Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cupid's Conquests News!

After several months of debating how to bring more Cupid's Conquests stories to the world, I spoke to the owner of Evernight Publishing, and the decision was made to open the series up for submissions!

This is a multi-author/shared-world series, but we're doing things a little different. Because it's more than just "here's this set-up, run with it", there are steps prospective authors need to go through. There's this general information about the series on the Evernight site.

Cupid's Conquest is a new multi-author, shared world series unique to Evernight Publishing.
For more information on requirements and how to submit, please contact: Seleste deLaney at selestedelaney@gmail.com and include "Cupid's Conquests" in the subject line.
The series focuses on contemporary romance between unlikely pairings or those kept apart by forces internal or external who are brought together by the magic of Cupid's arrows. We're looking heroes and heroines readers will want to see overcome the odds against them. 
Cupid's been a bad boy...
After years of letting love languish on Earth, Cupid has been banished to the surface until he teaches humanity to love again. One couple--or more--at a time.
15,000-35,000 words.Evernight Heat Level 2 or higher (erotic romance, not erotica)M/F, F/F, & M/M Combinations of above considered.
HEA required. 

That's right, I'm the contact person! Woot! If you're interested (based on the above) to write for the series, you get in touch with me and we'll talk a bit about what the shared world entails and if your story will be a good fit. Then we're off to the races. 

People have already shown an interest and I'm super excited that more Cupid's Conquests stories should be in our future really soon. And by all means, if you're interested in writing for the series, please contact me! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Nice Neat Orderly Desk

(Images removed for legal reasons)
Over the weekend, I was poking around Facebook and came across a link from Heroes & Heartbreakers that led me to Jennifer Cruise's blog in which she laments the perfection of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's office. Go ahead and look--it's a very pretty office.

But, I have to admit, I thought the post itself was funny. Cruise talks about how everything is put away and Phillips will never find random stuff because it's so neat and tidy.

I swear I had a picture of my desk. In the picture it looks all nice and organized and pretty too. You know why? Because I took the picture before I ever used the desk. When I clean it, it looks almost that good again (sadly, I cannot find said picture--boo--so we'll use the one to the right instead since it looks a lot like my old desk...when we first set it up.). The reason I'm not just going to grab a snapshot of my desk now is I would never ever post a picture of what it looks like on a normal day.

You see, for me, an author's desk is a little like an author's mind. Somedays it's all nice and neat and orderly, kind of like our books are when they're released. The books have been through a thorough cleaning and all the extra junk (empty pop bottles, scrap papers, random bits of what-the-hell-it-this) removed or at least made shiny (you know, if the random bits of what-the-hell-is-this are actually important.
The rest of the time an author's desk is in creation-mode. It's ideas spread everywhere fueled by the power of the imagination and the gods of caffeine. It's indecipherable book notes and papers from the kids' school, and a half-eaten lunch because in the middle of chewing the author had an epiphany about how to fix a plot issue. In short, it's nothing a normal person would recognize as order. It's not pretty, but it's real.

If the time comes that I'm ever interviewed for some big magazine, I will clean the hell out of my office (and probably move the exercise equipment out so it doesn't look so crowded in here) because no one wants to see what it looks like normally. And they certainly don't want to read an interview where I let my brain go into creation-mode. (If you ever want to see a group of authors in that state, you should check out my tweets about our virtual write-ins at the Rebel Outpost. The conversations we have in there are a perfect scrapbook about why so many authors are not normally suitable for public consumption--and I totally include myself in that.)

So yes, if you ever see my office in photographs, it's going to look all neat and tidy and pretty. That's even the picture I'd send my author friends. In the case of the public perception, it's so people don't think things along the lines of "Oh my God! How can she live like that? Someone call the health department and make sure their aren't dead bodies under the desk!" For my author friends it would just be to prove that I can pretend at falling in line and being normal--I just don't like to stay there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Woot and Woohoo! And Why It Matters

A lot of an author's job is done in relative solitude. We write alone, we edit under direction but essentially alone, we pimp and we promo while sitting at home at our desks/kitchen tables/sofas... alone. Our human interaction is generally of the digital sort. That's the sort of connection we have to others in the business when we start freaking out that our work sucks. And I don't know an author who doesn't go through the "my book sucks ass" phase at some point. So we run to the other people who have been there.

But in the back of our minds, there is always this little voice that reminds us how easy it is to lie on the internet. That doesn't even touch on the fact that authors are career liars.

So, while the conversations have the climb down off the ledge effect, we still make a mental note of exactly where that ledge is because we know we'll be back. Then the book comes out and reviews start coming in (possibly before release even). This stage of the game is like peri-menopause on crack. They loved it! They totally got what I was going for turns into Oh my God! They hated my main character and said she was too stupid to live with the next review. And it's up and down like that at every turn. This one swooned over my hero!!! ...Oh no, this one said the romance was completely unbelievable. 

And I say all that while loving reviewers for giving my books their time anyway. (We will not get into the reviews are not for authors thing here. I know it, you should know it, and I don't even rant in private about reviews. I just panic a little.)

But even if the vast majority of reviews are of the "liked/loved it" variety, authors know that the point has come when stuff is completely outside their control. I can't make anyone buy my book anymore than I can make a reviewer like it. I want you to buy, sure, but I can't make you. So, we stand there (virtually) with a tray of goodies, waiting to see if anyone wants them. We don't shake, we don't stutter. At least that we let anyone see. Inside, we're a quivering mass of nerves.

That's how the publishing game goes. You have to be a little bit of a masochist to love that feeling.

But every once in a while something happens that stops your heart for a second and makes you jump up and down screaming "They like me! They really like me!"

While I was in Disney, I found out I was up for Book of the Year at The TBR Pile. The first round of voting was reader-driven. My readers had to go there and vote to get me in the finals. I told people about it, but it was... nerve-wracking. There were some great books in that group, and I didn't know if I could squeeze into one of those top three slots. My fans came through though, and I was a finalist! Woot!

Honestly, I thought it was over then. The finals were judged at The TBR Pile and based on some formula that I don't know the ins and outs of that dealt with the initial review, sales numbers and I have no clue what else. So, I wrote off the competition then, and thanked everyone for their support.

Now I have to switch over to a different part of the story (which I was told I could share). While the person in charge of notifying the winner was waiting for the results, she decided to clean her house (I so know that excited cleaning thing). In the midst of cleaning, she ran across a DVD of an old Sandra Bullock movie. The name of the movie? Gun Shy. She got the results right after that and contacted me to not only tell me my own GunShy had WON Book of the Year but to share the story too.

Yep, you read that right. Cupid's Conquests #1 won Book of the Year. (It even says so right over there in the sidebar.) This award means the world to me as I've been struggling with some decisions regarding my writing career, and it helped remind me that I might not know all the people who love my books, but that's kind of the point. If reading my words touches one stranger, brightens their day for even a little while, that is why I'm in publishing and not just writing for my close friends.

Thank you, TBR Pile, for the honor and for the reminder. :)  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year, New Goals

Happy 2012! Sorry I didn't post last week. We were at Disney World and I wasn't around to talk to anyone, so I figured it was kind of silly to post.

Anyway... I'm back!

2011 was a big year for me. My first Carina Press release plus (counting YA-me) five others. This year is starting off a little slower, only in that I have no announcements right now. I will have some soon though! To add to that, my little girl started first grade, so I've been adapting to the home-alone thing all day. It's been... interesting.

But it's a new year and I'm freshly back from a vacation where I got to meet one of my tattoos in person and flirted with my favorite alien. All in all, I'm feeling good with the start of 2012. It's already shaping up to be a lot of work, but I'm okay with work. I just need to set goals for myself.

You see, I don't really believe in resolutions. Resolutions are things people say they're going to do and most fail within the first month. So my only resolution is eternally something along the lines of "be the best me I can be in the new year." I can't fail at that.

But for more tangible things, I have goals. I'd like to sign with an agent (either as this me or YA-me, preferably both), but I'm picky. I don't want an agent just to have one, so this might not happen this year and I'm okay with it. Plus, I don't have total control over that process. Sort of like I don't have total control over "I want at least five releases again this year." But those are more dreams and wishes than goals--powered by faith, trust and pixie dust. Goals are powered by hard work and dedication.

So my goals revolve around how much I write since I can control that. As of this moment, I have a full-length contemporary to revise, along with *gulp* two YAs and the second Badlands book. Then I want to write another Cupid's Conquest story. But the big projects are what are taking up the most space in my brain. I have two adult and two YA novels I want to write this year. Figuring them at an average of 80,000 words, that's 240k. Totally doable since I wrote around 350k in 2011. But I need to make sure I have a plan and stick to it. That all means I need to get more stringent about what I'm doing when I'm on my computer (especially since I want to get back to more consistent workouts again too). I'm excited and terrified by the prospect, but I hope all of you will help keep me honest.

Here's to 2012, may it be epic in it's apocalyptic goodness.