Monday, August 31, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Joder! You just won a free copy of Jess Granger's book Beyond The Rain.

Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Desert Dreams Conference - Don't Miss It!

Desert Dreams 2010 Writers Conference
April 16-17-18, 2010
Chaparral Suites Resort,
5001 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Complete conference and hotel information:
Registration open now:

Open to any writer in any fiction genre, from beginner to multipublished,
this bi-annual conference offers not only a multitude of workshops
for writers at any level, but the opportunity for aspiring
and published authors to network and meet with agents and
editors from all over the country.
Editor/Agent Panel and Individual Appointments available.
Get the inside buzz on what editors and agents are looking for,
and how to give them what they want.
Then enjoy your own 10-minute appointment with one of our
attending editors or agents.
(Appointments are based on a first-registered basis and
subject to availability. Additional appointments, if available,
may be purchased on the premises for an additional $25 cash).
Also join some of today's top-selling authors for a book signing
open to the public on Saturday, April 17, 2010, from 5:45 to 7 pm.
Contest open to registered attendees only
(entries start on October 1, 2009),
judged by our attending agents and editors.
This is your chance to get the first ten pages of a finished
manuscript in front of the professionals and get their feedback.
Keynote speakers:
Linda Lael Miller:
On all of the National Best seller lists,
Linda Lael Miller is one of today's most successful authors with
more than eighty contemporary and historical novels to her credit.
Linda is also a recipient of the RWA Lifetime Achievement
Awards.Brad Schreiber:
(Sunday speaker)
As VP of Storytech Literary Consulting,
part of Chris Vogler's "Writer's Journey,"
Brad Schreiber is an accomplished writer, teacher,
screenwriter and much more.
Carla Neggers, Jodi Thomas, Sharon Sala,
Toni McGee Causey, Eileen Rendahl, Connie Flynn,
Kate Herbert (screenwriting), Erin Quinn, Beth Kendrick,
Jennifer Ashley, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Diana Gabaldon (tentative),
Vijaya Schartz, Robin Lee Hatcher...
(more to be announced soon).
Kathleen Scheibling - Harlequin; Kate Seaver - Berkley;
Heather Osborn - TOR;
Peter Senftleben - Kensington Publishing
(more to be announced soon).
Steve Laube - Steve Laube Agency;
Jill Marsal - Marsal Lyon Literary Agency;
Miriam Kriss - Irene Goodman Agency;
Janet Reid - Fine Print Literary Management
(more to be announced soon).
Registration fee:
Early bird (through 12-31-09): RWA members $208 -
Non-members: $228
Regular registration (1-1-10 to 3-1-10):
RWA members $228 - Non-members: $248
Brad Shreiber Workshop only (Sunday morning): $75.00
Contest entry (Starting October 1, 2009 -
for registered attendees only): $30.00
Hotel rooms:Chaparral Suite Resort -
5001 N. Scottsdale Road - Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Room rates: $169-$199 a night
All rooms are suites that can accommodate multiple
guests for a small extra fee.
Hotel rate includes cooked to order breakfast,
nightly reception, and
free airport transport from 6 am to 10 pm.
Complete conference and hotel information:
Registration open now:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Interview with Jess Granger

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Jess Granger. 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 Beyond the Rain. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Beyond the Rain is the story of two people caught behind enemy lines of a dangerous war. She’s a warrior nun with a death sentence lingering over her head. He’s a tortured slave who had his blood leeched to make sexual narcotics for the shadow trade. As they travel from planet to planet, bringing them closer to their homes, they discover the power of freedom, of choices, and the terrible price that must be paid for both.

Beyond the Rain is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I wish I could take credit for that one, but alas, I can’t. I’m terrible at naming books. I’ve got no ear for it at all. For the longest time, this book was called Futuristic #1. I wish I were kidding. When I started entering it in writing contests, I settled on The Halls of Honor, then punched it up to Chains of Honor. When the book sold, they wanted a title that reflected the deep emotions of the story, and felt those titles were a little cold. So the marketing team at Berkley settled on Beyond the Rain, and I’m so glad they did.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love the genre. As a kid I used to watch Star Wars, and Star Trek, Transformers, Voltron, you name it. If it was high flying space adventure, I was on board. Heck, I even went to Space Camp as a kid.

I discovered that dark and sexy space adventures suited my narrative style, I loved world building, and I had so much fun using alien cultures to create extreme character conflict.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea for this book came from a challenge to create two characters with such a huge personal conflict, people wonder how that is ever going to work out.

It still makes me laugh when I tell people that the book is about a warrior nun who gets stuck with a hormonally addictive sex-slave.

What are your favorite science fiction research books, and why?

I don’t know if there are too many science fiction research books out there. I get some of my best ideas from exploring the world around me, then investigating things I find interesting first hand. I watch a lot of science documentaries, on anything and everything from extreme engineering to how the early chemical composition of the Earth’s atmosphere affected the climate and weather patterns, and consequently the size of the animals living at that time. I think part of writing science fiction is having a healthy thirst for all sorts of random knowledge.

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

Vicca, hands down. Okay that makes me laugh, but Vicca is my heroine’s alien fox who is trained as her war scout. She’s probably the smartest and funniest character in the book, and she borrowed a lot of her personality from my Siamese cat, Suki. I think a lot of people will fall for Vicca. She’s adorable.

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

My characters always start with a problem. After that, I give them a name. Then I have a group of friends pepper me with random questions so I can discover what makes them tick. Once I start to understand them, I can sink into their heads and the story unfolds. I don’t do anything as formal as character sheets. This is one area I tend to be more loosey-goosey. I like to let my characters tell me who they are without forcing them into a pattern or a personality I’ve decided on ahead of time.

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

For my world building, I have to answer a constant string of “Why?” I go through everything from land composition, gravity, suns, moons, biome makeup of the highly populated areas, number of mass cultures residing on planet, natural resources, intergalactic trade economy, cultural politics, planetary politics, then galactic politics.

After that I dig into the culture. What do people look like? How are the classes separated? Who holds power? Why? How? What are the taboos? Why? What are their spiritual beliefs? Why? It’s endless, and always evolving. Each new book brings new details and more questions. I love it though, it’s like a game to me.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I really love Susan Grant’s work. She has strong romances in her stories, but all of the stories I’ve read have had some connection to Earth. I wanted to get some distance from our planet and explore strange new worlds.

Surprisingly, I’ve also been influenced by Christine Feehan. I always liked the intensity of the romance with Feehan’s work. I tried to capture some of that intensity through creating very high stakes for my characters as well.

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

I’m very proud of my website and blog. I want them to become fun places on the web for fans of my books to hang out, interact with me, and explore my worlds in more detail. I’ve also got an interactive adventure going on my blog every other Wednesday. The Many Adventures of Ethel the Space Pirate is available as a free read on my website, but you have to help decide what happens next by voting on my blog. The Ethel readers have gotten her into some interesting situations so far. It’s a lot of fun.

What do we have to look forward next?

Beyond the Shadows is the sequel to Beyond the Rain, and should be released next spring. While both books firmly stand alone as strong individual romances, the characters of the second book will be familiar to readers of the first book. It is fun, it is super sexy, and I just can’t wait. The hero gives me chills.

Thanks, Jess!

You’re welcome! Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure, and very therapeutic.

To celebrate her book release, Jess is offering a free signed copy of Beyond the Rain to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (make sure to check the blog Monday night 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...

Jess Granger grew up in California where she spent her childhood obsessed with animals and books. After years of tormenting her two brothers, she went off to college to earn a degree in literature from The University of California at Davis.

Now she enjoys spending time with her family and caring for her butterfly garden.

Check out author’s website at


Thursday, August 27, 2009


The man who makes a success of an important venture never wails for the crowd. He strikes out for himself. It takes nerve, it takes a great lot of grit; but the man that succeeds has both. Anyone can fail. The public admires the man who has enough confidence in himself to take a chance. These chances are the main things after all. The man who tries to succeed must expect to be criticized. Nothing important was ever done but the greater number consulted previously doubted the possibility. Success is the accomplishment of that which most people think can't be done.

C. V. White

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Your Dream-Never Settle!

We all have dreams, and for some of us, they are to write a novel. If this is your dream, I wish you the sincere best. As you embark on your journey as a novelist, I’d like to state, it’s YOUR dream, never settle, and second, the only path to your dream is the one YOU envision, not anyone else.

Define YOUR dream. Is it to self-publish, e-publish, publish with a large New York house, another writing venue? Regardless of what venue your choose, this is YOUR dream, not your friends, another writers, or anyone else.

One of my biggest frustrations on my writing journey is when writers submit to houses that don’t fulfill their dream, then are dissatisfied. I assure you, I understand the frustration faced in selling a novel. I received over 100 rejections before I quit counting. The bottom line is, it’s a writer’s responsibility to choose where to send their work. If the publishing house doesn’t fulfill your idea of a dream, don’t send it there – it’s that simple.

Now, if the publishing house doesn’t fulfill your idea of a dream, but you perceive it as a step toward your ultimate goal and are HAPPY with your decision, then submit your work to the target house. Looking back, if you’re not happy with your experience in working with that house, use this information as a building tool as you focus on your future. Remember, writing is a huge learning curve.

Along the way, you’ll find people with good intent who tell/advise you what you should do. Do you listen to their advice? It’s always good to weigh your options, but the bottom line is, choose what you believe is the correct path for YOU. Hey, it’s your manuscript, don’t submit it until you’ve done your homework and are thrilled about the house you’re targeting.
I wish you the sincere best as you pursue a career in writing. It’s a unique and tough challenge, but one of the most rewarding. The people you meet, writers and readers alike, touch your life, and often, become your friends. Adversity tests if we truly want our goals. Nothing worth anything is ever easy. Never give up – perseverance is the key. My sincere best to each of you as you follow your heart. Thank you for stopping by!

Diana Cosby


Lady Isabel Adair is the last woman Sir Duncan MacGruder wants to see again, much less be obliged to save. Three years ago, Isabel broke

their engagement to become the Earl of Frasyer’s mistress, shattering Duncan’s heart and hopes in one painful blow. But Duncan’s promise to Isabel’s dying brother compels him to rescue her from those determined to bring down Scottish rebel Sir William Wallace.


Betraying the man she loved was the only way for Isabel to save her father, but every moment she spends with Duncan reminds her just how much she sacrificed. No one could blame him for despising her, yet Duncan’s misgivings cannot withstand a desire that has grown wilder with time. Now, on a perilous journey through Scotland, two wary lovers must confront both the enemies who will stop at nothing to hunt them down, and the secret legacy that threatens their passion and their lives…


With a wastrel brother and a treacherous former fiancé, Lady Nichola Westcott hardly expects the dangerously seductive Scot who kidnaps her to be a man of his word. Though Sir Alexander MacGruder promises not to hurt her, Nichola’s only value is as a pawn to be ransomed.


Alexander’s goal is to avenge his father’s murder, not to become entangled with the enemy. But his desire to keep Nichola with him, in his home—in his bed—unwittingly make her a target for those who have no qualms about shedding English blood.


Now Nichola is trapped—by her powerful attraction to a man whose touch shakes her to the core. Unwilling and unable to resist each other, can Nichola and Alexander save a love that has enslaved them both?

Buy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Enter to Win a genuine 14kt Gold cameo

Help me launch the December 2009 release of my Victorian romance novel, MY UNFAIR LADY! The prize is a genuine agate cameo framed in 14kt yellow gold featuring a lovely profile of a lady with a bird perched on her finger--see my contest page for a full description:

To enter, send an e-card of my book cover to a friend! Go to:
And put a note to your friend in the message box to FORWARD the e-card upon receiving to:

If you are the randomly chosen winner, your friend will also receive a gift for helping you to enter, any item of their choice at my on-line store:

It’s a win-win contest for you and a friend! Only one entry per friend, but you can enter as many different friends as you’d like.

A winner will be randomly chosen using Contest ends September 30th, 2009. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or older to enter. No prize substitution permitted. This contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Monday, August 24, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Mari! You have just won a free ebook copy of Lynne's novel Bribes, Blackmail, and Bondage. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Harry Potter and Writing YA Romance

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Warning: Minor spoil alert.

I enjoy analyzing movies to spot what the writers did well…and not so well. Yesterday I watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. What stood out for me in this film was the theme of young love. The main young characters all seemed to have a “crush” on someone and feelings were getting hurt. Add a strong love potion and you have a hilarious scene where a main male character acts like a young girl.

Humor aside, I paid attention to how the characters showed their interest in one another. This is especially helpful if you write YA or Inspirationals where the romance is more platonic than sexual.

What stood out for me were gazes or hugs held longer than customary. Showing a characters interest when he eavesdrops on a conversation about the dating life of the girl he has a crush on. Looking upset when a competitor shows interest in the person they like. I wasn’t thrilled with the way one of the girls tied the shoe of one of the main characters. It was a bit too submissive for my taste rather than helpful. Of course, its Harry Potter so one character has to risk his/her life for another.

JK Rowling set the stage for romance when she added the love potion and when an older character asks Harry about the time he spends with Ms. Granger. Love is in the mind of all at the beginning of this film. Well done.

Friday, August 21, 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 Bribes, Blackmail and Bondage. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I’d be more than happy to, Kim. The novella is about an attorney who is out to prove that her client is innocent. But then a moment of forbidden passion between them jeopardizes his freedom and her career and thrusts them both into a game of sexual blackmail.
Bribes, Blackmail and Bondage is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I’ve always loved titles that have a certain cadence or rhythm to them. So I started thinking about what the book was about and what the best adjectives were for the story. When I came up with Bribes, Blackmail and Bondage, I knew that was going to be it. Every word describes what the heroine goes through and I really liked the rhythm of how it sounded.

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 research. I actually had an expert to drill. I have a really good friend that knows the criminal system, and I bombarded her with question after question.

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?

I work for a defense attorney at my ‘other’ job. Many of her clients have stories that are stranger than fiction. I’d heard about a case several years back that caused a scandal between a lawyer and her client, and then my mind started racing with so many different scenarios, and it just snowballed from that idea.

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

I would definitely have to say the heroine, Amanda. She has a tremendous amount at stake in the story. By being sexually blackmailed, she not only risks losing her self-respect and her job, but far more, and she quickly discovers just how far she will go to keep her blackmailer silent.

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 next?

I just submitted another erotic romance, Cocktails at Tiffany’s, to a publishing house. I’m hoping to hear back from them soon.

Thanks, Lynne!

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

Check out the author’s website at To Buy

Thursday, August 20, 2009

On-Line Class "Sex Between The Pages: Understanding and Crafting Sexual Tension"

September 1-28, 2009

"Sex Between The Pages: Understanding and Crafting Sexual Tension"

by Mary Buckham

How do you write great sexual tension? That’s the question Mary Buckham posed to Linda Howard, Stella Cameron, Susan Andersen, Nancy Warren and more romance writers who write great sexual tension from sweet to spicy hot. In her workshop, Mary combines these lessons from real-writers with practical understanding of the 12 Stages of Intimacy (based on Desmond Morris' works) and more recent findings by scientists on the amazing role biology plays in mate attraction and selection -- findings that can be directly incorporated in our creation of powerful sexual tension.

So if you want to learn how to increase the sexual tension in your work, don’t miss this opportunity. Topics include:

* Sex versus Intimacy

* Using conflict to increase sexual tension

* The importance of details

* How to portray body language

* Maximizing biological differences between the sexes

* Analyzing those who write sexual tension well

* Exercises for your work in progress

Mary Buckham is the author of the June 2009 released Break Into Fiction™: Simple Steps to Complex Novels. Her action-adventure fiction, Invisible Recruit, was a May 2006 release that earned reviews such as "loved the volatile and sensual tension throughout the story." Mary loves sharing writing craft knowledge as a national writer workshop presenter both on-line and at workshops around the country. Visit or for more information about her and her current writing projects.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009



Presenter: Robert Gregory Browne
Cost: $20 PASIC members, $30 for non-members payable by PayPal

Deadline to register: August 26, 2009

register at http://www.pasic. net/workshops. html

Want to know how to put a little zing into your plot lines and characterization? Want a quick and easy way to approach story structure that will keep your readers turning the pages?

Some writers will tell you that screenplays and novels are completely different art forms, but the truth is, whether you're a screenwriter or a novelist, your job is to grab your readers immediately and keep them in your grip until you're ready to let them go. Novelist Robert Gregory Browne will show you the tricks he learned as an award-winning screenwriter to help you do just that.

Topics covered include:
* Creating characters that jump off the page

* Structuring like the screenwriting pros

* Dialog tricks that will keep the story moving

* Avoiding "on the nose" writing

* Creating subtext that deepens a scene

* Enter Late/Leave Early

* Thinking in scenes

* Setting short-term goals that will lessen the burden

* All about "buttons" (what are they? And how can they help make your book a pageturner?)

About the Presenter:
Nicholl-Award winning former screenwriter Robert Gregory Browne has been a professional writer for over twenty years, working with Showtime, Viacom, Fox Kids, Saban, Joel Silver, and Marvel before turning to long-form fiction.

Rob's first novel, KISS HER GOODBYE, was praised by bestselling authors Tess Gerritsen, Kay Hooper and Gayle Lynds, and his follow-up, WHISPER IN THE DARK, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, calling it a "deeply satisfying story [that] moves at a furious pace, packed with unexpected and original clues and plot twists." Bestselling author, Allison
Brennan, says that "Browne's thrillers are lean, mean, and thoroughly entertaining, " and says, "This is a writer whose name will soon be a household word." To learn more about Rob and his work, go to

Deadline to Register: August 26, 2009
FMI go to http://www.pasic. net/workshops. html

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Congratulations to my winners!

Congratulations to the winners of my private newsletter contest. Donna M. from Canada won an autographed copy of BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS, and Maria R. from New York chose as her prize a red fairy t-shirt from my on-line shop.

And congrats to Dianna R. from West Virginia, who won my newsletter subscriber contest, and received the gorgeous 5 carat London blue topaz necklace. She's been a newsletter member for several years and a devoted fan, so I couldn't be happier for her! Here's a little note she sent me (with her permission to share) upon receiving her prize:

Message contains attachments
I got it, and it is beautiful!!! Boyfriend has promised to get me a pair of earrings to go with it but he is going to be hard pressed to find something so lovely to match.Thank you, thank you Kathryne!
Dianna R.

I have updated my website with the cover of my upcoming release, MY UNFAIR LADY. You can check it out here: I will be posting the first chapter to my site soon!

Monday, August 17, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Dogmom2six! You have just won a free autographed book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Take Time to Have Fun!

As most of you know, I usually put a lot of time into my posts.
I'm either analyzing movies, experimenting with The Secret, giving writing advice,
or trying to make you laugh with The Neurotic Writer.
Today I am basking in the glow of a week of working hard and playing hard.
It was the first week back for the students in my classroom.
Due to circumstances beyond the control of teachers and
administrators at our school, it was one of the roughest beginnings
of a year I have ever been through. I am glad to report things
settled down as they always do.
I realized I was wound too tight this past week, so I took time to play.
I attended a game night/slumber party with nine other writers.
I hadn't been to one of these since I was young.
Spending a whole night just joking, laughing, and yes, drinking,
with the girls was so much fun. I also spent an evening with family
at a little cousin's birthday party. I come from a family where
everyone hugs and kisses hello and goodbye -
even if it takes a half hour because there are so many of us.
Lounging around today, I realized that playing hard and spending
time with family not only relaxed me, but it also recharged my batteries.
I see so many of my writing friends drowning under the pressure
of deadlines. It is so important that we take time to play.
Spend time with people who make you feel good.
People who smile and remind you that life can be soooo good.
Also take time to pamper yourself. Perhaps taking a hot
bubble bath with a candle flickering nearby,
while listening to soothing music is what you need.
Or, maybe you just need a hot fudge sundae. Save the cherry for me.
It's okay to work hard, but don't make it your life.
Remember, no one's final words are going to be,
"I am so glad I wrote those last 100 pages."
I don't know about you, but I want my tombstone to read,
"She lived life her way." Just don't go ordering it now.
I plan to have many years of working hard and playing
hard ahead of me. I hope you do as well.
Until next week,
Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon

Friday, August 14, 2009

Interview with Linda Style

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Linda Style. 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 PROMISE HE MADE.” Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

THE PROMISE HE MADE is really about second chances. When Cole St. Germaine left Spirit Creek, Arizona, in the wake of a tragedy, he never expected to return. He never expected he’d have to face the people whose lives he’d changed forever. Serena Matlock had hoped she’d never see her former fiancé again. But in such a small town, it’s almost impossible not to run into each other. The real heartbreak, though, is that she still loves Cole. But can they move beyond the events of the past, or will Cole always be a reminder of the life-altering decision she had to make?

“THE PROMISE HE MADE” is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It comes from the book -- a promise the hero made to the heroine 13 years earlier, and which sets the stage for the rest of the story. The title is also in keeping with my last book, “THE MISTAKE SHE MADE” which was out this last April. Both books are set in the same town of Spirit Creek, Arizona, with recurring characters in both books.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve been writing Superromance novels (laced with a bit of mystery and suspense) since my first book ten years ago. This book, however, has less suspense and is more home and hearth than some of my other books.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea evolved from my last book, which features one of three women who are best friends, and as the characters developed, it seemed natural to go on and tell the other friends’ stories as well. I’m writing the 3rd book as we speak.

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

Generally, I have a beginning and an idea of how the story will end. I usually have major plot points as well. The details and other events come as I write the story. Sometimes I outline a bit more than others, but I haven’t written a story yet in which I wasn’t surprised by the unusual turns the stories take and things always happen that I didn’t plan on. Even though I know the end, the story dictates the events that happen in the middle.

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

I love to research and learn new things, and I always do more than is necessary. And usually, the research sparks ideas for other stories as well. I don’t have any favorite sites for research because each book is different. I have certain sites that I keep on my favorites list that I know I might be using…like the FBI, some police sites and cop speak. I have several books on police procedure, but every state is different and every department is different. That’s nice in a way as it allows a writer to take liberties in some areas. I also have several crime reference books.

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

I always like both my heroes and heroines. But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect by any means. Serena and Cole are likeable, but they’re all too human with faults and insecurities along with the good stuff. I really like Serena Matlock, the heroine in the upcoming book because she has grit. She continues on in the face of adversity and doesn’t wallow in self-pity. She copes as best she can with her problems—her twin brother being one of them—and the hero who’s returned after 13 years. Sometimes she gets in her own way and has a lot to learn about herself, but she’s strong and up for the challenge.

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

I do character charts with all the details, physical and otherwise. But by far, the most important thing I do is to create an emotional history for my characters. I find the point/event in their lives that makes them decide how they will act in the world at large, and usually that person is different than the person inside. We all have discovery points in our lives where we say, this isn’t working, so I’m going to act another way because it gets me what I want. What we/the characters show the world is the façade. It’s not the real person. I like to get deep inside and gradually reveal the real person.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, my gosh. There are so many, I can’t begin to name them. I’ve always been a reader, so I guess you could say I’ve been inspired since I opened my first book. At a very young age, I found a box of old books that had belonged to my father and I started secretly reading them. In the box were novels, complete sets, by Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kipling, Hemingway and Steinbeck. I also read Mary Stewart and Pearl S. Buck. Then I graduated to current contemporary fiction. No Nancy Drew for me. I also went through a comic book stage, which may have inspired me to write strong heroines. ☺

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
I do booksignings because I like to connect with the fans, but I think the Internet is probably the most effective.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m really excited to be working on the next Spirit Creek book with Natalia Sokoloff, the third friend from my last two books. She’s so different from the other two heroines that she’s proving to be quite a handful--and I love the challenge. I’m also starting a psychological suspense, something much bigger and more complex than anything I’ve written before…and that’s even more challenging, but exciting as well.

Thanks, Linda!

To celebrate her book release, “THE PROMISE HE MADE”, Linda is offering a copy of her last release “THE MISTAKE SHE MADE,” which received a 4.5 Star Top Pick from Romantic Times, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away... (Please check the blog late Monday nigh to see who won)

Bio. Linda Style always dreamed of becoming a novelist, but it took a while before she saw her dream come true. Her journey began at the University of Minnesota where she studied behavioral science and photography. A move with her family to Arizona, changed her perspective. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Communication at Arizona State University with a degree in journalism, but along the way, she also completed programs in behavioral science, and organizational management.

She’s worked as a photographer, a freelance writer, a caseworker, an internal investigator, the manager of a state program for the mentally ill, and a Management Consultant for the State of Arizona’s Department of Behavioral Health Services—all, she says, a training ground for what she really wanted to do—write stories about people.

Linda left all her earlier careers to write full-time in 1998, and after meeting an editor from Harlequin Superromance at the Romance Writers of America national conference in Chicago in 1999, Linda quickly saw the release of her debut novel, HER SISTER'S SECRET in June 2000. Since then, her books have been nominated for several awards and have won The Daphne du Maurier Award for best long contemporary of the year and The Orange Rose best long contemporary of the year. Linda's books are sold worldwide and in many foreign languages.

Now living her long ago dream, Linda finds it amazing that someone actually pays her to have so much fun! When not writing, Linda enjoys her family of four sons, two daughters-in-law, and three awesome grandkidlets. Researching her stories gives Linda the perfect excuse to indulge her passions for travel, photography and uncovering family history. Among many exotic travel adventures, she's ridden a camel in Morocco, kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland, climbed Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, trekked the outback in Australia and celebrated the Millennium in Paris.

Check out author’s website at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Show Us Your Shorts-Writer's Digest Writing Competition

Short Short Story Competition
The Writer's Digest 10th Annual Short Short Story Competition

We're looking for fiction that's bold, brilliant...but brief. Send us your best in 1,500 words or fewer.

But don't be too long about it—the deadline is Tuesday, December 1, 2009.

First Place: $3,000
Second Place: $1,500
Third Place: $500
Fourth Through Tenth Place: $100
Eleventh Through Twenty-Fifth Place: $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books

* The names and story titles of the First-through Tenth-Place winners will be printed in the May/June 2010 Writer's Digest, and winners will receive the 2010 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market and Agents, Editors, and You: The Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Plus, all First through 25th place winners will receive a free copy of the 10th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dancing In The Hallways-Or Empty Nest Syndrome

Dancing In The Hallways-Or-The Empty Nest Syndrome-What Type of Writer Are You?

Okay. I admit it. I’m one of those parents the teachers hate so much. Why? Because I’m the one dancing in the hallways on the first day of school. Yes! Arms pumping into the air here. I’m the one singing school’s back in session…school’s back forever… (Sung to the beat of that old Alice Cooper song with a little air guitar thrown in for full effect). Well, it may not be for ever, but close enough. No more TV, no more play dates, no more you promised we’d go there dirty looks…school’s back in session!

Last Thursday was the big day for us. Back to school. (Arizona is weird.) My kids’ lower lips began to tremble as we pulled into the school parking lot. The flurry of activity around us heightened the tension in the eerily silent vehicle. Buses, trucks and cars jockeyed into position to unload the unwilling occupants. Strung out teachers and administrators attempted to direct the sea of metal and the long faces on the returning students (and school hasn’t even officially begun yet) into some semblance of order. Then of course there’s me and several other happy parents clogging the main artery in and out of school. And yes, we danced.

You could see the giddiness, hear the laughter, and feel the excitement as we kissed our offspring goodbye before we waved them off in the direction of the classrooms. Okay, I admit, there were a few parents with long expressions, too. Obviously, they haven’t quite obtained the sense of freedom yet of packing little Billy or Susie off on their personal journey through life. But as a parent, and an author, you have to let them go.

So, you ask, what does this have to do with writing? Consider this. When you send that finished manuscript off to an agent, editor, or even your critique group, are you happy or sad? Do you feel the first blush of excitement as you hand over that envelope to the postal employee? Or is your head filled with doubts and you want to hold onto those pages forever, never letting them out of your sight? Are you dancing in the hallway? Or feeling that empty nest syndrome when the characters you’ve spend countless hours, days, or even years with have flown the proverbial coop?

For me, it’s a little of both. I’m happy to strike those six enormous characters at the end of every book. I’m also terrified of the emptiness surrounding me because all those voices in my head are suddenly quiet, like the silence in that short car ride home from school. Where do I go from there? How do I fill the void? While my child or my novel adjusts to life on its own, so must I. How? By taking pleasure in the few moments of freedom. Bask in the relaxing sensation of reading a book for the sheer enjoyment of it. Take a hike or cruise the mall and let the mind wander from the realities of every day life. Get caught up on all the little projects that piled up over the summer.

Or better yet, dance with me. Because sooner rather than later, you’ll hear another tiny voice knocking inside your brain begging to get out. And it sure as heck won’t be sporting a Spongebob back pack and a brand new pair of sneakers.

Monday, August 10, 2009

And the Winner is...

Congratulations, Amber! You have just won a free autographed book written by Erin Quinn. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Neurotic Writer's Last Date with the Computer Geek

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

Therapist: “I have to admit, last week when we spoke about your first date with the computer analyst I didn’t know what a blog was. This week, I did my own research. Now that I know Twitter is another social networking site like Facebook and Myspace, I am prepared for our discussion.”

Suzie Writer: “Well, I wish I had known it was a social networking site. After he improved my blog and said he was going to tweak my Twitter and make it sing, I thought it was a metaphor for his ability in bed.”

Therapist: “I gather it didn’t go well.”

Suzie Writer: “Of all the wonderful, brilliant men in the world, I had to pick the wrong one. (Grimaces) Let’s just say, when you talk dirty with a computer geek, make sure you know how to convert the standard units of measure in his language into inches before you end up in an embarrassing situation. I'm sure I sighed with disappointment at the wrong moment. I was expecting the top of the line, fully equiped desktop version of geek and ended up unwrapping the mini notebook instead.”

Therapist: “I’m afraid to ask what you did at that particular moment.”

Suzie Writer: “Well, it was too late to pack him up and ask for the new and improved model, so I tried to work with the product I was given.”

Therapist: “How did that go?”

Suzie Writer: “I think we both know size wouldn’t have mattered, if he had known what to do with his hard drive. Unfortunately, it was a complete systems failure that left me feeling as if I needed one of those Computers for Dummies books. He couldn't find my ON switch. I lost interest in his.”

Therapist: (Studies Suzie’s face for a moment.) “If it was such a disappointment, why are you smiling? I even think you’re glowing.”

Suzie Writer: “Turns out Mr. Brilliant lives next door to Mr. Hunky Biker Dude. This fine specimen of muscle on top of muscle once did time, but he’s changed his ways and now helps save troubled kids at the community center.”

Therapist: “You might want to proceed with caution if he did time.”

Suzie Writer: “Too late. Ever been on the back of a Harley with a biker between your legs, Doc? That’s a whole lot of power between your thighs. (Shudders) The motorcycle wasn’t too bad either.”

Therapist: “I assume he will be the hero of your next novel.”

Suzie Writer: “Life is research. Every man ends up in one of my books. The question becomes, will be the hero, the best friend, the villain or the comic relief?”

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, August 7, 2009

Interview with Erin Quinn

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Erin Quinn. 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 HAUNTING BEAUTY. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

In HAUNTING BEAUTY, I explored a personal fascination with time and the idea that the past is not set in stone. Mistakes can be un-made, heartache can be transformed into triumph . . . but at what cost? If the past is an elaborate puzzle with interchangeable pieces, when one is altered, how do the others still fit? And how could you be sure that what changed didn’t make everything worse?

The story of HAUNTING BEAUTY is actually several puzzles, all missing vital pieces, and one woman’s desperate attempt to turn the chaos into the life she always dreamed of.

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

My original title was actually Beneath the Ruins because so much of the story centers around a castle ruins on the fictional Isle of Fennore, off the southern coast of Ireland. When my publisher started packaging the book, though, the title wasn’t ‘haunting” enough for the vision. After a brainstorming session, HAUNTING BEAUTY is the title that had that elusive quality we were looking for.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always loved romance and there is definitely a love story in HAUNTING BEAUTY. For me, that is a critical element to every story. HAUNTING BEAUTY is also very much a paranormal, but you won’t find shape-shifters or vampires between the covers. What intrigues me about the paranormal is the idea that we—you, me, John Doe strolling down the street—might have abilities we’ve never even imagined and therefore never tapped. How would any given person react if suddenly they could do the impossible? That is the paranormal element that I love to explore.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

This story didn’t come to me as an idea—rather I started with Danni Jones—the heroine—and as I began to tell her story, the other pieces fell into place. There are many elements in this story that took me completely by surprise. More than once I was scratching my head and thinking, “now where did THAT come from?” It was very exciting writing it and I would say of all my books, this one is my favorite.

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

I don’t know if I have a favorite. I use a lot of sources—the Internet, Time Life Books, History books—to create my paranormal world. I love to ground the paranormal in real life events or ancient superstitions.

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

I would have to say Sean Ballagh was one of my favorites. I fall in love with every hero I write, but there was something about Sean Ballagh, hero of HAUNTING BEAUTY, that still hasn’t let me go. It’s more than the tall, dark and handsome thing—although Sean is definitely all that. If I had to put a finger on it, I would say it is Sean’s personal struggle to be a good man that completely captured my heart. He wants to do the right thing, but for Sean, nothing is ever easy and doing the right thing means facing a reality that could destroy him.

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?

I use the Hero’s Journey when I’m writing a book to help me get the emotional arc of the story. My people usually define themselves as I write them. Their actions and words tell me who they are.

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

HAUNTING BEAUTY is book one in the Haunting Series—the first series I’ve ever attempted. I haven’t yet figured out a system that works for me to keep track of the world I’ve built. I carry most of it in my head but I can see where that might lead to disaster. Short answer: I dunno. Work in progress. ☺

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I grew up reading everything, but I was a big fan of horror and junkie when it came to romance. But after every horror novel, I was left wishing for a little romance in there and every romance left me wishing for a few thrills and chills. When I started writing, my goal was to combine those elements and write a story that sends chills down the spine while making my reader fall in love.

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

Hmmm, good question and one I can’t answer. The truth is, no one knows how to effectively market a book. We have no idea who is reading them, our demographic is so spread that it’s impossible to target, and getting the word out is at times daunting. The only thing that is really effective in getting a book from shelf to reader is mass quantities of them everywhere and that kind of promotion is done by the publisher and not the author. HAUNTING BEAUTY is the first book I’ve really had a marketing/promotion plan for and since it’s just releasing, I don’t have any way to judge if any of it worked. I do hope that word of mouth will be the ticket to success for HAUNTING BEAUTY, though.

What do we have to look forward next?

Book two, HAUNTING WARRIOR, will continue the story started with HAUNTING BEAUTY and take us into the world of Rory MacGrath, another hero who has stolen my heart. Poor Rory goes through hell and back in his story, but of course he’s a better man for the journey.

Thank you so much for having me on MUCH CHEAPER THAN THERAPY. You asked some terrific questions!

Stop by my website where I’m running some great contests including a “Buy 1 Get 20 free PLUS a $100 gift card” contest.. Details at

Thanks, Erin!

To celebrate her book release, HAUNTING BEAUTY Erin Quinn is offering an autographed copy of one of her previous titles (writing as Erin Grady) ECHOES OR WHISPERS. Reader’s choice to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (make sure to check the blog on Monday night 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

Order Haunting Beauty: Barnes & Noble Borders

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rudy's Blog

Sorry I haven’t sent out news in a while, but I’ve been following Mom in her travels and she’s been busy. I told you about that Malice Domestic gig in D.C., right, and all the book signings she did after that? And just last week she was in D.C. again for the big RWA conference, so she’s beat.

In between all that, Mom and Dad adopted Sasha, a smallish Bichon Frise. The four-year-old pooch came from a puppy mill (grrr...bad puppy mill) and lived in a wire crate her entire life until Robin of Tidewater Bichon Frise Rescue in ....Virginia Beach.., ..VA..... brought her home. JoAnne, her foster mom, was an angel, and took care of her for weeks while Mom toured. She and Dad brought Sasha home to live with Buckley and Belle on May 15, and it’s been fun the whole time.

I know Mom still misses me, because I catch her cryin’ every once in a while when she’s lookin’ at my picture, but she has Sasha now, and that little cotton ball with legs has helped Mom pass the time without me. When Sasha came to our house she couldn’t jump (her rear leg muscles never developed because she lived in a crate) she didn’t bark, and she didn’t realize all ‘business’ should be done outside on the grass.

Well, guess what? She now watches TV and barks at all the animals on Animal Planet, she jumps on the sofa, chairs, and Mom and Dad’s bed, and she’s getting the hang of going potty outside.

Here’s more news. Mom’s announcing a new CONTEST on her website Check it out and learn how you can win a spot as a character in her future books.

I’m off to play with Teddi, a cute little guy who just joined me here in Doggie Heaven a week or so back. He’s missing his Mom, so I’m helpin’ him along.

Until next time,

The Rudster

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Releasing Today: Haunting Beauty


A mysterious stranger . . .
Danni Jones believed everything about her past-that she was an unwanted child abandoned by her mother. That she was an outcast set apart by her clairvoyance. That she was alone. Then came the stranger. Dangerously seductive Sean Ballagh appears out of nowhere with a startling story that will challenge everything Danni thought was true.

A lost woman . . .
He claims that Danni's family has been searching for her ever since she disappeared twenty years ago. He's come to bring her home to Ireland. But Danni fears there's more to his story than he dares to reveal. And the only way to find out is by following Sean back in time, to a forgotten past, to a world where nothing is what it seems.

A terrifying legacy . . .
Now, in a land where the mystical and the occult are as vivid as the emerald fields, Danni must rewrite history to save her family, to fight a force more evil than she ever imagined, and to reunite with the one man she was destined for-or live forever in time as nothing more than an ethereal memory, a tragic and haunting beauty.

Order a new* copy HAUNTING BEAUTY by August 30, 2009 and I'll enter you into a grand prize drawing for books, merchandise and other great stuff. To enter, email me a copy of your proof of purchase and you will be entered to win $100 dollar gift card to either Borders, Barnes & Noble or (your choice of one) AND 20 books--many autographed by author-- AND a Haunting Beauty tote, coffee mug and mouse pad and a photo album! (*must be a new copy to qualify)

Amazon Barnes & Noble Borders Indie Bound

Monday, August 3, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Linda. I selected you as the winner of a free copy of Elizabeth's book, Stolen Heat. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Neurotic Writer Dates a Computer Geek

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

Suzie Writer: “I met a man… He’s different. He says he can introduce me to a world I’ve never seen before. A world with a secret language that only he can interpret for me.”

Therapist: “Is he a Trekkie?”

Suzie Writer: “No. He’s…a computer geek. (She glances around as if making sure no one else can hear.) He wants to play with my…my…my blog.”

Therapist: (Leans closer.) “Your blog? What’s a―”

Suzie Writer: “It’s the very core of who I am as a woman. I’ve never let a man see the inner workings of my blog. It’s too…up close and personal. It would make me feel…”

Therapist: “Vulnerable?” (Now on the edge of her seat.)

Suzie Writer: “Yes. But he says he’ll walk me through it step by step. He says he can enhance my exposure. He says he can bring me repeat viewers.”

Therapist: “What? Do you really want repeat viewers? You already do a lot of ‘research’ for your books. I thought this guy was different.”

Suzie Writer: “He is. But he’s so brilliant. I’m afraid. What if he knows things about my blog that I don’t know? What am I talking about? Of course, he knows things I don’t know. That’s what’s bothering me. I’ve always had the power in a relationship. Can I hand it over to a complete stranger? A man who will make me feel insignificant? A man who will turn my world upside down?”

Therapist: “Wait a minute.” (Therapist Googles Blog and reads Wikipedia, then sits back down.) “Let’s start this conversation all over again. If the man can enhance your blog, I say let him touch it as much as he wants.”

Next week, The Neurotic Writer will get her Twitter tweaked.
Until then,
Happpy Writing!
Tina LaVon