This! Friday! (Woohoo!!!)

 

Have I mentioned MAKE ME HOWL comes out on Kindle this Friday? I’m so excited, I could just scream. Even after all the critiques, edits and reads, I still like this book. Go figure. 🙂

In celebration, I thought I’d post one of my favorite scenes from the beginning of the book.

I have a question at the bottom. Post your answer here and I’ll put your name in a drawing for a prize!

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Cool air stirred my hair, tickling the back of my neck and down my spine as I slowly drifted toward consciousness. I was a bit light-headed, and my eyes were all but glued shut. And the really bad part, mouth tasted as if it were full of downtown Dallas dirty cotton.

The morning was fragrant with a light scent. Wildflowers? Unable to imagine where I was, I rolled over then stretched the kinks out of my arms. Another breeze wafted over me, swirling over my naked breasts, down my belly and along my thighs.

“Jazzy?”

Hearing Bella whisper my name, I was tempted to pretend I was still sleeping. “Um?”

“Jazzy, look at me.”

After working a moment, I was able to open my eyes. I tried to look at Bella, but her face kept going in and out of focus behind the bars.

Bars?

Abruptly I sat up, my head swimming at the sudden motion. “Bella?” I practically coughed the word, my throat hurt so.

Her gaze was filled with concern. I hated that look, as if as the moments-older twin, she was responsible for me. “Are you okay?”

“No, I’m not okay.” I paused to control the bristle prickling down my spine. Then I whispered between my clamped jaws, not bothering to use telepathy since there was no one around. “What am I doing here? Naked?”

. . . .

Bella’s mouth dropped open and her eyes grew wide with horror as she looked around. “Doc’s coming back and Norman’s with him. You’d better go primal. Quick.”

As if it was that easy. I couldn’t just wiggle my nose like some TV witch—I had to allow myself to release. And after a lifetime of learning control, that wasn’t easy.

I took a moment to settle myself, to find my center. Arranging my hair so I was well covered, I got to my knees then sat on my heels. “You know, last night, when you and Doc abandoned me, Norman became a huge pest. He kept at me, wanting me to dance with him.”

Bella’s “Um,” irritated me. Annoyance tingled my exposed skin, running along my collarbone and down the insides of my arms.

“He wouldn’t leave me alone. It was so gross.” I straightened as angry lightning strikes marched down my back. “Then he insisted I finish my drink because he wanted to buy me another. Bella, I thought I was going to have to decapitate him to get him to leave me alone. I decided to just take off and let you find another way home. But after I finished my drink—and I only had the one Doc bought me—I don’t remember anything. It’s as if I got lost in the night.”

I gathered my fury like a fiery orb in my chest.

“You know I never have a memory lapse except during a blood moon phase or if I lose control. I wasn’t that angry.”

A simple full moon hadn’t done that to me since I was three years old.

“That son of a cur must have slipped me a roofie. Why else would I have been out of control?” I allowed my rage to explode as I thought about the man putting a date rape drug in my drink.

My body stung as the bristles burst through my skin, but I exalted in the sensation as my face narrowed, then lengthened. I loved the feeling of my body shifting from human to wolf shape. There’s never anything better than the power surge as it filled my muscles.

It’s exhilarating.

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I love it when Jazzy shifts to Wolf. She has so much fun!

So here’s your question: Have you ever wished you could be a shape shifter? If you were given the choice, what animal would you become?

I HAVE A PUB DATE!

GUESS WHAT!

I received my pub date from my publisher. (Did the blog title give it away?)

Make Me Howl is going to be available on November 15, 2013!

 

HOWL!

I’m just a little(!) bit excited. *grins* Can you tell?

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I’m going to try to set up a Facebook page for Howl. (I think.) :)  If I do, I’ll need all my friends out there to like it. Well, the ones who read werewolf books.

All three of you. :)

In case you’re wondering, HOWL isn’t an inspirational. ;)  It’s the last book I wrote before I started trying inspirational. I’m still waiting to hear back on my first try with that genre. The tentative title is Texas Hearts. Prayers about that would be appreciated!

Okay, wait. I’m asking for prayers for God’s will with my writing, not that TH will sell. Although I’d love, love, love to write for the Lord, I really want to be solidly in His will.

Oh, and if you like werewolf books, HOWL is acomin’!

It’s not your normal werewolf book.

Ps: If you follow both SMART WOMEN and SMALL TOWN WORLD, this is a reblog.

Want to Write a Book?

When we sold our pharmacy in Pryor Creek, several friends asked me what I was going to do. One day, a pretty friend with long, dark hair asked the question.

“Well,” I confided. After all, she was a friend. “I’m going to write.”

She smiled happily and chirped, “Oh. I’ve always wanted to write.”

“Really?” I asked. “What do you want to write?” I’d known for years I wanted to write romance for the HEA factor if nothing else.

“Oh, I don’t know,” my friend answered. She didn’t know what kind of book. Didn’t know what it would be about. Had no idea of genre, publishing houses, characters, plotting or anything else people usually study up on, even if they never really get a story idea.  “I just want to write a book.”

That was my first encounter with that attitude, but not my last. I had no idea how to answer her.

Today, I’d tell her to read, “5 Ways to Develop a Book Idea.”

It might have been named, “5 Ways to Go Beyond Just Wanting to Write a Book.”

BTW: I love #5. FORCE YOURSELF TO HAVE FUN (girls love having fun!) AND BELIEVE IN YOUR WRITING! (Easier said than done, but doable.

English: Photo of the Pryor Creek Bridge just ...

)

 

Great News!

Marilyn Pappano has a new book, available April 1, 2013. It’s called Copper Lake Confidential and should be available everywhere Harlequin is sold. You can also buy it on Amazon.

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I’m not telling you about Marilyn’s book because she’s a warm and caring friend. (She is!)

I’m not telling you about her book because Marilyn has helped me and many of my fellow Smart Women writers so much. (She has!)

I’m not telling you about her book because Marilyn is a ton of fun and a joy to travel with. (That, too!)

I’m telling you because it’s an excellent book (out of five stars, I give it at least a ten!) and I wouldn’t want anyone who enjoys romance or suspense to miss it.

Why, you ask, is it so good? Glad you asked!

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Marilyn always writes wonderful characters, but this time there are a couple of them that step off the page to live in your memory as well as your heart. The first is a three-year-old little girl.

As I said, M always does a fantastic job with her characters, but this little girl is real. Her actions and responses so honest-to-goodness, you’d swear you’d seen her just a few moments ago. M just might have done some hands-on research for Clary. (Don’t you love, love, love that name?)

The second is a dog. He’s smart, cute, mischievous, and not unlike some of the critters who live and have lived in Marilyn’s home. He acts like a real dog–one I think Molly would enjoy having as a brother. 🙂

Of course, I have several questions I want to ask Marilyn about her book. Her research. Her life growing up and how she knows everything about the rich and infamous. 😉

I’m nearing the end of CLC. Usually, when I read a suspense, I can tell who antagonist is long before this point.  But not in her book. She has me suspecting everyone of being the bad guy except Clary and Scooter the dog.

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And I’m not absolutely positive about the dog. LOL.

Just like her other Copper Lake books, Marilyn has me wishing I could move to CL just to live near the people there. Fingers crossed this series will go on For! Ev! Ver!

BTW: I’m 9/10 finished with this book, and while the heroine and hero want to be together, so far it’s G-Rated. (That’s a hot with sexual tension, absolutely nothing explicit G-Rating, which ain’t easy to do, folks.)

Copper Lake Confidential will be available in print and digitally on April 1st, but only for a few weeks in print. Don’t miss out!

Ps: Buy your books new. When you buy them used, the author doesn’t get paid.

Reading Vs Writing

NLast week, I blogged here about being a tad sensitive to comments I’d gotten from reader. In a nutshell, she not only hated my book but complained that it was full of grammar and punctuation errors. It didn’t bother me that she hated the book, but her criticism of my grammar and punctuation lit my hair on fire.

This week I’m sort of still talking about the same thing, only this time the focus is on the reader not liking my book. We authors all have two things in common: huge egos (otherwise, how could we honestly think something we’d written is worthy of being available to read — and for money — all over the world?) and huge insecurities (omg, what made me think that piece of disjointed crap should ever see the light of day?). We are (usually) our own biggest cheerleaders and our own toughest critics.

Writing a manuscript is intensely personal. No matter how hard we try, there’s not an author out there who doesn’t put some part of her self into each and every book, so when the criticism comes, it can feel personal. One of the first things newbies have to learn about the business is not to take it personally.

Writing and reading are subjective. Every person brings his/her own beliefs, education, abilities, understandings and preferences to every book they write/read. If we have a smidgen of talent, other people will eventually find our books and look forward to every one of them. If we have ginormous luck, it will be a whole lot of people and we’ll make bestseller lists and lots of money and live comfortably live after.

(Yeah, I just said that luck is more important than talent in selling, in making bestseller lists and in making a living from this business.)

Back before I sold my first book, I was a voracious reader. There were books I loved, books that weren’t anything special but filled a few hours for me, and books that made me do the proverbial toss-against-the-wall and say, “I can do better than that.” Back then I was reading strictly for character, plot, emotion — things that made me happy when I closed the book.

Then I sold my first book, and it became a brand-new ballgame. After going through line-edits and copy-edits and page proofs, I realized that there was a whole new job for me: learning what the editors were looking at. Why did they cut this scene? Why did they put a comma there and take out one there? Why did this work for them when that didn’t?

I not only studied my own manuscripts; I began to study the books I was reading for pleasure. After all, they were already published by a major publishers, many by my own.

And that was pretty much the end to my carefree life of reading for pleasure. It’s so hard for me to read a book now without wanting to grab a red pen and start correcting mistakes, writing notes in the margins, attaching Post-Its to the pages. I have to consciously turn off my internal editor and say, “I’m reading for fun; it’s not critique; it’s not work.”

After I reached that point, though, I was no longer satisifed with just any book I picked up. I was reading for technique, for craft, in addition to storytelling. And I found that a lot of big authors are strong in storytelling but weak in technique and craft.

I can list fifty bestselling authors today whose books I won’t read. Maybe it’s subject matter. (I hate vampires and demons.) Maybe it’s a craft problem. (I hate head-hopping, where you only spend a few paragraphs or pages in one character’s head and then, without warning, you’re in a different character’s head.) I hate kitchen-sink plotting (where the author throws in everything but the kitchen sink). I just don’t like the types of characters some big-name authors tend to write.

But, like I said, it’s all subjective. We’re different. We like different foods and clothes and music and cars and people, so it stands to reason that we’ll like different books. The reader who wrongly criticized my grammar and punctutation is entitled to dislike my book (and with the grammar/punctuation  rules changing fairly regularly and from publisher to publisher, she’s entitled to think I did it wrong. I didn’t, but she’s allowed to think so.)

Seriously, I’ve received enough rejections, bad reviews and critical reader letters that they don’t bother me much. As another author pointed out to me long, long ago, all that negative stuff is just one person’s opinion.

And everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

Romancing the Spice

Terminally Curious here.

Did you read Lynn’s post yesterday? She used her blog day to let us know that their new book IS AVAILABLE! (Woohoo!)

I thought her commercial was great!

With everything happening in the publishing business these days, there’s little to no promotion from the publisher for new(ish) authors. If the authors don’t tell us about their great new books, how will we learn about them?

Romance The Spice of Life is series of novellas, written by a group of fantastic writers.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Here’s what Amazon has to say about it–

 A collection unlike any other, readers will enjoy this compilation of six
diverse novellas; set in varying eras and situations, yet all have one thing in common: Romance.

Each author offers her own slant on affairs of the heart, with a twist. Romance readers should find something to satisfy any
appetite-suspense, historical, inspirational, paranormal, nostalgia or
contemporary, all delivered with a character-inspired recipe at the end.

Of course, I have a pile of questions I want to ask. How did they choose the authors? How long did it take to write it? Did one of them serve as editor? Are they going to have signings all together? How will they split the $$ at group signings?

Was there a boss author? A contract? Deadlines?

My questions go on and on, and since I don’t have answers, I won’t bore you with more of them. Maybe I can talk one or two or three of these writers into being interviewed so we’ll know all the answers.

How about it, ladies? Anybody want to spill the beans? (clears throat) fill us in?

Outside the Comfort Zones

I think all new writers think the worst/hardest part of the publishing industry is writing the book. Wrong. The worst is doing things that are outside of your comfort zones. Like book signings, or talking to strangers about your book, or doing online promotion.

For the younger generation (I think), the online promotion is a piece of cake. They grew up with computers and have no fear of them. Wish I could say the same. I’ve always been a tad nervous about the unknown, and just about anything computer related is falls into that category. I’m trying, though. Truly I am.

What is my comfort zone, you ask? Talking. To anyone who’ll listen. 🙂   If I’m out and about, like at the post office or tag agency, once I’m done with the business, I’ll boldly ask if they read. While I’m asking, I’m already pulling a book mark from my purse and handing it to them. So far no one has turned me down. I’ve made several contacts in just the last week. I mean, I’m almost brazen here. hehe But when I’m smiling at them, they find it hard to not smile back.

Last Friday, I had my first interview. (Definitely outside my comfort zone!) It was with the Fort Gibson Times newspaper. I was nervous, and I sincerely hope I didn’t sound like a twit, but the reporter was very nice. The article will be in this Wednesday’s edition with a follow-up with details about my first book signing in the next weeks.

I have to pinch myself. This is real. This is the here and now, not somewhere off in the future. I’ve actually gotten a book published. I think I shouldn’t worry about whether any activity related to my book and getting it in the hands of readers is outside my comfort zone. I think I just need to hang on and enjoy the ride. ♥

And if you’re so inclined, you can purchase Grave Secrets from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, here. Or you can get it on Amazon (sorry but I can’t seem to get the link to work right now). I must warn you, only the print version is available right now. The ebook will be out on August 3rd.

Enjoy!!