Marcia’s Romantically Yours
Issue # 29
marcia king-gamble

Dear Romance Writer,

The heat is definitely on this June. My air conditioning is already cranked on high and I have a pile of ‘Must Reads’ that I can't wait to dive into while lounging poolside. If you haven't already, pick up a copy of Ingrid Weaver’s From Russia, With Love. It’s a fabulous book and the first in the Mediterranean Nights Series. Click on the link below to read the first three intriguing chapters,
From Russia With Love Sneak Peek

Next up is Joanne Rock’s Scent of a Woman; the second in the Med series. Joanne, by the way is our June interview. You'll enjoy what this talented multi-published, mother of three has to say on time management and writing from the male point of view. Donna Hill’s Guilty Pleasures is another book I can't wait to read. No one tells a gripping story quite like Donna.


What have I been up to? Well I'm back from Book Exposition America and what a wonderful time that was seeing author friends, lunching with my agent, and meeting many of you at book signings. Now it’s back to business as usual. I'm working on yet another novel. This one’s called First Crush and is set in wine country. Anyone up for a full bodied red?

As most of you know travel is in my veins. I'm heading back to New York in a week or so, but this time it’s for pleasure. I'm hosting a luau for my niece. Can you imagine twenty little girls all under the age of ten having the time of their lives? Bring on the pineapples, leis, and hula dancers. Bring on the limbo stick. Of course a luau isn't a luau without Don Ho singing Tiny Bubbles. I'll definitely be indulging my inner child.

Indulge your inner child this summer. Read everything you can get your hands on and don't forget to write!

Romantically Yours,

Marcia King-Gamble
Editor -- Romantically Yours


Tools of the Trade

To schmooze or not to schmooze that is the question. With RWA’s national conference right around the corner this should be a fitting topic. I advocate the “schmooze.” But do it right. There’s nothing like a little self promotion to get your name and your book out there. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned veteran the following tips can't hurt.


First things first, prepare and plan

What will you be attending? Is it a workshop, conference, cocktail party, lecture or book signing?

Who will be there? Who do you want to meet?

What do you want to get out of this event? Is it a publishing contact, new critique partner or get the latest buzz about a new line or publishing house?

Write down what you want to accomplish and how you plan on going about it. Use an index card and keep your goals SMART.

Let’s say you're attending an industry cocktail party. The idea is to acquire an agent then SMART would be:

    Specific -Need to find an agent
    Measurable - Need to strike up a conversation with ten people to get recommendations or meet someone who can help
    Actionable - I'm going to start off by chatting up people at the buffet table
    Realistic - Writers and agents normally attend an industry event, especially a relaxed venue like a cocktail party where people go to see and be seen.
    Timely - Make sure you have work that’s ready to go. No point in making the contact if you can't follow up for months.

Okay so you've got your SMART goals written down. Arrive early. This serves several purposes. You can scan the attendance sheet at leisure to see who’s who. It’s also easier to start up a conversation since cliques haven't yet formed. If you're still feeling shy about mingling then why not volunteer? Volunteering will give you something to do. It gives you an excuse to make conversation and introduce yourself.

Some good conversational ice-breakers are as follows: (and yes they work)

    “That’s a great dress (tie) etc.”
    “How’s the food?”
    “How’s the conference going for you?”
    “I enjoyed reading your latest book,”
    “You're always so gracious. It’s one of the things I remember about you.”
    “Where’s the ladies room?”

Remember to listen more than speak.

After the bash follow up with a handwritten thank you note. E mail is so impersonal.

Now go to it! Smile and have fun!




July 11-14, 2007

July12-15, 2007

September 20-23, 2007

September 28-30, 2007

October 5-6, 2007

October 26-28, 2007



Joanne Rock truly rocks. This multi-published author and winner of several awards has her hands full raising three little boys yet remains prolific. She has a Masters in English and gave up several high power jobs to be a homemaker. If that isn't impressive enough she looks like she stepped off the cover of a fashion magazine. For more about this talented author log onto her website .

Interview with


Last month I interviewed Ingrid Weaver who wrote To Russia, With Love, launching the first book in the Harlequin Mediterranean Series Continuity. Your book, Scent of a Woman is the second. Can you give us a brief plot description and who your hero and heroine were modeled after?


This is the blurb for Scent of a Woman-- Danielle Chevalier has a taste for the finer things in life, especially the lush, exotic scents she creates at her fragrance business. Under pressure from her brother to sell the small company, Danielle is thrilled when she's invited to an exclusive conference aboard the cruise ship Alexandra's Dream. There she hopes to gain the contacts necessary to rally her business and avoid the devastation of a takeover. But Danielle's dreams have a harsh run-in with reality when she meets Adam Burns, a representative from a major U.S. competitor who is determined to outmaneuver her in negotiations.

Fighting off the advances of a competing fragrance company is hard enough, but resisting her attraction to Adam may prove the real battle and mixing business with pleasure just may cost her both.

I didn't model the hero and heroine after anyone specifically. My characters tend to be amalgamations of different personality traits that I see in a variety of people. I can say that for my hero, however, I started with a rough vision of a JFK Jr. persona. I liked the idea of the strong, independent hero predestined for a certain role in life and I worked to make Adam the kind of character who learned to see beyond what was planned for him to what was important to him personally.


Is this your first continuity? If not, tell us about others you've written. What would you say is the most challenging aspect of this type of series?


Mediterranean Nights was my first continuity experience, but I enjoyed it so much I am thrilled to be involved in a new continuity project called Thoroughbred Legacy that will be out in 2008. I like the experience because it calls for me to bring to life characters that have already been roughly outlined in a larger context, but that same part is one of the most challenging aspects. I had to find a way to make the characters true to their roles in the story, yet make them fully my characters and characters that I could write about in a believable way.


Up All Night which was written for Harlequin’s Blaze is up for the prestigious Rita award. Describe to our readers what a RITA award is. In your opinion what made this book stand out and get noticed?


I'm so excited to see Up All Night recognized. The RITA is the romance industry’s highest honor and it’s fun to see which books are recognized because the list of RITA finalists is always a great buying guide for books you may have missed during the year. Up All Night is a finalist in the Long Contemporary category and I think the book stood out because of the fun, sexy set-up where a case of mistaken identity and the wrong email address pairs up two strangers in a hotel room for a would-be tryst. But beyond the sexy hook, I think the story is appealing for the unusual characters. An entrepreneurial agoraphobic pushes her personal boundaries by daring to attend a business convention at a crowded hotel where she meets an insomniac mechanical engineer who designs roller coasters and thrill rides for a living. His thrill-seeking behavior make him all wrong for her, yet they challenge each other in the best ways.


What are you currently working on now? Is there a big book in the making?


I just turned in a Blaze about a sports agent who thinks he’s cursed and hires a paranormal investigator to get to the bottom of his bad luck. It’s a bit of suspense mixed with a small paranormal angle and a hefty dose of steam. I really enjoyed it! As for a bigger book, I have a historical coming out this winter tentatively entitled A Knight Most Wicked. The story begins in 14th century Bohemia where my heroine follows Princess Anne of Bohemia’s retinue as the royal entourage travels to England for Anne’s marriage to the English king.


You're a homemaker and a mother of three, yet you've managed to have a successful writing career. Talk to us about time management. How are you able to raise a family and make time for writing?


Managing my time is an ongoing process that I revisit a few times a year to make changes and adapt to the kids’ ever-changing schedules. Also, effective time management comes from knowing how much time I need to do various jobs, something I've learned by trial and error over the years. I try to pay attention to when I work most effectively and honor those times of day when my creativity seems to be highest. I can get the most done when I work at times of day where I'm alert and tuned into writing. Whereas I can sit for twice as long in the late afternoon without accomplishing nearly as much just because that seems to be a slow time of day for me personally. Learning my working rhythms has helped me make the best use of them so I have more time for family.


Given there are four males in the household has it helped you to write from the male point of view?


I can't tell you how much this has informed my writing. My husband is a former sports editor and columnist, and the man’s never been at a loss for words. He’s charming and has a great sense of humor, but I like to tease him that he’s never had a thought he doesn't share out loud. His lack of subtlety has surely led to a few domestic disputes in our day, but it’s also been incredibly helpful for understanding how men think. I feel comfortable stepping into my heroes’ shoes because I can hear my husband’s voice oh-so-clearly in the background and it’s a voice that’s very different from mine or my heroines’.


You currently live in the Adirondacks and have lived in six states. Which is your favorite? Have you used any of the states as settings for your novels?


I love our current home and the Adirondacks are a beautiful place to raise a family. I'm also blessed to be close to my husband’s clan (six brothers and a sister!) to nurture close ties between my kids and their extended family. However, the draw of family aside, I really liked living in Kentucky. We lived in Louisville and I thought the people we met there-across the board-were some of the most welcoming, gracious folks I've ever met. I also really enjoyed the contrast of country and horse farms versus the great restaurants and cultural opportunities the city had to offer. I set my first book, Learning Curves, in Louisville and am setting my contribution to the Thoroughbred Legacy continuity in Kentucky as well. But I've put all my home states to good use in my novels, including my time in Miami. Florida showed up in six books for my South Beach series, and also in my Wild and Willing, and Wild and Wicked books.


You have a Masters in English and you've also taught college, been a public relations coordinator, and a copywriter. Given this rich background what do you do differently to promote your books? Have you ever contributed to the cover copy of any of your novels?


I came onto the writing scene with great intentions for extra promotion because of my background, but I'd discovered over the years that the best way to promote my books is to spend my time writing the best possible stories. I tend to feel more scattered when I divide my attention up among too many tasks and bottom-line, I enjoy the writing process best! So I've put more of my energy and focus there and I think it’s been a good decision for me. However, I do think that my time as a copy writer and my days in marketing have helped me to write stronger pitches for my books. Coming up with tag lines and blurb-style copy is always a fun part of the writing process and my editor has kept portions of these for some of my books over the years.


Describe a typical day in the life of Joanne Rock?


Hmmm, this depends so much on the time of year. During the school year, I start work as soon as the kids go to school. My work begins with quiet time as I like to clear my head while I read the paper and eat breakfast. This is a necessary step since I can't just drop into my writing seat at any time and expect words to come. I need to respect the transitional phases that precede it. Then I take my coffee into my office and ideally write for two hours and finish the majority of my pages on my work in progress. Sometimes, if the words aren't coming, I need a brainstorm call to my critique partner (HQN author Catherine Mann) or I need to revisit my synopsis and character notes. After a couple of hours-whether I've accomplished much or not-I need to take a break and think about something else. At this point I'll work on some of the million and one other jobs that go into being a writer-working on revisions to a previous book, working on a synopsis for a future book, developing cover art ideas, updating my website, blogging, etc. I usually spend a couple of hours on pursuits like these or else critiquing for Catherine. By the time I'm done with this, interspersed with basic house chores, the kids are home from school. I'll pick away at little writing jobs if I have any down time between this and bed time, but usually with homework and school sports, I don't get back to my computer until after the kids are in bed. If I need to, I can write for a couple more hours, but if the Muse has been kind to me, I can use this time instead to catch up on email before bed.


Finally what sparks your creativity? How are you able to come up with new and different ideas?


So many things spark creativity for me that it’s hard to pin them down. I am struck by couples I see in real life and I'll wonder how those personality types got together in the first place. Other times, I'll read about a historical time period and wonder how a woman set against that backdrop would manage if she were dropped into that moment. Articles in the newspaper will give rise to new scenes and settings in my contemporaries. I'm also inspired by my girlfriends and their personalities. I'll spin a few characteristics from one with a few characteristics from another and see what she'd be like if I brought her to life on paper. All of those things have given birth to fun books for me and I hope they continue to for many years! I'm enjoying this too much to stop now



Who’s Acquiring


Harlequin is developing a non-fiction line and plans to launch it in 2008. The focus is on relationships, health, self-help, diet, fitness, inspirational, memoirs etc. The audience Harlequin hopes to attract is women thirty-five and older.

Spice Briefs:
    5,000 -15,000 words
    Editor: Susan Pezzack
    Editorial Office: Canada

Looking for bold, sexually explicit editorial that pushes the envelope. These are highly erotic short stories

Kimani Tru:

    60,000 -70,000 words (200 manuscript pages)
    Editor - Evette Porter
    Kimani Press
    233 Broadway
    Suite 1001
    NY NY 10279

Directed to a young African American audience between the ages of 14-20, reflecting everyday experiences and interests.

Steeple Hill Historicals:

    70,000 - 75,000 words
    Editor - Melissa Endlich
    Editorial Office - New York
    Launch February 2008

Storylines focus on Christian characters facing challenges. Log onto for more details.

Update on Agencies

    3 Seas Literary Agency
    P.O. Box 8571
    Madison, WI 53708

    Agents accepting Romance Fiction Queries:
    Michelle Grajkowski
    Cori Deyoe

    Denise Marcil Literary Agency Inc.
    156 5th Avenue, Suite 625
    New York, NY 10010

    Denise Marcil
    Maura Kye-Casella

    Natasha Kern Literary Agency
    P.O. Box 2908
    Portland, OR 97208

    Natasha Kern


Did you know?

You can find like-minded souls on the following websites: , ,

Put your heart in a book and continue writing.


Romantically Yours is a FREE monthly newsletter. I would love to hear from you. Please send comments, news, research, or story ideas directly to Marcia King-Gamble at