Sunday, December 28, 2008

Those Dreaded Resolutions





You want the good news or the bad news?


Let's start with the good news. 2009 is just around the corner.

With the new year comes the promise of new beginnings.



The bad news? New Years Day also brings those dreaded New Years resolutions.


I'll start:

*Write more – That won’t be hard. I took 4 months off due to burn out.
*Drink less caffeine – Okay, I’ll consider it. LOL
*Lose more weight – That’s a definite. Daughter is graduating in May and that means a herd of relatives with cameras.


The problem with resolutions, aside from breaking them on Day 2, is we begin the year with negative thoughts. “I need to stop drinking 145 cappacinos a day because I’m jumping around like that battery bunny.” If you’re not careful, you’ll start the year on a downward spiral. “If I hadn’t eaten 450 Dingy Dongs a day for 88 years, I wouldn’t need to lose weight. How could I have been such a fool? Why didn’t I stop after 250?” Soon you’re going way down the Could’ve-Should’ve-Would’ve road. "Why didn’t I marry Billy Joe Campbell Lewis Thompson? He owns a Dairy King and a Piggly Diggly."

All right. I’m obviously having fun, but there is a point here. If you want to make those resolutions, do it with positive thoughts. Don’t beat yourself up.


I recently discovered this quote on a school bulletin and it quickly became my favorite.

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Marcus Aurelius

I plan to keep my eyes focused on the road ahead and not on the rearview mirror.
I hope you'll join me.
Happy New Years!
Tina LaVon








Friday, December 26, 2008

Building The Fiction Pitch

January 2 - 30, 2009

"Building the Fiction Pitch, Step by Step"

Instructor: Janet Wellington

You've completed the manuscript of a story you love, and now all it needs is
a home. Time for the next step: marketing your story to an agent and/or
editor at a writing conference you've just decided to attend. The thing is,
you might be the most talented writer on the planet -- but if you can't
describe your story in an exciting but succinct way during a pitching
opportunity or appointment, you could be in real trouble.

By taking this course you'll learn:

* What to do when preparing to pitch

* Anatomy of a pitch; different lengths you'll need and why

* Techniques to help you analyze your story

* The biggest mistake writers make in pitching their stories

* How to craft the opening for your pitch

* The top benefit of an editor/agent appointment at conferences

* How to design a pitch for individual and group appointments

* What to say -- and not say -- if they want more

Janet Wellington is an award-winning author, writing teacher, and
line-editor for both published and not-yet-published writers. She started
learning the art of pitching stories in 1995 when she attended her first
Romance Writers of America national conference, and hasn't stopped since!
She has presented workshops on the art of pitching both regionally and
nationally, and now teaches online. Read more about her at:
www.janetwellington.com.

For more information or to register for the "Building the Fiction Pitch,
Step by Step" course, go to:

http://www.writeruniv.com/

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Recommended Read - Save The Cat

Okay, this is a book that I stumbled across by accident while I was on the net when I should have been writing. I was amazed I hadn't heard about it, but then I'm not focused on screen plays as I am with writing fiction. But boy, this book is packed full of things for a fiction writer. Period.

Blake Snyder goes into detail on the 10 different genres, your hero of the story and what makes him passive instead of active, story boarding and various other areas. I actually love his technique on doing index cards for story boarding. He also goes into great detail on the 'high concept' catch phrase that seems to be everywhere today.

If you're looking for new techniques and a fresh angle on the writing craft, I highly recommend this book. Mr. Snyder also has his own web page.











Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Firebrand Literary Agency Opportunity

Firebrand Literary Agency is taking a holiday from query letters and has

invited you to join them! As a gift for the holidays, they've decided to

skip the query stage by announcing their first annual Firebrand Query

Holiday -- to support authors who want to spend their time and energy

perfecting their manuscripts and not just polishing their sales skills.

They want to read your first chapter!

Beginning on Dec 15 and ending on Jan 15 they will be accepting sample

chapters via a unique email address: queryholiday@gmail.com .

They pledge to review all samples by the end of January, and will respond to

those that we are interested in no later than Feb. 1.

For more information go to the Firebrand website at:

http://www.firebrandliterary.com/query-holiday

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Relax and Remember


This week I’ve heard the desperation in the voices of coworkers feeling pressured by all that needs to be done before planes leave and relatives arrive.

This is the perfect time to remember a familiar quote:

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.”
Anonymous


If we keep rushing about, our minds solely focused on cleaning, shopping, wrapping, and cooking, those breathtaking moments will slip by without our notice.

Look into the faces of your children as they make gingerbread houses
or write their letters to Santa.

Watch your family members eye the gifts they hold with anticipation on their faces.

When you stand under the mistletoe reflect on all of the reasons
why that is the person you want to kiss more than anyone else in the world.

Open your eyes, settle your nerves, and make the end of 2008
the most memorable time of the year.


Have a joyous holiday!
Tina LaVon

Friday, December 19, 2008

Interview with Donna Hatch

I'd like to welcome our guest today, Donna Hatch. It's a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Stranger She Married. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book

Alicia must marry quickly to save her family. Her choices narrow to either a masked cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret. But a murderer is systematically killing everyone in her family and may strike yet again before she learns to love the Stranger She Married.

The Stranger She Married is book 1 of a familial series called "Rogue Hearts." There are four books planned with a possibility of there being six. Each is a stand alone book you can read without having to read the others.

The Stranger She Married is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I wish I had a great story for you, but I'd been agonizing over a title for a few days, brainstorming and not liking any of the ones I'd come up with, and one day as I was folding the laundry (glamorous activity, I know) it just popped into my head. I love the forced/arranged marriage scenario, so I wanted a title that suggested that for others who do, too.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love to read it and I love all the movies made in that era. I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, but I must admit, until I started doing the research, I wasn't certain of the differences between Regency and Victorian, besides the clothes. Pretty lame, huh? But I went with Regency because it's one of those eras that was fleeting, and unique in many ways and because it sorta has it's own genre. There are "Medievals" and "Regencies," but most of the other time periods are lumped into "Historical." However, I must confess that I mostly I do it for the men. They were an amazing blend of uber-sophisticated gentlemen who could dance and observe social nuances, and were also incredibly masculine. There are few things as manly as a man riding horseback, or fencing, or about to duel for his honor or for the honor of his lady love. Sigh.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I love to look at the other story - the way it would have been told if this book had been about a secondary or walk-on character instead. I wonder about them, their story, their background, their motivation. It basically started as a "what if?" What if the phantom in Phantom of the Opera had been a good guy instead of a murderer? What if the heroine fell in love with him instead of the obvious handsome guy? Plus I love the love triangles, and mystery and a bit of adventure. The finished product is very, very different than Phantom, but that's sorta what inspired it.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

I refer to Austen a lot because she lived in that era. There are other great books out there, but my best resource is a Regency/Georgian writer's group called Beau Monde. They are amazing and are great about recommending resource books. Many of them are so knowledgeable that they can just answer most questions.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?


Wow, that's like asking a mother who her favorite child is! Of course I loved the main characters, even to the point of dreaming about them. A lot of heroes get compared to Cole. I also had lots of fun with the secondary characters. I have a great quirky, snarky aunt. I also have a very cheeky, opinionated valet that I just might have to give his own story. I guess if I have to chose one, it'd be Cole.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

To start with, my characters develop as the story does, sort of a seat-of-the-pants kind of thing. Then after I've gotten several chapters written, I go back and interview them or personality-type them to help fill them in and give them more depth. I have a hard time with my men because I always make them too perfect, so then I have to go back and give them something to make them more human, plus give them their fatal flaw, which almost causes me bodily pain.

What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?

I love their formality of speech and dress. I got pretty deeply involved with all the different kinds of carriages and ended up putting a whole research page in my website to help other people keep it straight. There were almost as many difference types of carriages as we have cars.

One thing that I found interesting is that there is a lot of preconceived notions out there as far as what is modern and what is correct for the period. For example, they had tennis shoes - not rubber soled with a Nike swish, but they had special shoes that helped them keep from slipping that they wore when they played tennis; a sport, I might add, that's been around since King Henry VIII! Other things: some people called their father "Dad," including the poet Byron, they called a carriage a "car," and they called men who did mathematical calculations "calculators." So a man could say, "Dad, I'm taking the car as soon as I'm done with the calculator." But readers would think I was crazy and knew nothing about my time period, so I don't.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Many. Some of my favorites are Lynn Kurland, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Ashley, Candice Hern, to name a few.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

It's hard to tell which one has been most effective. However, I recently got a piece of fan mail from someone who'd seen my signature line which has the name of my book underneath it and the words, "A Regency Romance" next to it, plus my author website and publisher website. She likes Regencies, so she went and bought it. She said it was her first ever experience with an e-book.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have a Regency novella coming out in April of 2009, plus my current title will also be out in paperback in April. Book two of my Rogue Hearts Series, The Guise of a Gentleman is in the final edit stage and I hope it will be out by the end of 2009.

Thanks, Donna!

To celebrate her book release, Donna Hatch is offering a free e-book of The Stranger She Married to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...(Please make sure we have away to contact you if you win)

Bio.

Donna has had a passion for writing since the age of 8 when she wrote her first short story. During her sophomore year in high school, she wrote her first full-length novel, a science fiction romance. She wrote her second novel during her senior year, a fantasy romance. Needless to say, English and Creative Writing were always her favorite subjects. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband) she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession, with varying degrees of success, although she writes most often late at night instead of sleeping. A native of Arizona, she is currently a member of Desert Rose RWA and is a member of Beau Monde, a Regency Chapter of RWA. She is the winner of two RWA Chapter contests and has finaled in several others. And yes, all of her heroes are patterned after her husband of 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.

Check out author's website at www.donnahatch.com

Buy http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_138&products_id=1001

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Real Meaning of Christmas by Susan Meier

There are 11 children in my family. Seven girls. Four boys. All of my sisters are married, three of my brothers are married, and several of my nieces and nephews are married and have children. There are 63 people in my "immediate" family.

We have a Christmas tradition in our family of a cookie exchange. The deal is that you state your intention to be part of the exchange then Tammy (my youngest sister) sends us an email letting us know how many people are participating. This year there are 12. That means each of us will pick a type of cookie and make 12 dozen of that one kind. (I'm the peanut butter blossom girl.) Then December 20, we bring all our cookies to my mom's and 'exchange' them for one dozen of everybody else's.

Everybody involved ends up with 12 dozen different kinds of cookies for company but everybody also only has to bake one kind.

It's probably my favorite family tradition. And we've got some whoppers.

With 63 people in the immediate family, we have enough people (especially kids) to have our own personal Easter egg hunt. We have a sort of unofficial competition to see who can get my mother the best gift for her birthday. Every Wednesday morning in the summer, one of us hosts "breakfast" for the family members lucky enough not to have a real job -- or who have summers off because of working for a school district. My sister Laura is usually the winner for favorite breakfast. She makes waffles with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

In October the kids dress up and take part in a Halloween parade. This year they were the Flintstones, complete with PVC pipe Flintmobile. In a way, they were their own little float.

Every Friday after Thanksgiving, rather than battle shoppers, my mother hosts the cookie painting party for her grandkids. She bakes sugar cookies and makes colorful icing and the kids paint the cookies with the icing. They go on a Christmas tree in the family room with bubble gum and candy canes.

There are enough of us that if every 'family' within the family chips in $50 we can buy my mother a major appliance for Christmas.

In a lot of ways we sound like a small town, but really we're just family. We like to be entertained -- maybe too much -- and we enjoy each other's company. We were taught to share, to be generous, to include everybody in every baseball game, football game and/or card game we played and those lessons carried over into adulthood.

I sometimes look at my family and our traditions and wonder. . . Are we a tad crazy? A little too in love with entertainment and stimulation. . .Or is this what life’s really all about? Sharing your toys, including everybody in the game, and baking enough cookies that everybody gets a dozen.

Merry Christmas. This year, share your toys, include everybody in the game and bake an extra dozen cookie to give to someone in your town, your church, or at your office, who might not get a cookie this year.

Susan Meier


Susan Meier
HER BABY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS, Harlequin Romance, 12/08 AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON
MAID IN MONTANA, Harlequin Romance, 6/09
THE SWEETEST CHRISTMAS WISH, Harlequin Romance 12/09

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Don't Worry. Be Happy." Final Week




I hope you are feeling the holiday spirit taking hold.

These past few weeks I have shared my belief that staying in a happy state of mind is important not only for your life, but also for those you love, and for your creative energy.

This is the final week I’m going to share what I have done to remain in a happy state.
If I don’t get ready for Christmas, my loved ones won’t be happy with me.


This week was all about letting your hair down with friends. Okay, it was about ME letting MY hair down. Sometimes naughty Tina needs to come out and play.


This was party week. There are some social gatherings where I must behave myself while I network. I am so thankful The Valley of The Sun RWA party was not one of those occasions. When I want to let loose and laugh I sit with my sister, my critique partner, and a few writing friends who will say anything and often do. The conversation went from strange to dirty in record time. Of course, I brought the Studs and Spurs calendar for the gift exchange. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like pictures of bare-chested men. Ho Ho Ho We noticed there are more husbands attending this party every year. I get a kick out of the way they first roll their eyes at us, then get interested in the conversation, and soon are joining in – sometimes from across the room.

If you are creeping up in years like I am, you'll notice you spend more time walking down memory lane. This past week was no exception. I meet with my good friend and critique partner, Deborah, every Monday. After discussing our manuscripts, we girl talk. This past week we reminisced about old flames. I couldn’t help, but smile. Some of my most embarrassing moments involved my high school boyfriend. He was intelligent, mature, and patient. I was na├»ve and often made stupid remarks. I don’t know how that poor guy put up with me for as long as he did. I would have dumped me after the first date. LOL I shared my most embarrassing stories with Deborah and soon we were laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. It’s funny how high school and college seem like yesterday.

Cassie Ryan and her husband both have December birthdays, so they throw a joint party every year. Of course, the conversation soon took over where it left off at the VOS party.
We decided men really should read romance novels – at least the good parts. LOL

I have to admit, at one moment during the week a sad thought tried to take hold. I played my favorite songs and danced it off. When Deborah is driving, she’ll say, “Control, Alt, Delete,” to shake off those thoughts. I’ll have to give that a try, too.

I hope you had a great week and remember to stay happy all year long!

Tina LaVon

Friday, December 12, 2008

Interview with Linda Andrews

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Linda Andrews. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Christmas Village. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The Christmas Village is about Cade Dugan and Egypt Starr unlikely romance. Cade is an artist who lives in the magical town of Holly. To spread the Christmas spirit, he crafted villages based on his hometown and sells them. Since most towns have people, he started basing his figurines on the townsfolk, except they were paired with people he created, or so he thought, from his imagination. Soon the townsfolk met a person who looked exactly like the figurine and Cade got a reputation as being something of a matchmaker. To downplay his reputation, he crafted his dream woman and suddenly the town is full of women just itching to be his Ms Right. Poor Egypt’s car breaks down right outside of Holly and she’s dressed just like the others. Now Cade has to decide if she really is his dream woman or not.

The Christmas Village is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Since Holly is enchanted and kind of an outpost of the North Pole, I thought the title was appropriate. It doesn’t hurt that the hero does create those village scenes often seen at Christmas time and the town is named Holly.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love romance and have been reading it since I was a teenager. Combine that with something magic and well… how could you lose. Of course, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and I’ve been known to break out my Holiday CDs in June. Writing The Christmas Village was truly a labor of love.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I collect the Department 56 villages and figurines. My collection grew when my children were very small. Being curious kids, they touched and broke a lot of things. But the figurines of the Department 56 villages were cast metal. Ha. Finally something my kids couldn’t break. While that proved not to be true, soldering some of the pieces back together made me think of the artist who designed the pieces and the rest, they say, is history.

What are your favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

Oddly enough, I don’t do a lot of research on my stories. I guess watching all those paranormal shows like Ghost Hunters, Past Life Investigations and Psychic Investigations helps. Then again, I’ve lived in a haunted house, so ghostly activity is nothing new. For the Christmas Village I used a lot of the classic holiday movies to bring out the holiday spirit. But, hey, who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I loved writing about Cade the most. Imagine the fun of an alpha hero finding himself hunted by a bunch of marriage minded women in a small town where everything he did or said would be reported back to his parents, not to mention fodder for his four brothers.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing?

I’ve tried on numerous occasions to interview my characters, but the truth is, they arrive in my head fully formed and ready to go. Their actions and transformations come as a complete surprise to me.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I’m not so much inspired by an author as by the story they tell. Lots of time, I read book or watched a movie and thought, if only I could do that. Make people laugh or cry or root for the underdog... That’s my goal with every book.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

It may sound corny but the best promotion is writing a good book. By doing so, I’ve gotten a number of top reviews and award nominations all of which have resulted in better sales and a growing number of fans.

What do we have to look forward next?


Next is the sequel to my award nominated fantasy romance A Knight’s Wish. Molly and Lance’s story has magic, good versus evil and of course, a love story.

Thanks, Linda!

Thank you, Kim. It’s been fun chatting with you.

To celebrate her book release, Linda is offering a free ebook of The Christmas Village to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio.
Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal."

All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house?

Check out author’s website at www.lindaandrews.net Buy The Christmas Village at http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/eBook19206.htm

--

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's a Holiday Party


The authors over at Sweeter Romantic Notions are having a Christmas party on December 12th from 2pm to 8 pm est. Stop on by. Yours truly Kim is offering up a free e-book of When Johnny Comes Home.   Go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SweeterRomanticNotions


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Contest for ENCHANTING THE BEAST

FIRST 'Magical' Jewel contest for ENCHANTING THE BEAST

ENCHANTING THE BEAST is the third novel in the RELICS OF MERLIN series. Merlin used thirteen different jewels as a focus for thirteen mysterious spells, and the 'magical' jewel in ENCHANTING THE BEAST is a blue topaz. For this first contest, the prize is a 5.25 carat London blue topaz necklace. (See http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/contest.html for a photo and description of this 'magical' jewelry.)

This contest is all about spreading the word about the RELICS OF MERLIN series. To enter, just post the following blurb anywhere on the Internet (Chatrooms, Forums, Blogs, Myspace, Etc.) Please, no innappropriate sites, and the blurb cannot already be mentioned on that site. If you don't own the site, please verify that it's okay with the site owner to post the blurb.

BLURB: HAVE YOU BEEN ENCHANTED?
http://www.KathryneKennedy.com

Email your entry with ETB1 CONTEST in the subject line to: kathryne_kennedy@yahoo.com
A winner will be randomly chosen from those with a verifiable link. Entering the contest automatically signs you up for the author's newsletter. Your information will be kept confidential. Contest ends February 28, 2009. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or older to enter. No prize substitution permitted. This contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Don't Worry. Be Happy." Week Two




Last week, I shared my belief that, despite the economy, it’s important to remain in a happy state of mind. We affect the lives of everyone around us, so spread joy and cheer!
Like they say, “Smile and the world smiles with you.”

So how, when you are feeling the crunch in your wallet, do you keep yourself in a grateful, cheerful state of mind?

In “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.” Week One, I listed what I had been doing to remain in a happy state. Here is what I did this past week.

* I listened to CDs. If this week had a theme, it would be Elvis. I had never been a fan, but I when I spotted The Very Best of Love I suddenly missed his voice. It must be middle age attacking my brain cells because I finally caught on to why those women were so in to him. Aside from the dreamy voice, he had very kissable lips and piercing eyes. I wanted to sing “It’s Now or Never” right there in the store. Luckily, I didn’t or I would have been arrested for disturbing the peace. This girl cannot carry a tune. At least my daughter’s cat didn’t run away when I sang to him, while I enjoyed another fantastic AZ winter night on the back porch. Although, I think the guy in the apartment across the street closed his door. He’s no fun. LOL I did discover it’s hard to get annoyed paying bills when you’re dancing and singing to “Burning Love.”

* I put up my Christmas tree. Continuing with the Elvis theme, I turned off all of the lights in my home except for those on the tree, then curled up on the couch and listened to the Elvis Christmas CD. They have it at every discount store right now. After long days at work, it’s nice to relax and get into the holiday spirit.

* I admired the evening sky. I do this every day, but this week was a real treat. Venus and Jupiter aligned with the moon. It won’t happen again anytime soon, so it felt like I was experiencing something magical. Not too long ago, I saw the International Space Station pass overhead. It was my first time witnessing that event. I am so glad, in both cases, other people pointed these out to me. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss either. It was like receiving a special gift. (Okay, I am sentimental and corny these days. I admit it.) Speaking of receiving gifts, last week, I posted that I love sunsets and jets. A day or two later, I walked out onto the porch in time to see the jets flying to Luke AFB with a spectacular AZ sunset in the background. It was unforgettable!

*I spent “quality time” with my daughter. I told her I love her and I’m proud of her. I don’t think we can say that enough to our children. This weekend, we set aside a day to go Christmas shopping together. When she was young, I was so busy trying to take care of all of my responsibilities, I didn't take enough time to just sit back and enjoy the moment. Now, I treasure every second I have with her. Make sure you take time out of your busy schedule to treasure the time you have with your children. They really do grow up fast.


Okay, that was my week. What did you do to stay in a happy state of mind?

Tina LaVon

Friday, December 5, 2008

Interview with Cynthia Eden

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Cynthia Eden. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.  

I understand you have a new release out called MIDNIGHT SINS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Yes, thanks for asking! MIDNIGHT SINS is the second book in my paranormal “Midnight” trilogy for Kensington Brava. My hero, Detective Todd Brooks, is on the hunt for a killer. The man never expects to fall for his chief suspect—and he sure doesn’t expect the woman to be a succubus!

MIDNIGHT SINS is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Well, my editor and I wanted “Midnight” in the title for the book, and since my heroine Cara is a succubus (and knows well about sin), the title just seemed to be the perfect fit.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love paranormals. Always have. Give me vampires, shifters, demons—sure, they can be scary, but they can also be fun! Anything is possible with paranormals.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I’m both. Whether I plot everything out in advance of if I pants, well, that depends on the story. For some stories, I outline all the way—I know exactly what will happen with the stories, but, for others, I just sit back and see where the characters will take me.

For this book, I was a pantser. I let Todd and Cara show me the way—and I had a great time following their lead.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I did a lot of research for this one. Police procedural research and demon research. Let me just say, when you Google “succubus” you sure get a lot of interesting links. My favorite research books are POLICE PROCEDURAL and SCENE OF THE CRIME (they’re part of the “Howdunit Series” and very, very helpful).

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Both of the main characters from this story appeared in my first Midnight book, HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT. In that book, Todd had no idea that supernaturals walked right beside humans. I thought it was time the man had a wake-up call, and I sent Cara to wake him. ☺

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I loved writing about Todd. He’s such a normal guy—and in way over his head. He has to fight to understand that the world he knew never actually existed—and he has to learn to accept the fact that the woman he wants is a demon. A very powerful demon. He’s an ordinary guy, struggling with extraordinary circumstances and I really enjoyed writing about his struggle.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I write out character descriptions before I begin a story. I start with the physical aspects, then work to the emotional level. I try to figure out the internal and external conflict for my hero and heroine. They’ve got pasts—so what are they? Then, when I have some general ideas down, I begin my writing. Sometimes, my characters change as I write, and that’s okay—change can be very good.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

So many authors have inspired me. So many. When I was in high school, I loved Edgar Allen Poe’s work. (Like I said before, I do love the supernatural.) But there are also a lot of romance authors who have inspired me. I really enjoy the work of Christine Feehan, Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz—these ladies can create such strong characters and engrossing plots. Their talent definitely inspires me.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I have no idea. Seriously. I’ve tried many things. Advertisements. Mailings. Contests. Trailers. Blog tours. I don’t know what works. I just try to make as many connections with readers as I can. So I’m always trying to get my books out there—whether it is participating on websites, attending conferences or chats—I just try to make contact with readers.  

What do we have to look forward next?

In April, Kensington Brava will release another of my single-titles. IMMORTAL DANGER is the story of an ex-cop turned vampire…and her dragon shifter hero. I wanted to write a dragon story for years, and this was my chance! This is a very dark paranormal, and one of my favorite books to date.

Thanks, Cynthia!

Thank you! I had a great time answering the interview questions! ☺

To celebrate her book release, Cynthia Eden is offering a free autographed copy of Midnight Sins to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio.
Cynthia Eden writes sexy tales of paranormal suspense. Her publishers include Kensington Brava, Red Sage, ImaJinn, and Avon Red. A former history teacher, Cynthia now spends her days writing about vampires, demons, and shifters.

Check out author’s website at www.cynthiaeden.com

Buy
http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Sins-Cynthia-Eden/dp/0758226047/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227246262&sr=8-2 _

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How's Your Spelling? Take the Test

I stumbled across a test on some of the most common spelling mistakes, and thought being a writer, I shouldn't have any problem. Well, I didn't get a perfect score. Ugh. 85%

Try it out and find how good or bad you are! It will be interesting to see how readers and writers do.




Wednesday, December 3, 2008

FREE Holiday Gift Guide

Women on Writing has done a fabulous job for December. They've compiled and created The Holiday Gift Guide, a FREE downloadable guide to showcase books for those of you who like to buy them online. In creating the guide, WOW! staff members and readers picked their favorite books of the year and compiled them into one portable document that you can take anywhere and share with your friends.

They have something for everyone on your list! Whether you're looking for a cookbook or need to find the perfect picture book, we have a few choice suggestions for you. We also have other items like tees for readers and writers, gadgets, and other writer-friendly products.

The guide is a feast for the eyes! Every page has its own flavor and contains product descriptions and clickable links you can use right away. Each product in the guide has something unique to offer the reader. We even have a tips section filled with other gift ideas for your writer friends.

Books are a solid gift. Giving a book says, "I know you. I appreciate you. I want you to take a break and escape with a good read."

Go to http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/downloads/WOWHolidayGiftGuide.pdf  to check it out. 

Kim

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Don't Worry. Be Happy" Week One



I’m sure most of you remember the peppy song that told the world “Don’t worry. Be happy.” Many of us thought it was corny the first time we heard it, but still grasped the underlying significance. Well, it’s time to start blasting it over the radio stations once again. In this economy, it is easy to drown in a pool of negative thoughts. Giving into depression isn’t going to help you, your family, or your creative energy – unless you’re writing about people in a state of depression.

Instead, let’s grasp onto every happy moment we can. One happy thought will lead to another and then to another. Before you know it, you’ll be smiling and others will smile back at you. It really works. I wish I could remember what I was thinking about, but I know I was smiling on my way into the grocery store and when I looked up a handsome man was smiling back at me. Okay, I probably blushed, but it was worth it. LOL

So smile! The holidays are about peace and joy. Let’s start spreading it!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting what I am doing to stay happy. I hope you’ll let us know what you are doing.


This past week I:

*Spent the holiday with family and friends. I made sure I treasured every second.

*Rented a funny movie – Get Smart is playing on the television at this very moment. I saw it in a theater and laughed throughout most of the movie. Steve Carell has a talent for making films both men and women enjoy. I love the Chuck Norris with a BB gun line.

*Bought a calendar that makes me feel good. Last year, I was drawn to the pictures in “Forces of Nature,” This year, I was in Barnes and Noble when “Jets,” put out by Silver Lining, called to me. I know that must seem strange to you, but I’m an Air Force brat. For as long as I can remember, every time I’ve heard jets overhead, I’ve had to stop what I was doing and watch them fly. January has a picture of a cool looking Stealth. (Okay, my age is showing.)

*Looked into the faces of happy children. I teach at a Title I school, so we are able to give the students free breakfast in the classroom. Every day, I tell each child “Good morning,” and hand over their spork/napkin package. This past week (before Thanksgiving break), I waited for them to make eye contact, so it was even more personal. They smile and melt your heart. I love starting the day, knowing I gave each child individual attention. Tell the child in your life (if one have one) that you love him/her and make sure they are looking you in the eyes when you say it.

*Received another angel for my Christmas tree. Okay, I didn’t have control over receiving it, but I have admired its beauty several times since. Find something in your home that makes you feel good whenever you glance at it and make a point of doing so every day.

*Watched several sunsets. There is so much beauty in nature. Every day, I admire the cloud formations in the sky, and when I’m home, I lean against the back porch railing and gaze upon the spectacular colors in the AZ sky at sunset. There is a spot between two apartment buildings across the street where I can see the colors just beyond the silhouette of palm trees. I also love storms. Not too long ago, I stood on the porch in my socks, while drinking coffee, and watched the hail hit the cement floor all around me. It was the closest thing to snow I had seen in years. An hour earlier, I had seen a hummingbird flying close to a woodpecker in the pine tree six feet away. I hope it was a woodpecker, if not it was a psycho bird hitting its head against the trunk of the tree. “Why did I eat that worm? Why did I eat that worm?”

Now I am going to make myself feel really good by eating a slice of pumpkin pie.
What are you going to do to feel good? Keep it clean. (Unless I kinow you, then you can whisper it to me at the Valley of the Sun party. LOL)

Tina LaVon

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How Do You Like Your Turkey?


Since Thanksgiving is around the corner, I got to thinking of some strange Thanksgivings I've had over the years. Since my life is pretty tame, I suspected that there were others out there that had stranger things happen, particularly when in came to frozen turkeys. Well, below are a couple of bizarre frozen turkey stories. Hope I'm able to garner a chuckle or two.

Don't swing your frozen turkey around in the grocery store! You may get in more trouble than you bargained for.

A California woman is suing for injuries she suffered when she was hit by a frozen turkey.
According to a lawsuit, the plaintiff was in the checkout lane at a grocery store in Medford two days before Thanksgiving—when she was struck by a 20-pound turkey.

A stocker at the store was trying to pass the turkey from one checkout lane to another. The stocker is being sued as being negligent in:

(a) In swinging the turkey about in an area where shoppers and others were present;
(b) In failing to look around before and during swinging the turkey;
(c) In failing to control his movements; and
(d) In failing to exercise caution while swinging the turkey."


The plaintiff is seeking $3,200 for medical expenses and an undetermined sum for pain and suffering.

Just make sure you watch out for swinging turkey in your local grocery store!

Don't ever try microwaving a frozen turkey while on the lam.

A Canadian fugitive who was on the lam for two years for murder was captured in New Mexico during a burglary when he attempted to cook a frozen turkey in an office microwave oven. Aparently he undercooked the turkey to where he was physcially sick. When he went to the restroom, he accidentally locked the door behind him and could not get out before the police arrived.

Just how badly do you want that last turkey for the dinner table?

Two women at a grocery store in South Wales grabbed for the last turkey at a store and got into a tussle with only one being the winner. Later in the parking lot, the woman who lost out on the turkey yelled at the older woman that she hoped she burnt the bird. The other woman didn't take kindly to her shouting and attacked the shopper, going as far as tearing out clumps of her hair.

Hmmm... I think I'll take ham instead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Class: Happy Hookers! Engaging the Reader from Start to Finish

Class: Happy Hookers!: Engaging the Reader from Start to Finish
Instructor: Terry Spear
Dates: December 1-31, 2008

Registration Deadline: December 1, 2008
Fee: $10/HHRW members, $20/others
Registration Form: http://heartsthroughhistory.com/classreg.htm
FMI: HHRW Campus Coordinator: classes@heartsthroughhistory.com

Class Description:

Slow starts and sleepy endings to scenes and chapters can ruin a
manuscript's chance of being published. Conversely, solid hooks can
make the sale -- as workshop intructor Terry Spear, with six
publishers currently hooked for six manuscripts, demonstrates.
Setting such practical matters aside, what author wouldn't be
thrilled to hear someone say, "I couldn't put the book down"? Strong
hooks are a vital ingredient in strong writing. In this online class,
which features lectures, discussion, practical exercises, and
handouts, she'll teach students how to captivate readers with great
openings, scene hooks, chapter cliff hangers, and intriguing back
cover blurbs. Participants will master the hook in all its
environments, from the query letter through the novel.

Bio:

Terry Spear currently has six publishers hooked for six manuscripts.
Visit her at www.terryspear.
com.

Format: Course is conducted via Yahoo Groups email with lessons and
Q&A

And the winner is....

The winner for Jordan's book is Karin. Please contact Kim at kwatters 21 at hotmail.com (no spaces) to collect your prize. Thanks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude




"Be in an Attitude of Gratitude."


One of the reasons I like to watch The Secret DVD is it reminds me of the power of positive thinking. It also reminds me to be thankful for what I have every day, not just when the fourth Thursday of November rolls around. (I haven't really decided what I want my future to look like yet, so the rest of its message will need to wait.)


During these difficult times, we need to remember we do have a lot to be thankful for. It doesn't matter what's on the table or under the tree, but who is sharing the day with you.

It's time to get that pen out and start jotting down all of the reasons you know you are blessed.

I'll start.

I am thankful:
*I have wonderful friends and family who love and encourage me. I can't even begin to explain how much they mean to me.
*My daughter is graduating college this school year. (I am so proud of her. Choosing not to remarry while I raised her was the right decision for us.)
*I have a classroom full of angelic children who brighten my workday.
*God has shown his presence in my life repeatedly.
*I have reconnected with old friends who enrich my life, and I hope more of them find me this next year.
*I am happier than I have ever been.
*Instead of suffering from "The Empty Nest Syndrome," I've found myself again. (The woman hidden beneath the writer, teacher, mother…)
*Extra weight I held onto like a shield is falling off with minimal effort.
*I recognize that I'm entering a new chapter of my life - one full of miracles and exciting possibilities. I can't wait to see what happens next.


I asked my blogging partners what they were thankful for.


I caught Kim Watters between her many duties. It was short and sweet, but says it all:
“I'm thankful for my family and friends.”


Carol Webb is also thankful for the many blessings in her life:
“I'm truly grateful for my two daughters who are turning into wonderful, warm, and caring young women. I'm deeply honored to be their mother. They have given me such a different perspective on life compared to if I'd been without children. My friends add another deep layer to my life. They've been there through the tears and laughter, listened and given advise when I needed it and they've done it all because they cared. I can only hope to return the favor.
I have a roof over my head, food in my refrigerator, far more than many on this earth and for that I am deeply humble.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with abundance.”
Kathryne Kennedy had this to say:
"I have many blessings I'm thankful for, including a wonderful family and the support of so many friends (the ladies of this blog foremost). I'm grateful for having found such a supportive publisher for my writing, a place where I feel a part of a family with an editor who cares about me as a person. I'm thankful for every letter I get from my readers. In many ways, my writing has helped me get through a difficult year of personal health issues for me and my family. So most of all, I thank God for the gift of my imagination."


Now it's your turn.
What are you thankful for?



Have an awesome Thanksgiving holiday!
Tina LaVon


Friday, November 21, 2008

Interview with Jordan Summers

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Jordan Summers. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Red. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Red is a near-future, post-apocalyptic fairytale based loosely on Little Red Riding Hood.

Red is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It’s the heroine’s nickname in the book. It doesn’t come from her hair color. It comes from how much blood she spills on the job.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

It’s what I like to read and watch in movies. Seemed rather natural given my love of monsters or creatures that people consider monsters.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea for the book came from one question. What if Little Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Wolf turned out to be the same person?

What are your favorite fantasy research books, and why?

My book of angels, book of demons, encyclopedia of vampires and werewolves, and a crypto-zoology book. I like them because they have a lot of good information about the mythology behind various creatures. I also read things like the mating habits of wolves and lions, etc. It helps when creating beings that are more animalistic than the average human.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I actually really liked my lab created vampire, Raphael Vega. He’s got a quirky sense of humor.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and world affect your character development?

I actually ‘hear’ a character first in my head. Sometimes I know who’s talking, while other times it takes days to figure it out. Once I have enough dialogue written down, then I may go back and do character sheets. I do find interviews helpful, when I’m stuck in a story section. That said, I do them a little differently. Instead of asking interview questions, I ask specific characters to tell me the story from start to finish. (ie what happened?) It helps that it’s in their point of view because everyone sees things differently. Information I might not have had pops up during these types of interviews.

Well, the world you develop affects every character inhabiting it. Not necessarily their development, but certainly their actions. In my case, the dead world that Red lives on is harsh. Food is scarce, so the wild animals who managed to survive will hunt anything. That includes people. You can’t survive long without supplies. There are communal bathing areas in most cities, so modesty doesn’t really exist. Most people have been genetically modified in the womb to withstand the higher radiation levels from sunlight. There are certain things in my Dead World books that are simply a way of life and my characters accept them as such.

How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

I build my world through characterization. The characters ALWAYS come first in my books. I don’t use props like maps, charts, or drawings. The world blooms around my characters, not the other way around.

For example: Red began speaking to me first. When I met her, I knew she was scared. Something had woken her from a deep sleep. I didn’t realize the book was set in the near-future until she reached over to her steel nightstand and grabbed a laser pistol. At that point, I interrupted her and asked where she was located. Turns out she was inside an officer’s dorm room at the International Police Tactical Team headquarters. Could’ve knocked me over with a feather. *g*

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Several. The authors who got me interested in writing are Virginia Henley, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and Johanna Lindsey. I loved their early work. Still do. I was also inspired by Lynn Viehl, Angela Knight, Lora Leigh, Christine Warren, Lori Foster, Simon Green, John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, and Kelley Armstrong.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Bookseller mailings are by far the most successful promotional tool in my opinion. I bought Pat Rouse’s list and sent advanced reader copies to several booksellers. I also sent out bookmarks. I’ve been surprised at the response I have received via email from them.

What do we have to look forward next?

The second book in the Dead World trilogy, SCARLET will be released in June 09. It will be followed by CRIMSON in November 09. The third and final book wraps up the love story that started in RED.

Thanks, Jordan Summers!

To celebrate her book release, Jordan is offering a free ebook of Atlantean’s Quest: The Arrival to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio:

Jordan Summers finished her first book in 2002 and immediately entered the ‘Daphne Du Maurier’ contest. The novel finaled in the single title mystery/suspense category and later was a finalist in the ‘Finally a Bride’ contest. She wrote her second book, Atlantean’s Quest: The Arrival that same year and sold it to Ellora’s Cave in October 2002. She’s written nine books for Ellora’s Cave and has enjoyed success with her Atlantean’s Quest Series and her Phantom Warriors’ series.


Missing the thrill of writing contests, Jordan entered the 2003 Lori Foster/ Kensington Brava contest and won the Reader’s Choice. The win led to a multi-book contract from Kensington Publishing. She also won the 2005 Harlequin Blaze published author contest. Her Blaze book, OFF LIMITS came out in March 2008. Jordan went on to land a three-book deal with Tor in October of 2006. RED is the first book in her new trilogy and was released November 4, 2008. It will be followed by SCARLET in June 2009 and CRIMSON in November 2009.

Check out author’s website at www.jordansummers.com . Buy Red at http://www.amazon.com/Red-Jordan-Summers/dp/0765359146/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227141187&sr=1-1.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2nd Annual Southeast Regional Library Author Panel

Kim Watters is speaking at Desert Dreams Romance Writer's of America's 2nd Annual Southeast Regional Library Author Panel. Come by and say hi.
Date:
November 22, 20081-4 PM
Place:
Southeast Regional Library775 N Greenfield Rd Gilbert, AZ 85234602-652-3000 Website Panels at 1 PM and 2:30 PM with book signings immediately following.
Featured authors:
Kim Watters, CC Harrison, Eden Robins, Calista Fox, Annette Mahon, Erin Quinn, Rox Denny Fox, Cathy McDavid, Linda Style, Pamela Tracy

Monday, November 17, 2008

We've been awarded an I Love Your Blog Award!

We are surprised to be awarded this I LOVE YOUR BLOG award by one of our fellow authors, Vijaya Schartz. Visit her blog at:
http://romancingscifi.blogspot.com/

She received this award and then passed it on. It's now our turn to pass it on. We picked bloggers we feel deserve the honor based on the valuable information they pass on to others in our writing community.

We hope you will visit their sites below:

Jennifer on Writing: http://www.jenniferonwriting.blogspot.com/


Jessica Faust at Bookends Literary Agency: http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com

Have a great day.
Kim

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blogging for Writers 101



Yesterday, I joined my blogging partners Kim Watters and Carol Webb at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library. We had a wonderful day participating in the workshops there. First, we took part in an author's panel where we answered questions like, "What was the most interesting thing you've done to research a novel?" That will be a future blog post. Next, we presented our workshop on blogging. I'll share a few of our tips with you. (Like all advice, take what works for you and forget the rest.)

*Blog often to keep readers coming to your site, if that is your goal. If you are going to spread the news about your blog post on various loops, leave a few days between posts for people to find it.

*Blogging with partners will decrease the workload, but make sure you all have the same vision for the blog before you begin. We made sure this site was going to be G (or at most PG) rated before we began.

*If you can fill a need, like posting editor and agent interviews, you can increase the traffic to your site. On my personal blog at http://www.suspensebytina.blogspot.com/ I help readers, writers, reviewers, booksellers, and publishers find each other on Myspace.

*Offer to connect links to other writers. This will increase the number of Google hits you'll have when readers/editors/agents are looking for you. Blogrolling is the easiest way to add other links to your site. http://status.blogrolling.com/

*An interesting name for your blog will help readers to remember you.

*Put a counter on your site so you can keep track of which topics draw the most viewers. You'll want to repeat that type of post to keep them coming back.

*We agree that Blogger is one of the most user friendly sites. http://www.blogger.com

*Make your blog work for you. Advertise your awards, Yahoo newsletter groups, reviews, etc.

*My personal favorite place to get pictures at a cheap price is http://www.istockphoto.com/

*Be careful what you post. Lawsuits for people who bash others on their blogs has gone up. (Not only is it bad for your pocketbook, but also for your reputation and your Karma.)

This is just a sample of our talk. Feel free to leave comments if you have advice you'd like to share.

Have an awesome week!
Tina LaVon

Friday, November 14, 2008

Interview with Cindy K. Green

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Cindy K. Green. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Meeting Mr. Right Online. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Meeting Mr. Right Online is a sweet Chicklit filled with romantic comedy and ending with that all important HEA. I love the humor in these kinds of books, but I wanted to write one that anyone could read and enjoy—even a 13-year-old girl. That’s how this story came to be. Lucy is a busy young woman as a sitcom writer who hasn’t really taken the time for her personal life. She’s already passed thirty and all her friends seem to have gotten married. She has, however, met a friend online. As the story opens, she is wondering what has happened to her British pen pal as he hasn’t written to her in days. She is also thrown a bombshell when her younger sister announces her engagement and then there is her work-nemesis plaguing her at every turn. It’s great fun.

Meeting Mr. Right Online is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Oh, I had that title from the very beginning. The heroine refers to that elusive ‘Mr. Right’ in the book and it just seemed perfect to put that in the title. Aren’t we all looking for Mr. Right? And in this day and age it seems the Internet is the way.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I enjoy reading chicklit novels as long as they have a good ending. They are witty and fun, but they also get to the heart of an issue through humor. I’ve read several more mainstream chicklits including Bridget Jones’ Diary, of course. But it was after reading a couple Christian chicklit novels that I decided to write a sweet one. Chicklit for everyone no matter what heat level you enjoy. It was so fun to add in all the exaggerations of the heroine and to let my character confide in the reader as the story progresses.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I can be both depending on the situation. This one was a pantser story. I was in the middle of editing a full-length novel and needed to write something new. At the time, I was actually worrying about an online friend whom I hadn’t heard from in awhile. So, with a couple ‘what if’ questions I just started writing the first draft of this book. After it was contracted, my editor and I decided I should add another spectrum to the story—her job. And the story expanded. It was great fun writing this book and I think you’ll be able to see that as you read.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I didn’t actually have to do too much research. I spoke with some friends who work in cable television (the industry of my heroine). The rest just fell into place. I had fun making the love interest of my heroine British. I felt after all these years of being an Anglophile (as my husband calls me) and lover of British programs, I could pull off a British bloke. I did have some English friends preview his scenes and they loved him.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Definitely the heroine, Lucy. She is the star of the book after all. She has a sarcastic voice yet she remains sweet and isn’t jaded. There is a lot of romantic comedy in this one and I had fun placing Lucy in these hilarious situations such as falling into an artificial fichus tree in front of all her sister’s guests at an engagement party. She has a lot going on—her sister getting married (her younger sister at that), job issues, her missing correspondent who might just be at this party. How she deals with these situations makes her a fun character.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

For my short stories and short novellas, I don’t do a whole lot of preparation before starting to write. I have a file on my computer with story notes. I add pertinent information about the characters and the basis of the plot and then I just start writing. Now for my longer works, I do begin with character sheets and really get to know them before starting into the project. It’s funny but with some characters I just seem to know them well right from the beginning and others I need to take the time to get to know before I can tell their story. Then with my NovelTea series I did do an interview between the hero and heroine (quite funny) that really helped me get into their character as I began writing the third book. It helped me approach this new story with a fresh outlook without forgetting where they had gone in the other stories.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I had two favorite authors while growing up and I see them in my writing today:

L.M. Montgomery – She is famed for writing Anne of Green Gables but did you know she wrote A LOT more books and a plethora of short stories. In the late 80’s and into the 90’s (when I was in junior high & high school), they began republishing her short stories into anthologies with similar themes. Today, I have a book shelf in my bedroom next to my desk. On the top shelf, I have all my Montgomerys – there are 33 book titles there. She had a certain fanciful way of turning a phrase. And of course I related to her characters – especially Anne since I’m a redhead too. I still pick up and read one of her books now and again. Last summer, I reread Anne of the Island & Anne’s House of Dreams. They sure read a lot faster than they used to.

Jane Austen – I am a certified Jane Junkie! To this day if you ask my favorite author, I’ll say JA. And if you ask my favorite book, I’ll either say Pride & Prejudice or Persuasion – I go back and forth. (Right now it’s Persuasion – aah Captain Wentworth ) I first read P&P in 8th grade and the story has never left me. JA had a way of creating the best characters: characters to laugh at, hate, and fall in love with. I am always reading one or another of her novels these days. I have all six as e-books on my Palm Pilot so I take them wherever I go.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’m a big supporter of the blog. As an author published in the small presses, getting your name out there is key and blogging in an easy and inexpensive way to do it. I try to blog somewhere at least once a week besides my own blogs. Maintaining a newsletter subscription list is another important one. I have a large number of ready readers who I can send information to directly about a release or other news.

What do we have to look forward next?

Next year I have two releases coming. The first is in February. My first historical—Dilemma of the Heart. It’s a about a young woman who believes her sweetheart has been killed in action at the close of the American Civil War. She has a decision to make. Can she forget him and marry the wealthy man offering her a future? Of course, maybe the death of her first love has only been exaggerated but will this other one let her go?

Later in the year, I have another first for me. A high fantasy—The Princess and the Rogue. I’m very excited about this one. It’s a fantasy filled with humor, adventure and lots of romance. My hero is a mixture of Robin Hood and the Scarlet Pimpernel. He has a cheeky mouth and oozes appeal. I can’t think of another book that I’ve enjoyed writing more than this one especially with all the fun characters and the sensual tone.

Thanks, Cindy!

To celebrate her book release, Cindy is offering a free e-book of Meeting Mr. Right Online to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio.
Cindy K. Green is a multi-published author with degrees in History and Education. Previously a middle school English & History teacher, she now homeschools her own children and writes in several genres: Inspirational, Fantasy, Contemporary, Chicklit, Suspense and Historical romance.

Check out author’s website at http://www.cindykgreen.com/ Buy Meeting Mr. Right Online at By Grace Publishing for $1.49 http://bygracepublishing.com/MeetingMrRightOnline.html

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bootcamp for Novelists

BOOTCAMP FOR NOVELISTS: WRITING POPULAR FICTION
Instructor: Connie Flynn

Do you have a novel in your filing cabinet that's been collecting rejections? Or maybe you stuffed it in a drawer and gave up hope. The Bootcamp 4 Writers was designed for you. Bring you book (or at least the outline), a pen, and your rolled up sleeves. By the end of the day, you'll see why your characters and plot broke down, and have all the pieces to put it together and write a winning novel.

DATE: Saturday, December 6, 2009.
TIME: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
LOCATION: 2942 N. 24th Street, Phoenix AZ 85016
TELEPHONE: 480-946-7321
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Interview with editors Lori Graham and Laura Kelly

I’d like to welcome our guest editors today, Senior Editor Lori Graham and Editor Laura Kelly from the Crimson (suspense) line of The Wild Rose Press. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy.

Thank you. We’re happy to be here.

What exciting new projects are happening over at Crimson?

Lori: The most exciting project is that Crimson Rose month is coming up in November. First, we are doing a submission call. We are calling for “Men in Uniform”.


To back that up, we have a special free read and some opportunities for prizes. The free read is “A Girl, A Guy and A Goon” by Cindy Green and it will feature a man in uniform and kick off our promotion. Next we have three opportunities for prizes. First, we will be starting a blog on 11/1 regarding our favorite man in uniform and how the blog will work, inviting comments to serve as people’s registration in the blog drawing. The winner will be chosen at random at the end of the month and given a free Crimson download. Also, for those downloading a free read, their name will go into a random drawing at month end for a free coffee mug. The final opportunity will be in the polls. Our Marketing Director will be posting polls every couple of days. Folks will have to go to the website and check out the covers and blurbs for the books of the poll and then vote for their favorite. The winner of each poll will win a free download of one of the books in the poll.


It will be a great time to check out our incredible Crimson writers.

Can you give us a little history about Crimson?

Lori: Crimson has been around since the inception of The Wild Rose Press and is our second largest line as far as sales. There is never been a dull moment as over 60 authors provide us with murder, mayhem and intrigue while still building some incredibly romantic stories. We currently have seven editors and are getting ready to add our eighth. The majority of our current works are the longer rosebuds or roses but we would love to get a few more rosettes and miniature roses (shorter stories) if anyone would like to try their hand at it.

What are your top pet peeves a new writer makes?

Lori: If you are a new writer getting ready to submit to any publishing house, take the time to study their website and guidelines. It is very frustrating to an editor to receive a manuscript from someone who obviously doesn’t know anything about their company.

Laura: Stories that begin with backstory, and not where the action begins. I don’t want to wade through six pages of what happened before the story begins, before the story begins. Stories where the characters seem to have only two emotions—anger and lust. I like to read about well-rounded characters with a full range of emotions, not two characters who snipe at each other and trade barbs until they can’t control themselves any longer and fall into bed, then hop out of it and start sniping at each other again. I like the story to progress in stages as a real relationship should, with them getting to know each other’s quirks and fallacies as human beings. Stories with too much narrative. A romantic suspense story has to do double duty. It’s a mystery/suspense and a romance. Therefore it has to hit the ground running. Too much narrative slows down the pacing.

What are your top pet peeves a published author makes?

Lori: As a published author, it is easy to fall into the mindset that everything you do is publishable quality and to be honest, most of it is. However, don’t give up the routines that got your published in the beginning. Still proofread, continue to use your critique group and partner with your editor.

Laura: I would have to agree with Lori on this. We hate to write rejections and especially rejections to authors we have already worked with, but we don’t have time to edit careless mistakes that could be caught by a good proofreading. Sending in a manuscript full of typos and bad grammar shows you are not being respectful of your editor or her time and expertise. We’re here to edit story structure and plot deficiencies, not bad grammar and spelling.

What old trend or new trend do you see in publishing for Crimson?

Lori: Given the way our society is evolving, we are seeing a bit more international intrigue and manuscripts based on some terrorism. I don’t know that this is a trend but just a new avenue for intrigue.

What catches your eye in a new writer’s work?

Lori: Hero and heroine development – if the writer has taken the time to really create characters that I can enjoy that makes a huge difference. Then there is the villain. I need to be able to either “hate” the villain or be able to understand why the villain did what they did.

Laura: Good, clean dialogue. A lot of new writers don’t realize every line of dialogue doesn’t need to be responded to, and you don’t need to include every thought the character has. I see this especially when authors are trying to close a scene, or get the people out of the room. Just end the scene with a pertinent piece of dialogue and cut to the next scene. The reader will realize they left the room and got into their cars and drove across town and….

So when I see a manuscript with realistic dialogue that does what it’s supposed to do and moves the story along, and a minimum of narrative, that catches my attention right away.

For the submission process, what do you want from an author? What is your response time?

Lori: Mainly for them to have followed the submission guidelines. Put together a great query letter and synopsis to grab the editor’s attention. (Hint – have someone read it and the synopsis. Someone who hasn’t read the story.) Please don’t make the synopsis a “See Spot run” sentence structure.

Laura: Our response time varies, on the number of submissions received and on hand at the time. We try to get back to every author on a query within 30 days, a partial within 60 days, and a full within 90 days. We now have a process where manuscripts for contract consideration are submitted to our senior editor for approval, and that takes time, too. So we might not be as quick at getting back to authors as we were in the beginning.

What new author have you recently signed?

Lori: Jenni Holbrook

Laura: AJ Brower

What new project made you grab that hidden piece of chocolate in your pencil drawer?

Lori: There have been a few so I am going to need a diet soon.

Laura: Hot Contract, by Jodi Henley, No Second Chance, by Maggie Toussaint, and this month’s release by Kathleen Mix, Deadly Paradise, is really gripping. I like stories that simmer with danger and move at a really fast pace.

But I am pleased with how all of my stories turned out once the editing process was complete. I don’t let them ‘out of the house’ until the author and I are satisfied that they sparkle.

Any other chocolate nuggets you can give authors looking to break into your house?

Lori: Study your weapon of choice and the characters you are developing. To get the suspense truly high, you need to know all of it inside out. However, while you are developing the suspense, don’t forget about the romantic aspect and build the sexual tension. (Another hint – take some time to look through the suspense novels already published with a house to get a feel for what is possible.)

Laura: I agree with Lori, here. We do all kinds of stories. I have edited Hawaiian terrorists, horse farm and corporate sabotage, serial killers, kidnapping stories, murder mysteries and international intrigue. Each one had its own flavor and beat, and was unique in its own way. I love the diversity in Crimson.

Last, but not least, please read your manuscript aloud to yourself before you send it in. You will be amazed at the glitches you catch if you do this. If you reach a section where your mind starts to wander and you bore yourself, you know that section is slow and needs re-writing. You can catch excess repetitions of words and phrases this way, too. And stilted or non-essential dialogue.

To query us, first, go and read our submission guidelines on the website, http://thewildrosepress.com/publisher/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&Itemid=44then send your query to queryus@thewildrosepress.com. All queries go through a main clearinghouse person, and are then forwarded to the senior editor of that line, in our case, Lori, and she assigns the work based on an established rotation.

Thanks, Lori and Laura!

Thank you. It was a pleasure to be here.

Check out The Wild Rose Press Crimson offerings on our Suspense page at

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=137&zenid=f76da1f64767e3702b9ae30a01fd70d2.