Friday, October 8, 2010

No Easy Way - Book Release Now Available

"No Easy Way is a romantic suspense novel by S.R. Claridge that will keep you guessing and warm your heart."

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stepping into the publishing world is a dream come true. DEFENDING GLORY, my debut novel, is now available and I'm still on Cloud 9! Even more fun, is I get to hang out with some very talented writers. This week I'd like to introduce one of my fellow Vanilla Heart Publishing authors: S.R. Claridge.

Anne: Hi, S.R. Welcome. What is your most recent release with Vanilla Heart Publishing?
S.R.: No Easy Way

Anne: Do you have a specific writing space? If so, what ONE word best describes it?
S.R.: Messy.

Anne: Mine, too! Do you belong to any writer's organizations? Which ones and why?
S.R.: Yes. I belong to the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and to HODRW (Heart of Denver Romance Writers) as well as numerous writers groups online thru Xanga and Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. I fully believe "two heads are better than one" and other people's ideas inspire me to become a better writer. Feedback on my work often tweaks my perspective just enough to send me on a brand new creative brainstorm. Having other writers in my life also helps motivate me to keep going on those days when I feel idea-less and boring.

Anne: Do you belong to a critique group, have a critique partner or depend on beta reader(s)?
S.R.: I have a group of 5 people who review my work continually and I consider their input to be invaluable.

Anne: How long did it take from the moment you decided to write to when you sold your first book?
S.R.: This is a tough question because I began my writing career having poetry, lyrics and greeting cards published. It took me ten years of writing in those genres before I found my niche' in romantic suspense novels. I actually started writing No Easy Way about a year and a half before it got published.

Anne: How many rejections did you acquire along the way?
S.R.: Thirty-two rejections from Agents and two rejections from publishers.

Anne: What kept you going?
S.R.: My background in songwriting taught me that everything in an artistic field is subjective... meaning what one person loves, another may loathe. A rejection didn't mean my work wasn't good enough, so every comment motivated me to work harder. I entered contests and my work didn't make the cut in the first five, but I was given critiques by publishers, editors and agents who were judging those contests. I began re-writing my heart out... fixing what they thought was broken. On my six contest entry, I made the finals and will find out at the end of October if I have won.

Anne: Describe your current work-in-progress.
S.R.: I am currently working on a book I hope to turn into a trilogy (at minimum). It centers around a spunky heroine who finds out her whole life... her identity... everything...has been carefully constructed to keep her from discovering the truth about her family and who she really is.

Anne: What is your writing schedule like?
S.R.: I write for several hours every day. When I'm not working on my next novel, I'm working on promoting my work online.

Anne: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
S.R.: The promotional aspect. I'm not a "sales" type person so it's hard for me to get out there and beg people to read my stuff. I never want to "bug" anyone, even though I truly believe people who enjoy suspense type stories with some underlying romantic elements will enjoy my novels.

Anne: Are you a glass half-empty or half-full kind of person?
S.R.: I'd love to say I'm a "half-full" kind of person, but I'm also a Type A, emotional person. So at the onset of conflict I have a tendency to jump the gun and view the half-empty side of things. However, after I calm down I usually begin to focus on the positive aspects of what is occuring and carry on from there.

Anne: Please complete this sentence. "I'm happiest when…."
S.R.: I'm happiest when I'm using my creativity ...whether in an art project with my kids or working on a novel... when the creative juices are flowing I'm happy.

Anne: Do you have a website or blog?
S.R.: Readers can reach me at:

Anne: Thanks so much, S.R. I'm so glad you stopped by.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Beat The Odds

I was asked the question, "how do you get your manuscript published?" As I was thinking, and a step-by-step, bulleted list began to appear in my head, it dawned on me that this question was laced with an underlying, much deeper ponderment. I wasn't being asked how to get published as much as I was being asked "how to beat the odds?"

In any artistic endeavor, the odds are against us. There are great actors who never make it in front of the camera. Great musicians who never get a record deal. Wonderful painters whose work never sees the inside of a gallery. And insightful writers who are never offered a publishing contract. So, how do we beat those stifling odds?

I could give you a bulleted list of everything I did leading up to my book deal, but that wouldn't really answer the question. It's deeper than attending workshops, entering contests, brainstorming with other writers, re-writing and re-writing, creating a good synopsis, and sending out query after query. Those are all great tools, but those tools aren't what beat the odds.

As I look back the answer becomes suddenly clear. Never quit. Never stop writing. Never give in to the insecurity that your work isn't good enough. Never let frustration take control and force you to stop. Despite rejection after rejection...Never give up.

When people say, "odds are you'll never make it." Let that motivate you to beat those odds with every strike of your keyboard...and Keep Writing!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Manuscript Must-Follow Rules

9 Must-Follow Manuscript Rules
quoted from Anica Mrose Rissi

Here’s editor Anica Mrose Rissi’s list of what you can do to increase your book’s chances of making it out of the slush pile and into the spotlight.

1. Revise, revise, revise! I don’t want to read your first draft, ever. (Tip: Your novel isn’t ready to send to me until you can describe it in one sentence.)

2. Start with conflict and tension to raise questions, arouse curiosity and (like musical dissonance) create the need for resolution.

3. Start with the story you’re telling, not with the backstory. Throw the reader directly into a conflict and let her get to know your characters through their actions. (Yes, this is another way of saying, “Show, don’t tell.”)

4. Give the reader something to wonder about and a sense of where the story is going—of what’s at stake.

5. Avoid explaining too much too soon. And, don’t be obvious. Trust your readers. Trust your characters. Trust your writing. If you find that chunks of your story need to include long explanations, go back in and write those chunks better, until the story explains itself.

6. Make sure your story has both a plot arc and an emotional arc. Cross internal conflict with external conflict. Give your characters moral dilemmas, and force them to deal with the consequences of their choices.

7. Read your dialogue out loud. When revising, ask yourself, “What is the point of this dialogue?” (Just as you should be asking, “What is the point of this sentence? What is the point of this scene?”)

8. Use adjectives, adverbs and dialogue tags only sparingly. (See “trust your readers,” above.)

9. Make sure your details matter.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"No Easy Way"

No Easy Way by S.R. Claridge

Swerving with the kind of deliberate precision only blind rage can empower, the black pick-up crushes Kansas Oil Tycoon, Lou Martin Miller, leaving Miller’s widow with an impossible choice: Cover the sin that lead to her husband’s death and conceal the identity of his killer, or risk the destruction of her family. She carefully weaves a net of protection around her family, but the day she dies it begins to unravel, leaving her grandson, Tom, and his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Kate, in grave danger.

Missing evidence, mistaken identity and manipulation leave private investigator, Stephen Braznovich, trapped between white lies and dark lusts, as he races to piece together a family secret before the next victim falls prey to deep-rooted revenge. The trouble is anyone who gets close to the truth winds up dead.

On the verge of an unwanted divorce, Tom must decide between a confession that could save his marriage or lie to save himself. Tension mounts as Tom and Kate’s lives hang in a twisted balance of crossed lines and misunderstood motives, all pointing to one simple truth. There is No Easy Way.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

E-book Sales Rose 167% in May

E-book Sales Rose 167% in May

Xanga Blogger

Join me on Xanga for updates on my new novel, No Easy Way!

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Why I Write

I was recently asked why I spend so much time writing...why I have written my whole life...why I feel the need to write. The answer was simple:

“I write because I can’t NOT write. I love it and I loathe it. It lifts me up and it burdens me. It hollows out my insides and it fulfills me. It is a consuming passion, driven not from a choice but from an endless craving. To ask me not to write would be asking me not to breathe.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Contest Finalist

My novel, No Easy Way, has been selected as a finalist in the Heart of Denver Romance Writers Contest. I am excited to make the finals and honored to attend the award ceremony and conference on October 23rd.

Congratulations to all the finalists!!

A "Novel" Notion

I am very excited as I have signed a Publishing contract today for my novel entitled, No Easy Way. It is a romantic suspense story guaranteed to keep you guessing, as missing evidence, mistaken identity and manipulation leave characters trapped between white lies and dark lusts. Tension mounts as lives hang in a twisted balance of crossed lines and misunderstood motives, all pointing to one simple truth. There is No Easy Way.

Look for the Ebook release late October 2010!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Don't Plan A Break

Every so often husbands get the notion that their wife needs "a break." This is a wonderful idea on paper and if it stopped right there they would earn brownie points galore. If they took that idea and did nothing more with it than say, "Honey, I'm taking the kids out for the next six hours. Enjoy yourself." It would be sheer bliss and they would indeed be blessed by our gratefulness later.(nudge,nudge...wink,wink) Sadly, the idea doesn't stop there. It travels through their male, over-logic-sized brains and they develop, oh no, here it comes... a PLaN! Yes, they've come up with the perfect way for their wife to enjoy herself and her free time. Afterall, they gloat to themselves, they know exactly what their wife likes to do or needs at every moment so they are the most qualified candidate to make these choices for her. So it goes, the once pure motive of providing a much needed break spirals out of control and ends up causing more tension than that which was already in the home. In the end the husband sits, dumbfounded as to why his wife is pissed off at him yet again. So, for all of you good-hearted husbands with great ideas and crappy follow-through, let me offer this advice. When your wife needs a break give her nothing but a break. Don't send her to the mall with a gift card, for she may not feel like shopping. Don't set up a lunch for her with girlfriends she hasn't seen in a while, for she may not feel like being sociable. Don't run a hot bath with bubbles and candles, for she may have wanted to color her hair before bathing. Don't order up a day at the spa, for she may not be in the mood to be rubbed and poked and have blackheads extracted. I understand it goes against the male wiring of wanting to "fix" what feels broken, but sometimes being broken is a natural part of womanhood. Sometimes our needed break is simply time to read, to listen to our own music, to write something, to lay in our jammies and pray or dream and think thoughts that are uninterrupted by the demands of our husbands and children. Sometimes the break we need is simply a chance to breathe.

Take the children out and give us the six hours of freedom...that alone will restore our strength, calm our souls and win you the gratefulness you deserve.