Monday, June 29, 2009

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Linda Andrews. Liana picked you as her winner. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Power of Smell

I recently spent a couple of days writing on the porch of a cabin near Flagstaff. The swing pictured above is where I sat and drank my coffee while I wrote. Notice the pine trees in the background? They reminded me of the power of smell. The friend I was with must have thought I was nuts because I kept going outside just to smell the pine trees. We both attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff during the early eighties and the aroma brought back the feelings of both excitement and anxiety at being on my own for the first time. At one point, I had to remind myself that I am a middle-aged woman with a career so I could squelch the anxiety and tap into the excitement.

I’m sure most of you have heard homeowners may bake chocolate chip cookies before showing their house to prospective buyers. It's a safe bet that most people would enjoy the aroma of cookies baking and it may even bring back childhood memories of helping Mom in the kitchen. I prefer the memories of eating those hot, gooey chocolate chip cookies. The only thing better would be a hot looking man baking those cookies – oh, well, I’ll save that fantasy for one of my books.

Aromas can bring both favorable and unfavorable memories. When I was young, I always knew I was coming down with something if I suddenly couldn’t handle the smell of my mother cooking pork chops. I would have to leave the room. On the other hand, the smell of rain approaching always brings back the memory of gazing at the desert in Tucson after a downpour. The rain washed away the dust and pollution, leaving the landscape looking clean and the colors vivid. The distant mountains always appeared closer after a rain.

When writing your stories, use the power of smell to your advantage. A single word can make your page come alive. What are the mental pictures that come to you when you read the following: baked bread, roses, garlic, baby powder, chlorine, freshly cut grass, cigarette smoke, cigar smoke, popcorn…? I’m sure you can think of dozens more.

If you have an example of a strong aromatic trigger, please share.

Until next week,

Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon

Friday, June 26, 2009

Interview with Liana Laverentz

I’d like to welcome our guest today, award-winning author Liana Laverentz. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us again 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.

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

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

Ashton’s Secret is a murder mystery romance, being
published by The Wild Rose Press Crimson Rose, or suspense line. It’s about a former socialite turned professional photographer who travels to a small town in Western New York to uncover the details behind her sister’s death, in part hushed up by her family five years earlier.

Ashton’s Secret is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Ashton is the name of the town where the story takes place, a town that houses many secrets, but the biggest one is the one Meghan has come to uncover. Was her sister’s death an accident, suicide, or murder? The only person who knows is the man who was arrested for Heather’s murder five years ago, but never charged. Why? And why did he leave town immediately afterward? Better yet, why has he suddenly returned and why doesn’t he want anything to do with Meghan? But Meghan has a few secrets of her own, which makes the unraveling all the more complicated.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Romantic suspense is my favorite genre. I grew up reading Nancy Drew
mysteries. In college I discovered Harlequin romances. For me, romantic suspense is the perfect blend of mystery and romance.

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

I had to do research on sailboats and drug use and methods of sabotage that wouldn’t be immediately detected, if at all.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I went to summer picnic a friend’s home, and while I was there, my mind started to wander, which I think any writer can relate to. Nick’s house in Ashton’s Secret is an actual home I’ve been in, and there is a silver maple out front and a barn right beside it described just as it is in the book. I was fascinated by the pulley-operated pitchfork that hung from the ceiling and started wondering, “How could I use that in a book?” The idea for The Wharf came from a similar place I used to go to when I was in college, and Lakeland came from my father’s condominium community just outside of Washington, D.C. I rearranged a few things and added what was needed to fit the story. I have to talk about the locations, because to talk about the plot would give away some of the story’s secrets.

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

In this book, it had to be Nick. A man with many secrets who is willing to let the town think him guilty of murder to flush out a killer. A man who is willing to let the woman he’s falling in love with think the worst of him to protect her and save her life. He’s torn between his feelings and needing to do the right thing. A man of integrity and honor who is determined to clear the record not for his own sake, but for the sake of a woman who didn’t deserve to die, and another woman who may well meet the same fate if she doesn’t stop asking so many questions.

Tell us about how you develop your characters.

I usually start with a primary emotional issue for each main character and build layers into the story from there. Ideally, I have their issues conflict. I try to make each scene reflect one aspect of a character’s internal issue, be it the hero, heroine, or villain. As my research uncovers the facts of a situation I’ve created, or my chosen issue--for example domestic violence in my contemporary romance Thin Ice, (again, I can’t use Ashton’s Secret as an example without giving too much away)--I find a way to make that issue work for or against the character in that particular scene. For example, in Thin Ice, my heroine Emily’s overriding issue is personal safety. The hero Eric’s issue is needing to be needed. If the woman he loves doesn’t n
eed him for anything, then what good is he? But the last thing formerly battered wife Emily needs is a man who uses his fists in his work. She’s also a single mother and a doctor, and determined to stay independent. She never wants to need to depend on anyone ever again. So you see how that conflicts. The characters then arise out of the conflict.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Eileen Dreyer, Lisa Gardner, Rachel Lee, Barbara Delinsky, and LaVyrle Spencer, to name just a few. Each of them for different reasons that would take far too long to go into in any kind of detail, but I’ll try to give you a one-liner for each, since I get something different from each of them. I like Eileen for how she shows her love of words, and how she uses all the elements of a story in her work, including at times making the setting a character, Lisa for non-stop suspense and her gritty, realistic characters, Rachel for the way she expresses different emotional issues, and Barbara and LaVyrle because I simply love the way they string their words together. I can lose myself in a story by either one of them. But I like the way all of these authors write, even though their books are very different from each other’s.

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

Interviews and ads in places like Long and Short Reviews, Coffee Time Romance and The Romance Studio. I have yet to take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities they offer. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. I also enjoy the yahoo loop chats, which are time consuming, but can be a lot of fun when just the right mix of people are there. It’s a nice break from writing, and something I don’t have to leave the house to do. I also think a newsletter would be a great idea, but once you start something like that you have to keep it going, and right now I just don’t have the time to take on any new projects like that.

Thanks, Liana!

Thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity to be here.

To celebrate her book release, Liana is offering a free print copy of her EPPIE and Golden Leaf Award-winning book Thin Ice 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...

You can buy any of Liana’s books from The Wild Rose Press at
They’re also available in print through Amazon and by special order from your favorite book store.

For more information, go to

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

July On-Line Classes from Writer U

July 6-31, 2009

"Knock 'em Dead: Writing Mystery & Suspense"
by Stephen D. Rogers

Do you lie awake at night punching your pillow while you stew about that ex, that boss, that too-busy-to-even-send-a-form-rejection agent or editor? Wouldn't it be great to kill that person, throw suspicion on someone else, and then step forward to save the day? You can. And readers will pay to see how it all plays out.

(Note: While all characters and situations mentioned in class will be treated as fictional, students may elect to attend using an assumed name.)

By taking this course, you'll learn how to:

* Understand the different sub-genres

* Create the story tripod

* Develop a cast of characters

* Describe settings (macro and micro)

* Plant clues and red herrings

* Research the specifics

* Handle sex, language, and violence

* Produce an ending that sells your NEXT manuscript

Derringer winner Stephen D. Rogers is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers of America, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Sisters in Crime. He has judged the Daphne duMaurier contest every year since 2004. Over 500 of his stories and poems have appeared in more than 200 publications, and the police have yet to come knocking at his door. Except at work, since he's the computer guy at a police department.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

July 6-31, 2009

"Magic, Monsters & Amour: Creating a Believable Paranormal, Fantasy or SF World"
by Marilynn Byerly

Are vampires, fairies, and space aliens real? If you create the right background for your novel, they will be to your reader. Marilyn Byerly, lauded by reviewers for "building a world that combines both integrity and depth in an entertaining way," shows you how to develop a fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal world from to invent creatures to populate it...and how to make your novel utterly believable. She'll teach you the ins and outs of research, fresh ways to use creatures like vampires, and the means to avoid various traps many authors have fallen into. Topics include:

* The three methods of world-building--their advantages and disadvantages

* World-building questions and resources

* What not to do in building your world

* How to create the perfect alien or magical character

* Putting your world-building on the page

* Avoiding SF hazards, magic messes, and info dumping

Marilynn Byerly's two passions are writing and teaching. She has taught writing, reviewed books, and published writing articles. Her articles have been used as course work for writing and publishing programs at several universities. Her romance, science fiction, fantasy, and suspense novels have won awards including the National Readers Choice Award, the Sapphire, the Affaire de Coeur, and the Write Touch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What's in a Name?

By Kim Watters

A few weekends ago, my young daughter’s hamster died. Okay, being the loving mom that I am, I immediately agreed to get her another one because there’s nothing cuter than a furry fluff ball of a rodent that can do acrobats on the sides of the wire cage and spin for hours on her wheel. So the other night was the big night. All the way down to the big box pet store we discussed new names.

Keep in mind that I loved the deceased hamster’s name Mousla. It suited the somewhat lazy, okay if it will amuse you I’ll spin on my wheel for you Russian Dwarf hamster, which spent a lot of time eating and sleeping.

Well, my darling daughter decided this new hamster was going to be named Twister. I should have stopped the car right then and there and turned around. No way should I have allowed my precocious child to walk through those big, glass double doors. No way should I have allowed that darling of mine to even look at a cage filled with ROBO dwarf hamsters. The name alone should have sent shivers down my spine. ROBO. I’ve got images of the Terminator flitting through my consciousness even as I write this. A super-stud hamster on a mission to take out everything in its path.

“But they’re so cute, Mama. Paleeze?”

“Oh, honey, let’s go see what the other big box store has.”

“But they’re so cute and you promised.” Foot stomping on ground now. “I want one.”

Okay, so now it’s images of the spoilt brat from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“I know I promised sweetie. How about one of those docile, sleeping ones in this cage?”

“Boring.” My son pipes in. “How about a rat? We can name him Remy, like in the movie Ratatouille.”

“Er, no honey, your dad doesn’t like rats.”

Neither does your mom because they do not look as cute as Hollywood portrays them.

“May I help you?” An unsuspecting Michael approaches with a key.

NO! “May we see one of those cute, little hamsters over there, please?”

“Can I have two?”

“One.” She tricked me. I was in over my head now.

My first clue to my future nightmare should have been when it took Michael a few minutes to capture our new pet. The pet house went belly up. The wheel tipped over. Wood chips went flying as if struck by a tornado-er-Twister.

After we got our fluff ball home, I realized she could jump. Close to twelve inches straight up in the air. And if she got away would be almost impossible to catch. We have dogs that chase anything. Not a good combination, people.

So after some quick internet research, I discovered she might be able to escape through the metal bars of her cage. Not a good thing to figure out AFTER she’s home. Being the kind mom that I am and not wanting to have to attend another pet funeral so quickly, I switched cages with my son’s hamster that lived in an aquarium. Fortunately, the switch-off went without a glitch. So now we can see all the acrobatics, and dervishes this hamster on speed creates.

Or a Twister.

What’s in a name? Isn’t that a loaded question? As a writer, a lot. As a mom, well….lets just say I should have put my writer’s cap on instead of wearing my heart on my sleeve.

Aside from the usual naming books that give me the meaning and the background of a name, my other favorite research guide is Pierre Le Rouzic’s The Name Book. This book contains incredible information on the personality and characteristics of a name.

For instance, in my latest contracted book, the heroine’s name is Ruth. Her highly tuned emotions and high moral code are perfect for the caring and nurturing medical profession she works in, as opposed to say an Andrea or Erica, who would be better suited for a career elsewhere. Or my hero, Noah, a pilot who needs adventure but tends to be on the stubborn side and won’t let go of his son’s death.

A lot goes into naming a character, or a child, or a pet. Somehow Twister didn’t quite make it into Pierre’s book, but I can see the entry if there was one. Highly active, able to climb walls in a single bound, super speed energy without the benefit of caffeine. Kind of like a child I know. And last but not least, a cute, furry fluff ball that will worm its way into the hearts of unsuspecting humans.

Monday, June 22, 2009

And The Winner Is...........

Congratulations Estella. You're on a roll this month. Michele's mom pulled your name out of a hat. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) and claim either Fortune's Foe or Mr. Right's Baby. Thanks again for leaving your comment!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What I Learned From My Dad

First, let me say
This is a day to remember
the man who gave us life,
probably raised us,
and definately made an impact.
My father gave me his
writing genes
and for that I will be
forever grateful.
Like so many other people I know,
I recently lost my dad.
He died last month due to complications
resulting from lung cancer.
Yes, he smoked for way too many years.
At times I get angry because he was
only in his mid-sixties and was taken
way to soon. So...
ONE - I learned from my father to take better
care of my health. I have my own daughter
and want to be around for her.
I took some time off from my diet after
my dad's death, but that is changing. Luckily,
I didn't gain weight. I also started walking this year
with friends. We are all feeling better.
TWO - I learned to tell the people who made an impact
on my life what they mean to me before it's too late.
In some cases, that may be easier said than done.
I will have to gather the courage to contact at least
one person from my past, but I will.
THREE - I learned to accept people for who they are.
My father lived his life his
way, whether you liked it or not -
whether I liked it or not.
I often referred to him as a modern day hermit.
I decided many years ago to accept him for who he was.
When I was young, I didn't accept people into my life
who had views or personalities
which were much different from my own.
Once I learned to accept them for who they are,
I found these people added to my life in
wonderful ways.
Some are huggers - nurturers -
who recharge your batteries
and make you smile when you see them.
Some have skills they are more than willing to share.
Some have knowledge which has opened a world of
possbility and led to interesting experiences.
Writers are unique individuals. Some of them are
flamboyant and some are more reserved
They are all creative. My life is much
richer for having these friends in my life.
This Father's Day,
I hope you think about
what you have learned from
your own father.
The lessons may good,
or perhaps not so good,
but they are lessons we are meant
to learn and grow from.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Interview with Michele Stegman

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Michele Stegman. 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 Fortune’s Pride. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Fortune’s Pride is set in Charleston, SC in 1742. It is about two people with far too much pride, and a heroine with a secret that she fears could destroy any hope for a future with the hero.

She wonders if she can give up the man she loves before her secret destroys them both.

As long as no one knows who Irish really is, she will be safe. But Tyrus Fortune seems determined to uncover all her secrets. Can she fully love him without revealing her true self to him? And if she does, will it also put him and his family in danger?

Tyrus Fortune returns home after two years determined to unmask the woman who has found her way into the hearts of his family. He is sure she is a fraud--until he begins to fall in love with her. Now he only wishes she will trust him with her secrets and her love so they can face the future together.

Fortune’s Pride is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Fortune’s Pride is the name of the hero’s plantation. But part of the conflict in the book comes from the hero and heroine having too much pride so the title has a double meaning.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

In graduate school my history teachers told me I put too much romance in my history papers. I decided to put in more and write romance instead of straight history.

I had tried writing science fiction and romance but wasn’t selling. I decided to take a writing class. Since the class was taught by a romance writer, I decided to write a romance so I could get good feedback. That was the first book I sold so I just kept writing romance.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I wanted to write a four book series about four siblings. Although this is the second in the series it is about the oldest child, Ty Fortune. He was going to inherit his father’s plantation, Fortune’s Pride, so I made pride the central conflict in the book. Both the hero and heroine have far too much of it. For the heroine I wanted to write a character that was not like me. I have noticed that the heroines in many authors’ books are very much like the author. I think it is unavoidable. But I wanted to see how different from myself I could make this heroine. I’m not sure how well I succeeded since core values remain the same.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

Food in History by Reay Tannahill helps me get food right. And my college English history textbook gives me much of the basic history I need. From there, I branch out to a lot of books, newspapers, and web sites to do research.

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

Mr. Meachum in my first book was really fun. He was a pirate, but he was kind of a rotund, fuddy-duddy, accountant. I like doing the unusual. Who else would have put this guy on a pirate ship? I liked him so much, I gave him a minor role in my second book. I love doing minor characters because I can really play around with them.

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 usually visualize a scene with the hero and heroine, some action. Then I start asking questions. Who are they? Why are they here? How did they get into this situation? One answer usually generates more questions. By the time I’ve finished answering my questions, I not only have my characters, I have a plot.

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

I love the clothes from the 1700’s. To me, when I undress my characters, it is much more romantic to talk about a chemise, fichu, petticoats, and silk stockings than it is to mention bras and panties and pantyhose.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

James Michener’s big historical sagas are wonderful. I like the way he follows a family through so many generations with so much accurate historical detail. That’s why I want to eventually carry my Fortune series all the way down to the present day in several books. I also enjoy the poetic flowery phrases in Kathleen Woodiwiss’s early books. And I like the way every word is necessary in Mary Jo Putney’s books. I like flowery language, but I don’t want it taking over.

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

I just try to write the very best book I can and let each one come from my heart. If I do my job right, I think my readers will do my promo for me by recommending my books to their friends.

What do we have to look forward next?

My next book, Conquest of the Heart, is a “conquest” book, set in England in 1067. But it is really different! I wrote down every cliché I could think of about conquest books and turned them all around. For instance, the hero is not a big Norman bastard who comes conquering. He is one of the conquered, a Saxon! He has to marry the heroine, a Norman woman close to King William, in order to keep HIS land!

Thanks, Michele Stegman!

Michele Stegman will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away... She's also giving away a copy of Fortune's Foe to one of our lucky commenters today. (Check back on Monday to see who won)

Michele Stegman doesn’t just write historical fiction, she lives it. She lives in a 170 year old log cabin with her husband, spins, weaves, makes her own soap, and bakes her own bread. She has also travelled to many Third World countries where the people live much as they did hundreds of years ago. With a major in history and this experience she can bring history to life in her books. But she still loves modern conveniences and gadgets, especially electronics!

Check out author’s website at

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Great Review for Scales of Love

Title: Scales of Love
Author: Kim Watters
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Rating: You Need to Read

Reviewed by: MarthaE

Review: This is one really sweet read! Yes, Rachel’s pets are quite unusual............. I will look for more books by Ms. Watters. When you need a break from heavier stories, treat yourself to this very sweet, short story!

Read the rest of the review at:

Thanks MarthaE!


Monday, June 15, 2009

And The Winner Is.......

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

The Neurotic Writer Meets the Old West

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

(Suzie Writer enters the therapist’s office, wearing a blue floral sundress, and limping. Bruises cover her arms and legs. Red indentions mark both sides of her nose.)

Therapist: “Let me guess. You wrote a western.”

Suzie Writer: “How could you tell? I burned my jeans and fringed top.”

Therapist: (Waving the air.) “You brought the pasture in with you.”

Suzie Writer: “But I scrubbed for hours. I don’t get it. Does that smell permeate your skin?”

Therapist: (Points to her purse) “By any chance did your two hundred dollar designer bag meet a cow pie up close and personal?”

Suzie Writer: “Crud! I forgot. I dropped my purse when Butch chased me through the corral.”

Therapist: “I gather Butch is the cowboy who inspired this western romance. Did he not want to take no for an answer?”

Suzie Writer: “Butch is the bull. The cowboy didn’t want to take YES for an answer. Can you believe he turned me down when I suggested we do some research for my love scene. He had the nerve to say I was moving too fast! That’s when I opened the gate and let the bull out.”

Therapist: “At least you got away safely.”

Suzie Writer: “No thanks to the red shirt I was wearing. No one told me red would send Butch into a tailspin. I wish cowboys were that easy to ignite. No one also told me that pastures are swarming with flies and mosquitoes. I have a million bruises from swatting them away.”

Therapist: (Points to Suzie’s face) “And the nose?”

Suzie Writer: “Clothespin marks. It was the only thing that would keep the smell out.” (Shakes her head) “I don’t understand why anyone would write a western. It was a horrible experience! I was expecting a romantic adventure and instead I found out why the west died: men who can’t figure out a good thing when it’s lying down naked in front of them!”

Therapist: “I thought you were in jeans and a top in a corral, next to a bull, when he said no.”

Suzie Writer: “I gave him a second chance. The cowboy, not the bull. I tell you, no man says no to me twice and gets a third chance. This ship has sailed! His goose is cooked! His-“

Therapist: (Smirking.) “I get the clichés. So what’s next? A swashbuckling pirate in the Caribbean? I’ve never heard of a pirate turning down a naked woman. I bet you can find a few of those on the set at Universal Studios.”

Suzie Writer: (Looks out the window and spots a tall, handsome man in jeans, boots, and a long-sleeved white shirt, climbing out of a BMW) “I do believe westerns have just made a comeback.” (She pulls her wallet out of her purse and tosses the bag into the therapist’s flowerpot.) “Our time’s up, Doc. I just found me an urban cowboy! City boys are less likely to confuse morals with a good time.” (She runs out the door.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Interview with Lynn Reynolds

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Lynn Reynolds. 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 Thirty-Nine Again. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Sabrina O'Hara is an accountant and a breast cancer survivor who’s celebrating her second thirty-ninth birthday. Now that she’s recovered from her cancer, she just wants to get back to her peaceful existence with her dull fiancé Scott. But then she discovers Scott's been leading a dangerous double life. She winds up on the run from Scott, from some very angry people in the Mexican Mafia, and from a very sexy Homeland Security agent who’d been posing as her personal trainer in order to get inside info on Scott’s nefarious activities.

Thirty-Nine Again is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Through personal experience – LOL! I got to that age and seriously considered spending several years at 39. I tried lying about my age, but I kept getting confused about how old I was supposed to be, depending on who I was talking to. After a while, I gave up. I realize now that the late actress Ruth Gordon had the best idea – she said she always lied UP when she lied about her age, that way people were always really impressed by how good she looked.

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

I describe Thirty-Nine Again as “chick noir.” That is, it’s a combination of chick lit and noir fiction – although truthfully, it’s much more “chick” than “noir.” It’s a fast-paced story about a woman on the run, trying to stay alive and trying to figure out whom she can really trust – so that makes it suspense. But it’s also told in what I hope is a light, humorous voice and delves into Sabrina’s experiences as a cancer survivor and as an older, single woman.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love suspense and mystery stories, so I figured I’d try to write something in that vein myself. I’d written a couple of still unpublished mysteries, and my friends were telling me I should write something fun and lighter in tone. So I tried to combine humor with a good suspense story. I’ll let readers judge whether I succeeded!

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I have a couple of friends who are breast cancer survivors, and I’d had a big scare myself a few years ago, when a doctor found a suspicious mass and I had to have a surgical biopsy. Turned out to be a fibroadenoma, which is completely benign – but it took a couple of months of uncertainty before I knew for sure what was up. That set me to thinking about my life and about things I hadn’t gotten around to doing yet – like writing a novel and getting it published. So that’s what inspired me to make Sabrina a breast cancer survivor. As for the suspense angle, with her run-in with a Mexican human trafficking ring – I’m not sure why I latched onto that angle. I think it was just something I’d been reading and hearing about in the news and it intrigued me.

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

No, I’m terrible at plotting in great detail in advance. I do start out with an idea of who the “bad guy” is in a story, but sometimes it changes midway through. I keep trying to be one of those well-organized writers who creates a very careful outline before writing, but whenever I do too much of that, I seem to lose interest in writing the actual story!

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

I talked with breast cancer survivors and I talked with some law enforcement folks about general procedures. But the emphasis in the story is on Sabrina, who’s not working for a law enforcement agency, so a lot of things didn’t really need to be “by the book.” I think a GREAT resource for anyone interested in writing mysteries or suspense is crimescenewriter ( It’s a Yahoo group moderated by Wally Lind, a retired crime scene investigator. He also has many other group members who are police officers or forensic investigators or ER physicians, so it’s a great place to ask goofy or gross questions about any crime you might be plotting in one of your books.

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

Well, I certainly related very much to my main character, Sabrina, but Evan Garcia, the Homeland Security agent who keeps trying to rescue her (in spite of herself) was more fun because he’s bolder and more of a risk-taker than Sabrina. I also enjoyed writing the couple of cameo appearances from Sabrina’s batty grandmother, Nanny O’Hara. She’s a little out of touch with what’s going on around her – but full of very strong opinions anyway.

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?

The process is different for each of my stories. In the case of Thirty-Nine Again, I just started with a pretty clear picture in my head of the two main characters – Sabrina and Evan. I made some adjustments to Evan’s background as I did some research into what might make a good undercover investigator, but their personalities were pretty set in my head right from the start.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Too many to list! I definitely enjoyed Janet Evanovich’s early Stephanie Plum stories, although I have to admit that I couldn’t keep up with the series and haven’t read the last several. I also really like Tori Carrington’s Sofie Metropolis books, about a Greek-American girl who’s an amateur private eye. Very clever mysteries, a sexy Australian bounty hunter, and lots of Greek food.

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

I’m just getting started at the whole self-promotion thing, so I couldn’t say for sure. I will say that I have worked as a publicist in the past for a number of arts organizations and non-profits – but trying to promote myself and my own work is much harder! Because I take it so personally, I guess.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have a couple of straight contemporary romances under consideration with some publishers, but I haven’t heard anything definite yet. Recently I’ve been working on a mystery with supernatural overtones that’s set in the Napoleonic Wars. I love historical novels and really wanted to try my hand at one, but I’m not completely sure about the setting for this one yet. I don’t like to get into too much detail about a work-in-progress when I’m in the early stages – mostly because I don’t really know what I’m doing yet! ;-)

Thanks, Lynn!

To celebrate her book release, Lynn Reynolds is offering a free ebook of Thirty-Nine Again to one lucky commenter on today's blog. 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...

Check out author’s website at


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Scales of Love Now Available

Scales of Love, is now available at The Wild Rose Press.

Blurb: All Rachel Haskin wants is one good man who will accept her and her menagerie of unusual and cold-blooded pets. When her cousin sets her up on a blind date, will her ideal for perfect husband material be fulfilled by Seth Armstrong, or will he just be another one date catastrophe in the making?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rudy's Blog

Howdy to everyone from that big dog park in heaven. It’s been a hectic couple of months for Mom and me. We’ve been on the road promoting Hounding the Pavement in Dallas and
Orlando, meeting friends at book signings and conferences.

Our latest stops were the Malice Domestic conference in DC, and Oakmont, PA, where we took part in a big book signing held by the Mystery Lover’s Bookshop. What a great time. She was the first author to sell out and, since she had books in her car, sold even more. She also made friends with a pack of dog lovers. We’ll be there again next year to say hi and sign more of Hounding the Pavement plus Heir of the Dog.

We went back to DC for Mother’s Day weekend and a signing at the Border’s Express in Springfield, PA. That one was arranged by Jenn Wilson, a fab-u-liscious girl who knows everybody who’s anybody in the writing world. Buckley and Belle were allowed in the store, and let me tell you, those little stinkers attracted a ton of attention.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve probably been askin’ yourself how I fit in because I’m not livin’ on earth anymore, right. The answer’s simple. I’m with Mom wherever she goes. I’m in her head and her heart all day, every day. I sit with her while she writes her stories and curl up next to her when she goes to sleep at night. I’ll never leave her because I am, after all, the star of these books.

Oh, and one more thing. American Idol is over and Kris won. I’m happy about that, but I’d be a lot happier if it had been Danny. That Adam guy creeped me out with that guyliner and black nail polish. Reminded me too much of Bibi from Hounding the Pavement. Goth girl was a psycho.

Thanks for readin’, but I got to go. I’m hookin’ up with a cute little Papillon for a night of chasing ball, but I’ll be back in a couple more weeks with another report.

Star of the written word and soon to be on television (paws crossed)

The Rudster

Monday, June 8, 2009

And the winner is.......

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

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Debra Dixon Workshop and The "Aha!" Moment

It is my belief that a writing workshop is time well spent if you can walk away with one valuable piece of information. And if that information completely changes your writing or solves a problem, it can be called an awesome event.

Yesterday I attended an all day workshop given by Debra Dixon. She spent the morning discussing her book GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflct. The afternoon was spent discussing Christopher Vogler's book, The Writer's Journey. Both publications should be part of your personal writing library.

I have listened to Debra twice and both times I found myself busy jotting down notes about my own novel - a practice she highly recommends. It is almost as if she were my muse for the day. Her voice and presence directs me toward fleshing out my hero and heroine while she is standing there at the podeum discussing these key elments of character development. I had pages of notes before we broke for lunch. I jokingly told her I needed to listen to her speak every time I wrote a novel, but I know I should at least skim her book while writing each of mine.

This is when we come to the "Aha!" moment. Debra was discussing her own writing process, which is writing the story once through, but correcting mistakes as she goes, so it is a slow process. Mine is mult-layering. I write out a GMC chart for my characters, storyboard the suspense, character arcs, romance, etc., then type out the rough draft which is mainly dialogue and action. Later, I go back and deepen the characters emotions, the romance, and add more description. The problem is I hate going back time after time again. I am envious of those writers who can do a clean draft once through. I asked Debra if there was a trick to connecting with the emotions of your characters using the GMC chart so this would be possible. Her answer was probably not. She had not been able to change her own process either. Not exactly the news I wanted to hear.

On the way home from the workshop, I had my "Aha!" moment. I realized that when I was working on the storyboard and the first draft (dialogue and action), I was utilizing mostly my left brain. I am mainly a left-brain person. It was only when I focused on emotions and description that I forced myself more into my right brain. That explained why it had been so difficult to change my process, but it took her telling me it might not be possible to change for me to figure out why. Now, instead of fighting my process, I will embrace it and spend more time on delving into my right brain before beginning that stage, since it does not come as easy to me.

One research study reported that a second before "Aha!" moments, there is a sudden burst of high-frequency brain waves. That may be the case, but I also believe a train of thought, a new way of looking at something, must occur before your brain puts the pieces together and you feel like screaming, "Aha!"

I would like to thank Valley of the Sun RWA for flying Debra out from TN and Buffy for making the Hilton Garden Inn available to us. (Perhaps their caffeine induced that sudden burst of high-frequency brain waves.) It was an awesome event and I hope everyone had their own "Aha!" moment.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Interview with Lynne Logan

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Lynne Logan. 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 Addiction. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I would love to. The heroine, Holly, is desperate to locate her missing sister. She steps through the doors of an infamous sex club in the hopes of finding her at one of the places her sister frequents. What she doesn’t count on is being enticed by the raw sexuality of a masked stranger. That stranger is Carlos, a reporter, bent on getting an in-depth story for the local newspaper. He doesn’t expect to get caught up in his own desire for Holly, but that’s exactly what happens--to the point where his fascination threatens his career.

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

The characters gave me the title strangely enough. It’s about the heroine, Holly, and how she finds herself seduced by two men, and how over the course of a very short period of time, she steps over lines she thought she would never cross in her life. She finds out that an addiction can come in more forms than smoking and drugs. She soon realizes that she has her own weakness when it comes to desiring two men. Also, the hero finds he could easily lose his job because of his addiction to the heroine.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I never thought I would write erotica. I really didn’t even read it, but a couple of authors were writing them in my critique group and I thought why not? I’m all for trying something different. Much to my surprise I sold my first erotic submission to the Wild Rose Press, titled, Burn Baby Burn (I still love that title), and I’ve been writing them ever since.

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

I do a bit of both. I’ll be walking or driving or just plain shopping and a ‘what if’ scenario pops into my head and then I start asking questions and the answers start coming(scary I know). I’ll also have a framework, but I don’t completely adhere to it, because another, better idea might pop into my head and I’ll fly with that.

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

I did some. But, I can tell you I didn’t actually visit a a sex club. I’m too much of a coward to step through the doors of when, never mind go up and start asking questions in a place like that. But I did find several clubs on the internet for my research. Interesting to say the least…

What are your favorite research books or sites?

The internet by far is my favorite research place. I do have some books, but I love how I can sit behind a computer and pull up photographs and a wealth of information on a subject. I am careful as to what sites I visit and I verify one source with another. Just because information is on what looks like an expensive, professional site, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the information is accurate.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

A sex club? I remember the news was on one evening and the words jumped out at me. I found the idea fascinating, and then my imagination started running wild with several ‘what if’ scenarios.

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

I liked writing about Holly. She’s this woman with a strict code of ethics. At least she thinks she has one until she’s thrust into a situation that makes her question herself and her sensuality.

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 think it’s more the other way around. My characters make me decide how much research I’m going to do. If they’re daring and try things I would never think to do, then I definitely have to do the research.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Dean Koontz. I love all his older books, particularly Watchers. When it comes to erotica, hands down, my favorite writer is Robin Schone. I find her writing amazing. They’re not only hot, hot, hot but they punch a wallop of an emotional impact.

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

It always helps writing for a wonderful publisher like Red Sage Publishing. They have gotten a fantastic name when it comes to the erotic romance genre. I’ve visited several blogs, which I think helps. I’m just trying to get my name out to readers in a fun and interesting way. Writing the best story I can is probably the most effective, because nothing beats word of mouth.

What do we have to look forward to next?

I have Bribes, Blackmail and Bondage coming out in August from Red Sage Publishing.

Thanks, Lynne!

To celebrate her book release, Lynne is offering a free ebook of Addiction to one lucky commenter on today's blog. 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...

Check out author’s website at


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Letting Go

Letting Go
By Donna Delgrosso

The other day, we finally gave my son’s hockey equipment away. The puck, hockey sticks and goal went to a neighbor’s son. When he came to the door, he was grinning from ear to ear and he was so excited that he practically jumped out of his shoes. I watched his blond hair bounce up and down under his red baseball cap as he and my husband carried everything across the street to a new home.

It was a bittersweet moment. Even though I was ready to let it go and am happy to see a friend take them over, I was still a little choked up. Another small part of my son’s childhood was gone. I loved playing street hockey with him. And the memories I have of the time I spent running after the puck on flat feet or on roller blades will never fade.

Those feelings are happening a lot lately as layer by layer he sheds his little boy ways and grows up.

On that same day, a friend remarked that she’d finished a manuscript. I know she’s happy that it’s completed but she also gave me the idea that she was a little sad to see it go. After all, she’d spent several months getting to know the characters and now, they were gone. I began to think again about the parallels between my writing and life.

I think every writer I know, talks about their characters as if they were living, breathing beings. Let’s face it… they are! They wake us in the middle of the night with a problem so big that we have to write it down. Or- they just won’t let us get out of something unless we do it their way. We spend hours, days even months getting to know them. We’ll talk them down from a conflict and sit patiently at the computer so they can do the same for us.

I have to confess- I don’t know that feeling of selling a manuscript yet. I’m still writing my first novel and have been at it a while. But I’m trying not to let it bother me- I’m having too much fun! It’s so cool to see a story develop in front of my eyes and to watch characters that I created change for the better. Conflicts erupt in front of my eyes and I have to choose to resolve them or make them even worse. Then I have to figure how to get out of the mess.

I’m now thinking of my manuscript as my hockey goal. I want to see it in a new home- on a shelf in a bookstore- and I want to see someone get excited because they’re holding it in their hands. Just like my neighbor’s son was about his new stuff.

I know I can do it. When I began writing this article, I asked some of my friends their feelings after they had sent their manuscript away. I was so surprised by their answers that the article took on a life of its own. So I decided to write another about them. I’ll include them next month.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

FOR WRITERS: My Favorite Link

I’d thought I’d share my favorite link that I use while writing. I pull it up before I even open my manuscript:

It’s free, although usually when I first pull it up a pop-up ad will appear. But after I close it I don’t get any more of them on my subsequent searches.

The main reason I use it is because of the historical aspect of my books. At the bottom of the definition it gives a word origin date. If I use a word that strikes me as possibly too modern, I look up the definition for the origin date. Now, obviously, I can’t do this with every word I write or I’d never get a book finished, but if something strikes me, I’ll look it up. Usually it’s the longer words. For example, I wanted to use ‘paradox’ but that sounded like it might be a more modern concept. But apparently the word originated in 1530 (although its meaning has changed since the word was first used). Séance is a word I looked up for Enchanting the Beast. It originated in 1795, which is okay for that Victorian series, but it’s not a word I could use with my new Georgian series.

I also like that the site has other options for a thesaurus and reference. I do a quick search here, but if I’m looking for just the right word, I’ll refer to my print thesaurus, which has many more options. The reference, though, comes in handy. For example, I wanted to make sure I was spelling ‘geas’ correctly (and even now my spell check underlines it). But when I looked it up in the dictionary, it came back that no such word exists. Now, I’m aware it’s a fantasy term, and I know it exists, so I hit the reference button. Sure enough, it pulled up ‘geis’, which apparently is another spelling I wasn’t familiar with, but scroll down and sure enough it talks about a ‘geas’.

In my current WIP, I wanted to use ‘black diamonds’ as a comparison to my hero’s eyes. But alas, the term did not originate until 1910 (probably because we didn’t have the technology to create them until then). So, I will have to come up with some other comparison.

I use it as a quick reference for hundreds of other reasons and I hope you’ll find it handy as well.

Until Next Time,

Monday, June 1, 2009

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

Congratulations Tim, you're the winner of Tia Dani's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) no spaces to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.