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Friday, April 30, 2010

Can't Catch Me!

Happy Friday All,

I'm trying to catch up with some things, including editing and reading. (making progress on editing, but it does take time. I've got a couple of books on my list yet to read).

I'm trying not to neglect the blog, and so far I haven't been too neglectful of it, so that's good.

Got some cool plans for the blog coming up:

Christie Craig's interview is set to be posted in June. You can check out Christie's blog here. And no I'm not telling anything about that just yet! You'll have to wait.

I've got another author's interview in the works. I won't go into details of who or when, since I don't have the when figured out, just the who. So, for right now those details are a surprise.

So all those things are coming up.

Next on the list to read: Darker Than Night by Kim Lenox (Number 3 in Shadow Guards Series). Check out Kim's blog here.

Kim Lenox autographed my copy of Night Falls Darkly, which is the first book in that series (this happened last year in September). Very cool :-)

The series is good...has suspense, romance, paranormal, historical setting. Very imaginative books.

Hope you enjoy your weekend :-)

Have A Fabulous Friday!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What Would You Ask?

Happy Thursday Folks,

Instead of my usual Thursday updates, I thought I'd do something a little different:

If you could interview one of your favorite authors what are some of the questions you'd ask?

What would you want to know most about the inner workings of their minds?


Have A Thoughtful Thursday!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Highs And Lows

Happy Wednesday Folks,

As writers we all know there's good and bad in life just as there's good days and bad days with writing.

Some days things just flow and editing goes smoothly. Sometimes it doesn't.

Same with a writer's life.

Highs this week: Reading Debbie Macomber's Midnight Sons Volume 2
Getting some editing done
Actually exercising (at some point) instead of just talking about it

Lows this week: dealing with illness (virus, nothing too dramatic, just annoying--but getting over it so that's a medium low and a medium high)
getting lab work done

But you know...if you ask any author, they'll tell you...there's highs and lows for everyone. That's part of why writers support writers. We understand there's real life and writing life. Those things don't always jive well, but when they do it's awesome and when they don't it can be rough.

That's one of the things I love about this industry. There's so many of us willing to encourage one another. Soak up that encouragement and pass it on :-)

Have A Wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Writers' Addictions

Happy Monday Folks,

Okay...this whole conversation I had with a friend of mine about coffee and types of coffee got me thinking about coffee and other things we writers rely on to keep us going.

Chocolate's one of my addictions (and yes, I thank Godiva Chocolatiers for coming up with the Cappuccino Truffle).

Some writers prefer tea, but a good chunk of the writers I know love their coffee.

I don't drink a lot of coffee, but I do rely on my morning coffee to put that extra "spring in my step" so to speak.

What about other addictions? Like bookstores or office supplies?

Can a writer go into a bookstore or an office supply store and not find at least one thing they want/need?

I can see it in my head: "Oh look there's coffee scented pens, I must have some!"

I tell people all the time that bookstores are one of my toy stores. When I was younger I could spend hours just staring at titles and looking through the various selections (I still can, by the way).

There's this huge bookstore in my hometown that's a converted movie theater. I remember every time I've walked into that bookstore I just took a deep breath and any stress, any thing on my mind just melted away. I was in my own personal version of heaven. (I haven't been there in awhile, but I can guarentee that the next time I go, I'll walk in and memories will flood me and I'll have to go on my little exploration trips again).

So perhaps, like bookstores (and office supply stores), that's what coffee also is for us writers. We take in that first breath...the aroma, the comforting scent that tells us that soon we will have the caffeine we need to charge through those edits and come up with ninety different ideas (okay maybe 90 is an exaggeration, but stay with me). Who knows? Could end up being because of that cup of coffee.

Anyway...what are some of your addictions? What helps you "feed" your writing self?

Have A Marvelous Monday!






Friday, April 23, 2010

Drama, Drama, Drama

Happy Friday Everyone,

You know all that tension you feel because one thing or another is happening in your life? Or maybe it just seems like drama happens all around you and it just gets annoying?

You, as a writer, can use that drama and all that tension to create suspense in your stories. Use that energy you feel towards upping the tension, spicing up the plot line and just vamping your story to high level "What's-gonna-happen-next?"

Sometimes drama can be avoided and other times it just rears up when least expected. But if we let it go wasted, we miss an opportunity.

Sure, you might not be able to sit down and use all that feeling right at the moment that you're in the middle of it, but somehow get it out in your writing. Your characters too comfortable? Use those feelings to put them in uncomfortable positions. Have the characters who are in love have a big fight--or create the "black moment". Have danger strike. There's all kinds of options.

But don't waste your emotions. Sometimes authors use what they're feeling to help liven up their stories. If it's not quite right you can always change it later.

Have A Fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

News Break

Happy Thursday One & All,

I haven't a lot to report on this news go-around. I've ordered my copy (and its shipped) of Kim Lenox's Darker Than Night.

I'm still working on the first round of edits. I've got about 150-something pages left of the first round, then I can start the other editing of the manuscript and hopefully have it cleaned up by early October. (In time for the NWHRWA's annual Conference...I hope to go!)

I plan on getting (and reading) Lynn Kurland's April 26, 2010 released book, One Enchanted Evening.

So far, there's not much else to report. I've been kind of "under a rock" because of reading and editing.

Have A Terrific Thursday!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do Writers Have To Be Graceful?

Happy Wednesday All,

Tuesday afternoon I wasn't paying attention and tripped over the ottoman on my way to my computer desk. I rammed my left foot into it, stubbing my 3 middle toes on my left foot. It hurt big time. I had to ice them down and try not to walk too much. In the evening they were better, but still...

...it's made me wonder...do writers have to be graceful and able to avoid obstacles and stubbed toes and such? Because if we have to be perfectly graceful on our feet, I'm in trouble.

You see, I'm a klutz. Not all the time, mind you, but every so often, I have myself a klutzy moment. Some are worse than others (like in high school when I tripped over a tree stump) and some aren't so bad.

But seriously...if we're supposed to be perfectly balanced, then what am I going to do? Most of the time I do all right, but I can be a klutz and I know other writers who are klutzy, too.

So, are you a klutz or perfectly graceful on your feet that you put a ballet dancer to shame?

Have A Winsome Wednesday!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Long And The Short Of It

Happy Tuesday Folks,

I know I didn't post on Monday. Here's what happened: I woke up a little after 10 after a bad night with a sick kid (he woke up a lot crying). We went to the doc's office in the afternoon. His right ear is trying to get infected and he has a touch of a virus. So he's on decongestion and something for pain. If he isn't noticeably better by Wednesday we're to give him Amoxocillion. Last night was the worst night we've had, so hopefully knowing what we know now we can help him get better.

I got from the library Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South but I returned it, because I couldn't renew it when I tried...they said it was on request, so I figured either I'd buy it or request it another time. But I was enjoying it. I wasn't real far into it 'cause of working on editing my manuscript, but I was enjoying it.

My attentions have turned to Debbie Macomber's Midnight Sons Volume 1 which I'm enjoying. About 113 pages into it.

I'm planning on ordering Kim Lenox's new book, Darker Than Night. Looks good from what I saw of it.

Now...if you don't read my blog regularly, you need to start, because we're coming up onto some months where I got some awesome things planned. I'm not gonna say what, but just trust me. I'm collaborating with an author on a contest and interview with this author for June, then once I know more information on the NWHRWA's annual conference I'm gonna be giving you all the link to that (and trust me, there's big things planned for that Conference).

The Lone Star Contest is in full swing. If you haven't taken advantage of the early bird discount and still want to enter, please click here.

Other than that I'm reading and editing and slipping in some writing here and there.

Have A Tremendous Tuesday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Edits R Us

Happy Friday Everyone,

I'm making a big push on the first round of edits on my finished manuscript so that I can do the more in-depth ones and hopefully finish by October since that's when the NWHRWA is hosting it's annual conference.

Now, I don't know if it'll all be done by then, but I'm trying. Working on doing at least 2 chapters a day for the first rounds, then I'll go back and probably print each chapter I'm on and look further at it.

I'm glad to be making progress, just wish it was going faster. LOL.

Anyway, hope you all are well. Have a great weekend!

Have A Fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Awww, Why'd It Have To End?

Happy Thursday Every One,

Normally I reserve Thursdays for updates and news, but I thought of something I'd like to talk about, so that's taking over this time...

Endings.

Sometimes they leave you with a warm feeling in your heart and you think, "That was a good story, great way to end, love it."

Other times they're sad, and you find yourself reaching for the tissue box.

And, once in awhile, you think, "What? No, it can't be over, not yet!"

Depending on the story, how you feel about it, and how well the writer draws you in, stories can elicit all kinds of responses.

I've read Lurlene MacDaniel's book, Don't Die My Love about 3 or more times. Every time I know what happens and every time I think it's sad. However, it's still a good story.

Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice is one most novelists (and most people) are familiar with. The majority of us know how the story goes and what happens, but still, sometimes, you go back wanting to relive all those moments all over again.

What makes a story do that to people?

A lot of times it's about having characters readers can relate to, or find intriguing. Especially ones that elicit an emotional response.

When you read The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare, you know that Shylock is the bad guy. You know he's going to ask for his "pound of flesh" and how grotesque that sounds. But you also remember his impassioned cry of, "..if you prick us do we not bleed..." and so forth appealing to our humanity.

The plot--storyline--itself needs to have appeal. Every little emotion, every form of tension or climax ranging from murder to romance has the ability to grab hold of a reader's attention, and if done right, keep it.

It's like a cliffhanger on a popular TV series. If you do the story right, tell the story just so, people are going to ask, "What happens now?"

If you mix everything together: characters, emotion, plot lines, motivations, and, of course, inspiration, you can come up with that story which people remember, read over and over and say, "Why did it have to end? I want more!"

Have A Thrilling Thursday!

Nice To Meet You

Happy Wednesday Folks,

Today's post is going to tie into yesterday's interview I did with Laura Childs. I asked Laura if she could meet any of her characters, which ones and why.

So, that's my question I'm posing today: Which character(s) out of any of your stories would you want to meet and why?

I think I'd probably want to meet Bast. It would be fun.

Maybe I'd meet Sir Beauregard (he's a cat in a story I never did finish and I don't know where that one ended up). I love cats.

So, what about you? Which of your character(s) would you wanna meet and why?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spotlight On Author: Laura Childs

Happy Tuesday Folks,

Well, I have a treat for you...

Mystery author, Laura Childs, agreed to do an email interview with me and so I have the pleasure of introducing her to you.

I've mentioned her novels on my blog before, and I recently (oh a few weeks ago, I guess) finished reading number 11 in her Tea Shop Mystery series, The Teaberry Strangler. Her mysteries are fun and "cozy", so you can sip your tea and go sleuthing at the same time.

Laura Childs is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries.

So, folks, here's the interview I did via email with Laura Childs:

Me: What made you go from marketing into writing novels – specifically mystery novels?

Laura: I was CEO/Creative Director of my marketing firm for more than 15 years, so the time was ripe for a change. Since I’d already written professionally and had a love for all things mysterioso, I figured I should give mystery writing a shot. Luckily, it all worked out!

Me: What made you choose the various locales you did for each of your three series?

Laura: The Tea Shop Mysteries are set in the historic district of Charleston for a number of reasons - it’s highly atmospheric, filled with history and mystery, and is home to the Charleston Tea Plantation. The plantation is something like two hundreds years old, so a perfect tie-in!

The Scrapbooking Mysteries are slightly edgier books that take place in New Orleans. My main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is always getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans is perfect because you’ve got your above-ground cemeteries, wanna-be vampires, and the madness that is Mardi Gras!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries are set in Kindred, which is a fictional town in the Midwest. I kept if purposefully vague so everyone could see a little bit of their home town in the setting and characters. In this series, three forty-plus women who have all lost their husbands run a cozy little café called the Cackleberry Club.

Me: Where do you come up with the recipes you include at the back of your books?

Laura: They tend to be my mom’s recipes, a few from my aunt, and sometimes a friendly tea shop owner shares a recipe with me. I think the recipes add authenticity. When you read about Golden Monkey Yunnan Tea, Angel Biscuits, or Chicken Bog, you're just naturally curious about these things and want to know more. Plus, readers tell me there’s something very satisfying about reading the story, then making the chowder or scones. There’s a kind of “interactivity” at work.

Me: Are all your characters pure inspiration or are they based on real people?

Laura: All authors borrow dribs and drabs of persona from various people we know. Of all my characters, Drayton (Tea Shop Mysteries) is a slightly more posh version of a very fussy art director I once worked with.

Me: If you could actually meet any of your characters in person, which ones would you want to meet and why?

Laura: I’d love to travel to England with Theodosia and Drayton and do a tea tour through the Cotswolds. And who wouldn’t want to celebrate Mardi Gras with Carmela and Ava! Those ladies are wild!

Me: What do you like best about writing mysteries?

Laura: I’m a bit of a control freak, so I love being able to control my characters and their situations. Of course, sometimes they go a little off track (all story lines are fluid!) so that gets bizarrely interesting.

Me: Your 11th Tea Shop Mystery was just released. Are you planning to write more books about Theodosia and the gang?

Laura: Absolutely. I’m almost finished with SCONES & BONES and then I’m under contract for 3 more books. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface on the permutations of tea and crazy murders those characters can get pulled into.

Me: What piece of advice for writing has been most helpful to you?

Laura: Grab people by the throat from the get-go. Jump directly into the murder and, for heaven’s sake, don’t clutter up your first chapter with too much back story.

Me: Do you have any “writing words of wisdom?”

Laura: My writing philosophy is a lot like Nike. Just do it. Sit down, sip a little Diet Coke, develop a story outline, then just keep chipping away at the writing. You don’t need personal assistants, incense, feng shui, or anything remotely tricky!


Find out more about Laura Childs
at www.laurachilds.com


Thank you so much, Laura, for doing this! I appreciate it :-)

Have A Tea-Terrific Tuesday, Everyone!

To Outline Or Not To Outline

Happy Monday All,

I might have touched on this before, but it's been on my mind lately due to a story I'm working on and it's come up more lately, too.

There's been things I've read or heard about the pros and cons of outlining or not outlining.

With outlining the pro is you sort out your ideas...you get it out on paper and you can brainstorm in a more tangible way. You make the changes you want and it's all there for you in some concrete form. A con is, if you look at the outline and can't figure out how to begin.

When not outlining you play with several ideas and just start off with an idea and begin writing right away. That's the pro. The con is, if you don't have enough of the story playing about in your head you could end up writing yourself in a corner.

Of course, there's always the combination of the two.

What it all boils down to is what works for you. What helps you write at your best. What gets your juices flowing and your ideas simmering.

On another bend...if you're writing a series and outline can help you keep up with the characters and know who is who and what they did.

When I was writing Surreal I didn't have an outline, but I did pick up important dates or people and set up pages where I could pull it up real fast if I needed to know something and didn't want to search for it. But I did that while I was writing the story.

With this other story I'm writing I actually have an outline that I've changed about three times and re started the story about 3 times as well. I've got the idea, but the concrete forming of it takes time. Things are beginning to take shape, though and I like dreaming things up (for me that's part of the fun of writing).

So...what works for you?

Have A Marvelous Monday!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Read Anything Good Lately?

Happy Friday Folks,

One of my nephews was talking about a story called The Light Princess by George MacDonald where a princess loses her gravity. He says it's a good one. I'll have to check it out.

Okay...as I said in a previous post I'm reading Georgette Heyer's Sprig Muslin, but I'm also reading Confessions Of A Werewolf Supermodel by Ronda Thompson. Both are good so far.

On a note of personal opinion, I think Heyer has a wonderful way of incorporating humor into her Regency Romances. There are several of her books that are just awesome.

I've never read Ronda Thompson before. She's got some interesting and fun ideas in her novel and I'm intrigued to know how everything pans out.

I'm going to be reading Elizabeth Gaskell's North And South soon as well as Debbie Macomber's Midnight Sons Volume 1.

And don't think for an instance I've forgotten about Kim Lenox's book, Darker Than Night that's recently been released...I'll get my hands on that one soon, too. Just you wait! :-)

What books are you reading (or are on your list to read)?

Have A Fabulous Friday!

We Interrupt This Program For Updates

Happy Thursday Everyone,

Let's see...updates...

Well earlier this week I did some more editing on Surreal, so that's good. Ideas are simmering for some other stories. :-)

We have several books coming out this April:

Kim Lenox's 3rd book in the Shadow Guards series was released on April 6th. Darker Than Night is now available for your reading pleasure. (I'll be getting that one! I've read the other two and I own them). [She has an excerpt up on her blog].

Richard Paul Evans also had a book released on April 6th. The Walk is now available for your reading enjoyment. (I'll have to check it out, I've liked several of his books).

Lynn Kurland will have a new book out on April 27, 2010 entitled One Enchanted Evening. (It's one of her de Piaget/MacLeod books--love those books, so I'll have to pick it up!)

CONTESTS:

There's still time to take advantage of the early entry discount for the NWHRWA's Lone Star Contest! There's several categories to choose from. Check here for details.

Shannon O'Donnell of Book Dreaming lists several contests in the margin of her blog. (There's a whole bunch listed--all different kinds, so if you're interested hurry and go check it out).

What's your news?

Have A Thoughtful Thursday!




Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What's In A Name?

Happy Wednesday Everyone,

Titles are important. They tell us what or who something or someone is. In the writing and publishing world they serve another purpose...they're one of the first things a potential reader sees. It's possible that a reader will pick up, look at a book and even read and/or purchase it simply because the title was so intriguing.

How do I know? Because this has happened to me.

Example: Author Christie Craig (and someone I'm pleased to know--she's such a fun person, by the way) has some really clever titles (I don't know if she has any input in the titles, 'cause sometimes in publishing they get changed) but whomever is doing the title work, they are geniuses (Christie, if you get to keep your titles, then you're a double genius 'cause I already think of you as a genius).

Christie has titles like: Gotcha! and Divorced, Deceived & Delicious I mean, seriously...someone is on a roll. Her book coming out in May is another example of Title Genius at work: Shut Up And Kiss Me.

Now come on, that's intriguing...especially if you read or write romances (which, obviously I do LOL).

Another example: In general I'm wondering if Confessions Of A title is what everyone is doing, 'cause you see it a lot. However, you don't usually see this: Confessions Of A Werewolf Supermodel (book by Ronda Thompson).

Now before Tuesday afternoon, I didn't know about this book or Ronda Thompson, but I'll tell you what, that last part of that title, the whole: Werewolf Supermodel got my attention.

I picked up the book. I checked the synopsis. I said, "Okay, I'm gonna have a look at this." I'm gonna be reading this book simply because the title was the first thing that got my attention.

Sometimes an author's title isn't the one she or he started out with, but sometimes it is. Regardless, titles are important. They might be the very reason our stories get picked up and read. You just never know.

What are some clever titles you've come across?

Have A Write Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Miniseries DVD Reporting

Happy Tuesday Folks,

Normally I don't do a DVD report, but I'm currently really into one. Which one, you ask? BBC's North And South based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell. (starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage).

At first I was uncertain as to what to think of the movie. I found it rather depressing. Then, as the storyline further unfolded and I watched John Thornton fall in love with Margaret Hale I got into it and thought, "Oh my gosh!"

To put it simply: I fell in love with it.

If you like period films don't be surprised if you end up liking this one. There's just something about it.

I haven't read the book, yet, but it's my intention to do so.

By the way, a big thank you and hug goes to my sister who gave me the DVD as a very early birthday present. Thanks, sis, I really like it! :-)

Have A Terrific Tuesday!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Don't Blink--You Might Miss Something

Happy Monday Everybody,

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter and a fantastic weekend!

Mine was pretty good. Friday I went to Good Friday service (very nice). Saturday morning I had an NWHRWA meeting and Sunday was cooking, Mass and hanging out with my husband and kid. So all in all it was a good weekend.

A couple of things...

The NWHRWA hosts a Conference every year (generally in October, which is when it is this year). Details are on the website. Last year's conference with Todd Stone was awesome, so if you all around around the Texas area, or can travel down to Houston/Spring/Tomball area, mark your calendars for Oct. 16th (I think it's more than one day).

Also, the Lone Star Contest is in full swing. Check details here.

There's always cool things happening at the NWHRWA. Gonna have a lawyer come talk to us (in May)...this past meeting we had a creativity coach. I mean there's always something happening.

Also, like I've said before, writer's groups are great for us authors. We get to interact, network, get feedback, brain storm and at least at the NWHRWA have an awesome time. Don't live near the area...there's always a chance there's an RWA chapter near you.

Awhile back I found this really cool blog for Mystery writers. I just think the title is so funny. It's called Hey, There's A Dead Guy In The Living Room. I don't write mysteries, but they've got some ideas on there that could probably help authors of all different genres.

If you haven't seen this picture on icanhascheezburger.com (LOLCats) you're missing out. It's so funny. If I hadn't been sitting down I might've fallen down I laughed so hard. Anyway, check it out, it's fun.

Anyway, Happy Easter everyone!


Have A Merry Monday!