Thursday, June 21, 2012

Getting Published: What Changes?

Some say that not much changes once you’re published. Your daily life doesn’t suddenly transform into a more glamorous, magical “published author” existence. You still have to work hard at your writing (maybe even harder.) You still get rejected. You still feel miles behind other authors, no matter where you are in the journey.

But I’m here to tell you that some things do change. The first two books in my “Bachelor Fireman” series came out this May and June from Avon Books, and I’m encountering situations I never predicted. Take a look at this photo. 

Could I have anticipated that my first book, THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME, would be in Target, sandwiched between books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Kristan Higgins, two of my favorite authors? No way! The feeling is utterly indescribable.


I also never anticipated getting the opportunity to visit the Fire Chief of the real San Gabriel, California – the books are set in a fictional town of the same name. Offering books to firefighters and watching them text their wives about them … priceless. Donating a Bachelor Fireman Gift Basket to the Hope for Firefighters fundraising event … priceless.

Getting emails from readers is also new. Hearing their reactions to the results of my blood, sweat and tears is a new experience – mostly great, sometimes terrifying. Once you’re published, your books are out there in the big, wide world and they no longer belong to you. You can’t change them, you can’t rework a character, you can’t throw in a great new plot twist. No longer can you get a critique back and hurry to rewrite your manuscript. It’s done. Cooked. The end. All you can do is focus on the next book. That’s new.

I’m learning to let go, wish my creation well, and move on to the next project. I’m also learning that I can’t just stay in my writing cave like a hermit who happens to be obsessed with romance novels. This July I’ll be part of a Romance Author Panel at the Garden Grove Regional Library in California. Meaning I’ll be in front a group of people, talking about … something, I’m not entirely sure what yet. I’m still grappling with the “in front of a group of people” part. I never did that before I got published. That’s a change.

Being published has expanded my world in ways I never expected. Change is good, but it can also be scary. I’m learning to hang on for the ride no matter where it takes me and my firemen.

If you’d like to know more about the Bachelor Firemen series, please visit my website at

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wonderful AKRWA Authors

Check Out these Books:
from the Alaska Romance Writers of America Authors.
I must say, we have a talented group of writers here in the Last Frontier. 
Publishing success rates are phenomenal & I highly recommend these books ---

 CRIMSON by Tielle St. Clare
Red Panty Diaries Series
Available at Ellora's Cave

Available at:

or:  Barnes & Noble:

Coming soon:  'SCARLET' - #2 Red Panty Diaries

PROMISES TO KEEP by Char Chaffin

TOUCHED BY THE MAGIC by Maxine Mansfield
Available at Wild Rose Press

Amazon / Kindle:

Barnes & Noble / NOOK Books:

Available from Avon Books
Amazon / Kindle:

or: Barnes & Noble / NOOK Books:

THE FIREMAN WHO LOVED ME by Jennifer Bernard
The Hot Firemen of San Gabriel County Series
Available from Avon Books

Barnes & Noble / NOOK:

Amazon / Kindle:

SHIELD OF FIRE by Boone Brux

Amazon / Kindle:

or: Barnes & Noble / NOOK Books:

COWBOYS DREAM, TOO by MorganQ. O’Reilly
Available from Barnes & Noble / NOOK Books:

COURAGE TO LIVE by Morgan Q. O’Reilly
Available from Amazon / Kindle:


MOOSED UP by Tiffinie Helmer  

Available from Amazon / Kindle:

or: Barnes & Noble / NOOK Books:

'DREAMWEAVER' by Tiffinie Helmer

Other AKRWA Authors pursuing manuscript publication::
Eve Marlinspike, Tam Linsey, Lynn Lovegreen, DeNise Woods,
George Guthridge, Elizabeth Komisar, Carmen Bydalek, Deborah Pollock

(apologies to anyone overlooked in this blog - next time!  ;o)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Don't look too close.... ButI had my very first book signing the other day, and I learned a few rather disturbing things about myself. Just when I thought that after fifty-six years on this planet I'd finally reached adulthood, I realized the state of grown-up-ness is just as elusive now as Never-land, and Narnia were to me in my much younger days. Inside, I am still that same little girl, standing before the mirror in my Mom's pearls and heels, playing dress up. The same frightened child who desperately wanted everyone to think she and her dolly were so very smart and pretty. The passage of time doesn't really change one's life much after all. Perhaps it's a normal response, but the entire time I was signing books, I felt guilty for taking peoples money. I had an almost undeniable urge to give them my book for free. Not only give it to them, but somehow bride them to like it. Perhaps that's why I gave away pens, and fat bookmarks, who knows. I've always thought I was a confident, well-rounded (in more ways than just my shape) individual, so it came as a complete surprise when I realized I was just as insecure the day of my book-signing as I was on my very first day of kindergarten, the day I graduated from high school, the day I became a new wife, the very first time I became a mother, and the first day on the job as a respiratory therapist. I guess in the end, new beginnings are always a little scary no matter how old you get. But then, what would be the fun in new experiences if they weren't? I hope I never get so old, or so grown up that I don't feel that stomach churning twirl of the unexpected. ----- Maxine Mansfield

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Trying to come up with a subject for the blog I have due, then hitting the
wrong key to access MS Outlook, not once, but three times, I decided the
topic should be stress.  Then it came to mind that stress really hinders
your ability to focus, so maybe focus should be the topic.

One way to relieve stress and regain focus is to take a break from what you
are doing, get up and walk away. This does help relieve stress, but it also
adds a lot of distractions and you may not get back to work for quite some
time. In the end that doesn't work for me because I've just put off doing
what I really needed to do, adding more stress.

Use one of those soft foam gadgets to squish repeatedly with your hands. It
is like punching a pillow, it relieves agitation, but not to the point of
relaxing or gaining focus.

Have a glass of wine, or two.  This will greatly relieve stress, for those that partake, but I'm afraid the focus of most becomes somewhat blurred.

Sorry, this probably isn't the answer either.

Chocolate has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, until you step the scale, that is.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.  Did that help?

There are ways to deal with stress and gain your focus, but like writing
styles, we have to find what works for each of us .  So, if any of you would
like to get together to do a stress/focus study, we can get together, walk
around the room drinking wine, eating chocolate, looking at the scale with
blurry eyes (the numbers will look better that way) then close our eyes,
take a deep breath and reach for the soft squishy gadgets.

---Sandy Shacklett