Wednesday, September 09, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Debut Author Annette McCleave!

IMHO welcomes debut author Annette McCleave, who will discuss this month’s theme, “Back to School: Surprising Things I've Learned from Writing/Reading Romance” in her own inimitable fashion. Annette is the 2008 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® award winning author of Drawn into Darkness, the first novel in a new paranormal romance series about Soul Gatherers--immortal warriors who battle demons to protect the souls of the dead.

Annette says of her award, “Winning that gold, heart-shaped necklace turned my world upside down. Only six days later, to my utter delight, I sold to NAL Signet in a three-book deal ... and made the leap from aspiring author to contracted novelist.”

But it wasn’t the first time she’d been recognized by RWA’s® Golden Heart contest. In 2005 she was a “Wild Card” finalist with me when one of her manuscripts was nominated in the Long Historical category (oddly enough, mine finaled in the paranormal category. Interesting that we both were eventually published in each other’s categories, hmmm?)

Bestselling author Sylvia Day says Drawn into Darkness is “a phenomenal debut!” Publisher’s Weekly says, “Swords flash, spells are cast, and twist and turns come head-spinningly quickly...Readers will hope for sequels..."

Their hopes will be rewarded. The second book in the Soul Gatherer series, Bound by Darkness, releases in May 2010. Annette will put a signed copy of Drawn into Darkness into the “Back to School” tote bag of love. A former marketing executive, Annette is now a full-time writer and mother of one.

(By the way, I love the tagline for this book: Desire be Damned. And check out the yummy video below.)

IMHO: Welcome, Annette! What is something surprising you’ve learned from writing romance?

AM: Thanks very much for having me as a guest on IMHO, TJ. It seems like only yesterday we were Golden Heart finalists together. Time flies doesn’t it? And here we are, another school season. Well, what I’ve learned from writing romance is the fine art of self-discipline.

Not so very long ago, I dreaded the start of the school year. For an author suddenly presented with the opportunity to reclaim daylight writing hours, that might seem odd. After all, most of us welcome the day school resumes and we once again have the house to ourselves. But I wasn’t always an author. My daughter struggled with boredom all through her early years in school, and the return of homework spelled nightmare to both of us. Her, because she had to do the work; me, because I had to hound her constantly until it got done.

I did my best to make homework time as game-like as possible, but it was a time-consuming and sometimes fruitless task.

Until I began to write. Then, every spare moment I had went toward my manuscripts. Mornings before my daughter woke up were, and still are, my most productive writing hours. Weekends were no longer weekends, they were extra writing time.

Yes, my daughter was jealous of the time I dedicated to my writing and, we had some issues with that in the beginning. But as she witnessed my unflagging devotion and my passion for writing, she grew to accept it. Even admire it.

The surprising benefit came via those extra hours I put in. First, leaving my daughter alone to complete her homework actually turned out to be a good thing. Unknowingly, I had been stifling her independence by hovering over her while she worked. Left alone, she actually accomplished more and felt better about what she produced. Her self-confidence blossomed. Second, witnessing my commitment to getting a book written—regardless of the day of the week and without a prod or threat—gave her an understanding of what it takes to complete a project. I can’t take credit for her current self-discipline—she is clearly her own person and she’s grown into a very responsible young woman—but I can say nagging is no longer necessary.

Now we both welcome the start of the new school year with a smile. Well, I smile. She’s just happy to see her friends.

IMHO: We’re still learning that particular lesson in our house, Annette, but maybe that’s the difference between having a girl and having boys. Ha!

Okay, IMHO readers, last week you told us what reading romance had taught you about yourself; this week, tell us what reading romance has taught you about the opposite sex. Heh heh. Remember what you’re playing for: the "Back to School" tote bag of love filled with signed books by Gerry Bartlett (she’s put in two), both Annette McCleave’s and my own (The Legacy) signed debut novels, as well as autographed novels from Ann Macela, Heather MacAllister, and Vicki Hinze. But wait! There’s more! If you are the lucky winner, you’ll also receive a $20 gift card from Barnes and Noble and a Magnetic Poetry Kit featuring “Mixed-up Romance Novel” phrases that you can use to express your inner romance novelist.

Without further ado (what is that, anyway?), you may begin commenting now. And remember, the more authors whose posts you comment on during the month, the more chance of winning. Contest rules are on my website. USA address only, please.



Mint said...

Well I think it has taught me that no matter what kind of hero he is he is just looking for love and acceptance like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

I guess it has taught me that no matter how aggravating your man is in the end he is always going to love you and he would die trying to protect you.

Bridget said...

Just posted this on Win A Book. No need to enter me into the contest.

Annette McCleave said...

Mint -- I agree. Even the silent types want what we want. :-)

Alicia -- Looking beyond the surface to see the real guy. I'm there.

As for me, romance has taught me that trust is critical in any successful relationship.

Annette McCleave said...

Thanks Bridget!

Kerri Nelson said...

Hey Annette!

First of all, super congrats on your debut! How exciting!

You know, your book series looks familiar. Didn't it just catch my eye in Romantic Times Reviews? I seem to remember an ad somewhere and it did have an effect on me.

I wanted to ask you if you could only use one word to describe this book, what would it be and why?

Congrats, again!

Annette McCleave said...

Kerri -- Yes, I had an ad in the September RT. Glad it caught your eye. :-)

One word? Hmmm. Guess I'd have to go with hot. Not because of the sex scenes or the six pack abs on the cover (although those DO qualify as hot), but because the villain is a demon from hell and his weapon of choice is fire. :-)

Cheeky Girl said...

Romance books have taught me that men really do communicate differently from women and not to try to read too much into thier words, but their actions.

The Scarf Princess said...

I've learned that you do have to kiss many frogs before you find your prince. I've also realized that the path to love is never smooth for anyone and there's always speedbumps along the way.

Annette McCleave said...

CheekyGirl -- ain't that the truth! :-)

Hi Joder! -- Personally, I like the bumpy roads. Much less boring that smooth highway. ;-)

Jane said...

Hi Annette,
Congrats on your debut release. I've learned that when you're arguing about a certain subject don't bring up old disagreements and other points unrelated to the current discussion.

Annette McCleave said...

Hi Jane - Thanks! Not bringing up those old wounds is hard, though. Ask any romance heroine, LOL.

mrsshukra said...

Congrats, Annette!!!!

I've learned that men are better and happier when they are with women they love, trust and who love them in return!


donnas said...

Congrats on the release.

I have learned that outside appearances really dont define the person inside.

Unknown said...

Hello Annette, congrats on you debut release! First off let me say I love the cover of your book and it sounds awesome!

What romance has taught me about men it that there really are some good ones out there. Also a lot of men don't quite understand women and when they do they are very loving people.

Patricia Barraclough said...

Annette, very nice trailer for your book. Interesting how things turned out with your daughter. We often forget how it was when we were that age and just wanted to be left alone to do things our way.
Congratulations on the release of DRAWN INTO DARKNESS. Have come across reviews of it on several sites and have heard nothing but praise. The excerpt I read on your site the other day was intriguing.
What has romance taught me about the opposite sex? Men are both more and less complicated than they appear. Some have very complex personalities and some are shallow, but in the end it still boils down to " me man, you woman, I'm in charge" (don't they wish!)

TJ Bennett said...

Thanks to Annette for visiting today! Whoop whoop! I know the rest of you will be stopping in all week to leave comments, so feel free to continue to leave your responses for Annette here for a chance to win the "Back to School" tote bag filled with books and stuff.

And visit us again next week when fellow award-winning Medallion Press writer Ann Macela, author of the Magic series, visits us next.

Again, thank you, Annette!


Lori T said...

Hi Annette~
Congrats on the new release.

I have learned that you should not always judge a person by their reputation. Sometimes, those reputations are not what they seem or are a cover for their true personalities.

jcp said...

not to settle

Marie said...

I've learned that no matter what shows up on the outside, the man inside may be very different :-)


Hot cover!

Anonymous said...

The book sounds really interesting, and I love your video :).

CherylS22 said...

Reading romances has taught me that the opposite sex craves love & acceptance just as we do.

Doreen said...

Reading romances has taught me that men see things differently than women do.

Carol L. said...

The fact that a Highlander is involved makes this a must buy for me. I love them. But the books sounds very interesting. Reading Romance has shown that no matter what type of Hero is involved,when it comes to the ones they love they will do just about anything to hold that love and express it. And they all seem to love in their own ways very deeply. Thanks .
Carol L.

Anonymous said...

Hello and Congrats!!!
This a top of the list to read for me.Men are truely different in showing their feelings but for all the shy to gruff no romance outside the world sees.They still have a inside only the few he loves truely sees.
Have a wonderful day!!!