Sunday, December 28, 2008

Those Dreaded Resolutions





You want the good news or the bad news?


Let's start with the good news. 2009 is just around the corner.

With the new year comes the promise of new beginnings.



The bad news? New Years Day also brings those dreaded New Years resolutions.


I'll start:

*Write more – That won’t be hard. I took 4 months off due to burn out.
*Drink less caffeine – Okay, I’ll consider it. LOL
*Lose more weight – That’s a definite. Daughter is graduating in May and that means a herd of relatives with cameras.


The problem with resolutions, aside from breaking them on Day 2, is we begin the year with negative thoughts. “I need to stop drinking 145 cappacinos a day because I’m jumping around like that battery bunny.” If you’re not careful, you’ll start the year on a downward spiral. “If I hadn’t eaten 450 Dingy Dongs a day for 88 years, I wouldn’t need to lose weight. How could I have been such a fool? Why didn’t I stop after 250?” Soon you’re going way down the Could’ve-Should’ve-Would’ve road. "Why didn’t I marry Billy Joe Campbell Lewis Thompson? He owns a Dairy King and a Piggly Diggly."

All right. I’m obviously having fun, but there is a point here. If you want to make those resolutions, do it with positive thoughts. Don’t beat yourself up.


I recently discovered this quote on a school bulletin and it quickly became my favorite.

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” Marcus Aurelius

I plan to keep my eyes focused on the road ahead and not on the rearview mirror.
I hope you'll join me.
Happy New Years!
Tina LaVon








Friday, December 26, 2008

Building The Fiction Pitch

January 2 - 30, 2009

"Building the Fiction Pitch, Step by Step"

Instructor: Janet Wellington

You've completed the manuscript of a story you love, and now all it needs is
a home. Time for the next step: marketing your story to an agent and/or
editor at a writing conference you've just decided to attend. The thing is,
you might be the most talented writer on the planet -- but if you can't
describe your story in an exciting but succinct way during a pitching
opportunity or appointment, you could be in real trouble.

By taking this course you'll learn:

* What to do when preparing to pitch

* Anatomy of a pitch; different lengths you'll need and why

* Techniques to help you analyze your story

* The biggest mistake writers make in pitching their stories

* How to craft the opening for your pitch

* The top benefit of an editor/agent appointment at conferences

* How to design a pitch for individual and group appointments

* What to say -- and not say -- if they want more

Janet Wellington is an award-winning author, writing teacher, and
line-editor for both published and not-yet-published writers. She started
learning the art of pitching stories in 1995 when she attended her first
Romance Writers of America national conference, and hasn't stopped since!
She has presented workshops on the art of pitching both regionally and
nationally, and now teaches online. Read more about her at:
www.janetwellington.com.

For more information or to register for the "Building the Fiction Pitch,
Step by Step" course, go to:

http://www.writeruniv.com/

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Recommended Read - Save The Cat

Okay, this is a book that I stumbled across by accident while I was on the net when I should have been writing. I was amazed I hadn't heard about it, but then I'm not focused on screen plays as I am with writing fiction. But boy, this book is packed full of things for a fiction writer. Period.

Blake Snyder goes into detail on the 10 different genres, your hero of the story and what makes him passive instead of active, story boarding and various other areas. I actually love his technique on doing index cards for story boarding. He also goes into great detail on the 'high concept' catch phrase that seems to be everywhere today.

If you're looking for new techniques and a fresh angle on the writing craft, I highly recommend this book. Mr. Snyder also has his own web page.











Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Firebrand Literary Agency Opportunity

Firebrand Literary Agency is taking a holiday from query letters and has

invited you to join them! As a gift for the holidays, they've decided to

skip the query stage by announcing their first annual Firebrand Query

Holiday -- to support authors who want to spend their time and energy

perfecting their manuscripts and not just polishing their sales skills.

They want to read your first chapter!

Beginning on Dec 15 and ending on Jan 15 they will be accepting sample

chapters via a unique email address: queryholiday@gmail.com .

They pledge to review all samples by the end of January, and will respond to

those that we are interested in no later than Feb. 1.

For more information go to the Firebrand website at:

http://www.firebrandliterary.com/query-holiday

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Relax and Remember


This week I’ve heard the desperation in the voices of coworkers feeling pressured by all that needs to be done before planes leave and relatives arrive.

This is the perfect time to remember a familiar quote:

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.”
Anonymous


If we keep rushing about, our minds solely focused on cleaning, shopping, wrapping, and cooking, those breathtaking moments will slip by without our notice.

Look into the faces of your children as they make gingerbread houses
or write their letters to Santa.

Watch your family members eye the gifts they hold with anticipation on their faces.

When you stand under the mistletoe reflect on all of the reasons
why that is the person you want to kiss more than anyone else in the world.

Open your eyes, settle your nerves, and make the end of 2008
the most memorable time of the year.


Have a joyous holiday!
Tina LaVon

Friday, December 19, 2008

Interview with Donna Hatch

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

I understand you have a new release out called The Stranger She Married. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book

Alicia must marry quickly to save her family. Her choices narrow to either a masked cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret. But a murderer is systematically killing everyone in her family and may strike yet again before she learns to love the Stranger She Married.

The Stranger She Married is book 1 of a familial series called "Rogue Hearts." There are four books planned with a possibility of there being six. Each is a stand alone book you can read without having to read the others.

The Stranger She Married is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I wish I had a great story for you, but I'd been agonizing over a title for a few days, brainstorming and not liking any of the ones I'd come up with, and one day as I was folding the laundry (glamorous activity, I know) it just popped into my head. I love the forced/arranged marriage scenario, so I wanted a title that suggested that for others who do, too.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love to read it and I love all the movies made in that era. I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, but I must admit, until I started doing the research, I wasn't certain of the differences between Regency and Victorian, besides the clothes. Pretty lame, huh? But I went with Regency because it's one of those eras that was fleeting, and unique in many ways and because it sorta has it's own genre. There are "Medievals" and "Regencies," but most of the other time periods are lumped into "Historical." However, I must confess that I mostly I do it for the men. They were an amazing blend of uber-sophisticated gentlemen who could dance and observe social nuances, and were also incredibly masculine. There are few things as manly as a man riding horseback, or fencing, or about to duel for his honor or for the honor of his lady love. Sigh.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I love to look at the other story - the way it would have been told if this book had been about a secondary or walk-on character instead. I wonder about them, their story, their background, their motivation. It basically started as a "what if?" What if the phantom in Phantom of the Opera had been a good guy instead of a murderer? What if the heroine fell in love with him instead of the obvious handsome guy? Plus I love the love triangles, and mystery and a bit of adventure. The finished product is very, very different than Phantom, but that's sorta what inspired it.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

I refer to Austen a lot because she lived in that era. There are other great books out there, but my best resource is a Regency/Georgian writer's group called Beau Monde. They are amazing and are great about recommending resource books. Many of them are so knowledgeable that they can just answer most questions.

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


Wow, that's like asking a mother who her favorite child is! Of course I loved the main characters, even to the point of dreaming about them. A lot of heroes get compared to Cole. I also had lots of fun with the secondary characters. I have a great quirky, snarky aunt. I also have a very cheeky, opinionated valet that I just might have to give his own story. I guess if I have to chose one, it'd be Cole.

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?

To start with, my characters develop as the story does, sort of a seat-of-the-pants kind of thing. Then after I've gotten several chapters written, I go back and interview them or personality-type them to help fill them in and give them more depth. I have a hard time with my men because I always make them too perfect, so then I have to go back and give them something to make them more human, plus give them their fatal flaw, which almost causes me bodily pain.

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

I love their formality of speech and dress. I got pretty deeply involved with all the different kinds of carriages and ended up putting a whole research page in my website to help other people keep it straight. There were almost as many difference types of carriages as we have cars.

One thing that I found interesting is that there is a lot of preconceived notions out there as far as what is modern and what is correct for the period. For example, they had tennis shoes - not rubber soled with a Nike swish, but they had special shoes that helped them keep from slipping that they wore when they played tennis; a sport, I might add, that's been around since King Henry VIII! Other things: some people called their father "Dad," including the poet Byron, they called a carriage a "car," and they called men who did mathematical calculations "calculators." So a man could say, "Dad, I'm taking the car as soon as I'm done with the calculator." But readers would think I was crazy and knew nothing about my time period, so I don't.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Many. Some of my favorites are Lynn Kurland, Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Ashley, Candice Hern, to name a few.

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

It's hard to tell which one has been most effective. However, I recently got a piece of fan mail from someone who'd seen my signature line which has the name of my book underneath it and the words, "A Regency Romance" next to it, plus my author website and publisher website. She likes Regencies, so she went and bought it. She said it was her first ever experience with an e-book.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have a Regency novella coming out in April of 2009, plus my current title will also be out in paperback in April. Book two of my Rogue Hearts Series, The Guise of a Gentleman is in the final edit stage and I hope it will be out by the end of 2009.

Thanks, Donna!

To celebrate her book release, Donna Hatch is offering a free e-book of The Stranger She Married 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...(Please make sure we have away to contact you if you win)

Bio.

Donna has had a passion for writing since the age of 8 when she wrote her first short story. During her sophomore year in high school, she wrote her first full-length novel, a science fiction romance. She wrote her second novel during her senior year, a fantasy romance. Needless to say, English and Creative Writing were always her favorite subjects. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband) she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession, with varying degrees of success, although she writes most often late at night instead of sleeping. A native of Arizona, she is currently a member of Desert Rose RWA and is a member of Beau Monde, a Regency Chapter of RWA. She is the winner of two RWA Chapter contests and has finaled in several others. And yes, all of her heroes are patterned after her husband of 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.

Check out author's website at www.donnahatch.com

Buy http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=176_138&products_id=1001

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Real Meaning of Christmas by Susan Meier

There are 11 children in my family. Seven girls. Four boys. All of my sisters are married, three of my brothers are married, and several of my nieces and nephews are married and have children. There are 63 people in my "immediate" family.

We have a Christmas tradition in our family of a cookie exchange. The deal is that you state your intention to be part of the exchange then Tammy (my youngest sister) sends us an email letting us know how many people are participating. This year there are 12. That means each of us will pick a type of cookie and make 12 dozen of that one kind. (I'm the peanut butter blossom girl.) Then December 20, we bring all our cookies to my mom's and 'exchange' them for one dozen of everybody else's.

Everybody involved ends up with 12 dozen different kinds of cookies for company but everybody also only has to bake one kind.

It's probably my favorite family tradition. And we've got some whoppers.

With 63 people in the immediate family, we have enough people (especially kids) to have our own personal Easter egg hunt. We have a sort of unofficial competition to see who can get my mother the best gift for her birthday. Every Wednesday morning in the summer, one of us hosts "breakfast" for the family members lucky enough not to have a real job -- or who have summers off because of working for a school district. My sister Laura is usually the winner for favorite breakfast. She makes waffles with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

In October the kids dress up and take part in a Halloween parade. This year they were the Flintstones, complete with PVC pipe Flintmobile. In a way, they were their own little float.

Every Friday after Thanksgiving, rather than battle shoppers, my mother hosts the cookie painting party for her grandkids. She bakes sugar cookies and makes colorful icing and the kids paint the cookies with the icing. They go on a Christmas tree in the family room with bubble gum and candy canes.

There are enough of us that if every 'family' within the family chips in $50 we can buy my mother a major appliance for Christmas.

In a lot of ways we sound like a small town, but really we're just family. We like to be entertained -- maybe too much -- and we enjoy each other's company. We were taught to share, to be generous, to include everybody in every baseball game, football game and/or card game we played and those lessons carried over into adulthood.

I sometimes look at my family and our traditions and wonder. . . Are we a tad crazy? A little too in love with entertainment and stimulation. . .Or is this what life’s really all about? Sharing your toys, including everybody in the game, and baking enough cookies that everybody gets a dozen.

Merry Christmas. This year, share your toys, include everybody in the game and bake an extra dozen cookie to give to someone in your town, your church, or at your office, who might not get a cookie this year.

Susan Meier


Susan Meier
HER BABY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS, Harlequin Romance, 12/08 AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON
MAID IN MONTANA, Harlequin Romance, 6/09
THE SWEETEST CHRISTMAS WISH, Harlequin Romance 12/09

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Don't Worry. Be Happy." Final Week




I hope you are feeling the holiday spirit taking hold.

These past few weeks I have shared my belief that staying in a happy state of mind is important not only for your life, but also for those you love, and for your creative energy.

This is the final week I’m going to share what I have done to remain in a happy state.
If I don’t get ready for Christmas, my loved ones won’t be happy with me.


This week was all about letting your hair down with friends. Okay, it was about ME letting MY hair down. Sometimes naughty Tina needs to come out and play.


This was party week. There are some social gatherings where I must behave myself while I network. I am so thankful The Valley of The Sun RWA party was not one of those occasions. When I want to let loose and laugh I sit with my sister, my critique partner, and a few writing friends who will say anything and often do. The conversation went from strange to dirty in record time. Of course, I brought the Studs and Spurs calendar for the gift exchange. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like pictures of bare-chested men. Ho Ho Ho We noticed there are more husbands attending this party every year. I get a kick out of the way they first roll their eyes at us, then get interested in the conversation, and soon are joining in – sometimes from across the room.

If you are creeping up in years like I am, you'll notice you spend more time walking down memory lane. This past week was no exception. I meet with my good friend and critique partner, Deborah, every Monday. After discussing our manuscripts, we girl talk. This past week we reminisced about old flames. I couldn’t help, but smile. Some of my most embarrassing moments involved my high school boyfriend. He was intelligent, mature, and patient. I was na├»ve and often made stupid remarks. I don’t know how that poor guy put up with me for as long as he did. I would have dumped me after the first date. LOL I shared my most embarrassing stories with Deborah and soon we were laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. It’s funny how high school and college seem like yesterday.

Cassie Ryan and her husband both have December birthdays, so they throw a joint party every year. Of course, the conversation soon took over where it left off at the VOS party.
We decided men really should read romance novels – at least the good parts. LOL

I have to admit, at one moment during the week a sad thought tried to take hold. I played my favorite songs and danced it off. When Deborah is driving, she’ll say, “Control, Alt, Delete,” to shake off those thoughts. I’ll have to give that a try, too.

I hope you had a great week and remember to stay happy all year long!

Tina LaVon

Friday, December 12, 2008

Interview with Linda Andrews

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

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

The Christmas Village is about Cade Dugan and Egypt Starr unlikely romance. Cade is an artist who lives in the magical town of Holly. To spread the Christmas spirit, he crafted villages based on his hometown and sells them. Since most towns have people, he started basing his figurines on the townsfolk, except they were paired with people he created, or so he thought, from his imagination. Soon the townsfolk met a person who looked exactly like the figurine and Cade got a reputation as being something of a matchmaker. To downplay his reputation, he crafted his dream woman and suddenly the town is full of women just itching to be his Ms Right. Poor Egypt’s car breaks down right outside of Holly and she’s dressed just like the others. Now Cade has to decide if she really is his dream woman or not.

The Christmas Village is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Since Holly is enchanted and kind of an outpost of the North Pole, I thought the title was appropriate. It doesn’t hurt that the hero does create those village scenes often seen at Christmas time and the town is named Holly.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love romance and have been reading it since I was a teenager. Combine that with something magic and well… how could you lose. Of course, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and I’ve been known to break out my Holiday CDs in June. Writing The Christmas Village was truly a labor of love.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I collect the Department 56 villages and figurines. My collection grew when my children were very small. Being curious kids, they touched and broke a lot of things. But the figurines of the Department 56 villages were cast metal. Ha. Finally something my kids couldn’t break. While that proved not to be true, soldering some of the pieces back together made me think of the artist who designed the pieces and the rest, they say, is history.

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

Oddly enough, I don’t do a lot of research on my stories. I guess watching all those paranormal shows like Ghost Hunters, Past Life Investigations and Psychic Investigations helps. Then again, I’ve lived in a haunted house, so ghostly activity is nothing new. For the Christmas Village I used a lot of the classic holiday movies to bring out the holiday spirit. But, hey, who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas.

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

I loved writing about Cade the most. Imagine the fun of an alpha hero finding himself hunted by a bunch of marriage minded women in a small town where everything he did or said would be reported back to his parents, not to mention fodder for his four brothers.

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

I’ve tried on numerous occasions to interview my characters, but the truth is, they arrive in my head fully formed and ready to go. Their actions and transformations come as a complete surprise to me.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I’m not so much inspired by an author as by the story they tell. Lots of time, I read book or watched a movie and thought, if only I could do that. Make people laugh or cry or root for the underdog... That’s my goal with every book.

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

It may sound corny but the best promotion is writing a good book. By doing so, I’ve gotten a number of top reviews and award nominations all of which have resulted in better sales and a growing number of fans.

What do we have to look forward next?


Next is the sequel to my award nominated fantasy romance A Knight’s Wish. Molly and Lance’s story has magic, good versus evil and of course, a love story.

Thanks, Linda!

Thank you, Kim. It’s been fun chatting with you.

To celebrate her book release, Linda is offering a free ebook of The Christmas Village 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.
Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal."

All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house?

Check out author’s website at www.lindaandrews.net Buy The Christmas Village at http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/eBook19206.htm

--

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's a Holiday Party


The authors over at Sweeter Romantic Notions are having a Christmas party on December 12th from 2pm to 8 pm est. Stop on by. Yours truly Kim is offering up a free e-book of When Johnny Comes Home.   Go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SweeterRomanticNotions


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Contest for ENCHANTING THE BEAST

FIRST 'Magical' Jewel contest for ENCHANTING THE BEAST

ENCHANTING THE BEAST is the third novel in the RELICS OF MERLIN series. Merlin used thirteen different jewels as a focus for thirteen mysterious spells, and the 'magical' jewel in ENCHANTING THE BEAST is a blue topaz. For this first contest, the prize is a 5.25 carat London blue topaz necklace. (See http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/contest.html for a photo and description of this 'magical' jewelry.)

This contest is all about spreading the word about the RELICS OF MERLIN series. To enter, just post the following blurb anywhere on the Internet (Chatrooms, Forums, Blogs, Myspace, Etc.) Please, no innappropriate sites, and the blurb cannot already be mentioned on that site. If you don't own the site, please verify that it's okay with the site owner to post the blurb.

BLURB: HAVE YOU BEEN ENCHANTED?
http://www.KathryneKennedy.com

Email your entry with ETB1 CONTEST in the subject line to: kathryne_kennedy@yahoo.com
A winner will be randomly chosen from those with a verifiable link. Entering the contest automatically signs you up for the author's newsletter. Your information will be kept confidential. Contest ends February 28, 2009. 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.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Don't Worry. Be Happy." Week Two




Last week, I shared my belief that, despite the economy, it’s important to remain in a happy state of mind. We affect the lives of everyone around us, so spread joy and cheer!
Like they say, “Smile and the world smiles with you.”

So how, when you are feeling the crunch in your wallet, do you keep yourself in a grateful, cheerful state of mind?

In “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.” Week One, I listed what I had been doing to remain in a happy state. Here is what I did this past week.

* I listened to CDs. If this week had a theme, it would be Elvis. I had never been a fan, but I when I spotted The Very Best of Love I suddenly missed his voice. It must be middle age attacking my brain cells because I finally caught on to why those women were so in to him. Aside from the dreamy voice, he had very kissable lips and piercing eyes. I wanted to sing “It’s Now or Never” right there in the store. Luckily, I didn’t or I would have been arrested for disturbing the peace. This girl cannot carry a tune. At least my daughter’s cat didn’t run away when I sang to him, while I enjoyed another fantastic AZ winter night on the back porch. Although, I think the guy in the apartment across the street closed his door. He’s no fun. LOL I did discover it’s hard to get annoyed paying bills when you’re dancing and singing to “Burning Love.”

* I put up my Christmas tree. Continuing with the Elvis theme, I turned off all of the lights in my home except for those on the tree, then curled up on the couch and listened to the Elvis Christmas CD. They have it at every discount store right now. After long days at work, it’s nice to relax and get into the holiday spirit.

* I admired the evening sky. I do this every day, but this week was a real treat. Venus and Jupiter aligned with the moon. It won’t happen again anytime soon, so it felt like I was experiencing something magical. Not too long ago, I saw the International Space Station pass overhead. It was my first time witnessing that event. I am so glad, in both cases, other people pointed these out to me. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss either. It was like receiving a special gift. (Okay, I am sentimental and corny these days. I admit it.) Speaking of receiving gifts, last week, I posted that I love sunsets and jets. A day or two later, I walked out onto the porch in time to see the jets flying to Luke AFB with a spectacular AZ sunset in the background. It was unforgettable!

*I spent “quality time” with my daughter. I told her I love her and I’m proud of her. I don’t think we can say that enough to our children. This weekend, we set aside a day to go Christmas shopping together. When she was young, I was so busy trying to take care of all of my responsibilities, I didn't take enough time to just sit back and enjoy the moment. Now, I treasure every second I have with her. Make sure you take time out of your busy schedule to treasure the time you have with your children. They really do grow up fast.


Okay, that was my week. What did you do to stay in a happy state of mind?

Tina LaVon

Friday, December 5, 2008

Interview with Cynthia Eden

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

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

Yes, thanks for asking! MIDNIGHT SINS is the second book in my paranormal “Midnight” trilogy for Kensington Brava. My hero, Detective Todd Brooks, is on the hunt for a killer. The man never expects to fall for his chief suspect—and he sure doesn’t expect the woman to be a succubus!

MIDNIGHT SINS is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Well, my editor and I wanted “Midnight” in the title for the book, and since my heroine Cara is a succubus (and knows well about sin), the title just seemed to be the perfect fit.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love paranormals. Always have. Give me vampires, shifters, demons—sure, they can be scary, but they can also be fun! Anything is possible with paranormals.

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

I’m both. Whether I plot everything out in advance of if I pants, well, that depends on the story. For some stories, I outline all the way—I know exactly what will happen with the stories, but, for others, I just sit back and see where the characters will take me.

For this book, I was a pantser. I let Todd and Cara show me the way—and I had a great time following their lead.

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

I did a lot of research for this one. Police procedural research and demon research. Let me just say, when you Google “succubus” you sure get a lot of interesting links. My favorite research books are POLICE PROCEDURAL and SCENE OF THE CRIME (they’re part of the “Howdunit Series” and very, very helpful).

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Both of the main characters from this story appeared in my first Midnight book, HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT. In that book, Todd had no idea that supernaturals walked right beside humans. I thought it was time the man had a wake-up call, and I sent Cara to wake him. ☺

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

I loved writing about Todd. He’s such a normal guy—and in way over his head. He has to fight to understand that the world he knew never actually existed—and he has to learn to accept the fact that the woman he wants is a demon. A very powerful demon. He’s an ordinary guy, struggling with extraordinary circumstances and I really enjoyed writing about his struggle.

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

I write out character descriptions before I begin a story. I start with the physical aspects, then work to the emotional level. I try to figure out the internal and external conflict for my hero and heroine. They’ve got pasts—so what are they? Then, when I have some general ideas down, I begin my writing. Sometimes, my characters change as I write, and that’s okay—change can be very good.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

So many authors have inspired me. So many. When I was in high school, I loved Edgar Allen Poe’s work. (Like I said before, I do love the supernatural.) But there are also a lot of romance authors who have inspired me. I really enjoy the work of Christine Feehan, Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz—these ladies can create such strong characters and engrossing plots. Their talent definitely inspires me.

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

I have no idea. Seriously. I’ve tried many things. Advertisements. Mailings. Contests. Trailers. Blog tours. I don’t know what works. I just try to make as many connections with readers as I can. So I’m always trying to get my books out there—whether it is participating on websites, attending conferences or chats—I just try to make contact with readers.  

What do we have to look forward next?

In April, Kensington Brava will release another of my single-titles. IMMORTAL DANGER is the story of an ex-cop turned vampire…and her dragon shifter hero. I wanted to write a dragon story for years, and this was my chance! This is a very dark paranormal, and one of my favorite books to date.

Thanks, Cynthia!

Thank you! I had a great time answering the interview questions! ☺

To celebrate her book release, Cynthia Eden is offering a free autographed copy of Midnight Sins 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.
Cynthia Eden writes sexy tales of paranormal suspense. Her publishers include Kensington Brava, Red Sage, ImaJinn, and Avon Red. A former history teacher, Cynthia now spends her days writing about vampires, demons, and shifters.

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

Buy
http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Sins-Cynthia-Eden/dp/0758226047/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227246262&sr=8-2 _

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How's Your Spelling? Take the Test

I stumbled across a test on some of the most common spelling mistakes, and thought being a writer, I shouldn't have any problem. Well, I didn't get a perfect score. Ugh. 85%

Try it out and find how good or bad you are! It will be interesting to see how readers and writers do.




Wednesday, December 3, 2008

FREE Holiday Gift Guide

Women on Writing has done a fabulous job for December. They've compiled and created The Holiday Gift Guide, a FREE downloadable guide to showcase books for those of you who like to buy them online. In creating the guide, WOW! staff members and readers picked their favorite books of the year and compiled them into one portable document that you can take anywhere and share with your friends.

They have something for everyone on your list! Whether you're looking for a cookbook or need to find the perfect picture book, we have a few choice suggestions for you. We also have other items like tees for readers and writers, gadgets, and other writer-friendly products.

The guide is a feast for the eyes! Every page has its own flavor and contains product descriptions and clickable links you can use right away. Each product in the guide has something unique to offer the reader. We even have a tips section filled with other gift ideas for your writer friends.

Books are a solid gift. Giving a book says, "I know you. I appreciate you. I want you to take a break and escape with a good read."

Go to http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/downloads/WOWHolidayGiftGuide.pdf  to check it out. 

Kim