Thursday, September 30, 2010

October On-Line Class Writer U

October 18-29
MASTER CLASS: "Q Is For Query, A Is For Aaack!"
by Laurie Schnebly Campbell
$55 at

Prerequisite: Must have a project in mind to query

Why is it so hard to write a query letter? Well, because an author's entire career depends on the response!

Okay, maybe not, but that doesn't make the job any easier when a writer -- who routinely creates compelling prose -- is suddenly forced to create a compelling pitch. Chatting with the editor or agent for two hours in person might be simpler, but since that isn't always possible, it's important to have a sales tool which covers the same material in just 250 words. Find out how to craft a query letter for ANY set of circumstances:

* Approaching an editor/agent who judged your entry in a contest

* Pitching someone you met at a conference way back when

* Meeting 'em (by plan or accident) at a recent conference

* Picking someone at random (and why that's a last resort)

* Switching from non-fiction to fiction writing, or vice versa

* Capitalizing on a recent success with this (or any other) manuscript

Laurie Schnebly Campbell recognizes that most writers aren't the naturally outgoing type, which means their query letter has to work even harder. In this hands-on workshop (which includes full critiques for writers willing to share their work), she brings 25 years of advertising experience to the task of identifying what makes people want to buy a product -- any product -- and how to convince them YOURS is the one they want.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blending History With Fantasy

I love all the pomp and beauty and sometimes downright wickedness of history. Medieval, Tudor, Victorian or Georgian, there’s something both elegant and mysterious about every era that draws me in.

Although my books are primarily romances and therefore much of the research I do doesn’t wind up in my books, I still have to really have a sense and a feel for the era. When I start researching I’m often drawn to new topics, and have to force myself to stick with the subject that I need an answer to, or I’d never finish my next book. And some of the information I find may be historically accurate, but if my readers aren’t familiar with the concept, or that particular development in technology, I don’t use it, although I do try to be as accurate as possible. There’s also a certain style when writing historicals that I adhere to. Whenever I run across a word that seems too modern, I check it as often as possible.

I admire historians because there’s so much conflicting information, even from one reference book to another. I often have to choose which fact seems more likely. In many instances it’s a matter of not enough information surviving for a historian to make a judgment on, and they’re forced to come up with the best theory. And it seems like the more research I do, the more I realize I don’t know.

There’s a particular research book I used for the Victorian era that I think both readers and writers would enjoy. Filled with gorgeous photos, it presents factual information in a lively and entertaining manner. It’s titled, To Marry an English Lord, by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace.

In historicals you can have the uncertainty of an arranged marriage. Gentlemen were, for the most part, bound by morals and codes of conduct, a perfect recipe for dashing heroes. Ladies were raised to a certain standard of behavior, and women who rebelled or stepped out of this concept of what a woman should be make for an unusual heroine. Historicals provide the best setting for a Cinderella story (one of my favorite themes) where a poor woman can rise to the ranks of the rich.

The system of nobility makes for interesting conflict between the hero and heroine. And where else do you have such a plethora of nobility who make pleasure an art form? The balls, the fetes, the dinner parties. The elaborate clothing of silk and satin and gowns that transformed a lady into a princess. Tea and silver and crumpets and doilies. The horse races and garden parties and seaside resorts. Mansions glittering with gilt, marble floors, paintings of master artists, and sweeping staircases. There’s so such romance and elegance to the historical era that makes for great fantasy.

And when you’re writing what you love, and researching what fascinates you, it feels like magic.

Until Next Time,


Monday, September 27, 2010

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Robyn L. You're the winner of Beth's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Clutter is a Block

Clutter Will Block Your Writing!

I took this picture the day I spent a beautiful afternoon writing at my friend's cabin outside of Flagstaff, AZ. I love writing outside on gorgeous days. Unfortunately, it is still over 100 degrees in Phoenix right now. I am stuck indoors when I'm not teaching. So, where do I write?

I have been trying to find the answer to that myself. I tried Starbucks. On nice days I can sit outside on the porch, but then again it isn't nice yet and the music inside annoys me.

Sometimes I write at Barnes and Noble in their cafe. When I really need to get away, that is my first choice. There are two drawbacks though: the chairs are uncomfortable in the cafe and I can't take a drink into the area where they keep the more comfortable chairs. I need my coffee.

I have a comfortable chair in my living room and most days I will write in that chair while I play The Secret as background. Unfortunately, knowing there are areas of my home that need to be cleaned annoys me. Clutter can and will interfere with your thought processes. If you read about Feng Shui the books will tell you to clean up your clutter.

This weekend, I started to de-clutter my condo. My place isn't that bad, it's mainly my daughter's old room, which I have been trying to turn into an office and guest room. Also, I needed to clean out some storage in my own closet. So, where do you find the time?

Today, I multi-tasked. While judging a contest entry for my chapter, I shredded old documents I no longer needed. We are talking 3 garbage bags full of shredded material. Between every paragraph, I placed a few more sheets in the shredder. No, it did not interfere with my judging. In fact, it was a fantastic entry and received extremely high scores. While mulling over what to write on this blog, I have been cleaning out the shelf beneath my desk. Every time I walked near my desk lately I have felt closed in and horrible. Now that the area is clean, I feel good. I also made some room in my daughter's old closet for a plastic 8 drawer container. I used my trusty label maker to sort out much of my writing supplies, plus old warranties, stationary, etc.

I am by no means done, but I feel better and more productive now that I have made a big dent. What's next? I am going to pack up the clothing my daughter left behind and drop it off at her place the next time I visit. Surprise!! Sometimes you have to make yourself the priority. We tend to forget that when we have children. We are nurturers and we worry about their feelings. We have needs too and sometimes we need to weigh what is more important in any given situation. I decided my need to feel good in my own home outweighs her need for a free storage area for clothing she hasn't worn in two years.

I give you permission to stand up for yourself too. So, go de-clutter and make your life better!

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, September 24, 2010

Interview with Beth Cornelison

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Beth Cornelison. 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 BRIDE'S BODYGUARD. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

THE BRIDE'S BODYGUARD is the second book in my Silhouette Romantic Suspense series, The Bancroft Brides. This is the oldest sister Paige's book, and the story opens with Paige at the altar, marrying the man she's convinced herself is her perfect match, even though there are no sparks. But the ceremony is interrupted by armed men demanding that her fiancé turn over "the bead." When he refuses, the terrorists fire on her fiancé. Chaos erupts, and before she knows what's hit her, Paige is whisked out of the church by the best man and pursued by the terrorists. The best man, an ex-Navy SEAL hired by her fiancé as a bodyguard, helps keep her safe while they figure out what the bead is and why her fiancé and the terrorists think she has it. Of course, this ex-SEAL is smokin' hot and Paige's opposite in most every way, but the chemistry between them can't be denied!

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

Mostly THE BRIDE'S BODYGUARD is category romance, but there is plenty of action and suspense, too. I'd call it romantic adventure/suspense.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Because it is what I love to read. I love action/adventure and suspense and the idea that ordinary people can be put in extraordinary circumstances and rise to the occasion. If they also find romance along the way, all the better!

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I honestly don't remember specifics except that I wanted another bride-themed story for the Bancroft Brides trilogy, and I built the story using my favorite story hooks... heroine in jeopardy, forced proximity, and opposites attract.

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

Not always. A lot of times I'm not sure who the bad guy is or how the good guys will save the day until I'm well into the story. I have to sketch out an outline for my editor but that outline has been known to change. The characters sometimes take over the story and tell it the way they think it should be!

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

I did a little research for this book but largely I use information I already had from previous research on other books. When a specific question came up, I'd Google it, but nothing needed extensive research. I love the scope of internet for research, not one specific site or book.

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

I think I liked writing the hero Gage McCall the most. Gage is haunted by his last mission in Iraq when things went terribly wrong. I love a tortured hero!

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've been known to use a sort of character interview as I develop my book. Usually before I start a book I spend time thinking about who the characters are, what they want and why. I decide what happened to them to make them this way, what kind of family they have, how their childhood affected them, and decide how they will deal with the conflict I throw at them in the story. Creating my characters and inventing their backstories and personalities and quirks is like figuring out a puzzle to me. It's my favorite part of writing a book!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Lots! Too many to list them all but I love to read Linda Castillo, Karen Robards, Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, Lisa Gardner, Harlan Coben, Susan Wiggs and Susan Elizabeth Phillips (yes, I know the last two don't write suspense but I love the characters they create!)

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

Promotion is such a mystery to me. I really can't tell what works and what doesn't. I really think it is a sum of all efforts. Building name recognition, writing good books, being visible at conferences and online all contribute to promoting an author.

What do we have to look forward next?

Several things are coming in the next few months. In November, PI DADDY'S PERSONAL MISSION, my contribution to the Coltons of Montana continuity series with SRS, hits the shelves. (Peter Walsh is investigating the murder of his father and finds romance with his son's teacher.) In January, the paperback edition of REYN'S REDEMPTION, a small town romantic suspense with Samhain Publishing is released. (A firefighter returns to his childhood home to confront the people who accused him of killing his mother and to find the real killer.) And in February, THE PRODIGAL BRIDE, the final book in the Bancroft Brides series comes out just in time for Valentines Day! (Youngest sister Zoey Bancroft is stranded, pregnant and penniless, in Las Vegas, but her best friend, Gage Powell, offers a solution...a marriage of convenience. But trouble follows Zoey home from Vegas, and her friendship with Gage is tested.)

Thanks, Beth!

To celebrate her book release, Beth is offering a free copy of THE CHRISTMAS STRANGER (The Bancroft Brides book 1 and a 2010 Rita finalist!) to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check the blog Monday night to see if you 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 Beth Cornelison received her bachelor's degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia. After working in public relations for about a year, she moved with her husband to Louisiana, where she decided to pursue her love of writing fiction.

Since that time, she has won numerous honors for her work including a final in the Rita contest sponsored by the Romance Writers of America. She made her first sale to Silhouette Intimate Moments in June 2004 and has gone on to sell many more books to Silhouette. She has also published with Five Star Expressions, Samhain Publishing, and Sourcebooks.

Beth has presented workshops across the country to numerous chapter meetings, conferences, online classes and book clubs. Beth Cornelison lives in Louisiana with her husband, one son and a fluctuating number of cats who think they are people.

Check out author’s website at


Thursday, September 23, 2010

October On-Line Class Writer U

October 4-29

"How To Identify & Maximize Your Voice"

by Alicia Rasley

$30 at

This workshop gives you an editor's view of voice, and helps you create one that deepens your story and doesn't alienate editors. Using interactive discussions and exercises, and lectures based on experience, we will work on finding your own voice, and/or your story's voice (the not necessarily the same voice), and refine it so that you impress and do not annoy editors and agents.

Some of the topics covered will be:

* Character or author voice - which is right for your story?

* Discovering the genre of your default voice

* Discovering your own story voice

* The story world-view and voice

* Sentence construction and paragraph design as voice

* Grammar, punctuation, and word choice as aspects of voice

* Impressing the editor vs. annoying the editor

Alicia Rasley is a nationally known workshop leader and the author of The Power of Point of View, released by Writer's Digest Books. Her articles on writing are at and her editing blog is at She teaches writing online and at two state colleges.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My blog tour is over but...

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to blog at Borders True Romance, hosted by the incomparable Sue Grimshaw! Join me tomorrow, September 22, for an interview publisher will be giving away five copies of THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER. Yes, five! I'm sure we will have a great time, so be sure to mark your calenders to join me at:

Monday, September 20, 2010

And the winner is.....

Congratulations Catslady. You're the winner of Carrie's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and levaing a comment.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Writing Day After Day - Part 2

Last week I said I was going to search for the elixirs that will keep a writer motivated.

I found a few which helped.

I attended a chapter meeting where I visited with writing friends and then listened to New York Times writer Jennifer Ashley. I have known Jennifer for about eight years. She was just beginning to sell then. She reminds us all that our dreams are reachable. That was a motivator!

I joined a Book-In-Week group and posted my daily successes. That helped. I wrote every day I wasn't with my man. Since he visits from out of town, love takes priority over writing when he's here. I don't regret it at all. Why just write about it, when I can live it?

I started telling myself "I am going to Barnes and Noble to PLAY with my book." Not "I'm going to WORK on my book." I think calling it work takes some of the joy out of writing.

Also, I decided to send off half of my book to some readers who have offered to go over it for me. By doing that, I will be giving myself a deadline. I'll want this last edit of the rest of the book done once they finish the first half. That is my own personal kick in the rear to get me moving faster.

I have also decided to visualize myself making enough money from writing that I can retire from teaching in six and a half years. I picture myself sleeping in and then writing with a huge smile on my face. Now THAT is a motivator!

I hope you find yours as well.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, September 17, 2010

Interview with Carrie Weaver

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Carrie Weaver. 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 Once A Ranger. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I always have such a hard time describing my own books. So I’ll cheat a bit and use the back cover copy for Once A Ranger:

Tony Perez has never fancied redheads. But this one’s got his attention. In fact, Kat Monroe is attracting a lot of attention. The worst kind. With her recent lottery win and softness for hard-luck stories, she’s the ideal target for the con man Tony is tracking. His old Texas Ranger instincts scream at him to warn her. But now that he’s a private investigator, he has to stay under cover—even if it means putting her at risk.

Kat has to believe he’s just a flirtatious vacationer at the Phoenix Rising Resort. But the closer they grow, the tougher it is to pretend. Now he’s facing an impossible choice. Keep up the charade and get his man. Or tell her
everything, risk his case…and get the girl!

Once A Ranger is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My editor titled this book and did a wonderful job. Tony Perez is a retired Texas Ranger, hence the title.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I enjoy adding a touch of suspense to my Superromances from time to time.

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

I’m a modified pantser. To sell on spec, I generally have an in-depth synopsis that I follow, allowing the characters to detour when necessary.

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

In the book, I loosely modeled the fictional town of Jasper on Jerome, Arizona. I’ve visited Jerome in the past and loved the flavor and history of the place. Google makes research in general so much easier.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Almost immediately after meeting Kat in Welcome Home, Daddy, I knew she had to have her own book. Kat is a wonderful, savvy, attractive woman who always ends up with loser boyfriends. I wanted to see her work through her propensity for bad boys and choose the great guy she deserved.

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

Kat, for the reasons given above. I also got a real kick out of writing Will Sterling, because villains are so much fun. My editor had to rein me in a bit, because I wanted to make Will much more creepy.

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?

Character development is one of those magical things that I try not to overanalyze. Most of the time my characters evolve with my first draft. In the second draft, I know them better and really flesh them out. I do use character interviews if I’m having a problem getting a handle on one of my characters. I don’t often have to resort to those, but they’re terrific tools. You’d be amazed at what characters reveal….Research is an important component in telling me how a specific career or situation might affect a character. This in turn makes the characters more three-dimensional.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, there are so many authors who inspire me. Right now, I’m reading J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas series. I’m totally addicted. I think it’s the combination of crackerjack characterization and unique, intricate plots.

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

Probably regularly hanging around on the Superromance thread on That, and writing the best book possible (for me) each and every time. :)

What do we have to look forward next?

Good question! I’m waiting to hear on a three-book proposal for Harlequin Superromance and sending around a mainstream romantic suspense manuscript.

Thanks, Carrie!

To celebrate her book release, Carrie is offering a free, autographed copy of Welcome Home, Daddy, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around this afternoon and as her day job allows. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Carrie Weaver is the author of thirteen published romance novels. Her books reflect real life and real love, with all the ups, downs and emotion involved. She has been nominated for the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award and at RT BookReview Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Award.

Check out author’s website at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Writer U On-Line Class

October 4-29, 2010
"Deep Point Of View: I've Got You Under My Skin"
by Virginia Kantra
$30 at

Deep point of view (POV) is the quickest, cheapest tool in the writer's toolbox for shoe-horning your reader into your character's skin. This workshop explains how "close third-person" POV combines the advantages of first-person POV with the versatility and wider camera lens of third-person POV. Elements to consider in wirting deep POV include the character's gender, education level, environment, age, career, and needs and conflicts. Using first and final drafts from Virginia Kantra's own work and examples from various award-nominated and bestselling books, participants will explore:

* How POV is driven by your character's experience and emotions
* When and why deep POV is effective
* How to write it in description, narrative, and dialogue/subtext
* Formatting (which deserves special attention)
* Techniques for switching POV within a scene
* Writing in male POV, including "Virginia's Guide to Guy-Speak"

USA Today bestselling author Virginia Kantra credits her love for strong heroes and courageous heroines to a childhood spent devouring fairy tales. A six-time Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist, Virginia is the winner of numerous writing awards, including two National Readers' Choice Awards. IMMORTAL SEA, book four in her Children of the Sea series, is a September 2010 release from Berkley.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Inspirational Quote For Today

In absence of clearly defined goals,
we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Because I'm goofy about my dogs...

I wanted to share some recent pictures of them today, and one of my favorite stories. The long-haired Chihuahua is Precious, and the short-haired is Baggins (think Lord of the Rings).

Both Precious and Baggins were on our large patio when a pigeon dared to enter their domain. Please keep in mind that this particular pigeon topped them by at least four inches. They both tore off after the bird, barking up a storm, little nails clattering on the cement. Unfortunately, the pigeon didn’t realize he was supposed to be frightened and fly away. He just stood there cocking his head at my dogs. When Precious and Baggins realized the bird wasn’t running away from them (and the look on their faces at that moment will be burned into my brain forever), they both put on the brakes, little legs trying to backpedal as fast as they could. I swear there are still skid marks on my patio. Then the pigeon finally got wise, and flew away. My dogs let loose some triumphant barks, stuck their noses and tails in the air, and proudly sauntered away. But it was touch-and-go for a moment there.

I hope my girls bring you a smile today, as they always manage to do with me.

My Magical Best!

Monday, September 13, 2010

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

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

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Writing Day After Day

Writing Day After Day After Day After Day...

I have heard many writers say, "This is a business." That is true in more ways than one. Not only do we need to conduct ourselves professionally, but we also need to find ways to keep ourselves at the keyboard when the newness wears off.

I don't know about you, but when I first started writing I was on an adrenaline high. I had just found my bliss and I wanted to get published. I worked for hours on my manuscripts every single day. I was a sponge soaking in information. I read craft books and magazines, I listened to speeches on tape, I attended two monthly RWA chapter meetings and weekly critique meetings. I was on fire! Then I got published and found myself burnt out. I had reached my goal. Now what?

Writing is still my bliss, but I miss that adrenaline rush. I'm finding it a little harder to sit at the keyboard daily, but I still want to be a full time writer. Like so many authors I am looking for the secret.

Today I was listening to an audio book, Maximum Confidence by Jack Canfield. He basically said to achieve your goals you need information, motivation, inspiration, and perspiration. I continue to get information from my monthly RWA chapter meetings. I have a vision board I look at daily that helps with the motivation and inspiration, but I want to improve in those areas.

So this week, I am on a quest for the magic elixirs called Motivation and Inspiration. If you know where they are hiding, please let me know.

Until Next Week,
Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon

Friday, September 10, 2010

Interview with Barbara White Daille

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Barbara White Daille. 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 FAMILY MATTERS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Kim, thanks for inviting me to the blog and for interviewing me. This is the first stop on a virtual blog tour to celebrate the publication of FAMILY MATTERS. I’m very happy to be here and to have the chocolate so readily available.

I’m also happy to talk about FAMILY MATTERS, the story of a hardheaded attorney and an equally stubborn teacher who meet in a heated battle over a local amusement park.

Kerry MacBride is the only sensible one in a family of Irish eccentrics. Though raised by loving grandparents, as the only girl, she was forced into a nurturing role that caused her to grow up quickly. As soon as she could, she left her tiny Illinois hometown for college and a career. But, of course, there was no escaping her sense of responsibility or her unbreakable ties to those she left behind.

Now an art teacher in an inner-city Chicago high school, Kerry is still the family's answer to an emergency. Or maybe I should say every emergency, because it seems whenever she turns around, one of them needs her help desperately!

This time, it’s her outrageous Uncle Bren, who has a history of coming up with wild and improbable schemes. His latest enterprise involves persuading everyone in her grandmother's retirement community to invest in restoring an abandoned amusement park.

When Matt Lawrence, the lawyer son of one of the residents, threatens Uncle Bren with legal action, it's Kerry to the rescue yet again. But this time she might be too late.

Matt is a natural-born protector committed to fighting for the underdog in any situation. Now, with his mom and all her friends at risk of losing every penny they have, Matt’s unstoppable. He intends to do whatever it takes to save everyone’s finances—even if he's forced to send Kerry's scheming uncle to jail.

In the middle of all this uproar, the last thing Kerry and Matt want is to find themselves attracted to each other. But in the course of this story, they get overheated in more ways than one....

Throw some daredevil siblings, an offbeat grandmother, a couple of determined matchmakers, and a runaway teenager into the mix, and things get downright crazy.

But, trust me, all this made FAMILY MATTERS one fun book to write!

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

Sometimes I’ll start writing already knowing the title of the book. It’s often what jumpstarts me into the story. Not always, but often enough for me to make note of it.

With this book, though, the title grew naturally as the story unfolded. I’m thrilled it happened that way because, for me, the title has a double meaning that’s ingrained in who the characters are and what they represent.

First of all, Kerry’s well-developed sense of responsibility and Matt’s equally strong desire to protect originated in their family histories. For them both, family matters.

Secondly, from start to finish, this book is matters.

It’s also about two people who appear to be polar opposites but who have to fight their way through all kinds of well-meant interference in their attempt to find a happy resolution—for everyone. Whether or not they succeed is something I’ll leave to my readers to discover.
What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love category romance for so many reasons.

Warning: Spoiler alert here...

First and foremost is the guaranteed happy ending.

As a reader, I find fiction is an escape. It lets me get away from my busy, stressful day, from my To-Do list, and from the dishes and laundry and dinner and whatever else needs to be done.

It’s a relief to know that when I pick up a category romance I can immerse myself in a new world. A world where the main characters are sure to resolve their conflicts and come to a happy—or at least satisfying—ending.

It’s also gratifying to see how the characters work through their problems and figure things out.

As a writer, I love the challenge of creating a shorter, faster-paced book while still meeting the reader’s expectations.

What does that mean for me? Compelling, fully fleshed-out characters the reader cares about. A plot with enough twists and turns to hold the reader riveted until the last page of the book. And a developing relationship laced with enough worry factor to keep the reader wondering just when and how and if the hero and heroine will ever be able to get out of this mess they’ve gotten themselves into and find their happy ending.

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

Good question, Kim. Wish I had a good answer for you.

For lack of a better word, I’ll call myself a plotser, which doesn’t sound very complimentary, does it? But it explains my process, which is a mix of the two different types of writers you mentioned: a person who plots her book beforehand and one who wings it as she goes along.

With every novel I’ve written, the plotted has evolved a little bit differently, but the process essentially goes like this: Get a few ideas about the story down on paper. Write an opening scene. Keep going if I’m in the flow, or maybe jump back to flesh out more story ideas. Then return to the story pages.

A little confusing, but it seems to work for me.

You see, the thing is, when I put those initial story ideas down on paper, I’m sure I know my characters. Then I get into the writing, and those people surprise me. They tell me something I didn’t know or refuse to do something I want them to do or take the story off in another direction.

That’s always good for a headache or two.

On the other hand, I have to admit it keeps me hooked on the story—and I hope when the book is done, it does the same for my readers.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Originally, the idea came to me from the characters. I won’t say Kerry and Matt sprang into my head, fully developed. But their conflict quickly became clear. After that, the pair of them fascinated me.

Here we have two sane, levelheaded, ultra-responsible people who care passionately about the same issue—taking care of family. Yet they allow their emotions to override their good sense, keeping them from seeing that, down deep, they’re two of a kind.

To me, that was such an unsolvable problem, I didn’t know how they’d ever get together!

Once the characters started to come alive, I thought about the other family members who—because of the storyline—would have to play important roles in the book. That made me think back to my childhood.

My mom came from an Irish family who all lived within shouting distance of each other. Growing up, I was surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles, and a couple of grandparents. Please don’t get me wrong. My family members weren’t any more eccentric than anyone else’s. But I did experience what it was like to be surrounded by a big family of Irish descent. So, when Kerry appeared, I knew just what she needed to keep her life interesting.

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

A very difficult question, Kim. Attempting to answer this would be like trying to decide which child is the favorite. In that case, what I’d say is: they’re all different, but I love them all equally.

Kerry could be my favorite. She’s so loving and giving. During the book, she sacrifices something extremely important to her for the sake of rushing to her family’s rescue. That alone makes me want to root for her, maybe even against the hero.

Or maybe not.

Matt might be my favorite. How could you not love a man who fights for people in trouble? For people who have no one else to believe in them and nowhere else to turn? In my book—literally—Matt is the ultimate hero.

Let’s say they’re different, but I loved writing about them equally.

Then to answer the question, I’ll tell you about another character who plays a vital role in FAMILY MATTERS.

The name’s J.J. Grogan. A long, lanky, creatively talented ex-gang member ready to graduate from an inner-city school. A teenager who has overcome his troubled past and is on his way to a shining future. Or is he?

I’d tell you more, but I’m afraid of getting carried away. I loved writing about J.J, too!

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

I start off with all the best intentions, with a blank character chart for the hero and heroine, at least. And I do jot notes on it from time to time. But once I get into the story, every element of character is entwined with every other element, and then that’s all braided into the plot. At that point, I’m so invested in the characters, I know them even without looking at my charts.

I’m afraid I don’t do character interviews very often, either. Here’s an example of what works for me:

A character refuses to do something I want him to do.

(I’ll use “him” for the sake of convenience, but bear in mind, my heroines give me trouble, also.)

Now, sometimes, he’ll take the story in a different direction and I’ll go along for the ride. For a while, anyway. Sometimes, I’ve touched on a subject he just darn well refuses to discuss. That’s a little more difficult. What I’ll do then is let him ramble. It may take him some time to get to the point, but sooner or later I find out what’s wrong.

Rather than an interview, I would say my characters journal about their thoughts.

Disclaimer: Although I talk a lot about “seeing” and “knowing” my characters, I’m sure it’s obvious that characters come from the writer’s imagination. There are no “real” people running around in an author’s head. Though it does seem like it at times!

When a character “refuses to do something I want him to do,” that means I’m the one who is stuck at whatever point it is, and I’m the one who journals to try to get past that. And I always do.


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

Just in the past few weeks, I’ve done a lot in the way of promotion.

I’ve started a Facebook page and have opened a twitter account. Readers can find me at and at

Also, I’m very happy to announce that my web site was completely revamped and I’ve added a blog. Readers can find me there at

Right now, it’s too early to tell which is the most effective means of promotion. I do know that I’m enjoying all of them.

And though I’m not as chatty as readers might think from the length of this interview, I do respond to comments regularly and post the latest info about my writing life.

What do we have to look forward to next?

My fourth Harlequin American Romance, A RANCHER’S PRIDE, will be out in May, 2011.

This is the story of ranch owner Sam Robertson, who unexpectedly is given the care of the four-year-old daughter he hasn’t seen since infancy—the daughter he can’t communicate with because she’s deaf and speaks only in sign language.

Sam meets his match in Kayla Ward, his daughter’s aunt, who has virtually raised the child and is determined to adopt her niece.

Then a local judge orders Sam and Kayla to join forces to provide a stable environment for her, and each day they’re physically together forces them emotionally apart.

Sam wants more than anything to gain custody of the child he loves. Yet Kayla has a double edge—a longstanding relationship with his daughter and the communication skill he lacks.

Seeing father and daughter divided breaks Kayla’s heart. But teaching Sam to sign would give him the power to destroy her world and to take away the child she considers her own.

Thanks, Barbara!

My pleasure, Kim.

To celebrate her book release, Barbara is offering a free copy of one of her backlist books to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

Barbara works a day job but will be back with us later today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the dry heat and have taken up square dancing.

From the time she was a toddler, Barbara found herself fascinated by those things her mom called "books." Once she learned the words between the covers held the magic of storytelling, she wanted to see her words in print so she could weave that spell for others.

Barbara hopes you will enjoy reading her stories and will find your own storytelling magic in them!

Check out author’s website at


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards

A Short Story Competition from Writer's Digest

Compete and Win in All 5 Categories!

•Mystery/Crime Fiction
•Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Grand Prize-Winner will receive a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference in New York City, $2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market.
Entry Deadline: November 01, 2010.

Get more information at

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some more rave/five star reviews for THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER!

Since I don’t always get the opportunity to thank each one individually, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the readers and reviewers who worked so hard on their reviews for THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER:

“LOVED it! If only it could be in hardback with silver gilded pages it would sit on my shelves forever for later re-reads.”~

“I will be trolling the next book like a rabid fangirl.”~

“This was easily one of my favorite books of the year!”~

“I don’t think I can say this enough…I love love love this book.”~

“Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My BookshelfFor Rereading!”~

“This author proves she’s got what it takes to magically weave a story that will leave you spellbound.”~

“The plot was fresh and riveting and designed to keep you turning page after page even though you should be in bed asleep.”~

“The first book in the series entitled The Elven Lords by Kathryne Kennedy, The Fire Lord’s Lover, proved to be an enchanting, provocative story that blended all the best elements of the fantasy and romance genres.”~

“This is a superb Georgian romantic fantasy that effortlessly merges facts of early eighteenth century London with a mythical spin.”~

“Be warned as you won’t want to put this book down until the last page.”~

“I love THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER, Ms. Kennedy is onto a winner.”~

“Any story in the hands of a true storyteller can work for almost any reader if delivered in the right way. I have seen that again and again with other people but rarely with myself until The Fire Lord’s Lover.”~

With Appreciation,


Monday, September 6, 2010

And the winner is......

Congratulations Always Abigail. You've won a copy of Ursula's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Staying Sane in Changing Times

You just typed, "The End." Now what?

The publishing world isn't what it looked like a couple of years ago. We've known purchasing books online would be a growing trend, but few of us realized just how fast that future would arrive. Amazon is selling The Kindle. Barnes and Noble has their Nook. And I'm sure there are countless other varieties of ebook readers I haven't even seen advertised yet.

Recently Dorchester announced they are switching mainly to epublishing. Who next? As the market for print books decreases, it leaves many writers with a sense of unease. If your dream is to reach the masses with a print book and reach The New York Times list, you might wonder if it will become even more difficult to see that dream come true.

All I know is our world is changing quickly. Change is often frightening, but it is inevitable. We can choose to fight it, embrace it, or have a wait and see attitude. I tend to do a little of all three.

I am putting the final touches on my latest manuscript and am a bit nervous about whether or not it will be harder to sell this book. On the other hand, I am a big believer in The Power of Positive Thinking and The Law of Attraction. My plan is to have faith that my books will find homes, believe it, visualize it, and continue to write while I wait to see what the universe has in store for me. After all, writing is my bliss. I write because I have to. It fulfills me. Plus, I have made many wonderful friends through my writing organizations. No matter what happens financially, I feel blessed to have found my calling and to share my life with so many generous, amazing people.

I can't tell you what to do, but I hope you won't lose sleep over these changing times. Continue to write and have faith. It's been my experience that everything works out for the best and everything happens for a reason. I hope you will find that to be true too.

Until next week,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

Friday, September 3, 2010

Interview with Ursula Sinclair

I’d like to welcome our guest today, LaVerne Thompson writing as Ursula Sinclair. 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 WHITE WEDDING. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

It’s about the complexities and dynamics of modern human relationships tied up in a romance with a whole lot of suspense. A young woman moments before she walks down the aisle to say I do is told her fiancé is in the changing room kissing his best man, and deals with the situation by running away right into the arms of a stranger. But when she returns home she discovers disturbing secrets about those she trusted. And the stranger is the only one she can trust.

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

I admit I love Billy Idol, and one day I was sitting with my daughter watching Bridezilla and the song popped into my head and I thought it would make a great title for a book.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

My books as LaVerne Thompson tend to be more sensual, sometimes with erotic elements. But when I began to write this story it just seemed to call for more eroticism. I didn’t plan on it, it just happened. So to differentiate myself my alter ego Ursula Sinclair was born. Her storylines will be a little more complicated and erotic.

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

I’ve found it’s best for me not to plot out my stories; my characters have a tendency to have their own ideas and ignore mine. But usually I come up with the opening lines or a scene and I run with it. In this case I got the title first and then the story followed, but it morphed as I wrote it.

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

Not too much for this book. But God I love the Internet.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

From the Billy Idol song by that name and the show Bridezilla. The show I saw all the brides seemed to be interested in white wedding dresses. So that’s where the concept for a wedding start came from. The suspense aspect entered the story because my phone rang and it was a wrong number, so of course my mind immediately weaved a wedding story with a stalker. LOL!

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

Ross. I just loved the guy. He knew what he wanted and was very protective of my heroine.

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 don’t really do character sheets other than to write down the physical appearance. The aspect of each character is really developed from the storyline itself. Sometimes the character is developed as a result of the profession, sometimes from a life style. Most of my characters thus far are professionals some I have personal experience with others I have friends that I’ve talked to for input, and it’s easy to do background research on the internet.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I don’t think this page is long enough but I will say they are across the literary spectrum of genres that go beyond romance.

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

Online networking sites is a huge part of promotion, especially doing blogs and interviews.

What do we have to look forward next?

From Ursula that would be Noah’s story. It’s still a work in progress, but he’s a friend and business partner of the main character in WHITE WEDDING.

Thanks, LaVerne!

To celebrate her book release, Ursula aka LaVerne is offering a free pdf download book of WHITE WEDDING to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

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


Check out author’s website at http:/


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writer U On-line Class Tech Tips

September 6-20
MASTER CLASS: Tech Tips for the Busy Writer: 10 time-saving ideas for non-techies
by Julia Hunter

$55 at

Prerequisite: Must have a computer with internet access

Most of us feel we don't have the time or skill set to learn new technologies. Ironically, there are cool easy-to-use gadgets out there that offer significant time savings and/or huge conveniences. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on consultants or items you don't really need, invest $55 in this course so you can make informed decisions. The research has been done for you, including expert interviews. Just pick from the ideas that best suit your lifestyle, preferences and budget, including:

* Cloud Computing - Always have the most recent document version available
* Managing Accounts & Passwords - Hassle-free gadgets with maximum protection
* Travel Gadgets - Whether you're in a coffee shop or a hotel
* Social Networking on the Go - Shortcuts to maximize time-suckers
* Offline Blogging - A big time-saver for high volume bloggers
* Website Tips - Experts review the sites of several class volunteers
* Writer Software - Packages that can help from research to plotting
* Ultimate Accessibility - Remote into desktop computer, online conferencing and VOIP

Julia Hunter is a pre-published author who travels extensively for her day job and has modified her short cuts and technology research for her writing career. She has compiled them into an online course to share tips and tricks with other busy writers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bootcamp for Novelists September On-Line Classes


*September 5 - October 2 Author Spotlight*

Synopses - How to Take the Bite Out of Writing Them . . .
. . . using the classic movie, JAWS, as an example

Taught by Harlequin American author Cathy McDavid

*Whether plotter or pantser by nature and whether you write them before
or after you've written the book, the darned synopsis is often the part
of professional writing we hate the most. Yet, to be successful, we must
do a passable job of constructing one.

Unfortunately, there's no secret to writing a synopsis. However, in this
workshop we'll cover basic and simple steps that will let you produce
that passable, and possibly very good, synopsis. We'll also debunk some
common myths about synopses that may have been making the task more
difficult than it needs to be.

If you haven't watched JAWS recently (or ever), you might want to view
it before the course starts. For the romance plot, our example will be


September 5 to October 2 Bootcamp Courses
*4P SUBPLOTS AND LAYERS/ taught by Linda Style/ *
Some of the most successful techniques used by bestselling authors are
the judicious use of subplots and layering, both of which add depth,
texture and interest to a story. But many writers don't make full use of
their subplots and sometimes even mistake a secondary plot for a
subplot. Many writers believe layering is simply adding more stuff to
make it interesting. Not so. In this class, you'll learn the intricacies
of subplot and layering and how to use them to your story's best
advantage. We'll cover what the subplot can do for your story, the
start, the finish and the why plus weaving, braiding, intersecting and
all that jazz and a look at the secret ingredients of the subplot*


5B SPARKLING DIALOGUE /taught by Connie/*
Dialogue is not hard to write. But neither is it like real
conversations. Dialogue has a story purpose beyond showing that your
characters have voice boxes. This course gives techniques on writing
dialogue that reveal character and moves along the plot. We'll master
using dialogue to move your story, learn why how he thinks is how he
speaks, and cover techniques for dynamic dialogue and how to weave it
smoothly into your narrative.

These 4-week courses are delivered as a weekly lesson that
includes an exercise and detailed personal feedback.