Monday, December 31, 2007

FREE Harlequin eBooks!

Go to Harlequin every day until January 1st and download a FREE ebook from Harlequin. Can’t beat that!
<-New Years Eve

New Years Day->

Friday, December 28, 2007

Welcome to Kelley's new baby girl! Congratulations, Kelley!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday 13 :: 13 ways people have found Romance Rules

  1. what makes a woman a heroine

  2. karyna darosa

  3. cats have them dogs don't

  4. rules for writing a harlequin romance

  5. romance writers ups downs

  6. sexiest kisses

  7. romance novel rules

  8. romance why are heroines virgins

  9. is it safe to eat pizza while pregnant?

  10. office romance rules

  11. cats solitary nature

  12. woman with strong forearms

  13. sexiest man 2007

For some of those who found us, I am sure we were a help...but do we really talk about cats that much?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh yeah...

I guess I had better get to writing then!

Hugs - Jenna

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Nostalgia

Do the holidays bring out your romantic side? Make you want to curl up with your honey beside a roaring fire while Nat King Cole croons about making it a merry Christmas?

Well, being Jewish, that's never been me! But since DH is Christian, we do both Hanukkah and Christmas. Now that Hanukkah is over, we take down all the blue and white decor in favor of the green and red stuff.

Today was the day we bought the tree and pulled out the box full of ornaments. As the kids hung faded hand made photo frames and glass balls filled with ten-year-old popcorn on the tree, I found the whole experience was bringing out my nostalgic nature. I remember when my children came home from school with each ornament, when friends presented me with various trimmings that reminded them of me. It was a veritable trip down memory lane. And I realized that's what all those warm and fuzzy holiday books do to us. They try to spark some remembrance in each of us. I guess that's why we keep going back for more.

Are you a holiday romance lover? Do you watch those same five movies that tickle your nostalgia bone? Do you seek out holiday-themed novels? Or do you steer clear of the whole thing?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Its in his kiss

I think this is one of the sexiest kisses I've ever seen. I'm big on kisses. I love watching and reading a good kiss. Kissing is one of the most intimate actions you can do with another person. It shows emotions and leads to so much more. I can still remember the first kiss I shared with my husband, the way it felt. It was one of the first moments that I realized how much he meant to me.

This kiss is how I want to write. I think it shows how much they're attracted to each other. Its sexy, passionate, fun. I think this is one hot kiss!

Are you big on kissing? Do you have a favorite type of sexy or intimate scene you like to read or write?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


A brand new writing competition from the world’s best-selling romance series is about to hit the blogosphere!

It’s an exciting time for Harlequin Presents: from January 2008, there will be 12 of our intensely passionate romances available every month (some of them from the line I write for, Modern Heat!). And with this increase of titles comes a great opportunity for aspiring authors – we will be looking to buy more books for publication!

The old saying goes that first impressions are lasting impressions – and when it comes to reading a Harlequin Presents, that certainly holds true. If the first chapter doesn’t immediately grip the reader with its pace, passion and intensity, then she won’t continue to turn the pages.

So Presents is inviting unpublished writers to show us how they can grab the attention of our readership with first chapters that really sizzle. The INSTANT SEDUCTION competition offers prizes that are chances of a lifetime for the lucky winner and runners-up:

*First prize – win yourself an editor for a year!

*Two runners-up will be given editorial critiques of their first chapter entries and also a personal telephone consultation about their writing!

Visit the I ♥ Presents blogsite for full details of the competition – and the chance to prepare for publication with an exclusive series of writing tutorials prepared by the editorial team at Harlequin Presents, including advice on First Chapters, How to Write a Synopsis, Loving the Alpha Male and Generating Emotional Conflict.

Entries for the competition will be accepted as on-line submissions only from 1st January until 14th February 2008. Entries should comprise of the first chapter and a synopsis of a previously unpublished/unsubmitted novel aimed at Harlequin Presents. Address for entries:

**Even if Presents/Modern Heat is not your ideal line, the information offered as a build up to the contest is a wonderful education for anyone who wants to write for any of the Mills & Boon lines. Everything is cooperative in the London office, so the basics of what they are looking for in Presents, Romance, Medicals, and Historicals doesn't waver. A solid chapter one, focused conflict, and knowing your characters will make your submission a winner for any line.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tears on my Pillow

I have a confession – I'm a cry-a-holic. Not only do I tear up at sad movies, while reading touching novels, but I can’t keep my eyes from watering at weddings, school plays, even sappy TV commercials. I can’t read too many cards at the Hallmark store without destroying my eye makeup. It's become a bit of an embarrassment. My DH just rolls his eyes when we witness any show of emotion in public. He knows the waterworks are about to begin.
And it's not only the things that touch me. The sight of someone else crying – for whatever reason – will send me over the edge. I don't even have to know the cause of their display to follow suit. I've started avoiding the situations that'll make me cry. If I can't, I use waterproof mascara!
Believe it or not, although I can write a touching scene without fear of an emotional outpouring, I can’t reread or edit said scene. Yes – I know these are made up ficticious characters, products of my own imagination, yet they become so real to me – maybe more real to me than to a reader – that I can’t hold back the emotions.
It's become a handicap, really, this inability to control my tear ducts. I haven’t figured out if I'm really more emotional than most folks, or if I just wear my heart on my sleeve more – or rather, on my hanky. I've even gone so far as to try to distract myself from what's going on so I'm able to focus on not crying. Problem with that is, I feel cheated out of the emotional experience when all is said and done.
What about you? Can you keep your tears in check or are you the waterworks when you observe sad/happy/poignant moments? Are all the final pages of your romance novels stained with your tears?

Friday, November 30, 2007

RT Newbie!!

Since this is my very first year as a published author, it's also going to be my first year attending Romantic Times Booklover's Convention. I supposed I could've attended as an unpub, but to be frank, I couldn't justify the expenditure then. At least now I'll get to sell some books. :-D

The convention's still some months away (April, to be exact), but I'm wondering if those of you who've previously attended could share your experiences and perhaps be so kind as to provide some "tips?" This newbie would be eternally grateful!!!

Oh, and btw:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hopping into the Convertible - DARA

I'm blogging today at Riding With The Top Down about the "Salon Phenomenon." Please come on over and wave at me as I ride by with some fabulous authors.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving



I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and good food.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Book-- New Newsie--New Party!

Because I missed my day to post, Dara was kind enough to give me her day...(thanks, Dara!)

I have a new release coming out soon! Suni’s Gift is due to be released on November 26th...I”m really excited about this one. I haven’t been this excited since Haley’s Cabin was released. It’s my first Phaze story and my first REAL ménage story.

Here’s a blurb:

High School English Teacher, Suni Buchanan married the man of her dreams and has a job she loves. As a firefighter, Ross sees his fair share of heartache and performs heroic acts every day. So, why does she fantasize about being with two men? It's wicked and selfish of her to even consider something so scandalous. But then Ross shocks her when he announces that he's read her journal and knows her secret desire. He goes one further when he surprises her with a special present for Christmas. A threesome that includes their mutual friend, Alex Boggs. But will the passion-filled night change their marriage for better or worse?

***And for an exciting excerpt go here: Excerpt

Also, I have a brand spankin’ new newsletter! To sign up go here: Anne's Newsie This is not a chat group. I will only be sending out one or two newsletters a month, so don’t worry, you WILL NOT get overloaded by chatter!

If you’d like to chat with me and other authors and readers, feel free to sign up to my chat group here: Anne’s Chat Group

NOTE: To celebrate my Phaze release, there will be a bunch of us Phaze authors chatting it up over at at my chat group (see link above) on November 26th...prizes, excerpts, and our hunky waiter, Dax! Come join the fun!

Sexy Phaze Authors attending:

Victoria Blisse
Aurora Black
Jamie Hill
Sapphire Phelan
Derek Musgrave
Brenna Lyons
Anne Rainey

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

2007 Sexiest Man Alive

I'm deviating from the norm and devoting this week's blog to my second favorite topic after writing: MEN!!

More specifically, hot men!

Picked up the latest issue of People. I always read on the subway on my way to work (books, for the most part). But every now and again, I capitulate to this guilty pleasure, especially with titles like Sexiest Man Alive. Who can resist? So, it turns out that Matt Damon is People Magazine's 2007 Sexiest Man Alive. Okay, so I like Matt's movies and all, but I don't know. He's never ruffled any of my feathers. I look at him and think "ehhhh" and that pretty much sums it up.

Runner-up was Patrick Dempsey (aka Dr. Dreamy) who I must admit just gets sexier as he ages.

#3 spot went to the ultra-sexy, double-delish Ryan Reynolds. I had no idea he was so tall (6'2" according to People). Drool factor for him just increased exponentially. Is this man hot or what?!?

Good Lord, this is exactly how I want him (handcuffs and all...) and a bottle of Hersheys chocolate syrup.

#4 was Brad Pitt (no surprise there), he's been a permanent fixture of People's Sexiest Man's list for over a decade now (though, imho his age is starting to show).

#5 James McAvoy. I've never heard of him before and his picture did nothing for me, either. Of course, we're all entitled to our opinions, but moving right along...

#6 Johnny Depp! WTH?!!? A travesty if I ever heard one. At the very least he should've made the Top 3. Just look at that face and tell me this man isn't to-die-for sexy!??!

#7-Dave Annable. Never heard of him before either. But hey, he's hot. Sure didn't mind reading about him (you never know when you'll learn something new).

#8-Will Smith. Love his movies and he's a great actor, but like Matt, he's never set my pulse aspiking.

#9-Javier Bardem. The only reason I know of him is because he hails from my mother's homeland: Spain. But I think he's largely an unknown in mainstream America. Personally, I don't think he's attractive at all. But again, beauty's in the eye of the beholder.

#10-Shemar Moore. Now this man is S-E-X-Y. Wow. He was the only reason I watched the Young & the Restless for as long as I did.

If you don't want to fork over the $5+ for this double issue, just go to People's web site. Although, they don't have the complete 100 on there. I believe they only show the top 15. Some of the men on the list, however, left me scratching my head. For example, I'm a huge fan of The Office, but having Rainn Wilson (aka Dwight Schrute) on there? Come on, now.

My top 5 would've read like this:

1)Ryan Reynolds

2)Johnny Depp

3)Christian Bale

4)Jonathan Rhys Meyer

5)Matthew McConaughey

Who are your top 5?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ups and Downs

Writing through the peaks and valleys of life is a challenge. But I'm ususally pretty good at rolling with the punches. This weekend was one of those high and low times - first really high, then pretty low. I helped organize and then participated in a huge holiday kick-off signing at a local mall - yes - right out there in the mall. There were more than 20 authors from all over the state and I did something I've never done before - I sold every single copy of my books. What a high. I was on cloud nine. I left the signing and went to a big party with loads of my friends, drank, danced and had a terrific time. A good friend even shared some great news. Wonderful Saturday.
Then Sunday came. My daughter returned home from a sleepover with a terrible stomach flu. She hurled and cried and generally felt awful. Add to this my cramps from hell and my poor DH didn't know who to comfort first. He was amazing. Thanks to the doctor across the street and some serious meds, we're both a bit better this morning.
Believe it or not, I signed up for NaNoWriMo and was somehow able to write more than 2,000 words this weekend.
So what about you? Do you write when you're feeling bad? Get the meaty, emotional scenes cranked out when you're blue? Or must everything be on the upswing for your muse to show up?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Virgin Mystique

I’m working on two Erotica romances at the moment—a drastic departure from my comfort realm of historical romance. Although, my historicals are quite spicy themselves. Still, there’s a marked different between romance and erotic romance. I’m thoroughly enjoying my dip into this foray. What I like the most? My heroine is not, but most importantly, does not have to be a virgin.

Of course, one of my stories is a contemporary erotic romance and the heroine is over 30. The chances of a 30-something professional woman in NYC being a virgin nowadays are slim. My heroine is experienced (much more so than her 23-year-old lover.) A part of me cringed as I wrote each chapter. I kept thinking: Will my editor hate it? Will she think my heroine’s a slut?

Then I remembered this is an erotic romance, the traditional rules do not apply. Which got me thinking just what is the appeal of the ‘virgin heroine?’ Sometimes I’m annoyed by them. I recently read a contemporary romance by a NYT best-selling author (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons). The heroine in this story was a 30-something attorney who was still a virgin. Of course, she meets said alpha-male hero and he teaches her all the joys of sex…blah, blah, blah. I hated the story because I hated the heroine. What I hated most was the absurd reason why this woman was still a virgin: she simply never had time for it. Apparently, all through college she did nothing but study, and afterward, well, she was consumed by her existing job. So no sex for her. No sexual thoughts, feelings, curiosity…nothing. Nada. Zilch. Until she meets the hero. Then her dormant libido suddenly goes into a crank-like frenzy.

Wouldn’t it have been easier (not to mention far more believable) to not make the heroine such a monolith of chastity and virtue? I wondered if perhaps this author was pressured by her editor to abide by the unwritten heroine-must-be-a-virgin credo. And this heroine wasn’t merely a virgin, she had absolutely no sexual experience whatsoever. She’d never pleasured herself or even gone to first base before in her life. She’d never even dated! Was this woman completely asexual? Frigid? It simply wasn’t believable.

This formulaic heroine, anachronistic as she is, continues to appear—assembly-line style—in many bestsellers. Of course, when writing historicals, you have to stick with the social norms of the times. In my historical westerns, my heroines are virgins. That’s expected and consistent with the time period, though. When writing contemporary romances, you are (or should be) at liberty to choose. To me it’s all about making the story and characters believable. So I’m wondering which you prefer and why. Virgin or not?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Favorite Paranormal?

Hi All!

This one is easy. Just tell us which paranormal is your all time favorite! Then tell us why...yeah, easy...right! LOL. There's so many out there to choose from, it's so tough. Christine Feehan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. R. Ward, Amanda Ashley, Angela Knight...the list goes on.

My favorite paranormal was the one that most took me by surprise. "Blood Creek Haunting" by Derek Musgrave. Be aware that it is not a traditional paranormal romance. I think I enjoyed it so much for that very reason. The author pulled me into the story from the first page, and I was overwhelmed. It's an incredibly emotional tale.

here's a short blurb:
Blood Creek Haunting is the story of a woman who's being haunted by the ghost of an Indian brave. Emily discovers that not only is her house being built on the sacred ground of the Blood Creek Massacre, but also one of her ancestors was responsible for the massacre. Can Emily find a way to repay the debt? Will she survive the haunting?

Now, your turn!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hands, arms and abs. OH MY!

A couple days ago I was talking to a friend who's boyfriend works with my husband. She was complaining about his hands and how rough and calloused they get from their work. She actually worked on his hands to scrub some of the callouses away. I started thinking about how much I love my husbands hands (get your mind out of the gutter) lol. Seriously though, I love a man with rough, strong working mans hands. The callouses don't bother me. In fact, I'd much rather have a callous handed hubby to a smooth handed one. It reminds me how hard he works physically for our family. It makes him feel strong and masculine to me. I never realized how much I loved manly hands until we started this conversation. When I think back to the hero's I've written about I talk about their hands a lot and they're always rough, calloused, man hands, lol. I think it's one of my favorite male body parts. Sexy, strong hands and forearms.

You can't see this guys hands very well but I love his forearms. They're strong and sexy looking.

After hands and forearms my favorite male body part has to be abs. I LOVE a nice, strong, toned abdominal muscles (what woman doesn't?).

Yowza! Look at those abs. That is some writing inspiration right there.

So, whats your favorite male body part?

If you're a writer, is there a specific body part that you enjoy writing about? Describing? Something your hero has to have? (Lets keep this fairly clean folks ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Reality or Fantasy?

Are your characters based on people you know, or are they completely made up? I guess all writers must get asked this question since I've been asked so many times by friends, fans, interviewers and the like. For me, the answer isn't so simple.

I am made up of all the experiences I've had, all the people I've known, all the stories I've heard and read. As I think about the answer, I realize I've based some secondary characters on friends and clients. But the characters always take on a life of their own and usually differ in some major ways from their model. When it comes to my major players, I can honestly say they are pure imagination.

As I write this, I'm in the midst of updating a workshop on characterization I'm giving in a few weeks. I realized as I made note cards the reason my major characters are not based on those I know. They spring from a particular GMC. Their personality must conform to what I need it to be. Not true of the supporting cast, whose GMCs can be a little more loose, a bit more pliant.

So what about you? How do you come up with exciting characters?

Friday, October 19, 2007

All I Want for Christmas

Okay, so I'm two months early, but I've already asked my b/f for the Sony e-Reader for Christmas. I'm very much a techy geek, and I love new gadgets. I'm especially excited about this one.

Roughly the size of a paperback novel, but thinner than most, The Sony eReader can store hundreds of books in internal memory with the addition of an optional Memory Stick or Secure Digital (SD) flash memory card. I apologize for sounding like a commercial. I'm very excited about this long overdue gadget. One of the chronic complaints I hear from most readers regarding e-books is how they can't "take" their computer with them they way they can take their books. Well, this little baby is the answer. Not only can you take your favorite book with you, you can take hundreds! This is the first reader (allegedly) with a backlight display as well as zoom and scroll capabilities. So, in essence, you get a far better reading experience, and you don't have to go out searching for those "large print" books anymore. I'll wait until I actually have one to post my "official" review. But the eReader looks like its set to revolutionize epub as we know it. Of course, it's still a bit pricey. Give it time, that too will come down. And just think how much money you'll save downloading all your favorite authors at half the cost of dead tree. Ya gotta love technology.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Edits, Edits, Edits...where does it end!

We’ve all been through it and we’ll continue to go through it. Sometimes it’s not so bad, other times you’re ready to scream and pull your hair. If you’re lucky, you’ll work with an editor who knows what they’re doing and won’t attempt to destroy your voice and turn your book into a cookie-cutter romance. If you’re unlucky you’ll end up with someone who doesn’t know bad writing from good.

Recently I’ve been working with two different editors from two different companies. Both ladies have their own way of doing things and both are very thorough. I feel quite fortunate to have worked with them, as they’ve shown me that not all editors are evil. LOL Now, for the good and bad of it.

Good vs Bad:
A good editor will help fix your mistakes.
A bad editor doesn’t see the mistakes to start with.

A good editor makes suggestions.
A bad editor wants it changed no arguments.

A good editor will make you laugh at yourself.
A bad editor wouldn’t know a joke if it bit her in the butt.

A good editor knows that you are not perfect.
A bad editor expects perfection, so she won’t have to do her job.

A good editor will point out things, so you won’t make the same mistakes in the future.
A bad editor just wants your manuscript off her desk.

A good editor thinks you have something worth reading.
A bad editor never bothered to actually read your manuscript.

A good editor respects your voice.
A bad editor changes you into...her.

A good editor doesn’t allow her personal issues to affect her job.
A bad editor slips her pet peeves into your MS every chance she gets.

Now, if you have any other pointers, share them with us!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Want a free e book?

Phaze is having a reader answer the questions, send an get a free ebook and a chance to win some print books...and if you let them know Jenna Allen told you about it...I get publisher kudos :)

TO PARTICIPATE: Until we get the form active, please paste the questions below and send your answers to klively (at) phaze (dot) com. We will try to get your book to you ASAP. Thanks for participating.

What is your e-mail address? (So we can send your free eBook)
Name of Phaze Author who referred you to this survey :: Jenna Allen
How many eBooks do you buy a month?
Where do you most often buy eBooks?
When purchasing directly from a publisher, what do you consider to be the most important factor?
Would you be more inclined to buy from a publisher that offered regular sales and discounts?
Would you be more inclined to buy from an eBook publisher that offered print books?
If you could change one thing about the website of your favorite publisher, what would it be?
How do you most often hear about a new eBook publisher?
From which publishers do you most often buy eBooks? CHOOSE FIVE
What are your favorite subgenres of erotic romance? CHOOSE FIVE
Which subgenres are you least likely to buy? CHOOSE FIVE
Which subgenres would you most like to see published? CHOOSE THREE
If you knew an eBook was going to print, would you wait to buy the print version?
Do you buy anthologies?
If you buy anthologies, which do you prefer?
What length preference do you buy most often?
What heat level of erotic romance do you prefer?
Thank you for answering our survey! Please write the name of the Phaze eBook you would like to receive for free. (Visit for our current catalog).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

OMG its Thursday

I'm tellin ya, things have been crazy for me. I totally forgot that it was my day to blog so I don't have anything thats new, fun and exciting to talk about. I'm sitting here ready for bed trying to think about what to say so I decided to share an excerpt from my upcoming book, Getting Lucky with Luciano. In this scene the heroine, Kaylee is waiting in the restaurant for her two friends to come when Luciano approaches her. Kaylee has a small problem keeping it together when the object of her lust is around, lol. I hope you enjoy.

Kaylee watched as the hostess sat the elderly couple who just entered when suddenly she got the feeling. Luciano must be near by. Goose bumps spread across her already tingling skin. Her heart started beating double time.
She didn’t see Luciano yet, but knew he had to be close by. She heard him making rounds like he did every night, greeting his customers in that sexy, baritone voice.
Turning to the left, her hand slid across the table. Just as he approached her, Kaylee did what she always did when he was around, something stupid. As her water glass tipped over creating a small pool on her table, she fought the overwhelming urge to crawl under that same table and hide. He must think I’m the world’s biggest klutz!
“I’ll get that for you.” Luciano said as he cleaned the small amount of water with one hand and a napkin. “Luckily you drank most of it already.” His rich, smooth tone wrapped around her making her dizzy. Or maybe that was from the lack of oxygen getting to her brain. Something about being around this man severed all her control over her body. The only connection that never failed, the one to her raging hormones.
“Yeah, lucky me,” Kaylee mumbled as she ran her hand up her arm. The heat from his closeness snaked across her bare skin.
“Nico sent out another desert for you to try while you’re waiting for your friends.” Luciano set a plate with three pieces of chocolate cake on the table. They looked almost as yummy as Luciano himself.
Taking another quick glance towards Luciano, Kaylee tried to respond but couldn’t raise her eyes to look the man in the face. She was eye level with his crotch and couldn’t for the life of her turn away. He obviously packed a pretty big bulge beneath his black slacks. Damned if her tongue didn’t have a mind of its own and slowly lick her lips. Get a grip, girl. You’re staring at the man’s crotch. Look up. Come on, you can do it.
The view on the way up was just as dangerous as the one below his belt. Flat stomach, keep going, broad chest, you’re almost there, square jaw, knowing smile, and near black colored eyes, exhale breath, you made it. Wait, knowing smile? Damn, he knows I’m checking him out!
“Look good?” Luciano said his smile growing.
Kaylee couldn’t breath, much less speak, so she did what she did best when Luciano was around, she stared.
“The dessert,” he said. “Does it look good?”
Dessert? What dessert? “Yes. It looks wonderful.”
“I’ll be sure to tell Nico you said so. We’ll be out later with dinner.” He stood there, locking eyes with her, in the process, stopping the beat of her heart a few seconds longer, than turned and walked away. She’d need a big dose of Nico’s chocolate to jump start her heart.

Copyright: Kelley Nyrae

Monday, October 8, 2007

Conferences Are Worth It!!

This past weekend was NJRW's Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. This was my very first conference and I can't recommend them enough. I met wonderful people, authors, publishers, agents and editors, and made some great contacts (not to mention I sold a bunch of copies of my book in the book fair). Although Sherilynn Kenyon's line was out the door and wrapped around the hallway...lolol. Someday that'll be us, right? To top that off, RomanceNovelTV interviewed me, much to my surprise. Hopefully it won't all end up in the proverbial cutting room

The workshops were great, too. My favorite was one called Page Fright-How to Fight Your Writing Demons. I was surprised to learn so many writers share the same fears. Karen Robards also gave a wonderful speech during breakfast about her journey into this crazy world we inhabit. All in all, the entire conference was a success. I can't wait for next year's event. I think these conferences are a great networking tool. A way for us to meet fellow authors and other industry people. They can get a little pricey, so I think it's best to choose the ones we'll get the most from. I'm looking into RT's conference this upcoming April. But that one's really pricey!! Has anyone attended RT before? Would you recommend it? I've heard nothing but good things. If my Christmas bonus is as expected,then maybe I'll go ahead and splurge for April. :-)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Open Door or Closed?

I was reading a book last week and was amazed at the number of graphic sex scenes. Now I'm no prude. All my books have a couple of saucy scenes but I always wonder how much detail is too much to cross the line into the "ick factor." Some of my favorite authors close the bedroom door on the sex while others describe every grunt and groan, every part being touched, licked or otherwise engaged. For me, how the sex is handled really doesn't affect how much I enjoy the book.
I don't read much erotica because I often find the stories or the characters a little lacking because so much page space is devoted to the sex. The next one on my TBR pile is an erotica, however. Since some of my short stories are that genre, I thought I should brush up on what's out there.
So what about you? Do you prefer the door be open or shut on graphic scenes?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Professionalism in Publishing

As authors, every time we submit a story we take a risk. That risk is tenfold when you don’t have an agent, because all the homework is on our shoulders. We’re forced to research each publishing house before we become involved with them; not doing so will undoubtedly result in poor handling of your manuscript, or nonpayment of royalties. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the rotten apples from the good ones. *everyone nods in agreement* All of us have been forced to eat a worm or two over our writing career. Some of you have already been through at least one horrible fiasco. Some of you have had the misfortune of becoming involved in multiple bad experiences—through no fault of your own. So, today I want to talk a little bit about something I find very disturbing, lack of integrity.

The definition of integrity: Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

I’m seeing more and more publishers forgetting that this is a business involving real people, not machines. We work hard to create a story worthy of reading. Most of us spend hours and hours at the computer, day after day, just to get a rough draft. Laundry takes a backseat. Our kids are sometimes forced to play outside while we attempt to think over a particular scene. Lots of sacrifices are made. Therefore, when a publisher doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain it’s like a big slap in the face. We’re forced to adhere to their guidelines or don’t even bother to submit, right? So why is it okay for their personal lives to interfere when it comes time for them to hold up their end of the bargain?

I’m not talking about breach of contract. I’m talking about honesty. Once upon a time, deals were made based solely on shaking a man’s hand. We trusted them to keep their word. But with some publishers all you hear are excuses, sometimes nothing at all. Emails are ignored. How does this make us feel? Frustrated. Angry that we kept strict to our moral code, but the publisher thinks its okay for them to make the rules up as they go along.

No, it’s not okay. We’re not machines! We’re human beings, working hard to create a wonderful tale filled with love and emotion and believable characters. A tale they’re going to profit from, I might add. The least they can do is honor their end of the handshake.

What do I look for in a publisher before I submit?
1. Primarily, check out their website.
2. Buy a book and do your own little critique. Is the story edited well, or are there many things that were missed?
3. Is the cover art well done or something your kid could have colored?
4. How many authors do they have on the payroll?
5. When was the company established and by whom? Most times, you can Google the woman/man behind the name and find information about them. This is a good way to learn more about this person’s company.
6. Ask your fellow authors a few pertinent questions--privately. If they’re unhappy with their publisher, most likely they’ll let you know. This is also a good way to find out who the good guys are.
7. Lastly, check out the Piers Anthony and Predators and Editors sites for any negative feedback.

Now for a list of things publishers do that put them on my no-no list (this list came from a member of my yahoo group, The Romance Bistro After Dark):
1. Publisher doesn't answer emails. Cannot be reached by phone or reg. mail. Basically falls off the face of the earth for an extended length of time.
2. Publisher does not pay on time.
3. Publisher pays but checks are short-changed (I'll pay you the rest later. or Ooops, my mistake. I'll send you the rest soon.), unsigned (Ooops, my mistake. I'll send you another one.), or bounce (It's the bank's fault).
4. Website is not updated for new releases. New releases are pushed back or postponed.
5. Editors are not paid. Cover artists are not paid. Other employees are not paid, and publisher does not answer their inquiries.
6. Fictionwise and ARe sales are not commiserate with author's spreadsheet. (Clue: The new release has 8 ratings, which means AT LEAST 8 people bought the book, but when paid, author is stated "No Sales". or Author's book is sitting at # 1 or # 2 for publisher, but author is stated single-digit sales.)
7. Google search discovers another website and publishing company under publisher's name.
8. Google search discovers author's books for sale on eBay and overseas Amazon sites that authors were not aware of.

***Now I’d love to hear from readers, writers, editors, anyone in the industry who has more insight into this. Or, if you’d like to share your own horror story, we’re here to listen. After all, the Romance Rules tagline is: a bunch of romance authors ranting about writing!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

To condom or not to condom (in our writing that is)

I've been curious how readers feel about this and also how other writers feel about it: Do you think the h&h should always wear condoms in books or does it depend on the circumstance? So far, my characters have always used condoms in their love scenes. I've wondered if it breaks the moment for readers. Are they really getting into the scene when we put up a big stop sign to put on the condom? Lets face the facts that in today's world using a condom is not only the responsible thing to do but the smart thing to do. It can save your life. But I know a lot of people read books to get a little escape from reality. To step into a world that maybe you don't always HAVE to think about those things. For those reasons is it okay not to use the condom or do you feel like the characters are being irresponsible if they don't? Especially if the heroine is on the pill, does that give them the okay to not use a condom? Also do you think its different for erotica? Why or why not?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Us Cats and Them Dogs

Is is just me or has anyone noticed how so many writers have cats for pets? I know a couple authors who have dogs too, but not nearly as many. Could it be the solitary nature of our work and the solitary nature of the animal? Perhaps cats don't tend to interrupt us during those critical creativity explosions when we MUST finish the scene or the chapter. A dog will not quietly wait to go for a walk or to play or to eat.
Don't get me wrong, my cats have their ways of letting me know what they want, like practically tripping me to make sure I head to the food bowls as I walk through the house in the morning. One parks her butt on my desk in front of my computer screen when I haven't shown her the acceptable amount of attention. I wonder if Ernest Hemingway's multitude of felines took up residence on his typewriter when in need of some head-scratching or chin-rubbing.

So what about you? Are you a cat person, a dog person or neither?

Friday, September 21, 2007

What POV do you like?


I'm not talking about head-hopping (a previous blog where we all expressed our likes/dislikes on that topic). I'm wondering what POV readers enjoy. Of course, the POV of hero and heroine are of utmost importance. But I'm wondering about other POVs that sometimes writers use. For example, a villain's POV. Do readers enjoy a villain's POV? What if the villain is a vile, despicable child molestor? Do you really want to know, much less read, that character's POV? I've come across several stories where the killer/child molestor/etc., POV is used extensively.

Personally, I don't really mind it, especially if it adds to the suspense of the story and I've also written in a villain's POV before. I suppose it depends on how despicable the villain is. What do ya'll think? :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


One of my publishers realized that authors need some direction when it comes to promoting our work. Most writers are by nature loners, observers, so putting ourselves out there is hard. Luckily, with this class on how to promo on the cheap will teach us what to try, and what not to waste our time on!

With promo on the brain...I thought I'd ask here what YOU respond to as a reader. Bookmarks, candy, free books, book trailers, internet chats, website interviews, reviews...

For me, it's largely word of mouth, which as an author you have NO control over. Next comes authors who spend time on forums I frequent, then chapter one excerpt booklets - but only in genres I already read...

What about you? What has moved you to buy a book in the last...year?

Jenna is hard at work on her next title for Mills & Boon Modern Heat. In the meantime, check out her website, blog, or reading group, We Call It Research.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Novella vs. Full

Dang, am I the only one glad it’s the weekend? I need a beer. Heck, a six pack would go down pretty good right now! LOL Somehow, my weekends have gotten just as hectic as my weekdays though. How did that happen?

*sips coffee and wishes it was a cold Coors Light*

Yeah, whatever. On to today’s topic! This one’s for readers and writers alike.

Why do some reader’s refuse to read a novella length story? Why do some readers refuse to buy anthologies? Please, inquiring minds wanna know! Don’t hold back, tell us your reasoning.

For me, I’ll read anything. I don’t base quality on how big the book is. If I did that, I’d never read Stephen King. Lori Foster. Shannon McKenna. Lucy Monroe. Most of my ALL TIME FAVORITE authors have written novella length stories. Heck, that’s how I discovered some of my favorite authors to begin with! For me, anthologies are a great way to try out a new author.

Nevertheless, from what I’ve seen on various reader message boards and yahoo groups, there’s a whole horde of readers who feel novellas are second rate. As if a novella isn’t going to have the same intensity and depth as a full length story. I do understand how hard it is to write a short story and get all that drama, emotion, laughs, HEA, etc in there. You don’t have a lot of time to fit all that in. In some ways, a novella can be pretty tough to write. However, it’s my opinion, from the various books I’ve read, that some authors can pack quite a punch in their novellas. And as far as plot? I’ve read plenty of 500 page books that didn’t have squat for plot. There’s been many times where I’ve sat there holding a ‘New York Times Bestseller’ and thinking to myself, ‘how on earth did this horrid thing make it to print?’

So, to me, it’s not length that makes a great book, it’s how well an author executes the concept. One of my wonderful editors once said: ideas aren’t unique, it’s what the author does with that idea that makes it exceptional.

So, here’s my Saturday question. Does length really matter? LOL...come on, you knew it was coming (no pun intended).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Romance Community

Happy Thursday everyone!!

Today I wanted to talk about the romance community in general. In the past couple years since I've discovered the wonderful world of romance novels I've noticed one thing: the romance community is filled with some pretty exceptional people! When I first started reading romances when I found an author I loved I contacted them through their website. Nine times out of ten I'd get a reply. And it wasn't your typical blah, blah, reply it was always very personal. Through some of these contacts I found message boards and yahoo groups and started to talk so much with some of these ladies that I now consider them friends. Two examples of authors I befriended before I ever wrote my first words are Lori Foster and Lucy Monroe. Both are terrific writers and phenomenal women. Lori supports so many causes from the troops, to battered women's shelters, to protection of animals. She and multiple other authors made a cook book called, The Write Ingredients where proceeds to go a very worthy cause. Next year 12 authors including Lori and Lucy are participating in an anthology where proceeds go to the battered women's shelter. Also every year Lori Foster and Dianne Castell host the Reader and Writer get together where this year over 4,000 dollars was raised for the battered women's shelter and 500 dollars for animal adoption. Lori and Dianne work so very hard to make the reader and writer get together a success. They're both very special women for all that they do and all the work that goes into the weekend.

Lucy Monroe has supported me so much while on my journey to become a published author. She's answered question, believed in my, and blogged my books when they were released. I don't know if she realizes how much faith she gave me in myself.

These are just a couple examples of the kindness I've seen within the romance community. I know there are tons more out there like them! All the readers and writes in the romance community that I've been lucky enough to meet either online or in person are truly caring, giving people. Their friendly, always willing to help out another person and they offer so much support when needed. I've been so lucky to meet some truly wonderful people within the romance community. I don't know if it stems from our love of romance, and happily ever afters. Maybe we carry those wonderful feelings we get from out books into our life's. Whatever the reason, I count myself very lucky to have found such a group of great people. Reader and writers alike.

What about you? Any special stories you want to share about readers or writers you've met? Any special causes you know certain authors support? What do you love the most about the romance community in general?

Monday, September 10, 2007

I did a book signing this weekend with four other local authors at a Borders in the Orlando area. I couldn't help but notice how many customers picked up our books or passed them by based solely on the cover. Is the cover THAT important? You bet.
The guiltiest of all is me! In a sea of books, I always pick up the one with a candy-colored picture on it that screams FUN. That usually earmarks a Chick-Lit book, my favorite guilty pleasure.
One of my first e-books had a cover I hated. At the time, I didn't feel secure enough as a writer to question the publisher. I can't tell you how many people emailed me to ask me what the picture was. It was a closeup of a man's face, but you really had to study it for a minute to realize that. I've never made that mistake again. I was so excited when I got the cover for an upcoming short story from The Wild Rose Press and it was PERFECT! Exactly what I'd wanted. I'm waiting for my next full-length book cover now and am hoping for something wonderful.
What about you? Do you choose what books you pick up at the bookstore based on the cover? Have you ever bought a book based on the cover and been sorely disappointed that it wasn't what the cover conveyed?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Greatest Moments In Writing!

*grabs a hanful of M&Ms and munches* I was thinking about this particular topic because of Kelley’s fantastic news—CONGRATS KELLEY! It’s these success stories that keep me going, constantly working to improve my craft. So, today is all about you, the author! I’d love to hear about that truly great moment when you sold your first story and knew a sense of accomplishment like nothing else in this world. When you realized that someone other than mom was going to read your stories.

Here’s my Great Moment. First, let me explain a few things about Anne Rainey. I’ve been writing since 2003. No, I didn’t just pop up a year ago. LOL The first things I submitted never even got rejected, as I never actually received a rejection letter. Apparently, I was either that bad or that unimportant. *grumbles and eats more M&Ms* So, after waiting for months and months on a few publishers who couldn’t even take the time to send me a letter saying ‘you suck’, I decided to take some time off from writing and research my craft a bit. I learned a lot in this time. Everything from how to write a query letter to sagging middles (and I’m not talking about waistlines, lol). After I felt more confident, I picked the pen up again and started writing. This time when I submitted, I did get a rejection letter. Hey, at least I’d moved up from being a nobody to someone worthy of a ‘you suck’ letter. LOL

What did I do? I went back to the beginning. I researched and attempted to figure out what I was doing wrong. At last, I’d figured it out. It wasn’t that I was writing crappy stories, they just weren’t fleshed out. It was as if I were submitting rough drafts. So, I went back to that first manuscript and basically gutted that sucker. Oy! I submitted it and BAM! I sold! No, it wasn’t my first sale, because as I waited for this particular print company to back to me, I wrote a few other stories and submitted those. ah-ha! Two more sales! Finally, I’d made it.

So, I suppose my shining moment happened twice. First, when I got the email from my editor at Samhain Publishing, Ltd.. I’ll never forget her words: “it was a sharp, sexy, well-written story”. I hooted and laughed and thought to myself, “Yes!” All the time I’d spent researching my craft was worth it! The second time was when I got that phone call from my dear editor at Red Sage Publishing, Inc.. I screeched and cried and finally, I opened up a bottle of wine. LOL Since those moments I’ve sold two more stories to these two wonderful companies--more on that when the details are ironed out--and I couldn’t be happier.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your shining moment? This is your time to brag, ladies!

Friday, September 7, 2007

To ePub or Not to ePub

There's been a lot of cyber chatter about the recent demise of Mardi Gras Publishing, here and here for starters. Sadly, the former owner of MGP bid her adieu via the following statement:

~Mardi Gras Publishing is officially closing September 1, 2007~
I have been forced to make this decision based on lack of finances - hormonal females and bitching.

That's just a snippet, folks. It gets worse, read her entire rant here. The epitome of class and professionalism isn’t it? 2007 has been a bad year for e-pubs. First the Trisk debacle and now this. The problem with e-pubs is the business model. Anyone with a computer and a modicum of web design knowledge can start their own e-business. The onus is on the author to thoroughly check out any publisher prior to signing a contract. There are real, legitimate e-publishers and small presses out there. Though, it can be difficult to spot the shysters from the professionals. Here are a few great tips (courtesy of Dear Jane).

Piers Anthony runs a great site devoted to this. He periodically updates it, so it’s worth checking out every month or so. Below is a list of legitimate small presses. Please don’t take this as gospel, then come after me if things don't work out for you (for whatever reason) as leading you astray. As far as I know, given my own experience and after extensive research, I found these to be reputable. Of course, any business can fold at any time. But I know other authors published through some or all of these who are doing quite well. I, for one, enjoy seeing my book stocked at Borders and in libraries across the country, and as most know, I’m published with The Wild Rose Press. The key is to find an honest, professional publishing house (whether big or small).

Recent changes regarding TWRP, all authors can now get their first sales listed in RWR. Furthermore, you can now enter your stories into RITA. This is a big step for a small press; but just another example that there are “good guys” out there as well.

Cerridwen Press
Cobblestone Press
Elloras Cave
Red Sage Publishing
Samhain Publishing
The Wild Rose Press

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thursday 13...A First Time For Us!

Thirteen Keywords That Have Led People To ROMANCE RULES

  1. romancing a woman sexually
  2. deb dixon author
  3. getting romance back women's view
  4. guys and forbidden fruit rule
  5. blooming laundry
  6. you'll mess up my head, we'll mess up our bed. (know what? That's a line from ON AGAIN)
  7. romancing a polish lady
  8. why women won't fully commit to a relationship
  9. online romance books
  10. Hugh Jackman DAY
  11. I’m lollygagging (that's Anne. The lollygagger.)
  12. romance heroine rules
  13. weakdom (???)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Jennifer McK
2. Jenna Bayley-Burke
3. Dara Edmondson
4. Morgan St. John
5. Debbie Mumford
6. Susan Helene Gottfried
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Monday, September 3, 2007


It's not procrastinating if you can make it work for you... If you're on the lookout for hero fodder, The Pink Heart Society has quite the collection going on, so much in fact, they've named it Hugh Jackman DAY!