Tag Archive | publishing

I’m a top-ten finalist in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest!

HUGE NEWS!!! I made the judge’s cut for Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest! I’M IN THE TOP TEN! I had to keep that a secret for two weeks!  I am so grateful and so humbled to have gotten this far! What an amazing opportunity!


And now I really, really need everybody’s help. The winner of the contest (who gets a two-book publishing contract!) is picked by public voting only. I don’t know how much of a chance I have, considering some of the contestants I’m up against, but I’m going to give it all I’ve got! If you have a spare minute, I’d be eternally grateful if you guys would take the time to vote for me! You can vote once every 24 hour period until next Tuesday! And voting is much simpler. Just click the red “vote” button next to the title of my book! And a big thank you goes out to everyone who has supported me in this contest already. I am 100% sure I wouldn’t be here now without you! XXOO
The winner will be chosen by public voting, which will run from November 10th to November 17th. Voting is now open and each voter may vote one time per day (25 hours) during the voting period. If you wish to vote for me, you can find my entry on Harlequin’s official website: http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/finding-home/ The winner of the contest and publishing contract will be announced on November 19th.

I made the top twenty-five in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest!

I’m very pleased and excited to announce that my entry, Finding Home, is one of the top twenty-five finalists in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest!

I’m so excited and humbled to be among so many great entries! This has just been so much fun! I am so grateful to have this opportunity! Meanwhile, the judges are busily reading and narrowing the field to the top ten! Fingers crossed! And of course, a huge thank you goes out to everyone who took the time to read, vote, and share my contest entry! Thank you SO much!

My Entry for the So You Think You Can Write Competition.

My first chapter for the So You Think You Can Write competition is up! I’d love some feedback from all my friends out there! I can make changes based on feedback up until September 21st, at which point it becomes my official contest entry. This is a steamy romance. If you aren’t a fan of those, you won’t like it! If you’d like to help me out and read my entry, you can find it here. Thanks!47897868-208-k165689

Interview with New York Times best selling author Marie Bostwick.

Today, we are lucky enough to have New York Times Best-selling author Marie Bostwick on the blog! Thank you so much for being here, Ms. Bostwick, and for sharing your thoughts with us!


AN: How did become a published author?

MB: Before I ever even considered submitting my work, I spent years learning the craft of writing.  For the first three, I wrote a short story every month, never with an intention of getting them published but only with an eye to honing my skills. Those were the years of my apprenticeship as an author, devoting myself to becoming the best writer I could be.  At the end of those three years, one of my short stories kept getting longer and longer until, finally, I realized it was a book.  I spent four years working on what became my first novel, FIELDS OF GOLD, published in 2005.

Once my book was done, I let it sit in a drawer for nearly a year before finally working up the courage to send it out. I knew absolutely no one in the publishing world and had no idea of how books got published so I did what I always do when I need information – I went to the library.

After some reading, I realized I was going to need an agent and that to get one I’d need a query letter. I poured over the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents, looking for agents that I thought might be interested in my kind of book. Next, after reading examples of query letters that worked in Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Agents, I started working on one of my own.

I spent three weeks on that query letter – no kidding. I polished that letter like a diamond. When it was ready, I started contacting the agents on my list, about ten at a time. Then, I waited. That was the hardest part.  I kept careful track of all my responses, making sure I followed up appropriately. I got a lot of rejections.  But I was encouraged to note that 25% of the agents I contacted wrote back and asked to see more. Most of them ended up passing on my book but if that many people were interested enough to want more, I felt like I must be on to something.

And, as it turned out, I was.  After about four months, I found a very enthusiastic agent. Once that hurdle was cleared, it started all over again – more queries, more rejections, more waiting until, finally it came – the call.

AN: What was it like when you got “the call”?

MB: For me, getting the call is one of those things I’ll always remember but, at the same time, if you were to ask me for details, I’d draw a blank. But I do know that on April 14, 2004, my agent called to say we had an offer for a two-book deal with Kensington and after that…I pretty much didn’t hear anything else she said. I was so happy that none of the words really registered. It wasn’t the most satisfying and thrilling moment in my career, but it was as close second.  First place goes to the day when I came home and found the galleys from the actual book on the dining room table. I sobbed when that happened – all happy tears.

All told, it took ten years from when I first began writing in a serious way to when my first book was published.

AN: Can you tell us what a day for you is like, in terms of writing?

MB: I am a very slow writer compared to a lot of people, so I have to spend a lot of time at it.  Much of my morning ends up being spent on the business and promotional side of things so I am usually not able to get down to serious writing until after lunch. I try to wrap up by 6pm or so but it really just depends on when my deadline is and how the work is going. If I’m in a good place and don’t have to be anywhere, there’s no reason not to keep going – especially if the book is due soon. Sometimes 6pm stretches to midnight or beyond.

I am fortunate enough to have a lovely basement studio – half is devoted to writing and half to quilting – with a great window looking out onto our property. It’s a wonderful space to work in.  Oddly, however, one of my favorite places to write is on airplanes. I’m not sure why but I’m incredibly productive at 30,000 feet. I do have one odd little habit; at the beginning of each book, I choose a CD and I play it over and over and over as I’m writing.  It seems to help me get focused quickly and stay focused.

AN: I’ve noticed that there is often a very strong spiritual thread woven throughout your books. Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to include a subject that could be considered controversial and why it was important for you to do so? 

MB: It’s so funny to me that issues of spirituality would be considered controversial – no matter what conclusions you reach, this is something that most everyone considers at some point so it seems entirely natural to write about it, at least to me.  Because my faith is entirely woven into my being, including spiritual elements isn’t something I think of as a choice but as part of painting a complete portrait of the characters. However, I have chosen, quite deliberately, not to write in the genre of Christian fiction. For me, that would just present too many limitations of what I could write and how I could write it.

AN: Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for my readers hoping to publish a book? If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were just starting out, before you had any success, what would you say?

MB: For those wanting to publish I would say, spend time really studying the art of writing and honing your skills before sending out your work.  Give yourself permission to have an apprenticeship and then enjoy every minute of it!  There is sometimes so much pressure to be published that I think people sometimes miss the joy of writing and that’s a shame. From a purely artistic standpoint, these pre-publication years are the most liberating and potentially creative times you will ever know as a writer.  Right now you have all the time you want to make your book the absolutely best it can be. Not having a deadline is just a huge gift.

Okay, I know that a lot of you are probably rolling your eyes about now. But if I were talking to my younger self today, that’s exactly what I’d tell her.  She probably wouldn’t believe me, but it’s absolutely true.


Marie Bostwick’s newest release, The Second Sister, is available now!

Years of long workdays and little sleep as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey’s boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson’s Bay, her small, close-knit, Wisconsin hometown.

An accident in her teens left Alice mentally impaired, and she was content to stay in Nilson’s Bay. Lucy, meanwhile, got out and never looked back. But now, to meet the terms of Alice’s eccentric will, Lucy has taken up temporary residence in her sister’s cottage. There she discovers a trunk filled with exquisite quilts made by her sister and mysterious inscribed “To Maeve”, a name Alice never mentioned. As the days pass, Lucy begins to see the town, and Alice’s life, with new eyes.

Alice’s diverse group of friends appears to have little in common besides their love of quilting. Yet deep affection for Alice united them and soon Lucy, too, is brought into the fold as they share problems and stories. And as she finds warmth and support in this new circle, Lucy begins to understand this will be her sister’s enduring gift—a chance to move beyond her difficult past, and find what she has long been missing…

You can find out more about Marie Bostwick here.

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Is it a disadvantage to be an introvert if you are an author?

I am a writer. I love to make up characters, delve into their psyches, spin out intriguing plots and meaningful dialogue. I lose myself in the worlds I make. Sometimes, the characters almost feel as real to me as people I actually know. That makes me a writer. But that’s not what makes an author.

If you’ve made any forays into the world of publishing, you know what I mean. Writers can’t “just” write anymore. They have to build a platform. They have to interact with their followers on social media. They have to promote themselves. They have to promote their books. And here is my problem; I’m an introvert.

Sure, it’s easier to be outgoing on social media. You aren’t face to face. You can take your time to think up replies. But for us introverts, it’s still hard. My mind just doesn’t work like that. I don’t naturally or easily think up ways to engage my readers. On top of that, all of these things use time, time that I could be using to, oh, I don’t know, actually be writing.

If you want to have a career as an author, however, you don’t really have a choice. That’s just the way publishing is now. And there is no denying that authors who engage in social media and self-marketing do have better sales than authors that don’t. But for me, at least, it’s a love/hate relationship. What about you? Do you think engaging readers is a good idea? Do you enjoy it? Is it hard for you? I’d love to hear what you think!

Interview with romance author Jennifer Hayward.

Today, we have romance author Jennifer Hayward on the blog! Welcome, Jennifer, and thank you for joining us!

B - Jennifer - Wide Shot

AN: How did become a published author?

JH: Well, ages ago I wrote three chapters and submitted to Harlequin/Mills & Boon in London. A senior editor at the time said she liked my writing, but not to resubmit that particular story. Over the years I went to conferences and did online/offline courses that helped me immeasurably. I also read a lot of craft books. I had a few rejections on partial manuscripts from Harlequin during that time. The rejections hurt but I had some amazing mentors along the way and it kept me going, that and my love of writing. I finally had success when I submitted to a Harlequin pitch competition and finalled in that competition and was asked to submit three chapters. That manuscript was sitting on my editor’s desk when I entered and won Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write in 2012 for my first contract.

AN: What was that like when you got “the call”?

JH: The call was amazing because it was when I won So You Think You Can Write. The whole journey of the contest was a roller coaster ride and I was so excited and happy to win amongst all that amazing competition. The book I won with, The Divorce Party, is so close to my heart. The timeline for me getting published is hard to quantify as I started writing years ago but sporadically off and on. When I went freelance almost four years ago and really focused on the writing, I sold The Divorce Party about a year-and-a-half after that. It was the third full manuscript I’d finished.

AN: Tell us what a day for you is like, in terms of writing.

JH: I have always been very disciplined about writing. Even before I was published I would sit down and write for a whole afternoon or morning whenever I had my other work finished. Now I sit down with a cup of coffee in the morning and write until five or six or if I’m on deadline, maybe again at night. I generally write seven days a week when I’m writing a book as my head is so deep into it and I don’t like to lose the flow. I take breaks in between books. My husband built me a fab little desk in our sunny living room – I write there. I used to write in coffee shops but I got so caught up in what was happening around me I wasn’t so productive. Not sure it’s a quirk but I really LOVE coffee when I write. Oh and when I won So You Think You Can Write I had a lucky orchid on my desk so I always keep flowers on my desk!

AN: Was the publishing process what you expected it to be?

JH: I think it was really. There’s always things you learn as you go, but I think I had good mentors that gave me the inside scoop beforehand.

AN: Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for my readers hoping to publish a book? If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were just starting out, before you had any success, what would you say?

JH: My number one piece of advice is to allow your voice to shine. I didn’t sell when I wrote the books I thought my publisher wanted. I sold when I wrote with my full personality and love of the book engaged – I just put all of me down on the page – wrote the book of my heart. I didn’t get self conscious, I just lived those characters as if they were next door. Yes some lines have required elements but you have to be an individual within that line, bring something new to the table to sell. I would also say go to as many conferences, courses you can- learn as much as you can, take what works for you and let the rest go. There are so many great resources out there.

AN: Can you tell us a little bit about your latest/upcoming release?

JH: My new release is called The Italian’s Deal For I Do. It’s the kick off book for Harlequin Presents Society Weddings series. I truly don’t think I’ve ever had such a fun time writing a book and getting to work with other great authors in the series. There is such a soulfulness to this book for me, I just love Rocco and Olivia so much. I think the back cover blurb says it best:

The Italian's Deal for I Do

The Irresistible Italian: Married for Business 

He’s conquered global markets and immeasurable hearts, but to regain control of the fashion empire that’s rightfully his, Rocco Mondelli must prove his playboy days are over. His secret weapon? Supermodel-in-hiding Olivia Fitzgerald…and the power to ruin her if she refuses to play his loving fiancée!

But returning to the world stage revives Olivia’s old demons, and instead of walking down the aisle toward her gorgeous groom—she flees! The world holds its breath: Can the indomitable Rocco get his wayward bride to the altar on time?

The world’s sexiest billionaires finally say “I do”!

If you’d like a taste of the Society Weddings series I’ve written a prequel story that’s free on Harlequin’s website called Society Wedding Secrets. It’s a fun, debaucherous romp I hope you’ll enjoy!

You can find Jennifer Hayward’s latest book here:


Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble


Mills & Boon


You can find out more about Jennifer Hayward here:



Interview with romance author Rachel Brimble.

Today, we are lucky enough to have romance author Rachel Brimble on the blog! Thank you, Rachel, for being here with us!

Me - Ashford Aug 2014

AN: How did become a published author?

RB: My first book (Searching For Sophie) was published in 2007 after several years of rejections and rewriting. To be a published author takes a lot of hard work, determination…and a very thick skin. Once you have queried a book, try to forget about it and start writing your next one. You can never tell which book is going to make it and which isn’t, so it’s important to enjoy every part of the process.

AN: What was that like when you got “the call” for your first sale to Harlequin? How long did you write before you became published?

RB: It was fantastic! There was a lot of screaming and dancing, believe me J Finding Justice was my seventh full-length novel and when I was writing it I had no idea it would end up being the first of an ongoing series with Harlequin Superromance. Writing for Harlequin was, and still is, a dream come true.

AN: Tell us what a day for you is like, in terms of writing.

RB: I am lucky enough to be a stay at home mum to two teenage girls so I am able to write whenever the family schedule allows it. I treat my writing like a full-time job, so I am at the computer by 8.30am and work through to 5.30pm with an hour break for lunch. I also write as much as possible at the weekend…when my husband and kids aren’t looking, of course!

AN: Was the publishing process what you expected it to be? How did it differ?

RB: The publishing process was nothing like I imagined, lol! The biggest eye-opener was the amount of promotion involved and how many times you see your manuscript before it is published. Writing nowadays is about so much more than the actual writing – for any aspiring authors out there, be prepared to schedule editing and a hefty amount of promotion into your working day.

AN: Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for my readers hoping to publish a book? If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were just starting out, before you had any success, what would you say?

RB: The best advice I have ever received and like to pass on whenever I can is give yourself permission to write a “crappy” first draft. Once I followed this advice my daily word count tripled! Plan out your characters and an idea of where you’d like the story to go and then just write. Listen to the characters and follow their lead rather than push your ideas on them – go with the flow. You’ll be surprised how much easier the writing is and hopefully how much you enjoy the creative side. Once you have the words on the page and the draft is done, whipping it into shape is so much more enjoyable. At least for me, anyway!

AN: Can you tell us a little bit about your latest/upcoming release?

RB: My latest Harlequin release is CHRISTMAS AT THE COVE. This is my first Christmas story and the fourth book in the series – but all the books can be read stand-alone.

Cover 1

More family for Christmas?

Scott Walker doesn’t have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news.

Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he’s not one to shirk responsibility. Scott’s issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

You can find author Rachel Brimble here:





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