Friday, December 17, 2010

For When you get snowed in

Do you believe in the Magic of Christmas? I do! I do! I do! I do! I do! (I am not an ABBA fan ...not)
The most magical part of Christmas is when I have fed my family into a food coma - the kid is passed out in bed too pooped to play night games, the hubs is slumped in front of a journal or the TV and I *grins*  have my cuppa hot chocolate laced with cinnamon and caramel, I curl up in my fave chair by the fireplace and have a good romance at Christmastime story to read under the afghan.
No other genre would work,it has to be romance, because if you have ever been in love you will know catching a killer or an alien does not produce the same mushy feeling you get from falling in love - so romance it is

I have compiled a list of Christmas stories out this year designed to cater to as wide a taste as possible. Happy Reading and have a very Merry Christmas
Call Me Mrs. Miracle - Debbie Macomber
Mistletoe and the Lost Stiletto - Liz Fielding
First Impressions - Nora Roberts (2008 release, but its my list harrumph)
The MacGregor Brides - Nora Roberts
A Fairytale Christmas - Barbra Wallace and Susan Meier
Naughty can be Nice - Cynthia Selwyn
Claiming Christmas - Naima Simone
All She Wants for Christmas - Jaci Burton
Holiday Sparks - Shannon Stacey
His for the Holidays - Josh Lanyon
A Cinderella Christmas - Stacy Dawn
A Gift Beyond All Measure - Anna Kathryn Lanier
Tales From Christmas Town - Wild Rose Press Authors
Mistletoe Rules - Stacy Joy Netzel
Melting Frost - Kelly Daniels
And of Course our Five Oaks Girls
Snowy Encounters - Clarissa Yip
Smitten - Silke Juppenlatz
Midwinter Magic- Nina Croft
Holiday Headlines - RM Gilbert

I am still a newbie to the world of self publishing so I honestly did not know where to go to look for Xmas stories from my self pubbed authors. Lastly all my lovely authors if you do have a Christmas story out or a fave story you like to read at Xmas time leave it in the comments and I will update this list.
I shan't be blogging much all of next week, so this list will be up for most of next week and the next time you hear from me I might be in Houston with the in-laws.
Do have a wonderful Christmas
with lots of love
Joanna St James

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pamper the Writer in you

Hello My Lovelies

Can you tell am awfully chirpy this morning?
I have had a week or more of bad news rolling in, you know how everything just seems to pile up on top of you when you are down? Well am over it now and the writer in me survived too, I am ready to start blog stalking too.
I could not take myself to a Spa or even a Cafe for some solitude, because lets face it when you have a child or even a pet they hardly understand the words "Mummy needs to take a time out now". So what I did was just give in and let my brain take a vacation (Sad I know), every night I made sure I wrote 50 words - 50 words that were sometimes spread over 2 WIPs, 50 words my mind told me was the worst thing ever written - a monkey with a typewriter could do a better job, but I still wrote something every night.

I had a rewrite for a chapter that I desperately wanted to send to the Harlequin fast track thingie but I just could not bring myself to do it. Now you know that thing inside every writer that just does not make you give up? it yelled at me yesterday. So after getting the toddler fed, cleaned and watered I cranked out 17 new pages in addition to my original one page, cranked out another 2 paged synopsis and sent it off to Harlequin with just 4 minutes to spare.

For once I did not feel like it was crap (it could still be to the editors) but the fact is - I DID IT! and I feel proud of myself, I got my mojo back and if you are in the dumps (blame the weather) you can get out of it too okay? just grab yourself a cup of coffee and tell yourself it will work out in the end - No Worries!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Five Oaks Gazette and a Worthy Cause

Author’s Choose Five Oaks!
By Paige Kenyon

There’s been some strange and exciting goings on in Five Oaks recently—not one, but four authors have based their Christmas stories in our fine town. And to find out just why these ladies selected Five Oaks, today I’m sitting down with two of those authors: Nina Croft and R.M. Gilbert, to ask them what brought them so far from home this Christmas.
Nina and R.M. have also agreed to answer questions submitted by the good people of our community. But first, one from me.
Q: I know you come from all over the world, so can you tell me how you came together to write the anthology?
Nina: We’re all part of a fabulous online critique group, Passionate Critters (PC) , which gave us the name of the anthology: A Passionate Christmas. I’ve been a member for a year now and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a writer!
R.M: Ditto.
Q: The next question comes from my editor Larry Follock. He wondered how the idea for this series got started? And when.
R.M: Back in May of this year one of our fellow critters, Stephanie Taylor suggested we get together and write an anthology of Christmas stories.

Nina: We all loved the idea. That was followed by a few weeks of frenzied activity, where lots of us signed up, the town of Five Oaks was born and a whole load of characters and places came to life.
Q: A question from Maddy Glover, who recently returned from the big city.  So what appealed to you about Five Oaks? Why not New York, or Paris or, or well…anywhere?
Nina: Passionate Critters has members from all around the world, England, Germany, Finland, but the majority are American, and so it seemed natural to base Five Oaks in America. Silke came up with the name Five Oaks, also affectionately known as Five Stumps by the locals because… Well you’ll have to read Silke’s story, Smitten, to find out why.
Q: This next question was sent in by our very own Dr. Ash Delaney. He would like to know, at what point during the process did you want to burn the town to the ground?
RM: For me, the second I signed on I was beating my head against the wall. I’m not a short story teller. This book ended at approx. 23k words (though my original submission was only 15). It was the first book I’ve written under 90k. Yikes.
Nina: My urges towards arson didn’t really begin until close to the end of the process. I really enjoyed writing the story.  
Q: What was it like coordinating your stories with women who are in different countries?
RM: Since we couldn’t sit at a table together. Most of it happened within the group forums, e-mail and skype.  It was very difficult. No lie, there were times we were ready to pull our hair out. And each others.
Nina: Yeah—that’s about the time I started dreaming about fires.
Q: Is it safe to say you’re all still friends?
Nina: Definitely still friends!
Q: Our final question was sent in by a reader who asked to be called Dina, (though she looks a lot like Edna Carruthers to me). She wondered how you finished the stories on a time crunch and what’s next?
RM: Love this question. If it hadn’t been for my sister, Rebekah L Purdy taking me away for a few days, I never would have finished. (She too, is a writer and will celebrate her first release with Astraea Press in February).  As for what’s next, we’ll promo together. But I also write young adult fiction and will focus my efforts on submitting my current WIP in the next couple months.
Nina: I think because we were writing an anthology and were all relying on each other to do our bits, we had to just sit down and finish. None of us wanted to let the others down, and that’s a big motivation. As to what’s next—for me lots of witches and warlocks, there’s a werewolf waiting to come out, and of course a few vampires in the mix.
Q: Sounds like you’ll both be busy. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nina: Only that we’ve joined together with Decadent Publishing to support the American Cancer Society in the Relay For Life.
RM: You can find the Decadent Team HERE.
I’ll be sure to check that out and donate. And from the people of Five Oaks I want to thank the ladies for sitting down with me. If anyone would like to know more about Nina and R.M. then pop over to their sites.
Nina Croft         R.M.Gilbert

Find Smitten by: Silke Juppenlatz, Snowy Encounters by: Clarissa Yip, as well as Nina’s and RM’s books at Decadent Publishing!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The floor is yours

Every Writer has a different path, to publication, every writer has a slightly different method to writing and every writer has a different voice.
Right now for reasons best known to me I am a bumble through to success kinda writer, and if there is anything you already know about me now - it is that I might try new things and I am never satisfied with my present writing skills. I know my own voice, I don't try to write like Nora Roberts or India Grey but I know there is always room for improvement.
So tell me good people of Bloggyland what do you do to improve your writing skills? Read Novels? Read writing books? attend online classes? join a writer's group? write everyday?

I got a copy of The Society Wife from India Grey
it was signed
To Joanna
with love from India

call me a sap but I liked it, because she is one of those few authors who genuinely interacts with me online, so I believed her.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Internals & an award

I usually don't do my internals on a Monday, but for once in my SAHM life I am strapped for time on a Monday morning.
Rachael Harrie - the avatar now turned human won Michele Hauf's giveaway
Talli Roland -won herself a copy of Clarissa Yip's Snowy Encounters
Nas Dean - won a copy of Silke Juppenlatz's Smitten
Sondrae Bennett - won a copy of Clarissa's Snowy Encounters too

Talli, Nas and Sondrae, I already have your email addresses so you do not need to do any thing; Rachel could you please mail me your address so we can have the books sent out to you?

I told you I got the Fair Dinkum Award from L'Aussie, and I guess I was so Fair Dinkum, Dom de Mattos awarded it to me too.
In the spirit of fair Dinkumness (I do plan to use this word till it beats me over the head with a stick from over-use), I am passing it on to other bloggers whom I have recently found. You can pop on over to say hello.

Kimber Leszczuk - A writer and a  gaming enthusiast amongst other things
Rula Sinara - has the best "Serenity Now" tips on Thursdays
Angelina Rain - who just sold her first manuscript
Jolene Perry - Apart from living in Alaska, could pass for my blogger twin
Colene Murphy - She is still trying to get over the shock that I have not read any Harry Potter books or at least watched the movies.

And now last but not the least guess what I got in my mailbox - A Christmas Card from Madeleine(I normally expect hate mail right after I do a Crit), I am so super chuffed I spent my weekend making this for her.
I hope she likes it and will over look my childish scrawl (this is the equivalent of those macaroni themed gifts)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Interrogation Room and giveaways

I have been sitting on this suspect since October and it has not been easy. I finally got her to crack and tell me her name - She is none other than Michele Hauf, the woman editors have been indicating as the whodunnit in the paranormal world. She has signed her confession on a couple of books, which I shall pass on to you for your perusal. Michele has been writing for 19 years, France, musketeers, vampires and faeries populate her stories. And if she followed the adage 'write what you know', all her stories would have snow in them. Fortunately, she steps beyond her comfort zone and writes about countries she has never visited and of creatures she has never seen.

Joanna: Why did you choose the paranormal route?
Michele: I don't think it was a decision, it just happened.  The first book I wrote was a vampire romance (Dark Rapture '97), and I had just seen the remake of Dark Shadows starring Ben Cross, and it occurred to me that a vampire could be a romantic figure.  The next thing I know, I had a story in mind, and started to explore that.  And now I write paranormal because non-paranormal just doesn't feel as interesting to me.  I need that added weirdness.  :-) 

Joanna: How do you decide what works for you when you are examining your legends(otherworldlies)?
Michelle: I start with the basics, like with vampires: they must have fangs, must drink human blood, etc., and then I alter some of the mythology to suit my needs and also make up my own stuff.  I like that vampires are hurt by holy objects, but decided in my world that if the vampire has never been baptized then holy objects have no effect on him.  I think I created the 'shimmer', which is what occurs when two vampires touch.  A shimmery sort of feeling, which is the only way they know they have touched a vampire (unless of course, they see fangs).  And I do like that a vampire must drink from a human to survive, as opposed to bags of blood (which would have no soul).  I need that dilemma of having to use human life to survive.

Joanna: How dark would you go with a paranormal so as not to alienate the fainthearted?

Michele: I think I get pretty dark, but on a scale of 1 - 10 I'm probably about a 7.  I've read some paranormal romances that go all the way to 10 and it puts me off.  You lose the romance.  Yes, we're dealing with paranormal creatures who do not follow human rules and may be accustomed to committing vulgar acts, but these are romances, so I keep that in mind when writing.
Joanna: Are you all for the good guy vampire or the dangerous vampire who wont change his nature but falls in love all the same?
Michele: I'm not sure what a good guy vampire is?  To me that might be the kind who refuses to drink human blood, and that sort of turns me off.  I like my heroes to have a quality of danger about them, and that danger must be tied to their survival.  And I really love it when the bad boy doesn't want to change his nature, yet love softens him a bit.

Joanna: What are you thoughts on the sudden influx of paranormal romance authors on the scene lately?

Michele: Well, paranormal is hot right now, and it is what editors are buying.  I think a lot of authors who have always wanted to write paranormal, now have their chance.  Others, who are just jumping on the bandwagon, hmm...   But I hope the quantity of paranormal reading choices remains.  I love that my favorite genre is finally so hot!  More choices for me when I go to the bookstore! 

Joanna: Does writing ever get any easier, once you have had some experience?
Michele: You would think it would, but some days it just feels impossible.  Every story can be easy and hard.  When you have the initial idea and start to draft out the story and everything is new, it's like love when you are under the influence of romance and the whole world is right.  But after working on one project for months and reading over the chapters again and again, it is bound to get a little boring, and maybe even difficult.  Most of my books go through that stage, and I tend to forget, that after the difficult part usually comes the 'falling in love' stage again.  (Hmm, can you tell I'm in the 'difficult' stage of a story right now?)  :-)  What is easy is you learn your process over the years and how you do research and you don't stumble over trying to develop a system because you've got it down.

Joanna: Any advice on handling book reviews?

Michele: Well, there's good reviews and bad reviews.  Some reviewers really know what they are doing, and whether or not they liked the book, they can succinctly synopsize it and explain to the reader exactly what appeals (or didn't appeal) to them.  Other reviewers, it seems, just want to let others know they hated the story, and because they did, you should too.  As a writer, I know not everyone is going to like what I write, and wouldn't that be weird if everyone did?  I think the most interesting books are the ones that reviewers both love and hate, with very little middle ground.  That book caused some very strong feelings, one way or another, so how cool is that?  Much better than getting mushy, middle of the scale reviews, I'd say.
Joanna: What advice would you give the up and comers like me?
Michele: Is that writers hoping to become published?  Write.  Every day.  Read, watch movies, do creative things to keep your creativity sparked.  Always write.  Hone your craft by reading 'how to write' books (I still do).  Go to workshops and listen to how other writers do it, then take away from it what works for you, and ignore what you know won't work for you.  Learn the 'rules', then break the rules.  Again, write.

Now check out this really cool place, its called Club Scarlet and its where Michele's otherworldlies go to hang out - you can hang out with them too (but you have to be careful).

Michele will be giving out 2 of her books SEDUCING THE VAMPIRE and ROGUE ANGEL: THE BONE CONJURER to one winner (international), if you are like me and love paranormal stories or would like to give the genre a try leave a "me please" comment and you will be in the running - winners will be announced next week and the winners of my Five Oaks giveaway will be announced tomorrow.

The Ninja Vampire's Girl - out now
Coco Stevens was looking for an angel's halo to help out her sister, who is a muse. She found the halo, and an angry angel—and a sexy man weilding a deadly blade and make-her-weak-in-the-knees kisses. He may not exactly be what she thinks he is, but he's got the ninja moves—and fangs.

Seducing The Vampire - out in January
He was mesmerizing, a vampire like none other...but the fire between Viviane LaMourette and Rhys Hawkes would begin a centuries-long clash between two powerful vampire brothers.

In Marie Antoinette's Paris, the beautiful vampire Viviane seeks a male patron who will allow her to live on her own terms. Courted by two feuding brothers, Viviane succumbs to the handsome rebel, Rhys. She's unaware that Rhys has other, darker, motives. He seeks vengeance against his brother, Constantine—by stealing Viviane and tainting her with his blood.

But just as Rhys is realizing the depth of his love for Viviane, his brother take his revenge. By casting a spell on the woman they both desire, he condemns her to a living death inside a glass coffin.

Two centuries later, Rhys hears the urban legend of the Vampire Snow White, imprisoned deep in the tunnels under Paris. He must find her and set her free, but will he be able to save her from the evil still intent on destroying them?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rules for Anthology

If I can't read my christmas stories at christmas time then I don't feel like a happy bunny. I love today's post so much, I wish I had written it. Let me introduce you to the Evil Overlord better known as Silke Juppenlatz on book covers. All I did was ask her for tips on how to write an anthology and do it internationally nonetheless, the following genius tips are her idea.
Evil Overlord Rules for Anthology Writers
Way back in May, someone said "Let's write a Christmas Anthology."
Uh-huh. You know what they say about all the best laid plans, right?
Since then, my life has been in turmoil and I have found myself cast in the role of:

Evil Anthology Overlord

*cackles madly, strokes bald cat and tries to control the twitch in her right eye* 

Naturally, there are rules your minions have to adhere to. Virtual bloodshed isn't pretty, so make the minions behave themselves. (I know it's difficult, but try. Buy a whip, if required.)
I have accomplished my goal. The anthology stories are out. Mission accomplished.
It is time to train my successors, whoever they may be. I shall share the steps with you.

  1. Allow your minions to brainstorm wildly. It makes them feel like you're not watching.
  2. Encourage cross pollination and ignore genres. Tell everyone "It will work out in the end." (Do this without cackling, or they get suspicious.)
  3. Steal someone's secondary character and make it your heroine. It ensures chaos across the board, in someone else's story. Perfect.
  4. Let your minions slack for several months. Don't mention time is passing and they should be writing. (The longer you leave it, the greater the panic.)
  5. When the deadline looms large in the window—ask how everyone is doing. Let them sit, simmer and procrastinate another four weeks.
  6. Three months before the actual release date, raise hell. Loudly. Make them freak, realizing they don't have a story. Tie their left hand to their back, to stop those infernal paper aeroplanes hitting you in the back of the head while you're not watching. (The "One Finger Eagle Seek and Destroy" typing system works well enough, at the rate they are going.)
  7. Attempt to disguise your panic as well meant encouragement, when nothing happens. Chastise the minion who untangled the rope for throwing paper aeroplanes at fellow incapacitated minions. They should be writing, dammit.
  8. Panic. Threaten everyone with sharpened pencils (red, to camoflage the blood when you stab them with it.) until they install Skype. Congregate there every night. Send Skype conference call requests if they happen to fall asleep on the job. BURN all paper aeroplanes.
  9. Start writing. Change entire plotlines affecting others, just for the fun of it. Do it at the last minute. They can handle it.
  10. Keep them awake until at least 3am to ensure compliance and completion. Reward with paper for building the aeroplanes, and get the HELL out of Dodge before they build bombers instead.

There you have it. Those are tried and tested steps, use them as you see fit.
Of course, once you have completed, submitted and got everything accepted, you need to change tactics.
Your new target is The Publisher. *insert evil dum-dum-dum-dummmmmmm and trumpet*

An Evil Anthology Overlord's work never ends.

You can find out for yourself if the rules worked, by checking out the following:
Smitten by Silke Juppenlatz  |   Midwinter Magic by Nina Croft
Holiday Headlines by R.M. Gilbert   |   Snowy Encounters by Clarissa Yip

I love this book cover
Smitten:Reserved and shy Jo Button is tired of being the talk of the town. Enough is enough. Time to put her plans in motion, but a mishap forces her to seek out veterinarian Ash Delaney-the one man she has always wanted.
Ex-Guardian Angel Ashriel isn't too happy when the reason for his de-haloed state shows up and requests his help. He has avoided Jo Button for ten years, and could quite happily go another ten without seeing her-until he realizes her battered reputation was his fault.
Can Ashriel save Jo, even if it means redemption is beyond his grasp, or will he lose his halo permanently along with the woman he's come to care for? 

About Silke
Silke was born in Germany and now lives in leafy Surrey(UK) with her partner.
Growing up in a house that’s older than dirt, she is used to things going bump a O'Dawn Thirty, but these days the only thing going bump after midnight is her -- attempting to navigate to the kitchen in near darkness to score another cup of coffee.
When she isn't writing, she can be found on the back of a black cob mare, getting hopelessly lost in the woods. (Apparently horses don't have GPS or homing devices.)
Although her books are predominantly about demons, angels and vampires, aliens and elves have been known to make an appearance in her WIP folder.
She likes to hear from her readers, and you can contact her via her blog:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


You know when you get valued feedback on your manuscript and the feedback requires you to write a new story? yeah am there right now, and I keep on telling myself the ability to revise is what makes a great writer.

I have 2 options
1. Write less sucky first drafts to avoid the whole revision process or
2. Actually revise (yikes)

there is a 3rd option but I have conditioned my mind against this long ago

3. Assume the reader did not see my vision - and will take away the essence of my story

Why this won't work (For Me) - I am writing for an audience, chances are if one reader(and I mean widely sold author) did not get my story there are many more who won't (she knows the market), chances are I might have written with my knowledge of the characters but failed to translate them to the pages enough, the possibilities of where I went wrong are endless.
But I also know every published author no matter how high profile they are, have to do rewrites and revisions right?  so I shall take a page out of their books and attack my revisions, I shall hypnotize myself *pulls out stopwatch* Revisions are fun to do, fun to do.

I have some guests (the creators of Five Oaks) coming on later this week or the next, you don't want to miss them, and this friday I have an author who writes about Ninjas and Vampires in the interrogation Room.
Stay Classy Blogosphere
I'm out
Nice 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Internals & an award

Hello my lovelies,

It was awesome getting to know you all yesterday and believe it or not as much as I stalk your blogs, I still learnt a few things (okay a lot) that I did not know b4.

Have you ever giving me an award and I did not put it up? Have I ever promised to participate in a blogfest and I didn't? Well believe you me its because I 4got, am off to the doctors today, they want to look in my brain to see why I am so batty (c'est pas grave).

I'll be back this evening to comment on everyone's blogs and I dont know if i should be proud or ashamed, my 2 year old saw an ad for Shakira on the tv and said "waka waka loca"

See! I was going to say I got the Fair Dinkum award from L'aussie and I almost forgot. I'll have an award ceremony this week I promise, also thank you to Erica&Christy for my versatile Blogger award (just the thot of going to the doc and my brain is already perking up)
Alright see you in a bit.
This is where my head is most of the time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let's connect

Hello World (has anyone heard Sal Masakela song for yo gabba gabba?)

One of the places I love to hang out besides your blogs is eHarlequin and we have different forums where we the writers and the authors can connect, ask questions and basically be there for each other.
So in an effort to get to know each other better(think of this as speed dating), leave a comment and tell me about yourselves. The essence of today's exercise for me and any other interested parties is to network with my followers, I'm not just interested in gaining followership, I want to have a meaningful connection with those I already have; I'll go first.

Hi, my name is Joanna
I write Contemporary Romance and I'm toying with chic lit
I took my brave 1st step and submitted to the harlequin med. romance fast track
I have a requested partial with an editor as a result
I have 3 other works in the pipeline for edits and
I have wanderlust.

That wasn't so bad was it?, its your tun now.
In other news, our interrogation room with Author/Editor Clarissa Yip was a huge success. To win a copy of her book the comments section will be left open till Friday when 2 lucky winners will be chosen.
The harlequin fast-track opportunity for "So You Think You Can Write" closes December 15th, you will get feedback by Jan 31st in the latest.
I swear I went in

If I can buy one wardrobe space in this richman's playground I woun't have to pay taxes again. The first commercial fiction I read was set in Monaco - The tax exile

I went back to Monaco last month, only to find out the interesting art only showed up in the summer

Friday, December 3, 2010

Interrogation Room with Editor/Author Clarissa Yip

I am so excited! I have decided to go nuts with exclamation points. I have an author/editor in the house and she has agreed to answer our questions all day . Its not everyday we get a willing participant in the interrogation room, so without further ado I give you Clarissa Yip and one of the finest covers I have seen in a while.
Two weeks ago I asked you to send in your questions to get Clarissa warmed up, and she did not disappoint

  1. Karen: I would love to ask Clarissa, what are some of the things you look for in the opening pages to signal that you will continue to read?
Opening pages are very important. Like any story, there should always be a hook that draws the reader in in the first paragraph. Depending on who you sub to, the first page is significant as it will immediately show what a writer is capable of as an author in forms of diction, grammar, punctuation and writing ability. Usually for me though, I will read a submission from beginning to end. I find that most stories always have a rough start and an author doesn't show their true potential until after the third chapter in my experience, but I understand most pub houses are different. I always look for a strong hook and how the first page is set up based on how much white space, if there is dialogue or action. If you throw me a first page with passive voice, and I start seeing Zzzzzz, that might be an issue. I also don't like stories that start off with lots of info dumping or if the characters are looking, sighing...just doing nothing. Start the story off with a big bang, put me in the middle of the action! Draw me in! The first page does make an important first impression, so definitely brush up on those hook skills. 

  1. Sondrae: I would love to ask, what one mistake is an automatic rejection for you, no matter how good the rest of the story is?

Head hopping. As much as most authors think they can pull off being someone like Nora Roberts or Julie Garwood, I can't handle the head hopping. I don't mind one or two POV changes in one scene, but if I'm hopping from one paragraph to another in different character POV's and my head is spinning to follow what's going on, I have to put the story down. And we don't want that. I wouldn't out right reject anyone if the idea or plot of the book has potential. If an author is willing to fix it, then I would definitely love to work with them, but if they believe that head hopping is a style or writer's right of expression...then I might not be so eager. LOL.
  1. Michelle Teacress: Paranormal is popular now. Any idea what's coming next?
Paranormal is still kind of hot even though the whole wave is starting to slow down. I'm starting to see a lot of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk and Space Opera. But I think the best advice would be to write what you know. If you write Paranormal, then stick with it. Throw in your own twist and make it awesome!
  1. L’aussie Most of the submissions you read must fall short of the mark. Do you get a *bling blang* moment when you read a mss that has 'winner' written all over it? What would most likely rock your boat?
LOL. I've yet to find the perfect story that will sweep me off my feet or actually rock my boat. No story is perfect and it takes so many drafts and rounds of edits for any story to be at its full potential. But when I do see a story that has 'winner' written all over it, I know I'd have to have it. It becomes my baby and I want to watch it grow to it's fullest and make that best seller's list. But seriously, I've yet to see the perfect story. I don't believe such thing exists. And if I did find one that I didn't have to do any editing for, I think I'd be scared. I love all genre's of romance. I'm an emotional editor/writer. If I see one that will give me the rollercoaster ride of my life, then I'm definitely bought. Why, do you have something to show me?
  1. Maria:  What would you be doing if you weren't editing for a living?
Wow, that's a good question. I've been editing for a while and studying this industry for the past few years and watching trends. I've learned so much about the e-publishing industry and it's affect. It's really interesting with the rise of so many e-publishers and the demand for digital books. If I weren't editing, I think I would be writing all day long and probably running around with my muse. I do miss writing when I'm in full editor mode. Instead of working on my own writing career, I'm helping my authors grow and become best sellers, but I seriously love it. I seriously don't know what else I would do. Maybe become a famous scrapbooker or some sort of translator. I love languages.
  1. Myne: What is your opinion on POV?
Well...POV is important as any element of a story, but the only type of book that will draw me in is one that knows how to utilize Deep POV and keep me in the character's mind. I'm not a big fan of First person present, but I know a lot of writers find that to be the easiest to write. I'm seriously all about the emotions and character developments. I highly discourage head hopping and having multiple POV's in one scene. That drives me crazy. Not a big fan of narration. If you know how to use POV to your advantage, then it should truly bring out your author voice.
  1. Erica & Christy: How do you feel about selling a "quiet" book with excellent writing or does everything these days needs to be HUGE HOOK/HIGH CONCEPT!!!
That is an interesting question. I think it depends on what you're aiming for and who you want to buy your story. It seriously is all about the whole plot line, characters, ideas, and how well an author can execute an idea along with how well their writing is. There's nothing wrong with a 'quiet' book as long the writing is excellent, but will the plot line, idea of the story, the layering, and characters keep the reader engrossed enough to keep turning the page? The market is competitive and so many authors use the same plots. It's how well a writer can spin their story from those old cliches and make it stand out from the rest. There seriously are so many publishers out there and if one doesn't like the whole 'quiet' book, then there will be another who will think differently. Publication is seriously so subjective.

  1. Joanna: What is your writing process like? do you use Critique partners and betas like the rest of us?
My writing process? I'm a half plotter, half pantser. I get ideas when I'm driving or walking or just watching TV. Usually in forms of images and I'll stem my stories off of them. But I usually have to spend some time to get to know my characters before I can actually start writing. I have a wonderful group of critique partners. You gals should check them out. Passionate Critters. ( I don't know what I would do without them. They've been so supportive through my whole career and they're great! I couldn't have found a better group of women to share my successes and my failures with.  I'm pretty normal as an author. I do everything like most people. I go through the same writing process, same crit process, and submission process. I seriously don't get any special treatment because I'm an editor. Maybe I'm a little better at editing my own stuff at times, but it's hard to look at your own work and not miss things.

Tell us about your book and Five Oaks

My new release is actually one of four from the anthology that was put together with a few of my other critique partners. A Passionate Christmas is dedication to our crit group and Decadent Publishing was crazy enough to take on all of us girls, but it's been a great experience for all of us. We've gone through many ups and downs together to get this anthology written and its only made our group closer. I'm sure there were times that they've wanted to strangle each other (maybe me..) a few times, but we've worked pretty well together. Definitely check it out. We have on-probation angels, assassin witches, paranormal investigators, and the normal city girl running away from home, all stories revolving around the same town of Five Oaks. I'm the only contemporary writer in this group (I claim the normal one.), but it's truly been fun.

Thank you so much for having me. If anyone has ANY questions please ask. I'll be giving away two copies of my new release, Snowy Encounters to any commenters. If you're curious about me, I'm blogging also at today. You can learn all my bad habits and win a copy of my book if you don't get one here. AND I'm also at I stole something of Santa's and wrote him a...spiteful letter. I have prizes over there too. Yes, I'm everywhere. This was seriously fun! Thanks!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lets put it another way

Okay so this post was inspired by Nathalie Whipple, if you missed her blog yesterday you can still go and read it today. It was all the rage yesterday because of its raw honesty and relatability.
It was not so much the post that moved (have I ever mentioned that my heart can turn to ice when I face too much emotion) , anyways while I was reading her post my heart did turn to stone to protect me from bawling and shaking in fear.
By the time I left her blog, she had 124 comments even agents were retweeting her link and I found one strong line of reasoning in all the comments she received; not all of our stories will thrill everybody.
This morning I was watching a Nelly video and I could see his new album was going to do well,  if only he could put his flopped single with Fergie on this new album it would be perfect, because I liked the song.

In a way we writers are like these singers (or entertainers), not all the books we write are going to get published or become #1 singles but each book we write does something for us, it adds to our value and knowledge, it helps us discover ourselves as writers.

Obviously since I am still a newbie writer (with a whole bunch of talent IMHO) I still tell myself all of my works have to be loved by acquisitions and marketing, I don't know what I would do if a book I spent so much time and flagging energy into did not get published.

What I do know is that whichever one of my books get published will not be my end all, the goal is to keep on writing and not be a one-trick pony, the goal is to be several stories ahead of the curve so that if one gets rejected(because the market is not right for it) I have others waiting in line while I get over my sulk or self induced hiatus.

I hope this makes sense, i did not feel qualified or experienced enough to comment on her blog but since this is chez moi I can at least tell you what ideas are running about in my head, don't get hung up on one story there are loads more waiting to be told.

P.S this post is really for me, but I hope someone else can identify with it.

Thanx for turning out for Talli yesterday she got up to #24 on Amazon UK, and tomorrow we have Editor/Author in the interrogation room, she will come prepared to answer questions from all of us, so don't miss out on this huge opportunity.
fancy going to work dressed like this?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Its Talli Roland Day

Have you ever heard of other, writers/blogger talk about what an awesome community we have online? Well now is the time to put our words into action and show everyone the power this community has.
Talli's Book the hating game comes out today on Amazon and all we need is any kind of buzz; twitter, AMAZON, facebook, blogosphere to give this light and witty read its own time in the spotlight.
Please read and even if this is not your usual genre, you can still help out k?

Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at and by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more. Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest at


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Asked

and No, I do not take caffeine, I only drink herbal teas and will have the odd piece of chocolate every once in a while, I have also stopped all fizzy drinks except for the odd glass or two of champagne.
My next energy booster of choice would be multivitamins but the jury is still out on that one, I heard its better to eat healthier than pop any pills and I also heard if you start you have to keep on taking them.
Third energy booster of choice would be daily exercise and yes I gym-ed for the better part of last year (okay 3 months) but it works I was perkier than usual, I looked good and felt awesome only downside is if you stop like I did your body gets worse than it did when you first started.
Fourth energy choice (my kryptonite) Sugar - I am a selective sugar addict, you won't find me eating oreos or twinkies because well I am trying to be healthy. I can drink my weight in juice so I only do 100% juice but even that has sugar, I do however indulge in bread, nutella and shortbread, there is also my addiction to Mueller Corner Yoghurt (I just found a french substitute yay!).
So if I ever come to your book signing and you need a speed demon just feed me sugar and you will be amazed (be careful though, too much sugar and I might start dancing on table tops).

That said, Tomorrow is my self proclaimed Talli Roland Day, please do all you can to help support one of us and be excited for her I will do the same for you when your time comes.

What do you do to keep your energy going? Tell me all about your pumpkin spice latte addiction

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nothing Profound

It's good to be back isn't it? how was your thanxgiving?
Today is a good day in our house, it's the Hubs birthday. He got back in last night and we are grateful to the powers that be that he gets to spend his birthday with us. I have not made him a birthday cake but we'll have a shindig/thanxgiving dinner this Friday and a cake shall be in attendance then.
In honour of the celebrant I have decided to share one of his airport stories with you.

@ Cannes
So he is walking around in an Hong Kong airport, we are chatting on skype at the same time, and I ask him why he is wandering around, he goes "I need an outlet to charge my laptop battery, I might have to call you later if I don't find one soon. I'm not sure they have any power outlets here" I tell him to ask someone who works there but in typical boy fashion he wants to find it himself so I say my ciaos and ring off.
The following is an account of what happened after I rung off.
he walks into a cafe(still in the airport) and notices they have outlets, so he sits and plugs his laptop in. A lady comes up to him and says "you order, you order now"
Hubs: I really don't need anything right now is it okay if I sit here?
Lady: You order, you order now
Hubs: Listen to me if its compulsory to order just to plug my laptop in I will, but if its not I'd rather not
Lady: You order, you order now

nerdy hubs in his hot little body
and then she walks off in a huff and returns with her boss, hubs thinking the boss understands english better explains his request again
Boss: You order, you order now, if no order I call the police

So the hubs sighed and bought a green tea chai latte or something like that (I don't take caffeine so I never know all these names - please don't kick me out of the writers club).

I wonder what is going to happen next time he travels...
stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finding me a 007 you rather I put up a scenic picture or a picture of Daniel Craig in a finely tailored suit? Well dressed men can be my kryptonite if I let them (this is why my husband has to get a wardrobe makeover every once in a while) but I digress dont I?

I found this list on twitter last night or maybe this morning and I thought I would share it with you, it is a list of agents on twitter (mostly in North America, UK and Australia will come next). I know most of you have access to RWA or Publishers Marketplace or the Writers Market and what have you, but not everybody can afford to get access to these resources or even live in somewhere geographically convenient

Click here for the list, this should get you started on your agent research, remember as difficult as it seems to get an agent not just any agent will do, you have to go out and find your own 007, I have my eyes on Roger Moore or Daniel Craig and I will let you know when I find my special agent. Believe it or not this post was supposed to be about agents aargh!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quick Post

I have added some extra pages to my outline  and I am so tempted to dump my NaNo novel and start on this new one. Something keeps on telling me to wait though, I wont be ready to start till I can answer "what would Dahlia do?" at every occassion.
What do you think of the name Dahlia? what kind of person do you think she would be?

On another note today, my son has graduated from feeding my laptop OJ to installing malicious software on it (Operation kill the Competition is in full swing). I shut down my laptop and left the room for a few minutes only to come back and find him staring intently at it, the three screens he had open said microsoft security has removed malicious software from the computer but it will not show my homepage because the html code has been changed (all thanx to our resident toddler).
Everyone in the plane thot I was crazy, but this is a nice Aerial view of a beach somewhere in Corsica

Monday, November 22, 2010

On CPs and Plotting a story

Okay so I totally had a different blog post to do today, but last night I had one of the most amazing brainstorming sessions online with my CP who is a complete plotter.

You all remember the husband is out of time again right? so in addition to one cranky wrist, I am back to single motherdom and a child who has forgotten how to sleep in (I might have to retrain him). So here I am writing the odd 250 words on my NaNo project whenever I can, when I get this gem of an idea start to float about in my brain.
I let the idea stew a bit more, I tell myself then as per usual I would write it down in my lil idea book and continue with my loosely defined writing schedule. The first inkling I had that something was not normal was when my idea started to form in my head and the 1st person I could form was my main character - a girl and she kept on growing in my mind.
I told myself "no biggie" I just have to find her an amazing dude to compliment her, so I started thinking and I got nothing, that was when I panicked.
You see odd duck that I am, I always know my hero more than anyone else, my story always starts with him - if I had my way I would write hero's POV in the whole book, so when I could not find our hero and my heroine assured me her bi-curious stage ended long ago I knew we had big trouble.
So I turned to my CP last night and said hey when you've got a minute I need to brainstorm, I have a heroine but I can't find my Hero - she being the fuzzy scarfed saint that she is jumped on my back immediately and dragged me into Plottersville.
She asked me psychedelic questions like what are his goals, conflict and motivation and me being the prettiest bubble brain in town said Hunh?
so she asked me all about the heroine and made me know her even more, we killed her dad in the process to get her motivated and then moved on to her hero, we started with jobs, what kind of jobs will fit her goal? and even talked about Samuel Adams beer, eventually after some Richard Head jokes, he took shape in my head and he came alive.
In 3 hours I got 10 single spaced outline pages and the beginnings of a migraine yesterday (skating in plottersville was hard but fun) and we have only just scratched the surface, I love this journey and now am off to research body shots and tattoos.
Ever had a WIP change your style to suit its needs?
This is Lavasina, a beautiful Corsican town with clear waters

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ze First Gift Blog Hop

Let me deviate from the norm and tell you this gift is not from the hubs. You see, I get crushes a lot and for my own peace of mind I try to limit them to celebrities.
In my own defense this crush looked like a celeb, I tell you he was drop dead gorgeous, long, wavy chestnut hair that fell just below his nape, 6'4, abs to die for, a gorgeous tattoo(I saw it in the gym), he had a lean build and his eyes shifted constantly between brown and green.
Classic Hershey's Kiss candy in silver foil. Anyways that said I never act on a crush because i know its a crush, I just play with fire while the crush is on, so anyways on my birthday he came over to my office and told me to close my eyes and hold out my hand, i did and he dropped a hershey kiss in my palm.
A hershey kiss is a novelty for me, so I kept it in my purse till further notice and beamed all day.
Crush Status: Got over it after my friends begged me to open my eyes, besides his ex was giving me the evils.
This blogfest has been brought to you courtesy of Liz Fichera and the Mojito Literary Society if you want to join in and meet fellow bloggers like you hop here. it runs till Nov 21st :-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Michelle Styles in The Interrogation Room

First of all, my apologies to Liz Fichera's blog hoppers, My post goes up tomorrow. My Cp and I heart Michelle Styles on so many levels, she gives the best writing advice ever and spends a lot of time answering all our newbie questions over at eHarlequin. Michelle is an American author who lives in England (I used to think she was English) and she has the most amazing call story read it here.  

Joanna: Coffee or Tea? (I just had to ask)
Michelle: It depends on my mood. Mostly tea though and I am very partial to Earl Grey
Joanna: What is the difference between writing a short and a long story?
Michelle: Mostly layers and the complexity of the conflict between the two protagonists when you are writing a romance.
Joanna: Why did you choose to write Historicals?
Michelle: I write historicals because I love history. And I think writing historicals is a lot of fun. History fascinates me.
Joanna: Can you explain your writing process to us?
Michelle: Umm. Sometimes I wish I could explain it to myself. Each time it is a little different. I am somewhere in between the complete pantser and the super plotter. I'd love to be more organised but I am not. I do hate filling out forms and questionaires about my characters and instead I love doing discovery drafts with arough outline as road map.
Joanna: What is the best writing advice you have ever received? and would love to share
Michelle: Dare to suck and be prepared to rewrite. Between you and the blank screen, there is little that can help but afterwards you can work with the material. It is all about not letting your words harden to concrete and staying in love with the story while you examine ways to make it stronger.
Joanna: You obviously do a lot to help out other aspiring authors, why is this so important to you?
Michelle: It is important because without the mentorship and wise words of a few published authors when I first became serious about writing, I would not have done it. Besides, I think generousity does come back to you and you get out of life what what you put in. Ultimately it is up to the individual whether or not they will succeed. And if I have helped someone, then I have helped me. Can you tell that Girl Scouting played an important part in my formative years?
Joanna: If you did not become a writer, what profession would you have been happy in?
Michelle: Hard question. I am a far nicer person when I am writing as I put my drama into my writing rather than into my life. I'd hate to think about not writing. It took me a long time to get to this place in my life. And really anything else would be utterly dull. I suspect it is why I persevere at writing because really if you can find anything else to do, you should do it. There are a lot easier ways to make a living but I can't really think of a better way.

Michelle's Book: A Question of Impropriety
A very improper seduction…
Diana Clare has had enough of London – the balls, the rakes you can never trust… Now, having returned home in disgrace, she is trying to forget what drove her from the ton.
But rake and gambler Brett Farnham, Earl of Coltonby, seems intent on making Diana remember exactly what it was like to be whirled around the ballroom and seduced by the glint in your partner’s eye…
But Brett has ‘mistress’ rather than ‘marriage’ in mind, and Diana is not sure her reputation can stand up to another scandal…

Michelle is also going to be hanging out with us today as well as giving away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so if you have any questions she will do her best to get to them.
Michelle Styles can be found at her website, blog, twitter and on eHarlequin and if you sign up for her newsletter there is a contest that runs out on the 21st of November and it is an epic contest too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A picture says a thousand words and more

What does this picture say about me? I have realized a few things this past week too; I am ambidextrous (but that is not news), what is news is that I use my left hand more than my right and my right hand is a wimp, apparently the only thing I do with my right hand is write and even then the left takes over when the right gets tired (the wimp!).
I have been braced indefinitely let's call it the Candyland (carpal tunnel) Syndrome, so sadly I cannot continue with NaNo *insert relief and smirk here*, I am also supposed to stop blogging but the husband is going back to Fiji for a 10 day trip so there is no one to stop me *now insert crazy laugh here*
Michelle Styles, is going to be in our interrogation room tomorrow - this is one person you want to get to know, she is full of writing advice and knows how to give it to you straight.
 Here is a hint, my ring says a lot about my character, Happy Sleuthing

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Short Stories Anyone

What good is a short story? and why do you read or write them?

I have read my share of tomes, I have read my share of 600 paged books, I have even read my share of 800 paged textbooks per week for a class at uni not to talk of grading seniors at the same uni, but I guess you get the point I am a reader and a fast one at that.

I love short stories, the last book I read was  mistletoe and the lost stiletto by Liz Fielding around 50k words, I finished it in 2hrs (during nap time) and if you want to quiz me on it am sure I will ace it.

Me + Books of this length = Perfect Match

As a writer we are always told to know out target audience, I am my target audience, I love to read and will probably wither if i don't read but I have no time to read. Don't worry blogger friends I will read your 800 paged book when it comes out even if I have to hire a Nanny but unless you are a blogger friend or Tim Robbins (Nora, Steph, Dan or Steven) and the like I won't buy your humongous book at the store(no offense).

Writing short stories is also good practice for writers, have you ever started a WIP just to realize it has fizzled out at chapter 3 and nothing you do will resurrect it? is that story meant to be a short, is there a magazine or publisher out there wishing they had a manuscript like the one you have abandoned? lets talk about Ether books  for a second have you heard about them? you can read more here they publish short stories - 2k words on your IPhone.
In other news today I won $10 Breathless Press gift card from Jessica Lee and a $5 Wild Rose gift card from Sally Clements - I tweeted these competitions.
Finally I got an author/editor for the interrogation room, what questions would you like to ask the editor side of her? I need suggestions.
Have a beautiful day now.
Promenade des anglais - Nice

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Pesky Writing Demons

Random thought of the day: What genre would you classify X-Men as?
Which is healthier eating a sugared donut for breakfast or skipping breakfast altogether?
Does your writing suffer at the expense of your blog?
Why do we always get distracted when we are about to write?
Why Isn't everybody raving about James Blunt new song "Stay the Night"?
and for all you Harry Potter Fans, what would you do if your cinema owner decides to make it a whole red tape and scissors affair and at nidnight he decides to cut it with his teeth?

Okay lets get serious, did you know that every single person regardless of their age, marital status or job are taxed to their individual limits. Even the hubs who has to be the most chilled out dude ever, still gets stressed.
Someone once told me when I said I am a SAHM who blogs and writes that I had an easy gig, my reply to this was a big "I dont think so" and I bet all you SAHMs would agree with me. Even celebs say they dont have it easy.
That said lets all take some time to chill out, keep our bodies healthy and face each day with a happy smile, if other people can do it, so can we.

P.S if you know the answer to my random thoughts today I will be grateful to know, its really bugging my brain.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Facing the truth

Thank you to Jessica our guest last friday, she had some pretty amazing advice didn't she? and now as picked by grabby toddler2; grabby toddler1's girlfriend and my french teacher. Here are the recipients of Jessica's book.
Liz Fichera
Lia Bal
Jami Gold
Jennifer Shirk
Kelley Vitollo

Clarissa D
Please remember to send me your American adresses and email adresses - Quinn, Nas and L'aussie I have your email addresses so don't worry, Liz I have yours too (looks like the lego system works for you).

Congratulations my winners, I have learnt today that all toddlers are just grabby, they don't ever pick one at a time.
Today I shall be talking about a counter advice and facing the truth.
1. Write from the heart - I agree but just like we all know that being in love is not the only thing that makes a relationship, I also have to realize that loving to write one genre does not guarantee I can write in that genre. What do I love to write and often tries to sneak into my manuscripts even though its been banned? Paranormal romance, I have written a few and even when I picked up my pen again in June I penned a Paranormal which I sent off to Carina Press and got a big fat R in 6 weeks. I still believe my manuscript prompted Angela James to tweet about the 20 reasons why manuscripts get rejected.
I have since told my cps to hit me over the head if I ever give them a paranormal to crit for me,  at this stage in my life I simply don't have the knack for it.
I shall keep up this topic for the rest of the week, what about you? Are there any truths we need to face regardless of what we are told? or am I just a grabby toddler writer who will soon be able to write all genres that I fancy soon?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Interrogation Room and giveaways

Has anyone ever seen my picture? I blame my recent chubby cheeks on Jessica's book Becca's Best. It was so well described I could feel the scones melting in my mouth and my addiction to bran muffins got a whole lot worse. That said let me introduce you to Jessica Barksdale Inclan, I have learnt a lot from reading her blog.

Joanna: Looking back how would you rate your first book against your current book out on the market?
Jessica: This is a very hard question, as my first six novels were contemporary fiction and my last six were romance.  So inherent in the two genres are differences.  Romance needs, well, romance, and contemporary fiction doesn't always have the big HEA that romance readers want.
But I think that my last novel (The Beautiful Being) and my first novel (Her Daughter's Eyes) both revolve around a character's or characters' wanting to be connected, longing for a connection with other people--or, that singular, romantic connection. They may be very different novels, but that core is there in both.
Joanna: Where do you get inspirations for your books from?
Jessica: I find inspiration in so many things--newspaper articles, my friends and family, dreams.  The problem facing so many writers is that the "concept" or the "platform" is taking over inspiration.  What may inspire me may not be marketable.  I've been told that certain ideas "won't sell," and that is a hard thing to hear, especially if I am inspired.
Bottom line, though, is that I try to write about what moves me, and often if I am moved, others will be, too.

Joanna: You teach creative writing at college level, are you able to read books for pleasure (without going into professor mode)?
Jessica: Absolutely!  I read like crazy, though if something is poorly written on the sentence level or full of cliches (and so FEW published novels are, though some slip through) I do react.  But I let myself fall into a story and enjoy.  I need that escape and I need the example of another writer's imagination on the page.

Joanna: What advice would you have for first time conference goers?
Jessica: Part of the advice is counter-productive.  Often, I want to tell folks at conferences to stay home and write.  I have met a few aspiring writers who participate in so many conferences that they don't get to the very thing they are at the conference for--writing.
The other part is to let it all swirl around you--the ideas and information--and then make sure to not take anything personally or get defensive.  Find the one idea or writer that inspires and then go home and write! 
And then if there can be three parts--meet up with folks at conferences and stay connected to them.  They are your peers and are often at the same writing level--forge writing partnerships and writing groups.  I have two long time friends, both of whom I met at a conference and both of whom have read much of my work (and both of whom were just at my wedding in September!).  These connections are the important ones.

Joanna: How does it feel when people truly connect to the characters you have created?
Jessica: Well, that's about the best feeling ever.  It's hard to imagine how satisfying that is.  When a reader tells me he or she has identified with anything I've put down on paper, I feel as though I've connected in a real true way.  And that's amazing.
Joanna: Jessica has kindly agreed to give out five copies of her latest book titled Being with Him, but for logistical reasons we can only send it to American addresses, so do me a favour in your comments today kindly mention what country you live in. I will let Jessica tell us about her latest book now

Being With Him
They are here among us…

Far from home, gifted with special abilities, hunted for their powers. And they are desperate to find their other, the one who completes them…before it’s too late…


Mila Adams has always known she was different. It’s not just that she’s a Mission District bohemian artist in rarefied San Francisco society. No, it’s that for as long as she can remember, she has had the ability to shift time, and who would believe that? Certainly not the obnoxious blind dates her mother keeps foisting off on her. Mila can’t help feeling there’s someone out there for her, a soul mate who might understand her unique ability. And when she looks into the dark eyes of financial whiz Garrick McClellan, time feels as if it has opened up on its own—and this time, Mila has nothing to do with it.

Any man would lust after a beauty like Mila, but the moment Garrick touches her—feels her shifting time just as he can—he recognizes her as his partner in power. Their connection is immediate, passionate, raw, and beyond anything either has ever experienced. But who are they? What is this gift that joins them so intensely? Are there others like them? And why do they feel that time is running out?

Jessica Barksdale Inclan is the author of twelve novels, including Her Daughter's Eyes, The Matter of Grace, and When You Believe.  Her seventh novel, Being With Him, was released Septmeber 2010 in mass market.  She teaches creative writing, literature, and compsotion at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and novel writing for UCLA Extension.
Jessica can be found at her website and blog or on Twitter

TGIF and let the party begin

Yay for us Non Americans Jessica is giving away 5 more E-Books so we etrangeres can win too, that makes this a 10 - book giveaway.