Marcia’s Romantically Yours
Issue # 37
marcia king-gamble

Writers as you know have vivid imaginations and their memories are usually like the proverbial elephant. They would have to be to create the types of storylines that keep you hooked. Writing is a business. If you’re not selling you’re not publishing. I don’t know of a writer that can afford to have that happen, do you?

So I am counting on you to keep me in business. I want you to share the kinds of plots you enjoy so that I can continue to deliver stories that keep you begging for more. What are your favorite settings? Do you like exploring exotic destinations or do you prefer the comfort of the good old USA? What kinds of men make you drool? Must they be bad boys or just a little bit edgy? Do strong heroines have it going on, or do you prefer vulnerable, needy types? What makes a novel a page turner in your book?


Spill! Spill! Spill!

In exactly one month The Way he Moves, book number twelve in the Mediterranean Nights series will be in the stores. At a time when ballroom dancing is so very ‘in,’ you should enjoy this action-driven plot and the wonderful cruise setting. My vivacious Brazilian heroine is a sexpot and her too-die-for Canadian lover is smoking hot. Of course anything goes on a romantic Caribbean cruise. Dance lessons included.

Ballroom dancing is an art, requiring both form and style. So what do I know about the world of ballroom dancing? Very little. Well that’s not exactly true. I took lessons for a short time, but I wouldn’t relinquish the lead and that is a no-no. Now I hit the dance floor for the sole purpose of shaking my booty. Join me sometime.

This month I am delighted to introduce you to best selling author Barbara Parker. Read on to hear Barbara’s words of wisdom about this writing business.

Have a fun and enjoyable spring!

Romantically Yours,

Marcia King-Gamble
Editor -- Romantically Yours

Tools of the Trade

Are your hero/heroine unforgettable people?
Questions to ask before you sit down to write:



Are my hero and heroine too perfect?

Are the negative qualities forgivable?

Will their issues make them more sympathetic people?

Are they likeable?

Are they interesting?

Am I painting a clear picture of what they look like? Does the reader know how old they are early on?

Do they have interests outside of each other?

Are their behaviors and interests in keeping with the time period and setting?

Are these two individuals you could love?

Does the relationship develop and grow beyond a physical attraction?

Is the conflict between them real or contrived?

Is the heroine able to act independently?

Will it be easy to read that last page and say good bye?


    Silken Sands
    April 11-13, 2008
    Hampton Inn Resort
    Pensacola Beach, FL.
    Registration - $145
    Speakers: Sherrilyn Kenyon
    Catherine Mann

    Desert Dreams Conference
    April 04-06, 2008
    Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort
    Chandler, AZ.
    Registration: RWA Members $228 - non Members $248
    Speakers: Sherrilyn Kenyon
    Carly Phillips

    Chicago North Spring Fling
    April 25-26, 2008
    Hyatt Deerfield, Illinois
    Fee: $159
    Presenters: Debbie Macomber
    Eloisa James

    Write on Vancouver 2008
    May 2-3, 2008
    Sponsor: Greater Vancouver RWA
    Location: Inn at Westminster Quay
    Vancouver, British Columbia



Interview with
Barbara Parker

Suspense novelist Barbara Parker is one of the most talented writers I know. This ex-attorney turned best selling novelist had the courage to give up a lucrative career to pursue a dream. Read what she has to say.


Why would a successful prosecutor turn to book writing?


They probably wouldn’t, and neither did I. Doesn’t “success” mean you’re happy at your job? I wasn’t. Actually, by the time I decided to try writing a novel, I had bailed out of the state attorney’s office and was doing general practice law. I didn’t like that much better. The writing life started calling to me, and I was a pushover. “Legal thrillers” were getting popular (thanks to John Grisham), so I said, heck, why not give it a try?


Was switching careers mid-life difficult? How so?


Giving up a paycheck for a hope that maybe it will all work out? That was a real white-knuckle ride. I didn’t really grasp the failure rate for new novelists, so I went for it. I moved to a cheap apartment, shopped at Goodwill, and borrowed money from my relatives. I never allowed myself to think that I wouldn’t sell a book.


Some authors find research tedious but you’ve indicated that’s one aspect of the writing process you like. Why?


Researching is an adventure! When you begin a novel, it takes you to places you’ve never been before. You have an idea what to expect, but you’re always surprised. You’ll interview people in the field you’re writing about, spend hours on the Internet, and buy books or magazines on the topic. I research in two stages. First, before I have a firm concept of the plot, so that new information can make the story more realistic. And second, after I’ve sketched it out, to make sure that all the facts are correct. The word “tedious” applies to much of the writing process, but it’s part of the job.


Many of my writer friends are introverts and are not good at engaging fans during book signings. You indicate going on tour is an aspect of the business you enjoy. Why?


Well, after months of sitting alone in front of a computer, I like to see real human beings. It’s not that hard to engage readers at book signings if you smile and thank them for coming. Ask where they’re from and if they’ve read any of your other books. If not, or if you need something to fill the time, be ready with one or two interesting facts about your new story. This is where all that research you did comes in handy. Attend other signings and speeches by writers who are good at it, to pick up ideas. The more you do it, the more confident you will be.


Tell us a little about your latest novel, The Perfect Fake. What inspired you to write it?


The idea came from a chance conversation with a woman who collects antique maps. You never know what comes next when you say, “Really? Tell me about it.” She did, and I suddenly knew that a map forgery would make a dandy plot. Of course when you start out, you have no idea how the book will come together, but I talked to collectors, took a tour of the rare map department at the Library of Congress, and found an expert who told me how to forge a copper-plate map. Soon my characters and the story came to life. I had traveled to Italy the year before, so I created an Italian Renaissance map from 1511 and sent my characters over to Europe. While they had fun in the Alps, the Cinque Terre, and Florence, I had to sit at home in front of my computer writing the darn thing.

My next novel, The Dark of Day, will be published in June. The setting is closer to home. Glamorous Miami attorney C. J. Dunn takes a case that puts her squarely in the media spotlight, an uncomfortable place for a woman with too many secrets. I loved hitting the South Beach club scene for the research on this one!


My ex-husband was a huge fan of yours. He thought you were one of the few female authors who wrote a suspenseful book in a voice men could relate to. At the beginning of your career were you tempted to use your initials or assume a male pseudonym?


I never considered that, probably because the protagonist of my mystery series was a woman. Once my name became known, why change it? After two in the series, I wrote two stand-alones with male protagonists, and they did very well. I’ve heard there are men who won’t read a book by a woman, but that’s their loss.


How did the “Suspicion” series get started? Where did the concept come from?


I never intended to write a series. Suspicion of Innocence was designed as a stand-alone novel featuring a woman lawyer accused of murdering her sister-not exactly a series character. After it was published, though, I didn’t know what to do next, so my editor asked me to do another one with the same cast of characters. I think she really wanted more of Anthony Quintana, the romantic interest, and it’s been Anthony who holds readers’ attention, more than Gail Connor. I might go back to the series at some point, but my current publisher wants another stand-alone.


In doing my research, I learned that you started off as a romance novelist and then made the leap over. Is that true?


I tried to be a romance novelist, and my first novel and only novel in that genre, a paperback original, was what used to be called “women’s fiction.”


What made you change direction?


Mystery/suspense is more my thing. I don’t really have the “voice” for romance, and that view of reality-a man and a woman, happy ending-is one that I don’t really share. Life isn’t so neat.


Where do you hope to be career-wise in five years? What plans do you have to get you there?


In five years, I hope to write faster, make my deadlines, and give the reader more streamlined, compelling stories. Mine tend to be too complicated, and I’m always writing too long and going past the deadline. Nowadays the formula for success seems to call for a great website, a blog, a newsletter, maybe a publicist, and as many appearances as you can cram into your schedule. For me, the “secret” to success, if there is one, is just to keep on writing the best book you can, maintain good relations with your editor and agent, and if there’s time, then you do the other stuff too.


Would you recommend a publicist to a newbie? At what stage of your career would you recommend having one? What are the benefits?


If you have a pile of cash, it couldn’t hurt. But that’s not most of us, whether we’re just starting out or more established. The catch is, if you’re unknown, a publicist probably won’t help that much. If you’re established, you don’t need one. It’s that area in the middle where a publicist could make the difference. I’ve never used a publicist, but I’ve heard from friends who’ve used them that good publicists know how to get the most from each dollar. They can arrange personal appearances or TV or radio interviews in the right target market. They know where to put ads, and what hand-outs work and which don’t. You can find them on the Internet, I believe, but you should always ask for references and check them out with your friends.


My readers are dog lovers and would like to hear about your pug Max. Tell us about him.


What a little darling. His real name is Maximilian von Mango. It fits a dog who lives in the subtropics, don’t you think? Max is fawn-colored, weighs about 21 pounds, and he just turned nine. His muzzle is getting a little gray, but he’s not slowing down much, just getting more mellow. Pugs are rated as very gentle, non-aggressive dogs. Mine doesn’t bite-but he growls and runs away with his pork chop bone if you pretend you’re going to grab it. He likes to take walks, but pugs don’t tolerate hot weather, so in the summer we go early or late. When I’m working and can’t play with him, Max turns into a couch potato, content to lie down on the rug and take a nap.


What does the future hold for Barbara Parker? Where can we expect to find you signing or presenting a workshop this year?


You’ll find me doing some personal appearances when The Dark of Day comes out. My publisher is going to put together a website,, so keep checking for my schedule. After the book tour, I need to lock myself into my cave and work on the next manuscript. I’m probably going to turn down any requests for workshops this year because my time is so limited, but I might be doing something for SleuthFest 2009

Who’s Acquiring

    Cobble Stone Press:

    Has recently opened an erotica line called Wicked, the Wicked Line is dedicated to short story erotica. Full guidelines available on the website.

    Loose ID:

    See submission guidelines at Send query, synopsis and three chapter partial. Seeking multicultural, hot suspense, paranormal.

    Medallion Press:

    Accepting Mainstream Fiction, Historical Fiction, Paranormal / Horror, Mystery / Thriller / Suspense, Sci-FI / Fantasy
    Submission Guidelines:
    Medallion Press, Inc. DOES accept e-mail submissions.
    Please mail Submissions to:
    Mrs. Kerry Estevez
    Medallion Press
    P.O. Box 48889
    Tampa, FL 33647

    Submission packet should include the following items:
    Cover letter including word count and genre.

    Guidelines for the Standard Manuscript Format:
    1. Publishing Credits (please list title of book, publisher and publishing date).
    2. Two to five page synopsis of story.
    3. First three consecutive chapters (no other chapters will be considered).
    4. Return preference for documents sent.
    5. SASE for reply and for return of materials if you've requested.

    All submissions should be in Standard Manuscript Format.
    1. 8 ½ x 11” white paper.
    2. Twelve point - Times New Roman font.
    3. Double spaced.
    4. Black ink.
    5. Header on every page containing title, author name and page number.

    Word Count:
    1. Gold and Silver Imprint novels must be no less than 80,000 words with no exceptions. Books cannot be any longer than 120,000 words.
    Personal Information should include the following:
    Name (and pseudonym if applicable)
    Mailing address
    Phone number
    E-mail address (if available)
    Web address (if available)
    Manuscript return requirements:
    Include a self-addressed, sufficiently stamped envelope large enough for your manuscript.
    Do not send money or money postal orders for postage.
    Partials or manuscripts outside of the United States will not be returned.

    Did You Know? can help you do just that.


    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