Monday, November 30, 2009
I was going to title this post "Woes to Wows," but I have a feeling my current title will get more attention.

Anyway, as of November 18, 2009, I was offered a contract for my second book!!!

It had been exactly a year and six days since I'd received an offer for my first book. Sadly, I had submitted seven of my finished manuscripts a total of twenty-five times to a variety of ten publishers. Crazy, huh? The first twenty-two of those twenty-five submissions were rejections, of course, though okay, in six of the rejections, an editor was interested enough to ask me to resubmit my story after I made revisions, so we could call those half rejections if you like (sounds better to me, anyway).

Twenty-two fails out of twenty-five tries... and all within twelve months. You can probably imagine my frustration and mounting depression. But I can’t say I learned nothing from the experience… and I’m still learning. A writer can find out a lot about a publisher from a rejection letter, even some things they don’t mention in their submission guidelines. Some places don’t want the secret-baby, billionaire’s mistress kind of theme in their books and other places would actually prefer to receive these category-line plots. Some places want an even mix between hero and heroine’s point of view. Other places want it to be mainly HER story (this is all in the romance publishing world, by the way--I'm not so knowledgeable in other genres). I could go on with examples, but I won’t bore you. My main point is: it’s all a matter of trial and error.

And out of twenty-five tries, I made twenty-two errors (yep, that sounds like me). Just three more to go and I’d be out of submissions...All filled up with rejection. So, when reply twenty-three showed up in my Inbox on the morning of the eighteenth, I wasn’t so optimistic (Imagine that). But I opened the letter anyway… and in the blink of an eye (well, okay, I blinked a few times to make sure I was seeing what I was really seeing), all my woes turned into one big, “Wow.”

I just sold my second book.

At first, I was a bit breathless and way too excited, I couldn’t have told you much of anything past, “Wow. It’s a miracle.” But since then, I've calmed down AND received my signed contract, so I’ll spill all the juicy details I know. This book is an ADULT romance as opposed to my first book, which is a young adult romance. It will be published by the same publisher as my first: The Wild Rose Press.

It's currently titled THE TROUBLE WITH TOMBOYS, and I think that will stay the same. In a rating scale of sweet, sensual, spicy, hot, to erotica, it's "hot," which will be really embarrassing for me when it comes out. For people that know me, there will be a lot of gasping going around if they read this story. "Linda Kay! I can't believe you wrote something that... that... naughty." But there's a lot more to it than just bedroom scenes, so don't worry too much.

Since I'm still in the editing stage, there is no release date set yet, but fear not, I will most definitely keep you updated on those details. And if you want to know what it's about, here's my one line blurb : Grady Rawlings can't seem to get over the death of his wife, but tomboy B.J. Gilmore refuses to give up on him until she drags him back to the land of the living. And that's all I have to say about that.

So, here’s my motto for the day: Keep on submitting; it does eventually pay off!

On another funny note, a few hours after my big "Holy Cow, I sold a book" moment, I received rejection number twenty-three. SOMEONE must want to make sure I stay humble, huh?!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
So, tomorrow is going to be a delicious day. I hope everyone has someone special to spend their big meal with. I thought I'd start celebrating by sharing a poem I wrote eons ago.

Don't worry: it's not SUPPOSED to be literary at all... just fun. I originally wrote it for a friend's kid (actually it was for all three of their kids), but since I'm having my own, I couldn't help but plug in my baby's soon-to-be-name this time around.

So, have a great holiday!! See everyone next week; I'll have new book AND baby updates to share!

The Great Hollowsbee Thanksgiving

A long time ago, down in the village of Hollowsbee
There walked the biggest old turkey you ever did see.
With a sleek coat of feathers, he was juicy and plump.
He looked tasty enough to sink a fork in his rump.

He was ancient and wise, but looked lazy and mild,
Till one day of the year, he turned quite wild.
Every Thanksgiving, in the hours before the feast
No butcher or hunter could catch this wretched beast.

It was an impossible feat
To gain his delicious meat.
So, year after year, the town went without turkey,
Eating only ‘Taters. Yes, their future looked murky.

Because without turkey, they had no meat to gain protein,
And without protein, they were wimps, making them so mean.
But one Thanksgiving, the strangest battle was fought.
It was a war with that turkey no one has ever forgot.

The challenger was a girl named Lydia Marie
who lived with her parents outside Hollowsbee.
In only a diaper and her bare hands, Lydia did crawl
To the turkey’s fence till she was nose to nose with the animal.

She pointed at the turkey and giggled, “bird.”
Now the idea of her killing this beast was truly absurd,
And people gasped as she climbed the fence and jumped into its cage;
The news of her actions spread through town in a rage.

“Get that girl out of there,” someone screamed. “She’ll surely die.”
But no one was brave enough to stop her, and they all began to cry.
As the child scampered forth, people saw the race begin.
They edged closer, watching her chase the beast around his pen.

Now poor little Lydia Marie only wanted to pet the turkey that fled,
She was so determined, she followed it into his shed.
Oh the dread!

As the town stood near, mothers wailed and preachers prayed.
The day wore on while the little shack shook and swayed.
No one really believed the tiny girl with two names
Could bring down the great turkey. But as legend claims,

A cheer rose up when Lydia Marie exited the barn alive.
Thus, the turkey was dressed and cooked well done by five,
And the usually quiet little town of Hollowsbee
Partied and ate late into the morning, till three.

They named their new hero, Lydia the Brave,
Because from starvation, the whole town she did save.
It has gone down in history as the day the great turkey fell.
Lydia the Brave saved Hollowsbee, and that’s all there is to tell.

The End

The Five-word Challenge

Monday, November 23, 2009

Diane from the “That’s What I’m Here For” Blog, is passing along five words to any writer willing to play her game. The challenge in this game is to incorporate five mystery words she comes up with into their story. So, I thought, “Sure, I’ll try it.” Well, sweet person that she is, she gave me TWO sets of words from I could choose.

Set One:
square, chocolate, moon, hiccups, and love.

Set Two:
hiccups, bump, knit, nesting and waddle.

But I love a good challenge, so I'm going to try fitting in all ten--well, nine since 'hiccups' is used twice.

AND... here's the scene I came up with:

Pregnant, broke, and starving were a trio of words that should never be mixed. Cora Bristol knew her life sucked when she realized she was all three. She glanced down at the change in her palm—a single dollar, five quarters, three dimes, two nickels and eight pennies—and then up again at the booths of vendors surrounding her, lining the mall’s expansive food court. Pizza, submarines, hamburgers, salad bars, snack counters; a veritable smorgasbord of scrumptious delights.

Her mouth watered.

But what could she buy for $2.73?

The little hiccups of movement under her waistband reminded her the baby was getting hungry as well. She patted the restless bump, reassuring her child she would provide...something...and moved forward.

A couple strolling hand in hand, their heads tilted intimately toward each other as they murmured sweet nothings to one another, paused and shifted to the side, letting Cora waddle past them. She managed a tight smile of gratitude, though inside, envy gnawed at her stomach almost as viciously as the hunger did. But the two looked so in love, the kind of love she could only ache to obtain.

On their own accord, her feet bypassed the nutritious salad bar, and she found herself drawn toward the bakery. Her throat burned as her gaze gobbled up the fancy display of gigantic chocolate chip cookies and specially-made moon pies.

She knew she should move on. The baby needed a wholesome, hearty meal, something full of protein, calcium, vitamin C. This was not the time to indulge, especially with the sparse amount of cash she had clutched in her hand. But the little one nesting inside her gave another nudge to her belly, almost as if he was reassuring, “It’s okay, Mom. I WANT the sweets. Gimme the sweets.”

“Look good, don’t they?” a friendly, male voice asked, making her jump.

She darted a glance up and immediately shifted backward, feeling unreasonable guilty, like she’d just been caught stealing, when all she’d been doing was looking.

The teen behind the counter grinned as he leaned forward, resting his forearms on top of the glass display. His blue eyes twinkled at her. “So, what’ll you have?”

Cora’s brow knit as she glanced down at the arrangement of desserts, taking on the pose of intense contemplation, like she was truly deciding on what she wanted, when all along she knew she shouldn’t… wouldn’t buy anything here.

Biting her lip, she pointed out a lemon square. “Uh…How much for one of those?” she asked.

“Two, ninety-nine,” he answered, already pulling on a clear plastic glove to retrieve her requested item.

She glanced down at her change, though she already knew she didn’t have enough.

“What about the chocolate covered strawberries?” she rushed out.

He paused in mid stretch, his eyes darting up. She snapped her fingers closed around the change ashamed, but his gaze had already strayed toward her clenched fist. Still frozen with his hand only a few inches from the lemon square, he stared at her dollar bill peeking out from the crack between her knuckles.

“The chocolate-covered strawberries,” she repeated through gritted teeth. "How much?"

His gaze lifted, blue and innocent as a clear sunny sky. Then he glanced over his shoulder and further into the bakery.

“I tell you what,” he said, turning back and finishing his reach for the lemon square. Scooping up the two largest pieces, he set them on a plate and nudged it toward her. “Why don’t you try this little sample here before you make up your mind.”

Cora blinked at him.

After darting another peek over his shoulder, he plopped three chocolate-covered strawberries on the plate and then winked.

Her heart thumped against her ribcage. “Thank you,” she whispered, wishing Robbie could’ve possessed even half the compassion this total stranger did when she’d told them they were going to have a baby. As hormones rushed to the surface, she felt her tear ducts open and moisture coat her lashes. “Thank you so much.”

New Moon Tomorrow!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009
Who's ready for the New Moon movie to come out tomorrow?

I'm waiting a couple days (boo hoo) for the hoop la to die down before I head out to the theatre but, OH, I WILL watch New Moon. Actually, a big group from my family is getting together and going sometime around Thanksgiving, I think. We'll range from ten-years old to...well, I'll just call the older half of us grown!

I remember bawling through, like, three-fourths of this book. Being the romantic junkie I am, I simply cannot stand watching someone with a broken heart. But this go round, I know things will end happy, so I think I'll be able to refrain from the tear-fest. We'll see.

Catch you all at the movies!

(hopefully these movies are still uploadable by the time my post airs)

Bad Boys Don't Play Hero -- CH 4

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Chapter Four for my young adult free read story, Bad Boys Don't Play Hero, is uploaded and ready to read on my website . We've left the hero's head and are now going to see everything from the heroine's point of view. I hope you enjoy!

And I thank everyone who stopped by my interview at the Climbing Rose of the Wild Rose Press Blog last Friday. Made me feel like I was Miley Cyrus or someone equally famous with their own fan club.

Five on Friday

Friday, November 13, 2009
I was interviewed! The Climbing Roses of the Wild Rose Press Blog hosts a "Five on Friday" segment where they have people answer only FIVE questions apiece. Well, today was my day, so feel free to pop over and read Five on Friday - Linda Kage Edition.

And happy Friday the Thirteenth. Hope no ladders fall on you, black cats cross your path, or scary masked men come to visit.

Happy Book-Selling Anniversary

Thursday, November 12, 2009
Today marks the one-year anniversary that I sold my first book! That's my good news.

Bad news is... I haven't sold anything since. I'd tell you how many rejections I've received in the past three hundred sixty-five days, but it's a bit embarrassing and way too depressing, so I think I'll refrain.

I do have three different people looking at three different completed manuscripts, ergo maybe--possibly--my year long submission drought is about to come to a grand finale.

Back on the bright side, my book will be out in three months... and so will my baby, making all this rejection look like a faded, distant memory because I'll be swamped with so much joy.

On with the future then. Chin up, soldier. And keep in mind: They can't reject EVERYTHING, or they'd have no books so sell!!

Writing Tips From Blogosphere

Monday, November 9, 2009
In October, I posted a blog that snagged different ideas from different blog pages and shared a bunch of writing tips with everyone about all the things I'd learned lately. Well, that went so well, I might just make a habit of it. Plus, I'm finding such treasures, I feel the need to pass along all these golden nuggets of information.

This month, I've learned interesting facts about agents, email submission, perseverance, and how to keep a reader reading.

On Submissions

This wonderful piece of advice comes to us from Tess Hilmo on her blog :
Tess Hilmo
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 : Wish I Knew Wednesday #1

"Many (not all) editors/agents do not open e mail addresses that are not names. For example hotchick(at)whatever(dot)com or bestmommyever(at)something(dot)com.


They get a lot of emails and spam and are very cautious about possible viruses or other malware. If they run their mouse over your email address and the name that pops up does not match the address, they will most likely delete the e mail w/out opening it."

On Agents

This wonderful piece of advice comes to us from Jessica Nelson on her blog : BookingIt
Friday, October 30, 2009 : Know Thy Self: Guest Post

"It’s so easy to say: I’m going to research every agent inside and out, read their every blog entry and online interview, talk to their other clients, and ask all the right questions to turn down any agent who answers even one of them wrong. That still doesn’t mean the marriage will be perfect."

This guest blogger goes on to explain how an agent may take a writer on because of a single book they wrote, but they might not represent every genre of literature that author is interested in creating. So, make sure to let a perspective agent know what you like to write and where you want your writing to go, so you'll both know if the "marriage" will have a better chance of surviving.

On Perseverance

This wonderful piece of advice comes to us from Robyn Campbell on her blog : Putting Pen to Paper
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 : Building a writing career

"I'm in this for the long haul. Writing is much harder to do than it sounds. I know it isn't easy. Believe me, I know that. I'm prepared for the ups and downs. But I want it. I can taste it. I can feel it. I wanna BE it. An author."

On Keeping the Reader Reading

And finally, this wonderful piece of advice comes to us from Nancy J. Parra on her blog :This Writer's Life
Sunday, October 25, 2009 : Get the Hook

"You need to write something that catches the reader's attention and doesn't let them put the book down. Each chapter, each scene needs to have two hooks. One at the opening and one at the ending. Your job as a writer is to keep your reader up all night because they HAVE to know what happens next."

Only 120 Days to Go

Thursday, November 5, 2009
In the beginning of my pregnancy, everyone was all like, "Oh, Linda, you look so good. Can't tell you're pregnant at all."

Sigh. I miss those days. I gained nine, NINE, freaking pounds since my last check up, and no, my last check up was not ten weeks ago. Try four. Nine pounds in four weeks. Can that be normal? I just want to sit on my couch and eat my misery away. Oh, wait, that's what I'm doing already. Double sigh.

Other than that, me and the butterball are great, well, besides the achy back, way-too-heavy chest, constantly full bladder, and my inability to bend over anymore. The doctor said I'm gaining the right amount of weight and my little girl is growing at the perfect rate, so I can't complain. I'm pretty giddy actually.

I love to watch my belly move around (yes, WHILE I'm sitting on the couch, eating!!). It's fun trying to interpret her movements. She likes to boogie when we're in the car and I have the radio playing. If I like the song, I take her movements to mean she's happy and dancing to the tune. If I don't, I usually say she doesn't either and is kicking me to turn the channel.

I watched the television show Accidentally On Purpose the other night. The heroine was chowing down on ribs (smart woman) when she felt her baby's first stirring. She exclaimed, "The baby likes ribs... or doesn't.... Ooooh. Baby's first opinion." I totally understood. I like thinking baby's trying to tell me something when she moves around.

So, that's what's been going on with me. The hubby seems to be dealing pretty good. He likes it when I wear maternity tops. He grins and says, "You're finally looking pregnant." So, at least he doesn't think I've gained too much yet.

From now on, my appointments will start getting closer together. But I'll try not to make my baby updates closer together...no promises though. This stuff is too exciting not to share.

Anyway, that's all I've got to say today. Toodles.

Chevy Up Your Story

Monday, November 2, 2009
Since NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) started yesterday, all my writing friends are off... busy crafting a 50,000 word story in one month. So, I'd like to help them along with one piece of advice. Don't forget the GMC, which of course stands for Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (I always think of the Chevy Emblem when I hear that term, so that explains why I had to slot that picture in here).

Every story needs GMC, or there's no story to tell. Just make sure while you're busy describing the beautiful sunset and giving your unique characters their awesome dialogue that you're still working on the GMC (durned ol' chevy always needs its maintenance).

Bob's goal is to buy himself a shiny new GMC Chevy Camero.


Bob's motivation for wanting such a purty new car is the idea that it'll get him lots of chicks.

But... Bob's a little short in the money department, so getting this car is going to be a trial.

And there's your story. How much does Bob want that car? What lengths will he go to in order to get it? What started this deep-seated need to impress so many woman?

A writer could go so many different directions with a story like that, all because there's a simple GMC propelling it along.

So, there's my single reminder for all you writers out there, creating your masterpieces. FORGET NOT THE GMC!! Good luck and God speed.

Now... I think I'll go and try to follow my own advice!