Monday, June 30, 2008


By N.J. Walters

Rejection! We’ve all been on the receiving end of it. Felt the sharp sting of disappointment, the prick of tears, or the rise of anger. It’s not fun.

But some of us set ourselves up for it. That’s what being a writer is all about. It’s mounds of no thank you’s and form letters, with only the occassional yes thrown into the bunch, if you’re lucky

According to the Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, to “reject” means to: refuse to accept, consider, submit to, take for some purpose, or use. To cast off. To throw back. To decline.

Sounds simple. Your book does not satisfy our requirements at this time. Why you ask? You sweated blood for it, spend countless days and hours slaving over it. Why doesn’t it fit?

Because it doesn’t.

It’s as simple and as complex as that.

Nearly every writer has been rejected at some point or another in their career. Most of us, many times! My very first book was rejected due to POV (point of view) problems. Like most beginner writers, I had a hard time with this. Why? Because many established writers get away with head-hopping from one character to another within a scene, but most publishers won’t accept this from a new author. Go figure.

Still, the rejection letter and the handwritten note helped me realize what was wrong with the book. If you’re lucky enough to get a handwritten note or a letter that isn’t a standard rejection form—READ IT! This is a professional editor giving you free advice. I reworked that first book at least a dozen times, if not more. But guess what, it finally found a home. It took almost a decade, but I did it.

Rejection is easier when you’re just starting out and haven’t published. No, really. I mean it. Getting rejected once you’ve been published hits you even harder. After all, you’re a professional now and are supposed to know what you’re doing. Right?

At least that’s how it’s been for me. I had a story rejected by one publisher only to rework and tighten it and have it accepted by another. One book almost never saw the light of day because it was rejected the first time around. I was so devestated by this rejection I almost chucked the entire book. Instead, I put it away for a while and finished my current work-in-progress. When I was done, I pulled out the rejected manuscript, looked at the editor’s comments, reworked the book and resubmitted it. This time it was accepted!The book has been out for a while now and it is a fan favorite.

If there is one thing I’ve learned as a writer, it’s that you have to make peace with rejection. It’s a fact of life and it’s not personal.

Rejection is a great teacher. It taught me that I can always rewrite a book, can fix any problem (no matter how large), and can always find a home for my story—even if it takes years and another stack of rejection letters.

While it’s no fun, rejection can be helpful. It’s all in how you look at it.

Emotional~Sensual~Satisfying Reads! (newsletter group)
A Legal Affair—Samhain Publishing—July 15th
Jackson’s Jewel—Ellora’s Cave—July 25th

Friday, June 27, 2008

Strangling the muse

How often do you have your day planned and then have a monkey wrench thrown into the gears?

I had planned to do some heavy duty writing today. I really want to get my next wolfie finished. Then, I discovered I had no hot water. Now there was a distinct possiblility that I'd run our of heating oil. ('We have baseboard hot water heat.) (We also have a 1000 gallon tank buried in the backyard with no oil gague so I have no idea how much oil is in it.) I called my regular service but they couldn't deliver before Monday because they only had one delivery person today --- in Williamsport only. So I found the phone book and started calling. First two - no answer. Third, no guarantee of delivery today. Fourth, I got a very nice man who now has my business because his oil was only $4.27.9 a gallon. (ACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Anyway, oil truck comes - I still have over 400 gallons of oil. ( I got 150 gallons anyway because who knows how much it will cost once the weather starts turning cold.)

This means there's something wrong with the furnace. So, I called that nice man back only he was in a meeting. The woman I talked to was also nice and said she'd either call me back or have their repairman call me. That was at noon.

Two o'clock, no phone call. So, I called them back. The woman answered but gave the phone to the nice man who was back from his meeting. He promised to have a man out today. Five minutes later, he called back to let me know the repairmans' schedule so I wouln't get worried when he didn't show up right away.

I'm prettey sure the furnace will be fixed, but, damn, the hassle threw a bucket of cold water on my muse.

Don't you just love a day like this?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

July Sneak Peek Contest!

I've got two books releasing in July and I'm celebrating with a big contest!

A Legal Affair is releasing from Samhain Publishing on July 15 and Jackson's Jewel is releasing from Ellora’s Cave Publishing on July 25th!

I'm giving readers a chance to win a download copy of each book. For details on how to enter to be eligible to win, go to my Website and click on the "contests" page for details!

The winner of the download of A Legal Affair will be drawn from all correct entries received on July 14th. The winner of the download of Jackson's Jewel will be drawn from all correct entries received on July 24th.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Twelve: My All-Time Favorite Movies

After I made this list and read it over it struck me that practically all of them are fantasy or science fiction. I guess that explains what I write.

1. All three of The Lord of the Rings movies – the best fantasy movies EVER

2. Star Wars, the very first, the original and still the best, with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi close behind. I like to pretend Episodes 1-3 never happened.

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s close between that one and Order of the Phoenix.

4. The Princess Bride “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Utterly unforgettable.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean – The first one is still the best.

6. High Noon – This is how you do suspense.

7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch – I almost fell off the chair laughing so hard.)

8. Aliens. Another close one between this one and the first, Alien, but the first one felt a bit too claustrophobic for me.

9. Terminator – Didn’t have so much of the cool CGI effects of the later movies, but a better story more than compensates.

10. Serenity – Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, and some closure for the Firefly story. Need I say more?

11. The Day the Earth Stood Still – It’s vintage 1950s with a heart-wrenching ending, but still a terrific movie.

12. Casablanca – It’s a classic.

So... What are your all-time favorite movies?

-- Karen McCullough

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Hump Day!

Hi all! Still working on three manuscripts all at the same time, though less frantically since work is just as busy as the stories in my head. One book is the story of Alaina Bixler, the daughter of Carin and Bix. I hadn't planned to continue the Vampire Council of Ethics series after the third book (Kenoe's story, due out in July) but I got an idea in my head that I just couldn't shake, so it's in the works. And speaking of Kenoe's story, it's now up on the Samhain Publishing coming soon web page.

HATSEPT HEAT, V.C.O.E. Book 3 Coming next month!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm So Lazy...

That's it. Guess.

I'll come by tomorrow and tell you what they are.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Voting Continues and an interview

In the Romance Studio's Diva contest. Round 4 is anonymous excerpts. Go vote for your favorite!

Interview with Allie Boniface.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Heat Wave by N.J. Walters

Much of North America is trapped in a bit of a heat wave at the moment. To celebrate the summer heat and to show you it's not all bad, I thought I'd share the blurb for my Ellora's Cave book, Heat Wave!

Heat Wave , Book 2 in the Summersville Secrets Series.


Emma Howard has been sensible her entire life, focusing all her time and energy on her career. In fact, Emma doubts that there is much passion inside her, at least until Tucker Martin moves into her apartment building. Their immediate reaction to one another is explosive and she grabs the opportunity to explore her awakening sexuality. But after a heated encounter, Emma backs away from their growing relationship, unwilling to trust the passion flaring between them.

Tucker’s wanted Emma since the first moment he laid eyes on her. When a blackout traps them in an elevator, it’s not just the heat wave that makes Emma feel hot. Determined to convince her that they are made for each other, he’s more than willing to take advantage of the circumstances that have trapped them alone together.

But Emma’s fears go deeper than either of them realizes, and she will have to face her past before she can claim a future with Tucker.

Heat Wave is also available in print in the two-book anthology Summersville Heat . You can check out this book, or any of my books at Ellora’s Cave Publishing .

PROMO: for those who attend writing conferences

The first book in my "Fatal Writers' Conference" series kicks off this month with Autographs, Abductions, and A-List Authors (buy it here if you are so inclined). It stars B.R. Emerson (a.k.a., "Ralph"), who's an up-and-coming author. Ralph goes to a writing conference in Abilene where she asks a Big Star to autograph a book. The Big Star promptly falls over dead.

Ralph and the Big Star are in contention for a writing award, the coveted Silver Stylus, so Ralph is naturally under suspicion at first. Later, when she's almost killed during a cattle roundup, the detective in charge of the case, Lucas Remarchik, realizes she might be a target.

The book weaves its way through a writing conference replete with rapacious agents, snarky editors, backstabbing authors, and concludes with the award ceremony -- or does it? Perhaps more action happens afterward and the drive home from the conference ....

I had a lot of fun writing this book because I threw the rules out the window and wrote whatever the hell I wanted, and it shows. Especially fun was the chance to have the heroine observe all of these publishing insiders and express opinions about them. Not that her opinions are mine, mind you, but it was still fun {wink}.

The next book in the series takes place at a writing conference in Florida and is titled Sun, Surf, and Sandy Strangulation. The conference there is an odd mix of RT and a mystery con (based on the Clue board game), with a cover model contest, workshops, and a touch of the Mafia thrown in.

The third book is in progress and takes place at a writing retreat. I bring together many characters from the previous books and continue the story of Ralph and her hero. It's proving to be as much fun as the other books.

I hope all who have endured (or enjoyed?) writing conferences will get a big kick out of these books. I sure had fun writing them!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is writing the most important thing?

I’ve been struggling with my writing lately. It’s not that I’m blocked on a story or can’t figure out what to write next. It’s the time thing, and all the other pressures that pull me in too many directions at once.

I have a demanding day job, one that requires a lot of my time and creative energies. I can’t quit it. We need the money. And in any case, I like the job. But it doesn’t always leave me with much juice left over at the end of the day.

And there are other things. My husband and kids want some of my time. So do my friends. They’re all very important to me and keeping those relationships healthy takes time and work.

That leaves a few late-night hours a day generally for writing. And sometimes a few more on the weekends. I’m a night owl so late-night writing doesn’t bother me, but I have to get up fairly early in the morning and lack of sleep does.

I’m not a fast writer at the best of times, so my output is slow. I’m not happy about that. But I don’t know how to rework the balance of things to change it.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Think before you hit send

I’m constantly amazed by the way some authors conduct themselves online. Very few seem to have stellar online presences that actually appeal to readers.

I started thinking of rules to live by when going online.

The internet has a long memory. Nothing is ever permanently deleted. Once you put it up there, it lasts forever, either by copying or staying in caches.

Think before you hit send.

Private email/forums/loops are NEVER private. Only vent to a person you’d trust to NEVER share. Luckily I have a couple of people I trust not to share. Or better yet, vent to your significant other or your cat in real life. My cat is a lot of things but she’s never going to tell anyone my deepest rants.

Think before you hit send.

Never argue with a review of your book. They may have completely not gotten the story or the characters. Vent to the cat, thank them for the review, and move on.

Lurkers could be the person you’re venting about or their best friend. You never know who is reading.

Think before you hit send.

Everyone on the internet has a long memory. And, they will remember what you put out there. If it’s things they don’t like, that could interfere with them being a reader of your book. Being mean doesn't nab you readers.

Think before you hit send.

Any other rules? I think we need a list out there on the internet with the long memory about how to act.

Mechele Armstrong aka Lany of Melany Logen

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Celestial Passions: Meri coming June 13

Coming from Ellora's Cave on June 13, the third in my alien romance series, Celestial Passions: Meri.


Thousands of years ago, the dols and the orcs disappeared from the planet Mediria because the three races of the aquatic planet refused to desist fighting their racially motivated wars. Their amazing departure in huge space ships so shocked the Medirians, Aradabs, and Nissians that the three races immediately ceased all hostilities and worked together to develop their civilization and technology with the sole purpose of finding the dols and orcs and bringing them home to Mediria.

Now generations later, Lillalistross don al' Ademis from Drakan, the planet the orbiting the Merdirian sun exactly opposite it, has returned a kidnapped child to the Aradab. On his chest and shoulder rides a tattoo of his clan totem - a dol leaping from the waves of a rolling blue sea. The dols and orcs do not live in the seas of Drakan, but can this man lead the Medirians to them?

Princess Merilinlalissa has no doubts. This Drakian, somehow, someway, is connected with finding the dols and the orcs, and she's going to find out how. The fact that he's very tall, very handsome, and very sexy only makes her determination to discover all she can about him that much more interesting.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Last To Know—Again.

Between working full-time and trying to write (in between living), I frequently feel I’m the last to know so many things.

While listening to the radio recently, I learned that chivalry is definitely dead and that modern women are fine with that. They--we are? The program even hinted that some women (at least in the twenty-some and below age range) don't mind having their lover’s call them bitch. Ouch.

Even though I don't necessarily expect it, I'm not adverse to men showing a certain amount of deference and consideration to women in general and to me in particular. And I certainly don't expect any man with romance on his mind to even think about calling me a bitch. I’m not sure how I feel about it in romances. I think in fiction, context is everything.

Generally, in my books the heroes still open doors for heroines while recognizing that they are falling for women just as capable of professional achievements as they are.

The hero from my latest release, The Dare (published by Loose-id), treats the heroine like a very modern woman. He fully expects her to be just as sexually active as he is. On the other hand, the heroine in my upcoming Ellora's Cave release, Night of Sin, while excelling in an occupation still denominated by men, takes exception to a lover using the b word—most of the time. There’s one male from whom she happily tolerates it.

I’m not so sure I agree with her, but then I readily admit I'm old-fashioned and often find myself playing catch up. Why? Because, I’m the last to know.

The discussion of the death of chivalry left me wondering how other women feel. What do modern women want or expect in their personal relationships? What do they want when they read a romance? Is the hero still expected to treat the heroine in a chivalrous manner?

Help me out and tell me your take. What type of hero do you enjoy reading about most? What do you want or expect from a man in a relationship? Do you want your significant other to be chivalrous? Do you want him holding or opening doors for you? Do you expect him to pull out your chair? Do you want him to stand when you walk into a room? When dating, do you expect him to pay or do you want to go Dutch? Do you sometimes pay?

Do you feel comfortable calling him or making the first move in a relationship? Or do you wait for him to call you? Do you expect or want him to pick you up for a date and drive you/walk you home? Or do you drive yourself and meet him there?

Is chivalry dead? If it is, do you miss it and long to revive it? Is bitch the new honey or baby?

Marilyn Lee