Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Break Out the Bubbly & the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Kim Law's Debut Novel CAUGHT ON CAMERA

I'm so excited to share another writer's success story with you. My Music City Romance Writers of America Chapter President has been a Golden Heart finalist and winner, a wonderful leader, and a supportive mentor to her chapter mates. When I learned that she got "the call" I contacted her right away. I couldn't wait to hear more about her journey toward publication. So please join me in welcoming Kim Law to the Veranda.

*Pop*Pour*Clinking Glasses*

Debut Author Kim Law

    How did you end up becoming a writer, Kim?
Oh my goodness, that’s an easy one! You see, I ALWAYS knew I would be a writer. Not that I wanted to, but that I would. And I suspect it was from about the first moment I figured out how to write. I remember being in my family’s den with a paper and pencil—remember those first grade tablets with the really wide lines?—and holding the paper up against the wall and “writing” a story. It was pure scribbles (mostly loops of all sizes), but I would do that over and over, constantly filling up the pages. I’ve no idea what I thought I was writing, but that memory is so strong. So yeah. Always.
      I do remember those tablets, but I used them to "teach school" back in the day. :-)What is your favorite genre to write?
I only write contemporary. Deep down, I’m about as traditional as it gets, and I guess that means “normal.” (But I prefer not to think boring. J) I never picture anything paranormal or not “real” when I’m coming up with a story, and never imagine crazed serial killers. Not that I don’t love many books in those genres, nor that it won’t change over time and I might try my hand at something else, but right now straight contemporary is only what bounces through my mind.
I am a traditionalist at heart as well, though I do love reading the other genres, my heart is with contemporary romances. After you finish taking those ideas and bouncing them around, how do you relax?
I have a hard time relaxing when I’m really into a story. When I’m writing, that’s all I want to do. If it were possible, I’d essentially write around the clock until a book was done. Of course, it rarely plays out that way and I have to do something to unwind, so I’d have to say for those times, I turn my brain off and watch reality tv. J
        Reality tv is my guilty pleasure. What is your current project?
My current project is a follow up book to my December release. It’s a small-town contemporary set in the fictional town of Sugar Springs, TN. And I’m seriously loving this one!
        Sounds amazing. Do you have any new releases for later? 
Oh yes!!! As I just mentioned, I have book one of my small-town series coming out on Christmas Day. It’s titled, Sugar Springs. Next I’m working on a sequel to both Caught on Camera and Sugar Springs. Hopefully they’ll get picked up and both be out next year too!
        I love your enthusiasm. I imagine you bubbled over when you got the "call." How did you   celebrate?  
Oh, what a day! Dec 21, 2011. I think the call came at about 2:30. I was at work, but you can pretty much say the day was over for me. I went out in the courtyard area between our two buildings (where many people could see me, but I clearly didn’t care) and called everyone I could think of. I realized at some point that I was wandering around out in this little grassy area, talking on the phone, all by myself, with the silliest grin on my face that I’m sure has ever been seen. That’s when it occurred to me that the people watching might think I’d lost my mind. So I tried to control myself (mostly) until I got home that night and when I walked in my husband had bought me a cake and flowers. It was the best! He doesn’t always to remember to do such things (I still give him grief over doing NOTHING when I came home from winning the Golden Heart), but he came through on this one. It was really sweet. We even have pictures of me, the cake, the flowers, and my big silly grin to commemorate the occasion. J
        Was the “call” an actual phone conversation or an email or a snail mail?
Phone call!!! My agent called me at work. I knew the manuscript was being read over the previous weekend and that something might happen that week, so it wasn’t totally out of the blue. But I didn’t know when it might happen or if it even would for sure. The phone finally rang (it was a Wednesday—I’d been watching the phone for three days now!), and it was my agent’s number. I started smiling before I even answered the phone.
        That's so wonderful. I can imagine you waiting for it to ring. Now that you are published, what encouragement can you give writers who face rejection?
Facing rejection is necessary! Why would you want to miss out on the opportunity to grow from rejections? J Seriously, it’s not personal, it’s business, so you need to look at it in a purely business manner.
So…evaluate each rejection—even the annoying, vague ones that seem to say NOTHING AT ALL!—and then look at your writing honestly. Take your feelings out of the picture and see the words on the page in front of you, and figure out what can be improved. Try to learn something from each rejection and then move on. Don’t dwell on what can’t be changed, just move on. Now granted, maybe that book just wasn’t the right one for that person (and will be right for another person), but I’m a big believer that you can and should use every chance you get to always work on your craft.
That means, as hard as it seems, always take those rejections as opportunities to get even better. If you want it bad enough and work hard enough, the day will come. And when it does, just imagine how good you’ll be right out of the gate!

Kim, I love your attitude and positivity. I know other aspiring writers will benefit from your encouraging words. I wish you all the best in your publishing career!! 

Here's CAUGHT ON CAMERA'S book blurb. I know I can't wait to read this debut novel after reading it!!

Scandal meets seduction when America’s golden guy falls for a woman with secrets.

Amazing cover!!

Beautiful Vega Zaragoza learned the hard way that sex and the spotlight don’t mix. Now the former model makes her living behind the camera, working as a videographer to escape public scrutiny. But when Vega gets a shot at her dream job, one that puts her back in the public eye, she must choose: continue to play it safe or gamble everything to go toe-to-toe—and heart-to-heart— with the city’s most eligible bachelor.

JP Davenport is the golden boy of American politics, rumored to be the governor’s 1st choice for Georgia’s open senatorial seat. Charming and gorgeous, he is also fiercely private, with a string of romantic conquests a mile long. Now he wants to add Vega to their ranks. And he will do anything to have her. Vega should know better than to trust a man like him. But kiss by heated kiss, she discovers this man may be worth the risk.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Juggling While Walking the Tightrope

I'm a romance writer. Not published yet, but I put in just as many hours in the chair as a published writer because I treat this dream like a job. I act like a professional and I expect to be treated with equal professional courtesy by other people in this industry as well as in the "real" world.

Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you is a good manifesto to live by.

As I write and pursue this dream of publication, I am blown away by the myriad of real life issues that published and unpublished romance writers face. Let's face it, the majority of romance writers are women. The word woman means that regardless of where we are in our writing careers, we have a multitude of other tasks and jobs to perform because of our gender.

Disclaimer: I'm not saying that male writers don't have many of these demands, but by virtue of their gender they can compartmentalize these different tasks more easily. I'm actually quite jealous of that ability.

OK, so back to romance writers. And especially women writers. I'll use me for the most part as a living example.

In the past two weeks I have been working diligently on my revisions for the editor. But I'm not just a writer, I'm a mother, a wife, a friend. And then some... and with these other roles comes other challenges. I think these challenges confront most of my friends in the writing world. They're juggling writing careers, other jobs, families, relationships while they're generating new stories.

Let me tell you folks, it's tough to generate a story when your College Kid's university emergency center calls you to ask where your College Kid is because she is supposed to come in for follow up work. Full on Momma Red Alert and Defcom a Gazillion hits all nerves. This momma's doing recon and emergency dialing for three hours. She's juggling two doctors' offices, a husband who wants to be kept in the loop, and a daughter who is hurting and doesn't know why.

Momma is not writing stories during this time. I can't. Could you? Could you turn off your emergency parental alert system and write? Fortunately, the emergency room doctor told me that I could step down my alert system to yellow and go into a holding pattern. Let's see, that was Wednesday. Good thing I always write a bit in the morning before I go to the gym which salvaged part of the day.

Thursday morning I get home and there's a call from a friend that I've just spent a wonderful time with at a winery. I did a little job for her (generated some RWA Conference moola) on the side so I thought it was about that little job. No. Unfortunately not. Bad news. Stinky rotten news about a friend in another city who just passed away that morning. So many years had passed since we'd seen him and his wife, but we were close during those early dating and marital years. We were close when we were starting our families. We didn't stop caring for each other because we moved, we just got busy with being responsible citizens in different corners of the world.

Now this woman writer begins chasing down information. When is the funeral? Where? What day? What time? I'm emailing mutual friends and checking out the local paper's obituaries for information. I'm texting and emailing three people to find out the information because this person was important to me and my husband. We care and we are sad. So that took some time, but it was time well spent. Original plans go out the door, fly out the window, leave the building. New plans are quickly made. Real world trumps writer's world in these situations.

Now in all of this, the College Kid still needs me to be available. So I'm grocery shopping in our new Walmart when the cell rings. I have a pretty strict policy about not taking calls in public places except when I hear the College Kid's ring tone. She's been sick and we still don't know why. So I take her calls. Even my husband takes her calls at work. She's our number one priority. Always will be. We chatted (I mostly listened) while I cruised the produce section.

All this is just my world. But I know so many other women who are juggling complicated situations and lives while they're generating new stories, revising old stories, attending writer conferences, leading chapter meetings. We're women who have multiple roles. We juggle them all while walking a tightrope between the writer's world and the real world.

Despite all of these interruptions and real world events, I did finish my third round revisions and layered in more story elements. Because I'm a professional. And I treat this dream like a job.

Why? Because at the end of my days I want to be able to say I did my best. The results may not be what I had hoped for because this industry is fickle and changes on a dime and who knows? I may never get it "right." But no matter what happens, I will be able to look into my mirror and have no regrets.

And that's what it is about for me.

What will you say to yourself at the end of your days?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Did You Miss Me?

Hi there! Remember me? That writer who blogs and travels and writes and revises and then does it all again? I'm back! Well, sort of. I've been super busy writing and revising a new story which is highly important to me. It's a foot in the door and I can't squander it. And, to be honest, when everything is said and done, the books must come first.

This story has been kicking my little tushie. I've reworked the first three chapters so often that I think I want to kick it back! I have to write the story to know the people, so I wrote the entire manuscript in two weeks after I took the kid to college. Then I revised the first three chapters, reworked them. Then I revised the entire book again. Then I sent the first three chapters to my critique partners and they made me think about the conflict some more.

Ah!!! But now I think I have a better start to the first three chapters. And I know what I need to do to fix the rest of the book. But I really have to finish this partial and send it to publishing house. I do. However, I'm not rushing this opportunity to shine. I want the partial to be strong. Super strong and powerful enough to get that request for more OR a revise and resubmit letter. I've been getting a lot of R&R letters. A good thing, but certainly not restful or relaxing in a writer's world.

When I haven't been writing, I've been doing what we all do in the real world. Still guiding the College Kid, still supporting my friends and family, still working out and dieting, still traveling and attending writer's conferences.

And I've got fun events coming up. Celebrating three debut novelists on the blog, coordinating the Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest, going to the Southern Magic Readers Luncheon with my very own basket to raffle (stay tuned--photos will follow after I build it), and gearing up for a fantastic holiday season.

So I'm back, but I'll be flitting in and out of the blogger world like a manic social butterfly. Seriously, there are not enough hours in the day! But whenever I have to make a choice between writing, revising, or other writerly stuff, the book trumps it all.

James Scott Bell said it best:

What are the ten best forms of SELF-PROMOTION?

1. Your book.
2. Your book.
3. Your book.
4. Your web presence.
5. Reviews
6. Publicity (shortened for the blog-get THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS)Face time.
7. Face time
8. Your book.
9. Your book.
10. Your book.

If your books do deliver the goods, word of mouth will do more than all your self-promotion efforts combined. 

I'm not published yet. But I WILL BE ONE DAY. My way. I have an ongoing theory. If I don't have a product, then time spent on blogs and building web sites and frittering on social media is pointless.

So guess what I'm working on the rest of today?