Happy Birthday Evernight Publishing!

Hi! Beginning October 8th through October 12th, I am one of the authors hosting the Evernight Birthday Blog Hop. The celebration runs through the 12th.
A note:  Stephanie, at Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust, let me know she is posting a review of my latest release, Stay, on her site on the 8th.  Here is the link:  Stay
I want to say a word about Evernight – When every other publishing house rejected my unusual work of Women’s Fiction, Come Back To Me, Evernight snatched it up. I will be forever grateful for their wonderful enthusiasm, the editing, the cover, the support they provided me.  Come Back To Me was the toughest book I’ve ever written because it’s autobiographical and it is definitely not fun and games.  

I recently received an incredible review on Amazon – made me cry – I’m not going to quote the review but I will point you in the right direction:  Julia deserves many more reviews.  No, I don’t know the reviewer, no I didn’t pay her or send her a copy, and yes, I did burst into tears.

Thank you, Evernight!  I’ll be giving away one Kindle copy and one print copy of Come Back To Me.  (Print copy for U.S. residents only.)

Sometimes the safest path is to keep people at a distance…especially men. Cara’s life has been one nightmare after another. Abused as a child and neglected by her parents, she’s quick to blame herself for every cruel thing that happens to her. And then there’s James, the only man capable of making her forget her misgivings and learn to love again. James, a young doctor in training, is aware of Cara’s history. He’s determined to break through her barriers and build a life with her…and fails. Cara runs away in an attempt to reinvent herself and James fears he’s lost her for good. When she falls into the hands of a drug dealer and mob boss, life as they know it is about to get a whole lot worse. Can their love withstand the demons of her past and present?

Welcome to the Evernight Publishing birthday blog hop!
Evernight Publishing opened its doors two years ago. In those two years we’ve signed over one hundred and sixty authors and published over three hundred books. From paranormal to contemporary, we’ve had more best sellers than we can count and made thousands of people smile, sigh and gasp. So, as a thank you to all our readers and everyone who has supported us, we’re holding this blog hop and we have a whole lot of prizes to offer you.
Here’s how it works… the more blogs you hop to (shown below) the more chance you have of winning prizes. Each author on the hop is offering a prize and Evernight is offering the following grand prizes, a Kindle, a $100 Amazon gift certificate, two Evernight swag bags (which includes a tote, a tee, vouchers, a mug and other coolness) and a personalized Facebook banner. To be in with a chance of winning the author prize simply follow the blog you’re visiting and leave a comment which includes your email address. Each entry on each blog is then counted towards the grand prize draw. The more entries you have, the better your chance of winning a grand prize! You also get extra points for liking the Evernight Facebook pagehttp://www.facebook.com/#!/evernightpublishing. Just make sure you let us know in the comments that you’ve done so.
Good luck and happy hopping!

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Under the weather and Gothic Romance: The Julia Project.

Yes, I am under the weather.  Sigh.  I don’t often get sick so this is a bummer.  Pity me…

Stephanie, over at Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust did take pity on me, and she sent me an article about a soon to be published work of homegrown Gothic Romance.   She knows I’m a huge Jane Eyre fan.  Team Bronte all the way!

Steph is from Maine and there is a project at the University of Maine, Machias, to resurrect the very first novel published in Maine – Julia and the Illuminated Baron, by Sally Sayward Wood, of York, first published in 1800 by Oracle Press in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  More importantly, this was the first Gothic novel ever published by a woman in the United States.  The book has been out of print for 212 years. This is a good year to bring it back to life, don’t you think, in the year 2012?  There’s a certain symmetry to that.

I am gonna get me a copy of that book.  Now that’s an interesting prospect.

Julia and the Illuminated Baron is a gothic tale of intrigue and romance. Set in France during the time of the French revolution, it tells the story of a beautiful young woman of impeccable virtues. She falls in love with a baron who is a member of a secret society, the Illuminati. He subjects Julia to his obsessions and imprisonment.

“By today’s standards of gothic writing, Julia and the Illuminated Baron is tame. Wood populated her story with castles, crypts, cemeteries and suspense, but it does not have the blood and gore that people expect in gothic novels today.”

No blood and gore?  Well, that’s all right by me.  I’ll have to get my gore-fix via A Game of Thrones now that The Walking Dead is on hiatus.

Off to the wilds of Oregon!

Happy Hanukkah for those of you lighting up tonight!

Merry Christmas to the rest of you.  To me – Merry Chrismukkah!

I don’t know if I’ll have any internet so I guess I’ll see you when I see you.

Here are some good peeps to read while I’m gone:

J W Manus

Basia’s Bookshelf

One Good Book

The Reign in Maine (funny)

Penelope’s Romance Reviews

Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite Christmas melodies!

From Stephanie and Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust

She posed an interesting question last week.  She asked the following (I’m paraphrasing):  With the ease of self-publishing, should everyone who’s been rejected by mainstream publishing go ahead and self-publish?  Here’s a portion of her post:

“Other than when I say, “It’s not my cup of tea;” when I don’t finish a book what are the reasons?

“Probably the reason I give most often and one that has a multitude of underlying causes is that it is hard to read.  This can mean that it is boring, poorly written, an ugly or depressing story. It can also mean it is a story wherein nothing happens; it has no plot.

“What do I mean by poorly written? Aside from technical aspects of writing,  I mean what I term expository writing. This is when a writer tells me what the character is thinking, saying, and doing instead of showing me. Of course, the entire book cannot be dialogue (then it would be a script) but needs a balance between narration and dialogue.  Invariably, and I mean invariably, the books I find with this imbalance are self or vanity published with an occasional independent publisher.

“I am not saying that all self or indy published books are written this way. There are many well-written indy or self-published books and in the e-book age more good writers are self-publishing. But, I have never reviewed a big house published book written this way. A good editor can make or break a book.

“Strangely, I never hear this discussed. Is it a taboo to tell someone they need to write more dialogue? Sometimes good work gets rejected. Sometimes something I don’t enjoy gets published. But, if rejection slips arrive, The first thing I would do if I  wrote fiction, instead of running to the computer to self-publish, would be to look at this aspect of a book.

“I applaud anyone who puts his or her work out-it’s like running naked in a parade. But if you do decide to write and show it then please, please look at this in your writing.

“Then the next thing I can say is that the dialogue is either  too much, hard to follow (who said that?) or just off.  I find newer writers tend to write men speaking with each other like pre-teen boys playing war with or without GI Joes. It’s like a less polite “nudge-nudge, wink-wink.”

“There are other things that bug me just as much. What about you? What do you you find hard to read? What makes a book unworthy ofyour time?

“Please note these are the thoughts of a morning, solely my opinion.”

I thought about Stephanie’s morning thoughts.  She makes a very valid point, several actually.  Many indie authors have not only rejected mainstream publishing (often with good reason), but they’ve rejected good writing in the hopes of making a quick buck.  And sometimes they do, make a quick buck, I mean.  It’s also possible they either don’t know what good writing is or don’t care; they just want to be published.  Anybody can put words on a piece of paper or use a word processor. That’s not the definition of dedication to your craft and getting published doesn’t necessarily indicate talent.

I believe writing a good story not only requires at least a modicum of talent, it takes practice.  Let me repeat that, writing a good story not only requires at least a modicum of talent, it takes practice.  It also requires a willingness to look hard at your own creation and edit – either on your own or together with a decent editor.  I agree with Stephanie, a good editor can make or break a book.

My experience differs from Stephanie’s in that I’ve read numerous books released by mainstream publishers that were either poorly conceived, poorly written, poorly edited, or all three.  Indie authors haven’t cornered the market on bad books, that’s for damn sure.

I’d also like to discuss rejection letters. Many people mistakenly assume authors who submit work for consideration generally receive actual rejection letters.  Those days are long gone.  More often, a rejection letter takes the form of no response from either a publisher or a literary agent.  In other words, if you don’t hear from me in X amount of time, or in, say, forever, go ahead and assume you’ve been rejected.

It’s been years since I’ve received a real rejection letter, one that actually explains why a work has been rejected, and even those I can count on three fingers.  Typically, an author receives (if he or she receives anything at all) a form letter consisting of one sentence – This work does not meet our needs at this time, signed – The Agency or The Publisher.  Often, there is no letter head on the half sheet of paper folded into the SASE, and no return address so the author doesn’t have a clue who’s rejecting the work, unless the author sent out a single query. Of course with email queries, no news is bad news.  If you’re lucky, you might receive that one all-encompassing sentence in a form email.

Okay, just my thoughts.  Stephanie never fails to make some interesting points.  Here’s the original post.

How True Blood Won Me Yet Lost Me.

I knew from the very beginning the television series, True Blood, would stray from the Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse Novels.

I was one hundred percent okay with that, provided Eric was hotter than hell, Bill was, well, Bill, Sookie played the naive innocent who was far from the weird, dumb blond everyone believed her to be, Sam remained sweet, and Pam was ready with the sly quip or witty repartee.  Oh, and I can’t forget Alcide with his bodilicious sex appeal.

Why?  Because those were the characters I cared about.  The rest could wander in and out, sometimes featured, sometimes not.

Season One was everything I’d hoped for and more.  The stuff of vampire fantasies.  It was also the only season that followed the book, more or less.

Season Two was a grind.  Mary Ann and her minions just about did me in, the Queen of Louisiana was puke-worthy, but I stuck it out, yes ma’am, I did, for Godric and Eric and one single dream Sookie had after drinking Eric’s blood.  She saw herself in bed with Eric.  If it hadn’t been for the above, the show would have lost me in its second season.

Season Three was so awful I didn’t bother to watch in real time, just flipped the television on while I was cooking, looked up once in a while to see who was killing who, but didn’t really care.

Season Four?  Done.  The long awaited Sookie/Eric hookup was  anti-climactic.  Didn’t move me in the slightest.  That speaks volumes, especially since Eric is one of my fantasy men.  Frankly, it was kinda pathetic.

So, after winning me over, True Blood lost me.  Too many story arcs.  Too many characters.  Don’t even get me started on Sookie and TSTL heroines.

I need a core of players to invest in.  Can’t scatter my emotional investments far and wide – not enough payback.  Besides, if I want to immerse myself in ADD, all I have to do is look at my own family.

Now, Steph, over at Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust, has been willing to make a huge investment in True Blood.  She’s a devoted fan who goes the extra mile to spread the blood, uh, I mean, love.