Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog Hop!

So it takes a blog hop for me to write a post, apparently. Regency Romance author Anna Elliott tagged me with three questions. I "met" Anna over email. I've read a couple of her books and thought they were great, so we invited her to contribute a novella to our All Regency Timeless Romance Anthology coming out January 2015. Here's a sneak peek at the cover:

Anna sent me 3 questions to answer, and you can read her own answers about her own writing on her blog.

1. What are you working on?
I'm writing a Biblical novel on Miriam and Moses, which is due to the publisher in October, so it's my top priority right now. It's the first in the series of 3 (or 4) books. I'm also working on the next contemporary romance novel in the Tangerine Street Romance series that we're calling Boardwalk Antiques Shop. The first was The Fortune Cafe. It's a ton of fun to co-write with Julie Wright and Melanie Jacobson. And, I've outlined the regency romance novella for the anthology mentioned above that I'm doing with Anna Elliott, et al. And just yesterday, I finished going through the final copyedits for the re-release of Finding Sheba, which is being republished February 2015.

2. How does your work differ from others in the same genre?
Since I've written mostly historical novels and thrillers, I'd say that the way my work differs from others in the same genre is that I have a very strong religious base in those books. I also bring out strong female characters and make them a main part of the storyline. Ironically, I'm a discovery writer, which means that although I have a very vague outline due to historical events, I don't know from one day to the next what I'll be writing. Many times not even from one paragraph to the next.

3. Why do you write what you do?
I love to learn about the past and to learn why people do what they do. What were their motivations and how does their upbringing affect their actions? Writing historical is very fascinating, and not only am I creating characters, but I'm world-building as well, which deepens the layers of those characters.

4. How does your writing process work?
I look at the calendar and when I determine what my deadline is for the first draft, I divide the days by word count. Currently, I'm writing 2,000/words a day, 5 days/week. I rarely work on weekends. Normally with my historicals, 1,000 words a day is pretty intensive. With contemporary, 2,000 words a day isn't too daunting. But I don't do this year round, just when I have a commitment that I need to fulfill.

Up next on the blog hop is Jennifer Moore. We are not related... I met her a couple of years ago at a writers conference, and so we'd chat here and there at conferences after that. She's been a fun person to get to know. Jenny had her first book come out this summer, a Regency Romance, Becoming Lady Lockwood. By next summer she'll have 4 books out. So you never knew when your writing career will take off. (Just keep writing!) Check out Jennifer's blog here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Birthday for TYING THE KNOT...

 I'm excited to announce the official release of TYING THE KNOT. We're doing a week-long launch with fabulous prizes. Hop over to the Newport Ladies Book Club blog to enter the Rafflecopter.

TYING THE KNOT is the 9th book in the series, and all of the women have voices in it. My co-authors, Josi, Annette, Julie, and I wrote the book in round-robin style, editing each other as we went. It was a really fun process, and the best part was getting the book back, and seeing how much it had grown in size. Sorta felt like cheating. Haha.

Anyway, here are some pictures for nostalgic purposes:

 Restaurant where we met and brainstormed for the first time.

Books selected by the Newport Ladies Book Club

 Book launch for OLIVIA

Book launch for DAISY

 Book launch for PAIGE (featuring Frank Cole)

 Book Signing

 Book launch for ATHENA

 Book launch for ATHENA

  RUBY'S SECRET displayed at LDSBA

Monday, April 28, 2014

Whitney Awards and Cover Reveals!

On Saturday night, Esther the Queen won the 2013 Whitney Award for Best Historical. I was so surprised, and you might find it strange since I actually had 4 books as finalists. But in the historical category I was up against amazing historical fiction writers Carla Kelly, Gale Sears, Phyllis Gunderson, and Jennie Hansen. It was quite a shock.

Here's a pic of me and my hubby:


And also very exciting was that Jeff Savage, a member of my critique group, won the Whitney for Best Speculative (beating out my Heart of the Ocean). His book Dark Memories is extremely creepy. Also, a shout out to two others in my critique group, Sarah M. Eden and Robison Wells, whose books were finalists as well.

And this is just a random picture from the LDS Storymakers conference with me and my former editor, Eliza Nevin.

Now, for the 2 new book covers I got last week. First, it was really fun to see the cover for the 9th and Final book in the Newport Ladies Book Club series. It's four-authored by all of us (Josi S. Kilpack, Annette Lyon, Julie Wright, and me)... and it has all of the characters featured in it. Coming this summer!

And, finally, the cover for our next romance anthology, Summer in New York Collection, is ready. Featuring Janette Rallison, Me, Luisa Perkins, Sarah M. Eden, Annette Lyon, and Lisa Mangum. Coming July 2014:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Don't Take this the Wrong Way

I was thinking about my next writing project this morning. I feel like I'm constantly in several stages at once: drafting, editing, final proofing... of different manuscripts. There are many considerations I take into account when I'm brainstorming a project. #1 is "will anyone read this?" #2 will the time I spend translate into sales? #3 can I do this justice, ie. is this book idea an award-worthy idea?

I've been very blessed, and probably even lucky, that so many of my books have received literary recognition. I've won 2 Whitney Awards, 3 Best of State medals, and 2 Golden Quill Awards, among several other awards. I'm currently a finalist in 4 categories for the 2013 Whitney Awards with 4 different books.

This is a Catch-22, meaning that I'm very grateful for the awards. Yet... I definitely feel the pressure of writing my next book and making sure it's up to par. I know that readers now have certain expectations. I know that they will compare my books. Readers will say "this is better than... this wasn't as good as..." So one of my considerations when writing a book is that I have to look at it as not just "this is a great idea I can be passionate about" but "this is a great idea that I can be passionate about and I have to write it well enough that it's award-worthy."

Of course writers all want their books to be award-worthy, but I have reached a point that I won't write a single-author novel unless I think it will be award-worthy. Don't take that the wrong way. It doesn't mean that I feel like my writing is necessarily award-worthy, no matter what I write about, but it means that I'm going to put a lot of advance planning into it, run it through many advance readers, do the right research, and focus on creating a compelling story... All so that I can continue to raise the bar on my own story-telling. Once a writer thinks she has it made is when things will start to fall apart.

Have I created a set of goals that will dictate what I can and cannot write? I don't think so because there comes a point in any writer's career where it needs to go from a hobby to a livelihood. And this is where I intend to take mine. In February I became a USA Today bestseller. This is purely on the merit of SALES. Not fabulous writing or story telling. There is a darker side of the business out there, and it's necessary to feed both. Some of my writing might be aimed toward garnering those awards, not for the award itself, but because it's a measuring stick that I've achieved my goals... touching the life of another reader (judge) in such a way that it changes them.

This is what reading a good book does to me. It changes me.

What if none of my books ever earned an award? Does that make them worthless? No. The readers who contact me and the reviews that are posted are also measures that I go by. Did my story touch someone's life? Did it give them an understanding? A wider perspective? Did it make them laugh, cry, think?

I may never win an award again, and that's okay. But I will continue to write and work hard at creating novels that are "award-worthy" even if they aren't publicly recognized as such.

Here's an example of where I am at this moment. Books 1, 3, 4, and 7 are on the "award-worthy" path. Books 2, 5, and 6 are on the "sales" path. It would be nice if these paths cross for some of the books, but I'm very well aware that it may not be so.

1. LOST KING (thriller). 2nd draft complete, received 2 edits back from beta readers, working on 3rd draft. Next step, another round of readers. No official due date, although I hope to start the submission process in the summer to my new publisher.

2. TASTE OF SUN (romance novella). 2nd draft complete. Just emailed to 1st beta reader. Due date is the end of May and it will go through copyediting & proofing & final approval by me.

3. SALEM book. 100 pages drafted. Stopped when I reached a major researched hurdle. Have been sitting on this hurdle for over a year. I hope to get over it this summer and have the book ready for submission this fall.

4. BIBLICAL NOVEL. Started page one of a novel about Miriam, Moses' sister. Thinking about turning it into a "Moses trilogy"... Miriam (book 1), Aaron (book 2), Moses (book 3). An epic story needs an epic series. This novel has been requested by one of my publishers and due date is OCTOBER. Yes. I need to get working on it.

5. CHRISTMAS NOVELLA. I haven't started this yet, but it will be due at the end of August. Not too intimidating, except that it will need research since it will have a historical setting (yet undecided).

6. TANGERINE STREET SERIES. Recently THE FORTUNE CAFE came out and my co-authors, Julie Wright and Melanie Jacobson, and I will be plotting the next in the series in about a week. We hope to have it written in early fall and will possibly release in November/December of this year.

7. EVE: IN THE BEGINNING. This book is completely done and I even have some cover comps. It will just need a final copyedit and proofread. I have a couple of publishers I'm going to query this summer, and if there aren't any bites, I will self-publish it in October.

Friday, March 28, 2014

New publishing house for FINDING SHEBA & BENEATH!

So I've been sitting on this news for a bit as things were progressing.

On March 5, I received an email from Sr. Editor Anh Schluep at Thomas & Mercer. I do some indie publishing so I thought it might be an answer to one of my Amazon questions (which I'm regularly asking), but thought it odd that it came to my author email account. Anh wrote to me saying that she'd read FINDING SHEBA and she loved it, and would I be interested in republishing the book with them? She also said they wanted to re-release in 2014. So, of course I looked up Anh, and the imprint (owned by Amazon), and some of their authors. Thomas & Mercer publishes thrillers and suspense novels, and many of their authors are major New York Times bestsellers.

I showed the email to my husband and said, "This might be a game-changer."

The next day I scheduled a conference call with Anh (pronounced "On"), and we talked about the publishing contracts that Amazon offers. The only glitch was that I needed to get my rights back from the publisher who currently held them. So after reading through my original contract again, I contacted my publisher and he agreed to reverse the rights. In most cases, this is no small feat, and I'll be forever grateful for a publisher who saw that my overall career could benefit from this change.

Since Anh said they'd like to have first rights to anything in the Omar Zagouri thriller series, I decided that I wanted to use an agent to handle the business side of the contract deal. I emailed a couple of agents on a Friday afternoon (one who was listed in the top thriller agents) and the other I'd met at a writers conference previously and had been impressed with. Both agents came back interested, and Jane Dystel replied even though she was out of the office for the weekend. First thing on Monday morning she offered me representation and said she'd worked with Amazon on other occasions (which is one of the reasons I queried her). I signed with Jane, and in the following communications, Thomas & Mercer also requested BENEATH, which is a companion short story.

Tentative release date for the new editions of FINDING SHEBA and BENEATH is June 2014, and they will have new covers as well. UPDATE: release date for FINDING SHEBA is February 3, 2015, on pre-order here.

Here's the deal as reported in Publisher's Marketplace:

March 27, 2014 Fiction:General/Other
Indie bestseller Heather Moore's FINDING SHEBA, along with an accompanying short story, BENEATH, swirling around the seductive legend -- and perhaps reality -- of the tomb of the infamous queen, to Anh Schluep at Thomas & Mercer, by Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Join Blog Tour for THE FORTUNE CAFE

THE FORTUNE CAFE is almost here! Official release date is March 17, 2014. And just like I planned it all along, the cover it green.

I Am A Reader is hosting a blog tour in April. If you'd like to join in, receive the ebook for free, and weigh in with your review please sign up here.

THE FORTUNE CAFE is a "Novel in Three Parts", which I co-wrote with two fantastic authors, Melanie Jacobson and Julie Wright.

About the book:

Welcome to Tangerine Street
Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with its colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. Situated in the middle of a charming collection of shops and cafes on Tangerine Street is The Fortune Café, a Chinese restaurant unlike any other because, well, to be honest, the fortunes found in the cookies all come true…

The Fortune Café
a novel in three parts

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidentally cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows. 

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?

Tour Schedule
April 2nd
I Am A Reader – Guest Post
Tifferz & Her Sisterz Book Reviewz – Spotlight
LDS and Lovin’ it – Review
Book Briefs – Review
The View From My Window – Spotlight

April 3rd
C&F – Spotlight
Amethyst Daydreams – Spotlight
Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Spotlight
Pink Fluffy Hearts – Spotlight
Why Not? Because I Said So! – Review
Oh My Books! – Spotlight

April 4th
Mel’s Shelves – Review
Love. Pray. Read. – Review
Christy’s Cozy Corners – Spotlight
Books Are Sanity!!! – Review
Gamila’s Review – Review
My Devotional Thoughts – Review

April 7th
I Love to Read and Review Books :) – Review
Clean Romance Reviews – Spotlight
MamaNYC – Spotlight
A Casual Reader’s Blog – Review

April 8th
Maureen’s Musings – Spotlight
From the Bootheel Cottonpatch – Spotlight
Rebecca Talley – Review

April 9th
For the Love of Books – Review
StoreyBook Reviews – Review
Sweeping Me – Spotlight
Being a Momma and Lovin’ it – Review

April 10th
Magick Inside Pages – Spotlight
It’s A Book Thing – Review
the LastWord – Spotlight
Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review

April 11th
Bookworm Lisa – Review
readalot – Review
RachelleWrites – Review
Hearts & Scribbles ~ Jennifer Faye – Spotlight
deal sharing aunt – Spotlight
Ranee the wRiter – Review

April 12th
Snarky Mom Reads… – Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Spotlight
Cassandra M’s Place – Spotlight

April 14th
Getting Your Read On – Review
Tressa’s Wishful Endings – Review
Julie Coulter Bellon – Review
A Book Lover’s Retreat – Spotlight

April 15th
Bound 2 Escape – Spotlight
The Lovely Books – Review

April 16th
Maureen’s Musings – Spotlight
Literary Time Out – Review
Lindzee Armstrong/Lydia Winters – Spotlight

April 17th
My Book A Day – Review
Bella Harte Books – Spotlight
Clutter Your Kindle – Spotlight

April 18th
Little Whimsy Books – Spotlight
Good Choice Reading – Spotlight