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Welcome BadGirl for the Day: Madeline Martin!

Laura here, jumping in quickly to introduce Madeline Martin, author of smoking hot Scottish historicals! Not only is Madeline a talented writer, but she loves to give back. Her website is chock-full of great marketing information for authors, and she hosts a Free Book Friday on her Facebook author page each week for readers! Make sure you check out all her links at the end of the post (including buy links:) With no further ado, I’ll let Madeline take it away and tell us why she and her heroine Mariel are BadGirlz…

————————————————————————————————————————————————-MadelineMartin_DeceptionOfAHighlander_coverpreview

If there’s any one thing I never thought I’d learn writing romance, it would be how to be a badass. That is until I wrote Mariel Brandon.

Mariel Brandon is the heroine in Deception of a Highlander – an English spy whose parents succumbed to the plague and left her the sole caregiver of her young brother, Jack. They lived on the streets until Jack fell ill, then she was forced to accept help from a stranger and unknowingly thrust herself into the clutches of London’s dark underlord. In order to keep her brother alive, she was not only forced to spy, but also eventually act as an assassin if she can’t obtain the information she needs from Scottish laird, Kieran MacDonald.

Writing Mariel was complicated. I had to make her relatable and I had to make her tough. Imagining her emotional turmoil was all too easy with my too active imagination, but those fight scenes were proving a little difficult. So, I decided to try my hand at martial arts.

GloveNBookPicI’d love to say I just walked in, found my niche and went from writer to badass in a matter of days, but that’s not how it worked. Not even close, actually.

I signed up for Tae Kwon Do and was all excited that first day in my white ankle-skimming pajama like karate outfit thing (not the technical name – also it’s not NEARLY as comfortable as it looks cuz it’s all scratchy and not made for freakishly long limbed people). Not only was I the white belt in the class, I was also the only adult. And those kids were ruthless. Let’s just say I came away with a couple bruises and a dinged up sense of pride. Sidebar – it’s a good thing the nun chucks were blue Styrofoam because I may or may not have clocked myself in the noggin a few times.

But blue Styrofoam nun chucks and getting my butt kicked by ten year olds wasn’t exactly badass.

I think the owner of the place had pity on me because he kept suggesting I take the Krav Maga self defense class. I’m one of those stubborn people who sticks with an idea once it’s lodged into my head, so I kept refusing and kept subjecting myself to elementary school beatings. Because, hey, it had to get better right?

It didn’t.

Then one day, all these men came into the class. And when I say men, I mean like the tall, good looking, ripped kind of men. I shot a WTF look to the owner and mouthed “What are they here for?” He smirked in that I-told-you-so kind of way and said, “Krav Maga self defense class.”

Guess what I started taking? FeelinTough

My first day of Krav Maga, I learned how to get out of  a chokehold on the ground by grabbing a man by his head with my knees, throwing him to the floor, breaking his nose with my heel, standing up while snapping his shoulder out of joint and being ready to fight some more. Badass. I kept up with that class for the duration of writing Deception of a Highlander and truly enjoyed the experience.

I just signed another three book deal for my next series, The Broken Dolls, where noblewomen who fall from society’s good graces are swept into an underground organization of all female spies. I’m thinking I need to go back to Krav Maga and dig a little deeper into my inner badass.

CestMoiAuthor website: www.MadelineMartin.com 
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor 
Author Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
*Email questions should be sent to: MadelineMartin@Ymail.com

20 Comments

Bad Girl For A Day: Jenna McCormick – Self Love: Indie Publishing Romance Novels

I tried self-publishing back before it was cool thing to do. When ebooks were barely a blip on the radar and I knew less than nothing about writing/publishing or anything other than I want to be a writer when I grew up.http://www.dreamstime.com/-image23337062

To put it bluntly, I was a dumbass. And by self-publishing my first novel I made sure the entire world knew it.

Now here I am seven years down the line, cringing with embarrassment because I paid to globally distribute that flaming piece of crap. Every once in a while I open the file and go, it can’t be that bad.

And then I see that yes, in fact it is that bad. It’s an overpriced, overwritten poorly plotted, badly edited, crappy cover wearing 110K word mystery full of angst and shallow childish dreams. A one way ticket to Sucksville, population me, myself and I. Hell, I don’t even want to reread it and see if it’s worth saving.

I swore up, down and sideways to anyone who would listen that I would NEVER self-publish anything again. Ever.

And then a strange thing happened. Five years later I’d learned stuff, not just about craft and how to write a good book, but about cover art design, writing blurbs and synopsis, proofreading and formatting. I’d made a sale to Kensington but I still had all these books, books that I loved that I wanted to share with the world but that just weren’t right for a specific line. Sexy mysteries and zany erotic romances that fit n no particular category.  And before you could say, Chicka, what have you been smoking? I did it again. With my 2010 On the Far Side Contest Winner, Stellar Timing.Stellar Timing

Not gonna lie, sales were slow at first, but within a month it had overtaken all of my small press ebooks as my personal bestseller. Why? Not because it was any better than my Laundry Hag books. No, it was price point, the fact that it was a $2.99 in a sea of $5.95 and up. As an indie e publisher I was free to experiment with promotions and cost and to pretty much do whatever the hell I wanted with it. Old cover not working? Slap up a new one! $2.99 not enough for months’ worth of writing? Break the books into a serial and charge per episode. The freedom is both overwhelming and exhilarating.

I found ways of bettering my product and even started up a small press with other writers. Sanibel Moon Books allows each of us to maintain our own imprint and release schedule but the final product is a collective effort. My latest release, In the Bedroom with the Rope sold over 5,000 units on Valentine’s Day weekend. That’s a damn good feeling.

What have I learned from this? That there are no absolutes in publishing, no always or onlys or nevers. If you latch onto them, you’re boxing yourself into a dark corner and denying yourself the chance to flourish. My indie experience went from being the smelly kid nobody wanted to sit next to, to having fans ask when the next one book is coming out. So I guess the moral to my twisted story is to get all the facts about whatever course of publishing you’re trying to pursue before you dive in head first. And never say never again, because hey, you never know.

Thank you for joining us today, Jenna! 

You can find out more about Jenna (and Jennifer) and visit her social media haunts by checking out the links below. 

A little fantasy goes a long way….

Born on Sanibel Island somewhere between the fifth and seventh bottle of Rosa Regale, Jenna McCormick writes big girl romance with a touch of out of this world fantasy. Her hobbies include scouring the Internet for the perfect pair of boots and stirring up trouble, much to the dismay of her alter ego. Her works to date include the futuristic erotic romance series No LimitsNo Mercy, the post-Apocalyptic B Cubed trilogy, the contemporary BDSM serials Caught Up In You and In the Bedroom with the Rope as well as the novella Project Seduction in the Pleasure Project anthology coming in March of 2013.

Jenna loves to hear from her readers. Visit her on the web at www.authorjennamac.com.

Jennifer L Hart on twitter @DamagedGoodsAce
www.jenniferlhart.com

Jenna McCormick on twitter @AuthorJennaMac
Jenna McCormick Fanpage on FB  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJennaMcCormick
www.authorjennmac.com

Sanibel Moon Books on twitter @SanibelMoonBook
website: http://www.sanibelmoon.com/ 
FB: https://www.facebook.com/SanibelMoonBooks

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Bad Girl For A Day: Fiona McLaren – “Freelance Writing – Taking The Plunge”

First of all, I’d like to say I’m thrilled to be invited to join in and be an honorary Bad Girl for the day (the mimosas and the chance to wear my tiara really help!).

Today, I wanted to talk about what it is like to work as a full time freelance writer and, perhaps more importantly, the steps I took to get to this point.

Writing full time is a wonderful and extremely challenging career.  Yes, it is fantastic to be able to run my own schedule, to dabble in my craft all day long and to spend a good portion of my time researching.  However, there are other aspects that are very challenging.

Firstly, it’s hard to write all day where you have to get the words out No Matter What.  When I have a word count deadline to meet for a client, I can’t just wait for my Muse to sidle up whenever she feels like it.  No, I need to get a rope and lasso her to the ground lest she gets away.  And I can’t just use “filler” word count either.  It needs to be high quality, polished prose that does the job it’s been asked to do.

Secondly, you don’t always get to write what you want.  In fact, if you want to make money you need to be a Jack (or Jill) of all Trades.  Finance?  Real estate?  Horror fiction?  Press releases?  Not your thing?  Doesn’t really matter.  If you want to make a proper stab at working full time from home and earning a decent wage from writing then you need to learn to be flexible with your writing skill.  It’s a rare writer who can make a career out of writing solely what their Muse brings to them.

Thirdly, you need to have a rhino-tough skin.  Clients want edits all of the time.  Sometimes the edits are good.  Sometimes they aren’t.  Balancing keeping your client happy with keeping your writing integrity is a hard task.  You need to know when to compromise and you need to know when to politely stand your ground.

As for taking that leap into becoming a full time writer, I’d advise caution.  Make sure you have at least six months funding behind you or someone who is willing to support your career change.  Also, try to work at it part time for a while first, so that you can build up your connections and writing credits.

I don’t recommend the “write an article and submit it and hope” route.  This is slow, arduous and hit and miss in terms of whether you will find an editor who is looking for exactly what you are pitching at the exact time you are pitching it.  It’s better to go out and source who is looking for what and then write a piece to fit.  There are a lot of resources online where individual companies and publishers post messages about what they are looking for.

It’s also important not to set your goals too high to begin with.  Scoring a big contract takes time.  Start by building up connections and by making sure your work is of an excellent standard.  I worked for some low pay to begin with, so that I could build up my references, writing credits and my name brand.  Now, I can demand higher wages and better clients due to my breadth of experience.

Hand in hand with this is being super flexible on what and who you work with.  Not all clients are big magazines or publishers.  Some are small companies, others private individuals, yet others still websites or online blogs.  Join in with everything you can until you build up your portfolio.  Only then should you look into zeroing down into your target area.  Cast your net wide to start with before you start fishing with a spear!

And perhaps the hardest aspect – there is very little recognition for the freelance writer.  A huge amount of work is ghost written (I’ve done DVD narrations, historical fiction books, entire websites and hundreds of children’s books and yet not one will have my name on it).  So you need to be able to draw a line under what you write for profit and what you write for love.  Personally, I only write for money in areas I don’t write for pleasure.  My own areas of interest are saved for my own work.

Becoming a freelance writer is a tough job and you need to stand out from the crowd.  You need to be flexible, have excellent standards, never miss a deadline and be open to all sorts of revisions and edits that come your way.  If you can do this, you can enjoy a rewarding career that teaches you more about writing than you could imagine.

And one of the biggest bonuses?  When you finally snag that dream agent or publisher, you will already be professional, easy to work with and well on your way to becoming a successful author under your own name.

 

Find out more about Fiona on her page on the Corvisiero Literary Agency website or visit one of the social hubs below…
Twitter: @BookOmnivore
Blog:  http://yabookcase.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FionaMarieMcLaren?ref=hl

 

*  I’d like to offer 3 query and elevator pitch critiques to three random people who comment on the blog.

(Pssssst! This is a great opportunity to get feedback from a phenomenal writer and one of #PitchWar’s mentors. xoxo Darcy)

21 Comments

Bad Girl For A Day: Maggie Montgomery’s Marvelous Morpheme Monograph

I love words. Most authors do, but I think I might be a soupçon nuttier than most. So what’s new?

Montessori taught me to read at age three, opening unto me a world of extraordinary and delicious possibility (and, incidentally, making me the scourge of Sister Mary Emma’s first grade class). My pre-K teachers also attempted to nurture my theoretically innate artistic abilities. I took to those things with a distinctly lesser degree of proficiency. Not to put too fine a point on the matter, I cannot draw and I cannot paint, even given an outline and pre-printed numbers with corresponding capsules of color. I cannot compile collages. And if you ever have a chance to be on my Pictionary team, run screaming as though from Old Scratch himself unless you are either mind-numbingly drunk and thereby easily amused or hoping to get in a few preliminary licks toward your Purgatory sentence.

But words I adore. As a result, my editors must frequently remind me that readers don’t like to pause mid-conflict to fumble for the dictionary. About once per book, I get fixated on a particular word and throw a hissy fit about what I consider to be its utterly unwarranted ejection (which, for me, translates to drafting a multi-paragraph annotated justification with emphasis on the decline of the American educational system and numerous admittedly hyperbolic references to the responsibilities of romance writers to dispel the pervasive misconception of commercial fiction as intellectual tripe).

As long as the object of my obsession isn’t in the middle of a sex scene, my editors usually roll their eyes and let me keep it. You might can imagine why.

Once upon a time I read an article by a highly-regarded author (or maybe scholar) whose name I forget and am too lazy to look up. Anyhoo, he contended that gonorrhea, despite the visceral ickiness of its definition, was the most beautiful word in the English language. I don’t know about all that, but I take his meaning. If you look at it from a purely visual perspective—pay attention strictly to the way the letters arrange themselves on the page—it really is quite a lovely word. Other words, most of them easier on the gag reflex, have that same inherent prettiness.

Consider palindromes with their reassuring sense of symmetry: noon, kayak, Anna, Otto. (Yes, I’m intentionally ignoring “boob,” a word that both looks and sounds ridiculous, though there’s a time and place for that too.)

Other words just appear appealing on the page, especially in script–words like ailurophile, imbroglio, ratatouille, or gossamer.

Repetitive words have their own distinctive charm. They usually sound and look precisely as their meaning indicates they should: murmur, cocoa, tintinnabulation.

Then there are the simply euphonious, such inglenook and propinquity and, appropriately enough, sonorous. And those that feel delightfully crisp or bold or juicy on the tongue: pizzazz, twinkle, orb, squeamish.

In terms of all around awesomeness, my personal favorites include:

Lagniappe

Sesquicentennial

Shenanigans

Penumbra

Diaphanous

Scintilla

Gratis

Woebegone

Lollygag

Mephistophelean

I’m also partial to alliteration. Hence my current pen name, Maggie Montgomery, and the title of my not-yet-written comedic mystery: The Perplexing Puzzle of the Perforated Pinup Princess.

And I like quips, plays on words, and double entendres. Which is how I named my second book, Screw Me Once. (As in shame on you, but also, you know, screw. ‘cause… well you get it.)

And I positively adore rhymes. Which brings us (rather conveniently as I’m running out of word count) to the title of my new release, available TODAY:

Tex-Mex Sex Hex

I know, right? Absolutely genius! But I can’t take credit. It was thunk up by a 16-year-old and the story involves hexing by taco seasoning, abundant humor, facing one’s past, and super spicy sex.

Wanna read it? Leave a comment about your favorite word(s) below. Someone will get a free e-copy! Thanks for stopping by and gobs of gratitude to the Bad Girlz for gracing me and the other ladies of Laptops & Lingerie with a spot in their ferocious forum of fabulousness this month!

Oh and, by the way, the hissy fit word in Tex-Mex Sex Hex is “piquant.” Just in case you wondered. J

You can find out more about Maggie, her books, and get your copy of Tex-Mex Sex Hex in the links below:

14 Comments

Bad Girl For A Day: C.E. Hart – “Barbie Birthed A Writer”

 

I’m a nostalgic person. I enjoy looking back to days gone by and sometimes even pretend I’m my own therapist. Yeah, I know that sounds strange, but I’m an odd human being, so it works for me. I study the life-changing events I endured, the stupid things I did and wish I didn’t, the tender moments that touched my heart, and the people I counted on for a soft place to fall.

 

Memories light the corners of my mind

Misty watercolor memories of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind

Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

 

These memories oftentimes inspire my writing. Though the stories and characters I create are fictional, I draw on past experiences, emotions and relationships. I write-what-I-know and this (hopefully) allows me to construct evocative, believable stories.

Every summer, when I was little, my sister and I lived to play with Barbie dolls. (Mom called it our obsession.) We actually set our alarm clocks before going to bed, to make certain Barbie, Ken, Francie (my favorite, because she had real eyelashes!) and Midge made it to work on time. Skipper usually slept in until the twins, Todd and Tutti, woke up.

 

Can it be that it was all so simple then

Or has time rewritten every line

If we had the chance to do it all again

Tell me—would we? Could we?

 

Not only did I obsess over dolls, but I wrote extensive scripts for them too. What they’d say, where they’d go and what they’d do once they got there. Filling note pads with dialogue, scenes and plot twists consumed so much of the day there was little time left to actually play. Planning their day on paper was more than half the fun! Who knew Barbie and her friends were capable of birthing the author within me?

 

Creating stories as an adult is much the same as when I was a child—I just use imaginary characters to perform in them instead of plastic ones with removable heads.

 

Thank you, fabulous Bad Girlz! I’m thrilled to be your Bad Girl of the day! And because I’m oh-so-bad, and giving you only one song to continuously bang around in your heads isn’t enough, I’ll close out with another…

 

Because I’m Bad, I’m Bad—Come On

You Know I’m Bad, I’m Bad—You Know It

You Know I’m Bad, I’m Bad—Come On, You Know

And The Whole World Has To Answer Right Now

Just To Tell You Once Again

WHO’S BAD . . .

 

(Cheryl) C.E. Hart

http://www.laptopsandlingerie.com

https://www.facebook.com/CEHartAuthor

@CEHartAuthor

12 Comments

Welcome to the Ladies of Laptops & Lingerie!


The Ladies of Laptops & Lingerie are excited to be joining the Bad Girlz in the month of October! But who are we? We’re a group of four very diverse writers who stumbled on one another and ended up forming a remarkably effective critique group. We were chatting about book promotion on the way home from a Georgia Romance Writer’s meeting in February 2012 when someone got the bright idea of starting a multi-author blog. Most of us are fans of the celebrated Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog (if you’re not, we strongly suggest you check it out) and blogging together sounded like a blast. After all, our very different styles and strengths are exactly what make our critique group work. We started tossing around names, ideas, and lots of opinions. Eventually, Laptops & Lingerie was born. Now, let us introduce you to the crew!

C.E. is our southern sweetheart and grammar girl extraordinaire. Her work ranges from novels with strong romantic elements to memoir to coming-of-age mainstream. But no matter the genre, she aims to evoke a host of emotions that touch the reader in a personal way. She loves old movies, traveling, and vanilla sugar wafer cookies. She’s currently working on a joint project with her author sister as well as a solo book based on a trip to Italy. She just got back her rights for her published short story and it working on expanding it into a full length novel.

Ginny is our paranormal bad girl and networking maven. She specializes in edgy, quirky tales of southern vampires, wraiths, trolls, werewolves, witches, sirens and more. Not to mention fascinating mixes of any and all of the above. She loves cinnamon rolls, dancing to Nine Inch Nails, and wenching at the Renaissance fair in between work, writing, school, and family. Plus, her hand-made corsets are comfy and cute. She’s been busy inking contracts lately and will surely have exciting news to share with the world soon.

Maggie is our nerdy eccentric and official craft freak. She writes light erotic romance because she thinks sex is important but can’t type “pulsing manhood” with a straight face. She loves hair flowers, polka dots, Godiva chocolate, horror movies, and MENSA brainteasers. She generally has three or four projects going at once and is currently trying her hand at a comedic mystery. Her published backlist includes Page 93 and Screw Me Once, her new novella Tex-Mex Sex Hex will be available from Ellora’s Cave on Halloween, and she’s looking forward to presenting at GRW’s Moonlight & Magnolias conference this year.

Virginia is our life-in-the-smalltown-south storyteller and everyone’s number one cheerleader. Her books have a little bit of everything: tons of humor, deep south flair, a host of fun characters, romantic elements, and the paranormal. Her “other self” is all about paranormal and historical YA. She loves history-themed road trips, karaoke, and Hershey’s almond bites. And she somehow manages to balance a family and writing with attending nursing school full time. We all think her Sugar Hill, Alabama series is completely hilarious and we can’t wait for her to finish the first one and land an agent.

Well, that’s us: different, daring, and determined to make this writing thing work. We hope you’ll stop by in October for our individual posts and drop by our blog when you get the urge!

– The Ladies of Laptops & Lingerie

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