Thursday, January 31, 2013

What's Next in the Publishing Process? by DL Larson

Last week I wrote about stepping into the self-publishing world and that I have decided to venture into this new era of promoting my own work.  The stress level is still high, but I am gaining my feet as I go. 

I've signed a contract, sent in my material and paid my fee.  The company I'm going with has been in contact with me several times this week, via phone and email.  Perhaps they sensed my hesitation or maybe this is standard procedure for them, but I really enjoy working with this company and their workers.  So far anyway!

They gave me homework.

I'm not usually too surprised by things, but this had me smiling and nodding.  Yes, I need to create my own PR.  I will be visiting many websites this week to see what I need in order to promote my book.  I will follow their detailed steps and see where it leads. 

Then I was given more homework.

Wow!  Okay, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, as if I'm taking an on-line class and coming in late.  But I can do this.  My previous instructions were to look at book covers and see what I favored for my own next book cover.  I went to Amazon and scrolled through hundreds of books, picked a few layouts and designs, jotted down the ISBNs, copied and pasted the cover and sent them my list.  That was a good start, but vague they replied, thus the added homework.

Now I have a new place to visit.  I don't have to buy any photos or designs, just look through and jot down the images I would want on my book.  Once the book cover designers have a better understanding of what I want, they will work to pull my "likes" together to make my cover.

I spent several hours this morning pouring over photos and jotting down what intrigued me.  I narrowed my search, to specific things.  So far I've found steamboats, country settings, but no people.  I will continue my search tomorrow. 

I want to remind everyone I bypassed the editing process in this endeavor.  I had already had my manuscript professionally edited and didn't feel it needed more.  If you are contemplating self-publishing, please do NOT skip this step.  A polished manuscript is the goal no matter which direction a writer takes toward publishing.

Next week, I'll share how the PR and book cover shopping developed.

And, please, if you have gone down this road before, share with us so we writers can better understand this unique way of publishing.  Share your good or bad experiences. We want to hear it all!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dogs in Books

Rascal, when she's
being good!
Dogs in books are quite popular, especially to me, since I've owned one dog or another for many years. Some of you may already know about my current dog, Rascal, a pit bull, who may yet show up in one of  my books.

I included a Chinese Crested dog in my romantic comedy, Her Handyman, since that strange type of breed seemed a perfect match for my quirky artist character, Zoe.

I also included a neighbor's dog in my romantic suspense, Killer Career, but not in such happy circumstances.

I almost forgot to mention, my upcoming release, Blessing or Curse, also has a police dog in it!

To give proper due to man's and woman's best friend, I started a new Facebook Group, called Dogs in Books.

If you also like to read or write about dogs in books, come on over and join us at:

Morgan Mandel

Find all of Morgan Mandel's books at

and at her Amazon Author Page:

Follow on Twitter @MorganMandel

Monday, January 28, 2013

From story to TV movie or film...

Watching the Hallmark movie special Sunday made me think how fun it would be to have your story turned into a film.

This movie, The Makeover, was a light romantic comedy which right away had me thinking of our co-blogger Morgan Mandel's  short romantic comedy, The Handyman.

The TV movie, which was a teleplay instead of being based on  a book or short story, involved a consultant revamping a working class guy into a polished candidate for the House of Representatives.  Unbelievable? Yeah, sometimes, but this was a fun, lighthearted romantic story with comedic and sometimes, okay, goofy moments.

The drawback, of course, was that the plot was simplistic enough that you could follow the movie and "see" the story line. Made me think it could be fun to try writing a story like that, well at least after the other unfinished projects are done.

** Has a movie or film inspired you to write something different?

* Have you had a book or story translated to film or tried getting a film made?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

How's That for Fast?

As some of you know, one of my goals for the new year was to finish (Okay, okay, in reality write the whole darn thing, since one or two paragraphs wasn't exactly an auspiscious start.) my Halloween novella and submit it to my editor at Wild Rose.

The deadline for Halloween submissions is January 28. Yep that's tomorrow. And having only really gotten going on the entire project after Christmas, it left me a very short time span to write, edit, and submit the story. Now granted, it's just a short 10,000 word (about 50 pages) Miniature Rose, but still, an entire story in less than a month?! That's just insane.

Last week (or was it the week before?) I blogged about the fabulous progress I was making. Saturday had been a good writing day, and I was extremely pleased with my output. If I had just half as productive of a day on Sunday, I'd be home free. At least with the writing part. But alas, as those things tend to do...Sunday was not productive at all.

However, bottom line. I got it done! I finished that story last weekend. I even wrote the synopsis. I figured I'd have a decent week to edit, and I'd be able to submit by the deadline.

Well, I got a little antsy. I did a readthrough last Monday morning and decided the story was in pretty good shape. I tweaked a few things here and there, but overall, I felt it didn't need any major reworking. So, I typed up a query letter, added the synopsis, and sent it off to my editor Monday afternoon. About an hour later she e-mailed back and asked me to send her the full mss. We were off to a good start. So I figured I'd be writing here today asking you to keep your fingers crossed for me.

But wait...the story gets better. Thursday I got an e-mail from her saying she loved the story and had put in a request for a contract! (At TWRP all contracts need to be approved by the senior editor of the line.) Needless to say I was floored and extremely excited! The actual submission deadline hadn't even arrived yet and I was this close (thumb and forefinger less than an inch apart) to a contract!

Talk about a fast turnaround!

So, I'll still ask you to keep your fingers crossed for the senior editor to approve the contract. If all goes well, The Vampire and the Vixen (a contemporary tongue-in-cheek is-he-or-isn't-he Halloween story) will be available come fall.

Now how exciting is that?!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Career Change by Margot Justes

The release of A Hotel in Bath, and my current writing projects made me realize that my retirement decision was absolutely the right one. I’m ready for a career change.

 There is a certain angst in leaving the familiar, the job you can do with your eyes closed, because you’ve done it for so long, but you also realize there is no longer a challenge  in the sameness, it is in fact mundane.  Once that certainty becomes obvious, the rest becomes easy.

 I have four full months left of gainful employment, after that I’ll be a full time writer. I’m looking forward to it.  It’s a demanding enterprise, this writing business, full of energy, pitfalls, ups and downs and everything in between. In other words, it is bloody marvelous.

 I’ve been blessed to work with some wonderful people, I’ll miss them, but I will not miss the work. Not one iota of it. Not one little bit. I’m ready for a new challenge, one that will allow me the freedom to do as I please, allow me to progress at my own pace, but most of all allow me to challenge myself.

 Whether I can make a success of it, remains to be seen, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Margot  Justes

A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Making It Happen, One Step At A Time by DL Larson

I've been researching self-publishing for awhile now.  I know there will be much work involved in order to self-publish, but I worked hard with my other books as well.  Making a decision to pursue was one step, talking to real people and making the commitment to publish was the next big step.  It's time to gather the needed essentials that go into a book.  My book.

So I begin.  I want to share with you just exactly what I will be doing as this process unfolds.  I'm a little freaked that I've decided to venture into this new way of publishing, but the folks I'm working with are readily available.  Example:  I send an email with a question, my gal, Megan, picks up the phone to answer my question.  I like that. 

As I begin gathering the needed items, I realize I don't have a review for the back cover.  The contract states I should have all my paperwork in order before I send my manuscript and everything that goes with it to them.  I don't want to proceed without a review.  Before I have time to wrestle with this dilemma, Megan calls me.  Reviews are the exception to the rule.  Getting a review takes time.  It's part of the publishing process and I don't have to wait until I have a review in hand in order to proceed.

Whew!  Hurdle #1 has just been knocked down.  I'm feeling much better and now have time to pursue a review for my book.  If I have to wait for a few months, I can still add a review when I get it.  I have a say in how my book will look.  I have a say in the words, quotes, etc. that will be on the back of my book or inside it if I choose to add additional reviews.  I'm liking this process more and more.

So, my "To Do" list this week consists of the following:

- update my author BIO
- polish my Acknowledgment page
- rework my back cover page
- have my Title page ready to go - with an excerpt from a reviewer on my last book
- have my Characters Family History page in order
- add my 'Note From the Author' page to the list - this includes a national suicide hotline number
- be sure my manuscript is ready for submission
- fill out my contract with my new publishers
- be ready to send $$ to them - I'm not as worried about this as I was in the beginning.
- make a list of book covers I admire or the style I prefer.  This is actually difficult for me.  I'll know it when I see it - does that make sense to anyone?  I have a few picked out, a smidge of an idea, but I need more time to ponder this.
- and a picture of myself in pdf form

All too quickly I realize the manuscript is the only thing truly ready for publication.  All the wrappings around it have yet to be fine-tuned.  But thankfully, these are small tasks and I feel confident I can accomplish them fairly quickly.

The one thing I opted out of was to not have my book edited.  I already did that more than a year ago.  Two in fact!  Thank you to Helen G. for doing such a fabulous job and making me believe my book was great and needed to be published!

Included in my contract is the option of having my book put in e-book format.  I agreed to this option.  It is an additional cost, but I believe it will be beneficial in today's market.  I've also chosen the package that includes PR opportunities, press release packets, a website and several other professional-type options that will include a beautiful cover. 

So, I've begun this new journey.  I'm excited and intimidated at the same time.  And somehow, I feel grown up making these decisions all by myself.  Which is silly, I know, I've made all other decisions about my book on my own.  This feels different. 

Next week ... I have no clue what will happen.  I'll let you know then.  Any advice from those who have already been down this road is highly encouraged!  Tell us how self-publishing has gone for you.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Little At a Time

I'm getting things done a little at a time. Lots of year end/beginning stuff to sort out. I usually throw my bills into a folder each month. At the end of the year, then I figure out which ones I really need to keep. Most get shredded or thrown away. I could do this chore more often, such as every month when a new bill arrives, but what fun is that? Or, I could go paperless, but for some odd reason I like to see the bills right in front of me, though I pay them online. I guess I'm still half in and half out of the old and new ways of doing things.

I'm employing the same approach to my editing of Blessing or Curse, the sequel to Forever Young: Blessing or Curse. After a while, my brain freezes from too much thinking, and I have to stop and go to Facebook, or some other place to thaw it out.

Still, I'm getting there. Blessing or Curse has 5 stories in all, and I'm halfway through editing the third one. Hopefully, I can finish it today, then only 2 to go.

I'd hoped to have this book finished sooner, such as in December, but I underestimated the Christmas busy-ness. Lots of fun and un-fun stuff kept getting in the way. My target now is February publication.

Everyone will know if I make my goal, because I will spread the word far and wide!

A peek at what Blessing or Curse is about:
  • Consuela's husband has Parkinson's. Will the young pill help him?
  • Ezekial suffers from E.D. Will the pill cure his curse?
  • Police officer, Mike, has let himself go. His physical is coming up. Maybe the pill will help.
  • Dee Dee wonders if her husband is cheating. Will the pill make her more attractive? 
  • Sherri's washed out as a model. Can the pill re-ignite her career?
Stay tuned for the answers!

Morgan Mandel

Check out all of Morgan Mandel's
books at
or her Amazon Author Page at

Connect on Twitter at

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book releases - tips and to do's

With GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie slated for release this summer, I am naturally
 one-sided these days.  It's a lot to think about....

So it seems the perfect topic today - share what you did for your book release - 
what worked - what didn't?
What's a good idea? 
Part of my pre-release work has been spreading the word via a new blog with several 
other authors - GirlZombieAuthors.  This has been a lot of fun to explore different topics...
Stop by - today I'm talking about yes, zombie movies. Love 'em, hate 'em, 
which should've stayed buried?
Share a fave or even a horror movie.  See post
* Please do share your book release hints and tips - anything bad or memorable happen? 

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I'm close. Really close. I have about three to five pages left of that Halloween story (just to flesh out some scenes) and I'll be ready for edits.

I planned on finishing up yesterday and doing the first round of edits today. But, as usual, life got in the way. You see, this weekend is our annual basketball tournament at school. I'm the cheerleading coach, so I need to be there for our team's games. On the outset, this didn't seem like a problem. To put it bluntly, they aren't very good this year. As in we've won one game all year. So, I planned my weekend around this fact. We had a game Friday night, which I figured we'd lose and move to the consolation bracket on Saturday. Play that game, lose, and we're out. Then I'd have all day Sunday to myself.

Nope. Friday night went just as 'planned'. Saturday our game was at 1:30ish. I hated to leave home to go to school, because I was on a role with writing (And how often does that happen?) but I took my trusty notebook with me and planned (There's that nasty word again.) to get the synopsis done during the game. Wouldn't you know it? Those boys played a good game. It was fun to watch. And darn it all...they won.

Now, you don't have to tell me, I should be excited for these grade school kids and not be selfish enough to lament my weekend going to pot,or at least off track. But, sue me, I'm only human. Because not only do I now have to be at school in the middle of the day today, but I also had to stay longer after that game yesterday to make another run-through for the game today. Which in turn gave me even less writing time at home, because I had another school-related event last night.

All in all, it's not the end of the world. My head is still spinning with ideas, so it's just a matter of getting them written. We're off tomorrow for MLJjr Day. Being at school for a little over an hour today isn't going to kill me. I can still multi-task and get that synopsis done during the game. And, the deadline for submitting the story isn't for another week, so I still feel like I'm in pretty good shape.

But seriously, life sure can throw some curve balls, can't it? The best laid plans and all that...

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Introduction to A Hotel in Bath by Margot Justes

A Hotel in Bath, has just been released and I would like to share a snippet with you. A journey that began in Paris, continues in Bath.

“Welcome to London, Miss Grey,” he whispered.
“Thank you, Captain.” She leaned toward him and with her fingertips caressed his cheek.

The plane roared to a stop amidst layers of dense fog, the silvery hue obscuring the landing strip. Inside the plane, the woman sitting next to Peter Riley shivered, he gently stroked her hand, his gaze on her face as soft as the caress. He was so completely aware of her that he could taste her increasing panic. Their relationship was new, and Minola Grey was skittish about commitment. He knew the relationship terrified her, a fear of betrayal never far from the surface.
             Minola looked up at him and their eyes locked. “A hotel in London, Captain?”

“Yes, Miss Grey. We were going to go to my apartment, but I received a message that the painters were delayed, and the apartment is not ready. A hotel in Bath. That concept should be familiar to you, except this time, I’m staying with you from the very beginning,” he replied smiling. His grip on her fingers tightened. She took his breath away. “I love you,” he whispered in her ear. “Nervous?”


“No. Yes. Hmmm. Now, that is an interesting response. Any regrets?”

“About what?”


“No. Never about you. Meeting your parents, well, let's just say that is an entirely different matter,” Minola replied.

He remembered the first time he met Minola Grey. Paris. And murder. As an Interpol agent, Peter Riley was part of an investigative team in Paris; somehow, she wound up becoming an indispensable part of his life. Because of him, she had matured as a woman and as an artist-she’d become a success in Paris, and now had a major show planned in London-but she still had doubts and insecurities about their association. Minola continued, “Peter, what are your parents going to think? I’m a stranger you are imposing on them during their vacation. Maybe I should stay in London. We can all meet later in Bath.”

His grip on her fingers did not relent, he understood her and her fears. She was a remarkable artist whose talent he’d seen grow darker and grittier with her exposure to his profession. He’d been terrified for her safety. It happened right in front of his eyes, she’d seen death and her life had been threatened, horrifying him in the process. She learned about greed, hate, how easy it is for someone to take a life. Peter would do anything to keep her safe and wrapped in a cocoon of his own choosing. Yet throughout their time together, she remained stoic, timid, and more importantly, mistrustful of their relationship.

“First and foremost, you are not a stranger. You are the one and only woman in my life. Have been since the day we met. We are going to Bath together. My parents are looking forward to meeting you. And I want to be with you, but if I’m not enough of a lure, there is an added incentive; a gallery in Bath you will enjoy visiting. I know the owner.”

“A gallery? Ah, you twist my arm, Captain. By the way, you are enough. You will always be enough.” She leaned over and once again touched his cheek. “Peter, how long are we going to stay in Bath? Maybe we should get two-

“We are staying in one room. Together.” He brought her hand to his lips, before she had a chance to withdraw. “We can leave tomorrow morning. It’s not a long drive, and we can relax tonight. Well, maybe not relax, entirely. I have missed loving you,” he said with emphasis.

“Peter, I'm afraid; I feel as if you didn't get a chance to…”

“I have everything I want. You. I’m thinking of leaving Interpol. I’ve found I cannot risk your life again; your safety has become an obsession.”

“What?” She shook her head. “No, you can't. You told me a while back that you make a difference with your work. I know you make a difference-I've seen it. It’s what you want. I can’t let you alter your life so dramatically. Besides, how can I possibly be in danger just by being with you?”

“This is not like being a policeman. Some of the people I deal with reach a long way and retaliate. Violently. My family is further detached from me by living in a small village where everyone knows each other. You, my love, will be living with me and have a high profile. You can become a perfect target.”

“You would be giving up your career because of me, and it would be my fault.  I can’t live with that...Peter, I can’t.”

“I will not be giving anything up. It’s time I assumed responsibilities at home.”

“What do you mean? Responsibilities at home? You would throw away your career and resent me later. You didn’t even discuss it with me. We have to talk. Are we together or not?”

“We are. Absolutely. I’m not letting you go. Ever. And you are correct, we do have to talk. Once we get to Bath. Tonight, I want to make love with you.”

Leaving the plane, his grip firm on her waist, he ushered her to the baggage area. He wasn’t going to let her go. His need for her increased with every breath he took. How on earth is that possible? He recognized that she still felt tentative and apprehensive. The betrayal in Chicago had left her vulnerable, and he had his work cut out for him to allow her to grow in their relationship, allow her to trust him and believe in him. Believe he would never betray her.

Peter’s cell phone went off, and he answered instinctively. “Mother, how are you?” His arm around Minola’s waist tightened perceptibly. “Yes, we are on our way to the…yes, no, not my apartment…we should be in Bath tomorrow.” Peter listened to the voice at the other end of the line. “I’m sorry, son,” he heard his mother say, “Madeleine was killed sometime yesterday. Ashby is asking for you and Fitzhugh has been trying to get in touch.”

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
A Hotel in Bath

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Website!

I'm a little late posting today. I got so caught up in putting together my new website, I didn't want to stop!

Anyway, it's done now, so, of course, I want everyone to see it!

This particular website is devoted to my Chick Lits a/k/a romantic comedies/humorous romances.

Chick Lit Faves is the site name and the link is:

Come on over, take a look, and tell me what you think!

Morgan  Mandel

Morgan Mandel writes Romances, Mysteries and Thrillers

Find all her books at
Amazon Author Page:

Chick Lit Faves Website:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Books or Film? Read or see first?

I love movies, but I'm foremost a book person. I usually love to read the book first and then see a movie. And most times, the book is always much better.

Well, this time I did the opposite and... wow! I saw Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and what a premise! See post over at GirlZombieAuthors: Books to Film....

Your preference? Does it matter?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Half Way There

So in a bold (insert any other appropriate word here: crazy, stupid, foolish) move I set a goal to write and submit a Halloween story to The Wild Rose Press for 2013. I know, what you're saying, "That doesn't sound so bad." Well, in theory, you'd be absolutely correct. In reality, with a deadline of January 26, I didn't give myself much time to accomplish this goal.

I had the idea for a story, but I'm not necessarily Speedy Gonzalas when it comes to going from an idea to a finished mss. When I headed back to work (and all that it entails...being busy, busy, busy) last Monday after a couple of weeks off, I had basically decided I needed to concede the story just wasn't going to happen for this year. No biggie. Halloween comes every year. I could take an entire year to write the story and submit it next year. Whew. One less thing to think about and get done.

Trouble is, the story wouldn't let me go. I was more than willing to let it go (at least until next year), but it had other ideas. I couldn't get it out of my head. Kind of like when you hear a song in the morning and have one line stuck in your brain all day long.

Up until now, I'd written about five or six pages, and those weren't even consecutive pages. I'd just type out a paragraph here and there as ideas came to me. Then Friday night I sat down to get some of the ideas on the screen (and out of my head) and the muse and drive struck. So after doing most of my chores (cleaning the bathrooms, kitchen, and grading English tests) I spent most of the day yesterday (in between running up and down the stairs to do loads of laundry) ensconsed at my keyboard, typing away.

The result? I'm now 27 pages in and at 5,402 words. Essentially, about halfway done. I'd only planned on writing a short 10,000 word novella in the first place.

Hmn? Might this bold, crazy, stupid, foolish idea come to fruition? If I can make the same progress today, it just might. So, who knows, come Halloween, maybe we'll all be reading "The Vampire and the Vixen". Crazier things have happened.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Traditional or Indie by Margot Justes

To get an agent, or not get an agent? To submit to the big publishing houses or go indie? To wait months for a response, or maybe not at all from said agent or publisher? Or not?  Those are the questions. (To paraphrase the Bard)

There is a revolution going on in the publishing industry. The continuous debate on whether to self publish or go the traditional route is ongoing, but Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble have made it easy to self publish. What to do?
Not an easy question, even though the indie world has become more acceptable, there is still that reservation that the book isn’t as good, and is not edited, but the lingering doubt is getting smaller. Many best sellers are going the indie route, granted they have an established readership, but they help the rest of the indie authors in the process.

Once I regained rights to my first novel, I made a conscious effort to go my own way. I was grateful for the experience, because I learned a lot about the business, but ultimately I don’t have the patience to send query letters and submissions and wait months to hear back.
There is a certain lack of civility in the submission process, a writer will submit a query, or a requested manuscript and never hear back from the editor or agent. It’s huge process and literally thousands of submission reach the respective desks every day, but how difficult is it to set an automatic response that states ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

Maybe my age has something to do with it, maybe the fact that I write niche stories, about travel, art and a bit of mayhem but mostly romance, has something to do with it. Marketability is the name of the game, and my style may not reach the mass audiences a big house expects. They need to make money to stay in business. That is a given.  
There is the need to copy the best sellers, have a similar voice because that is what sells. I was once told by an editor that I had to have an original voice, and in the same breath I was asked who do I write like?  Well, I write like me.

Publishing is a business, and if they can’t make money they won’t stay in business for long. In a mass market, they must sell what the public wants to read. On the other hand, I’m delighted that the indie world is getting bigger by leaps and bounds, because I can choose to go my own way.
I pitched my paranormal. It’s an incredibly nerve wracking process...this pitching least for me. I was asked for a full manuscript, and I submitted it. I think it was done to prove I could follow through and do it. I did it. One pitch, and one submission for my vampire Nikolai, and I’m done.

The writing and publishing world is fascinating, creative and crazy. I love being a part of it.
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
and coming soon A Hotel in Bath


Thursday, January 10, 2013

How Many Names Does An Author Need? by DL Larson

We've all heard it before ... don't confuse your readers by genre hopping.  Stick to one genre as a writer.  Then we see famous writers using different names for their various audiences.  J.D. Robb is Nora Roberts, Ann Maxwell is Elizabeth Lowell, etc. are just a few that come to mind.  And I wonder are readers really confused or is the confusion thrust upon them?  Do they not see what section of the bookstore they are standing in?  Do they not read the backcover blurb we writers make as inticing as possible?  I ask, doesn't the confusion come from trying to find an author with many names?

I've been confused for years, no doubt about that.  But this "fear" that readers won't follow a writer to another genre seems a pretty weak excuse to me.  So creating another name makes it all better?  How, I ask?  If I find an author I like, I want to read as much as that particular author has available.  Name changing, for me, simply makes it more difficult to find my fav author.  I don't always remember the new name they've taken.  Again, I ask, how is this productive for anyone? 

Perhaps this is more a financial situation than a reading one.  Example: The author of romance makes X amount of money while author of sci-fi makes another.  Is it simply a tally system that we, the public, have no control over and must search through the stacks to find all the books by our favorite authors because publishing houses don't want to get confused on more than one genre per author?  I can't imagine the many named authors need such an archaic system. 

Many publishing houses request separate names for the author who writes in more than one genre.  Some will not allow the author to take their pen name if they move beyond their present genre.  The publishers feel they helped create the audience of said author and basically don't want to miss out on the $$$ to be made in another book category. 

So, I've basically answered my own question.  It comes down to money.  But then, it always does.  Still, those who have ventured out on your own, will you chose another name if you cross into another genre?
Or will you keep your original pen name?  What benefits do you see to using one name over several?

Share your thoughts with us.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Out of the Ordinary

I was thinking this morning about how my life is pretty ordinary. I do so many things out of habit. I get up around the same time each day, eat the same type of foods, even drink the same beverages. I walk the dog, with or without the DH, I log in, work and play on the Internet, then watch TV or a DVD in the evening.

That's only a small part of my routine, but you get the idea. Most of the time I don't deviate, except for when something extraordinary occurs. It doesn't take much to qualify for me, but sometimes the DH and I go to the American Legion's pancake breakfast once a month, or we go out to lunch, get a carryout, meet a friend for dinner, or go to an indoor winter event or outdoor summer concert.

Another departure from the norm is when we go on vacation, but even that isn't much out of the ordinary, since we always go to our cottage in Wisconsin.

I'm not complaining, because I like it this way. I'm not much for traveling the globe or partying all night.

Such ordinariness in a book would be so boring a reader would stop reading right away. A life-shaking event must occur as soon as possible to the main character(s) to pique a reader's interest. It's such a fast world we live in, most readers are not patient about waiting for the good part in a book. They want the entire book to be the good part.

So, we must find ways to twist and re-align our character's routines, then do so again and again, until our poor character almost reaches the breaking point, and only then offer relief.

The start in a romance can be meeting someone new or learning something new about someone who's already been part of a person's life. Then, countless obstacles and questions present themselves.

Jake, the handyman, and Zoe, the rich artist,  meet in my romantic comedy, Her Handyman, when her dog drops a toy in the toilet, causing a bathroom flood in the middle of the night. Jake and Zoe are attracted to each other, but they lead very different lives. Also, he's got a fiance, which presents a problem.

In a mystery or thriller, a real or perceived threat works, with or without dead bodies littering the landscape. In my thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, Dorrie's husband dies, she loses her job, and life is turned upside down. She's desperate and takes a pill to be young again. You'd think her life would be all rosy then, but it turns out even more problems present themselves. Soon she's got the villains and the law after her.

Those are a few examples from my books. Please share how change impacts the ordinary routine of one of your characters or that of another author's character. Or if you wish, mention how something out of the ordinary changed your own life.

Morgan Mandel
Morgan's current release is the romantic
comedy, Her Handyman,

Her current thriller is Forever Young: Blessing or Curse

Soon to come is Blessing or Curse, the sequel to
Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.

Morgan's Website:
Twitter: @MorganMandel

Monday, January 7, 2013

New blog, new reading challenge, zombies, that is....

With my YA book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie coming out this year, I started up  a new blog with several other authors, GirlZombieAuthors about what else, but zombies, horror and other spooky stuff. Yes I have a dark side. And I'm letting it out... ha!

Stop by and say hi. And if your're at all curious, I've joined the Zombie Reading Challenge at BookChickCity. Check it out.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bowling and Car Wash by Margot Justes

I usually try to save my weekends for writing, but today was munchkin and errands day.

This morning was spent watching my kiddies bowl. My grandson can spin the ball and it somehow winds up in the middle and he hits the pins, more often than not, gets a strike. That is pretty much it for my bowling terminology...I know 'gutter ball' and 'pins' too. I know it's a good thing when the pins fall. Can you tell I don't bowl? Anthony is only seven and knows what he's doing.
The little slugger is a leftie and great in baseball too. I know next to nothing about baseball, but I've seen him hit, and I know when the bat and ball meet, and ball is flung far away it's a good thing. Most of the time.

My granddaughter is a wonderful bowler too, and was trying to get used to a new ball today. Sydney also loves volleyball and belongs to a league.
After bowling and breakfast, we ran a few errands that culminated with cheap, defined by-least expensive and out of Cook county, lower tax rate-gas.  I only needed seven gallons, and the gas on sale was eight cents cheaper if I paid for a six dollar car wash. Now, here is the smart move, I got the gas along with the car wash and essentially wound up paying almost four dollars per gallon for gas.

Did I forget to mention that it was snowing, and sleeting at the time? It was. I pulled out of the car wash, made sure the car was dried really well, and continued home in the slush.
Really good thing I got my car washed and saved all that money on the gasoline.

Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
and coming soon A Hotel in Bath


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Read The Fine Print! by DL Larson

With the new year just past, I have my resolutions still fresh in my mind.  Getting my work published is always high on my Goal List.  But I want to share a word of caution with you.  The publishing world is a dangerous place and every writer must find their way through the quagmire so not to be sucked into an unsavory deal. 

Recently a writer friend had received a request to publish her work.  She looked over the contract on-line and it looked like a normal contract.  Then later when she was about to sign said contract, she realized this one in her hand was not the same one the agency had published on-line.  It contained several unfavorable paragraphs about ownership of the revised manuscript once it went to press.

This writer asked that those paragraphs be omitted and the publishing company refused, saying this was their standard contract.  Anyone who signed that contract would have a difficult time getting their rights back for the full manuscript in its revised form. 

As much as we all want to have a contract with a publishing company, I'm proud my writer friend refused to deal with such a shabby establishment.  I caution writers to be vigilent when reading contracts.  Below is a list of a few items to be sure to look for when agreeing to a book contract.

1. Never give away your copyright.  It is your work.  The publishing company is a distribution center, a publicity center, etc.  You maintain all copyrights to the book, advertising, movies, international deals, etc.

2.  Be sure you understand the royalty you will receive.  Make sure you know what is free and what is being charged to your account.  Many companies charge the author for the distribution of books in stores, shipping, etc.  Some charge phone calls, although this is not as common as it used to be.

3.  E-books have a their own snares to beware of - make sure your contract explains what will be marketed and where, or how, etc. 

4. Research the company you are interested in working with.  How long has it been in business?  Who are the other authors involved with this company?  How long have the employees been with the company?  The publishing world is constantly changing and I get the impression there is a lot of job hopping going on within this business.  I've had friends whose manuscript was accepted from one agent only to find out months later that employee no longer worked for the agency and the deal fell apart.

5.  This may be the most important guideline:  If you do not understand a contract - find someone who does and have them explain it to you.  Belonging to a writers group may help in this regard, someone in your midst may have experience in dealing with contracts. Or knows someone you can trust. Even paying a lawyer for his/her knowledge will help, but realize the lawyer you might use for family business does not mean he/she understands the legalities of the writing business. 

If you have another guideline in regard to contracts, please share with us.  It's essential we help one another so these untrustworthy businesses run out of gullible clients and have to close their doors, or change their ways and become a reputable source for authors.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sunshine on a Cold Day

Rascal on a warmer day
Rascal and I went on our usual walk this morning. Believe me, it was cold when we started out. The ground was frozen, with snow and ice still clinging to bits of the grass. I knew we needed the exercise, but the effort felt more like a chore than anything else. Something to get over with, so I could get back into my nice, warm house. 

Then the sun came out!

The temperature remained the same, but everything looked brighter. Not only that, I could feel the warmth of the sun shining on my face and even on my legs under my slacks. It's effect was amazing, transforming a frigid day to a pleasant one. Whereas before, I could hardly wait to get home, the sun's warmth made me want to walk further and enjoy it more.

In a way, it reminded me of authors. We work hard in isolation to get our books finished, all the while wondering what readers will think of them. When our books are done, they're thrust out to walk on their own in the cold, cruel world. Will they have enough stamina to continue on, or be forced to retreat in defense from an onslaught of criticism?

Then, magically, a reader says a kind word, or posts a nice review, and everything changes! 

Such kind words are like sunshine to an author. They not only make the struggle worthwhile, but encourage us to carry on. They also give our books strength and longevity in the marketplace, making it possible for more readers to enjoy them.

Thanks to everyone who has spent the time to write a review for any of my books, or told me in person or writing that you liked it. Your thoughtfulness is much appreciated! 

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel's current release is
Her Handyman, a romantic comedy,
Find Morgan's romances, mysteries & thrillers at
Follow On Twitter: @MorganMandel