Order of the MUSESince my blog guest today writes for Entangled Publishing, I’m thrilled to confirm that I just signed a 3 book deal with Entangled for my Order of the M.U.S.E. series. It’s sort of a “Psychic Leverage team meets Jane Austen in King George’s Court.” (Check out the blurbs on my Coming Next page for the details. And don’t worry. I still have books coming from Kensington & Sourcebooks!)

One of the loveliest things about writing for multiple publishers is getting to know a new group of fellow authors. When I joined the Entangled family, debut author Stacy Reid was one of the first to welcome me. I know you’ll love her!

Listen in on our cyber-chat:

Mia: Hey Stacy! I know making stuff up for a living is the best job on earth, but if you could be anything but a writer what would you want to be?

Andrew LincolnStacy: An actress working beside Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) in The Walking Dead, but my character would have to be Rick Grimes love interest. The characters would need to get a lot of smooch time and in the contract they shouldn’t be able to kill off my character. Of course, I would also be casted in major action blockbusters, such as, Avengers, Fast and the furious, and wanted, as a kickass heroine or major supporting character.  

Mia: I’m always fascinated by how other authors work. What can you tell us about your workspace/writing process?

Stacy: I so wish I was one of those writers that listened to music and went into writer’s space. I tried it once and ended up singing and jamming for hours (I am a horrible singer by the way). I work best in silence of the night. So when it comes on to my workspace I am a bit of a vampire. I write when all is quiet, in the bed! My pillows tucked behind me and my laptop on my lap with the only noise being my hubby’s snoring. And when I see the sun rising and hear my neighbor’s cock crow, I shut off and go to bed. Of course there are times I write in the days, but I am way less productive when I have distractions.

Mia: Wow! I’m in awe. My brain shuts down after a certain hour at night and I’m sure all I’d produce would be gibberish. I’m a bit of a lark myself. The hours before the sun rises are my most productive. What do you think is the hardest thing about being an author?

Stacy: I think for me it is wondering if my work is good enough. Even though people have heaped on praises, I still have that ugly doubt sometimes. I do tend to kick it in the butt, but it always resurfaces. I was told by many other awesome authors that it’s quite normal. But I wish to be abnormal and not have any doubts at all….simply be confident and unaffected by negative reviews if or when they come, because I know there are going to be uber awesome ones as well.

Mia: Humans tend to retain negatives more than positives. Writers tend to be a little “other-centric” when it comes to judging our work because we’re too close to it to be unbiased. However, if we use that insecurity to goad us to always delivering the best story we can, we can turn the negative into a positive. Now, what have you found is the best thing about being an author?

Stacy: Wow. There are so many awesome things. While I love when readers adore my work, I think I am just crazy over writing the stories I dream about. I feel like I have the best life in the world…being able to put on paper what is in my head…and having people love it! Ummm yeah awesome stuff.

Mia: And now for our lightning round:

- Favorite Food? Ackee and saltfish. I will eat this everyday and with any sides. Yum.
- Favorite Vacation Spot? I have only ever vacationed in my home country. This is a hard one. Anywhere in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
- Favorite TV Show? The Walking Dead!! And Vikings is second runner up.
- Favorite Paranormal? (witch, vampire, zombie etc)  Definitely shape shifters.
- Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate
- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Rum and Raisin!
- Favorite author? I have several. I love C S Lewis, Jim Butcher, Lora Leigh, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Laurell K Hamilton, James Patterson, Amanda quick, Elizabeth Lowell…I have too many and I cannot just pick one, cause I have equal love for them all!

Stacy Reid

Stacy’s Bio:

Stacy is an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. She especially loves romance and adores writing about people falling in love. Stacy lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (out loud). She has a warrior way, never give up on her dreams. When Stacy is not writing, she spends a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese anime and playing video games with her love, Dusean Nelson.

 

 

And now for Stacy’s newest release:

The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding

DukesShotgunVictorian Era England…

As far as rash decisions go, it was formidable. But Lady Jocelyn Rathbourne’s will remains strong. If the only way to save her family’s estate and reputation is by aiming a small pistol at the Duke of Calydon, then so be it. For Lady Jocelyn demands satisfaction – and she will have it at any cost. Even if it means demanding the hand of the intense and foreboding Duke himself…

But she’s made the first move against a very dangerous opponent…

For Sebastian Thornton is no stripling to be trifled with. The lady has played her hand. Now it’s his turn. For Sebastian is in need of a wife. And to find a wife with spirit and fire – even if she means to only marry for his money – would be a great prize indeed. And he intends to thoroughly take his pleasure with her… and demands his own satisfaction in return.

 

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes and Noble Amazon UK |   Amazon Canada Kobo 

Stacy: Thank you, Mia!

Mia: My pleasure, Stacy.

The Prize

And now, dear reader, you get a chance at Stacy’s big drawing for a $50 gift card. Here’s the link to enter: Stacy Reid’s Shotgun Book Tour! If you leave a comment or question for Stacy and me here today, you’ll also be entered to win a digital copy of one of my backlist books–Winner’s Choice! I’d offer a print one, but frankly, I’m in the middle of boxing up the condo in preparation for our move in early May. All my books are packed. Heavy sigh! And since I left my Kindle at my parents’ house in MO, I’m reduced to reading on my phone. But, that’s ok. I’m so swamped, I’m going to have to start listening to books on tape.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about YOU! Stacy mentioned the joy of feeling encouraged by readers who enjoy her work. Share the last time you felt encouraged by someone or something. Or maybe you’re the encourager! Either way, you’ll be entered in my drawing. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the results–or you can sign up to receive my blog posts via FeedBurner. Just click to subscribe to our RS feed and type in your email address. (Be sure to confirm when you get an email letting you know your request has been received.) That way, you’ll never miss a moment!

Red Pencil ThursdayWe don’t have a volunteer offering the first 500 words of their WIP today, so I thought I’d share a little about what I look for in those all important opening paragraphs. Writers only have a few seconds to hook their reader into their fictive dream so in the beginning of a novel, every word counts.

If you’re a writer and would like to take part in Red Pencil Thursday, please check out the details on how to submit your materials for a future online critique. And now to the essentials for an engaging opener…

The Title

Even though your publisher has the final word on how a book is eventually titled, it behooves the writer to come up with a dynamite title. This is your first hook, your first promise to your reader about what sort of story they’re going to get. I finally settled on a title for my New Adult/RS WIP. It’s The Warning Sign. I like this for a couple of reasons. First, since my heroine is hearing impaired and uses ASL, the “sign” portion has a double meaning. And “warning” telegraphs danger, which is certainly coming in this story.

If you’d like to check out The Warning Sign and get a fresh installment each week, I invite you to sign up for Mia’s Muses.

The First Line

Ever since Barbara Vey of PW’s Beyond Her Book christened me “the queen of first lines,” I’ve felt an obligation to come up with something surprising for each book. Think about openings that have stuck with you.

“Call me Ishmael.” ~ Why is this Moby Dick opener a great first line? It introduces our narrator and tell us something about him. He addresses us casually, inviting us to befriend him. But is Ishmael his real name? No one ever calls him by that in the whole massive novel. By identifying himself as Ishmael, he tells us he is the outcast, the one who’s out of favor with his father like the biblical Ishmael.

“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.”  Deanna Raybourn’s beginning of Silent in the Grave made me an instant fan. It’s clever, evocative and I already love the dry wit of the narrator, Lady Julia Grey.

What first line grabbed you so tightly you had to hold on for the next 400 pages?

In Medias Res

This is hoity-toity Latin for “in the midst of things.” What it means is you should drop your reader into the middle of an engaging and unique moment in the life of your protagonist. Then give your reader only enough information for them to keep up as the story powers forward. Think about how you can introduce your hero/heroine in such a way that your reader will follow them happily into their further adventures. The opening sets the tone for the entire novel. Begin as you mean to continue. Check the opening of my RITA nominated Plaid Tidings for an example

Hooking for Fun & Profit

I mean writing hooks, of course. (What were you thinking?) Your title is your first hook. The first line is the next. You need another at the end of each chapter, but before you get there, you’ll need to sink several embedded hooks into your narrative.

A hook is a tantalizing bit of information that raises a question in your readers’ minds and literally pulls them through the story as they try to discover what’s really going on. Please don’t confuse them. You want to tease, not confound.  In my novella Plaid to the Bone, the prequel to Plaid Tidings, there are several in the first chapter, usually in the form of my heroine’s internal dialogue. The real trouble will start once we arrive is an example of an embedded hook.

So those are some of the things I look for in an opening. Now it’s your turn to share. What book do you think is the best example of a perfect opening? 

 

Writing is an ocean of things to learn and I often feel as if I’m only dabbling my toes in the shallow end. But every now and then something affirming happens that lets me know I’m on the right track. This week the RITA nominations were announced.

What’s a RITA I hear you asking. It’s the romance world’s answer to the OSCAR. The award is a little golden statue and is named for Rita Clay Estrada, Romance Writers of America’s first president. The ceremony is the culmination of the annual National conference, complete with witty announcers and nominees in full evening dress. All that’s missing is the red carpet. 

I’ve been in Missouri this month overseeing renovations on the house we intend to move to in May. My DH called me on Wednesday and said someone from Texas had called me about some contest and asked me to call them back. Honestly, I’d forgotten that the RITA announcements were due at the end of March, but it flooded back into me at that moment. My fingers shook as I dialed the number and when Julie Kenner told me Plaid Tidings had been nominated in the Historical category, it was hard to breathe. No joke. I wasn’t this excited when I got “The Call” about my first book selling.

The reason is because my little Scottish Christmas story is enjoying some truly rare air. The Historical category is filled with some of my personal favorite authors. To have my work placed alongside theirs is such a thrill. Here’s the list of nominees. Bet you’ll see lots of YOUR favorites too. 

Any Duchess Will Do
by Tessa Dare
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Tessa Woodward

The Autumn Bride
by Anne Gracie
Berkley Publishing Group, Berkley Sensation
Wendy McCurdy, editor

The Chieftain’s Curse
by Frances Housden
Harlequin, MIRA
Kate Cuthbert, editor

The Countess Conspiracy
by Courtney Milan
Self-published
Robin Harders and Keira Soleore, editors

Plaid Tidings by Mia MarloweDarius
by Grace Burrowes
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor

Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale
by T J Bennett
Entangled Publishing, Edge
Liz Pelletier and Shannon Godwin, editors 

Duke of Midnight
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing
Amy Pierpont, editor

The Lady and the Laird
by Nicola Cornick
Harlequin, HQN
Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

Love and Other Scandals
by Caroline Linden
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Lyssa Keusch, editor 

The Luckiest Lady in London
by Sherry Thomas
Berkley Publishing Group
Wendy McCurdy, editor

Never Desire a Duke
by Lily Dalton
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Michele Bidelspach, editor

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
by Sarah MacLean
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Carrie Feron, editor 

Plaid Tidings
by Mia Marlowe
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra
Alicia Condon, editor 

A Rake’s Midnight Kiss
by Anna Campbell
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Amy Pierpont, editor

The Rogue’s Proposal
by Jennifer Haymore
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Selina McLemore, editor 

Sins of a Ruthless Rogue
by Anna Randol
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Tessa Woodward, editor

Sonata for a Scoundrel
by Anthea Lawson
Self-published

See why I’m so excited to be included? Now, with a field like this I don’t expect to win. I’m basking in the glow of having been nominated. It’s such an honor. And just looking at those names and titles gives me a serious fangirl moment.

But I do expect to get a terrific dress out of the deal!

Thanks for letting me share my excitement with you. Now it’s your turn. Have you ever had a moment when you got some much needed encouragement, a shot in the arm, a timely “atta girl?” Share and you’ll be entered to win a print version of my PLAID TIDINGS!