Friday, April 30, 2010

Interview with Donna Hatch

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

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

A young widow’s quiet world is shattered by a impulsive gentleman of many secrets. When she is dragged into his world of violence and deceit, she may not survive the revelation of his past…or still love him when the truth is revealed.

The Guise of a Gentleman is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
I wish I had an interesting story for that! I’d been pondering other titles, one of which was Beloved Pirate, but none of them seemed to fit. Then one day, as I was doing the very glamorous activity of folding laundry, it just came to me and I knew it was the right one.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I write romance because I love the happily ever after. Not only love it but I have this bizarre need for it. If a book doesn’t have a good ending, I feel like I’ve wasted my time because I read to escape my problems. I want to know good always triumphs over evil, and love conquers all, not be bummed because all was lost. I also love watching the romance unfold and, of course, the euphoria of falling in love. My husband likes to capitalize on that euphoria, too ;-)

I write historicals because I like to be transported to a totally new world and historical are completely different than my real life. I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t want to have a life involving beautiful gowns, a servant to do your every bidding, and gorgeous men who do everything from recite poetry to wield a sword. And, seriously, there are few things sexier than a man on horseback.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I’ve always been fascinated by pirates and I love heroes with a secret identity, but really, the characters drove this story. This one is hard to trace because I really didn’t plot it or develop Jared’s character. I mostly just followed him around and typed everything he did and said. He was so real to me that I even dreamed about him. In my editing stage, I did have to cut a few scenes that slowed down the story, but I made very little changes to the original draft.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

Anything by Jane Austen is great because it the books took place in that time period and the author lived at that time, too, so it’s accurate. I also did a bunch of reading about pirates. Blackbeard: America's Most Notorious Pirate by Angus Konstam gave a lot of information about pirates, sailing and nautical life.
As far as overall Regency references, here are some of the best:
Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson
The Half Mad Lord by Thomas Pitt
Georgette Heyer’s Regency World
Regency Etiquette: The Mirror of Graces, 1811, by a Lady of Distinction
The Regency Companion, Sharon Laudermilk and Teresa L Hamlin

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

Oh, Jared, for sure. He was so irrepressible and unpredictable, yet he held a secret fear that made him vulnerable.

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 usually write the first few chapters organically to give my characters a chance to introduce themselves to me. Then I go back and do character interviews. But a lot of the characters unfold as the story does. Sometimes I have to go back and strengthen someone (usually the heroine, because I seem to have a harder time time with heroines than heroes, which is weird) and sometimes have to work more on developing their backstory and how it affected them.

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

What’s not unique about the Regency Era? ;-) The clothes are super fun and were drastically different than other eras. Women’s were more comfortable than both previous and future eras, and men’s clothes became much more subdued and tailored rather than just as much frills and lace as possible to flaunt their wealth.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?
Oh, many! I grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables. Hmmm, all historical. Do I sense a trend? But later I discovered fantasy and was drawn to the ones that had strong heroines with a real purpose than just to be rescued by the hero. Some of my current favorites are Lynn Kurland, Candice Hern, Julia Quinn, Jennifer Ashley, Sarah Eden, Joyce DiPastena, and many others.

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

I wish I knew! Most people don’t tell me where they heard about me, but I think after all the time and money we spend on social media, websites, author blogs, etc, the best is still good old-fashioned word of mouth. Not that I wouldn’t love to hire a publicity agent!!!

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m juggling way too much right now! I have two historicals I’m trying to finish, plus I’ve started a YA paranormal. And I also have a fantasy percolating in the back of my mind.

To celebrate her book release, Donna is offering a free book of The Guise of a Gentleman 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.)

Plus, you can earn additional chances to win by doing the following:
1. Follow my blog, at www.donnahatch.blogspot.com, then send me an email at donnahatch29@gmail.com, and tell me you’re now following me and put “The Guise of a Gentleman for free” in the subject line.
2. Friend me on Facebook, (http://www.facebook.com/people/Donna-Hatch/1053967713#!/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1053967713) then send me an email at donnahatch29@gmail.com, and tell me you’re now my friend on Face book and put “The Guise of a Gentleman for free” in the subject line.
Remember, for each thing you do, you have another chance to win. Good Luck!!!

Thanks, Donna!

Thank you for having me.

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

Bio.

Donna has had a passion for writing since the age of 8 when she wrote her first short story. During her sophomore year in high school, she wrote her first full-length novel, a science fiction romance. She wrote her second novel, a fantasy romance during her senior year. Needless to say, English and Creative Writing were always her favorite subjects. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband) she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession, with varying degrees of success, although she writes most often late at night instead of sleeping. A native of Arizona, she now writes Regency Romance for The Wild Rose Press and Fantasy. And yes, all of her heroes are patterned after her husband of over 21 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brenda Novak's Auction


Auction starts May 1. www.brendanovak.com
Much Cheaper Than Therapy has a $50.00 gift Certificate to Barnes & Noble in the auction.
Kim Watters is offering up a gold, simulated ruby, heart necklace.
Are you a huge fan of Nora Roberts, Laurell K. Hamilton, Christine Feehan, MaryJanice Davidson, Diana Gabaldon, Catherine Coulter, Jane Porter, etc.?

To find the items that are available from your favorite authors, simply type their name in the search box at the top. Not only will you see donations from these authors, you’ll see signed books donated from other sources.

Do you have a manuscript you’d like read by a leading agent or editor?

The majority of agent and editor manuscript reads are available under the For Writers category under Agent Evaluations and Editor Evaluations. But some agent and editor reads are listed under other categories (Kensington Books: MEMORIES OF KATE is one example). To view all possible reads by agents and editors, simply enter the word "evaluation" in the search box.

Are you looking for the perfect piece of jewelry for yourself or a friend?

There are over one hundred gorgeous pieces of jewelry available in the 2010 auction. If you are looking for a great pair of earrings, enter the word earrings in the search box. Need a new bracelet? Simply enter the word bracelet, and so on.

Do you love surprises?

Come back daily to check out the one day auction items. We will be adding to these all the time--and open and close on the same day so don't miss out. Also, be sure to check the exact stop date and time for the items you want so it doesn't close and catch you unawares.

Are you an aspiring writer who’d like to receive feedback from a published author?

Over eighty published authors, including many New York Times bestsellers, are offering a critique of the beginning of your manuscript (or in some cases, your entire manuscript). These critiques represent a great opportunity to optimize your manuscript before sending it off to agents or editors. Most critiques can be found by going to the For Writers section. To find all critiques, enter the word critique into the search box.

Want to win a fabulous prize?

The person who places the highest number of bids per week will win something amazing. For Week 1, it's an iPad, an autographed ARC of my new book, WHITE HEAT, and a VIP invitation to my virtual launch party. Check the auction home page for the rest of the prizes. We will also be doing a random drawing each day from all those who participated that day (and those will be surprises so they aren't listed anywhere).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May Writer U On-line Classes

May 3-28, 2010

"Show Don't Tell: Say More With Less"

by Kris Kennedy

$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

Every writer knows the importance of "Show, Don't Tell," but what's the best way to achieve that? One of Kris Kennedy's favorite techniques is replacing backstory with implication, because writers don't need to spell everything out. "Trust the reader. She's smart. She'll pick things up." This class provides specific tools for saying more with less, such as focusing on here-and-now vs. there-and-then, specifics vs. generalizations, choosing the right details, and a variety of other techniques to create gripping books with a lively pace, deep characterization and compelling conflict. Concepts include:

* Creating tension on every page

* How conflict and pacing affect bestselling fiction

* Making readers ask questions, and making them worry

* How to imply back-story, viewpoint and more

* Using dialogue (or avoiding a conversation) to increase tension

* Intensifying the external world as a pacing tool

* The power of understatement, denial and emotion in the moment

After winning RWA's Golden Heart Award for Best Historical Novel and landing a two-book contract with Kensington, Kris Kennedy realized that in order to balance her love of craft with publisher deadlines and family, she needed some highly efficient writing techniques to call up the Muse. Some of those strategies include using "implication" to say more with less. Her latest book, The Irish Warrior, releases June 2010, followed by two more from Pocket Books.

May 3-28, 2010

"Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices and More"

by Margie Lawson

$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

Counseling psychologist Margie Lawson has developed innovative, psychologically-anchored editing systems and techniques that will show you how to write a page-turner. Deep Editing is not basic editing. It's post-graduate level editing. It's editing to hook the reader viscerally. In DEEP EDITING, participants will:

* Learn the EDITS system and take it deeper

* Learn the 25 rhetorical devices and practice using them

* Develop skills by using worksheets provided in each lecture

* Learn back story management, power lines, throw-away works

* Learn cliché twists, back loading, tautologies, and emotional hits

* Receive deep editing critiques from Margie on class assignments

* Develop a personal editing checklist from the master editing checklist

* Learn how to make your final editing past be your last pass

Psychotherapist, writer and international presenter Margie Lawson applied her psychological expertise to dissect over a thousand novels and analyze how authors write page-turners. A former university professor, Margie focuses her analytical skills on writing craft, developing innovative editing systems and deep editing techniques. Her deep editing tools are used by all writers, from newbie to multi-award winners. For more information, visit www.MargieLawson.com.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Desert Dreams Conference 2010

Every other year my RWA Chapter, Desert Rose, hosts a writers conference at the Chaparral Suites Resort here in Arizona. I always have a fabulous time, and this year was no exception! With a host of informative and entertaining speakers, fabulous networking opportunities, and editor-agent appointments for aspiring authors, writers truly get the most bang for thier buck at our conference! This year I volunteered in our hospitality room, at our registration table, and at our editor-agent appointment table, helping aspiring authors to sign in. I also signed my books at our terrific book signing event. Let me tell you that these ladies run our conference so professionally and smoothly I'm always amazed. One of the comments that I heard again and again was how warm and friendly our chapter is, and it's because we have a group of the most wonderful ladies (and our few gents) in RWA. If you would like some more information about our conference, you can visit the (new and improved) Desert Rose Website at: http://www.desertroserwa.org/

I bring a camera every year, and every year I'm so busy that I forget to take pictures, so I only have a few to share. Hopefully, I'll do better next time, but when you're having that much fun...


My editor, Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks Publishing, and I enjoying another fabulous meal together. It was such a pleasure to spend time with her.


A group of us in the lounge, enjoying some fabulous company! A few I know by name. :} Alexis Walker and hubby Bob, Deborah McTiernan, Angel Barbin (one of my roomies), Lori Combs-Graves, & Donna Warner.


My roomie, dear friend & CP, Donna MacQuigg, who drove all the way from New Mexico to attend our conference. Since she received a request from an agent to view her work, I think she found the trip worthwhile. Congrats, Donna!

Oh. I'm the one with the long hair. :}

Monday, April 26, 2010

And the winner is......

Congratulatioons Estella. You're the wnner of Linda's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail.com (no spaces). Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Interview with Linda Poitevin

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Linda Poitevin. 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 A Fairy Tale for Gwyn. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I’d love to, thanks! A Fairy Tale for Gwyn is my debut novel, a contemporary romance rated spicy by my publisher. It’s the ultimate modern fairy tale, really – handsome Hollywood leading man sweeps single mom off her feet...who among us hasn’t had that fantasy? Lol! Of course, not even the path to true love is that smooth, so there are definite obstacles to overcome, especially for the heroine, Gwyn, who is of the “once bitten, twice shy” mindset. And readers who have kids will especially appreciate the challenges of trying to fit a relationship into family.

A Fairy Tale for Gwyn is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

It just seemed to describe the story so well...Hollywood god, overworked single mom...the kind of fairy tale we grew up on as little girls, but with a more down-to-earth tone.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

In the contemporary romance genre? The story. I just had this idea that wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it down, and it happened to be a contemporary. If you’re asking about writing in the sense of the broader romance genre, however, then I would have to say it’s because I believe so strongly in people and their ability to overcome just about anything in life if they can find someone with whom to share the journey. And I’m a sucker for happily ever after endings!

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

At the time I wrote A Fairy Tale for Gwyn, I was a definite pantser. For me, that meant a lot of shaking of heads by critique partners who kept pointing out the lack of internal conflict...and a lot of revising as a result *sigh*. I still like the pantser approach to a degree, but I’m writing far more complex stories these days (dark paranormal suspense) and find that I need to balance things out with at least a modicum of plotting (just so I don’t wander so far off track that I can’t find my way back again!).

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

Because I set the novel right here where I live, there wasn’t a lot of research required, no. When I am doing research, I balance it about equally between Internet and books. On the net, I try to stick with more academic sites so that I can be fairly certain of the accuracy, and I’m always careful to make sure that I’m able to back up any unusual tidbit that I find through another site.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Ooh, that would be telling! *blush* Seriously, there was this certain actor/character in a now-defunct TV series that I was totally in lust with...one idea led to another, and...well, suffice it to say there’s rather a lot of me invested in my heroine! *sigh*

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

I loved writing the kids in this book. While none of the incidents are real, the overall personalities were based very much on my own experiences as a mother, and it was huge fun reliving my kids’ earlier years.

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?

It varies from story to story. Sometimes my characters are really cooperative and just unfold nicely...other times it’s like conducting an interrogation. I often put myself into a character’s pov and write a monologue type of interview to get a little closer to him/her. Recently I’ve been playing with goal/motivation/conflict charts and that helps a lot with figuring out what drives a character. As for the effect of research, I’d say that’s what inspires a lot of a character’s back story...the more I know about what I’m writing, the more alive a character becomes.


Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Too many to name! My current favorites are Charlaine Harris (of the Sookie Stackhouse series), J.R. Ward, and Patricia Briggs...their world-building skills are awe-inspiring and drive me to reach for the stars when I’m doing my own writing.

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

Definitely using the Internet. While I wasn’t particularly adept with or interested in technology a couple of years ago, I like to think I’m realistic about trends and opportunities, and I could see that the virtual world was becoming the way of the marketing future. There is no better way in the world to get information out to the most possible people in the shortest possible time – and the romance readers’ and writers’ world on the net is, to quote Nicholas in A Fairy Tale for Gwyn, “Ginormous!”

What do we have to look forward next?

Hopefully a whole series of dark paranormal suspense involving heavenly treason, a pending Apocalypse, and really, really hot angels! Book one is complete and with my agent at this point, so now it’s a matter of patience on my part...but you can bet that when I have news, it will be on both my Website (http://www.lindapoitevin.com) and my blog (http://www.darkangelauthor.blogspot.com) – and announced on Facebook if any readers would like to friend me there!

Thanks, Linda!

Thank you for having me! I thoroughly enjoyed getting all this off my chest...and I’m thinking it was not only cheaper but much more fun than therapy!

To celebrate her book release, Linda is offering a free book of A Fairy Tale for Gwyn (in the winner’s choice of print or PDF file) 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...

Linda Poitevin lives with her husband, three daughters, and a varied collection of animals. In her spare time, she gardens (organically), cans and freezes the family’s winter fruit and vegetable supply, knits (basically), crochets (better), and starts way more projects than she ever finishes. (Fortunately that doesn’t hold true of her books!) She loves spending time with her family, having coffee with friends, walking by the river and watching thunderstorms…in about that order.

Check out author’s website at www.lindapoitevin.com. Buy www.thewildrosepress.com

Thursday, April 22, 2010

WRITING TIP OF THE MONTH

Due to the fact we're all at our local conference and can't moderate the list today, we're bringing you a special feature by two of our dear friends.


WRiTING TIP OF THE MONTH
By Connie Flynn & Linda Style

BASIC POINTS TO REMEMBER FOR
YOUR FIRST THREE PAGES
GMC - Goal, motivation and conflict.
Your protagonist must have a worthy goal (what he plans to accomplish during the
book).He must have believable motivation to want to carry out his goal and there
must be stress-inducing conflict. Without conflict, there is no story. These things
belong in the first three pages, not necessarily fully developed, and all belong
in the first three chapters. How soon you get to some of them depends on the type
of story you're writing.

Once you have these three elements identified, you can move on. I should add that
sometimes I start with only a vague idea of what one or all of the GMC might be,
and if I just start writing, it helps me uncover what they are.

Points for the first three pages include:

1. Start with important action - an unpublished writer doesn't have the luxury of
building up to your conflict. Something should happen immediately to hook the reader.
Every story should have a hook.
2. Develop your conflict as soon as possible- things need to be stressful. If life
is too easy for your characters, you will not hold the readers' attention.
3. Make promises-and keep them. Romance readers want romance; mystery readers expect
a good puzzle. Hint at things to come and then deliver.
4. Develop a main character your reader can identify with, worry about, and root
for.
6. Let the reader know up front what's at stake. What's the conflict? what stands
to be lost?
7. Establish the setting - Let the reader know where we are and when, and use it
to enhance the emotion.
8. The beginning must foreshadow the conclusion. Your story is not a random series
of events. All activities are carefully linked together. All plot elements must
intertwine with one another. It really helps to have an idea of the ending before
you begin...even if it changes.
9. Set the pace - to some degree, the genre will set it for you. Generally, historical romances are more leisurely, suspense moves faster.
10. Don't digress. Everything mentioned in your book must have a reason for being
there. If it doesn't advance the story line, it shouldn't be in the book. this includes gratuitous love scenes, red herrings and plot twists that don't ultimately tie in.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Adding a Favicon to Your Web Site

I thought I would share a little trick to add a bit of zip to your site. Do you like those little icons on the side of a company or person's web address when you search on the internet? It's alot easier than it looks! Here are the steps to create your own favicon image to your web site.

Creating the Image
  1. Create a 16x16 pixel image that you would like through a graphics software.
  2. Try to keep your icon simple and clear since it will be very small.
  3. Use as few colors as possible. Most browser can display 256 colors, but its best to use the Windows 16 colors.
  4. Save this image once you're happy with how it looks.
Creating the Icon
  1. There are several free favicon generators. I've used http://www.htmlkit.com/services/favicon/ several times with no problem. You upload your image and the site generates the favicon for you.
  2. Download the generated code.
  3. You'll have to probably unzip the file. Remember where you saved your favicon.
Include the icon in your web pages
  1. Publish the icon into the root directory of your web site .This is the location IE or Firefox will look for your favicon when a person bookmarks your site.
  2. To ensure the browser finds your icon, you need to include the html code the site gives you. This needs to be placed between the beginning and ending 'head' tags. It would be best to place it closer to the ending tag.
  3. Save your web page and upload it to your site.
  4. If you want to create different icons for different pages, you need to call them something other than favicon.ico. Make sure though, that you keep the suffix of .ico.
  5. Link to them in your pages in the same way as you did previously, just changing the href location for the different icons.
If you run into problems there is a wealth of knowledge and help on the internet. Enjoy!

Carol from Firebird Web Designs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

FOR WRITERS: Research Link for Minerals (Gemstones)

I'm writing book two in THE ELVEN LORDS series, THE STORM LORD'S DAUGHTER, and I have an elven lady whose magic is with gemstones. Her main ability is to enspell jewels but she is certainly capable of 'creating' her own gems with her magic. But that would require more energy than just digging them up from the earth. And besides, each of the seven sovereignties that the elven lords created in England has been changed according to their magical gifts. So, I needed to know what gemstones she could unearth that were native to England, thereby altering the landscape.


So, all stop on the manuscript and off to hunt down the information. I should say at this point that although I change England with magic, which gives me more leeway with history than a straight historical author, I still need to know the facts before I change them. When I alter something, I don't wish to do it out of ignorance, but with purpose. Call me picky, but I do like to keep the historical aspects of my books as real for my readers as I possibly can. So what gemstones can be unearthed from England? I tried all sorts of search words (which is the key when searching the internet) from natural minerals to lapidary England. Finally I thought of the term, mineralogy and bazinga! I hit the jackpot with this site:






It's amazing! Not only can you search the site for all the minerals found in England (or anywhere else in the world), but you can narrow it down by city/county etc. And each mineral has a photo and description, when it was named, chemical breakdown (I didn't need this, but it was cool!), etc. You might have to look up the definition of each mineral to find out what it was used for, whether to make concrete or pottery, but many of the minerals that were used for gemstones you would recognize by name.



I discovered that quartz is the most common mineral in England (and the world) so I had my answer for my book, and passing this on to save my fellow writers some research time (or hey, to those that love to look at pics of gorgeous stones).

Monday, April 19, 2010

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Joder. You're the winner of Theresa's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail.com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Only a few days left....

Kim Watters here. I have a contest running on my website now for my latest release, my Steeple Hill romance, ON WINGS OF LOVE. You can actually even enter through this blog. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. One lucky person who receives my newsletter will win the necklace pictured to the left. The deadline is April 30 so don't delay.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Interview with Theresa Meyers

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Theresa Meyers. 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 for the invitation!

I understand you have a new release out called A Vampire’s Mistress. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The blurb says it best.

Six years ago Gabriel Forrester gave his life--literally--for Marina DeMornay, choosing to become a vampire to be with her. Then Marina was compelled to become mistress to a vampire prince...and Gabriel disappeared when she needed him the most.

But when Marina's consort is killed and she's captured, Gabriel is sent by the Vampire High Council to rescue her...and they become bound together even more strongly than before. With their enemies still on the loose, can Marina and Gabriel put the past behind them long enough to save both vampires and humanity from their enemies and reclaim the passion they once shared?

A Vampire’s Mistress is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?


I’m almost embarrassed to tell you. The Nocturne authors have their own website www.nocturnauthors.net and we occasionally chat with each other online. At one point we were talking about how our editors were asking for titles with the actual word vampire in them and how we could go about making them more interesting. Someone brought up using more “Harlequin inspired” titles and we started throwing out ideas to the tune of the Vampire Cowboy Billionare’s Mistress’ Secret Baby. I decided on A Vampire’s Mistress because my heroine is the consort of a vampire prince, against her wishes and the hero in a way saves her from that. Based on this, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the next story I’m working on at the moment is currently titled The Vampire Half-Breed.


What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal in real life. My mother was an alternative type of person and we grew up believing in things like elves. Of course it helped that she actually stuck a tape recorder under my bedroom window with their little voices talking while she was reading me a bedtime story. I didn’t find out about that until I was an adult, so for the longest time the belief in something other than what we can see was firmly grounded in my world. I’ve always been into fairies, ghosts and tend to be more nature-based in my philosophies of life. It took just a shove to the edge of dark, and the offer of a book contract, to get me more involved in writing vampires, weres, demons and dark angels.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The idea for A Vampire’s Mistress actually happened back in 2005 when I traveled from Seattle to Sicily to visit family. As part of our tour of the island we scoured the steps of Tourmina, we trekked to see the amazing mosaics in the historic ruins of the Roman Villa del Casale, a summer getaway from the third to fourth century B.C. We took a tour of the Duomo in Palermo, and we traveled through the famed catacombs that lie beneath the Capuchin Monastery filled with mummies and the remains from as far back as the 1600’s.

Now you might think a catacomb full of thousands of bodies is creepy. You’d be right. It is. But it’s also fascinating enough to make it a prime tourist destination. There’s a section filled with virgins clothed in their unused wedding finery of various centuries. More macabre is the children’s section, and in particular a little girl so well preserved she looks like a baby doll, down to her fine eyelashes and the pink satin bow in her brown curls. There are skeletons in frock coats and gloves and monks in cassocks. All in all hardly a place where you’d think to set a romance.

But my writer’s brain found it all so fascinating I couldn’t help but think of what would happen if you were being chased through the catacombs. Who would be chasing you and why? And that’s how A Vampire’s Mistress started.

Do you have any favorite paranormal research books or sites, and why?

Not really. I poke around the Internet but a lot of what comes out in the stories has more of a biological bent to it so I’m just as likely to go digging through an old copy of a college biology or chemistry book as I am to look up old city maps.

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

I’m always a sucker for my own heroes. From the moment Gabriel popped into my head I really liked him. He’s the strong-silent type of alpha who thinks a lot and is loyal to a fault. His actions always speaker louder than his words. His first instinct is to protect those around him regardless of the cost to him personally. Plus he was willing to give up everything, literally even his own life, just for the chance to be with Marina. I mean, who wouldn’t want a guy like that?

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?

I’m afraid that’s a little strange too! Usually I’ll start off with a character’s name and “run the numbers on them” as my mother called it. Basically it’s using numerology to find out the characteristics of an individual based on his or her name. It gives me a really rough starting point to know the character’s deepest motivation, how they see themselves and how others see them. Sometimes I’ll look up a more common name in You Are Your First Name. Then, using the number from the character names I’ll look up the certain characteristics I’ve matched those numbers to in the book The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes which gives me an additional layering to the character. Finally I find out when their birthday is and use Linda Goodman’s Love Signs to see how two people in a relationship with similar astrological signs would behave. If I’m still stuck on a character, I’ll go back to my early journalism training and interview him or her. For my vampires, I keep a running list of characteristics so no two are exactly alike.

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

I have a list of attributes for my world I’m continuously adding to. I’ve got not only the words I’ve used to create certain things, but the society structure, any rules or laws they live by, the scents that accompany certain emotions that they can smell. Basically just stuff so I’m consistent in my stories set in this world. In my vampire mythology vampirism is caused by a virus. Some of the stories revolve around human’s reaction to this knowledge and their efforts to stop the spread of the virus and reverse it.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

There are lots of authors I love to read, but to be perfectly honest I didn’t read ANY vampire fiction at all until after I started writing it. Not even Twilight. I’d read the Harry Potter series, and Eragon, loved television shows like X-Files, Dark Angel and Supernatural.

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

Because it’s a novella, an a e-book, probably being part of the Silhouette Nocturne Authors blog and the Paranormal Romance Blog that’s run by Harlequin has been the biggest help to date. Of course twittering about vampires and catacombs doesn’t hurt either.


What do we have to look forward next?

Right now I’m working on more stories set in this same vampire world. I’ve got two Nocturnes, The Truth About Vampires, out March 2011 and The Vampire Who Loved Me out in June 2011. Both take place in the Cascade Clan, in the Seattle area and make use of the well-known Seattle Underground as the home base for these vampires.

Thanks, Theresa!

To celebrate her book release, Theresa is offering a free copy of her book, A Vampire’s Mistress, 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...


A former book publicist, an American Title II finalist, and now a full-time writer, Theresa has seen multiple facets of the industry on her path to becoming a multi-published romance author. She currently writes for Harlequin Nocturne and Diversion Books.

Visit her online at Facebook at Theresa Meyers, author or find her twittering at www.twitter.com/Theresa_Meyers

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

Buy A Vampire’s Mistress from eharlequin at www.bit.ly/AVampireMiss.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bootcamp for Novelists-April/May Classes

Connie's Courses

APRIL 4/25 TO 5/22

8B DEVELOPING STORY IDEAS
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.

FEE: $25
ENROLL NOW! http://bootcampfornovelists.com/current-courses.html

2B PLOT DEVELOPMENT
Some people believe that stories come from a magical realm and simply float down to
some lucky writers. But could it be possible that given a character with a goal
who faces conflict that you can give them situations that make your story sing? This
course shows you how. You'll learn to use a story question to test your premise and guide your book. You'll learn how to break your story into four boxes and what plot points to put in those boxes. Effective plotting guarantees a page turner and that's the aim of this course.

FEE: $25

ENROLL NOW! http://bootcampfornovelists.com/current-courses.html

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Desert Dreams Booksigning

ROMANCE AUTHORS BOOK SIGNING
Saturday April 17, 2010 - 5:45 pm to 7 pm
Chaparral Suites Resort
5001 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale AZ 85250

NYT and USA Today best selling authors, gathered for the DESERT DREAMS 2010 WRITERS CONFERENCE in Scottsdale, join local authors on Saturday, April 17, 2010, to autograph their latest releases at the Chaparral Suites Resort, in the Conference building at the eastern end of the complex. This event is open to the public. Come meet among others: Linda Lael Miller, Vicky Lewis Thompson, Robin Lee Hatcher, Diana Gabaldon, Carla Neggers, Sharon Sala, Jennifer Ashley, Jodi Thomas, Connie Flynn, Linda Style, Erin Quinn, Laurie Schnebly-Campbell, Vijaya Schartz, Cathy McDavid, Susan Yarina, Stacy Goitia, Beth Kendrick, Deborah Leblanc, Toni McGee Causey, Peggy Parsons, screenwriters and authors Brad Schreiber from Storytech, Kate Herbert, and many more...

More information on the conference at: http://www.desertroserwa.org

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chapter 1 of THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER

The Fire Lord's Lover
Book One of The Elven Lords
Copyright @ 2010 by Kathryne Kennedy

      The link between the world of man and Elfhame had sundered long ago, the elven people and their magic fading to legend. Tall beings of extraordinary beauty, the fae preferred a world of peace. But seven elves—considered mad by their own people—longed for power and war. They stole sacred magical scepters, created their dragon-steeds, and opened the gate to the realm of man again and flew through.
       Each elf carved a sovereign land within England, replacing the baronies that had so recently been formed by William the Conqueror. They acquired willing and unwilling slaves to serve in their palaces and till their lands. And fight their wars. Like mythical gods they set armies of humans against each other, battling for the right to win the king, who'd become nothing more than a trophy. They bred with their human slaves, producing children to become champions of their war games.
      The elven lords maintained a unified pact, using the scepters in a united will to place a barrier around England, with only a few guarded borders open to commerce. Elven magic provided unique goods and the world turned a blind eye to the plight of the people, persuaded by greed to leave England to its own, as long as the elven did not seek to expand their rule into neighboring lands.
      But many of the English people formed a secret rebellion to fight their oppressors. Some of the elven's children considered themselves human despite their foreign blood and joined the cause. And over the centuries these half-breeds became their only hope.

London, England, 1724
       The people lining the streets of London cheered while General Dominic Raikes rode to his doom. Not that they had any idea what awaited him at Firehame palace, and if they did, he doubted they would care. He resembled the elven lord too much for that. Yet he had won the final battle and they hailed him as their champion despite his elven white hair and pointed ears.
      Young women threw flowers from upper-story windows, the petals flickering through the air like snow and coating the dusty streets with color. Gray skies covered the sun and in some places the buildings nearly met above the streets, further shadowing the rider's passage with gloom. The glass-fronted shops had been locked up as their owners joined the throng in the streets: painted harlots, street urchins, costermongers, servants, and the occasional prosperous Cit, distinguishable by his white wig. The fishy smell of the Thames overlay the stench of the streets as his troops approached Westminster Bridge.
       Over the murky waters the flaming turrets of Firehame palace beckoned Dominic onward.
       He shook back his war braids and straightened his spine and glanced back at his men. They had cleaned their red woolen coats as best they could, and lacking wigs, had powdered their hair to resemble the elven silver white. They had polished their boots and buttons, brushed their cocked hats. Despite their stern faces, Dominic could see the glitter of pride in their eyes and nodded his approval at them. They returned his gesture with wary respect.
       Dominic turned and sighed. They were brave, good men, every one. Some he owed his victory and life to. He would like to oversee their promotions himself but it would be too dangerous. He didn't know the personal life of a single man, nor did they know of his. Dominic had grown used to his solitary existence, yet sometimes he regretted the necessity of it.
       The hooves of his horse met the road at the end of the bridge with a crunch of pebbles. The noise of the crowd faded as they neared the open gates of Firehame palace. Red flame jutted from the top of the stone pillars flanking the entrance, danced along the outlying curtain walls.
       Dominic halted his mount for the span of a breath, studying his home with the unfamiliar gaze of one after a long absence. Elven magic had tinted the stone walls a glossy, brilliant red. Warm yellow flame slithered up the stone, whorled over the buttresses, making the entire structure shimmer in his sight. The towers soared above the three-storied palace and Dominic's black eyes quickly sought out the tallest, looking for a flicker of wing, a jet of red fire. But he could see no sign of the dragon and so flicked his reins, urging his horse into the courtyard.
       Dominic wanted nothing more than a bath and then the quiet of his garden or the sanctuary of the dragon's tower. He knew he wouldn't manage any of his comforts until he'd been tested in fire.
       He thrust away the memory of pain and dismounted, feeling his face turn to stone, his body conform to rigid military posture as he crossed the paved courtyard and ascended the steps into the opulence of Firehame palace. Several of his officers followed, although many decided to forgo the privilege of coming to the attention of the Imperial Lord of the sovereignty of Firehame.
      The back hallways they marched through displayed the magic and wealth of the elven lord. Delicate tapestries that rewove their pictures every few minutes covered the walls, and thick rugs of rippling ponds and bottomless chasms carpeted the floors. Dominic breathed in the scent of candle wax, perfume, and elfweed, ignoring the portraits framed in gold with their moving eyes that followed their passage. At the end of summer the air in the corridor still felt chill against his cheeks. His ears rang from the silence.
       Then Dominic opened the door leading to the great room and the thunder of applause broke that brief moment of quiet. He paused, waiting for his men to compose themselves, then started down the middle of the enormous room through the crowd of gentry that awaited them.
      Fluted columns lined the sides of the hall, capped with ornately carved capitals that supported archways even more ornately carved with golems, gremlins, and gargoyles. Courtiers milled between the stone supports, a riot of colorful silk skirts and gold-trimmed coats. Full court wigs of powdered white sparkled with the addition of the ground stone the nobles used to imitate the silver luster of elven hair. Buckled shoes flashed with diamonds; ceremonial swords sparkled with ruby and jet.
       The smell of perfume became overwhelming and Dominic suppressed the urge to sneeze. He kept his gaze fixed on his goal, the dais of gold where the elven lord Mor'ded waited, but he caught the faces of the courtiers from the corners of his eyes. The lustful gazes of women—and more than a few men—followed his every movement. Despite their fear of the elven, humans could not resist their beauty, and Dominic had inherited more elven allure than his half blood warranted.
       When he reached the Imperial Lord's throne, Dominic stared at Mor'ded for longer than he intended. Silvery white hair cascaded past broad shoulders in a river broken only by the tips of the elven lord's pointed ears. Black, fathomless eyes stared coldly into Dominic's own, the expression robbing them of their almost crystalline brilliance. Smooth, pale skin glistened like the finest porcelain over high cheekbones and strong chin. A full mouth, straight nose, high brow.
       When Dominic looked at the Imperial Lord, he might as well have been gazing into a mirror of his future, for although his father must be over seven hundred years old, he did not look a day over five-and-thirty. And despite the thickness of his elven blood, Dominic aged at a normal human pace. In ten years, Dominic would look like the man before him.
       Dominic dropped to one knee and bowed his head, war braids dangling beside his cheeks and eyes fixed on the marble floor. A wave of silence rolled across the room until he could hear nothing but the breathing of his men and the rustle of the ladies' silk skirts. "I have won the king, my lord."
       At his words, the room erupted in applause again and Dominic stood, gazing at his father, hoping to see a glimmer of pride in those cold black eyes. He had fought for years to achieve such acknowledgement.
       Imperial Lord Mor'ded smiled, revealing even white teeth, and cut his hand through the air, signaling the court to silence. He stood with a grace no human could possess and stepped down from the dais, one hand wrapped around the black scepter that enhanced his magic. Dominic's eyes flicked to the rod, the runes carved upon it swirling momentarily in his sight before he quickly looked away.
       As a child he'd been constantly hungry. He'd been stealing food off the sideboard in the grand dining room when his father and court had entered. He'd hidden under the table and his father had sat, the triangular-shaped head of the scepter jutting beneath the crisp white linen. Dominic didn't know what made him reach out and stroke the forbidden talisman, for everyone knew only one of true elven blood could hold it without being flamed to ash. But he hadn't tried to wield it, had only touched it, and since then he couldn't look at it without feeling strange. As if the thing possessed a conscious awareness of him. It bothered him that he had such a fanciful thought.
       Mor'ded reached his side and placed his other hand on Dominic's shoulder. The chill of his long fingers penetrated the heavy wool of Dominic's coat. "After a hundred years the king will finally be returned to his rightful place. Thanks to my son, the champion of all Firehame."
       Applause thundered again. The elven lord's words echoed in Dominic's ears. His father had publicly acknowledged him as his son. Fierce pleasure rose in Dominic's chest and he had to force himself to concentrate on Mor'ded's next words.
       "General Raikes has defeated Imperial Lord Breden's forces and we have won the ultimate trophy—King George and his royal court. London will again be the center of taste and fashion. The sovereignty of Firehame will house the man who decides what color breeches you wear."
       A ripple of excited pleasure ran through the courtiers and Dominic stared coldly at the assemblage. Did they not hear the disdain in his father's voice? Did they not understand the mockery toward the king who should be their rightful ruler?
       Mor'ded's fingers tightened on Dominic's shoulder, and the elven lord's magic shivered through his spine. Dominic forced himself to relax under the painful grip. It did not matter if the ton understood or not. They could do nothing about it, anyway.
       "Tonight we will feast in my son's honor."
       His fingers gave Dominic one last painful squeeze before he released his grip and climbed back up on his dais. With a flourish of his scepter, Mor'ded filled the long great room with sparkling white fire, the flames harmlessly bouncing off the wigs of the men and the silk skirts of the ladies. The courtiers laughed and wove their bodies through the magic, and Dominic watched them with hooded eyes until his father grew tired of amusing his playthings.
       When Mor'ded swept the skirts of his red silk coat through the door behind the throne, Dominic followed, resisting the sudden urge to draw his sword and run it through his father's back.
       He'd tried it once. It had cost him the life of his best friend.
       His father lit their way through the gloomy passage with white fire that slithered on the ceiling above them. Dominic knew most of the passageways behind the walls of the palace. He'd spent hours as a youth exploring them. This particular one led from the throne to Mor'ded's private chambers, and branched off only once by means of a tunnel that his father told him twisted far beneath the palace, finally opening onto an entrance to the fabled land of Elfhame. Of course, only a chosen one could pass into that land, and Dominic had still failed to prove worthy. They both ignored the heavily warded door blocking the tunnel as they continued on to the end of the passage.
       Mor'ded opened the door to his chamber and Dominic followed him into the room and suppressed a shudder. Very few people were allowed into the Imperial Lord's private chamber, and he didn't count himself lucky to be one of them. The walls glowed with iridescent color, a copy, Mor'ded had once told him, of the truly living walls of his old rooms in his homeland of fabled Elfhame. Plants grew in the corners of the room, pale pink pods that occasionally liked to dine on warm meat through some corrosive process Dominic didn't want to understand. A striated crystal sat next to the double doors that led out onto a balcony broad enough for a dragon to land. The stone picked up the color of the gray skies and threw it into the room. Large enough for a table, and yet shaped like a cone, the crystal held a hole in the top of it that Mor'ded often slipped his scepter into.
       Chairs that resembled flower petals, a bed that could be some sort of deformed swan, and a desk that snapped closed like the jaws of some great beast completed the room.
       Dominic always felt displaced here, as if a part of his mind rejected the surroundings. But then again, he'd become quite skilled at projecting his mind out of his body. It was the only way he'd survived the trials with his sanity intact.
       Mor'ded slid into one of his petal-chairs, the scepter carelessly laid across his lap. He liked to play with Dominic a bit before he began, taunting him to display any human weakness.
       "You used magic to gain your victory."
       Dominic clasped his hands behind his back and widened his stance. No use in denying it. He'd seen the shadow of the dragon hovering over the battlefield, his father atop the great beast, enjoying the sight of the games. "I used it to save the lives of my men."
       That handsome mouth crooked, so like Dominic's own. "It looked to be quite a firestorm."
       Dominic shrugged.
       Mor'ded shifted, the swish of his silk coats loud in the silent room. "Breden is furious, of course. He says we should not allow any of our bastards to play in the games. Indeed, that we should cull any of those possessing the slightest degree of power."
      Dominic kept his face impassive. He did not doubt that the elven lords would destroy all their offspring on a whim, for he knew of their madness better than anyone. "One of Breden's bastards tried to quench my fire with a wave of water from the Bristol Channel."
       "Which I pointed out to Breden," replied Mor'ded. He waved a graceful hand. "It matters not what he says. His pride has been injured by the loss of the king. He had become complacent, and we elven must never succumb to that human weakness, eh, Dominic?"
       "Never, my lord."
       "Aah, but it makes me wonder. Have I allowed myself to become complacent?" Mor'ded leaned forward, his glittering eyes intent on his son's face, baiting him with the agony of anticipation.
       Dominic clenched his teeth.
       Mor'ded collapsed back in his chair, the petal swaying with his laughter, a ringing song emanating from the depths of the flower. "You were one of my greatest mistakes, and yet a most amusing one. We elven procreate with you animals so rarely, and yet a brief rut with a common kitchen maid produced a bastard with enough of my blood to bear a marked resemblance to me. And sometimes I swear your heart is all elven." He shook his head, pale locks winking with silver. "Still, who knew that when I saw you fighting with the other kitchen boys and threw you into the game you would rise to claim the king one day? Not I."
       "You've taught me well, Father."
       "Indeed. And now we must again test your worthiness. You know what has to come, do you not?"
       Dominic lifted his chin.
       His father stood, the scepter held before him with both hands, calling on the additional power the talisman gave him. "There is no other way to be sure of your power. Defend yourself, boy." And he unleashed the black flame.
       It engulfed Dominic with a hiss and a scream, licking at his feet, shivering down his arms. His clothes appeared unaffected by the flame, and yet he felt them melting into his flesh, fusing into him. His skin still looked whole, and yet he felt it searing into ash. The black flame only burned in the mind, but ah, even the worse for that. He gritted his teeth and vowed that this time, he would not fall. His own little game he always played against his father.
       Dominic held up his hands, his own magic instinctively responding to the assault. White, blue, gray—he could call the entire spectrum of fire magic except for the black, but only the red fire did any damage, and his father easily squelched the blaze before it could sizzle the tiny fibrous hairs off his monstrous plants.
       "Come on, lad. You can do better than that," said Mor'ded. And increased the magic twofold.
       Dominic gasped for breath. The blackness slid down his throat and into his lungs, charring them until he could not breathe. The pain he could withstand, but the suffocation always defeated him. He dropped to one knee. His magic flared again and he imagined he felt the power of the black fire within him, the flame that burned only in the mind. Dominic tried to call it forth, but as always, nothing happened.
       He always forgot how bad the pain could be. How could he forget?
       Dominic had been wounded in battle many times. His men whispered that his elven blood made him impervious to pain. They did not know his mind had been tempered in fire, that the cut of a sword or sting of a bullet seemed a minor ache compared to the agony of his father's magic.
       And Dominic knew he couldn't possess the power of black fire, as much as he wished for it. The gift would have been revealed when he reached puberty, when any elven powers first appeared, and he would have been sent to Elfhame with the rest of the chosen children. Only those with small magics stayed in the human world.
       Yet his father continued to test him again and again, as if he suspected his son held stronger power as well. Or perhaps Mor'ded just enjoyed torturing him.
       Dominic's lungs began to falter, his breath reduced to no more than a strangled wheeze of agony. His other knee collapsed and he fell to all fours, cursing his weakness. Cursing his father.
       And suddenly the burning fire ceased.
       Blessedly cool air caressed his cheeks and he sucked in a deep breath. Dominic resisted the urge to run his hands over his face, his hair--to reassure himself that he stood unharmed as he'd done the first time he'd endured one of his father's trials. Mor'ded had laughed at him and Dominic had vowed never to give the man the satisfaction of that pleasure again.
       Dominic rose with elven grace.
       Mor'ded studied him with narrowed eyes. "No elf could withstand such pain and not instinctively call forth his own magic in defense. Again you've proven how truly weak you are…and yet…"
       Dominic let out a tired sigh. He did not bother using the blue healing fire. His body might be whole, but it always took some time for his mind to heal from the memory of the pain. And he rarely used so much of his power; he felt tired unto death. "Either destroy me completely or allow me to leave. I'm half human, you know."
       "Indeed, indeed." Mor'ded chuckled, lifted his scepter and the door of his chamber flew open with a breath of fire. "You look so elven I forget you're half animal. Go lick your wounds, then. I want you rested for the feast tonight, and of course, your marriage tomorrow."
       Dominic halted in midstep. He had forgotten the date. Easy to do, since he'd almost forgotten what his intended looked like. He'd met Lady Cassandra a few times and could only recall a plain wisp of a girl with brownish hair and eyes. "Is it tomorrow, then? I suppose it's best to get it over with."
       Mor'ded rolled the scepter between his palms, his black eyes glittering. "It will make the humans happy, seeing my son wed to one of their finest aristocrats. And who knows? Perhaps you will breed true and produce another champion."
       Dominic sighed. Fatigue shrouded him and it took all of his will to pick up his feet and put one before the other again. He had realized years ago that it would be pointless to fight the destiny his father had forced upon him. If Mor'ded wanted him to take a wife and breed champions, so be it.
       It mattered only that Dominic never allowed them to be used against him.
       When he left Mor'ded's room his feet took him to the tower stairs and not his own chambers. Halfway up the curving staircase a wave of nausea overtook him and he allowed himself a brief moment of weakness. In the dark, where none could see. He felt again the searing of his flesh and the constriction of his lungs. Sweat broke out on his forehead while his body trembled in wave upon wave of remembered pain. But he gritted his teeth against the sobs that threatened to rise from his chest and for a brief moment pictured his father's slim neck between his battle-hardened hands.
       He thrust the futile image away and began to climb again. The elven lord could level London if he so chose. Dominic's strength would never be a match against Mor'ded's and he'd been forced to accept that.
       But he had won a victory today. He'd made his father proud enough to call him son before the entire court. Dominic would grasp that slender victory, as he'd grasped even smaller accomplishments over the years.
       He shoved open the wooden door and stepped out onto the flat roof of the tower. Humid air caressed his skin; a light breeze swept his silver hair against his cheeks. The metallic smell of the dragon teased his nose and he glanced across the rooftop at the huge beast.
       Ador raised his black-scaled head and blinked at Dominic, his red eyes glowing even in the overcast day. Strange eyes, with elongated pupils with black lines radiating from them, separating the red color like pieces of a pie. The dragon's leatherlike wings lay tucked against his sides, appearing deceptively small against his long, sinuous body.
       Dominic removed his woolen coat and spread it out in his usual place at the base of a merlon and sat, his back against the stone. He leaned his head against the hard surface and closed his eyes with a sigh of utter weariness.
       The dragon shifted. Dominic heard it in the slide of scale on stone, felt it in the tremble of the floor beneath his feet. It had once frightened him, the sheer size of the beast. But no more. He'd gotten used to the beast and Ador…well, the dragon had finally managed to tolerate him.
       "Do you remember the first time I came up here, Ador?" Dominic didn't wait for the dragon to answer. He rarely received a response to his musings. But for Dominic it was enough that someone listened. "Father had tested my magic by burning Mongrel to ashes. He was a good dog and a loyal friend. I didn't think I'd ever forgive myself for not having enough magic to protect him."
       The pungent smell of the Thames swept across the tower, even at this height, and for a moment, Dominic thought he could hear the muffled sounds of the city below them.
       "It was the first time I realized I could no longer allow myself to care for anyone. Man nor beast. For Father would always use them to test my magic." Dominic blocked the images of those who had suffered because of him. He'd found it much easier to bear the pain himself. "But my human weakness for companionship made me think of you. All alone, atop your tower. And then I realized Father would never harm his dragon-steed. That I could care for you, at least. Even if you couldn't return the sentiment." Dominic cracked a hopeful eye. But Ador appeared to have fallen back to sleep, his lungs like a great bellows pumping beneath those black, shiny scales.
       Dominic sighed and allowed the solitude of their high perch to settle over him. The world seemed very far away up here. The wars, the court, his father, all dwindled to minute specks of matter. One final small tremor shook him, dispelling the last memory of pain. And when he spoke again his voice held the coldly rigid control it always did.
       "I have done well, in most respects, to be like my father. Remote and untouchable, concerned only with my own pleasure. But you know the truth of me, don't you, Ador? Whether you willed it or not, you've been forced to hear my true thoughts over the years." Dominic scrubbed a weary hand across his brow. "This elven face of mine is deceiving, for I've been cursed with an all-too-human heart."
       Ador snorted and his wing twitched, his only reaction to Dominic's damning statement. Ah, well. Dominic should consider that a remarkable response. Usually the dragon resembled nothing more than a still lump of shiny black coal.
       Dominic rose and arched his back, wincing at a stab of pain. Just an ordinary pain, though, from an old bullet wound in battle. He smiled with relief that it held none of the taint of black fire magic. "Are you aware I'm to be married on the morrow? A dangerous proposition, for one such as I. I almost feel sorry for the girl…but the aristocracy are used to being breeding stock, are they not?"
       He picked up his coat and slung it over his back. His mind felt settled again, the memory of the burning fading to a manageable degree. Dominic couldn't be sure if the dragon's quiet presence soothed him or if the release of his thoughts brought him peace. He knew only that he always healed faster atop the tower.
       He'd taken a few steps toward the door when the dragon's rumbling words stopped him.
       "I smell a change in the wind."
       Dominic turned and stared into those red eyes. "What do you mean?"
       Ador, of course, did not answer. He closed his eyes again and huffed a small stream of smoke through his nostrils.
       Dominic considered the implications of the dragon's words. Ador had once told him Father was mad. An obvious statement, it seemed, and yet those words had allowed Dominic to deal with his father time and again. So he did not think the dragon referred to something as simple as the coming of the king. Yet no matter how he twisted the statement around in his head, he could not fathom it.
      Ah, well. How could Dominic know the turnings of a dragon's mind? It would become clear in time…or until Ador chose to make it clear.
***
To meet Dominic's future bride, you can read chapter two at: http://www.kathrynekennedy.com

Monday, April 12, 2010

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

Congratulations Joye. You're the winner of laura's bag of goodies. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail..com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Famous Author Booksigning

Desert Dreams Conference
Booksigning
Open to the Public
Meet some of romances top writers such as Diana Gabaldon,
Linda Lael Miller, Sharon Sala,
Allyson James, Vicki Lewis Thompson,
Carla Neggers, Robin Lee Hatcher, Jodi Thomas,
and many more. (Full list below)
Saturday,
April 17, 5:45-7:00 PM
Scottsdale Chaparral Suites Resort
PM5001 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ
Full List of author's signing and selling their books:

Diana Gabaldon
Linda Lael Miller
Robin Lee Hatcher
Jennifer Ashley/Allyson James
Sharon Sala
Carla Neggers
Brad Schreiber
Kathryne Kennedy
Jodi Thomas
Toni McGee Causey
Vicki Gaia
Cassie Ryan
Rebecca L. Boschee
Katherine A. Herbert
Eileen Rendahl/Eileen Carr
Linda Style
Vicki Lewis Thompson
Lynne Marshall
Beth Kendrick
Deborah LeBlanc
Glynna Kaye
Laurie Schnebly Campbell
Christie Walker Bos
Stacy Cornell
Annette Mahon
Erin Quinn
C.C Harrison/Christy Hubbard
Cathy McDavid
Jeri Castronova
Susan C. Yarina
Gini Koch/Anita Ensal
Vijaya Schartz
Kim Watters
Drue Allen
Marie Harte
Mackenzie McKade
Ada Anbar
Michele Venne
Pinkie Paranya
Sharon Hooper
Kerrie Droban
Jannifer Hoffman
Vee F. Browne
Calista Fox
Evanell
Kris Tualla
Carrie Weaver
Tate McKenna
Donna Hatch

Many of these authors were interviewed at

Friday, April 9, 2010

Interview with Laura Breck

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Laura Breck. 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 release out called Secret Vegas Lives. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous book?


Thank you for having me here today. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to talk about my book. In Secret Vegas Lives, Dr. Valerie Kane is an eminent psychologist who is at the wrong place at the right time, and is mistaken for a blackmailer by fiction crime-writer Antonio Daniato. They both swear they’re not the blackmailer, but their suspicions keep them from exploring the intense attraction between them. When they learn to trust each other, the passion is red-hot. But there’s a reason they’re being blackmailed, and when they learn each other’s secrets, their perfect romance is torn apart.


Secret Vegas Lives is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?


Three times is the charm! The first name I had for the book was The Dance of Love, and under that title, it finaled in the More Than Magic contest. Then, with a lot of advice from writers, I changed the name to Las Vegas Strip. But when I contracted the book with Red Rose Publishing, they had a book with a similar name, and my editor and I worked together to come up with the final name. From what I've heard from other authors, name changes are common at publishing houses.


What made you decide to write in this genre?


I write contemporary romance/mysteries because I love telling a story that will sweep a reader away, take them completely out of their life and immerse them in whichever city they choose to visit; Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, Chicago. And I write a sweet/spicy romance. Sweet, because I believe in a physical relationship between two loving, committed adults, and that’s what I promote in my books. Spicy, because I like to write a detailed love scene, something to steam up a reader’s windows.


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


I'm a hardcore plotter. I write huge outlines, complete with entire scenes as they pop into my head, and dialogue that I want to remember to include. It's sometimes fifty pages, single-spaced, before I actually start writing the book. As an exercise, I started writing my work in progress without an outline. I made it through a few chapters before the compulsion overwhelmed me and made me write a complete outline. Old habits are hard to change!
Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?
I lived in Vegas for three years. The places in the book are real, and I’ve visited them, so my research consisted of remembering what restaurants looked like, and doing a little online research to make sure they were still in business. Vegas.com is a wonderful site for research, and a great place to book a trip, too!

My heroine in Secret Vegas Lives volunteers at a shelter. Since each of my books is partnered with a charity in the city in which it’s set, in Las Vegas, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Shade Tree Shelter, a shelter for women, children, and their pets. www.TheShadeTree.org

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?


After a wild Vegas bachelorette party, a friend said, "You should write a book about this." We talked about it on the cab ride back to the hotel, and a few months later, I had an outline. If you've ever been to Vegas, or want to learn more about the unique lifestyle there, you'd enjoy reading Secret Vegas Lives.


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


I love Antonio. He has such fascinating character flaws! He’s angry because he’s hiding a decadent secret, he feels unworthy of a good woman’s love because he can’t control his addiction. And he’s as hot and spicy as any character I’ve ever encountered. Yum!


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 have a 130 question backstory list for each character, which I've compiled over the years, and add to quite often. If anyone is interested in receiving a copy, please feel free to e-mail me through my website and I'll be glad to send it to you. I also use an archetype book to determine who the hero and heroine are, and how they interact. Then, as I create the outline and research the plot, I make changes to the characters' backstories. It's a very fluid style of development, and things can change at any time during the process.


Do you have any authors that inspired you?


Absolutely. Two great authors from my home state of Minnesota are LaVyrle Spencer and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I've met both of them, and was so excited to tell them how their writing has influenced my life.


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


Wonderful blog opportunities, such as this one, are a fabulous way to get my name out to to readers, and a fun way to share my journey as an author. I love chatting and answering questions on the blog, so please leave a comment for me.


What do we have to look forward next?


Antonio, from Secret Vegas Lives, is an Italian native, and his brother, artist Dante, is the hero of my second book, Scandalous L.A. Desires. Dante is notorious in L.A. for dating the most beautiful, famous celebrities. Lindsey Beauden is the president of her family’s charitable foundation, and when she gets an anonymous letter telling her she’d funding a project taught by an infamous womanizer--Dante--she wants to decide for herself if Dante is as bad as everyone says he is. Scandalous L.A. Desires is scheduled for a 2010 release.


Thanks, Laura!


Thank you for the fun interview.


To celebrate spring, Laura is offering a goodie bag of her promo items, and delicious Italian chocolate 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...

Bio.
One of the primary goals of my writing is to give readers a world into which they can escape the stress of life. And a fun read for lounging on the beach or cuddling up with a blanket and a cup of tea. ~Smart Women ~Sexy Men ~Seductive Romance.


Another goal is to make a difference in the world. That is why each of my books will sponsor a community program, and a percentage of my proceeds will be donated to that organization.


I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my family, and although I work a full-time job as a financial analyst for a professional sports team, I write every evening and weekend.


I am a member of Romance Writers of America's Speakers Bureau, and I enjoy leading workshops on E-publishing, Public Speaking for Writers, Group Blogging, and Marketing.


I hope to be a full-time writer one day soon, and I take classes in every aspect of writing, marketing, and publishing. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, Midwest Fiction Writers, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, ESPAN, and Elements of RWA.


I invite everyone to join my mailing list, which includes a monthly drawing for a great prize, at LauraBreck.com.
Secret Vegas Lives is available at RedRosePublishing.com and in Kindle version at Amazon.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interview with Christine Witthohn

I’d like to welcome our guest agent today, Christine Witthohn. 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.

Can you please give us a little information about your publishing background?

Since I was a little girl, the only thing I wanted to be when I grew up was: a doctor. I studied hard, triple majored (biology, chemistry and nursing), graduated with honors, and was headed to med school, when life threw me a curve ball. My father (and my rock) was diagnosed, treated, and lost his battle with cancer all within a three month period. From that moment on, my life plan changed (and, really, fell apart). I quickly came to the conclusion, maybe medicine wasn’t for me.

A big leap of faith later… I decided on doing something I loved – reading books. I researched the industry for four and a half years. During those 4+ years, I spent one week a month in NY for editor appointments (which I still do to this day), attended conferences, took classes/entertainment law seminars/contract law seminars (my hubby has his own firm and is a trial lawyer – this came in handy! And still does :).

Had I known then what I know now, would I have made the same decision? The answer: a resounding hell, yes!

How many clients do you have?

28 – I am always asked what my cap is. My answer: I don’t really have a cap per se. I am of the belief, if I can’t give 110% of my efforts or be there for my clients/teammates when they need me, I have too many clients.

How many agents?

One agent and three interns ☺

What other genres do you represent?

FICTION:

Romance – Contemporary, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Rom Coms, Mystery/Suspense
Children’s – Young Adult, Upper Middle Grade
Women’s Lit (must have a strong hook)
Mainstream Mystery/Suspense
Medical or Legal Fiction (something that hasn’t been done before)
Literary Fiction

NON-FICTION:

We are looking for specific NF – please see website for details.

What fees (if any) does your agency charge? What is your agency’s commission rate?

No fees. I use the standard rate of: 15% domestic, 20% foreign, 20% subsidiary.

What’s your response time for queries, partials and full manuscripts?

Ahhh. This is a trick question. It all depends on my clients and my travel schedule. Bottom line – clients come first. I only accept e-submissions, so my turn-around on queries: can be anywhere from one hour to four weeks (if I’m interested); and for partials and fulls: anywhere from two days to six weeks.

What new authors have you recently signed?

A music industry pro from LA (for a cozy mystery w/ romantic elements); a trial attorney from Philly (for a thriller); and a corporate attorney from New England (for a contemporary romance).

What new project made you grab for that hidden piece of chocolate in your pencil drawer?

Hmmm. It’s a toss up, but I’d probably have to say: the cozy mystery w/ romantic elements. The story grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go! And the sexual tension made me sweat/swear. I had to fight other agencies to get it, so I had to dip into my choco-stash a second time. ☺

What can an author do to grab your attention?

Dazzle and entertain me with a great story and crisp writing.

What houses have you recently sold to?

My last three sales have been to: Sourcebooks, Penguin, and Harlequin (single title).

What do you love/hate most about being an agent?

Negotiating a contract - I love scrapping about contract language. ☺ I dislike (I don’t like the word “hate”) the wait time on submissions. I’ve never been a particularly patient person… but this job has truly humbled me. Editors are overworked and often so overwhelmed with submissions, deadlines, edits, meetings, life, etc., sometime it takes them a while to get back to me. This can be difficult to explain to an eager or “green” author who thinks once you get an agent, a book contract will come the next week.

What trends do you see for the future of publishing?

We are already seeing most of these: publishers will become much more selective and buy fewer books; there will be a significant movement toward digital formats/e-books/self publishing; advances will keep dropping (esp. for debut or midlist authors); and authors will really have to hustle and market themselves more to keep their sales up and be competitive.

Any other chocolate nuggets you can give authors looking for representation?

The best advice I can give anyone is: Do Your Homework. Know the market (read books in the genre you write) and know your competition.

Thanks, Christine!

Check out the agent’s website at: www.bookcentsliteraryagency.com.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

FOR WRITERS: From manuscript to book-in-hand

Another writer asked me what she could expect after her book was accepted for publication, and I thought I would share that here. This is a timeline I put together for my very first book, so it should be helpful in that regard. Please be aware that it’s a general timeline only, and that mileage may vary greatly from one publisher to another. But still, I thought it might helpful to others to have some idea about what to expect.

ELEVEN MONTHS PRIOR
Request Author Blurbs—send rough manuscript
Email Editor ideas for marketing/cover/book blurbs

TEN MONTHS PRIOR
Complete Author Questionnaire rec’d with contract and email to editor
Publisher does preliminary work on cover

NINE MONTHS PRIOR
Receive initial edits, generally the major revisions.

EIGHT MONTHS PRIOR
Email to editor: Author Bio & Photo
Dedication, name under which book is to be copyrighted, any acknowledgments or author’s note to be included either before story or after.
Receive cover art

SEVEN MONTHS PRIOR
Sales Reps meet with Buyers and initial orders are made.
Receive line edits, now is the time to make any additional major revisions.

SIX MONTHS PRIOR
ARC’s are sent out from publisher for reviews

FIVE MONTHS PRIOR
Receive galleys, edit for minor revisions, small changes only (spelling, grammar etc.).

FOUR MONTHS PRIOR
Receive front matter, review for any corrections

THREE MONTHS PRIOR

TWO MONTHS PRIOR
Receive cover flats

ONE MONTH PRIOR
Receive author copies from publisher.

RELEASE DATE

Monday, April 5, 2010

And the winner is......

Congratulations Donna Delgrosso. You're the winner of Rebecca's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at ) hotmail.com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.