Friday, February 27, 2009

More Link Sausage...


This week I went over a few things with the wonderful copywriter, Jen, at ravenous romance, and the second book in the American Star series is soon to be launched . It's called, AMERICAN STAR II, and there are some interesting surprises that have been carried over from the first book I'm hoping readers will enjoy. There was a nice post here about AMERICAN STAR on the MTV blog.


Yesterday I received an image of the cover for a new anthology I'm in. The book is called, "How the West was Done." And it will be launched by ravenousromance.com sometime this coming month. I'll post more about it in a week or so. And I've already posted an image of the cover on the sidebar.


I read a great post about the new Kindle 2 reader this week. Jonathan Lyons decided to come back from his blogging haitus to post this. It gets into the huge discussion about the new audio feature on the Kindle 2 and how it affects audio books in general.


Over at the BookEnds blog, Jessica posted something interesting all erotica romance writers should read. It discusses writing about sex and learning how to keep the readers happy.


And there was a great post here, at Nathan Bransford's blog, about how to treat sympathetic and unsympathetic characters. If you've never read Nathan's blog, it's worth taking a visit. He seems to have attracted a stable of blog fans, and that's not easy to do. I've actually found a few excellent new writers just by reading the comment thread of his blog over the past few years. A few times, when I was putting together anthologies, I contacted them about submitting work. These new writers produced excellent stories for some interesting books I edited.
I stopped by to see what Lori Perkins was posting here, and what Marsha was posting here. Marsha posted a great poem that's worth reading more than once.
And, last but not least, these next three are always favorites. This one is written by a professional writer who is having problems with her fourteen year old cat...stop by and wish her well if you get a chance. This young blogger has great music. And then there's Ryan...the week wouldn't be the same without checking out his blog!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bert and Betty's New Cover...


Yes!! They gave Bert and Betty a new cover. I hadn't expected this. It's a short story about a very creative, happily married young couple who love the friendly skies. They have a sense of humor and their marriage works for a variety of reasons.


This cover is exactly as I'd pictured it would be.


Good job!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blogging and Music and Having Fun...

A large part of blogging is having fun while doing it. I've met some really wonderful people in the world of blogging and I've kept in touch with most of them. And when a personal blogger is nice enough to publish the cover of one of my books, I'm going to do everything I can to help promote and network his or her blog, too.

The blogger I'm talking about today is here, and I found him through my friend, Ryan, here. He's a huge fan of ravenousromance.com And he was nice enough to post the cover of AMERICAN STAR on his blog.

So if anyone gets a chance to go over to his blog and comment, that would be nice. I promise you one thing, the music is really excellent. I actually liked one of his songs so much I went to music notes and downloaded it this morning.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Nice Comment...


I was checking out personal blogs of friends last night when I came across a comment about PRETTY MAN. It seems there's a new blog out there by a group of women who started a reading club just for M/M romance. It's called ROMANCING THE GUYS and I was really surprised to read what they had to say.
And, according to their post, they will be reading and discussing all kinds of M/M romance in the future.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blurbs Are Nice...


When you're writing two to three thousand words a day, six or seven days a week, it's hard to focus on anything but the writing. But there's also a certain amount of work that has to be done in the PR department. And being a writer nowadays isn't just about the writing: it's about the selling and promotion, too.


So I try to handle things as they come up, and this week it was all about a blurb. I always hate asking for one. I know it's important, but I hate making anyone else take time from their busy schedule to write anything for free. But this week I was in contact with the talented multidimensional Owen Keehnen and I remembered to ask if he could write a blurb. Nothing long and detailed..."don't take to much time"...just something quick.


I started working with Owen Keehnen five years ago. I was just testing the waters with internet publishing, and I stumbled across his name. Until then, I'd always worked in traditional print publishing and wasn't sure what to expect.


Owen contacted me right away; he liked what I'd sent. And I was both shocked and flattered. I knew his excellent reputation and respected his work. And ever since then, I've been submitting material to him. I've marked my calendar to write two short stories for Owen with summer deadlines, and he's asked if he could publish a short story of mine that was in an anthology released about three years ago.


And, he was kind enough to send me this blurb :"Ryan Field has a knack for keeping me up all night. He never disappoints." ...to help promote AMERICAN STAR.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Real Fan of Ranvenous Romance...

My friend Ryan who blogs here is a huge fan of ravenous romance. He posted another wonderful piece about American Star this morning, along with photos and comments.

Ryan has been blogging for a while now. And I've been following his blog for many reasons. The most important is that I knew when I first read his blog he knew what he was doing. Blogging can be used a promotional tool, an outlet to rant, and a nice place to record the ups and downs of daily living. But the best blogs are always real, and he does this so naturally I became an instant fan.

So if you get a chance to stop by and read some of his posts, I think you'll be surprised at what you find.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

AMERICAN IDOL is now in full swing...


There are free excerpts for all the books at ravenousromance.com, and I thought I'd do a post with one of those excerpts for AMERICAN STAR. And now that American Idol is in full swing and the voting has started, the timing couldn't have been more perfect.


The day Terrence decided he was going to audition for a new TV reality show, he was reading the newspaper in the tanning salon where he worked as manager. It was a warm, humid Friday morning in late August, and it was exactly one year to the day since he’d buried his mother. The newspaper advertisement for the audition said all that was required was to show up at a hotel in New York City and sing.


And that was one of the two things in life Terrence knew how to do well. The other thing involved dropping his pants.


Then the front door opened wide and an attractive young man stepped into the waiting area – Terrence’s boss. He was wearing loose white hockey shorts and his large penis bounced up and down as he crossed toward the counter. He never wore underwear. His name was Kevin and he’d been Terrence’s boyfriend since high school. It was clear he wasn’t having a very good day so far. His short blond hair was messy on top, therewere dark circles under his eyes, and his skin looked pale. When he saw the open newspaper on the counter, he slammed a blue bank deposit bag on top of it and said,“Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”


Terrence slowly folded the newspaper and sighed. But he didn’t reply. Kevin’s silence suggested Terrence had been slacking off that morning because he’d been reading.


“Must be interesting,” Kevin finally said. He looked down at the newspaper with steel blue eyes and placed his hands on his hips. Then he spread his muscular legs and started rocking on the balls of his feet.


“It’s nothing important,” Terrence said, rolling his eyes. He didn’t want to tell Kevin about the the audition. His boss would have given a million reasons why he thought he shouldn’t do the show, from his lack of talent to the fact that reality television was a passing phase and wouldn’t last. Even though Kevin secretly loved reality television, he couldn’t wait for an open opportunity to knock Terrence down. Terrence knew full well that Kevin had sent in audition tapes and entry forms to shows like “Big Brother” and “The Bachelor.” But he’d always been rejected.


“Don’t give me your shit this morning, bitch,” Kevin said, slamming the palm of his wide hand on the counter. There were deep, dark circles under his eyes and his breath smelled of stale beer.


Terrence jumped. He pressed his palm to his throat and said, “I’m not giving you attitude, Kevin. I’m just not in a great mood this morning.” But it was beginning to occur to him that whenever Kevin walked into a room, his heart started to race and his mouth felt dry.


“Oh, that time of the month again,” Kevin said, then raised his arms as though being held at gunpoint. “I’m getting sick and tired of this bullshit. Take a pill, bitch.” He slammed both great hands on the counter. Kevin loved to refer to Terrance as the feminine type; a moody “girl” with imagined monthly periods. Terrence wasn’t the least bit feminine. He had short dark hair, was average in height and had a slim, well-defined body. His legs were smooth and strong and his ass rounded like a beach ball. If anyone saw him walking down the street, they wouldn’t even know he was gay. But Kevin took pleasure in having him come across as prissy; as though his being effeminate would make Kevin more of a man somehow...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Follow up on Lasting Love Submissions...

After the post about all the great submissions for the Lasting Love anthology, I had to follow up with this short post. As I said, all the submissions were good, and I have a feeling that the one I didn't actually get a chance to read was good, too.

I'll explain. Last Friday afternoon I received a last minute e-mail from a writer who wanted to submit for the anthology, but didn't see the call for submission until that week. The deadline was Saturday, and the writer wanted to know if they could submit early the following week. They couldn't submit on Saturday because of religious reasons, and apologized a thousand times. So I replied and said they could submit on Monday or Tuesday. I wasn't sure if I'd be working on Sunday (I did anyway) so there would still be time early in the week to read the short story. I don't know how other editors feel, but when someone contacts me at the last minute with a well written e-mail and a good voice, I'm curious and I want to know more about them.

As it turned out, this writer didn't get a chance to submit anything because of the time factor. And I understood that; I've been there myself. The writer e-mailed me after reading the Lasting Love post I wrote, and explained this in another well written, professional e-mail.

So if this writer is reading this post, I'm hoping they continue to follow the ravenous romance calls for submissions, because now I'm really curious.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lasting Love Anthology...

The Lasting Love anthology is coming along well. So well, I'll be able to submit it earlier than I'd originally planned. And I have to admit that everyone who submitted did an excellent job. The writers worked hard and they produced some sexy, romantic short stories that I'll never forget. I'll post about some of the stories later, but in this post I wanted to thank everyone who submitted. Each and every submission was fantastic!!

I only wish I'd been able to include more submissions, because so many people took the time and effort to produce such great work. But the problem with any anthology or collection is that there's a word count, and some things have to be rejected. That's the part I hate; having to tell a writer I couldn't include something because too many people submitted stories and I had to decide which fit best with the title.

So when I write back, and I will write each and every writer who submitted to Lasting Love, and say that the rejection was based on a subjective, unbiased opinion, I hope they understand. Rejections like these are not personal; if an editor could include all the stories submitted, he or she would; but that's not possible or practical. As a writer, I've had many of these rejections myself in the past so I know the feeling.

But I wanted to thank everyone who did submit. There's a lot of talent out there and I hope these wonderful writers from all over the world continue to submit more work to ravenous romance in the future.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Book Cover...


Here's a sneak peak at the new book cover for AMERICAN STAR. It's going to be released here on February 15th and I thought I'd post it ahead of time.
The storyline is loosely based on the long running TV show, American Idol. But in this book there's a vicious contestant who will do anything to win, a talented young singer who is being stalked by a deranged fan, and a surprise season finale that no one could have predicted.
Here's the back cover copy:
Terrence Lorenzo, depressed about his nowhere job and his lackluster relationship with his old high school boyfriend, Kevin, conceives the idea of auditioning for a reality show in New York, where the winner is guaranteed a chance to become the hottest new pop star in America. He's not sure he'll win, but he decides to take a chance on the audition anyway.

Jude Foster, another singer in the competition, is attracted to Terrence, but he's also devoted to his overbearing mother and determined to win the competition at all cost. And when they are both selected to go to Hollywood, an emotional rollercoaster ensues that leaves Terrence extremely satisfied in bed, but just as disillusioned in the romance department as he was before the show. In order to fill the void, he takes on a long list of anonymous lovers for the first time in his life.

As the contestants rehearse and the show gains in ratings, a disgruntled fan starts sending Terrence death threats. The sex between Terrence and Jude takes a surprise turn in the wrong direction, and Terrence learns that he had to travel all the way to Hollywood only to discover that what he really wanted all along was in his own backyard.

Submitting a Manuscript...

I've had so many unusual submissions for the LASTING LOVE anthology, I thought I'd make a quick post about submitting a manuscript to an editor or agent. For some reason, writers don't seem aware of the basics that fall under the category of "You can't go wrong," when it comes to submitting manuscripts. And the importance of reading submission guidelines very carefully.

Before computers, it was standard to send hard copy on 8 1/2 x 11 white multi-use paper, double spaced with numbered pages. And always accompanied by a short cover letter with all contact information. Different agents and editors had guidelines that varied, but if you kept it simple and neat and basic, you couldn't go wrong.

Then came computers and there were more choices. But the industry standard didn't really change much. When you don't see specific guidelines, it's always a safe bet to submit a ms as a basic word document, double spaced, 12pt, in times roman. It's also a good idea to put all contact info at the top of the first page, too. This is basic and no one's going to complain.

And when there are specific guidelines, it's important to follow the directions. When it says submit as a word document, don't send a pdf file or a kb file. Send it as a word document. You may prefer pdf files over word, but the editor may not be able to open it or submit it, and that's a shame if the work is really good.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When your Friend is an Agent...

When I look back, even though I owned an art gallery for ten years, and another small business for five years that I sold in 2005, I've always been a writer. While running the gallery and the other business, I always made sure I was in at least ten books each year with short stories. And at least ten magazines each year. I didn't have time to do more as far as getting published goes, but I also wrote a novel a year, too. I did this on slow days at the gallery, and owning a business like that allowed me some free time to concentrate on writing and getting published. I'd worked as an editor for three large publications and I found that when I was finished working for the day, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and write my own work.

The gallery was fun and interesting and I loved my clients. I repped over a hundred different artists over the years, and handled everything from promotions to the final sale. I met interesting people from all over the world, and it was nice to know that I'd sold them something they'd cherish for the rest of their lives. But I also felt a little strange about selling everyone else's work full time and only concentrating on my own part time.

And then I became friends with someone who started out as an art client. He walked into the gallery one day and bought a painting, and we clicked. We became very good friends. He didn't know I was a writer, because I rarely ever tell anyone that unless I know them very well. He thought I was a gallery owner. But he told me his profession right away. It turned out that he was a well known literary agent, with a long list of popular clients, who at that time had been in the business for over twenty years. A dream come true? Not exactly.

Ultimately, I decided that if we were going to continue our friendship, I'd have to refrain from asking him to read my work. I knew his reputation was excellent, but if I started querying him as a writer, our friendship might suffer. Maybe it wouldn't have suffered. But I've always believed in not mixing business with pleasure. So he didn't even find out I was a writer until two years after I met him.

But I think I made the right decision, because we've been the best of friends for over ten years now. We take vacations, we celebrate birthdays and holidays...we're there for each other when illness hits family members, other friends, and pets. And we even talk about publishing now. He's been there to offer simple advice about contracts, and I've even passed a few clients his way that I thought he might like. And when I found my own agent, he was there to offer support and congratulations.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Nice Review...


When it comes to reviews, you never know. But bless the person who wrote this.

Writing about the color blue...


I've always been interested in how other writers work and create. This post isn't going to be about the detailed aspects, but more about how things work in a general sense.

I guess my own habits go back to when I was a freshman in college. In many ways, I look at writing as a science. I signed up for basic EN101, expecting to learn nothing more than how to answer an essay question on a final exam. And I already knew how to do that. So I was delighted and shocked when the Professor, Dr. Jean Atthowe, in Fairleigh Dickinson University, at the Florham-Madison Campus, opened the class with this comment: "By the time you get out of here, you'll be expected to write fifteen hundred words on the color blue."

The point behind her technique was as simple as it was complicated. She wanted us to learn how to write about anything...even something as mundane as the color blue...without going into a panic. And over the course of that semester, she used metaphors to help us remember; she used little tricks that trained us how to write on any topic. One in particular I loved was her reference to a paragraph as a sandwich, comparing the first and last sentences to slices of bread.

I'm also always interested in the process of getting commentary and critiqued. I've heard of beta readers, but I've never done that. I've heard of critique groups, but I've never been part of one. For me, and this is different for every writer, I have a rule that I never show anything I've written to anyone but the editor, the publisher or my agent. I know writers who disagree with me, but it's how I do things. I'm always open to any revises and changes, and any editor or copy editor who has ever worked with me knows this. But I'm not open to sharing my work with anyone else until it's been published.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Best Date Ever...


One of my favorite books, and one I've had the privilege to be part of, is titled, BEST DATE EVER. It's an anthology of short stories that celebrates chance meetings, romance and falling in love. It's not highly erotic; just the opposite. But each short story is about a memorable, heartfelt date that ended as either a wonderful memory or as the beginning of a new relationship. And, they are all true stories based on real life experience. I know this for a fact, too.

I decided to blog about this book today, because besides being one of the books I love, it was also one of the most difficult books I ever tried to get into. I can clearly recall the day I submitted my story, titled, "The Blogger Boi," to the editor, Lawrence Schimel. He's a career anthologist; his work is noted for its literary quality. And I wanted to be a part of that because these opportunities don't come around often.

I figured I wouldn't hear anything back for a few weeks at least. But an hour later he e-mailed me about the submission with a few questions. He wanted to know, for sure, if the story was based on a real life experience. He must have checked that I write fiction, and wanted to be certain this story wasn't fiction.

I assured him it was real, based on my own personal experience. And writing about anything in my life is something I rarely do. I typically write fiction only, with a few exceptions. Partly because I never thought my own life was interesting enough to write about, and partly because I prefer writing things that take me to different places. So I tried to convince him, through e-mails, that the story was based on a real life experience and we left it at that.

A couple of months later, he told me the story had been accepted but he was still curious about the real life aspect. And I was only too pleased to discuss it with him. I admired his tenacity and I liked the fact that I'd be part of an authentic book based on true stories.

I still like everything about this book, from the cover to the last short story. And I'm glad he took the time to question my motives. He could have just disregarded my submission and moved on to another story.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bert and Betty release day...


They just released BERT AND BETTY today. It's a short story, it's priced very well, and it's one of the quirkiest stories I've written so far. I was hoping there would be something of interest to everyone here. Below is the sell copy...


Bert and Betty, happily married and looking to add some romantic spice to their lives, conceive a harmless little game of passion - a bold and exciting improvisation that requires an airplane, some acting talent and a great deal of imagination. And Betty is always able to conjure up something creative.

But there are rules to the game that must be followed: they have to pretend they are total strangers the minute they enter the airport, they have to invent completely different lives, and they both have to be open and willing to the element of danger their little game invokes. And on this particular flight to Nebraska, the danger involves two good looking young men in the next aisle who want to play the game, too.

Betty is always willing to try anything naughty, but she's not so sure about Bert. He tends to be more conservative about some things and he's not fond of surprises. So she decides to capture the moment, crossing the line and plunging into an erotic adventure she never expected, without bothering to tell him. But it turns out that she is actually the one who is left with her mouth hanging open in the end.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pretty Man...


I just found out about this today. Had no idea.


Snow, Ice and More Snow...


So far this winter we've had two inches of ice, topped with three inches of frozen snow, then two more inches of ice topped with six inches of snow. My driveway is a skating rink: I crawl down so I can cross the road to get the mail. And the mailbox has gone down with each storm, thanks to the snow plows.


But it sure is gorgeous when I look out the window.


Monday, February 2, 2009

New Book Cover...

I received an e-mail today from an editor about an anthology I'm in that's being released in the spring. I'm not posting links because it hasn't been released yet...even though people can pre-order thanks to Amazon...but I wanted to mention the book because the experience with this editor is always interesting. He taught me how to take myself less seriously.

Sometimes you submit something and it gets accepted, edited and published by magic. You don't hear anything until the book has been released, and you get the final copies and the check. You can see that things have been changed, but nothing too drastic. Then there are times when you sell something and it doesn't get edited at all. It just gets published the way it is and you're glad you took the time to make sure everything was perfect. Other times, and magazines do this often, they edit without contacting you and you want to scream. They use words and substitute phrases you wouldn't use if you were on your last breath. But magazine fiction is a little different in the sense that they can get away things book editors can't. And they pay well, which makes it easier to forgive.

And then there are those times when you submit something, the editor likes it and you begin a long, endless trail of e-mails about editing and revising. If you click with the editor, it's fine. But if you don't, it could be a problem. In fifteen years, I only reneged once on a book because I didn't like what the editor did. And this involved changing the context of the story almost completely. (I didn't hold it against him, and he didn't hold it against me; I've been in other books he's edited after that one.) But most of the time, I don't mind the endless e-mails and the constant changes. I've learned to listen to these editors with an open mind and most of the time they have been correct about the suggested edits and revises. And if I disagree (and sometimes I do), I've found they are willing to negotiate on most things. But it's all about give and take.

And the editor of the book I'm talking about today is one of the serious ones. He doesn't just ask for small revises: he'll knock the first two pages off and switch the character around completely. But he never does it in an offensive way, and I've learned to appreciate his style and approach. And if I don't like a revise or a suggestion he makes, I've learned to wait twenty-four hours before I reply. And I'm always glad I did.