Monday, March 30, 2009

Guest - Terry Spear

Good morning, everyone! Today's guest is the talented Terry Spear who has guested with us before. I hope you find her discussion as interesting as I do -- Lynda

Bio: Award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense, Heart of the Wolf just named in Publishers Weekly's BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, NOR Reader Choice for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors’ books. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses.

Sexy Shapeshifters!

What makes any guy sexy?

For all of us, it might be something different. But for me, and probably a lot of women, the idea of having a man who pays attention to us, finds us sexy, wants to be with us, is protective, caring, and oh, yeah, puts our needs before his--makes him darned sexy.

See, he doesn’t have to have a six-pack, or muscled legs, or broad shoulders. He just has to be perfect in the consideration department. Course the same goes for us women. We need to pay attention to him, tell him how much we care about him, make him feel sexy, tell him how much he makes us feel that way. And voila, a sexy match made in heaven!

So what does this have to do with sexy shapeshifters? Wolves are like that—protective, considerate, the whole pack taking care of their offspring as if they were the most precious creatures alive. They play together, hunt together and work together as a team. The alphas mate for life. For life. None of this, I’m tired of the relationship after so many years and I’m off to find someone new and fun.

You know the reason for humans doing that? Apparently it’s all the chemicals in our body that quit firing after we’ve been with a person too long who was initially the spark of our life.

Wolves don’t need the chemical incentive to encourage them to stick with their partner. They don’t look at another hot wolf babe and dump their mate. Don’t you think a faithful mate like that is darned sexy?

So werewolves have the same keen senses and desires and faithfulness in my stories. Their mates come first, their pack comes first. And to me that’s what makes them darned sexy!

What makes a guy seem sexy to you? Shapeshifter or otherwise?

To Tempt the Wolf (another sexy werewolf romantic suspense—think naked guy on beach rescued by heroine who must quickly shift to protective mode when her life is threatened), coming September 1st and Deadly Liaisons (vampire romantic suspense from Samhain, another where the vampires shapeshift...mmm, just can’t get wolves off the brain) just received the Golden Blush Recommended Read from Literary Nymphs and is coming out Mar 31.

Destiny of the Wolf:

All she wants is the truth…

Lelandi Wildhaven is determined to discover the truth about her beloved sister’s mysterious death.But everyone thinks she’s out to make a bid
for her sister’s widowed mate…

He’s a pack leader tormented by memories...

Darien Silver blames himself for his mate’s death.
When her twin arrives in his town, he finds himself bewitched, and when someone attempts to silence her, he realizes that protecting the beautiful stranger
might be the only way to protect his pack...

and himself.

-- Lynda here. Thanks for stopping by to read Terry's article. I just wanted to invite you all to join my reader's group. Simply send a blank email to

or you can 'friend' me at MySpace and from there you can join me at Bebo, Facebook or Twitter.

I'd love to see you there :-D

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Flickr Tags:
, , , , Tags:
, , , ,

Furl Tags:
, , , ,

Friday, March 27, 2009

Five Things I've Learned About Being An Author

My first full-length novel came out in will have been out three years come next month. My second full-length novel is due to be released sometime soon (no ETA on it yet, but sooner rather than later, I hope). I have been writing professionally for almost thirteen years, and I've learned a handful of things about being both a writer and an author that I think I might share.

1. Writer is not the same as Author. A writer...writes. An author...writes, submits, promotes, hobnobs, performs PR, provides artistic feedback for cover artists to use, carefully chooses a pen name (or carefully chooses not to use one) for maximum benefit, brainstorms things like "taglines" and "personal branding." Writer is still over in the corner hunched over a keyboard or notebook and taking random showers to inspire plot.

2. Selling one book is not the gateway. To anything, really, except having sold one book. Oh sure, you can gain some membership in some clubs that might give you some extra tidbits of information maybe five minutes before the whole rest of the internet knows about it, or you can wear a special ribbon on your nametag at a conference or convention, and when you write in books, they're usually expected to be copies of the one you wrote. But selling one book does not make the second book come any easier. Nor does it guarantee the second book will sell any easier.

3. No matter how much you do, it won't be enough. Best thing you can do with live with it. There will always be someone with more bookmarks, better pens, something cuter and cleverer in baskets to hand out, or a book trailer/myspace/facebook/blog tour/more twitterati than you. Find a promo groove that suits you, and go with it. You'll be happier that way.

4. Publicity is a crapshoot. I hear more fellow authors bemoaning the fact that the books they've spent the most effort/time/money promoting are the ones that have the lowest numbers. Building name recognition takes time and consistency, and the payoffs are indistinct at best.

5. There's always still more to learn. Achieving publication is a milestone, of that we can all be sure. But it's not the only milestone, nor is it the last one. There's always something else to learn, and the minute you forget that as an author, that's the minute your career will start to roll downhill. This one is easy to forget or ignore, and therein lies the pitfalls of arrogance. It is, however, one of those lessons you can keep revisiting, and you can relearn it at any time. Sometimes it's just the thing you need to help you remember why you started doing this in the first place.

Assembly Required

Today let's talk favors. No, not something I can do for you, or something you can do for me...I'm talking about those little doodads you pick up on the goody tables at conferences or find stuffed in baskets at some romance chapter meetings. You know the standard--pens, highlighters, note pads, sticky notes, and then we come to bookmarks. I for one don't think you can have too many, but the real issue is whether goodies (or favors) should require assembly.

Old school bookmarks were simply made of cardstock or printed and cut by a shop, though you had to pay extra greenbacks for that service. Then people started punching holes in the top and lacing ribbon through to add some pizazz. More recently, some one came up with the thong. Yep, that's right, a little strip of ribbon or twine that rides down in your book's crack. Now they're decorated with various beads and come in a variety of colors, and most are adorned with miniature tags stating the author's name and book title as a reminder. I know I had a tough time in Atlanta picking out my favorite to take home as a memento. Yes, I did stop a minute in my greedy heyday to acknowledge all the hard work the author, and hopefully a handful of good friends, had went to for the basketful. And it seems the craftiness or author's to save a few hard earned bucks isn't stopping anytime soon.

But now, as I pour over pages and pages of wedding favors I have to wonder do people really care? Is that why writers always try to choose a goody that's usable, since it means the recipient has to touch it again and again, making it a tactile reminder the buy their book? I find myself wondering if my 150 guests will give a hoot that my bridesmaids and I will have glue all over our hands when we seal their programs, or that we'll have slaved over their chocolate bars to decorate them with a fancy HEA wrapper. Will they just tear it off, sling it aside and devour the writer's favorite delicacy? (I know the kids will have a field day, and their parents will likely wish me dead for giving them sugar at night.) It makes you wonder doesn't it? Is it worth all the time you invest, not to mention the money to have items printed so they color coordinate to match your theme? If you don't have the money to get the work done for you, nor the mullah to hire a PT assistant, what's a girl to do? You have to promo your product, and readers (like wedding guests) do expect certain perks, right?

I know, and believe, that the "little things" count. But when you have a FT job to do, housework to keep tidy, a workout regimen to maintain, not to mention a list of to-dos to get done daily, (as well as invitations to design, a florist and caterer to select, etc. while remaining thrifty) something has to give! (Lest it be your sanity giving way.)

Unfortunately, I know that come October, I'll wish I'd done all these little things to make my bridal party and guests feel special. So I'll bite my tongue and go de-stress a bit by watching Ever After for the 30th time to record quotes for place cards. And tomorrow I'll start drafting more volunteers to include in my entourage. Remember you can never have too many friends, especially those that are handy with a glue stick (ribbon or scissors) and will work for chocolate.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,

Flickr Tags:
, , , , , Tags:
, , , , ,

Furl Tags:
, , , , ,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

If You Love Research And You Know It, Clap Your Hands

All right, so I like to give my posts silly titles. *shrugs* It's fun!

Anyhoo, I'm back in reading mode after a long absence. This time, however, I've moved from my backlog of romance novels off all shapes, sizes and genres and gone to the non-fiction side of the fence. Why? Due to an overwhelming need to refill the well, and cleanse my mind of all the floatsom gathering on my creative shore (wow, talk about purple prose) and because I just need to do some research into a few topics I'm not that well versed in.

I might bemoan research. I even approach it backwards for the most part - writing a story and then filling in with facts when I know exactly what it is I need to research for specific questions. I'm one of those hopeless geeks that get so emerged in the research readings, I'd probably never raise my head to do the actual writing if I did it the traditional or even conventional way.

Point in fact. A few years ago, while researching Florida archeology for a contemporary romantic suspense, I found such interesting little tidbits in Florida history, I started making notes in the margin for future story ideas. (Luckily the book was a purchase and not a library loan). The same thing happened when I read books on alchemy. By the time I'd read to beginner's books I'd had so many new plots scribbled in the margins, I had enough material for another 2 or 3 books. Research is definately a hazard for me. I already have way too many ideas to write to worry about the creative flood gates opening and burying me under a tsunami of new plots and conflicts.

And yet. I can't help myself. I'm a knowledge junkie.

At the moment I'm staring down at two books on Victorian street life and one on remote viewing. I'll let you guess how I'll pull those two topics together.

Happy Reading,


Monday, March 23, 2009

Guest - Cynthia Eden

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend and that you're having lovely spring weather -- we're still a bit chilly but, hey, it's not snowing! Anyway, today's guest is author Cynthia Eden as she discusses her love of vampires and shifters. Cynthia is offering a free book from her back list so read all the way down to the Lynda again section to find out how you might win.

Cynthia Eden is an award winning author of paranormal romance and suspense. She loves writing stories about vampires, shifters, and all the supernatural monsters that play in her imagination. Her publishers include Kensington Brava, Avon Red, Red Sage, and ImaJinn. She is currently writing a romantic suspense trilogy for Grand Central Publishing--because not all monsters are supernaturals. More information about Cynthia may be found on her website:, and readers are welcome to visit her blog:

Bite Me

Hi, everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here at Star-Crossed Romance today. And since I’m here to talk about one of my all-time favorite paranormal creatures—the vampire—I’m in a really good mood :-D

I remember the very first time I saw a vampire movie—it was the Lost Boys, and oh, but those boys were good vampires. Well, good in that nice, bad way.

Over the years, there were more vampires to come for me. I caught the Dark Shadows series when it briefly re-appeared on television. I saw the dozen or more Dracula movies that filled the movie theaters, and, when Buffy appeared, I was introduced to the wonder that was Spike.

Oh, yes, I’ve been a vampire fan for a long, long time.

The very first book I published was a vampire novel. But, then, I took a vampire detour and began writing about shape-shifters (because I do enjoy my shape-shifters!). In my upcoming release, IMMORTAL DANGER (3/31/09 from Kensington Brava), I go back to my writing roots, and I get to combine my two loves: My heroine is a vampire and my hero is a shifter.

But, Maya Black isn’t just any vampire. To borrow from my Buffy fandom, Maya Black is what Buffy would be if Buffy ever had the misfortune to become a vampire. She’s tough, she’s smart, and she doesn’t take crap from any supernatural creature.
Now, for fun, I thought I’d list a few reasons why I love vampires:

1. Eternal youth. (Come on, young and strong forever! So what if you have a liquid diet?)
2. Because, like George Hamilton in Love at First Bite, I do love the nightlife.
3. My previously mentioned Spike notation.

But what about you? Do you like the vamps? Why or why not?



Once, Maya Black was a kick-ass cop patrolling the streets of L.A. She still keeps the city safe, but nowadays her bad guys of choice include demons, werewolves, and assorted nocturnal scum. Something Maya knows a thing or two about. She’s a vampire—and not thrilled about it. Payback meet bitch.

Adam Brody hopes Maya is as dangerous as they say she is. He needs her to help rescue his niece Cammie from a ruthless band of vamps, and he’s willing to pay—in blood. Trusting her is another matter. Adam has never met a vampire who doesn’t lie. Then again, he’s never met anyone like Maya, who fills him with a desperate need that ignites into explosive, no-holds-barred encounters…

Cynthia Eden
IMMORTAL DANGER—3/31/09 from Kensington Brava
Believe in monsters. They believe in you.


-- Lynda again. Cynthia has offered a free autographed book (from her back list) to one lucky person who leaves a comment by Friday March 27. So leave a comment and check back to see if you're the lucky winner.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,

Flickr Tags:
, , , , , Tags:
, , , , ,

Furl Tags:
, , , , ,

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with Elizabeth Amber

Elizabeth Amber by her own accounts is pretty normal, though she’s a Kensington Aphrodisia author who pens The Lords of Satyr series that routinely gets reviews of the 5 star and A+ variety. In fact, her novels have exploded in popularity dually noted by NICHOLAS going into it’s 4th printing, LYON having a second re-printing during it’s first month out, and RAINE has also achieved a 3rd printing!

But you’re likely wondering what she does to conjure such magic at her keyboard and maintain a “normal” life. She shares time with her husband and cats, Chelsea and Biscuit. For fun, Elizabeth figure skates, an activity that also works off her favorite food—chocolate. Because she loves animals, Elizabeth volunteers at a local no-kill shelter, where she wishes she could adopt all the cats, dogs and the occasional bunnies that come through the door.

So how did she go from all this to penning an erotic series that sells like hotcakes? She is a self-proclaimed museum junkie, who loves history and archeology. As an art student many years ago, she fell in love with Greco Roman art. In the present day, she turned that love and her passion for writing into a career that’s shining like gold.

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Amber during what I believe was her first meeting with HCRW. Coincidentally, the group was having an agent/editor panel, which meant the place was packed! Yet, I bumped into this slender, wonderfully dressed woman and we instantly connected…over art.

The minute I saw her bookmark for NICHOLAS and commented on them, she realized I also knew my art. (Thanks to my own art training in college.) We’ve run across each other’s paths several times at meetings and booksignings, and each chat has been a delight. In fact, Elizabeth is decidedly witty and, like myself, even blushes over her bookcovers at times.

Nevertheless she holds nothing back when she’s writing her romances, and for that I know her fans (and I) applaud her! Elizabeth is a stunning example of an author who works hard and loves what she does. That tenacity shows through in every word. Eventhough her first book rocketed her to stardom (and a list of awards), I hope one day she’ll get to cap off an RWA National Conference by carrying out her very own golden lady.

Can you tell us where the kernel of an idea to write Satyr erotic paranormals came from?

I’m a museum junkie with a preference for Greco-Roman art history. Satyrs are the carnal followers of the Roman wine god Bacchus, so I thought it would be fun to write about three brothers who own a vineyard in 1800s Tuscany, where they guard ancient secrets and indulge in carnal rituals. I also like Egyptian art history, so that may lay the groundwork for another series someday.

How did you feel as a new writer forging ahead into the RWA National scene looking for a publisher. What caught your attention about Kensington?

I didn’t know anyone when I went to my first RWA, so I did a lot of listening. I remember sitting at a table with some published authors and hearing them discuss Ellora’s Cave, a publisher I hadn’t heard of at the time. They also mentioned that Kensington was looking for erotic romance, so I gave them a try. After a six-month wait, my editor got a go-ahead to expand the line. That’s when I got The Call.

What have you learned now as a multi-published author with a hot series, that you wished you'd known in the beginning?

The marketing aspect of being a romance author took me by surprise. I didn’t really know how to go about it. Luckily, I met author Susan Lyons at the Emerald City Writers Conference and she was generous enough to tell me about a yahoo loop for Kensington writers. I learned a lot (and still do) from others in the group, which includes Kate Douglas, Sharon Page, and dozens of other wonderful writers. PASIC is another organization I highly recommend to newly published authors.

When The Lords of Satyr became so popular, did you take any more trips for inspiration?

I haven’t been back to Europe since the first novel (NICHOLAS) in The Lords of Satyr series was published. From previous visits to Italy and France, I have notebooks full of location descriptions, little sketches, and offhand observations. When I wrote about Villa d’Este and the avenue of the 100 fountains in NICHOLAS, and when I described Lyon’s hotel in Paris in LYON, I was working from sketches and notes I’d made of actual places I visited.

Out of all the brothers, has one become your favorite? If you had to pick a favorite heroine among the brothers diverse mates, who would she be?

Oh, man, what a tough question, Kristy! If I have to choose a hero, I think I’ll go with Nicholas or Lyon. Nicholas, because he’s the eldest brother and I think his commanding presence is sexy—and let’s face it, he’s pretty creative when it comes to sexual encounters. And Lyon, because he has a sense of humor, is loyal to his family, loves animals, and he’s a smoking hot hunk.

As for the heroine, I might choose to be Jordan (from RAINE), but only for a night or two. She’s a hermaphrodite, which makes her life difficult. I empathized with her more than any other character I’ve written. Still, she knows what it is to engage in sex as both a man and a woman, which makes her fascinating to me. Just imagine!

What lies ahead with the satyrs in your upcoming books?

The 4th, DOMINIC just released in March. He’s the first character we’ve met who’s full-blood satyr and he’s ElseWorld’s greatest weapon—a demonhand. Once a generation someone is chosen to capture evil and hold it within a mirrored palm. Dominic was selected as a boy of ten. Grown now, he devotes his nights to keeping those in ElseWorld safe, yet they fear and scorn him in return. He’s a loner, but when he’s called to bed another man’s woman in a satyr ritual, it’s a night of passion neither can forget.

I’ve signed on with Kensington to write a fifth and a sixth novel in The Lords of Satyr series. Since I had wrapped up the stories of the brothers, I decided to take the series in a fresh direction that’s still true to the original series.

And the question on everyone's mind, I'm sure, is how do you write so hot? Is it all imagination or do your characters whisper the way?

Writing hot came naturally. I used to read and reread the really hot, sexy parts of novels I loved, and sometimes I’d embellish them or rewrite them in my head. Those were often scenes full of sexual tension rather than actual sex. I’m a big fan of sexual tension. Sequential sex is boring if there’s no buildup to it, no reason for it.

So, in answer to your question, it’s all imagination. But sometimes I lead the way and other times I get outta the way and let the characters take over!

How can readers find out more about you and The Lords of Satyr?

Erotic excerpts from all four novels are at Readers are welcome to join my newsletter to find out about my contests, appearances, and upcoming books at

Remeber if you comment or ask a question for Elizabeth you will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of her latest Lords of Satyr novel, DOMINIC!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What kind of luck are you having today?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

You may have heard the old saying, If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough.

Well, I'm not Irish by birth, just by marriage, and I've never considered myself a particularly lucky person as far as that serendipitous stuff goes.

I don't win lotteries, I don't find money in the street, I'm not the person who meets the agent of my dreams in the ladies room, strikes up a conversation and ends up with a two book deal out of: "Can you hand me some toilet paper under the stall?" [Though I'm sure that's happened to someone.]

Now, on the contrary, in the overall scheme of things, I do consider myself ...well, I guess I'd use the word fortunate, rather than lucky. I'm fortunate to have a wonderful family, a nice home, a couple of decent jobs [because one isn't enough!], good friends and opportunities to improve my life with education. I'm reasonably healthy and happy. I really couldn't ask for more and I don't. I'm quite content to sail along enjoying a relatively simple life...but oh, wouldn't it be fun to have some wild Irish luck now and then?

I've racked my brain, and I can't think of any particular incidents in my life where I've had incredible luck...but I recall a story my grandmother once told me about losing the diamond from her engagement ring. She was totally devastated after spending a rainy day running errands to find that the stone had fallen out of her ring. She came home, very upset, wondering how she would tell her fiance [my grandfather] what had happened. She shook out her umbrella in the hallway and what fell out? The diamond! Now there's luck for you. How it got into the umbrella she wasn't sure. It must have fallen in during one of the many times she'd opened and closed the umbrella throughout the day.

Do you have any stories of incredible luck? Today's the day to share them!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Promo Items - What would you like?

I read a fabulous blog the other day from Tammie King of Night Owl Romance where she spoke about things an author can do to help promote her work.

One of her points was to have promo items that readers can use and not just throw away, ie things like lip balm, pens and tip cards can be used multiple times but items like book marks or flyers can be easily trashed. In fairness, Tammie didn't specify book marks or flyers -- that's just my guess on what might be easily trashed.

Book marks or flyers (a paper that announces your book, maybe has a copy of the cover and a short excerpt) are fairly easy to create. And from an author's point of view, they're fairly inexpensive. As the queen of bargain hunting (sounds better than the queen of cheap, lol), I like the idea of inexpensive. Lord knows, we authors don't make a huge amount of money (unless you use initials for your first name ::insert chuckle:: like JK or JD) so we have to be on the look out for promo items that won't cost us more than we earn in royalties.

I'll be honest. I've done post cards, book marks and pens. Those were inexpensive. I've also done key fobs, and calendar books which, while I got a good price, cost a whole lot more than the pens or paper products. I don't begrudge that cost because they were good, quality products that promoted my name and, though the calendars had a life span of a year, the key fobs could be used just about forever.

I've seen authors give away candy wrapped in paper promoting their books but, ahem, I'll be honest -- I take a look at the wrapper, then rip it apart to get to the candy. It's a clever idea because everyone is willing to take a piece of candy (and if it's chocolate so much the better, lol) but the promotional part, the wrapper, ends up in the trash soon to be forgotten. I don't mean to be disrespectful, honest, but hey who keeps an empty candy wrapper around?

Pens are great - they last a goodly amount of time and are useful. Best of all, they're not that expensive. I'm intrigued by the idea of the lip balm promotional item. And the tip cards (though there must be other things of interest one can put on the cards other than how much to tip) are a clever idea.

I've got a book coming out next year (doesn't hurt to think ahead for promoting :D ) and I'd like to get jump started with my promo items.

So I'm putting it to you, dear readers - what do you like in the way of promo items?

And authors - what have you found to be most successful?

Drop a comment to let me know. Thanks and have a great week!

-- Lynda

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , ,

Flickr Tags:
, , , , , , Tags:
, , , , , ,

Furl Tags:
, , , , , ,

Friday, March 13, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

As a writer I have gotten used to the hurry up and wait game...well almost. Let's just say now I'm clearer on how things work since I've been in the circles a fairly long time, compared to a newbie. But that still doesn't mean I like to wait...and I think (and have been told) I'm a fairly patient person :0)

Another peeve of mine in the writer's life is making decisions. I can't recall how many times I have to make career altering decisions. Not only what characters to create that I love and that may seem marketable, before I invest lots of time writing the manuscript. Then there's the work of selecting agents and editors to query (though the list of editors is growing slimmer without an agent). Then authors also have to decide how to market themselves, how to market their book, and pick those keepsake favors they want everyone to use to remember they've got a book available for purchase. The daily list goes on and on. Now I've discovered another variety of decisions...those of a wedding.

Just like a novel, you have to choose the setting, which should coincidentally convey your theme. Which is also something you have to conjure, yet the style must be something you both like. Then you have to get people to join forces as part of the bridal party, just like those writing buddies we turn to for venting about those rejections. There is music to pick, not unlike what you'd want your theme song to be in a movie, or what you listen to to get you in the mood for a certain scene. You have to choose food, not unlike that special meal your hero and heroine will enjoy and/or fuss over. Who knew cake could be so complex, and yet scrumptious...unless it's smeared over your face. (Which would just make me steamed!) Then there are invitations, and save-the-date cards, to be sent out like mailers to announce the news of the grand event. And don't dare forget the sea of secondary characters to move around, and sometimes appease with pats on the hand.

Just as your leading man must be dapper, the same goes for the groom. Of course, if he looks like James Bond then the other groomsmen must too. (And I've found sometimes Carolina Blue just won't do.) The women's hair must be coiffed in a way that makes them look becoming, and not like they've just run away from pure Evil. They must also be dressed to the nines in a color that brings out their eyes, plays up their skin, isn't too revealing, yet makes them not look wholesome. That's just the bridesmaids...who sometimes like to steal the show, just like the character you created that you didn't really mean to make so good, yet everyone loves :0)

And then...there's the DRESS! Who knew there were as many kinds of lace/material combos as their are fonts these days? Heck picking out a bridal gown...not a dress I've been told, is like picking out that outfit your heroine is going to knock the hero's socks off with. (I've been told after seeing the dress I'm eyeing that my dear fiance may need to be fanned back to consciousness.) I've tried on about a dozen, and been given kudos for knowing what I want. (I just wish I could be that cut and dry on the page. Sometimes I tend to go on, but I have gotten better about self-editing.) Anyhow, today marks a huge decision.

One dress or the other? One is a total Cinderella ball gown complete with sparkles and a price tag to match at $1000 (and that's with a sale's discount). The other is form fitting, elegantly embroidered enough to cost twice that, and yet because it's take "as is" I can get this Ever After frock for a steal--$400. But comes embellished with hearts and stars to boot. What paranormal romance writer wouldn't go ga ga for that? Plus it's tasteful with a hint of cleavage. Like any kicking outfit should do, the gown accentuates all my hard work (exactly as any chic suit I'd wear to an editor/agent appointment should do). But just like in that room, time is ticking. I have one day to make this momentous decision that will linger in my memories, as well as all the attendees FOREVER. Talk about stress...I guess this is what it feels like to hit the Bestsellers list and then wonder what's next, while hoping the good vibe lingers.

Perhaps what I really should worry about is if I'll trip descending stairs that amount to the grand staircase at a palace, though this is merely a castle. Just think, if I don't break anything, the spill could foster a great comedic moment...especially if I use it as fodder for a book! Believe me when I say, "Stranger things have happened."

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Flickr Tags:
, , , , Tags:
, , , ,

Furl Tags:
, , , ,

Monday, March 09, 2009

Guest - Karin Shah

Good morning, everyone! Grab your coffee and sit back to enjoy this week's guest, Karin Shah.

From childhood, Karin Shah wrote herself into her favorite TV shows before falling asleep every night. She adores Paranormal Romance, Romantic Fantasy, and Science Fiction Romance/Futuristics, but will read anything with great characters and a satisfying, happy ending.

Karin lives with her amazing husband Nikhil, brilliant children Natalie, and Roman and two mischievous basenjis in Columbus, Ohio. She belongs to RWA, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, the Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal special interest chapter of the RWA, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.


I Just Flew in From India, And Boy Are My Arms Tired

Being married to an East Indian, I have the pleasure of spending weeks visiting his family and touring the beautiful country of India. In fact, as I write this, the last twinges of jet lag are only now leaving my body from our last trip.

But this article isn’t about India, it’s about the importance of world building.

Whatever genre you write, whether Contemporary Romance, Suspense, Fantasy or any other world building is an inextricable part of the storytelling.

The reason I mention my recent trip is because it was the collision of my culture and my husband’s culture that truly taught me how unique a culture can be.

My husband is Gujarati. His ancestors came from the Indian state of Gujarat and though he -- like his parents before him -- was raised in Mumbai, Gujarati is his mother tongue. In Gujarati, politeness is built in. When you are asking for something politely the word is modified so the person being asked knows you are asking with respect. A “please” word is extraneous.

English, of course, relies on please and thank you to keep interactions respectful, so when we first married my husband thought I was insulting him by saying “please and thank you” and I thought he was insulting me, by not. You can imagine the conflict this raised in our household!

It had never occurred to me before, that a language might not have an exact equivalent for please.

Our early relationship was fraught with opportunities for me to realize how much I didn’t know about his culture because I was too close to my own for me to even know to ask.

I assumed everyone slept on a spring-filled mattress and made the bed the same way. But a cotton mattress is traditional in Mumbai and when it’s sweltering hot, having two covers over both people (sharing body heat) is the last thing you’d want to do.

We had different ways of dealing with everything, neither was wrong just formed from our different worlds.

When most people think of world building, they think of Fantasy and the glamorous parts of world building -- designing a government, naming the currency, the languages, the peoples. But even in a traditional Fantasy while those larger aspects are important, they don’t truly define the essence of a world.

The spirit of a world, in my opinion, is in the details of every day life.

I don’t mean that we, as authors, should describe in exhaustive detail every facet character’s environment and routine. The reader, as they say in spy movies, is on a “need to know basis,” but we should know, because the character’s surroundings, interactions, and daily life shape both the character and the plot.

World building is important because in the end the environment shapes characters. And each character has his or her own world.

My character Tia in STARJACKED grew up on a space ship. More it was a pirate ship, everything about that fact defines her, from her reaction to being hurt to her attitude about other people.

Her friend Kaber, also grew on the ship, but because she is a different person, her view of that world is slightly different. They share some similarities, but each is uniquely her own.

The clash of those worlds drives plot. World building forms each characters’ goals and motivations, and fuels the conflict, and is therefore fundamentally necessary to any story whether the setting is a modern office building (Die Hard) or a civil war plantation (Gone with the Wind).


With the fate of the galaxy at risk, love may not be enough.../span>

In the lawless fringes of deep space, pirate Tia Sen has a rep for being hard as plascrete, tough as Amalan leather, and as strong as she is beautiful. She also has a secret that courts death: For years she has been freeing enslaved children. Stepping in to rescue a valiant mechanic from a near-fatal beating risks more than her life. Thanks to her traitorous heart, her web of lies is in danger of unraveling.

Undercover operative Rork Al’Ren is no stranger to lies. Emotionally scarred by the murders of his wife and unborn child, he burns to eradicate every bit of pirate scum in the galaxy. Then his mission goes sour, and he finds himself Tia’s personal slave—and falling in love with the very pirate he’s sworn to destroy.

Yet love is a luxury he can’t afford. Tia possesses a powerful new weapon that could overwhelm the Union of Planets and plunge the galaxy into war.

If Rork can’t convince her to surrender it, he may have to break her trust—and her heart.

STARJACKED can be purchased at It’s also available at, and


Lynda here - I hope you've enjoyed meeting today's guest. Be sure to leave a comment for her. Oh, and I'm now on Twitter so if you're there, if you follow me, I'll follow you :-D I'm at

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Flickr Tags:
, , , Tags:
, , ,

Furl Tags:
, , ,

Thursday, March 05, 2009

To Watch or Not to Watch?

Today's the big day...the day when the Watchmen hit the big screen. The hype has been huge, maybe even more so than for the X-men, though IMO it doesn't yet have as big a legion of fans.

Personally when I saw the trailer in theaters, I thought--Gotta see that. But this was mostly due to the graphic quality, since it's adapted from a graphic novel. Novel concept, eh? It worked for 300, so I assume the director is hoping this will also have people rushing to the box office. I think it will have the comic lovers clamoring, but I'm not sure it's mainstream material.

That's not to say that Watchmen doesn't have it's hooks like the spunky Wonder Woman/Jean Grey heroine trying to prove herself on a super team, a silver surfer-ish glowing guy, a cigar chomping commando who oozes Nick Fury, a caped and cowled hero who bears resemblance to Hawkman from the Justice League, the masked body armored super man, and then there's the mysterious narrator who looks more like Scarecrow from Batman than a hero. Then there's a conspiracy which leads to a whodunit plotline and as usual the superhero team (who is also ragtag after being disbanded) is trying to save the world from destroying itself.

Unfortunately, I won't be among the throng at the theater tonight, since my plans have changed. However, I'm sure one day soon my keister will be in one of my cinema's new plush seats so I can see how the movie stacks up. Nevertheless, I believe Watchmen will have saving merit for any critic to mention, if only for it's style. I equate that to Paula Abdul on American Idol saying, "You look so pretty tonight." That is if they can look past the capes, tights, and masks so it's not lumped almong the superhero craze "nonsense".

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Flickr Tags:
, , , , Tags:
, , , ,

Furl Tags:
, , , ,

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Things I Haven't Written

Every year I say I'm going to spend "this year" going through my backlog of half-finished stories and actually completing them to submit. So far, I've managed that with one - well, maybe two. I guess that's not bad considering this is only March. I can't tell you how many books I have open on my hard drive that are in various states of WIP. Half of them are fantasy or sci-fi novels that I put to the side for some reason or another.

They aren't bad books. They aren't even less interesting than some of the others I've written, they just got pushed aside while I worked on something else. Maybe I pitched something at conference and needed to set the book aside to finish up a project I had a request for. Or decided to enter a special call from a publisher with a specific set of story needs.

Whatever the reason - it's not getting done.

Do any of you do this, or is it just me? Do you labor over a story from start to finish, sweat over it until it's polished to perfection? I used to. I've even spent time devoted to one story during an entire day if I had a deadline for completion. Not now. I've gotten into the habit of rotating my stories during a day. Work a little on the erotic romance here, fiddle with the contemp there, rearrange and lay down the next chapter on the next story. It just all depends. But I seem to always add in another book that's new, instead of finishing the ones I have.

Bad, Kat. Bad Kat!

So, if you have a project that is languishing on your harddrive, I challenge you to join with me and take it out and add it to the list you're working on now...or move it to the front of the line.

I dare you.

(Actually, I dare me. I just want the company.)


Monday, March 02, 2009

Book Review - Kiss of Fury by Deborah Cooke

Kiss of Fury
by Deborah Cooke
Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 978-0-451-22476-7

I was extremely lucky to win a copy of this book a few months ago but just got time to read it. Let me say this. If I gave ratings, I'd give this the very top rating. Plus two.

Here's part of the blurb from the book:

Scientist Alexandra Madison was on the verge of unveiling an invention that would change the world. Then her partner was murdered, their lab was burned and their prototype was destroyed. While Alex is in the hospital recovering from burns suffered in the fire, recurring dragon-haunted nightmares threaten to land her in the psychiatric ward but she knows she has to escape to her lab to rebuild the Green Machine.

Alex is paired with Donovan Shea, a handsome dragon shapeshifter who is shocked when Alex triggers his 'firestorm' (a way to know one's destined mate). Donovan, like any hero, fights his attraction at first but then succumbs to fate (quite deliciously). And that's the real secret behind any good romance hero. He must not only be strong, smart and handsome but he must be committed to his heroine. Donovan is all that and more. And Alex isn't any wimp. She's smart (well, she IS a scientist after all) and determined to fulfill her original purpose...oh yeah, and she's determined to get her dragon shapeshifter too.

This is a second book in the Dragonfire series - Kiss of Fire is the first book and I see that a third book - Kiss of Fate is now available. I plan on getting both of them. If they're half as good as Kiss of Fury then they're very good indeed.

-- Lynda