First: The title and release date of my third Superromance has been announced!
In Her Corner,about a female MMA fighter Bella Fiore training with Her Son's Hero alum Kyle Peters, will be released March 2014 from Harlequin Superromance. Watch for more updates on the Books page. The campaign to get actor Tahmoh Penikett on my cover continues, too, so please, tell your friends to sign the petition!
Second: I've signed with an agent! The fabulous Courtney Miller-Callihan of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates will be shopping around my Western-set fantasy and handling my romance writing career, too. I love telling people I'm with the same agency that represents Dan Brown. 8 )
The coolness factor of a celebrity is directly proportional to their tweets to fans. @JeriLRyan and @NathanFillion know this. @TahmohPenikett already won me over with his performances in Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse, but he had me at "Interesting."
GUYS. @TahmohPenikett is now verified and active on Twitter! Did I mention he's the inspiration for the hero in my next #MMA romance? <3Vicki Essex
@VickiEssex Interesting.Tahmoh Penikett
This was about where I lost my s#it and squeed. But it got better....
@VickiEssex @TahmohPenikett When will it come out? I'll definitely need to read it!Nichole Stark
@nichole5988 @TahmohPenikett Maybe sometime in 2014? I'll let y'all know when I have a release date!Vicki Essex
@VickiEssex @nichole5988 Want to hear more.Tahmoh Penikett
.@TahmohPenikett @nichole5988 Former Olympic gold wrestler trains female MMA fighter struggling against her family's disapproval. 1/2Vicki Essex
.@TahmohPenikett @nichole5988 2/2 Their chemistry on and off the mats sizzles, but he's holding back. Can she break down his defenses? #MMAVicki Essex
Hey, @TahmohPenikett ever wanted to model for Harlequin? I can hook you up... @nichole5988Vicki Essex
I tried this once with @GeorgesStPierre when I was working on Her Son's Hero. He doesn't handle his own twitter, though, so I didn't get a response.
Now I'm demanding @HarlequinBooks get @TahmohPenikett as the cover model for my next book. Whaddya think, Tahmoh? #MMA #romance #sosayweallVicki Essex
Tahmoh is just that much cooler.
@VickiEssex @HarlequinBooks Why not?! Can i have Fabio hair?!Tahmoh Penikett
Hear that? He'll do it! RT @TahmohPenikett @HarlequinBooks Why not?! Can i have Fabio hair?!Vicki Essex
@TahmohPenikett Tahmoh, you can be on one of my covers anytime. @vickiessex @harlequinbooksDonna Alward
If you score that I'll die of jealousy! RT @vickiessex: Tahmoh Penikett said yes! No take-backsies! @HarlequinBooks fb.me/1FitqSAGEDonna Alward
Back off, ladies. He's mine... Although I'd love to be there for the shoot if he were doing multiple covers. *hint hint @HarlequinBooks*
.@DonnaAlward @HarlequinBooks @TahmohPenikett I think he'd make a great cowboy. Or billionaire CEO. How would you feel about a kilt, Tahmoh?Vicki Essex
@VickiEssex @donnaalward @harlequinbooks @tahmohpenikett I second the kilt!Nichole Stark
@VickiEssex @DonnaAlward @HarlequinBooks Listen, i'm game for a lot of things, but i'm not budging on the Fabio hair.Tahmoh Penikett
MAKE IT HAPPEN, HARLEQUIN.
@TahmohPenikett @vickiessex @harlequinbooks And he definitely needs to be holding a baby. Hey, just so happens I have a photogenic baby...Margot Mallinson
Over the past five years or so that I've been seriously writing, along with the more than six years I've worked at the company as a proofreader, I've been asked several times how one goes about writing for Harlequin.
Let me preface this by making it clear that I do not speak for the company. This has been gleaned from my own personal experience.
Let's explore, first the reasons you are asking this question.
Why do you want to write for Harlequin? This is a very simple question. If the answer is "because they'll publish anything and I hear I can make easy money writing trashy romances," then stop. Just stop. Writing is not easy, and getting published by the world's largest publisher of women's fiction is even more difficult. Any belief that this will be easy and that you'll become a millionaire overnight needs to be put down right now. (See my About Me page.)
If, on the other hand, the answer is "I want to write for Harlequin because I've got a great idea/completed romance manuscript that would be terrific for their (insert series here) line," then you, my friend, are on the right track.
But what if all you have is a vague idea and a glimmer of hope in your eyes? How do you sell your book to Harlequin?
Boromir should know. His Aragorn/Legolas slashfics were rejected.
1. If you want to write for Harlequin, read Harlequin books. Two or three is not a sampling. Ten is not a sampling. I daresay, 100 probably isn't a sampling, either, but it's closer to some kind of representation (as of this date, I have read more than 670 Harlequin books over +6 years). Harlequin produces tons of different series ranging from contemporary to paranormal. Go to Harlequin.com and study the enormous range of series they have. Understanding what you like and where your story will fit within the Harlequin family is vital.
2a. Write, write, WRITE. Don't just sit and plan and outline and dream. You have to have words to edit before you even consider who you'll sell to or what agent you want. The only way you'll become a published author is to write. Period. A book is not going to magically appear in your hands. Finish writing a book and you'll be that much closer to being a published author.
2b. Edit, edit, EDIT. Your manuscript should be the best it can possibly be. Polish it to a high gloss before you start handing it out...and expect to edit it some more even after you've sold it!
3. Get help. Learn about the romance publishing industry. There are tons of resources out there for the would-be Harlequin author to help you sharpen your writing and learn about the publishing business. The Harlequin website has an entire online community devoted to the craft of writing.
Another resource: The Romance Writers of America is the primary nonprofit organization created to foster the careers of aspiring and published romance authors, and it can give you lots of great perspective about the industry overall.
Go to your local RWA chapter meetings. Find a critique partner or critique group of like-minded writers who work in your genre. And unless she's a book editor, your mom probably doesn't count. Listen to what people have to say about your writing. Seek out resources on the internet and in books. You can never learn enough.
4. Submit your manuscript for consideration. You can't get published by Harlequin unless you stick your neck out there and submit. Check out the submission guidelines on the Harlequin website and, for the love of all that is holy, FOLLOW THOSE GUIDELINES. Nothing will get you rejected faster than flaunting the rules...except maybe dissing the line you want to write for in your query letter. (Note: Don't do that.)
5. Accept rejection. It'll happen. But don't let it discourage you! Learn from your rejection letters. Go back to step 3. Edit.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 until you are published by Harlequin. Writing to get published is not easy. I don't know how often I have to say this. I have 5 books I completed that are sitting on my hard drive, rejected or unpublishable. I've learned from every one of them. And though they'll never see the light of day, at least I can say I wrote those books.
For more tips (helpful or otherwise) check out my So You Want To Be A Writer page for all my posts on the craft and on getting published.
Chris Hemsworth would play the hero, Chris Jamieson.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Big-city prodigal daughter returns to her sweet and sour small-town roots and reunites with her old high school crush.
6. Will your book be self-published or traditional?
Traditional—with Harlequin Superromance, in stores and online January 2, 2013.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Four months, plus one month to edit, before I sent it to my editor.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Sarah M. Anderson’sA Man of His Word, which is a great Harlequin Desire about a white high-powered executive and a Native American attorney. Anderson deftly handles the racial issues and prejudice the heroine faces without shying away from the real awfulness.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Being Chinese Canadian myself, I’ve always wanted to write a contemporary Chinese heroine and see more diversity in romance.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The book does deal with issues of racism and interracial relationships, but more broadly, it is about coming to grips with your personal and cultural identity.
Hey authors! Wanna continue the chain? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can be a part of this chain of awesomeness!
So the blog tour begins for the release of Back to the Good Fortune Diner! I'll be talking about all kinds of things regarding the book, writing interracial romances, and more. Come and see me at these awesome websites—I'll be giving away copies of BTTGFD to commenters!
Apologies for neglecting my blog. It's been a busy and rather stressful month. I had surgery to remove my gallbladder in October--in the weeks leading up to it, I was in and out of the E.R. and the doctor's office. I've had a stone measuring 1.9 cm inside me for a while, and after 7 attacks over two weeks, the surgeon said it was time for the gallbladder to go.
So here I am now, minus one gallbladder and plus a few abdominal scars. But now I can have all the bacon I want without fear of (serious) repercussions. Though I should probably, you know. Be healthier.
c/o Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
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Don Mills, ON
In writing news, I'm working on my third book, another MMA story set in the same universe as Her Son's Hero, and starring Kyle Peters, Dom's wrestling coach. No release dates yet, but I'll keep you posted.
Also, I've finally finished my YA Western fantasy! It's been a project I've been working on for almost 3 years, and I'm hoping to get some beta readers and start sending it to agents in January.