Thursday, December 15, 2011

Night Owl Reviews Gives A Love Built to Last the Thumbs Up!

It's amazing to have a book published, but its never easy to hear reviews about your work. (Will they like it? Will they hate it? Ugh, will they say how MUCH they hate it???) Thankfully, once again, A Love Built to Last has gotten a good review, this time from Night Owl Reviews. They gave it a 4.25 out 5... pretty good! Just shy of a top pick for the site.

Read the review here. A few plot spoilers are included in the review.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"A Love Built to Last" Hardback Goes on Sale Dec. 1!

Were you interested in buying a copy of A Love Built to Last but you don't have an e-reader OR you liked the book and wanted to recommend it to a friend who doesn't have a Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or iPad? Here's your opportunity! Black Expressions Book Club is selling a hardback version of A Love Built to Last to members. Buy a copy along with other Genesis Press titles being released in hardback versions during the month of December including Fractured by Wendy Byrne and Everything in Between by Crystal Hubbard.

Pre-order a copy of A Love Built to Last or buy a copy staring Dec. 1 at Black Expressions Book Club.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I've Found It! My New Favorite Blog!

Writing can be a lonely enterprise. Editing, pitching your work to agents and editors, and marketing can be time consuming and frustrating. It's good to have a community of like-minded people to bounce ideas off of, ask questions, joke around with, and just learn more about the industry and the craft. That is why Romance University has become my new favorite blog.

Not everyone has time to frequent romance industry conferences and workshops. This blog, which is written by an RU "faculty" that includes romance writers such as Carina Press's Adrienne Giordano and soon-to-be Sourcebooks author Tracey Devlyn, offers the same opportunities to network online. I laughed out loud at Giordano's entry on her book rankings addiction. (Admittedly, I have it too. When one of my novels comes out I can check my rankings on Amazon almost hourly, regretfully. LOL) They've also had guest posts from agents and editors who say what they're looking for and why your book pitch may never make it out of the slush pile. They even take questions. A schedulei of a list of upcoming posts is also included.

If you're a aspiring romance writer or a published romance author, this is a great tool (and stress reliever.) I HIGHLY recommend it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Case of the mysteriously disappearing book...



You may have noticed (or not) that on, my next book, A Love Built to Last, has either disappeared completely or no longer has a publishing date. I've been notified by Genesis Press Inc. that all books under its imprints starting in November 2011 will switch to ebook only BUT good news! I'm also told that A Love Built to Last will be offered  by Black Expressions Book Club in hardback by DECEMBER 1ST!
Thanks to all who pre-ordered the paperback. Sorry for the last minute change. If you don't have a Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or many of the other ereader incarnations, please order it through Black Expressions. (It looks like they're offering a good membership deal!)Thank you sincerely for your support!

L.S. Childers

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Second review in!

Okay, admittedly its not as stellar as the last one, but hey, you can't knock them all out the park. Got a 3 out of 4 1/2 stars with a "hot" ranking on sensuality. At least they didn't say it sucked! LOL

Thanks to Romance Times for review. (Note: This link is available for subscribers only until January. Then its available for the general audience.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

And the first reviews are in!

Yeah! Got my first review for my second novel, A Love Built to Last. Check it out at Eye on Romance. It got a 9 out of 10. It has a few spoilers but I'm glad that the reviewer liked it!

Hope readers who picked up The Right Maneuver, will like this one too!

L.S. Childers

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Don't Quit Your Day Job!

You've got a great story idea. You believe in this work. Not only do you think it will get you a book contract but it could sell millions of copies. Now if only you had the time to sit down and write it!

Composing a novel isn't easy. It takes diligence. It takes time. It takes patience. It's taken me more than a year to finish one novel. One, I was able to spit out in less than 4 months. But I will say that at no point in time was I tempted to quit my full-time job in order to finish either (even when it meant having only two hours a day to work on my novel). I'm married and have a mortgage. I have not only an obligation to my little family (cat included) but to myself. I could never make a good starving artist. LOL

In a recent op-ed, the executive editor of the New York Times discourages writers from giving up their careers to write the novel. Some have said he's discouraging people from writing novels entirely. That's not what I got. In it, he gives very good advice: Don't give up the practical in pursuit of a dream. Even if you believe in your book, you may not be able to sell it. Even if you have a publisher who's agreed to give you a contract for the book, you may not get the sales their expecting and you might have to return your advance. My parents has always taught me that having a dream is fine... but having a back-up plan is even better. So in other words... don't quit your day job. It's easier to write when you know you can afford to pay your electric bill in a few months. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dealing with Rejection

Yes, I said the "R" word!  Every aspiring writer has dealt with it, and I hate to break it to you, but even AFTER you get your first book published, you may have to deal with it again. I'm experiencing my own brand of rejection now that I'm trying to get an agent. And I have to say it can be pretty disheartening. What's worse than a rejection email or letter is total silence and alot of agencies these days are of the "if we didn't contact you, we didn't like your proposal" school. It's like the guy you gave your phone number to, but he never called you back. Not only are you pissed, but totally heartbroken. Why doesn't he like me??? Can't he see how great I am? I thought we had a connection! LOL

But know that you are not alone. Here's an article from Romance Times Online, How to Overcome Rejection: One Author's Journey.  I's a great piece by Tricie Hickman who penned Unexpected Interruptions (recently reprinted by Dafina, Kensington Publishing.) She talks about how she received rejections from everyone, yes, EVERYONE she submitted to and subsequently started her own publishing house to get it out there. Now she's gotten good reviews, a few awards, strong sales...and a publishing house ended up reprinting her book anyway! Goes to show that rejection comes with the territory but you shouldn't let it stop you. (I repeat that mantra to myself about 10 times a day. LOL)

Keep hope alive!
L.S. Childers

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Q & A on the Shades of Romance Blog

This was the first publication I did an interview with when I was a finalist for the BET Books first-time writers contest almost 10 years ago. Good to catch up again!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Work a Writers' Workshop

Now I'll admit it...though I've always meant to join one in the course of writing my novels, I've never participated in a writers' workshop to get feedback on my work. Maybe it was traumatic experiences from listening to critiques during college writing classes that's kept me from trying them, or just plain laziness (that's probably closer to the truth), but I've often wondered if I could benefit from the process. With the exception of one or two relatives and friends, usually the first people to read and critique my novels are agents and editors at the publishing house. I invited a fellow writer and guest blogger Shantee' Cherese to share her experiences with different types of workshops and groups, sharing the pros and cons of each. Its a long post...but I think pretty informative! It starts below:

When I decided to write, I foolishly believed that was all I would do. I would sit at my computer, type up something once and send it off to be edited and published. No one prepared me for the concept of rewriting and, perish the thought!, critique groups that would give their opinions on my prose. So I went through this process, mainly because that’s what all my writing books said I should do. Then a wise man told me, “the point of writing is to be read,” so I gradually got over my critique group phobia.

I’ve been in a variety of critique group/workshop sessions since then. My participation has been sporadic – depending on the writing project and where I am in the revision process – but I’ve learned something from each group I’ve been a part of. Here are the five workshop settings I’ve been in, and my insights on each one.

 The Online Workshop. has a virtual studio for writers. Members of the community have to  critique five stories for every one submission they make. There are areas for short stories, novellas and screenplays.

-Quid Pro Quo. The site’s rules guarantee that someone will read and review your story. The polite thing to do is to provide a critique for your reviewers.
-Diversity. This is an international writing community, so your work will be read by people who might not otherwise be able to access it.
-Networking. Writers of various levels in their careers use the site, so that can be a valuable elbow-rubbing tool.

 -Quality: The fact that everyone is required to do five reviews before submitting means that at least one of those reviews will be a rush job, where it becomes obvious the reviewer didn’t finish reading the story. Your story might be the one.
-Fairness: There will be times when you provide an insightful review to someone’s richly detailed, 8,000-word story, only for them to give you a shoddy review of a 1,500 word story you’d submitted previously.
-Critique Fatigue: Reading and reviewing can be a drain, especially when you have to do it five times.

Conflict Creation. In a past life, I helped run a writing workshop in a men’s prison. It was a poetry workshop, so it allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone. A university sponsored the workshop, so it ran on a weekly basis each semester. At the end, we all gave a reading at the prison.

-Brutal honesty: I can write some horrible poetry, and no one knows that better than these fellow workshoppers. Their honest opinions helped me take my work to the next level.
-Brutal Discipline: We had writing assignments each week. Pity the fool who didn’t do them, or didn’t take the work seriously. The group’s elders – three of our best writers that I nicknamed The Wise Men – would glare at you until you straightened up.
-Brutal Insight: This was where I meant The Wise Man who gave me the quote about writing. It was his way of telling me to toughen up and take critiques – good and bad -- because I’d have to deal with them all my life.

-Outside forces. There were days when some of the best participants had a conflict with the prison staff and couldn’t come to a session. That took away a lot of the group’s synergy.
-Control. The participants got distracted easily and it was hard to keep them focused.
-Oversight: The prison has to sign off on everything you do, from workshop materials to who is invited to performances.

Friend Reviewers. In the absence of a writing group, I’d give copies of my novel to friends. These were not just any friends, but ones I knew would finish the book and give their honest opinions.

-Your relationship. You know their personality and can already predict which aspects of the story they will like or dislike.
-Trust. This is someone you know will do what is asked of them, and not share your story with others.
-Good vibes. These are people who love you and want you to succeed.

-Cheerleaders. You’ll have some friends who are so in awe of your project that they’ll only want to tell you what’s good, not bad.
-Taking it personal. No matter what you write, some will presume your antagonist is based on them and write a scathing review. Some will dislike a plot point that you think is absolutely necessary.
-Lack of diversity. You may have so much in common with some friends that they are a carbon copy of you. That equates to you reviewing your own book, which can’t be good.

Academic. In college, I took a few fiction writing classes. The rules were simple: Everybody provides a piece of fiction and we’d spend a portion of the class talking about what worked and what didn’t work.

-Diversity: The reviewers are of all ages and ethnicities, and if it’s an elective class, they may not have a writing background at all.  
-Grades. Your grade depends on it, so everyone will submit a quality review.
-Networking. Some of the students work on the college’s literary journal or have contacts to others in the area. Take advantage of it.

-Jealousy. All teachers have favorites (some hide them better than others).
-Your grade. Disparaging someone else’s writing may not be your thing, so you’re probably not vocal in class. Expect your participation grade to be a reflection of that.
-That Guy/Girl. Each class has that person who hates everyone else’s work, but makes a submission that is subpar. It might be easy to disparage that work as an act of revenge. Don’t.

Overall, I’ve learned something valuable from each group setting. These days, I fluctuate between the friend reviewers and the online community. I submit my longer work to my friends, while the short stories are submitted online. That should keep me in an ongoing state of writing and revising until it’s ready for the world.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Finally Seeing Your Book on the Shelf...

      Its hard to exactly describe that moment when you finally see a book with your name on it on a store shelf. Surreal is probably the best word. This is after years of picking up other paperbacks, secretly thinking, "Oh, come on! My stuff is better than this? Why are they here and I'm not?" It is after years of thinking, "I'm never gonna' get up here? Who am I kidding? Why lie to myself?" And then comes the day when you finally walk into a bookstore and see not one, but five -- YES FIVE -- copies on the shelf and its an awe inspiring, "aww shucks" moment. The circle is finally completed. No longer are you toiling away on your laptop alone, crafting a story that no one else will read. Your baby has gone out in the world.

 Good luck to all those aspiring writers out there who one day hope to see their own works on the bookshelf. Keep hope alive and keep writing!


L.S. Childers
(a.k.a. LaShell)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Got My First Review!

So excited! Got my first review from Romance Times magazine. They gave The Right Maneuver 4 stars out of 4 1/2 and it got a "HOT" rating for sensuality. Off to a good start I think!

To read the full review, go to

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Long, Hard Struggle

It seemed only fitting to do my first entry post about writing African-American romance on Valentine's Day. it goes!
I think there is a good percentage of readers out there who want to be writers. I was certainly one of them. I devour books. Romance, horror, science fiction, biographies – it doesn’t matter. And just as much as I love reading, I’ve felt compelled to put pen to paper and fingers to QWERTY keys to write my own stories.  Some girls want to grow up to be a Hollywood star, the next Mariah Carey, or the President of the United States, but from an early age, I’ve wanted to see my name on a book cover. With luck and lots of perseverance, I was able to achieve that goal with the publishing of my first short story when I was 20 in All That and Then Some and my first novel, The Right Maneuver, when I was 30. (Notice the 10-year gap – I’ll explain that in a later post.) But I know for many of you guys out there, making the leap from reader to author is still the item on your “bucket” list you’ve yet to scratch off.
For that reason, this blog will not only be about my literary works (though thanks to those who are interested). It will also be about the writing process, how to submit to publishers and agents (I’ve done both and have been rejected by both), and going through the whole publishing process.
Some of you may decide to skip most of this and take, in my humble opinion, the much easier route: self-publishing. That method probably saves you a lot of heartache. (The only way that publisher can reject you is if your credit card doesn’t clear.) Also, it serves as a great tool for authors who really do believe in their work, but keep getting ignored by editors and agents. At least this is a way to make sure your voice is heard by someone.
But I think there is something to be said about taking the harder route. Admittedly, I could have saved myself a lot of pain and agony if I had self-published. But just as much as I believed my writer’s voice needed to be heard, I felt that someone out there somewhere would eventually hear it. After four years of submissions and rejections, slivers of hope and total discouragement, it happened.
Here is my journey and please, don't hesitate to share stories about journeys you've also taken (or are still taking) in the quest to become a published author.

L.S. Childers
(a.k.a. LaShell)