Thursday, June 26, 2008

RRTErotic Reviews

"Changing Times" just got reviewed at RRTErotic. We are tickled!

"The characters are engaging and the relationship between Tony and Carly sizzles. Their reactions to one another and the various situations are realistic. The secondary characters
are well rounded and beg for their stories to be written."

Read the whole review!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Romance Studio Diva Contest!

TRS Diva Contest!!!

Vote now for your favorite author! Hint hint! I hope it's me! LOL

Just Another Paranormal Monday

Ok ok, so it's Tuesday! Sue me!

I've joined in on the Just Another Paranormal Monday blog. It's various members of the new email group Just Another Paranormal Monday. This is a brilliant group idea because it is only open on Mondays! So you only have to worry about being slammed with emails one day of the week. And you will read tons of excerpts and even get some sneak peaks at what's coming up for some of your favorite authors.

If you'd like to join, just click here to send an email.

I hope you will join us and tell others as well. It really is a lot of fun!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

EC Convention

More news from our publisher - if you're at ALL interested in an Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press/The Lotus Circle Convention, please read and respond to this message from Jeania with Ellora's Cave. Thanks!

Hello Everyone,

We've decided to hold the first EC Convention (2009)in Akron, Ohio.

I spoke with the convention center this week and should have bids from several area hotels by July 1st. I will meet with them again on July 2nd to schedule some appointments with the hotels we are interested in. If all goes well, we should have details for you by the end of July.

We are looking at the following dates (all Friday-Sunday):
Sept., 18th - 20th,
Sept., 25th-27th
Oct., 2nd – 4th

Please put a post out on your sites to see if your readers are interested in attending. This will help a great deal to estimate the number of rooms we will need. Ask them to respond with name, address and Ph# (optional) via email to conventions@ ellorascave. com (notice that "conventions" is plural).

Mention the above dates and the following "tentative" outline.
Friday Night –
EC/CP/TLC Celebration Party

Saturday Morning –
Continental Breakfast
Day – Workshops
Night – Awards Banquet

**The city is working on something fun for you to do (if interested and thirsty) after the Awards Banquet.**

Sunday Morning –
Continental Breakfast
Afternoon – Book Fair
Evening – An author sponsored event. RT has a movie and popcorn night at their farewell gathering.

If you want to participate or have a suggestion please let me know. Once I have an idea of the number of interested people (authors, readers, book stores, models), and we decide on the hotel, food, etc., we'll be able to determine the cost.

Thank you in advance and I'll keep you updated.

I will be setting up an EC Con yahoo chat loop soon.


Publicity Excitement

Beyond Her Book!!!

Ok, I'm excited beyond belief! _Changing Times_ got "blurbed" on Barbara Vey's Beyond Her Book blog today! Check it out! And please? Leave us a comment. We'd love to know you stopped by.

This is kind of huge, y'all. So it would be really fabulous if you would really leave a comment in the notes that you came by because Marilu asked you too. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ides of June--Reject Me Baby!

Welcome to the Ides of the Month with Marilu Mann.

We all hear about those First Call/First Sale stories and rejoice along with those celebrating. What about the stumbling blocks on their road to success? What rejections did they face? More importantly--how did they face that rejection? Why did they keep going?

Here's two stories.

The first is from Sandy. She got a long, detailed letter from an editor. The response she got included a few books for her to read so she could get a better feel for that line.

That editor's rejection letter made me feel good. All of the rejection letters I received from SAVING FACE were good, but eventually, I knew I had to set it aside, so I could grow. After several more books, I found the rejections were getting tougher, and the contests I entered, the judges wanted to rewrite my work rather than make suggestions. It really was all wrong. Even though I was improving, I was losing my voice because I did everything anyone told me. I was desperate to get published. It didn't help because the next person would disagree with the first person. At times, I would feel so bad over a form rejection, or a contest score that I couldn't write for weeks and months. One thing that helped me was to go back and read every single good rejection I received, and then I could keep going. The better my writing became the tougher it became to receive a scribbled note on a query letter saying good luck, but it's not for me.

S Kay Marshall
THE CATALYST and ADDICTION coming soon from Forbidden Publications

Then I learned that sometimes wine and chips are the cure from Cara Marsi.

Red wine and potato chips. That's my comfort food of choice when I wallow in self-pity after yet another rejection.

When I open that rejection letter, or more commonly, that rejection email, I shed a few tears, vow never to write again, pour several glasses of red wine and open a bag of potato chips.

After several days of wallowing in self-pity, I pick myself up, brush myself off, go back on my diet, and start writing again. Hope springs eternal!

I'm still waiting to hear from a major publisher about a manuscript I submitted in 1998. One of my fantasies is that I've finaled in the RITA (we all share this fantasy), and an editor who rejected the book approaches me at the conference and asks me to send her something. Then I say to her, "I sent you this RITA book, but you rejected it." I recognize that on so many levels this would never happen, but it feels so good to imagine it.

Cara Marsi
Logan's Redemption
Available in ebook, print and Kindle
Cara Marsi

What about you? If you are a published author, send Marilu a note detailing how you dealt with that rejection letter. What kept you going? Let me hear about it and feel free to promo your latest book at the same time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Guest Blogger - Kacey Smith

First I’d like to say thanks to Marilu for inviting me to be a guest blogger.

So, my first release comes out soon with Amber Quill Press. Obviously, I want you to buy the book, but why would you want to? Well, if you like stories of magic, stories that revolve around the paranormal, heroes and heroines that have a little snark in their attitudes and aren’t afraid to show it, then I think you’ll like my story.

It’s a short story and yet it took me a long time to write. I didn’t know if I could even finish the story, to be honest. I didn’t know for sure where I was going to take it and even if I really COULD take it the direction it seemed to be going.

What I’m ‘tap-dancing’ around here is that I’ve written something I didn’t think I’d ever really write – a true ménage à trois. And yet, that’s exactly where this story started going.

I wrote two strong appealing heroes and then couldn’t choose between them for the heroine. I figured if I couldn’t choose, then neither could she, so why force it? Why not let her have them both?

Well, for one thing, that’s not something I have personal experience with – at all! All of the relationships I’ve had in my life have involved me and one other person, not multiple people. I started to wonder if I really could write this story with both heroes “winning” the heroine.

I finally just took a deep breath, and let the story flow. It turned out to be a good thing. (Grin)

When I’d finished the story, I sent it to a couple of trusted friends to see what they thought – they both gave me different ideas on how to make it better. I took what worked for me and left the rest alone.

Then, I bit the bullet and sent the story in to a publisher that I’ve been reading for some time. Once a year they sponsor a contest to find new authors – the rest of the year they’re closed to outside submissions. I honestly didn’t believe I would be one of the winners, but I thought I’d at least get some good ideas in the rejection (a whole ‘nother topic, right Marilu? (Grin) )

So, I read the guidelines, followed them and sent my entry in to Amber Quill Press. Then I waited, fretted, worried and wondered. When the day finally arrived for the winners to be announced, I HAUNTED my inbox and the website waiting for the announcement of the winners to appear.

Around 6PM that night, I sent an email to my “bestest bud” saying, “Well, I don’t think I won because I haven’t heard from them.” Then I went BACK to my email and THERE IT WAS! The subject simply said, “Amber Heat Wave Contest.” I had to force myself to open it – just positive I’d see bad news (hey, I’m SUCH a pessimist!) The first few words of that email said, “It is my pleasure…” and I knew at that point I was one of the winners!

There were over 200 entries and they picked MINE (and seven others)! Wow. Euphoria! Joy! All those amazing emotions zooming around my brain…

That started my journey to publication with Amber Quill Press – and that journey comes to fruition on June 15 with the release of Tales from the Graveyard Shift: Ghouls.

I hope you enjoy it.



PS – I was recently reviewed by Bitten by Books – here’s a link to that review: and if you’d like to see the cover and read an excerpt, please visit my website at

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Inside the Twisted Mind of a Copy Editor

By: Marie Force, Guest Blogger

Remember the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!"? For copy editors, our mantra is “Oh, the Stuff You Have to Know." I tease my husband for being like Cliff Clavin, the mail-carrying know-it-all on Cheers. Like Cliff, my husband knows a little bit about a lot of things—most of it what I categorize as “worthless knowledge." If only you could get paid for knowing a little bit about everything... But wait... You can!

Copy editors are the last line of defense on all things written. We proof newspapers, magazines, and books for accuracy, consistency, grammar, and sentence structure. It’s our job to know, for example, which four states are commonwealths (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—and we like to show off what we know). We’ve got the inside track on redundant phrases such as “general public" and know that something doesn’t become “annual" until it’s been held or done twice. Being a generous species, we’re always pleased to bring these interesting factoids to cocktail parties and social gatherings.

And where do we get all these rules? In the style manual, of course. I remember my first copy editing class in college when the professor said we were going to talk style. Oh cool, I thought, imagining I was in for a discussion about Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren. I soon found out he meant publication style. In the journalism profession, the Bible is the AP Stylebook, published by the Associated Press. The publishing world’s Bible is The Chicago Manual of Style.

Within these style manuals are answers to just about every question a writer or editor could have. Are there periods in a.m. and p.m.? How do I write a date? Do I spell out numbers or use the numeral? Sounds trivial, right? Well, it sort of is, but think about it—if you have twenty different writers on your staff and each of them are doing these things in a different way, your publication descends into chaos. It’s the job of the copy editor to keep that from happening.

In my day job, I’m the editor-in-chief of a national trade publication that focuses on government financial management. When I started 13 years ago, I knew nothing about accounting, auditing, or financial management . No problem, my boss at the time said, and he was right. Words are words. I may not always understand them—although after all these years, I understand them better than I ever thought I would—but I can tell if they are presented incorrectly. It’s my job to make sure the words are accurate and consistent from one issue of the magazine to the next.

One of the first things I did when I got the job was draft a style manual for our publications that we follow to this day. Do I refer to it often? Nope. Why? I know it by heart after all these years. I like knowing it’s there if I need it, but because I eat, sleep, and breathe the rules it contains, I don’t need to check it all that often. So why have it? Because three other people work with me in my department, and I don’t expect them to be as anal retentive as I am. They use the actual document much more than I do.

Copy editors are compulsive by nature. I find at least one error in almost everything I read. Even dinner at a fancy restaurant can turn into a menu proofreading session. I edit street signs, maps, and, well, everything I see along the way. I can’t help it. According to my husband Cliff Clavin, I’m an irritating companion on road trips because I can’t shut off my need to edit. I could argue that at least I’m not spewing factoids about the largest ball of twine in the world...

I offered up two MS copy edits to Brenda Novak’s auction, thinking they’d generate a couple hundred dollars for diabetes. Well, they raised a couple thousand dollars. I was astounded that they went for more than some of the agent and editor offerings. I had no idea there was such a demand among authors for copy editors! This led me to hang out my copy editing shingle for romance writers only, combining my love of all things romance with my compulsive need to edit. I’ve included a link to my website below where you can find more information.

As a writer, this compulsive need to get it right makes for some interesting challenges. I learned early on that I need another set of eyes on my work. My friend Paula, former employee of a publishing company, copy edits all my MSs for me, and I’m always amazed by what she finds. Mistakes that are obvious to me in other peoples’ work are invisible in my own. However, Paula tells me my unedited manuscripts are cleaner than some of the stuff she reviews at galley stage, proof that my compulsion is paying off while driving me slowly insane. This is the so-called “blessing" of being a trained copy editor.

Speaking of galleys... The proofs for my debut novel, “Line of Scrimmage," are sitting here waiting for my attention. I realized last night that I’ve been riddled with anxiety since they arrived. What if I miss something? How will I stand to see a real, live error in my book? This is the curse.

Here’s the shameless plug for “Line of Scrimmage," out on September 1 from Sourcebooks Casablanca: In the Hail Mary play of a lifetime, a sexy NFL quarterback has just ten days to convince his wife to give him a second chance before their divorce is final—and he has to act fast because she’s already engaged to her high school boyfriend. Read an excerpt on my website at

Thank you to Marilu for inviting me to blog, and I’ll happily answer any questions your readers have about grammar, style, or editing. If I don’t know the answer, I guarantee my husband Cliff Clavin will.

Marie Force is an editor by day and a romance writer by night. She lives with her husband and two children in Rhode Island. Her debut novel, “Line of Scrimmage," will be out on September 1, 2008. Find out more about her copy editing services for romance writers at
You can also find Marie at:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Beware The Ides Of The Month




An invitation to blog with Marilu Mann

The Ides! The Ides! The Ides are upon us! Beware the Ides of each month with Marilu Mann.

Join Marilu Mann right here on Escape Into The Fantasy on the 15th of every month (Ides, anyone?) to see who's discusing rejection.

You've seen "The Call" blogs and articles and websites. We all know how to celebrate that first and subsequent success. What about the stumbles, falls and outright personal hurts all writers know as REJECTION?

This is a call for all published authors who would like to share how they dealt with their first or fiftieth rejection. Did you stomp your foot? Did you speak unkindly of the writing profession in general? Did you vow to send them your award-winning first novel when you finally found the right home for it? Did you eat ice cream or chocolate until you popped? Or did you find solace in a glass (or six) of wine?

Send Marilu your tales of woe and coping. 200-500 words is plenty. We'll post entries from different authors every month.

Remember to stay professional. No names, cat fights etc!

Note: The ides really just refers to the middle of the month. Hey! We're a writing team so of course we jazzed it up a bit.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Paying For Professional Critiques

Writer from clipart
The following was in response to someone asking about whether or not I felt it was worthwhile to pay for a professional critique of their work. My response…

On a personal note, I'd have a real problem paying someone to critique/edit my work.

Quite frankly, critiquing (just like judging) is a very subjective business. You'll get differing opinions on the same work from so many different people. There's the "newbie" who has just learned something – like POV shifts and why they're not good if done every paragraph – who will focus on that aspect and only that aspect of your work. That particular person will note EVERY SINGLE POV SHIFT whether it's appropriate to the work or not. Or you will get the one who simply must follow each and every rule. Any use of the word “was” will have you smacked for passive voice.

You'll get critiques from people who flat out state, "I don't read this genre." Then WHY would you volunteer to JUDGE IT? If it's not something you enjoy reading, why offer your opinion on whether or not it's good? For that very reason, I never volunteer to critique or judge Inspirational books. Not that I have anything against them, I just don't read them so I can't be objective about what makes a good one!

Of course, you're going to find editors who also "don't get" your work/your character/your GENIUS, but that's okay, because there will be someone else who DOES "get it."

I am a "first reader" for a publisher. The editor gets manuscripts, sends them to me and several other "first readers," asking for comments, concerns, questions, etc.,

I do three things with that manuscript:
Editor from Clip Art
• First, I read it. Not for critiquing purposes, not for editing purposes, I simply read it to see if I enjoy the overall story.

• Second, I look for GLARING errors. Misspelled words, obvious punctuation issues, standard grammatical errors - and I point those out.

• Third, I add comments to the manuscript - 'LOVE this!' 'Why did your hero do this?' 'Why is your heroine stalking the hero's sister?'

Ok, so those are complete fabrications, but you get the drift. Then and only then will I send it back to the editor with either a "Yes, I'd pay money to read this author's work and probably buy their books again," "Yes, I'd pay money to read this but might not be so quick to buy this author again," or "No, I wouldn't pay money to read this book."

Obviously, I'm not the final decision maker on whether or not that author gets offered a contract for publication - and I don't want to be. I'm just an avid reader who also happens to know something about the mechanics of putting together a manuscript and getting it sold. Have I argued with my editor over revisions? Not yet, but then again, her suggestions for revision have all been things that make my book STRONGER.

Learning to polish a manuscript is all part of the writing process, but at some point, you have to stop. You can polish all the joy right out of a story if you're not careful. Edit the (pardon the expression) snot out of it then put it aside for a few weeks (or even longer). When you come back to it, you'll be coming back with "fresh eyes," and may see things that can be improved. Rely on your critique partners & your first readers, but don't take their word as the gospel truth. It's YOUR story, you are the final decision maker.

Ask yourself this question. “Can I make the suggested changes and still love my story?” If you can, then by all means save the original copy and create one to try out the changes.

Recently I sent the first thirty pages of a WIP to a critique group. The one thing that came back? “Start the story where the story starts.” Though I didn’t really want to, I took the advice and the story is stronger for it. But I also trusted and valued the person that advice came from.

Long answer, but I guess what I'm really saying is rely on your own judgment when it comes to your story. You read, you write, you KNOW when something isn't working - you may not know WHY right off the bat, but with help from a critique partner or first reader, you CAN figure it out - without having to pay for it.