Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Maureen A. Miller on 9/11 inspiration & JUNGLE of DECEIT

Please give a Killer Welcome to the fantabulous Maureen A. Miller. Take it away, Maureen!

You can always count on two things from me−romance and suspense. I take a little turn with my latest romantic adventure, JUNGLE OF DECEIT. Mayan artifacts? Military compounds? Underground temples? Who stole Maureen and replaced her with Indiana Jones?

Inspiration is always an interesting topic. A few years after 9/11, I read an article that was not even a blip on the news radar−a few modest paragraphs that drew very little attention.

"After being unearthed by grave-robbers in Guatemala, sold by black marketers and shipped in suitcases through Miami, confiscated by Customs and stored in a vault that survived the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, two dozen pre-Colombian artifacts are finally headed home."

I thought that the historical path of these artifacts could make for a great novel. The real story began in 1998 as U.S. Customs agents at Miami International Airport searched the suitcases of two New York residents flying home from Guatemala City. In the suitcases they found the artifacts. The couple insisted they had bought them at an open Indian marketplace and the pieces were not valuable. To support their testimony, several innocent pieces were thrown in which are believed to have acted as decoys.

An authenticating process revealed that many of the pieces were pre-Columbian and the couple lacked the documentation required to remove historically significant items from Guatemala. The artifacts were confiscated and eventually made their way to New York City where they were stored in the heavy vault at Custom House, 6 World Trade Center, in the World Trade Center complex.

That is where they were on Sept. 11, 2001.

When the vault was unearthed by crews sifting through the rubble, the artifacts and other items were all intact. The legal battle against the man and woman smuggling in the artifacts collapsed as well, and several years later the artifacts were finally returned to the Guatemalan government.

This tale was stuck in my head while I was working on other books, but a story began to form. JUNGLE OF DECEIT was born. It bears no reference or similarity to the tale above, but sometimes as a writer, inspiration need only strike the tiniest spark and we’re off and running with fresh ideas.


Mitch Hasslet, a war photojournalist relegated to a desk job, is the sole witness to a heist of Mayan artifacts. Recruited by the enigmatic director of the Museum of Art and Antiquities, Mitch is sent to Guatemala, the last location the shipment was tracked to. Acting as the museum staff photographer, Mitch joins a group of archaeologists. His goal is to locate the artifacts as swiftly as possible so that he can collect his compensation and get the hell out of the jungle.

Alexandra Langley is about to run out of funds. She has yet to discover the lost Mayan civilization she knows lurks in the rainforest. To achieve her grant, she will accept the museum’s latest nuisance, Mitch Hasslet, and any other obstacle that is sent her way.

Unsuccessful and desperate, Alex has decided to move the group to a portion of the jungle referred to as, “No Man’s Land”− a sector where archaeological teams have ventured but never returned.

As Mitch and Alex discover romance, will their bond protect them in a jungle filled with deceit?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

For the writers on your list

I found these in the Signals catalog. Filing them under MUST HAVE.

And this one's for JB:

What's on your writer's wish list?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Celebrate your freedom to read!

It's Banned Books week.

According to the American Library Association these are the Top 10 most frequently challenged/banned books for 2008 2010:

2010: 1) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; 2) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie; 3) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; 4) Crank, by Ellen Hopkins; 5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins; 6) Lush, by Natasha Friend; 7) What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones; 8) Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich; 9) Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie; 10) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

2009: 1) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle; 2) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; 3) The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; 4) To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; 5) Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer; 6) Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger; 7) My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult; 8) The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler; 9) The Color Purple, by Alice Walker; 10) The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

2008: 1) And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; 2) His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman; 3) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle; 4) Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz; 5) Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya; 6) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; 7) Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar; 8) Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen; 9) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini; 10) Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper

I've read a bunch of these books. Loved some, hated others. What about you?

Make sure to join us on Friday when our special guest Maureen A. Miller will be here discussing the inspiration behind JUNGLE OF DECEIT!

Friday, September 23, 2011

How I Sold My First Novel - by Lena Diaz

A Killer Welcome to our special guest Lena Diaz!

Thank you so much for hosting me on Killer Chicks today! This is such a cool site. It’s definitely going on my favorites list. And congratulations, JB, on your sale to Avon Impulse!

Now, on to my post. Today I’m sharing my story about my first sale.

My dream of becoming a published author didn’t start during childhood, or even during high school like so many other authors. I dreamed about growing up to be an architect, or a lawyer, and eventually settled on computer programmer. Glamorous, huh?

I may not have started out dreaming of being a writer, but the incredible stories and heroes of romance novels have always been in my dreams. I cut my reader teeth on the atmospheric, dramatic gothic novels of Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. I learned about the facts of life - no joke - from Sweet Savage Love, by Rosemary Rogers.

I didn’t get the itch to write until I was in college. I don’t know if it was my Lit class or just something that happens to all life-long romance enthusiasts, but that itch hit with a vengeance and wouldn’t let go. I wrote, for fun, but nothing more than that.

Fast forward several years (I’m not about to admit how many). I’d been working as a computer programmer, and then as a manager of programmers. I still wrote occasionally, but never for publication. I was too busy making a living to chase my dreams.

Then, dual tragedies struck my family. My daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Watching them both struggle to overcome those horrible challenges was a life-changing experience for all of us. But no one was more affected by watching those struggles than my husband.

He’s the one who made the decision that it was time for me to focus on my dream. He sat me down, held my hands, and looked into my eyes as he told me how precious, and short, and unpredictable life can be. He told me it was time for me to stop dreaming about being a writer. It was time for me to become a writer.

With his love and support, I spent the next five years learning my craft, going to conferences, taking workshops, and of course, writing. Naively convinced I would be a success right out of the gate, I entered my first manuscript in a contest and won second place. Awesome! I was on my way, so I pitched the manuscript at a conference, got a request for a full, and sent it off to the person that I was convinced was about to become my future editor.

Then I waited...and waited...and waited...and received my first rejection. (sigh)

Humbled by that experience, I took a long hard look at my manuscript, and then gave a prayer of thanks that no one had bought it. Because it was really, seriously, BAD.

I started another manuscript, in a different genre - romantic suspense. I poured my heart, my soul, and everything I’d learned into that novel. I entered it into the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart ®contest.

It did NOT final.

Okay, by now I realized this writing gig wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be when I’d first started out. I rolled up my sleeves, took more writing workshops, attended more conferences, and revised the heck out of that manuscript. I joined a critique group, and re-wrote my manuscript - twice - and entered it in the Golden Heart again the following year.

This time, I hit pay dirt. He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not was a finalist in the Golden Heart. It also won the Daphne du Maurier and the TARA, so I decided to send it out to a few agents.

Nalini Akolekar, of Spencerhill Associates, offered me representation. I was in heaven! I knew I would sell any day now. I was about to become a published author!

Fast forward almost a year. Still no sale.

I began to question whether I had the chops for this business. And I started to worry that my agent was going to drop me. She’d submitted my manuscript to several houses. We had a few nibbles, but no bites. Then I read an announcement on the internet about a brand new digital-first line by Harper Collins, called Avon Impulse.

Avon? Are you kidding me? I love Avon! These are the people who brought Kathleen E. Woodiwiss into my life (A Rose in Winter, Shanna, Ashes in the Wind.) I contacted my agent and asked her what she thought about submitting to Avon Impulse. She laughed and told me she’d already talked to them and that they wanted to see my manuscript.

About a month later, on the day of the 2011 Golden Heart announcements, I sat with my two critique partners watching the results roll in. One of my CPs, Valerie Bowman, got that magical call. She was a GH finalist! We were so happy for her.

While sending out a flurry of emails chatting up my friend’s final, I noticed an email sitting in my inbox from my agent. I opened it up and it read, “I think this is it.” A few minutes later, she called and told me I’d sold to Avon Impulse. A year to the day of finding out that He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not was a Golden Heart finalist, I found out that I’d sold that same manuscript to Avon.

I guess you could say that instead of ‘the call’, I got ‘the email’, but it was still an amazing experience. My novel debuted on August 9th and has had some great reviews (try it! Please!!!) A couple of weeks ago, I sold a second romantic suspense to Avon Impulse, which will come out early next year. And almost a week after that, I sold a novel to Harlequin Intrigue (a 2013 release).

I know how hard it is to get your toe in the door in this business, and how very fortunate I am to be published. I count my blessings every day, and sometimes stare off into space with a silly smile on my face, amazed at all the wonderful things that have happened to me in the past year. Just today, at my day job, I actually started crying at my desk thinking about my three sales. And that’s not the first time.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “It is not difficult to write a novel, all you have to do is to sit down at a typewriter and cut open a vein.” Truer words were never spoken (except, of course, that most of us use computers these days!) Writing is such incredibly difficult work. And once your work is in the public eye, it’s like you’ve taken off your clothes and danced around Central Park naked. Then you wait for the cheers...or jeers.

It’s exhausting, intimidating, and scary. But it’s all worth it when you receive an email from someone who isn’t your mother, or your sister, or your husband, and they tell you, “I read your book, and I loved it!”

I hope you enjoyed reading my story of how I became a writer, and how I sold my first novel. And I hope that you too will reach for your dreams, whatever they may be.

~ I love to hear from my readers. You can reach me on Twitter, or Facebook, or email, by visiting my website,, and clicking on the links. He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not is available as an ebook or mass-market paperback, on and all major electronic retailer outlets.

Four years ago, Amanda Stockton was forced to play a serial killer's twisted game of chance. Since then, she has retreated from the world, bearing the scars from her ordeal and the burden of a terrible secret. But when another woman is found dead, clutching a long-stemmed red rose, Amanda knows she can hide no longer.

If there were any other way, Chief Logan Richards would never ask the only surviving victim for help. But it's clear this killer will not be stopped and Amanda is the only link. Torn between catching a madman and winning the trust of the woman he's come to love, Logan and Amanda are caught in a dangerous game. And there's no guarantee they'll come out on top.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The art [or science] of promotion

I spend a lot of time thinking about promotion – not because I enjoy it, because it’s a necessary evil for an author these days. Okay, mostly I spend a lot of time resenting promo and promo methods because I feel like it’s something I’m forced to do and I’m not convinced a lot of the ‘tried and true’ methods really work that well. So today I’m asking everyone as a READER  - what types of promotion do you think work best?

Publisher message boards – how many do you belong to as a READER? Have you found any new authors via a publisher’s message board, or chat group? Do you connect with your favorite authors via a forum or some type of discussion group?

Live chats – how often, as a READER, have you participated in a live chat? Did you attend the chat to meet a favorite author? To learn about a new books or to enter a contest?

Print ads – what was the last book you bought based off a print ad? Did the ad alone entice you or was there also a review or a review quote for the book that caught your attention?

Reviews – what books have you bought based on professional reviews?

Book signings – as a READER, how often do you attend book signings? Do you go to meet a favorite author or to meet a new author? Have you gone to a celebrity book signing?

Blog tours – do you follow authors on their blog tours? Have you bought a book based on catching an author on someone’s blog other than the author’s own blog?

Promo items – has a promotional item enticed you to buy a book? A book mark, a pen with an author’s name, a key chain, a match book?

A book trailer – Have you seen any good book trailers lately? Have they made you want to buy the book? [If you want to see a really hilarious one, scroll down to Lucy Woodhull’s RAGNAR AND JULIET trailer in our September 15th post]

A contest – How often do you enter contests to win books or other items given away by authors? If you won a book, did you read it and then buy other books by that author? If you didn’t win the contest, did you go and buy the author’s book anyway?

Newsletters - how many publisher or author newsletters do you subscrube to?

Excerpt blogs or loops - how many non-author or non-publisher specific exceprt or promo groups do you belong to?

Are there any other types of promo that you find work best to get you to buy a book? How do you find out about new authors or new books by your favorite authors? What would entice you to buy a book by someone you had never read before?

Monday, September 19, 2011

So many books, so little brain

I need a memory upgrade.

There's only a finite amount of space in my brain and it's quickly reaching capacity.

Right now I'm storing the following books in my grey matter:

1) CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN -- I turned in my revisions for it a couple of weeks ago and I'm waiting to find out whether it passes muster.

2) Not one but TWO sequels to the HITWOMAN book -- they're not contracted, but the proposals for them are done and I'm constantly jotting down notes.

3) THE FIRST VICTIM -- Even though it's been available for sale for three months, I can't purge it from my system because....

4) I'm working on another book in THE FIRST VICTIM series (featuring FBI agents Sebastian and Chase in case you're wondering)

5) I'm currently critting not one, but two manuscripts for friends

6) My freaking Work In Progress which has nothing to do with The First Victim OR Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman.

Tell me Killer Friends, what's overwhelming YOUR brain right now??

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guest Blogger - Lucy Woodhull

Today I'd like to welcome my fellow Liquid Silver author Lucy Woodhull. Lucy's romantic comedy space opera novella, RAGNAR AND JULIET debuted September 12th and she's here today to tell us a little about some of my favorite killer chicks!

Thank you so much to Killer Chicks for hosting me today.  I'm here to talk about my book release -- it's a romantic comedy space opera entitled RAGNAR AND JULIET. 

Check out the trailer here:

One of the reasons I chose sci-fi in which to write is the potential for heroine kick-ass-ery.  My futuristic bounty hunter heroine, Juliet, is everything I dream of being.  She goes after the hero, Ragnar, captures him, drugs him, shoots him, and then has her way with him, all whilst wearing her signature style (a skirt so mini it should be called a “sk”).  Don’t tell my husband I dream of drugging and shooting him -- he'll find out soon enough.
(Please note:  the above was a joke.  No actual husbands were harmed in the writing of this blog.)
In creating RAGNAR AND JULIET, I was definitely inspired by some of the amazing ladies of sci-fi, particularly of the TV variety.

Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, Communications Officer, USS Enterprise (Star Trek -- portrayed by Nichelle Nichols)
Lt. Uhura is and was one of the most groundbreaking characters on television -- a Black woman of power in a 1960s landscape where most other actresses of color were only offered roles as servants or nannies.  Furthermore, her character was not primarily a romantic foil for anyone.  She was a military officer first and foremost.  Ms. Nichols did not immediately recognize the character’s importance, and only stayed on the show after the first season at the urging of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  (Here’s a neat interview with Ms. Nichols about that.)  Uhura leapt into danger on a regular basis, using her brains and courage to win the day.  When I grow up, can I please be her?
If you need any more convincing that Uhura is the HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge), check her out pwning Sulu:

Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, Pilot, Battlestar Galactica (Battlestar Galactica -- portrayed by Katee Sackhoff)

Starbuck 2.0 was a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed woman more likely to punch a guy than tell him she loved him.  And damn was she awesome.  She grew over the course of the series from a flailing young pilot whose life was ripped asunder to one who had purpose and learned to love herself.  Basically, she was a hero with boobs.  And how awesome is that?  There shouldn't be any difference between our heroes and heroines except the stray bit of genitalia, and even then each hero/ine should define for themselves who they choose to be and how they choose to identify.  Gender roles/ schmender roles.  Starbuck was a step in that direction.

Zoe Washburne, Second-in-Command, Firefly (Firefly -- portrayed by Gina Torres)
If you've never seen the (sob!) only thirteen episodes of Firefly, get thee to the nearest Netflix and look thereon for some of the best damn scifi ever made. It's a futuristic space western about the misfit crew of a firefly-class starship making their way through the outskirts of a universe that doesn't want them.  One of the major reasons the show was so amazing was Zoe, second in command of the ship Firefly and ex-military warrior woman.  She took no guff and offered no quarter.  Be still my heart, baby.  Her marriage to Hoban Washburne (Wash) was one I admired, for they seemed to switch alpha-status back and forth between them to portray the give and take of a true marriage of equals.  As a married lady, I have a big, squishy soft spot for sexy wedded couples.  Wash was more often the beta of the relationship, as Zoe usually ran around shooting, thieving, and being generally awesomesauce.  Again, I love the idea of playing with gender roles and it's something I tried to do in RAGNAR AND JULIET.

Captain Samantha "Sam" Carter (Stargate SG-1, portrayed by Amanda Tapping)
If you've never heard of a Stargate, it's basically a portal that allows far-off planets (and ships) to connect to one another via wormholes through space.  They technically don't exist (that we know of), but if they did, we'd better pray that we have Sam Carter around to tell us how they work.  She’s also fond of saving the universe about once a week.
Sure, Sam could wield a gun with the best of 'em, but it was her theoretical-astrophysicist brain that usually won the day.  There were four team members on SG-1 (Stargate team one), and while they were all valuable, usually it was Sam who whipped out her giant... brain and rescued humanity from certain death.  I loved her for being an unapologetically nerdy lady scientist in a world in which many still think that women are genetically inferior in the areas of mathematics and science.  I know Sam isn't real, but I hope she inspired a lot of girls out there to let their science flag fly and tell the haters to go *&^%$# themselves.

That's my top list of "scifi ladies I like to pretend to be when no one's looking."  Leave your favorite kick-butt heroine in the comments and I'll choose one at random to win a copy of RAGNAR AND JULIET!  A blurb about the book is below.  You can purchase it at and/or read a sample here.

Bounty hunting is usually so easy. Flash a little cleavage, mix a roofie cocktail, and Juliet has her man right where she wants him: out cold, ready to be swapped for cash.  Her passions are freedom, trashy clothes, and pie -- not necessarily in that order.
Hunky alien ship captain Ragnar doesn't deserve torture at the hands of the psychotic king who hired Juliet; he liberated one of William the Nefarious' illegal concubines. Juliet can't ignore such a noble act.  She doesn’t trust men, but this one, with the kindest smile she's ever seen, picks away at her resolve to stay aloof and clothed. He's just so...nice! Crazy she can deal with; sincerity is terrifying.
Before she gives in to her irrational urge to get a timeshare with him (and his cute tail), they're caught by the bad guys. Ragnar disappears and abandons her to her disgusting captors -- so much for togetherness. Perhaps he’s not such a saint. Even worse, Nefarious William (who prefers "Bob") has nominated her for Concubine of the Evening. This dubious honor does not thrill her, and only a few hours remain before the king’s mind-altering drugs obliterate her free will.
Sexual slavery might not be fatal, but Juliet would rather die. Of course, the third option (run away to a beach and hump Ragnar silly) is the best, if they can live that long.

Thanks for reading!
Lucy Woodhull

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Movie Review: Something Borrowed

*Some spoilers included

The other night I finally got to see Something Borrowed, the romantic comedy starring Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson as best friends in love with the same man. Based on the best-selling book by Emily Griffin, Something Borrowed was billed as a story about making the right choices at the right time and second chances that all work out in the end.
As comedies go, it was mild. I didn’t get too many laughs out of it, though it was watchable. As romances go…it made me think. The story is about Rachel [Goodwin] who’s spent six years watching the man she fell in love with in law school work his way up to marrying her best friend Darcy [Hudson]. Rachel is reserved, efficient and sweet, and Darcy is wild and glamorous and not so deep. Dex, the man in question, is gorgeous and conflicted, carried along, apparently, by the raging tide of Darcy’s larger-than-life personality. Turns out Rachel and Dex have always loved each other but neither had the courage to speak up, so Darcy swept in and changed everything.
Just before the wedding, a drunken confession from Rachel snowballs into an illicit affair that could wreck more than one friendship.
For me, romance is all about rooting for the couple. I want to want Hero and Heroine to get together. I want to love them both and know they’re perfect for each other. Something Borrowed works hard at making Rachel and Dex seem perfect for each other, and as an added measure shows us Darcy is flighty, self-absorbed and easily distracted. She’s just shallow enough to be mildly unlikable, so when it turns out she has a few secrets of her own that can derail her relationship with Dex, I imagine the audience is supposed to be relieved. We no longer have to feel bad that Rachel and Dex are cheating because Darcy’s halo [she’s shown dressed in white an awful lot] is a tad crooked.
What got me thinking was, how would the movie have been different without Darcy’s confession of infidelity? Would the audience have still been able to root for Dex and Rachel to make a go of their long-unrequited love if Darcy’s commitment to Dex never faltered? Of course, we don’t want to encourage cheating [even before the vows], so in so many romances where there’s an engagement that goes awry, there’s something about the fiancĂ© that dulls their shine. Audiences want to be feel vindicated in rooting for the established relationship to break up, so there has to be something wrong with it. But what if there wasn’t?
Have you read a book or seen a movie where there’s nothing inherently wrong with the fiancĂ© in question, where the initial relationship probably would have worked out if left to its own devices? Would you still be able to root for a couple if it meant a perfectly nice third person was left out in the cold simply because they weren’t the designated ‘one’?
I’m not sure I could, but I think it would be an interesting story nonetheless.

Tomorrow, Guest Blogger Lucy Woodhull is here talking about her sci-fi romantic comedy, RAGNAR & JULIET. Drop by and say hi!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Did a Teacher Inspire You?

**We're excited to have Lucy Woodhull joining us on Thursday! Don't miss her guest post!!!**

Last week I saw a tweet that bothered me....alot.

Basically the person said that he/she was appalled that a teacher had shared the draft of their work with students.

And I thought, "Really?"

Because when I was a high school student, I had a teacher who shared his work with the class and I thought it was the best thing ever. I still do.

Seeing someone in a position of authority struggle through the creative process and ask for the input of his students (whether or not he actually found the majority of the advice helpful) was an incredibly empowering gift to give the kids.

It was not only an interesting lesson about how the drafts of a story could progress, but it was a useful life lesson that I still use today: No matter what position someone is in, they may be able to offer a fresh perspective and help can be found where some would least expect it.

So tell me Killer Friends: Which of your teachers inspired you most and what did you learn from them?

Speaking of getting things when you least expect them, I was delighted this weekend when THE FIRST VICTIM was named a LASR Best Book. Such a lovely surprise.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Agent as Publisher - Yay or Nay?

The publishing industry is changing shape on an hourly basis these days. At the moment, all we can do is hang on for the ride and wonder if we're watching a rocket launch or a train wreck.

Not only are authors caught in the middle of the revolution [or evolution], but agents are as well. I've been hearing a lot about agents and agencies branching out into publishing, either by opening their own publishing houses, or providing help for their clients who are looking to self publish [for a fee of course.]

The debates I've seen have been heated at best. I know authors who are thrilled that their agents will be offering guidance in the self-publishing arena, and those who are optimistic about agent-run publishing ventures. I also know of authors who are dropping their agents for the same reasons.

I'm not 100% sure how I feel about these new developments. My gut reaction is, an agent who has anything to do with publishing has a major conflict of interest, but then again, perhaps an agent who can cut out the middleman, so to speak, and get their clients' work into readers hands faster might be a valuable asset to an author.

What do you think? If you're agented, would you be shocked or pleased to discover your agent/agency was developing a publishing venture? Is there a scenario where you would want to take advantage of such an opportunity to work with your agent on a different level? Or would you run for the hills?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Phone Call with an Editor

Because of the holiday weekend, I'm posting today and Jennifer Colgan will be posting on Thursday this week.

Last week I mentioned that I'd requested a conversation with an editor who was interested in acquiring CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN (coming soon from Avon Impulse!) and I wanted to explain why, in the hope that someone might learn something from a mistake I made a few years ago.

I once agreed to work closely with someone over a period of months, to develop a writing project. My project was chosen by a committee who believed in its merit. It was not chosen by the man I was assigned to work with.

He and I were not in agreement about the direction my work should go. That much was obvious from the outset, but by then I'd already signed a contract and committed to the relationship.

Working with someone that you don't share a vision with is, in my humble opinion, a special kind of hell. I spent weeks dreading the work and it got to the point where I despised my own project. I was miserable twenty-four hours a day.

Was it his fault? No. It was mine. I should have requested, no, demanded, a conversation with him before I'd agreed to work with him. I should have been reasonably certain that his ideas for the project meshed with mine.

That's why I insisted on speaking to Lucia Macro, my now editor of Avon Impulse, before I'd agree to work with her. I knew within a minute or two that I'd be comfortable working with her. The immediate impression I got from speaking to her was that she "got" my book. We're on the same page about it. She wasn't interested in molding my work to fit her vision, but rather she wanted to help me make my book the best it could be.

She was probably surprised I didn't ask her twenty questions about her intentions, but I'm a big believer in going with my gut about these things. I happily agreed to work with her, content in the knowledge my book is in good hands.

I had the same feeling when I received my initial revise and resubmit letter from Charlotte Herscher at Carina Press for THE FIRST VICTIM that she was the right fit for that project. (Well, that, and the fact she edited Allison Brennan, a writer I'm a huge fan of.)

Speaking of The First Victim, it's Romantic Suspense week over at Carina Press which means a lot of great titles (including The First Victim) are 20% off!

The writers over at Not Your Usual Suspects didn't want to be left out of the Romantic Suspense excitement so they're going to be posting a boatload of excerpts from their books this week. Make sure to comment often -- one lucky reader will win a STACK of ebooks!

Tell me Killer Friends: What mistakes have learned from? (They don't have be related to writing.)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Research: A Writer's Friend or Foe?

There are some writers who absolutely love research. They happily spend hours doing it before they ever write a word of their stories. Research is the life blood of the fiction these writers create.

I am not one of them.

To be fair, I'm not a reader of those writers either. I've never gotten through THE DAVINCI CODE (which is pathetic considering I gave up on it while stuck on an airplane with nothing else to read!!!). I tend to skim over exposition in just about everything I read. I'm a dialogue and action gal....which probably means I'm shallow, but at least I'm honest about it.

I'd be very happy to never research a blessed thing.

But I do it when I have to. Sometimes I need to know how something works or whether something is plausible. I consulted with a former FBI agent and a forensic psychologist when I was writing THE FIRST VICTIM.

This week, as I work on my revisions for CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN, I've been doing research on a number of topics: prison visitation, bearded dragons,and New Jersey jughandles (a traffic pattern that is designed to baffle drivers from out-of-state).

Will my story be better from having done this research? No doubt. But that doesn't mean I enjoyed it.

Tell me Killer Friends: As a reader do you enjoy the research a writer has done? As a writer, do you like doing research?