Sunday, June 14, 2015

Debut Author Ronnie Allen and "Gemini"

The best part about being a published author, in my opinion, is when I get to see a person go from a writer to a published author--with all of the hard work, self-doubt and frustration in between. As such, it is with a mother-like pride that I welcome my friend, Ronnie Allen to my blog today to discuss her debut novel, Gemini

Hi Ronnie! So glad to have you on as a published guest! Woo hoo! I had the pleasure of reading Gemini in it's first draft format (and just bought my own copy of her final book on Amazon HERE), but can you tell my blog readers a little about how you got that elusive publishing contract? You used a query letter (see below for her actual query that resulted in a contract), but what tips would you give an author on query letters?

Ronnie Allen's Debut Thriller Gemini

There are many key points I'll tell you, Dylan. This one is the most important. Know your genre. Gemini is a multi genre psychological thriller with paranormal and romantic elements. The paranormal aspects are present day, psychic mediums, and there are sensual threads throughout the ms from the first chapter to last. Next is to do your research. Only and I mean it, only send your ms to publishers that specifically say on their website, that they're looking for your content. I can't express this enough. So many times I've heard agents and editors say that the reason for rejection is that the writer didn't follow their directions. I looked for publishers that were seeking multi-genres, mine specifically. I looked at their author bios and books they published on their web site.  I was very impressed with the credentials and educational backgrounds of the authors at Black Opal Books. Then I read their guidelines, maybe ten times. Seriously. I wanted to follow them to a T. Sorry for the cliche. In the query they specifically asked for the writer's background relevant to the book. Why was I qualified to write it? Another thing they wanted was our social media platform. I'm big on that. Website, Facebook, Twitter all set up and Black Opal Books and I followed each other on Twitter. I didn't forget to mention that. Because I followed directions on my submissions, my contract on Gemini was secured after relatively few submissions.
Ronnie Allen's Actual Query Letter That Resulted in her Contract! 
For my post on  how to write a query letter, click HERE. 
Great query letter! You hit all of my Tips and Tricks to Writing Query Letters on this one! Okay, next question: What is the most important thing writers could do for themselves to get an agent/publisher in today's market? 

Oooops! I believe I answered that in question 1. And I'll also say, perfect the ms. Have critique partners, beta readers. If they bring up the same issues, listen! And revise. At my first RWA conference, I pitched to two editors and one agent. They wanted the ms. I got three rejections, but the feedback I got was invaluable. All three said I had POV issues. I rewrote and submitted to other publishers again. After a few, Gemini got the contract. Those that rejected it, said it wasn't what they were looking for now. And 'never give up.' If you love the ms, as I did with Gemini, keep revising and submitting.

The "never give up" part is key!! If you could have done anything differently with your writing career so far, what would it be? 

So far, nothing differently. My second novel, Aries, was plotted for a few months, written in three months and ten days, and secured a contract the first time out. So that's a beautiful thing. I'll let you know later on when I'm marketing and we could discuss marketing successes and failures. I'm a data and statistics person by education, so for me the most measurable data is sales. So this remains to be seen.

Who are your writing role models and how have they influenced you? 

I must say, you are one of them Dylan! With a young family and being president of out RWA chapter, Sunshine State Romance Authors, your plate is full, and yet you've accomplished being multi-published.   Other authors from SSRA that have influenced me are Loretta Rogers and Flossie Benton Rogers. I believe in not reinventing the wheel, so I can honestly say, that I would not have been multi-published this year without you gals!

Aww! You are too kind--what a lovely compliment. Okay, so tell me about your upcoming releases? 

Aries, the second in the 'Sign Behind the Crime' series is coming out Oct./Nov. also from Black Opal Books.  AriellaRose Larcon has three beholden who do her killing for her while forensic psychiatrist Dr. Frank Khaos uncovers her inner most demons as he himself has his own, mourning the murder of his wife. A rookie Detective, Samantha Wright is assigned to the Larcon case and... That's all I'm saying.

Great teaser blurb! Okay, last question: What's one fact about you that people do not know? 

Um, I don't carry my problems on my shoulders. Not saying another word about that, or people would know.

Thanks again for joining me today! I know my readers will want to check you out. Can you give us your social media links, as well as your blurb and excerpt for Gemini

For you readers to find me, they can go to my website, which is up to date with weekly blogs. On Twitter I'm  @ronnieanovelist. On Facebook,

Thank you so much, Dylan, this was fun and I hope reading my query will benefit your readers. 


Gemini Blurb:
His life is exactly the way he wants it to be—until he meets her…

Both psychic and clairvoyant, Dr. John Trenton is a forensic psychiatrist who has a wife he worships and a position as a department head at a hospital for the criminally insane in Manhattan. His patients—young adult men, who are some of the most psychotic and psychopathic criminals in NYC—enable him to live his life on the edge, just the way he likes it. Then he meets a woman who changes everything.

She is two days from accomplishing the revenge she lives for—until she meets him…

Stripper by night, school psychologist by day, Gemini obsessed Barbara Montgomery, makes a critical mistake and is committed for seventy-two hours of observation, where she risks it all in an unnerving escape. Furious with Dr. Trenton for interfering in her life, she is now determined to kill his wife and unborn child, along with everyone else who has ever caused her pain—real or imagined.

As the killing spree continues, John is forced to use all his ESP, as well as his knowledge and expertise, to interpret this psychopath’s Gemini obsession and unravel her dark and murderous past. But can he track her down and bring her to justice—before she destroys his world completely?

Gemini Excerpt:
Okay, girlfriend. Let’s get serious here. Tonight’s gotta be the night. Time’s runnin’ away from me.
She jammed her eyes shut, swallowed hard, and blew out a prolonged breath. Tonight could be rough. Or impossible. Her heart thumped in expectation of finding the right person to accompany her in the train wreck of her life.
She had no choice, but to make it work.
Her life depended upon it.
Before she could overthink it, she grabbed the pink paisley duffle bag, which held her outfit for the job, off the Queen Victoria chair that graced the corner of the hallway. The entire getup could fit in her jeans pocket but she had to go fancy. She zipped up the black patent leather stiletto heeled boots, hesitating for a moment, contemplating if she was getting too old to wear them. After a last minute once-over in the full length mirror on the adjacent wall, she reconsidered. Nah, not with her knockout bod. Women half her age didn’t look so good. Not even any laugh lines around her eyes to give it away. She winked in the mirror and her emerald contact lenses twinkled back.
She eased the door closed to her ritzy Manhattan apartment at one a.m. with her right hand on the knob and her left palm on the door, guiding it to the latch so that her ears alone heard the soft clicks of the bolt.
Can’t wake those old geezers next door. Otherwise, I’ll just have to do what I do best.
Chills of anticipation snaked through her as she traversed the darkened hallway to the elevator all the while listening for footsteps in her neighbor’s apartment. The elevator door opened. She slipped in.
All was good.

They got to live another night.

You can buy Ronnie Allen's thriller on Amazon HERE
And on her Publisher's Website at Black Opal Books HERE.