01-21 - Gina Fluharty - Happy New Year Dear Readers!!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened...? #writing #publishing

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. And this month's topic is a funny thing happened on the way to publication. Well...

I don't know that my path to publication was funny in the humorous sense. More like nothing I expected and rather twisty turny. There are some things I can look back at now and chuckle, though I didn't find them amusing at the time. Like the fact that when I initially looked into publication, I naively contacted an infamous vanity press. Luckily that opening inquiry was as far as I went when I discovered what they were, so despite their many phone calls attempting to contact me (and even emails full of typos and grammatical errors FIVE YEARS LATER!), I had no further dealings with them. *shudders*

At least I learnt from that mistake. I spent the first year submitting to UK literary agents via snail mail (the very few who would consider SciFi or specialised in it - about a dozen in all). I remember one submission came back the very next day after I sent it with just a 'No' scribbled on my submission letter - I'm surprised it didn't have scorch marks on it from passing across the agent's desk in time to make the post back, considering the sluggishness of Royal Mail! There was also the almost completely illegible feedback scrawled on another query letter (at least they gave me feedback!). Another submission asked for a reading fee - big red flag!

Or maybe more of a laugh at the time I sent in an email submission and completely forgot to attach my query letter and manuscript. Oops! Luckily the publisher was kind enough to forgive my newbie slip up and allow me to resubmit. >_< Or the fact that I had to re-read my first acceptance a dozen times before I even realized it *was* an acceptance for a change, before collapsing in a sobbing heap. :P


And even after that first acceptance and with my debut novel (something I later learned is a rarity - acceptance on a first book from an author), there were still rejections through the years since. Back then, the plan was to release each of the five books of the series for that debut over the next five years, which would have taken me up to May 2016. Boy, did that not happen! Even now, and after many twists and turns, and bumps in the road, I've only released book two of the series, but have twelve published works in all, so while they might not have been the plan I certainly haven't been idle on the story side. That's kind of funny as I remember panicking about running out of ideas and books *eyes bulging Plot Bunny Storage Facility nervously*

I also remember before my debut was even contracted, I got into a somewhat heated discussion about self publishing. I considered it vanity to self pub (yeah, I was that dumb back then). I'm pleased now that another writer put me straight about my views. After losing three publishers in three years, seeing the Ellora's Cave debacle, and even the very recent All Romance eBooks closure, and how even SFR authors with agents have struggled to get books accepted by trad publishers, self publishing has become my preferred method of publication. In June 2016 the rights to my last book tied to a publisher reverted to me, giving me full control of all my work.
A Scifi Adventure Novel
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So here I am, almost six years on from my debut and a fully independent author. That certainly wasn't in the plan, but then things never do go quite how you expect...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Boycotting Valentine's Day

I have three novellas releasing in February.  Boycotting Valentines is about three friends who decide to boycott Valentine. Myra Carr, owner of Wicked Temptations, a bakery, has decided to celebrate her tenth year of being single on Valentine’s Day by spending the month celebrating holidays that are overshadowed by Valentine’s day and recruits her two best friends to help her. 

The Year of the Heart – Olivia agrees to help Myra plan the Chinese New Years celebration. After her long time boyfriend announced he thinks they should spend the year soul searching and exploring their inner conflicts, she is as against Valentine’s as Myra. Besides the Chinese New Years celebration of her childhood in New York are some of her best memories. Olivia calls a family friend who helped with orchestrating the fireworks during the celebration in New York. As soon as they begin planning things begin to go wrong as if someone is sabotaging their efforts.

The second novella in the series is Walk Like A Llama. The main character is Aimee, a pet shop owner, and co-head person for Love Your Pet celebration. While Amiee knows her friend’s intent is to have these celebrations to remove the focus off Valentine’s and love, Amiee has every intention of using the holiday to try to get closer to the new county vet, Matthew. Olivia and Aven are going to host a pet tea party and Myra is baking special pet treats. So Amiee goes out to Matthew’s animal hospital to invite him to be a part of the celebration and to bed. While she is out there, he receives a call that Jennifer, the owner of an animal sanctuary for animals that were once exotic pets, had a heart attack.

Once out at the sanctuary, a February snow storms traps them. Aimee sees this as an opportunity to seduce Matthew - until she has to help feed the animals. Between the tiger hugs, the monkeys flinging poop, and the llama spitting on her, she’s ready to call it a night. No man is worth getting poop thrown at you.

The third novella is Blood in the Cupcakes – Is focused Myra and the Brazilian Carnival holiday that takes place at the end of February.  Myra is excited to host the Carnival celebration. Her family originally came to the United States from Brazil and much like Olivia, she has fond memories of the Carnival. Her excitement quickly evaporates when she learns her aunt Gabriella is coming up for the celebration. She warns her friends to beware of Gabriella’s eye. If Aunt Gabriella gives them the eye they will have a baby within a year. She explains that her cousins pooled their money to send Gabriella up so they could stop having children.

Myra receives a box and opens it excited to see the decorations her cousins sent her. Instead she finds a man’s head. Myra has her hands full, trying to organize the Carnival, avoid Aunt Gabriella’s eye, figure out who the head belongs to, and not fall in love with the sexy new sheriff.

 What are some of your favorite non-valentine things to do in February?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A funny thing happened on the way to publication…

A funny thing happened on the way to publication. That’s this month’s writing prompt. Well…for the life of me, I can’t think of a single “funny” thing that happened. Perturbing, frustrating, heart-breaking, humiliating, wonderful, unbelievable, holy-cow-I’m-gonna-explode-I’m-so-happy—now those words come to mind when I look over my writing journey.

For me, the main message that emerges when I think back is that if you want to be a writer, you better be resilient, cautious, adventurous, selectively inquisitive, and patient. And perhaps, most important of all, don’t expect your writing experience to be like anyone else’s.

Before my first book was published, I tried for years (seemed like eons) to find an agent. I got enough “I just don’t feel a connection to your story” letters to wallpaper my entire house—twice. But then, I finally received a rejection where the agent told me, “You don’t need an agent for this story. Submit to some of the small presses and go ebook with it.” Bless her generous advice-giving heart! I submitted the book to The Wild Rose Press and after a bazillion revisions under the tutelage of a wonderfully talented and patient editor, they published it! Beyond a Highland Whisper was born.

Then I won RT Book Review’s Writing with the Stars contest and published Eternity’s Mark with Kensington. That process was a rollercoaster ride of gut-wrenching highs and lows. But I learned a lot.

Then I heard about Loveswept, a digital only imprint for Penguin Random House. I’m an Outlander fanatic aka time travel back to the Highlands addict and I had an idea for this series…so I pitched it through Loveswept’s website and they loved it! That’s how my four book Highland Hearts series found a home.

So far, I’ve worked with three publishers: one small press, and two traditional houses. I still don’t have an agent. After being laid off from my day job of twenty-nine years, I’m toying with some other writerly options to pursue.

I guess what I’ve really discovered along this bumpy road is that everyone’s writing path is different and the only time that’s a bad thing is when you compare your path to someone else’s and get upset because your results aren’t the same. Stay focused on your path. It’ll keep the “nauseating crazies” away and let you write the stories that can only be written by you.

Maeve’s Bio:

No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them. That’s Maeve Greyson’s mantra. She and her hubby of nearly thirty-eight years were stationed all over while in the U.S. Air Force before returning to their five-acre wood in rural Kentucky where she writes about her beloved Highlanders and the sassy women who tame them.

Find out more about Maeve at these places on the web:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sweet Americana Sweethearts Presents: GRANDMA'S WEDDING QUILTS

What do you get when eleven authors band together to create a series based on one common character--and her gift of heirloom quilts to her 11 grandchildren, upon the occasion of their weddings?

The obvious answer: A multi-author series.

Another obvious answer: A dozen sweet romances.

Sweet Romances = no sexual content, no offensive language, and no gratuitous violence.

Less-obvious answers:

  1. 12 different quilts to entwine in stories, in keeping with The Prequel (contemporary setting)
  2. 12 different (but similar) approaches to Grandma Mary
  3.  Two sisters, both with an urgency to leave home...
  4.   ...and one who's desperate to return
  5.  Cousin rivalry and sweetheart kisses
  6.  Talented young ladies straining society's limits (Kizzie, Gloria, Monica, Josie, and Pleasance)
  7.   A mystery or two...or three
  8.  Music and song
  9.  Suspense
  10.  Ladies in big trouble, and ladies who are trouble
  11.  Men with hearts as big as the western territories (Tad, Jesse, Zebulon, Leander, Luke, William, Gabriel, Jacob, Morgan, Callum, Chase, and Colin.)
  12.  Mail-order brides from England, New York, Colorado (via Paris, France), and Iowa
  13.  Second chances here, and second chances there (don't you enjoy reading another chance at love?)
  14.   A doctor, and onewho doesn't want to be...
  15.  Love in the least likely places
  16.  Quilts celebrating love of family, the ties connecting generations, and marriages in simpler times and places
  17.  A new book club!

  1. Grandma's Wedding QuiltSeries, THE PREQUEL, by KateCambridge, January 1
  2. Kizzie'sKisses by Zina Abbott, January 9
  3. Jesse'sBargain by KayP. Dawson, January 10
  4. Meredith'sMistake by AmeliaC. Adams, January 11
  5. Monica'sMystery by KateCambridge, January 12
  6. Pleasance's First Love by Kristin Holt, January 13
  7. Zebulon's Bride by PatriciaPacJac Carroll, January 14
  8. Ione'sDilemma by Linda Carroll-Brad, January 16
  9. Josie'sDream by AngelaRaines, January 17
  10. Chase'sStory by P.A.Estelle, January 18
  11. Gloria'sSong by KathrynAlbright, January 19
  12. Tad'sTreasure by Shanna Hatfield, January 20

So, what's where's "the funny thing that happened on the way..."?

I'll leave the discovery of the 11 brands of humor--some subtle, some abundant--in each of these twelve stories. That, perhaps, is the best part of a multi-author series. Different flavors, styles, and focus. Some authors' writing will make you laugh, others will make you smile. We hope all the stories in this series are "keepers" to those who prefer a sweeter read.

Hi! I'm Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author.
I write frequent articles (or view recent posts easily on my Home Page, scroll down) about the nineteenth century American West–every subject of possible interest to readers, amateur historians, authors…as all of these tidbits surfaced while researching for my books. I also blog monthly at Sweet Romance Reads, Sweet Americana Sweethearts, and Romancing the Genres.

I love to hear from readers! Please drop me a note. Or find me on Facebook.

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