Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Win Free Books during Kathryne Kennedy's Blog Tour

To celebrate the December re-release of Beneath the Thirteen Moons in mass market paperback, I'm guest blogging at the following and giving away copies of books to lucky commenters (USA & Canada only). So stop by, leave a comment, and you're entered to win!


12/1 Launch Party!
Casablanca Authors http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/

12/2 Interview!
Queen of Happy Endings http://alainereading.blogspot.com/

12/6 Interview!
The Book Faery http://tbfreviews.net/

12/8 Opposites Attract in BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS
Fresh Fiction http://freshfiction.com/pages.php?id=blog

12/9 Q & A with Kathryne
Author Suzanne Johnson http://suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com/

12/10 Interview!
Much Cheaper Than Therapy www.muchcheaperthantherapy.blogspot.com

12/13 Interview!
Star-Crossed Romance http://star-crossedromance.blogspot.com

Where I answer the question of how I come up with such imaginative worlds.
Bookalicious http://bookalicio.us/

12/15 Recipe for Building the World of Sea Forest
Erin Quinn’s Blog http://quinnessentials.blogspot.com/

12/16 Interview!
Martha’s Bookshelf http://marthasbookshelf.blogspot.com/

12/20 Top 10 Reasons Why Readers Will Fall in Love with Korl, the Hero in BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS
Where I list the top ten reasons I hope readers will fall in love with my hero.
Readaholic http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/

12/27 The Inspiration for BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS
Where I answer the questions: What was your inspiration for this novel? Are you excited to see it in print again?
A Moment with Mystee http://amomentwithmystee.blogspot.com/

Best of Luck!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Character Development Review of Love and Other Drugs

(Spoil Alert - I will reveal plot points of the movie)

Character Development
Some writers are plot driven and some are character driven.
I admit I am plot driven because there is always some
sort of mystery in my story. I plot out, not only who did
it, but who might have done it, the red herrings, and the
clues to who did it along the way.
Although I am plot driven, I do know the value of
character development. The reader needs to care about
your hero/heroine before their pulse will rise when
you put your characters through the wringer.
Last night, I watched Love and Other Drugs starring
Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. This movie tackles the
hard reality of loving someone with Parkinsons. In the
beginning of the movie, neither wants a real relationship.
Anne plays Maggie, a woman who doesn't want anyone to
have to take care of her when her condition worsens.
She does at times feel sorry for herself,
which she is entitled to. Mostly she is tough and
brave, yet vulnerable. From the start,
we have a well-rounded,
three-dimensional character.
Jake plays Jamie, a young man who doesn't believe in himself.
He plays women to make a sale and for a good time.
At first, there are no ties in their relationship,
but then Maggie sees through him. She sees he really is
a good man and even names off the qualities she sees
in him, that he doesn't even see in himself.
He then falls in love with her.
Since this is a romance, boy gets girl and then loses her.
She sees that he is afraid of what she might become with
her disease and breaks up with him. Of course, he comes
to realize he is a better man with her.
He would rather live with her and her disease than face
life without her because. Loving her helps him love himself.
In the end, she takes him back, which is difficult
because she has to allow him to one day take care of her.
He quits his job and goes to medical school to live up to his
true potential. In any romance, the characters must
be better people for knowing each other, than they
probably would have been otherwise.
This story is a true romance, a great example of
character development, and a tear jerker.
Take Keenix.
I suggest you rent it later and jot down
notes on the character development as
it is revealed. This is quite helpful in
spotting how the writer reveals all facets
of the character's personality as it changes.
Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Black Friday and A Bit of History

For millions of people Black Friday is the time to do some serious Christmas shopping --even before the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone! Black Black is the Friday after Thanksgiving, and it's one of the major shopping days of the year in the United States -falling anywhere between November 23 and 29. While it's not recognized as an official US holiday, many employees have the day off -except those working in retail.

The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season. “Black” refers to stores moving from the “red” to the “black,” back when accounting records were kept by hand, and red ink indicated a loss, and black a profit. Ever since the start of the modern Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season.

In the 1960's, police in Philadelphia griped about the congested streets, clogged with motorists and pedestrians, calling it “Black Friday.” In a non-retail sense, it also describes a financial crisis of 1869: a stock market catastrophe set off by gold spectators who tried and failed to corner the gold market, causing the market to collapse and stocks to plummet.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kim Watters here. Happy Thanksgiving. It's that time of year again when we all sit back and count our blessings. There are so many things to be thankful for: my family and friends, my health, my job, my editor, my readers, the beauty that surrounds me every day. List list could go on and on.

So what are you thankful for?

Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inchspringform pan. Set aside.

For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover withlastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sharing some brand new reviews for BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS...

which is releasing December 1st!

Desperate to save her people, but stung by the Healer's rebuff that cost the life of her child and lifemate, Mahri Zin travels dangerous routes of the Sea Forest to kidnap a Healer. Hoping for an apprentice whose knowledge of how to use the Power given through zabbaroot can supplement her own wild Master-level skills, Mahri gets more than she bargained for. Instead of a lowly apprentice, she ends up kidnapping the Crown Prince, an arrogantly beautiful man with enemies of his own. In order to save those she loves, Mahri has to decide whether her root-induced dreams are true and how much belief she places on the conspiracies of the Natives.

Prince Korl may be temporarily captured by the fierce water- rat, but the combination of his arrogance and her unwillingness to give of herself may doom their entire world, Royals, water-rats, Natives and all of the subterranean flora and fauna within.

BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS is a fast-paced, elegantly written romance that reads almost like the best of fairy tales: the characters stay true to their original characterizations even as they learn and grow throughout the novel.

"Anyone who enjoyed Avatar or liked the concept of it will surely enjoy this latest amazing adventure by the talented Ms. Kennedy.

I think the author's version is more along the lines of what would happen generations later to humans who settled a planet and forgot their origins. Over time they evolved into something new and magical but something cathartic needed to happen to set the metamorphosis in motion and in this story, that event is love between a man and a woman.

Mahri is the heroine who has trust issues. Not because of something diabolical that scarred her. It was based on her own experience of lost love and the complications of class structure among the society she lived in. She has good solid values of loyalty, duty, love of family but her drive and determination come from her refusal to fail. She's compelled to do the unthinkable in order to save those that she loves from a dreaded sickness and time is running out. The author did a good job of making me care for those that Mahri loves including the woman herself. I got a clear sense of her fears, her yearnings and her tentative hope. I understood her skittishness when something really positive and beautiful came into her life and her obstinate refusal to admit that it meant as much to her as it really did.

That something positive and beautiful is Korl, the hero. He doesn't exactly come into her life, she kidnaps him. I enjoyed watching this proud man, who was secluded from the realities of the people who live beyond the scope of his kingdom, come to grips with all that he saw and Mahri opened his eyes to a much bigger world than he realized. Because he is so sure of himself and his position in life is why I felt he was freer to recognize and verbalize his love for Mahri. Korl's character is full of strength, passion, and the will to fight for what he wants and what he believes to be right. His sense of what is right is challenged by Mahri in every step of his journey with her. The part in the boat with the cats was incredibly powerful. At that moment I understood just how strong a man Korl is, and how much more Mahri needed to grow within herself before she could accept the gift that he had already given her.

Another beautiful part of the journey while Mahri was fighting her attraction and growing love for Korl was her revelations. As much as she fought her feelings, she had emotional urges to share things with him that she'd shown no one before, even her first husband. Ms. Kennedy wowed me with the scope of her imagination. The visual pictures her words painted in my mind would have rivaled the movie Avatar if it were brought to the big screen. The creatures she has created to populate the planet include those in the air, on the ground and in the ocean. The world building alone blows my mind because the author paid attention to the littlest detail. Even Mahri's furry companion, Jaja was a delight. I liked how he'd whack either Mahri or Korl when they were being too dense about something or needed to pay attention. The critter didn't need to use words to get his point across. Not only that but the author has a surprise up her sleeve for readers as the story unfolds in which Jaja plays an integral role. It's not too often I read a book where a strong secondary character isn't even human. I liked the freshness of it.

The conflict, as you can well imagine, is primarily internal. But there are definitely external dangers and they plague both of them on and off throughout the story. The zabba root is the substance that makes good things and bad things happen and I found the concept fascinating. There's a revelation about that little herb that has powerful repercussions and actually plays into the plot throughout the book.

Watching the romance develop between Korl and Mahri was both entertaining and painful. The sensual buildup was seductive and the physical moments between the two characters were fraught with emotional tension. So much healing had to take place before their bonding was solid and unbreakable. Korl's eventual realization that to keep her he had to let her go was another touching moment that endeared his character to me all the more. For me, Ms. Kennedy didn't miss any of my emotional hot buttons to push. She found them all with the telling of this story. Not only that, but the last things that Korl says in the book just had me melting into a puddle of romantic happiness. What a hero. :::sigh:::

Beneath the Thirteen Moons is a wonderful epic of a romance taking place on a fantastical world with a hero and heroine sure to find a place in a reader's heart. Ms. Kennedy has another winner on her hands and her talent for words brings to life characters you can believe in and is what makes the happily ever after so powerful. This book is a must read for all sci-fi romance fans who seek quality writing full of heart, adventure and a world that will astound a reader with its vivid imagery. I hope Ms. Kennedy plans to visit with Korl and Mahri again someday because all that creative energy that went into the making of this book shouldn't be a one shot deal. It's too amazing and rich and I really want to learn more about the indigenous people of the planet. This book was total entertainment and I don't want it to end. I give this tale a big and loud five books."

Author note: I wrote Beneath the Thirteen Moons way back in 2002. When I watched the movie Avatar, I had to wonder if the creator had been inspired by my book. :}

Monday, November 22, 2010

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Estella. You're the winner of Vijaya'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, November 21, 2010

More People Watching

More People Watching

Janet Evanovich people watches and stores what she
sees and hears to help her create characters. Last week,
I first reported what I had discovered from my own
people watching. This week, I continued to people
watch, but took it a step further by trying to interpret
what I was seeing. Body language plays a huge role in
showing how we feel. Of course, our interpretations are
open to misinterpretation, but as fiction writers it doesn't
matter because we are creating characters from what
we see, not reporting facts.

This morning I watched a couple in church with their
special needs child. The girl was about three-years-old
and a handful. She was always in motion; always
climbing, crawling, talking. Her emotions appeared to
be up one moment and down the next. One minute she
was smiling and happy. The next she was crying in
her father's arms.

The parents looked tired. They tried to manage her and
and listen to the sermon at the same time.
I got the impression that they were used to her acting
up in public and didn't appear anxious or embarrassed
about what the other parishioners might think.
They did try to quiet her, but
weren't overly anxious about it.

I could imagine writing a story with parents like these.
They could be the hero or heroine, or perhaps the heroine
is a relative who steps in to give this tired couple a break.

People watching is indeed a great way to begin
developing characters.

I hope you give it a try.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, November 19, 2010

Interview wih Vijaya Schartz

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Vijaya Schartz. 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 BLACK JAGUAR. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
When Kahuel sails away from Yalta to explore a new world, it is in large part to escape his past. He also hopes to prove himself as a worthy prince. But when tragedy strikes, and the new continent proves to be inhabited, he discovers that the powerful Mutant of Kassouk who commandeered his expedition has an alternate purpose.

Princess Talina of the Chosen clan, a peaceful native tribe concealed and protected by a race of powerful aliens, believes she can never wed. But when foreigners land on her shores, and they bring with them the legendary Lost Daughter of the Chosen prophecy, she realizes her fate is about to change. But how strange that the foreigners cannot mind-talk, and why to the felines like them is a mystery.

The Estrell people, a galactic race with problems of their own, have a crucial use for the innocent Chosen, and they cannot let a bunch of explorers jeopardize decades of work intended to insure the survival of their dying race.

With the future of the entire planet at stake, the struggle for power and for survival will play on this virgin continent, away from civilization. Can Kahuel, with his warriors and felines, simple weapons and Human ingenuity, prevail against impossible odds?

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

This title follows the series. In the world I created for THE CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK, large felines have been tamed as pets and trained for battle. The Human warriors of Kassouk also like to take nicknames of felines representing their fighting abilities. In Book One, WHITE TIGER is the warrior name of the heroine. In RED LEOPARD, the hero is nicknamed Red Leopard, and he also has a leopard as companion. BLACK JAGUAR is no exception. It's the hero's nickname, and he also has a black jaguar as a companion.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Sci-Fi romance wasn't even a genre when I started writing it. I was lucky to find a publisher who believed there was a readership for it, and for the past ten years, I've been writing it. I love it. The readership is increasing steadily, especially since eBooks are becoming more popular.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I loosely plotted the entire series when the first book was published. But each book in the series can be read independently. If you are like me, however, you don't want any spoilers, so you will want to read them in the right order. The idea for BLACK JAGUAR came from history (as more often than not, even in sci-fi). The medieval society I created for the series, struggling against domination by technologically advanced races, has evolved to the point of ocean exploration of new continents. So this book brings explorers to the shores of unknown lands and people.

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

Science is fascinating, and I follow its progress and try to determine the new directions, repercussions, and possibilities for the near and far future in space theories, health, genetics, etc. But I don't use books for that. By the time a book is published, the research is obsolete. Newspaper clippings, internet research, scientific television programs, research news (I love the Science channel). I also follow UFO investigations, and study ancient mythology (which could be based upon alien visitations in the far past) and History. All these areas are linked and full of information and inspiration for a sci-fi writer.

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

The character I like writing the most is the character I am writing at the time. Right now, it's the heroine of BLUE LIONESS, Book Four in the series, schedule to come out next year. New characters are full of surprises, and fascinating. You do not shape them, they shape you. They hold power over the writer. But I have to say I always had a soft spot for the tall, handsome, dark, sexy hero of WHITE TIGER. His name is Dragomir.

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

If I am under stringent deadlines, I work from an outline, and I want to know my main characters before I start writing. So I use various techniques. Often, though, when I get to chapter three, I have to discard most of that work, because the character is not who I think he or she was in the beginning. So, I much prefer to start writing. I watch my character in action, and that tells me who he or she is. By the end of the story, I know my characters very well, so I go back to the beginning and flush them out to implement all the wonderful things I learned about them while writing the story.

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

Yes, I use them, but only for myself. So I remember which way lies the Eastern Continent, or how long it takes to cross the ocean, and which way the suns rise (this planet revolves around a binary star, so they have twin suns). In book One, I had to chart for myself the landmarks of the continent. Only if it is clear in my mind can I make it clear to the reader.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Too many to count. But my childhood was shaped reading the incredible adventures of Jules Vernes, although I never bought the world in the center of the Earth bit. It offended my knowledge of science, even as a child. Later, I loved Victor Hugo's realism and depth of characters. But I also loved Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask). Drama and adventure were my favorite staple at the library.

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

That's a difficult question. It depends on what kinds of books. For paperbacks, definitely getting reviews from major magazines. When Archangel Checkmate's review came out in Publisher's Weekly forecast, and I signed three hundred copies in forty minutes at Book Expo America in Chicago, it gave all my books a great momentum in bookstore and library orders.

But that was before eBooks and all the wonderful opportunities now available to authors on the internet. Still the secret is to promote everywhere, all the time. Creating a buzz around your book is the best way to let the readers know, and remind them that your book is out.

What do we have to look forward next?

I'm writing two more books in THE CHRONICLES OF KASSOUK SERIES, Blue Lioness (August 2011) and Noah's Ark (April 2012). But I also have two new titles coming out from a Canadian eBook publisher at the beginning of next year SNATCHED, and KICKING BOTS, both sci-fi romance novels. The same publisher will also re-release in electronic format a number of my earlier paperback releases. So, lots of new releases to look forward to.

Thanks, Vijaya!

To celebrate her book release, Vijaya is offering a free paperback copy of Anaz-voohri, a sci-fi romance, 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...

With over a dozen novels published, Award-winning author Vijaya Schartz writes action romance in Sci-Fi, contemporary, paranormal, and historical settings. As a world traveler, she brings an exotic quality to her stories. Her books gathered three Golden Quill awards, one Independent Publishers Book Award, and numerous Reviewer’s Choice nominations and five-star reviews.

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

Buy her paperbacks, Kindle, and audiobooks at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JP7UJ4

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Inspirational Quote

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."

Erich Fromm

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A sneak peek at the cover for THE LADY OF THE STORM

I just had to share the preliminary cover for book 2 in THE ELVEN LORDS series, THE LADY OF THE STORM.

If you recall from book 1, THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER, Lady Cassandra and Thomas rescued a young girl named Cecily. This is her story, along with Giles Beaumont, a man twice cursed, once with a blood-hungry sword, and later...well, I'd like to keep that a surprise. Cecily is the elven half-breed daughter of Breden, the elven lord of Dewhame with the power of sea & sky, and she inherited those magical powers, although it will take her some time to come to terms with her abilities. But this is part of the reason I adore this cover, which captures the lightning she can command, the sparkles of magic, the ethereal feel of the images that capture the style of the story inside.

I only had a few recommendations: I'd love to see a pointed elven ear poking through Cecily's hair, Giles's hair must be the elven white, and I'm not sure about the color of my name, I think it captures attention but jars a bit. What do you think?

Anyhoo, I hope they don't change the cover too much, cause I really love it! And I hope you will love the story inside as well!

And I should note: the book doesn't release until August 2011...but I'm hard at work on book 3, LOVING THE LORD OF ILLUSION, so you won't have to wait as long for the next story. :}

Monday, November 15, 2010

And the winner is....

Congratulations Reba. You're the winner of Cassie's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters 21 (at) hotmail.com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

People Watching

Last Week I discussed Janet Evanovich's book
on writing. She said she people watches to
help her create great characters. What she
sees and hears is filed away for her to play with later.

I gave myself a homework assignment.
This week I took several opportunities to
people watch.

I saw a man on a plane who seemed to be upset.
He looked intently around him. If I used
this man as a character I would make him serious
and upset because the day wasn't going his way.

There is a teacher at my school who is sweet and just
happens to sell jewelry. She doesn't bring it up often,
but I could make her a character and play it up.
She would constantly hold up her necklaces or
earrings in front of people in an attempt to sell her products.
"You would look smashing in this $300 turquoise necklace.
Lucky for you, I can get it for $150. "

While in a hotel room, I heard two men arguing next door.
As a writer, my imagination went wild. In a book, the
fight would escalate to violence, perhaps gunshots.

I met a woman on a shuttle bus who had
just spent time with her sister for the last time.
Her sister is dying. This woman had a wonderful
visit and made peace with what is to come. I filed
this away for a time when one of my characters needs
to say goodbye to someone they love.

Today in church I saw an older man who seemed sad.
He could be a grieving widower in a book.
I also saw a man who appeared to be near age forty.
He wore pressed tan slacks with a sweater top.
He kept his hands folded on his lap.
Next to him sat his stylishly dressed family.
If I were to put him in a book, he would be a man who
needs to be in control. He worries about appearances.
Of course, in our books he would encounter a situation
in which he cannot be in control.

People watching is indeed a great way to add to
your mental bank of characters.
Try it!

Until Next Week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, November 12, 2010

Interview with Cassie Ryan

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Cassie Ryan. 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 Seducing the Succubus. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Seducing the Succubus is the first book in the Sisters of Darkness series. The series is about four succubi sisters in Hell’s version of the Witness Relocation Program. The first book is about Jezebeth who is living out the centuries as any succubus must—seducing men to survive and corrupting souls to make her quota with her queen, Lilith. But when she’s attacked by a bounty hunter demon, it’s a handsome human who saves her.

Noah Halston is a horror writer who owes his life to Lilith. Now he must pay up by eluding the fearsome beasts of hell while escorting a very attractive and tempting succubus safely to Lilith lair—or else he will forfeit his soul to an eternity of torture.

Trouble is, if he spends too much time with the all too tempting Jezebeth, he may just lose his heart—or, even worse, his life.

The Sisters of Darkness: Seducing the Succubus is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My editor, Kate Seaver, actually came up with the series title, The Sisters of Darkness and I fell in love with it immediately. As for Seducing the Succubus, my agent, Paige Wheeler, Kate and I all brainstormed different titles with Succubus in the name and all agreed that Seducing the Succubus was a perfect title for the first book in the series.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always loved to read anything paranormal and I’m a huge fan of romance, so combining the two was an easy choice for me. As for writing HOT, one of my critique partners, Brit Blaise, was published in erotic romance and I really enjoyed her books. At the time I was published in sensual paranormal romance, but I’d never written anything close to erotic. But when I heard Audrey LaFehr from Kensington say she was starting a new line (Aphrodisia) and was looking for uber hot books, I took a chance and sent her a partial. The rest is history.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I was actually watching a History Channel show on demons and they mentioned how Lilith was believed to be kicked out of the Garden of Eden along with Adam and Eve—and she’s often considered the first succubus. That made me wonder what it was like to be the “bad girl” from the beginning of time, and what kind of life she would end up leading for all of time. The world built itself out from there.

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

I don’t really have any specific sites or books that are my favorites for research. I tend to find wonderful bits and pieces of research information in tons of different places. I love the Internet, but tend to just Google what I need as my research needs change. And I love to go hang out at a well-stocked bookstore with a notebook and skim books for the facts I need. And if it’s a Barnes & Noble, that has the added benefit or feeding my Starbucks addiction. Another terrific resource is interviewing people. Everyone loves to talk about their jobs, and I’ve had some fascinating conversations with nurses, policemen, ambulance driver’s and many others.

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

There were so many fun characters in Seducing the Succubus, that it’s tough to pick, but I’d have to say that Jezebeth as the heroine who needs to learn to open up and love was my favorite. And a close second is Uriel, the Archangel with a past who is trying to balance his duties and responsibilities with a forbidden love.

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 start by doing a birth (or creation in the case of my succubi) to current day character sketch in 1st person. I just let the character tell me all about themselves and I get to learn all kinds of amazing facts that end up coming out throughout the story. Then as I write and new facts come to light, I keep an Excel Spreadsheet that helps me keep track of everything—especially over the life of a series! As for the world—I consider the world another character—it has personality, rules, and attributes just like my characters and is an important part of the story that interacts with every other character in the book.

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

A lot of my world building is organic and tends to form in my imagination as the story idea and the characters gel inside my head. However, once it takes on a life of its own, I do jot down notes, drawings, charts or whatever else will help me keep everything straight. There’s nothing worse than making a “rule” within your world and then not remembering you did! So being organized helps me ensure that doesn’t happen.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

So many… I grew up reading Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Goodkind, Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe and a host of others, then I added Nora Roberts, Cheyenne McCray, Jennifer Ashley, Laurel K Hamilton, Stephanie Laurens, Sabrina Jeffries and a thousand others… I’m such a book lover, and every book I read inspires me to continue to write and do what I love.

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

I think that depends on if we’re talking short term or long term. For short term, as in one book, I think doing the Romantic Times Convention and being on the Fairy Court was an amazing promotion vehicle. That got my cover and my author name in front of tons of readers and it was a very effective promotion, although it was a bit expensive. But if we’re talking long-term promotion, I think book signings. (I can hear authors snorting at this…lol). I love doing book signings. I get to meet readers and make that personal connection with them. I still get notes from people who I met at my very first book signing who buy every book I write because we made that personal connection…and I hope because they also love my books J

What do we have to look forward next?

The second book in the series, The Demon & The Succubus, is scheduled to release on April 5, 2011. And I’ve got some other books in the works, and will hopefully very soon be able to announce some great news!

Thanks, Cassie!

To celebrate her book release, Cassie is offering a free book of Seducing the Succubus 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.cassieryan.com
Buy http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Seducing-the-Succubus/Cassie-Ryan/e/9780425236840/?itm=2&USRI=seducing+the+succbus.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quote for the week from the dictionary:

Inspiration, noun

1: arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity

2: a product of your creative thinking and work; brainchild

3: a sudden intuition as part of solving a problem

4: arousing to a particular emotion or action

5: the act of inhaling [inhalation, breathing in]

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I am blessed--or cursed--with a vivid imagination!

I was blessed with an over-active imagination. (or cursed, depending on your point of view! My poor husband…if he’s late 10 minutes, I’ve got him in a car crash, laying on a street somewhere bleeding from several wounds…you get the idea).
Thank heavens I had my writing to turn my imagination to.

I always start out with something that inspires my imagination, whether it's a character or a new world. I start creating the world, which is always such fun, and then once I start writing, all the details just start to flow through. A lot of it comes from my characters. For example, in my Georgian Fantasy romance series (THE ELVEN LORDS, book one, THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER), I had two secondary characters pop up in the book, and I gave each of them an extraordinary magical ability. And then later on, those abilities actually affected the plot. It wasn’t planned, it just happened through the story and characters. Now the hero’s abilities, that of fire magic, was planned from the beginning, as were the heroine’s ability to perform death dances.

So my imagination starts with a plan, then keeps growing from there, sometimes with what seems like little actual control from me.

So if you are blessed, or cursed, with an active imagination, try your hand at writing. You might be amazed at what develops.

Monday, November 8, 2010

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Emma. You're the winner of Lynn'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, November 7, 2010

Janet Evanovich on Writing

Janet Evanovich on Writing.

I believe it is important to learn your craft. Once
you know how to write, what works and what
doesn't, you can then add your own style. Your own
spin to it.

I picked up a copy of How I Write by Janet
Evanovich with Ina Yalof, a writing instructor
at Dartmouth College. Like many of you,
Janet is one of my favorite authors. She makes
her characters come to life and I wanted
to learn her secrets.

In the book, I believe it is Ina who says,
"You must bring your characters to life, make
them believable and worth caring about. The
deeper and richer your characters are, and
the more emotion you put into them, the more
your story will come to life."

How do you go about "bringing them to life?"
Janet says she people watches. She pays
attention to the various people she comes across.
She puts them into her imagination and lets
them run wild. She stores up everything she
sees and hears, knowing it can find its way
into one of her novels.

So, our homework this week is to people watch.
I will try to find interesting bits of information
to share with you next week. I hope you will do the same.

Until Next Week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, November 5, 2010

Interview with Lynn Raye Harris

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Lynn Raye Harris. 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 Chosen by the Sheikh. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Chosen by the Sheikh is actually a 2-in-1 Harlequin Presents that contains two novellas by different authors. My story is called “Kept for the Sheikh’s Pleasure” and is about what happens when a sexy desert king is reunited with the archaeologist he’s never quite forgotten. Dr. Geneva Gray is on a dig when her camp is overrun by nomads who kidnap her and give her as a gift to the king. When the king turns out to be the only man she’s ever loved, the man she left ten years ago, the sparks are bound to fly.

The back cover copy sums it up as this: King Zafir bin Rashid al-Khalifa does not care for surprises. Especially ones that involve the reappearance of his ex, Dr. Genie Gray! Now Zafir has the power to make all the rules—and what he wants is a willing Genie in his bed…

“Kept for the Sheikh’s Pleasure” is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I have almost nothing to do with my titles, quite honestly. I submit most of my manuscripts as Untitled. The ones I submit with titles inevitably get changed, so I don’t put a lot of thought into what to call the books. That might change, however, because the Harlequin Presents titles are undergoing a transformation. There will be no more The Greek Tycoon’s Forbidden Mistress’s Secret Baby of Shame, for instance. My April 2011 title is The Devil’s Heart. And I have a November 2011 title called The Heartless Rebel. Much nicer, right? ;)

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I started out writing historical romance, in fact. But then I got a contemporary idea, after three historicals, and tried that. I had much more fun in the contemporary world than I thought I would. I didn’t sell that first idea, or even the second one, but then Harlequin had a contest to find new writers for the Presents line and I entered. I won, and the rest is history. :)

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

I am most definitely a pantser! I tend to know who the characters are and what their main issues are. Then I get the opening scene and I’m off to the races. What happens next is always a nice surprise.

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

I don’t have to do a lot of research, though of course I have to do some! I write short contemporary romance. The books are all about the emotional journey, and while I need to research settings, cultures, and food, much of that doesn’t make it into the story. I need the flavor of a place much more so than the details. I do love researching locations though! I use a combination of guidebooks and websites to get the flavor of my settings. I don’t have favorites, necessarily, because it all depends on where I’m setting the book. For instance, I’ve been researching Goa, India recently. What a gorgeous place! So tropical and lovely.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I wish I knew! My editor called and asked if I’d write a sheikh novella, and I said yes. Then, almost immediately, I pictured Zafir bin Rashid al-Khalifa. He was a king, but he hadn’t been supposed to be the king. And I pictured him in a tent with a lot of other sheikhs gathered around. Suddenly, I knew he was about to be given a woman. And not just any woman, but the woman he’d had an affair with ten years ago! Everything grew from there.

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

Oh, I always love my heroes. They’re so sexy and thrilling! But then I love writing my heroines too, because they have to be strong to deal with these men. And Genie was fun because she is a highly educated career woman who isn’t about to give up her work for 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?

Oh dear. You do know I’m a pantser, right? ;) I don’t do interviews or create character sheets. But what I’ve started to do lately, probably about 4 books ago now, is to create a Word file with a notebook layout. I have several tabs, and at least two of those tabs are set aside for the hero and heroine. I find pictures on the web, paste them in, and then I end up writing a bunch of stuff that I think is true for this character. I also write a lot of questions. This doesn’t take a lot of time, really. It’s just very impromptu and organic. I may not even use it, but I do flash back to those inspirational pictures a lot. Especially for the hero. ;) I also pull in setting photos too. And food pictures.

Mostly, I just think about the characters a lot and I learn what motivates them as I do so. I don’t always get it right the first time, and I’ve dumped many a first chapter to go back and start again. But when it clicks, I know it’s right.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I was a reader first, of course, and I have a Master’s degree with a Literature concentration (and the standard English BA that so many writers seem to have), so I’ve read a lot of inspiring work along the way. I couldn’t begin to name them all. But literary writers that have stuck with me: Hemingway, Woolf, Faulkner, Shakespeare, and Duras, just off the top of my head. Romance writers: Linda Howard, Roxanne St. Claire, Rachel Gibson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Laura Kinsale, Jane Porter, Sandra Marton, Carole Mortimer. It’s not a complete list by any means!

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

Truthfully, it’s writing the best book possible. I’m on Twitter and Facebook, I blog, I have a professional website, and I attend conferences and signings. But I think it’s the book that sells the writer in the end. The last book sells the next book, if that makes sense. All the tweeting in the world won’t increase book sales if the story doesn’t resonate with the readers.

What do we have to look forward next?

Something that amazed me before I sold were the writers who had three and four category novels out a year. And then I sold and found out I could do it too. So I have a lot of books coming soon!

In the UK, Prince Voronov’s Virgin is a January 2011 release – and it’s the Mills & Boon Book of the Month! In May in the UK, look for Strangers in the Desert (a sheikh!).

In North America, my next release is The Devil’s Heart in April 2011. I will have a mid-summer release, though I’m not sure when or which book yet, and then I will finish up the year with a November 2011 release called The Heartless Rebel.

You can learn more about my books, including excerpts and a Behind the Book section, at my website, www.LynnRayeHarris.com.

Thanks, Lynn!

Thank you for having me!

To celebrate her book release, Lynn is offering a free book of Chosen by the Sheikh 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...

Lynn Raye Harris is a USA Today bestselling author who read her first Harlequin romance when her grandmother carted home a box of books from a yard sale. She didn't know she wanted to be a writer then, but she definitely knew she wanted to marry a sheikh or a prince and live the glamorous life she read about in the pages. Instead, she married a military man and moved around the world. She's been inside the Kremlin, hiked up a Korean mountain, floated on a gondola in Venice, and stood inside volcanoes at opposite ends of the world.

These days Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome husband and two crazy cats. Since her debut novel came out in August 2008, Lynn’s books have appeared on the USA Today, Borders, and Nielsen Bookscan bestseller lists. You can visit her at www.LynnRayeHarris.com to learn more about her books, read her sporadically updated blog, or just drop her a note.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Banana Nut Bread Recipe

I've gotten a lot of compliments on my banana bread recipe so I thought I'd post it here in case anyone is interested.

Banana Nut Bread

3 very ripe large bananas
2 eggs
½ cup butter or margarine
1 ½ Tbsp buttermilk or sour cream
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts

Place bananas, eggs, butter, buttermilk or sour cream, lemon juice and sugar into bowl and mix until smooth.

Mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Pour into banana mixture and stir until flour is moistened. Stir in nuts.

Turn into greased 9 ½ by 4 inch bread loaf pan or muffin tin.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes (less for muffins) or until bread tests done.

Allow to cool 5 min. in pan, then turn out onto wire racks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What lies beneath the surface of a story...

I blame my high school advanced English teacher for making me reach deeper into the themes of my novels.

In class, we read a charming story about a group of rabbits forced from their home. I totally believed in each of the furry characters, and although it’s been some time since I read it, I still remember the struggles and trials the little rabbits had to face. I thought it was a charming fantasy story meant more for older children rather than adults.

And then my English teacher made us look at Watership Down from an entirely different perspective. She pointed out the comparisons of the rabbits’ characters with tyrants from history; with politics and heroics and freedom and struggle from slavery.

All from little rabbits seeking a new home.

Ever since then, I could never look at a book in quite the same way. My childhood story of Alice in Wonderland became a graphic look at the inherent perils of a monarchy and how ultimate power can often corrupt.

I will admit that I still read stories just for the pure enjoyment of them. It is my escapism, and although I appreciate and uncover many themes as I read, it’s not something that overly concerns me.

Except with my own writing.

My primary goal is to provide a story that transports readers from their own life for a time, which allows them to enjoy an adventure and a romance that excites them and satisfies them in some way, and ultimately, makes them happy and hopeful when they close the book. I write to entertain. I do not profess to be a literary novelist by any means.

But drat that perspective I was taught.

I wrote a fun series about an England where the titled gain their power from degrees of magic, and underneath lies the question of whether one man has the right to feel superior to another because of a genetic line of sorcery…or an accident of birth. I wrote a hero who can shape-shift into a lion but who possesses no other powers of magic and is treated with disdain by society because of…his lack of magic? Or the beast that he becomes? Don’t all men have a beastly nature they fight against every day? A heroine has her magic stolen from her. How many children have their rights stolen from those who are supposed to protect them? And another heroine whose nature is split into two, the bad part of her loosed as a separate being. What would we accomplish if we discarded the morals that bind us? What damage would we cause?

And in my December release, BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS, magical power is given to those who can ingest a drug that taps into undiscovered areas of the mind. It includes a monarchy where the drug is pronounced illegal so they can supposedly protect the citizenry--but ultimately control the power. And even worse, knowledge is made available to only certain members of society. Because knowledge is power.

And in the first book of my new series, THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER, I explore the degradation of slavery, where THE ELVEN LORDS consider humans as little more than animals. Fantasy? Historically, certain members of our society have been called the same because of their religious beliefs or the color of their skin. And in the first book, I created a hero who is forced to bury that which makes him human in order to survive. During Hitler’s reign, how many people were forced to do the same? And how many people, like my heroine, fought to find and uncover the inherent goodness in people?

Throughout all of my books there is one abiding (major) theme. That true love can not only bring out the best in people but also allow remarkable acts of bravery. And ultimately has the power to save the world.

I hope readers enjoy my books for what they are: compelling escapes into new worlds, sexy fun with characters to fall in love with, and new adventures to experience. But for those of you who were taught to look at novels with a different perspective: welcome to my secret world.

My Magical Best,


Monday, November 1, 2010

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Sondrae Bennett. You're the winner of Wend's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21@hotmail.com to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.