Marcia’s Romantically Yours
Issue # 39
marcia king-gamble

Dear Romance Writers,

Can you believe it's already June? As it gets warmer and warmer, the pools and beaches become more and more crowded. It seems the perfect time to catch up on your reading. This summer I plan on tackling that large stack of books that's been building up all year.

My last contracted book has been delivered (yeah!) and I finally have time. Plotting is something I really enjoy doing because I am at my creative best. By the time summer ends I will have come up with several proposals for my agent to peddle. Then it's nail biting time waiting to hear if any of these masterpieces (said sarcastically) will sell.


Next month I'm off to San Francisco for the Romance Writers of America conference. San Francisco is a favorite city of mine and I am looking forward to exploring and enjoying the pan fried oysters. There will be old friends to see, informative workshops to attend, and fun parties hosted by the publishers.

As summer winds down I hope to cruise Alaska. I've done so several times but still remain awed by the wide open space and raw beauty of a state that goes on and on. Visiting Alaska is an unbeatable experience. If you ever have the time and funds I encourage you to put it on your 'must see' list.

You may remember me mentioning the Susan G. Komen charity event last month? It was a huge success and attended by thousands of women and men. Best selling author Karen Kendall and I had a wonderful time meeting our fans. We even ran into an old bagpiper friend of mine who just happens to be a firefighter, and up for the bachelor auction. Karen and I took a picture with him. Log onto he's the one dressed in the kilt.

Come August my new action adventure, Meet Phoenix will be released. If you like a butt kicking heroine and a steaming hot Latino hero, this one shouldn't be missed.

Meanwhile keep reading and try to stay out of the heat!

Marcia King-Gamble
Editor -- Romantically Yours

Tools of the Trade

Do you know your characters?


In the March edition of Romantically Yours I recapped some essentials to think about when developing characters. But what if you had an actual checklist?

Most of us have a strong sense of what our characters look like, speak like, and think. But how do you make them unique and give them history? How have they become the people they are today?

No one enjoys reading cardboard characters. Layers are what gives your characters depth and makes them relatable. Start off by creating a checklist of those less than perfect people so that your readers can identify with them, flaws and all.

Ask your self this:

  • What does your character want more than anything else? What are their needs and ambitions?
  • Why do they want what they want? What's their motivation?
  • Why can't they have it? Think conflict here.
  • What particular quirk do these people have?
  • What do they fear?
  • What does no one know about them?
  • Are they sympathetic or heroic?
  • What are their flaws?
  • How do they feel?
  • Do their names fit?

    If you can answer all of these questions then presto a character is born.



    It's Summer time:

    Rather than the usual interview I thought you might enjoy hearing what some of your favorite authors are up too this summer.

    Joan Johnston - New York Times Best Seller and former attorney

    JJ: I made a special trip to Denver to see the premier of Sex & the City with three of my girlfriends. I'm heading to Las Vegas late in June with my eldest sister to see Bette Midler perform. Speaking at Craftfest at Thrillerfest in New York July 9-12 and moderating a panel, then heading to San Francisco July 28-Aug. 2 for RWA, where I'm also speaking. I've turned in Outcast, the first book in a brand new series, in stores in March 2009, and working on the sequel to A Stranger's Game, March 2008 New York Times bestseller.





    Talented Sandra Madden writes both historicals and contemporaries. Visit her at

    SM: I'll be writing, reading and visiting my friend's beach house on the panhandle for a few days next week with the family. And then it's San Francisco for RWA in July and Colorado Springs in August for several tapings my husband Dave (otherwise known as Reuben Kincaid of the Partridge Family) is doing for the radio program "Adventures in Odyssey." We'll vacation in September with a fall cruise to Canada.

    Award winning author Bettye Griffin recently moved from Florida to the mid-west.

    BG: After two years of living in a too-small apartment since our relocation, my husband and I just moved into a spacious, brand new house. We'll be spending the summer getting settled, adding a deck, getting started on finishing the basement, and getting acquainted with our belongings that have been in storage in Florida because we had no room to bring them to the Midwest. We'll also be traveling to San Diego in mid-July to attend an informal reunion weekend from my husband's high school in Bangkok, Thailand (most of the Army brats he went to school with ultimately settled in California). Hopefully we'll get to Baja California to look around a bit. We'll also rent a convertible and take what will likely (considering the price of gas these days) be a very short drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. It'll be my first time seeing the world's largest ocean, so I'm excited!

    While you're enjoying the long summer days, be sure to pick up a copy of my latest novel, Once Upon A Project, and pre-order my October release, the mass market issue of my 2006 novel Nothing But Trouble.

    Carol Stephens juggles a busy law career with that of a romance writer. Read all about her at

    CS: Beyond the rigorous schedule of my day job, I'll be finishing my family room makeover, attending the RWA conference in San Fran, and working on a new idea for a book that just came to me this morning. :)

    Victoria Marquez, an Encanto author is now writing chic lit, and very well I might add. I'm partial. She's nice as can be.

    VM: I plan on finishing my work in progress. I'll be juggling writing with travels to New York and Nashville, working out at the gym, trying out new recipes, and escaping Miami for "honeymoon weekends" in Naples with (husband) Paul.

    Waldenbooks best selling author Linda Conrad has a busy summer ahead. Read about what's in store for her at

    LC: I plan on spending my summer working. I've got deadlines to meet! But of course I'll also take a day or two off here and there to run on the beach with my puppy KiKi. My husband might even let us ride in his boat. We love running over to an island nearby for lunch.

    Linda Conrad
    SHADOW WHISPERS - Write Touch Readers Award winner!
    The SafeKeeper trilogy: SAFE WITH A STRANGER June 2008 RT 4 1/2 Stars!
    The Colton multi-author series: THE SHERIFF'S AMENSIAC BRIDE 11/08
    Linda Conrad on MySpace l

    Seasoned veteran Sandra Kitt has a very hard time staying put. Hear what this world traveler has to say. Visit

    SK: Summer is my favorite time of the year and, despite the obvious affects of global warming, I enjoy the heat far more than the cold! Summer is when I celebrate my birthday, and the season during which I've always felt happiest, and free! Mostly I do anything to be outdoors where I can fully appreciate the sunshine and warm days. I walk as much as I can everywhere in New York City (we have a lot of parks); I visit friends (especially those who live near beaches), I attend outdoor concerts. The summer is usually when I release my latest novel, but this year my next book, FOR ALL WE KNOW, will be published in September. In the meantime I'm working on a novella for a 2009 anthology collection. I began traveling on Memorial Day weekend, and it will continue every weekend through June. Just before July 4th I'll do a few days with friends at a south Jersey resort. At the end of July I'll be in San Francisco.

    I hope that all of you will have a wonderful summer.


      Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference
      Sponsor: RWA
      Location: San Francisco Marriott, CA
      Fee: $425-$550
      Date: July 30- August 02, 208

      FHL One- day Conference
      Sponsor: Faith, Hope & Love Inspirational Chapter
      Location: JW Marriott, San Francisco, CA
      Fee: $50-$60
      Date July 30, 2008
      Keynote: Lyn Cote
      Screenwriters Mini-Conference

      Mini RWA Conference for Scriptwriters
      Sponsor: Scriptscene Chapter
      Location: Marriott Hotel, San Francisco, CA
      $10.00 Scriptscene members $20.00 RWA members (non-Scriptscene)
      Date: July 30, 2008
      Time: 10:30 am - 4:30 pm
      We are bringing a little bit of Hollywood to romance in a big - HUGE way. After a short business meeting, and announcement of our Share The Dream contest winners, Scriptscene will host their first mini-conference in San Francisco. This is an opportunity to meet and learn from film professionals.
      Our three incredible industry speakers:
      Hollywood agent Marilyn Atlas
      Screenwriter James Dalessandro

      Summer Suspense Writing Workshop is now accepting students!!!

      National bestselling, Emma-award winning author for Romance Suspense Deirdre Savoy will be facilitating this month-long workshop. This workshop is for authors wanting to learn the basic craft of writing romantic suspense or those seeking to add a bit of dramatic spice to any novel.

      Course syllabus:

        June 30: What is suspense--how do you achieve it and how do you use it: Jul 7: Dark suspense vs. light suspense--how to create the effect you want July 14: The devil in the details--making suspense believable. July 21: Love on the run--how to use suspense to heighten the romance and vice versa.

      Each week, a lecture and assignment will be posted. Completion and posting of assigned work for peer review is not mandatory but advised if students want to get the most from the class.

      Who should take this course:

        --first time R/S authors looking to learn the basics --R/S authors looking to hone their craft --any author interested in taking their writing to new levels

      How to register: Apply for group membership Yahoo Groups: FictionFolksSST.
      You will receive an e-mail telling you how to make payment. Once tuition is received, you will be added to the group.

      Tuition: $25.00

    Who’s Acquiring

      Avalon Books:
      Accepts non-agented submissions as well as multiple submissions.
      Address any inquiries regarding manuscript submissions to:
      The address for submissions is:
      Avalon Books
      160 Madison Avenue
      NY, NY 10016

      Tor Books
      Tor Books is seeking novel-length paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, horror, near-future, speculative fiction, non-standard time travel romances. All submissions must include paranormal elements. Tor are open to non-traditional romances (multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-spiritual, homosexual, etc), as well as traditional ones. They do not want: fluffy comedies, traditional/category romance, inspirational or traditional stories (especially ghosts and angels falling in love with humans). Submissions must include both romantic conflict and another significant conflict and both storylines must be crucial to the overall novel. Romantic elements should make up no more than half the entire story: 80,000-130,000 words. Unagented submissions accepted. Do not query. Send three chapters and a synopsis and cover letter, with SAE and IRCs for return. Buys on proposal for previously published authors. Response time: four months. Anna Genoese, Tor Paranormal Romance, Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, USA; e-mail:

      Warner Books
      Warner Books publish one or two single-title contemporary and historical romances per month. Most quickly read projects come from agents, but they will review unagented submissions as time allows. Response time four weeks on agented material; eight to twelve weeks on unagented. They are actively acquiring historical and contemporary romances. Warner Books, 271 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, USA; tel: 212 522 7200; fax: 212 52 7990. Acquisitions editors: Beth de Guzman, editorial director of mass market; Michele Bidelspach, editorial assistant; Larissa Rivera, editorial assistant. Actively acquiring historicals, time- travels, futuristics, paranormals and outrageous romantic comedy. Cutting edge romances are especially welcomed; those that do not fit into a particular category.

      Did You Know?

      You can find freelance writing, editorial, proofreading, and writer jobs at these places:

    • Craigs List
    • Creative Hot List
    • EPA Careers
    • Free Writers' Database
    • Journalism Jobs
    • Journalism Next
    • Masthead Online
    • Solo Gig
    • Click N Work


      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