Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Spotlight: Emma Lai

Today, we have author Emma Lai visiting Just Write!  Her second story, His Hope, Her Salvation, was released on Dec. 16, 2009, and has garnered some great reviews!  Congratulations, Emma!!!

So, let's ask Emma some questions . . .

What kind of stories/books do you write?

~ I write romance and science fiction/fantasy. In the romance genre, I write paranormal, historical and contemporary. I’m also trying my hand at romantic suspense.

How long have you been writing?

~ I’ve been writing romances for the past couple of years. Before that, I was writing term papers. Lots and lots of term papers.

~   How long have you been writing and seriously pursuing publication?

~ I’ve been pursuing publication for the past year. I started after my mother-in-law encouraged me to submit after reading a partial of a young adult sci-fi/fantasy I had started.

How many manuscripts did you complete before you sold?

~ Seriously. You’re going to hate me. One. I sold the first short story romance I completed to the first publishing house I submitted it to.

Please tell us about receiving “The Call.”

~ Since, I write shorts, I had to find a publisher whose guidelines I met. I found The Wild Rose Press in the 2009 Writer’s Guide and liked their business model. So, I submitted His Ship, Her Fantasy and within two weeks, I heard from one of the Senior Editors. She liked the story, but requested some changes. I had to expand the story from 5K to 7.5K and do some other requested edits. Ever heard of show don’t tell? ☺

To expand on your "Call Story"— What did you do when you got the call or read the email?  Scream?  Faint? 

~ I’m sure I squealed and then danced around on one leg.

How did you feel when you found out you sold?

~ Nothing compares to the feeling I experienced when I read the email! It’s quite a sense of accomplishment as far as career achievements go. It was a better feeling than my first job offer and my first raise combined.

Who was the first person you told?

~ My husband. He’s so supportive, and the stories I wrote were for his entertainment originally. Then I told his mother. I wouldn’t be published if not for the two of them.

~   How did you celebrate?

~ Sushi. It’s our common way of celebrating. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was pregnant. Sushi and pregnancy do not agree.

 His Hope, Her Salvation. Now available from The Wild Rose Press.

Promised in marriage to an abusive oaf, Judith resolves to find out if there can be passion without love. Snatches of conversation overheard at the local inn lead her to a mysterious American merchant who might be able to satisfy her carnal curiosity and capture her heart.

Donovan, a Guardian Hunter, is on the trail of a rogue Elysian in Georgian England. As the son of the First Hunter, he long ago gave up hope of finding his heart's mate. When Judith appears in his study, his inner beast and his heart demand he answer her plea for help.

Will their passion answer their hearts' pleas, or will it wither under the threat of reality?

Thanks for a great interview, Emma!!!

Visit Emma at:

Happy Writing!!!

AM   :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

BICHOK: 2009 in Review

I love the week between Christmas and New Year's.  For me, it's a time to wrap things up, look back and reflect on the past year and look forward to the New Year.  It's a time for reflection, tying up loose ends, cleaning and organizing.  Starting over with a clean slate gives me hope to do better, be better, strive for better in all areas of my life, especially my writing life.

Before I make my New Year's Writing Resolutions, I've decided to review my achievements in 2009.  So much of the time, I worry about the things I haven't done.  By listing my accomplishments, I'm not bragging, you understand; I'm reinforcing to myself that I am indeed a "real" writer. 

I don't know about you, but I'm always plagued by the doubt demons.  Doubts about my writing abilities and capabilities.  Like will I be able to pull it off again; will I be able to write another book; will I sell another book--things like that.  Succumbing to the doubt demons is detrimental to producing new work.  At least, it is for me.

So here's my list of writerly achievements in 2009:

*  First and foremost, I started a writing project and finished it.  This is huge for me, because I've been in a five-year slump.  I plan to submit it mid-January.

*  Hosted my two annual BIAM Writathons:  April Madness and October Obsession.  I like to encourage writers to write.

*  Presented my first writing workshop at the Bay Area Writers League Conference in May.

*  Gave a presentation to my RWA Chapter in August.

*  Was asked to teach an online class, which landed me five classes to be taught in 2010.

*  Held three successful book signings.

*  Revamped my website.

*  Launched this blog which I hope will keep me, as well as others, on track with our writing in the coming year.

*  Became a member of a group blog where I've made good friends who have taught me so much about promoting my work.

Hmmm, not too shabby.  I do wish I had written more, but writing and finishing that manuscript gives me great confidence that I will be writing much more in 2010.

What were some of your writerly accomplishments in 2009?

Happy Writing!!!

AM   :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

'Tis the Season

Ah, the holidays.  So much to do; so little time . . .

I don't know about other writers, but I get stressed with all the festivities and preparations that go along with the season.  And I get more than a little frustrated with everything interfering with my writing time.  Yes, I know I should hold my writing sacred and all of that.  But life DOES get in the way, especially this time of year.

So, I've resigned myself to let my real writing go this year until after New Year's Day.  Then I'll be setting goals and making resolutions, and I hope this blog will help me keep on track throughout the year.

But this doesn't mean my writer's brain will be in hibernation over the holidays.  Oh no.  I'm going to be observing friends and family at parties and watching everyone interact.  Even the best of families have their troubles.  As a result, there's mucho fodder for story conflicts, characters, GMCs, etc.

And I plan to make the most of it.  I won't do any actual writing, but I'll be stuffing my writer's brain to the brim with great story material.  Come January, I'll be chomping at the bit to get back to the writing.

Happy Holidays!!!

AM   :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

BICHOK or Bust!!!

Ack!  I'll probably bust . . .

Christmas Week is a busy week with my son in town, family parties to attend, scrumptious food to cook and enjoy, festive treats to prepare and everything else that goes along with the holidays.

With that in mind, I'm going to keep my writing goals for this week simple:

*  Eke out at least 30 minutes a day to finish up my online class lessons.

*  Read some of the research books for the online class.

*  Enjoy the Holidays.

I hope everyone has a great week!!!

Happy Writing!!!

AM   :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

TGIF Check In!!!

Another week is coming to a close.  Weekends are free-for-alls at my house.  Any writing done on the weekend is bonus for me.  

So here's what I accomplished this week:

* Started inputting changes into the manuscript.

* Finished the handouts for the online class.

* Worked on two lessons for the online class.

I also made my first Gift Basket with shrink wrap for The Roses of Houston Book Signing this weekend.  I'm not too artsy-craftsy, so this was a major deal.

I also had an interview in The Houston Examiner which was way cool.

It's been a good week all in all.  I hope everyone got some writing time in.

Have a great weekend!!!

AM     :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BK Reeves on Writing

It is with my deepest pleasure and honor to present my guest blogger today.  BK Reeves has been a notable figure on the writing scene in the Greater Houston Area for many years.

She has served on the Boards of various writing organizations, coordinated writing conferences for the Bay Area Writers League, taught creative writing classes, and tutored and mentored many an aspiring author, including myself.  She also happens to be my mother. 

I'm thrilled to announce BK has agreed to guest blog on a regular basis at Just Write!  She'll be sharing her wisdom and thoughts through articles, essays and anecdotes.

Without further ado, here's BK Reeves' first blog ever!!!

 by BK Reeves
Writing is an old game for me. I was seventy-eight in August of 2009, and I’ve been writing and publishing fiction and nonfiction since I was eight years old. That’s seventy years.

I have taught the craft of writing to many different people. By 1988, I was teaching fiction writing at Gilruth at the Johnson Space Center. I taught a series of weekly classes there and my students included one astronaut and many aerospace engineers, plus others who worked at NASA.

One would think I’d be intimidated, teaching such people. I wasn’t. I was a published writer; they wanted to learn to write fiction; I could teach them how. Plus, I was twenty years older than most of them.

Someone from San Jacinto Continuing Education called me. I taught for years at the Central Campus, then San Jacinto South called. I taught at both campuses for a long time, then resigned to devote more time to my own writing.

Confession: I have a demon behind my brow. It’s my WB, my writer’s brain. WB compels, impels and drives me to write. If I can’t write, I develop a bad case of DWB, or Deadly Word Backup.

I am motivated to create stories with characters in conflict. A word of advice: Learn what GMC means (Goal, Motivation and Conflict.) You don’t have a story unless you have accreting or accumulating conflicts.

There is a symbiotic relationship between writer and reader. As I peruse my completed manuscript, I believe my reader will suspend his/her disbelief and become lost in the story.

As for me, I’m addicted to seeing my name in print. A story with my byline on it is magical. Getting money for what I’ve written is icing on the cake.

Thanks, BK!!!

Roan's Redemption

Available Now at The Wild Rose Press

Visit BK at

Monday, December 14, 2009


The idea behind this blog is to Just Write!  Getting into the daily habit of writing is important if you want to produce new copy and new marketable work.  And that's what writers do; we write and create marketable products.

But the holidays wreak havoc on BICHOK (butt in chair; hands on keyboard).  And unless you are under deadline, there really is no reason to stress out over not writing and producing in these last couple of weeks as the year comes to an end.

Family and making memories, baking, cooking, shopping, decorating, parties and friends--these are important, too.  Very important.

Achieving balance in a writer's life is difficult and during the holidays even more so.   Don't stress out right now if you're not keeping up with your writing as well as you think you should.

Living real life is important for your writing life.  It fills the well, rejuvenates and revitalizes your work.  So enjoy the holidays!!!

Come January and the New Year, we will be refreshed and more than ready for BICHOK!!!

Okay, so my goals for this week:

*  Continue working on online class lessons.

*  Read comments on my newly returned manuscript from my other beta reader.

*  Work on guest blogger schedule for coming year.

Speaking of enjoying the holidays . . .


My daughter and I decorated the Christmas tree and had a mega bakathon over the weekend.  We baked dozens of cinnamon rolls and piggie-in-the-blankets and fried up a batch of glazed donut holes.  Mmmm . . . good!!!

Happy Writing!!!  Happy Holidays!!!

AM    :)

Friday, December 11, 2009


WooHoo!!!  I finally made a TGIF!!!

I had a pretty good week, although I did not achieve all  my goals.  But progress is progress, no matter how great or small.

Here's what I accomplished:

*  Got back the hard copy of my ms from my beta reader/critiquer and entered in all the changes.

*  Finished two lessons for my workshop.  Yay!!!

*  Tweaked the synopsis.

I didn't get around to making notes on the new story, but I've been thinking about it off and on all week.  So, that's something.

Everyone have a good weekend!!!

Happy Writing!!!

AM    :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Texas Hot Cocoa Cake

Chocolate and Romance Writers . . . can you have one without the other?  I don't know, but why would you even want to try?

Here's a recipe for the most delicious, most decadent, most luscious chocolate cake you'll ever put in your mouth.   

Go ahead!  Indulge yourself!!!

Texas Hot Cocoa Cake

1 stick oleo
½ c. shortening
1 c. water

Mix these in a small pot and bring to a boil.

¼ c. sour cream
¼ c. milk
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix these together and let sit.

2 c. flour, 2 c. sugar, 4 heaping T. cocoa, pinch of salt.

Mix these in a mixing bowl.  Pour hot liquid over and mix.
Add 2 beaten eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla and milk mixture, beat
all until smooth.  Pour onto a greased 18X12 cookie sheet.
Bake 20 minutes at 375 F.  Or until toothpick comes out
almost clean.

Hot Cocoa Icing

1 stick oleo
4 heaping T. cocoa
6 T milk

Melt these in a sauce pan; do not boil.

1 box powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Combine these with the hot liquid
and beat until smooth; pour hot icing
over hot cake.


AM    :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Write On!

Another Monday . . . Another week to set writing goals and try what we can to make progress, no matter how little or how small. All progress is good and sets you on the path toward THE END.

This week, I want to:

* Make notes on the new story buzzing around in my head

* Retrieve the hard copy of the novella manuscript from my reader and make appropriate changes

* Work on my online class lessons

* Give the synopsis a few more tweaks

I hope everyone has a productive week!!!

Happy Writing!!!

AM :)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Wrapping up the Week

Well, I keep missing TGIF!!! I have a good excuse, but won't bore you with a lot of details; suffice it to say that I underwent medical tests all day yesterday WITH a sick migraine. Yuck!!! Anyway . . .

I did make some progress in the writing department this week:

* I tweaked and reworked the synopsis until it actually resembles something I can turn in with a proposal. Still needs polishing, though.

* I worked on my online class lessons.

* And while I was recuperating last night, I thought up another story for a Regency novella!!! That is the most exciting thing of all!!! I must jot down some notes today while it's fresh in my mind.

Have a great weekend!!!

AM :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Spotlight: Judy Nickles

Today, we have author Judy Nickles visiting Just Write!  And because she was my very first Follower, I thought it apropos that she should be my first Guest Blogger. Judy has two books coming out in June 2010 from The Wild Rose Press.
Welcome, Judy.  Let's begin . . .

AM:   What kind of stories/books do you write?
Judy:  According to my mother, I was born 100 years too late. I love anything historical, but the Depression Era and World War II are my favorite periods to write about. However, I do have some contemporary ideas “in the works”.

AM:   How long have you been writing?
Judy:   Was I born with a #2 pencil in my fat little fist? Maybe. The Big Chief writing tablet became my best friend in grade school. After that, I moved on to hunt-and-peck on my father’s ancient upright Underwood. When I was 14, “Santa” brought me my very own Remington Quietwriter. It made a trip across the Atlantic and back again before finally giving up the ghost. Two electrics, a word processor, and two computers followed. In short, I’m not sure when I didn’t write!

AM:  How long have you been writing and seriously pursuing publication?
Judy:  In 2007, I retired from teaching and determined to learn something about the business of getting published. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting there.

AM:  How many manuscripts did you complete before you sold?
Judy:  I wrote a couple of really bad novels that have gone to their reward (or not) in the trash and a couple of pretty-good ones for which I’m still looking for the right home.

AM:   Please tell us about receiving “The Call”—
Judy:  Discovering The Wild Rose Press has been a special blessing. They rejected the first novel I sent them—but the editor who reviewed it took great pains to explain that it was rejected because it didn’t fit TWRP’s standard of a romance—that it was a family saga. She encouraged me to send it to publishers who dealt with that genre and also to submit to TWRP again.  So I did, to the Vintage Rose line, and that manuscript plus a sequel were accepted and will be released within a week of each other in June.

AM:  To expand on your "Call Story"-- I'm assuming you got "The Email."  What did you do when you read it?  Scream?  Faint?
Judy:  Actually, I think I just smiled broadly. I screamed and shrieked when I won the editor's choice award for "A Very Kate Christmas" which was published in an anthology. In fact, I squealed so loudly and so long that the dog came into the study to see what was wrong with Mommy! But no, I think I just sat and smiled about the email from TWRP.

AM:   How did you feel when you found out you sold?
Judy:   I felt very gratified--and also wished that my mother had lived to see the day. She would have been very pleased and proud. (She died of breast cancer in 2003.)

AM:  Who was the first person you told?
Judy:   No idea--probably the house elf when she made the usual Murr call that night. By way of explanation, the house elf is a young lady who attached herself to me and adopted me as an extra grandmother.  Or I may have told the kids first when they came to pick up Hanna that evening if it was a Hanna day. I was still keeping my granddaughter Hanna then.  I'm sure I emailed my various online writing friends (not TWRP-related) very soon. I am very sure that I blogged about it, too.

AM:  How did you celebrate?
Judy:  I don't remember.  If it was a day that I kept Hanna, I was too tired to do any celebrating!

Thanks for a great interview, Judy!!!
And now for the blurbs . . . 

Where Is Papa’s Shining Star? is coming June 18, 2010, from The Wild Rose Press.

Wealthy Alan Ashley, blinded in World War I, returns home to face a challenge to his ability to run the family business. As the case goes to court, he is drawn to the cheerful, ever-optimistic Lenore Seldon, his defense attorney’s secretary. When he wins his case, he offers her employment, but she declines and disappears from his life.

Ten years later, frail and in desperate need of work, Lenore answers his ad for a personal assistant. He hires her with the agreement that she will live in, chaperoned by his housekeeper,
so that she can drive for him, and he can teach her to use the Braille writer. She is the perfect employee, but he senses that she is frightened of something—or someone.

When he finds himself falling in love with her, he must uncover her secrets in order to save their relationship---and to save her from herself.

Finding Papa’s Shining Star is coming June 25, 2010, from TWRP.

In the dark days of the Great Depression, when eleven-year-old Bobbie Rycroft
becomes Annie Ashley, cherished daughter of Alan and Lenore, she leaves behind a life of fear and deprivation. Or so she believes as she grows to womanhood, sheltered in an affluent home with every material possession and opportunity.
Graduating from Vassar just as America gears up for war, she enters into a hasty marriage with David Levinson only ten days before he goes overseas. When he returns, they are strangers.

David loves Annie deeply, but he realizes that she cannot live in the present until she has made peace with her past. When he urges her to find Bobbie, Albert Rycroft's shining star, she insists that Bobbie is dead. But David knows that Bobbie is very much alive and that his own tangled connection to her past could put Annie in danger of losing her life.

Judy, thank you for being with us today.  Good luck with your books!!!  May you have mega sales and awesome reviews!!!

Visit Judy at  and The Word Place.