Marcia’s Romantically Yours
Issue # 41
marcia king-gamble

Dear Romance Writers,

Since the last time we touched base I've been to San Francisco, New York, Pennsylvania, and St. Augustine, Florida. On my way home I stopped in Melbourne, Florida to lunch with a friend. It's always been about combining business with pleasure when I can. Keep in mind, in just a few weeks the seasons will change and the holidays will be upon us. Travel at that point becomes a test of endurance.

Enough of that! Last newsletter I promised to tell you about my time in San Francisco at the annual Romance Writers Conference. It was a fabulous experience spent with friends and new acquaintances. This overextended author missed her flight and barely made the opening of the Literacy Book Signing. It meant skipping checking into the hotel or changing my clothes. Thankfully author Cindy Kirk (a contributor to the Mediterranean Nights Series) and my seat mate, was tolerant of my Eau de Boeing scent.


I didn't attend many workshops but I did attend some informative PAN (Published author network events.) Otherwise most of the time was spent catching up with friends, networking, shopping, and restaurant hopping. The food and ambience in San Francisco can't be beat and I sampled plenty of it. There is a diet in my future somewhere.

A highlight of the conference was the Harlequin party held at The Four Seasons Hotel. Harlequin is known for its wonderful bashes and this party did not disappoint. I attended with author friends, Kathleen Lawless (this month's interviewee,) who writes “Romantica,” those highly sensual stories we all like to read, Sandra Kitt, Sandra Madden and Carole Stephens. We immediately got Cosmos and with drinks in hand found a table. We were fortunate enough to sit next to author, Eva Rutland (a legend in her own right,) and her two beautiful daughters. Please check out my website the wonderful photo of me, Eva, and Ginger, her daughter coming off the dance floor.

Speaking of dancing, the D J kept us on the floor until the wee hours. My one regret was that I never got to take my hot air balloon ride. However I did go to wine country, and that visit came with sampling lots of vino. Do I hear that diet calling?

While there's wine on the mind, in November, FIRST CRUSH, my new release set in wine country will be in the stores. As an additional treat that entire month I'll be suggesting wines that go well with different kinds of foods. Again check out my website some useful holiday tips.

May the muse be with you!

Marcia King-Gamble
Editor — Romantically Yours

Tools of the Trade

Times are tough — What's a writer to do?

Lately it seems every time we open a newspaper, or turn on a television, there's some company filing for bankruptcy or going out of business. The real estate market is in crisis and people are walking away from their homes. Executives previously earning high six figure salaries are out of work and pounding the pavements to pick up a job, any job; even some they thought were beneath them.

It would then come as no surprise that the current state of the economy also affects book sales. Readers who would normally buy an armful of books are now shopping at their local libraries. A drop off in sales means a downsizing of authors.

With companies closing around us, or actively looking for ways to reduce cost, it makes it even more difficult for new authors to get published. Those with a proven track record are having a challenge getting new contracts. If your sales figures aren't where the publisher wants them to be, then you can count on not having your contract renewed. Only the strongest will survive in a weak economy.

I don't mean to paint a morbid picture of this career we're passionate about. But the facts are that writers face a huge challenge. No wonder so many of us keep a day job. Rather than giving up on writing altogether, it's time to get smart, hone our skills and become resourceful.

First and foremost a positive outlook is essential. Be willing and prepared to shift gears. If you're a fiction writer with an affinity for working out then why not start writing health and fitness articles? If you're a ‘foodie' or simply enjoy good wine consider submitting to epicurean magazines. Small town newspapers will publish short stories and articles from locals and in fact will welcome your submissions.

Don't forget e publishing is alive and well today. My e published friends tell me the royalties cannot be beat and far exceed what the book publishers offer. Go on line and explore the many opportunities out there. You just might be surprised.

The field of copywriting can also be quite lucrative. Snag a winning headline or lead, and you can become one of the most sought after writers today. So what's copywriting you ask? Any writing that promotes a product or service for sale; think ads and junk mail. Based on the amount I get in my mail box there are many, many writers gainfully employed.

You might also consider partnering with a web designer or just advertising on your own to write copy for websites. Keep in mind almost every business or independent contractor has a website these days. Designers aren't necessarily writers, and business people, smart as they are, may not have the time, inclination or skill to pen their own prose.

Enter contests, attend conferences, and do what needs to be done to keep your name out there. In lean times get creative. Why not continue to do what you love and get paid for it?



Interview with Kathleen Lawless:

Kathleen Lawless is as sultry as she is talented. I met this vivacious woman at the RWA conference in San Francisco. We'd been introduced via e mail previously by a mutual friend, and clicked almost immediately. Kathleen is one of those attractive, earthy, extroverts completely comfortable with her sexuality. She is the perfect person to write Romantica; those highly sensual stories you love to read. Hear what she has to say on the topic of romance and love. Log onto more about her.

RY: Tell us a little about Kathleen and what inspired her to write romances?

Kathleen L.: Being a total romantic, I inhaled romance novels in my formative years, not realizing that their appeal was far more-reaching than the Happy-Ever-After. The novels that stayed with me long after the last page were the ones that tapped into the basic core myths or fantasies that resonate deep within our psyche. Stories featuring marriage of convenience, kidnapping, cowboy fantasy, wounded hero-on-the-run, Cinderella, and other myths, were the ones I loved the most.

I'd always loved to write, so as a young stay-at-home mother, it made sense to try and write a book that I hoped would touch a reader the way all those wonderful stories had touched me.

RY:How long have you been writing and how many books have you written to date? Of all of the books you've written which is your favorite?

Kathleen L.:I actually attempted my first book so long ago it was on a typewriter. And it was very, very bad. But I finished it, which was tenacity training for the rest of my career. Not only did I finish it with the help of a lot of white-out, I had the audacity to mail it to Avon Books, who had launched Joanna Lindsay. My effort boomeranged back so fast it renewed my faith in the postal service. It also renewed my determination to write a publishable book.

I made my first sale in 1995, ironically coinciding with my divorce. Perhaps because I was no longer living-happily-ever after, my fantasies grew stronger. I subsequently sold four more books in a very short time and when people asked me the reason for that fast-track success, I laughingly attributed it to my newly single status. I have published 15 books to date. Notice that's published, not written! Which is my favorite? That's like asking which is my favorite child. But I have to say TABOO, my first erotic romance will always have a special place in my heart. I wrote that to be the type of book that I wanted to read, at a time when it seemed no one else was writing that genre.

RY:Your writing has been labeled Erotica or erotic romances. Would that be an accurate description? If not, how would you describe what you write?

Kathleen L.:I'm okay with erotic romance, although I would never classify my books as Erotica. My books are first and foremost a romance, which to me means a monogamous relationship once the two lead characters meet. My books are sexier than the “typical” romances I grew up reading.

I think what sets them apart is that the high degree of sexuality is important for both characters' growth. It's not a gratuitous boink-a-thon (not that I object to those, it's just not what I write). My characters are forced out of their comfort zone on many different levels because of the sex. They would not learn what they need to learn about themselves if they were not experiencing such an intense degree of sexual intimacy, and while they might start out enjoying the best sex of their lives, and lots of it, once they recognize that there's a whole new level of emotional intimacy tangled up in it, that just adds to the conflict.

RY: When you first began writing what types of romances did you write?

Kathleen L.: I started with historicals, inspired by the likes of Joanna Lindsay and Kathleen Woodiwiss. Currently, I enjoy doing both contemporary and historical because it keeps me fresh. A range is good.

RY:Why do you think sensual romances have become increasingly more popular?

Kathleen L.:I'm sure there are as many different reasons as there are readers. Sad as it sounds, I talk to a lot of women who have very unsatisfactory sex lives and/or a low sex drive. In that instance, I like to think of the books as therapy. Maybe she can leave it out for her husband to peek at. Or they can read an excerpt together and talk about it. Maybe the books get her turned on so she can reach sexual fulfillment on her own. Maybe the reader just needs hot escapism. As modern women, we want it all, but what exactly is “it all”?

RY:What are the essential ingredients to writing a grabbing sex scene?

Kathleen L.:To me writing, or experiencing, a grabbing sex scene are both the same. You need enthusiasm. An emotional connection. Trust. And a sense of humor. Props are optional.

RY: Describe your favorite kind of hero?

Kathleen L.: My favorite kind of hero is one who will do whatever needs to be done, even if it requires personal sacrifice. Can you tell I'm a big fan of “The Hero's Journey”?

RY: What in your opinion makes a man sexy?

Kathleen L.: I find most men pretty darn sexy, once you ferret out their secrets and strengths. But I would have to say “being capable”. Firefighters and cops are popular heroes because they impart a confidence-inspiring energy that they can deal with whatever comes their way. I appreciate a man who can order from an extensive wine list, sooth a crying baby, and whip out his chainsaw if he needs to deal with a fallen tree across the road. Someone you can relax with because you know he's got it covered. And he won't try and stiff you with the bill at the end of the night.

RY:Given your knowledge of wine have you considered writing a book set in wine country or has one already been completed?

Kathleen L.: Well, I do love wine, and my characters periodically enjoy a nice vintage as well. But Nora Roberts did it so well in ‘The Villa', I think that's something I'll stay away from.

RY:What makes Kathleen smile?

Kathleen L.: I like to think I'm always smiling. I'm a very happy person.

RY:We've had vampire stories, cowboy, secret baby stories, and home and hearth stories. What do you predict will be the next hot sub-genre?

Kathleen L.: Let me polish the crystal ball! A good, strong, well-told love story will always have its place with the reader. And different readers resonate to different fantasies, to be sure, given the popularity of paranormal and urban fantasy right now. The Alpha hero will always be in style. Currently, I'm hearing murmurings on-line about time-travel, which well might be due for a resurgence of interest. For as you know, everything is cyclical, and not just in our business but globally.

RY:Give us a sneak peak as to what next we can expect from Kathleen Lawless?

Kathleen L.:I really do love it all! I'm currently at work on a trilogy of erotic thrillers, which is a lot of fun. And of course, speaking of - ta-dah! - A time-travel. There's nothing like bringing that Alpha-male from the past into the 21st century and totally befuddling him.


    Workshop with Gayle Wilson
    Date: September 27, 2008
    Sponsor: Vancouver Island Chapter
    Location: Dunsmuir Lodge, Sidney, BC, Canada
    Fee: $ 75.00

    Moonlight & Magnolias
    Date: October 3-5, 2008
    Sponsor: Georgia Romance Writers
    Location: Hilton Atlanta Northeast, Norcross, GA
    Fee: $180-$200
    Keynote: Teresa Medeiros

    Emerald City Writers Conference
    Date: October 10-12, 2008
    Sponsor: Greater Seattle RWA
    Location: Bellevue Hilton, Bellevue, WA
    Fee: $229 (early bird discount)
    Keynote: Julia Quinn

    Lone Star Writers Conference
    Date: October 25, 2008
    Sponsor: NW Houston RWA
    Location: Spring, TX
    Fee: $99-$120
    Speaker: Patricia Kay

    Put Your Heart in a Book
    Date: October 24-25, 2008
    The Woodbridge Hotel & Conference Center
    Sponsor: New Jersey RWA
    Location: Woodbridge, NJ
    Fee: $180-$2000
    Speakers: Lisa Scottoline/Eloisa James

Who's Acquiring

    Llewellyn Worldwide

    < to sent be should queries Referred submission. agent via or authors existing from referral by proposals accepting is Ink>

    Parker Publishing

    Looking for multi-ethnic Young Adult books for our new Moxie imprint. Strong, resourceful young heroines wanted in a variety of genres from contemporary to sci-fi and fantasy. Focus on social issues relevant to today's teens.

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

    Harlequin Enterprises

    Spice is acquiring for Spice Books and Spice Briefs. Check out the submission guidelines at

    Did You Know?

    If you're an uninsured writer and a member of Romance Writers of America you'd be remiss not to take advantage of the voluntary insurance program offered. This program is designed to also supplement your current coverage. Quotes can be obtained online by logging onto Yet another reason to join


    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