Sunday, October 09, 2011

Back from the Dead...Sort of

I'm happy to say I'm back. Sort of. I am moving to my new Cynthia Garner website and blog, and will be busy gearing up for the release of KISS OF THE VAMPIRE on February 1st. So come on over and visit with me there!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Man Meat Monday

I'm going to be on hiatus from the blog for a few weeks while I finish up my current book, but to tide you over...

Just click on it to see the complete picture.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Funny

Best Story of the Year Nominee:

The pastor asked if anyone in the congregation would like to express praise for answered prayers. Suzie Smith stood and walked to the podium.

She said, "I have a praise. Two months ago, my husband, Tom, had a terrible bicycle wreck and his scrotum was completely crushed. The pain was excruciating and the doctors didn't know if they could help him."

You could hear a muffled gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagine the pain that poor Tom must have experienced.

"Tom was unable to hold me or the children," she went on, "and every move caused him terrible pain. We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation, and it turned out they were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Tom's scrotum, and wrap wire around it to hold it in place."

Again, the men in the congregation cringed and squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Tom.

"Now," she announced in a quivering voice, "thank the Lord, Tom is out of the hospital and the doctors say that with time, his scrotum should recover completely."

All the men sighed with unified relief.

The pastor rose and tentatively asked if anyone else had something to say. A man stood up and walked slowly to the podium.

He said, "I'm Tom Smith."

The entire congregation held its breath.

"I just want to tell my wife the word is sternum."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Funny

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

One Stop Shopping from Major Publishers

Later this summer, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Group USA plan to roll out a new virtual bookstore,, where information of all things literary will be provided: suggestions on what books to buy, reviews of books, excerpts of books, and news about authors. And, of course, consumers will also be able to buy books directly from the site, leave recommendations for other readers and write reviews. Other major publishers will also be participating, but it's the three named above who have provided the financing to start up the venture.

The New York Times has an informative article on it here.

I'm very glad to have joined Hachette. What a great opportunity!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Man Meat Monday


Friday, June 03, 2011

Friday Funny

Got this one from my sister:


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

An Agent's Work Is Never Done

I'm constantly amazed at the numbers I see coming from agents--how many queries they get, out of those how many partials or fulls they request, and how many new clients they sign on. It's remarkable, really.

For example, Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency received 120 queries last week. Of those, she requested manuscripts on, wait for it... none. Zero. Zilch. And going over her stats back through April, her figures are consistently the same: over 150 queries with zero requests for manuscripts.

Why?!? Why is it so hard to find representation? Well, it's a fair assumption that if you don't follow the agent's guidelines or send her (or him) something the agent doesn't represent, you're going to get nowhere fast. Agents don't want you to send them your rough draft--your manuscript should be so polished you can see your reflection in it. While most agents are willing and able to help you make that thing ready to sell, they don't want to have to correct your grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Also, take rejection gracefully. There are all kinds of reasons why an agent passes up your manuscript--it's not in a genre they represent, they just signed something very similar, the story isn't to their personal liking, etc. They all want something they think they can sell to an editor--if they don't sell books, they don't eat.

That's why doing your homework before you hit the send button is so important. This is a business. Treat it like one.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Honoring Our Fallen

From a speech given by Father Richard Welch, president of Human Life International, in 2000. It's still relative today: "On this most solemn holiday, we must stop and consider the great sacrifices that others have made so that we may have the freedom and prosperity we enjoy. Let us consider what those valiant warriors were fighting for...and let us honor each and every one of them...with a prayer, and a pledge to restore to this nation the honor, morality, values and love of God for which they gave their lives. Their true memorial is the nation and culture we create from their sacrifice."


Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Funny

Introducing the first volume in the series "How to Understand Women":


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writing Gripping Fiction

Nathan Bransford has a terrific blog post yesterday about creating reversals in our fiction. You may have heard the advice: Make things really bad for your hero...then make them worse. But in between there you need to have the hero think that just maybe things will work out after all. Ups and downs will build compelling fiction that will be hard for your readers to put down.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Funny

Funny Quotes

Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, "Lillian, you should have remained a virgin." --Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter)

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: "No good in a bed, but fine against a wall." --Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement. --Mark Twain

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible. --George Burns

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year. --Victor Borge

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. --Mark Twain

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury. --Groucho Marx

My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe. --Jimmy Durante

I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back. --Zsa Zsa Gabor

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat. --Alex Levine

Money can't buy you happiness... But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery. --Spike Milligan

I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap. --Bob Hope

Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you. --Winston Churchill

Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. --Phyllis Diller

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pantser vs. Plotter

This Saturday at my local RWA chapter's meeting, our guest speaker Kathleen Baldwin is going to present "The Secret Life of Pantsers". Where do you fall on the pantser versus plotter scale? You might be a frustrated pantser living in a plotter's world. Why do you write the way you write? Explore how your creative mind operates. Plotters and pantsers alike will benefit from discussing tricks, tools and delightful games that make a writer's life easier. The creative mind is fabulously brilliant but also temperamental. Learn how to nurture and protect your unique type of creativity.

To make your reservation, go to Saguaro Romance Writers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Man Meat Monday

I'm in a cowboy kinda mood today...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Funny

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.

The man says, "I'll have a hamburger, fries and a coke,' and turns to the ostrich. "What about you?"

"I'll have the same," says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order "That will be $9.40 please," and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke."

The ostrich says, "I'll have the same."

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine, "The usual?" asks the waitress.

"No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad," says the man.

"Same," says the ostrich.

Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62."

Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.

The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"

"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."

"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"

"That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.

The waitress asks, "What's with the ostrich?"

The man sighs, pauses and answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with a big butt and long legs who agrees with everything I say."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Graceless Under Pressure

There was a fire at the house next door to me last night--their storage area and carport went up in flames, cause unknown at this time. Their carport is roughly 10-12 feet away from my carport. Being roused from bed by looking out of my bedroom to see a wall of flame shooting toward my house is not pleasant. Panicking while trying to move my car out of the driveway and getting the door hung up on the outer wall of the house, thereby trashing said door, is not pleasant. Realizing that I am neither calm nor collected when under pressure...not pleasant.

But good to know for future reference. LOL Thankfully everyone made it out without injury, and there is minimal damage to the outer edge of the roof of my carport.

My poor car, on the other hand, will have to be towed to the body shop today because I can't close the door. It's ajar by about half a foot.

Half a foot. Because when I got the door hung up on the house, I did it twice. Twice. (Insert heavy sigh here.) Heroine material I am definitely not.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Welcome to the new week!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Friday Funny

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Additions to the Chicago Manual of Style

I came across this on Fangs and Clause and wanted to share it here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Man Meat Monday


Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Funny

(A Man's Perspective)

I know I'm not going to understand women.
I'll never understand how you can take boiling hot wax,
pour it onto your upper thigh, rip the hair out by the root,
and still be afraid of a spider.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing Tips

When an agent or an editor considers a novel, every detail matters. Consider the following:

  • Don’t let your writing get in its own way. Sometimes a clever turn of phrase can actually pull the reader out of the story, so be careful.
  • Make the premise of the story clear from the beginning, and throw conflict in early on. If it takes too long for the reader to become invested in your characters, or even to figure out what the story is about, they probably will put the book down and not pick it back up again. An agent or editor is no different. They're looking for something they think will be commercially successful.
  • Give your characters desire and urgency (goal and motivation). Characters who are not driven are boring. And keep upping the stakes.
  • Avoid introducing everyone all at once. We've all read that book where by page three there have been ten characters already introduced. It's a struggle to keep them all apart and figure out who's important and who's not.
Keeping all of these in mind can make the difference between a "yes" or a "no".

Monday, April 25, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Funny

OMG. I about peed my pants, watching this:


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bend an Agent's Ear

So to speak. Jessica Faust and Kim Lionetti from Bookends, LLC literary agency are running "Workshop Wednesday" on their blog for the foreseeable future. Here's your opportunity to submit a query and have industry professionals give you feedback on what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn't.

While you're at it, per Jessica's suggestion today, check out Query Shark as well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Funny

Check this out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guest Author: Jenna Howard

The olive green shirt made his eyes greener as it hugged all the muscley goodness that was Shayne. He took a chip loaded with cheese and peppers. Planting his elbow on the table, he offered the bite to her. “I’m not hungry.”

“Don’t want you passing out on me again when my hand goes down your jeans. Eat.”

She dipped the chip into the small bowl of salsa and studied Shayne. “Think that’s where it’s going, hm?”

Instead of answering, he leaned back in his seat, his eyes smirking his answer that that’s exactly where his hand was going to be later. She wondered what had brought him here. “What brings you to the Box?”

He took another sip then found the right chip he wanted. A thin strand of cheese stretched to the plate before he broke it with a swipe of his finger. He scooped a large amount of salsa and guacamole onto the chip then ate the entire thing. He sipped his soda and set his foot on the edge of her seat by her hip. “You.”

“Followed or summoned?”

His eyebrow went up in answer. Summoned. “What did my baby brother say to have you don your superhero cape?”

“That you were a pitiful mess who was into her cups and cheese.” Shayne pressed his foot against her hip and she toyed with the small cuff of his jeans. “Are you a pitiful mess?”

“Yeah,” she sighed, feeling a little morose.

“Wanna go hit a few pucks?” He nodded his head at the door. “Come on.” He grabbed his glass as he stood up, waiting for her to move her self-pitying ass.

With a sigh, she took her glass and followed him out into the night. Two people sat on the bench against the wall as they smoked. A goalie net that had seen better days was against one wall. A couple of hockey sticks were in an umbrella stand along with a bucket of tennis balls. There was even a goalie glove that had seen better days. “Hey,” Shayne said, greeting the smokers, then set his drink down.

His foot tapped the bucket, spilling balls over the concrete pad. He tossed a hockey stick at her and she stepped back so it didn’t smack her in the face. The sound of the wood clattering filled the space and she went to set her glass beside Shayne’s. When she turned, he had the glove on and was smacking the sides of the goal in a head nod to the hockey gods. “Okay, Magerin, bring it.”

She picked up the stick, using the blade to draw a ball towards her. The odds of her scoring on Shayne were as high as Carmen giving her hug right now. Her shot was pathetic and the ball rolled sadly to him.

He stood up straight and his sigh was loud as he kicked the ball back at her. “Jesus, you’re a Magerin. Hit the damn ball--don’t nudge it.” Once again he crouched down, his body relaxed in the pose.

That was annoying. Lacey hunched down like him and looked him in the eye. “And the puck is dropped. It’s Magerin versus Payne. Magerin grabs the puck and it’s a break away.” Shayne snorted as he grinned. “She goes left dodging Payne. Right. Left. Now it’s two on the ice. Can she do it? Can she score on the great Donnelly?”

She grabbed the front of her shirt, flashed him her lacy bra then shot. “And she does it! Ladies and gentlemen, Magerin has scored on Donnelly. The crowd here is insane.” She lifted a hand to her mouth and imitated a crowd roaring as Shayne looked behind him at the green tennis ball resting against the netting then at her. Even the smokers were cheering. Though she assumed it was for her bra and not her hockey prowess.

“I can’t believe you...” he tossed aside his stick and began to stalk her. “You flashed me!”

She was laughing by the time he grabbed her by the waist and dragged her out of the small zone.

“Way to go, baby!” One of the smokers shouted.

She heard the other one. “Can they play again?”

Shayne pushed her against the side of the building, the bright lights spilling right past them at the patio. “I can’t believe you flashed me.” His hands settled on her hips as he crowded her against the wall. “Let’s see that bra again.”

His mouth was on hers before she could grab the bottom of her shirt. He tasted of all things sinfully delicious in the dark.

Scoring Lacey by Jenna Howard - available now at Liquid Silver Books.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Man Meat Monday


Friday, April 08, 2011

Friday Funny

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Taking a Few Days Off

My sister's in town and I really have nothing to say. LOL I'll be back on Monday!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, April 01, 2011

Friday Funny

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Today I'm going to direct you to JA Konrath's blog. On Monday he posted an interview with Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords. It's interesting and informative. If you're thinking about forgoing the traditional publishing route and plan to publish your book yourself, you should look into Smashwords.

(And I'll say this again, because it cannot be said enough. Do NOT use a vanity press. If a "publisher" has no real distribution plan, or asks you to pay for its services, RUN. I'm not talking about paying to have your book edited, which you need to do, or paying for cover art. Those are necessary to make sure you have a product that will sell.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Funny

An Indiana Jones moment if ever I saw one! LOL

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing Rules

Some tips from a couple of successful guys...and keep in mind that sometimes rules were meant to be broken.

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing:

1) Never open a book with the weather.
2) Avoid prologues.
3) Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialog.
4) Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said"
5) Keep your exclamation points under control.
6) Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose"
7) Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8) Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9) Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
10) Try to leave out the parts the readers tend to skip.

Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Rules of Writing (Kurt Vonnegut's rules were written for short story writers, though they can be applied to longer works (with the possible exception of the 8th rule). He also qualifies his list of rules by saying that Flannery O'Connor broke all them except the first one.):

1) Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that they will not feel the time was wasted.
2) Give the reader at least one character they can root for.
3) Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4) Every sentence must do one of two things - reveal character or advance the plot.
5) Start as close to the end as possible.
6) Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7) Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8) Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Elmore Leonard's rules are much more particular. Most of these rules are easy to break and are broken regularly. Though I have to agree with number one. Unless the opening line is "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Just kidding. ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Funny

A man and a woman were sitting beside each other in the first class section of an airplane. The woman sneezed, took out a tissue, gently wiped her nose, then visibly shuddered for ten to fifteen seconds. The man went back to his reading. A few minutes later, the woman sneezed again, took a tissue, wiped her nose, then shuddered violently once more. Assuming that the woman might have a cold, the man was curious about the shuddering.

A few more minutes passed when the woman sneezed yet again. As before, she took a tissue, wiped her nose, her body shaking even more than before. Unable to restrain his curiosity, the man turned to the woman, "I couldn't help but notice," he said, "that you've sneezed three times, wiped your nose and then shuddered violently. Are you ok?"

"I am sorry if I disturbed you," she replied. "I have a very rare medical condition; whenever I sneeze, I have an orgasm."

The man, more than a bit embarrassed, was still curious. "I have never heard of that condition before," he said. "Are you taking anything for it?"

The woman nodded. "Black Pepper."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Follow Up To Tucson Festival Of Books

Wow, what a ride! This past weekend saw at least 100,000 people crowding the University of Arizona campus to attend panel presentations/writing workshops, mingle with authors, and have a great time in 85 degree temps. Both of the panels I was on had more than 50 people in attendance, which is up from last year's attendance. Questions asked were thoughtful and attendees seemed grateful and excited to have access to over 450 authors.

There was live music performed throughout the mall. A miniature pony at the University Medical Center tent. Grilling at the Arizona Public Media Culinary Tent. Food vendors like Beyond Bread, The Fat Greek, and Brush Fire BBQ to name a few. Oh, and McDonald's with a booth giving samples of their Real Fruit Smoothies.

Lines were sometimes long at the food booths. People had to be turned away from some of the workshops. But overall people seemed patient. Kind. Maybe a little less prone to get upset over the little glitches that are inevitable. A wonderful energy that I hope to revisit again next year when I make my first appearance as Cynthia Garner.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Funny

Little Carol came into the kitchen where her mother was making dinner. Her birthday was coming up and she thought this was a good time to tell her mother what she wanted. "Mom, I want a bike for my birthday."

Now, Little Carol was a bit of a troublemaker. She had gotten into trouble at school and at home. Carol's mother asked her if she thought she deserved to get a bike for her birthday. Little Carol, of course, thought she did. Carol's mother, being a Christian woman, wanted her to reflect on her behavior over the last year, and write a letter to God and tell him why she deserved a bike for her birthday. Little Carol stomped up the steps to her room and sat down to write God a letter.

Dear God:
I have been a very good girl this year and I would like a bike for my birthday. I want a red one. Your friend, Carol

Carol knew this wasn't true. She had not been a very good girl this year, so she tore up the letter and started over.


Dear God:

This is your friend Carol. I have been a pretty good girl this year, and I would like a red bike for my birthday.

Thank you, Carol

Carol knew this wasn't true either. She tore up the letter and started again.


Dear God:
I know I haven't been a good girl this year. I am very sorry. I will be a good girl if you just send me a red bike for my birthday.

Thank you, Carol

Carol knew, even if it was true, this letter was not going to get her a bike. By now, she was very upset. She went downstairs and told her mother she wanted to go to church. Carol's mother thought her plan had worked because Carol looked very sad.

"'Just be home in time for dinner," her mother said.

Carol walked down the street to the church and up to the altar. She looked around to see if anyone was there. She picked up a small statue of the Virgin Mary, slipped it under her jacket and ran out of the church, down the street, into her house, and up to her room. She shut the door and sat down and wrote her letter to God.





Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tucson Festival of Books

The third annual Tucson Festival of Books is this weekend. Over 400 authors are attending, and reader turnout is expected to be around 100,000. If you're in the area or close by, plan on dropping by to have some fun. There are lots of vendors and entertainment venues, workshops and author and editor panels. Power house authors in attendance in the romance genre include Vicki Lewis Thompson, Mary Jo Putney, Jennifer Ashley and Susan Wiggs. Other authors include Kim Harrison (urban fantasy), Diana Gabaldon (sci fi/fantasy), Elmore Leonard (mystery) and Brad Meltzer (mystery) just to name a few.

I'll be presenting on two panels: Mining for an Agent: It Takes More than a Pick and a Shovel on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., and Sex is Not Enough on Sunday at 2:30. I'll also be moderating the panel on The Art of Writing Romance presented by Vicki Lewis Thompson and Mary Jo Putney at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

So come on and join us!

For more information, go here.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Man Meat Monday

A hearty thank you to Colleen Love for this pic! ;)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday Funny

I don't know why, but lately I seem to be stuck on a theme about getting old... LOL

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Things I Learned From Nephele Tempest

Agent Nephele Tempest spoke to the Tucson chapter of Romance Writers of America on Saturday. She talked about the industry, agents in general, her own likes in particular, and then gave a great presentation in the afternoon about writing a synopsis. A few things that I knew but had reiterated to me:

1) When looking to submit, go directly to the agency website. Don't rely on a third-party website to give you up-to-date submission information.

2) Follow the submission guidelines. If the agency doesn't rep mystery, for example, don't bother submitting your mystery to them. You're wasting your time and theirs.

3) Know your genre. Don't send a 200,000 word manuscript, no matter how great you think your book is. And Young Adult fiction, for example, doesn't usually even get to 100,000 words, and it certainly doesn't go higher than that.

4) Pay attention to your driving. Blowing through a red light on the way to taking the agent back to the airport might give the wrong impression that you're in a hurry to get rid of them instead of the simple fact you were focused on making sure you didn't take a wrong turn (which I ended up doing anyway).

Monday, February 28, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Anyone up for a roll in the hay?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Funny

For everyone over forty, or as the singer states, anyone who's been having the occasional senior moment...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Upcoming Events

I'm thrilled that agent Nephele Tempest from the Knight Agency is going to be at our RWA chapter meeting this Saturday. I'm picking her up at the airport Friday afternoon and we're going to have a great dinner with members of the board that night, and I know a terrific meeting on Saturday. She's going to share information about the industry and give a workshop on writing a sucknopsis...I mean, a synopsis. If you're close by, you should try to come. You can go to Saguaro Romance Writers to make your reservation!

In a couple of weekends, March 12-13 to be exact, the third annual Tucson Festival of Books kicks off again. I'm presenting on two panels this year, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. This is such a great event. Again, if you're in the area, you should plan to attend. The best part about this is it's free! TFoB has the details.

Have a great hump day!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Man Meat

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Funny

"Great Goodness! I've been hoodwinked!"

Best line ever! LOL

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Publishing: What does the Brass Ring look like NOW?

Welcome guest blogger author Kris Tualla! Kris is mine of information on the publishing industry, and I've asked her to share a bit of her expertise with my blog readers.

Publishing: What does the Brass Ring look like NOW?

Well… what did it look like before? In a nutshell:

  1. Write a manuscript that's 75,000 to 95,000 words long.
  2. Get it critiqued multiple times and go through multiple re-writes.
  3. Query editors and agents.
  4. Get rejected and query some more.
  5. Get the Call from an agent who wants to represent you.
  6. Get another Call that your agent has sold your manuscript: 2 book deal and option for a third.
  7. Celebrate!
  8. Work with your publisher to promote your books.
  9. Become a best-seller.
Does this brass ring still exist? Of course it does! Should new authors still reach for it? Absolutely! Do not forgo this process. It's the only way to know for sure that you are able to write a story and do it well.

What if.

The rejections are economics-based? By that I mean things like: “We don’t do American historicals… no one can sell Scandinavia… write Scotland BUT Scotland is a very crowded market… cut 15,000 words then I’ll look at it… publishers LIKE their boxes…”

What do you do now?

If you are me, you tell your agent to keep trying to sell the European-based manuscripts, but you are taking the American ones to e-pub and Print On Demand.

Now what does the brass ring look like?
  1. Write multiple manuscripts 100,000-105,000 words long.
  2. Get them critiqued multiple times and go through multiple re-writes.
  3. Upload them to Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Smashwords. (There is no fee for this.)
  4. Price it at $3.49 (70% royalty).
  5. Create a trade-paperback version on Amazon's CreateSpace and make it available through their extended distribution channels. (There is a $39 fee for this, plus the cost of books - $4 to $5 on average.)
  6. Price it at $12.99 (35% royalty).
  7. Promote like a maniac.
  8. Keep promoting like a crazed maniac.
  9. Watch monthly royalty deposits begin to appear in your bank account.
Is this version of the brass ring for everyone? No. It requires a second level of dedication. Extra hours beyond writing as the author does the publisher's jobs: multiple proofs and edits. Cover designs. Product placement. And backlists are key.

Add to that what every successful author is already doing: Setting up appearances. Buying and dispersing promo items. Teaching online classes. Speaking wherever and whenever. Blogging all over the 'net. Conferences, workshops and seminars. Oh my.

Is it worth it? You tell me. This was the only way you could fall in love with Nicolas Hansen. Otherwise, you never would have heard of him.


For every 10 people who comment here, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice - the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I'll give away three.


In February at the end of my blog tour, I'll give away one SIGNED PAPERBACK SET of the trilogy. Here's how you can get in on that deal:
  1. Go to and find the "Secret Word" on my home page.
  2. Send an email to with "Signed Trilogy Giveaway" in the subject line. Put the secret word in the body.
  3. Comment on any blog at any time in the tour to activate your entry. Each day's blog location is listed at
A Woman of Choice, A Prince of Norway, and A Matter of Principle are all available at

A Woman of Choice - Missouri Territory, 1819
A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.

A Prince of Norway - Christiania, Norway, 1820
American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather's throne. His new wife Sydney isn't about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?

A Matter of Principle - St. Louis, State of Missouri, 1821
Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren't about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it's a matter of principle.


Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Kris!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Man Meat Monday

For Valentine's Day, some eye candy:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Funny

These are entries to a newspaper competition asking for a two-line rhyme with the most romantic first line, and the least romantic second line:

My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife:
Marrying you has screwed up my life.

I see your face when I am dreaming.
That's why I always wake up screaming.

Kind, intelligent, loving and hot;
This describes everything you are not.

Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss,
But I only slept with you 'cause I was pissed.

I thought that I could love no other
-- that is until I met your brother...

Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl's empty and so is your head.

I want to feel your sweet embrace;
But don't take that paper bag off your face.

I love your smile, your face, and your eyes
Damn, I'm good at telling lies!

My love, you take my breath away.
What have you stepped in to smell this way?

My feelings for you no words can tell,
Except for maybe 'Go to hell.'

What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime.

Who said poetry is boring? LOL

Thanks to my friend Roz Denny Fox for forwarding these on to me!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

More on the Publishing Industry

There's an excellent article over on Jerry Simmons' blog that I'm going to direct you to today. It's from November of last year, but it's worth reading. Jerry spent more than 30 years in publishing. He spoke to my local RWA chapter a few years ago, and let me tell you, he really knows his stuff. So go check out what he has to say about the future of print books.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Oy. Vey.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday Funny

Got this one from my sister. Thanks, C!

Sleeping with Bob

The guys were all at a deer camp. No one wanted to room with Bob, because he snored so badly.

They decided it wasn't fair to make one of them stay with him the whole time, so they voted to take turns.

The first guy slept with Bob and comes to breakfast the next morning with his hair a mess and his eyes all bloodshot.

They said, "Man, what happened to you?"

He said, "Bob snored so loudly, I just sat up and watched him all night."

The next night it was a different guy's turn. In the morning, same thing, hair all standing up, eyes all bloodshot.

They said, "Man, What happened to you? You look awful!"

He said, 'Man, that Bob shakes the roof with his snoring. I watched him all night."

The third night was Fred's turn. Fred was a tanned, older cowboy, a man's man. The next morning he came to breakfast bright eyed and bushy-tailed.

"Good morning!" he said.

They couldn't believe it. They said, "Man, what happened?"

He said, "Well, we got ready for bed. I went and tucked Bob into bed, patted him on the butt, and kissed him good night. Bob sat up and watched me all night."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!

While much of the country is in a deep freeze, winter has finally poked its head back into southern Arizona. We're only supposed to be in the 40s the next couple of days. I know, I know. 40s is downright balmy for a lot of you, but it's cold for us. We actually have a hard freeze warning until 9 a.m. And I love it. Cold with no snow is perfect! LOL The only thing that would make it better is if we had more snow on the mountains.

One of my favorite movies!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Man Meat Monday


Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Funny

If you are 36, or older, you might think this is hilarious!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways...yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it! But now that I'm over the ripe old age of forty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

  1. I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog.
  2. There was no email. We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents.
  3. Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass. Nowhere was safe!
  4. There were no MP3s or Napsters or iTunes. If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!
  5. Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up. There were no CD players. We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, baby! Dig?
  6. We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it.
  7. There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOSH !!! Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.
  8. And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know. You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!
  9. We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics. We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square. You actually had to use your imagination. And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen.. Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died. Just like LIFE!
  10. You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. You were screwed when it came to channel surfing. You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel. NO REMOTES.
  11. There was no Cartoon Network either. You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!
  12. And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove. Imagine that!
  13. And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores!
  14. And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!
See? That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1970 or any time before!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rules to Live By

This past Saturday at our RWA chapter meeting I filled in for a speaker who couldn't make it to the meeting. Since it was our first meeting of the year, I decided to try to be a little inspirational, to remind people that this career we've chosen is hard work, but it's worth it. One of the things I shared was Bob Parsons' 16 rules he tries to live by. (For those of you who don't know, Bob Parsons is the founder of GoDaddy.) I thought I'd share some of them here:

  • Get and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe that not much happens of any significance when we're in our comfort zone. I hear people say, "But I'm concerned about security." My response to that is simple: "Security is for cadavers."
  • Never give up. Almost nothing works the first time it's attempted. Just because what you're doing does not seem to be working, doesn't mean it won't work. It just means that it might not work the way you're doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn't have an opportunity.
  • When you're ready to quit, you're closer than you think. There's an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."
  • Focus on what you want to have happen. Remember that old saying, "As you think, so shall you be."
  • Always be moving forward. Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.
  • Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you're doing. When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.
  • Never expect life to be fair. Life isn't fair. You make your own breaks. You'll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).
  • Don't take yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

You can read all of Bob's 16 Rules here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Funny

Amazing simple home remedies that actually work!

  1. Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.
  2. Avoid arguments with females about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.
  3. For high blood pressure sufferers ~ simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure on your veins. Remember to use a timer.
  4. A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.
  5. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives. Then you'll be afraid to cough.
  6. You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.
  7. If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.

Daily thought:

Some people are like slinkies - not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Now Available: Dragons Unleashed

The print anthology of my three dragon shifter novellas is now available!

You can get your copy at Amazon right now, and within the next day or two direct from the publisher, Amber Quill. Also available for pre-order at Barnes and Noble. (Yeah, don't ask me how Amazon managed to get it up and available before my publisher did. It usually takes Amazon a helluva lot longer.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Funny

The Husband Store

A store that sells new husbands has opened in New York, where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increases as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor 1 - These men Have Jobs

She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 2 - These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.

That's nice, she thinks, but I want more.

So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads:

Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

Wow, she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Good Looking and Help With Housework.

"Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims. "I can hardly stand it!" Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 5 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop -dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 6 - You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.


To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.

The first floor has wives that love sex.

The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Review for Angel and the Duke of Sex

From Tnicnat's Blog: "Sherrill Quinn writes a wonderful erotic romance full of dark passions with a dangerous backdrop of Jack the Ripper. The passion and sex that develops between Angel and Harry is hot, there is a menage involved and that is a hot scene. This is easy a one day read, but it will whet the appetite to read more by Sherrill Quinn."

Click here to read an excerpt or buy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Friday, January 07, 2011

Friday Funny

Wrong Email Address

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier.

Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day.

The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the email.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack.

The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted.

The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:

To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I've Arrived

I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in.

I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then!!!! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P. S. Sure is freaking hot down here!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

New Release - Sassy Devils In Print!

My two Sassy Devils novellas -- Demon of Her Dreams and Fallen Angel -- are now available in a print anthology.

Sassy Devils, LLC is a conglomerate of good and evil headed up by the Big Guy Himself, controlling all aspects of otherworldly interaction with humankind.

Demon of Her Dreams - Urian is a son of the devil, literally, an incubus working for the Demon Division. His assignment brings him back into the life of human Hailey, a woman he's fallen in love with through the sex dreams they've shared over the years.

Hailey isn't sure how to deal with this recent twist in her reality. The man of her dreams is really a demon and she discovers other supernatural beings are taking advantage of the magic of Halloween. And her relationship with Urian makes her a mighty tasty target.

Their passion burning hotter than the flames of hell, it takes both of them to bring things to an explosive climax.

Fallen Angel - Talon, an Angel of Retribution, is sent to find a repentant leader of the Brotherhood of the Red Claw--an angel who was both friend and mentor--and either return him or pronounce judgment and kill him. Along the way he must fight off gargoyles and protect the human female they've targeted.

Raegan Stark, a no-nonsense homicide detective, is stunned to find out that angels are real. As well as arrogant, bad-tempered and sexy as hell. She has to learn to hold her own against this very hot angel while staying one step ahead of their enemies.

Talon finds something he never thought he would--love. And Raegan finds out how bad an angel can be, and just how good bad is!

Read an excerpt or buy here. Also available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Man Meat Monday

Welcome to 2011!