DC Area Storytellers

The DC Area Storytellers are a group of authors of multiple genres residing in or near the Washington, DC area. Published within the fields of romance, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, fiction and non-fiction, this diverse group of authors offers a wide range of works for readers to savor.

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A Little Harmless Kalikimaka!!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009
It is now up at The Samhellion!!!! Please go take advantage of the free download.
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Psyche Nomination - ADRIENNE

Wednesday, December 23, 2009
2009 Romance Studio Psyche Nominee!!

ADRIENNE by D. Renee Bagby

He crossed dimensions to claim her as his queen—but her reign may destroy his world.

Adrienne Backett wants two simple little things this spring break: rest and relaxation. After nearly four years of slaving away for her college education, she deserves a holiday. What she gets is pulled into another dimension by a man who claims she’s his rightful queen.

Malik, King of Ulan, has until his birthday to find his bride or he must forfeit his throne. When a spell reveals her location, he will do anything, even cross dimensions, to claim her as his own.

As if fending off a lusty king isn’t enough of a headache, Adrienne finds herself a pawn in a rival monarch’s plot to bring Malik’s world to its knees. But is the real danger being stuck in the middle of a power struggle between rival kingdoms? Or the damage Malik could do to her heart?

Warning: This title contains adult language (cursing), talking animals, violence, and scenes of near rape.

Read first full chapter online:

Buy Now: http://samhainpublishing.com/authors/d-renee-bagby

Full List of CAPA 2009 Nominees: http://www.theromancestudio.com/capa.php
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Saturday, December 19, 2009
The tree has been trimmed (while it was snowing--win!) and my December blog at Beyond the Veil is live. All that's left is to wish one and all a very happy holiday. May the big day--whichever one you celebrate--be spent with your loved ones doing that which brings you joy and warms your heart for the months ahead.

(Image: (c) Greg Uchrin, IVCaffeine.com)
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A Little Harmless Kalikimaka-The Trailer

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
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The Journey and Other Things

Thursday, December 10, 2009
Ok, I've scaled back a little on the writing and focused on promo for Kismet. Something tells me I'm not going to be able to do this for my June release of Assassin's Honor. I think 2010 is about to become a whirlwind of releases and writing. So I've been enjoying the slower pace of the holiday season, which means checking out YouTube and other places for news on the romance and holiday fronts.

Speaking of Kismet, it was one of the Berkley books featured over at Dear Author yesterday. My wonderful editor, Cindy Hwang, called it an "...unusual–and unusually wonderful–historical romance..."


I've also been planning blog tour. I believe I've definitely gone insane. When I looked at the schedule last night, I realized that I have to WRITE all these posts! *sigh* This is what writers have to do in addition to writing their books. They promo the books. As much as I love it, promo takes so much time, and with so much at stake it means I need to work even harder.

I'll be posting to different blogs over the next month and a half, so try to catch me when you can. There will be the occasional book given away!

12/17/09 - Reality - Re-imagined Anya Davis www.anyadavis.wordpress.com/

12/31/09 - Unusual Historicals Excerpt -www.unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com/
01/03/10 - Unusual Historicals Interview -
01/05/10 - LeeAnn Burke -
01/06/10 - RR@H Novel Thoughts - www.novelthoughts.wordpress.com/
01/15/10 - Katidom -
01/18/10 - Hannah Howell's -
01/25/10 - The Romance Dish -

Until then, enjoy these two cute holiday videos of two of my favorite songs!!

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Cover Glee

Sunday, December 6, 2009
It's now live: my cover for "Hoodoo Cupid", coming February 4, 2010, from Red Rose Publishing.

Isn't it gorgeous? The artist is Red Rose's Art Director Shirley Burnett, and she totally aced it.
Cheers and big, big smiles,
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Coming Monday, December 7th

Friday, December 4, 2009
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Ward Theater Sneak Peak

Saturday, November 21, 2009
I've posted a sneak peak of the next installment of Ward Theater, "Green Eyes", at Beyond the Veil. It'll go live at JeanMarieWard.com on December 1, but until then, if you want to read it, you've got to go BtV.


Jean Marie
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Next Leg of the Journey

Saturday, November 7, 2009
The Journey continues. I've been very bad about posting of late, but the journey has kept me incredibly busy!

ARC or Advance Readers Copies

I've always made my own, printed them landscape and they're set up like an open book you might hold. I always used comb bindings for them. I'd created some and was mailing them out to various reviewers and booksellers. THEN it happened, I got REAL ARCs from Berkley it was SOOOO cool. So now I've been sending them out to different folks, hoping they'll read and review/recommend Kismet to others.

Book Two of the Order of the Sicari Series

The book is turned in and we've given it a name. Now that sounds almost like I gave birth doesn't. Well if it had been a live birth, it could be equated to birthing a 10pd baby WITHOUT an epidural. *sigh* Anyway, the book is called Assassin's Heart. I got to pick it this time, but that's because I presented a logical argument for it.
  1. Book 1 is called Assassin's Honor so it sort of seems to fit that the 2nd book would encompass the Assassin piece, and the fact that Honor and Heart both have 5 letters and start with an H seemed like Kismet. *grin*

  2. Heart is really appropriate to the book because the hero is a half-breed and his loved ones keep telling him that his heart is Sicari

  3. Finally, as a friend pointed out after reading the book. Assassin's Heart has a dark, edgy, yet romantic feel to it. My editor agreed
Oh, and I just realized, I never posted my most AWESOMENESS! cover for book 1 in the Order of the Sicari. The hero has BEN AFLECK's jaw! Dreamy, dreamy, dreamy.


I am getting knee deep in promo now as well as ordering advertising. Not solely for Kismet though as most people might think. I'm working on trying to get advertising for next fall in the RWR, and I just scheduled a full page ad (jointly with the wonderful Emma Wilds) for this coming May. Not to mention the other advertising I've been organizing that's starting to reach out to next Sep and Oct. The bucks are starting to add up, but at least it's a tax write off. With the economy the way it is, getting notice takes money, and the publisher limits its advertising, so it's up to me. I did hire a publicist to help with getting mailings done, and organizing some signings as well as getting my name and ARCs in front of booksellers. LeeAnn works hard, so I think I'll see great benefit for my money.

New Book

I have a proposal for a new historical due December 1st. I've got maybe one chapter done. I HATE it (the book and the deadline). I'm not sure whether it's switching from a paranormal back to a historical or if I'm a little burnt out. It's been a crazy 12 months, and I think it's going to get worse before it gets better.

What Else????

When working under deadlines, it's important to take care of one's self. I started walking again, despite the foot injury I suffered last year. I've stubbornly put off going to the doc about it, mainly because my gut says it will possibly involved surgery. I can't afford that...time or money wise...right now.

I've only been able to read VERY little, but I did get to devour Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter. I might have mentioned it here before, but I'll say it again. DAMN! It was a great book. Historical fiction just the way I like it. I've also been reading page by page, Isabo Kelley's The Promise of Kierna' Rhoan. It's sci-fi romance, the first I've ever read, and I'm loving it!! Isabo has a wonderful voice.


I'm getting REALLY excited about Kismet, although I confess that I waffle back and forth about the book and how it will be received by readers. I'm not too worried about reviews, because those are always a toss up and one opinion won't influence sales of the book that much, BUT...if enough reviewers LOVE the book and rave about it, then that will influence sales. Word of mouth is everything in this business.

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Live Chat and Giveaway!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tonight I'll be chatting live, along with other Samhain Publishing authors, from 9-10 p.m. EST with Fallen Angels Reviews. Readers participating will receive their choice of ebook from the authors (which includes a possible ARC of Only In My Dreams, Book 5 of the Halle Pumas).

Next week I'll be participating in more chats and blogs, as Only In My Dreams releases on Tuesday, Nov. 10th! The last Halle Puma novella is almost here!
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Adventures in Capclave

Saturday, October 24, 2009
My report on Capclave 2009 is now live at Beyond the Veil. And the rest of the photos can be found on my Flickr page. Enjoy!

Jean Marie
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Thursday, October 15, 2009
A brief report on the Ellora's Cave authors' and readers' convention, Romanticon.


Erotic romance publisher Ellora’s Cave (www.ellorascave.com) put on its first annual Romanticon last weekend in Ohio near the publisher’s headquarters. This is one of my publishers; I have several paranormal erotic romances out from them, plus a contemporary elf romance from their non-erotic division, Cerridwen Press. The con was cozy and relaxing, with (from what I heard) about 150 people attending. Only about half were authors, meaning the other half were fans of our books. Cool! The vast majority were women. I saw only a few men other than the seven or eight cover models who posed for pictures and performed roles such as announcing raffle ticket winners at the big group events.

I’ve never attended (or even heard of) a convention strictly for one publisher before. It turned out to be a delightful experience. The very nice program book, in trade paperback format, included detailed summaries of the panels and pages with spaces for each author’s name, so people could collect signatures in a systematic way. I signed more autographs than I ever have at one time, thanks to that feature. We had a huge book fair Sunday afternoon. I got to stay for most of it (having to leave for the airport about fifteen minutes before the end) and sold four or five books. The Friday night event was a “psychedelic soiree,” a casual meal of hot dogs, hamburgers, etc., with music from the 1960s and early 1970s—my generation’s sound. The music was way too loud, but I’m always on the losing side on that issue. Sigh. The tie-dyed theme carried throughout the weekend but was especially prominent on this evening. I enjoyed seeing people’s fringed miniskirts and other hippie attire. I wore a caftan.

The Saturday night dinner included recognition and awards, some serious, most of them fun and frivolous, such as “most erotic use of e-mail in a story” and “hottest home improvement.” One nice feature was the presentation of “Rising Star” trophies to all the authors who had new releases this year.

Panels and presentations discussed business and genre-related topics for writers. I thought the most interesting and useful features was the set of reader focus session, in which readers gave feedback on what they like and dislike in various subgenres of romance. The 50- to 60-minute time slots didn’t really leave enough room to talk as much as people wanted. Under the moderation of the managing editor, these sessions were lively and a rousing success. To me, the most interesting and useful was the discussion on taboos in romance. What situations and character types turn readers off? What words are or are not sexy?

Naturally, people didn’t all agree about language. Whether certain words are exciting or repellent depends so much on individual background and age. We did agree that some terms might work in context for a man to use in conversation, but the heroine wouldn’t use those same words.

It was also fascinating to hear what readers and authors thought about behavior that would make characters ineligible to be heroes or heroines. For example, how close can two people be related and still have a romantic bond? Most people thought a stepparent and stepchild couple would be acceptable in some circumstances. Opinion was divided on first cousins, but nobody seemed to mind the idea of such a pairing in historical fiction, since those marriages were more common in earlier centuries than now (in this country, anyway). Any transgression in the category of harming children or cruelty to animals, everyone agreed, made a character irredeemable. Rape (no matter how far in the past) also barred a man from becoming a romantic hero. (That’s quite a difference from a few decades ago, when a relationship could begin with rape if the author could convince the reader of extenuating circumstances. No romance publisher would allow that plot device nowadays.) A murderer, however, could be redeemed, depending on the circumstances, his motive, and his emotional and moral growth since the act. A woman who’d worked as a prostitute could be a heroine, again depending on her reasons for taking up that career.

I also enjoyed the session on preferences in paranormal romance, since that's my field. For instance -- does a shapeshifter have to shift into a predatory animal? How about stallions and bulls?

Overall, it was a super weekend.

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

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Jean Marie's Capclave Schedule

Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Now that I’ve (more or less) recovered from DragonCon, it’s again time to put on my convention hat and party hard—er, prepare to educate and entertain at Capclave 2009, this Friday to Sunday, October 16-18. Capclave is the Washington, DC, area’s premier science fiction, fantasy and horror convention. Although it focuses on literature, particularly short stories, you can’t bring a bunch of daft writers together and not wind up with a good time.

If this sounds like your thing, you can find us at the Hilton, Washington DC/Rockville Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852, from 3 p.m. this Friday until 5 p.m. on Sunday. I hope you’ll join us. I especially hope you’ll attend a panel of mine. Or two. Or all of them. The one thing I’ve learned over the course of my writing career is you can never be too rich or have too many fans.

Seriously, the thin thing is negotiable.

Jean Marie’s 2009 Capclave Schedule:

Friday, 8 p.m.
Fantasy-Mystery – From Harry Dresden to Rachel Morgan to Sookie Stackhouse to Anita Blake, a lot of popular urban fantasies/paranormal romances seem to be mysteries. Why add this element to the mix? What works and what doesn’t when you combine them?
Panelists: Andrew Fox (m), Peter Heck, Victoria Janssen, Jean Marie Ward, Diane Weinstein

Friday, 10 p.m.
Kryptonite for Characters – What do you do to limit your characters and keep them from being too powerful? What flaws do you give them? How do you have them grow and gain without becoming gods?
Panelists: Diane Weinstein (m), Davey Beauchamp, Neil Clarke, Tom King, Jean Marie Ward

Friday, 11 p.m.
Are Vampires Still #1? – Why are vampires so popular? Is anything likely to rival them—werewolves? Zombies? What? Whose vampires are the best and why?
Panelists: Andrew Fox (m), Davey Beauchamp, Darrell Schweitzer, Jean Marie Ward, Lawrence Watt-Evans

Saturday, 11 a.m.
Paranormal Romance—Just Chick Lit? – Why is the main character in paranormal romance usually female? Is the audience meant to be women only? What is the right balance between the paranormal and the romance? (And, the moderator adds, why the heck aren’t there any men on this panel? Hmph! I have a feeling I’m going to have to be a very bad girl on this one.)
Panelists: Jean Marie Ward (m), Mattie Brahen, Mindy Klasky, Victoria Janssen

Saturday, 1 p.m.
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading – Join the Broads of Capclave as they read fast-paced excerpts from their latest fictions. There will be chocolate.
Panelists: Jean Marie Ward (m), Diane Arrelle, Roxanne Bland, Kelly A. Harmon, Victoria Janssen

Sunday, 11 a.m.
Paranormal Versus Urban Fantasy – Is paranormal romance just another name for urban fantasy? If not, what is the distinction? How do writers determine the right balance between paranormal and romance? Is it just classic boy meets girl or does being a paranormal make it different?
Panelists: Scott Andrews (m), Catherine Asaro, Karen Newton, Edmund Schubert, Jean Marie Ward, Diane Weinstein


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New Book Trailer: Only In My Dreams

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Only In My Dreams, Book 5 of the Halle Pumas, is coming November 10th! And remember, you can enter to win an ARC of the book! Simply click here, fill out the form with your email address and the electronic format you'd like to receive the book in and you'll be entered to win! The contest ends November 9th, when I'll post the winner on my blog, my MySpace blog and on my website.

Good luck!
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Free For a Week: A Valentine's Gift For Tori

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Red Rose Publishing is offering A Valentine's Gift for Tori for free for one week. Simply buy any ebook on the RRP website and you can get my book for free between 08 Oct to 14 Oct. Check out the site for the full details.


She wants a boyfriend for Valentine's and her husband wants to deliver.

Tori has come to the realization that her marriage lacks the spark it had in the beginning. She and her husband argue more than anything else and she foresees a nasty break-up on the horizon if something doesn't change. When he asks her what she wants for Valentine's Day, her answer is scandalous and straightforward—a boyfriend.

Rather than be upset, her husband is intrigued by the idea and sets out to make it happen. Tori has set herself—and him—an impossible goal and her prospects aren't that promising. But she's determined to have a boyfriend in time for the most romantic holiday of the year.

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Monday, October 5, 2009
A Starving Writer Asks...

Amanda Palmer asks an interesting question. Are the changes we see in the media publishing world going to mean that all artists will soon be passing the hat to earn a living? It might be one of the options as things shake out.

Is Patronage the answer? Is one question discussed on Futurismic.

A similar question is whether authors should get paid more now that we are doing more of the work. M.J. Rose thinks Publishers Must Change the Way Authors Get Paid.

And here’s a series of essays on self-publishing that also generate some good questions.

What do you think?

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Pyromancer is available in print!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


One desperate night, a rent boy hot enough to scorch the motel sheets, and Christian is doomed to burn for love.

Christian Ryder is rich and lonely. When the people around him keep dying, Christian forgoes personal attachments. The thought of his Pyromancy hurting anyone else, isn’t something he’s willing to risk.

Tanner O’Bannon is broke and desperate. The recent loss of his father has thrown Tanner into a tailspin of debt he can’t afford to pay. Working as a rent boy allows him to pay the mortgage and his college tuition, but it’s eroding his soul in the process.

Through the machinations of Male Companions — the escort agency for which Tanner works — the men are thrown together. Through a series of startling revelations and danger, Tanner and Christian both face changes. Smoldering embers of desire fan the flames of love, but will it be enough to make Christian overcome his fear of love, or to save Tanner from the fire? Only one thing is certain; both men will burn.

Buy your copy at Amazon now!
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The DragonCon Report, 2009 Edition

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Want to see--and read--more? It's all at Beyond the Veil. Enjoy!
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The Journey and the Fear

Friday, September 11, 2009
Fear can drive people to kill, it can drive people to run, it can be a great motivator to keep a job. Fear can do a lot of things, including making a writer question their ability to write.

Fear and Characters

I find it challenging to write character-driven books. I’ve always thought myself good with plots, but characterizations have always challenged me. So I'm terrified that my characterizations won't hold up. Particularly with reviewers who vary from gentle to scathing. Of course, I’ve never understood reviewers who sneer at misunderstandings in stories. When I read comments from reviewers who lambast writers for issues like misunderstandings, I’m sort of like, huh??? There’s actually nothing truer to life than a misunderstanding. It’s how people operate on a daily basis. People think something based on another’s actions and they get bent out of shape because of that misunderstanding. I think that IS part of characterization. It’s the psychological observations of the human kind. We all deal in misunderstandings on a daily basis. So I’d rather someone say the EXECUTION of a misunderstanding wasn’t done well. And I have to say that there are some books that reviewers rave about that I scratch my head over. I think it’s easier to say that it’s the VOICE of a writer the reviewer doesn’t resonate with as opposed to anything else.

Fear of Opinions

Anyway, because of some comments about "my" misunderstandings, I’ve been thinking that I’m a fluke when it comes to my selling books. So it’s generated this fear that I’m going to fail in my latest endeavor. Because characterization comes so hard to me, blending world building and characterization so a book is a worthwhile read is like putting a rocket together when you’re not a rocket scientist. I don’t know about other writers, but I not only edit as I go, I can always see what’s coming next, that is until this book. Perhaps it’s the complexity of it that terrifies me. I often set up challenges for myself that are too much for me. It’s one of those “set yourself up to fail” things. I’ve done it all my life, and this WIP is no different.

I’ve got three story lines in this WIP, one of which doesn’t hold much characterization at all, because the relationship is already cemented. Another one might possibly have to flow into the third book and then there’s the main relationship. So when I say with all sincerity that I was insane to try and write this book, I am not understating my madness. I had these wonderful delusions about writing a book that would create buzz, and the only thing I can say is that fear is driving me to complete it.

Fear of Obligations

Fear that my editor will hate it. Fear that if she hates it, I will have to rewrite it. Fear that if I rewrite it, I might as well slit my wrists, because I don’t know how I can meet my other obligations AND rewrite a book. I wonder if these fears will ever vanish, or if I’m the only writer who puts themselves into a white jacket like this. I still love what I’m doing, and I love writing, but I can’t remember the last time I ever felt this insecure. Ok, yeah I can. I was in high school.

The Great Motivator

Fear can be a great motivator and it can be paralyzing. When I had my came home from RWA National, I looked at my calendar and I freaked. OMG, I thought, this book is due the 15th of September. So I plowed through the book until I was about 75 pages from the end. I looked at my calendar for something completely different and was thunderstruck to see that the book isn’t due until OCTOBER 15th. *sigh* While I’m not so panic-struck at this point, I’m anxious to put this book to bed, and I was looking forward to getting working on it full speed this weekend, when it happened…the DREADED copyedits (CEs) for Kismet hit the inbox.

Fear and Copy Edits (not so fearsome)

Petrified (there’s that fear again!), I opened the document and was astounded to find that there were hardly ANY changes to the document. The CE who reviewed the document is a GODDESS, I’m going to tell my editor that I want the same CE forever! She totally improved several spots in the book by rewording sentences or removing words. I LUBS her/him! The only two issues were minor rewrites to resolve a minor plot point and a minor issue with the ending. I couldn’t believe I got through the entire document in two nights without any problem. I have to give it one more read through with all changes made and look for any last minute fixes that need to be done. These have to be back in my editor’s box by Friday the 18th (ten days is a pretty short turn around if you ask me, but I’ll manage). The next thing to come will be actual pages in the form of what are called galleys, and there ONLY typos can be corrected. No new stuff added.

Fear and It's Effect On the Body

So, there I was almost done with the CEs and yesterday my body revolted. Bronchitis has set in and I’m sleeping 12 hours a day, lying around for 12 dozing off and on with not much energy to do anything else. This is how I started writing for publication back in 2002. Can I say how many times in the last month I’ve said to myself, “WTF were you thinking to try and do this. Why didn’t you just stick to being a reader.” There’s that fear talking.

Know what I told that little voice of fear a short while ago??? Go F#*$ yourself, I’m doing this because I love it, and don’t you dare try to stop me. I was brilliant, I tell you. BRILLIANT at looking in the mirror and saying that. Now I just have to believe it. *grin

Fear…it can be your best friend or your darkest enemy, but no matter what, I’ve a feeling it’s never going to go away. That’s the hardest lesson of all.
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DragonCon 2009: First Notes

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Back from DragonCon. I had such a fabulous time I'm way to tired to write coherently about it, but I thought I'd post a few (a very few!) of the highlights as a teaser of things to come--as soon as I finish sorting the 570 photos I took. Until then, this will have to do:

- FINALLY getting to see a panel with James Marsters (with green hair, no less) and Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones in Torchwood).

- Running into an old friend I hadn't seen in years directly afterwards.

- Hanging with friends like artist/writer Marianne Plumridge and her husband, artist Bob Eggleton, Jana Oliver, Teresa Patterson and my roomie Dorie. Also ran into the old Press Room gang--Star, Leigh, Kelly, Dave & Phyl. (Randi couldn't make it, but I did talk to her and the new bambino.)

- Dinner with Crissy Brashear (owner and publisher of Samhain Publishing), Jacob Hammer (Samhain's office manager), Alex Ross (Jacob's girlfriend) and writers Ally Blue and Rosemary Laurey/Georgia Evans and her husband George at Nikolai's on the Roof, the extraordinary restaurant on the top of the Hilton. The company was fabulous and the dinner... Well, let me put it this way, the meal started on plates with gilded images of Faberge eggs and ended with the presentation of a single red rose to all the ladies.

- The amazing historical and Steampunk costumes, and dressing up in my own less amazing Steampunk outfit (see Marianne's great picture of her husband, artist Bob Eggleton). At least the hat, the rose from Nikolai's, and all of Marianne's DragonCon pics were splendid. ;-)

- Sitting back-to-back with William Shatner, Kate Mulgrew and Leonard Nimoy at the DragonCon Awards Banquet. (BTW, they're actually serving meat now--the banquet, I mean, not the stars.)

- The Cruxshadows concert. (Duh!)

- Surviving a four-panel Sunday running from 10 a.m. (after the Cruxshadows concert--ow!) to 11 p.m., after the "sex panel": "Sex in SF/Fantasy--Too Much or Not Enough?"

- The Lost Boys concert at the Pirate Ball followed by costume watching at the Marriott Starbucks, which has replaced The Perk as the ultimate people-watching destination since the Hyatt has gotten pissy about photos in the lobby.

- Sitting next to Rogue on my last panel, "Under Raven's Wings: 200 Years of Poe", listening to three of his dramatic readings, including the awesome "Annabel Lee", and having him autograph this year's Cruxshadows single for Bree and me when the panel was done. And day-um, he smelled good. White musk, I think. (Made me wish I'd packed my favorite Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents, but I've been afraid ever since my hand lotion triggered Barbara Hambly's allergies at World Fantasy Con.)

- Drinking 12-year-old Glenlivet single malt in the Green Room at the Hair of the Dog Party (i.e., the clearing of the Green Room after the Dead Dog Party). I didn't even know they had Glenlivet in the Green Room.

- Getting back home to Greg and the Duz. Gotta recover in time for next year, after all. ;-)
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3 New Reviews for D. Renee Bagby

Monday, September 7, 2009
I've gotten three new reviews from two separate review sites.

Seriously Reviewed did A Valentine's Gift for Tori:
"The hot sex rocked!" ~ Read Full Review

She wants a boyfriend for Valentine’s and her husband wants to deliver.

Tori has come to the realization that her marriage lacks the spark it had in the beginning. She and her husband argue more than anything else and she foresees a nasty break-up on the horizon if something doesn’t change. When he asks her what she wants for Valentine’s Day, her answer is scandalous and straightforward—a boyfriend.

Rather than be upset, her husband is intrigued by the idea and sets out to make it happen. Tori has set herself—and him—an impossible goal and her prospects aren’t that promising. But she’s determined to have a boyfriend in time for the most romantic holiday of the year.

Seriously Reviewed also did Serenity:
"I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!! ... VIVID imagery only added to the delightful story-telling and this one will be read again..." ~ Read Full Review

Their uneasy alliance could lead to love—if the demon will allow it.

Melchior, King of the Bhresyas, is quickly growing tired of the war between his kind and the humans who view them as demons. He proposes a peace treaty with the most powerful human kingdom. His only stipulation? Once she comes of age, the human queen’s daughter must be his bride.

Serenity has spent her entire life preparing for her role at Melchior’s side. Other women might be frightened, but she embraces her destiny, knowing in her heart that she and Melchior have been twined together by fate.

While he wants cooperation between their two peoples, his union with Serenity cannot and should not lead to love. The more she tries to bring them together, the harder he pushes her away—until she lands in the arms of those who would do her harm.

Love is the answer. But before Melchior admits to his, it may be too late.

and Vee from Night Owl Romance gave Acknowledging Meirion 4 out of 5 stars:
"...a quick read. The Fey were fun characters and their world was interesting. The premise is fun..." ~ Read Full Review

No acknowledgment—but is true love the exception?

Meirion Flatt is one of a handful of people participating in the human version of a nature show for an alien race known as the Fey. Kiar, one of the three men chosen to film her, has awakened emotions in her she hasn’t felt since her husband died. She can’t tell if the feelings are mutual or one-sided, but she’s willing to find out.

Kiar takes great pride in doing his job correctly and that pride means everything to him. The network he works for has a strict rule of no acknowledgment. He’s meant to observe, not interact—no matter what. When Meirion sets out to seduce him, his job becomes that much harder.

Two of the universe's most stubborn people are about to clash in a new battle of the sexes. This competition has no rules and neither Meirion nor Kiar is willing to lose. It's her heart versus his pride. Will victory lead to joint happiness or both their defeats as Kiar struggles against... Acknowledging Meirion

Definitely a good day. :D

~ Renee
D. Renee Bagby
Building New Realms of Passion...
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Eight Panels & Counting: Jean Marie's 2009 DragonCon Schedule

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Are we there yet?

DragonCon, the world’s greatest summer camp for wayward adults (2009 edition), starts in five or six days, depending on whether you count the Alternate History Track Meet & Greet at Max Lager’s brew pub and the concerts Thursday night. (I do.) I’m pumped. I’ve got my postcards (for Fantasy Art Templates, the art book slated for release in March 2010). I’ve got bookmarks for Master of Crows, Grace Draven’s fabulous fantasy romance. I will have postcards and bookmarks for the spouse’s web site, Intravenous Caffeine as soon as they arrive at home of an Atlanta-based friend.

But I don’t have a thing to wear!

Actually I’ve got quite a lot. I need it, because in addition to the Meet & Greet, the Time Travelers Ball (Friday, September 4) and the Pirate Party (Sunday, September 6), I’ve got eight panels! And once again, The Powers That Be have blithely assumed that I will be conscious and capable of carrying on intelligent conversation with the likes of Peter David and Katherine Kurtz at 10 a.m. on the morning after the Cruxshadows’ midnight concert. They are so insane. I am so doomed. Of course, I’ll be worse at 1 p.m., Monday, September 7, when they’ve scheduled me on a panel with Rogue, the Cruxshadows’ lead singer. Get your earplugs now. Given the fan girl squee that’s building, you’ll need them.

There will be photos.

Eventually. ;-) Hope to see you there!


You Say Religion, I Say Magic – An examination of the use of religion and magic systems in science fiction & fantasy. What is their place and why? Panelists: D.A. Adams, Linda L. Donahue, James Palmer, Stephanie Souders (Moderator), Jean Marie Ward. 1 p.m., Greenbriar Room (Hyatt)

They SHOULD Be Movies! Books You Want to See on Film – Indulge your fantasies. Talk about the books you most want to see on the big screen…and who’d you most like to see do them. Panelists: Van Plexico, Jean Marie Ward. 4 p.m. Fairlie Room (Hyatt)


Where Do You Go When You Need…? – The pitfalls and benefits of doing research for your writing. Panelists: Peter David, Katherine Kurtz, Terri Osborne, James Palmer, Jean Marie Ward. 10 a.m. Fairlie Room (Hyatt)

Beyond Binaries – Gender Roles in Science Fiction & Fantasy – What fantasy and science fiction literature has gone beyond traditional gender definitions? How successful is it? Does this require aliens or magical creatures? Panelists: Lee Martindale, Jean Marie Ward. 2:30 p.m., Greenbriar Room (Hyatt)

Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading –The broad-minded science fiction and fantasy writers of Broad Universe bring you a buffet of snack readings just when you need it most. Unlike most other DragonCon panels, this one will run two and a half hours to accommodate lots of writers, including some not listed on the guest list. Panelists: Marcia Colette, Kathryn Hinds, Gail Martin, Racheline Maltese, Sandra Ann McDonald, Tee Morris, Jean Marie Ward, Trisha Wooldridge and more. 7 p.m., Fairlie Room (Hyatt)

Sex in Science Fiction & Fantasy: Too Much or Not Enough? – With the rise of paranormal romance, sex seems to have become de rigueur. Is this right or wrong? Why or why not? Panelists: Sandra Ann McDonald, Van Plexico, Jean Marie Ward. 10 p.m. Greenbriar Room (Hyatt)


The Future of Urban Fantasy – Where does the genre go from here? Panelists: Jennifer Heddle, Althea Kontis, Heather Osborn, Jeanne C. Stein, Jean Marie Ward. 11:30 a.m., Montreal/Vancouver Room (Hyatt)

Under Raven’s Wings: 200 Years of Poe – Poe’s influence on popular culture – sometimes in unexpected ways. Panelists: John Everson, C. Gilbert, Kat Richardson, Rogue, Stephen H. Segal, Jean Marie Ward. 1 p.m., Montreal/Vancouver Room (Hyatt)

Jean Marie Ward
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Fantasy Art Templates

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My next book in all its luscious cover glory. Can't wait to hold it in my hands, but publication's been pushed back to March 2010. It's probably for the best, though. People buy more books in the spring--and the art in this book deserves to be bought. Enjoy!
Jean Marie
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Short Story Video: "Duzell's Due"

Saturday, August 22, 2009
Decided to start working on my book video skills in anticipation of all the different projects scheduled for next year. Yeah, yeah, I know I need to invest in a music editing program, but one thing at a time.
Happy weekend!
Jean Marie

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The Journey and Discovery

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Panic has now subsided (somewhat). I’m feeling relatively confident that I’m going to get this book done on time. I won’t say before the deadline, but that’s what I’m shooting for. I’m at 145 and counting downward. I tend to leave the s*x scenes for last, and since I’m at one right now, and I expect another a little way down the story, that leaves me with 125 or so pages of character development and action to write, WHICH as I sit her and think about it, might not be enough pages for everything I’ve got going on. Who knows maybe it’ll be just right. We’ll see.

A New Part of the Journey

Here’s the usual DISCLAIMER. This is my experience, and I’m only a beginning professional, so don’t try this at home.

Foreign rights. We just got our first offer of foreign rights for Kismet with inquires as to Assassin’s Honor too. It’s interesting how foreign rights operate differently than from US publishers. The advance is significantly lower with the royalty rate just a smidge lower. Interestingly enough, they give you print run numbers up front, whereas apparently it’s a big secret here in the US. *shrug* Anyway, it’ll be KEWL to see my book in a foreign language with a new cover. I’ll hold off saying what country, just in case the deal falls through. One never knows what can happen.

Not Writer's Life

For those blog readers who prefer not to read about me whining or talking about the journey, here’s something just for you. Well, maybe not, because I apply it in my writing. *grin* It’s called Google. I know I’ve been living in a hole of late, I mean writing (oops) has me by the shorthairs (since I’m a girl, is that an appropriately applied statement? *shrug*), but WOW! have I come into the mother lode this past week.

I discovered Google. NO, not as in Christopher Columbus type of discovery, but in as WHAT Google can do for me. O-M-G. I feel like I have walked into room and found the true motherlode of all Internet. I have NO idea where I’ve been, but Google has things I never knew about. I’ve slowly been discovering this gem and that. But here’s how it started.

The other day, I was playing with the blog design here and managed to get my Facebook account listed. See it there on the side? Don’t? Keep scrolling it’s next to my book cover. Anyway, Natalie said she couldn’t get hers to be limited info like mine, so I went looking for how to do it for her. I’m the biggest geek in the bunch here on the blog. So in the process of trying to sign into Facebook, back into blogger, into blogger again, I got REALLY frustrated because Google has pretty much taken over Blogger, log in wise.

So I started futzing with my Google account, of which I discovered, I had THREE! Who the hell needs three Google accounts? So I started trying to figure out how to consolidate everything. It took me almost four hours to squelch everything into one account. So there I am, looking at a pretty Google account scene, when I realize…HEY, I can see my Google maps I’ve created from this screen. Then I realized that my YouTube account could be managed from this screen, THEN OMG, I can use something called Reader to pull in all my blogs for a consolidated view of them. No more clicking on each link to this blog or that. They’re all fed through into my Reader service. Now to escape prying eyes, I only have to hit Alt-Tab to dart away from a blog site. *evil grin*


I continued to explore, and then I saw it. The one thing that can make life so incredible! Google Docs. This has to be one of the most amazing features. It’s like using Word for the most part. But you can load up documents you’re working on and pull them down off the net onto your computer no matter where you are (although you do have to have an internet connection. *grin*). I’ve now got another backup resource for my work. HOW awesome is that.

I next found iGoogle! It’s even better than one of those customize your pages at other search engines. Things add, move and drop in like a breeze. And I LOVE that I can create a wonderful backdrop at the top that’s pleasing to the eye. There are a lot more things going on here as well. I’ve got my Twitter feeding into FaceBook, which feeds into iGoogle and LORD knows where else. I am in AWE of this incredible resource. Not to mention that one account gives me access to Blogger (all my blogs), FaceBook, Google, Google Maps, Google This, Google That, Google Everything.

I’m so deeply in love that Google might just come close to replacing the DH…ummm, no, probably not. On a cold night, snuggling up to Google won’t warm my feet. But if you’re still a newbie with Google, check them out. I promise you, you will NOT be disappointed at the customization or the variety of apps you can add. Just be sure not to spend too much time away from your writer’s life.
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Dare To Believe Available Now!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Buy from MBaM!
Read An Excerpt Online

ISBN: 978-1-60504-632-7
Length: Category
Price: 4.50
Publication Date: July 28, 2009
Cover art by Tuesday Dube

He’ll fulfill her wildest fantasies… but only if she believes.

The Gray Court, Book 1

Leo Dunne has been searching his entire life for the one person born just for him. He finds her working in his own company, but the shy little Ruby Halloway constantly hides from him. He hatches a devilish plot with her best friend to bring her out of her shell, and the result proves her desire is more than a match for his own.

Ruby has had the hots for her boss for some time now, but she knows business and pleasure shouldn’t mix. While that can’t stop a girl from dreaming, she sticks by her guns and does her best never to be alone with the handsome CEO. Until the company masquerade party, where she discovers a passion with him that leaves a mark on her soul.

A family emergency calls Leo away, and rather than spend one night out of Ruby’s arms, he convinces her to go with him. With his brother’s life on the line, it’s vital she learn how to deal with who, and what, her new lover really is…before it’s too late.

Warning: This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, some violence, a bit of bondage, and a Sidhe Lord determined to claim and protect what is his.

Read An Excerpt Online

Buy from MBaM!
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Thursday, July 23, 2009
This past weekend I went to the Romance Writers of America conference in Washington, D.C. This was my second time, my first being in the year 2000 when it was last in D.C. Almost 2000 people attended this year’s RWA. To me, that’s a BIG convention, although regular attendees of five-figure-size conventions such as DragonCon and Otakon would snicker at the idea. Nevertheless, I had a great time and never felt lost. (Emotionally, at least. Literally, I wandered in constant confusion with the hotel’s floor plan.) The Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal chapter held its Gathering and awards dinner Thursday night, a cozy little event. After the awards, a panel of authors talked about their work.

Almost all the authors I heard were highly entertaining, informative, or both. Janet Evanovich (opening ceremony speaker) and Linda Howard (Thursday’s luncheon speaker) were very funny. Eloisa James, a historical romance novelist who’s also a university professor, spoke at Friday’s luncheon. I also attended a “chat with Nora Roberts,” and I can’t get over the fluency and wit of Evanovich and Roberts in answering an hour’s worth of questions “cold.” I would have to think over some of those questions all day to come up with any sort of coherent answer, much less a witty one. Jade Lee conducted a lively interactive session about the relationship between character and setting. A writer who had worked for many years in the funeral industry gave a two-hour presentation on “body disposal.” I was expecting an emphasis on criminal body disposal, but in fact the session focused on the legal issues, physical phenomena, and funerary customs surrounding death. Fascinating stuff, with slides (not many of them gross). In a workshop on avoiding clichés, I turned in the first two paragraphs of my vampire novel in progress for public critique and was properly humbled—but also helped and encouraged.

The RITA Awards on Saturday night featured romantic and humorous movie clips and author Anne Stuart as mistress of ceremonies performing comic snippets in a succession of silly outfits.

An exciting moment for me was meeting the editor of Silhouette Nocturne, where I have a submission pending, and having her recognize my name on sight.

In general, I prefer relaxing little conventions (such as Darkover, held every Thanksgiving weekend north of Baltimore), but I loved RWA even though it’s exhausting. When it finally rolls around to Washington again, I’ll go.

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt
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Nightowl Romance Reviewed SERENITY

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Nightowl Romance has given SERENITY 4.25 stars.

Serenity by D. Renee Bagby"Serenity is a fantastic, emotional and heart wrenching read which will have readers on the edge of their seats in suspense, cheering for the romance, dabbing away tears and laughing with its humor. This book will be going in my re-read pile."
~ Danni, Read Full Review

Their uneasy alliance could lead to love—if the demon will allow it.

Melchior, King of the Bhresyas, is quickly growing tired of the war between his kind and the humans who view them as demons. He proposes a peace treaty with the most powerful human kingdom. His only stipulation? Once she comes of age, the human queen’s daughter must be his bride.

Serenity has spent her entire life preparing for her role at Melchior’s side. Other women might be frightened, but she embraces her destiny, knowing in her heart that she and Melchior have been twined together by fate.

While he wants cooperation between their two peoples, his union with Serenity cannot and should not lead to love. The more she tries to bring them together, the harder he pushes her away—until she lands in the arms of those who would do her harm.

Love is the answer. But before Melchior admits to his, it may be too late.

Warning: this title contains cursing, a sociopathic heroine, horny males, and copious amounts of gratuitous violence.

Available in eBook ($5.50) and Print ($13.00) from Samhain Publishing

Read Excerpt or visit my website to download the first chapter.
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I <3 Writers

Saturday, July 18, 2009
Been out of the loop this week not quite attending the Romance Writers of America's 2009 national conference. I decided to skip the conference itself but not the chance to see my friends.
Jana Oliver came early to visit and get a taste of the city. We cruised Adams Morgan on Tuesday. Wednesday we toured some of DC's choicest treasures: the Renwick Museum of American Art, the Freer (Asian Art and the extraordinary Peacock Room by James McNeill Whistler), the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress (my favorite building in DC) and the infamous "Black Aggie" counterfeit of St. Gaudens' Grief, then topped everything off with a ghost tour of Alexandria. (Thanks again, Jana!)
Yesterday, I was honored to dine with the super women of From the Heart Romance Writers, RWA's online chapter at Cafe Paradiso. Great bunch of ladies, and I hope to be able to play more in their sandbox soon.
Today was party central. First came the Samhain Publishing bash. Senior editor Angela James opened her suite to an eclectic mix of Samhain authors (hey, Monica Burns, Allie Blue, Terri Schaefer and Leigh Wyndfield!), aspiring Samhain authors, fans and "friends of the family" like Jennifer Jackson and Lucienne Diver. My only regret was I didn't get to connect with two of my personal faves, cover artist extraordinaire Anne Cain and Kate Johnson. I think they were hiding from me. (And I'm so harmless; ask anyone!)
Afterwards, I ran into old friend Venus Campbell and her critique partner Lori. Venus and I met at the 2006 BEA. At the moment she's completed five novels and submitted none of them. Hmm, obviously someone needs a serious nagging. But other than that, she's almost perfect. And yes, I am hoping this will give her a little nudge. :-) Oddly enough, I ran into Marcia Colette while I was hanging with Venus and Lori, not at the Samhain party. Go figure.
Finally, the Harlequin party. This is the event all of RWA waits for, and they did themselves proud for their 60th anniversary. There were bars themed to the decades of Harlequin's operations. (The champagne was at the 1980s bar. Guess where I was...when I wasn't dancing, that is.) There were incredible desserts, a slide show of Harlequin covers and cover shoots (very funny). I finally got to congratulate Jeri Smith-Ready on her Prism for Wicked Game and wave manically to a great many friends from my local RWA chapter, Washington Romance Writers.
Eventually, I found a seat at the table with Jana, her agent Meredith Bernstein, her good friend P.C. Cast and P.C.'s charming dad, who was the unquestioned belle of this particular ball. Mr. Cast has the loveliest old-fashioned manners, and he dances!
First he cut the rug with Meredith (and me, but mostly Meredith, whose sequinned skirt gave me serious skirt envy. Her blue pumps weren't bad either.) After that, the women wouldn't let the man stay in his chair. You have not lived until you've seen Nora Roberts twirling to "Jailhouse Rock" in the arms of P. C. Cast's dad. And P.C. snapped the pictures to prove it. I only hope she posts them. Afterwards, Nora confessed she needed to recover, because she couldn't keep up. "And I'm in good shape!" she added.
Mr. Cast is going to have some great stories to bring home to the missus. I suggested he bring her next time, and I think he will. This kind of good time is too good not to share. :-)
Jean Marie
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Win an ARC of Dare to Believe!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Want to win a copy of Dare to Believe the day before it's released? Just go to the Contact Me page of my website and send me your email address and the electronic format you'd like to receive the book in. I'll send the winner their book and announce their name the day before Dare comes out!

The winner will be posted on my blog, on my website, and on my MySpace blog. Good luck!

ISBN: 978-1-60504-632-7
Length: Category
Price: 4.50
Publication Date: July 28, 2009
Cover art by Tuesday Dube

He’ll fulfill her wildest fantasies… but only if she believes.

The Gray Court, Book 1

Leo Dunne has been searching his entire life for the one person born just for him. He finds her working in his own company, but the shy little Ruby Halloway constantly hides from him. He hatches a devilish plot with her best friend to bring her out of her shell, and the result proves her desire is more than a match for his own.

Ruby has had the hots for her boss for some time now, but she knows business and pleasure shouldn’t mix. While that can’t stop a girl from dreaming, she sticks by her guns and does her best never to be alone with the handsome CEO. Until the company masquerade party, where she discovers a passion with him that leaves a mark on her soul.

A family emergency calls Leo away, and rather than spend one night out of Ruby’s arms, he convinces her to go with him. With his brother’s life on the line, it’s vital she learn how to deal with who, and what, her new lover really is…before it’s too late.

Warning: This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, some violence, a bit of bondage, and a Sidhe Lord determined to claim and protect what is his.

To read an excerpt of Dare to Believe, click here.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009
Thought you might like to see a photo of the usual suspects--er, the writers at yesterday's book signing at the Parkside in Baltimore, MD. Left to right: Anthony Stevens, me, D. Renee Bagby and Stephanie Burke. The venue and its art were stellar and the company couldn’t be beat. Aren’t Renee and Stephanie gorgeous? Anthony and I…well, we’re good writers too. :)
Jean Marie
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Baltimore-Area Book Signing

Thursday, June 25, 2009
If you happen to be in the Baltimore area this Saturday, you might want to drop in at the Parkside Restaurant anytime from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. DC Area Storytellers D. Renee Bagby (also a Samhain author), Stephanie Burke, Anthony Stevens and I will be reading from published stories and upcoming works, and signing and selling our books. Knowing this group, we'll probably manage to get into a fair amount of trouble too. I mean, they serve drinks and food at this place, and I saw Animal House at a very impressionable age. Don't say you weren't warned...
Cheers and smiles,
Jean Marie
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Response to RWA re: Career Minded Writer

Saturday, June 20, 2009

As many of you may be aware, Diane Pershing, president of the Romance Writers of America, published a response to an article posted by Deidre Knight of the Knight Agency (here's the link to Ms. Knight's article and a link to Ms. Pershing's response). I have to take offense at the fact that the RWA doesn't feel that those of us who are electronically published are career minded authors. So after deliberating for a few days, here's MY response, for what it's worth. Please remember that this is only my opinion based on observation and research.

I am a member of the RWA and Passionate Ink. I am an author of several e-books. I have only been published for a little over a year, but I have five books out, one in print. The majority of those are novellas, something the NY publishers aren't in the market for, which limits my distribution options. My first full-length novel has been finished and submitted to an electronic publisher, as the majority of my market is in e-books. I am also the daughter and daughter-in-law of people who own their own businesses. I have learned quite a bit from both men on how to look at the business side of my work.

This IS a business, something we tend to forget as authors. Each of us has a choice in how we wish to sell and distribute our products, whether that be electronically or in print.

Now, forgive me for what I am about to do. I am going to list something that the majority of us already know who are electronically published.

In the e-book model, I produce a product (novel). Once the product is complete to the best of my ability I begin shopping it to corporations (publishers) in the hopes that my product is something that fits well within their product line. When a corporation decides that yes, it can sell my product, the polishing process begins (editing and cover art) to make my product ready for distribution. During that time advertising and promotions begin to let the marketplace (aka the readers) know that this new product will soon be available for purchase. Reviewers test my product to see if it is something their readership would be interested in and will suit their needs, and give their opinions. Then my product goes on the market. From the sales of that product I receive a percentage, the editors and cover artists receive a percentage and the distributor (publisher) receives a percentage. All are happy with what they receive.

In the print book model, I produce a product. Once the product is complete to the best of my ability I hire someone to shop that product to corporations (an agent). The agent sends my product to corporations in the hope that it will meet their criteria. If it does, I receive a payment in good faith that the product will make a certain number of sales, a payment that will be deducted from future profit. The polishing process then begins, readying it for distribution. During this time advertising and promotions occur, informing the marketplace that my new product will soon be available for purchase. Another good-faith payment is made to me, one that will be deducted from final sales. Then my product goes on the market. From the sales of that product I receive a percentage,the agent receives a percentage, the editors and cover artists receive a percentage and the distributor receives a percentage. A certain amount of those sales are held back in reserve against returns, and I receive my final good-faith payment. All are happy with what they receive.

Frankly, I fail to see how either business model is wrong. Both have good and bad points. Both are equally valid. Neither, to me, can be said to be better than the other. Where failure comes in is with a) the product (it was shopped to the wrong market or was somehow inferior to a similar product) or b) distribution (a failure that has caused more than one book to fail, print or e). It's simply a matter of supply and demand, and whether you prefer your money at the front end or the back end of your contract,and what your preferred percentages are.

I like being e-published. Would I turn down an opportunity to be print published? No. Would I give up e-publishing?

No. It's a business decision, pure and simple. You need to find your marketplace, do your research, ask questions, and hope that organizations like the RWA will steer you away from the bad publishers, be they print or e.

Based on this, yes, I consider myself to be an informed, professional businesswoman. I know my market, my distribution channels, and am willing to work with corporations to improve my product for the marketplace. I am aware of my options re: front-load payment with smaller returns vs larger returns with no front-load payment. I consistently research my competitors (you should see my e-book and print shelves, they bulge with past and present romances) and trends in the marketplace. I try to maintain my own brand while meeting the needs of the marketplace to the best of my ability. And I respectfully request the same recongition and respect that is handed over to other businesspeople within this community.

Thank you.

Dana Marie Bell
Electronic Author
Memeber of the RWA and Passionate Ink
Passionate Plume Finalist

P.S.: Please, if I'm wrong on any point of the print model feel free to correct me. I've written this up based not on what RWA educated me on, but what I was able to glean through research and listening to those with more knowledge than I on that particular business model. Something I wish more people would do concerning the epublishing business model.

P.P.S. I am willing to put my royalty statements where my mouth is. I haven't joined PAN despite the fact that I am eligible several times over due to the stories of other electronic authors who did so and were treated with a great deal of disrespect.

For those of us who wish to make changes within the RWA, be you print, e, or both, please consider joining this group and letting your voice be heard: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RWAchange/

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Something Happened!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009
I got my Cover!

I got my cover!! I love it. It's got an old-school look to it, but with an updated MO. Mainly the heroine is in the position of power! SHE's on top!! LOL I love the script they used for the title, it has an elegant, sensual feel to it. I think I'm incredibly lucky. My agent LOVES it too!

And the tagline for the book that I got a while back is sheer perfection with this cover...

“Tell me, sir, if you were to win this wager,
what do you expect for your one night of pleasure?”

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Yesterday I Will

Sunday, May 31, 2009
Last August, Jim Levin of the York Emporium bookstore and curiosity shop announced a writing competition. The only criteria were the story had to be under five thousand words and it needed to carry the title "Yesterday I Will". Inspired by a preview of Weird Tales' first One-Minute Weird Tale, I wrote a 69-word story that I thought was pretty funny. Fortunately, the judges agreed. The story made it to the final anthology, which I finally got to hold in my hot little hands at Balticon. No reviews so far, and it's only available through Fortress Publishing, Amazon and The York Emporium, but if you like new voices and edgy science fiction, this is the anthology for you.

And then there's my story... ;-)
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The Dreaded Part of the Process

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
You thought I was going to say CEs (copy edits), didn't you! HAH! Those are easy compared to the...ugh photo session for a picture at the back of the book.

I was going to pay someone to take my picture, but then money got tight (the DH has GOT to stop remodeling!). When money ran out, I thought, okay, I can use that dated photo I have on the website, OR I can get the DH and a friend to do some photos. So this past weekend, the DH aka Tim "Toolman" Taylor and his friend AL dragged out ladders and cameras for a home grown photo shoot. Me, I was struggling not to sneeze, tear up or otherwise be miserable from allergies, thanks to all the pollen that STILL does exist in our neck of the woods.

The photo shoot was fun, but I was looking at some of the DH's shots on the digital camera and thinking, OMG...

well I won't tell you what I was thinking because it's too disgusting even for me and my self-deprecating wit. Out of the shots the DH took, I found ONE that I might have been able to live with, but in the end I said no, I'll stick with the current professional shot I have.

Then tonight, Tim "Toolman" Taylor walks in from Target with Al's photos from Saturday (Al has an antique camera and it requires film) . Tim hands me a small clip sheet of about 12 photos.

"This is it."

"What do you mean this is it?"

"That's all they could find on the roll."

"How in the hell can you not find at least 36 shots on that roll of film. I KNOW Al took a lot more than this!"

"Well there's only what you see on the sheet. Look at the negatives." Tim snaps the negatives out of their folds like someone displaying a plastic wallet string of credit cards. "See, look at all the blank spots."

So I'm going OMG, I'm just NOT suppose to have my picture taken. So I scan through them on the computer with Tim hanging over my shoulder. We get to one and Tims says,

"Hey, I like that one, it's good." His words make me slowly turn my head and I give him THE LOOK!

"You can't be serious."

"No, I like it. What's wrong with it?"

Now I look at him with that "who are you and what have you done with my husband" look. I shake my head slowly.

"Umm, well for one thing I look like Quasimodo, hunchback and ALL! Now go away and I'll figure out what I want. Naturally Tim's feeling a bit resentful.

"I don't know what you don't like about the picture. I think it's a good shot."

Clearly the man has no marketing sense whatsoevah! So I thought I'd post them here to see what others thought. Take a look and vote for your fav. I think I've already made up my mind, but I'm always willing to be persuaded otherwise. We're always tougher on ourselves, or so I've heard. These are all in B&W because that's how they're going to appear in the book. Better that you see them the way they're going to be!

Photo 1

This one is really scary because I AM my Mother's DAUGHTER! AAAAAAHHHH! Seriously, I do look like my Mom in this photo, the Italian hand curled, the smile and the laughing squint! *grin*

Photo 2

This shot looks like I'm getting ready to tell you exactly what I think. Do I really need this kind of a shot in the back of a book??

Photo 3

I feel certain this is NOT the one. I look too smug and moderately intelligent. The expression on my face says, you looking at me? You looking at ME? Why? My picture is here in the back of the book because I'm the author.

Photo 4

This one sort of LOOKS like an author photo, BUT it looks like I was having a HORRIBLY Bad hair day, when in fact, my hair actually looked nice that day. On the side it looks like I've got a bowl style hair cut where the hair stops just short of the ear. Sort of like that Hitler sideswipe hairstyle. God Forbid!

So go ahead. Vote and let me know what you think. You're not going to hurt my feelings a bit. Hell, I've survived bad reviews, what could anyone possibly say to me that would hurt? Maybe that I don't look like my Mom?? Ok, that would probably sting. In truth, I like seeing her face in me. Means she's in my heart and shining out through my face. *grin*
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Shameless Balticon Promotion

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I’m going back on con time this weekend. From Friday to Monday, May 22-25, you’ll find me at Balticon, Baltimore’s premier science fiction and fantasy con, held over the Memorial Day Weekend at the Hunt Valley Marriott. I hope you’ll check it out. And if you’re looking for me in particular, here’s where you’ll find me:

Friday, 6 p.m.
Humor in Science Fiction and Fantasy - Panelists will help you see the humor you may have missed in the work of Charles Stross and others. They will also look at the history of humor in the genres from Feghoots to the present. Panelists: Tom Doyle, Grig Larson, James Daniel Ross and Jean Marie Ward.

Saturday, 3 p.m.
Television Science Fiction and Fantasy – Admit it, you love it. But it makes you feel so guilty in the morning. Panelists: Dale Arnold, Brenda Clough, Thomas Horman, Elaine Stiles and Jean Marie Ward.

Saturday, 7 p.m.
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading – Six of Balticon’s featured women writers bring you into their worlds with six-minute readings from their newest fiction. (I plan to read my latest, “Lord Bai’s Discovery of Bacon”. The editor who asked for it will be in the audience. Be afraid. Be very afraid.) Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Roxanne Bland, Kelly A. Harmon, Gail Z. Martin, Jean Marie Ward and Trisha J. Woolridge.

Sunday, 4 p.m.
Reading as Exploration - Tell us about books you have explored recently or those you remember from the past. Panelists: David Glenn Anderson, Robert R. Chase, Darrell Schweitzer, Jean Marie Ward and Martin Morse Wooster.

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Friday, May 15, 2009
The Horror of It All - My book is terrorizing me.

I’ve been terrorized by the next book in my paranormal series. I know my world pretty well, and I’ve been looking forward to telling the story of the two secondary characters (Lysander and Phaedra) from Book 1. Just one problem, they’ve not been very cooperative when it comes to sharing their story. Pulling a bone from the jaws of a pit bull would be easier than getting these two to talk.

I’ve been terrorized by the next book in my paranormal series. I know my world pretty well, and I’ve been looking forward to telling the story of the two secondary characters (Lysander and Phaedra) from Book 1. Just one problem, they’ve not been very cooperative when it comes to sharing their story. Pulling a bone from the jaws of a pit bull would be easier than getting these two to talk.

The whole process has been so bad that I’ve been losing sleep over it. Over the past week, I’ve woken up at 2am, 3am, 4am sporadically with questions that I don’t have answers too. Sometimes I get up to try and answer the questions and other times I lie there wanting to cry because all I can see is that deadline barreling down at me like a train. And trust me; waking up at these hours in the morning doesn’t bode well for an 8-hour work day. All I can say is, I didn’t sign up for this kind of mental anguish.

I’m Losing It

So last night I went to bed at 8pm, frightened, utterly exhausted and debating whether I need to ask for a proposal deadline extension—NOT a good thing in my book. But there I was looking down the barrel of a gun with about two pages of a 12-13 page synopsis written, and I’m looking at a proposal deadline middle of June. I mean, what do I do, call and say, “Hey, sorry my characters aren’t talking to me, and I’m not sure I can get this to you in time.” Yeah, and what bridge did you last buy?

I set my alarm for 4:30am. I figure that will give me eight solid hours of sleep, which will hopefully give me some stamina to write. It took less than five minutes for me to drop off into the la petite mort, although a really small, irrational part of me was wishing for la grand mort (no not really, I’m depressed about all this but definitely not suicidal).

A Sleepy Epiphany

But here I am, sleeping peacefully and something wakes me up. I look at the clock and it’s ONLY 10:15pm. WTF, I took all of my drugs, including my sleeping pill and all I can get out are two hours of nods? So I lay there for a minute trying to go back to sleep. Then it hits me. I mean it hits me right between the eyes, I know how to make this process easier. I’ve been here before, I just didn’t remember it. Immediately I scramble out of bed and race toward the computer (ok, so I fell out of bed and stumbled sleepy-eyed toward the computer).

It took me several minutes to find what I was looking for, but when I did, I was overjoyed. I had all but a small portion of the synopsis laid out in about two hours. Here’s what I did. I remembered I’d blogged about how a synopsis is like calculus, but I just couldn’t remember WHERE, but I eventually found it. I posted the following blog on RWA Online HEA Café blog August 31, 2007. And thanks to that blog post, I got that damn synopsis pretty much written, now on to writing four or five chapters to go with the synopsis. A writer’s work is never done. Oh, and I’m reposting it here so I can remember to look here in another moment of panic in the wee hours of the morning!!!!

Synopses and “Calculus Just Is” Moments"

Synopsis From Hell

I despise synopsis writing. I’m a pantser, and I’d never written a synopsis BEFORE finishing the book. But a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of needing to write a synopsis for a book where I’d only written 50 pages.

Writing this synopsis was ten times worse than writer’s block. All I could do was sit at the screen and wonder what to put on the page. I know how to write a synopsis, when the book is already written. That’s easy for me, but how was I supposed to write one BEFORE I’d written the ending. Now I had written about 50 pages of the book, but it still didn’t help me much figuring out what to include in the synopsis. Sure I had an “idea” of what the black moment might be like, but what else did I need?

Outlines - Fault Lines

I don’t follow a formula, outline, etc. when I write. Words just flow out of me, and then I go back and edit. But you can’t do that with a synopsis. Think of it as being a map. A map for what direction the book is headed in. I’d never drawn a book map before, so I went surfing on the net. I figured, hey someone out there has an idea for how to write a synopsis.

Now you’d think Google or Dogpile would yield tons of results on how to write a synopsis. Umm, no. Either I wasn’t spelling synopsis correctly or there the knowledgebase was running a little dry. But then I found her!

Alicia Rasley

She had this wonderful article on the three acts found in a book. http://www.sff.net/people/alicia/artthreeacts.htm

So here I was reading the article, and suddenly it was like being in calculus class. If you’ve ever taken calculus, you know that understanding it requires you to accept the fact that “it just is.” A concept I found difficult to grasp until two weeks before the end of the semester. The lightbulb came on! It was wonderful. I could finally accept that calculus just is.

I share that with you because when I was reading Alicia’s article, I had one of those “calculus just is” moments. Here it was in black and white. Everything I needed to go into my synopsis. Alicia had laid it all out for me. The result was magic for me. I took the headings from Alicia’s article, and opened a document in Word, where I listed the primary points from the article.

Initiating Event
External Conflict Emerges
Antagonist Shows Up
Conflict Rises
The Reversal
The Point of No Return
The Dark Moment
The Climax
The Resolution

Under each header, I wrote a brief blurb, scene, explanation for the action that occurs under the header. I did this for each one all the way through to The Point of No Return or it might have been Crisis. I can’t remember. Anyway, I’m thinking, WTF do I do now??? For two days I couldn’t write another word. I was in the dark about how to finish the damn thing. Then it hit me. Why not work backward! I had a basic idea of how I wanted the book to end, so I essentially worked my way back to get those last scenes in my head.

The Resolution

In the process, I wrote one of the best synopses I’ve ever written. Now the process outlined above may or may not help you write a synopsis, but as I tell my kids, you have to at least try it. If you don’t like it then you eat or do something else. While it might seem like a formula, it isn’t really. It’s just a list of the necessary ingredients that have to go in a book and the writer has to add in those same ingredients to a synopsis. It’s taken me five long years to have my “calculus just is” moment when it comes to synopsis writing, but now that I have, it’s going to be a lot easier from here on out.

In response to this blog, Claire Delacroix directed me to a class she'd done about synopses and it's a HUGE help as well. Check it out at the RWA HEA Cafe

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Worse Rejections

Thursday, May 14, 2009
How do agents and editors really think? Puzzling out rejections.

Not long ago I read a lively blog thread on “worst rejections,” a topic productive of endless reminiscence and speculation. Have you received rejections that baffled you with their ambiguity and cluelessness? Or, worse yet, an implicit rejection in the form of a requested submission being completely ignored?

Very early in my attempt at a writing career, I mailed a follow-up query about a story I’d sent to a small magazine and got a reply to the effect of, “all unsolicited manuscripts have been returned.” What the heck did that mean? All the submissions were so inferior they were rejected in disgust? The magazine was overstocked and therefore automatically returned all manuscripts? They were currently closed?

My two most baffling rejections came from agents. When first trying to sell my werewolf novel SHADOW OF THE BEAST, I sent the prologue and synopsis to an agent who then requested the full manuscript. She eventually rejected the novel on the grounds that a book should begin with something “important” happening. I thought, “Good grief, it starts with both of the heroine’s siblings being killed by a feral animal!” I later realized I’d made a newbie mistake in not including the prologue because the agent already had it. By the time she got the rest of the book, she must have forgotten all about the prologue and thought the story started with the heroine catching a bus to work.

My other most peculiar (and exasperating) agent rejection followed an appointment at the 2000 RWA con. I’d pitched a vampire romance and made it perfectly clear that paranormal romance was the only kind I wanted to write. The agent asked to see the partial. A few months later, she rejected the novel because—it was “too paranormal” for her!

Do you have any provocative or puzzling tales from the rejection trenches?

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I Can Has Podcast

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
If you click on the button, the next voice you'll hear on Gail Z. Martin's Ghost in the Machine podcast is mine. Gail is the multi-talented author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer, and speaking as a recovering PR person, she did an amazing job, especially considering I was having one of those days where my brain wasn't talking to my mouth. LOL Sometimes I think writers have more of those than anybody else. Enjoy!

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