Link of the Week – Winter Writing Festival

January 7, 2014

rss_winterfestival-badge1Craving some serious writing productivity this winter? Need to clean up the mess you left in the second half of your Golden Heart full entry? Want to finally, finally fix that pesky plot hole in your WIP? The Rubies have your back!

Through the bleakest part of winter–January 10, 2013 thru the end of February–the much-anticipated Third Annual Ruby Winter Writing Festival will be here to keep your creative fires burning, with support, advice, inspiration, frequent live chats, fun prizes for participants, and as much virtual hot-chocolate (or virtual champagne or virtual cookies) as you please. ‘Cause nobody’s Muse can resist a party!

Read more HERE!

Get ready for the Festival and read goal-setting advice HERE!

This is why I do what I do.

April 18, 2013

No writer has ever said it enough, or will ever say it enough!

Thank you to the multitude of peeps out there who take the time to review our work.


It still amazes me, and I hope it always will, when I get a review. If it ever gets old, I truly think that’s when I’ll stop writing. Good or bad, I’m up for the challenge. Every single person has different opinions, and I’m willing to hear them all.

Does a negative review hurt? SURE!


No more than an honest critique though. And I have some awesome crit partners who aren’t afraid of telling me when I’m not doing my job!


But good or bad, there is something incredibly inspiring, energizing and rewarding by being in a position to receive critiques. As writers, we work our butts off to create something we hope everyone will love. Having it out in the world is both intimidating and gratifying at once. Having someone weigh in…priceless.

A good review though, can make any hard stuff go away.

So thanks!

Thanks for good reviews, bad reviews, and everything in between. Thanks for being a reader. Without you, where would we (as writers) be?

This is my youngest… Had to share. Reading is what every single person should be doing!


Happy reading or writing! And I’ll see you all on Saturday for Editor Shop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Link Of The Week

January 8, 2013

Hi Everyone-

I have a double gift for you today! While I was searching for a great link, I found this one by Max Barry. He’s an Australian writer who shares some great information about writing- when I saw his titles like Avoiding Assholes and The Syrup Experience, I knew I liked him!

A great picture, just because I love it!

A great picture, just because I love it!

While I was reading through his material, he provided a link to another site that he really benefited from on his way to publication. It was too good for me to save for another week.


I believe both of these places will provide you with some juicy information and will help our international friends as well. Enjoy the sites and keep your keyboards humming!



Good Manners May Kill Good Writing

August 23, 2012

 You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you.  And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.  ~Arthur Polotnik

Manners make the world go round.

Imagine how many fewer world crises there would be if the people in power would simply remember their manners. Imagine a political race where opponents focus on applicable content and not resort to abysmal mud-slinging. They are the poster children for bad manners and we lose opportunities to listen to any real debate on real issues. (This happens worldwide and not just here in the United States, so don’t think I’m singling out our race to the big vote in November.)

Merriam Webster defines manners as “social conduct or rules of conduct as shown in the prevalent customs”. Manners are no longer only applied to real life situations but to our virtual world as well. Being writers we live an awfully big part of our lives in this world. Prevalent customs are still being formed as these new neighborhoods and villages continue to evolve. There are distinct differences between this world and the one of brick and mortar. I was surprised to have some of these distinctions pointed out to me this week and the possible backlash it may have on writers.

A blog that I like to follow, The Passive Voice, offered a rebuttal to another article written by Jacob Silverman entitled “Against Enthusiasm”. Mr. Silverman has taken the stance that honest criticism in the literary world is a dying thing and we are not any better for its demise. Passive guy vehemently argues that point. Being the polite, mild mannered person that I believe myself to be, I was quite surprised at being able to see both sides, but leaning towards Jacob Silverman.

Mr. Silverman believes that we are in the middle of an epidemic of niceness in this new online book culture. He cites an example of an author who has her first book coming out soon, but already has a loyal following on Twitter running into the thousands. The author is funny, delightful and engaging in this arena of social media. Because of that, she is retweeted, liked, and plus 1ed. (I don’t even know how to write plus oned!) A well known literary website follows her and has already picked her book for their monthly book club without ever having read a single word!

So far I’m congratulating the author on being a brilliant and personable marketer, then I come to his point. What if you are a reviewer or critic and you are part of this vast web of writers and fans? Are you willing to honestly critique the author’s work after watching her life unfold for the last year or so? What if you had been the recipient of some of her attention? What if she had praised you or had mentioned you with affection in a tweet? How honest will you be? He goes on to state that if you spend any time on Twitter or wading through blogs, you will drown in the “relentless enthusiasm that might have you believing all books are wonderful and that every writer is every other writer’s biggest fan.” Mr. Silverman believes that it is shallow, untrue, and will create an atmosphere where writers are more admired for their personal biographies or how they manage social media rather than standing on their own merits of being a good writer.


This made me stop and think.


He goes on to say that social media, which seems to be built largely on those retweets, likes, favorites etc., is akin to being a part of a worldwide slumber party. Anyone who doesn’t want to be on board the sugar train may be marked as unlikable or worse (gasp) unfollowable. So why is that positivity so bad? I like to be complemented. I like that my writing world is a warm fuzzy place to be. When I get published, I’d like my friends to toot my horn just like I’ve done for them. I don’t think anyone reading this blog would say differently. However, the constant applause makes it harder to hear any kind of dissent. While painful to hear, it is that voce of dissent that pushes us to be better and to make for a more “vibrant, useful literary culture”.

Passive Guy completely disagrees with this view point that was also shared by Dwight Garner in the Times. PG pulled a quote, “What we need more of, now that newspaper book sections are shrinking and vanishing like glaciers, are excellent and authoritative and punishing critics- perceptive enough to single out the voices that matter for legitimate praise, abusive enough to remind us that not everyone gets, or deserves, a gold star.” Passive Guy believes this sounds like the strap wielding father who tells the kids they’re being beaten for their own good. He goes on to point out that this is the absolute menace of criticism- that it represents a hierarchy that lords over the unruly artists.


I understand and agree with his viewpoint as well.


As with most issues in life, the loudest voices are often those on both sides of the extreme. I believe cutting someone’s work to the bone is not necessary. I also think living in a world where only sweet fairies give kisses isn’t reality either. I think good, honest, constructive criticism is necessary (although painful, I’m the first to admit). This is what pushes us to dig deeper and write better because we all want to be praised. We all want people to find value in our work.

If we only have positive feedback, I would suggest two things. One- much of what you hear if a lie or a colored truth. Two- we believe the compliments and become complacent. What do you think?



Putting yourself out there by Candi Wall

September 26, 2011



OH! Super cool update! Laura Bradford confirmed she’ll be here for our November Agent Shop since

gremlins messed with our last run of e-mails and this Agent Shop was cancelled. She’s a stellar lady peeps!

“This is wonderful. I could feel everything your character was experiencing!”

“You’ve got a strong voice and the writing was sublime…”

Oh, yeah. You all know what I’m talking about. The big grin, the heart thumping that goes along with opening your e-mail, contest scores, comment section, twitter, or whatever venue you use to put your writing out there, and reading something like that!

It’s like CRACK!

More, more! Gimme more!

‘Course, the negative comments can be just as intense .

“You really should pick an author you like and try to emulate them.”

“Your characters felt cardboard to me, and your villain was nothing more than a cliché device to throw in some failed tension.”

Kill me now!


Okay, so it’s not that bad. As with everything, we have to take any and all comments with a grain or bucket of salt.

As writers, we’re going to come across every personality, like, dislike, good day, bad day, that our readers have. We’re going to be held high by a reader that just adored everything we put into words, and we’re going to be knocked so low, getting back up will be a Herculean task.

Color me a glutton…

But I’ll probably keep putting my work out there, through contests, groups, sharing sites and of course my Beta readers and Crit partners.

Wanna know why?

Simple. Feedback, friendship and the chance at winning!

And believe it or not, that’s the order of importance I take when I enter any contest. Feedback is gold.

As most of us do, I started this journey alone. Through contests, writing groups, and networking, I’ve found the most amazing people and am lucky to have them. I don’t believe for a moment that without them, I would be as far as I am today. And that in itself is enough reason for me to feel justified in encouraging any writer, at any stage of their craft, to get out there, take a chance, let others see what you write and learn what you can from what you get for feedback.

Soak it up like a sponge, retain what you need, and let the rest evaporate.

I took my first tentative steps into networking waters by joining Charlotte Dillon’s Romance Writers Community. Best choice I ever made. That’s where I met Jenn, Marie-Claude and John. I took a chance, they took a chance, and we found a solid foundation of friends to share our journey with. That friendship and professional connection remains today!

Marie-Claude stepped WAY out of her comfort zone and entered Dorchester’s American Title V contest and WON! But if you ask her, she met and remains friends with numerous other writers to this day, and that’s something even winning can’t compare with.

My first public contest was Dorchester’s Next Best Celler contest. It was hell. Pure and simple. Vote tarting sucks, that’s all there is to it. There was some back biting, some down voting, oh – it was tough, but again, out of the great, not-so-great, and sometimes questionable comments, I gained a group of ladies as my friends, all of whom will give it to me straight when I’m doing well, or writing crap.

‘Kinda makes you feel all mushy inside, don’t it?

Yeah, me too.

So I’m on to my next contest.

The Mills & Boon New Voices contest

I’ve met one stellar writer already, and I know she’ll be a friend way past this contest. I’ve read some great entries, left what I hope are seen as constructive comments and gained some as well. I’ve been down voted too, and it’s still early in the competition. but I’m looking forward to it just the same, because regardless of the outcome, I’m coming out of it a winner. Either with feedback, friends or (fingers crossed) a win.

New Voices is open to any writer who hasn’t been published. the deadline is Oct. 10th, so swing in and enter!

So, have any contest experiences you can share, good or bad? I’d love to hear about them.


Jumping The Gun by Candi Wall

September 19, 2011

Hopefully everyone’s had a wonderful and productive summer.

Mine wasn’t overly productive, as far as writing goes, but with work and kids out of school for the summer, I planned ahead. Or rather, I told myself to prepare for limited computer time. I’ve been working on the Agent Shop schedule though, and hope you all remember to check back and see who we’ll be having as our guest agents for the rest of the year.

Today I wanted to mention a topic that comes up often in discussion with agents and editors alike.

Premature submitting!

Jumping the gun!

Hitting that send button too soon.

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

It’s exciting – and scary – and that dream agent you’ve been keeping your eye on just opened back up for queries – and her tweets say she looking for just what you’ve written – and – and – and…

Yep, you got it. All that time spent writing, and the opportunity is there. You’ve poured yourself, your time, your heart, blood and tears into the manuscript. How can you let this opp go by??? You talk yourself right into it.

I’m here to tell you – STOP YOURSELF!

A rejection is hard enough to take, but one that tells you you’ve got a great idea but the writing just isn’t there…brutal. I’ve heard agents and editors both say they see this A LOT and many times, it’s because the author didn’t give themselves the time or the edits needed. Unless your work has been through the following AT LEAST, and probably much more, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

  • First round edit
  • Crit partners
  • A month where you don’t even LOOK at it
  • Read it out loud
  • Second round edit
  • Contests are great at this stage too!
  • Beta readers 2 or more
  • VICIOUS edit (be brutal on yourself. If the sent makes you go ‘hmmm’ get rid of it or fix it.)
  • A good dose of ‘this is crap, it’s great, it’s crap, it’s great’ limbo. (Okay, maybe that part was just me. But I find chocolate helps.)
  • Final edit (and I highly suggest a final beta read)
  • Make it shine
Quick and simple today. I have insanity clogging my to do list this week.
Happy writing, editing, revising, submitting or any stage in between!
UPDATE: I’m still waiting on confirmation from our guest agent this month…. Concerned that e-mails were lost in cyber space or spam…

Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give A Damn (…I Lie)

August 11, 2011

By: Stacey Purcell

“You’re beginning does not have a strong hook and I’m afraid you won’t draw your readers in as it stands.” Ouch.

Writers are gluttons for punishment. We pour our hearts upon the page, open our souls for all to see and then serve it up on a platter for human consumption. This is the wondrous glory and the bane of our existence. We cannot escape the inevitability of being critiqued. It is a part of the creative life. Unless we’re determined to never let our work see the light of day, then someone, somewhere will offer their opinion on what we’ve done.

Before we put our stuff up for sale or send it off to an agent, we need to have impartial eyes read over our pages. Critique partners are a writer’s secret weapon. When done correctly, they can help us avoid the type of comments at the top of this post. They can find holes in your plot, compliment your choice of words, and keep you from head hopping. The trick is to find just the right kind of help you need and to recognize you won’t need the same type of help at every stage.

I attended a workshop recently taught by my friend, Lorin Oberweger. She’s a professional free lance editor( ) who I think is rather brilliant. The workshop was titled Working Smarter: Understanding What Kind of Feedback You Need and When You Need It She suggests that we break the process up into 3 phases.

Phase 1 is when you’re writing an early draft. Construct it more like a dialogue rather than a list of improvements. Ask questions like: What’s happening?- literally unfolding in the scene. What emotions are conjured for you? What is your impression of the protagonist? What is the viewpoint character trying to accomplish in the scene?

Phase 2 should be done during the middle drafts. Your partners should dig deeper into your characters and story. Ask questions like: Does the opposition seem clear and significant enough to pose a compelling obstacle in this scene? How am I handling the pacing of this scene? Do I understand what motivates the protagonist/ antagonist/viewpoint character in this scene?

Phase 3 is for the last drafts of your story. It’s almost ready to send out into the world. This is when giving concrete suggestions are the most valuable. Is the scene successful? What elements are eluding me? Is there a lack of credibility? Problems with grammar, formatting, flow? Are there issues of language/ voice?

This is a wonderful structure for helping a writer along without breaking their heart. Too much constructive criticism at the beginning may seem like an insurmountable blockade. Even though it is well meaning, it can be overwhelming. Start with the general and steadily move to the specific. Makes sense.

Of course, like most things in life, critiquing is not a one size fits all thing. While Lorin outlined this method, we also discussed that not every approach is necessarily for you. For instance, I’ve found that, for my personality, I need a combo of all three phases to help me feel like I’m truly moving forward. On our first pass, we focus more in on Phase 1 and 2 and only touch on 3. (Some things, you just can’t ignore!) After I’ve wrestled with it for awhile, we make another pass and that’s a combo 2 with a heavy dose of 3.

After you decide how and what you need from your critique partners, you may decide that you need help from a professional. There are many wonderful free lance editors and many awful money suckers. Be careful. Do your research. Get references. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Lorin Oberweger and I think she’s amazing. She’s supportive and very insightful. That being said, after she suggested I cut two chapters even though they were “extremely well written”, I sent her an email back that looked something like this:

YOU SUCK!!! (Of course, she was 100% correct.)

She just smiles and tells me, “I suck so you don’t have to.”

Do you have critique partners? How do you structure your time with them? What have you found that really works? What doesn’t? Have you worked with a free lance editor before? Were you happy? Chime in and let us know!

Agent Shop day with Weronika Janczuk!

June 27, 2011



Good luck to those who got requests and I’ll see you all at the next agent shop! As always – keep writing!

Congratulations to everyone that made it in.

I’ll make it quick as usual.

Here are the stats.

Pitches received: 72

  • Pitches accepted: 30
  • Pitches over limit:28

Pitches ditched: 14

  • Too long: 6
  • Missing info: 7
  • NOT a pitch: 1 (Sorry folks, but a Bio & blog/website info inviting the agent to check you out, even in less than 200 words, doesn’t count.)

Not bad! If you’ve followed us for very long, you know I’ve had dates where the pitches I ditched outnumbered the pitches I accepted!

As always, if you didn’t make it in this round, look your pitch over. It may be something as simple as missing wordcount, or a title. You might have also come in after the first thirty viable pitches. Whatever the case, it’s important to look at:

  • what might be missing
  • if you’ve followed the guidelines
You might find some of the same mistakes in your query!

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, I know you’re dying to scroll down and see if your pitch made it!

Be patient!

We have to announce the winners.

The TOP PITCH slot winner is – well it’s the first one up. If it’s yours – congrats!

The winner of MISERERE is LINDA PENNELL! Please send your address to me at candi_agent_shop (@) and I’ll forward it on to Teresa Frohock. Congrats.

Now let’s welcome Weronika Janczuk.

It’s lovely to have you participate in Agent Shop, and I hope some of the pitches below catch your attention. If there are any you’d like to see more of, please e-mail me the pitch number, what you’d like to see from the author, and how the author should send it to you. (P.S. You can use the danci address we’ve been corresponding with.)






Romantic Suspense

90,000 words

Reluctant Psychic Katherine Crystal, dubbed “Crystal Ball Kate,” is thrust into the national spotlight when she accurately predicts that the five-year-old son of actor Vince Rivers will die in a plane crash. Skeptical Atlanta Police Detective Beauregard Lee Jackson Hale (Jack), who has a deep-seated distrust of psychics, is the by-the-book officer who ignores Katherine’s warnings when she calls to report her premonition. When they are sent toSydney, Australia, to help catch a serial killer, the chase leads to romance and the ultimate discovery of a mystery and a murder surrounding Kate’s birth in the spiritualist community of Cassadaga, Florida. Kate learns to accept her unique abilities and trust her sixth sense about love.



Paranormal Romance

80,142 words

Dark Knight is about the faraway world of the Shadowlands, a world parallel to our own.  Creatures from the Shadowlands make their way into our world; sometimes simply to survive and sometimes to wreak havoc.  Vampires come from the Shadowlands into the outer world and are an extended human race that live longer, are stronger and possess abilities to control the human mind.  Ethan St. John (an agent working in the secret sector of the U.S. Government) a.k.a. protector and vampire hunter, and Gabriella Woods (a “starving artist” who possesses a unique gene that the vampires need), will evade the vampires, falling in love along their journey.  Gabriella and Ethan are on the run from a powerful vampire (LaCroix) and they visit faraway places like the Shadowlands and Egypt.  Throughout the story, Gabriella will learn how to control her mind and how to break through the strong barrier around Ethan’s heart. This is the first of many books in the Shadowlands series.  I’m currently working on the second book, Donovan’s Fumble, bringing many characters from Dark Knight back into the story.  Readers will follow many of the same characters while reading about the Shadowlands.



Contemporary fantasy/horror

95,000 words

A pair of werewolf brothers battle over a Montana Indian girl—one hungers for her love, the other for her flesh—in this retelling of the classic fairy tale.

When DENNY HOLT sells his soul and becomes a shape-shifter, half-brother ZACH gets caught in the magical backlash. Denny becomes a murderous black wolf by the full moon, but only Zach’s physical form is affected. Zach becomes a gray wolf and returns to human only when Denny is the black wolf.

One day LITTLE RED FEATHER GORDON, a teenage Blackfeet girl, finds a dying gray wolf and heals his wounds. As July’s full moon approaches Zach is determined to protect his Little Red Feather and reveal his human self to her. When Denny kills one girl and almost kills another, Zach’s plans fail. He’s forced to flee to Glacier National Park and become an alpha.

Zach returns before August’s full moon and defends Little Red Feather from Denny. They flee to Grandmother’s, a two-day journey, and spend the night at a cabin. Zach transforms and Little Red Feather insists they are married. At Grandmother’s Zach battles Denny, and with Little Red Feather’s help Zach slays his brother and breaks the curse.



Women’s Fiction

85,000 Words

Marianne Larson brings a shocking end to her family life when she confronts her cheating spouse at his dominatrix apartment.  She begins her new life by returning to college, without the support of her mother and grown daughter. But secrets from the past, refuse to remain hidden and bring the three women back together to heal their broken relationship and create a new future.



Women’s fiction/ elements of suspense

95,000 words

Forty-eight hours into their Moroccan vacation, Julie’s best friend disappears, leaving a terse note of apology and a plea: wait for me.

Days pass. Julie’s anger fades to worry – then fear, when she realizes she is being followed. Then, a vicious attack meant for Julie kills an innocent woman. Julie bolts.

She has learned enough snooping through Fay’s luggage to guess her destination is Taghabene, a remote village. Convinced that Fay is heading into danger and propelled by her own jeopardy, Julie speeds south.

Dust. Wrong turns. Car trouble. Julie finally hitchhikes into Taghabene, but Fay has just departed for a desert camp. Snap decision time: hitchhike back to town and eventually bring help or hurry after her friend.

Julie heads into the desert – and blunders into a military patrol. Thrown into the same cell as Fay and three Moroccans, Julie’s relief at finding Fay is countered by resentment at her betrayal. As the army prepares to transfer the captives to a secret prison deep in the Sahara, Julie must set aside past hurts. Only escape matters. The captives pit their wits against the Moroccan army and the Black Desert in a fight for their lives.



Single Title Contemporary

85,000 words

When relationship coach Lacy Morgan meddles in Reed Hunter’s social life, he decides to use his vocation to expose her as the snake-oil selling fraud he believes her to be. Under the guile of filming a documentary, Reed watches her help her clients through their relationships, making him question his views on long-term relationships. He must choose between ending Lacy’s dreams with his negative slanted documentary, which would boast his career to Michael Moore notoriety, or reaching for the one thing he never thought would touch his life—love.



Paranormal Romance
80,000 words

Skinwalker [skin-waw-ker] (n.) – 1. A being capable of assuming the identity of an animal.  2. God of Norse Mythology 3. Shapeshifter

Werewolf hunter Jace McCannon has one loyalty: the Execution Underground, a council of supernatural hunters sanctioned to protect Rochester. Despite his half-wolf lineage, Jace devotes himself to his job, and he hates nothing more than the monsters he hunts. But when a search for a sexual sadist turns ugly, Jace finds himself with the werewolves’ packmaster, and he’s craving his sworn enemy.

The only alpha female to ever run Rochester’s pack, nothing stops Frankie Amato from protecting her clan. She’s set on massacring the rogue murdering women. Ascending into leadership following her parents’ murder, Frankie can hold her own without the help of any men—until a run-in with a handsome werewolf hunter leaves captive and begging for release.

Jace and Frankie work to end the murders, while battling their differences and growing attraction. Their fate falls on Jace’s shoulders; he needs to embrace his dual nature and shift. But when Jace’s attempts at shifting reveal an unknown bloodline, this news drums up Frankie’s own dark past, and she’d rather stand on the sidelines than at Jace’s side.



Urban Fantasy

86,000 words

At thirteen, Micaela O’Brien was the sole survivor of a small plane explosion in the skies over Ireland.  She saw it in a vision that she never revealed to her parents, who perished in the accident.  Raised by her grandmother, Micaela fought to be like everyone else, but when your bloodlines go back to the ancient Kings and Druids of Ireland, it’s tough. She attends Ivy League schools and is a very successful investment banker.  On a visit to the Berkshires to see her grandmother, Micaela is called to use the gifts she ran from to find a missing friend.  This attracts certain unusual clients.  Clients with fangs and fur, and long histories.  Some of these vampires and shapeshifters possess a thirst for power that rivals their bloodlust. Others will become her allies and perhaps more. But Micaela insists on being rooted in the rational until she discovers one of her clients brutally murdered in his five star New York hotel suite, and is pursued by the killers to Europe.  More attacks occur around the globe until they return to Micaela’s doorstep.  If she is to survive, Micaela must accept the irrational and herself.



YA Urban Fantasy
72,000 words

Finding a hunky, three-hundred-year old demon in your bed isn’t so bad. Stabbing that demon in the gut? Yeah…probably not the best way to make his acquaintance.

Lucky for Katriona McBain, the infamous supernatural hit-man, Demetrius Fall, is interested in more than sucking out her soul—he needs her to assume her role as the reincarnated Queen of the powerful, British Coven.

The only person who can stop an impending apocalypse and end a long waging, demonic war, Katriona is thrown head first into a dark, magical world she thought only existed in her nightmares. Together, she and Demetrius must search the globe for the four bewitched pieces of her royal ancestor’s necklace. Bringing the charms together and harnessing their power is the only chance Katriona has to destroy Narcissa, an evil succubus and leader of the Dark Coven. But as the clock ticks will Katriona uncover the charms in time, or lose something more precious than the war—her humanity?

DEMON REINCARNATE is the first novel of my YA urban fantasy series. Although DEMON REINCARNATE is the in a series, the story stands alone, and explores the uncertainty and change of being a teen on the cusp of adulthood.



Edgy Romantic Women’s Fiction

103,800 Words

A thirty-two year old musician assistant extraordinaire, Trista Hart knows she needs to find a way out of the nocturnally persuaded world of her best friend and boss, Jaxon James.  But no matter how dark that route has become lately, he and his band Sin Pointe are her family and she’s not prepared to leave them for Jaxon’s visiting cousin, Lucky Mason of Tennessee, if it’s just going to take her down another of life’s pot-hole littered highways.  She has valid reasons to question Lucky and his beloved south—having experienced at an early age the sometimes hypocritical underbelly of the region’s good manners and charm.

Her hourglass has been turned upside down and now with Lucky’s heartfelt proposal before her, she has to decide one for the other at the most inconvenient of times—just as Sin Pointe’s tour is taking off and on the heels of a horrendous late night attack on her and Jaxon that leaves her sure of only one thing…

It’s time for Trista to be her own savior.



Young Adult 

88,000 words

Mrs. Ghoul was up late one night brushing her long stringy hair. She stops to place the hair brush down, as her eerie witchy nails scrap the top of the dresser. She gazes at herself into the mirror; her deceased mother’s reflection appears and disappears quickly. It was a sign of her mother to let know her know that her items are still very powerful. After that particular moment, she gets into a deep thought as she thinks about setting revenge on RayAnn to retrieve the magical items back.

Jake is a wizard, he came to live with his grandmother, in New England, after his mother was vanished into another world. He had no idea that his sweetheart to be lived across the street. Once he lays eyes on RayAnn for the first time, he knew they would have a magical connection between them.

RayAnn and Cindy have been friends for years. Together the girls go through some magical reject spells to try to defeat Mrs. Ghoul at her own game. Nevertheless, their magical adventure will intense throughout the story.



Single-Title Romance

100,000 words

Widow Jeannette Riley’s long-term boyfriend is running from commitment like an escaped convict desperate to stay free.

That’s what her brother implies when he makes her an unconventional offer of help to prove it. She tells him to mind his own business. But when she suggests to her boyfriend she spend an evening listening to his band play at an out-of-town club, he quickly discourages her. One quick phone call to her brother sets the plan in motion, a plan she hopes doesn’t backfire.

When Tyler Morgan’s fiancée chooses her dynamic career over their relationship, he thinks a distraction will help fill the void growing inside him. He believes it’s purchasing the classic car collecting dust in a co-worker’s sister’s garage. When he steps into what turns out to be Jennette’s backyard to ask if she’s willing to sell, what he gets is a case of mistaken identity and an intriguing offer he chooses not to turn down.

What neither Jennette nor Tyler expects is for a chance meeting and one simple date to grow into an all-consuming passion and love neither can deny.



Regency with paranormal influence

90,000 words

Alexander Barrington flees his tyrannical uncle for the open seas and becomes a ruthless pirate who turns vampire.

Captured and sentence to hang for piracy, a fate he must avoid to keep his vampire self hidden, he gets a reprieve if he recues Lady Laurel Sinclair from French pirates and return her to her fiancé in England. He falls for the woman who sees him as a hero but he knows he is below her nobility status a pirate and must not steal her for himself.

In this Vampire Diaries meets Pirates of the Caribbean, he erases her memory of him so she can live a normal life though he doesn’t want her to go because she treats him like a human, making him feel alive again. Can he really have her without exposing what he is – a thief, the undead? The damned?



YA—Contemporary Fantasy

195,000 Words

Polly’s moment had finally arrived, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Barely a teenager, Polly had reluctantly accepted the role of human guardian of the Green. Now, about to begin college and leave her hometown and all the weirdness behind, fate calls her, except to save the Green she must defeat Isaac, the boy she loves.

Isaac was the kid nobody liked until a mysterious faerie granted him his greatest wish. Now bestowed with incredible musical prowess, Isaac is loved and admired by all. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Polly is the only one who can save Isaac’s soul, but her first responsibility is to the Green. Can Polly save the Green and save Isaac as well?

Guitar God is a Jewish, suburban rock and roll fantasy with a 1970s soundtrack. It’s urban fantasy in the suburbs. It’s War For The Oaks meets Portnoy’s Complaint. It’s crossover YA for teens and their parents. It’s a world where the faerie folk walk among us, but we don’t know it. It’s about the magical places where we grew up. Maybe we knew about them or maybe we walked by them every day without even noticing.




90,000 words

Haunted by a past as a sex slave, nobleman Ethan Warth returns to England as a male courtesan for rich matrons and runs a brothel for wealthy lords. Arabella Covington appears on his door, trained in the medical arts but unable to practice because she is a woman. He hires her to care for his ladies but her inquisitive nature and beauty make him desire to teach her the world of seduction.

Ethan, however, never counted on falling in love…




105,000 words

When Gerald “Jet” Jameson, an aspiring astronaut, loses control of his perfect life he agrees to murder innocents to stop an escalating nuclear war. His reward. Raising a son he didn’t want, doubting an ego he can’t risk, utilizing technology he can’t possibly understand, while hiding a secret where the only solution is a hangman’s noose.

Add in:

·      An engineered slate wiping virus

·      A world wide manhunt

·      A secret facility that uses humans as telepathic guinea pigs

·      A harvesting operation that steals organs from the dregs of society

·      An impossible space program sold as the only hope for mankind

·      and man’s first contact




Cozy Mystery with Romantic elements

70,000 words

Levi Mendenham thought taking flak for changing his parents’ Jewish bookstore into a haven for mystery readers was bad, but that’s nothing compared to being the prime suspect in the murders of both his fiance and an ex-  girlfriend. When the woman he recently asked out on a date goes missing as well, Levi, a former agent for the National Security Agency,  has to find a way to stay out of jail and find the real murderer.




85K words

The only white sheep in a flock of black ones, bank teller and human-lie-detector Lolita Vette aches for the guilty pleasure of a normal life. Instead, she works weekends exploiting her ‘gift’ as a psychic for an embarrassing and expensive family of wanna-be witches.

When she stops a bank robbery to save a mentally handicapped friend from going to jail, Lolita’s interrupted something bigger than a small town payday heist.  Kingpin Queenie Trent doesn’t appreciate the interference and puts the squeeze on Lolita: Break into the vault  or she and her screwy family will suffer the consequences.

Lolita refuses and Queenie sends trouble after her like debt collectors on a past due. She’s been assaulted, robbed, and now Tug Shelby–the man she hadn’t yet decided whether he belonged in a shallow grave or  her bed–is missing.  Leaving behind a little finger and a helluva lot of blood. Now even Lolita can’t help but pray for a little backwater magic.



Historical/Regency romance

95K words

“The sacrifice of one spoiled heiress for the good of many…” at least that’s how tarnished war-hero Major Vicks Geale quiets his conscience. Newly returned to England, Vicks finds his pay and commission forfeited, he’s inherited a crumbling estate, worthless title and a mountain of debt. With a band of wounded men depending upon him, Geale chooses the feckless and rich Lady Evangeline “Mischief” Moorecroft.

Gorgeous over-indulged Lady Evangeline delights on dancing the razor’s edge between scandal and infamy. Unable to resist Geale’s bait of a notoriously naughty masquerade, Evangeline awakens to discover she’s been ambushed into marriage. As an uneasy alliance forms between them, Evangeline has second thoughts about dissolving the marriage.

Their fierce attraction is put to the test when Evangeline’s treacherous and well-connected mother, the Duchess, gives Evangeline an ultimatum: end the marriage or the Duchess will use her connections to end Geale’s life.


Historical mystery romance with a paranormal element
70,000 words

Dirk McSwain, a gambler from new Orleans, has one goal, to save the family home. He buys first class passage on the Queen Mary ocean liner in order to make the big bucks in a hurry. Meeting a shy young psychic was not in his plans, but when a man he took for a lot of money is killed, Dirk must team up with Eden McGill to solve the case.



Paranormal Romance

91,000 words

Henri Chevalier’s last memory, before awakening naked within a bronze statue in a museum’s moonlit garden, was Auguste Rodin’s studio in 1886 Paris where he had expected to die to escape his broken heart.

He soon discovers he must learn to use the unexpected powers Heaven has given him to succeed in his mission against otherworldly creatures, such as demons, faeries, and a delectable art museum curator named Annabelle Mackintosh.

Relationship-wary, Belle does not believe Henri’s strange words and dire warnings at first, but their relationship heats up when a demon escapes the underworld and forces Henri and Belle to learn to trust each other.



Historical Romance set in the Regency Period with elements of suspense
84,000 words

Before Lieutenant Colonel Amherst, a battle-weary hero, can return to the
fight and avenge the death of his men, he must first honor a promise and
watch over his best friend’s sister, Lady Juliette, an innocent beauty who
fears she may be coerced to marry a lecherous old duke, to save the family

Unbeknownst to the ton, the duke’s vengeful sister and a scorned lover are
both desperate to make sure Juliette, and any other young lady, do not wed
him.  One wants her nephew to inherit the ducal title while the other wants
the duke to die a lonely, old man for what he did to her many years ago.

When Juliette unwittingly captures Amherst’s heart, he asks for her father’s
hand in marriage, but is one day too late, forcing Juliette into a world of
greed and murder and a guilt-ridden Amherst into a race against time to save
her and redeem himself and renew their love.



Historical Romance set in the Regency Period 
85,000 words

Lady Beatrix, a strong-willed young woman, has no wish to marry for anything
less than love and becomes quite taken by Lord Whitby.  However, he is a
grief-stricken widower who has no desire to remarry for he feels responsible
for his wife’s death.  When Beatrix tries to warn him of a notorious widow’s
plot to trap him into marriage, she is the one caught alone instead with
him, and they must wed.  Enthralled by the independent beauty, Whitby never
expected Beatrix could free him from the chains that bind his heart and
cripple his spirit, nor did Beatrix expect a woman to come between them who
would do anything, even murder, to gain Whitby’s love.  United by passion,
Bea and Whitby risk their lives to save not only themselves but each other.



Single Title Contemporary Romance

83,000 words

It’s time to unleash the angels.
This story is my sassy spin on Touched By an Angel meets L.A. Ink.  And when my angel – a 300 lb biker – is tasked with the Heavenly mission of playing cupid to a surly tattoo artist who wants nothing to do with love again, and an uptight accountant struggling to break free from her mother’s shadow, you might think this is a simple case of opposites attract.  Well, not so much.  You see, they both bring plenty of emotional baggage to the table and they simply can’t stand each other!  So, they force their poor cupid to work double time and come up with all sorts of creative ways to make sure the Divine Plan doesn’t fail.

I am a fresh, unpublished author and I’m looking forward to finding my niche.  And though I would never hold myself up to their caliber, I would say my writing sits comfortably somewhere in the pocket of romantic humor with authors such as my chapter mate Christie Craig or even Kristan Higgins, and I dream of someday being somewhere in their stratosphere.  I am also a PRO member of the RWA and the Northwest Houston chapter.



Urban fantasy (with strong romantic elements)

85,000 words

Sienna Wolfe knows it’s going to be an interesting day when a man with golden skin and strange tattoos crashes in her backyard… and ends up tied to her bedposts. She likes her life just the way it is – simple, easy, relaxed. But when the gorgeous new alien in her life asks for her help in an inter-galactic war on a collision course with earth, she can’t say no… but she’ll soon wish she had.

Being the only human on a secret base full of ETs is complicated, especially when she’s sharing her bed with one of them. She struggles with her new, unpredictable world, which includes trying to protect earth from alien domination and dodging attempts on her life. And to make matters worse, her greatest enemy – with annoyingly good looks – offers her a double-edged proposal to end the war. All she has to do is give up her freedom and turn her back on the love of her life. Now it’s up to Sienna to pull off the impossible: save the world and – hopefully – live a little happily ever after.



Romantic Mystery

80K words

Dema Maria Morielli is running scared after witnessing her brother get gunned down on a lonely street in Venice, California. The down-on-her-luck actress is desperate to find Micah’s killer and stay alive in the process. There is only one person she can turn to and he’s the one person she is determined to keep out of her life.

Detective Raphael Villegas is harder then diamonds when it comes to law enforcement…and Dema, ever since the hot woman left his bed one morning after an insane night of sex, she has consumed his thoughts. But when his sexy obsession waltzes back into his life via a murder investigation, Rafe has no choice but protect her.

As the pair searches Tinsel town for Micah’s killer, they find a cover-up bigger than any backlot and a romance that burns hotter than a brushfire.  Now if only Rafe can keep Dema alive…and in his bed.



Paranormal Romance

55K words

A rash of theft and the destruction of sacred artifacts have brought the wrath of the United States Geological Survey down on Dr. Jack O’Connor’s head.  The handsome volcanologist has been sent a mouthy new assistant to help him get to the heart of the vandalism. Kalama Young is like no woman he has ever known.

Kalama may look like your typical island girl but there is more to the Hawaiian beauty than meets the eye. A secret lies beneath the surface of her fiery demeanor. Kalama is the 230 year old half mortal daughter of Pele, the Goddess of Fire. In desperation, Pele has called Kalama home to Hawaii.

A force beyond anything the world can comprehend is threatening Pele. Only Kalama can stop it. Na-maka-o-kaha’I, the goddess of the sea, has been released from her watery prison at the bottom of the ocean by an earthquake. She wants revenge against her sister Pele and will stop at nothing to get it. Kalama and Jack must join forces and race against time to recover a sacred carving in order to save her mother and all of Hawaii. . For it is written, He who controls the carving, controls Pele.




98,000 words

Pandora Mavros is on the hunt for one of her own.  A high ranking Siren has gone rogue, murdering innocent men.  Her mission is to locate the rogue and the artifact she has stolen.  If she fails; the destruction of her people will follow.  The licentious and dashing Alexander is a complication she is definitely not looking for.  Could he be working for the rogue?

Alexander Knight is searching for his business partner who mysteriously disappeared and with him the ancient map of the elusive island of Eudora.  Alex doesn’t need the impediment of his desire for the mysterious and guarded Pandora, but something or someone is forcing them together.  Is she his salvation? Or the destruction of everything he holds dear?




72,000 words

Ella has a secret. Problem is, she doesn’t know what it is. The car accident that killed her best friend and the two guys they picked up one stupid night after a party – is nothing but a foggy blur.

Her father’s too much of a drunk to help her figure it out, and her mother suffers from denial that anything could possibly be wrong in her perfect life.

That leaves the geeky school psychologist who still uses words like groovy and gnarly in an attempt to be ‘down with the kids’.

Welcome to Ella’s hell – join the club – they’ve got jackets.

Enter one of the dead boy’s older brother’s, and Ella’s secret turns out to be the reason he’s hunted her down.



Contemporary romance/suspense

89,000 words

What else would any red-blooded American woman with a shred of self-respect do, but sneak around for a night to see what kind of dirt she can find on her cheating, no-good, lying, SOB of an ex-boyfriend?

Okay, so it was lame. Dani Shaffer knows just how lame it is when she stumbles across the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses the brutal murder of a young hooker.

With an ex-police father who’d shamed the family with his corruption, Dani’s faith in law enforcement is non-existent. Flip, witty, and okay, somewhat smokin’, Officer Hale Dennison, doesn’t do a whole lot to reaffirm her faith. But who else can she trust when the murderers decide she needs to permanently forget what she saw?

It’s Pitch Day at Agent Shop with Weronika Janczuk!

June 26, 2011


Good Morning everyone.

It’s Agent Shop PITCH Day! Yay.

We have the awesome Weronika Janczuk (@weronikajanczuk on Twitter) coming tomorrow to look at thirty lucky pitches, and we’re so happy to have one of her clients here today for the author spotlight.

Please welcome Teresa Frohock with her soon to be released novel


How ridiculously awesome is THAT cover?!?

Miserere: An Autumn Tale

(Night Shade Books / July 1, 2011)

Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina’s soul, but Catarina doesn’t want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell.

When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina’s wrath isn’t so easy to escape. In the end, she will force him once more to choose between losing Rachael or opening the Hell Gates so the Fallen’s hordes may overrun Earth, their last obstacle before reaching Heaven’s Gates.

Read the first four chapters of Miserere FREE here:

And check out this trailer!!!

(BTW – At  the bottom of the interview with Teresa, I’m going to post some information that you NEED to read.)

Blurbs for MISERERE:

“MISERERE is about redemption, and the triumph of our best impulses over our worst. It’s also about swords, monsters, chases, ghosts, magic, court intrigues and battles to the death. It’s also (and this is the important part) really, really good.”

–Alex Bledsoe, author of DARK JENNY and THE SWORD-EDGED BLONDE

“In her debut novel, MISERERE: AN AUTUMN TALE, Teresa Frohock has succeeded at creating that all-too-rare phenomenon among first-time story-tellers: a mature prose style combined with a fully realized vision. Her ‘woerld’ will completely immerse the reader with its compelling and striking visuals, fascinating details and thrilling plot turns. The book is almost impossible to put down and it’s harder yet not to actually believe that what Ms. Frohock imagined isn’t terribly real—even if some of us haven’t found an entrée into the parallel existences she’s meticulously crafted. Studded with magic, demons, and terror run amok, dark fantasy and horror fans alike will walk away from MISERERE feeling they’ve found a writer they not only admire, but are anxious to revisit soon in her future works.”

— Lisa Mannetti, Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of THE GENTLING BOX and DEATHWATCH

When and Where can we find it?

MISERERE will release from Night Shade Books on July 1, 2011

You can follow for updates on the blog tour, which started June 24th and will go through the end of August. has links to Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, and more. The book will be available at bookstores everywhere.

Awesome information Teresa!

How about a bio? We love getting to know authors.

Raised in a small town, Teresa Frohock learned to escape to other worlds through the fiction collection of her local library. She eventually moved away from Reidsville and lived in Virginia and South Carolina before returning to North Carolina, where she currently resides with her husband and daughter.

Teresa has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying. Miserere: An Autumn Tale is her debut novel.

Teresa can be found most often at her blog and web site ( Every now and then, she heads over to Tumblr and sends out Dark Thoughts, links to movies and reviews that catch her eye. You can also follow Teresa on Twitter and join her author page on Facebook

Can you tell us where the idea for MISERERE came from?

The idea for MISERERE started with Lucian’s character. I’m not the kind of writer who thinks in terms of plot; I tend to begin with a character and formulate the story about him or her.

The concept for Lucian began when I dreamed of a powerful sorcerer, speaking to a young boy dressed in twenty-first century clothing. They were at the edge of a dark forest where there was a hand painted sign nailed to a tree that read: “Jesus Saves.” (If you live in the southeastern United States, you see these scattered around.) Beside the tree was a rusting bumper from a pickup truck with a sticker that read: “Nobody Saves You More Than Winn Dixie.”

The whole dream stayed with me long after I woke, so I started building a story around the man and the boy and the strange world they inhabited where time overlapped from one period to another. I loved the idea of mixing the religious with the secular, my interpretation of the sign/bumper sticker symbolism, to see what kind of world I could build. It wasn’t until I took a college course in the introduction of the Old Testament that the final piece fell into place with the Crimson Veil.

Constructing the actual story was the hardest part. During my research, I read a quote from Toni Morrison’s novel LOVE: “Love is the weather. Betrayal is the lightning that cleaves and reveals it.” When I read that line, I knew I had the crux of Lucian’s conflict for MISERERE.

Care to share your ‘call’ experience? Either from when you were offered representation or when you got the call saying MISERERE: AN AUTUMN TALE had sold?

I met Weronika through before she became a literary agent and I followed her blog and tweets for several months. She impressed me with her many accomplishments and her love of literature. I enjoyed her writing and the way she expressed herself to her blog readers.

So when I saw through one of her tweets that she was striking out as a literary agent, I knew I had to submit MISERERE to her. I thought there wasn’t a chance she would remember me, but she did, and she immediately requested the full manuscript. When she emailed me and told me that she wanted to discuss representation, I was thrilled.

I had a list of questions and concerns I wanted to go over with her, but as we talked, she addressed each of my questions before I had a chance to ask them. I wanted an editing agent, someone who loved not just this particular book but my writing, and someone who would be honest enough with me to tell me when I was off track.

I got all three things with Weronika. The more she talked about MISERERE, the more enthusiastic I became until I was ready to buy my own book! That is salesmanship, and that is what a good agent does. Sure enough, she managed to sell MISERERE after only being on submission for six weeks and she’s really helped me navigate through the process, especially what happens AFTER you sell a book.

That’s a very encouraging way to find your agent. I love that you weren’t scared (well maybe you were at the time) to ask the questions you knew you needed to, to find the right agent for both yourself and your work. I love even more that Weronika answered them before you had to ask. Can you tell us what else you have in the works?

Right now, I’m fleshing out a synopsis for DOLOROSA, this is the second novel in the Katharoi series, and will be more in line with fantasy readers’ expectations in terms of world-building and magic. DOLOROSA will be Rachael’s story and will also give a broader view of Woerld and how the bastions work together to hold back the Fallen.

I’m also working on a novel in a new series that begins in Spain in 1348. Right now, it’s tentatively entitled THE GARDEN and it is the story of Guillermo Ramírez, a blacksmith conscripted into the King’s army. THE GARDEN is turning out much darker than MISERERE, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the characters and the story.

Busy woman! What’s one piece of advice you would pass on to other aspiring authors?

I try to share something different each time I answer this, but one thing remains constant—remain teachable. Always be willing to learn new techniques and experiment with different styles, but at the same time, don’t become so rigid that you stifle your voice. Take time to write whatever pops into your head without paying any attention to grammar or structure. Just write.

There you will find your true voice and once you’ve found your voice, modulate it with the rules of grammar and structure. It is through that critical editing process that my works always begin to take their true form. My rough drafts are little more than stage direction, but the edits are where I refine and groom the novel into a story with depth.

Brilliant. And so very true!

It’s so wonderful to have you here. We wish you the best with your writing, and huge congratulations on your release! Thank you so much for coming to Musetracks. After looking at your blog tour, I can only imagine how super busy ( and super excited) you must be!

As promised, I have some awesome info to share.

Teresa will be giving away a copy of MISERERE to one lucky person who comments using the words AUTUMN and TALE (or TAIL).

We’ll also be awarding the Top Pitch slot to a comment that uses those words.

And if you didn’t already know, Teresa has begun her blog tour and she’s doing a super contest with winner packages including a copy of MISERERE, query, synopsis, and even page critiques from Teresa’s agent, Weronika Janczuk! Check it out here!

Okay, now on to business.

You know the drill. Leave a comment using the words AUTUMN and TALE (or TAIL) to be entered to win the copy of MISERERE or the Top Pitch Slot for tomorrow. Send me your pitch at candi_agent_shop at And yes, replace the word at with the @ symbol) and come back tomorrow to see if you made it in the top thirty.

Good luck to everyone.


Agent Shop with Weronika Janczuk at Musetracks

June 21, 2011

It’s that time again folks.

Agent Shop will be taking pitches for literary agent Weronika Janczuk this Sunday starting when you see the word GO posted on the main page of the blog. (Approx. 10:00am EST.)

Here’s the link for Weronika’s information:

One of Weronika’s authors will be spotlighted on pitch day and as usual, we’ll be awarding the Top Pitch Slot to one lucky comment who uses the special words in their comment. We’ll also be giving away a copy of the author’s new release.

The visiting author is: Teresa Frohok
And her new book is: MISERERE: AN AUTUMN TALE

So the special words this time around are: Autumn and TALE or TAIL!

Be sure to check the rules for pitching at

If you have something Weronika is looking for, shine it up and send it in to me when you see the word GO.

Best of luck to everyone and as always, feel free to share this information!