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Showing posts from January, 2010

The End

By Robin Kaye Today was my favorite day as a writer—the day I finally wrote The End. This is a good thing since Yours For the Taking is due on my editor’s desk on Monday, February 1. I drove home today from my lovely critique partner’s house knowing I had to write this blog, and I thought about the experience of writing this book. I know every book is different, and no two experiences are going to be the same, but having just finished my 4th book for Sourcebooks, I’m beginning to see trends and subtle changes in my writing process. With every book, I find that writing that beginning and the end gets more difficult. It’s been my experience that the book will be almost finished for the longest time, but I go back and rewrite the beginning and the end over and over and over again. A book not only has to begin with a hook, it has to end with a hook. It has to make the reader want to reach for my next book. Unfortunately for me, hooks are not easy to come by. So I’ve been writing and rewri

Under The Influence?

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy One of the more frequently asked questions I get has to do with my favorite books, or books that left a lasting impression on me. Not long ago on another blog (KOFF*Romance Bandits*KOFF) a discussion came up about the book or books that influenced different people to either read or write romance. That was an easy question for me to answer! I'd burned out reading historical romances in the 1980s and had switched back to another favorite genre -- science fiction/fantasy. One day in the early 1990s, I was browsing in the book store. Actually I was looking for a book for my BFF for her birthday. She loved romance novels, but first I checked out book in the sf/fantasy section to see if anything caught my eye. Well, a book did. It was a very thick paperback that was obviously shelved in the wrong place because it very definitely looked and sounded like a romance, but not like any romance I'd ever read. I bought it and took it home, but befor

Sometimes you feel like a nut...

As some of you know, my bio short bio goes like this: Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an almond Joy Bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers a delicious experience. Well, most of the time, I write humor...or try to. Lately, my muse--Thalia, the muse of comedy, seems to be on vacation. That doesn't stop me from writing. Oh no. I refuse to give in to writer's block! I just power through it by writing something else. That's why I often have two or three novellas or short stories coming out along with a big single title. My latest single title is finished! YAY!!! At least the first draft is. There are a few humorous moments. At least my critique partner laughed in all the right places. But it's not funny enough for me. Anyway, I learned this trick recently--from another blog of all places! Take those chapters that are giving you fits and copy them into a separate file. Now you have the freedom to play. Nothing is destroy

The Evil in a Writer's Life

Is called Writer’s Block. That’s when you sit at the computer and realize you can’t finish a sentence. You might even forget your hero and/or heroine’s name. And if it’s really bad, you’re asking yourself what your own name is. Everyone has their own way of handling writer’s block. Some doggedly sit at the computer, struggling to come up with the next word or sentence. Others get away, looking for something, anything, to help jumpstart their imagination. My imagination tends to go on vacation when I’m tired. Or for the days I could write non-stop, write all night and still be alert the next day. So what do I do when that happens? Cleaning the three bathrooms comes to mind. But I prefer driving up into the hills or around the vineyards or ranches and let my characters talk to me. They do love their road trips. Sometimes opt for a long bath and a book to let my brain relax enough to return to work. Personally, I don’t sit at the computer and try to push through. My writing isn’t as effec

Is It Spring Yet?

by Libby Malin As I write this, a warm wind rattles window panes as a January thaw day places a down payment on spring. Here in the mid-Atlantic region, it's not unusual to experience these "outlier" days when temps shoot up to the forties and sometimes to the fifties in winter. When I lived in Vermont, an atypical winter day might put you over freezing, but just barely. Not a cold-weather person, I'm happy to be out of that icebox. I love the spring season and already eagerly look at forsythia branches for signs of awakening buds. Spring itself is a time of awakening, signaling the start of something new in ways that a champagne-soaked 12:01 a.m. on January 1 just can't do. Warmer weather means shedding coats, opening doors and windows, and generally liberating ourselves of winter's layers. It's a time of expectations--what will the melting snow reveal, what flower will bloom next, what bird will return to the trees, what romantic eve

Wicked Good

If you've read my bio, you know that I'm a big fan of fairy tales. Heck, if you even glanced at my website, you'll see my tagline, fairy tales with a twist , in the header. But I don't just mean the traditional Cinderella , or Sleeping Beauty . I also love the classics, of which Wizard of Oz is one of them. In elementary school, we had the whole L. Frank Baum series in our library. And I read 'em. Boy, did I read them! And when the show would come on, once a year, it was a huge event in our house. Popcorn and pjs, sleeping bags on the floor in front of the tv, and staying up late. I was terrified of Elmira Gulch (who, sad to say, had more than a striking resemblance to my late music teacher who came to my house every Wednesday night for organ lessons), loved Glinda the Good Witch's dress, wished I was one of the ballerinas, and wanted a Toto all of my own. (Later got him, by way of a miniature poodle that Mom insisted we name Jamie. But he was THE best dog!) And

In Praise of Clutter....

There comes a time when clutter can be very useful. Case in point, when I needed a place to rest my mouse on as I was about to write this post from the questionable comfort of my new treadmill, I didn't have to look any further than the top of my dresser, which, thankfully, is not visible in this picture. Suffice it to say that it sits just two feet to my left as I walk. And, yes, I am walking at 1.5 mph at this very moment. I'm more comfortable walking a bit faster than that, but my keyboarding accuracy diminishes exponentially with each tenth of a mph increase in speed. Thus, I am limited. To begin the saga of the treadmill, I decided that having one close by when I needed a break from the computer would be a good thing. My weight and blood sugar have been steadily climbing since I began spending so much time at my desk, and after reading Robin's post about her "walking desk" I decided that having a treadmill would be a good thing. The only problem was lack of s

Taking the Waters

I have been thoroughly enjoying myself these past weeks with writing fun blogs as part of the book tour for My Dearest Mr. Darcy . As we all know, occasionally we are given interview questions or a specific topic to touch upon. That is nice for a fried brain, but I like it when I have free reign! Since history is such a huge part of my novels, I inevitably veer toward enlightening on some intriguing slice of the past. I thought I would do that again, so am going to share what I learned about seaside bathing in the Regency. For centuries the touted benefits of breathing deeply of sea air and “taking the waters” were loudly proclaimed. Whether it was cold ocean water or warm mineral spas, bathing in and drinking of the water was deemed wise and downright miraculous. Personally, the thought of diving into the frigid waters surrounding England sounds insane! These people must have been tough. Mineral spas, such as in Matlock and Bath, were typically designed with private rooms for

What We Do For Love

By Robin Kaye Fourteen years ago, I had a beautiful baby girl. (This is a picture of her in her very first tutu) She was a bit of a nightmare baby—she rolled over before she was a day old, screamed non-stop for the first year of her life, and at two weeks old, she managed to crawl the length of a king-size bed and didn’t stop even after she hit the headboard. I remember that day, running into the room, picking up my squealing infant, and telling my best friend, “She’s going to be out of the house by the time she’s fourteen.” Little did I know how right I was. Today I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I sent my fourteen year-old daughter to live with a host family, enrolled her in their local middle school, gave her a kiss goodbye, and left. It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Well, it does to me too. Twinkle Toes as I affectionately call her, has been dancing since she was four. At two she told me that she was going to be a ballerina, and hasn’t stopped dancing since. Two

Up In The Air -- For Real

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy I haven't seen the new George Clooney film Up In The Air yet, but I understand that Clooney's character is a man who has no home but travels from place to place for his job. Well, the DH and I met a guy on our recent flight who is just like that character. Everything he owns is in two suitcases, he travels from place to place every few weeks for his job, and lives in hotels where ever he happens to be. He'd finished a two week stint in Seattle, and had just spent the weekend with his girlfriend in Tampa. Now he was off for a month long assignment in Washington DC when our paths crossed. After parting ways with your young friend (who looked about 30) , my DH began to rhapsodize about what a wonderful lifestyle this guy was living. Yes, sick man that he is, my DH thought it would be FUN to have everything you own fit in two suitcases (never mind that he's the world's biggest pack rat and still has clothes he wore in college

International Travel

Yesterday, I completed the last step in my preparations to go to shots. Ow. Or maybe I should say, Ow, ow, ow, ow. I had four injections. Two in each arm. I'm not a very big baby when it comes to a little physical pain. But at least it's over. I have my visa, my passport and my health records. Now all I have to do is pack and look forward to a 24 hour flight. Can you say, 'jet lag'? I think it will all be worth it to visit a country so rich in history and culture. When I was young, I studied the Hindu religion for a semester. It's fascinating, and I'm thinking I might set some stories there. (That Brahma really got around!) LOL There are literally thousands of Hindu Gods, but I was taught that 3 reigned supreme. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Not everyone in the western world would recognise depictions of these dieties. But the most popular God you'd recognise in a second. Ganesha--the elephant-deity riding a mouse. Ganesha is one of the commonest mne

Our amazing publisher: Sourcebooks

It's always a good thing when an author loves their publishing house, and I've been very fortunate to love mine. The owner of Sourcebooks, Dominique Raccah, is a fascinating woman, who approaches authors and the industry in an entirely different way, and perhaps this is the reason for Sourcebooks fantastic success...especially during a time when most publishing houses are cutting back and/or closing lines. So it's with a great deal of pride that I'm passing along an article about Sourcebooks that appeared in Shelf Awareness (one of several articles that can be found here: ): Sourcebooks: '21st Century Book Publisher' "We're a company that's transforming in an industry that's transforming," said Dominique Raccah, founder, CEO and publisher of Sourcebooks, Naperville, Ill. Her goal, she said, is to make Sourcebooks into "what a 21st Century book publisher would look like."Here's

Falling in Love Again

Despite the cold, wintry conditions, love is in the air. It's not meant just for Valentine's Day, but all year long. And where can you find it? In books! :) Romance books! Whether you love to dive into the distant past, or take a walk on the wild side, or are happy to expand your horizons and find loving heroes in a wide spectrum of is in the air. One of the fun things about writing, is working on a new story, new characters, learning about them as they deal with the stumbling blocks thrown in their paths. But always, the romance is evolving. I just finished writing Wolf Fever and sent it in, but then had to work on the edits for Seduced by the Wolf and just finished those and sent them in. Woohoo! And I have to say I love editing a book that's nearly ready to be introduced to the reading world. It's satisfying because the book is essentially done. So I'm able to enjoy the hero and heroine's journey all over again, before I immerse myself in the

Bogie Wisdom 12/24/91 - 1/16/10

For someone who’d grown up with big dogs it was amazing that it was the small guys that stole my heart. We had a year old terri/poo, Cocoa, at home and felt he needed company even if I was home all the time. Plus there was a large pair of brown eyes at our local pet shop that had caught me just as Cocoa said “okay, pay Barry and let’s get out of here.” All I knew was that he was an eight-week-old Chihuahua/Yorkie who said “I choose you. Can we go home now?” And we did. Bogie was so very tiny and our neighbors’ kids volunteered names for him, but I was looking for just the right name. He could basically fit in the palm of my hand and tucked very nicely in my robe’s pocket. Then I realized I had the name: Bogie. No, not the golf term or Humphrey Bogart, but that radar blip that was there yet not there. That was my baby. Cocoa was mine, but Bogie was my baby. We went through nights of puppy hiccups and tummy aches. Lots of cuddles and walks in the open land we used to have around here. An

Hey, Hon

by Libby Malin I can't get it out of my head: Oh, oh, oh/Woke up today/Feeling the way I always do. . . Yup, the first lines to "Good Morning, Baltimore!" from Hairspray . Tonight, hubby and I head to Lancaster's American Music Theater to see a touring production of this musical, the tickets a Christmas gift from our son. Going to see this show means we'll miss watching the Baltimore Ravens face off against the Baltimore, er, no, the Indianapolis Colts. As a Baltimore native, it hurts to write "Indianapolis" in front of that sports team's name (sorry, all you Hoosiers!). I remember the heartache the city's residents experienced when, in the middle of the night, March 29, 1984, Mayflower vans moved the Colts from Charm City to the Midwest. That pain cuts deep. At my father's funeral two years ago, a cousin reminisced about that day, the bitterness still in his voice. It was a fitting tribute. My father had been a big Colts


Yes, you've guessed it. I'm talking about what you say when someone sneezes. Okay, can I get a collective eye roll, please? I can hear you all now: "Only Judi would blog about sneezes." Actually, I'm not talking sneezes; I'm talking SNEEZERS. With an R. As in "one who." Why in the world am I talking about Sneezers? And why am I capitalizing it? At this month's chapter meeting, our speaker mentioned Sneezers - people who will "sneeze" about your stories. You want Sneezers. And you want them Sneezing big, honking Sneezes. Think about what happens when someone sneezes (with the lowercase s ). Polite society requires the use of a handkerchief or tissue so the sneeze is contained. And, yes, please use them. But when it comes to book Sneezes, I say, "Fie on those handkerchiefs!" You don't want anyone containing their Sneeze. Case in point: one of our chaptermates had a real estate agent put something about her, a local author,

News and Updates for Our Blog

Good Morning! 2010 is going to be a big year for Sourcebooks Casablanca. As with every season since the this imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. started publishing romance fiction in 2007, our list continues to grow in diversity and length, our authors come into their own voices more and more, and we find ourselves going against type and trend and making an impact. Dominique Raccah, our CEO publisher, regularly reminds us that “Books Change Lives,” and I think the authors of this blog and the many others that aren’t regular contributors do just that. In the midst of a horrible and unstable economy, romance novels continue to sell—really well! People are looking for an escape, for romance, for happy endings, and as we all know and remind everyone, romance novels offer just that! Looking for a sweet heartfelt tale of redemption or loves lost? We have that. How about a suspenseful murder mystery? Yup, that too. Or a sweeping historical epic? You bet! Want to visit creatures you never knew existe

And the topic of this blog will be. . . .

"Uh, oh," said Manx, giving Drusilla a nudge. "Take a look. She's not writing... I think she's--" "--blocked," Drusilla finished for him. "Don't worry. She gets like that from time to time. I've seen it before." "Well, I haven't," Manx argued. "She never had this problem when she was writing about us." "Oh, yes, she did," Drusilla insisted. "You just weren't in those scenes. You didn't see her debating over what names to use for the Baradan villagers, or struggling with the wind directions and location of the house vs the spaceport." "And you did?" "Yes," Drusilla replied. "I think I'm more a part of her than you are." "That's not too surprising," Manx said with a wry grin. "She claims to have no idea what men think about." Drusilla eyed her husband curiously. "Is she right about that?" "Not really," a

Book signing success!

Let’s start with a heartfelt, very loud, “Whew!” That is how I felt after my first solo book signing this past Saturday. I was also strangely exhausted and my jaws hurt from continuous smiling and talking. But it was all good. Really! No complaints are intended as it was loads of fun and very successful. But let me just say I am glad I am not expected to do this every weekend! So far in my 10 months of being a published author I have been a part of four signings. The first two were while in Washington at the RWA convention and I was in a room with lots of other authors and lines of ecstatic ladies dying to get their hands on free books, in some cases no matter who the author was! My third was a group signing in Sacramento with several romance novelists – including our own Loucinda McGary – and a few other fiction and non-fiction writers. In each of these cases I was among friends, surrounded by other authors to socialize with, and in a setting where people knew what was happening. Ther

One of my Favorite Places…

By Robin Kaye When I was a going to college outside of Philadelphia, I discovered the most amazing place—Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. It is where I escaped to when I had campusitis. You know, when you just have to get away. I either went to Longwood Gardens or The Brandywine River Museum both of which I still love to visit. Now that I’ve returned to the area, my family and I have become members of Longwood and go at least once a month. It’s a year round venue since they have both indoor and outdoor gardens, and we always look forward to our visits since the gardens are constantly changing. They are, in a word, spectacular. Longwood Gardens has gardening classes, visiting performers from musicians to world-class ice skaters, Symphony and Fireworks shows, and a myriad of other events so there is usually something wonderful going on there. This year we started a new tradition, we celebrated Thanksgiving there. They have an incredible restaurant that serves the world’s

A Little Help From My Friends

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy So are you humming that old Beatles tune yet? I know I am. But this blog isn't about Lennon/McCartney tunes, or the great Beatle Tribute band I saw on my last cruise (They were called the Beatle Maniacs and they were... FAB! Sorry, couldn't resist.) . I'm writing this to say a BIG THANK YOU to my critique partners. I currently have three critique partners and I honestly don't think I could write my books without them. At least not the books I ultimately write. I have been working with all of them for four or five years. Not all writers use critique partners, but mine are a necessity for me. I find it very challenging to sit in front of a keyboard and monitor day after day and create words that other people will read and find at least mildly entertaining. I tend to lose my perspective rather rapidly sometimes. On any given day, I might think my words aren't bad, or are even pretty good. OR, I think they absolutely suck dit