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Today we have author Chistine Bell sharing with us the trials and tribulations of her journey!

Hi Nas! Thanks so much for having me. I love the spotlight feature because reading about other writer’s journeys never fails to light a fire under me. I end up feeling inspired, and get this burst of creative energy with the knowledge, “Hey, they did it. I can do it too!”

And you can. Everyone who is reading this can. I firmly believe that with hard work and perseverance, our dreams are solidly within our reach. The thing is, they aren’t sitting right in our laps. And we can’t just sit around waiting for them to come to us. We can’t write willy-nilly, when we can spare the time, send out a couple of half-assed queries and hope someone is going to realize we’re the next Nora Roberts. Maybe that works for some people, but they’re as scarce as unicorn droppings (sorta like those girls that can eat whatever they want and never gain any weight). This career isn’t for the timid or faint of heart. If being a published author is your dream, you have to go out and GRAB it. Don’t be shy, it BELONGS to you.

Here’s the story of how I grabbed mine. (I should add that I’m not nearly done grabbing, lol. I have achieved parts One and Two of my dream. I still have three steps to go! And my fondest wish is that once I’ve completed those steps, two more will take their place, because without something to look forward to and work toward, life always feels a little less shiny to me).

After years of trying to find my niche in life, I realized that the thing I always came back to was writing. Although I had written short stories and newspaper articles, I couldn’t get the confidence up to imagine that I could write something longer than just a few pages. I decided to bite the bullet in December of 2009 and try to write a novella. I wrote a romance shifter story, Pray, during that month, and subbed it to Harlequin’s Nocturne Bites line. While I waited to hear, I wrote. A LOT. I also got involved in a bunch of different forums about writing, and really tried to just immerse myself in learning, taking workshops (I recommend Before You Hit Send by Angela James, inexpensive and PRICELESS for new writers), reading, connecting with other writers.

In Feb. of 2010 I met some aspiring authors on the E-Harlequin forum The Write Stuff looking to form a crit group. Best. Move. Ever. I learned so much and we all really clicked. I quickly realized, with my CP’s help, that Pray (which was rejected by HQ) and all of my other works in progress had a lot of new author mistakes. Copious amounts of dialogue tags, “witty” adverbs, head hopping. Oh! And apparently my favorite word is “slowly”, because I made darn sure I used it at least 300 times per ms.

By June of 2010 I had completed six manuscripts and revamped Pray entirely. I got my first contract offer on July 4th, from Cobblestone Press for Pray and quickly sold the five I had submitted to various publishers in the interim (both under my name and under the pen name I use for erotic romance, Chloe Cole). From then on it’s been kind of a whirlwind. Including Undercover Lovers, a super sexy erotic romance anthology I wrote with authors Dee Carney, Cari Quinn and Dee Tenorio, I will have published 10 books with four different publishers.

Here are a few tips that I think helped me on my journey:1. Don’t quit. Tons of people have written half of a book. Tons of people have written a whole book even! Not so many have submitted and revised and written another and so on. The only way to get published is to put yourself out there and keep writing and writing and writing. Bottom line: Writer’s write, authors submit. You need to do both.

2. Find at least one crit partner who is at the same level as you are writing wise. It doesn’t matter what the genre is, or if they’re published and you’re not, but it DOES matter if they are three years into the process and write a pretty clean manuscript and you are just starting out, or vice versa. It won’t last if you aren’t.

3. Get Stephen King’s book, On Writing. Then read it.

4. Take an editing workshop, especially if you’re just starting out and have trouble with common issues like POV, tense, passive voice, adverbs etc.

5. Be willing to listen to constructive criticism. Once you’re published you will be hearing it ENDLESSLY.

6. When you do get catch the eye of a publisher, make sure you do whatever you can to create a great relationship with those you work with. You want them to WANT to work with you. If your editor has a pile of new submissions to read, you want her to pick yours first because she knows you will meet your deadlines, approach edits with an open mind, be willing to compromise when it comes to cover art, blurbs etc. Also be careful how you present yourself online. I joke around (A LOT), and may behave inappropriately (all in good fun) at times, but you will never see me publicly bash a publisher, editor or reviewer. That’s just bad business.

7. Remember that this is a business. Be accommodating, but don’t be a doormat. If a publisher offers you a contract, it’s because they believe that your story will make them money. They aren’t doing you a favor. As exciting as it is (and it is the most exciting thing EVER), never forget that. You are a commodity, and you and your work have value. Negotiating a contract or asking reasonable questions doesn’t make you a troublesome author, it makes you a savvy business person.

8. Did I say don’t quit? DON’T QUIT.

I think a big part of successful dream-grabbing is setting tangible goals. What are some of your short term goals? What about long term? I’m doing a giveaway today, so leave your email address and I’ll be giving two commenters a choice of any book off my backlist!

Now for a little bit about Undercover Lovers!
Four ultra-sexy stories by four great authors, with one theme.

Who’s undercover?

Shane Madison – Dead sexy private eye posing as a Strippendale’s dancer

Tucker Lamb – Smooth as butter former conman posing as nerdy professor

Saffron Burton – Sensual food critic posing as just another customer

Katrina Killian – Brazenly sexual cop posing as a gang member

Come check out Chapter One of Undercover Lovers HERE! 

Bio  Christine Bell is one half of the happiest couple in the world. She and her handsome hubby currently reside in Pennsylvania with a four-pack of teenage boys and their two dogs, Gimli and Pug. If she gets time off from her duties as maid, chef, chauffeur, or therapist, she can be found reading just about anything she can get her hands on, from Young Adult novels to books on poker theory. She doesn’t like root beer, clowns or bugs (except ladybugs, on account of their cute outfits), but lurrves chocolate, going to the movies, the New York Giants and playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Writing is her passion, but if she had to pick another occupation, she would be a pirate…or, like, a ninja maybe. She loves writing fun and adventure-filled romance stories, and erotic romance as Chloe Cole, but also hopes to one day publish something her dad can read without wanting to dig his eyes out with rusty spoons.


  1. Hiya Chris!!!

    So wonderful to see you out here! Fab advice for aspiring authors like me ;) Not joking, seriously!

    Loved the part about "writers write, authors submit"

    And those of you who have read (or about to read, Undercover lovers) !!! Fair warning ;) Tucker is mine!

  2. What a lot of great advice, Christine! I particularly like points 2 and 3 above (King's thoughts on writing always impress me). And every time I read that last line in your bio -- which I've often come across in other places online -- I laugh.

    Thanks, Nas, for having Christine as your guest.

  3. Hello Christine! Loved the post. You are always so enthusiastic and encouraging. You didn't downplay the sheer hard work involved. Thanks for sharing, and Nas, thanks for hosting Christine.

    I'll leave my email just in case. I'm always up for another book!


  4. Hello Christine....I really enjoyed this post. Great tips for writers. I especially liked the part about....."writers write....authors submit." That couldn't be any truer!!

    Thanks for the opportunity to win a book!

    dbibb5134 at gmail dot com

  5. Christine, you sound like a prolific writer with a great attitude!

  6. Great advice. And I love the cover of that book!

  7. Awesome interview, thanks for sharing! Christine has such awesome advice, it's extremely inspiring. :)

  8. Thanks so much for the great comments! I love the writing communit so much, and the romance community especially. Everyone is so supportive.

  9. Hi Christine, Welcome to my place on the web!

    Hello Madeline, thanks for coming by.

    Hi Lydia, I love the cover too!

    Hello JL, I do beleive Christine writes really good, hot books, though I read one of hers so far only. The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale, which was a Carina Press release.

    Hi Dee, Great of you to come along and check out Christine's advice.

    Hi Denise, thanks for your lovely comment!

    Hi Azarimba, thanks for coming by!

    Hello Ju, I have yet to receive my copy of UNDERCOVER LOVER's from CARI QUINN, which I won at your blog, so I may yet fight you over Tucker!

  10. It's nice to meet you Christine and what great helpful advice too. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Oh, Nas, I will make sure to send it to you on Cari's behalf ASAP!

    And nice to meet you, Kiru!

  12. Wow, Christine! 10 books with 4 publishers in a YEAR? I thought I was doing well with 3 books with 2 publishers (& one self published book of short stories, so that makes 4) since I published my first one at the end of July last year. (Need to up my game!- I have one more to be released this year, but need to get my skates on!) Great interview!

  13. Great post! Not only is Christine a prolific writer, she's extremely talented and I love her work. Anyone who gets one of her books will be thrilled!

    And Nas, you now have Undercover Lovers and a special surprise as well. :) My email SPAM filter has been eating messages from both my EC editor and contest winners lately, so I've learned I can't go too long without checking it. Gotta love technology!

  14. Yea, Christine! Such a great interview and so glad to hear that you never gave up.

  15. Thank you Nas - Thank you Christine! Fabulous interview, lots of advice and infectious enthusiasm. Sooo inspiring.

    That cover is a hoot!

    Here's me...

  16. Thank you, Nas and Christine! Great advice there.

  17. I so identify with the idea that it took years to find your niche and when you did it was something that had been there all alon - writing.

  18. Hi Regina, thanks for coming along!

    Hello Talli, I so agree about the great advice!

    Hi Margo, thanks for your lovely comment!

    Hello Liz! I'm reading your PERFECT CRAVING now!

  19. Hi Cari, thanks for the lovely surprise! Yep, it was INSATIABLE! And UNDERCOVER LOVERS!!!!

    Ohhhh, Ju, Ok, I've yet to dive in! Will let you know...but I have INSATIABLE as well!

    But Sally, you've been productive! Just check my previous post with Samantha Hunter and the advice she gave re not've done really well! Go you! Not like some of us....

    Hi Christine, thanks! Have already received UNDERCOVER LOVERS and INSATIABLE!

    Hello Kiru, great that you came along!

  20. Great post! I love the many points at the bottom. I wished you would have added a point about not quitting or something... ;) But you're right, reading these type of stories to give you a boost. Thank you!

  21. Hi Clarissa,

    Thanks for coming by!

  22. Hi Christine!
    We're a lot alike. Who knew? I've heard writers talk of feeling jealous when someone they know received 'the call'. Rather than feeling jealous (well not much) I always thought, if they can do it so can I, and I worked even harder until I did!

    Thanks for bringing us another great author, Nas!

  23. There's some great advice here - thanks for a very encouraging post!

  24. Sally- Four books is AMAZING! Keep in mind, mine are all novellas and 35k or under. That said, any motivation that lights a fire under us to write more is good!

    Hi Liz! Thanks for stopping by. I think tenacity is critical for a writer to succeed. It's a long road a lot of times.

    Margo- Isn't the cover adorable?! Dee Tenorio's hubby designed it. He's awesome!

    Big hello to my co-authors Cari and my sometimes writing partner L.C.! Thanks for stopping by to say hi!

    Regina- I feel so blessed that when I did find it, I knew it for sure. There's no second guessing or questions, I've never been more sure of anything. I'm doing exactly what I'm meant to on this earth. It's such a good feeling, isn't it?

    Susan and Talli- Thanks so much for stopping by, I'm glad you liked the post!

    Wendy- I'll admit to a little green eyed monster sometimes, too, lol! We're only human. But it's not an ugly jealousy, I'm pretty thrilled for the person, but like you, it motivates me like nothing else.

  25. Clarissa- Good idea, I'll have to add a number 9!

  26. Great post! Don't quit, definitely - I'm in the middle of another round of edits and have to keep pushing myself. But I love my story!

  27. Deniz- If you love it then you have no choice! Push through, you can do it.

  28. Hi friends,

    Thank you all for coming along. Christine Bell gives some awesome advice, don't you think?

    ANd thank you to Christine for taking time out from her busy schedule and being with us here!

    We'll wait for her to announce the winner!

  29. Thank you Christine, just what I need on a rainy Sunday morning to encourage me to keep writing! Thanks to Nas too, you make it so easy to feel a part of the writing community.
    Ellie x

  30. Congrats to Margo Benson! You're our winner. I will contact you via email tomorrow. Thanks everyone so much for your comments and for coming by to say hello!

  31. Christine Bell, very impressive story of your journey to publication. And thanks for the excellent advice. I agree with all of it!