Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Save The School of Gallantry!

When I was in high school, I had a dream. I was going to be the next Stephen King. Heh. Yeah. Stay with me. Please. I knew my ideas were fabulous and I knew all it would take is for an editor to look at it and they would offer me up the moon and the stars and best of all, a contract. I had my girlfriends read everything I wrote. And they kept telling me, “This is fabulous! It's SO funny! Hilarious!” Seeing it really wasn't supposed to BE funny, I immediately changed course realizing I actually had a better handle on being funny than scary. I also figured adding a romance into it would even make it better since that is what I loved to read.

I then entered college as an English major. I was going to be teacher and write during the summers. Even then I was a smart girl who knew I wasn't going to make jack and that I needed a job to support the “creative” one. Throughout all of college I wrote historical romances. One right after another. And kept submitting. And submitting. And submitting. And kept getting rejected and rejected and rejected. In the meantime, I got married. I had two kids. I joined RWA. I got critique partners. I did honed and honed and honed the crap out of my writing. And kept writing and getting rejected. I eventually racked up over 200 rejections and had written over 40 books in those 11 years of trying to get published.

When I finally sold my first historical romance, MISTRESS OF PLEASURE, and my second book, LORD OF PLEASURE, I was beside myself. It didn't feel real. To FINALLY arrive at a destination I had been traveling toward for 11 long years seemed like a mirage. Which fortunately, I quickly snapped out of. Because after all, most of my friends are all published and unpublished writers and the stories they all have told me throughout the years made me realize I had to fight with fists up for myself every step of the way. I knew publishers did little to no promotion for their authors, so I spearheaded my own promo, ready to be more than just an author. And even though I was budgeting very well and spending countless hours networking and promoting on websites and blogs, doing tons for free, I still ended up spending $7,000 on my first book. Which was way more than my advance. But hey, every business starts in the red. Right?

Then the reviews started coming in about my series set in 1830 London England about a school that educates men on the topic of love and seduction. People loved it! Wow. It got nominated for awards. Wow. Readers are e-mailing me raving. Wow. Readers from France, Austria, Poland, South Africa and from all over the U.S and the world.. Wow. It just kept getting better and better. I was beginning to feel as if every penny I spent was all worth it (even though my family and I weren't going on any vacations and were eating out of cans). Because all that mattered was that my publisher loved me and my readers loved my series.

Come contract time, I'm ready for whatever they wanna throw at me. Or so I thought. Mistress of Pleasure, though completely sold out and unavailable anywhere (unless it's a used copy, some going for a ridiculous amount of $40.00), hadn't done as well as my publisher had hoped. So without waiting for the second book to come out to see if the series was even worth saving, I get a rejection from my own editor citing lack of sales.

I have to say this rejection felt more personal than any of the other two hundred and some rejections I'd received. Because it was no longer “Your book isn't good enough” it became “Your sales aren't good enough.” Since when is an author supposed to be a market guru AND a fabulous writer? Eck.

I love this series. The men in it make me laugh and it broke my heart to think that my readers will never get a chance to read about Lord Brayton, my glorious male virgin. The only alpha virgin I've ever written about. Then I realized something, why I am letting a publisher decide what is worth holding on to? Shouldn't that be a reader's job?

Ah. Herein lies the purpose of my post. I am challenging everyone, be they readers or writers to help me do something that's never been done before. Save a series from a death sentence given by a publisher. Can it be done? Who knows. But I eat challenges for breakfast and I hope you do to. Please join me in saving my series. Come August 4th, tell everyone you know (yes, even you're 72 year old grandfather) to buy the book, Lord of Pleasure. In doing so, you'll have a chance to win one of three $50 Visa Gift Cards. How? Check out my website for details at

That said, thank you for all the support and love everyone has already shown me by allowing me to blog about this. Feel free to post and repost this to everyone under the moon and the stars. To all you readers out there, thank you for supporting us writers. To all you writers out there, don't ever give up on your writing. The moment you do, you give up on yourself. Which is why I'm not giving up on my series.

Cheers and much love,
Delilah Marvelle

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am having a Birthday Party at my yahoo loop all day today with lots of prizes!

Let the mayhem begin!

Today is my baby girls birthday and she is with the in-laws this year so since she won’t be here, you all get the presents! I have some special authors that have donated some wonderful prizes. All you have to do is join their yahoo loops or answer a question from their web sites and send me the email confirmation for a chance to win. Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?

Each time you join a yahoo loop by one of the following authors, you will receive a point. At the end of the contest, each author will pick a winner. I will then add up the points and that person will receive a $20 Amazon gift certificate from me. You can’ lose!

For an extra 5 points, have your friend join my loop and tell me that you sent them! Sometimes it is great to have friends, huh?

Bryl Tyne will offer the winner a copy of her latest release from Noble Romance, IGNITED (a Val & Kendra story).

http://groups. group/Pan- Rainbow_Seas/

Tuesday Richards has two ways to play and each is worth a point. She will be giving away a handmade Book Thong.
If you go to her web site and answer the following question, what was the name of her April contest?

Her site is www.tuesdayrichards .literalseductio

Another way to get a point is to join her yahoo loop. com/group/ tuesday_richards _paranormal_ playground/

Raine Delight will be giving away a promo envelope with bookworm bags and other goodies for joining her yahoo loop.

http://groups. group/Author_ Raine_Delight/

Belinda McBride is giving away an eBook download of Soul Keeper when you join her yahoo loop.

http://groups. group/BelindaMcB ride/

Rachel at Bitten By Books has also offered to give away a goodie bag and a possible bonus prize for joining her newsletter. This will give you another point towards the contest!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I am hosting author Patrick Dilloway today!

Today I get the pleasure of hosting Patrick Dilloway who wrote the book, Where You Belong. He is in the middle of a Blog tour and was kind enough to stop by my little corner of the world. You may ask him questions or just leave a comment. Patrick loves to hear from his readers.

Thank you Patrick for joining me today. Sit down and make yourself comfortable.

1. Did you always want to become and author or did you just fall into it?
First off, thanks for having me today. I’m glad to be here.
To answer your question, no, I didn’t always want to write. In second grade I wanted to be shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. But then I found out I have no athletic talent and I enjoyed writing stories. The rest, as they say, is history.

2. Did it take you a while to become published? If so, what made you keep going?
Oh yes, it’s taken a long time. If my rejection notices were on paper instead of mostly by E-mail I’d have enough to wallpaper my house by now.

What keeps me going, though, is that I legitimately enjoy writing. It’s what I do. Given my lack of talent in just about anything else—music, singing, dancing, painting, drawing, sports, sewing, etc.—it’s pretty much all I can do. There have been a couple of times where I got in a funk and stopped writing for a little while, but I always come back to it because I love it even if agents and publishers don’t love me.

3. When you sit down to write, is there a ritual you have to do before you start?
Not really what I would consider a “ritual” no. For the most part before I type I do have to get all my stuff situated: laptop, music (MP3 player or stereo), water, throat lozenges, and any notes I might have. But I don’t have to turn around in my chair three times or throw salt over my shoulder or anything.

4. Do you plan the story out or just let it flow?
There have been times where I’ve done a lot of planning, but lately I’ve been doing less. Usually, though, I at least have an overall blueprint of what’s supposed to happen in the story. That doesn’t mean that’s what always ends up happening; if I see a better idea later I’ll run with it.

For the most part I think that you have to just find what works for you and go with that. Some people plan meticulously and some go by the seat of their pants; either way has worked out for some people and not others. So do what you like.

5. Considering the fact that your character, Frost Devereaux doesn’t exist, what made you give him a background? I thought it was great too.
Thank you for saying that. In a story like this the background is important because the story is pretty much entirely background. By that I mean the story follows from before he’s born not to his death, but to a major turning point in his life.

Early on I knew Frost’s parents were not going to be around for most of his growing up. The only thing then became deciding what exactly would happen to them. I thought it was just a lot more fun, not to mention dramatic, for his parents to loathe each other to the point where his mother banishes his father into a barn. But that was also important for Frost’s development because part of the overall point is that he never has what you’d consider a “normal” loving home. Because let’s face it, someone from a normal loving home could probably never do what he does in the book.

6. What made you decide to write this book about a man that can’t seem to find love with either sex?
Basically how the story developed was that in watching news coverage of Prop 8 in California and similar measures around the country, I started to get mad. So I decided to write a story about gay marriage, but I didn’t want it to be a preachy stump speech on the subject; I wanted it to still be a story. It occurred to me one day: what if there was a guy so terrible at marriage that he couldn’t make it work with either sex? That’s how it all started. From there I just expanded on this idea that some marriages are just not going to work not because of the genitals of those involved, but because they aren’t compatible for each other spiritually. To me, that’s what’s most important in any marriage.

7. Do you have a current list of releases and where they can be found?
The best place if you want to find just about everything I’ve written in the last fifteen years is to visit my D.E-Press site, Everything there is in e-book form and completely free to download.

8. Do you have any WIP that you might want to share with us?
Right now I’m working on a story called “Liberation Front,” which is probably just a working title. It’s an old-school alien invasion story, with one difference: the “Martians” invading are actually human colonists returning to the home world. It’s a complete 180 I suppose from Where You Belong, but I’ve always thought that a writer should have a little variety just to keep from getting stagnant.

9. When you have a moment to sit down and breathe, what do you do to unwind?
If I’m not writing or reading then usually I’m just sitting in front of the television watching a baseball game or movie. Just something that doesn’t require me to think a whole lot. Of course if the weather is nice I like to take a walk too. Sometimes I’ll even bring my camera and take some pictures. I have a whole bunch on my wall from Maine, New Mexico, and the Grand Canyon. It would be nice if I could get out more to see other places, because it is usually fun to see a place you haven’t been before.

10. What authors are in your TBR pile?
I don’t really keep a TBR pile because I’m so anal retentive about what I choose to read. I am in the near future going to finally read something by Stephen King; I bought a copy of “The Green Mile” a while back that I’ve been meaning to read. Otherwise anything new by John Irving, Michael Chabon, Richard Russo, or Terry Pratchett will go on my list to read.
A lot of times, though, I do what I call “situational reading,” meaning that I choose what to read depending on what I’m writing. For Where You Belong I reread every John Irving novel in chronological order because I wanted to maintain a similar style and tone to his novels. I don’t always do that, just if I feel there’s an author or subject that I feel is close to what I’m doing.

11. Do you have any tips for those aspiring authors out there?
I think there are three important things if you really want to write books. The first is to study your grammar and basic mechanics. If you go to a critique group and don’t know how to use a semicolon you’re going to really look like an amateur. Second is to read—a lot. Preferably when you’re starting you should read in your genre. So if you’re writing romance you should read other romance authors. Not so much to steal their secret moves, but I think it’s helpful so you can see what they’re doing right and—more importantly—what you think they’re doing wrong. The most important advice though is not to give up. If you really want to write books, then don’t let other people take that away from you. Heed good advice when it’s given, but don’t surrender, even when people try to bring you down. Because if you really love to write, then that’s what you should do. Maybe you won’t get paid for it, but some things are more important than money.

Thanks again for having me and asking such tremendous questions.
You are very welcome Patrick. I enjoyed your answers. I hope you stop by again!