Marciaís Romantically Yours
Issue # 35
marcia king-gamble

Just a few short weeks ago the holiday decorations were up and we were busily entertaining friends and relatives. Now with January winding down weíre already entertaining thoughts of another holiday. Valentinesí Day is right around the corner and itís become a big business. Everywhere you look decorations and advertisements are artfully placed to put you in the mood and prompt you to buy that perfect trinket. February has always been a busy and exciting month for me. Itís also a time to pay tribute to our African American leaders and forefathers; people who made it possible for me to be doing what Iím doing.

So far itís been an action-packed month with book signings and the kinds of promotions that come from having another book released. Hook, Line and Single, my January release is on the shelves right now. So far itís been well received. Readers are already requesting a sequel.



Next month Iím planning a very special February edition of Marciaí Romantically Yours. Iíve managed to convince Dave Madden - Reuben Kincaid of the Partridge Family (boomers may remember the amiable band manager of child stars David Cassidy and Danny Bonaduce,) to tell all. Dave has graciously agreed to be Februaryís interview. While Daveís never really been associated with romance, other than by wisely marrying Sandra Madden, one of my favorite romance writers, heís in a business that can be equally as challenging as the writing world.

Dave has also written a humorous book about his experiences in show business. It is cleverly titled Reuben on Wry. Rather than ruin the surprise, Iíll let him tell you all about his colorful life next month. Youíre in for an exciting, fun, read.

This month meet Michelle Celmer who penned the eleventh book in the Mediterranean Nights Series. Michelleís story about transitioning from mother of three to popular romance author is inspiration to all.

Make it a fun January and continue to write.

Romantically Yours,

Marcia King-Gamble
Editor -- Romantically Yours

Tools of the Trade

The Reality of this Writing Business

So you think you have what it takes to write a novel. Now how to get started? Even more important once youíve made the decision to write how do you get published? Do you get an agent or do you submit directly to the publishing house? After a while the conflicting opinions you get from the experts in this field get increasingly more confusing.

The reality of the matter is that writing your novel is one thing, but getting it published in todayís market is even harder. Times are tough and editors are even more discerning about the kinds of manuscripts they make the decision to purchase.

Youíve probably heard this a time or two but let me repeat this again. Voice sells and youíll need to sound original to a group of people reading hundreds of manuscripts a week. Donít try to sound like your favorite author. Be yourself and bring your personality to your writing.

If you require a lot of hand holding think again. The days of the nurturing editor are no more. Frankly this overworked group barely has the time to do what theyíre paid for -edit. Only you can turn your manuscript into a masterpiece.

As one agent recently reminded me, editors are not necessarily looking for brilliant talent today but a brilliant product. The whole thing boils down to sales. Writing is a business.

That brings me to the subject of marketing. Writers have to be marketers too. Donít expect the publishing house to do that job for you. Know what you want and what your reader is expecting. Examine why you want to write, and the market you want to write for. Think about what you want to say, and how you want to say it. Make sure you have clearly focused goals and then go to it.

Expect rejection. Not everyone is going to like your writing, or get what you have to say. Learn from every rejection you plaster on the wall above your desk. But even more important keep writing and not because you want to, but because you have to.

Writing is a love affair!



    Georgia Romance Writers/Carolina Romance Writers/
    Heart of Dixie Romance Writers
    Writersí Workshop with Bob Mayer
    February 09, 2008
    Hilton, Atlanta Northeast
    Atlanta, GA.
    Fee: $40-$45

    Southern Lights
    First Coast Romance Writers
    March 28-30, 2008
    Jacksonville Marriott
    Jacksonville, FL.
    Fee: $150-$190
    Speakers : Suzanne Brockmann



INTERVIEW with author Michelle Celmer

Michelle Celmer is an inspiration for anyone who says theyíre much too busy to write. Married with three children, and a house full of pets, this prolific author makes writing seem easy. Sheís got book number 11 in the Mediterranean Nights Series and sheís going to be one hard act to follow. Iím number 12. For more about Michelle log onto


Tell us about your life before the writing bug bit? What prompted you to seek a career in romance writing?


A lot of soul searching. I thought I would always be happy as a stay at home mom, like my mother, but when my youngest started depending on me less, I started to feel as though I needed more. Iíd had a few false starts with writing in the past, but knew that deep down it was something I wanted to do. I finally got off my duff and took a college English Comp class, and that was the push I needed. I chose to write romance because I had been reading it all my life. The satisfaction of the happily ever after appealed to me.


Youíve said author Jennifer Crusie inspired you to write your first book. What was it about reading her first book that did it for you?


I canít say for sure what it was. I just connected to her style and voice. She made me laugh out loud and even shed a few tears. Her characters moved me. And I knew that was what I wanted to do.


What is your least favorite thing about being a writer, and what is your most favorite thing?


Least favorite would be the alienation. Writing can be a lonely business. My favorite thing? Itís a toss up between not having to leave the house to get to work (especially in the middle of winter) and working in my pajamas. Honestly, it doesnít get much better than that.


Who are your favorite authors (other than Jenny Crusie) and what is it about their writing that appeals to you?


There are so many authors I love. But if I had to choose, I would say, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, when Iím looking for a deeply emotional journey. The Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plumb series when Iím in the mood for a quick, hilarious read. Patricia Cornwell when I need a dark, riveting psychological thriller. And Joy Fielding, who writes a little bit of everything and always keeps me glued to the page.


Did you really get over one hundred rejections before getting the call? If so how did you stay motivated?


I really did, and I have the letters to prove it. And those didnít come without a meltdown or two (or three). There were times when I was really close to throwing in the towel. Thankfully, Iím stubborn (my family will confirm this). You have to really want it, and I did, so I just made myself keep going.


Starstruck is the number 11 book in the Mediterranean Nights Series. I have number 12, closing the series. Something tells me you are going to be a very tough act to follow. Tell us a little about storyline and how you went about doing research.


Claire Mackenzie is an ex Hollywood wild child who left the urban jungle for a quiet life in British Columbia. Sheís accompanying her screen legend grandfather on a fifties themed cruise on Alexandraís dream. When she meets Liam Bates, the ships charismatic cruise director, sheís sure heís using her grandfather to get ahead in his own acting career. But as much as she canít believe Liamís charms arenít an act, sheís having an even harder time resisting them. Researching this book, all I can say is thank God for the internet! Iíve never been on a boat larger than the ferry to Mackinac Island up in Northern Michigan. I spent hours combing web sites and printing out photo reference. And Marcia was an amazing source of info! I donít think I could have pulled it off without her help.


Youíve said youíve tried your hand at every craft under the sun. What are some that youíve tried? Have you written about any of them in your stories?


I used to sew, both crafts and clothes. Iíve done needlepoint, painted ceramics, crocheted. Iíve dabbled in jewelry making and every year I make homemade Christmas ornaments. If itís out there, Iíve probably tried it. Iíve never really used the experiences in a book though. At least, not yet.


What was the biggest challenge you faced writing a continuity with eleven other writers? Would you do it again?


Consistency was the biggest challenge. Everyone puts their own touches and spin on the story and by book 11 that is a LOT of information to keep straight. The key was keeping every piece of correspondence and taking oodles of notes. This was my second continuity, and yes, I would love to do it again. I love to challenge myself. And working with the other authors is always a blast.


How many books have you written to date, and how would you categorize your writing? Contemporary? Chick Lit?


I write strict contemporary category, but some day I would love to make the move into Single Title, then Womenís fiction. The contract I just signed will bring me to 17 books. But I have another half dozen in a box under the bed that will never see the light of day. And believe me, this is a good thing! They were purely for practice. When I hear of an author selling the first book he or she wrote, it astounds me. I wish I had been that gifted!


What words of advice would you give a new author just getting started in the business? What was some of the best money you ever spent in marketing yourself?


The best advice I can give is be persistent and always challenge yourself by trying new things. It should always be about doing it better than the last time. As far as marketing, the best way to market yourself, in category romance that is, is to be prolific. I shoot for 3 - 4 books on the shelf a year. With no more than six months in between releases. Fans canít read what you donít produce, so you have to keep them coming.


And finally whatís next for Michelle Celmer? Anything you care to share?


The most exciting news in my life presently is that this spring Iím going to be a grandma! Words cannot express how excited I am. And in addition to the Mediterranean Nights continuity, Iím launching a series for Desire titled Royal Seductions. The first two books will hit the shelves in June, and the third in October. Books four and five are expected some time in í09.
It should be an exciting year both personally and professionally!

Whoís Acquiring

    Avon Books
    Looking for new authors

    Parker Publishing
    12523 Limonite Ave Ste 440-438
    Mira Loma, CA 91752

    Kym Reed
    Specializing in African American Romance
    70,000 -75,000 words

    Elloraís Cave Publishing
    Send file (doc or rtf) with first three and final chapters plus synopsis to:

Did you know?

The Romance Writers Report - RWAís monthly publication can be read online now. Members can log onto read the current issue on PDF.


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