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Monday, October 29, 2012

Disappointment



We all experience disappointment from time to time. A rejection letter from an editor, not getting the promotion we wanted, being turned down for a date, our favorite team losing the World Series.

How we deal with disappointment reveals our character. A rejection letter can do one of two things. It can galvanize us into sending our manuscript out again—“I’ll show that editor/agent”—or it can stop us in our tracks. How could someone say my baby is ugly? We can wallow in self-pity and dejection, determined not to get hurt again. That cute guy makes up a lame excuse not to go to the prom with us. (Hey, it’s a new world. Girls don’t sit around waiting. We can ask guys out.) So, what do we do? Sit home and mope or go with a friend and have a great time? When that job we wanted goes to someone else, we can double our efforts to make sure The Powers That Be recognize our worth or bad mouth the person (not nearly as talented as we are, of course) who got the position—or quietly look for a job with another company.

Then, there’s the Detroit Tigers. The euphoria I felt when they became the American League champions—sweeping the Yankees—started slipping when they lost the first game in San Francisco. Okay, I said, they’ll come back in the second game. My optimism waned with each loss, but I didn’t give up hope. They’ll do it in Detroit. Only they didn’t it. You know how guys yell at the television during football games? Well, that’s me during baseball. The groans, the moans—you’d think I was giving birth. I could blame the refs (only their bad calls sometimes helped my team). Blame it on the nasty weather. What happened to the high 70s while the Tigers were in Frisco? Besides, the wind carried one Tiger ball right into the stands for a homer. The play-by-play announcers certainly blasted the players enough. Blaming the manager or players doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel like a grump—which is why I didn’t write this post last night. I’m trying real hard to keep thinking “better luck next year”—it's not easy.

For the players, I can’t imagine how disappointed they must be. Notice, I didn’t say devastated. Devastated is when you lose your job or fire destroys your home. Devastated is what the people on the East Coast will be when Hurricane Sandy takes away everything they own, leaving unimaginable destruction in its wake.

There’s a lot of truth in the adage that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Some days, don’t you want to say, hey, I’m strong enough? So, we writers will keep subjecting ourselves to rejection by sending out those manuscripts. Someone will eventually recognize our brilliance. <g> We will apply for positions in the hopes that we’ll land the right one. We won’t let one guy (who wasn’t good enough for us anyway) stop us from asking another to the prom. We’ll have high hopes for next year for our favorite team. Or, maybe, we’ll use our disappointment as fodder for blog posts.

How do you deal with disappointment?
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meet Tracy Brogan



I’m so happy to introduce you to a fellow Mid-Michigan RWA chapter member and debut author, Tracy Brogan. Tracy is a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist. This prestigious contest is for unpublished writers and finaling often leads to publishing contracts, as Tracy well knows.

Welcome, Tracy. Please tell us about yourself.

Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog, Diane! It’s a pleasure to be here. I am a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist who writes fun and breezy stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love, and also stirring historical romance full of political intrigue, damsels causing distress, and the occasional man in a kilt.  As a Michigan native, I’m one of those people who points to the palm of my hand to show where I live.  I have one bemused husband, two very dramatic daughters, and two dogs, one of which is brilliant, the other of which is not-so-very brilliant.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t choose writing. Writing chose me, and I’ve done it all my life. I dabbled with historical manuscripts on and off for years but when my youngest daughter started school I realized it was time to get serious. I wrote my first book that year and it was the first one I’d actually completed. It debuted on October 23rd, but it went through a lot of changes and I encountered a lot of growing pains as a writer while working to get it published. And it’s contemporary. I never imagined I’d write a contemporary. I’m not sure where it came from.

How long does it take you to write a book?

There is much banging of the head against the desk when I am writing, and an inordinate amount of “pre-thinking.” I am a plotter of the highest order and cannot start writing until I know my characters thoroughly. When I finally start getting things on “paper” I can write pretty fast but the weeks (months!) leading up to that are agony. Those people who can sit down and draft a novel in a couple of weeks – without knowing the ending first – those people make me want to throw myself down an open elevator shaft. I am jealous of their ability.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Think about writing.

LOL I know what you mean. What does your family think of your writing?

My family is incredibly supportive. Last weekend I went to hotel alone, just me and my laptop, to get some writing done and my husband took care of the kids. He’s more excited about my books getting published than I am! Well, maybe not more, but equally excited. And my kids will get off the school bus and say, “What was your word count today, Mom?” because they know if I met my goal, everyone will have a more pleasant evening!

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve completed two, CRAZY LITTLE THING, which just got released, and HIGHLAND SURRENDER, which comes out December 4th. I’m currently finishing up HOLD ON MY HEART, another romantic comedy, which is scheduled for release in June, 2013.  It’s so hard to say which is a favorite! SURRENDER lived in my head for more years than I care to admit. CRAZY is the book that got me an agent and a publisher. And HEART is the one I’m immersed in now, so I love them all equally even though they each mean something different to me.

What do you think makes a good story?

I want to be engaged with the characters emotions. I don’t care if there are bombs blowing up, a mystery to be solved, a werewolf to tame, I want to know how the characters FEEL. A simple exchange between two characters sitting at a coffee shop can be just as riveting to me as a chase scene as long as I can “see” what they’re feeling. Donald Maas has this great explanation (and I’m paraphrasing) but he says when your character is being chased by a panther, it’s not the chase that has your attention. It’s the tension.  And a good writer can create tension with just about anything as long as the character has a reason to feel it.

What is the best part of writing for you?

I adore brainstorming a new story. That’s the most fun part. But the most satisfying part so far has been typing The End and sending my story off to my editor. This has been a huge year of ‘first times’ for me so each part is exciting. I got my first ARC’s (Advanced Reading Copy) and my first reviews and had my first release day. It’s all good right now. I feel VERY lucky.

What are some jobs you've done that would end up in a book?

My husband is an emergency medicine physician and so is the hero in my book. This being the case, I cannot convince my husband that the hero is not based on him. I can assure you, though, the job is where the similarity ends. <g> 

What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?

Oh, I can’t pick just two because it depends on what kind of mood I’m in. So I’m going to cheat and list a bunch. Kristin Higgins and Jennie Crusie are my probably my two favorite contemporary writers. Reading a Higgins book feels like visiting old friends. You just know you’re going to laugh and have a good time.

For historical writers, my new favorite is Cecelia Grant. Her voice is so bold and confident and original. I’d like to live inside one of her books. I also think Joanna Bourne has an incredible talent for creating a deep point-of-view from the character. I’m always immersed in her world when I read her books. And Kieran Kramer is another recent find for me. Her books are so fun and clever with just the right combination of light and depth. I’ll stop there but I have several more authors I adore.

Tell us about your latest book.

I have a dual-personality. My debut novel, CRAZY LITTLE THING, is pure, beachy-read fun. Here's the blurb:

If Sadie Turner is good at anything, it’s putting stuff in order. So when she finds her “perfect” life in disarray, she hopes a summer vacation at her aunt’s lake house will help her piece it back together. She wants to relax, reboot, and heal the wounds left by her cheating ex-husband. And that requires time away from men. All men. 


Or so she thinks. 

With two slobbering dogs and two cousins living there—one a flamboyant decorator intent on making over Sadie—it’s hard to get a moment’s peace at eccentric Aunt Dody’s house, especially with everyone so determined to set her up with Desmond, the sexy new neighbor. 

Desmond is Sadie’s worst nightmare. Tall, tanned, muscular…and to top it off, he’s great with her kids. But he must have a flaw—he’s a man—so Sadie vows to keep her distance.


CRAZY LITTLE THING is available digitally and in print at Amazon:
http://amzn.com/1612186009



My historical, HIGHLAND SURRENDER, has more depth and the plot is significantly more complex. I love writing in both genres because while writing contemporary, I can exorcise my sense of humor (yes, I do mean exorcise as opposed to exercise J) but my natural writing voice leans more toward historical. Plus I adore history. 

BLURB:

To seal a fragile truce, Fiona Sinclair’s brothers trade her in marriage to their sworn enemy. Though devastated by their betrayal, she has little choice in the matter, for if she refuses, her innocent young sister must take her place. The spirited Fiona is willing to sacrifice her freedom to protect her kin, but she vows never to surrender her heart. 

As the eldest son of a clan chief, Myles Campbell is accustomed to having his own way. But when the king of Scotland commands he wed a defiant Highland lass instead of a French mademoiselle, Myles must obey his royal duty. Meeting his bride for the first time on their wedding day, he is pleased to discover the lass is a beauty, but she quickly proves she’d just as soon kill him as kiss him.

When two such warrior spirits collide, sparks fly, igniting a fiery passion that strains against the bonds of family honor, clan loyalty— and the ultimate surrender—love.


HIGHLAND SURRENDER will be available digitally and in print on December 4th: http://amzn.com/1612186963
My latest book, HOLD ON MY HEART, blends history into a contemporary setting. It’s the story of a career-driven woman who loses her job and her fair-weather boyfriend and has to move back in with her parents. She agrees to help her father realize his dream of opening a vintage ice cream parlor in an old, abandoned one-room schoolhouse. Enter a sexy historical building restoration specialist who is estranged from his pre-teen daughter and you have the set up for a history lesson in good, old-fashioned romance! HOLD ON MY HEART will be released in June, 2013.

Where can readers find you?


Tracy has graciously offered to give away a copy of either CRAZY LITTLE THING or HIGHLAND SURRENDER to one lucky commenter. Be sure to leave your email address.

Thanks so much for being here, Tracy. Much success on both your books.



Monday, October 22, 2012

Busy Week

Great week, last week. The Detroit Tigers are in the World Series. Yay!

This is going to be a fun week. Instead of my usual Monday Morning Musing, I'm going to give you the links where I'll be.

Along with other authors this week, I'll be at Nancy Gideon's Haunted Open House.



Come on over for fun, games, trivia, gifts. Authors stopping by with great excerpts of their latest and greatest. <g> And some of us will be in costume. Tell me what you think of my Alex Trebek imitation from Mid-Michigan RWA's Retreat From Harsh Reality's "Author Jeopardy."

Plus, giveaways.

Did you see GIFTS? I'll be giving away a Smashwords coupon for a FREE digital download (for any e-reader) of Switched, Too to a lucky commenter.   All you have to do is leave a comment and your email address.

On Thursday, come on back here to Meet Tracy Brogan who will chat about her debut novel and what's up for this talented author.

And, also on Thursday, if you aren't too tired of bopping all over the 'Net, stop over at Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts & Reviews, where I'll give away a Smashwords coupon for a FREE download of either Switched or Switched, Too to a lucky commenter who comments on the artists on my Ipod (actually, a generic MP3 player--I'm cheap).

I'll leave messages each day on my Facebook page http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor 

Busy, busy. Fun. Fun. Fun.





Thursday, October 18, 2012

Meet Darcy Flynn



It’s Thursday and my guest is author Darcy Flynn.

Welcome, Darcy. Please tell us about yourself.

Sure. My name is Darcy Flynn and I live with my husband and son on a horse farm in Franklin, Tennessee. It’s about twenty miles south of Nashville. I raise beautiful rare breed chickens and enjoy their fresh eggs every day.

I enjoy all types of romances, but the sweet ones hold a special place in my heart. They’re my first love. I particularly like the ones where they start out hating each other. Sparing with their verbal foils until the ‘melt in your arms bliss’ kiss. <g>

Those books were my first, too. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always written poems, music lyrics and short magazine articles, but it wasn’t until my son went to College that I started writing romantic fiction. After he left for school, I was de-cluttering and discovered a box of vintage Harlequin and Silhouette romances in my attic. I read them again and every time I’d read one, I’d think, I could write one of these. So I seized the day and began writing.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love to dance, garden and go antiquing with girl friends. I also raise rare breed chickens on my farm.

What is the most important thing you do for your career?

Write books. <g>

Good choice. LOL How many hours a day to you spend writing?

Between 2 and 4. I turn everything off and write—it’s very concentrated work for me. I don’t do well with interruptions or background noise.

If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?

Life is short. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. God put those dreams in your heart, not to frustrate you, but to give you something to live for.

Great advice. What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

Since my books are fast, fun reads with happy endings, I want to leave my readers satisfied and smiling and hopefully for days.

What two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?

Georgette Heyer and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Tell us about your latest book.

Sure, I’m working on a sweet contemporary romance about a financially struggling Bed and Breakfast owner, fighting to save her livelihood against her childhood nemesis, who’s five star resort is putting her out of business. It takes place in west Texas and it’s my first cowboy romance. I’m having a ton of fun writing it! 

Here's the blurb for Darcy's first book Keeper Of My Heart

Katie McCullough doesn’t know it, but Max Sawyer, the over confident, irritatingly handsome hotel developer who outbid her for the lighthouse property, is none other, than her mystery lighthouse sailor. The one man who captured her heart five years earlier, the one man who has since been the plumb line for every other unsuspecting male who has crossed her path. Unfortunately for Max, he doesn’t measure up either.

Still reeling from losing the property she’d planned to call home, sparks fly when Katie assumes Max is turning her beloved lighthouse compound into one of his ‘Serenity Spa Resorts.” Outraged, Katie sets out on a mission to dismantle the property…and his plans.

Except Max’s plans have absolutely nothing to do with hotels and everything to do with winning Katie’s heart.

An excerpt from Keeper of My Heart:

     Bits of oyster shell spewed out from under the tires of Katie’s Jeep as it screeched to a halt. Without knocking, she stomped into the keeper’s house to find Max working on an open windowsill on the bottom floor.
     “So you’re in the hotel business.” Katie threw the sheaf of papers down on the table near where he was working.
     “Yes and good afternoon to you, too.” Max stopped for a brief moment then continued to sand the windowsill. “I see you’ve been doing some research.” His firm lips twitched.
     “If you think you are going to turn this,” she said, waving her arms through the air, “into one of your…Serenity Spa Inns, then you are dreaming Mister.”
     “Is that so?” Max straightened and his eyes locked with hers.
     “You bet. I’ll never let that happen.”
     His tawny eyes gave her a once over. “And you think you’re big enough to stop me?”
     “Yes,” she spat out, “Don’t think I can’t. I’ll rally the entire town if I have to. This is not what the council agreed to when they accepted your bid.”
     Max’s brown eyes turned glacial. “Careful Angel. That sounds like a threat. If it is, you’ll come off the worse for it.”
     Katie inhaled sharply. “You may have been master of all you commanded but you won’t master me.”
     Max stopped working and turned toward her. Even in her anger, Katie noticed his shirt, unbuttoned and clinging to his muscular form with the sweat of his labor, his forearms glistening with perspiration mingled with tiny particles of wood shavings.  
     “Maybe we should put that to the test?” he drawled.
     “There’s no maybe about it.” Inhaling sharply, Katie gathered up her papers and stormed out of the house.

Keeper of My Heart is available at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00775ITM2

Here’s a little more about Darcy Flynn.

Darcy was born into the rich culture of New Orleans, La., a city filled with colorful historical intrigue and broad creative energy. Darcy’s natural bent to the arts coupled with her love for one of the most romantic cities in the world has been the inspiration and anchor of her artistic, multi-dimension endeavors. Darcy was always compelled by the need to express herself and like her mother’s famous gumbo, her previous expressions included a little bit of everything—art, music, acting, and dance.

Although published in music, art, and the Christian non-fiction market under another identity, it was the empty nest that turned Darcy to writing romantic fiction. A lover of lighthouses, Darcy’s first novel, Keeper Of My Heart, unfolds in a small Maryland fishing village on the Chesapeake Bay.

Darcy, a former Mrs. Tennessee, continues to be surrounded by all things creative in Music City and when not in writing in her London flat, lives on a beautiful horse farm in historic Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, son, two English Setters, and a calico cat.  Darcy enjoys stargazing, raising rare breed chickens, and gardening.


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