Friday, June 28, 2013


Emily Greenwood is a new voice in historical romance. She writes playful, sexy Regency romance. Emily has written a three book MISCHIEF series and I'm highlight the first, A LITTLE NIGHT MISCHIEF. 
Emily's road to publication wasn't fast or easy but along the way she learn the value of associating with fellow writers. I'll let Emily tell you more about that.

Thanks so much for having me here today. Love the site music!

I’m pulling up my cup of herbal tea (wish I could drink coffee, but it does me in) and letting out a big sigh at the end of this month of promotion for my debut, A LITTLE NIGHT MISCHIEF.

Seems like the release of this novel has been a long time coming. I started writing it several years ago, put it away for a while, reworked it, and sent it out. I got requests from agents for partial and full manuscripts, and some really helpful suggestions from a few agents that helped me improve the story, but no offers. There was a little angst J

So I put that book aside and started another one. But when the Golden Heart submission deadline was looming, it wasn't ready to go. A writing pal suggested I enter the first book, A LITTLE NIGHT MISCHIEF, and I figured I had nothing to lose, so I made another pass at editing and entered it in the 2008 Golden Heart under a different title. It finaled! I was surprised and delighted.

Finaling brought me some great attention and also allowed me to connect with the other writers who finaled that year. We called ourselves the Pixies, and were immediately a great support network. Having this connection with other romance writers really made a difference in my publishing journey and helped me keep motivated as everybody shared inside knowledge and successes and failures on the road to publication. Finaling in the Golden Heart also helped when querying A LITTLE NIGHT MISCHIEF and the book I’d written after it. Two years later I signed with a terrific agent.

Then began the process of reworking my stories with my agent’s suggestions, which took a number of months. If there’s one thing I can say about writing, it’s that it takes a lot of time to get a finished product! Also, I hadn't really picked up on the whole “books in a series” thing, even though as a reader I’d enjoyed, like, Mary Balogh’s Slightly series. Somehow I hadn't figured out that I needed to write books that were linked together. A little slow on the uptake, wasn't I?

Finally the books were ready to go out on submission, and Sourcebooks picked up A LITTLE NIGHT MISCHIEF as part of the three-book Mischief series. Yay! The publication date was two years off, which is not uncommon, and it was a good thing, because it gave me extra time to write those other two books in the series.

Balancing writing and life is a struggle, but I suppose if I truly had loads of uninterrupted time to write, what I wrote would get stale. Or at least I tell myself that when I can’t write because I need to cook dinner, take kids to appointments, exercise, and do all the other things that can nibble up a day. They’re all also things I’m grateful to have in my day J

But it can be very hard to get back into the story when I've been away from it for a day or more. And it’s especially frustrating when I need to read all the way through to get a sense of how the story is working and I have to keep putting it down for interruptions. I try very hard to do something with whatever I’m working on every day.

So, there have been tears and smiles, and I’m sure there will be more, but one thing that is definitely a fun part of publication is interacting with readers through blogs like this one!


Emily Greenwood
Every Prize Comes with Complications...
A game of chance saves James Collington from the prospect of debtors' prison, and grants him ownership to Tethering estate. Little does he know that his winnings come with serious complications--not least of which is a beautiful but impoverished young lady who insists his new manor belongs to her.
If He Can't Stop Her, He Might as Well Join Her...
Felicity Wilcox is determined to run Mr. Collington off her land, Though James's charm and devilish good looks are a serious distraction. What she doesn't know is that she may be haunting him right back.

EXCERPT (scroll down to excerpt heading on Publisher site)


Emily Greenwood has a degree in French and worked for a number of years as a writer, crafting newsletters and fundraising brochures. Bur she far prefers writing playful love stories set in Regency England, and she thinks romance is the chocolate of literature. A Golden Heart finalist, Emily lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

You can find Emily on Facebook, GoodreadsTwitter, and her website.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


My guest, romance author, Karen Kelley, says she was an ignorant farm girl when she started her writing journey. I have to say, I've rarely found farm/ranch girls stupid. A bit naive, as are many new writers, in the corporate world of publishing but that only means conquering a learning curve. 
Karen says, “Publishing can be a rocky road with lots of highs and lows but, oh, what a fun trip!” 
To enjoy the trip one does have to develop self confidence and a thick skin but, I’ll Karen tell you more about that.

When I first started writing I was told you need a tough skin. At the time, all I could think about was getting published, always reaching toward that one goal. I figured I already had a pretty tough skin just from growing up—I was wrong.

If you keep getting rejection after rejection you'll either end up with an alligator hide or you'll give up. After six very long years I finally reached my goal. It happened really fast. I mailed off the manuscript and I got an offer by the end of the week. I'd hoped and prayed I would get "the call", but I don't think I really expected it to happen. You know how it is when you want something so bad you can almost taste it? Whether it's a new job or a dream vacation. I learned that to reach a goal you not only need a plan of action, but you also have to stop dreaming at some point and start doing. If I want to lose 10 pounds I have to eat right and exercise. There are no shortcuts. Have surgery? I've seen people gain the weight right back. But isn't the journey part of the package? For all the nicks I've gotten I've also grown and matured. I've learned to look at life from a different prospective.

Getting published did happen, though. Editor Hilary Sares at Kensington called in the middle of the afternoon and I quickly became a babbling fool without a brain. I'm surprised she didn't retract the offer. After we hung up I think I just sat on the sofa and cried. My dream had come true. I had it made.

Well, not exactly.

The line I sold to went under. I floundered until finally signing with an agent. The agent had me tearing apart manuscripts and I blindly followed where she led. She was an agent. I was still just an ignorant farm girl. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. I eventually learned most of my ignorance came from not believing in myself. How many doubts have you had in the course of your lifetime? Did they cripple you?

One day I entered a contest author Lori Foster sponsored. I didn't win but she enjoyed my writing so much she sent it to her editor, Kate Duffy. Kate Duffy offered me a contract—a really nice one J In six months I quit my job nursing and wrote full-time  For the next 4 years, I was lived my dream going to conferences, speaking to writers groups.... Kate always said as long as she was an editor, I'd have a contract.

I put all my eggs in her basket. Neither one of us could predict she would get cancer. I became a better writer and a better person because of her. She was funny, she was a friend, and a lot of the time she scared the hell out of me. Kate could be a little gruff. I went back into nursing when Kensington dropped me right after Kate passed.
Did I mention the tough hide, alligator skin???

Yeah, I thought so.

Sometimes it's a hell of a lot easier to walk away from writing. But I couldn't. After a year or so my agent (a different one) got me a contract with Sourcebooks. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough money to let me go back to writing full-time  but my books would be out there. I felt like a writer again. Stupid, I know. I don't need validation from anyone to tell me I'm a writer. I only need to write. 

Kate once told me, "Don't worry about the technical stuff so much, Karen, just have fun writing the story." She was right. I've won more awards from books where 'I just had fun' writing them. I really miss hearing her voice. She was a very special editor. 

My 23rd book, Smoking Hot, came out this month. It's a sexy, steamy paranormal. And after that? Well, I don't have an agent anymore, and I don't want one at this point in my career. I've decided to go independent the end of August. I think I'll just have fun writing. 

Source Books will be giving away a copy of Smoking Hot.  For a chance to win just leave a comment.


Karen Kelley

Everything She Wants...

Working the night shift at the sheriff's office has given deputy Raine McCandless more than enough time to fantasize about the kind of man she'd like to take prisoner, so when she arrives home to find a sexy intruder waiting for her, she's pretty sure she must be dreaming.

...Can and Will Be Held Against Her

But Dillon Taylor, with his stunning blue eyes and killer tan, is 100% real, just not 100% human. Half-man, half-angel, he'd love to answer every naughty prayer Raine has ever had. But Raine is in serious danger. And Dillon can only fulfill her every fantasy if he can keep her alive.


Currently Karen writes for Sourcebooks and the Brava Imprint with Kensington Publishing. Karen writes full-time, and collects junk which she fondly calls antiques. Her husband can still be talked into mailing her manuscripts and also helping with her publicity. She has two grown children, one son-in-law and four grandchildren and a very spoiled Pekinese. She loves sitting on the patio on a warm spring day and procrastinating about her approaching deadline. You can find Karen: Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Website.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Reading can teach you a lot about writing. It teaches you not only what is good writing but it shows why it works in the over all story. Reading can also teach a lot about wrong techniques, no matter how pretty the words and phrases, and what it does to a story.

Why do I mention this?

As writers we hear a great deal about pacing, character POV, info dumps, exposition, and building and sustaining tension. Our critique partners have probably harped on some of those very things in our writing, or content editors have given us pages of edits that address those issues.

Recently I downloaded a story that had a good premise and an interesting take on the shifter world. I was looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to its promise. If I were officially reviewing the book I would have given it maybe 3 stars.

This particular story really did have a lot of potential of being a solid series. The world had an original twist, the characters were, for the most part, well thought out with a distinct voice, and I could see their goals, motivation, and conflict. The plot bones were good.

The problem? 

The plot got lost in words. The author could have seriously lost 40% of her word count and had a better and tighter story. The pacing and tension tripped over action stopping scenes that didn't move the story forward but stalled it. Instead of telling the story from the POV of the main characters and bits from the villain, she pulled in five or six more characters and three more villains like characters. It made me dizzy. The tension waxed and waned. I mean pages and pages that had nothing to do with moving the story forward or upping the tension. Or telling me anything I needed to know.

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Tension in a story is like a rafting down a rogue river. The journey starts in relatively tranquil waters but you can feel the pull of the current. Unseen inland rainstorms can suddenly increase the water’s texture and speed. The river narrows, rocks and boulders start to appear, there are tricky eddies with dips and sudden drops in the water surface. Your senses are engaged because you see, feel, and hear the changes in the river. It’s moving faster, the ride is rougher, you have seconds to push off from rocks or capsize. You
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see more twists and turns in the river, more white water, and the river’s roar is deafening. The current is incredibly strong and you have to fight to stay in the safe zone. You whip around a treacherous curve in the river and holy crap a waterfall! You have minutes to fight against the current to get to shore. One of the rafts capsize and a mad scramble to rescue the strays. Your heart pounding because one wrong move and someone dies or is swept over the falls.

Afterward, you’re laying on the shore trying to catch your breath and noticing all the scrapes and abrasions and laughing over the close calls. Wind down chat—did you see? Man that last turn…and I lost my oar…I hit that rock and almost went head first in the water… And despite it all the feeling is wow! Oh my god that was so much fun and worth every scrape. That’s what we want our readers to feel. The tension pulling them forward, turning the pages to reach the climax and then satisfaction at the end. If we’re lucky, they will be thinking about events of the story long after ‘the end’.

What we don’t want is the reader feeling ticked off and thinking, ever heard of a content editor?What a waste of my time!