Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome Friday Friend Sherry Gloag

Today I welcome fellow rose author Sherry Gloag.

It's going to be so much fun learning more about her and her new release, "THE BRAT". Hi, Sherry.

Why do you write in the genre you do?


I love the concept of romance and what it means to different people. And I love people watching. I enjoy the inter-action between them when they forget others can observe their behaviour. I may not hear what they are saying to each other, but in a way that makes it even better, because then I can lay my own interpretation upon the actions.

If I could hear what they were saying, I’d probably have it all wrong, but it doesn’t matter because it gives me the freedom to allow my imagination to run rampant and create my own scenes around my observations.
We live in a world and age surrounded by stress and anger. Therefore, when I read, I read to enjoy, to escape, and, for a brief time to believe in a stress-free zone. Or at least a zone where everything wraps up neatly in a HEA. And now, when I write, I find I focus on the consequences for my hero and heroine of actions - either their own, or those of others - hidden in the past.

In my debut novel, The Brat, my heroine, Gina Williams, and my hero, Ben Kouvaris, have to come to terms with actions taken by their mothers twenty-five years ago. Now when Gina and Ben come face to face for the first time, they find those actions, like a stone thrown into calm waters ripple out and have far-reaching consequences for the most unlikely people.

Both Gina and Ben have some major lessons to learn, ghosts to lay, and beliefs to re-arrange before they have the remotest chance of their HEA.

Do you have a writer’s cave or are you able to write anywhere anytime?

I always try to carry a pen and note pad with me wherever I go, so I can jot down ideas and even expand them, so in that sense yes I can ‘write’ anywhere, but my chosen spot is at a desk in a bedroom where I can work ‘uninterrupted’ . I when I say ‘uninterrupted’ because that particular message hasn’t quite filtered down to those who need to know. :-)

How do you spend your down time?

When the weather is good, and this summer we’ve had the sun, accompanied by a killer
Autumn, I’m so pleased to be here today, thank you for inviting me.
north wind, I love to work in the garden or go walking. The walking time is often used to discuss problems with the characters. While writing The Brat, very few of ‘my’ ideas went into it. The characters had definite ideas and kept me in line while I wrote.

I love reading. Romance, obviously is a major part of my reading. I also enjoy mystery and detective stories. Crystal craft work is another major source of relaxation for me.

What was your favorite scene to write?
This is a difficult question to answer, because I am not a plotter, so I’m never quite sure what’s going down on the page until I read it back. So there are many scenes that truly surprised me. But to answer your question, the scene that stays with me, is the one when after she’s spoken on the phone with Ben’s father she faces her ‘ah-ha’ moment. She discovers she has some major adjustments to make and has no time to practice as she finds Ben waiting for her with questions of his own.

What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

ROFL! Autumn I almost fear to expose the fact I’m seriously grammatically challenged, in case any potential readers take to their heals and run in the other direction, instead of to the ‘buy button’ or book store cash register! :-)
How did I overcome it? I’m not sure I ever will, as there are some long-term school issues involved. I have taken online classes and have two or three sites I visit if I need answers. And I do belong to a wonderful online crit group and several members are grammar whiz-kids who soon put me right. In the final stages of preparing The Brat for publication, I worked with a fabulous editor and she also offered suggestions.

You recently had a new release. Could you tell us where we can find you?

The Brat, published earlier this month by The Wild Rose Press, is my debut novel.

Buy The Brat from The Wild Rose Press = http://bit.ly/d5nVDC
And at Amazon = http://amzn.to/bclDhY
My Website = www. sherrygloag.com/
My blog = http://bit.ly/bnuELA
Book Trailer = http://bit.ly/9O6j6C
Facebook = http://bit.ly/daeGN7
Goodreads = http://bit.ly/bTOzHC
Twitter = http://twitter.com/SherryGloag

Autumn, thanks you very much for inviting me to join you today. I’ve loved being here.


Blurb

Gina Williams has a secret and prays it is buried with her childhood persecutor, Em Kouvaris, as discovery will ruin her reputation as a famous children’s author. She soon discovers the son, Ben Kouvaris, new owner of her publishing company, has uncovered her past and is making demands. Will he ruin her career if she doesn’t comply?

Ben Kouvaris is blown away by the unknown beauty at his estranged mother's funeral, and when his father demands he marry, immediately, to secure the family business, he knows just who he wants as his temporary bride. But can Ben persuade Gina to trust him?

Excerpt for THE BRAT

“I guess life diverted your dreams.”

The earlier light-hearted banter between them vanished. “Yes.” Ben signalled the waiter, passed over his credit card, and rose.

She leaned forward to pick up her bag just as her phone rang. Without checking the caller ID she took the call.

“You think I don’t know what you’re up to?”

The last time she heard that voice the Inspector had walked into her house seconds later. The phone almost slipped through her fingers, and she swung away from Ben’s perceptive stare.

“Who are you? What do you want?”

“You won’t deny your family’s existence for much longer, I promise you.”

The dial tone buzzed in her ear. Dear God in heaven, what did that mean? She’d never denied her family! They’d deserted her.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 Golden Leaf Winner Evil's Witness

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I'm posting early this week for two reasons. One, my son is getting married to a wonderful girl. I can't wait to call this young woman, who has been my daughter's best friend for eight years, daughter. Their marriage is really meant to be. Maybe next week, I'll share a picture or two. She is going to be so beautiful. And son... well, I made him. He's gourgous.

The second reason for posting early is in the title. This past weekend Evil's Witness won the 2010 NJ Golden Leaf award for 'Best First Book'. The judges, I understand, were booksellers, librarians and readers groups. I'm so thrilled and honored. I can't tell you how much.

There were a lot of reasons for me to remember this conference. I got to hook up with a four of my Ruby Slippered Sisters (2009 Golden Heart finalists). They are truly a special part of my life. I saw many old friends and had great conversations over drinks and dinner, and I made new friends. I hope they all become old friends as time goes on.

The workshops were awesome. The special breakfast and luncheon speakers, Sharon Sala and Robyn Carr were inspiring. I think I did well with agents. We'll see how things pan out. And the booksigning held afterwards was a dream come true for me.

Now, with my toes finally finding the ground, I'm diving into the first round edits which hit my email upon my return.

If you can possible attend a conference, go. Being around others who understand why you talk to no one phyiscally in the room or on the phone, is truly like walking among the stars.

Please stop back Friday when I welcome guest Sherry Gloag, author of BRAT. Love that title.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Welcome Friday Friend Amber Leigh Williams

Today, I welcome fellow Wild Rose and Wayback Series author Amber Leigh Williams. She is going to take care of my cyber home this weekend while I'm at the New Jersey conference. Yeah, Amber!


It’s October! Superstitions abound! Recently my sister informed me that Friday the 13th doesn’t mean anything sinister unless it takes place in October. I’m not sure if I agree, but October does seem to amp up my superstitious nature. I’m definitely looking out for those shifting shadows and strange happenstances. Growing up, I watched my grandmother draw an X on the windshield whenever a black cat crossed the road in front of her vehicle. We also had a family ghost named Myrtle. If you think I’m kidding, you should’ve been there when we heard frantic footsteps pacing across the attic floorboards late at night and when our refrigerator’s ice dispenser randomly spit out chunks—timed in such a way that passersby would get pelted. We were convinced Myrtle had a benevolent sense of humor. She never scared the bejesus out of anyone except the dog and a couple of new boyfriends. In fact, Myrtle was the boyfriend initiation rite. If the dude could handle a Myrtle encounter, we knew we had a winner! (Yes, my DH was one such contender…and, ah, the memories!) I wonder if to this day any old boyfriends think of us and shudder ;)

Last month, my western romance trilogy went from ebook publication to an audio book collection. In the final book, Bet It On My Heart, I was thrilled when the opportunity to throw in a powerful and poignant superstition scene presented itself. Years ago, in an earth science book I read about the ghost lights of Marfa, Texas.
For those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon, for over a century outside this Texan town people have been seeing mysterious, allegedly paranormal lights. Scientists at first tried to distinguish them as a reaction to rocks underneath the soil but after some daytime digging no such rocks could be found. Then they attributed the lights to headlight reflections from a nearby route. Watching the lights, however, it’s clear that these aren’t headlight reflections and the reported sightings date back before cars were invented. The lights are so popular, Marfa built a viewing platform on the bluff overlooking the site and the TV series Unsolved Mysteries filmed a segment there.

So intrigued was I by the Marfa lights, I kept a photocopy of the book’s article in my writing notes. With Bet It On My Heart, the chips fell in all the right places. The book takes place in the fictional small town of Wayback in west Texas. The cowboy hero, Keefe, drives his heroine, Calli, out into the quiet countryside for some special alone time. What they see and experience there creates one of my favorite moments of the book. You can purchase Bet It On My Heart, and its award-winning prequels (Blackest Heart and Bluest Heart) in ebook at The Wild Rose Press (http://www.thewildrosepress.com/amber-leigh-williams-m-352.html?zenid=1be052bfd41335d14b8fdbcf81dd17dd) or in audio at AudioLark today (http://www.audiolark.com/books/tag/amber-leigh-williams/)!

So readers, I’d love to hear your favorite paranormal phenomena—real life or fictional! Writers, has your own experience ever crossed over into your work? A special thanks, too, to Autumn for letting me share today!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walking Among The Stars

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I’m so excited. It’s been over a year since I’ve attended a conference or workshop. This weekend is the New Jersey Romance Writers conference and I’ll be there. Even though, my novel, EVIL’S WITNESS, is up for an award, Golden Leaf Best First Book that is not why I’m excited. Well, okay, I am but there's more. I can’t wait to be surrounded by other writers and learning more about the craft and industry which I love.

I’m sure you understand how it is no matter where your interest lay. When you’re with others who understand your enthusiasm for something, it’s like walking among the stars. I’m eager to meet face to face friends I’ve made online and to see those I haven’t seen in months. I feel like a sponge ready to soak up knowledge in the workshops I already have highlighted on my schedule to attend. I’m also a little nervous about taking an agent appointment, telling her about my new wip and hearing her thoughts on the romantic suspense genre in today’s tight market.

So today, I’ll be tweaking my pitch and getting my books and promo material ready for the book signing which is another reason for me to be excited. This will be my very first RWA conference signing.

God, it’s going to be a blast! If you’re in attendance, please say hi. Have a great weekend everyone and join me again next week for an update. AJ


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Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome Kathy Kulig

Today, I welcome a good friend and chapter mate, Kathy Kulig. Kathy writes HOT paranormal romances. You will really enjoy what she has to say and her books.

Take it away, Kathy.

I love flipping through mythology, ancient folklore and supernatural books to stir up ideas for my novels. Take a myth, twist it a little, surround it with interesting characters, a compelling setting and premise and you have the start of a story.

While researching shapeshifters and dragons for DRAGON WITCH, here are a few things I found:
Cryptids “are creatures that are believed to exist, but for which there are no existing physical records or evidence.”
And Cryptozology is the science of trying to prove the existence of these creatures.

Most of us are familiar with cryptids such as The Lock Ness Monster, Sasquatch or Bigfoot, but there are many others with fascinating stories. And if you’re a writer they may give you ideas to develop stories.

A few Cryptids that have yet to be proven as real:

Dragon of the Ishtar Gate is one of the Cryptid creatures depicted on the walls of Babylon (575 B.C.E). It’s cited in the Apocrypha—a collection of stories claimed by some to have been excised from the Bible—as a dragon that was kept in the Temple of Be by King Nebuchadnezzar.
Jersey Devil- I’m a Jersey girl so I’ve heard this one before. This legend dates back from Colonial times and this monster is supposed to be spotted in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
Kingstie- Is a 30-foot water creature seen in Lake Ontario since 1917.
Mothman-A tall, somewhat humanoid creature with fiery red eyes and large wings. It’s spotted in the area of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
Ogopogo- A plesiosaur-like creature seen around Lake Okanagan in British Columbia.
Trunko- A white-furred sea monster seen by a ship’s crew in 1922 off the coast of Margate, South Africa.

Some cryptids that were once considered mythological creatures but were later proven to actually have existed are: the duck-billed platypus, the giant squid, mountain gorilla, and Komodo dragon.

One of my favorite research books for myths and legends and just about anything strange and unusual when it comes to supernatural topics is THE CRYPTOPEDIA – A DICTIONARY OF THE WEIRD, STRANGE AND DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE by an author friend of mine Jonathan Maberry & David F. Kramer. http://tinyurl.com/33oey9x

In there he has a section on Dragons and Dinosaurs. Dragon myths are found throughout the world and share many similar physical characteristics even among cultures that had no contact with one another. The most common explanation for this is that these people unearthed dinosaur bones. The size and shape of these discoveries later developed the myths and legends for dragons.

A lot of this information I found in a reference book called “The Cryptopedia, A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange & Downright Bizarre” by Jonathan Maberry & David F. Kramer. This is a great source for stirring up paranormal story ideas.

I’m so impressed by the creativity of paranormal authors who can take an old myth and create a story with a new twist or make up an entirely new one.

Many of my stories have a variety of shapeshifters—a man with a 300 year old Celtic curse shapeshifts into a stag but he can be a man only beneath the moonlight. I’ve used a twist on an ancient Norwegian myth where a person can don the skin of any animal and become that animal by willing it so. In this particular mythology, I’ve had a shapeshifting mountain lion, wolf, bear and leopard. My demons also have the power to shapeshift, an ability mostly used as a disguise to hide their presence on earth. My demons have been a coyote, falcon, wildcat and one has the ability to appear as any other human. Imagine the trouble he can get into.

When I wrote DRAGON WITCH, I wanted to write something different. A friend at work does origami. She travels all over the world to origami conventions. She made me an origami dragon. Funny because I never told her I liked dragons. I have him on my desk at work. Of course, I looked at him and thought dragon shifter! This creature when in human form has a voracious sexual appetite. I set the story on another world, because It has always been my dream to write a SciFi-like story. Then I added another love interest, an interstellar transport Captain—a hunky guy that the biologist/witch heroine had a steamy affair with, and she can’t, for the life of her, forget. Toss them all on this planet in a desperate situation where lives are at stake, and that’s the set up for DRAGON WITCH. I hope you’ll enjoy it, because I had a blast writing it.

BLURB: Biologist and witch, Jaida Chel combines nature magick with herbal science to protect Kai, the last shapeshifting dragon on her world of Somerled. But when Captain Brayden Stokes reenters her life not only is Kai’s life at stake, but so is Jaida’s secured position in the colony. Brayden and Jaida can’t resist the sexual heat between them, even though she knows a relationship would be doomed. Fleet pilots don’t stay planetside for long.

Jaida is torn between Brayden and her dragon and companion, Kai. When Kai morphs into a human twice a year, his sex drive is ravenous. He must mate for twenty-four hours or die. Unrestrained passion between Kai and Jaida temps Brayden into a forbidden encounter. With Jaida’s sassy, wicked ways, the three cross boundaries, exploring eroticism beyond their imagination. When secrets and betrayals are revealed, Brayden must risk everything for one last chance at love.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BORING

REALLY BAD opening line: Sara Amos gripped the steering wheel tighter. She was nervous because she was starting a new job and had already pissed her new boss off.

Pretty bad opening, uh? What’s missing?

It's bare bones. There's not a sense used, nothing to grab the reader and bring the story to life.

We learn about our world through our five senses. Knowing this, it would make sense that we learn about our character’s world through their senses. Writing vivid, sensory details will engage your readers. Great writing integrates all the senses in a way that they blend and harmonious with the rest of the prose. So how do you that?

First we need to reach into ourselves and embrace our senses. Grab a pen and pad. Go sit outside on this autumn day and immediately close your eyes. The sense of sight is the easiest of all to write, using only it is lazy.

Now without opening your eyes concrete on your four other senses, one at a time. Again, without opening you eyes, scribble on you pad. Reach deep. Don’t just write the first element you recognize.

What do you hear? If you hear a sound you don’t recognize, what does it remind you of? Is it sharp, clanky or soft sound? Think out of the box.

What do you feel/touch? Not just through your fingers tips. Does the ground under feet feel spongy because of the downpour last night? Is there a bite to the breezy or does the sunshine kiss your cheek.

Smack your lips together. Stick your tongue out. What do you taste? Be Rachael Ray of sensory words.

What do you smell? Smell is the most powerful of senses to bring back memories. You don’t want to forget it. If you have a memory write it down.

Finally, open your eyes. Now what do you see? Really look at the world surrounding you. Look for the details. Details that will make your reader say, “Hmmm..I never looked at the old house down the street that way. It reminds me of a tired old boot, sort of sagging. It’s chimney leaning like the tongue away from the boot.”

Okay, we’ve got our senses sharp. Now let’s put them to the page.
Take the bare bone paragraph above and make it your own. Please post it in your comments and let’s learn from each other. Come on! One little paragraph. There is no right or wrong.

I will guarantee once you try this exercise, you will grab your current wip and start editing.

Let’s have fun.

Here's my attempt this morning:

Wet leather. She was going to smell like a freakin’ cow if she didn’t get a grip on her nerves. Sara Amos shook a mint from a tin, trapped the pill between her gloss covered lips and dropped the package into the cup holder with a ping. Six months she knocked— No, banged on the ivory doors of the Chase law offices before she had been granted entrance. Now that she was in, she planned on staying a long time. She pushed the button on the dash. Her relaxation CD whirled in the player for a second before fuzzy strands fill the car. Eyeing the passenger mirror held on by duck tape, Sara stretched her fingers one-at-a-time in her skin-tight suede gloves and curled them into the grooves of the steering wheel. Her new boss would just have to get over the fact she dumped him years ago.

***
Join me Friday October 15 as I welcome Paranormal/erotica author Kathy Kulig.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday's Friend Caroline Clemmons

Due to techo difficulties inside my own head (wedding stuff fogging), I'm late getting this blog up. I apologize to Caroline. She is a dear on-line friend and has the most beautiful cover I've ever seen for her new release Texan's Irish Bride. I hope she forgives me.

I asked her a bunch of questions and well, she answered them all. Great gal. Please help me in welcoming Caroline Clemmons.



1) You recently had a new release. Could you tell us a little about it?



Thank you so much for asking. THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE is a September 2010 release from The Wild Rose Press. Set in 1885 Texas, the hero is rancher Dallas McClintock. He has spent years working toward building his reputation as breeder and trainer of the best horses around. He believes neighbors are finally accepting him and he's earning their respect for his talent with horse. Just when things look great, he is trapped into marrying Cenora Rose O'Neill. She and her family travel with a band of Irish Travelers, thought they are somewhat outsiders. When they were turned off their land in Ireland, they had nowhere to go and fell in with the Travelers. Cenora's Da is a champion talker, plays musical instruments, but has no other skills--none that would support his family. Dallas ends up taking Cenora and her eccentric family to his ranch.



2) Did you have to do any special research for the novel?

Yes, I did a lot of research on the Irish Travelers. Looking into this group was fascinating, but I didn't need all I learned for the book. Still, research grounded me in the culture and helped me make the book more authentic--at least, I think so. I also made a trip through Bandera, Medina, and Lost Maples State Natural Area. All of those are in Texas and near where this fictional ranch and town are set. Researching Irish superstitions and blessings was fun. I learned some of my grandmother's superstitions are Irish. Although she said she was not superstitious, she was. So am I. My husband and I made a couple of trips to Ireland, which inspired me to have an Irish heroine. In fact, this is my second Irish heroine. Can't let all that research go to waste, can I? My family stayed at the Mayan Dude Ranch at Bandera, Texas for a few days when our daughters were small--7 and 10. That inspired a love for that area of Texas. I loved everything about researching this book. I hope readers will love it as well.



3) Why do you write in the genre you do?

I write in those genres I enjoy reading--historical, contemporary, and paranormal. It would be difficult to write in a genre which I didn't enjoy reading, don't you agree? I love history, especially Texas history from 1870 to 1900. I read other periods, but that time is what I enjoy writing. The first time travels I read were by Kathleen Kane, and I fell in love with the idea of a person thrust out of his or her time into another. You start off with built in conflict. I also enjoy contemporary books, so I write those, too. All of my books are set in Texas, even though some have portions in another place.



4) What was the hardest scene to write?

I suppose the sex scene when they arrive at Dallas' home was hardest. I wanted it to be fresh instead of the same old, same old. I really worked on it and I hope it comes across as credible and enticing.



5) What was your favorite scene to write
?



I think the ones with the heroine's father. He was a fun character--all blather, but he truly loved his family and tried his best to protect them. He had a blessing for everything and never used one word when a hundred would do. Such fun!



6) You have an amazing backlist. Would you like to tell us a little about it?

Thanks for asking. My first book was BE MY GUEST, which I sold to Kensington in 1998 for their short-lived Precious Gems line. My next sales were THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE and THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND, which were released in 2003 by Kensington. A novella, HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, was in the bridal anthology GOING TO THE CHAPEL in 2004. In 2009, I participated in a Civil War anthology with some friends, NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES, and my novella was LONG WAY HOME. This year OUT OF THE BLUE, a paranormal time travel, and this western historical, THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE, were released. Release date for my next book, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, has not yet been announced.

7) What do you consider your strengths, in terms of writing?

I think characterization is my strength. I love my characters, and they become real to me while I write. I've been told I make them come alive on the page, and I hope that's true.

8) What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?



Writing sex scenes is my downfall. Since my character become alive for me, I feel as if I'm intruding on my characters. Plus, there are only so many ways to insert Tab A into Slot B. I'd really prefer to just close the bedroom door.



9) What is the best writing advice you’ve received?



Never give up.



10) What is the worst advice you’ve heard, to you or an author?

I know of someone whose writing I loved but whose critique partner told her she kept making the same mistakes and should just quit writing. Unfortunately, she has.



11) What kind of books do you read?



I read historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances as well as mysteries. What I read depends on what mood I'm in. I never read books that end badly--at least not if I know it before the end. I want books with happy endings. If I wanted to be depressed, I'd watch the news. For me, reading is relaxation. A book may stay with me mentally for a long time, but that would be because I loved the characters. I re-read favorite books to see again how the author worked magic with her words.



12) How do you spend your down time?

With family, reading, with friends, travel with my husband, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and family history/genealogy. I had already completed and published a book on my mother's family and one on my mother-in-law for her family. My brother and I are compiling a book on our father's family and it's taken a lot of our time. We hope to finish the book and send it to the printer this year! Genealogy is like crack cocaine--once you start, you can't quit. There's always one more couple, one more record, one more thing to discover.



13) Are you a goal setter?

Yes, but that doesn't mean I'm a goal finisher.



14) What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?

I suppose hiking through ruins in the Desert Southwest. Although, I drove on the Autobahn in Germany, which turned out to be much easier than weaving through some of the very narrow streets in older parts of the towns.



15) What advice would you like to offer to aspiring authors?

Persevere. Hone your craft. Fine good critique partners who will offer constructive criticism and who will encourage you in your writing. Remember what Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never give up." Don't let anyone steal your dream!



16) How can readers contact you?

My email is caroline@carolineclemmons.com

Blogs: http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com

http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com on the 20th

http://seducedbyhistory.blogspot.com on the 7th

http://www.incurablediseaseofwriting.com on the 11th

Website: www.carolineclemmons.com

Facebook Fan Page

Goodreads

Twitter as CarolinClemmons with no E in Caroline



17) Do you have a writer’s cave or are you able to write anywhere anytime?

I prefer to hibernate in my pink cave. It used to be my youngest daughter's room. She decorated it with romantic prints one year for my birthday. It's a pleasant room and I enjoy spending time there. All my research books are there, my CD player, my PC, and a good desk chair. I do have a laptop and use it when I'm traveling.



18) Conferences: What advice can you offer to author’s attending them?

Conferences are a great way to network and learn new craft and business tips. I've been to RWA Nationals and always loved it, but I have to say I've really received more benefit from small conferences. With fewer people at a more intimate conference, I think I've been able to make more friends and learn more. Dreamin' In Dallas ia my favorite, but San Antonio RWA chapter's, NOLAStars, and the two in Houston are very good. Yellow Rose RWA has had some great small conferences, too. I urge writers--especially pre-pubbed or recently pubbed--to attend as many of the small conferences as possible. Usually the speakers are great plus I was able to meet people informally. Wherever you live, there will be conferences in your area. It's best to spend the night at least one night if you can afford it and make time in your schedule. So many things go on after the actual seminars--like dinner, sitting around talking--that you miss out if you don't stay overnight in the hotel.



19) Write the book of your heart. What does that mean to you?

Not writing to trends, but writing what I really want to write. At the present time, I'm working on another time travel, but there are western historicals and contemporary stories I plan to write asap. If your heart isn't in the book's premise, you won't do your best work. I used to be a featured columnist and reporter for a newspaper. I can give you however many inches you want for a newspaper pretty darn quick. A book is different. Unless the author cares about the premise and the characters, he or she will not do his or her best work.



20) What is your most valued writer’s memory and why?



I suppose it's a photo of my mom holding THE MOST UNSUITABLE BRIDE. She was so proud of me. She's just beaming in the photo she asked me to take. It's a terrible photo because she'd just had a really bad fall and split her mouth and lip so badly she required plastic surgery in the emergency room. She didn't care that her lip wasn't completely healed, she wanted a photo with my book. The heroine of that book, Pearl, came from a tiny kernel of a story my grandmother told about a girl in her town who quit school because the kids made fun of her. I decided Pearl needed a happy ending, so I wrote the book. She gets her happy ending all right, with a handsome husband who eventually cherishes her. Of course it takes a while for him to figure out he can't order Pearl around like a servant, and to realize he loves her. Lots of fun making him suffer.

Bio for Caroline Clemmons

As long as I can remember, I've made up adventures. Okay, I admit the early creative stories featured me riding the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and saving the West. What a disappointment to learn that Roy was exclusively committed to Dale! Eventually, my best friend from across the street and I decided to become better detectives than Nancy Drew. We drove our parents and neighbors crazy sticking our pert little noses where they didn't belong. About that time I started writing down my adventures, but mostly I was a reader. Not until I read Nora Roberts' early novels did I decide to create my own romance manuscripts. My road to publishing was a lot slower than Nora's was. No surprise there! I still read Nora's books—as well as those of countless other authors—but now I write full time. Unless life interferes, that is.

My Hero and I live one a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas. Our two daughters are grown, and supportive of my writing. Living with Hero and me now are Webster, our sweet black Shih Tzu, and our two shorthaired cats: Sebastian, a black and white tuxedo who thinks he's our watchcat; and Bailey Erin, a shy apricot tabby. When I'm not writing, I love spending time with family, reading, traveling with Hero, browsing antique malls, and digging into family history and genealogy. Writing about strong heroes and heroines who overcome amazing obstacles to forge a meaningful life together is my passion.

Friday Friend Kathy Kulig

Today, I welcome a good friend and chapter mate, Kathy Kulig. Kathy writes HOT paranormal romances. You will really enjoy what she has to say and her books.

Take it away, Kathy.

I love flipping through mythology, ancient folklore and supernatural books to stir up ideas for my novels. Take a myth, twist it a little, surround it with interesting characters, a compelling setting and premise and you have the start of a story.

While researching shapeshifters and dragons for DRAGON WITCH, here are a few things I found:
Cryptids “are creatures that are believed to exist, but for which there are no existing physical records or evidence.”
And Cryptozology is the science of trying to prove the existence of these creatures.

Most of us are familiar with cryptids such as The Lock Ness Monster, Sasquatch or Bigfoot, but there are many others with fascinating stories. And if you’re a writer they may give you ideas to develop stories.

A few Cryptids that have yet to be proven as real:

Dragon of the Ishtar Gate is one of the Cryptid creatures depicted on the walls of Babylon (575 B.C.E). It’s cited in the Apocrypha—a collection of stories claimed by some to have been excised from the Bible—as a dragon that was kept in the Temple of Be by King Nebuchadnezzar.
Jersey Devil- I’m a Jersey girl so I’ve heard this one before. This legend dates back from Colonial times and this monster is supposed to be spotted in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
Kingstie- Is a 30-foot water creature seen in Lake Ontario since 1917.
Mothman-A tall, somewhat humanoid creature with fiery red eyes and large wings. It’s spotted in the area of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
Ogopogo- A plesiosaur-like creature seen around Lake Okanagan in British Columbia.
Trunko- A white-furred sea monster seen by a ship’s crew in 1922 off the coast of Margate, South Africa.

Some cryptids that were once considered mythological creatures but were later proven to actually have existed are: the duck-billed platypus, the giant squid, mountain gorilla, and Komodo dragon.

One of my favorite research books for myths and legends and just about anything strange and unusual when it comes to supernatural topics is THE CRYPTOPEDIA – A DICTIONARY OF THE WEIRD, STRANGE AND DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE by an author friend of mine Jonathan Maberry & David F. Kramer. http://tinyurl.com/33oey9x

In there he has a section on Dragons and Dinosaurs. Dragon myths are found throughout the world and share many similar physical characteristics even among cultures that had no contact with one another. The most common explanation for this is that these people unearthed dinosaur bones. The size and shape of these discoveries later developed the myths and legends for dragons.

A lot of this information I found in a reference book called “The Cryptopedia, A Dictionary of the Weird, Strange & Downright Bizarre” by Jonathan Maberry & David F. Kramer. This is a great source for stirring up paranormal story ideas.

I’m so impressed by the creativity of paranormal authors who can take an old myth and create a story with a new twist or make up an entirely new one.

Many of my stories have a variety of shapeshifters—a man with a 300 year old Celtic curse shapeshifts into a stag but he can be a man only beneath the moonlight. I’ve used a twist on an ancient Norwegian myth where a person can don the skin of any animal and become that animal by willing it so. In this particular mythology, I’ve had a shapeshifting mountain lion, wolf, bear and leopard. My demons also have the power to shapeshift, an ability mostly used as a disguise to hide their presence on earth. My demons have been a coyote, falcon, wildcat and one has the ability to appear as any other human. Imagine the trouble he can get into.

When I wrote DRAGON WITCH, I wanted to write something different. A friend at work does origami. She travels all over the world to origami conventions. She made me an origami dragon. Funny because I never told her I liked dragons. I have him on my desk at work. Of course, I looked at him and thought dragon shifter! This creature when in human form has a voracious sexual appetite. I set the story on another world, because It has always been my dream to write a SciFi-like story. Then I added another love interest, an interstellar transport Captain—a hunky guy that the biologist/witch heroine had a steamy affair with, and she can’t, for the life of her, forget. Toss them all on this planet in a desperate situation where lives are at stake, and that’s the set up for DRAGON WITCH. I hope you’ll enjoy it, because I had a blast writing it.

BLURB: Biologist and witch, Jaida Chel combines nature magick with herbal science to protect Kai, the last shapeshifting dragon on her world of Somerled. But when Captain Brayden Stokes reenters her life not only is Kai’s life at stake, but so is Jaida’s secured position in the colony. Brayden and Jaida can’t resist the sexual heat between them, even though she knows a relationship would be doomed. Fleet pilots don’t stay planetside for long.

Jaida is torn between Brayden and her dragon and companion, Kai. When Kai morphs into a human twice a year, his sex drive is ravenous. He must mate for twenty-four hours or die. Unrestrained passion between Kai and Jaida temps Brayden into a forbidden encounter. With Jaida’s sassy, wicked ways, the three cross boundaries, exploring eroticism beyond their imagination. When secrets and betrayals are revealed, Brayden must risk everything for one last chance at love.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Man's Take on Evil's Witness

Yesterday, I ran into a husband of a friend who had bought EVIL’S WITNESS. Not usual, except that the first words he said to me were, “I read your book last night.”

You can imagine my reaction. I have half smiled and waited for his next remark and sure enough it came.

“Pretty steamy.” He grinned.

I know it was my imagination, but I could almost see the wiggle of his right brow.

“Why is it everyone focuses on the love scenes?” I responded, wanting to slap the smile off his face.

“Well they were, ah, good, but I liked the whole thing,” friend’s DH stammered.

Okay, he got my interest. “What?”

“Yeah, the Russian Mafia stuff. It was good. I laid it down a couple of times. You know, to check my email, but I couldn’t stop wondering what would happen next. I read the whole thing. When’s your next one coming out?”

Now you understand I’m like doing the jig inside. It takes every ounce of control not to hug this guy. A man liked my book. My romantic suspense. Why should that make me dance with joy? Because it meant I wrote the stuff (action, guts, glory) guys like well. He totally bought into the world I built. He made my day and I told him so. Hell, he made my month.

I love when my husband and I find a movie to watch that has the elements both he and I enjoy. Maybe writing this genre was meant to be for me.

As for the next story, I just signed the contract last week. GRIN.

To buy Evil’s Witness visit The Wild Rose Press
It's available in print and e-formats.

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