Friday, December 30, 2011

Shrouded in Darkness Now Available!

Winner of the Ready-Set-Go Peninsula RWA Contest
Finalist in the Suzannah North Louisiana RWA Contest
1st place in Peninsula RWA Chapter’s contest.

Jake Preston is on borrowed time. If he doesn’t stumble upon a miracle and soon, he’ll end up dead. And even if he does, he still might end up dead with a clever killer hounding his heels. He believes that the one miracle and antidote to save him is in Margot Davenport’s house, across the country and miles away from Boston. Somewhere locked in her home is the key to reversing an experiment that is killing him with each breath he takes.

Margot doesn’t particularly care if she ends up dead. She’s lost everything she’s ever cared for. A divorce and the loss of her job as a corporate lawyer has left her with little faith in herself or in anyone else. Most importantly, she’s lost the one person on this earth she’s looked up to and cherished–her brother, Johnny. His death in a car accident has devastated her, and she can’t find the willpower to pull herself from the chasm she’s fallen into. Her only solace is at the bottom of a wineglass. Having moved back to the small town in northern Arizona where she was raised, she’s made a point of isolating herself both mentally and physically from everyone other than a few chosen friends. Little does she know that her life is going to explode into chaos.

Shrouded in Darkness is the first in the award winning Shrouded series. To read more about the series, feel free to visit hdthomson.com.

To celebrate my book release, I will be giving away a free ebook of Shrouded in Darkness to one commenter on today's blog.

Shrouded in Darkness is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

You can read for free the first chapter here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mood and Tone. One and The Same?

I write dark. I’ve tried writing fun, light romps and I fail miserably. Don’t get me wrong, I have humor sprinkled in here and there, but I love to create an atmosphere that is brooding and intense. With Shrouded in Darkness it was easy to great a dark mood. I added two elements, both of which are almost characters in the book. One was the house. It rested on the top of a hill and isolated from the nearest town. When I did describe it, it was usually when the sun was setting. The other element was the weather. The book was set in January, up in the mountains. Lots of snow and cold weather. The time of year when someone could freeze to death if they were stuck out in the elements! :)

I have my characters facing mortality, so that definitely creates a dark mood. As to tone, there’s some humor I have added in the scenes. I can only go so dark! It took me a while to figure out that tone is definitely different than mood. They are two separate elements. You can have a book with a somber mood, but the author may tell it with a completely different tone. It’s how the author tells his story.

Covers sure can tell the tone and mood of a book. With Shrouded in Darkness, you can tell you’re not going to get something light and funny. I know I would feel odd if I picked up a book by the cover alone and found the opposite of what was inside the pages.

One movie comes to mind when the moodand tone are different and that is Scream. The mood is dark and scary, while the tone is filled with humor. At least between the scary parts!

Let’s see… as to other movies where the mood is different than the tone. I can think of War of the Roses and Young Frankenstein.

Can anyone think of other examples? Or what about a dark tone but a light mood?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

HOPE…AND THE POWER OF LOVE, By Kathryne Kennedy

I actually wrote this post last year, but thought it was the perfect time to share it here on my group blog, especially with the release of THE LORD OF ILLUSION just around the corner:

HOPE…AND THE POWER OF LOVE, By Kathryne Kennedy

When I read the theme for this month’s blog, I was working on my first round of edits for book 3 in THE ELVEN LORDS series, THE LORD OF ILLUSION, and came across a passage that fit perfectly into our theme. One of those serendipitous moments. :}

I think all writers deal with the concept of hope in their stories. No matter how bad things get, no matter how dispirited our characters are by the sometimes cruel situations we put them in, we always leave them hope.

Although, you, as the reader, know there’s going to be a happy ending because you are reading a romance, our characters don’t and we must give them the strength to keep fighting…or a little help in continuing to do so, as shown in the excerpt below from THE LORD OF ILLUSION. My heroine is strong on the outside, but inside she is broken. When her growing love for my hero allows her to open up, to allow the one part of her that she has been able to protect to become vulnerable, she is given the strength to work towards becoming whole again.


Could she be his love? She did not know. But he deserved an answer, and she tried to gather her thoughts to express her feelings…something she had never tried to do before. Something no one had ever asked of her. It had been long and long since anyone cared.

“How can I explain to you what it is like to be a slave?” Camille closed her eyes. “I remember when I was little I used to fight against the way my captors treated me. As if I had no rights…as if I had become a lesser person than anyone else. It enraged me and I would fight back. I would demand to be treated as if my opinions—my life—still mattered. And then the men would take what they wanted anyway. If I made too many of them angry or tried to run, I would be beaten. And after days, after months, after years…I fought for so long to be strong that I lost pieces of myself--of my heart--along the way.”

Camille opened her eyes, gazed at his handsome face, at the sympathy etched across his perfect features. She did not want him to feel sorry for her; she just wanted him to understand. She lifted her chin and leveled her voice. “I do not know if I will ever be able to get those parts of me back—to regain what I have lost. No matter how hard I try, no matter how hard you try…I am cursed…I am not a whole woman…there are so many reasons why I cannot ever offer what you are asking for.”

He picked up her hand and kissed it, his lips warm against her skin. “But you will allow me to try?”

An odd feeling swelled in her heart. Hope. He offered her hope, and she could not deny him.

She nodded.

His golden eyes darkened to brown. “In the meantime, I shall just have to love you enough for the both of us.”



Just as in real life, our characters must have hope that their situations will get better. That their dark moments will pass; that they can and will overcome whatever obstacles we throw at them. Hope gives courage and faith, and allows our characters to overcome incredible odds. Just like in real life. And just as in real life, our characters may need support from someone who loves them.

And so we get to the reason I love writing romance. There will always be someone to love them.

Wishing you Happy Reading,
Kathryne


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas (Santa Claus trivia)

Merry Christmas from the gals at Much Cheaper Than Therapy.

In the United States and Canada, his name is Santa Claus.
In China, he is called Shengdan Laoren.
In England, his name is Father Christmas where he has a longer coat and a longer beard.
In France, he's known as Pere Noel.
In Germany, children get presents from Christindl, the Christ Child.
In Russia, he is called Grandfather Frost that is "ded moroz" (the second "o" has its accent and the last "z" is pronouned as "s".)
He is also called Kris Kringle - which comes from the German term "the Christ Child"
Christ Kind).
In Sweden Jultomten visits the evening before Christmas day, pulling a big bag of julklappar (Christmas presents) in the deep snow.
På Norsk (in Norwegian) "Julenissen" arrives on the evening of the 24th.
In the Netherlands, he is called Kerstman.
In Finland, he is called Joulupukki.
Sinter Klaas in Dutch.
In Morocco he is known as Black Peter
In Japan, Santa Claus is called Santa Claus or just "Santa". Children often call him "Santa no ojisan," which means "Uncle Santa."
In Italy Babbo Natale, which means Father Christmas, is Santa.

So there you have it. Hope whatever you call him was good to you last night.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The origins of the Nativity Scene

The first nativity scene was created at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in 10th century Rome. The custom was soon popular at other churches, each one constructing ornate mangers with gold, silver, jewels and precious stones. Though popular among high society, such opulence was far removed from the original circumstances of Christ's birth, as well as being inaccessible to the poorer masses.

We owe the crèche to St. Francis of Assisi, who revised the gaudier displays of his time. In 1224, St. Francis of Assisi sought to remedy these problems by creating the first manger scene that was true to the Biblical account of Christ's birth. Called a crèche, the scene that St. Francis set up for the village of Greccio was made up of hay, carved figures and live animals, capturing for the uneducated people of the town more of the spirit and the story of Christ's birth than any splendid art treasure.

The popularity of St. Francis's crèche spread throughout the world. In Italy it is called a presepio; in Germany, a Krippe. It is a naciemiento in Spain and Latin America, a jeslicky in the Czech Republic, a pesebre in Brazil, and a portal in Costa Rica.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Web of Deceit Now Available on Amazon Kindle

Kim Watters here. I've been putting up my backlist on Kindle and am proud to announce Web of Deceit is now available there as well.

Faith Callahan's life is falling apart. Her husband is missing and presumed dead, returning to her childhood home doesn't promise the peace and tranquility she craves for herself and her son, and her father's hardware store is on the brink of bankruptcy. To top it all off, someone is watching her, breaking into her home and work, and making threatening phone calls. The only person she can trust besides God to help her is the man who was both her and her late husband's best friend-the three amigos in high school. And then there were two.

Or were there? Sheriff's deputy Adam Quinn needs to find out if his friend is dead, or just gone into hiding waiting to make contact with his wife. In order to find out so Adam can bring the suspected gun smuggler to justice, he needs to get close to his best friend's widow-the only woman he's ever loved. The deception grates on Adam's spiritualism and soul as his heart falls for Faith all over again, but he has a duty to uphold the law and protect the town's citizens.

When Faith and Adam meet again, their friendship rekindles on a deeper, more emotional level. Will Faith allow Adam back into her life after her disastrous first marriage full of lies and deceit? Will Adam risk his career to win woman he loves? Will Faith and Adam put their complete trust in God and let him guide them through these dangerous times?

Buy: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=B006JE3WNI&x=9&y=21

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some more holiday trivia


In honor of the holiday, I thought I'd post some of the origins of common Christmas items.




Mistletoe
Mistletoe is a parasitic plant (kind of gross when you think about it) that grows on oak and other non-evergreen trees. Although other greenery was also used in pagan festivals, mistletoe was actually worshipped.

Both Druids and Romans considered the plant sacred, as a healing plant and a charm against evil. Mistletoe was thought to be the connection between earth and the heavens, because it grew without roots, as if by magic. Mistletoe was also considered a symbol of peace; warring soldiers who found themselves under mistletoe quickly put down their weapons and made a temporary truce. In a related custom, ancient Britons hung mistletoe in their doorways to keep evil away. Those who entered the house safely were given a welcome kiss. While the custom of kissing under the mistletoe lost popularity in most other countries, it remained popular in England and the United States.



Holly

In ancient times holly was thought to be magical because of its shiny leaves and its ability to bear fruit in winter. Some believed it contained a syrup that cured coughs; others hung it over their beds to produce good dreams. Holly was a popular Saturnalia gift among the Romans. The Romans later brought holly to England, where it was also considered sacred. In medieval times, holly, along with ivy, became the subject of many Christmas songs. Some of these songs gave the holly and ivy sexual identities (holly is male, ivy female), while other, more religious songs and poems portray the holly berry as a symbol of Christ.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are you ready?

I wish I could say yes, I am, but sadly, this year, I am not even close to ready.  How can it possibly be 5 days until Christmas when just last week it was the first day of spring??  I don't get it.  But whether I'm ready or not, it's a'coming.  I did do myself a favor this year, though.  In the midst of my panic over all the things I had left to do, I waved the white flag and said "I surrender.  I am not sending Christmas cards this year."  I always send them, complete with a newsy letter and pictures.  But it's just not happening this year and I all I can say is, what a relief.  With that one checked off my list, all I need to do is wrap some gifts and find some spirit. 

Speaking of spirit, if you have some down time, why not give my fun little Christmas story a try?  It's all about finding that Christmas spirit...and appreciating the ones you love....  For less than a dollar, what do you have to lose?  Put that to do list away and relax with story.

KISSING KRIS KRINGLE, by Erin Quinn (99 cent ebook)

Kris Kringle is just an average guy living in the tiny town of North Pole, Maine where Christmas isn't just a holiday--it's a way of life. But not for Kris. He might be named after the big guy in red, but Kris is more Scrooge than Santa.

Until he wakes up from a night of partying with his friends to find himself in possession of a Santa suit, a toy bag and a puppy. Kris soon discovers that he's been relegated to Santa's naughty list and there's only one way to get his name removed....put on the suit and spread some cheer.

Lucky for Kris every cloud has a silver snowflake and his quest to get off that list lands him in the arms of the woman he's been lusting after for years.

It takes a little magic, but Kris is about to get everything he didn't know he wanted for Christmas.

To read the whole story of North Pole, Maine, be sure and download Naughty St. Nick by Calista Fox and Romancing Rudy Raindear by Mary Leo.

Review from the Book Reading Gals

"What more can you ask for than a charming little town that embraces the Christmas season, even during the hard times, people who gather together to bring joy into each others lives, and miracles that happen when least expected. Let alone characters that you quickly fall in love with and want to hear more about hint-hint Erin.  If you are one who loves these fabulous holiday romances than you will not want to miss this one!  Grade A"

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

And the winner is....

Congratulations Anne. You're the winnerof Marie's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail (dot) com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stoppingy by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Looking for an Agent?


Is your manuscript ready to submit? Or can it be ready to submit by the end of April? Then you need an agent and we know where you can start looking for one. The Desert Dreams Writer's Conference. There is still time to register, pay, and pick an agent to pitch your story to at the conference. One of the agent you can choose from is Holly Root of The Waxman Literary Agency.

Holly's favorite part of being an agent is the thrill of discovery. Being the first to experience a new world or a brand-new author simply never gets old. Couple that with the joy of sharing that wonderful book with editors and eventually readers and you’ve got the reason she truly loves her job. "I’m drawn to well-told commercial novels in a variety of genres. I’m much more likely to keep reading if I know from that perfectly-executed first page that this character (or author, in the case of nonfiction) is someone who interests me, someone whose story I’d like to get lost in for the next two hours. I know I’ve found a winner when I encounter writers whose skills on the page make me know beyond any doubt that I’m in excellent hands." Prior to joining the Waxman Literary Agency in 2007, Holly Root worked at the William Morris Agency and Trident Media Group.

She is acquiring middle grade, YA, womens's fiction (commercial and upmarket), urban fantasy, romance, and select nonfiction projectsWorkshops: TBA

For more information visit http://desertroserwa.org

Friday, December 16, 2011

Interview with Marie Patrick

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Marie Patrick. 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 Touch the Flame. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?


I’d love to. The Flame actually refers to a diamond, the Flame of Aphrodite, and a legend (or curse) attached to it. Legend says when the Flame is given and received with love, it will bless two souls with everlasting passion. Legend also says the infamous diamond can bring misery, obsession and death.


Spenser Channing, my hero, knows nothing about the legend of the Flame but he does know when someone needs help. When he finds a woman on his ranch—battered, bruised and near death—with a fortune in diamonds hidden beneath her clothing, a bracelet bearing the name ‘REESA’, and no recollection of who she is, his natural instincts take over and he vows to protect her. He can’t help falling in love with her.


Reesa, of course, falls in love with him as well but she can’t let him know and continually fights her growing attraction. She’s frightened by memories she doesn’t understand, afraid she has committed a horrible crime.
What neither of them knows is that dangers greater than Reesa’s forgotten memories await them, dangers made of flesh and bone and an obsession for the Flame.


Touch the Flame is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?


It all started with a spectacular sunset as I was driving home from work one evening. The sky looked like it was in flames and I remember thinking I could just reach out and touch those flames without getting burned.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?


From that one perfect sunset. It’s amazing what a visual like that can do for you.


What made you decide to write in this genre?


I’ve always had a love of history, always felt like I’d been born in the wrong time. Of course, the first romance I ever purchased was a historical. I’ve been in love with them ever since.


What are your favorite historical research books and why?


I use everything I can get my hands on for research, even the internet, although there is no one particular book I go to time after time. I love heading down to the Burton Barr Library and just browsing through the stacks. I always find some little nugget of history that inspires me (and usually leave the library with a dozen books at least).


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


Reesa, most definitely. Because she’d lost her memory, she was a complete blank slate for me. She had no memory of her history, no clue to what her background was before she woke up in a strange bed. I imagined what I would feel like if I suddenly “lost” who I was.


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 a basic character sheet: what they look like, what their history is, who their families are. I don’t interview my characters because eventually, they start talking to me (I know, it sounds strange). My research usually doesn’t change who or what they are but it may change a little bit on how they act.


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


What I found more interesting than anything else (although the amount of clothes a woman wore still shocks me) were the amazing inventions created between 1845 and 1900: safety pins and zippers, passenger elevators with safety devices; refrigerated railway cars; condensed milk; telephones, typewriters and ballpoint pens and so many other things that we take for granted every day.


Do you have any authors that inspired you?


Oh, yes! And so many! Jennifer Ashley, Kathryne Kennedy, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, Jude Devereaux, Victoria Alexander…the list goes on and on (there are even a few authors who are not published as yet, but whose work is fabulous). If I had to choose just one, it would be impossible. Each one of these authors has sparked something in me.


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


Interviews like this and word of mouth.


What do we have to look forward next?


I’m currently working on another western (what can I say, I love the old west!) but I’ve got two other manuscripts ready to go. One is a sea-faring treasure hunt and the other is a fun romp through Galveston set in 1898.


Thanks, Marie!


To celebrate her book release, Marie Patrick is offering a free copy of Touch the Flame 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. Marie Patrick has always had a love affair with words and books but it wasn’t until a trip to Arizona, where she now makes her home with her husband and three furry, four-legged “girls”, that she became inspired to write about the sometimes desolate, yet beautiful west. Her inspiration doesn’t just come from the wild west though. It comes from history itself. She is fascinated with pirates and men in uniform and lawmen with shiny badges. When not writing or researching her favorite topics, she can usually be found curled up with a good book.


Check out author’s website at www.MariePatrick.com.


Buy www.whiskeycreekpress.com and Amazon.com.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree.....

Kim Watters here. In the spirit of the holiday season, I thought I'd share a picture or two of our Christmas tree. As you can see, the entire family enjoys its green boughs. If you look close enough, yes, don't blink because your eyes are telling you the truth, that' s my son's cat, Lego, enjoying his perch from inside the tree. The kittens think the tree is their own personal play toy, and at one time or another, almost all the ornaments have found a spot on the floor. That's why we didn't put out the breakable ones this year. I've given up putting them back on the tree and they now sit in a pile on the coffee table. Gee, somehow they aren't as interesting if they're not dangling from a branch. And somehow the lights at the top of the tree quit working a week ago. Bad bulb or did one of the kittens chew through the cord? Sigh. So does anyone have any suggestions how to keep our furry friends from climbing the tree? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Looking for an Agent?



Michelle Grajkowski of the 3 Seas Literary Agency will be attending the Desert Dreams Writer's Conference April 27-29, 2012. From the moment Michelle Grajkowski first opened the doors to the 3 Seas Literary Agency in August of 2000, she has been living her dream. (What could be better than surrounding yourself with amazing authors and their exciting and imaginative books?) Since then, she’s successfully sold more than 400 projects into all the major publishing houses.

Currently she represents 35 authors, including New York Times Bestselling Authors Katie MacAlister, Kerrelyn Sparks and C.L. Wilson. Michelle primarily represents romance, women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction. She is currently looking for fantastic writers with a voice of their own. When not curled up with a great manuscript, Michelle loves to spend time with her husband, children and her two crazy puppies, who refuse to grow up, Libby and Gizmo. Michelle has been bitten by that Twitter bug where she tweets all things publishing, basketball, chocolate and any other impractical thoughts that strike her fancy! Please follow her at www.twitter.com/threeseaslit.

She is acquiring romance, women’s fiction, YA, and middle grade. She will also be giving a workshop at the conference: The Write Fit – An Insider’s Look at Forming an Effective Author-Agent Team (with author Winnie Griggs)

How can you meet Michelle? She will be taking appointments at the conference. Slots will be filled on a first registerd and paid basis so act fast! You can get more information at
http://www.desertroserwa.org

Friday, December 9, 2011

Interview with K. Dawn Byrd

I’d like to welcome our guest today, K. Dawn Byrd. 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 This Time for Keeps. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Here's the cover blurb:

India McGuire's peaceful life is shattered when on the night of her engagement to David Richards, she comes face to face with Chase Porter, a long lost love. India must come to terms with her overpowering feelings for Chase and choose between David, the neighbor who says he loves her, and Chase, the man who broke her heart.

Chase's plans of leaving quietly turn to disaster when he finds that it's impossible to disappear without seeing India one last time. Feelings begin to surface that he believed buried forever and he finds himself fighting to win her back even as David struggles to hold onto her.

India longs to follow her heart, but she's been hurt too deeply. Who will she choose? The neighbor who can provide stability or the man she vowed to love forever who may once again heed to the call of the open road?

This Time for Keeps is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

This Time for Keeps portrays a second shot at romance for Chase and India and if they can make it work, she wants it to be forever. She believes in marrying only once and for life.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

This Time for Keeps actually started out as a post-WWII romance, but it just didn't feel right and became a contemporary romance.

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

I am a big-time plotter. I can't imagine writing a book without some major plotting.

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

I didn't have to do any research for this book because it's contemporary. However, I did do research for Queen of Hearts, my WWII romantic suspense. My favorite website is one of abandoned buildings. I used it to come up with an idea in my mind of what the abandoned mental institution looked like that my heroine hides out in. The website is http://www.opacity.us/locations/

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

As I stated, it began as a WWII romance. Many young men went away to war and returned changed. Sometimes, their girl was waiting and sometimes, she'd found someone else.

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

I enjoyed writing about Chase. He's a guy who traveled the world with the military, partied, and lived it up. It was interesting to find that he was embarrassed that India would find out about his carousing.

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

I use extensive character sheets and as I write, I continually ask myself, "Would my character really do that? Or, say that?"

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I absolutely love Lisa Jackson and Harlen Coben when it comes to suspense. I pick their books apart, studying craft.

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

Blog tours without a doubt. They help get your name out.

What do we have to look forward next?

In January, my first book in The Zoe Mack Mystery Series will debut. It's a young adult mystery series that's heavy on the romance.

Thanks, K. Dawn!

She will be around part of the day so if you have any questions, please ask away.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Mighty Christmas Tree Quiz

Every year about this time, millions of Americans put up a Christmas tree. But how much do we really know about the Christmas tree? I've done a bit of research and come up with 10 questions that I didn't know. See how well you do. And try not to peek at the answers, Santa's watch.

1.) Evergreens symbolize life after death.

a. True b. False


2.) The fir tree became associated with Christianity in Germany when this saint came across some pagans worshipping an oak tree. This saint felled the oak and a fir tree sprang up from its root. Who was the Saint?

a. Bernard b. Benedict c. Boniface d. Bartholomew

3.) The first evergreens were brought into the house by

a. The 3 wisemen b. The Egyptians c. The Celtic d. The Norsemen

4.) These group of people are widely credited with bringing the Christmas tree to America.

a. The Puritans b. The Irish c. The Hessians d. The English

5.) The Puritans embraced Christmas.

a. True b. False


6.) The first US President to place a Christmas tree in the white house was...

a. George Washington b. Andrew Jackson c. Franklin Pierce d. Abraham Lincoln

7.) The first Christmas Tree appeared in a church in...

a. 1781 b. 1812 c. 1825 d. 1851

8.) The first Christmas trees were sold commercially in what city?

a. Cleveland, Ohio b. Philladelphia, PA c. New York, NY d. Washington, DC

9.) The first artificial Christmas tree was developed in this country during the 19th Century.

a. Ireland b. Canada c. United States d. Germany

10.) In 2011, the tallest Christmas tree will be located in..

a. Anthem, Arizona b. Washington, DC c. Rockefeller Plaze, NY, NY
d. Mall of America, Minnesota

1-a. 2-c St. Boniface 3. b, the Egyptians brought in palms inside during the winter solstice. 4. c-Being Germanic, the Hessian are said to have had a Christmas tree during the Revolutionary War. Their Christmastime celebration gave General Washington a major victory. 5. b--the Puritans banned Christmas. 6. Franklin Pierce in 1856. 7. d Pastor Schwan of Ohio is credited with it. He was threatened with bodily harm and his congregation condemned the Pagan practice. 8. c--Mark Carr drove 2 wagons full of trees to New York in 1851. He sold out. Commercial Christmas trees were began during the depression. 9. d-Germany developed them using dyed goose feathers. 10. a--Anthem, Arizona--110 feet

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Following My Heart – Part II: The Branding Process

Now that I’ve remembered where my heart is and have decided to step out there, I started listening more to this whole branding thing. Seems I have three personae to brand: Connie Flynn who writes paranormal romance and urban fantasy; K.C. Flynn who writes mysteries with maybe some paranormal thrown in; and Connie/K.C. partner and owner/instructor of Bootcamp for Novelists Online. And, of course, there’s still my college creative writing instructor persona, especially now that teachers are expected more and more to market their own courses.

Although K.C. (Old Bones) is more likely to have a new book out sooner, I’m starting with Connie because her book is the most “o
ut there” (as in weird and strange, not out on the shelves). And she also has four ebook reissued titles available in bookstores. Various branding gurus of my recent acquaintance (when the student asks, the teacher appears) tell me I need three keywords related to what I’m writing which will also be of interest to me and my potential readers. After lots of doodling, I came up with them.

Fashion: True, I dreamed about being on America’s Top Model, but what’s more to the point is that the heroine in my fantasy THE XANADU REBELLION was a world famous fashion model before a tragic accident scarred her face. Although she now spends her time learning how to save the universe (some minor hyperbole) she still loves beautiful quirky clothes. How I understand her. Although I spend my time working for a living, I also love beautiful, qu
irky clothes – an indulgence I’ve denied myself for far too long. So this is my era of QUIRKY FASHION. I’ve even taken to following Lady Gaga and Prince Poppycock on Twitter and Facebook, but never fear that I’ve gone off the edge. I’m still no stranger to Ann Kline and Inc. And there is at least one pair of sturdy, sensible walking shoes in my closet.

Breakthrough Science: THE XANADU REBELLION book is a crossover between science fiction, urban fantasy, and high fantasy . . . with a little romance thrown in
. So are a couple of my soon to be reissued backlist, THE FIRE OPAL and THE DRAGON HOUR. And, frankly, I’m a bit of a science geek. Mostly blow your mind stuff like the neutrino joke I posted on Connie’s Corner and the possible space elevator that I’ll be posting about soon, so welcome to FREAKY SCIENCE.

My Twisted Philosophy: I’m not sure how old I was when I realized that not many people saw th
e world quite the way I do. Perhaps in the second grade where Mrs. Brown constantly got after me to put my crayons away in a timely manner. Oh how I loved the coloring hour. Anyway, I have spent most of my life with my nose stuck in various, often little known, human potential movements. I’ve learned a bit of this and a bit of that and have reached a point where I might know enough to share a bit here and there. I warn you this is not for the faint of heart. Look for: GOOFBALL MUSINGS. Topics can range from how to avoid being asked to bring a hot dish to a potluck dinner to why you should be careful about what you declare yourself to be. My musings may often be goofball-y, but I AM not a goofball.

Bootcamp for Novelists is also getting a brand workover . . . and a new location. Yes, the online writing school is getting it’s very own blog where my partner Linda Style and I will switch off posts on writing, on the writing industry, and on the writer’s life. We’ve added a new slogan: COMMITMENT, CRAFT, CREATIVITY to round out our goal of teaching step by step and our promise that we can help. Check out course listings at the Bootcamp website and look for our changes around the first of 2012.

In the meantime, if you’d like to check out Connie’s books, click on the book names. SHADOW ON THE MOON and SHADOW OF THE WOLF are currently available in ebook format and so is the Old Bones story by K.C. Flynn. If you’d be willing to write a short review to post on Amazon and Goodreads (blogs are good, too) for any or all of these stories, email me at connieflynn@cox.net. I’ll send you a code that will let you download the books for free.

Meanwhile, I’m not sure how long I’ll be running with the Following my Heart theme, but for now I close part II. If part III comes into existence, you’ll find it here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy on the first Tuesday of January.

Monday, December 5, 2011

And the winner is...

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

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Looking For An Agent?



You have your manuscript polished and ready to submit, what now? Now you look for an editor or agent. I suggest you attend the Desert Dreams Conference and meet with an agent in person.


Michelle Grajkowski, an agent with 3 Seas Literary Agency will be taking appointments to meet with writers and hear about their manuscripts.


From the moment Michelle Grajkowski first opened the doors to the 3 Seas Literary Agency in August of 2000, she has been living her dream. (What could be better than surrounding yourself with amazing authors and their exciting and imaginative books?) Since then, she’s successfully sold more than 400 projects into all the major publishing houses. Currently she represents 35 authors, including New York Times Bestselling Authors Katie MacAlister, Kerrelyn Sparks and C.L. Wilson. Michelle primarily represents romance, women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction. She is currently looking for fantastic writers with a voice of their own. When not curled up with a great manuscript, Michelle loves to spend time with her husband, children and her two crazy puppies, who refuse to grow up, Libby and Gizmo. Michelle has been bitten by that Twitter bug where she tweets all things publishing, basketball, chocolate and any other impractical thoughts that strike her fancy! Please follow her at www.twitter.com/threeseaslit.



She is acquiring Romance, Women’s Fiction, YA, and Middle Grade


She will also be giving a workshop: The Write Fit – An Insider’s Look at Forming an Effective Author-Agent Team (with author Winnie Griggs)

So how do you get an appointment to pitch to Michelle. You need to attend The Desert Dreams Writer's Conference. Slots will be filled on a first registered, first paid basis.

You can get more information at www.desertroserwa.org







Friday, December 2, 2011

Interview with Gini Koch






I’d like to welcome our guest today, author Gini Koch. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free.

Yahoo, chocolate!

So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Oooh. See’s AND Godiva. I think I’m gonna like it here.

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

Well, it’s the best book ever written and a deal at twice the price! (Hey, you can’t blame a girl for trying.)

The Alien series follows Katherine “Kitty” Katt, the world’s best accidental badass, as she discovers first that the Roswell rumors are true -- with a twist -- the aliens are here to help us and, as an added bonus, they’re all gorgeous, and they’re all far more interested in someone’s brains and brain capacity than anything else.

Kitty not only learns that there are both good and bad aliens and lots of life on other planets, but gets involved in the fight to protect this planet. As the series goes on, there’s more than just parasitic aliens to deal with, as well as more secrets and conspiracies to discover and disrupt.

In Alien in the Family, Kitty got married, and in Alien Proliferation, after the wildest wedding ever, Katherine "Kitty" Katt-Martini and her Alpha Centaurion husband Jeff are hoping life will settle down. But alien attacks are on the increase, and someone is testing a dangerous new drug on unwilling subjects within their group. As if that’s not enough, Kitty and a number of the A-C women are expecting their first babies.

No one is certain what this baby boom will lead to, but after almost losing Kitty in childbirth, they discover that their newborn’s talents are off the charts -- and potentially dangerous. And just to add to their worries -- the bad guys want their baby.

The last thing anyone in Centaurion Division needs after that is a conspiracy to kill the heads of the C.I.A.’s Extra-Terrestrial Division and the Presidential Terrorism Control Unit, otherwise known as Charles Reynolds and Kitty’s mother, Angela Katt.

Then, suddenly, key members of Alpha and Airborne start vanishing.

Can Kitty, her remaining team members, friends old and new, and a totally unexpected new partner rescue everyone and figure out how and why Kitty’s become a superhuman? Most importantly, can they pull it all off before the event Kitty dreads most -- her Alpha Centaurion baby shower?

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

*cough* Well, it fits the book. Welcome to life with a linear writer. LOL Actually, it truly fits the book, but I’d be giving things away about the whole series if I told you the full reasoning behind it. Basically, all my titles have both significance to the book and also have more than one meaning within the book. Clear as mud? :-D

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I didn’t decide. I’m an extreme linear writer. I write what the characters tell me is going on. So, I wrote Touched by an Alien, and it was deemed science fiction, or science fiction romance, depending. I don’t make the rules, I just have to live within them. Sometimes. LOL

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

It was the next logical extension of the three books prior. I tend to “see” the next few books ahead as I’m writing “this one”, so I’d already known where the storyline was going as I finished up Touched by an Alien and Alien Tango.

About half of my ideas come from my dreams (Touched by an Alien did, for example) and the other half come from songs, experiences, or the characters themselves. Alien Proliferation is more on the characters themselves creative side than anything else.

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

I don’t do very much research for my series at all. Most of what I research I can find on the internet. My research, if you will, was reading lots and lots of science fiction and fantasy. I don’t actually write hard science fiction, but I read a lot of it, so I suppose I’d count everything I’ve read by hard SF authors such as Larry Niven, Ben Bova, Frederik Pohl, etc., as being my research.

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

Oh, I love all my characters, including my villains. And I like writing them because I love writing, creating, telling the characters’ stories, and generally being able to make things up and play and have it be something other people get to enjoy.

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?

I’m apparently the most seat-of-the-pants writer out there. I don’t do character sheets, nor interviews, nor anything else. While we were editing Alien in the Family my editor at DAW suggested I get a spreadsheet together of all the characters so she and I wouldn’t get confused. Which I did (and I wish she’d suggested that while we were editing Touched by an Alien, LOL). However, other than the most basic of information, I don’t have a lot in the spreadsheet. I literally know it all in my head. They’re all my creations. I know them, intimately, from birth to death, even if I only tell you part of their lives.

My rule is that if a character gets a name or a speaking part (but not both), I need to know what they’re about right now, and if they get a name AND a speaking part I need to know everything about them because they’ll probably be around and/or show up again. So, in the off time, I ask them to tell me about themselves. Which they do, which is why some minor characters in one book will be come huge or recurring characters in another.

It’s a party in my mind, but it works for me.

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

Rarely, rarely, and rarely. I will occasionally create maps so I know where my characters are “now”, are going, and placed in relation to the rest of the world. I almost never chart, and drawings I only do for fight sequences where I’ve got to be sure I know where everyone is.

Seriously, I keep all this stuff in my mind. The act of writing down things like character bios and extensive world building removes the joy of discovery and the fun for me -- it makes everything work, and I hate work. I love writing, ergo, the things stay in my mind, and get to come out when I want them to. I have notes on everything I write, but most of them wouldn’t help anyone else to know what the heck I’m talking about.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Madeleine L’Engle, Arther Conan Doyle, O. Henry, Robert Benchley, Terry Pratchett, Robert Silverberg, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, P.J. O’Rourke, Woody Allen, Dave Barry…and many more besides.

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

Hmmm. I do a lot of promotion. I have to be honest and say that I think Twitter has probably given me the best return on my investment of time. And the book review bloggers have been very, very good to me. But I think all my promotion has filtered into my marketing mix in the right ways. In terms of physical promotion, my postcards do the most duty (mailings, working as business cards, filling in as bookmarks, working like flyers), so I will always do those, too.

What do we have to look forward next?

Alien Diplomacy releases April 3, 2012, with Alien vs. Alien coming Dec. 2012, Alien in the House coming April 2013, and Alien Collective coming Dec. 2013.

I also have the Martian Alliance Chronicles from Musa Publishing which is a series of short stories & novellas -- The Royal Scam is out now, and the second installment, Three Card Monte, will be out in early 2012.

I also write under a variety of pen names, and I have a lot out and coming out from Musa as Jemma Chase, Anita Ensal, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch. All are shorter works, short stories and novellas. Jemma Chase’s and J.C. Koch’s works are, so far, standalones. A.E. Stanton writes The New West novella series, which is a post-apocalyptic science fiction Western; and Anita Ensal writes The Neighborhood and The Asteroid Belt series (starting in December and January). The Neighborhood is rural and urban fantasy, and The Asteroid Belt is science fiction/science fiction romance. Both are serialized short stories and novellas.

My full bibliography is up at my website via my Author Splash page.

Thanks, Gini!

To celebrate her book release, Gini Koch is offering a free signed and personalized copy of Book 2 in the Alien Series, Alien Tango, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Contest is open internationally.)

(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.
Gini Koch lives in Hell’s Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, AZ), works her butt off (sadly, not literally) by day, and writes by night with the rest of the beautiful people. She writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. She also writes under a variety of pen names (including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch), listens to rock music 24/7, and is a proud comics geek-girl willing to discuss at any time why Wolverine is the best superhero ever (even if Deadpool does get all the best lines). She also speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business.

You can find Gini at her:
Website: http://www.ginikoch.com
Blah, Blah, Blah Blog: http://ginikoch.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @GiniKoch
Facebook: facebook.com/Gini.Koch
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hairspray-and-Rock-n-Roll-Kicking-Evil-Alien-Butt-since-2010-GINI-KOCH
Alien Collective Virtual HQ/Official Fan Site: http://aliencollectivehq.com/

Buy Touched by an Alien, Alien Tango, Alien in the Family, and Alien Proliferation at any bookstore or online.


Buy the majority of her other works from Musa Publishing (http://www.musapublishing.com/).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finding Our Happy Place

The Tia Dani team survived November and has emerged from our turkey coma to find an entire new set of circumstances. It just goes to show you how fast your world can change in the writing industry. We gave our first workshop on ‘Team Writing’ and were pleasantly surprised at how well it went. The turnout for our workshop exceeded our expectations and we spoke with confidence and excitement about how we write together. We left the class with renewed energy and story ideas buzzing in our brains. We couldn’t wait to get together and put our ideas down on paper.




But then we received news that saddened our hearts and briefly took the wind from our sails. The publisher we dearly love and planned to submit our next story to closed their doors. Our time spent with Sapphire Blue Publishing has been wonderful and we wish them all the best. However, now Tia Dani has two books that are homeless and nowhere to send our almost finished story.



This has created a new project for us that we hadn’t planned on at this time. So, as we move into the holiday season, not to mention amid our decorating and shopping, we have to research publishers. We are asking ourselves, do we want to find another small press or do we take a look at self publishing? There are certainly plenty of options out there, but which is best for our needs?

Over the next few weeks we’ll take a good hard look at our options and hopefully make a good decision -- at least one that works well for us. We’ve heard of authors making thousands of dollars on one book that they have self-published and we’ve heard stories of authors that are published with a small press making the same. We certainly have never made much money yet, but sometimes, it’s not all about the money. Oh sure money is good, and you bet we’d be glad to get it, but it’s exciting just to have readers compliment our work and tell us how much they enjoy reading our stories.


Anyway, for now, we’ll enjoy the holidays, the food, the family and good friends. In our spare time we’ll do some more research and keep on writing. Because that’s what we do. We are storytellers. And as far as the rest of it, remember when one door closes another door opens. Maybe behind the next door we will find our pot of gold. Or, at least, a happy place we will love to be.


Enjoy your holidays in whatever way you celebrate. We will see you next year!



Tia Dani

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

THE LORD OF ILLUSION contest--win a gorgeous citrine necklace!
















First contest for THE LORD OF ILLUSION

To celebrate the upcoming release of THE LORD OF ILLUSION, I am offering a gorgeous 1.32 carat citrine pendant (retail value $180). The golden stone represents the magical scepter and the power of glamour and illusion at Dreamhame Palace, where my heroine is enslaved. See above for a photo and description of this magical prize.

This contest is all about spreading the word for THE ELVEN LORDS series. Just post the blurb and/or cover below anywhere on the internet (Chatrooms, Forums, Blogs, Myspace, Twitter, etc.) No inappropriate sites, please, and the exact blurb cannot already be mentioned on that site. However, you may Tweet about it once a day, as long as you don't drive your friends crazy. :}

Email the url link to your post to: kathryne@kathrynekennedy.com with THE LORD OF ILLUSION CONTEST in the subject line.


BLURB:
THE LORD OF ILLUSION is coming soon!
www.KathryneKennedy.com












A winner will be randomly chosen from the entries using RANDOM.ORG. Your information will be kept confidential. Contest ends January 31, 2012. One entry per 24 hours. Winner will be notified via email provided with subscription. If winner does not respond within seven business days, a new winner will be chosen. We are not responsible for any misdirection of email. Rules are subject to change for any reason without prior notification. 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. Open to U.S. residents only. You accept all terms and conditions by entering into the contest.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Looking for an Agent to represent your YA novel?



Are you looking for an agent?

If you want to avoid the slush pile, the best

way to meet an agent is by attending a conference

and we have one of the best.


April 27-29, 2012

Jill Corcoran with the Herman Agency, Inc.

will be attending the

Desert Dreams Writer's Conference

in Scottsdale, AZ.


With an English degree from Stanford University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from The University of Chicago, Jill has marketed everything from sneakers to cereal at Leo Burnett Advertising, LA Gear, Mattel, and at her own consulting company, LAUNCH! New Product Marketing. Jill is also a children’s book author and poet.

She is now acquiring YA, Middle Grade, and Chapter Books


In order to get a an appointment to pitch your

completed manuscript to Jill, you will need

to register and pay for the conference.

Slots are limited and will be filled on a first

registered and paid basis, so don't delay.


For more information go to




Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Black Friday.

Kim Watters here.....because I'm crazy enough to hit the stores to shop today, I didn't schedule any author interviews. So I'm going to leave you with a few blurbs of the short stories I have up over at Kindle and Barnes and Noble. Enjoy.

Discovering Jenna

Reclusive children’s author Jenna Winslow hides behind her books to keep life from disappointing her. She’d rather spend her time in museums with the dinosaurs she writes about, until she meets a man who makes her want to live again.

Matt McCutcheon is confined to a wheelchair but doesn’t let life confine him. He’s determined to unearth the mysteries of a woman whose physical scars camouflage wounds that go far deeper. But are his efforts to unlock the warmth and beauty inside Jenna enough to draw her back into the land of the living?

http://www.amazon.com/Discovering-Jenna-ebook/dp/B005PII8XS


Dog Days of Summer

An introvert at heart, newly divorced Emily Bryant will do anything to bring a smile back to her son’s lips--even adopt a complete stranger’s dog from a want-ad. But once she meets the owner, Daniel Gibbs, and the big-eared, furry mutt, Sir Isaac Newton, the smile she so desperately wants for Jeremy might just grace her lips as well.
http://www.amazon.com/Dog-Days-of-Summer-ebook/dp/B005PIMJEW


Scales of Love

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

http://www.amazon.com/Scales-of-Love-ebook/dp/B0062PEEVI


When Johnny Comes Home

Audrey Robert’s masquerade is about to end in disaster. For years, she’s written love letters to Johnny and signed them with her sister’s name. Now, the man she adores is coming home to marry his pen pal and Audrey is left to face the consequences of her deception.

Injured during D-Day, Johnny Davenport is shipped home. His only plan: to find the woman whose love letters kept him sane and hopeful throughout the destruction of war. Nothing will stop him from drawing out the beautiful, shy girl he left behind and making her his wife.

But once the true writer is revealed which sister will he claim?

http://www.amazon.com/When-Johnny-Comes-Home-ebook/dp/B0062PBDX0/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1322164870&sr=1-2

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sisters in Crime (SinC) 25th Anniversary Celebration

Come join the Desert Sleuths chapter of Sisters in Crime and The Poisoned Pen Bo0kstore as they celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Sisters in Crime.

Saturday, December 3, 2011 – 4:00-6:30 PM

We will begin with a panel of SinC authors, followed by food, drink and merrymaking. Panel will include award-winning authors Kris Neri, Deborah J Ledford, and Clark Lohr. Please raise a glass with us at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in honor of SinC's 25 years of achievement in championing the efforts of women crime writers. Look where woman writers are now!

RSVP: DesertSleuths@gmail.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

And the winner is......

Congratulations Sharon M. You're the winner of Hannah's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmial (dot) com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meet Agent Cherry Weiner

Are you looking for an agent to represent

your manuscript?

Cherry Weiner, literary agent, only takes on
new clients she meets in person first. She became
my agent recently after speaking to her at a Desert Rose meeting.


Cherry has been agenting since 1977. She started out by handling science fiction, fantasy, and horror and she now handles all genres. Some nonfiction has even crept into the mix but no poetry, childrens or YA. She represents a good number of well-known authors including Lauren Nichols, Tammy Hoganson, Deborah LeBlanc, and Desert Rose's own Gini Koch.

You can meet Cherry at the Desert Dreams Conference.
If you have a manuscript to pitch, she will be taking
appointments, but they are filled on a first registered
and paid basis so don't delay.

For more information on the conference go to
http://www.desertroserwa.org

Friday, November 18, 2011

Interview with Hannah Jayne

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Hannah Jayne. 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 UNDER ATTACK. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?


Under Attack is the follow up to UNDER WRAPS, which is the first novel in the Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles. Sophie Lawson, her vampire roommate Nina LeShay, and the hot fallen-angel detective Alex Grace are at it again – this time, trying to track the mythical Vessel of Souls. They’re not the only ones on the hunt, however, and there are plenty of firey, maggoty run-ins with some very big baddies hell-bent on stopping Sophie’s search. There’s also cantaloupe and, most importantly, a plethora of chocolate-marshmallow pinwheels…


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


I wish I had some great, author-ly story about how it came about, but seriously? I was sitting in the Target parking lot, talking to my editor on the phone and we were kicking around names. He said “Under Attack?” and I said, “done!” Totally beat out my working title, which was Underwear.


What made you decide to write in this genre?


I have always loved the supernatural/occult/paranormal, but honestly, it never occurred to me to write it. I started out (poorly) writing romance. That fizzled quickly, mainly because I locked up every time I needed to use the word “penis” in a sentence. (My mother might read that!) My agent suggested I try paranormal and two sentences in, I was hooked! It’s a great genre to write.


Where did you get your idea for this particular book?


It really kind of zipped right out of the first book, UNDER WRAPS, which is quite funny because although it is a series, each book can stand alone. I guess once Sophie had this adventure, I felt like readers – and myself! – needed to know more about Sophie and her mystical connections.


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


Accurate legendry for all my demons/beings is really important to me, so everyone in my books is based on actual accounts or legends/cultural myths. The Field Guide to Demons is a favorite research book for that and Forensics and Fiction is my favorite for pretty much everything else.


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


I know it’s hokey, but that’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is! Because the book is 1st person, Sophie is obviously fun to write, but every character has their great quirks – Vlad with his empowerment movement, Nina with vamp-fashion sense… They are all fun!


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 a UDA bible that lists every character, where they came into the story, their looks, traits, background, etc. I don’t do interviews per se, but – I know this sounds weird – I don’t consider a character well developed until I know what they eat for breakfast. What people eat for breakfast says a lot about someone! The characters and the world are totally interconnected, especially since the UDA was created specifically to serve the Underworld, so yes, there is a definite influence there.


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


My world is San Francisco – above and below! I consider it one of the most supernatural places in the world even without my meddling, and I say that as an SF native and with nothing but complete reverence! It’s a world unto itself.


Do you have any authors that inspired you?


Constantly. I was born and bred on Southern authors like Kaye Gibbons and Jill McCorkle. Jen Lancaster and Celia Rivenbark are favorites and make me feel that much less crazy. Juliet Blackwell and Penny Warner are mystery/mythical geniuses!


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


I really love signings because I love meeting fans face to face, but blog tours are the best for promotion, and I love being able to offer random prizes to blog readers. You guys are the best!


What do we have to look forward next? Sophie steps in it again this spring! Look for UNDER SUSPICION in May 2012!


Thanks, Hannah!


To celebrate her book release, Hannah Jayne is offering a free book of UNDER ATTACK 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.hannahjschwartz.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Must for Authors-Tracking Visitors on your Website or Blog

Do you have tracking on your web site? If not, you might want to consider doing so. Many traffic services are free. www.statcounter.com, www.google.com/analytics, www.freestats.com are just a few to mention. A web tracker shows you how people found your site, how they explore it, what country or state they are from and exactly how many people came to your site.

Tracking who goes on your site and how many

people visit over the course of the day, week, month can tell you whether or not the strategies you are using for advertising or promotion are working. It doesn’t necessarily say if these people are buying unless you can track that through Amazon, an online store on your site or other device. I always think any traffic is better than none.

For example, I did a Facebook invite last month because I was holding a contest. The day I sent an invite out, my traffic drastically increased. I could visually see that on the graph Google supplies. I always know that a newsletter has some affect. Each time I have a spike in traffic when I send one out. I also have tracking on my newsletter which informs me how many people actually opened my newsletter, forwarded it on to someone else and clicked on any of the links.

On Facebook, if you have a page, you have tracking included called Insights. It tells you how many people are talking about your page, how many people you are reaching through friends of fans, the number of people who have created a story about your page, and how many unique people have seen any content regarding your page. You can export that data onto your computer for further research.

Promotion has drastically changed for authors over the years. I think it’s critical that each dollar you spend is effective. Using a tracking device on your site sure helps on narrowing down what works and what doesn’t.

Carol Webb
Bella Media Management
www.bellamediamanagement.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just for the fun of it.

The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavoured mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter,
and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking
down in the near future.

2. Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

3. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

4. Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

5. Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

6. Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

7. Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

8. Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. ( that one got extra credit)

9. Karmageddon (n): Its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

10. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

11. Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

12. Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

13. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've
accidentally walked through a spider web.

14. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

15. Caterpallor (n.): The colour you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.