Friday, August 29, 2014

4 Ways to use Pinterest to Promote Your Books!

A year ago I vowed I wouldn't get sucked in.

I wouldn't lose more of my valuable writing time by hanging out on another social media site.

Guess what I did today? Yep. I got sucked in. Pinterest has now gained my interest.

Many of my writer friends have been singing the praises of this social media system all along and I've certainly been aware of it. As a teacher, I've perused it a time or two looking for new ideas for my classroom. From learning how to create fairies in a jar to discovering some great lesson planning sites for early theatre education, Pinterest has really helped me in my day job.

But what about in writing? How can a site like this be of use?

If you are not familiar with what Pinterest is, let me lay it out for you. It's kind of like your own bulletin board or scrap book. You can create multiple boards and on each board you can post things related to that board's topic. For instance, maybe you're really into comic books. Create a board titled Comic Books. You would then post pictures of comic book covers or characters there.

The key is to think visually!

And that's where Pinterest can be really useful for a writer.

Authors spend a great deal of time working on describing setting, locations, character physicality, etc. With Pinterest, you can find pictures of those things and post them on boards for your readers to come look at.

Trust me. It takes the reading experience to a whole new level! Here are four ways an author can use Pinterest to promote their work to a reader. By the way, you can view how I've used these techniques at

1. General book info. With Pinterest you can create a board that is specifically for your book. On the board you can post things related to the novel, such as, pictures of locations or pictures of specific things in the book. For example, my YA series takes place on the Louisiana bayou. I pinned pictures of the bayou to my board. Bayou Myth has lots of objects in it that are important to the story line. With that in mind, I made sure to pin pictures that represented those items. Medea's necklace, an antique compact mirror, and an owl broach play a central part in the book. I found some great examples of what those things look like and was able to put them on my Pinterest page for the Bayou Myth series. I think this is a great way for readers to connect with your work in a way that is visual and which will allow them to get an even better view of what the world is like that your characters live in.

2. Character traits. Character development is so important in our novels. If the reader doesn't relate to our hero/heroine, we're in trouble. Hopefully, that's not the case in your story though! Sometimes when I've finished reading something, I want a little more. That's where having a character page comes in handy. You can create a board on Pinterest devoted entirely to the things that your character enjoys and likes. You could even include things that may not have been in the novel, but help develop the character even more. The nice thing about a character page is that it doesn't necessarily have to be a public page. You can create a "secret" page which means only you can view it. If you're a writer who likes to research and gather materials before the writing process, this is a tool that can help spark your imagination.

3. Tease your audience about an upcoming book. Your new book is almost ready to publish, but you're still tweaking those last minute details. However, you're aware that it's important to start spreading the word about this new project. Create a page for the new book that offers only visual clues as to what the book might be about. This is a great way to entice your readers curiosity and keep them guessing about the content of the new book. You could even offer a giveaway contest to the person who correctly guesses the theme or subject of the book.

4. All about you.  Create a board that represents all of your wonderful attributes and interests. Readers love to connect with authors in a personal way. Show your readers what's on your book shelf by pinning book covers of authors you love. Give them a glimpse of your dachshund obsession by letting them glimpse cute photos of your favorite dog breed. Maybe you're a fan of a particular brand of chocolate. Let the world know on Pinterest.  Little things like this help a reader relate to you and maybe even remember you when your new book comes out!

So....what are you doing still reading this blog? Want to go to Pinterest? Look up on the left hand side of the blog and find the Pin It button. Pin All Things Writing to your board and get started on creating your own!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Writing in Layers--Six Steps to Improve Your First Draft

I think the editing process is flat out a pain in the ass. I really hate doing it, and yet, I can't seem to get my prose perfect the first time. Over the years, I've been given lots of checklists and revision tips, but recently a ghostwriting client provided me with a writing layers tool that is excellent for when you finish the first draft of a novel. I'm going to share a few steps of this tool with you in the hopes that it will help make the second draft of your novel stronger.

1. If you are writing a romance, check to make sure that every scene makes the reader worry about whether or not the main couple will end up together. If we aren't worried, if things are too perfect, change that scene until we are worried or cut it altogether.

2. Is the main character doing something he/she wants or is he/she just sitting around waiting for something to happen? We want to root for our protagonist so make them proactive.

3. Step into your antagonist's shoes and think about things from their point of view. Make a list everything you'd do to stop the protagonist.

4. Are your characters doing what you'd want to do in their situation or scene?Keep in mind, I'm not talking about what we would do, but what we would want to do if we actually had the courage or guts to do it.

5. What is the worst thing that could happen to a character in each scene? It doesn't have to happen, but it should make us worry that it might.

6. Every scene should make us feel like we walked in on the middle of a conversation--not the beginning of one. Start as close to the conflict as you can.

I have many more tips to share with you regarding cleaning up that first draft, but the above should be enough to get you started. You can either do them one at a time or you can do them all as you go through the novel. It's up to you!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Managing Your Time as a Writer

Do you hear that? Yes. It's the sound of the children making their way back to school after a long, lazy summer. Many parents breathe a sigh of relief while us teachers prepare to batten down the hatches and start a brand new year.

I love what I do, but I'm always sad about the end of summer. My prime writing time happens during those two and a half months where I'm not thinking about my students or their creative development. Instead, I'm focused on mine.

Managing your writing time no matter what career you are in is tough. Most of us don't have the luxury of sitting at home all day and escaping to another place with our imagination. The bills aren't going to pay themselves. So what's a working writer to do? After all, we're supposed to be networking, Tweeting, Facebooking, maintaining our websites, Pinteresting, and making ourselves available to readers--and writing! How do you do that on top of a full time job?

It ain't easy!

Everybody has their own method, of course. For me, I schedule my daily writing time for early in the morning. I put in about an hour before I have to start thinking about breakfast and getting the kiddo up. At night, I usually spend another hour editing. Weekends are my big days to push hard. I close the door which signals to the rest of my family: Don't bother her or she'll freakin' kill you. I also use those days to schedule tweets or to schedule my blog posts.

Yes, there are times when I lapse from my schedule. Honestly, as much as I love blogging and connecting with readers, I really need my writing time even more. So sometimes my blog posts may suffer, but I think the writing, getting the words down, is the most important thing.

So to those of you in the same predicament as me, good luck to you! Hang in there!

You can follow Mary Ann Loesch at or find her on Twitter: @maryannloesch!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig--a review

At RWA, I attended a fantastic workshop on the roots of historical romance. It was presented by two authors, one of which was Lauren Willig. After hearing her talk about the evolution of the historical romance, I was curious to check out her writing.

I'm so glad I did!

The Ashford Affair is a stunning romance that takes place in the 1920s and in the late '90s. It is a stirring look at the "titled" life and how the events of the past can change our lives in ways we never even imagined. With settings in Kenya, England, and New York, The Ashford Affair takes the reader on a whirlwind tour.

Clemmie is in her mid 30's and a successful lawyer. She comes from a unique family who have issues with the basics: sitting down and speaking the truth. Her grandmother, Addie, is celebrating her ninety-ninth birthday and the family has gathered together. However, Addie mistakes Clemmie for someone she knew in her youth: Bea. When Clemmie inquires who Bea is, no one wants to give her a straight answer. Confused by everyone's reticence to talk, Clemmie embarks on a journey of discovery that leads her to her grandmother's childhood in England where she grew up in the shadow of her cousin, the elegant and much sought after Bea.

There is so much to this story! Betrayal, love gone wrong, murder, a safari, and true romance---I couldn't put this one down. As many of you know, I like my romance to be steamy and full of heat. This tale actually does have sex, but it's what I would call elegant sex, behind closed doors, nothing to graphic, darling! Yet, what really pulled me in was the romance of it. Think Out of Africa with a dab of the modern world! The characters were so well built that I felt like I really was peeking into their private lives. Ms. Willig created a world of splendor tarnished by World War I.

If you like your romance with a dash of Downton Abbey, check out The Ashford Affair!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Q & A with Esmae Browder

All Things Writing has a few questions for our latest blogger, Esmae Browder! 

What is your story's heat level? How do you approach the sex scenes?

I’d say the heat is pretty darn hot in Ophelia’s Lessons! Since this is one of the stories in my Naughty Shakespeare series, I go on a Quill Pen system. This tale gets five Quill Pens! That means it was hot enough for Shakespeare’s quill to catch fire. When it comes to sex scenes, I let them unfold naturally. My erotica is very character driven so the style and type of sex they have is based on their personality.

How do you maintain activity as a writer when sitting at a desk all day?

Lots of breaks and I have an IV drip of caffeine that goes directly to my heart! Just kidding. It can be tough to sit behind a screen for long periods. I take walks, I go to the store, and I sometimes close my lap top and walk away. Those things help me keep my sanity and let me puzzle out my story.

What is it that you loved about the main characters in your story?

In all three books of the Naughty Shakespeare series that are currently out, my favorite thing about the main characters is that they aren’t who we’ve been led to believe. You know, the original stories that Ophelia’s Lessons (Hamlet), Ravishing Rosaline (Romeo and Juliet), and The Taming of the Prude (The Taming of the Shrew) are based on are all over 400 years old. We’ve certain preconceived ideas about them. It’s fun to change up those expectations and give each tale and character a new little twist.

What do you feel is your strongest type of writing? Humor? Angst? Confrontation scenes? Action? Sex? Sensuality? Sweet Romance? And why?

Humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself or situations, you’re in trouble. I think that’s especially true in novel writing, too. If your characters don’t have a bit of humor now and then, than it’s hard to identify and connect with them.

Are you social media savvy? If so what do you suggest for others? If not, why not?

I try to be. I love me some Facebook time and Twitter time. I’m constantly fiddling with my website because it’s fun. I love going to book signings and showing off my business cards with the QR codes on them. I think social media is an important tool for writers. It’s not going away, so if you’re serious about promotion, you gotta jump on the bandwagon and start learning about it!

What are some things from your life or things you have observed that you've infused into your stories?

That it’s important to take risks! All my characters take a risk of some sort. Maybe it results in good things, maybe not. But they take the chance instead of lamenting what could have been.

If you had an unlimited budget, where would you like to visit for story-related research?

Hmmm….so many places. However, I think jolly old England would up first. So much history and culture there. Of course, I’d never survive the plane ride. I’m way to anxiety ridden about flying.

Finally, tell us a little about your newest release!

Ophelia’s Lessons is a fun, erotic, modern day prequel to Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet. Ophelia is a sweet, innocent girl. Or is she? When her roommate, Portia, comes up with a plan to “educate” her on the ways of love, Ophelia discovers there’s a lot more to life than she thought. With the help of Horatio, Ophelia’s eyes are opened to a world of sexual delight that she hopes will help her capture the love of her life, Hamlet. But her new found world could also be her undoing. There are lots of secrets and lies surrounding Hamlet’s family which threatens to suck her in and crush her hopes and dreams…

Gotta question for Esmae? Feel free to ask!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Challenge of Writing Erotic Fiction

When people ask what genre I write in, I tend to hesitate and giggle…

I know  the moment I say “erotic fiction” the person will start to look at me differently.  So I like to hold onto those final few seconds before I let the truth drop.  It’s fun to see the comprehension cross their face as they realize what the word erotica means.

Next question is usually something like, “So do you write porn?” or  “Isn’t that like smut or something?”

Both questions make me laugh. If you are an erotica fan, you know that there are all kinds of books that fall within this category. True, some of it can be pushing the envelope of being something else, but good erotica, the kind that gets your toes curling and your engine revving, is about creating a story where the sexual elements enhance the tale, drive the story even, but the end result is a well written book that keeps the reader’s interest.

One of my challenges as an erotic fiction writer is to show readers that the storyline is just as important as the sex! Without a strong narrative,  the sex becomes boring. We want an emotional investment in our erotic characters just like we do with any other genre of fiction out there.

I hope the books in my Naughty Shakespeare series manage to hook you emotionally and get you hot and bothered at the same time. Shakespeare wrote these characters 400 years ago. All I did was provide them with a back story and spicy sex life. Ophelia’s Lessons is the first book in the series and is a modern day prequel to the play Hamlet.  You may recall that Ophelia was a tragic, doomed character driven to madness by Hamlet’s treatment of her. Ophelia’s Lessons explains why she was so infatuated with Hamlet and the lengths she would go to in order to capture his heart. Gone is the innocent young ingĂ©nue! She is replaced by a sexually vibrant young woman ready to explore all the acts of love--even if it means sleeping with Hamlet’s best friend, Horatio.

This erotic book is definitely not the story you read in high school English class!

So what category of erotic fiction does my Naughty Shakespeare series fall under? Good question! Because of the name “Shakespeare” it may be tempting to think this is historical erotica, but actually it’s best described as erotic romance. However, there are certainly many subgenres of erotica out there like steampunk erotica, fantasy erotica, paranormal, etc. You get the idea!

I encourage you to dive in to the Naughty Shakespeare series! Start with Ophelia’s Lessons and then venture on to Ravishing Rosaline (a prequel to Romeo and Juliet). Round it all out with The Taming of the Prude (a retelling of Taming of the Shrew). Look for new titles to be joining this series soon!

 May all your nights be erotic ones--Esmae Browder

Monday, August 11, 2014

A World Apart by CD Brennan---a review

Ah...young's so much fun to read about! Especially when you've already been through it and come out the other side. I love finding a sweet romance where I'm totally hooked by the end of page one and am reminded of what it was like falling in love for the first time....

Once again, Cd Brennan has pulled me in with her Love Where You Roam series. About a year or so ago I read and reviewed the first book in the series called Watershed and loved it. I was excited to get my hands on a copy of her latest release, A World Apart. What I liked about Watershed and the idea of this series in general, is that it blends people from many cultures together, binding them in love.

In A World Apart, the reader is introduced to Australian Lizzy (who actually made a cameo appearance in Watershed) and Scottish Hamish. Lizzy is currently working as a bar maid in a Scottish pub and researching her family tree. She is headstrong, fun loving, adventurous and unafraid of a challenge--which of course, makes her the exact opposite of serious Hamish. Hamish is the local hottie (his nickname is Hottie Hamish), but he is a shy guy who comes off as being a bit brusque and reserved. He may have the money and background that Lizzie doesn't, but he is seriously lacking in social skills.

He offers Lizzy a job as his house keeper which she accepts. Her first day on the job is not exactly a stellar one--she manages to take his dogs for a long walk and gets lost in the process. Hamish comes to her rescue, but ends up stranding them on the side of a mountain overnight. Well, this leads to some intimate cuddling, which leads to feelings of desire, which leads to...well, you get the picture.

Turns out Hamish is angling for a job at a university but when he interviews for the position, he discovers the university wants more than just a "by the books" teacher. They want someone who can relax, relate to the students, be a human being. Shy Hamish feels out of his league, and when the Dean invites him to a black tie affair, he definitely doesn't know how he will get through the event. However, it occurs to him to take Lizzy who is able to charm the pants off of anyone. Unfortunately, the dinner doesn't go exactly as planned and leads to a series of misconceptions and self doubt.

As usual, Cd Brennan brings her characters to life through great dialogue and accents. It is easy to hear Lizzy's Australian voice which is a contrast to the Scottish brogue of Hamish. These characters felt real to me, very believable. Her book is rich in description of the local scene, but it's the interplay between her characters that really makes this tale fun to read. I wished it hadn't ended so soon! I just wanted to go a little further down the road with these two characters.

While there is some sex in the book, it's nothing graphic. This is a sweetheart book where the romance is the focal point and shows the development of the characters relationship and growth as people. I would give it a low rating on the heat level, but high on the romance!

Here is the Amazon link for the book! Can't wait to see where this series roams next!

A World Apart

Friday, August 8, 2014

How Much Do Book Covers Matter?

Mary Ann has covered this in several of her posts, but after going to RWA Nationals this year and really taking a look at the covers publishers put on their romance books, I have to agree with her--book covers can really draw a reader in!

Ah, the book cover. I firmly believe it can make or break a book.  It’s the first thing a reader sees, the first thing that draws them to your little tale, incites their curiosity, and says to them “yes, this is the book I want to read next.”

A bad book cover can cause all sorts of problems.

If the cover is boring, you gotta depend on the title. If the title stinks, too, then you’re in big trouble. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you are--unless of course you’re already established with a large group of readers--if the book cover isn’t working, you won’t see much in the way of sales.
Book covers should also reflect a little bit of what the genre is, too. Especially if you are a writer just starting out.
Here’s my own example of why I feel so strongly about this point in particular:

My first book was bought by a small, but well known, press with a great reputation. The book was an urban fantasy with slight romantic overtones. The book cover was of this super hot, shirtless guy in front of some office buildings. It looked like this dude was ready to sex you up and take you home to mama! The twinkle in his eye, the coldness of his chin, the well developed abs, and bulging front of his pants promised a book with lots of hot sex and down and dirty love. But remember, the book had only romantic overtones…so of course, a few people bought the book thinking it was going to be erotica. Luckily for me, the writing did pull me through here, but many people felt that the cover was misleading as to what kind of book it was. 

However, my latest books in the Naughty Shakespeare stories all have book covers that hint at the characters and the genre of book.  In fact, one of the things I wanted to make sure of was that all three books had some similarities. I wanted all covers to have a woman with her back to us and just a hint of profile. All covers also had to in some way reflect a character trait of the story, too.

In Ophelia’s Lessons, a modern day prequel to Hamlet,  I wanted the image to be wistful and romantic. The open back of her dress hints at sensuality as well. Notice the trees in the background? Well, an important scene in the book happens beneath the trees. Even the colors were important to me. The miss of greens and blues is calming and relaxing. We don’t see the woman’s face and are left wondering, who is she? What does she really look like?

I wanted a little different tone for Ravishing Rosaline. Rosaline is a prequel to Romeo and Juliet. In the play, she is the character Romeo is in love with before he meets Juliet. She also happens to be her cousin. This is a story about everything not being as it appears and the search to express oneself with sexual freedom.

Again, the woman is looking away, but we
see her fiery red hair and that she is
unashamed of being naked. It’s being
openly sexually and tantalizing at the
same time. Kind of like Rosaline…

And then there is the Taming of the
Prude. This time we see a little of our
leading lady’s face. That’s a reflection
of Kate alright. She would never
turn her face away or be ashamed
of her nakedness. The flowers hint
at being one with nature, and if you
read the book, you’ll see that this is
true. A retelling of Taming of the
Shrew, Taming of the Prude is a
fun, humorous tale of a freshly
married couple and their discovery
of how delightful married sex can be.
Especially if you add a partner....

Will your reader notice all the little things I just pointed out when they pick up the book? Probably not. But they may notice enough to make them read the synopsis or get an idea of what kind of book it is. That can be the difference in making a sell or not!

May all your nights be hot and steamy ones beneath the covers!--Esmae Browder

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quirky Writing Habits

I consider myself a bit of a quirky person.

For example, I don’t like wooden spoons--can’t stand them! If I know one is in the house, I can’t sleep.  I also don’t like people touching my feet.  Yeah, yeah, I know how great foot massages can feel, but the idea of someone kneading or pressing on the bottom of my feet makes my toes curl in fear! The other big quirk of my life revolves around birds.  I hate birds. They fly too close, poop in midair, and certain birds will even peck at you in order to steal your hot dog.  I refuse to go anywhere near an aviary.

I’m sure my long suffering husband could go on and on and on about my zillion other quirks!

I do have a few writing quirks, too.

I struggle every day with what I call “writing resistance.” I love writing and nothing makes me as happy as the joy of putting together strong characters and fun plot twists.  Every moment I spent writing the Naughty Shakespeare series was wonderful--when I made myself settle down and write. You see, like many writers, I find that there are many things that make me resist sitting down and writing like I should. Facebook, Twitter, email--they are the bane of the writer resistance.  One of my quirks is that I must read all emails, update my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and check my emails again before I get down to the business of writing. If I don’t do it, I feel oddly guilty...

Another quirk for me is that I can’t write if someone else is in the room.  My favorite writing space is in my bedroom. It’s a plain little area with nothing very exciting about it, but if someone enters the room or is lying on the bed, I get agitated.  I can’t fully immerse myself into my work. I’m constantly thinking they are looking over my shoulder, reading my erotic scenes, about to bop me on the head.  I usually have to minimize my screen and give whoever is in my space ugly looks until they leave.

My favorite quirk is my candle ritual. I have two tall “Jesus” candles on my desk. I do my best writing when they are both lit. Don’t know why. Don’t know how. But there it is! When Jesus is lit, my mind gets creative!

I suppose I should be grateful for these little quirks because they do keep me productive.  I couldn’t have written my Naughty Shakespeare series without being aware of them! In fact, I like to think because I have my quirks the characters in Ophelia’s Lessons do, too! However, their quirks tend to be much sexier than mine! 

Any other quirky writers out there?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Thoughts on RWA Nationals 2014

I loved RWA! It was like finally finding "your people."

Writers, agents, editors, publishers...ah, the mother ship had landed in San Antonio! And what a ship!

I've been to many other writing conferences, so I knew sort of what to expect, but this was entirely different. Most conferences you wander around, meet some other writers at the bar, and then you take a few classes. You exchange business cards, maybe pitch an agent or editor and then you go home feeling ready to write again.

RWA was like that, too--only bigger and better! This was a conference where you got to brush elbows with big names and big publishers. The keynote luncheon speech was given by Sylvia Day, best selling author and attended by lots of other best selling authors. There was a "Chat with Nora Roberts" where she answered questions candidly about her writing process and her series. My favorite piece of advice from Nora?

"Stop whining and start fucking writing!"

And then there were the books. Free books from the big publishing houses. Signed by their authors who were there happily signing away, ready to chat one on one with you. There were free books at lunch, free books at breakfast, free books in the Goody Room!

Mary Ann and I both came home with over a 100 books.

I also attended workshops presented by writers who were all on the best seller list. I discovered the importance of doing what's best for my career--that there is no one size fits all when it comes to publishing anymore. Hybrid authors and their ability to publish traditionally and self publish were all the rage. I learned the roots of historical romance and was reminded of why I started writing romance in the first place--Rosemary Rogers and Sweet Savage Love.

One of the highlights was attending the Rita Awards. This is like the Academy Awards for Romance Writers. It was a big, flashy affair and lots of fun!

Did I come home invigorated? Hell, yes. Inspired. Ready to work. With more faith in myself than ever before.

Will I attend RWA next year? Hell, yeah! Bring it on! NYC here I come.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

RWA 2014

So today I'm off to San Antonio to check out the Romance Writers of America Nationals conference. I can't wait! While I've attended writer conferences in the past, this is the first really big one. As a hybrid author (traditionally published and self published), I'm looking forward to learning about topics that are specific to the genre I write, as well as, rubbing elbows with agents, editors, and other writers.  This is my SXSW!

If you happen to be in San Antonio on Thursday, July 24, drop by my Kensington book signing. It's from 9:45-11:15 at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel.  I will be signing copies of Nephilim and giving away lots of free swag.

Esmae Browder will also be attending RWA! Be sure to drop by the Goody Room and pick up copies of her Naughty Shakespeare series. Can't make it? No problem. All three of her books will be free at Amazon this week in honor of RWA 2014!

And speaking of free...if you haven't picked up the companion stories to Nephilim, they will be free next week at Amazon!

Hope to see you at RWA 2014!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Both Sides of the New Adult Coin by CD Brennan

A few months back, I got to review CD Brennan's delightful novel, Watershed. I'm currently in the middle of her latest novel, A World Apart, and hope to review it next week once all the excitement of RWA dies down. One of the hot topics at RWA is the subject of the New Adult genre. But what is that? Today we get a great explanation from CD Brennan who explains what New Adult means and how it's changing the world of publishing! -- Mary Ann

Both Sides of the New Adult Coin
CD Brennan

As both a writer and editor of New Adult romance, I am particularly interested in the future of this genre. It was practically genius who devised New Adult. I love that the age range is vast, from 18 – 26, because growing into who you are as an adult takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight, or within the halls of a high school, and some mature faster than others. Personally, I dawdled—bad. It took me, like forever, to figure out who I was, what I believed, what was important to me without letting outside influences alter my path. Looking back, I think I was a complete and utter eejit those years. Where was my head? In my heart, most likely. But that’s okay, and an often explored meme in New Adult.

I’m first and foremost an Editor, then an author. Editing is my job and I love it. I’m not being modest when I say that I am a better Editor than I am a writer. Writing and editing are different disciplines. One uses the right side of the brain; one uses the left. As an editor, I work with parameters and rules, including grammar and construction. I work within the laws of the language and guidelines set by my house. I evaluate a book’s development as if it were a puzzle, rearrange content, if needed, for it all to fit. As an author, I develop settings and plot lines, create loveable, iconic characters, and devise witty, realistic dialogue. From nothing. From thin air. Poof! Okay, maybe with help from a glass of wine and 80s love songs. Everyone has their muse.

I am a Content & Acquisitions Editor with Lyrical Press, a romance imprint of Kensington Publishing out of New York. In the last year, we have seen a large increase in New Adult submissions. As a new genre, it is still growing, and that means writers are expanding into new territories with New Adult. Lately, I’ve received some great NA subs, including time-travel, historical, and fairytale. New Adult writers are dipping into other subgenres, which I am pleased to see. The possibilities are endless. Perhaps a NA sci-fi? Or even better, NA dystopian? I’ve got an idea for that one myself. Or why not New Adult erotic romance? Who’s to say a college chic can’t have an erotic journey of discovery with a hunky grad student on a summer archeological dig? Tent + middle of nowhere = no one will hear them scream.

Maybe NA is becoming more popular for its first mature love combined with youthful fantasy and silly mistakes. Young adults face profound life choices and powerful emotion. Parfait them with great sexual content, and you can’t help but have a winner. The best YA stories make me so effin’ excited when they first kiss, I could cry. Then I want more. How many YA stories did you think to yourself – God, I just wish they could get it on?

That’s where NA comes in. New Adult doesn’t have to be red hot, but it can include characters’ sexual exploration side of their relationships. My series is low in heat, but I reckon if I knew then what I know now, I would have written them a bit sexier. New Adult sales are stronger with higher heat levels. And fair enough. How many young twenty-somethings do you know who aren’t having sex? Sometimes copious amounts! Don’t mistake edgy and angsty with sexy. They don’t have to go together like tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum. There is nothing wrong with a lighthearted storyline with lots of great sex. You can have a strong storyline that integrates sex into the character or relationship development, without the need for uber-drama.
What I am trying to say, is that whatever way you choose to write your New Adult novel, this genre currently has the most potential for new and different. The possibilities are endless.

All Things Writing members interested in publication with Kensington Publishing’s Lyrical Press line may submit directly. Believe in your story and send it to me.

Or, I’d be more than honored if you wanted to check out my own NA series, Love Where You Roam.

Happy Writing!
Corinne DeMaagd

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Deal Sharing Aunt

Here is my third stop for this week at Deal Sharing Aunt! This is a simply fantastic blog filled with all sort of giveaways. Are you a book lover? Stop by today and enter my giveaway or any of the fun giveaways she has posted there!

Deal Sharing Aunt: Naughty Shakespeare Series

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

5 Things I Learned After I Published My Book

Hello! As part of my virtual book tour for The Naughty Shakespeare series and in preparation of RWA Nationals next week, today I get to visit the fabulous Sydney St. Claire at her blog. We will be discussing 5 Things I Learned After I Published My Book! Drop by and get in on the Rafflecopter contest going on. I'm going to be giving one lucky reader all three current books in the Naughty Shakespeare series for free! Here is the link to the blog:

Sydney St. Clair Blog

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wickedly Wanton and It's Raining Books!

Here are this week's final tour stops! What a fun time I've had so far and I can't wait to meet more new fans in the upcoming weeks. By the way, I will be attending RWA Nationals July 23-26. In honor of that, all three books in the Naughty Shakespeare series will be free those days.

Tour Stop July10: Wickedly Wanton Tales

Tour Stop July 11: It's Raining Books

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Shakespeare With a Side of Naughty!

Today's tour stop is at Books on Silver Wings. I will be blogging about my passion for Shakespeare and what inspired me to dive into an erotic fiction series based on some of his more famous works! Check it out and enter to win the giveaway!

Books on Silver Wings

Interested in Naughty Shakespeare? Stop by my blog or drop by Amazon and pick up a copy of Taming of the Prude!

Some marriages begin with mutual trust and admiration. And some...well, some begin with the promise of a dowry and the taming of a wife. When saucy, headstrong Kate discovers that the man she's just seduced in the courtyard is to be her future husband Petruchio, she is furious and vows to make sure that he never receives the dowry her father has promised him if he tames her! Instead, Kate begins a campaign to tame him and her methods are a little more adventurous than his. Unafraid of her sexuality, Petruchio's wife uses all sort of devices to make sure he knows exactly who the boss is in their marriage is. But can they fight the sparks of love that threaten to tear their strong willed natures a part? And just who is taming who? 

This fun, fast paced erotic tale based on Shakespeare's comedy The Taming of the Shrew is the third book in Esmae Browder's Naughty Shakespeare series.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 2: The Naughty Shakespeare Book Tour!

Yesterday's stops were so much fun! Here is where I am today! Drop by and learn more about me and my erotic Naughty Shakespeare series.

Tour Stop Today: Author Mia Downing

Check out Book 2 in the Naughty Shakespeare series!
Amazon: Ravishing Rosaline

Ravishing Rosaline...Romeo's first love or so the story of Romeo and Juliet tells us. But who was she really? In this sizzling erotic tale, we are invited in to Rosaline's world--a place where women are expected to be chaste and submissive. But Rosaline isn't like that. Her pleasures know no bounds, her need for revenge against a former lover consumes her. She will do whatever it takes to get her desires met--even if it means taking Romeo away from Juliet. 

Once again, Esmae Browder delivers a modern day prequel to one of Shakespeare's most timeless romances. Ravishing Rosaline is Book 2 in her literotica Naughty Shakespeare series.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Naughty Shakespeare Book Tour Begins Today!

Today I'm so excited to begin my book tour which is being run by Goddess Fish Promotions. I have two stops today and invite you to drop by to learn more about me and the first book in the Naughty Shakespeare series: Ophelia's Lessons.

Stop One: Danita Minnis's Blog

Stop Two: The Crafty Cauldron

Sweet, innocent Ophelia--she wants nothing more than to marry Hamlet Elsinore. But what does a simple virgin know about pleasing a man like the sophisticated and charming Hamlet? Not a whole lot, but when her seductive roommate, Portia, learns of Ophelia’s interest, she gets Horatio to “teach” the innocent girl everything she’ll need to know to seduce his best friend, Hamlet. 

Horatio is a hot, experienced lover who claims virgins are his specialty. He explains she has what every man wants--an innocent look, but the potential to be a whore in the bedroom. Hamlet has particular tastes and likes his women to be submissive and sexually open--something Ophelia, due to a lack of experience, is not. While she doesn’t completely understand what he means, Ophelia’s confusion is swept aside when her virginity is taken by Horatio’s expert skills, and her world is opened up to a whole new way of thinking. 

Set in modern day, this prequel to Hamlet is steamy enough to have even the Bard blushing! Enjoy this first book of literotica in the Naughty Shakespeare series.

Amazon: Ophelia's Lessons

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Virtual Book Tour for Esmae Browder via Goddess Fish Promotions

So Mary Ann is on vacation all this month (practically all this summer) which means I get to be in charge of the blog! I've been a little lax these past few months, but with good reason! I've released three books in my Naughty Shakespeare series, been prepping for RWA Nationals next month, and organizing a book tour to really get my name out there. Whew! Now it's time to settle down and focus on All Things Writing!

However, I must begin with shameless self promotion!

Starting July 1 and running through August 1, I will be on a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions! The ladies at Goddess Fish have been nothing but professional and I can't wait to visit all the tour stops they have set up. I will be blogging about the Naughty Shakespeare series, what it's like to write erotica, my obessesion with Shakespeare,  and of course, answering some fun interview questions. To follow along, here are the stops on my tour!

July 7: The Crafty Cauldron
July 7 SECOND STOP Danita Minnis
July 8: Mia Downing
July 9: Books on Silver Wings
July 10: Wickedly Wanton Tales
July 11: It's Raining Books
July 14:
July 15: Book Suburbia PROMO
July 16: Deal Sharing Aunt
July 17: Queen of the Night Reviews
July 18: Katherine Givens
July 21: Long and Short Reviews
July 22: Books and Other Spells
July 23: Dena Garson - Real... Hot... Romance
July 24: Punya Reviews... PROMO
July 25: Bunny's Review
July 28: All I Want and More
July 29: Literaria
July 30: Serenity Doesn't Come Easy
July 31: Tory Richards
August 1: Reviews by Crystal

Not all my links are live and ready to go, but they will be starting next week! Interested in getting your own copies of the Naughty Shakespeare series? Click on the links below to get started!



Monday, June 30, 2014

Exclusive Cover Reveal for Renita Pizzitola's new book on USA Today!

I love celebrating the successes of writing friends! Today I bring you wonderful news about Renita Pizzitola, a New Adult writer who has just landed a three (count em' three!) book deal with Random House. Renita is a fabulous writer and I've gotten to review several of her books here on the blog. Check out the cover reveal of her latest work and catch a snippet of it on the USA today blog!

Cover Reveal Renita Pizzitola--USA Today

Congrats Renita! You deserve it!--Mary Ann

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hell's Leak Tales are Free Today!

My short tales from Hell's Leak are free today on Amazon!

We are all guilty of sin every now and then, but at Hell's Leak, your sins can be branded onto your soul... 

Bob is lazy and his old habits that once made him a loveable if odd "character" have finally run off all his friends. Stuck in a lifestyle full of selfishness and sloth, he can't really figure out what went wrong in his life. Getting a tattoo seems the perfect thing to help him start up conversations, impress new friends, get a girl or two into his bed. But entering the small tattoo shop on Sixth Street called Hell's Leak proves to be more than egotistical Bob expects. His new goat tattoo is not just visually impressive--it can walk, smoke cigars, and sounds a little like George Carlin. The problem is that it won't shut up and makes suggestions that slowly drive Bob insane. How far will he go to quiet the tattoo that now marks not only his skin, but his soul, too? 

Feed Your Soul is one of several short companion stories to Mary Ann Loesch's book Nephilim featuring Nathan Ink and his infamous tattoo shop, Hell's Leak.

Envy. It's one of the most common Seven Deadly Sins. For Karen Robison, it's a way of life. Vile thoughts. Trash talking. Gossip. Karen doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut. When she sits down in Nathan Ink's chair at Hell's Leak, she discovers that her own lies and envious deeds are about to be sewn up in a neat little package. 

Sort of. 

Step inside Hell's Leak, my friend. Nathan Ink doesn't just mark up your skin with a tattoo. He brands your soul. 

Silenced Envy is a short tale in the Hell's Leak series which features Nathan Ink, a character in the novel Nephilim.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Short Tales from Hell's Leak

As many of you know, my urban fantasy romance Nephilim was recently acquired by Kensington Publishing. I'm really excited about this new acquisition! To celebrate, I've published a series of short stories that are companion tales to Nephilim and Nathan Ink. Want to know what he was like prior to meeting Faye? Want to see how his special brand of tattoos affected people with the Seven Deadly Sins? Then check out these short tales--a steal for only .99cents at Amazon! Drop a review, and if you are in San Antonio in July, drop by the RWA Conference and get a signed copy of Nephilim!


When sin stains your soul, he tattoos your skin…
Tattoo artist Nathan Ink is more than he seems. An angel living in secret on earth, he forces his clients to face their flaws by tattooing images of their sins on their bodies, but this glimpse into the soul often results in his clients' deaths. Although Nathan avoids the other angels, when they ask him to keep an eye on Faye, a nephilim being stalked by another of her kind, he reluctantly agrees.

The angels have kept Faye in the dark about her stalker, but to keep her close to Nathan, they've tasked her with investigating the high mortality rate of Nathan's clients. Despite her distaste for his methods, she finds herself fighting a growing attraction to Nathan, and discovering he's not a rogue after all forces her to question her own mission. When Faye learns her stalker is another nephilim who intends to use her to breed a new race of hellish beings, teaming up with Nathan may be the only way to prevent a genocide.


We are all guilty of sin every now and then, but at Hell's Leak, your sins can be branded onto your soul... 

Bob is lazy and his old habits that once made him a loveable if odd "character" have finally run off all his friends. Stuck in a lifestyle full of selfishness and sloth, he can't really figure out what went wrong in his life. Getting a tattoo seems the perfect thing to help him start up conversations, impress new friends, get a girl or two into his bed. But entering the small tattoo shop on Sixth Street called Hell's Leak proves to be more than egotistical Bob expects. His new goat tattoo is not just visually impressive--it can walk, smoke cigars, and sounds a little like George Carlin. The problem is that it won't shut up and makes suggestions that slowly drive Bob insane. How far will he go to quiet the tattoo that now marks not only his skin, but his soul, too? 

Feed Your Soul is one of several short companion stories to Mary Ann Loesch's book Nephilim featuring Nathan Ink and his infamous tattoo shop, Hell's Leak.


Envy. It's one of the most common Seven Deadly Sins. For Karen Robison, it's a way of life. Vile thoughts. Trash talking. Gossip. Karen doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut. When she sits down in Nathan Ink's chair at Hell's Leak, she discovers that her own lies and envious deeds are about to be sewn up in a neat little package.

Sort of.

Step inside Hell's Leak, my friend. Nathan Ink doesn't just mark up your skin with a tattoo. He brands your soul.

Silenced Envy is a short tale in the Hell's Leak series which features Nathan Ink, a character in the novel Nephilim.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

All Things Writing is Open to Guest Bloggers

As the title implies, we are once again open to guest bloggers! Feel free to follow the guidelines listed below and on our Guest Blogger page to submit your work.

YOUR PIECE MUST BE ABOUT SOME ASPECT OF WRITING! Yes, I'm shouting at you. But one of the things I really got tired of were people telling me they wanted to write about cars or roadshows. Awesome. You go do that. But this blog is about the process of writing and/or publishing. If you can't figure that out based on our prior posts, then you haven't done your homework!

If you are interested in becoming a guest blogger, contact Mary Ann Loesch at maryannloesch@hotmail.comBe sure to put All Things Writing-Guest Blogger in the subject field. This is a must! I've had some clever spammers just put "guest posting" in the subject line and will no longer open anything in my mail that does not say All Things Writing-Guest Blogger in the subject line. When you email me, I would appreciate it if you would double check your message before hitting the send button. When we get emails with lots of grammar mistakes and odd spellings, we tend to ignore them. After all, if you can't write an email, how will you write a blog piece?

We do not offer financial compensation to our guest bloggers.

A few tips:

1. Be ready to submit your guest blog to us 3 days before it will go live.

2. Please check it for grammar and punctuation errors.

3. You are welcome to include a personal bio, website link, and picture of yourself or book.

4. We will promote it on Twitter and Facebook, but in order for the most amount of people to see your work, be sure to promote it on your website/blog/Twitter/Facebook page.

5. Relax and let your voice come out in your writing! We will moderate all comments.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Beta Readers Can Strengthen Your Novel

Finishing a novel is like giving birth.

It's messy, painful, and something you can't put back once it's done. That bad boy is out there, waiting in all its afterbirth glory to be read by the masses!

However, giving birth doesn't have to be messy or painful--at least, giving birth to a novel doesn't! After all, they say that if you've done it once, you know what to expect the second time around, right? You've learned so much from Baby No.1!

When you're an indie author, you have to really pay attention to feedback and figure out how to refine your processes for the next book. One of my favorite little tricks is to employ the help of Beta Readers!

Beta Readers are those special people who love to read. They often can be convinced to read an early draft of a work and provide you with feedback. Some authors hate sharing their early drafts with anyone, but I disagree. I think once you've gotten your manuscript up to the 3rd or 4th draft, it's time to let someone else take its temperature and see what's going on.

Here are a few reasons Beta Readers can strengthen your novel:

1. Another set of eyes. We all make mistakes and sometimes skip things that should be obvious. A misspelled word, a badly written sentence or gasp!--an unresolved plot point. I'd much rather have a Beta Reader catch that than some Amazon reviewer who is all set to tear me apart.

2. Too much back story! Don't you hate it when you send your work to an agent or small press and they say things like, This was good but there was too much back story. Back story can be the kiss of death on a novel. It slows down the pace and takes the reader out of the tale. Having an early reader make you aware of this can save a lot of time for you and future readers.

3. Different Point of View. Authors get so immersed in their work that they can only see things in one way. Sometimes just having another person point out a different idea or direction for a particular plot point can trigger a new stream of creativity and strengthen a story line.

Who should you ask to be a Beta Reader? As I mentioned earlier, choose people that love to read and read a lot in the genre you're writing. After all, that will be your target audience eventually. When I'm scouting for people, I usually send something out on Facebook or even Twitter telling people that I'm interested in a Beta Reader for whatever genre novel I'm working on. They should private message me if they are interested. Goodreads also has several forums where Beta Readers gather and you can post your genre and book info for them to peruse.

Be careful about only choosing family and friends as Beta Readers. Those are the people who make good cheerleaders, but also want to protect our feelings. It can be harder for the ones closest to us to be honest. Try to get people you don't know as well for an objective opinion.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Wolf and the Highlander by Jessi Gage--a Review

Mmmm.....dirty, sweaty, well built men in kilts....that's what I think of when I think of Jessi Gage's Highlander series. I got to read her fabulous first book Wishing for a Highlander (click here for review) and just fell in love with her writing style. Luckily, she allowed me a sneak peak at her second book in the Highlander series called The Wolf and the Highlander.

So was it more sweaty men in kilts that make your toes tingle? Actually....nope! Big, well hung wolf men from another realm who appreciate women for all the right reasons--that's what awaited me in this exciting sequel!

Now before you start thinking "Oh, it's a werewolf book" let me just stop you right there. It is and it isn't. I found that the male characters were not your traditional werewolf stereo type. There was no "light of the full moon" craziness. They kinda just were always...wolfy. And apparently very hairy. Like Tom Selleck hairy in his bare chested Magnum P.I. days. They're the kind of hairy that makes your motor rev and your toes tingle!

Here's a quick plot synopsis: Anya (the bad girl from Book 1) is now crippled. Both of her legs were broken in a dramatic fall and everyone in her village assumed she was dead. However, she recovered with the help of a friend and decided it was important to return home, admit her wrong doings, and hopefully, not be put to death in the process. It's a gamble, but she wants to redeem herself. Of course, redemption does not come easily. Before she can ever ask for forgiveness, a magical box (the same one that caused all the trouble in Wishing for a Highlander) whisks her away into another realm.

And let me tell you what...this realm is sorely lacking women. Especially breeding women. The last chick born in that realm is pretty old so when a woman like Anya enters the picture, she causes a stir. In this case, it's the wrong kind of stir, and Anya is almost taken by some really nasty wolf guys who do not have any sort of honorable intentions. Lucky for her, she is rescued by Riggs--and apparently he is walking sex on a stick!

Together they escape from the bad guys and head towards the city where King Magnus is waiting for them.
A long time ago, the king had a dream about a girl who would come and save his kingdom. She would have distinct marks on her and carry a special stone.

Guess what? Anya fits the description and she happens to have a special stone that allows her to understand the language of the place she is currently in. Riggs is pretty sure the King will want to claim Anya as the mystery girl in the picture. But there is a catch...Riggs wants to claim her, too--even though he knows it's wrong.

Mistaken identity, revenge, sexual heat, and some supernatural shenanigans really set this story rolling along. I read it in one sitting and can't wait for Jessi Gage to write the third one! The characters were well developed and very human. I didn't like Anya in the first book and wasn't sure how the author would be able to redeem her. But she did! By the end of the book, I was rooting for Anya to have a happy ending. Riggs is a great hero. Strong, confident, but always trying to do the right thing, Riggs tugs at your heart strings and gets your blood flowing in all the right places. I had my doubts about King Magnus, but once again, I was surprised at how his character turned out. I really hope he will be the main character in the next book. I need to know what happens to him and his newly found love interest.

Let's talk sex....yep. There is some. It's good stuff, too. There was lots of build up to the big moment, but definitely worth the wait!

Overall, this is a fast paced, fun read! Can't wait for the next one! Ready to get your copy? Click on the links below!

All Romance eBooks