Monday, June 24, 2013

Win a Copy of A Lady and a Spy

Back Cover Blurb:
Blanche Audley's old-fashioned grandfather cut off her mother after she married Thomas Audley and his millions of "new money," and for the last ten years since her parents' deaths, Blanche has lived under the gloom of his disappointment. So when she recklessly loses a thousand dollars to Etta Channing in a game of baccarat, she will do anything to keep her foolish actions from him. Except he oversees every penny she spends of the wealth her father left her, leaving her no way of paying the debt without his knowledge.

Until Etta offers her a deal. Alexander Whealdon, one of the most eligible bachelors in town, needs a companion to shepherd his younger sister through her first season. Etta wants Blanche to take the position and use it to infiltrate the household and pass along information that will help Etta get her hooks into the reserved Mr. Whealdon. It seems like an easy way to pay off the debt and save face at the same time. But the more Blanche sees of Mr. Whealdon's playful side, not to mention his surprising generosity, the less she wants to help Etta win him over.

Backing out means humiliating herself and disappointing both her grandfather and Mr. Whealdon, not to mention losing Miss Whealdon's trust and friendship, but if she goes through with her promise to Etta, she will lose what might be her last chance for love.

My Thoughts:
I have been SO MUCH in the mood for historical romance lately, so this weekend I pulled this novella up on my Kindle and read it for the second time. It's a really fun, well-written romance. I love Ranee's writing. She can be so funny--and I don't want to give too much away, but one of my favorite parts is this hilariously awkward moment involving Blanche and Alex and a garden hedge. The romance is so sweet and I can't wait to read what she has coming out next! If you're in the mood for a funny, light-hearted romance, I highly recommend this one.

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Ranee` and her personal superhero, her husband, live in Wyoming where they are raising three future super-villains. When she's not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in her living room or losing to one of her sons at Uno, she loves to read and write. She has a bachelor’s degree in history that is probably useless, but she had a lot of fun earning it. She blogs about writing, reading, and editing at

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Those "ah-ha" Moments

In the past three years, I’ve been to three writing conferences and each time, I seem to come away with one or two “ah ha!” moments that change everything for me.

Even though I’m in classes for 1-2 days, and hear all of these amazing things, and feel like I learn a ton, so far there is usually just one thing that—for whatever reason—just grabs me and doesn’t let me go.

ANWA writing conference 2011
 This was my first writing conference. Meg’s Melody had just come out, and I still riding on the high of a first book. I had just finished my contemporary young adult novel and decided that I wanted to try to break into the national market… and that meant finding an agent.

I went to a class by Elana Johnson—who at the time was still awaiting the release of her first book—on how to write a query letter. I remember accosting her in the hallway in my desperation and telling her that I couldn’t get anyone to request my book based off my query and could she just tell me: Why? Was it my story? My writing? The way I’d written my letter? Should I put a super-cool streak in my hair like her? What was it!?

 I smile (but mostly cringe) when I think back on that, because the look on her face was this fantastic blend of: confusion/who is this girl?/where are my wingmen who are supposed to keep me from the crazies?! She hadn’t read my book, nor my query, but that didn’t matter. SHE HELD THE ANSWERS!

Well, she did in fact have a lot of answers, and after taking her class and advice, I revised my query (and my book based on discoveries I made when I wrote the query) and all of a sudden, I started to get requests.

LDStorymaker 2011
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t going to go to this one. It’s not that I didn’t want to. But I live in Arizona, and this conference is in Utah, so I’d have to pay travel costs, plus the conference fee, plus hotel and food. Then, I found out I was a Whitney Finalist, and at the encouragement of my husband, we decided to take our three kids and go (and sleep on the floor of my sister’s one bedroom apartment—cozy.)

I’m so glad I did. Not only did I meet the fab Jolene Perry in person after emailing each other multiple times a day for the previous six months or so, but I also met Rachael Ranee Anderson. And you may have guessed, it was after this meeting that we decided to write All I Want.

My big take-away from this conference, though, was from a class I took from Sarah Eden on romance. Who better to take a romance class from, right? I still remember my “ah ha!” moment when she asked us: “What need does your hero fill in your heroine and vice versa?” I ask myself this question at the beginning of every new wip.

LDStorymakers 2013
My takeaway from this is the idea of perseverance.  It seemed to be the theme of the conference. So many people told stories about how it took several books to get their agents or to get their publisher, and how HAPPY they were that they continued to try—even when they were tempted to quit.

My highlights of the conference were:

Meeting Alyssa Henkin from Trident. She is as nice as all of her clients say she is. I loved her enthusiasm and positivity when it comes to publishing.

Hanging out Ranee Clark, who is one of my amazing critique partners.

 Going out to dinner with Rachael Anderson and RebeccaTalley, both who are so great and easy to talk to. I wish we didn’t live in three different states, so we could actually see each other more than every other year at most.

I met so many fantastic people, and for that reason alone, I would say that going to a conference is worth it.

What were your favorite conference moments?

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