Submitting your book to agents

Submitting your book to agents, advice from Sonya Barbee

Tonya Barbee authorDo your homework first.  I recommend checking out the most current Guide to Literary Agents that is published yearly.  Don’t move forward without getting a hold of this book.

Review it first and foremost to see what agents you are interested in writing. It’s difficult when it’s unsolicited because you have to search for someone who will be willing to review your material.

Check out the instructions for submissions and be sure to follow those instructions completely. Otherwise, that’s a sure way of getting your manuscript trashed. And be sure to have your agent’s name spelled correctly and include a subject. I read that many authors do not spell the agent’s name correctly. Include a subject line such as the title and the genre.

Include a subject line such as the title and the genre. Many times agents allow for so many types of manuscripts, and if you’re sending just one more of [that] has surpassed their quota of submissions, that would not be a good thing.

When agents give specific instructions to only send the first six chapters, do not send the entire manuscript when they didn’t ask for it.  That would be another mistake and could possibly get it in the slush pile.

It’s unfortunate, but think of it this way, they probably get hundreds [of submissions] a day depending on the publishing company/agent.  It’s a massive business and I’m sure [that there are] more manuscripts than there are agents to review them.

Another factor is to watch how you communicate on social media. I read an article that spoke about kindness.  Not only are employers reviewing social media sites of their future employees, agents are doing the same thing. Who wants to work with someone who is unkind? No one.  If you’re not being kind to people on your own personal Facebook site, who on earth would want to take a chance of being in a working relationship with you.

If you want to get your material read, follow these steps and be sure to proofread.  Being close to your own material, you may not find any errors so I would advise paying either an English teacher or another professional editor. Continue reading


Get to know Lydia Michaels, award-winning author

Lydia Michaels authorLydia Michaels is an award-winning author of over 30 contemporary romance novels. She lives in Pennsylvania with her wonderfully supportive husband, beautiful daughter, and many crazy fur babies.

If [When] she is not off spending time with her family you can usually find Lydia at her computer working on her next story or hiding somewhere quiet with a great book. She loves taking a romantic plot with steamy chemistry and pressing the bounds of love. Her books are intellectual, erotic, haunting, always centered on love.

Lydia Michaels’ darkly compelling Surrender Trilogy was an Apple iBooks bestseller and she has been featured in USA Today. In 2015 she was the winner of The Best of Bucks Award and she has been nominated as Best Author in the Bucks Happening Magazine three years running [2015, 2016, and 2017]. She is a four-time nominee for the prestigious RONE Award.
Who are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

Blue Eyed Devil, Lisa Kleypas

Peter Pan, JM Barrie

Sugar Daddy, Lisa Kleypas

Tangles Lies series, Pam Godwin (3 books)

Letting Go, Michele Zurlo

Black Dagger Brotherhood series, JR Ward (10+ books)

What inspired you to write this book?

An event from my past that I’d compartmentalized and forgotten. Journaling helped me remember, and writing down the recollections helped be discover my calling in life. Writing is a part of who I am. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

What are you working on?

Untied the sequel to Blind (Mastermind series)

Calamity Rayne: Back Again, the sequel to Calamity Rayne: Gets a Life

More Surrender Games! (Toni’s story is coming and it’s going to be insane!)

The release of 2 original series (The Order of Vampires and New Castle) that have been in the vault for years while getting re-written. Sorry to keep so many of you waiting!

And I have six other novels in the works! (My muse will let me know which one gets finished first).

What book do you think everyone should read? Continue reading

New Rom-Com by Elizabeth Gray, Just Friends

Just Friends Elizabeth GreyTitle: Just Friends (The Agency, #1) by Elizabeth Grey
Publication date: September 15th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance


Why did her heart have to choose him?

Violet Archer has her dream job at one of London’s top advertising agencies, and the fact she gets to work with Ethan Fraser every day makes it even better. He’s the best friend a girl could have. And she’s never even noticed how hot he is. Nope. Definitely not.

When a big night out deteriorates into a great big mess, Violet’s world starts to wobble like a drunk giraffe on stilts. She’s caught in a web of secrets, none of which are hers. And maybe she is starting to notice how hot Ethan is, after all. And sweet and kind and… oh dear.

Has Violet fallen for her best friend? Can their friendship survive yet another secret? And, the question Violet is most scared to ask, could Ethan have feelings for her too?

This raunchy, hilarious rom-com is the first in The Agency series by Elizabeth Grey. Continue reading

Review of Riverdale, the first three episodes

Growing up my sister and I were avid, no rabid fans of Archie comics. I think at one point I wished I lived in Riverdale so that I could hang with Betty, Veronica, and the bunch. Maybe that’s why I based The Family Portrait Series mostly around the teenagers — God knows the adults have enough drama to warrant a series of their own, but we’ll leave that there.

When The CW announced that they were doing dramatic series based on the characters from the comic book my sister and I were a little horrified, especially since they had no previews to show us or they kept it under wraps for as long as they could.

Finally, Riverdale premiered on January 26, 2017. Granted I missed the premiere because I forgot, had other things to do, and don’t like watching television in real time anymore. Nowadays missing a premier is no big deal because you can always catch it digitally (if digital technology was a person, I’d marry it). Anyhow, I was able to give the show my standard three episode test.

Here is the synopsis from

A subversive take on Archie and his friends, exploring small town life, the darkness, and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade.

Not much right? A bit vague.

The show’s Wiki page was no better. Oh well, on to my take… Continue reading

Hildie McQueen Presents, Laurel Creek Series 1

Jaded Luke book coverTitle: Jaded: Luke (Laurel Creek Series #1) by Hildie McQueen
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance


Haunted by PTSD and a failed marriage, Luke Hamilton returns home to Laurel, Montana. Going home isn’t an easy fix, but it beats ending up in prison or dead. At first, the familiar surroundings and open land seem to set things right, but soon his old demons rear their ugly heads and he realizes it’s the wrong time to enter any relationship.

Leah Morgan’s experience in the corporate world has prepared her to prosper her father’s ranch in Montana. She knows everyone expects her to fail, but nothing will stop her from turning the ranch around and selling it to the highest bidder – especially not a rancher. The quicker she closes the deal, the sooner she can get out of Laurel and move on with her career.

But when Luke and Leah cross paths, they both discover that starting over can be a complicated business. Continue reading

Interviewing For Her Lover by Ellis Day

Interviewing Ellis O Day novelInterviewing For Her Lover: Six Nights of Sin (Book 1) by Ellis Day
Genre: Erotic Romance


This is erotica with love. So, it’s only intended for those eighteen and older.

Sarah wants a lover, but she wants one on her terms. She doesn’t have time to date and picking a guy up at a bar is not only dangerous but it doesn’t guarantee he’ll let her act out her fantasies. When she hears about La Petite Morte Club—a place for willing males and females to meet with rules and contracts so that all parties leave satisfied—she knows it’ll be perfect.

She signs up with the club and starts the process of finding the man who’ll be her lover for six nights. Six nights of fantasy—his and hers. Six nights of sex and then they’re done. Simple, uncomplicated and fun, but she doesn’t count on Nick’s ability to make her desire everything he has to offer and more.

Warning: This series has hot, steamy, sometimes kinky sex and is meant for mature readers only (18 and older). Continue reading

Michelle Abbott presents, Kai

Kai book coverTitle: Kai by Michelle Abbott
Genre: Romance


My name is Kai Okamoto. I deal drugs. Trade escapism for cold, hard cash.
Born to a British mother and a Japanese father, I grew up poor, hungry, and alone. Hiding from the monsters at our door. The debt collectors.

I’ve worked hard to escape my past. I’m not that frightened little boy anymore. I’m wealthy, secure, and sure of myself. At least I was, until I met Lily.

Lily is a good girl. The kind of girl I should stay away from. I should, but I can’t.

I hate lying to her, but if she finds out who I am, what I do. I won’t see her for dust.

A standalone, bad boy romance, set in England. Continue reading

Susan Mac Nicol shares her thoughts on virtual friendships

Defending Virtual Friendships by Susan Mac Nicol

Susan Mac Nicol I want to talk a little bit about virtual friendships and making friends via social networks. Yep, those ones you make on Facebook and other social networking sites.

Now some people have questioned the use of the word ‘friend’. They say, ‘How can someone you’ve never met be your ‘friend’, someone you only know over the ether waves and even then, you have no idea who they really are.  Man, woman, pervert, pedophile, priest, business man, serial killer—true, you have no idea who they really are. A lot of them you have no idea of their gender, and the number of nom de plumes abound. There are super heroes, book characters, film-stars and even cartoon characters.

The word friend is defined in the dictionary as ‘a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.’ It’s a very broad and sweeping definition and in my mind, it certainly applies to those people with whom we strike up a relationship over the social airwaves.

I talk to people every day who I consider friends. People who share their stories and their lives with me, their ups and downs, their successes and failures, their daily strife and their dreams and aspirations. I have people I know in ‘real life’ who are not as good as friends as these others.  I have people who know me personally and face to face yet have never bought or read any of my books and aren’t really interested in what I do because it’s out of their comfort zone.

And then I have people who private message me, sending me personal voice messages of support and whenever I’m down, seem to pick up on it and let me know they are thinking of me.

Personally, I have made some of the best friends ever via Twitter and Facebook. People who are now face-to-face friends and where the relationship has developed to such an extent that it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

I have wonderful fellow authors who give me advice on areas they are more expert in and others, professionals in their field, who do the same and give up their time to make a meaningful contribution to something I’ve written. I have fellow authors who give me their time and knowledge and expertise and counsel to try and make me a better and more marketable writer despite the fact they have their own books to promote and their own businesses and lives to live.

So the next time someone face-to-face says’ You and your stupid Facebook and Twitter friends, why don’t you get a proper life’, just look them in the eye, and say ‘Have you read my books, the ones I slave over? Have you helped me out recently when I was feeling down, sent me a funny message to cheer me up? Have you heard my tales of woe and actually listened instead of telling me all yours?”

If the answer is No, then don’t feel guilty for having this world of virtual friendships. Whatever keeps you going and happy, it’s worth it if it means something to you. Continue reading

Review: That Was Then, This Is Now

I was given a digital copy of That Was Then, This Is Now in exchange for an honest review.

This book came to me at exactly the right time. If you are like me and looking for meaning or some kind of light at the end of your tunnel of darkness, give this book a read.

Ms. Harper pulled out the right passage from the bible that goes with the trouble she was facing at the time. Her issues and mine were completely different yet the passages spoke to me.

In That Was Then, This Is Now, Ms. Harper told about the hardship she went through and how through prayer and faith she got through her tunnel of darkness and emerged stronger than she ever was.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what is your vocation, we all go through hardships and wonder “Why me?” The answer to that is that God has a plan for every individual’s life and even though we can’t see the next step in front of us, we press forward and when we get through the tunnel and look back we are able to see the entire picture. This gives me hope in my life and Ms. Harper reminded me of that.

This book is very well written and structured, I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to deal with the hardships in their life. You are not alone and there is a way through it.

This book reminds you that every trouble has a season, and when that season passes you will enjoy the rewards. Continue reading

Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien

Carry Me Home J ThierronTitle: Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult


“A riveting page-turner… Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces — and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.” -KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea

Carry Me Home is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.

* * *

Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival. Continue reading