Monday, March 31, 2008

Dare to Be Dazzling!

by Anna Campbell

It's my great pleasure to introduce new author Tessa Dare, the overall winner of Avon's FanLit contest in 2006. I was a FanLit groupie which is how Tessa and I met. Her debut book, which sounds like a complete delight, is called GODDESS OF THE HUNT and it comes out from Ballantine in August 2009 as part of a back to back release of a trilogy.

Tessa, congratulations on your amazing success. Could you tell us something about your writing journey to this point?

Thank you, Anna! And thanks to all the Banditas for welcoming me to your lovely lair. I’m so honored to be invited, especially because my writing journey is still in its early stages. My books won’t be on the shelf for more than a year yet. As I told you a few months ago, it feels like I’ve got a long road to publication ahead of me, and my odometer’s reading 000003. Maybe by now it’s 000019. Several months ago, I was looking at a website of a children’s book author (I hesitate to give his name, lest his tender-aged readers google it and find my own completely inappropriate books instead) but his advice to young writers went something like this: if you want to be a published writer, you should, of course, write—every day, if possible. But you should also try very hard—every day, if possible—to be lucky. And that is how I would describe my writing journey thus far. I’ve worked very hard (and continue to work hard) to write good books, but I also tried very hard to be lucky. I quit a paying job to write, forced my shy, introverted self out of my comfort zone, and followed up every contact, lead, and nibble of interest. In the end, it paid off—I got very, very lucky. I had the help of some brilliant people in making my book the best it could be, I found a wonderful agent, and she got me an amazing three-book deal that surpassed my wildest dreams.

Tessa, that was amazingly brave to give up your day job! Kudos to you! Now, we in the Bandita lair love call stories. Could you please share yours with us?

Gee. I’m never quite sure how to answer that question, because for me “the call” was stretched out over a couple weeks. Last summer, I signed with my wonderful agent, Helen Breitwieser, and in early fall she sent GODDESS OF THE HUNT out on submission. After several very quiet, very tense (on my end!) weeks, during which my primary activities were checking my cellphone charge and refreshing my inbox, one day she called me to let me know about two different offers she’d received, and to say that a third editor was interested, and we’d be going to auction the following Monday. So that was an extremely exciting call! I remember, I was still reeling when I emailed my CPs, and the subject line was something like this: “OMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!!!” And then shortly thereafter, there was another call: oops! Monday’s a holiday, so we’re pushing back the auction to Tuesday. Then there was the call that another editor was interested and conferring with colleagues, so the auction would be on Wednesday. Then there were some other calls and delays on Wednesday and Thursday, and the upshot was that the auction did not wrap up until Friday.

And in between these calls were about 83 emails, and lots of long, aimless walks with my children in the stroller and my cellphone at the ready, and absolutely no sleep. I was running on coffee fumes. Then on Friday, my agent called me to tell me Ballantine had won the auction, and after an hour or so of rapturous squeeing and phoning and emailing, I hurried off to complete some of the many errands I’d been putting off all week. And that’s when I actually
missed "The Call” from my new editor. *shakes head* But I still have her voicemail saved! And all those 83 emails.

It was an extremely surreal week, and I’m still pinching myself months later. I happened to hit the market at just the perfect time, when interest in new historicals was spiking. Like I said, I got very, very lucky. But my most memorable moment was not actually a call. It was the day I took my signed Random House contract to the post office—the same post office where I’d taken so many contest entries and submissions to be mailed over the past year. That’s when it became real, when I finally felt safe to tell myself, “I did it. I’m a professional novelist.” I was shaking and almost in tears.

Great call story, Tessa! GODDESS OF THE HUNT, your first book, comes out in 2009. Please give us a thumbnail sketch of the story.

It starts something like this. Lucy Waltham has spent eight autumns as “one of the boys”, fishing, shooting, and admiring her brother’s rakishly charming friend. When the object of her adoration plans to marry another woman, Lucy vows to snag him first. She enlists the assistance of Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall--a jaded man with a troubled past and very little patience for his friend’s troublesome sister. He’s always kept Lucy at arm’s length--until the night she throws herself straight into his arms, and suddenly the girl he’s always ignored is the woman he can’t forget. And that’s just the first chapter. I haven’t even gotten to the near-drownings, riots, or hot interludes in wardrobes. You can read a longer blurb and excerpt on my website.
What else do you have in store for readers?

Well, GOTH is the first in a back-to-back trilogy of Regency-set historicals, meaning the three books will be released in consecutive months (currently set for Aug/Sep/Oct 09). So if you like GODDESS OF THE HUNT, you won’t have to wait long to read books two and three: SURRENDER OF A SIREN, and the book I’m tentatively calling A LADY OF PERSUASION. All three are sexy, funny, romantic, and fun.

Can you describe your writing routine for us?

Hmm, Anna, I’m imagining you mean “routine” as in “orderly pattern of behavior”. But in the Dare household, the only “routine” we have resembles a circus act. Picture me walking the highwire all day, while my two young children (the darelings) alternately take the parts of clowns, acrobats, and snarling lions. Inevitably, there is popcorn strewn on the floor. Then when the strong man, Mr. Dare, comes within shouting distance, I sort of stuff the darelings into the cannon and shoot them off to him. If executed perfectly, this “routine” allows me to escape with my laptop to a cafĂ© for a few hours of writing. And yes, we do it all without a net.

The Banditas met through a contest (the 2006 Golden Heart) and I met you through a contest (Avon FanLit). Clearly contests have a lot going for them. Do you have any words of wisdom on writing contests that you’d like to share with us?

Well, I certainly cannot claim the sort of contest success the Banditas have enjoyed! I did enter a handful of contests with GOTH. I won a few and bombed in a few, but absolutely the best prizes I’ve taken away from any contest experience are friends and mentors. I met my fabulous critique partners and made dozens of friends through FanLit, and other contests (even ones I didn’t final in) put me in contact with published authors who’ve been wonderful sources of inspiration and advice. I know I don’t have to tell the Banditas what great networking opportunities can come out of writing contests. However, when people ask me about contests, I try to caution against using contests as a substitute for querying and submitting manuscripts. I received two requests for my full manuscript from final judges in contests I’d entered in the spring of 2007: both came after the book sold in October. So if you wait around for contest results, you could be letting other opportunities slip by.

Have any other writers influenced you? What are your favorite romance novels?

I would not be writing historical romance novels today if it were not for my love of Jane Austen. Her novels are so abundant in brilliance and so heartbreakingly few in number! I eventually turned to Regency-set historicals as a way to keep satisfying my yen for delicious wit and period romance, and then I started writing my own. My first attempts to write historical romance were actually PRIDE AND PREJUDICE fanfiction, which I’ve blogged about recently and written about in the April issue of Romance Writers Report. In the historical romance subgenre, some of my favorite authors are Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Loretta Chase, Julie Anne Long, Elizabeth Hoyt, Laura Lee Guhrke, and on and on from there… As you can probably gather, my preferences tend toward light, witty comedies, although I like to mix it up every once in a while with a dark, atmospheric historical or a snappy contemporary.

Tell us five quirky facts about Tessa Dare.

1. I’m phobic about being trapped underwater. I love the surface of it – sailing, snorkelling, swimming—but scuba diving, no way. 2. Ironically enough, it’s water that gets me going again when I feel “trapped” in my writing. If I’m stuck on a scene, I go wash dishes. Usually, by the time I’m done, I’ve figured my scene out. 3. I live in a 1922 bungalow – plenty of cute built-in bookshelves, but no dishwasher. 4. We had a dishwasher hookup installed a few years ago, but still haven’t bought one. Because that would involve shopping, and I hate shopping. And then how would I get unstuck when a scene’s giving me fits? 5. My grandmother (who does have a dishwasher) still has my first “book” in her filing cabinet– a sort of epic Cinderella tale written over a holiday visit, entitled “Martha the Cranberry”.

Tessa has some important questions to ask visitors to the lair:

Do you own a dishwasher? Are you happy with it? Care to recommend any particular makes or models? Obviously, contests are one way for aspiring authors to go about “trying very hard to be lucky”. I’m curious to know what other methods the Banditas have found successful. Oh, and if anyone has advice for me on how to spend the coming year as I wait for my books to hit the shelves—please fire away! She has very generously offered a $20 Amazon voucher to one lucky commenter!


Suzanne Ferrell said...

Does the GR come back to Texas?

Anna Campbell said...

I think he does, my friend! He clearly likes his Southern hospitality!

Tawny said...

Awww, look, the GR in a cowboy hat and boots *g* WTG Suz!!!

Tessa, what an incredible call story -thank you so much for sharing it with us :-D I love your advice about contests!

As for dishwashers... I have two :-) The one plugged into the wall (no clue on the model) and my oldest daughter. I love both temendously LOL.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Tessa, Welcome to the Lair! We love guest authors here, and especially new authors. I played around a little on the Avon Fan lit, and it inspired me to try my hand at a Regency...titled.....and I kid you not..."An Attempt At Regency". :) I'm still knocking it around a bit, among a few other things, but did the Avon Fan Lit stimulate your interest in the period or did it just urge it on?

And yes I have a dishwasher. A Kenmore. We've always had very good luck with Kenmore products.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Actually, Tawny, Sunday was my hubby's birthday, so I think the Golden Rooster had some urging for homemade lasagna, cesar salad and strawberry shortcake. (DH's favs!)

Robyn Enlund said...

I can't wait to buy your books, they sound like so much fun. Great story about your 'call' too. Very inspiring!

Robyn E

Tessa Dare said...

My goodness, you banditas are fast! Anna just sent me the "you're up" message, and here there are four comments already. What hospitality! Thank you so much for having me.

Tawny...I like the way you think! My eldest dareling is still too young to wash dishes, alas. And Mr. Dare always manages to break one on his annual attempt to wash a few.

Suzanne...thanks for the Kenmore tip. I love your working title! My working title for GOTH was "Regency House Party Massacre". (That would be the Tessa translation of "An Attempt at Regency") My computer file folder for it is still named that! I'm superstitious or something; can't bring myself to change it. My second book's sentimental title is "Goats on a Boat." And the third, "Toby or Not Toby MP."

To answer your question, I'd been writing the Austen fanfiction for a while before I heard about FanLit (that's actually how I heard about FanLit, btw), so I already loved the Regency setting. And I'd toyed with the idea of writing an original Regency romance, but I didn't really know have any idea to go about it. Never heard of RWA, never heard of contests...never heard phrases like GMC or Black Moment or HEA. So FanLit was my crash course!

Years ago, I started several YA and children's novels, but I, uh, never actually finished any of them.

Anna Campbell said...

Tessa, you obviously had an affinity with the Regency period before you started writing historical romance. What is it about this particular time and place in history that appeals to you?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Wow, Tessa, that's some crash course. I sort of did the same thing with my first book, just winged it. THEN I learned about RWA, GMC, and contests.

Like you, I started several projects years before that I never quite got past the initial stage. I wonder if a lot of writers do that...sort of "test the waters" first?

Fedora said...

Hi, Tessa! Welcome, and I love your story summary--it sounds lovely, and I eagerly await the day I can read it! And thanks for sharing your call/days story :) Hooray!

As for me, we do have a dishwasher (a Bosch, which we bought through Sears) and are pretty happy with it--it IS incredibly quiet (a big change from our old one, which you could hear rattling away from the other end of the house). Even so, I tend to do most of our dishes by hand, and usually don't mind it--it's one chore I can finish and it stays done for at least a short while :) And I haven't begun training our future dishwashers yet, but maybe I'm missing an open window here...

Tawny, how old were yours when you started them on the dishwashing gig? :)

Suz, congrats on the GR! Yippee!

KATZ said...

I'm not a regular here at the blog, but maybe I will be now! :)

Great interview, Tessa. I'm a fellow FanLit survivor -- what a wild few weeks that was.

Sounds like you've hit upon major success -- congratulations and continued best wishes! :)

Manda Collins said...

Great interview, Tessa! I love your post office story:) And seriously it couldn't have happened to a nicer person! I can't wait for a flood of fanlit authors to hit the shelves! So happy for you! Oh, and I do have a dishwasher that is about twenty years old but will (knock on wood) last me twenty more, I'm hoping.

And, Anna, congrats on the double RITA!!! So deserved!

Tessa Dare said...

Anna, great question - what is it about the Regency? For me, I think it's sort of that perfect point between "long, long ago" and "not so far away". I can relate to the characters' needs and desires, but there's still a fairy-tale shimmer of lords and ladies and honor that helps me escape and suspend disbelief. And it lends itself well to plotting--there was a war going on, and scientific inquiry, and class struggle and social change.

I'm sure it also has much to do with the fact that the modern English novel developed during the Regency (thanks to Jane!). And obviously Austen's novels were the archetype for Regency romances. If she'd been born in the Georgian or Victorian period, everything might be different.

Suzanne, I certainly hope you and I aren't the only ones with a trail of unfinished manuscripts. Truthfully, I'd all but given up on the idea of being a novelist. It's so hard to write in a vacuum, which is what I was doing. That's the other gift that the fanfiction and FanLit communities gave me--the experience of sharing my work with others, absorbing critical feedback, and the encouragement to see a project through to completion.

I have to say that I could have never, ever finished and sold Goddess of the Hunt without my two brilliant critique partners, both of whom I met through FanLit: Courtney Milan and India Carolina. (And Courtney is a 2008 GH finalist!)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Sarah! Lovely to see some new faces! Don't you be a stranger now! Hmm, why do I suddenly sound like Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies?

Tessa Dare said...

Okay, and now I must smack forehead - obviously Jane Austen was born (and started writing) in the Georgian period. But she was published in the Regency. :)

Flchen1 - Thanks for the welcome! I will keep Bosch in mind. Quiet is always hard to come by, in this house!

Sarah, it is always great to bond with a fellow FanLit survivor. What strange memories I have of those six weeks. I had a two-month-old baby, so I was up at all hours of the night nursing. Several of my chapters (including the one I won with) were typed one-handed while I rocked the dareling in the other. Everyone talks about the FanLit craziness, but in a weird way it kept me sane!

Manda!! (waves, hugs) I have a feeling there will be a flood of Fanlit authors hitting bookstores *before* me, considering how long it's going to be before my trilogy releases. And I'm positive you'll be among them.

And thanks for reminding me to congratulate Anna again! Double RITAs! Squeee!!!

For any who don't know, Anna was so, so gracious during FanLit, as were many other Avon authors. She made many lifetime fans, let me tell you! And we're so thrilled for her success and recognition.

Anna Campbell said...

Courtney, if you're around, huge congratulations on the GH final! It was wonderful to see FanLit names there. Pam aka Doglady is another one!

Manda, thanks so much for the congrats! So far it's been a mixed blessing ;-) I'm supposed to be working and all I want to do is party!

Tessa, what a great answer about the Regency. I think you've listed so many things that make the period perennially popular. Mind you, you don't mention the breeches. And the boots. And the breeches...

Robyn, lovely to see you. That's an amazing story of Tessa's journey to publication, isn't it? The minute I heard about it, I thought that's something I have to get into the lair!

Fedora, I think GR is playing fast and loose with your affections. You'll have to get the Pewter Duck to call him out!

Tessa, I think most of us could confess to reams of unfinished manuscripts hidden somewhere in the house. Mine are currently in the garage. They used to be under the bed but I moved.

Anna Campbell said...

Awww, Tessa, thank you, you put me to the blush as they say in all the best Regencies. Well, not in mine - they're PAST blushing in mine!

Tessa Dare said...

Anna, thanks for mentioning Pamela's GH final! And there were two other FanLit participants (that I know of) who finaled this year: Darcy Burke and Liese Sherwood-Fabre. And then there are a whole host of talented alums who did not quite make the GH cut but are destined for greatness nonetheless, I am certain.

Darcy Burke said...

Great interview!! Tessa, my big takeaway here is that you don't have a dishwasher. OMG, you don't have a dishwasher!

Love your description of why the Regency period is so alluring. It is the perfect point between long, long ago and not so far away.

Jane said...

Tessa, I can't wait to read your trilogy. Wish it wasn't so far away, but at least we'll get all three books in rapid succession. I don't have a dishwasher, never had one. I have to wash the dishes, pots and pans the old fashioned way. It's murder on my hands.

Anna Campbell said...

Tessa, I have two questions. Well, I'm sure I have more but two will do for now! Is there any period/setting you'd write if suddenly, God forbid, the bottom dropped out of the Regency period market? And also what inspired you to write Goddess of the Hunt?

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Darcy, CONGRATULATIONS!!! How did you feel when you found out you'd finalled in the Golden Heart?

Tessa Dare said...

Whoa, Darcy -- too creepy. I mention you, and then there you are! Darcy is another FanLit alum well on her way...not only is she a GH finalist, she just signed with a great agent!

So while I have the collective wisdom of the Banditas at my disposal:

Seriously, what advice do you have for me, in terms of how I should spend the next year? I'm writing my books (of course), I'm having my website done...what else?

Christine Wells said...

Tessa, welcome to the lair! Goddess of the Hunt sounds delightful. I read an excerpt a while back and I'm looking forward to its release. Congratulations on such a wonderful call story. You must have been a wreck by the end of the week! Your writing routine sounds a lot like mine. Wish I could borrow that cannon of yours:)

Fascinating that you started your interest in this particular subgenre writing Austen fanfiction. Did you find that style of writing translated easily to Regency historicals or did you have to modify it a little for the historical romance market? I know that back when the traditional Regency was dying a slow death, it wasn't a good idea to make one's prose too ironic or Austenesque, lest the novel be labeled a 'trad' but I think a lot of that witty style I enjoy is creeping back in. Good luck with the trilogy! I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

And congrats on the GR, Suz!

Anna Campbell said...

Tessa, I'm sure my fellow Banditas will have a lot of advice for you when they wake up! Some of them, frankly, are slugabeds as they say in the best Regencies...

One thing I did was identify what skills I needed to develop and then take whatever opportunities arose to develop them. I'd never done public speaking - we didn't even have a debating team at school. And I was one of those people who would have chosen death over public speaking! But I realized in the modern world of publishing, the ability to talk to a group without making a complete fool of myself would be really important. And so it has proven. So if somebody asked me to speak, I said yes and then worried about it later (and at length!). My first few attempts were nothing fantastic but I've reached a point where I can do it without having a nervous breakdown.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually also on that point, I wish I'd got systems into place a bit earlier. You know, filing systems and accounting systems and all that stuff. The first year after you sell - and you've got THREE books - is a real whirlwind so anything you can ahead of time to make life flow smoothly in the future is worth taking some time over.

Pam P said...

Great interview, Tessa, and I enjoyed the excerpt over at your site. Another new author going on the wishlist.

Would love to have my own dishwasher, not allowed in our condo building, so can't help you there. But we've always had good luck with the Kenmore appliances from Sears.

Tessa Dare said...

Hi, Jane! Great to meet fellow hand-washer. Pass the hand lotion. :) Thanks for being excited about my books! I hope you remember them all mumble-teen months from now. Hopefully by this summer, my new website will be up and I'll have a newsletter list building, so I can remind people when they hit the stores.

Anna, if the bottom dropped out of the Regency market... hm. I might just go contemporary, or YA. I still love YA fiction, although I never completed any of the YA books I started. Or Scots. I do love me some Scots. Yep, I'd probably start peeking under kilts if the Regency market went belly-up.

What inspired me to write Goddess of the Hunt? Hm. In a word, fear. Haha. See, I'd just won the Fanlit thing and felt kinda confident and excited, so I quit my job (!) and decided to take a serious crack at this romance thing. But I had to work fast. I wanted to complete a book in less than six months, because I couldn't afford to not work for much longer than that. (Shortly before this, my poor sleep-deprived husband had totaled his car, and instead of using the settlement to buy a new one, we used it to pay bills while I was writing.) And remember - GMC, Black Moment, HEA ...all Greek to me. I wanted to keep it simple.

So I decided I needed a setting I was already comfortable in, and a plot that didn't hinge on too many tricky historical events (not a lot of time to research). So I put all my P&P fanfiction background to use and set it at a house party located somewhere pretty near Longbourn and used some research about fishing and poaching I'd done (don't ask me why) and smashed it all into a plot. The vague concept was, take the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding" and set it in the Regency, replacing charming, funny, gay Rupert Everett with a brooding, jaded, hetero earl. Somehow I made it work. It was done in about six months, and my initial response to queries was...rejection, but kind rejection. And I got some contest feedback and very helpful critiques, and it all pointed toward rewriting a big chunk. So I ripped it apart and put it back together, and the response to queries this time was... better. I had fulls out with several agents, and I started a second book (this one with a much trickier historical setting.)

By now the car money was long gone, and we were completely going into debt, but we decided to stick it out until RWA and see if I could sell this thing. And shortly after RWA was when I signed with my agent, and you know the story from there.... It had been exactly a year to the day after my FanLit win, when I sold my books to Ballantine.

Actually, you know I should really revise my call story. It should be about a call I made, rather than one I received. You see, all this time my husband had been driving this 20-year-old Volkswagen, since we spent the insurance money on bills. When I found out I was going to auction, I told him, "if the deal hits X amount, I'm going to buy you a car." So somewhere in that crazy week, I was able to call him and say, "What color do you want?" And that was really, really cool.

The crazy thing is, he's still driving the VW. You know, it's that shopping thing...

Tessa Dare said...

Anna! What positively...terrifying advice. My two least favorite things in the world are public speaking and filing. Erk. But you're so right, I really must make myself do them. I think i can, i think i can... You'll be my inspiration!

Christine, thank you so much for the welcome! You asked a really great question:

Fascinating that you started your interest in this particular subgenre writing Austen fanfiction. Did you find that style of writing translated easily to Regency historicals or did you have to modify it a little for the historical romance market?

The voice I used in my fanfiction is really different from the voice I have now. Fewer contractions, longer sentences, wayyyyy too much description. It was good to get a lot of that out of my system! But the experience also gave me a basic handle on the Regency world - the clothes, carriages, etc.

The voice (and plots) of my books for Ballantine has a much more modern feel (although I still try to get those clothes and carriages right!). I'm not trying to imitate Jane anymore, I'm just trying to be the best me...which is fun and scary and its own unique challenge. Well, and my books are way sexier than my fanfiction. I never got past kissing in that.

Pam, thank you for your kind words and your commiseration in the dishwasher department. That's two votes for Kenmore (yep, I'm keeping score!)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Welcome to the Lair, Tessa!

I just ran into the kitchen to check the brand of my dishwasher. It is a Roper, as is my fridge. I have no idea if they are even manufactured any more as these were no doubt put in when my place was built back in 1985! ACK!!! PLEASE KEEP RUNNING! I just replaced the washer/dryer and have NO $$$ for more major appliances.

Ah, the waiting game between The Call and seeing The Book On The Shelf... I blogged about that not long ago, how it was getting on my last nerve! What have I been doing? Networking, Networking, NETWORKING! And remember how quickly the past 18 months have flown by...

Honestly, dunno WHAT I'd do if I didn't have the banditas at my back, pulling me away from the edge! And we LURVE all the great interaction with guests like YOU and all the wonderful friends we've made along the way.


Tessa Dare said...

Aunty Cindy, congratulations on your forthcoming book! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one playing the waiting game. Networking is great advice - and yes, having friends around to keep you sane is key!

Wow - those Roper dishwashers must really hold up! 1985, you say? I may have to check into that...

'Night, Banditas!
I'll pop back around in the morning.

Helen said...

Cngrats Suzanne on the GR

Great interview Tessa and Anna love the sound of these books I will have to be very patient waiting for them to be released.

As for dishwashers I don't have one but I have a Hubby who is a good dishwasher I don't like doing the dishes when the kids were younger and all lived at home that was their job now it is my Husbands I agree with my son in saying that I have "dishlexia".

Tessa enjoy the next year till release by writing more books for us avid readers and of course have fun.
I will be looking forward to the release.
Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, I think Tessa's books sound right up your alley. And I love the idea of having dishlexia! Snork!

Tawny said...

Tawny, how old were yours when you started them on the dishwashing gig? :)

The oldest was probably 12, Fedora. The youngest is still too young at 8, but she does do the set & clear of the table and feeds the menegarie... I live in dread of the day they grow up and leave home and I have to do all the housework myself *beg*

Sara Lindsey said...

Tessa, you are an inspiration to all of us! You are living proof that good things happen to the best people and that true talent gets recognized and rewarded in the end. (Or maybe from the beginning in your case!)
And for those of you eagerly awaiting GOTH, start counting down now, 'cause Tessa's books are big, sexy, and a whole lot of fun! (And I'm not just referring to her heroes...) ;)

Unknown said...

We do have a dishwasher. It quit working though. We need to get another one. Too many dishes to do. lol

Gillian Layne said...

Suzanne, congrats on the GR!

Tessa, an awesome story all the way around. I can't wait to read these books. And hang in there with the kiddos, someday (too) soon you'll be turning the majority of the household tasks over to them in the name of allowance, their own future life-skills, and your sanity. :)

I'm off to shut this computer down for the day. Too many storms in Kansas, and I don't trust surge protectors anymore. Have a happy Monday, ladies... :)

Anonymous said...

Goodness, you can't turn your back on this blog for a second or you'll miss something!

Tessa, thank for visiting and congratulations on your call (er...emails...) story! Your books sound like great fun, and you mentioned all my favorite authors, which is always a good sign.

Now, about that dishwasher--you'll save water if you get one. How's that for a good excuse--buy an appliance to go green! :-) We've got a GE we're very happy with.

By the way, you should definitely try YA. I had written a couple of Regencies before I wrote a YA, and they're sitting under the bed while the YA sold last fall to Hyperion. So if you're looking for a good market... ;-)


Lindsey said...

Hey Bandits and Tessa - great interview! Now I'm feeling all nostalgic about FanLit. So much talent in that group - it's such a thrill to see it recognized with sales & awards.

Tessa, you're a constant inspiration. Do you think if I traded my dishwasher for two kids, I could be more productive? ;) I think that's why your wait to publication seems so long - you seem to have more hours in your day.

And the burning question on everyone's minds: sponge, scrub brush, or dishcloth?

Anonymous said...

Darcy! Welcome back to the Lair, you fabulous GH finalist, you! :-) Big hugs and congratulations!!

Santa said...

Greetings all!

Congrats to Anna on the double RITA nominations!

Tessa, you are always a delight. Would you believe this is the first time I've heard the whole bidding war piece? No, I don't know where I've been these past few months but there it is!

Your story is an inspiration but, honey, get thee a dishwasher for Pete's sake. You gotta know that with two darlings and Mr. Dare, there'll always be something to wash out in the sink for those times you need inspiration!

Oh and congrats to Pam and Darcy - in case I missed you elsewhere! And, yes, I think Manda is reaaallly close. I can feel it in my fingertips.

Off to carve out that writing time and get me a bit o'luck! See you in San Fran, my dear!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Really inspiring and just when I needed a kick.

Re the dishwasher. Go for the top of the line. The one that has arms to shoot water on the top and the bottom. Really the extra bucks is going to be the best investment you ever made as you won't have to prewash your dishes.

Terri Osburn said...

Tessa! A little birdy told me I'd find you over here. Well, ok, you told me. *g*

Love the PO story and all the calls and missing *the* call and that cannon thing is hysterical. Mr. Dare must be a great catcher in addition to being a great catch.

I can't wait for these books. I've been lucky enough to see little snippets over the last year and that's just mean I tell you. I want the entire thing!

Can't wait to see you San Fran and to stand in front of your books in the store telling everyone around "I knew her when..."

Terri Osburn said...

Oh, forgot the dishwasher. You don't have a dishwasher!?!? I can't (read: refuse to!) live without a dishwasher. Growing up we didn't have one so as an adult, I believe they should come standard in every humble and not so humble abode.

I'm not at home so I have no idea what brand I have, but will cast a vote for Kenmore. They are always reliable.

Eva S said...

Hi Tessa and Anna,
great Regency books coming, thanks! They will be on my wishlist, it's wonderful to find new Regency authors!

I think my dishwasher (Whirlpool) is one of my best friends, it gives me so much more time to read!

Tessa Dare said...

Good morning, all! Peeling my eyes open over her ein Cali...

Helen, I'm cracking up at the idea of "dishlexia". Hilarious. Thanks so much for your interest in my books.

Tawny...8 is too young? Oh dear. I do have a long wait ahead of me.

Sara Lindsey, you are too, too sweet. Banditas, she's referring to our unofficial RWA 2007 slogan, "Bigger, sexier, and a lot more fun!" But don't we need a new one now for 2008, Sara L? Hmmm. I can hear the gears in her head turning.... Sara has an amazing talent for slogans, titles, and naming--in addition to her amazing talent for historical romance, graphic design, a million other things...

Amy S - it's funny how all those dishes get in the way of actually getting the dishwasher, isn't it? LOL.

Gillian - Thanks so much coming by, at risk of electrical shock even! Really, that's beyond the call of duty. Please stay safe today. I grew up in the Midwest, and I remember those scary spring storms.

brownone said...

Congrats Tessa! I have yet another to be looking out for!

As for dishwashers, I'm the primary one. But I do use mine when family comes over (I have a LARGE family that visits every weekend). We bought a model home and it came all decked out with Maytag appliances but since then I've replaced mostly everyting with LG. I LOVE my LG appliances. My fridge even has a "chill bin" that cools my coca cola to just the right temp with those crispy little ice crystals. But enough about waxing poetic about appliances...

Joan said...


I like it :-)

Good morning Tessa and all you chatty night time people!

Your Call story had me on the edge of my seat. Wow! To have it go to auction between what...4 houses?

I'm joining you in the waiting line for GOTH!

As to dishwashers. You'd think as a single lady I'd have no need for one but you'd be wrong. A couple of days worth of dishes...pop them in and then take out the clean when you need them. Who needs cabinets anyway?

Can't recommend a brand but when you DO get one use those little packets of soap and rinser.

Oh, and congrats to all the '08 finalists visiting with us today.

Tessa Dare said...

Kirsten, congratulations on your sale to Hyperion! The YA market has grown and become so exciting in the last decade or so. I would love to write a YA novel someday. And - you're right, energy and water savings are a big factor in any appliance choice. Energy Star all the way!

Lindsey, I'm getting nostalgic too! And realizing how awesome it is, that we're all still so close a year and a half later. I am totally up for a dishwasher-dareling swap, in the name of science. To answer your question, I use those sponges with the scrubby netting.

Santa! It's always a delight to "see" you. I can't wait to see you again (without quotes) in SF! You're so right, I need to just get my butt to Sears and buy the dishwasher. It'll be my new VaNo goal, okay? If I don't have one by RWA, you can all pelt me with wet sponges.

Tina, top of the line hmm? I like the way you think. I so rarely splurge on top of the line anything, but you're right. Having a crummy dishwasher is probably no better than having none.

Terri! Thanks so much for heeding the little tweet-tweet and coming by...Yes, Mr. Dare is a gem. He's my hero. And what do you mean, "I knew her when"? You're going to be signing books, too, and we'll both be able to say, "I know her now!

Oh, Eva S makes a vote for Whirlpool...the plot thickens... Thanks for saying you're always on the lookout for new Regency authors! I'm just (obviously) so grateful the the publishers are feeling the same way. When I did quit that job to write my romances, people were still saying "historicals are dead", and that was rather scary. Now it seems to have turned around. Hurrah! Good news for all of us who love to read and write Regencies.

Marnee Bailey said...

Hi Tessa! Good to see you here! :)

I can't wait for your books to hit the store too! I love the description of your writing routine. I can completely relate!

Unknown said...

Hi Tessa,
Congratulations on your book deal! What a fun story - and it sounds so interesting.
I don't have a dishwasher at my apartment this year, but I do have one at home/my house. [Complicated story not worth going into.] Yes, I'm happy with it. I think it's a sunbeam? [Is that possible?]
As for what do during the year... set up a webpage, newsletters, and get to promo-ing your book :). Contests, hype, all the good stuff.

Tessa Dare said...

Brownone...ooh, now I am eager to check out the LG. I know exactly what you mean about the crispy little ice crystals in the soda! I love that!

Joan - little packets of soap, good idea! I'm all for avoiding messy measuring. And I only wish I could be a slugabed...I remember those days. Fondly.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

I knew you when...*g*...and even if your books are on my hard drive I'm going to spend real money next year.

No dishwashed except Mr. R., and I'm keeping him, as you know. Great interview, Tessa!

Christie Kelley said...

Tessa, welcome to the lair. I loved the interview.

And can I just say I will never get the GR back to Maryland again. I was on the computer at 6:30am and there were already 35 comments. You night owls need to give us morning birds a chance. :)

Onto dishwashers...OMG, Tessa, you have children but no dishwasher? How is that possible??

I have a brand new Kitchen Aid. Stainless steel tub (really important don't cheap out on that). The stainless steel tub actually makes it quieter. I can hardly hear my dishwasher when it runs. I was sitting in the kitchen about two feet away from it talking to my mom on the phone and she had no idea my dishwasher was on.

Any other appliance question? Other than the washer/dryer, all mine are new this year because of the rehab of our house.

Tessa Dare said...

Hi Marnee! Thanks so much for dropping by. It's nice to know I am not alone, in the struggle to carve writing time out of craziness. It's all good though, even though I complain. I'm blessed to have my kids and my husband around, and they have to put up with a lot from me, too.

Jennifer, thanks for the promo advice! Aug 09 seems so far away, and when I start making lists of everything I should do before seems very close. erp.

Terri Osburn said...

Tessa - You are so sweet. If I ever use my maiden name on a book, we could be very close at one of those big signings since it starts with a "D". I might have to do that just to get some of your shine on me. LOL!

Tessa Dare said...

Maggie, you are so cruel. I know you live to taunt me with Mr. R. Ladies, Mr. R. is like a mythic figure in my mind. The man sold his blood and walked 8 miles across town to take her out on their first date! I don't know what's more swoon-worthy, the effort he made or the fact that he didn't just collapse at her doorstep! And now of course he cooks and washes dishes.

Christie, that is one hawt cover you've got there! And it's in stores now, is it? Must look for that. :) And thanks for the advice...stainless steel tub, hmm? Wow, what I don't know about dishwashers.

Terri, you know, being here with the Banditas is so inspiring, because I know that a few years from now our group will be like this, celebrating all our sales and upcoming releases...

doglady said...

Congrats on rustling the GR, Suzanne!!

Hello, Tessa! (Waving madly) Terrific interview and I cannot wait for GOTH to hit the shelves. I love the post office story. It is funny when and where these little things hit you, isn't it?

Dishwasher? Hmm. Mine is a 49 year old pair of work-worn hands!! And I have to agree that washing dishes by hand is great therapy and a good time for thinking. My Mom has had the same Kenmore dishwasher for about 20 years so I think they are a safe bet.

Things to do while you wait? Write, write, write. And then, be good to yourself. Take some time to refresh YOU! Because once these books come out you are going to be extremely busy! Attend some conferences and network. Build your fan base in any way possible. Research the kinds of giveaways and promotional tools that other authors use and their effectiveness. And, of course, keep neat detailed files on all of this. (SNORK) Set up your writing area so that it really works for you. If you have a back yard turn a little piece of it into a garden meditation spot - a little Regency garden for you to muse in. And accumulate a research library. Great advice to give a librarian, right?

I am so proud of you, Tessa. You took the impetus of the Avon Event, girded your courage and just went for it and look at the results! Well done!

Beth Andrews said...

Wonderful interview, ladies!

Tessa, Beth would like to welcome you to the lair! Beth just read your bio page and loved it! It reminded Beth of that Seinfeld episode with The Jimmy who spoke in third person.

Beth cracks herself up ;-)

Loved your excerpt as well! I can't wait for Goddess of the Hunt to be released *g*

I'm afraid I don't have much advice except that you'll want to have your marketing plan ready to go. And have as much done in advance as possible so you're not scrambling around trying to fit in writing time and promotion when the books are released *g*

I have several dishwashers - my Whirlpool and my three kids! My youngest started doing dishes when she was 9 (she's 11 now) but the best Kitcheneer I have is my 13 yo (the 16 yo son is a close second *g*)

After not having a dishwasher for my first 5 years of marriage (which meant sterilizing baby bottles by hand! Never again!) I adore my dishwasher! And there's still plenty of handwashing to do so you'll still have your thinking time. Plus, I'm one of those people who rinse my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher :-)

Rebekah E. said...

Great Interview. Congrats on your upcoming book. It sounds like a great story.

Tessa Dare said...

Tessa thinks she and Beth should sit next to one another at some RWA luncheon or such. Tessa can tell they have the same (oft unappreciated) sense of humor.

Thanks so much for the welcome, Beth! I have also experienced the joy of dealing with bottles sans dishwasher - but we had a microwave sterilizer that worked great.

Rebekah, thanks so much for your kind words!

jo robertson said...

Delightful, dare-ling interview, Tessa and Foanna!

So, one question, Suz, do YOU have a velvet pillow for GR to rest on?

Tessa, your call week sent chills up my spine. How exciting!

I, too, prefer washing dishes by hand. It's so much tidier that way! Our dishwasher broke and we were without one for several weeks. The ritual of hand-washing was very relaxing.

Tessa Dare said...

Pamela!!! It' s so exciting to see you. I'm still floating on the high from your GH final. I hope this means you'll make it to SF this year? We need to do FanLit Karaoke. Between you and Lenora Bell, we have some bona fide divas! And I can't imagine it's going to be much longer before we're celebrating your call. Thanks for the advice to take care of myself. That seems to come last most of the time (just look at my nails for evidence there), but in a few weeks the CPs and I will be taking Vegas by storm for the weekend, and that will be some much-needed relaxation!

Jo, I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds dishwashing soothing in a way. I do find it almost meditative. Some people knit or needlepoint or whathaveyou as a way to occupy their hands, but I'm not that coordinated! And at least, I can feel like I accomplished something at the end of it--even if it's just a drainer full of clean dishes.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Tessa,

Yes, ENIY is out now. And you're so sweet to say you'd buy it. I had no input on the cover but it is a historical regency set.

I didn't know anything about dishwashers until we sent shopping at an appliance store (don't go to the hardware stores).

Christie Kelley said...

And I can't wait for your book to come out. It sounds like my kind of book.

Kelly Krysten said...

Oh, that was such a great blog Tessa. I was near tears at your 'call that never was' story. Congratulations. And I can't wait to read your books!

Lady Leigh said...

OMG-I love the zoo analogy ;-) Do you have any pets to throw in the mix?

It used to hurt my heart that I wasn't born in the age of Jane Austin. All those beautiful dresses and balls and misbehaving lords. My adolescence was a study in feeling betrayed by the capriciousness of time.

But- I was out skiing in the big mountains this weekend on my 2008 equipment and I have to say I'm glad it’s the modern ago. Plus, all us women from across the country can unite online and support each others dreams ;-) And we don’t have to pretend like we are men.

Great interview!

Tessa Dare said...

Hey, Kelly and Leigh! Thank you both so much for coming by. What a lovely reunion this is. Leigh, I agree-I love to read and write stories in set in the Regency, but I'm infinitely grateful to be a modern woman.

I'm out the door for the rest of the morning... but I'll pop back around 1pm PST.

Tiffany Clare said...

Tessa! Great to see you over here.

And I have no dishwasher either. Haven't for more than ten years. There are moments I'd like to throw all the dishes out and buy new ones.

And you missed part of the call! LOL But still, you've got the message!

Fanlit was a great learning tool. Like the ultimate crash course where you question every single word you type! Ah the days.

Can't wait to see your books on the shelf Tessa! I'm going to be telling all my friends (that don't read romance) look, this is a friend (albeit internet friend) but still come one! I'm so proud of you! And all I can say to the waiting a year... you write some more amazing books, and time will fly!

Lois said...

Can't wait for the books to come out! I'm always on the lookout for more Regencies!!! :)

And our dishwasher is of the human variety, alas. LOL It is cheaper, I dare say. :)


Hellie Sinclair said...

We don't have a dishwasher either. But we're practically Amish. It'd be weird if we had one. I have a feeling if we DID have one, it would be turned into a STORAGE area rather than a washing area.

What to do in the meantime:

1.) Google pictures of Jack Sparrow and Will Turner. (Hey, consider your source here.)

2.) Visit my blog (and of course, the Banditas blog) and laugh away your mornings before you have to do important things like dishes, pull children out of cubby holes, write that vexing scene...

3.) Give workshops at local chapters or conferences. Better get your practice in now...and I'll come! I love workshops!

4.) Figure out your topics for #3; immerse yourself in PowerPoint; google useful pictures for the topic, like Will Turner or Jack Sparrow.

5.) Go to the bookstore and look on the shelf where your books will be shelved (when they're not flying OFF them and difficult, therefore, to keep in stock); take delight that your book may influence the reader to buy those around you on the shelf--so you'll, therefore, be helping other authors get noticed! (*Hellion contemplates changing her last name to Darringer*)

Nathalie said...

Congratulations on your book deal!

What to do this year... promote your book and relax! I am sure you deserve it!

Lily said...

I remember reading the Avon FanLit short story and loved it :)

Wow... that is a lot of waiting!! I think all authors do not really rest. I am sure you have some story brewing in your head and waiting to be written!

But as many have suggested, getting your book promoted is obvious!

I have a GE dishwasher... that is about 7 years old... and it makes so much noise! I think the silence feature is very important!

Marie Force said...

Congrats on your deal. I loved your post office story because I did the SAME thing. So many trips to mail partials and fulls that didn't amount to anything (the email queries have paid off much bigger dividends for me), and then to be mailing off that signed contract... It is definitely "a moment" to be noted on the journey. Good luck with your books and relax this year before the insanity hits next year!

Anna Campbell said...

Tessa, it's been a great challenge to face my fear and overcome it! My first few gigs, it's like I had a broomstick up my butt!

Tessa, I laughed at the VW. I know I've said it before but I really admire your courage in following your dream with such determination!

Kirsten and Tessa, it's interesting you both talk about writing Regencies and then YA. Do you think the two genres have something in common? Apart from great stories, that is!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lindsey, lovely to see you pop over from the Vagabonds! And the flaming answer for me is sponge ;-)

I think one of the really special things about FanLit is that so many of us have stayed in touch. Usually with these things there's a great surge of interest at the start and then people start dropping off like flies. But FanLit, the warmth seems to have stayed. Tessa or any other FanLitters, why do you think that was? Why do you think FanLit worked so well?

Anna Campbell said...

Santa, great to see you. And thanks for the congrats! San Francisco is going to be SUCH a party!!!

Tina, I'm laughing at how seriously everybody is taking the dishwasher question. What's that, Tessa? You WERE serious??!!! Sheesh!

Terri, always lovely to see you in the lair! Tessa's story was so incredible - and quite a different path to publication - I just had to get her into the lair. And anyway, she's funny and witty!

Eva, I think you'll love Tessa's books. I know how you love a good historical!

Joan, the Regency slang is just so great, isn't it? A friend of mine has started calling her significant other a 'nodcock' when he annoys her! Much more colorful than some of the current alternatives! ;-)

Unknown said...

congrats on being the winner of fanlit!!!!!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Marnee Jo, thanks for dropping by the lair! Tessa, you've brought us a lot of new friends today. What a woman!

Tessa, I've been meaning to say I hear you on the 1922 building. Until a couple of years ago, I lived in a 1928 Art Deco apartment block near the harbour in Sydney. I loved that place to death - it was like the writers' pads in the movies. But man, I had to redo the plumbing and then I had to redo the wiring. And I couldn't buy anything standard size. And it didn't have a dishwasher either. There was a tiny galley kitchen that was a late addition - no room for any amazing appliances. Man, I had to survive on a bar fridge! The building when it was originally constructed had a whole floor of kitchens that the residents used to just order their meals from. Those were the days!

But the pluses were fantastic high ceilings and lovely proportions to the rooms and this groovy lift like the one in Charade. So I never really felt I was making too many sacrifices.

Anna Campbell said...

Tessa, I've thought of something else to do this year although I'm sure you've already got this sorted. Keep contact details of anyone who gets in touch about the books. It's never too early to start putting a mailing list together. I just don't have time to do a newsletter, although I think they're a fantastic marketing tool, but I email anyone who's contacted me when I have a book coming out.

Janga said...

I'm late as usual, But I had to drop by to read your interview, Tessa. You know your waiting for publication just gives us more time for the pre-publication celebration, which comes before THE PUBLICATION CELEBRATION and the bestseller celebration. More time too to spead the word about your you-have-to-read-this-one books. And while I think Surrender of a Siren is a lovely title, book 2 is always going to be Goats on a Boat to me. :)

Anna, did you hear all the cheers from the EJ/JQ board last week? We were all thrilled to see both your books on that very important list.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Maggie, as always, great to see you. Jennifer, thanks for dropping by!

Christie! Now that's a theory - no dishwasher = conception?

Maggie! No, wonder you don't want to share Mr. R! Sold his blood in order to take you out? What a hero!

Pam, what fantastic advice! I wish you'd given it to me TWO years ago LOL!

Anna Campbell said...

Nah, Beth cracks everyone up! And she looks so dang sweet in her photo too. Just goes to show the camera can LIE!

Hi Rebekah! Thanks for dropping by!

Tessa and Jo, I hear you on dishwashing being a Zen experience. It's not for me - I have a very old Dishlex - but I definitely zone out when I'm ironing.

Kelly, it IS one of the all-time great call stories, isn't it? I'm so glad Tessa shared it with us all!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Lady Leigh! As a kid, I used to feel I was born outside my time (and my class obviously! I was clearly a duke's daughter!). But as I've got older, I must say I've learned to appreciate a lot of stuff women can do now compared to then.

Tiffany, welcome to the lair. Lovely to see another FanLit alumni!

Hey, Lois! It's wonderful that there are so many new historical authors coming out, isn't it? I was really upset when people said the genre was dead, not just because I write it, but because even more importantly, I READ it!

Anna Campbell said...

Ms Hellion Darringer, in between the shameless fondling of Captain Jack in there, you gave Tessa some great advice. Workshops are actually a great way to break into public speaking. You're generally talking to a small group, they're interested, in most cases they're friendly (especially if you give them chocolate) and you're talking about something you know and are enthusiastic about. Oh, and I especially like the bit about Tessa continuing to hang with the Banditas. It's done wonders for YOUR social life, hasn't it, MHD? ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Nathalie, lovely to see you here again!

Lily, you're right - everything in a writer's life is grist for the mill.

Marie, yeah, the post office story was really moving, wasn't it?

Hiya Blackroze!

Hiya Janga! Goats on a Boat works for me! And will you come and be my social director? I think you have VERY creative ideas! Hic! Hey, I must pop around EJ/JQ and listen to the cheers. Cheers always, um, CHEER me up!!! ;-) It's been an amazing week - but I've got the little silver ladies now so it must be true!

Anna Campbell said...

Man, all caught up! What a party!

Susan Sey said...

Okay I had to go look at my dishwasher after reading all these comments. It's a Kenmore, new last summer & if I do say so, adorable.

One thing, though? I hate the tray that holds the detergent. This is hard to explain but I'm going to try because it's important. Most dishwashers have a detergent tray that TWISTS closed. Mine has a flip top & if anything presses against it (as things do when your dishwasher is packed full) it just doesn't open. Then the whole load runs without the benefit of detergent. Grrrrr.

That probably makes no sense. I wish I could draw a picture. Just remember: you want the detergent tray to TWIST closed, not FLAP.

Oh, & BTW, I love your call story. Especially the part where you promised your husband a new car if the auction went well. That's the stuff my dreams are made of. :-)

Trish Milburn said...

What a great interview, Anna and Tessa. As a writer who quit her day job (and the accompanying security) before selling her first book, I understand how scary that can be, Tessa. I doubted my decision more than once.

Okay, about the dishwasher -- I'm weird. I actually prefer to do the dishes by hand. I run the dishwasher if we've had company and the dishes are overflowing the kitchen. Otherwise, I typically do them by hand as a break during the work day.

Hellie Sinclair said...

Indeed, Fair Anna, the Banditas did MUCH for my social life. (Off-Topic: You & the other Banditas have to pop by and visit tomorrow--we're changing ships and getting new digs.)

I hate giving presentations--but I always love the small workshops given at local chapters. As you said, it's a small, contained group--and they all are interested in writing, and you can speak on just about anything. And usually there's a signing after the workshop--so it's a great networking and impromptu book signing.

Gets you ready for when you have give that Key Luncheon Speech at RWA someday.

Anna Campbell said...

Ms Hellion, are you guys still on Yo Ho? You're not jumping ship to the jolly rowboat Sinky, are you? Definitely I'll pop over and I'll chase the Banditas up if I can. Honestly, it's like wrangling cats sometimes! ;-)

Keynote speech, huh? Seems an impossible dream. But I've got to say a RITA nomination seemed an impossible dream! I've decided I'm going to keep my dreams BIG! Ya nevah know!

Elyssa Papa said...

Hi Tessa!

I'm joining the bandwagon with saying how awesome, fun, and romantic Tessa's stories are. I fell in love with Jeremy from GOTH when I read it, and you will, too. Tessa writes some of the best heroes going.

Fanlit definitely taught a lot of us about writing on deadline and, more importantly, developed friendships.

I remembered when Tessa e-mailed us to check out her blog for her agent announcement and then when the Ballantine offer was made.

I'm not lying when I write that Tessa is one of the nicest people going! And she's definitely going to be big when GOTH, SOAS, and ALOP release in '09.

Congrats, Tessa! You so deserve it!

Hellie Sinclair said...

We're switching from Yo Ho to

(And by the way, you should check out the Hottie Crewmember of the Week, if you haven't. Justin Timberlake in a speedo.)

Dream BIG. What's the line: it's better to aim for the stars and miss than aim for the gutter and hit it. *LOL*

Anna Campbell said...

Hiya Elyssa (for those not in the know, Elyssa stalks Anne Gracie, don't you, E?). I can't wait to read GOTH! Tessa has such a sparkling wit that I'm sure the book will be a delight.

Ms Hellion Darevitch, I'll see you tomorrow! Love the new title!

catslady said...

As to the dishwasher, mine is so old it's held together with wire - the upper tray doesn't work, the dispenser half works, etc. It actually eats itself once in a while (horrible grinding noises). Two and a half years ago my husband promised me a new one (along with a revamped kitchen). I stopped holding my breath lol.

Great interview!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Catslady! Oh, man, your dishwasher sounds even older than mine. Mine has that funny little clip-on bit for the powder and I have to smash up the tablets of powder or else it won't close. The ball that sticks up was obviously invented after my dishwasher!

Tessa Dare said...

Whew - I'm back! And I have a lot of catching up to do! Thanks for continuing the party without me. :)

Tiffany, thanks so much for coming by! I agree, FanLit was an awesome crash course, because like you say, it really taught me to make every word count.

Hellion! So glad you could swing on over from the ship! I love your 5-point plan. Now I just need to think of a workshop topic... hm. In the meantime, I'll get to googling.

Lois, thanks for your interest in my books! I hope you do like them. I aim to please. :)

Nathalie - Thank you, and yes - I must schedule some time to relax in say, October. I have my third book due on August 1st, after just turning in the second one at the end of last at the moment, there is no rest for the wicked. Oh well, at least it's fun being wicked. :)

Lily, it is a lot of waiting. The reason it'll be so long is because all three books will be released in consecutive months. So they all have to be finished, of course, before they can go about printing and distributing them and whatnot. So it's a long wait, but the awesome thing is that I only have to do one big promo push instead of three. Yay!

Marie, thanks for your comment. It is funny, isn't it, how those little moments can be the most meaningful? I found myself wanting to scream to the post-office guy, 'yes, I'm here sending in my big three-book Random House contract!" But I didn't. Because I'm shy, and also...because it was sort of a nice feeling, to keep all that excitement buzzing inside.

Tessa Dare said...

Anna, I keep telling Mr. Dare we should go car-shopping, but he insists he's happy with his little VW. We actually do love VWs. We have a big VW van in the garage, too. My own dream car is a restored convertible Bug. But selfishly, I would like him to drive something with airbags.

As for YA and Regency - I really don't know that there's a lot in common between the two, but I just feel connected to both. I've already talked about why I love the Regency, but YA - well, I'm still a kid at heart. And I'm also a children's/YA librarian, so for a while it was my full-time job to read, select, and promote those books - and to work with the young people who read them. I'm one of those weird people who actually likes teenagers. Most of them. Most of the time.

But there's definitely a youthful feel to my Regencies. All the protagonists are 20-somethings, and just in that stage of life between "Whew-I made it to adulthood" and "Erk-what kind of adult am I going to be". Because that's what I can relate to, being someone who recently passed through that phase. Er, maybe still is in that phase.

And yes, I was absolutely serious about the dishwasher! Where else am I going to have dozens of women to offer their real-life experiences?

Like, Susan - that is an awesome tip. I will definitely look for the twisty soap thingy. Thanks!

And Anna, your art deco building sounds awesome! I love living in older buildings, even if they come with their own quirks. We had to buy a special "counter-depth" refrigerator for our kitchen because it's so small. Cost about twice as much as a regular one, but I love it.

Blackrose - thank you!!

Fedora said...

Hmm... so Beth said that 9's a good age, while Tawny waited until 12... So either way, Tessa, you and I still have at least a couple years to continue washing ourselves... so what model's topping the list so far?

As for what to spend the year doing, do you have hobbies you set aside for the writing/kids that you could pick up again? Or something you've been itching to start? Flight lessons? Ballet? Knitting? Pottery?

Elyssa Papa said...

Anne Gracie... oops, I mean Anna (LOL)... Anna, I don't "stalk" Anne Gracie---much.

I think I sent Anne Gracie so many e-mails when I was trying to contact Anna about scheduling when CTC came out. Both were gracious to put up with my snafus.

Tessa Dare said...

Janga, thanks so much! You're right, the long wait means a long celebration. AND a long period of bliss before any reviewers or critics have their say, LOL. I'm not eager for that part of it, seriously. And it will always be Goats on a Boat to me, too. :)

Trish - is terrifying to quit a job before selling, isn't it? But I think that terror was key in my success. I was putting my family through a lot of - not hardship, exactly, but mild deprivation. :) I questioned my decision daily, and shed some guilty tears over it too. But that made me bound and determined to make it pay off, no matter what it took. If I'd had the financial security and the freedom to fail, I might not have taken the risks I did, and I might not have sold when/how I did. I don't advise everyone to go quit their jobs, of course, but I think it was absolutely the right call for me. And obviously for you, too, oh crossgenre-goddess-of-two-identities!

What was that, Hellion? Anna's giving the Keynote speech in 2009? I'm so there!

Anna Campbell said...

WHAT???!!! 2009???!!! Nah, not this little black duck! I'm aiming for 2019! I'll be full of wisdom and experience then! ;-) Or at least that's the plan.

Elyssa, I'd swap any amount of snafus in return for a lifetime of chances to tease someone. And believe me, if anyone wants to mistake me for Anne Gracie, feel perfectly free!

Tessa Dare said...

Ely, you are the sweetest thing ever. Your love for my heroes makes me almost willing to share them. Almost. I tell you, though - ALOP's hero is surprising me with how giddy he's making me. Seriously, he has me all aflutter. Can't wait for you to read it. :)

Catslady! You need a dishwasher more than I do! That sounds awful - grinding noises, really?

Flchen, yes - it will be many years before the darelings can be trusted with dishes. Hobbies? Hm. I'm so bad at anything crafty. I really should exercise more. Travel is one thing I'd like to do. I've never been to England, and here I'm writing Regencies. Sort of silly, huh? Honestly, this next year will be my oldest child's last year before kindergarten. So I think I'm mostly looking forward to spending quality time with her while I can. They grow up so fast!

Elyssa Papa said...

Anna, trust me since you know me now, you're going to have more than a lifetime to tease me about many things. LOL

Elyssa Papa said...

Tessa, you know about my not-so secret love for Toby! You can't tease me like that and not share.

*Ely flips the calendar and realizes how far away Oct '09 is and starts to cry.*


Tessa Dare said...

Pfft. Ely, you know you don't have to wait. Well, you do have to wait until I finish the book. Give me 3-4 months.

I'm gonna disappear again for a bit...time to start some laundry and, you guessed it, do dishes!

Elyssa Papa said...

Phew, Tessa. I was worried there, and this just goes to show you I should read more carefully too. *g* You know how to reach me.

I'll (fingers crossed) be sending you something in early June, too Tessa. You'll feel like you're in Africa... well, hopefully you will. *g*

Anna Campbell said...

Tessa, Kings Cross where I lived was like the Greenwich Village of 1920s Sydney - all the literati lived their and had VERY bohemian lives. It always gave me a thrill that I was in an area that had such a literary history. And same with the building - I could imagine poets and writers coming to a party at my flat in 1928 and doing wild and louche things. As you say, it's a pain that nothing's standard but the personality more than makes up for it.

Thanks for that YA answer. I didn't know about you being a YA librarian. There's some fantastic books out in YA now. When I grew up (the 60s), the scene was pretty drack. Lots of worthy books and that's about it. So I ended up reading adult stuff from a very early age. And now I'm going back to explore the teenage thing. Perhaps I'm regressing!

Anna Campbell said...

Mind you, that would be THERE not THEIR. Hmm, hangs head in shame...

Kim Castillo said...

Hey Tessa!!! WOW, I didn't know you were with Helen. She's amazing and wonderful.

And I don't have to tell you how proud all the bonbon's are of you! We're all counting the days until GOTH hits store shelves:D

Fedora said...

Tessa, the time sure does fly, so yes, totally spend some time with your darelings before they head off to school! You probably already do this sort of thing, but definitely enjoy the freedom to do little fun outings--the zoo or a kid-museum or a farm or just walking through the neighborhood together. The routine of school every day doesn't allow for as much of that, alas ;)

Lisa said...

Hi Tessa,

I enjoyed your call story thanks for sharing it. I look forward to your trilogy.
I have a Whirlpool dishwasher but very rarely use it because I tend to hide dirty dishes in it, rather than incorporate it as a useful appliance:)

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Kim and Lisa. Thanks for dropping by!

Tessa Dare said...

Hi, Kim! Thanks so much for dropping by! Yes, Helen is amazing and wonderful. I can't say enough good things about her.

And thanks, Lisa! Yes, I have a fear that I would do the same thing with a dishwasher... sigh.

Flchen - great idea, taking the kids on outings. We actually live about 10 minutes from Disneyland, and have annual passes-so we go there all the time. It's almost sad, because it's barely special for my kids anymore! We should really do more trips to the zoo and the beach.

Courtney Milan said...

Okay, this is the world's WORST critique partner, barely escaping the day job to tell everyone that not only is GOTH amazing, but that I just knew it was going to be a big hit.

Also, while Tessa has talked about how brave she was (a little bit), I just want to add that she is also a tireless worker. The number of times I'd get scenes from her in the wee hours--and the way she'd work to make them as strong and powerful as possible--really is just amazing. Tessa can talk about trying hard to be lucky, but the truth is she tried hard to be *everything*--smart, witty, funny.... and it all shows in her fabulous book.

I can't wait until you all can read it and gush as much as I do!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Mademoiselle CM, CONGRATULATIONS on the GH final!!! You rock, my friend! Hey, I think we've had quite a list of literary luminaries in here today. Thanks, Tessa, for bringing all your friends to play in the lair!

Maria Zannini said...

I'm normally a lurker here, but I had to stop by and wish Tessa all the best. She is certainly deserving. Tessa is probably the only author whose books I will buy on automatic. That's how compelling I think her writing is. The woman rocks!

Loved your "call" story, Tessa!

Courtney Milan said...

Thanks, Anna. Without your help--and of course, Tessa and India's repeated readings--I doubt I'd have done it.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Maria, thanks for de-lurking. Pull up a chair. Don't be shy. We don't bite. Well, I don't. I'm not sure about the other denizens of the lair!

Anna Campbell said...

Awwww, you're much too modest! Tessa, slap her with a wet fish next time you see her, right?

p226 said...

We have a dishwasher for some reason I cannot fathom. Because we wash the dishes BEFORE we put them in the dishwasher.

Why exactly did I buy this thing, again?

Oh.... and cool character. Chicks that fish and shoot rock. I married me one of those. I've always been attracted to the tomboy types.

Anna Campbell said...

You like chicks who shoot rocks?? P226, that's as strange as you and you llamas! ;-)

p226 said...

Nono, that's my boy that likes to shoot rocks.

Seriously. He does. There's a two foot boulder on the public range he's been eroding for months.

*pock!* *big puff of dust*

I let him shoot at it with lower-power stuff because he likes the big puff of dust and the loud impact sound.

Hmmmm.... how to rephrase for clarity...

"I have found that members of the female persuasion who are inclined towards certain, traditionally male leisure activities, such as fishing and shooting, tend to be of a disposition and temperament concordant to my own."

Gee. I think I've been watching too much of the John Adams series on HBO.

Courtney Milan said...

I just realized I can't write. I didn't mean to imply that Tessa was a little bit brave. I meant she only talked about how brave she was for a little bit.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, P226, either that or you've taken up the Jane Austen fanfic where Tessa left off! It is a truth universally acknowledged...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Tessa! I'm late to the party but welcome to the Lair!! Wonderful post, Anna, and wonderful comments, everyone. WOW.

Suz, you lucky gal, enjoy the GR!

Tessa Dare said...

Sorry - took the darelings on a little playdate down the street! But I'm back.

CM is one the world's two best CPs ever! What she's not telling you is that every time I reworked those scenes, I made her and India/Amy read them again. And they would do so, in the wee hours, even though they must have read some chapters in GOTH about 10 times. And when anyone else would just have cried uncle and said, "it's perfect! Just leave me alone!" - they said, "Nope, still needs work." That's a great CP. And they both have insanely stressful, terrifically important day jobs and still manage to be fabulous writers and great friends and CPs on top of it. They're my heroes!

P226 -I think chicks (who fish and shoot) rock, too! I kinda wish I were one of them. I've never shot anything (shh, don't tell).

Why does that whole exchange remind me of the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves?

Maria Z - how sweet of you to come by! Ladies, Maria has an amazing book coming out in May called Touch of Fire, from Samhain Publishing. She is an autobuy for me, too! And let me tell you, P226, you would loooove Maria's heroine. She can make rocks explode into flame!

Anna, thanks so much for inviting me and being a great interviewer and a great person!

And hi, Jeanne! Thanks so much to all the Banditas for welcoming me to the lair. You've all been so gracious.

If I missed sorry!

Gannon Carr said...

Late to the party, as usual. *g*

Tessa, your call story was wonderful! What an amazing journey you've had, and continue to have. I'm looking forward to reading your trilogy next year.

I have a dishwasher (Whirlpool) which is great, especially when it's loaded by my three dishwashing children!

doglady said...

Look at all these GH and Rita Finalists in here! Tessa knows how to throw a party!! And Anna, my advice has not expiration date so feel free to apply it to yourself!! You deserve it you two fisted Rita woman you!

Big wave to all of the FanLit alums stopping by! Yes, Tessa, I am coming to San Francisco! I can hardly believe it myself. Please ignore all news reports about a short, dark-haired woman and a golden rooster robbing banks. I'll get there by hook or by crook! Or would that be cockadoodledoo!

p226 said...

"P226 -I think chicks (who fish and shoot) rock, too! I kinda wish I were one of them. I've never shot anything (shh, don't tell)."

Wow. Take a class :)

Consider this an open invite. If you're ever in WV, track me down, and my wife and I will introduce you to shooting.

p226 said...

Actually, that invitation is extended to all the Banditas as well.

kim h said...

gt is always good. buy a new tv, hd.

Anna Campbell said...

P226, should I ever be in your vicinity, I look forward to shooting rocks! No stone shall remain unturned ;-)

Pam, so excited you're coming to San Fran. Now I just have to convince you to sing for me!

Gannon, always lovely to see you whatever time you turn up to the party!

Anna Campbell said...

Tessa, you've been a fantastic guest. I'd say you rock, except that might encourage P226 to want to shoot you and we want you alive to come back and see us some time soon! Thanks so much for making the day such a party. And thanks so much to all Tessa's great friends who swung by the lair to keep the bubbly bubbling! You ROCK - ouch, ouch, ouch! Stop shooting!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, and don't forget to call back in a few days to see who won Tessa's Amazon voucher! $20 worth of books is a great prize!

Lenora Bell said...

It was the first day of school today and I missed the party. Damn! I loved the interview--the description of your family circus was hilarious, Tessa, and I never get tired of hearing your amazing story.

As for a dishwasher, I say fie upon't! My house was built in 1886 and when we renovated we tore out the newer stuff and replaced everything with old period appliances. I love doing the dishes in my huge porcelain farmhouse sink. Of course I do wear dish gloves. Pink ones.

Congratulations to all the GH and RITA finalists!!

Thank you for featuring Tessa, banditas! Isn't she the best?

Oh, and I did notice the karaoke shout-out you gave me, Tessa. Guess what, I just tried big band karaoke with a nineteen-piece band backing me up. What a thrill!

Tessa Dare said...

Gannon- You've given me an extra incentive. While my husband and children may not be able to wash dishes by hand, loading and unloading a dishwasher may well be within their abilities. Excellent point, thank you!

Pamela, I'm so glad I'll finally get the chance to meet you in person!

p226 - the very next time I'm in West Virginia, I'll take you up on that offer. :)

Kim h. - oh, dear - don't let Mr. Dare hear you talking about hdtv! I think he wants that more than the car...

Lenora, thank you so much for stopping by! I love the idea of your old farmhouse sink and period appliances. Big Band karaoke sounds awesome! We have to see if we can find that in SF.

Anna, once again, thank you so much for having me!

Anna Campbell said...

Lenora, welcome to the lair. The karaoke experience sounds absolutely amazing!

Tessa, you're very welcome!

Ellory said...

Congrats to Anna for her RITA finals and to Tessa for your debut novel.

We do have a dishwasher but its back in the States and I'm down under. Can't help you.

We missed it when our old on broke and my kidlets had to help do dishes.

Keira Soleore said...

Tessa, hello to you on another forum, and congratulations on the three-book contract. I have heard such rave reviews of your book GOTH that I can hardly wait to read it.

Are you writing your third book now, or working on another project?

We have always owned Kenmore appliances from Sears. They're not at the forefront of technology, but they have a good maintenance team.

Dina said...

I have never had a dishwasher except for my hands, I would love one someday, but then again you still have to load and unload it. Darn. :)

Darcy Burke said...

Bipping back by (sick kids, ugh) to ask why no one has mentioned a Maytag? Seriously, no one? I love mine.

Thanks for the congrats everyone! Anna, the GH call was surreal. My husband answered the phone, but not until after I saw the caller ID and just knew...he asked who was calling and his mouth split into a huge grin as he said "RWA?" He listened in on the good news and then did this little victory dance that included wild pointing and jumping or something. I'm a little fuzzy. Then I cried. I think I thanked her. Yes, I thanked her before we hung up. Then I shrieked and scared my children. :-) Good times.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nice Blog.If you are unable to stick to your intensions then really appreciate your self for being true to your self. On the other hand, if you really determined to quit, then think whether it’s the right time to dare to quit