Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Darling Donnell

DONNELL ANN BELL AT THE GOLDEN NETWORK RECEPTION



















(left) RITA award winning Young Adult author Rosemary Clement-Moore, Margie Lawson, Jean Willet, Angi Morgan and Donnell. (right) Donnell, Lynda Bailey & Jean Willett.

Thanks, Angi, you and the wonderful women pictured above have always got my back ;) and I so appreciate your lovely header.




What's the one thing you learned at conference last year you wish everyone knew?





DONNELL: Wow, why do I get the tough questions? I learned so much being a two-time Golden Heart finalist. The first time, I earned the GH nod, I walked around with that try-to-be savvy, try-not-to-impersonate-a-deer-in-the-headlight-look. And it wasn't even the harsh-element experienced deer either, darn it. For this Colorado girl, I wore a corralled *rein* deer expression. Rudolph had nothing on me.

So what have I learned from conferences? That you have to *make it what it is.* If you go there clutching for your comfort zone and your friends' shirtsleeves... Big mistake. Get out there. Walk up to people, introduce yourselves. Try to engage colleagues in conversation.

You'll find that most people are just that--people. Don't monopolize the conversation, of course. Ask them about themselves. Find out what they write. If you know and love their writing, let them know about it. If you don't know what they write, tell them you'll have to check out their books, and then make a point to do so. Show them you mean it and write down their title's name or ask them for a business card. Then slip them one of your own, and say let's keep in touch.

Most of all, have fun!





Networking is our friend in this business. Pictured below with me is my buddy Joelle Charbonneau who was one of our first bloggers at GET LOST IN A STORY. Below Joelle is my fabulous critique group and the flowers they brought me when I sold.




















Back row: Jude Wilhoff, Sharon Silva & Karen Fox
Jodi Anderson, Pam McCutcheon aka Parker Blue & Angel Smits



DEBUT BOOK
TITLE THE PAST CAME HUNTING


Bell Bridge Books
ISBN:

Available September 15, 2011



My promo will be short and sweet right now, dear readers, because the fabulous minds at Bell Bridge Books are working on a title for my debut book (formerly Walk Away Joe). With each new day, I learn something amazing about the publishing industry, and how much *work and creativity* is behind it. I couldn't have sold to a more hands-on company that supports its authors. We're kind of like the story of the three bears right now... We want everything to be .... just right.

To name a few of my Bell Bridge cohorts, the fabulous Parker Blue, author of the very successful Demon Underground series, Ken Casper, author of As the Crow Dies, Lisa Turner, author of A Little Death in Dixie, which recently grabbed # 1 Book on Amazon.com !! these are just a fraction of the talent that surrounds me. To learn more about their releases and those of others, check out http://www.bellbridgebooks.com/

Then, when it's my turn, I hope you'll share in my uncontainable joy as I have my outstanding blog partners at Get Lost in a Story. September's just around the corner. The book was already special. Bell Bridge has made it extraordinarily so.



YOU CAN FIND DONNELL AT:

Her website, Facebook Twitter, @DonnellAnnBell & blogging on Five Scribes.


GET LOST WITH THE CREW
Leave a comment this week and be eligible for Gift Cards or Books from The Crew and other autographed books they pick up at conference. Drawings to be held on July 4th.

Donnell is adding to the prize pool by donating a $15.00 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift certificate (one lucky commenter's choice.)

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

TODAY'S QUESTION:
Let's talk heroes: Alpha, Beta or somewhere in between. Who's your favorite hero and why?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Angi's Best Moment Ever

The BEST Part of Conference

Would it surprise you to find out that the best moment of my 2010 conference wasn't winning the RWA Golden Heart?









It certainly wasn't scooting around conference on crutches after knee surgery.







It wasn't being the winner who took her husband on stage to accept the award. Or even getting kissed and having it on a super-intensely large screen.


And I'll be honest, it was not sitting in my room most of the time, working on the second book which had a deadline the day after conference was over. (Although, having the second sale before conference was absolutely awesome!)


I loved seeing all of my friends,


loved all the congratulations,


loved the receptions,




loved the certificates,

loved the book signing,













loved the "boot out" ceremony,
...but those still weren't the best moment.The best moment wasn't becoming a part of the Intrigue Authors Gang. (Let me tell you, these gals are a blast and so suppportive and know how to have a great time.)


And the Harlequin Company throws a heckofa party...with their own signature martini (yum). But even the dancing, unbelievable food, second and third martinis were not the best part.


After all was said and done...


After I'd won the Golden Heart at aproximately 8:45...


While I was refusing to say goodbye to my "one person"...

One of my Unsinkable sisters pulled something up on her phone.
There, on the screen, was a picture of a book...

MY BOOOK !



Hill Country Holdup...






It had gone on sale at midnight.


After all the hard work, long hours, and years of hoopla, the world could finally buy my story. The story I believed in. The story that made all the HOOPLA possible. THAT was my bestest moment of 2010. BOOKS

HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP
Harlequin Intrigue
ISBN: 0373694997


.38 CALIBER COVER-UP
Harlequin Intrigue
ISBN: 0373695292



I was so excited about the UK picking up both of my books for publication. For Hill Country, I found out when the books arrived on my doorstep. And for .38 Caliber, a friend from New Zealand sent an email.

After winning the 2010 Series Suspense & Adventure Golden Heart, I have been honored that Hill Country Holdup was nominated for the Romantic Times Best Series First Book. It's also been nominated for two Booksellers' Best Awards: Best First Book & Best Short Contemporary.



YOU CAN FIND ANGI AT
Updates, old blog posts, book info & trailers -- all on my website AngiMorgan.com
including A PICTURE A DAY
Facebook: chat with me: Angi Morgan & LIKE my author page: Angi Morgan
Follow me on Twitter: AngiMorganAuthr
Blogging regularly at eHarlequin.com Intrigue Authors Blog
& Blame It On The Muse
Contact me directly at Angi@AngiMorgan.com

GET LOST WITH THE CREW
Leave a comment this week and be eligible for Gift Cards or Books from The Crew (or autographed books they pick up at the conference). Drawings to be held on July 4th.

Angi is adding to the prize pool by donating an autographed copy of .38 CALIBER COVER-UP & several autographed books she's picking up this week at conference.

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

TODAY'S QUESTION:
DO YOU kiss in public?


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Heather’s Wild and Wacky 2010 RWA Conference Adventure

This week, in fact this very moment, many romance authors (myself included) are in New York at the annual Romance Writers of America® conference. Though I’m writing this post in early June, long before I’ve even left KS, I can tell you for certain that whatever I’m doing in NY on the day you’re reading this is quiet and calm compared to my conference of last year.

Last year’s conference, for me, was one that I will always remember as a highlight of my career…and most of what happened was WHOLLY unexpected and left me rather dazed (as you’ll no doubt be able to see by the photographic evidence that follows).

You see, last year I was a Golden Heart® finalist (along with fellow GLIAS’ers, Angi, Donnell, Maureen, Cat and Jillian)—which for those of you who don’t know is the largest unpublished romance writing contest in the country. So I expected to be busy with GH activities and to have plenty of fun at the conference, just because of that. But, unlike other GH finalists (some of whom had already snagged agents and sold books), I hadn’t even queried my book out until June, and hadn’t heard back from any agents yet other than two rejections—though I had gotten a few full requests. I was kicking myself for not getting on top of things sooner and for wasting my Golden Heart opportunities.

I was also a finalist in the Hearts Through History’s Romance Through The Ages contest and the Kiss of Death’s Daphne Du Maurier, both of which announce at RWA’s conference, so I did have those parties to look forward to. I arrived in Orlando a couple of days early for some vacationey goodness before putting my conference face on, expecting a nice, sleepy conference, not expecting to win any of the 3 contests I was a finalist in and not expecting any agent attention at all.

But then…two days into my little vacation, I got an e-mail from an agent I loved…she’d just finished my book and wanted to meet with me when she flew into Orlando. Could I meet her Thursday? OH. MY. GOODNESS. I jumped up and down with my roommate then replied calmly that of course, I’d love to make time for a visit. Then I squeed like crazy! I might be getting an agent offer at conference!

THURSDAY, JULY 29TH
That afternoon, I met with that absolutely lovely agent, who did make an offer. I was SO excited. I remembered my training, letting her know I had several fulls out and would like some time to consider the offer, and walked away from that meeting on air, returning to my room to get ready for the 3 events I was running between that night, including the two awards ceremonies.

Then, all wonderful and amazing heck broke loose.

I went to the Hearts Through History shindig, where Sweet Enemy ended up winning not only my category (Georgian/Regency/Victorian) but the overall Best of the Best. I was shocked. But not nearly as much as when the agent who judged the contest showed up to announce the winner herself AND then proceeded to make a public offer of representation in front of the entire room, declaring herself willing to get into a ‘monkey knife fight’ to represent me.


Me and agent Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency

Can you see the dazed surprise in my face? I'm so frazzled, even my hair is sticking out on the side! I thanked Barbara and the lovely people at Hearts Through History profusely, then told them I was sorry, but I had to run, as I needed to make it to the Daphne.

Arriving at the Daphne Death by Chocolate affair, I arrived to find that word of that very public offer had already spread and was greeted by a third lovely agent (who was also one of the Daphne contest judges) who said, “So I hear I’m going to have to get in a monkey knife fight?” I didn’t even know she’d been interested… I did go on to win the Daphne in my category (historical romance mystery), at which point I look back to the back of the room to see Barbara Poelle jumping up and down and cheering, even though she wasn’t my agent yet. I have to admit, my heart melted a little at that moment.




I look even more dazed at this point…at least I'd thought to re-tuck the hair.

FRIDAY, JULY 30th
I awake, wondering if yesterday was a dream. But by noon, I have two more agent offers by phone, and I’m off to meet agents Barbara Poelle and Holly Root for a charity luncheon I’d bid on (to support flooded Nashville, TN). At lunch, as part of the bid, they both deigned to wear Fez’s blinged out with “I (heart) Nashville and Heather Snow”. At lunch, Barbara and I get to know each other a little better and a good time was had by all.






SATURDAY, JULY 31st
By then, I’m spinning. I totally lose the Golden Heart to the lovely and talented Elisa Beatty, but I’ve met so many wonderful people and I know that I will be leaving Orlando in a much different place in my career than I was when I arrived.





Me with GH winners Elisa Beatty and Erica O'Rourke




Me with critique partners, Avon author Katy Madison and 2010 GH Finalist Elizabeth Burke






Me with my beautiful Mom, who flew to Orlando as my date, while hubby and son stayed at home.



When I returned home, away from all of the craziness, I weighed my different options (I’d received a few more offers by then) and did choose Barbara, for her smarts, her enthusiasm and her absolute determination to win me as a client. And I’m so glad I did. Within two months of conference, my book was sold—along with two others and away we go. "Sweet Enemy -- A Veiled Seduction Novel" will be available February 7, 2012 from Penguin/NAL Signet Eclipse!!!

This year, I’ll be wearing my first sale ribbon at the RWA Conference, and I expect to have a lovely time and meet tons of wonderful people and catch up with others I’ve met before. But I can’t imagine ever having another conference like the one I had in 2010.

But I sincerely wish a conference like that on other hopeful writers in 2011 and beyond…


DEBUT BOOK


SWEET ENEMY: A VEILED SEDUCTION NOVEL
Penguin/NAL Signet Eclipse
ISBN-10: 0451236106
ISBN-13: 978-0451236104

Available February 7, 2012


YOU CAN FIND HEATHER AT
http://www.heathersnowbooks.com/
www.Twitter.com/HeatherSnowRW
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorHeatherSnow



GET LOST WITH THE CREW


Leave a comment this week and be eligible for Gift Cards or Books from The Crew (or autographed books they pick up at the conference). Drawings to be held on July 4th.
Heather is adding to the prize pool a $10 gift certificate to bookstore of winner's choice, as well as three random historical romances... Next year, she'll be able to give out signed books of her own, though!

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


TODAY'S QUESTION:

WHO is your favorite historical character (fiction or otherwise)?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Maureen Does Orlando

RWA CONFERENCE 2010


The 2010 Golden Heart Class known as THE UNSINKABLES at The Golden Network reception. Angi Morgan & Maureen (right).



Linda Lovely, Maureen and YA author Linda Gerber.


Beth Andrews, Angi Morgan & Maureen at the 2010 Golden Heart/RITA nominee reception. Beth was also in Maureen's 2007 GH class -- the '007 Bond Girls and won a RITA a couple of days after this photo was taken.

THE CREW ASKS: What was your favorite part of the 2010 RWA National Conference?


MAUREEN:

Hands down, the RITA night. I didn't win my category but it was so fabulous to see so many friends walk up onto that stage, including fellow bloggers, Angi Morgan and Cat Schield.

But the real thrill for me was my critique partner and long-time BFF Molly O"Keefe winning a RITA!

Here are some snaps from that night.





Eileen Rendahl, (aka Eileen Carr), kissing Molly O'Keefe who's holding her lovely RITA




The gals from the Drunk Writer Talk blog (missing the elusive Sinead M.) celebrating in the lobby. Maureen McGowan, Molly O'Keefe, Eileen Rendahl, Stephanie Doyle.




A close second for favorite moment has to be the the Harlequin party. I was so lucky that I got an invite. What a fun night.

Here's me at the party with Harlequin Historical author, and critique partner, Ann Lethbridge who also won a published Daphne that week!




And one with Harlequin authors: Molly O'Keefe, Brenda Harlen, Stephanie Doyle and Ann Lethbridge admiring the lovely flower arrangements.




DEBUT BOOKS










CINDERELLA: NINJA WARRIOR
Silver Dolphin Books
ISBN-10: 1607102552






Young Adult







SLEEPING BEAUTY: VAMPIRE SLAYER
Silver Dolphin Books
ISBN-10: 9781607102564

Young Adult








WHERE TO FIND MAUREEN
Website
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Drunk Writer Talk blog

GET LOST WITH THE CREW

Leave a comment this week and be eligible for Gift Cards or Books from The Crew (or autographed books they pick up at the conference). Drawings to be held on July 4th.

Maureen is adding to the prize pool one signed copy of each of:
Cinderella: Ninja Warrior
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer
The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

TODAY'S QUESTION: When you were twelve, what was your favorite book?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's Conference Week & We're Celebrating

Romance Writers of America is holding their annual national conference this week in the shining Big Apple. A little over a year ago, the 7 women who form The Crew of Get Lost In A Story barely knew one-another. But then on March 25th we all (with the exception of our lovely Simone) got a phone call that congratulated us on our final in the RWA Golden Heart contest (an International contest for unpublished writers of romance).

What can be better than that phone call? THE CALL. Shortly after or even before, all 7 of us received THE CALL from our soon-to-be editors asking if we would accept a contract of publication.

Time flies when you enter the publishing world...and we thought we'd share some special moments from our past year. Conference, finalists, winners, books published, about-to-be published, multi-contracts, and most importantly...new friends.

So stop by each day this week to catch up with a different member of The Crew. Remember, 6 of us are at conference and may not get to chat all day, but leave a comment anyway. You'll be entered into the drawing on July 4th where we'll give away several books and prizes.

GET LOST WITH THE CREW
Leave a comment this week and be eligible for Gift Cards or Books from The Crew or from autorgraphed books we snag at conference. Drawings to be held on July 4th.Books to be drawn:
Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance
Angi Morgan's .38 Caliber Cover-Up
Maureen McGowan's Cinderella Ninja Warrier & Sleeping Beauty Vampire Slayer

Cat Schield's Meddling with a Millionaire
Donnell Ann Bell will donate a $15.00 Amazon or B&N gift card
Heather Snow will donate a $10 electronic bookstore gift card
Simone St. John
G. Jillian Stone

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Don't forget to LIKE Get Lost in a Story on Facebook or FOLLOW us on Twitter. You can catch a glimpse of our daily guests by signing up on the notification-only loop: BloggingForRomance-subscribe@yahoogroups.com along with many other romance bloggers.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Misty Evan

Get Lost with Misty Evan's Soul Survivor

Hello Get Lost in a Story readers. Today I'm delighted to bring you the award-winning and versatile Misty Evans. Author of two very successful series, her Secret Agent and her Witches Anonymous series, Misty's newest release Soul Survivor, Book One in a new series with Carina Press has just been released. Already rave reviews have started. Please welcome Misty as we let's learn lots of fun facts about her.















Their souls were bound for eternity…





Haunted by tragedy, FBI profiler Rife St. Cloud is driven to find the person who brutally attacked six women. Unfortunately the only survivor, Keva Moon Water, has no memory of what happened, and the evidence makes her the prime suspect.

Keva has waited a thousand years to be reunited with the man she loves, whose soul sleeps within Rife. The only way to convince him she’s innocent of the murders is to awaken Rife’s memories of their love affair that started a war and bound their souls together for all eternity.

But when Keva’s own memories come trickling back, she realizes that a future with Rife depends upon confronting the mistakes of the distant past…





EXCERPT





Chapter One





Present Day





Wolf River, Oregon





Hundreds of Virgin Marys stared at Rife St. Cloud from every surface inside the old church, their serene eyes in direct contrast to the bloody bodies of the six dead women at his feet.





Staring at a grisly multiple homicide and running on less than four hours of sleep, Rife slid his car keys into the worn pocket of his jeans and wondered what he was doing back in Wolf River. What he was doing on the West Coast in general. This is what I get for taking a vacation.





Vacation or not, his mind automatically registered the stats of the six women as crime scene techs buzzed around them. All Native American with matching tribal tattoos depicting a quarter moon over waves above their left breast. All early to late twenties. Stab wounds and an assortment of symbols carved into the skins of five of the bodies who were staged to circle a sixth.





A ritualistic killer. Rife eyed the various wounds and estimated the depth and number of marks on each woman. Or just a disorganized one trying to cover his tracks?





A heaviness knocked him in the chest. During the past five years as a profiler for the FBI, he’d seen a lot of brutality, but he never got used to the sight of murder victims, especially women and children.





The killer’s weapon, a wicked-looking knife, lay on the stomach of the female in the center. Beautiful, even in death, the woman’s skin, sharp cheekbones and dark hair spoke of pure ancestry. Chinook? Makah? Tribes existed throughout Oregon, but few pure bloods lived in Wolf River. Unlike the others, she had only one small carving on her breast, in the shape of flames. Thin, bloody lines intertwined and partially encircled her tattoo as if a fire were about to consume it. While she appeared to be the same age as the others, her tat was faded and showed an old wound—a single, shallow white scar cut through the center of the quarter moon.





The knife rested with its bloody tip pointing at her pubic hair. The killer’s signature?





James Chee, Wolf River’s police chief and only detective, snapped on latex gloves as he bent down to study the body. He’d had far more sleep than Rife, even though it was just before three on a Sunday morning. Pressing his fingers against her throat, Chee double checked for a pulse. “EMTs called it,” he mumbled, more to himself than Rife. “But I have to be sure.”





After a full fifteen seconds, he shook his head and lifted the knife off her stomach with two fingers, examining the ornate hilt. “Definitely not a spree killing. The wheel-spoke pattern with this one in the middle suggests a ritual of some sort.” His heavy sigh conveyed grief and pity. “Could be a hate crime. Possibly premeditated.”





Rife sunk his left hand into his other pocket. “Ritualistic killings are always premeditated.”





Chee bagged the knife and continued to examine it through the clear plastic. “No signs of forced entry or even much of a struggle. Suggests they knew the killer.”





Keeping his hands in his pockets, Rife examined the central figure in closer detail. Thick eyelashes balanced her long nose. Her throat showed several old bruises. Had someone tried to choke her previous to tonight’s killing? “Cause of death?”





Chee shook his head, the gray braid hanging down his back moving as he studied the woman along with Rife. His finger pointed to the flames. “Keva only has one obvious wound and not a mortal one. Coroner will have to call it.”





“Keva? You knew her?”





“Keva Moon Water. Owned the church and the grounds. Set it up as a sanctuary for some of her women kin from what I understand.”





Rife shifted his attention to the room, ignoring the crime scene techs marking blood splatter and snapping photos. He shouldn’t be here. At the crime scene or in his home town at all. But when a mass murder happened under Chee’s nose, and his grandson was sleeping—or not sleeping, as the case were—in the spare room in his cabin, Rife was going to be pressed into action. At least unofficial action. Truth was, he didn’t really mind. Anything was better than twiddling his thumbs. Killers didn’t do vacations and neither did Rife.





The usual trappings of the Catholic religion were missing, save the Madonnas, stained glass windows and the Saints carved in stone behind what had once been the pulpit. Instead, the immense room displayed the ingredients of a normal home: sofa, chairs, flat-screen. Plants with yellowing leaves lined an antique buffet. A women’s magazine lay open on a coffee table as if its owner had simply got up to answer the phone or get a soda. A stack of paperbacks stood next to a chair, patiently waiting to be read. One corner of the room was set up as an office, complete with computer, fax and several printers.





“They kept to themselves up here,” Chee continued unprompted. “The closest neighbors live half a mile away and gossiped about vandalism. Kids, probably. They thought she was a witch, gave her grief, but she never turned them in.”





A witch who collected Madonnas. Rife’s eyes went back and forth between the beautiful dark-haired woman and the solemn dark-eyed Virgins. From the primitive hand-carved wooden statues to the detailed oil painting in the nave, the Madonnas crossed the spectrum of antiquity and worth. In the mix, native artifacts stood out in bas relief. “Who called it in?”





Chee’s already narrowed eyes tightened. He pointed to a cell phone bagged as evidence and lying on a nearby table. “One of our gals here. Dialed 911, but only got part of the address out before the line was disconnected. Dispatch is county-run, but the woman working the phones put two and two together with the location of our one and only cell phone tower and the partial address. The bodies were still warm when I got here, but we were too late. They were all dead.”





The mew of a cat caught Rife’s attention. A fat gray tabby circled a pole as tall as Rife and carved from a cedar log. Rubbing against the totem, the feline made another circle before sitting on its haunches and staring at him. Rife’s gaze ran up the totem which depicted three females: a child raising her mother up above her head, and the mother in turn raising a grandmother above her. A fat raven head with enormous eyes and open beak topped the totem. A thunderbird. Traditional Northwest Coast art.





The mix of Native art with traditional Catholicism didn’t surprise him. Whether Indian or Virgin Mary, the thread was the same—the wisdom and power of women.





“A ritual killing in a church,” Rife murmured, jingling his keys. “Guess our guy’s not afraid of damnation.” The bastard also wasn’t interested in the numerous artifacts or computer equipment. Rife locked eyes with the cat. If only she could talk. “Sexual assault?”





“Not obvious.” Chee rose and paced around the other women, pointing at the symbols with his free hand. “From the amount of blood, our killer carved them premortem, but lack of struggle indicates they didn’t fight. Sure would like to know why.”





“Drugged, my guess.”





“Lot of that these days, even in this backwoods part of the world, but all of them?”





“Just be sure your techs bag all the cups, pop cans and glasses as evidence.”





The old man grunted with what Rife understood to be an acknowledgment before scrutinizing the naked bodies again. “What about the symbols? What do they mean?”





Glancing down, unease stirred Rife’s gut. The symbols in question were ancient. Too ancient for him, even with his extensive knowledge of native languages and religions. What bothered him more was the fact that disorganized criminals didn’t perform organized ritualistic killings.





Chee replaced the knife, examining the direction of the tip. “The killer sending us a message?”





Rife shrugged. “Who understands the mind of a killer?”





“You do, Mr. Profiler. That’s why I called you even before my CSU team unpacked their equipment.”





“It’s Special Agent to you,” he shot back with no enthusiasm. “And as you might recall, I’m supposed to be on vacation.”





“Yeah? How much wood you need to chop in August?”





Rife ignored the goad and the fact that Chee, like everyone else in Wolf River, knew every move he made. This wasn’t Virginia; this was his grandfather’s town. James Chee’s town. Rife had to get used to that.





Chee stepped outside the circle of death and handed the knife to a young officer to be added to the growing pile of evidence. He called out to a CSU tech hustling by, “You get a close up of Keva’s tattoo?”





“Six angles,” the female photographer replied. The click of her camera echoed in the high-ceilinged room as she shot pictures of an old communion table that now held an assortment of primitive Virgins. “You ever see a collection like this, Chief? Some of this is museum-grade stuff.”





Sadness warred with Rife’s unease as he stared down at Keva. Maybe it was the Madonnas. Maybe it was the fact that the women here were native like him. No matter that his training insisted he stay detached, this crime felt personal. The woman in the center of the circle was dead at the hands of a sick murderer. The Madonna Killer. He could see the headline in the Wolf River Sentinel now.





Who are you, Keva Moon Water? As usual, he found himself more interested in the victim than the criminal. A vague sense of recognition rippled through him. His grandfather knew her, but had never mentioned her, and Rife knew he’d never met her on any of his trips home to Wolf River. She certainly hadn’t grown up in town or gone to the dilapidated school house he had attended all those years ago. He had an excellent memory and would recognize her if she’d been part of the town’s landscape during his childhood. So why did he feel that ripple? Who was she? What sacrifices had she made to provide this sanctuary for her relatives and why did they need one? What had she, or her family, done to attract a violent, sadistic person?





Even as he turned the questions over in his mind, the real question nagging at him surfaced like a dead body floating to the top of a lake. When will I finally stop the killers that prey on the innocent?





To hell with vacation. He pulled his hands out of his pockets. “I’ll help however I can, Grandpops.”





The cat cried again in the corner of the room as if giving her approval. Rife ignored her and the light that brightened Chee’s dark eyes. He focused on Keva’s tattoo. Moon Water, he thought, again trying to place why that name rang a bell.





A muscle under her tat spasmed. Blinking, Rife told himself it was only the body’s natural response as death set in. Either that or he needed sleep. Nothing new about that.





But when he saw it spasm again, his gaze shot to her face. Her eyelids twitched and the ripple turned into a wave of pure adrenaline. “Holy shit,” he whispered.





Dropping down beside her, his fingers found a pulse at the base of her throat. As faint as the beat of butterfly wings, it stirred under his touch. He glanced up at Chee. “You said she was dead.”





“She is.” Chee’s eyes were wide as he stared at Keva. “You saw me double check her.”





Keva’s full lips parted, and Rife’s heart jumped with hope as she drew in a weak, shaky breath. Her eyes fluttered open.





“Get your EMTs back in here.” He smiled into the soft, Virgin-like eyes of Keva Moon Water. “She’s alive. Very, very alive.”













Buy from Carina Press: http://bit.ly/iH02Rt





Buy from Amazon: http://amzn.to/kDkoRJ





Buy from Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/lE5c10





Buy audio book: http://amzn.to/kBOrCo























DONNELL: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?





MISTY: Definitely would invite Lucifer from my Witches Anonymous series to dinner. Just think of the stories he could tell about Heaven and Hell!





DONNELL: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?





MISTY: Reviews are a mixed bag. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion about your story, but you, as the author, have to stay true to your vision of what the story is about. I love for readers to tell me they want more of something, and right now, book reviewers and fans keep asking me to make my Witches Anonymous books longer, so guess what? Spending time with Amy, Luc and Adam is a treat for me, so that request is getting filled.

DONNELL: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?





MISTY: Ace, my mortician turned spy, in the Super Agent series. I keep thinking about giving him his own book in that series or doing a spinoff series with him. He’s a hoot to write.





DONNELL: What is your favorite cheese?





MISTY: Parmesan. I grate it on everything!





DONNELL: Tea or coffee?





MISTY: Wait, where are the other choices, like tequila or whiskey? No alcohol? Oh, all right. Coffee.

DONNELL: (Right answer. Besides, GLIAS doesn't hold a liquor license.) What’s in your refrigerator right now?



MISTY: Let’s see, there’s Pepsi, wine, beer, and some limp celery. But there’s also left over pasta, plenty of fruit and veggies and a fresh tiramisu. I like to cook and bake, so I always have something tasty in the fridge.





DONNELL: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?





MISTY: I’d be a very good friend to anyone who wanted to make a contribution to my kids’ college funds.





DONNELL: (She's serious, Readers. This woman has twin boys.) Is Elvis really dead?





MISTY: Elvis who?





DONNELL: What is your favorite tradition from your childhood, that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?





MISTY: We have a new tradition, nothing big, but I make homemade pumpkin bread to eat on Christmas morning for breakfast. We also eat homemade cookies!





DONNELL: What does it mean to love someone?





MISTY: Oh, now you’re getting all philosophical on me. I’m not a philosopher, but I’ll tell you this: Love is getting up at two a.m.when the dog pukes so your husband can stay in a warm bed and sleep.





DONNELL: ;) What color would you make the sky if it weren't going to be blue anymore?





MISTY: Donnell, have you had your medicine today? Um, I guess, a cheery color, like pale yellow. Or maybe it could be rainbow colored. Yeah, that’s it. And unicorns would rain from the heavens!





DONNELL: (No meds. And I'm asking the questions, so there;) What do you do to unwind and relax?





MISTY: Read. Invite friends over for margaritas on the deck. Go to the beach.





DONNELL: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?





MISTY: The blank page does not bother me. One filled with crappy first draft writing…that’s another story. Editing is where I sweat bullets.





DONNELL: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?





MISTY: Fan letters! My favorite dream come true. ;)





DONNELL: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?





MISTY: I do all my writing in bed. Not because I’m lazy, but because I have back issues. But writing in bed is awesome. It’s my slice of heaven and my creativity soars there.





DONNELL: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?





MISTY: I love learning about the intelligence world for my super agent series. One of the coolest places I researched was Belfast’s historic Crumlin Road Gaol. I had a showdown there between the Deputy Director of the CIA and a couple of terrorists in Proof of Life. A fascinating place with lots of history, and the physical setting of a rundown Irish prison suited that climax perfectly.





DONNELL: What is your favorite kid joke?





MISTY: Q: What happens when it rains cats and dogs? A: You can step in a poodle!





DONNELL: Which era would you least have like to live in, fashion-wise?





MISTY: Early 20th century.





DONNELL: Most?





MISTY: I like now. Lots of cool bags, shoes and accessories!





DONNELL: Tell me how many hats you have in your home?





MISTY: Twenty-one.





DONNELL: (you seem very certain. I think you counted;) Dog person or cat person?





MISTY: Dog. Cat. Both.





DONNELL: Which is your favorite language other than your native language?





MISTY: I took four years of French and now I’m picking up some Italian just for fun.





DONNELL: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?





MISTY: 14th – 15th century Italy because of the Italian Renaissance.





DONNELL: What would you do if you had a time machine?





MISTY: Sleep more and doing some amazing research!





DONNELL: How much money does it take to be happy?





MISTY: Back to philosophy, huh? Okay, here goes. Enough to pay the bills, send the kids to college, have a yearly vaca to the beach and feed my shoe addiction once in awhile.





DONNELL: What question are you never asked in interviews, but wish you were?





MISTY: Will you run for president in 2012?





DONNELL: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?





MISTY: Rockstar!





DONNELL: What’s the first thing you do when you finish a book?





MISTY: Dance a jig, email my writing friends with THE END in the subject line and start the next book!





DONNELL: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?





MISTY: Barbara Streisand or Maya Angelou. Heart them both!









Today, Misty will be giving a copy of "Soul Survivor" to one lucky commenter.

Misty's question for Readers:
I write Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romantic Suspense, and sexy Paranormal Romance. Do you buy books based on genre or the author?

Misty is currently at work on the next books in both her series. She likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. To learn more about Misty and her books, visit http://www.blogger.com/www.readmistyevans.com or follow her on www.twitter.com/readmistyevans. To receive her bi-monthly newsletter, send an email to http://misty@readmistyevans.com/ or join her Yahoo! Group www.groups.yahoo.com/group/MistyEvansSuspense to receive news and announcements.

NEXT WEEK READERS, THE GET LOST CREW HAS A SPECIAL TREAT FOR YOU. MOST OF THE GET LOST CREW WILL BE IN NEW YORK. WE'LL BE DISCUSSING NATIONAL CONFERENCES, AND WHAT WE'VE LEARNED. SO STOP BY EVERY DAY. THERE WILL BE A TEST...AND PRIZES!!! ~ DONNELL





Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vicki Essex

Vicki Essex’s debut novel, Her Son’s Hero, will be released by Harlequin Superromance in July. With no clue about what she’s supposed to do now that she’s a published author, she turned to veteran author Mary Sullivan, whose book Beyond Ordinary is also being published by Superromance in the same month.


Maureen eavesdropped on their conversation, and here's an excerpt!

VICKI: Mary, I sold my book, and I’m kind of freaking out. The release is next month. I made bookmarks, I set up my website and social media sites, I organized signings, I’m doing some blogs…but it all feels so…CHAOTIC. What the #@$& am I doing?!

MARY: Vicki, HUGE congratulations on your first sale! It’s an awesome accomplishment. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath, sit back for a moment and remember that the most important work has already been done. You achieved an amazing goal by starting the book, writing it well, finishing it and selling it. As far as the list of things above that you are doing to promote it, you’re on the right track in every area!







Vicki Essex
VICKI: How do I get people to review my book?

MARY: Harlequin will send your books automatically to Romantic Times Book Reviews.
If you want to be reviewed elsewhere, you need to send out copies of your books yourself. There are many websites out there reviewing books. In the past, I’ve sent to Cataromance, All About Romance, and Fresh Fiction. There are also Dear Author and Smart Bitches. [If anyone reading this has other suggestions, we would love to hear them!]

VICKI: What do I do if I get bad reviews? What do I do if I get good ones? What do I do if there aren’t any reviews?

MARY: Learn from bad reviews, if you can. If they feel mean-spirited, curse a lot and then ignore them. Treasure good reviews—and quote them. This is a tough industry. Find your accolades where you can.

VICKI: I’ve never been to a conference in my life. I’m no good at talking to people face-to-face. I can barely talk to myself on a good day. Do I have to go to conferences? I can’t go to RWA this year, so I feel like I’ve missed out on a huge opportunity.

MARY: Vicki, I know what you mean about talking to people face-to-face. I might be the world’s worst networker, so perhaps not the best person to advise about conferences; however, there are many reasons to attend them. The RWA conference offers amazing resources for the published author—fabulous workshops and seminars.

If you sit at a lunch table with a bunch of strangers, you automatically have something in common to talk about. You are all writers. Most write romance, in a myriad of subgenres.

An easier way to break into conferences, though, is to attend a smaller regional Chapter conference, which might have only 300 or so attendees, rather than Nationals, which can feel huge and overwhelming. These are listed in the RWR Report. Choose one that offers the most workshops that address your particular needs in a rapidly changing publishing market.







Mary Sullivan
There are other conferences to consider attending—fabulous learning experiences—I’m thinking in particular of the NINC conference. You have to have published at least two novels to become a member, so something to keep in mind for the future.

You’ll have to make your own decision about whether to attend conferences at all. In this digital age, many people think that networking using all of the social media is enough. So, make your decision based on whether you would use a conference strictly for networking, or for broader motivations, i.e. to keep up-to-date on publishing trends, or to continue to work on your craft, or to actually meet some of those people you’ve ‘met’ only online. I think there’s a lot to be said for personal contact.
In the past two years, I’ve attended reader conventions rather than writer conferences because I love touching bases with readers.

I wouldn’t worry about missing this year’s Nationals. Regret is such an energy-suck and there are always more opportunities in the future.

VICKI: Am I still supposed to enter contests? Is there any point?

MARY: Entering contests is optional. Between entry fees and the cost of mailouts, it can be expensive. Entering, though, can be done for a number of reasons. Contests offer the chance to get your work in front of different judges, and if you are lucky, maybe increase interest in you and your writing. The following are from my own experience.
Judged by Reviewers: RT Book Reviews decides on their own finalists using feedback from their reviewers. The author has no influence. You receive a notification (I think for me it was email) that you are a finalist. It’s a lot of fun being a finalist at the RT Convention.
Judged by fellow published authors: The RITAs are wonderful, but a huge competition--so many entries, slim chance of ever being a finalist, sigh--but I send my books anyway.
Judged by readers: the RomCon Reader's Crown awards. Again, a lot of fun being a finalist at their convention.
Judged by booksellers and librarians: GDRWA Bookseller's Best contest. Nice to have both as fans.

There are many more contests available for published authors, including in various subgenres. Check them out in the RWR Report or on RWA’s website.

Category books are only available on shelves for one month (not counting ebooks), so what's the point in shelling out for the contest entry fees and postage if it doesn't come back as sales?


Yes, they are on the shelves for only one month. We're fortunate these days, though, that so many sales are made over the Internet, and this can continue long after hard copies are gone from retail stores.
Entering the contests gets my name out in a good way. After I won the Reader's Crown last year for Best First Book, Harlequin re-issued No Ordinary Cowboy for a full month in all Borders stores. Borders put them on an endcap with the cover showing, where they had a much better chance of sales than on the regular shelf with only the spine showing. Also, all the winners were interviewed on Borders' website, which generated a lot of interest. The number of visitors to my website skyrocketed.
My Amazon ratings on ALL of my books—not just the winning book—shot up and stayed up for a couple of months because some people were suddenly interested in Mary Sullivan books--and wondering who I was. After the Reader's Crown, my books moved into the top 100 Superromance sellers for a while despite not being current, which was fun. Even more fun was that No Ordinary Cowboy made it into the top 100 Canadian authors sold one day! It might have lasted only a couple of hours, but you can bet I hooted long and loudly about it!

These are AMAZON sales--Internet sales, which have nothing to do with the actual sales at Borders from the re-release of that book. Internet sales can continue long after your book comes off real bookstore shelves, but only if you are putting your name out there, one way or another—making readers aware that you exist, and that they should give your books a try.

I’m not handy with social networking, and I don’t give workshops or seminars, so I need to find ways that fit my personality for raising awareness of who I am. Entering, and I hope, being a finalist, give me a boost in that area.

VICKI: What am I supposed to do with these bookmarks I made? I mean, doesn’t it seem kind of weird to hand them out to people who are already buying my book?

MARY: So, you mean that you will hand them out only to readers who have already purchased your book, i.e. at booksignings? Here are more options for you to consider.
You can check out conferences that are put on by RWA chapters. Often, they will send out calls to the loops for promotional materials from published authors, to add to the goody bags they will hand out to attendees. Check whether that would include bookmarks and mail them a bunch.

Again, it won’t matter whether your book is already off the shelves. Think Internet sales.
I know that you’re booked for a booksigning when your book comes out. Ask the bookstore whether they would consider handing out your bookmarks whenever anyone purchases a romance novel—for say a full week before the booksigning? If the owner/manager is promoting the signing in any way, this gives the reader another chance to see your name and perhaps show up at the signing to purchase your book!

I’ve designed my bookmarks to list all of my books and the next two coming out, rather than just showcasing one current book, with room to add the next book after that, so it acts as a kind of oversized business card—people have a printed copy of my booklist—and I can continue to use it long after the current book has left the shelves.

I think it’s nearly impossible to draw a direct line between promotional materials handed out and actual sales. Do these items actually promote sales? Are they worth the per unit cost compared to the per unit royalty made on whichever sales they generate? I don’t think anyone really knows. [If anyone reading this has anything to offer in this debate, we would love to hear it! Any great promotional ideas out there?]

Vicki, I’ve enjoyed our talks. I’m looking forward to the two booksignings we’re doing together in Toronto.

For readers in the area:
On July 16th, we will be signing at the Coles Bookstore in the Cloverdale Mall, at 250 The East Mall, at the 427 and Dundas West, from 12:30—4:30.
On July 23rd, you can find us at the World’s Biggest Bookstore, at 20 Edward Street in downtown Toronto, from 2—6 signing our July releases.

We would love to see you there!

**Maureen's back** Hope you enjoyed a sneak peak into the life of a soon to be published author! Both Mary and Vicki will be back in the future to be grilled by the Get Lost in a Story team bloggers.

Come back tomorrow and get to know author Misty Evans!