Thursday, January 26, 2012

And The Winner Is...



Hi all!

This is just a quickie post today to announce the winner for the Helen Lacey giveaway.

And the winner is... Anne MacFarlane.

Congratulations, Anne!  Just pop over to Helen Lacey's website and leave your details on the contact form to claim your prize.

Happy writing all!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Think About What You Want ...



I'm so excited to have Harlequin Special Edition author, Helen Lacey, on the blog today! Welcome, Helen!


I’ve been writing most of my life and penned my first book when I was seven years old. Finally, after twenty three years of submitting to Harlequin, I sold my first book to Harlequin Special Edition last year. During those years I purchased dozens of ‘How To’ books. I also attended many conferences and road shows, and participated in countless workshops, both online and in person - on subjects such as Creating Compelling Characters, Goal/Motivation/Conflict, Maintaining Sexual Tension, Writing The Breakout Novel, World Building etc. I listened to best selling authors, editors, agents and publishers offer advice on the craft of writing, on the world of publishing, and the commitment needed to have a successful writing career. I had a dream of being an author and did whatever I needed to so I could break into the ranks of the published.

But strangely, it wasn't at any of these events, or in any of these books where I learned what would become the most important piece of career advice I’d heard. And it’s something I remind myself of every morning when I fire up my computer and sit down to write. Like most writers, during my years trying to get published I had a ‘real’ job. I worked for a national department store as a sales manager. While I was there I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to participate in a half day session given by Australian motivational speaker Paul Hanna. Since every “How To’ book I read was about the craft of writing, I had limited knowledge of who Mr Hanna was. But along with a conference room full of my colleagues and staff, I listened to him speak for close to two hours. And mid way through this session he said something that resonated so strongly within me, I can barely remember anything else which was said. And this one statement changed the trajectory of my career and my belief that I could sell my books, and that I could fulfil my ambition to be a published author.

“Think about what you do want . . . . and not what you don’t want.”

Perhaps not exactly the most grammatically correct sentence ever written. But as I sat in that crowded room, the message was loud and clear. For all the years I’d been writing and submitting, I always had this impending sense of doom once the manuscript was posted off. I was, I realized, anticipating a rejection. Every time. I expected it because that’s what I’d always received. Never did I think, “What I want from this submission is the opportunity for revisions.” Or, “What I want is the editor to love this story.” Instead, I’d have this internal monologue going on, insisting, “What I don’t want is a rejection.” Or, “I don’t want to get that dreaded letter in the mail.” In a way, I was pre-empting my fate.

Then I deliberately changed how I approached submitting. I started entering contests and did it with a different mindset. Every time I sent off a contest entry I wrote down what I wanted - which was to place in that contest because the editor for the line I was targeting was the final judge. And it worked. I got the editorial request and a within two years had sold my first book.

I guess what it taught me is that I could learn all about the craft of writing, I could go to conferences and workshops, I could invest time and money in professional critique – but if didn’t know what I wanted, how could I possibly get it? Suddenly, I was no longer in the dark – I had a plan and a purpose. So definitely learn the craft, and attend conferences and network with other writers – but know what you want. And it’ll find you.


Thank you Lacey for having me visit today – I have a giveaway of my January release, Made For Marriage from Harlequin Special Edition. I also have giveaways right across my blog tour, and a grand prize of a $50.00 Amazon voucher and for those you like a little bling, a fabulous silver Pandora Bracelet. 


***




Equestrian Callie Jones was used to difficult parents at her riding school. But Noah Preston took the cake.

How dare he question her teaching abilities, after his headstrong daughter paid no heed to rules—her teacher's or her father's?

Single dad Noah was ready to apologize for overreacting. But he wasn't sorry for the way the stunning American riding instructor made him feel. And he soon learned that there was more to Callie than her smarts, sass and fire: a shattered heart that threatened to splinter even further. Could he make her see that he—and his family—were for keeps?


Buy Links:

Amazon        Amazon UK      Book Depository

Helen Lacey on the web:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Blog           Helen's Page at RomanceWiki

For full itinerary on Helen's Celebration tour check out Helen Lacey- Author Page


Thanks so much for stopping by, Helen!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dust Off Your Medical Professionals



The Editor Pitch Challenge for Harlequin Medicial Romance 2012 has launched. So, if you have a delicious doctor, playful paramedic, naughty/nice nurse or vivacious vet clambering to be written now is the time to get those fingers working on the keyboard.

You have until February 10th to write a mind-blowing two paragraph blurb. If you're chosen by Assistant Editor, Flo Nicholl, you'll be pitching on March 1st and you'll need to have a fabulous partial manuscript to hand over.


You'll also want to keep an eye on that site because those official dates have been changed once. I don't expect they will be again but, hey, you never know. CONSTANT VIGILANCE! ;-)


In other news, you can download Nicola Marsh's special ops short story TAG TEAM for FREE from Amazon at the moment. Just click here.



Also, the fabulous Liz Fielding has released a new craft book! Liz Fielding's Little Book of Writing Romance is now available to all aspiring romance writers. Get it here.

So, are you pitching for Harlequin Medical Romance? Did you pitch for Harlequin Romantic Suspense? If I don't know I can't wave my pom poms for you!

Happy writing!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Start The Year Off With A Bang


I’m not a fan of resolutions. It’s not their fault, they’re a great concept but the New Year has never been a big event for me. I tend to just continue on with whatever goals or aspirations I had in the previous year.

Exciting stuff, right?

That being said, I’ve been reading a new book called The Seven Secrets of the Prolific by Hillary Rettig. It’s actually targeted to perfectionist writers and overcoming writing blocks etc but it has some great content that I think any writer would find beneficial. For example, Hillary offers strategies for dealing with rejections and my particular favorite was by Chris Offutt whose goal was a hundred rejections a year (pretty impressive, don’t you think?). And just like that rejection became a cause for celebration for Chris because it brought him that much closer to his goal. I thought that was quite ingenious and a great example of the impact of perception. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather open a bottle of champagne and toast my latest R than curl up in the corner and try to bite anyone who comes too close. Of course, celebrating rejections might feel like you’ve gone too far so instead celebrate the heck out of the submitting. I know I do. Just try and stop me.

Anyway, although it's not quite a resolution (because I haven't yet calculated how many Rs I want this year ;-) ), I do plan to take the time to celebrate each submission with a bit of extra flare.

And speaking of things to celebrate, we’re exactly twelve days into the new year and already exciting opportunities are popping up. VERY exciting opportunities. So hold onto your keyboards for this list:

  • Harlequin Heartwarming – Harlequin’s NEW category line. That’s right, a NEW line. If your voice fits, it’s a great opportunity to become a new Harlequin author.
  • Dead Sexy – Entangled Publishing has a NEW imprint and are calling all romantic suspense authors to step up and wow them. Another great opportunity to break out this year.
  • RARE Submission Call – Executive Editor of Carina Press, Angela James is looking to acquire for 2012. Don’t miss this.
  • Pitch Your Shorts – Entangled Publishing has at least SIX editors standing by to acquire at Jami Gold between now and January 16th.
  • YAtopia Pitch Competition – EIGHT Entangled Publishing editors are participating in this one and it’s open for a 24 hours period on January 25th.


Phew. So who’s participating in what?

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