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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TOPIC: An Author's Life...with Mel Teshco

Being a published author is an ... involved ... process, and I take my hat off to those who've been in the business more than a few years now.

As a pre-pubbed author I was always curious about what happened once you received THE CALL and stepped into the world of publishing.

What did it involve? How did they handled the day to day pressures? Did they developed routines, set goals etc.? What did they like/dislike about the process?

So I asked my special guests these questions and many of them have offered some intriguing insights into their lives. Maybe they'll even give you a heads up on what to expect if you're thinking of entering the world of "getting published".

Please welcome my next guest...

MEL TESHCO grew up in Australia, where her seemingly gypsy dad and ever patient mother saw her living in many areas of the East Coast, along with her sister and two brothers.

Each new home stimulated an already over-active imagination, where she spent as much time dreaming about fantasy worlds as the real world - the fantasy sometimes being much better.

Now living on a small rural property with three horses and a handful or two of cats, she is happily married with three children of wide-spread ages and loves writing gritty, sizzling paranormals and the occasional contemporary with darker tones.

Author Facts
Pseudonym or Given Name on the cover? Mel Teshco.
Why a pseudonym? I write erotica so I’m aware stalkers might one day be an issue. Plus I loved being able to use ‘Teshco’—the first two letters from each of my daughter’s names. 
Location: Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay, Queensland, Australia.
Published Genre/s: Paranormal Romance, Paranormal and Contemporary Erotica.
Website: www.melteshco.com
First published in: 2009.
Number of books published: 11 (including one self-published and one free read).

The Nitty Gritty 
List up to 5 significant events in your journey to publication.
Definitely joining Romance Writers of Australia was the biggest reason for my success today, followed soon after by moving to Queensland and meeting Robyn Grady and Rachel Bailey—both unpublished at the time with Harlequin.

Soon after I joined up with an online group of writers (Claytons Critters) who helped me to hone my craft, then eventually left that group to focus on more one-on-one writing and became CP’s with Tracey O’Hara.

Melissa Smith has been another brilliant CP who has influenced my writing a lot, as well as some other writers who I occasionally swap with (Laurann Dohner, Cathleen Ross). 

What resources/techniques/events did you find useful to develop your writing skills/craft?
Aside from generally writing, writing and more writing, it’d be all the brilliant workshops at the annual romance conference.

Also, for me it was contests where judges left sometimes brutal comments and suggestions—you can’t beat them for getting your work out there and being judged fairly (most of the time). And having great writers to look at your work is invaluable, it’s amazing how much the brain soaks up. In the same way I’ve found judging and critiquing helps to see what works, what doesn’t.

For ‘how to’ books I highly recommend Angela Knight’s Passionate Ink: A Guide to Writing Erotic Romance. I can’t stress enough how much every writer can learn from this book.

I also really enjoyed Stephen King’s take on his writing journey, an interesting insight.

Can you share the special moment when you received THE CALL/THE EMAIL?
I had a couple of close calls with Nocturne Bites, which included what is now STONE-COLD LOVER, which I eventually sold to Ellora’s Cave.

To be honest, I sent that story there after it was rejected from Bites, with no real expectations it would be accepted—until I received an email telling me they wanted it (if I was willing to add more explicit sex scenes).

When I published HER DARK LORD with Nocturne Bites, I got an acceptance email followed by a phone call—most of which I can’t remember. I think the editor must have wondered what she’d gotten herself into, LOL!!

Looking back over your writing career, how have you grown as an author?
I’m certain you never stop growing as an author, even if you’re Stephen King or J.K Rowling. But I think I’ve mostly grown in my realizing how far I’ve got to go in my own writing journey, how much I learn all the time.

How important is it to set career goals? Can you give an example of one you have for yourself?
It’s so important to set ‘realistic’ goals.

For me I set out a writing ‘to do’ list which I published on my blog and updated a few months ago to let readers know where I was at. It’s also a great tool for motivation. 

Can you describe your writing process/timeframe from when you start a new book to handing it in at deadline?
I don’t really have deadlines, though I can write decent word counts when I’m focused (I wrote Dragon Heat in 3 weeks, with absolutely no idea what the story was going to be about when I began typing).

My writing process is basically whatever story is captivating me at the time, though I do try and focus on the ones that need to be done. I’m usually juggling at least three or four stories at a time as my attention span is deplorable.

One of the things I found challenging about being a published author is the constant juggling of tasks ie. writing a book, editing another, planning promotion, writing the prosposal for another (and usually this all happens while holding down another job or dealing with family/life etc.).

What do you enjoy the most in the publishing process?
Speaking of juggling LOL!! For Ellora’s Cave I’ve never had to write a proposal, I’ve written the whole book and sent it in—thankfully they’ve accepted all of them so far.

But yes, promotion and just the time it takes to check emails, blogs, facebook and twitter, sometimes it’s exhausting! I try to spend less time on all of those things now—getting books out is much more important, and besides which, I don’t want to sacrifice more precious time away from my family.

What do you like least in the publishing process?
There’s actually nothing I dislike. I love getting edits and making the story that much stronger, I love LOVE seeing a cover for the first time, and I love seeing the book go out into the world.

Oh, I do dislike bad reviews, they totally suck! But I’ve come to accept not everyone is going to love every book.

Mel's free read
What's the most memorable fan-mail you've received?
It was probably one I got from a lady who loved my free and very short story (3k) and begged me to make the story longer.

Is there anything you think pre-publishers writers need to know about the business/industry before they're published?
Just know you’ve got to put the hours into your craft. It might seem silly, but there’s a reason very few people get published early in their writing career.

Learning the craft takes many years and I think most writers would feel incredibly grateful none of those earlier works are out in the world, tarnishing their name - LOL!

A Bit of Fun
Favorite color:
Hunkiest hero ever: I have a bit of a thing for Brad Pitt. In fact the part he played in Thelma and Louise was the hero (in my mind) in my free read Discovering Sofia. My fav hero in a book would have to be Clayton from Kelley Armstrong’s, BITTEN.
Most daring thing you've done in your life: Moved interstate with a baby and young child (with a major physical disability), to start a new life and escape an abusive relationship. Seriously the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and for my kids.
Greatest love: It goes without saying I love my husband, my children and my mum. I couldn’t imagine life without any of them in it. I love grabbing a pizza and sitting down in the afternoon with my husband and having a bourbon and dry. I love my house—it feels like my own space, my own piece of paradise.
Timeout/relaxation for me includes: Reading. Swimming. The occasional horse ride. Reading to Miss four or playing memory. Driving. Holidays. Playing COD (shooting games is a great stress release LOL!).
Special quote/saying you like: Be careful what you wish for, it just might come true. (I think that is apt for all of us). And: There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.


  1. Great post ladies.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  2. Hi Jodie,

    and thanks! It was great fun =)

  3. Great interview, and an encouraging one. I like the reminder that writing is a craft, and that means practicing it.

  4. Hi Mel & Kylie,
    Great to read this interview and hear there's so much to learn and the road is long but worthwhile. Sometimes I forget all that.

    I will have to read Discovering Sophia with that image of Brad Pitt in my mind! Thanks for that :)


  5. Hi Jenny,
    and yes it's so true =)

  6. LOL - Catherine, you can't go past Brad Pitt in my mind - in anything!

  7. Hi everyone, good to read you're enjoying the series and learning something from Mel's experiences! :-)

  8. Thanks Kylie for having me, it was fun =)