Louise Rose-InnesMy name and/or pen name: Louise Rose-Innes

Blog/web site/twitter: LouiseRoseInnes.com@louiseroseinnes, and on Facebook

Where I write: I write at home, in my loft office, surrounded by personal inspirational items and photos of my son, with the radio on and sunlight streaming in from the skylight above my head.

What I write: Category Romance (contemporary): Antarctic Affair – On Amazon Kindle (US Kindle link, UK Kindle Link)

Worst rejection or how long it took before publication: Worst rejection was by Harlequin Mills and Boon (HMB) who kept me on tender hooks for a year before giving me a formal NO.  The manuscript apparently did the rounds with all the editors, and I was so hopeful, that it was a real blow when they eventually refused it.

Antarctic Affair-Louise Rose InnesBest rejection or what it was like to get “the call”: Best rejection was when HMB (again) said there were elements of the story they really loved and proceeded to give me a full page of positive feedback (on Antarctic Affair) with encouragement that I was heading in the right direction and to keep going.

What keeps me writing: The need to create fun, flirty stories with dashing heroes for women to enjoy.

I am a writer because… It comes naturally to me, and I enjoy getting lost in my own fantasy world where every story has a happily ever after. I’m a freelance web copywriter/eMarketing Guru and Chief Blogger at MarketingForRomanceWriters.com. I write Romance Novels in my spare time (the little that I have!)–but it’s a pleasure for me rather than a chore.

[We’d like to thank Louise for sharing with us. If you’re a romance writer (unpublished or published, straight romance or strong romantic elements) who is interested in being profiled, email Elley.]


So I Went and Got a Real Job

February 28, 2012

No really, I did. Last week I needed that pep talk, and here I am today telling you I got a real job. Did I give up on writing? Nope, not possible, it’s like breathing. If I gave up on writing, I’d die. No, nothing has changed on the writing front. My drawer of 10-cent blue pens is well stocked, and my spiral notebook stash is starting to dwindle. I’m still busy doing re-writes, but my life has been changing rapidly lately, and I need to change as well.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom/writer for most of the last….well let’s just say, for a very long time. I’ve written magazine articles between park days with our playgroups and newspaper columns during naptime. I’ve written press releases late at night after PTA meetings and advertising campaigns between planning homeschool lessons. During all of that time, although I wrote continuously, my life truly revolved around my boys. I always thought that when my boys went off to college what would save me from “empty nest” would be my writing…

But what I didn’t consider was that unlike someone with a “real job,” my “real life” has been wrapped up in my kids. My day to day social contact has been with moms at our PTA or at school basketball games, and all of a sudden those moms have either gone back to work or moved away, and here I am sitting in my office/sewing room, (yes, youngest moved out, and I have my own room…just like I wanted. Oh, he only moved a mile away…just like I wanted.) working, but feeling disconnected from the real world.

So, I was in the Del Amo Mall the other day (my favorite mall), talking to the girls at the Viking Sewing Gallery where I used to work…for a brief time…years ago…when the idea came to me that maybe I could teach sewing lessons there, instead of just coming and interrupting their work when I’m lonely (this is so sad!), and then the idea expanded to maybe working at the store part time, and the next thing I knew I had a job. A real job…okay, I’m only going to be working 10 to 15 hours a week, but I will be working.

Then I started thinking about all of the writers that I know, and most of them have real jobs…many wish they could quit and write full time, but most have real jobs. Louise is a college teacher. Ann is a lawyer. Erin just changed jobs, and I’m not sure what she’s doing now, but she’s working and raising kids, and writing…

So, starting Saturday, I’ll be working too. I’d love to know how many of you have real jobs, how many combine motherhood and writing like Elley and Nicole, and how many of you focus entirely on your writing, full time…drop me a line and tell me…and maybe next week I’ll actually write something about writing! Who knows, maybe working will inspire me.


Last week, the world of romance exploded with another plagiarist’s reveal. I’m sure if I dug deep enough, I’d find similar events in other genres. The digital world calls to these thieves. And make no mistake about it, that’s what they are: THIEVES. They steal the product of our blood, sweat and tears to feed their own inadequacies.

As I started my weekend, fuming over this latest incident, I thought about rights in all their glory, something I’ve thought about often in the past. (You don’t work in the Mouse House without a thorough understanding of the warning, “Anything even remotely questionable goes through the legal department.”) The first time I thought about the issue of rights was when I sold a poem for ten dollars, handing over “all rights.” At the time, I wanted to be published and paid. I didn’t care if I ever owned the words again. Years later, I discovered print articles that were written by me, stripped of my name and re-sold to websites with no warning or recourse, because I held no rights. I sold them away for a few hundred dollars an article, and the publisher selling them was no doubt making much more. It was a sobering experience.

As my children grew older, I lectured about music sharing sites. I fumed when a neighbor gave my son an illegal copy of a blockbuster movie. I tossed a purse my mother bought me on the streets of Toronto. Because all of these activities infringed on someone else’s copyright.

Sometimes it’s easy to do the right thing.

Sometimes it’s not.

I like Pinterest. Actually, some days I love it. Before my conscience grabbed hold and gave me a good shake, I wasted hours, combing the internet for pretty pictures. My joy at the images I assembled overshadowed the no-fun voice in the back of my mind until one day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to know the deal with Pinterest and copyright.

The bottom line? It’s a gray area…certainly nothing like pirating a book. And yet, I wonder if I talked to photographers who sell those images for a living, what would they say? Pinterest stays ahead of the legal game with the help of too little legal precedent and too much passing the buck to users. (Users supposedly click upon sign-up that they own the legal rights or have explicit permission to use all images they pin. I signed up, and I don’t recall seeing this, but then again I couldn’t tell you the last time I really read a user agreement. I know…I know…) But recently, some big names in the image department have squawked enough to prompt action (Flickr being the latest). I have to admit, I wish the lines were clearer.

I want to pin, but I don’t want to infringe on someone else’s copyright. I’d like to say, “What’s the harm? Isn’t publicity enough payback?” But all things considered, one creative person to another, I’m worried that makes me a hypocrite. Honestly, I haven’t deleted my Pinterest account—I like it!—but I am more aware of what I am pinning and where I am pinning from. Is that enough? I don’t know.

What do you think? And not just about Pinterest…What do you think about copyright as it pertains to digital/intellectual property? Would you be furious to find a copy of your book posted without your permission—even if it was posted without the intent of making money for the poster? What if it was just an excerpt posted without your permission? In a digital world, do we have to loosen our expectations for control and simply hope for the best?


Conflict Sabotage

February 24, 2012

One of my weaknesses with writing is creating sustainable conflict. It’s not that I don’t have any conflict, I just tend to let my characters work things out a little too soon, a little too easily. It’s taken me a while to realize that. I knew I had issues with conflict, but I thought the problem was the conflict itself. I’m finally learning the problem is not the planned conflict, it’s what I do with that conflict when I’m writing.

I credit this lightbulb moment to the best writing advice my CP has given me (thus far): make sure you don’t neuter the conflict too soon.

That word “neuter” is perfect, because the conflict is there, I just tend to “fix it.” In my current WIP, I had the characters all but get over ten years of ill will in the first chapter. Which is when my CP emailed me the above sage advice. Then, as I was working on chapter three, I realized I was doing the SAME thing. Undercutting that conflict, making the characters get along too fast, too soon. I had to rewrite it three times before I got the right amount of forward progress without ‘neutering’ the conflict.

I think this is a great example of how feedback and advice can be given again and again, but until you have it expressed to you the right way at the right time, it just won’t stick. I’ve had comments and feedback on my lack of conflict before, but I didn’t grasp the real problem I was having with conflict until now.

So, my advice to you, if you keep getting the same feedback/advice, try to look at it in a different, broader way. Maybe the issue is not something you’re doing in the plotting stage, maybe it’s something you’re doing in the writing stage, or vice-versa.


Pep Talk Anyone?

February 23, 2012

So this is one of those days that I could use a pep talk. Do you have days like this? My life is changing all around me and I’m wondering can I do this? Can I write my book while everything goes crazy? Can I focus? Can I make this happen?

Over the years, I’ve always found a way to write. When I held a real job, I would finagle a way to write a company newsletter or put together the company handbook. As receptionist at an advertising agency, I managed to infiltrate the copy writer room. Kind of like George in the Seinfeld sitcom series, I just took over a desk in an office and started writing ad copy. I know it sounds insane, but I did…and they let me keep writing. Eventually, they even let me write television commercials….I did dream a little about writing screenplays for a while, screenplays from the novel I would write.

When the boys were born and I had three little ones at home, I kept writing primarily short pieces, magazine articles, newspaper columns, press releases…resumes for friends and family…lots and lots of resumes…but rarely my own. Occasionally, just because I wanted to remind myself that I really wanted to write fiction, I would write a short story here and there and tuck it in a drawer, my novel waiting. Waiting for when the three little boys were out of diapers, bottles and off to school, did I say off to school? Waiting for when I quit homeschooling and they were all in college…not that I was wishing those years away. I loved every minute that the boys were home with me…okay, there were minutes I could have done without. I mean really I raised three boys, but whatever happened I loved being a mom, however imperfect a mom I am. It was my first career choice, and writing has been a passion that I’ve put on hold.

So now, here I am boys growing up, doing their own things, building their lives, and I’m watching them in awe while I finally start to do what I’ve always known I would do when I grew up… I mean when they grew up…write.

But life has a way of throwing you a curve ball every now and then. Things can change quickly, and what do you do? The responsible thing of course, whatever that may be. So can I write? Or will my writing get put in a drawer again?

What do you do when life throws you curve balls? How many times have you put your fiction writing career on hold…or have you? Oh, don’t worry. (You are worried about my writing aren’t you?) I’ll keep writing, but things are changing around here once again…anyone have a pep talk for me? I could use one.


My name and/or pen name:Libby Mercer

Blog: http://libby-mercer.blogspot.com/

Where I write: I don’t have a desk set up at home right now, so I can usually be found on the sofa working away on my laptop while I’m stretched out. It’s a pretty sweet setup. I’m not in a huge hurry to get my desk sorted out.

What I write: Sweet contemporary romance. To be more specific, my romance has a slight chick-litty feel with some quirky characters and offbeat situations.  My debut novel is called Fashioning a Romance, and will be released on May 18 by Musa Publishing.

Worst rejection: Fortunately, I don’t have any rejection horror stories (not that I haven’t had rejections, hah!). I’ve been writing for many, many years. Started submitting manuscripts about fifteen years ago – off and on – but my writing has definitely improved over the years, so it all worked out for the best.

What it was like to get “the call”:  Technically, I got “the email” and it was nothing short of amazing. It was surreal and wonderful, and it’s still kind of hard to believe!

What keeps me writing: The stories that keep popping into my head. I can’t imagine walking around with these stories unfolding in my mind and not actually getting them out on paper (or on the screen, to be more accurate).

[We’d like to thank Libby for sharing with us. If you’re a romance writer (unpublished or published, straight romance or strong romantic elements) who is interested in being profiled, email Elley.]

The most popular search term leading visitors to this blog is: How long does it take to write a romance novel?  The flippant answer would be a long damn time. But in reality, I’ve heard of novels pumped out in a matter of days. (We’ve all heard of NaNoWriMo.) I once wrote a 65,000-word romance novel in two months, writing on average six hours per day, Monday through Friday, allowing time for re-reading and editing as the novel progressed. I also took ten years to write a romance novel, breaking from writing for months at a time as life’s demands overwhelmed me. Neither one of these novels saw publication.

The question isn’t: How long does it take to write a romance novel? The better question is: How long does it take to write a PUBLISHABLE romance novel? My answer is: I don’t know.

Every writer is different. Every story is different.


One Track Mind

February 20, 2012

Sometimes I get stuck. I don’t just mean writer’s block, to me it’s more akin to brain block. There’s something in my brain sapping all my energy, thoughts, and drive. Very little else can get done because of this block. This block can come in many forms, from many different sides of the brain. For instance, right now all lobbying for space in my brain is my current WIP, submissions I should be hearing back on soon, and this whole being eight months pregnant thing.

When I have three big blocks in my brain like that, I have a hard time balancing. My house is a mess right now. I’m having trouble sleeping (which isn’t all brain, some of it is sharing a bed with a toddler and some of it is being large and uncomfortable). I don’t want to cook dinner. I just want to go hide in a hole somewhere until these blocks are gone.

But, most of them aren’t going away. At least not anytime soon. I know I need to learn to work through these times. I need to find a way to balance keeping the house at least respectably clean, feeding my family, writing, and being present for my family. From observation, I imagine that a lot of writers feel this way. A lot of writers search for that elusive balance.

So, my question is… Has anyone found that balance? A trick to turn off your mind when it’s trying to run on too many tracks? Or are we all in this brain block boat constantly trying to figure it all out?


Life’s Little Train Wrecks

February 17, 2012

Elley’s post yesterday made me do a double take. I had an almost identical experience with a children’s book. At the time, I was freelance writing for magazines and wrote a regular column for our local newspaper. I had no intention of writing a children’s story, until…the train accident that had me laid up for weeks. Okay, the truth is that I stepped on a Thomas the Tank Engine toy that one of my boys had left in the hallway. When I stepped on it, somehow it rolled in a 360-degree circle…and so did my ankle. Third degree sprain, cast and weeks in bed, but doesn’t it sound better when I just say “the train accident”?

So I’m stuck in bed, the older boys were in school, and I had to entertain my youngest who was about 3 years old, a very active three. We watched movies, colored in coloring books, played with cars, (no trains, they were banned) and we wrote a story, a mystery that included all three of the boys. It was just for fun, but after I was back on my feet, I shared it with our playgroup, and my friends insisted that I submit it.

I sent the story to a small publisher that had published one of my boys’ favorite children’s books, and within weeks I got “the call.” Well, actually they didn’t call; they sent me a letter with a contract. Before I could return the contract, it was retracted, and I found out that the company was going out of business. Talk about heartbreaking… Clearly, I don’t have to tell Elley; she already knows.

Although I’ve never seen myself as a children’s writer, I too have wondered what would have happened if that children’s book had been published years ago. For now, I’m going to continue working on romance, but someday, I’m sure I will resubmit that book, just because I want to.


Genre Hopping

February 16, 2012

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…not really, but my head liked the sci-fi sound when I started typing. Let’s try this again. Once upon a time…gag! I like fairytales, but that’s too cliché. How about, it was a dark and stormy night…but it wasn’t, fortunately, because I hate horror.

It was a sunny July afternoon about 15 years ago when I opened the mailbox to find a publishing contract. I’d known for weeks that the contract was coming, having already received “the call.” A small publishing house wanted to buy my picture book. For a couple years prior to that call, I’d been a member of SCBWI, writing for children, working with an illustrious critique group that included multi-published children’s book authors. With that call, I thought I was on my way.

Even though the advance was barely enough to cover one month’s rent and the press was small, I jumped at the chance to see my book in print. I signed on the dotted line without finding an agent first and waited for my check to arrive.

I was anxious to hear about my illustrator and see the first galleys. So when a Fed-Ex package arrived a few weeks later, I figured my wait was over. Inside was an addendum to the original contract, rendering our agreement null and void. Apparently, the publisher had been on shaky ground. They folded, taking with them my dreams for publication. Sure, the rights reverted back to me, and I was free to shop the story elsewhere, but the blow weakened my resolve.

I poured my energy into my blossoming freelance writing career, and the money started coming in. It seemed silly to turn my back on a sure thing, so I rarely returned to the children’s writing. Eventually, I dropped my critique group. I packed away my collection of manuscripts and rejection letters (the days of snail mail everything), and I closed that chapter of my life.

Over the years, I’ve wondered what I’d be doing now had the book reached the shelves. Would I have written more and made a name for myself in the world of children’s literature? Would I still be writing romance at this point in my life?

Those questions conjure images of multiple names and dual marketing plans: two of everything! I’m not sure I could handle double duty. As it stands, my website hasn’t been updated this week. (My guilt is insisting I do it right after this blog post.)

How about you? Do you write in multiple genres? Would you? How does a writer balance writing/working in two totally different worlds?