Monday, August 26, 2013

The Lady Wears Multiple Hats



by F. Leonora Solomon

My sixth anthology for Ravenous Romance HOT SUMMER FLINGS came out this past Friday. This time, I am wearing another hat as an author, my short story, "No Smoking" is part of the anthology. I have blogged before about what it was like for me to embrace the role of editor which was acquired for me much the way I acquire stories. It has become something that feels like a glove for me since words are an addiction for me. Whether it be to edit a story or learn a new language, an addiction. Writing is more like breathing or bleeding for me, so completely necessary to my existence. Yet I had barely written lately, it takes a lot of time to edit. I was constantly working with words, just not my own. Working on my own story was an adventure.

"No Smoking," was inspired by a peripheral experience I had in Paris. When I write fiction it never has anything to do with anything that has happened to me directly. I a) am not clever enough to write about my reality, b) too private to want to write about it and c) prefer to exploit my imagination--take an idea to the exponential. Reality is weirder than fiction, but I prefer to pull something like a rabbit out of my hat out of my imagination.

I had been editing so long, I forgot that I can create. I can put my hands on clay and mold something. This story was not overthought. I simply knew it had to be a summer fling, and went with it. Two friends were beta readers and made suggestions. The final piece is something I am pleased with. The entire of this anthology is pleasing, it made for a good summer fling for its editor!

Who realizes now wearing her hat as an author was not a fling...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SALE: HOT SUMMER FLINGS!


Del Carmen is happy to report the sale of her new erotica story, "Hot Summer Nights," to Ravenous Romance for their HOT SUMMER FLINGS anthology, edited by F.Leonora Solomon.  The book comes out September 2013.  Check out its sexy cover.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Are you a Guerilla Writer?



Google is in court beating up on the Authors Guild. Apple is in court. Publishers have thrown in the towel in the DOJ case. The world watches as Amazon rules the digital roost. And the Big 6 traditional NYC publishing houses have become the big “5”. Or is it 4? Random House & Penguin are now a publishing conglomerate and everyone is waiting to see what changes are coming from that combo. No doubt about it, though, it will mean less choice for readers. As RH and P combine their imprints, and their philosophies, some more innovative energy may well wane. Tried and true, after all, is what publishing has always been about. They may not be able to pick a bestseller, but they’ll stick with any winning concept until it’s old and gray. Borders is a distant memory. Barnes & Noble is floundering. The “next big thing” is a 21 year old author whose book was first offered up on Wattpad. Self-published authors are reaching the top of the bestseller lists against behemoths like James Patterson. Books are being optioned for television and motion pictures by the handful. I just received a check for a short story. Ah, where to go wild with that $25? On the flip side? Sylvia Day’s got plenty to spend with her recent two book, 8 figure deal with Penguin. From the ridiculous to the sublime.

But you see, the thing that’s exciting about being an author in this day and age - if you are willing to take leaps of faith, try new paths to publication, and eschew the “RULES” that everyone attempts to throw in your face - is that you have so many ways to be a successful storyteller! I’ll bet any writer you meet, deep down, wants to be a successful writer. No matter what they write, they want to be bought and read – and compensated for their art. There’s probably a couple folk out there willing to write for the mere pleasure of writing, but they are the rarest of birds.

Being in NYC affords me a wonderful opportunity to watch this industry change. I work in entertainment and media, so I get a lot of news that way, including how the legal industry is changing to accommodate digital, including in the publishing world. [Hint: Copyright change is on the horizon, big time!]. There are industry events held here pretty much on a weekly basis that I can attend. I’m a member of a national writing organization and my NYC chapter is rife with news, and even better, innovative members who are graving this exciting new world with laptops blazing. Social Media is the be all and end all for writers. Conferences abound. Outfits of every ilk to help you write, edit, publish, market, brand are sprouting like weeds.

Sounds exciting, no? Sounds like there are opportunities for everyone, right?

So why the long faces, people? Seems like everywhere I turn, some group or another is pissing and moaning. Things should stay the way they were! Aren’t they watching? Nothing can stay the same. Change is inevitable. And you can either embrace it or you’ll be steamrolled over by it, left in the dust. Then there are the other grouches who want the baby thrown out with the bathwater – everything old should be jettisoned. Do everything the new way! But the old models have validity too. And if you don’t want to go with the opinion being espoused? Then you’re considered out of touch or na├»ve. If you go bold and brazen, the traditionalists think you’re nuts. If you make the choice to remain with the old school models? You’re nuts.

So, what’s a writer to do?

Well, here’s my two cents (or rather, given the length of this post, I expect you are suggesting it’s more like a buck fifty, right?). Be a guerilla writer.

Pay no attention to the proselytizers and the grumpy naysayers.

Forge your own career path.

Pursue your dream of publication, be it the first piece ever, or the umpteenth title, exactly as you choose. From start to finish. Don’t like outlining? So don’t do it. Love Scrivener? Use it. You hear that you should stick to a single genre, but you want to spread your imaginative wealth around. Let ‘er rip! Want to see your printed book on a shelf because that is the only way it is “real” to you? Then keep on truckin’ and work til you get there. Think digital first is the coolest thing ever with millions of eager readers just waiting out there to download your story gems? Then go for it! Want to keep every decision in the process yours and only yours? Indie-pub with glee. Think there’s advantages to all of these options? Welcome to the world of hybrid publishing.

How you reach your goal is not the important thing. What is, is reaching that goal, by any means necessary. The caveat? What does choice demand of you? That you be prepared to roll up your sleeves and sweat blood and tears. Be educated and informed. Be vigilant because your product is all you have. Be hands-on and pro-active. Be prepared to fail, re-strategize and try again. Be realistic and resilient. Be flexible and open to new innovation as well as old methodology. Be constantly aware that being a book author in this day and age means you are 50% author and 50% businesswoman, and in the words of Eloisa James, “the businesswoman comes first”. But above all, be smart. Remember that what works for you is anathema to another author. Your skill set is unique to you and someone else may choose alternate ways because they have a different brace of talents. Be a guerilla writer as you navigate this new publishing jungle. And don’t sneer at that other author or her choices. Instead, cheer each other on. And when you are crossing the finish line with an author who did it her way? Hold hands and smile as you embrace that dream!



Lise Horton is published in digital erotic romance anthologies. Her upcoming 9/9/13 contemporary release, Words of Lust, will be a digital first erotic romance from Carina Press. And in 2014 she’ll be included in the Cleis Press print anthology, “Slave Girls” with her short story “My Master’s Mark” under her pseudonym, Lydia Hill. She writes in multiple lengths and numerous genres from BDSM erotica to WWII women’s fiction. Yes, she’s doing it her way! Find her at www.lisehorton.com.

Friday, June 28, 2013

THE BUSINESS WOMAN COMES FIRST


by Maria C. Ferrer


I went to an RWA/NYC brunch where Eloisa James was the keynote speaker.  She quoted Linda Lael Miller, and I still have that quote in my head:

You are 50% business woman, 50% writer. The business woman comes first!

Which means that I can’t afford to stay inside my cave, writing away, submitting when I have something, selling, and then retreating back to my writing cave? Those days are over. (If they ever were that easy.)

Nowadays, a writer must become a people person. And, the best time to start is NOW. This goes double for unpublished authors. Like Eloisa said, start building your platform now. When editors look at you, they will look to see if you have a platform, and the more established that platform – that presence – the better.

You are a writer. You can’t afford to be shy. Get out of your cave. If you are not doing all or some of the following, then get started.

Join a writers’ group. You’re ahead of the game since you are a member of RWA/NYC! Now start making friends with your fellow members at the chapter meetings, at the critique group meeting, at the chapter outings.

Make your name known. Write for the chapter newsletter and blog; sign up for the chapter blog tours. Check to see that your name is included on the chapter membership page with the link back to your website or blog.

Attend readings and writer events. Like the monthly Lady Jane Salon readings, like NJRW’s annual conference, like the Jefferson Library Romance Book Club meeting. (At the latter, you get to read a romance and make friends. Dual benefit!)

• Make friends on the internet. Setup Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you write under a pseudonym, open the accounts under that name. Like the Lotto’s motto: You have to be in it, to win it. Friend your fellow RWA members, other writers, editors, agents, booksellers. “Share” their info and “retweet” messages. This will send them your name and they may in turn friend/follow you.

• Start a blog. It can be daily, weekly or monthly. Blog about your writing, your characters, your genre, the world you created, and all items related to any of the above. For example, I am writing a secret baby book so I just realized that I should do a “Baby Day” on my blog. Maybe pictures of cute babies, funny kid situations, kid jokes, et al. (NOTE: If you are scared to start a blog or don’t have time to start your own, write for the Chapter Blog!)


And, like Eloisa James, mentioned you want to “engage” your readers – even your potential readers. Be yourself. Be your writing persona. Be whomever, but be a savvy business woman.♥



Maria C. Ferrer is President of the Romance Writers of America / New York City chapter.  She writers contemporaries under her name and erotica under the name of Del Carmen. Her stories have appeared in Penthouse, Cosmopolitan for Latinas, and Star magazines and have been published by Cleis Press and Ravenous Romance.  Visit her at www.marializaferrer.blogspot.com and www.mydelcarmen.com.


Monday, March 4, 2013

GREAT DAMES OF ROMANCE LITERATURE

By Maria C. Ferrer


March is Women’s History Month and I would like to honor two extraordinary women in romance fiction –
Barbara Cartland and Corin Tellado.



Barbara Cartland


“Love conquers all” – that was the overall message in each of Barbara Cartland’s numerous romance novels. I devoured them in high school. In fact, my collection was bigger than the local library’s or the bookstore’s. She had her own line of romances -- thin volumes with the most romantic covers imaginable. I read one a day!

A relative of the late Princess Diana, Barbara Cartland sold over 100 million books in over 36 countries in as many languages. But she didn’t just write romance novels; she also wrote books on health and vitamins; and even penned several cookbooks. She is in the Guinness Book of Records for selling the most novels worldwide.

Barbara was also very involved in her local community, and her efforts on behalf of the Gypsies became an Act of Parliament, granting them permanent homes for the first time in their lives and allowing them medical benefits and schools for their children. In 1981, Queen Elizabeth made her a Dame of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to literature and for her work in the community.

Dame Barbara had an award-winning formula for her romance novels – young, innocent heroine (usually a princess or Lady), in dire straits until the strong alpha hero (usually a prince or Lord in disguise) rushed to the rescue. Most of her novels were set in England, though there was a handful with European settings, and another handful that started in the United States until the hero inherited and so returned to England to take his rightful place in society and find a dutiful bride.

I met Dame Barbara on one of their trips to New York. Rizzoli Bookstore threw a grand party for her. She was elegantly dressed in her signature pink with a great hat. She was gracious and very direct. When asked for writing advice, her answer was succinct: write about love.

At her death, Barbara Cartland left 160 unpublished manuscripts. Her son Ian has organized them into “Barbara Cartland’s Pink Collection.” Fans can subscribe to the collection to receive a monthly book and a bonus one for Christmas. To learn more about this great Lady, visit www.barbaracartland.com.



Corin Tellado

Born Maria del Socorro Tellado Lopez, Corin has been compared to Barbara Cartland, as she is the most prolific writer in all of Spain. She earned a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for selling the most books written in Spanish, but from there she strays far from Barbara Cartland’s shadow.

Corin was a pioneer. A feminist before feminism was cool. She wrote about modern women. Her novels were set in the present and featured as much angst as romance. Maybe because she was a single mother of two and had no time for nonsense.

Her heroines had passionate natures; had bad marriages, bitter divorces; loved the wrong men; had problems with their children; and fought their way to a happy ending. These plots may not seem like such a big deal today, until you consider that in the 40s and 50s, Spain was under strict military rule and literary censorship was a political tool. But Corin prevailed. One of her novels was turned into a movie and won Best Picture at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 1984. In 1996, Spain’s TV network adopted several of her novels into what we today call made-for-TV-movies.

Her novels were sold in paperback form and as photonovels (think comic books but with much better art). Her novels were serialized for radio, television and magazines. In fact, for over three decades the Spanish magazine, Vanidades, featured a new full length romance novel from Corin Tellado every week. These magazines were distributed all over Spain and in Spanish-speaking countries, like Puerto Rico.

And that is how I discovered Corin. My grandmother introduced me to her work. My aunt had a beauty parlor and she ordered the magazine for the shop. My grandmother would read them first and share them with me. She wanted me to also read Spanish authors, and here was one who wrote about my favorite subject – romance. But Corin’s stories were ones I could relate to because they were about young women who graduated from college, worked and were looking for love. Their lives could have been my life!

Recently, I discovered that Corin also wrote erotica under the name of Ada Miller. These were written in English and then translated into Spanish. Ironic, I know. For more information about this amazing woman, visit www.corintellado.com.



Maria wishes she was as prolific as these two great Dames, and is getting her butt back in chair and filling up those blank pages across from her. When not tied to her pen, Maria is the President of the RWA/NYC. She writes contemporary romances under her own name, and erotica under her pseudonym of Del Carmen. Her work has been published by Cleis Press and Ravenous Romance, and has appreared in magazines, including Star, Penthouse and Cosmopolitan for Latinas. Visit her at www.marializaferrer.blogspot.com, www.mydelcarmen.com and www.4horsewomen.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Here I Come!!!

by F. Leonora Solomon

I am SO excited to be going to Eroticon 2013! It is filled with so many firsts for me as an editor, and that distant thing I am on occasion--a writer. This is my Comic-Con, it is going to be hectic for me to be in this environment wide-eyed, wanting to absorb everything and everyone. I was just on Twitter looking at the Eroticon hashtag, and saw this fun meme as a prelude to pre-conference drinks so I am doing it. I am so happy and appreciative to be participating in this event! When my mom told me about the birds and the bees at age six and was always open with me about sex, who knew what kind of career she was setting me up for?!

Here's my meme, and follow the link below to meet some very interesting Eroticon attendees!

Name: F. Leonora Solomon

Twitter id: @fsolomonrr

Must attend Eroticon 2013 session:
Oh this is like a college day for me, I plan on sitting in on so many sessions!

Bloggers you’d like to be trapped in the lift with:
Honestly, I am barely reading blogs (or writing blog entries but starting up again), but there are a TON of Facebook & Twitter mates I could be trapped with!

Erotic writer you’d like to write dramatize your life story:
An EROTIC writer to dramatize MY life story, lol!

Expected biggest fangirl / fanboy moment:
This is a candy store experience for me, I am going to want to grab--well gab with--SO many people!

What keeps you awake at nights?
My overactive mind and its racing thoughts...not supposed to multi-task while sleeping but I do!

See who else is coming to Eroticon 2013 in the Meet & Greet link up

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Release Day + Giveaway!

by F. Leonora Solomon

My newest antho about hot lust on cold days is out!

SNOWED IN is my third anthology with Ravenous Romance, and let's just say the third time must be the charm because I am flushing with post pub joy! Or maybe it is the flush from hot erotica on what has been these very cold New York days.

I am a native New Yorker and I swear I have never felt so cold in the city. My line of work helps to keep me warm, and not in the way you would think--I embrace staying home (warm) editing!

I want to share some of my joy with you, with a book giveaway!

Tell me how you are staying warm on these cold days, and I will help you to stay warm with a copy of SNOWED IN to read under the covers alone or with someone else!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of



by F. Leonora Solomon

Before I was actually working as an editor, I used to watch Sex and the City, and think how cool it was that Carrie worked at home. It seemed dreamy to me that she would be at home or in a coffee shop working on her latest article or researching it.

That was an indication that this was the right field for me to be in, and believe me, there is NOTHING bad about editing erotica for Ravenous Romance! But at the end of the day it is still work and sometimes even being at home with my MacBook on my lap can be daunting.  Luckily for me as a freelancer, my office is mobile and wherever I make it be; though I work best at home on my MacBook.

Editing is not a bubble.  I am responsible for my authors, the delivery of all the necessary materials to Ravenous, developing ideas for upcoming projects, and making sure they start out as close to perfect as they can be for the copyeditor.

As much as a story might be the most beautiful and sexiest idea, they are all like a woman before she puts on her makeup. Sometimes stories just need a little mascara and lip gloss, and they are good to go! Sometimes they need so much makeup that they look like it took hours to apply and might not be recognized once removed. Being a cosmetologist is artistry, but on a deadline, it is a mixture of art and geting the work done as soon as possible.

Editing has made me a different person.  The world of publishing is not the dreamy existence that I used to think it was as a little girl or as when I was watching Sex and the City.

For me it is a dream come true that I have worked in publishing from so many sides -- as a writer, an editor, and production assistant. I know how things are done and how they need to be done. My work ethic is strong, and I am committed to what I do.

As an editor, I have come to respect the craft of writing all the more, and I think that it is going to make me a better writer when I have the time to write again. I'm compassionate about the things that need to be adjusted in other people's writing, because I recognize the same things in my own writing. I understand what writers are like because I am one.

Working at home is different from working in an office, but it is like being a cowboy. My MacBook is the galloping horse taking me everywhere I need to go.
  
  
F.Leonora Solomon is an acquisitions editor at Ravenous Romance.  Her latest anthology, GEEK LUST, was released last month.

Friday, January 25, 2013

PICTURE FRIDAY: Window Dressing

by Maria C. Ferrer


Join me every Friday, as I share my photos with you.  Below is one I like to call, Miss Cupcake 2012.  Her dress is made from over 800 cupcake wrappers. True story!




Miss Cupcake 2012


To see more photos, click here.   Have a good weekend!