Sunday, January 31, 2010
One of the best things about Valentine's Day is reading Valentine romances. And I think I have done my share in contributing to White Rose Publishing's offerings for this holiday. Orchard Hill Romance #2, Entertaining Angel, is a Valentine's story. Here's the blurb:
Artist Angel Marcell is on her own for the first time in her life. If only her brother would stop treating her like a child! He’s asked one of his college friends to watch over her while she’s in Orchard Hill visiting cousin Misty Green. Jeff Bradley is working day and night to make his real estate business a success. He doesn’t have time to entertain his friend’s little sister – no matter how cute she is when she blushes. Besides when she’s around, his life turns into chaos and he starts longing for things that aren’t compatible with his business plan. When Angel stands in for a Valentine’s Day date, will he change his mind about what he wants?
I have a funny story about this story. Last year I read another White Rose release called The Valentine Edition and got quite a surprise. It's by Robin Shope and a great read!
Both Robin's story and mine are set in a small Wisconsin town and feature petite, redheaded heroines who are new in town. Both heroines are involved in an accident that results in an injured stray dog. Both vets are tall, handsome men. Of course, both heroines adopted the poor dogs. Robin's heroine named hers Cupid and my heroine named hers...Cherub. Not quite the same.
I was a bit worried by this time but the plots diverged from there and developed very differently. My vet may have been tall and handsome, but he wasn't the hero. Robin's vet ended up with the girl - and the dog. But don't feel too bad for my poor vet. He got his own story and his own girl in Considering Lily.
I guess that's a case of great minds thinking alike. (Humor me, okay.)
I also have a free Valentine's read on my website. It's sort of a mini-sequel to Saving Gracie. I promise I'll write something that's not set in Orchard Hill someday. But for now there may possibly be one more Orchard Hill Valentine's story on the way. Stay tuned.
I was surprised to find those were the only Valentine stories I found in the White Rose catalog. If I missed some, someone please correct me. I hope there are more coming this year. Writers, I challenge you to add your own Valentine story to the White Rose catalog - or even a free read to your website. Readers, what do you want to see in a Valentine story?
Friday, January 29, 2010
WRP said, "Last fall, White Rose Publishing editors became intrigued to find out how many different stories could be gleaned from one basic plot. The result was our Hearts Crossing contest. WOW! Provided with the same cover image and same plot outline, every entry we received was completely unique...just as we suspected. Today, we are pleased to release the winning entry, Hearts Crossing by Marianne Evans. New to White Rose, Marianne is not new to the publishing world, having several titles--and in multiple languages--Marianne is an accomplished author. We're pleased to welcome Marianne into the WRP family, and we think you're going to like what she's done to pull the heartstrings in Hearts Crossing."
She’s seen a number of her books published. Kensington Publishing purchased her first book, Friends & Lovers. Her second contemporary romance, Right Hand Man, followed shortly thereafter. Her third release from Kensington, Hannah’s Heart, won critical acclaim in The Oakland Press. Her fourth book, a novella entitled With This Kiss, is her first offering at The Wild Rose Press. Hearts Crossing is her first inspirational romance and marks her debut at White Rose Publishing.
A resident of suburban Detroit, she’s happily married with two kids and a family that never fails to support and encourage. An active member of Romance Writers of America, she’s a long-time member of Greater Detroit RWA where she served the chapter in a number of capacities, most notably as treasurer and two terms as president.
Still looking for even more? On Saturday, February 1 (10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Eastern Time Zone) Marianne will be at Long and Short Romance Reviews, where two copies of this book will be given away. In an invation she sent to the reader's loop she said, "(I'm going) to talk about the top ten questions asked of this romanc author. Yep, I'm spillin' the beans. I'm going to tell folks all about the oh so glamorous life of a writer (tee, hee!!) and share the things that inspire me to keep moving forward, even when those inevitable frustrations arise."
Monday, January 25, 2010
We're into the last week in January already and that means Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I think Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday. You might expect that from a romance writer, but my reasons probably aren't the ones you'd think.
For the most part, Valentine's Day is a holiday with low expectations, especially when you've been married for 17 years and you know exactly how much (or in some cases how little) to expect there.
Valentine's Day comes shortly after the Christmas season. Now there's a holiday with expectations attached! After all demands of Christmas it's nice to experience a holiday dedicated to love - of family and friends as well as spouses and other significant others - that does not require you to do anything.
So if I decide to send a card to a friend, or buy some candy for the kids, it is appreciated. But if I'm busy and choose to skip those things, no one is really disappointed.
I'm not saying I love my friend any less if I don't send a card. It's just nice to feel that you have a choice about it. With Christmas sometimes it seems like you are being dragged along into a storm of activity that has somewhere along the way lost its meaning. Every year I contemplate how to change this, but am not brave enough to suggest radical measures - such as no gifts, or not volunteering to help with the Sunday School Christmas program.
So when I do something to observe Valentine's Day it is a free expression of love. Doesn't that feel better than trying to live up to expectations that have grown out of proportion over the years? How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
Friday, January 22, 2010
This is my first post for the WIB blog, and I am glad to be here! I hope some of you will take a moment to share your opinions on this topic: What is inspirational fiction?
I’ve been asked this question many times by friends and family, especially when I have a new story release. To many of them, the term “inspirational” refers to any writing which is uplifting or meaningful. Some feel it refers to spiritual writing, and some think it refers to Christian fiction. To one mother who lost a child, the essay I wrote on her daughter was inspirational. To another friend, a collection of encouraging, secular quotes is inspirational. But to most of us reading this, inspirational fiction and romance is fiction that includes God and faith in the storyline.
When I began to research the topic, I found other Christian romance authors have addressed it as well. I asked a few about their reading and writing habits. White Rose author JoAnn Carter said: “I read Christian/Inspirational titles--especially if it's in the romance genre. That way I'm more likely not to run into "issues" that wouldn't be good for me to see/read.”
Author Pamela Thibodeaux wrote a wonderful post on the topic for a previous entry. Here's an excerpt:
Christian fiction is written for a particular audience...the CBA market/readership. Christian fiction focuses on a relationship with God and God is the center of every romantic liaison. It adheres to the guidelines set forth by the CBA publishers and readers. In most instances, those guidelines are very conservative. The CBA wants “chaste relationships…the emotional side of love without the physical.”
Christian Inspirational fiction is written more for those readers out there who are dissatisfied with the typical Christian fiction as well as those turned off by the normal secular romances. It is aimed for readers who like the idea of God/Christ in the books, but want more realistic characters, situations, etc.
She also shared these views with me:
“I consider "inspirational" fiction that which is written with a higher level of sensuality and gritty realism and yet stays within biblical principles. Yes, it is different from traditional "Christian" fiction as the guidelines set forth by the CBA/EPCA are actually very conservative.My writing is labled as "Inspirational with an Edge!" and reviewed as: steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.Other than non-fiction, I read exclusively Romance - of every heat level EXCEPT erotica.”
Author Cindy Green shared her opinions:
As far as my own writing, it is conservative and even though it is published as ‘Inspirational’ it is Christian and would more than likely fall under the CBA standards. My tagline is ‘Bringing Sweet Romance to the Heart.’ I do read mainly sweet romance and most of that is Inspirational and/or Christian romance.
One of the growing sub-genres within romance is the Inspirational romance, but what is an Inspy exactly? Inspirational romance is just like any other romantic tale. It includes the ups and downs of falling in love, a handsome hero and a likeable heroine, those many emotional essentials, and the all important happy ending—aka: the HEA. And within Inspirational romance you can again have all of those subgenres but with a certain world view. The main ingredient separating the Inspirational romance with that of the secular romance is the spiritual element which makes it in many ways even more difficult to write. (But that is a topic for another day.)
The inspirational romance presents a love story centered on religious values. Your characters are not only beleaguered with the typical internal and external conflict but also a spiritual obstacle or struggle. Emotional conflict is key in an Inspy as is sexual tension, but again think sweet romance. Faith is a natural part of the story. It is sewn into the heart of the book in such a way that it is not cumbersome or preachy. As one reviewer said of my own book: “This is a fun, refreshing, non-preachy read. Faith is simply part of the main characters’ lives.”
Thank you, ladies, for sharing your views with us. I invite everyone reading to leave a comment on their own opinion—what is inspirational fiction? Do you read it? Write it?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
If you are reading this blog, chances are, you are a fan of inspirational romance. But all fans are not the same! Fortunately White Rose Publishing has something for everyone. They really do. What? You don't believe me? Then I'll show you.
Let's take best friends Tammy, Becky, Jane and Sandra. (Yes, I am making these people up for the sake of example.) Part of the reason they are friends is that they all love reading and discussing inspirational romance. But they don't always read the same books.
Tammy loves to cuddle up in her favorite chair with her cat on her lap and a historical romance in hand. At White Rose Publishing she'll find titles to choose from such as All or Nothing, Journey to Forgiveness, and Fragile Dreams. All of these are available as print books as well as ebooks. But Tammy is fortunate enough to have an ebook reader so she also enjoys shorter stories she can download such as Dilema of the Heart or Wildflower in Bloom
Becky adores contemporary stories such as Alvarado Gold, Beneath a Texas Sky and Case of the Heart. These are all available in print. But wait. Becky is a cubicle dweller and she really likes short stories that she can read on her computer during her lunch hour. So she might prefer Child of My Heart, By Another Name or Dreams Do Come True.
Jane wants a bit of mystery or suspense thrown in with the romance. She might enjoy Lethal Lasagna, A Matter of Trust or First I'm Nobody. Jane is often on the go. For those times when she's standing in line or stuck in a waiting room she likes shorter stories that she can read on her smart phone. She could choose from titles such as Daniella, Sweet Rest or Through a Glass Darkly.
Sandra is a stay-at-home mom. She doesn't care what kind of romance she reads as long as it fits into her budget. White Rose Publishing offers free reads on their site such as A Perfect Fit, Matchmaker of Love or Review of Love. Sandra joined the White Rose Publishing group on Yahoo to get some of the free "members only" reads there. As an added bonus, she's found a source of adult interaction that she can access without leaving the house! When she runs out of free reads, she'll probably start on the Dollar Downloads. Those include titles such as Cathy's Angel, Hyacinths in Winter, or Turning Back.
This is a just a few titles I pulled out at random. The White Rose catalog is much, much bigger and includes more categories than I listed. Jewel of the Adriatic and Rose of the Adriatic include mystic elements. Isanne's Revelation is a time travel romance. And don't even get my started on the great holiday stories! In my series Orchard Hill Romances, each story centers around a holiday. (See how I just slipped that into the conversation. You almost didn't notice that it was a plug for my own books, right?)
I hope this little post has made you curious. I wish I could have included the blurb for each title, but this would be an enormously long post if I did. I also don't have the patience to add a link to each title, but you can access the White Rose catalog here. If you are not familiar with White Rose Publishing I think you are in for a big treat! Happy Reading!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
First off, I have to say I am humbled and overwhelmed by the response to my blog here at White Roses in Bloom entitled: An Introductory Blog & The Story of a Contest. I figured I'd hear lots of crickets chirping and breezes rippling through the grass, but you all truly know how to rally around a nervous newbie! THANK YOU!
Now, on to the good stuff!!!
Congratulations to LM Gonzalez! Please e-mail me privately: firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your $10 gift certificate to the wonderful selection of Christian romance at White Rose Publishing!!
Happy reading to you all, and thanks again for participating.
More to come on my Sunday blog (address below) which will feature a blurb and excerpt from Hearts Crossing...plus I'm giving away a copy to a commenter! So please stay tuned, and thanks again!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
The answer to this question is simple. Fiction writers read everything they can get their hands on.
Of course they read the kinds of things they'd like to write. Romance writers read romance, mystery writers read mysteries, etc. It's sort of a requirement of writing in a genre. If you don't read in that genre, how do you know how to write for it?
Fiction writers also read fiction in other genres. Let's face it, no one wants to read the same thing all the time. We need that spice of life, variety. Plus it's good to keep up on market trends in other genres. Who knows when you'll find something you can incorporate into your own work?
Fiction writers read books, articles, etc. from the publishers they'd like to get a contract from. It's called market research. You need to know what that particular publisher is looking for. What type of things do they publish? Does it fit with what you write? For example, you wouldn't send a collection of poems to a company that only publishes "How To" books. Is your manuscript too much like another title they've recently published? You may want to submit it to a different company.
Writers read about writing. Good writers always strive for improvement and there is always something more to learn no matter how long you've been perfecting your craft. The number of books written on this subject should be proof of that. And then think of all the magazines, web sites and blogs on writing.
Writers read non-fiction. They read about subjects they need to research for their fiction writing. They read nonfiction just because a certain subject interests them. Plus you never know when you might find something you can use in a story.
How about the Bible? I'd say that's a given for White Rose authors, at least.
Fiction writers read magazines, books, newspapers, blogs, and even cereal boxes. The size of the piece is not important if it contains something of interest to them.
So there you have it. Add it all up and you come out with the fact that writers will read anything and everything they can get their hands on.
So, what have you read lately?
Saturday, January 9, 2010
So there I was – just noodling on the Net – when along came an e-mail that set my world spinning.
But wait, I'm sorry. I need to back up a pace or two and catch you up. I need to fill you in on the complete picture of my life at a most extraordinary moment in time – when I became a member of the White Rose publishing family. By the way, I’m delighted to be making your acquaintance here at the Blog.
My son and his wife had just come home for the holidays. My daughter had also just arrived for break from college. My hubby and our entire family were camped out in the kitchen, making traditional Christmas Sugar cookies for Christmas Eve festivities in a couple of days. A question came from my son, Dan: "Mom, while Mary's out for a minute, can you show me the top you got her for Christmas? I think I may have gotten her the same thing. I want to make sure my gift is different.”
The top in question was already wrapped and under the tree, but since I had ordered the item on line, I had an e-mail from the company, complete with photograph.
"Sure," I answered. "Come on over to the computer."
Question. Busy as we were (fresh-made cookie dough waited - as did green and red sprinkles and multi-colored sugar-balls...) why did everyone follow? Why? Because something was brewing, and God knows exactly what He's doing. Always.
I paged through e-mail and as I hunted down and opened the confirmation notice for Dan, I also saw a new message that made my heart pound. The sender was Nicola Martinez, Editor in Chief of White Rose Publishing. The subject line: Hearts Crossing Contest Entry.
I passed it by. I didn't want to click the 'open' button at all. In fact, I showed Dan the picture of the gift item - found out duplication was no longer an issue - then logged off e-mail.
Here's my justification: Just days away from welcoming 14 family members to my home on Christmas Eve, I didn't want to find out I had lost the Hearts Crossing writing contest sponsored by White Rose Publishing. I was happy and content. I didn't want anything to interfere with that fact. When you don't "know" there's always hope, right?
You see, this contest meant a great deal to me. For quite a while now, I've wanted to break into the Christian inspirational market, and White Rose has a strong, growing reputation in the industry. So, the contest, which I entered back in September, was a wonderful opportunity to do just that. At the same time, I was realistic enough to realize victory was beyond my wildest hopes. A lot of incredibly talented people were vying for the grand prize - a book contract.
So, I figured the e-mail would read something like: "Thank you so much for entering the contest. While your submission featured many appealing elements, the competition was very tight, and we regret to inform you that..."
Yeah -- you get the drift.
When I turned away from the computer, I caught my husband's eye and he could tell something was up just by looking at me. All I said to him was, "I think the verdict is in on Hearts Crossing." Steve sweats and bleeds publication issues right along with me - a partner in the best sense of the word. Unfailingly supportive he said, "Well, come on! Open it up! Let's find out!"
I was, shall we say, somewhat less enthusiastic. In fact, I was nervous as all get out. I even explained all the reasons why I avoided opening the e-mail. His answer to that somewhat psychotic behavior? "Marianne, really. If you win, we're all here around you. If you've lost, we're all here around you. What more could you ask for?"
Dang he's smart sometimes.
I huffed and I sat, opening up my e-mail once more. A deep breath later I clicked on the e-mail from Nicola. As it opened, Steve quipped, "It'll probably say Congratulations…"
First word of the e-mail? "Congratulations..."
I have to confess, and don't tell Nicola this, but, initially I didn't read much beyond that first word. Instead I burst into tears. Meanwhile, Steve and the kids whooped and cheered. I found myself blessed by an incredible moment, one I got to share it with the ones I love so much, and who have supported me through all the inevitable rejections and sad times that also come along quite frequently in the world of publishing.
The tentative release date for Hearts Crossing is late January. Below is a link to the video trailer for the book so you can get to know Daveny Montgomery and Collin Edwards a little better. These two were God-made for one another. Coming soon? The 'official' book blurb and excerpt.
Hearts Crossing Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT0y46c3Mak
I'm eager to know what you think, so a week from today, one lucky visitor who leaves a comment on this blog, or at the site for my trailer, will win a $10.00 White Rose Publishing gift certificate so they can splurge on a few of their many wonderful offerings!
Meanwhile, thank you so much for welcoming me into the bouquet of White Roses. It is such an honor.
Blessings to you all – Marianne
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
One fan writes, "I enjoyed it so much, that I thought I would take a minute to let you know. I have read hundreds of paperbacks in the last two years, and this is the first time that I wanted to let an author know how much I enjoyed a book. I especially appreciated that it wasn't done like a paint by the number spainting. Your characters were real and your story unique. I loved Addie's temper and the fact that her adventures didn't end up with her finding a pot of gold, but something even more precious. She found love and she found her family again. Along the way she also experienced a spiritual journey, which I could easily relate to. Anyway, the book was delightful and I will look forward to the sequel. Keep on writing!!!!!"
How about you? Is there a favorite White Rose Publishing book that you love? Why not leave a little "fan" mail... it's sure to make their day!
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
No, I haven't lost my mind yet - or maybe I have LOL!
What I've done is quit my job.
Now before you start worrying that I'm going to lie around and cry my life away, let me reassure you that is not the case.
I've taken a GIANT leap of faith and quit my job in order to pursue this whole writing business (writing/editing/promoting/signings/sales/speaking engagements/etc) and with God's grace, wisdom, and direction, move into a new level.
One thing that encouraged me to do this is - back in October - Jo Anne Vandermeulen of Premium Promotional Services contacted me about working as an associate for them. I said yes. Very excited with the results I had part time, I feel God is leading me to be available full time and that this is a good time to pursue my lifelong dream of working from home.
PPS's motto is "You Write, We Promote" and believe me, we stand on what we say. Jo Anne is wonderful about working with each individual author to design a promo package to fit his or her needs AND budget.
Oh and join me TONIGHT 8pm CST as a guest on Jo Anne's radio program “Authors Articulating with Jo-Anne Vandermeulen”
I'm also doing editing and writing on my own. Each project is different but if you need help with your manuscript contact me and let's see how I can help you!
Along with my work for PPS and writing/editing jobs I pick up, I plan to really focus on getting my own books out there through signings, speaking engagements and phone calls and visits to libraries and book stores.
I know this sounds like I'll be really busy, and I probably will but one thing - the most important reason behind this decision - is to take time to heal from the loss of my beloved AND grow in my relationship with God.
Your prayerful support is greatly appreciated as I embark on this new venture and I pray that each and every one of you have a BLESSED and Prosperous year!
Until later....take care, be Blessed and remember....Man plans his ways but God directs his steps.
Pamela S Thibodeaux
"Inspirational with an Edge!" (TM)
Monday, January 4, 2010
Do you remember when you were you were a child and you went back to school after the holidays? Sometimes the teacher would allow us to bring in one gift we'd received for Show and Tell.
I'm declaring this post as Show and Tell for Christmas 2009. Did you receive any holiday surprises? A special gift? Did you make any outstanding memories? If so, this is the place to share.
Go Ahead. Don't be shy.
Oh, I'll right, I'll go first.
This Christmas I got a gift card for a department store. I've always joked that I wanted to work at home and have a professional wardrobe that was mostly made up of pajamas. So I decided to quit joking and take a step toward reaching my goal. Not so much my goal of having a separate pajama wardrobe, but of becoming a full time writer. So I bought two new pairs of pajamas that I've designated to be my "writing clothes." I have work clothes and casual clothes, so why not writing clothes?
Today I took a shower and got dressed in a pair of my new pajamas. They are flannel with a button-up top. Pink and purple cats sitting on stacks of books are arrayed against a white background. I thought this was a pretty good outfit for a romance writer. And here I am writing away.
I got a second great gift yesterday. The night before I'd been fretting about finding time to buy groceries and still have a girls' day out with my mother and daughters. My husband volunteered to do it for me! Later he said he'd do the grocery shopping every week if I wanted him to. And that could equal a couple more hours of writing time for me every week. Now is that a great gift or what! My husband is not so good at gifts that can be put in a box and wrapped up, but he's great at giving gifts of support.
Earlier this year he rearranged our bedroom to add a desk for me. That was another much appreciated gift. It's wonderful to have a place where I can close the door on everything else and just write. (Plus, it makes perfect sense to wear pajamas to work when your office is a bedroom.)
Will a couple pairs of fun pajamas help me keep to my work schedule? Probably not, but it might help. I'll let you know.
Okay, now it's your turn. What's your Christmas "Show and Tell?"
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Daniel Gardner is making a grand entrance at his brother’s wedding. The problem is, no one has seen him in years. Unsure of his welcome, this prodigal son needs the years and the hearts of his family to miraculously melt…but he may not be the only one needing to make amends.
Lane Taylor doesn’t realize how much she still loves Daniel until she’s standing face-to-face with him after so many years apart. Once upon a time, they’d dreamed of a life together. Now, when it seems they might get a second chance, she has to decide whether to divulge the secret she’s sure will shatter their happily-ever-after.