Archive for April, 2012

 I returned last night from the Chicago Spring Fling. Exhausted. This was my second writers’ conference and I had a blast. I met people I’d been on line with and people who knew people I’ve either met or am still on line with, agents and editors. There are classes on craft and the business of writing. The editor/agent panels are a wealth of information about the market and what they are looking for.

You get a chance to pitch your book to an agent, if you’re looking for one and/or an editor. Even some of the houses that don’t accept unagented authors will have editors at a conference. This can be very valuable when it comes to a book that you keep getting rejections for. I attended the NJ conference in October and pitched Phoebe. I got requests for partials from everyone. That immediately told me that I had a query problem in my query letter. When I got rejections, they were very helpful. I realized that I needed to go back and re-write.

I got to talk about my writing journey and listened to others talk about theirs.  This is my second conference and it reinforced my opinion that writers, especially romance writers are some of the most generous people in the world. And I’ve been around the block a few times.

For most of us, cost is a factor. But there are ways to spend less. Get a roommate. All you have to do is contact one of the conference coordinators. Try to find someone who’s arriving around the same time you are and share a cab. Or contact the hotel and ask if they can recommend a shuttle service. If you can only afford one conference, research the classes and who in the way of agents and editors will be there.

If you’ve been to a writers’ conference tell me how you felt about it.


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Angelyn's Blog

He was Lord Brougham and Vaux.  Before he gave his name to a special sort of carriage and legions of General Motors vehicles, he came down to London from Scotland to be a member of the House of Commons as a Whig.  This gained him entry to Lansdowne House.  His renown came from his heroic defense of Queen Caroline of Brunswick, the erstwhile wife of the Regent.

“He was a man of marked abilities, distinguished as a statesman, as an orator, a historian, a lecturer, an essayist, a political economist.  As a lawyer, he rose to the top of his profession; as a statesman, he rose to the office of Lord High Chancellor, as an orator, his reputation was among the first of his time, as an essayist, he was one of the brilliant band of writers who made the Edinburgh Review the leading literary authority in the world.”

They left out the part…

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Great post on writing sex scenes.


Historical erotic romance author Juliana Ross is our special guest today, and she’s going to give us a lesson in writing sex. Not just any sex, but GOOD sex.

Welcome, Juliana!

When I began work, early last year, on the novella that would eventually become Improper Relations, I was hoping to push myself. Throw out the rule book. Write a story that stretched—even demolished—the limits I’d been setting for myself as a writer.

I wrote in the first person, something I’d never tried before. I set the book a half-century earlier than anything I’d ever written. And I decided that the heat level had to be off the charts. Not just hot, but “turn on the fan, it’s boiling in here!” hot.

There’s a big difference, however, between planning to write a smoking-hot sex scene and actually doing so successfully. As I wrote, I learned—usually by watching my sister…

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Please help me welcome Alexa Bourne as my first guest blogger.

Hello Alexa. A very warm welcome to you. Before we begin, could you please give us a brief introduction to your latest release Her Highland Champion?

Sure! Heather Winchester is an American graduate student studying in Scotland. While on a 3-day tour of the Highlands, she is attacked and left for dead. When she wakes, she can’t remember anything about her life. Malcolm Fraser is a professional bodyguard who has just resigned due to what he believes are his failings. He wants nothing more than to disappear to his Highland bed & breakfast, but he finds Heather during his morning run, and the hero deep within his soul won’t allow him to leave her unprotected. This leads them both on an amazing journey of discovery.

I love the cover for the book.  How much input do you have in the art work for your stories?

Thanks! I’m THRILLED with the cover! Decadent gives its authors a questionnaire to fill out to help the artists design the covers. I was able to describe the characters, setting, to give suggestions for the cover and even tell them what I didn’t want. They took my comments and suggestions and made the best cover I could have asked for.

What future projects are you currently working on?

At the moment, I’m revising a 3rd novella for Decadent’s Honor Guard series. I’m hoping this one will round out my UK trilogy. It’s set in Edinburgh during Hogmanay with an American woman who witnesses a murder than no one believes actually happened.

Which of your books was the easiest to write? And the hardest?
The current WIP is always the hardest to write! The easiest was actually my next novella, Fractured Paradise. It was written as a way to deal with my grandmother’s death and to honor her and my British heritage.

 Which of your books is your favourite?

Oh, I can’t possibly say! It’s like trying to pick your favorite child. There’s something special, some connection, with each story.

 Which of your characters is your favourite?

In Her Highland Champion, my favorite character is actually Jamie MacDougall, the pub owner. He’s a giant of a man, with a heart of gold even if he sometimes drives me (and the other characters) insane! I hope someday I’ll get the opportunity to write his story as well.

What strengths do you like to give your hero and heroine?

I like to make my heroines brave enough to ask for what they need…eventually. Often they start out not even really knowing what they need and certainly not able to voice what they need. I like my characters to be survivors, people who trudge on even when things get difficult. Sometimes it’s both characters, sometimes it’s only one and the other finds that strength during the book. For my heroes, I like them to be strong enough to protect the innocent, whether that’s the heroine or someone else in the story, even when they don’t want to get involved. I like my heroes to have the courage to do what is right even when it will affect them and their plans.

Thank you for talking with me today, Alexa.

Thank you for having me!

Please visit Alexa at http://www.alexabourne.com/ and help her celebrate her release.

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Angelyn's Blog

Sydney Smith was another visitor to Lansdowne House.  He was a minister, with a lively sense of fun that had everyone rolling in London, as well as in the church aisles.

His quotes from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/sydney_smith.html are amusing, and speak for themselves:  

A comfortable house is a great source of happiness. It ranks immediately after health and a good conscience.
A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage. Every day sends to their graves obscure men whose timidity prevented them from making a first effort.
Among the smaller duties of life I hardly know any one more important than that of not praising where praise is not due.
As the French say, there are three sexes – men, women, and clergymen.
Bishop Berkeley destroyed this world in one volume octavo; and nothing remained, after his time, but mind; which experienced a similar fate from the hand…

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Jenna Jaxon Romance--because passion is timeless.

Despite the fact that I have published more contemporary works than historical (to date), I still think of myself as an author of historical romance.  I’ve always loved history, loved reading about different time periods when things were done just a bit differently (or a lot!).

 I may say that I love one time period more than another, but to date, I have written novels set in the medieval, Georgian, and Victorian periods.  I have detailed outlines for several set in the Regency period also.  I am waiting for inspiration to write a Civil War era romance, a Renaissance tale, and one set in the Wild West. 

All of these periods have fascinated me at one time or another.  I was a history major in undergraduate school (no shock there I’m sure), and my love for historical research has stood me in good stead for the past three years.


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From Jan Austen’s Website

Jane Austen's World

Yesterday I came across an interesting description in Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics, April, 1812, about coquilla nuts, which a certain Mr. R. Ackermann displayed at his Repository, No 101, Strand (having purchased a considerable quantity of this fruit).

From whence the Portuguese obtained it, is so little known, that even the botanical library of Sir Joseph Banks cannot ascertain the circumstance. The probable conjecture, however, is, that it is the produce of the Portuguese possessions in Africa. It is, in a great measure, unknown in this country, nor can it be otherwise, as it is near sixty years since the custom-house entries mention an importation of it…”

The coquilla nut is in fact the fruit of the Brazilian Palm, which is closely related to the coconut palm. The nut is 3-4 inches long, and has a very hard, richly streaked brown shell that is…

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Favorite Lines

Everyone liked this so much, I decided to do it again.

Here is mine from Lord Beaumont’s Bride after my heroine Lady Serena tells her cousin she wants a love match:

Phoebe put her pen down. “I should warn you, the heart is an independent organ. It is very difficult to tell it whom to love and whom not to. We must hope yours chooses wisely.”

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Great post by Janice Hardy

Writers In The Storm Blog

Writers In The Storm is delighted to welcome Janice Hardy to our blog. This ex-Writer’s Digest instructor knows her stuff – if you’re not already following her blog, The Other Side of the Story, you are missing out on an amazing writing resource!

She’s even agreed to visit with us again next month, so please help us heap love and thanks upon her in the comments section. 🙂


When you think about it, everything in a book is description, because the author is describing an entire story to you. But when it gets down to the actual details of what’s in that story, it’s not uncommon for things to bog down into the minutia of what something looks like. Looks aren’t nearly as important as the reasons behind why that item is there to be seen in the first place.

The bulk of your descriptions are likely to…

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