Down to Earth Romance

Archive for the ‘Tools for Writers’ Category

1920 Remington Typewriter Thrift Store Find #WritersLife #AmWriting #WritingCommunity #BeachLife #Thrifting #Typewriter

I think most authors romanticize typewriters, though we’re grateful for the convenience of our laptop computers. We imagine our predecessors plodding along until the early morning hours to complete a manuscript by deadline, their fingers smudged with carbon and their trash cans overflowing with balled up paper.

I’ve been scouring second hand shops for years in search of a manual typewriter, and finally struck gold with this 1920 Remington portable with its original cover. At 100 years old, it’s officially an antique. I can only imagine the stories its told.

The typewriter is on display in my office like a piece of sculpture. The ribbon still moves on the ancient roller and all the keys still work. Should I give them a go, just for fun, to see what story unfolds?

Best, Adele

Madeline Hunter-Join Us! Workshop For Writers @VFRomanceWriter @MadelineHunter

You’re invited to an all-day writing workshop offered by Valley Forge Romance Writers, featuring NY Times best-selling historical romance author Madeline Hunter, at Montgomery County Community College in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Register now and join us September 15, 2018!

 

Bring a work-in-progress or a new story concept and leave with a conflict driven synopsis for a book that will wow readers and editors!  For more information visit Valley Forge Romance Writers.

Madeline Hunter-Workshop For Writers @VFRomanceWriter @MadelineHunter

You’re invited to an all-day writing workshop offered by Valley Forge Romance Writers, featuring NY Times best-selling historical romance author Madeline Hunter, at Montgomery County Community College in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Join us September 15, 2018.

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Bring a work-in-progress or a new story concept and leave with a conflict driven synopsis for a book that will wow readers and editors!  For more information visit Valley Forge Romance Writers.

Little Library At The Beach

Greetings from the beach! I moved from my family home in Pennsylvania to my vacation home in Delaware full-time and dove straight into summer. As part of my new routine, I’m taking early morning walks on the boardwalk along the ocean. The air at dawn is cool and refreshing, and I’m learning to appreciate rising early to work out. By 8 AM, the sun starts to get hot, and my enthusiasm for exercise declines with every uptick of the thermometer.

Near the end of my route, a sign for a Book Box takes me a few yards off the boardwalk to an adorable little free library. Book Boxes are popping up all over the country, and book lovers and authors like me are thrilled by the trend. The process is easy–take a book, give a book. No library card or membership of any kind is needed and you can borrow or donate at any time.

There might be a little Book Box or two in your community. If not, maybe you and an organization close to your heart can start one in your neighborhood. Reading is fun!

Happy summer!

How could I resist taking a look?

Following Ms. Bunny to the Book Box.

Built by the Village Improvement Association.

Take a book. Donate a book. Easy.

I’ll be glad to donate signed copies of my books.

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Photos copyright Adele Downs 2018.

March Issue of InD’Tale Magazine, Available Now! @InDTaleMagazine #books #romance

InD’Tale is a digital monthly magazine covering our favorite subject–books–and specializes in titles written by indie authors and those who write for small presses. I’m pleased to share that my article “Pen Names–Your Personal Brand” is featured in the March 2018 issue. I hope you enjoy the magazine, subscribe (it’s free!), and will check out my article.

http://magazine.indtale.com/magazine/2018/march/

New Website Coming Soon!

I’m building a new website for my books and will post the link and the invitation to visit when it’s ready to go. Hopefully, I’ll still have hair and nails left by the time it’s done. Whew!

Best–Adele

Aspiring or Published Romance Authors-The Sheila Contest Opening for Entries

Are you an aspiring romance author or a published author who’d like feedback on a new manuscript? The Sheila Contest, hosted by Valley Forge Romance Writers, can help.

On the path to publication of my novel LUXURY MODEL WIFE, releasing May 2016, I entered The Sheila Contest with an early draft of the manuscript under a different title, and finaled in the competition. Though I was happy to have scored high enough to make the cut and win a finalist badge, I didn’t win my category, or even take one of the top three spots.

Fueled by the desire to make my book a winner, I took the feedback I received from the judges to heart and revised the entire manuscript. After revisions, I polished the book again. And again. And again. I changed the title to LUXURY MODEL WIFE, and when I thought the manuscript was ready, pitched the rags to riches story to my publisher. Within a week I received an email with the magic words “love the book” and a contract arrived soon after.

If you’d like feedback on a work in progress or the opening of a completed novel, The Sheila Contest opens for entries March 13. You do not have to be a member of Romance Writers of America to enter.

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The Sheila Contest 2016

Sponsor: Valley Forge Romance Writers

Fee: $25 for VFRW members, $30 for non-members

Opens for Entries: March 13, 2016
Deadline: April 16, 2016

Eligibility: Participation is open to all romance writers who are unpublished, self-published, and published. Entry must be the author’s original unpublished work and not under contract.

Entry: First 20 pages of manuscript and up to 5 page unjudged synopsis.(25 page total)

First Round Judges: Three (3) qualified, trained judges, including: General, PRO and PAN members.

Categories and Final Judges:

Single Title: Junessa Viloria, Penguin Random House

Historical: Stephany Evans, Fine Print Literary Management

Erotic: Sara Megibow, KT Literary

Romantic Suspense: Alicia Condon, Kensington Publishing

Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal: Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency.

Best of the Best – 1st place winners from the final round will move on to the Best of the Best round, judged by Best Selling Authors and Booksellers:

Madeline Hunter – New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author

Mariah Stewart – New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author

Terri Brisbin – USA Today Best Selling Author

Joan Silvestro –  Indie Bookseller, Hamilton Book Trader

Heather Soligo – Traditional Bookseller, Barnes & Noble, Christiana Mall

Grand Prize for Best of the Best: $100

Top Prizes: Certificates, and the 1st through 4th place winners will be printed in RWR Magazine. (Romance Writers Report is the trade magazine of Romance Writers of America.)

For more information please visit our website: http://www.vfrw.com

Contemporary Romance Night at Lady Jane’s Salon Philly @LadyJanesPhilly

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The consensus of book lovers who attended Contemporary Romance Night at Lady Jane’s Salon Philly was, “We had fun!”

Despite torrential rain with heavy downpours and street flooding, romance lovers turned out for an evening with authors Susan Scott Shelley, Judi Fennell, and Adele Downs at Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr, PA and gave us a warm welcome. Susan read from her book Rekindled, Adele read from Lip Service, and Judi read from What A Woman Wants. We sipped wine, nibbled chocolate, gave away prizes, and had lots of laughs despite the weather.

From Left to Right: Susan Scott Shelley, Adele Downs, Judi Fennell

From Left to Right:
Susan Scott Shelley, Adele Downs,
Judi Fennell

Some of the guests at Lady Jane's Salon Philly

Some of the guests at Lady Jane’s Salon Philly

Susan Scott Shelley, author and one of three founders of Lady Jane's Salon Philly with visiting author Ursula LeCoeur

Susan Scott Shelley, author and one of three founders of Lady Jane’s Salon Philly, with visiting author Ursula LeCoeur

Proceeds from the event benefitted the Center for Literacy, Philadelphia.

Henry David Thoreau Cabin in The Woods @TylerArboretum

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My husband and I spent a beautiful summer day at the Tyler Arboretum in Media, Pennsylvania, and during our walk along the trails, came upon this cabin hidden in the woods.

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The arboretum staff recreated an exact replica of American poet Henry David Thoreau‘s tiny home beside Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

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Thoreau lived simply for two years and two months (1845-1847) in the one-room cabin he built himself, to write without distractions, on land owned by his good friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. If you look closely at the bottom right of this photo you’ll notice a spot of blue–the pond behind the cabin.

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One room with a fireplace, a bench to sit on, and a loft above him to sleep. This single room was re-recreated in the exact dimensions and style of the original home on Walden Pond. I imagine there was a table inside too, but little room for anything else. When I took this photo, I was standing inside the open doorway.

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Sleeping loft after a day of writing.

I think all writers look for a sanctuary in which to write. Though my romance novels couldn’t be more different from the writings of Thoreau, I felt a connection to his cabin and its surroundings because I understood his need for solitude. The cabin in the woods at Walden Pond was the highlight of my visit to the Tyler Arboretum and a place I’ll always remember.

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Thoreau wrote:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

You’re Invited To Join Tsu’!

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I joined the new social media site Tsu’ (pronounced Sue) and I think I’m going to like it there! It’s free and easy to navigate and people are signing up in droves due to the restrictions Facebook has placed on on their pages, including the implementation of pay to post requirements for authors and businesses. Further restrictions have been announced for 2015.

Connection to Tsu’ is by invitation only, so consider this my invitation to you. Check out the site and join the fun!

Here’s the log-in:

https://www.tsu.co/Adele_Downs

Please find me and Friend me on Tsu’. I enjoy connecting with my readers and would love to see you there!

Best~Adele

NEW! BAKE, LOVE, WRITE Author Cookbook

NEW RELEASE! I’m pleased to be part of BAKE, LOVE, WRITE the multi-author cookbook edited by Lois Winston.

Available in digital format for .99 and also available in paperback!

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About Bake, Love, Write:

What do most authors have in common, no matter what genre they write? They love desserts. Sweets sustain them through pending deadlines and take the sting out of crushing rejection letters and nasty reviews. They also often celebrate their successes—selling a book, winning a writing award, making a bestseller list, or receiving a fabulous review—with decadent indulgences. And when authors chat with each other, they often talk about their writing and their lives. Recipes. Writing. Relationships. In this cookbook 105 authors not only share their favorite recipes for fabulous cakes, pies, cookies, candy, and more, they also share the best advice they’ve ever received on love and writing.

Authors include: Brenda Novak, Lois Winston, Debra Holland, Dale Mayer, Shelley Noble, Caridad Pineiro, Diana Orgain, Lisa Verge Higgins, Lynn Cahoon, Jasmine Haynes, Jan Carol, Meg Bellamy, Bobbi Chukran, Melissa Keir, Amy Gamet, Kristy Tate, Terry Shames, Barbara Phinney, Kitsy Clare, Raine English, Cathryn Cade, Haley Whitehall, Shilpa Mudiganti, Melinda Curtis, Jessa Slade, Jill Blake, Daryl Devore, Molly MacRae, Elizabeth Rose, Helena Fairfax, Lourdes Venard, Jessica Aspen, Maegan Beaumont, Kay Kendall, Elizabeth John, Victoria Adams, Cyndi Pauwels, Alice Loweecey, June Shaw, Donnell Ann Bell, T. Michelle Nelson, Nina Milton, Pam DeVoe, Skye Taylor, Conda V. Douglas, Pepper Phillips, Judy Alter, Cadence Denton, Lesley Diehl, Erin Farwell, Regan Walker, Kaye Spencer, Barbara Monajem, Kathleen Kaska, Catherine Kean, Rose Anderson, Suzie Tullett, Deborah Hughes, Cynthia Luhrs, Judy Baker, Alicia Dean, Leslie Langtry, Janis Susan May, Mitzi Flyte, Ruby Merritt, Renee D. Field, Kathryn Quick, Susan Cory, Judy Penz Sheluk, Kay Manis, Kathryn Jane, Debra Goldstein, E. Ayers, Chantilly White, Sloan McBride, Triss Stein, Ana Morgan, Adele Downs, L.C. Giroux, Pamela Aares, Nancy Warren, Barbara Lohr, J.J. Cook, Lynn Reynolds, Cori Arnold, B.V. Lawson, Lynn Franklin, M.L. Guida, Irene Peterson, Sue Viders, Liese Sherwood-Fabre, Susan Santangelo, Sheila Seabrook, Elaine Charton, Sharleen Scott, Kathy Bennett, Jody Payne, Reggi Allder, Ashlyn Chase, Beverley Bateman, Susan Lohrer, Donis Casey, Barbara Leavy, Stacy Juba, Karen Rose Smith.

Buy the book in paperback on Amazon

Buy a digital copy for .99 on Amazon

Buy a digital copy for .99 from B&N

Buy a digital copy for .99 on Kobo

Buy a digital copy for .99 on iTunes

Advice From Author Bob Mayer

New York Times best-selling author and former Green Beret, Bob Mayer, often has interesting things to say about the publishing industry. I especially liked his blog post of April 29, So You Want To Make A Living at Writing?: 13 Harsh Truths. In his candid article he included a rant by science fiction author Harlan Ellison called, “Pay The Writer.” I agree the expectation that writers give their work and their time away for no compensation has gotten out of hand.

Bob Mayer presented a half-day workshop at my local chapter of Romance Writers of America, Valley Forge Romance Writers, with his business partner, author Jen Talty, on Saturday, August 4, 2012. The following is a repost of a report I wrote about his presentation on another blog soon after his visit. The information is still fresh, so enjoy.

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Bob Mayer’s presentation to writers was offered in three parts: (1) The Original Idea: the heart of your story and key to selling your book. (2) Outlining and Plot: the events of your story. (3) Beyond the ebook: how do you sell it?

Rather than try to regurgitate Bob’s presentation from my notes, I’d like to share some of his insightful and helpful off-the-cuff comments. The following are not direct quotes, but bits of information he imparted that I found interesting.

• Write what you’re passionate about.

• 90% of all requested submissions following author pitch sessions with agents and editors at conferences are never sent.

• The traditional publishing route takes about three years from idea to bookstore.

• Traditional publishers invest their promotional dollars on a few select authors. The remaining authors are left to fend for themselves in a ‘throw it against the wall and see what sticks’ approach to sales and marketing.

• What traditional publishers think readers want, and what readers actually love, are often two different things. The same with filmmakers. When the movie “The Godfather” was completed, the studio feared they had a flop on their hands. They thought the public would hate the film. Instead, audiences loved the movie and it became a huge hit. Later, “The Godfather” became a classic.

• It’s anybody’s guess as to what will happen in this new Wild West of publishing. This is the time to invent something. Try something new. Bob went to Barnes & Noble to pitch a “Nook First” thirty-day exclusive sales option for authors and launched the program when they accepted his idea. This partnership gave him high visibility on Nook and garnered big-dollar sales.

• The secret to publishing success is tenacity.

• An author should have at least three books for sale before expecting long-term sales results. Ebook sales have a ‘long tail’ and build over time. A few years ago, ebooks sold quickly in the first month or so. That has changed. These days, book sales take time to accumulate.

• Privately, I asked Bob if he, or someone he knew, offered a book analysis service. I’m not necessarily interested in hiring a line or content editor, but someone to take a critical look at one of my completed novels and offer her insight as to its strengths and weaknesses.

Bob suggested I ask readers to look at my manuscript. “Readers, not writers,” he said. “Writers tend to be too critical.” So…I’m changing my strategy and searching for beta readers to offer feedback on my novels after my critique partners have helped with the technical aspects.

Do you have publishing insights to share? If so, please leave them in the Comments section.

Best–Adele

PUSH TO PUBLISH 2013 Epilogue

Over the weekend I served as a panelist at the Push To Publish 2013 conference, sponsored by Philadelphia Stories magazine and hosted by distinguished Rosemont College. Approximately 100 attendees gathered to meet with agents and editors, attend workshops, and network.

In his keynote speech “Stories We Tell Ourselves” award-winning literary author and Professor at University of Alabama, Michael Martone, had these nuggets to share: “We tell stories because we are human, and we are human because we tell stories. The true regions of the world are mapped by the stories we tell. Mythologies…acknowledge human problems.”

Fiction writers Gregory Frost (moderator; fantasy), Cordelia Frances Biddle (historical), Jon McGoren (thriller), Adele Downs (romance) shared the stage to discuss our respective genres in today’s competitive marketplace. It was my pleasure to meet these talented and gracious authors, and I enjoyed my time with them. I hope the attendees of Push to Publish enjoyed their time with us, too.

Gregory Frost (l), Adele Downs (c), Cordelia Biddle (r).

Gregory Frost (l), Adele Downs (c), Cordelia Biddle (r).

Picturesque Rosemont College in Pennsylvania

Picturesque Rosemont College in Pennsylvania

Volunteers greet attendees at the 2013 Push To Publish conference.

Volunteers greet attendees at the 2013 Push To Publish conference.

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Disaster Averted, June RWR Magazine Article

If you’re a published or aspiring author, will bumping into the refreshments table at a writers’ conference, dropping an F-Bomb during an agent pitch, or stepping on an editor’s Monolo Blahnik’s put you on the Auto-Rejection List? Though it might seem that way after a slip-up, chances are we’ll survive with our good name intact if we respond to the incident with grace and a sense of humor.

If you’re a writer who also belongs to Romance Writers of America (RWA), I hope you’ll check out my feature article Disaster Averted  in the June 2013 issue of Romance Writer’s Report (RWR). In the article, authors share their humorous and sometimes horrifying personal stories of professional blunders and how they avoided career suicide in the aftermath.

~Best, Adele

Cheap, Simple Treadmill Desk!

I’ve been searching for just the right treadmill desk for a long time, and finally found one that’s simple, portable, and affordable. The Tread-Top® desk is made of heavy duty construction with a blue coating, folds in half using a hinge, and straps to the treadmill arms with Velcro. Easy. It took me less than ten seconds to attach. Cost of the Tread-Top® is $60 plus about $18 shipping.

Writers tend to get wide in the beam due to hours of sitting. Walking at a speed of 1.0 mph while working will keep me active and productive at the same time. I can use my portable netbook or my laptop on the desk. When I’m finished working, and want to run or walk at a more aerobic pace on my treadmill, I remove my laptop, detach the desk, and go.

Author Adele Downs has no personal or business connection to the North Carolina company that offers Tread-Top®. I’m simply a customer who is happy with her purchase. If you’re interested in reading more about the product,  here’s the link. http://www.tread-top.com

Happy walking while you work!

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