Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Making Writing Time

I'm just about ready to lift THE LOVING SEASON up to Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. This cover is about done, or I may wiggle it a little.

In formatting it for epublishing, I was struck by Mac's sensitivity and fear of falling in love again--with a woman on her own journey. Without giving too much of the story away, I found that it was true--what an editor had said of some of my work--that my characters redeem each other.

So Redemption may fit into the title of an upcoming release. :)

Then, about the time that it takes to redo one of these early books (still love them, love the stories), and this may be for the writers out there:


TIME. There's just not enough of it for a producing writer.

But this morning, I received an e-mail that pinpoints what some writers think about others. The phrase ran something like this and is certain to set any producing writer's hair on end:

"I just don't have the time you do."

Hmm.

Double Hmm. Okay, I've written through a schedule of a day job, a single mother with 3 daughters, and 2 publishers. I've painted the whole house twice--on the outside, and now on the inside. I run a house and a yard, and I'm still a mother and now a grandmother, very active in all things. I keep up active networking with writers, in some cases mentoring.

Yet. I have always been regimented about writing time, even prior to publishing.

Networking and promotion suck up a tremendous about of professional time, say maybe 50-60% or more. Bookkeeping, technical stuff, machine maintenance, software, all that backside stuff of just putting your fingers on a keyboard, take time.

And energy. I find that my "Smartest Time" is in the early a.m., before the dawn and through the morning. After that, it's pretty well editing, networking, whatever.

So there just isn't TIME.

I think that we envision other's lives as if they are outside our own little boxes. That outside our lives, THEIR lives are different.

And they are, but not when it comes to writing. You have to Make Time and keep at it.

So we're all alike in how much Time WE DO NOT HAVE. But we're writers and generally, we make it work. Like every other writer, I keep it moving, with a full locker of story ideas and proposals, and now one completed book, all set to market.

I'm putting pressure on my reverted books now, something I've wanted to do for years. So we shift priorities around, but we're always making time and writing. Any writer usually has a fertile mind, stories brewing constantly, so some are stashed, and waiting. Others are developed for submission.

One writer said he writes around the corners of his life. I think most of us do, but then we slice a big chunk of regular time (like my early a.m.s) for stepping into our stories.

Uh-huh. It all takes time.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Win a Kindle!

A Lady's Choice

I'm one of 22 authors participating in Access Romance's Holiday Track-Down. You'll have to get the specs at Access Romance.

Not only is a Kindle offered, but several Prize Packs!

I'll give you a really strong hint: Check out my new web page for my backlist books. These are my early books, brought back to life in epublishing. This is quite the task and the list is growing. I'm doing and redoing the covers as I discover more about this format. Most are available on Kindle, Nookbooks, Smashwords, and A Writers Work. The links are on my new page.

I'm in full holiday mode now and enjoying the return to these early stories. I have quite a list, so watch for more.

And sign up for my email newsletter? I'm also on Twitter and Facebook.




Here's a Holiday Anthology, done with other authors. It started out as a collection of holiday mysteries and ended up as romance :)



This is a 3-in-1 and the cover was absolutely gorgeous.




I hope you're all relaxing a bit this holiday season. We're having a low-key season and I'm alternately writing and baking. Gingerbread men coming up!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reminder From a Friend

This a.m. a friend reminded me that I'm not posting links on this blog. Well, I need to....

So to catch up, because I should have a new e-bk on Kindle soon, here are the links to my early books, rebooted in Kindle and other places, i.e. A Writers Work and Smashwords. Keep in mind that my publishers also have placed an amount of my e-books everywhere:


You'll note that the first four are category books and the last a historical. Please read my previous posts concerning them.

I'm also placing a nice backstory in each of these books. How I got the idea, traveling to research, how one story folds into another. I really am enjoying revisiting these early books, and I've loved all my stories. To a writer, their like children, from conception, to birth, to growth and enjoyment.

More later....

1. Lady's Choice:



2. Gambler's Lady



3. Rugged Glory:



4. Lady's Desire:



5. Delilah and the Mountie:







Thursday, September 09, 2010

Westerns Ride Again

Now that summer is over and I'm back at my keyboard, I'll try to do better at keeping up my blogs--which I love btw. I've had some great writerly experiences this summer, but now it's time to settle down to business :)

First up: Published by Berkly-Jove in 1995, DELILAH, renamed DELILAH and The Mountie in 2010 is getting ready for lift-off into epublishing.... With a different cover. I'm working on that now.

As Cait London, a pseudonym, I have quite a few books in my front and back lists. I'm bringing my early books into epublishing, but it is a slow, slow process. You can find them at Amazon and just about anywhere else.

Revisits allow minor changes, such as changing my then-pseudonym, Cait Logan, for current Cait London. But hey, guys, same writer whether contemporary or historical. You'll find a different style that goes with each time period.

I loved writing my Northwest historicals, riding the trails, researching everything--no hardship at all. DELILAH's U.S./Canadian Okanagon and Cariboo trail to Barkerville, B.C. was fabulous. So I've actually been in my story locations, even if fictionalizing the names.


I'm working on a new cover for DELILAH and Her Mountie now, but this one is gorgeous, especially its stepback by the artist Pelligrino. Back in the day, there were more artist renditions/paintings than the graphic works now, which can be just as attractive. As a painter myself, I lean toward that.

So here's the introduction I'm using for DELILAH and The Mountie:


DELILAH
“Cait Logan beautifully blends the heartwarming atmosphere of an American Western with a humorous yet poignant love story.” Romantic Times

TAME THE FURY
“The fire and spark between the protagonists is really exceptional, generating and maintaining the best sensual and romantic tension seen in a long time. Definitely a book for readers who adore sizzling verbal sparring and a relationship between hot-tempered lovers!” Romantic Times

WILD DAWN
“An exciting, stunning, and intense book that will touch readers’ hearts and souls.” Romantic Times

NIGHT FIRE
“A marvelous, not-to-be missed read.” Romantic Times

***
PUBLISHED BY READER REQUEST
Dear Reader:
Welcome to DELILAH, previously published by Berkley-Jove Books as Cait Logan and now reissued under Cait London, another pseudonym.

I’ve added “and the Mountie”, because in Simon Oakes is definitely worth mentioning. I’m certain you’ll fall in love with him, too. In revisiting DELILAH, I fell deeply in love with her story again. The research for DELILAH was fascinating, and my daughter and I actually traveled the trail from Okanogan/Omak Washington state, up to British Columbia, Canada, then to the Cariboo Trail to Barkerville. I grew up near the Columbia River, not far from our origin point, Okanogan/Omak Washington state. (By the way, the Okanogan Indians are part of the Confederated Colville tribes, pronounced Call-ville.)

While a hefty portion of my fellow writers leaned toward Southwest stories, I researched and rode the Northwest Indian and mining trails. I grew up in rural inland Washington state, and its history is fascinating. (Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce is buried there.)

I have been to the locations of all of my books and the experience is unforgettable, definitely one of the benefits of my vocation. I cannot say enough about the beauty of this trail, from the lush fruit line valleys, to the exciting mountains and wild, untamed Frazer River, churning below. Amid tons of photographs somewhere, we documented this trip, and sat one night, viewing the Northern Lights in a field near Barkerville.

Barkerville, B.C.: Among all the restorations of forts and encampments I’ve visited, Barkerville stands out the most, as the best. A mining town, started by a strike, it is fabulously presented now. You can walk down the board lined streets, visit the wooden shops, the church, the courthouse, and see the giant waterwheels churn nearby. I loved this town and commend the Canadian government for its restoration.

We also visited the Mountie museum, and mention of the Whoop-Up Trail (whiskey traders) there, led to another book, set in Fort Benton, Montana just below the border. (I’ve written several books, historical and contemporary, set in Montana.)

Note two different spellings, U.S. and Canadian, caribou for the animal, and Cariboo for the Canadian spelling. Also, in the U.S. Okanogan and in Canada Okanagan. The Cariboo Trail and all the stops are not to be missed. Loved the journey and I hope you will love Delilah and her Mountie as much as I do.

As I prepare DELILAH and Her Mountie for epublishing, I am struck by how deeply I feel about my stories, every one, either contemporary or historical. I’m so glad that this new format allows new readers to enjoy her story, too.

Please visit my blog for more information about DELILAH and HER MOUNTIE, and my other early books, as well as new ones. I’d love to hear from you. Just e-mail.

And if you ever get the chance to travel these historical trails, take it. Barkerville, B.C. is fabulous for its history and more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why Do Writers Write?

I sit here, picking away gobs of spray insulation foam on my arm (my first attempt), and seriously contemplating my writer's day.

Who knew this stuff would come back at you, scrolling in puffy strings everywhere?

Okay, I digress. What can I say? I'm a virgin-insulation sprayer. That was yesterday. Messy, but finished. Yesterday, I also edited gobs. So yesterday was Gobs Day.

Today, I'm preparing for the first of September, ready to launch my babies out into the world. These last two weeks before September and/or to Labor Day are busy for everyone. Students are back to school, homeowners are planning fall fix-up, and writers are really working hard.

With Missouri's extreme heat this summer, I've hit the keyboard during the afternoon, modifying my usual early a.m.s to the heat.

Summer is really busy as you can see on my blog My Jam Jar. But with a pretty busy family, there's always lots to do. I've dropped off from the track a little as writers do when they're intensely into projects. But I'm creeping back into gear, now that my rough draft is finished.

In touching base with other authors, the discussion came up about Writing For $ vs. The Love of Writing. Everyone has different takes, and I've get read an article on Guide to Literary Agents blog (really good blog) BTW, about writers income, and living off it.

I've been doing that for a number of years, after leaving a day job, but also writing for 2 publishers. Writing is my only income, and according to this article, the percentage of those writers may be as low as 1%. I'd heard 2% earlier.

I've seen Writing listed in the Hobby Sections of online communities. Really? Say it isn't so.

Most writers usually have some other source of income, either through spouse, retirement, investments, day-jobs, etc. I have a big problem with that label as we work darn hard out here. In fact, most writers I know are working at multiple tasks, day-jobs, various writing projects, and their own specialties.

Tip: Writing for sucess has specific personality elements. One is regimentation and ability to prioritize. The multiple-taskers above do know how to handle a calendar with life and writing deadlines, and they know how to prioritize. One writer, a teacher, spoke of writing around the corners of his life. I think that says it well for those with so-called day-jobs.

Prioritizing your writing projects isn't easy. Writers who complete their mss, edits, whatever, usually step back to catch up with life for a time. Then, they're back at the keyboard, brainstorming new proposals, working on platforms/PR, whatever. Because? It's necessary to be brewing new stories all the time, keeping the creative flow moving along. I keep a Toy Box of story ideas, when one drops in on me and just dipping into that plasters me with ideas. I think most writers have more stories in them, then they can actually write in their lifetimes.

Sometimes that's a sluggish situation, such as one writer I recently spoke with, has different family situations that are absorbing her physical and mental energy. Don't we all? There are just times when the Big Bird of Paradise drops one on you and you have to mop up the best you can.

We are different, my writer-friend and I, because when I'm deeply troubled, I can take a mini-vacation by dropping into my stories--taking a little mental health break. She cannot, and there's nothing wrong with that. But it is important, if not dealing with a money/career-making deadline, that we are human, flesh and blood and we need what we need to survive. Every writer is different in that aspect.

Recently, I've just stepped off the writing Boardwalk (didn't meet Snooki, thank goodness) and worked on different projects. I needed to try new fields, and old. "Mining" we call it. I write because I need to, because it's a part of me, my daily routine, my feel-good time. I miss it, when life (and home fix-up) pops in, eating up my creative time.

But then, I'm a scheduled writer, with regular hours. Make the coffee, check the e-mail and settle in with my characters. (Incidentally, they only come to my PC and don't like travel.) Another writer may write in bursts, when "they feel the muse", but that's not for me. I'm behind on updating my blogs now, and my website. But I'll get there, because I'm really into my stories now and don't want to leave my mental creative nest.

But as I've said, all writers are different in their goals, needs and financial situation. My first goal was just to get my name on one book. That was almost 70 books ago and a really gratifying career that I'm still enjoying.

So, if you are a writer, ask yourself, why you write and how dedicated you are, and what you are willing to sacrifice. I need to do this on a poll, I guess, but I'd rather get back to my stories.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Outlaw Love in Kindle

Outlaw Love - Brenda Joyce Anthology
Lady Desperado is my story in Outlaw Love. Monday is a business day for me, so I can devote the rest of the week to writing.

I was going through contracts and struggling to make a so-called "paperless office" by scanning legal stuff, i.e. contracts, etc. when I hit material about this anthology. Naturally, I wanted to check it out and found that it's still going strong.

I need to reread my Lady Desperado and post a back story for it. If you're following the new epublishing of my early books, you'll see that I enclose a back story to each one. Love those.

I was thrilled to be invited for this western historical anthology by Dell Books. In the lead was Brenda Joyce, Connie Brockway (isn't she super?), Cait Logan (moi), and Stephanie Mittman, new back then.

Thrilled. Short stories, and I think this was 30k maybe, are extremely difficult for me to write. I tend to think in layers. Lady Desperado was one of the most difficult work I've done, though all of it is pretty intense. Very intense.

A 1997 release, it is now in Kindle form with my other books. It continues to sell but now in a new form.

So if you like westerns, I wrote as Cait Logan and will soon be working on Delilah and her Mountie.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Writer's Choice

After just finishing Kindle's A LADY'S DESIRE, early category romance, I'm questioning which project to start next.

Let's see: 1. There's life stuff; 2. business (that ugly underbelly of the fun writing-part)which is scanning, filing, oh yeah--need to update my website really badly. I have new software, so it's not that easy a re-do; or 3. finish the 100 pages and edit my WIP that basically stopped while learning how to work with my reverted early books.

Any one of the 3 is major time consuming. So time vs. priorities is one of a writer's "real life" problems. I did a seminar on this for writers, complete with help from Julie Hood's and my own handouts, blocking time.

DELILAH'S Stepback.

Mm. Then there's Delilah, my "Mountie" western historical. It's all scanned and waiting.

This book is special to me, as they ALL are, because I've invested so much of myself and love into the story. For Delilah and Simon, her Mountie, I drove the entire route from basically Okanogan, WA up the Cariboo Trail (that's Canadian spelling is correct) to Barkerville, B.C., a perfectly restored historical mining town, complete with Chinese waterwheels.

I took pictures of this great car trip, so if I can just dig them out, they'd be great to work into Delilah's cover.

I always research heavily, more than what shows, and this trip, complete with Northern lights, Fraizer River, mountains, Barkerville was supreme. My westerns and some contemporaries are set in the Northwest, the westerns following the Indian, trapper, gold miner, etc. trails. The Oregon Trail was unbelievable, even car-driving, because you actually see how much the pioneers suffered in crossing.

And the interviews! Loved interviewing local history buffs and gathering regional materials.

So right now, it looks like DELILAH is in the lead for priority.

But then, I'm really really wanting to finish my women's fiction, the first of a series, I hope.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Site to Behold!

I've just launched Gambler's Lady and A Lady's Choice epub at A Writers Work.

This new and ever-changing website features early books of select authors, basically their backlist translated into electronic form. (I've included back stories in my books, which some readers find really interesting. Writers have tons of back stories.)

The site is up, but learning what the involved authors prefer and working as a community family, they are developing the website.

So far, this list of traditionally published and experienced authors includes: Fran Baker,Becky Barker, Nicole Byrd, Phoebe Conn, Ginger Chambers, Jasmine Cresswell, Kathy Lynn Emerson, Barbara Freethy (who just had a new book lauch in her great series) Lori Handeland, Holly Jacobs, Elizabeth Kary, Patricia McLinn, Patricia Rice (She's got a brand new Signet coming out in July with tons of books in her front and backlist), Patricia McLinn, Leigh Riker, Karen van der Zee and others coming soon.

This community/family of long-time authors and friends is somewhat similar to Book View Cafe.



With all the new readers out there, there is lots of excitement about bringing favorite books to life again in electronic form. Most of the authors have been on the NYTs and/or USA Today and other bestselling lists. A polished bunch with loads of experience are working hard on A Writers Work launch site.

These hard-working career writers, like myself, also work on new projects, have websites and are on Twitter and Facebook, etc. A Writers Work is on FB and growing fast.

A special thanks for Patricia McLinn (rhymes with Suzanne McMinn, one of my favorite bloggers at my own "mommy-homey" blog, My Jam Jar. BTW, drop over to My Jam Jar and see my family's new pasta recipe, rich with cream cheese. Kids love the bow-tie pasta.)

A Writers Work is Patricia McLinn's brain child, gathering up traditionally published authors with backlists.

So you're invited to take a look and post a comment, plus join the newsletter of this expanding and every changing site at AWritersWork.com.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Writer's Day

  I'm busy with early books right now, formatting, cleaning, whatever, and hope to e-publish them. As another well-known writer said, they were good and they deserve it.

Now I'm just getting started on this, learning as I go, whatever. So yesterday, I was closing in on the final clean-up of A Lady's Choice, an early Berkley, Second Chance at Love. There are many character whatever errors when scanning from the actual book that have to be cleaned. So, working hard, closing in on misplaced periods, whatever. And I decide to stretch a bit after this intensity.

Well, the bees had arrived on one of my yard trees. See that story at The Second Cup, another blog.

Basically, my writing day was sucked up by the The Great Bee Adventure and I'm trying to get back into the mode right now.

I did finish the day with a conversation with the most interesting person/writer who knows-all, Kathy Carmichael. She is extremely in-the-know about writerly business and just about everything, and has helped me immensely on this rejuvenation project, my early books. If you ever meet her, you're in for a good experience.

With all the interruptions (those bees everywhere) yesterday, I could have used the Success Journal spiral bound book she and author Vicki Hinze created, which is pretty unique. Take a look. Basically, it is a work book for scheduling, listing, thoughts, affirmations, etc. 400 pgs. Pretty neat idea.

And apparently the bees are still here, the orphans, so my day today is likely to be interrupted. I have yet, after hours and hours to get one early book up, a new cover on it, etc. Sigh. I'd rather be finishing my WIP.

Looking back, A Lady's Choice, the book I was working on, deals with country where I grew up, Washington State orchard country. Bees are a necessity there, in the orchards, because of polination. What a coincidence!

It happens like that sometimes: You'll be working on a piece and suddenly something synchronistic pops up. Or you'll be working away on writing a fresh piece and suddenly, guess what? Some other writer has already written the basic theme.

In that case, don't worry. Because you will have your own ideas, characterization, plot twists, style that will totally make this theme--and there are generic ones--different and your own work.

There are books called "cookie cutters", styled after major players, etc. Most real writers will put so much of themselves into a common theme, that the book will seem all fresh.

It's pretty amazing how you can be writing and suddenly this synchronistic thing pops up that totally changes your story, like someone you've just met, a news tidbit, whatever.

So life definitely has its twists.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spotlight: The Catalyst


Tribute

While on a long driving trip, I really enjoyed Tribute by Nora Roberts. I also enjoyed her Circle of Seven Trilogy audiobooks. But while driving, and my writer's mind churning, I thought what an excellent example Tribute was of how a CATALYST ignites a story (more later).

Recently, I mentored a writing friend, not something I do much of as I think that there are enough workshops and material available for writers to learn--if dedicated to learning. Plus writerly income depends on how the person manages productive time.

However, writing is, to some degree a hand-me-down craft and in this case, I did for her, what my first editor did for me. That was to mark up her work, then to explain the Whys. We've spoken since, so we're still friends :)

The most useful tool any beginning writer can have is the edited manuscript of a pro. When my edited manuscripts are returned to me, and especially when I first began, I really tried to understand the whys.

I'm reformatting some early published books for e-pub, because as another writer said, they deserve another go 'round. But in my own early work, I found some of my friend's same problems. Hey. We learn as we go--or we should.

If you can get a pro to hand mark your work, then explain, as I did with my friend, the whys, I promise you'll get some learning tips yourself. They say I'm a teacher, but I have my doubts, but I feel really good about this time as she is off and running.

Her story was good, but the fine points, digging in on details are going to be better, she says, applying it to her other work. I so hope this helps her become published.

Basically, her story was good, and that's important.

Her heroine is a catalyst. CATALYSTS rate high in creating stories. Tribute makes a wonderful CATALYST study. Basically, a woman comes back to where she grew up, to reclaim her grandmother's house--and uncover hidden secrets. (That's the name of one of my titles, Hidden Secrets :), so you know I love them. And I love the small towns, the web of characters that can evolve around a main character.

A CATALYST sets the ball rolling, stirs up the heat.

In this case, the Catalyst is a woman, a homecoming. HOMECOMINGS or events are also catalysts. A dog can be a catalyst, a wildfire, etc.

But most interesting in this case, as framed so well by Nora's Tribute, is the character who returns home to untangle old secrets and stir up hatreds, which she did not create, but could none the less.





In each of these Roberts Circle of Seven stories, someone is a catalyst. Someone comes into town to contribute to the story arc. In one instance, a character returns to town.

To begin, an earth-shaking event launches the trilogy, and Nora brings it to a brilliant conclusion.

Each of the characters brings something to the table, and that's important in anything, what is brought to the table.

Writers bring themselves and their unique (or should be) voice. That voice is developed by the editing, the fine-tuning of a story. Action/Reaction, keeping background characters in their place, highlighting the emotions, working them are all elements, but how the writer handles them, contributes to individual voice.

Now, the important concept about a human catalyst, say a h/h, is that they also evolve, changed by the situation they have ignited. So it is flip and flip back. The catalyst is affected by the events they set in movement.

I felt really good about mentoring my friend and that reason is because she's really working now on pushing her on work. So I know it was time well spent.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reading Tastes Change

The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel
I'm looking forward to reading Sarah Allen Addison's new one, The Girl Who Followed the Moon. I fell in love with her writing at first bite, Garden Spells, and I also loved The Sugar Queen.

Hardbacks are something I rarely buy now, preferring trade or paper, but I just couldn't wait for Addison's next one and blew my hardback money for the last copy in town.

Her style contains a truth, relationships, depth and whimsy, not an easy combination for a writer to handle well, and "well" she does.
Garden Spells (Bantam Discovery) Enchantment lingers in all of us, that special charm, a residue of childhood times when we believed. When we believed. Addison brings that back to the adult female, a time of fairies and enchantment, all rolled around sometimes harsh truths.

My reading tastes have changed and I'm enjoying a whole new realm of writers and topics, included Melissa Senate's work. I loved her The Secret of Joy and look forward to her next one; I like her journeys, and those realities.


Jackie at Farm Lane Books blog undertakes explaining this with reader age compared to reading material. She even has an equation, if you want to check that out.

I'm busy at work with my own stories, but enjoying this whole new realm of reading material in Women's Fiction.

Age does have something to do with what we read, but I wonder if now with some darker times upon us, if we don't look for lighter material.

Smart writers do not write to trends however. They write what they love and what they know.

I am just hoping for more of Addison's brand of reading on my bedstand.

Friday, March 12, 2010

E-Books Now and Soon

While one new writing project is on hold, I'm editing earlier books for new life.

I've fallen in love with the stories all over again. Though years have passed, Rugged Glory is still good old basic school marm meets cowboy. He's got a problem teenage boy and she's adopted her two little nieces to protect them. They both have a lot to learn in a make-do situation, or as romance writers like to call it, "propinquity".

I'm digging up the reviews on these and will post them, but the sales were good, Waldens bestsellers.

As Cait London, my contemporaries are everywhere, and many are available on Kindle, Sony, Mobi, etc. as these will be. But these early CAIT LOGAN books still hold a part of my heart. It's quite something to look back at early work and say, "Hey, I still like the story." As a reader, I'm enjoying them that way, too. Readers liked Rugged Glory enough for Berkley to republish it.

A little tweaking to update from early on, and they'll be ready to lift up online in different formats. The most work is in removing the publisher's formatting, and these books all rated high with reviews and bestselling lists, so I feel they are worth the eye-straining effort.

Little periods like to dance in places they shouldn't be. Lots of that stuff, separated words that need re-joining, 1's for I's, stuff like that.

But the stories hold true. Or I think so.


I'm looking at cover ideas now and after two categories completed, I'm looking at a western historical, my first, but not my last. See Tame the Fury earlier, with its gorgeous cover.

This is quite the adventure, a review of books so well loved by readers. And to see them revived in different formats.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

First Big Book Backstory


Tame the Fury, my very first western romance and quite the challenge. I'm reviewing it now, preparing for re-publishing and remembering how scared I was, leaping into this new writing adventure.

As a writer, I really welcomed new opportunities, but did weigh each carefully. Tame the Fury proved to be a good opportunity.

Let's get that title out of the way first: Not to my liking, thought it sounded like S&M, but ohmigosh what a cover. Loved that cover, which cannot be reused in newer publication.

The lead in the Berkley Diamond line and the first of several historicals, Tame the Fury was quite the little exercise. Here's some of the backstory:

1. I'd written a few SCALs, Berkley's Second Chance at Loves, they'd placed well on sales (see previous post) and my then-editor invited me into writing a western historical. The phrase "scared stiff" didn't quite frame my fear.

2. Not a clue as how to market it back then.

3. I wrote about current Washington state's 1890s-1900s historical town, using my growing-up area as a base--we have lots built into us, if we'll only use it.

4. Made it through one draft, which was okayed by the editor.

5. THEN THE CALL: Apparently the excellent author created a mistake so far as the heroine's hair color. Since I'd used blonde/golden as the wheat fields, etc. and the artist had portrayed Rebecca as raven/black-haired, all my similes were cold stone dead.

So I got this frantic call from my editor, rewrite and change the color. I was working a day-job then, with 3 teens, and under contract to another publisher, so writing time was scarce, let alone a RE-DO.

I balked a bit, and then my editor stated firmly, "Okay, then, I'll just stuck blonde in where you have raven and black."

Fear gripped me. All those lovely wheat fields and sunshine similies tossed out the window. I agreed to said VERY FIRM request and set to work. It was a last minute scramble, but came up with the idea of using a Scottish type poem to "drive the book". My Highland Rose was the result.

Take a Big Note: This stuff happens really frequently in publishing, not only with covers, but formatting, publishing dates changed after all ad work has gone out, just reasons for all, but I was really, really happy with the end result of this cover.

6. Everyone seemed satisfied with the result, which was actually probably better than the original.

You can see more of my western historicals at my website. I traveled to research each one, including driving the Oregon Trail, which was delicious to me, but not to the pioneers.

And so it began. I'm having quite a time revisiting these early books, remembering all the really enjoyable research and Travel. Loved the travel to research bit.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beginning a New Line

Some of my first books are getting set for reappearances as Cait Logan E-books. Or at least the elves are busy at work, making that happen--whenever. It takes a lot of technology to get good packaging and I'm hoping the new covers will do my new CL line justice. (I'm thinking about a logo, so if you have good ideas, please comment.)

The technology in getting these books up and running is taking some time, but as we were working on them, I once more fell in love with the stories.

RUGGED GLORY was first a Second Chance at Love story, Berkley Publishing. Then it did so well that it was reissued there in a Diamond line.

Here's the back blurb:
Ben Woden:To Sami, he's six feet plus of overpowering masculinity, a hard-brawling, blunt-talking Wyoming rancher who wants her to tutor his rebellious teenage son. Edgy as a grizzly, ornery as a polecat, he's all lean, tough, elemental male. Somebody's got to civilize him...maybe even love him. Might as well be her.

Sami Lassiter: To Ben, she's sixty inches of prim and proper schoolmarm, spunky independence, and explosive sensuality. Sweet but peppery. Winsome as a girl, but a whole lot of woman. His control has been shot to pieces; he wants her so badly. But no "Little Bit" like her is going to hog-tie and tame him!

NEXT....



GAMBLER'S LADY was also a reissue under the Diamond line for Berkley, but was first printed as a SCAL. Both covers are goregous and I remember my editor waving this book around at conferences, saying this was exactly what she wanted from writers.

RUGGED GLORY and GAMBLER'S LADY both placed well on the best seller's lists, as did my other category books. And both are worth another look to new readers.

With GAMBLER'S LADY too, I felt that the basic stories still held through time. Over all good solid reading. I don't know when all the reissuing will come about, but watch for more on it.

Here's GAMBLER'S LADY back blurb:

Nick Santos needs a wife...and Kim Reynolds is just what he's looking for, a class act who could discourage his ex-wife from trying to get custody of their four-year-old daughter. When he offers to gamble with Kim for high stakes--a temporary "hands-off" marriage against money for the physical fitness clug she wants--it's an offer she can't refuse.

Playing house with Nic would be playing with fire, so Kim's not taking wild chances--oker is a game she knows she can win. But Nick always gets what he wants, and when he claims his winnings and makes her his wife, he vows to turn their charade into reality...

These are just a couple to look for, and I was just too excited to wait to tell you about the news. With new covers, (and don't forget those logo ideas) thanks to new technology, I'm hoping new readers will enjoy this stories as well as readers who want to revisit.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dealing with Early Books

Writing isn't only writing. It's also business and product management, i.e. backlist management. Agents are well familiar with business modes, but now, with Internet many authors are stepping into modes never before available. So much material is available, open to anyone for the time and exploration, and authors are taking advantage of this.

With many calls for my backlist, I'm also considering options. Tips from other authors really help, and many authors have formed publishing companies that handle back and front lists.

Many of my early category books are ready for republishing somehow and that is a whole long road of discovery.

I'm also wondering about shifting to WordPress, and that would take some work for all 3 blogs. Then, there's website upkeep, and yes, I'm behind on that. I'm also writing.

But yesterday, I spent hours researching just how to get my backlist up and running in e-publishing. Reformatting takes hours as in the translation of the printed page--and yes, you'd better have those rights returned to you in writing.

Rights reversion is big now for every author with formerly only traditionally published work. E-rights are now a part of traditional publishers' contracts, in an advent of new clauses.

It's a new day in publishing of all sorts.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Amazing Book, Amazing Writer

The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate is my latest women's fiction read and I absolutely loved it on two levels:

1. As an engrossing, satisfying read with complex layers as the heroine sets off on her journey.
2. As a writer, purely enjoying this fresh, comprehensive style that weaves an intriguing braid of past and new along the linear story.

Rebecca Strand's story is pure book club fodder. The back of the book provides intriguing questions, but you'll have your own.

While I've only spotlighted one or two other writers on this blog, all about Me, Me, Me, I wanted to tell others how I felt as a reader and as a writer who has known Melissa for a number of years--in fact, she was my editor for 10 years. I appreciated her then, but in a fresh new way as a really good writer. She's written other books and has her second YA novel coming out in June 2010, plus another women's fiction, THE LOVE GODDESS'S COOKING SCHOOL in November. So, as a writer, she is no one-shot wonder, but grounded in a number of books you can easily find.

THE SECRET OF JOY was my first exposure to Senate's work, but not my last. I don't often let go of trade- book $, but the value was met in this story that asks:  What would you do if you discovered you had a half-sister you never knew existed?

Here's 28-year-old New Yorker Rebecca Strand's journey:

Her dying father confesses to an affair which produced a younger half-sister he has denied since the mother's disclosure. Engaged, employed, and deeply grieving, Rebecca is asked to deliver the letters he wrote to said denied half-sister, on every birthday. Stunned, Rebecca sets off after his death to comply.

Enter twist: Located in a fictional small coastal Maine town (where Senate lives by the way), said half-sister is  a separated mother, who conducts weekend singles tours out of her orange mini-bus AND she wants nothing to do with their father, half his sizeable fortune, or Rebecca. She's managed all these years quite nicely, thank you very much.

Determined and hungry for family, Rebecca stays to dig into the small town, schmooze with Joy's best clients--the Divorced Ladies Club of Wiscasset--and a very interesting hunky carpenter. Loved the sisterhood of these ladies and how Rebecca fits into them.

There's plenty of introspection as Rebecca makes her journey from not quite feeling in place (don't we all have that feeling at some time?), to making choices that fit. In writer-speak, if a character doesn't question themselves, their lives and change, they're not making a journey. But as "Becs" makes her journey, she also enriches lives with very deep comprehension. As I said, I loved the layers in this book.

This is a very rounded, satisfying read with plenty of small Maine-town coastal feel. Settings can also be characters as I mentioned in a previous post and Senate paints a gorgeous coastal picture.

At her blog, linked at Senate's website, you'll find General Quesions about The Secret of Joy, and I really, really suggest reading those, either in your reader's hat, or in your writer's.

If you're into YA, Senate's next is THE MOSTS, June 2010.

Where you can find more? Visit Melissa's website  or her blog for a delightful experience all the way around.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Kathy Carmichael's Second Hit

Diary of a Confessions Queen



I rarely step out to plug other's books, as this blog is all about me, me, me and writing tips, etc.

However, it's great to see a writer break, and this writer is special to me.  She's extremely friendly, supportive and a sharing personality, and out here in writer-land we need friends like her.

Kathy Carmichael's latest, Diary of a Confessions Queen is another Booklist hit. It's great to watch Kathy's career grow and she's off and running with this new starred review hit.

This is what Booklist has to say:
*/Booklist/** Starred Review*: "... Carmichael (/Hot Flash/, 2009) has created a 
thrilling whodunit in her trademark sassy, breezy style. Readers will enjoy her 
unique blend of humor and suspense."
*~ Shelley Mosley, */*Booklist*/
 
To listen to her skit about Diary of a Confessions Queen visit Blog Talk Radio. Really cute. 
 
Kathy is someone to watch and busy, busy, busy. She's very much involved in writing, the industry, and is a workshop leader. You can find more about her and her books at her website and blogs.
This is her second Booklist hit.
 
Hot Flash Carmichael's first for Medallion came in the top 10 in Booklist's 2009 picks.  
 
If you are a reader, check out these two unusual hits by an unusual personality plus. If you are a writer, check out Kathy's career and busy schedule for tips to help you.
 
Congratulations, Kathy.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Location, Location, Location

I'm starting a new proposal and sliding into the location of the stories. I have to be comfortable within the fictional location. Apparently, so do readers.

On this note, a reader has just written me that she likes my mountain stories.

I like them, too. I can fit myself into a mountain story or one by the ocean. I cannot easily fit myself into a large city, but prefer small towns and the secrets they hold.


Another writer and myself spoke about U.S. locations and the frequency of oceanside series. They do well, there is no mistaking that.

Yet another writer and several opinions are that writing a story set in the Midwest is a difficult sell. That would be Missouri or Arkansas.

Now moving southward, you're into New Orleans ambiance, or Texas.

But books set on oceansides seem to do well, absorbed more easily, or are the readers just more receptive to oceans? I wrote several stories set on Lake Michigan and loved my visit there, a hotel room overlooking a harbor. How great was that!

Deserts do not appeal to me. Mountains, large lakes, and oceans do. The question is why?








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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Shooting In One's Career Foot

  The road to publishing can be hazardous. Few well-published writers are truthful about their disappointments, and sugar-coat their experiences.

I've just read a great post, by one of the most talented writers, Jayne Ann Krentz. (I may have read everything she's ever written from her start in category and throughout.) In her blog post, Krentz deals with shooting herself in her career foot, professionally, and then keeping her core story. It's a wonderful piece by someone with tremendous experience and who has written under many pseudonyms. Please do read this very important and truthful piece.

As one with shooting in career-foot experience, I really identified with Krentz's article. Then, too, I also like romance, suspense, and psychic stuff as a writer and as a reader. I also like her humor, neatly tucked into the stories.

But for me, once after understanding how badly I've misstepped in what career path seemed logical at the time, the difficulty comes immediately after the discovery.

  Once hit with a trickle of fear that I had made the wrong move, which was not pinpointed alone on story-line, but on moves to publishers or agents or editors, panic set in. Clear thinking went out the window, and I went into shock-mode.

My first thought then, was how to recover, what to do, what to do for a next move. Then, at the point of no return, "What have I done?!"

I'm not alone. Most writers have this path, made career decisions they regretted and struggled to recover. Some don't. But Krentz has found her writer's core, the core that was always there in her stories, romance, suspense and psychic stuff. If we look clinically at our stories, maybe we'll find our core elements, too.

Sometimes a writer has to step outside Safety, and test new things, but generally, there is a certain focus on specific elements that does well for us.

But the important thing to remember is to hold your writer's core, either in Krentz's article which focuses on storyline, or in what you deeply believe is right for you.

Let's face it: Writer's creativity, forced into one mold and never expanding or testing the limits of individual talent, can lose that spark. So it's natural for writers to test limits and to write what excites them. Factor into this, realities: time, finances, family needs.

We learn from it all. Or we don't.

But the writer within us is going to struggle with the realities of business and with our needs to create what lives within us. Same Old, Same Old probably doesn't suit many writers for very long--their creative spirit nudges, wants that stretch.

I love all my stories. I really do. But one I regret years and years ago, because the editor took too much control of the direction of the story. It became her challenge to change it. I didn't go down easy. And I knew it wasn't right, but after we gnawed on the story-bone for awhile I thought well, maybe she's right. She wasn't and the story fell short of the feel I'd originally intended. It did well in the market, but it wasn't what I'd wanted for my child.

If you feel you need to write "ahead of the curve" as noted by Krentz, then that may be what you need to do creatively, regardless. However, be aware that the marketplace, agents/editors may not be ready.

In today's publishing drama, publishers are playing it very safe. But if the need rules, are you really going to resist the story living within you?