Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What would I do if I became a really really really famous author

On youtube Kaleb Nation and Jackson Pearce have answered the question listed above. The top five things.... hmmm. Well, there are definitely a few more, but these are the first that come to mind:

1) Pay off all our debts, buy the house of my dreams, the cars we want, and put money away for the future. Ok, whew, got the reasonable one out of the way first.

2) For this house of my dreams - hire staff: landscaper, maid, and a cook. I'm just not good at it and I want to eat well and look good for all my public appearances. Better hire a massueur and a personal trainer as well.

3) Have a TOTALLY awesome writing space with lots of desk top room, a great computer and printer, all my favorite pens and regular shopping at Staples for more supplies (yes, I completely adore Staples - could shop in there forever). There would be lots of light, a small library of books (reference and favorite fiction). I would be excited to be there every day. Except when I'm traveling

4) Travel and shop to my hearts content - first class all the way. To NYC, to London, Paris, a month in Italy. I'm a self trained retail therapist and I adore the whole process of shopping... and buying! Vacations to Disney, California. Cruises. Yeah, let's face it -- I want it all.

5) Create places for writers to write! First, I'd buy a bed and breakfast on the Jersey Shore and turn it into a low cost writers' retreat where writers could come to relax and commune with their muse and be inspired by one another. I'd get to be there whenever I could, meeting and encouraging folks.

I'd also buy a brownstone like place, have a bookstore cafe on the first floor, a daycare place in the basement, and rooms upstairs that can be reserved for writing. Hey - if your gym can provide child care while you work out, I should be able to find a way to do this for writers. We all deserve a place to become the writers we want to be.

I have to add one more
6) Invest in projects I believe in. I have friends who are working hard to achieve their artistic dreams and I would love to be able to give them funding, no strings attached so they could go full force towards what they want.

So... what would you do? Oh, and if your curious Jackson's video response, which I really like, is here:

Have a great week,

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary


A year ago my first book, ROLL PLAY, was released by Ellora's Cave. It was the first full book I had ever submitted for publication and the release day was one I will remember forever. We popped champagne at midnight, I received calls and flowers all day, and my mom surprised me for a visit that night by taking the train to Massachusetts from New Jersey and having my husband pick her up at the station. It was a magical day.

Today I am still kind of floating from that first release and looking forward to future releases. My next story, RETURN TO XANDER, comes out September 22nd in EC's JEWELS OF THE NILE, CAVEMEN III anthology, which makes it my first print book. I have a dark fiction story coming out in an another anthology later this year and I am submitting three more stories in the next few weeks.

Yes, I've had some tough days and a refusal on a book I loved, but I choose this roller coaster ride called the writing life - and I'll never change my mind.

I wish you your dreams coming true in the months to come. Thanks for celebrating with me.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

WHAT'S IN A NAME? - Part 1

I know I’m not the only writer who spends a great deal of time thinking about the names of my characters. Names tell you a lot about the person you are about. There are two aspects to names. First are the names we choose and second is the characters we choose to name. I want to talk about this second set this week.

Last week while working on my current manuscript, I had two characters. Originally, one was referred to simply as “the stable boy” When I was doing some rewriting I decided to name the stable boy Finn. And suddenly… he wanted to TALK! He wanted to participate in the story. Doing the only thing I felt I could do at the time I said, “Sure,” and there he was babbling away as only a seven year old can do. He was rushing into rooms, interrupting the hero and heroine and now he is well on his way to being part of the climax.

The other character was “an older female servant” who became Ida, and once she was Ida, she, too, needed to be a more active part of the story. She’s turned into a surrogate mom for my heroine (who’s based on Cinderella) and is helping her to grow into her new role and to accept her love for the prince.

I adore both characters and there is no doubt that the book is better for them being in it. It was a wonderful surprise seeing them both come to life on the page and a memorable experience for me as a writer. Now I know – be careful who you name, because the story they change, may be your own!

May you have wonderful surprises in your world this week,

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One Less Kiss

Being a writer is only one of many identities that color my life. Being a mother to two very active boys (8 and 5) is the one that takes most of my time.

Recently, my younger son showed me that he now knows how to buckle himself into his car seat. He was so proud to be able to do this. I was proud and glad - one less thing for me to do when we are trying to get on the road. Then I realized something. When I buckle him in, I have to reach across his lap and in the process, before I go to my seat, I always give him a kiss. Now that opportunity is gone. I have one less kiss with him during the day.

Each step forward that we celebrate with our children is also a step away from us and comes, for mothers, with a drop of sadness.

I remember when my sons started to sit up and hold their own bottles. I thought - whew, a little more flexibility for me in my days. And then I thought - no more holding them for that moment. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad to be out of the helpless bottles-burping-bib stage where you have to be on alert for all their waking moments, but their independence means less dependence on what I have for them. I am thrilled for his accomplishments, but miss some of the things I used to do for and with him.

So I cheer for my son every time I hear the seatbelt click.

And I'm on the lookout for ways to sneak in an extra kiss or two.

May you notice the many moments of joy children bring to your life,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rejection vs. Refusal

Sticking to a dream even when it's hard is what proves your commitment to making the dream a reality. Being an author is my dream come true and no refusal is going to stop me.

I recently submitted my fantasy novel DESTINY'S JEWEL to Ellora's Cave for their birthstone series and on Monday I received a "no, thank you" from my editor, my first from EC. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Worse... in the heart.

I shared my disappointment with my writers group and received great support and understanding. I also received two definitions that have changed the way I look at this part of writing.

According to the dictionary:
REJECTION: 1) the act or process of discarding as useless or
unsatisfactory. 2) to refuse to grant

Now, I know that my manuscript isnt useless. Nor do many of the other descriptions of the word "reject" fit my work. However.. the word refuse is used in the definition.

Look at that definition:
REFUSE: 1) to decline to accept (something offered): to refuse an award.
2) to decline to give; deny (a request, demand, etc.).

That fits what happened much better. My editor declined to accept the manuscript, denied it publication in it's current form with EC. The story was refused. By one editor. Of one story. That is much easier on my heart and muse.

Most writers have heard the story of how many times DUNE was refused (13, I believe), DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, by Anne Frank (15 times), JONATHON LIVINGSTON SEAGULL (140!!). Knowing those numbers help a little, but for me, reframing the process in my mind was an instant balm.

I offered my editor a manuscript. She refused. That was her choice. How I feel and go forward from here - that's my choice.

And I feel just fine, thank you.

May your choices support your dreams,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Starting over - Changing course

A writer friend of mine said something to me yesterday that was very helpful - until you submit your work, everything is a draft and therefore changeable.

I am working on a new story while waiting to hear back on another that I submitted a few weeks ago to my edotir. . Two scary places for a writer, and I am doing them simultaneously. I am not good at waiting. And being at the beginning of a project can be a challenge.

I didnt have the right opening line, wasnt sure where I was going. Each day I stared at the screen making changes that weren't helping. As of last night I was ready to junk the whole think. Bye-bye retelling of the Cinderella story. It was getting too hard.

And then my friend made that comment and reminded me that I could, if I still liked my idea, just start over. It was a daunting thought, but I was going to get rid of what I had anyway, so truly, I had nothing to loose. I made a commitment that I would be online at the same time he was (6:30 am this morning! goodness!) and I would start from the top with a goal of writing 2,000 words.

So I was.

And I did.

And now, instead of having over 3,500 words I hated... I have about 2,000 that I like and a place to go next with my hero and heroine.

I realized, the truth is, with a lot of what we do, we can change course and correct if we have the courage to do it. I read once that an airplane is off course more than 50% of the time it is flying, but as long as it lands where it is supposed to, who cares. As long as the story is good when it's finally submitted, it doesnt matter how many times I've had to write and/or change it. I just need to courage to keep going forward and trust my idea, my goal.

I hope that this week you will trust in your goals and find the people you need to support you if you need to make a course correction. It's worth it.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do calendars lie?

Because according to mine, my children will be out of school in just under 5 weeks. How is it possible that an entire school year is nearly over?

There's not enough hours in my day to do all I want (including procrastinate, I admit) already and now the kids will be around more as well. I cannot even begin to imagine what I am going to do to keep us all from going insane before the end of August.

Sure, there will be a few weeks of day camp, and some trips to the beach, play grounds, and libraries. But I have to be honest and say that I have a small feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach about the loss of what little independent time I have. I love my time in my writing salon, with the door closed, my coffee hot and no voices other than the ones in my head. I suppose it will seem all the more precious to me come this summer when I will have to take what I can when I can.

What do you do when the children are around more? How do you find the balance you need to keep you sanity (assuming any of us have that to start)?

As I write this a fight over a water gun has broken out. Time to get the referee whistle.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If you can't say anything nice...

"Come sit by me," says Clairee Blecher (played by Olympia Dukakis) in STEEL MAGNOLIAS.

Of course it can be fun to sit and gossip. Yes, I've been known to do it myself, but I doubt the southern lady Clairee would approve of making those comments outloud so that others could hear them. And in this electronic age, our ability to be outloud includes writing, posting and commenting on blogs.

I didn't attend this years Romantic Times (RT) convention, but I havent been able to avoid some of the controversy that happened during and after. Blogs abound, but more... the comments to the blog go on for pages. Some nasty stones are being thrown and some good people are getting hurt.

It seems to me that some blogs can be like the tabloids. Uncensored, they comment on the the big racy/juicy/newsy stuff as if these were big, bold headlines, and if they have to "print" a retraction, that part is done smaller and more hidden. Not that it matters - the damage is done. Tempers have be raised, things have been written in the heat of the moment, feelings have been bruised.

And perhaps worse than feelings, which heal, sometimes reputations are hurt, which takes longer. Things posted on the internet can last a long time. Blogs are searchable by friends, family, fans, as well as future editors and agents. A lot of folks use screen names to hide their identity - or the names of others (there is a poster who uses Nora Robert's name and I have come to doubt that this is the famous author). I dont blame them, but I have noticed that those are the folks who make some of the most scathing comments. While the posters authority is questionable (due to the anonimity), it doesnt seem to make their comments sting less.

If there is a reason to make a public opinion of something known, I agree it should be written. There are many writers (and reporters, politicians, and humorists) whose thoughts I appreciate. It's those who talk/write to hurt or condemn for the sake of doing it that concern me. If my future fans want to know my take on something, I'll put it in a newsletter to them directly. Not somewhere more public where it can start the rumor mill running or be misrepresented.

Just like positive events aren't what leads on the evening news, positive blogs aren't the ones that get 100+ comments on a single post, hundreds of hits, and related posts on other blogs. But I'm going to hold out for the ones that do and post my comments there.

Then again - I also hope that one day we'll see the cable channel ONN - Optomist News Network, which will report on how many planes landed safely, how many kids are snug in their beds well rested and fed, how many people fell in love, and how great it is that tomorrow is a new day waiting to be filled by our positive choices.

No wonder I write books with happily ever after endings.

Optomistically yours,Rowan

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dreaming about the future

A year ago, my first book ROLL PLAY was newly accepted and I was just finishing signing the contracts. It was released in August 2007. And now as the Romantic Times conference goes on in Pittsburgh without me... I can't help thinking about the future.

Next year at this time I want
- to be at the RT in Orlando
- to have at least one (and preferably more) print book to sign
- to have at least three new e-books on my back list
- to have a new laptop computer
- to have my writing income support my travels!

Those are definitely my writing goals.

Nothing else new here, fans. I've submitted a new book to Ellora's Cave and I am waiting to hear back from my editor and I'm working on a very sexy retelling of the Cinderella story.

Hope your spring finds you and your dreams blossoming!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Happy Spring - Happy News

Hello friends,

Spring is here, well sort of, and I am working away on several new stories. Having this dream career has been as wonderful as I hoped.

*ROLL PLAY continues to sell 7 months after it's release.

* My first print story will appear in September 2008 in Ellora's Cave JEWELS OF THE NILE anthology, one of four annual anthologies they do. RETURN TO XANDER is the story of Mia Belmont and Xander Alessio and how Mia learns that been seen for who she is and taking risks for love is worth it.

* Ellora's Cave's editors have their own blog called REDLINES AND DEADLINES. They have been discussing strong opening lines of books and in their March 27th, Thursday 13 list, the opening of ROLL PLAY was listed as one of their "Starts That Sell". You can read it at: I'm number 8, and thrilled to have made the list.

* My dark fiction story, PRAY, (written as R.E. Gofstein) will appear in the Dark Hart anthology TERRIBLE BEAUTY, which will be available early this fall. It is the story of a hollywood mom (think Lindsay Lohan's mom) who will do anything to protect her child - even bargain with a demon. It is a very different story for me, one that was challenging to write.

* I will be submitting a new story for consideration to EC at the end of next week. If they like it, you'll see DESTINY'S JEWEL available this September as part of their birthstone series. Kiera starts the book as a naked sushi platter and ends up the captive of a very sexy alien.

And that's the news from here. I hope you, too, are passionately pursuing your dreams.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Things in my world I love

Happy Valentine's Day!! I am so fortunate to love my world. I really feel that at this time in my life I have let go of the things that dont work, that dont make me happy and what is left is... WONDERFUL!!

- I have a loving supportive husband who is a phenominal father to our two sons.
- I not only love my sons... I really like them too.
- I love that I am close with both my parents, my brother and his family, my sister in law and her family.
- I love having several close girlfriends with whom to share the ups and downs of being a woman. - I love creating new characters and seeing them come to life om the page
- I love seeing my name on the cover of my books.
- I love the writers that I am blessed to share this creative journey with.
- I love coming home when I've been away
- I love the writing space that my husband created for me (my muse salon).
- I love time to scrapbooking
- I love chocolate, sushi, champagne, chinese food, and good pizza
- I love shopping (yes, I believe in retail therapy).
- I love learning new things.
- I love surfing the internet
- I love that I could make this list even longer

I love that each day I get to choose to do the things I love most!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Three words that would best describe me are...


Being creative, leading a creative life, and encouraging creativity in my children is a big part of my world. I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was in my teens, but before that it was acting (and acting up, and acting out...). I've always been attracted to the ability to create and even my hobby - scrapbooking - has that aspect. My boys have inherited this fun gene from me and I love seeing what they come up with.


From what I write to how I love - if there's no passion involved, I dont do it. I was once at a seminar where they asked us to think about our purpose. One of the ways they guided us to the answer was by asking us to think about what we wouldnt live without (chocolate not included). Or what when it wasnt in our life, made our lives dimmer, duller. The answer for me is PASSION. That driving heat, that intense desire. A life without it is hardly worth it to me. One of the reasons I know I enjoy writing erotic romance is because I have seen too many women ignore the passionate and, yes, sexual side of themselves. That is like ignoring one of our great gifts, great powers as women. I believe that erotic writing, and reading, helps to put us back in touch with that part of ourselves.


I have a great sense of humor. Laughter is another big part of my life. Hey, I live with my husband and two sons - I had better laugh a lot. When I look at some of the long-lived celebrities I notice two groups: dancers, which makes sense because physical activity is good for you and comedians, because I really believe laughter is so good for you. George Burns, Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller, Lucille Ball. Stay off the dangerous stuff (yes, drugs) and laughter can really extend your life. I've always been told I have a great sense of humor and I do make people laugh a lot. One of my writing goals is to try to create that more in my stories. And when life's frustrations get to me (they get to us all), finding ways and reasons to laugh helps me to move forward.

Embrace who you are. Look at Julia Child - she ate whatever she wanted. Drank alcohol in moderation and regularly, and was a breast cancer survivor. I dont doubt that one of the reasons she lead such a long life is because she did what she loved. She did what allowed her to create what she wanted in the world, what she was passionate about, and have love and laughter in her life.

I wish you all the same, Rowan