Thursday, March 31, 2011

History of April Fool's Day

The history of April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day is uncertain, but the current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved from March 25 - April 1 (new year's week) to January 1.

Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1.

These people were labeled "fools" by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on "fool errands," sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them. The butts of these pranks became known as a "poisson d'avril" or "April fish" because a young naive fish is easily caught. In addition, one common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke.

This harassment evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continue on the first day of April. This tradition eventually spread elsewhere like to Britain and Scotland in the 18th century and was introduced to the American colonies by the English and the French. Because of this spread to other countries, April Fool's Day has taken on an international flavor with each country celebrating the holiday in its own way.

In Scotland, for instance, April Fool's Day is devoted to spoofs involving the buttocks and as such is called Taily Day. The butts of these jokes are known as April 'Gowk', another name for cuckoo bird. The origins of the "Kick Me" sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance.

In England, jokes are played only in the morning. Fools are called 'gobs' or 'gobby' and the victim of a joke is called a 'noodle.' It was considered back luck to play a practical joke on someone after noon.

In Rome, the holiday is known as Festival of Hilaria, celebrating the resurrection of the god Attis, is on March 25 and is also referred to as "Roman Laughing Day."

In Portugal, April Fool's Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends.

The Huli Festival is celebrated on March 31 in India. People play jokes on one another and smear colors on one another celebrating the arrival of Spring.

So, no matter where you happen to be in the world on April 1, don't be surprised if April fools fall playfully upon you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Zucchini Bread Recipe

Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 ¼ cup sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini


Beat eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon into a bowl.

Pour into mixture and stir. Add zucchini.

Turn into greased 9 ½ by 4 inch bread loaf pan or muffin tin.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-60 minutes (less for muffins) or until bread tests done.

Allow to cool 5 min. in pan, then turn out onto wire racks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And a few more answers...

Here’s a few more answers to some interesting questions I’ve been asked over the years:



I knew I wanted to be a writer after I sold my very first short story. That’s when I thought that people would actually want to read what I wrote.



My dad has been my biggest inspiration. He’s always inspired me to reach for my dreams.



The characters in my books are not based on people I know. They come totally from my imagination, although I study real people for certain physical characteristics and mannerisms.



So many books have such very different amazing things to offer that it is difficult to choose only one that is a must-read. I guess I would have to default to the very first book I can remember reading: Grimm’s Fairy Tales.



Life would be pretty dull if I couldn’t use my creativity.



If I could trade places with anyone in the world, past or present, real or fiction, I would choose Mary Magdalene, cause I’ve got a lot of questions for Jesus Christ.



If I was stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 things, they would be: Chocolate, my laptop, and a very long power cable to the nearest electrical source.



My favorite movie is Sense & Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. I’ve seen it a dozen times, and I still cry when Marianne gets sick and Elinor’s vulnerability is exposed.



The one thing that I would want all my readers to know is that I’m just an ordinary person who has the same feelings, hardships, and joys as anybody else.



If I could invite 5 people to dinner, they would be my mom, my husband, my two sons, and Jeff Dunham...cause we can all use some laughter in our lives right now.



Until Next Time,

Kathryne

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Neurotic Writer Sees No Evil


The Neurotic Writer Sees No Evil
(The Neurotic Writer is a comic strip for writers)


Suzie Writer: (Enters the therapist's office with hands
stretched out to feel her way)
"Good morning, Doc."

Therapist: (Jaw open, silently watching)

Suzie Writer: "You there, Doc?"
(Opens and shuts one eye quickly)

Therapist: "Let me guess. You're writing about a blind
heroine and want to experience the world
as she would in order to portray her accurately."

Suzie Writer: "You finally understand me! Ouch!
When did you move the chair?"

Therapist: "I didn't."

Suzie Writer: (Eases onto overstuffed cushion)
"Finally! Being blind is tough."

Therapist: "Imagine what its like for people who can't cheat.
How long have you been immersed in your role?"

Suzie Writer: "What time is it?"

Therapist: "Five minutes after two."

Suzie Writer: "Five minutes."

Therapist: "How are you planning to get home?"

Suzie Writer: "The usual way; in a car."

Therapist: "I hope you aren't planning to drive blind."

Suzie Writer: "Of course not. On the way home I'm
going to immerse myself in the role of
the heroine's sister."

Therapist: "Oh?"

Suzie Writer: "She's deaf."


Friday, March 25, 2011

Judi McCoy's Begging for Trouble

Begging for Trouble
When Ellie, New York City's most enterprising dog walker, goes to see one of her clients perform in a show, the screams aren't just for the fantastic dance numbers...

A murder happens backstage, and the only witness is a dog named Bitsy. Taking Bitsy to a dog psychic might not be standard procedure, but it may stop a killer from biting again.

"Primo dog walker Ellie has more than a gift for talking to her four-legged charges. She's also got a talent for getting caught up in her boyfriend's murder investigations. McCoy puts her in the action with flair and an easy humor."
-Romantic Times

"McCoy is as adept at creating colorful, compelling characters, two-legged and four-legged, and writing sharply humorous prose as she is at crafting a cleverly constructed plot."
-Booklist

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspirational Quote

"We need to meditate on what is peaceful. Once we have 'filled up' in this way, we once again have an abundance of love to send out into the world."

Jean Shinoda Bolen

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Top Seven Wickedly Romantic Elements in THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER

Number Seven:
The world of THE ELVEN LORDS is wickedly romantic in and of itself. An alternate eighteenth century England twisted by the magic that the elven lords have introduced, it’s ripe for darkly delicious tales of enchantment and adventure.

Number Six:
My half-elven hero, Dominic Raikes, may have a tender heart, but he has learned to hide it with a fa├žade of coldness as a result of the world he was born in to. As a general of the army and a champion of the elven war games, he is domineering, authoritative and oh-so-wickedly alluring to the woman that can see past these traits to the true man beneath.

Number Five:
My heroine, Lady Cassandra Bridges, has enough elven blood to allow her the gift of dance. She has an arsenal of spellbinding moves, included those of seduction…and death.

Number Four:
Mor'ded, one of the seven elven lords and the Imperial Lord of Firehame, is ethereally beautiful. Although he looks around thirty, he’s actually hundreds of years old and bored by so many years of living. Boredom makes him very dangerous. And the power to relieve that boredom in any way he chooses makes him very, very wicked.

Number Three:
There’s something about Ador, the black dragon-steed of the elven lord, which makes him a bit wicked, despite the odd sort of friendship he gives to Dominic. Perhaps it’s his mysterious motives. Or his connection to the scepter. Or that he plays a game with the lives of the English people just as dangerous as the one the elven lords play.

Number Two:
The fantasy elements in this world: A ring in the shape of a rose that reflects Lady Cassandra’s feelings. Magical black fire that burns only in the mind, and all the more dangerous for that. An elven garden that sings with the wind. A cloak of dreams. A slave who can weave sunlight.


And the Number One wickedly romantic element in THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER is:

Dominic’s seductive gift of magical fire. When you’ve read the book, you’ll have to let me know if you agree.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Neurotic Writer Has No Words


The Neurotic Writer Has No Words
(The Neurotic Writer is a comic strip for writers.)


Therapist: “Good morning, Suzie. How are you today?”

Suzie Writer: (Drops chin to chest.)

Therapist: “That bad huh? What happened?”

Suzie Writer: (Shrugs)

Therapist: “Did you date another…research project for one of your romance stories?”

Suzie Writer: (Nods)

Therapist: “I gather it didn’t go well.”

Suzie Writer: (Shakes head no)

Therapist: “What happened?”

Suzie Writer: (Pinches lips with fingers and shakes head again)

Therapist: “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what happened.”

Suzie Writer: (Pinches lips again, then places palms out and moves them around as if a wall blocked her view of the therapist)

Therapist: “Do you have a cold?”

Suzie Writer: (Shakes her head no)

Therapist: “Suzie, do have laryngitis?”

Suzie Writer: (Shakes her head no)

Therapist: “Suzie, if you don’t start talking, I’m going to raise your rates.”

Suzie Writer: “The guy was a mime!”

Therapist: “Oh.” (Straightens her dress in her lap) “I can see how that might have been frustrating.”

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview with Deena Remiel

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Deena Remiel. 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.


Did somebody say chocolate? Oh yes, chocolate is much cheaper than therapy, and the taste is simply decadent! ;-)

I understand you have a new release which comes out March 22nd called Trinity, A Brethren Novel. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Sure thing! At the heart of Trinity rests the fierce love of a mother for her daughter. They are thrust into a war between Good and Evil and only one can protect them. An angel. An immortal. A Brethren named Michael.

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

Well, it is very much tied to a prophecy realized in the story. To say any more would give too much away.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I must have romance in my life! I love happy endings, and even more, the trials and tribulations the main characters must go through in order to reach their happy endings. I enjoy watching characters change from closed-minded, skeptical, distrusting, and cynical people to open-minded, open-hearted, risk-takers. I have always been drawn to reading and exploring paranormal realms and possibilities. Paranormal romance writing seemed the perfect marriage for me.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I have always been fascinated by the possibility of other realms co-existing with our own. I also enjoy the tug-of-war between Good and Evil. Creating a whole new world within our own was such a huge draw for me, I couldn’t resist.

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

Research for me began with reading. I read paranormal romances from Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jayne Ann Krentz, Heather Graham, Christine Feehan, and Nora Roberts. Then I moved on to websites and reference books whose focus was solely on ancient religions and angels. These authors have a wonderful way of building believable worlds within worlds, so not only do I love reading their work, I consider them mentors.

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

I absolutely loved writing Emma. She encapsulates every mom I know, including me. She is fiercely devoted to her daughter and her well-being. Without hesitation, she would sacrifice her soul for Hannah. As a young woman, she has all the flaws and inconsistencies that we all do, but Emma is also a fighter through and through, as you’ll see when you read Trinity.

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 first think generally about who I need in the story, and then I begin to craft their personalities, warts and all, and physical characteristics. I keep character sheets in a computer file that has your standard information, and then I go deeper. I create back stories for all of my characters. Whether my characters are mortal or immortal, lead or supporting, they all have origins, baggage, and issues that must be developed and exploited. I love that part!

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

My world is our world, just a little different. You see, angels, known as the Brethren, walk among us. So when it comes to world-building, I have to feather these men’s lives seamlessly into our own. I had to get them to assimilate to their new home, Earth. That happens before Trinity ever begins. I write an online serial that explores the Brethren’s origins and the compelling stories before Trinity. Brethren Beginnings ~ Rise of the Brethren handles it all.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Sherrilyn Kenyon inspired me to be the world-builder that I am. My favorite romantic suspense authors, Linda Howard, Kay Hooper, and Allison Brennan inspire my evil dude development.

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

When I participate in the wonderful events The Romance Studio, Coffeetime Romance, Romance Junkies, and other websites have to offer, I get to talk with the readers and get to know them. I can see major spikes in my website views and subscriptions, and my daily readership has been consistently higher every day. I also think writing my online serial has drawn a faithful audience, which in turn has built genuine interest in the novel series.

What do we have to look forward next?

Well, the second book in The Brethren Series is called Relic, and that will be coming soon from Decadent Publishing. After that, Elixir will be on its way. Three more novels are planned to round out the series, and then a spin-off is planned.

Thanks, Deena!

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

Bio. - My name is Deena Remiel, and I am an author of paranormal romance and poetry. I also teach language arts to middle schoolers. Curiously, I find myself being called upon to write all sorts of correspondence for my family and friends, but they are everything to me, and frequently serve as fodder for elements of my novels, poems, and posts. They take it all in stride, though, and with good humor. So, it’s really a perfect give and take relationship!

I belong to RWA national and the Desert Rose Chapter of RWA, where there are outstanding people writing fabulous stories. I can now say I’m a published author! I have poetry published in the anthology, Hippoetry, coming soon. My first paranormal romance, TRINITY, A Brethren Novel, releases March 22nd, as will RELIC, the second book in the series! Thanks, Decadent Publishing!

I grew up in Philadelphia, home of the most amazing soft pretzels, oh and the Liberty Bell. My husband and I began our own family in New Jersey, and just a few short years ago, Arizona called to my spirit and tempted my husband with much better weather! We moved our family, and the rest is history, or the present, as the case may be!

These are a few of my favorite things: writing and reading of course, chocolate, music with lyrics or melodies that speak to me, soaking baths, singing in the shower, dancing with my buds, romantic dancing with my hubby, scrapbooking, watching my girls enjoy what they love to do, and laughing at jokes because Lord knows I can’t tell one!

Check out author’s websites at www.deenaremiel.com and http://brethrenbeginnings.wordpress.com/

Buy at http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=234&osCsid=qhuc4gbau5e6tjhd74e6giprm0

Thursday, March 17, 2011

April Writer-U On-Line Classes

April 4-29, 20011
"Love Your Voice"
by Julie Rowe
$30 at WriterUniv.com

Every writer wants a fabulous voice. This workshop helps identify what makes your voice special, and shows how to capitalize on your natural strengths, with a look at the seven key elements of every author's unique voice. Participants will see specific examples of how each one works, followed by writing exercises that provide them with the tools to refine, polish, and -- depending on the kind of writing they want to pursue -- possibly even change their Voice.

The elements include:

* Emotion: How much? What kind? How do you show it?
* Core Story/Theme: The core idea that inspired your novel
* Setting & Description: Environment is a critical element of Voice
* Pacing: An art of its own
* Conflict: What characters want and why they can't have it
* Characterization: Who you write about and how you develop them
* Mechanics: The rules of writing and when to break them

Julie Rowe discovered the power of "voice" when she double-finaled in the 2006 Golden Heart. Her investigation into what makes some books stronger than others led to RWR's "Love Your Voice" article and conference workshop. She teaches communication workshops at Keyano College in Alberta, and her work has appeared in numerous magazines such as Today's Parent, Reader's Digest (Canada) and Canadian Living. Her first book, Icebound, will be released by Carina Press in fall 2011.

* * *

April 4-29, 2011
"NLP For Character Building"
by Mary O'Gara
$30 at WriterUniv.com

Readers clamor for books by authors whose characters are believable, as well as for characters that feel right to the reader. Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) studies show you how to make your characters' words and body language resonate, and how to make conflicts so deep that the reader understands why the character is torn apart by them. As you learn about characters, you'll also be learning simple tricks to make your life easier and more creative, including:

* Why no two witnesses describe an event the same way
* Connections between language, eye movement, body posture and emotions
* How memory works and what real change requires
* Sensory choices that make a hero strong: Schwarzenegger's process
* Motivation-what motivates both you and your character
* Metaphors and humor that work
* Four stages of learning and seven levels of change
* Proven ways to increase creativity and make writing easier

Mary O'Gara, Phd, is an award-winning writer who is also a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner. She is a professional astrologer and psychic who studied NLP herself in order to learn more about creativity and intuition. Mary is a creativity coach and has been teaching writing workshops online for more than fifteen years.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

THE DANCE OF PLOT AND CHARACTER

THE DANCE OF PLOT
AND CHARACTER

. . . taught by Connie Flynn


When: Saturday, April 30, 2011

9 am to 5 pm

Continental breakfast and sit down lunch included.

WHERE: The Historical Monti's La Casa Vieja Steakhouse

100 S. Mill Avenue

Tempe, Arizona 85281

www.montis.com

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
When we study novel writing we are forced to break its many elements into smaller chunks in order to master each of them well enough to write the powerful stories that are in us. Never is that truer than in the study of plot and character. You hear writers say things like "I'm a plot driven writer," or "My stories are driven by character." In the long run this is impossible. Plots are boring unless we care about the characters who live them. Characters never show their whole selves unless pressured by strong plot events. It's a delicate dance that takes place between plot and character and there are techniques that make the dance easier to choreograph. This course deals with some of the techniques.

During the day, you will learn how and why plot and characters move through a story and how to intertwine them so that the people and events appear real and natural. At the end of the seminar you will be able to block out a novel in which characters create plot and plot pressures the characters to bring about a story resolution that is almost inevitable, but not necessarily predictable. The day includes a continental breakfast and a seated lunch

The morning session will cover the basics of building the focal character and discovering how they will drive your story. Next, we'll learn a four-act structure of loose boxes that define the story and build its plot arc (the change occurring within a story due to the characters' decisions). And finally you'll be introduced to the eight major scenes that will guide your story.

The afternoon session is about techniques to add credibility to your focal character. You'll study what makes people tick and assign your character attitudes, perspectives, opinions, and concerns that will help you know them so well you'll know exactly how they'd react in any situation.

We'll end the day by aligning the eight major scenes to the focal character's arc (defined as the change in their perspective caused by the story events). We'll see how events that seem to change the character are actually a result of the character's decision and how plot/character integration is a delicate dance between these two.


FOR MORE INFO & TO REGISTER

Early registration (until March 31, 2011) $125

Late registration (after March 31, 2011) $150

All day seminar includes continental breakfast and lunch. Register at the Bootcamp website

Installment Plan and Mail Payment Options Available

Contact Connie for more details

bootcamp4novelists@cox.net

Don't Wait to Begin Your Dream . . . Register Today

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Signing Books at the Chocolate Affaire

I always have a fabulous time signing books at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire, and this year was no different, so I thought I'd share this picture that my wonderful sister took. And a special 'thank you' to the parents of one of my readers, who brought her book for me to sign, since she had to work that day. So very kind!

Monday, March 14, 2011

And the winner is......

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

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Neurotic Writer and “Why?”


The Neurotic Writer and “Why?”
(The Neurotic Writer is a comic strip for writers.)


Therapist: “Good morning, Suzie.”

Suzie Writer: “Why?”

Therapist: “It’s a beautiful day today.”

Suzie Writer: “Why?”

Therapist: “Are you upset?”

Suzie Writer: “Why?”

Therapist: “Because you usually are.”

Suzie Writer: “Why?”

Therapist: “Because your writing career usually isn’t
going the way you wish it would.”

Suzie Writer: “Why?”

Therapist: “You tell me why.”

Suzie Writer: “Why?”

Therapist: “Hmmm. Why?”

Suzie Writer: “Why?”

Therapist: “Why?”

Suzie Writer: (Smiles) “I added a four-year-old to my story and
I wanted to witness an adult’s reaction to the repeated ‘Why?’ that
they often ask.”

Therapist: “Reaction, huh? Try A-N-N-O-Y-E-D.”




(All characters are the creation of Tina LaVon.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Interview with Kimberly Lang

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kimberly Lang. 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 Girls’ Guide to Flirting With Danger. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Girls’ Guide is a reunion story. I love reunion stories because the characters come front-loaded with unique baggage and sexual tension and that just makes it fun to write.

Here’s the blurb:

Life is good for marriage counselor Megan Lowe—until the media discover that she’s the ex–wife of Devin Kenney, America's most famous divorce attorney! Now the paparazzi are digging for a scoop just in time for the launch of Devin's new book. His gorgeous smile smirks at Megan from magazines and billboards — making him infuriatingly impossible to forget…

It's time for Megan to throw her rulebook out of the window and face her dangerously sexy ex. And their sizzlingly hot reunion — well, that's most definitely headline news…

Girls’ Guide to Flirting With Danger is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I wish I could take credit for it, but my title skills are weak, to say the least. The title came from the editors and marketing geniuses. I just bask in the glow of its fabulousness.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love contemporaries because, well, they’re contemporary. I understand the world my characters are living in and their mindset because I’m there with them. I also don’t have to worry quite so much about being wrong. If I tried to write a historical I’d be terrified the whole time I was filling the book with inaccuracies. (I love to read historicals, but I could never write one.) I’m in awe of authors who can create entirely different worlds from their imagination, but my mind doesn’t work like that. I like to live in the now, so that’s where my characters live.

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

I’m a total pantser. I’ll start with a scene or a character and build the book around that. I once wrote an entire book because I had this sentence that would be a great first line. It’s always interesting because I don’t know where the book will go, but it’s not always fun. But the upside to being a pantser is that it means I’m completely open to new ideas while I’m writing. Since I don’t have a plot going in, I’m not married to a plot point or trying to write to it. That has its own dangers as well, but no one ever claimed writing was easy, right?

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

Not a ton, but some. Megan and Devin are both professionals in fields I don’t know a lot about, so I did have to do research to make sure I wasn’t completely wrong in my ideas about how things “worked” in the areas of law and psychology. (Hint: I was.)

I far prefer people over books or websites for research. I like to talk to a real person about whatever it is I need to know, because I not only get the info, I get their feelings about it as well. I can also pick up on the kind of language they use, and sometimes they’ll drop a nugget of pure gold I can work into the book. (For this book, it just so happens that my BFF is a therapist.* I had a bit of a head start on my heroine’s mindset!) So, I guess my favorite research website is Facebook. ~grin~ Half of my high school classmates have gotten emails/phone calls pumping them for info. And I have no problem calling strangers out of the phonebook either. *Yes, I really do have a therapist on speed dial. Make of that what you will.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I have no clue where the idea came from. (Sorry. I know that’s not very interesting.) But I do remember chatting with a friend about my idea for a marriage counselor heroine and famous divorce attorney hero, and she asked, “Were they married?” DING! It really came together after that. All the conflict was RIGHT THERE and all I had to do was play with it.

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

Megan, definitely. I love her spunk and her dedication, and since I could pull on some of my actual experience trying to carry on a non-therapy conversation with a therapist, she was easy to write. When my mom read the manuscript, she said that if BFF and I could figure out a way to procreate, Megan would be our child. I didn’t mean for Megan to turn out that way, but looking at her now… yeah. Mom is right. No wonder she was so much fun.

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?

Again, that pantser thing…. My characters just kind of come to me and I get to know them better as I write the book. I keep a pad on my desk with a few notes – like physical descriptions so I don’t forget what color the hero’s eyes are – but no, nothing as organized as interviews or character charts. I wouldn’t know where to begin with something like that.

The research into the characters’ careers and where they live does affect how I write them. After all, what you do affects how you think, how you speak, and how you react to a situation. Since my heroine is a therapist, she knows when she’s being irrational, and she knows the proper, healthy way to deal with it the situation. That doesn’t mean when it’s her emotions on the edge she can actually do the proper thing. That kind of internal gear-grinding affects how she behaves.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Jenny Crusie, Rhonda Nelson, Julia Quinn, Pamela Hearon, just to name a few. I think all books inspire me in one way or another. Getting lost in a book and falling in love with the characters inspires me to want to write books that other people can fall in love with.

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

Umm… er… Yeah, about that. Hm. ~avoids eye contact~

What do we have to look forward next?

My next US release is What Happens in Vegas… It spins off my second book, The Millionaire’s Misbehaving Mistress, because the hero’s little sister nearly stole that book and demanded one of her own. Revisiting a character was so much fun because I felt like I knew her from page one.

Thanks, Kimberly!

My pleasure. Thanks for having me!

To celebrate her book release, Kimberly is offering a copy of her other reunion romance, Boardroom Rivals, Bedroom Fireworks! 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...

Bio.
USA Today bestselling author Kimberly Lang hid romance novels behind her textbooks in junior high, and even a master’s program in English couldn’t break the obsession with dashing heroes and Happily Ever After. A ballet dancer turned English teacher, Kimberly married an electrical engineer and turned her life into an ongoing episode of “When Dilbert Met Frasier.” She and her Darling Geek live in beautiful North Alabama with their one Amazing Child—who, unfortunately, shows an aptitude to sports.

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

Buy __http://www.eharlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=23236&cid=226.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Get Book Review Quotes

So you’ve successfully landed that first book contract with a publisher or self-published your book? Now you want to garner a book review not only to separate you from the rest of the pack but to emphasize your stellar prose, your amazingly tight and intricate plot or your in-depth characterization?

Getting quotes is a tricky endeavor if no one has heard of you. Exactly where do you start?

  1. Friends – Granted they might not be always truthful, but I bet you they’ll give you a glowing review.
  2. Fellow Authors – If you are just starting out don’t expect Dean Koontz to give you a review. Start small, work your way through newly published authors who will be happy to have their name publicized on your web site or book cover.
  3. Small Reviewers – Again don’t start with the LA Times. A quote is a quote if it comes from a reputable reviewer.
  4. Niche Reviewers – Send to reviewers in the same genre or non-fiction topic your book is about.
  5. Blog sites – There are many blogs on the web that do reviews. Again start small.
  6. Local newspapers and magazines.
  7. Independent Bookstores
  8. Niche stores – If you book is about bikers, try talking to someone who works for a biker dealership.

Before you send out to local newspapers, independent bookstores or other potential reviewers, put together a press release. Don’t be cheap on on time or money. This is one of your largest marketing tools.

The Dos -

  1. Follow up. Check back in several weeks to ensure they received your material but don’t inundate them with phone calls or emails.
  2. Read submission guidelines and follow them.
  3. Do your research. Before submitting to a reviewer, find out what genre they review. Sending a romance to someone who only reviews horror is a waste of time for both you and the reviewer. Also check they’re previous reviews and make sure the story or topic you have is in the same vein as to what the reviewer likes.
  4. Always be positive when dealing with a potential reviewer. Never trash another author or include other reviews including your own to that potential reviewer.

The Don’ts -

  1. Don’t pay for a person to review your book. I can tell you right now, if they are asking for money, they are not reputable. Run away, far, far away.
  2. Don’t give the person any time constraints. Like agents and editors, reviewers are inundated with material. Be pleased that they are willing to take the time out of their busy schedule to look at your book.

Remember the best cover quotes may not increase your sales. It is just one of many marketing tools at your disposal. Times may have changed from how it was in your parents day, but one thing hasn’t changed – Word of Mouth. With today’s lightning speed communication avenues, word of mouth information spreads like wildfire. Either in a positive or negative way and it always comes down to the product. Just write the best book you can.

Carol Webb

www.firebirdmediamanagement.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tucson Festival Of Books

Book lovers, it's time to start planning your visit to the 2011 Tucson Festival of Books. Begin studying the event list for all the workshops, panels, culinary events and author presentations so you don't miss any of your favorite authors.

University of Arizona Campus · March 12 - 13, 2011

Kim Watters will be there doing a workshop on dialogue at 4:00 on Sunday. Please stop by and say hi.

http://www.tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just the answers...

I've been asked some interesting questions over the years, and thought I'd share a few answers here today:


Fairytales often inspire my stories, and my favorite is Cinderella. There’s something so satisfying in having the heroine transform herself on the outside, to match her true beauty on the inside.


I would have to say that My Fair Lady is *one* of my favorite musicals. I also love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Hello Dolly, and Yentl (my favorite song is Streisand singing “Papa can you hear me?”).I do spend a lot of time on research, and I try to be as accurate as possible, but I’m only human, and luckily so far I don’t think I’ve made any goofs. :}


It might be interesting for you to know that my book, My Unfair Lady, actually inspired the Relics of Merlin series. The entire time I was writing it, I kept thinking how unfair it was that men inherited the titles, but if titles were based on magical ability, it might even things up for the women. And so the Relics series was born. The fourth book in the series is currently on hold, as I received an amazing opportunity to write a new series with Sourcebooks Publishing (the largest female-owned publisher in the industry). Set in the Georgian era (back to research!), it’s also an alternate historical reality, where seven mad elven lords have found a way into the world of man, and have taken over England using their magical scepters. The first book in The Elven Lords series, The Fire Lord’s Lover, which is about a half-elven hero (picture Legolas in Lord of the Rings) and his assassin bride, was released in August 2010. A bit more intense than the Relics series, it stretched my imagination in unbelievable ways.


Another time period I would love to write about one day is ancient Egypt. I’m fascinated with mummies and pharaohs and tombs…and a lot of women were powerful back then. Imagine what would happen if the magic of their gods was real? My mind boggles.


I don’t listen to music or anything while I’m writing. It might just be me, but I have to imagine myself in the story, and then I tell my reader what I see. And I’m not sure if I really know what I’m doing yet, but some days I think I do. :} But I do hope my writing has improved, since practice is supposed to do so…and I spend a lot of time practicing.


Until Next Time,

Kathryne

Monday, March 7, 2011

And the winner is......

Congratulations Crystal GB. 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.

Friday, March 4, 2011

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!

You're welcome!

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

Of course! The best thing I can do is share the backcover copy with you. All her life Seattle reporter Kristin Reed sought her breakout story. She never thought she’d find it in the crimson nightclub lair of a real life creature of the night. Kristin never believed vampires existed—until with dark brooding eyes and a decadent chocolate scent, Dmitri Dionotte called out to her.

Dmitri and his clan’s true nature was cloaked in secrecy until a warring vampire order threatened their existence. Kristin was just the woman he needed. She couldn’t resist their story…or Dmitri. Her blood pulsed hot and furious when he touched her, and with his kiss, all logic fled. But each night she spent with her vampire lover brought her closer to death and destruction. A death not even an immortal could triumph over.

The Truth About Vampires is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Well, to be perfectly honest, it was partly because my editor at Harlequin wanted titles that had the word vampire in them. The original working title for the book was Unveiling of the Damned which went with the short novella I’d done a few years earlier called Salvation of the Damned (which is actually in print for the first time in the back of this book as kind of a little extra for readers). I came up with a whole list of potential titles, most of them riffing off of James Bond movies (which is why the next one out in June is called The Vampire Who Loved Me) but when I really analyzed what the story was about it came down to the revealing of vampires to humanity and realizing that they aren’t as different from us as we think. My reporter heroine is out to get the truth. And besides, who doesn’t want to know the truth about vampires (well, my version of it anyway!)?

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?

Part of it came from my experiences in the newsroom early in my writing career. It’s tough enough to be taken seriously as a reporter when you work in a newsroom full of guys. It’s even harder when what you want to write about is something everyone else thinks is a joke. That’s where the start of Kristin came from. For Dmitri, it was a little tougher. I wanted a conflicted vampire. Someone who didn’t ever intend to be a vampire, but got turned and is still an honorable enough guy that he’ll do the right thing no matter what. I also wanted my vampire world to be a little bit different because I knew I’d be writing several stories in this world, so while some of the cultural ideals we have about vampires appear in the story, if it could be explained with some other biological rational, that’s what I did. I also organized my vampire culture into clans, similar to the Scottish clans I did so much research for when I was writing historicals. This includes the border reivers. This story is only the first in a new mini-series, The Sons of Midnight, that I’m working on for Harlequin Nocturne.

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

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. Some of what I do use in developing the series comes from encyclopedias dedicated to ancient myth and legend from cultures around the world. I like to try and create my stories with a thread to reality woven through it.

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

I’m always a sucker for my own heroes. From the moment Dmitri popped into my head I really liked him. He’s the strong-silent type of alpha who horribly conflicted but doing his best to protect and serve those around him. You see Dmitri never wanted to be a vampire. In fact, when he was human, he was a priest in the time of Chaucer, helping the church to hunt down vampires. But he got seduced and changed—and he’s vowed never to turn another person. 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 smells like chocolate and is Italian. 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 as vampires. 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?

Probably running a blog tour through Bewitching Book Tours. They’ve been fantastic in getting the word out to people who love paranormal romance. Of course twittering about vampires doesn’t hurt either. But the single best thing? Getting out and talking to people-always having bookmarks on hand-even in the grocery store and when checking out at Costco.

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 three more Nocturnes, The Vampire Who Loved Me out in June 2011 and The Vampire Half-Breed along with one yet to be titled out in 2012. They all take place in the same world of the Cascade Clan, in the Seattle area and make use of the well-known Seattle Underground as the home base for these vampires. I’ve also got the first in a steampunk romance trilogy, The Legend Chronicles, coming out in Nov. 2011, titled The Hunter. It’s a set of stories that revolves around three brothers who are supernatural hunters in the Wild Weird West and named after their father’s favorite guns—Winchester, Remington and Colt. The best way I can describe the series is if you took the television show Supernatural and mashed it with Wild Wild West. There’s all kinds of adventure and inventions (including the hero’s clockwork horse, a Sting Shooter, etc.) mixed with mad scientists, demons, vampires and all kinds of mayhem. The first book is about the baby brother, Colt, who gets saddled with a succubus in his search for his father’s portion of a compendium of all Hunter knowledge, The Book of Legend, on a mission to protect the world.

Thanks, Theresa!

To celebrate her book release, Theresa is offering a free copy of her book, The Truth About Vampires, 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.)

Theresa is at a convention today but will try and sneak away to answer some questions. I'm sure some of you have some 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 Kensington Books. Visit her online at www.theresameyers.com,
or find her twittering at www.twitter.com/Theresa_Meyers

Check out author’s website at www.theresameyers.com
Buy The Truth About Vampires from eharlequin at http://www.eharlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=23240&cid=2577.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bootcamp for Novelists March-April On-Line Class

Bootcamp for Novelists upcoming classes

March 18 to April 15

Taught by Linda Style

3P ESCALATING CONSEQUENCES
Have you ever been so excited about a story that it practically writes itself...and then, somewhere after the third chapter, it stops dead? If so, it's probably because your conflict is staic. This workshop examines what makes your conflict dynamic...and what to do to make your story move along naturally...with high drama.

FEE: $28
Taght by Connie Flynn

March 18 to April 15
3B SCENE SCULPTING
Structuring scenes for maximum input is the third pillar of story structure. You'll leave this course knowing where and when to place a scene and hot to connect each scene for ease of flow and maximum impact.

FEE: $28

www.bootcampfornovelists.com

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Inspirational Quote

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.”

Carl Jung

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Interview with Summer Wine Lee from MY UNFAIR LADY

The streets of London are busy, the clatter of hooves and the rumble of carriages over cobblestone mingling with the calls of costermongers and flower girls. I knock on the door of a tidy little brownstone that smacks of new wealth with none of the sophistication of the landed aristocracy. A girl with wild green eyes and black hair, dressed in a gown of clashing colors that makes me think she’s half gypsy, opens the door.

Maria: Well, what do ya’ want?

Author: Er, I have an appointment with Miss Summer Lee.

The girl’s eyes narrow as she studies my modern clothing suspiciously, but before she can say another word, a voice calls from the parlor.

Summer: Oh, do stop being so tiresome, Maria. Let the lady in and bring us some tea.

The black haired girl humphs, but allows me inside, and I try not to gawk too much at the antiques that surround me as she leads me into a smallish room with dark green velvet drapes heavy enough to feel oppressive. I blink while my eyes adjust to the light, and study the girl sitting on the chaise. While Maria had made me think gypsy, Summer Lee made me think of a forest fairy, with her diminutive stature and golden coloring. I had to remind myself that although I knew Summer well, I was a complete stranger to her, so I resisted the urge to hug her, and instead sat on a lovely velvet wingback chair.

A: You asked to see me?

S, nods eagerly: Oh, yes. I need your help.

A, smiling: I think you can manage whatever life throws your way, Summer. You don’t need me.

S: But I do. I’m terribly confused, you see, and it’s all your fault.

A, squirms a little, but refuses to feel too guilty: You’re in a bit of trouble. But I have every confidence you’ll figure everything out.

S: Tarnation, if it weren’t for that man, I’d agree with you.

A: I assume you mean the duke?

S, throws her arms up in the air: Who else? Not that I’m complaining about hiring him, mind. He managed to turn the outside of me into a lady, leastways.

She did look charming. Her hair had been swept up in an elegant back bun, with perfect spiral curls falling across her cheeks, a fringe of hair on her forehead softening her elfin features. She wore a dress of ivory satin, edged with lace around the neck and hem, with a full bustle swelling behind her. Embroidered slippers peeked from beneath the lace of her gown, and a stunning pearl choker circled her throat. I sighed as I looked down at my worn tennis shoes and denim-clad legs.

A: You’re now as lovely outside as you are on the inside.

S, scowling: Ha. You know darn well what terrible thing I did—

Fortunately, Maria chose that moment to enter the parlor, bearing a tea tray glittering with silver and china, which she set down with a clatter. The hem of her purple and green striped skirt lifted, and out ran the tiniest Chihuahua I’d ever seen. The little dog barked at me once, then cocked her head at my shoelaces, a wicked gleam in her eyes, and promptly bounced over and settled herself at my feet, chewing on the ends of the strings gleefully. At the same time, the bundle of fur on Maria’s shoulder uncurled itself to reveal a little monkey, gazing at me curiously.

A, smiling in pure delight: Chi-chi! India, you little scamp. You’re both even cuter than I imagined.

M, frowning in confusion, and then shrugging: Summer, the duke is waiting in his carriage for ya’. And ya’ know how he hates to be kept waiting.

S: He’s more than an hour early. She huffs. Oh, botheration, tell him I’ll be right there. Looks at the tea tray and me regretfully. Do you think you can come back so we can have a proper talk?

A: I’m sorry, Summer, but I don’t think I can manage this again. It’s…difficult to come to you. I start feeling woozy, and kinda hazy around the edges.

Summer bounds to her feet, silk skirts swishing, and grasps my hand.

S: But wait. You have to tell me what happens. What am I going to do?

A: I wish I could, Summer. But the truth is, I just don’t know.

S, brown eyes flashing gold: Tarnation, how can you not know?

A: Because my characters always take over the story, Summer. I have no idea what you’re going to do next. The room shimmers and fades and Chi-chi lets go of my shoelaces with a startled yelp. But don’t worry. I promise you’ll have a happily-ever-after. I write romances, after all.