Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sin-chronicity


For fun, I went back to my old blog posts to discover when I realized I had a series on my hands. It was June 8, 2008. Go ahead. Click on the link and refresh your memory. I'll wait.
Hi again! When I wrote that paragraph in Mistress by Midnight, it was like everything else I write---it just happened. I like the term organic, which implies some sort of natural, healthy growth. We all know it means disorganized and half-crazy. As you know, I'm a pantser of mega-organic proportions,and I find my mind to be a mysteriously strange and fertile thing. So often, I've dropped a psychic hint or planted a useful seed or whatever you want to call it that suddenly makes sense later and takes the story in a new direction. So while Midnight will be Book Two in the Courtesan Court series in December 2010, I wrote it first and owe it everything. And how good is it to go from June 2008 to June 2009 and have the books wrapped up in a pretty Kensington Brava package? It's sinfully good!

I submitted my proposal for the second Berkley Heat Margaret Rowe book. This is where my organic pantser-ness has a downside. Write a synopsis before I've written the book? How the heck do I know what's going to happen, LOL. That means trying to tame those squirrels in my brain, and they have resisted. The delivery date on the manuscript (Any Wicked Thing for now) is next February. Let's hope my editor likes it so I can plot and plod along---and the squirrels cooperate and don't eat up all the seeds.
Here's an introduction to my very naughty hero, Sebastian Goddard, Duke of Roxbury:
The answer to all of Sebastian Goddard’s problems is right in front of him. He needs money and someone to bend to his dark fantasies, and there is Frederica Ward, all grown up, mostly willing and rich as sin.

Sebastian would recognize sin---he’s spent over a decade indulging in all manner of it, sometimes so thoroughly it’s impaired his memory. Ten years ago, he ruined his father the Duke of Roxbury’s ward, although he has no absolutely recollection of the event. Sebastian may be the duke now, but he’s dead broke thanks to his father’s obsession with medieval miscellany. He hasn’t thought of his childhood friend in years, but since her fate is in his hands, he begins to see a way out of his financial predicament and into her bed.

Plotter or pantser? Plantser? Do you dread deadlines? Do you work on more than one WIP at a time? What sinfully good stuff is happening in your life?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jumping for Joy


What a week! A new me (Margaret Rowe) and a new title (Tempting Eden) for Berkley. And now from Publishers Marketplace---

Maggie Robinson's MISTRESS BY MISTAKE, a Regency-set historical romance and the first of the Courtesan Court series about the women who inhabit London's infamous mistress row, to Megan Records at Kensington Brava, in a four-book deal plus two novellas, for publication in Summer 2010, by Laura Bradford at Bradford Literary Agency.

I am so thrilled my mistresses have found a home of their own. They won't have to live in anonymity on Jane Street forever. (known as 'Courtesan Court' to the fictional Regency ton, and hopefully to a much wider real audience next July!) And I won't be pseudonymous this time around---the books will have Maggie Robinson on the cover. To say I'm happy is a vast understatement. While I haven't wrapped a big gold bow on myself and started leaping around, I'm coming pretty close. So Mistress by Mistake, Mistress by Midnight, Mistress by Marriage and Andrew's book (working title: Master of Sin) will be out in the next couple of years. Counting the two Berkley titles, I have quite a bit of work ahead of me, and I hope everyone who is reading this will keep me company on my adventure and slap me around if you think I'm slacking.

Thanks again to my husband and kids for believing in me and being so supportive, and my genius agent Laura Bradford who is helpful, humorous, and handy with the red font writing MORE on my sex scenes. Because of her, I've gone from two sentences to two paragraphs to at least two pages, LOL. Her advice has been absolutely invaluable since she signed me in August 2008. My critique partners Ely, Tiff and Kris are so dear to my heart just thinking about them makes me weepy. They're like extra Robinson girls, and you know how much I love my girls. Every single person I've 'met' online over the past three years has contributed in some way, and you've got my eternal gratitude. The romance community really is filled with a lot of love, and not just inside the book covers.

So Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe will keep you posted. But right now we've got to write some books....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tempting Eden


Paradise, like Maggie, has been rechristened. No holy water was involved, however. *g* With the help of my crit partners and agent, we submitted a list to Berkley. My very favorite of the choices, Tempting Eden was approved. Eden is my heroine's name, but it works on other levels, too. My tortured heroine will make the transition from hell to her own kind of heaven, thanks to Hart, a man of unusual honor who risks everything when he's tempted himself.
The contract has been signed and mailed, so each day everything becomes more crystalline. Here's an interesting paradise quote which works so beautifully for my story courtesy of Laura Bradford:
Ah, to think how thin the veil that lies Between the pain of hell and Paradise. George William Russell

So, what's your idea of heaven on earth? Sleeping in? Unlimited chocolate? Cute shoes? World peace? Somebody take over now.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Introducing...


There's been a flutter of activity. My Berkley editor's assistant has asked for a bio and a book summary, they're meeting Tuesday with the art department to discuss the cover, and everyone has agreed on the new pen name for my more erotic offerings. You've probably noticed already....ta dah! I'm Margaret Rowe! Margaret Rowe sounds like a buttoned-up librarian who goes a little crazy after a Margarita, which would be entirely accurate. Rowe is a family name (my son's name is Christopher Rowe Robinson). My husband calls me Margaret when we're fighting (see bio below), which really was the start of it all. So that's the new me. I've registered www.margaretrowe.net which will someday be up and running thanks to the genius that is Frauke. Here is the mock-up (not quite finished) for the naughtier me. I'm saving Maggie Robinson for less edgy pursuits (and so I can keep the day job, LOL).

Here's what I sent Berkley:

Several years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night, really annoyed with my husband. Instead of smothering him with a pillow, I decided to get up and write--- to create the perfect man. I'm still married (and reluctantly admit I'm not perfect myself), but have created several pretty perfect heroes since that fateful night. It was time I finally put my English degree from Adelphi University to work.

Until my midnight keyboarding, I'd been a teacher, librarian, newspaper reporter, administrative assistant to two non-profits, community volunteer and mother of four. Now I can call myself a romance writer in Maine. There's nothing I like better than writing about people who make mistakes, but don't let the mistakes make them. I'm all about the redemptive power of love---and a good night's sleep.


I left out Realtor in that long list, but I was one for eight years. I was an Antique and Vintage Properties Manager for a large real estate company in Connecticut. As soon as I got my Realtor's license, the market tanked. We lost $25,000 ourselves selling our house when we moved. I had deals fall apart at the closing and septic fields rise, waited months for commissions, showed one couple about 100 houses and they didn't buy anything. So while I do have some happy memories getting a young Coast Guard couple into their first home and selling a charming little red schoolhouse, I tend to block out The Real Estate Years.

What job would you leave out of your bio? What's your favorite drink? I'm very fond of sangria with tons of fruit. All that Vitamin C, you know. ;)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jane in June


So, it's official. I'm on vacation. I spent last weekend revamping my writing room instead of my writing. I'd been using a tiny folding desk left over from a daughter's college dorm room, so I brought up our Thanksgiving-extra-seating folding table, which gives me another foot or so to make a mess on. The room is really too small for any sort of real desk. I've got masses of research books and files shoved under the table now. If I get ambitious, I might get some Velcro and fabric and make a skirt. Don't hold your breath. I took four huge black trash bags of keeper books upstairs to the spare bedroom, and discovered all sorts of things. Apparently I own two books entitled Jane Austen, Feminism and Fiction and Presenting Miss Jane Austen. I'll let you know how they are (again, don't hold your breath).

But now that my desk is newly arranged, Sadie noticed my Jane Austen Action Figure and tried to remove the quill from her cold, dead hand. Sadie's middle name is Jane, so she seemed entranced with the little plastic Jane. She kept putting Miss Austen to sleep on a pillow whispering "shh" and then yanking her up, giggling maniacally. No naps for Jane or Sadie Jane, or for me either. I've been pretty tired---it's been a looong school year---and even Sadie noticed when the air went out of my balloon Sunday afternoon. She put her arms around me and asked, "Matter?" Empathy, and she's not even two. I have great hopes for her.

So I'm back to writing a book which features a two year old boy on my sparkly new desk. Write what you know, right? How do you feel about kids in romances? What do you know about Jane Austen? How clean is your desk?

For a double-dose of me today, check out my writing tips post on Vauxhall Vixens, totally pirated from another site. Good stuff.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Not Ready for My Close-up


I guess I need to have a professional portrait done pretty soon. I've gotten very used to the image that accompanies my Blogger comments, taken almost two years ago on my birthday. It's cropped from the larger shot, where I'm surrounded by the other Robinson girls in my life. I haven't had a 'real' picture taken since I sold real estate---no more shoulder pads and power suits and big hair, thank you very much. So I'm contemplating what to wear, whether I should get my hair and make-up done by people who know what they're doing, if I should smile showing teeth or not, LOL. Inside or outdoors? Turtleneck or V-neck? Vaseline on the lens or Photoshop?

Decisions, decisions. Help me make them! What should I shop for? How should I smile? Natural or spackled? Do you pay any attention to author photographs? Whose picture stands out for you? Do you photograph well?

Above is Edward Steichen's famous portrait of Gloria Swanson. Most of us, however, remember her like this from Sunset Boulevard. Yikes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Countdown


June 16. That's when I kiss all those library books and teenagers good-bye for the summer. I know just how lucky I am to have two months off, even if I don't get paid. I've got the usual big plans---to finish at least one of the two books I've started. If I don't get lured out into the sunshine too often, it will happen. I know I could sit in my Adirondack chair with my laptop, but I seem to be tied to my little folding desk in my little writing room (which is a mess again, so another big plan will be to clean it up). I'm also judging a writing contest, which should be interesting. We'll go away for a week in August, and I've got a slew of doctor and dentist appointments and a standing weekly date with Sadie. Before I know it, it will be time to go back to school. Ugh.

What are your summer plans? What's growing in your garden? (We're on our third batch of tomatoes and peppers because of freezes...our heat still comes on at night!) Can you write anywhere, or do you stick to one place?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On the Edge


Here I am, just starting out. I should be networking madly, adding to my Facebook and MySpace friends, bloghopping and commenting and supporting other new authors, participating weekly in Snippet Saturday, where author excerpts on shared topics are posted. (the promo brainchild of Lauren Dane of the Bradford Bunch. Yay, Lauren!) Instead of promoting the goodness and wonder that is me, I find myself crafting a proposal, writing, waiting nervously to hear how the revision went, wondering how the Courtesan Court trilogy is fairing, wanting to completely unplug and go underground. Not even wanting to blog, for heaven's sake! Maybe I'll rally as time goes by...or when I know the name of the book, LOL. Right now I'm hanging back, trying to balance everything.

For various reasons, D.C. is out this year, though Nashville looks good. But promotion is a daunting thing. I've been reading up, and know that I need to go beyond bookmarks. I've enjoyed watching Tessa Dare take to the blogwaves and Beverly Kendall craft The Season. My new website will be a start, but I'm open to any suggestions on how to "get out there!" I'm probably going to publish the Berkley books under a brand new name, Maggie Rowan. Still working out the details...so not only do I not know the name of my book, I don't know mine, either, LOL.

What's your favorite feature of a writing career? What do you fear? What's your pen name?