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Showing posts from August, 2008

I have to do WHAT? Blog?!?!

Blogging has become something we're all used to now- but I know not so long ago, there were some of us that hadn't the slightest inclination to write something for literally the whole world to see, and for the purpose of promoting, of all things, romance novels... But surprisingly, blogs, author interviews, character q&a's, etc. have become an ideal, easy and CHEAP way to connect with your readers. Not only are readers given an opportunity to find out random, interesting facts about their favorite authors, but they also get to see yet another aspect of your profession of author. I think that blogging bridges a gap that's often between readers and authors- so often as a reader, I find myself wondering about the stranger who wrote the literature I'm enjoying. The offbeat anecdotes or heartwarming mentions of family that come up in these blogs make authors seem hum- a far cry from the superhero writing machines that churn out books every season. As your publi

The Evolution of Romeo, Romeo

Posted By Robin Kaye I love Italian families. Having come from one, I can close my eyes and see my grandmother’s house in Brooklyn, hear my grandparents yelling at each other in Italian. And I can smell the menestra boiling on the stove. After reading Mary Margaret Daughtridge’s exceptional blog about “Idea or Inspiration?” I thought back to the first spark of inspiration for Romeo, Romeo . I was taking an on-line class about point Of view and was supposed to write a scene in first person. I remember thinking I didn’t have time. I had a 20-quart pot of sauce on the stove, I’d just thrown in the meatballs, sausage and Brocole, and I only had ten minutes before I needed to stir the sauce. With the smell of sauce heavy with a good Cabernet Sauvignon filling my head, and wearing my “The Trouble With Italian Food Is 3 Days Later, You’re Hungry Again” apron, I sat at my computer and pounded out a scene written in a chubby Italian daughter’s POV. Rosalie Angelina Ronaldi stormed into my br

Digital Romance

Posted by Christina Harlin Some of our Casa authors have recently shared their hobbies with us, so today I will share mine. I play computer games. I’ve been avidly computer gaming since 1991 when I first encountered Sierra’s Kings Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella and the raucous Leisure Suit Larry . Over the past 17 years I have played about 150 games, many until the disk was too scratched for the computer to read. Technological leaps have been amazing, but technology alone does not make a great game. Just as in the movies, greatness lies within the story. I am not exactly in the prime demographic for computer gaming, and never really was. Mostly the games are targeted toward young men, which can easily been seen by how very little clothing most of the female characters wear on their fabulously toned bodies. But it’s not all about guns and boobs, or else I never would have stuck with it. There are strategy games, simulation games, role-playing games (my passionate favorite),

Talk Irish To Me

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy It's certainly no secret that I love a man with an accent. Any old accent will do, but I especially love a man with a lilting brogue. A charming Irish rogue could talk me into just about anything! The Irish have a very distinctive form of diction. For example, they often turn a statement into a question simply by inflection, or end a sentence with the word "then." I worked hard to replicate speech patterns in all my Irish characters in The Wild Sight , and make them sound distinctive from non-Irish speakers (like my American heroine). But sometimes it's not only how an Irishman says something, it's the words used. Slang and euphemisms can be so much fun! I loved listening to all the unique turns of phrases when we were in Ireland, and I tried to recall as many as I could. Unfortunately my memory is sometimes faulty, so thank goodness for the internet! I found all kinds of great websites for things like Irish slang, Iri

Line of Scrimmage, Now in Stores!

By: Marie Force Eleven months ago today, I got The Call that Sourcebooks wanted "Line of Scrimmage." Last Wednesday, I returned from vacation to find my box of author copies on the front porch. Over the weekend, my phone rang off the hook with friends and family telling me they had received their pre-ordered copies from On Monday, I saw it for the first time in stores! Yesterday, friends in Boston, Virigina, and California reported sightings in their local bookstores. It's been a very exciting week, to say the least! The best part is that because of the time of year, my husband and kids were with me the first time I saw the book and the first time I saw it on a bookstore shelf. It was nice to be able to share the excitement with them. Here's a photo of my first visit to the book in a store: Next time I'll be sure to take a moment to put on a little eyeliner and some lipstick! Here's a photo of the fabulous neighborhood my husband's last n

Idea or Inspiration?

" People sleep peaceably in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf. " by Mary Margret Daughtridge Michelle talked about inspiration yesterday. It isn’t only writers who are asked where we get our ideas. As an artist, I’ve frequently been asked. The first time it happened, I was totally bollixed. Where did I get ideas for a painting? They’re there , the ground is littered with them. I stumble over them. As long as the physical world exists and I can see it, I’ll have ideas. How could a person who said they wanted to paint not have more ideas than they knew what to do with? The same is true with writing. As long as there are people, I’ll have ideas for stories. I’m deeply fascinated by people—what makes them tick, what makes them change. To me essence of an idea for a story is to put two people in a situation that, in order for it to turn out happily, the people will have to grow. Like many writers, my ideas for stories often star

Mining for Gold

By Michele Ann Young Those golden nuggets of inspiration. Where do author's find them? It is something I am quite often asked, and something I can't always explain. In fact, sometimes I get downright nervous about the question. But I have been thinking a bit about it lately. Probably because I need to start a new book and I'm looking for inspiration. Yes, I write about full figured heroines, and I certainly have lots of inspiration for that aspect of my writing. Women who make the most of their ample attributes and the men who love them are to be found everywhere, looking gorgeous and doing amazing things. But no matter what shape or size a woman is, something else must inspire me to write her particular story. I often browse the newspapers looking for stories that touch my heart. One such story stands out. A bunch of relay swimmers won a gold medal, only to realize afterwards that one of their team had not made a proper "touch" or something like that. The j

Moving Nightmare--& Don't Cry Wolf Bright Spot!

I'm in the middle of the move from hell...ever have one of those? Actually over the years I've had several. One time we were in the middle of nowhere when the U-Haul truck my dad was driving broke down. No fixing it. We had to wait at a service station for hours before U-Haul could deliver another truck as big as the one we had--the one with the storage above the cab even. My dad was one of these perfectionists. And so when we had loaded the truck, it was done perfectly. Now, in the middle of some small town at a gas station, we had to unload everything, and reload it---only with some big guys' help, and they did it the way they wanted to. All wrong. Heavy stuff needs to go into the part near the cab. Everything was loaded backwards. Then another time, it was like the old days--Conestoga Wagon the middle of the mountains somewhere--hey, I was a kid...all I know is at that point we had a car and we were hauling a big U-Haul trailer. The engine began heating reall

Witchy Visual Inspiration

We have the sexy guys inspire us for our heroes and they definitely make wonderful eye candy, but we also need that inspiration for our heroines. We always need that good balance in our characters of personality and a good word picture to help the reader see what we see. For me, it’s an artist, Molly Harrison. She draws these wonderful fantasy pictures of witches, mermaids and faeries that really reach out to me. And some of her witches were a great visual for me for Jazz. I have a lot of her pictures and intend to pick up more because I can see something for all of my witches in her artwork. At this rate my office will be covered with her pictures. As you can see it’s for a good reason. Some of the pictures have that snarky and quirky look that from the beginning I felt was pure Jazz and they all have that wonderful magick that can infuse an author’s writing. What about you? What do you want to see to help you picture your heroine? And if you want to see more of Molly’s work,

Cheater, Cheater?

By Malena Lott John Edwards actually did a nice set-up for my blog entry today. Convincing the country that no matter how cute your face, eloquent your speech, big your bank account, happy you seem to be in your marriage to your smart wife, you can still screw things up for yourself - literally. Marital infidelity may well be the best example of sin immune to race, age or income bracket. You see, in my November novel Dating da Vinci, my protagonist Ramona believes her late husband may have been unfaithful before he died – with his ex fiancĂ©e who broke his heart just before he hooked up with Ramona. That he may not have been completely “over” her. It doesn’t help that Monica is a gorgeous, powerful attorney. Ramona decides she can’t completely move on until she knows the truth about Joel and Monica: why their engagement was broken off and if Joel cheated, since he was the architect on the new law firm where Monica was a partner and was spending a lot of time with her. To make matte

Guest Blogger Katey Coffing, Ph.D. with Applying Velcro to the Writer's Chair

Hi everyone! I’m thrilled to turn over the blogging reins today to an amazing fellow author (not to mention my kick-butt critique partner) Katey Coffing, whom I love despite the fact that her high energy levels make me look like a slug most days. Not only is she a coach for women writers, many of whom she has shepherded on to publication, but she also writes lush, drool-worthy fantasy romance, earning herself a Golden Heart final last year with the sumptuous Kiss of Fate , which is currently out on submission to find a home of its own. Katey’s writing is one of my favorite escapes, and her advice is always spot-on, so I thought I’d have her over to talk shop today. She’ll be in to chat, so please say hello! A novelist's goal is to create a tale that will enthrall her readers. Sometimes the process of creating the story engrosses the author, too, and the novel practically types itself. Unfortunately, most of the time it doesn't, and we have to painstakingly assemble the w

A Few Minutes with a Mare and a Witch

Hello again! This is Marla Elkhorn reporting from somewhere between Earth and—what did you say that planet was called? Tisana: Terra Minor Marla: Yes, that's it. Anyway, as promised, today I'm interviewing Tisana, a witch from the planet Utopia and her horse, Morgana who are characters in the upcoming romance novel, The Cat Star Chronicles: Warrior , which is due out October 1 st . So, Tisana, tell me what your life was like on Utopia. Tisana: As you said before, I'm a witch, but primarily I'm a healer, specializing in herbal medicine. Marla: How fascinating! And where did you learn this? Tisana: From my mother, mostly. We witches pass on our knowledge from mother to daughter. Marla: What if there aren't any daughters? Tisana: (laughing) Wouldn't happen! We witches only have one child who is always female! Marla: Is that right? Amazing! Tisana: Yes, and though we may take any lover we choose, the choice of the father is with the gods. Only the right

Honing your Brand

by Danielle Jackson At RWA National, in between wining and dining with you lovely ladies, I actually went to a few workshops--many of which were publicity, promotion and marketing focused. There was one constant idea that came up: your BRAND. Now I'm not talking Cover Girl or Target or even Sourcebooks, Inc. YOU are your BRAND. Think about it this way--what's the one thing that stays the same in your books--even if you write a series? YOUR NAME. This is going to sound funny, but you are selling yourself along with these books. Readers like to know who's writing those books with shiny half naked men on the covers… You should always think about how to market your brand—YOU! How do you want to represent yourself when your book is being promoted? There are a few things to keep in mind: 1) Brand Development and Placement o Put your Name in front of the targeted audience - Whether you write contemporary, paranormal or historical, there’s an audience somewhe

The Writing Olympics

I’ve been watching the Olympics, and like everyone in Maryland, and probably the rest of the U.S.A., I’ve been cheering for Michael Phelps, who won a historic eight gold medals. He’s an amazing inspiration. At 23 years old, he’s probably spent almost half his life in the water to get where he is today. I started thinking about the similarity between an Olympic athlete and a writer. Of course, writers don’t have to be in the same physical shape as Olympic athletes--thank God for small favors. Still, we work for years honing our craft, swimming along with everyone else in the hopes that someday, we’ll be chosen for the team. Unfortunately, our finish line is not so obvious, and if we think the judges made a mistake, we can’t lodge a protest. Like Olympic athletes, our training never stops. There is always the next competition for which to train. Even after we’re published, we have to do everything we’ve always done--the classes, the conferences, the workshops, the reading of our genre

New Sister Sayin' Howdy!

Greetings! I figured it was time to take the plunge and introduce myself. Yes, my name is Sharon Lathan and I am a romance-aholic. Well, sort of! Truth is, I am one of the NBs – that is, ‘New Babes.’ Just coined that phrase and I think it fits, yes? Judi, Beth, agree? So I am not sure if my addiction is quite as profound and debilitating as the rest of ya’all, but I feel it coming on! Seriously, I was blessed to all-too-briefly meet a number of the Casablanca gals at the Sourcebooks Author’s Dinner in SF during the RWA, and am still pinching myself over the experience. I cannot believe how wonderful you all were and how the experience, as short as it was for me, has opened my eyes. Those of you who have so encouraged me regarding the RWA will be pleased to know that I have printed the application and will be mailing it off this week! Go me!! I am very excited to get completely involved and learn even more. And, I am hoping that my humble contributions to the Casablanca Authors'

Eustacia's Romance Corner

Eustacia’s Romance Corner is a column for romantic heroines of all genres, wishing to seek romantic, compassionate and practical advice for their problems. This week’s letters share a common thread, involving a couple of lucky behavioral standards for romantic heroines. Dear Eustacia, I'm a contemporary single woman recovering from my latest break-up with Mr. Wrong. My problem is the dead body that just turned up in my begonia patch. Yup, it's Mr. Wrong and he looks to be dead for 12-14 hours and I don't have an alibi since I was watching chick flicks and eating ice cream with my cat for the past 48 hours! Please give me some advice! Dear Anonymous: Naturally you are innocent; romantic heroines do not kill people except in self-defense, and very rarely in that instance. Have you told the investigators that you are a romantic heroine? Well, don’t worry. I am going to send you three phone numbers in a separate email because I don’t want these gentlemen inundated with cal

Love My Book, Please!

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy Waaaay back at the end of May our Casa publicist, the lovely Danielle told me she was ready to send out ARCs of The Wild Sight . When I read the list of places she planned to ask for reviews, I started to hyperventilate. Now, it feels like that happened another lifetime ago, even though technically it's only been 10 weeks. Well, a few days ago, I learned that my first review has arrived! I'm so excited to take this significant step down my long road to publication. Yes, it is a happy day because this was a positive review! What a gratifying feeling to know that a total stranger read my story and "got" it. Yes, I was SCARED SPITLESS (just like when I received the file of my cover) when I opened the email! And once again, I held my breath while I read it. Thank goodness it was both short and sweet. The review will appear in the August issue of Booklist magazine. This is the trade publication of the American Library Assoc

So What's Changed?

By: Marie Force The books are in the warehouse! With those six words from our Casablanca publicist Danielle Jackson last week, my excitement level reached an all-time high. Just when I thought I couldn't be more pumped up for the launch of "Line of Scrimmage," something else happens! Now that the printed copies are in, they will begin shipping to Amazon, Borders, B&N and other outlets. Within the next few days, I might see a copy in my local bookstore. I'm starting to believe this is really going to happen! As a card-carrying member of the Worst-Case Scenario Club, I own the handbook and according to my kids, I'm always anticipating disaster (they're starting to wise up to my disaster planning and like to call me on it, but that's another post). If there's something to worry about, I've got it covered. The country will suddenly run out of paper, a tornado will suck up the truck carrying my books and send it to Oz, or, worse yet, no one will l

How to Be a Heroine

by Mary Margret Daughtridge A new-made friend (call her Darla) told me recently that reading romance novels changed her life. Needless to say, I invited her to tell me more. Darla, a professional with advanced degrees, explained that she began reading romances several years ago because it was a way to unwind before bed and let go of the events of a stressful day. After a while, she began to notice that the heroine said things Darla wouldn’t say. It made the heroine mad when men disrespected her. But unlike Darla, she didn’t slink away and nurse her wounds. If the hero tried to ignore the heroine or treat her as if her opinions didn’t matter, she took him on. The heroine had a purpose and a goal and she was clear about them. She was smart and she used intelligence to achieve her goals. The heroine had a strong value system and would make sacrifices to preserve it. At the beginning of the book the heroine might not know how to be an effective person who could make a difference, bu

Writing What You Love

by Michele Ann Young One of my favorite parts about writing stories set during the late Georgian period, known by most as the Regency, is that you get to write about the styles of the day, both as regard to fashion and life. Of course, we all know in our hearts it wasn't the most ideal time to have been alive unless you were one of the very few wealthy landowners. But we can always imagine that we were. I spend quite a lot of time going through what in those days were called fashion plates, to pick out just the right costume for the right event in my novels. In The Lady Flees Her Lord coming out in October I had a chance to use the outfit at the top of the blog. This was an outfit designed for ladies to engage in one of the few sports they indulged in. If you guessed archery, you were right. It was probably the green that gave it away. And there is something "Robin Hood" about those dags at the hem and the slashes in the puffed sleeve. It just so happened that my st

Writing--the Stress Reliever

I've been totally absentee lately what with getting a part-time job, teaching online writing courses, selling my house, trying to move, and much, much more. But through the stress of it all, one thing keeps me sane. Writing. As soon as I'm back in the world I'm creating, I have to face all kinds of new adversity. But it's fiction. And it's fun. :) Are writers sadists? Forcing their characters through horrendous ordeals to see how they can muddle through and come out on top? :) Whether I'm reading other authors' works or my own as I'm writing them, I love immersing myself in the stories, watching the characters grow and succeed. Adversity makes the story. :) Have you ever wondered how authors can be so mean to their characters and still live with themselves at the end of the day? :) Terry Spear Heart of the Wolf, Don't Cry Wolf (coming Spring 09)

Maybe Hollywood

I got word during the RWA conference that a producer was very interested in pitching Jazz and friends as a TV series pilot or movie. And now I’ve signed the contract for that producer to go ahead and create her own form of magic, hopefully finding just the right place to put Jazz on small or large screen. No guarantees but that’s fine. I figure it’s always nice to be asked and to feel that much interest. Although, I admit Fluff and Puff would really love to be stars. They consider it their destiny. :} Linda

My Guy: Leonardo da Vinci

If you like your heroes strong, creative and smart, I don't think you can get any better than Leonardo da Vinci. Which is why he gets top billing in my November release, Dating da Vinci. I first started studying the real da Vinci in 2002 when I read a series of Genius books - How to Think Like A Genius followed by How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci . Honestly, the Mona Lisa and Last Supper paintings were about all I knew about the guy up until then. So to discover that he was also a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, astronomer and even event planner for god's sake, was a thrill. There seemed to be nothing the guy wasn't interested in. He carried around a notebook everywhere he went - much like writers do. (I have a copy; it's amazing.) He noted how people walked, how birds flew in the air. And, yeah, he even carved up cadavers when the nice docs would supply him some. Remember, he lived in the 15th century - and

From Somewhere On Route 66

Hey, everyone! Well, I seem to be blogging from some crummy motel on Route 66, en route an actual, honest-to-God vacation with my husband and kids. The bathroom is scary, everyone is grouchy, and the internet connection is iffy at best. So rather than muse about when the last time was that the shower here was cleaned, I'll just share with everyone a picture I posted over at Wickedly Romantic a while back. This would be the inspiration for my next hero, once my brain starts working again (yes, I just turned in my third manuscript...if you heard angelic choirs singing the Hallelujah Chorus late a couple of nights ago, that's why). And in case you wondered, my next hero is gonna be all demon! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Kendra

The Cat Star Chronicles: Warror, A candid interview with Leo and Gerald

Hello, there! This is Marla Elkhorn, and I'm here today to interview Leo and Gerald, two characters in the upcoming sci-fi romance novel, The Cat Star Chronicles: Warrior, by Cheryl Brooks. Marla: Nice of you both to come such a long way on such short notice! So, Leo, you're the one the title refers to, right? Leo: Yes, I believe so. Gerald: No, he isn't! It's me! I'm the great warrior! Marla: Um, Gerald, not meaning to offend you in any way, but, aren't you a squirrel? Gerald: Too right! And let me tell you, when there are battles to be fought and won, you need a squirrel on your side! Marla: Uh . . . huh . I see . . . Well, Leo, you're a—a what? Leo: Zetithian. Marla: Well, I guess that explains the cat eyes, fangs, and the pointed ears— love the long hair, by the way! You were once a slave to Tisana's former lover, Rafe, is that right? Leo: Yes, but very briefly. Marla: So, you were a slave, but you became a warrior? Would you tell us about that?

A Little Bit More About RWA...

by Danielle Jackson Well, is there anything more to say about RWA ? I know the blog has been quiet the past week or so, and now it seems most posts are about the national conference (but thank you to everyone who blogged while we were gone, and to those that blogged from the conference itself!). But I think we are all so excited to share the fun we had! It being my first conference, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I had no idea how NICE everyone would be--you'd think at a place where not only a bunch of women were hanging out together, but women who technically are in competition with one another, it would be an estrogen overload and complete mayhem! But I was pleasantly surprised--it was a support group for romance writers! A place where information, advice and stories were shared willingly and abundantly. What a great organization full of people who all know what the other is going through. I met so many amazing women--especially the Casablanca Authors that were able

The Unexpected

This year at the Romance Writers of America conference, I really had no idea what to expect except terror. I was presenting the Golden Heart to the next Single Title winner and I knew I’d either stutter, mess up her name, fall, or do something equally embarrassing. Reading aloud terrifies me. I think it’s a dyslexic thing. I have no problem reading silently, but reading out loud is the stuff nightmares are made of. I flew into San Francisco a couple of days before the RWA conference and began trying to acclimate to the time zone. The day or two before RWA has become a bit of a mental vacation for me. It’s a time I can be by myself, have my own bathroom, and not be responsible for a blessed thing except my writing and me. This year, I was at the tail end of my deadline and was at the point where everything in the story converged. The characters, the subplots, and the tension drew together and the manuscript seemed to write itself. The first few days of jetlag were great. I awoke at an