Back from the family vacation. The Dare-lings actually did pretty well on the plane and we all enjoyed spending time with our extended family. Nothing too exotic, just lots of “quality time.”

I came home to learn that GOTH is a finalist in the Orange Rose contest! Not only that, but my good friends India and Darcy are finalists in the Maggies! And all three of us will get to be present at the respective awards ceremonies, so that’s extra exciting.

And don’t forget, tomorrow is Jackie/Jacqueline’s big release day with Cobblestone! I can’t wait to read Carnally Ever After.… Read More »

I am so thrilled to tell you all that I am now represented by Helen Breitwieser of Cornerstone Literary Agency.

Some of you know, choosing an agent was a difficult decision for me. I had multiple offers, and I took lots of factors into account, did my research, solicited advice from the pros, and spent several sleepless nights mulling it over. Once I had the chance to talk to Helen, however, I knew my search was over. She’s enthusiastic about my writing, communicative, and willing to go that extra mile. And the fact that she’s in my time zone is a plus. No setting the alarm clock to make 6:00AM phone calls!

Seriously, I’m so honored to be a Cornerstone author – Helen’s historical romance clients include:
RITA-winner Sophia Nash
RITA-winner Tracy Anne Warren
RITA-nominated Pam Rosenthal

And now me. Zoiks. Seriously.

And oh, yeah – SQUEEEE!

EDIT: The doorbell just rang – it was a package from Helen. She sent me a lovely note and a copy of this book, The Bright Side of Disaster. A snippet from the Booklist review:

In her stellar first novel, Center paints an accurate and humorous view of motherhood, from the physical changes to lack of sleep and exhaustion as well as the changes in friendships and feelings about men.

See? This woman just gets me.… Read More »

The First Chapters Romance Writing Competition is a first time author’s gateway to publication. One novelist will win a guaranteed publishing contract with Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster! Enter from August 1-22, read and vote starting August 27. is very pleased to announce the next generation of our First Chapters Writing Competition. On August 1, 2007, Gather will launch the First Chapters Romance writing competition in conjunction with Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books imprint and Borders enabling a talented Gather member to win a guaranteed publishing contract along with a $5000 cash advance!

Here’s How It Works: Starting August 1 through August 22, aspiring romance novelists will have the opportunity to submit a full-length romantic fiction manuscript for consideration. Over the course of the competition, authors will post their first two chapters in the First Chapters Romance Group. These chapters will be rated by the Gather community along with the Gather Editorial Team, and five finalists will be selected through two rounds of voting. One Grand Prize Winner will be chosen for publication by a panel of judges.

I’m not entering – I think I used up all my good contest ju-ju with FanLit – but I hope some of you will! Let me know, so I can come around and vote.… Read More »

Gee, has it been a whole week since I blogged? I’ve been working hard, promise. Still revising GOTH (although I had a nice mental breakthrough for a scene GOB I’m itching to write down soon.) The floor of my writing corner is littered with murdered darlings. It’s a veritable darling bloodbath. Ah, revision.

Then last night, Mr. Dare fell asleep with the TV on, and I got completely sucked into this amazing film, Brothers of the Head. It’s a fake documentary about a 70s punk band, but completely different from ‘mockumentaries’ like Christopher Guest’s Spinal Tap or A Mighty Wind. (Sidenote: Have you all seen Waiting for Guffman? You must see Waiting for Guffman.)

Anyhoo, Brothers of the Head is the ‘true story’ of Siamese twins Tom and Barry, featured in the punk-rock group “The Bang Bang.” And it is amazing. The lead performances from (non-conjoined) twins Luke and Harry Treadaway had me riveted, as did the film’s rather voyeuristic storytelling style. The twins’ wildly divergent personalities and the exploitive influences around them make for a sort of self-destructing, Jekyll-and-Hyde trainwreck of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. And you can’t watch this movie without thinking waaay too hard about what it would like to be with another person – All. The. Time. To share everything, to have no privacy whatsoever, to never be alone with even your thoughts.

Now this may be a Tessa Dare first, the quoting of an existentialist, but blame my college-dorm … Read More »

Well, my Field & Stream mystery has been solved. My good friend and neighbor also received two issues of F&S the same day I did – and she, being a vegetarian, anti-gun pacifist, called the magazine demanding to know who sent this offensive publication to her house. Turns out, we were both automatically subscribed to it when we made reservations for a two-family camping trip we took earlier this summer. So none of you did it. (Why the US Park Service believes everyone who makes a camping reservation would enjoy Field and Stream is beyond me, but …)

This got me thinking, I bet everyone has some good stories about the mail. Tell me about the strangest or funniest or most surprising thing you ordered through the mail, received in the mail, sent through the mail … extra points to you if it really qualifies as TMI.

This isn’t really TMI, but it still cracks me up when I think about it – when I was an overseas volunteer, my mother tried to send a Harry & David fruitcake to my host family for Christmas. I guess she thought fruitcake would be an interesting sort of cultural exchange, or it would survive the tropical climate … I don’t know. Anyhow, Christmas came and went and it never showed up. It was assumed that perhaps the package was ‘misdirected’ to some random postal worker’s family – it wouldn’t have been unusual for that to happen. Six months later, the thing finally … Read More »

Way back in April, I was blogging about Pam Spengler-Jaffee’s tips for promoting your book in unlikely forums. And I joked about promoting Goddess of the Hunt at gun shows and in sporting magazines and quoted that great line from Notting Hill, “The readers of Horse and Hound will be delighted.”

So what shows up in my mailbox yesterday, but two issues of Field & Stream, addressed to MOI. The first (which I could not find a photo of, darn it) has a cover story titled “The Best Ammo” and a feature on “1,000 Women Hunters.”

Now seriously, did one of you do this? I can’t for the life of me imagine how I got subscribed to this magazine. But I do wonder what they charge for a 1/4 page ad….… Read More »

So on Smart Bitches this week, there’s been this whole bloffle (doing my part, Sara Dennis!) over a few authors’ decision to wear costumes to the RWA literary signing. A few authors in the new manga-inspired Shomi line donned manga-inspired outfits, complete with thigh-high stockings and miniskirts, and Sherrilyn Kenyon wore a now-infamous hat shaped like a black swan. In the sea of 450 authors, I honestly didn’t notice any of this, but evidently more than a few people were miffed that, with RWA raising tens of thousands of dollars for literacy and trying to promote a positive, professional image of the genre, the newspaper editors ran pictures of the swan hat.

There were scads of workshops on promotion at RWA. More and more, it seems authors are responsible for promoting their own books, growing a readership, creating buzz, etc. Some spend a great deal of money on it, and the concept of ‘branding’ – putting out a consistent public image that links you the author with the type of books you write – is key. The goody room was filled with all sorts of promotional materials with authors’ names emblazoned on them – from mints to rubber duckies to condoms.

You often hear the old adage, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Is that true? Or is there a line authors should not cross in their promotional efforts; a point where they diminish the genre by pushing their own book? Personally, I had no problem with the manga-inspired … Read More »

So in Dallas, there was a recurring conversation that went something like this:
“I so want to go to her panel/spotlight/signing, but I don’t want her to think that I’m stalking her!”

It seemed we were always treading this fine line between wanting to interact with our favorite authors or dream editors and not wanting to look like obsessive fans of dubious mental stability.

And it seems, in romance, there is often that fine line between attention and persistence that is swooningly romantic and scary stalking.

In college, I was once at one of those award dinners and found myself seated across from a very cute couple. In the course of conversation, they told the story of how they’d got together. They’d met at a party, and the guy was instantly smitten. The problem was, she left the party before he could get her number. All he knew was her (very common) first name and the name of her hometown. Now, we had this student directory that listed all of the (30,000) undergraduates and included their hometowns in the entry. So this guy spent the rest of the weekend going through it, page by page, to find an entry with her first name and hometown so he could call her up. I found that swooningly romantic, yet not without its shades of stalkerish obsession.

I don’t know that I’ve ever stalked anyone myself – but then there’s that mortifying thing (and this happened in Dallas, too) where a certain person … Read More »

Forget “Signature of Success” – the title of this post was the real catchphrase for RWA 2007!

I’m shamelessly borrowing it from my good friend (and roomie!) India, because Ms. Eloisa James came up with the phrase while giving India pitch pointers and it quickly became our battle cry.

RWA was phenomenal. Meeting those of you who were there was awesome, because without exception, everyone was even more fantastic in person than I’d imagined. (Geez, I’m already running out of superlatives, and I’ve barely started the blog!) I was so proud of everyone who pitched and got requests and networked their little badges off. There were so many great moments, I can’t begin to list them all. Well, okay, I can begin, and I’ll just have to save the stuff I forget for a later post:


  • High tea with Julia Quinn and Eloisa James and several of their esteemed readers
  • Meeting more of my idols at the literacy booksigning
  • CM’s birthday bash – after which we caught a pimped-out limo for our Harry Potter showing
  • Pitching and plotting with the Manuscript Mavens
  • Lisa Kleypas’ inspiring keynote address, and Lisa Jackson’s Hot Tamales giveaway
  • Attending the Avon off-site booksigning with several Fanlitters, including a couple of the Romance Vagabonds
  • Hanging out in the pitch room with any/all of the above
  • Hanging out in the bar with any/all of the above

Of course, there was the RWA bylaws drama to keep things interesting, and the nerves inherent to pitching and networking … Read More »

This will be my last post for a week or so … off to Dallas! I’m so excited, but I haven’t packed a thing.

I’ve been off in the woods for a few days, so I’m late doing my bit to notify the masses, but if you haven’t already heard, we’re having a little to-do for CM’s birthday on the evening of the 11th. India, Sara and I are hosting a little cocktail hour in India’s and my room from 7-8:30ish. Afterwards, we’re off to see the new Harry Potter movie! If you haven’t already RSVPed on India’s blog or to one of us by email, feel free to leave a note here. We’ll let you know how to find out the room number, or which theater/showtime to get tickets for on Fandango.

Hope lots of you can make it to the party and/or movie! Those who won’t be in Dallas … *sniff.* You’ll be missed.… Read More »