Join Sarah and her guests for conversations on everything from the art of writing to where we find our inspiration.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writer Wednesday: It ALL Began with Tom Jones

LOL. It's true! And this is my story.

My girlfriends and I were returning from one of our fun trips to see my sister in Tulsa. We were tired, and our conversation had died to mumbles. One decided to spark things up with her version of Car Games. Simple, really. She'd ask a question and we'd answer. No brainer.

Question: Pick one--Tom Jones or Englebert Humperdink. I picked EH because he was more romantic. The other three picked TJ because he is wild.

A few more rounds went by, and then she asked, "Write the opening paragraph of a book, using the word window." My insides sunk to the floor because deep down, I wanted to write. And she knew it. (She's never said if she asked this question to jumpstart me or not, but it did).

The others said something. I was afraid to. Afraid what I'd say would be stupid. So I had nothing. And since I was holding things up, they said I could email them something later on. Whew!

Once home, the regular stuff of life hit and I didn't get to the computer for a couple of days. In the back of my head, I knew I had to do this because they wouldn't forget. Just like the proverbial elephant. So I opened a word doc and holy moley, my fingers flew. They didn't stop. I went back and back and before I could *snap*, I'd written eight chapters.

Still, I had to show my friend. I copied it on to a disc, met her for lunch, and gave it to her. We met a few days later, she passed the disc and said, "Keep going."

And I haven't stopped.


From sassy writer Vicki Batman comes three romantic tales with a dash of humor: Little Birdie Who… and Other Stories

"This is NOT Working": One of those days at a new job when nothing is going right until the new boss steps in.

"Check Her Out": Gum: it’s a sticky situation, especially between the store manager and Auntie Caren when her nephew has to pay for the package he stole.

"Little Birdie Who… ": A new town, a new friend, a new beginning. Who would have thought a little bird could bring two people together?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Musings: Swag

I'm attending the RT Booklovers Convention this year - and signing at the BookEXPO, yay! - so I've spent a lot of time lately brainstorming, creating and ordering new promo swag. I always try my best to come up with something fun and unique, something that pertains to the book but that readers will enjoy. From the feedback I've received, I usually manage, however I still feel the need to ask...

Are there any promotional items that you LOVE to receive?
What about those items you don't bother taking or keeping?

Sarah Grimm
where dangerously sexy & happily-ever-after collide 
Blog / Website

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Character Quickie: Justin Harrison

20 quickie facts about Justin Harrison:

Birthday? August 27
Favorite color? Red - like the highlights in Paige’s hair.
Nickname? None that I’m aware of.
Birthmark or scars? A round scar at my left shoulder from a .38 and another on my left side from the surgeon.
Siblings? None
City of residence? San Diego, California
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? Cinnamon
Occupation? Homicide Detective with the San Diego Police Department
Hobbies? Sex
Favorite song? You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC
Name one item in your refrigerator right now? Moldy Cheese
Your greatest fear? That I won’t be able to protect Paige.
Most treasured possession? 1969 Pontiac GTO ‘The Judge’
Special talent? When bad things happen, someone needs to help restore order, solve the puzzle and uncover the identity of the bad guy. I’m very good with puzzles.
Cat or dog? Dog
Pet peeve? I have no stomach for people who take advantage of others weaknesses or misfortune for their own gain.
Unforgettable moment? The first time Paige told me she loved me. Although I could have done without the Beretta pressed against her ribs at the time.
Spicy or not? Spicy
Favorite guilty pleasure? A frosted mug of beer and a cigarette (which I was forced to give up).
If you could ask your author one question, what would it be? Was the Beretta really necessary?

Justin Harrison is the hero in Sarah Grimm's award-winning romantic suspense, NOT WITHOUT RISK.

Amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/WUvTcX 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Breaking the Process By Sascha Illyvich

Most writers have a set process they use to write stories. They either plot meticulously (yo!) or they fly by the seat of their pants. Some set word count goals (again, yo) others do what they can when they can.

The creative process differs for all of us but the habits we establish help shape our careers, our futures. If we're diligent about work habits, success can be ensured. If we're persistent, if we're downright employing the concept of Kai Zen, the art of continuous improvement, then our processes get refined so much that every day seems the same, yet different.

Except when it doesn't, you find your editors are screaming at you because you know better about becoming a lazy editing author. Or when your agents are calling you with news that your last project needs another round of revisions but editors like the storyline…

It's maddening. Especially when you realize the reviewers are all saying how much they love your books, sales of your novels are steady but not as good as they could be, what then?

The one thing I'm evaluating in my career as of this writing is the process. Before, I pulled up the plotter pad my mentor gave me, filled out most of it, came up with some basic character descriptions, then just wrote. I wrote more and threw everything I had into that first draft, kept a rigorous schedule even when life got in the way.

It affected my health. I had to cut back on my hobbies, then cut back on how late I stayed up just to make or exceed word count. But the stories still had deadlines and I still had a life outside of publishing. The stories I've put out in the last few years have suffered not because they were poorly written, if that were the case they'd never have sold. But because they could have been longer, with more character development time spent. I was trained to write with my heart, but also with the idea that more is better. The more releases, the more the gravy train could keep rolling.

One year I was listening to a video interview from Rammstein, the German industrial metal band and the frontman said in translated German that "Rammstein has always been about militant structure. In this album (I think it was Rise, Rise) we broke free and let loose" or something to that effect. You know what? His statement about previous albums described me to a T.

Over the years I've realized I needed a change, a different structure. I needed something that flowed better with the emotional depth I put into my novels, while allowing me more downtime. I needed my readers to see I was capable of writing longer stories. I needed readers to understand me better and realize I screamed not just for me, but for them. But if I were to proceed in my usual militant way, I'd be dead and burned out before you finished reading this blog and obsessing about me. (Hint, you obsess about me, the bad boy of romance!)

Having a looser schedule allows me to begin breathing once again as a writer and more fully develop my characters while keeping my focus on the larger prize.

A little bit about Sascha:

Proclaimed by the Publishing industry as the Bad Boy of Romance, I started writing thirteen years ago. My erotic romances have been listed under the Night Owl Romance and Road to Romance’s Recommended read list, as well nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio.

Find me at http://saschaillyvichauthor.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/saschaillyvich


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Character Quickie: Paige Sinster

20 quickie facts about Paige Sinster: 

Birthday? February 20th
Favorite color? Purple
Nickname? Principessa. Donovan, my mate, calls me Princess in Italian. Sometimes its sweet, sometimes its snarky.
Birthmark or scars? A mark of the Circle of Magdalena on my hip
Siblings? Six sisters. I’m part of the Seven Sin Sister prophecy.
State of residence? California
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? Chocolate
Occupation? Pastry Chef & Café Owner
Hobbies? Baking & Shopping
Favorite band? There’s nothing like Abba to bake to!
Name one item in your refrigerator right now? Creamer. I can’t drink my morning coffee without it.
Your greatest fear? Failing. Even now with my soul sin of Pride gone, I fear failing.
Most treasured possession? My mating jewels from Donovan
Special talent? Baking, especially with chocolate
Cat or dog? Cats are cleaner and when they purr, I can’t keep my eyes open.
Pet peeve? Interruptions in the kitchen
Unforgettable moment? My first spanking! Trust me, you wouldn’t forget it either!
Spicy or not? Spicy… very, very spicy.
Favorite guilty pleasure? Dessert in bed.
If you could ask your author one question, what would it be? Why did you have to make me seem so bitchy in the beginning?

Paige Sinster is the heroine in Vanished Pride,
book four in the Seven Sin Sisters series.

To learn more about Paloma Beck
and her writing please visit her WEBSITE.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekly Dose of Inspiration

I had a difficult time coming up with something that inspires me this week.
That is, until I found these...


I love these shoes so much I've decided that I'm going to find them and buy them. That is, once I hit my weight loss goal. Yup, these are my inspiration NOT to eat the last cookie. NOT to run to the corner gas station for that bag of white cheddar popcorn.

My inspiration to get out of my writing chair and out in the garage, where my husband has his very own 'gym' complete with everything you'd find at a local gym.

What's even better? 
Hubs won't even ask me how much they are.
He's got a bit of a shoe fetish and I think he loves these shoes as much as I do. LOL


What inspires you?

Sarah Grimm
where dangerously sexy & happily-ever-after collide 
Blog / Website

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mentors by Diane Burton

I love mentors in a story. Gandalf (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings), Obi Wan Kenobi (Star Wars) and Morpheus (Matrix). And to prove that I don’t watch only sci-fi/fantasy movies here are some other mentors. Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) in The Sting, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) in the original The Karate Kid, and Glenda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz.

Mentors give advice, explain the big picture and, sometimes, give the hero something magical—Luke’s father’s lightsaber (Star Wars) or the ruby slippers which will enable Dorothy to return home (The Wizard of Oz). Mentors lead the young hero by the hand (sometimes, by the nose) to do what is right. Usually, the mentor must spell out the call to adventure for the hero then has to wait around (with gentle prodding) while the hero decides whether to answer the call. Mentors need patience, but sometimes they have to give the hero that kick in the patoot s/he needs.

My hero, Celara d’Enfaden, in The Pilot owes the life she leads now to her mentor. Though he’s only mentioned briefly, Celara’s affection is evident for the man to whom she indentured herself to escape her home planet, taught her starship mechanics and how to be a pilot.

But the mentor can’t take the journey with the hero. You know the old saying about leading a horse to water? The mentor can only take the lead up to a point. It’s the hero’s journey and s/he has to go on alone.

In my writer life, I’ve had many mentors. Writers who’ve generously shared their knowledge and experience in the industry. In mythology, the mentor is often called The Wise Old Man or Woman. In my case, the writers who’ve mentored me were usually younger. I just started my writing career later in life than they did. I still have mentors, writers I learn from. To pay it forward, I’ve tried to mentor others.

Who are the mentors you recognize from film or books? Your own life? 

Blurb: The Pilot

There’s no place like home and he just stole hers. Cargo hauler, risk taker Celera d’Enfaden must work with rule-bound Administrator Trevarr Jovano to save her brother from a galactic gangster.

Excerpt from The Pilot 

Celara pushed her chair away from the table and climbed up on it. “Quiet down, you Rimmer scum.”

The patrons laughed then quieted. Someone paused the Seinfeld vid.

She lifted her drink again. “A toast, Rimmers. Let’s hear it for the wonderful, fantabulous, yada, yada, yada, Administrator Jovano. May he live long enough to enjoy good health.”

To her surprise, silence met her toast. No one raised their glasses or mugs, even in jest. Everyone was looking at her, standing on the chair. No, they were looking past her. Only thing behind her was the door. Kleema groaned and buried her head on her arms on the table. Booted footsteps rapped on the rough-hewn plank floor then stopped behind her.

“Thank you for the compliments and the good wishes for my longevity.” The baritone-and-chokiris voice sounded just over her shoulder.

If ever there was a need for a personal cloaking device, it was now. Or a magic ring with which to disappear. Sec Admin Trevarr Jovano stood behind her. Waiting. She swore she could feel him breathing.

Undaunted, she turned around. As the room tipped, she reached for the back of the chair. “Whoa, those mudslides sneak up on you.”

Missing the chair, she grabbed the closest thing—Trevarr Jovano’s black-clad shoulders. Beneath her fingers, the strong muscles contracted. “Hey there, Admin Man. Heard my toast, did you?” She grinned down at him.

He wasn’t smiling. “You should sit down before you fall down. Or better yet, go home and sleep it off.”

A dark fury swept away the sweet tranquility of two, tall Kruferian mudslides. “I can’t go home, you snake. You stole my home.”

She swung a round-house punch at him, missed her objective and would have fallen ignominiously off the chair had he not caught her. For several long secs, he held her tightly against his chest, her feet dangling off the floor a good twenty-five centimeters. His green eyes caught hers and darkened.

The heat in the room rose ten degrees. Her heart tripped, the air leached out of her lungs. His eyes. She could drown in those green depths.

The Pilot is available at Amazon ~ Smashwords ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America as well as the Mid-Michigan, Young Adult and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal RWA chapters. She is the author of the Switched series, about twins exchanging places—from Earth to a starship and the reverse. With The Pilot, she begins a new series about strong women on the frontier of space. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Diane can be found around the Internet at:

website: www.dianeburton.com
blog: http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmburton72
Facebook: http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/

Monday, March 4, 2013

Start Doing

I'm in the writing 'cave' today, so forgive me if all I share with you is this wonderful quote I discovered this weekend. I'm wondering if I could blow it up to poster size so I could place it on my living room wall?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Character Quickie: Jesse Snowe

20 quickie facts about Jesse Snowe:

Birthday? August 17, 1989.
Favorite color? Blue.
Nickname? Everyone just calls me Jesse.
Birthmark or scars? A leaf shaped birthmark on my hip, a small scar on my jaw.
Siblings? None.
City of residence? Las Vegas.
If you were a jelly bean flavor, what flavor would you be? Pina colada.
Occupation? Dancer in an all-male revue.
Hobbies? Dancing, yoga, gymnastics.
Favorite song? I have so many, but if I have to pick one, maybe Push Up by the Freestylers. It’s a great song to dance to.
Name one item in your refrigerator right now? Blueberry yogurt.
Your greatest fear? Coming out to my fellow dancers.
Most treasured possession? Cell phone photo I took of Val when he wasn’t looking.
Special talent? I’m good at yoga and dancing.
Cat or dog? Dogs. They love you no matter what.
Pet peeve? People who think a ticket to the revue includes a grope session with the dancers. There’s always a few at every show.
Unforgettable moment? Hiking date with Val.
Spicy or not? Spicy, please.
Favorite guilty pleasure? Pepperoni pizza and beer.
If you could ask your author one question, what would it be? Why did you have to give me a job as a stripper? Why couldn’t I be the bartender?

Jesse Snowe is the hero of 
Pender Mackie's book, 
available now at Amazon
Loose Id, and ARe.

Don't forget to visit Pender's