Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Emotional Roller Coaster of a Writer’s Life

I don’t like roller coasters. I like the predictable, steady, tried and true. Yet writing is one of the most significant emotional roller coasters you can put yourself on in life. So as writers, why do we do it? Why do we get up every morning and strap ourselves into that seat?

For me, it’s all because of the high moments. The moment where you feel like you can accomplish anything. The view from atop that roller coaster is panoramic! I had two high moments this week in the writing life: I wrote the two most important words in the English language—THE END. Another book done, and before my deadline. Feels pretty great.

Until you open that first file and re-read what is was you wrote. Suddenly the fear creeps in. It’s a feeling of utter incompetence; of asking yourself why on earth you thought you could do something so complex as writing a novel.

That is sometimes where the writing roller coaster gets stuck, in the most precarious of places. Where you want to just jump out and let it go on without you. For me, that is also were I find myself avoiding the thing I know I need to do most—get back to work. Instead, I’ll get lost in the laundry, sorting through the papers that seem to stack on the counter of their own free will, or cleaning the bathrooms—anything I can think of to avoid what makes me fearful—writing.

Most of the time, I can be fairly disciplined with my writing. Setting daily page goals, weekly benchmarks, and deadlines. But sometimes the fear is so overwhelming that it is almost a tangible thing. I know a large part of that fear is because I love my story concept and I’m afraid of executing it poorly. In my head the story is rich and meaningful, an epic! It is powerful and sweeping and emotional and makes people think about themselves and the ways they relate to one another. It changes people’s lives for the better.

So how do you overcome that fear? One sentence at a time, one page at a time. Also by realizing that the desire to write would not be inside you if you weren’t capable of the task. And most important of all, is to remember that nothing can happen if you don’t at least try.

Any creative field has its highs and lows. Maybe for writers, those highs are especially high because of all the lows. We set this same path for our characters. We give them struggles, self-doubt, and so many obstacles. And yet they, along with a little authorial help, get through it all for that ultimate reward.

So what are the highs of a writer’s life? Finishing each and every manuscript. Selling that first book, and all the others that follow. Trying something in your writing you’ve never tried before. A great review, or fabulous feedback from critique group. A note from a reader. Hitting your page count for the day. Seeing your new cover for the first time. Holding that printed book in your hands. Your first writing paycheck. Your book on Amazon’s website. And so many more other fantastic moments.

Do all those highs make the lows worthwhile? I’d like to think so.

That second high for me this week was my new cover. I think it is gorgeous and captures the essence of the book perfectly.



Share a special moment you’ve had that has taken your emotions to the top of that roller coaster.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Drooling with Brain Fatigue

When I decided to borrow Joy Nash's idea and do a 50day/50blog tour leading up to the release of VEXING THE VISCOUNT, I thought it would be an easy way to get the word out about my book.

Wrong.

Please don't misunderstand. I'm having a ball meeting new readers and getting to know some fabulous blog owners, but the pressure of trying to be entertaining every day is permanently crossing my eyes! I bless the names of all those blog owners who send me interview questions to prick my creativity. Coming up with fresh original posts is draining. I have a merry band of "blog touristas" who are following me through cyber-space and I don't want to bore them.

I've explored VEXING THE VISCOUNT's hero and heroine, secondary characters, backstory, fashions, political landscape, sensual content, etc. I've talked about writing as Diana Groe and the challenge of adding humor to my prose to become Emily Bryan. I've blogged about "the call", my path to publication, finding an agent (something I need to do again because my agent's health has forced her to close her doors). I've talked about Georgian financial debacles and courtesan's pensions. I've been reduced to sharing recipes and my cooking is best described as "burnt offerings." (Just ask my poor DH!)

So if anyone has some ideas or suggestions on where to find ideas for blog posts, please sing out! Yesterday, I had 58 comments and I so want to finish this marathon running strong.



My 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT Tour rolls on today with another chance to win a VEXING THE VISCOUNT. I'll be at www.jkcoi.blogspot.com talking about 4 methods for writing a novel.

Hope to see you there!

Feb 3rd Update!


That's right. Today at Book Reviews by Bobbie, we're talking about S-E-X! In fiction, of course! I'm sharing my literary "first time."

Come on over and leave a comment or question for a chance to win a VEXING THE VISCOUNT!

PS. Today I'm giving you a "two-fer!" I'll also be on Rowena Cherry's Crazy Tuesday from 10AM to noon EST. I'll be joined by Rowena of course, along with Sara Taney Humphreys, Lillian Cauldwell, Kellyann Zuzulo, Brenna Lyons and Mark Terrence Chapman. And we're talking about heroes! Everybody needs one.

TTYS,
Emily

Feb 4th Update

Sometimes, a writer's career takes a turn. I'm visiting with my friend, Erin Eisenberg about making the switch from my Diana Groe epics to Emily Bryan's light-hearted romps. Join us at Erin's Into A Writer's Head.

As usual, I'll be giving away a free copy of Vexing the Viscount to someone who comments!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sad News for the Writing World

I was sad to see that novelist John Updike passed away this week. It seems like recently the writing world has been losing some terrific authors--Tony Hillerman and Michael Crichton passed away in early November.

It's the end of an era and a change of times. I was especially sorry to hear about Hillerman. I'm a big fan, and as I am about to write a new series set in northern Arizona near the Navajo Nation, I was getting up courage to write him a letter. He'd likely have been too ill to answer, so probably it was good I didn't.

In romance, we fairly recently lost Kathleen Woodiwiss and a personal friend, Ronda Thompson. Also Dawn Thompson, a fellow Dorchester author passed away not long ago.

Not trying to bring anyone down, here! I want more to honor these authors and celebrate their work.

What other authors were special to you that we've lost? How do you remember them?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Letting go

Joy posted earlier this month about goals for the New Year. I have a few. One of them is staring me in the face right now.


I want to learn how to let go of a story.

The novella that is due, uh, like NOW, is still on my desk. I must mail it out. It's finished. But I can't let go. I keep editing and editing, worrying over it, trying to make it perfect. One last sentence deleted, another rewritten.

The 20,000 word story has taken me as long to write as the 70,000 word Nocturne. And I can't figure out why.

Oh, I really like the characters, the plot. But I find myself filled with doubts, those horrid creatures that easily kill creativity. Maybe THIS word will make it stronger, more emotional, more blah blah blah blah.

Enough. Already.

It always amuses me when people, after finding out I'm an author, casually remark, "Oh, I've always wanted to write a book in my spare time."

I feel like telling them, "Oh, I've always wanted to dig my brains out of my head with a dull fork in my spare time."

Maybe for some writers, it's easy. They can sit down, whip out a story like it's a delicate souffle, and everything is delicious, creamy, rich. People sigh over it and weep.

With me, it's more like baking a Thanksgiving turkey for a critical family dinner. I keep basting, checking, basting, worrying, basting, and then when it's done, I carve into it and POW!


It busts open like that dried, wrinkled mess Chevy Chase cut into on Christmas Vacation.


Or not. Sometimes it's a delicious golden brown and juicy, and melts in your mouth.


It's not easy letting go of the work. Whether it's to give to a friend to read, or an editor, or enter into a contest, or wait for a review, there's a part of you that dreads the reaction. Will they like it? Will they want to read more?


Or would they rather be coated in honey and staked to an anthill?


I can honestly say I don't know one writer, though I'd love to meet one! who hasn't experienced some kind of self-doubt. Years ago at my chapter's conference, the keynote speaker, a NY Times best-seller I admired, admitted she gets nervous when turning in a story to her editor. She too, worries about anyone liking it.


Wow.


I have a lot of respect for those who can brave the waters of extreme criticism, and submit their work to be read by a panel in front of a crowded audience.


Last week my chapter, Florida Romance Writers, held our conference. I didn't go. I was on deadline, and this is a bad time of year for me as I usually travel for the day job. (Next week I'll be in Haiti.)

The conference was on a cruise, organized by the amazing Aleka Navis, and they hosted an event that's become popular at our conferences.

It's called Floridian Idol. You submit a few pages for a panel of agents and editors to read aloud and tell the audience exactly what they think of your writing.


Yoikes.


Sarah from the Smart Bitches blog attended our conference, and participated in this. Here's her thoughts on what it was like:


"So having the product of those less--than-turgid muscles critiqued is like having the gym’s most sculpted personal trainer watching you work out. In a word: Eeeep. So mad props to the writers who participated – I know firsthand what you went through. The experience was supremely fidget-inducing."

That sums it up. Fidget-inducing. It was fidget-inducing for me two years ago when I attended Floridian Idol, and I didn't even submit my work. I cringed at some of the comments. The panel was bluntly honest, and their opinions priceless. Seldom can you get instant feedback from publishing professionals. But still... ouch.


And yet, not all of them agreed on everything. Which goes to show the one truism of publishing every writer should keep chanting to himself/herself.


Not everyone will love, or hate, what you write. Because writing is NOT a science.


For all the craft books you can read, all the workshops you can attend, all the techniques and skill you can employ in your story, in the end, what one person will dismiss, another may love.

One editor might gush over your story as if it's that rare, delicate souffle.


Another might look at it and say, "Eeeeww. Yuck."


So how can you tell if it's any good? How can you tell when it's time to let go, and send it off into the world like a child toddling off to the first day of school?


For me, it's when I realize I'm clinging, like a parent reluctant to release her child to the big, bad, and wonderful world. But deep in my heart, I know I've done all I can, and it's time.


So I print, I read again, slide it into an envelope and mail.


Good-byes are never easy for me. Even when it's a story.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fallen is released!


"From the lochs of Scotland to the shores of America comes a gentle romance about two lonely hearts who find each other only to be torn apart by betrayal." —Romantic Times BOOKreviews

Finally after what seems like an eternity, Fallen is here! If you're in the Winston Salem area I'll be signing at New Beginnings in Rural Hall on Thursday Feb 5. Then on Saturday, Feb 7 I'll be in Raleigh at the Briar Creek Barnes and Noble with authors Claudia Dain, Deb Marlowe, Jenna Black and Beth Williamson.

I hope you enjoy Fallen.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Terms of Endearment

Several weeks ago, I was writing along and suddenly felt like I needed some special names for my characters . . . you know, the kind of names you don’t always use in public when you are addressing a loved one. Being a romance writer I thought the process of coming up with a term of endearment should be pretty easy.

It was anything but.

I starting thinking about the names I call important people in my own life. I have terms of endearment for each of my children . . . sorry but they would be highly embarrassed if I mentioned any of them here. So I’ll pick on the cats. I often refer to them as Boo, Pumpkin, Doodle Bug, and Pookie. None of which are their real names. My husband, well he’d probably be embarrassed if I mentioned anything other than “Honey” here as well.

Ever notice when you buy a car that suddenly everyone else has the same make and color of the one you just bought. It was the same with me when I started thinking about terms of endearment. Everywhere I went I heard snippets . . . every movie I watched seemed to have some gem. In Love Actually, one of the characters refers to her brother as “My Darling” and “Little Darling”. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth asks Darcy to call her “My Pearl” on Sundays. The examples were everywhere.

After all my scientific exploration, I discovered that terms of endearment are a real and sometimes complex part of the relationship process. It seemed only logical that my characters would have names for each other to signify their changing relationship as the book progressed. After all, a term of endearment can bring couples together.

When you think of the object of your affection, what special name comes to mind that evokes a warm fuzzy feeling inside you? Anyone willing to share?

Friday, January 23, 2009

A New Review for VEXING THE VISCOUNT!

My 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT tour is at WeWriteRomance

Here's what the reviewer at WeWrite Romance had to day about VEXING THE VISCOUNT:

"...not your ordinary historical romance."

"Emily Bryan's Vexing the Viscount is not your ordinary historical romance. It's fresh, well written and chock full of the unexpected, the spectacular, and the intriguing. If you're not drawn in by the heroine and her fiesty nature in the first few pages, you're obviously not a true historical romance fan."

Click here to read the full review.

As writers, we love the good reviews and tear our hair out over the bad ones. I suppose it's human nature to want approval. But I sometimes wish that it would be enough for me when the editor who lives in my head says, "All right. That's as good as you can make it."

Please pop over to WeWriteRomance and leave a comment to be entered into my daily drawing for a copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT!

Jan. 24th Update:


Daisy Drake, our heroine in VEXING THE VISCOUNT, is seen here reading Mlle. Blanche La Tour's very explicit memoirs of her life as a courtesan. Take it from Daisy. Reading Is So Much Fun!

Today my 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT tour is visiting www.ReadingIsSoMuchFun.blogspot.com! I need your help casting my virtual VISCOUNT movie and you'll score another chance to win a VISCOUNT of your own when you leave a comment or question. Hope to see you there!

Jan 25th Update!

Happy Sunday! Since there's no football game, you have plenty of time to join my 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT tour at www.authorsandbooks.blogspot.com!

AuthorsAndBooks is a terrific group blog that I happen to belong to, so please be sure to bookmark the site. Today, I'm talking about making my characters more real using a web of connectedness with other characters. Oh! and I'm giving a shout out to my sister Cindy today. It's her birthday, so I've done the sisterly thing and embarrassed her on the web!

As usual, I'm giving away a free copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT someone who leaves a comment or question. So please pop on over to www.authorsandbooks.blogspot.com!

TTYS,
Em

Jan 26 Update

Today, Jan 26th, I'm celebrating CHINESE NEW YEAR over at www.blog.wildonbooks.com . I'm even revealing a secret recipe guarateed to charm a man's socks off. (At least it works at my house!) Hope to see you there!

As of 8:50AM EST, my post wasn't up yet, but I've put in a good word with the blogmistress and I'm sure it will be there soon. Please keep checking!

Jan 26 1:21PM EST Update


Sometimes, as the old Scottish saying goes, the best laid plans 'oftimes gang awry.' I was supposed to be at WildOnBooks today. I even swapped emails with them last night, but can't seem to raise anyone today. Technical difficulties, I guess. If I hear from them, we can move the party over to their house, but for now, we'll camp at www.emilybryan.blogspot.com!

2:00PM UPDATE!

We are good to go at WildOnBooks so come on over and don't forget to bring your noisemaker!

Jan 27th Blog Tour Update!


Today I'll be at TheRomance Studio talking about Daisy Drake's use of fashion to gently deceive Lucian Beaumont, our hero in VEXING THE VISCOUNT, into letting her help him find the Roman treasure he seeks. And you've guessed it! It's all about . . . the SHOES!

Come on over and leave a comment or question. You'll be entered in a daily drawing to win a signed copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT!



Jan 28th Blogtour Update

My 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT tour is having a random day over a CraveMoreRomance. Leave a comment or a random question at CraveMoreRomance for a chance to win a FREE VEXING THE VISCOUNT!

TTYS,
Emily
PS. If you want to join my wild ride through cyberspace, check my schedule at www.emilybryan.com so you'll never miss a moment!

Jan 29th update!


Today, I'm visiting the one and only non-romance blog on my tour. It's Minds Alive On the Shelves and when I was setting up the tour, I was so taken with the blog's title, I had to contact the owner, Lisa.


I've never heard a better description of what a book is--"a mind alive on the shelf."
Lisa doesn't read romance, but she's a really good sport, so please come on over and comment so I can enter you in my daily drawing for a signed copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT. It'll give Lisa a chance to meet some romance readers and a chance for us to check out some of the non-romance titles she's reviewed. Minds Alive On the Shelves It's a great blog!

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!


Today our 44th president is sworn in, the first black president in our history.



Last night I stayed up late watching a program on The History Channel (one of our favorite channels). It was The White House; Behind Closed Doors. Laura Bush led Antiques Roadshow Leslie and Leigh Keno to tour areas seldom seen by the public, including the family dining room on the second floor and the president's personal office.




The history of the White House is fascinating. The first president was John Adams, and his wife, Abigail, used to hang laundry in the East Room because the yard was too open and small and she didn't want the public seeing their laundry, even if it were clean, lol.



The British set the White House on fire in 1814 during the war of 1812, and there was another fire in 1929, rather symbolic, I think, seeing that was the year of the big stock market crash that heralded the start of the Great Depression.


They had to build a giant tub to fit William Howard Taft, who weighed 350 pounds and couldn't fit in a normal tub. Four men could sit in it!



But I think the most interesting bit of history for today, is that that slaves built the original White House. And today a black man is moving in to lead the country.


Happy Inauguration Day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Flying with the Eagles


We saw the Eagles Saturday night. It was my Christmas present to my husband. We figured we'd loved them for years, we better see them before the Assisted Living tour is over. That's what Glenn called it. He also said they were the band that would not die. Our seats were fabulous. Not the most expensive, but expensive enough that we saw everything clearly. It rocked. I was in paradise. And if you haven't checked out their new album, Long Road Out Of Eden, then give it a try. It is awesome.

During the concert I realized that I had just made one of my dreams come true. I always wanted to see Hotel California, especially the guitar duet with Joe Walsh live. And here it was happening right before my eyes. I got teary. It was on my list and now I could cross it off. Another thing that I always wanted to do was swim with dolphins. I made that dream come true in the fall of 2003. So now I'm thinking what else do I want to do? I'm pretty sure I want to go to Tuscany. I'm thinking I might want to skydive. Not really sure about that one. I want to learn how to snow board. I'm in pretty good shape physcially so that one was is quite possible.

And of course I did accomplish my life long dream of getting published. I've got a quote that I just love. "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" Isn't attempting enough? So what would you like to do? Let me know and maybe I'll put it on my list.

Friday, January 16, 2009

T minus XX Days and Counting!

The release of Vexing the Viscount draws closer and my 50day/50blog Tour marches on! Here's where I'll be this week:

01.16.09 www.darkcravings.blogspot.com/ &
               www.bookcoverlovers.blogspot.com/
01.17.09 www.bonnievanak.blogspot.com/ Yay, Bonnie! My fellow Chatelaine!
01.18.09 www.riskyregencies.blogspot.com/
01.19.09 www.yankeeromancereviewers.blogspot.com/
01.20.09 www.nightowlromance.blogspot.com
01.21.09 www.ashleyladd.blogspot.com

The blogtour has been great fun. It's been wonderful to chat with new readers, but as the tour goes on, I worry about repeating myself. Plagiarism is always bad--even if you're borrowing from yourself! I'd love to hear from other bloggers about how you keep things fresh, how you come up with new topics and what sort of things interest blog readers most. Of course, some are drawn to my tour because I'm giving away a free copy of Vexing the Viscount each day. But I want to give good value to those faithful blog "touristas" who are following me through cyberspace, especially those who have already won their copy of Vexing the Viscount.

Anyone have some good ideas for generating blog topics?

01/20/09 Update!
Today I'm blogging at NightOwl Romance and as an added treat, NOR has just posted a fabulous review of VEXING THE VISCOUNT.

"You will simply have to pick up this wonderful novel. . .Believe you me, this one is simply too delicious to miss! Fun, fresh, romantic, passion filled and yes even adventurous. This one has it all. Emily Bryan pens outstanding romances that are far from the norm and leave you longing for more. I didn’t want this one to end and I can’t wait to get my hands on her next novel. She has fast moved her way up my list of favorite authors and once you read her books I am positive that she will on be on yours as well!"

Click here to read the full review.

There's another excerpt from Viscount in my blogpost at NightOwl. Pop over and leave a comment for a chance to win a VEXING THE VISCOUNT of your own!

Jan 21st Blog Tour Update

First, I'd like to invite you to My Blog. I've posted an intriguing video of Rowena Cherry's newest release, KNIGHT'S FORK. For those of you who are techno-saavy, Ro has also sent me a way for you to download an mp3 of the prologue and sample chapter.

Then . . .
video The 50day/50blog VEXING THE VISCOUNT tour marches on to Ashley Ladd's Blog. I give some tongue-in-cheek advice on how to AVOID publication, post another excerpt from VEXING THE VISCOUNT, and Ashley asked me to share some of my fantasies. Hope to see you there!

January 22 Update!


Today, I'm inviting you all to come on over to my house! My blog tour is lounging around my EmilyBryanRomance Blog. Help yourself to a cup of coffee and put up your feet.

I'm answering a few frequently asked questions and giving away another copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT to someone who leaves a comment or question.

TTYS,
Emily

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What I should be doing/What I am doing




What I should be doing is plugging my January Allyson James release, Mortal Temptations. (A big warning--it's erotic paranormal romance. If you've read Emma Holly or Lora Leigh, you're ready for it. If you think my Jennifer Ashley romances are erotic romance--you're not ready.)

More information and excerpts, etc. can be found on my website:
http://www.allysonjames.com

What I am doing is playing on the Internet (the cat got off the chair, so I'm taking advantage).

My website of the week is a place called Fantastic Fiction: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/a/jennifer-ashley/ which is great for basic information about any author you want.

I don't know who puts this together, but the info is always current, plus they list an author's series books in order. Or they sort them by publication date if they don't know to what series they belong (because wacky authors like me write four or five different series at once).

I seem to read authors who have about 30 books running in a series, and for some reason, publishers don't always list books in order on the handy inside cover list of the author's previous publications.

(Marketing departments--WHY NOT?? Drives me crazy). (I hasten to add that Dorchester is very good about listing previous titles in publication order from most recent to oldest. Berkley is, too, on my books thus far.)

For instance, the other day I picked up a mystery novel at random from the stacks at a bookstore. It looked good. But I couldn't tell for the life of me where it fell in the series.

No "book 4 in the XX series" on the cover, and the previous titles were listed in random order (and they were in a different order in each book of the same series I looked at. I mean really different.) I tried to figure it out--couldn't.

Bought the book, knowing I was starting in the middle (I know this bugs some people, but I don't really mind--I can get a good flavor of how the series develops.) But, darn it, I want to go back and read book 1!

But the lovely Fantastic Fiction site had each of the author's series listed in order so I could find book 1. Thank you FF!

I encourage you to check it out. (I don't know these people, so this isn't paid advertising here, LOL.) They've saved me a lot of bother, I must say.

Am I alone in the "What order should they be read in" frustration? I try very hard to indicate on my websites the order of my series--not sure I always succeed. But this is something that publishers should keep in mind: Readers want backlist!!! Help them find it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Need some inspiration?

Resolutions sagging yet? (Mine are)

Fight the mid-January sag with a wonderful slideshow featuring some truly inspiring quotes by some truly inspiring people. (The video is selling something, of course, but just ignore that!)

Great Quotes Movie

Hang in there!

Joy


Coming March 2009!
Immortals: The Reckoning Anthology
Read an Excerpt of "Blood Debt" by Joy Nash

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Authors helping others





Sorry, meant to post earlier, but time got away, and it's been a crazy two days at the day job.


For those of you who don't know, I work as a writer for a large international charity. During these tough times, I'm working harder than ever because there's so much more need. I'll be traveling to Haiti soon to document stories of starvation among children. Last week we received some sad news about a little boy we tried to help, but it was too late. He died of starvation.


Yet for all the need, and the heartache, there are always generous, amazing people willing to help, despite their own troubles.


Authors are among them.


Starting January 19, Dorchester author Gemma Halliday is hosting an auction to raise money for a homeless teen and her mom. Katy and her mom fell on hard times , and are now sleeping in a motel after being evicted from their apartment. In three days, they'll probably be sleeping in their car, a car that has a dead battery.

They're detemined to keep their pets, too, two dogs. Sadly, many people evicted from their homes have no choice but to abandon their pets. The fact that Katy and her mom kept the dogs, says a lot to me about how much they love their animals.


You can read Katy's story here on her blog.


Anyway, Gemma had met Katy last year and when she heard of her situation, wanted to help. She asked her fellow authors for donations.

I'm donating an entire set of my Khamsin Egyptian historical romances. Autographed.

They consist of:



The Falcon and the Dove
The Tiger and the Tomb
The Cobra and the Concubine
The Panther and the Pyramid
The Sword and the Sheath
The Scorpion and the Seducer

The auction will be held at Romantic Inks.

Please, if you can, stop by and bid on any one of many wonderful items for sale, from critiques to books to jewelry and help raise money for Katy and her mom. Or you can stop by Katy's blog and make a Paypal payment to her mom directly.

The economy sucks right now, and times are tough, but together, we can make a difference. Thanks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Counting down to Fallen.


Yes, I admit it. I totally slacked off last year. My dad's illness really drained me. But now its a new year and time to get back into shape, both physically and professionally. After all, I've got a release in just a few short weeks. FALLEN will be out in February and I need to make sure it's taken care of.

So what am I doing? I signed up with the lovely Dayna and Annette at Between Your Sheets.

I've ordered some really cool bookmarks with my Cindy Holby banner on them and a list of all my historical books.

And something that's been a long time needed. I had my web site totally revamped by the amazing and talented Mai Thao. My mailing list link even works now. It's got a complete listing of all my books with summaries, links to where to buy, and a current news section. I'm thrilled. So drop by www.cindyholby.com and let me know what you think.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Great News, Corsets & Italian Men


Many of you know I was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. I had surgery in December and subsequently was referred to an oncologist for possible chemotherapy. My mom is a breast cancer survivor so I know it works, but I also know chemo is a tough row to hoe and would pretty much knock a hole in my 2009. Imagine my delight when this week, the oncologist told me he did NOT recommend chemo in my case! They are confident my cute surgeon was able to remove all the cancer before it packed its nasty little bags and when on a cruise through my lymph system. I feel as though I've been reprieved. My life has been handed back to me and I'm so incredibly grateful. Thank you all who have been praying for me and sending healing thoughts. I appreciate you so much.

My 50day/50 blog tour to celebrate the release of Vexing the Viscount is in full swing!


Today, I'm blogging with Shelley Munro. Today we're talking about Georgian undies and Italian men. When my oldest daughter when to Europe on a class trip a few years ago, she assured me the most handsome men on the planet live in Rome. She's the independent-minded sort, so when someone pinched her on the bus, she was ready to let him have it.

"But when I turned around," she confided to me, "he just smiled at me and he was sooooooo cute, I just couldn't be mad at him. Besides, when in Rome . . . "

Ah! Italian men! So pop on over to Shelley Munro's Blog to learn more about why my heroine Daisy is head-over-heels for Lucian. And be sure to join me for the rest of the week on my wild romp through cyber-space. Here's where I'll be for the next week:

01.10.09 www.boxingoctopus.blogspot.com
01.11.09 Multiple sites, My blog hostess, Elizabeth Delisi has broadcast me on several of her sites--Please visit www.emilybryan.blogspot.comfor all the links.
01.12.09 http://www.anitabirtstoryteller.blogspot.com/
01.13.09 www.rainedelight.wordpress.com AND
http://mandyroth.com/blog/  (Today you get a two-fer)
01.14.09 www.kelliestes.com/blog/
01.15.09 www.rowenacherry.blogspot.com/

Be sure to leave a comment because each day I'll be giving away a FREE Vexing the Viscount to one lucky commenter. A really fun little group of "cyber-stalkers" is forming up and this rolling party is gaining steam each day. Come play!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why I'm Not on the Internet A Lot

I have to wait my turn for the chair, is why.



That's all right. It makes me go write, and gives me more time to read. I'm catching up on some Nina Bangs books I've had in my TBR pile. She is hilarious, one of my favorite romance authors ever.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Who likes bad boys?




My New Year's resolution is to lie, cheat, steal, even seduce to get what I want. And I always get what I want.

Nigel Wallenford, rightful earl of Claradon, Cairo, Egypt, 1908


He's not a very nice guy.


He freely admits his very naughty behavior. He's lied, stolen, cheated, and has been through scores of women. He's the type to save the heroine from a nasty viper bite in the desert, and then blackmail her into surrendering her virginity.


Nigel is the first really bad boy I've ever written. He's the hero, or rather, the anti-hero, of my April historical, The Lady and the Libertine.


It was a challenge to write him, but at the same time, wicked fun. :-)


I like bad boys.


I like how they can do all these horrid things, and then turn around and do something completely out of character that makes them look heroic.


Then they go back to being bad boys.


One of my first introductions to bad boys was The Flame and the Flower. Brandon wasn't just a bad boy, he was an Alpha male, chest-banging bad boy. Not a very PC romance novel today, but he set the standard.


I loved how in the end, Heather brings him to his knees. Oh, not quite tamed, but very much in love with Heather, and willing to do anything to protect her. That's the heart of a very good bad boy.


I knew when I wrote The Lady and the Libertine that Nigel was trouble. From the minute he appeared in The Scorpion and the Seducer, I knew that Nigel wasn't a chivalrous, knight to the rescue hero. He's just as likely to steal the heroine's ruby necklace (which he does) after rescuing her.


It was challenge to write him because he's a bad boy, yet at the same time, he's the hero. So he has to change. He wants to change, but is thwarted. He knows how bad he is, and yet he can't bring himself to change.


By chapter four, Nigel is in bed with two women. However, he can't forget the heroine, try as he might. He doesn't remember the names of the women he's having sex with, but he calls out the heroine's name at the pinnacle of his pleasure. She's been branded on his heart.

In the end, he resorts to being fiercely protective of her, and will do anything for her. But before that, watch out.


One of my favorite scenes in this book is after his "friends" stand him up at his dinner party, and Anne, the heroine, comes in late to find him drunk. Nigel confesses he wishes he could change.


“Anything is possible,” she suggested. “If it is within your heart to change, you surely could. And I do not think you as cold as you believe.”

Nigel’s eyes opened wide. He struggled to lift his head, his hand reaching out as if to touch her. “You are like a fair angel,” he whispered.


She remained still,waiting and watching. His hand fell away.


“No, I shan’t. Angels deserve better than dirty jackals. Go away, fair angel. You don’t want to be near me. I am a little . . .cheerless right now.” From The Lady and the Libertine


Right after this scene, he blackmails her into surrendering her virginity. He's not that intoxicated. Nigel reverts to his usual behavior. He wants her, badly, and he will do anything in his power to get her into his bed.


He's desperate, needs the heroine's necklace to unlock a great treasure hidden in Egypt's sands. He's got good motivation because he has a secret he'll do anything to protect, but at heart, he's a bad boy.

Do you like bad boy heroes? What's your favorite from either a book or a movie?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Okay RT I surrender!


One of the more agonizing things about being a writer is waiting around to see how the readers respond to your book. Most of us tend to write in a vacuum. We become so immersed in a story that we really can't judge it. When we get to that point mostly we think it sucks but that's a whole other issue. If there is a problem with it our editors will most assuredly inform us and we do whatever we can to take care of it before it goes to print.

While writing FALLEN, which I wrote during a very difficult time, mostly in hospital waiting rooms waiting to hear if my dad was going to survive his latest medical disaster from his bout with lymphoma, I realized that it wasn't truly a romance. It was more about the journey of Captain John Murray, and how he came to realize that there were things more important in life that what others thought of him. I laughingly called it the book of mistakes with my editor. People in the story made mistakes, including John and Izzy, and it greatly affected their lives. My editor laughed and said "Lets not say that a lot or people might think the books a mistake."

Well guess what, another mistake was made. When discussing FALLEN with my editor we both agreed that it wasn't a romance and should be categorized as historical fiction. I used great detail in including an actual battle that occurred during the Revolutionary War. We sent it to Romantic Times Book Reviews and asked it to be featured under the Historical Fiction category. Our main reason for doing this is because the hero, John, and the heroine, Izzy,are separated for eight years which makes it hard for romance to bloom.

Imagine my shock when my RT arrived on Christmas Eve. I looked up my review. I couldn't find it. Finally I did. In historical Romance. It got three stars. Why did it only receive three stars our of a possible four and a half? Because the hero and heroine are separated for too long to make it a romance.

Head meet desk.

Why did you not review it as a historical fiction as we requested? This is not my first time having problems with RT and the way they review things. I have gotten all kinds of rankings from them. From 2 up to 4 1/2. However the low rankings I've gotten have come from complaints that I write a series and the reviewers didn't know what was going on because they didn't read the previous books. Hello! If your reviewing a series shouldn't the reviewer read the entire series, for instance, you reviewed the first book, here's the next and so on? I mean it only makes sense. And yes I have mentioned it to the reviewing staff.

Actually I can't complain too much because the review is really quite good. Its just frustrating because there are so many things that are out of our control as a writer and I was just trying to make sure this book got the best chance it could when it was turned loose in the world.

Here's the review from February's RT with a three star mild rating. It's done by Maria Ferrer. And Maria, I know its not your fault. You were given the book to review as a historical romance and I really think you did a great job on summing up its strengths and weaknesses.

From the lochs of Scotland to the shores of America comes a gentle romance about two lonely hearts who find each other only to be torn apart by betrayal. Holby's sweet tale is set in the midst of the harsh realities of war, but the lovers are separated for too long before they find forgiveness and redemption.

SUMMARY Against all odds, British Captain John Murray falls in love with Scottish lass Isobel Ferguson. But there's not much hope for a union between a Sassenach and a Scot. When her brothers try to break their father out of jail it leads to deadly consequences for all. John loses his position and is transferred to the colonies, and Isobel and her family are deported and sold as indentured servants in VA. It will be years before the lovers find each other again, in another war-torn country, and rekindle their love.


So what do you think? Do you rely on reviews to pick your reads? How do you decide what book to pick up or which new author to try?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Resolving to Make 2009 the Best it Can Be!

Happy New Year!

With the dawning of a new day and a new year, I'm feeling philosophical. There is something wonderful and magical about the first part of the year where the slate is clean and anything is possible. Possibility gives us infinite hope, or the ability to dream. What have you been dreaming about in the last few days? Weight loss? Travel? Improved health? Financial stability? Finding a life partner?

The reality of the situation is that you'll spend this coming year moving in one direction or another. Commit now to making that direction the one that will take you toward what you truly desire.

Life in each moment is influenced by your presence and participation. As this new year unfolds, continue to make that influence a positive and fulfilling one. Consider today where you would like to be a year from now. For now is the beginning of the year in which you can truly make it happen.

So what's your dream?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Romancing the Blogs


Happy New Year!

In 52 days, my 6th title, VEXING THE VISCOUNT will hit the shelves. When my first novel MAIDENSONG was published in 2006, I had no idea how to get the word out. I assumed that all I had to do was write a good book and the rest would take care of itself.

Wrong.

Without promotion, a novel drops into the deep sea of oblivion without so much as a splash.

But what is an author to do? I've done signings. I go to conferences. I've bought advertising in Romantic Times and RWR. My website hosts a contest almost every month. I put together book trailers. I mailed out ARCs to tons of review sites. You can find me on MySpace, Facebook, GoodReads, Shelfari, etc.

And with all these things, I have no way to gauge what actually works. So when the brilliant Joy Nash did a 50 day blog tour to celebrate the release of Deep Magic, I thought to myself that this was something I'd enjoy doing whether I could quantify the results or not. I'd get a chance to meet lots of readers and other authors.

So a couple months ago, I began contacting blog owners about guesting with them. The tricky thing was scheduling and I had to do a bit of shuffling to accomodate everyone's plans. But I finally put together my tour. You can see my itinerary at http://www.emilybryan.com/Events.htm. I'm booked for some of the hottest romance blogs around, so be prepared to bookmark some new sites.

My tour starts in New Zealand--a place I'd love to visit. I'm blogging today at Kiwi writer Jane Beckenham's Romance Author Blog and giving away a FREE copy of Vexing the Viscount to one lucky commenter!

Pop by with a comment or question and you may start the New Year with a win!

Good luck!
Emily

PS. Check my blog every day. I'll post an update of where in the world I am so you can join me in cyberspace! There are 50 days-50 chances to win a Vexing the Viscount!

Detra Fitch, The Huntress Reviews on VEXING THE VISCOUNT . . .
"One of the most wickedly fun reads I've had in quite some time. Terrific!"


PPS. If you're an author, what promotion have you done that you feel was particularly effective? If you're a reader, what made you want to pick up a new author's book? Thanks for the feedback.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What's Your Resolution?

Every year we make them! Sometimes we even keep them. What are your resolutions this year?

Most of mine are personal, rather than career-related:

1. Eat healthier. I don't do too bad at this, but I could improve. I lost 10 pounds in the second half of 2008, and I feel so much better I want to do some more.

2. Read more--I have neglected reading as I frantically finish books by deadline, but I have resolved to read at least 1/2 hour a day, more if I can.

3. Play more music. Most of my creativity these days goes into my novels, but I want to spare a few brain cells to keep up my guitar and flute playing.

That's it. I'm keeping it simple!

What are your resolutions? Be bold, be candid. I won't hold you to them.

Jennifer
http://www.jenniferomances.com
aka Allyson
http://www.allysonjames.com

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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