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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Panel: Meet the Romance Author


Dyanne Davis

Shelia Goss

J. S. Hawley

Dara Girard

Ayn Hunt

Roberta DeCaprio

Devon Vaughn Archer

Rhonda Jackson Joseph

Andrea Jackson


rhondajjoseph said...

Hello, everybody:

My name is Rhonda Jackson Joseph and I am completely in love with love. I'm an avid reader and writer, but romance has always been my first love.

My debut romance novel, "Call It What You Want", was published in March of this year. Prior to its publication, several of my short stories and a couple of articles were also published.

Please feel free to come and say hello, or ask questions you might have.

I love talking to people!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm Ayn Amorelli who writes contemporary romances as well as writing Gothics under the pen name of Ayn Hunt.

I have 4 published books, the latest of which is Contract Bride, a contemporary romance published by BlackVelvet Seductions.

My hubby and I have been married for nearly 35 years LOL and live in the Great State of Texas. We met in church, as did our daughter and her husband and who live down the street from us.

Please drop by to say "hi," and ask me anything. I love to talk about writing and all aspects of it.

Thank you.

Take Care

Deatri King-Bey said...

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to give a shout out to the Romance Authors,

WHEW WHOOOOO keep on writing.


Dyanne said...

Good morning, everyone.

I'm Dyanne Davis, a romance author. I llive in the Chicago area and had a past carrer as a nurse, still retain my license. You never know.

I've been married to one of the greatest men God ever allowed to take a breath. We've been married for 37 years and he's my biggest supporter. He was constantly telling me I could do it through all of the rejections and wanting to quit. He's the one that told me to take two years off work to write. A deal was struck. If after two years I wasn't published I would return to nursing. Well two years came and went and I wasn't published. I told him I would honor our deal and return to work. He kissed me, said naahh keep at it. The next year my first novel was sold.

Bill keeps me grounded with his love and his ability to make me laugh all day long. I'm important to him and he's important to me.

I don't shut myself away from him to write. I do the opposite. I write with him there and I stop to do whatever it is that he wants to do. He's also retired now and we have this retired routine. I work early in the morning while Bill is sleeping and I work in between but I will never be too busy to stop and go with him for ice cream or even to stop writng and go with him to the hardware store for a mouse trap. He's my love, my hero and my romance story come to life.

Is that enough informatin about my personal business? LOL

La-Tessa said...

As an avid reader, it is nice getting this opportunity to meet you all. I want to encourage you all to continue what you are doing, and giving us great stories, romance, and adventures. (Dyanne, that is so sweet what you said about your husband)

I do have a question for Ayn, and any one else to whom this may apply. As an aspiring author, I am leaning toward's using a pen name. Mainly because I would like to write for the Romance genre, but I also have a Christian, non-fiction business book I am working on; I would like to have 2 seperarte "Brands", so to speak.

Ayn what are some of your reasons for using a pen name, and what are some of the negatives (as you see them).


Anonymous said...

Hi, La-Tessa,

Ayn Amorelli here :)

I use a pen name because I write in two different genres. I don't want readers picking up one of my books thinking there's going to be a ghost in the book, only to find that there's not. Conversely, I don't want a reader thinkiing they'll be reading a romance, only to find people being chased by a ghost.

As to the negatives of using two names, I have to have two websites, each linking to the other. That's an extra expense. And when answering email, I sometimes do it under the wrong name LOL.

The main thing to remember if you use two names, make sure the publisher has the right one for your checks, meaning your real name. :) I have 4 different publishers, and so far that hasn't been a problem, but I always worry about that when signing a new contract.

Thank you for the question.

Take Care

La-Tessa said...

Thanks soo much Ayn for your response. With you thinking meshing with mine, I think I will proceed with the two different names.

Thanks again

Dara Girard said...


My name is Dara Girard and I'm the author of seven romance novels that span from category romance to paranormal. I'm happy to be here and welcome any questions readers have.

LaShaunda said...

Good morning everyone.

You know when I go to a conference the one thing I hate is when they schedule all these great workshops and you can only go to one.

I love the idea of visiting four rooms at one time LOL

Welcome to our panel, thanks for taking time out of your day to answer questions.

Here's mine.

What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

Shelia said...

Hi, I'm Shelia Goss. I'm the author of three romance novels. I was introduced to the world of romance novels by an aunt back in high school and I've been a lover of the genre every since. I feel blessed to be able to write in the genre amongst so many talented writers. My motto is: To love is to live and to live is to love. Life without romance would be boring :)

I'll be on and off all day so feel free to ask away. I look forward to interacting with my peers.

Shelia M Goss
My Invisible Husband (Dec. 2006)
Roses are thorns, Violets are true (Feb. 2007)
Paige's Web (Oct. 2007)

Shelia said...

La-Tessa, I've decided to use a pen name because the book is in another genre. Readers of my romance novels might not want to read books in the other genre.

Dyanne said...

LaShaunda, I wish I had known in the beginning that to send my mss to publishers that were not looking for what I was writing was the wrong way to go.

It didn't matter to me that some publishers were not publishing stories with AA characters. I wanted them to publish mine. Dumb idea.

This is a business. Publisher buy the kinds of stories they believe their readers want to read. Things are opening up now but when I first started I made all kinds of mistakes.


Shelia said...

What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

I wish I would have known the process from step a to step z. Writing the book is just the beginning. It may take anywhere from months to a few years before you see your manuscript in book form...due to the editing process, scheduling, etc. It's not a quick process, so you definately have to be patient.

Dyanne said...


I also use a pen name so that my readers will know the difference in the stories. I have six romances out as Dyanne Davis. A lot of my readers don't read vampires so I'm using my initials actually. F. D. Davis is merely adding my first name to the mix.

LaShaunda said...

How do you write your story, on the computer, long hand, talk in a tape recorder?

LaShaunda said...

Requests for blurbs, I get asked this a lot. I don’t mind for fellow writer friends, but I get a lot from people I don’t know and they want me to blurb a book I’ve never read. If I’m going to attach my name to a blurb, I want to read the book. How do you handle requests for blurbs or referrals?

Roberta C.M. DeCaprio said...

Hi everyone. I have penned two paranormal romantic suspense novels. The first, entitled Coma Coast was released October of 2006. Its sequel, The Vanity, was released this month and both are published by Wings Press. My third, a romantic fantasy, entitled A River of Orange is set to be released at the end of 2007 and published by The Wild Rose Press. My historical, The Golden Lady (and book one of a four part saga) is now being considered by Source Books. I am also an Assistant Editor for Independence Today newspaper.
I'm looking forward to meeting you all.

Dara Girard said...

Something I wish I'd known earlier that might have saved me some frustration in the publishing business is that in the beginning you can't control a lot of things.

A new author can't control what the cover will look like, the release date of the book, the copyedits, the print run, the distribution, the in-house publicity and so on...

Outside of the publisher you can't control reader responses. Some people will tell you what you 'should have' written others will tell you what you 'should' write next. Some people will like your work and some people won't (and they'll take the time to tell you, personally or by posting it online)

So I focus my energy on what I can control--creating the best story I can and then once I send it to my editor I release it to its fate and start work on my next project.

Never let the publishing business take away your joy of writing.

Patricia W. said...

Nice to meet some authors I've read and some I have yet to read.

How has the publishing changed since you published your first book?

Dyanne said...


First I'll answer the question about how I write. I use my computer but I will write scenes in long hand when I'm away from my computer.

As far as blurbs, only one was actually used that I gave and that one was for Nikki Woods, Easier said than Done.

I do read the material before I give a blurb. As far as referrals go I'm assuming you're mean to an editor or agent since we recently had this come up on another board. I will give referrals to my agent if I know the person's work. I will give anyone that asks my agents info. That's not a referral. I hope I answered the question. If not just let me know.

LaShaunda said...

What was your best fan letter and your worst?

La-Tessa said...

How do you get over roadblocks? Are there any exercises or techniques you use to help "un stick" the plot and move it alone; or do you just walk away for a while?

Dara Girard said...

I write both in long hand and on the computer, and I love my trusty Neo Alphasmart which is sturdy and cheaper than a laptop and you don't have to wait for it to upload or close. It works on AA batteries and I can't recommend it enough.

I haven't been in publishing long enough to see a significant change. Of course there is the rise of paranormal romance, erotica, and inspirationals. But I tell aspiring authors never to worry about trends write what you like to read.

About fan letters, I won't be specific because I don't want to get into trouble, but I've received some interesting prison mail, which can run the gamut of entertaining and funny to skin crawling creepy. I know a number of authors who don't respond to prison mail, but I respond once and that's it. From those outside of the Big House I've received requests from lonely people who want me to be their best friend to those who have plot ideas for my next work (not suggestions, demands). I don't have a 'best' fan letter because I treasure every reader who writes me.

When it comes to roadblocks, I always try to get my characters into as much trouble as the scope of the book will allow. I find stories fall into the dreaded 'sagging middle' when the hero or heroine isn't striving for something. Make sure there's something in the scene that one of your characters wants but can't have (whether it's a kiss or a glass of water) that's the power of conflict. However, if you're really struggling work on another scene or take a break.

I've also started doing collages. I believe Jennifer Crusie talks about them in detail on her site or blog. I'll gather images from old magazines that pertain to my story and put them together on a poster board and it helps me to get a visual image of my characters lives and the 'mood' of the story. I plan to post an example on my blog sometime in September.

The Paperback Diva said...

I'm Andrea Jackson. I am pressed for time today so I'm posting the bio from my brochure at the moment. I hope I get a chance to come back later and answer questions/read the other posts.

Where do you live?:
In the Hampton Roads area of Virginia

What inspired you to write?
From the third grade on, I had a book in my hand. When I reached my teen years I began to venture into creating stories for my friends. I continued to write off and on through many years of work, marriage and family. But I did not seriously think of it as a career until, in 1992, I entered Writer's Digest monthly contest and won. That made me believe I might actually be a real writer. I joined Romance Writers of America and learned about the business and craft of writing. I also made contacts with editors and publishers who eventually bought my first novel.

What are your goals for this book?
As with all my books, I hope to bring enjoyment to as many readers as possible. I also hope that they will learn something new, but mostly it's just for fun. There's nothing like a good book!

Have you received any awards for your works?
2002,Heart and Soul Aspiring Writer's Contest (Romance Slam Jam, Honorable Mention)--1998, RWA Wisconsin Romance Writers, Fabulous Five, 3rd Place -- 1992

Anonymous said...

Good day, all:

I'm Barri, writing as Devon Vaughn Archer, male romance author.

In 2006, I became the first male to write a solo romance novel for Harlequin's Arabesque line with LOVE ONCE AGAIN.

My new upcoming holiday novel, CHRISTMAS HEAT, will be out in December 2007 from Harlequin's Kimani Press.

For you romance readers who want love and passion from a male perspective, CHRISTMAS HEAT is a must!

I encourage you to ask me any questions you like and I will be happy to answer.

See info on my new romance novel below...

CHRISTMAS HEAT by Devon Vaughn Archer
Kimani Romance, December 2007
ISBN: 0373860471

A season of miracles ... and second chances ...

Audrey Lamour was a successful artist and devoted mother, forever
indebted to the heroic fireman who pulled her from a blaze twenty-five years ago on Christmas Day. She honored him by painting his portrait--never dreaming her picture would become a lifeline to love...

Conrad Pearson was driven to meet the woman whose emotional painting
of his father seared his soul, even if it meant returning home to the Pacific Northwest, and painful memories. But Audrey's beauty, grace, and unforgettable kiss ignited the kind of sensual fire that made a man glad to be alive. Now he was ready to face all the ghosts of Christmas past to keep this angel in his arms forever.

Visit my website and MySpace pages :



Also check out my short romance, "Doing the Right Thing" at Amazon Shorts:


Linda Beed said...

Hi everybody this is Linda Beed. I'm on the Meet The Christian Author panel, but wanted to drop in to say hello to some of my friends over here.


My first novel Business Unusual released in June. It is a romance story with a twist. Here is my question. What is your view on Christian Romance novels?

Linda! www.lindabeed.com www.myspace.com/lindabeed http://lindabeed.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hello :) Ayn Hunt here again

What do I wish I'd have known about the publishing business which I didn't know when I first started?

While publishing is a business and the 'bottom line' counts, I've found people in this business are the nicest of any group.

It took me years to gather my courage to send any of my novels out because I was scared half to death of all the scathing remarks I was sure would be made about the quality of my work.

But even those who've sent me rejections, are very kind about it and offer constructive comments which has enabled me to grow as a writer.

Thank you for the question.

Take Care

Patricia W. said...


What do you find wanting, if anything, in the heroes written by female romance authors? Are there things female authors can do to make their heros ring more true? What do you do to make your heroines ring true?


Anonymous said...

Ayn Hunt here :)

Thank goodness for computers. I always write the original drafts on it, and then rewrite it numerous times.

What inspires me to write is the painting of water lillies my late aunt painted for me. It's quite large and I have it hanging up on wall on the right side of my desk. Whenver I get discouraged, I look up at it, and feel my late aunt's presence. It's very comforting.

I write in the spare bedroom of our little house which we've lived in for the past 30 years, in Houston, where I was born.

Take Care

Roberta C.M. DeCaprio said...

Roberta C.M. DeCaprio here again.
I believe my writing career started when I was just a child. Because of a walking disablility since birth, I was unable to run and play as other children did. On summer vacations I watched from my front porch kids biking and roller skating. My grandmother, God rest her soul, only went to school as far as the sixth grade but she had a wisdom beyond what you'd learn from books. She always said, "When life deals you a bunch of lemons, make lemonade." I've been making lemonade all my life and I began with picking up a book and reading....being carried away on adventures far from my front porch through the characters in the tales I devoured. Then I began writing my own stories, and put on plays using paper dolls or sock puppets. Soon I had all the neighborhood kids watching the plays. Some even wanted parts and puppets of their own....and thus...I had friends.
I hope I am still able to touch people with my writing. And I am a firm believer in reading...reading...and more reading because seeing how other authors develop plot, dialogue and sentence structure, as well as a character's point of view is like attending a writer's workshop. No matter how many books I have had published, the learning process to good writing is ongoing. And when we stop learning, we stop growing.
Visit my web site at www.robertadecaprio.com and read an excerpt from my books as well as other poetry, short stories and articles I've written. Sign my guestbook and view my pictures.

Dyanne said...

LaShaunda, this is in answer to your question about fan mail. Also I tried the picture on goggle and came here to post I don't see a picture.

My Mom was in the middle of Amanda Quick's new book (coincidentally dedicated to
Susan E. P.) and she DROPPED IT, to read yours!!
I'm telling you, you have another new fan!

ps. I just saw Margaret, Cathie and Sherrie at Jenny Cruisie's and Bob Mayer's
booksigning at Andersens.

LaShaunda, I don't have a best or worst fan letter. I've only received wonderful fan mail thank God. The email I enclosed I received today. I keep all fan mail. I will also have to say thank God that the people who have nasty things to say about my work prefer to do it on Amazon.

When I'm stuck I soak in the tub or take a shower. Water for some strange reason makes my characters talk. I also take them to bed with me. When I finish writing for the day and go to bed I visualize the characters where they are what they're doing and I go into their head and allow them to tell me what's happening in the next scene. The next day I get up and write what they've told me.

Anonymous said...

Ayn Hunt here again :)

How has the publishing industry changed since my first book was published?

In 2002, when Unwilling Killers was published, there were fewer publishing conglomerates. In the past few years however, publishers have merged and that's a bad thing, in that the larger they are, the less likely they are to take newbie or unagented writers.

Then again, there are more epubs opening up, so that's a good thing. Most of my books are in both ebook and paperback forms, and I really like that.

I think e-books are going to eventually take their place alongside paperbacks as far as popularity goes. As prices for e-readers come down as demand goes up, and the e-readers are constantly improved, we'll see even more of a demand for them.

As far as the best fan letter I ever received was a Mom writing me to tell me her son had proudly shown the book I sent her to his class for Show & Tell, and he's decided he's going to become a writer too, when he grows up. (He's 8 now, she said.) But that made me feel really good.

As far as negative fan mail, I've never received any (knock on wood). At least not yet.

Thank you for these great questions!

Take Care

rhondajjoseph said...

I just have to say I am so impressed to be in the company of so many who are living their very own romance novels! I’ve only been married for six years this month, and it’s so good to know that the thirty plus year mark is attainable and enjoyable.

rhondajjoseph said...

Regarding the question on something I wish I knew then that I know now, I wish I’d known when I started this journey that publishing decisions were so subjective. I didn’t know then that a book with tons of rejections could turn out to be a best seller a couple of years later when the trends change. I also had no idea that a rejection didn’t necessarily mean there was anything wrong with the book—maybe there just wasn’t enough right with it, like the timing, the market, the editor. I finally stopped and took a closer look when writers would lament that Editor A loved a book, and gave a laundry list of suggested edits to move toward a contract, engaging in a comfortable back and forth discussion because the book was so wonderful. Even after the book might have been at the house for close to a year, if there was a staff change, that same book that was loved and on the verge of a contract could ultimately be rejected because Editor B just doesn’t have the same enthusiasm for the project Editor A had. I looked at how writers who already had several books under their belts would report that their next contract might have been years after the last book was accepted.

Before examining these things, I used to think a good book equaled a contract, and once you were in you were always in. Once I realized that wasn’t necessarily so, and all the dynamics were too complex to even try to understand, I finally liberated myself from the rejection hell. I was then able to just take the criticism I could use to improve my work and ditch the rest. And when the rejections went from form letters to actual individualized correspondence that often said, “Just not right for us right now—please submit something else,” with handwritten signatures, I realized I’d not only improved in my craft along the way, but that route might not have been the one to take at that moment with that project.

Being liberated is such a good thing, because you no longer need to rely on anyone or anything to validate you and your work. You just continue to learn your craft and do what you have to do to make things happen.

rhondajjoseph said...

I've not had much fan mail, however, the best thing I’ve heard from a fan is that they couldn’t put the book down. As an avid reader, I can respect that description of a pretty good read: one you’d stay up all night to finish.

The worst thing I’ve ever heard was from a reviewer, and I won't even repeat what the reviewer said. I will say that it just completely decimated my book. I took what I could use from it and moved on along.

Roberta C.M. Decaprio said...

Roberta C.M. DeCaprio here:
I am very happy for the existence of the smaller press. My first two books are with a smaller press and it has given me a chance to get my foot in the door and my name around as a published author. With these two books added to my resume I was able to land a job as an Assistant Editor for a national newspaper dedicated to the needs and rights of the disabled community. Also, contracted by another publisher, larger than the previous, and a third book accepted for release by the end of 2007. With all this to my credit a large house now has shown interest in my historicals, presently considering book one. I believe taking the route of the small press/ebook/print on demand was a very wise business move to make, fostering the growth of my writing career and jump starting my arrival into authordom. My wise grandmother always told me that you can't start out as a CEO of a company until you have spent time working in the mail room, and although I do not think a smaller press is starting at the bottom I do believe it is a good beginning, a strong and straight path paving the way to acceptance by the big league publishers. I've learned about editing, how to read a contract, working with the art editor for a cover, etc. All this is an education in itself.
It's a Catch 22....no one wants to publish you if you're an unknown, but how can you leave the unknown status if no one will publish you? The smaller press is the answer, with editors willing to accept unagented authors and to publish books written "out of the box." I am a business woman as well as a writer and I have developed a Five Year Plan...so far, due to the small press, I have had three books published within a 12 month period. My Five Year Plan is working.

rhondajjoseph said...

Hi, Linda!

My take on Christian romance is that it’s absolutely wonderful. Love makes the world go round, and everybody craves and experiences it. I’m so glad the genre has grown so much more specialized so that everyone who wants to read about people finding their happily ever after can do so without reading anything that might go against their beliefs or moral system.

We never know what a reader might be experiencing in her/his own life that our work might speak to, and if we are called to share our faith with the world, then we must do so. You never know who might get just the message they needed from our work.

rhondajjoseph said...

I do the majority of my writing on the computer. After my stint in Corporate America, I can type almost as fast as I can think up the thoughts—way faster than I can write in longhand. I do sometimes jot down notes in a notebook when I just don’t have two hands free to type. I’ve often thought of speaking into a tape recorder and then typing from the tape, but nixed that one when I realized I wouldn’t be able to hear myself over the constant background cacophony in my house.

Anonymous said...

<< What do you find wanting, if anything, in the heroes written by female romance authors? Are there things female authors can do to make their heros ring more true? What do you do to make your heroines ring true? >>

Hello, Patricia:

By and large, I like the heroes in romance novels written by females. That said, I think that many of the heroes are either too flawed or too misunderstood through much of book.

I believe that female authors can give more credibility to their heroes by making more down to earth and better able to relate to the issues the heroine is going through.

For my heroes, I try to make them as three dimensional as possible within the context of the plot. I try to avoid typecasting my heroes or otherwise have live up to certain expectations that may not be very realistic.

With my heroes, I like to focus on their romantic side without taking away from what makes them human and real. I also feel that showing that my heroes can be as vulnerable as my heroines make them appreciate each other all the more as the relationship progresses and true love blossoms at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...


I wanted to add that as a male author, I enjoy creating my heroines as well and developing realistic conflicts that keep the story lively while the heroine and hero come to terms with their attraction to one another and what they must do to make it last a lifetime.


Barri w/a Devon Vaughn Archer
CHRISTMAS HEAT (Kimani Romance, December 2007)

Shelia said...

How do you write your story, on the computer, long hand, talk in a tape recorder?
I type on the computer. For some reason my hand hurts if I write long hand but I can type all day long without it hurting :)

How do you handle requests for blurbs or referrals?
It depends. I don't read books by people I'm not acquainted with. If someone contacts me out of the blue that I've never had a conversation, email or chat with, I will more than likely tell them no. If it's someone I've been communicating with in one of the groups, if I have the time, I'll tell them to send me the synopsis and first 3 chapters or the full manuscript...just depends.

How has the publishing changed since you published your first book?
For me, I was used to doing everything myself; being in control of everything. When you're with a publisher you relinquish some of that control so that's the major change for me with my first book up until this point.

What was your best fan letter and your worst?
It's hard to pinpoint one "best" so I'll refer to one I received last week. It was one of the best ones because the reader expressed themselves in a way that touched my heart. I was saying to myself, "are they talking about my book...are they sure?"...it put a smile on my face. The worse fan letter I received basically talked about me instead of the book; so it made me wonder if the person was someone I knew personally who just didn't like me. I deleted the message so I don't remember who the person was, but I do remember the harsh words.

How do you get over roadblocks? Are there any exercises or techniques you use to help "un stick" the plot and move it alone; or do you just walk away for a while?

I try to de-stress. I like going to the country and taking the time to listen to nature....watch the humming birds and butterflies. I also listen to music and meditate to relax...which leads me to getting over those roadblocks. When I get stuck with a plot, I put the story down and do other things and then go back to it.

The Paperback Diva said...

Andrea here, catching up on some of the great questions and comments during the day.

LaShaunda asked what we as writers, wish we'd known earlier that we know now.

I'm so hard headed I don't know if it would have helped --smile--, but I wish I had known how unreliable publsihers could be. I might not have gotten hampered in a multi-bookcontract. On the other hand, it's nice to know that next book has a home.

The Paperback Diva said...

I write on the computer. My handwriting is so terrible that I can't read it myself by the next day!

I'm also a plotter. I use several formats and some Word tricks to help me keep it all straight.


The Paperback Diva said...

I haven't received a bad fan letter. Not yet! My best was when a fan emailed me a picture of herself holding a copy of my book in front of a shelf at the bookstore. I felt like a real author!


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