Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I've sold most of my books in print form myself. But now that I've exhausted my source of friends and family, it becomes like any other selling position. You must reach a broader audience. Since my print books are through a POD distributor, it is more difficult to get them into a traditional bookstore. If I lived in a small city, it might work, but I live in a large metropolitan city and the big bookstores aren't interested. I'm making a list of the independent bookstores, and I'm going to have to stiffen my spine, throw away my inhibitions, and learn how to sell myself. I'll have to beat the pavement like any other salesperson, be upbeat, confident, and professional. And I have to work it around a full-time day job.
Additionally, I have a website. I need to draw people to that. So...how does one promote their website? Sure there are companies you can pay to drive traffic, but you know what? It's expensive and all it does is drive traffic. Traffic is different from visitors who are interested in what you have to offer. How does one reach readers on the internet? Sure authors are readers, too, but we need to tap into the huge resource of readers who are not writers.
It takes guts to tough it out in the publishing world. It takes determination. It takes a love for what you are doing.
So, does anyone have any insight in how to promote and market to a broader audience?
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Frustrated, I turned away from the monitor and keyboard and flipped on the television and watched a bit of Deal or No Deal. But that song kept repeating in the background. I summoned my muse and asked her what was going on. That's when she hit me with the hammer. "You're trying to force the story. It isn't working. It's like playing poker. You need to know when you have a losing hand and throw in the cards."
She was right, of course. I had been forcing it. And it didn't work. So I took a deep breath and began to think about what needed to be cut. The entire last chapter! It was too soon for this particular scene to take place. Immediately I knew what needed to take place, and that old song stopped playing.
Yeah, now I'm playing dice. I'm rolling on.
Ever had a similar experience? Care to share? I'd love to hear!
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I'll be ordering some books in and will be offering autographed copies on my website as well.
I can't wait to get my copy! Hope you'll check me out at Amazon!
Saturday, January 27, 2007
First, I don't have the luxury of staying home all day and writing full-time. Maybe someday, but for now I must work the dreaded day job to stay alive. But I try to create my writer's office. In 2006, after receiving my first full-length novel publishing contract, I decided to revamp my "office" to meet my dream vision. Oh, I had already painted the walls several years ago a nice shade called twilight, a very light lavendar gray, placed a border around the top in burgundy, with a victorian lace and flower design in shades of navy and mauve. The berber carpet in shades of gray blue with flecks of navy and burgundy is the perfect compliment. I purchased a new desk and a flat screen monitor, placed it in front of the two windows and added burgundy drapes, which keep out the bright sun which bakes through the windows in the late afternoon, and the bitter cold in the winter months. So much for looking out over the scenery. Alas, the office is on the upper floor, so all I might see from my chair, which isn't leather, but a burgundy cloth, are the tops of the trees. The bookshelves are overflowing with craft books, and some of the latest novels I've been reading. One top shelf has six stuffed animals given to me over the years by my DH. The other top shelf has Elvis memorabilia given to me over the years by my loving children. I have a 13 inch TV and several VHS movies and DVDs when I need to escape into a good romantic getaway. My printer, scanner, copier sits on a small two drawer file cabinet next to my desk, and provides the perfect launching pad for my cats to reach the windows. Nothing deters them from using it, but I haven't found a better place to put it.
Currently on my desk is: a homedics radio which never gets used, the cable modem (an outer space looking piece of equipment with enough flashing green lights to resemble a landing strip at an airport, a picture of hubby and I fifteen years ago, a baby Furby, speakers, a ceramic cat business card holder, a palm pilot (rarely used), a plastic air-tight jar of almonds, a wire rack holding two online class folders and my "needs to be completed" tax info for 2006, two mugs filled with pens, pencils, and highlighters, a wild rose press ceramic tile and mug, my cordless telephone, a crystal paperweight with ATM receipts below, a small calculator, Romance Writers Report (latest), a piece of mail from United Health Care, a tablet, a calendar, my remote control, an unopened bottle of wine brought home from work two days ago, my cordless keyboard, my trackball mouse, and my flat screen monitor.
Okay, I tried to keep my desk clear. I really did. It was beautiful. And when I sat down, I was not at all creative. I just wanted to bask in the beauty. Now, with everything I need close at my fingertips, well...I did manage to create this blog entry!
Sigh, the writer's office. Is the dream a myth?
Friday, January 26, 2007
It's going to be a blow your socks off party with lots of confetti, noise, snacks, giveaways, and good old gossip. I'm going to bring along a few of my characters for you to get to know. Feel free to ask any questions. I'm always willing to share. I love people and love getting to know more friends.
Let's let down our hair and have a great time! Everyone who comes to the party will qualify to win several free goodies. I have a kitchen witch, some great pen bookmarks, some autographed personalized bookmarks, a magnetic sculpture and more!
So, mark your calendars and come party with me this Sunday!
Thursday, January 25, 2007
(KyAnn and Carol Ann hug and whisper excitedly. Laugh!)
CAROL ANN: All right. Have a seat and let's get started. First of all, I'm sure my readers would love to hear all about how the name KyAnn Waters came to be. Readers, you won't believe this!
KYANN: **LAUGH** When I decided to take on a pen name for my erotic novels I had no idea what to call myself. I wanted something that reflected the flavor of my stories. Are you ready… the name came from… the spice rack. Cayenne Pepper morphed into KyAnn and then Waters just seemed to be a fun way to play with the spicy name. And then from there my girlfriends and I laughed at all the ways it fit into my writing persona. Like who needs KY Jelly when you have KYAnn Waters. I’ve always written hot, but never ventured into erotica until recently. Now that I’ve had a taste I’ve become gluttonous.
All of my completed erotic titles are sold to Triskelion Publishing. Releases are – The Cougar and the Best Man Feb. 15th! Delicious Darkness (Eternally, Yours Anthology) May 07, Johnny Loves Krissy May 07, Trick or Treat (Baby Haunt Me One More Time Anthology) Halloween 07
CAROL ANN: Okay, so now we know you have a pen name for erotic, which means that you also write on the "sweeter" side of romance as well. Um, well, as sweet as you can be. **grin** How much time is spent on each genre? Do you work on only one manuscript at a time?
KYANN: ? LOL I don’t think any of my stories are necessarily sweet. And anything by KyAnn is going to be kinky.
Yep, I only write one story at a time. But that doesn’t mean the others are put to bed. Currently I’m working on a complete rewrite of a historical. Just finished up edits on two projects, and expect edits on another any day from the editor. I enjoy writing short more than full length novels. But I do recognize the need for both. So I complete a few novellas between each full length book. In 2006, I completed 3 novellas (2 erotic) and 1 full length erotic story.
CAROL ANN: Busy lady! What do you do for fun when you aren't writing. I assume there are a few opportunities to stray from the keyboard, right?
KYANN: **wink** Play with my kids, go to coffee with my girlfriends, oh God, I’m going to out myself. I watch reruns of Little House on the Prairie.
CAROL ANN: No way! **laugh** (Carol Ann hands KyAnn a bottle of water). Here that calls for a drink. **wink** (Carol Ann takes a swig of water). Okay. Now. People want to know. You've got quite a few contracts under your belt...or should I say carved on your bedpost? **giggle** How many books did you write before receiving your first contract?
KYANN: It has been an incredible year. In January 2006 I had a heart to heart with my husband about what I wanted to do with my writing because up until that time I’d simply wrote for pleasure. 13 years ago I wrote my first book. It’s a monster with famine, flood, and fire— basically an apocalypse with a happily ever after. Think dramatic Danielle Steel. (I hope you see the humor in that.) Back to the story, so in January I decided I would put all my effort into getting published. I went to my first writer’s conference in February where I pitched for the first time. In March, I had requests for full reads from two agents and two editors. In April I signed an agent for a Mystery/suspense. And then in May I signed my first contract for a Historical to Champagne Books, Marion’s Train.
CAROL ANN: That's a wonderful year indeed. Kind of a fairytale come true. So what kind of a writer are you technically? A plotter or a pantster? **giggle no pun intended**
KYANN: **laughs hysterically, takes a deep breath** Seriously, I can’t write a word until I know the story from beginning to end. I need to feel like the characters are my friends. I have numerous conversations with them usually over several weeks. I carry around a notebook and jot down ideas. And that may sound like plotting…okay so it is, but I consider myself a panster because I don’t know how my characters are going to react to the obstacles I put in front of them. I love pithy dialog that vibrates with sexual innuendo and kinky humor. My characters have to be witty. I also love a fast-paced read so that’s what I write.
CAROL ANN: I like to ask all my authors, since most of them write romance, how do you describe romance?
KYANN: Romance is the journey of falling in love. Whether erotic or traditional, we all want to feel new love’s emergence.
CAROL ANN: Great answer. I love that..."feel new love's emergence". **sigh** Romance always has heroes. And in real life, we all have those people we look to as heroes. Who do you see as a hero in your life?
KYANN: Not a hero in the typical definition. I am grateful to my husband every minute of every day for providing a life that allows me to follow my dreams. I’ll give you an example of how incredibly considerate he is. My children go to school all day and yet if I’m in a scene I don’t want to break from, after school he’ll take them to the movies and out to eat to give those extra hours to wrap up.(He’s seen Arthur and the Invisibles twice this week.) He never complains about the house and as long as there is peanut butter and bread, he doesn’t complain if I haven’t made it to the grocery store.
There’s more. He does research for me and if it happens to be of a sexual nature and he happens to come across some unusual naughty pictures, he saves them in a folder for me. Most of the time he rolls his eyes when I tell him what I’m up to, but always with a smile. However, I can’t ask him to help me plot or I end up with dark, demented subplots better suited for Law and Order- Criminal Intent. (As he cocks his head to the side and asks, “Are you going to eat that?” in his best VINCENT D'ONOFRIO voice.)
CAROL ANN: **laugh** Sounds like you are one lucky woman. Not all of us have such supportive husbands or partners. Mine lots of times feels very neglected and pouts. Then I get down and feel guilty. If you get down, who can make your laugh and lift your spirits?
KYANN: Monty Python, Mr. Bean, Phil Hendry, Dave Chappell. I love to laugh. I usually see friends just about every day, so I seldom get depressed. I come from a large blended family. (The blending has happened a few times over) With 10 siblings, most of us married with children and living within a 20 mile radius. Needless to say there is always plenty of comfort around.
CAROL ANN: You do have a wonderful support system! But, how does your family feel about you writing erotic romance?
KYANN: Hmmm. That’s debatable. I know that they’re proud that I’m a writer. But truthfully Secret Surrender is probably the only book they can all read. My mom and a couple of my sisters could handle Marion’s Train and Crashed. As for the erotica, only one sister would publicly acknowledge her love of the naughty stuff. Thanks Krissy. Yep, I named a character after her. (Johnny Loves Krissy) My Mom would read my erotica if I asked her to, but I won’t. I don’t think she wants to know what goes on in her daughter’s head. And knowing my mom, she’d assume if I wrote I could do it. Which isn’t true, well mostly isn’t true. **big grin**
CAROL ANN: Now for some really serious questions. First, what is your favorite color?
KYANN: Color is an interesting concept for me. I believe in using the color energy of Chakras in my writing. When I need to write a sex scene, I’ll do a short meditation and open the root charka. The same way I’ll open the throat Chakra when I want to focus on dialog. There are 7 energy points, Chakras, in the human body. Each one with color and properties. If you want to find out more about Chakras go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakra#The_Seven_basic_chakras
In Delicious Darkness, an erotic paranormal, I use the powers of the Chakras to combat dark forces.
CAROL ANN: Since I'm a Scorpio, I love to look at things like this. I recently read another book which dealt with Chakras. Interesting. Thanks for the link. Okay, another serious question. Which do you prefer? Broccoli and Cheese or a Big Juicy Cheeseburger?
KYANN: Oh Juicy Cheeseburger. Have you seen the commercial for the new one at Carl’s Jr.?They’ve combined my two favorite sandwiches. Philly Steak and a Cheeseburger. Hat’s off to Carl. He is a genius. **grin** Now I have to go get one. (I’m trying to be good and eat at home. So hard with Carl up the street.)
CAROL ANN: Hey, maybe we can go have lunch when the interview is done. I've never been to Carl's Jr. My treat.
CAROL ANN: Done! Okay, just a few more questions before I let you off the hot seat. Again, no pun intended. **laugh** What type of clothing do you wear when you write?
KYANN: Comfy pants I’d never wear in public and large, short sleeved, button down dress shirts. I have a slipper fetish. You can’t walk into a room in my house and not see at least one pair of my slippers. Today I’m wearing my furry lime green slip-ons, but glancing around my workstation I can see my soft pink ones, and my dark green, hard soled slippers I can wear if I go outside for something. I usually buy slippers to match my silky PJs. Yep, I’m a Victoria Secret girl. Love their silky jammies.
CAROL ANN: A slipper fettish! Somehow that one surprised me. But a Victoria's Secret girl. Yep, that one I would have guessed. **grin** Do you collect anything? If so, tell me about your collection...but remember, keep it clean!
KYANN: **LAUGH** I rarely talk about my collections because once people know, it’s all they ever give you and then the collection ceases to have meaning. But I’ll share one with you. I love lighthouses. And this is the collection that I don’t buy anything for myself. I have a beautiful framed print in my front room that looks fabulous against my purple walls. Now, the walls are very light lavender, but you can’t convince my husband. He wasn’t with me when I picked the paint. **big laugh**
CAROL ANN: That's interesting. My sister-in-law also collects lighthouses. I know what you mean about collections though. I collect music boxes, but now I have so many that I have to tell everyone, "Don't buy me any more!" It's kind of like bunnies, they just keep multiplying, you know? Okay, one more off the wall question. If you had the opportunity to address the world via satellite, what would you say?
KYANN: I wouldn’t address anything religious or political; I’d simply tell people to relax. Why stress over what you can’t change.
CAROL ANN: Great philosophy. Too many people stress over things that are out of their control and I never quite understood that. There are so many things to be positive about and to focus good energy elsewhere. Do you have a favorite quote?
KYANN: Oh yes! Several. These are my two favorites.
"The only way to write is well and how you do it is your own damn business." --A.J. Liebling
No truer words were ever spoken. And
"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die."Isaac Asimov
CAROL ANN: Love them! Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why or why not?
KYANN: I think wounds inflicted by words, whether by the pen or spoken take longer to heal. They can fester and eat at the soul. I have the beautiful words of the Desiderata by Max Ehmann hanging by my work station. Here is the link if you’d like to read it. http://www.desiderata.com/
CAROL ANN: Thanks for sharing so much with us today, KyAnn. I've had so much fun chatting with you and from the sound of the applause, it sounds as if the audience enjoyed it as well. Before we head out for lunch, tell us what you are currently working on.
KYANN: Something naughty. LOL. Meg Snow has booked herself on a singles cruise. Imagine her surprise to discover it is a geriatric clientele. What’s a girl to do but get off the ship and spend her vacation in Jamaica.
CAROL ANN: Now that sounds like a lot of fun. You come up with some great ideas for stories. I'm in awe. Readers here are the links where you can learn more about KyAnn and her writing.
http://www.LisaDawnMacdonald.com where there is a link to KyAnn Waters. You can also find her at My Space, Yahoo 360, and yahoo groups. Links are on the websites.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
My method is simple. I finish writing the chapter I'm on, and then before calling it a day, I outline what I want to happen in the next chapter. That gives me a starting point for the next day's work. My outline is not a step by step, blow by blow, but more what I see as moving the story forward. The characters seem to take control once I begin writing and the chapter develops with their interactions. It's kind of like watching a movie unfold. Sometimes it takes a strange twist that I didn't expect. That's when it's fun.
So how do you go about writing your manuscripts? Do you outline any parts of it?
Curious minds want to know.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
It snowed here today. 3.2 inches actually and it's still on the ground. That promises for a mass destruction of the germs that have been invading our air space. Grrrrrr.
As for writing. I did exactly what I planned to do and put writing first and foremost today. And even though I'm still dragging around, I managed to accomplish my minimum goal. Yipppee.
I vegged all weekend. Watched Jodie Foster in Flight Plan DVD this afternoon. While I watched that I signed and added ribbons to 100 bookmarks. I managed to get out and buy groceries yesterday and now my freezer is stocked and clean. So...I guess it was a fairly productive non productive weekend.
And that's enough reflection for this day.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
I kind of feel like that gal who wrote STOP THE INSANITY.
I'll never be able to bring in the extra money required to allow me to retire in a few years if I don't get some manuscripts written and published. That ain't gonna happen with me pushing my current manuscripts to the bottom of the to do list.
So...turning over a new leaf beginning today. First things first. Writing. No further promotion. No checking emails. No reading. No blogging. Nothing gets checked off the list BEFORE my writing goal for the day.
I'm number one. I deserve the time to write. I owe it to myself. I'm my own worst enemy. And I'm now taking control.
And I mean it!!
Friday, January 19, 2007
You can purchase FOXFIRE at The Wild Rose Press website under the Crimson Rose line. It will be available in print form soon from Amazon and from Borders On-line.
Update on my writing:
I've been busy working on Joshua's Hope which is panning out to be what I hope is one of my best books. It's a romantic suspense set in Tennessee (no surprise there). The story is Hope and Jared's. Hope, divorced from her abusive husband, has moved into the home she inherited from her grandmother. The only bad thing resulting from her divorce is leaving her three year old stepson behind, but she has no legal claim. Refusing to give up, she's been devoting her energy to finding an attorney willing to help. When her ex-husband discovers where she's living, he leaves a grisly gift--a dismembered anatomically correct male baby doll. With no other option, Hope decides to take matters into her own hands. What she doesn't bargain on is someone murdering her ex-husband, leaving her as the suspect. She turns to Jared Stone, the sheriff for help.
Ever since rescuing Hope in a downpour, Jared has been interested in getting closer to Hope. She's like a small bird with a broken wing. He senses the heartbreak she hides along with the bruises after her encounters with her ex-husband. When she comes to him with her problem, he wants to help...but he's also the sheriff. He must turn her into the Chattanooga police. If her story is true, she has nothing to worry about...except losing Joshua to foster care. Only one person can verify that Hope left the house before her husband was killed--the nanny. But, the nanny was also shot and is in critical condition.
Then the unthinkable happens. Joshua disappears.
I'm still battling a horrid virus that has kept me down for almost three weeks. It started with a sore throat that lasted 7 days along with a sinus infection. The antibiotic did little to help. Then I began to cough--long and hard and it felt as if my entire throat was turning inside out. After three days, I went back to the doctor. Now I have a tracheal infection. The doctor prescribed a codeine cough syrup to stifle the cough and a 10 day steriod medication for the inflammation of the throat. I sound like an old cigarette smoking broad with deep voice and hacking cough. Ugh! I keep hoping 2007 will get better...but so far not much good has happened.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
CAROL ANN: You have written many books, mostly historical romances. Of all your
published novels, which is your favorite and why?
JENNIFER: "Can it be one coming soon??"
CAROL ANN: Of course!
JENNIFER: " A wolf in angel's clothing coming in November is the 13 year culmination of the first story I ever wrote. I started writing it in 1992 and would finish it, put it up and then go back and the next thing i knew i had a new story. Oregon trail story set in 1851 at 90,000 words plus its actually cut down from 120,000 plus. It's the one that got me started in the whole business in the first place."
CAROL ANN: Wow, that's a lot of words. I must confess that I've never written a book with that many before. My first, HIT AND RUN, originally had over 100,000, but was scaled way back. So A Wolf in Angel's Clothing sounds like a historical romance. Romance is a word that has many meanings to people. Tell me what romance means to you.
JENNIFER: "I'm going to sound odd, but when i hear a question like that I always think of when i was in the hosptial in Nairobi, kenya with severe food poisoning and my now husband sat there holding my hand while i shook uncontrollably. The nurses had to kick him out when it was time."
CAROL ANN: That, to me, is very romantic. It's very close to my own feelings about the word. Actually, Jennifer, you've led a very interesting life. I encourage the readers to go to your website and learn more about you. We'll post it for them later. But for now, I have a serious question to ask. Are you a blue jeans or a skirt kind of woman?
JENIFER: (laughs) "Dress clothes now what are those again??? LOL Oh yeah they take up space in the closet and that one drawer i can't get open."
CAROL ANN: A gal after my own heart! I've told my readers that I love to write when my hubby and I go camping. I've got an AlphaSmart that I take with me to do rough drafts. Otherwise, I'm lucky enough to have a nice room I call my writing space. Do you have a special place where you write?
JENNIFER: "i have my little office upstairs that over looks the lake a few blocks away at least for a while longer our house is on the market right now, want to move it minnesota anyone I can put you in touch with a nice house."
CAROL ANN: Okay, readers!Anyone want to move to Minnesota?? (Carol Ann reaches for her cup of hazelnut coffee and takes a sip.) Okay, Jennifer, now let's pretend that you are "deep in the zone" with your latest manuscript when you are interrupted with the telephone ringing. What do you do?
JENNIFER: " oh I just answer the phone."
CAROL ANN: I hate to be interrupted when I'm in the zone, but that darned ringing telephone always draws me, too. I usually check caller ID first and decide whether or not to answer it. You're much nicer than me! So I'm a panster writer. Are you a pantster or a plotter?
JENNIFER: "panster definitely. written murder mysteries where i don't even know who the killer is until 3/4's of the way though the story."
CAROL ANN: Oh, I've done that! It's always fun to see where you characters lead you. So, let's say you take a break and go for a walk. You pass a McDonald's fand decide to stop in for lunch. What do you order?
JENNIFER: "a big and tasty or chicken nuggets. But frankly i'm not much of a mcDonald's
CAROL ANN: I like to find out more about my authors than just what they write. It helps to show the readers that we are just people too. We have our ups and downs, just like everyone else. Who can make you laugh when you are down?
JENNIFER: "my husband usually."
CAROL ANN: Okay, so let's delve a little deeper. You just received a letter from an attorney telling you a relative you barely remember died and lef you the sole heir of an island in the
South Seas. What will you do with it?
JENNIFER: (Laughs and throws up her arms) "What kind of question is that? Move to a south sea island of course and start researching books set in the south seas until i got tired of them and then maybe I'd rent it out to fund my traveling around to see the rest of the world."
CAROL ANN: What a great idea! So, on the writing scene, what's next? Are you working on something special right now?
JENNIFER: "I just finished a story about a treasure hunt in portugal. I'm toying with doing a non-fiction about the two years i lived in kenya while serving in the peace corps, but that might end up an on off project sort of thing. Other tha that though i'm in between projects right now."
CAROL ANN: Where can the readers find out more about you and your books?
JENNIFER: I have a website at http://www2.blogger.com/www.jennifermuellerbooks.com that has links to almost anything of mine. I say almost because i still have to google myself regularly to find new reviews, wish some places would let you know about those."
CAROL ANN: Yes, I've been surprised a time or two myself! Okay now for the final question. It's one I ask all authors. Do you believe the pen is
mightier than the sword? Why?
JENNIFER: "Well i'd like to say that it is, but most of the reason i can think of why can be applied to the swrod as well. Those would start getting into a far more philosphical discussion than i feel like right now."
CAROL ANN: (Stands and shakes Jennifer's hand.) Thank you so much. I've truly enjoyed getting to know more about you.
Readers, please take time to leave a comment for Jennifer. I encourage you to visit her site and see all the wonderful books she has available. Til later...
Friday, January 12, 2007
For the others who didn't win, you can order an autographed copy of HIT AND RUN by contacting me off my website.
It's Dear Carol Ann day. Looking forward to seeing your questions on any topic, personal, reading, writing, or just in fun.
Also, be sure to check out the interview yesterday with author Erica DeQuaya, and leave her a comment.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
CAROL ANN: While perusing your website in preparation for this interview, I noticed that you write romantica. Your reason for choosing this genre is that you got tired of reading romances and having the bedroom door slammed in your face. **grin** So, can you tell me a little about what you do write, but keep in mind this is a PG-rated blog. **chuckle**
ERICA: **takes a sip of coffee and crosses her legs, leans back and grins** Glad to, Carol Ann! My claim to fame is erotic romance with a plot. I don't throw sex into a book just so two people can get their rocks off. That's fine for other writers, but it just isn't my style. There needs to be some kind of connection there, whether through a friendship (such as in my novel Mixed Media); a long-term marriage (from my novella Double Mitzvah) or even an antagonistic relationship (Rave Review, a short story).
Having said that, I start with a plot first, THEN work in the erotic scenes rather than the other way around.
CAROL ANN: Wonderful! I like to hear that. Romantica or erotic romance gets a bum rap sometimes because there are authors out there who do write nothing but sex without a plot. I've read a couple myself, and unfortunately, decided this wasn't for me. It's important for me to be entertained, and the book has to have a good plot to keep my interest. When I first started writing, I didn't realize there were so many different categories of romance, but I've always been a fan of the genre. That said, romance is a word which has many different meanings depending on the individual. Tell me what romance means to you.
ERICA: Romance is more than pretty flowers, sparkling jewelry or sultry words. Romance involves a deep connection between two individuals, which happens not only between the sheets, but in life. For example, I've spent romantic evenings with my husband where we don't end up in bed. Those times are romantic because of the sheer enjoyment we both get from being with one another, talking to one another and the physical things we do, such as holding hands, hugging and kissing. Sometimes those actions can be just as satisfying as bedroom gymnastics!.
CAROL ANN: So true. I see you are wearing a pair of jeans today. I'm glad you decided to come comfortable. As you can see, I'm wearing jeans myself. So tell me, are you a blue jeans or a skirt kind of woman?
ERICA: Oh, gosh. Blue jeans, definitely. I'll go one step further and say sweat pants!
CAROL ANN: Yes! I love sweat pants and sweat shirts. Although I work during the day, I can't wait to come home and change into my comfy clothes before I start writing. I'm lucky enough to have converted a bedroom into an office where I can get away from the other distractions of home life. Do you have a special place where you write?
ERICA: I'm a journalist with a "paying" job so I'm lucky enough to have a home office where most of my book writing and other stuff gets done. But last spring and summer, I spent a lot of time drafting my paranormal romance novel Soul Obsession at a couple of Starbucks. Soul Obsession is scheduled for a summer release under the name of my alter ego, Amy Wolff Sorter.
CAROL ANN: You also wrote Servant of the Gods under that alter ego. Servant of the Gods, readers, is a historical romance. **turns back to Erica** Since you're the journalist, maybe you should be interviewing me. **both laugh** Let's pretend you are in your home office working on your latest manuscript. You are "deep in the zone" with when you are interrupted with the telephone ringing. What do you do?
ERICA: I ignore the phone if I'm that deep into a manuscript. I figure that's what voice mail is for! Besides I have ADHD, and if I'm interrupted, it takes forever for me to re-find that "zone."
CAROL ANN: Oh, I wish I had your discipline. I just can't ignore a ringing telephone, especially if I know who is calling. I've been berated by many of my writing instructors because I just can't write an outline before I write my novel. I guess I'm a true seat of the pants writer. What are you-- a pantster or a plotter?
ERICA: I fly by the seat of my pants. When I sit down, I have a general idea of plot and characters and beginning and end, but then I let my stream of conscience go. It might take a little longer to get the story done, but I think it allows for some great creativity.
Soul Obsession is a case in point. In earlier drafts, I'd introduced a Chanukah menorah as an aside that the heroine had made in her childhood. In subsequent drafts, that menorah gained more importance, and it came out that both the hero AND heroine had created it when they were kids, which linked them further as adults. Had I followed an outline, that subplot likely never would have come to light.
CAROL ANN: I knew we had a lot in common! It's great to meet another panster. **Carol Ann and Erica drive a fist toward the sky** Woo hoo! Okay, enough of that. So tell me, Erica, of all your published novels, which is your favorite and why?
ERICA: **Cherie uncrosses her legs and leans forward for another drink of java** Mixed Media is my favorite because I like the characters so much. The hero, Stephen Lemont, made an appearance in my first novel, Backstage Affair. Unlike a lot of my other heroes, he isn't dark, tortured or tormented, but rather, has a great personality and terrific sense of humor. I also really liked Jennifer, the heroine. Those two forged a really terrific relationship, but I'm not biased or anything.**big grin**
CAROL ANN: I'm truly intrigued with your books. Stephen Lemont sounds like my kind of hero. Now for a very serious question. You walk into a McDonald's for lunch. What do you order?
ERICA: **laughs**OK, the secret's finally out. Alert the National Enquirer. McD's fries are my particular weakness. I could be happy with just two orders of those and a milkshake.
CAROL ANN: I can relate! Especially when I'm depressed. Gotta have a McD milkshake. I'm sure you have times when you are feeling a bit in the dumps, too. Who can make you laugh when you're down?
ERICA: My husband does a pretty good job of making me laugh. He knows the most godawful jokes and puns that can put me out of my misery more often than not. If he's not around, funny movies like Austin Powers or Monty Python'll do it. I'm a sucker for British comedy.
CAROL ANN: Laughing is a wonderful cure. It's healthy, and low in calories, too! **laugh** Here's another off the wall question. I want to make sure the readers get to know the real Erica. **wink** You just received a letter from an attorney telling you a relative you barely remember died and left you the sole heir of an island in the South Seas. What will you do with it?
ERICA: I'd probably visit it for a month, then sell it for obscene amounts of money. I'm not one who can languish on a South Seas island for too long without going stir crazy. Sun, fun and surf only go too far with me!
CAROL ANN: Yeah, sweat pants wouldn't be too good on that hot sunny island. And finally, a question I ask all authors. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?
ERICA: Definitely. I believe words have a power and when used correctly, can educate, enlighten and entertain; and be unforgettable. When words are just tossed out, or used hurtfully, it can have a negative effect. That's why I'm ultra critical of my own stuff, and polish it again and again because I want to be sure the words I use convey the right moods and meaning for my characters and stories.
It's an awesome responsibility being a writer. As writers, it's our job to take care of our readers. Whether it's taking care of them by giving them a few hours of enjoyment or by opening them to a new world with fascinating characters, it's something we need to take seriously. Every time I sit down to write a book (or review one), I ask myself what the reader will take away from it.
CAROL ANN: Erica, thank you so much for taking time to visit the blog studio. I had a wonderful time getting to know you. In fact, I think I'll be purchasing one of your books soon. You've been a wonderful guest and I wish you much success in the future.
Readers, you can learn more about Erica and her books by visiting the following links: http://www.thepinkposse.net/index3.html
If you'd like to contact Erica about her books, you can do so at email@example.com
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Since nobody responded to the Tuesday Challenge last week and I've really only had a couple of people who seem interested, I'm doing away with it altogether. Tuesdays will be a day to post a tidbit about writing...something that I've learned along this journey to publishing.
One fun thing I learned: Flying Body Parts
What are flying body parts? Let me give you a few examples.
Susie dropped her eyes to the floor.
Dustin's feet tap danced across the stage.
Susie's fingers ran up Dustin's leg.
Let's look at these "literally". First, can Susie really take her eyes out of her head? How else could they drop to the floor? Dustin's feet aren't attached to his body? How can his feet take off on their own? The same with Susie's fingers! Can you picture these? Eyeballs falling onto a floor? Eeeuw!!! Feet detaching and dancing away? Maybe in a cartoon! Same with Susie's fingers. Well, unless this is a weird horror book.
This was the hardest lesson for me to learn, I think. My coach kept sending back my papers with red marks on all these "flying body parts". Once I started looking at these literally, I found myself laughing aloud at other author's books. Especially romances, where the hero would caress the heroine with his eyes. It seemed so natural for me to write this way, too.
How should the above be written?
Susie glanced at the floor.
Dustin tap danced across the stage.
Susie ran her fingers up Dustin's leg.
Make sense? I'd love to see some examples you run across in your reading adventures. Feel free to share them for a good laugh!
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Of course, I know the reason I don't. Once I start writing, everything else gets shoved aside. I write and write and don't want to stop.
Hmmm, how to come up with a perfect solution? Guess I'll have to do some more reflecting to come up with the answer.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
Today is usually "Dear Carol Ann" day on my blog, and I'm going to continue with that today. So, go ahead and ask me any questions you'd like...either personal or about my books, or writing in general. I'll answer your question and I'll put your name into a drawing to win a free autographed copy of Hit and Run!
You will have through next Thursday to post your questions and be included in the drawing!
NOTE: If you aren't familiar with blogging, all you have to do is click on the comments link below. A window will pop up with the other comments and you will have a blank window to ask your question. Be sure to include your name to be eligible for the drawing. You will have to click as "anonymous" in order to post since you don't have a blogger account.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
CAROL ANN: Welcome, Catherine. I'm so happy to start of the new year with you as my first author to be interviewed.
CATHERINE: How exciting that I get to be your first interview of the new year. Thanks for asking me.
CAROL ANN: You're welcome. It's my honor. Before asking you to be my guest, I perused your website. I have to tell you how much I enjoyed watching the words marquee behind the glasses! Very unique and "eye catching". Did you design your own website or did you contract someone?
CATHERINE: Thanks, I’ll tell my sister that you liked it. She does my website. A few years ago she got my domain name for me as a birthday gift. Then after I got published, she helped me put my website together. She has a graphic design business and mostly does business websites. This is her first author one.
CAROL ANN: She did a wonderful job! You have quite a few novels coming out this year. That's always exciting. I see that you write both historical romance and romantic suspense. If you were to write something totally different, and out of your sub-genre of choice, what would you choose and why?
CATHERINE: I have done some paranormal and I would to explore more of that. I would also like to write a time travel. It would be fun to blend the past and present.
CAROL ANN: I love time travel books, but I don't think I could write one. It does sound like fun, though. A lot of my readers are aspiring to become published. When you decided to start writing with a goal of becoming published, did you taken any writing classes, either classroom or on-line? Would you recommend classes to someone who is aspiring to be a published author?
CATHERINE: I went to the pre-conference workshops that Romantic Times offered. I also belonged to RWA and to a local chapter. That was where I learned the most about the craft of writing. RWA national conference has many great workshops for writers who are just starting out. They also offer online classes through some of their internet chapters. Those are helpful because you get to ask questions. Suzanne Brockmann taught a couple through the Kiss of Death Chapter. If you get a chance to take one of hers, I highly recommend it. Many of the online places I took classes from like Painted Rock are gone, but I’m sure others have taken their place. If you are looking to go the college route, the University of Iowa has a wonderful writing program. They have a great summer writing program with many famous authors who come to share their time and talent.
CAROL ANN: Local chapters are a great source of support. I would encourage everyone who is writing, or thinking about writing, to join one. RWA and their sub-chapters do offer a wealth of classes. In fact, I'm taking two this month. I'm taking Taxes for the Writer and Plotting Bootcamp. I don't usually take two at a time, and I don't recommend it, but it just happened coincidentally that both were offered at the same time. Anyway, back to you, Catherine. When you received word of your first contract, how did you react/celebrate?
CATHERINE: I got my contract from Whiskey Creek the same day I had critique group, so I got to celebrate with my critique partners. After so many rejections, I honestly was afraid to open the email from Debra. I think it took me a full minute of rereading it to realize that they bought the book. I was alone, of course, so I called everyone I knew, starting with my parents. I left the email on my computer for months and clicked on it all the time just to feel my pulse race. What was even more exciting was that a week to day I got my contract from Whiskey Creek, I got one from Andrea at New Concepts. That book, Ravensthorpe Legacy, is the first one I have out. The first one I sold is Crossing the Line which will be out May 07.
CAROL ANN: Awesome! You've done well for yourself. Everyone has a different writing process. I believe Stephen King doesn't name his characters until after the book is written. When do you name your characters?
CATHERINE: Most of the time that is first thing I do. They aren’t real to me until the have names. Once in while I have written my first chapter with he/she, because the name hasn’t come to me. That doesn’t happen very often.
CAROL ANN: We are both romance writers. Every person has their own idea of romance. So, I'm going to ask you to tell me what romance means to you.
CATHERINE: I think Romance is a mix of feelings ranging from the heart pounding rush of initial attraction to the small little moments that melt your heart.
CAROL ANN: In romances, there is always a building to that first kiss between the hero and heroine. I remember my first kiss. I was thirteen and had gone to a dance with a boy I liked. He walked me to my back door and gave me my first kiss. **sigh** I'll never forget it. Do you remember your first kiss?
CATHERINE: **laugh** I remember the rush of emotions, but most of all I remember being shy and not know knowing exactly what I was supposed to do.
CAROL ANN: I can relate to that! As an author, we spend a lot of time doing edits with our editor. There's always another read through to make sure everything is "just right." Have you ever cried when reading one of your scenes?
CATHERINE: I write emotional stories, so I have gotten a lump in my throat. I have to have put the book away for awhile for that to happen. When I’m too close to story all I see are the flaws.
CAROL ANN: I love the picture on your website with you and your dogs. How did you get into working with "therapy dogs?"
CATHERINE: I had an extended stay in the hospital after complications from surgery. There the therapy dogs visited me. Having them come cheered me up and I wanted to pass the feeling on, so I looked into it after I got home. When my older dogs passed away, I found a breeder. Once my dogs were old enough, I began the training process. You have figure out what type of therapy work your dog is most suited for. My dogs love to bond with people, so we hooked up with a local nursing home where they can see the same people week after week. My husband and I go together with each of us taking a dog.
If you want to know more about therapy dogs, I have link on my website to Therapy dog, Inc. which is the group we received our training under. There are number of organizations that do this, but this was the only one in our area.
CAROL ANN: Have you incorporated your experience with therapy dogs into any of your books? If not, do you plan to do that in the future?
CATHERINE: Not yet, but I do often have dogs in my books. Right now I don’t have story in the works that lends itself to that, but I never say never.
CAROL ANN: That's a good policy. One never knows what might appear in the next novel. So, tell us, what is a typical day for you?
CATHERINE: I’m a stay at home mom with a teenager. Most days I get up early to walk on the treadmill. I love listening to books on tape when I walk. I have to take turns with it, since my son like to run on it. Days when it’s nice, I start a bit slower and take my dogs to park by our house for a walk. Once I get my family off the school and work, I settle in to write. My husband comes home for lunch. Then I work until my son gets home from school.
Of course, that is an ideal day. Living in a house with three dogs and a teenager my days get crazy. I have the run to high school with whatever he forgot. Then there’s the days my dogs get into everything like the Christmas tree. Being at home means I get watch all my son’s cross country meets, tennis matches, ride the band bus on the spur the of the moment, and judge the two debate and speech tournaments. I feel blessed that I get to be there for him. I also, hope that by following my dream, that I taught him that it’s okay to dream big and go after what you want.
CAROL ANN: That's wonderful. I'm sure you have given him inspiration. What words would you offer to aspiring writers?
CATHERINE: Keep writing and don’t let the rejections get you down. It might take more than one book to break in, but remember that with each book you write your voice gets stronger. Find some writing friends. They’ll be the ones who keep you sane and grounded.
CAROL ANN: Before we close, I want to give authors a link to your website so they can learn more about you and your books.
CATHERINE: My website is http://www.catherinestang.com/
CAROL ANN: I encourage all the readers to check Catherine's site. I truly enjoyed perusing it.
Finally, I never let an author go before asking this last question. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why or why not?
CATHERINE: Yes, I think the pen has the power bring out problems that are difficult to speak about. I found books that deal with dark, emotional issues can sometimes be healing. I also believe that escaping for a moment can give your mind a much needed retreat.
CAROL ANN: Catherine it has been my pleasure to host you on my blog. Thank you for being so gracious with your time.
CATHERINE: Thanks, Carol. I have a cold, so my head is a thick today, so I hope everything I said makes sense.
CAROL ANN: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. You are a trooper for coming in when you aren't up to par. I hope you feel better soon.
Thanks, readers, for stopping by. I hope you will leave Catherine a comment or two, or even ask a question. I'm sure she'll be checking and will answer anything you might have to ask. Next Thursday, I'll be interviewing Erick DeQuay, so be sure and stop back.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Your assignment, should you decide to accept it will be to write a brief scene about a woman who sits down in a bus and finds a bag of money under her seat.
You may post your comments any time between today and this coming Sunday. The winner will be announced on Monday January 8, based on random drawing.
What is the prize? A free download of my brand new romantic suspense novel, FOXFIRE, due to release on 1/5/2007.
Monday, January 01, 2007
As the New Year comes tumbling in, I'm sitting here feeling just like I'm caught in a snowball that is rolling downhill out of control.
First, yesterday I received an "emergency" call from my son-in-law. My daughter had "rolled" her Rodeo getting onto the freeway headed for church. (Thank goodness we go to an early service and were home.) His truck needed a new starter so he had no transportation to get to her and he was watching their two youngest boys. I sat with the boys, while he drove my car to the accident scene. Thank the Good Lord she was not injured. It was raining and she lost control on a curve. The vehicle skidded off the road onto the grassy area, which proved to be just as slippery. At some point it became airborne and rolled ending on its top. She thinks she blacked out during the roll, which might have saved her being injured more. She released the seat belt and fell, then climbed out the driver's window, which had busted out. That was the only window that actually broke completely. The windshield was shattered completely and bowed, but did not explode. She escaped with a small bruise beside her knee, and some pain in her neck from the fall. God was definitely with her.
Then last night we went to the youngest daughter's house for a family get-together, which we do from time to time. We all play Encore, a game that requires "singing" eight words of a song in a back and forth battle of teams. We had a fantastic time bringing in the New Year together.
Rising late this morning, my husband found someone had stolen the license plate from the back of his truck. We filed a report with the police, and now have to wait until tomorrow to get replacement tags. He'll have to miss work and drive me to work in order to have transportation to get his plates.
**Sigh** I hope this isn't a preview of what to expect during 2007. So far, it isn't looking too promising.
But I did accomplish one thing yesterday. I changed my entire website appearance. If you have a chance, I'd love to hear what you think!
I had two people enter the writing challenge from last week. Rather than drawing names, since both have been winners before, I'm going to send each of them a gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press. So, Betty and Lesa, please email me off my website so I have you email addresses to send the certificates!
Since the Tuesday Challenge hasn't been a big participation event, I'm going to offer it only once per month rather than weekly. Tomorrow will be the next challenge and you'll have one week to respond. The winner will be announced next Monday. Be sure to check in tomorrow for your chance to win a free download of my new book to be released on Friday!
On the other Tuesdays of the month, I'll be posting little tidbits to help new and aspiring writers.