Interview with Steena Holmes + Author Tip from Sharon Wray + Latest News ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

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LATEST NEWS

- Ella Quinn’s THE MARQUIS AND I made the USA Today Bestseller list.

- After DRIFTWOOD COVE made #8 on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list, Debbie Mason was added to the RWA Honor Roll.

Katharine Ashe, USA Today bestselling author of The Duke, described Cat Sebastian’s UNMASKED BY THE MARQUESS as "Brimming with warmth, laughter, and passion, this book is an absolute delight."

THIRSTY by Mia Hopkins received excellent reviews from USA Today, Hypable, TBQ's Book Palace, Rochelle's Reviews, and OMG Reads.

- Ali Fisher at Tor Teen bought North American rights, at auction, to a teen trilogy by TJ Klune. Deidre Knight, who represented Klune in the three-book deal, described the trilogy as an LGBT #ownvoices series about a group of teen superheroes and the everyday boy who follows them. The first title is set for a winter 2020 release.

- Nalini Singh’s OCEAN LIGHT was included on Goodread’s list of 16 of the Hottest Romance Books of Spring.

- SKINWALKER, the first novel in Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series, is only $1.99 for a limited time.

- Tenley “Ten” Lockwood, the heroine of Gena Showalter's EVERLIFE, has a Top 10 List for Saving the World. Gena reveals them in this video:

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Author Tip of the Month

A librarian/archivist who also studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris, Sharon Wray is an eight-time RWA Golden Heart Romantic Suspense author.

Her latest novel is EVERY DARK DESIRE.

 

Sharon's Tip:

When The Knight Agency asked me to offer a writing tip, I thought about drafting tips and marketing ideas and all of the things that go into crafting and selling a book. Then I realized I’d forgotten the most important part of any novel: The author.

As a former chemical and patent librarian for a pharmaceutical company who dealt with the FDA regularly, I thought I understood time management and stress. I had planners and calendars and software programs to keep me organized. Every potential new drug had a team, every team had project goals, and every project goal had a to-do list with FDA deadlines. Every team lived by its deadlines, working as many weekday hours as it took to complete the job. But the senior leadership made one thing clear: we were not to work on weekends. They believed that in order to do our best work, we needed to be rested.

Now, years later as a debut author, I realize the value of that belief. I’m living by deadlines again and, despite the fact I write at home, my job is harder. Before, I had tasks to complete. Now, I’m literally creating something out of nothing. That creating requires an enormous amount of mental energy and sedentary time, both of which can take a toll on an author’s health.

A few weeks before my romantic suspense debut, EVERY DEEP DESIRE, my fingers and calves began to cramp and I started running low-grade fevers. My eyes felt dry and my eyelids twitched. Then my weight started going up even though I was barely eating due to stomach cramps. I went to my GP and he told me that my symptoms were due to stress-induced inflammation caused by too much cortisol.

I was surprised since I felt more excited than stressed about my upcoming release, but he said this was due to long-term stress and anxiety. Even if I didn’t feel anxious all the time, the fact that I was feeling it on a regular basis was affecting my endocrine system. I needed to make some changes fast if I didn’t want these symptoms to become permanent.

Before I left his office, my doctor offered these tips. A few weeks later, I can honestly say that while I’m not completely better, these ideas have helped. (I’m sure NONE of these tips will be a surprise!)

1: Get plenty of sleep. At least 8 hours of uninterrupted snooze-time, even if it means you have to go to bed earlier. You can’t heal and recover without sleep.

2: Drink lots of water. The standard is eight 8-oz glasses a day, but the Mayo Clinic website has exact numbers depending on your weight, sex and climate where you live. My eye problems were due to a combination of dehydration and too much screen time.

3: Eat well. I know it’s hard to eat well when you’re stressed. But eating lots of fresh vegetables and protein-rich sources, as well as a good amount of healthy fats, will help your mood, improve your sleep habits, and increase your ability to focus.

This surprised me because the first tip is sleep. But my doctor explained that wakeful rest is as important. Spend time with people you love, watch the clouds float by, enjoy your favorite sport—even if, like me, it’s reading! Rest is anything that takes your mind off The Book and allows your active mind to think about non-stressful things. This is the reason my former employer didn’t want us to work on weekends, even when on deadline.

4: Meditate/Pray/Yoga. This one may be determined by your own preferences, but the effect is the same. Take time out of each day to practice focusing on something specific. With Yoga, it’s the physical poses. Prayer and meditation allow the mind to go on a vacation from The Book while still being present to the world. This tip helps clear the mind and can ease anxiety and restlessness, two things that inhibit creativity.

5: Exercise: There’s no question that moving the body increases blood flow to the heart and mind. It also allows those wonderful endorphins to show up and take you out of your funk! And yes, walking the dog is exercise.

{Bonus} Brain Dump: I added this one because of the tremendous value I’ve found over the years from writing Morning Pages (as taught by Julia Cameron in the Artist’s Way). A Brain Dump is a hand-written list of EVERY SINGLE THING on your mind. From refilling the dog’s flea pills to the upcoming snow storm. This list frees you from being stuck in your own head. Some people do this in the morning, others at night, and others—like me—whenever they feel anxious. Whether you do anything with the list, like transfer it to a planner or burn it, doesn’t matter. It’s the writing and releasing that helps ease the overworked brain.

Now, more than ever, the world needs compelling stories. That fact makes healthy authors one of the world’s most important resources.


Author Interview

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Steena Holmes has sold over a million copies of her novels. She's won numerous awards, including the 2012 NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE BOOK Award for FINDING EMMA and the 2015 USA BOOK NEWS Award for THE WORD GAME. Her latest release is THE FORGOTTEN ONES.

TKA: Tell us about your new novel and how it came about. 

Steena: THE FORGOTTEN ONES is about the deep dark secrets we have within our families and how deadly the truth can be when they come out. I wanted to write a story about a truck driver in the 1950s but make it present day. As I wrote, the story just presented itself to me.

TKA: All of your novels, including THE FORGOTTEN ONES, have been deep stories that are very well planned-out. What was the research and planning process like for you on this book?

Steena: It all happened while I wrote. Thankfully I have a father who has been a truck driver all his life so he helped me a bit. For the other deep issues in the book, I did a lot on online research. If they [my books] have that “planned-out” feel, it’s all an illusion or rather, the magic behind the editing process. I tend to plan as I write which isn’t always the best way to write a novel.

TKA: What are a couple of your favorite novels and why?

Steena: This is a trick question, right? A couple of my favorite? What reader do you know who has a couple of favorites? lol. In all seriousness, I fell in love with Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer and The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle. The writing in both of those books blew me away while drawing me in. There were times throughout each book I’d have to take a moment to let what I’d just read sink in. Not only are they a “few” of my favorite books but when I think about the kind of writing—the depth of writing—that I want to have and the experience I want to give my readers, I think about these books.

TKA: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Steena: You’ll never know if you’ll fail unless you try. But once you do fail, don’t give up because the only one who will believe in yourself the most IS you.

TKA: What is the greatest joy of writing for you?

Steena: That feeling of being lost within a story is something that brings me a lot of joy and happiness. It’s the same joy I get when I start reading a book and lose all sense of time. 

TKA: Finally, what are you working on right now?

Steena: I’m working on a psychological suspense that gives me thrills every time I open my document! 

To learn more about Steena, visit www.steenaholmes.com.

 

RECENT DEALS

- TJ Klune’s LGBT #ownvoices teen trilogy, THE EXTRAORDINARIES, pitched as a smartly funny, romantic series about teen superheroes and the everyday geek boy who ships them, to Ali Fisher at Tor Books, in a six-figure deal at auction, for hardcover publication winter 2020, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and to Sam Bradbury at Hodder & Stoughton for simultaneous hardcover UK publication.

- Genevieve Cogman's INVISIBLE LIBRARY books 6, 7 and 8, following the exploits of a librarian spy as she hunts down rare books for her secretive inter-dimensional Library at great peril and with great aplomb, to Bella Pagan at Pan Macmillan in a major deal, by Lucienne Diver

- Alli Sinclair's BURNING FIELDS and THE CINEMA OF LOST DREAMS, a blend of romance, history and intrigue, to Esi Sogah at Lyrical Press in a nice deal, by Lucienne Diver

- USA Today bestselling author Debbie Mason's next two books in the Harmony Harbor series, to Alex Logan at Grand Central in a very nice deal, by Pamela Harty

- Reese Ryan's next three books in her Bourbon Brothers Series, to Charles Griemsman for Harlequin Desire in a nice deal, by Pamela Harty

- Reese Ryan's book two in the Dynasties: Secrets of the A List continuity series, and book 6 in the Texas Cattleman's Club: Houston continuity series, to Charles Griemsman at Harlequin Desire for publication in 2019, by Pamela Harty

- David B. Coe's original tie-in to the History Channel’s new Knightfall series about the Knights Templar, to Gary Budden at Titan Books, via Lucienne Diver

- Jill Monroe's new Christmas-themed contemporary HEART OF GLASS, whose protagonist’s decision to hire a renowned but secretive glass-blower to jump-start the family ornament company might be her biggest—and favorite—mistake, to Stacey Donovan at Hallmark in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight

- Christian Klaver's SHADOWS OVER LONDON, in which the protagonist’s father tries to wall her and her siblings away to protect them from a faerie invasion—only to see them drawn into the fight (and not all on the same side) with the special skills they discover—to Corie Weaver at Dreaming Robot in a nice deal, by Lucienne Diver

- Karen Whiddon's Colton continuity novel, to Patience Bloom at Harlequin in a nice deal, by Lucienne Diver

- Chloe Neill's fourth novel in the Devil's Isle series (which includes THE VEIL, THE SIGHT and THE HUNT), to Jessica Wade at Berkley in a nice deal, by Lucienne Diver

- Stephanie Dees's fourth book in her Family Blessing series and three books to start The Triple Creek Ranch series, featuring brothers reunited to save their family legacy, to Melissa Endlich at Harlequin Love Inspired in a nice deal for publication in 2019, by Melissa Jeglinski

- Karen Booth's book one in the Dynasties: Secrets of the A List series, to Patience Bloom at Harlequin Desire in a nice deal for publication in 2019, by Melissa Jeglinski

- Debby Giusti's untitled Love Inspired Suspense romance, part of a mini-continuity about witness protection set amidst the Amish community, to Emily Rodmell at Harlequin in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight

- SOLDIER'S SECRET SON by Maggie Black, in which a military corporal is unexpectedly reunited with the only woman he's ever loved and the son he never knew he had—just before armed robbers take over their train as it treks through the snowy Canadian wilderness—to Emily Rodmell at Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense in a nice six-book deal, by Melissa Jeglinski

- Michele Hauf's STORM WARNING, to Denise Zaza at Harlequin Intrigue in a nice two-book deal for publication in March 2019, by Pamela Harty

NEW CLIENTS ON THE BLOCK

nicola-davidson

Nicola Davidson

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New Zealander Nicola Davidson is a history geek, dessertaholic, die-hard All Blacks fan, and knows more about Regency sex clubs than is probably healthy. When not daydreaming of ways to combine these passions, she writes erotic historical romance with plenty of kink, heart, and humor.

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Avery Flynn

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Avery Flynn is a USA Today bestselling romance author. She has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

chelsea-ichaso

Chelsea Ichaso

Chelsea Ichaso writes creepy, twisty tales for young adults. A former high school English teacher, she lives in southern California with her husband and three children. When she’s not reading or writing, she can be found on the soccer field.

loriel-ryon

Loriel Ryon

When she's not writing middle grade and young adult fiction, Loriel Ryon is a wife, mother, registered nurse, hiker and science enthusiast. She lives in New Mexico with her husband and children.

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