Friday, October 30, 2009

Interview with Terri Reed

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Terri Reed. 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 Chasing Shadows. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

When senior citizens start disappearing from a Boston retirement center, heiress Kristina Worthington is suspicious. Especially since she fears her beloved grandmother is next. Without solid evidence, she’s forced to turn to the one police officer who might listen—her former love, Gabe Burke. Now a seasoned cop, Gabe still sees her as the rich girl whose family thought he wasn’t good enough. And though he takes the case, Gabe seems convinced he’s chasing shadows. Until they start dodging threats, bullets...and their rekindled feelings.

Chasing Shadows is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

While writing the book I had the heroine questions whether they were chasing the shadows in her grandmothers mind and as soon as I saw the words I knew that the title had to be Chasing Shadows.

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

I would say this book is a bit mystery, a bit suspense with a dash of cozy through in.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I had decided early on in my writing journey that I want to write for Harlequin but I couldn’t gain any traction. When the company started the Steeple Hill line, I realized my writing really reflected my faith and Steeple Hill seemed a natural fit. It still took a decade to finally sell my first novel to Love Inspired, but I know this is where I’m supposed to be.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My grandmother was in a group retirement home for the last few years of her life. She had Alzheimer’s. When my mother starting showing signs of the disease, I began researching retirement centers. As I was contemplating the decision, my mind began to ask “what if”…what if residents started disappearing? What would happen? Who would care? And who would do such a thing and why? From there the idea started to blossom and then I had to people it. I had Gabe as a secondary character in my February 2007 book Double Deception, part of the McClain mini-series and I wanted to give him a story so I thought he’d be the perfect person for Kristina to call upon for help.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

For the most part I do. Though I had thought a different person was the villain in this story up until almost the end. That was fun for me to realize I had subconsciously kept the villain a secret even from myself.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

I visited a retirement center in my area and loosely base the layout of the center in the story on it. I also belong to a wonderful network of writers who helped with the police info. Though I know I fudged on a few things for the sake of the story. Creative license, and all that.

What are your favorite research books or sites?

Well, that would depend on the subject matter. When writing books where one or more characters are in law enforcement I had several different resources, depending on which branch the characters serve in. Police Procedures and Investigation for Writers by Lee Lofland, Practical Homicide Investigations by Vernon Geberth, Witsec: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program by Pete Earley—to name a few. The internet is an indispensible resource as well. You can find info on almost any subject and any setting.

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

I think I liked writing Sadie, the grandmother, the most. My own grandmother was spunky and very adventurous. She and my grandfather had the most romantic courtship and marriage. They met when they were twenty, married a year later and were married when they both passed on in their late eighties. I miss them both so much.

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

I do fill out some sheets that help me to narrow the focus of the characters inner and external conflicts, motivations and goals. In the past, when a character wasn’t developing quick enough or thoroughly enough, I have had my characters tell their own story from their point of view and I discuss interesting facts. But mostly the characters develop as I write.

How does your research affect your character development?

If my hero, Gabe in this book, is a cop, then I use the info I’ve gleaned from the research books to help define him. For Kristina, being a heiress who was trying to gain autonomy from her family I watched reruns of Gilmore Girls. I wanted Kristina to have the same sort of drive and vulnerability as the Lorelei Gilmore.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Tons! The list would be too long if I started it.

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

I’m not good at promoting myself so I’m not sure what is the best avenue. I have done flyers, postcards, booksignings and joined several group blogs. And done interviews like this one. Thank you for by the way.

You're welcome. What do we have to look forward next?

Right now I have a short suspense story on the eharlequin site titled Yuletide Peril that runs through the month of October and should still be available to read. I have Love Inspired Suspense book coming out in May 2010, titled Covert Pursuit which features a secondary character from Chasing Shadows. In August 2010 my Love Inspired Romance book Treasure Creek Dad will be available, this book is book two of the Alaskan Brides continuity series. And I have a Love Inspired Suspense novella coming out for Christmas 2010

Thanks, Terri!

To celebrate her book release, Terri is offering a free ebook of Chasing Shadows 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 check Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning depends on number of comments.)

Check out author’s website at or

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BOOTCAMP for Novelists Online November Class

LINDA'S CORNER Linda Style photo

with Linda Style

Dramatic, powerful storytelling doesn't just happen. There's a story plan, with the big black moment a major piece of that plan. Many writers fail to get it right. While they understand this is the moment when all seems lost, they don't understand what goes into making it that way. In this class you'll learn how to make the black moment the most powerful scene in your story.



When story action gets high, with lots going on, the pros know how to divide the story lines so they can stay in control. This course teaches you how to separate the plot spine from subplots and how to weave the subplots in so they enhance the spine plot and also shine on their own.



  • Voice & Style
  • Query, Synopsis & Marketing
Need more info?
Email Linda
Forward to a Friend


with Connie Flynn

You've got a cool idea for a setting, but have no idea who to put in it. A swaggering, broad-shouldered, chivalrous hero keeps walking through your head and you can't come up with an idea good enough for him. A publishing house puts out a call for a particular kind of story and nothing comes to mind. Anything like this ever happen to you? This course is about pulling in threads that build on and expand that small seed of an idea until it becomes something that will live on paper.



Conflict is the final pillar of story structure. Without it, nothing truly matters. Not to the characters, not to the readers, and ultimately not to agents and editors. This courses shows you how to use contrast and pressure and action to build stories that crackle from page one to the end.


  • Rewriting and Revising
  • Satisfying Endings
Need more info?
Email Connie

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blog Tour for MY UNFAIR LADY

I just finished my posts for my upcoming blog tour for my December Victorian romance release, My Unfair Lady, and I think it's going to be lots of fun, so please mark your calenders for the following days:

11/16 Writing Fiction: Which comes first, Plot or Character?
Cuckleburr Times

11/18 Why I write historical romance...or, why I love it!
The Burton Review

11/20 Where I compare the heroine of My Unfair Lady, Summer Wine Lee, to Eliza Doolittle of Pygmalion--with a dash of Annie Oakley.
Love Romance Passion

11/30 Author Interview!
Jenny Loves to Read

12/1 What I love most about my heroine, or, my favorite thing about Summer.
Happily Forever After

12/2 Author Interview!

12/3 Top Ten Reasons Why My Hero is Irresistible.
Yankee Romance Reviewers

12/4 My step-by-step guide to how I get inspiration for my writing.
Fresh Fiction

12/7 Destination Truth: Researching the Historical Romance Novel, where I compare my research journey with my favorite TV show.
Romance Junkies

12/8 Interview with Summer Wine Lee, where I step back in time to interview my heroine.
My Book Addiction and More

12/9 My Chihuahuas: two of the sweetest little inspirations for a character in My Unfair Lady.
Books Like Breathing

12/10 My inspiration for My Unfair Lady, or, exploring the Cinderella complex.
Anna's Book Blog

There will be freebies at each blog, so make sure to leave a comment to enter to win!
Hope to see you there!
All My Best,

Monday, October 26, 2009

And the winner is.........

Congratulations Tia Dani. You're the winner of Jenness' book. Pleae contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces)to claim your prize. Thaks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Neurotic Writer Meets a Vampire

Welcome to another episode of
The Neurotic Writer
(Just for laughs)

Suzie Writer: “Doc! I think I was bitten by a very HOT vampire! I hope he didn’t turn me. Do you think I would look good hanging upside down like a bat? I don’t think I so. What do you wear when you're hanging by beam?”

Therapist: “Before you go getting yourself all upset, remember you once thought you showered with a werewolf.”

Suzie Writer: “No I didn’t. I snuck out the window to come see you while the werewolf was showering. Gee! You don’t have a very good memory, do you? Anyway, I met this vampire at a party last night. I think I attract these men because I am one of the few who believes in the paranormal. Like I said, Doc, he was HOT!”

Therapist: “A Halloween party? (Her eyes glaze over with a memory from her distant past.) I suppose this vampire wore a long, black cape with a collar shadowing his strong, square jaw.”

Suzie Writer: “No. He was dressed as Hannah Montana. If he dressed as a vampire people might figure out his secret. But I have to tell you; it was oddly erotic to have a man wearing a long, blonde wig sucking on your neck.”

Therapist: “Just because a man sucks on your neck does not mean he is a vampire.”

Suzie Writer: “It does if he declines your garlic olive and peanut butter appetizers, avoids sitting in the bean bag chair beneath the cross on the living room wall, and then sinks his fangs into your neck. (She moves her hair back away from her neck for the therapist to inspect.”

Therapist: “(Taking a closer look.) Those are mosquito bites. There’s a third one behind your ear.”

Suzie Writer: “Oh. Never mind. (Stares at the ceiling for a long moment.) You know. I think the real Bill Clinton was at the party last night. He wouldn’t stop playing with his cigar and he chased some poor girl wearing a blue dress.”

Therapist: “Sounds like Clinton to me.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Interview with Jenness Walker

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Jenness Walker. 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 Double Take. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The story begins with the hero reading a thriller. Then that scene is played out in front of him in real life. Using the book as a guide, he tries to save the heroine. But then the bad guy changes the ending...

Double Take is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I had a little help. It was originally called Déjà Vu, because the hero feels like he’s seen some of the story playing out before it actually does. Apparently foreign words as titles don’t sell well for my publisher, so my editor and a few others came up with Double Take as a replacement.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I read almost anything, but suspense is definitely one of my favorites. It’s the genre I get most of my ideas in.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I’m not exactly sure. ☺ I was trying to brainstorm a story that would be kind of a cross between Speed and My Hands Came Away Red. I’d also just read an interview with a book cover model. Somehow the plot for Double Take came out, although all it has in common with the movie is a bus, and nothing whatsoever with the book.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

No. I usually have a vague idea of where I’m going and none whatsoever of who the bad guy is. Keeps things interesting. ☺

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

I researched odds and ends, mostly online. Like watching youtube videos to get a feel for whittling. Checking out the MARTA website and photos on google. That kind of thing. Oh…and I picked a guy to be Cole. He was a musician (which Cole was in the original draft), and he was perfect. But then I googled more images of him to look for different facial expressions…and found out he had a side job as an underwear model. Not exactly the shots I’d had in mind. I wrote the book without a picture. ☺

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

I think Cole was probably my favorite. He’s the wounded hero kind of guy—the kind I like best. ☺

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’m more of a seat-of-the-pants type writer. I get bored with character interviews. I have to see the characters in the story itself to figure out exactly who they are and what they want. It’s so awesome to me when I get near the end and somehow the threads start tying together in a nice neat bow in a way that I never would have thought of. I love that feeling. Of course, sometimes I have to tweak it, and I think I changed Cole’s eye color three times before I did a search of the document to find out what it was supposed to be. Can you tell I’m not the most organized person in the world?

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

At my first writers’ conference, Susan May Warren looked over the first few pages of one of my projects out of the kindness of my heart. I still have the comments she wrote on them. One of them said something like, “You can write!” Coming from one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, that was really special. Also, Donna Fleisher kind of mentored me a few years back and I learned a LOT from her. Her friendship and encouragement has meant so much.

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

I haven’t done much promotion yet—Steeple Hill is great at marketing its authors. With the book releasing this month, however, I’m stepping up my efforts, with a blog tour, some giveaways, a promotional video, etc. Honestly, though, I think word-of-mouth is going to be the most effective tool. For most of my life I’ve lived in a tight-knit Christian college community where people are always coming and going. Because of that, I know people in churches and schools all across the U.S. I’m hoping curiosity will cause them to pick up the book, and the characters won’t let them put it down.

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m currently reworking the first novel I ever wrote to hopefully sell to Steeple Hill. It’s another romantic suspense about a wounded hero. What else? ☺

Thanks, Jenness!

To celebrate her book release, Jenness is offering a free book to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check back Monda night to see who won. Chances of winning depend on number of commenters.)

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

Bio. Jenness Walker has always been captivated by stories. Growing up, she read while she walked in line, ate lunch, played the clarinet, and brushed her teeth. (Unfortunately she still hasn’t figured out how to clean the house with a book in hand.) She’s been writing ever since a contest in first grade, and this month her debut novel, Double Take, releases from Steeple Hill.

She lives in Florida with her beloved website-designer husband.

Check out author’s website at Buy it at a store near you or online at Amazon or

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What makes you buy a book?

I was in the isle of Barnes and Noble and I started looking at the books on display and realized that when I buy a particular book, I usually have a good reason. Sometimes it’s just one factor that gets me to the cashier and at other times there’s more than one. Knowing the person is one of the first reasons, but what if I’ve bought those books and I’m looking for a new title? I look at the synopsis/back cover blurb. If that doesn’t grab me , I’m likely to put it back on the shelf unless it’s by an author that I know never disappoints. Like Lisa Kleypas or Teresa Medeiros. I know I have a winner when I have their latest book in hand.

Next on my check list is the quotes. I love quotes. I don’t know why. I guess if I think someone is excited about the book, then I should be, while the cover for me might get me to pick up the book, it doesn’t get me to shell out my dollars, especially how the economy is now.

If I know and love the author, the synopsis sounds fantastic, the cover blows my mind and there are quotes from a gazillion review sites and other authors, I’m in absolute heaven and running to the checkout stand. It's like a Calgon moment or finding a hidden stash of chocolate!

What about you? Vote for your reason on our latest poll and let us know, and if the reason isn’t there, tell us what was the reason you bought your last book.

Monday, October 19, 2009

And The Winner Is......

Congratulations Estella. You're the winner of Glynna's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail. com ( no spaces.) Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Haunted Weekend

It’s October! That means I spent another weekend at a haunted hotel. Every year our writer groups ban together to invade a local haunt. This year, while the others were once again in Jerome, I traveled to Bisbee, AZ and stayed with a college friend at The Copper Queen. Since I promised to report back to the group, also because friends have expressed interest in learning about our adventures, I decided to journal my weekend.

Wednesday, Oct 14, 8PM: I turned on the SciFy channel to watch Ghost Hunters and discovered it was the episode where they stayed at The Copper Queen. My friend Rosie called and I screamed, “I know! I know! I know!” While watching TV, I chatted with friends on Facebook about this episode where the covers were lifted off Grant’s feet. The ghost, a woman of the evening, is reported to like married men and enjoys playing with their feet. Hmmmmm Interesting ghost.

Thursday, Oct 15, 1:10 PM: Waiting for Rosie to arrive and craving McDonalds. Too many college road trips with the debate team in my past.

2:30 PM: Traveling down the I-17, just finished quarter pounder with cheese.

So…what do two educated women do to occupy their time on a road trip? While driving through the Arizona desert, we first described how we have seen Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs played out before us in the lives of others. Then we sang to the soundtrack of Mama Mia. I only whisper sing around Rosie. She is very talented and I can’t carry a tune.

6:00 PM: Discovered computer generated directions are not always correct. Hit a dead end beneath railroad tracks, in the dark. But….because we are women, we called the hotel for directions. A charming hotel employee checked us into a roomy casita next to the courtyard. After three trips to the car, (one because I dropped my cell phone) parked half a block away, we relaxed with a glass of wine and Rosie’s favorites: brie and pate on baguettes served on notebook paper. The notebook paper was my idea when we realized we didn’t have plates.

8:00PM: We went on a fabulous ghost tour. Renee, our friendly and interesting guide with Old Bisbee Tours, told us there are 16 ghosts in The Copper Queen Hotel. The three most famous are The Smoking Man who can be seen wearing a cape and top hat and smells of cigar smoke; Billy a young boy who drowned in the river and loves to play with toys or bling; and The Lady of the evening, Julia Lowell, who haunts the room named in honor of her. She killed herself after the married man she fell in love with rejected her. Despite being jilted, she still enjoys whispering in the ears of married man and playing with their feet.

After our brief orientation, we gathered in a small room to watch the episode of Ghost Hunters filmed in the hotel. The same episode Rosie and I had seen the night before. Of course, this viewing was much more fun since a hunky father decided to join me on the floor when I sat with the kids. (What can I say – I’m a romance writer.)

The tour guide had an ample supply of ghost hunting equipment. Rosie and I were loaned a K2 reader, EMF detector, thermometer, and flashlight. The hotel opened several rooms to us, including the Julia Lowell room and we were able to roam as we pleased, in the dark. What fun!

Our findings: Rosie took several mysterious pictures of a shadow in the mirror of a room. We can’t quite explain it and couldn’t recreate it, but we aren’t ready to claim it is paranormal. (After 6 years of staying in haunted hotels, I even sound like Jason and Grant of Ghost Hunters.) In the same room, when we first entered, our EMF detectors and K2 readers lit up. We determined it was due to the electrical outlet and lamp near the door. However, later in the evening, we returned to the room and the equipment did NOT go off. Very interesting!

One couple staying in the Roosevelt room claimed the shower and faucets moved by themselves. At first, I thought they might have been partying a bit much. Perhaps, but when I tried to take a picture in the same room, my camera suddenly wouldn’t read my memory card.

The young grandfather who thought The Smoking Man left his odor on his hands was quite entertaining. Rosie calmly explained the odor had rubbed off from the flashlight he had been holding – the same type we had. We might not have seen any ghosts, but we did see several tourists who had done a good job of scaring themselves. Of course, I was still enjoying the eye candy when the hunky dad and his son joined us later for dessert – part of the tour - the cake, not the man.

Friday, Oct 16, 12:15 PM: After the complimentary breakfast at the hotel, Rosie and I took the mine tour, which is much like a slow moving, colder ride at Disneyland. Very enjoyable. Everyone who worked there was friendly and even a bit flirtatious. After we signed our lives away, several men who resembled older miners, dressed us in slickers, hard hats, and belted battery packs connected to light sources. Went great with my sandals.

Between the mine tour and Bisbee Ghost Tour, we shopped in the quaint antique stores and drank lattes. The leisurely walk through this old town, which reminds me somewhat of Jerome, set the mood for more ghost stories.

7:00 PM: Renee, dressed in a long old-fashioned skirt, boots, and cape, was once again our guide – this time for The Bisbee Ghost Tour, although not quite as interesting as the hunt the previous night, it was still informative. We discovered The Oliver House is a B&B where over 20 people have died. Not sure if we want to stay there though. An old lady ghost bopped a young boy in his sleep and the next morning he had a bruise on his face. While Renee spoke about The Oliver House, we stood next to a car, which resembled something out of a Mad Max movie. Renee reported there was a live wolf in the backseat. After leaving the wolf, we stopped at a playground that used to be the site of an old cemetery. A child once reported seeing children playing on the steps – children her father couldn’t see. Suddenly my camera started acting up. I couldn’t get the center screen to light up to take a picture, but I also couldn’t get the green indicator light to disappear when I turned the knob to the off position. The camera did go off once I left the cemetery, but I eventually had to take the battery out and reinsert it to reset the camera. Rosie couldn’t get her camera to take pictures in that location either. Spooky!

9:00 PM: Rosie and I sat in the hotel bar, sipping wine, while listening to a blue grass singer who looked like Johnny Cash. He was just one of several singer/guitar players the hotel hired to entertain its guests throughout the afternoon and evenings.

Saturday, Oct 17, 10:00 AM: Off to Tombstone - Arizona’s most famous Wild West town – only 22 miles from Bisbee. This is the location of the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral. Here you will find historic looking shops lined with wooden walkways in front of dirt roads. Amongst the tourists, people dressed as cowboys, towns women, and ladies of the evening walk about as if they were still living in the 1800s. If you like, you can have a noose placed around your neck for the purposes of picturing taking. Mock gunfights are always a favorite. They are played out in the streets right in front of the tourists. No charge.

3:00 PM: We returned to the hotel in Bisbee, where I enjoyed the narrow, quiet, isolated courtyard. I read a book while sipping on wine, with my feet propped up on another chair. I was thoroughly enjoying the serene moment my surroundings offered, so much so, the man in the next room asked if he could take my picture. He said it would add to the others he was taking of the area. As a writer, I knew what he meant; I was SHOWING the mood of the courtyard.

5:00 PM: Rosie and I strolled down Main Street. We dropped into a store call The Source Within. They sell EMF detectors if you are shopping for one. Very nice people working there. Renee also works there part time.

6:00 PM: Rosie and I enjoyed another fabulous meal in the hotel’s restaurant. Everything we have eaten there has been great. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be many choices of places to eat in town.

9:00PM: Tackled my own book in the first floor lobby, while once again sipping wine, and half-listening to another singer. The ghost tour returned, chatted with Renee, and met another writer who happens to sell her handmade jewelry in the lobby. Told her about Romance Writers of America.

Sunday, October 18, 11:00 AM: On our way home. I had a fabulous time in Bisbee, AZ. There is something about small town folk. I have found the ones in Arizona to be quite friendly. The October weather provides a comfortable atmosphere for sitting outside and enjoying a book – your own or a friend’s. But most importantly, the ghost hunting adds a bit of excitement you can’t always find on any other vacation.

Until next week,
Happy Hauntings!
Tina LaVon

Friday, October 16, 2009

Interview with Glynna Kaye

I’d like to welcome our guest today, GLYNNA KAYE. 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 session has begun.

I understand you have a new release, “Dreaming of Home,” coming out this month from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Thanks for inviting me here today! My first published book is set in the fictional small town of Canyon Springs in the beautiful mountain country of north central Arizona.

Fresh out of the military, widower Joe Diaz is determined to raise his young son alone. But his next door neighbor Meg McGuire has set her sights on the same house--and teaching job--as Joe. He's all about family now, not romantic entanglements, and he won't give up without a fight. But what about little Davy, who's growing more attached to Miss Meg every day? Or Joe who finds himself dreaming of a home and family with the one woman in town who could take it all away?

“Dreaming of Home” is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The original name under which I submitted it to the 2008 Golden Pen Contest was “An Inconvenient Love.” When it sold to Steeple Hill, I was asked to suggest names to better fit their “hearth and home” brand. So family and friends helped me brainstorm. In my story both Meg and Joe are dreaming of making small town Canyon Springs their home, so the new title is a perfect fit!

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always written from a Christian worldview, but for a long time I didn’t seriously consider writing “inspirational” fiction. I mean, didn’t you have to be an ex-missionary? Be married to a pastor? Be a much more perfect and spiritually mature person than I am? But over the years, God gradually showed me that his strength is made perfect in my weakness. I don’t have to fit a mold for him to use me to write the stories he wants told. He’s looking for a growing faith, a teachable heart, and a willing spirit.

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

I’m what you might call a planster. I can’t just run out there and start writing without SOME kind of plan in mind or I go off on tangents that waste my time and have to be cut out later. But I’m also not one to whom the ability was given to map it all out right down to every twist and turn detail from the get-go. So I get a basic overall story “foundation” laid out in a synopsis, make a high-level, couple-of-lines breakdown by chapter, and then the details of its construction grow and morph as I write. So much comes in the actual writing and revision stages when I’m layering in the depth. I’m still a newbie writer, but with each new book I’m attempting to become better at “blueprinting” the fictional “house” I want to build. When I know where I’m going, I can make much more efficient use of my limited writing time. But I still have a lot to learn!

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

I traveled to the general area where the fictional town of Canyon Springs is set. I also spent a great deal of time researching a medical condition that plays a part in the story, and did a lot of research on hero Joe Diaz’s Navy background. Spent a lot of time on the official U.S. Navy website. They probably track “hits’ to the site, so I’m very likely on the government “watch list”--or may be receiving recruitment materials any day now! I also wrote dozens of questions that an ex-Navy friend graciously answered.

What are your favorite research books or sites?

I don’t have particular books or sites that I use. It all depends on what the issue is that I need to research. I try to stick to reliable sources and confirm info found in one place with others.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I tend to collect ideas from all over and jot them down to use later. The opening line of “Dreaming of Home” initially sparked years ago at a fabric shop when I recognized an actor who’d played a pirate in a community theatre production. Thus was born the original version of “It was at precisely one o’clock on a sunny, September Saturday afternoon when Megan McGuire spied the pirate.” The line stuck with me and I knew I’d someday use it for SOMETHING, but didn’t then know what. Eventually it lit the “what if” fires that ignited the story and drew other ideas to it like a magnet.

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

Joe and Meg both have a special place in my heart--but Joe’s little boy, Davy, was a special delight! I don’t know where that little guy came from, but he just came alive for me.
Tell us about how you develop your characters—do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? I’m still a newbie at this and still learning, so I’ve probably tried about ever trick in the book from completing character profiles, to interviewing them, to referencing books or worksheets on character development. I think the main thing I learned in using all of these tools is that even if you’re filling out the character sheets that ask “what’s his favorite color?” “What color are her eyes?’ the simplistic, surface answer isn’t as important as the WHY behind the answer. His favorite color is green. WHY? Because it reminds him of money? Or the great outdoors? Or was it the favorite color of his Dad who died when the hero was seven? It’s the WHY’s that intrigue me into digging below the surface to build a character.

How does your research affect your character development?

I think research enables you to go deeper than stereotypes of your characters or story situations. We’re to a great extent the sum of our experiences. A person who grew up in a happy, secure home will likely have a very different outlook on life than someone who raised themselves on the streets of L.A. In the case of Dreaming of Home’s Joe Diaz, my research into Navy corpsmen colored who Joe is, what makes him tick.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

TONS. Too many to name!

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

Again, I’m a newbie at all this, but I think the most bang for the buck comes from having a website. I don’t have a personal blog yet or a Facebook or Twitter presence mainly because they are so time consuming and time is something I don’t have much to spare right now. For two years I’ve maintain an on-line presence at www.seekerville.blogspot and more recently www.loveinspired and I’m doing guest blogs during the month of my book’s release and will have a local book signing.

I also believe word-of-mouth is super important. My Mom designed cute note cards that have the book cover on the front and the blurb on the back. Then inside is all the info on my upcoming release—plus room for me to write a personal note. I’ve mailed those to family and long-time friends all across the country and they, in turn, are telling their friends. My Dad submitted an announcement about my book to his school alumni newsletter! And I gave the owner of the high-traffic salon where I get my hair done a copy of my book and she’s posted an announcement of my upcoming book signing.

But right now, as a newbie, I feel my first priority is writing the best book I can and that’s where my time needs to be focused—on learning to become a writer who readers can depend on to deliver the type of story they’re already coming to look for from me.

What do we have to look forward to next?

I’m working on a story set in the same fictional Arizona mountain town as my first book. It features a hero and heroine who appeared as secondary characters in “Dreaming of Home.” Meg’s friend Kara Dixon and Joe’s “rival” Trey Kenton have some major issues to overcome before they can find a happily ever after in Canyon Springs!

Thanks, Glynna!

To celebrate her book release, Glynna is offering a free copy of Dreaming of Home to one lucky commenter on today’s blog. (check back Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning depend on number of commenters)

Glynna will be out and about today, but will do her best to pop in as she can to answer questions or respond to comments, so please ask away…


An ACFW "Genesis" and RWA Faith, Hope & Love "Touched by Love" award winner, GLYNNA KAYE'S first published book DREAMING OF HOME is an October 2009 Steeple Hill Love Inspired release.

Check out this author’s website at and visit

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Inspriational Quote

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

Robert Collier

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Crystal GB!
You just won a signed copy of Linda Wisdom's book Hex in High Heels.

Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize.
Thanks for stopping by.

Congratulations to the winner of the 'email a friend' contest.

She received the beautiful cameo pictured above. The winner, Chanda N. from Texas, wrote: Thanks, I rarely win anything, so when I do, I feel it's a great honor. And especially from an author I love to read. Please keep putting out the great books.
It's always such a treat for me when a true fan wins!
Chanda's friend, Kira N., also from Texas, won an item of her choice from my e-store, a messenger bag with the fairy on a rose design.
So don't forget to check out my current contest at:
Good luck!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Words of Wisdom

My Life in Ruins

Saturday was movie marathon night in my house. One of the movies we watched was My Life in Ruins, a cute romantic comedy staring Nia Vardalos, the star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

One line stood out in the film. The Richard Dreyfus character says, "You're looking for obstacles rather than looking for the magic."

Like the heroine in the movie, I too have been guilty of the same pattern of thinking. Instead of enjoying the magic of writing and losing myself in my story, I often let fear or doubt get in my way. This situation may or may not apply to you. If not in your writing, what about another area of your life?

I believe there will be times when we will all analyze our careers, friendships, or romantic relationships and find the need to recognize that we may be focusing on the obstacles. Release those doubts or fears and look for the magic instead.

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Tina LaVon

Friday, October 9, 2009

Interview with Linda Wisdom

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Linda Wisdom. 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.

Thank you for having me and oooh! Bordeaux chocolates from See’s. You know me so well and this lounge chair is very comfy. This is my idea of therapy! (We aim to please!KW)

I understand you have a new release out called Hex in
High Heels. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

It’s probably easier to use the blurb from the book. Blair loves running her vintage shop and hanging out with witchy friends Stasi and Jazz. She's forever had a crush on hunky carpenter Jake Harrison, whose Were nature (he's a Border collie) makes him loyal, lovable, and fierce when need be. Just as sparks are beginning to fly, Blair is served with a big surprise when Jake's mother shows up along with his pack leader, who threatens to make Jake heel! When the alpha does the unthinkable, Blair is pushed over the edge. No one messes with her boyfriend-to-be, even if he does shed on the furniture!

Hex in High Heels is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I love the title too. My editor came up with it.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always loved paranormal books and wrote my first one back in 1988 and wrote several others after that. I like to call that working up to what I’m writing now.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I first knew it would be about Blair and Jake, how their romance unfolds, and that his mother would get into the act. The grungy elves turned out to be a bonus. My ideas tend to pop up into my head almost fully formed. But it’s still not easy, because I always have blanks to fill in.

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

Yasmine Galenorn’s Embracing the Moon, Totem Magic, I also have a variety books on creatures and spells along with books on ghosts.

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

Not easy since I really love them all even the creatures. Jazz was the beginning, so I’d say her. There’s a lot of me in Jazz, although she’s taller. :}

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

It sounds crazy but it’s as if the characters tell me about themselves. There’s been times when I’ve worked on a book and I go in another direction and I’m told “no way, so this or else” and I do.

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

My world is pretty much the one we have except the supernatural community is a part of it. Many humans are aware of them, some refuse to believe their existence.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I think inspiration comes in many forms, Yasmine Galenorn, Kimberly Raye, Julie Kenner, Terey Garey, Stephanie Evanovich.

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

I don’t know if I’ve come up with one just yet. I do fun promotional items such as hexy body lotion and body wash and broom pens. But I’m always looking for someone new.

What do we have to look forward next?

Maggie, who you’ll meet in Hex in High Heels, is the next book. Kick ass witch who works security, a sexy half fire demon and Mayans intent on taking over the world. Just another day in hexy land.

Thanks, Linda!

To celebrate her book release, Linda is offering a signed copy of Hex in High Heels to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

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

Check out author’s website at


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Win a gorgeous genuine cameo necklace in my second contest for My Unfair Lady.

Help me launch the December 2009 release of my Victorian romance novel, MY UNFAIR LADY! The prize for this SECOND contest is a genuine agate cameo framed in 14kt yellow gold featuring two lovers embracing. See photo and description at:

This contest is all about spreading the word about MY UNFAIR LADY. To enter, just post the following blurb anywhere on the Internet (Chatrooms, Forums, Blogs, Myspace, Facebook, Etc.) Please, no inappropriate 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.


Email your entry with MY UNFAIR LADY CONTEST in the subject line to:

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 November 30, 2009. The winning entry number will be chosen using RANDOM.ORG. 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.

Monday, October 5, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Virginia C!
You just won a copy of Margaret Carroll's book.

Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Secret - Manifesting What Makes You Happy

Manifesting Using the Secret

Feeling Good vs. Specificity

After watching The Secret, I became intrigued by its principles and decided to do some more research. First, I listened to speeches given by Mike Dooley, one of the speakers in the film.

The Secret suggests creating a vision board and becoming specific about what you want. On the other hand, Dooley says this isn’t necessary. He believes staying in a happy state of mind will help you manifest all that you need. He states that the Universe already knows what will continue to make you happy

I wondered if both beliefs were true and began paying attention to how I manifested what I wanted.

One day I was in Barnes and Noble working on my book. I decided to take a break and wandered around a display table. When I glanced up at the end of a shelf, my eyes flickered with recognition. My own book, one printed with a small press, was hanging in a display at the end of the shelf. My pulse raced with excitement. I had been focusing on positive thoughts, staying happy, and the Universe did in fact bring me more of what would keep me in that state of mind. This was truly an unexpected event. I was participating in a book signing at this particular store a month from that date. Most booksellers in our area only bring out books the day of the signing. I had never seen them displayed a month in advance, especially those from small presses.

I hadn’t included this particular event on my vision board, but I was extremely glad it came my way. So…Mike Dooley may have been right. By staying happy, I might have manifested more of what would make me happy – in fact, ecstatic.

A few months later, I ran errands one day. First, I needed a new purse. I went to Kohls with a cash back coupon and decided I wanted to make a purchase that was under the value of the coupon. I had an idea of what I wanted, but not exactly. I looked around, but didn’t find anything. While standing at one display I took a moment to narrow down what I wanted. I decided my new purse should be black and brown since I wear those colors often. Needed a strap, a pocket for cash and cards, and an open area. I found what I wanted in 30 seconds after knowing EXACTLY what I wanted. Okay, this was interesting, especially since nothing had caught my eye earlier, but I wasn’t overly excited, just intrigued.

From there I went to Staples. As usual, I glanced at the planners. I have a love-hate relationship with them. Over the years, I have never found one that met all of my needs. I looked over the two isles for over 40 minutes. Finally, I stopped and thought about exactly what I would want if I could make my own. Burgundy notebook, a small calendar to put inside with room to write information, dividers for home, school, and writing, and also for paper. I found what I wanted in TWO seconds. I swear it was as if it dropped from the sky. A burgundy notebook sat on top of black ones that looked nothing like it. There wasn’t a matching one in sight and the sales person had to scan it to find the price. I was amazed.

So…after all of these events, I decided the best course of action is to be specific whenever possible, but also focus on the positive, stay in a happy state of mind and let the Universe surprise you with exciting new gifts.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!

Tina LaVon

Friday, October 2, 2009

Interview with Margaret Carroll

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

Thanks, Kim! I’m a huge fan of both therapy and chocolate, so I’m definitely you’re happiest guest!

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

Riptide is the second of two back-to-back thrillers being released this fall from Avon. The first is called A Dark Love, which was published in September and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly (7/13/09 issue). But I’m getting off track……

Riptide tells the story of a Hamptons socialite whose marriage and life are in a downward spiral. She checks herself into rehab, where she receives the shocking news that her husband has been found floating facedown in the deep end of the swimming pool of their oceanfront estate (talk about a bad therapy session). She goes home to plan his funeral and seeks solace in the arms of her bad-boy lover, Daniel Cunningham, only to realize a lot of people – her in-laws included – believe she and Dan had
something to do with her husband’s death.

The story takes place in East Hampton, New York’s fabled beach community, within a tight three-day timeframe.

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

The title Riptide came to me quite late in the process. I was nearing the end of the first draft last summer, staying with family out on eastern Long Island. It was a bad year for drowning. All along the Island’s south shore, people were getting caught up in a series of really strong riptide currents. When I was a kid swimming at those beaches, you just didn’t hear of riptides very often. But now, probably because of global warming and its effect on the gulfstream, Long Island has had a spate of deadly riptides.

So the daily newspaper out there – Newsday – was full of stories about riptides and drowning victims. I’d always planned to have my novel take place against a backdrop of stormy weather with a deadly current (it was always meant to be a metaphor for my main character, Christina Cardiff, and her struggles with alcoholism and love addiction), so one day it just came to me. Duh.

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

I would describe Riptide as very much suspense, very much a thriller.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

My characters told me it was time to make the change from romantic comedies (I have two chick-lit style romances, The Write Match and The True Match, published by Avalon).
I kept trying to write feel-good love scenes with HEAs and had a really tough time! For my option book with Avalon, the only way I could give the characters in The True Match a Happy Ever After was to write a quick sketch (that nobody ever saw) pretending my hero was dying of cancer and only had two months to live. Once I knew my happy couple was doomed, I was able to give them the small pleasure of falling in love. The suggestion, btw, came from my therapist (told you I love therapy) and she was right. I was able to finish the book.

But I knew it was time to move on. I need to put my characters in danger.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The newspaper, I guess, if you count all those stories last summer about swimmers being dragged out to sea.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

I wish! I usually have a ‘big picture’ idea of something that poses a threat to someone, and a rough idea of the denouement. But that’s about it. For me it’s a very scary process, like skiing with a blindfold on.

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

I did need to find out about crime scenes, drowning deaths, police interrogation of witnesses in a potential murder investigation. I spoke with friends in law enforcement and I’m very blessed to have some doctor friends and relatives who put up with me.

I also spent some time in East Hampton, driving along those beautiful oceanfront lanes, stopping to take in the view and imprint my mind with visuals that my main characters would have as they acted out their drama.

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

Definitely my main character, Christina Cardiff. She’s flawed and trying to work through it. She’s a wife and mother, and wants love and security in her life more than anything. I can really relate to that. She just went about getting things the wrong way. She wants to fix things, make her life as good as she can, and I can relate to that, too.

From there, it was pretty easy to give her a juicy plot to work with. All I had to do, once I set out her priorities, was let Christina’s recent past – the one she is working so hard to put right – come back to haunt her.

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 do make lots and lots of notes on characters. Nothing so organized as sheets, I’m afraid! I scribble notes in longhand for page after page, then staple batches together as they relate to each character. As the story fleshes out, I scribble more notes, sometimes on new notepads and sometimes on sticky notes that I stick to the original notes.

It winds up being a series of messy piles all over my office floor. The dog walks all over them and sometimes kids run through, which really ticks me off.

But I never really refer to those notes again. They’re just there till I’m done, like a security blanket. So I can look back if I need to. But I usually don’t sort through the piles again, I just keep adding stuff and vacuuming the dust bunnies around them.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, any and all! Going all the way back to the Bobbsey Twins in the Land of Cotton, which was my first big-girl novel that I remember reading on my own.

More recently, I’ve gained so much inspiration from the RWA loops. When I read about an author whose daily output is two or three or even five times my current top number, it helps me open my mind to the possibility of writing more better faster.

I’m a perfectionist whose instinct is to go over and over and over the pages from the day before. The problem with that – for me – is I don’t move the story forward that way. I’ll edit and re-edit and have fun with it, spend hours turning a phrase, and then look up and it’s time to pick up my kid from school and I’m done for the day. That’s no way to put out a book a year.
So I like to hear about other writers and their writing routines.

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

I pitched in with my local media. I knew most of them from volunteering on the marketing committee at my daugthter’s school, so it was a natural move for me. I sent out ARCs to regional media with a handwritten note and did my own followup. I think if you live in a small town like I do, that’s probably your best bet.

I did a lot of advance legwork for my hometown booksigning at my local Borders for my debut thriller, A Dark Love. I printed up 200 invites and hand-delivered them and advised all my local media myself. It was a great event – it went so well they invited me back (woohoo!), so I’ll be signing copies of Riptide at Borders in beautiful downtown Grosse Pointe, Michigan, from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, October 4th.

What do we have to look forward to next?

I’m working on another thriller with romantic elements, set once more in NYC and the Hamptons, about a young woman who unwittingly gets caught up in her boyfriend’s Ponzi scheme and its links to a terror cell that deals in weapons sales to the Mideast.
Watch for it…

Thanks, Margaret!

To celebrate her book release, Margaret Carroll is offering a free book of Riptide to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

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

Check out author’s website at


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rudy's Blog

Hi, everyone. It’s the Rudster here. Sorry I’ve been out of touch but Mom’s been busy and I don’t type so good when she’s not around.

Exciting things are happening. Book two in the dog walker series, Heir of the Dog, will be out in ten days, and it’s a great book. Especially ‘cause I inherit a wad of make that money. Enough to by my own Dingo Bone factory and make treats for all my pals. So go to Amazon, Walden books, Borders, B&N, or another local bookstore and buy one. Heck, buy two or three, and give them out as holiday gifts to the person her grooms your dog, their vet, or their walker. Maybe even your neighbor or kids’ teachers.

And while I’m on the topic of books, remember Best Friends is still getting all the royalty money from the sale of book one, Hounding the Pavement. They’re doin’ a great job taking care of all the pit bulls that wonderful guy (NOT) Michael Vick admitted to abusing and killing a few years ago.

Mom’s also running a contest, and it’s a good one. If you can show proof of giving $250 to Best Friends in the past year, she’s gonna put you in a book. That’s right, you’ll have a story line and everything, your DOGS too. She’ll even let you use their real names (yours too, if you want) There’s just one catch. You have to agree to whatever she writes. If she decides you’d make a perfect killer, then that’s what you might end up being. Ditto, a victim. If you’re lucky, you’ll just be involved in one of the plots, but you won’t know until she writes the story.

And last but not least, here’s a list of places Mom will be signing books:

September 28, 12 – 5, Books in the Park
Waterside Park Norfolk, VA

October 3, 2- 4, Walden Books
Chesapeake Square Mall, Chesapeake VA

October 24, 4 – 5:30, NJRW conference
Renaissance Hotel, Iselin, NJ

October 25, 2- 5, Barnes & Noble
Rt 22, Springfield, NJ

She’ll be at a few more places in November, but they’ll be on her website, so check there for the when and where.

And if you get a minute, drop Mom a line and tell her about your favorite four-legged pal. She still cries because I’m gone every day, even though she’s got Sasha, Belle, and Buckley to keep her company.

Got to run. There’s a whole group of canines waitin’ to play ball, and that’s one thing I really like to do up here in Doggie Heaven.

Talk to you soon,