My Samhain Coming Soon Page

Hi gang,
Happy New Year!

Today is the last day of 2008 and I am celebrating by drooling over my new cover. Wowie-kazowie is it beautiful! Angie Waters is my hero. I can’t imagine how she was able to take the little input I gave her and made something so lovely and well, yummy. You can check it out here and read an excerpt online at Samhain Publishing. I am so happy, you guys, I just can’t tell you.
What a blessing indeed.

May your new year be full of joy and love.


You Can Help the Economy

Hi gang,
the news lately has been pretty bleak for writers and publishers alike. Last week we had Black Wednesday in which several publishing houses announced lay-offs, freezes, consolidations and just plain ‘ol bad news. The doom and gloom got picked up by editor/agent/author/reader blogs and the bleak darkness coated the internet.

I’m here to give you a little light.

First off, I am sorry for those of you suffering right now. But I do think we can all help each other. What’s a good way to do that? Buy books. Buy the stories that make you feel good. Read them together as a family. Read them to laugh, to cry, to smile in triumph. Books are like chocolate for the soul. Read.

And for those of you who are writers: keep writing. The publishing industry, like every other industry in the world, goes through ups and downs. We are all feeling the downs right now, but that doesn’t mean they are not buying good stories. In fact, it takes a year to two years for publishers to release books to stores. Two years from now the economy is going to be different. Get ready, position yourself for the upswing by writing. Now.

So there you have it. Simple ways to make a difference. Read, write, and be good to one another.


Paying Forward

I just finished reading Catherine Ryan Hyde’s beautiful book PAY IT FORWARD. What an awesome story and great idea.

It got me thinking about writers.

Writers in general are very giving people. We give our time, our ideas, our sweat and sanity to mostly total strangers. Why do we do that?

To help humanity, of course. I know, you’re saying how can a paranormal romance, or a kid’s picture book, for that matter, help mankind?

The answer is simple: they simply do. We writers touch at the heartstrings, offer up hope, love, light in a world that is sometimes dark, dismal, and full of hate. We make folks smile when all they want to do is cry. And sometimes we make them cry too, in a good way. We come into readers’ homes, hold their hands on dark, scary nights, and remind them they are not alone. We dip into the past and show them hundreds of possible futures. The world is a beautiful place. Sometimes we just need to see it through other people’s eyes. The eyes of a writer.

That’s paying it forward. I’d like to hear how authors have touched your lives.

First round edits and chopping off heads

With great trepidation did I open the e-mail from my editor. I knew what it was. First round edits *She screams, shrieks, pulls her hair* And then she settles down and opens the darn thing.

No one likes to see her baby splattered with blood, okay it was cyber-ink, but you get the idea. But still, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see first-hand what a real live editor would do to improve my work. What an awesome idea. What a terrifying ordeal.

My editor had read my story with gusto and worked very hard to point out (in yellow and red) each and every flaw. Yikes! I don’t even like to look too closely in the mirror. Again with the shrieking and hair pulling.

Once I settled down, I realized it wasn’t so bad. After a couple of chapters, my fatal flaws were peeking up like venomous snakes in the grass. No, I did not repeat myself over and over. Ooops, yes I did. And why didn’t I flesh out my heroine better? The hero’s black moment? Where was it? How many times can one writer put the word “that” in a manuscript?

Now that my editor has turned the spotlight on those snakes, it is easy to chop their heads off and be a better writer. Isn’t that the goal anyway? To be the best writer I can be?

Thank you, dear editor, for your help.
My grass is snake free. Until the next time.

Dear writers, what are your fatal flaws and how did you kill them?

Cover Art

This past week I had a thrilling experience–I received my Cover Art Form from my publisher.

I knew it would come and yet it was a sort of out-of-body experience. Suddenly it was all real all over again. My book is truly going to be published. It was no joke, dream, or mistake.

The Cover Art Form is a guideline from me, the author, to the artist who creates book covers. Somehow I am supposed to convey my story to a artist who hasn’t read the book. This artist then captures the essence of the story on the cover in an effort to entice readers. Amazing! Um, impossible. I’m no artist. You should see my stick figures. Thank goodness I don’t have to create the cover all by myself.

On the Cover Art Form, I answered many questions about my story. The first was asked to describe the hero. And so I did, in as much detail as I could. What he wears and his attitude, how he looks and how he acts.

Next, I described the heroine in the same way.

The artist wanted to know about the setting and any other things that could be in the picture. I described what sort of mood I wanted depicted.

Anything that the author specifically doesn’t want on the cover should be listed. Ahem, I had some opinions about that too.

I also added examples of covers from Samhain that I really love so they could see what I had in mind.

This was really fun. I am grateful Samhain cares about my opinion because I know of other publishers who do not allow the author’s input. The covers do, after all, belong to the publisher.

Oh man, oh man, I can’t wait to see my cover. I’ll post it here when I get it.

What are your favorite covers?

Editors don’t wear tights and capes.

Well, maybe some do, but that’s a preference thing.

It’s easy to forget that editors are not superhuman when they hold the power to make or break careers in the palm of their hands. But editors have tough jobs. The truth is, many of them are overworked.

Imagine going to work every day and having that stack on your desk grow by hundreds of submittals. Daily! And truth be told, many of the submittals are really not very good. But wading through and replying to the masses is not the only thing editors do.

After finding a manuscript they like, they sometimes have to fight for it. There are acquisition meetings where an editor has to say why they want to buy a manuscript. If there are others like it in the house, or in the works, the editor might be told “no”. Imagine how heartbreaking that is, finally finding a story she wants, but still can’t buy it.

Let’s say the editor gets the green light. Then the negotiating with the author begins. That part can be stressful and exciting. If all works out and a contract is signed, the editor may provide suggestions on how the author can improve the manuscript and work with the author to get the story “just right”.Schedules and deadlines are set.

Then the marketing stuff commences. The editor works with the author to create wonderful blurbs and cover information. Quotes are requested. Dedication and reader pages are made. The editor may consult with the author about creating websites. Blog interviews may be scheduled.

The editor then works with the author to fill out art form pages, the information the art department needs to create a beautiful cover for the book. The editor may attend cover art meetings on the author’s behalf. The editor does her best to make sure the author’s story is accurately conveyed in an eye-catching cover.

The editor sends the manuscript to a line editor for such things as grammar and word choice fixes. Once the manuscript has been edited and signed off, the book is well on it’s way.

It’s amazing that editors do this work day-in-day-out for many, many books. It’s a seemingly impossible feat.

So, maybe they do wear capes and tights.

Can this woman be saved?

It’s September already. Yikes! How did THAT happen? Time goes so quickly sometimes, except, well, when it doesn’t.

I’m experiencing one of those SLOWWW periods right now. Time is dripping at molasses speed. The reason? I just pressed send and my next novel, tentatively entitled CATCH ME IN CASTILE, jettisoned off to my editor for review. Pretty cool, right?

Absolutely cool. It’s also gut-wrenching and torturous. My mind is riddled with anxiety. Will she like it? Will readers? Is it as good as I think it is? Should I have tried to edit it again for the 50th time? Will I survive the suspense? Can I break the compulsive disorder to check emails and phone messages every five minutes and remember to breathe?

It’s interesting to me that the process doesn’t get much easier now that I am published. The crazy self-flogging thoughts are still there.

So my question to other published authors is this: Does it EVER get any easier?

But then I have to think that maybe it shouldn’t. My characters deserve to have me stress and fret over every word, color, shade, pacing, and emotional depth. I draw them to live, after all, not just sit on a page. If my stories did not pop with twists, turns and paths not yet taken, why read them? Why write them?

So maybe stressing is a good thing. What do you think?

Oh, gotta go check my emails. It’s been at least five minutes.

Best to you,
Kimberley, one crazy woman

Introducing Romance Author Kimberley Troutte

Ahem, that’s me, Kimberley Troutte.

You don’t know me. Yet. But if you like to read romance novels with exotic settings, paranormals elements, and interesting twists, I’m your gal.

SOUL STEALER, my first novella, is coming out Spring of 2009 from Samhain Publishing. Yahooo!

To say I LOVE Samhain is an understatement. It’s like saying I sort of like dark chocolate, bubble baths, and back rubs. Truth is, I am thrilled beyond words to be a Samhain author (oooh, author, I like the sound of that) and excited to be working with the beautiful and fabulous editor, Deborah Nemeth. I’d name my next kid after her, if I planned to have another (which might not be so great considering I only have boys).

SOUL STEALER is a story of redemption, undying love, and sacrifice. A good woman bargains with Death to complete her life’s work not knowing that forces of good and evil will try to rip her soul away from the man keeping her alive–Death.

Here’s the tagline, see what you think of it:
When Death falls in love with a saint, there’s holy hell to pay.

I hope you’ll check in on me as I step into the new world of publishing. I have been on this journey for twenty years dreaming of seeing my stories in print.

Just goes to show you, prayers are answered and miracles do happen. I’m the proof.

What are your great big dreams?