Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Welcome Guest Author Emma Lai

Happy Tuesday, everyone! As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, one of the things that I am immensely thankful for this year is joining a wonderful community of authors on the web. It is nice to have the support of these wonderful ladies. One of my new friends is Author Emma Lai. She is celebrating the upcoming release of her second book. Please join me in saying hello to Emma Lai!

Emma likes nothing more than a challenge. First,she tackled the male-dominated field of engineering. Next, she expanded her understanding of the world by studying international relations. Finally, her husband dared her to use her experience and knowledge and devote herself to writing. She accepted his challenge and has been writing ever since.

Writing keeps Emma sane. Her characters demand their stories be told and nag her incessantly until she complies. The characters are very insistent about her remaining faithful to their individual adventures. As a result, Emma writes a range of genres and levels of heat. She never knows what the next set of characters will demand!

His Ship, Her Fantasy

Ellie Woods is in love…with a ship. When an argument with the ship results in a bump on the head, she finds herself in the strong arms of Alastair. But, who is he, and where did he come from?

Alastair has loved Ellie from afar for years, but duty has kept him from revealing himself to her. When a grave threat reveals his true identity, he hopes that Ellie will choose reality over fantasy.
Available now from The Wild Rose Press.

His Hope, Her Salvation
Promised in marriage to an abusive oaf, Judith resolves to find out if there can be passion without love. Snatches of conversation overheard at the local inn lead her to a mysterious American merchant who might be able to satisfy her carnal curiosity and capture her heart.

Donovan, a Guardian Hunter, is on the trail of a rogue Elysian in Georgian England. As the son of the First Hunter, he long ago gave up hope of finding his heart's mate. When Judith appears in his study, his inner beast and his heart demand he answer her plea for help.

Will their passion answer their hearts' pleas, or will it wither under the threat of reality?
Available December 16th from The Wild Rose Press

Hi Emma! Thanks for stopping by today. My favorite question always seems to my first when talking to authors. Which writers inspired you on your journey?

Hi Rachel! I started as a reader and have long been a fan of Georgian historical with an emphasis on the Regency time period. Julie Garwood introduced me to the world, and I currently follow Mary Balogh, Liz Carlyle, Lisa Kleypas, Victoria Alexandra, and Eloisa James.

If I get stuck while writing, I pick up one of their books and read for a while. Nothing helps get me back into the proper mind set better.

How have your real-life experiences influenced characters or scenarios in your books?

I use my heroines to explore various aspects of my personality, both strengths and weaknesses. As for my heroes, they all share some characteristic with my husband.

In His Ship, Her Fantasy, the heroine, Ellie is an engineer. Many of her experiences are based on my own experiences as an engineer. However, it is the only story in which I have incorporated my experiences.

Are you a pantser or a plotter when starting a new project?

I am a definite panster when starting a new project. All of my story ideas have come to me in dreams or been inspired by some snippet of a show, book, or conversation. Each character demands his/her story be told and bugs me until I write at least an outline down. I have a dozen or so stories started as a result.

Emma loves to hear from readers! Find her at her website or blog

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Week: The Attitude of Gratitude

Hello, dear readers! Sending early Thanksgiving wishes to you all!
I am doing a short post today (be sure to check back tomorrow when Author Emma Lai stops by!)

I have noticed on Facebook that people are using their status updates to talk about the things for which they are grateful and I thought it would be a very nice thing to talk about today.

My year has been an exciting one, certainly one of the best years of my adult life. My first e-book was published and I joined Rhode Island Romance Writers.I reconnected with many people that I went to school with, worked with or met in various groups that I belonged to over the years. I made friends with many new authors and writers on Facebook and tried different genres of books. My summer and fall seasons were filled with trips to new places by the side of my special someone. I am thankful for the people who truly love me!

I feel immensely blessed this Thanksgiving. My heart is truly filled with gratitude and love.

Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by your loved ones with abundant yummy food!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Blogger Helen Hardt on Critique Groups

Happy Tuesday, everyone!
I am happy to have author Helen Hardt stopping by today to talk about critique groups. It is something that I have considered for a while, but as sometimes happens, I find myself wanting more information. Helen and I chatted about an appropriate topic for her guest appearance here and I immediately thought of critique groups!

Welcome Helen!

When Rachel asked me to write a blog on critique groups, I emphatically said “yes!” Then I sat down and had no idea what to write, LOL. Until it dawned on me – a critique group is so much more than a group of writers offering advice on each others’ WIPs. It’s a support network – friends to cheer with you over contest finals, or better yet, that first contract, and friends to offer a shoulder when those inevitable rejections come in, or when we get a not-so-flattering review. A critique group should be a positive experience.

Of course, honesty is essential. When a WIP needs work, we’re not doing a CP any favors by telling her it’s perfect. But we can keep it positive. Writing is a profession that draws individuals with deep emotion. Without feeling deeply, we cannot write. Ironically, writing is a profession fraught with rejection and subjectivity – a sharp sword for those of us who feel deeply. Keeping our critique experiences positive helps soothe some of this negativity. You can always find something good to say about any WIP. Remember, the writer has put her heart and soul onto that page. We’ve all been ripped to shreds at one time or another; we shouldn’t expect it from our critique groups.

In addition, it’s best not to argue over critiques. There will be times when you don’t agree with something a CP suggests. When that happens, the best course of action is to ignore it. After all, the story, the characters, the situation are all your creation. You know best of all what will work. Sometimes a CP will come up with something you hadn’t thought of and a light bulb will light over your head. But sometimes a CP will make a suggestion that doesn’t feel right. That’s okay. Writing is subjective. Write the story of your heart, make it the best it can be, and someone will eventually take notice. Arguing with CPs fosters negativity, and above all, a critique group should be a positive experience. My CPs and I have a standing disclaimer when it comes to our crits – use what works for you, ignore the rest!

If you live in an isolated area and can’t find a group to meet with in person, research available opportunities online. I live in Colorado and have a wonderful critique partner in New York, Cari Quinn. We met while doing freelance editing for a small press. Cari has another CP who she met online via the Harlequin Message Boards. Whether it’s an individual or a group, the right fit for you is out there, so explore the avenues available!

Thank you, Rachel, for having me today! Here’s a blurb for my current release from Ellora’s Cave, Slow and Wet.

Jillian loves her gorgeous bronc-busting boyfriend, Dale. She just hasn’t told him yet. After a satisfying romp, she walks naked into Dale’s kitchen, shocked to find another hot cowboy. Travis likes what he sees and is eager to take up where he and Dale left off four years earlier—as two men giving one woman the ultimate pleasure.

To please Dale—and herself—Jill agrees. Under the Wyoming summer sky, she yields to the desires of both men. They cover her in her favorite beverage, Dale’s homemade honey-lemonade, and lick every drop from her body. But will this erotic encounter with four strong hands, two delectable mouths and two determined men lead to what Jill ultimately wants—Dale’s love?


Helen Hardt is an attorney and stay-at-home mom turned award-winning romance author. She met her real-life hero in law school, and they live in Colorado with their two teenage sons. Helen writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave, The Wild Rose Press, and Aspen Mountain Press. Her non-writing interests include Harley rides with her husband, attending her sons’ sports and music performances, traveling, and Taekwondo (she’s a blackbelt.) Visit Helen at www.helenhardt.com and www.helensheroes.blogspot.com.

Thank you so much for being my guest, Helen!
Dear readers, what have been your experiences with critique groups? Any further advice you would like to add?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Two Best Words a Writer Can Type...THE END

It is with much fanfare and happiness that I announce the final two words of the sequel to Litha Dreamstentatively titled Yuletide Destiny have been typed! *does happy dance*

I now have the hard-copy in front of me and have started my polishing before sending it on to DCL for their perusal.

It has been a very strange week, dear readers. It is almost as if the stars aligned to create a bit of chaos in Rachel's universe. Here's to normalcy.....

Now....back to my revisions......

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Week Away....And Back With Fresh Ideas

Hi everyone! Popping by this morning because I have had an itch to say hello and share some of my adventures with you.
I am good for one trip a year down to Florida (it's down for me because I live in RI) to visit my favorite escape, Walt Disney World. I usually go during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival because to me there is no better time to go...I get to ride my favorites and then wander World Showcase and sample amazing food from around the world.
It was not all play, though. I brought a hard copy of my latest work to tweak during the plane ride. I also got some inspiration for my next novella on Spaceship Earth. I am continually amazed that each time I return (and I have been to WDW 19 times since 1988)I see something new that sparks my creative side.
So it was a great break from my day-to-day schedule and I have returned refreshed and ready to let my happy fingers get to typing!
Be back later this week, everyone!