Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Talk-Time - The Economics of Balance

We're delighted to welcome Maisey Yates back to the Pink Heart Society as she talks about the things that can make a work/life balance impossible.

There are a great many posts dedicated to the work/life balance. To the crippling guilt that we women often feel when work takes us away from our families. To the importance of Me Time. 

I’ve read them. I’ve drawn comfort from them. Heck, I have written some of these posts.

But this is something I’ve only just started worrying about. When I first started writing my husband and I were living in a single wide trailer with our two children, and another one on the way. We were on food stamps and public health care. 

My worries were different then. 

And I remember being told — more than once — that I had to watch for burnout. That I needed to treasure time with my children. I remember people marveling that I had left my eight month old baby at home with my husband while I went to my first ever RWA conference. 

All of these people were well-meaning, but from my position in life, they were speaking a foreign language. My concerns were not the same concerns. 

You see, I was working my butt off. I wasn’t sleeping much. I was writing whenever my husband was home, and sometimes during the day with kids climbing on me. And I had never felt more in control of my future. 

Before I was published we were playing that complicated game of dodging phone calls for bill collectors. Putting off the landlord to pay the power bill, putting off the credit card company to buy gas so my husband could go to work. 

I was on the verge of an entirely different kind of burnout. And it wasn’t from writing. Burnout brought about by work was a concern far above my economic position in life. 

Writing was the thing that was empowering me to change our position. Those very small advances I was getting for my category romances were huge to us. The more books I could write, the more I made. The more power I felt. 

And everywhere around me in the writing world, these encouraging, very stock standard phrases felt like an assault on that control. Telling me that my work ethic would eventually cause me to fail. 

There is wisdom in the idea of self care. There is wisdom in the idea of achieving balance. Of refilling your creative well. 

But sometimes balance isn’t possible. That’s the honest truth. Sometimes you have to push through discomfort and exhaustion to get where you want to go. Is it sustainable? Probably not. But I’m now in a position in life where I can worry about that. Where I can take time off if I need to, and keep more contained hours. 

I think it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. I think it’s okay to go through periods where you work a lot. And I don’t think you should have to feel guilty. 

The fear of burnout — I think — can become more prohibitive than burnout itself. It’s a real issue — I’m not denying that. But I also think it’s something that can become so large in your mind you believe that the moment you aren’t enjoying your writing, you’re on the verge of a serious issue. 

I don’t think that’s the case. I think that writing is a job. And no one likes their job every day. But like most jobs, you can’t afford to skip your shift. 

When you start a business, you have to put in extra hours — and writing is no different. 

Sometimes, balance is too expensive. I’ve been there. Sometimes to push through to the next level you have to make exhaustion your mistress. 

If this is you right now, you aren’t doing it wrong. You are investing in the hope that someday you’ll be able to afford to worry about that balance other people talk about.

How about you?  Are you putting off worries about the balance?  Or are you driving through because that's what makes you who you are?  Join our debate in the comments!

Maisey's latest in her Copper Ridge series, Bad News Cowboy, is out today:

Can the bad boy of Copper Ridge, Oregon make good—and win the rodeo girl of his dreams? 

Kate Garrett keeps life simple—working hard, riding her beloved horses, playing cards with her brothers. Lately though, she feels a bit restlessness, especially when family friend Jack Monaghan is around. Sexy and shameless, Jack is the kind of trouble you don’t tangle with unless you want your heart broken. Still, Kate could always use his help in learning how to lasso someone a little less high-risk… 

Jack can’t pinpoint the moment the Garrett brothers’ little sister suddenly stopped seeming so…little. Now here he is, giving flirting tips to the one woman who needs zero help turning him on. Love’s a game he’s never wanted to play. But he’ll have to hurry up and learn how, before the best thing that ever entered his life rides right back out again…

To find out more about Maisey Yates and her books, check out her website and blog, and follow her onFacebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Male on Monday - Carole Mortimer's Heroes

Pink Heart Society editor, Ali Williams, is celebrating Carole Mortimer's RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, by taking a look back at some of her heroes.

My introduction to Mills & Boon was completely accidental.

My Italian grandmother had a number of romance novels- each one more steamy than the next - on a shelf in my mother's old bedroom.  I devoured them all and was disappointed when they suddenly disappeared one day (I suspect my mum found out and spirited them away).

But amongst them was The Mills & Boon 1998 Christmas Collection and the very first book I read in that collection, and therefore my very first Mill & Boon book, was Carole Mortimer's Married by Christmas.

This was my first introduction to the alpha hero: Patrick Devlin was devilishly handsome, commanding and smouldered every which way.  Needless to say, I was hooked.  

I've never looked back and I have Carole Mortimer to blame/thank for the numerous M&B books that have encroached upon my bookshelves over the years.  Her award is more than deserved, and we're delighted to congratulate her and all the RWA finalists and winners at the Pink Heart Society.

Now excuse me whilst I swoon over some of my favourite Mortimer alpha heroes...

Love has nothing to do with age limits.

Leigh knew that Piers Sinclair was old enough to be her father. In fact, he was her boyfriend Gavin's father. But that didn't stop her from falling in love with him. 

No woman could resist his powerful attraction. Piers was sophisticated, experienced, and dangerously exciting. His very presence unsettled Leigh. 

She knew she should try to avoid him; she knew she had to forget him. But it just wasn't possible. Especially when Gavin decided to play matchmaker!

To research her book, author Cat Howard had chased down Caleb Steele, the arrogant owner of a film studio. But when she woke up in his bed one morning, unable to remember how she'd got there, she was horrified! 

Her only love had died five years earlier, and she had never stopped missing him. Now she was torn between loyalty to the past and a powerful attraction she could not deny. 

Cat's genuine innocence and fiery wit captivated Caleb and he was determined to win her. If only her memories would release her.

Diana had waited years to exact revenge against Reece Falcon, time only fueling her hatred. Finally her obsession was to be satisfied.

Reece Falcon's Achilles' heel was his son. Diana's elusiveness and cool beauty had quickly mesmerized the young man--much to his father's disgust. But when had the tables turned? When had Reece seduced Diana with his dark magnetism, weaving a dangerous spell around her emotions? And when had Diana crossed that fine line between hate...and love?

Everybody knows her as Jane Smith, a successful businesswoman. What they don't know is that Jane has also successfully distanced herself from her past.

Until she meets handsome American Gabriel Vaughan at a Christmas party. Gabe's determined to get close to her, seduce her and sooner or later he'll recognize her...as a former society lady with a secret...

Logan McKenzie liked his life exactly how it was:  —with no surprises, and without a wife.

Then Logan learned his mother was about to marry for the third time, and that Darcy, his very pretty stepsister-to-be, was in danger of being hurt by that marriage. 

So he found himself getting involved—not only in trying to prevent the forthcoming nuptials, but with Darcy herself...and his carefully controlled existence was turned upside down!

The Tycoon's Mistress (The Calendar Brides Series), 2008

His Cinderella Mistress - Millionaire lawyer Max Golding wants to play Prince Charming to January’s Cinderella, but she suspects he wants the family’s land – and how better to get it than by melting her resistance in the warmth of his bed?

The Unwilling Mistress - From their first fiery meeting Will Davenport’s hooked on March. He wants her and will do anything to make her his. But, March isn’t willing to sleep with the enemy – even if, secretly, he’s captured her heart…

The Deserving Mistress - May is determined that no one shall take her home and her livelihood! Especially not arrogant property tycoon Jude Marshall! May has always been overlooked in the past – and now sexy, charming Jude is out to wine and dine her, how can she resist?

The Virgin Secretary's Impossible Boss (Six Nations, Rugby Billionaires Series), 2009

Linus Harrison's masculinity is a little too much for his sensible, bespectacled assistant, Andrea. He makes her heart beat like crazy! And the last thing Andi expects is to have to spend a weekend alone with her wild, irrepressible boss....

Billionaire Linus loves a challenge and relishes his chance to undo Miss Prim and Proper's buttoned-up exterior. It only takes one snowbound Scottish night to ignite the flames of the devilishly handsome businessman's desire. With sparks flying, how can Andi resist?

Genevieve Forster, widowed Duchess of Woollerton, knows only too well the need for bravado. After a miserable marriage she's wary, but deep down yearns to pursue temptation….

With his air of danger and elusiveness it's little wonder that Lord Benedict Lucas is known to his close friends and enemies alike simply as Lucifer.Shocking the straitlaced Ton holds no fear for him. And the pleasure will be all his as he skillfully uncovers Genevieve's outrageous side!

Gabriel D'Angelo: renowned and ruthless...

Artist Bryn Jones never forgave Gabriel for sending her father to prison, tearing her family apart and breaking her heart in the process. But she has forged herself a new identity away from the scandal and disgrace...until she wins the chance to exhibit at the D'Angelos' prestigious London gallery! 

International tycoon Gabriel D'Angelo is haunted by the unforgiving eyes that once stared at him across a crowded courtroom. Now the enticing Bryn is back, and this time she'll play by his rules to get what she wants...and Gabriel's determined that this bargain will be mutually pleasurable!

Who: Griffin Stone, tenth Duke of Rotherham.

What: A dishevelled woman who is nearly trampled by his carriage horses.

When: Late one summer night, while the Duke is in pursuit of would-be assassins.

Why: When the mysterious beauty’s identity is revealed as Lady Beatrix Stanton, Griffin realises it’s she who holds the key to everything. Bea’s memory must be unlocked, but with every second in her presence inflaming Griffin’s desire, keeping his mind on the task ahead proves nigh on impossible!

Who's your favourite Carole Mortimer hero?  And is there an author who you've got to thank for your romance reading habit?  Join the discussion in the comments!

Ali Williams grew up in Croydon and spent her teenage years in a convent girls’ school. She then fled to university where she discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica.

These days she blogs about perceptions of romance, chick lit and women in society and spends the rest of her time promoting #StrongRomanceHeroines on Twitter, and cracking on with her first novel, Breakfast in Tunford.

Editor for the Pink Heart Society, guest blogger for Mills & Boon and Harper Impulse, and occasional columnist for For Books' Sake, she defies you to slam romance novels within her hearing!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weekend Wildcard - Instant Image Inspiration

Author Jenna Kernan is sharing her six favorite Pinterest boards with the Pink Heart Society, and is talking about how she uses them in her writing and to connect with readers and fans. 

Hi all.  Jenna here to admit that I have started a lot of Pinterest boards including one for my July 1 Western Historical from Harlequin, Running Wolf.   Some of my social media is a chore but I find Pinterest relaxing, inspiring and fun.   Here are some of the boards and uses of those boards.

1.  Book Specific Board:  Running Wolf 

I used this Pinterest board to find historical shots to help with descriptions and modern photos to make the characters seem more real.  Here is a bit about my July 1 release, Running Wolf:

From the moment Snow Raven came charging in to my first scene on her white horse, I have been in love with this character.  My heroine is the daughter of a Crow chief and is bright, stoic and brave, even after being captured by her enemies.   At first she wants only to survive until she is rescued.  But when faced with the needs of her fellow captives, she grows into a warrior, forgoing her own happiness to win their freedom.

My hero, Running Wolf, is the War Chief of his Sioux tribe and an enemy to the Crow people.  Running Wolf is at first intrigued, then confounded and later fascinated by the captive, Snow Raven.  They both resist a love that will cost them all.  He must lead his people and protect them from their enemies, while she must try to bring her people home. 

2. Series Specific Boards: The Trackers series from Harlequin Nocturne

This board was far more creepy and atmospheric.  I tried to create a mood or otherworldly creatures linked to Native American myth and legend.  My characters in this series include Skinwalkers who shift from human form to bears, buffalo, wolves and even ravens.  But other supernatural spirits make appearances including Thunderbirds, Thunder Horses, The Whirlwinds, ghosts, the guardian who evaluates your soul after you die and the ruler of the Circle of Ghosts. 

3. Connecting with Readers: My Keeper Shelf

Readers who want to know what I'm currently reading can always visit my GoodReads page and follow me there.  I often run first-reads giveaways there and had two this month.  But if you want to see what's on my personal keeper shelf, you can find out on My Keeper Shelf board. 

4. Genre Specific Board:  Western Christmas

I've written a lot of Christmas novellas for Harlequin Historical including my latest  in the anthology collection Wild West Christmas and so I began pinning images of winter scenes including Christmas pictures with Western flare.  This board remains one of my fan favorites. 

5. Promotion: My Book Covers

Of course, I want readers to be able to share my beautiful book covers.  This board also includes first looks at covers and some of my unboxing, when my author copies arrive!  Boy, to I love to see these pins repinned!

6.  Laughs and Giggles: Odds and Ends board

Sometimes you just need a laugh.  That's why I created this board.  Here I've collected things that make me laugh, smile or book-related items that I love.  My newest favorite is the sign in a library parking lot that reads, "Library Parking Only.  Violators will be held in low esteem."

7. Secret Boards

Shhh!  This board is secret, a collection for my own use while I am writing my newest series, my first romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.  I'm giving readers a peek of the images of Apache people I'm pinning for Apache Protectors.  This board is not viewable to my fans yet, but it will be soon. 

Here is a tiny, tiny, teaser for book one, Shadow Wolf (December 2015):

She aids illegals and he apprehends them but when this humanitarian pacifist witnesses a cartel killing in the Sonora Dessert, she becomes this Apache lawman’s only witness.
So, there are seven ways I use Pinterest.  I hope you’ll follow one of my boards.  Here are some other ways to connect with me.

So that's what I'm doing with Pinterest.  I'd love to hear what other authors and readers like to pin or more about the topic of your boards.  I'm offering a signed copy of one of my backlist titles drawn randomly from your comments. 

Jenna's latest book, Running Wolf, is out now:

Rival Tribes...

Running Wolf is a valiant Sioux warrior. During his first raid as war chief, he captures a surprising Crow enemy--a woman! This spirited fighter is unlike any he's ever met. Her beauty and audacity are entrancing, but threaten his iron resolve...

...Rival Passions

Snow Raven must focus on freeing herself, not on the man who keeps her captive. But as she falls deeper under Running Wolf's spell, she realizes he is herwarrior--and she'll risk everything for him!

For more details about Jenna's stories, visit her EXTRAS page, subscribe to her newsletter on her website, visit her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Writer's Workspace - The Plotting Shed

We're delighted to welcome back Natalie Anderson to the Pink Heart Society as she talks about her special place to write.

It was five years after the ‘call’—and after I’d written twenty books—before I finally got a ‘room of my own’ in which to work.

During those years my hubs, my four kids and I lived in four different houses (plus we had a couple of months homeless and crashing with family after earthquake damage to the house we’d been in—and waiting for it to be fixed). There was no ‘room to write’ in any of these houses—unless you count the laundry! 

So I ‘made do’—sometimes I got up super early and sat in the small space in front of the washing machine and tapped at the keyboard. I wrote in the car, in bed, at the kitchen table, in the car, at any cafe that would let me, in the car some more… one time I even spent a couple of nights at a holiday park locked up in a cabin to get a book finished. 

But mostly it was the car. 

My husband reckons I was the romance writing equivalent of The Lincoln Lawyer, though I had no driver and only one car... I liked to go and park up somewhere scenic either the beach or the Botanic gardens—somewhere green and with water nearby. But honestly, it was cramped (even though, given there are six of us in the family, it’s a fairly large car), it got hot and I got more than a bit sick of it.

Fortunately, we finally got back to our own home in Christchurch, all fixed up post-quake. There still wasn’t a study or designated room to write, but there was a tiny creek crossing the front corner of our section and a pocket of land beyond that. 

About five years ago the council had done a beautification programme, gently landscaping the flow of the creek and designing a native plant setting for us—so now the plants were a bit of a jungle! But awesome—kind of like a very mini Botanical garden all of our own. 

That’s when I got the idea to put a teeny tiny shed out there. 

I was used to the car and didn’t need a lot of space—just something cute and with that green view. 

So I got on the Internet and found the perfect ‘shed’—it came all the way from Sweden. And my Hubs (who loves a project) got busy. He said it was like putting Lego together—just ten pieces in one afternoon and voila. It is just gorgeous—in sun and snow and has a lovely woodsy smell and my daughter painted me a sign to hang on the front of it.

I loved it the second I stepped into it—it really was everything I’d hoped it would be. My OWN space—gorgeous in snow and in sun! 

It has evolved over the last couple of years—we had electricity put in as it needs a heater in the winter and a fan in the summer. I have a new-to-me comfy chair and a better lamp... And I’m onto my third drawbridge—the first planks kept getting washed away when the creek flooded so the Hubs designed a drawbridge that the kids think is awesome (they don’t realise its to keep all of them out!). 

Now I go through the bushes, down the little path, over the bridge and up onto the ‘far side’ to the shed. There are bright blue dragonflies whizzing round, I have a gang of regular ducks, several neighbourhood cats and an eel living between a couple of rocks. Inside the shed there are a number of spiders—some rather large, and one of our cats likes to come in—she lets me know by clinging onto the window and peering in.

At first I made the rule that as it was going to be a ‘room to write in’ I wasn’t going to distract myself by having all my books in there to read... but I’ve found that actually, I’m better surrounded by filled bookcases. It makes it cosier and more like a mini library and I just adore libraries... they’re inspiring. So I have some of my own on a shelf to remind myself when I’m going through a rough patch with the WIP that that if I’ve done it once, I can do it again... 

I have all my craft books, books by my friends and what I call my ‘comfort reads’—those ones I’ve read a kazillion times (pretty much all Georgette Heyer’s historicals). And one of the best things about my shed?

No. Internet. Access.

That’s the best way to increase my productivity! So I’m fully onboard with the whole ‘she-shed’ craze that’s been hitting Pinterest lately... 

I definitely think everyone should have their own shed--whether it is for use as a creative space, office, or just a time out zone. If you had a shed, what would you use it for?

Natalie's latest book, The Tycoon's Terms of Engagement, is out now:

The Winner Takes All...

To notorious tycoon Jack Wolfe, billion-dollar deals are his lifeblood. So no one is more surprised than he is when his meeting with Australia’s most stylish blogger Steffi Johnson gets completely out of hand! He wants to buy her blog but, fascinated by her latent sensuality and too-smart mouth, he can’t resist making an entirely different offer...

Steffi’s torn – she can’t afford to jeopardise the business deal, but Jack’s touch ignites a desire that is as addictive as it’s overwhelming! She recognises the demons driving him – it takes one to know one – but can she make this deal with the devil and walk away unscathed?

USA TODAY bestselling author Natalie Anderson writes fun, frisky, feels-good contemporary romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Entangled Publishing and Independently. For more info about Natalie and her books, check out her website and her Facebook page.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Fun ~ Fun with Color

Today Pink Heart Society editor Jeannie Watt talks about the effect of color.

While attending the RWA National Conference in New York City, I managed to slip a performance of the Broadway play Kinky Boots into my schedule. I loved the movie, which I saw about five years ago, and the play was just as wonderful. At one point in the play, the hero makes a pair of what he considers to be red boots for a potential client of his shoe factory. The client, Lola, a drag queen, is disgusted to find that the red boots she'd ordered are burgundy. "Burgundy," she proclaims, "is the color of hot water bottles. Red is the color of sex!"

Color and our perception of color is so important to our lives. Think about the clothing you gravitate to in trying situations. It's probably comfortable and it's probably in one of your favorite colors. I am not going to wear a beige shirt when I'm about to have a big meeting, because beige makes me look like a mushroom. All over. Head to toe. I wear red (but not for the same reason as Lola...usually), or green or blue. 

Of course, marketers and scientists study the effect of color on the general population, hoping to use the information to create better environments for various activities. They've discovered that warm bright colors make people move through fast food places faster. Cool colors encourage people to linger and dine slowly. Warm-colored placebo pills have been reported to be more effective than cool-colored placebos. Sports teams dressed in black get more penalties than teams dressed in other colors and teams dressed in red react with greater speed.

One study that I found particularly interesting for writers is the University of British Columbia study that found that blue makes people more creative and red makes people pay closer attention to detail. So if you're writing, wear blue and have blue around your computer. If you're editing, wear red and have red around your computer.

In summary, here's a brief list of characteristics associated witih certain colors. Click on the color name for more information about the psychology of the color. 

Red -- love, warmth, comfort, excitement, intensity, (sex). Men prefer candy apple red, women prefer bluish reds.
Blue-- calmness, serenity, sadness, aloofness, creativity. Favorite color of men.
Green--tranquility, luck, health, jealousy, compassion, optimism
Purple--royalty, wealthy, wisdom, spirituality, sensuality
Yellow--cheery, warmth, energy, frustration. Yellow is most fatiguing to the eye.
Pink--love and romance
Orange--excitement, enthusiasm, warmth, energy

What colors make you feel best? Around here, we like pink a lot.

To Tempt a Cowgirl is on sale now!

Also, check out her FREE online read To Win a Cowgirl , the prequel to To Tempt a Cowgirl.

Making an offer on love 

Troublemaker-turned-architect Gabe Matthews has an agenda—and a serious relationship is nowhere on it. To repay his mentor, he trades the big city for the rugged country so he can persuade the sexy cowgirl next door, Danica Brody, to sell the Lightning Creek Ranch. 

Soon Gabe is pulling out all the stops to get close to Dani. But earning her trust complicates everything. He knows the last thing she needs is another run-in with deception, and the attraction he doesn't see coming changes his every plan.

Jeannie Watt writes fast paced, character driven stories set in the American West. To find out more about her and her books, visit her website or herFacebook page

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday Talk Time - We Need a Swifty

Donna Alward's back for a Thursday Talk Time at the Pink Heart Society where she chats about Taylor Swift, Apple, and the value of content in today's market. 

I’m writing this long in advance of my posting date, and for two reasons. One, I’m in New York right now, at the Romance Writers of America conference. It’s Thursday, so my itinerary for the day includes listening to a keynote speaker, attending workshops, and then a few cocktail parties. Each conference I have a “goal”. This year, it’s LEARNING. 

The second reason I’m writing this early is because I’m inspired to.

Recently, and I’m sure most of you already know about this, Taylor Swift took on Apple in an open letter criticizing the company’s plan to offer a three month trial period to their new music streaming platform – a period during which royalties would not be paid to the artists.

Her arguments were clear, concise, non-aggressive, and reasonable. Perhaps stronger than words was the fact that she also pulled her album 1989 from the service. 

Shortly after, I read an article in the Huffington Post about how the publishing industry needed a Taylor Swift. I was hopeful as I began that article. Unfortunately, the ending made me sigh as it seemed to become more of an “indie vs traditional” argument rather than the consistent devaluing of product.

In that article, Loretta Devon Wilke writes her own mandate at the end, but the problem I see with it is that it’s about indie competing with traditionally published authors and the perception of “free”. The problem with this? The indie author sets his or her own price. Taylor takes on the delivery system, but Wilke takes on the consumer. 

I’m not interested in an “indie vs. trad” argument – I’m published both ways and I don’t understand the “us vs. them” mentality. And I was with Wilke right up to the point where she wrote her own bully-pulpit bit. So let’s focus on the parts I really did greet with an Amen sistah:

“What's with the perception that art has little or no value? That artists are somehow obligated to give their work away simply because it's on the Internet and there's that strange, persistent, unsupported "cultural think" that if it's on the Internet it should be free? NO, IT SHOULDN'T!”
WORD. Just. This. Look, I’ve got indie books and I’ve got traditionally published books. One of the downsides of trad is that you can’t do “sales” or promotions; your publisher has control of that distribution. Indie authors can play with price point and find a sweet spot. Know what? The sweet spot of “free” and 99 cents isn’t as effective as it used to be and I say HALLELUJAH. The trouble with the low pricing is that for a while people were making a lot of money with it. And then it became an expectation. But lately I’ve seen more and more indie books priced at 2.99, 3.99, and 4.99.  

My work has value. Even a “short” 50,000 word novel takes me a couple of months to write, revise, get copy edits, and all the other work that goes into finalizing a book for production. Say that book retails for 2.99. That doesn’t even get me a frappucino at Starbucks. Something that takes under 5 minutes to make costs more than something that took me two months to create.

However I choose to publish that book – self-pub or through my publisher – is irrelevant. 

It’s the expectation of free that Wilke has a problem with, and it’s encouraged by those in the delivery business. As she says, 
“All of these tactics, and others, are designed to benefit the purveyors of that content and the readers of that content, with little consideration for the creators of that content. Which is wrong. And pretty much the exact argument Swift was making to Apple.”
Here’s the thing. I saw a tweet the day after Taylor Swift’s letter saying that it was fantastic that a woman with so much agency in her industry took a stand…let’s face it, if most of us sent someone a nasty gram saying that we were pulling our material, no retailer would bat an eyelid. We would be a blip. It worked for her because someone with clout took a stand. And I don’t see an equivalent of Taylor Swift standing up and pulling books from distributors. 

All in all it might seem rather bleak. But I’m hopeful, and for a few reasons. One, I feel like there’s a shift happening where the glut of “free” isn’t working anymore. People want quality and they want to know that what they’re getting is something they’ll enjoy. It’s slow going, turning a boat that size around, but I do get a sense that it’s happening. Instead of “free! Free! Free!” I think there’s a new mood of being more selective.

Two, the music industry tends to lead the way. Changes in the market, delivery systems, etc. really knocked the industry on its ass, but if change starts happening for them, I have hope that it’ll happen for us, too.

Most of all, though, I think as artists we need to collectively stand up and say we’re worth it. What we create has value. Yes, we need to be strategic. But we need to make a living. And I think the last few years have shown that with a few exceptions, writers are making less money than before. And we have families to support. 

We’re constantly telling our kids that how we view ourselves dictates how others view us. We need to value ourselves in order for others to value us. The same goes for our work. Until we value it as important and relevant, no one else will either. 

The tricky part is holding to that while trying to come up with a sales strategy. I never said it was going to be easy. 

Donna's latest release is Nothing Like a Cowboy, part of the NotMy1stRodeo.com trilogy. If you're at RWA this week, you can catch her tomorrow at the Harlequin and St. Martin's book signings.