Tag Archives: RWA

Thursday Thought: Avery Flynn on RWA

Some writers manage to say exactly what I’m thinking both stylishly and succinctly – two traits I adore in writing, but rarely achieve. But when someone says it all, you should just step to the microphone, introduce ’em, and get out of the way.

So, by way of introduction: y’all know I’m a member of RWA, the Romance Writers of America – the national organization, my local chapter, and a couple of special interest chapters online.

But over the past few months, either RWA or I have changed. It used to be the greatest, most supportive organization, and I looked forward to every meeting. Now… Let’s just say: Not so much.

As to part of that change, I invite you to read a wise and well thought out blog post by fellow romance writer Avery Flynn, found at http://averyflynn.com/blog/spin-control-advice-for-rwa/

Then tell me: what do y’all think?

Welcome Jillian Chantal

A couple of years ago, I got tired of reading a romance and sighing “I could write one of these” & started actually writing one. Now, my Momma always said “If you want to learn to do something, you can find it in a book.”. So I trotted off to the library and got books on how to write a romance novel.

One of the main things they all said was that I should join RWA. Whatever that was. So I poked around online and found the chapter in my area. But, being the shy, retiring soul I am, I didn’t want to go to a meeting by myself.

Now, I knew that one of my dearest friends did a little writing in her spare time, though I didn’t know just what she wrote. But I asked her if she was interested in going with me. Turns out, yes, she writes romance, and yes, she’d love to go. And that is how Jillian Chantal and I ended up in RWA.

Jillian, like me, is a lawyer in the dayjob – we actually met as opposing counsel in a trial. (Yes, Jillian, I’ll tell them you beat me!). And so now, in addition to sharing the “joys” of practicing law, we write together, blog together, and plan to hit the NYT together.

So without further babble by moi, here’s Jillian Chantal!!!

Hello there, my name is I’m Jillian Chantal and my friend, Arabella Stokes, has been asking me to send her a guest post for her blog for a while and I’ve been tryin-

“Stop, stop, right there, Jillian. You always get to guest blog and I never get to say a word and we all know I’m the one that should get all the attention. Not you. You’re just the American writer. You’re nothing special.”

“What the heck are you doing here, Percy Hicks? You need to get back in Surfer Bride where you belong and stay off Arabella’s blog. You weren’t invited.”

“Jillian, a man of my taste and upper class upbringing doesn’t have to wait for an invitation. Having me at the soiree makes any hostess the talk of the town.”

“Don’t look down your patrician nose at me, you smug British chap in your bespoke suit from Savile Row. I may be American, but I created you and I can take an eraser to you.”

“Au contraire, mes ami. That’s French for on the contrary, my friend, for you people that aren’t cultured. And you can’t erase me. The book is out in the world and it’s in print, too. So, I’m there to stay.”

“Well, get off this blog anyway so I can talk about the book to these lovely people here that want to hear about it. They don’t want you hanging about being a nuisance.”

“Perhaps you don’t recall, madam, but I do what I want. I always get my way.”

“Not always, Percy. Step away from the author. Right now.”

“Oh, God. It’s that blasted ATF Agent, Fennimore Smith. Who invited him here?”

“I invited myself, much like you did, Hicks. Put your hands on your head, I’m hauling you in.”

“You’ll never take me alive.” Percy exits.

“Jillian, are you all right?”

“I’m fine, Finn, just trying to write a blog post here.”

“Then I’ll leave you to it, ma’am. Always happy to restore order.” Finn tips his hat to Jillian and Arabella and exits.

Jillian: Now, where was I? Oh yeah, Surfer Bride. My romantic suspense novel available from Siren-BookStrand. Before I get interrupted again, here’s an excerpt:

She turned at the sound, looked around and noticed him in the sand. He tried to stand up. He pushed the heel of his hand into the ground and attempted to leverage himself up.
Before he could rise, she walked over and pushed him in the chest with her bare foot. He grabbed her ankle. She lost her balance and fell to the beach. She sat half way up, leaning on her elbows and looked at him. “What the hell you doing here, you prick?”
“Don’t act surprised, Q. You knew I’d follow you.” He said as he ran his hand up her ankle to her shin. God, her skin felt good. Smooth. Like he remembered.
She jerked her leg from his grasp as if it were on fire. “Keep your paws off me.” She backed off, crab like. Out of reach.
He leaned toward her. “Q. Will you hear me out? Can I please talk to you? I have to tell you something. I wouldn’t have come back if it wasn’t important.”
She looked at him. She stayed silent.
“Really, Quincy. This is vital. I know you’ll be glad I told you. I know you. You need to hear this.”
“Fine. If I listen, will you go away? Never try to interfere with me again?” She crossed her arms over her chest.
“Fine. I’ll do it. Now, can we get up? I’m not really comfortable down here on the ground.”
“I know. That was always part of your problem, Finn.” With no effort, she rose from her seat.
What?” he asked as he struggled to get up, bogged down by his agency issued thick-soled black shoes.
“Not liking sand in your shorts.”
“And that’s a problem, how?” He raised that one eyebrow again.
Intimidation tactics didn’t work with her. “Too straitlaced. Anyone who can’t deal with sand in the crack of their butt is too tightly wound for me.” They were standing close. Less than two feet separated them.
“I guess we all know where the lack of being straitlaced got you.” The sneer was back. “In bed with Craig Miller.”
The crack as she slapped his face was so loud it sounded like an aborted thunder storm. “Wondered how long it’d take for you to bring that up.”
“So, you don’t deny it?”
“Did you ever give me a chance to deny anything, jerkwad?”
“Now’s your shot, Baby. Take it. Let’s see if I believe you.” His face was mottled red, and the spittle flew from his mouth.
She looked at him for a full second. Her eyes filled with tears, and she turned away. She walked over, grabbed her board and tucked it under her arm and stalked off the beach to her Jeep.
As she stowed the board in the back with the other two, Finn walked up behind her. “Sorry about that, Q. I really didn’t look you up to bring up the past.”

She sighed and turned around. “Then why? Why’d you look me up, then? Go ahead and say what you need to say. Then leave. Please. It’s clear to me that you aren’t gonna go till you do.” She stood with her hands on her hips.
He looked at her, sad at what he had to tell her. Even after all the lies she’d told him, he still didn’t like to hurt her. “There’s no way to soften the blow, but you need to know. Your fiancé, Percy Hicks, is an arms dealer.”
She threw her head back and laughed out loud. “You’re insane, Finn. Yes, he is a dealer. I know that. He’s an antiques dealer. Not arms, antiques. This is what has you in a tizzy?” She slapped her hand on her thigh. “You misheard. But thanks for the warning. If I see a dangerous settee, I’ll be sure to get out of the way.” She laughed so hard, she cried. She bent over double, clutching her stomach. After a while, she stood back up and wiped the tears from her cheeks.
It was too much for him. His reawakened feelings for her, her wet panties and her laughing at him sent him over the edge. He grabbed a handful of her wet suit top and jerked her toward him. He lifted her off her feet by the front of the wet suit. He pulled her close, his lips locked on hers, and he rammed his tongue in her mouth and kissed her like he’d wanted to since the day he walked out of her life. His other hand slid down her spine and into her panties where it squeezed her right buttock. It was cold from being in the water. He could feel the sand in her panties.
She slid her arms around his neck and returned the kiss for the first couple of seconds. He was hard. She kissed him back until his hand entered her panties. As soon as he squeezed her butt, she jerked away from his grasp and smacked him again. “What are you trying to do, Finn?”
“Trying to stop you from marrying an arms dealer.”
“By assaulting me?”
“That wasn’t an assault.” He grinned at her.
“Hey, cop, I know what an assault is, and I bet you do, too. Kissing and pawing a woman without her consent is considered assault in this state.”
“Seemed to me you consented.” His smile broadened.
“Appearances can be deceiving.” She stopped and smacked her forehead. “Oh yeah, forgot for a moment who I was talking to. Appearances do deceive you. You can be blinder than a dead man. How you ever made detective grade, I’ll never know.”
“Nice. That’s real nice, Q.”

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Leave me a comment on your favorite place to catch a wave and I’ll send a lucky commenter some sun screen. The brand the heroine, Quincy Holt, uses.
Thanks for having me, Arabella. Sorry about the interruptions.

Where can we find you on the web? http://www.jillianchantal.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JillianChantal
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/jillian.chantal
SirenBookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/jillian-chantal
DesertBreeze: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/SurferBookStrandPublishingRomanceebook/dp/B004TBK77M/ref=tag_dpp_lp_edpp_ttl_in

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Getting Psyched for RWA 11!

     As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m in full prep mode for the RWA National Conference in NYC June 27 – July 1, 2011.  I’m gonna be rooming with my chapter mate, YA author Micki Gibson, at the beautiful Le Marquis Marriott, overlooking Times Square.

     Now, kids, I am as Southern as they come. Atlanta and New Orleans are pretty much all the big city I need. But I have raised two teenage GLEEKs who are crazy mad for drama and musical theatre.  My girls have been to NYC lots of times, with Dear Hubs, their godfather, drama troupes, and anyone else who offered them a plane ticket. I have spent a grand total of eight hours in the city, back when I was a college student, on my way to and from Israel. The highlight of my visit was when the Air Traffic Controllers strike rerouted me from JFK to Newark, and I had to find my way unassisted to the wilds of New Jersey. Needless to say, there was little in the way of sightseeing that trip!

     So my girls are eagerly giving me advice about the things one absolutely must do on a trip to NYC, while I am looking at the RWA calendar and seeing no free time at all. I want to attend two or three sessions simultaneously every day of the conference. If you hear a news report about a woman whose head explodes in the middle of the Marquis meeting rooms, you’ll know it was me! There’s just more to do than can ever be done, to quote The Lion King.

      I’ve been rabidly following the RWA – PRO loops, which have been chock full of advice about everything from perfect pitches to travel arrangements, but I’m sure I’m missing something.  I found out I should take prepaid USPS boxes to ship my new books home, pack a power strip so we can recharge all our electronics, build in some down time (yeah, right!) and wear comfortable shoes.

     What else? As a double virgin (first real trip to NYC, first RWA National), I have no clue what I’m doing here. What’s your best advice to a nervous newbie?


Countdown to NYC

     I’ve always been a chunk, you know? Even back in high school, when I was a mere 120 pounds, all my friends were anorexic 98-pounders, so I was the fat chick. Looking back on it now, of course, I can’t believe I ever looked that good.

     My whole life has been on a diet. I’ve done WW, cabbage soup, grapefruit, Mediterranean, Atkins, Pritikin, you name it. And they mostly kept things under control.  But as I’ve reached “a certain age,” after giving birth to two kids, and then breaking my foot a year ago, things have just gotten way out of hand.

The doctors, of course, have made it clear to me that everything in the world would be better if I would just lose weight. My blood pressure, the pain in my foot, my sleep apnea – apparently weight loss is the magic cure for all my ills.

So I am gonna give it a shot. I am gonna try to lose 10 lbs before RWA in June. And, being a writer, I’m gonna write about it here on my blog.

Usually when you start something new with a good goal in mind, you feel really excited and it takes a few days for the daily grind of it to set in. But I’m not excited. I’ve been fighting this problem every day of my life, and I am tired before I even start this new effort.

I’m starting Weight Watchers for about the 500th time today. I first did it in 1979, back when they made you eat four eggs and a serving of liver every week. Never have made goal, despite all my attempts. Once or twice I managed to lose 20 lbs or so, but never have been able to keep it up.

I’m pretty sure that this should tell me that WW is not the way to go. But I can’t figure out what the way to go is.  I got on the WW online “support boards” this morning to see if anyone had any advice. The only response I got told me that I have a bad attitude. Yep, that would be me.

She also said that I have to find some exercise I enjoy. Well, y’all hold your breath for that. I’ve been trying to find that since I was 15. If reading, writing, knitting, sewing, baking, etc. were exercise, I’d be all over it. But none of the things I enjoy doing count.

So yes, I have a bad attitude. I am pissed as hell at having to do this. But I’m gonna see if I can do it, bad attitude, hatred of exercise and all. Y’all stay tuned.

Friday Foto: The View From Silken Sands

Silken Sands!

Taken out the back door of the Hampton Inn on beautiful Pensacola Beach, site of the 2012 Silken Sands Conference – mark your calendar for March 16 – 18, 2012!!!

Getting in on the Ground Floor

One of the really exciting things about hanging out with writers is that you get to know famous people, as well as people who are clearly going to be famous in the fairly near future.
I mean, through my local RWA chapter, I have gotten to know authors who make the best seller lists — names you would all recognize from the shelves at Barnes & Nobles, as well as from the Sony Ebook Store and Fictionwise. This is so incredibly cool to me –I know people who actually get paid to write stories! As a voracious reader since the age of three, I think of authors like some people think of actors or sports stars.
And then, even more exciting is the opportunity to get to know people who are on the verge — just about to break through and be big time authors. But they sit there with you, talking about the things you deal with, like how to get your kids to pipe down while you write, how to give your mom your ms without the love scenes in it, and other major problems of the writing life. But all the time you are thinking “OMG, with her talent, this chica is gonna be BIG!”
So today I want to tell you about two of the nicest newbie authors I know, one who has her second book coming out in print shortly and the other who is getting ready for the eformat release of her first book. And I am telling you, write these girls names down, link to their websites and most of all, start reading their stuff — cause you will be in on the ground floor of two major careers!

Vanessa Kelly
I met Miss Vanessa Kelly first through Twitter, then in person at the fabbity fabulous Silken Sands Conference, where I bought her first book from Zebra Historical Romance, Mastering the Marquess. She is just as sweet and down-to-earth as you would want anyone to be, so I liked her from the first tweets we swapped. But then! I read her book, and this girl has way incredible depths to her!
Meredith, the heroine in MtheM, is not your typical Regency bimbo — she doesn’t even want a voucher to Almack’s; she just wants to get her little half-sister taken care of by sis’s estranged noble family.But of course, the half-sister has a strikingly gorgeous relative who is intrigued by the outspoken, opinionated Meredith. Unlike some romance heroes, Silverton has depth of character and comes across as a real person. You will love them both.
I am now deep into Vanessa’s second book, Sex and the Single Earl (is that not the greatest title in the history of Regencies???) and it is even better. I’ll be reviewing it as soon as I finish — which will probably be around 3 tomorrow morning — I’m staying up late reading it! S&tSE hits bookstores in May — don’t miss it!


SaydeGrace’s ebook comes out in May as well, and let’s just say: “Cowboy Kink – Riding Double” — if that doesn’t give you the idea about where she’s going with this contemporary western, nothing will.
Sayde is just the nicest girl you could hope to meet, and underneath all that wholesome South Alabama farmgirl veneer is one of the wildest, most erotic imaginations I’ve ever met. Her writing is funny, HAWT, and so full of detail you may look for the horse apples on your bootheels. You don’t read Sayde’s scenes, you see them. (Show not tell, as all the workshops tell us!)
So head on over to Wild Rose Press next month and get Riding Double! I don’t even like westerns, but I loved it. (One of the main benefits of being one of Sayde’s crit group is I get to read her stuff before yall!)

So that is my scoop on new and exciting authors — you really want to start following them now, so you can be #2 fangirl — myself being, of course, #1!!!!!

Writing As It Should Be

Here for the past few weeks I have been down in the mud and dirt, wrestling every single word and phrase out of my B-I-witch of a Countess for my WIP. She won’t come across with anything without making me work for it. (Then again, she’s pretty much treating the Earl the same way.)

But yesterday I went to the Gulf Coast RWA meeting, and then the Southern Sizzlers had a meeting at Barnes and Noble. (Aside: “meeting” is far too formal a word for what the Sizzlers do, but let’s leave it at that.) I got to bat my story and my pitch around with some of the most talented ladies I know.  Then tonight, out of the blue, the Countess put on a nice dressing gown, poured some tea,  and invited me over to the Abbey to dish. She finally started telling me what happens — she was cordial, even witty. (I think the Earl is  gonna get lucky here!)

So why can’t it always go that way? It was fun. I got lost in the flow of it  and just let it happen. There is nothing enjoyable about sitting in front of a screen, going, “And then what did you say????” to a figment of my own imagination. It makes my kids look at me funny.

I honestly think that I require the input from the lovely ladies of GCCRWA and the Sizzle to get me gping. I know, writing is a lonely pursuit, and it all eventually comes down to me putting my butt in my chair and doing it. But when the old well runs dry, my friends get things flowing again.  I love those women! (and Don, our male member too!)


So, here’s the inspiration for the Earl of Garth Celyn — whatta ya think?

New Year, New Goals

Well, hi there kiddos!  Has been a good year so far.  Yeah, I know, it is only 2 days old, but I think we are on a roll here!

I went to the Gulf Coast RWA meeting today, and I have to say, those chix are truly the best!  We practiced pitches, planned our conference (Come to the Silken Sands Conference 3/19-21/10!!!!) and generally had fun.

After GCCRWA, the six S0uthern Sizzlers (check our blog: http://www.southernsizzleromance.com!!!) went to Barnes and Noble for our semiregular when-we-can meeting.  If GCCRWA members are the best, what can I say about the Sizzlers? They are the best of the best, the cream o the crop, truly wonderful women with whom I have formed the greatest of friendships! We talked about everything from sexy men to ghosts, from writing queries to sexy men,  to raising kids/grands to sexy men, from research websites to sexy men . . . .  Well, you get the idea.

I am truly blessed to have these five women as my companions on this baffling and exciting journey to publication. They are each special individuals, but in combination, they are more than I can describe.  (Rita wasn’t able to be with us today, but she was there in spirit!)

SFCatty said today that she has belonged to a group that encourages each member to pick a word for the year.  I have decided that my word this year is “Grateful.”  I get really caught up in what I haven’t done, what I haven’t got, what might go wrong. But today I was talking to someone who put it all in perspective.  She said a few years ago, she got really upset about turning forty.  However, that year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Every birthday after that has been a blessing.

I have two beautiful, healthy girls, and a husband who loves me and those girls totally and completely. I have a job many people would envy, we own our home, we never go hungry (obviously, in my case!) I can’t even begin to name the blessings that I take for granted.

So, while I really want to publish my writing, and my job has things that make me nuts, and I wish I was independently wealthy, etc., etc., etc., I really have too much to be grateful for.  So “GRATEFUL” is the word for 2010.

Stop a minute — I bet you haven’t thought today of something you are grateful for. What is it?