requires a husband tears at his hardened heart and ignites desire like he’s never known.

Acting as Josie’s spouse-substitute is tougher than Bane expected. The newborn stein needs touch to live, and wanting her is a complication he doesn’t need. To make matters worse, she sees into the darkest recesses of his mind. The last thing a killer wants is for his lover to read his thoughts, but if Josie can love him the way he’s programmed, perhaps Bane can find a way to heal his past.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's all... subjective!

RejectionImage via WikipediaNo one likes to be rejected. It's not a good feeling to be told your work is not as good as you thought it was. As I go through query letters and manuscripts, I remind myself that a human being who took great courage to draft their query letter, write their manuscript and send it into me will be reading it.

Now, there are a TON of resources on the Net on how to write your query letter, research your agent/editor/publisher and how to submit your work to them but very little on how to cope with a "this is going to be a pass for me" comment from any of those individuals. Short of a Rejection Support Group at your local bar with heavy doses of liquid courage to continue on the journey of manuscript submissions, there just doesn't seem to be much out there to help authors cope with the high probability that your work will be rejected.

So what do you do? What CAN you do to get back on the proverbial horse? Remember that the opinion of one in the publishing industry is not the opinion of ALL. What may not work for me could be just the thing another agent has been dying to read and sell! I make sure to include this in my rejection letters to authors because it's very true. I've acquired and sold manuscripts others rejected and have rejected ones others have taken. That's the beauty of the publishing industry. It's completely subjective.

Keep sending out that work and don't let one or a few "nos" keep you from achieving your goal of being a published author!

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Gals, Sun & Surf

So what are you guys doing this weekend? Any big plans for Memorial Day?

I get to spend some time with my gals connecting, relaxing and enjoying each other's company as we also celebrate our birthdays together. Four of us celebrate birthdays in May-June so we're getting together and spending the night being ourselves! We get to leave the labels behind for one night and just be gals. I think women forget to do that from time to time: to just be women! That's a topic for another day though.

On Monday, with the kids being off from school, we're heading to the beach and I'm actually looking forward to it. Those of you who know me well are likely gasping, shaking your heads and looking to see when I was replaced by the borg as I'm not fond of the outdoors. But... there's just something about being able to sit by the sea and enjoy the magnificence of that great power. The great eye candy doesn't hurt either!

So how are you spending your holiday weekend?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Belated Mother's Day

Hernandez Family at Mr. Sisters outdoor patio
Being a Mom has not been easy but it has certainly been the most rewarding experience of my life. I have three kids who remind me every day the importance of tolerance, patience and acceptance.

Yesterday was both relaxing yet event-filled. We started the day out at my favorite restaurant/nightclub Mr. Sisters for their Mother's Day Brunch and enjoyed a great meal and fantastic atmosphere with our teens. They laughed with us, requested songs from the piano man to play and had a fantastic time with their parents... in a public medium! I know! Be still my heart! :)

Later that afternoon, we went to see Thor with my parents and completely geeked out talking about the upcoming Captain America and The Avengers movies. I love having geeky kids! When we got home, they played Mortal Kombat with their dad while I got to play with my Sims 3 game. I've missed lazy Sundays like these so it was great to just be laid back and carefree for one day of the year.

Hope everyone got to enjoy the day as well!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Favorite First Lines

Here are some of my favorite first lines in books I've loved.

  1. In the deserted men's restroom at the back of Middleton Community College, Sam Keller knelt on the tile, braced his hands against Keith Jameson's thighs, and broke his mother's heart. - Special Delivery, Heidi Cullinan
  2. I'll write you every day. - Beyond Eden, Kele Moon
  3. I, Amanda Wilkinson, hereby give the instructors of San Francisco Sex University permission to fuck me in the ass. - Sex University: Physical Education, Louisa Bacio
  4. Jason Carrillo walked around the block a third time, working up his courage to go into the brownstone. - Rainbow Boys, Alex Sanchez
  5. The bomb detonated while Grier was still two blocks away. - State of Mind, Libby Drew
  6. From the second he set foot in my classroom, I knew he was trouble. - Allegro Vivace, Cat Grant
  7. You're going to want to split those bitches up. - Belle Starr, Belinda McBride
  8. You have to understand, Max, this has nothing to do with you." - A Little Harmless Sex, Mel Schroeder
  9. Satira would have been on a horse and halfway into the sunset by now if the lift from the laboratory hadn't broken. - Wilder's Mate, Moira Rogers
  10. The land of my people was surrounded on three sides by mountains as dark as my skin. - Captive Spirit, Liz Fichera
  11. Keith's alpha rocked back in his chair and watched the harried-looking man and his young daughter walk out the back door of the bar. - Cry Sanctuary, Moira Rogers
  12. Oh God, I'm drowning. - Dreaming in Color, Cameron Dane
  13. The wiry kid almost got away with it. - Coming Home, Cameron Dane
  14. On the night it began, I bounded up the stairs to my two-hundred-year-old colonial town house in the heart of Philadelphia. - Menage, Emma Holly
  15. My name is Monroe Davis, and this is the story of how I found home. - Nowhere Ranch, Heidi Cullinan
  16. I sat at a table in my shadowy kitchen, staring down a bottle of Boone's Farm Hard Lemonade, when a magic fluctuation hit. - Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews
  17. Father Weston Scott wasn’t sure if this was his fourth or fifth pint. - No Fear In Love, Jamie Craig
  18. Micah Ferguson had counted three vineyards, two herds of sheep, a Roman aqueduct and five churches as the train sped from Calais to Paris when his boyfriend said, "We have to talk." - Something Beautiful, Jenna Jones
  19. The tall mahogany clock made the customary ominous tick as Ian waited in front of the equally foreboding desk. - An Improper Holiday, K.A. Mitchell
  20. Ryan didn't do random hookups. - Custom Ride, K.A. Mitchell
  21. The smaller man clawed at the leather as Leland Hawkes wrapped it tight around his throat. - Blood Slave, Kim Dare
  22. Ryan has a thing about one-night stands. - Resistance, LM Turner

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writing to market?

Photo courtesy of Beauty in Everything
I think all of us, at one point or another, can remember a book we could not put down. That story whose characters beckoned you to keep reading and whose plot was so intriguing you could NOT look away. You lose yourself in the story and when it's over feel a little sad about putting the book down and walking away from it.

While reading queries and submissions by my clients over the past few weeks, I've realized that the stories I want to sell are the ones I feel saddened by walking away from after reading them. The stories whose message resonates with me and makes me physically ache for more. I've found that these stories are usually the ones the authors did not intend to write in the first place but the stories their characters wanted to tell. They're not always written for a specific market or genre (often times they straddle genres and break all kinds of "rules" in the genres they want to sell them in) but they're always compelling.

Once authors are published the demands to continue to sell grow to a point where they can be all-consuming. They may choose to write to a specific market because they "hear" it's where all the sales are or write to a genre simply because it's "known" to make more money. These authors soon find themselves burned out or suffering from writer's block as they struggle to make money because the book they thought was going to get them money in the market they wrote to is not doing so well. Why? Readers can spot a fake a mile away and when an author is not true to their characters and to themselves, it's evident in their work.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Love of Books

Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez
Have you ever saved a book for your children to read at the right age? I've done that with books like the Harry Potter, Percy Jackson series thinking they would enjoy these books as much as I did. When my daughter fell in love with the Twilight books, I feared for my sanity. I'm not a fan of the books but I thank the author for helping my daughter discover her love of reading. Soon after reading those, she went on a reading binge and thankfully chose better books. While she didn't get into the Harry Potter series like I'd hoped, she fell in love with the Elizabeth Chandler books instead. She would spend hours talking to me about the characters and even wrote several book reports on them. Seeing her excited about a book was fantastic! She even started writing stories featuring angels, vampires and demons with her friends.

After reading Alex Sanchez's Rainbow Boys in 2009, I knew I would be saving this trilogy for my youngest son. Living in "the barrio" as I call our neighborhood and being gay is not exactly easy. I knew this book would help him and hoped he would actually want to read this book. I'd tossed several books his way for his reading logs and aside from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and Pokemon books, I didn't see him reading much.

He and I had a heart-to-heart a few days ago while laying in bed staring at the ceiling after a week of receiving nothing but bad news in our family. He started talking about how hard it is to be out at school even with the no tolerance policies in place. Kids are just cruel and teens even more so. I went to my bookshelf, dusted off the jacket of the book I'd saved for him and handed it to him. That night he started reading and while he's a slow reader, he's enjoyed it so much we are now in a race to finish it. I'm re-reading it on my iPad while he reads the print version. He talks to everyone about the book and when I told him today that it's actually a trilogy, he practically fell out of his chair.

How do you share your passion for reading with your kids? Are there books that after reading them you just know your kids have to read? Share them in the comments.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Raise Your Glass My Freaks

I love P!nk! I own every album and single she's released and when this song came out earlier this year, I made it mine and my family's anthem. We've always been the underdogs, the freaks in the family and the community with our open-minded way of thinking and liberal views on the world. My friends in high school were a ragtag group of misfits you'd see in a John Hughes film and I was proud to "run with" them. Band geeks, metal heads, closeted emo bois, pot heads, nerds mixed in with a few cheerleaders, the drum majors and a few Bible thumpers. I have always believed in liberty and justice and for all and my choice of friends reflect that. Hubby and I have raised our children the same way.

So when in last night's Glee episode, Kurt and Blaine shared their first kiss, all of my little freaks at home (we're damn proud to call ourselves as such) whooped and hollered! My youngest even had a little tear in his eye. He sees himself in Kurt, I think and it was just a beautiful moment.

So join us in our anthem bitches and RAISE! YOUR! GLASS!

"So Raise Your Glass if you are wrong in all the right ways, all my underdogs! We will never be, never be anything but LOUD and nitty gritty, dirty little freaks!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Meme Before Bed

Thought this was pretty cool so thought I'd do it...

You were born during a First Quarter moon

- what it says about you -

You like to make up your own mind. You may find it hard to relate to mainstream opinions on issues, and you definitely don't always like what's popular. You can work out solutions and give birth to big ideas when left to yourself, and other people will be impressed with your conclusions even if they're not sure how you arrived at them.
What phase was the moon at on your birthday? Find out at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Way of the Publishing Dodo

Reclaimed By Nature
There are those who say the printed word will go the way of the Dodo; that books will end up like vinyl albums, cassettes and VHS tapes. I think ebooks will continue to evolve in the digital sphere but we will keep printed books as our perpetual back-up system.

Perhaps that's just my sci-fi/urban fantasy-loving mind fictionalizing the future of an industry I love but I truly see an immediate future where both digital assets and printed resources are available for all. Will this mean a decrease in the production of printed material? Yes, but not their complete eradication. At least, not in this decade.

I suppose this picture is what most people see when they hear about the evolution of the publishing industry. I've never been a supporter of that mentality though. Digital is where I believe we are headed, but print is far from annihilation. For every supporter of the digital evolution I come across, I find one fervent advocate for traditional print publishing. The fight between what the best method of publication is will likely to continue for several years but neither side is really "right" or "wrong". The preferred method of content delivery for one person can be vastly different from another. For example, I prefer to purchase my eBooks via my Kindle app and get very frustrated when the book I want is not available on the Kindle. While I don't mind going to the publisher's website, purchasing the PDF and uploading it to my iBooks app on my iPad, I like how the books "look" on the Kindle. Fonts and formatting are a huge part of the enjoyment of the book for me. I know others who only purchase their eBooks directly from the publisher website. Different strokes for different folks. But I suppose that's a topic for another day.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Cult of ePub

If you've ever owned a Mac you've been part of the Cult of Mac. This group of Mac-savvy owners are always ready to help others learn about everything Mac and while there can be a few fanatics in the group (stop staring at me, I know, I'm a Mac geek) many are just quiet supporters of the system touted for ease-of-use and virus-free software. But it appears that whenever two or three Mac fanatics are gathered in Apple solidarity, new converts are created.

While helping my sister choose and purchase her iPad this weekend, I was reminded several times that I should be working at the store I consider my personal Mecca both by my family and the staff working at the store! More than once, I heard things like "You should work here!" and "Why aren't you working for Apple again?" while showing things to my sister at the Apple store. But the truth is when you love doing something, it doesn't feel like work and it is reflected in your attitude and everything you do.

No, I'm not leaving my job to sell Macs but the experience made me think about how similar it is with folks who buy digital readers. Suddenly, they're talking to you about why their device is the best and how great it is to be able to read their favorite books anywhere. Those of us who own several devices may even tell you why we use one device or another for certain tasks (editing vs reading, for example). You may even hear other say things like "You should sell these!" and "Are you sure you don't work for [insert name of device manufacturer here]?" You're suddenly part of a brethren whose fanaticism could be considered cult-like.

You can then consider yourself a member of the Cult of ePub! ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 17, 2011



 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: MM, MF, menage novels/novellas

 Open call for submissions in MF, MM and menage erotic romance. I'm particularly interested in contemporary romance, urban fantasy, suspense/thriller, comedy/humour and western/cowboys. However, I'll look at most genres as long as it's fresh, well-written and erotic.

 Length: 10k-125k

 Submit the first three chapters and a synopsis to Submit the full manuscript plus synopsis for stories under 20k. Please include the following details in the subject line: "SUBMISSION: [title], [MF/MM/Menage], [word count], Editor: Lisa Cox"

 Full details and submission guidelines available at <>

 New authors welcome.


 Subspace - Bondage/BDSM Anthology


 15K to 20K word count per short story/novella

 Masterful men dominating their submissive women in the best possible ways! Your Dom must enable his partner to reach the psychological state (Subspace) in a BDSM scene.

 Heat Rating: Burning/Melting (see our book rating info)

 The Submission deadline is 1st June 2011 for release in November 2011

 Submit the full story plus synopsis.

 When submitting, please enter "Subspace Submission, [title], Editor: Lisa Cox" in the email subject line.

Thursday, February 3, 2011



Publisher of erotic fiction to launch Ravenous Nights at Lower East Side venue

 [Boston, MA – February 1, 2011] Ravenous Romance™, a leading online publisher of erotic romance novels and short stories has announced a collaboration with New York City literary hot-spot Happy Endings Lounge to host a monthly erotic reading series on the first Friday of every month called Ravenous Nights.  Happy Endings, a funky 2-story club that was once a massage parlor, is located at 302 Broome Street. The first Ravenous Night is scheduled for Friday, February 4 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and it is free of charge. 

The lineup for February 4 includes:
·      Cecilia Tan, best-selling erotic author of the Magic University series
·      Caridad Pinero, New York Times best-selling erotic romance author
·      Mo Beasley, founder of Urban Erotika, a spoken word performance series
·      KT Grant, author of The Princess' Bride
·      Debra Hyde, acclaimed writer of BDSM erotic romance, and the author of the BDSM classic, BLIND SEDUCTION.
·      Jefferson, well-known sex blogger and author of  M/M short stories for RR anthologies.

The Friday, April 4 lineup will be announced in the coming weeks. 

In celebration of Ravenous Nights, Barnes & Noble has announced that they will offer free copies of the Ravenous Romance anthology Once Upon a Threesome to the first 100 people to download it.  In addition, Ravenous Romance will give each attendee a free Ravenous Romance drink coaster to each attendee and the Happy Endings Lounge will create a special “Ravenous” cocktail which will only appear on the menu during Ravenous Nights.

Ravenous Nights
Friday, February 4, 2011
8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Free of charge
Location: Happy Endings Lounge
302 Broome Street (at Forsyth St)
(212) 334-9676

 [About Ravenous Romance™]

An imprint of Literary Partners Group, Inc., Ravenous Romance offers readers engaging and colorful stories with strong plots and character development, but peppered with steamy love scenes. Products are available in iPhone/iPod app, ebook and audiobook format in 12 different categories, including both modern and historical fiction, suspense, paranormal, gay/lesbian/bisexual, and new age, among others.  They also sell a limited number of titles in print on the Home Shopping Network.

For more information please contact Dalyn A. Miller at 617-504-6869 or via email at

Visit Ravenous Romance™ online at

Monday, January 31, 2011

Be Mindful of What You Say but Careful of What You Write

Be mindful of what you say but careful of what you write. My parents used to tell me this as a child all of the time. It was likely due to the rather disturbing stories I'd write as a child of inanimate objects flying around the house and as I got older the "forbidden" love stories I'd scribble about on the dozens of notebooks in my bedroom. As a teen, I didn't understand why my parents were so controlling of my words and often rebelled against them in my writing.

As I grew older, I realized why the pen is truly mightier than the sword and it's something I'm often surprised to find many people online forget. You can scream at the wind and howl at the rain but the moment those words are on paper (or screen) they are immortalized and the world's perception of you is forever changed by them. People believe what they hear but they SWEAR by what they read! Celebrities live with this fact of life as their words are often twisted in tabloid TV, e-zines and magazines. Why do you think their statements are often penned by their publicist or agent?

Authors often find themselves in the unwanted predicament of reading a bad review or hearing criticism about their work they don't find flattering. I often tell my clients to ignore these or simply say, thank you for your review and leave it at that. Unfortunately, not every author finds the "turn the other cheek" ideology appealing and decide instead to engage their "attacker" in a public forum. HUGE NO-NO! Yes, it's hard to see that scathing review and you probably spent your morning downing coffee (or tea) with trembling hands wielding your cigarette like a 60s Hepburn movie but please don't wield your sword in retaliation! Pen an email to yourself. One where you rant and rave and call the reviewer every name in the book, bring down the angels and lay a curse upon their house and brethren. Then, when you're done and sitting at your desk panting like a marathon runner, simply DELETE the message.

As an author, your name is your brand and believe me when I tell you that agents, editors and readers will Google your name and see what's being said about you. Is your name being run through the mud or are the blogs and forums (yes, these pop up on Google) singing your praises? I will not be the first to tell you that agents will pass up on great manuscripts when they find the author is a "problem child". We want to be your advocate. Your representative to the publishing industry and help your career blossom. Don't let your pen get in the way of your success.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ready to be Done with Family Emergencies

We went to visit my aunt last week in Tampa and found that she's not been able to swallow anything for several months. Doctor ordered endoscopy and found a mass in her esophagus. They did a biopsy and found the mass to be cancerous but also found that the tumor had spread down her esophagus into her stomach. The prognosis is not good without surgery and aggressive radiation and chemotherapy. She's 70 and while she was strong in her earlier years, she's grown frail in the past few months. She's my Mom's eldest sister (Mom's the second youngest of seven) and the one she's closest to since they were born on the same day, ten years apart.

Her lease is up next week and her daughter is moving them out of their apartment and needs help. So we're heading back down to Tampa this Saturday to help pack up their things.

This comes at the heels of my uncle being diagnosed with Alzheimer's last summer and learning a few weeks ago that he no longer recognizes anyone, including his wife of 57 years. We'll likely make a trip to Puerto Rico to see him soon.

This has been a year of family emergencies and illnesses and the year is only one month old! I'm ready to be done with it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's a new year already?

Happy New Year (Floating on a bubble) 2010 flew by in a gust of work, work and more work. 2011 proves to be just as busy... always a good thing! :D

My clients have been doing fantastic this year and in the next few days we'll start working on goals for the next 18 months. I'm really looking forward to 2011! Many of my clients were debut authors in 2010 and have had great success with their debut novels including Kele Moon and Diana Copland.

This week is going to be fun to get back into the swing of things after the holiday break. Have several contracts to finalize and queries to open up to... not to mention a slew of status calls and emails to my clients.

Things at home have been going well too. We ended the year on a high note with the entire family at home for Christmas. Though, my brother-in-law ended up in the hospital with a bout of pancreatitis. He will remain there for a week but is in good spirits and should be released back to active duty once his enzymes return to normal. His base was hit by a tornado on Friday and thankfully he was safe with us when it happened. The following morning, his pancreatitis hit and he was rushed to the ER. He'll be in the hospital for a week then will return to Fort Leonard Wood to find out what he'll be able to do next. They had orders to report to Fort Polk in Louisiana in February but these will likely change now that his AIT training has been postponed. But, even with these bad news, we're grateful for his good spirits and positive prognosis.

Off to get a few winks in before the first work week of the year begins!