Events & Extras
Sunday, May 7, 5:30 p.m.
Brenda Novak’s Seaside Library Book Tour
In conversation with Brenda and Jane Green
Elm Street Books
New Canaan, CT
Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Romancing New England RomCon
Ashland Public Library
Deep POV: Eliminating Authorial Intrusion
In this one-hour workshop, we will discuss things to consider when choosing the right POV, and practical tips for writing Deep POV.
Eliciting Emotion: Hook Your Readers’ Hearts
Learn how to grab your reader at the outset and keep them emotionally invested long after they finish the book.
Genre Blending: Hitting the Sweet Spot between Romance and Women’s Fiction
Books that straddle the fence between romance and women’s fiction are gaining popularity in the marketplace. This workshop will give you the tools needed to craft a blended story that editors will buy and readers will love.
Laying Down the Law: How Basic Legal Concepts Can Help You Plot and Enhance Conflict
Through brief lecture and hypotheticals, you will learn to use basic commercial and criminal law principles to create realistic plots and conflict for your romance and women’s fiction stories.
What’s the best way to keep up with new releases and sale info?
There are several ways, but here’s a quick breakdown of your options:
Newsletter: I send it monthly. It includes new release info, sale info, birthday giveaways, and four fun tips that may or may not have to do with books. I don’t share your info with anyone, either, so you can rest easy. There are sign-up boxes all over this website!
BookBub: Brief notices about new releases sent directly from BookBub.
Goodreads: Sends monthly notices about any book or author you’ve expressed an interest in. You can follow me and my reviews here, too, if you’re interested in what I’m reading.
Amazon: You can follow my Amazon author page, and Amazon will notify you about new releases, although it might be sporadic.
How do you become an author?
This will vary from person to person, but there are a few key steps to take to improve your chances of success.
1. Read widely, particularly in the genre you want to write. Dissect current best sellers to understand what readers want, and how to give it to them.
2. Read books on craft (I have a few favorites, like Noah Lukeman’s First Five Pages, Deb Dixon’s GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict, and anything by Donald Maass).
3. Park your butt in the chair and write every single day. Ten minutes. Two hours. Whatever you can do that day, do something. Little by little, it will get done.
4. Finish the manuscript and then dig in for serious revisions. It helps if you have critique partners or beta readers (people who aren’t in love with the story and can be objective). Don’t pick people who will tell you what you want to hear. Pick people who aren’t afraid to challenge your ideas.
5. If you want a traditional career (with an agent and publisher), research agents (Agentquery.com and Querytracker.com) and query writing (check out Janet Reid’s queryshark.blogspot.com), then query and wait. Prepare yourself for some rejections! It’s tough out there. If you want to self-publish, I don’t have much advice because that’s not my thing, but I advise people to hire an editor and make sure they learn to properly format the file. A good cover designer is also critical. If you have extra money, consider hiring a PR firm, too.
6. Set realistic goals and expectations. You can do it, but it might not bring you the income or glory you’re hoping for. Do it for the love of storytelling, and then everything else is gravy.
Where do you get your ideas?
I’m influenced by what I read, what I watch on TV, what I hear on the radio, and the real-life struggles of my family and friends. I never know exactly where I’ll find inspiration for a character or a story, so I try to stay open and keep notes on my phone when an idea strikes.
Can you help me/read my manuscript?
While I do often donate a critique as an auction item to writing chapters that are fundraising, I don’t have time to help everyone who asks. My best recommendation is to join an active writing group. Romance Writers of America is excellent and has many state chapters. You don’t have to write romance to join, either, and most of the workshops are applicable to any genre fiction. Women’s Fiction Writers Association also has excellent resources and can help you find critique partners and beta readers.
What are your favorite books or authors?
I have a long, long list of authors that I enjoy (too many to list), but some of my favorite books in recent years include The Nightingale (Kristin Hannah), Me Before You (Jojo Moyes), Euphoria (Lily King), When We Believed in Mermaids (Barbara O’Neal), and What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins. For fun, I love historical romances (particularly by Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, and Mary Balogh). If you follow or friend me on Goodreads, you will see what I’m reading (and my reviews).