Publishing Can Be Scary!

MuffinsandMistletoe 200x300So, you’ve always wanted to be a writer. Seems like a great gig. Eat chocolate, drink lots of coffee, and sit around in your PJs and create stories from your heart. (Okay, I admit that IS a very cool part of the job!)

But what happens after you’ve finished the book? If you choose the traditional route, you take your manuscript that has been critiqued and polished to within an inch of its life and send if off to your list of agents and publishers and wait. Sometimes you get back a generic rejection, if you’re lucky you get a detailed rejection. Sometimes you get “the call!”

Scary? Yes. Rejections are scary. They are play on the inherent fear that every author harbors deep in their souls, the one that dares to suggest we’re frauds and our work is crap. Getting “the call” that your book has been accepted is no less scary. Now you’re signing your name on the dotted line of a contract, you need to promote yourself and your book, you need to edit and revise and pray your book sells. People will love your book or they’ll hate it – and they’ll let you know by posting public reviews. (Scary? yes!)

Now, as authors we have another option. Self-publishing.

The world of self-publishing has exploded in a few short years and no longer is there a stigma attached to saying you are an “indie author.” But is it any less scary?

If you decide to go it alone with your book, you are responsible for getting an editor to make sure you have a polished product. You need to hire a graphic artist to make sure your product is noticed. You need to format your book for all the venues you want your book to be available at, either you hire this out or learn how to do it yourself. You still have to promote yourself and your book. You still have to pray your book sells and still have those good and bad reviews to scare you at night!

We’ve entered into a very exciting time to be a writer, with more than one way to get our work out to the people we’ve been trying to reach – the readers! It’s a wonderful sigh of relief for many to have options – and there is now more than one path to success. Whether you choose traditional, indie or to try both, publishing is still foremost about THE BOOK.

While writing a book and creating characters and plots is an artistic expression – make no mistake that publishing that book is a business. It can be a wonderfully rewarding business, it can be frustrating, get on your last nerve, and make you want to pull your hair out. And yes, it can be very scary!

So, this month in keeping with our Scare Me theme, I will be taking the plunge and self-publishing a holiday novella. Muffins & Mistletoe is the first book I’ve written knowing it would never be submitted to any agents or publishers.

Sometimes we have to face our fears, knowing we’ll be scared, but having faith that it will work out in the end.

Tell me what fear you’re going to face this month and you might win our monthly prize!

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

It’s All About The Experience, Right?

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Campsite views

Sometimes a travel idea just doesn’t work out exactly like I planned.

When my boys were little I thought it would be a great experience to go tent camping in the mountains of southern California. In my mind I had visions of campfires, hikes and relaxing by the lake.

The reality? It was over 90 degrees, our campsite was perched on the side of the mountain where the ground was so hard, my husband broke three of our tent spikes just putting up the tent. The incline of our site was so steep, if I could have found a rope to tether my kids to a tree, I would have. We couldn’t go boating on the lake BECAUSE it was 90 degrees and they only had aluminum boats for rent. Fried children on the lake – no thanks.

But it’s an experience we won’t forget.

Tubing on the Colorado River, Yuma, Arizona

Tubing on the Colorado River, Yuma Arizona

A few years later I was talked into another trip I thought my boys would love…boating on the Colorado River in Yuma Arizona.

The night we pulled into town it was 103 degrees at 8pm!

Not being a water girl, I planned to spend my days under an umbrella on the shoreline with my young daughter while the boys and hubby did their water-skiing and boating.

When the temperature climbed to 116…the water started looking good, even to me. At which point I was talked into tubing.

Another experience I won’t forget.

Whether we write small town contemporary romances, paranormals, historicals, time travels or romantic suspense, there is always an adventure to be had. There is always something that our characters experience that adds to the fabric of their backstory or their current journey toward their HEA.

Over the years I’ve touched electrified fences in Amish country (because I didn’t believe they would HAVE electrified fences!) I’ve walked down a mountain in Vermont carrying my skis after running over my husband and he had to be taken down the mountain by snow-mobile stretcher. I’ve watched my kids swim with sharks off a LaJolla cove because I was too chicken to join them. And all those memories of adventures are sitting there waiting to be used in a story somewhere.

Because life really is all about the experience.

Have a funny experience you can share with me? Your comment just might win you a free digital download from the Decadent Tease line!

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Hot Summer Romance

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As I sit and write this blog post the temperature on Long Island has climbed to almost 100 degrees for the fourth day in a row. It’s been over 90 for the better part of two weeks. My air conditioner hasn’t been off in all that time, I hate the thought of turning on the oven, and we drink iced tea by the gallon.

Hard to believe we were buried under two feet of snow just five months ago. And as much as I hate snow…the white stuff is looking mighty refreshing right now. (Okay…maybe not that refreshing!)

As I sit under a ceiling fan, with the air conditioner pumping out cool air and that cool drink by my side, I got to thinking about the summer heat as inspiration in my books. Out of the three books I have published, two take place in the summer and both use the hot and humid weather as integral parts of the story, in fact in The Kandy Shoppe, there wouldn’t be a story without the heat of summer melting poor Kandy’s ice cream due to a malfunctioning freezer in her ice cream parlor.

My current time travel novella series takes place in the old west…in the summer.

So what’s the lure for me of a hot summer romance? Maybe it’s the idea of skimpy clothes or skinny dipping? Cool nights under a starry sky? Maybe it’s those cold drinks and barbecues? Maybe it’s just that I’m no fan of snow and don’t want to write it anymore than I want spend time driving in it.

Whatever it is, hot summer days and nights seem to work best for me in the fiction I write. Sure I’m a big fan of love scenes by a roaring fire in the dead of winter, but I always seem to come back to characters fighting the heat of the day and then heating up the sheets! Yes, sometimes it really is just all about making my characters sweat *wink*

Have you noticed if you’re drawn to stories set in the summer or the winter?

Enjoy the heat…because the winter will be back before we know it! 🙂

 

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Bridezilla or My Fair Wedding?

Deb.wedding

Looking sweet, but under all that satin and lace was a girl on a mission for the perfect wedding.

 

This month our theme is weddings and to be honest, bridal reality shows are among my favorites when it comes to guilty pleasures. Probably because I know if those shows were around 26 year ago I could have been a contender for my very own show (yes, I said 26…look at me, I was a BABY!)

What would my show be called? So glad you asked! I bet if you asked my mother, my father, my bridesmaids, my husband and anyone else even remotely associated with my wedding they would all know my favorite three words…so I would call my show, “IT’S MY DAY!”

I watch these popular shows depicting brides acting badly and I cringe. I fought with my mother over the fruit cup appetizers (I wanted salad, she wanted the fruit cup…she won that one) I fought with my sister over dying the shoes to match her maid-of-honor dress (I won) and I fought with my father over everything from the father-daughter dance song to having the entire wedding video taped – something relatively new and expensive 26 years ago (I won those fights too.) I wanted a whiskey-sour fountain at the cocktail hour, and I wanted to attend the cocktail hour…something normally not done at a NY wedding at the time. Yes, I won those arguments too.

I managed to have my fingers in every single aspect of MY DAY and refused to compromise on pretty much anything…talk about being driven and focused. My parents told my husband-to-be that I’d been planning my wedding since I was three and they were probably right. He should have run screaming, but he didn’t. Instead as the true hero he is, he adopted his own three word phrase in response to any question posed, “Whatever Deb wants.”

Gotta love a man who doesn’t interfere with a wedding 23 years in the making. I got my fairy tale wedding and I’m proud to say I didn’t need a reality TV show to do it. I didn’t manage to lose any friends in the process either – which is amazing to me when I look back at the dresses with the huge bows on their asses that I MADE them wear! (Sorry ladies!)

We all made it through MY DAY and it was wonderful. The band, the food and being surrounded by all the people I loved made the day perfect. And even though my father hated the video idea, now seeing those family members no longer with us, alive and enjoying the party, is priceless to him…took him 20 years but he thanked me!

When you watch the wedding shows do you remember how you behaved and think about what you would do differently? Were you a bridezilla?

Don’t forget any comments you make this month will get your name in a drawing for a $5 Amazon gift card…so don’t be shy!

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

The Conference Virgin

Conference LanyardSome “firsts” are experienced between two people or witnessed by only a few – attending your first writing conference is not one of them! Every year thousands of romance writers converge on a new city and spend days mingling, networking, going to workshops and putting faces with online names.

Just the thought of signing up for a conference can be enough to send an introvert into terror-mode! Maybe you’ve been convinced by a writing buddy that it’s the next step to take in your career, maybe you’ve simply decided a few days away with people that truly “get” what you do in the wee hours of the night would be fun.

My first conference was a little bit of both…I really wanted to go and meet the women I knew only by their emails, but if I didn’t get the extra push from a friend who offered to be my roommate, I never would have taken the leap and signed up. And I’m glad I did. My first conference was the RWA National in Dallas. I had my first razzarita in a bar with an agent, I pitched my first book to an agent and an editor, and I attended my first standing room only workshop with the wonderful Nora Roberts. I definitely came home on a high.

So what can YOU expect from your first conference? Hoards of writers just like you! Late nights in the bar and lots of laughs. Expect to spend money on food, because not all your meals are included and you’ll want to go out with your new friends! You’ll be overwhelmed both by the crowds and the positive energy pulsing everywhere you go. Expect to take lots of notes in all the wonderful workshops you’ll be attending. EXPECT to come home pumped to write and take your manuscripts to the next level.

Lastly, here’s a few tips on what to bring and what to leave home:

The conference rooms where the workshops are held are usually freezing – definitely pack a sweater. Business casual is the standard dress code, except for awards night when you’ll want to dress up. Bring your comfortable shoes – you’ll be walking a lot! (I know, you’ve got to bring all those great heels in the closet…so if you’re a high heel kinda girl, go for it.)

Most conferences give you a tote bag at check-in, my advice is to keep it light and leave the huge, everyday pocketbook at home. At my first conference I got a lanyard with a large inner pocket and it has gone with me to every conference since. During the day I put some money, my room key, my business cards and my phone in there and that’s it…don’t weigh yourself down.

Business cards are nice to have, but you’ll mostly be handing these out to your new writing friends – agents and editors won’t be looking for your card, if they’re interested in hearing from you, they’ll give you theirs.

Leave your manuscript at home! No passing it over the table or under the bathroom stall. 😉 Again, if an agent or editor requests to see it, they want to you to send it to them.

Have I mentioned the books? OMG…at RWA National you will get more books than could possibly fit in the luggage you arrived with. Most people find a box during the conference, box them up and ship them home (don’t worry about figuring this out – you’ll no doubt see the masses lined up with the hotel staff doing exactly this!)

Bring your smile! Romance writers are awesome, generous women and everyone remembers being a conference virgin.

Do you remember your first time at a writing conference or is your first time looming in the near future?

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

Welcome to Through Heart-Shaped Glasses!

717394_30828375We’re tossing the confetti and passing out cupcakes. Why? Because we’re excited about our new blogging home! (It’s pretty, isn’t it? Yea, we love it too!)

Along the top you’ll find the personal pages for all 11 of us, you’ll see our pictures in our heart-shaped glasses on the side (can you tell we had fun with our glasses?) and if you scroll down the sidebar you’ll see when we blog, the dates we’re open to guest bloggers, and our monthly themes.

For our first month, we’ve chosen the appropriate theme of “firsts.” We hope you’ll stop by often during the month and let us entertain you. We can guarantee that with 11 lovely ladies on the blogroll the opinions and thoughts on writing and reality are bound to be varied, entertaining, sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always from our hearts.

And because we love to give prizes…each month you’ll find a new member sponsoring the Blog Swag of the Month…this month’s swag is a $10 amazon e-card sponsored by me! And all you have to do is comment during the month to be entered to win! We also might have prizes during the month when guest bloggers stop by to don their own pair of heart-shaped glasses and join the blog for a day.

Don’t forget to grab a cupcake before you go…and we’ll see you back here on the 3rd when we officially kick off our first “Firsts” post of the month.

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About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.