Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Wooo, it's Wednesday! I've got a big day ahead: lunch in Covent Garden, afternoon tea at the Oxo Tower on the South Bank, and then a book launch at the Tower of London. Please send my be-sandalled feet your most positive vibes to make it through relatively unscathed.
Since I'm about and about, I'm delighted to welcome Catherine Ryan Howard to the blog. If you're contemplating self-publishing and you haven't been over to her blog, you need to get there right now!
Just a small announcement before I go: from now until Monday, my publisher has reduced The Hating Game on Kindle to 98p ($1.59 US). Yay for summer sales! If you need something for the beach, well... you know what I'm sayin'.
Right, over to Catherine!Five years ago this summer, I moved from Ireland to Orlando, Florida, to start an eighteen-month training program in a Walt Disney World hotel.
Four years ago I started writing a book about it, and three years ago I finished it.
Two years ago I realised that thanks to the spectacularly niche audience for a book about an Irish girl working in Disney World, Space Shuttle launches and the challenges of long, thick hair in near 100% humidity, it was never going to get published, so eighteen months ago, I decided to do it myself.
It sounds a whole lot simpler than it actually was. Because truth be told, I was a certifiable self-publishing snob who thought that publishing your own book was nothing but a pointless and shameful pastime indulged in only by deluded losers...
I had never been traditionally published, but I was a self-proclaimed expert on the publishing world. For nearly ten years or ever since I turned 18, I’d been daydreaming non-stop about a six-figure deal and a well paid job you could do in your pyjamas, faithfully buying a new edition of The Writers and Artists Yearbook every year. This took pride of place in my (frighteningly) extensive collection of How To Write Books books: despite having never actually written a book, I knew exactly how to write a good query letter, create an elevator pitch and decipher a publishing contract. And as for formatting a manuscript – well, that would be my specialist subject should I ever end up on Mastermind. I signed myself up for workshops, sidled up to - gasp! - Real Life Writers at signings and other events and practised perfecting my pseudonym signature, just in case. I drew up a wish list of five literary agents and jotted down some notes about what questions I’d ask them when they called to offer me representation. (Because that’s what the books said: Don’t forget to ask them questions too. Makes you look professional.)
Clearly it was only a matter of time before I got published. All I had to do was write a book.
My expert and utterly unnecessary knowledge of the publishing world meant that whenever I heard of people self-publishing, I rolled my eyes so much that my pupils threatened to disappear forever into my head. I’d sneer at pictures in the local newspaper of what I assumed to be dangerously bored housewives proudly clutching their debut short story collections. How pathetic! There was extra sneering for those who hadn’t even tried to get properly published, and were presumably blissfully unaware that there was, in fact, an established path to publication and they had foolishly wandered off in the opposite direction. Because at the end of the day, if your book was good enough for other people to read, it would eventually get published. Right?
Well, no – as I discovered when I started submitting Mousetrapped to publishers. I got pretty much the same answer wherever I went: we enjoyed reading it and we think it’s a good book, but there isn’t a market for it. What they meant by this was if they – and “they” are Irish and/or UK publishing houses – edited, designed, printed and distributed a couple of thousand copies of the book, paying for all costs including the salaries of the staff who’d have to do it and royalties to me, chances are they wouldn’t sell enough copies of it to recoup their investment. And publishing is a business after all.
But if I self-published it using a Print On Demand service – who allow you to upload your book for a very small fee and only print a copy of it when an order is placed – and e-book websites where no cost at all is involved, and I used these to pitch Mousetrapped to a global market and did everything I could to promote and sell it... well, maybe I would recoup my investment or even, dare I dream, make some money.
So that’s what I did. I self-published a paperback using CreateSpace, and e-books using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Platform and Smashwords.com.
But my years of sneering at self-publishers had – thankfully – left a mark. I knew that what I was doing was not making a book that looked like the ones I bought and read, that my book wouldn’t be available in stores and that this story was not going to end with me wallpapering my office in real gold leaf. (Or even in Laura Ashley.) I didn’t have a literary agent-shaped voodoo doll, didn’t whine about editors not even “giving my book a chance!” and I refused to use the word gatekeepers. Nor did I moan about low e-book prices “devaluing my artistry”, insist that everyone call me an “indie author” [very loud groan] or claim that by the end of next year, no one will even remember what – and it pains me to use this term, even like this – “dead tree books” looked like.
I was realistic. I was modest. And I did everything I could to make my book look right.
And I did okay. I released Mousetrapped in March 2010 and sometime this month I’ll sell my 6,000th copy. I’m self-publishing another travel memoir, Backpacked, in September, and even self-publishing a novel the month after that.
But I’m not on the self-publishing cheer-leading squad, or giving up my dreams of traditional publication. All I’m saying is this: you too can self-publish without sounding like a bureau chief at the Self-Publishing Ministry of Truth, and sell enough copies to afford a few ink cartridges or even – if you’re lucky – to write full-time.
All you need is are realistic expectations and some common sense.
Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing is available now in paperback and e-book. Find out more on www.catherineryanhoward.com.
The lovely Catherine is offering one paperback copy of Self-Printed, sent anywhere in the world and three Self-Printed e-book from Smashwords.com (multiple formats available)! To be in with a chance, just leave a comment below.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
TGIS - Thank God it's Summer!
Well, almost! It's not technically summer yet but the weather is nice and the days already feel lighter, lazier.
The meaning of summer has changed for me over the years. When I was a kid, it was 2-1/2 months of nothing. No more homework, early bedtimes, or alarm clocks. Swimming in the lake, basking in the sun. The nights were warm with no need for a coat. It was true bliss! Then I grew up a bit, and though I still was in school, summer meant a job to earn a little bit of money. But there was still tons and tons of time for being lazy!
Then I graduated from college, and the real world fell on me. It was summer, but I still had to get up early. I still had to go to work. All. Day. Long. And I had to be in bed at a decent time so I could do it all again the next day. Didn't matter if it was 85 and sunny. There was nothing worse than being at work and looking out the window at a gorgeous day. The only time for relaxation were my two days off each week. But Mother Nature didn't always plan her rain schedule by my work schedule.
Fast forward a few years to mommyhood. I am lucky enough to be able to stay home with my kids and work from home. It use to be a home-based business; now I stay home to write. And it's a combination of both of my old worlds. I can stay up late and sleep in if I want. I can make rainy days my work days, though I do still have to work on sunny days. I love the flexibility my life now has. My husband has wacky days off and they are different each week. While school is in session, we rarely get the chance to do anything as a family. But in the summer, our daughter doesn't have school and dad's days off are everyone's days off!
What was your favorite part of summer when you were young? And now?
A huge thank you to Talli for having me! And thanks to everyone for stopping by! I wish you all a fabulous summer. Any fun plans? All commenters will be entered in a drawing to win a digital copy of my newest release, Soap Dreams! All commenters will also be entered into a Grand Prize Drawing to be held at the end of my blog tour!! A signed copy of A Bitch Named Karma (US only, sorry) and digital copies of both Paradise Cove and Soap Dreams.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
For my post today I’ve decided to address the question: Can medical romance be funny? It’s a valid question. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hospitals? Gorgeous doctors? Probably not. Most people think of the Emergency Room. Trauma and drama. Sickness, injury, and pain. Not much material for funny stuff there.
But being a nurse, I can tell you with first-hand knowledge, medical professionals are some of the funniest people I know. And in Medical Romance, like in actual medical settings, humor is most often found in the interactions between people and not in the medical situations themselves.
Something you may not know, in Harlequin Medical Romance, the books do not take place solely in hospitals. There are many different medical settings that span the continents. Our characters have full lives outside of work. And while there are medical scenes, the focus of our stories is on the hero and heroine. While we strive to make our medical scenes as realistic as possible, gore and tension and high-stakes medical drama is not our main focus.
Here’s a scene from WHEN ONE NIGHT ISN’T ENOUGH. It may not be laugh out loud funny, but I hope it shows that medical romance can be light and entertaining, even in the midst of the medical setting:
“You okay?” Ali asked, coming to stand beside him.
Damn it. He thought she’d gone back inside.
“Just peachy. How about you?”
“You were great with Jimmy. I’m sorry you lost your dad so young.”
He couldn’t look at her. “It’s why I became a physician, so no kid would have to deal with what I went through. I’m doing a great job of it, huh?”
“You’re not God, Dr. P.” She set her hand on his forearm, sending a flare of soothing warmth throughout his body. He craved her touch with a ferocity that excited him as much as it unnerved him.
“You coded Jimmy’s dad twelve minutes longer than any other physician here would have,” she said. “You did your best.”
He tilted his head down and to his left, and their eyes met, held. Hers conveyed genuine concern, empathy. He’d seen it dozens if not hundreds of times over the months they had worked together, directed at her patients, never at him. Yet, instead of using the moment as an opportunity for a sincere conversation between them, he chose to ignore the unwanted, long-suppressed feelings starting to stir deep in his damaged soul for a chance to play, to forget.
“Careful, Kitten,” he said in an exaggerated whisper, taking care to make sure there was no one around to hear his term of endearment that delighted him as much as it aggravated her. “I might get the impression you’re starting to like me.” His mood lifted. “That as hard as you’re trying not to, you can’t help yourself.”
“Nah.” She looked down at her watch. “The hospital pays me to be kind and compassionate. Lucky for you I’m still on the clock.”
“Good.” He leaned in close to her ear. “Maybe we can go someplace private and you can give me a little more of your commm…passion.”
She pinched him.
Good for her. The girl had spunk. “Ouch.” He rubbed his upper arm. “Where’d the kindness go?”
She looked up at him, her light blue eyes narrowed.
“I’m on the verge of breaking down.” He wiped at his dry lashes. “Hell, I think I feel some tears coming.”
She turned and walked back toward the E.R. without giving him a second glance. And she looked just as fine from the back as she did from the front, her lavender scrub pants hugging her perfectly shaped rear, her long brown hair up in a loose knot, and sensible little gold hoop earrings curving under her kissable earlobes.
“Don’t women like it when a man shows his emotions?” he called after her.
She stopped. “Lust is not an emotion, Dr. P.,” she answered over her shoulder.
“It sure is.
Come over to my place after work and we’ll do a Google search. Whoever’s right gets to choose what we do next. You wanna know what I’ll pick?”
Ali hit the button beside the electronic doors.
As they started to open he called out, “Time’s running out, Ali.”
She hesitated before walking back into the ER.
Jared waited a minute, trying to contain his smile. He knew she wouldn’t bite, but provoking her was so much fun. No one entertained him like Ali. For the first time in the two years he’d worked as an agency physician, traveling from hospital to hospital throughout
, Jared might actually miss someone when an assignment ended. A sure-fire sign it was past time for him to move on. New York State
So what’d you think?
And now some questions for you. Have you ever read a Harlequin Medical Romance? If so, did you like it? If no, why not? And would you be willing to make mine your first?
Thanks, Wendy. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Monday, June 06, 2011
Friday, June 03, 2011
Interesting, hunh? It's funny, because I always thought that once I got published, I'd immediately feel validated. And although being published rocks, it's not the cure-all to the niggly doubts and worries that existed before publication. In fact, I might even say it makes those doubts worse! But the good thing is -- I'm not alone. Thank goodness for writer friends and their support and encouragement.