Yes! It’s been a long time since I logged anything here. Why? Well, I’m writing, dammit! I’ll be on deadline well into the summer, creating that magic you must be dying for if you’re reading this. Except for this weekend, where I’ll be at Liberty States Fiction Writers’ annual “Create Something Magical” Conference in Iselin, New Jersey. Hey come on, I have to give this carpel tunnel a break before my hand simply falls off. And because of that, I’ll be engaging in some exercises in alternate rehab therapy. One of my favorite is the One Handed Wine Hoist, a practical ergonomic exercise that offers near immediate relief. Another is the Advanced Beer Lift, preferably performed with a pint of Yuengling. This takes a bit longer to accomplish, as it’s also accompanied by the Chip Dip Scoop and every half-hour or so, the Latrine Trot. Even so, a few hours of this brings on a euphoria that leads one to question whether there ever was any pain at all.
But it won’t be all work and therapy. Outside of reader and writers’ tracks, some terrific workshops, panels, editor and agent appointments and Sherrilyn Kenyon as a special there’s a Book Fair that’s open to the public with over thirty authors. To see the full list click here. So if you’ve never been to Iselin, NJ, and are panting to go and meet the great and near-great, swing on by. I’ll show you some great exercise that you’ll feel so much better for.
According to NPR, what the French have been practicing for centuries has long been without an official name, but that has since been corrected. The newest edition of the Petit Robert 2014 dictionary has a new verb — “galocher,” meaning “to kiss with tongues.” It’s a clever derivation of la galoche, a word for an ice-skating boot, and so evokes the idea of sliding around the ice — or the lips and tongue. Time magazine, says the term French kiss is “commonly attributed to American soldiers returning from World War I, who apparently picked up the technique from the more sexually adventurous French nationals they canoodled with abroad.” Not that we here is New Jersey don’t know our way around a canoodle, especially when we’re canoodling with a French transplant or two. Or even three!
Which fortunately slides (sorry!) right into my NEW series title which all started with Andy Devine and company in Wanted: Wife–FRENCH KISS. Things have been popping around here lately, and although Book Two (of the FRENCH KISS series) revolves around Andy’s younger brother (the luscious) Marcel Mercier, we’ve yet to settle on a name, though rest assured, you’ll hear it here first when we do. Tentative pub date is around Labor Day, with Book Three due sometime by the end of they year.
Back to work!
This is the A.J.Meerwald, New Jersey’s official tall ship. She’s a Delaware Bay oyster schooner, once used to hunt for oysters off the coast of the state. She’s what I pattern the Esther Reed after in my sequel to Wanted: Wife, or at least the sample from which I was showing you above, My Dear Captain. It’s a work of fiction of course, but today it became just a bit more real, and even more tomorrow, when this announcement is slated to appear in Publishers Marketplace:
Gwen Jones’s WANTED: WIFE next two titles in series. Book Two tentatively titled MY DEAR CAPTAIN, about a billionaire playboy who unwittingly falls for the only female captain in his shipping fleet. To Nicole Fischer at Avon Impulse, in a two-book deal, for publication in September 2014, by Marisa Corvisiero at Corvisiero Literary Agency (World).
Can’t say you didn’t hear it here first!
And wouldn’t you love to know what it is. Well, I can’t tell you, not yet anyway, but when I can I PROMISE you’ll be the first to know. Look, I don’t like to be vague, but I’m all about NOT counting chickens as when I have they’ve only gotten me scrambled eggs. And if that’s not enough mixed metaphors for you, then you’ll have to leave me time to think up more. My brain is kind of fried and there’s a blizzard going on in NJ as we speak. So give me a break and stop back soon. I promise I’ll have more for you as soon as I can.
If you’ll take a look at the top you’ll see I’ve posted the first chapter of the sequel to Wanted: Wife, Ma Cher Capitaine, which centers around Andy Devine’s half-brother, Marcel Mercier. It’s brand-spanky new, just out of my head into yours, and if you’re saying to yourself now wait a minute–didn’t I read this before…?” Well, yes, you’re right, but then you’re not. And I’ll tell you why. I had posted another iteration of this chapter before, but it’s not what appears now. Why is that?
Well, because ‘Capitaine’ is what we call in the biz a WIP–a ‘work-in-progress,’ and what you saw before isn’t what it is now. You see, writers go through many versions of their WIPs before they finally settle onto a final version, and even then it isn’t finished until the editor gives it her final approval. A writer can get half through the story, especially in the early stages, then find out something isn’t working, and sometimes that means she has to go back to the beginning and start all over again. Of course, every writer has their own methods, and some write from beginning to end without ever stopping to edit. Unfortunately or not, that’s not the way I roll, as I’m constantly editing until something finally sounds right to me. Right now, at this point, Chapter One does. Though I can’t say how I’ll feel tomorrow, next week or by the time I finish. Right now, I’m satisfied. If you are too, let me know what you think.
Okay, if I don’t blow my own horn, who will? So in a shameless self-promotion, here’s the skinny: Wanted: Wife, as part of HarperCollins’s holiday “Fill Your New eReader” promotion is offering said book at .99 until January 6, which apparently is just enough incentive for the adventurous to download my genius. I didn’t notice this until the day after Christmas, when coming down hard from a cookie overload I decided to see how my book was doing on Barnes & Noble. On that day WW was #1 in Romance and #13 OVERALL, right up there with Stephen King and Nora Roberts! Sweeties, to say I was floored is akin to calling Niagara Falls a drip. From there I next went over to Kobo where it was also in the top 50, and at Amazon it was hovering around 10,000, which doesn’t sound that all impressive until you consider they list about 400,000 titles. A week later, WW is still in the BN. com Nook Top 100 at 37, and 10 in Romance out of approximately 55k titles. Again–floored.
I’ve gotten some pretty fantastic reviews, too, the majority of which give me five or four stars. Of course, there are a few dissenters, grumbling about the surprising amount of sex in this romance (“I am shocked–shocked!–to find that gambling is going on in here!”), one even calling it “pornography.” (Hm. I wonder how many more books that sentiment sold.) But most comments were really sweet and all–good or ill–are appreciated. One frequent comment was if and when there’s going to be a sequel. There will. When it will be published…well, let’s just say I have to finish writing it first. Which I’m getting to right after I’m done here. There’s a major snowstorm working its way to New Jersey, and I’ve already armed myself with a boatload of writing chocolate and Irish Breakfast Tea. Zoom!
If you’re reading this, then you’ve either stumbled upon me looking for news about Chris Harrison’s wife (forgive me, but I have no idea who either of them are) or you’re actually interested in what I have to say. If it’s the latter, then allow me to thank you profusely, with my sincere hope that you’ve found what you’re looking for or, perchance, you’re looking for something new from me. If that’s the case then you must find my blather at least entertaining, so rest assured there’s more in the works. And to that end…
Even though Wanted: Wife is my debut novel with Avon/HarperCollins, I’ve actually been around awhile in other forms, and have a backlist that’s yet to be mined. (You feeling lucky?) There’s a sampling of it up top, so please be my guest and have a look. Or if you’ve just finished WW and need more of Andy et al, there’s a “deleted chapter” which is actually a prequel in Andy’s POV, and the first chapter of WW’s sequel starring Marcel, Andy’s brother (still on the drawing board, so sit tight). But there’s actually more to me than just Iron Bog, as you’ll see with a sampling of my Women’s Fiction. It’s just so hard to hold all this talent in check!
Kidding, of course. Because no one was more surprised than me to find WW was #13 on bn.com’s Nook bestseller list last night, and for a fleeting time, actually #1 in Romance (as of this writing I’m #14 and #2 respectively–which still goes a long way to blow my mind.) Also know I didn’t get where I am (wherever that is) by myself, but purely by all those people who took a chance on me, no matter what professional or personal form they took. But most of all, it really comes down to the readers who thought I was worth the coin. Sounds sappy but it’s so damn true–if it weren’t for you guys I’d still be playing those endless games of Free Cell instead of at least trying to make myself useful.
Anyway, just let me say thanks again for reading, I hope the coming 2014 is even more awesome than this one, and that I continue to be worth your time in both pixels and print. Happy New Year everyone!
Somehow I managed to end up between the pages of The Kelsey Review again! This time it’s an excerpt from one of the books I’m throwing out there for your approval, The Heiress of Bearberry. You can take a look right here at this site, or you can click on this link for a nifty turn-by-turn version of the 2013 edition of the literary mag. It’s chock full of all kinds of talent from Mercer County, NJ (that’s New Jersey’s capital county for those left unawares), from photos to original artwork, to poems and short stories and of course, excerpts from soon-to-be-sold novels extraordinaire. Who knows where it may lead? Last year I was lucky enough to get nominated for a Pushcart Prize, for a my short story “Hawks” in the 2012 edition. Pick up a copy and you can say you knew me when!
Laugh if you want, but you have to start somewhere. For those aspiring writers out there don’t discount your local press. A publishing cred is a publishing cred, and people do read these things. Plus it’s still a bit of a thrill to have someone think what you write is worth reading. And the more that you put yourself out there, the more of a junkie you become. What was it Dorothy Parker said…? “I love writing, but I love having written better.”
Well said, Dottie, well said.
It has, hasn’t it? I mean it’s been soooo long I’m back to wearing shoes! Truth–I wore my first pair since May yesterday, and today me and the husband even went to DSW and dumped $168. (If you have to ask, sweetie…) Anyway, I suppose you’re just dying to know what I’ve been doing. Well, not writing, if you must know, which is extremely bad when you’re a writer. But I’m also an instructor of writing, or as my still outstanding college loans keep reminding me, at the university level, and four classes and two graduate mentees have really kept me from doing much else. But don’t get me wrong–I love teaching, but I also love writing, so now that things have calmed down, I’m almost back to my former and soon-to-be-current career. And I’m kickstarting it by co-hosting a workshop at the Connecticut chapter of the Romance Writers of America’s annual Fiction Fest this weekend at Mystic.
I’m really looking forward to it, not only to get back into the mix, but to take some really great workshops with some really great writers. You see, writing is just like any other profession, and then again, it’s not. Like any, you have to keep up with current trends and who’s doing what out there in the world, especially because writers do so much of what they do alone. But every once in a while we come out of our cave and seek out our own species, and I promise to bring back a report and as many photos as I can sneak without using my camera as a social weapon or a third-person filter. Writers live a lot of third-person reality, and every now and then we have to get out into it. Really! Continue reading Holy Cats! It’s been a long time!