Friday, March 21, 2014

~ Symposium: Set Fire to the Rain! ~

Hello Everyone! Welcome to my March Symposium!

Since this is my birthday month, I was doing some reflecting back on everything that I have learned since I published my first book in Oct 2012. Has it really only been that long? LOL 

In honor of the start to my new year, I thought I would asked my friends and fellow authors to share some lessons they have learned since they’ve been writing. Their remarks are extremely insightful to new writers, as well as authors who have been writing for years. Find out what they had to say! 

LAURIE ROMA: If there is one thing I have learned about being an author, it is that you NEVER stop learning. Before I published my first book, I graduated from law school (we won’t go into that *shivers, oh the horror*), and I was also an editor and a screenwriter. Each field has its own challenges, but the reality that I’ve learned is that in anything you do, if you stop learning, you stop improving. With each book I write, I always want it to be better than the last. Sure, each series I write has different themes, and may be in different genres, but the ultimate goal I set for myself is to entertain my readers by stepping my game up. With that said, the advice I can impart on any new authors out there is that you can’t please everyone. Get used to it. From what I was told when I was just starting out, the better you are doing, the MORE you will get critiqued. I say…bring the rain.

On a personal note: I would like to thank everyone for your kind birthday wishes, and for making the release of HAMMER'S FALL so wonderful. I'm so pleased that you have let Hammer and the other Breakers' Bad Boys into your hearts…and I wish you all your very own Happily Ever After!

Jared "Hammer" Caufield is a former Army Ranger and retired professional MMA champion that had to give up his fighting career due to a knee injury. He is a bad boy through and through, but that doesn't stop him from craving the sweet little bakery owner, even though he knows she is too good for him...

Bakery owner, Kalista Redford, is a woman who has had a difficult past. She has always struggled with her self-esteem, and her last breakup hasn't done anything to help improve her opinion of herself. When Kalista finds herself pursued by the dark and dangerous man she has secretly dreamed about, will she be able to follow her heart or will past insecurities threaten to ruin her chance at true love?


N.J. WALTERS: Writing is a very rewarding profession. It’s also a very lonely and sometimes difficult way to make a living. One thing I’ve learned in this business is that you have to grow a bit of a thick skin and learn to take criticism. Whether it comes in the form of a rejection letter, a scathing review, an anonymous personal attack on social media or from an editor who wants you to change something in your books, you have to learn to accept these things with grace and move on. Ranting on social media will only hurt yourself. This is a small community and once you’ve put things out there in the public arena you can’t take them back. It’s fine to cry and rant in private and complain to your spouse, but then you have to let it go. Remember, this is a business and you should be professional at all times...even if it isn’t always easy.

A vampire’s heart is not meant to beat this fast 
Legacy, Book 7

Craig Lawton’s life is full. Filled with normal things like work as a video-game creator and financial investor, and not-so-normal things like two half-werewolf siblings and a vampire best friend. 

He’s accustomed to being the only human in the room…until he attempts to help a desperate, newly made vampire in the throes of her first transformation. 

Evie Pelowski is a woman alone. Left alone in a filthy alley to become a monster like the one that attacked her, unable to control the bloodlust surging through her veins. Now she’s done the unforgivable—turned her Good Samaritan into a monster just like her. 

They must face the future while coming to grips with their new realities. But despite a strong bond ignited by blood and forged in the heat of sexual desire, despite Craig’s unshakeable determination to teach her to trust, Evie knows nothing she loves ever stays. Especially when the vampire who made her wants her back—and he’ll kill anyone who gets in his way.


GABRIELLE EVANS: The most important lesson I’ve learned since beginning this journey is that it’s okay to NOT write. I have a husband, two school-age children, soccer practice, errands to run, laundry to fold, and often times, life just gets in the way. I’m human. I get sick or distracted or upset, and some days, the words just aren’t there. It happens, and that’s okay. When I first began writing, I’d flog myself mercilessly if I didn’t write at least three thousand words every single day. If I didn’t write, I felt guilty about not writing. If I was writing and neglecting other responsibilities, I felt guilty for that. It’s all very time-consuming and exhausting, though, but now that I’ve accepted the fact I’m human and not a machine, life and writing are much more enjoyable. 

Moira Gilson has always been different, though she never fully understood why. Dedicating her life to protecting a sibling she’d never met was the easy part. Finding her own happiness will take a bit more work. 

Rumors spread like poison when Brock Lancaster disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving behind an alpha legacy. Nearly a year later, he’s back. Not to claim his rightful place as leader of the pack but to protect the woman he loves—and he’s not alone. 

Koba Blackheart would rather avoid conflict when possible. Having two mates constantly at each other’s throats is the epitome of conflict, especially since Brock and Moira have a history and he’s the odd man out. 

Danger creeps ever closer, and their rocky relationship will soon be put to the test. Can the three recognize the true meaning of family? Or will they crumble under their own selfishness?


JENIKA SNOW: There is a lot of advice I could give a new or aspiring author. But I think the one that would mean the most would be to never give up and keep trying. When I got that acceptance phone call in 2009 it hadn't come easily. There was many rejection letters, a lot of disappointment, and thoughts that I wasn't ever going to have my dream fulfilled. I can't tell an author not to worry because they always will--I still do five years later. What I can say is that all it takes is that one acceptance out of many rejections to have you realize that you finally made it. What isn't right for one publisher is perfect for another. So, don't give up, no matter what. 

She wasn't supposed to be his obsession.

Tallin "Jagger" Landon isn't a good man. In fact, he isn't a man at all but a bear shifter and the President of the Grizzly MC. When he takes in a wounded female of a rival MC, retaliation from that club is inevitable. But Jagger doesn't expect to be so territorial of a female that isn't even his.

Sonya White is desperate for a way out, and will do just about anything for her freedom. Taken as a teenager by Trick, the Wolverine MC President, she has been the sexual plaything for the sadistic shifter for years. But the drama keeps unfolding when the dominant and possessive Jagger keeps declaring that Sonya is his, a jealous club whore, and Trick coming back to settle the score. Sonya can either run from the MC life, or let Jagger claim her fully like he demands.


SUSAN HAYES: As writers, we are both a person and a business, all wrapped up in one caffeine-fuelled package of creative humanity. Every writer shares pieces of themselves in their stories, but in the digital age we also tweet, like, post, blog, and pin our names, our thoughts, and our lives all over social media. When you are your brand, you have to be aware that everything you say will be read by your potential audience, and not all of them are going to share your opinions, politics, beliefs or causes. The internet is forever, so before you start tweeting and posting, think about not just what you the person want to say, but what you, the writer want attached to your name…forever.

In the aftermath of a war that almost destroyed Earth, the Alliance now rules, but not everyone chooses to live by their laws. Alayna is a rebel living by her own rules in the harsh badlands, outside the Alliance’s control. She is a thief, stealing from the wealthy to provide for those who cannot survive on their own, all while hiding the tattoo that marks her as one of the few remaining fertile women on Earth…making her a target.

Alliance Elites Nikolai Grekov and Colin Nielson are stationed at a neglected base on the edge of the badlands after years spent in space. Their orders are to track down an elusive thief that’s been plaguing the area’s outposts, but they also have their own agenda. Both men want to find and claim a fertile woman to call their own and fulfill their dreams of becoming a family. 

When the men catch the sexy, headstrong, thief breaking into their home, they claim Alayna for their own. Nikolai and Colin may have claimed their chosen, but the battle for her heart has just begun. Can they find a way to win her trust or will their beautiful renegade’s need for freedom destroy their chance of happiness?


STACEY ESPINO: Since I started writing I’ve learned that being successful as an author is a fine balancing act. Not only do you have to write what sells, but it’s extremely important to love what you write. Once you find that balance, the sky is the limit. I find my best work is when I’m fully engrossed in the book, love my characters, and get excited about writing each day. When I have to force my muse, the writing suffers and the lack of passion shows in the words. So embrace the things that inspire you, and regardless of the genre, put your heart and soul into your characters. Your readers will thank you for it!

Eva Ford lives a sheltered life on her small rural farm. At twenty-two, she feels the need to spread her wings and start her own life, planning a trip to the city to show her prized cows. Colton and North McReed from the next ranch over are determined to make sure she stays out of trouble. 

Twin brothers, Colton and North, have always loved little Eva. She's their rock in life, the one pure thing in their otherwise dark existence. Their abusive father ran out on the family years ago and their mother suffers from a serious addiction. They never look at Eva with desire...until they spend a week alone with her in the city.

Everything changes when Eva and the cowboys realize just how deep their love for each other runs. Once their passion is unleashed, it's impossible to contain. But can their unorthodox relationship last? Will sex ruin the friendship of a lifetime?


HENNESSEE ANDREWS: Out of all the lessons I have learned in my writing journey, there is one that trumps all. To any new aspiring writer, remember, not everyone will enjoy your writing. As much as we’d like to please each and every reader, the fact is, it is an impossible task. Cherish your positives reviews, and understand you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea when you get a negative review. Write what “You” like to read. Please yourself first and enjoy what your mind creates.

Joe Ray Mullins can’t escape the sins of his father and is constantly looking over his shoulder. Trouble seems to lurk everywhere he goes. When two men are looking for him at a rodeo, he is leery because his father has recently been paroled from prison, and many are seeking to find him.

Christian Wright didn’t want to be in Kansas City with the owner of the XYZ Ranch, Zander Wesley, scouting for new members to begin with. He liked the event even less when the hot calf roper, Zander, who he has his sights set on, sticks a gun to his head in the restroom. They cut their losses and chalk up the event as nothing more than time wasted.

When they find Joe Ray badly beaten in the parking lot, they miss their flight in order to get him to safety. Who knew the bad boy image Joe Ray projected is nothing more than a ruse?


CORINNE DAVIES: Patience! Wow, I never knew how much I would need when I first started down this path as a professional writer. Something I’m still working on, as I’m not the most patient person. LOL I’ve learned you have to be patient with yourself and patient with the story. Some books are easier to write than others and you can’t rush one that isn’t ready to be written. You need to be patient and let it percolate in the back of your head for a while and let your subconscious work out the fine details. Once you have the book written you have to exercise your patience muscles again waiting to hear back if your book has been accepted, then through edits and edits and edits, and then waiting for release day which is the hardest one sometimes. But, all that patience is worth it in the end. :)

Clara Fitch is terrified of the violent side of her nature and has worked hard to suppress her primal instincts. The iron control she’s kept on her inner bear is starting to fray, and she now fears for the lives of every living creature who comes in contact with her.

After spending years looking, Luc, Georges, and Nouel Benoit had given up on their dream of ever finding a woman they can share. When a beautiful enigma of a woman arrives on their doorstep, they can’t believe their good fortune, but there is more to her than delicious curves and a sharp tongue.

The Benoit brothers know that Clara is their Mate, but she has suppressed her inner animal to the point of inhibiting her natural abilities. Has she driven her inner bear mad? Can they convince her that her animal side is nothing to fear and learn to trust herself while embracing the idea of being their Mate?


LORI KING: Truth be told the biggest lesson I learned, the one I think that newbie authors need to learn the quickest, is to just walk away. We all get bad reviews, we all deal with catty people, we all get edits that hurt our pride, but retaliating or even responding in anger to any of it will come back to bite you in the ass. I've seen it over and over again, a new author gets a craptastic review from a reader that argues the logistics of a sex scene, or the historical facts of a time period, and the next thing you know the gloves are off and words are said that can't be taken back. It's easy to speak without thinking about the repercussions, but every word spoken in this business will affect your bottom line. Readers and other authors have long memories. 

In book two of the Surrender Trilogy: The strength of a man is in the way he embraces his flaws, instead of denying them.

Zoey Carson has worked nonstop to graduate with her Master’s degree, after managing to survive parents who neglected her in favor of their own addictions.  Her future of helping children overcome their childhood is within her grasp until she is knocked down by a surprise visit from her mother.  She finds herself at a crossroads when her longtime crush, Tanner Keegan, comes to her rescue, along with his brothers, Dalton and Clint.  Letting them go might help her avoid getting hurt, but the outcome—she would continue to live a lonely, empty life.

The Keegan brothers finally come together after spreading themselves across the globe for more than a decade.  Each fighting his own personal battle with the past and future, but there is no question that Zoey turns them all on.  Who will risk the pain of baring their soul for the promise of a happy future, and who will succumb to their weaknesses?

Return to Stone River, Texas, where the Keegan brothers work together to win the heart of the woman made for them.  Enjoy the journey as Zoey decides if she can be their…Flawless Surrender.


ERIN M. LEAF: Get out of the corner and follow your heart… I’ve been writing novels for years now, but I remember well what it felt like the first time I pushed past 10,000 words: fear, excitement, trepidation, and a terrible case of I-don’t-know-what-comes-next. What did I do? I went for a bicycle ride. Why? Because physical activity pushes me out of my head and releases my creative voice. The thing with writing is that you can paint yourself into a corner that seems inescapable. To get out of that illusory trap, you must set yourself free. I needed to trick my brain into that leap forward, so I could write something unexpected. I still have to do that sometimes, but at least now it's not such a jump into the unknown. These days I smudge the paint a LOT, but it's always worth it.

When a meteor explodes over Atlanta, infecting the world with a virus that turns people into zombies, Lark knows survival will be difficult. Her roommate and best friend insists that her father and his best friend will come and save them, but Lark isn’t sure if she wants to put her life into the hands of strangers. Unfortunately, when the zombies come, she may have no choice. And when Ben and Dillon break into their dorm in the nick of time, Lark finds herself reevaluating her insistence on independence.

Tragedy brings them together. The fight to survive creates a bond stronger than blood in a few short days. What’s a girl to do when faced with the zombie apocalypse? Does she trust in the two men she knows will keep her alive, or does she strike out on her own?


ERIKA REED: Everyone has been more than helpful since I have started in my writing journey. There have been a few bumps in the road, but thank goodness for my close author friends that were there to help me when I needed them most. And they know who they are. I would have to say the most valuable advice I would like to pass on to other authors would be to never depend on someone else to find and fix your mistakes. Never assume someone will find even the smallest mistake. It is your work and it reflects on you in the end. 

Serena Pierce is back in Inferno for the first time in years. She planned on only being back long enough to see her friend Kasey get married. She hadn’t planned on the instant attraction that simmers between her and Inferno’s hot and sexy bikers, Mick and Ryder.

Ryder Hudson is tired of life on the open road. Serena’s arrival in town could be the reason he’s been looking for to finally settle down. Mick Warner’s life is in Inferno, and after meeting Serena he’s ready to do anything to keep the woman who has captured his heart from leaving town. His happiness lies with her and Ryder, and he wants nothing more than to convince them both to stay and make a life together.

Serena is tired of being lonely, but staying in Inferno isn’t going to be easy. Will she allow her past to get in the way of the happiness she has longed for so long?


DORIS O'CONNOR: The one thing I learned about writing is that my characters are always right. I'm a complete and utter panster, and I write best when I shut off my inner editor and just let the characters tell me their story. No matter how outrageous, I simply let the words flow, and somehow it all works out at the end. I call this stage word vomit. In other words, just get the story down and then go back and edit. It's chaos for sure, but it also makes writing an adventure, and I've grown to love the curve balls my characters throw my way. :)

Tough undercover cop Mike Anderson does not submit to anyone, let alone a pint sized bundle of curves with a Mistress complex, who stands for everything he despises about BDSM.

Thrown into a world where the rules make no sense to him, he has to rely on his instincts, and they all scream one thing—submit to His Lady.

Scarlett Simpson is one of the most feared Mistresses at Club Spectrum and she has a score to settle. Mike's atrocious behavior needs addressing. If only she wasn't so attracted to the big hunk of a man, and he didn't prove so utterly responsive. As she explores his boundaries through Shibari and Knife Play, Scarlett can't help but get emotionally involved.

Submission freely given is a gift she treasures, but can she trust Mike to stay around once the case is over? When danger comes knocking, will Mike be able to protect her, or will this end in tragedy?


HONOR JAMES: I have to say that I’ve learned a lot since starting to write. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I know absolutely nothing about the English language and how to punctuate. I’m sure some of the other authors will be nodding at that statement. I can string a sentence together and I always write it the way I would say it to someone if I was speaking. But apparently that’s not “actually” how it should be written or punctuated. No one’s perfect, I’m sure even the very best author out there has days that their editor has to wonder what they were doing when they wrote a paragraph, chapter or entire book. But this is why we have editors. To drive them absolutely insane of course! Okay, no, it’s to make us look good to our readers and make our stories enjoyable to read.

Trouble is following Patricia Graymont home. But she needs somewhere to hide for a while, to sort through everything that’s happened, and as the saying goes, there really is no place like home. The only problem is having to face the two men she still loves and once left behind.

Blake Jacobson and Corbin Franks have worked on the Graymont Ranch for as many years as they can remember. They have a love for the land and the work they do is to keep it as natural as possible. They also both love the owner’s daughter, but once upon a time, they had to let her go to become the woman they always knew she could be.

Her homecoming was everything Patty could hope for, and more. Already feeling a little raw emotionally, seeing Blake and Corbin again was like a healing balm to her soul. Now, all they have to do is survive the coming storm.


REBECCA JOYCE: Oh the life of a writer…Since I’ve started writing, I wish I could say it’s all been fun and games, that I’m living the sweet life on a sandy beach, sippin’ a margarita with a hot cabana boy named Marco at my beckon call…well, in my mind I am. In reality, I am a pajama wearing, coffee drinking manic, hurrying off to finish off my next manuscript, just so I can start the next. I’ve learned many thing since my first book like fingernails will grow back, hair can be dyed any color, and that sleep is totally over rated. But you know what…I LOVE every minute of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing. To those embarking on this wild & crazy journey, here is a little bit of advice…take a deep breath and relax, don’t let a bad review derail you and always, always keep hitting that SUBMIT BUTTON! (((HUGS))) & <3 

Katarina Clark loves her job and is extremely proficient at it. She never wanted the intrusive entanglements that went along with relationships, especially since that was what brought her to her to the Pleasure Cave in the first place. When she agreed to take on a permanent submissive, she never thought in doing so would cause pandemonium.

The Kincaid brothers are the comical clowns of Treasure Cove. Never taking anything seriously, they believe in fun more than hard work. When the oldest brother returns with a letter that could have dire consequences, the brothers decided that, a grand adventure might be in order. However, no one counted on a feisty Mistress tagging along.

With the help from Celestial, the Kincaid brothers set out to confuse and ensnare those who wish to hurt their family. Along the way, help arrives in all shapes and sizes, but when the cow jumps over the moon, will the dish get away with the spoon? 


Check out the rest of The Men of Treasure Cove Series on Rebecca Joyce's Siren Author Page!

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  1. Wow it is all great advice. As a reader of many of you i would like to say thank you for keeping on trying. For having patience and for realizing that not everyone has amazing taste like me lol. Happy New Year Laurie and may it be a great one for you.

  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to help us newbie authors. I'll certainly take it to heart. My main problem is I keep going over the same paragraph or chapter until I get it right and I never get it right anyway. I need to just 'write it all down' then go over it, but I still catch myself going backward instead of forward. I do get frustrated at myself if I don't write something everyday. Some days the words flow and others... If I do what Doris does, it works a lot better, but I hate making mistakes. As for negative reviews, I did take them to heart with my first book, but now it doesn't bother me anymore. We all have different tastes and opinions and getting a bad review sometimes helps sales. Thanks again, ladies!