Saturday, June 28, 2008

Next Up in our RITA Nominated Interviews!

Introducing Deanna Raybourn - Author of Silent in the Grave!

How did you get started in the publishing business?

Slowly. I wrote my first novel when I was 23. I did not sell Silent in the Grave until I was 37. In between were six or seven other novels that live quietly in a box in the attic, and we won’t even talk about how many rejection letters I got. But when MIRA bought Grave they bought two sequels as well, so overnight I went from being a girl who couldn’t get a second look from the publishing industry to a writer with a multibook deal. It was terrifying and wonderful, and I still haven’t quite recovered.

Any surprises? Biggest challenge so far?

My biggest fear as a writer was having to write a book I’d already been paid for. I was terrified. But when my agent sold Silent in the Grave, she might have accidentally given the impression I was a teeny bit further along with the sequel than I actually was. I had a very short time to finish it, and for six weeks after I signed the contract, I was paralyzed with fear. Then I looked at the calendar and nearly infarcted on the spot. I sat down and wrote like a demon for the next few months. After that I had to learn how to revise because I had never revised anything in my entire life, not a paper, not a book, not a paragraph. My editor was very tough, and incredibly good. She pushed me just far enough to get my best and not so far that I curled up fetal under the bed. Writing the third book was infinitely easier and more enjoyable!

What is the best part of being a novelist?

Readers! I love hearing from people who have been immersed in the world I’ve created and didn’t want to leave. The most touching response I have received was from a young woman who was flying home for a funeral and found my second book in the airport bookstore. She read it on the flight and said that for a few hours she forgot why she was traveling. That is hugely gratifying. To know that you can make someone’s day a little bit better, whether they are sick or bored or grieving or stressed out, means that what we do matters. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that when you’re sitting alone in front of the computer in your nightgown!

What’s the average day in the writer’s life look like for you? Are you scheduled and organized or are you more the “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” type?

I am an organized pantser. My methods are hugely idiosyncratic. What works for me probably wouldn’t work for anyone else. When I start a book, I know precisely where I’m going—just not how I’m going to get there. I have a very general outline scrawled on huge pieces of art paper and taped to the wall. I work my way from point to point. I start at about nine in the morning because that’s when my energy is highest and when the house is quiet. I work for two or three hours, no more. I have a page minimum when I first start a book, then a page maximum toward the end. Those guidelines force me to keep my pacing even. Otherwise I would rush toward the payoff at the end! When I’m through writing for the day, I still spend a lot of time thinking about the book, and often I find I “see” a scene the next morning when I’m drifting between sleeping and waking. It’s always the scene I’m getting ready to write, so often when I work it’s like taking dictation from myself. For me, the time I spend not writing, when I’m just noodling over the book in my head, is just as important as the time I am physically at the computer, pounding the keyboard. I also write every day when I’m working through a draft—no exceptions. I will take several weeks off between drafts, but when I am fully engaged in a book, I don’t want to be away from it.

What are your inspirations for your stories? Any tips and tricks for someone who is stuck?

Inspiration comes from a snippet of something I’m reading—a biography or a journal, an obscure fact, a forgotten mystery. Then I start playing the “what if” game and change everything, twisting and turning until I have something approaching a plot. From there I might think about the sort of people who would be involved in a situation like the one I’ve created, or a setting which would be unusual or provocative. As far as being stuck, the best tip is not to let yourself get there in the first place, and I don’t mean that to sound flippant. The most effective way to deal with block is preventive. I work every day, at the same time, for the same length of time. I always end a scene or a chapter with some sort of hook that will make the reader excited about turning the page, but it also helps to keep me excited about writing the next page. People talk a lot about inspiration and the muse, but in my experience, discipline counts for just as much.

Have you had a mentor, critique group or teacher that has helped you get where you are today? Have you been a mentor to someone else?

I don’t use critique groups, ever. They are divine for some people, but I just don’t work that way. My editor has been a tremendous mentor for me—and still is! I am learning incredible things from her, and over the course of three books I can already see how she is shaping my fiction to be the best it can be. I would love to put together a workshop to share what I’ve learned about the process so far. I’m thinking Morocco in 2009!

What does it mean to you to be nominated for a RITA award? How did you feel when you got the call? And what do you think the RITA means for the romance novel genre?

I was hugely thrilled and very honored to be nominated for two RITA Awards. When I got the call that I was nominated for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, I was delighted. About an hour later I got the second call, and I thought they had made a mistake! I thought it was just a repeat of the first call until she said, “Best First Novel”, and then I about hollered down the house. I made her repeat it to me—I just could not believe I was nominated in two categories. It is just such a gracious welcome by the RWA family. My books tiptoe down the line of what a romance novel traditionally is, so to be nominated felt like RWA was saying, “We like you anyway!” It was a complete Sally Field moment.

What are you wearing to the RITA Awards Ceremony in San Francisco? (LOL) Do you have the dress picked out? Any stories?

You will have to wait and see! (That sounds like I’m trying to create suspense, but really I just haven’t shopped yet!) They just did a gorgeous cover shoot for the mass market release of Silent in the Sanctuary and if I could get my hands on the black corset dress they commissioned for it, I would wear that!

Are you preparing a speech in case you win?

No. If I win, my hands will be shaking so hard, I would tear the paper before I got to read it. I prefer the heartfelt, off-the-cuff speeches anyway.

Congratulations on your RITA nomination. Any last thoughts?

Thanks for having me!
Read more about Deanna at her awesome blog!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let the Fun Begin!!

As I mentioned in my newsletter, I will be doing an interview with the RITA Nominees in the First Books Catagory! If you would like to win a copy of their book, just comment on the interview and you will be automatically entered to win! Be sure and leave your email (you can cloak it like this jamiecarie @ I'll know to leave out the spaces!)

I've read the answers and I can tell you that these authors are inspiring and lovely - inside and out! Enjoy the fun!!
And our first nominee is . . . (drumroll please:)

Double RITA Nominated Helen Brenna with TREASURE!!

How did you get started in the publishing business?

I’ve always been a romance reader, but NEVER dreamed of writing one. I’d just quit my job to stay home full-time for a few years with my then two year old daughter. (YIKES, she’s now 19 and in college!!) She was taking two hour daily naps, and I was bored. Finished a LaVryle Spencer novel one day and thought, “I could do that!”

Any surprises? Biggest challenge so far?

It was much, much harder than I expected, especially for someone like me with no writing background. I’m an accountant, geesh.
The biggest challenge has been tackling my fear. I’m full of it. There’s always something new to worry about. What if I write another book and it doesn’t sell? What if I finally get published and I get a bad review? What if readers don’t like my books? What if the publisher doesn’t buy another book? I could go on and on.

What is the best part of being a novelist?

Getting to write the books I’d like to read.

What’s the average day in the writer’s life look like for you? Are you scheduled and organized or are you more the “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” type?

I’m fairly scheduled. Get up early with the hopes of getting my work done first. Doesn’t always happen, but I try. I’ve got 4 books coming out in 2009, so I have to be disciplined.

What are your inspirations for your stories? Any tips and tricks for someone who is stuck?

I’ve had writer’s block before, and I’ve been stuck with a book. There’s a big difference. With writer’s block, I couldn’t string a sentence together to save my soul. In those situations, I think a writer needs to cut herself some slack and recharge. If you’re simply stuck, you just have to writer through it. Get something down every day and trust the clouds will clear.

Have you had a mentor, critique group or teacher that has helped you get where you are today? Have you been a mentor to someone else?

I’ve had a lot of help! Two different critique groups and a study group and a couple of people within those groups who have held my hand a lot, not only helping me become a better writer, but also helping me keep the faith. It’s so easy to become disheartened in this business.
I’ve done workshops at our local chapter and offered critiques as fundraisers for our local group, so I hope I’ve helped a little.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for a RITA award? How did you feel when you got the call? And what do you think the RITA means for the romance novel genre?

Wow. Wow.
TREASURE was a double nominee, so I was beside myself. I was in Colorado on a ski trip with my family and found out through emails. When I saw the first email, I was ecstatic. With the second one, I started crying. Sobbing, actually. Made quite a fool out of myself.

What are you wearing to the RITA Awards Ceremony in San Francisco? (LOL) Do you have the dress picked out? Any stories?

No clue yet. I get freaked out just thinking about it!

Are you preparing a speech in case you win?

You know, I go back and forth on this. But, in the end, yeah, I’ll prepare a speech, just in case. I think I’d be a basket case if I don’t put together something. I’ll still be incredibly nervous, but at least I’ll be able to calm myself a bit knowing I’m prepared.

Congratulations on your RITA nomination. Any last thoughts?

I wish everyone the best of luck! And I mean that. This best first book category has some very stiff competition and as a series author, I’m proud to have been nominated! I’ll be cheering loudly no matter who wins!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 2008 - NEWSLETTER

Wow! Snow Angel wins another award! I'm so blown away at how well this Alaskan love story is doing. The press release reads: ForeWord magazine has announced the winners of its tenth annual Book of the Year Awards. At a ceremony at BookExpo America in Los Angeles, 212 winners in 60 categories were honored. These books, representing the best work from independent publishers in 2007, were selected by a panel of librarian and bookseller judges. Snow Angel by Jamie Carie, released by B&H Publishing Group, August 2007, was named ForeWord Book of the Year in the Romance Category. The other 210 winners were selected by dozens of ForeWord readers from across the country, who are experts in the subject matter of the books they judged, and who make purchasing decisions daily for their collections or bookstores. The complete list of ForeWord's Book of the Year Award winners, searchable by title, author, publisher, and category, is available at ForeWord's Web site (

Congratulations to our April, May, and June winners for a copy of The Duchess and the Dragon. And the winners are:
Chris Swanson
Anna Campbell
Pam Dudley
(Remember, all you have to do to be automatically entered in each month's drawing is subscribe to this newsletter! So please pass along the word!)

With my son's high school graduation behind me, I have been busy working on the final edits for my fourth book, as yet untitled, but I'm calling it Red Like Scarlett (isn't that a cool title?). I have learned so much about the differences between the American Revolution vs. the French Revolution. We are a blessed people to have had men like George Washington and others lead America into what truly is a promise land. This Fourth of July is going to be particularly special to me because of my research this past year.

I am also really excited about the RWA Conference and the RITA Award Ceremony in San Francisco - August 2nd!! If you haven't heard, (I posted it everywhere - LOL) Snow Angel has been nominated for a RITA Award (this is BIG, like the Oscars of the romance biz!!) in the First Books category. I about dropped to the floor in a dead faint when I received the call. PTL!!! God's plans for this book keep blowing my mind! I'm going dress shopping (yes, I get to wear a full-length gown!!) next week. It is such an honor to be nominated!

Duchess reaches number 4 in Amazon's Books>Romance>Religious category.You can also purchase it at CBD, LifeWay and your local bookstores!

Winner of USA Book News Best Books of 2007 in the Religious: Fiction and Literary Category!

Snow Angel wins Gold for Best Romance of 2007!


RITA Nominees Band Together: I am proud to introduce my fellow authors in the First Book Category for the RITA! There is some amazing talent here and such lovely women. In the time leading up to the awards ceremony, I will be interviewing each author on my blog to find out all about them. We will be having drawings for free books and other goodies. Just drop by and comment on the interview with your name and email address and you will be added to the drawing! Here is a sneak peak of the authors and their nominated books:

Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri GareyHarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books(978-0-06-113615-3)Erika Tsang, editor

Graffiti Girl by Kelly ParraSimon & Schuster, MTV Books/Pocket(141653461X)Jennifer Heddle, editor

Prime Time by Hank Phillippi RyanHarlequin Enterprises, Harlequin NEXT(9780373881352)Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

Prom Dates From Hell by Rosemary Clement-MooreRandom House Publishing, Delacorte Press(978-0-385-73412-7)Krista Marino, editor

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn Harlequin Enterprises, MIRA(978-0-7783-2410-2)Valerie Gray, editor

Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee BL Publishing, Solaris(978 1 84416 469 1)Mark Newton, editor

Treasure by Helen BrennaHarlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance(0373714033)Johanna Raisanen, editor

Favorite Fan Email for this month is . . . "Jamie, I just finished Snow Angel and it was one of the best books I have read in all my 63 years. I laughed and cried with and at the characters through out the book. From the minute I picked it up I couldn't lay it down until I finished it. I am anxiously awaiting your next one. Sincerely, Barbara Smotherman from Tennessee" Thank you so much Barbara!

New and improved website! Visit and let me know what you think!

Wind Dancer - I just heard that my publisher, B&H, is working on an awesome book trailer for my third book, Wind Dancer (January 2009). Check back on my website in a few weeks where I should have the final cover and new book trailer. I'm so excited about this third book!!

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