Monday, January 24, 2011

R&R does NOT stand for Rest & Relaxation!


My life has just become a rollercoaster ride. By that I don’t mean all squeals and fun. I’ll explain.

I got a rejection on my first submission, actually I got two rejections on that particular ms five years ago. That meant they (the publisher/editor) didn’t think that one was right for the line I had written it for. I still have that one and all the lovely comments and suggestions from my then critique partners. Two of the loveliest ladies I’ve had the pleasure to build friendships with since. Rejections hurt. A lot. When you put your heart into something for a year like I did with that first ms, only to have an editor say it’s not good enough (for their needs at that time. That does not mean it's not a good book at all.)…that hurts.

I can’t express how much that one letter made me grow, how it made me become more determined as a writer. Through the pain and dejection I saw that I didn’t want to quit. In fact that thought never entered my mind, until the second ‘r’ over a year later. For some reason that one hurt worse. Maybe because it was from the same editor as the first time? I met that editor in person recently. I took the opportunity to thank him for turning that first ms down. He did me a huge favor! He showed me that I am strong and just how much I really do love writing about love.
To back track a bit, I’ve been writing since I was fifteen. Love stories. Romance. It never gets old for me. And this one setback turned out to be a blessing for me. A lesson in humility and strength of character.

I sent the sixty-thousand word medical manuscript about a mediflight emt-p and a veterinarian to Harlequin Mills & Boon-London in December. That was just four months after I first heard about the M&B Medical fast track. Start to finish- one chapter, three chapters and then, finally, a request for the full mss. I didn’t have it all written at the time and wrote the remainder (@ forty-thousand words) in two months once my editor asked for the full. Five weeks ago, on December 18, 2010 I emailed the completed manuscript to her as promised.

It’s been literally years since I’d even read a medical, let alone never written one. It never crossed my mind because I have no medical background other than a little vetting on my own animals over the years. None. I wanted to be a nurse when I was a young girl in school, but it never happened for me. Maybe because I loved horses and writing more; I don’t know. But I took on the challenge from my critique partner Melinda Pierce whole heartedly. Something else I have discovered about myself over these past five years- I love a challenge. Bring it on!

And then, today I checked my email, just five weeks and two days since sending it in, to find a R&R (revise and resubmit) waiting for me from my editor. That’s another step toward publication folks! It’s a step above a rejection. She didn’t say no. She’s saying “if you do this right, you might get your chance, all your hard work can pay off”. True, she’s not saying it’s a done deal. Not by a long shot. But as long as I know that, I’m okay. It’s okay.

So, do I take her challenge? Do I completely rewrite this story, alter these characters that I fell in love with while writing it? Or do I leave it the way it is and send it to another publisher, and write another story; start over at the beginning? I have to admit that I do have another in the early stages already. I started it less than a week after sending Perfect Doctor Viv off. Therapy. Staying busy is the key to getting through the waiting process. I’m taking a few days now to absorb her words, study the changes she’s suggesting. I won’t rush into this decision that could have the possibility to make or break me as a writer and who I am.

I know me; I know what I’ll do in the end
What would you do?


Monday, January 17, 2011

Have you Folowed a Follower today?


And the WINNER is- (drumroll please)… Brittney!!!!! Congratulations Brittney, you win a copy of Chloe Cole’s December Ellora’s Cave Quickies release, Unwrapping Lily! You'll need to make sure you have the free Adobe Reader installed before you download your book. Email Christine/Chloe at so Chloe can send your book to you.
I thank each and every one of you who stopped by and participated and commented in Chloe’s Naughty Godmother release party.

Now to new business. I want to address my FOLLOWERS. Not just my followers, but ALL followers everywhere. What is a FOLLOWER? It’s those tiny little avatars under that multi-colored Google Follow symbol so many blogs sport. Yep, that’s you. How many of us actually take the time to go through and see how many we have? Who they are? They are not ‘followers’ because it’s the cool thing to do (well maybe some are). Those icons are people who like what we write, and want to hear more from us, their favorite bloggers. BUT- they also ‘follow’ us (usually) in the hope that we will return the favor and follow them.

I started thinking about this the other day when I noticed that many new people who left comments during the contest were now following me, my blog. How cool is that? They didn’t follow me before then, but now they are. Am I following all of them? Sadly, not at the time of this blog creation- that’s what made me blog about it. I am however rectifying that as I speak, or post. I’m trying to visit each one and follow back.

So, why is FOLLOWING important enough to spend a whole blog on? Because it’s those avatar people who help get our names out there. They are the ones that see who we follow, and who follow us. Remember, curiosity killed the cat- well, maybe that doesn’t apply here. But when they see us following someone they like, or someone they like follows us- it makes them curious to know why. They visit us, follow, pass the word on to their followers about the ‘new blog I found today’…

Traffic people! That’s how we writers get around the crazy, confusing shamrock of internet hell! Especially for e-authors whose main form of sales is word of mouth, but also for the traditional paper book writers, as well. 

I can’t tell you how many new sites that are a well of hidden info, that I’ve discovered through those blogs I follow and visit regularly. Blog sites I didn’t know existed even a month ago. It’s how we grow our Brand, promote books (for ourselves and others), reach the public. Word of mouth!

If you surf the sites, read the blogs, like what you read- don’t be shy! Follow, oh, and leave a nice comment! Even if you don’t know what to say-- who cares what I think anyway, right? WRONG! Just a “Hi, I did (or didn’t- because we want to know this too) enjoyed this blog” is great. It tells us you were here, liked it and maybe you’ll return with your friends. You aren’t just a face on a square to us! We can say “Hi! Thanks for stopping in. Glad you liked it (or didn’t),” or maybe even “sorry you didn’t, why not?”  You have a voice to help us improve on our topics, let us know what we can do better to improve, and thereby, help us increase readership- which could also increase your own. 

If you haven't thanked a 'follower' today, why not do it now? If you haven't followed someone new today, why not do that too?

So this blog is dedicated to FOLLOWERS. I tip my hat, curtsy, bow, whatever the appropriate form of acknowledgement is- I do that to you. Most of all, I thank you for FOLLOWING me. If you're not following me- DO IT NOW! So I can return the favor.



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chloe Cole's here today!


 When I think of godmothers, I imagine a rich old woman who is better than Santa when it comes to the gift department. Someone who loves and cares for their charge. Someone who babysits for free because it goes with the title. Mom’s best friend.
A friend recently blew that image for me. Turned my lovely imagery into a sham. I don’t know how I feel about that.

What I do know is Ellora’s Cave author, Chloe Cole has a unique theory of what a fairy godmother is for sexy Alex Nichlaus, who can’t seem to catch a woman.
I had to find out how Chloe could ruin my perfect belief of what a godmother should be, so I invited Chloe here find out all about her erotic and newly released Naughty Godmother today!

Welcome Chloe Cole. HAPPY RELEASE DAY!!!!!

Thanks Lisa, I appreciate the invite!

I have to ask. Why a godmother? That seems a little unusual, and, as I’ve mentioned, Holly Tucket is like NO fairy godmother I’ve ever heard of.

Well, I was brainstorming for a new story idea, and I was thinking about tropes in romance. One that came to mind was a heroine makeover story. We’ve all seen those a lot, right? Where the heroine is frumpy etc. and then through the course of things she blossoms etc. I started thinking if I could do a spin on that theme, where the guy was the object of the makeover, but more of an erotic makeover. Where a nerdy kind of guy somehow is transformed into a world class lover and babe magnet. I really felt like the idea of my heroine teaching a man how to love a woman right was really sexy. She would be like his Naughty Godmother! That came crashing down as soon as I thought of it, because the fact is, most of us like our men hot and alpha from the get go in erotic romance. So I couldn’t make him an actual nerd…but what if I made the heroine perceive him as nerd?  And that’s when things really took off. Alex is a super sexy alpha security expert, and he’s been undercover as a geeky lab assistant for the past three months trying to get information on a smuggling ring. He’s in forced celibacy mode and is desperate for a woman. Holly Tucket is a Tooth Fairy who wants to impress her mother, the Fairy Queen, by getting a promotion. 

I just love it!

Your god-like people find out their information from a scrying bowl. That’s interesting. So what knowledge does Holly come prepared with about her ‘subject’?

Fairies are summoned by pull of a person yearning for them in some way. Each fairy has a section of the city they are responsible for. So when Holly was a Tooth Fairy, if there was a little boy or girl yearning for her to come, she would feel it. As a NGM, it’s a little different in that she is able to choose her charge and take on one at a time. She feels Alex yearning for a woman. When she uses the scrying bowl, all she can see is his outward appearance and feel his yearning. She doesn’t have any information beyond that. Anything else is discussed prior to the charge signing the Charge/Godmother contract. Of course, in this case, Alex can’t tell her the truth because he’s under cover. Plus, he thinks this is some sort of practical joke.

Usually, when an immortal has an assignment like Holly’s, they get something in return; wings, freedom. What is her expected reward for a job done well?

She wants to get a promotion to impress her mother. The next step up? Naughty Godmother. Holly sees Alex, and chooses him as her charge. Sexy fun ensues!

This story makes me wonder something. If you were from an immortal world, do you think you could leave that world to become an ordinary mortal, for the sake of love?

Well, Holly’s not immortal. But if I were an immortal, I would certainly give it up for love. What is life without love? And, like the late great Freddy Mercury said, “Who wants to live forever?”
That’s so true.

Congratulations on your sales, Chloe. You’ve got some wonderful titles out now under both this name and Christine Bell, with various publishers. What would you say has been the ultimate, best selling moment for you since your first release in August, 2010?

One moment!? I’m not sure because there have been so many, it’s been an amazing year for me…just a whirlwind. My first contract offer email, my first call, getting cover art, all of those things were just surreal. I’m living my dream so I am pretty much on cloud nine right now!

Okay, asking for ‘one’ moment may have been asking too much. I can see how excited you are about the whole process! I’ll take all of those.
What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Find a crit group, become part of various writers communities, do workshops, really dig in and make writing a part of your life. Live in it, and eventually it will be your life.

My husband and family have been great cheerleaders during my writing efforts. I’ve met some wonderful writers who boost me daily to keep going. Never give up my dream. Who, or what, has been your biggest inspiration?

My husband is unbelievably supportive and it’s so awesome. So every success is two-fold because my joy plus his joy and pride just makes it that much sweeter. I’ve also met a lot of really amazing authors and aspiring authors who have made me want to push forward, even when things got hard. It’s been wonderful.

That's great Chloe. It's important to have full support of your family.
Now for some fun. You’re going to visit America’s favorite theme park this week, Disney World. What ride or theme does the little girl inside you look most forward to experiencing? Why?

We are all major Harry Potter nerds, so I can’t WAIT to get my wand, and go to HoneyDukes and get chocolate frogs and see Hogwarts! I am BESIDE myself with excitement!

Well, I’m not a HP fan, but I wish you luck and fun and all great things on your trip. Now here’s an excerpt from the Naughty Godmother.

“Him. He’s the one.”
Mila arched a perfectly shaped raven brow. “Are you certain you wouldn’t like a little more time to choose? This shouldn’t be taken lightly.”
“Nope, that’s the guy. I’m sure of it,” Holly said with an emphatic nod.
“It’s a one-shot deal you know. If he’s a dud, that’s that. Fail.”
“I know.”
“All right,” Mila said, her tone indicating that, while it may have been “all right” it certainly wasn’t smart. “Sign here.”
Mila held out the elaborate gold pen and Holly resisted the urge to wipe her sweat-soaked palms on her jeans before taking it gingerly. With a trembling hand, she scrawled out her signature then held the pen back out to Mila, who shook her head.
“Keep it. You might need it.”
Oh ye of little faith.
She was right though, better safe than sorry. “So now what?”
“Now you get to work. You have,” Mila raised an elegant wrist to check her watch, “twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes to get it done.” She cast a dubious glance at the image of a man in a lab coat sitting on a park bench, tapping away on his laptop. “And judging by the looks of him, you’ve not a moment to spare. If you need me to intervene, you know what to do.”
She picked up the contract and stood to go. “Wait!”
Mila paused and cocked her head expectantly.
“What if I can’t go through with it?” Holly whispered.
“Call me and I’ll intervene.” Uncharacteristic concern clouded Mila’s eyes. “You know, not everyone is cut out for this kind of work. You don’t have to do this.”
“Yes I do. I have to at least try. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.”
“All right then, give it your best shot. Always remember to look at it like a public service. You’re helping people become more comfortable with themselves. Like a therapist. Now, hop to it.”
And with a flick of her manicured fingertips she was gone.
“Showoff,” Holly grumbled.
She looked down at the bowl of water on the table and into the face of her new charge. Oblivious to her voyeurism, he slid his glasses back up the bridge of his nose, unaware that his life was about to change forever. If she had the skills to pull it off. The thought kicked up the swarm of butterflies that had taken residence in her stomach since the day Mila had summoned her about the possible promotion.
I could have said no.
She let out a snort of disgust. As if. It would have been an unforgivable slight if Holly didn’t at least try the new job Fairy Queen Lucienne had selected for her. If she crashed and burned and was a major disappointment to everyone involved—again—she could just go back to her happy little job and forget it ever happened.
Maybe then they’d all finally just let her be. And who knew? Maybe she’d be great at it.
With a sigh, she dipped her finger into the water and the scene reflected there shuddered and disappeared.
The clock was ticking.
She picked up the suitcase and laid it on the coffee table. Aside from the lingering scent of lilacs that accompanied Mila everywhere, it was the only evidence of her having been there. And despite the fact the potential contents of the bag terrified her, she was grateful for both it and the scent that still permeated the air. Both were ironclad evidence she wasn’t a raving lunatic.
On her twelfth birthday, as it was for all the fairies, she’d blossomed and was introduced to the world of magic. Even after fifteen years, every so often she still needed reassurance that she hadn’t lost her mind that day; that her whole life wasn’t just some prolonged delusion.
With no time for further contemplation, she opened the suitcase then covered her eyes, peering down through the cracks of her splayed fingers. The tried and true method did little to soften the blow.
It was bad. Really bad.
Three pairs of stiletto heels, two black and one red, stared back at her. Always practical, even in spite of the nerves clawing at her, she decided instantly on the red ones. That way when she toppled down the stairs and broke her ever-loving neck, at least the shoes would match the pool of blood that would likely be her final resting place. Mila would’ve been proud to know that at least one of her lessons had stuck.
A woman should always put her best foot forward. The way to lure a man is to C.A.S.T., darling. Color coordinate, emphasize your Assets, and never leave home without your Stilettos and a Thong.
Ah Jeez, and speak of the devil, there it was. Holly wrenched her stupid fingers away from her stupid eyes and gnawed her lip as she stared down at the teeniest, tiniest scrap of underwear she’d ever seen. It made dental floss look positively substantial.
Well, fiddlesticks.

Thank you again for being my guest this week Chloe. Where can visitors and fans find you? Is there anything you want to say before we close the interview?

Thanks so much for having me! Visitors can find me at the links below. But wait!!!! I want to do a giveaway in honor of my new release, but also to celebrate my trip to sunny Florida! I’d like to give a copy of my winter erotic romance, Unwrapping Lily, to one commenter. That way, while I’m in the sun on the beach, your winner can stay warm with my steamy Quickie ;op We’ll announce the winner on Monday!

That’s a wonderful idea! Something to keep some lucky poster warm while you’re in the warmer climates (thinking up a new hot hero I hope!) having a great family time.
Thanks for coming to share Chloe. These are both really fun books! I can’t wait to see what else you’ve got in the works.

So leave a comment between now and Sunday and I will announce the lucky winner of Unwrapping Lily on Monday! You can also buy it here. In the meantime, hop over to Chloe’s place and see what else she’s got for old and new fans!