Thursday, January 29, 2009

Author Pamela S. Thibodeaux is holding a contest!

Inspirational romance author and fellow member of White Roses in Bloom Pamela S. Thibodeaux is holding a contest. Here are all the details:

A Sweetheart of a Contest

As we all know, the flagging economy is forcing businesses to make tough decisions and the book industry is no exception. Bookstores are closing. Publishers are laying off people, cutting back on production, and pulling titles from distribution.

What’s an author to do?

Get those sales up.

So, Fellow author and Friend, Pamela S. Thibodeaux, is having a Valentine’s Day contest Where Everyone Gets a Gift!

Between Jan. 31st & Feb. 13th

Everyone who enters will receive Thib’s Teaser (a pdf with blurbs/excerpts/discount coupons/short story) AND their name will be entered into a drawing for the GRAND PRIZE – simply email Pertinent Promotions at with Sweetheart Contest in the subject line.

No Purchase Necessary to Participate


Purchase any (1) Tempered novel and, along with Thib’s Teaser you will receive a Special Surprise Gift and your name will go into the drawing twice for the Grand Prize! Simply forward a copy of your receipt or proof of purchase to (include your mailing address for the surprise gift).

Purchase 2 Tempered novels and in addition to Thib’sTeaser you will Receive a Special Surprise Gift, Your pick of a FREE download of either Choices or Cathy’s Angel and three chances to win the Grand Prize! Simply forward a copy of your receipt or proof of purchase to (pick your short story and include your mailing address for your surprise gift)

Purchase the first 3 Tempered novels (Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams & Tempered Fire) and in addition to Thib’s Teaser you will Receive: A Special Surprise Gift, Your pick of a FREE download of either Cathy’s Angel or Choices a FREE autographed copy of Tempered Joy and 4 chances to win the Grand Prize! Simply forward a copy of your receipt or proof of purchase to (pick your short story and include your mailing address for your autographed copy of Tempered Joy & your surprise gift)

Together we can take the Tempered Series to Amazon’s Best Seller List!

**Amazon Purchase NOT Your ONLY Option**

If you purchase Any of the Tempered Series according to the rules above from your local book store, MAIL a copy of your receipt to Pertinent Promotions c/o Pamela S Thibodeaux, PO Box 324, Iowa, LA 70647 and your prizes will be the same as those listed.

Same rules apply if you purchase DIGITAL copies of The Tempered Books *Note* If you purchase digital copies of Tempered Hearts, Tempered Dreams, and Tempered Fire according to the rules above, you will receive a digital copy of Tempered Joy. *Digital copies also available @ All Romance Ebooks!

Winner will be announced on Feb 14th

*All entrants will be added to Pertinent Promotions and the Author’s personal mailing lists.*

Grand Prize: CD of my TWRP titles which includes 3 short stores (Cathy’s Angel, Choices, & A Hero for Jessica), 1 full-length novel The Inheritance and an advanced copy of my Upcoming Release Winter Madness (short story) and a Valentine Gift Basket!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Does writing every day equal success?

I just caught the end of an interview with John Grisham and learned an interesting bit of information. He doesn't write every day. He said he starts a project in April and has it finished by Thanksgiving. He wasn't specific about how long he can go without writing before it drives him nuts.

So, does writing every day mean you have a better chance of being successful? Not necessarily. There are thousands of writers out there who apply words to paper every single day, yet can't find publication. There are highly successful authors like Grisham who don't write every day, and there are authors like Stephen King who write five to six pages every day.

The true key to success is a great story, knowing the craft of writing inside and out, and perseverance. There are benefits to writing every day for those trying to finish a manuscript and those still learning the craft of writing. If you write every day, you'll reach the end of your manuscript much faster than if you only write every Saturday. For new writers and those struggling with the craft...remember that saying about practice making perfect? Well, that daily writing gives you the opportunity for plenty of practice. Just make sure you study the technical details of writing as well so you know what it is you need to practice.

I hear you out there wondering if I write every day. I try to. If I don't write every day, I tend to feel stressed and my life has enough stress already without adding to it. I learned a long time ago that writing is a form of relaxation for me. Some people do yoga every day; I write.

If, for some reason, I can't get my writing in for the day, I don't worry about it too much unless I'm working on a deadline. Most of the time, I'm not. Unlike a lot of writers out there, I don't have a daily word or page goal. I just write whatever is begging to get on the page. Sometimes it's a sentence, sometimes it's twenty pages. Part of how much I write depends on the amount of time I have to devote to writing.

So, do I think writing every day made me successful? No. I wrote every day for a long time, but I didn't know much about the craft of writing. Learning the craft and applying to my writing, learning how to completely rewrite a manuscript, and willingness to give up on a manuscript are what finally led to my success. And I haven't had much success yet.

I have more to learn about writing, and I'm constantly trying to figure out what works and what doesn't. I've had to rewrite scenes multiple times before they finally worked. I've had to swallow my pride and admit I made events in a story fall into place a little too perfectly. I've had to completely tear apart a manuscript and take the basic idea and a little dialogue and completely rewrite the story.

These are the things that lead to success. It's not uncommon for an author to refer to a manuscript as her baby. What a lot of people don't realize, including a surprising number of writers, is that you have to be willing to tear that literary baby to pieces and put it back together, sometimes repeatedly, to get the story to where it needs to be for a publisher to fall in love with it. Yes, it can be hard, but it's a part of the process.

Do you want to be a successful writer? Learn all you can about writing, create a unique story with a great plot, and don't shy away from hard work. Because there's nothing easy about breaking into the world of publishing. And once you're book is finally accepted by a publisher, the work continues: edits, galleys, promotion.

Good luck to all of you who are writing with a goal of publication in mind. You most likely have a long and rocky road ahead of you, but remember to persevere. That's the only way to survive the inevitable rejections and criticism. If you're like me and have to write or go nuts, you'll find the strength to persevere even when it looks impossible. It's part of who you are.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm thinking about music...

I've been listening to a lot of music lately in a wide variety of genres, which isn't unusual for me. I tend to listen to music while working, writing, reading, cleaning the get the idea. And I've noticed something about the music I'm hearing on the radio: there is a lot of foul stuff out there.

I'm not talking about foul language. The FCC keeps me from having to listen to those words, though some of the radio stations don't edit as well as they could and it's obvious what was edited out.

No, I'm talking about the sexual innuendos that seem rampant in popular music. And some of them go beyond innuendo to blatant, such as "going down on me" or a variation of it sung by a male in at least three songs I've heard in the last week or two. I don't want to hear that stuff, and I doubt parents want their little eleven-year-olds listening to songs about females undressing (or being undressed) and what a guy wants to do with a girl. My mom would have shut off the radio when I was younger had a song like that come on the air.

Yet it seems acceptable in our current society to use sex to sell music, books, movies, clothes, even some food items (remember Hardee's commercials from a couple of years ago?). I'm not that old (under 30), but I can't help wishing for the "good old days" when the music was clean. Even country music, which used to be so mild people insisted their children listen to the country stations rather than the pop/rock stations, has fallen into the trap of using sex to sell. I will admit that the country music has a sweeter tone to it, but do we really need to hear about the guy wanting to get in bed with the girl?

I know this post might seem strange coming from a romance author, but that's just it. I'm a romance author, not a sex author. In my mind, and the mind of many who love sweet romances, romance is emotional more than physical. Yes, physical attraction plays a role, but the emotional aspect of the relationship is much more important to me. Exploring the emotions, showing the restraint of the hero and heroine when they're tempted, making me laugh and cry with the characters, these are the things I look for in a romance and I strive for when I write.

Back to music for a moment. All these songs that focus on sex rather than emotion? So not romantic. For a truly romantic song that had even my younger brother saying it was sweet, take a listen to "The Voyage" by Celtic Thunder:

That is what I call a good, romantic song.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not just any Tuesday...

Today, our great nation makes history. Not only will our new president be inaugurated, our first black president will be inaugurated.

That statement is probably the only time I will ever mention race in reference to the President. Blame it on listening to too many reporters. I'm just happy to have a president who appears to have the necessary skill and diplomacy to fix so many of the problems we face not just here in the United States, but worldwide. Finally, someone who is going to focus on the war in Afghanistan so our military members can come home!

I normally try to avoid talking politics on here, but today's events aren't just politics, they're history. I must admit the election last year is viewed as the start of something big. Today's inauguration is just another step in that direction.

Will Barack Obama be able to live up to the lofty expectations the American public have placed on his shoulders? I have no clue. I doubt anyone else does, either. All I can say for sure is that he'll do his best.

I'll be praying for our new president and all of our country's leaders. They have a difficult task ahead of them, and they're going to have tough decisions to make. I wish the Obama administration the best of luck as they guide the United States through these difficult times.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Moving on...

After the rejection Tuesday, I finished polishing a different short story and sent it out yesterday. The best way I've found to combat the rejection blues is to do something productive, whether it's sending out another submission, revising a chapter, or writing something. It reminds me that while rejection is a part of this crazy writer life, there's so much more to do than wallow in self-pity. As I often say, rejection happens. Accept that your manuscript didn't work in that one market, learn what you can from the rejection, apply it to your writing, and move on.

Sounds so easy and stress-free, right? Well, it usually is. Yesterday I was feeling great about that submission. I think it's a good fit for the place I sent it, I know it's as perfect as I can get it, and for once the letter was a breeze to write.

Then I woke up this morning with one thought: I forgot to write ROMANCE on the envelope.

Right there in the guidelines I had by my side to make sure I did everything necessary, it said to label the envelope as a romance. I read it a couple of times as I packaged up the submission. I've submitted to this place before, so I knew from experience that I had to mark the envelope. Why didn't I do it this time? Beats me. Call it getting distracted (there were four people in the house talking while I was packaging the submission), just spacing it, or whatever you will.

Yes, I feel a little stupid for that one. Yes, I'm a little worried that I'll receive an automatic rejection for not following the guidelines to the letter. But I'm not going to dwell on it. There's nothing I can do about it now. The mailman picked up the unlabeled envelope yesterday. I'll just have to wait and see if failure to write ROMANCE on the envelope is really that big a deal or not. I hope, since all fiction submissions are sent to the same person, that my story will still be read and evaluated on its own merits and not automatically rejected because I forgot to write one word on the envelope.

What was that I said about moving on after a rejection? It applies to moving on after a silly mistake, too. I've learned to double and triple check my submissions in the future. Now, I need to find something constructive to do. That won't be hard. I have other manuscripts to work on, so maybe I'll do a little writing later. I could do a little revision as well, since I have a couple of manuscripts in need of a rewrite.

Everyone have a great week, and remember to double check your submission against the guidelines before putting it in the mail.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Well, I just received a rejection on a short story. I knew the market was a long shot (it's in Australia, I'm in the U.S., and they like to publish mostly local authors), but it still makes me sigh. No one likes rejection letters, but I understand the necessity of them. In the case of this magazine, not only is it in Australia, it gets hundreds of submissions every week, which makes it a long shot for everyone who submits.

The question on my mind now is: Where else can I submit this story? It's chick lit, around 1,700 words, and has been previously published in an online mag. I love this story for a couple of reasons. One, I had a blast writing it; and two, it's my first (and so far only) successful attempt at chick lit. I'd love to get paid at least a little for its publication, since the online mag was a non-paying market, but it's hard to find a paying market for short fiction that takes reprints.

Ah, well. In my spare time (ha ha), I'll keep looking for another market. Who knows? Maybe I'll come across a market that will work for a different story. I actually ran across the Australian magazine while looking for something else. If nothing else, at least I gave it a shot, even if it was a long shot.

Today's advice that applies every single day to writers and everyone else: Never give up. Things may get tough or frustrating, rejection happens, and life goes on. The important thing is to keep going right along with it. Make adjustments as necessary, but don't give up because you hit a bump in the road.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Doing It God's Way

I love writing. I can’t imagine what I’d do without writing in my life. It’s a release, a way to express myself, explore human nature, deal with stress, share joy...the list goes on and on. But I couldn’t write without God’s help. How do I know this? Easy. I’ve tried it and failed epically. Another thing I’ve learned time and again is that it doesn’t work to argue with God. I lose every time and realize that God’s way is better than mine.

A few years ago, I was writing a story and knew I wanted to use a specific Bible verse. I’d already used it in an earlier scene, one in a church service, and I knew I had to use it for this second church service scene. Unfortunately, I got so busy thinking about what I wanted to do with the story that I forgot to ask what God wanted me to do with it.

I went to work on this second church scene, writing bits and pieces of a sermon that would hit the character hard, and got stuck. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to tie that important verse into the scene. I spent hours working on that scene to no avail. Everything I thought of wouldn’t work for one reason or another. Through it all, I felt a tugging on my heart to quit focusing on that verse and focus on the message, but I got so hung up on wanting to fit that verse into the scene that I fought against the tug.

Finally, I got so frustrated that I was ready to throw my pen across the room. I looked up at the ceiling and prayed, “Fine. I’ll do it Your way.”

When I looked down at the paper filled with my handwriting and scribbled out sentences, I knew exactly what to write next. I quit trying to write the scene my way and just let the words flow from my pen. The sermon in the scene went in a different direction than I’d planned, but it fit the story perfectly. Even though I’d been stubborn and argued to write the scene my way so I could include that verse, God had other plans that turned out better than what I’d been struggling to write. The best part? Once I quit fighting His way, I was able to incorporate the verse I’d so desperately wanted to include in the scene.

The moral of the story? Arguing with God is futile, and if what you want is in His plan, He’ll give you a way to do it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blogging at White Roses in Bloom

Yesterday I posted my very first post on a group blog. The wonderful ladies at White Roses in Bloom invited me to join the blog, since I'm an author for the White Rose line at The Wild Rose Press, and I had to accept. I'm so honored to be part of a blog with such great authors as Kara Lynn Russell (nominated for Favorite Author by The Romance Studio), Cindy K. Green (author of Relationship Rescue and the NovelTea series), and Pamela S. Thibodeaux (multi-published author of inspirational fiction). Needless to say I feel a little out of my league, but I've been made to feel welcome by all of the White Roses in Bloom authors.

I think one of the greatest things about becoming an author with The Wild Rose Press is the community. New authors are given a warm welcome, veteran authors are there to offer advice and answer questions, the staff of The Wild Rose Press are accessible and some of the nicest people I've ever interacted with. If you write romance, I highly recommend submitting to The Wild Rose Press. They will never send you a form rejection. If they have to reject your story, they'll tell you why and give you suggestions for how to make your story better. They might even offer to take another look at your story once you address the issues mentioned. That's what happened with Dreams Do Come True. I was asked to make it longer, and I can never thank Nicola Martinez enough for suggesting it. I love the story more than ever now, and it feels complete, which it didn't before--something I couldn't figure out until I received Nicola's email.

Okay, enough gushing about my publisher (something I could do for hours, I'm sure). Stop by the White Roses in Bloom blog and check out my introductory post. Look around while you're there, read some of the other posts, maybe leave a comment or two.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 Resolutions

Happy New Year!

Well, I've been thinking about it, and I have a few resolutions, goals, or whatever you want to call them. Here they are, in no particular order:

Send out more submissions
Get at least one of my completed manuscripts revised
Learn about promotion
Promote until I can promote no more, then promote again
Write, write, and write some more

We'll see how many of these goals I can achieve throughout the next year. I'd love to get another publishing contract, preferably for a full-length novel, but two of my goals will take me in that direction. Whether I actually get a contract or not is dependent on so much more than my own effort, such as an agent or editor falling in love with the manuscript. I'm going to do my best to convince them they love my writing, but in the end, it all comes down to their personal preferences. And if I get a rejection (which I'm sure I will at least once), I'll just submit somewhere else.

So, those are my goals. What goals/resolutions do you have for 2009?