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Showing posts from June, 2009

Love at First Flight Launch Week!

By: Marie Force It always seems so far off in the future, and then suddenly it's HERE! Tomorrow is the official launch date for Love at First Flight, even though it's been in stores for a week or so already. I'm already hearing from readers, who are enjoying Michael and Juliana's story! One of them wrote to me over the weekend: "I started reading it at the book store for over 2 hours and finally decided to buy your book. I loved the story you created between Michael and Juliana. I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to know what happened. I loved how you wrote the character of Michael ... I've been looking for another new author to read and I'm happy I found you. I'm glad I went home when I did because you wrote all the emotional parts so beautifully that I couldn't help crying." There'll be lots of opportunities to win copies of Love at First Flight and Line of Scrimmage this week! Come by the launch party tomorrow here on th

Happily Ever After

I was all set to write up today’s blog on the Lathan summer vacation plans. I had the first paragraph written in my head and was going to open it up for folks to talk about their favorite holiday spots. But then I came home from teaching the preschoolers at church, a typical Sunday morning of no special significance, and discovered sitting on my desk the carnations you see in this photo with a card that says: “Just thinking about you and how much I love us.” Inside my husband wrote: “I could say these flowers and this card are for no special occasion, but that would be a lie. You’re my heart’s constant thought. XXOO, Steve” OK, say aah! Yes, he is a really wonderful guy and I know I am incredibly blessed. And yes I could brag on and on about how often he expresses his love with similar gestures. He would LOVE to hear you all praise his thoughtfulness! LOL! It is entirely true and I do not have to exaggerate in how marvelously romantic my own Mr. Darcy is. But I am not writing this

Free Reads, Anyone???

Everybody loves free stuff, right? So what’s better than reading your favorite authors’ works for free? In the past, Casa Babes have woven a fun tale out of a whacky cast of characters, the tale growing wilder and wilder until the end. They’re lots of fun, and one of these days when we’re not so inundated with deadlines, we’ll weave another fun tale for our readers! In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to share some of my before published shorts in a free read, serialized version in a newsletter. So if anyone is interested in signing up, I’ve already sent off the first two scenes from Goddess in Training for newsletter members but can forward these to you if you want to sign up. Why are free reads great ideas? It shows diversity. Some of our Casa Babes had never written in 1st person, so it was a fun challenge for them. Some only write historical so adding a historical touch to the contemporary story line made it fun for readers and the authors ali

Characters Who Take Root

By Terry Spear Just like a seed buried in the soil for any kind of plant~ ground cover, tree, flower, blade of grass, our characters start out as kernels of possibilities. The environment the plant grows in shapes the plant. Too dry, the plant has to adapt or die. Too windy and the tree must bend or break. Just like our characters, they often don’t choose what life throws in their path. But with our characters, they have to make choices that often puts them at more risk. Some authors make detailed sketches of their characters before they launch them into their books. They have a neat concept of what their characters are all about before they write the opening scene. But for me, being a pantser who writes as the scenes come to me, I could no more do that, than I can plot out a book. What I envision is a character with a mission, with some big motivation as to why it is imperative that they must accomplish this task, and it has to have some time limit, o

Puppy Dogs!

I’ve got to say I love the picture and the caption even if it’s nothing to do with my post. I’m dug under with a book and a final read for my October book, Hex in High Heels. And as always real life surprises me. Yesterday afternoon I went out front and next thing I knew a cute little Westie was there with “hi!” and demanding attention. No way to identify him, although I’ll take him to my vet to see if there’s a chip, and I couldn’t leave him outside. Natch. He went into the back yard with no problem, loved water and kibble and while Bogie isn’t happy, new doggie seems content. I haven’t seen any Westies in the neighborhood, but I’ll do what I can while my dh is saying “I think we have a new dog” My family knows me too well. I love all animals and I’m vain enough to say they love me. Good thing I don’t intend to be one of those little old ladies that collect critters, but still, would you turn away a cute little dog who has all this love to give? And he could end up in a book too

What a Character

Years ago, I was a soap opera addict. Well, let's make that... today I'm addicted to one soap opera. And maybe not really addicted. I mean, I don't tape it or Tivo it or anything. I just watch if I happen to be home at that time. This particular soap has had some fantastic plots over the years along with the usual fare for daytime serials. In addition to the switched-at-birth, kidnappings, amnesia, coma, now-he's-dead-now-he's not stories, this show has also featured possession by the devil and visions and other crazy things beyond the usual crazy things. How can these unbelievable stories keep viewers? Daytime television, after all, is not jam-packed with special effects that can transport the viewer into a new world. To bring viewers into these wild plots, the acting has to be serviceable, but the characterizations have to be spot on. The characterizations--the building of characters--is the work of the writer. Yesterday, Beth talked about writing great seco

I thought it might happen!

I thought it might happen. Even planned it, really. And earlier this week, it happened! What happened, you ask? I had a reader/reviewer, who got an advance copy of HEALING LUKE, email me to ask if Luke's brother, Aaron, and their father, Bart, would get stories of their own. As an author, there's not a better compliment than to have a reader ask to see more from your secondary characters. (Well, there is "I stayed up all night to finish the book!" and "I'm going to the store now to buy your whole backlist!" ...but wanting stories for the secondary characters is right up there!) Knowing that a reader not only fell in love with your characters in THIS book, but that they enjoyed your writing enough to want more is heady stuff. I'm flattered beyond belief. It also reinforces my belief that memorable secondary characters are almost as important to a story as having a hero and heroine the reader can love. In fact, I have a workshop that I give to writers

What's in a Name?

By Robin Kaye My hero in Too Hot to Handle is named Dr. Mike Flynn and I have to tell you, I’ve taken quite a lot of ribbing because of it. It all started because I’m terrible with names. I have a hard time remembering my own name, no less those of my secondary characters. When I wrote Romeo, Romeo, I needed a doctor. Since I had no plans to make this doctor a central character in the book, I called him Mike after my personal doctor so that I’d remember his name. That seems harmless, doesn’t it? After all, it wasn’t as if I used his last name, too. Well, was I ever wrong about the fictional Dr. Mike being just a walk on character. After writing the scene – a conversation between Nick, the hero in Romeo, Romeo and Dr. Mike Flynn, I fell in love and not just with my hero. I’m fickle that way. I was head over tongue depressors in love with Mike. Who knew? At one of my appointments with Dr. Mike, he asked how my writing was going. Since I eventually had to tell him that Too Hot to

How I Learned to Write

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy Tomorrow evening, I'll be giving a talk at a local library as part of their "Summer Reading Program for Adults." The librarians have asked me to talk about my some of my experiences reading and writing romance, so today I thought I'd give you all a little sneak preview of some of the things I'm going to say. I like to say that I started writing at the age of nine. Before that, I printed. From the time I learned to read, I made up stories. As a child, if I didn’t like the way a book ended, I made up my own ending. I guess that makes me one of those people who writes because they don’t know how to “ not write. ” I’ve written all kinds of things, fiction, non-fiction, even poetry. I took creative writing in high school and college because it was an ‘easy A’ for me. I was one of those people who liked essay questions on tests and loved to write term papers. But even though I loved to write, I didn't necessarily t

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

by Danielle Well, first of all, Happy Father’s Day! I tried to find a pic of Papa Jackson and I, but our scanner is on the fritz and I tired of toying with it. Anywhoo, enjoy this cute little Norman Rockwell line drawing. Seeing as h ow I’ve ended up on two Sunday spots in a row this month, I’ll continue what I did last time and give you all another Sourcebooks announcement! A few years ago, Sourcebooks released a little book called Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange, which, aside from Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll (another Sourcebooks release!), has become one of the most successful Austen sequels EVER, solidifying both Amanda Grange and Sourcebooks as the premiere author and publisher of this ever growing genre! Now, I know many of you will read the announcement below and think, “Ohmigod didn’t we alr eady have Austen and Zombies?” But this book is very different—for one, it’s not a parody—it’s an actual continuation. And Amanda has created an incredibly smart ne

Taking the Yin with the Yang...

Vacation is over for another year, and I'm back at work this weekend. I was scheduled to be off for another six days after we got home from Myrtle Beach, but on the drive back to Indiana, I started coughing and was sicker than a dog by the time I got home. So, after seven days of fun in the sun (during which the sinus trouble I've had since Easter actually cleared up), I got another week of sniffing, sneezing, stuffy head misery. Like most things in this life, there's a trade-off. For every up, there is a down, and for every yin, a yang. Outcast has had it's launch, and I should be getting Fugitive from the copyeditor soon, but now, I'm back to writing the next installment in the series, Hero. I'm trying to learn from the comments of readers and reviewers as I write, and also from those of editors and copyeditors. I hope I'm improving as a writer, but I sometimes worry that if I try to please everyone, I'll end up making no one happy, especially mys


Mary Margret Daughtridge Tuesday was the SEALed With a Promise booksigning. I thought I'd share some pictures and the excerpt I read. Our talk lately on this blog about secondary characters we love is the reason I chose the excerpt. Setup:Emmie, the heroine, has issues about accepting help. Unfortunately, she also has one arm in a sling due to a dislocated shoulder. Emmie let the door to the ladies room swing shut behind her. And realized she’d made a major miscalculation. “Oh cripes ,” she squeezed her eyes shut, hoping the effort would transfer to the relevant sphincter. “You’re not supposed to take the Lord’s name in vain.” The remark’s tone was more instructive than chiding, and came from one of the large upholstered chairs set in an alcove, out of the way of the lavatories. “I didn’t.” Emmie looked around, seeking the owner of the voice, and saw the little girl Vicky, she’d spoken to earlier. “I said ‘cripes’ not Christ.” “What does cripes mean?” “I don’t know.” “Then why

Exciting Times

By: Marie Force Yesterday a box landed with a thud on my front porch. Since I work from home and get deliveries all the time (which usually require me to DO something), I finished lunch, read the paper, and then finally wandered out to see what the UPS man had left. I let out a squeal when I realized it was my box of Love at First Flight author copies! Ten years after an eavesdropped conversation in an airport inspired the story and just over three years after I finished writing it, I held the printed copy in my hands. The cover is even more gorgeous than I expected it to be with its raised, embossed type and rich colors. On the thrill-o-meter, this moment ranked pretty darn high! Amazon is now listing it as "in stock," so those of you who pre-ordered it should be getting your copies soon! Seconds after I opened the box and returned to earth, I got an email from our lovely publicist, Danielle, with the latest review, which said, in part, I read this book in less than a twe

Creating Characters

Every aspect of creating and presenting a well-rounded story is fun, as far as I am concerned. I love setting the atmosphere, describing the clothing or emotions, and of course weaving the plot is a favorite/necessary part. But you can have all of that stuff down, pen the greatest masterpiece of all time even, but if the characters who walk through that world are not riveting in every way, then the entire novel will fall flat. I suppose it is open for debate, but I would almost go so far as to say that great characters are more important than the plot. Or at least characters that a reader loves will go a long way toward salvaging a story that may not be all the wonderful. So we all approach our characters with careful consideration. Or we should! In my particular case – in writing The Darcy Saga – I have the advantage or disadvantage (depends on how one wishes to look at it!) of not only needing to create my own players, as all authors do, but also giving new life to characters origi

Updates and Reminders from Deb

posted by Deb Werksman RWA Data Released! If you haven't already seen it, check out RWA's independent survey on the romance fiction readership and marketplace--fascinating! Fabulous non-fic book about romance fiction! Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan's BEYOND HEAVING BOSOMS --you will laugh out loud and your bosom will heave. Smart, smart, smart of course, and really, really interesting. I learned a lot. More info at A word about advances! When you are talking about/hearing about/negotiating about advances, be sure to ask what marketing is/was/will be provided...if any. Otherwise, you're not comparing apples to apples . Marketing budget won't be part of the contract, but the question to ask is what the publisher provides and what the author should expect to pay for out of her own pocket. RWA Nationals! The National Conference is only a month away. Sourcebooks has a lot happening at National, including: Fr

Bucking My Own Trend

I wrote traditional Regency romances for six years with Kensington. I read Regency romances. I researched the period, read about the period, loved the period, so when I switched to longer format historical romances, I would naturally write about the Regency period, right? Well, no. I veered off to the late Georgian era. My Awaiting series (Awaiting the Moon, etc.) was set in 1795 Germany, and Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark (Sourcebooks Casablanca – April 2009), the first book in a new series, is set in Yorkshire 1786. Why? At first, I didn’t know a thing about the period, except that George the III was mad (he wasn’t really… oh, he was ill, but it was physical not emotional or mental) and… well, that was pretty much it. You think I’m exaggerating? I wish I was. My first problem with Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark came right away, when I had to write the first scene, where Lady Anne is traveling north to Yorkshire at the desperate request of her friend, Lady John Bestwick.

Giving Back

On Friday, I went to the Long Island Luncheon, which is a function I've been going to for the last four years. The ladies of the Long Island chapter invite editors and agents to lunch at the Milleridge Inn for a champagne punch cocktail hour, followed by a very nice meal, with raffle baskets from the authors and free books. Each year they select an industry professional to honor and the others who attend have the opportunity to address the attendees to discuss what they're looking for. With at least two industry professionals per table, it's a low-stress, informal way for new writers to whet their whistle at pitching. Last year, those of us at my table discussed what we were writing, and I mentioned to Deb (who was sitting next to me) that In Over Her Head was in her submission queue. During the luncheon it also count out that I had partials ready for two more Mer stories. Deb immediately asked me about those stories then asked me to send them to her, which I did that foll