Monday, May 24, 2010

BICHOK!!!

Today, tomorrow and onward!!!


Mondays come with alarming frequency, don't they?  Where do the days go?  Where does the time fly?  So much to do, so little time . . .

I had a pretty good writing week last week.  I edited almost 100 pages of my Regency ms.  I designed my mom's cover and I kept up with my online class.

Here are my writing goals for this week:

*  Edit 100 more pages of Regency.

* Decide on title.

*  Work on blurb.

* Search for cover image. 

*  Publish my mom's book.  (Like "Oh yeah.  Publish my mom's book.) *g*


Hope everyone has a productive week!!!

Happy Writing!!!

AM   :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spotlight: Marie Tuhart


 Today, we have Romance Author Marie Tuhart visiting us at Just Write! Let's ask Marie a few questions . . .


~  What kind of stories/books do you write?

I write contemporary and paranormal erotic romances, and I also write series contemporary romance novels.

~  How long have you been writing?

Longer than I care to think about, I started writing when I was a teenager, took some time off while in college and working.


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

For the last twelve years

~  How many manuscripts did you complete before you sold?

Ten


~  Please tell us about receiving “The Call.”


It was a Friday morning, and because I start my day job at 5:30 in the morning, I sat down to read my email before work.  I saw an email from The Wild Rose Press editor I had sent my full manuscript to.  I opened every email but that one, and then finally I opened it.  I was very excited to see she wanted to go to contract on my book.

~  To expand on your "Call Story"— What did you do when you got the call or read the email?  Scream?  Faint?
My first reaction was disbelief, then excitement.  I didn't scream or faint it was too early in the morning, I hadn't even had my coffee yet.  And everyone in my house was sleeping.

~  How did you feel when you found out you sold?

Excited and a bit nervous.

~  Who was the first person you told?

My critique partners, I sent them an email, after that my mother and then my sister.

~   How did you celebrate?

I went out to lunch with my critique partners.



In Plain Sight
by Marie Tuhart
The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:

Bad boy businessman Joe Bradshaw has achieved almost everything he’s wanted in life, but his strait-laced colleague Victoria Collins is proving an elusive challenge. A steamy encounter in the elevator begins a wild journey of sensual discovery. Joe’s determined to break through Vicki’s barriers to reveal the red-hot woman hiding inside. But Vicki is stalked by her past—her ex-fiancé will stop at nothing to get her back. Falling in love and keeping Vicki safe could be the biggest challenges of Joe’s life.


Excerpt:

     "You’re too dangerous.” The words slipped out before she was even aware of voicing them.

     His eyes widened, and another of those sexy devilish grins spread across his lips.  “I’m not dangerous.  I’m a teddy bear.”

     Victoria gave a snort of laughter.  He took another step into the room and suddenly her bedroom felt too small.  Now the man was invading her territory.  “Grizzly bear is more like it,” she muttered.

     “A man,” he said, taking two more steps.  “A man who wants to get to know you better.”

     “If we get to know each other any better, we’ll be arrested.”  Her gaze locked with his.  He stood less than a foot length from her.

     “I got things a little backwards last night.”

     “Backwards?”  That was an odd word to use.  She tilted her head to one side and stared at him.

     “Yep, backwards.”  His arm rose, and he caressed her cheek.  “Making love to you in the elevator was impulsive.”

     She opened her mouth.

     “But,” he continued before she could get a word out.  “I don’t regret one second of it.”

###


Please visit Marie's website at: www.marietuhart.com and join her newsletter/goodie list.  

Marie also posts to her blog every Monday at: www.escapetoaneroticfantasy.blogspot.com, please stop by.


###



Great interview, Marie!!!


AM   :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

BICHOK!!!

Forever!!!


Once again, it's Monday!!!  Time to JUST WRITE!!!  Seems like time gets away from me and before I know it, the week's gone and I haven't much progress to show even though I've been busy all week with writing related activities.  But that doesn't get the books written and it's a constant struggle to juggle promotion, blogging, online classes with actual writing time.  Setting goals helps, so here goes . . .

My writing goals for this week:

*  Rewrite/revamp four chapters of Regency manuscript

*  Keep up with online class I'm teaching

*  Open account with Lulu and publish Mother's book

*   Design cover for Regency book

I hope everyone has a great productive week!!!

Happy Writing!!!

AM   :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spotlight: Linda Rettstatt

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 Today, we have Contemporary Women's Fiction Author Linda Rettstatt visiting us at Just Write!  Let's ask Linda a few questions . . .

~  What kind of stories/books do you write?
    I write women's fiction with a romantic sub-plot. I've also completed a contemporary romance novel and am working on a paranormal romantic suspense manuscript.


~  How long have you been writing?
    I've been writing, in some form, since high school, but seriously began to write in 2003.

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

    I completed my first novel in 2004. I submitted that novel, And the Truth Will Set You Free, to Wings ePress in 2005. To my surprise and delight, I was offered a contract. That book was published in 2007 and finaled for an EPIC e-Book Award in 2008. Four other novels followed in 2009 and 2010. I have two more books published with Champagne Books, and a third coming out in November. In addition, Class Act Books will publish my novel, Renting to Own, in the coming year.


~  How many manuscripts did you complete before you sold?

    I sold my first manuscript, rather quickly, I might add.


~  Please tell us about receiving “The Call.”

    From the time I was in high school, I've written poetry, short stories, short plays, and song lyrics. I dreamed of becoming a writer, but at the time didn't have the courage or the self-confidence to pursue the dream. Now that I'm…er…more mature, I've reclaimed that passion to write. In 2003, while working as a psychotherapist for a non-profit organization, I found myself with an entire day of canceled appointments. I sat and whined about this to the receptionist who said (I think just to get me out of her office), "Why don't you go to your computer and write that book you keep saying you're going to write?"
    Well, I did. At least, I started my first novel. And once I'd started, I couldn't stop. It was like shaking a bottle of soda and twisting off the cap. The story exploded and flowed.

    I finished that novel and, with complete naiveté, sent off queries to major agents whom I was certain were just waiting for my manuscript. When I received one, then two, then five rejections, I decided to pursue a more direct route and queried publishers. Wings ePress responded immediately and contracted my book.

~  To expand on your "Call Story"— What did you do when you got the call or read the email?  Scream?  Faint?
  
    I distinctly remember the day. A friend had just flown into town for a visit and we stopped at my townhouse before meeting another friend for dinner. I checked my email and discovered the offer of a contract for my book. I'm not a screamer and I doubt I've ever fainted, but I did do a happy dance. (It probably wasn't pretty. I'm not much of a dancer, either.)


~  How did you feel when you found out you sold?

    I was ecstatic. I had finally taken hold of the passion for writing that I had possessed for so long, and literally, felt like a door had opened, a bright light shone through, and angelic voices welcomed me to the other side. And I hadn't even started drinking yet to celebrate!

~  Who was the first person you told?

    My friend, Sue Ann, who had just come from Pittsburgh to visit. She has been a constant support and encouragement, and is one of my beta readers.

~   How did you celebrate?

    Now that's a funny story. Most people would pop open a bottle of champagne, have a party, or go out for fancy dinner. We met up with my roommate and the three of us went to CeCe's Pizza Buffet—$3.99 a person for all you can eat. What can I say? I'm a cheap date. What was important, though, was the spirit of the evening and sharing my excitement with friends.

###

My newest novel, Shooting into the Sun, was released on May 1st in ebook format and will be released in a few months in trade paperback by Champagne Books. It's women's fiction with a strong romance subplot. Here is a blurb and short excerpt:

Blurb:

Nature photographer Rylee Morgan has created an orderly, settled life for herself. When she finds an advertisement that might lead to her estranged father, she takes a photo assignment to the West Coast to investigate. With her younger sister, Lexie, in tow following the breakup with her fiancé, Rylee is focused on two things: finding the man who may be her father and doing her job. Lexie lives life by her own set of rules, or lack of rules, and Rylee's plans are further unsettled when Lexie invites a hitchhiker to join them on their journey. Rylee learns that sometimes the boundaries we construct to keep ourselves secure also keep us lonely.

Shooting into the Sun
by Linda Rettstatt
Champagne Books

When people know they’re about to do the wrong thing, they don’t look you in the eye. Parents were no different.

~ * ~

“Never shoot into the sun.” Her father repositioned
himself to pose for the photograph.
  
“Why not?” Rylee Morgan lowered the camera and
squinted at him.

“Because it’s a rule. If you follow the rules, you’ll avoid trouble, and you’ll create beautiful pictures.” He stood in the back yard, the white aluminum siding of their house providing a backdrop.
  
She wanted to believe him. Rylee snapped the
photograph, capturing his image.
  
He motioned to the camera bag he’d set on the ground
beside her. “You remember how to switch the lenses?”
  
She nodded.
  
“How about one more picture of us?” He pulled the
camera from her hand and drew her close to his side. At
twelve years of age, she was nearly his height. Extending his arm, the camera lens reflecting their images, he pressed the shutter release.

He handed her the camera, then hugged her against
him. “I love you, angel. Don’t ever forget that."
  
She choked on her words. “You don’t have to leave,
Daddy.”
  
“Yes, honey, I do. I’ll talk to you soon, though.”

“Take me with you.” She knotted her fingers in his
sleeve.

A muscle twitched along his jaw. “I can’t.” He held her for another moment, and then pried her hands free. Bolting to the car without a backward glance, he pulled from the drive.

“Daddy!” Rylee chased after him. At the curb, she
raised the camera and clicked the shutter frantically until she heard the whirr of rewinding film. Tears blurred her last glimpse. His car turned and disappeared from her view.

She hugged the Nikon against her chest and cried.

~ * ~

Never shoot into the sun—the voice played in her
head. The rules she had learned early in her career never
failed to produce flawless photographs. The rules she had
developed for life had not served her as well. In the sixteen years since her father’s departure, Rylee had kept herself busy, focused on her career, and safe inside her well-constructed boundaries.

Rylee resituated the tripod and checked the sun’s
position. She stepped behind the camera, looked once again
through the lens and waited, watching the slight movement
of the leaves. Water bubbled over rocks. Slowing the shutter speed, she could create a smooth cascade effect. Blue sky and white clouds reflected on the stream’s surface. This stretch of the rapids where the Youghiogheny River ran through Ohiopyle State Park in Pennsylvania was her favorite spot for shooting.

Her thumb rested on the shutter release, prepared for
just the right moment. The breeze subsided and the shadows
shifted. Then, just as she pressed the button, some jerk
decided to walk on water.

Rylee lifted her head and stared. A hiker made his way
across the exposed rocks and into the middle of the narrow
river—directly into the center of her view. She walked to the water’s edge and, with hands on hips, shouted, “Excuse me! You’re ruining my shot.”

He raised his arms and stretched, his face turned
toward the sun. His shirt pulled up to expose a narrow waist and flat stomach.

Rylee dragged her eyes away from his body, cupped
her hands around her mouth and shouted again, “Hey!
You’re in the way.”

The hiker turned and shielded his eyes with his hand.

“What?”

“You…are…ruining…my…shot.”
# # #

Please visit my website at www.lindarettstatt.com and my blog, One Woman's Write, at www.lindarettstatt-author.blogspot.com. Please be sure to sign the guestbook so I know you've stopped by and, if you'd like to receive my quarterly newsletter, there is a place there to email me and I'll add you to the mailing list.

Thanks so much, Anne Marie, for having me here today. It was truly a pleasure.

###

Thanks for visiting, Linda!!!  Great interview!!!


AM  :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

BICHOK!!!

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It's that time again!!!  Monday morning . . . the beginning of a new week.  A clean slate.  Time to start fresh.  Time to make new goals.

My writing goals for this week:

*  Keep up with the online class I'm teaching.

*  Finish updating blog.

*  Read through hard copy of galleys and make necessary changes.

*  Write new blurb.

*  Design cover.

*  Begin formatting ms for Smashwords.

Here's to a great week!!!

Happy Writing!!!

AM   :)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Writer's Journey:

Backing Up is  Hard to Do!!!

Well, I had a bit of a misadventure this week in my writing life.  Luckily, it turned out all right.  Here's what happened . . .


First, let me say that I'm a fanatic when it comes to backing up my work.  As I'm writing, I'm constantly hitting the save button, EVEN though I have Word automatically set up to save every five minutes.  When I finish my writing for the day, I save it to the desk top and to Documents.  I also save to a flash drive . . . or two ( one for home, one for the purse).  I now save everything in email, too.

Obsessive?  Yes, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry.  Writing is hard work.  I don't want to try to recreate a piece of work that I've sweated blood and tears over.


So now, I'm working on this Grand Experiment, you know . . . self-publishing.  I have five or six manuscripts languishing on the hard drive.  Or so I thought.  I've been writing a LONG time.   I've been through numerous computers.  I've always carefully moved my stuff from computer to computer.  I moved documents from Word Perfect to Word.  My manuscripts have lived in more new places than I have.  But like I said, I've been writing a LONG time.


Imagine my surprise and dismay when I went into my document folder to pull up one of my favorite stories, only to find that I couldn't.  All that came up was a bunch of gibberish and strange symbols.  Okay, don't panic, Anne Marie.  Thank God, I had hard copies.  But the thought of retyping all of those manuscripts made me queasy.


Then I remembered I still had an old laptop of my husband's that I had used before my present laptop.  Digging it out of the closet, I sent up a silent prayer of thanks that I had not gotten rid of it yet.  I set it up, turned it on, then promptly forgot the password that opened the blamed thing.   I tried all afternoon to open that sucker.  Sigh.  I won't go into the details about why I hadn't written down the password.  It was hubby's and I had never changed it.  HE couldn't remember it either.   Lesson:  Make a note of passwords.


I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to retype the manuscripts.  I tried to be thankful that at least I had hard copies.   I WAS thankful I had hard copies.  But still . . .

As I washed the dinner dishes, I thought about all those years I had written on that old laptop.  How I would sit down, turn it on, then type in the password.  I focused my thoughts on my hands and how they looked on the keyboard.  How the clicking of my fingers sounded as I typed in the sequence of letters and numbers.  

Suddenly, I remembered!!!  I hoped . . .

Quickly, I dried my hands and ran to my office and sat down in front of the old laptop.  Another silent prayer . . . and YES!!!  I was in!!!  Oh, the joy.  The sweet taste of victory!!!  I felt like a secret agent breaking a code.  I had unlocked a treasure.

As I pulled up my documents, I greeted each manuscript like a long lost friend.   I pulled up the books, and the words on the screen were lovely to behold.  Carefully, I saved each manuscript onto a flash drive and transferred them to my newest computer, crossing my fingers in the hopes that the transfer would work.  Something had happened back when I had changed computers and the documents had not been saved correctly.   Would it work this time?


I'm happy to say:  Yes, it did.  I now have all of my manuscripts safely installed on this computer and in working order.  They also reside on the flash drive and in my email.  Two email accounts, in fact.  You can never be too careful.


Happy Writing!!!


AM   :)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Spotlight: Debra St. John

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Today, we have Romance Author Debra St. John visiting us at Just Write!  Let's ask Debra a few questions . . .


~  What kind of stories/books do you write?

    I write contemporary romance for The Wild Rose Press.

~  How long have you been writing?

    I’ve been writing since high school, but I’ve only been writing having some semblance of knowing what I’m doing for the past fifteen years or so. (LOL)

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

    I’d have to say I’ve been seriously pursuing publication for about six years.

~  How many manuscripts did you complete before you sold?

    I had completed two manuscripts and was working on a third before I sold. (Of course those manuscripts had gone through so many rewrites and revisions, they might each count as more than one!)


~  Please tell us about receiving “The Call.”

    “The Call” was really an e-mail from my editor. She was checking back in to follow up on another e-mail she’d sent, asking if I’d received the one offering me a contract for “This Time for Always”. (I hadn’t received the first one, so this second e-mail took my breath away.)

~  To expand on your "Call Story"— What did you do when you got the call or read the email?  Scream?  Faint?
  
    I gasped, half rose out of my chair, reread the e-mail to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, sat back down again, and finally ran into the kitchen to find my hubby.
    “I think I just sold a book,” I exclaimed.
    “You think? Well, did you or didn’t you?”
    We headed back into the den and reread the e-mail together. After that we danced around for a while!


~  How did you feel when you found out you sold?

    Excited. Thrilled. Breathless. Overwhelmed.

~  Who was the first person you told?

    My wonderful hubby.

~   How did you celebrate?

    We were just about to sit down to dinner, so we ate! When we finished I called my mom and my mother-in-law. About a week later I got to celebrate with my local RWA chapter. We have this fabulous tradition of bringing chocolate to a meeting when we sell a book. We don’t say, “I sold a book.” Instead we reveal the box of candy with a flourish and announce, “I brought chocolate!” My first chocolate moment was everything I dreamed it would be.
###

WILD WEDDING WEEKEND, my second release from TWRP, came out last month. Here’s a little sneak peek!

Wild Wedding Weekend
Debra St. John
The Wild Rose Press

Blurb:
All Abby Walker ever wanted was to live a normal life in her small suburban-Chicago house.
After traveling around the world in her youth, staying put in one spot is a dream come true.  But when she winds up on a game show as a favor to a friend, her life takes an adventurous turn she isn’t at all prepared for.

Noah Grant has put his small-town Indiana roots behind him.  He travels all over the world, enjoying the freedom and adventure.  He has no intention of settling down anytime soon, if ever.  But then he finds himself married to Abby in a bizarre quirk of fate, and he realizes his life will never be the same.
Their passion flares as hot as the sultry Caribbean air. But is passion enough to turn their Wild Wedding Weekend into a lifetime of love?

Excerpt:

“Have you talked to Claire?”

Noah shook his head.


“Has she called you?”

“No. Why did you think she would?”

“I figured you and Claire would pick up where you left off. Before we...well, before all of this happened. I know that’s what Claire would want.”

“I can’t see that happening. You really think that’s what she wants?”

Abby set the fragile glass down with a sharp thud on the table. “No, I don’t. I used to know her. But I don’t anymore. We don’t talk.”

“Whoa, easy, Abby, sweetheart.”

The false endearment grated on her nerves.

She took a deep breath, then expelled it. “Sorry. I just thought we were done with all of this pretending, and now we had to do this tonight, and I just can’t deal with-”

Noah cut her off. “Shhhhh.” He twined his fingers with hers. “I’m sorry. I know all of this has been really hard on you. I didn’t mean to sound like a jerk. But I want you to know,” he paused, then continued when she lifted her eyes to his. “I’m not going to date Claire again. And I really am sorry that things got so messed up with the two of you.”

“I know, I just wish…” She wanted to say she wished none of this had happened. But it would be a lie. For all the pain that was sure to come, she couldn’t wish her time as Noah’s wife away. The memories were already too precious.

She glanced at the matching wedding bands on their fingers. She hadn’t taken hers off. Noah had probably put his back on for the night.

It had been far too easy tonight to slip back into their married routine. Far too easy to forget it was only part of the game.

###

Readers are invited to visit me at www.debrastjohnromance.com or at the Acme Authors Link on Sundays, or Heroines with Hearts on Thursdays.

###

Great interview, Debra!!!


AM   :)

Monday, May 03, 2010

BICHOK!!!

.

Whew!  Monday morning's almost gone and here I am just posting BICHOK!!!  I wish I could say I've been busy typing away, but alas . . .  no.  Not yet.

I bought a new program for my Grand Experiment:  PhotoShop Elements 8.  Now, most of you know how techno-challenged I am.  But I try not to let this stop me from pursuing my goals in my writing life.  I push forward and learn the bare minimum to get by and move on.  So, I'm busy learning where to find free or cheap photos and how to manipulate them in PhotoShop to add titles and author names.  I'm making book covers!!!  It's all part of thesecretproject. *grins*

Only it's not really a secret.  Okay, I'll let the cat out of the bag . . .

I'm trying my hand at *gasp* self-publishing or going independent.  I feel like it's closer to going renegade.  I won't go into my reasons and such.  And I'm not making any excuses.  It's something I want to do and now, it's become a personal challenge to see if I can do it.  Anyway, it's a whole new ballgame and I'm having a blast!!! 

Here are my writing goals for the week:

*   Finish formatting manuscript.

Start unformatting a copy for epub.  (You wouldn't believe the difference in print and epub formatting.)

*  Backup hard drive.

*  Continue learning PhotoShop and hunting for cover photos.

*  Update blog.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!!!

Happy Writing!!!

AM   :)