Friday, October 29, 2010

Interview with Wendy Ely

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Wendy Ely. 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 Midnight Secrets. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Will Miguel’s whispered midnight promises ever see the light of day?

Content with her job as small town waitress and roll of single mom, Allison believes she's better off without a man. In her opinion, all they bring is chaos - and that includes the father of her child. So why has Miguel’s arrival shaken her so badly?

It's not easy for Allison to keep Miguel a secret with someone set on shutting down her bakery and the local sheriff believing she harbors a vendetta against the town because of her tormented past.

Keeping her secrets and clearing her name just might be harder than Allison ever imagined.


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

Midnight Secrets is the second book in The Desert Secret Series so I wanted to find a title that related to secrets. Since Miguel sneaks into Allison’s house during the night, the title seemed perfect

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always (yep, even as a young teenager) been drawn to the contemporary love story. Nothing feels better than the reminder of the happily-ever-after so my books have them.

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

I’m a pantser. I did try plotting the first book in this series since it is a romantic suspense. I even made note cards to help organize each scene. Once the plotting was done and I sat down to write the novel, the story had already been told in my brain. I couldn’t write it. Fed up with the writer’s block, I threw the cards away and stared at the blinking cursor against the blank white computer screen. The words started flying through my finger tips as I embraced the pantser side of my creativity. I haven’t tried changing my process since then.

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

I did do a lot of research for Midnight Secrets. I consulted with specialists in the field I was researching which included a scientist, a few midwives, and a cop. My favorite way to research is interviewing professionals in the field. By talking with the people, I cut down the time spent on researching because I get to ask them exactly what I need to know instead of sift through hours of useless information to find one answer.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea kind of evolved from the heroine. Allison was a background character in Confession but happened to have such a strong personality that she needed her own story. I took what I knew about her from the first book and the idea grew from that.

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

I like all of the characters in Midnight Secrets but Allison is my favorite. She struggled a lot with being a single mom and dependent on her family even though she hated every second of it. Although I had to be dependent from my family, I could understand how she would feel. Besides that, Allison’s experiences my deep fear where the children are concerned.

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 do character sheets and interviews but when I start a story most of the prewriting stuff is blank. I find out much more information as I’m writing the book. When I wrote Confessions, I had no idea Allison was a basketball player for her high school. It wasn’t until I was working on a scene in Midnight Secrets that I figured it out. The research helps define the character’s personalities but I already have an idea who the character is.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Rachel Gibson inspires me. I love her style. I’ve also learned a lot from reading James Patterson books.

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

I think that the best promoting thing I’ve done is just getting myself out there and making new friends with both readers and authors. I don’t want people to know me only when a new book is out but all year long.

What do we have to look forward next?

A romantic thriller titled New Year’s Resolution. It’ll be released by Captiva Press sometime soon.

Thanks, Wendy!

To celebrate her book release, Wendy is offering a free book of Midnight Secrets to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you 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 www.wendyely.info
Buy www.lyricalpress.com/wendyely

Thursday, October 28, 2010

November WriterU On-Line Classes

November 1-26, 2010
"Pros & Cons of Blending Genres"
by Allison Brennan
$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

With fourteen thrillers and four short stories to her name, ranging from suspense to paranormal to romance and everything in between, Allison Brennan has repeatedly hit the bestseller lists. Her romantic thrillers don't follow the traditional 50/50 mix of romance and suspense, blending traditional elements of thrillers and mysteries to create something a little different. What raises the stakes and makes readers come back for more? Character.

Having taken risks -- like blending genres and breaking rules -- Allison has enjoyed great success, as well as falling in some major potholes. This always frank author will discuss a variety of issues, including:

* What is genre?
* What should you consider when exploring a new genre?
* What is "voice" and how do you find it?
* Who can you rely on for research and technical support?
* What is conventional wisdom and when should you avoid it?
* How can you take your traditional story idea and twist it?
* How to assess feasibility of your intriguing, genre-blending idea?
* The importance of character, pacing, and reader expectations

Alison Brennan is a New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fourteen books and four short stories. She lives with her husband and their five children in northern California and is currently writing book two in her Lucy Kincaid romantic thriller series which launches in January of 2011 with LOVE ME TO DEATH. Visit her at www.allisonbrennan.com or check out her Seven Deadly Sins series at www.sevendeadlysinsbooks.com.

~ ~ ~
November 1-26, 2010
"Scene & Sequel"
by Patricia Kay
$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

Are you finding it hard to understand and apply the principles of story construction using Scene and Sequel? If you are, you're not alone. Many writers, even multi-published veterans, find the concept a difficult one. But now help is at hand. By utilizing a combination of fourteen lessons, homework, class discussion, and feedback on your written work, this class on building blocks to great fiction will take the mystery out of Scene and Sequel. You'll learn:

* What a scene is and isn't
* Planning and revising scenes for maximum effect
* How and when to use sequels
* Controlling pace with scene and sequel
* Choosing the best point of view
* Writing for the strongest emotional impact
* Flashbacks: when and how to use them
* How to write a unique love scene

Patricia Kay is the USA Today bestselling author of 50 women's fiction and romance novels. An acclaimed teacher, she formerly taught various writing classes at the University of Houston and has given workshops all over the country. She now limits her teaching to online classes. You can learn more about her on her website at www.patriciakay.com.

~ ~ ~
November 8-19, 2010
MASTER CLASS: "Dodging The Saggy Middle"
by Sherry Lewis
$55 at www.WriterUniv.com

Prerequisite: must have a complete manuscript

Some writers love beginnings, and some love endings, but the dreaded saggy middle is dreaded and feared by writers alt all career stages. What causes the saggy middle? How do we get through that dull area between exciting setup and the climactic end, where conflict droops and motivation wilts? In this workshop, Sherry Lewis will help you concentrate on getting around that saggy middle problem to keep readers, agent and editors hooked all the way through. You'll learn how to:

* Make sure your characters are multi-dimensional and interesting
* Make them active enough to keep the reader turning pages
* Pace your character arcs for maximum effect
* Use subplots to drive the story forward
* Make sure you have enough conflict to keep readers interested
* Use conflict and turning points to better pace your novel
* Keep secrets -- a vital part of bridging the saggy middle

Sherry Lewis is an award-winning career writer with roughly 30 published books to her credit. Her books include two traditional mystery series, and both contemporary and time travel romance. A long-time member of Romance Writers of America and a member of Sisters in Crime, Sherry is a frequent judge on the contest circuit, and she has taught writing classes both online and in person for over 15 years.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bootcamp for Novelists November On-Line Classes

NEW BOOTCAMP CLASSES OCT 31ST - NOV 24TH

Two classes with award winning author Linda Style

INFUSING STORIES WITH EMOTION
What do bestselling novels have in common? All are stories with emotional
impact. Creating a story that will move readers emotionally is one of the
most important techniques a writer can learn.and yet, many writers don't
even think about it until they realize something is missing in their story.
In this class you'll learn not only how to infuse your stories with emotion,
but also how to keep the reader engaged from the very first page to the
last. Concepts and techniques in this class include:

· Engaging the reader

· The emotional journey

· Necessary elements

· Natural vs Forced emotions

· Affective Memory

· Emotion in dialogue

· Narrative & internal monologue

· The Crucible

· Emotion in action

· Emotional checklist

Course fee: $28 www.bootcampfornovelists.com

SCENE & SEQUEL DYNAMICS

Variations in Structure

Whether using a mini-sequel within an action scene, or inserting a flashback
to convey emotion, it's important to know how and when to use such
techniques. Using variations incorrectly can take a reader out of the story,
disrupt the pacing and kill emotion. Experienced writers know when and how
to vary structure to make their stories stronger. In this class, students
will learn the intricacies of writing scene and sequel using variations from
the structural norm that experienced writers use all the time.and you'll get
hands on experience to learn how to use them.

* Review of basic scene and sequel structure

* The five major variations in structure

* 11 specialized techniques

* Motivation reaction units

* Increasing drama

* Adding suspense

* Common errors

Course fee $28 www.bootcampfornovelists.com

Your Instructor for both classes: .

LINDA STYLE always dreamed of becoming a novelist, but being practical, she
earned degrees in behavioral science and in journalism and, over the years,
she's written articles for newspapers and magazines, worked as a management
consultant, a magazine editor, and was the Director of the Arizona Office of
Grievance and Appeals for the Seriously Mentally Ill. But the dream of being
a novelist persisted and after a few years of writing novels in her spare
time. five books and four RWA Golden Heart nominations later. Linda's last
GH entry was purchased by Harlequin Superromance. Her first book was out in
2000, and now, 13 novels later, Linda's award-winning books are sold
worldwide and translated in a dozen languages. Winner of the prestigious
Daphne du Maurier Award, Linda says she has the best job in the world. "I
get to make up stories and someone pays me to do it. It's my childhood
dream come true."

What students are saying about Linda's classes:

"Another great workshop!!! I just wanted to thank you for all your time and
patience for this growing writer. You are a great instructor and I learn so
much from your lessons, assignments and feedback."

"The lessons were excellent, and I will definitely put them to good use. I
think I'm signed up for a couple more classes, and I am looking forward to
them! The classes I've taken here have been among the best, and I've taken a
TON of courses over the years."

"You are a very good teacher, and for me, you zero in on all the most
important strengths and weaknesses. Can I enroll now?"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

German Edition Covers...

I had some readers ask about the German editions of my covers for Enchanting the Lady and Double Enchantment, and so I'm sharing them here today. I have laid out the cover for each book side by side, and I think it's fascinating to note the differences in presentation to a foreign audience. I was so thrilled that my books translated to another language, to be read by people who live in a different culture, to reach a country I can only hope to visit some day. There is something awe-inspiring about my stories touching the lives of people I've never met. And one thing that never occurred to me when I started writing: that I would make so many new friends, even in other countries where I did not speak the language.










Monday, October 25, 2010

And the winner is....

Congratulations Kristy Jo. You're the winner of Chris Marie's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail.com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Interview with Chris Marie Green

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Chris Marie Green. 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 Path of Razors, Vampire Babylon, Book Five. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Yes, thank you! This release is actually a mass market reissue of the trade edition, which has already been on the shelves. Ace, my publishing imprint, is re-releasing all my Vampire Babylon books in anticipation of a new series I’ll have out in 2011. It’s a “post-apocalyptic western urban fantasy” series called Bloodlands, and it’ll be released during three consecutive months: August, September, and October. As for the Vampire Babylon books, they’re straight urban fantasy, with a vampire hunting team taking down bloodsucker undergrounds in Hollywood and London during the course of two different trilogies.

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

The second Vampire Babylon trilogy—the London trilogy—has deep fairy tale themes and imagery running through it. There’s some big bad wolf and wicked stepmother stuff going on, as well as a lot of references to Red Riding Hood. This particular book focuses on the consequences of straying from the “good path,” or the path you should be traveling in life, but everyone from the main heroine, Dawn Madison, to the teen girl vampires make choices that lead them off of those paths and far into dangerous territory. In some versions of Red Riding Hood, the heroine has the choice of traveling either the path of needles or the path of pins—The Path of Razors is where my characters chose to go….

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always been fascinated with vampires in general. I grew up a horror movie and book lover, so it was only natural that I ended up here. : ) Urban fantasy encompasses everything I love to read—horror, action/adventure, some romance, and twisty noir.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Since I use trilogies to tell Dawn Madison’s story, The Path of Razors is an extension of the initial book in the trilogy, A Drop of Red. It’s The Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy, LOL. The London adventure ends with Deep in the Woods, Book Six.

My vamp hunting team had already dealt with those Hollywood vampires in the first trilogy, so it was time for them to move on to another underground. At the same time, Dawn is facing the fallout from being a vampire hunter. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a normal person who’s thrust into that kind of life? Of course, she’s not so normal now—especially not after what happened to her in the previous book, Break of Dawn. That title is very literal, because Dawn is still on the edge, fighting for her sanity and soul in London.

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

I love the Vampire Encyclopedia. It’s fascinating and makes for some fun, informative reading. I’ve also read about Vlad the Impaler from various sources—he plays a part in the formation of these vampire undergrounds that Dawn and her team fight. This sounds odd, but I actually do more research out of the paranormal arena for these books, since it’s important to ground the stories in reality. For instance, I traveled to London so I could get inspiration for certain scenes, block them out, and record all the sensory details I could manage. What a job, huh? ; )

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

I love Dawn—I think in a lot of ways, she’s my dark twin. Kiko, her psychic associate, is always a lot of fun; I hear him talking to me when I write his scenes, LOL. In this particular trilogy, though, I very much identified with the point-of-view teen vampire, Della. She brought back all the pain of growing up, but Della is the worst-case scenario of teen angst. She became a vampire because it helped her to belong in school and because an older man made her a lot of promises—of love, of being appreciated… Too bad that man was a master vampire who made all those promises to a lot of other girls, as well.

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 do have character interview questions that I like to think about before I start writing chapters. Basic things like how they grew up, what their fears are (and you can bet those fears always come true during the course of the trilogies), what their high school yearbooks said about them. With these Vampire Babylon books, though, I find that character development and plot go hand in hand—they both affect each other. I love that, because I think that’s an organic way for things to develop.

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

My most important world-building tool is the story bible. It’s so important to keep track of details, such as what the vampires are capable of, etc. I build the world off of that, and it helps me to keep everything straight in my mind!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I devoured Stephen King’s short stories in middle school, and they taught me a lot about planting details in a story. I was also addicted to V.C. Andrews, as well as John Saul. And I love romance, especially Maggie Osborne. Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is a big favorite of mine, too—I re-read that book every so often because it’s that fabulous.

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

I think having web sites are crucial. I write under two pen names—Chris Marie Green and Crystal Green. One is for urban fantasy, one is for romance (Silhouette Special Edition, Harlequin Blaze). Each name is a different brand because there are certain expectations for each kind of story. Romance has to have that emotionally satisfying ending, whereas urban fantasy can be darker. I want readers to know what they can expect from each name.

What do we have to look forward next?

There’s the Bloodlands series later in 2011 (and I’m on Twitter and Facebook under Chris Marie Green if you want updates!). I’ll have a new Special Edition out under the Crystal Green name in January, but in March, there’ll be a new Vampire Babylon short story in an anthology called Those Who Fight Monsters.

Thanks, Chris!

Thank you!

To celebrate her book release, Chris is offering a free book of A Drop of Red, Vampire Babylon, Book Four, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you 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...

Chris Marie Green is the author of the urban fantasy Vampire Babylon and Bloodlands series from Ace Books. Until about five years ago, Chris was an eighth-grade teacher, but she became a full-time author who has published over thirty-five books under this name as well as the pseudonym Crystal Green.

Check out author’s website at www.chrismariegreen.com and http://www.crystal-green.com/.

Buy http://www.mystgalaxy.com/search/apachesolr_search/chris+marie+green.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Gal Can Dream.....

Kim Watters here. The other day I had the honor of attending a book talk and signing of my son’s favorite author, Rick Riordan. In case you haven’t heard of him, maybe Percy Jackson rings a bell? Of course if you don’t have kids, maybe you haven’t heard of the man who drew 1100 people for this event. Yes folks, that’s 1100 and that’s only the lucky ones that got in, many more were turned away.

The bookstore and Rick handled the signing very well. Books were given out when we checked in (my son got the book and I bought an extra ticket to get in) and everyone pretty much started reading them immediately, my son included. After Rick did his talk and read an excerpt, it was time for the book signing. People were grouped by letters in the alphabet and were called up one at a time. The rest of us in the audience were treated to cartoons while we waited. As a parent of a very impatient child, that was a very much appreciated so I didn’t have to listen to “Is it our turn yet?”

When our turn finally came we were met by several store employees as we got to the front of the line. The first checked our tickets to make sure no one snuck ahead, the second put the book flap in the right place, and the third wrote my son’s name on a sticky note so Rick would spell it right.
Finally at the front, another employee sat next to Rick and took the books and opened them so Rick could sign. Since each person could get a book signed, I carried one of Rick’s other books for my son, so that meant he signed 1100 books plus whatever stock the book store had left over. The whole time I kept thinking that Rick had to be getting writer’s cramp, but he still had a smile for everyone in line and even asked my son if he had any questions. What a guy. He made my son’s day.

As an author myself, I hope that I leave my readers with that kind good feeling when they walk away from my table with my latest book in their hands. Even if I have 1100 people there. A gal can dream, can’t she?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

For Writers: My Journey of sales to inspire you.

I started out writing short fiction before tackling an entire manuscript. I had published several short stories in small press SF/F publications, honing my writing skills in shorter fiction and establishing publication credits. I had a fantastic experience with SF/F editors, who were all so willing and helpful in providing feedback on my stories. When I made my first ‘pro’ sale, to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword & Sorceress series, I felt that perhaps I was now ready to write an entire book. I do recall that MZB accepted that first story (a romantic fantasy titled Spirit Quest—you can read all about it in the Short Stories page on my website) by sending me a letter and contract through the mail. I also recall that my knees gave out and the couch was (fortunately) beneath me at the time.

I then wrote my first manuscript, Beneath the Thirteen Moons, a combination of SF/F and romance, all the things that I love. And I had a devil of a time selling it. There was no umbrella of Paranormal Romance at the time, so no one knew how to market it. I received rejections from SF/F houses that said “too much romance”, and rejections from Romance houses that said “too much fantasy”. I finally found Five Star, a small press house, whose editor at that time, Russell Davis, was actually looking for the type of story I had written. He called--my knees only wobbled this time--and Beneath the Thirteen Moons was released in hardcover. I was very na├»ve at the time, and Russell gave me the best piece of advice: join RWA. I then spent the next year or so learning about the ‘selling’ of books, creating a website, exploring marketing opportunities, etc. And the best part, meeting other writers.

Because of my difficulty in selling my first manuscript, I then wrote a historical romance titled My Unfair Lady, and I did manage to interest an agent with that manuscript. But the entire time I was writing it, I kept thinking: “What if?”

What if the titles of the nobility were based on magical talent? What if Merlin actually had magic in his blood, and passed it down to his descendants? And despite the market, I wrote the book of my heart, combining the research I did for my historical romance novel along with the fantasy that I just couldn’t resist weaving into my stories.

I shelved My Unfair Lady, pursuing (what turned out to be) the first book in my magical new series, The Relics of Merlin. I sold book one, Enchanting the Lady, to my first mainstream publishing house. Now by this time, ‘paranormal’ romance had become a good seller, and although my books are fantasy romances, publishers knew how to market them. And that they would have an audience. I wrote two more books in the series when I was approached by another publisher.

I’m going to circle back to that historical romance manuscript, My Unfair Lady. Besides launching into a new series, The Elven Lords, another magical variation on historical England, my new publisher wanted to look at everything I had written.

My Unfair Lady was published in December of last year, and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and a Library Journal editor’s pick. My first book, Beneath the Thirteen Moons, is re-releasing December of this year in mm paperback. Remember, these are two books that were rejected by just about every publisher under the sun, once long ago. So based on my publishing experience I can offer this advice: nothing you write is ever a ‘waste’, writing is subject to personal opinion and the whims of the market, continue to write the book of your heart regardless of the market, cause this business is always changing.

And for me, I feel as if I’ve had more than one ‘first sale’. I’ve had many of them, sometimes circling back on one another. And although my knees don’t give out anymore, each time I see my book hit the shelves I experience that same thrill.

I hope my publishing journey inspired you in some way, and if I can offer any advice or support, please feel free to leave me a comment.

My Magical Best,
Kathryne

Monday, October 18, 2010

And the winner is....

Congratulations Kim. You're the winner of Linda's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail.com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Power


I like to listen to audio books while cleaning or getting ready for work.
Recently I have been listening to The Power by Rhonda Byrne. It
is the sequel to The Secret.

Rhona Byrne says the secret to The Law of Attraction is love; feeling
it, sending it out, etc. When you feel love, the universe sends you
more things or situations to love.

If this is true, then romance writers are doing a huge
service to the world. Not only are we helping people
reconnect to a time when they fell in love, but we
are also helping to bring more of those wonderful
moments to them.

So hit those keyboards and spread love!

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, October 15, 2010

Interview with Linda Wisdom

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Linda Wisdom. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy again, 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 that will be out at the end of the month called Hex At Midnight. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Hex At Midnight is Thea's story where she's down on her luck due to a cheating business manager. Along with her python necklace, Cedric, and Lloyd, her flamingo personal assistant, Thea's invited to an old world hotel in the Hollywood Hills along with several celebrities, along with her ex lover demon archeologist, JT Morgan. Except the hotel isn't what anyone thinks it is as rooms change personality in the blink of an eye, the residents start turning into dolls, and skeletal bellhop, Julian, hints there's a lot more going on there than the usual. All Thea and JT can do is figure out what's going on in the hotel before they turn into witch and demon action figures and just maybe this time they can reconnect for good. Hex At Midnight is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I wanted to stay with the Hex titles and it seemed to fit the story line.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Paranormal books have been a favorite for years. I wrote my first one back in the late 1980s and was lucky enough to have Harlequin American Romance publish A Man for Maggie about a psychic seeing a murderer’s handiwork. It was harder to sell in the genre then and I only managed to get a few more accepted, but I refused to stop while writing my category romances.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I’ve always loved the idea of haunted and/or cursed hotels, so that was easy for the background. Plus I wanted Thea, who’s an incredibly strong personality, to have a very alpha counterpart. JT is that.

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

I have some great non fiction books by Yasmine Galenorn, Embracing the Moon, Totem Magic, and others, along with books on spells and magical creatures, superstitions, and tarot. My laptop was recently upgraded with a new hard drive and I lost all my bookmarked sites, so I’m starting over.

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

Of the witches, it will always be Jazz since she started the witches. And I’ve been told she’s a lot like me. She’s showing up in other books and I’m seeing more sides to her each time she appears.

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 do have character files for each one because I need to keep the information straight on each of them. I also add to them every so often. I think my characters affect the world more than the world affects them. Probably because all of my characters tend to have a mind of their own. :}
How do you go about building your world if you use one? Do you use maps, charts or drawings? The world begins in my head like a movie, so then I work it out on paper and transfer to a computer file. I’m using more paranormal worlds and I need to keep it all straight.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Yasmine Galenorn, Simon R. Green, Jim Butcher, Cathy Clamp, Ilona Andrews, Laura Bickle, Annette Blair, Rob Thurman, Mark del Franco, Anton Strout. A lot!

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

Wow, I’m not sure if any one thing has. I have offered hexy baskets once in awhile and now offer witchy goodies and signed bookplates for fans who email me.

What do we have to look forward next?

Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend will be out in April 2011. It will feature witchy Maggie, who you met in Hex in High Heels and an incredibly sexy half demon, Declan. I had so much fun writing this book and I really hope my readers have fun reading it.

Thanks, Linda!

To celebrate her book release, Linda is offering a free book of Hex in High Heels to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you 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 http://www.lindawisdom.com/ for more details on Hex At Midnight here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Screenwriting Structure for Authors

Perfect for anyone who contemplates NaNoWriMo, or who needs that extra boost in structuring a complex story.


DEADLINE TO REGISTER: October 27th


Screenwriting Structure for Authors : More and more, publishers are looking for books that have the pacing, emotional impact, and big, unique, "high concept" premises of Hollywood movies (and the potential for that movie or TV sale!).

Screenwriting is a compressed and dynamic storytelling form and the techniques of screenwriting are easily adaptable to novel writing.

In this workshop you'll learn how to use techniques of film writing such as:

- the High Concept Premise
- the Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure
- the Storyboard Grid
- the Index Card Method of Plotting

as well as tricks of film pacing and suspense, character arc and drive, visual storytelling, and building image systems - to structure and color your novel for maximum emotional impact, unbearable suspense and riveting pacing, no matter what genre you're writing in.

You'll start to create your own personalized workbook of genre tricks tailored to you own brand of storytelling and a collage book to build visual image systems. And the emphasis on premise is invaluable for crafting that all-important pitch.

Whether you're just starting to develop a story or rewriting for maximum impact, this workshop can help make the process successful, easy, and fun.

About Alex:
As a screenwriter, Alexandra Sokoloff has sold original mystery and thriller scripts and written novel adaptations for numerous Hollywood studios. Her debut ghost story, THE HARROWING, was nominated for both a Bram Stoker award (horror) and Anthony award (mystery) for Best First Novel. Her second supernatural thriller, THE PRICE, was called “some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre” by the New York Times Book Review, and her short story, “The Edge of Seventeen”, won the International Thriller Writers' Thriller award. Alex’s third spooky thriller, THE UNSEEN, is out now, and is based on real-life experiments conducted at the parapsychology lab on the Duke University campus. BOOK OF SHADOWS and SHIFTERS, her first Harlequin Nocturne, are coming in 2010, and SCREENWRITING TRICKS FOR AUTHORS, based on her popular workshop and blog (http://screenwritingtricks.com), is now available at Amazon.

http://alexandrasokoloff.com

Open to: ALL WRITERS, regardless of genre or level. You will work at your own pace with interaction with the instructor, appropriate for your level of expertise. The class uses yahoogroups as the meeting place, and you'll receive the lessons via email and will be able to interact with the instructor and class at your own pace for the month duration. All lessons and files will be available for you for download.

Deadline to Register: October 27, 2010
Click this link to register: http://pasic.net/class_registration.php

Cost: $20 for PASIC members, $30 for non-members

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Win $240 in prizes--New Contest for BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS

To celebrate the re-release of BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS in mass-market paperback, I am offering three opportunities to win the original hardcover first print edition of the book. Currently valued at close to $80.00 for a used edition on Amazon.com, the total prizes being offered is close to $240.00 or more, as these copies are brand new and signed by the author, and copies are limited.There are three ways (categories) to enter:


1. Send an email with CONTEST in the subject line to: kathryne@kathrynekennedy.com and tell me what was your favorite scene in THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER, and why.


2. If you are one of my newsletter subscribers add NS to CONTEST in the subject line (answering the same questions). I will hold one drawing for all entries, and another drawing for ONLY those entries with NS in the subject line, as a special bonus for my newsletter subscribers.


3. I am offering another copy to thank those of my readers who have shown such support for my books by commenting on my blog, posting a review, commenting on my guest blog tour, mentioning my books on any public forum, etc. Just send an email to: kathryne@kathrynekennedy.com with SPECIAL READER in the subject line, and let me know where, when & what name you posted the comment under.


A winner will be randomly chosen using RANDOM.ORG. Your information will be kept confidential. Contest ends November 30th, 2010. Only one entry per each category. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or older to enter. No prize substitution permitted. Odds of winning are determined by number of entrants. This contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Monday, October 11, 2010

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Rebekah E. You're the winner of Carolyn's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail.com (no spaces) to claim your prize.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Overcoming Fear and Procrastination


When I notice I am allowing fear or procrastination to get in my way, I reread this quote by Walter Cronkite -

"I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got."

Let's get out of our own way and submit that book!

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, October 8, 2010

Interview with Carolyn Brown

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

I've got chocolate, coffee and I'm settled down in a lounge chair. It's great to stop by MCTT today for another therapy session. (You're always welcome here, my dear.)


I understand you have a new release out called My Give A Damn's Busted. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

This is the third book in the Honky Tonk Series. I Love This Bar came out in June; Hell, Yeah in August. The series finale will be out in November with Honky Tonk Christmas. My Give A Damn's Busted is Larissa and Hank's story. Larissa was fed up with trying to find a place to call home. She'd been around the world and no where called her name so one day she decided to let fate have a chance at bringing her happiness. She pulled the map down in the library and stuck a pin in it. The pin came to rest in Mingus, Texas. When she traveled to the Texas town she thought she'd made a wrong turn and landed in hell. But things began to work out for her and by the end of Hell, Yeah she is the new owner of the Honky Tonk. In My Give A Damn's Busted, Hayes Radner is still trying to get the Honky Tonk. And Larissa is just the sassy woman to fight him off. Then Hank Wells shows up and thinks he can dig up dirt on Larissa bu tshe's not going down without a fight. No dime store cowboy can get the best of her or her Honky Tonk. As secrets emerge between the two and passion vies with ulterior motives, its a toss up as to whether they'll learn to trust each other or not.

My Give A Damn's Busted is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My fabulous editor, Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks, and I worked together on the titles but she gets the most credit for them. My Give A Damn's Busted is also the title of a Jo Dee Messina and plays a big part all through the book.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Westerns have always been a favorite of mine whether books, movies or television shows. I love cowboys! They talk slow, walk tall and listen when a woman talks. It don't get no better than that!

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

I think more like a jet air plane pilot than a plotter or a panster. I start off with a destination and a plane full of characters. But about half way to the destination I let the characters hijack the plane and we have this amazing journey that wasn't planned at all.

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

Of course, I use the internet to research but my favorite research tool is simply going to the real site and taking a look. I went to Mingus several times during the course of writing the series. Nice bunch of folks down there. If you are ever in the area go by the Smokestack and have a chicken fried steak. They're the best ever!

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Well, Larissa had made herself known in Hell, Yeah and showed me she had enough spunk and sass to inherit the place. That rascal Hank Wells...there was something he knew that I didn't and I sure had to keep at him to ferret it all out. So My Give A Damn's Busted just fell into place.

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

Oh, dear, that would be like choosing a favorite child! I loved the way Larissa came to life in My Give A Damn's Busted. She showed them all that she had spunk, class and independence. But then I liked Hank and his dilemma and the way his deception lay heavy on his heart. And then Merle, the seventy year old pool shark who's been in all the Honky Tonk books. And Luther, the bouncer, who's just a big old sweet bear of a man.

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 just toss them in the airplane, tell them to sit anywhere they want and see what happens!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, my, yes, ma'am!! I can't even name them all. If I had to narrow it down to only a few they would be Margaret Mitchell, Mario Puza, Leon Uris and Nora Lofts. That's a bit eclectic but I'll read any and every thing from Hemingway to the back of the Cheerio's box and love it all.

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

Word of mouth, first and foremost. If someone falls in love with a book they are going to tell their neighbors and anyone who'll stand still and listen. Also, blog sites. It's amazing to me how many people visit blog sites to see the reviews before they read a book. So hats off to all you folks who take care of those sites.

What do we have to look forward next?

Honky Tonk Christmas, the fourth and final installment of The Honky Tonk series will be on the shelves in November, just in time for Christmas. In February, From Wine to Water, a sweet romance from Avalon will kick off the Angels and Outlaws trilogy and then in May, a new series begins from Sourcebooks: Spikes & Spurs with the first book, Love Drunk Cowboy.

Thanks, Carolyn!

Thank you for inviting me to make a stop here to promote My Give A Damn's Busted. I hate to get out of the comfortable chair but my coffee and chocolate is gone so I guess it's time for me to move on and give my seat to the next writer! Happy Reading. (We'll make sure to get you some more chocolate for the next time you visit)

To celebrate her book release, Carolyn Brown is offering a free signed book of My Give A Damn's Busted to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you 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 http://carolynlbrown.com/

Buy http://www.amazon.com/Give-Damns-Busted-Carolyn-Brown/dp/1402239289/ref=sr_1_2?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1285862218&sr=8-2

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kim Watters here. So, last year we joined the YMCA. For the kids of course. They have a swimming pool, a climbing wall, racquetball courts, a teen center and joy of joy, summer camp. The kids have enjoyed every minute of it. I, of course, enjoyed every minute the kids were there.

Since it’s a family membership, the kids soon got smart. “Hey mom, why don’t you ever come to the Y?”

“Er, because I’m allergic to working out?”

“Really?” Miss Priss gave me a skeptical look.

“Chicken.” Mr. Sarcastic piped in. “Look here, it’s a list of classes they teach. How hard can it be?”

Okay, I’ve been bested by my kids. “You’re right. How hard can it be?”

I glanced at the sheet. Boxing. No way. Body Pump? Sounded exhausting. Body Flow? Hmm. Sounds better but I’ve never done Pilates. Zumba? Can’t dance. Not going there. Ever. Cycling? Sounded good. I used to bike as a kid, no problem. While my son enjoyed the teen center, “gasp” they have daycare for the “mini me”. Drat! I had no excuse now.

So the next time we went to the Y I got dolled up in my cute coordinated work out outfit and signed up for the class. I remembered to bring in a towel and water bottle even though I suspected I wouldn’t be needing it. I stepped inside and my heart dropped to my stomach and breathing became a chore. Sounds like a romance novel, right? Wrong. Those metal contraptions with wheels do not look like the exercise bikes of the past.

Fast forward to the pert, in shape instructor who has legs I can only dream about. “Okay, class, are you ready?”

I nod my head, trying to conserve energy. I have a feeling I was going to need it.
The class kicks me in the rear end. I huff, and I puff, and my backside goes numb. My thighs are worse than overcooked spaghetti noodles trying to hold up a meatball. And that’s in the first fifteen minutes.

Panting, I hang my head in shame. Spinning is much harder than it looks. So is writing.
I grimace each time I hear someone say they can write a book. Okay, so do it. Sit down in that chair and spill your characters guts and emotion. Sweat from places you never knew you could sweat from. Feel the pain and agony of a blank page or another rejection or another level in the bike. Learn and keep learning.

Will I let that class keep me from doing it again? No. The next week I’ll be back in the saddle again and will do much better the next time around. Did I let the last rejection keep me from writing? No. I put the e-mail behind me and started working on a different story that sold.

Because learning to ride a bike is a lot like writing. You start of with training wheels, go slowly and even fall a few times. Then you gain more confidence and you’re off and riding and writing. Maybe at the end, you’ll have a great set off legs and a polished manuscript ready for the editor’s desk. That’s my goal, so take it for what it’s worth.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Inspirational Quote

That which does not kill you makes you stronger.
Neitzsche

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beneath the Thirteen Moons—We have a final cover!



I have just posted this on my website, and I’m very excited to share the cover for the re-release of my first fantasy romance novel, BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS, coming from Sourcebooks in December of this year. Here’s the summary for the book:

He's a ruler in a divided world...

In a magical watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant prince Korl Com'nder has lived a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls.



She's an outcast, but at least she has her independence...

Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn't think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of Sea Forest, Mahri knows that she has a chance to change the fate of her people...

It is available for pre-order, and you can find out more details on my website: http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/





Originally published in 2003 by Thomson-Gale in hardcover, I’m posting the original cover for comparison. I do believe the new cover for the mass-market paperback edition by Sourcebooks more accurately reflects the contents. (There’s an alien world and magical elements and a bit of swordplay, but my books are first and foremost romances.)



What an absolutely different interpretaton of the book.
Without the title, would you even know it contained the same story?



Food for thought,

Until next time,

Kathryne

Monday, October 4, 2010

And the winner is.....

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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Clutter Update


Last weekend I shared how writing outdoors is my preference, but not practical in the Arizona heat. Yes, it is still over 100 degrees in Phoenix.

I also shared how my daughter's former room is becoming my office/guest bedroom but it is full of clutter. Every time I've asked her to come over and sort through it, she's put it off.




Last weekend, I multi-tasked by judging a contest and shredding documents at the same time. This weekend, I continued to work on getting rid of the clutter in that room.

After spending two years asking my daughter to go through the clothing in her closet, an idea came to me. I was going to take them to her and dump them on her couch, but decided to make one last effort to handle this without drama. I took pictures of two shirts at a time and sent them to her via text message with the note, "Keep or get rid of." To my pleasant surprise she answered "Get rid of." I repeated this many times throughout the day. After sending pics of over two dozen items, the total is Keep - 3 and Get rid of - 23. We still have two feet of closet and 5 drawers to go through, but we made a big dent and I feel the pressure on my nerves releasing.
This means more productivity for me and my writing.

Don't leave things undone. All of those items pile up on your conscious or subconscious and make it more difficult to feel creative. So mend those broken items, or get rid of them. File that pile of paperwork. Shred old documents. And get rid of the clutter. You'll feel so much better.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, October 1, 2010

Interview with Shirley Jump

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Shirley Jump. 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 IF THE RED SLIPPER FITS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Like Cinders, gossip writer Sarah Griffin has lost a shoe! But this is no glass slipper—it's an exclusive designer stiletto that could cost Sarah her job!

Playboy CEO Caleb Lewis is no Prince Charming, but he does have Sarah's shoe. He offers the intriguing Sarah an ultimatum: in return for her precious shoe, she'll assist him with a commercial proposition—and this means getting up close and personal!

Sarah learned long ago never to believe in fairy tales, but if the red slipper fits…

IF THE RED SLIPPER FITS is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It’s part of the “In Her Shoes” series for Harlequin Romance. I love shoes, so when my editor asked me to write a book centered around shoes, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. This story is all about a lost red “slipper”—a one-of-a-kind designer shoe—that forces arch enemies to work together.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’m a firm believer in happy endings, and writing in romance just seemed a perfect fit for someone like me. Every book makes me believe in love all over again.

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

I’m definitely a pantser. I have absolutely no idea how a book is going to end until I go to write the end. It makes every page I write an adventure, because I honestly don’t know what’s around the corner. That first draft is almost like reading the book as a reader.

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

For this book, since I’m a total shoe-a-holic, there wasn’t a ton of research. It centers around Fashion Week in NYC, and as a frequent reader of anything style-related, I had lots of basic knowledge of that.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I always try to think of the worst thing that could possibly happen to a character. For my heroine, it was losing this one-of-a-kind, exclusive shoe that was the key to her career. And even worse, having to work with the man she has vilified in the press in order to get the shoe back.

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

I love creating secondary characters that are quirky and larger-than-life. I always love my hero and heroine—that’s a given—but adding in a quirky secondary character like the shoe’s designer, Frederick K, adds a whole other level of fun to the writing.

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 do none of the above, LOL. Truly, they form themselves on the page as I write. I get to know more about them as I go along, and a ton of what I used to do on paper (meaning mapping out the characters and their pasts) happens in my head. It kind of “cooks” while I’m writing. After I come up with a what-if situation for the book, I try to figure out who would be in that situation and why. The rest just kind of morphs from there.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

So many! I love to read great fiction (Kristin Hannah, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Harlan Coben, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Jodi Picoult) and then try to learn from these fabulous authors who have crafted such strong, memorable stories. I know an author’s good if I get all the way to the end and realize I didn’t dissect a thing—I just loved the book.

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

Promotion is, IMO, a funny thing. So much of it, if you ask me, is about timing. I had a book come out on 9-11 and at that time, I could have done all the promoting in the world and I know it wouldn’t have affected sales at all (I, like most of the country, was stunned, and didn’t even think about the book then). Another author once told me the only thing you can control is the words you put on the page, so I try to concentrate most on that and not let the rest get me too worked up.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have another AJ Whitten horror novel out in May, called THE CELLAR. Another romance out early next year called THE LOVE LOTTERY, and am working on several more.

Thanks, Shirley!

To celebrate her book release, Shirley Jump is offering a free copy of THE BRIDESMAID AND THE BILLIONAIRE to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you 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...

Bio.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing women’s fiction and romantic comedies (Vegas Pregnancy Surprise, July 2010) to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. As AJ Whitten (www.ajwhitten.com), she also writes horror young adult novels for Houghton Mifflin’s Graphia imprint with her daughter (The Well, September 2009). She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners. Visit her website at www.shirleyjump.com or read recipes and life adventures at www.shirleyjump.blogspot.com.

Check out author’s website at http://www.shirleyjump.com/

Buy http://www.amazon.com/Red-Slipper-Fits-Harlequin-Romance/dp/0373176902/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284940419&sr=8-1