Welcome Jan Romes, Romance Author

I am pleased to welcome Jan Romes to my blog this morning. It seems like every time I open Twitter she’s releasing a new book. I was determined to find out how she does it.

Jan RomesHow is it that you have released so many titles this year and last year? Do you work on multiple stories at a time?

Lily, while it seems like I’ve had a lot of books published all at once, they were actually written over a period of time. My first book came out in 2011. I had six in 2012 (one of those was an anthology with two other authors). And so far, one in 2013. Stories have germinated in my mind forever and I finally have the time to put them down on paper (well, on the computer). My life seems to revolve around writing these days. It’s a joy and blessing that I’ll always be grateful for.

I don’t write multiple stories at a time. I know there are authors capable of writing two stories at once; I’m not one of them. I have a folder with a ton of story ideas that I find myself wanting to get busy on. When I have those restless days, I have to remind myself to finish the story I’m working on. I think I have a tiny bit of OCD too and it won’t allow me to focus on more than one book at a time.

You’ve had three books published with The Wild Rose Press, one with Champagne Books, four independently, and even published two short stories in a magazine. Do you have any thoughts to share about the publishing process or industry?

I have a lot to share, but keep in mind, I’m no expert. First of all, once you’ve written your story, have faith in your work and go for it. Don’t be afraid to contact publishers and agents. Chances are you will receive some rejections. Don’t be disheartened; even some well-known authors received multiple rejections before they were accepted. (Google ‘best known authors who received rejections’ you will be amazed – and if you receive rejections, knowing it took others awhile will help you keep things in perspective) The wheels of publishing turn slowly.

Also, whether you are traditionally published or independently published, a lot of your exposure as an author will depend on you. Your publisher will get your name out there but it will be up to you to keep it there via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.

You will meet some incredible people along the way. I’ve made some great friends, both authors and fans alike and I’ve discovered that they have just as much to offer you as you have to offer them.

Regarding the mechanics of publishing (if you publish independently), you will need to have your books properly formatted for each venue that you plan to upload to. (Each venue has certain requirements – check their sites for details) As far as cover art, you can use your own or there are many creative folks who are willing to help. Don’t forget editing, that’s a biggie. Comb over your work with an eagle eye and then have someone else do it too. A fresh set of eyes will pick up on things you may have missed. We are so close to our work that we inadvertently skim over things because we’ve seen that same line or paragraph a hundred times. Finally, when your work is uploaded and ready for sale, shout it from the rooftops!!

Do you have any new books forthcoming?

Happy to say, yes I do! Mr. August is currently with The Wild Rose Press. I’ve been through two rounds of edits so far. I’ve not been given a release date, but I’m sure it will be in the near distant future.

I also am seventy pages into my WIP (work-in-progress). I know everything that I will put my hero and heroine through. Their story is going slow at the moment as I enjoy all that comes with summer.

I live in South Carolina, so I loved the fact that Stay Close, Novac! was set in Myrtle Beach. Tell us a little about the story.

Book Cover Stay Close, Novac!Jessi Novac leads the quiet life of a romance author until someone leaves a series of explicit notes under her windshield wipers and heavy breathing on her answering machine.

Until NYPD can track down the culprit who’s trying to scare the bejesus out of her, Jessi hides out at her grandmother’s beach house in Myrtle Beach where she hopes to get her bearings. Instead, her life takes an even bigger tilt toward crazy when she meets her clumsy neighbor. She’s suspicious of Ian Alexander, and attracted to him at the same time. Their relationship becomes a calamity of errors until strange things start happening at the beach house. Jessi clings to Ian for protection, but she soon discovers her heart may be in more danger than her life.

I have read One Small Fib, Three Days With Molly, and Stay Close, Novak!, and you are definitely one of my authors that I look for. I also just downloaded Stella in Stilettos, and can’t wait to start it. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Thanks for having me, Lily. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about something I’m so passionate about!

Below are links that you can use to find Jan:

Contact information:

Website – www.authorjanromes.com

Blog – www.jantheromancewriter.blogspot.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jan.romes.5

Twitter – @janromes

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5240156.Jan_Romes

 

 

Careful with E-Book Formatting

Some words of wisdom if you are formatting your own e-books, or even if you are paying someone else to format them. I am only speaking about the Kindle, since that is the e-reader that I own, but I am sure that other formats/readers would be similar.

Notice how I have a line break between these two paragraphs. That’s because this is non-fiction. This isn’t a story, or a novel, or a novella. But in case you’ve not read a physical book lately, fiction doesn’t use line breaks unless it is a scene change. Did you hear me? No? Let me say it again. Fiction doesn’t use a line break unless it is a scene change.

I have experienced this style of formatting from multi-published authors, and I just want to grab them by the throat and tell them to stop it.

I downloaded a book for my husband recently. I liked the premise, so I decided to read it too. It wasn’t one of the romances that I normally read, but sometimes I slip out of my genre. I won’t recommend it. The writer used larger paragraphs, not a lot of dialog, and a lot of telling. But aside from those weaknesses, it almost gave me a headache to read it. Every paragraph had a scene-break style line. If the paragraph spanned two pages, my subconscious mind would interpret this as a scene break, but it wasn’t. It was a new paragraph. It didn’t matter how many times I told myself that he had formatting issues, I couldn’t get past it.

A blank line in the text should only be used to indicate a scene break, or a change in the action, not a paragraph switch. In the free book that Amazon published on how to format for the Kindle, it explains how to have blank space between paragraphs, but I ignored that. I think that is for non-fiction.  Please beware when you are using this feature. Preview it and make sure that you don’t have huge amounts of space between your paragraphs.

Thank you for listening to me rant. Anyone else have any formatting issues they want to whine about? I’ll listen.

Nik Wallenda — A Perfect Example of Goal Visualization

Watching the interviews with Nic Wallenda before the walk across the Grand Canyon provided a perfect example of goal visualization. Many of us, in thinking about what we want to achieve, skip this step.

I was glued to my television last night watching Nik Wallenda attempt his walk across the Grand Canyon. Our kids were watching, so we were hoping it wouldn’t end tragically. We joked before the walk that it was bedtime, but they had been watching the lead-in, and it was clear they were determined to watch it. Fortunately, it ended well. He lowered to a crouch twice, which was nerve-wracking, but he made it. See the full article here.

“Daredevil Nik Wallenda Completes High-Wire Walk Across Grand Canyon”

 

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim

 

We all have lessons that we can learn from his visioning process. First of all, even with all of his family history and his own previous walks, he didn’t just say, “I’m going to walk across the Grand Canyon.”

In the interview before the attempt, the reporter asked Wallenda how he prepared for the walk. In addition to showing video of his training center in Florida, where he walked on a wire during a tropical storm, he talked about how he pictured the walk. He talked about the feel of the wire beneath his feet, the wind, and the view of the canyon walls. He painted amazing pictures with words of the sensation of walking in the sky. Beyond that, he talked about how he would feel a quarter of the way through, halfway through, how he would feel as he started the ascent, and how he would know he was almost there.  He added, “Although I won’t hear their thunderous applause, I know they will be applauding when I get to the other side,” he said. When he spoke of the walk, it was always in positive terms, never if I finish, but when I finish.

Most goal-setting exercises invite you to visualize the end result. Have you gone through this process? Do you know what it will look like when you become successful? Can you define success? With any process, it’s important to visualize what the end result is. I know that my book became more real to me when I had a cover image, even if I hadn’t settled on a title.

Pick a goal and visualize what it will look like when you are successful. I’m visualizing a desk at home that I want to clean off. Now let’s see if I can get that done. I think it may actually have brown wood in there somewhere.

 

Photo of the Grand Canyon by www.world-wide-gifts.com

American or British English?

There are the obvious differences, such as spelling words using -ise and -ize, or adding an -our instead of or (e.g. colour instead of color), but there are a few other anomalies I’ve picked up reading books by authors not from the U.S. Here are a few that I had to look up in the dictionary to discern what on earth the author was talking about:

We’ve all learned a long time ago that the gals in London share a flat, while the girls in New York share an apartment. In Manhattan, they take the elevator, while in London, everyone takes the lift. But what other differences are there?

What is a jumper?

In the U.S., it’s a dress, usually worn over a shirt, that comes down mid-calf. It’s often considered frumpy. Here’s an example.

Button-Front Denim Jumper

Well, apparently, in other countries, a jumper is also a sweater. See this picture from a UK website. Who would have thought?

(Now him in a jumper, not a bad idea!!)

Another one: Trainers.

We call work-out shoes sneakers or tennis shoes, although they may come nowhere near a tennis court. Over there, across the pond, they are called trainers. That’s complete craziness.

Last but not least, from the Southern hemisphere, what on earth is Vegemite?

Vegemite: This one hails from Australia. In the song “I Come from the Land Down Under”, the band Men at Work mentioned a Vegemite sandwich. I remember the song from the eighties, but never thought twice about it until I read it in a romance set in Australia or New Zealand, I don’t remember which, but the leading lady was eating Vegemite.

Image
Image Source: <a title=”By Tristanb [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons”

What differences have you noticed? Do you read books from both sides of the Atlantic? Or even from down under?

Here in the Southern U.S. we take our tea sweet and cold. Enough said.

My First “Word Processor” – A Father’s Gift

A Father’s Gift

Remington Rand KMC typewriter

Picture By Georg Sommeregger (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I have written stories for as long as I can remember. In elementary school I wrote my own version of a soap opera starring the kids in my school.  It was in script format. I was always scribbling in notebooks until my fingers cramped.

I don’t remember the year, but it was some time in middle school, maybe seventh grade, for Christmas Santa Claus brought me a Remington Typewriter, an old model not much different from the one pictured above.  I already knew that Santa Claus was my dad then, but everyone at my house continued with the lie. To this day, it remains one of the best gifts I have ever received.  (I think my son just heard me reading this out loud to my husband. We think he doesn’t believe in Santa any more, but if he does I just let the cat out of the bag. Wonderful.)

Today I give tribute to my dad because he saw who I was (a crazy geeky girl who wanted to write) and he found something he knew I would love. It wasn’t the latest girl fad at the time, which was probably something like platform shoes or Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans, but it was exactly what I wanted and needed.

I taught myself to type on that old machine. I found an abandoned typewriter book and did all the drills, and by the end I was self-taught 65 plus words per minute. On a typewriter. I loved the thing.

I wrote my first novel on that old typewriter. In high school I wrote a book called At Cross Purposes.  I haven’t looked at the manuscript for years, but the gist was that a married woman went on a business trip, had a one-night fling, and it turns out her husband died in a plane crash the same night, very macabre for a 16/17 year old. I was a child of divorce, and I was intrigued by the idea of one spouse dying at the moment the other was having an affair. Now of course I’m horrified by that thought. I’m sure if I looked at it now, the writing would be atrocious and very juvenile, but I still remember the book.

By my second novel I was in college and I wrote Beads of Glass, about a girl growing up in the sixties who was the girl in a set of triplets with two boys, and how she was treated differently from her brothers. This book was my honors thesis for my undergraduate degree. The last time I looked at it I noticed that the narrator was obsessed with marking the passage of time in the book.  (Thirty minutes later, At 12:30 p.m., etc. )

These books are as much a fabric of my own personal coming of age as high school and college. I wrote a third book just after I married my husband, about a woman who was torn between her career and wanting to stay home with her new baby. Amazingly enough, it mirrored the issues I was facing at the time. It may see the light of day in the next few years.

Lastly, No Strings Attached is out there, finding readers, slowly but surely. My husband is on his way to Las Vegas in a few weeks on a business trip, and the running joke around our house is that he’d better not be trying to live out portions of the book. Of course, my character isn’t married when she finds her romance in Vegas.

The typewriter is gone, lost in a house fire, but that doesn’t change the fact that it kicked off a dream.

So, to my dad with love — Thank you for buying a little girl a typewriter whether it seemed like a good gift at the time or not.

Gone With the Wind Turns 77 This Month

Product Details

Gone With the Wind turns 77 this month.  The original publication date of the novel was in June 1936, with varying dates in Wikipedia.  So today I salute the grand dame of historical fiction in the United States, with a nod to romantic fiction (although of course there’s no happy ending).

Wikipedia has a great entry on Gone With the wind here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gone_with_the_Wind) and IMDB summarizes the great quotes from the movie here http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031381/quotes.

Gone With the Wind has always been a special book/movie for me. In fact, I borrowed the title of my blog, the phrase “Don’t Call Me Sugar” from the movie. The exact quote is “Great balls of fire. Don’t bother me anymore, and don’t call me sugar.”

I always thought GWTW got short shrift from critics, but that’s not surprising given the way the public snatched it up. Remember that in 1936, the country was still in the throes of the Great Depression. The book struck chords with a public that still remembered World War I, and in the South, scars from the Civil War still ran very deep. Unfortunately, segregation was still firmly entrenched, and many upper class White families still had African-American servants. It became a best-seller almost immediately.

As a young girl growing up in the seventies and eighties, I absolutely worshiped the book. I collected everything related to the book and movie, from bears to porcelain figurines. However, by the time I enrolled in an English program at UGA, it was beat into me that Gone With the Wind was crass popular fiction, and not worthy of my continuing interest. Sigh.

I’ve moved on from my English degree. I’ve decided I like to read what I like to read, critics be damned. A few years ago my husband bought me Rhett Butler’s People, a sequel to the original book authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate. Initially, I couldn’t believe that he bought it for me. I was appalled. How could he support the author who dared to walk in Margaret Mitchell’s footsteps? He had spent a lot of money on a hardback that I NEVER would have bought. Emphasis on never. I stewed. I couldn’t t ask him to take it back. Really, knowing my history with the book, it was a thoughtful gift.

Once I gave it a try, I was hooked. I loved it. Much of the book runs parallel with GWTW, so we see a lot of the action from Rhett’s perspective. In my opinion, it was a sequel definitely worth reading.

Since I got married, I’ve collected Hallmark Gone With the Wind ornaments, and last Christmas I received a porcelain sculpture that when you press a button plays (in Clark Gable’s voice) the following quote:

No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.

Hold on while I fan myself. Sigh.

Another interesting phenomena that I have found is that when I read the book, in my mind Scarlett and Rhett do not end up together in the future after the book’s end. The hurt for both of them is too deep and the scars too much to manage. However, when I watch the movie, whether it’s the performance by Vivien Leigh or Clark Gable I’m not sure, but I just know that she will get him back.

Quickpoll: Since for the reader characters don’t end when you stop reading the book — Do you think Rhett and Scarlett will get back together?  Give your opinion in the poll.  I’ve told you what I think and I would love to hear your opinion in the comments. 

Bonus: Without using Google, do you know the original name of the character Scarlett?  Big surprise: It was Pansy!  Can you imagine?

Happy Birthday to Gone With the Wind!!

Stephen King Says No to eBooks for Latest Release

One of the most prolific and popular novelists of our time has opted to produce his latest novel, Joyland, in paperback format only.  This is just the latest shot in an ongoing battle between physical books and eBooks. Stephen King has come down on both sides of the fight.

In 2010, he argued that it’s the story, not the method of delivery that matters. You can see his opinion in this 2010 video on CNN.  2010 – Stephen King Speaks in Favor of eBooks (Link to Video on CNN Money)

In 2013, he hearkens back to a vintage era and is going old-style, paperback only. See an article about this here.

2013 – Can Stephen King impact eBooks’ Future?

We have had a Kindle in our house since 2009, and I rarely read in any other format these days. Stephen King argues that he wants to support the independent bookstore with this new release, and I admire the sentiment.

Our house is split. My husband says he will read it in paperback. I have mixed emotions. I have so many books, and am such a voracious reader, I don’t want any more paperbacks in the house. On the flip side, I am considering uploading No Strings Attached to Create Space to make physical books available, because several of my family and friends don’t like eBooks.

 What do you think? If you are a Stephen King fan, will you buy his new book in paperback?

Comments are welcome.

Early Praise for No Strings Attached

It’s been a week since No Strings Attached went live. Take a look at some of the comments that I’ve gotten to see what you’re missing!

So far, I’ve gotten one five star review on Amazon from Jessica. She writes, “You’ll want to make time to read this one straight through. The end of each scene just makes you want to start the next. Flowing dialogue, great tension, and racy scenes make this a must read. I’ll definitely read more from this author.”

On my Facebook page, I’ve heard from others…

“I’m 80% through. I like her [Laura’s] character – not a doormat.” – Sara

“Chapter 8 and I’m already in love with Fox!” – Rebecca

“I can’t wait to read the sequel!” – Chesa

“I’m so happy to be settling down for the night so I can get back to this book!” Leigh

“I read the first five chapter last night…loving it so far!” Ame

To give you a taste of what you’re missing, here’s the opening from Fox:

Fox Thornton stared at the cards nestled against the green felt. Focus, man, focus. Something had to change. A fun hand of blackjack had turned into a bloodbath. After being in meetings all day, he had planned a quick hand of blackjack, but two hours later, he had lost more than he intended. He blamed his losses on the gorgeous blonde at the end of the table and her sexy silver dress. How could he leave with her if she made no effort to leave?

Her hair reminded him of wheat in summer and it curled around her shoulders with a devil-may-care attitude. Her eyes shone like dark amber whiskey and glowed with an inner fire when she smiled—which was often—and frequently in his direction. She leaned forward and he caught a glimpse of a little dark hollow between her breasts. He stifled a groan.

He shifted position to relieve the pressure caused by a wave of desire. How long had it been since he’d been this hard for a stranger? Not since college ten years ago. As she considered the cards, her tongue peeked between rosy lips. What a turn-on.

Fox looked for any of the managers he knew from the remodel, and saw James, a pit boss who had joined him for drinks one night. He sent him a text and then moved over to the vacant seat beside her.

“The luck’s better over here,” he said with a smile, but then he cut his eyes away, not wanting to appear too eager. She spared him a quick glance before turning back to her cards.

Sitting beside her made things worse. He smelled roses every time she moved, and now he had a full view of her long, tanned legs. One of her legs bounced up and down, betraying her nervousness. He blocked out the image of those legs wrapped around his waist or he would never be able to stand. As soon as James closed the table, he would ask her to dinner.

Her bizarre play was screwing up the natural order of the cards. She laughed when the cards fell her way, and when they didn’t, she seemed stunned, as if she should be able to predict the card order.

If anyone else had been playing that inconsistently, he would have switched tables and cut his losses. Now he was so intrigued he couldn’t walk away without a phone number.

The girl’s strapless dress fit against her like a second skin, and he couldn’t look away. While they waited for the next round of cards, she fidgeted with a silver-threaded scarf. He could imagine that scarf in his hands as he pulled her to him … He had to get control of himself.

When the waitress brought drinks, he took care of the tip, and his blonde beauty flashed him a smile. When she won for the third time in as many hands, he saluted her with a flourish. She repaid him by blowing him a kiss. Now he had her attention.

 

Buy No Strings Attached for just $2.99 now. Click the link below to go to the Amazon page.

No Strings Attached