Tuesday, March 31, 2015

the multiverse in my mind

I often get asked how I build (and keep untangled) the worlds I create.

I have my Fendrake world which included the Bitten Backstage books (vampire rock stars) and Brightwater Blood, in a Bottle, the Shadowlands, Decadent Moon, ES Siren, Annwyn...and there are a couple of other unpublished sci-fi and paranormal worlds and also a couple of contemporary worlds as well as a few standalones.

I have no fancy method. Each book has it's own exercise book--which if it turns into a series becomes the series bible. There are no clever segment, just a whole lot of scribbles, sticky notes and tabs so I can find what I need relatively quickly.

In my mind though the two sci-fi worlds of Decadent Moon and ES Siren would never interact, one is all alien and high tech and full of the weird and wonderful while the other is human drama on a spaceship.

The paranormal worlds are also quite distinct as the magic is different, the rules are different and the creatures are different. My goblins would never cross paths with my fairies. This does create the issue of defining the rules and making sure that they are distinct. But once set they exist in their little universe.

I don't set out with a plan when I build either, it all happens organically--which is why I have the messy book instead of a nice plan or organised folder--through the main characters. It's while I plot my stories and plan my characters that the world comes together.

I look forward to creating many, many more worlds to explore :)
SHONA HUSK is the author of the Shadowlands Series and the Court of Annwyn Series. You can find out more information about Shona and her edgy romances at www.shonahusk.com  or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook www.facebook.com/shonahusk  or join her newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join

Saturday, March 28, 2015

If a Picture's Worth a 1000 Words...

...what's an infographic worth? 

They're a fun, colorful way to share information. Statisticians and accountants love facts and figures, but the rest of us go bug-eyed. Numbers rarely scintillate. 

The history nerd in me loves them! Tell me to "make a family budget" and I happily set that aside. Ask me when Shakespeare died or when and who started the Bow Street Runners and I'm your girl. 

An employer once smiled and said, "You know more useless information..." 

Some things stick with you. They even inspire stories...like my Midnight Meetings series and book two, The Lady Meets Her Match. The series is set in the mid-1700s. More than once, readers and bloggers have asked, "Why the mid-1700s? Why not Regency?" 

I know "Regency" is officially part of the Georgian era, but it's as different from the clean-cut 1950s as 1990s grunge. There is a difference. And let me share a few reasons why... 

The Lady Meets Her Match, book 2 in the Midnight Meetings series releases April 7th.

The story plays to the Cinderella romance, only Cyrus Ryland is a commoner known as the "King of Commerce" and his lady love, Claire Mayhew, wants nothing to do with him. 

What's a man to do when Cinderella doesn't want her shoe back?

I'm Gina Conkle, writer of Viking and Georgian romance with a softly sensual side. It would be great to connect with you in one of these social places:

Did any of these numbers surprise you? Have a few numbers of your own you want to share?
I love history nerd facts. Regale me!

P.S. There's a huge giveaway on my website. More numbers for you: 12 authors, 24 books, and 1 basket all celebrate World Book Day. Since 1995, April 23rd has been the day set to honor reading and publishing. What better way to celebrate than books?! Come see for yourself: http://ginaconkle.com/

Friday, March 27, 2015

New Contest from Kathryne Kennedy

I would like to mention that I have a new contest running on my website. You can get the link to subscribe here: http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/contest.html But I’m pasting some of the details below for you as well:

Enter to win one of your choice of Kathryne Kennedy's books! Three
winners will be chosen.

This contest is all about rewarding my loyal readers, and finding new ones.
To enter, just sign up for the author's newsletter at:
or use the NEWSLETTER link below. (If you are currently a subscriber,
skip this step.) Then send an email to kathryne@kathrynekennedy.com,
with CONTEST in the subject line, and let me know which book you would
like to win and why, in the body of your email. Two winners will be chosen
exclusively from my newsletter subscribers, and one from other email
entries. PLEASE indicate in the SUBJECT LINE on your email entry that
you are a newsletter subscriber. You may send more than one email entry.

Yes, it's that easy! Good luck!

My Magical Best,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring and Writing Contests

It’s Spring! This is the time of year that the 2015 nominees for the RITA® and Golden Heart® contests are announced. Having been a 2013 Golden Heart nominee, I know how exciting it is to get that early morning call. Congratulations to all of the 2015 nominees. Yay!

This is the first year I have the privilege of judging the Rita contest. I was given seven books to judge. All of them were not in my genre, so it was a blast to read some books I never would’ve read otherwise. Six out of the seven were amazing books. One book, however, could have benefited from more feedback before it was published.

Which leads me to RWA-sponsored writing contests. First off, let me say everyone’s experience is different. For me, these contests were invaluable as a method to learn the craft of writing. I decided to write a book late in life and had no previous experience writing fiction, so a large quantity of feedback seemed an efficient way to learn.

There are many advantages of contests: lots of feedback, introduction to agents and editors via requests, supporting RWA chapters, and learning craft through judging yourself. The drawbacks can include the price, snarky feedback, no feedback, or inaccurate feedback. The overall lesson is: you are the person who must extract what you can use/learn from the feedback and what to ignore.

Here are the estimated percentages of the type of feedback I found helpful.

1. Professional editors: Percentage of craft I learned from these editors is about 1-5 percent. Since these were editors that worked in the business, they evaluated my ms. in the same manner as an acquisition. As a result, I learned very little except for the subjective side of editorial.

2. Classes: I took about ten online and local writing classes. Two online classes are responsible for teaching me the in-depth techniques of writing craft. I never would have been published without this training. The difficulty with classes is evaluating them and finding one that is a good fit with your needs. So I’d estimate 20-25% of my craft was learned from online classes.

3. RWA-sponsored contests. Before I was published, I received 70-75% of my knowledge of writing from contest feedback. Why? I estimated almost 70 people (published and nonpublished authors) gave me feedback. It’s this large number of judges that taught me craft. Bless their keyboards.

Here are a few examples from my contest experience.

1. One lady typed out two, single-spaced pages describing my writing style and individual critiques on how I might fix the problem areas. Clearly, I owe this lady my first-born.

2. One lady commented that, “There are no oak trees in England.” She and her husband drove all over the UK and they never saw an oak tree (unlike me, this woman is not a C-Span addict for Parliamentary debates and never saw all of that lovely oak paneling in the House of Commons). Now while her observation is wrong, her other comments were helpful.

3. Of these 70 or more judges, I received about 2 snarky responses. Since I cannot assume their motivations, I ignored them. Although, it’s a good, slap-in-the-face type of training for when your book gets harsh reviews and good training for your husband when you point out the injustice of the universe.

So if I ever had the privilege to give an award speech, I would say, “I’d like to thank all of the people who generously donated the gift of their time to judge contests.”

So what is your experience with contests?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Inspiration Wherever You Can Get It!

I spend the majority of my day with a 5-year-old whose favorite topics of conversation include mermaids, fairies, princesses, unicorns, and ponies. I know all the words to "Let It Go" and all the songs in Barbie: Princess and the Pop Star. I know Twilight Sparkle is an alicorn, while Applejack is an Earth Pony and Rainbow Dash is a pegasus.

I spend just about as much time each day immersed in the Regency world of my books. I know Beau Brummel influenced fashion, the English summer of 1816 was unusually cold, and the names of the patronesses of Almack's in 1812.

But sometimes life and art mix. Recently my daughter and I were watching Disney's Tangled, which is one of my favorite movies. I love Flynn Rider.

The movie gave me an idea for a great book--a rich "princess" and a lower class "thief" with a common goal.

And so I wrote the second in my Covent Garden Cubs series featuring Gideon as the thief and Susanna, earl's daughter, as the "princess."

The book is title The Rogue You Know, and it will be out in September.

You can pre-order my upcoming release, WHILE YOU WERE SPYING now!

Amazon Barnes & Noble iTunes Kobo

Any movies you think would make great books?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring in New England? I think not.

Well, it's official. Boston had more snow this year than in their recorded history. I could get ultra dramatic and wail about the next ice age, (Hey, I might not be wrong) or I can just suck it up, like all of my New England ancestors had to do before me. My family has been in MA since 1635.

This brings me to thinking of those ancestors and how they survived our harsh winters. They didn't have plows or snow blowers. Heck, they didn't even have shovels when they got here! If not for the Indians, we would have been toast...or more accurately frozen bread dough.

They eventually learned to set stores aside, make lots of candles, and tell stories--but mostly to stay inside and stay warm while waiting it out. By this time each year, they must have been going stir-crazy. We still are! I took a picture of our thermometer yesterday at 9 a.m. in the bright sunshine, and it read 15 degrees.

But we do what we have to. We look at the pretty pictures of green grass and budding trees and eagerly anticipate their return. Yesterday I put on perfume and imagined I was smelling flowers all day. I know...pathetic, right?

I haven't made too big a deal about the weather in my Boston novels. Sure, there was a snow related blackout, and a snowy wedding in Strange Neighbors, but the next two books in that series took place in Boston's summer, fall, and early winter. Once the snow fell, they stayed inside.

The second series, Flirting with Fangs took place in spring, summer, and fall.
Maybe I shy away from winter stories on purpose? You bet I do! If I have to be someplace in my head for a few months, and I get to choose the weather, I'll duck out of the story before winter hits in full force if I can.

That said, my current work takes place from late summer all through the dead of winter. And my poor heroine in a female firefighter with Irish roots. She's not used to brutal winters at all--especially on ladders and rooftops with freezing water everywhere. I don't know how they do it.

Sometimes writers, and by traveling along with us readers too, will suddenly realize what some people have to put up with when the elements become a villain in the story. I've just given my characters their first mild day in months and it was St. Patrick's Day. (Not this year, for sure.)

As I feel the loosening of winter's noose, I look for ways to include that in my characters' lives. Maybe they'll get to go for a stroll down Commonwealth Ave. and sit on a bench for a few minutes. Maybe they'll watch the crocuses pop up in the Boston Public Gardens. Whatever they do, I'll be doing it along with them...and none too soon!

Right now I have to go and dig them out of a dilemma I created for them. I feel rotten for torturing them sometimes, but it's nothing that real people don't face--and without paranormal powers!

Here's some eye candy to get us over that last snowy hump.
Coming in Oct 2015, from Sourcebooks and Ashlyn Chase.

What's the weather like in your parts right now? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tantor Buys More Jaguars! And Spring has Sprung!!!

Heart of the Jaguar Series Collage

Exciting News!!! Savage Hunger is already in audiobook. Jaguar Fever is being narrated now. And Sourcebooks Casablanca just sold the rights to Tantor for Jaguar Hunt! So they should be up next! :) Now, just need them to pick up Jaguar Pride!

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Savage-Hunger-Audiobook/B00NAGI2KQ http://www.audible.com/…/Romance/Savage-Hunger-A…/B00NAGI2KQ  

Savage Hunger (Book 1) B&N Amazon Chapters Indigo Kobo IndieBound
Jaguar Fever(Book 2) Amazon Barnes and Noble Books-a-Million Indigo/Chapters IndieBound Discover a New Love Sourcebooks Kobo
Jaguar Hunt (Book 3)
Jaguar Pride (Book 4)
Goodreads ~ Shelfari ~ Amazon ~ Apple ~ BAM ~ B&N ~ Chapters ~ Indiebound ~ Kobo

It's truly spring around here! Dandelions are popping up all over the place. We're having lots and lots and lots of rain.

Even dandelions can be a thing of beauty.

dandelion wet (640x427)

snail closeup (640x427)

Escargot on the lamb...

rain soaked puppies (640x502) (2)

And me trying to keep up with my current WIP, She-Wolf, halfway done! with two rain-drenched puppies curled up in towels on my lap.

The Stuffing Room
Stuffing room, while I'm still working on bear orders and puppies are making sure I'm doing it right! I'm making 4 Matheson Clan bears for Vonnie Davis for her April 7th party, and I'll be there. She writes fantastic Highland bear shifters, so what could be better?

Tanner and Jaguar blanket (640x427) 4
An exhausted Tanner, Havanese, 4 mos old

Max Rubberbanded in Black and White
A black and white portrait of Max, Havanese, 7 mos old

Rain Drenched Daffodils
Rain-drenched daffodils

Max Tanner rubber banded and place (640x427)
And puppies in training with their hair in topknots.

How is your spring coming along?

Have a glorious Monday!

“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear: Website: http://www.terryspear.com Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A New Beginning

by Amanda Forester

Spring has sprung! I love the change of seasons. I enjoy winter, but by the time March rolls around I am very ready for a change. Here in the Northwest, we have enjoyed a mild winter, but I know in some parts of the U.S. folks are still digging themselves out of the snow. I'm sure the coming Spring is a welcome relief!

When I think of Spring, showers of flower petals float through my mind. First the purple and white crocuses emerge through the frost, then the bright yellow daffodils, the fluffy, pink cherry blossoms, and finally the tulips. This year our tulips have been hindered by the two bunnies who have moved into our front yard. I occasionally see our new uninvited guests hopping across my lawn. My dogs go insane when they see them frolicking about freely where dogs are not allowed to roam. So wrong! I think bunnies are cute...until I find my tulip stalks nibbled to the ground.

A few years ago I went out to the local tulip fields. It was a wonder of swaying color, like a patchwork quilt stretching out for miles on the ground. Absolutely beautiful. I wanted to buy a bags of bulbs, but I decided against buying expensive bunny chow.

With all the new life bursting forth, Spring is a great time to start something new, to begin afresh. I love all the symbols of renewal and the hope that comes from the celebration of Easter. It's an opportunity to take a look at your life and see what might need some "spring cleaning". This weekend I am trying something new by taking a class to learn to do something that has scared me for years. Hopefully I will leave without the fear!

I just turned in a new manuscript for Sourcebooks, and did final edits on The Highlander's Bride (here is the new fabulous cover - coming out in September!). Now it's time for me to begin a new story! I have yet to write a word, but I have begun to daydream about my characters and how they first meet (in my head it's fabulous!). My white board is divided into the story structure sections, but completely blank, waiting for me to begin to plot.

The blinking curser on a blank screen can be exciting but terrifying. My story is still mine until I begin to give it away. Anything is possible. Maybe it could be a bestseller!

What is your favorite part of spring? Are you beginning anything new this year?

Friday, March 20, 2015

If Life Hadn't Happened by Linda Broday

Unlike some, I always wanted to be writer from the time I could read and I'm so grateful for the chance to fulfill my dream. Telling stories and creating story people is the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

My path started back in school. English (of course) was my favorite subject with history a close second. I loved when an assignment included writing a short story. I remember clearly one I wrote called The Sugar Bowl about a colony of ants who decided to play a game of football in a family's sugar bowl.

Then there was one about a squirrel who teased a dog mercilessly until the dog finally had enough and taught the squirrel a lesson that he almost lived to regret.

But, my favorite things to write are my western romances. These stories and the characters are so deeply embedded inside me. I feel I can reach out and touch them. With them living in my head, talking and laughing and keeping me awake, it's no wonder they become like family. I celebrate their joys and cry when they're heartbroken.
I often think about what I might've done if the writing bug hadn't bit me. I know it would have something to do with books.

I'd have been a librarian or bookstore owner. Libraries are magical places. As a child, I wanted to live in one. You might say I almost did because of the time I spent at the local library. I wanted to read every book and discover all the worlds and the people on each page. Books opened up totally new schools of thought sometimes and I learned a lot about what true love was from stories I read.

Books are everything to me, no doubt about it. If I haven't convinced you, you should see my bookshelves!

So are you satisfied with the way things turned out for you? What would you have been if life hadn't happened?

I love hearing from readers. You can contact me at:

Get your copy of Texas Mail Order Brides if you haven't already! 
Amazon: http://amzn.com/1492602817
B&N: http://goo.gl/2lLWmO