Sunday, May 31, 2009

Going to Nationals? Voice

Ever look up voice in a craft book? Most of the ones I checked did not include this concept. The reason? It is one of those elusive subjects that is difficult to define. If you ask a dozen people what voice is, you'll probably get 12 different answers. I believe voice includes everything you bring to a book: your word choice, beliefs, choice of subject matter, etc. It is the total sum of your writing. Some authors have a voice which stands out, like Dr. Seuss. You know a Dr. Seuss book because it rhymes and it usually includes silly, made-up words.

I didn't find my voice until after I gave up my fear and let myself come out in my story. My friend's mother, who was about 70, read my first scene of my current WIP and said, "This sounds like Tina giving that speech in college." That was when I knew I found my voice. Some people find their voice right away and then learn the mechanics of writing. I was one of those people who learn the mechanics of writing and then allowed my voice to come out.

The best workshop I have heard on voice was a practice for Nationals given by Laurie Schnebly Campbell. If you are going to RWA Nationals this summer, it would be worth your time to attend this workshop on Friday at 3:15-4:15.

Laurie is always worth listening to. If your writing group needs a speaker, I suggest you check out her website at

Until next time,
Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon

Friday, May 29, 2009

Interview with Tia Dani

I’d like to welcome our guest today, the writing team, Tia Dani. 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 Color of Dreams. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

First of all, Kim, we want to thank you so much for inviting us. We’re excited to be here visiting with you and your readers. And, God knows, we need all the therapy we can get.

We’d love to talk a bit about Color of Dreams. Here’s the back cover blurb. What happens when a Wiccan high-priestess and three mischievous nymphs conjure spells on an environmentalist and a jet engine designer? Magic, mayhem, and wild nights of passion.

Justine Tori Cryst is to be initiated into Gaia’s universal coven. Problem is...Justine must conjoin with a perfect soul-mate at the last stroke of midnight on her 29th birthday.

Shaun Kelly can’t believe his luck, or bad luck, when the woman who crushed his heart in college magically returns into his life. But crushed hearts mend. He still loves her. However, the chances of his rekindling their romance are zip because he’s certain Justine is hell-bent on putting the company he works for out of business...permanently.

Unbeknownst to either, Justine’s goddessmother is determined to bring Shaun and Justine back together because – Shaun has exactly what Justine needs to become the mother of the next generation of powerful little wiccas. His gene pool.

Color of Dreams is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

A friend of ours, Theresa Myers thought of it. The name sounded so good that it stuck. We were delighted The Wild Rose Press liked it too.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Although we write in various genres, paranormal has always been our favorite. When this story line bloomed in our minds, we became so excited about it that we put all our other stories on hold until this project was completed.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

A former college friend of Tia’s was surfing the internet for his boss’s wife who wanted to find a particular romance author. When he hit upon Valley of the Sun RW’s website, Tia’s photo appeared. Shocked but pleasantly surprised to find her, he immediately sent off an e-mail. That incident started us playing ‘what if’ and the rest became Color of Dreams.

What are your favorite fantasy research books, and why?

In truth there isn’t any one particular fantasy book that’s our favorite. We used a mixture of books that explore all types of elementals, such as angels, fairies, elves, and mermaids. We also make use of books that teach spells and stay on our good side. LOL

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

All our characters are special to us, but we would have to say Delphina. She gave us an exciting, strong and determined woman to work with. Although, Kamryn, our impish faery, came in a close second. We never knew what that little minx would do next.

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?

Character sheets are important to us, and we get very detailed with them. We write background history for each character, including, family, hobbies, pets, relationships with brothers or sisters. We go through magazines and cut out clothing items our characters would wear. We feel, to be able to write about a character, we need to know everything about them and how they would react in any given situation.

In Color of Dreams, we needed to know a bit about airplanes and airplane engines. We were fortunate to be acquainted with some men who are familiar in that line of work. We spoke with a former military fighter pilot, an airline mechanic, and interviewed a wonderful gentleman who investigates airplane crashes for the government.

Of course we also used the internet. We spent more than two weeks just doing research on Wiccas and Wiccan history.

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

In Color of Dreams we designed Spirit World, where Delphina and her girls reside when not in the Earth world from our imagination. Photographs of scenic places helped visualize the landscape and buildings. We also created a scrap book page of each chapter with important points. It helped us by looking at it whenever we became stuck.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

We discovered that every author we read, from best-selling to first-selling, gives us an insight into writing one way or another. To mention them all would take forever.

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

As new authors, we are still experimenting with author promotion. We want to find what works for us the best and what doesn’t. Authors need to get his or her name out there. A nicely designed website is important, along with personal blogs, and other internet sites such as myspace, facebook and twitter. Contests with prizes seem to generate interest. Be creative. Your goal is to draw readers to your site and get them excited about your writing and your books. Another step is to be involved with local and national activities. We just returned from Romantic Times 2009 Convention where we were on the RT Faery Court. That was undoubtedly one of our most thrilling experiences in our writing career. We have several workshops planned and will be offering them at different conferences in the near future.

What do we have to look forward next?

Actually we have several stories in the works. We have, Death Unseen, a paranormal mystery which ends with an unusual hook. Spoonful of Sugar is a sequel to Color of Dreams. It is a comedy where our goddessmother, Delphina, works her magic to help a small town bring together their favorite sheriff and a widowed pharmacist with four small children. In this one, Delphina also discovers a love interest of her own.

Thanks, Tia Dani!

To celebrate her book release, Tia Dani is offering a free ebook of Color of Dreams to one lucky commenter on today's blog. Check back on Monday and see who won. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio: Tia Dani is the published writing team made up of good friends, KrisTia Eaton and Dani Petrone. Together they create endearing and realistic characters, humorous dialogue, and unusual settings. of all...they’re having the time of their lives.

Storytelling has been a passion for Tia ever since childhood when she regularly enthralled the neighborhood children with make-believe fairy tales and wild adventures.

Today, as one half of the Tia Dani writing team, that same passion has given Tia a larger goal - captivate her readers with lively and heart-felt emotional stories so they will come away with a phenomenal revelation. For every story you have ever read. Or ever put to pen, the life you live can be just as wonderful. All you have to do is...Enjoy Life! Besides her stories that are published with The Wild Rose Press, she is published in full length historical romance as well as numerous articles and short stories. Tia is a wife to the perfect husband, a loving mother to a beautiful young lady and schedules her day around two feisty little dachshunds, Lady Diva and Lord Darcy.

Like most all writers, Dani can’t remember a time when she wasn’t plotting out a story in her head. Now while actively pursuing a writing career as the other half of Tia Dani, she still does. Nothing is beyond her imagination when it comes to crafting stories. She is known in her writing circle for her lively wit and great charisma. Always the lover of a good romance, Dani’s goal is for you to step into the shoes of her heroine, fall head-over-heels in love with her hero, and most of all believe in the magic of love. Everyday Dani counts her blessings. She has four amazing children, a wonderful daughter-in-law and three handsome grandsons. Dani shares her life with her husband of thirty years and two well-behaved dogs, Tinker, who could easily be mistaken for a coyote and Rocky, a very sweet, old border collie.

Tia and Dani happily call Arizona home where they play in the sunshine and dance in the twilight of the beautiful Sonoran desert. Both are members of Romance Writers of America, Valley of the Sun Romance Writers, Desert Rose Romance Writers and the Tucson Chapter of RWA. When they aren’t juggling their day jobs, or not cruising the mall for a great sale, yummy chocolate, and sexy shoes, you’ll find them chillin’ pool side, probably with a puppy in their lap, hard at work creating another hot, spicy love story.

Check out author’s website at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Red Sage Publishing is Having a Huge Sale!

I wanted everyone to know that Red Sage Publishing is having a fantastic sale for their ebooks for May and June. My own book, Addiction, under my pen name of Lynne Logan is also on sale.

From Red Sage:

Over the years, Red Sage fans have developed strong preferences for certain story types. A woman in danger. A strong man who could be friend or foe. A silken mask, an erotic game, a secret club. Any of these things can lend an extra shiver of excitement to the exploration of romantic trust in a super-sexual world.

Sometimes, we come across a story that manages to blend all these deliciously naughty elements into one dazzling story. Imagine a woman risking everything to rescue her sister from a sex club, and the man who is secretly investigating the place. Lynne Logan's explosive tale of menage and suspense reminds us why readers love these details so much.
They're not just entertaining. They're addictive.

On sale June 11-20 for just $1.50!
Lynne Logan aka Carol Webb

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bootcamp For Novelists-June Workshop


Begin June 7
End July 4


Without conflict there is no story. But what is conflict and how is it driven by character and plot? It stems from the obstacles to the character's goal and from the consequences of character action as well as the push/pull between characters and the pressures from the plot. This course will focus on using all the necessary tools to make conflict sizzle on every page.

External Conflict
Extreme Differences
How Plot Pressures Characters
The Action Arc

Questions? Email Connie at


Some of the most successful techniques used by bestselling authors are the judicious use of subplots and layering, both of which add depth, texture and interest to a story. But many writers don't make full use of their subplots and sometimes even mistake a secondary plot for a subplot. Many writers believe layering is simply adding more stuff to make it interesting. Not so. In this class, you'll learn the intricacies of subplot and layering and how to use them to your story's best advantage. In this class you'll learn:

What the subplot can do for your story
The start, the finish and why
Weaving, braiding, intersecting and all that jazz
The secret ingredients of the subplot

Questions? Email Linda:

FEE: $22/course

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fun links...

Mark your calendars! I'll be giving away an autographed copy of one of my books on the following days:

Enter this special contest all month:
Friday, May 29th:
Friday, June 5th: (A letter from Sarah Pluckett, companion to the infamous ghost-hunter, Lady Philomena Radcliff, dated August 2, 1861.)
Monday, June 8th: (Chat with me over coffee and get some practical advice for new writers.)

I've posted my adventures (in photos) of the Romantic Times Booklovers convention on my personal blog:

Best Wishes!

Monday, May 25, 2009

And The Winner is........

Congratulations Carla. You're the winner of Kate's book. Please contact Kim or Kate at kwatters21 (at) Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Same, but Different

Analyzing Movies to Improve Your Writing

When I first began writing romances I was often told editors want “the same, but different.” Although our stories are not formulaic because of our wide range of characters, conflicts, and subgenres, every romance must have a couple who overcome the conflicts keeping them apart. There must also be a happy ending – otherwise, it’s not a romance. Gone with the Wind is not a romance for this very reason. Our genre is doing well in this economy because our readers can count on the happy ending. There is no doubt they will walk away from the book feeling good. So, how do writers continue to take the same basic “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl” story and make it different? The Answer: Twists.

My favorite rendition of the Cinderella story is Ever After with Drew Barrymore. I believe it is the perfect example of taking a typical romance and twisting it into something more interesting. I watched the movie again today to analyze the type of twists added to the story, hoping it might shed some light on this subject.

Adding Historical References

Ever After begins with the queen speaking to the Brothers Grimm. Right away, we feel connected to the story because we have all heard of the brothers who wrote Cinderella. My favorite addition to the movie was the inclusion of Leonardo da Vinci. I found it daring and interesting to create a friendship between da Vinci, Cinderella, and Prince Henry. Of course, adding the discovery of chocolate wasn’t a bad touch. The prince claims the Spanish monks are sending it to him and he gives some to the evil stepsister. Again, it was an interesting touch since I love chocolate – again we feel connected. This is a tactic most often used by politicians. Whenever they can convince you their lives are similar to yours in some way (common ground), you feel closer to them. The story pulls you in by naming famous people you will most likely have heard of before and a delicacy you probably already enjoy.

Give all Important Characters Motivation

If you haven’t read Debra Dixon’s book on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, you should. Whenever you can include each of these elements, you strengthen the story. In Ever After, we see why the stepmother begins to hate Cinderella – named Danielle in this story. When they first meet, she tells Danielle her father speaks of nothing but her. When he dies, the stepmother looks into his eyes and appears to be truly concerned for him, but he turns his gaze away from her without saying a word. Instead, he tells his daughter he loves her. Of course, we hate the evil stepmother and question her love for him, but I got the impression from this scene and others that she truly had feelings for him. You can almost feel her pain when it is obvious he only loved his daughter. We now can understand why she resents the girl and treats her horribly. Not acceptable, but at least in this rendition of Cinderella, we see why she mistreated the girl. It adds emotional depth to the story.

Introduce Conflict Whenever Possible

In Ever After, Danielle doesn’t fall for the prince right away. In fact, she tries to convince herself she doesn’t like him at all. When they first meet, she thinks he’s a thief and pelts him with an apple, and then later she insults him. She hates the way servants are treated and believes the prince should do more to help. Not exactly, the typical Cinderella story.

Also, this version of the story gives us a tough, “modern,” even educated Cinderella. She quotes the book, Utopia, which convinces the prince to becme a better man. Although the prince starts out whiney and spoiled, he learns from Danielle and in turn uses his position to help those less fortunate. He even intends to create a university all people can attend, regardless of their station in life.

I have heard some people complain that they did not like the prince in this story because he was whiney. As I watched the movie today, I thought the story might be better if he had a strong character trait that would help Cinderella become a better person. But, I changed my mind. The prince can give so much to her by making her his wife and helping the servants she crusades for, I decided it might upset the balance if the writers also made his character stronger from the onset. In this story, she is his match because her strong character and passion give him something he can’t buy with his royal money. He proves he is worthy by growing as a person, doing things for others because she inspires him, and in the end, by marrying her despite discovering she was a servant. So, in this case, I didn’t mind him being a bit whiney. Okay, the fact he was cute didn’t hurt either.

Add Suspense and humor

The writers added both elements with the addition of the gypsies. I doubt anyone can forget the scene where they grab the prince, but Danielle is told she can leave with anything she can carry. We have a tough version of Cinderella here, so she picks up the prince and attempts to carry him. The gypsies laugh and all become friends.

Unexpected Character Twists

One of my favorite, unexpected twists in this story is when we see the stepsister, Jacqueline, become disgusted with her family, which motivates her to change sides. She becomes Danielle’s ally and a true sister to this girl who needed a sense of family.

I’m sure there are twists I have overlooked, but I hope these will help shed some light on ways to make your story “the same, but different.”

Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon

Friday, May 22, 2009

Interview with Kate Welsh

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kate Welsh. 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 recent release out called Questions of Honor. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Joshua Wheaton returns to Wheatonburg, Pennsylvania to run his family’s coal mines. Violence surrounding mining has increased and has resulted in Josh’s father being crippled. The night Josh arrives he overhears information. His closest childhood friend is going to be framed for murder by his father and his father’s friend. The man is also the guardian of Helena Conwell, a young woman who is also a guest in his father’s house. The only way Joshua can keep an eye on her guardian and his meetings on the subject is to agree with Helena to a pretend engagement for three months until she reaches her majority. As far as he knows Abby Kane married his enemy years, earlier a few short months after he left town, so having a pretty young woman on his arm in those first few weeks home sounds like a plus. Then he learns the truth about Abby’s marriage and that her son is his. Now Josh’s hands are tied because his friend is Brendan Kane, Abby’s brother. Josh must keep silent, trying to protect everyone involved until it is safe to make a move to correct the past.

Questions of Honor is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Actually a friend, author Gail Link, is a title genie. I told her the story and she—as she often has when I’m title stumped—said, “Well the title has to be…” Since this book is about honor. His and hers. She suggested Questions of Honor. Of course she was right. It is about two honorable people whose honor has been called to question. She, because it was common knowledge that her son was not her dead husband’s, and his, because he left town after dishonoring Abby.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love writing historical romance because I love history. I love research and the way I can weave actual happenings into my books. All of my published work until Questions of Honor is contemporary but my first publishing credit was an unpublished award given by Romance Writers of America called the Golden Heart and it was for a historical.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The story was actually inspired by an old family tale. As a young boy, my father often had to visit his grandfather. His grandfather was a mine owner and owned a town in Pennsylvania coal country. My father was a gentle spirited man who never wasted time on hate. He hated what he saw as the inequality afforded the locals and he wasn’t too crazy about his grandfather, seeing him as the cause of their misery.

I got to thinking what it would be like if he’d been the man’s son. I wanted to write a book where a father had wronged his hero son--Joshua. Keeping him from his child was about the greatest offense I could come think of. So I added a secret baby into the mix, his father having made sure Joshua never learned that he’d left a child behind. In researching the time period I envisioned for the book, I found information on the Pinkerton Agency and what role they’d played in keeping miners in their pigeon-hole of poverty.

I thought the late 1800’s was the age where lack of available communication networks made this work but I didn’t want my characters facing Civil War so I went with 1875 when there was a good deal of unrest in the area. I also wanted a reason for the heroine not to fall gratefully into the hero’s arms when the truth came out. That is where Abby’s dream of going west came in. There her son would be able to escape the shame of his birth and she would be just another widow. She and her brothers have almost paid off their debt to the company store–a nearly impossible task—and are saving to leave by spring.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

Time Lines of History, by Grun. It helps pinpoint just the right time and often place to set a story. After that I go digging on the internet and at our local library. I also use The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800’s by McCutcheon. I take nothing for granted. Not food. Not money.

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

I, of course, loved my hero and heroine but my most favorite was actually Abby’s brother, Brendan, the man Josh is trying to save. He is in love with Helena Conwell, the young woman Josh is pretending to be engaged to. Brendan gave her up because he feels he will never be able to give her the life she is accustomed to. That man opened his mouth and out spilled this incredible personality. Irish accent and all, he just was. And he was a scene stealer. His book and Helena’s will be the third in what I hope to make a series for Harlequin Historical. Their wedding scene in Questions of Honor was one of my favorites.

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 try to always place my characters in history when writing historical romance. I try to make them a product of their times then give them forward thinking values so they will resonate with twenty-first century readers. I honestly don’t know in what order I do things. The story and characters often come to me at the same time. Sometimes I have characters in mind then they do something unexpected because they’ve somehow come alive in my mind. I will always change the plot to reflect that ‘real’ person who has emerged. As for character sheets, I don’t do a lot of analysis but when I create a character I have forms I fill out on them even if I don’t describe them or use all the info at the time I name them. I write in their name, hair color and style, eye color, height, body type, age, occupation, and relationship to the hero or heroine. This way if I draw a blank on what I said about them or if I’m not sure I’ve ever even described them, I have it written down and don’t end up searching for that previous mention within the already written pages. It’s a time saving, continuity factor I feel is necessary to have at my fingertips.

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

Trains were now transcontinental; as was the telegraph. The west was opening up and more easily reached. Wanamaker’s department store was set to open. The centennial exposition was open in Philadelphia. Possession houses, which were the dwellings where the miners and their families lived, were not hospitable and cost too much to rent. Miners had to buy all supplies they used in the mines at company stores. Everything in the store cost thirty percent more than if they took a train ride to Philadelphia to shop but that was impossible because they were paid in script that only the company store would accept. GTT--Gone To Texas--was often scrawled on the doors or on wood planks nailed to trees in front of the homes of folks when they left their old lives behind and went pioneering. Dimity and calico were materials used by poor women for dresses. Quilts were often fashioned of old clothing or flour sacks.

I learned a lot of mining terms and a lot about the dangers miners faced. I also discovered chilling facts about child labor in the mines but couldn’t include it all without making the book depressing. I did include a bit which served to advance the story.

Do you have any authors who inspired you?

Linda Lael Miller, Nora Roberts, Mary Balough, Martha Schroeder

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

I am terrible at new promotional avenues. In the last few years, when all this technology was developing, I was inundated with the problem of taking care of my parents in their advancing years. Writing the best books I could became my best promotion. I have continued to speak at a romance readers group called Treasured Hearts. They meet at a Barnes and Noble in Delaware. I have also done other book signings when I could. I’ve managed to attend New Jersey Romance Writers conference most years and always do their literacy signing. I also continue to be involved on some level with my local RWA chapter—Valley Forge Romance Writers.

What do we have to look forward to next?

In the writing of Questions of Honor, I created a character who seemed to be a villain. He was working undercover among the miners for the Pinkertons. He thinks he is in love with Helena Conwell. Another character was Amber Dodd, who was Abby’s friend and close in general looks to Helena. Amber planned to travel to California to be a governess. Wearing Helena Conwell’s clothes, she agreed to travel at the same time as Helena but to New York where she would take a clipper to San Francisco. She hoped to lead Helena’s guardian a merry chase. Instead Jamie, the undercover Pinkerton, feels obligated to see to Helena’s safety as he’s come to mistrust her guardian. He winds up on the clipper with the wrong woman. Fireworks ensue!

And for anyone who reads Questions of Honor, they will know that Brendan and Helena’s book, which I hope will follow Amber and Jamie’s, should have more than it’s share of fire works, too. Just picture a prideful reluctant bridegroom and a slightly spoiled woman with enough money to make all his dreams come true. And she’s determined to do just that and have the man she loves. He’s the first desire every denied her.

Amber and Jamie’s book has sparked another hero in my mind. Jamie’s cousin Alexander Reynolds has a dark haunted past and enough regrets to drive him across the world in search of redemption. Now to think up a woman just right for him…..


To celebrate her book release, Kate is offering a free book of Questions of Honor 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: A best selling author, Kate Welsh has penned 20 published novels for Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Love inspired Suspense and Silhouette Special Edition. Her 21st is for Harlequin Historical. She is a double RWA Golden Heart winner and has been a Rita nominee. The Faith Hope and Love RWA Chapter awarded their prestigious Inspiration Readers Choice Award in 2003 to Kate’s Love Inspired, Mountain Laurel. In both 2004 and 2005, 2008 she was nominated for Favorite Love Inspired of the Year by the Romantic Times Reviewers. Kate’s First two Special Editions were Waldonbooks Best Sellers. Her 06 and 07 SSE’s spent multiple weeks in the top 100 on Book Scan.

As a child, Kate often lost herself in creating make believe worlds and happily-ever-after tales. Many years later she turned back to creating happy endings when her husband challenged her to write down the stories in her head. A lover of all things romantic, Kate has been writing romance for over twenty years now. Her first published novels hit the stands in 1998.

Kate was Valley Forge Romance Writers’ first president and currently holds the office of vice-president. She lives her own happily-ever-after in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband of over 30 years, her daughter, their one hundred bound Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Ecko and Kali, the family cat. Kali didn't want a playmate when the puppy moved in nine years ago and she’s still trying to coax him into moving out which makes for a happening household and great fodder for humor in her books.

Kate loves hearing from readers who can reach her on the internet at

Love Inspired/Steeple Hill
For the Sake of Her Child
Never Lie to an Angel
A Family for Christmas
Small-Town Dreams
Their Forever Love
The Girl Next Door
Silver Lining
Mountain Laurel
Her Perfect Match
A Love Beyond
Abiding Love
Autumn Promises
Joy in His Heart
Home to Safe Harbor
Redeeming Travis
A Time for Grace

Silhouette Special Edition
Substitute Daddy
The Doctor’s Secret Child
A Bargain Called Marriage
For Jessie’s Sake

Harlequin Historicals
Questions of Honor

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Creating Your Hero's Fatal Flaw"by Laurie Schnebly Campbell

Online class: June 1-26, 2009"Creating Your Hero's Fatal Flaw"by Laurie Schnebly Campbell

Registration $30 at
Giving likable, plausible characters a compelling conflict is easier with Enneagrams. Counselors and personnel manager suse this personality tool to identify the heroic qualities (and not-so-heroic qualities) for each of nine types: the Perfectionist, Nurturer, Achiever, Romantic, Observer, Skeptic, Adventurer, Leader and Peacemaker. Each of these types has distinctive traits, including a fatal--or not so fatal--flaw that will naturally bring them into conflict with other people...AND with themselves. Get ready for some hands-on-homework (to do during June or at leisure) and discover how to:
* Determine your character's unique traits (or your own)
* Turn all nine personality types into memorable characters
* Build internal & external conflict with each type's fatal flaw
* Resolve conflict by using each type's individual strengths
* Expand the possibilities for drama with subtypes and more
* Enhance characters you already have in mind or plan to create

Besides writing about memorable characters--and how to create them--Laurie writes for an ad agency, teaches online, narrates for Talking Books, dithers over, and enjoys playing with her husband & son, vacationing in Sedona (the red-rock town named for her great-grandmother) and working with other writers. "People ask how I find time to do all that," she says, "and I tell them it's easy. I never clean my house!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Interview with Linda Style and Connie Flynn-Bootcamp for Novelists

Linda Style and Connie Flynn opened Bootcamp for Novelists Online, an online academy dedicated to writing the novel. Bootcamp for Novelists is a step-by-step approach to novel writing that begins with The Basics (taught by Connie) while at the same providing access to more advanced techniques, called The Polish (taught by Linda).

Tell us what's up with Bootcamp for Novelists. For instance, what are you teaching and who is it designed for?

Linda & Connie: Bootcamp for Novelists is designed for the writer who is strongly committed to becoming published. While we don't pile the work on, the program is consistent and rigorous, with a lesson and related exercise each week. While the hobbyist writer can gain from these classes, it is the dedicated novelists who gain the most. The exercises increase in difficulty and are designed to stretch both imagination and skill, always pushing the student to go beyond the box.

Connie: Hey, we didn’t call it a bootcamp for nothing. :-)

Linda: Our feedback is encouraging, always keeping the writer’s skill level in mind, but it is also direct. Our aim is to help the student grow and flourish as a writer.

How did you come up with the idea for a bootcamp and why?

Connie: Partly, because we could. Linda and I each have in the area of twenty years of writing and teaching experience. We're both published authors and are familiar with current publisher expectations. We both take a commercial approach to fiction writing and are lucky enough to have the ability to pass this on to others.

Linda: Connie and I have been good friends for years, and we’ve taught workshops together and separately, online and in classes. Doing so, we were very aware of how difficult it is for new writers to get an integrated education on writing the novel. We’ve also shared a belief that anyone can learn to write fiction if given the proper tools. A step-by-step program that takes a writer from the beginning of his novel to the end seemed the most natural way to do it.

So, you just said, let's go out and start a school?

Connie: It did kind of happen that way. There are so many areas to master in writing a novel. Characterization, plotting, conflict, structure, prose handling.

Linda: Then there's the marketing part—how to find an agent, what genre to write in, attending conferences, talking to editors, query letters, synopses. You name it, the working novelist is an entrepreneur and has to master many different skills.

Connie: So, yes, both of us being entrepreneurs ourselves, we decided an online program would be perfect. The idea of online classes isn’t new, but the Bootcamp step-by-step program is unique. Our goal is to provide an education in a manner for writers to learn what they need to learn, when they need to learn it.

You have two different levels, is that right?

Connie: Yes, I teach the basic structure series, aimed at grounding new writers in the fundamentals that all novelists must master to be successful, subjects like character development, plot structure, scene development, even punctuation for dialogue. My courses are straightforward, sometimes not too glamorous and often hard work (did we mention that this is a Bootcamp?) Linda teaches more sophisticated techniques of writing, nuances of character arcs, plot and motivation layering, adding twists and turns to stories. Her courses often contain more glamour but they're also bootcamps so that doesn't make them easy.

It kind of sounds like you must take the whole program or start at a particular time.

Linda: That’s a good idea for the new writer, but many unpublished writers have been writing for a while, some even have more than one book completed, and they know a lot about basic structure and plot. But they need something to get them over the hump from unpublished to published. They may not know, or have forgotten, the finer points, such as how to deepen characters, or how use emotion to engage the reader on that first page and make them keep turning pages. Some students are also authors who want to ramp up their skills. Beginning writers can (and do) take both the basic and the polish together. It’s a lot of work, but some want to be on the fast track and are willing to put nose to the grindstone to do it.

Connie: Students new to writing are advised to start with either Character Development or Plot because they are basic entry points to writing a story. But they can start elsewhere. Those who do could feel like they're playing catch-up but the knowledge they'll gain is still useful and, if they go back and pick a basic later, it will all come together. So, basically, you can start when you start, because all roads lead back to mastering the skills of novel writing.

You must be working very hard these days with back to back classes and new students every month.

Connie: There is a great deal of work, yes, and a few surprises, yes, and a lot of gratification, also yes. Teaching others to expand and apply their talents is so tremendously fulfilling and to be able to do it a wildly creative field like fiction writing is doubly fulfilling. Each time, I have an answer to a student's questions, I'm answering some question of my own I didn't even know I had. This is a life that's a privilege to wake up to in the morning.

Linda: Ditto that. I’m absolutely delighted when someone tells me they finally understand a concept they “thought” they knew. Advanced students often know the principles, but making them work is the hard part. We work with each student as much as we can to ensure each has a “working” knowledge of their craft. And like Connie, teaching also keeps me on my toes and reminds me what I need to do as a writer...and that’s continuing to grow. None of us can stop growing, the market won’t let us. And with that, we’re back to the commercial aspect. Yes, it’s great to write and flex our creative muscles--and it feels even better when we sell that first book!

Thanks Ladies! for more information.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We have a winner!

One of the perks of doing an interview at my own group blog is that I can add a special post to thank all of you who stopped by and commented, and to say congratulations to Theresa N., who Kim randomly chose as the winner. Theresa, email me at with your snail mail addy so I can send you an autographed copy of Double Enchantment.

It was such a pleasure to have you all stop by and comment, and such a rewarding experience to know that there are so many people who still believe in magic. I often think that's why I've continued to be an avid reader all my life, and why I became a writer. So I can keep the magic, adventure and passion in my life.

My son feels that too many people lose what he calls their 'whimsy' as they're growing up. He's made it his mission to nourish his, and he's been successful.

So thank you all for keeping your own whimsy a part of your life, and for nourishing it by reading.

With Joy,

Friday, May 15, 2009

Interview with Kathryne Kennedy

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kathryne Kennedy. 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 Enchanting the Beast. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Enchanting the Beast is about ghost-hunter Philomena Radcliff, who is hired to solve the mystery of Sir Nicodemus Wulfson’s haunted castle. Nico is a were-wolf who has more difficulties than a few spirits. Phil is a spinster who finds herself extraordinarily attracted to the young Sir Nico, and is soon tangled up with him in more ways than just hunting for his ghosts.

Enchanting the Beast is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The previous books in the series are Enchanting the Lady and Double Enchantment, so the title of this book follows naturally. And although she can’t quite tame him, Phil does enchant Nico’s beast.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

No decision here. I love the genre, and I write what I love.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I’m fond of gothic romances and a haunted castle always has mysteries. And lately I’ve been watching the SciFi Channel series, Ghost Hunters, and I knew I had my heroine’s occupation. Throw a Relic in the mix and a young sexy were-wolf accused of murder and I was having the time of my life.

What are your favorite fantasy research books, and why?

I think the best way to research fantasy is to read it. Lots and lots of it. Some fabulous authors I can think of right off hand are: Robin Hobb, Patricia McKillip, Patricia McKinley, Sharon Shinn, Patricia Briggs, Midori Snyder & Andre Norton.

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

I fell in love with Nico, and I admired Phil’s calm practicality. Tup made me cry and Sarah the were-snake cracked me up. I wanted to strangle Edwina and save Royden. They were all such fun to write!

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’ve answered this in a previous interview at MCTT, so I think I’ll just expand on it by saying that as I write, my characters develop right along with the story. I get to know them almost at the same pace as my reader does. My worlds provide different challenges for my characters, and I think this helps to develop their strengths and weaknesses.

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

All three, including timelines of events, both magical and historical.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I can’t think of a single book I’ve ever read that didn’t offer me some new insight, idea, or way of looking at life.

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

My contests & my newsletter, combined. I give away fabulous jewelry, which I have fun shopping for, and it generates interest in my books. I combine this with signing up for my newsletter and have garnered some loyal readers.

What do we have to look forward to next?

My Victorian romance novel, My Unfair Lady, which inspired the Relics of Merlin series, will be released this year from Sourcebooks Publishing! Details will be on my website soon.

Thanks, Kathryne!

To celebrate her book release, Kathryne is offering an autographed copy of Double Enchantment to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check the comment section Monday evening to see who won) She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Kathryne Kennedy is a multi-published, award-winning author of magical romances. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives in Arizona with her wonderful family—which includes two very tiny Chihuahuas.

Check out author’s website at
Buy .

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Online Workshop: Editor/Agent Appointments

MAY 29 - Online Workshop: Editor/Agent Appointments

Have you ever thought of scheduling an editor or agent appointment at one of the numerous regional RWA conferences, or perhaps even at the RWA National Conference itself? Or maybe you've stumbled, stammered, fumbled or floundered your way through one of these nerve-racking sessions already? Here's your chance to polish your public speaking and pitch skills and learn the In's and Out's of Editor and Agent Appointments, in a fun-filled, one-day upcoming online workshop hosted by Louisville Romance Writers!

Join literary agent Nephele Tempest as she covers the basics of how to not only survive an editor or agent appointment, but how to make a positive, lasting impressions, as well: how to dress, the right (and wrong!) things to say, what to bring with you, and more.

Nephele Tempest joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles office. As an agent, she works with a number of talented writers, assisting them to hone their skills and build their careers. In addition, she spends time developing the agency's Hollywood film and multi-media contacts.

Nephele comes from a diverse publishing and finance background, having worked in the editorial department at Simon and Schuster, as a financial advisor, in the marketing and communications departments of several major New York investment firms, and as a freelance writer. Her experiences in sales, marketing, and writing provide her with insights into multiple aspects of the publishing industry. Nephele belongs to the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

This workshop will be held on FRIDAY, MAY 29 in the LRW online classroom, so mark your calendars now! The cost for this workshop is $10. Enroll today by submitting payment through Paypal. Send payment to:
. (NOTE: The first part is Lou_Romance_Writers with underscores.) Please note in Comment/Note section that payment is for the May online workshop.

You can also mail in a check or money order for the course fee. Please contact our Treasurer, Sandy Loyd (by email, available by link at web addresses below), for payment address.

Upon verification of payment, you'll receive an email invitation to our online classroom, and closer to the class date, more specific instructions.

For more information, please visit
We hope you'll join in the fun!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009



Saturday, June 20, 2009
8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Full day workshop
In the Northwest Valley (47th Ave. & Union Hills)
Exact location and directions upon registration

Having problems getting through to the editors? Even with publishing credits, nowadays, it's not enough to have a darn good manuscript if no one ever reads it. At a time when publishers are inundated with quality work, learn how to make your submission stand out for the right reasons, and get read first.

Although it may seem hopeless sometimes, there is a lot you can do, and these little known tricks of the trade have proven to work time and again. So don't linger. Make sure your next submission catches the attention of the acquiring editor and gets read quickly, instead of spending months, sometimes years, in a slush pile, forgotten or ignored, in a back room packed from floor to ceiling.

For complete information and registration visit:

Registration fee: $70.00 includes coffee, rolls, lunch, comprehensive handouts.
Early bird $60.00 until May 20, 2009
All cards accepted through Paypal

Limited seating - Everyone gets personal attention.

Solve the sluspile problem once and for all, and get on with your writing career.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interview with Sir Nicodemus Wulfson

Interview with Sir Nico from Enchanting the Beast, by author Kathryne Kennedy:

Author: Hello, Sir Nicodemus.

Nico turns around in the pond he’s been swimming in. The sunshine filtering through the forest trees makes the drops of water that cling to his muscular torso glitter like diamonds.
Nico: Who the hell are you?

A: No one terribly important. I’m just the one who created you.

Nico tosses his damp hair away from his eyes, the blond strands within the brown refusing to cooperate, falling back over his forehead.
N: You think so? How do you know that I don’t exist in some alternate universe and I created you to tell my story?

A, frowning: Very clever, but that’s beside the point. I came here to interview you for my readers.

Nico shoos away a water sprite.
N: Ah, I see. I’m happy to oblige, madam.
He emerges from the pond.

Author realizes he’s naked as the day he was born and turns her back. Hears the rustle of clothing, takes a peek, and is half-relieved to see that he’s pulled his trousers on.

A: Can you tell them a bit about yourself?

Nico shrugs, muscles rippling beneath smooth skin.
N: I’m a were-wolf, I live in a castle that my brother swears is haunted, and I have a sister-in-law who tries my patience. Is that sufficient?

A, smiling: No, not quite. Tell me about Philomena.

N: The ghost-hunter? His dark brown eyes glaze a bit, the golden specks in them glinting with something akin to hunger.
Author shivers.

N: She really can talk with ghosts, you know. Amazing woman. Her companion is a were-snake and she has a spirit-guide named Tup.

A: I understand she’s quite a bit older than you.

N: That doesn’t signify. He scowls. Although she uses it as an excuse to keep me at arm’s length. Not that it will work, mind you. I bloody well get what I want.

A: I have no doubt. Takes a step back from the predatory gaze in his eyes, then scolds herself for being foolish. Despite his look, the man will not eat her. But you’ll have to deal with some issues before that can happen, won’t you, Nico?

The shadow of his were-self surrounds Nico.
N: Know about that, eh? Picks up his white linen shirt from the mossy bank and shrugs into it. What am I saying, of course you do.

A: But my readers don’t know yet. Can you enlighten them?

Nico cocks his head, more hair tumbling over his eyes, as if he’s trying to hide behind that shaggy screen.
N: So what do you want me to say? That I fear my very nature? That I enjoy it when my wolf hunts, when he devours our kill? He paces the mossy bank like a caged beast, the movement parting his unbuttoned shirt and revealing the hard ridges of his belly, the sculpted contours of his muscular chest. That doesn’t mean I killed my fiancĂ©e, damn it. I would never murder anyone.

A, soothingly: Of course you wouldn’t, Nico. But you need to prove it.

N: I can. Fists his hands. I will.

A: Maybe Phil can help you.

Nico stills, his handsome face calms.
N: Yes, she believes in me. But I’ll solve my own problems.

A, smiling indulgently: We shall see, Nico.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Journey

First, let me wish all of you a Happy Mother’s Day.
This holiday is more than a day of flowers, cards, and breakfast in bed. It is also a time where we often reflect on the past. Usually on the happy times we've had with our children. Many of you know I have one child. She is twenty years old and graduating from college in four days. From the moment she was born, I knew my life would never be the same. It wasn’t just the sleepless nights or the dark circles beneath my eyes that told me life as I knew it was over. From that day on, I worried about every decision I made. Luckily, she turned out to be a good person and I didn’t do anything that will land us on Oprah. With her graduation quickly approaching, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t the only one leading by example. Her youthful exuberance reminded me of lessons I had forgotten. Today I want to share those with you.

*We are never too old to dream. My daughter and her friends feel a bit overwhelmed by the choices they have to make about their futures, but they are also excited about the possibilities. All of us should get in touch with our dreams and find a way to fulfill them to some capacity. As writers, we often dream of hitting the big time, but sometimes feel the pressures of the industry. Do you remember the excitement of dreaming big? Ask yourself what you could do to help get in touch with those feelings and work towards building your career in a way that allows you to enjoy the journey. Regardless of whether or not we hit The New York Times, there are many rewarding experiences that come from writing a book. We need to enjoy them and remember they are part of the dream too.

*Take time to have fun with friends. Last summer, I listened to my daughter’s stories. They revolved around her boyfriend and her friends. I realized I had spent too much time working and didn’t have enough balance. This year, I added walking with writing friends to my schedule and recently, even started going out with my friends more often. We have so much fun joking around that I sometimes feel like I’m back in college. Call a friend and schedule a play date.
*Put passion back into your life. My daughter is bigger than life. When she was young, a colleague of mine said she couldn’t wait to see her on the big screen. As a middle-aged mother and teacher, I had sometimes looked back on my youth and cringed at my wild times, but I remembered feeling alive back then. Of course, I don’t have any desire to relive the past, but with age comes wisdom and I know there are many ways to put passion back into my life. We can all enjoy the beauty around us, watch children play, connect with others, tell someone you love them, and if you have a special someone – add a little romance; put the spark back into your relationship… You are all grown-ups so I don’t need to fill in the blanks for you. The point is to live your life to the fullest. Take the time to ask yourself what you can do to make your life more enjoyable without doing anything rash. You don’t need mid-life crises to live a life full of passion; simply live your life with feeling.

Until next time,
Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon

Friday, May 8, 2009

Interview with Angie Fox

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Angie Fox. 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 Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Sure. Accidental demon slayer Lizzie Brown and her grandma’s coven of biker witches have rolled into Sin City to take out a super-sexy succubus who has her eye on world domination – and worse, Lizzie’s man.

The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers is the story of what happens when you take a bunch of biker witches to Las Vegas. Well, it’s more than that, I suppose. Lizzie and the gang head to Las Vegas to save her uncle from marrying a succubus.

As she experiences all kinds of new (and weird) things in Vegas, Lizzie is determined, once and for all, to master her powers. In fact, she’s going to write the book on demon slaying. So she begins a journal, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, where she records what she’s learning, starting with newfound discoveries about demons, gargoyles and a particularly mischievous live spell named Beanie who likes to fill Lizzie’s boots with pumpkin spice latte.

Things get dangerous when the demons get their hooks in Dimitri. He’s much darker and sexier in this book. And we introduce a new character, Max, who is half demon and 100% yummy.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

When I was writing the end of my first book, The Accidental Demon Slayer, this joke about Las Vegas popped into my head and I thought, “why not?” Lizzie is just about to kiss her man when she’s interrupted and told she and the gang have to head to Las Vegas to save her long lost uncle from marrying a succubus. Kind of fun. At least it made me smile. I was an unpublished writer at the time.

But then the book sold. Better still, The Accidental Demon Slayer hit the New York Times bestseller list. The sequel was on and I decided to pick up right where The Accidental Demon Slayer left off. Of course I should mention that each of the books is a stand-alone book. Each has its own complete story and happy ever after ending, so you don’t need to read the first book to enjoy the second.

What was your reaction when you learned The Accidental Demon Slayer was a New York Times bestseller?

Complete shock. The phone rang on a Friday afternoon, as I was writing the climax of The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. I almost didn’t answer. After all, who would call in smack dab in the middle of a demon invasion?

Luckily, I picked up because it was my agent, saying that The Accidental Demon Slayer would be #34 on the New York Times list the next day. I didn’t know what to think. Heck, I’d just wanted to sell enough books so that I could keep writing about biker witches, demon slayers and talking terriers. I had to ask my agent to please email me too, just to make sure I wasn’t phone-hallucinating.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Loads, actually. First off, the biker witches ride Harleys, and I’d never been on a motorcycle before. Second, I had to figure out how to get Pirate the dog onto a bike.

I went online and learned about the Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club, made up exclusively of Harley riders and their dogs. I ended up meeting some of them, along with a few other bikers along the way. These bikers were so great to me. They hoisted me onto the back of their Harleys (with dogs in tow). They took me to biker rallies (note to self: don’t wear pink). And they laughed at me when I tried to put my helmet on backwards (I still say I was distracted by the Pomeranian wearing a tiny pair of motorcycle glasses). After a few outings with my new biker friends, I was able to make my geriatric biker witch characters a lot more realistic. And I took home some great pictures, too.

My second favorite bit of research was the behind-the-scenes tour of Hoover Dam. The climax of The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers takes place down there, and I was lucky enough to be invited to see first-hand what I’d be writing about. A guide took me far down into the inspection tunnels they used in the 1930’s and 40’s, when the cement was still curing. It was amazing to see the notes these inspectors made on the walls, to hear the stories of those that didn’t quite make it out and to walk the same old metal steps that they did. All of that made it into The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, along with lots of things I had a blast making up (this is fiction after all).

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

For me, personally, it works better when I let the characters develop on the page. For example, when I sat down to write the first book, I had no notes about a sidekick for my heroine. But in the second chapter, when she’d learned she was a demon slayer and all hell was after her, she took comfort in her dog. As I was writing, I thought, ‘This is a sweet moment. Now how do I throw her off?’ Simple. I made the dog say something to her. Nothing big. After all, he’s only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where my heroine can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard).

It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, my heroine can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. I don’t know if Pirate would be here today if I’d depended on character sheets or traditional methods of plotting. I think the most important thing when you sit down to the keyboard is to be willing to follow your story in new directions, because if you’re enjoying the surprise, chances are your readers will too.

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

LOL I actually got into writing so that I could avoid charts, graphs and any kind of math. I have a plot outline, so I know where the story needs to go, but when it comes to world building, I write what amuses me. I follow my instincts and let the story evolve on the page.

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

Hmm…how do I say this? Okay. I’ll just say it. My readers are a bunch of crazy loud women and I love them for it. My best advertising has been word-of-mouth – girlfriends telling girlfriends, daughters getting their moms hooked, readers who tell me they’ve seen someone pick up my book at the store and told the person, “you have to read that.” It’s really neat and I’m just so grateful.

What do we have to look forward next?

Right now, I’m writing book 3 in the Accidental Demon Slayer series, tentatively titled A Tale of Two Demon Slayers. In it, Lizzie and the gang travel to Greece where they learn more about Dimitri’s past and a threat that could destroy them all. I’m having a ball with it because it’s so much fun to explore Dimitri’s home, his family and his juicy past.

I also have a story in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2, which comes out on Halloween. And then I’m working on a voodoo novella for this amazing anthology that I can’t officially announce yet.

Thanks, Angie!

To celebrate her book release, Angie Fox is offering a free copy of The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers to one lucky commenter on today's blog. Just take the quiz Are You Part Demon Slayer? and tell us your score in the comments section. We’ll pick one winner at random. Oh and if you post that same score to Angie’s website, you’ll be entered to win a walk-on role in the next Accidental Demon Slayer book.

Here’s the quiz link:

Angie will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...
Good luck!

Angie Fox is the New York Times bestselling author of the Accidental Demon Slayer series. She claims that researching her books can be just as much fun as writing them. In the name of fact-finding, Angie has ridden with Harley biker gangs, explored the tunnels underneath Hoover Dam and found an interesting recipe for Mamma Coalpot’s Southern Skunk Surprise (she’s still trying to get her courage up to try it).

Angie earned a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. She worked in television news and then in advertising before beginning her career as an author.

Visit Angie at You’ll find freebies galore and answers to burning questions, like What is Your Biker Witch name?

Check out author’s website at
Buy at your favorite bookseller.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rudy's Blog 3

RT Orlando 2009

Hello from Orlando, this year’s home of the Romantic Times Convention. I’ve been following Mom from place to place to make sure she’s okay. We took care of her two day Aspiring Author class, and her 30 students were great. They soaked up everything she said, just like Sponge Bob after a long dry spell. Her speakers were great too. Linnea Sinclair, Stacey Kade, Karen Kendall, Nancy Cohen, Allison Chase, Susan Yarina, Kathy Love, Debra Parmley, and Aleka Nakis did a bow-wow-licious job. I’d advise any dog to stop by their house and make them your friend.

Mom also spoke on a panel about writing humor in paranormal books, which I don’t get. I mean, what’s paranormal about angels, aliens, and goddesses? Or talking dogs? ALL us canines talk, it’s you humans who don’t listen.

She’s also done a couple of book signings in the past month. The last one was in Dallas and it was as big as a Buster Bone. She sold every book Georgette, the B&N bookseller, ordered, plus a few more they brought in from another store.

So far, I think the best part of the convention was Maureen and Jane, two of her students from last year. They brought the newbies spiffy bags filled with goodies they called ‘Judi Survival Kits’. It was such a surprise, Mom started to cry, especially when she saw the buttons with my picture on them. The other ‘best’ thing was a Starbuck’s travel mug with MY book cover decorating the side.

Okay, I gotta run. Mom’s crying as she types this because she still misses me bad. Just check out her website soon, because she’s putting up a section called Puppy Pages. If you send her a picture of your special four-legged friend (please NO cats) she’ll post the picture and write a caption.

Sounds good, don’t it.

Gotta run. The last dinner bell sounded and I’ve got a date with a cute little peekapoo for dessert.

The Rudster

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Debra Dixon Workshop in Phoenix Area

Debra Dixon, of Goal, Motivation & Conflict fame, joins Valley of the Sun Romance Writers for our all-day, annual Writers Roundup, Saturday, June 6th.
Debra will spend a day with us teaching on her popular "Book in a Day" concept combined with "The Hero's Journey."

Take the next step in your writer's journey and sign up today for her workshop.
VOS members receive the low $25.00 price...Desert Rose members and all others, $35.00.

Just go to the website,, click the "Buy Now" button. (Or, if you prefer to pay by check, click on the green link, "Print the form here", and follow the instructions.)
If you decide to pay by credit card, when you reach the PayPal page, ignore any box that says "Log-in/password". Scroll to the bottom and click on, "Continue". When the new page comes up, again, ignore any box that says "Log-in/password." Fill out the form and follow the rest of the PayPal instructions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Enchanting the Beast is in bookstores!

Enchanting the Beast
By Kathryne Kennedy
ISBN: 978-0-505-52764-6
Leisure Love Spell
Historical Fantasy Romance

A Romantic Times BOOKreviews Top Pick for May!

In the third book of the Relics of Merlin series, ghost-hunter Philomena Radcliff comes to Grimspell castle to rid the residence of spirits, but she finds most haunting of all a reclusive werewolf suspected of murder.

Read the first chapter, watch the book video, and read the reviews at:

Enter to win a 5-carat London blue topaz princess-style necklace at:

Read the author’s interview with the hero:

Get your own widget for your blog or website here:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Great Foreshadowing - Movie Style




Analyzing movies can help you build a better novel!
WARNING – Spoil Alert – I will tell you what the movie is about.

Saturday evenings are movie night in my family. This past year, I noticed there was a lot to learn about character development, plot, dialogue, show-don’t-tell, emotion, and conflict within these films. I couldn’t help but analyze those I thought did it well and decided to share my findings with you.

Last week, we watched Appaloosa, a western in which Ed Harris starred, directed, produced, and co-scripted. The all-star cast included:

Ed Harris as Marshal Virgil Cole
Viggo Mortensen as Deputy Everett Hitch
Jeremy Irons as Murderer Randall Bragg and
Renee Zellweger as Widow Allie French

I considered this a well-written “buddy film,” based on the novel by Robert B. Parker. It shows (instead of telling) the deep friendship between two men. It also reveals how to foreshadow events.

Deputy Hitch narrates the introduction to the story. He tells the audience he had been working with Marshal Cole in his peace-keeping business for over a dozen years and had no reason to doubt they would be together for the foreseeable future. Then he points out, “The unforeseeable is what your life becomes.” Great line! How many times have we looked back on our lives and realized we could have never predicted the changes that occurred?

The introduction is the one time we are “told” what the story is about. From that moment on, the writers allow the characters to foreshadow the events that lead to the eventual separation of these two friends.

Throughout the story, the writers weave in details to show how close these two men have become. I believe their relationship was closer than most male/female relationships I’ve seen. The way they take care of each other’s emotional needs, in a manly way, is touching. The marshal makes sure he introduces his deputy to anyone who enters the scene. When the marshal doesn’t remember an uncommon word, the deputy waits until asked to provide it. The deputy knows the marshal well enough to anticipate his needs and is there providing the proper item or backup at the right moment. At one point, the deputy holds the marshal back when he is beating up on a man who shot off his mouth at him. He took his time letting go when the marshal told him to and we could tell he was making sure the situation was under control. When the marshal’s girlfriend kisses him, he refuses to tell his friend. If you look for these moments, you’ll catch a least a dozen, all of which show their close bond. We need to include moments like these in our romance novels as well. We need to SHOW the characters falling in love and being there for one another.

While the tight bond is shown to the viewer, we also see the signs foreshadowing their eventual breakup. The following are the ones that stood out to me. I’m sure there are more I missed.

Sign #1 - We see the deputy stop and watch the marshal kissing Allie, the widow who recently arrived in town. He slowly walks away.

Sign #2 - Allie tells the deputy her and the marshal are buying a house in town.

Sign #3 - The deputy innocently jokes around about the marshal going to see Allie and he is quick to defend her.

Sign #4 - A colleague of the marshal is surprised to see him with a new type of woman. He watches them with obvious interest. This sign shows us their world is changing in a big way.

Sign #5 - The marshal watches Allie sleep for a moment, despite her recent betrayal of him, showing his deep feelings for her.
Sign #6 - The deputy helps the marshal realize Allie does love him. He puts his friend’s emotional needs above his own. I couldn’t help but think of how many people would have used the opportunity to keep them apart so they wouldn’t lose their friend. Too often, our own fears keep us from reaching out to others.

After this point, the characters make it obvious that one will end up leaving and one staying. You’ll need to watch the movie to see how it all plays out.

Overall, I was impressed with the number of signs foreshadowing the eventual end of the story. I think most of us should strive to include more foreshadowing in our own stories.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, May 1, 2009

Interview with Jeannie Ruesch

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Jeannie Ruesch. 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.

Thanks for having me! I’m happy to be here today. Of course anywhere with chocolate gets a big thumbs up from me.

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

Yes, SOMETHING ABOUT HER came out on April 10th. It’s a historical set in the ever-loved Regency era, about a Duke and a widow who shouldn’t fall in love, but can’t help themselves:

Michael Ashton, the Duke of Ravensdale, is caught in two scandals, neither of which is his own doing. The first involves a woman (don’t they always), and the second…well, it also involves a woman and a large sum of stolen money. In order to save the reputation Michael has spent his life rebuilding, he must track down the widow of his presumed-dead cousin in order to charm...or seduce her missing husband's whereabouts from her.

After being abandoned a mere hour after her wedding, Blythe Willoughby Ashton wonders how she could have been fooled by such a cad and still feels humiliated and betrayed a year later. Her husband wooed her, married her, took her money and left. When she learns of his death, she decides unceremoniously to go on with her life—without a man. So when Thomas’s cousin—a Duke, no less—shows up uninvited on her doorstep, looking more handsome and irresistible than any man should, Blythe instinctively doesn’t trust him nor does she want to like him. But her traitorous heart doesn’t seem to care. At the same time, Michael’s clear agenda gets quite blurry when the woman he believes an accomplice to his cousin's schemes turns out to be the woman he can give his heart to…and the only one he can’t have.

SOMETHING ABOUT HER is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It’s funny how much we struggle to find the perfect “working” title while writing, especially knowing you won’t often get to keep it. But I have to have a title I love in order to finish a book. Strange, I know. :)

SOMETHING ABOUT HER is my original title. It ultimately speaks to the core of the story -- my heroine, Blythe, was different from any woman the duke had met. When you meet someone you know you shouldn’t want, there is usually something about that person that draws you in. There was something about Blythe that was irresistible to him. Because of her, he began to see life differently.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I have always loved reading historicals. Some of the first romances I ever read were from this genre--Kathleen Woodiwiss and others. Writing historical wasn’t actually a conscious choice– it just happened. I’d written other things or started other ideas across the gamut from contemporary to historical. But this story wanted to be written most. When looking for the specific era to set it in, I looked at some of my favorite books, including WHITNEY MY LOVE by Judith McNaught, for the tone, the feeling I wanted in my story. The regency was a natural fit.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

SOMETHING ABOUT HER began with the thought of a family of siblings, and it actually started with a different plot altogether. However, one of my characters, Thomas, refused to stay dead as I had him written originally. Once I gave in to his demands, the story opened up and wrote itself. It’s the love story Blythe and Michael were meant to have. And from their story, the other four stories in the Willoughby Family series have naturally flowed.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

I love research books and websites, and the list would probably take a page and a half. ☺ There is amazing information available on the web on the Regency– it’s a beloved era and people know it well. Even still, I’ll look for confirmation on certain facts in two or three places before I consider putting it in my book.

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

My heroine Blythe really tugged at my heart. In her story, she’s at a crossroads, one I think women today identify with. When the story starts, she’s been betrayed by the man she loves. She’s confused and uncertain of herself, and her ability to trust has been severely shaken. It’s a place I’ve been and I imagine most women have been, so writing her emotions was very personal.

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 am a plotter. When I got tired of having notebooks and sticky notes all over the place, I actually created an entire notebook of details and facts for my characters and my books. It contains character sheets, places for details about everything to do with them. It’s called the WIP Notebook ( and it came to be because I use it for myself. A friend saw it and told me I needed to make it available for others, so I have. It’s on my website in an edoc download or spiral notebook.

Research will definitely affect character development, because in order to understand a person, it takes a combination of personality, life events and environment. All three of them combine to make us who we are, so as details in setting and story become clearer to me, the characters always gain more clarity and focus, more emotional depth.

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

I love the clothing styles from history – the richness of the gowns, the styles, and the curiosity of being so encumbered by your clothing that you required someone to help you dress. :-) And in fact, I purchased a book of regency period paper dolls – with different clothing styles and everything, so when I write or need to think about how their clothing made their lives different, I have the paper dolls right in front of me.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Absolutely. As a teenager, I idolized Francine Pascal who wrote Sweet Valley High. In later teen years, I became a fan of Danielle Steel and she was a great inspiration for a long time. And today, I find reading is one of the most important things I can do as a writer. I can find the drive and refuel my desire and love of writing by reading books I adore. Nora Roberts, Judith McNaught, Kristin Hannah and many more – for me, it always boils down to characters that become friends. If a writer can make someone stay in my head for years, that’s a writer I aspire to be like.

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

I think it all matters, from the signature lines in emails and groups to online ads to being on blogs. I placed an ad in RT Book Reviews magazine and I feel it was a great move. I got a review from it, a good one, and I think it’s only helped my sales. But it all adds up--it’s a matter of consistently putting yourself in front of your readers.

What do we have to look forward next?

You will get Adam’s story next! Adam’s, currently a work in progress with a tentative title of HER RELUCTANT HERO, continues just a few months after Blythe’s story ends. Adam is haunted by the mistakes he feels he made with Blythe and determined to give his sisters one hundred percent focus until each is married off. But along comes trouble in the form of the daughter of a treasure hunter, a woman determined to save her father. Aria’s tendency to land on the edge of scandal more often than she can afford convinces Adam he should stay far, far away. If only it were that easy…

But each of the Willoughby siblings demanded their own story, so SOMETHING ABOUT HER is the first in a series of five. And I love writing a series since it allows me to visit with the characters that much longer and it creates the ability to really plan out longer character arcs. While each book will stand alone, I love that I can weave in small (or large) details in Blythe’s book that will be a part of who Adam is in his book.

Thanks, Jeannie!

To celebrate her book release, Jeannie Ruesch is offering a free ebook of SOMETHING ABOUT HER to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check back on Monday to see who won.) She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Jeannie Ruesch wrote her first "The End" at the age of six and it's been a love affair with stories and writing ever since. Even with a detour into the realm of marketing and design (that day job thing), she always returned to the stories she loved at the end of the workday. She finally decided to get focused, and ultimately found publication with her first completed novel (as an adult, that is) in 2008. She lives in Northern California with her husband (who is likely tired of having his brain picked over the male perspective and their son.

Check out author’s website at

Buy links:
Wild Rose Press ebook :