Monday, October 17, 2011

Anne R. Allen is an "entertaining adult" and she has some books to give away

**Giveaway is now closed**

Anne R. Allen has five romantic comedy/mysteries debuting this fall from two publishers, Popcorn Press (US) and MWiDP (UK). Two were previously published in the UK by Babash-Ryan: “Food of Love” and “The Best Revenge.” The other three, "The Gatsby Game," "Ghostwriters in The Sky," and "Sherwood, Ltd.” are brand new.

"Food of Love" and “The Gatsby Game” are now available in e-book, with paper to follow in about a month. “Ghostwriters in the Sky,” “Sherwood Ltd.” and “The Best Revenge” will launch in November. (“Sherwood, Ltd,” set in an “adult entertainment” factory in Lincolnshire, was inspired by the events below.)

She is currently working with the author of "Pay It Forward," Catherine Ryan Hyde, on a self-help guide for writers. In addition, Anne is a faculty member of the Central Coast Writer's Conference. She lives near San Luis Obispo, CA, the town Oprah calls "the happiest town on earth."

Today, Anne shares with us is her hilarious journey to having "Food of Love" published and "keeping her sense of humor in the adult entertainment factory." She also is sharing three e-books of "Food of Love" to some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

You can find Anne on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.

Keeping My Sense of Humor in the Adult Entertainment Factory

When I started writing funny fiction for women fifteen years ago, if anybody had given me a realistic idea of my chances for publication, I’d have chosen a less stressful, more rewarding hobby, like do-it-yourself brain surgery, or professional frog herding.

As a California actress with years of experience of cattle-drive auditions, greenroom catfights and vitriolic reviewers, I thought I had built up enough soul-calluses to go the distance. But nothing had prepared me for the glacial waiting periods; the bogus, indifferent and/or suddenly-out-of-business agents; and the heartbreaking, close-but-no-cigar reads from big-time editors—all the rejection horrors that make the American publishing industry the impenetrable fortress it has become. But some of us are too writing-crazed to stop ourselves. I was then, as now, sick in love with the English language.

I had three novels completed. A fourth had run as a serial in a California entertainment weekly. One of my stories had been short-listed for an international prize, and a play had been produced to good reviews. I was bringing in a few bucks—mostly with short pieces for local magazines and free-lance editing.

But meantime, my savings had evaporated along with my abandoned acting career; my boyfriend had ridden his Harley into the Big Sur sunset; my agent was hammering me to write category romance; and I was contemplating a move to one of the less fashionable neighborhoods of the rust belt.

Even acceptances turned into rejections: a UK zine that had accepted one of my stories folded. But when the editor sent the bad news, he mentioned he’d taken a job with a small UK book publisher—and did I have any novels? I sent him one my agent had rejected as “too over the top.” Within weeks, I was offered a contract by the company’s owner/editor—a former BBC comedy writer—for FOOD OF LOVE. Included was an invitation to come over the pond to do some promotion.

So fired my agent, rented out my beach house, packed my bags and bought a ticket to Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, where my new publishers had recently moved into a 19th century former textile mill on the banks of the river Trent—the river George Eliot fictionalized as “the Floss.”

George Eliot. I was going to be working and living only a few hundred yards from the ruins of the house where she wrote her classic novel about the 19th century folk who lived and died by the power of Lincolnshire’s great tidal river. Maybe some of that greatness would rub off on me.

At the age of… well, I’m not telling…I was about to have the adventure of my life.

I knew the company published mostly erotica, but was branching into mainstream and literary fiction. They had already published the first novel of a distinguished poet and a famous Chicago newspaper columnist was in residence, awaiting the launch of his new book. But when I arrived, I found the great Chicagoan had left in a mysterious fit of pique, the “erotica” was seriously hard-core kink, and the old building on the Trent was more of the William Blake Dark Satanic variety than George Elliot’s bucolic “Mill on the Floss.”

I was going to be living in an "adult entertainment" factory.

Some of my fears subsided when I was greeted by a friendly group of unwashed, fiercely intellectual young men who presented me with generous quantities of warm beer, cold meat pies and galleys to proof. After a beer or two, I found myself almost comprehending their northern accents. I held it together until I saw my new digs: a grimy futon and an old metal desk, hidden behind stacks of book pallets in the corner of an unheated warehouse, about a half a block from the nearest loo. My only modern convenience was an ancient radio abandoned by a long-ago factory girl.

I have to admit to some tears of despair....Until, from the radio, Big Ben chimed six o’clock. That’s six pm, GMT. Greenwich Mean Time. The words hit me with all the sonorous power of Big Ben itself. I had arrived at the mean, the middle, the center that still holds—no matter what rough beasts might slouch through the cultural deserts of the former empire. This was where my language, my instrument, was born.

I clutched my galley-proof to my heart. I might still be a rejected nobody in the land of my birth—but I’d landed on the home planet: England. And there, I was a published novelist. Just like George Eliot.

Well, maybe not just like George Eliot. Ms. Eliot probably didn’t have to live amidst pallets of books with covers showing ladies in leather undies undergoing various forms of feigned torture. It was going to take some getting used to. But I figured if kept my sense of humor, I was going to survive just fine.

And even though that publishing company went out of business two years later, I was a published author. Nobody could take that (or my sense of humor) away from me.
And on Sept 18th of this year, FOOD OF LOVE, was re-released in the US by Popcorn Press, and is now available on both sides of the pond as an e-book, and will soon be available in paper in the US.


Thanks to Anne R. Allen for sharing her thoughts with us and her e-book with our readers.

How to win "Food of Love":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: Where is the funniest place you've ever been?

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends October 23rd at midnight EST.


23 comments:

Sibel Hodge said...

What a fab post! I'm a big admirer of Anne's online, and she's a lovely person! I've been looking forward to the release of her novels. Great stuff, Anne, and congrats on publishing them. Somehow I just know they're going to be a huge hit!

The funniest place I've been? Hmmm...probably Russia before it all separated into other countries. Weird place. They serve pickled cabbage for breakfast. I mean, yuck!

I tweeted the comp, followed the blog, and am already a member on FB.

email: sibelhodge (at) gmail.com

Good luck with the books, Anne! :)

Kim W. said...

1. Funniest place.....can't really think of one. So I'm gonna say Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club!

2. I follow the CLC blog already

3. I have posted this contest on Facebook

4. I am a member of CLC on Facebook already

kewalker1972@gmail.com

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks so much for hosting me here! And I'm honored that the first comment is from Sibel Hodge--one of the best chick lit authors around. Like Sibel, I write a kind of "screwball" comedy combined with mystery.

Kim, I hope you win and enjoy the book! Make sure you have some chocolate handy.

Laura Pauling said...

Okay.

1. Funniest place? My home b/c that's where the most laughin happens. :)

2. I'm a new follower.

3. And I'll go tweet right now!

laurapauling at yahoo dot com

Margaret said...

I guess mine is to Viana do Castelo, Portugal( on the north west coast). I went to visit cousins and found that their Portuguese was hard to understand. A different accent I am not used to and they speak so fast. We made plans to meet for lunch and I missed it because I didn't understand. We made plans again for sightseeing and missed that too. We went for coffee at a cafe near the ocean beautiful little spot and I was thinking we would sit for a bit while sipping our espressos well, no they downed them and were on their feet ready to go. Culture shock I guess. They did pack me a nice lunch on my trip back down south via train so even though they were funny they were very nice! This helped because at the train station I fell over backwards with the weight of my backpack. I was pretty embarrassed as a guy over in the corner noticed and laughed.

I'm a follower.

Margaret
singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

D.D. Scott said...

You summed it up right off the bat, Girlfriend...

"Brain surgery and professional frog herding" gotta be easier than writing-for-publication!!! LOL!!!

Cheers to you and your incredible journey and thanks for sharing all the LMAOs along the way!!!

Marthalynn said...

What a great story of endurance. I was really encouraged by her determination.

Funniest place I've been - I used to work for a prestigious plastic surgeon and we definitely had some funny moments there! People are shockingly funny - especially when they don't know it.

I'm a follower :)

acluisi (at) hotmail (dot) com

BRN2SHOP9 said...

I follow via GFC, Twitter and Facebook.

I went to a comedy club last year. That was very funny.

brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for the comments. It's so fun to see some of my own favorite chick lit authors here.

Margaret--I know how comical it can be to try to connect with people in a foreign country. I made a dentist appointment in Italy that I missed twice because I couldn't remember the difference between martedi (tues) and mercoledi (wed)

Marthalynn--some people could call it endurance. Others just call me stubborn :-)

Pamela Mason said...

Too funny!

Pamela Mason said...

Too funny!

Ranae Rose said...

Tortured ladies in leather undies, huh? Sounds like quite the adventure, Anne! ;D LOL

Ah, funny places. I've been a few, thanks to my 'other job', which, long explanation short, sometimes lands me behind the scenes at concerts, sporting and racing events. Now let me just say before I continue that I'm a transplanted Yankee living in The South, and that working at my first Nascar event was quite the hilarious shock to me. Nascar fans (if there are any reading this), don't hate me for saying this, but the Bristol Motor Speedway during any race week is the funniest place I've ever been. And I mean that in the best way possible, because I find it hilariously, wonderfully fun to work there. The races are kind of like a southern, countryfied version of Woodstock. A giant vehicular orgy of wild abandon and unchecked enthusiasm. I might get to be back in the 'security area' or up in a sky box, but I inevitably end up lost in miles of darkened tent and RV fields at night, coming up with shady ways to glean Mardi Gras beads, which function as a sort of currency when it comes to bumming ATV rides from people who hauled them there - usally all the way from the mid-west. Because really, how am I going to find my car on foot? Along the way I'm always sure to witness some impromptu strip shows (seems like the minimum age for participation is 50) and God knows what else... But one thing's for sure, coming home and telling my stories from the race is always fun. Once I even met Dracula there, who apparently drinks heavily and is there more to observe the 'nice vegs' of any female attendees than the actual racing.

E-mail: contact [at] ranaerose [dot][com]

Bonnie said...

The funniest place? - anywhere my children are.

I am a FB follower.
I follow this blog.
I posted the giveaway in FB.

Thank you for this opportunity to win one of Anne's books!!

email: smallb at gmail dot com

Anne R. Allen said...

Ranae--That is hilarious. You have the perfect setting for a chick lit novel there! Love the Mardi Gras beads touch. And Dracula. How could you miss with Dracula?

Anonymous said...

Anne, you will recognize me, the "anon" Florence Fois from Ramblings ... her to cheer you on in your "second" life. You did it once and then you did it again. You are the classic trouper and I am so very happy to have you in my corner of the world.

I already own and am reading Food of Love, will get all your books and look forward to having you as my guest for the second time :)

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Florence, especially since you already have the book. I'm so grateful for long-time blogfriends.<3 I look forward to guest posting for you again!

Erin said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I am a follower of your blog. erins826 at gmail dot com

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Erin!

meandmom said...

I would like to read this book.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

meandmom said...

I cannot think of any funny places I have ever been to other than a comedy club.

I am a subscriber.

I am a Facebook fan.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

Elaine AM Smith said...

This is a great post, and a timely reminder.
Congratulations on the multiple release dates.
I follow, have followed and will follow plus I am about to tweet about the competition too ;)

The funniest place I've ever been to was a child's birthday party - a water slide made out of a garden slide and a huge sheet of plastic, washing up liquid and boys who wanted win. Just thinking about that day makes my sides ache all over again.

email: elaineamsmith at live.co.uk

I wish you every success with the books.

StereoQueenBee said...

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).

Already follow.

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Facebook - Sabrina-Kate Eryou
Twitter - stereoqueenbee

4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

Am already a member.

Anne R. Allen said...

Many thanks to all of you for your comments and RTs. Elaine--so great to see you here! Stereo, meandmom, and all of you--thanks a bunch for your interest in my book!