Monday, 25 April 2011

Desmond Haas opens Pandora's Box...well, kind of!

Today I am happy to welcome Secret Cravings author, Desmond Haas. Having only just met over the internet, Desmond has already made me laugh out loud several times as well as introducing me to his interview & website:

Over to you, Desmond!

Who’s Your Publisher?

One of my friends has shopped for an agent for more than a couple of years. In most instances, he hears nothing back, even though email takes but a minute or two. With his frustration level peaking, his words to me were, “I can’t even get anyone to read my book.”

He and I talk frequently and we’ve shared war stories. During one conversation, I asked if he had thought of publishing his back-list as eBooks and that question opened a dialectic on the contrasts between traditional publishing and electronic. We’re still sipping coffee and discussing our ideas.

However, the conversations opened a door on my thoughts. How do you find and contract with a publisher? If you’re putting your first book out ‘there’ for publishers to weigh and you get an acceptance, your emotions rise like a firecracker into the sky. At this point, all you care about is you’re going to be a published author--fame and riches await.

I have worked with three publishers over the past year. When I got a contract for my first book, Never Let You Go, I did a small happy dance and took my wife out to dinner to celebrate and with the second to the same publisher, we celebrated at home. Six months later, the dream of being a published author collapsed when the publisher failed--went out of business. I placed the two orphans at a new home within forty-eight hours, because of another writer I met online. It doesn’t always work like that.

The acceptance email burns so bright, it can obfuscate critical judgment. In the eBook industry, what constitutes a good publisher? What should you look for when comparing one against another?

1. Royalty: Too often, I hear of authors judging publishers by the royalty rate only, but this is only one part of the package and not the most critical criteria. Certainly money is a large motivator, but you need to stop and think of what’s important. If you have a publisher willing to pay a high royalty, it doesn’t amount to much until you sell books.

2. Cover:
Let’s make the book more attractive and work with the artist to create a fantastic cover image. Cover images can attract eyes, but the attention is fleeting and transitory.

3. Editing: Good editing helps, but can stymie sales if your book reeks of mediocrity and is infested with typos and poor grammar.

4. Distribution: This is the most critical comparative criteria. A publisher with agreements to get your book in many venues is far more important than all of the above put together. If the public can’t see it, they can’t buy it.

I don’t want to negate the importance of the first three items in this list as they are worthy criteria. Certainly you need to make money and you want to look good, but getting eyes on your books is what you want; is where you serve the reader.

Evaluating publishers on all four of the above is necessary to make good choices, but if few readers can see your book, it doesn’t matter how good a cover you have, how well it’s written or how much the publisher will pay per book.


Desmond Haas lives in upstate New York, USA, where he hides himself from his family, two dogs and five cats, and pounds on a keyboard to try and make sense of the words and images in his head. Writing, he says, is an invisible performance art.

He considers himself to be a renaissance man, stuck in time, working with various media, including photography, to express himself. While most of his books and short stories are contemporary erotic romance, he is secretly working on other genres in his underground lair.

Above this lair, he lives with his wife, two teenagers, two large dogs and five cats. As he is a reverse snow bird from Florida, Desmond relishes the four season climate, but hates cleaning the snow off his car in the winter.

Interesting post, Desmond...I agree entirely. We can write the best book ever, with the most gorgeous eye-catching cover but if no-one knows about it, what's the point?? Great way for newbies and established authors to get into a good debate. Let's open this up!


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author, Laura Browning!

I am happy to welcome Laura Browning to my site for a visit today - she is author of The Silkie's Salvation. I read the blurb for this book before I posted the interview and it sounds great! Looking forward to finding out more about the author...

1) When and why did you decide you wanted to be a published author?

When it comes to being a published author, I’ve been a bit like the shy girl at school who has a crush on the most popular boy but is too afraid to tell him. I would write stories. I would even pick out target publishing houses or agents. Then I would do nothing. About two years ago, my husband actually gave me the mental push I needed. I’m not sure it turned out as he expected. I think he believed I’d simply say, “You’re right, honey. I will quit writing this very instant so that you may spend more time on the Los Angeles Dodgers website.” Instead, I contracted with The Wild Rose Press for The Silkie’s Call and won a contest with The Silkie’s Salvation, which TWRP also contracted. I am happy to say my husband and I are still married and have solved this dilemma by adding another computer and paying up for more sports programs.

2) What is the best and worse thing you have learned from an editor/agent?

Best: Lose the adverbs, baby, and hunt up vivid verbs.

Worst: Use fewer pronouns. HELLO? So I should keep naming the hero and heroine? Okay. That was flippant, and sorry to the editor who said it. I think this advice might have been better if it were more specific: quit using such repetitive sentence patterns and get rid of the reflexive pronouns.

3) Favourite author/s?

I am a J.R. Ward addict. I love her characters and the in-your-face writing style she uses. Out of curiosity, I read what I could find of her work as Jessica Bird, and it’s interesting to begin seeing that edginess develop. Now for the polar opposite – I also enjoy reading Catherine Anderson’s contemporary stories with heroes who are tough but tender, and not always perfect.

4) What is your typical day?

Well, like many writers, there is the whole day job, but I’m really lucky. I teach writing and literature all day. Okay, so it is to thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds, but most of them are actually beginning to develop into thinking human beings. They are fun and refreshing because everything in their lives is an extreme—either too wonderful for words or they are in the depths of despair. Ah, to have such emotional energy! Anyway, after I get home…I spend the evenings writing. If a story isn’t flowing for me, I either work on polishing something I’ve already written or I do something else. When I do write, I write fast enough that a short dry spell doesn’t worry me.

5) Share your blurb or short excerpt from your latest release with us:

“I owe you an apology,” she whispered, “for this morning. You saved my life and I-I overreacted.”
He smiled, his teeth white against the tan of his skin. “Then dance with me, and you can tell me how sorry you are.”
His voice stroked along her eardrums like satin sheets on bare skin. When he held out his hand, she placed hers in it and he helped her up. The dance floor
was crowded; he pulled her against his broad chest. The hand holding hers pressed it against his heart, while his other hand splayed across her lower back.
“Relax,” he told her, his mouth near her ear. “I won’t hurt you.”
She nodded, but still found it hard not to be stiff against him.
“Just listen to the music, Keeley, and let it go. Let it go.”
His cheek touched the top of her head. She closed her eyes and inhaled the warm, familiar scent of him. She hadn’t realized how accustomed she had become to it, and she wondered how he would taste. Oh God! What was she
thinking? She swallowed nervously. Her hand trembled in his. The music, the wine, and the feel of him moving gently, confidently around the floor were making her hot and lethargic. The urge to lean into him so she could feel the firmness of his body against her cheek, her breasts, and her belly nearly overwhelmed her. When his thigh brushed against her aching mound, Keeley

6) Who would you cast to play your hero & heroine in a movie?

Matthew McConaughey and Kristin Kreuk. He has the sharp features and body I envisioned for Ciaran, and Kristin has the kind of fey beauty and expressive face that I imagine for Keeley

7) Did you plan this book? Or write it as it came?

Here was my plan: You know, I really hate that Ciaran ended up being such a jerk in The Silkie’s Call. I wonder if I can turn him into a good guy if I find the right heroine for him? Beyond that, I wrote it as it came. If I try to do a detailed plot structure ahead of time, it is the absolute death knell to that story idea.

8) What surprised you the most when you became a published author?

I guess it’s the awe with which people other than your family and other writers regard you. I had to have some surgery a few weeks ago and was chatting with the surgeon beforehand. Here was this highly educated, highly trained man—who I’m sure makes a whole lot more money than me—looking at me like I had accomplished some fantastic feat. Maybe it was to him, but personally, I’d rather type on a computer than be responsible for cutting into someone. I create imaginary people, so if I make a mistake, I can just delete and start again…enough said.

9) Do you have a dedicated writing space? What does it look like?

I’m lucky to have a small office right off the master bedroom. Of course it is made significantly smaller by the clutter that normally surrounds me. I swear I know what’s in every pile. Added to the clutter is a black cat, who believes sleeping on her back, on top of my feet with her feet stuck up in the air is the perfect place to spend those hours when I’m working.

10) What’s next for you?

Wonderful…I can tout two more books! I have a contemporary romance entitled Winning Heart coming out from Lyrical Press July 4, 2011, and another currently titled Bittersweet coming from Lyrical December 5, 2011. Both of these stories are set in North Carolina and deal with horses.

I have really enjoyed answering your questions! It is so much fun to be able to do what you enjoy as more than just a hobby. I love hearing from readers too. You can visit me on my website: and you can find me on Facebook.

The Silkie’s Salvation is available from The Wild Rose Press’s Wilder Catalog on April 15, 2011.

Great to have you here, Laura! We have so much in, for thinking about Matthew McConaughey when writing erotic romance ; ) and two, our love of J R Ward, fabulous writer!

Okay, Laura and I are waiting for your questions & comments...

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Welcome Lyrical Press author, Liz Strange!

Hi Liz, great to have you here! I see that your books are part of a trilogy. I have never written a series but am thinking about one right now. Have you got any tips of how to sustain that level of conflict in a story to keep readers coming back for more than one instalment? Are you books written around the same characters or does each book focus on new characters?

Okay, enough with the questions! Well, apart from the interview ones, lol...

1) What is your writing routine?

I wish I had one! I work full time and I am a mom to four, so my time is precious. I write mostly in the evenings and on the weekends when I can find some quiet.

2) Which author/s inspire you to write?

I love horror, fantasy, paranormal and mysteries. Some of my favourite authors are Anne Rice, Michael Slade, Karin Slaughter, P.N. Elrod, Poppy Brite. I love vampire stories, and have read far too many to list.

3) Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read? To write?

I write almost exclusively in the paranormal romance sub0genre, which is what I also enjoy reading in. I have written a contemporary erotic piece that will be coming out soon, and that was a lot of fun.

4) How do you deal with criticism/rejection?

Oh the usual. First I feel bad (and a bit angry), then I step back and put it in perspective. I understand that my writing will not appeal to everyone, and I’m ok with that. Books, like movies and TV, are subjective. You have to take the bad with the good.

5) What do you expect from an editor?

I like someone I can really collaborate with. I like being able to discuss their suggestions and changes, and come to a mutually satisfying end result. I have been very lucky in that I’ve have the opportunity to work with some really great editors.

6) Tell me about your latest release

Well I actually have four new works coming out this year. The final book in the Dark Kiss Trilogy will be out this summer. I have an erotic fantasy, The Embrace of Life and Death, coming from MLR Press and two novellas (one paranormal, one contemporary) being released by captive Press.

7) Tease us with a blurb or short excerpt

Here’s a short excerpt from The Embrace of Life and Death:

“I am the Angel of Death,” he whispered against my ear. His breath was fire, heavier than the air still humid from the earlier rain. I found his touch both pleasurable and draining, his words startled me with their fierceness.
My face now pressed to his chest as I responded. “What do you want with me?”
He lowered us to the ground. For the first time I noticed the complete silence of the world around us, as though time had literally stood still. The air had taken on the texture of molasses, and had I needed it to survive, I would have choked on its density. Azrael’s heart thrummed in his chest, steady and strong, a sound not to be found in my own immortal body.
“I need to understand why you are this way,” he answered, and the words made no sense to my racing brain.
“This way?”
He adjusted his hold on me, now cradling me in his powerful arms, and looking down onto my upturned face. A warm finger moved along the side of my face, and for one brief moment I thought he smiled. It seemed strange that I did not struggle, but I felt no need to. “We have been watching for a very long time, vampires I mean. For some reason, I find you different from the others of your kind,” he said. His voice shook the boundaries of reality the two of us existed in. “Though I have tasted your dark desires, witnessed your transgressions, I still wish to know you.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Nor do I Kieran, for I have never experienced a feeling like this before. I am greatly troubled and must think before I act further.”
Then the face came close to mine, pressing down until our lips met. His mouth was warm silk, and his kiss firm. He stayed against my lips for a long time. A light sprinkle of stubble rubbed against my cheek, startling me out of my reverie. My brain cleared enough to realize what was taking place. I had been returning the kiss with passion, despite the absurdity of the situation and the obvious dominance the creature had over me.
A throbbing, pulsing energy enveloped us, and a deafening, otherworldly wail broke the silence. The arms holding my body withdrew and I crumpled to the damp ground. Curling into a ball, I waited for the painful sound to end and reality to return.
When my eyes could focus again, I found that Azrael had disappeared. I was alone, with cooling tears on my cheeks, and his kiss still warm on my lips.

8) Which is your favorite character in the book? Why?

I love Kieran, who is one of the main characters. He was actually introduced in the Dark Kiss Trilogy, and I really wanted to explore his character in more depth, so this book was born. I just felt like he had more of a story to tell, and when the idea of a vampire and angel in a relationship together came to me, I knew this was for Kieran.

9) What are you working on right now?

I am actually trying my hand at a YA fantasy novel. It’s still in the early stages, but if it works out how I hope it will, I plan on it being a series.

10) Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?

DON’T GIVE UP! There is a lot of rejection, and it’s very competitive, but you can succeed. Keep writing and networking.

11) Where can readers find you?

You can find me at:


Really enjoyed the interview, LIz and it's fab to 'meet' you! I'm not sure how you write at all working full-time and being mum to four kids. I struggle to get any writing done working part-time and mum to two!

Liz is waiting for questions and comments...