Sunday, March 29, 2009

Make Mine Chocolate

In more than one post, I've included stories about my pet house rabbit, Buttercup. Since Easter is only two weeks away, this blog is a plea to all not to purchase a bunny as an Easter gift for children. Instead, make it a chocolate bunny. If you are seriously considering a rabbit as a pet, please visit the house rabbit society for detailed care instructions at

Now here's a UTube Video entitled Bunnies Rock. There's a strong message about treating animals with TLC. If you love animals, please pass the link on and get the message out there. Buttercup and I thank you on behalf of all the sweet bunnies in our world.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Knight Agency's Fabulous Contest!

The Knight Agency (TKA) is offering a fabulous opportunity to get an agent read, critique & just possibly representation. For more details, click on the link:

Good luck to all!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Funny Friday - Wedding Disasters!

In honor of the romance genre, I present weddings you'll never see in a romance book.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Increasing Your Odds with Query Letters

I'm addicted to reading agent blogs because of the insight into the business. It's also a great way to learn about authors I've yet to read. I'm always interested in expanding my reading horizons. But one of the central subjects on many agent blogs concerns query letters. After reading replies from authors who bemoaned the difficulty of writing query letters, I felt rather smug. In all but one case, I got a request. I concluded I'd written a dynamite query/cover letter. But then I recalled something important.

In all but one case, I had some type of connection with the agent.

Guess which one got rejected? If your answer is the one I had no connection with, award yourself a gold star.

I essentially wrote the same query letter to all of the agents. The only thing that differentiated the query was the first paragraph where I mentioned the connection. These connections consisted of an author recommendation to her agent, contests, and in-person pitches. In the case of the agent I signed with, I met her at a regional conference dinner. She asked about my book, and I gave her a one-line elevator pitch. She requested a partial on the spot. Scouts, be prepared!

While authors do get requests from query letters, I think my experience is important. Authors can increase their chances of getting requests by taking advantage of opportunities to make connections. If an agent you're hungry to sign with is attending a regional conference, you might try to attend if it's financially feasible. Enter contests that are judged by agents you are targeting. And if a published author offers to read a partial of your manuscript, by all means jump on the opportunity because she might recommend you to her agent.

Luck plays a part in any request, but it never hurts to take advantage of opportunities. You just might land the agent of your dreams.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Funny Friday the 13th Again!

Mrs. Hughes is hysterical. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

All-Time Fav Romances

I'm posting some of my all-time romance favorites, in no particular order. And I'm hoping to get some feedback from folks on subgenres I don't read as often.

If you're a fan of series, romantic suspense, women's fiction, Sci-Fi, Inspirational, and let's include YA as well, please include your favs. I'm always looking for great recommendations! Here are books I couldn't put down (and sometimes read more than once):

Historical Romance:

  • Flowers from the Storm - Laura Kinsale
  • Rules of Gentility - Janet Mullany
  • Miss Wonderful, Mr. Impossible, Lord Perfect, Not Quite a Lady, Your Scandalous Ways - Loretta Chase (Can you tell I'm a fan - LOL!)
  • The Spymaster's Lady - Joanna Bourne
  • Whitney My Love, Almost Heaven - Judith McNaught
  • The Duke and I - Julia Quinn
  • Slightly Wicked, Slightly Dangerous, Slightly Scandalous, A Summer to Remember, and First Comes Marriage - Mary Balogh (Actually I could list dozens more)
  • Mistress - Amanda Quick (This one is my fav - it's LOL funny.)
  • Once Upon a Wedding Night - Sophie Jordan (she also writes paranormals as Sharie Kohler!)

Paranormal Romance:

  • How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire and The Undead Next Door - Kerrelyn Sparks (All of her books are LOL funny)
  • Vampires Have Curves and Real Vampires Get Lucky - Gerry Bartlett (the whole series is fabulous - check it out!)
  • Marked by Moonlight - Sharie Kohler
  • Outlander - Diana Gabaldon

Contemporary Romance (Need Recommendations!)

  • Nobody's Baby but Mine and Heaven Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • Fools Rush In - Kristen Higgins (In reading progress, but loving it!)
  • It Must Be Love and Truly Madly Yours - Rachel Gibson
  • Mr. Perfect - Linda Howard

Young Adult (Need Recommendations!)

  • Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
  • Oh. My. Gods. - Tera Lynn Childs

Women's Fiction (Need Recommendations!)

  • Nineteen Minutes and The Pact - Jodi Picoult (All her books are great, but these two are my favs.)

Help me spread cyber word of mouth about great books. Send me a list of books you couldn't put down (include subgenre please!).

Reading Test

How well-read are you? My friend Donna Maloy sent this on a private loop, and I thought it would be great fun. Part I is the literary one. In the next post, I'll list some romance classics and ask others to add to them! Check off each one and tally up your points. I've changed the font colors to blue for the ones I've read. Also, there are some additions at the bottom not on the original list - brownie points for any of those you've read!

  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
  3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  6. The Bible (Not the whole Good Book!)
  7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (No, but I've read a good chunk of the plays & sonnets)
  15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
  18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment - Feodor Dostoevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
  34. Emma - Jane Austen (I love P&P and S&S, but Emma, the book, doesn't grab me.)
  35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
  37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
  41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
  45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
  50. Atonement - Ian McEwan (Part of it. Too slow for my taste.)
  51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  52. Dune - Frank Herbert
  53. Cold Comfort Farm Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
  66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
  67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
  69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses - James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal - Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Possession - AS Byatt (Loved it!)
  81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
  82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the whole collection)
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down - Richard Adams (This book started my love of rabbits)
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare (Why separate? Beats me, but in the course of my high school/college years, I had to read Hamlet, Prince of Denmark 5X- ugh!)
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo K

Additions I've read & think are worth noting:

  1. The Memory Keeper's Daugther - Kim Edwards
  2. Girl with a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier
  3. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
  4. Don Quijote (Norton edition spelling) - Miguel de Cervantes
  5. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
  6. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
  7. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
  8. For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemmingway
  9. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
  10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

How many of these books have you read? What books would you add?

Stay tuned to help me build Romance Lists!