Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Neurotic Writer Dates a Fireman

Welcome to another episode of
The Neurotic Writer
(Just for laughs)

Suzie Writer: Plops down on the couch. “What a week! I don’t ever remember going through so much trouble to date a man for research before.”

Therapist: “Who was it this week? An architect, politician, lion tamer?”

Suzie Writer: “No, but I’m going to keep those in mind. This week I dated a fireman. My book is set in Montana and this lonely fireman falls for the new stripper in town. He has to see beyond her lack of morals and she has to see beyond the horrible scars he received saving a three-legged kitten from a blazing tree.”

Therapist: “Sounds like an interesting story.”

Suzie Writer: “I got the idea when I accidentally set the popcorn in the microwave for ten minutes. It was incinerated! The smoke detectors woke me up from my nap. Before I could take the earplugs out, the fire department was busting down my door. That’s when I met Hank. Boy does he look hot with an axe in his hand. Much better than Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Of course, my door will never be the same.”

Therapist: “I’m concerned that you were in such a deep sleep so soon. Tell me, Suzie, had you taken any drugs?”

Suzie Writer: “Just the usual. We can talk about that later. I want to talk about Hank now. I don’t know how that man can put out fires when he sets me ablaze with just one look. Two minutes with him and I was a forest fire totally out of control. I wanted to―”

Therapist: “I get it. You were hot. I’m assuming you asked him out after he made kindling out of your door.”

Suzie Writer: “I tried, but he was all business. Imagine that. So…I had to come up with a way to get him back. A way of convincing him he was more man than firefighter.”

Therapist: “Tell me you did not intentionally set a fire.”

Suzie Writer: “Of course not. I did consider it for a moment, but even I know how dangerous that can be. Instead, I put my head between the bars of my staircase. My version of ‘Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!’ ”

Therapist: “And they bought it?”

Suzie Writer: “Well, by the time they got to the condo I was really stuck. I put on my sexiest bikini. The one with the little back and white polka dots. Then I gently pushed my head through the posts. Unfortunately, the moment I finished calling 911, I dropped my cell phone down a step.”

Therapist: “Dialing a fictitious 911 call places other people at great risk of losing their lives.”

Suzie Writer: “Like I said, by the time they got there I was really stuck! I twisted to reach for the phone and I couldn’t move. I had wedged my shoulders between the bars. To make matters worse I now had a wedgie I couldn’t fix. And believe me, my cottage cheese rear is not going to entice a man into bed.”

Therapist: “So you didn’t get your man this time after all.”

Suzie Writer: Chuckles. “You know me better than that. Turns out the hunky fireman wants to be a cover model. After all that work I went to capture his attention, I discovered all I needed to do was tell him I write romance novels.”

Therapist: “How did he find out? Did you hand him a copy of your book while you were stuck between the bars of the stairs?”

Suzie Writer: “No, but I should have. I needed a less dangerous excuse to see him again so I dropped by the station and gave him a signed copy of my book as a thank you gesture. Later that night, I came home and he was leaning against my door. He wanted to convince me that he would be a great cover model for my fireman story. We spent all night trying out various poses, with and without his suit. Boy does that man have pecs! Of course, I never told him I have no input on the covers. Didn’t want to spoil his fantasy-and mine.”

Therapist: “Are you still dating him?”

Suzie Writer: “No. I decided he was too pretty. I can’t date a guy better looking than me. He’ll get all the attention when we walk into a room. I like to make a grand entrance with all eyes on me.”

Therapist: “I understand. Maybe we can explore those feelings a bit more.”

Suzie Writer: “Not today, Doc. I finished that book. I have to come up with a new conflict, new hero…a new man. Whom should I date next? Any ideas?”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

The ladies at Much Cheaper Than Therapy are greatful for all of you who stop by and read our blog.
Have a happy, heathy and safe Thanksgiving.

"Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
–Brian Tracy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

List of Social Networking Sites and November Fall Workshop

I spoke over at the Scottsdale Civil Center Library last weekend with Kim Watters and Tina Lavon. I had a wonderful time and am very thankful for Desert Rose and the library for a wonderful day of workshops. I handed out a list of social networking groups during our talk and wanted to share with everyone else just how groups are out there. There's actually many more, but I tried to keep it to the larger groups and keep the focus on books.

List of Social Networking Sites

Book Related

AuthorNation –
BookCrossing -
Bookins -
BookMooch -
BookSwim -
Booktown.ning -
Connect via Books-
Good Reads -
Jacket Flap -
LibraryThing -
PaperBackSwap -
Red Room –
Shelfari -


Badoo -
Bebo -
EarthFrisk -
Facebook -
Faves - -
Friendster -
Grono - Polish
Hi5 -
LiveJournal -
Multiply -
MySpace -
MyWebProfile -
Ning –
Shoutlife –
Skyrock -
StumbleUpon -
Windows Live Spaces http://home/
Yahoo! 360 -
Zaadz -


Biznik -
LinkedIn -

Micro Blogging

Twitter -
BeeMood -
loopt -
Zannel - - share with numerous other social networking sites


Break -
Dailymotion -
Ebaumsworld -
Google Video -
Metacafe -
Myspace -
Veoh -
United Kingdom and Ireland Yahoo Video -
Yahoo Video -
Youtube -

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Reviews for MY UNFAIR LADY

"My Unfair Lady has everything I look for in a romance story. I cheered for Summer, wanted to hug and save Byron, my cheeks hurt from grinning so much and I could not put the book down until I’d read it from cover to cover. If this book is a representative of Ms. Kennedy’s regular style, I’ll be looking into her back list. I’d recommend this book to all my friends."~Rating: 5/5 Books, Reviewed by Xeranthemum for Long and Short Romance Reviews

***** FIVE STARS! Historical Romances by Kathryne Kennedy always has something for everyone. This one has hot romance, suspense (someone is trying to kill Monchester), humor, and so much more. Summer's collection of adopted pets kept me constantly amused. She has a monkey, a vixen, an old cat that cannot use its hind legs so it gets around by using ... Never mind. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed the odd animals. For the history buffs, the story tells much about history in America and England. Prince Albert Edward even makes several appearances. As I said, something for everyone. I loved every moment of Summer's story! The author, Kathryne Kennedy, is more than good. She is downright smashing! ***** ~Reviewed by Detra Fitch for Huntress Reviews

My Unfair Lady is a Library Journal Editor's Pick!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Promotion Tips


Yesterday, Kim Watters, Carol Webb, and I spoke about using social networks to promote your writing. I want to thank all of you who attended and added to our discussion. It’s amazing how each time we speak we worry we won’t have enough to say, but always run out of time because there really is so much to talk about on this topic.

Here are a few of the tips discussed at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library yesterday.

Do NOT let your promotion efforts take over your writing time. You can schedule promo for those moments you don’t usually write. You also don’t have to do everything in one day. Spread your efforts out over the week.

The four essential elements to promotion are having:
-a website
-a blog
-a Facebook profile
-a Twitter profile

If you read Kathryne Kennedy’s post on Tuesday Sept. 29th she tells you how to set your Facebook and Twitter to feed automatically from one to the other when you post. It also tells you how to feed your blogs into one another.
3. Blogging – Creating a group blog like Much Cheaper Than Therapy saves time. If
you only have a personal blog you should post at least once a week, two or three times will help generate traffic to your site. Offering a service like editor/agent interviews is a great way to encourage readers to come to your blog. I currently cross post from this one to my personal Blogger and my Myspace. If I set the feed correctly it will automatically go to my Twitter.

4. Blog tours are an effective form of promotion. If you read Kathryne’s post on
October 17th you can read where Kathryne went on her blog tour and what she discussed at each one.

To hear more tips, you can listen to our next speech on promotion at the Glendale, AZ Chocolate Affair on February 6th at 3:00. Hope to see you there!

Until next week,
Happy Writing!

Tina LaVon

Friday, November 20, 2009

Interview with Lisa Mondello

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Lisa Mondello. 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 Yuletide Protector. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Here is the back cover blurb for Yuletide Protector. A DEFENDER FOR CHRISTMAS - Her ex-husband wants her dead? Daria Carlisle can hardly believe it. Detective Kevin Gordon insists it's true...and that it's his fault that her ex is still at large. Which means it's his responsibility to make sure Daria stays safe. He knows first hand that Daria's ex means business. And with Christmas coming, the determined cop intends to give Daria the holiday celebration she deserves - safe and sound by his side forever.

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

Yuletide Protector wasn't originally a Christmas book. But since it was being released in December, my editor asked me if I wanted to make it a Christmas book. I jumped at the chance because I love reading Christmas romances!

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

I'd call it a suspense/thriller.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

My hero and heroine always seemed to be on the run and dead people kept showing up in my books. Seriously, with my very first book I wanted to write a straight contemporary romance, but as I wrote it the suspense and danger just came out. I find that writing suspense comes naturally to me.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I get ideas from everywhere! A lot of times ideas come from something I've read in the newspaper and then my plot plays off that. This particular story came from a report I saw on television about an undercover sting that caught a wife trying to hire a hitman to murder her husband. I twisted it around and provided another twist in Yuletide Protector.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

I have most of them. But a lot of red herrings and twists come to me while I'm writing. It's not uncommon for my story to change a bit when I figure out something more compelling while I'm writing.

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

My favorite research for this book was with my own husband. He's a police officer and the hero in Yuletide Protector is a police officer. This was the first book that I got to run story ideas and details by him to see if it would work.

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

I really loved writing both Daria and Kevin's story. Kevin is the strong protector who is full of honor. Very grounded and kind of cool too! Daria has a strong desire for a home and that creates instant conflict when she's face with having to leave her home after she's finally achieved her dream of having one.

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?

Character sheets would give me the hives. A lot of times I get the seed of an idea and begin researching it. From that I may develop an opening scene in my head and start writing, just to see where it takes me. Once I get a basic idea of the direction I want to go, I sometimes write a letter in first person from my hero and heroine. It always starts out with the dry stuff like "I was born in Boston, blah, blah" and then I begin talking about things that happened in their childhood and college and end at the moment the story starts. The letter can end up being 6-8 single spaced pages when I'm done. From there I can usually pull out conflict, motivation and character elements to make my characters real.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Lots! I love Dee Henderson and Karen Kingsbury books. Lately I've been engrossed in C.L. Wilson's fantasy series.

What do we have to look forward next?

My editor has 3 projects on her desk right now so hopefully you will be hearing some good news from me soon!

Thanks, Lisa!

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

Bio. Lisa Mondello published her first novel in 1998 and continued on, selling 4 books in her Texas Hearts series to Avalon Books. Lisa's eighth published novel, an Inspiration Suspense called Cradle of Secrets, was published November 2007 by Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense and was a finalist in the Colorado Award of Excellence and the Holt Medallion contest. Her ninth book, Her Only Protector, published 08/08 received a 4 ½ star rating and was a Romantic Times Top Pick and Reviewer's Choice Finalist.

Check out author’s website at Buy Amazon, Barnes & Noble or anywahere Harlequin Bs are sold..

Wednesday, November 18, 2009



By Marcia James

Think public relations (PR) is something you do after selling your book? Think again. Author promotion can be a daunting task when faced during the hectic days after “The Call”. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself by waiting until you sell to learn all you can about self-promotion.

Nuts and bolts

Prior to publication, there are many things you can do—free and easy things—to become PR savvy.

  • Read those author promotion articles in the Romance Writers of America® (RWA®) Romance Writers Report and your chapter newsletters.
  • Get a subscription to RT Book Reviews to check out author ads and the press releases in the “RT Clubhouse” section.
  • Ask the published authors in your chapter what they do for promotion and take note of their e-mail posts about chats and blogs.
  • Take an online promotion workshop to learn about the available PR options. (I’m presenting two such workshops in 2010. For more information, check my Web site:

The more you know about marketing yourself—especially the nuts and bolts of available PR options—the less intimidating it will be. For example, well before I was a featured author-guest in a chat room, I participated in several online chats with other authors to learn the process, the lingo (GA, BTY, TTYL, etc.), and my server’s ability to work with different chat hosts’ software. And before my first guest-blogging opportunity, I set up my blogger profile and figured out how to post comments on blogs.

Brand identity

The most important thing aspiring authors can do to get a jump on PR is to choose a pen name, lock in the corresponding domain name, and design—on paper, at least—a Web site. However, I recommend learning about author branding before spending a lot of time and money on your Web site. Golden Heart winner Jenn Stark has very helpful branding tips on her site ( And when picking a pen name and slogan or tag line, remember to Google it to make sure it’s unique.

Modern technology

Exploring PR opportunities on the Internet is another pro-active move. Kensington author Dianne Castell believes in building your name recognition by networking online. “Get on loops and message boards you like and make contacts there,” Castell said. That way, “they care when you sell, and it’s a big deal to them as well because you’re friends. They will spread the word for you.” However, she warns that being friendly and helpful on loops is the key; not just pushing your books.

Social media sites, such as MySpace, offer a chance to start building your brand and your pen name before selling. I’m technically challenged, so I’ve resisted taking the MySpace plunge. But I was able to test the waters by joining a MySpace page for Ohio romance authors (, which New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster designed and maintains. By being one of many, I learned to navigate, blog, friend people, etc., before committing to my own site ( This co-promotion concept is true for blogs, as well. There are aspiring author group blogs, started by friends, critique groups, and award finalists.

If you’re technically handy, you can experiment with making book videos, which can cost less than $50 if you use stock photos, paid instrumental music, and free software such as Movie Maker. Several authors have become so good at creating these video promos, they’ve started their own companies.

Another helpful skill is podcasting. You don’t have to be published to have your own Internet radio show, although most podcasting is not inexpensive.

Writing and workshops

Penning press releases and articles also provides name recognition. It’s never too early to learn to write a press release, and there are books at your library offering samples of this promotional writing. You can volunteer to write press releases about your local RWA chapter’s conference or contest as a way to hone your skills and make contacts within your local media. And remember, a press release is not just a recitation of facts. It’s important to point out in your cover letter or e-mail why the media person’s audience will care about your press release.

KODer Jacqui Jacoby writes for the RWA Kiss of Death newsletter and other publications. “The first goal I set for myself back in 2002 was to start submitting at least two articles a year,” Jacoby explained. “You can pack a lot of info into that little bio at the end of an article, though I tend to steer clear of the laundry list of awards and accomplishments.” Jacoby’s articles are available on her Web site (, which she considers her “virtual resume.”

In addition, Jacoby teaches both online and onsite workshops, which has the added benefit of getting her name known within the industry. Aspiring author Kellie Finley ( also presents online workshops, as well as writing articles, volunteering, and using the Internet to promote herself. Since studies show that fear of public speaking is more prevalent than fear of death, presenting workshops isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But aspiring authors can give it a try by participating in (less scary) panel discussions, such as joining with critique partners to do a creative writing presentation at your local library.

Fiction writing requires a great deal of craft and business knowledge, and there are only so many hours in the day. But learning about self-promotion now will save a lot of stress later in your career. As Jacoby said, “We need to be seen and make a little noise. But most important, we have to have fun doing it.”

Marcia James writes hot, humorous romances and finaled in eleven RWA chapter contests before selling her first comic romantic suspense, At Her Command, to Cerridwen Press. In June 2009, her short story, "Rescue Me", appeared in Tails of Love, a Berkley benefit anthology, along with stories by nine other authors. Marcia is an advertising copywriter and marketing consultant, and she presents author promotion workshops. In her eclectic career, she has shot submarine training videos, organized celebrity-filled nonprofit events and had her wedding covered by People Magazine. After years of dealing with such sexy topics as how to safely install traffic lights, Marcia is enjoying “researching” her novels' steamy love scenes with her husband and hero of many years. She offers her 245+ page file of author promotion options to any writer who requests it. Just email her through the “Contact Me” page on her Web site:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

FOR WRITERS: A contest for you to win free advertising!

Authors, a heads up. just relaunched, sporting a full site makeover and a contest to celebrate the new look. They’re offering up $450 worth of advertising as prizes. If you write romance, mystery or thrillers you should head over and check out.
(I love this site, and they have been very supportive to authors, including myself, so it's my pleasure to pass on the word about this contest.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Writing Doctor on Writing Organizations

Next week Kim, Carol, and I are speaking at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library on Promo.

Why promote yourself?

Name recognition is an important reason why readers buy books. If a reader knows your name they are more likely to buy your book than one written by someone they never heard of. Of course, other writers are also readers so they can be your first source of networking.

Name recognition also plays a role in obtaining representation from an editor or agent. If you have been around long enough for your name to be recogonized they know you are serious about your career. It helps, but don't forget you need a great novel for them to buy.

If you are not yet published, you are just starting out, where can you start promoting yourself?

Writing Organizations – This is a great place to learn the craft of writing and to get your name out there when you network at meetings and online. Many organizations have some sort of loop for you to communicate with other members of your organization. Remember, writers are also readers. Always be respectful to others. It's just good manners too.

Romance Writers of America is where I learned the craft and business of writing from newsletters, local chapters, online classes both free and paid for, conferences, speeches on CD/tapes, critique partners, etc. The local chapters are where I do most of my networking. There are also the meetings where I have made life long friends.

Romance Writers of America –
Local AZ Chapters:
Desert Rose -
Meetings are held in Tempe the last Tuesday of the month.
Valley of the Sun
Meetings are held in Glendale the second Tuesday of the month.

Listing of 118 US Chapters -

Special-Interest Online Chapters:
The Beau Monde Regency Special Interest Chapter

Celtic Hearts Romance Writers

Chick Lit Writers of the World

Electronic and Small Press Authors Network

Elements of RWAFaith, Hope, and Love, Inc. (Inspirational Writers)

From the Heart Romance Writers

Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal

Golden Network Chapter

Gothic Romance Writers

Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Mystery/Suspense Chapter (Kiss of Death)

Outreach International Romance Writers

Passionate Ink

Published Authors Special Interest Chapter/PASIC

Rainbow Romance Writers

RWA Heartbeat

RWA Online

Young Adult Special Interest Chapter

Other chapters my romance-writing friends have found helpful.

Sisters in Crime - (Has a local AZ chapter - meets every 3rd
Wednesday at Carumbe Cafe in Scottsdale.)

International Thriller Writers.
Published authors can be active members, unpublished are affiliate members.
They hold an annual conference called Thrillerfest

There is an expansive list of writing organizations at

Once you feel you have an idea of what you are doing, then it is time to join social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. Your fellow writers will be glad to help you get started. You can also attend our free workshop next week in Scottsdale. I posted all the details last Sunday.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, November 13, 2009

Interview with Lyn Cote

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Lyn Cote. 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 Her Patchwork Family. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Her Patchwork Family is the 2nd book in my "Gabriel Sisters" series for the new Love Inspired Historical line. The Gabriel sisters are Quakers who believe that God has given each of them special gifts and missions to use to heal America after the Civil War. These books are coming out one each December from 2008 to 2010.

Felicity Gabriel has inherited a large house, a mansion really, in a town along the Mississippi River in Illinois right across from St. Louis. She plans to open an orphan's home there. Her neighbors are horrified. They don't want riffraff in their neighborhood. But the real challenge to Felicity is Ty Hawkins' little traumatized daughter. How can she reunite this good man with his child?

Her Patchwork Family is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My editor. I'm not very good at romance titles.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love history and historical fiction. And I love to write about strong women. My blog is If you want to read stories of strong women in fiction and in life, drop by!

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

I was going to say a little of both, but I'll amend that to a LOT of both. I plan some and then start writing. When I need something, it just comes.

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

I did some research, especially on 19th century law and the crusade to enact laws that would deal with children offenders differently than adults. My brand is Strong Women, Brave Stories. I love to write stories of strong women who are ahead of their times, stories with a multicultural cast of characters and stories that include authentic history.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I always look for a historical period with a lot of social change. It's easy to find conflict enough for a story there.

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

Felicity is a delight. She just never takes no for an answer and is fearless in her zeal to protect and help children. And the hero finds her irresistible too.

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 always use Tami Cowden's Archetype book, Kathy Jacobsen's Conflict Grid and a character interview. And of course choosing a name is key.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis Whitney.

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

Writing a book people want to buy is a good idea.

What do we have to look forward next?

The final book in my Texas Star of Destiny series will come out in early 2010. It's title Her Abundant Joy and features a heroine who has just immigrated to Texas in time for the Mexican American War.

Thanks, Lyn!

To win books by Lyn Cote and more!

There are 4 ways to win books which include Lyn’s.

1-Enter the quarterly drawing at

2-Drop by Lyn’s blog in a month that she has a new book released. She will give out several copies in a drawing of those who comment during the weeks. In 2009 that includes August, September and December.

3- Drop by my website and click Meet Lyn Page and scroll to the bottom to join the ChapterAWeek Club. Several times a year, this group gives away a prize of 10 lbs. of autographed books by notable Christian Authors, including Lyn.

4-Join and then click on Explore and then Books, there you will find scores of book giveaway drawings which you can sign up for. I give 1-2 copies of each of my new books here.

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

Check out author’s website at


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When you wish upon a star...

I recently had one of my dreams come true. I had wished that some day I might receive a starred review from Publishers Weekly. As many writers know, it’s an honor just to get reviewed by Publishers Weekly. Receiving a starred review is just…unbelievable. So needless to say, when my fabulous publicist at Sourcebooks, Danielle, emailed me to tell me that My Unfair Lady received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, my first response was to email her back and ask, “Are you sure?” (Can you blame me?)

Danielle assured me it was a starred review, and even sent me the link, in case my dazzled mind still couldn’t grasp the truth of it.

My Unfair Lady Kathryne Kennedy. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4022-2990-9

Kennedy (Beneath the Thirteen Moons) delivers a delightfully unusual Victorian romance. Unlike other American heiresses mingling with London society, Arizona railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee isn't looking for a husband or a title. In fact, she's already engaged. She just needs some social polish so she can marry a rich New Yorker. To this end, Summer hires Byron, an impoverished duke who ekes out a living by bringing Prince Albert gossip. Summer is equipped with a free-spirited best friend, a menagerie of abused stray animals and a host of unladylike skills; Byron has a strange stepfamily, a shrinking violet mistress and a murderer determined to do him in. Their chemistry has plenty of humor, and their passion is intense and breathtaking. Full of unexpected period details of cosmetics and hunting, this romance goes against type in a wonderful way. (Dec.)

The thing is, life can hand you so many blows that you can become numb to the fact that, yes, good things can still happen. If you continue to work toward your dreams. For me, I have faced a year of difficult personal challenges, one right after the other. I think the only thing that kept me sane was focusing on the positive aspects in my life, one of which was my writing.

So for anyone reading this whose life has been difficult lately, it might help to know that yes, dreams do come true. Continue focusing on the positives, ignore the negatives, and work toward those things that you have the power to change.

Have you had one of your dreams come true lately? Whether personal or professional, please share it in the comments. I’d like this post to be a positive affirmation of all the good things that happen to people…and that dreams really do come true.

All My Very Best,

Monday, November 9, 2009

And the winner is........

Congratulations Joder you're the winner of Loucinda's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) nosaces, to clain your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Free Writing Workshops - We speak at 2:30


From 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Open to all writers of fiction
Scottsdale Civic Center Library
3839 N. Drinkwater Boulevard
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

Free Admission
No registration necessary
First come, first serve

Organized by the Desert Rose Chapter of
Romance Writers of America ®

With the gracious participation of
The Scottsdale Public Library
And refreshments by
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
9:00 am: Free Coffee & Tea from the
10 am to 10:50 am
Silver Room: Tina Gerow
Common reasons why manuscripts get rejected
and how to fix those issues.

Gold Room: Jeanne Cook
Learn what they are and how to identify categories
your book will fall into.

Auditorium: Linda Style
From characterization and setting, to conflict and pacing,
it’s all about the emotion.

11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Silver Room: Kris Tualla
A Primer for New & Unpublished Authors
Learn the basics of starting your writing career.


Gold Room: Amber Scott
Help your manuscript make that Hollywood
leap from book to screen.


Auditorium: Vijaya Schartz
It’s a rapidly evolving market.
A new door just might be your chance to break through.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

1:30 to 2:20 pm


Award winning author Erin Quinn is just the girl next door.
From her first sales, Whispers, Echoes and Web of Smoke to
Haunting Beauty, Erin has become an overnight success.
Her work is filled with mystical intrigue. Come meet the girl next
door and listen to how she followed her own journey from
writing to publishing.

Visit her website at:


2:30 pm to 3:20 pm


Silver Room: Laurie Schnebly Campbell
Getting started is the first hurdle.
Learn what to do after reaching The End.

Gold Room: Kim Watters, Carol Webb, Tina Lavon
Twitter, Blogspot, MySpace -
Oh, my. Using Social Networking to Promote Your Book.


Connie Flynn
Learn how to take basic plot points and
escalate them until the characters jump off the page.

3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Silver Room: Donna Hatch & Vicki Gaia
Point of View, what are the different types
and how to know what is the best for your style and genre.

Gold Room: Cathy McDavid
A step by step process.

Auditorium: Pamela Tracy & Kerri Drogan
Learn about the dark side of suspense writing from both a
criminal defense lawyer and a college professor whose
real and imagined experiences help shape their stories.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Interview with Loucinda McGary

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Loucinda McGary. 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 Treasures of Venice. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The Treasures of Venice is a romantic suspense with paranormal elements and a dual storyline set in both contemporary and Renaissance Venice.

American librarian, Samantha Lewis is in Venice on what should have been her honeymoon, but she called off the wedding after learning that her fiancĂ© cheated on her. Sitting in an outdoor cafĂ© in St. Mark’s Square, she is feeling a bit sorry for herself when a handsome stranger approaches her and asked her to play along with him. On an impulse, she does and goes with him into the Doge’s Palace.

Charming Irish rogue, Keirnan Fitzgerald never met a lock he couldn’t pick. But he finds himself in Venice on a dangerous mission. His sister, a Renaissance scholar has been ruthlessly kidnapped. The ransom is the legendary Jewels of the Madonna, stolen and missing for over 500 years. Keirnan’s plans do not include becoming involved with a beautiful American tourist, but he and Samantha seem drawn to each other in an almost other-worldly way.

As the story behind the jewels original disappearance in 1485 unfolds, Samantha and Keirnan question if they are soul mates from a previous life. Or are they merely pawns in a relentless quest for a priceless treasure?

The Treasures of Venice is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I didn’t. My original title was Jewels of the Madonna, which is the name of the opera that inspired me to write the story. My publisher came up with the title The Treasures of Venice.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

My love of romance was fostered by my mother who read the great Gothics written by Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart. She had their books lying about and as a young, bored teen, I picked them up, started reading and was soon hooked! When I decided to seriously pursue publication, I wanted to write romantic suspense just like those wonderful authors I’d loved for so long. However, I will admit those paranormal elements that always find their way into my books are undoubtedly a side-effect of all the fantasy novels I used to devour along with the Gothics.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My original inspiration for The Treasures of Venice started when I heard the incidental music to the opera Jewels of the Madonna by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. After hearing it on the radio, I went home, googled the opera, and thought it could be the basis for an interesting story. I started playing the writer’s favorite game, “What if…” and eventually, the story for The Treasures of Venice evolved.

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

This book has only a very light paranormal element in it so most of my research was on the setting, Venice, and some research into art, specifically ceramic sculpture. Since I had visited Venice, I used my photos and travel journal to recapture the mood of the city. I also have a writer buddy with relatives who live near Venice. When she visited them, she took a bunch of pictures of the cemetery isle for me and even sent me a map of the place.

For the art ‘research,’ my DH happens to have a degree in fine art and is a ceramic sculptor. He is definitely my favorite research site, for obvious reasons!

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

My hero, of course! I am always a little in love with my heroes. If I don’t love them, then why should my readers?

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?

My characters usually arrive in my mind fully developed and with their first, middle, and last names already in place. I don’t have anything so formal as character sheets or interviews, but I ‘talk’ to my characters inside my head. Yes, for most non-writers this might sound somewhat bizarre, but those of you who write know exactly what I mean. I ‘talk’ to my characters and they answer me. I know far more about them than ever makes it onto the pages of the book I’m writing.

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

I like to set my stories in places I’ve visited. I do use maps sometimes so I can get a better idea of distances and directions. I’m terrible at discerning north, south, east, and west, so maps can help a lot. Photographs, especially ones I’ve taken, also help me to recall the feel of a place, how it smelled, the colors and sounds. I like to bring all of that to readers so they can feel like they are living the story right along with my characters.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

As I mentioned above, my earliest influences were Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney, and Mary Stewart. Oh, and J.R.R. Tolkien! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Lord of the Rings, and that was before the movies came out. I also loved Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and fantasy author Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara series.

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

I wish I knew! My publisher is a firm believer in blog tours and my in-house publicist helped me arrange an extensive tour for both my books. Since I know my publisher wants my books to succeed just as much as I do, I will take her word for it that all these guest blog posts are worthwhile. I do have my own personal blog and participate in two group blogs, which I greatly enjoy.

I also love to do guest signings and speak to groups, but my time and resources have limited those to just my local area. Sourcebooks did have a signing at the RWA National Conference in Washington DC and we actually ran out of books! I think there were ten of us Casablanca authors who participated and we all had a blast signing and talking to readers.

Finally, I do send out bookmarks and post cards. If anyone wants one or both, please email me through my website.

What do we have to look forward to next?

My third romantic suspense with paranormal elements, The Wild Irish Sea, will be released by Sourcebooks Casablanca in July, 2010. This one centers around telepathic twins, one of whom accidently witnesses a murder.

Thanks, Loucinda!

To celebrate her book release, Loucinda is offering a free book of The Treasures of Venice or The Wild Sight (your choice) to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

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

Check out author’s website at


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


MY UNFAIR LADY, ISBN 9781402229909
by Kathryne Kennedy

RT Rating: 4/5 Stars
Published: December 2009 $6.99

This quick and entertaining read is for any fan of the genre. Kennedy's writing is witty and enjoyable; she looks to have a bright future.

Summary: Summer Wine Lee is determined to become the society miss that her future New York blueblood in-laws demand. To do so, she and her closest friend Maria have traveled to London to transform her into a lady and gain an introduction to the Queen.
Enticed by her financial offer, the impoverished Duke of Monchester grudgingly agrees to aid Summer in her transformation, but his scathing wit and cold personality fail to have an effect on her. Intrigued, the duke soon realizes that Summer may just be perfect the way she is. Now he just has to convince her. (SOURCEBOOKS, Dec., 363 pp., $6.99) HOT

-Alishia Austin

Monday, November 2, 2009

And the winner is.........

Congratulations Donna. You'r ethe winner of Terr's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) no spaces to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Secret Experiment


Those of you who follow this blog know I have been fascinated with the principal of The Law of Attraction as explained in the bestselling book/DVD The Secret. I have to admit I let life get in the way after the first few weeks of the experiment, which is so easy to do. When we are not clear on what we want, have doubts, or let our negative thoughts get in the way, then we block what we hope to achieve. This happened to me. Also, the opposite is true; if you hold onto wanting something too tight, you can push it away. What I am learning is you need to believe it is yours, or will be, and appreciate what you have now so you send out a positive frequency.

This past weekend, I got back to a state of pure happiness. I focused on enjoying the moment. Mike Dooley of The Secret says if you are happy, the Universe (insert your spiritual belief here) will send more of what makes you happy. I believe this to be true.

Saturday I went to The Gem Show with Rosie, my friend from college. This has become a bi-annual event and I always look for two things: 1) inexpensive, yet pretty beads for our beading parties. We like to get Chinese takeout, watch a movie, and make necklaces about four times a year. 2) Pendants for my silver chain. I found it to be more economical to buy a pendant than a new necklace. It’s also fun to hunt for the new pendant.

While at the show, I was in my “Happy Zone.” I was enjoying meeting some of the new vendors and spending the morning walking around with a friend. I believe this state of happiness is brought to me five pendants for a grand total of $12. The last time we went to this event, I didn’t find a single pendant I liked for a good price, so I was amazed by my good fortune. Also, I found smoky colored beads that I had admired on previous trips on sale for $1 a strand. I bought two to make a necklace. To make the trip even more of a success, we met a very nice vendor who was giving free beading classes. We discovered what we had been doing wrong in the past and we are now hopeful we can make stronger necklaces.

This morning, my good luck continued. Although I had a long list of things to do today, I took time to sit on my porch to enjoy the cool weather. While sipping my coffee I felt my whole body changing from a state of tension, to one of carefree bliss. I’m sure many thoughts went through my mind, but two were significant. First, I thought it would be nice to grow spices on my porch. Next, I decided I needed a plant to put on the side of the Roman tub in my condo. I have the condo up for sale and want something eye-catching in that room.

Still in my Happy Zone. I drove to Safeway. They happened to have plants out front this morning. Not something they do often. Among the flowers were pots filled with Basil and Parsley. Although I chose not to get any at this time, I appreciated that The Universe sent me the opportunity. Also, once inside, I spotted the most unusual tropical plant I had ever seen. Of course, the name was on the wrapping I threw away, but I took a picture of it for you. This was exactly the type of eye-catching plant I had mentally requested. To make the experience a perfect one, the sales woman in that department has this particular plant at home and told me how to take care of it. Although, I have a black thumb, I am determined to keep this one alive.

Now some of you might be thinking that these experiences were mere coincidences and that could be true. The way I see it is I now, thanks to The Secret, focus on trying to remain happy by being grateful for all that is good around me. I also notice the good that enters my life – more so than before. So…whether or not The Law of Attraction is real, I am leading a better life than two years ago. It doesn’t hurt anyone if you focus on the positive instead of the negative.

In my efforts to continue this experiment, I am going to strive to stay in my Happy Zone and believe that what I want is coming my way.

Until next week,
Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon