Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taking a break!

Tonight is the last drawing for the gift cards. Good luck!

I've decided to take a break from posting until after the holidays. My kids will be home from school and I want to get some pages written without having to get them up early. Plus the next two weeks will be family time and I want to do fun things, clear out the mess that our house has become from building the new addition to our house, and put everything away. Sounds fun, huh?

So I'll see you after the new year. Happy holidays! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday's winner!

If June Manning is the winner off a FB post last week! I believe June M. who posted here is also the same person? Contact me at the email off this site with your address. I'll be sending out the cards this week! Congrats!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And the winner is....

The winner for today's drawing is Amy S! Contact me at and send me your address for the Amazon Gift Card! Congrats!


We are moving into our new addition and the house is a mess! Am I the only person who hates moving? We are shifting half of the household over to the new space. At least it isn't across town! 

The gift cards came today! They are very cool. Came with instructions for use, too. Amazon thinks of everything!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I've been getting behind. I have over 200 unread emails, laundry is piling up, and I've been slacking on my blogs. It's difficult to keep everything moving forward when December demands so much time. We don't even have a tree yet! Plus, our carpet is getting laid at this very moment, we have to move half of our house into the new addition before Christmas, and my kids have all sorts of functions before school lets out for the year.

Starting after Jan 1st, I will be getting back to the posts of my writing journey. I have many things to share. There will also be new stuff, too! A newsletter is in the works and I have two new novella/novels coming out next year!

My contest is still on and I'm still taking names for the drawings. My question today was whether anyone was watching the new show, Once Upon a Time. If not, what is your favorite romantic fairy tale?

Monday, December 12, 2011

10 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

I'm excited! I'm giving away 10 gift cards over 10 days starting today! All you have to do is post a comment here or on my Facebook page to be entered in the drawing. Or, if you can't access those, send an email from this site and I'll get your name from there. Everyone can enter and the drawing is random, with names drawn from a hat!

This is my thank-you to everyone who has participated on my blog and FB over the last 8 months since The School for Brides came out. Really for anyone who wrote a letter or bought a book or just loves romance.

Happy holidays, everyone! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stepping away from history for a moment/Contest

Good morning,

It's been crazy busy around here! Holiday stuff, a GDRWA party, and a new contract! I love that Berkley is continuing the 'Brides' series! Thanks Wendy! I'm about 70 pages into the new book and am having fun. My heroine is in danger. Nothing is better than that!

I'm having a new contest. Starting Monday, I'll be drawing for Amazon gift cards and I may throw in books occasionally, just for fun. We'll see! I'll be taking names from posts here and on my Facebook page.!/cherylannsmithauthor

I know there are issues with posting here. Goggle Chrome and Mozilla Firefox work. I'm sorry about that! Also, if anyone wants to send me an email through this website, your name will also be included. Starting Monday! I don't want to miss anyone!

I'll be back to my regular posts soon!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Good morning. A contest is in the works! I'll be giving away Amazon gift cards! Details soon!

Since I talked the other day about my Native American heroine story, I thought I'd post an excerpt so you can read a bit about my 'Pocohontas' book! Mistakes and all. The reason I'm posting them is to show my stumbling upward progression as a writer over the years. 

Late Autumn, 1756

The loud rumbling sounds coming from behind the make-shift curtain brought a reluctant opening of lids while Raven snuggled under her blanket and wished the morning light would flee for a few minutes more. Sleep laden eyes turned slowly to the window to seek out the hour. Through triangle shaped gaps in the sagging shutter, Raven could see that daylight was slowly creeping through the coal dark night, putting it on notice that morning would soon be upon it.

See, no John Smith! And no horse POV either! Yeah, progress! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Planning a holiday contest!

I'm in the planning stages of a holiday contest. A giveaway a day for the days leading up to Christmas. Keep checking back for details. I need to get this set ASAP!

P.S. I know some readers have problems posting here with the new Google Chrome change over (Firefox works too!). So I'll also take it to my Facebook page! We don't want to exclude anyone!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Previous posts

If you enjoyed the agent story, please look below starting at Day One (utterly clueless) for more crazy stories from my writing life. Thanks!

How to get an agent banned from RWA conferences

Okay, this header is a bit misleading. I didn't get him banned on purpose, I swear! This is what happened.

I was in DC at my second conference. Still wet behind the ears, I went to my first one-on-one pitch appt. After an introduction, I began to nervously pitch my book. It was about a Native American heroine and a former soldier, set in Michigan during a troubling time in our history. Lots of action, lots of sexy romance, danger, etc. When I finished, he stared at me for a few seconds then said something about how it sounded like a cross between Pocahontas and some other character I can't remember. Wait. Just because the heroine was Native American did not make her Pocahontas! It was my time to stare. Wasn't he listening? Then he proceeds to tell me that he wouldn't know where to market a historical romance anyway since he was more of a science fiction and mystery guy.

Um. Did he take a wrong turn on his way to the Mystery Writers conference? After leaving him, I stewed. Then I stewed some more. Now, I didn't want to make waves, but I was mad. This guy didn't know where to market historical romance? What was he doing taking pitch appts at an RWA conference? A free vacation? So I went to the check-in desk and told the lady my story. It felt good to vent. Then I forgot about it and happily moved on.

Sure. A few days after the conference, I got a phone call from national. They had several complaints about him and wanted to know my story. To this day, I never saw him taking pitches an RWA conference again. But don't feel bad, he has not suffered the loss of RWA. His agency is successful, he agents his favorite sci-fi and mystery writers, and he no longer has to take pitches from a romance writers like me!   

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

First Conference

My first RWA conference was in Chicago in 1999 and I took the family with me. I don't remember much about that conference other than I had a group pitch (thank goodness) with a Pocket editor. She requested from almost everyone. The memorable part came when my younger daughter (age 2) wouldn't stop crying one afternoon and hotel security came to our room. If we couldn't quiet her down, we had to go. Nice! It took some work, but everything worked out. She was good the rest of the week.

It was fun and I was hooked on RWA conferences. I wish I could have taken home one of the cows that the city had placed along the streets. They were very cool.

Coming up: Washington D.C. and the disaster pitch. Hint: It wasn't my fault! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Contest

Good morning. Okay, so I ran off to my computer to look up RWA and discovered a wonderful world of other romance authors. Who knew there were so many of us out there? And just as quickly, I also discovered RWA writers contests. So I picked out one and entered. When the scores came back, they confirmed what the editors (and now agents, too!) were saying. My book was no where near ready for publication. I had so much to learn.

Here are some of the judge P-9's comments:

Opening is good
Premise is diluted with too much thinking about background.
Needs tightening
I could get excited when it focuses!  
(Score 23/40 points)

Judge U-7 said this:

I did not get hooked until page 5 when the rifle shot is heard
Both characters were very well described
Point of view is sometimes confusing
(Score 26/40 points)

Though I'm sure I grumbled a bit during this time, I knew if I was serious about writing as a career, I needed to keep going forward. I consider this book a first try in the learning process. So Catherine's Choice went into a file and I moved on.

**By the way, while going through my rejection letters, I realized I've been literally rejected by almost everyone in publishing at one time or another! More rejection letters to come!

Friday, November 18, 2011

RWA and Submissions

As previously mentioned, my book (Catherine's Choice) started out on a typewriter, then a word processor, then a computer. During the 5 years spent writing this book, I got married, had kids and worked a job with an airline. But I did eventually finish the book of a billion pages (Okay more like 500 or so) and had no idea what to do with it. So I went to Literary Marketplace and started my hunt for a publisher who took romance novels.
After making a list of prospective publishers, I sent out queries and chapters. When the rejection letters came back, they all went something like this:

Dear Author or Dear Writer

Thank you for your query. Unfortunately...

Signed, The editorial department

It was enough to make me give up writing all together. I'd spend 5 year on this book and  no one wanted it? How could that be? 

After the flurry of rejections died down, I realized that I needed an agent, someone who would see the beauty of my manuscript and get me sold. So I cold called (yes, yes, I did) the first agent I could find who took romance. I wish I'd written down her name because she changed my life. After asking her about submission for her agency, there are a long pause on her end, then, "Have you ever heard of Romance Writers of America?" 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day one (utterly clueless)

I didn't start writing because of a lifelong dream. I was bored. I admit it. One afternoon, there was nothing on TV and I was out of books, so I decided to write my own. I had a typewriter (for anyone too young to know what that is, check Google) collecting dust, and always loved cowboy books, so I decided to write the great American cowboy romance. Not the best idea for someone who worships spell check and can't type without looking at the keys. But we did have pre-spellcheck back then to save me. It was called Whiteout.

 I started this book about 20 years ago. I knew absolutely nothing about writing novels, manuscript formatting, word counts. Zero. Word for word, funky punctuation and all, here is how it all began:

(Yes, this book starts from a horse's point of view)

Something was not right. Was it a smell or a whispered word that sent his nose twitching and his ears seeking out the source. He did not know. Almost as quickly as it came it was gone. He could not voice his growing fear or question the reason for it, yet generations of careful breeding told him something was not right on the wind. He sniffed the air for something that was no longer there. Perhaps it was nothing at all.

It would ultimately take me 5 years, writing part time, to finish this book. More tomorrow!

Launching Cheryl Ann Smith Raw

Hi everyone. I am starting something new today. Promo is hard for a little fish in a big ocean of writers and books. Everyone Facebook's or Tweets or has a website. How do readers dig through the haystack of big name authors and bestselling books to find a new author like me? A beautiful cover? An ad? Who knows?

While pondering this, I remembered a saying that went something like this, "She tells two people and they tell two people and so on, and so on, and so on..."

So starting today, I plan to start from the beginning of my writing journey and take my readers on a ride that is hopefully like no other author has done before me. I won't give out too many details (trade secrets and all :)) but I will tell you this, it will be in insider look at things readers don't always see, bumps and all!

See next post! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reviews, reviews, reviews

I'm an angsty author. I admit it. I put my titles up on Google Alerts, so when my books are mentioned somewhere, I'll know it right away. And this isn't always a good thing. Well, this morning a review popped up that had me shaking my head.

Most authors would say that at the moment I saw the review link, I should have hit delete (without opening) and moved on. But curiosity drove me forward. Though the reviewer actually read the book (trust me, some don't) and gave it an okay and thoughtful review, sadly, she didn't get the book. The subtle humor passed right over her head.

Now I need to say that generally I stay away from really dark topics in my books, such as abuse of children, rape, graphic murders, etc. Though I am a true crime show addict, and occasionally throw a kidnapping or dead body into my stories, my books are meant to be a lighter read. I shoot for fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek, wry the examples lifted by the reviewer below show:

 * “Though I appreciate your desire to divest yourself of your virginity on my manly staff….”

* “it had nothing to do with her desire to climb atop his manly frame and ride him all night.”

* “You are despicable,” she wheezed, surprised by his frankness….. “Do you ever think of anything but launching a coup against my drawers?”

He shrugged. “I’m afraid not.”

Truthfully, is there anything serious in those quotes? The only time I ever use 'manly' is in jest and I thought that last quote was amusing. At least to me! Hopefully, it leads the reader to all sorts of raunchy images of how he might use his 'manly staff' to fight his way past the barrier of her undergarments! 

So if someone picks up my books, I hope they like my humor, enjoy the romance, and hang on for a wild ride. Because giving readers a few hours of (I hope!) crazy-fun is why I right romance!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spooky question

I was on my way home from Weight Watchers this morning and I heard the theme for the movie Halloween on the radio. Perfect for Oct, right? When that movie came out, it scared the dickens out of me. Now that I'm a few years older, I don't watch many scary movies. There is enough scary stuff on the news!

So my question of the day is, what is/was your favorite scary movie?

The drawing is going through Friday, so I'm still collecting names for books and the Kindle!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Release day!

The Accidental Courtesan is out today and I'll be heading to B&N to take a peek! I was also fortunate last night to get a preview of my next book cover (June 2012). Very pretty! '

I know for myself that a great cover can draw me to pick up a book first, and the blurb on the back will decide my purchase. I love my Berkley covers and have received favorable comments from readers. That leads to my question of the day:

Does a great cover entice you to pick up a book? 

All poster's will be added to the daily drawing, here and on Facebook! Thanks!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Good morning. It's day three of my blog party. Since Google is still goofy, I'll be taking names here and on Facebook for the rest of the week. We've given away 3 sets of books and will continue all week!!/cherylannsmithauthor

I thought I'd blog about my crazy cat today. I know it isn't book related but he is worth mentioning. The little hairball loves to rip up toilet paper rolls, kill rolled up socks, and put his toys in his water bowl. He chews on the dog and chases our other cat. He should get a mention in my book acknowledgements as he spends half of my life sitting on my lap while I write. It can make typing difficult! We are building an addition onto our house. When the wall was broken out, we had several days of a mice invasion. Thankfully, he turned out to be an excellent mouse catcher. The other cat just watched the action!

Do you have pets with odd quirks, or a story about something crazy or fun your pet has done? I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Hi everyone. Google is still giving some grief, so I will be taking names for prizes both here and on my Facebook page:!/cherylannsmithauthor

The cover for The School for Brides is on the page so you'll know you are in the right place!

I promise to make sure everyone has a chance to win books, and the Kindle on Friday! Once again, sorry for the mix up!

Warm places and open spaces

Over the last couple of days, Michigan has taken a big leap into fall. From the upper 60's to the low 50's. Though it will warm up some this week, chances of it getting hot again are slim. With the cold season comes thoughts of warm climates and sunny vacations. One of my favorite places is Moorea, in French Polynesia. My hubby and I went there on our honeymoon. I worked for an airline at the time, so we could afford to go. The airplane from Tahiti to Moorea was so small, that our luggage had to take a different plane! It was a beautiful island, sandy beaches, blue waters, and at night, the sky was so black that the stars were the brightest I've ever seen. There were few cars so we took a wooden bus around the island. We discovered banana pancakes, a Moray Eel, and that lizards love to invade huts. We took a boat tour and a dog names Freckles came along for the ride. We soon found out why. The hamburgers they fed us were, well, let's just say, not the best. We all covertly gave them to the dog. She was happy! But the grilled tuna steaks in coconut milk were yummy! It was a great trip!

That was my favorite place. What place do you enjoy visiting or where would be the setting of your dream vacation?    

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Google Chrome is the answer

Hi everyone. It looks like Google is now Google Chrome. That is why I was having problems today! It seems like Google has come up with a way to mess with the un-computer savvy like me. So if anyone is having problems posting, Google Chrome is the new program to download Google blogs. My hubby set me up so hopefully there will be no more problems! Thanks for your patience! I think I'll pull two names from the hat today!


When technology kicks you in the knees...

I'm still having difficulties. I'm so sorry!!! The blog has been working for that last several days. I'm still taking names and have sent out for help!

Blog issues!

I can't believe I'm having blog issues today of all days! I am reading your posts and taking down names for the drawing. I appreciate your patience while I figure this out! Cheryl


Good morning! If anyone has read my blog, the first historical romance I read was Kathleen Woodiwiss's, The Flame and the Flower. I stayed up all night and read (and loved) that book. Heather and Brandon were such interesting characters. Later on, I'd heard that Kathleen had sent off this huge manuscript to the editor, who read it and signed her right away. I don't know how much of that is true, but can you imagine how exciting that call must have been for her? She and a few other writers helped launch a whole new romance genre with that book! I bet she didn't know how far reaching her influence would go when she sat at her typewriter, writing her love story.

What was the first romance you read? What drew you to it? What was there about it that made you want to continue reading romance?

I will draw names tonight at 10pm for a set of books. All the names today will go into a hat for the Kindle drawing on Friday!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Day Tomorrow!

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow is the big day! The start of the party! I'll be giving away 2-book sets of The School for Brides and The Accidental Courtesan. Each person who posts a comment on this blog gets their name in the drawing for the books on the day they blog. On Oct 7th, I'll take all the names for entire week and put them in a "hat" for the Kindle drawing. I'll also be visiting Romance Bandits on Oct 6th and will include the visitors there in all the drawings.

This will also include my international readers, so please stop by! See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Playing Catch-up, and party info!

I know it's been a (really) long time since I posted, and I made a vow to myself to blog at least once a week from now on. As a 40-ish woman, I'm slow to jump into all this internet stuff. Yes, I email, occasionally Facebook and Tweet, and have put away my abacus in favor of an online calculator, but I still have a long way to go! From now on, I'll post updates about my books, talk about other books I enjoy, and blog about stuff the interests me, any hopefully you, too!

Starting this Sat, Oct 1st, I will be putting on a release day/b-day week party for my new book, The Accidental Courtesan. There will be books to giveaway everyday to commenter's and a big drawing on my birthday (the 7th) for a shiny new Kindle!

More details to follow in a few days! Hope to see you then!