Sunday, March 29, 2009

NEC RWA Let Your Imagination Take Flight!

I just spent a totally exciting weekend at the New England Chapter RWA's LET YOUR IMAGINATION TAKE FLIGHT conference! It started on a wonderful note. The first person I met was Lisa Garder. I love her work, so I had a gushing fangirl moment! And amazingly enough, she at least acted like she'd heard my name too! I also had a chance to chat with Jessica Andersen (Look for her NIGHTKEEPERS series!), Anna DeStefano (who is now with Dorchester, my publisher, for her romantic suspense DARK LEGACY), and Jennifer Greene (85 books published!) was our keynote speaker!

My editor, Leah Hultenschmidt of Dorchester was one of the featured industry professionals. We had a very productive (and fun!) meeting on Friday. She'd asked me to bring her 4 possible premises for my next story and in the end, she let me choose the one I felt most strongly about writing. Now I need to put together about 30 pages and then we'll get the contract settled.
Oh! and Leah also brought my gorgeous Christmas anthology cover! The jpg image does not do it justice. The red heart ornament is double embossed and the snowflakes are also raised. The gold is so rich looking in real life. I was thrilled!

Sadly, my agent has had to close her doors due to personal health reasons. She will always be special to me because she was the first to believe in my writing, but she's advised me to seek another agent. So on Saturday, I pitched to an agent I respect and would love to have represent me. She asked me to send a copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT and 150 pages of a romantic suspense I've finished. Crossing my fingers and toes!

Then I had the chance to give my JOY OF WRITING SEX workshop. Often, a sex scene stops a story cold. My goal in this workshop is to help other writers think about how to make all the scenes in their manuscript deepen character and propel the story. I share lots of excerpts from writers who have used sex scenes in unique ways and my workshop is always filled with lots of laughter. And I got an invitation to come speak for a Connecticut RWA in April out of the deal!

I'll be going to the RT Convention and RWA Nationals, but a smaller regional conference has definite benefits, too. I'll be back next year!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Guest Blogger Marie-Claude Bourque

Please welcome back American Title V finalist Marie-Claude Bourque! She's going to share some of the marketing expertise she's acquired during the competition. Take it away, M-C!

Cyber-Networking: Work Your Book Trailer.

It is no secret that a big part of my networking for the American Title V contest has been done using social networks. They say to use your best skills when networking and it happens that computers is what I am good at. And I like socializing online. Which bring me to one aspect of cyber-networking: the book trailer.

Now I am not an expert, but my book trailer has helped me a lot. When I get readers of non-romance saying after viewing the trailer “wow, I want to vote for that, is it out yet, I want to read it” then I know that I have done a good job. At almost 1,500 hits on YouTube for an unpublished author with a non-existent book, I think, not bad. So here is what I learned on the American Title trenches.

What Is a Good Trailer?

First you need a good trailer. I made mine myself and I won’t claim it’s wonderful. I won’t teach you here how to make a trailer but there are some things I noticed by looking at lots of trailers, good and bad:

Try not to make it cheesy looking. I have seen trailers from very famous authors with B-actors and to me they just look cheesy.

If you have lower quality images or images that don’t fit well together, make your trailer simple and uniform. I have done all sepia tones and all black and white for mine. You could use an all green tint or anything in that vein. You want the images to fit together. Be careful of the colored pictures, it always looks best in a more subdued tone. And true “amateur black and white - teenagers in the basement” feel is kind of cool and fresh. Better than somewhere in the middle where you try too hard but don’t have the resources of a pro and it starts to look like a B movies from the 70s.

Keep it short. No longer than 1min 15 sec. max.

Don’t tell the whole story. To me, the trailer is not a blurb set to music and images. It’s a feeling. You want to get in with the music, with some images that create emotions and with just a few words. You want to create that feeling of “I want it!” Most people who view my trailer tell me they have no clues what it’s about, but they want to read the book!

Use the beats of the music! I have seen too many trailers with lovely music and images but the images and writing don’t fit at all with the music and you fail to get into it fully. The trailer is a different media to engage the reader. It uses different senses than just the brain. You have hearing and sight from the music and images, you have to engage and coordinate these senses well.

As an illustration, you must watch what I call the “Perfect Trailer” for Duma Key by Stephen King.

All the elements are there. Of course King has a lot of money, but did you notice? No cheesy actors, nice big music perfectly coordinated with the images, short clip (32 sec), very few words. And I have no idea what the book is about but I WANT it. Case in point, I don’t read horror but I shelled $10 for it, and I feel soooo cool, just because of that trailer!

Where Do you Post It?

So you have your perfect trailer. What do you do with it? If you’re Stephen King, you do nothing and magically gazillion people will watch it. But, and I think specifically for debut and e-press authors, the trailer can become your calling card.

So go online of course, on your email, website, blogs, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook (these are the ones I am most familiar with)

How Do You Work It?

Let’s go through each cyber media that I know best:
YouTube: First you load it on YouTube so that you can have an easy-to-manage link and embedded code that enable you to put your trailer everywhere. But pay attention to the tags! Because if you have good tags, say similar to a really big author that writes in your genre, your trailer will pop out when people view their favorite author. Fill that description well, don’t forget your workable link to your website or where you can download/buy your book in the description (why do you think I have a link to the Romantic Times American Title voting pages on my trailer description. You just click and you are there!)

If you have enough views, you can start looking at the viewing stats on YouTube. I found out I have a lot of views from Germany. Who would have known?

Website: Put it on your home page and not the link only, you want the whole square box with the big triangle in the middle. Paste that embedded code (don’t look at my website, because I only have a link now and it really bothers me. My web software won’t let me put the embedded code). Some people are bored and surf the web. It’s much easier to click on a trailer then read a blurb. It might make you a sale.

Blogs: Post your trailer on your blog. I have seen great blogs with small embedded trailers on the side bar. I love those. Click and you are there. When you guest blog, post your trailer. If your host is kind enough and depending on the blog network she uses, you may be able to get the embedded code posted. But at least get that YouTube clickable link there.

Email: Clickable link in your sig line. I always have this:
at the end of my email. It works in plain text email, most of the time. I do get clicks from my email messages, I checked.

MySpace: On MySpace, you can work your trailer two ways. First by loading the original file into your video. When you load it, all your friends see it, instant publicity. Then you can add the tags and people may stumble upon it while doing searches: Vampire, Fairy, Magic, all good tags in paranormal. I still have to figure all these new features out.

But, and I have got great feedback on MySpace, you can embed a YouTube trailer on your profile and more importantly into your messages and bulletins by copying the HTML embedded code. When I ask my friends for help in the American Title, I always embed the code at the end. It’s my calling card. If you have fans, you can easily reply to them and put that trailer at the end of the message.

And bulletins are wonderful. Many people will see it. So every time you have an announcement, add a trailer at the end! Make a bulletin just to announce your trailer. Post that bulletin often during the day (make sure you delete the old one, because people will hate you for flooding). For fans with lots of friends, your one bulletin will not cut it. Post often.

I do not know about the events feature in MySpace, because when you hit over 3000 friend, events are not longer workable.

Facebook: Sadly, now that they changed Facebook again, I have to learn all over how to work it. But here are a few tips that works. Load the original video, everyone will get to see it as a Newsfeed. Post the YouTube Link and everyone will see it as well in their Newsfeed. Don’t do this back to back, spread it a little so that it’s 2 news at different times, more people will see it. I also have my Facebook set-up so that every time I load up a trailer on YouTube, it shows as a Newsfeed on Facebook.
Make sure you have your video posted on the left column of your profile, just under your friends list!

What now. You can post your trailer on all the readers groups, but no one goes there once they join the group. So in my opinion, it is now a little useless, especially with the brand new Facebook.

With the old Facebook from last month, it was great. Every time you loaded your trailer on a group , it would show up as a Newsfeed. So people would see it every time! Old Facebook might come back but in the meantime, you could tie your trailer with your status. Because when you post a link now, it now looks like a status, if you have a book related news, you can load up the YouTube link, then write your add like a status. For example, I can load up my trailer You Tube link, then at the top, I can write “Marie-Claude says vote for ANCIENT WHISPERS at” This link and status will show up in the Newsfeed for everyone to see. (I do that a lot and I am sure many have deleted me from their friends by now!)

Facebook events: You can create an event and invite all your friends. That works great in Facebook because you can message a lot of people at once. Include the trailer YouTube link on the event page. Add the You Tube link when you message your event guests. I like events because it prevents me from annoying people who don’t want to hear about me. They get one invite, can click “no” and that’s it. They never hear from me again.

Facebook might change again to something new, so keep trying to update your skill with the idea that what you want is people to see your trailer in the Newsfeed, without overdoing it of course because then they will just delete you as their friend.

I don’t have a fan page because I am not published, but now that the fan page works more like a profile, you can probably use the same status tips above with your page. I get status updates from Anne Rice’s fan page all the time now, very cool!
So good luck playing with your trailer.

In parting, I leave you with the trailer for ANCIENT WHISPERS that people have liked so much.

And I ask one question! What do you think of Stephen King Book trailer! Let me know and you can win a 15$ Amazon Gift Card (and you can probably get Duma Key with that!)
Marie-Claude Bourque is an American Title V finalist with her entry ANCIENT WHISPERS, a dark paranormal romance filled with tortured sorcerers, dark sensuality and gothic rituals. You can find her at and .
And you can also vote for your favorite love scene in the American Title V contest at:

Thanks for all the great info, Marie-Claude! Ok, everybody, be sure to leave a comment or question in order to be entered in M-C's drawing for a $15 Amazon gift card!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meat on the Bones

While I was in the throes of my 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT Tour, I met Anna Bowling of Charter Oak RWA in Connecticutt. She invited me to do an online workshop for their chapter and you know me, I just can't say no! :)

So starting April 1st and running till I head for Orlando on the 20th, I'll be giving MEAT ON THE BONES through Charter Oak. This will be an interactive, hands-on workshop on characterization. We'll cover naming, physical characteristics, first impressions, family values, world view, and goals. Cyber-attendees will be able to ask questions and get help on the cast of characters in their current WIP. If you don't mind taking a bath in public, I'll give feedback on your work. (Kid-gloves guaranteed!)

So if you're interested, please sign up at Charter Oak. There is a nominal fee which benefits the chapter. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'm in the brainstorming phase of my next book. During this time, I forcefeed my subconscious with all sorts of raw data about the period in which I intend to set my story. This turns up plenty of curious tidbits--most of it entirely unusuable, but since I collect factoids like a magpie hoards shiny bits of anything, I'm content.

I ran across this little gem of etymology when researching steamship travel between England and British India. The preferred method of making this transit was described by the acronymn POSH--Port Out, Starboard Home--referring to the best (read "most stylish!") side of the ship for your cabin location. Then I ran across another source that debunked this story as false. "Posh" was a bit of 1920's slang of indeterminate origin, they claimed, probably from the 1890's British "posha dandy". Quite often, there will be competing versions of anything in history, so in the end, I have to run with my best guess and hope I've chosen the source who got it right!

But I find I like the idea of "port out starboard home" as the ancestry for this word. And it set me wondering how many other words in our daily vocabulary started out as acronymns. Scuba, for example, stands for "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus." The internet has created its own shorthand lexicon, LOL!

What acronyms do you find yourself using all the time?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Diary of Cozette

Please note: The winner of a shiny new copy of DIARY OF COZETTE has been won by Jane L, who left a comment on this post. Congrats, Jane!

Today, I'm featuring a guest--Amanda McIntyre! A connoisseur of life, Amanda has sampled everything from an office career and motherhood to being a newspaper columnist turned fiction writer. Her work is described as "superbly sensual, powerful, emotional, and character-driven." Hailing from the Midwest (Yay! Me, too!), Amanda McIntyre, aka Pamela Johnson, enjoys the change of seasons, her always busy family life, and writing. She is the multi-genre published author of several novels, anthologies, novellas, and short stories as well as non-fiction.

As always when I have a guest, my words are in bold. Amanda is speaking italics!

So why don't you share a blurb about your newest release, Amanda!

Passion knows no status or wealth.

True, I am but a mere maidservant from a great house, snatched from a wretched existence of poverty and desperation to serve noblemen of wealth and privilege.

And yet.

While I am indeed of lowly rank, I am also a young woman who allowed herself to sample life's greatest pleasures in the hands of these titled men. My tales overflow in this journal, penning my journey to becoming a woman of power of the most base, yet stimulating, breed.

Unmarried and twenty, yet betrothed to no man, I would be considered a spinster by most, yet this is of my own ardent intention. With my unabashed lushness and wisdom regarding a man's most vehement cravings, I am not lacking for suitors or proposals given in the heat of passion. No, I have yet to meet the man who will challenge me, satisfy me in all ways, not only of the flesh.

For where passion and desire are fleeting, my heart continues to beat..

Sounds like Cozette is a strong heroine who knows her own mind. My kind of gal. When I first saw the title I thought you might be doing a derivative story based on the Cozette in Les Miserables, but obviously no. Tell us what inspired this story.

I am inspired by many things in my writing; movies, music, art and research. I love to research obscure bits about history, legends and lore. I was on one of my rampades of researching Victorian England when I came across information about "white slavery" in England. Not only were there double standards when it came to men and women, but between social classes as well. As I continued my research I discovered some disturbing notions of the time. One, that it was healthy for men to have sex with virgins--and secondly, that there were some families , so poor and with so many children that they would sell their older daughters to brothels or direct to wealthy men for this very purpose. So I wondered what it must have been like to be a young woman at that time, perhaps the youngest daughter of a family beset with poverty and having no alternative but to send their daughter away to where they thought she'd be safe. I was troubled in reading how many young girls simply disappeared, sold to men and no one ever heard or saw them again. Maybe I wanted to know that one of them escaped and survived?

That is when I met Cozette. Her story is told in diary form and follows her from the time she is sent to an uncaring Uncle and Aunt, and then on to an orphanage where she meets her first love, and then her escape of being sold by the greedy orphange director, only to wind up on the streets of London, where she must learn how to survive. A chance kindness shown to a stately woman and her strange husband brings her to the station of maidservant at an English country manor. And this is where Cozette's life begins to blossom, becoming a lover, a friend, a companion, and a woman. But even as she enjoys the present , she ponders her future, and remains haunted by her past. Will she ever find a man who can accept her for all that she is and all that she's has been through?

And they claim romance is formulaic! This is a very fresh storyline. What's the coolest thing about your hero?

He has his flaws, both physical and emotional. He isn't perfect. He's made mistakes, but his love for Cozette never dies, even over a long period of time. He carries his pain and secrets that could do more harm than good to reveal, but he does so with compassion and honor. He is willing to sacrifice his own happiness for Cozette's. Though he is a patient, honorable man, he cannot deny the suffering of the passion re-awakened inside him, that he thought long dead.

Oh, yay! A tortured hero. Lots of my readers are also aspiring writers. What's the best piece of writing advice you can offer, Amanda?

Be flexible. Change is the only constant, I believe it's said. And never is it more true than the publishing industry. Not only is this true in writing that story that you desperately want to write, regardless of the market , but even more personally-for example revisions and reviews.

I once thought that to have to do "revisions" meant I was a "bad" writer. I have since come to learn that revisions are designed to strengthen the story, to make it the best it can be. Your editor, if she is a good one, will see with fresh eyes the things that you might not having been with the story 24/7 for 6 months. Don't go "diva" on your editor-make it a team effort. After all your goals are the same!

Having started out doing book reviews,(ina a galaxy far, far away) I have come to learn that reviews are subjective. Do we all hope for the stellar, top of the line all the time reviews? Of course we do! But I was told once that you are only as good as your next book, so don't rest too long on the laurels (or the bad reviews, god forbid) of one book, but get busy on that next book--and make it better, by what you've learned from your experiences with that first book.

What's next for you, Amanda?

Coming in August 2009 is TORTURED. It sounds interesting certainly, given its an erotic tale, but this is set in the Dark Ages and admittedly was a bit of a challenge to write! This is also where I have to credit my editor, Lara Hyde, for her eyes in seeing this story and helping me to create a fascinating story, full of the richenss and torment of that era. This is told in first person, from both the heroine and heroes POV's, which made an interesting journey of each of these characters to where fate finally brings them together and they will end up saving one another or killing each other. I am intrigued by medieval history. The stories are endless, of wars and feuds, of alliances, and arranged marriages. After going on a spree of watching every medieval age movie I could get my hands on, I was struck with how popular the events of beheadings were in those days. Entertainment for many, personal or political resolution for others I suppose. I wondered if there were ever such things as female executioners? Not many I discovered, but it was enough for me to ask, "what if" and that is when Sierra, my heroine who's life is spared, but who is sentenced by a ruthless Saxon king to become his executioners apprentice. A fate perhaps worse than death.
The title then depicts not only the obvious conotation of the word , but also the metaphorical defintion as well.

Regular readers of this blog know I'd rather be on a cruise ship (destination immaterial) that just about anywhere. Just for fun--what's your favorite place in the world, Amanda?

That I have visited ? Because the list of "not yet visited" favorite places to drool over is substantial!

I have plenty of "wanna-see's" myself but I can't claim them as favs till my feet actually walk the ground.

Okay, well I have to say, anywhere my family is (aww) but after that? I love the Great Lakes . In particular Mackinac Island, Whitefish Point and all along the western shore of Lake Superior. My favorite thing to do is to sit at twilight, wrapped in a blanket on a comfy adirondack chair and watch the sun set and listen to the waves lap the shore. I love walking the desolate beach at Whitefish Point, far from the museum oglers, clear down to the point where no one goes. There is something so powerful and ethereal there. The weather on the lakes can change at the blink of an eye and I am reminded of how very small I am in comparison to nature's majesty. I feel the same way about the northern Oregon coast.

Whitefish Point sounds splendid. Too often the Midwest is overlooked but there are some great get-away spots. My DH and I honeymooned on a remote lake in the north woods of Minnesota. It was late May, the ice had just left the lake and we didn't see another soul all week. Or maybe we weren't very observant at the time . . .

Writers always have a few pots boiling. What are you working on now?

My current WIP, THE MASTER & THE MUSES features my randy Pre-Raphaelite artist, Mr. Thomas Everett Rodin, from Cozette. This is a book of three novellas, three women selected By Mr. Rodin to be his muses for his artwork. Told from each of their perspectives from the moment they first meet, to how their lives are changed in the company of such a volatile and passionate man, and what eventually becomes of them.

Where can readers learn more about you?

My website is Amanda McIntyre

I am only recently beginning to put together my personal blog. but here is my myspace ;))

Sounds great! I adore art and stories about artists! Thanks for sharing with us today, Amanda.

Be sure to leave a comment or question for Amanda so you'll be entered to win a copy of Diary of Cozette!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Interview with a Courtesan!

In VEXING THE VISCOUNT, our heroine Daisy Drake must masquerade as a courtesan in order to trick Lucian (the vexed viscount himself!) into letting her help him find a lost Roman treasure. Daisy knows nothing of sensual love but what she’s read in a real courtesan’s very explicit journal. I tracked down the author of that naughty bit of literature, the elusive Mlle. Blanche La Tour.

Emily Bryan: Hello Blanche. Thanks for taking time to visit with us today.

Blanche: (smothering a yawn) But, of course. You’re my author. Did I have a choice?

Emily Bryan: Well, no.

Blanche: (shrugging) Next time, may I request we meet later in the day? I rarely rise before noon, you know. Occupational hazard.

Emily Bryan: Ah, yes, the business of pleasure. Revealing your trade secrets in writing is a risky enterprise. Are you aware that Daisy Drake is using your journal to impersonate you?

Blanche: (looses a silvery peal of laughter that fizzes in the ear like champagne bubbles) How utterly delicious! If she’s pretending to be me, I’m sure Miss Drake will have a wonderful time.

Emily Bryan: You’re not angry that someone has assumed your identity?

Blanche: I support whatever helps a person release their sensual nature. You used to do a little stagework, Emily, when you sang professional opera. You know the liberating nature of an assumed identity. A little role playing is a healthy thing, don’t you think?

Emily: We’re not talking about me right now.

Blanche: (lips curve in a knowing smile) So you say.

If you'd like to peek in on the rest of this interview, click over to Dorchester Publishing! Blanche reveals more of her courtesan's heart.

And for even more from the notorious Blanche La Tour, visit my COURTESAN CLUB!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Please note: Sandra has chosen LORI K as the winner of a copy of MAKITA. Congrats, Lori! Please contact me through with your mailing info to receive your prize!

I have another guest blogger today. Meet Sandra Cox. A vegetarian and animal lover, Sandra is an Administrative Assistant by day and an author by night. She lives with her husband, and a menagerie of pets, in sunny North Carolina. Sandra graduated from Eastern Illinois University and is an active member of EPIC, Romance Writers of America and From the Heart Romance Writers. Her ninth book, Makita a YA/YAH has has just been released through Sandra and I had a little cyber-chat. You're welcome to listen in. I'm in bold and Sandra in italics.

Welcome, Sandra!

First, Emily, thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to spending time with you and your readers.

I'm looking forward to it too. What with the success of Harry Potter and more recently the Twilight series, the line between YA and adult books is blurring. Can you tell us a little about MAKITA?

My cat fantasy series started with the loss of my twelve year old cat to cancer. His death inspired me to write Shardai, the first of the series.

I've been in rescue for many years and some of the things that animals have to endure is heartbreaking. With this series, I hope to make people think about the responsibilities that pet ownership entails. And the horrendous hardships that animals on their own are faced with every day just to survive.

The Cat of Catarau series is built on the premise that there is an afterlife for cats. They can choose to stay in ‘Catarau’ where they are ruled by the council of Nine and are forever young and healthy. Or… they can use one of their remaining lives to return to earth. This is a risk because there is no guarantee what kind of life they will have once they come back. Matika chooses to come back and try to find her pal Bennie the boxer who is grieving and won’t be able to survive on his own.

I love YA stories in the animal's POV. CHARLOTTE'S WEB, WATERSHIP DOWN, Brian Jacque's REDWALL(My daughters loved the tales of his valiant mice!)--the list goes on. It's fun to find things you can read with your kids! Of course, with an animal story, it seems like the dog always dies. In your case, it sounds like the cat died early . . . and then came back!

Yes, when Makita dies a violent death her best pal Bennie is left frightened and alone until Makita comes back to earth to find him. Here's a taste:

Quivering with fear, the cat and dog pressed against each other in the backseat of the car, as far away from the human sitting next to them as they could get. The dog whined uneasily. The driver was their owner and though he was neglectful and seemingly unaware of the animals’ existence, the dog had given him loyalty and love. The cat, more discriminating, had given her loyalty to the dog.

The driver looked around. “This is as good a spot as any.” He slowed the car.

The man in the back seat leaned across the nervous animals and flung the door open.

The cat screamed at the whoosh of air that rushed at her and tried to dig her claws in the upholstery. But the man gave both animals a hard shove. Even though they stiffened their legs and fought for purchase on the old car seat, they went flying through the air, crying out in fear.

The dog landed with a whimper and a thud on the hard ground. The cat’s head struck a telephone pole. She slid to the ground and lay still.

The dog picked himself up, shook himself off and limped over to the cat. He nuzzled her but she didn’t move. He barked at the disappearing car, then lay down next to the motionless body of the cat and waited for his master to return.

~ * ~

The Council of Nine and the little tabby called Great Mother ran to the bridge and waited.

I'm so glad it sounds like MAKITA will be quickly resurrected. Here's what a reviewer had to say:

"Being an animal lover, animal stories always touch my soul. This one brought a tear to my eye and warmth to my heart, as I cheered for these furry pals and their friends. An excellent addition to The Cats of Catarau series. If you love animals, then I recommend that this book grace your library." ~ Angela Verdenius, Heart & Soul Sci-fi/futuristic romance series

And let me say, I'm thrilled to learn that you have two rescue dogs, Emily. How long have you had them? My Catarau series is based around the hardships that animals face that don't have loving families to take care of them or aren't lucky enough to get into rescue. I'd love to know how many of your readers also have rescues.

I'm always happy to talk about my "furkids," Susie and Mack. Susie, the little black poodle mix blending so nicely into the recliner has been with us 11 years. She was an abused pound puppy who was so afraid of men in ball caps she'd almost go into spasms. It took her 6 months to warm up to my DH. Mack is an Irish Jack Russell and he's been with us for 4 years, since he was a pup. He's a product of a puppy mill who had the misfortune to be born with a birth defect (correctible with surgery). My soft-hearted brother-in-law kept him from being destroyed and we sort of inherited Mack when my sister and her hubby couldn't keep him. Susie and Mack are proof that "found" pets are the best kind.

Back to your writing, Sandra. What drew you to writing YA and what age range are you aiming for?

I'm drawn to fantasy and I love animals, so its just a good fit for me.
I write for young adults and young at heart. These books are geared for animal lovers of all ages.

How many pets have you had over the years?

Since I foster, I'd have to say in the hundreds. Mainly cats:)

Wow! At one time, we had 2 horses, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 kids at home. I was tempted to start calling my DH "Noah!" But hundreds! Holy litterbox! I know, I know, you didn't have them all at the same time!

What's the best writing advice you ever received?

I'd like to answer that one with a quote:
Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall. Oliver Goldsmith

I'll be holding a random drawing for a copy (paper or e) of Makita. To enter, just leave a comment.

Thanks so much for having me, Emily.

Thanks for coming. You heard her! I'm willing to bet there are some animal lovers out there who'll comment. And if you have a "rescued" pet, we'd love to hear your story. Leave a comment or question to be entered to win a copy of MAKITA by Sandra Cox.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Cosmic Joke

Just received the revisions from my editor for my novella MY LADY BELOW STAIRS for the Christmas anthology yesterday. Yeah, I know. Weird to be thinking about Christmas on the first day of spring.

The even weirder part was that there were so few changes. She LOVED the story. My manuscript was peppered with LOL's and happy faces. (It was wonderful to hear--we writers are a notoriously needy bunch!) But the thing that really surprised me was when she told me she laughed hardest during the last 30 pages or so.

Those were the pages I wrote while I was in serious pain recovering from my colon cancer surgery and blogging my head off with my 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT tour.

The moral of this story is: Comedy springs from . . . pain? Maybe. (I won't give credit to painkillers. I was down to Advil by then and it didn't begin to touch the deep ache, but I'm already addicted to Cherry Coke Zero and M & M's. The last thing I need is a drug habit.)

At the heart of every joke is a reversal of sorts. You expect "X" and you're slapped in the face with "Y." Maybe the comedy in my story was my way of reversing the physical pain I was experiencing at the time.

Writing is still a mystery to me. Somehow, my subconscious fills the pages with things my conscious mind isn't even aware of till I read it back--usually after a bit of time has elapsed. Pressure turns coal into diamonds. Is it possible that pain yields the best comedic timing?

If so, next time, I'll settle for stubbing my toe before I write!

I'm getting ready to do a workshop at RWA Nationals on adding humor. What's the funniest thing you've read lately?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Still Blogging after all these months . . .

I know. I know. I've been blogging almost everyday since the beginning of January. I can't seem to stop! I'm beginning to think it's an addiction. When I was invited to blog at PopSyndicate today, I just couldn't say no! Please join me for some fun and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of PLEASURING THE PIRATE.

Then once you've entered my little giveaway, pop over to AuthorsAndBooks. I'm hosting Marie-Claude Bourque, one of the final two contestants in the American Title V contest. She's talking about writing love scenes and if you leave a comment or question for her, you'll be entered to win a $15 Amazon gift card!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Before I introduce you to my guest blogger today, let me just share that my editor, Leah Hultenschmidt has posted my ERINSONG cover on her blog. If you have time, please pop over and leave a comment. Thanks!

Now, meet Stacey Joy Netzel. Her newest book, CHASIN' MASON is launching today! Tell us about your new story, Stacey.

Emily, thanks so much for having me today. I'd like to share the blurb for my new release, Chasin' Mason, and also tell you about my current contest.

One Contest—16 Chances to WIN! March 1-April 30th. No purchase necessary.

I'd love help spreading the word about my new western contemporary romance, Chasin’ Mason.

When his father announced his engagement to a gold-digger with a lying, scheming fourteen-year old daughter, seventeen-year old Tripp Warner left Warner Ridge Ranch and never looked back. Until the day he got the phone call that his father had died unexpectedly.

Reggie Reed lives with her guilt every day but can't quite work up the courage to track down the son of the man who raised her as his own. When Tripp shows up at his father’s funeral eleven years later--and a hell of a man to be reckoned with--he has no interest in her too-late apology. Worse, they’ve inherited half shares of the family ranch—but only if they work together to catch Mason’s Gold, the stallion a young Reggie let escape and made sure Tripp took the blame for.

Tripp proposes a secret competition to the beautiful witch who stole his life: whoever catches the stallion first gets the ranch all to themselves. It sounds simple, but once they’re out on the range, tempers and passions flare in the Texas heat and nothing goes as either of them expects.

Can they work together to keep the ranch, or will their past get in the way of their future?


What I ask of you, and what I’ll do in return: relying on the honor system, for every 20 bookmarks you hand out to family, friends, co-workers, mailperson, waitress, dental hygenist, librarian, hair stylist, tax accountant, ...well, you get the picture (*grin*), I’ll enter your name into a drawing for the list of prizes below.

Here’s the good part—the 16 prizes:

(1) Grand prize: $25.00 gift card (card choices listed on my website) AND one of my books of your choice.

(2) Print books of Welcome To Redemption, signed by myself and my co-author, Donna Marie Rogers.

( Our debut book received a 4 ½ Star review from Romantic Times Book Club. )

(3) e-books of Welcome To Redemption

(5) e-books of Dragonfly Dreams. (Nominated Best Short Romance e-Book 2007 by LASR: “…a heartwarming yet humorous tale.” )

(5) e-books of If Tombstones Could Talk. (4 Stars “…sweet, sensual and one of the most romantic stories I've ever read.” Romance Junkies)

So there you go. We all know someone who'd take a bookmark, so enter today! E-mail your name and address to and let me know how many bookmarks to send. If you think you can hand out 40, go for it—I’ll enter your name twice. You can visit my website to read an excerpt for Chasin’ Mason.

EARN 2 BONUS ENTRIES: 1. Mention my contest on your blog or website and e-mail me the link. (Emily's entered!) 2. Forward this contest e-mail to friends and family who love romance and cc me in.

NOTE: When I reach 75 entries, I will add another Grand Prize for a second lucky winner!

Thank you all for visiting today and I look forward to hearing from you. Happy Spring!

Well, you all heard the woman! She's put together quite a list of prizes. If you'd like more info please check out www.staceyjoynetzel. If you'd like to have Stacey send you some bookmarks to distribute, please send her a note at To buy a copy of CHASIN' MASON, visit I'll bet Stacey will be happy to answer questions here today too, so leave a note to let us know you stopped by!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Whose Hand is That?

So my DH was looking at the shiny new Vexing the Viscounts that had come in a big box from Dorchester. His eyebrows drew together and he tipped the book sideways. Then he pointed to the hand partially hidden by the lettering of the title and asked, "Whose hand is that?"

I picked up a copy and squinted at it. I'd been so taken with the yearning between Daisy and Lucian (and his Colin Firth-ish good looks) I hadn't really studied the rest of the art work. From the breastbones down, my characters have quite a game of Twister going on. I think I have it figured out now, but just off the top of your head, whose hand is resting on Daisy's lap?

And while we're on the subject of covers, I thought I'd remind you this St. Patrick's day, that I did once write a romance set in Ireland under my Diana Groe pen name.

She's an Irish princess. He's a Viking raider. Their very births should have made them bitter foes. But sometimes, love doesn't recognize the enemy until it's too late. This story won a rare All About Romance Desert Isle KEEPER Review. And ERINSONG is available at Amazon and B&

Foreign rights to many of my titles have sold, but I have more ERINSONG covers than any other. Here's how my Irish story appeared in German.

This is how the Italians visualized my big hairy Vikings. Love the dragonship and the heroine Brenna's emerald green gown.

Thanks to one of my Dutch readers (you know who you are, Nynke!) I found the Dutch version of ERINSONG online. Is it just me or does it look like there's a little friendly bondage going on here? My hero Jorand certainly seems to be strapped to the neck of the dragonship. And he doesn't seem to mind.

Hope you enjoyed my stroll down book cover lane. Don't forget to leave a note letting me know whose hand you think is on Daisy's lap.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Putting on my Judge Hat

This year I judged for the GOLDEN HEART contest for the first time. In case you aren't familiar with this contest, it's put on by RWA National and is a significant springboard toward publication for many new authors. I entered once before I was published (and did not fare well--I was still in my "head-hopping" phase!)

When I read the entries this year, I kept seeing the same mistake. FRONT-LOADING BACKSTORY.

When an author starts writing, she has to know what happened before the story begins. Face it, we're all a product of the things that happen to us, the company we keep (and the books we read,which is still sort of the company we keep!) So are our characters. When I'm creating a character, I have to know what happened to him when he was six. I need to watch my heroine tell a fib when she's 12 and suffer for it. Or get away with it and adopt habitual lying as a coping mechanism. He's afraid of bees. She doesn't like dark rooms. He led his polo team to victory. She defeated the school chess champ. We writers get to know all these fun things about our character and how these events shaped them, BUT we can't tell everything we know.

Certainly not in the first chapter.

The goal in crafting prose is to gently tease your reader forward, not swat them across the face with an information dump. As I write this, I'm preaching to myself as well. I'm in that very delicate time with my new project--trying to find the right place to start.

I'm on my 3rd try.

But eventually, I'll hit the right balance of forward motion and information hooks that will draw my reader in. And I'll scour it ruthlessly for too much backstory.

Mark Twain said it best: "A successful book is not made of what's in it, but what is left out of it."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Gift to the World

On Thursday, after taking the red-eye back from Seattle where I spoke for Eastside RWA, I went to the Isabella Gardner Museum. A friend of mine is a docent there and she treated a small circle of us to a private tour.

Isabella Stewart Gardner was the wife of a wealthy Boston Brahmin who inherited 1.6 million upon the death of her father in 1891, back when that was an embarrassingly large sum. She and her husband agreed she'd spend the lot acquiring art. So she spent her life and her funds traveling the globe cherry-picking masterpieces.

I was already so sick with envy, I was predisposed not to like Ms. Gardner a bit.

Then I saw what she'd created.

The Gardner Museum is an absolute gem! More than merely a collection of acknowledged masterworks, this is the sum of a life's passion, a peek into a woman's soul. It's a very personal exposee of a unique individual's quest to educate, to tempt, to infuse her culture with an appreciation for beauty. Not only did she acquire art, she encouraged and supported the best artists of her time. Then she put on her curator hat and transformed her home into a museum (She lived on the fourth floor of this incredible building that's wrapped around a four-storey Venetian-style courtyard). By observing what she'd so carefully chosen and so lovingly displayed, I learned about her tastes, her loves, her theology, and her eccentricities.

The museum was the site of a major heist ten years ago. Someone broke in with a "shopping list" and sliced a Ver Meer and several Rembrandts from their frames. Since the paintings haven't resurfaced, we can only assume they are in the private collection of some cash-rich, spirit-poor meany-head who doesn't work and play well with others. I wonder at the smallness of heart that would steal beauty from the world so they alone can enjoy it. But I suspect owning those pieces gives them little real pleasure because they can't let anyone know they have them. The frames still hang empty in the Gardner Museum to this day.

The painting above is a portrait of Isabella Gardner done by Anders Zorn, a Swedish artist. I think it beautifully captures her generosity of spirit. She's stretched out, filling the space and pressing against the walls, refusing to be confined by the conventions of her day.

I like Isabella Gardner very much indeed.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Phyllis Campbell

Today, I'm playing hostess to a guest blogger for a change! Meet Phyllis Campbell! She's an award-winning, multi-published, and best-selling author with Carnal Passions, Champagne Books, The Wild Rose Press, and Vintage Publishing. Most of her reviewers have given her the title of “Queen Of Sexual Tension”. Married with kids (and three grandchildren), Phyllis has lived in Utah all of her life and enjoys family activities when she’s not writing her next sensual story.She and I are both contributors to the same group blog AuthorsAndBooks. Please pour yourself a cup of cyber-coffee and join us! (My words are in bold. Phyllis is speaking italics today.)

So, Phyllis, tell us all about your new releases. (Yes, folks, I said releases. She's having twins!)

Thanks, Emily. I would love to tell you about my new releases. March 11th’s release is Huntress Of My Heart (historical). Phoebe Alphius, daughter of the governor of Turkey, was told at the tender age of ten that she was the goddess Artemis, reincarnated. Yes, she has the silver-blonde hair of the goddess, and she has the bold personality and hunts better than any of her brothers. Does that mean she is Artemis? But for nine years people have treated her different, and she’s tired of it. She wants a normal life. She wants to find love. But just as Artemis, she’s going to die a virgin. Unless she dresses as her maid and sneaks out of the palace and ventures into the marketplace and meets a ship’s captain...
Check out the book trailer for this one -

March 25th, my contemporary, The Man Hunt is being released.Unwilling to let another man control her life, Dr. Jordan Reed hires someone to portray her new love interest to satisfy her nagging stepmother. Part of the bargain is that she convince her ex-boyfriend that she has happily moved on. Unfortunately, it’s hard to prove when Brock Hamill blames Jordan for his sister’s suicide and embarks on a mission to destroy her psychiatric credibility. Acting the part of a patient, his mission is deterred by the doctor’s hot body and giving heart, and when he discovers her life 's in jeopardy, he’s willing to reveal his true identity to save her. Will Jordan forgive his deceit when she learns the truth?
Check out the book trailer for this story -

Both stories will be with The Wild Rose Press.

Wow! A historical and a contemporary. Huntress of my Heart and The Man Hunt, hmm? I'm seeing a hunting motif here. What inspired these stories?

Huntress Of My Heart was actually written because I’d been part of a 7-author anthology. Our topics were chosen from the seven wonders of the ancient world. When some of the authors pulled out of the anthology, I didn’t know what to do with my story. I’m very happy The Wild Rose Press knew what to do. (grins)

The Man Hunt was previously published as Woman Seeking Man a few years ago under another pen name I’d used back then. This story was created when I saw my co-workers son who’d just returned from overseas (in the Army), and heard about his sad life caused by his ex-wife. I knew this hunk needed a story. heeheee Yup, he got a happily ever after!

I love handing out HEA's to deserving characters, too! And how much sweeter when the story is based on real people. If you could give one piece of writing advice, what would it be?

Don’t ever give up! Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep sending your stories out. Join critique groups to improve yourself. If you want it bad enough, you’ll not give up!

You live in Utah and I used to, too! My DH and I spent a decade one winter in Park City. OK, ok, no hate mail! It's a gorgeous place, but 12 feet of snow will wear on anyone's spirit after six months of it. The cool, brief summer was heaven. What do you like best about living in the West?

I’ve lived in the West all of my life, so I don’t know anything different. However, I was in Texas a couple years back, and South Carolina a few years before that, and I did miss seeing the mountains. Home-sweet-home! Park City is also a wonderful place to vacation! I’m jealous you lived there for a while. It’s beautiful.

It is a fabulous place. If we'd bought a condo so we didn't have to shovel or snowblow or climb up on the roof to knock the accumulated feet of white stuff off, we'd have probably stayed! (Hence our condo now in snowy New England!)

But back to your writing, is there anything else you'd like us to know about your work?

As you’ve probably guessed from reading my two blurbs, I haven’t chosen one genre to write. I adore historicals! So I’m hoping to write more historicals than the others. But, I do have many ideas, which is why you’ll see contemporaries. I’m hoping to give the reader more to choose from. Please check out my website and see what I have for you.

Phyllis is giving away a copy of one of her books to a "non-lurker", so please leave a comment or question! Oh! And there's still time to leave a comment for a chance to win my VEXING THE VISCOUNT over at The winner there won't be chosen till tomorrow. So be sure to leave a comment or question both places! Have a great day!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bon Mots

I love it when I find an intriguing turn of phrase and sigh when I hear tired, over-worked sayings. Today I'm blogging at Love Is An Exploding Cigar. That fresh enough for you? Pop over and share your pet peeve over-worked, trite or sad phrase. This is a great chance for you to win a VEXING THE VISCOUNT!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wore Slick

That's how my dad would describe it. I'm totally exhausted. What a day! I flew from Boston to Seattle with a stop over in Chicago. I'm staying with my dear friend and she and I finally knocked off at almost 2AM my time! It's just so hard to stop once we get going talking about our stories and brainstorming new ideas.

I'll be speaking at EASTSIDE RWA on March 10--I almost said tomorrow night, but it's already tomorrow! If you're in the Great Northwest please check out their website for directions and times. I'd love to see you there!

I'll also be blogging all week at BookTalk with J & J The first post is already up and everyday, there'll be more new material. Please leave a comment or questions, 'cause I'll be popping in to chat! And one lucky commenter will win a copy of Vexing the Viscount!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Post-Blog Tour Update!

My publisher DORCHESTER is teaming up with Dear Author to offer a special discount on VEXING THE VISCOUNT and several other exciting favorites! Visit Dear Author for all the details!

There have been a few changes in my blog schedule for the next few days. Here's where I'll be in cyber-space:

Sunday March 8th: Unusual Historicals If you're always looking for non-Regency romances, here's a chance to hook up with some terrific options.

Monday March 9-13th: BookTalk with J & J Books, interviews and contests in one convenient place!

Thursday March 12th: LoveIsAnExplodingCigar How Freudian is that!

In real life, I'll be heading for Seattle on Monday to speak at Eastside RWA! This is a literary homecoming for me. Eastside is where I really got my start. This upbeat, craft-oriented group set my feet on the path to publication and I owe them big-time! I'll get to spend time with my e-critique partner and attend my old critique group as well. I love these writers and time spent around their kitchen tables as we read our current WIP and sipped madeira is one of my favorite writing memories.

I'll be taking my laptop, so I'll be sure to stay in touch!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Today I'm beside myself. Yep, blogging in two places at once. Well, sort of. One post is at Much Cheaper Than Therapy--a fun romance blog and there's an opportunity to win a copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT over there if you leave a comment or question.

The other is at The Chatelaines--the group blog I share with a terrific circle of historical writers. I'm using that post as a chance to talk about some things that are important to me and about what the definition of masculine really is. (Along with sharing a bit of Friday eye-candy!:))

Hope to see you both places!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why Am I Blue?

When I was first diagnosed with colon cancer last November, I was a little embarrassed. This is not a trendy cancer. I can't remember ever hearing about colon-cancer walk-a-thons. I was afraid to ask if there was an 'awareness' ribbon (think what color it might be!) Imagine my relief when I found out it was this lovely blue!

But like all cancers, it's a serious problem and one everyone needs to learn more about. Here's why ...

1. Colorectal cancer is the #2 cause of death in the U.S.

2. This year in the United States, colorectal cancer will kill as many people as breast cancer and AIDS combined.

3. Over 150,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year.

4. Colorectal cancer often has no symptom at all until it’s at an advanced stage.

5. Colorectal cancer is 90% preventable when detected early.

6. You can reduce your risk through regular screening.

7. Beginning at age 50 (or earlier if you have a family history), everyone should be screened for colorectal cancer.

Tomorrow is WHY AM I BLUE DAY. Please wear blue to help raise awareness for colon cancer. Today, I'm blogging over at RomanceBuyTheBook with Michelle Buonfiglio about the importance of colon cancer screenings. Michelle lost her father to the disease and her mother, and several brothers have all battled it. But don't go over expecting gloom and doom. Michelle knows how to have fun with any subject so prepare for some irreverent bum jokes!

Bottoms up!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Christmas Anthology

My editor just sent me this jpg of the cover of our totally fun holiday anthology! USA Today BestSeller Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson join me for a fabulous Christmas ball. All our characters are attending Lord and Lady Hartwell's annual fete. Everyone who is anyone will be there--and YOU are invited too! If you'd like a sneak peek, I just posted the first chapter of my novella My Lady Below Stairs at

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Did you miss out on my 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT Tour? Despair not! Today I'm giving an encore performance over at Lust In Time!

Pam and I had a lovely visit about VEXING THE VISCOUNT, the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award that DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS is up for, and writing in general. As always, I'll be popping in to answer questions, so be sure to leave me a note letting me know you dropped by.

BECAUSE . . . one lucky commenter at Lust In Time will win a signed copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Meeting a New Hero . . .

I normally don't have an actual picture for my heroes as I write them, but this shot of a young Colin Firth was so like the image of the newest hero that had blossomed in my mind, I thought I'd share it with you. This pic captures the essence of Greydon Quinn. (I'm using one of the names entered by a reader in my PLEASURING THE PIRATE Name contest last October. And yes, I wrote and got her permission first!)

Quinn is a typical Regency hero--a hopeless romantic, charming enough to be a bit of a rake, and a rugged man of action when the occasion calls for it. He has just one tiny flaw. He's a little . . . dead.

Your eyes are fine. You read me correctly. Greydon Quinn is a ghost.

How he became one, and more importantly, what he intends to do about it, are the main plot threads in the new story I'm playing with. I thought I'd invite you along for the ride as I "flesh out" (pardon the ghost pun!) this proposal.

So far, I've tinkered with Quinn's backstory, figuring out what led him to his current predicament, and started writing my first chapter. It's a way for me to explore Quinn's special circumstances before I lay out how my story will proceed.

Music sets a mood for me. I've chosen the music I'll write this story to. It's Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto. It was popularized a few years ago in SHINE, a fascinating movie starring Geoffrey Rush (Captain Barbossa for you PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN fans.) I love this piece because it has alternating episodes of melancholy and lightning wit, just the kind of wide swings of mood I need as a backdrop. If you're interested in hearing a bit of it, pop over to my MySpace page. I've set this up as my profile music. Please "friend" me while you're there!

I'll keep you posted on my progress with Quinn!

If you're an aspiring writer, you might want to get a jump on my process. Visit and click on my WRITE STUFF link. There are several pages of material just for YOU!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Looking for adventure?

Daisy Drake, my heroine in VEXING THE VISCOUNT, is dying for an adventure. Lucian's treasure hunt sounds like just the thing! But why should Daisy and Lucian have all the fun? If adventure and romantic treasure is on your "Gotta Have!" list, here's your jumping off point.

NightOwl Romance put together a totally fun Web Hunt, teaming up with a terrific slate of 14 authors (and they were nice enough to include me!). 4 lucky winners are going to walk off with a whole treasure chest of goodies. Check out the prizes and learn how to enter at