Sunday, January 31, 2010

Great New Book by Kim Watters!

Looking for a great new book?
Try On Wings of Love by
Kim Watters

Ruth Fontaine's job is to deliver lifesaving organs to those urgently in need. But the gruff pilot of her charter plane has no kind words for her work. And then she discovers the heartbreaking reason why. Noah Barton lost his wife and young son. Grieving, he gave in to pressure to donate his child's organs--a decision he regrets. He's bitter against those who "take advantage" of people's anguish. Yet he still flies her on her missions, with his beloved dog, Houston, as his copilot. Now Ruth will have to show Noah he has two other copilots: the Lord and her love.


Noah had come for her.

Ruth stepped toward the plane and the man standing near the doorway. She gazed at Noah, at his muscular chest, at his firm lips. The cold, remote look etched across his features signaled that his attitude about her profession hadn't changed.

Sighing, Ruth grabbed the plane's railing and pulled her tired body up the steps. At the top, she held out her hand to his waiting one. "Thanks for coming, Noah. I didn't think anyone would be able to get through in that storm."

Her fingers tingled as they remained connected with his. Without his sunglasses on, Ruth noticed his blue irises deepened to the color of the clearing sky before they darkened like the receding monsoon clouds.

Her need to soothe away his anguish intensified, but somehow she sensed that Noah wouldn't appreciate her attempt.

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble

Friday, January 29, 2010

Interview with Amber Leigh Williams

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Amber Leigh Williams.

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.

Kicking off my boots, Kim! Thank you very much for letting me share with your readers today!

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

Bluest Heart is the second novella in my western romance trilogy. Blackest Heart, the first, placed 1st in the 2009 More Than Magic Contest. It is part of The Wild Rose Press’s Wayback, TX series:

The Wayback bachelor is a dying breed, but that doesn't stop Casey Ridge from wanting to settle down. For this cowboy anyone but Josie Brusky would be an easy wrangle. Unfortunately for him, the Blue Bug singer and owner of Josie's Treasures doesn't believe in commitment much less marriage.

Years ago, Josie lost her heart to Casey's charm and

dimpled smile. Since then she has done everything she knows to forget him. After all, she's known as the local harlot and the daughter of the town's biggest bigot. Casey could have any girl he wanted. Why would he saddle himself with her? In the wake of a shattering past, she refuses to give up her independence.

Casey digs down deep to win her over, but does he have what it takes to win Wayback's bluest heart?

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

My CP came up with Blackest Heart, playing on the surname of my silent cowboy hero, Judd Black. I wanted to continue the Heart theme, of course. I originally liked “Heart of Stone” but there was already a book by that name published by TWRP. I asked some writing friends to help me brainstorm and we came up with "A Heart So Blue."

My editor came back with Bluest Heart. Though “Heart of Stone” seemed appropriate for the heroine, Josie, I realized Bluest Heart suited her much more because under the hard walls she’s built around herself over her difficult lifetime there is a woman who needs to be cared for and loved. And no one believes that more than the hero, Casey. It sets up, too, the last book in the saga, tentatively titled Bet It On My Heart.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

The idea of doing a western romance came to me a couple of years ago. Before I started my day job, I used to read fashion magazines like Vogue and Instyle cover to cover. One month, one of my favorite actresses was featured in a ranch spread and the article was primarily about how she wanted to go back to her country roots. From there, Stella Ridge, the heroine of Blackest Heart, was born.

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

I’m a plotter, mostly, though I like to mix in the occasional pantsing technique to keep the writing fresh. Blackest Heart was experimental because I’d never written a western romance and I didn’t really read the genre. By the time Bluest Heart began, I’d already grasped the tone of contemporary western romance and started to hone my voice. That’s why I think Bluest Heart was the most enjoyable story to write to date.

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

There are several writers at TWRP who live in Texas and know all about ranching, cowboys, and rodeos (which is what Wayback is all about). I spent days picking their brains. One interesting thing I learned is that most ranchers these days won’t survive on the price of beef unless they have a large spread and cattle to fill it. 50,000 acres or more is ideal. If the ranchers don’t have that much land, they usually turn their homes into dude ranches. The Ridge family, which the trilogy focuses on, has 55,000 acres, one of the largest ranches in Wayback. Also before I began work on these books, I didn’t know anything about rodeos. The heroes of the trilogy compete in bull-riding, calf-roping, and bronc-busting. Josie does some barrel racing. The rodeo circuit is a whole other world, and I think the most interesting thing I learned while researching it is that the rodeo clowns are just as tough as the competitors.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I’d already heard of TWRP’s new western series and how well it was doing. I liked the idea of the pre-determined settings and secondary characters. My CP went a long way to encouraging me and I wrote the first draft of Blackest Heart in a couple of weeks. She then convinced me to write at least one of Stella’s brothers’ stories, Casey. I not only completed that within a month, I also got a good head-start on the other brother, Keefe’s, story. The western genre was so much fun, it gave me complete literary abandon. I can’t wait to go back and do it again with another trilogy!

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

Josie was interesting, because at first glance she’s the typical “bad girl” and I’d never written anyone like her. I worried that the reader wouldn’t sympathize as much with her. But then I delved into her past and what had made her so tough. Quickly I came to the conclusion that she wasn’t the person everyone in Wayback believes she is, and Casey Ridge is the only one who sees that. The interesting thing about Casey’s pursuit of Josie is trying to convince her that she does deserve happiness. The result was, surprisingly, the same healing arc that radiates from Blackest Heart—learning to accept one’s past and moving on in a healthy way with someone who loves you for who you are.

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

My research is mostly about setting and nitpicky details about occupations, etc. I like my characters to be completely organic. Although Stella’s character came to me from that magazine article, she became her own person as soon as I put her on the page. The most exciting thing, for me, about characterization is seeing the characters grow deeper than what I initially intended. Josie was probably the most surprising. Even after the manuscript was done and I turned it over to my CP and editor, I worried readers still wouldn’t think her heroine material. Their reaction was such a relief! There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing readers connect with characters like Josie.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

My first romance novel was Nora Roberts. You never forget your first and to this day I’m still a major Nora fan. I also like her J.D. Robb titles. I’m a fan of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Her writing process just fascinates me. I also like Larissa Ione’s Demonica books. She really knows how to dip into dark waters and still bring the romance to the forefront in a wonderful way. I never thought I’d try sci-fi, but recently I picked up Ann Aquirre’s Sirantha Jax books. I love them and can’t wait for more! Among other authors I can’t wait to read more of are Jessica Andersen, Kris Kennedy, and Diane Gaston. I highly recommend any of the Wayback books, particularly Rita Thedford’s Hot Night at the Blue Bug Saloon, Sylvie Kaye’s Wrong Side of Love, Lynda Coker’s Payback in Wayback, and Cindy Spencer Pape’s All the Way Back, all available in ebook and paperback anthologies.

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

The Wayback series sells well, I think, because they are novellas and at least half the price of any paperback. They’re quick, very enjoyable, hot reads. I target mostly ebook readers virtually. When The Way Back Home anthology was published—featuring Blackest Heart and two other Wayback stories by other authors, I reached out more to those who buy paperbacks. I certainly can’t resist three sexy cowboys in one! That, I daresay, is better than chocolate!

What do we have to look forward to next?

The third book in the Ridge trilogy will be published this year. I can’t wait to round it out. There will definitely be a party in my corner of the web! And I’ll be signing copies of The Way Back Home among other titles at the Silken Sands Conference on the Beach in March, if anyone here is planning to attend!

Thanks, Amber!

To celebrate her book release, Amber is offering a free copy of the 2009 More Than Magic Contest’s 1st Place Novella, Blackest Heart, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. All entrants have to do is tell me what you look for in a cowboy hero. (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...

Amber Leigh Williams is a multi-published romance author, PRO Liaison and former Secretary of the Gulf Coast Chapter of Romance Writers of America, and monthly contributor to Romance Writers’ United’s “Write Right” newsletter. Her historical romance, Forever Amore, received top-rating as a “Best Book” at Long & Short Reviews. She lives on the Gulf Coast of Alabama with her husband and three labs. Visit her on the web at

Purchase Bluest Heart, Blackest Heart, or The Way Bach Home anthology at The Wild Rose Press today:!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

February On-Line Class at WriterU

Motivation is what drives your story. Any of us could write a book in which the characters set out for a three hour tour and get shipwrecked on an uncharted desert isle. We've seen what seven such characters would do...over and over and over again. But what would YOURS do?

If you nail down any character's motivation, it doesn't matter whether the ship capsizes or lands safely three hours later. Your characters will create a plot from WHATEVER happens, because you've got their motivation built in from the very beginning. Find out how, with a workshop that covers:

* Motivation's Big Question

* The Surprising Core

* How Deep Do You Go?

* Motivation Checklist

* The 14 Blanks

* Goal vs Motivation

* Building Your Plot

"Plotting Via Motivation"

February 1-26, 2010

Laurie Schnebly Campbell grew up in a family that talked "motivation" around the dinner table. While her day job in advertising is responsible for her synopsis skills, her Master's in Counseling works for motivating characters in her novels...including one that beat out Nora Roberts for "Best Special Edition of the Year." Check her out at

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FOR WRITERS: Providing a quote for another author...

It took me several days, but I finally finished providing a quote for another author's book. It's flattering to be asked for an opinion of someone else's means that you've achieved enough success that your opinion is valued. But it can also be quite difficult, especially if you love the book, like I did. My first impulse is just to say, I LOVE THIS BOOK, BUY IT, READ IT! but that's probably been said a thousand times, and could certainly be worded a bit better. :}

My goal is to help a reader make a decision about this book, and I take that seriously. I always provide the author with two quotes, as I'm unsure what other quotes she may be getting, and that way she can choose if they happen to be in a similar vein. So, here's the book and my quotes:

Haunting Warrior, by Erin Quinn
Releasing May 4, 2010 by Berkley Trade
ISBN-13: 978-0425234143

"This book should carry a warning: don't start reading if you have to go to work the next day. You will not be able to put it down until you finish the very last word at 2 am."~Kathryne Kennedy, Award Winning Author of My Unfair Lady

"The lyrical fantasy of Patricia McKillip, with the heart-stopping adventure of Robin Hobb, spiced with the poignant romance of Nora Roberts--you will not be able to put this book down!"~Kathryne Kennedy, Award Winning Author of My Unfair Lady

I do try to include a quote that compares the book to other authors with similar styles/story lines etc. So that way a reader knows that if they like the books from the authors I mentioned, they'll be sure to enjoy this one too.

I hope this helps you when you're asked to provide a quote for another author's book. It can be a bit daunting. Also please keep in mind that you may not be able to provide a quote for everyone that asks you, especially if you're on a deadline, and most authors understand that.

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 25, 2010

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

Congratulations Denise Golinowski, you're the winner of Diana's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Desert Dreams 2010

Desert Dreams Conference 2010

An update from the coordinator:

Hi All!Great news! Diana Gabaldon of Outlander series will be speaking!
Also, we will have available at the Hospitality Suite a massage
therapist giving chair massages and a 'Reader' for those of you who are
We plan on having a table with info representing a publicist,
image builder, and others to help guide your writing career
and hopefully there to answer your questions.
Another new aspect we are offering is to open the editor/agent
appointments to those who are looking for more than one
opportunity to meet with an editor or agent. The cost is minimal.
See the website for more information.
On Friday we have scheduled eight (8) workshops in the afternoon,
one with agent, Jill Marsal, another with Vicki Lewis Thompson –
RWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner and other great speakers
from both Desert Rose and Valley of the Sun.
That night will be our
Genre Dinner - where each table will be featuring a genre with one
of the Conference Speakers, Editors or Agents heading the table.
On Saturday, begin the day with the hour long Editor/Agent panel at
8:30am; the workshops beginning at 10 am along with the Editor/
Agent appointments. We will break for our Luncheon at noon with
Linda Lael Miller as our Keynote Speaker, another RWA Lifetime
Achievement Achievement Award Winner, then back to our full
workshop schedule and editor/agent appointments.
Sat. night you are free to explore the beauties of downtown Scottsdale
in the form of the Fashion Square Mall and Waterfront as well as
the Artsy Old Towne Scottsdale a mile south. We have the Scottsdale
Trolley which stops at the Resort as transportation. We will have our
"About Town" features in your welcome bag for quick reference
regarding dining out that night. BTW, Old Towne Scottsdale has
their Thursday Night Wine & Artwalk, which isn't to be missed!
On Sunday, we will have our buffet breakfast, rest of the raffle baskets
and our second Keynote Speaker: Brad Schreiber - VP of Story Tech –
the Christopher Vogler's Writer's Journey organization. Brad will be
speaking on the Writer's Journey, a 2 1/2 hour long workshop
guaranteed to up the ante on your writing craft. Brad is an accomplished
screenwriter, teacher, actor, publicist, writer and much more.
The Conference is filling up fast, and we encourage any of you who
Have considered coming but haven't registered yet, to do so at
your earliest opportunity. The cost of the conf is $228 for RWA
members and $248 for non-members.
All of us at Desert Rose look forward to greeting you
"Where Dreams Become Reality" in Scottsdale,
AZ on April 16th-18th, 2010.
Cathryn Lombardo
2010 DD Conf. Co-Chair

Friday, January 22, 2010

Interview with Diana Cosby

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Diana Cosby. 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 His Woman. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

His Woman is a Scottish medieval romantic suspense set in the Braveheart era. It's the 2nd book in the MacGruder brothers series.

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

My editor, Kate Duffy chose the first two titles in the MacGruder brothers series: His Captive, then His Woman.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I was writing in the Viking time frame, then I watched the movie Braveheart. I was fascinated by the political turmoil, and began writing in this era. As for romantic suspense, I love reading it, so it was a natural choice to write it.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I love death bed promise stories, as the characters do something that they swear they normally would never do, which puts the character into immediate tension as well as angst over the personal loss.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

The Bishop Wishart, one of the original guardians of Scotland is an intriguing figure. Often, credit goes to William Wallace or Robert Bruce, but in truth, the church played a huge role behind the scenes in orchestrating events.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
I loved writing the hero of His Woman, Duncan MacGruder as he comes across as a happy-go-lucky guy/womanizer, but is in truth a man haunted by his past.

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

I have character sheets where I know the basic descriptions, but as for their speech and so on, that I discover as I write.

How does your research affect your character development?

I haven't found it to affect my characters. To me, the more complex the situation, the more intense and interesting the story.

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

I was intrigued to find that their swearing is often based on weaponry or God. Examples: By my sword, God's eyes, God's teeth and so on.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Virginia Kantra, Annie Solomon, Marin Thomas, Mary Forbes and numerous other authors. I'm thankful there are so many amazing writers.

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

My top three are blogs, speaking engagements, and a magazine interview.

What do we have to look forward next?

The third book in the MacGruder brothers series, His Conquest, will be released in November of 2010. In November of 2011, His Destiny will hit the shelves!

Thanks, Diana!

To celebrate her book release, Diana is offering a free book of His Captive 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...

After retiring from the Navy, AGC(AW), with 32 moves behind me and having traveled through many more countries, I was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people I’ve met over the years. My years of living in Europe drew me to write in the medieval time frame. After watching the movie Braveheart and with my passion for writing complex plots, I knew I had to write in this volatile medieval timeframe, hence the MacGruder brothers, Seathan, Alexander, Patrik and Duncan, were born.
I have many passions in life, but one that resonates with me is that of giving. I firmly believe that each of us can make a positive difference in another person’s life. With each book I sell, I will tithe ten percent of my royalties to a charity of my choice. The first charity I've chosen is The National Trust for Scotland, which acts as guardian of Scotland’s magnificent heritage of architectural, scenic and historic treasures. Without the National Trust for Scotland, many of Scotland’s historical wonders would be lost.

Check out author’s website at Buy His Woman at: in Canada
Barnes & Noble
Kindle Edition.
Order His Captive at: in Canada
Barnes & Noble
Kindle Edition

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Great Review for On Wings of Love

My first Steeple Hill Love Inspired book received a 4 from Romantic Times.

ON WINGS OF LOVE (4) by Kim Watters: As donation coordinator for the Arizona Organ Donor Network, Ruth Fontaine's first encounter with pilot Noah Barton is not auspicious. The loss of his wife and Ruth's bad experience with romance makes the attraction felt by both unwelcome. Plus, using his charter service to fly the medical team is not Noah's choice. He feels that the doctors didn't do enough to save his son because they wanted his organs. That distrust puts a barrier between Ruth and Noah that only the God he no longer has faith in can breach. Watters' heartachingly poignant story is about learning to accept that, though bad things happen to good people, God's love is always steadfast and true.

—Susan Mobley

Thanks Susan!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Confidence and The Writer

Confidence and The Writer

By Jana Richards

Putting the words “writer” and “confidence” together in the same sentence seems like an oxymoron to me. I struggle with issues of confidence in my writing (in other areas of my life too, but let’s not go there). Although I’ve finished and sold four full-length novels and my novella “Burning Love” is being released today by The Wild Rose Press (, I always wonder if I can finish another novel. If I do finish it, will it be any good? Will anyone want to read it, or buy it? Or am I just kidding myself about this writing thing?

A writer can drive herself insane with all the negative thinking. It certainly doesn’t help the writing. I can wallow in self-pity or I can try to find ways to work on my issues. So here I go.

Confidence Issue #1 – Rejection. What writer hasn’t faced rejection from an editor or an agent? Or maybe you received a harsh critique, or a less than stellar review. Rejection can cripple a writer if she lets it have that power. I know because it happened to me and I almost quit writing at one point. Knowing I wasn’t the only writer who was ever rejected gave me the confidence to keep on keeping on. Laurie Pawkik-Kienlen says to improve confidence a writer should read other writers memoirs and biographies. You will be truly amazed by the number of famous writers who were rejected numerous times before someone finally recognized their talent. If rejection could happen to Stephen King, I must be in good company! Check out this site for some famous writers’ rejection stories.

Confidence Issue #2 – Sure, I finished writing a novel once, but can I do it again? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only writer who questions their ability to do it again. There are a few things to try here. If a full-length novel seems too daunting, or you’ve started and then abandoned more than one novel, start and finish a smaller project. Dan Goodwin writes in “Five Powerful Ways to Kick Start Your Confidence as a Creative Writer” that tackling a project you can finish in a couple of hours (like a short story or a blog) will boost your confidence. Nothing drains a writer’s confidence more than beginning an ambitious project that she is unable to finish.

Another way to boost your confidence and to remind yourself that you can finish a project is to keep a list of your accomplishments. This list would record every novel, every short story and every blog post you’ve ever completed. Or perhaps you would like to keep your finished novels lined up near your computer where you can see them every day, just to remind yourself you are a writer who can finish what she starts. Writer Sarah Hilary celebrates her successes, and uses the confidence that small successes give her to aim at bigger markets and bigger projects.

Alan Rinzler recommends reading a good book by an author you admire. It’s like holding up a beacon of hope that says “Yes, this can be done!”

Confidence Issue #3 – But is it any good? It takes me forever to finish a book, not because I’m so horribly slow, but because often, I don’t trust my own vision for the book. I go back endlessly and revise, changing plot and characters. Sometimes revision is necessary (okay, my work often needs revisions). But on occasion I’ve let an unfavorable critique totally derail a story, spinning it in directions I never wanted it to go. How do I develop the confidence to trust my own vision?

Writing something every day helps. Dana Mitchells says “Writing something every day, no matter how little, will help you overcome these fears [fears of rejection, perfectionism, and poor writing]. It will cause your confidence to escalate, because each day that you actually write something is a day when you have faced your fears.”

Another thing I’m doing to combat this issue to continue learning the writing craft. I’ve taken several on-line classes dealing with plot, characters, sexual tension and many other areas of writing. Currently, I’m reading Donald Maass’ ( book “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook”. I’m working through the exercises and studying other writers’ work so that I can learn to plot and characterize my own novels with confidence.

Do you have confidence issues? Do you find that lack of confidence is affecting your writing? What have you done to try to boost your confidence?

Jana Richards’ novella “Burning Love” will be released today at The Wild Rose Press ( . Jana would love to hear from you. You can reach her through her website at or join her at where she blogs every other Monday.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


My editor from Dorchester Publishing, Leah Hultenschmidt, kindly emailed me to let me know that Enchanting the Beast was nominated for Romantic Times BOOKreviews Reviewers' Choice Award in the Paranormal Historical category.

(I'm also thrilled to know that there is a Paranormal Historical romance category...what I write used to overlap several genres (historical, fantasy, paranormal, romance and sometimes you could even throw in a bit of mystery), and now it has one all to itself. Yay, RT! And, um, if that category existed before, blame me for living under my rock. And, maybe one day there will be a Historical Fantasy Romance category, which truly defines what I write.)

So with this announcement, I'd also like to congratulate my fellow authors in my Desert Rose chapter for their nominations as well: Linda Style, Pamela Tracy & Jennifer Ashley. With such stiff competition, I don't worry about actually winning...I'm just pleased to be listed among such fabulous talent!


ENCHANTING THE LADY was also honored by placing first (a first for me!) in the 2009 VCRW Laurel Wreath contest in the paranormal category. Congratulations to all my fellow winners, and they are as follows:


1st place – Their Secret Child -Mary J. Forbes - Silhouette
2nd place – Finally a Bride - Lisa Childs - Silhouette
3rd place - Italian Doctor, Sleigh Bell Bride - Sarah Morgan - Harlequin

1st place – Windswept - Ann Macela - Medallion Press
2nd place – She’s On Top - Susan Lyons – Kensington Aphrodisia
3rd place – Blush – Opal Carew - St. Martin's Griffin

1st place – Enchanting the Lady – Kathryne Kennedy - Love Spell
2nd place – The Accidental Demon Slayer - Angie Fox - Dorchester
3rd place - La Vida Vampire - Nancy Haddock - Berkley

1st place – Out of Her League - Kaylea Cross - Wild Rose Press
2nd place – Pitch Black - Susan Crandall - Forever
3rd place – Conspiracy of Silence – Martha Powers - Oceanview

1st place –The Wagonmaster - Nita Wick – Freya’s Bower
2nd place –Unmasked - Nicola Cornick - Harlequin/HQN
3rd place - An Improper Aristocrat - Deb Marlowe - Harlequin

With Appreciation,

Monday, January 18, 2010

And the winner is......

Ack. Almost forgot! And the winner of Carrie's book is Rebekah E. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) No spaces. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Writer's Journey

The Writer's Journey

Don't miss this opportunity to hear an expert on story
structure. He may just be the man to help you take your novel
from good to fantastic!

will be speaking April 18th at The Desert Dreams Conference
in Scottsdale, AZ.
Go to
then click on Conference on the left side for more info.

You can choose to attend only Brad's speech
and not the entire conference,
but why? Go to the website and check out the list
of agents and editors attending.

BRAD SCHREIBER has worked as a writer in all media,
as well as a producer, executve director and actor.
He is Vice President of Storytech Literary Consulting
(, founded by story structure
expert Christopher Vogler.

Since 1999, Brad has handled international consultations
with executives, writers, directors and producers of material
for TV, film, books and New Media. In television,
he created the series North Mission Road, which ran for six
seasons on Court TV, based on his nonfiction book Death
in Paradise: An Illustrated History of the Los Angeles County
Department of Coroner (Running Press/Perseus).

He has worked as a writer, producer and development executive
for L.A. PBS affiliate KCET-TV as well as director of development
for TV/film director Johnathan Kaplan.

Schreiber also wrote the six-hour live telecast L.A. County
Holiday Celebration which was aired nationally on PBS.
His five books include What Are You Laughing At?:
How to Write Funny Screenplays, Stories and More
and his compendium of live theatrical disasters, Stop the Show!,
which was praised by Pulitzer Price winning author Robert Olen Butler.
His next book is a biography of the early years
of musician Jimi Hendrix, for Da Capo/
Perseus, due in the Fall of 2010.

He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post
and his national credits include Daily Variety, The writer
and Written By: The Journal of the Writers Guild of America.

He was nominated for the Kingman Films DASA Award
for his script The Couch and has won awards from the Edward
Albee Foundation, the National Press Foundation, the National Audio
Theatre Festivals and others.

Schreiber has taught at the American Film Institute,
the Directors Guild of American, the Gotham Writers
workshop in New York and writers conferences and universities
in the US, Canada and Mexico.

The Brad Schreiber Homepage

STORYTECH Literary Consulting

My Journalism Archive

Friday, January 15, 2010

Interview with Carrie Lofty

I'd like to welcome our guest today, Carrie Lofty. 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 SCOUNDREL'S KISS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Scoundrel's Kiss is the stand-alone sequel to my Robin Hood-themed debut, What a Scoundrel Wants. When last we saw Ada of Keyworth, she'd just been rescued from the Sheriff of Nottingham and had seriously burnt bridges with her family. She and a young admirer, Jacob ben Asher, head off to Spain together. But she's haunted by the unlawful and sickening torture she endured and turns to opium for relief…

Gavriel de Marqueda is a warrior on the verge of taking his vows with the Order of Santiago. Before he can do so, he must pass one final test: save Ada from herself. He's vowed obedience, nonviolence, and chastity, but Ada refuses to be held against her will, even for her own good, and vows to use every possible resource to thwart Gavriel's offer of aid.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I majored in history in college, then went on to get my master's degree in history from The Ohio State University. I started my history binge at age ten when I became obsessed with the Lincoln assassination plot. Not long after that, I discovered historical romances. Little did I know but that was my destiny!

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I wanted to create a warrior monk hero. That's where it started. Maybe it just sounded intriguing and sexy to me at the time. Imagine all the training and the hard-earned experience of a warrior, but all the humility and, ahem, self-control of a monk! I also knew that my heroine was going to become an opium addict. Opium was available from Chinese and Arab traders throughout the Middle East and North Africa, but the easiest place for an Englishwoman to accidentally get hooked on opium was Spain. Once those two pieces came together, I was off and running.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

Because I work on so many historical periods--ranging from medieval England and Spain to Napoleonic Austria to 1950s Italy--I really can't rely on particular books. Instead I start my research on the internet, find titles from Amazon, and then make the absolute most out of inter-library loan!

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

Of course I loved my hero and heroine, but they were the main crux of the book and therefore caused me the most problems. The character that turned out to be my saving grace was Fernán, another monk--but one not nearly so manly as the hero. Instead, Fernán is a coward and a complete comedian. But even my favorite self-professed coward turned out to be a little bit of a hero himself...

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 love knowing my characters! I really relate to the show "Castle" because I know that the premise is sound. Authors can be very perceptive when it comes to human nature. Research helps me figure out what kind of person could've lived during a particular era, but then one of my favorite things to do is take a Myer-Briggs personality test on behalf of my hero and heroine. Once, my husband was reading over my shoulder as I took the test and said, "That's not you!" From there comes the plot, which is always last and subject to change. I'm a very character- and research-oriented pantser!

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

The monks within the Order of Santiago, which my hero wants to join, were required to where white robes emblazoned with a cross known as the fleury cross: the points of the cross are daggers. Their commitment to acting as God's warriors against Moorish tribes was right there on their chests!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I love lush, beautiful writing, so my favorite romance authors are Candice Procter, Penelope Williamson, Laura Kinsale, and Patricia Gaffney. They all craft such amazing stories, not simply packed with emotion and fascinating characters, but with poetic language to describe every aspect of the hero and heroine's lives. I read those books and knew that's what I wanted to write. Those are the kinds of stories I love to read, so why not give them a try in my own style with my own unique voice?

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

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk…!

What do we have to look forward next?

My Austrian-set historical romance--in which a widowed violin prodigy begins a steamy affair with a renowned composer, only to learn that he stole the symphony he's most famous for--will launch Harlequin's new digital-only venture, Carina Press, in June. You can read an excerpt at

Then, coming soon from Penguin, is the "Dark Age Dawning" trilogy of hot-n-dirty apocalyptic that I co-wrote with Ann Aguirre. We're working together under the name Ellen Connor. Visit our website for excerpts and details: It's all very new and exciting for me!

Thanks, Carrie!

To celebrate her book release, Carrie is offering a free signed copy of SCOUNDREL'S KISS 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...

Born in California, raised in the Midwest, Carrie Lofty met her husband in England--the best souvenir! Since earning her master's degree in history, she's been devoted to raising two precocious daughters and writing romance. Her January release, SCOUNDREL'S KISS, featuring a Spanish warrior monk and the troubled woman he's sworn to protect, is the sequel to her Robin Hood-themed debut, WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS.

"Lofty writes adventure romance like a born bard of old." -- Romantic Times
Check out author's website at and

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My amazing publisher: Sourcebooks

It's always a good thing when an author loves their publishing house, and I've been very fortunate to love mine. The owner of Sourcebooks, Dominique Raccah, is a fascinating woman, who approaches authors and the industry in an entirely different way, and perhaps this is the reason for Sourcebooks fantastic success...especially during a time when most publishing houses are cutting back and/or closing lines.

So it's with a great deal of pride that I'm passing along an article about Sourcebooks that appeared in Shelf Awareness (one of several articles that can be found here:

Sourcebooks: '21st Century Book Publisher'

"We're a company that's transforming in an industry that's transforming," said Dominique Raccah, founder, CEO and publisher of Sourcebooks, Naperville, Ill. Her goal, she said, is to make Sourcebooks into "what a 21st Century book publisher would look like."Here's how it looks so far:

Sourcebooks has been in the forefront of offering e-books, enhanced books, iPhone apps and just last month launched a poetry website that, Raccah said, is creating a community for people who love poetry--and may be a model for creating revenue. (Among other things, it sells poems for download, iTunes style.)

After deciding a year ago that it wasn't going "to participate" in the recession and that it would have no layoffs, the company involved all 75 employees in extraordinary efforts to build the company's business in a range of measurable ways, including improving cash flow and inventory, expanding markets, working better with customers and more. By doing so, Sourcebooks has tried to take advantage of being "in that funky space between big and small publishers," Raccah said--big enough to have a presence but small enough to be limber and both act and react quickly.

Sourcebooks continues to publish some 300 new titles a year in a range of subjects--test and study guides, poetry, historical and women's fiction, children's and YA books, reference, romance and more--using many e-tools to nurture both readers and writers. The house, Raccah emphasized repeatedly, is publishing "authors, not books," and many of them have become bestsellers. Sourcebooks was founded 22 years ago as a reference publisher.

Monday, January 11, 2010

And the winner is...

Congratulatiosn Libby. You're the winner of Susan's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude

The Law of Attraction
Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude

Those of you familiar with The Secret, either from your own efforts or reading my previous blog posts, know the Law of Attraction works best when you maintain an attitude of gratitude. By appreciating what you have now, the universe brings more of what makes you happy.

So how do we stay happy in trouble times?

I’ve mentioned before that The Secret suggests telling yourself what you are grateful for. One speaker from The Secret DVD carries a rock with him and whenever he sees it, he tells himself what he is grateful for. Not only does this serve as a reminder, but also I noticed when I pick my rock up I automatically feel happy.

Another exercise I have found affective is to look around one or more rooms in your home and ask yourself how you acquired the items you see and why you kept them. I found this brought back wonderful memories, which, of course, made me feel happy.

I hope you will find time during your busy week to try at least one of these approaches.

Until Next Week,
Happy Writing!

Tina LaVon

Friday, January 8, 2010

Interview with Susan Lyons

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Susan Lyons. 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 so much for inviting me. Everyone can use a little free therapy – not to mention chocolate!

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

I’d be delighted to. An exotic wedding turns into an erotic escapade for three unlikely couples who find lust – and maybe even love – on the white sands of Belize.

In “War of the Sexes,” wedding planner Sarah McCann learns that the groom’s best friend, Free Lafontaine, intends to save his pal from the mistake of marriage. It’s an all-out war between the sexes – a war that just might have two winners!

In “Sex With the Proper Stranger,” model Tamiko Sato comes to the wedding as arm-candy for the groom’s deep-in-the-closet uncle, so what’s she to do when resort manager Ric Nuñez proves far too tempting? Is Ric the man who can heal her wounded heart?

In “Sexy Exes,” Giovanna Moncrieff and her ex, James, mix as well as Italian olive oil and English tonic water, so it’s embarrassing – and exciting! – to discover the flame of passion still burns. Is true love possible the second time around?

These are three interrelated novellas, each taking place in the week leading up to the wedding. They are all secret romances, so the lovers are all sneaking around trying to get together without anyone else knowing.

Sex on the Beach is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

A sexy book, set in the tropics – it seemed a natural fit. The drink “sex on the beach” became a kind of theme drink for each couple. By the way, there are a number of different recipes for the drink, so I held a contest to find the best one. The winning recipe is posted on my website (on the Recipes page).

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I write the full spectrum from sweet to spicy. It all depends on the characters and the story. The whole concept of this book was sexy and fun, so it’s a very spicy romance.

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

I’m mostly a pantser. I start with a general idea of the characters, including why they’re attracted to each other and what their conflicts and issues are going to be. Sometimes I know how they’re going to meet; sometimes I need to puzzle over that. I do have some vague idea of story structure (LOL), but mostly I let the characters guide me. Sex on the Beach was a challenge because the three novellas take place in the same time frame and include the same characters. That’s part of the fun of it (e.g., there’s one night when Free, Tamiko, and James all cross paths in the bushes as they’re sneaking off to meet their secret lovers). But it also meant I had to keep close track of the book “calendar” and what each heroine and hero was doing at any given time.

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

I had visited Belize, which is why I knew it would make a great setting. I did a bit of Belize research, then a bit of research on various characters’ occupations, and that was it. I’m not a fan of research – I’d rather be writing (or reading fiction)! For some topics, I head to the library but for most I just Google and see what turns up. Sometimes I arrange interviews. My only two staple resource books are Rodale’s The Synonym Finder (an excellent thesaurus) and The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders (a great guide to developing character).

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea for Sex on the Beach came to me on a cold winter day in Vancouver, BC. I thrive on sunshine and warmth, and I wasn’t getting any, so instead I nourished my soul with memories of tropical holidays, like the one I took to Belize.

Then I happened upon an article about the popularity of destination weddings, and I remembered how many people I’d seen getting married on tropical beaches – in Belize, Costa Rica, Australia. I imagined the sexy fun that might ensue when a group of wedding guests assembled in Belize for the week before an exotic wedding. And especially if each of the couples had a reason for keeping their relationship secret? Could you imagine how complicated that could get, and how much fun it would be for the reader?

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

Oh gosh, I loved all of them. But maybe Tamiko, because on the surface she’s the most successful and lovely of the heroines, but on the inside she’s the most vulnerable and wounded. I gave her a very good male friend (the closeted gay writer) who gave her a nudge in the right direction, then I paired her with the kind of man we’d all love to be with: a fabulous lover, of course, but also one who is very sensitive to her needs even before she reveals what happened to her in the past.

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 not super-organized about character development. Although I can be incredibly structured and organized about the business aspects of writing, when it comes to the creative ones I’m better to let the other side of my brain fly free. At some point in writing most books, I do refer to the archetypes book I mentioned above. Sometimes I use it to help me develop the characters in the beginning, or sometimes I have a pretty good sense of the characters already and may refer to the book a bit later on, to see if it provides further insights. I don’t do character sheets or interviews. Sometimes I write some first person freestyle stuff from the character’s POV, like a person might write in a journal or to a good friend. I go for walks and mull over the characters, because fresh air and exercise often get my brain going on a fresh path.

Research does have an effect on character, too. For example, when I first researched firefighters for Hot in Here, I learned that they’re often good cooks and housekeepers, because that’s important in a firehall, so I don’t give my firefighter heroes messy bachelor pads – and my heroines are often surprised that these big, brave men can be so good at the domestic stuff. When I started my Wild Ride to Love series featuring four sisters, I read a lot about birth order and sisters, which mostly confirmed what I already knew (there are advantages to having a psych degree!), and that information helped clarify each sister’s distinct personality.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

In some fashion, almost every author I read inspires me. It’s a wonderful thing, coming up with ideas and putting words on a page in a way that gives readers laughter and tears, escape from their own problems, and often something thought-provoking. The author who had the most powerful impact on me was Harper Lee. She wrote only one book, To Kill a Mockingbird, but I think that book was a masterpiece of character, point of view, and story. It entertains but it also makes you think. And to me, lawyer Atticus Finch is the perfect hero: principled, strong, with that quiet confidence that to me is the hallmark of a true leader.

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

While I do some promo for individual books (e.g., bookmarks or blogs), really my focus is on promoting my name and brand. I take a multi-faceted approach. Probably the single most important thing is my website, which I update monthly, and which has lots of goodies for readers (e.g., behind-the-scenes notes and photos, book videos, discussion questions, recipes from each book, writing articles, some of my own photos). I have a monthly contest at my website (this month you can win one of my books and a firefighter calendar). Then, I also have a monthly e-newsletter (please go sign up on my website!); I send promo items to stores, reader groups, conferences, etc.; I guest blog; I put ads in RT BookReviews, Romance Sells, and Romance Writers Report; I respond to fan mail and send goodies without requiring an SASE; I attend conferences and present workshops; and I’m a member of a number of RWA and other writer groups. I avoid social media like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter because, if I took the time to do them regularly, I wouldn’t be writing as many books a year, and I think it’s more important to get the books out there.

What do we have to look forward to next?

This month I have the first of three Spice Briefs at (Erotique: Carrie), and the second and third will be out in February and March. At the exclusive sex club, Erotique, three women find the erotic adventures they’re seeking – and much more!

Also in March I’m in an Aphrodisia anthology, Some Like It Rough, with Kate Pearce and Anne Rainey. In my story, “Private Eyes,” straight-laced Haley Croft goes undercover as an exotic dancer and discovers the thrill of strutting her stuff. And when she catches sexy PI Ry Montana checking out her moves, she can’t wait to give him his own private show...

Then, in April, my first Kensington Brava book will be out. It’s under a new pen name, Susan Fox. Love, Unexpectedly is the second in my sexy “planes, trains, automobiles, and a cruise ship” Wild Ride to Love series. (The first book was Sex Drive, from Aphrodisia, in December 2009.) So, I have lots to look forward to this year!

Thanks, Susan!

To celebrate her book release, Susan is offering a free book of Sex on the Beach 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...

Award-winning author Susan Lyons is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor.

She writes sexy contemporary romance that’s passionate, heartwarming, and fun, and is published by Kensington Aphrodisia, Kensington Brava (writing as Susan Fox), Berkley Heat, Harlequin Spice Briefs, The Wild Rose Press, and Freya’s Bower. Her books have won Booksellers Best Awards, the Aspen Gold, the Golden Quill, the More Than Magic, the Lories, the Beacon, and the Laurel Wreath, and she was a nominee for the 2009 RT Reviewers Choice Award.

Visit Susan’s website at for excerpts, discussion guides, behind-the-scenes notes, reviews, recipes, articles, contests, give-aways, and other fun stuff.

Buy Sex on the Beach:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

MY UNFAIR LADY receives more lovely reviews...

I would like to sincerely thank the following readers for taking the time to post reviews for MY UNFAIR LADY:

"One of the most enchanting historical romances I've read this year." ~Martina Bexte, Book Loons Reviews:

"I think this book is very well written and I lost myself in the pages as I imagined myself moving along with the characters as if I was one of them. I quickly found myself finished with this book and wishing it would continue." ~The Book Tree:

"If you're looking for a romantic read and a quick escape - this will surely hit the spot!" ~Starting Fresh:

"It made for some great escapist reading and it was a joyful ride. I will definitely read another of Kennedy's books" ~Jenny Loves to Read: .

"If you enjoy reading a good historical, you have to read My Unfair Lady. It's one that leaves a glow in your heart and a smile on your lips." ~Sia Mckye:

"With My Unfair Lady Kathryne Kennedy delivered another beautiful, sparkling and emotional story with unconventional, but lovely and lively characters. Her books are unique and in a league of their own, I am already craving for her next story!" ~Marissa's Book Lair:

"My Unfair Lady is a charming story about a girl who's trying to fit society's expectations so she can marry the man she wants, and the man who tries to help her, but eventually shows her that she's great just the way she is. Perfect for an evening in." ~Drey's Library:

"I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting take on Pygmalion and My Fair Lady. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a sequel to a non-Jane Austen book." ~Books Like Breathing:

"This is a fast paced, page turning, truly delightful story. It is sensual, but very entertaining. I would highly recommend this book."
Reviewed by AAR
"This is one of those rare historicals that will make it to your keeper shelf, but not stay there long! You’ll be rereading it, and telling others to read it. Fans of fun, witty, deeply engaging stories will find MY UNFAIR LADY a prize!"
Reviewed by Wendy Keel

"Acceptance is a theme that prevails throughout and one Ms. Kennedy develops beautifully...a fun, fast paced read. One I enjoyed enough to finish in one sitting." ~Musings of a Bibliophile:

"Overall, reading this book was a hilarious and wonderful experience, and an unforgettable escape from reality." ~ The Life (and Lies) of an Inanimate Flying Object:

"My Unfair Lady was a fun read. It was a journey of love, trust and acceptance. Beautifully written." ~Anna's Book Blog:

"My Unfair Lady is a remarkable tale of love and acceptance." ~Romance Book Wyrm:

"This Victorian romance will win you over faster than you can say the “Rain in Spain!”" ~Love Romance Passion:"

My Unfair Lady is a very fun read with charming characters who can laugh at themselves with delight so that you take pleasure in their story while being pleasantly entertained, which for me has become this author’s trademark." ~Sandy M, The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

Monday, January 4, 2010

And the winner is.....

Wow. What a turnout. Thanks for stopping by everyone and Happy New Year right back at you. The lucky winner this week is Tamsyn. Congratulations. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces). Have a great week all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Neurotic Writers's New Years Resolutions

The Neurotic Writer’s
New Years Resolutions

Just for Laughs
Although Tina LaVon may do a few of these.

Read astrological chart daily and follow its advice.
Make a list of agents with compatible astrological signs to pitch to in 2010.
Write daily.
Never send a submission when Mercury is in Retrograde.
Find a place to write which has positive energy.
Write daily.
Retreat in Sedona where you can brainstorm novel in a vortex.
Carry crystals in bra to keep them close to the heart.
Write daily.
Wear bracelet with lucky charms to ward off evil.
Create writing warm-up rituals to start each session.
Write goals and keep them under the pillow

And….Write Daily!

Did you write any resolutions?

The Neurotic Writer wishes you a wonderful 2010!

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rudy's Post Blog

Happy Holidays!!! It’s time to fill your four-legged pal’s stocking with Dingo bones and load their presents with the good stuff: filet mignon, marrow bones, broiled chicken breasts, and lots of rice and veggies (no onions or raisins, please) I’d also add a couple of carob chip cookies for all your extra special dogs.

HEIR OF THE DOG is on sale now, and it makes a great stocking stuffer. Give the book to your dog walker, pet sitter, groomer, vet tech, anyone who loves canines. They’ll thank you for it and beg you to get them book three, Death in Show, out in June of next year.

Nothin’ much is happening in Mom’s life. She still misses me and cries every day because I’m gone. But Sasha, a fun loving Bichon rescue, has made her smile, and so have Buckley and Belle. Now that she has a Bichon, she vows she’ll get another, so check out all the Bichon Rescue sites on the Internet. There are plenty of cotton balls with four legs lookin’ for a good home, and rescuing a canine is always the best way to go.

There’s no snow here in ....Virginia...., and there probably won’t be. It rarely happens in the southern part of the state, but we do get wind and rain. Lately, lots and lots of rain. If that rain were snow, it’d reach to the roof of our house, so I’m kinda’ glad for the warmer air.

Mom’s getting together a schedule of places she’s going to sign books for the new year, so take a look at the ‘appearances’ section of the website. I’ll be back in 2010 to tell you more about Death in Show, maybe give you a sneak preview if you’re naughty—er—no—if you’re nice!

So Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. Your canine pal,


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year from all of us here at Much Cheaper Than Therapy.
Thanks for all of your support.
We look forward to bringing you many exciting posts in 2010.
Kim, Carol, Tina, Kathryne & Judi