- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
- Squawk Friends
- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
WATCH THE RACHEL RAY SHOW, THURSDAY (TOMORROW!) MORNING, YOUR LOCAL TIME!!! HERE’S LAURA’S OWN DESCRIPTION OF THE EXPERIENCE—AND CHECK BACK TOMORROW AFTERNOON TO DISCUSS THE SHOW!
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
It’s the hap-happiest season of all!!! (Ok I will stop singing now).
Here is why I am so happy (aside from my cutie pie that is getting ready to walk):
Leslie Ferdinand, Eloisa James, and the Rachael Ray experience. And of course my husband, but we will get to him later ;O).
How this all started:
Many of you know that last year the Squawkers and Squawkettes helped out Leslie and her family. They lost everything when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and all of us were devastated by what Leslie had to go through. Many of you may not know how much Eloisa helped out with the whole fund drive, the organization, and how she helped me send a surprise Christmas in a box to Leslie that year.
How did I go to the Rachael Ray Show, you ask? Well, I emailed the Rachael Ray show about Leslie’s story, Squawk Radio, the fund drive, the Christmas in a box, and well… Christmas comes every year, and with the help of the Squawkers, we set out to maybe orchestrate something that could add to what the fund drive did for Leslie last year.
Now, when you guys watch the show there is no direct mention of Squawk Radio (they wanted to focus on Leslie’s story and how I wrote in, and of course the BIG surprises for her)… but I wanted to give you some behind the scenes stuff of how this all went down- don’t worry over there in the hen house! I am not going to give away any secrets.
Only that I had a ton of support from all of them ever since the Rachael Ray show called, when the field crew came to my house, when I went to NYC, and after. I can’t explain the stress (that good type of stress full of excitement and the unknown) of it all in any kind of coherency because it would sound something like this:
“OMG I AM GOING ON TV AND WHAT TO WEAR AND OMG WHAT IF LESLIE HELP AND WT……………” ok see?
Apparently, I had nothing to worry about. I hope you all have a chance to watch the show tomorrow to see what happened~!
The Rachael Ray Experience:
Tim and I dropped my daughter Evelyn off @ my parent’s house then hopped a plane to NYC. We passed on the hotel and decided to stay with my Aunts in the city. That was a blast and a life saver because all of the shirts I brought to wear on the show did not look right at all. I ended up wearing my Aunt Caroline’s very pretty blue sweater. Here’s me and Tim.
The ride to the show was long, traffic was packed, but we were able to do some sight seeing as we passed the Guggenheim, The Waldorf, Central Park, and other fun buildings (Colgate head quarters- they’ve been creating bright smiles for 200 years! and so on…)
When we finally entered the lobby, plasma televisions with the Rachael Ray logo were on the walls. There were 2 people with head sets waiting for us, and then they moved us up to a waiting area until our production team arrived (as if I wasn’t nervous enough already~!). It was very busy and the place was just electrified with energy. Everyone was so friendly to us, and we met a ton of fun people who worked for the show.
Before we knew it we went through orange and yellow painted halls to make up. The make up artist was basically from my home town (our high schools played each other in sports). She was really nice! Then we met the producers and talked with them until it was time to go on the show.
(I really should add in here someone mistook me for a famous person! And my husband said I looked just like Katherine Zeta Jones, and that I unknowingly was making origami with paper napkins because I was so nervous :O)).
Before I went backstage, Tim went to sit in the audience. It just so happened that the same day Emitt Smith was there! We were really excited about that… and managed to see him walk by two windows :O). He looked so nice, as did his dance partner.
Now this is where I started to get a little terrified. Nervous is not the word. I was all out of paper napkins and was about to create the first soda can folded dove-without knowing it.
I am so glad that the producers were there to talk me out of being petrified. They were all so fabulous that I put my Coke can in the recycling bin and was able to walk a straight line. (At this point I didn’t know if/when/what Leslie would be there, if she was, when would I meet her finally? What would Rachael be like? Where was Tim in the audience? Where was Eloisa? And so on…)
The behind the scenes team on the Rachael Ray Show made this one of those lifetime experiences. The fast paced world of TV takes a certain kind of warrior Pollyanna Wolverine type. You know, those multi tasking geniuses that can do ten things at once, but still make the people in their presence feel like gold in the process.
Even with all of that, right before I went to sit next to Rachael at her kitchen table, I had one of those heart stopping OH (insert expletive here)! moments.
MORE TOMORROW! I have more pictures and I have to tell you about the day in New York with Leslie and Eloisa… but let me ask you this. If YOU could go on any show in the world, which one would you go on—and why?
Hi there! I’m Suzanne Enoch, and I’m a romance author. Before I begin rambling, thanks to the Squawk gals for inviting me to visit, and for letting me recover from my turkey-dinner induced coma before I had to show up.
Like Christina and Connie and Lisa, I’ve branched out in my writing efforts, moving from strictly Historical Romances to both those and Contemporary Romances. It kind of happened by accident; working full time and the Historicals pretty much filled up my schedule. But then, on a wondrous day now known as Freedom Day among my friends and family members, I quit my day job. And then the next day I remembered that I’d just turned in the final book of my present contract, making me doubly unemployed.
Anyway, FLIRTING WITH DANGER emerged as a lark, a writing effort that was born out of having no deadlines and nowhere to be at eight o’clock in the morning. As I wrote the story of the meeting and romance of Samantha Jellicoe, high-class cat burglar, and Rick Addison, British billionaire and art collector, I thought their relationship was complex enough that it would stand up for more than one book. Luckily my publisher agreed after they read FLIRTING, and I followed that one up with DON’T LOOK DOWN, and now BILLIONAIRES PREFER BLONDES.
In BILLIONAIRES, Sam starts out thinking that everything’s coming along well, and that despite her occasional urges to break into places, she’s coping well with Rick and his high-profile lifestyle. And of course the second you relax is the second that everything goes wrong. Within 24 hours Rick’s brand new painting goes missing, she spies someone who looks exactly like her dead father (the cat burglar who taught her everything she knows), and she ends up arrested for the theft of the painting. I can’t tell you anything else without giving things away, except to say that the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art could probably use some fresh paint by the end of the story.
In 2007, Samantha and Rick will make two further appearances on bookshelves. First up will be a TWICE THE TEMPTATION in August. It’s actually two complete stories in one book – the first one being a Historical Romance featuring the meeting of two of Rick’s ancestors and a diamond that may or may not be cursed. The second story occurs as Sam finds this same diamond in the course of providing security for a traveling gemstone exhibit. Much mayhem follows as she tries to prove to Rick that the diamond is indeed cursed while he tries just as hard to convince her that it’s not.
In September, Sam and Rick return in a full-length story involving Sam trying to track down some thousand-year-old Japanese Samurai swords and armor that went missing from a museum, while Rick goes shopping for something sparkly in a circular setting. Could it be an engagement ring? We don’t have a title yet, but at the moment I’m referring to it as HOLY COW, I HOPE I MAKE MY DEADLINE.
In the meantime I’ll be finishing up my Historical series featuring the Griffin family, with Sebastian, the Duke of Melbourne’s story, SINS OF A DUKE, coming out in June. If my brain hasn’t exploded by the time all of this is finished, I’ll continue in both genres.
So how about you? Are you willing to follow your favorite historical author into contemporary and even into a series that incorporates both genres? What’s more important to you as a reader--the author’s voice or the time period in which her story is written?
Make sure and pop by Squawk Radio first thing Monday morning because we’ll have author Suzanne Enoch blogging with us to discuss her hot new contemporary release BILLIONAIRES PREFER BLONDES and who knows what else!
So apparently I did a shocking thing. In my new book, COLD AS ICE, my hero, an undercover agent, had sex with men in the past, as part of his job. This seemed entirely reasonable to me – when you’re undercover, you’re undercover, and there’s no need to be persnickety about it.
And trust me, my heroes are never persnickety. Cold, deadly, gorgeous, amoral by most people’s standards (though they do have a twisted morality of their own), the heroes of my ICE series wouldn’t hesitate about anything. Bastien, the hero in BLACK ICE, stands by as the heroine, an inconvenient innocent, is almost tortured to death by one of the myriad bad guys. It takes him almost as long to rescue her as it took Darth Vader to jump in and save Luke in Return of the Jedi. And yet oddly enough people are more ready to forgive such cold-blooded practicality than Peter Jensen’s sexual flexibility (as Publisher’s Weekly called it) in my new book. Assassination if fine, just keep your hands out of another man’s pants.
In truth, I didn’t plan to write about a sexually open-minded hero. He was a strong supporting character in BLACK ICE, working undercover as the lover of a male arms dealer, and I had no intention of writing a sequel. But when it came time to write another book I couldn’t let that world go, and beautiful, cold Peter was the only one available for hero duty.
I half expected my editors to try and make me tone it down, which would have ended up with an interesting battle. I don’t set out to shock people, but I don’t shy away from it if the story calls for it. And really, what’s so shocking about a man who’s had physical encounters with another man, in the line of duty or not?
I’ve gotten my first horrified reaction – a review at Amazon reviling me for Peter’s past choices. What do you think? Is sex with another man a deal-breaker for you in a hero? Or is it (gasp)a turn on?
Outside the romance world people are astonished that something like that would shock readers. (In the erotica world they’re going “oooh, yeah!”). But the bottom line is my books are intense. You pay a high price for that happy ending. But the more you have to go through, the sweeter the triumph.
Peter and Genevieve go through a hell of a lot, and a few odd sexual encounters in his past are the least of their worries. Genevieve is understandably much more upset by his habit of killing people, no matter how wicked they are, than his offbeat sexual history.
It makes perfect sense to me. I’m of the “make love, not war” generation and yet my heroes kill. There’s something about the appeal of a man who can break the greatest taboo—not sex with another man, but to end a human life. I abhor violence and war, and yet I’m fascinated by soldiers and assassins and killers, as are many readers. If any of you have a theory about it I’d love to hear it.
Peter’s a killer, an expert at all sorts of manipulative sex who finally learns how to make love. And that’s worth all the trouble he went through, no matter how much I piss off my more squeamish readers.
Because, when it comes right down to it, a hero’s gotta do what a hero’s gotta do. Even if some people really wish he wouldn’t.
[A note From Eloisa: Anne’s going to give away two copies of COLD AS ICE this evening, chosen from the commentators, so be sure to check back and see whether your name is announced!]
Well, if that headline doesn’t pick up some naughty internet surfers, I don’t know what will! We’re here today talking with Jenna Petersen, a bestselling historical author for Avon Books who also just happens to run one of the most popular websites for aspiring romance authors on the internet--THE PASSIONATE PEN. I personally owe Jenna a tremendous debt of gratitude because now I have somewhere to send all of those aspiring writers who e-mail me to ask me for my agent’s home telephone number and the secret handshake that will result in publishing their first novel and becoming multi-millionaires. It’s also heartening to know that today’s writers won’t have to learn about publishing their first romance by loitering in dank back alleys or checking out 5-year-old copies of the WRITERS MARKET from their local library as I did. Please join me in welcoming Jenna Petersen to Squawk Radio!
TERESA: So what inspired you to develop THE PASSIONATE PEN? Was it simply your selfless love for the aspiring writer or did you think it might be a good promotional tool for your career as well?
JENNA: You know, I started The Passionate Pen because I was looking for the kind of info I have up there and just couldn’t find it. I wasn’t a member of RWA yet and I didn’t know any other writers. I figured if I wanted the info, others might, too. I never in a million years thought that it would turn into the huge thing it has become. I didn’t even think of it as a promotional tool until about three or four years ago when I looked at my stats and thought, “Hey, if I ever do sell a book, some of these people might actually buy it!”
TERESA: Ah, yes...the good old days...when I didn’t know any other writers. Sorry, I digress. So what do you feel is the most popular feature on the website?
JENNA: The pages with the highest number of visitors (aside from the opening page) are the Romance Publishers, Agents and my Diary page, in that order. So the core parts of the site are still the most popular, which is really nice.
TERESA: I’ll just bet the Agents Page would be even more popular if you’d publish their home telephone numbers and personal measurements! Do you ever get feedback from your site surfers thanking you for the information or suggesting new topics for the site?
JENNA: I do! That’s one of the best things about romance writers. They’re so NICE. I get lots of emails every month to just say thanks, as well as a steady flow of questions. Sometimes if I get a lot of the same question, I’ll do an article about that topic. It makes my life easier since then I can just send them a link to the page with the answer, or they’ll find it on their own in their search through the site.
TERESA: Have you ever heard from a grateful writer who got published because she studied the information on The Passionate Pen? Do they send candy, jewels, small cash awards?
JENNA: A couple of times authors have written me to say they sent material to a publisher and their book was picked up. Especially with the smaller publishers who they might not have found easily on their own. That’s always cool. I don’t think anyone with a New York print publisher has ever written to me after a sale. I don’t think I can really take credit for anything, anyway. All I do is provide the information, what the author does with it is an entirely different story.
TERESA: I’ve noticed that you update the site nearly every week. What new content can your readers look forward to on a weekly basis?
JENNA: It depends on the week and how busy the industry changes are at present. I check the links to the agents and publishers every month, so there are normally changes on those pages at least once a month. I also keep up-to-date on new markets or moving agents, etc. So when I get that info, I update it. I also update my calendar of where I’m appearing pretty regularly. Oh, and I update the Buy A Historical page with the upcoming historical romances every month. The Diary gets updated pretty much every week.
Some months are slower. This month, for example, I just haven’t had as much to update (and I was finishing a book), so there have been weekly Diary updates and not a lot else.
TERESA: Is your publisher aware of the site and if so, what do they think of it?
JENNA: Avon is aware of it. Actually my agent made them aware when they bought my first book, SCANDALOUS. They use it as a marketing tool on my cover flats and I update my editor with numbers periodically so that they can keep that info up-to-date. I have the impression that they see it as a nice platform not all new authors have.
TERESA: As a fellow historical romance writer, I love the fact that you encourage the site’s readers to buy historical romances and support the genre. If you could recommend ONE historical romance to convert a skeptic, which one would it be?
JENNA: Oh, that’s too hard, Teresa! I can’t pick one!! I have so many books on my keeper shelf that I’d recommend to romance skeptics (actually a great many of them are books by the Squawkers). I can say that I turned my Mom into a raging romance FIEND with both Maggie Osborne’s SILVER LINING and Julia Quinn’s THE DUKE AND I. So since that worked once, I’d probably try those first.
As for the Buy A Historical page on The Passionate Pen, for a long time, it seemed like everyone was bemoaning the ‘death of historicals’, I think mostly because it was very hard, as an unpublished author, to sell them. But no one was really talking about how to change that fact. The bottom line is that if readers are buying more historicals, the publishers will see the desire out there and buy their titles accordingly. So if I can have some small part in helping that along, why not? Plus, it’s kind of fun to see all the historical romances laid out like that. My TBB and TBR lists are LONG.
TERESA: What’s the best piece of publishing advice you received before you got published?
JENNA: I think the best advice I ever got was from a talk Jenny Crusie did for a local library. She was the first person I ever heard say it was okay to put your head down and write a crappy first draft. I’ve been writing crappy drafts ever since and fixing them in revision. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stuff outside of writing and it was a spectacular reminder that without books, one can’t ever hope to sell or do anything else.
TERESA: And in that same vein, what’s the worst piece of publishing advice you received before you got published?
JENNA: There was once a published author (not with Avon) who told me that I probably wouldn’t ever sell, so why didn’t I just give up? She’d never read anything I wrote. It was really crushing, especially since at the time I thought we were friendly. But when I come face-to-face with that kind of behavior, I file it in the ‘things I will never do’ folder in my mind. So I’m learning how to behave and how not to behave from the people around me.
TERESA: It would probably be best if we kept you away from Kitty Kuttlestone then. So what’s the one thing you’ve learned about the business since you’ve been published that you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
JENNA: I think it’s one of those things you hear and don’t really understand until you’re in it. The whole business is “hurry up and wait.” Even after you sell, you still wait to hear about revisions, hear about covers, hear about whatever. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so you can’t get too worked up about it along the way.
Of course, everyone who knows me is now laughing hysterically. See, I HEAR that advice, but it’s hard to actually follow it.
TERESA: So I hear you write romance under the names Jenna Petersen and Jess Michaels. Which one is the evil twin?
JENNA: Well, Jess Michaels is the naughty twin. She writes erotic historical romance for Avon Red. And Jenna writes Regency-era historical (that is also very sexy – I’m big on sexy). And soon I’ll be in Bedlam for referring to myself in third person and having multiple personalities…
TERESA: Tell us a little bit about your latest sexy release.
JENNA: My last book came out in August of this year. It is called FROM LONDON WITH LOVE and launched my Lady Spies series. Think Charlie’s Angels, but in Empire Waists. In the first book, my lady spy Meredith Sinclair is sent to investigate a gentleman for the crime of treason. Unfortunately, her suspect is a man she once loved, Tristan Archer. What is she to do when the evidence is telling her one thing, but her heart is telling her another?
There will be two more books in the series. The next is out in January (DESIRE NEVER DIES) and the third is scheduled for a Fall 2007 release. The entire series has been ridiculously fun to write. The heroines are all strong women, but they’re still ladies and the heroes are… well, I think they’re all hot
TERESA: Thank you so much for being with us today, Jenna! Jenna has graciously agreed to hang around the henhouse today and answer any questions you might have about THE PASSIONATE PEN, publishing in general or her own work. She’ll also be giving away an autographed copy of FROM LONDON WITH LOVE to one lucky Commenter!
Please join us tomorrow when Teresa will be interviewing bestselling author Jenna Petersen, who also happens to be the ever so generous webmistress of THE PASSIONATE PEN, one of the premier websites for aspiring romance authors on the net!
Darn it, I’m not ready to go. It’s been fun! Now I want to talk about prom.
Thanks everyone for a delightful two days here at Squawk Radio. To mark the occasion, I’m giving away two copies of my brand new contemporary romantic suspense, GIVE HIM THE SLIP. The winners are....ta da… debbie o and Keira S. If you’ll send me your snail mail address at , I’ll get them in the mail asap.
For the rest of you, I hope you’ll add GIVE HIM THE SLIP to your ‘I’ve got to buy this book’ list. It’s the first book of a new series that’s sexy and funny with characters I promise you won’t forget. I write about family and love and yes...dogs. But there’s murder, too! I cover all the bases.
Happy reading, everyone. It’s been a Squawking good time here in the Hen House.
Geralyn Visit Geralyn’s Website