Friday, April 16, 2010

Guest post by Paranormal Romance author Frances Stockton! (And Giveaway!)

Hello everyone!! Please help me welcome author Frances Stockton. And to celebrate, she's offering a giftcard giveaway to one random winner - just read the rules at the bottom. And here we go!!


Greetings everyone!
My name is Frances Stockton and I write sensual Paranormal Romance for Ellora’s Cave Publishing/Cerridwen Press. With three books published in my Panthera series, the books feature an ancient race that can shape-shift into panthers, leopards, lions and tigers, oh my! But while I’d love to tell you more about the books, I’ve been invited to post on Morning Glow’s blog about a number of different things, including my writing process and getting published.

First, let me tell you a little about getting published. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to know that my books were contracted and published for Cerridwen Press. But it honestly took a very long time to get to that point. Starting at age 13, I was that kid in Middle School that seemed to get teased. While I wouldn’t say I was ‘bullied’, the teasing made me withdraw some and opened my mind to storytelling. In fact, I wrote my first manuscript in the 7th grade, falling in love with writing in the process. Now the story I’d written wasn’t very good. I didn’t know anything about POV, GMC, HEA or descriptive, sensual romance. What I did know is that I had more stories to tell and wanted to write more. So the heroine was a cross between a contemporary Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew, who happened to be dating the oldest Hardy Boy. I’d no idea about description, narrative, or how to even describe a passionate kiss. Someday, I’ll share with readers how I got around the passionate kiss description. For today, let’s just say I’ve grown up a lot since that first book.

Since then, I’ve written a lot of manuscripts, many of which remain in my basement under lock and key, never to see daylight. But with each book I’d completed, I’d learned something more. I finished High School, went to college (admittedly I went to a few until I found a major that I really loved), and worked a variety of jobs. In the time since graduating High School, I’d been a college student, cashier, a Pharmacy Aid, a nanny/housekeeper, and a Veterinary Technician. I’d also become involved in a local community theater, primarily a ‘techie’, where I worked behind the scenes on plays and musicals and dance theater productions. It was a blast! All of it, the jobs, the theater, and life experience, helped me to become a better writer. Believe it or not, eventually I earned a degree in History/Secondary Education and taught 6th and 7th grade Social Studies! Ironic that I’d come full circle from that first manuscript that still gathers dust in my basement. The one thing that remained consistent in my life was the need to write. Eventually, I would move to New England with my family and started to write full time.

Once I did that, I joined RWA and my local RWA chapter. I can’t tell you how important it is to join a writer’s organization. Without my fellow chapter mates, I wouldn’t have learned about transitions between POV, how to create believable GMC, and a Happily Ever After to cheer for. I know, that’s a lot of initials, but they were important to learn. Combined with taking workshops, attending conferences, using my degree in History, and my genuine love of animals from 12 years of Veterinary Technician experience, I created the Abcynians, an ancient race of irresistible men and courageous women, capable of longevity, swift healing, great strength and enduring, passionate love. For within this little known race are the Panthera, those who share their souls with a panther and can transform themselves into their panther half. What makes the Panthera different from other shape-shifter/paranormal creatures is the way they convert. Conversion is a gift, an essence of life that is given to either save a life or make a life. Unlike vampires, there’s no blood exchange. Instead, it’s a life-force that enters another through a bite and transforms into whatever the receiver needs. If it’s healing, the recipient grows calm, allowing the body to mend quickly and succinctly. If given during lovemaking, the essence becomes an aphrodisiac. Now, of course, there are rules that the Abcynians must obey. To find out more about the rules visit my website http://www.francesstockton.com and click the ‘books’ link along the header of any page.

Set during my favorite eras throughout History, each novel features elements that made that era unique and inspiring, while having a hero and heroine that readers can fall in love with and cheer for. Book in the Panthera Series 1: Seductive Persuasion features 450 year old Garrick Forrester, Earl of Danford, and his mate, a gifted healer named Aisley Reeves. And it is set during the Late Medieval period. If you’d like to learn more or read excerpts, visit the following links: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-6809-seductive-persuasion.aspx and http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419918780.htm. Book 2 in the Panthera series: Rhiannon’s Pride follows the story of a female Abcynian who has lost her way and her memory and had been the unknowing captive of a brutal nobleman until she runs away to Florence, only to find her destined mate in the form of artist Dante Luciano. Please check out: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-7223-rhiannons-pride.aspx and http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419920103.htm to find out more about life during the Renaissance. For the third book, Sea Captain’s Ghost, I went jumped head first into the Golden Age of Piracy, creating a dark sea captain with a mysterious past, known as El Fantasma or ‘The Ghost’, by sailors who say Captain Don Adriano de Montoya has been sailing the seas for hundreds of years and never grows older. But Adriano is not a ghost; he is Panthera, capable of becoming a full grown lion, but his need for revenge might cost him Jocelyn Kincaid, the woman he loves. For more on Book 3 in the Panthera series: Sea Captain’s Ghost, follow the links provided: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-7751-sea-captains-ghost.aspx and http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419923647.htm to read blurbs and excerpts.

Now that you’ve read a little about my books, let’s go back to talking about writing. I’d like to stress the importance of joining a writer’s group. I know I mentioned this before, but if you’re into romance, find out more about RWA or Google writer’s groups in your area that concentrate on romantic fiction. Go to your local Barnes and Noble and find out if they have any writers groups that meet there regularly. I know my B&N has several signs advertising for writers groups and the dates/times that the meetings are held. This might be a great place to start honing your craft. And, of course, if you’re a reader, you can pick up a new book. I’d also recommend checking out Amazon.com or any brick and mortar bookstore for research books on writing. The Idiots Guide books and the Dummies books are fantastic! They are easy to use, easy to follow, and packed full of information. Also purchase the latest Writer’s Digest Books. These are amazingly helpful on discussing the industry, publishers, agents and editors. Lastly, read, read and read! The more you read, the more you learn about plotting, GMC, POV, HEA and how to write a great book.

With thanks to Morning Glow for inviting me to post on her blog, it is my hope that this entry was both helpful and inspiring. I’d love to know what you think. I’ll be checking back throughout the day to respond to comments and questions about writing or my books. And, simply by stopping by and commenting your name will be placed into a drawing for a gift card, with the winner’s choice between Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com.
Sincerely written,
Frances Stockton
The Panthera: Seductive Persuasion, Rhiannon's Pride, and Sea Captain's Ghost
Available from Cerridwen Press
www.francesstockton.com

Wow! And thank you Frances for dropping by!! As stated, Frances will be checking back throughout the day to respond to any comments and questions, so don't be shy!

To enter the giveaway: Leave a comment, and please include your email at the bottom so we have a way to notify you.
Contest ends Sunday night, April 18th.
Winner will be drawn and notified on Monday.
It is winners choice whether the gift card be for Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.com, and when we contact the winner, we will ask which he or she chooses(BN or Amazon.com).
Thank you!

18 comments:

Morning Glow from Novel Addiction said...

Just want to thank Frances, again, for dropping by and doing a guest post! She was super nice to work with, and I can't wait to check out her books!

joder said...

Thanks for joining us today and telling us about your path to being published. It's an arduous path and very intimidating. I think that's why I keep holding myself back, the time and rejection would be hard to cope with. Do you have any tried and true ways to deal with rejection? Punching bags, bottles of Jack?

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Frances Stockton said...

Hello Joder! Thank you for the question, and thank you to Morning Glow!

As to your question, rejection isn't easy. It never is, whether it's from a publisher or a negative review. Some say there are 'good' rejection letters. The ones that give advice or comments but still don't make a sale, for me, those are tough because I'd gotten my share of them and it wasn't easier to take. However, patience, writing, reading, knowing your market, and joining a critique group or writer's group is a great way to get past the rejections. A book can't be published if it isn't submitted. Keep trying, keep at it, and it helps to keep a punching bag!

Michelle G said...

Frances,

Wonderful post. I am not familiar with your work - but it sounds fascinating.

And you? A vet tech with a History degree - that certainly gives you more insight into the 'shifter' perspective. :) I am intrigued.

I love just about anything that involves a shifter - be he wolf, panther, lion, rat...whatever the case may be, I enjoy reading it.

Best to you and have a wonderful weekend.

Michelle
kweenmg at yahoo dot com

Knives said...

Fran,

Great post. How do you feel about today's paranormal romance readers ? Do you think that there's a growing thirst for the kinds of books that you write ? How do you think pop culture is helping (or not) in your market? ?

Frances Stockton said...

Wow, thank you to those who've posted already. This means a ton to me! Words can't say how much.

As to Knives' question, I think today's readers are very knowledgable on the genre. There are a lot of vampire, werewolf and other ghostly type phenomena and books in the Paranormal subgenre, but as a reader myself, I read what's out there and what's selling. I have my favorites, of course, and for me, they could write anything and I would read it. But with so many in the field, it's my hope that because I go back to my favorite eras in history and tap into my love of big cats and animals, it makes my books unique.
As to pop culture? Hmm, I think that because of movies and powerhouse series like True Blood will help bring notice to all paranormal romances.

Cathy M said...

Hi Frances,

I've read the first two books so far, and love the imaginative storylines and the bit of history that you share with us.

What are you working on now?

caity_mack(at)yahoo(d0t)com

Dalton Diaz said...

Hey Francis! Love the post, and great advice. My local writing chapter is like home, the friends I've made like family. As for rejection, we've all dealt with it. I like to think of it in simple terms, as passed on to a number of us by Suz Brockmann, as it was passed on to her:
No you already have.
If that doesn't make sense, try it with a Yiddish inflection!

Frances Stockton said...

Hi again everyone.
Caity, I've a third Panthera book out with Cerridwen Press, titled Sea Captain's Ghost. I love pirates and privateers and Captain Jack Sparrow, so, you can guess where the inspiration came from. As to what I'm writing now, it's still Paranormal, but contemporary and involves many different 'supernatural' creatures, beings, etc. I hope to share more in the future on that.

TY, Dalton for stopping by! Very cool, and I couldn't agree more. Being in a writing group or chapter is hugely important, especially when you know you're surrounded by people who 'get' what you do and understand the struggle.

Chris said...

Hi! *waves* Just visiting - please don't enter me in the contest. Frances - nice of you to share some of your tips for aspiring writers!

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed reading your post; it was interesting, Frances.

I'm sure, I'm too late to ask a question, but I will. What are your thoughts on book trailers? Do you think they help in book sales?

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Frances Stockton said...

Hi Tracey,
Thanks for your question and it's not too late at all!
As an answer, I had a book trailer made for Seductive Persuasion. If you scroll to the book link on the home page at http://www.francesstockton.com, you can click the link. It's also on the Paranormal Books page w/ the book blurbs and morphing characters.
Anyway, I had that trailer done by my web designer and he did a fabulous job. I don't know if it translated to sales, however. I think what's helped the most are chats, guest blog spots, social networks like FB, MySpace and Goodreads.com. I would get another done for a book in the future, however, just to see what could be done.

Frances Stockton said...

Just for kicks, in answer to Tracey's question, here's the YouTube link to the video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gdF2CwqeGo

butch said...

Ms. Stockton: Thank you for your interesting story. I look forward to reading your book soon!
Barbi475 at aol dot com

jeanette8042 said...

Loved reading the post and I love your books!

lilazncutie1215 @ yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I am not a paranormal romance "virgin," but have not read too many novels in this genre thus far...so needless to say, I would LOVE to check out your book, Ms. Stockton, after reading Morning Glow's wonderful review of it :) Thanks for all the interesting info about your path to getting published and such~such an inspiration for aspiring writers!
klueneca@muohio.edu

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Thank you for a very interesting interview! I have not read any of your books (yet), but that is definitely going to change in the very near future! :)

Liz J.

mslizzyj@gmail.com

Frances Stockton said...

Thank you so much, everyone! I'm so excited to have shared the weekend with all of you in some way. I am very grateful to Morning Glow for inviting me to post. Have a fabulous week and tomorrow, we'll announce the winner of the contest.