Friday, March 14, 2014


Today’s guest is New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Olivia Cunning. This is the first part of a special two-part series on finding success as a self-publishing author. Part two will run on Monday, March 17th. 
We hear so many great success stories in writing and from the outside it often looks so easy. But here’s Olivia to tell us about the truth about becoming an “overnight” sensation.

Part One: The Drawer Books

Sia asked me to talk about my experiences self-publishing. I've known her since before I was published. She’s seen all my ups and downs. Apparently, she thinks my late night, sleep deprived, sugar high induced rants are hilarious. Thanks, Sia. I’ll have you know my angst is real.

Back in the olden days—yes, the early 1990s are the olden days—I read a Silhouette Desire book by Nora Roberts. It wasn't the first romance book I’d ever read, but it was the book that made me want to write my own romance novel. Not because I thought I could write better than Nora-freakin-Roberts, but because I wanted to be like her when I grew up. This was before Nora Roberts was one of the biggest names in the romance genre, but even then I was blown away by her writing style.

I was nineteen years old, in a bad marriage, with a baby on the way, no college education, and my only job experience was in fast food. And I thought, hey, I’ll be a writer! How hard can it be? Don’t answer that. I was young and naive.

This was the “olden days.” There were no e-books. No Internet. Self-publishing consisted of paying out of your own pocket to have 1000 copies of your book printed. You would then stand in a parking lot and beg strangers to buy your book. If you were lucky, your mom bought a copy and used it as a coaster or something, pointing it out to visitors—“that’s by my kid, the writer”—which met with a lot of ceiling gazing and an occasional guilt-sale. So self-publishing never crossed my mind. I didn't have money to print copies of my book, and I’m much too shy and afraid of being punched in the face to annoy strangers in parking lots. So I went the traditional route.

I wrote my masterpiece—cough tripe cough—and when it was finished (with no editing), I saved it on my 5.25” floppy disk and took it to my second cousin’s house to use her dot matrix printer. I was too poor to buy my own printer. Hell, I was too poor to buy paper to put in the damned thing. Luckily, my cousin had a spare, yellowed ream. I looked through publisher marketplace books to find submission guidelines. I sent (via snail mail—there was no email in the olden days) a synopsis and three chapters to Harlequin and Silhouette. Those were the only romance publishers that would take unsolicited manuscripts from authors without agents. Then I waited. And waited. After ten thousand years (so it was more like ten months), Harlequin sent me a letter and requested the full manuscript. Which is good—because it gave me hope. And bad—because it gave me hope. So back to the cousin’s house to print out the entire manuscript and rip off more printer feed edges and separate each page along the bottom perforations. Oy! (Excuse me for a second. *goes to hug laser printer*) I borrowed money from my grandma for postage and sent off the book with big dreams for myself and my son. This was going to change our lives.


You know this is coming, right?

It was rejected with a form letter.

Ugh. I was gutted. Devastated. Destroyed. I was never going to be an author, much less make a living at it. So I went to college. And worked my ass off. And became a science teacher. But my dream was still to be a fiction author. I never stopped writing. I wrote after I put the kid to bed. I plotted during my commute. I wrote on weekends. I plotted some more while in the shower. I wrote during vacations. But I wasn't writing romance. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, I was the opposite of insane. I tried writing every genre I could as I attempted to find my niche. I could write. I just didn't know what to write.

I tried my hand at another series romance for Silhouette. The manuscript was rejected and shoved in a drawer.

I wrote a fantasy novel five hundred pages long. Agents wouldn't touch it. TOR, who also accepted unsolicited manuscripts at the time, rejected it. Shoved in a drawer.

I wrote a medical thriller. Rejected and shoved in a drawer.

I wrote a YA science fiction novel. Rejected and shoved in a drawer. Removed from drawer and entered into a contest. Lost contest and shoved back in drawer.

I wrote a paranormal romance. Rejected and shoved in drawer. Removed from drawer and entered into a contest. Lost contest and shoved back in drawer.

I wrote an erotic romance about rock stars. And…


That manuscript and the rest of the five book Sinners on Tour series was picked up by a small publisher.

The first book was released in October 2010. Finally, after 20 years of trying, I was published. I could go to a bookstore and see my book on a shelf. I could do a book-signing and have half a dozen people show up and have a customer ask the bookstore owner when they were going to have good writers like Stephenie Meyer do a signing. True story. When the customer asked that, she was standing directly in front of me, my book in her hand and her nose turned up. But my first five fans, my family, and Sia showed up at that very first signing, which made me feel a little better about not being a good writer like Stephenie Meyer.

At first, my rock star erotic romance didn't do so well. It did okay for a first book. People discovered it slowly. Very slowly. So I was published, but I wasn't making a living at it. Not by a long shot.

  • So how did I finally manage to quit my day job?

Come back on Monday for Part Two: My Own Brand of Insanity

Combining her love for romantic fiction and rock 'n roll, Olivia Cunning writes erotic romance centered around rock musicians. Her latest release, Sinners at the Altar, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


What could be more perfect for a blog called “Over Coffee,” than a terrific romance called “Something in the Coffee?” And while the coffee here on the blog has no magic potions in it, I can’t promise it doesn't occasionally have a wee drop of whisky!

Today’s guest is Rose Maybud, talking about her funny, sexy contemporary romance, Something in the Coffee, and real-life embarrassing on-the-job situations. I've had funny, cringe-worthy things happen in the office, but nothing like the wickedly sexy plot that Rose dreamed up for this novel! Even better? There’s a prize for the best comment! YAY prizes!

Here’s Rose, on just one embarrassing real-life office mishap:

Trial and (Clothing) Error

Here’s a true story (and I swear it wasn't me): One day, young female lawyer wore her workout clothes to the gym and brought her suit on a hanger, because she was due in court that morning for a very important case.

But when she went to put on her business clothes, she discovered…NO BRA. She’d forgotten to pack it in her gym bag. No time to shop for a replacement. Her sports bra was too bright to wear under her thin white blouse. 

So she had no choice—that day in the courtroom, “The Girls” hung free.

What about you?  I’ll send a free download of Something In the Coffee to the commenter with the most awful, embarrassing, funniest work story ever.

 Inquiring minds want to know!

Something in the Coffee: Office Life Can Be Hell

Have you ever worked in a job you couldn't wait to quit?
Or maybe you didn't want to quit, but you sure wish you could change certain things about the office? Or your co-workers. Or your boss!

Attorney Alex Poindextre knows that people just aren’t getting along at his uncle’s law firm, Sangazure and Poindextre, LLP.

Lawyers are rude and unpleasant to the administrative assistants. Paralegals argue with the IT personnel. Can’t they all just get along?

Alex has a plan: Hire a sorcerer—well, a Potions Account Executive—to slip a little something into the office coffee pot, something to make everyone friendlier to each other.
And boy, do they get friendly…soon everyone in the high-pressure law firm is wildly attracted to the first unattached person they see. Uptight lawyers cavorting with admin assistants, grim-faced paralegals stripping in the copier rooms, serious tech support personnel finding new uses for their extra power cables…chaos reigns supreme, and it’s All. Alex’s. Fault.

Good thing Alex is a clever lawyer, because it’s going to take all his ingenuity to fix this mess…and win back the love of his fiancĂ©e, Eileen.

Take a look at the video book trailer for Something In The Coffee

Rose Maybud is a retired lawyer who enjoys singing opera in the shower. She is a wholehearted fan of Gilbert and Sullivan, although she has never performed in any of their comic operas. “Something in the Coffee” was inspired by G&S’s work, The Sorcerer. Currently she resides in Central Ohio. You can fnd Rose on the web at her blog or on Facebook.






Purchase Something in the Coffee at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.

Y'know? I started out this life with 7 brothers. They were a rough and rowdy lot and I was far from a girly-girl so I fit right in. My brothers are adventurers, storytellers and poets, knights in white armor, and loving pains in the butt. We had a lot of good times. 

Last week I had four brothers left. As of Friday night, I had three.

Jonny, Steve, and Roland. Steve is still with us.
Danny is in a kilt left lower sidebar. 
I knew this death was coming. My oldest brother, Jonny Matt, and I discussed it at length. While I made my peace with its dark approach two years ago, knowing of and preparing for death is not quite the same as dealing with its arrival. The emotional aftermath of that last breath is still shreds the heart.

Last Sunday afternoon Jonny was rushed to the hospital. Instead of death being some inexact time in the future, I was now faced with the reality of days and hours.

As the sun disappeared and the storm clouds gathered so many memories, good and bad, crashed and burned on the landscape of my heart. How fitting, as night fell, were the cold winds that howled and moaned and threw frozen tears against my windows. As Dylan said, “Do not go gentle into that good night…rage, rage against the dying of the light…” And I did.

My brother's battle is done. He's at peace. I'm glad for his sake. 

It's a hard for me and for my family, to face the fact that from this time forward, life will continue without him being somewhere near listening to his music, cracking jokes, telling wild tales, or calling with another outstanding accomplishment of his son or granddaughter.

Lifting a glass to my brother Jonny and sending him on his way with the joy of the fiddle music he loved.