Emily Mims – Publishing, Then and Now

Hi folks! I’m turning Writer Wednesday over to Emily Mims. Settle back and enjoy her fabulous story about her publishing journey, and how things have changed since she first began, over three decades ago.

Publishing, Then and Now – My Days with Candlelight Ecstasy Romance

It’s hard to imagine, as I think back on my days as a Candlelight Ecstasy romance writer,emilyAngle that it’s really been thirty-two years since I got that fateful phone call from senior editor Anne Gisonny that she wanted to buy my book ‘Portrait of my Love’ for the Candlelight Ecstasy line. In a romance world where the heroines were mostly virgins and the relationships mostly chaste, Candlelight was breaking ground with career women as heroines and (gasp!) full-blown love scenes before the commitment, and I was thrilled to be a part of that liberalization of the genre. I was fortunate to be able to write eighteen books for the line in a three and a half year period, in a publishing world that was vastly different from the world we write in today. I look back on those days with fond nostalgia and no little amusement as I think about how the writing and publishing process has been reinvented since those golden days so long ago.

I was first bitten by the writing bug when I tossed a poorly written romance across the floor and announced that I could do a better job. My husband promptly dared me to do so. I wrote up what was at that time the standard virgin-falls-in-love-with-older-guy story, had a friend type it up for me, and sent it to my favorite line, Candlelight. Lydia Paglio, an associate editor, wrote me a personal rejection letter but told me that my writing had promise. Cheeky little me called her up, and when she heard it was only my first attempt she laid out exactly what Candlelight was looking for and told me to write it for her. About that time my husband brought home an Atari 800 computer, which solved the typing problem, and I wrote up another story, the kind Lydia said she wanted, printed it out on a dot-matrix printer, and shipped the manuscript to New York. Lydia called me up with the changes she wanted, I made them and shipped another manuscript, and they bought the book. Since I was a classroom teacher and wanted to keep my identities separate, ‘Emily Elliott’ was born.

And so it went. I wrote the second on spec also, but by the time the third rolled around Lydia and Anne were willing to let me write three chapters and a synopsis (I am a plotter so this was fine by me) and then we went into the synopsis and made the changes in the story that they wanted before I did the writing. Eventually they trusted me enough to buy a book based on a brief synopsis, knowing I knew what constituted a good story, but we still went through the revision process involving multiple trips to the post office. And we worked entirely by telephone, which could be tough since I was at school during the day and was a time zone behind New York. If I was expecting a call from Lydia, I would have my husband pick up our sons from day care and hurry straight home, praying I didn’t catch traffic or have a last-minute faculty meeting to attend, to take the call before Lydia left for the day.

So when did I do my writing, if I already had a full-time job and two small children? The same as any other writer who works a day job-in the evening and on the weekend. I would get home with the boys, spend time with them and make dinner, and at seven I would hand the boys over to their good-natured and doting dad and hit the word processer while he did baths and bedtime. In those days I could rough-draft ten pages in three hours and if I had a book due I did this three to four nights a week and then took a night or two to revise and polish. And summers were a god-send. I could write during the daytime and just about double my productivity and still have time to take the boys to the swimming pool every day.

One of Emily's Candlelight romances.
One of Emily’s Candlelight romances.

Doing research for the books was a different proposition in my Candlelight days. There was no Google to consult, no mouse to push, no icons to click. We had to do it the hard way! But to me the hard way was also a lot of fun. Since I tend to spotlight men and women in various professions, I found individuals in those professions who would, over dinner in the restaurant of their choice, answer my myriad questions about what they did. Over the course of my career with Candlelight, I interviewed an MD, a Las Vegas blackjack dealer, a deputy sheriff, an Air Force pilot, an FBI agent who also took me on a tour of the San Antonio offices, an interior designer who took me on a tour of the Dallas Trade Mart and into a catalogue photo shoot, a policeman, a forensic chemist, a belly dancer, an accountant, a stockbroker, a Border patrol agent, a…well, you get the idea! And I also got to see some places and do some things I wouldn’t have otherwise, such as tour the Brooke Army Medical Center burn treatment ward and go up in a four seat Piper for a flight over the Hill Country. (Interestingly enough, I still use this approach even though I do have the Internet at my disposal. For my upcoming book ‘The Soap Maker’ I interviewed a Llano County deputy sheriff and went into the home of a soap maker and learned how to make a batch of scented soap.) I also did a lot of in-state traveling to research my settings. I would check out the area to make sure I had the geography and the feel of the town or city right and then we would have a fun family weekend together. I made it a point to have visited every setting I used in the books except for the settings in ‘Season of Enchantment’, which is set in California and Vietnam, and you better believe I carefully researched those settings, talking to people who had been or lived there, before I put a word on paper.

I could have and would have happily written books for Candlelight Ecstasy forever. Unfortunately, between Harlequin, Silhouette, Candlelight, and Loveswept there were over one hundred titles a month coming out, way too many for the market to support, and Candlelight sales fell to the point that Dell Publishing canceled the series, throwing seventy five writers out in the marketplace to find new publishers. I tried, of course, but six weeks later my husband lost his job, and although thankfully he found work quickly, he went from working a forty hour week to working sixty or more and someone had to tend to the boys. In addition, I took on an academic coaching position that pretty well ate up what little time I had left. So regretfully I put the writing career away for what I assumed would be forever and taught school and raised my children. Periodically I thought about writing again, but my friends who were still in the business were not at all encouraging-the romance market had experienced such a downturn they could barely sell a book. “Don’t bother, Emily,” one of them told me. “It isn’t fun anymore.” I listened to them-they did have a point-but I never really quit missing the writing.

Back Into the Fray

Solomon's Choice_coverAnd then, several years ago, I had an experience similar to the one all those years ago. I picked up a few novels from an again busy romance aisle in the bookstore and read them, and again I had the sense that I could do better. But this time I didn’t want to write for a series and I wanted to write a longer, more complex story with the added element of suspense. So I asked myself what would be the most powerful motivating force that would bring together two people with seemingly nothing else in common and then I asked myself how I could get those two people together in a way that hadn’t been written before, and ‘Solomon’s Choice’ was born. The sailing was not quite as smooth this time-it took me a year and a half and countless revisions to find an agent with enough faith in the story to represent ‘Solomon’, and it took her awhile to find a publisher who liked the somewhat unusual premise enough to buy the book. But finally, in October 2013, Boroughs Publishing released ‘Solomon’s Choice’ and my career was reborn. And thankfully, I will not be a one-book wonder with ‘Solomon’s Choice’. I have since written two lunchbox romances for Boroughs, ‘After the Heartbreak’ and ‘A Gift of Trust’, and will have two more full-length novels, both sequels to ‘Solomon’, going live next year. And for a blast from the past, Boroughs is also going to re-issue three of my favorite Candlelight romances to a new generation of readers.

So just how different is writing today? Hugely different in some ways and not different atA Gift of Trust_cover all in others. The technology makes a large difference, of course. I communicate with everyone totally by email. I do all my writing and revising at the computer-no printouts whatsoever, and I have yet to go to the post office. I do a lot of my research on the Internet. One personal difference is that I have retired from teaching and no longer have to hide my work behind a pen name. To me, however, the biggest difference is that today it is the author’s responsibility to reach out to the reading community and find her readers. We can no longer hide behind a label and expect the readers to buy our book based on a logo-our readers have to want to read our books, and to make our readers aware of our books we have to be out there making our presence known in the social media world. And of course the stories themselves are different, reflecting the changes in society in the last thirty years. Single parenthood is common and not a cause for shame. Women in high-powered or dangerous careers are a story line staple. Recreational sex on the part of the heroine is not particularly frowned upon and Erotica has become an accepted presence in the market. Addiction, abuse, PTSD, war injuries, flawed heroes and flawed heroines-no longer shied away from by authors, After the Heartbreak (1)publishers, or readers. And on the other side of the spectrum, in a world of fantasy unimagined thirty years ago, vampires and werewolves and shape shifters, oh my! The paranormal world-what a fun addition to the genre!

But not everything has changed. The crafting of an interesting, compelling, believable story is the same as it ever was. The creation of appealing heroes and heroines who reach out to the readers is as important as ever. The need to draw in the reader and make her care about these people and what happens to them is still paramount. In other words, in spite of the changes that the publishing industry and the romance genre has seen since my days with Candlelight, it is still my job to tell a good story.

You can find me at Facebook of course, and at my Blog.

)O(

Wow, Emily! Thank you so much for stopping by. What a career, and how exciting that you’ve come back to writing. I’ve heard that once you start, it’s very difficult to stop and you are proof of that, my friend.

Folks, the links to each of Emily’s books are highlighted – check them out! And if you’re interested in her back titles, aside from the ones being reissued from Boroughs Publishing Group, a quick search will show you opportunities to purchase them through third parties.

AND…here’s a quick link to all three at Amazon. Click Here.

May your Wednesday be a happy one, filled with words and books and love and hugs.

Posted in Writer Wednesday, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

My October Garden

The last three months, the hubby has been doing something a little different in our garden. I’ve wanted a raised bed garden for years, mainly because I knew I wouldn’t always be able to get down on my knees to plant. But also because our soil is almost pure clay, and difficult to get anything to grow lush and green and strong without overwatering. And in this time of drought in California, bigger water bills are NOT on the menu.

a 4'x8'x16" dirt coffin
a 4’x8’x16″ dirt coffin

Above is the newest “dirt coffin” as the hubby likes to call it. This is #3. The soil is a mix of our own dirt (that had been amended in other planting beds), soil for raised beds, steer manure, and vermiculite.  Since it gets so hot where we are, and our back yard gets the setting sun, he decided we should situate the planters near the shade of the oleander (above photo, to the right). This bed gets the most sunshine. Beyond the bed, that black thing is our composter.  All our green food waste and our coffee grinds go into the composter.

Dirt Coffin #1, 4' x 8' x 16". This has all veggies planted in it.
Dirt Coffin #1, 4′ x 8′ x 16″. This has all veggies planted in it.

You can see the squash on the left – yeah, that didn’t work out too well, so we had to pull them out recently. The squash needed more light – they weren’t setting fruit, but they grew lush and big after being puny in the regular back yard. Hubby also built netting cages, to keep the birds and the grasshoppers from eating the tender lettuces.  The left side of this planter faces north; all of the climbers should have been planted along that left side. Live and learn! We have several types of lettuce, spinach, bush beans, pole beans (at the back), and sugar snap peas growing in this bed.

Malabar Red Spinach

We also have Malabar Red (or Asian) Spinach – yes, that’s spinach! It’s thicker, and has a completely different taste. Works great in salads, grows fast, and has pretty pink flowers.

Dirt Coffin No. 2 is our herb bed.

basil and tarragonHere, we have a row of basil (that almost died before we transplanted it – we weren’t sure it would make it); in front of it, you can see the thyme. Behind it to the right, the first two squares are Mexican tarragon (which I LOVE!!!), the other two are Thai Basil. Behind them, the two middle squares at the far right is anise, and the two on either side is fennel.

2 types of parsley

Here, you can see curled parsley in front and Italian parsley behind. Marigolds tend to keep bugs away, so each bed has marigolds planted.

parsley a month later

Here’s the parsley a month later – it’s gotten so big!

basil a month later

And look at the basil, also a month later! (In the background, the anise has been eaten. Sad face.)

Basil for pesto, 10-18-14

This is the basil I picked last night in order to make pesto. 2.5 cups, put into 4 oz jars and stashed in the freezer. When I went outside this afternoon, the basil looks like I haven’t touched it. So I’m guessing more pesto will be made. If you’re local, you just might end up with a jar!

So what my hubby and I learned, is that where you plant, as well as what type of soil you plant in, is very important. We’re finally finding the right home for everything. Vegetables and herbs need the soil loose enough, so the roots can grow deep enough and the plants tall enough. If all we get is our fresh herbs and salad greens from these beds, we’ll both be very happy.

dirt coffin #3, planted

And here’s number 3, planted. The back row has broccoli (it’s supposed to get to 3′ high); the row in front of the broccoli has onions and garlic; the row in front of that has 2 kinds of kale and collard greens; the very front has spinach from seed and more collards, as well as the marigolds. You can see planter 2 in the background, beyond the hammock. Planter #4 has just been installed this weekend, where the blue water barrel sits. In front of the barrel is a “winter” tomato plant. (We’ve found the best, most exotic things to plant at a family-owned nursery not far from where I work. Really must get back there!)

Planter #4 will have potatoes in it, and not sure what else. Maybe cauliflower, and beets, when they come into the stores. Still keeping my eyes open.

So, this is where my hubby’s energies go when he’s not learning lines or songs or working in the tv/film industry. I dabble here…and I love it.

Happy Monday, my friends. May this transition time from one season to the next be good for you.

)O(

 

Posted in My Garden | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Release – Christmas Star!

It’s here, it’s here! As the day moves along and more platforms go “live”, I’ll share here. WOO! Happy Book Birthday to me!

TheChristmasStar_temp

About the book:

After a whirlwind courtship, the Christmas season finds plain-Jane-with-a-secret Elle Houston engaged to one of the brightest stars in the Hollywood firmament–and falling for the personal chef at her ritzy, pre-wedding resort.

Excerpt:
December 19th, eveningElle Houston drew her feet up onto the couch and nervously watched her fiancé—her fiancé—finish packing in the hotel suite he called home. “Are you sure you want to get married?”Taylor Collins, Grade A movie star, stopped adding shirts to his suitcase, tipped his head to one side and smiled, that lopsided grin that caused female hearts to flutter worldwide. “Are you getting cold feet?”“No. Of course not.” She’d never thought she’d get a proposal, ever. Not saying yes to the guy who was People’s Sexiest Man Alive? She’d have to be brain-dead. “I’ve got the guy all the girls want, the guy paparazzi clamor over.” She nibbled her top lip, considering. “I guess I’m still just a bit stunned that you proposed.”

Happy Dancing here!!!

Find it at All Romance eBooksAmazon, Smashwords

Update: For a few hours on Saturday morning, I made a list! #72 – not bad!!!

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 7.18.34 AM

It didn’t last long, but it sure made my day.

 )O(

 

 

Posted in Publishing | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Writer Wednesday – Aussie Author Goldie Alexander

Settle in and read about Goldie Alexander, an Aussie author of over 80 novels.  Her adult romance is called Penelope’s Ghost, from Boroughs Publishing Group.

51ejNe8QV0L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Haunted. Haunting. Redeemed.

When Lisa Harbinger takes a job as nanny to a prestigious Australian family, she gets more than she bargained for: two spoilt children, vengeful ghosts, a long-unsolved mystery and a blazing passion she and her enigmatic boss are unable to deny.

INTO THE MIST

Fleeing a humiliating end to a passionless marriage, Lisa Harbinger seeks refuge in a posh summer retreat on Australia’s lush South Coast. There she finds work as a nanny for two willful children on one prestigious estate. But behind Rangoon’s ivy and red brick walls lies a mystery: What really happened to the family’s beloved Penelope?

Even more mysterious is Richard Prescott. Cold and aloof by day, Lisa’s boss heats up her nights and awakens her soul. But to have a future they both must escape their pasts. Vengeful ghosts and a generations-old curse seek to bring ruin on Richard and his family. But if Lisa can find the answers, she—and her growing love—could be the one to set him free.

Penelope’s Ghost can be found here.  OOH, sounds delish! Let’s hear a bit about Goldie herself before we find out about her YA novels.

Take it away, Goldie!

Author Goldie Alexander
Author Goldie Alexander

“My parents migrated from Poland just before the 2nd World War. Born in Melbourne, my earliest memories are of a time when children were allowed to wander the streets without anyone worrying about them getting into trouble.

My first four Young Adult books were ‘Dolly Fiction’ novels published under the pseudonym of Gerri Lapin. My first book under my own name, “Mavis Road Medley” is a time travel fiction exploring the world of Princes Hill and my parents’ struggles to survive the Depression. Since then I have written more than 80 books, and many short stories and articles.

These days I work full time as a writer, teach creative writing and take seminars and workshops in Universities, TAFE colleges, clubs and schools. I also mentor emerging writers.

I’m very interested in the development of the ebook as ‘the book of the future’. I believe that hardcopies will inevitably disappear, except perhaps for the beautifully produced coffee table book, though I do lament their tactile appeal. But what I view as vitally important are words, stories, themes and ideas, no matter in which way they’re published. Some of my most recent books can be read in both hardcopy and ebooks.”

Here’s a bit about Goldie’s young adult books:

stranger%20next%20door%20small_1

That Stranger Next Door In 1954, Melbourne is still reeling from WWII, the Cold War sees suspicions running high and the threat of communism and spies are imagined in every shadow.  15 year old Jewish Ruth is trying to navigate her own path, despite her strict upbringing and the past that haunts her family. A path that she wishes could include her first love, 17 year old  Patrick. But the rich, Catholic boy is strictly off limits. When a mysterious woman moves in next door in the dead of night, Ruth becomes convinced that she is none other than Eva or Evdokia Petrov, a Soviet spy and wife of famous Russian defector, Vladimir Petrov. Available here.

Next up:

in-hades-cover1

In Hades 17 year-old Kai lives on the streets. The night Rod, his 12 year-old autistic brother, comes looking for him, the two steal, crash a car and die. Searching for Rod, Kai finds himself in Hades where he meets dead Bilby-G. As their adventures continue, these youngsters are magically transformed to what they were before Kai became a street-boy and Bilby G. became anorexic. In their efforts to find Rod, the youngsters come across some of the mythical characters as described by Kai’s Greek grandmother before she died: a multi-headed dog. A blind prophet. Twin whirlpools. Three goddesses. A dangerous sea-nymph. The powerful sea-god and his evil one-eyed son.

(This novel’s journey consisting of 47 poems that trace their journey through the underworld) is based on some of the mythical creatures from Homer’s “Odyssey.”

www.celapenepress.com.au

Thanks for stopping by, Goldie, and sharing your wonderful novels with us!

Find Goldie at her Website and her Blog.

)O(

 

Posted in Writer Wednesday, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Writer Wednesday – Review, “The Interview” by Lisa A. Adams

Lisa_Blue_Final

BLURB: Heather Cox is writing on a deadline, and eager to wrap up a brilliant piece with a final interview.  But as her interviewee begins divulging the secrets behind her sexy one night stand with a mysterious female, Heather finds herself taken to a level of curiosity that has her body quaking.

With just hours left to finish her article, Heather must decide exactly how far she’s willing to go to get the facts she needs…

My Review:  This is a short, quick, and ultimately satisfying tale of love, unexpected. Heather listens to this ordinary woman tell an extraordinary story, and finds herself moved by it. When the opportunity arises for Heather to delve further into the story for her article, she goes for it – and the reader is rooting for her, every step of the way. Bravo, Ms. Adams. Well done.

Find Lisa Adams at the following spots:
-        Twitter: @LisaAdamsWriter
-        Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lisaadamswriter/
-        Blog: www.pen-the-dream.blogspot.com

)O(

 

Posted in Observations | Leave a comment

Wine, No Matter the Weather

There is snow on the mountains in Aspen, Colorado – and here in my neck of southern California, the temps are expected to hit in the triple digits (because the weather people prefer to say “triple digits” than “the hundreds”). So what to drink?

Here are two wines that are eminently drinkable, no matter the temperature outside.

Fat Cat MerlotFat Cat Merlot, 2012 Napa, California  Alcohol 12.5% by Volume; $6.99 on sale at Vons. 95 POINTS | GOLD MEDAL California State Fair Wine Competition 2012

On the Label: “At Fat Cat Cellers, we’re into wines that hit all the right notes, right now. Take our mellow Merlot. The deep ruby red color is prelude to a rich cherry and berry melody, accompanied by mild tannins and oak that close on a palate-pleasing, silky smooth chord. It’s a ballad in a glass. A-dee-dot, a-dew-dot, a skittley-dot-mer-lot. You dig?”

My Take: The color is good in the glass, and the taste works when the temps drop outside. The low alcohol content, however, also make it a good summer night, burgers on the barbecue-type wine as well. Or just sipping while you watch the bats come out at dusk, or while counting snowflakes as they hit the deck.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ and at this price, it’s easy to share with friends for an end-of-summer barbecue or a damn-winter’s-here-early party around the fire.

Beringer Simply Sophisticated Chardonnay  California, 2013   Alcohol 13% by beringerVolume; regularly $6.99 at Vons, on sale for $4.99

On the Label: “This carefully crafted wine has subtle aromas of peach, apricot and golden delicious apples. It is balanced, juicy and layered with ripe flavors. If you enjoy our Chardonnay, make sure to try our Pinot Grigio. Serve chilled. Please visit us at beringer.com.

My Take: This is Beringer’s low cost alternative to their Founder’s Reserve selection, which runs $10 to $15 more per bottle. Frankly, this is an excellent Chardonnay for the price and the Beringer name brings a certain comfort when buying an inexpensive wine. You know you’re going to enjoy the product. This wine would work wonderfully with the chowders and soups that come along with winter, and works just as well when grilling fish on the barbecue. (I have barbecue on the brain. Does it show?)

My Rating ~ Drinkable ~ And a good value, to boot. I’ve also tried their Pinot Grigio, and enjoy it just as much.

So whatever type of weather is out there, there’s a wine for that! May your October be one of peace, prosperity, and pumpkins.

Oh – and two weeks from today, CHRISTMAS STAR releases, my new holiday short story from Boroughs Publishing Group! Yeah, I’m a tad excited…*bouncety*

)O(

My Rating System: Undrinkable; Barely Drinkable; Drinkable; Very Drinkable; and the ever-popular “Stay Away! This is MY wine, you Slut!”

Thanks so much for stopping by. Now that it’s autumn, the blog is getting up to speed again. If you like what you read, please go on and click on that “subscribe” button, up there on the right hand side. I’d love to get to know you, too, so let me know if you have a favorite wine that I should try!

Posted in Wine Friday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Writer Wednesday – Scandal At Almack’s

Scandal At Almacks - Tour Banner

Today I have Gloria Gay on Writer Wednesday, with an interview and a bit about Scandal At Almack’s, her latest release with Boroughs Publishing Group. Sit back and sip some coffee with us!

Author Gloria Gay
Author Gloria Gay

CA: First off – what can I get you? Coffee, soda, beer, wine, or a mixed cocktail?

GG: Coffee would be fine, thanks.

CA: There you go. Now, let’s chat. What drew you to writing?

GG: I knew that someday I would write a book because I loved to read so much. In high school I read a lot of the classics. But books like Tess of the D’Urberville’s were romantic but most of them ended in tragedy. I wanted books with happy endings. Then one day I discovered by chance a gothic novel. I read hundreds of books by Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, etc. My husband encouraged me a lot and he bought me a typewriter for my birthday. I wrote gothic romances first but the gothics of the day had very little romance in them, it was more the mystery that was emphasized.

CA: I remember those books. They got me hooked on mysteries. So, what genre do you write in, and why? Do you write gothics, since you loved them so much?

GG:  No, surprisingly. After going through all the gothics, I discovered Regency romances and that is the genre I love to write, although I’m also branching out into romantic suspense. Hopefully I will be doing both.

CA: How did you start this particular book – with a title first, a character first, or a situation first?

GG:  Scandal at Almack’s is a book that had always been at the back of my mind as I wrote and published my other Regency romances. I wanted to write about a scandal that happened in Almack’s, a place where girls could not even dance the waltz without permission by one of the patronesses that signed the coveted vouchers without which they could not enter the place.

I knew that it was during the waltz itself that my scandal would occur, but what would occur? For a long time I just let it percolate in my mind. Then one day as I was watching television, my mind elsewhere, the thing that happened at Almack’s to my heroine, the scandal itself, popped into my mind.

My heroine, feisty, funny and pretty is someone you would want as a friend. She began to form in my mind and it was her character itself that led to the incident that happened. That happens a lot to writers, you know, problems with your books solve themselves if you just let them. I knew then what my hero would do that would cause my heroine to faint!

CA: Oh, how fun! So, tell me. What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a Day Job?

GG: I’m retired. I dedicate my time to writing and painting, because I’m also an artist.

CA: My hubby’s an artist. How wonderfully creative you are. Okay, so, name three things your fans would be surprised to learn about you.

GG:   a) I write poetry, too, and lately, mostly about the sea. It’s incredible but I start to walk and the feel of the sand under my feet, the lovely sky above and the sound of the sea starts my mind going toward a poem.

b) I love cats but don’t have one. My husband and I feed a stray cat that will eat the food that we set out for it in the porch but won’t come near us. He’s very shy. But we feel good feeding it. He comes twice a day for his food and the rest of the time he wanders around back yards. We named him “Boots”. He’s grey with white on its paws the length of boots.

c) I firmly believe there is a writer inside every person.

CA: Very cool. Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?

GG:  I live in San Diego, California, where I have lived most of my life, and I can’t imagine anywhere else where I would rather be. It’s beautiful.

CA: Okay, now I’m jealous. I was born in San Diego and would love to move back. Maybe some day! Now, name three simple joys in your life.

GG:  My husband, children and grandchildren are my three joys other than my writing and painting.

CA: Wow! Not what I would call simple though – all three are bound to be complicated in some way, don’t you think? Still – lovely sentiment.  Onward! If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead or fictional, who would it be and where would you go to eat?

GG:  I would love to have dinner with Van Gogh. We would go to a French café in the Champs Elise and I would ask him about this or that painting that I love and how he got the idea to paint it. It would be thrilling beyond belief.

CA: Oh yes. Van Gogh would be a wonderful person to have dinner with! Now, if you could give just one piece of advice to a writer just starting out, what would it be?

GG: My piece of advice to a writer starting out is to join their local chapter of Romance Writers of America as soon as their legs can take them. Had I done that from the beginning, I would have saved myself a lot of strife and would have published sooner.

CA: I love my local RWA chapters, so I have to agree with you on this. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

GG:  I think RWA writers are some of the most generous people in the world. They go out of their way to help other writers, especially those starting out, and I feel proud and happy to belong to such a group.

CA: Agreed! Thanks so much for dropping by, Gloria – it was great getting to know you.

Folks, here’s the cover, and a blurb…check it out!

Scandal At Almacks - Book Cover

EXCERPT

Lord Corville was surprised that Lady Jersey had led him directly into a vision of lovely youth. Usually wallflower duty was how it sounded, giving an opportunity to dance a few sets to girls who were in their first season and not likely to obtain dancing partners on their own because they lacked pedigree or were pretty enough but lacked an attractive dowry. The Almack’s patronesses took their duty to young girls in their first or second season very seriously, and in every ball the two in charge could be seen walking about, matching young ladies to reluctant young men.

Sebastian seldom if ever glanced toward the wallflower area, but now he regretted it. The moment he gave his gloved hand to this girl and led her to the dance floor, it was all he could do to keep his balance until they began their waltz.

Her touch was so sensual, he felt her hand not on his but directly on his groin. A hot frisson coursed along his nerve endings, and his whole body shuddered in anticipation. If he felt so much with only the soft touch of her hand on his, what would he feel with her in his arms?

Suddenly realizing where his mind was going, he shook off such outlandish thoughts. He was a bit foxed and couldn’t even remember what Lady Jersey said the girl’s name was during the introduction. He should have skipped that stop at Rothyn’s townhouse, as they’d dipped into bottles of claret before coming here.

Of course, it was turning out amazingly easy to keep his promise to his sister Camie. One dance with a wallflower debutante? Why this beautiful girl lacked dance partners was beyond his understanding. She was as lovely and as rare as an orchid, and her scent intoxicated him even more than the claret.

He had never felt such jumping sensations as he was now feeling while waltzing with her. Her eyes as she looked at him were sparkling blue aquamarines, and the tingling ripple the mere touch of her hand had started now throbbed along his groin so that his hand tightened on hers even as his breeches tightened. He quickly forced his eyes away from her lithe form, for just a quick glance at her curves unhinged him.

They swayed around the vast ballroom, and the lights from a thousand candles and the twirling couples confused him. The lovely girl in his arms became three identical girls who twirled round and round like the racing dials of a mad clock. He heard the waning notes of the waltz as it was coming to its end and felt so dizzy that, had he not held her, he would have lost his balance. He looked into the girl’s beautiful eyes and his gaze drifted downward. Her breasts, the tops of them peeking alluringly from her filmy gown, were so fetching that he wondered when he had ever seen a better pair. There was a small dark mole on her left breast, and a tiny rosebud by it, and so compelling was the tiny beauty mark that he was hypnotized.

The music had stopped. He looked into the girl’s lovely blue eyes and wondered why they were wide with alarm, and her voice was loud and clear in the silence that followed the conclusion of the waltz.

Oh!” she exclaimed.

Her hand on his shoulder slipped away as she fell to the floor, her crumpling body settling softly on his feet. Sebastian leaned down toward her prone body.

After a few seconds, the girl opened her eyes. A crowd had rushed forward, and there was a large circle of people around her and Sebastian, three or four deep, looking down with concern. And silence, as everyone just stared.

The girl was helped up by two gentlemen while Lord Corville continued to stare, speechless.

Lady Jersey broke the silence. “What happened to you, my dear?”

A twittering of exclamations rose like a deafening wave, and then sudden silence fell again as the crowd waited in suspense for the girl’s reply.

The girl spoke slowly but clearly, so that everyone heard her words. She looked directly into Lord Corville’s eyes and said, “Lord Corville touched me inappropriately.”

AUTHOR BIO

Gloria Gay has lived in San Diego, California the greater part of her life, where she worked as a legal secretary for twenty-five years and as a stringer for a local newspaper. Her heart, though, has always been with art and literature and it was one of the happiest days of her life when she wrote her first book.

Boroughs Publishing Group recently published her fifth Regency romance, Lovely Little Liar. Scandal at Almack’s, with the same publisher is Gloria’s sixth Regency romance. Her debut novel, First Season, earned a four-star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is also the author of Forced Offer, Canceled Courtship and Known to All.

She lives with her husband, Enrique, an architect, in San Diego, California, and couldn’t be happier that their children and grand-children live nearby.

Here’s where you can find Gloria on the internet…

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE – http://www.amazon.com/Gloria-Gay/e/B0065TEP9M/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

BLOG – http://gloriagay.com

FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/gloria.gay.58

TWITTER – https://twitter.com/gloria_gay_

GOOGLE+ – https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/745568.Gloria_Gay

SHELFARI – http://www.shelfari.com/books/37891656/Scandal-at-Almacks

WEBSITE – http://Authorsden.com/gloriagay

)O(

Posted in Writer Wednesday | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Small Theater + Wine Can = Ugh

Wine for the Audience

It’s a thing out here in the Los Angeles area small theaters, to have wine available for a “donation” before the show, and again at intermission. This post is for those Small Theater Producers who regularly commit all sorts of wine crimes against their audience; but the rest of you feel free to listen in.

Dear, wonderful, brave Small Theater Producers. We really need to talk. I know your love for theater is why you put up with having no budget, actors who go missing because they’re getting a day’s pay by working in a commercial or (more frequently) doing background work (because you can’t afford union contracts), and basically worry about paying the bills.

I also know you serve wine to patrons of your theater in the hopes that you’ll make money (and quite often, you do – because only half of the 56-seat theater actually has butts in the seats, but half of those folks didn’t pay squat to get in because your cast is desperate for an audience and no one can find your theater without Siri barking directions at them plus lets not even get into the no parking situation, or the dicey neighborhood you’ve chosen). When patrons arrive at  your place, they’re tired, cranky, their feet hurt and they would much rather be home but instead they’re standing in front of you, staring doubtfully at your wine selection and praying it’s not total dreck. A little wine can loosen up a cranky audience. I get it. Truly.

Don’t Go Cheap!

But please, if you’re going to serve wine, please don’t get the cheapest wine you can (that you wouldn’t drink for love nor money) and then charge a $5 donation for three measly ounces. First, three ounces of wine isn’t going to make us like your production more. Second, cheap wine leaves a bad taste in the mouth, which we’re going to unconsciously equate with your production. Which means we’re not going to tell anyone we saw your show, thus killing that much-needed word-of-mouth advertising.

So here’s my white wine choice for you. Don’t think, just go buy, and thank me later.

Kirkland ChardonnayKirkland Signature California Chardonnay, 2012 1.5L bottle  Alcohol 13% by Volume; under $10 at CostCo

On the Label: “Kirkland Signature California Chardonnay is a classic Chardonnay with vibrant tropical flavors of pineapple and  mango surrounded by fresh notes of peach, brisk green apple and sweet citrus which is polished to a finish with hints of oak, honey and butterscotch.”

On the Web: “I have previously stated that I am not a fan of heavy oak, buttery chardonnay.  On the other hand, chardonnays fermented only in stainless steel are often taste like lemons to me.  I most like a chardonnay that has been aged in neutral, older oak.  The Kirkland Sonoma County Chardonnay always fits in this middle ground.  I think the current version is even more fruit flavored with less oak than last year and to me, that makes it better.”  ~ South Carolina Wine Joe

(I know. Sonoma County Chardonnay and the Signature California Chardonnay aren’t the same, and yet they are because. I haven’t had the Sonoma County Chardonnay, but I have had the Signature California Chardonnay. TASTY.)

“Vineyards and Vintages
“Chardonnay, the most widely grown grape varietal in the world, flourishes in Sonoma County, one of the greatest producers of wine in California – even surpassing Napa Valley AVA! Sonoma County is home to 13 different American Viticultural Areas. The wine from this 100% Chardonnay is blended from a variety of the top AVAs throughout Sonoma County, including Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Carneros and Russian River Valley. Each region offers different flavors and aromas that merge to produce a flawless combination. Chardonnay originated in Burgundy, known for its natural expression of terroir. This Kirkland Signature Sonoma County Chardonnay reflects the Burgundian ancestry while still harmonious with the style of California and specifically Sonoma County.” ~ CostCo.com

Yes, I said don’t go cheap. Yes, this bottle is under $10, which qualifies in the cheap range. But no. Cheap, to me, is any bottle of wine that you wouldn’t happily drink yourself. This wine is inexpensive, true, but it is TASTY. So, 1.5 liters of wine at under $10 a bottle means you, dear Theater Producer, can fill that plastic cup to the brim. Make that theater goer happy, and they might grab another glass of wine. Or two. They may even buy their ticket price in wine. You can “accidentally” make enough on wine sales to make it look like you actually had a full, paying house! Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Plus, two people buying a glass of wine, and that bottle has been paid for.

Oh, and please – by all that is holy – keep the Chardonnay COLD. Yes, grab a big ice bucket. Have a cooler somewhere. Get all classy. Because warm Chardonnay is almost a worse crime than a short pour of bad Chardonnay.

Next week, I’ll talk about red wines for you Small Theater Producers (because I’m running out of time and need to get to work). Until then, stock up on the Kirkland Chardonnay and fill those cups, people! Your patrons will thank you, and they in turn will appreciate the show much more. Who knows? You may even get some positive word-of-mouth advertising out of it!

)O(

Posted in Wine Friday | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cover Reveal, Christmas Star

bpg-badge

Here it is! My first story with Boroughs Publishing Group. Yes, I’m excited, can’t you tell? *bouncety bounce*

CHRISTMAS STAR comes out on October 17, 2014. Chris Keeslar and I have been working to make it perfect for you.  This one is a Lunchbox Romance, which means you’ll be able to read it over lunch (think short story). It’s also the first in the StarTide series! Plus – 99 cents. Such a deal!

Here’s the logo for StarTide…

StarTide card

Isn’t this the niftiest thing, ever? And here’s the quick blurb, and the cover!

Christmas Star

After a whirlwind courtship, makeup artist Elle finds herself engaged to one of the brightest, busiest movie stars in the Hollywood firmament. So why does Chef Luc have her dreaming about white picket fences, and having his babies?

TheChristmasStar_temp

Isn’t it pretty?!!

Sorry I’ve been missing here this past month. Lots has happened, a lot I’m not ready to discuss and a lot that I really CAN’T discuss, and a lot of writing has been going on, too. So there’s that. Oh, and fitness. #healthywriter is my new thing. Not getting any younger, you know? Gotta stay healthy.

Anywho…Book 1 in the StarTide series, GUARDED STAR, will be out February 5th. In April, SHINING STAR will come out, and in June, RISING STAR will make its debut.  There are more novels planned in this contemporary romance series, set around Hollywood and the StarTide Talent Agency. Shenanigans abound, so stay tuned for more information!

)O(

Posted in Writer Wednesday, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

So Many Publishing Options…

writing at coffee shop

As many other (much more famous) people have said, this is a wonderful time to be an author. There are so many options open to us. We can self publish, we can publish with a digital-first publisher (of which there are many), or we can aim for a big New York publishing house (of which there are few).

There is no right way to publish.

Each person’s journey is just that; THEIR journey. Nora Roberts’ publishing journey is vastly different than mine (sigh), which is vastly different than, let’s say, my friend Kendall Grey’s journey. The thing is, no one way is “better” than another way.

If you want that contract with New York City, go for it. GO FOR IT. If in your heart of hearts you don’t want to be your own publisher, for God’s sake, don’t be. Write the best damned book you possibly can, and find someone else who will love your work enough to publish it. Then write another book.

If that is your dream, don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong, or that the contract you’re so proud of signing sucks. In fact, be very careful who you share your contract with; make sure they are knowledgable about author contracts, can help you make a decision, and more than anything, make sure YOU know what you want out of a contract.

Be realistic, too. If yours is a first contract with a publishing company, and you have no track record at all, you’re not going to get the moon when you ask for it. I’m not saying don’t ask; just don’t be surprised if they come back with a simple “no,” and know what you’ll do when that happens.

Another thing. Just because you might have signed a contract with a publishing house that someone you know is also signed with, DOES NOT MEAN you have to share your contract details with them. (You shouldn’t ask about their contract, either.) And definitely don’t talk about your contract in specific across a lunch table with a bunch of other people listening in. Your contract is YOUR contract, and nobody else’s business. You don’t owe it to ANYONE to share details.

Contrari-wise, if a good friend is considering a contract and asks you what to be careful about, feel free to share your views. In person, and in private (which can happen in a corner of a ballroom full of people, believe it or not).

I guess this is my ranty way of saying, know what you want out of your career, and go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Whether you self publish, go with a small publisher, or hold that dream of an agent and a six figure deal with a New York publisher, that’s your decision and your journey. You may change your mind down the line, and there’s nothing wrong with that, either.

Know what you want, and go for it.

Don’t explain, and don’t apologize, for following your heart. Big, squishy hugs to you as you continue on the journey.

)O(

I’ve got an Author Page on Facebook now…it’s not very pretty to look at, but check it out and give me a “like” if you would!

Posted in Observations | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments