Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 589

featuring my short story, Study Break
I have a short story and a book creeping up on me here and I haven't been talking about them at all. WHY??? Because I'm behind the eight ball like a motherfucker on Blacker Than Blue: VSS Book 2 and it's due in three weeks. The day the manuscript is due I have to appear in Palm Springs for a four day event where I will be reading three times. I hate reading out loud in public. I hate reading out loud when it's just me and my cats, but I'll have to do it three times in front of friends and other people I respect. Throw in the huge shitshow with the RWI/RWA contest (I'm not going to rehash it, but here are the details.) and the subsequent interview I was asked to give and you'll get one strained Bekah. My stress levels are at an eleven right now. Any time I spend on the internet I use to take away the pain of being on level eleven. I don't want to talk shop. But that's only half of the problem.

See here's the thing, I've had a really traumatic relationship with The Fling, which will be out April 16th. click this preorder it. Now that it's done and my editor helped me give it the tweeks it needed, I am very happy with the finished product. I LOVE the characters. Love them. I want to marry at least four of them and spend forever in their loving embrace, but getting to this point was trying and that's putting it lightly.

I started writing this book at a really bad point in my life. I was leaving a job, suffering from a really intense back pain, a good friend of mine died in a car accident and I won't lie, I was suicidal. I didn't try anything, but I made plans. And guess what, that shit showed up in my writing. Oksana, who is a character I'm very happy with, got all of my sads. Luckily my mental state improved. I left the horrid job and the horrid boss. I got to spend time with my family. I sulked to my mom. I reconnected with an amazing friend. WE GOT KITTENS! I brought more positive into my life and my moods started to stabilize. Thank god for my boyfriend who held my hand for that time.

But let's back up. So this is all going on and then I hit that horrid sophomore slump. Better Off Red walked out of my brain with its bags packed and was just waiting for a cab to the airport. I had to drag The Fling out kicking and screaming even though I was trying to send it on a nice vacation. I had the whole story outlined to death, but my stupid, crazy, depressed brain and my busted back were making it so very difficult to get the thing down on paper and then I would get bummed that it was taking me so long and then I had to do final edits on Better Off Red and then I was bummed again. It was a mess.

Oksana looks like Amber Rose in my imagination.
Anyway when I got The Fling back from my editor her notes basically said "WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED!" Emotionally, I was trying to kill Oksana and every thing I did to her was in complete contrast with how awesome she is. Seriously bro, she's a sexy biracial Russian chick who lives with her grandma. Those of you who've read Better Off Red know I try to incorporate a nice bit of humor into my writing. It's there in The Fling. I've given myself a few chuckles rereading the final product (not out loud of course), but with as much humor as there was I loaded Oksana down with emo. It wasn't working. Editor and I talked. We fixed it. Oksana is not crazy anymore and I am very happy with the final story, but see I don't want to talk about it because every time I look at that book, I think about how depressed I was while I was trying to write it. I think about how painful the process was and I just don't want to go back there. But I have to suck it up.I have to tell you people all about it.

I've learned a lot writing and editing The Fling. I learned what I need to do complete a project with my sanity intact and as a result working on Blacker Than Blue has been a much smoother process. Even though I'm a little behind, I know I'll finish on time. I've even LOST weight while writing it. I know, I'm shocked too.

So my point is, I have another book coming out in April. I'm really happy with it. You should by it. I can't wait for you to meet Annie and Oksana. :) If you'd like to have a look at them go here. Warning: some of the Annie pics show boobies. If you've read Better Off Red you should DEFINITELY pick up Women of the Dark Streets. I'm calling Study Break VSS 1.5. It gives you a look into Benny and Cleo and leads perfectly into Blacker than Blue. It's also busting with great shorts from some great authors. I've sneaked a peek.

P.S. I know talking about depression and suicide makes some people really uncomfortable, but some times talking about it saves lives. 

Also this rocked my world.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Emily Cale's Day 605

So I'm switching it up today. Author Emily Cale is swinging by to share her writing journey with us. Pull up a chair or a piece of couch and give it read. I think you'll find Emily fits in just fine around here.


Wow! When Rebekah asked me to calculate the number of days since I sent my first query letter, I never imagined it would add up to that many. In some ways, it still feels like I wrote that first manuscript a few weeks ago. I sent that first query letter for my novella, Tamed, in June of 2010. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. I'd love to tell you I was patient, but I wasn't. Fortunately, I was out of the country at the time and unable to stalk my email. The normal response time passed and I followed up one night before going to sleep. When I woke up the next morning I had two responses from the acquisition editor in my inbox. The first said she was sorry for getting behind and that she'd read my manuscript right that minute. The second was an acceptance letter with contract.
I wish I could tell you that it's been all uphill. I've learned a lot of things in those roughly 600 days.

1. You can do everything right and still get a rejection letter.

2. You can royally screw stuff up and still get a contract.

3. Don't submit partial manuscripts if you haven't finished the book. No, seriously. Even if you think you'll finish it in the three months it takes them to make a decision.

4. If you screw up #3, it is in fact possible to write 50,000 words in a week. You will hate yourself and 
everyone who comes near you.

5. Rejection letters are harder to get after you've gotten acceptances. I thought it would work the other way, but it turns out that knowing how good a contract feels makes the sting all that much worse.

6. Writing books doesn't get easier. I actually think it gets harder. Now I know so much more and start hearing my editors telling me what's wrong with a scene. I also worry about how I'm going to sell stuff. I know I shouldn't, but I do. I have some weird ideas and I have no idea if they would ever be publishable.

7. Reviews are awesome and terrible all at the same time. I've had some really fantastic reviews and some that make me wonder if the reviewer read the blurb, let alone the book. I'll tell you that my best rated book sells only half as well as my worst rated. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but clearly there is no correlation.

8. Waiting does not get easier. I panic after every submission I send out. I've waited as little as 3 hours for a response and as long as 5 months. I rarely know how long it will take and the email always comes through when I'm least expecting them and never when I'm stalking my inbox.

9. I have not started writing better. I have started editing better. With each book, I get better at finding the little things that need fixed and doing them before I submit.

10. I don't know a damn thing. People ask me for advice and I know exactly how they feel. I still scour blogs and forums for that one gold nugget of wisdom that will make it all make sense. I'm starting to think it might not exist. If you find it, be sure to let me know.
Since that first query letter, I've had 1 rejection letter, 2 revise and resubmits, 11 books contracted, 8 published, and I have one thing out on submission. Public Display of Affection was my 10th contract and my 8th published piece. I'm just as happy each time one comes out and this piece has been especially exciting for me. I love both Lucy and Samantha and find that a lot of readers seem to relate will to them. 

Public Display of Affection Blurb:
After a heartbreaking end to her relationship with her girlfriend, Lucy Stark is looking to try something more adventurous. She turns to Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand service to help her find the perfect woman to push her boundaries and introduce her to the more daring side of a sexual encounter.

Samantha Taylor’s helped more than one woman explore her sexuality, but Lucy’s the first to really get to her. Keeping her walls up and the women she dates from getting inside is a skill she’s managed to master. After one night of unbridled passion, she has to decide whether to give up her hard exterior or let the woman of her dreams slip away.

Buy Links:

Author Bio:
Emily Cale spent the majority of her childhood as a visitor to the worlds of her favorite authors. With encouragement from her English teachers, she put pen to paper and began imagining her own stories. Preferring the fascinating lives of her characters, she majored in creative writing. When not lost in a manuscript or a good book, she enjoys crocheting, rock climbing, and playing board games. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and a very spoiled cat. You can find her online on her blog ( or Twitter (