Monday, February 28, 2011

And the winner is......

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

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Neurotic Writer Drives a Taxi

The Neurotic Writer Drives a Taxi

Therapist: “Suzie, your wrist is bandaged. What happened?”

Suzie Writer: “Nothing much. I hit it in a taxi.”

Therapist: “Crazy taxi drivers.”

Suzie Writer: “I was driving the taxi. Yes, I was researching another book. My heroine takes over her uncle’s business when he runs off to the rain forest with a female mud wrestler. I got the idea from my cousin Jewels. She drives a taxi and she just happened to be going out of town for the week, so I drove for her.”

Therapist: “I didn’t know you had a commercial driver’s license.”

Suzie Writer: “A what?”

Therapist: “You can’t just drive a taxi without proper authorization. Your cousin must know that.”

Suzie Writer: “Well, she didn’t exactly know I was driving her taxi. She was gone. I was watching her house. The key was on the hook. I got the idea to write the book and one thing led to another. I guess it’s a good thing you can’t squeal on me.”

Therapist: “Yeah…I guess it’s a good thing. I gather you drove her taxi into a wall or something. You have your wrist wrapped.”

Suzie Writer: “No, I didn’t. You don’t have much faith in me, doc. As a matter of fact, I was a great driver. I rehearsed a chase scene and no one got hurt. Unless you count the Scottsdale socialite who threw up her lunch in her lap. Those rich women drive me nuts. They tell you to get to the airport yesterday and then they scream and yell when you step on the gas. I was only going a hundred and no one was one the sidewalk.”

Therapist: “So how did you hurt her wrist?”

Suzie Writer: “I told the Scottsdale babe her shoes didn’t match her handbag and she swung it at me. And to top it off, she didn’t even get a tip. What a snob.”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Interview with Susan Fox

I’d like to welcome our guest again today, Susan Lyons, who also writes as Susan Fox. 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 His, Unexpectedly. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I’d love to. First, I’m very excited to say that Publishers Weekly named this book as one of their Top 10 Romances for spring.

His, Unexpectedly is the third book in my “planes, trains, automobiles and a cruise ship” Wild Ride to Love series for Kensington Brava, under my Susan Fox pen name. In the series, three older sisters come home for their baby sister’s wedding by various means of transport. In His, Unexpectedly, free-spirited Jenna Fallon returns from Santa Cruz, starting out in her yellow MGB convertible. When it breaks down, she asks a sexy marine biologist for a ride. Globe-trotting science guy Mark Chambers sure isn’t about to say no. Jenna bewitches and bedazzles him as they make their way up the Pacific Coast, camping, skinny dipping, having scorching hot sex – and sharing their most intimate secrets. For the first time in his life, Mark wants commitment – and it’s with a woman who shuns the concept. Can Jenna overcome deep-seated insecurity and believe what her heart tells her – that this wild ride has an unexpected and very special destination: love?

His, Unexpectedly is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

When my editor and I brainstormed ideas for the second book in the series, I suggested Love, Unexpectedly, and she loved it. For the third book, we decided to stick with that basic theme. The title definitely fits the book. The last thing Mark expected when he started the drive to Vancouver to present a paper at an international symposium was to find the love of his life along the way.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love contemporary romance, especially when it’s sexy and fun, and especially when both the heroine and hero have some issues to deal with and some growing to do. When the Brava line first launched, I thought it was terrific and always aspired to write for it. And now here I am!

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

Mostly a pantser. For series books, though, it’s not like starting completely from scratch. I already knew Jenna pretty well because she made an appearance in the first two books. So I knew her personality and I had some idea of her issues and the kind of guy who was most likely to challenge her. I also knew she’d be driving from California, so that was the framework for the story. And of course all the stories are about journeys – physical and emotional ones. Other than that, the characters and story grew as I wrote. That’s my typical process and it does mean a fair amount of going back and revising as I learn more details about characters, back story, themes, etc.

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

I didn’t do any major research for this book, just a bunch of odds and ends. I used travel guides (paper and online) to identify places where Jenna and Mark might stop. I researched his profession and some of the temporary jobs she’s had. I’d say my favorite research site is the internet in general. You can find pretty much everything there.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

For the Wild Ride to Love series, two ideas came together. I think different modes of transportation have a romantic, sexy allure – so, “planes, trains, and automobiles” (the cruise ship was added later). And after writing the Awesome Foursome series about four best friends (my “Sex And The City set in Vancouver” series), I had the urge to write about sisters. Now, how was I going to get the sisters using the various modes of transportation? Well, have the three older ones living in different places, and all needing to come home for baby sister’s wedding. So, that was the series idea. The first book, Sex Drive, brought buttoned-up older sister Theresa home by planes from Australia – and her romantic journey began when she was seated beside one of Australia’s 10 sexiest bachelors. In the second book, Love, Unexpectedly, Kat came home by trains from Montreal, and played a sexy “stranger on a train” game as her best friend set out to win her heart. In His, Unexpectedly, as I said earlier, I knew it was Jenna’s turn, and she’d be traveling by automobiles from California.

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

I’d really been looking forward to writing about Jenna. I’d gotten to know her a bit in the previous two books and loved her free-spirited nature and her vibrancy, but I also knew she had a secret, vulnerable side, which makes her so multi-faceted and interesting. Once I got to know Mark, he was great fun, too. He’s a serious man who takes everything literally, which makes for some amusing conversations and misunderstandings. A guy who’s oblivious to being flirted with, but sure isn’t oblivious to Jenna. An amazingly intelligent, talented scientist, yet a guy who’d always longed for love but never found it. So he, too, had his vulnerable side. Okay, what can I say, I totally adored writing about both of them.

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?

It depends on the book, but usually I’m not really organized about it. It’s more an organic process as the character begins to take shape in my mind. There are a couple of books I often find useful: The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders, and Believable Characters: Creating with Enneagrams by Laurie Schenbly. And yes, research affects character development, and so does writing. As I write, I learn more about my characters and they come alive for me – like getting to know a new friend – and then I go back and revise accordingly.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I’ve always been addicted to books and I’m sure almost every author I’ve read has inspired me in some way. It takes an amazing blend of courage, creativity, and talent to put words on pages and send them out into the world, to bring characters to life, to make readers laugh and cry and think. Everyone who does that, whether it’s for a single incredible book like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, or for over a hundred titles like some of our leading romance authors, is a huge inspiration to me.

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

It’s so hard to know what makes for effective promotion. One huge thrill for me has been receiving a starred review from Publishers Weekly for this book. They called it “a contemporary love story sure to make readers go weak in the knees” and said, “Well-crafted story lines and richly observed characters bolster a strong erotic element in this delightful, memorable romance.” I’m delighted! But will that result in more sales? Who knows? I just do a bit of everything: ads, bookmarks to reader groups and conferences, guest blogging, posting on Facebook, and so on. I think it’s almost impossible to trace sales to specific promo efforts. I admit to being bad with social media. I know I should get out there more, but I don’t for two reasons: first, I’m really, really busy writing, and second, I’m an introvert and while I enjoy socializing, it tends to drain rather than energize me (and that’s very bad for creativity!).

What do we have to look forward next?

In July, I have a Berkley Heat book, Heat Waves, coming out. It’s my third book set around a destination wedding, following Sex on the Beach (set in Belize) and Sex on the Slopes (set in Whistler). Heat Waves is set on a Greek island cruise, and there are two interwoven romances. Here’s a teaser.

In charge of her first exotic destination wedding, sex is the last thing on widowed wedding planner Gwen Austin’s mind. But Santos Michaelides might be the perfect man to help her rediscover herself as a single, sensual woman. At least until Gwen finds out that there’s more to the charismatic cruise director than meets the eye – in more ways than she believed possible.

Kendra Kirk wasn’t expecting to meet up again with Flynn Kavanagh, the sexy IT consultant she had unsuccessfully prosecuted for white-collar crime – especially on what was supposed to be a pleasure cruise. Even so, sparks of all kinds fly and soon Kendra’s sleeping with the enemy. But her newfound ability to put her life ahead of her career will be pushed to the breaking point when she learns the truth about Flynn.
My next book after that will be the fourth Wild Ride to Love book, Merilee’s story. It’s called Yours, Unexpectedly and will come out in December 2011.

Thanks, Susan!

And thank you so much for having me at Much Cheaper Than Therapy.
To celebrate her book release, Susan Lyons/Fox is offering a free book of His, Unexpectedly 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...

Susan Lyons, who also writes as Susan Fox, is the award-winning author of sexy contemporary romance that’s passionate, heartwarming, and fun. She is published by Kensington Brava, Kensington Aphrodisia, Berkley Heat, and Harlequin Spice Briefs. A resident of both Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., Susan has degrees in law and psychology but would far rather be writing fiction than living in the real world.

Check out author’s website at
Buy His, Unexpectedly:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

March Writer U On-Line Class

March 1-25, 2011
Pacing: How To Create a Page Turning Manuscript
by Mary Buckham
$30 at

What keeps a book intriguing enough to have fans turn the pages and not set it down? How can one author's books have you riveted and another's leave you feeling ho-hum? Ever wondered if there are key craft tips and techniques to balance fast-paced conflict, tension, suspense or mystery, action and emotion? In PACING: HOW TO CREATE A PAGE TURNING MANUSCRIPT you'll learn:

* The ingredients of a page turner
* What hooks are and how to maximize them
* The power of effective scenes: common pacing pitfalls to avoid
* The ten elements of strong pacing
* How to use subplots and secondary characters
* How to avoid a sagging middle
* What a beat is and how to use it
* Great beginnings and endings that have your readers wanting more!

Mary Buckham is co-author of BREAK INTO FICTION: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells and an award-winning Romantic Suspense author. She has hundreds of free-lance articles to her credit, a non-fiction book and is a former Magazine Editor. Currently she presents writing workshops online and around the country. Mary encourages you to visit her website at for more information about her and her current writing projects.

Bootcamp for Novelists-March Courses


March 18 to April 18
Have you ever been so excited about a story that it practically writes itself...and then, somewhere after the third chapter, it stops dead? If so, it's probably because your conflict is staic. This workshop examines what makes your conflict dynamic...and what to do to make your story move along naturally...with high drama.

FEE: $28


March 18 to April 15
Structuring scenes for maximum input is the third pillar of story structure. You'll leave this course knowing where and when to place a scene and hot to connect each scene for ease of flow and maximum impact.
FEE: $28

Enroll now

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Copyright - a Must?

So you’ve completed your book and you now have questions as to whether or not to copyright your work.

Unlike patents or trademarks which protect inventions or discoveries, copyrights protect the original work of an author.

First off, what does copyright actually mean?

Copyright is a way to protect your work which is provided by the United States of America. An author who creates an original work can include literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. The work can be either published or unpublished. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. It also gives the owner of the copyright the rights of the following:

• The author/creator can reproduce and copy the work

• The author/creator can prepare a derivative of the work

• The author/creator can distribute copies of their work to the public either through sales of that product or by transferring the ownership, or also by renting and leasing the product or item.

• The author/creator can display or perform their work in a public forum, which includes literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural
works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work

• The author/creator can perform their work in a public forum which can be by a digital audio transmission

A frequent question is what do I have to do to ensure my work is copyrighted? From the moment you create our work in a tangible form that is perceptible with the aid of a machine or device, your work is copyright protected.

Then if that is the case, why go through the process of getting your work copyrighted? There is one major reason–being able to sue an individual for copyright infringement. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation. If you register your work within five years of publication, it is considered prima facie (appears to be self-evident from the facts) evidence in a court of law. Another benefit to having your work copyrighted through the copyright office is that registration establishes a public record of the copyright.

Lastly, there is a huge fallacy swimming among authors that involves sending your work to yourself via the United States Post Office. Mailing a copy of your work to yourself doesn’t ensure it being copyrighted. Doing this does not substitute the registration of your work.

The bottom line: You don’t have to copyright your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, but it helps you if you ever have a legal matter arise. Many authors have spent years working on their books. A simple act of copyrighting your work with the United States Government is a small price to pay to ensure you have every possible right to protect your work against copyright infringement.

Carol Webb

Firebird Media Management

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Comparing Summer Wine Lee to Eliza Doolittle

Since My Unfair Lady was inspired by Shaw’s Pygmalion (and the movie, My Fair Lady), I was asked to compare my heroine, Summer Wine Lee, to Eliza Doolittle.

First, a little bit about My Unfair Lady. Raised in a Wild West mining town, Summer knows she’s an unacceptable bride for her fiancĂ©’s knickerbocker family. So she goes to London to hire a sponsor to turn her into a lady. The Duke of Monchester reluctantly takes on the task, and Summer’s penchant for carrying a knife in her boot, picking up stray animals, and not knowing the least thing about acceptable polite society, makes his job difficult. When the duke starts to fall in love with her just the way she is, it becomes nearly impossible. But they are both determined—even when things get more complicated when it becomes clear that someone is trying to kill the duke.

There are a few similarities between Summer and Eliza. They are both products of their environment, their speech and mannerisms determined by where they were raised. Eliza in the East end of London, with her cockney speech and crude behavior. Summer in the untamed west, with her uncultured speech and masculine pursuits. They both have indifferent fathers, men who are more concerned with their own happiness and pursuits than they are with their daughters’. But in Summer’s case, she wants to become a lady, and Eliza was pretty much bullied into it. Summer couldn’t be bullied into anything.

But I think this aspect of their character is also a product of their environment. Eliza is a product of the Victorian attitude that men are superior persons. That their needs are more important than a woman’s. Whereas, Summer pretty much raised herself. She made her own rules, and although her father’s opinion is important to her—perhaps too much so—in her every day life she’s used to making up and following her own rules. Because of this, I have a tendency to think of Summer as more similar to Annie Oakley. A girl who can compete in a man’s world. Who can ride and shoot and fight with the best of them.

Although Eliza has compassion, I think this is one of Summer’s strongest traits. Especially her compassion for injured animals. She picks up quite a menagerie, which provides for some humorous moments in My Unfair Lady, and also allows us to glimpse Summer’s fears and insecurities.

The way Summer interacts with men is different from the way Eliza does, as well. Summer trusts her instincts, knows a good man when she sees one, despite what persona he chooses to reveal to the rest of the world, and acts accordingly. She doesn’t fear men, doesn’t see them in the role as her protector, or her superior. She considers herself an equal and treats them accordingly. I think this allows her to see beyond the surface of a man, and in many ways, get closer to him on a more equal footing. Eliza never views herself as an equal to Henry Higgins, even after she is successfully transformed into a lady. Perhaps this is why there is no happily-ever-after for the two of them. And why the author left it open as to whether she goes off with Freddie, or stays with Higgins.

This is why I love writing romance.

In My Fair Lady, Eliza does come to respect and stand up for herself. Summer has always done so. But in many ways, I think Eliza is more accepting of her true nature. Summer has a long journey before she even begins to understand herself. And her hero is going to help her toward that realization, not bully her into it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Neurotic Writer Volunteers at Daycare

The Neurotic Writer Volunteers at Daycare

Suzie Writer: (Slumps into chair) “Oh my! Oh my! Oh my!”

Therapist: “What’s wrong?”

Suzie Writer: “Do you have children?”

Therapist: “Not yet.”

Suzie Writer: “Well, don’t! Those ankle biters are sent here
from an alien planet to drive us insane.”

Therapist: (Smiling) “What happened?”

Suzie Writer: “I decided, I take that back, I thought for
one crazy moment that I would write about a widowed sheriff
raising his adorable twin toddlers.”

Therapist: “Let me guess, you decided to research toddlers.”

Suzie Writer: “I volunteered at a daycare center. It was
the craziest thing I’ve ever done. Did you know those
creatures suck on their cookies and then try to shove them
in your mouth?”

Therapist: “They are trying to share.”

Suzie Writer: “Their communicable diseases! And did you know
they crawl onto your lap and drool all over your Gucci dry-clean-only!
And then those squirmy midgets dump what smells like cow manure
into their Pull-Ups and expect you to do something about it. They
stand there crying, holding their pudgy arms into the air, expecting
you to pick them up. Can you believe it?”

Therapist: “Well, yes. They are still basically babies needing our
help. So, I gather you won’t be writing about a sheriff with twin

Suzie Writer: “I have to. Babies sell. But I’m going to write about a
sheriff with genius toddlers who can fend for themselves. They
change their own Pull-Ups and even clean the oil stains off the
garage floor with their pacifiers.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Interview with Georgie Lee

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Georgie Lee. 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 Labor Relations. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Labor Relations is about two labor relations attorneys on opposite sides of a major arbitration facing a passionate conflict of interest. The heroine, Sarah Steele, is the newest member of the Movie Actors Guild legal team and new to Hollywood. The hero, Jake Rappaport, is the head of Labor Relations at Lion Studios, a veteran movie industry man enjoying the perks of Hollywood but wondering if there isn’t something more. There is an instant and powerful attraction between them but a personal relationship during the arbitration could ruin both of their careers.

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

I toyed with a couple of other titles but since the story involves two labor relations attorneys working through a potentially career ending relationship, it best described the story.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’d written and published a traditional Regency and finished another which had been rejected. I wanted to try my hand at contemporaries and even though Labor Relations was my first contemporary, it has inspired me to write more.

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

I’m a pantser which can be frustrating, especially when I get stuck. Thankfully, since I know about Hollywood labor relations, I didn’t have too many problems with this book. It was so much fun writing a fictional version of the Los Angeles that I know and there is so much conflict between my two main characters that I never really had trouble. Now, a couple of my other WIPs, that’s another story…

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

Since I’d worked at a major entertainment union for five years and knew the movie business well, I didn’t have to do much research. My husband is an attorney so I asked him whenever I had any legal questions about conflict of interest or state bar sanctions. When it came to writing about Los Angeles, I decided to create fictional places based on real ones. It gave me the flexibility to create the settings I needed while still staying true to the spirit of Hollywood.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I was working at a large entertainment union in Hollywood. My days were full of conflict as I argued with producers and studios over various claims for violations of the union contract. I knew about Hollywood and especially the conflict between studios and labor unions and I began to ponder different fictional situations until I discovered the one that would ultimately become my novel. What would happen if a lawyer at an entertainment union and a lawyer working for a studio fell in love while they were both working opposite sides of a major arbitration? It was a fun conflict to explore.

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

I enjoyed writing about Sarah the most. As the Hollywood outsider, the story is mostly told through her point of view and it was fun to write about attending movie premieres and meeting celebrities through the eyes of someone who is new to the experience.

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?

Like my stories, I develop my characters as I write. Sometimes, it means going back and writing in a backstory or making changes to the story as I learn more about my characters.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Since I’m such a voracious reader across so many genres, there are too many to name.

What do we have to look forward next?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion, my sweet contemporary novella, was released by Ellora’s Cave Blush in January 2011. While I’m waiting to hear back on a few other submitted manuscripts, I am working on more contemporaries set in the entertainment industry as well as historical romances set during the Regency and in colonial America.

Thanks, Georgie Lee!

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

A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry. Her traditional Regency, Lady’s Wager and her novella Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, her contemporary romance of Hollywood, is available from Avalon Books. When not writing, she enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent.

Check out author’s website at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hero Of The Month

A unnamed Southwest Airlines pilot who delayed taking off from LAX so a grieving passenger could make the flight. His grandchild had just been murdered and was being taken off life-support. The grandfather wanted to be able to say goodbye beforehand but the lines and security delayed him.

When he finally cleared security -several minutes after his flight's planned departure - he ran to his terminal wearing only his socks. The pilot and the gate agent were waiting for him.

The pilot had held the plane. "We're so sorry about the loss of your grandson," the pilot reportedly said. "They can't go anywhere without me and I wasn't going anywhere without you. Now relax. We'll get you there. And again, I'm so sorry."

Southwest Airlines is "proud" of their pilot, a man who clearly understands that taking a child off life support has consequences that run deeper than a flight taking off late.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why My Hero is Irresistible

Reason Number Ten:
Byron, the Duke of Monchester, my hero in My Unfair Lady, shares the same name of one of the most romantic English poets from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century, who wrote She Walks in Beauty and Don Juan. Byron has some similar qualities to the English poet: He’s handsome, has had numerous love affairs, and is infamous for being a little bit ‘bad’. But unlike the poet, my Byron meets his soul mate, and is redeemed from a life that might have become dissolute.

Number Nine:
He was taught how to fight by his Chinese gardener. The discipline of Kung fu has made his hands lethal weapons…and yet he can still manage to touch a woman with gentle persuasion.

Number Eight:
Despite the fact that my heroine can take care of herself, Byron is constantly putting himself between her and danger. His bravery and perseverance can only be admired, especially when my heroine, Summer Wine Lee, keeps managing to get them into one scrape after another.

Number Seven:
Byron is like chocolate. Melt-in-your-mouth smooth and creamy, with a dark undertone of rich sweetness that makes you crave even more.

Number Six:
He has a thick head of golden blond hair, piercing blue eyes, a mouth so perfect it will remind you of a statue of Apollo, and above that masterpiece a nose that seems slightly crooked, saving him from being extraordinarily handsome to just boyishly so. Of little-bit-less than average height, my heroine never gets a crick in her neck when she kisses him.

Number Five:
He’s a man of contradictions. He appears bored, arrogant and completely jaded. And yet he helps Summer rescue baby foxes, allows her tiny dog to scuff up his boots with her pointy little teeth, and tolerates a monkey’s hug of affection.

Number Four:
It’s hard to resist a man in a cravat, a white lawn shirt…and only a button flap to separate my heroine from heaven.

Number Three:
He loves Summer because of her faults, not in spite of them. My heroine has hired him to turn her into a lady, and he desperately tries. But for a man bored of London society, her mannerisms are completely intoxicating. A visit to Paris to purchase Summer a new wardrobe turns into a chaotic involvement with her knife, the fitter, and silk drapes. A trip to the races turns into a match of wits involving Prince Albert. A jaunt in the country results in a bullet to his shoulder (not that this was the first time he’d been shot since he met Summer). Despite it all, or because of it all, Byron is having the best time of his life.

Number Two:
He has a wicked sense of humor. See Number Eight, Five, and Three above. He will desperately need it.

And the Number One reason why my hero is irresistible:
Byron knows how to pleasure a woman in bed, because really, after all is said and done…

Monday, February 14, 2011

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Catslady. Thanks for playing Angie's quiz and posting your answer. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Neurotic Writer's Valentine's Breakout Novel

The Neurotic Writer’s Valentine's Breakout Novel

Therapist: “I see you are smiling again. What’s changed since Wednesday? When we last met you were upset over not having a significant other on Valentine’s Day.”

Suzie Writer: “There’s nothing like hard work to overcome your troubles. I have finally come up with my breakout novel; the story that is going to catapult me into stardom!”

Therapist: “Oh?”

Suzie Writer: “Picture this, Doc…our hero and heroine fall in love on a cruise, but they can’t be together just yet because they are engaged to other people. They agree to break off their other relationships and meet at the top of the Empire State Building if they both still love one another. Only…get this…she is hit by a car on the way and loses the use of her legs. She doesn’t want him to feel sorry for her─”

Therapist: “Wait a minute. That’s An Affair to Remember with
Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.”

Suzie Writer: “I told you other writers were stealing my stuff!”

Therapist: “That story is older than you.”

Suzie Writer: “Hmmm. Did I tell you the hero and heroine are blue? They live on an alien planet. I’ll pitch it as Avatar meets An Affair to Remember. It will make me famous I tell you!” (Jumps up and heads toward the door) “Reese Witherspoon can star in the film version. I wonder what she will look like with blue braids and a fuchsia-colored thong.”

Friday, February 11, 2011

Interview with Angie Fox

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

I understand you have a new release out called The Last of the Demon Slayers. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Sure. The Last of the Demon Slayers is about Lizzie Brown, a thirty-something single girl who would just like to have one normal date. Instead, she gets a towering inferno with a message: her long-lost dad is a fallen angel in danger of becoming a demon. Not good. Especially since she’s a demon slayer.

The Last of the Demon Slayers is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Lizzie is one of the last of her kind. So while she’s riding across the country with her biker witch friends, trying to save her dad, she’s also solving the mystery of who has been murdering all of the demon slayers. She’s got to save the slayer race before she’s the only one left.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Anything is possible in with paranormal romance. In this book alone, I have a magical speakeasy hidden underneath an abandoned biker bar, a cross-country journey over fairy paths and an unconventional visit to purgatory. As long as the story and the characters are compelling, there are literally no limits to what you can do with paranormals.

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

Luckily, I didn’t have to count on a lot of websites to research this book. Instead, when I needed information for the Harley riding witches, I talked to real bikers – some of whom really are practicing witches.

I tried to research fairy paths, but everything I found was focused on what the entrances are supposed to look like. So I ended up deciding for myself how the paths worked and how the entrances in Lizzie’s world operate (not only in pastoral cow fields, but also behind Las Vegas billboards – who knew, right?). It’s about taking reality and twisting it to make a book unexpected and fun.

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

You know what? It has to be Neil, who is this minor character that surprised me. He’s an old hippie who offers to shelter Lizzie and the biker witches when they reach California. Only Neil also happens to be an old flame of Lizzie’s grandmother.

Neil is this great, interesting, admittedly quirky guy. He’s really sweet, which makes it a lot of fun when Lizzie takes an instant dislike to the man. She doesn’t want to think of her grandma having a flirty, romantic past, or that Neil is more than happy to take up where he and Grandma left off. It was so much fun to drive Lizzie crazy with this romantic subplot.

Over-arching drama and intensity are great, but to me, little character interactions like this can really make a book. And they’re such a kick to write.

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 don’t create character sheets. I typically find that what the characters have to tell me on the page is much more interesting than anything I could plan ahead of time. Besides, Grandma likes to stretch the truth, Pirate gets off topic too easily and Ant Eater probably wouldn’t even show up to an interview – just to spite me.

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

I don’t use anything official. I just go by what amuses me as a writer. I figure if I’m having a good time exploring a world, my readers will too.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Well I skipped class for a week in college in order to read Anne Rice’s entire vampire series back-to-back. My roommates called it, “Lestat Fever.”

I can lose myself completely in Katie MacAlister’s Dark Ones series, Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series and basically anything by MaryJanice Davidson. When I’m captured by a book like that, it makes me want to turn around try to create that same kind of magic.

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

I think the best thing I’ve done (and can do, really) is to give my very best to every book I write. That way, readers who like my particular mix of humor and drama will hopefully want to read more.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have a novella coming out in August in the So I Married a Demon Slayer anthology. It takes place in Las Vegas and is the story of Shiloh, a very sweet half-succubus (she really is trying to be evil) who wakes up naked and married to Damien the demon slayer.

I’m also working on a new series for St. Martin’s press, tentatively titled The Monster MASH. It’s about a group of quirky otherworldly surgeons who treat the “monsters” in a supernatural MASH unit.

Thanks, Angie!

To celebrate her book release, Angie is offering a free copy of The Last of the Demon Slayers to one lucky commenter on today's blog. Just take the What’s Your Biker Witch Weapon of Choice? quiz. Post your answer in the comments section and you’re entered to win!

(please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)


Angie Fox is the New York Times bestselling author of several books about vampires, werewolves and things that go bump in the night. She claims that researching her stories can be just as much fun as writing them. In the name of fact-finding, Angie has ridden with Harley biker gangs, explored the tunnels underneath Hoover Dam and found an interesting recipe for Mamma Coalpot’s Southern Skunk Surprise (she’s still trying to get her courage up to try it).

Angie earned a Journalism degree from the University of Missouri. She worked in television news and then in advertising before beginning her career as an author.

Visit Angie at You’ll find freebies galore and answers to burning questions, like What is Your Biker Witch name?

Check out author’s website at

Buy at

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Learn what professionals do but won't tell you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

8:30 am to 4:30 pm

In the Northwest Phoenix Valley, at Union Hills and 47th Avenue
(exact location and directions given upon registration)
Information and registration at:

Come and learn the writing tips professionals use to make their prose shine, but won't tell you about. Learn how to pull the readers into a scene, and make them experience it as if they were the characters. And it's not just the writing, but the choice of genre, taking advantage of the market trends, even from which angle you choose to tell your story. Editors and agents are not immune to these technique. They love them. Learn how to seduce them, too.

This is a small group seminar, seating is limited, and all participants receive full personal attention.

Cost is $70 and includes breakfast and lunch, water, coffee etc.
Early bird registration is $60 before February 1, 2011.
All cards accepted through Paypal
Checks accepted by mail (send with printed registration form)

More information and registration form at:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Inspirational Quote

“Our thoughts are our own creation. We make them real by cooperating with them.”

Mata Amritanandamayi

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sharing News and New Reviews

Just giving a shout-out today to an RWA chapter, some reviewers, and…Thailand!

BENEATH THE THIRTEEN MOONS recently received some very kind reviews:

I am always amazed by the depth and breadth of writing that Kathryne Kennedy offers to readers. Her ability to create new worlds that are realistic and believable with characters of immense depth astounds me. Here is a master storyteller who continues to improve with each book. I loved this book and the sub-themes that echo around humanity no matter where you live.

Not being a great writer myself, I wish I could write exactly how wonderful and magical this book was but I hope if you are a fantasy fan you pick this up. This is one of those books that will be with me forever, and one that I could read again and again.

Volusia County Romance Writers awarded MY UNFAIR LADY third place in their historical romance category, and sent me a lovely certificate.

Grace Publishing in Thailand recently purchased the foreign rights to THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER. Hopefully, I’ll receive a few author copies and be able to share them with you all.

It’s always wonderful to receive good news! Thanks a million for letting me share it with you!

Monday, February 7, 2011

And the winner is......

Congratulations Crystal GB. You're the winner of Barbara's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Neurotic Writer Becomes an Agent

The Neurotic Writer Becomes an Agent

(Just For Fun)

Therapist: “Good morning, Suzie. How are you today?”

Suzie Writer: (Plops down on a chair) “Awesome! I had the best idea ever! I am going to become an agent.”

Therapist: “And give up writing? What brought this on?”

Suzie Writer: “I just received my 400th rejection. After screaming, yelling, drinking a bottle of cheap wine, and eating a whole box of Ding Dongs, I decided I want the power to say yes or no to writers. And I’ll say yes to everyone!”

Therapist: “Everyone!”

Suzie Writer: “Yep everyone! Since I obviously know what the big publishers don’t want, by the process of elimination I can figure out what they do want. And….if I can’t sell a book to the big boys, I can sell it to my Cousin Martha’s new ebook publishing company. She’s jumping on that bandwagon.”

Therapist: “I thought Martha was a school bus driver.”

Suzie Writer: “She is, but she knows how to use the Internet. She’s been sending emails for years.”

Therapist: “You’re serious about this?”

Suzie Writer: “Of course I am. I have bills to pay. Which reminds me, I am going to use the airline’s brilliant idea of nickel and diming everyone. I am going to charge my clients a dollar per email – each way. Plus, $50 for copying each book two times, additional copies will cost another $50. I will also charge $100 for each editor I query on their behalf. I’ll have my electricity back on in no time.”

Therapist: “I thought your writing friends warned against agents who charge fees.”

Suzie Writer: “They do, but not all writers are members of Romance Writers of America and know they can get reputable agents who don’t charge fees.”

Therapist: “So you’re going to take advantage of unsuspecting writers?”

Suzie Writer: “Well….if you put that way I guess this wasn’t such a good idea after all.”

Therapist: “You can still become an agent; just learn how to do it well.”

Suzie Writer: “I said I wanted to make money. I guess I’ll go back to writing books. I wonder if Nora Roberts needs a new critique partner.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Interview with Barbara Freethy

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Barbara Freethy. 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 AT HIDDEN FALLS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I'd love to! AT HIDDEN FALLS is set in the fictional town of Angel's Bay which is on the California coast. The town is rich in legends and was founded by a group of gold rush shipwreck survivors in the 1850's. Community quilting is also big in town and a memorial quilt honoring the survivors plays into some of the story lines. This is the 4th book in the series but each one stands on it's own with a new central love story. So if you haven't read any of the books, feel free to jump in, you won't be lost, I promise!

This book features costume designer Isabella Silveira who comes to Angel's Bay after a relentless series of haunting dreams about the town and a shadowy man whose face she can't quite see -- until she runs her car off the side of the cliff and her rescuer looks a lot like her dream man. Sexy, guitar-playing architect Nick Hartley is not looking for love; he has his hands full trying to reconnect with his rebellious teenage daughter who has only recently re-entered his life. But Isabella is gorgeous with her turquoise-blue eyes that see way too much. And Nick is just the man Isabella has been dreaming about. Their pasts and present intertwine and the story eventually reveals why they were destined to meet.

AT HIDDEN FALLS is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Hidden Falls is an actual location in Angel's Bay, a beautiful waterfall tucked away in the hillside, and the popular trysting place holds quite a few secrets. So the title came from that.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I've been writing contemporary romance for more than a decade now. I love to write about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary adventures. My books are usually emotional with other family and friend relationships often influencing the love story. I love twists and turns. My goal is always to surprise the reader with something they hadn't quite expected.

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

I wish I could plot in advance! I know the basics, some of the key turning points, but the rest of it I create as I go along. I like telling myself the story while I'm writing it. I find too much pre-writing takes the joy out of it a little bit. Because I'm creating as I go, I do lots of drafts, and rewrite often. But I always feel some of my best ideas come out of the writing.

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

I have researched the area where I've set Angel's Bay and in this book I also did a little reading on community theater as a family theater run by the hero's family is a big part of the story as well.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My ideas always develop randomly. I knew that I wanted to bring one of the chief of police's sisters to town in this book. The chief is a continuing character who will have his own story in book 5, but that's where I came up with Isabella. I wanted her to be quirky and beautiful and interesting, and the fact that she has these unique eyes that are linked back to an ancient Mayan priestess just made her all that more fun to write.

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

As I said above, I really enjoyed writing Isabella, but Nick also came alive and his eccentric theatrical family was a lot of fun.

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've done character sheets, but generally I just jot down notes about them as I begin and as I go along. How they speak, how they react in scenes changes as they get developed. I often feel like I don't really know them until I've written a couple of chapters.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I've been a big reader my entire life, so too many authors to count. In the contemporary world, I've always been a big fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristin Hannah, Nora Roberts.

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

I have no idea what promotion works. I tweet and facebook and blog but I don't really know what works. Maybe you all can tell me! (Hmmm. When I figure it out I'll be sure to let you know! KW)

What do we have to look forward next?

My next book is tentatively titled GARDEN OF SECRETS and it will be out in Oct. of 2011 and it will feature Charlotte, Joe, and Andrew, a little love triangle that's been growing throughout the series. That will probably be the end of Angel's Bay for a while, although I may come back, but I'm going to take one of my characters to a new location for his story.

I'm also busy putting some of my out of print backlist up on Kindle and the Nook. If you have an e-reader, you might check them out as some of them have great prices!

Thanks, Barbara!

To celebrate her book release, Barbara is offering a free trio of her first three Angel's Bay books, SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER, ON SHADOW BEACH and IN SHELTER COVE 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 where you can read an excerpt of AT HIDDEN FALLS

Buy from Amazon at

Chocolate Lovers Unite!

Chocoholics Unite In Downtown Glendale Arizona February 4-6

The weekend before Valentine’s Day, Feb. 4-6, is a delicious delight for the senses as the Glendale Chocolate Affaire takes over downtown Glendale Arizona to create a chocolate-lover’s dream! And if you love romance, you're in luck. The FREE festival has also become the largest gathering of national romance novelists in the Southwest. Get up close and personal with authors, and if you're a budding author, attend free writing workshops given by the experts.

Judi McCoy, Kathryne Kennedy and Kim Watters will be ther signing thier books as well as loads of other authors. Stop on by.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"But I LIKE Holding a Book" and Other Myths-Kris Tualla

Okay - I confess it right now.

Uninformed or misguided e-reader comments and complaints make me want to knock heads together. Seriously, if you have not TRIED one, please don't say you don't like them! Give one an honest try. I expect you’ll be surprised.

Because the medium is NOT the delivery method. The medium is the WORD. Words are combined into sentences, paragraphs. Dialog. Setting. The crafting of plot and character.

Let me demonstrate. Read this word: bereft

You understand it. You associate those 6 letters with profound loss, sadness and loneliness. You know how it feels. You can empathize with a person who is bereft.

And you read it off a computer screen.

If you read a string of words like, “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm…” you get a picture of a manipulative woman who knows how to work her assets to catch men. Because of the words. Not the delivery method. Well-crafted stories catch us with their charms.

So, let's say you agree to be open-minded; what are your options? It's a matter of preference, because just about all eBooks are available on all readers.

What all e-reading devices have in common:

· eBooks are generally much less expensive than paper books.

· You OWN the books you buy. They are backed-up online.

· Carry your entire library in your briefcase or your purse.

· eBooks can be borrowed and lent in varying ways.

· Libraries DO lend e-books.

· The size of the font is easily adjustable.

· eBooks are purchased online.

· eBooks are delivered wirelessly directly to the device (except Sony).

· Finish that Twilight book and need the next one at 1:15am? No problem.

· You can bookmark, highlight and type in notes in your e-reader.

How e-reading devices differ - there are two e-reader technologies: E-ink, and LED-backlit.


· Looks like an Etch-A-Sketch. Charcoal-colored words appear on a pale gray background. No color.

· You CAN read e-ink in the sunshine.

· E-ink is not backlit so it does NOT cause eye-strain, nor does it disrupt sleep patterns.

· Kindle, one version of Nook, Sony, and Kobo all use E-ink technology.

· They only weigh about 8 ounces.

· CHOOSE E-INK IF: you like to read outside, in the car or before bed.

· PRICE: $129 - $189


· Full color, brightness can be adjusted.

· IS backlit and can cause eyestrain similar to a computer screen.

· Nook Color, iPad/iPhone and Android phone screens all use LED technology.

· CHOOSE NOOK COLOR IF: you read indoors in a lighted room, subscribe to eMagazines, read illustrated books.

· PRICE: $249

· CHOOSE iPad IF: you read indoors in a lighted room, subscribe to eMagazines, read illustrated books and want a mini-computer.

· PRICE: $499 - $699

· Shop in Amazon's Kindle Store. Download the FREE Kindle App on your phone, laptop or desktop computer and read on a device you already own.

· PRICE: $0

The book and print industry have gone largely unchanged since Johannes Guttenberg first pressed for profit back in 1450. While his invention inarguably changed the world, we are probably due for another change. Jump in - the reading's fine!

Speaking of change, is it time you found a new brand of hero? Please allow me to help.

For every 10 people who comment here, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice - the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I'll give away three.


In February at the end of my blog tour, I'll give away one SIGNED PAPERBACK SET of the trilogy. Here's how you can get in on that deal:

1. Go to and find the "Secret Word" on my home page.

2. Send an email to with "Signed Trilogy Giveaway" in the subject line. Put the secret word in the body.

3. Comment on any blog at any time in the tour to activate your entry. Each day's blog location is listed at

A Woman of Choice, A Prince of Norway, and A Matter of Principle are all available at - and they are only $3.49 each as an eBook!

A Woman of Choice - Missouri Territory, 1819

A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.

A Prince of Norway - Christiania, Norway, 1820

American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather's throne. His new wife Sydney isn't about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?

A Matter of Principle - St. Louis, State of Missouri, 1821

Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren't about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it's a matter of principle.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day History and the Writer

Kim Watters on Groundhog Day.

(Adapted from "Groundhog Day: 1886 to 1992" by Bill Anderson) Credit given to The Official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club

Punxsutawney Phil

European Roots

Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

As a writer I can relate to poor Phil.

We hibernate as we write our manuscripts, venturing out only when we have to to eat or do laundry or other tasks that keep the household running. We slave away in our dark, little caves, churning out page after page of wonderful prose destined to meet with editorial and reader approval.

And then comes the revision letter.

If it's an easy one, (no shadow), we can emerge from our caves and enjoy life a bit more as the winter season has passed.

If it's a complicated one, (shadow), we scurry back into our caves for a few more weeks of a writing frenzy until we can emerge again and enjoy the Spring.

As for this writer, I just emerged from my cave for a bit, waiting for my editor's reply.

Happy Groundhog Day everyone. And for those in the East, I certainly hope for a cloudy day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My step-by-step guide to how I get inspiration for my writing:

Step 1:
Get out of the house. People watch. When they speak, what mannerisms do they use? What features make them attractive? I often use the eyes, nose, and mouths of different people to create the image of my character. What color/style clothing are they wearing? How does it reflect their personality? I let my imagination run wild, guessing their background, what events in their life have shaped them, even what kind of day they are having based on their actions. All of this is great inspiration for developing my characters.

Step 2:
Write. My writing often inspires my next book.

Step 3:
Read. Watch movies. There’s an old saying that art inspires art, and I’ve often found this to be true in my case. I will catch a theme, or a character, or part of a story that captivates me, and give it my own spin.

Step 4:
My favorite book for inspiring my characters is Laurie Schnebly’s Believable Characters: Creating with Enneagrams. I look for the personality of the character I’ve already created in my head and study the attributes for decision-making that defines them. If I’m stuck on a character’s motives, this always gets me inspired to search for a deeper motivation!

Step 5:
Research. This gives me such inspiration, allowing me to step into the historical world of my characters and to truly visualize their every day life. My research will also often inspire scenes in my books and help me create adventures for my hero & heroine.

Step 6:
Bounce ideas off my family. My husband and sons are great listeners, and will often let me talk my story out loud, which often leads to me solving a dilemma in the plot. They are careful to listen much, and add comments rarely. What more could I ask for?

Step 7:
Attend my writer’s meetings. Talking to other writers always inspires me to write. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m in a roomful of other creative people and we feed off of each other, or if their excitement for the story generates my own excitement. But I’m always a fiend at the keyboard the next day.

Step 8:
Read my saved mail. I’m not sure if other writers do this, but whenever I receive an email from a reader, I save it in a special folder. If I’m having a difficult day writing, the stormy kind of ones where I doubt myself or my work, I read through all the wonderful notes from people who have loved my books, and are looking forward to my next one.

Step 9:
I go back to step 2. And if I get stuck, I repeat step 1, for it always helps to clear the mind and remind me that there’s a world of characters out there besides the ones I create. People who I don’t know, but I might have touched with my stories. How magical is that?

Until Next Time,