I had the pleasure of meeting First Grave on the Right author, Darynda Jones, Saturday at my local RWA chapter meeting. She shared the inspiring story of how one Golden Heart nomination turned into eight offers of representation, one quasi death threat, and two sweet deals (including a YA series) to St Martin’s Press. Since then, she’s sold foreign rights to a dozen countries and television rights to CBS. Oh, and did I forget to mention Darynda’s editor referred to her as “the next Janet Evanovich?” Holy Cinderella story, Batman!

Now, there’s a lot of jealousy in this business, but Darynda is so fun, charming, and down-to-Earth that you can’t help feeling delighted for her success. Besides, I’m fifty pages into her book, and I can testify the woman is CRA-ZY talented.

I asked Darynda how she handles the pressure of dueling deadlines while traveling, speaking, and promoting her work, and one of her answers made me smile. She uses “Freedom,” a software program that locks her off the internet, to thwart her short attention span and stay on track. A fellow ADD-suffering web-junkie myself, I rushed home and downloaded Freedom’s trial version. It rocks. I see more productivity in my future; thanks for the rec, Darynda!

Another tidbit: she might forego the use of a pen name when her YA hits the shelves. This was especially interesting to me, as I write adult contemporary romance and YA, and the thought of branding, maintaining and promoting two separate identities gives me the dry heaves. Apparently, more and more cross-genre authors are taking the same approach, and I love that.

In closing, Darynda’s main piece of advice to writers seeking publication: have a website—created by a pro if you can afford it. If an editor or agent is interested in you, the first thing they’ll do is Google your name.

Well, have a wonderful week, esteemed followers. And when you get a chance, pick up a copy of First Grave on the Right.