Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May Day, May Day!

Today is May 1st - Beltane on the pagan calendar, and "Ask An Editor & Get A Prize Day" at my group blog site, Writers At Play!

Stop by to chat with Harlequin editor, Melissa Endlich, and find out how your favorite books make it from an editor's desk to a bookstore near you. Leave a comment for your chance to win loads of books and other prizes! We're giving away prizes EVERY HOUR, with a Grand Prize at the end of the day!

When: Thursday - May 1, 2008
Where: Writers at Play
Who: Harlequin Senior editor Melissa Endlich & You!
Time: All day

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do Something Good

I had a great experience this weekend, even though I majorly needed a shower afterward. :-)

I've started attending a very small "start-up" church that meets at the local YMCA, and one of the things I like about it is that they're the antithesis of all these giant "megachurches" that have sprung up all over the country. (Yes, the spooky paranormal writer goes to church! *gasp*) The idea at Logos Dei Community Church is that instead of building a huge membership and buying a huge building and having all the huge bills that go with it *g*, we try to make a difference in our own community by "doing good" in various ways.

By partnering with the YMCA, we have access to their facility and to their community outreach program, and through them we can identify people who truly need help, like the elderly woman whose yard had become completely overgrown, and the mentally challenged man with OCD whose house and yard had become an eyesore because of all the stuff he'd accumulated over the years.

So this Saturday, my husband and I, along with some other like-minded people, went and spent three hours sifting through junk, weeding, mowing, cleaning and doing what we could do to help someone stay in their own home a little longer without getting fined by the city or hassled by their neighbors. We were tired and filthy when it was over, but we had the satisfaction of knowing we'd "done something good".

So my challenge to anyone reading this blog is to get out there, and DO something. Visit that old lady down the street and see if she needs a ride to the store to get groceries, or help dusting her knick-knacks. Offer to walk your neighbor's dog while you're walking your own. Go through your closet and get rid of those clothes you don't wear anymore by taking them to a women's shelter. Stop by the local discount store and buy some canned goods and donate them to a food kitchen.

Doing something good for others is a two-way street: THEY feel good, and YOU feel good. It's easier than you think - start feeling good today!

Friday, April 18, 2008

MySpace and Me

Ok, so I've finally bitten the bullet and figured out how to set up my own MySpace page! I blame certain people - mainly Carla and Justine *tee-hee* - for sucking me into the challenge and giving me the kick in the rear I finally needed.

I'm pretty happy with the result, and if anybody wants to "friend" me, you can find me here at Right now I have very few friends, and am already feeling sorry for myself. :-(

Oh, and I have a question for anyone who has an opinion... I added music to my page, and I can't decide whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. Does it bother you when you go to a webpage and music starts playing, or do you not care one way or another? Opinions welcome.

Go check me out on MySpace!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Behind The Scenes at HQN, Kensington and Sourcebooks: Editors Margo Lipschultz, Megan Records and Deb Werksman Talk Books!

There’s a saying that if you’re “lucky enough to live at the beach, you’re lucky enough”. In this instance, I think if you’re lucky enough to attend a writer’s conference at the beach, you’re lucky enough to share what you’ve learned. I learned a lot during a Q&A session with editors from HQN, Kensington and Sourcebooks while attending the 2008 Silken Sands Writers Conference in Pensacola this past weekend, and thought I’d share it with you.

Margo Lipschultz is an Associate Editor with Harlequin Enterprises, and acquires specifically for the HQN and Luna lines. She describes the HQN imprint as single title fiction of 85,000 to 95,000 words, with romance as the central theme, and is open to historicals as well as contemporaries. Margo listed debut author Susan Anderson’s work as an example of the type of submissions she’d love to see.

The Luna imprint, however, has an entirely different feel. Described by Margo as “fantasy with romantic elements”, this line is meant to appeal to mainstream science fiction readers as well those who love romance. Strong heroines and detailed worldbuilding are a must, and Margo is particularly interested in urban fantasy, with “kick-butt women” and “alpha males”.

Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks has been an editor for over ten years. Prior to that she was the owner of her own publishing company, and is proud of the fact that Sourcesbooks is the largest female-own publisher in the US.

Sourcebooks is looking for single title fiction (including series), in a wide range of genres: historicals, paranormals, romantic suspense, humorous contemporaries, time travel and erotic romance. Deb is not interested in multi-cultural romance at this time, and accepts both agented or non-agented submissions. She is looking for strong, fiesty heroines that readers can relate to, and a hero that she can fall in love with. Deb wants all potential Sourcebook authors to know that each book receives the same basic, yet comprehensive marketing efforts, though she is willing to custom market based on author input and marketing plan. A one-line hook she can use for marketing purposes is very helpful.

Megan Records, Editorial Assistant for Kensington Publishing, is extremely enthusiastic about her role in the world of books, and loves nothing more than finding a wonderful story and nurturing it through the publishing process. She acquires for Kensington’s Brava and Zebra lines, and stresses that she does not acquire for the more erotic Aphrodesia. Her definition of the differences between the three lines was very simple; Aphrodesia is hot, Brava is sensual without being explicit, and Zebra is more mainstream.

Megan shared the overall process of acquiring a manuscript and turning it into a great book: negotiations with the author and/or agent, meetings with the marketing department, the art department, and in-house sales staff. She talked about the editing process itself: copyedits, page proofs and galleys. Cover brainstorming and design, one of the more creative areas of her job, is also one of her favorite parts of the process. Her description of her “Wall of Men” (i.e., a wall in her office where she hangs all her covers) had us all laughing (and a little jealous!).

It was a fascinating look behind the scenes of publishing, as Margo and Deb joined in frequently to discuss the similarities and differences between the three different publishing houses. By the end of the Q&A session, it was obvious why it often takes so long (an average of 9-18 months) between book contract to bookshelf!

All three editors shared the belief that a good editor should never seek to change the author’s voice, only do what they can to make it better. The most important factor of all is that they have to love your story—in the end, it always comes down to the writing.

Final parting words of advice to both aspiring authors and established ones were to write the best book you can, keep your editor informed of what you’re doing regarding your marketing efforts, and don’t sweat the myriad details of the publishing process. That’s their job—our job is to write the book.
Terri Garey writes paranormal romance for Avon HarperCollins, and is a 2008 double RITA finalist for her debut novel, DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY. Her upcoming releases include the paranormal anthology WEDDINGS FROM HELL in June 2008, and A MATCH MADE IN HELL in July 2008. Visit Terri on the web at, or stop by her favorite haunt at

The Aliens Have Landed!

While I was attending the Silken Sands conference in Pensacola this past weekend, I was fortunate to have the best cab driver in the world (Hi, Smiley!). The drive from the Pensacola airport to the hotel took us through the sleepy little area of the Florida panhandle called Gulf Breeze, which if you're into UFO's at all, is well-known for a series of UFO sightings back in the late 80's. The sightings, although well documented, are pretty much considered to be a hoax, but one never knows, do they? :-)

Anyway, Smiley was the ultimate tour guide, and eager to show me the local sites, including this one:

It looks like the little green men have laid out the welcome mat, but in reality, it's a house (people live in the bottom, not the Mother Ship). There was even a little green man in the front window!

I have to apologize to Smiley, who got all dressed up for the return trip to the airport, because I told her I wanted to take a picture of her for my blog. I took the picture, but I think I must've been giggling too much, because it came out all blurry, and therefore useless. :-( Next time I'll make sure to bring an actual camera, instead of relying on my cell phone! But if you ever find yourself in Pensacola, FL, look for a cab with smiley stickers all over it and a woman with a big yellow smiley face tattooed around her wrist. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Footsteps In The Sand

I plan on leaving a lot of those these weekend. I'll be leaving early tomorrow morning for the Silken Sands Writers Conference, hosted by the Gulf Coast Chapter of Romance Writers of America. NYT best-selling author Sherrilyn Kenyon is the keynote speaker, and good friends Janice Lynn and Kathleen Long will be giving a workshop. There's a booksigning on Saturday afternoon (it will be my first large group signing), but I have to admit that one of the main reasons I'm going is because it's being held at the beach! :-)

What is it about the sea air, hm? The breeze, the waves, the sun - we look at them and think they're beautiful, but did you know there's actual scientific evidence that the negative ions created through the combined movement of air, water and sunlight really do improve your mood and sense of physical well-being? In a reversal of what you'd normally think, positive ions are bad, while negative ions are good. (Learn something new everyday, dontcha?)

Anyway, while it may appear I lead a charmed life, my life has been less than charming lately. I don't normally say this, but I need me some negativity! :-)

Have a great weekend, everyone, and don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Ghoulishly Grand Gift!

Some of you know of my Halloween fetish... er, problem... oh, hell, I love Halloween and I'm not ashamed to admit it! :-) Anyway, a few years ago, a neighbor of mine and I decided to combine our Halloween nuttiness into one big giant monster mash of a party called "Madame Zelda's Haunted Graveyard". I provide the graveyard, she becomes Madame Zelda, and together we raise funds for the benefit of a wonderful children's charity called the Freedom Playground Foundation. We were so successful last year (mainly because of one very generous donor) that the foundation was able to complete its goal of creating a barrier-free play environment for children all over Tampa. The Freedom Playground is now a reality, instead of a just a dream.

Anyway, my neighbor (Stefani, a/k/a Madame Zelda) gave my husband and I one of the nicest "thank you's" I've ever received, in the form of this:

Is this great or what? This is one of the bricks in the wall surrounding the playground. When I'm old and gray (which will be never, thanks to Clairol!), I'll be able to take my grandchildren there and show it to them.

I just love it, and I'm so glad I was able to help with such a worthy cause!

What's the coolest "thank you" you've ever received?