Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Lovestruck Novice Welcomes AUTUMN JORDON!!

It's Moanday, but we're far from groaning!!

We've got the fabulous AUTUMN JORDON visiting with us today!!

With RWA '10 behind us now, it's time to focus on the future and for many entering the Golden Heart® is next on the agenda. What better way to get inspired to complete and polish that WIP than to have a Golden Heart finalist give us the low down on how to plan for success?!

Hope you brought some floaties and a snorkel, because we're swimming in the pool of motivation, TLN'ers!


First, Sarah, Happy Birthday! I’m so happy to be asked to spend the day with you on your special day. Everyone, join me in wishing Sarah an awesome day!


Aw, thanks!! Any day with cake is awesome to my way of thinking. :)

Reaching For The Brass Ring or the Golden Heart®.

Ten years ago, I attended my very first RWA national conference in Washington DC. I was a wet-behind-my-ears newbie to the RWA and star struck by the gathering and all the published authors I met. The awards ceremony for RITAs and Golden Hearts® blew me away. It was like attending the Oscars. Sitting on my desk, I still have my chocolate RITA which was offered at the champagne and chocolate reception afterward the ceremony. ( I know- chocolate + ten years= willpower, but it’s a RITA)

Anyway, on the ride home, my roommate/critique partner and I chatted non-stop about the conference and all we’d learned. At some point, my CP turned to me and said, “One day I’m going to win a RITA.” Then she munched her RITA’S head off. I laughed and said, “I’d be happy just being nominated for a Golden Heart®.” It’s super to have goals, but I’d learned many times throughout my life when taking on a project, job, weight lost, etc. to take baby steps, and so I did.

Goal one: write a book. And I did. I wrote crap. I gave it to critique partners to tear apart and afterwards I wrote more crap. I listened to published authors and industry professionals and studied the craft and I wrote better crap.

Goal two: put work out into the world. I entered contests with manuscript number two and received feedback from those who didn’t know me and wouldn’t worry about hurting my feelings. Reviewing their comments, I realized I needed to study the craft more. I had strengths, yes, but my weaknesses were keeping the readers from eating my work up with their eyes.

Goal three: focus on my weakness. I was told by dear judges I had a strong voice, but my characters were cookie cutter. They needed to be different and yet someone my readers could relate too. I had great story ideas, but no subplots to hold up the sagging middle and keep the pace, well fast. My dialogue was good but not great. And my character’s introspection would probably be better suited in a sixteenth century novel.

Goal four: enter more contests, with yet another work, titled HIS WITNESS. Now things started to happen. In one year, I place in one contest and won another. The following year, after again tweaking and layering, I entered the manuscript in the Golden Heart® contest. A few months later I contracted the story with the Wild Rose Press, and a few months later HIS WITNESS became a finalist in the RWA prestigious contest. His Witness is now titled EVIL’s WITNESS and in the two short months of its release has received awesome reviews from both reviewers and readers.

For this Golden Heart Finalist, it was a long road. Do I wish my journey had been different, shorter? No. Because the long road was made much sweeter by the many friends I made along the way.

So for those of you starting the writer’s journey, I say don’t rush. Set realistic goals for you. Never lose faith in yourself. Always strive to do better and never give up and enjoy the friends you make along the way.

Now here is a blurb and excerpt for Evil’s Witness. I hope you enjoy and will visit me at
http://www.autumnjordon.com/.

BLURB:
Witnessing a blood bath crashes Stephanie Boyd’s world. To escape the wrath of the Russian Mafia, she has to help the FBI uncover the mafia’s mole inside the U.S. Treasury. While on the run with the handsome agent who is willing to die for her, Stephanie learns the meaning of love.

Agent John Dolton’s break in solving the case that cost him everything is a couple of kids and a beautiful widow. But keeping them safe seems impossible when their every move is foreseen by their enemy. Stephanie and her children soften the loner’s heart and John vows not to fail to protect the family he loves.


EXCERPT:

“Are you going to tell me what Ben Stover had to say?” She dreaded hearing the news he’d learned. It couldn’t be good. He would’ve told her good news immediately.

“They lifted the prints from the guy at the mall and ran them through the system. Ben had a hit. A small time thief named Doug Antonelli, a.k.a. Dog. So you were right about his name. But, we haven’t had any luck searching the data banks for a Victor, yet.”

She held on to a glimmer of hope. “You think you will though?”

He nodded. “This guy didn’t just fall to earth with a plan to rob the U.S. Treasury of millions. He has to have come from somewhere—have some kind of record. We’ll find him. It’s just going to take some time.”

“I won’t be stupid and ask how much?”

“I appreciate that.” He smiled. As if realizing for the first time that she was washing dishes, he said, “I told you I’d do those, Steph.”

She’d noted before he’d shortened her name. She kind of liked the nickname.

“That’s okay. This is therapy.” Stephanie shrugged and smiled at him as she rinsed another plate. “After the last twenty-four hours, I really needed to do something normal.”

“I understand. I do the same thing when I’m done with a case.”

Her hands stilled under the warm water. “You do?”

“You look surprised.” He set his mug down, snatched the tea towel from the counter and started to dry the dishes from the rack.

Gene had never helped her with the dishes.

She washed and John dried. It was kind of nice standing side by side, talking, even though some of their conversation dealt with their lives being at stake. But there was something about a man wearing a gun, drying dishes that struck her as funny. Especially a barefooted one.

She chuckled and he looked confused. “What?

“I’m sorry. It’s just you’re FBI.” Her cheeks warmed, again, the moment the idiotic words spilled from her mouth.

“We have lives too. We don’t wait in sterile closets for the next case.” He laughed with her.

She liked his laugh and the way his eyes sparkled.

“Well, actually, I sort of had this picture of you in a smoke filled room, playing cards, waiting for the call. Then going to the sterile room to be briefed on the high-tech gadgets you’ll use on your mission.”

“You’ve got it all wrong. I haven’t played cards in years.”

“Oh, I see. That’s the only part wrong?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Hmm.” Stephanie’s heart pounded so hard in her chest she thought for sure John would hear it over the steady stream of tap water.

He wore no ring. She wanted to ask him if there was a Mrs. Dolton, but she didn’t have the nerve.


WOWZA! Who wouldn't want their own hunky federal agent?! What a sweet treat! I'd like to thank Autumn for her kickin' advice and for hangin' out with us today. Cake and top notch tips from a successful and very driven author has got to be the best gift a gal can get. (Well, a mani/pedi ain't no poke in the eye either though! I'd definitely take both, that's for sure. lol)

THANKS, TLN'ers!! I appreciate your continued support! Hope your week is full of productivity. How about a some
CARRIE UNDERWOOD and COWBOY CASANOVA to get your week off to a swingin' start! Check ya back on Wednesday!!

27 comments:

Rula Sinara said...

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Autumn, your excerpt is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey, and congratulations on all your success.

COLORCRAZED said...

Loved the excerpt.

Kaily Hart said...

Autumn, loved hearing about your journey. Wishing you much continued success! Sarah, happy birthday! Hope you were well appreciated!!!!

Sarah Simas said...

Thanks so much Rula, ColorCrazed, and Haily!

I appreciate you stopping by to meet Autumn and for my birthday wishes! :)

I really enjoyed Autumn's post today. Weren't her words the perfect dose of inspiration?!

June said...

Great set of goals Autumn and congrats on your achievments.
great cover.

Happy 'B' Day Sarah

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Autumn,

Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Encouraging words. Enjoyed the excerpt. I could go for a hunky federal agent. lol

Love your book cover, too.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Autumn,
Inspirational journey, thank you for sharing it. Loved the excerpt too.

Regards
Margaret

Autumn Jordon said...

Wow! I grabbed my walk and a cup of tea, not expecting a soul to be here this early. You ladies are awesome!

Rula, What a lovely name. What hertiage is derived from? I'm so glad you like the excerpt. If you're interested in reading more, here is the link to the Wild Rose Press http://www.thewildrosepress.com/evils-witness-p-4075.html

Thanks, Colorcrazed. I know you. You've been to my blog, haven't you? Thanks for stopping by here too.

BTW I have an August contest going on at my blog www.autumnjordonsnotes.blogspot.com

Follow me and be entered for a copy of Obsessed By Wildfire.

Autumn Jordon said...

Kaily, Margaret, Karen and June, Thanks so much for your kind words. The road has been long, but wonderful.

I have a question. What kind of hero do you go for? Alpha, Beta or Gamma?

Autumn Jordon said...

Sarah, I hope dinner was delicous last night. And there is more cake today, right? YUM

Joanna Aislinn said...

I am inspired, Autumn. Think you posted exactly what I needed to read. Thanks to you--and to Sarah--(gorgeous blog, btw)--for sharing Autumn's journey with the rest of us. Pubbed or aspiring, this was very good reading.


Joanna Aislinn
NO MATTER WHY
The Wild Rose Press
www.joannaaislinn.com
www.joannaaislinn.wordpress.com

Autumn Jordon said...

Joanna, I'm so happy my post inspired you to do whatever you need to do. That makes me feel wonderful. So thank you for posting.

I hope you stop my blog someday. AJ

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Autumn,

Tough question, but I'll play.lol

I like an Alpha Hero, who's the rebel, or the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s bitter and volatile, a crushed idealist, but he's also charismatic and street smart. You know someone like Patrick Swayze's character in Dirty Dancing.

I also like the Beta Hero who is the charmer. He's fun and irresistible. He's a smooth operator, yet not too responsible or dependable. You know a rogue or playboy, not committing to one woman until he meets the right one.
Cary Grant played this roll well. Man, do I love his movies. His mischievous smile does me in.

How about you, Autumn, which hero is your favorite and why?

Autumn Jordon said...

I love Cary too, but I'm a gamma which is a combo of both personnas. I love the tortured alpha hero, but I want him to have that charming wit too, once the heroine brings it out of course.

I'm a huge 24 fan. Jack Bauer while mostly alpha had a beta side to him.

Hey, tahnks for following me also. You're entered in the contest for Obsessed By Wildfire. Good luck!

EA said...

I really enjoyed this post. That whole writing of "crap" and "better crap" made me laugh, but I feel the same way. Dear me, if my first manuscript isn't a bunch of crazy malarkey. Ah, but I love that manuscript all the same.

One day I would like to attend the Oscar's of the writing world. Not as a nominee, but as a spectator, to get the whole glamorous side of writing. I've yet to see that part, but I figure I've still got a good many writing years left in me.

Thank you for your honesty and your insight. Your work sounds fantastic.

Helen Hardt said...

Sarah, happy birthday! I remember when I visited on your birthday :).

Autumn, I really enjoyed reading about your journey. Here's to much success!

Autumn Jordon said...

Hey, EA. I like your attitude. If you get the chance to attend the national conference do. You will not be sorry.

Autumn Jordon said...

Thanks, Helen.

Diane Craver said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Sarah. Hope you had cake and a wonderful day.

Autumn,
I enjoyed reading about taking baby steps in your writing career and it's so true. And like EA, smiled at the crap part. LOL Your new cover is gorgeous and hope you sell tons of books. I loved your previous release, OBSESSED BY WILDFIRE.

Hugs and your friend!

Sarah Simas said...

WOWZA! What a swinging crowd!! I LOVE it! :)

Thanks for all the bday wishes! It's been a fabulous day and only getting better as CAKE time is just a couple hours away. YAY!

For once "Moan"day isn't such a 'moan'. LOL

Sarah Simas said...

I'll answer the Q, Autumn! I do so love chatting heroes. *wink wink*

I totally dig an alpha like: Brodick from Julie Garwood's RANSOM and Vane from Sherrilyn Kenyon's NIGHT PLAY. *sigh* Such sweet treats even if they are rough around the edges. LOL

Autumn Jordon said...

Thanks, Diane. It's so good to see you pop in. You know how long a road it's been and you're one of the many I won't give up.

(((HUGS)) AJ

Autumn Jordon said...

Cake. You said Cake. Yummy. Alpha males do it for a lot of woman. Probably the majority. But I still like the tenderside.

Happy Birthday again, sweetie. It's been a blast so far today.

Remember to hop over my blog and entr that contest.

阮艳 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Autumn Jordon said...

LOL. Sorry. I don't understand.

Sarah, Again thank you for hosting me. It was fun.

I hope you and your friends will consider stopping by my blog too.

www.autumnjordonsnotes.blogspot.com

Cari Quinn said...

Autumn, loved your post! Very inspiring and best of luck to you!

Sarah, I wanted to wish you a belated happy birthday! Hope you had a wonderful day. :) And thanks so much for featuring Personal Research on your sidebar!

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