Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Day, Another Release!

Book 2 from my Long and Hard series is out today!!! Yippie. Loose Lips makes its debut on the Ellora's Cave website. So, without further ado, here's the blurb:

Olivia Worthington has a problem. A guy she barely knows stole precious jewels from the museum where she works and it was all her fault. Distrustful of the police, she seeks her ex-boyfriend’s help. But when she draws him into a hornet’s nest of trouble, will he walk away for good?
Computer geek and security expert Grady Long was just starting to get over Olivia when she showed up on his boat begging for his help. How was he supposed to resist the woman who regularly walked through his dreams? Will his weakness for her cost him more than he has to give?
If you'd like to read an excerpt, you'll find one HERE. Comment to be entered in a drawing for a FREE book!

***Update - winner is Ranae. Please email me at wynter@ wynterdaniels. com (no spaces). Congrats!***

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday with an Editor - Stacy Boyd

Please welcome Editor Stacy Boyd to the blog today.

Senior editor of Harlequin Desire, watching publishing respond to digital media, living HEA in NYC with a five year old, missing my family in Georgia, wanting time to be lazy.

1. Would you tell us what your typical day looks like?

My typical day is filled with email! I’m usually answering requests from marketing about book covers or copy; from authors about submissions, contracted materials and scheduling; from production about the status of edits; from art about cover information and proofs; from upper management about my strategy for the line and our authors’ career trajectories; and from many others about special projects, conferences, social media, etc. In the midst of all of this, there are many, many meetings. I love how busy my days are, and the diversity of my responsibilities. The best part, of course, is that I get paid to read romance novels. J

2. What’s your favorite thing to read for pleasure?

I read a lot of non-fiction and YA when I’m outside the office, and I especially love magazines. Right now, Bloomberg Businessweek is my favorite.

3. What’s the best perk of your job? Any pitfalls?

The best perk is being able to read really great stories from my favorite authors before they’re available elsewhere. Oh, and free books. The biggest pitfall is that I never have time to read everything I’d like to read.

4. How many authors do you edit yourself? On average, about how many new authors do you take on each year? 

I have an author base of about twenty, a number that fluctuates, and I take on about one new author each year. The entire Desire editorial team, however, usually takes on 3-5 new authors a year.

5. Do you enjoy going to writers’ conferences? Which ones will you be attending in the near future?

I love writers’ conferences! It’s so fun to gather with people who love books as much as I do. I’m attending the New Jersey Romance Writers of America conference on October 22nd, and I’ll be at the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference in the spring of 2012.

6. What’s the best advice you can give aspiring writers planning to pitch to you at a conference?

Think about your story as you would think about a published book. What’s the one thing about your story that would hook you, if you were reading back cover copy? Pick what intrigues you the most, and open with that.

7. Is there a set number of books you expect your authors to pen a year?

For series romance, prolific authors have an advantage. They can more easily build their audience by appearing on the shelves more often. I usually ask new authors to do at least two books a year. Some of our top-selling authors do 3-5 books a year, or more.

8. How would one of your authors describe your editing style?

My authors are always very polite, so they may be thinking one thing and saying another. J Hopefully, they find my editing style to be supportive of their voice and helpful in making their narrative intentions clear to readers.

9. What’s the most common question you’re asked by aspiring writers? And the answer?

The most common question is “What are you looking for?” In broad terms, I’m looking for a good story. More specifically, I’m looking for sexy, short contemporary romance with a lot of drama, an alpha hero with a heart of gold and an unexpected take on plot or characters.

10. What was the last movie you loved?

I’ve been glomming on long-form TV—watching several episodes back-to-back. Longer than movies, but just as engrossing! My recent favorites have been Game of Thrones and True Blood.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Got Hero?

I do, actually. Yeah, I can brag on him cuz he's just that awesome. Our family has had some difficult situations to deal with lately and every single time, my man has stepped up to the plate and taken control.

I don't know about you, but that's the sort of guy I want to fashion my heroes after in my books. Lucky me that I have such a great role model. And trust me, I've patterned more than one of my leading man after my own leading man.

Romance is fantasy, right? Escapism and all that stuff. I can deal with the guy who leaves peanut butter fingerprints on the cabinets and doesn't put the seat down every single time because he sure makes up for it in other ways.

So here's to you, babe! It's so nice to know you've got my back.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday with an Editor


Welcome to the first installment of my Thursday with an Editor series with Kensington Publishing's Megan Records, who has graciously agreed to kick off the series with an editor's interpretation of what your cover letter/query really says.

Megan Records has a B.A. in English and a M.S in Publishing. Before Kensington, she worked at an educational publishing house. Now, she’s found a job that actually pays her to do what she was already doing in her spare time—reading romance. For reading recommendations, tips for aspiring authors, and random comments from daily life as an editor, follow her on Twitter @meganrecords.

What we REALLY think when reading your cover letter/query
We editors are masters at tempering rejections. I have at least 5 stock phrases that sound much nicer than “I was bored by this book.” But what’s really going through my head when I read queries? Take a look:

I haven’t seen anything like this in the bookstore, so I decided to write it.

I think: Yeah…there’s probably a reason you haven’t seen this premise before. Or: Yeah, you clearly haven’t been in a bookstore in the last 10 years.

I can’t wait to go on Oprah and to see my book made into a film.

I think: Good luck with that. Clearly you are super out of touch with publishing reality. And I don’t feel like being the one to burst that bubble.

I’m a published author.

I think: Why don’t you list who you are published with? *googles your name* Oh, PublishAmerica.

I’ve been published in my high school newspaper, and had several letters to the editor printed in my local paper.

I think: This doesn’t count as published.

It took me thirteen years to write this book.

I think: I need you to write at least a book a year, if not two books a year. I’m thinking that’s going to be a problem.

I’m a mother of two high-schoolers, so I know how to write YA that appeals to all teenagers.

I think: I manage to dress myself every day, but that doesn’t mean I’m qualified to be a fashion designer.

If you are not the appropriate editor for my project, please give it to the correct one and send me their contact information.

I think: Riiight. If you can’t do your own research, I’m not going to do it for you.

I’m sending this to you exclusively.

I think: Why? I haven’t asked for one. Your query process is going to take forever if you give everyone exclusives.

The main characters are based on real people.

I think: In other words, you fictionalized your own life story. I’m guessing you probably won’t be open to editorial changes regarding plot or character…

This is a women’s fiction romance mystery with vampires.

I think: I don’t know how to sell this.

This manuscript has been a finalist in 17 contests.

I think: 17? And yet no editor/agent has picked it up yet? Most likely you’re spending too much time entering contests and not enough time revising the bulk of your book.

I’m a member of RWA (or ITW, MWA).

I think: Hooray!  This author is definitely interested in writing as a career.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Editor Series Begins This Week!

As my guest editor series draws near, I thought it would be helpful to say a few words about what editors can do and what they mean to writers.

First and foremost, an editor is your first reader. Sure, they are gatekeepers and as such, they must bar the work that isn't up to par for their company. But gatekeepers also let the worthy in.

An editor is way more than a proofreader. He or she is tasked with making your work the very best it can be. And hey, who doesn't want their work to be its best when it rolls off the line?

An editor is someone who knows the publishing world (probably a lot better than you do) and she knows  where your work fits into that world. She's not your mother or your friend. If she says likes something it's because it's good, not because she doesn't want to hurt your feelings. And the opposite is true, too. She won't let you slide on something that just isn't right to avoid hurting your feelings.

An editor is a teacher. If you pay attention, editors can teach you a lot. I've learned something from every editor I've worked with and to date, that's more than a dozen of them. I still get an occasional grammar lesson  -  usually about some obscure rule or exception to one. But more importantly, they point out things like plot holes and characterization issues and big things that can make or break the story. Some editors even teach courses and write books chock full of awesome information for writers. Want to learn a whole lot about writing? Think about taking the Before You Hit Send workshop by Carina Press Executive Editor Angela James. There's one starting in a week!

More than anything, an editor is a purveyor of the written word. She can do for your work what the fairy godmother did for Cinderella's look. Yeah, she's that amazing. Stay tuned for editorial wisdom.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Under Pressure

I think we've all had this happen. Someone gives us a book and says you MUST read this. It's awesome. Then they gush about while you smile politely because you know it isn't your taste in reads.

As a writer, there are literally dozens of books on my TBR shelf at any given moment. From craft books to novels written by writer buddies to those my agent thinks I ought to read, to the monthly read my book club has assigned, I am inundated with books, books, books. And I love to read - heck, it's one of the great pleasures in my life.

Recently a relative (whom I love dearly) gave me a book and insisted it had to be next on my TBR pile. Okay, because I love her so much. But then I saw it was over 800 pages. Uh oh. What's a slow reader to do?

So far, I've read a chapter or two and honestly, it's just not grabbing me. Now this is a very well known, popular book. It's just not my thing.

So I'm curious. Has this happened to you? How did you handle it?

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