Friday, April 27, 2012

Author Spotlight K. Dawn Byrd

Shattered Identity
by K. Dawn Byrd
 
 
Lexi Branson thinks she's found the guy of her dreams. So what if he's older? Her new motto is, "Love knows no boundaries or age limits." Zack Bane loves her and treats her like a princess and that's all that matters.
 
Lexi soons discovers that she doesn't know Zack as well as she thought. He has secrets, the kind that shatter the lives of those who love him. When faced with the truth, Lexi tries to hang onto him because she has a secret of her own.
 
When Lexi ends up in danger, she discovers she has no one to turn to except her ex-boyfriend, Jeremy. Can Jeremey, who is still in love with her, keep her safe from Zack? When faced with a choice will Lexi choose to stay with the guy who has become a stranger or will she choose Jeremy, the guy who loves her with all his heart?
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-285/Shattered-Identity-K.-Dawn/Detail.bok

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More of Warrior Thorne, by Caris Roane


            The fifth book of my Guardians of Ascension series, OBSIDIAN FLAME, launched on Tuesday and features Warrior Thorne, the tortured leader of the Warriors of the Blood.
Almost from the beginning, I looked forward to telling his story.  He was wrecked starting out in book 1, ASCENSION.  His eyes were red-rimmed from drinking too much Ketel One.  He claimed he was celibate but in reality he’d been getting it on with a devotiate in a local Convent and the guilt was killing him.  And finally he served as second-in-command to the ruler of Second Earth, one of the most powerful and difficult women on the planet.
He played a role in every book.  He was always present.  He kept the uber-powerful Warriors of the Blood in line.  He was obeyed, respected and loved.
So, when it came time to write his story, I only knew that I wanted his story to be BIG.  But his life was already big.  How do you make big, BIGGER?
It was the most amazing challenge to create a new role on the world stage just for Thorne.  And it was also amazing how that new role unfolded for me as the author.  I didn’t see it at first, not even a little.  And even through all those books, when I thought I knew Thorne so well, I didn’t have any idea he would become so much more.
The process involved taking him down to nothing at the beginning of the book, then rebuilding both his relationship with his breh (vampire bond-mate) and with Endelle, the aforementioned woman aka the scorpion queen.  By rebuilding, I saw new, unexpected possibilities for him, foreshadowed by the heroine’s vision of him early in the story, which I posted recently on Facebook.
Thorne had his long hair pulled back in the cadroen so that the sharp lines of his cheekbones stood out. He had a strong face, a warrior’s face, a way of holding his head and putting his gaze on another person that commanded attention. He was stripped down to just his kilt and battle sandals. Sweat glistened on his golden skin, his ridiculously broad shoulders, the breadth of his back and as he turned to face the cabin, his nipples were hard pebbles.
He was magnificent, like something Biblical that would ride in with enormous wings, his flaming sword held aloft, his hair flowing back in long waves, gilded by the sun. Marguerite had the strangest sensation that she had just seen exactly who he was and this vision of him thrilled her, striking a chord deep within.

Creating characters over time is a phenomenal experience.  Thorne has become an old friend and someone for whom it was a tremendous pleasure to give his long-deserved HEA.

All blessings,
Caris


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Musical Journey through THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER

I recalled a post I’d written on how the song, MAGIC MAN by HEART, inspired a scene in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER, and got to wondering if other songs might convey the essence of other scenes or characters in my book. So grab your favorite drink, kick up your heels, and take a musical journey with me through THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER.

My heroine, Lady Cassandra Bridges, is a bit of a paradox. Her magical gift is that of the dance and she has several in her repertoire, including several dances of desire. And more than one death dance. Raised in a convent to keep her pure for her marriage to my hero, Dominic Raikes, she has taken her religious teachings to heart. But trained as an assassin by the Rebellion, she is also a lethal weapon. HALLELUJAH, beautifully sung by ALEXANDRA BURKE, is a wonderful reflection of Cassandra’s character.



Dominic’s father, the elven lord Mor'ded, fears his growing magical powers, and tests his son’s magical defenses, often by using those Dominic cares about. Half-elven himself, Dominic’s human side would rather face the black magical fire than watch his loved ones suffer, so he has learned to hide his human heart beneath his cold elven exterior. Here’s a song that might embody Dominic’s character when he meets Lady Cassandra and finds himself caring for her: HIDING MY HEART by BRANDI CARLILE.



There is a scene where Lady Cassandra and Thomas, a Rebellion spy, rescue the half-breed Cecily Sutton from Firehame Palace. Cecily has the magical gift of sea and sky, and a power possibly strong enough to threaten the elven lords (Cecily’s story is in book two of THE ELVEN LORDS, THE LADY OF THE STORM). I thought RIDERS OF THE STORM by THE DOORS might capture that wild midnight ride, where Cecily calls her magic of the storm to defeat their pursuers:


Dominic discovers a secret so evil that, for the first time in his life, he is driven to despair. He seeks out the tower of Ador, his father’s dragon-steed and Dominic’s only confidant. Although Ador’s motives are a mystery, the dragon often brings Dominic comfort, and on this pivotal evening he offers Dominic a ride on his back…something Dominic has always secretly longed for. Although Ador calls it a “star dance”, I think MOONDANCE by VAN MORRISON may capture the magical feel of that ride…and what passes between Cass and Dominic afterward.



Lady Cassandra shocks the court by employing two slaves as her personal maids. Both girls have a wee bit of magic. Gwen has a gift for finding things, and May can weave almost anything put between her fingers. When they combine their magic to help protect Cassandra against the elven lord’s wrath, their cloak of dreams may prove stronger than they can imagine. DREAMWEAVER by GARY WRIGHT, is a great reflection of that magical gift:



The elven lord constructed a secret garden within the grounds of Firehame Palace, a copy of the land that might be found in his home world of Elfhame. When he abandons it, Dominic takes it for his own and when Cassandra follows her husband there, they both reveal their hearts to each other for the first time. The rain pummels plants similar to small drums, the wind blows through flowers that emit a haunting melody, and I think all that BOLERO by RAVEL lacks is the sound of petals tinkling like wind chimes:



As Always,
My Magical Best,
Kathryne

Monday, April 23, 2012

And the winner is.......

Congratulations Ann. 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, April 22, 2012

Huge Booksigning in Scottsdale



You are invited to attend one of the largest book signings in the Valley. New York Time’s Bestsellers Allison Brennan, Bob Mayer, Brenda Novak, Elizabeth Hoyt, Maggie Shayne, and Vicki Lewis Thompson plus many more favorites, will be available to meet and greet their fans while they sign their books.




Saturday

April 28, 20125:30-7 P.M.

Open to the public

Chaparral Suites Scottsdale Conference Center

5001 N. Scottsdale Road

(corner of Scottsdale Road and Chaparral)

Scottsdale, AZ 85250


Authors scheduled to appear*
Martha Alderson

Rolynn Anderson

Beth Andrews

Christine Ashworth
Shobhan Bantwal
Nina Benneton
Elizabeth Blake
Rebecca L. Boschee

Allison Brennan

Terri Brisbin
Janice Brooks
Patricia L. Brooks
Ann Charles
Starr Cochran
Shelley Coriell
Barbara White Daille

Mary Ellen Dennis/Denise Dietz
Kerrie Droban
Connie Flynn
Marilyn Frazer
Stacey Goitia
Winnie Griggs
Marie Harte
Elizabeth Hoyt

Amy Jarecki

Erin Kellison

Kathryne Kennedy

Cindy Kirk

Gini Koch
Leslie Kohler

Deborah J. Ledford

Tom Leveen
Cathryn J. Lombardo
Annette Mahon
Mary MaxieBob Mayer
Cathy McDavid
Mackenzie McKade
Peggy Miller
Terri Molina
Debra Mullins
Patrizia Murray

Virginia Nosky
Brenda Novak
Ruth Perkins
Erin Quinn

Tara Taylor Quinn

Caris Roane

Vijaya Schartz

Laurie Schnebly

Maggie Shayne
Linda Style

Vicki Lewis Thompson

Kris Tualla
Kim Watters

Tawny Weber
Brenda Whiteside

Katrina C. Whitmore


*Subject to change

Friday, April 20, 2012

Interview with Gini Koch

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Gini Koch. 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.

Thanks, it’s great to be back! Especially because y’all hand out the chocolate freely.

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

It’s the best book in the best series ever written and a deal at twice the price! (Hey, you still can not blame a girl for trying.)

The Alien series follows the exploits of Katherine “Kitty” Katt, who discovers that the Roswell rumors are true, but with a twist -- the aliens are here to help us and, as a side benefit, they’re all gorgeous. Kitty first gets involved helping save the world from parasitic superbeings. As the series progresses, Kitty gets deeper into Centaurion Division, and discovers that there’s a lot more evil out there to fight, and a wide variety of conspiracies to prevent and disrupt, with dangers both internal and extremely external to guard against.

In Alien Diplomacy, being newlyweds and new parents is challenging enough for Kitty and her Alpha Centaurion husband, Jeff. But nothing’s ever easy for the Katt-Martinis, particularly not when they have to switch from being super-being exterminators and Commanders in Centaurion Division to mastering the political landscape as the new heads of American Centaurion’s Diplomatic Corps.

Kitty’s brand of diplomacy and lobbying isn’t quite as smooth as Jeff’s—Washington parties, lobbyists of all stripes, and politicians from all states and countries present challenges a well-stocked iPod and quirky sense of humor aren’t always up to handling. But when a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators are identified, Kitty’s the diplomat for the job—in between “Mommy and Me,” “Diplomacy for Beginners,” and the dreaded “Washington Wife” classes.

As explosions, assassination attempts, and murders pile up, the question shifts from “who’s the target” to “will we all survive to see next week”?

Armed with only their wits, and dressed to kill, it’s up to Kitty and the Diplomatic Corps to stop the bad guys from unleashing mayhem on all the world’s leaders. But will Kitty trust the right people, at the right times, or will going her own way prove deadly—not just to her, but to her daughter, Jamie?

What was different for you in writing Alien Diplomacy than the other books in the series so far?

In Alien Diplomacy, everyone’s dealing with a lot of change, and most of them aren’t dealing with it all that well, Kitty in particular. What was different, and what’s pretty much Alien Diplomacy’s main theme, is change -- not just for one character, but for all the characters. How do you handle being moved into jobs you don’t want, weren’t thinking you were ready to move to, that turn out to be completely different than expected, or a combination thereof? Every character in the book is experiencing major change in some way, so they’re all dealing, and not everyone’s dealing with it well. But then, that’s the fun, isn’t it? If everyone handled all things perfectly, why would we want to read about it?

Any Alien Diplomacy teasers you can share?

We see the return of some of my personal favorite supporting characters from an earlier book, who I’m really excited to have back in, and they affect things in a big, big way. And, for those who’ve been wondering when, if ever, they’d get an answer about what’s going on in Paraguay, that answer begins in earnest in this book.

We understand you have a new series coming from Night Shade Books -- Alexander Outland: Space Pirate, which you wrote as G.J. Koch, is releasing this June. Can you tell us a little about that?

Trouble’s brewing out in space, and Alexander Outland -- the least likely hero in the galaxy -- and his eccentric crew have to save the day, despite the fact they’d prefer to take the money and run.

Alexander Outland: Space Pirate is science fiction set in the far future, with a lot of humor, action, mystery, and romance. I think readers who like Kitty & Company, are going to love the Outland and his crew. I think of it as Han Solo meets Pirates of the Caribbean.

What’s something most readers don’t know about you?

Oh, lots of things probably. LOL I’d say one of the more random and little known things is that while I grew up in Southern California and have spent the last decade and a half plus in Arizona, more frequently than not I’m asked if I’m from Pennsylvania. Apparently I sound like I come from PA and always have. This is made odder by that fact that no one in my family has lived in Pennsylvania, ever. So, I’m Californian by birth, Arizonan by choice, and Pennsylvanian by voice.

What do we have to look forward next?

“Being Neighborly”, the next novelette in my series, The Neighborhood (writing as Anita Ensal) released from Musa Publishing March 23rd, and Alien Diplomacy released from DAW Books/Penguin April 3rd. Alexander Outland: Space Pirate releases from Night Shade Books on June 5, 2012 (writing as G.J. Koch), Alien vs. Alien releases from DAW Books December 4, 2012, with 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 soon. Soon-ish,. Okay, maybe mid-2012. But it‘s coming, I swear! (Yeah, Musa’s waiting on me for this one, not the other way around.)

As we know, I write under a variety pen names. “The Disciple” and “Hotter Than Hell” by Jemma Chase; “Contingency Plan” by Anita Ensal; and “When Josie Comes Home” and “Deacon’s Ark” by A.E. Stanton are novelettes and novellas available right now from Musa Publishing. And my full bibliography is up at my website via my Author Splash page (http://www.ginikoch.com/authorsplash.htm).

Thanks, Gini!

To celebrate her book release, Gini Koch is offering a free book of winner’s choice of either Touched by an Alien, Alien Tango or Alien in the Family 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.
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 G.J. Koch, 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, Alien Proliferation, or Alien Diplomacy by Gini Koch, and Alexander Outland: Space Pirate, by G.J. Koch, at any bookstore or online. Buy the majority of her other works from Musa Publishing (http://www.musapublishing.com/), or go to her Author Splash page (http://www.ginikoch.com/authorsplash.htm) for specific pen names and selected works.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lawsuit Against Apple Regarding Ebook Price Fixing

I've been reading with interest about the Department of Justice's lawsuit against Apple and a number of other publishers for price fixing. The publishers involved are HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Apple, Penguin Group, MacMillan and Hachette Book Group. What is far more interesting is that three of the companies agreed to settle. Does that admit guilt? The Department of Justice doesn't go after anyone unless they have cause. Rumor is that they have a 90% success rate.

Apple, Penguin Group and Macmillan have not settled. Will they back down? Time will tell. Apple is speaking out, saying that their launch of the iBookstore in 2010 encouraged competition and broke down Amazon's monopoly on the publishing industry. The suit goes into more depth stating that as a result of Apple and the involved publishers teaming up, ebooks prices ranged around $12.99 and $14.99, instead of what they normally would have sold for $9.99

I have a friend who is an avid reader. She has a Nook and has complained to no end about the price of ebooks. She gets disgusted that some of the prices for her favorite authors are even more than the paperback version. She does have a valid point.

This is by far one of the most interesting times for the publishing industry. I'm sure by next year, the industry's future and the road to publication will have a completely different spin on it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writer U May On-line Classes

"Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Cry, Make 'em Wait"
by Patricia Kay
May 1-25, 2012
$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

Great books are about more than good plotting, likable characters, lots of conflict, and skillful writing. For a book to really grab a reader, the author must make an emotional connection with that reader. Otherwise, even though the reader may enjoy the book, it won't be one he'll remember. It won't be one he'll talk about. And it won't be one he'll recommend to to others. In this class, you'll learn various dramatic techniques that will help you stir your reader's feelings and make him feel he has an emotional stake in the story's outcome.

* Making your reader care: the dramatic journey
* Crafting powerful scenes that accomplish what you envision
* How sequels help you involve your reader
* Psychic distance: one of your most powerful tools
* Suspense and tension on every page
* Various emotional responses and ways to elicit them
* Building your own emotional palette

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

~ ~ ~

"Fearless Writing"
by Laura Baker
May 1-31, 2012
$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

It all began with Fearless Writing. Writers start with freedom from doubts and just a passion for story. Then all too soon you struggle to overcome weaknesses in your storytelling. But what if the very thing you're muscling into submission is what would empower you? This is the premise of Fearless Writing -- that what you call flaws are what make your stories unique. Packed with exercises and feedback from award-winning author Laura Baker, this class taps your own dramatic powers, then puts those powers to work, transforming your story concept into a Story Vision empowered with your own strengths.

* Find the story you need to write
* Define your emotional and thematic motivators
* Through writing craft, focus the three underpinnings of great storytelling
* Create your own defining Storytelling Paragraph
* Turn ideas into a story using the Story Box process
* Learn the power of premise
* Bonus special exercise for those with a completed manuscript

With Laura's coaching, many unpublished writers are now published, and the techniques she teaches are used by NY Times bestselling authors. One author said, "Light bulb moments are so common when I'm learning at your side that I spend most of my time in this wild state of enlightenment and excitement. Just incredible." For more information about Laura's coaching classes and critiquing visit her website: www.fearlesswriter.com.

Writer U May On-line Classes

"Make 'em Laugh, Make 'em Cry, Make 'em Wait"
by Patricia Kay
May 1-25, 2012
$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

Great books are about more than good plotting, likable characters, lots of conflict, and skillful writing. For a book to really grab a reader, the author must make an emotional connection with that reader. Otherwise, even though the reader may enjoy the book, it won't be one he'll remember. It won't be one he'll talk about. And it won't be one he'll recommend to to others. In this class, you'll learn various dramatic techniques that will help you stir your reader's feelings and make him feel he has an emotional stake in the story's outcome.

* Making your reader care: the dramatic journey
* Crafting powerful scenes that accomplish what you envision
* How sequels help you involve your reader
* Psychic distance: one of your most powerful tools
* Suspense and tension on every page
* Various emotional responses and ways to elicit them
* Building your own emotional palette

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

~ ~ ~

"Fearless Writing"
by Laura Baker
May 1-31, 2012
$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

It all began with Fearless Writing. Writers start with freedom from doubts and just a passion for story. Then all too soon you struggle to overcome weaknesses in your storytelling. But what if the very thing you're muscling into submission is what would empower you? This is the premise of Fearless Writing -- that what you call flaws are what make your stories unique. Packed with exercises and feedback from award-winning author Laura Baker, this class taps your own dramatic powers, then puts those powers to work, transforming your story concept into a Story Vision empowered with your own strengths.

* Find the story you need to write
* Define your emotional and thematic motivators
* Through writing craft, focus the three underpinnings of great storytelling
* Create your own defining Storytelling Paragraph
* Turn ideas into a story using the Story Box process
* Learn the power of premise
* Bonus special exercise for those with a completed manuscript

With Laura's coaching, many unpublished writers are now published, and the techniques she teaches are used by NY Times bestselling authors. One author said, "Light bulb moments are so common when I'm learning at your side that I spend most of my time in this wild state of enlightenment and excitement. Just incredible." For more information about Laura's coaching classes and critiquing visit her website: www.fearlesswriter.com.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Life or something like it

Sometimes I feel like I live in a revolving door.  You know the kind in the cartoons that spins so fast everything is a blur?  It's a constant game of juggling the family, the day job, the writing career, school and volunteering.  I think I'm missing the "no" gene.  I can't seem to find that word in my vocabulary when someone asks for help or volunteers. 

This month has been especially crazy with a book proposal due, finals looming in the near future, company and birthdays. 

Anyone out there feel like their crazy life is running the show instead of the other way around?  What do you do to stop the insanity?

Monday, April 16, 2012

And the winner is.......

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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Help Unlocking Your Muse


It is not too late to register for one of the best writing conferences in the country April 27-29, 2012 in Scottsdale, AZ. No matter what you write, you'll find a workshop for you.


Need help unlocking your muse? Jess Macallan can help. She is giving a workshop at the Desert Dreams Writing Conference. This hands on workshop is designed to help writers get out of their own way. Using techniques that trigger then anchor creative thinking, analyzing personality types and experimenting with tips and tricks, this workshop will help any writer capture her inner fire and keep the embers burning in the face of change, stress, and more. A sensory bar filled with different activities that attendees can immediately test the class theories on to find out what works for them most will be included during the workshop.

What about the dreaded query letter? Brenda Novak, national bestselling author of 35 books, uses her background in sales and marketing to show you how to craft a query letter that will show you how to use this powerful marketing tool to your best advantage.

Erin Quinn will help you navigate editor/agent appointments. Are you still trying to figure out what you're going to say the next time you pitch your story? In this interactive workshop, Erin Quinn will lead participants—using their own story ideas for examples—and help them find the most exciting aspects of their story to turn into an intriguing and cohesive pitch.

Tara Taylor Quinn will tell you how to sucessfully plan and implement a 50+stop blog tour.

Alexis Walker's workshop is designed to help any level writer map out their own personal plan for success. Using the strategic planning tools employed by businesses and nonprofit organizations, each writer will develop an individual career plan he/she can start using immediately.


Don't miss the opportunity to advance your career while networking with experts in the field.


For more details go to http://www.desertroserwa.org



Friday, April 13, 2012

Interview with Gabi Stevens

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Gabi Stevens. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us again 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 Wishful Thinking. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?


Wishful Thinking is the third book and final book in my paranormal romance series about fairy godmothers. Each book in the trilogy focused on an individual fairy godmother, and this one’s Stormy’s story. Born to magical parents, Stormy has no powers until her twenty-seventh birthday, and then she discovers she is chosen to be a fairy godmother. Suddenly her life as an artist is upended, and the magical Council assigns a guard to keep her from going rogue as the first two godmothers have done. Hunter Merrick is determined to keep Stormy in line—it’s his job and he does it well, but he doesn’t expect her to be so tempting. Of course, what’s a woman to do when someone threatens the magical world and the only way to save it is to join sides with the rogues? And what’s a Guard to do when his charge becomes a fugitive?

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


Every book in the series has “wish” in the title: The Wish List, As You Wish and now Wishful Thinking. My editor and I wanted titles that reflect the lighter tone of the stories, tied all three books together, and were familiar enough to readers to be easily remembered.


What made you decide to write in this genre?


I have loved stories with magic since I was a child. I grew up on the Brothers Grimm (and later went on to study them in college—even spending a year at the university they taught at in Germany), devoured the books by Edward Eager, and delighted in the Prydian Chronicles by Alexander Lloyd. Bedknobs and Broomsticks was always one of my favorite movies, and I watched countless hours of Bewitched and I Dream of Genie. Years passed, but I never lost my love of the paranormal. Then with the resurgence of magic thanks to JK Rowling, I thought it was time to write my own books about magic and people with magical abilities. And what better subject than the return to my first love of the Grimm Fairy Tales.


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


I am most definitely a pantser. The idea of an outline gives me hives. I know the basics before I sit down to write—the main characters and maybe one or two sentences about what happens in the book, but otherwise I let the story unfold as it appears in my head. It’s not the most efficient method—I took out two entire chapters in the rewrite of Wishful Thinking and replaced with content completely different than what existed in the rough draft, but the new stuff is much better and tightened and drove the story so much more. I don’t think I’ve written a book where I haven’t changed significant parts on the rewrite.


But cool things happened as well—the type of event I like to call my own magic. In Wishful Thinking, events come together with elements that appeared in the first book. I didn’t plan this out. The second book had even more such elements and when I discovered that all three stories came together in such a complex way, I was blown away because I really did not know it would happen. For example this was my sales pitch for the third book (sold at the same time as the first book):


Free-spirit Stormy Jones-Smythe lives in a loving community of artists, but when she is chosen as the third fairy godmother, the Arcani world forces its boundaries and expectations on her. Luckily even a rigid and strict bodyguard can’t contain her exuberance.


When pitching the first book, I had no idea Stormy would end up being a weaver, and that a tapestry, which appears in the first book, becomes an important element in the third. Weird, right? My husband dismisses the “magic” as simple the plot working in my own brain, and he’s probably right, but there are other examples as well. You can read Wishful Thinking as a stand-alone book, but there are definite threads that weave through all three stories.


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


One of the best things about writing paranormal books is that you get to make stuff up. My rules for the magic, my rules for the world. If I want to make vampires sparkle, I can (What? That’s been done?)


However, the series is set in San Diego. I went to school there, my husband grew up there, my father-in-law still lives there. I love San Diego. I made sure to drive around my locations whenever I visited, I used maps and Google Earth to see the places, and I looked up a word I needed in Old English. I also used my knowledge of Latin for some of the spells. But I did check everything.


And, yes, the minke whale that appears in the story is based on an actual event that happened when I was walking along the shore in LaJolla. The entire boardwalk rippled with excitement, pointing at the whale, waiting to see it reappear on the surface of the ocean, and everyone was smiling. That was a magical moment in real life.

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


Of course, I love my hero and heroine, but I tend to enjoy my secondary characters best. In this book, I have to say Tank, my hero’s best friend, was the most fun to write. He is confident, sexy guy, who had me laughing almost every time he spoke. And of course the three old fairy godmothers. These three wise women are the guiding force for the young godmothers. They appear in all three books, but in Wishful Thinking, I have to say Hyacinth stands out. She delivers the best one-liners, and if I ever get to be her age, I want to be just like her.
One last mention about characters: In As You Wish, I had two special characters, Joy and Tommy, bakers who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). My daughter has IDD, and I’ve pledged ten percent of my royalties from that book to Best Buddies International, an organization devoted to building friendships for people with IDD.


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?


My characters pop into my head almost fully formed. I know who they are, how they think, what their likes and dislikes are. I know their backgrounds, but little of it comes out in the story except where relevant. So I don’t do character interviews or sheets. Stormy was one of my more difficult characters to write because she isn’t like me in so many ways. Above, I mentioned she is a free-spirit. I can only admire free-spirits because I’m not one myself. I love rules. And Hunter is a member of a military like group, the Guards. I have no exposure to the military mindset except what I have read. But I can conceive of believing in something so strongly you’d be willing to die for it. I love stretching myself into other lives—lives I haven’t experienced—and learning from my characters.


Do you have any authors that inspired you?


I have a list of authors who inspire me: Mark Twain and his wonderful wit, Isaac Asimov and his crisp story lines, Ray Bradbury and his use of language (oh, wow, his use of language puts everyone else to shame), Agatha Christie and her constant freshness, Christopher Moore, Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, Eloisa James, Teresa Medeiros, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Mercedes Lackey, and the list could go on and on and on.


I have to mention Jodi Thomas and Lori Wilde. They have been special friends to me and have encouraged me and mentored me throughout the years. They always inspire me to try harder and to keep going when I have my doubts.


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


I made little bottles of fairy dust and miniature wands out of beads to give to readers. Did it work? Who knows, but I had fun making them and giving them away. And from what I’ve heard from those who received them, they loved them. Otherwise, I’d say blog appearances, reviews, and having a web presence is about the best thing you can do to promote yourself.


What do we have to look forward next?


My agent is pitching a series right now about a town in the Rockies that has unusual inhabitants. Cross your fingers. And I have an ebook out for Kindle and Nook (other formats are coming soon, I promise, and may already be there, if the lag time between this writing and its appearance is long enough) under the name Gabi Anderson. Temptation’s Warrior is a re-release of one of my backlist historical novels. No magic in it at all.

Thanks, Gabi!

To celebrate her book release, Gabi is offering a free book of The Wish List or As You Wish to two lucky commenters 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...

Gabi Stevens travels the world with her robotics engineer husband and her three incredible daughters (Reality: she went to Europe last summer with her family, but lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico). Because she is fluent in three languages and knows Latin, her abilities are in demand from many different factions (Reality: she has Hungarian relatives who needed her to translate to her family and students to whom she taught English and Latin) and her knowledge has helped numerable writers in their quest for publication (Reality: she has presented many writing workshops and has a critique group). Her latest novels feature fairy godmothers. Her current release is Wishful Thinking, from Tor books. Gabi claims no magical powers of her own. You can find her at www.GabiStevens.com, at her blog, www.GabiStevens.blogspot.com, or on Twitter or Facebook, unless she’s off on one of her world tours (Reality: she’s at home with her two dogs).

Discover the magic:
THE WISH LIST
AS YOU WISH
WISHFUL THINKING
.
Check out author’s website at www.GabiStevens.com or www.GabiStevens.blogspot.com. You can also find her at Facebook and Twitter. Buy Wishful Thinking April 24, 2012.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another Look At History

Human beings have remained basically the same since we stepped onto the planet 10K years ago, 52K years ago, or 2 million years ago, depending on the theory you believe. And while we learn over the course of our lifetimes, we don't pass knowledge along to our prodigy except through history, which some of you probably slept through.

Which gives rise to the saying that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Simply stated in another way, we are going to react the same in similar situations. Prehistoric man fled his cave when it caught fire, just like modern man flees if his home catches fire--exceptions being those Darwin award nominees and pyromaniacs.

So how do you use history to write say a scifi novel? Well, there are many civilizations that have developed here on planet Earth and each has tremendous variety. You have the nature centric ones of the Celts, the war dominated Persians and Romans, the Eutruscans, egyptians, Arayans, Indians. In each you'll find the reasons behind wars, human sacrifices, their devotion to the stars, dependence on rainfall. Little things like say, the development of money have a lot to say about a civilization. For example, the Romans invented coins to give their soldiers so they could buy sex in their conquered lands. The coins literally had sex acts stamped on them that the soldiers used at brothels.

If your scifi novel is set on a space station or non-m class world, consider what life is like on a submarine. The ocean at even shallow depths is a hostile world. And even if you set your novel on another Earth like world, you can that sense of marvel that so many explorers wrote about in their journals--the first climbers to Everest, the Europeans who crossed the Sahara or Gobi Deserts with no water, the nobles who traveled to the West or the Native Americans who traveled to London. You'll find the gamut of explorers from the rich snobs who looked down on the natives to those more open minded and you'll find what comforts each considered necessities. It says a lot about a man who risks his life to save a picture of his dead wife when he's in the process of losing everything else.

And those little touches will help readers identify with and connect to characters.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vive LasVegas Part 2-The Name Game

Kim Watters here. I took my kids to Las Vegas over Spring Break. Yes, I know, a great place for kids. Actually it can be, if you look at it as a learning experience, first by telling them to ignore all the little postcards on the ground, and then by talking to your kids about the reason why Vegas is there in the first place. And it’s not about all the free shows, lights, and the action.

My son learned first hand at the Midway inside Circus Circus. Yes, folks, Vegas is in the business of making money, not giving it out. A hard lesson for my preteen son who dropped his entire 20 dollars on one game and left empty-handed. I fared a little better by whacking a rubber chicken into the empty pot. Okay, I couldn’t resist. First time I’ve ever won anything at a carnival. And I have to admit—it was fun!

I digress though and what this blog is really about. Actually, I’m still trying to figure that one out but here’s a funny story that, unlike the “What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas”…….I couldn’t help but share.
So let me set the scene. I haven’t been to Vegas in over a decade and I’m not familiar with the roads. It’s cloudy and windy and ready to rain any minute. I’m also trying to listen to my GPS to tell me what road to exit, so I’m not looking at the billboards, only the reflection from my white knuckles gleaming on the wheel.

My son’s voice pops up from the back seat. “Wow, it costs a dollar to take a crap in this town?”

I grab the wheel a little tighter, and try to control my laughter. I honestly have no idea what he’s talking about because I’m concentrating on driving. “Excuse me? What are you talking about?” I say in my most dignified voice.

“That billboard over there. It says dollar craps.”

Okay, I couldn’t stop help myself. I burst out laughing when I realized what he was talking about. I guess we were going to have that talk a little earlier than planned.

So what’s with the name? I googled it and found several different versions for how it could be. English crabs, crab apples. Crapaud? Interesting. I guess there could be worse names but seriously, they could have picked a better one. But then again, all those years ago, the word probably didn't have the same meaning it does today. So when you're deciding character names, or what to call your children, be careful and mindful of the future.

Monday, April 9, 2012

And the winners are.......

Congratulations Crystal GB and Di. You're the winners of Carolyn's books. Please contact Kim at kwatter21 (at) hotmail (dot) com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stoppign by and leaving a comment.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview with Carolyn Brown

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

First of all, thank all you folks at Much Cheaper Than Therapy for inviting me to stop by your blog again. It's a delight to be here to talk about, One Hot Cowboy Wedding, which just hit the bookshelves this week. It's the fourth book in the Spikes & Spurs Series and I'm so excited about it. I'm going to refill my coffee cup and get another chocolate donut and then we'll be ready. Okay, I'm settled ... now let's answer questions.

I understand you have a new release out called One Hot Cowboy Wedding. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Oh, yes, ma'am. I could talk about this book forever so how much room do you have? The Spikes & Spurs series started out to be a trilogy about three women who trade in their high heels for cowboy boots and the cowboys who convinced them that sexy cowboys in their boots and hats had something lasting to offer. The three sassy ladies were Austin, Pearl and Jasmine; the cowboys were Rye, Wil and Ace. Then my amazing editor called and asked for a Christmas book and since Rye's brother, Raylen, had been begging for his story to be told, the trilogy turned into a series. But now it's time to tell Jasmine and Ace's story and they do have a story to tell. Ace is about to lose his ranch if he doesn't find a wife within the week so Jasmine, being his best friend, says she'll marry him. It's supposed to be a quiet wedding and in a year a very discreet, quiet divorce. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? Well, that's the truth unless it gets broadcast on national television. And believe me, it's a lot easier to let the cat out of the bag than it is to put it back into the tow sack!

One Hot Cowboy Wedding is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Well, there is a wedding right there at the beginning of the book and it turns out to be very, very hot in more ways than once.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I'd been writing historical and contemporary books for about fifteen years for the literary market. I wanted to write bigger books that reached a larger audience so I queried Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks with Lucky in Love, a hot cowboy book and she bought it. I loved writing cowboy books so much that it's snowballed from that point. One Hot Cowboy Wedding is my eleventh cowboy book and there are at least three more on the way.

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

Neither and a bit of both. I'm not sure I could ever plot out a whole book and then write totally by the guidelines. It would put my characters in a box and believe me my characters are so sassy, they'd tear the walls down. I don't like to think of myself as a pantster, either. So I suppose, like I've said many times before, I'm like the pilot of a jet airplane. I fill the plane up with all these great characters, have my destination in mind (HEA) and know how to fly the plane. But then the characters hijack the plane and we go off on amazing adventures as we tell their stories.

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

I always do research. I couldn't begin to tell you how many trips I've made to Ringgold, Texas. The one hundred residents of that little place probably think my car is a spy vehicle! LOL! I use the internet for research and I have a multitude of wonderful books but the best thing I could ever advise is simply to go take a look at the place you are writing about. One time I was writing a historical series and had incorporated a scene where the hero and heroine were swimming in this beautiful creek. When we made a trip there and looked at that creek, it was located at the bottom of a red clay slope and the water wasn't something anyone would swim in. Yes, ma'am, I came right home and changed the scene and learned a valuable lesson!

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I have no idea where it came from. One day Jasmine and Ace just jumped on the loveseat behind my computer and told me all about their lives and the story wouldn't leave my head until I'd written it.

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

I loved both of the main characters. Ace, because he was the playboy who was never settling down, and he had to finally listen to his heart. Jasmine, because she was the woman who had been burned by love and had to learn to trust her heart. And both of them because they didn't want to ruin their wonderful friendship by falling in love, but their hearts didn't get the message.

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?

Developing characters happens like friendships. At first I don't know much more than my readers but as we get on down the road with the story, I learn more and more. I have a recipe box that I keep a note card on each of my characters inside. That's about as far as it goes!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Every author I've ever read has inspired me. Every author I've ever visited with at a conference, a library panel, or had a conversation with in an airport has inspired me. This interview would go on forever if I named them all...however, lately Jill Mansell and Grace Burrowes have been added to my list.

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

Blogs. Word of mouth. Those are both wonderful promotion tools.

What do we have to look forward next?

Keep your boots on! There are more cowboys on the way with at least three more Spikes and Spurs. Mistletoe Cowboy (October) is Creed Riley and Sage Presley's story...you'll meet Creed in One Hot Cowboy Wedding. Just A Cowboy (December) is Gemma O'Donnell and Trace Coleman's story. And Dewar, the last of the original O'Donnell siblings, gets his story after that. (Title is still up in the air but the book will probably be out in the spring of 2013). On the Avalon scene, the second book in the Three Magic Words trilogy, In Shining Whatever, will be out in April and the final one, Life After Wife, in August. Hidden Secrets, a stand alone romance, will be out in December.

Thanks, Carolyn!

And THANK YOU again for inviting me!


To celebrate her book release, Carolyn Brown is offering a free copy of One Hot Cowboy Wedding to TWO lucky commenters 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.
Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than fifty books published. She credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma.

Check out author’s website at
http://carolynlbrown.com/
Buy at Amazon, B&N, Wal-Mart and most major book stores.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Conquering the All Mighty Brain Drain

Writing is work. Hard work.

What did you say?

Writing should be fun, not work. We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun. Lord knows we aren’t writing just for the money. LOL. Well…not yet…anyway. Maybe someday we will be but for now we write for the joy of writing.

Still there are times when the words just won’t flow onto the paper. Fortunately it’s not for the lack of a story. We always have stories in our head…er heads…it’s just sometimes the words won’t work like we want them to do.

Here are a few tips we use when we hit a wall or write ourselves into a corner. We refer to this as brain drain. Generally one of these suggestions will do the trick and get us moving again.

1. Return to the beginning of our manuscript and edit.

a. Search for missing visual detail, or too much detail.

b. Search and eliminate unnecessary adverbs, speech tags, etcs

2 Work on creating a blurb for the book.

a. Use The Double-barreled Attack

Situation, Character, Objective, Opponent, Disaster.

b. Use Defining The Plot Question

Character, Opposition, Conflict, Consequence of failure

3. Do some extra detailed research work on our story.

a. Go over some of our research material to re-familiarize ourselves with specific detail we are unclear about.

b. *If you haven't already, establish a file for all your research material in case you need to recheck sources at a later date.

4. Pick up a book and spend an hour or so reading. Let your mind refill with words.

5. Go take a walk or sit outside and enjoy the sunshine for awhile.

6. Write, write, write.

Occasionally we just put down words and pay no attention to what we write.

Sometimes it's just a matter of jump starting our brains again.







Healing Hearts Free Friday

Kim Watters here. Just wanted to let you know my contemporary romance, Healing Hearts, will be available FREE at Amazon Friday, April 6th only. If you own a Kindle make sure to get your copy. Happy Reading!



http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=healing+hearts+kim+watters

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Is The Hunger Games a Masterpiece?

NOTICE: Before I begin, I want to announce the winner of a free copy of SHADOW ON THE MOON. It is Estella, but she left no way to contact her. So, Estella, please contact me at connieflynn@yahoo.com and I’ll get that free book to you ASAP.  
                                                                                                                  from Connie Flynn

    Even though I’m starting this post by telling you I finished my fantasy novel a couple weeks ago, this blog really is about The Hunger Games.  Honest.  But I wanted you to know that I had plans to announce my completed novel from the rooftops.  I figured I’d Facebook it, tweet it, blog it, post to my every Yahoo Group.  But I didn’t and I’m not sure why. Oh, told friends and family, announced it at a couple writer’s groups, but that’s pretty much it.
    I have no answer except that I still have revisions and some rewrites to do, so the book isn’t fully finished. So . . . perhaps I’m saving the celebration for the sale or pub date.  Or maybe there’s a questions I’m not brave enough to ask myself.
    Which brings me now to The Hunger Games. I wonder if Suzanne Collins knew, as she was writing, that she would produce a masterpiece?     
    I truly doubt that. 
    The book is composed with such effortless prose that I don’t think her thoughts were on anything except getting that scene just right, exposing Katniss’s true character action by action.
    In case you haven’t read the books or seen the movie, here’s a quick synopsis.  
    Katniss Aberdeen is a hunter, living in a post-war society divided into twelve districts. Most of the sectors are pockets of abject poverty and District Twelve, where Katniss lives, is one of the worst.  Katniss provides for her fatherless family by poaching in the forbidden forest and bartering her illegal kills for other commodities.
    The seat of government is called the Capitol. It is affluent and corrupt and their major concern is keeping the districts under control so they continue providing raw materials that sustain the Capitol’s lifestyle. 
    They do this through the Hunger Games, an annual challenge fueled by a lottery called the reaping. One girl and one boy between the ages of twelve and eighteen are chosen as ‘tributes’ to compete with tributes from other districts. The televised game is unsupervised and at an isolated location and these young tributes battle until all but one is dead.  The sole winner gains lifelong financial security and valuable boons for their district.
    The story opens the day of the reaping. This is Katniss’s sister’s first year and she is not expected to be drawn. Unlikely as they thought it was, she is drawn and Katniss volunteers to take her place.  Her offer is accepted.
    She puts her family in the care of the boy who was her lifelong friend and hunting partner then  leaves for the games with the baker’s son, Peeta, a gentle soul whose own mother told him she thought Katniss would win the games.
    This powerful premise leads into a story of high stakes and unlikely alliances that require strategies worthy of Lucrezia Borgia and plays out with non-stop action, high emotion and unexpected twists. The writing itself is smooth, clear and punchy.  Male readers are devouring this book and its sequels, probably due to the non-stop action.
    The movie is just as powerful. A breath-stealing ride through the world Suzanne Collins built, it stayed truer to the book itself than most adaptations. According to the buzz, Collins was an active consultant. If so, this woman really knows how to structure a story. The complex details of this story demanded careful sifting to keep the external story thread intact, yet maintain the same rich emotional moments that gave the book its impact. The movie succeeds beautifully because the book was brilliantly written.  In my only moderately humble opinion, The Hunger Games might be declared a masterpiece.
    Now I wonder, did Collins know she was writing a masterpiece while she was writing?  I still don’t think so. I think she was just doing a writer’s job, putting words on paper to build scene after scene, reveal character after character.
    And that brings me back to finishing my own book, which contains complex societies and multiple characters.  I, too, wrote it page by page, scene by scene, character by character. Yes, I now see the question I was afraid to ask:
     Have I written a masterpiece?
    It would be nice, wouldn’t it?  But the truth is that I have no idea.  Only time can tell. All I do know is to keep on writing, keep on revising, and keep on coming up with story ideas. So that’s what I’ll do.
    I’m fairly well convinced that’s what Suzanne Collins did . . . and probably still does.


    I hope some of you are as jazzed by The Hunger Games as I am, although some of you might not be and I’d be delighted to hear your opinions (no spoilers, though, please).  Leave a comment and I’ll put you in for a drawing for a free ebook version of my first mystery short story, Old Bones, published by my alter-ego, K.C. Flynn.  Please leave a way to reach you if you happen to be the winner.  In the meantime have a great April and, if you celebrate it, a lovely Easter. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Conference for All!



So you don't write romance, why should you come to the Desert Dreams Conference?
We have something for everyone.

Tom Laveen, our Friday night speaker, writes young adult novels and I hear he is quite motivating. You'll want to start writing the next Harry Potter and Twilight right after dinner.

Gini Koch, is not only entertaining, but informative. 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). Learn how she writes so many books!

Amber Scott, does write romance, but she is also an extremely successful indie author. Learn how her writing earned enough to pay the bills last year. If you are considering going indie you must hear her speak and attend the Saturday night dinner where you will meet her mentor, who has the secrets to getting your books up the Amazon lists.

Also, check out our list of editors and agents taking appointments. Many of them are looking for more than romance. Even if you don't have a book to pitch, they will be answering audience questions in a Saturday morning panel.

This is one conference you will not want to miss!

Desert Dreams Writer's Conference, Scottsdale, AZ, April 27-29, 2012

More details at http://www.desertroserwa.org