Talent To Burn

Today’s the day my friend and writing chapter mate releases her debut novel!


Please welcome Laura Welling to the ranks of published authors with Talent To Burn, the first in her Urban Fantasy series Hidden Talents. It’s my favorite kind of hero, a con man who’s now on the right side – but aren’t little slips into the past inevitable? He’s determined to help the heroine, they both have paranormal gifts, and best of all, the characters return in book two! I hate letting go of people I’ve come to love. Laura has ingnited a winner of a book!



Passion burns. Betrayal scars.

Cat Wilson grew up a misfit among misfits. She couldn’t read minds, see the future, or start fires like the other Talented kids inside the shadowy Grey Institute. Finally she ran, leaving her beloved brother, Eric, behind. She’s been running ever since.

When she learns that Eric has escaped, leaving deadly fires in his wake, Cat is torn between fear for her brother, and unwanted attraction to the messenger, a charming, Talented ex-con who lives for the next adrenaline rush.

Jamie Murphy is sure his group of outcast Talents can help Eric—if they can get to him before the cops or the Institute, and before he kills again. Cat’s aversion to Talented bad boys is like a wall of ice, but to his surprise, he doesn’t have to use an ounce of his own unique gift to find a way through it.

Yet locating Eric is only the beginning. In the battle to pull him back from the brink, Cat must find the courage to unlock a fearsome Talent of her own. And pray the psychic backdraft doesn’t destroy everyone she loves.


When’s she’s not writing, Laura Welling wears a lot of other hats: mother, farmer, and software engineer. She’s Australian but lives in the United States on a horse farm, which she shares with her family, an over-sized dog, and various horses, cats and chickens. She is a compulsive reader of all genre fiction, who started reading before the age of two, and never stopped. She wrote her first “book” when she was five—a spy story, which has since been joined in a bottom drawer by various other early attempts.

Talent To Burn was inspired by some of her favorite stories: Anne McCaffrey’s science fiction novels, Marvel’s X-Men comics, and The X-Files television series.

Laura can be found at her blog, Twitter and Facebook! And Talent To Burn is available pretty much wherever you like to download:

Samhain | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

Update on The Writer’s Voice

I didn’t get to the next round, but it was a fun run at the start. So many great queries and first pages! I’ve learned lots by reading them and watching what the team leaders picked. Annette T. Dodd has a summation of the picks on her website.

Per past participants’ advice, I’m keeping my query up (next post below) because some folks are being kind enough to offer comments. Next date in the contest is May 22 to see the polished queries and then watch as the agents vote.

I won a spot in The Writer’s Voice!

I’m thrilled to announce my name was picked via a lottery for The Writer’s Voice Blogfest!

Several blogs have posted how the event works, but Mother. Write. (Repeat.) has been a go-to for me for years for agent interviews, and that’s where I read about the contest, so here’s Krista’s link. (Thanks, Krista!)

Per the instructions, today I post my query and first 250 words. Here we go!

Dear Agent:

PASSAGES is a 108,000 word adult science fantasy romance set on a failing planet being revitalized by a population of electorgs—humans with electronic implants.

After an attack scrambles his memories, Quinn learns he’s the ousted electorg commander of the workforce repairing his planet. In his place, an alien look-alike is stripping the planet of a mineral the natives need to survive and deactivating electorgs along the way. To save the planet and his fellow ‘torgs, Quinn needs allies, but the only person he trusts is the soft-skinned, empathetic ‘torg woman who gave him shelter. He installs a bodyguard program in her system, telling himself she’ll be safe, and that he only wants an ally, not a lover.

Becoming the Commander’s guard 24/7 puts Eve’s life at risk—and not only from alien attack. As a community counselor, she became very involved with the natives and broke an electorg taboo: she fell in love and bore children. Her lover is deceased, but if Quinn’s superiors learn of her forbidden relationship with the natives, Eve could be deactivated. Still, her connection with the natives could hold the key to defeating the aliens, and if she doesn’t trust Quinn with the secret, her native-born children will die. With attraction tightening between her and Quinn, Eve must brave physical and emotional danger to save her children, her love, and the air they breathe.

PASSAGES won the NJRWA Put Your Heart In A Book Contest, and finaled in FF&P’s On the Far Side Contest and in KOD’s Unpublished Daphne du Maurier Contest. I have served on the board in my local RWA chapter, and participate in several special interest chapters and a critique group.

Following is my manuscript’s first 250 words. Thank you for taking time to consider my work.


Laurel Wanrow


Chapter One


The city of Cavvert

Another morning, another motel room, and my brother was still missing.

I slung my travel pack over my shoulder and shoved the lapels of my field jacket together against the chill mountain air. My cheeks stung beneath my beard, and my eyes watered, reminding me I’d best brace for both the cold and another search of another town. I strode the length of the old motel building to the street, where my grandmother waited, bundled in her tan jacket over travel clothes.

“Morning,” I called. “What backwater town are we off to today?”

Graen wasn’t listening. I followed her gaze past the quaint eateries and shops surrounding the snow-patched green. Across the town square, a line of people waited alongside flatbeds of shipping boxes at the Conducer station.

Four helmeted Blackguards emerged from the station’s door. A fifth waved the travelers aside while the guards in their black polymer armor marched to the nearest flatbed. Each hoisted a box and carried it back inside, their stun swords swinging from their weapon belts.

My gut twisted at the sight of so many electorg guards. “They’ve requisitioned this passenger station for cargo transport.” I shook my head. “Trust a ‘torg to put equipment before the needs of the natives.”

“Quinn, hush,” hissed Graen. “We’ve got to get past those people.”

I dropped my glare from the Blackguard barring the transporter station’s entrance. “Electronic humanoids aren’t people. Not anymore.”


Thanks for reading and following this exciting blogfest! It’s being tracked on twitter at #TheWVoice, and I’m @laurelwanrow

So not to bury my entry, I will update all the fun sites here: Brenda Drake has posted The List. Stats have been compiled by Annette T. Dodd at her website. (I am the only Adult SFR!) Happy reading!


Back in March I attended the NOVA Teen Book Festival. Ellen Oh was one of the speakers on the identity panel and today I stumbled across the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign she is spearheading. Please check it out on twitter or facebook. What an exciting thing to happen for literature, for people of all ages!

More information on the campaign is covered in this Publishers Weekly article.

How to move a creek

Laurel Wanrow:

I have been MIA for several months on my blogs. In early September a disastrous flood event hit the small Colorado town where I own a cabin built by my Dad in the 1950′s. Since then I’ve spent half my time in Jamestown participating in recovery efforts. Read more about Jamestown and how you can help: http://jamestownco.org

Originally posted on Jamestown Connect:

Here is a handy guide on how to move a creek as documented in photographs by Laurel Wanrow.

Step 1: Place big yellow thing in post-Jamestown flood creek and start digging


Step 2: Tidy-up post-flood creek


Step 3: Dig channel for new creek


Step 4: Divert water to new creek


Step 5: Grade the road where the post-flood creek used to be


Step 6: Welcome town-folk to the new Ward Road with creek back were it started before the Jamestown flood


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2013 Put Your Heart in a Book Contest

Congratulations to my fellow finalists in the 2013 Put Your Heart in a Book contest! This event for unpublished writers is sponsored by the New Jersey Romance Writers. The winners will be announced at the NJRWA Conference October 18th.

Sacha Devine – The Ring
Laurie Benson – A Proper Scandal*
Patricia Kratina – The Viscount With a Wicked Wink

Nadine Mutas – Blood, Pain, and Pleasure
Mary Ann Worden – Heart of Atlantis
Laurel Wanrow – The Farm *

Short Contemporary
Leigh Raffaele – Brewed For Love*
Debora Noone w/a Delsora Lowe – The Rancher Needs a Suitable Wife
Catherine Cervantes – One More Time

Single Title
Pamela Gibson – Perfect Balance
Lena Pinto – True Partners*
Catherine Vignolini – Poser

Young Adult
Amy DeLuca – Four Bullets
Caroline Dunsheath – Last Wishes
McCall Hoyle – The Thing With Feathers

*denotes NJRW member

Contest Final!

I’m please to announce The Farm ( now The Unraveling) has finalled in the NJ Romance Writers’ 2013 Put Your Heart In a Book contest! I entered my steampunk fantasy in the Paranormal category back the end of June, and it’s now gone on to final judging. Winners will be announced at the NJRWA Conference October 18th. It’s a great regional conference; if you’re on the east coast, consider attending.

I’d like to give a shout-out to my fellow writers and crit buddies on Critique Circle. I’ve been working on this New Adult genre novel through this online writing forum and have met a number of great writers there. I regularly exchange critiques with a half dozen of them in the private queues, as well as pop into the public queues, and can’t say enough about how these exchanges have helped me to improve my craft. Check out Critique Circle at www. critiquecircle.com

Pitching Tips

Not the baseball kind, though it is the season. For romance writers, it’s manuscript pitching season, too. The Romance Writers of America National Conference begins this Wednesday in Atlanta, meaning hundreds of aspiring romance authors are gearing up to present their manuscript, either formally at an appointment, or casually somewhere–anywhere–an agent or editor might be found.  Pitching your book, a which every writer must do, either through a written query letter or in person, is a bit stressful, so it’s best to have a sentence or two prepared in advance. (Preparing this logline, by the way, is another whole topic!)

Of course, nothing beats practicing to alleviate nervousness. You can say your pitch out loud to your mirror, to a friend or loved one, or if you are really brave, to a stranger. At a recent workshop I co-presented, we took the practice one step further. For our Maryland Romance Writers meeting, Laura Welling and I recruited seasoned pitchers to act as editors and agents.

Pitch practice at Maryland Romance Writers

Our aspiring authors look rather happy for what could be a stressful event–and you could, too! Here are our tips for the actual event:

- Introduce yourself, and shake hands if you like to do that. Thank the agent or editor for taking time for pitches.

- Sit down.

- Do not be alarmed if the agent or editor is still taking notes form the last pitch. They have no break between.

- Because you’ve done your research, tell the agent, ‘I chose to pitch to you because____ (you represent____, your blog gave ___info, I know you work closely on ____and I think that is a great attribute in an agent.) Make it short.

- Tell the person what kind of book you are pitching, and how long it is. This is a good way to get past your nerves. “Today, I am here to tell you about  COWBOY UP. It’s a contemporary western romance, and is around 95,000 words.”

- Then go into your pitch.  Give them your one to three sentences, perhaps starting with your high concept or logline if that’s a good lead-in.

-After you’ve given your intro statement and 3-sentence pitch, stop and smile at the agent/editor. Ask: Do you have further questions? The agent is usually does by this time and this makes the pitch more of a conversation.

-Prepare for those follow up questions! Some are obvious: more about your hero and heroine, the conflict, the black moment, what keeps the romance apart, what cinches it.

-If the agent/editor requests immediately, you do not need to add more. Get the instructions for how to submit, and ask any questions you need to.

-In case time allows, have a conversation starter in your pocket for this particular professional.

It’s ok to end early! When you’re done, go and relax a bit!

Good luck to the writers pitching at the 2013 RWA National Conference!

A WIP Snippet!

For a change, I’m posting a snippet from my WIP – The Farm, my steampunk fantasy romance for New Adults  (young adults age +18 years). The heroine, an artist named Annmar, is making her way to a new job.

She’d love to draw one of these women dressed for a special day out. Their fancy hats—more feather than sunshade—would keep her pencil busy for hours. But Annmar shouldn’t call attention to herself, which drawing did. And while she thought she might stop if anyone took notice, she never did, forgetting herself in her imaginings and their details. It was best not to start. 

Two well-dressed men took nearby seats. One said, “We’ll get him brought over. Who else is on today’s list?”

They commenced arguing over the best route to get around to several farms. Behind them, a man in overalls got up, and with a glare to the city men, left the car.

Annmar took a second look. Their green jackets bore a familiar gold insignia above the breast pocket—Shearing’s. Oh, Lord, these were his recruitment men. Obviously, the departing farmer refused to even overhear the talk Polly also hated: should small farmers give over their land and become workers on the larger ‘cooperative’ farms that Mr. Shearing touted as the wave of the future? Polly said the so-called co-owners ended up with no say, and from the angry looks of the other passengers, there must be some truth to it.

Annmar huddled lower with her face to the windows.


Thanks for reading!