Monday, April 14, 2014

The power of thought

This weekend I had the pleasure of being introduced to the art of meditation by a fellow LIRW member and friend.

A room full of women and one common thread - no matter our income, our background or education, we all have stress, we all have obligations and full schedules.

For 30 blissfully quiet minutes, we were still, on our backs with our eyes closed. Serene and calm.

"For the next 30 minutes, you have no place to be, nothing to do..."


I left the session feeling energized, my mind unfettered.

What a wonderful way to start the day or end it. Just a few minutes, alone. A quiet moment to do nothing, push the stress aside and listen to the rhythm of your own breathing.

Take time out for you and you might be surprised at the well of inspiration that pours forth.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Counting Down...

Here at Long Island Romance Writers, we're heading into the home stretch of preparation for our annual luncheon - a very special afternoon, where published and aspiring writers alike get to meet with acquiring editors and agents in an elegant, relaxed environment.

Are you a writer in NY, NJ, CT, PA, or surrounding states?  Please consider joining us.

Here are the details:

Friday, May 9, 2014
Noon – 4:00 p.m.

 $60, ($50 for LIRW Members)

Fox Hollow7755 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY, USA 11797
Phone (516) 921-1415
Once again in the Beautiful Somerley Room!

We are Thrilled to Welcome Keynote Speaker
Bette-Lee Fox
Bette-Lee Fox
Managing Director, Library Journal
2013 RWA Vivian Stephens Industry Award Recipient

Please join our dynamic guest speaker, our editor and agent guests, and writers from all over the Northeast for an elegant afternoon of networking, pitch opportunities, and up-to-the-minute market information!

For those who've attended in the past, we look forward to seeing you again.
For those new to our annual luncheon, we look forward to meeting you!

Editor Guests
Mary Altman -- Editor, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Elizabeth Bistrow -- Assistant Editor, NAL regrets she can no longer attend
**NEW**Jen Fisher -- Assistant Editor, NAL
Allison Carroll -- Ed Assistant HQN Desire/Rom Suspense
Cat Clyne -- Assistant Editor, Sourcebooks - Casablanca
Kate Dresser -- Associate Editor Global Single Title HQN
Nicole Fischer -- Ed Assistant Avon
Dana Hamilton -- Assistant Editor - HQN Romantic Suspense
**NEW**Treva Harte -- EiC, Loose Id
Susan Litman -- Editor - HQN Special Edition
Julie Mianecki -- Editor, Berkley Publishing Group
Sarah Murphy -- Assistant Editor Ballantine/Bantam/Dell
Megha Parekh -- Editor, Grand Central Publishing
Katherine Pelz -- Editor, Berkley Publishing Group
Rhonda Penders -- Editor-in-Chief, The Wild Rose Press
Renee Rocco -- Managing Director Lyrical Press (Kensington Books)
Carly Silver -- Ed Assistant HQN Special Edition
Esi Sogah -- Senior Editor, Kensington Publishing Corp.
Kristine S. Swartz -- Ed. Asst. Berkley Publishing Group
Ann Leslie Tuttle -- Sr. Editor HQN Nocturne/Noct Cravings
Patricia White -- CEO/Publisher Arrow Publications, LLC
Nicole Yesel -- Publicist, Arrow Publications
Steve Zacharius -- CEO Kensington Books

Agents Guests
Beth Campbell -- BookEnds Inc.
Katelyn Connor -- Lori Perkins Agency
Marisa Corvisiero -- Corvisiero Literary Agency
Stephany Evans -- President, FinePrint Literary Management
Jita Fumich -- Folio Literary Management, LLC
Samantha Ortiz -- Lori Perkins Agency 
Lori Perkins -- Lori Perkins Agency
Sarah E. Younger -- Nancy Yost Literary

Questions? Contact us at

Register for Luncheon Here!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Writer's 'Irish' Blessing

May the road to your computer rise up to meet you, dump you in your desk chair... and then loom over you with a dour face and fists to hips making sure you get your butt in gear and get writing.

May the wind be always at your back, because you can always put your hair up to keep it from blowing in your eyes and blinding you from the plot line fixes and black moment bolstering's that you've been putting off.

May the sun only shine upon your face when, after at least four constructive hours, you’ve gone outside to remember when the hell you live, get the blood back in your arse and maybe get the mail.

May the rain fall softly upon the fertile fields of your imagination because we all need a little nurturing and praise for our own unique voice... and because if it fell on you at your desk, it would short out your computer.

And until we meet again (after you've done your second round of revisions)

May God hold you forcibly pinned to your chair until you finish that damn chapter that’s been driving you crazy.

uh... Amen.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Please Don't Be Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today everywhere we look, we'll see green. Green shirts and hats, green streaked hair and nails, and of course, green beer. It's all in good fun.

But today's post isn't about all the green you'll be sporting on the outside - it's about NOT being green on the inside.

I think it's human nature to look around and think that others have it so much better...that whole "the grass is always greener" syndrome. And I think everyone is guilty of it at one time or another in their lives. Don't we all see things that others have and want all the good things you think they have?

It's easy to sit around the table and wish for the same success that others are celebrating. The green-eyed monster rears it's head and then takes up residence in your gut and drags you down.

Don't let that evil green-eyed devil thrive - he's got no place in your head!

While it's easy to look across the table and wish your hair had more curl, or that you could be as thin, it's important to remember that we all fight battles, we all have faults, and the definition of success is different for each one of us.

 Over the last few years being a published author has been turned on it's heel. From the traditionally published author to the self-published indie author forging her own way - the path to success is a winding road with pitfalls, roadblocks, and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow for some. It's incredibly easy to harbor self-doubt and feel a little green with envy when a fellow author seems to be on a smoother road.

The trick is to take those green moments and make then work for you....revise a goal, make a new game plan and reaffirm your belief in yourself. Sit your butt in the chair, get those fingers on the keyboard and WRITE.

So, today, keep your green on the outside and know your own pot of gold is out there waiting for you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Finding My Love of Writing, the Round About Way

I've always loved writing so I never thought to seek it.

I studied Experimental psychology in school. I was writing, learning to follow through with my thoughts, be concise and choose my words with care. I was content, but something was missing.

Later, I drifted towards studying younger populations. I went to graduate school for teaching, and one of the texts assigned was Wondrous Words--Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom by Katie Wood Ray (1999)

My analytic side loved that Ray backed up her statements. The fantasy writer in me, the elementary school girl who wrote plays for her friends to act out--so we could all play the princess--emerged as I read. I loved expressing my thoughts, but I wasn't expressing my feelings.

In the text, Ray compares the writing habits of new writers with experienced writers. She uses the comparisons as examples of how to teach and improve writing skills. No matter the age, this is a great text for writers to examine their habits. Topics include: "How experienced writers move towards writing projects and develop a writing project before it's drafted, how to research and read like a writer, and how to select books for craft study."

After finishing a novel length thesis, completing a sensational novel seemed a natural extension to satisfy my other half. My enthusiasm for writing stems from intrigue and passion, a question that must be answered. I research my novels intensely. Although I came to fiction writing in a round about way, the path I took has provided me with the tools to engage the adult problem solver and the little girl who wants to play. My journey has given me a s sense of completion. A truly wondrous place to be.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Questions to ask before hiring a freelance publicist

I'm probably the authority to ask on what questions an author should have before hiring a freelance publicist. Why? Because I am one.  With clients like Jeannie Moon, Ava Miles, Tawny Weber and NYT Bestseller Lori Handeland, I've worked with some of the best in the business.

But gaining their trust didn't come easy. Some I knew personally, while others vetted the Hell out of me before giving me a dime (and they should). So what did they ask to make sure they were getting their monies worth. Well, I'm going to tell you so that when you think you need to hire an independent publicist, you'll be well armed.

1.  Ask them what possibilities do they see for your book. After getting the gist of what your book is about (the genre,etc) a publicist should have an idea for where he/she would go to promote it. They should give you a list of a few places they'd like to put you, be it blogs or traditional media or someplace else.

2. Ask them if they've worked on books like yours in the past. If you write YA, then find out you're their only YA client, its probably not a good match and its doubtful they have the right contacts to get you where you want to go.

3. Make sure they do not charge your for telephone consultation. That's just wrong.

4. Make sure you get a clear understanding of what you are paying for. At MODAS, we call this a statement of work. If you want a report of the activities provided by your publicist, make sure you request it. Reporting is not always provided.

5. Don't be shy to ask for references.  Most publicists have a list of clients on their websites, which is easy for you to track down and ask questions.

If you approach a publicist and they don't have availability to take on another client, ask them for a referral. Most publicists know (or have at least heard of) the others.  Good Luck!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Do It Yourselfer: Audio Books

Hello All!

I'm new to posting on this blog and I'm going to try to add some value to it with my humble little posts. Although I've been published every which way, I'm fast becoming a notorious self-publisher and I assume it's okay to speak to that ever-growing sector of our profession that is interested in this sort of thing. (If it's not, I'm sure the keepers of the blog will let me know.) ;-)

To that end, I thought I'd share a bit of the process I've been discovering of late. You see, just recently, I've started to look into producing my own audio books. "Why?" one might ask. Well...

None of my traditional publishers have ever turned any of my books into audio books. Frankly, I'm sick of waiting for them to do it. I have a few self-published books now and I figured it was worth looking into for those books where I retained the audio rights. What I discovered is that it's a lot easier to do than I'd thought going in.

As with everything, you have several choices when you decide to do this. You can either contract with a production company that will do all the work and take a cut of the profits, or you can try doing it yourself. I opted for the DIY option, but even there, you have choices.

First, you can either solicit professional auditions or decide to narrate it yourself. Now, unless you have some serious acting chops and a fully equipped home studio, I wouldn't recommend the second option, but there are a few writers out there who go this route, from what I understand. In my younger days, I was a professional musician and college radio DJ, and even I wouldn't want to try this at home.

For one thing, you need to come up with different voices for each character. You'll have to read their dialog in a convincing way and make them sound different enough from the narration voice that it's easily understood by the listener. For another, you'd probably have to invest a lot of time and money in a computer and sound system to do the editing. I grew up in an analog world and had a 4-channel analog mixer I thought was cool back in the day, but I'm the first one to admit I'm scared of digital sound editing/mixing. It would take a lot for me to learn Pro Tools to the point where I felt competent.

So I decided to solicit auditions. In about 2 months (I started this project over the holidays) I got close to 40 auditions. I started listening to them and realized almost right away that I didn't want a male voice. It just made me giggle to hear a man's voice reading my romance novel. At that point, I needed to listen to the various women who had auditioned, and I decided on one that I absolutely loved.

The next step was to discuss terms and make a contract with the person I'd chosen. That took another week or two and then I had to send the book as well as instructions on the intro and ending to her. Generally, I've discovered that you don't include all the front and back matter in the audio version that you have in the print or ebook.

And now we're in the process of figuring out which voice to use for each character in the book. My narrator has sent me a series of audio files with her take on different voices she can use for each character. I'm listening to them and giving her my notes on which ones I like for which characters.

That's where we stand at the moment. From what I gather, the next step will be up to the narrator to produce a bit of the book for my review and approval. Once we're sure it's going in the right direction, she'll do the rest and then we're off to the races!

Now, I should mention, there are two ways to go with payment for your chosen narrator. Yet another decision. First, you can agree to a profit-sharing deal where they get a percentage of the profits - usually half. The other option is to pay them an agreed-upon rate per finished hour. Doing this preserves your royalties for yourself alone and gives you a bit more freedom. For that reason, I chose to do the latter.

Your mileage may vary, but audio books are something I've been wanting to do for a long time. In my opinion, anything that makes your book available to a wider audience is a good thing. I also enjoy experimenting and I'm treating this venture as one big (fun!) experiment. I suppose in a few months I'll have some idea as to whether or not it was successful. Meanwhile, it's been fun learning all this new stuff and working with new people with new skills. I highly recommend it!
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