With the holiday weekend approaching, lots of folks in my area and around the country are heading to the beach. For our non-US friends, Memorial Day in the US is a federal holiday for remembering and honoring people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is currently observed on the last Monday of May, which means a lot of Americans have the day off (and head out of town or have a cookout). With beaches on the mind, I was thinking about beach reads for this summer. I’m not heading out this weekend but will probably have some time to put my nose in a book. I’m looking forward to the second in Kevin Kwan’s series, China Rich Girlfriend. I read the first, Crazy Rich Asians, recently and, while not particularly well written, it was entertaining so it might be that one next.
Some of my recent reads that I can recommend are: Continue reading
Several of my fellow 8LW are self-publishing their books. They occasionally bounce cover ideas off the rest of the 8LW. I’ve never given the composition a lot of thought other than I like this or I like that, but as I’ve been seeing the process through their eyes, it’s made me pay more attention. I’ve noticed cartoon (probably not the right word) covers making a comeback, lots of bare chests and tats for the more erotic stories, and full-faces of characters rather than half-images which I used to see more. I’ve always paid attention to whether the cover lived up to what was inside or if it leads me astray. Continue reading
Sometimes I have difficulty coming up with ideas for this blog. When I do, I start with my old blog posts to see if any of them spark ideas for new ones. In today’s case, I found one from almost exactly a year ago that sums up where I am now. AGAIN.
In November I was going gangbusters on my WIP. I kept up the progress for a couple of months and then . . . ppppfffttt. The motivation fizzled out. I think part of it came from the realization that, not only did I miss the Golden Heart deadline, but I would have to miss RWA. AGAIN. (big sigh) And part of it is, of course, life interrupted. So now I’m back living in the same place I was a year ago. Continue reading
The Demon Always Wins (image via Amazon)
Today marks a red letter day for us: not only is our blog celebrating five years of existence, but one of our Ladies is publishing her first book today. Jeanne Oates Estridge started The Demon Always Wins in May 2012 in response to the popular Twilight series.
I got to read an early version of it in the McDaniel course for romance writing during the 2012 school year, but lots of people have seen the book in progress. Jeanne mentions her long-time critique group, as well as a group of writers known as The Cool Kids that she met at the Midwest Writers Workshop, members of a one-day workshop in Indianapolis with Lucrecia Guerrero, several of the Eight Ladies and a handful of beta readers. Whew! It takes a village, doesn’t it?
The book was a finalist in all of the five contests Jeanne entered it in, and won the 2015 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award in the paranormal romance category with an earlier incarnation called Demons Don’t. The sequel, The Demon’s in the Details, was also a finalist in the 2018 paranormal romance category of the Golden Heart. Another version of The Demon Always Wins won first place in the paranormal/SF/fantasy category of the 2015 Diamonds in the Desert contest under the name of Demon’s Wager.
Having read the latest version, I can tell you the book has evolved from good to great over the years – the words are different, but they stay true to the underlying story. But enough from me. Let’s ask Jeanne a few questions!
8LW: We did the McDaniel course for romance writing together in 2012-2013, instructed by best-selling romance writer Jennifer Crusie. What lesson from the class had the most impact on your final book? Continue reading
Regular readers of this blog will no doubt be aware that our Jeanne’s debut novel, The Demon Always Wins, is now available for preorder on Amazon and will be released for sale on 1 September. Squee!
Some of the 8 Ladies have been published before, so it’s not technically our first book, but it’s the one Jeanne was working on when we all first met (virtually) in class at McDaniel College. When she said it was a re-telling of the story of Job as a paranormal romantic comedy I remember thinking, “that’s interesting, and different.”
Because we spent a whole year in class talking about our stories and critiquing each other’s scenes, I think we all feel a certain sense of ownership of this book. We got to know Jeanne’s dark, snarky, funny voice. We saw her delete a fantastic opening scene only to replace it with one even better. We watched her polish her manuscript until it became a Golden Heart winner, and then take it up another level with the help of rigorous professional editing. Continue reading
I’ve been away from home the last couple of days, visiting my mum. She’s in her late 80s and her health is variable, so I try to get the most out of every hour I spend with her. It can be challenging, and I’ve learned by experience that there is no point taking my WIP along. By the end of the day, I’m generally too fried to tackle anything more demanding than a large glass of wine and a good book.
Reading inspires me, but I don’t read new novels in the sub-genre I’m writing, because I don’t want to borrow, even subconsciously, and I don’t want to be put off developing something my story needs because it feels too close to something someone else has created. So new fantasy or urban fantasy authors are off-limits. I’m not in the mood for contemporaries or historicals. Romantic suspense might be a possibility, but best of all, for now, is a Terry Pratchett re-reading binge. Pratchett suits my current reading needs perfectly – he’s familiar, fantastic, funny, brilliant, inspirational and unique.
I’m currently half-way through Mort, the fourth Discworld novel – the one in which the eponymous hero becomes Death’s apprentice. I threw it in my travel bag without even thinking about the storyline, but after a day spent with the residents of mum’s nursing home a story about life and death expertly told with intelligence, humor and compassion was, oddly, exactly what I needed.
I sneaked in a few more pages over breakfast yesterday morning, and as always, I was dazzled by Pratchett’s voice. Continue reading
As Kay told you Thursday, last week the Eight Ladies took NYC by storm! It took a bit out of us as well along the way, but in the end, we declared RWA a great success for us as individuals and a group. We were able to do one of the things we most anticipated – spend a lot of time together bonding, talking story, and being girlfriends who all also happen to write. We drank toasts to our much-missed lady, Michaeline, who was rooting for all of us from half a world away. We even had our ‘honorary Lady’, Jilly’s husband, doing reconnaissance for us to find the best pubs, pizza, and cheesecake in the city while we spent long days at workshops and evenings
at the bar in very important business meetings.
I’m still decompressing, processing, and quite frankly recovering from the sheer magnitude of the event and amount of information there was to absorb. Once I’ve managed some of that, I’ll share more insightful information in future posts. In the meantime, through my haze of exhaustion, I’ll share a few of my personal conference highlights, which I’ll bet more than a few of the other ladies share as well.
Watching our own Jeanne WIN THE GOLDEN HEART!!! Continue reading
Golden Heart, 2015
Welcome back, Jeanne! So last week we talked a little about your writing journey. Your style, the years of sweat and doubt that you endured to get this far. Today, I’d like to turn to the fruits of all that hard work. Tiaras and spotlights, oh my.
What’s life (specifically your writing life) been like since the nomination, Jeanne?
JE: The nomination came in at the end of March, while I was still polishing Demon’s Wager. Soon after that, I started receiving manuscript requests from editors and agents as a result of the various contests I entered, so I wound up scrambling, trying to get it ready for prime-time.
I know you’ve been scrambling a lot since then. What’s happening right now?
JE: I’m working on plotting the next book in the series. I don’t have a title yet, which is making me a little crazy—it’s like families who call their youngest child “Baby”—for heaven’s sake, give that kid a name. Continue reading
Today, I’d like to welcome our own Jeanne Oates Estridge, one of nine paranormal finalists in RWA’s 2015 Golden Heart contest. Jeanne has graciously agreed to answer our questions and share her GH journey to date. First, congratulations on your Golden Heart finalist nod, Jeanne. That’s a tremendous accomplishment and we’re all proud of you!
I’m sure everyone is dying to know about “The Call”. Where were you when you learned the news? Did you scream for joy? Drop the phone? Spill, girl!
JE: Like everyone else who entered, I was watching the RWA website that morning, hoping against hope. When names started to populate in the different categories and I hadn’t received a call, my heart fell into my shoes. Then I saw that I had a missed call from an unknown number in California. I told myself it was probably someone trying to sell me something, but my hopes rose anyway. A few minutes later, the same number called back and it was RWA. I cried. Big, fat tears. I asked her if everyone cries and she said, “Some people cry, some people curse. I spoke with a woman in London this morning and she said, ‘Crikey!’”
Once you processed the fact that you’d just finaled in the mother of all RWA contests what went through your mind? What was your primary emotion? Continue reading