Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Year!

Fun Facts About Leap Year

2012 is a leap year, with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days.

Why?

It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out that the solar year and the man-made calendar year didn't always match up.

That's because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact.

Therefore, as the hours accumulated over the centures, an extra day was occasionally added to the calendar, and over time the practice became more or less official.

The Romans first designated February 29 as leap day, but a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four - 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc.

Another stipulation ruled that no year divisible by 100 would have a leap year, except if it was divisible by 400. Thus, 1900 was not a leap year ... but 2000 was! Go figure.

Thankfully, all this intricate plotting will continue to keep us in tune with the seasons over the next several thousand years.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One of the last chances to win a free copy of THE LORD OF ILLUSION


Tomorrow is the last day of my blog tour, and two copies of THE LORD OF ILLUSION are up for grabs. Visit me at:

http://bookmonsterreviews.blogspot.com/


and

http://www.literaladdiction.com/

As Always, Good Luck!

Kathryne

Monday, February 27, 2012

And the winner is.....

Congratulatons Cynthia. You won Linda's e-bbok. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail (dot) com (no spaces) to claim your prize.Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Judi McCoy

Many of us in the writing community are still in shock of the recent death of Judi McCoy. She had been a member of our blog, Much Cheaper Than Therapy, until her schedule became too hectic. She was also a long distance member of our Romance Writers of America local chapter Valley of the Sun. For the past nine years she flew to Arizona to attend the Chocolate Affaire Booksigning and then spent a few extra days in town to share her expertise with our chapter members at the next meeting. She was always willing to speak about any topic we suggested. What touched me the most about Judi was her sincere concern about her readers. I watched her speak to them about their interests and knew she truly cared. She once said she didn't want me to buy her books unless I really wanted to read them. She wasn't in it for the quick sale.

"It is always a great blow to lose a member of the romance writing community. Each author brings their own unique vision and voice to their stories, and Judi was certainly no exception. We will especially miss her here on the blog, where she contributed so many cute posts about her dog walker series. She was a caring person and contributed profits from her books toward the assistance of dogs in need...I think that truly reflects what kind of person she was. I met Judi many times, and she was always kind, gracious, with a great sense of humor. She will be missed, although a part of her will always remain within her stories. She cannot be forgotten. With Deepest Sympathy, Kathryne Kennedy."

The Chocolate Affaire won't feel quite the same without her witty retorts and laughter.
I hope those of you who knew her will keep precious memories close to your hearts. I hope all of us will remember that life is short and cherish those we love.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Interview with Author Linda Andrews


I’d like to welcome our guest today, our very own, Linda Andrews. 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 having me, Kim. I love chocolate.

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

I think the blurb says it best:
The extraterrestrials have landed and they're human.
Rae Hemplewhite didn't believe in aliens until a close encounter with out-of-this-world technology drags her into the extraterrestrial security program. Helping alien refugees adjust to life on Earth is difficult enough, but her first clients have a price on their heads. Plus, her new partner seems torn between the urge to kiss her or kill her.

And that's the good news.

The bad news: Alliances are forming in deep space. If Rae doesn't keep her witnesses alive long enough to transfer their top secret information to the right faction of humanity, Earth will become a battlefield.

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

It took a long brainstorming session with a friend to come up with it. In the end, we decided on Blue to represent the Earth--our great big blue marble in space. And Maneuver because the two warring factions are performing military operations on the planet to manipulate a certain outcome. Neither is particularly benign for those of us born and raised her.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I wanted something light and funny but with a darker theme. It doesn't hurt that I'm a big conspiracy nut and love aliens.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My husband, who is also a big fan of UFO and conspiracy theories, and I spent one summer watching every show, series and documentary on the subject. After I had about 16 hours, I came up with the basic idea of the Blue Maneuver.

What are your favorite science fiction research books, and why?

I read so many SciFi books and scientific and technical journals, it's hard to pinpoint just one. I think the best place for getting ideas, it US News and World Reports science section on the web. After that, you can google key words to find more information.

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

Unlike my other books, Blue Maneuver, is written entirely in first person. I find it difficult to get all the information across so I gave Rae, my heroine, a special phone. If you have a Smartphone, she has one whose genius is off the chart, plus it can do some really nifty tricks.

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

I don't really do much to develop characters. In fact, they usually arrive fully formed and boss me around.

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

I do have maps, pictures and layouts that I paste into a book so I can reference them.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Far too many to count. Some of my early favs are Authur Conan Doyle, who wrote SciFi in addition to his Sherlock Holmes, HG Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and MM Kaye. My current favs are Linda Howard, Linnea Sinclair and Laura Bickle/Alanya Williams.

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

I wish I knew how to promote. I am doing a blog tour for Blue Maneuver and that's a lot of fun.

What do we have to look forward next?

Next, I'm going back to my apocalyptic novel Redaction and writing the two sequels in a row. But I plan to have two SciFi romance novels out in April. The tag line is Sleeping Beauty is awakened by a Cyborg Knights Templar.

Thanks, Linda!

Thank you, Kim for having me!

To celebrate her book release, Linda is offering a free ebook of Blue Maneuver 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 most of the day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio. Linda Andrews lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, three children and a menagerie of domesticated animals. While she started writing a decade ago, she always used her stories to escape the redundancy of her day job as a scientist and never thought to actually combine her love of fiction and science. DOH! After that Homer Simpson moment, she allowed the two halves of her brain to talk to each other. The journeys she’s embarked on since then are dark, twisted and occasionally violent, but never predictable.

Check out author’s website at http://www.lindaandrews.net Buy http://www.amazon.com/Maneuver-Urban-Fantasy-Extraterrestrial-security-ebook/dp/B006VOKXME/ or
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blue-maneuver-urban-scifi-fantasy-linda-andrews/1108181682?ean=2940013738331&itm=1&usri=blue+maneuver

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Regencies and Paranormals Have In Common, by Caris Roane

Though most of my work to date has been in the Regency era, I’m often asked how in the world I made the switch to paranormal? But the fact is, it never felt like much of a stretch to me. For one thing, three of my Regencies included Greek mythological characters (and that was way before Sherrilyn Kenyon’s fab Dark Hunters series) and I also wrote a vampire Regency novella, which was a blast and a half!

However, beyond that, historicals and paranormals share one major thing in common: world-building. In the same way that I helped my Regency readers to feel like they were living during the time of curricles, muslin gowns, snuff and masquerade balls, I’ve worked just as hard helping my paranormal readers experience the vampire world I’ve built. In my Guardians of Ascension series, for instance, I created wings and flight, a different take on the vampire mythos, an array of powers that so far doesn’t seem to have an end in sight, and most importantly tough leather battle gear for my warriors, including super sexy black leather kilts! *Tssss!!!*

I also think that both Regencies and Paranormals have wonderful alpha males. My vampires are warriors and all my Regency heroes were titled men: viscounts, earls, the occasional marquis. I think if you added up the number of ‘lords’ I created in my Regencies, I may have bestowed more titles than any single monarch in British history! Alphas are wonderful to write as well: they’re strong, but usually isolated and just need a good, powerful woman to bring them down a peg or two in order to open up that stubborn heart to love!

In recent years, I left my Regency world behind—just temporarily, mind you—and have focused on the pleasure of writing my vampire series. Guardians of Ascension is set in a world of ascending dimensional earths of which there are six known dimensions. Perhaps because I wrote Regencies for so long, it was a natural thing for me to include social aspects to this world as well, like the various philosophies of my ascenders, the reverential aspects of sharing blood, as well as the potential abuses, the war, the effects of the war on my overworked, but oh-so-hunky warriors, and even what it’s like to raise children on Second Earth.

Above all, however, I write romance no matter whether it’s a paranormal or a Regency, or anywhere else my imagination wanders. So, each of my novels focuses on one couple and their struggle to find love within all the challenges of the world in which they live.

To learn more about the Guardians of Ascension, go to: www.carisroane.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Plotting Via Motivation Writer-U On-line class

Plotting Via Motivation
by Laurie Schnebly Campbell
March 5-30, 2012
$30 at www.WriterUniv.com

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

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

* Your biggest question in motivation
* The surprising core that makes it possible
* How deep do you go?
* The Motivation Checklist, with 14 blanks
* Difference between Goal and Motivation
* Using motivation to build your plot

Laurie Schnebly Campbell (www.booklaurie.com) grew up with a marriage-counselor mother, preparing her to write happy endings for her own books -- including one that beat out Nora Roberts for "Best Special Edition of the Year." The only thing she loves more than writing is working with other writers, which is why she now has a dozen novels on her bookshelf with acknowledgments from authors who loved her class!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hot Off the Press from Erin Quinn

It's been a busy year for me so far and it's only February!  This month I have two exciting things to announce. First, IRISH MIST, part of the Love, Lore And A Wee Bit of Larceny series (Irish Mist, by Erin Quinn, Irish Heat, by Calista Fox and Irish Kiss, by Mary Leo) is available now for all eReaders!


For Kasey MacGrath, success means everything and too much is never enough. But when a distant relative is killed, Kasey travels to a land he's long forgotten, and discovers in the mists of the Irish countryside the entrancing woman named Delaney Ballagh, who mysteriously haunts his mind and his heart. In the village of Talamh an Oir, simplicity is the order of the day, but something mythical and unfathomable terrorizes both the community and the beautiful woman he wants to protect.

For Kasey to help free them from evil, he must open himself to possibilities he's never considered. But can he truly believe in the magical gift Delaney possesses and a way of life he's shunned--both of which promise to be the key to his personal salvation? Will he trust what he feels for the woman who stepped out of his dreams and into his arms, or will he lose everything in a single mistake?
 
But wait...that's not all.  Also out in just a few days, the rerelease of HAUNTING WARRIOR in paperback!  (If you've been waiting for the price to come down...mark your calendar for March 6) Rory MacGrath's story is perhaps my favorite of the Mists of Ireland series.  Not only did the cover blow my mind, but there was something about Rory himself that has never let go of me....


“A highly recommended must-read!”
USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Ashley

A past he couldn’t forget.
Rory McGrath’s life changed the night his father mysteriously vanished, having uncovered the secrets of the ancient Book of Fennore. Soon Rory disappeared as well--leaving Ireland, shunning his family, and turning his back on magic.

A dream he couldn’t ignore.
But soon the dreams begin…dreams of a bewitching beauty whose touch is more real than any he’s felt.  The need to find her brings him home… to Ireland…to face his darkest fears.

A woman he couldn’t resist.
Lured to the castle ruins where his father disappeared, Rory is plunged back in time, and into the body of another man—a man betrothed to the very woman of Rory’s dreams. In possession of the secrets of his past, his family, and his identity, she has a hold on Rory that is inescapable. For she is his doom. His salvation. And his destiny.

“Erin Quinn has a notable talent for the complex and mysterious”
—Diana Gabaldon

“Captivates the reader with every turn of the page.”
Night Owl Reviews
 

Monday, February 20, 2012

And the winner is......

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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Judi McCoy


The ladies at Much Cheaper Than Therapy mourn the loss of one of our own. Judi McCoy passed away Saturday, February 18, 2012. Many of you may remember her posts about her beloved pets. Judi wrote whimsical romances and later reinvented herself with her dog whisperer mystery series. We will pay tribute to the woman who touched our lives next Sunday and invite you to share your memories as well.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview with H.D. Thomson

I’d like to welcome our guest today, H.D. Thomson. 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 Shrouded in Darkness. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Sure! It's the first in a three book series, all tied to one secretiveness and malignant pharmaceutical company.

If Jake Preston doesn’t stumble upon a miracle and soon, he’ll endup dead. And even if he does, he still might end up dead with a clever killer hounding his heels. He believes that the one miracle and antidote to save him is in Margot Davenport’s house, across the country and miles away from Boston. Somewhere locked in her home is the key to reversing an experiment that is killing him with each breath he takes.

Margot doesn’t particularly care if she ends up dead. She’s lost everything she’s ever cared for. A divorce and the loss of her job as a corporate lawyer has left her with little faith in herself or in anyone else. Most importantly, she’s lost the one person on this earth she’s looked up to and cherished–her brother, Johnny. His death in a car accident has devastated her, and she can’t find the willpower to pull herself from the chasm she’s fallen into. Her only solace is at the bottom of a wineglass. Having moved back to the small town in northern Arizona where she was raised, she’s made a point of isolating herself both mentally and physically from everyone other than a few chosen friends. Little does she know that her life is going to explode into chaos and the person behind Johnny’s death is coming after her.

Shrouded in Darkness is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I wanted to stress how a person’s motivations, life direction is never straightforward. Many a person will conceal their inner self, either for fear of retaliation, rejection or because they have dark, ulterior motives. Nothing is always as it appears in life and in people.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I’ve always loved paranormal books from the moment I opened a Dean Koontz book. I also love romance, so putting the two together just seemed natural.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I started reading some of the older books by H.G. Wells and Oscar Wilde. Some of them are such dark books, and I do love writing dark. I started thinking ‘what if’, and the idea of Shrouded in Darkness was formed.

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

I don’t really have a favorite book or site. Scientific Magazine has given me some wonderful information and ideas. I usually look for articles on certain paranormal topics.

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

Oh that would be Jake hands down! He’s such a tormented soul but I just love how he’s dealt with all the obstacles I’ve put him through. His faith in life is amazing. I wish I had as much faith as he does in the book.

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 don’t interview but I do start off with a character sheet, but it’s really not in depth. Over time the characters start growing in my head and a lot of the time they lead me in areas in the story I don’t expect.

Do you use maps, charts or drawings?

I actually start researching a subject and try to make it as realistic as possible. Other than that I just kind of wing it and let it form itself.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Dean Koontz. I love all his earlier works. I actually used to read him and his pen name Leigh Nichols. At the time they were my favorite authors and I hadn’t a clue they were one and the same! I love the spiritual aspect of how his characters overcome such heart wrenching obstacles.

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

I think guest blogs. Mainly just getting out there and being visible.

What do we have to look forward next?

I have two more books in the series. The next one is Shrouded in Mystery, which is about John Davenport, a man who wakes up with amnesia and suspects he might by Clark Kent. He’s determined to uncover his past and someone else is just as determined to make sure he doesn’t, even to the point of killing again.

Thanks, H.D!

To celebrate her book release, H.D. Thomson is offering a free book of Shrouded in Darkness 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.

H.D. Thomson moved from Ontario, Canada as a teenager to the heat of Arizona where she graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in accounting. After working in the corporate world as an accountant, H.D. changed her focus to one of her passions-books. She owned and operated an online bookstore for several years and then started the company, Bella Media Management. The company specializes in web sites, video trailers, ebook conversion and promotional resources for authors and small businesses. When she is not heading her company, she is following her first love-writing.

Check out author’s website at http://www.hdthomson.com/. Buy Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

St. Valentines Day.... Not just about love.

St. Valentines day is is not only celebrated in the U.S. but also in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Italy and Japan. It's a huge business all around. These figures might be dated a couple of years but I thought I'd share:

141 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually. That makes it the second-most popular greeting-card occasion of the year.

Over 40,000 Americans are employed at chocolate companies.

Shipments in 2007 for producing chocolate and cocoa products came to a total of $14.4 billion.

Non-chocolate confectionery products manufactured in 2007 came to a total of $5.6 billion.

In February 2011 jewelry stores in the U.S. sold a total of $2.27 billion.

The value of cut flowers produced by operations with $100,000 or more in sales in the U.S. in 2010 was $375 million. Of this value $17 million, or just over 22%, was due to roses.

This holiday sure packs a punch and not only in the romance department.

So buy some chocolate, flowers or send a card! You're helping the economy. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd post a little trivia. Enjoy.

The meaning for the color of roses.

Red (Dark) Unconscious beauty
Red (Single) "I Love You"
Deep Burgundy Unconscious Beauty
White Purity, Innocence, Silence, Secrecy, Reverence, Humility, Youthfulness,
"I am worthy of you", Heavenly
White (Bridal) Happy love
Pink Appreciation, "Thank you", Grace, Perfect Happiness, Admiration, Gentleness, "Please Believe Me"
Dark Pink Appreciation, Gratitude, "Thank You"
Light Pink Admiration, Sympathy, Gentleness, Grace, Gladness, Joy, Sweetness
Yellow Joy, Gladness, Friendship, Delight, Promise of a new beginning, Welcome Back, Remember Me, Jealousy, "I care"
Yellow with Red Tip Friendship, Falling in Love
Orange Desire, Enthusiasm
Red and White Given together, these signify unity
Red and Yellow Jovial and Happy Feelings
Peach Appreciation, Closing the deal, Let's get together, Sincerity, Gratitude
Pale Peach Modesty
Coral Desire
Lavender Love at first sight, Enchantment
Orange Enthusiasm, Desire, Fascination
Black * Death, Farewell
Blue * The unattainable, the impossible
Single - any color Simplicity, Gratitude
Red Rosebud Symbolic of purity and loveliness
White Rosebud Symbolic of girlhood
Thorn-less Rose "Love at first sight"

Roses by the Numbers

A single rose of any color depicts utmost devotion
Two roses entwined together communicate "Marry me"
Six Roses signify a need to be loved or cherished
Eleven roses assure the recipient they are truly and deeply loved
Thirteen roses indicate a secret admirer

Monday, February 13, 2012

And the winner is.......

Congratulations Booklover0226. You're the winner of Kathryne's book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) hotmail (dot) com (no spaces) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Don't Miss This Opportunity!



Don't miss this opportunity to hear what the experts have to say about the changing book market!


If you only attend one conference this year, Desert Dreams is the one. Why?



Check out our video and then go to http://www.desertroserwa.org/
and sign up today!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview with Kathryne Kennedy

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kathryne Kennedy. It’s a pleasure to have one of our own interviewed today 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 Lord of Illusion. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?


It’s about a scholar, Drystan Hawkes, who has been searching for years to find the one woman who might hold the key to freeing England from its slavery to the elven lords who invaded the country long ago. It’s about Camille Ashton, a girl enslaved in Dreamhame palace by the elven lord of glamour and illusion. It’s about healing hearts, and finding true love, and ultimately using that strength to conquer a great evil.


The Lord of Illusion is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?


My hero’s primary magical power is that of glamour and illusion…although he doesn’t find the true strength of his gifts until he bonds with his true love.


What made you decide to write in this genre?


My love of history, fantasy, and of course, romance. When I wrote my first book, there wasn’t even a genre for what I did. Fortunately, other authors have discovered the fun of mixing genres to create a new one, and a new category was born.


Where did you get your idea for this particular book?


I fell in love with Legolas in The Lord of the Rings, and knew I wanted to create a new world centered around the beautiful fae.


What are your favorite fantasy research books, and why?


I don’t have any fantasy research books, although I have quite a few historical. I do use on-line sources for mythical characters. But the best research is to read fiction fantasy, to see what’s been created before, and how you can expand on that, or change it.


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


I think I’m a tiny, tiny bit swayed to Drystan. I love both my hero and heroine, but Drystan’s character came from a personal inspiration that stole a bit of my soul when I wrote him.


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


I don’t do character sheets anymore, although I used to. Now, my characters are firmly set within my mind as I start writing…and develop throughout the book. My worlds are a mix of historical and fantasy, so the conventions of the time I’m writing in, and the challenges of living in a world of magic, all affect my characters and their personalities.


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


Yes, yes, and yes. :} You can view a map of the Elven Lords’ Realm, and my charts and notes on my website.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?


Many. Off the top of my head: Andre Norton, Patricia Briggs, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Johanna Lindsey, Jude Deveraux, Eloisa James, Sharon Shinn, Dave Duncan, Orson Scott Card, Erin Quinn, Jennifer Ashley, Michael Moorcock.


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


My website, hands down. Recently, I’ve been enjoying the blog tours that my publisher sets up for me. Such a wonderful opportunity to talk to readers!


What do we have to look forward to next?


The fourth book in the Relics of Merlin series, Everlasting Enchantment. Sourcebooks is re-releasing the first three titles in the series (Enchanting the Lady, Double Enchantment, Enchanting the Beast) starting in August 2012 (so for those of you who’ve asked me for the Kindle editions…they’re coming. ;)


Thanks, Kathryne!

To celebrate her book release, Kathryne is offering a free book of The Lord of Illusion to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (US & Canada Shipping addresses only.)
(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...


THE LORD OF ILLUSION BY KATHRYNE KENNEDY—IN STORES FEBRUARY 2012

He'll do anything to save her...
Rebel Lord Drystan Hawkes dreams of fighting for England's freedom. He gets his chance when he finds a clue to opening the magic portal to Elfhame, and he must race to find the slave girl who holds the key to the mystery. But even as Drystan rescues Camille Ashton from Dreamhame Palace, it becomes unclear exactly who is saving whom.

For the fate of humankind lies with Camille...
Enslaved for years in a realm where illusion and glamour reign, Camille has learned to trust nothing and no one. But she's truly spellbound when she meets Drystan--a man different from any she's ever known, and the force of their passion may yet be strong enough to banish the Elven Lords from this world forever.

“The world sings with vivid imagery and fantastic magic, and all the previous characters join forces in a thrilling final fight for humankind.”~Publishers Weekly STARRED review

“The hero and heroine are also out of the ordinary, and while this novel remains true to romance-genre mores, Kennedy infuses it with unexpected plot twists that will keep fantasy readers enthralled, too.”~Booklist STARRED review

“Superb writing and a fast-moving plot combined with magical passion make this a real page-turner!”~RT BOOKReviews Top Rating and TOP PICK

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Sourcebooks
BooksAMillion
Chapters/Indigo
Kathryne’s Bookseller Directory

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathryne Kennedy is a critically acclaimed, best-selling, award-winning author of magical romances. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at www.kathrynekennedy.com. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Arizona, where she is working on the next book in her Relics of Merlin series, Everlasting Enchantment.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

America's Sweethearts


Don't be misled by the title. I'm talking about those chalky mint flavored hearts that practically everyone in the US has seen or received for Valentine's Day. Yes, since I couldn't come up with a fun and interesting topic, I thought I'd research those sweethearts.

Technically, they're called conversation sweethearts and they weren't always heart shaped. In the beginning when Abraham Lincoln was president, the New England Confectionary Company sold a shell-shaped cookie and wrapped it in paper stamped with a saying. Fast forward 20 or so years and the owners of NECCO, first found a way to press candy into lozenges (pill-shape) then came up with a way to stamp sayings on the lozenges using red food dye.

Around the 1900s, the process improved and soon the company turned out heart-shaped candy with sayings. Of course, there were other shapes--baseballs, horseshoes, etc, but the heart-shape won the day. There were larger hearts produced to hold longer sayings and these were apparently very popular for weddings.

The 1990s saw a few changes as the company sought to update the sayings stamped on the candy. They reflected new fangled technology with sayings such as call me, fax me and email me. This year, there's rumors that some will even say tweet me. They jumped on board the Twilight phenomenon in 2009 with such phrases as Dazzle and Bite me. And each year they get suggestions for new sayings.

According to the company's website, the recipe hadn't changed much over the last 144 years but in 2010 they reformulated adding new sugar-free and chocolate versions (as well as a few new flavors.)

I might have to keep an eye out for the chocolate ones this year when I pick up boxes for my kids.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dialogue for the 21st Century.

How he thinks is how he speaks.


At the turn of the twenty-first century, the few books that dealt with fiction writing advised writers to use, oh, thirty percent dialogue and seventy percent narrative.  By mid twentieth century it was a forty/sixty split and by the end it was at least fifty/fifty.

So what about our shiny new century?  What is the currently advised ratio of dialogue and narrative?  I’m not certain, actually, but my best guess is that the attitude surrounding dialogue these days is excess is not nearly enough. 

I’m kidding, sort of, because the ratio of dialogue to narrative has increased.  At a minimum it’s  sliding to the other side.  The average new novel is now at least fifty/fifty, with some moving to forty/sixty.  Part of the reason for this increase is the popularity of deep third person point of view, which often makes it difficult to write extensive narrative without making your character look obsessive.

Those who hold back from writing dialogue tell me they don’t know how to make characters actually sound like two people really talking.  Well, it isn’t all that complicated.  What is complicated is how to make it interesting, how to make it move the story.  And it’s important to master the skill.  Nothing endears readers to a story more than dialogue that sounds natural while at the same time relating what the story is about. 

DIALOGUE, THE PARADOX

What makes good dialogue hard to produce is that it must read like real people talk and also not read like real people talk. Good dialogue simply creates the illusion of being natural while performing the function of telling your story.  It often takes years to develop an ear that translates to good writing.  Here are a few tips on how to get a head start and what to avoid and on writing like real people talk.

AVOID BAD DIALOGUE

Avoid formal language or strictly adhere to the rules of grammar.  Nobody talks that way.
Think about it.

Use contractions. Exceptions might be made if English is the speaker’s second language, but in normal conversation people mostly run their words together as in “we’re agonna go to the concert tonit’” Okay, so you’d never say that, but I wanted to get your attention.

Be careful that the characters don’t call each other by name all the time.  For some reason even experienced authors who know better do this frequently.  Maybe it helps keep track of characters or something.  But in reality, people seldom use each other’s names – usually only to get the person’s attention or when they’re angry. Remember your mother when you’d done something wrong, well there you go.  Most of the time she called you by a sibling’s name, right? 

TO WRITE GOOD DIALOGUE
Keep it short.  Most of us speak in incomplete sentences to get our ideas across and there’s a back and forth thing going on.  However, we do know people who open their mouth and go on and on and on . . . and (yawn) on.  You might even have one of them in your book.  This is where you present an illusion rather than the real thing.  Give that gabby character a few run-on sentences, have the other character try to get a word in edgewise, then have the point of view character think about how this character hogs the conversation.  That’s pretty much all it takes.  When the first character shows up again, provide the reader with a light reminder, maybe give that character an extra line or two more than the others in the scene.  Next thing you know when that character comes on scene readers will already know they’re tiresome gabbers.  We all know people like that and it will make them sympathize with your focal character.

Have characters give indirect answers.  Dialogue that is too direct is called on-the-nose and tends to be predictable and therefore boring. Character one asks character two if they are attending a meeting that night.  The obvious answer is yes or no, with perhaps an excuse. To make the dialogue indirect, have character two say something that leaves the question partly unanswered.  For instance, “What time is it?” or “Where’s it at?”  Or even, farther afield, “Is Becky going?”  Which actually isn’t so far afield because we’ve all done something like that, and that’s why this technique makes dialogue real.   

Try to provide two to three clever lines per scene –- cliches turned on their heels are good, Or   an unexpected insight. Or a reply that’s so far from what’s expected that the reader is jarred or amused.  It doesn’t have to be funny, although it can be, but it does have to be unexpected and off-the nose. The reason I suggest only two or three lines is this: If all the dialogue is clever, none of it is.  Save these lines for important moments in your scene, which the lines will make memorable. And give them to your protagonist, not the spunky sidekick.

I’m offering a Bootcamp course on Sparkling Dialogue in March (the 23rd actually) and if you’d like to know more about it, check out the course description and outline at bootcampfornovelists.com/cf-courses/c-outline-5b-sparkling-dialogue.html   It may be worth your mile.  In the meantime, if you want your dialogue to improve start listening closely to what people say and try to figure out what they actually mean.  It’s a fun way to spend time at the party and all those people you talk to will sing praise about how well you listen.  Odd, but then again, in today’s world, it’s a rare thing.
 

Monday, February 6, 2012

And the winner is.....

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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

If You Only Attend One Conference This Year...



If you only attend one conference this year, Desert Dreams is the one. Why?




Check out our video and then go to http://www.desertroserwa.org


and sign up today!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Interview with Patricia Sargeant/Regina Hart

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Patricia Sargeant, who also writes as Regina Hart. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us again 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.


It’s a pleasure to be here, Kim. Thank you so much.


You're welcome. I understand you have a new release out called Smooth Play. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?


I would love to. Thank you for asking. Smooth Play is the second book in my single-title, contemporary romance trilogy, featuring a fictitious National Basketball Association team, the Brooklyn Monarchs. I’m writing the Brooklyn Monarchs trilogy under my contemporary romance pseudonym, Regina Hart.


Smooth Play’s hero, Troy Marshall, is the franchise’s media executive. The heroine, Andrea Benson, is a sports reporter. Troy and Andrea start as adversaries. He wants to protect the team from the media. She wants to cover a big story to redeem her career. Smooth Play’s theme is forgiveness. Andrea can’t forgive herself for a mistake she’s made in her past and that prevents her from moving on. Troy can’t forgive someone else for a past betrayal, which prevents him from trusting Andrea.


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


I wanted a title that reflected sports because basketball is the backdrop for the story.


What made you decide to write in this genre?


Basketball is one of my favorite sports. I loved the idea of using that sport as a backdrop for my contemporary stories. Now I can consider all of those hours spent in front of the television watching college hoops and the NBA “research.” LOL!


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


I’m definitely a plotter. Plotting the story helps me identify specific areas of research before I need to describe it in the draft. I do a lot of revisions while I’m outlining the story.


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


Yes. Although I’m a basketball fan, I still needed to research specific dates of the pre-season, regular season and post season; official names and locations of each arena; which players were with what teams. Oh, man! The player trades caused havoc with my game scenes. After I submitted Smooth Play to my editor, Carmello Anthony was traded to the Knicks, so I had to write him into one of the playoff scenes.


Where did you get your idea for this particular book?


One of the things a lot of players and coaches talk about is the need to remain focused on the next game. They say the media can cause distractions that negatively impact the team’s performance. I thought the conflict between Troy’s job – shielding the team from media distractions – and Andrea’s job – getting the story – would be an interesting place to start.


But I also love themes in stories, which is the reason I enjoyed working with the theme of forgiveness and building that into the characters’ journey.


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


I enjoyed writing the relationship between Troy and Andrea. My goal was to show how they helped each other grow, Troy by encouraging Andrea to forgive herself and Andrea by encouraging Troy to forgive others.


Do you have any authors that inspired you?


Oh, so many authors … Beverly Jenkins for her emotion; Jayne Ann Krentz for her dialogue; Susan Elizabeth Phillips for her world building. So many authors.


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


I really haven’t figured that out. Word-of-mouth marketing is the best form of promotion. But I haven’t yet figured out how to build that buzz.


What do we have to look forward next?


Thanks for asking, Kim. The final book in my Brooklyn Monarchs trilogy, which I’m writing as Regina Hart, is Keeping Score. Keeping Score will be released July 3, 2012. I’m very excited by this release as well.


Thanks, Patricia!


Thank you, Kim. It’s always a pleasuring visiting with your community.


To celebrate her book release, Patricia is offering a free book of Fast Break 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.
Award-winning author Patricia Sargeant writes romantic suspense and, as Regina Hart, contemporary romance. Patricia’s suspense features ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Regina’s contemporary romances showcase the franchise members and friends of the Brooklyn Monarchs, a fictitious National Basketball Association team set in Brooklyn, New York. Regina and Patricia love chatting with readers. You can contact both at BooksbyPatricia@yahoo.com.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Day Late and a Dollar Short…Well, Maybe a Half Dollar Short

Yes, our blog deadline was yesterday, however, there is a reason why we are a day late.


Glendale Arizona’s Annual Chocolate Affaire.


For three years Tia Dani has co-chaired our writing group’s booksigning booth. We’ve been getting ready for it for an entire year.


And now the Chocolate Affaire has arrived.


We have 46 authors signing their books throughout the weekend. Workshops on How-to Write are scheduled and set to go.


Typically it takes a lot of planning to get an event this large to flow correctly. Not to mention expecting things to change as the year goes by, say a planned event crashing because of an unexpected illness. Okay… we’ll adjust… no problem we can do something else. We’ve got time.


However it’s the unexpected happenings the week of the event which really throws a huge wrench into carefully made plans. Not to mention upsetting the City who is hosting the event.


Not good.


Yep, it happened to us this year…our featured “big-named” author pulled out two days before the event…after the City of Glendale invested time and money in printing and advertising the author’s attendance. Not to mention we scheduled much of our workshop events around that said author.


Do you know how difficult it is to find a new “big-named” speaker at such short notice? IMPOSSIBLE.


Especially when you are a non-profit group with a limited budget.


How this weekend will eventually play out is anybody’s guess.


And why the Half-dollar comment?


One thing for certain, there isn’t any rain or cold, cold weather forecasted for this weekend. Plus Tia Dani , as always, will do her best to represent our authors , and the wonderful city of Glendale, with grace and respect.


Not to mention…despite all our carefully laid plans have shattered around our feet, Tia Dani has experienced a few perks for co-chairing the event. This morning we were privileged enough to be interviewed by a local TV station, ABC, Channel 15, who supports the Chocolate Affaire


AND… we get to be judges at the Event’s “Best Chocolate Entry Contest” on Friday night…something that is not only fun to do but we get to taste some of the best chocolate desserts known to man…er…romance authors.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Write Path Seminar

Write Path Seminar
LURE THEM, HOOK THEM, REEL THEM
A full day or workshops in the Northwest Phoenix area
Exact address and directions given upon registration

Saturday February 25, 2012
8:30 am to 4:30 pm

More information at: http://www.vijayaschartz.com/seminar.html
Registration form at: http://www.vijayaschartz.com/register.html

Whatever you write in this competitive market, learn to present your work like an appetizing dish, the aroma of which no one can resist. Make sure your query gets read, and that your target audience keeps turning the pages. From submission to "the end" keep readers, agents, and editors enthralled and begging for more.

From the log line, the title, the hook phrase, the elevator pitch, the blurb, all the way to the submission letter, get all your ducklings in a row and working for you. This is a small group, so each attendee gets personal attention and everyone will brainstorm each others' blurb and hooks, and you will get home with the perfect submission package no editor can refuse.


Registration fee: $70.00
All cards accepted through Paypal

Fee includes coffee, Tea, rolls, working lunch.
Small group guarantees personal attention.
All your questions will be answered.