New Release! TYCOON: A Gilded Age Novella

tycoon_ebook

I am so excited to announce the release of TYCOON, a novella in my “Knickerbocker Club” series. The heroine, Clara, is a perfume counter girl and she crashes into the life of Ted, a financial tycoon. Clara is spunky and fun, a mix of innocence and brash independence that I think would’ve been common of girls at that time. And our hard-working hero has no idea what to do with her. 🙂

Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes the journey is more pleasurable than the destination . . .

Standing on the platform at Grand Central Station, Ted Harper is surprised by a fiery kiss from an undeniably gorgeous damsel in distress. He’s certain she’s a swindler who’s only after his money, but he’s never met a woman so passionate and sure of herself. Disarmed, he invites her to spend the journey to St. Louis in his private car—perhaps against his better judgment…

Clara Dawson has long known how to take care of herself, but the savvy shop girl is at a loss when she witnesses—and becomes entangled in—a terrible crime. Desperation propels her into a stranger’s arms at the train station, but she hadn’t expected Ted to offer her the protection she so badly needs—nor did she expect their chemistry to develop more steam than the engine of the train. He’s everything she never thought she could have, and she’s everything he didn’t know he wanted. But as her secrets begin to unfurl, their fledgling romance could be in danger of derailing before they arrive at the next station…

Want to read an excerpt? Or pop over to my Facebook page for all my writing-related details, giveaways, and general awesomesauce.

TYCOON is .99 at all e-retailers:

Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

xo

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Noncompete Clauses in Publishing Contracts – What precisely is an author agreeing to?

The very first time I read a noncompete clause in a friend’s publishing contract, I had to reread it—not just twice like we all should—but a few times. What exactly do publishers want and what are authors agreeing to? How important is this clause to authors anyway?

tug of war

Noncompete clauses are also called competing works clauses or conflicting publication clauses. In simple terms, noncompete clauses restrict the right of an author to write or publish another book that is similar to and would unfairly compete with the sold book. Almost all publishing contracts include a version of this clause, and publishers are well within their rights to have the exclusive right to the book the author has entered into a contract with them. But the clause must be fair and authors should check that the clause is not overly restrictive.

For example, if an author writes romantic suspense and sells it to Publisher X and there is a noncompete clause in the contract for eighteen months prior to or after publication of the work, the author may not publish another romantic suspense to Publisher Y until the eighteen months are over. With the increasing number of hybrid authors who are both traditionally publishing and self-publishing, the noncompete clause can be overly restrictive and tie up an author for months or even years.

Some publishers are progressive and they realize that a prolific author who wishes to traditionally publish and self-publish can only help sales, not hurt them, and they are more lenient with the noncompete clauses. Others may not be as progressive. Publishers are definitely entitled to have the exclusive right to the author’s book, but at the same time, the noncompete clauses shouldn’t be overly binding.

So how can an author negotiate overly binding noncompete clause? Here are some concrete examples.

Limit the definition of “compete”

Try to replace the language that says “might” interfere with sales and use “will” interfere with sales instead. The publisher is overreaching here. The publisher’s rights are still protected with the word “will” rather than “might.”

Limit the definition of “competing work”

Try to limit the definition of “competing work” in your contract. The more specific the language of “competing work,” the better for the author. For example, you can attempt to limit the clause to “a work with similar characters or title as the contracted work” or “a series military romance with Navy Seals.” This allows the author to publish or self-publish a long contemporary romance with firefighters and not violate the clause. The different genre wouldn’t be competing with the military romance novel and would free the author to make more income in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Limit the publisher’s time in a noncompete clause

Try to limit the publisher’s time in a noncompete clause. A contract shouldn’t give a publisher an unlimited time period. That’s overreaching and not necessary to protect the publisher. Examples of unreasonable time periods are: “as long as the work remains in print or electronically,” and “for the term of the copyright of the work.” Yikes! These sound bad, don’t they?

In a perfect world, the author and publisher will work together to have a fair noncompete clause for today’s constantly changing marketplace.

So have you ever heard of another way to effectively negotiate any type of contract? What’s your best tip? I’d love to hear your views, so please share!

Tina Gabrielle

A SPY UNMASKED – Coming November 10, 2014 from Entangled!

You can find me at:

 www.tinagabrielle.com

 http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

 https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

In The Barrister's Bed InTheBarristersChambers Original Artwork A Perfect Scandal LADYOFSCANDAL Cover

The Art of Contract Negotiation for Women Writers

We’ve heard it before: Women earn less money and benefits than their male counterparts. But the question is why? I believe the answer lies in the fact that women tend to shy away from negotiation. Women who do ask for more money or benefits are often viewed by society as overly aggressive or pushy. Overwhelmingly, romance writers are women who will find these essential skills helpful when negotiating their own publishing contracts.

3Contract

As an attorney, I’ve had the benefit of hours of negotiation training and have negotiated scores of civil settlements. Negotiation is a craft that can be studied and learned and will help with every facet of a writer’s career. I plan to blog about specific author contract clauses in the future, but I’m starting out with the very important art of negotiation.  Here are some tips:

 Don’t be afraid to ask.

I know as well as the next writer how hard it is to get “The Call.” I received many rejections before I sold my first book. We are all hesitant to ask for anything after waiting so long, and we feel we should be eternally grateful. But asking does not mean we aren’t grateful. Asking means we are taking our writing careers seriously and that we are intelligent businesswomen who intend to be successful in this profession.

Be Prepared.

Research is key.As members of RWA and our local chapters, we have excellent resources. The RWA website as well as the monthly Romance Writer’s Report magazine have a wealth of information on contract clauses. Conferences frequently offer workshops on author contracts and what’s standard in the industry. And don’t forget to ask fellow authors what is in their contracts and what clauses in particular they negotiated. Gathering as much information as possible is the best strategy.

Create a script in advance.

Before you call or meet with the editor or agent, you should have a mental outline of what you want. Items in that outline should include: your wish list; your reality list; and a deal breaker item, if there is one.

Develop options.

Understand in advance that you will not get everything you ask for. I’m not just talking about money here—there’s so much more to a contract. There are publishers that do not negotiate royalties or advances. This does not mean, however, that you cannot negotiate other sections of the contract to your benefit. What about the author’s grant of rights, for example, foreign rights? Publisher option clauses? Rights of reversion clauses? Basket accounting? Author’s rights in case of publisher bankruptcy? Or even more basic, what about more free and discounted author copies?

Know your negotiation power.

This is critical. If you are unpublished and you get an offer from an agent or editor, you have significantly much less negotiation power than a NY Times Bestseller. This doesn’t mean you have no power, but you must keep what you do have in perspective. An unpublished author cannot insist on a six figure deal and a cross-country book tour. That is demanding and unprofessional.

Stay Unemotional.

I know. This is your baby. You have spent countless hours polishing the first page, let alone the first chapter. But remember that publishing is a business, and the agent or editor is interested in selling your book and making money. The most effective negotiators are the unemotional ones.

Take a time out.

Don’t agree to anything immediately. Wait at least a day, preferably more, to think things through and clear your mind. Talk to other writers. Your spouse. Your critique partner. Your attorney, if necessary. That means if you get “The Call” and are jumping up and down with joy, do not agree to the representation or sign on the dotted line without waiting the requisite time period. After you calm down, you will be able to look at the fine print with different eyes.

Be professional.

Ask, don’t demand. Start out by saying, “I have a few concerns with the language of the contract…”

You’d be surprised what you can accomplish. Even if you do not get everything you hope for, you let industry professionals know that you are serious about your career and your books and that you are an author who is a worthwhile investment.

So have you ever negotiated any type of contract? What’s your best tip? I’d love hear your views, so please share!

And stay tuned  for my next blog on contract clauses.

Tina Gabrielle

In The Barrister's Bed    InTheBarristersChambers   Original Artwork A Perfect Scandal   LADYOFSCANDAL Cover

 You can find me at:

 www.tinagabrielle.com

 http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle

 https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle

The Standing Desk: What’s Old is New Again

When I started using a standing desk at the day job, I thought I was onto something new.

Turns out I was wrong.

In fact, standing desks have been used for much of human history. The elevated surfaces were built so that people could stand and write on a slanted surface. Tall stools were often nearby for when people needed to sit for a bit.

Members of the Doctors Commons, a society of lawyers, stand while working. (circa 1857)

Members of the Doctors Commons, a society of lawyers, stand while working. (circa 1857)

Thomas Jefferson was among the first on record to adopt the standing desk; he designed his own in the 1700s.

The nation’s third president came up with an adjustable desk that allowed him to stand (maybe while writing the Declaration of Independence?) or to bring it down to a level where he could sit  on a stool.

The six-legged desk also had an adjustable work surface that slanted upward.

The standing desk designed by Thomas Jefferson.

The standing desk designed by Thomas Jefferson.

Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens were also known to use standing desks.

Woolf’s nephew, Quentin Bell, wrote that she “had a desk standing about three feet six inches high with a sloping top; it was so high that she had to stand at her work.”

I’m not sure why they all worked on their feet, but I was motivated by health concerns and the impact of sitting for too many hours each day–first at the day job and then at home while writing my novels.

Multiple studies suggest people who sit for extended periods of time run an increased risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, leg disorders, soft bones…not to mention a sore backside.

Way back in 1883, Popular Science magazine also cited health reasons when encouraging readers to use standing desks.

“At the first symptoms of indigestion, book-keepers, entry-clerks, authors, and editors should get a telescope-desk. Literary occupations need not necessarily involve sedentary habits, though, as the alternative of a standing-desk, I should prefer a Turkish writing-tablet and a square yard of carpet-cloth to squat upon.”

Illustration for an adjustable standing desk from an 1899 book, "School Hygiene," by Dr. Ludwig Wilhelm Johannes Kotelmann, John A. Bergström and Edward Conradi.

Illustration for an adjustable standing desk from an 1899 book, “School Hygiene,” by Dr. Ludwig Wilhelm Johannes Kotelmann, John A. Bergström and Edward Conradi.

A man stands while he works in this painting from 1829.

A man stands while he works in this painting from 1829.

Ernest Hemingway always stood while he worked, according to a 1958 Paris Review article:

“A working habit he has had from the beginning, Hemingway stands when he writes. He stands in a pair of his oversized loafers on the worn skin of a lesser kudu — the typewriter and the reading board chest-high opposite him.

Ernest Hemingway types at his standing desk.

Ernest Hemingway types at his standing desk.

In the book, Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir, AE Hotchner describes Hemingway’s set-up at his home in Havana:

“He never worked at the desk. Instead, he used a stand up work place he had fashioned out of a bookcase near his bed. His portable typewriter was snugged in there and papers were spread along the top of the bookcase on either side of it. He used a reading board for longhand writing.”

In Engaging the Earl, war hero Edward Stanhope returns home on the evening the woman he left behind becomes engaged to another man.

In Engaging the Earl, war hero Edward Stanhope returns home on the evening the woman he left behind becomes engaged to another man.

People have asked me if the creative juices flow while I’m standing up.

I was on my feet for much of the time while completing my latest book, Engaging the Earl, which is out today. (Shameless Plug Alert: $.99 for a limited time!)

I’ll admit writing was a challenge at first, but now I don’t even think about it. In fact, I’m more comfortable standing for four or five hours each day.

All in all, I feel much better, my body isn’t as stiff, my bottom doesn’t get sore, and I rarely get those aches across the back of my shoulders that I feel after sitting for long periods of time.

I’m such a fan that I am ready to get rid of my makeshift standing desk at home to splurge on the real thing.

After all, Hemingway, Woolf, Carroll and the rest of them must have been onto something!

And before I leave you…

5 Interesting Reasons to Read ENGAGING THE EARL

1. The hero returns from years at war on the evening the woman he left behind becomes engaged to another man.

2. Edward suffers from nostalgia…which is known today as Post Traumatic Stress (The U.S. military has stopped referring to this condition as a disorder–dropping the D from PTSD–to remove the stigma associated with it.)

3. The heroine’s dog helps Edward cope with his attacks. I decided to bring a dog into the story after being moved by an article about an Iraq war veteran whose trained service dog helps him manage his PTS.

4. Edward is loosely inspired by Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, who wasn’t allowed to marry an earl’s daughter because he was a second son with no prospects. Ten years later, after gaining a dukedom for his war service, Wellington returned to marry the woman he left behind.

5. Engaging the Earl is only $.99 for a limited time. And who doesn’t love a good bargain?

Amazon ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Kobo ~ GoogleBooks

Swimming Through Writer’s Block: Can Exercise Make You A Better Writer?

I never believed in writer’s block until I was working on my last manuscript. I did everything right. I had detailed character sketches. I plotted and wrote a wonderful synopsis and first three chapters which sold “A Spy Unmasked” to a publisher. I pulled out all the tricks I learned at writing workshops. I raised the stakes, I put the characters in an impossible situation, I heightened the emotional and external conflict, and then…well…nothing. I was stuck. I wrote myself in a corner.

For the first time, I had writer’s block.

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I knew about writer’s block, of course. I was just fortunate enough never to experience it. Let me first say that I was working nonstop. I love the story about a sexy Regency era spy, an emotionally damaged hero who blames himself on the death of his wife after one of his missions goes terribly awry. He’s forced to work with a feisty, intelligent heroine who wants revenge for her father’s murder. It’s a great love story with a hint of mystery. But I was working part time, writing, stopping to get the kids off the bus and seeing to their needs, and then writing all night. I was ignoring my needs.
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Why Readers Read, Why Writers Write

Why Readers Read

ReadA few years ago I took April Kihlstrom’s Book in a Week online course.  As part of the prep work, April has writers explore WHY we want to write a specific project.  What about the project is important, what message do we want to communicate, and to whom? In order to answer that question, the first step was to explore why readers read.  Here is a short list of why I read:

Escape – Sometimes I just want to be swept away to another time or place in the hands of a capable author with fully realized characters and setting. Over the years this has become my best form of therapy during stressful times.

Read a powerful love story – Going back to my number one reason of escape during stressful times, nothing warms my soul and puts me in a happy place more so than watching a couple fall in love.

FEEL something intensely – Watching others solve their problems, compromise, explore their humanity, go on an adventure, avert danger, and yes – fall love is highly cleansing. This emotional catharsis takes me away from my own struggles for a moment.

Why Writers Write

WritingJoanna’s post last week helped me own my guilt, but it also had me question (louder than I have before) WHY I write. Are the rewards worth the sacrifices (see: Author Ass, Sleep Deprivation, Dirty House, and Neglected Family). Then it occurred to me I need to write as much as I need to read and for the same reasons. In the last few weeks, I’ve been mulling over things about my writing career specifically in regard to Marketing approach and Brand (a buzz word that truly pisses me off – another topic for another day), but I’ve been distracted, unable to focus on these topics because my family is going through a difficult time right now.  At the height of stress the number one thought that runs through my mind right after “I want my mommy!” is “I NEED to escape into a good book.” Thanks to my little, Divergent is sitting on my end table. I’ve seen it beside my keyboard. I have found it on top of my cookbook during meal prep, and on top of the dryer while dong the wash. Think she’s trying to tell me something? My girl seems to know I need this escape. What better place than a YA Dystopian world?
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Have You Had Your Guilt Today?

Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.
—Erma Bombeck

How many people are you disappointing right now?

Caught up on laundry?

Meals made for the week?

Answered all your emails?

If you’re like me, the answers are: “too many to name,” “no,” “ha!” and “get real.”

We know writers write. Many writers also work day jobs that pay for mortgages and health insurance. A lot of us have kids and husbands. The result? Many of us don’t have much time for niceties like spa days, lunches with friends, date nights, exercising, showering….

Anyway, you get my point.

This is me around 6:00 pm each day.

This is me around 6:00 pm each day.

I was chatting with a group of moms the other day at my daughter’s elementary school, and I said, “I feel like I am failing at everything in my life right now.” I expected commiseration and I got…looks of pity. “Oh, you do?” Which made me think, Is it just me? Is it just me that is letting down everyone I know?

People are always telling me, “You have to watch ‘Hip New Show!’ It’s so great!” Know what I had to give up when I decided to seriously pursue writing? TV. Also a regular exercise routine. Volunteering at school. And sleep.

Do I regret it? No. Do I feel guilty about it? Yes.
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The Dreaded Sagging Middle

I wanted to blog about a topic many writers—including myself—dread. It’s the sagging middle. And I’m not talking about out waistlines. I’ll save that weight loss discussion for another day. I’m thinking of the middle chapters of our books. The part of our story that loses its drive, its enthusiasm, and well…its umph.

frustrated writer

Others call this midbook burnout. But whatever you call it, the result can be disastrous for both new and established writers. We start out strong. We picture our hero and heroine in our mind with vivid clarity. We know what they look like as well as their initial goals and motivations. We craft wonderful beginning chapters and maybe even strong endings. Then something happens mid-way through. The essence of the story gets lost. The conflict is too simple or too complicated. We sit at the computer for hours in frustration and write little. We decide the writing process is too hard and we even think about giving up.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? The good news is there is a way to work through our frustrations. Here are the four tips that I find most helpful:

Flesh out character development scenes

 My favorite book on craft for writers is Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. He breaks down the twelve stages of the hero’s journey. He calls step six “Tests, Allies and Enemies.” I’ve found this particularly helpful when I’m stuck in the middle of my book. By testing your hero and having him make allies and enemies you are allowing for great character development. You can learn a lot about a hero’s character by the friends and enemies he makes. Romances are all about the character growth of both the hero and heroine. So flesh out these scenes.

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Hemingway’s Tips for Writers

A Moveable Feast Not long ago, I read The Paris Wife, Paula McLain’s bestselling novel about the first of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives.

The novel covers a remarkable period of time—Paris in the 1920s—when the Hemingways socialized with accomplished literary figures such as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, a group that came to be known as the “Lost Generation.”

I was so riveted by the interactions among these fascinating characters that I immediately downloaded A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s own account of his time in Paris as a struggling, unknown writer.

There were many things about the book that resonated with me, including Hemingway’s self-described habits for fruitful writing and I thought they might be of interest to other authors as well.

So here are a few tips that might help you get your “Hemingway” on…starting with a technique Ernest used to make sure the words kept flowing:

I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day…I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

During this period, Hemingway worked in a small room on the  top floor of a hotel, a space he described as “warm and pleasant.” He would bring mandarin oranges and chestnuts to roast on the fire when he was hungry. And when he hit a stumbling block…

Ernest Hemingway (wearing a beret) sits by a fireplace in his apartment in Paris, France. (Papers of Ernest Hemingway. Photograph Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

Ernest Hemingway (wearing a beret) sits by a fireplace in his apartment in Paris, France. (Papers of Ernest Hemingway. Photograph Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)


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Tech Tips for Writers (and the Readers Who Love Them): Google+

tech_tip_icon Hi, everyone! I’m kicking off a new series on the Femmes called “Tech Tips for Writers (and the Readers Who Love Them).” In my non-writing life, I’m a bit of a tech nerd. I have worked in Web development/social media/communications for over two decades (since I was ten, obviously) and have a love for all things technical. Every now and again, I stumble upon useful tips and tricks and I thought I might share some of them here.

Tech Tip #1: Google+

While I’m active on social media, one platform I haven’t spent much time with is Google+. I have a profile, of course, but I haven’t really devoted any energy to it. First, I only have so many hours in the day (which never seems enough as it is). Second, I have been watching Google+ with a cynical, shifty-eyed squint: Would it really stick around enough to become a force to be reckoned with? I was crushed when Google discontinued Google Reader; if one of the most popular RSS aggregators couldn’t make it, what chance did Google+ have?

Well, my cynical, squinty eyes were opened recently when I started looking at social media facts from 2nd Q 2013.

Did you know…

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