Thursday, June 19, 2014

PNWA conference in July

This is where I'll be. Taking pitches and talking romance. I'm even doing a workshop--which as some of you may know is pretty big news since I'm terrified of public speaking.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Please change your sedentary lifestyle: A cautionary tale plus Gwen gets real

Lots of things have been going on lately in my life. Good things and bad things. And the worst thing is probably the best thing.

huh.

There has likely been some confusion swirling around about my career.
I had a medical scare. I've been on the fence with how much to share, but my goal here is to encourage people to take better care of themselves, so I'm going to offer my story up. I want to say up front it was a medical scare that turned out okay. I was in a high risk category but I don't think I am now (I see the doc again tomorrow.) The lifestyle changes I am making are to prevent being scared again--but I feel great right now. So--people stop worrying.

Three weeks ago, I developed a blood clot in what, luckily, turned out to be a superficial vain. It still hurt really bad. And the length of the vein damage (groin to calf) bumped me in a higher risk category for the kind of clot that has much worse complications. I was given a few choices for how negate this happening, and being a granola kind of girl, I chose the one with the least amount of chemical medications and invasiveness (also I'm totes not into getting a shot EVERY DAY.) The doctor told me when I was sitting I had to elevate my leg above my heart and put hot compresses on it. And I wasn't allowed to sit much. And the rest of the time, I had to be walking and moving.

Not wanting to have him change my prognosis at the next appointment (because shot EVERY DAY) I set about to do this moving that he spoke of.

Which is really hard to do when your work keeps you sitting at a computer 10+ hours a day every day. I had to figure out how to live offline. Not easy for this girl. I had to squeeze work into 20-30 minute sprints with my legs on a yoga ball and my laptop on my chest. Again, not easy. And, after doing some research, I realized that I have probably been killing myself by sitting at a computer 10+ hours a day.

" Women who sit for more than six hours a day have a roughly 40 percent higher risk of dying from any cause, regardless of their fitness level, versus those who sit for fewer than three hours." 
"Sedentary women have more than double the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism, a.k.a. a blood clot in the lungs. "Prolonged sitting makes your blood flow sluggish and more likely to form clots, which can become lodged in your lungs," explains Christopher Kabrhel, M.D., M.P.H., an emergency medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital."
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/standing-desk

So, I had to make some choices about adding balance to my life. We're saving for a treadmill desk for long-term and I need to take a pause and make getting healthy my full-time job for the short-term.

Which means I have to step away from management at Entangled Publishing. A job that I love, adore, and worked so hard build. But I can't do it justice right now.

So, long story short. This message is to encourage you to move. Right now, I work in 30 minute sprints and move for 30 minutes. When I get the clean bill of health, I'll need to do 45/15 for the rest of forever. I bought a Fitbit--which I encourage everyone to do. I am spending more time with my husband, with my dogs, with the outdoors. I'm losing physical weight. And I'm weighing all my choices to make sure I am eating, sleeping, loving, and working in a way that my health (of my mind, body, and soul) is my focus. And my work is definitely a part of that because I love what I do. I just need to remember it's part of the pie chart, not the whole pie.

So, if you hear rumors. I wasn't fired (still at Entangled, just stepped down from management), I'm not dying (scary and expensive wake up call), and I'm still freelancing. What I'm not doing is sitting at a desk from 6 a.m to 8 p.m or later. I removed myself from almost all loops and subscriptions (I'll miss you Publisher's Marketplace). I play Words with Friends once a day with my first cup of coffee and then don't get on Facebook again until next morning. I check into Twitter several times a day, but don't leave it open. I'm looking in to ways to listen to manuscripts (the text-to-speech is still weird to me, but I'm trying to acclimate myself.) I'm drinking lots of water. I cut back on meat--once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day. I go for short walks, I go for long walks, I go up and down my basement stairs ten times a day on purpose. I am reading for personal enrichment. I am going to bed earlier. I'm going to street fairs and festivals instead of holing up in my house and staying away from people. I wrote this blog post in two different sessions. :) I edit for half an hour and then think about it while I walk. I started writing again. Because all of these things together make me a better, happier person. (Don't try to make me drink my coffee without my full fat cream though.)

Most of my friends are editors and writers and agents and we are all sitting too much. Please, for me, make it a priority to move. Circulate your blood. Get fresh air. It doesn't matter if you exercise once a day at the gym and are in great shape, if your job is sitting, you need to break it up with movement.  In a week, you will be rewarded. More clarity. More energy. More better stuff. I promise.

And I'm still taking submissions!

ETA: This is the Fitbit I have.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother Daughter Romance Writers Robyn DeHart and Hattie Mae plus giveaway


Happy Mother's Day weekend everyone! Today's guests are authors Robyn DeHart and Hattie Mae--mother and daughter romance writers who write completely different genres, with completely different voices, but I've been lucky enough to work with both authors.

To celebrate Mother's Day, I've asked them to share what it's like being in publishing at the same time--yet not together. I'm also hosting a giveaway of two of their books--no purchase required!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hattie Mae and Robyn DeHart’s FAQ’s


When people find out that we’re mother and daughter, there are always questions….

1. Do you write together?

Robyn: Absolutely not. We don’t write the same things and writing together would take a level of cooperation that I don’t think I’m prepared for. We do, however, brainstorm and critique together.

Hattie:  Not at all. We are often in the same space writing our own books. I so love historicals and I do help with her research but as far as writing together, no way. But I don’t know what I would do without our ability to brainstorm and critique together.

2. Do you have similar writing styles?

Robyn: Somewhat. I’m very much a plotter and character-driven writer, but I’m also precise and deliberate in my plotting. My writing isn’t very organic, I’m too analytical in my approach. I know my mom is a far more organic writer, she’s definitely a natural storyteller and the reason I love stories and books the way I do.

Hattie:  I think in a lot of ways we do. I plot, and work on my characters like she does, but a little looser. My characters walk onto the page named and with their features complete. I know the beginning and usually the end. The other difference we have is she can write out of order, my day follows the story of the characters as their life unfolds.

Robyn:  LOL! That’s true, I can write out of order. Not with every book, but sometimes that happens for me. I find it irritating how she always knows her ending before she starts. I sometimes don’t know the endings to my books until I’m doing revisions.

3. Who got started first?

Robyn: Technically my mom did, but I’ll let her tell you her story. But I am one of those people who has always written. I was fortunate to grow up in a family that never thought my dreams of becoming a writer were ridiculous. They even sent me to a Writing camp at the university where my dad taught (and still does and so does my husband, The Professor) when I was in high school. When I was fresh out of high school and barely in college, we found out about the RT Conventions and I was too afraid to go alone so my mom went with me. We went to Nashville and it was at the height of the male cover model competition and we met Fabio! My mom didn’t register to go to the conference other than as a companion and so she’d wait in the lobby while I went into the classes and I’d come out and find her surrounded by hot guys. Evidently she was finding food for the models, but to me, the then 19 year old girl, I was simultaneously horrified and thrilled.

Hattie:  I guess I did in a way. I can’t remember when I didn’t make up stories. I told them to my children when they were young and then have had the blessing of making up stories for all six of my grandchildren. They would crawl up in my lap and while I rubbed their back I would tell them a story, they named this activity a back story. My oldest grandchild is 21 and is 6 ft 5 and if he could he would still sit in my lap and let me tell him a story. My youngest grandchildren are Robyn’s girls (ages 3 and 5) and they refer to our story time by asking me to ‘make them a story.’

4. Do you write the same kind of books?

Robyn: Not even close. I write sexy historicals with lots of intrigue and adventure. I have a tendency to kill people – in my books, of course. I focus primarily on the dialogue, that’s where the magic of the story lives for me. What can I say, I have British people that speak to me. J When I first started writing, I think it kinda bothered mom that all of the mothers in my books are either dead or mean, but it really is the best source of internal conflict for my characters – which she certainly came to embrace with writing her own books.

Hattie: I wish I wrote more like Robyn, more adventurous. But my books are sweet romance that are family based, and filled with traditions. I hope they spur on some laughter and tears just as life does. I love to have children in my books; it just comes naturally to me. So if you close my books with a smile on your face and feel a lasting relationship with my characters, then I have done my job.

5. How does it feel to have your mom read your love scenes/read your daughter’s love scenes?

Robyn: People always ask us this and I don’t know, it doesn’t bother me at all. I think it’s because of the way I was raised. I could always talk to my mom about anything, sex included. So it doesn’t phase me at all that she reads my books. I mean hello, she’s how I found romance novels. She always read them and at some point I just took one off her shelf and started reading it and well, the rest, as they say, is history. But it’s not embarrassing or anything for me. The only thing she ever comments on is if I use too many curses in my books.

Hattie: I love Robyn’s books, sex and all. If it becomes too much for me I just turn that page. And she is right about the curse words. But it’s not targeted to her books, it is any books I read or movies I see, nothing will pull me out of a story faster. But I will admit sometimes a good curse word is called for.

Robyn:  I knew it!

6. If you could write any other kind of book, what would it be?

Robyn: I’m pretty happy writing historicals. It’s where my voice feels the most accurate, the most natural. I suppose there’s a part of me that would like to write a contemporary, but I worry about my voice.

Hattie:  I would love to write YA, but I’m not sure if I have the voice for that genre.

Robyn: You should write that YA thrilled idea you have, it’s just fantastic. So I have a question for you, what is your favorite of my books?

Hattie:  Oh, where do I start? I love your first one, Courting Claudia, and the Legend Hunters have to be one my favorite series, but your Jack the Ripper book, The Secrets of Mia Danvers might be my all time favorite Now what about me? I don’t have as many as you but what is your favorite

Robyn: I love Under the Sassafras, but I also have a soft spot for Teacups & Mayhaw Pie – I know you’ve revised it a lot since I last saw it, so I can’t wait to see what you’ve done with it.

Hattie: I am still working on those revisions but I’m taking it slow. One of the many things I’ve learned from you. It’s a take on an old thing I use to tell you and your siblings: nothing is worth doing if you don’t do it right. I admire your ability to layer your revisions and your knowledge of how you know a character’s conflict just by reading your synopses. 

Robyn: I have to say that one of the things that I admire about your writing ability is the ease with which you write children. That’s not easy to do. Kids are just hard to add to books, but you seamlessly incorporate them into your writing and they’re so real to me. That really goes for all of your characters. I also love the sweet southern charm of your voice, it’s just so comforting, like a perfect cup of hot tea. 

Hattie: I will say that this has been a fun interview. It is such fun to share something with one of your children that you both love.

Robyn: Yes, thanks to Gwen for having us today! She’s another thing we have in common as she’s worked with both of us on our books. She obviously has great taste – well, really it’s just that we’re both really smart for working with her. Have a great Mother’s Day y’all!

About Robyn

I’m one of those writers who always knew that she wanted to be a writer. It took me a while, however, to figure out precisely what I wanted to write. Reading Kathleen Woodiwiss’ “A Rose in Winter” sealed the deal for me and I’ve been reading and writing romance ever since. I should have known I was destined for this when my Barbies insisted on hosting elaborate masquerade parties, complete with stolen kisses in the moonlight.
I’m the youngest of three children, so of course I’m the favorite. I was raised in central Texas, in the beautiful Hill Country, right smack-dab between Austin and San Antonio. My parents were high school sweethearts and married a week after my mother graduated – they both needed their parents’ permission to marry since they were so young. So I blame them and their amazing marriage for the fact that I’m a hopeless romantic.
Somewhere along the line, I graduated from college with a degree in Sociology, only after completing an internship with none other than award-winning best-selling author, Pamela Morsi. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life and I learned more about the writing business than I could have hoped.
After college I worked a myriad of jobs: Computer Software Trainer, Recruiter, Administrative Assistant. But no matter what my day job, I come home to my real job and click, click, click away on my computer and get lost in my imaginary world where justice always prevails and the girl always gets her guy! It’s the coolest job in the world.
I’m married to the most amazingly supportive man. He’s so proud of my career, and loves to tell people, “My wife is a romance novelist.” We live in the Austin area, where my husband is a university professor. He’s ridiculously smart, but remains goofy enough to make me laugh every day. We’re the parents of two beautiful and precocious little girls who keep me quite busy during the day. We also have two very spoiled cats who are of no help at all when it comes to my writing, although they sometimes nap in the same room where I sit diligently working.
I’ve published eleven historicals so far, all of which have received great reviews and a handful of them have won awards. I love to hear from readers, so feel free to send me an email or you can find me online at The Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills, or, Peanut Butter on the Keyboard, my newest blogging endeavor that’s all about writing moms or moms who write. You can also find me on my Facebook or my Facebook Author page and on Twitter. I’m everywhere!
About Hattie
Hattie MaeHattie MaeAward-winning author, Hattie Mae was born and bred southern, cutting her teeth on cornbread and greens and running barefoot through the canals of her small Louisiana town. So when it came to writing, there was no question as to where to set her books. She’s now writing her fourth book set in Bon Amie, a busy little town nestled in the heart of Cajun country. She’s also published a short story in The Cup Of Comfort For Teachers. The love of books and writing runs in her family, Hattie’s daughter is award-winning historical romance author, Robyn DeHart.
When not writing you can usually find her playing with her grandchildren or cooking up some healthy versions of tasty southern fare. She lives in central Texas with her husband and one crazy cat.
You can find her online on Facebook, Twitter or via email.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Help a Scandalous author @calliehutton become a USA TODAY bestseller! She's close!

Because of readers like you loving The Elusive Wife and spreading the word, Callie Hutton has a chance at becoming a USA TODAY best-seller. Wouldn't that be amazing?!

Our goal at Entangled has always been to help authors realize their dreams. You can help Callie continue to reach hers! Just share this book with your friends, post your honest review at retail sites, and 
enter our Rafflecopter and help spread the word.

To say thank you, Callie is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite. 
Enter HERE!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Entangled Submission Call: What the heck is a Lovestruckalous?

Why it’s a mashup!

Do you write historical and contemporary category romance? Maybe you write one and have a friend or critique partner that you’ve always wanted to work with that writes the other? Now’s your chance to team up.

I’ve often thought, as editorial director of Scandalous, that it would be super fun to have Scandalous books that tie in to contemporary lines. Now that we are launching a new line this summer called Lovestruck, and I’m director of that line also, I’m super excited about this idea. Win/Win for Gwen…er… I mean…everybody wins!

This is a rolling call, which means I’m interested all the time. The loose idea is that one Lovestruck character (your hero or your heroine) will be a descendant of characters from your Scandalous story, and there will be something that ties the books together: an estate, an piece of jewelry, a Faberge egg, a treasure map, an Irish pub…that’s up to you. Be creative and have a good time with this. (A time travel might also be super fun!)

We intend to release each novel or novella individually, either simultaneously or back to back, and then bundle them together at a later time. Authors will benefit from being able to market the books together with an interesting hook for both.
 

Word counts can vary–novellas 20-25k; novels 40-65k

To submit, please click here: Lovestruckalous
Please feel free to share this information with other agents and authors!


For more information about Lovestruck and Scandalous submission guidelines, please visit the following links:
** If you’re interested in special submission call-outs and acquisition wish lists from Gwen Hayes, sign up for her special newsletter HERE.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lovestruck, an Entangled Imprint--Editorial Director, Gwen Hayes


I'm so excited about Entangled's new category line, Lovestruck. We'll be launching this summer and are looking for fresh, new voices for this fun line, so if you are an agent or author looking for a home for a fantastic manuscript, please visit our submission page.

This line is "it could happen to you" romances. The hot bartender, the attorney you meet when you crunch his car, the guy who is always in line at Starbucks the same time you are--real, everyday, and serendipitous. Lovestruck is about characters we love and want to root for. Stories can be funny or emotional--and both! Lovestruck readers want to be smitten.

The submission guidelines are below--I'm going on a trip in ten days and I want my Kindle FULL of Lovestruck stories.

For authors who dream up stories that belong on the big screen starring Kate Hudson, Rachel McAdams, or Reese Witherspoon, Entangled’s Lovestruck imprint is for you. We are looking for fresh voices who excel at witty dialogue, twisting classic tropes, and writing character-driven romance. Stories feature contemporary women finding love with a cute best friend, the adorable geek in the next cubicle, the hot attorney whose car she crunched that morning, or with her childhood nemesis turned irresistible next door neighbor.
Lovestruck is about love where you least expect it. We love original “meet cutes” and endings that make us smile and our hearts grow a size or two. Our readers want to be smitten.
  • 45-60k
  • The tone is fresh, fun, and fabulous
  • Special attention is placed on the chemistry between the couple. Their interactions should jump off the page, starting with original “meet cutes” and ending with a swoon-worthy close.
  • Internal conflict and romance tropes drive the story.
  • Metro settings, think FriendsMixology, and New Girl, though small cities are okay also.
  • The heroes are real—guys we meet every day who are self-assured and successful at what they do…the hot bartender, local doctor, attorney, minor league ball player, architects, construction workers, etc.
  • Outside authors with the Entangled Lovestruck voice: Jill Shalvis, Shannon Stacey, Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie.
  • Movies that inspire us:  The ProposalFools Rush InLeap YearNever Been Kissed
  • While Lovestruck stories do not have to be comedies, the tone should be lively, playful, and sensual. We love books that take us on an emotional journey, too!
  • The sex scenes should be fully realized but limited to two or three scenes. 

Having trouble deciding which imprint to submit your story?
  • The differences between Lovestruck and Bliss are: tone and setting. Bliss romances take place in small towns and are more focused on family. Lovestuck stories are focused on finding love in modern settings.  
  • The difference between Indulgence and Lovestruck is the hero. Indulgence heroes are fantasy men who have wealth and power and know how to wield it. Lovestruck heroes are the guys you meet in real life. Indulgence heroes are always alpha--Lovestruck  heroes can be alpha, but beta works here too. (Think Big vs Aidan on Sex and the City)
  • The difference between Brazen and Lovestruck is heat! You’ll see less in a Lovestruck, and a Brazen love story “starts in the bedroom.” The sexual interaction is the gravitational force that brings the characters to true love. In a Lovestruck, the sexual attraction is not the focus, but rather a result.
https://entangledpublishing.submittable.com/submit/28442


Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Falling Under fan art--thank you Adelle Yeung!

I am absolutely in love with this depiction from Falling Under. My husband always called Theia's handmaidens "the Splice Girls" and that they are. I get the biggest kick out of fan art. Thank you again Adelle. (who has a Facebook page you can visit here)
I have more fan art on...my fan art page if you are interested.