Loose Id's editor in chief, Treva Harte turned down the story as it didn't have a happy ending. Instead the hero was killed. But she encouraged me to rewrite the novel with an HEA and resubmit. I did and a couple of months later LI contracted Handle Me With Care.
HS: That's a long time! What attracted you to your romance?
DCL: Necessity. I’d been submitting detective, horror and science fiction for years with only a few successes. Curiously enough a romance publisher showed the first real interest in a novel length manuscript.
HS: It is a strange and wonderful journey, this writing gig. How many manuscripts had you completed before you sold?
DCL: Two novel length manuscripts. I sold my third attempt.
HS: That's so awesome. Tell us about the day (the minute, the second) you got ‘The Call’ (or The Email). What was your initial reaction?
DCL: I told our son and a few friends. It was a very quiet day otherwise.
HS: That was the same with me. What did you do to celebrate afterward?
DCL: Don’t remember for sure. I know it was low key.
HS: Yeah, I think I went home that night and had dinner. Anyone whom you wanted to rub your news in his/her nose?
DCL: Yes, but then I’d have to talk to them, and I didn’t want to do that.
HS: Gotcha. But at least you admit it. Tell us about your current release.
DCL: Phlogiston is a fantasy available from Aspen Mountain Press as of the very end of July and Dagon’s Octangle is a paranormal romance from Red Rose Press as of the first week of August.
HS: Where can we buy your books?
HS: What are you working on now?
DCL: I just contracted Contagion’s Shadow a paranormal romance and horror with Aspen Mountain Press.
HS: That sounds so cool! Can't wait to read it! What advice do you have for ‘Soon To Be Published’ writers (as I like to call them)?
DCL: Find a crit partner you trust – not just someone who’s afraid to “hurt your feelings.” The best way to do this is to offer to Beta read a published writer’s new manuscript. Now how do you do that? Join in various publisher’s reader’s groups (often called community groups) Changeling, Red Rose, Samhaim, Aspen Mountain, Loose Id—and if you don’t think that doesn’t cross boundaries just remember that Treva Harte editor in chief of LI is a crit partner to Margeret Riley publisher of Changeling. Offer your services as a Beta reader to any author who will take you.
Currently a number of closed author groups are looking for “cheerleaders” during fast draft competitions this means you keep track of an author’s work as they try to keep their word count up daily for a period of two to three weeks. They will mention this on community groups. This is a great way to introduce yourself to a professional. Take advantage of it.
Remember authors are people (creative people, but just folks). Did you love that last book? Write the author and tell her. She’ll be thrilled. I made a few fast friends when I first started and these were friendships I maintain today.
HS: WOW! That is great advice. I couldn't live without my CPs. And I am more than open to fan mail once my book is out. (Not hinting at anything at all!)
Tell us one thing about yourself that no one knows (or something very funny or interesting about you or your life).
DCL: My wife, Diane, passed away from non-hormonal (small cell) breast cancer in the summer of 2004. We'd been married for twenty-one years and I was devastated and for the longest time unable to communicate without breaking down crying. My wife had some erotic short stories and other romance notes and poems stashed away in the house; so, I took these and assembled them into a series of short pieces making the characters the same names in all the stories and wrapping a paranormal plot around all the short pieces. Thus I was published under a pseudonym honoring my posthumous partner. Chuck The Charles of Diane Charles Linford
HS: Wow. I'm sorry for your loss but I'm sure that your wife would have been pleased that you are honoring her in such a way. Sounds like you had an amazing marriage. Who’s your ideal heroine?
DCL: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all my wonderfully sexy heroines:
Sophia and Stephen in Dagon’s Octangle from Red Rose Publishing. Both “Dianes” in The Sacred Glade from Aspen Mountain Press. Both protagonist couples in The Collector: The Onyx Palace from Loose ID. Gwyneth and Prince Galduric in Phlogiston. Plus I have six dragons in that novel, each with a distinct personality. I loved writing their dialogue and quirks.
HS: I love dialogue. Especially when it reveals quirks. And dragons? Get out of here! Thank you so much for visiting the Smut, Chuck.
And to the readers, stayed tuned next week. I won't tell you who's on the agenda, but I will tell you that it truly will be a schizophrenic experience.