How to create and develop a character

How to create and develop a character
Lupe Gonzalez
your comfort zone
by Patricia Walters-Fischer
stories are
moving on it. Ms. Campbell said,
eveninga writer’s
with Pamela
character-driven or plot-driven,
“Maybe your characters are not
what makes a story readable and developed enough.”
likeable are the characters. These
characters should be intriguing,
Three F’s for Creating Likeable
seeking something of value and Characters
facing overwhelming odds. “This Familiar
is what makes a good story,”
Design characters in an average
stated Marilyn Campbell, multi- way, put them in a pleasant atmopublished writer and editor at sphere and give them everyday
The Lotus Circle who spoke on problems, fears and insecurities.
creating and developing characters at the SARA October meet- Frightening
Make everyday ordinary things
evil, as Stephen King does.
Writers sometimes get a good
Give them physical characterisidea for a story, but can’t get tics that are usually considered
Killing your Characters 101
(and other medical mysteries explained)
Candy Calvert, ER nurse for
32 years and multi-published
author of romantic murder mysteries, remembers twelve-hour
shifts and just trying to control
the chaos. When she retired
from nursing and started writing, her medical background
came to the forefront and she
wrote it in to her novels.
The heroine of her first book,
Darcy Cavanaugh, emergency
room nurse. Laughing, Ms.
Calvert stated that in her writing she became a “hit man of
sorts” and devised funny and
devious ways of killing people.
In her latest book, MAI TAI TO
scary, e.g., albino, jagged face scar
To throw the reader off, writers
can give a jagged scar to the hero.
Behaviors – staring, glaring,
stroking sensually without invitation, licking of lips
Add a touch of humor – even in
stories which contain deadly suspense
Some authors say, “My characters talk to me.” Some use character development worksheets to develop personality. Use whatever
works for you.
by Lupe Gonzalez
MURDER, her heroine actually
goes on a cruise for mystery and
romance writers and teaches a
workshop titled “Nurses Guide to
Murder”. Ms. Calvert stated that
because of shows like “ER”,
“House”, CSI” and “Gray’s
Anatomy”, readers expect accurate detail when they read books,
which contain medical terminology.
Because of both personal and
professional reasons, Ms. Calvert
has plenty to draw from. She was
a mobile ICU nurse and trained
paramedics and police officers. In
1999, she was thrown from a horse
and suffered several injuries and
saw the medical aspect from a
patient’s point of view. At the November SARA meeting, she discussed some common medical mistakes she finds in books.
Continued on page four...
Good News...3
Book Reviews...5~7
Query Letters...10
Small EPress...11
A letter from the Sydney Alfrido
This is my favorite time of
year. I enjoy the colder
weather, the hustle and
bustle of the season, the
baking, shopping, decorating and family get gatherings. I wait all year for December and when it comes,
it seems to go faster than I
can blink an eye. Perhaps
because I’m too busy trying
to do to many things at one
time. Perhaps because
NaNoWriMo just wrapped up
and though I participated, I
didn’t make my goal. Or it
could be the work related
stuff that seems to drag the
fun right out of the season.
Whatever the case, I’m
frazzled, dazzled and ready
to have some much needed
time off to do the many
things on my to do list, top
of which is write.
can’t all be Judith or Kimberly, with publishing
houses beating a trail to our
door, but most of us set out
this year to write the story
inside of us that was just
dying to come out. We were
going to bring our characters
to life, create environments
that were so realistic you
could taste the water in the
air and feel the cool breeze
against your skin. We were
going to send off those stories and take courage in our
critique partners and our
own abilities, believing that
this time, if not the next,
someone would see how
wonderful our story was and
publish it. While several of
us did just that (Patricia,
Lupe, Beckie, Linda, Tamra,
Marjorie, and several others), a lot of us didn’t see it
Last year at the Holiday
Party we set our goals. My
goal was to enter more contests, put out my manuscripts and write, write,
write. I know many of you
had similar goals. Now, we
Here’s your second
chance! By the way, there
are always second chances
– not third chances, those
are just second chances
done over. At the Holiday
Party on the December 15th,
The Love Letter is the
monthly publication of the
San Antonio Romance Authors and welcomes comments and submissions.
Please submit articles to
The Love Letter as an email
to [email protected]
Submissions will be used at
the discretion of the editor
and may be edited for length
or suitability.
For signings, book features
and general news or notices,
the deadline is the first of each
The accuracy of the articles
and announcements contained in this newsletter is the
sole responsibility of the submitting author and not this publication nor its supporting Executive Board.
The Love Letter and the San
those of
set goals
will read
them out
loud and
we’ll all
see how
close we came to making
them. Then we’ll all have a
chance to set new goals,
goals we will spend 2008
working diligently to achieving regardless of the kids,
the job, the television, the
housework, and the million
other things that get in the
way of our stories.
So forget the goals you
didn’t make. Enjoy the rush
of the season, take a moment to breathe, to look
back on 2007 on the joys
and sorrows, see how much
you and your writing have
changed, then refuel those
batteries and have a wonderful holiday and a successful
new year.
Antonio Romance Authors
assume no responsibility for
the accuracy of market,
contest or conference news;
all information is presented in
good faith. Mention in this
newsletter should not be
construed as an endorsement by SARA. Our sister RWA
® contained in this issue, provided they credit the author,
The Love Letter and SARA.
by Megan
NAUGHT IN NORWAY releases December 19th as
part of the Destination Pleasure series fromThe Wild
Rose Press.
Sally Driscoll's THE PERFECT MATCH won an overall Honorable Mention in
Coeur de Louisiane's Romancing the Tome Contest.
Cindy Breeding has
signed with New Concepts
Publishing for her novella
NIGHT PREY. She also has
another novella CAPTURE
HER HEART releasing with
Samhain in January 2008.
Marjorie Brody's short
received an Honorable Mention in the 2007 Lorian
Hemingway Short Story
Competition finishing 6th
out of 905 entries. The story
has also been adapted into
a one-act play premiering
December 20th at the
Steven Stoli Playhouse.
Mary Fechter w/a MJ
Fredrick announces the sale
of her contemporary romance WHERE THERE'S
SMOKE to The Wild Rose
Press. Her two-time Golden
Heart Finalist HOT SHOT
also recently sold to
Lupe Gonzalez' TOO LATE
FOR ROMANCE releases on
Dec. 28th from The Wild
Rose Press. She also received a request from The
Wild Rose Press' Vintage
Line for her historical time
Masha Holl's short sci-fiction story THE JOINING was
Marilyn Campbell’s 1996 accepted by The Wild Rose
release "Just in Time" made Press for their Faerie Line.
#4 on RT Reader's all-time
Ann Major's SOLD INTO
favorite book (out of 30,000
books the magazine has re- MARRIAGE was released by
Silhouette Desire in Novemviewed).
Linda Carroll-Bradd's historical novella LONE STAR
ANGEL is available in paperback from The Wild Rose
Press. Writing as Layla
Chase, her short story
Judith Rochelle's novella
sold to The Wild Rose Press
as part of their new
Wayback, Texas series. Writ-
ing as Desiree Holt, her
shapeshifter story LINE OF
SIGHT was bought by Ellora’s
Tamra Westberry’s (w/a
Tessa Rae) first erotic romance, SANTA KNOWS I'M
NAUGHTY was released by
The Wilder Rose Press on
November 14th. Also, her
manuscripts ORAL EXAM
advanced in the Hot Prospects contest erotic category. Writing as Tara West,
the first book in her young
adult paranormal WHISPERS
debuts in December from
The Wild Rose Press.
Ellen Wulf w/a Crystal
Seinz "I Ching To Go", a nonfiction forecasting book & kit
releases as part of The Lotus
Circle's "Metaphysics To Go"
Happy Birthday!
Cynthia Breeding .............. 11-3
Diane LaCombe .............. 11-23
Tiffany Green .................. 11-21
Judy Curtis ....................... 12-8
Megan Galloway-Winkler.12-11
Margaret Batschelet ........ 12-12
Ellen Wulf ........................ 12-30
Continued from
first page...
“A vein in forehead pulses”
Veins can’t pulse, only arteries can.
“Internal injuries”
This is a BIG medical emergency.
It means blood trauma to the abdomen, to vital organs, requires immediate surgery and can be fatal.
“She’d only suffered a fracture, not
a break.”
This is the same thing and requires
about six months to heal. Non-displaced fractures require a cast. Displaced fractures require setting,
then a cast. A compound fracture,
or open fracture, is when the bone
comes through the skin.
“lapse of consciousness” or a “loss
of consciousness”
This may be due to a serious problem, maybe a brain injury. An emotional faint means a slowing of
pulse and is not prolonged. Fainting from blood loss may not be prolonged either and the person might
need fluids. A blow to the head results in concussion, loss of consciousness is minutes long. The individual may be disoriented up to
one week and experience headache.
A coma is extremely serious. The
person is unresponsive to stimuli
and may be due to brain injury or
“pronouncement of death at the
This happens frequently in TV
shows and no one tries to resuscitate. If the person is young and viable, he/ she may be taken to the
ER and there’s a good chance he/
she may survive.
“liver mortis”
The body is not stiff yet.
“rigor mortis”
Stiff, happens in eight to thirty-six
Ms. Calvert finished by advising
the writers to always have characters call for help as Darcy did in
AYE DO OR DIE when she discovered a strangled body. “Don’t let
your characters play God,” Ms.
Calvert stated.
Patricia Walters-Fischer, ER
trauma nurse who recently sold a
story to The Wild Rose Press, began by saying, “As a nurse, you either become very spiritual or very
jaded.” She further stated that a
shift in the ER is the same in some
aspects, but also always different
and unpredictable. For example, a
parent may bring a child in with
elbow pain and is diagnosed with
Family dynamics always come
into play as well. The hardest thing
is convincing a family to allow their
loved one to die. Then, some people
go in and say they don’t have a
medical problem, they’re just on
insulin. Diabetes is a medical problem. Others dump elderly relatives
in the hospital especially if they
have no one to take care of them.
Ms. Walters-Fischer remembered a
time when a guy who had been
beaten up was driven to the ER and
thrown out of the car.
Fischer said, and added, “You wait
a lot in the ER.” Next, the person is
sent to registration, then for different tests, e.g., labs, x-rays, urine
analysis. I.V’s (intravenous) may
also be started, i.e., fluids.
A positive pregnancy test three days
after sex – has to be at least two
weeks, serum may show up in ten
Awaken from a coma fit as a fiddle
– During a coma, muscles atrophy,
lose tone and flexibility, will require
massive rehabilitation and may
have bedsores. To prevent this, patients are turned frequently, every
two hours, twenty-four hours per
Electrodes on head is wrong – go
on chest.
Unconscious and on feeding tube,
can’t eat right away afterwards.
Doctor in hospital is not involved
in organ donation or harvesting
Hospital Codes
Code Blue – Cardiac Arrest
Code Red – Fire
Code Pink – child abduction in a
hospital, doors shut, elevators don’t
Code Black – bomb threat
Code Brown – someone smells bad
GOMER – get out of my ER
These nurses turned writers,
Candy Calvert and Patricia
The first step in the ER room is Walters-Fischer, left the SARA
triage, which is the first assessment members more knowledgeable
– vitals are taken such as heart rate, about medical terminology and the
respirations, blood pressure, O2 realities of sick patients in the emersaturation, level of consciousness gency room.
and allergies, to name a few. “Just
Lupe Gonzalez’ first book, Too
because a person goes to ER by Late for Romance?, releases Deambulance doesn’t mean he/ she cember 28 at The Wild Rose Press.
gets seen right away,” Walters-
SARA Book Reviews...
Uniform Desire ~ Layla Chase~ Amber Quill Press, 2007
review by Gimoy Louie
Not many women can resist a
good-looking man in a uniform,
and that love of the uniform feeds
the desires of Rikka Brendon. A
small town grade-school teacher
in Arroyo TX, Rikka can’t resist
a hottie in uniform. Once she sets
her eyes on fire captain, Conor
Mallory, he sets her body tingling
like never before. Her clumsiness
and little mishaps increase the opportunities she has to catch a
glimpse of this well-toned body in
official firemen’s garb. A good girl
with a slightly mischievous side,
Rikka finds Conor to be a body
worth watching. His intellect, calm
demeanor and obvious physical
attributes have her body humming
24/7 for some on-hands, “official
ond-story windows spice up the
interplay between these two, and
Rikka can’t wait for the next time
she can play with her, hunk of a
Trouble is, Conor doesn’t want
to be just another uniform in
Rikka’s life. Are his starched and
pressed fireman’s blues the only
thing that makes Rikka burn for
him, or is there more to what she
feels for him? Maybe some jeans
well-worn in the right places and
a pair of cowboy boots are just
Conor finds Rikka equally inter- what he needs to find out. Fan
esting and flames burn hot be- your internal flames of desire and
tween the two of them no matter burn your fingertips with a copy
where they find themselves. of Layla Chase’s, Uniform Desire.
Burned chips, and jumps from sec- Playing with fire never felt so good.
Sophie’s Secret ~ Tara West ~ The Wild Rose Press, Dec. ‘07
review by Lupe Gonzalez
one of the Whispers series
and also the debut young
adult novel by Tara West
about three friends who discovered they had “special”
gifts at a young age and
promised to keep this a secret – FOREVER.
Keeping the gifts a secret
was not only practical, but an
act of self-preservation. Who
wants to be known as freaks
especially when being a teenager is bad enough?
Sophie Sinora. Her friends,
Krysta Richards and AJ, help
her to cope with her “special” gift as well as give her
advice, at times unwanted,
on which boy she should like.
Sophie goes through a few
pitfalls and pratfalls before
she finds out who her true
love could be.
Three friends. Three special gifts. Three secrets. One
great book. Sophie Sinora is
a mind reader who is in love,
but she can’t forget she was
once a “fat dork”. Then, another guy enters her life. She
discovers new friendships
and a new talent. And also
finds, as all teenagers do,
that life isn’t as easy as they
ers and bad cafeteria food.
Tara West’s debut young
SOPHIE’S SECRET took adult novel is a good story,
this reader back to high has humor and is an enjoyschool – the insecurities, the able read. I’m looking forsecret crushes on boys and ward to the next book in the
the idiosyncrasies of teach- series.
SARA Book Reviews...
Cutter’s Law ~ Judith Rochelle ~ The Wild Rose Press ‘07
review by Gimoy Louie and so is the quiet life Morgan has Small town charm and suspense
Everyday life for Allison Moore,
community relations coordinator
for Alamo Bank in San Antonio,
involves city-fied people, and
fancy parties and restaurants.
For Morgan Cutter, Chief of Police in White Tail, small-town laidback life is just perfect for him.
When Allison’s best friend Paige
and Ryan, Morgan’s brother, experience trouble in relationship
paradise Allison heads out to
White Tail to help save their relationship, and ends up butting
heads with Morgan.
been living. Preferring to shun
anything having to do with big-city
living due to past experiences,
Morgan is surprised by the abandoned body thrown in his lap and
the pull of desire he feels towards
meets big-city lights and fast-living in, Cutter’s Law, the recent
work by Judith Rochelle. Read it
and enjoy!
Allison’s way of life and
Morgan’s, cause lots of obstacles
along the way to love, but a run-in
with Morgan’s ex-wife and henchmen of a feared drug lord show
them how deep and important
their feelings are for each other.
The question is can Morgan save
Allison and keep her by his side,
or will his past catch up with him
and ruin a future with her?
In White Tail, everybody knows
everybody and what they are doing everyday of the week. When
the body of a man is found on a
ranch in the town with no id and
Glitz and glamour, or jeans and
no hands, the quiet solitude of a Stetson; which would you choose
White Tail is thrown off balance, if given a choice?
Too Late for Romance? ~
L.M. Gonzalez ~
review by Ellen Wulf
Lupe Gonzalez’ first published work is a wonderful
sample of what love can be
like the second time around
and she’s done it with
a middle-aged Hispanic
couple, Matt and Gloria!
Gonzalez’ crisp writing
style really sparkles. Set in
San Antonio, Texas, Ms.
Gonzalez’ story reads like a
show with class, in that her
heroine suffers from all of
the insecurities and difficulties that most women
have late in life including
dealing with teen-aged chil-
The Wild Rose Press
December 28, ‘07
dren, both hers and Matt’s.
Neither set of children are
particularly happy that
their parents are seeing
each other.
Throw in the usual baggage from two divorced
people and you have a realistic and enticing storyline.
Ms. Gonzalez has aptly
shown that just because
there may be a little snow
on the roof doesn’t mean
there is no fire in the cellar! Welcome a stunning
new voice to the romance
SARA Book Reviews...
Santa Knows I’m Naughty ~ Tessa Rae ~ The Wilder Rose Press ‘07
to Aimee and she has to try
it. Fitting like it was made
just for her, The Black
Dragon rocks Aimee's body
and makes her crave her
husband's touch even more.
"How does it know me?"
Gifts in bed, especially
hot, naughty ones can be
fun. The gift Aimee's husband, Nathan, leaves for her
while he's away on business
is definitely hot. The Black
Dragon looks like a menacing toy, but it's attractive
The Black Dragon finds all
the right buttons to push on
Aimee's body, and so has her
husband. What better way
for a husband to celebrate
his wife and her body, than
creating something inspired
by her? But how to test it?
As Nathan talks to his wife
during his trip he realizes
his invention is doing just
what he wanted. Satisfyng
her hot and bothered libido,
and leaving her wanting
more. Now all he has to do
is tell her about his invention and how he has been
testing it on her remotely
during his trip. Too bad his
sister-in-law finds him in a
hotel across town, and tells
Aimee about it before he can
tell her everything.
The hot and happy marriage might be over before
the night is done but that
won't happen if Nathan can
get a word in, and punch
some controls on that remote. Aimee realizes The
Black Dragon is the best
present Nathan has ever
given her. And sharing toys
can be lots of fun, even if
you have to endure it in the
name of research.
Naughty in Norway ~ Layla Chase ~ The Wild Rose Press ‘07
review by Masha Holl
Cool snow and hot desires
– what else would you want
in a spicy short story full of
innuendo and doubleentendres? From The Wild
Rose Press comes a delightful interlude between a ski
instructor and a high-powered socialite. A one-nightstand, no strings attached.
Or so they think. Because
this is Layla Chase writing,
and the reader should ex-
pect more than a hot roll
between the sheets. Layla’s
writing style and her language alone are enough to
entertain, and the interplay
between the hero and heroine will scorch the pages.
But Layla also keeps a
writer’s promise to the end,
and the finale makes you
want to pick up another of
her works.
Words of Wisdom...
by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Separation—The Story of the Hyphen
A handy punctuation mark that when the words it connects
are used often enough puts itself right out of a job.
Connects part of compound words, like nouns and adjectives
devil-may-care attitude
But not when the compound begins with an adverb ending in –ly
Insanely rich uncle
freakishly strong winds
When creating your own compound descriptors
When connecting two names, either first or last
When dividing words into syllables for easier pronunciation
When locating places
When joining compound numbers from 21 to 99 and with fractions
When using numerals with units of measurement
64-acre parcel
3,000-year-old fossil
When joining numbers with other words
Seven-year itch
three-room apartment
Linda is plotting her next contemporary cowboy story.
From the Collection
by Beckie Ugolini
“ His Brain, Her Brain,” by
Eileen Dreyer, (RWA 2007
12-21) is packed with information on how the male and
female brain differs. Some of
the examples are broad generalizations that may or may
not be a bunch of hooey, but
others are interesting insights into the genders.
Dreyer begins by focusing
on the biological basis for
her conclusions, emphasizing that male and female
brains are equal…but different. She sections the brain
into three primary centers—
the “reptilian” brain, the
“mammalian” brain, and the
“gray matter.”
The “reptilian” brain is in
charge of basic bodily functions. The thalamus is located here and is vitally important in sex and the sex
drive. A thalamus in a man’s
brain is typically larger than
one in a woman’s brain.
childhood memories,” and people-oriented, communal
may be “why they suffer beings. They can talk and
more depression than men.” listen at the same time.
Their sensory skills are
In the “gray matter,” or more finely tuned to detect
“conscious brain,” decisions body language, tones of
are made and control is voice, and changes of smell.
maintained. Function here They are multi-taskers and
is governed by the same evo- have far better peripheral
lutionary directives that vision than men than men.
have guided humans for the They are problem-sharers.
past 50,000 years.
Women communicate by
negotiation and emotion—
For example, Dreyer they use language as a restates that because men are ward or as a bond. They lie
programmed to be “hunt- to make someone feel beters,” they have better long ter.
range directional skills and
a far better spatial sense
Some interesting things to
than women do. They are think about, even with all
better at seeing three di- the gender stereotypes.
mensions from a two dimen- Dreyer mentioned that the
sional outline. They are PowerPoint slides for her
single-task and “goal” ori- talk would be posted on her
ented—they are problem- internet site. I couldn’t find
solvers. They can’t listen them there, but she has a
and talk at the same time. ton of useful craft links for
They’re hardwired to procre- writers. Check it out at
ate and are not concerned
with monogamy. A man who
is focused on a task doesn’t -Beckie Ugolini, writing as
feel pain if he injures him- Wilhelmina Rush
self. But if his attention isn’t
directed toward a goal, his
pain threshold is lower than
a woman’s. They are direct
and literal—they use language to compete. Men lie
to make themselves look
The “mammalian” brain,
or “midbrain,” controls unconscious behavior and
memory. A woman’s midbrain is generally larger than
a man’s. Dreyer states that
“women remember everything; men don’t have development in that area.” Because this part of the brain
is more developed in feConversely, women are
males, women “have more programmed to be the “nest
trouble getting rid of bad protectors.” They are
Query Letters
by Tricia Adams (a.k.a. Patricia Camden)
The following article first appeared in the December 2007 issue of The Monarch, e-News of the Monterey Bay Fiction Writers, Christie Maurer, Editor.
At the November Monterey
Bay Fiction Writers meeting,
UCSC Extension writing instructor Tricia Adams elaborated on these points:
A query letter is a written
pitch. It is used to entice an
agent or editor into requesting to see either a partial or
a full manuscript of your
book. It is a marketing tool,
first and foremost, but it is
also the first example of your
writing the agent or editor
will see. As such, it needs to
be polished and professional.
Keep in mind that agents
sell books. You should have
a completed manuscript before contacting an agent or
editor. If you don’t, you’re
wasting everyone’s time – including yours.
Protocol and standard form:
* One page only, on professional letterhead if by snail
mail, in the format requested (if available) if by
* Grammar should be spot on
– if you have doubts, ask
someone who knows for help
(though you really ought to
be familiar with your tool of
choice – the language).
* Proofread, don’t just rely on
your spellchecker — and be
consistent with your spelling.
* Don’t send out queries unless your manuscript is near
* Be simple and straightforward; don’t indulge in ‘cute’
or any other approach. Be
yourself, your professional
self. (Yes, people do write
wacky letters to agents. I’ve
heard an agent read some of
the outrageous letters she
actually was sent.)
* Multiple query letters are
ok; check to make sure the
agent or editor accepts electronic submissions before
popping off an email.
* Follow their instructions if
you have any (e.g., send only
plain text or .rtf or .doc,
A query for a novel includes:
* A short summary of the
plot, along with a brief mention of its positioning (this
would be what kind of book
it is, romantic suspense, for
instance, with perhaps a
mention of an author or two
who you feel your book is
closest to). Use of “high concept” or “log-line” approach
can help you here, if you feel
it’s appropriate.
* Mention major characters
and themes and background.
* Length of the manuscript.
* Biographical information
about yourself only if relevant to your story -- (e.g.,
you’re a nurse and you’re
writing a medical thriller).
* Previous writing credits, if
* Include SASE if you are
sending the letter by snail
What happens:
* You may receive a form request with specific instructions for submitting – follow
those instructions carefully.
* If a partial or full manuscript is requested, you may
be asked for an exclusive
look for a specified period of
time. Note that if the agent
does not state a specific
time, you should. Otherwise
your submission could end
up in limbo.
* The usual practice is to
send out multiple query letters and wait a week or two
(at least) for answers to come
back. That way, if you have
agents you really want to
work with, you can wait and
see if they are interested and
give them the first look.
Some tips on writing the
short synopsis of your book:
* Use active verbs
* Use evocative words, words
with connotations that resonate, that imply much more
than just a simple act
* Focus on the emotions and
emotional changes of your
characters, if applicable, remember that a string of
events only matters because
of the impact on your characters.
Tricia Adams is the author
of six published novels, including the recently re-released Promise Me Magic,
written under the pen name
Patricia Camden.
Dos and Don'ts of Small and E-Press
by Alice Brilmayer
The following article first appeared in the October, 2007, Monterey
Bay Fiction Writers' newsletter, The Monarch.
Alice Brilmayer (a.k.a.
Alice Gaines) has been published with large, small, and
e-publishers. Contrary to
common wisdom, she made
more per thousand words
from small and e-presses.
Here are some of her tips:
Big Publisher vs. Small Publisher
Benefits of publishing with
a big house
~Having a book to hold in
your hand
Benefits of publishing with
a small house/e-press
~Fast consideration
~Fast publication
~Quarterly or monthly
checks (e-pubs)
~Higher royalty rates (e-pub)
~Author friendly contracts
~Creative freedom
~Control over covers/back
cover copy
~Exposure to big houses
~Bear in mind that most epublishers also do print
(book in hand)
* Do read the contract carefully.
* Do make sure the contract
includes a bankruptcy
* Do try to avoid or limit
options clauses.
* Do expect (reasonable) delays with a brand new publisher.
* Do expect a higher royalty
rate from an e-publisher.
* Do as much free promotion as you can.
* Do expect to be paid on
* Do expect your publisher
and editor to behave as professionally as the staff of a
big house.
* Do behave professionally
at all times.
* Do join EPIC if you’re epublishing. (Electronically
Internet Connection
(According to their
website, EPIC helps professional writers learn more
about the best publishing
opportunities on the
Internet and provides networking opportunities for
exchange of information
about promotion and marDos and Don’ts of Working ket growth. Members inwith a Small and E-presses clude writers of action/ adventure, fantasy, historical,
* Do ask other authors about horror, inspirational, mysthe publisher (especially tery, romance, science ficpeople who’ve published tion, suspense, time travel,
with the house before).
war, westerns, stories for
children and young adults—
in short, all the most popular fiction genres, as well as
non-fiction self-help and
* Don’t pay a publisher
money! Ever!
* Don’t believe stories that
are too good to be true.
* Don’t spend money on promotion until you know how
things are going to work out.
* Don’t feel obliged to include a marketing plan when
you submit.
* Don’t stick around if things
start to go bad.
* Don’t trash your publisher
publicly, but do warn authors
privately about bad publishers.
* Don’t give your work away
for free.
* Don’t do important business on a handshake. Do get
contract changes in writing.
Alice Brilmayer (a.k.a.
Alice Gaines and Alice
Chambers) specializes in
erotic romance. Her latest
releases include Child of
Balance (Cerridwen), Wedding Night Surprise (Ellora's
Cave), and the Mannhof series (Changeling Press).
Look for Master of the Elements (Red Sage, November
2007) and Can't Hide Love
(Cerridwen, February 2008).
Confessions of a cover artist
How to make your book beautiful and maximize your selling potential
by Tamra Westberry, EIC
You’ve sold your first book, or
maybe your tenth book – Congratulations! You’ve spent weeks,
months, years crafting your baby
and now a publisher is going to
breathe life into it by putting it on
the market for readers to enjoy.
writer who bogs down the cover
artist with three pages of description and important details can easily be overlooked as we’re shifting
through the information. Keep it
simple, but don’t leave out important details.
Example: My heroine has long,
wavy blonde hair and my hero’s
dark brown hair is in a crew-cut.
It is summer, so they are wearing
hiking shorts and t-shirts. I envision them in a tender embrace
along a hiking trail in evergreen
Third option is usually your best
bet. Some publishers won’t let you
contact the cover artist. That’s understandable. If you can’t get a
message directly to the cover artist, ask your editor to forward your
concerns to your artist. Just follow
these three guidelines when composing your message: don’t panic,
be polite, and point out the positive.
That is, as long as you have a
marketable cover. Because yes, it’s
true, we writers know that some‘Is this some kind of joke? This
times bad covers happen to good
is the ugliest cover I’ve ever
books. If this happens to you,
seen!!!’ probably won’t get you
don’t panic. There are some steps
your desired results.
you can take to hopefully fix it
Keep in mind though, that many
before it hits the shelves. But first,
Here’s another approach: First
let’s look at a few things you can epublishers and now even some NY of all, I think the font on the book
do to prevent disaster before your publishers are using stock photog- is just beautiful. Even though I
raphy for their covers. Sometimes, thought the snow capped trees
cover is even made.
these stock photos don’t have the were lovely, my story takes place
As a cover artist and a writer, I exact models you want. I work for in the summer, and that setting
am in the unique position of view- an epub and although we have a doesn’t fit the book. Because it is
ing the production process from large supply of stock photography, so warm outside, my heroine and
two angles. I realize that each time I might find a similar couple in hero only wear shorts and t-shirts.
I make a cover, it costs me time, jeans, but not in shorts. That’s why Also, although the hair length for
and my publisher money, which is you should list three cover options the hero and heroine is correct, my
why I strive to get the cover right on your manuscript information heroine has blonde hair and my
the first time. Sometimes, it’s not sheet. Just remember to keep all hero has brown hair. I would apalways easy when the writer gives the pertinent information, without preciate if you could make those
me limited information on the making the request too lengthy.
changes to my cover, as I want my
manuscript information sheet.
cover to reflect the story inside.
So what if you get your cover, and Thank you,
Example: My heroine has blonde it’s still not what you expected? _________ Author
hair, my hero has brown hair, and What if you gave your cover artist
three options, and she’s got a
I want them kissing in the trees.
As a graphic artist, I’m always
woman with brown hair in a parka the critic, and I’ve seen some
I can easily envision ten scenes kissing a guy with blond hair be- pretty bad covers out there. I’ve
from this. What length is the hair? neath snowy pines?
also made some bad covers. We
Is it wavy or straight? What are
writers have written bad chapters
First option – Panic. Second op- that we’ve had to toss. Maybe we
they wearing? What kind of trees?
Is there snow? Are they sitting in tion – Bury your head in a hole. didn’t realize it until our critique
Third option – Try reasoning with groups pointed it out. Hopefully,
the trees or near them?
your editor and the graphics deContinued next page...
Then, of course, there’s the partment.
Writing Announcements
2008 Harlequin Presents Instant
Seduction Contest
Goal: To help them find new authors
On-line submissions accepted only
from January 1 through February
14, 2008.
Email address for entries:
[email protected]
Include the first chapter and a synopsis of a previously unpublished/
unsubmitted novel
Midnight Showcase
An e-book publisher of westerns,
mysteries, paranormal, historical,
contemporary and erotic romance,
also publish short stories
However, not all cover artists will
be accommodating. Sometimes, the
publisher is on a deadline or maybe
your critique group let you down can’t spend the extra money to buy
easy, pointed out the good as well the art or pay the models.Or maybe
as the bad. Cover artists should be
the artist/ publisher doesn’t see a
treated the same way. I’ve had
need to change your cover.
writers ask me to make changes
and I made those changes, realizAccording to a recent poll at
ing that the original cover didn’t Poll
reflect the book.
1007999, book promotion 101,
sixty-three percent of readers have
Later, if you are happy with your
bought a book based on a cover.
cover, send a thank you note to the
Ironically, Teresa Reasor was the
artist. You never know if that perauthor who posted this informason will design the cover for your
tion on my readers’ loop. The originext book. You can also request
nal cover I made for her historical
her as your artist on your next conromance, Highland Moonlight,
didn’t reflect her story at all. I was
glad she asked me to change it, because her new cover is one of my
personal favorites.
by Lupe Gonzalez
Amber Quill Press 5th Annual
Amber Heat Wave™ Contest
Win a Publishing Contract From
Amber Quill Press!
Erotic Romance Writers
Word Count: between 11,000
and 18,000 words
Dates of Entry: January 1st
through January 15th 2008
Entry Fee: None
Fore more info: http://
Continued from previous
Workshop: Storyboarding for the
Story Challenged
Date: January 6-12, 2008
Presented by: Shelley Bradley,
author of contemporary, paranorWRITING OPPOR- mal and erotic romances
Cost: $15 (RWA members); $20
(Non members)
Deadline to sign up: January 3,
Bead and Button
A bimonthly magazine devoted to 2008
techniques, projects, and designs of For more info and to register for
workshop: www.easttexas
beaded jewelry and accessories. workshops.html or
Pay: up to $400 for features
http:// contact [email protected] for more
Tamra Westberry is a cover artist
for The Wild Rose Press. You may
check out some of her covers and
her new YA release, Sophie’s Secret
by visiting . Or
check out this issue. Sophie’s Secret, Cutter’s Law, Too late for Romance? and Santa Knows I’m
Naughty are all her covers. She also
writes erotic romance under the
name of Tessa Rae .
by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Please note the latest roster on the forum contains
Teri Wilson is a fulltime the latest contact informawriter who has experience tion for all individuals.
working as a design assistant in a publishing com- Kharities dates for on-lines:
pany. She writes young 12/13 and 12/27 (if interadult, single title, inspira- est exists).
tion and fiction for pet-lovers. Published in non-fiction, W.I.T.C.H.E.S. (writers in
she has recently contracted training can handle encourBonbons & Truffles and had aging suggestions meets on
a young adult inspirational line-and Fridays when
partial approved by The Wild interes is generated. Please
Rose Press. She loves dogs contact Sydney Alfrido at
and competing in dog shows. [email protected] .
Don’t miss the holiday party...
Saturday Dec. 15th, seven p.m.
Please bring a side dish, main dish or dessert.
Directions to Marilyn Campbell’s house:
2006 - 2007
SARA Officers
Sydney Alfrido
1st Vice President
2nd Vice President
Ellen Wulf
Gimoy Louie
Recording Secretary
Linda Carroll-Bradd
Corresponding Secretary
Patricia Walters-Fischer
Marjorie Brody
Immediate Past President
Sydney Alfrido
Patricia Walters-Fischer
PAN Liaison/PRO Liaison
Jo-Ann Power/Tamra Westberry
Newsletter Editor
Tamra Westberry
Beckie Ugolini
Merritt Contest coordinators:
Beckie Ugolini &Margaret Batschelet
217 Stampede Ranch
Selma, TX 78154
Ph: 210-310-3246
I-35 exit Selma/Schertz FM 1518.
Go 0.9 miles.
Turn left onto Savannah Drive (into Centex/Kensington
Ranch development).
Turn right on Mesquite Chase & immediate left on Stampede Ranch.
MC’s house is the 4th on left.
This development is under construction, so easiest (& least
intrusive on neighbors) parking would be along Mesquite
Chase just past Stampede intersection or right on Stampede.
If you wish to participate in the gift exchange,
please bring one wrapped gift valued at $15 or less.
Assistant Coordinator:
Patricia Walters-Fischer
Kharities Coordinator
Linda Carroll-Bradd
W.I.T.C.H.E.S. Coordinator
Sydney Alfrido
Patricia Walters-Fischer
Linda Carroll-Bradd
Special Events Coordinators
Judith Rochelle & Mary Fechter
Ways & Means/Web Liaison
RubyChristine/Sydney Alfrido &
Judith Rochelle
Love Letter Reporters
Sydney Alfrido, Linda Carroll-Bradd,
Megan Galloway-Winkler, Lupe
M.Gonzalez,, Masha Holl, Gimoy Louie
and Beckie Ugolini