Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Hopes for the New Year! by Kathryne Kennedy



My hopes for a HappyNew Year!

Health. Since I haven’t had it in a while, and it has caused me to fall behind on all of my goals.
A chance to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones.
Peace within and without.
Patience. With everything.
You. My reader. Trying my best to continue to write magical stories that can help you escape the real world for a little while.

Never Criticize, Condemn, or Complain. I read this years ago and it has been my mantra since, although it’s really hard to follow all the time.
Endeavoring to continue to show more love to family, friends, and my darling dogs.
Write, write, write!

Yucky stuff in, yucky stuff out. Keeping the good stuff coming into my brain, keeps good stuff coming out of my mouth.
Exciting new opportunities!
Always continuing to focus on the positive.
Reading as many new books as possible.

What hopes would you write for each letter? Sometimes when you put them in concrete form it’s easier to focus on them. And I do hope yours, and mine,  come true this year!

My Magical Best,
Kathryne

http://www.KathryneKennedy.com













Sunday, December 28, 2014

New Year's Resolutions




Every New Year's Eve the topic of resolutions comes up. I resist making them, but usually give in. This year I've decided to think of them as continued growth in areas that concern me.

1, Organizing my home. I've started cleaning out the old already. I finally gave up my VHS tapes. Well, most of them. They went to Good Will today along with old cups and glasses I rarely use. I still need to place old pictures into albums and scan paperwork I want to toss.

2.  Increase my writing time. I've decided to keep the laptop on my lap while watching TV if I haven't written that day. This will allow me to open the file and work at a leisurely pace. I think I procrastinate sometimes because writing is work even if it is my passion. I don't know anyone who writes a perfect draft every time.

3. Increase promotion. My new laptop is helping tremendously. The touchscreen has allowed me to place my social media on my start screen. The links are at my fingertips. This too can be accomplished during TV time. Right now, we are watching The Sopranos.

4. Diet. I already reduced my sugar intake which helped me drop ten pounds. Next, I am going to reduce snacking. Changing one area of my life at a time is the key for me.

I hope your new year is everything you want it to be whether you make a resolution or not.

Until next time,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright






Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Lesson From Reese




Today was one of those days when The Universe conspires to send a message. On Facebook, I read a post from a writer who bashed the ability of well-known authors. She felt they should be cast aside to make room for newbies. Her frustration came through loud and clear even if I don't agree with such posts.

Later, I watched 60 Minutes. Reese Witherspoon spoke about the difficult time she went through after her divorce. Despite receiving an Oscar, she was having trouble finding projects that she was passionate about. Her career floundered. She was probably as frustrated as the writer on Facebook today. Reese finally decided to start her own production company and optioned two books before they were published. (I assume she received advanced reader copies.) She wanted to make movies that mattered to her. The first movie she produced was Gone Girl. Her new company made millions.

Reese reminded me that I need to write books that mean something to me, not just books that might get published by the big guys. Traditional publishers are going to stick predominately with the authors who sell millions. They are in business to make money. I don't need to be another Carol Higgins Clark or Nora Roberts to be happy, although it would be nice. I just need to know I am tapping into my creativity, using my voice, and putting out a quality product. Today, authors are fortunate. There are many avenues we can take to publish our books. We don't have to sink money into a production company to share our craft with the world the way Reese did. I don't know about the woman on Facebook, but I plan to focus on writing what makes me happy and not worry about who publishes it or how much money I make.

Until next time,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More Recommended Reads by Kathryne Kennedy



One of the advantages of being a Sourcebooks author is the opportunity to purchase our publisher’s books at discount. Although part of the reason I take advantage of those discounts is a loyalty to my publisher, the other part is just because they publish darn good reads. I try to focus on those I recognize hearing about on our Casablanca Blog. This also allows me to expand my genre of reading. So, my list includes many Sourcebooks’ authors and works. I purchased most of these books months ago, and am grateful to have the chance to finally read them, although now my TBR pile is sorely depleted…which is a good thing, cause I haven’t read all the Sourcebooks Casa authors, and now I get to buy some more .

The Heir by Grace Burrows
This is a Historical romance, what I consider a ‘classic’ romance, where the story is primarily centered on the relationship between the hero and heroine. This is a particularly page-turning one, easy to get sucked into, easy to read. I especially loved that the physical relationship between the H&H reflected the advancement of their emotional connection. The brothers of the hero are intriguing as well, and I’m looking forward to reading their stories (there’s a sneak-peek of Devlin’s story at the end of the book). I also adored the secondary story-line of the deaf sister, and when Val plays the piano for her after giving her a ‘speaking tube’, it’s truly magical.

Demon’s Curse by Alexa Egan
I was actually asked to read this book for an author endorsement, so the first time around, I read it too quickly. This is a book that should be savored, so I read it again, with my ‘business’ hat off. If you enjoyed my Relics of Merlin series, you’re sure to enjoy this story. The author has created her own race of shapeshifters she calls the Imnada, although they live in hiding, most of their race in a land cut off from mankind by the palings, a magical mist. There are also the Others, the Fey, who live peaceably alongside mankind, but are mortal enemies of the Imnada. The story centers around an Emnil, an Imnada who broke the clan’s laws and is now rogue. He falls for an actress who is strong enough to deal with the man and his beast, and their romantic future will keep you guessing until the end. This is an entirely new, richly textured creation of a world of shapechangers and Fey, incredibly well conceived and realized.

Cover Me, By Catherine Mann
This is another foray into a genre I haven’t read before, that of sexy military men and the women strong enough to fall in love with them. I don’t often read contemporary romances, but I was glad I delved into this one. The hero was incredibly special, incredibly HOT. A Pararescueman, a job I’m assuming is real, although it would take an incredibly special man to do it, which the hero is. This is a wonderful, sexy romance with a thrilling adventure story as well, set in the wilds of Alaska. Great story!

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
I have a collection of books that I read over and over, waiting a year or so to forget most of the book, so I can experience it all over again. I have added this book to my collection of treasures. This is my second reading of it, and it was even better than the first.

The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card
One of my favorite authors I’ve been reading for years, I truly enjoy the tales of Alvin the Maker. Here’s just one of the gems in this novel:
“Cal,” said Alvin, “ideas aren’t like land or poems or babies or something. If you tell me an idea, and I like it, then it’s my idea too, and still yours, and it also belongs to everybody on God’s green earth who thinks it’s a good one.”

Cowboy Fever, by Joanne Kennedy
Really warm, believable, charming characters. A hot romance. A hunky cowboy. The scenes of Equine Assisted Therapy had my eyes watering more than once. This is a wonderful romance that can’t fail to touch your heart. An absolute must-read.

The Goblin King by Shona Husk
I’m almost through reading this one. It’s a very dark fairytale, about a king cursed to become Goblin, and about the woman who tries to help him. The author weaves a spell that makes the world of the Shadowlands, and the heartbreak of the king, so very realistic. Even though I haven’t reached the end, I can absolutely recommend this book. The author has an incredible talent for dark fantasy.

A quick disclaimer, here. As you can see, I’m not a reviewer. It takes a certain skill to summarize books clearly, and there are many wonderful professional review sources, like Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, RT BOOKReviews, NOR, TGTB&TU…check out the reviews on my website and blog for more great on-line review sources as well. This is just my personal recommendation of great books I’ve recently read and had to share with my own readers.

Until Next Time,
Kathryne
http://www.kathrynekennedy.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Guest Author Tina Donahue with giveaway


INTIMATE DETAILS

by Tina Donahue

MEDIA KIT

Buy Links: 


PRE-ORDER!
AVAILABLE: Tuesday, November 4th
This title is offered at a 10% discount. Offer ends midnight CST, November 11th


Blurb:

As a computer hacker, she demands justice.
As a woman, she craves two powerful and commanding men.

Shana’s been hacking one of Manhattan’s most corrupt executives, making him pay for what he’s done to his victims. Using her skills, she convinces Mike and Cody to hire her at their intelligence-gathering firm, where intimate details help their clients.
Never has Mike met a woman as delicious as Shana. Smart as hell, curvy and assured, she’d be a delightful challenge in bed. Cody’s carnal hunger is equally intense. He and Mike want to know everything about her.
She won’t divulge the secrets of her past. All she can offer is unquenchable desire and her heart. 
During weeks of shameless lust and pleasure, Mike and Cody peel away the layers of Shana’s life. The stunning truth changes everything. They’ll do all that they can to keep her safe…and in their arms.

Excerpt:

The doors hissed open.
Shana staggered from him, her mouth still wet from his kiss and Mike’s. She’d mussed his hair. Cody’s tie was askew. Backing out of the elevator, she murmured, “Good night.”
Before either of them could respond, Shana turned to flee. No way could she ever come back here.
“Whoa.” Mike grabbed her wrist as he had in the suite.
The guard at the front desk leaned up in his chair. His beer belly hung over his belt. His expression said the security cameras had shown him what had just gone down in the elevator. “Everything okay, Mr. Russo?”
“Is my driver out there?” Mike asked.
The guard craned his neck to see. “Yes sir, he is.”
“Please tell him we’ll be out in a few minutes.”
“Yes sir.”
The middle-aged man hurried outside. Mike held Shana’s wrist gently but firmly. “Good night?”
His lower lip shone with the moisture she’d left on him. Several locks dangled over his forehead. Unable to help herself, Shana eased them back. “I need to go home.”
Mike’s gaze remained lifted to her smoothing his hair. “Yeah, we get that.” Cody had just joined them. Mike spoke quietly. “You’re taking off after what just happened in the elevator?”
She lowered her hand. “It shouldn’t have.”
Cody frowned, his expression a mixture of confusion and disappointment. “Why not? Clearly, we all enjoyed it. You did, right?”
More than anything Shana could recall. Their strength was thrilling and protective, an amazing combination she longed for but couldn’t risk. 
Her throat tightened. Tears threatened.
Suddenly, she felt beyond weary and so alone she rested her head against Cody’s shoulder. Stupid, she knew, but Shana couldn’t help herself.
Cody hesitated a moment, then ran his hand down her hair. Mike played with her fingers. 
She fought against smiling and crying. Crap, her emotions were all over the place.
“You okay?” Cody murmured.
Shana nodded then shook her head then nodded once more.
“You’re hungry and tired,” Mike said, speaking softly. “You’re not yourself.”
She laughed, unable to stop. “How can you say that? You don’t know me.”
“We want to,” Cody whispered.
Her belly clenched with worry. What they were asking for wouldn’t work. Shana knew they’d never harm her deliberately. They weren’t that kind of men. However, they were human and eventually they’d hurt her. It was what people did to each other, whether they meant to or not. Best not to get involved. She needed peace. They deserved a better woman than she could ever be.
“We can talk about it in the car,” Mike promised.
Shana eased away from Cody then memorized his and Mike’s features because she couldn’t see either of them again.
“Really, we can,” Cody said.
Smiling sadly, she straightened his tie then patted the knot, drinking him in, loving the gentleness in his expression, his rough good looks.
“What?” he asked, as Mike had earlier.
Shana’s emotions raged, battling with her thoughts. What she knew she had to do.
The guard returned from the outside.
She glanced at him then the glass door swinging closed. 
Mike and Cody shifted their weight as though they expected her to bolt.
Shana should have. Leave, she ordered herself. Now.
The guard looked at her curiously.
She turned from him before he could read her expression. Mike and Cody studied her. 
Both of them were everything she’d ever wanted in a man, in a friend, and far more than she’d hoped for.
Go.
“Yes,” she said, speaking before she could stop herself. “I enjoyed every second.”
They smiled.
“And I’d like more,” she added, admitting what was in her heart.
Now, they grinned.
“But it’d only be sex,” she said, low enough so the guard wouldn’t hear. “Having a good time. Nothing personal. Ever. You guys couldn’t possibly want that. You deserve more.”
“Wait,” Mike said, again keeping her from leaving. “Who said we’re looking for a commitment for god’s sake. What’s wrong with just being friends?”
“Yeah,” Cody chimed in. “We already know what kind of lattes you like and that you’re into cheesecake brownies. That’s personal. As far as I can see the world didn’t screech to a stop when we found that out.” He glanced around then shook his head. “Nope. It hasn’t.”
Mike leaned close, delivering his wonderful fragrance. “We’ll keep it fun. Promise.”
“Nothing personal,” Cody said. “Strictly surface crap. We’ll talk about work, clients, sports, films, food, books. Stuff like that.”
“Why?” she asked, stirred by what they’d said, frightened as hell too.
Smiling, Mike brushed Shana’s hair from her shoulder and stroked the side of her neck. Her breath caught. 
“Because we like you,” he murmured. “That’s what friends do. However, I do have one personal question, and I want an answer.”
Her skin got clammy. She stepped back.
He followed. “Are you in trouble or in some kind of danger? Is that what this is about? If so, let us know, please. We can help.”
Shana stared at him.
“Is someone trying to hurt you?” Cody asked. 
She thought about Raptor, the threat he’d presented in the past. What he’d do now if he were lucky enough to find her.
“No,” she lied. “No one’s after me.” She faked a laugh. “Seriously, you guys were really in military intelli—”
Cody interrupted, “We just want to help, all right?”
Sobering, Shana nodded.
“We won’t grill you on anything personal,” he said. “But you can’t ask us anything either.”
“That’s right.” Mike took her hand. “No more hacking into our accounts either, business or otherwise. Remember, our lives are as private as yours is. Come on.”


BIO:

Tina Donahue is an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, and Kensington. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic romances (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose her erotic romance Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition (2011 and 2012). Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the 2012 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. She was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.



CONTEST

Win 3 of Tina’s backlist erotic romances from this list:

1. Adored – RWA award-winning; EPIC 2011 Finalist; 4 Stars RT
2. Deep, Dark, Delicious – EPIC 2011 Finalist; Holt Medallion Award of Merit
3. Lush Velvet Nights – EPIC 2011 Finalist; Golden Nib Award
4. In His Arms – SIX 5 Star Reviews; 4 Stars RT
5. Sensual Stranger – 2010 Book of the Year (erotic); 4 Stars RT
6. The Yearning – Top Ten Bestseller
7. Take Me Away – #1 Pick, Miz Love Loves Books
8. Unending Desire – Best Book Rating LASR
9. SiNN – Nominated for Book of the Week LASR
10. Sinfully Wicked – Magnificent – Romancing the Book
11.  Claiming Magique – Top Pick – NOR
12. Illicit Desire – Four Stars Romantic Times
13. Come Fill Me – Five Stars – Guilty Pleasures
14. Losing Control - Four and a Half Stars - Sensual Reads
15. Shameless Desire - Four and a Half Stars - The Jeep Diva
16. Illicit Intent - Four and a Half Stars - Sensual Reads
17. Deep Within Me - Four Stars - Romantic Times

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Learning From Movies - The Fury





*****Spoil Alert*****


I am not a big fan of war movies, but I agreed to see this one with my husband. I'm glad to say the acting was good. The dialogue was usually believable. Unfortunately, most of the plot was predictable. At least it was for me. That could be because I'm a writer.

When they introduced the young soldier who wouldn't shoot anyone, I knew the story would center on how he becomes a killer. When the main jerk in the movie told him he was a good man, I knew the jerk would die soon. When they decided to face down over a hundred Nazi soldiers by themselves, I predicted everyone would die except for the young soldier.

To be fair, I did not predict that this handful of men would decide to face down over a hundred German soldiers near the end.

What can writers do to keep their plot points from becoming predictable? Write a list of possible twists in the story until you start to come up with ones that are different, yet believable, and true to the characters. You can also ask a friend what they think will happen next in the story and if they guess your plot, change it.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Must Read: THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE By @ErinQuinnAuthor



I must start with a disclaimer: Erin and I critique each other’s work. After reading her first few novels and falling in love with her writing, I made it my mission to wrangle her into working with me, and I’ve been grateful for her partnership over the years. Her work often reads like poetry, and she does dark novels with a masterful pen. Being on medical leave, I finally got the opportunity to read through THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE once again. (It’s different when reading as a critique; I’m working, and on my computer. Reading the published printed version of the book is just sheer relaxing pleasure.) Anyway, I knew I wanted to write a blog entry one day highlighting some of her words that I found particularly brilliant, evocative, or sensual, so I marked the pages, and I’m sharing them with you here today:

Page 341
“Maybe that’s all you need to know,” he said against her lips. “That I’ll always be waiting for you. You’re not alone in this, angelita. Maybe we do it together.”

Page 295
He seemed overwhelmed by the responsiveness of her body beneath his, overawed by how it felt to make love to her. And for just a moment, he looked lost.

Page 278
A small pool positioned near the rental office and clubhouse glittered, surface as flat as glass, chairs at precise attention around the perimeter. All of it vacant and looking too serene to be real. It buzzed his already stretched nerves.

Page 231
“The Beyond, Reece. Heaven, hell—Hades, Elysium. Call it what you want. But in the end it’s the same. That door lets darkness seep in. And lurking in all those shadows, just waiting for a chance to scuttle through that opening, are demons.”

Page 221
Her breath was shallow. So was his. He held her body so close that their lungs filled in tandem, each breath taking the space vacated by the other.

Page 212
He leaned back against the pillows and tugged her down next to him. She resisted for about half a second before laying her head on his shoulder. He smelled of soap and cotton and Santo. She pressed her nose against him and breathed him in.

Page 211
Still caught in Santo’s gaze, she said good-bye and set the phone on the nightstand beside her. The air felt thin, dissipated by the man who moved like a jungle cat through it, bare feet padding against the wooden planks.

Page 195
He heard it again, a deep, menacing reverberation that seemed to come from just behind the boulder, and yet in front of it and all around it. The shadows gobbled the sound and spat it out in a million small, vibrating pieces.

Same Page
The air grew so still it seemed to thin until he could see the particles within, silver on gray, slate on black.
But then it shifted and became thick. Sulfurous. Suffocating.

Page 188
Reece had only ever seen the hours before dawn from the other side of midnight, when the rising sun meant the end of a good night. He’d never awakened early to watch it evict the stars and muscle down the moon like he did now.

Page 180
His palm felt warm and gentle against hers, his touch a low-frequency hum in her system.

Page 126
Her heart labored, so stressed she couldn’t tell if it had sped up or slowed down. The eerie stillness stretched hard and tight over them, an imperceptible cellophane wrapper that trapped them. Panic made her short of breath; terror convinced her that she’d find the oxygen siphoned away from their dubious refuge if she tried to fill her lungs.

Page 124
The sound of dragging footsteps coming up the other stairway—the one behind them—echoed just as the strident bell of the elevator binged ahead. She didn’t look back. She didn’t need to. She could sense the creature on the stairs. Could it sense her, too? Did she carry a scent that demons could sniff out? Was the one on the stairs testing the air even now and asking, Where are you?

You probably have your own favorite passages after reading this book; these are my own personal ones. And if you haven’t already read it, you can get THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE HERE:
And be sure to preorder the sequel, THE THREE FATES OF RYAN LOVE

As Always,
My Magical Best,
Kathryne Kennedy

 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What I Learned From The Eagles



My husband took me to an Eagles concert for my birthday last week. They are by far my favorite band. They sang for two-and-a-half hours and I recognized almost every song. Yes, we were one of the youngest couples in the arena. They started the band when I was in grade school and reunited when I was in high school.

Between songs, they told the story of their band.  I found something they said to be interesting and enlightening. At one time, people thought the band was history because popular music had changed, but they continued to perform the songs they enjoy and radio stations continued to play their music. Not all young people know who they are, but I was surprised to discover my twenty-six-year-old daughter knew two of their songs. She said the radio station had just played Witchy Woman that morning.

Writers who are chasing the trends and not getting anywhere need to stop and write the novels that speak to them. Even if you don't make the Top 10 lists, you will be happier.


Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Seasoning Your Writing

No, I'm not talking about that kind of spice. I'm talking about the actual seasons.

And the holidays that go with them.

I'm a big fan of holidays, especially in books.
The book cover kinda gives it away doesn't it?

But it's not the whole story. I love them because I'm not the one trying to juggle everything while solving a mystery or embarking on a new romance.




Holiday themed books are a way to experience the best and worst of times without fearing the credit card bill after the new year.

We can relive memories, or create ones we wish we had enjoyed.

So next time you start writing a book, think of all those special times yet to come and sprinkle in a few.

And, when it's over a 100 degrees outside, Christmas in July might actually think it's cooler:D

Until next month..

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Recommended Reads by Kathryne Kennedy



There is only one good thing about taking a medical leave, and that is I have time to catch up on my reading. When I’m writing and in the middle of a book, it’s more difficult to leave my world, and enter someone else’s. So today I’m giving a list of the books I’ve read over the past few months, books that have helped me forget the pain…and the frustration of not being able to work. The good thing about being a writer is, I can call it all research!

Since I knew I had a blog post coming up, I thought I’d share some of the fabulous books I’ve read recently. I have good days and bad, so when I have the good, I can post an entry for a later date. Unfortunately, I never know if on that date, I’m gonna be having a day where I’m feeling well enough to respond to any remarks, so if I’ve missed you at any time, my apologies, and I hope that when my issues are resolved I can get back to being more reliable regarding comments.

Romance novels aren’t just romances anymore. Ask any avid reader, and they’ll tell you that romances now span the genres from Science Fiction to Mystery to pretty much every subgenre in between. Usually the novels are half romance and half the other genre, so readers have a wonderful assortment of stories to choose from. Of course, there are still what I think of as the ‘classic’ romance story, where the plot is minimal and the story primarily centers around the relationship between the hero and heroine. And I, of course, love them all, cause I never, ever, met a book that I didn’t like or learn from in some way.

So here’s the outstanding assortment of books I was grateful to have read:

Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison
A paranormal romance, very dark and quite scary. I had a difficult time putting this one down. The concept, plot and characters were just so exceptional.

No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper
The tattoo on the back of the cover model is a clue to this time-travel romance. But there’s magic involved, so deftly woven into the world that it’s wonderfully believable. I loved how those in the past knew about other possible futures, so it made the heroine’s entry into the historical world, and her connection with the hero, such a fast-paced love story.

Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs
I’ve reader several of her Mercedes series, but have to say, I adore this series the most (Masques was the first book, best read in order). The relationship between the heroine and Wolf is one where you know they are the only two people in the world meant for each other. And talk about a tortured hero…. It’s the skill of a great writer that makes you fall in love with him despite (or maybe because of?) his horrid past.

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel
Although I have been looking forward to reading this conclusion to the Earth’s Children series, the length of this book made me hesitate to get started on it for fear I wouldn’t be able to put it down. There was a lot of cave-visiting, and it made me wonder if it was based on real-life research on the part of the author. It was a joy to read more about one of my most favorite-fictional-characters-of-all-time again, Ayla.

Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen
I can’t express how much fun this book was! Savor it for a time when you’re feeling blue and need an escape to make you feel good. This is a historical, where both the hero and heroine have been spies and are then retired, giving them a chance to know and appreciate each other. Then they are both sent on a mission to find a murderer, and whoever wins gets to be a spy again. Clever and so charming, this book was a real treat and another must-read.

Forever a Lady by Delilah Marvelle
What I consider a ‘classic’ romance, this was a page-turner. It’s not often I read a book where the heroine is even more of a risk-taker than the hero, and this was refreshing…although the heroine is lucky she didn’t get into more trouble than she did.

Quatrain by Sharon Shinn
One of my favorite fantasy authors, this is a collection of four short stories, in several of her worlds, including the “Summers at Castle Auburn” world, which is the very first book of hers I read, and still my favorite. These short stories are just as fabulous as her books…she always leaves you wanting more, no matter the length.

The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae by Stephanie Laurens
Another classic historical romance, with a Scottish laird and a feisty English heiress, this is the kind of book that has you laughing with joy and cheering at the end. It appears to be one of a long line of family connected books, with three closely connected books, this being the third kidnapping by the same laird, so needless to say, I’m going to have to hunt down the rest of these books.

All these books are written by masters of the craft, and I hope you get a chance to read them. Although I enjoyed all the adventures, I’m looking forward to being able to write my own once again.

Magically Yours,
Kathryne

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tips For Entering Writing Contests



Like many writers, I have both judged and entered writing contests. I am not a contest diva, but I have finaled in over half a dozen and even won a couple. I learned the most about entering contests by judging them. I have a few tips I have learned through my experiences and by listening to other writers give speeches on the topic.

1. Make sure you are entering a contest that is appropriate for your genre. If you are writing a paranormal ghost story where the emphasis is placed on the paranormal element with little interaction between the couple in the story, you should not enter a romance writer's contest.

Your manuscript has a better chance of scoring well in a romance contest if the hero and heroine meet soon in the entry. You will find most romance readers want this as well.

2. Read the contest directions several times. They usually provide manuscript guidelines. If they want the first 20 pages, don't send them the love scene in the middle of the book. If they want double-spaced, don't send in a single-spaced entry. If they want an entry that is not published and not under contract, don't send them the first pages of your self-published book. If your book is available for sale  in a store or online to the public it is considered published.

3. Remove your name, address, email and phone number from your manuscript and synopsis before sending in your entry.

4. Ask for a copy of the judging score sheet before deciding to enter. A romance score sheet may judge on the conflict between the hero and heroine. This will give you an opportunity to read up on romantic conflict before deciding if yours is strong enough. If not, you can strengthen your conflict or decide not to enter the contest. Tip: An extremely strong conflict would be he is a fireman and she is an arsonist. I can't take credit for that. It is the most often used example floating around Romance Writers of America chapters for years.

5. Make sure your synopsis provides every major plot point including the ending. If it is a romance, you need to include the conflict. Tip: I have often heard agents and editors say you must include the ending in your synopsis.

6. Read over your entry several times for mistakes before entering.  A set of fresh eyes can help.
I have my husband give my entry a once over. He'll catch missing words or sentences that don't make sense.

7. Every score sheet I have seen includes a rating for point of view. Head hopping is discouraged. Your entry will usually do better if you stick to one character's point of view per scene. If you want to change point of view, you are better off changing at the beginning of the next scene. If the first paragraph gives the character's name, action, and thoughts, the transition to the new point of view will be made clear (usually).

8. End your entry on a hook that leaves the judge wanting to read more. (Advice given by Harlequin author Linda Style.) If the contest rules say "up to 20 pages" that does not mean you have to end at the bottom of the 20th page. I end my scenes with a hook and find that is the best place for me to end an entry. I may enter 17 pages if that is where my scene ended with a hook.

9. When deciding which contests to enter, look at the judges and grand prize. If your are trying to get your work before a major print publisher, you are better off with a contest that has one of their editors judging the final round. The Valley of the Sun contest has a grand prize that should appeal to both indie and traditional writers: the top scorer will have their entire manuscript edited by professional editors. If you want to spend a lot of money entering every contest available for your type of writing, that is also an option.

10. You are the final judge. Entering contests is an emotional roller coaster. You are on pins and needles hoping to make the final round, but when you read a negative comment, your bubble bursts. Just remember, judging, just like reading, is subjective. When you read a comment about your work, ask yourself if it rings true. If not, you can ignore the judge's advise. If all three judges make the same comment, you might want to think carefully before tossing it aside. There are times I read the score sheet, put it aside for awhile, and then went back to it before improving my manuscript again. I am in a better place emotionally to decide if the judge was correct or not.

Don't fall the words at the top of this blog entry, the main purpose for entering writing contests should be to improve your writing.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright






Thursday, September 25, 2014

9/25 New Release, EMBRACE THE NIGHT, by Caris Roane

Hi, Everyone! I've had more fun with my Blood Rose Series, a paranormal romance series built around powerful mastyr vampires, each of whom rules one of the Nine Realms. These tormented hunky men suffer from chronic blood starvation, a result of possessing more power than their equals. The series then poses the question:  What if only woman could satisfy the deepest needs of a mastyr vampire? And perhaps more importantly, would she even want the job!?!

Releasing this week, is EMBRACE THE NIGHT, the fifth installment of the Blood Rose Series.  Here's what the story's all about!
~ ~ ~

Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Info // Win // 

He ignored his deepest needs for a hundred years…
Mastyr Vampire Jude has kept his distance from all women because he lost his wife and daughter to an enemy attack a hundred years ago. He won’t go through that kind of loss again. And he won’t jeopardize another woman’s life while the deadly Invictus wraith-pairs still pose a threat in the Nine Realms. But when Hannah saves his life by creating unexpected fire from the palms of her hands, he knows that something ‘very realm’ is going on with her and he can no longer ignore his long-suppressed desire for the beautiful owner of the Gold Rush bar. When his cravings for her blood and her body drive him to take her to bed and tap into her vein, his world shifts forever. But can Hannah make the adjustment to a life lived on the front-lines of an ongoing war? And if anything should happen to her, how could he ever live with himself?

For more information check out EMBRACE THE NIGHT on my website!  And be sure to enter my latest CONTEST!


And now, have a wonderful day and an even better night!
000 - Caris Roane Signature - Fine

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Creating Sympathetic Characters





Once again, my husband and I are behind the times. We never watched The Sopranos until he bought the first season recently. I have to admit, it wasn't what I expected. I expected another version of The Godfather. What I saw was a great example of how to make a bad guy likable.

I found myself feeling sorry for the main character, Tony. He has an aging mother who can't take care of herself and yet refuses to move into a retirement community. His wife is never happy. His daughter and wife are always fighting. Plus, his son gets into trouble at school. We might not be able to relate to a mobster, but we can relate to Tony and his multitude of family problems. The fact they are all happening at once, makes us feel sorry for him.

This approach can used with your hero, heroine, or even your villain if you are trying to make him or her multidimensional. Villains are the hero of their own story.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Author Spotlight - H. D. Thomson & Killer Romances - 10 Books by 10 Authors for Only 99 Cents!

I'm pleased to announce that I'm in a box set with nine other, fantastic romantic suspense authors, which was just released this week! With 10 books, you can't go wrong for 99 cents. It's for a special introductory price right now.

Killer Romances
10 Dark, Deadly, and Delicious Novels
On Sale for 99 cents for a limited time! Ten of today's hottest romantic suspense authors have joined forces to bring you an amazing boxed set of ten full-length novels--all for one low price! Romance, mystery, and thrills abound in these dark, deadly, and delicious tales of lethally sexy heroes and the women who bring them to their knees. Love bad boys? We've got 'em. Love good guys? We've got them too! There's something for everyone who picks up this red-hot bundle. Ready to dive in?
~~BUY IT NOW~~

Dana Delamar REVENGE (Blood and Honor, #1) 37 reviews 4.5/5 stars
Mafia don Enrico Lucchesi struggles to preserve a fragile truce with the Andretti family. But when Kate Andretti flees from her abusive husband, Enrico won’t leave her in jeopardy. Can he save her without reigniting the bloody feud between the families?
*** Revenge was a double-finalist (Romantic Suspense and Best First Book) in the 2013 Booksellers' Best Awards! *** Website: http://www.danadelamar.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanaDelamar 


Tallulah Grace Cliffs of Starsdale
11 reviews 4.9/5 stars
Seeking a fresh start after her mother’s death, Chelsea Bates lands in the picturesque town of Starsdale, California. Nestled amid the peaks of the High Sierras, Starsdale defines the term ‘small town’ with well-meaning residents who always seem to know everyone’s business.
The one thing no one knew, couldn’t have predicted, was the evil lurking beneath the surface of Chelsea’s ex-fiancĂ©. Preston Beecher follows her to Starsdale with the intentions of taking everything she owns, including her life. Will Preston destroy her dreams before they begin, or will bonds forged in a small mountain town be the pathway to her future?

Bestselling Author Sandy Loyd Deadly Misconceptions
48 reviews 4.4/5 stars
PI Lucy Maddox joins forces with nemesis, Jack Finnegan, to find her mentor, a reporter who’s gone missing. It soon becomes apparent they’re being followed. And after a couple of harrowing near-misses that are too coincidental to be accidental, they increase their efforts. The chase leads to a ring of high school girls whose behavior could only be characterized as bullying. When they uncover the games those few cruel girls are playing, Jack and Lucy, realize they’ve fallen victim to Deadly Misconceptions and now struggle to stay alive.

Kristine Mason Shadow of Perception (Book 2 CORE Shadow Trilogy)
27 reviews 4.6/5 stars
When an investigative reporter receives an unmarked envelope containing a postcard ordering her to watch the enclosed DVD...or someone else dies, she turns to the criminal investigation agency CORE for help. But that help comes with a catch. Her former lover is assigned to the case. And as more DVDs arrive, they not only find themselves knee-deep in a twisted investigation, but forced to deal with their past and the love they’d tried to deny.

USA Today Bestselling Author Dale Mayer Haunted by Death (By Death Series Book 2) 11 review 4.6/5 stars
Death haunts anthropologist Meg Pearce… In her last summer before college, an innocent camping trip ended in a friend’s disappearance…and destroyed her life. She lost everything. Her innocence. Her plans for her future. Her best friend and lover. Seventeen years later, she returns reluctantly to the same area, hoping to move on. But a gruesome discovery sends her reeling back to that dark time.
Detective Chad Ingram has spent the last seventeen years trying to solve the mystery of that camping trip so he too can regain his life…and the lost love of his life.
Only death isn’t done shaking up their lives…and this time they are in the crossfire.

USA Today Bestselling Author Nina Pierce Blind Her With Bliss, Book 1 of the Dangerous Affairs Series
147 reviews 3.9/5 stars
She's trying to find herself. He's attempting to hide. Together they'll discover a truth that threatens them both...
Investigating the death of her best friend, accountant, JULIE TILLING, discovers a world of adult nightclubs and Internet intrigue. When shock jock DAMON COREY rocks her world in a wild night of lust, she wonders if she's found love...or the key to solving a murder.

Chantel Rhondeau Love & Deception (Agents in Love - Book 1) 11 reviews 4.7/5 stars
Nick Kendall is a secret agent sent to infiltrate a suspected terrorist organization. Despite his best intentions, he falls hopelessly in love with Carlie Hollis, an alleged key player of the group. Though he knows it's wrong, Nick struggles with his feelings versus what is right.
Everything changes when he receives new orders-kill the target. Will he follow those orders…or become hunted himself?

K.T. Roberts The Last Witness
82 reviews 4.2/5 stars
NYPD detectives Tate Kensington and Zachary Gerard are convinced one killer is at work, but proving it seems an impossible feat until a pre-teen prank blows the case wide open.
Both detectives have their own pasts to haunt them - Tate's ex-flame is now her boss, and Zach's estranged father is counsel for the defense. Complicating things even more are death threats, witnesses going AWOL, and an increasing attraction neither of them can continue to deny. Can the pair put away a killer on a paper-thin case? Or will their disappearing Jane Doe prove to be...THE LAST WITNESS...
The Write Authors Blog: http://www.thewriteauthors.com/

Award-winning Author H.D. Thomson Shrouded in Darkness – Book 1 32 reviews 4/5 stars
Winner of the Ready-Set-Go Peninsula RWA Contest Finalist in the Suzannah North Louisiana RWA Contest 1st place in Peninsula RWA Chapter’s Contest Two-time Golden Heart Finalist Author
Jake Preston is on borrowed time. If he doesn’t stumble upon a miracle and soon, he’ll end up dead. And even if he does, he still might end up dead with a clever killer hounding his heels. He believes that the one miracle and antidote to save him is in Margot Davenport’s house, across the country and miles away from Boston. Somewhere locked in her home is the key to reversing an experiment that is killing him.

Susan Vaughan Primal Obsession 40 reviews 4.3/5 stars
Maine Guide Sam Kincaid needs to prove he can overcome the loss of his baseball career and succeed at something. Investigative reporter Annie Wylde intends to use the wilderness canoe expedition to study her notes on her friend’s killer. She banters with Sam but rebuffs his advances, considering him just another egotistical jock. But when Annie realizes the killer has followed her into the woods, she learns there's more to Sam than testosterone and dimples. And Sam faces the challenge of his life to keep Annie safe and defeat the Hunter.