Interview with Denise Turney from Off the Shelf Radio

How long have you been doing internet radio?
5 years

What made you start?
I emailed station directors/owners to schedule an interview to promote one of my books. When I emailed http://www.blakeradio.com/, the station owner asked me if I'd like to have my own show and that was that! God is beyond words awesomely good!

Tell us a little about your show and how to tune in
Off the Shelf is a global literary radio program. We feature writers, poets, television and motion picture producers, etc. Our focus is destiny fulfillment, global community, education and literary entertainment. Writers, readers and radio lovers can tune into Off The Shelf from 10-11 (New York City time) Monday - Friday. Our show airs at various times throughout the weekend at http://www.blakeradio.com/ on the Rainbow Soul Channel. See you there!

What advice would you give to people who want to be interviewed?
Believe in yourself and your God given talents. Confidence and appreciation for the wonderful creative gifts that we all possess shines-shines-shines through! Be yourself. Be engaging and have fun! An added tip to writers: radio is an excellent way to promote your name and your titles. Take courage and contact radio stations directly to land and secure interviews both on and offline and watch your readership grow! I believe in you!

What advice would you give to others who want to host a show?
Create a format for your show that speaks to the interest of your audience. Radio, whether on or offline, tends to have a broad audience. Anyone who finds the station, can tune in. Recognize the scope of your influence and use it with love and wisdom. Focus on your guests. Let them and their work shine while you hosts your shows. Put your guests at ease while you keep your audience in mind and ask the questions that hold the answers they want and will benefit from hearing. Have fun!
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Jennifer Mueller Interview

Tell us a little about yourself
As a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya a few years back I traveled quite a bit and now I just wish I was. A lot of the places I've written about I've been to, a lot of them I haven't. Rafting on the Nile in Uganda, living in a Montana ghost town, African safaris, European youth hostels, the Black Hills of South Dakota all fill my scrapbooks. Now a daughter takes up most of those pages, but I still travel in my head every time I write.That's the bio i like to use and I think it sums me up pretty well, I like to entertain myself visiting other places even if they are only in my head. I write mostly historical and if a few contemorary slip in, at least half are based in history in some way.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I didn't actually I was reading a series of books my freshman year of college that I thought was awful and thought i could write something better. I'd written for myself for close to a decade when my husband said you write so much you should try to publish. 40+ stories/books later here i am.

What was your first published work?
I Imagine Walking was the first paid one its now rereleased in a collection called The Odyssey and Other stories out at Romance at Heart, I had a short little thing online called Absolution on Apollo's Lyre was my absolute first.

Do you have anything coming up?
That's a loaded question. I have to say lots seeing as I have 10 publishers. In the next year there's A Wolf in Angel's Clothing the novel that I started writing back when I started its a historical Oregon Trail Tale, Mine Death and Hunting Death are stories of the descendant of the characters in A wolf In Angel's Clothing. Far from home is in the Byzantine Empire, Ancient Walls is a contemporary treasure hunt based on a lot of history. The Great Southwest by Rail, The New guy, are two little short erotic peices i have coming. The angel of ballyferriter is a rerlease of a contemporary Irish tale with an older hero and heroine.

What is your dream as a writer?
To entertain people oh and maybe have a book in print with a New York Publisher

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
I'm mostly in the e-book realm right now, several are in print through those publishers.

Is there anything you wish you had been told earlier in your career?
That promotion takes more time than writing does. Sad but true.

What advice can you offer writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
Don't listen to your husband if he says you aren't Hemingway. He didn't end so well after all.

Anything else you want our readers to know?
Just in April I've had 4 come out. Egyptian Days a time travel sequel set in Ancient Egypt, Behind the Mask a renaissance erotic short, Sweet Challenge with my 1920's story A Speakaasy Named Hell in it, The Odyssey and other stories is a collection of three stories. There are excerpts, reviews, and more at my website, http://www.jennifermuellerbooks.com/. Oh and be sure to stop by my free reads page and download a free copy of my newly updated cookbook, it holds 70 pages of recipes that I've used and come across in researching all my of tales throughout history and around the world.
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Jen Black Interview

Tell us a little about yourself
Though I sit at my desk and write almost every day it seems more like a pleasure than work. I was Library manager in a College of Further Education, where life was dictated by noisy students, the government, rotas and budgets, so today life is a blissful, peaceful time shared with my husband. Since we are both newly retired, we spend a lot of time traveling, enjoying our new found freedom. I write about the more interesting places on my blog: http://www.jenblackauthor.blogspot.com/ and I make comments there on how my writing is progressing.

When did you decide to become a writer?
It is difficult to say when I first decided to become a writer. It was more a secret ambition until I was well into my twenties, even my thirties. I studied Shakespeare’s MacBeth for A levels, read all those little footnotes and discovered how much Shakespeare twisted the facts about an early Scottish king to suit his play. Further research took me into a very colourful world that started my imagination flying in all sorts of directions, and since I could not forget it, I began, tentatively, and still secretly, to type out a story loosely based on the true facts. I guess you could say I became a writer without ever making a conscious decision to do it!
At the same time, I went to university as a mature student where I learned far more about that ancient world, and had the university library at my disposal for research. It was just a shame that precious time only lasted four years

What was your first published work?
I “wrote and re-wrote” that story for a good many years. It grew from 19 pages to something closer to 500 pages and then reduced to its current size. Looking back, I think I tinkered with it for so long because I did not have the confidence to take the next step – to send it off to an agent. Eventually I did, exactly at a time when historicals were not flavour of the month, and rejections followed. A small publisher in America took it up, and it is available as an e-book, and as print on demand
The Banners of Alba follows the adventures of Finlay mac Ruaidhri, a handsome confident young man whose well ordered world suddenly falls apart when Old King Malcolm's devious plots wreck Finlay’s hopes of the crown, and force him to throw in his lot with his half-brother Thorfinn of Orkney. His fiery temper and bitter resentment make him reject Thorfinn’s beautiful and headstrong sister Rada, and a desperate struggle for the crown ensues in a violent, exciting age slowly acclimatizing to Christianity yet still believing in love potions.
Dark Pool followed a couple of years later, and concerns a young girl kidnapped by Dublin Vikings. Finlay feels obliged to rescue her and take her back to Alba.
Since then I’ve tried my hand at contemporary romance. Triskelion Publishing accepted Shadows, which was great fun to write because I set it in an old watermill in France where we stayed on holiday. I gave the mill a couple of ghosts and a swimming pool. You can find out more about the storylines at my website: http://www.members.lycos.co.uk/jenblack/

What is your dream as a writer?
My dream is to be established as a writer, to be accepted by a UK publisher who will do the normal thing of publishing my work in hardback and then in paperback. Then I will smile every day, all day long. I do regret now that I started so late, because I think it takes time to do this.

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
I’m pursuing category romance at this point in time. It is a hard genre to conquer and requires a great deal of skill – far more than I thought necessary when I used to giggle behind the library desk with the other assistants way back in the seventies. We took turns to read passages aloud, and believe me, the genre has come a long way since then!
My first two attempts were turned down, though the second received a valuable critique and I have studied that closely while writing a love story set in the Canadian Rockies and another set in Northumberland in 1891. While waiting for a reply, I am now in limbo – and researching the 1540’s but without, as yet, a plot.


Is there anything you wish you had been told earlier in your career?
I’m still not sure I have a career, but I do wish I’d started sooner! The advice to write about what you know and get some life under your belt before you attempt to write may still be sensible, but it is also a little negative. Research can fill in a lot of the knowledge gaps and young people experience so much of life before they reach thirty these days that they must have a great awareness of human nature.

What advice can you offer writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
As for advice, I’m not the best person to ask! I’d say don’t leave it too late, start with a strong idea of what you are going to write, and from which angle, otherwise you are likely to go off on tangents and probably waste a lot of valuable time. Think about it for a while before you launch into the Page 1 here we go scenario. Get some points down on paper, have a plan. Then when you reach a block, which you surely will, you can consult you plan and see where you intended to go and hopefully where you deviated.

Anything else you want our readers to know?
They may not want to know, but they ought to know it’s a tough world to crack, and many writers never make a living at it. They say around 70,000 titles are published in the UK every year, and every publisher receives on average 2,000 submissions a year. Harlequin Mills and Boon receive 10,000 submissions a month. Be warned. Success is as much luck as it is hard work.
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Gracie McKeever Interview

Tell us a little about yourself, Gracie.
I’m a romance author with several cross-genre books under the umbrellas of erotic and traditional romance (i.e., paranormal, shapeshifters, interracial, bdsm, just to name a few of the sub-genres). I write in my spare time (in other words, every chance I get ) as I have a full-time nine-to-five. I like to spend the rest of my spare time with my family when I’m not vegging out in front of the computer or the internet or channel surfing on the TV .

When did you decide to become a writer?
It wasn’t really a conscious decision to be a writer. I’ve just always written and assumed it would always be something I would do in my life. I decided to write for publication some time in the early 1990’s when I began submitting my work. I had my first pieces (a short story and a novel excerpt) accepted in a genre magazine and a local newspaper, respectively around 1994. Several fiction and poetry writing contest wins, places and shows followed along with publication of some poetry and short stories in several small magazines before I eventually broke into e-publishing with my first novel, New Life Incognita, a New Age paranormal urban romance.

What was your first published work?

A mainstream short story entitled Forgiven. It was published in a, at the time, new genre magazine out of Colorado, and involved the healing and redemptive process of a young, widowed and suicidal policeman who meets with the mother of a boy he has killed and finally comes to terms with his survivor’s guilt.

What is your dream as a writer?
I think it’s pretty typical of most writers: to earn a living from my writing and be able to quit my day job .

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?

Up to now, most of my focus has been on novels and long fiction. I’ve recently gotten back into writing short fiction, where I initially started, and am looking at breaking into some anthologies—New York or small press. I’ve had one short story accepted for Zane’s upcoming Eroticanoir.com anthology Caramel Flava 2 towards this end, and have a second short work out for consideration in another short story anthology with another publisher. I’m pursuing publication specifically in erotic romance and erotica fiction opportunities as I’m enjoying writing the genre so much. Also, I have recently discovered and am enjoying the complexities of writing m/m erotic romance.

What are you working on now and/or name some titles that you have upcoming?
I just completed my second adult fairy tale and m/m erotic romance (angels/bdsm/interracial/reincarnation) entitled Zack and the Dark Shaft and have submitted it to my publisher for consideration in an upcoming anthology. I’m currently working on the fourth book in my The Matchmaker series, entitled Emilia’s Emancipation, with a fifth book planned (Taming Donna). Upcoming with Siren in the next few months are the third story in my Sisters of Emsharra series, Sentinel’s Hunger, which will be appearing in Siren’s Signature anthology and inaugural issue of Rapture 1 in mid-2007 alongside works by Siren authors Lara Santiago, Amanda Hilton and Emma Wildes. I’m really excited about this anthology not just because it’s my first, but because of the multitalented and diverse company I’m in . I have another reincarnation-themed title in Eternal Designs coming from Siren, also mid-2007 and in early-2008 my first adult fairy tale Nine Inches of Snow and the Ebony Princess will be appearing in A Siren Adult Fairy Tale anthology.

Is there anything you wish you had been told earlier in your career?
Oh lots of things, but mostly that rejections aren’t personal and I should look at them not as a negative or a door closing, but as a door opening on another, alternate opportunity. Of course, I learned to handle the rejection in the long-run, couldn’t help but to if I wanted to get published; it just would have been nice to have been prepared for the letdown (not that the rejections affected my desire to be published any .)

What advice can you offer writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
Don’t let your skills stagnate. Always look for opportunities to improve and perfect your craft and never rest on your laurels.

Anything else you want our readers to know?
Readers interested in learning more about me and my books can visit my publishers at Siren Publishing, Inc. (http://www.sirenpub.com), Awe-struck E-books (http://www.awe-struck.net) and Fictionwise (http://www.fictionwise.com), or visit my personal site at http://www.graciecmckeever.com. Readers can also check me out at http://www.myspace.com/graciecmckeever where they are more than welcome to friend me and subscribe to my blog (I try to keep it as up-to-date as possible ). I also publish a newsletter (The G-Spot) every two months and readers can sample an issue and/or subscribe here http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewNewsletter.asp?authorID=623 where they’ll be kept up-to-date with the latest in e-publishing, in generally, but specifically the latest news on my books and other writing projects. I also run a contest each issue and give away one of my books.

Thanks Jo, for having me at your blogspot and allowing me this opportunity to talk about myself and my books!
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Ciara Gold Interview

Tell us a little about yourself
I like to think of myself is a Renaissance woman in that I have many interests and talents. I sing, play really bad guitar, read, draw, paint, sculpt, sew, garden, cook, and I play a decent round of 42. When I'm not writing, I teach high school art and take care of my wonderful family.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I'd always dabbled at writing, but about five years ago, a very dear friend, Jolie Mathis, convinced me to write in earnest and here I am.

What was your first published work?
Celestial Dragon which became the number one best seller for Champagne Books for 2006.

What is your dream as a writer?
Oh man, this is a hard one. My first dream was to become published which has happened, so I guess the next hurdle would be to find a home with one of the larger publishers, then place on the New York Best Seller list. Ultimately, I want to be productive when I retire from teaching and what better way than to work at something I love.

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
Hmm, right now, I'm trying my hand at other genres besides Science Fiction Romance or Historical Western. I'm working on two short stories which is challenging as I'm used to writing full novels.

Is there anything you wish you had been told earlier in your career?
I always knew promoting myself would be part of the game, but I never knew just how much work it would require. I think I came into writing with my eyes open, but even so, there are still some facets that I wish I'd had more information on like promotion, and contracts.

What advice can you offer writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
No matter what obstacles stand in your way, persevere. Keep writing, keep honing your craft and keep networking. For all the writers out there, this really is a very small community. And above all else, keep a posititve outlook on life.

Anything else you want our readers to know?
Yeah. DH grills the best ribs in Texas. Okay, so that wasn't writing related, but give me a creative minute and I'll see if I can tie it all together. Ah ha, ribbons. A bit of a stretch, but (rib)bons tie things. Yes, even writers have their silly moments and it's way past my bedtime. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. You can find out more information and read excerpts of my books by visiting: http://www.ciaragold.com/
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Regina Paul Interview

Tell us a little about yourself.
I just moved from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA a year and a half ago. I have been writing full-time since the move because I got tired of the working in a cubicle, which I'd done for the last 15 years prior to that. I'm happily married to my college sweetheart, and we've been together for 19 years. When I'm not writing I love to read, create 3D artwork, and Native American Beadwork.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I've always been a writer. I've been scribbling stories since I was in gradeschool, and have been winning awards for my writing since that time. I made the decision to actually seek publication in 2004, when I discovered how easy it had become to self-publish with Print on Demand technology. I self-published first, and then began submitting to e-presses. My romantic suspense novella Destiny's Choices was recently released from Amira Press.

What was your first published work?
My first published work is my science fiction romance Getting Out Alive. It was released from Lulu Press Inc. July 2005, and is still available.

What is your dream as a writer?
My biggest dream as a writer is to create stories and worlds that entertain my readers. If I am able to do that, then I've done my job as a writer.

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
I'm working towards completing a fantasy/time-travel romance called The Keepers of Eternity, and an science fiction themed erotic romance novella titled The Children of Khartar: Leilani's Flight. I am also a regular contributor to Associated Content.

Is there anything else you wish you'd been told earlier in your career?

That I would need to have my marketing plan in place before the book was released from the publisher. Fortunately, in time for this latest release I had that plan in place, but you will find yourself racing to catch up if you don't have a plan in place first.

What advice can you offer writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
Be prepared to work very hard. A lot of people just beginning have the idea that your publisher does the marketing for you, and that just is not the case. They may help by putting out the occasional press release or setting up a book signing for you, but ultimately it is up to you to market your book. You are the one who is responsible for its success, or it not being a success. Read everything you can about internet marketing and take advantage of all the free opprotunities out there, of which there are many, such as joining groups where you can interact with readers and other authors for example. Also, be willing to diversify in order to make ends meet such as becoming a web content writer which is one of the ways I supplement my fiction writing income.

Anything else you want our readers to know?
They can find out more about me, my books, articles etc. by visiting my official webpages http://www.reginapaul.com/
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Linda Sole Interview

Tell us a little about yourself
I am a happily married woman who loves to write. I usually write historical romance for HMB but I also do sagas and now cosy crime for Severn House. I have a contemporary "sensual" coming out with Triskelion in May 2007. I live in England and my house is opposite a small wood. I can see some beautiful trees as I sit typing this, and the squirrels have a nest in a tree opposite me. I see them jumping through the trees often. When not working I love feeding the squirrels and birds in my garden. I also love going to Spain for holidays, where we walk, swim and sit watching people walk by in Marbella at our favourite restaurant. It is gorgeous with the sun shining on you, sipping wine and making up stories in my head about all the characters I see walking along the front. I enjoy people watching, as well as reading, watching good films and sport on TV – but most of all I am a writer.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I started writing when my beloved dog was ill. I didn't like leaving him alone for long periods and I was bored with my normal hobbies. I had always wanted to write from an early age, and as a child was forever making up stories in my head. My opportunity came when I had given up working as a hairdresser and moved to Cambridge. Once started, I couldn't stop.

What was your first published work?
The first book I had published was The Witch child/Lynn Granville/Robert Hale. It is set at the time of the Civil War in England and I rewrote it eleven times before submitting it. Although I wrote another three books as Lynn Granville, my second book was Devils Kin/Anne Herries/ Mills & Boon. The Witch Child was published in 1980 and my first M&B was a year or so later. My first mainstream book was published in 1990.

What is your dream as a writer?
I think just to continue getting my books published and be successful. At one time I was being published as Linda Sole by Century (Random House), and I did think I would like to be a best seller. Lovers & Sinners was my first book for them and it was successful, earning me quite a lot of money, but the next books didn't do as well and I got dumped. That was painful, but I fought my way back and started writing Historical Romance again, and then sent a book to Severn House. I have been with both publishers ever since.

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
I am hoping that my new crime series for SH may do rather well, but I am happy to be writing at least four books a year for HMB and a couple for SH. I shall probably do a few ebooks as well. I do have a book called Too Hot To Handle/Anne Ireland, coming out with Triskelion in May, and I may do another in a similar style: ebooks were something new to me a few months back and I have enjoyed all the new things I've had to learn to keep up with the genre. I may explore this further, though I am happy with my current position. As Anne Herries I sell well and get quite a few translations so that is a certain level of success. I would like to get into the mainstream flow with my crime series in paperback but it is early days, though the first has been well received by reviewers and sales are reasonably good. My publisher wants to crack on with the second so I know they are pleased.

Is there anything you wish you had been told earlier in your career?
I consider myself fortunate, because an editor from Mills and Boon took me to lunch early on in my career and talked to me at length. She said I had a lot of potential but at that time I needed to open windows in my mind. She was of great help to me and later she became my agent. It was because of her that I had some success in mainstream writing.

What advice can you offer to Writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
My advice to struggling authors yet to find a publisher would be to take some professional advice. If you can interest an agent it is a good thing because they have a wealth of experience to offer and can steer you in the right direction. Otherwise find a friendly writer who may offer you some advice or pay a consultant to read your book. If you send to a publisher and are accepted your editor will help you, and this is the best of all, but sometimes it is a while before you get that far and it can save heartache if you seek professional advice when you've done that first draft and before you send. Rejection is hard to take, though it is something an author has to live with, because we get them throughout our career. Even top authors still get turned down sometimes. Catherine Cookson apparently had several books that didn't work in her attic. The main thing is do not give up! I have had several rejections, but I just kept going and eventually I made the break through I needed. It depends on what your ambition is, of course. If you want to write romance there are a lot of openings in USA, many more than in UK. If you want to be mainstream you are going to have to work a lot harder, but if the spark is there you will probably get there in the end, providing you keep trying.
I think the most important part of writing is loving what you do. It isn't a get rich quick scheme, except for the rare few, and anyone entering into writing as a career should do it for love. If you get paid for what you do so much the better! If you write because you simply can't help yourself, as I and many others do, it won't be long before an editor somewhere falls for your work.
I am grateful for the opportunity to do this interview, and I hope anyone who reads it will enjoy what I have to say.
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Jo Linsdell- PROMO DAY! interview


What is PROMO DAY all about?
PROMO DAY! is an all day, online, international, promotional event for people in the writing industry. Blatant publicity is not only allowed but encouraged. There will be two chatrooms open all day (one for promo and chatting about books and one for writers to discuss the industry). There will also be a free downloads page packed full of files containing useful information about various topics related to writing, a samples page for posting examples of your writing e.g. a first chapter of your book which can then be discussed and reviewed during the event, a page full of links to useful sites for writers, a section dedicated to promo video’s/ book trailers, and more…

How did you come up with such an innovative idea to connect people throughout the writing industry?
I do a lot of my networking online. I’m a member of several writers groups and take part in the annual Muse Online Writers Conference. This experience combined with my ‘cheap ways’ lead me to thinking of ways I could use the internet to promote my books for free. As I have a good support network of other writers online through my various groups I thought it would be nice to help them too.

Is this event only for published authors?
No, it’s open to everyone. Published, self-published, new writers, publishers, editors, journalists, avid readers… everyone is welcome to join in the fun!

What are some of the exciting things people can expect to take away from PROMO DAY?
For one, it’s an opportunity for writers to promote their work and network with others in the industry. It’s also a possibility to get to know authors better and find out about new releases. With all the files for free download it’s a great way to learn more about the industry too.

Do you think we’ll see more PROMO DAYS in the future?
Definitely. I was originally planning on hosting the event every 3 months but with baby on the way I’m having to rethink my original plans a little. I'm thinking about making it an annual event now. Check http://jolinsdell.tripod.com/promoday/ for updates and information about the event.
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Laurie Sanders Interview

Tell us a bit about Black Velvet Seductions.
Black Velvet Seductions (http://www.blackvelvetseductions.com) is a small publishing company that publishes heterosexual romance of all types. The company, which was incorporated in April of 2005, was born as I was nearing completion of my own erotic romance novel His Perfect Submissive which incidentally is still not complete. As I looked around at the publishers that were then available for erotic romance I did not see one that was everything I wanted in a publisher. I considered self-publishing but quickly realized that if I were to self-publish it would require a huge commitment of time and money to promote my one book. I began to toy with the idea of making that commitment but using it to publish and promote books by other authors as well.
I spent the next several weeks thinking about what I wanted in a publisher and how I would incorporate everything I wanted into the publishing company I was devising in my mind. When I had a good idea of how I would organize things I discussed the idea with my business analyst husband Orville. He was excited about the idea. We spent several days trying to come up with the perfect name for our new venture and finally came up with Black Velvet Seductions. We were incorporated. I began to build the website, and continued to work on my manuscript. We sent out calls for submissions and got listed in Writer’s Market. The manuscripts began to trickle in…and then stream in.
In December of 2005 we released our first book, Jessica Joy’s Fool Me Once. Other books by other authors followed.

What role do you play in the company?
I am the CEO and handle most roles within the company. My primary roles are editor and director of promotion and marketing, though I also handle the Black Velvet Seductions website and newsletters.

What do you look for in a manuscript?
When I started Black Velvet Seductions the roles of editor and CEO were both new to me. Though I had read romance for more years than I care to admit, had written and published several pieces of fiction, and had edited a number of newsletters for organizations I had never been a CEO and had never acted as a fiction editor before.
The experience was daunting. When I received the first manuscript that needed a rejection letter I realized I didn’t really know how to write one. I had never received one, but there are samples available in books…and I adapted that, explaining in greater detail than the sample why the manuscript wasn’t right for us. When I received a thank you letter for the rejection letter along with the comment that it was the nicest rejection letter the author had ever received I figured I must be doing something right and we continued along that path. I never write form rejection letters. Even when a manuscript is not a romance my rejection is written to the author and is specific to the piece.
The line between a rejection letter and a revision letter is a fine one. To me a rejection letter is for those times when a piece is just not suited for us, and there is no hope of making it suited for us. The piece is a mystery and we publish romance. The piece is a sex manual and we publish romance. It doesn’t fit. There is no way to make it fit.
Revision letters are more along the lines of the piece isn’t right for us, but here are the ways you could tweak it to make it right for us.
What I look for in a manuscript are first and foremost, is it a romance? For us the relationship between hero and heroine needs to be the primary focus of the novel. If the novel is a romantic suspense the suspense element will also be a strong focus, but it shouldn’t overpower the relationship between hero and heroine. If the cover letter and synopsis lead me to believe that the piece generally fits our lines then I read the first few pages of the manuscript. Unlike most publishers I do not usually make a publishing decision at this point, though I might if the piece is written in first person (we publish no material written in first person), or if the piece has so far to go that it needs to be rewritten entirely. In that case, I will read enough of the manuscript to explain generally what the manuscript needs. If it comes back improved I will give some more feedback until it comes back close enough that it can be coached up to publishable standard.
Nine times out of ten the manuscripts that I reject are rejected because the point of view is not deep enough. The story is told versus shown through the viewpoint character’s viewpoint.
I look for manuscripts that pull me into the story, that make me feel what the characters feel. That is accomplished by using deep point of view, by showing the story, by skillfully weaving, sensory details, thoughts, feelings, and motivation, into the action of the story. The goal of fictional writing is to provide the reader a vicarious experience…to make them feel as if they are experiencing what the character is experiencing. I look for manuscripts that provide that.
When I find a manuscript that captures the characters and their thoughts, feelings, and experiences there is a sense of excitement because even if the spelling and punctuation is atrocious those things can be fixed. The author that can come up with a story that captivates has talent that can be honed. One who can write pretty words but who cannot convey a depth of emotion are more difficult and time consuming to teach.

What are the most common reasons for rejecting a manuscript?
The most common reason is that the piece falls outside what we publish. The author has sent a non-fiction book and we publish only romance. Or the author has sent a mainstream with a bit of romance but the romance is not a strong enough focus.
The second most common reason I reject a manuscript is that it is written in first person and we don’t publish any manuscripts at all in first person.
The third most common reason that I reject a manuscript is that the viewpoint isn’t deep enough. The story is told on the surface. I see people acting, hear them talking, but I don’t feel what they feel. The piece lacks the energy that comes with a piece told in deep point of view.
Manuscripts in the first two groups are hard rejections. They are rejections as opposed to revision letters. In most cases I do not recommend that people rewrite a manuscript in third person point of view for us, though there have been cases where authors have rewritten and gone on to be published with us. Toy’s Story: Acquisition of a Sex Toy by Robert Cloud is a great example.
Manuscripts I reject because they don’t grab me, which is 99% of the time a product of shallow viewpoint, are soft rejections---more like revision letters. It is an area where an author needs to develop some knowledge and skill in order to deepen the viewpoint. However, if they are able to do that then I am delighted to look at a revision.

Tell us a bit about the monthly newsletter?
The newsletter for writers really stems from my desire to be a positive part of the romance writing industry. I receive hundreds of manuscripts, a high percentage of which I have to reject either because they do not grab me or because there is some other problem with character, motivation, plot, etc. The newsletter is really a teaching instrument in that the articles in it (at least those I write) are designed to address the issues I see in manuscripts that I have to reject. I can’t teach each individual author how to rewrite their manuscript with deeper point of view. However, I can write articles which provide information which will help an author to deepen viewpoint, write stronger dialogue, craft stronger characters, or make an unsympathetic heroine seem likeable. It’s both a gift to writers and an investment in them really.

What do you offer authors who publish with you?
We are a small company. We do not publish a huge number of titles. We are much more interested in producing quality reads than in producing a huge number of mostly mediocre ones. We want every Black Velvet Seductions title, in every line we publish to be synonymous with class and quality.
For authors our reputation spills over so that being published with us is a symbol of accomplishment.
Black Velvet Seductions was structured to be very author friendly. Our contract is free of the cringe worthy clauses that tie up future books. Our royalty structure is straight-forward and easy to understand. We pay 50% of the price we receive on all ebooks. What we receive may vary as our books are carried widely in a number of different ebook stores including our own website, Fictionwise, ARe, AdultEbookShop, and Coffee Time Romance but the royalty rate for ebooks is always the same
We pay 10% royalties on the price we receive on all paperback books. Again, what we receive varies because our books are carried on a number of sites (our own website, Amazon.com, and Booksamillion.com) and are available to brick and mortar stores through Ingram’s and Baker and Taylor. We also sell direct to small booksellers who do not have accounts or who wish to order direct from us. Though we receive varying amounts for books sold through different channels the royalty rate for paperback books is always 10% of the amount we receive.
Though promotion is in large part an author task, I do as much promotion as I can to assist our authors. I set up BVS group chats on various email loops, I give away a lot of books and ebooks on behalf of authors.
Authors receive a great deal from us on the books they purchase for book signings. Though our contract stipulates that authors can buy books for 65% of the cover price I have for a long time sold them to them at 50% of the cover price, which makes better sense for authors. Most chain stores want to sell books at signings on a 50/50 commission. At 65% authors would go in the hole 15% of every book they sold, which is not a good outcome for authors…though it is a pretty common one in the industry.
One of the things that all of us at Black Velvet Seductions really treasure is the closeness we feel as a group. Most of us look upon Black Velvet Seductions as a family. We support and promote each other. The feeling of our company, from the top down is friendly, caring, and considerate.

Anything else you want our readers to know?
Black Velvet Seductions is committed to the communities where our authors, artists, and readers live and work. Recently I asked each of my authors to choose a non-profit organization that they would like Black Velvet Seductions to sponsor on their behalf. Sherry James, author of Studs for Hire: Woman on Top (and a horse lover) came forward with Epona horse rescue an organization that rescues slaughter bound horses and prepares them for adoption.
We will soon be announcing a joint promotion with Epona. We will be assisting Epona with some press releases and an educational campaign about the plight of horses which are still (in spite of recent legislation banning their slaughter in the US) sold in the US and transferred across the border for slaughter.
During the three month promotion we will be donating a portion of all sales from the Black Velvet Seductions website to assist Epona in feeding, sheltering and providing veterinary care for 49 slaughter-bound horses that they rescued from a feedlot in Nebraska.
We will be featuring the stories of some of these horses on our site. There will be buttons for visitors to make donations to the cause without making a purchase of any kind. Of course, when they buy a book on the site a portion of the sale will automatically go to the organization.
This area will not be live on the site until late May/early June. But I would like readers to be aware. In the meantime readers can visit the Epona site to learn about the organization or to make a donation. Their website address is: http://www.eponahorserescue.com/
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Ron Cooper Interview

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born 46 years ago in swampy Berkeley County, South Carolina, where I spent most of my time setting traps to ambush the truant officer. Despite that sorry start, I managed to fake my way through college and graduate school (BA College of Charleston, MA Univ of So Carolina, PhD Rutgers) and now am a college professor in Ocala, Florida, where I am tolerated by my wonderfully sarcastic wife and three disrespectful children.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I started writing dreadful poems when I was twelve, yet I found that girls really liked to hear me read them, so I kept at it until I was distracted by the study of philosophy. I published a number of essays in scholarly journals and a philosophy book, but all the while I read stacks of fiction and toyed with some ideas for a novel.

What was your first published work?
Heidegger and Whitehead: A Phenomenological Examination into the Intelligibility of Experience (Ohio University Press, 1993). Sounds fun, huh? My first fiction, though, was a short story called "Refrigeration" that was published a few years ago in Yalobusha Review. That really gave me confidence to continue writing fiction.

What is your dream as a writer?
I suppose I am living it, especially since my first novel, Hume's Fork, was just published by Bancroft Press. I have no dreams of fame, but I would like to say one day, "I am a novelist" without feeling pretentious.

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
I am working on a new novel, Purple Jesus, that I think will be completed by the end of summer. Then I have sketches for another one.

Is there anything you wish you had been told earlier in your career?
If you want to publish a novel, you probably will get no attention from agents and publishers unless you have otherwise published fiction. Work up a few excerpts from your manuscript into self-contained short stories and submit them to literary journals. Also, submit your manuscript to contests. With a publication or two (especially excerpts) and even an honorable mention in a contest, others will take note. At least a few agents and publishers recognize quality writing, but they all get passels of submissions, far more than they could ever read. Some assurance that someone else in the literary world thinks well of your work will at least get them to consider it.

What advice can you offer writers just breaking into a serious writing career?
The wheels of publishing hardly turn at all--in fact the tires are flat, the rims worn, and the tow truck broke down. Nothing is as important as patience. Besides, what's your hurry? While you're making those endless trips to the mailbox for another rejection letter, spend that time revising and researching publishers with whom you can work well. Also, like it or not, readers want to be entertained, not learn about your inner complexities as a sensitive artist. Telling a good story does not mean that you have to compromise your talent. Finally, do not listen to anyone who says that writing is easy, that you should "open yourself to the Muse," or that you must "let the words flow from you." Here's the truth: writing is hard, the Muse died with Virgil, and if something is flowing from you, you probably need medical attention.

Anything else you want people to know?
You can find out more about me and my work at my website: http://www.roncooper.org/
I would love to hear from you.
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Amber Rigby Grosjean Interview

When did you decide to become a writer?
The decision to be a writer came to me when I was only 11 years old. I was going through a lot of things at that time. I was constantly being teased and really didn't have any friends, not true friends. Once I found writing, I also found myself. It helped me get through the teasing so I could face my tomorrows and made me stronger as a human being.

What was your first published work?
The first piece I ever had 'published' was my poem My Family in high school. It was for a contest through Allen County Public Library for school ages kids in my area at the time. I was the only one who entered from my school, North Side. I won honorable mention which was the same as third place. All the poems, which won, was placed in a book and is only found at the libraries in Fort Wayne. I was very proud of that poem because it meant I made the first step of realizing my dream.
The first official publication though was my book, Cursed Blood, which was published in 2007 and released in Feb of the same year. My true lifelong dream was a reality.

What is your dream as a writer?
My dream as a writer is simple. To be read. It would be nice to quit my day job and only write as a living but that's another dream. I just want people to read my work and learn about themselves. Some of my work does have life lessons in them and I hope people can grow by reading them, maybe become a better person because of it. My first childhood was to save the world. I still would love to do that, with my writing. One person at a time.

What writing avenues are you currently pursuing?
Not sure I understand that question. If you mean what I write, I write everything. I don't want to be restricted in any way. I write horror (Cursed Blood, among other titles not finished), mysteries, adventures, non-fiction, children's stories, science fiction, and of course, poetry.

Is there anything you wish you'd been told early on in your career?
I wish I was told I could do it more often I guess. Support is a big deal for a writer, no matter the age. I encourage parents to believe in their children, no matter how obserd writing sounds to them. If it turns out to be a phaze, let the child go through the adventure and give them the support. It is very important to do that.

Any advice for new writers just starting out?
Never give up. Dreams really do come true! Look at me. 20 years and I finally did it with everything against me. I did it. If I can, you can too! Don't let anyone tell you its not going to happen, listen to your heart. If it says its right, go for it! You only live once!!

Anything else you want our readers to know?
Check out my website: http://rigbyamber.bravehost.com/
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