Friday, May 30, 2008

Interview with Maggie Toussaint

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Maggie Toussaint. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called SEEING RED. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Hi Kim! Thanks for the welcome, the chocolate, and the chance to tell-all! (You're welcome. KW)

SEEING RED is a contemporary romance with a mild sensual rating from Freya’s Bower. In the story, a woman wants out of a dead-end job and a chance at happiness. Emma Heartly puts her dream into motion by beginning renovations on a crumbling family property with the goal of opening a bed and breakfast. Trouble is, she co-owns the dwelling with her sisters who don’t support her idea. Even worse, she can’t afford the sexy construction hunk who bids the rehab. To her embarrassment, he puts out a fire in her kitchen during his brief visit.

SEEING RED is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It comes from the opening scene of the book. My heroine, Emma, is beside herself with pent-up emotion. She’s raised her sisters, been the provider for the family, and it never seems to be her turn to get what she wants. When she finally allows herself to explore her dream, her family throws up roadblocks. SEEING RED is about knowing yourself and saying “I have the courage to take action to get what I want out of life.”

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Renovation projects are no strangers to me. I’ve been personally involved in several property makeovers, and I’m always amazed at how messy they are. I thoroughly enjoyed the “Money Pit” movie where a couple comes to a breaking point during the renovation of their home, and that’s the entertainment level I was striving for.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Though this is clearly Emma’s book, I thoroughly enjoyed writing Quentin’s part. He’s physically strong, hard-working, family-oriented, and seeking true love. He’s been sure he had the right woman four different times, but his controlling nature soured the deal every time. He needs a strong woman, a woman who knows her mind and isn’t afraid to speak it. Trouble is, he is understandably anxious about dating and has decided to do the opposite of his natural instincts with Emma.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

This took some doing as I’m not current on today’s leading men. But a sampling of women on three different Yahoo loops concur that Gerard Butler (yum KW) is the go-to guy for Quentin’s part. He’s got a strong, physical build, an accessible vulnerability, and a romantic spirit that permeates his work. So, Hollywood, I’m ready for you! Come and make me an offer for the screen rights.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Imagine if you would, me laughing hysterically, trying not to fall out of my chair! I have books in double rows on the bookshelves lining my office, spilling over onto the floor and crammed in every nook and cranny of the closet. Every author I’ve ever read has inspired me. I love a good story and I reread favorite books for the craft and get yanked into the story every time.
I have my share of best-selling authors on my shelves, plus a wide range of others that have appealed to me through time. I’ve got Nora’s books next to my Jayne Ann Krentz collection, my Steve Berry’s mixed with my Julie Garwood’s, my Hope Tarr’s and Tracy Montoya’s alongside my Diana Cosby debut. I’ve got my original Lord of the Rings books, the Dune series, and my dragons of Pern books wedged in beside my Southern authors (Pat Conroy, Anne Rivers Sidons, and more).

The books I read to my kids, I’ve still got them on my shelves. My eclectic reference books. My writing books. My birdwatching books. I have so many favorites. As for the less favored books, those inspired me too – in reverse fashion. Those motivated me to write a better book.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have a romantic mystery, IN FOR A PENNY, coming out June 18, 2008. After that, it’s a matter of which manuscript gets picked up by which publisher (keep your fingers crossed for me). I’ve had a wild ride this year, with 3 releases in the first half of 2008. I’m looking forward to completing the mystery I’m currently writing and then working on another romance.

Thanks, Maggie!

To celebrate her book release, Maggie is offering a free ebook of SEEING RED to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Maggie’s Bio. A scientist by training, a romanticist at heart, Maggie Toussaint loves to solve puzzles. Whether it’s the puzzle of a relationship or a who-dun-it, she tackles them all with equal aplomb and wonder. Maggie writes romantic suspense for The Wild Rose Press, sweet romance for Freya’s Bower, and cozy mystery for Five Star. Besides being a member of Washington Romance Writers, she’s also a member of Romance Writer of America’s Kiss of Death, First Coast Romance Writers, Southeast Mystery Writers of America, Florida Sisters In Crime, and EPIC. She was awarded the WRW Magic Crystal Award for chapter service in 2004. Locally, she writes for The Darien News and is on the Ida Hilton Library Board.

Check out Maggie’s website at

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flower Poll Results

Here's the final results for our flower poll.
Hold on to your hats because the winner is not the rose.

1st Tulip 20%

2nd Rose 17%

3rd Lilac 14%

4th Orchid 8%

5th (tie) Daffodil 5%

Don't forget to vote in our next poll. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Short Story Contest

The Long and the Short of It First Annual Short Story Contest

It's said everyone has at least one story inside them. This is your chance to let yours out. The Long and the Short of It is seeking the best new short story 1,000 words or less. So... put on your thinking cap, dial up your muse, and give it a shot. The story must be a romance and must end with a HEA. PG-13 or less, please.

The Grand Prize Winner will receive, in addition to publication on The Long and the Short of It website, a banner for their blog or website, one year free book cover/banner advertising, six months author pages, plus an award certificate suitable for framing.

First prize will receive publication on The Long and the Short of It website, a banner for their blog or website, six month author page + three month free book cover/ banner advertising, plus an award certificate suitable for framing.

Second prize will receive publication on The Long and the Short of It website, a banner for their blog or website, three months book cover/banner advertising, plus an award certificate suitable for framing.

Five honorable mentions will receive publication on The Long and the Short of It website, a banner, plus an award certificate suitable for framing.

TWELVE DOOR PRIZES (randomly drawn from all participants):

One copy of Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress

Six autographed books

Six goodie bags

Please send your entry via email with the subject line: Short Story Contest: NAME OF STORY

Your entry will be provided to our judges with all identifying names removed and will be scored by a rating system. Deadline for this contest is June 14. The winners and runners up will be posted July 1.

By entering the contest, you agree to allow The Long and the Short of It to publish your entry on the LASR website. All stories chosen to be published will be archived for a period of six months following publication. All rights revert back to the author at that time and, at the author's written request, the story will be pulled from our archives.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

The ABCs of Writing Fiction Section F - I

Welcome to the continuation of our lesson: The ABCs of Writing Fiction
Section F-I
presented by The Writing Doctor.
Scroll down for A-E

F ― Find a Critique Group or Partner. The amount of help you need depends on your ability level. If you are confident you are ready to publish, then you may need only a reader to check for typos. If you are learning your craft, you’ll benefit from one or more members of a critique group who will read your material and give suggestions. I have had at least one critique partner since I started writing six years ago. Be sure to let your partners know what you want from them. For example, do you want feedback on anything that stands out, including grammar; or no grammar checking, only comments on inconsistencies and problems with goal/motivation/conflict, etc. Communication is vital. Don’t stay in a group that doesn’t meet your needs.

Where do you find a critique partner? I found mine through Romance Writers of America. I belong to two local chapters and the online chapter for mystery writers. Each group provides help finding critique partners. Join online Yahoo groups for writers and ask for assistance in finding your own partner.

Don’t forget that tough skin when you’re receiving feedback. Remember to listen/read their comments with an open mind, but only make changes if you believe it will make your story stronger.
Writing is subjective.

G ― Genre. Find yours. Read many genres to discover what it is you are writing. I’ve heard several writers say their writing gravitated out of romance into other areas. They were able to recognize when this occurred and switched their approach when trying to sell their stories. After reading books in both romantic suspense and straight mysteries, I’ve decided to target the mystery market with my current WIP. The market can be confusing. I also spoke to several editors and agents at our local conference before I made this decision. By reading ahead of time, I knew what questions to ask. Know what it is you are writing so you can find the right agent and editor for your work.

H ― Hope. Don’t lose it. Perseverance pays off. If you work on your craft and continue to grow as a writer, I am confident you can find a publisher as long as you SUBMIT your work.

I ― Internet. Friend and Foe. Internet Loops and blogs for writers can supply a great deal of information on craft/market/promo/editing as well as introduce you to new friends. You’ll find agent/editor interviews on this blog if you scroll down. Today I discovered Query Shark on the web and plan to read it extensively before I submit my manuscript. One query after another is disected for effetiveness. I belong to goal groups that help when I want to get a lot of writing done on my breaks from school. I post my goals and my progress. I also have Google Alerts for both my name and the title of my book so I'll know when someone has written a review or is promoting my work. I recommend it for everyone. (Go to Google, click on My Account at the top, Alert is on the right side of the page. It's easy to do.)
If you need help with your writing, you can find it on the web. Just make sure you don’t spend all of your writing time surfing the web. If you have to, put a kitchen timer beside your computer and only allow an hour of surfing a day.

Enough Internet time for the both of us. Let’s write that novel!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Interview with Elysa Hendricks

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Elysa Hendricks. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called STAR CRASH. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Though I know I’m dating myself, I was around when Star Trek premiered on TV and Planet of the Apes hit the big screen. The combination of these two shows, along with the People Are Alike All Over episode of the orginal Twilight Zone are what inspired me to write STAR CRASH.

The concept of First Contact with aliens has always fascinated me. I wondered what would happen if when humans came in contact with an intelligent alien species, those aliens considered humans to be animals. When space pilot Cora Daniels crashes on an uncharted world, she soon finds out.

In addition to the alien’s belief that humans are nothing more than animals, Cora’s actions, as a member of the Consortium of Intelligent Life, are bound by strict protocol concerning first contact with aliens. She can’t even attempt to convince the aliens of her intelligence without breaking C.O.I.L. law. Trapped in an alien breeding farm Cora’s determination to escape is challenged when she sees the man the aliens want to breed her with. Is he Alex, her lover who disappeared into space years earlier? And why doesn’t he remember her?

STAR CRASH is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Actually I didn’t, my editor at Dorchester, Chris Keeslar came up with the title STAR CRASH. My original working title was THE HUMAN BREED, which I still love, but marketing didn’t feel it was “romance” enough. I suggested over three dozen titles, including MENAGE A FOWL, but none of them flew.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

My research for STAR CRASH was very different than the research I did for my first book, a western historical RAWHIDE SURRENDER, but yes I did a ton. Since my alien species, the Flock are large bird-like creatures, I read up on bird societies, especially chickens. The Flock run their society much like chickens, lots of hens with a dominant rooster, which is also how they manage their human livestock. It was fun creating their culture and then seeing how because of it they reacted to humans and how humans responded to them. The world building was extensive. I had to create the Consortium of Intelligent Life, the ancient organization of planets that Earth belongs to and my heroine works for, the Flock’s social order, the flora and fauna of the planet, as well as the lifestyle and customs of the free humans on the planet.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Oh, that’s a hard one. Why don’t you ask me which of my children I love more? Still, I have a real soft spot for Cora. She’s been through a lot in her life and managed to survive. Writing about her struggle to overcome her fear of heights and her control issues was therapeutic. I’m not afraid of heights, well, maybe a little, but according to my husband I’m a control freak. Putting Cora in a situation where she had absolutely no control over her life or even her own body was like writing my own worst nightmare. Part of her character arc was having her find the strength to give up control and by doing so find true freedom.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Some authors visualize their characters using actors and other entertainers as models. I’m not one of them. When I watch movies or TV the actors become the characters they’re playing. Once they’re out of character I rarely recognize them. My husband kids me about the time years ago that I stood next to Burt Reynolds and Sally Fields and didn’t recognize them. Since I don’t create my characters based on the looks of any particular actor this is a question I can’t answer. I’ll just leave it to the casting director and hope his or her vision matches mine.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

The list is endless, but here are a few. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, her humor makes me laugh out loud. Cathie Linz, her characters are real people. Melody Thomas, her historical detail blows me away. Jayne Ann Krentz, her Jayne Castle futuristics were the first I ever read and I knew then that’s what I wanted to write. Then of course there are the classic science fiction authors I devoured when I was growing up - Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, they gave me a taste for imagining the future.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have several projects in the works. THE SWORD & THE PEN is a contemporary paranormal. Reclusive and slightly neurotic author Brandon Alexander Davis is having a really bad day. He’s suffering from writer’s block, his agent is hounding him for the final chapter in his latest book and his ex-wife has shown up at his door claiming that because of some legal glitch they’re still technically married. And to top it all off, complete with leather bra and three foot long sword, Serilda Larue, the protagonist of his successful Warrior Woman books has shown up in his living room, demanding that he send her home. I’m also working on another book set in the same universe as STAR CRASH. In this story Earth’s fate rests on the hero’s ability to convince a space smuggler, the woman he loved and betrayed, to work with him in capturing a notorious pirate. And FORBIDDEN MOON, the fourth in my moon series from ImaJinn Books, is due for release sometime this year.

Thanks, Elysa Hendricks!

To celebrate her book release, STAR CRASH is offering a free copy of one of her Moon books to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

After trying her hand at a variety of careers: retail sales, insurance underwriter, video store owner, home day care provider, and motherhood, in 1990, Elysa Hendricks, a longtime reader of romance, sat down to write a short contemporary romance. When her heroine turned out to be a winged, telepathic alien, Elysa decided she liked writing stories set in different places and times.

A member of numerous chapters of Romance Writers of America, Elysa helped found the Windy City and the FF&P Chapters and served on the boards of both groups for many years. In addition she enjoys teaching writing workshops at local community colleges.

Long time Midwest residents, Elysa and her hero husband have been happily married for many years and have two sons. She dreams of writing on a laptop while sitting on a tropical beach. In the meantime she keeps warm by creating sizzling love scenes.

Elysa loves to hear from her readers.
Check out author’s website at
Buy STAR CRASH from or

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Everyday Heroes

It's been a long while since I posted a hero of the month, but I've been watching the news lately and with cyclones, earth quakes and general, every day violent crime, I thought it was too long since my last hero.

I decided to pick someone that has been stabbed, shot at and been generally overlooked in the public eye. After all what can a dog do, right?

Well, it seems a lot. Especially if you’re a police dog named Anya. Without her bravery, her dog handler, officer Neil Sampson, might very well be dead. Sampson tried to fight off a frenzied attack from a knife-welding assailant. With four knife wounds to his legs and long cuts to his face and head, he would have been a lot worse if Anay hadn’t fought off his assailant despite being stabbed in the chest herself.

Anay and Neil Sampson have made a full recovery.

"Anya's a very motivated, fast dog,” says Sampson. “She's like a jack-in-the-box on Red Bull. "She's full on, but, my God, I'm happy she's mine.''

Thank you Anya and all the dog handlers out there who train these remarkable dogs.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Writing Doctor on The ABCs of Writing Fiction

You've met The Neurotic Writer, now welcome The Writing Doctor, from the (mostly) serious side of the mixed up brain of mystery/suspense writer, Tina LaVon. The Writing Doctor will share her take on writing fiction. Hopefully, you will learn from her research, experience, and yes, even her mistakes.

Lesson One: The ABCs of Writing Fiction
A – Always be professional. The writing community is small and word gets around fast. Bad behavior can cost you an editor or agent. Also, remember other writers are readers as well. You'll lose sales if you act like the writing gods worship the table you write on.

B – Buy books in your target market and read, read, read. You need to know what publishers are buying. The guidelines on their websites will help, but you need to read the books to understand the style and voice they like as well. There are many publishers who buy suspense, but they vary in how dark they are willing to go. Reading their books will tell you this. Also, if you’re targeting Harlequin, their category lines all have common threads. Read at least 10-15 books in a category before writing a manuscript for them.

C – Craft books and tapes are your friend. You need to know what editors will be expecting from you as a writer. Know your craft. I like to listen to conference tapes/CDs while I’m driving, cleaning, or doing busy work. (Yes, I do clean when the stars are in the proper alignment.)

D – Develop a thick skin. This business is tough. I have seen great writers receive rejection after rejection. It isn’t personal. In the beginning of your career, it could be because you have a lot to learn. I know my first manuscripts weren’t ready to publish. Unfortunately, even after you’ve written a great story, you can be rejected because the publisher doesn’t have room for a new author or they just published a book similar to yours. A common rejection is the book “didn’t grab” them. I believe that means you wrote a good book technically, but it isn’t different enough from what’s out there to warrant the publisher taking a risk on you. The readers aren’t going to spread the word that you are awesome if you don’t stand out. Word of mouth sells books. (More on this when we get to T.)

E – Enter contests. You’ll start developing that thick skin after you start entering contests. Contests give you feedback and if you final you become an “award winning author.” Finaling in a contest will also build your confidence and validate that you are getting closer to your goal of publication.

Contests don’t usually get you published, (unless it’s the Dorchester Contest) but the editor judging the final round might request to read the full manuscript. I only enter contests if the final round editor is someone I’m targeting.

It is very important to remember that all contest judges are looking for what they think might be wrong with your manuscript. Comments reflect their beliefs and preferences. Read their feedback carefully, but only make changes to your story if it rings true to you. It is your book. On the other hand, if more than a few judges say the same thing, they might be on to something. Pay attention.

Writers write because they love it. Remind yourself of that when you have those depressing moments. There’s nothing like reading a wonderful paragraph that inspires or makes you laugh and then remembering you wrote it.

The ABCs of Writing Fiction will continue next Sunday. Can you guess what F stands for?
(Don’t go there :)

Free Enchanting Excerpt

I have just posted the first two chapters of DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT-THE RELICS OF MERLIN on my website:

Come take a peak at the second book in the RELICS OF MERLIN series. Each book is connected by one of Merlin’s thirteen magical jewels, and is a different couple’s love story—here is a bit about this new enchanting journey:

Lady Jasmina was in a world of trouble. A simple spell had gone disastrously haywire and now there was a woman running around London who looked exactly like her—a woman with no sense of propriety whatsoever. All Society was whispering, and a were-stallion baronet she’d never met was suddenly acting like he knew her…in a most intimate way. To find her twin and set things right, they’d have to work together—braving the fog-shrouded streets, a mysterious group called the Brotherhood, and a passion stronger than any magic.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Interview With Carol Webb

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Carol Webb. It’s a pleasure having one of our own authors to interview at Much Cheaper Than Therapy. Even we need therapy now and then, so grab some chocolate and a lounge chair.

I understand you have a new release out called The Long Road Home. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

It’s about a woman who became one of the top models in the country until a plane crash disfigures her leg and ruins her career. She also cuts all ties with her boyfriend, a famous photographer at the time. Fast forward three years later. The story opens when she is forced to travel across the country with Jake, her ex-boyfriend and his current girlfriend. Clarisse knows it’s going to be a disastrous trip, and it turns out she might be right.

The Long Road Home is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Basically the majority of the book is during a road trip from New York to San Diego. Everything imaginable that can go wrong does, so it becomes one of the longest road trips Clarisse and John have ever experienced. But the title isn’t just about the physical trip. It also describes how long it takes Clarisse and John to realize how much they truly care for each other.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Not very much. Thank goodness. When I do research I tend to get lost in the facts and procrastinate on the actual writing. Not good if you have a deadline, or for that matter if you want to get a book done.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I loved writing about Clarisse and her journey of self-discovery. In the beginning of the story, she’s been taught that her body and face are the ultimate prize. When she finds herself disfigured, she’s left floundering with a crushed self-esteem. Slowly she discovers that even though she is physically flawed in the industry’s eyes, she is very much a beautiful person.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

What a fun question, and a hard one! There’s so many actors I adore who have a stage presence and an intensity in their work. But if I have to pick, I think I would pick, Jim Caviezel in the Count of Monte Crisco. Richard Chamberlain also played with role very well. He was such a wounded character and deeply in love, and the intensity of his hatred, anguish and love for the heroine through the screen.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Without a doubt, Sandra Brown. I love her work. There’s also Dean Koontz. I used to read him and Leigh Nichols at the same time and be so impatience for their next books to come out. It actually came as a shock when I learned they were one and the same. I also adore a number of historical romance writers: Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, Lisa Kleypas, Amanda Quick, and… well, as you can see, I can go on and on.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have another short, contemporary romance coming out from The Wild Rose Press called Protecting Katie. It’s about a bitter custody battle between two men. Morgan has raised Katie as his own for eight years, but his ex-business partner and the biological father of Katie has come back to town and threatens to file for paternity. Morgan isn’t willing to give Katie up, not when he knows that Jeff’s unscrupulous character would be detrimental in raising a precocious child. The heroine, Kristen and Jeff’s girlfriend, gets caught in the middle of both men’s hatred for each other.

Thanks, Carol!

To celebrate her book release, Carol Webb is offering a free ebook of The Long Road Home to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around most of the day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"The A-B-C's of Story Construction"

Here's a class that might interest some of you new to writing. I've taken classes from Writer U. and found them to be very helpful.

Online class: June 2-30, 2008
"The A-B-Cs of Story Construction"by Patricia Kay
Registration $30 at

Many times, writers confuse plotting a story with the construction of the story. The two are not the same. Plotting is what you do before you write; it's the planning part of storytelling. Story construction is how you write what you've planned. Although no two novels are alike, and there are no absolutes about how they must be put together, there is a logical way to tell your story -- one that will grab your reader's attention and keep himriveted until the very last page. In this hands-on class, with a combination of lessons, homework, and discussion, you will learn how to accomplish this goal.

Topics covered:
* What is a story? The three-act structure

* Your opening: setting the stage, the inciting incident
* Creating characters we can root for
* Writing scenes: Scenes Equal Action
* Writing Sequels: Sequels Equal Aftermath
* Whose point of view?
* Writing the love scene

Patricia Kay, whose first mainstream romance was nominated for a RITA, is theUSA Today bestselling author of more than 46 novels of romance and women's fiction. An acclaimed teacher, she formerly taught at the University of Houston, and has given writing workshops all over the country. She says there's nothing more satisfying to her than seeing that light bulb go off in a student's head. To learn more about her, visit her website at


Monday, May 12, 2008

The Neurotic Writer and Another Stolen Book Idea

Welcome to Another Episode of The Neurotic Writer

Therapist: “Good morning, Suzie.”

Suzie Writer: “There’s nothing good about it.”

Therapist: “Oh?”

Suzie Writer: “Other writers are still stealing my ideas. The aluminum foil headband isn’t working. I went to the bookstore yesterday and discovered some else just published my cowboy alien vampire series. I wanted to throw the book across the room.”

Therapist: “The fact you didn’t shows growth.”

Suzie Writer: “Whatever.” (Glances down at therapist’s desk.) “Wait a minute. Your last name is Ogryzek. The author who wrote my cowboy alien vampire book was named Ogryzek.”

Therapist: “Suzie, I did not write a cowboy alien vampire book. I strictly write nonfiction.”

Suzie Writer: “Nonfiction? You think you’re too good to steal my ideas, don’t you? Admit it. You’re an intellectual snob.”

Therpist: (exasperated) “Of course not. I think your cowboy alien vampire book is…unique and…imaginative.”

Suzie Writer: “I knew it! You stole my idea.”

Friday, May 9, 2008

Interview with Paige Wheeler

I’d like to welcome our guest agent today, Paige Wheeler. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Can you please give us a little information about your publishing background? How many clients do you have? How many agents? And how many of those agents represent romance? What other genres do you represent?

I started working in publishing in London for a financial publishing company called Euromoney. I then moved on to NYC to work in the editorial department for Harlequin/Silhouette. After a number of years there I decided that I really wanted to represent the authors rather than the publisher, so I joined an agency called Artists Agency. In 1997 I decided to hang out my own shingle and I started Creative Media Agency. After 10 years of running CMA, I was approached by two people and asked to start a new company. We started FOLIO in 2006 and have been doing tremendously well ever since. We have 7 agents (including a foreign rights agent) as well as a marketing director and a speakers bureau agent. Only two of us represent a sizeable chunk of romance but almost all of us have worked on a women’s fiction or romance project at one time. Although I represent a lot of romance and women’s fiction, I also represent mysteries and thrillers as well as literary fiction and all types of nonfiction.

What fees (if any) does your agency charge? What is your agency’s commission rate?

We charge the standard 15% commission for domestic and 20% for foreign and film.

What’s your response time for queries, partials and full manuscripts?

Well, I’m just coming back from maternity leave, so I’m a little behind. (congratulations! KW) Normally, I’ll respond to queries within two weeks, 4 weeks for partials and 6 weeks for manuscripts.

What new author have you recently signed?

I recently signed this fabulous writer who has written a beautiful work of narrative nonfiction. I’m super excited about his writing.

What new project made you grab for that hidden piece of chocolate in your pencil drawer?

How do you know about that piece of chocolate! (I'll never tell. KW)

Oh well. Aside from the nonfiction project I just mentioned, I haven’t really been wowed lately—but then again, I’ve been on maternity leave. I’m looking to get wowed now!

What can an author do to grab your attention?

First and foremost, write well. Ideally, this should be coupled with a fresh, terrific idea. I can always help with the idea, but the voice and writing style is really up to the author.

What houses have you recently sold to?

I have sold to most of the major houses. Some recent sales have been to HarperCollins, St. Martin’s, Penguin, and Simon and Schuster.

What do you love/hate most about being an agent?

I love working with authors to build their career and I love selling books. The paperwork can be overwhelming at times.

What trends do you see for the future of publishing?

I’m a bit worried about mass market books at the moment, but I’m hoping that will change. Historical romances are supposedly making a comeback, which is good. E-readers are getting better. Independent bookstores will continue to decline, unfortunately. Those are just some random trends that I see.

Any other chocolate nuggets you can give authors looking for representation?

Keep working at your craft. Do your research and look for an agent whose interests and skill set will help you. Realize that most writers take years to become established and that the ones that are hugely successful are few and far between. Be prepared for rejection but be resilient enough to bounce back. Network at conferences and with fellow writers. Those are my nuggets!

Thanks, Paige!

Check out the agent’s website at

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Neurotic Writer and The 27 Dresses

Welcome to Another Episode of The Neurotic Writer

Suzie Writer: “I can’t believe there’s a movie out with my book title.”

Therapist: “You published your book?”

Suzie Writer: “No. The book I was going to write is called The 27 Dresses.”

Therapist: “Cute movie. You were going to write a book about a woman who has 27 bridesmaid’s dresses?”

Suzie Writer: “My idea is better. She wears 27 different dresses on a single date.”

Therapist: (Creases brow in confusion.) “On top of each other?”

Suzie Writer: “Of course not. That would be silly.” (Rolls her eyes) “Editors want writers to Show, Don’t Tell, so I’ve come up with a brilliant idea. I’ve made my hero so hot, sweat pours off her every time she’s around him.”

Therapist: “So she has to change clothes 27 times?”

Suzie Writer: “See? Great idea, huh? She has to take a suitcase on every date.”

Therapist: “Can’t you call it The 26 Dresses?”

Suzie Writer: “No. It would ruin the series. The second book is called The 28 Negligees.

Therapist: “Let me guess. He’s extra hot in bed?”

Suzie Writer: “You’re catching on! The last book is called The 29 Halloween Costumes. It’s a thriller.”

Saturday, May 3, 2008

FOR WRITERS: Victorian Research Links:

Here are some of the most helpful links I’ve discovered from the web. I’ve organized them by subject where appropriate, to make this list a quick reference. Also, you’ll notice that this list is specifically for writers, touching on the subject areas needed for recreating the time period in a book. Most of the links also give me ‘quick’ answers, although some are just packed with info. If you would like to add any of your favorite website links, please add a comment to this post. I’m sure other writers will appreciate it!

American Cultural History (by year)

Timeline of food history:

Victorian English:
Victorian American:



Historical Research organized by subject:

Nineteenth Century Fashion:



Word (not world) History:

Historical Timeline-Victorian:

Victorian Website Links:

Historical Photographs of England:

Quick Reference by Decade:

Free Victorian Clipart:

Until next time,

Friday, May 2, 2008

Interview with Loretta Rogers

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Loretta Rogers. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thank you for inviting me. I’m excited to here, and believe me I need all the therapy I can get, so bring on the chocolate.

My pleasure. I hope you like dark. (KW)

I understand you have a new release out called, THE TWISTED TRAIL . Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I’m really excited about this novel. Not only is it a Western, but it’s a Western that takes place east of the Mississippi. Most publishers prefer this type story take place West of the Mississippi. The Twisted Trail is set in 1840 in both Florida and Georgia, when gold was discovered on Cherokee lands.

THE TWISTED TRAIL is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The plot is a race between two freight line owners to see who will out smart the other to be the first to get their supplies over a twisted trail to a bunch of starving gold miners in the Georgia mountains.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Although a native Floridian who lived in Georgia for several years, yes, I did quite a bit of research. Even though the novel is fiction, I wanted to make certain my facts were correct.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Most writers might choose the hero, but I actually like Joe Panther. Part Seminole Indian, he calls himself a white man’s woods colt. Joe Panther has a rather dry sense of humor that comes across as funny.

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

When I begin a novel, I always try to envision which actors might play my characters, and that includes the villain. However, I think either Jim Caviezel or Christian Bale would play the part of hero, Matt Logan very well. Both are tall and have that rugged masculinity about them that is needed for heroes of western movies.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Jackie Collins once said that every person has at least one good book in them. I always wanted to write, but doubted myself. When I heard her make this statement, I decided to ‘go for it.’ I’ve been fortunate to have two books out, ISABELLE AND THE OUTLAW, published by The Wild Rose Press, released December, 2007, and was on the publisher’s best seller’s list for several weeks.

What do we have to look forward next?

Currently, I have another Western under consideration by Avalon Books, and a historical western inspirational under consideration by The Wild Rose Press. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. You know how we writers love getting those contracts.

I can agree with that. (KW)

Thanks, Loretta!

When not writing, Loretta and her husband take trips on their Suzuki motorcycle. As a child, Loretta used to sneak her father’s Zane Grey and Louie L’Amour Westerns from his sock drawer. Thus grew her love for cowboys, horses and the old west. Winner of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlins Writing Award, she is also multi-published with Dorchester Media. She also writes under the pseudonym – L. W. Rogers.

Check out Loretta’s website at