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To squee about!

Huge congratulations to two – yes, two – wonderful writers, good friends, and former Fanlitters who have just signed with agents: Maggie Robinson and Manda Collins! Congratulations, ladies! I know great things are in store for you both, and I can’t wait to squee over your sales.

(Man, are we setting NY on fire or what? It’s squee-a-minute around here. Who will be next…?)

As for what I’m up to – I’ve been spending the last few days preparing character descriptions and plot outlines of all three books for the purposes of assisting the cover art designers. It’s terribly exciting, I must say. My editor and I did chat about possibilities in SF, but I really have no idea what style the covers will turn out to be. (There was a meeting about them, evidently, which occurred while I was out of the country. A whole meeting! Really, the idea of people having a meeting in NY about my books while I was scarfing cheap beer and boiled peanuts on some beach half a world away…it’s just so very cool.)

Honestly, I’m just stupidly thrilled that they care enough to ask what my heroes and heroines look like. I can’t wait to see what the artistic geniuses at Ballantine create.… Read More »

Hey, I’m back. My body is still on SE Asian time though, which would be why I’m up blogging at 3AM. Mr. Dare has promised the darelings donuts in the morning if they sleep through the night (something they failed to do our first night home…and our second). I, however, know I am assured of donuts whether I sleep or not. It’s just a matter of how much coffee I drink with them. 🙂

So, I’m up blogging at 3AM.

I’ve been meaning to blog about this topic for a while now, but somehow never found the time, what with all this traveling and deadline-meeting and squeeing and whatnot.

At this point, I have written three historical romance novels. Together, they comprise a completed trilogy and represent a fulfilled contract. Thus I find myself in a transitional phase, taking stock of what I’ve learned and dreaming about what I want to write next.

After writing these three books in one genre, what can I say for myself? I still can’t say I’m in print, LOL, but I can say that my voice feels very solid. That statement doesn’t exactly fit the definition of an accomplishment–it’s more of a reassurance. It gives me the confidence that I can write down whatever story I happen to dream up next.

Authorial voice is a tricky creature – elusive, shifting, hard to define. But editors and agents are always saying (so it seems) that voice is what sells a book.

To me, one’s writing … Read More »

Not that this will be news to many of you – by now, it’s everywhere on the Internet. (Why can’t auctions take place on eastern hemisphere time?) But congrats, huzzah, kisses, hugs, and much much love to Courtney Milan, who just sold her first book, PROOF BY SEDUCTION, to HQN in a two-book, six-figure deal, at auction!

Words can’t express how excited I am for her, and how proud (and grateful) I am to be her critique partner. I’m thrilled, overjoyed, delighted, and just about everything else good…except surprised. Here’s the Publisher’s Marketplace blurb:

Golden Heart Nominee for Breath of Honor Courtney Milan’s debut historical romance PROOF BY SEDUCTION, about a rigidly logical marquis who uses the scientific method to save his heir from the clutches of a fraudulent fortune teller, only to fall for her and discover that the one hypothesis not susceptible to proof is love, and a second book to Ann Leslie Tuttle at HQN, in a good deal, at auction by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency (World).

Mark your calendars for Fall 2009 – I can’t wait for the world to discover this wonderful book!… Read More »

Just a very brief post in-between trips…

I arrived home last night from San Francisco and the RWA National Conference – tonight, we leave for our intercontinental extravaganza, so packing and laundry and jetlag are eating my day. (Yes, I still get jetlag when traveling within my timezone. I am not a good traveler. ugh.)

San Fran was wonderful – I got to meet with my wonderful agent and editor and attend my first Friday-night publisher party. The whole week was filled with brushes with greatness, including these banner moments:
*holding Lisa Kleypas’ espresso
*passing Sabrina Jeffries the sweetener
*bumping elbows with Elizabeth Hoyt at lunch
*congratulating Julia Quinn on her 2nd RITA in two years!
*being kissed by the wonderful Anna Campbell
*getting rear-ended in a taxicab with Madeline Hunter (yes, we’re all okay)
*sitting second-row, center for the RITAs and Golden Hearts, within touching distance of Courtney Milan, Amy Baldwin, Lindsey Faber, Toni Blake, Julie Anne Long, and Jade Lee! Awesomeness.

Obviously each of those is a story in its own right, and there were so many more…I even attended some workshops in there, too. 🙂 But the best part of conference was seeing all my wonderful friends and making new ones. I wish I had the time and brainpower to blog more about it, but laundry calls. If you were there for the puppy shower, the late-night drinks, the plotting chats, the random hugs in halls and elevators…thank you so much for making my conference amazing. If … Read More »

So, almost everyone who would normally read this post is probably on her way to SF. But for the few of you holding down the fort at home…uh, hi! Bye!

In the past 24 hours, I’ve:
*Turned in my third book to my editor. Woohoo!
*Finished shopping and packing for conference in SF.
*Barely started shopping and packing for the family vacation (Mr. Dare’s going to have to pick up the slack on that one.)
*Put up a new look on my website – check it out! It’s still very much a work-in-progress, and there’s not a whole lot more there than there was before, but eventually there will be. Promise.

It’s currently 3:30 AM. I am so excited, I cannot sleep at all.
The goddess of sleep deprivation lives!

Hugs to all…I’ll try to report back from conference before leaving for the family vacay. Please send up good thoughts and prayers for Mr. Dare this week – he’ll need them.… Read More »

Here in Cali, at least.

It’s going to be a crazy week, turning in my third book, getting ready for RWA, packing for the Dare family vacation of ridiculous proportions….

I had a little vocabulary lesson the other day – my editor sent me an email that read, “I launched your titles last week, and everyone was really excited!”

To which I said… “I’m excited, too! Um, can you tell me what that means?”
Because, you know, I haven’t even turned in the third one yet, and whatever “launching” meant, I was a wee bit afraid that it might have been done prematurely. Plus, I was a wee bit afraid that “launching my titles” might have meant jettisoning them into the stratosphere like so much space junk.

Fortunately, it means no such thing. I’ve since learned that it means she presented my trilogy to the sales people, presumably to get them psyched to sell oodles and oodles of copies. And since everyone was excited, I suppose that means the “launching” went well. Hooray! I’ll try to figure out more about it when I have lunch with my editor next week. Evidently cover art discussions begin in August – can’t wait to see what the art people come up with!

It’s all good, it’s all good…I’m just trying to breathe normally.

In other exciting news, look – merchandise! Vixen Ely, who was kind enough to beta-read ALOP, felt so moved to make the “I [heart] Toby” t-shirt. I’ve been wearing … Read More »

What I have to show for *this* week:
1. A revised draft of A Lady of Persuasion.
2. Two darelings pleasantly exhausted from four days of playing with the grandparents. (I’m sure the grandparents are pleasantly exhausted, too!)
3. A miraculously still-organized kids’ room.
4. No blog topic.

Tiny still needs your vote! He’s made it to the final round, and the voting is fast and furious. But he is obviously the cutest, so help him out!

The Manuscript Mavens are celebrating their first anniversary all this week, with a Jamboree. They asked a whole bunch of authors to answer questions, and they’re posting quizzes and giving prizes. If you’ve ever wondered what one book I’d take if stranded on a desert island, go on over and have a look.

Hey, here’s a question, while I’ve got your attention –
Anyone have bright ideas on how to entertain two small children on a fourteen-hour plane flight? Geez, I can’t even entertain them for fourteen hours at home…… Read More »

Please join me in wishing Happy Birthday to Ms. Courtney Milan!

As I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, CM is brilliant in about 314 ways, and 187 of them before breakfast. I’m sure we could solve this whole pesky cost-of-oil nonsense if scientists could just figure out how to harness the power of her brain. And it should go with out saying (*cough* Golden Heart finalist *cough*) that she is an amazingly talented writer. But aside from being one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, she’s also one of the sweetest and most fun to be around. She knows I love her!

This week is a milestone for CM in more ways than one. As many of you know, she has been prevented from querying and submitting her awesome manuscripts up until now, because of her hush-hush Top Sekret job. But that is all about to change, as she emerges from the bunker and reenters the world of daylight and puppies. In other words – Look out, New York! I know we’ll be toasting her success in San Francisco.

Heck, I think I will break out the bubbly early…


Huzzah to Vixens Elyssa and Maggie, who finaled this week in the Golden Claddaugh!

And congratulations to Manda’s cat Tiny, who is up for “Cutest Cat” this week over at GalleyCat and needs your vote! Srsly, he is the cutest. Don’t let the big publishing houses trounce him with their mass market votes.

Have a … Read More »

So, here’s what I have to show for my week:

1) A reorganized kids’ room.
2) A finished draft of A LADY OF PERSUASION.
3) A pile of laundry and dishes.
4) No blog topic.

I’m just drawing a complete blank at the moment. Something may come to me later today…

In the meantime, in the “made-me-laugh-til-I-cried” department, enjoy this:
(You know I did!)
Read More »

Here’s another topic that came out of a bulletin board thread somewhere. (It’s not that I’m opposed to posting on BB threads, it just that by the time I happen to stumble across these discussions, everyone else has moved on and there’s no point to posting. So I just save it all up to inflict on you, dear readers. *sweet smile*)

Anyhow, this thread (which started off as something else entirely) evolved into a discussion of love scenes in romance – did readers enjoy them, get uncomfortable reading them, prefer slightly awkward yet realistic scenes as opposed to effortless synchronization, feel cheated if the author “shuts the bedroom door” and fades to black, etc.

The one comment that got me thinking was posted by someone who said she’s writing romance, but doesn’t like to write love scenes. She prefers to write the lead up to the actual act, then cut to the afterglow, and was that okay?

So my response to that is: Not only is it okay, but if a writer can write everything leading up to the act, then cut to the afterglow and not sacrifice something important to the story – than she really shouldn’t write the act itself. (Unless she’s writing it just to titillate, which puts it outside the boundaries of the mainstream romance genre, IMO.)

A love scene is, first and foremost, a scene. And every scene in a book should have a purpose–some importance to the story. If nothing happens during a love … Read More »