Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interview with Kathryne Kennedy

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

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

It’s about a Wild West heiress who goes to London to hire a sponsor to turn her into a lady. What she doesn’t expect is for the Duke of Monchester to take her up on her offer…and the last thing she expects is to find herself falling in love with him!

MY UNFAIR LADY is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The book was inspired by the movie version of Shaw’s PYGMALION; MY FAIR LADY, and since it was an opposite twist, MY UNFAIR LADY seemed just right for a title.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love the Victorian era! The balls, the gowns, the gentlemen of honor (well, sometimes;) and the sheer scope of the era.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

As I mentioned above, I was inspired by the movie MY FAIR LADY, and wanted to explore the element of changing oneself to suit other people’s expectations…or not. And the idea of loving yourself just the way you are. I’m always drawn to Cinderella type stories, where a woman comes out of her cocoon and turns into a butterfly. But there’s an element to them that has always bothered me, and it was a joy to watch my heroine struggle to find out that truth.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

My favorite book for this particular story was: To Marry an English Lord, by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace. Filled with gorgeous photos, it presents factual information in a lively and entertaining manner.

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

This is always a hard call. I loved my heroine, Summer, for her compassion and brashness. I loved my hero, Byron, for his depth and his naughty humor. I loved Maria for her unfailing belief in what defined her as a person. I loved Chi-chi, the ornery little Chihuahua, and India, the rescued monkey who is a ham at heart.

Nope, sorry. Can’t choose just one.

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

I used to write up a full page about my character; where they went to school, their favorite color, etc. But that’s before I had deadlines. Now, I do an index card on each, with their appearance, general habits and traits, goals and motivations. As I write I build on those, developing their character as the story unfolds.

The era will define the character’s attitudes and general beliefs, however, that’s only a starting point for me, as they always break out of those predestined molds.

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

With my heroine, Summer Wine Lee, it was interesting to research common slang in the old west. Tarnation is her favorite word, and she calls animals critters. During this time period in London, it was the second bustle period, which was an interesting phenomenon. I don’t recall where I read it, but a child had sat his toy on the back of his mother’s bustle, and she walked down the aisle at church, with the toy perched on top, wholly unaware of it. And bless the manners of the time, no one called it to her attention. I was surprised to learn that toilets were more common that I’d thought, including a ‘dry’ version, with absorbent dirt at the bottom that could be cleaned out after each use. And they had enormous drying racks in the kitchen, which were lowered, the clean clothes spread out on them, and then raised up to the ceiling for the night to dry. Washing, cooking, cleaning, were all enormously difficult back then, and even not so well-to-do families had to hire help to carry out these tasks.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Many…and I’m discovering new ones every day. But I have to say that the most inspiring authors I know are at my writer’s meetings. Their drive and determination and sheer creative energy never fails to inspire me. Bless the ladies (and the few rare gents) of RWA Desert Rose chapter, and RWA Valley of the Sun chapter!

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

My website, as every other promotion I do directs the reader to it. Some tips to consider for an effective website: Your current release on the home page, with ISBN (this is so important for librarians, booksellers, etc.), summary, and easy links to BUY. A button to sign up for your newsletter (another must) on the home page and any other page you can put it on. A link to contact the author. Don’t overwhelm the reader with too much info on the home page, make it clear and concise, with easy ways to navigate. Provide links to more information, instead of trying to cram in all your new reviews, news, etc. on one page. If you keep a blog with updates, a prominent link to that is the best way for readers to catch up on your news.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m very, very excited about my new historical fantasy romance series, THE ELVEN LORDS. I have just finished the first book, THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER, about an elven half-breed and his assassin bride. It’s scheduled for release in the Spring or Summer of 2010. It takes place in an alternate Georgian London, with the sweeping pageantry of the era in a magical new world. You can read the history of the series (or, how this world was created) on my website.

Thanks, Kathryne!

To celebrate her book release, Kathryne is offering a free book of MY UNFAIR LADY to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

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

Kathryne Kennedy is the award-winning author of the Relics of Merlin series, and is acclaimed for her world building. She has also published nearly a dozen short stories in the SFF/Romance genre, receiving Honorable Mention twice in the "Writers of the Future" contest. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives in Arizona with her wonderful family—which includes two very tiny Chihuahuas. MY UNFAIR LADY received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, and is a Library Journal’s Editors Pick. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Red Means Stop, not Go Faster

A teacher from my son's old high school spent her day standing in front of a local grocery store handing out flyers for the Red Means Stop Coalition. She lost a student to a red light runner. I couldn't imagine losing a child at such a young age, and thought the least I could do is pass along the word about this non-profit organization. Although the readers of my blog probably aren't the ones who need the reminder, it would help to pass along the word to others: Red Means Stop, not Go-Faster-to-beat-the-light.

Here's a bit of the article that I received which ran in The Arizona Republic:

Jennifer Hinds: Young dreams ended by a red-light runner.

After nine years of marriage, Jennifer Lynn was our first child. She was born on a Tuesday morning, June 19, 1979. Blond hair, blue eyes, and a beautiful dimpled smile.

In High School, the DECA club helped her mature, as did her job at the new Arrowhead AMC theater. She was impatient, however, and wanted to get on with her life. New York and the fashion industry were calling to her, although we convinced her that NAU would be a great place to start, and not so far from home.

Unfortunately, Jennifer's plans were not to be.

Six days after Jennifer and her friends were T-boned in the intersection at 59th Avenue and Sweetwater, her life ended.

Thousands of injuries occur every year from red light running, and hundreds of deaths. Jennifer's story is but one. To find out more about the coalition, please visit:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Words of Wisdom for 2010

The holiday spirit is all about giving. Although I cannot afford to buy all of you the most popular electronic device on the market, I can pass along something I have found to be much more valuable: words of wisdom given to me by others. These words have made a big difference in my life.

#1 - My grandmother once said, "When you don't know what to do, do nothing at all." I found this gives time for more info to come my way, which helps me make a decision.

#2 – A teacher I work with once said, “When I have a bad day, I tell my husband I am going to tell him a story and when I’m done I want him to tell me he is sorry I had a bad day.” By telling him exactly what she needs from him, he doesn’t need to read her mind and everyone is happy. I have had some amazing results using this advice.

#3 – A writing friend brought the DVD of The Secret to one of our meetings. What I took away from it changed my life. I now focus on what I am grateful for as much as possible – I am a much happier person. I also focus on what I want my life to look like in all areas and I find I channel my energy in that direction. I believe it is pretty much the power of positive thinking.

If you want to read more universal laws like The Law of Attraction, read Quantum Success by Sandra Anne Taylor.

#4 – Recently a writing friend suggested I read Paul Harvey’s book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I found I instinctively already knew what he had to say but it brought it to a conscious level. Anyone dating should read it and so should any woman who needs to know her man shows his love by Professing, Providing, and Protecting. Great book!

#5 – This was the best teaching advice I got but it also works at home. Harry Wong said, “Don’t do anything you can get a kid do.” As teachers and parents, we have full schedules. The more we take on the more rundown we feel. If your students or children can take on a task, than they should, especially if it is something you know they should do for themselves in the first place. Just remember there are child labor laws.

#6 - While lounging around the pool with a group of teachers, one shared a bit of wisdom she heard from a TV psychologist: a person will often tell you their biggest flaw in the first conversation. Those of us who were divorced realized it was true. Now I listen carefully. When a man says he is afraid of marriage, etc. I take that to be his truth and I don’t dismiss it or take it lightly.

#7 – I once heard, “However your spouse treats you is how your children are going to feel it is okay to be treated.” I also believe how you react to the way people treat you is how your children learn to react in those situations. As a teacher in a high-risk area, I know this to be true.

#8 – Count your blessings! We have all heard that one. No matter how bad your situation may seem at any given moment we do have blessings to be grateful for. Count them, pay attention to them, feel good about them, and soon more will come your way.

I hope all of you have a wonderful 2010 filled with more blessings than you can count!

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bootcamp for Novelists On-Line Classes


A $100 VALUE FOR $85




The First Three Chapters

Deepening Character

Escalating Consequences

Subplots and Layering



Character Development


Scene and Structure




5P-Infusing Stories With Emotion 5B-Sparkling Dialogue
9P-Developing Voice & Style 9B-Rewriting & Revising



Go to to enroll

For more information contact Linda Style or Connie Flynn

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Have a safe, happy, and healthy one. We have Kathryne Kennedy's author interview scheduled for December 30, 2009. Friday author interviews start back up in January. Thanks for all your support throughout the year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On-Line Class Defeat Self-Defeating Behavior

January 4-29, 2010
"Defeat Self-Defeating Behavior: Allow Writing Productivity and Creativity to Soar"
by Margie Lawson

What's preventing your success? Thoughts? Behavior? Low energy? Procrastination? Perfectionism? Overdoing? Counter-productivity? Negative self-talk? Disorganization? Time mismanagement? Unrealistic expectations? Defeat your self-defeating behaviors with this one-month mental boot-camp. You'll explore the new topics, plus the list below, and more!

* Address the three fears that paralyze writers
* Analyze yourself: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
* Challenge your internal dialogue
* Redirect resistance and manage your moods
* Duct-tape your inner critic
* Protect your priorities
* Practice conscious competence
* Apply Margie's DUH Plan

Margie Lawson's resume includes counseling psychologist, college professor, hypnotherapist, and keynote speaker. Margie analyzes writing craft as well as the psyche of the writer. She presents (1) Empowering Character Emotions, (2) Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices and More, and (3) Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors in full-day master classes internationally.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Since this is my last post before the holidays, I wanted to extend my warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas, and my hope that Santa is good to you. :}

I have resolved this year to take some time during the hustle and bustle to gather calm around myself, to sit back and watch my loved ones that surround me, to memorize their faces and this one moment in time, to preserve it as a precious memory, because life is about change and nothing will ever be the same again as it is at this one moment.

It's not something I ever thought to do before, at least, not purposefully.

But I've realized that it's so very easy to take for granted those that surround you; the friends and family whose love and caring make life worth living.

Christmas can sometimes be peaceful or just plain bonkers. The little ones can get cranky from lack of sleep and all the excitement, the older ones just as cranky from last minute shopping, baking, and just plain trying to factor in Christmas when there's already not enough hours in the day to meet the demands of normal life. And you know what? This year I'm going to sit back and enjoy every crazy minute of it.

And thank God for this precious moment.

And for those of you who celebrate other faiths, I wish you the same indelible memory of your own peaceful or crazy, wonderful moment with your friends and family.

All My Very Best,

Monday, December 21, 2009

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

Congratulations Sue A. you're the winner of Bonnie's book. Please contact Bonnie at
bonnie (at) no spaces. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Holidays!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Secret - Getting Out of Your Own Way

I believe the hardest part of living a life based on the principles of The Secret (Power of Positive Thinking) is getting out of your own way. Most of us want a life better than what we have but we have limiting beliefs that keep us from obtaining those things we want.
Throughout my journey, I have come across numerous hurdles:

I was afraid to think big. Partly because there are so many unknowns with obtaining those big dreams. You hear about people losing everything after winning the lottery. Also, I think deep down I didn’t feel like I deserved to receive anything big because I always lived a simple life where I worked hard for everything I got. Life had never been easy for me. I have noticed that throughout this journey my dreams got a little bigger about every six months.

Mike Dooley, a speaker in The Secret, says you need to stop worrying about the “dreaded hows.” This was one of my biggest challenges. Because I worked hard for everything I got, I felt like I needed to know how my dream would come. It has only been in the past few months that I have begun to let this go. But even now, I have a list of six different possible ways money can come to me. At least I’m not counting on any one particular way. My goal is to trust the Universe/God will bring me what I’ve asked for and not even think about the hows because there are so many possibilities I haven’t even considered.

Limiting negative thoughts creep into your mind. At times, I’ve noticed I’ll tell myself, “If I get a black convertible it might be too hot in the summer or someone might slit the roof while its parked at the school where I teach.” “If I had a lot of money people might resent me.” “If I become a New York Times writer, I’ll have deadlines and a lot of pressure to increase sales.” These negative thoughts get in the way of the Universe’s ability to give you what you want, according to The Secret. I continuously remind myself that I deserve what I want and that I can handle what comes my way. Plus, if I don’t like the dream I receive I can ask for a new one.

In 2010, I plan to continue to work to get beyond my negative thoughts. I hope you will too.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, December 18, 2009

Interview with Bonnie Edwards

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

Breathless is an anthology of 3 novellas : Breathless, To Die For and Body by Gibson from Kensington Aphrodisia, so you know they’re erotic romance.

In the novella, Breathless, a young woman slips into an antique corset that takes her back into the body of another woman and the arms of Dr. Colt Stephens. But can Blue stay with the man she loves and fulfill the other woman's obligations?

In To Die For, we meet Stack Hamilton and Tawny James. As soon as I watched this particular hero walk across the stage of my mind, I knew he was Stack. He's got raven hair and shoulders to die for. Tawny is easily a match for him, with a body men could kill for. (And have) Stack might say she's almost too much woman. . .

In Body by Gibson, I'm pleased to offer Danny Glenn, a carpenter who knows his way around a woman's body and is only too happy to please. Mariel Gibson is an artist in crisis and using Danny's body is her way of finding herself again. (Okay, I admit it...I love men with hammers and low slung jeans and tool belts)

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

The heroine in the novella has a lung disease that renders her Breathless before she time travels…okay, so maybe that’s not romantic, but it’s fitting. The illness is important to establish…also, the word itself is sexy. We do feel Breathless when love strikes. (at least that’s what I remember!) I like titles with a rhythm and Breathless has rhythm.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Erotic romance chose me. I tend to believe strongly that a lot can be revealed in a love scene. Where a man can seem rough or difficult in the office or building a deck, when he's amorous his tenderness can be shown. The market swung toward extended love scenes and hotter, more intensely sexual books and I was already writing those.

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

I’m a four draft writer, which means each draft uncovers more and more of the characters. When I start I have no idea what they need to learn/accept/believe by the end. Finding love on the way to their own discovery is what makes the whole story tick for me.

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

I did the research for story set in 1913 when I wrote Midnight Confessions (the start of a series of ghost stories set in Perdition House, a haunted bordello). It’s a wonderful time in history. Modern conveniences were appearing: telephones, cars, even corn flakes! So while it’s historical, I call the setting “familiar historical”. After all, a lot of people have photos in their family of people from that very time period. I think it’s quite easy to relate to that and them.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My previous book, THIGH HIGH, had 3 novellas linked by underwear below the waist…so when I thought of a follow up I considered above the waist and ended up with a corset from Perdition House, a Vegas showgirl’s rhinestone-studded bustier and body painting== with a twist.

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

Wow. Blue McCann who had to sort out the soul switching in BREATHLESS was a great character. She was named Blue because as a baby she was left in a dumpster and the cop who found her called her after the color of her skin. No one cared enough to give her another name. She deserved a second chance at a full life. And the hero I loved a lot was Stack Hamilton from To Die For: he’s big, brawny and I loved his voice.

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 uncover the characters more with every draft I write. Like peeling an onion (not an original thought, but that’s how it is for me). This makes writing more fun, Every draft is exciting because I’m continually discovering new things. Character sheets have never been useful to me. I’ve tried them many times, thinking that I could save a whole draft that way, but it’s never worked. Nothing has ever worked to lessen the number of drafts.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Linda Howard when I first started. And today, I have to say I love Alexis Morgan’s heroes. They’re awesome! For learning craft, I’m always inspired by Jack Bickham who wrote fabulous how to books and over 80 Westerns, so he practiced what he preached, so to speak.

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

I don’t do a lot that’s not online. I give away books during the weeks around release, but where I live it’s expensive to mail out bookmarks and things. I think the best thing is excerpts on my site. Erotic romance isn’t for everyone, so I think it’s only fair to give people a sample and let them decide if my stories work for them. I don’t write BDSM or ménage stories…just really hot, explicit romance…heavy on the romance.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m very excited by my upcoming Harlequin Blaze, POSSESSING MORGAN, which will be out in March. What a thrill! After that, it’s another Aphrodisia, this time a single title with three couples intertwined stories…quite challenging to write! That one is titled Men Times Three and will be out in October.

Thanks, Bonnie!

To celebrate her book release, Bonnie Edwards is offering a free book of BREATHLESS to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

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

Check out author’s website at Several buy links are on her site!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Traditions

With the holiday season fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to see what traditions writers did besides putting up the Christmas tree and decorations.

Loretta Brabant--My favourite holiday activity is eating.

Shellie Foltz--One of my favorite holiday traditions is to fix a nice fireside supper for just my husband and myself sometime during the weekend before Christmas. Everything else is so hectic and involves parties and groups - it's the one time during the season it's just we two (although this year our new baby - Natalie, a stray we adopted over the summer - will be joining us).

Leann Harris--For the last several years my older children, my husband and I after the early Christmas Eve service have a dinner at the house and then go to a movie. Christmas morning we make pumpkin pancakes before presents. Now remember, these are teenage kids.

Helen King--We have no family in town, so my husband and I created some of our own. :)

On Christmas Eve we go to Zoo Lights. We get a big bag of kettle corn and eat our way through the exhibits. We usually watch the dancing trees at least twice. If it's cold enough we'll get hot chocolate. We love going there that night.

Santa hides the boys' present and they must follow the trail of clues to see what he left. In past years the clues have sent them all over the house, outside, in the fridge and under the dog's dish. There is usually 5-7 clues to discover before they get their prize. It's so much fun

Jane Myers Perrine--Going to the Christmas Eve church service.

Laurie Alice Eakes--Christmas morning was always a ritual. We would wake to coffee and cocoa, cinnamon and pecan rolls, and fruit, then open presents. Each person gets a present before the round starts again.

As for preChristmas, we put up the tree the first Saturday of December. Pine trees make me break out in a rash if I touch them, so it was my job to set up the nativity scene on the mantel.

Mae Nunn--My favorite holiday tradition is keeping the cat from climbing the tree! :-)

Tina LaVon--We always drove Jackie around to see Christmas lights on the 24th to get her to go to sleep. She loved it so much we did it through her teen years.

Donna Delgrosso--I work at a police station and on Christmas, nothing is open and there is little to nothing to eat there. So about six years ago I had an open house. I invited everybody working up on my side of town over for spaghetti and meatballs. I wanted my friends to be able to enjoy Christmas for part of the working day. After that, my family came over and I spent the rest of the day with them. It was a hit! The officers love it and my family had fun getting know the people I work with. I do it every year now and really look forward to it!

Carol Webb--My favorite tradition for the holidays each year was and is getting the SUV packed up with blankets and pillows. We would go to either Starbucks or another coffee shop and get hot apple cider or hot cocoa. I remember one coffee shop in California where you had a choice of chocolate or vanilla whipped cream with your chocolate. Everyone picked the chocolate. Then we would drive through the neighborhoods and look at the holiday lights.

A nearby church (The Church of Joy in Glendale) has an absolutely, amazing light show you can drive through. We’d get a car load of people and drive through with Christmas carols blasting from the speakers. Singing of course was always involved. It didn’t matter how bad you sounded. Some years we’d look up in the newspaper or on the internet and find the list of neighborhood houses which had a bunch of lights strung on their house and property. Winterhaven down in Tucson is an entire neighborhood decorated with lights. You cannot NOT get in the mood for the holidays when you walk through the streets there. I can’t wait to be able to start the tradition all over again when my kids eventually have their own children.

Kim Watters--Taking in the local Christmas pageant about the birth of Jesus, nestled in blankets and drinking hot chocolate and trying to keep warm.

So now you know what some of us writers do. What are some of yours?

Kim Watters

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Come join me!

In an all month long give-a-way starting today at Erin Quinn's Blog:

And tomorrow on December 16th, I'll be at Sia McKye's blog talking about MY UNFAIR LADY, and my new Georgian Fantasy romance series, THE ELVEN LORDS. Preview the initial cover of book one, THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER: (Leave a comment, enter to win my book!)

Hope to see you there!

Monday, December 14, 2009

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

Congratulations Joder. Youre' the winner of Judi's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) to calin your prize. (no spaces) Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Using The Secret to Chase Aways the Doldrums

Recently I suffered from what I refer to as “the blahs.” The weather is getting colder, the days shorter, and I needed more sleep. During this time, I noticed The Universe kept sending me wonderful moments: My college roommate flew into town, students in my second grade classroom made me pictures with heart-warming messages printed beneath, and my sister was finally over her pneumonia and could take long walks with me again.

Reflecting on these moments, I remembered the teachers of The Secret believe your present is a reflection of your past thoughts and actions. If this is true, then those positive moments were sent my way because I’m usually a happy person. There have been a few occasions where I got the blahs and noticed wonderful moments kept coming my way. It felt as though The Universe was trying to maintain that happy state.

Aside from those touching moments, I needed an extra boost to restore my constant state of happiness. I did what I usually do during these times; I repeatedly watched The Secret DVD or left it running in the TV while I cleaned or cooked. I also listened to the audio version. On my way to work, I held the gratitude rock my writing partner gave me and listed dozens of blessings I am grateful for. Together, my efforts brought me back to my state of happiness.

I am sharing this only because sometimes we all get “the blahs” and need an emotional lift. This worked for me, it might work for you. I hope so.

This holiday season let’s all count our blessings whether you have a gratitude rock or not.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, December 11, 2009

Interview with Judi McCoy

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Judi McCoy. 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 Heir of the Dog. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The book is #2 in my dog walker romantic mystery series. I love writing these stories because they’re near and dear to my heart. Rudy, the ‘star’ of the series, is actually my boy Rudy, who passed away in January of this year. It’s been tough writing him, but he’s pushed me to do my best

Heir of the Dog is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It was simple, really. In the book, Rudy inherits a huge some of money from a homeless man who is killed in the bowels of Central Park. He’s “Heir” to a fortune.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

My agent actually suggested I write something different, something that would ‘stretch’ my creativity. Well, writing about talking dogs has certainly done that.

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

I think I’m a little of both. I come up with an idea and think it through, decide on what happens in certain sections of the book, and start to write. I don’t use and outline, but I love the post-it note way of plotting

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

I went to New York three different times and walked Fifth Avenue, talking to museum guards, doormen, dog walkers, and anyone else who would speak with me. I also sat with two NYC homicide detectives to make sure of the way a murder was taken care of in the city. Two Februarys ago I went to Madison Square Garden and sat through the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, too.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I’d always wanted to write a story about a dog walker, but never thought of turning it into a series until I discussed it with my sister.

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

I love writing Rudy’s dialogue. He can get away with so much more than any of the human characters can.

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 don’t do any of that stuff. I’m lazy. I like to let my characters develop as the series/story goes along. Once I decide in my brain that I want that character, I make it work. If I don’t, they tell me what they want.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

My favorite author is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Her characters are so real I believe they exist.

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

I did something unique for the first book in this series. I’ve donated ALL my royalties to Best Friends, the largest no-kill shelter in the US. As long as that first book is selling, Best Friends will get the money. I don’t believe any other author has ever done this for a charity before.

What do we have to look forward next?

Book three in the series, Death in Show, will be out in June 2010.

Thanks, Judi.

To celebrate her book release, Judi McCoy is offering a free book of Heir of the Dog to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She's under a killer deadline right now but will try and stop in periodically. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10 Commandments for Ambitious Fiction Writers

10 Commandments for Ambitious Fiction Writers
Some of the commandments apply mostly after you've been selling regularly. But learn them now. That way you'll be working toward and prepared for the best--a pretty good definition of ambition.

1. Put Thy Work First - Not the Market
Write the stories you care for, you get involved with, you would like to read if someone else had written them. Write from the heart--at least on the first draft.

2. Thou Shalt Not Take the Names of Thy Editor, Publisher of Agent in Vain
The writer hasn't lived who hasn't become upset with his editor, agent or publisher, and spouted off about them with a few choice names. These moods generally pass...keep your name-taking-in-vain reasonable private. Publishing, after all, is not a large industry.

3. Keep Sacred They Work Schedule
A schedule shouldn't be a straitjacket. But by making it a genuine priority, you slowly train your mind to be ready to write fiction when your calendar allows it. This subconscious preparedness can be a powerful asset in writing enough pages to improve steadily.

4. Honor Thy Reader
Early work of fiction makes an implicit promise to its readers. You are obligated to keep that promise, whatever it is, by not starting your story in one mode and finishing it in another.

5. Thou Shalt Not Kill as an Unnecessary Plot Device
Sometimes writers, when they think the plot is sagging, give in to the temptation to enliven it by blowing up something, or by killing off a character, perferably in pools of gore. The problem with using this device in fiction is that it seldom works.

6. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery as an Unnecessary Plot Device
Ditto everything just said about murder. Juicy sex won't save juiceless prose.

7. Thou Shalt Not Steal Too Much
Writing the same plots, characters and settings over and over again doesn't challenge you. You get stale. Limit the amount you steal from yourself.

8. Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Characters
Your characters have-or should have-integrity. They may be noble, summy or anything in between. It's your job as a writer to witness this person's integrity, understand it, and not make him violate it.

9. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Editor's Job
You are the writer. She is the editor. . .Let the editor edit.

10. Thou Shalt Not Covet They Fellow Writer's Goods
Try to keep envy within reasonable boundaries. You are you, and your career is your own. Others' successes don't detract from that--at least not if your goal genuinely is to create the best fiction you can. (Refer to Commandment 1).

(Adapted from "The Ten Commandments Redem Your Writing: Follow These Steps and Find Salvation," by Nancy Kress, Writer's Digest, March 1996).

Loretta C. Rogers

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Step back in time, meet my little dogs, explore the Cinderella complex, and an author interview here!

My blog tour is winding down, and I must say that I will miss all of the wonderful interaction I've had with readers! Writing is sometimes a singular experience and it's been an amazing adventure to travel the blogosphere and meet such amazing people. Even if they only stop in to say hi, I'm always thrilled to respond to them.

The purpose of guest blogging is to get your name/book in front of readers, of course, and so I was asked to write about my upcoming release, MY UNFAIR LADY. But after a few posts I realized I was just sort of rambling on about the book. Nothing wrong with that, but I was getting bored. So I decided that I could at least present my topics in a different way...and I had such fun! And hopefully, my readers did as well.

I only have a few stops left, and I'm listing them here. If you'd like to read some of my past blog posts, feel free to go to my personal blog where the entire tour is listed:

12/8 Interview with Summer Wine Lee, where I step back in time to interview my heroine.
My Book Addiction and More

12/9 My Chihuahuas: two of the sweetest little inspirations for a character in My Unfair Lady.
Books Like Breathing

12/10 My inspiration for My Unfair Lady, or, exploring the Cinderella complex.
Anna's Book Blog

12/30 Author Interview!
Much Cheaper Than Therapy

Monday, December 7, 2009

And the winner is.....

And the winner of Laurie Alice's book is....Donna D. Please contact kim at kwatters21 (at) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

You Know You're a Neurotic Writer When...

The Neurotic Writer Shares Her Wisdom
(Just for Laughs)
After reading several episodes of The Neurotic Writer,
some of her fans are concerned about heir own mental health.
Are you worried that you may have become a neurotic writer?
How can you tell?
You know you’ve become a neurotic writer when:

You’re afraid to tell your date you had a “lovely time” because lovely is an –ly word.

You question everyone about critique partners, making sure yours is doing her job correctly.

You check the weather channel twelve times a day because you’re afraid your manuscript might be delayed due to a sudden snowstorm in August. It doesn’t matter that your manuscript was never requested in the first place.

You query your agents based on horoscope compatibility with both you and your target editor.

Your biggest fear is every editor/agent at the conference will slip you a rejection letter under the bathroom stall.

When you have a great idea you’re afraid to tell anyone because you know Nora Roberts is tuned in to the Universe and will somehow get your idea, write the book in three hours, and have it in the stores tomorrow.

You’re convinced the agent turned you down because you sent another agent in the same NY zip code the manuscript last month. In your fantasy, they have become friends and are laughing at you over their cocktails at lunch. (You never know. They could be.)

You are certain every writing organization has a checklist of who is allowed to be published and who isn't based on your picture in your high school yearbook.

If you just realized you are indeed a neurotic writer, congratulations! And welcome to the club. Glad to have you. Don’t worry; although your neurosis is incurable, it is harmless, and you’ll be a lot more fun at parties.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, December 4, 2009

Interview with Laurie Alice Eakes

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Laurie Alice Eakes. 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 Glassblower. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The Glassblower is set in New Jersey in 1809 and is the first book in the New Jersey historical series from Heartsong Presents, Barbour Publishing. Colin Grassick travels from Scotland to Salem County to become the master glassblower at a glassworks. He loves his work and hopes to bring the rest of his family to America for a more prosperous life, but his love for his boss’s daughter could cost him his job and his life.

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

With all three of these books, I wanted to go for simplicity. Somehow, focusing on one character from each book just stuck in my head. It’s mainly about a glassblower. Besides that, it’s not a usual occupation for a protagonist in a historical, so I thought it would get people’s attention.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love history. Although I’ve played with contemporary fiction, I haven’t found a niche there. Frankly, I’m more comfortable in historical settings than contemporary ones.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I wanted to write a series on New Jersey. It’s kind of an unjustly maligned state for which I have a great deal of affection for various reasons, so I picked up an old Bicentennial general history of the state. The chapter on the glassblowing industry wouldn’t leave my head.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

That depends on the time period and subject matter. I have hundreds of them. The ease of getting public domain books from Google Books makes the selection even broader. I usually start with some kind of general history and go on to the specific from there. I love original sources, too, like diaries and memoirs.

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

Colin. He just got ahold of my imagination and heart and I loved making this artistic and sensitive, but strong artisan.

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 use an Excel spreadsheet and focus on goal, motivation, and conflict for general purpose, romantic conflict, and spiritual conflict. I add in things like eye and hair color for reference later, and fears and strengths, etc. I also write down the epiphany they achieve in the story, what lesson they have to learn.

As far as research, it is highly important. Colin is a Scot, so his speech is going to be different. I like my characters to use words and expressions of their time and place, to talk like someone from their time and place rather than a contemporary person from Hollywood. Research matters in attitudes. This is especially important with female characters. My nineteenth century heroine is not going to sound like a feminist, though most of my heroines are independent. They’re simply independent in a historically accurate way.

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

I like the styles of the early 1800s. Far more comfortable for females than previously or later. Men, too, in many ways. Speech? That’s more fun in the Regency novel, of course. One thing I find interesting about the nineteenth century is how God is such an integral part of everyone’s life. Talk of religion, God, and spiritual matters was not a time for everyone to bristle or keep under the rug. It just was.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, yes, several. Patricia Veryan, Jo Beverley, Georgette Heyer, I could keep going.

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

Keeping my name in the public eye through blogging regularly, posting on Facebook, and, above all, writing a book that people like. The Glassblower was one of the editor’s five favorite historicals of 2009. She loved my hero.

What do we have to look forward to next?

The other two books in the New Jersey series: The Heiress and The Newcomer and When the Snow Flies, from Avalon books, come out in April and August of next year. I have several more books coming out after that, my first trade paperback, Bride of the Mist, will be released from Baker/Revell in January of 2011.

Thanks, Laurie!

To celebrate her book release, Kim has a free book of The Glassblower that one lucky commenter on today's blog can win. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

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

Award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes does not remember a time when books did not play a part in her life; thus, no one was surprised when she decided to be a writer. Her first hardcover was an October, 2006 Regency historical from Avalon Books and won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency, as well as being a finalist for Best First Book. After selling her first book in the inspirational market, she also wrote articles and essays for Christian publications. A brief hiatus in publishing climaxed with her selling eleven books in nine months, to publishers such as Barbour, Avalon, and Baker/Revell.

She is an active member of RWA and ACFW, and started the Avalon Authors group blog. A graduate of the Seton Hill University Master of Arts Degree in Writing Popular Fiction, And a Bachelor of Arts graduate in English and French from Asbury College, she is an experienced speaker, and has made presentations at local and national RWA conferences, as well as local universities and libraries.

Until recently, she lived in Northern Virginia, then her husband’s law career took them and their dogs and cats, to southern Texas, where she writes full-time and enjoys the beach whenever possible.

Check out author’s website at though I confess I haven’t had time to update it. My blog is more up-to-date on what I’m up to

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

MY UNFAIR LADY is released today!

As you can guess from the title, My Unfair Lady was inspired by the movie My Fair Lady, based on Shaw’s Pygmalion. About an American heiress who goes to London to hire a sponsor to turn her into a lady, I’d like to celebrate the release by telling readers what I love the most about my heroine, Summer Wine Lee.

Although I like that Summer is bold, and a bit dangerous, and a product of her environment (she’s more of an Annie Oakley than she is an Eliza Doolittle), I think my favorite thing about her is her compassion. It’s her greatest strength, and sometimes her greatest weakness.

She can’t turn her back on the suffering of ‘critters’, and picks up quite a menagerie of hurt and stray animals. Since she spent most of her life growing up on an Arizona mine, she relieved her loneliness by adopting her first friends, some coatimundi’s. (These are really cute animals native to the Southwest desert.) As an adult, she picked up a cat named Moo-moo who has issues which makes her climb to feel secure, a three-legged dog named Lefty, a large dog named Sweetie who is a bit of a coward, and a tiny little Chihuahua named Chi-chi. Unfortunately, she can only bring Chi-chi with her on her voyage to London, but Summer and her friend Maria manage to rescue a monkey and a baby fox while in England.

Summer’s compassion also allows her to see beyond the surface appearance of a person. She does this with the hero’s mistress (which, unfortunately for my hero, the Duke of Monchester, causes their immediate breakup). Summer hires the duke to sponsor her and sees beyond his façade of arrogance as well, although it will take some time before she can truly unveil the entire character of the man that lies beneath.

Unfortunately, Summer’s compassion is also the reason for her insecurity. She carries a secret from her past. An action that she was forced to commit, but can’t forgive herself for. She thinks she wants to be turned in to a lady because she’s engaged to a man in New York who is connected to the Astor family, and they’ve made it clear to her that she’s an unacceptable bride. But as she works toward this goal, her secret creeps out to haunt her again and again, until she finally realizes why she wants to be a lady. And that it might be impossible.

But the duke finds out her secret, and is determined to help her.

And Summer’s compassion gets her into more trouble. She’s beginning to find out some contradictions about the duke and his family, and resolves to help him as well. When she discovers that someone might even be trying to kill him, she cannot turn her back on him, even when it would be in her best interest to do so. As she uncovers even more truths about the duke, she also finds herself growing more attracted to him. And her compassion for her fiancé prevents her from acting on those feelings, throwing Summer into more confusion. But her strength carries her through, and although sometimes she’s forced to make some difficult decisions, I can’t help but admire those that she does make. And eventually Summer will use her compassion for herself, as well, to discover her own inner truths.

Although Summer’s compassion might have made her story a deeper, more serious study of her character, her personality, penchant for outrageous behavior (at least as far as London society is concerned) and habit of caring for her critters makes the book a fun and light-hearted journey of self-discovery. The predicaments she gets into, and her unique way of solving them, are always fueled by her compassion…for better or worse.

So what is one of the traits you admire the most in your favorite heroine? And why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

With My Best Wishes,

PS. Join me today for my Virtual Book Tour at:

My Unfair Lady
By Kathryne Kennedy
Victorian Romance
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 978-1-4022-2990-9
December 2009
$6.99 US/MM Paperback

Starred review from Publishers Weekly! A Library Journal Editor’s Pick! 5 book rating from Long and Short Reviews/5 stars from Huntress Reviews/WRDF Reviews says “A fantastic read!”/Romantic Times BOOKReviews says “Kennedy’s writing is witty and enjoyable.”/Merrimon Book Reviews says “A pure delight.”/Booklist says “Plenty of sexy romance.”

He created the perfect woman…
The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…

For the arms of another man...
Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart…