Research for an author can be both mundane and fabulous. My research is normally pretty easy. If I have a technical question about something specific involving ranch life, I can usually remember from when I grew up or if I can't, I just call my brother. It's great having a real-live cowboy as my go-to guy.
And then there is the best kind of research...at least in my opinion.
This of course involves finding someone to base your character on, or at least provide inspiration. As many romance authors will tell you, this is one of the best parts of the job.
So in order to find this elusive character, I did what any other modern woman would do...I trawled the internet.
Please enjoy the results as much as I have.
In about 2 days I will be sitting at a table with fellow authors at the Harlequin Authors Dinner, a preempt to the Romance Writers of New Zealand's annual conference which starts on Friday.
This is my favourite time of year. Well, besides Christmas (nothing beats Christmas). I spend all year waiting for the next conference to roll around; and finally it's here.
This year is extra exciting!
I have two books as finalists in the Koru Award, short and sexy category. The Koru award is a reader choice award, aimed at recongising excellence in published romance writing. I must add that 1) I took the description from the RWNZ website and 2) this contest is open to all published writers, not just those from New Zealand. So you can see why I'm so pleased.
I find out the results at the Awards Dinner on Saturday night. The competition is pretty amazing and I'm so happy to see my names next to theirs. They're both authors I admire and look up to. Maybe I am getting closer to my dream after all.
The two of my books that made it through to the finals are the first two in my Copeland Ranch Trilogy, I Choose You and Because of You.
First things first, Happy New Year!
Now that the crazy season of Christmas and New Year is over, I feel as though I can finally take a breath and regroup.
2014 was an amazing year. One that was beyond my wildest dreams! Looking back, I find it hard to believe all that I accomplished. Two whole books written, two books edited, two book launch parties (for the same book!), one writer's conference, one self development course plus everyday life with the kids, my wonderful husband and my great friends. I feel incredibly grateful.
I won't pretend, however that it was all sweet and fluff. There were (many) moments of panic and 'what am I doing?' and self doubt. My family had to endure a crazy woman and extremely messy house for probably most of the year. I had to ignore my friends when my deadlines loomed. My poor husband wrestled all three kids away from me days at a time so I could quickly type the last words of my manuscripts or pull off my edits in time. There is no way I could have gotten through this year without the help or understanding of a very good man.
I was blessed with a visit from my mom and her sister when my first book released. They stayed for two weeks and we had the BEST time. (except perhaps when my car-sick Aunt had to endure New Zealand roads!)
Just before my kids finished school for the year, I managed to complete the manuscript for my third book. I was so happy to get it done before Christmas. I was able to take the whole of the Christmas/New Year season off writing and just be, and enjoy my family. Until yesterday I hadn't gone to town since the 21st of December. Ah, bliss.
I have many goals for 2015. The first one is to complete the next two books of my contract. By the end of this year, I could have three more books out into the world. I also want to spend my time more wisely. At the end of last year I started getting up at 4 am in order to get a few hours of writing in before the kids got up. I NEEDED to do this because I am the Queen of Procrastination there was no way in hell I was going to complete my manuscript by my deadline if I didn't. I don't want to be THAT author who always asks for extentions. This year, starting tomorrow, I will reinstate my early mornings, but this time I am going to get up at 5:30 instead of 4 am. I can always adjust my time as I see fit. My next book is not due to my publisher until May so at the moment I'm not all panic stations. Talk to me in a month and my tune may have changed. :)
I would like to finish my novel with more time to spare in order to edit it more in-depth before sending it of to my editor. I fear some things I send her are very rough.
One of my other big goals is to tackle book marketing. I will be the first to admit that I am absolute crap in this area. I am conflicted about what exactly I should be doing. I don't want to be one of those annoying people that only talk about their books and shove Buy links in everyone's faces. But I also don't want to be the author that no one knows about because they never even mentioned to anyone they wrote a book. Okay maybe that last one I will never be accused of being, but I don't want to slip into obscurity because I don't make any effort.
On top of all that, I have the very lofty goal of reaching the New York Times Bestseller list. At the moment, as things are going there is no way this is going to happen. But you know what? 18 months ago, I thought there was no way I was going to be a twice published author with another book soon to be released and two more on contract. So why not dream big? Isn't that what life is about? Who wants to stay in the current situation they are in? Doesn't everyone want to strive for something better? I do. I know what I want. I might not know exactly how to get there, but I know that anything is possible. 2014 proved that to me without a doubt. We are all meant for greatness. We just have to find what it is we are meant to be great at. I am an author. That's all I need to know.
For the last two weeks I have been getting up at 4 am. Yes, that's right, I said FOUR AM. For the first week and a half it was a struggle to get out of bed and if I hadn't agreed to call my friend and wake her up at that time too, I would have fumbled for the alarm and went back to sleep.
I do have a reason for getting up this early. My plan was to write for two hours before the kids got up. Mostly I have and although I my speed was greatly reduced due to the early morning rising I still managed to up my word count for the book I'm currently writing.
The last few days however have had an unexpected side affect. I've been baking. My husband and my kids are delighted...my waistline is not.
Here are some of my culinary efforts.
My fabulous author friend, Rebecca Raisin has her cover reveal today. It is for the final installment of her fantastically popular Gingerbread Cafe series. See below for the 'blurb' and for her beautiful cover. I just love it!
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café
Released October 15th
You are invited to the wedding of the year!
Snow is falling thick and fast outside the Gingerbread Café and inside, its owner Lily is planning the wedding of the year. Her wedding! She never dreamt it would happen, but this Christmas, she’ll be marrying the man of her dreams - in a Christmas-card-perfect ceremony!
The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe’s in place – for once, everything’s going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives... Suddenly, Lily’s famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.
In the blink of a fairylight, the Gingerbread Café has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she had this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says ‘I do’, can Lily get to the church on time – and make this Christmas sparkle after all?
Pre-order the book here:
Amazon US http://amzn.to/1qIb9VQ
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1m7wGWP
Amazon Aust http://bit.ly/1uCJVjx
Google play http://bit.ly/ZnNjTF
Find Rebecca here:
Today is an exciting day. The sun is trying to peak out from behind the clouds, it's warm and the daffodils are blooming and the little lambs are bounding around the paddock.
A few weekends ago I attended the Romance Writers of New Zealand's annual conference. I see from my pictures that I spent most of my time eating. In my defense, the food was great...and I didn't have to cook it! I'm not sure if it's that, or if it's getting to network with fellow writers that I look forward to the most.
The weekend kicked off on Thursday evening August 14th with Jim Azevedo who is the Marketing Director of Smashwords. If you are not aware of what Smashwords is, it is the largest online distributor of self published books. Not only do they publish books on their own website but onto other sites as well such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Sony and Kobo, etc.
Although I am not in the self publishing gig, I did find the information very interesting and useful for my own career. Smashwords distributes more than 278,000 titles around the world. PLUS they provided all conference attendees with a USB stick loaded with over 80 novels. What's not to like about that?
Friday I was lucky enough to be James Scott Bell's minder. I'm really sure what else to call it. All I did was make sure had cups of tea and something to eat. The poor man had a sore throat so by the end of the day I think he was floating away from all the green tea with lemon I gave him.
James is the #1 Bestselling author of Plot & Structure and thrillers such as Don't Leave Me, Blind Justice, Try Dying, Watch Your Back and One More Lie. Mr Scott Bell gave wonderful workshops on The Power of Plot, The Power of Structure, Characters That Jump Off the Page and Secrets of Scenes.
Spatted about the day was more food.
And then the wonderful Courtney Milan spoke to us about how to Build a Sticky Readership. Courtney is of course the fabulous Romance author with bestselling books such as The Governess Affair, The Duchess War and The Countess Conspiracy and many, many others.
The weekend was full of breakout workshops hosted by bestselling authors from New Zealand and from around the world. We are so very lucky to have such a wonderful writer's conference in such a small country.
It was not all that long ago that I was publishing my very first novel, Debutantes Don't Date and now here I am looking down the barrel of the release day of my second novel, Damsel In Distress? Yes, there is supposed to be a ? there.
Damsel In Distress? is the sequel, sort of, to Debutantes Don't Date. Here is the "blurb"
A chance meeting that could scandalise the ton!
19th century England. Harriet is running for her life, chased by three men on horseback through Hyde Park. Knocked unconscious, everything goes black…
Philip, Baron Eaglestone, has never seen such a beautiful damsel in distress. And he’s even more intrigued when she opens her eyes, and begins to speak. Because this irresistible woman can only remember her first name, and has no knowledge as to who was trying to kill her… or where she is!
As Philip cares for Harriet, their attraction burns… and neither can shake the feeling that their chance meeting was truly a moment out of time. But if her memory returns, Harriet will be faced with a question. Will she return home or could it be that family is where her heart is – with a Regency rake!
And here is the cover!!!!!
Please see my Books page for pre-order links.
I'm not very good with this blogging gig, am I? I do have great intentions of posting a few times a week but at the moment I seem to be lucky if I remember to post a few times a month. It's not that I don't have anything to say or that my life is too boring to write about, quite the opposite actually. My life is so busy and hectic that the days, weeks and sadly yes, even the months slip by without me noticing.
Book wise I am happy to be at the editing stage of Book Two. I have yet to select a title, but more about that later. I needed to ask my editor for an extension and she has been very lovely by giving me a couple more weeks. Did you know that if a book is not about Christmas (a romance novel anyways, I can't speak for other genres) you might as well not publish it between October and January? No one (or very few) will purchase it. This means I need to have book 2 to Victoria by the end of this month so she can publish it in September. At the moment there are holes in the manuscript that need filling. I can then concentrate on punctuation and spelling...my favourite things (insert sarcastic smile here).
While I was supposed to be editing this morning, I found a website that allows authors to sign e-books. I must admit, it was not something I expected to find, but I'm so happy I did. If I could figure out how to attach the widget to my website (technology is not always my friend) it would be easy for everyone who comes to my webpage to request an autograph, or in this case an 'authorgraph'. If you are interested in having your e-book signed, please take a look at this website Authorgraph there are other authors there too so if you have other e-books you'd like signed, please have a look.
So back to the missing title of book two...
I'm not sure exactly how much I should tell you, so I'll give you my pitch line and a small excerpt.
Baron Eaglestone, Philip Blade, finds a mystery woman battered and on the edge of death on his way home from a night out. Together they must unlock her memory to discover who she is and why someone wants her dead.
This is another Regency Time Travel novel.
Philip Blade, Baron Eaglestone, regretted his moment of weakness last night when he paid a visit to his mistress. He had already bade farewell to her for good last month. Veronica was a passionate lady and as such was hard to let go, even if she was a candidate for Bedlam. Last night's episode proved his theory correct. Next time he wouldn't be swayed! He might also decide to stay off the drink...or at least champagne as it tended to make him forget his resolve to stay clear of her. Yes, he'd stick to brandy from now on. That was a much better idea.
A thundering of hooves broke his reflections. "Who in their right minds, would be out riding at this hour?" He muttered to himself. "They'll kill themselves running their horse at that speed in the dark."
He climbed a small rise and stopped dead at the sight that greeted him.
So there you have it. The title I'm using at the moment is Finding Harriet, but I am open to suggestions for something better. If I get a few suggestions we can have a vote for the best one. A personally signed book cover to the winner.
One last thing, I would like to draw attention to the lovely persons who have taken the time to review Debutantes Don't Date. Every time a review pops up on Amazon, my ratings jump, the reason for this I have been told is that when a book is reviewed it comes up as a suggested read. Therefore the more reviews, the more purchases. So I would encourage you to review books you like, as it helps authors tremendously, especially new authors who have not established a name for themselves yet. I will admit that it wasn't until I became an author myself that I started reviewing books. It just never occurred to me to do so. Now I try to review the ones I liked and follow 'Thumper's advice' and if I have nothing nice to say, I don't say anything at all, about the books I don't.
Until next time,
I lit my fire for the first time of the year this morning and boy am I glad I did. It was sure chilly in the house when I got up! No frost outside that I can see though, so maybe I should just 'harden up'. But I did it for the kids :), I wouldn't want them catching a cold now, would I?
As for the book? Well first things first; it has a new name...Debutantes Don't Date. And it now also has a release date which is April 30th, 2014. If you have been following me on Facebook, you will of course already know this. What you won't know, however is that yesterday I received the cover of my book. Well, not the actual cover of the book since it is an e-book after all, but the virtual cover of my book. And it is awesome! Unfortunately for you, I can't show it to you yet. ;) You will have to wait until my publisher 'releases' it to the world. Hopefully this will be soon because I can hardly wait to share it. Even my dear husband has said it looks like and I quote, 'a proper book'. I'm not exactly sure what he was expecting...
Last week while I was talking to my editor, she offered me another contract. This time for another three books! I never in my wildest dreams imagined this. I would have thought that any new contract would be offered after the first book was released to see how well it sold. But since I am new to all of this, maybe this is normal procedure; I'm not sure, but it doesn't take away from the fact that I am over the moon. I have been flying high all week!
To top things off, this morning I found out that there are quite a few New Zealand authors that are taking the world by storm.
Vanessa Barneveld is a Golden Heart Finalist and the following authors are RITA finalists, Anne Gracie, Frances Housden, Anna Campbell, Nalini Singh and Leah Ashton. Congratulations to all of these fantastic, talented women. I encourage all of you to check out their books.
The list of things to do is getting shorter...and longer.
First on my list was to sign my contract. Tick! I am pleased to say that I am now an official author of Carina UK. Carina UK is a subsidiary company of Harlequin. Check out their websites to see what kind of company I'm keeping. http://www.carinauk.com and http://www.harlequin.com I think a lot of people will be surprised to learn what else they publish. There are even man authors...that write man books. (no I do't mean that kind...although there is probably a few of those as well!), I mean books about cars and stuff. Man stuff. I must admit I was surprised to find out that Harlequin published something other than romance. Not that there is anything wrong with romance, I write it, but Harlequin is synonymous with romance. I mean, who hasn't heard of Mills and Boon?
Second on the list was my copy edit. Tick! A 'copy editor' went through my manuscript word for word, line by line and made changes and/or suggestions. Did you know you can track your changes in a word document? I didn't. It's very cool. I was able to see who made what changes, whether is was me, the copy editor or my editor. This was all relatively painless and I even managed to get my changes back to Victoria before she needed them. It was after I sent back my changes that I found out the copy editor was a man. I was hoping I didn't embarrass him with the more, shall we say, intimate scenes. Little did I know he wrote a manual on how to write erotica. Now who's embarrassed?
Third on the list? Tick! I have sent my editor my plan for a series and hopefully she likes it, especially book 2 I'm currently writing is number two of the series. :)
I should also be sent the cover art for my book, and find out what title they've decided to go with very soon. I'm so excited! I can hardly wait to share it with everyone. So book 1 is now complete and out of my hands. The next time I see it, it'll be on an e-reader as a proper book.
Number four on the list. Added. When I find out the publication date I will be planning along with my good, and very helpful friends at Beattie and Forbes Booksellers in Napier (www.beattieandforbes.co.nz) a book launch. I am will be hosting one in Wairoa as well. I'll let you know the details as they come to hand.
Number five on the list is perhaps the most important. It seems like the house cleaner we were looking for may be closer than I thought and hopefully she wants to start soon...my place is still a mess!
Please check out the Home Page of my website (link at the top of this page) to see the updated blurb for my upcoming book.
I am an author and this is my story.