Monday, April 28, 2008
Therapist: “Good morning, Suzie. How are you today? You look tired.”
Suzie Writer: “I’m exhausted. I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in weeks.”
Therapist: (Leaning forward to get a better look.) “Suzie, what do you have on your head?”
Suzie Writer: “It’s aluminum foil. That’s why I haven’t been able to sleep. I covered my entire bed in foil as well.”
Therapist: “Okay.” (Afraid to ask, but knows she must.) “Why do you have aluminum foil in your bed and on your head?”
Suzie Writer: “Other writers keep stealing my ideas, and I’m tired of it. I want it to stop!”
Therapist: (Rubbing chin) “And aluminum foil will stop it?”
Suzie Writer: “If it keeps aliens from reading your mind, it should keep all of these NY Times Best Selling Authors from reading my mind.”
Therapist: (Steal rubbing chin. Not sure what to say.) I…
Suzie Writer: “Don’t look at me that way. Every single time I go the bookstore I find books with the same ideas I came up with months ago. Sometimes I dream about a book and the next day, I find it at the bookstore. How can I hit the big time if everyone keeps stealing my ideas?”
Therapist: “These other writers are stealing your thoughts?”
Suzie Writer: “When you come up with an idea or have a dream, it goes out to the universe. The first person to catch it and write the book gets on the NY Times list.”
Therapist: “So, why don’t you write the book before they do?”
Suzie Writer: “Oh. That’s a good idea.” She touches the headband. “I better keep the aluminum foil just in case. Humans don’t write as fast as those writers who dare not be named.”
Friday, April 25, 2008
I understand you have a new release out called DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
Actually, the story started out as LOOKING FOR MR. BEDDINGTON because for a large part of the book, the characters are trying to find him. However, as you probably know, authors don’t have the final say on titles. My editor wanted to call it DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS because she likes alliteration. I have to admit, I like it better, too.
Actually, yes. The Victorian era spans a broad time period and was not always as repressed as it became after the Queen became The Widow of Windsor. In the early days of Queen Victoria, shortly after she married her dour German cousin, she actually had quite a risqué bacchanal painted on the walls of her boudoir. Later, after Prince Albert died, proper matrons were stitching up little pantaloons to cover their PIANO legs, lest the bare wood incite anyone to lust.
And along with the Victorian England research, I also studied British India, where my heroine was born and raised. My hero hoped to journey there to serve as an intelligence officer and needs the key he believes the elusive Bedding holds. There was a good deal of political tension between England and Russia over India, so it made sense for Russian spies to be after Mr. Beddington as well.
I enjoyed writing Artemisia because she’s a different sort of heroine. After a loveless arranged marriage with a much older man, she revels in the freedom of widowhood. During the Victorian era, a married woman’s legal status was much like that of a child or an imbecile. Artemisia refused to be treated like either. She passionate about her art and has little time to waste trying to please those who don’t understand her devotion to her work. But she’s never known love and her attempt to find it while retaining her unique sense of self was interesting to explore. She’s also wickedly funny, often without meaning to be. The story begins with Artemisia saying, “I’m going to have to shorten his willie.”
Tons. I’ve been an avid reader since I first cracked the phonetic code. Of course, I love Jo Beverley and Madeline Hunter, Kleypas and Quinn, but I also adore Mark Twain and T.H. White, Shakespeare and Wilbur Smith. My favorite book of all time is MM Kaye’s THE FAR PAVILIONS. It’s a sweeping epic with an aching love story wrapped in a wonderful adventure.
What do we have to look forward next? PLEASURING THE PIRATE sails into bookstores in August, just in time to be the perfect beach read! Gabriel Drake has earned a pardon for his crimes on the high seas, but his homecoming is not what he expected. His father and older brother are both dead, leaving him the title and 5 orphaned nieces. Jacquelyn Wren, chatelaine of Dragon Caern, will dare anything to protect the children, even a prodigal pirate. But Jacquelyn forgot one very important thing. What a pirate wants, a pirate takes. Readers can visit my website at http://www.emilybryan.com/ for a sneak peek of PIRATE. Right now, I’m working on VEXING THE VISCOUNT, a spring 2009 release from Leisure Books.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The Long Road Home
Two time Golden Heart Finalist for Short Contemporary Romance
The Wild Rose Press
Travel across the country with her old lover, John McDonnell--and his girlfriend? Impossible. But Clarisse Madison is desperate. Terrified of flying and unable to drive long stretches because of a knee surgery, she sees no other way to get from New York to San Diego and her sister ’s wedding.
Three years ago, a plane crash disfigured her leg and destroyed her career as a model. Self-esteem crushed and fearful of rejection, Clarisse severed her relationship with John. Now, forced to travel across the country with him and his girlfriend, Vivian, she is determined to hide her disfigurement. Driving through state after state and mile after mile, though, she begins to fall in love all over again. But can anything come of it? Can she overcome her pride for the sake of love?
Monday, April 21, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Susan Lyons. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy. Please grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.
Rina and Giancarlo challenge each other to do some serious self-examination – and to grow in ways neither of them had ever believed possible.
That makes it sound like a pretty serious book, doesn’t it? Actually, the tone is fairly light, and it’s sexy, sensual and fun. The series is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, which is an erotic romance line. So, there’s some pretty hot sex, as well as a developing romance with a happy ending, character growth for both Rina and Giancarlo, and lots of girlfriend bonding.
She’s on Top is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
She’s on Top is a good title too, because the book is about her overcoming her body image issues and learning that her full-figured body is actually beautiful. It’s also about her finding an incredibly gorgeous, sexy, romantic man who thinks she’s the absolutely perfect woman. So, in a number of ways, she comes out on top.
Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?
Most of the research was about music. Rina is a clarinetist and she’s auditioning for a symphony orchestra, so I talked to some musician friends. Giancarlo is a music video director, and that’s something I researched mainly from books and on the internet. I also did some research into Jewish traditions because Rina was raised by Jewish parents and her neighbor and good friend is Jewish.
What character did you like writing about the most, and why?
It was great fun to write Rina. She’d already played a significant role in the first three books in the series, so I already knew her quite well. I was just itching to tell her story, and enjoyed being able to explore her personality and life in more depth. She embodies so many women’s doubts about their own physical attractiveness, and I loved writing her character arc.
Also, one of my favorite things to write in all of the books has been the girlfriend scenes, where they get together over lunch or dinner and – well – kind of play therapist for each other. To play off the name of your blog, getting together with three girlfriends and a bottle of wine to dissect each other’s love lives is definitely cheaper than therapy! (Gotta agree with that) KW. Not to mention way more fun – for the characters and for the author as well!
If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?
For Giancarlo, I think of Josh Groban. I don’t think he’s Italian but he has that lovely dark Mediterranean kind of masculinity. Shiny, wavy hair, sensual features. And he has the same musical sensibility as Giancarlo.
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
What do we have to look forward next?
I’ll have a novella in a Christmas anthology from Kensington Aphrodisia. My title is “Unwrap Me” – and I believe they’re keeping the title and that the anthology will also be called Unwrap Me. My story is about a woman who hates Christmas – until her girlfriend gives her a very special Secret Santa gift: a hot firefighter!
To celebrate her book release, She’s on Top, she'd love to give away a copy. So pop over to her website at http://www.susanlyons.ca and enter her monthly contest – and say you came from Much Cheaper Than Therapy. She’ll draw a winner on Saturday. She will be checking in today and I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...
With degrees in psychology and law, what could I possibly do with my life but turn to writing romance? It’s way more fun. I write sexy contemporaries for Kensington Aphrodisia and I’m delighted to say that the first two of my Awesome Foursome books have won 5 first places in contests. Reviewers have said kind things such as: “…a heartwarming romance topped with steaming hot erotica”; “hot steamy sex, best girlfriend bonding, and a strong romantic conflict in a compelling story”; “wickedly hot sex and a story line that grabs you and doesn't let go until the last word”; “pure, steamy seduction from start to finish!” I also write sweet short romance for The Wild Rose Press, and have stories in the “Dreams & Desires” anthologies from Freya’s Bower (charity anthologies benefiting women’s shelters). I live in Vancouver, BC, where the Foursome books are set.
Check out author’s website at http://www.susanlyons.ca/ for excerpts, trailers, behind-the-scenes writing process notes, discussion questions, monthly contest, newsletter, give-aways and lots of other good stuff.
Buy She’s on Top at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Shes-Top-Susan-Lyons/dp/075821703X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202360285&sr=8-1) and other online bookstores as well as your friendly neighborhood bricks-and-mortar store.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Follow this link to see the process on Better TV.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Here are a few things I came away with from Desert Dreams.
1) Paranormals and Inspirationals are still the trend.
2) Editors and agents disagreed on query letters. Agents primarily read them to get a feel for the book and the author. Editors went straight for the manuscript.
3) Both editors and agents agreed that the first 10 pages are key. If you don’t hook them then, you’ll get a rejection letter. However, some were more willing to read past those key pages if something intrigued them then others. So make that beginning shine.
4) Editors and agents are looking for a reason to reject you. So don’t give them one. Learn what they want, learn how to spell their name correctly, and always make sure that you send them your best work. Face it. Signing you means work and a relationship for a few years while your project is in the works.
5) Editors and agents want to see that manuscript so submit, submit submit.
All in all, I had a very successful weekend. Now I’m practicing what I learned before I send out that requested manuscript. Because this industry is small and competitive, give your self the advantage. Good luck.
Friday, April 11, 2008
A few weeks ago a friend asked me why her hero needed a fatal flaw. Wouldn't an ordinary flaw be good enough?
And I realized that it IS misleading to call these flaws fatal...because how often, at least in a happy-ending book, does the hero wind up dead?
(Okay, we won't count the gorgeous vampires.)
The fact is, virtually everyone -- in fiction as well as in real life -- is doing the best they can with what they’ve got.
A serial killer? Yep. A cheating spouse? Yep. A compulsive spender? Yep.
As writers, we can make those people every bit as easy to understand as the tax-paying, lawn-mowing, child-loving characters. (Maybe they’re one and the same.)
That doesn’t surprise anyone who knows that even the darkest villains have some plausible motivation for whatever they do.
(If you just crossed your legs, you had a reason: your body was uncomfortable in the old position. If you move to Antarctica, you have a reason: maybe you got a job there, or someone you love got a job there and you’d rather be with this person in Antarctica than without them somewhere else. We don’t always think about our reasons for whatever we do, but no matter what we do, there’s a reason.)
So every character, just like every real-life person, is doing whatever they think will work best for them at this point in their life. Holing up in an ivory tower. Partying all night. Nurturing everyone they can get their hands on. Worrying about terrorism. Everyone picks what seems like the best way of getting along in the world.
And what they pick is a clue to their personality type. Which, again, is something that EVERYONE has.
We don’t care much about the cabbie who drives our hero to the train station, so that cabbie doesn’t need any special personality type or motivation...nor any fatal flaws. He doesn't need to overcome any problems in his life or his personality.
But every major character has to overcome something in order to evolve during the course of the book. And that’s why we writers need to know our characters’ fatal flaws.
FINDING A FATAL FLAW
It’s handy that enneagram theorists have already identified a flaw for each of the nine personality types. "Ennea" (ANY-uh) is the Greek word for nine, and enneagrams are handy for counselors and personnel managers who want to understand the people they're dealing with. Which makes them handy for writers as well!
Of course each type has its own special strengths as well as its own particular weakness. And our characters -- just like all of us -- manage to overcome their flaws most of the time.
But stress can bring out the worst in people.
We already know that stress, or conflict, is what keeps a story interesting. So our characters are going to come up against situations that reveal the worst of their flaws...which will give them the opportunity for a triumphant change.
No matter which type they are.
Each type's name gives a clue to their strength, and their flaw is what happens when that strength is taken to extremes:
Perfectionist One: Anger when they (or anything else) isn't perfect
Nurturer Two: Pride in being needed by everyone around them
Achiever Three: Deception to keep up their outstanding facade
Romantic Four: Envy because other's lives seem MORE glorious
Observer Five: Avarice for more privacy and greater knowledge
Skeptic Six: Fear of possible danger to their loved ones (or self)
Adventurer Seven: Gluttony for every possible new experience
Leader Eight: Lust for power, to be in control of their surroundings
Peacemaker Nine: Sloth, keeping life comfortable and decision-free
See the possibilities? That's only the beginning!
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN...
I've talked enough, here, but if there's anything you'd like to know about your characters or their types -- or the types of anyone else in your life -- I'll be checking back for questions all day.
Now she writes about finding people's best traits, and balancing those with traits that'll create conflict...not only BETWEEN credible characters, but also WITHIN them. Today she'll share techniques for creating your hero's (or any other character's) fatal flaw, and you can find out more in June when she teaches a month-long class at www.rwamysterysuspense.org/coffin.html .
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Tina LaVon was there selling her award winning book, Liquid Hyposis along with Katherine Kennedy. The book signing was a wonderful success. I hope next year I'll be behind the table signing my book, The Long Road Home.
I had a chance to meet C.J. Lyons and visit her also at the Poisoned Pen. She has her new book out and we were lucky enough for her to come visit and post an interview.
Kim also signed her wonderfully suspenseful book, Web of Deceit. I wouldn't be surprised if she sold out.
If you are ever in Phoenix, come visit the authors at the next Desert Dreams Conference. You'll leave inspired, and I bet, with a bag full of books.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
The Novel Writers Toolkit by Bob Mayer
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. It’s
a bit dry. You may want to wait until you’ve been writing
a year or two before tackling this one.
Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon (This is a
must have. If an editor, agent, or contest judge doesn’t like
your hero or heroine, it could be because you didn’t give your character the
proper motivation. This book will help.)
Creating Characters by Dwight Swain
Believable Characters: Creating with Enneagrams by
Laurie Schnebly (Trivia fact: Sedona, AZ was named after
45 Master Characters, Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
The Secret Universe of Names by Roy Reinson. This book
lists character traits according to the characters’ names. I
love this book!
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman will help with
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and
Friday, April 4, 2008
I understand you have a new release out called A KISS TO REMEMBER. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
KISS TO REMEMBER is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?
If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
What do we have to look forward next?
My next book after A KISS TO REMEMBER in April is another Emmett’s Mill story entitled, AN IMPERFECT MATCH, which comes out in September. This is the story of Dean Halvorsen and Annabelle Nichols. For those who are following the series, readers will remember first meeting Dean in RETURN TO EMMETT’S MILL when his younger brother Josh hooks up with Nora’s sister, Natasha. I confess, Dean and Annabelle’s story came together so easily and it was a delight to write. I actually came in a full month ahead of my deadline I was writing so quickly. I do love that story, too. Annabelle is a wonderful heroine. And my editor said Dean was the kind of hero that made her feel warm and fuzzy. Yum!
To celebrate her book release, Kimberly is offering a free book from her backlist either FATHER MATERIAL or RETURN TO EMMETT’S MILL to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...
Bio: An avid reader since before she can remember, Kimberly Van Meter started her writing career at the age of 16 when she finished her first novel, typing late nights and early mornings, on her mother’s old portable typewriter.
A journalist (who during college swore she’d never write news), Kimberly has worked for both daily and weekly newspapers, covering multiple beats including education, health and crime, but she always dreamed of writing novels and someday saying goodbye to her nonfiction roots.
Born and raised in scenic Mariposa, CA, Kimberly knows a thing or two about small towns—preferring the quiet, rural atmosphere to the hustle and bustle of a busy city anyday—but she and her husband make their home in Oakdale, which represents a compromise between the two worlds.
Kimberly and her husband, John, met and fell in love while filming a college production. He was the camera operator and she, the lead actress. Her husband often jokes that he fell in love with his wife through the lens of a camera. A year later they were married and have been together ever since.
In addition to writing, reading, and drinking hot chocolate by the windowsill when it rains, Kimberly enjoys photography and is the resident photographer for every family event, including weddings and new babies. The photographs gracing the walls of their home are comprised almost entirely of shots Kimberly has captured, whether on the job or just playing around with the camera.
Check out author’s website at http://www.kimberlyvanmeter.com/
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Here are the poll results for your favorite jelly bean.
Stay tuned for our next poll...
And to celebrate, I’m having the first ‘magical jewel’ contest for DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT. Here’s the details:
FIRST 'Magical Jewel' contest for DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT
DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT is the second novel in the RELICS OF MERLIN series. Merlin used thirteen different jewels as a focus for thirteen mysterious spells, and the 'magical jewel' in DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT is a garnet. For this first contest, the prize is a 13 carat garnet necklace. (Go to: http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/contest.html for a photo and description of this 'magical' jewel.)
This contest is all about your friends. Just send your friend an email telling them about the RELICS OF MERLIN series (ENCHANTING THE LADY or DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT), and forward me a copy of that email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will keep your friend's email address confidential, but I do need to verify that it's a valid email address.
How many times can you enter? That depends on how many friends you have.:} Please though, no spamming. You will be disqualified.
A winner will be randomly chosen using RandomNumber.Org, from all the entries. Contest ends May 31, 2008. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or older to enter. No prize substitution permitted. This contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.
Another exciting bit of news is that ENCHANTING THE LADY got a wonderful review from the Chicago Tribune! It’s an honor just to be mentioned, but the reviewer also gave me a good review. He (yes, real men read romances ;}) said:
"Enchanting the Lady," the first book in Kathryne Kennedy's planned historical paranormal series, will cast its own spell over readers with its fabulously imaginative setting and charmingly original characters.
They also posted the column on their website, so if you want to read the whole review it’s here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/booksmags/chi-romancebw15mar15,1,6372309.story
And I’ll leave you with two more wonderfully written reviews:
My very best wishes,