Friday, April 30, 2010

What R U Doing?

I for one am jealous! Many of my writer friends have descended on Columbus for the annual Romantic Times Convention! Facebook is hopping with their furious posts as they talk about getting ready to rush off to panels, meet an old friend, or have fun at the Intergalactic Bar and Grill. And as I post the Faerie Ball!

I've been to several conferences, and always come back tired but ready to write because of all the new ideas and enlightening banter with other writers. I've wanted to attend the RT conference since I was a teenager and first picked up the industry magazine. Inside I found pictures of grand galas and balls, as well as pages of writing workshops and publishing house activities...not to mention the goodies and cute guys. Though I'm a taken woman now, I still wouldn't mind seeing a cover it an obsession with cover art if you must :0)

And since I started following the romance genre, I've continued to see more and more friends succeed with their writing. Before we were the ones rushing off to catch a big name, and now they're the big names...and in some cases hold court with friends who'd rival a King or Queen of Romance.

Since I can't be there I will be living vicariously through the Facebook posts and cross tweets, and will likely try to dig up some pictures or interviews taken on site. (If you find a good link about the convention, share it here!) In the meantime, I'll be rejoicing about a new publishing credit to my name.

I just learned yesterday that my article ENDURE TO DO MORE will be in the May issue of Alamance Woman Magazine! I'm super excited since it combines three things I love--writing, running and family. It talks about why Relay for Life is important to me, and why I want the Endurance Relay Raffle I mentioned a couple weeks ago to do well.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview with C. E. Murphy

Though her friends would like to think of C. E. Murphy as "a thin veneer over a woman who is constantly moving and shaking...and she squeezes out a book or two every three days.”

In real time, it takes her at least six weeks to write a book and usually more. Her friends also say she began her writing career when she ran away to write copy for the circus that came to town...when she was five. With imaginative stories like this, C. E. is contemplating having her friends write all her biographies.

Her own recollection pinpoints the start of her career at age six, when she submitted three poems to a school publication. The teacher in charge of the magazine chose the one she thought was the worst (of course) but told her to keep writing. C. E. has also untertaken the usual grab-bag of jobs often seen in an author's backstory, including public library volunteer (at ages 9 and 10), archival assistant, cannery worker, and web designer.

To her, writing books is better, and she now has a dozen in print! In her down time, C. E. writes comic books and is working on a screenplay, which prompted her editor and agent to ask her to find a hobby that wasn't writing related.

She was born and raised in Alaska, and now lives in her magical homeland of Ireland.

What triggered the idea for your popular series’, especially the re-released Negotiator Trilogy?

Oh, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale, and I wanted to do a BatB story, particularly one where the Beast was never going to become human. And I was in the shower one morning and Margrit leapt into my head fully formed--a NYC lawyer who ran in Central Park at night--and so suddenly I had my heroine. I knew she was very rounded in the real world, so I had to throw her up against something truly extraordinary, and I figured a world which had gargoyles in it must also have *other* kinds of hidden, magical peoples. Hence the birth of the Old Races!

Why did you choose a gargoyle hero to pit against a NY lawyer heroine?

I'm not that crazy about vampires. :) Actually, not exactly true. I love me a good vampire. But lots and lots of people were, and are, writing vampires protagonists, and nobody was using gargoyles. Part of what interests me about writing is trying to find something a little off the beaten path. And because there was nobody else using gargoyles, it gave me a lot of room to shape ideas of my own--especially, for example, the gargoyle racial memory--which I really enjoyed.

Margrit is a lawyer partly because she *did* spring into my brain fully formed as one, but also because lawyers belong to a world of *rules*, and a creature like Alban Korund absolutely destroys all the rules Margrit thinks she knows. I like to put my characters up against things they don't (or can't) expect, to see how they react and adapt--that's half the fun. :)

Will there be any more Negotiator novels or have we seen the last of Margrit Knight and Alban? If so, what can fans turn to in order to console their sorrow?

Margrit and Alban's story is done. I imagine that someday I'll go back to the world of the Old Races, because there's clearly a lot left unexplored there, but those two characters won't be more than background or cameo characters for any other stories I might write. I have hopes of doing a couple Old Races anthologies down the road, but that's not on the front burner right now.

The obvious place for people to turn is my Walker Papers series (book five of which, DEMON HUNTS, is out in June!). They're a completely different kind of story than the Negotiator trilogy--Seattle cop Joanne Walker is a woman with no use for the mystical, but the mystical, it seems has a use for her: faced with dying or being reborn as a shaman, she chooses the latter, and...doesn't handle it very well, actually. :)

What prompted you to pen paranormals, in lieu of something more mainstream?

Personal preference. I love fantasy and science fiction and always have. I have an extensive ideas file for straight mysteries and thrillers, but I just haven't gotten to them yet. Too busy writing my beloved fantasy novels. :)

Out of the various jobs you’ve had before becoming a full-time author, which would you go back to?

I worked in the university archives for a couple years when I was in college. If I had to go get a real job at this point, I would really love to do something like that. It was fascinating--one day I was photocopying old letters for a library patron, turned one over, and discovered that I'd just photocopied a hand-written letter from Theodore Roosevelt to a friend of his. You can't beat that kind of thing with a stick. :)

How has living in Ireland helped or hurt your writing? If you could “beam” anywhere, what location would you pick?

So much of my job happens within the confines of my head that the outside surrounds don't matter all that much. Ireland's a beautiful country, and I've discovered things here that will no doubt turn up in later books--things you'd have to be here to find--but I don't consider my location to be much help or hindrance either way.

Hm. If I could choose one beam point on the planet from which I could go back and forth at whim, *probably* I would choose San Francisco. I have a lot of friends there and I love the city, and it's a much shorter flight home (to Alaska) from there than it is from Ireland. :)

If we're going for something more dramatic, a one-shot kind of thing, I'm thinkin' the Moon. :)

Do you have other upcoming news fans need to know about?

Well, as mentioned above, book five of the Walker Papers is out in about six weeks. It's possibly my favorite of the Walker Papers so far. :) And this September I have the first book in a new duology, TRUTHSEEKER, out--it's about a woman who always knows when she's being told the truth, and so is taken aback but fascinated when the new man in her life confesses to being a prince of Faerie...!

And, oh! A couple anthologies I've participated in are coming out in April and May. One, RUNNING WITH THE PACK, has a Regency romance werewolf short story, and the other, DRAGON LURE, has a post-Negotiator-trilogy Janx story in it. :)

If you'd like to learn more, check out!

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Come Visit Me

I'm guest blogging at Paranormality this week with the topic of Eight Rules For Writing Paranormal Romance. Feel free to add to the rules :-)

Oh, and I am offering a prize at Paranormality, stop by and see how you can enter.

And to whet your appetite for Heartstone (alas, I still don't have a release date), here's a tiny excerpt.


The trees grew in an odd triad formation, three boles rooted companionably together. The color of burnt cork, they were festooned with long, narrow leaves that glistened with a silvery aqua color and rustled in the light breeze. The central bole of each tree cluster hosted branches laden with tiny green berries.

As she trudged onward, she realized the small lizard-birds favored those berries both on the branches and where they had fallen on the forest fl oor. Keriam thought the little creatures resembled nothing less than wildly colored blossoms. And while
they fl uttered like busy little bees, they didn’t appear to nest or roost in the trees. She watched, curious in spite of herself, as one ruby-colored creature waddled to a slightly raised patch of earth then flipped head over heels into its burrow.

The berry-laden triad trees weren’t alone. Others stood, tall and majestic, with showy blue-green crowns that rippled in the sky. Still more were squat, troll-like trees with curling branches and finger-sized, pea soup-colored leaves. Lichen and moss and toadstools the size of her hand grew near the bases and around fallen branches. Under the leafy canopy, the light shone emerald and gold, dappled with diamond patches of light. Scattered among the shadows and brilliantly lighted patches were fl owers shaded from not-quite-red to metallic indigo.


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Friday, April 16, 2010

Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview...NEXT FRIDAY!

Happy Friday Everyone!
Since we have a multitude of Fridays in April, or at least an extra one, the Star Light, Star Bright...Interstellar Interview is being bumped to next Friday, April 23rd!
Who'll be on deck? C. E. Murphy from Luna fame! She'll be dishing on her multiple series, including hot new releases and a complete re-release of her Negotiator Trilogy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life Changes - Reality vs Fiction Plus a Recipe

Good morning everyone!

I'm just about ready to make a huge life change, one I've been dithering about for the past year. I'm going to retire early and become a full time writer. It won't be for a few months yet but I'm ready. Still it's kind of scary when I think about it. It's a life change and those things are always kind of scary.

Our books almost always start just at that point when a character's life changes...for better or for worse. It's not always a pleasant change, though it may work out to be one. But it is a change and for the character it too is scary.

For example, in my novel Heartstone, Keriam Norton has just opened a small antique store. Though she has 'issues', she tries very hard to find 'work arounds' or, if she must, she faces them head on. That's a change for her because it puts her in contact with the public on a daily basis. Yes, yes, I hear you wondering aloud. Keriam's problem is that she simply can't bare to touch people. Touch brings about 'episodes' that terrify her but, deep inside, she realizes she has to learn to deal with it.

In three hours, people would come into the store and browse
through the collection of lovingly worn antiques.

People. Strangers.

She swallowed and rubbed suddenly damp palms against her
pants legs. She took a deep breath. Released it slowly.

She and Janna would chat with them. Point out the eighteenth
century armoire, the Art Deco or the kitschy collection of farm
implements gracing the walls. Everything was going to be just fine.
Her stomach took a queasy roll.

Facing people she knew, and ones she didn’t, was going to
be hard. It hadn’t always been so, just since her parents died.

She inhaled raggedly at the surge of grief. So much had changed
for her since then. But today was going to be a good day. It was,
she repeated.

So Keriam is about to embark on a new business venture just like me :-) But fate has much more in store for her.

Someone was watching her.

Across the street, a large black dog sniffed a reproduction
coach lamp near the curb. Keriam dismissed the animal, letting
her gaze move toward the intersection. A shadow, long and sharp
in the sun’s slanting rays, moved and vanished before Keriam
could identify it. No faces pressed against the glass of the shops
lining Main Street. There was no traffic.

Her attention returned to the dog. It sat, tongue lolling, tail
idly sweeping the sidewalk. It had a feral tilt to its pale eyes that
made her think wolf. Which was ridiculous, there weren’t any
wolves in this part of Michigan.

Then...expectancy flashed through her body, heightening
her perception. From the east came the scent of the pig farms
and the rendering plant, faint but distinguishable to her acute
senses. Automobile fumes from the highway drifted, mingling
with the occasional perfume of green, growing things from the
surrounding farmlands. A silent call hung in the cool, morning
air and she let the door close without going inside. She shut her
eyes, fighting the urge to follow the call, to abandon Janna and
the store.

A single, deep bark cut through the wild sensations and, as
if a door slammed shut, the scents were gone, the call silenced.
Her heart skipped a beat, then skittered like a wild thing. These
episodes were coming far too often. And too powerfully. How
long before she could no longer fight them?

How long before she lost her mind?

Keriam has very real fears as you can see. But she's just like you and me, she'll deal with them. Somehow. And in the course of dealing with her problems, her change in reality, she'll fall back on those things that provide comfort or reassurance. One of the things that give comfort or reassurance is her family recipes. That evening, she prepares spaghetti for dinner and discovers that her new housemate (the 'dog' in the excerpt above) prefers it to the kibble she buys for him.

It's amazing that a small town girl, a shop owner, will become part of the defense of Earth and an alien confederacy of planets. Me? I plan on creating bigger and badder villains and stronger and sexier heroes to bedazzle and befuddle the heroines in my novels.

Keriam's Spaghetti Recipe

8 oz whole grain spaghetti

1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 lb lean ground meat (hamburger or turkey works fine)
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese with extra to add as garnish
1-2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped, to use as garnish

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic for appx 5 minutes or until onion turns transparent. Add green pepper, saute for additional 5 minutes. Add meat, saute until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, sauce and herbs. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Simmer extra 3-5 minutes.

Drain spaghetti but reserve cooking liquid. If sauce is too thick, add a ladle (or more if necessary - make it as thick or thin as you like) of spaghetti cooking liquid to sauce and stir. Plate the pasta, dollop generous ladlefull of sauce on top of pasta. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley.

Note: You can also use 1 1/2 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning for the herbs in the sauce.


I don't have an exact release date for Heartstone yet. Those things are a bit tricky but I believe it should be soon. Members of my newsgroup will be eligible to enter drawings for even more prizes when Heartstone becomes available so spread the word and stick around, lol

This week's member word is waif
\WAYF\ noun
1 a : a piece of property found (as washed up by the sea) but unclaimed b plural : stolen goods thrown away by a thief in flight
2 a : something found without an owner and especially by chance *b : a stray person or animal; especially : a homeless child

Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) This week's prize is a surprise, lol.

Become a member of my newsgroup, enter the contest and perhaps you'll win! You'll love the prize, trust me :-)

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Endure to Do More

While spring cleaning my computer, I ran across a quote—“ If you want something that you have never had then you need to do something that you have never done!” It was the tag line for a women’s seminar on self motivation, and came in my company mail. Of course I wanted to go, but since it didn’t impact my job I wasn’t eligible to expense the almost $400 fee.

But I put that quote up as my scrolling marquee and when I got wind of the NJ Romance Writers Put Your Book in A Heart Conference, I jumped with both feet. All the way to New Jersey I practiced my pitch, and repeated the quote whenever I felt scared or overwhelmed. It worked like magic, and I breezed through my pitches and even stayed calm while visiting NYC!

Seeing the quote again, I reflected on how my life has changed since those few words appeared on my desk. I’ve done many new things, worked on many projects, and today launched my first fundraiser with my twin sister.

Endurance Relay Raffle is as it sounds to raise funds for Relay for Life. My sister and I walked almost the full length of the event last year, and though we were bone tired, blistered and could hardly take enough steps to make it to the car, we were overcome with what we’d done. The experience was totaling fulfilling, even magical with the stillness over night, the survivor walk and luminary laps.

This year we decided to put our best feet forward literally and use what we learned last year. That we can walk…a lot! We’ll be teaming up with 8 other people from ONE MORE DAY to walk all night from 6 pm to 6 am. To raise money for Relay for Life, we’re offering one- third of the pot as the prize and Relay for Life gets the other two-thirds! The winner of the raffle is the person whose guess is closest to the number of combined steps without going over.

Trying to get the word out, and because I’m so passionate about making the raffle a success, I turned to something else I do best…writing. I poured my emotions out on to paper with a little bit of my trademark sass and sent in an essay to a local magazine. Remember how I said I wanted to get back to writing? Well this was my third original piece since I jumped back in…and it got accepted! The editor said she’d do everything she could to get it in the May edition to hit shelves just before the Relay for Life event.

Needless to say I was proud of myself for forging ahead, eventhough I’m getting my bearings as part of a new team. And I remembered that quote when another chance to fundraise appeared. I didn’t sit idly by; I sealed the deal for a second group fundraiser. All in all, not bad for a week’s worth of work…since I’m fighting my habit to be shy/introverted/wary of strangers.

How about you? Did something you were passionate about drive you to try something new?

If you’re interested in learning more about the Endurance Relay Raffle or want to get tickets e-mail If you want to check out our individual Relay for Life pages go to and

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Guest - Pauline Baird Jones

Good morning everyone! It's a fine Spring Day whether it's raining or sunny (let's not mention any other form of precipitation). We have a very talented author with us today, Pauline Baird Jones, who will be discussing characterization, a topic near and dear to all of us writers and readers alike. So sit back and enjoy the article and don't forget to leave a comment with your email addy by noon on Friday. Pauline is offering one lucky reader a electronic copy of The Key.

When I sat down to write, Girl Gone Nova, I was doing it knowing that The Key had won a bronze IPPY (Independent Publisher award) and the Dream Realm Award for science fiction romance and readers wanted another book about Sara and that I wasn’t going to give it to them.

My challenge, then, was to create a character that would be, at the very least, as fun and interesting as Sara, without “doing” Sara again, only with a different name and hair color. I also needed someone who would be high adventure enough to propel the action without being annoying or a guy in girl’s clothing.

I am a pantster, an “into the mist” writer. That means, when I start a book I have no clue what it’s going to be about. Well, I did know the new novel was going to be a) science fiction romance; and b) set in Garradian universe, same as The Key. But I also wanted it to be able to stand alone.

Like The Key, it had to begin and end with my characters. When I’m reading a book, if I don’t care about the people, then I close it and move on. When I start creating a character, I begin by using some techniques left over from my playwriting/screenwriting days. When you are playwriting/screenwriting, you don’t know what the actress or actor will look like who will eventually play that character, so how they look is very general. You start with basic traits and layer traits on, based on what you need to make the plot start to move, saving the truly personal details for later.

The first trait is easy. Doc was female. I don’t remember now why I wanted her to also be a medical doctor, but she was. Maybe I just felt it, or maybe I was channeling her before I knew it. I knew she also needed to be a genius, because the problem she had to solve involved some people missing through an alien technology-based portal.

She needed to have secrets, because characters with secrets are interesting (unless you are the one who has to figure them out!). She needed to have military skills, in addition to her other skills, because she was going to need to kick some butt, possibly several butts.

There is an interesting synergy that begins to happen. As you create character traits to meet plot needs, the character traits also begin to shape the plot in new and unexpected directions. And when that happens—after you wail with dismay—you rejoice because you know the character has begun to live and breathe. You know she has become proactive, not passive. You know that now she is your partner in writing the book and not your puppet.

Doc, from Girl Gone Nova, made me work for each trait “reveal,” but Olivia, from my Steampunk novella, Tangled in Time, walked on to the stage fully formed. Of course, she‘s from the 1890’s and has better manners than Doc.

If you would like more information about how I use playwriting/screenwriting techniques to create characters that work with me and not against me, check out my free article on my website called Getting The Wood Out.

Prize: Ebook edition of The Key
Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of nine novels of action-adventure, science fiction romance, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. She's also written two non-fiction books,Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem, and she co-wrote Managing Your Book Writing Business with Jamie Engle. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key won an Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and is a 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. She also has short stories in several anthologies. Originally from Wyoming, she and her family moved from New Orleans to Texas before Katrina. You can find out more about Pauline at

Girl Gone Nova
Doc--Delilah Oliver Clementyne’s—orders are simple: do the impossible and do it fast. A genius/bad ass, she does the impossible on a regular basis. But this time the impossible is complicated by an imminent war between the Earth expedition to the Garradian Galaxy and the Gadi, an encounter with some wife-hunting aliens, and not one but two bands of time travelers.

She could handle all that, but her biggest challenge—and the reason the impossible might be not possible this time—is that she’s fallen in love.

Wrong time, wrong man, wrong everything. So why does it feel so right?

He brought up the cloak and went sensor dark. He turned back, would have smiled at her, but she gripped a weapon with both hands and it was pointed at his chest. No sign of recognition flared in her eyes or softened her stance.


Her body shuddered with cold or shock, or both.

He kept still, his voice soft. “I thought you’d be glad to see me.”

She blinked once, and then again. Water ran down her face and off her jaw line.

“Hel?” Her stance softened some, one hand leaving the partially lowered weapon to rub her eyes.

He rose, taking it slow, not anxious to alarm her into shooting. He had no way of knowing what her weapon was set to.

He rubbed his scruffy chin. “I had to become Kalian to find you.”

The hand holding the weapon dropped to her side. She swayed, even as she tried to smile.

“Nice timing.”

“Your friends were getting close,” he admitted, stepping close. The smells of the storm clung to her, hiding her scent.

“The tornado was closer.” She reached out, her hand touching his chest as if she still weren’t sure he was real. It slid up, a brief loss of sensation until she found his face. “You need a shave.”

His hand slid down her arm, his fingers closing around the weapon and easing it out of her grasp. He tossed it onto the copilot’s chair and tugged her close. “I need you.”

“I’m a mess.”

“You’re perfect.”

Her laugh broke in the middle. Her arms slid up around his neck. His mouth found hers and passion flared, as out of control as the storm beneath them. He drove her mouth open. Couldn’t get close enough to her to satisfy. He pushed, with his mouth and his body until she slammed into the bulkhead. Water soaked into his clothes, and he could have sworn the air around them sizzled as if touched by fire. She whimpered, deep in her throat. He started to lift his head, concerned he’d hurt her, but her hands at the back of his head, and her moan of protest, stopped that. One should never disappoint a lady.


-- Lynda Again --
This week's member word is forte
\FORT\ noun
: something in which one excels : one's strong point

Members of my newsgroup will know what to do with today's word. You can know too by joining us. But don't worry, there isn't any chatter. You'll only get notices from me so it won't fill your mailbox. My fluffy cat, Wookie Baby, will help me select the lucky person whose name is drawn and I'll announce it here on Friday. (She'd do it herself but her English vocabulary is limited to NO-when she's going to the vet and WOE-when she's getting a bath, lol) This week's prize is a Mills & Boone Presents collection of novellas by Robyn Grady, Joanna Fulford and Janice Lynn for three great stories!

Directions on how to join the newsgroup are below. Hope to see you there!

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

I just got back from a lovely jaunt around my neighborhood, seeing all the people in their Easter Sunday best, enjoying the chirping birds and lovely weather. It was...refreshing! (Perhpas because of my extra day off work, or because I've been writing!) And while I was burning calories to offset my upcoming lunch with the in-laws, I also reflected on the reason for this holiday. With all that I have to be sad or upset about, how can I not be happy that I can simply live and love a wonderful man? All in all, that's a great Easter gift. As I said in my wedding sentiments to my husband, the Lord brought us together and made us the union we are. Each day is another chance to experience this beautiful world and find ways to express love. Including inside of easter eggs :0)

Happy Easter Everyone!

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