by Christine | Writer Wednesday, Writing
How We Met
The lovely Dolores Maroney.
I first met Dolores Maroney in 2011, in the corridor of a hotel that hosted the Romantic Times convention in downtown Los Angeles that year. She was standing with Sarah Vance and both of them were members of my local RWA chapter, the Los Angeles Romance Authors. We bonded there in the corridor, none of us really sure where we were going or what we were supposed to be doing. I’d been to plenty of writer’s conferences before, but never any readers conferences. It felt different, but it was also comfortable in that wherever I went, there were people I knew. Since Los Angeles is my home chapter, there were a lot of us there.
Since then, Dolores and I have become great friends. It near broke my heart when she moved back to New Jersey a month ago, but we have vowed to keep in touch and be roomies as much as possible at forthcoming conferences. Okay – now that I’ve given you our background, here’s the interview, lol!
CA: When you first started writing, what made you decide to write a novel?
DM: Honestly? I never set out to be a writer, so it never occurred to me that I could write something else. I was a stay at home mom and an avid reader of romance. My daughters joked that I had read so many I could probably write my own. I took that as a challenge—and guess what? I found out that I could write one!
CA: You have two erotic series out as Roz Lee, a baseball series and one set on a cruise ship. What drew you to writing those books?
DM: Again, I sort of fell into writing erotic romance. I was working on a mainstream contemporary romance when this crazy story idea popped into my head about an erotic themed cruise ship. The story took hold in my head and I decided to write it down, if for no other reason than to get it the heck out of my mind so I could get back to my other stuff. As I wrote, I thought perhaps I had something, but I knew nothing about writing erotic. Lucky for me, Jan Springer was doing an online class at the time. I signed up, crossed my fingers, and threw my excerpts out there for critique. The overwhelming response from Jan and the other class members convinced me I wasn’t wrong. Turns out, I have a bit of talent for writing sexy! Who would have thought it?
CA: Your latest book is under your other name, Dolores Maroney. What drew you to this story, so different from the others?
DM: I consider mainstream contemporary romance to be my roots. As a reader, I’m a big fan of Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, Mariah Stewart, Nora Roberts, Fern Michaels and Robyn Carr. Not that I’ve accomplished it, but I have always wanted to write like they do. The basic idea, drummer for a rock band falls for the daughter of a rock and roll icon, came to me while driving down the freeway listening to the radio. I fell in love with the characters right away and had to tell their story.
CA: Is this latest story going to be a series, or is it a standalone book?
DM: Lost Melody is a standalone book, though I have given thought to populating Willowbrook, TX with a few more interesting people. We shall see.
CA: For a few years, you were living bi-coastal. Part of the year in Southern California, and the other part of the year back east. Now you and the hubs are back east full time. BUT…where would you live, if the two of you could live anywhere in the world?
DM: Well…we’re both originally from Texas so the South holds a lot of appeal for us. Since our daughters have made their homes in South Carolina we’re thinking of possibly retiring somewhere closer to them. For now, we’re happy to be home in our little slice of woods in New Jersey.
CA: Name 3 simple joys in your life.
DM: My family. My friends. A decadent cup of hot chocolate.
CA: Oh man. I KNEW you were my type of people! I’ve got this decadent hot chocolate recipe…anyway. If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead or fictional, who would it be and where would you go to eat?
DM: I think it would be fascinating to speak with Ralph Waldo Emerson. Maybe we could go to the food court at the mall. I’d love to see what he would have to say about that!
CA: Ooh, good choice! Emerson. I’d love to drop by and share a meal with you guys! If you could give just one piece of advice to a writer starting out, what would it be?
DM: Finish it. Many aspiring authors abandon their manuscript because it isn’t perfect. They end up with a library full of partial work—and nothing complete. There’s no such thing as a perfect manuscript, but you can’t fix something you haven’t written. So write it. Finish it. Fix it. Or, in the case of my first manuscript, bury it where no one will ever see it! LOL Yep, it’s a pile of dung. But I finished it. I told the story from beginning to end—I just did it poorly. But once I had typed those wonderful last words, the end, I knew I could write another one—and the next one would be better.
CA: It seems like every time I see you on Facebook, you’re just about to get to writing. Surely you don’t write ALL the time…What are the things you like to do you do when you’re not writing?
DM: I read—a lot. I also like to haunt antique stores and flea markets. And when spring gets here, I’ll be out in the yard trying to coax some things to grow—emphasis on the word coax. I have zero talent for gardening, but I love flowers so I keep trying. The garden stores just love to see me coming!
CA: Oh, me too…Name one thing your fans would be surprised to learn about you.
DM: Oh, gosh. Um…how about this…once upon a time I was an in-home appliance repair technician. Yep. I was one of those folks you called when your kitchen appliances or laundry equipment conked out.
CA: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
DM: You should know never to give a writer free rein to say anything they want! Just kidding. All I want to say is, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. Don’t listen to those who would tell you that you can’t. You can—as long as you believe in yourself.
Blurb – Lost Melody
Out of sight, out of mind. That’s what Melody Ravenswood was counting on when she invented a new life for herself as Mel Harper in the small farming community of Willowbrook, Texas. She could be herself, whoever that was. Having long since lost her identity to being the only child and sole beneficiary of a legendary rock and roller, she was finally going to live the normal life she craved – a job, a house, friends and no paparazzi.
Hank Travis is the last thing Mel needs in her new life. The local boy turned rock and roll star’s sexy, won’t take no for an answer pursuit makes her long for a life she has only dreamed of. Before Mel can have the future she wants with Hank, she must confront her past and find the Melody she lost along the way.
Buy links – Lost Melody
Barnes & Noble
All Romance eBooks
Dolores has been married to the same wonderful guy for thirty-three years. They have two lovely daughters and a black lab. She makes her home in the wilds of New Jersey (yes, there are wilds in NJ). A Texan with familial roots that go all the way back to the Republic of Texas, Dolores says you can take the girl out of Texas, but…well, you know the rest.
She’s been a stay-at-home mom for most of her married life – a job she says is under-rated on the difficulty scale. Now that her girls are grown, she’s still available to them anytime, day or night, but she fills her days with writing romance novels and reading.
Dolores is a best-selling, multi-published author of erotic romance under the pseudonym, Roz Lee.
And her erotic books are smoking hot!
Dolores on the Internet
Thanks so much, Roz, for gracing both my life and my blog today. Sending you tons of hugs honey!
Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle and Kobo! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?
by Christine | Writing
I haven’t been to a conference in a year. The two I did last year weren’t really conferences – one was a workshop (Andrea Brown Agency-sponsored Big Sur workshop on writing for children, middle grade, and teens – a fabulous workshop but I felt a tad out of place), the other was a convention – Romantic Times, in Los Angeles (which was wonderful, crazy and busy and a little too – um – manic in it’s must-party atmosphere, since I was still recovering from surgery).
April, somehow, seems to be conference month. RT happened earlier this month, in Chicago; and seemingly there were more writers there than readers, so I’m kind of glad I didn’t go. Plus I am just out of costume ideas, lol.
Last weekend was the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference, which looked fantastic – so many terrific agents/editors/speakers, that you wonder how any of them get their real job done
(I know – they work on their iPads on the plane, in the restaurant, at night in their
This is Aaron Michael Ritchey, author of The Never Prayer. Photo swiped from Aaron's site. Thanks, Aaron!
jammies…). A good blog about Pike’s Peak conference is from my friend Aaron Michael Ritchey, and you can find it here. Okay, maybe it’s not so much about the actual conference as it is about the energy supplied by the people you meet in real time for the first time and the wonderful things that happen when you get so many creative people in one room at the same time. At any rate, it’s a really interesting blog post. (Aaron is a really interesting guy who wrote a fantastic novel called The Never Prayer. You should read it.)
This weekend is the Desert Dreams Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona as well as the New England Conference in Salem, Mass. Before I knew the dates for the Salem conference, I signed up for DD – I’ve been there before, it’s small and mighty and I wanted to see friends and family. Plus, Salem is clear across the country and I wasn’t sure about spending the money, psychics and ghost tours notwithstanding. No – to be honest, I didn’t even know the New England conference was the same weekend and I’d hoped to do both, especially since my editor Steph Murray with Crescent Moon Press will be there, as well as a bunch of CMP authors.
But – I’m here at Chaparral Suites, my son getting ready to spend the weekend with family while I get ready to pitch to three agents and enjoy seeing friends, absorbing writing information, have a terrific book signing, and make new friends. Because after all, conferences/workshops/conventions are about making new friends, and strengthening long-time friendships as much as they are about learning craft.
When we writers climb out of our writing cave to go to a conference/workshop/convention, we get to spend time with people who understand us, who talk to people that only exist in our computer screens like we do, who look up weird facts on the internet that with anyone else would look extremely suspicious.
We’re with a huge bunch of people who get the beast. I guess, in a way, it’s like going to a convention of Bobs. Only other Bobs know what it’s like to be a Bob. Well, only other writers know what it’s like to be a writer.
Sorry this isn’t a wine blog today – I just didn’t plan ahead. Next week, I promise. In the meantime, off I go to meet relatives, hug old friends, drink a little too much wine, become good friends with new people, and in general simply bask with other writers.
Plus, have fan-girl moments. I saw both Brenda Novak (NYT Bestselling Author) and Brenda Chin (one of Harlequin’s TOP editors) at dinner last night (not together, though they were sitting in booths next to each other). It was VERY hard not to squee all over both of them – but since conference hasn’t officially started, and since they were in deep discussions with the person they were with, it seemed rude. However – at noon today, conference starts. All Squeeing will therefore be totally valid.
Have a wonderful weekend!
by Christine | Writing
Yesterday got off to a great start. I went to a “get the most out of RT” hour, and they had all the pubbed authors stand up, give their name and the name of their book, and it was really nifty!
The best part of that hour though was finally meeting in person Kristen Lamb, the guru of Social Media for authors. She is just as nice and funny and intense in person as she is on twitter – and that’s saying something. We hung out, made plans for some future blog stuff, and ended up sitting together at the Welcome to RT mixer along with Roz Lee, Jennifer Haymore, and Sarah (who got 2 requests – one from an agent, one from an editor!!!).
In the afternoon I went to the Crescent Moon Press spotlight, the Ravenous Romance spotlight (both of which were very enlightening), then went to listen to Elaine Spencer and Deidre Knight from the Knight agency, along with Shannon Butcher and Kristen Painter, two Knight Agency clients. They were talking about plotting your career – and the best advice they had was to stay flexible, keep writing, and if you can, get an agent to help you through the turmoil that is going on in the publishing world. What is true today may not be true ninety days from now. There really aren’t any more 5 year plans for an author’s career – everything moves faster now.
After the talk I was able to talk to Deidre (and kid her about not showing up at the gym yesterday morning, like she’d said she would. But she didn’t arrive until late morning, so that was a great excuse!). It was nice getting to talk to her like a real person! I handed her a bookmark and she was appropriately pleased for me – everyone when they find out I’m a debut author has been very warm. She didn’t show up at the gym this morning, either, but that’s okay -it was packed again. (She’s lost a ton of weight btw and looks great!)
Going from one workshop to another, I ran into Angela James. She is the tiniest, nicest, prettiest woman I’ve seen in a long time. She’d make a great heroine in a novel, I’m just saying. Anyway, I shook her hand, introduced myself, told her she’d sent me a very nice rejection letter but I might have something else for her to look at – and she was appropriately receptive, and very very nice. I’d love to work for her and so will keep that in mind.
A panel on social media was great – Kristen Lamb was there, Nicole Peeler, Andrew Shaeffer, and Terry Kate of Romance in the Backseat. FABULOUS! I’ve got a date with Terry Kate in May, I think, so it’s all peachy.
Got to rush now so I’ll just say during yesterday evening’s Sexy Sirens Through History gathering, I got to talk to the press person from the Los Angeles times. He not only took my bookmark, he asked me questions about my book, my publisher, RT, my writer’s journey, and asked for my phone number. His name was Alan, and you can be sure I’ll be talking to him whenever I see him the rest of the week. And he said the feature should run in the Saturday edition of the L.A. Times.
So that’s my Wednesday Wrap-up. All in all, I consider it a great personal success!
by Christine | Writing
So, today is the first full day of the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention here at the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. But I’m going to back up to yesterday.
I attended a BookCamp event that went from 1:30pm to 8pm, so I got to the hotel early in the hopes I wouldn’t be dragging my luggage, my pens, bookmarks, ballgown, faery wings, and venetian mask around.
Luckily, I got in with no problems and by 12:30 was anxiously waiting for my luggage to appear in my room. Which it did about 20 minutes later. GORGEOUS ROOM. Must remember to sneak hubby in at least a couple of nights. Ahem.
So, BookCamp. First off, the people – Angela James was there, as was Miss Smart Bitches herself (but I didn’t get a chance to talk to her – what a hoot! I love her!), and Patrick, the man behind Good Reads – plus lots of readers and authors. The purpose behind it is kind of a non-structured convention – we all came up with ideas to break into small sessions for, and we came up with 16 different topics – everything from “what about libraries?” to contracts, to audio books, to reading groups…we had three 40 minute blocks of time, spread across four different classrooms – and we shared information. No one person stood at the front to talk – we sat in a circle and talked. Shared ideas. And no matter what topic we talked about, everyone was gracious and respectful of each other. Polite discourse. Fascinating!
After it was over, we moved to Borders Grill across the street from the hotel and had a cocktail party, which was part of the event. Lovely drinks and appetizers. Of course, it was very loud in there, and quite disorienting for me, so I bugged out kind of early and wandered the food court in the hotel before going up to my room. A woman in front of me was desperate for a can of coke – when I saw her name tag, I did obeisance. BJ Daniels is all over the Harlequin romance world, and I always love reading her work. So to meet her in person was a thrill! And she said she’d buy my book! Gasp! I’m so excited!
So…what I learned yesterday was go NOWHERE without my bookmarks and pass them out to EVERYONE. (Side note: this Starbucks gets the most eclectic bunch of folks in it that I’ve ever seen…and most of them are wearing some sort of intoxicating colognes or perfumes of some sort.)
ANYway – I am about to put the computer away, and go look for Promo Alley. I’d like to set my stuff up with the SAVVY and the CMP Peeps…we shall see! (Or maybe Promo Alley is in Club RT…hmmm….)
I don’t know why – but it seems easier to talk to other writers here than it does at RWA. Maybe because there are fewer of us here? I just don’t know. But I’m looking forward to today!