Kris’ Korner ~ Feelings – in person and behind the keyboard

June 21st, 2016

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Unfortunately these days there are events all around the world that bring out strong feelings on every side. Whether it’s a mass shooting or a political campaign or something as innocent (okay, in comparison they’re innocent) as a conference. Hate, love, shame, confident, happy, sad, attracted, repulsed, inspired, discouraged. There are so many that come to us that it’s hard to sometimes see through them.

I’d like to offer a bit of advice (yes, when don’t I when I write these blogs?). Before you give in to whichever emotion you’re feeling, take a few deep breaths. Step away from the situation or keyboard and give yourself time to absorb what is actually happened and THINK about the other side of the equation. I know it’s one of the hardest things to do.

I know there are a lot of times when I’m scrolling through Facebook or looking at a news article or reading a blog that I don’t voice any opinion or comment on a thing. Why? My personal feelings. I’ve found that my feelings on different subjects run the gamut and might not exactly seem to agree with the “popular” view. And I’ve also figured out that there are times that I’m so much more sensitive to seeing a post about xxx or yyy and felt that I’m not good enough or not smart enough or enough whatever.

Same can go for at a conference. While we’d like to think that everyone gets along at every conference, I hate to break it to you but…nope, not possible. Quite a few of the conferences that occur each year have groups of friends that plan their vacations around attending so they can spend those valuable face-to-face moments with each other. The outcome of that? People’s feelings will get hurt as they see themselves “not fitting in” or “not part of the cool crowd”. Honestly? That’s really not it. It’s just a group that is so comfortable with each other that there’s a bond between them.

Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t approach them—do it! Walk up and say hi and ask them their favorite book or author or drink. I’d say there’s a 99% chance that you’ll be welcomed. You might feel a bit out of place at first, but give it time. You never know – the next con you could be part of that group from the get go.

I’ve seen a meme that phrased this perfectly – I can’t remember the image but it said “You know, it’s possible to read something on the internet that you don’t agree with and not respond.” Yes, it is possible to read something posted and walk away without saying or commenting a thing.

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.

Friday Boogie– New Blog Post Series

June 10th, 2016

Friday Boggie is the day to celebrate Friday’s of course but also something that happened during your week. So get your boggie on.

It’s Friday Boggie time. So what happened this week that made me boggie?

Haven’t done much of these this year. But that is about to change. :) Also have some other things planned.

(in a serious monotone) We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for this announcement. ROFLMAO. I crack myself up. LOL.

This is no biggie. Just wanted to give a heads us sort of thing of some new things that is coming to my blog. I’m planning to blog more often and have been thinking on some things to blog about. I already had some ideas but was wanting one more. Then a conversation I had yesterday gave me a light bulb moment for the one more I wanted to include on my blog. Love when those moments happen. :) So in addition to what I blog about now (yeah I’ve not been blogging as I used to but going to be) I’ll be including a few blog post series starting and they will  be:

Movie/TV/DVR/Mania – I love watching all of these things and will let you know what I’ve been watching :) It’ll be one of the mentioned things not all at once…maybe. :) Probably will post this on Saturdays.

On Sunday’s I’ll have a few things that I’ll choose from to blog about. They will be between one of the following or if I come up with anything else too. I have a fertile imagination so no idea if I’ll come up with anything else. :)

Talia’s Kitchen - love cooking and baking so bringing you along with me. Also may talk about other things related to cooking like tools I use and my love of gadgets.

Around the…
– House
– Neighborhood
– City
– Anything I come up with :)

This will be various topics above and so on.

On Monday’s – The last blog series I have came from my conversation yesterday. I could tell you the conversation but…well let’s just say I admit nothing. Lol. Yep mayhem was involved. *snicker* Anyway the series will feature one of the favorite places. It’s my sanctuary, get away place or as my friends and family call it “don’t dare bother Talia or she will bite your head off or make you listen to her read a sex scene really loudly in punishment” place. Hmmm…for some of my friends and family I think they interrupt me because they like hearing me read the sex scenes :). The place I’m referring to is:

Talia’s Office Space

That will also be the name of the blog post series. My office is as I mentioned above. And I love it. I’ve decorated it with…well…things that stimulate me. I love organization and being stimulated  visual, mentally as well as physically (ummm…my mind went dirty lol.). Anyway I have various things in my office that does those things. I’ll be bringing you into one of the most important places in my home. :) I’ll even share my office supply cabinet with you. Yes I have a cabinet for my office supplies. Doesn’t everyone. :) I’m an office supply junkie which goes along with my gadget love. :) Let me loose in a place with either and I can be there for hours and spend a whole lot of money.

Well that’s what I have planned.

(in a deep voice) Now back to our program. ROFLMO. (wiping tears from my eyes) Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Have a very happy Friday! Well that was all for me this week.

What made you boggie this week?

Places to find me on the web…

June 9th, 2016

Besides here on website and my blog here are some other places to find me on the web. :)

Facebook Page

Twitter @taliacarmichael

Talia Carmichael Book Nook is my facebook group.

Join Talia Carmichael News to get info on my new releases, updates, appearances, press releases, reviews, contests and much more.

Kris’ Korner ~ More Pretties!

June 7th, 2016

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I love pretties! Doesn’t everyone? What pretties am I rambling about this week? Why those pretty pictures (or should be) on the covers. Yes, cover art! The ultimate pretty right?

You’ve spent months on your manuscript, polishing it up before submitting it then going through umpteen rounds of content, copy, line, proof edits. The characters have lived and breathed in your mind FOREVER! Now it’s time to fill out the cover art form. You know exactly how your characters look; you know what they wear/eat/drink/do. So being the good author that you are (and you are), you list EVERYTHING!

Main character #1 has blue eyes, but not too blue, more aqua, well maybe they’re more teal-ish but not too green either. And his hair is brown with a little bit of red and blond and black running through it with hints of silver (because he’s not a spring chicken but he’s not old either). Loves to wear flannel shirts because he works outdoors and has a slight tan… wait, his flannel isn’t red plaid, it’s more of a maroon with brown, not black. He has a bit of a beard but not like stubble and laugh lines near his eyes.

Main character #2 has really long hair but it’s not too…and…and…no not like that it’s more…

Are you getting my point? Being detailed is good BUT there is a limit. Ask any graphic artist worth their salt and they’ll tell you that you can’t have every single thing you want perfectly on your cover. A cover should give hints of: the genre – paranormal, historical, sci-fi; something identifying for the main character – cop, doctor, soldier, baker, etc.; the combination of the main characters – male/male, male/female, male/male/male, male/female/male, etc.; or a trend these days is something that is more graphically interpretive of the story.

A few things you should take into consideration when filling out your cover art form: 1) simple is better; 2) the cover will 99% of the time be only viewed in a thumbnail on a site; 3) if you are self-pubbing and decide to do your own cover (which I recommend against because just because you have photopaint/photoshop on your computer doesn’t mean you know how to use it), remember to PAY for your images or make sure that they are not copyrighted images; 4) LISTEN to your cover artist – they have done hundreds of covers and while they want to please the author, ultimately they want the product to look good and not look like it’s been thrown together by a two year old with attention deficit.

A pretty cover can draw in new readers just as a not so pretty cover (no I’m not giving you any examples) can deter readers from picking up your book.

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.

Talia Carmichael Book Nook…

May 31st, 2016

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This is posted on a monthly basis.

I have a group on facebook. Talia Carmichael Book Nook is my corner of the web and I want you to share it with me. I will be posting sneak peeks, we’ll have fun and create some mayhem. It’s a place for us to sit back, relax and have some fun…well also teasing. Ummm…I’ve been told by some I like to tease…Okay I admit I do. There will definitely be teasing. That’s the perk for myself and you can tease too. :) So come on in and join in the fun…and teasing!

facebook.com/groups/TaliaCarmichaelBookNook

Kris’ Korner ~ Oooh…it’s so pretty!

May 24th, 2016

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In addition to my Executive Editor (Editorial Director) hat, I do wear another hat. Yeah, I know, like I’m not busy enough lol! Anyway, while wearing that hat I always seem to come up with some “Kris hints to authors” and for this week’s blog, I’m combining a few of them. So…here are my hints regarding making your manuscript “pretty” before you hit send on that submission.

Are you ready? It’s going to be really technical. Okay?

DON’T! That’s right, don’t!

First, when you take all that time to change the fonts or add pretty graphics or use font size 14pt or add a blank paragraph return after every paragraph or tab every paragraph, it does nothing except aggravate someone down the road…namely the formatter of your manuscript.

Second, each house has their submission guidelines (I know I’ve mentioned those a time or two before). Somewhere in those guidelines, I’d guess about 99% of the publishers list HOW they’d like to see your manuscript. They list a font, a font size, sometime the spacing and what format to send the manuscript in. Those are pretty good guidelines to look at. I know when I start working on a new manuscript, most times, I’ll go through and strip out the “fluff” formatting before I start working on it.

Now, if you’re self-publishing your masterpiece and not sending it to a professional editor? Have at it. Just remember that all those things will detract from the main point of your manuscript – you want to entertain and tell a good story.

My basic recommendations for what to use, no matter where you’re sending your manuscript:

Font and size: Times New Roman, 12pt – you can’t go wrong with this basic font and size

For section breaks: three asterisks or hash tags centered work just fine.

Paragraph spacing: set your default paragraph style (https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Style-basics-in-Word-d382f84d-5c38-4444-98a5-9cbb6ede1ba4 gives you a bit about setting styles in Word) to the following settings (see the screen capture) by right-clicking on “Normal” on the Home ribbon, choosing “modify” then the dropdown arrow to “paragraph”. Do not put a blank paragraph return after each paragraph (they’ll have to be stripped out at some point).

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Save your creativity for your characters, world building, and story lines.

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.

Places to find me on the web…

May 12th, 2016

Besides here on website and my blog here are some other places to find me on the web. :)

Facebook Page

Twitter @taliacarmichael

Talia Carmichael Book Nook is my facebook group.

Join Talia Carmichael News to get info on my new releases, updates, appearances, press releases, reviews, contests and much more.

Kris’ Korner ~ Thought you liked me…

May 3rd, 2016

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There is one thing that I can think of that drives most authors crazy. They can write 100k complicated, intricate stories with nine bazillion characters all screaming for their own stories. They can handle having accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and a separate blog. They’ll search for swag and bounce around with bunnies (plot bunnies that is).

BUT ask them to write a synopsis and you’ve now killed any hope you have of getting suitable words out of them for the day. There will be something that they need to research or…ooh, haven’t done any kind of housework in decades.

In and of itself, a synopsis isn’t really complicated. It’s not. Dictionary.com defines it as:

noun, plural synopses
[si-nop-seez]
1. a brief or condensed statement giving a general view of some subject.
2. a compendium of heads or short paragraphs giving a view of the whole.
3. a brief summary of the plot of a novel, motion picture, play, etc.

Doesn’t look to scary using any of those definitions. At least I don’t think so. And when you add in the synonyms (condensation, epitome, abstract, abridgment, précis), it should be pretty clear how to write one.

Something that confounds a lot of authors is: how long should a synopsis be? The general rule of thumb that I tell authors when talking about synopses is to use one paragraph for each major plot point of your story. You don’t need to condense the 100k into 100 words and it doesn’t need to be pages and pages telling every turn in the manuscript. If you have three major points, your synopsis should be about five paragraphs total: 1 introduction paragraph; 1 for each major plot point; and 1 to wrap things up and let the editor know if you’ve got a sequel. Ending a synopsis with a cliff hanger is just annoying to editors – we don’t need to know every little thing in your synopsis BUT we do need to have some clue about what we’re going to read.

This is especially important if you’re submitting something to a new-to-you publisher. Why? Publishers receive lots of submissions and editors will start to have “specialties” or have a subject/theme that they just don’t do well with. When a story is received, in most cases, the editor that oversees submissions will read your cover letter and synopsis to figure which editor should review your manuscript (unless the story is to be part of an anthology then all the stories will go to the same editor in most cases).

Oh and I forgot one synonym for most authors…hell LOL

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.

Talia Carmichael Book Nook…

April 30th, 2016

tcbooknook-fb

This is posted on a monthly basis.

I have a group on facebook. Talia Carmichael Book Nook is my corner of the web and I want you to share it with me. I will be posting sneak peeks, we’ll have fun and create some mayhem. It’s a place for us to sit back, relax and have some fun…well also teasing. Ummm…I’ve been told by some I like to tease…Okay I admit I do. There will definitely be teasing. That’s the perk for myself and you can tease too. :) So come on in and join in the fun…and teasing!

facebook.com/groups/TaliaCarmichaelBookNook

Kris’ Korner ~ Submit to Me

April 19th, 2016

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Now that I’ve got your attention – nope, not talking about a kink with this blog post. No whips, chains, gags or paddles. Just submissions. What/how/when. Looking at submission calls can be your foot in the door with a publisher whether you’re completely new to publishing or an established author that is looking to try out a new house.

Each publisher has their own requirements for a submission. They have their own set of do’s and don’ts. And different calls that they want stories for. What do you submit, for who, for when. As an example, I’m going to use one of the open submission calls that is currently posted for MLR. The call will be in Blue and my commentary on it in Red.

X Marks the Spot…and we’re not talking about THAT spot

We all have that one spot. You know, the one that makes you shiver or turns you into a pile of goo. Whether it’s the inside of your elbow (on just the right side) or that spot under your left ear, the small of your back, right at your hairline on the left side of your neck…you get the point. Or what if the spot you have makes you go “ewwww”? Licking that certain spot just makes you want to get far, far away…say your nose or toes? So opening paragraph of the call – what is this telling you? It’s giving you a basis for the call; it’s telling you what the editor/house was thinking about when the call was issued. It’s the main them that should be in your story somewhere/somehow. It’s telling you that they want stories about (in this case) a spot on a person. Sending in your angst-filled manuscript about an amputee – bad idea BUT if your story has an amputee that is finding out that being massaged by his partner to help him adjust to being an amputee and they find out that his stump is extra sensitive and touching there makes him squirm?

Submissions should:

- All stories should have a character focused on the spot on another character Again this is giving you the MUST have component of the story
- Suggestions: an established couple where the MC uses that spot to annoy the other for attention; a new couple exploring just where the “acceptable in public” spots are; finding a new spot on your partner that makes him want to take you against the wall suggestions from the editor – in some cases if there are suggestions? Yeah, means the editor would LOVE to see a story with one of these ideas in it
- Be a minimum of 10k, maximum of 40k Guidelines on the length – important here because if there’s a maximum? Check with the editor if your story is going to be over that – sometimes there is wiggle room
- Any subgenre is welcome and all prohibitive guidelines are observed This is a really important one. Why? It’s telling you that there are no-no’s that the publisher does not want to see. Most houses have close to the same no-no’s (like underage sex, rape for titillation) so this is where you should do your research. Look on the publisher’s site for their submission guidelines and READ them. You’ll find (in addition to the no-no’s) WHAT the publisher wants to see from you (manuscript/synopsis/what format to send) and some houses these days have an online submission form for you to fill out. Why are all these things important? It means that you’re serious about working with the house enough that you did your research on what they wanted.
- Submissions should be sent to special_submissions@mlrpress.com where to send your submission AFTER reading what they want you to send them.
- SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 15, 2016 When to send your submission by. Does this mean you need to wait until the deadline to submit your story? Nope, just if you’re not going to make this deadline, reaching out is a good thing.
Any questions can be sent to Kris Jacen at KrisJacen@mlrpress.com Someone to ask those little questions to – always a good thing if you’re not 100% sure if your story could/would fit what the call is.

It’s always hard to hit send on a submission but with a little research and though up front, you can lessen the chances of getting a “no thank you” if your story doesn’t fit the publisher.

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KJacen_2015_headshot_smKris Jacen is the Executive Editor and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints. She was invited to join the MLR staff in 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl. She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

Kris can be found on Twitter at @KrisJacen or facebook.