Month: May 2014

#LoveWriteChat

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Release Date: May 30th!

Release Date: May 30th!

 

You’ve found it! My cubby in the compendium of the wonderful writers of Romance Weekly. Welcome.

 

Thanks Dani Jace for the intro! And to award winning novelist Kate Robbins, whose second Promised to the Highlander in the Highland Chiefs series is being released this Friday, asker of this week’s questions.

 

How much of yourself do you write into your characters? Or do you write characters completely opposite to you?

524013-bigthumbnailWith acting or writing, some bits of me go into all my characters. It’s my interpretation of them. How they feel, what they think, how they act–it’s filtered through me. It’s me/not me. So, kind of like drip coffee, the flavor of me, makes its way into my characters. None of which are autobiographical, if that’s what you mean. Stolen Kiss features a mechanic and a financier. Neither of them me. But their lessons? He has to learn he’s not responsible for and can’t change his brother. She has to draw firm boundaries and stand up for the right to live/lead her own life. I’ve had to do all those things. So yeah, those parts are me.  

Has your writing helped you see events in your own life clearer?

Unknown-1This question surprised me because upon reflection, the answer is yes and I thought it would be ‘negatory, good buddy.’ Not only the practice of writing, but my writing path, my road to publication— absolutely have reinforced so many life lessons. Patience, perseverance, trust, discipline, love. When contemplating and poking inside the head of another who loves or is falling in love, you remember how/why you fell in love. Writing romance (like reading it) has really helped my marriage and all my relationships.

Have you written a character with more of your personal characteristics than any other? What are they?

Photo on 2013-10-24 at 12.55Not really. I think they all are subjected to that special Kim Koffee Blend. Like the acting roles I’ve played (moms before I was a mom, a really bitter alcoholic, a murderess, a Danish queen, an Israeli Field Commander), the characters I write are separate entities unto themselves. They even talk to me and occasionally one will try to lead a coup and take over the story. (Don’t yours do that to you?) But someone’s got to be in charge. Ca, c’est moi.

 

Wasn’t this fun? Please hop on to the next blog on our tour and see how Fiona Riplee, author of The Sixxers, answered these fine questions.

http://fionariplee.com/blog

 

And don’t be shy to leave a comment. I’m not. 😀

#LoveWriteChat

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Welcome to my corner of the weekly blog hop of romance writers! Thanks to Leslie Hatchell for the intro, and the bewitching Carolyn Spear, author of Guarding His Heart for this week’s totes mcgote’s fun questions.

 

If someone could observe you writing without you knowing they were there, what strange practices might they catch you doing?

New York City Ballet

New York City Ballet

 

 

LOL! Ok. I come from an acting background, so I will often act scenes out as I write them. Sometimes this involves just my face often my voice and sometimes I will get up and move about the room as my characters. My family is used to this weirdness. Sometimes when I’m searching for a word or a lemon fresh twist on a hackneyed cliché, my fingers do the Search Ballet. Like, they’re up on either side of my ears and do this kind of flipping through my inner Rolodex. That happens a lot when I’m editing. Otherwise it’s all a lot of staring off into space, then typing madly like a whirling dervish. Stare. Type. Repeat.

 

Other than as a creative outlet, how does writing benefit you?

Zaggora Parkour Girl

Zaggora Parkour Girl

I think it helps me understand people better. Or try to, anyway. I think it’s one of the reasons we are drawn to story. We really don’t know what motivates the crazy lady in curlers down the street who does parkour on the rooftops at night. But she’s got a story. And it’s a doozy. I think it makes me more compassionate.

 

How do you feed your muse?

UnknownI don’t know if so much feeding my muse as it is keeping her on a strict diet. One that doesn’t include facebook, Twitter or long forays into a glossary of ice hockey terms, what kind of park benches line the streets of the financial district in Boston or some other nosh of research. I have to steal time from other aspects of my pretty full life to write, so when I’m in the zone, that’s where I want to stay. What does Musella actually ingest? People’s stories. Description and demeanor details. I’m pretty friendly and strike up conversations with well, everybody. The lobsterer on the ferry from Deer Island to Campobello, who’s never been on a plane, but is on an intimate relationship with the coves and bays of Maine. The Hungarian fencing Master I sat next to on a train to Toronto, who fencing-olympics-1440x900escaped certain death during the ’56 Revolution by riding out of the country on his father’s shoulders. The really sweet, incredibly wealthy receptionist at my daughter’s school, who doesn’t need to work, but wants to behave like a ‘normal’ person and get out of the house regularly. Their stories or what I infer their stories to be are part of the diet. Also: Movies and music, mythology and books. Green spaces and blue skies, water—yum, yum, crunch, crunch.

I love it when you visit! Thanks for stopping by. Comments  = ❤

from SoulMate Publishing

from SoulMate Publishing

Next on today’s Romance Weekly Blog tour, a really moving entry this week from talented Jo Richardson, author of Cursed Be the Wicked

http://jrrichardsonfics.wordpress.com/

And FREEBIE alert: don’t forget to enter the Romance Weekly GIVEAWAY guise!  Grand Prize is a 16GB Kindle Fire and 2nd prize is a $50 amazon.com gift card!  We have bundles and bundles of books to give you too, like our signed paperback bundle, our mixed romance bundle, our melody of romance and our Scottish sampler bundle!

Go to the event page for all the deets and fun games we’re playing!

https://www.facebook.com/events/773431862675366/

 

What Makes a Good Medieval Romance?

My dear friend and critique partner Sarah Hegger released her first book The Bride Gift this past Wednesday on Amazon. It’s an eBook through SoulMate Publishing. Here’s the url:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bride-Gift-Sarah-Hegger-ebook/dp/B00KBAYOTM

 

The Bride Gift, Soul Mate Publishing

The Bride Gift, Soul Mate Publishing

I loved it through its various stages. Helena, her heroine is goodly fierce and Guy her hero is as steadfast a knight as ever there was. It’s not fair for me to review it, being as close to both Sarah and her product, but I was thrilled to see other reviewers give it the 5 stars on Amazon it deserves. One of the reviewers mentioned The Bride Gift was the first medieval (she) had read.

Which brought me to my lead question. (see above) Elements of a good Medieval Romance:

Well, you’ve got to have a castle.

And a girl, either in the castle wanting to get out (like Rapunzel) or on the outside, wanting to get in (like Cinderella). Although in Sarah’s story, Helena is in the castle, in charge and desperate to keep it that way.

 

And a guy (Sir Guy, in the Bride Gift) who probably prevents her from doing so in the beginning, but ends up on her side by the end. It’s always nice if he’s a knight or some sort of chivalrous fellow. Because so many of the men during those times were downright dangerous. Which brings us to the next item on the list:

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There’s got to be a villain. Preferably one who is depraved in some way (wicked, murdering Ranulf in The Bride Gift) and completely irredeemable.

 

7fcb010c66b73858ea72f2699ccab063Since it’s a historical, the facts and time period woven in should be sturdy. The backdrop for The Bride Gift is “1153, in the period dubbed ‘The Anarchy’,” when “King Stephen and Empress Maud are not the only ones embroiled in a fierce battle of the sexes.” The dressing (gowns, armor and mail) and setting (solars, castle keeps, forests and fighting fields) are all part of the enchanting backdrop.

 

Lastly, it’s the relationship between the hero and heroine, isn’t it? The hero’s got to do knightly things, like scale a tower to access his lady love (First scene, first chapter, The Bride Gift), fight off the bad guys (check) and rescue someone (not necessarily the heroine) or something (it could be a basket of kittens). The heroine must display strength and spirit (so many good possibilities in The Bride Gift, and so many spoiler alerts). And the author twines them together (willing or no—not willing in this case) showing how they are better off.

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Yes. I am biased when it comes to my author gal-pal, Sarah Hegger’s new release, The Bride Gift. I think it’s awesome. And I’m not the only one. It’s a downloadable romp worthy of your time. Check it out. And let me know if you do! 😉

#LoveWriteChat

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images-11Welcome to my corner of the Romance Weekly writers round robin, ravens and other birds. Thanks to the very talented S.C. Mitchell, author of Son of Thunder, for the hand-off. This week’s questions come from Amy Jarecki, who releases Book 3 of the Highlander Force series, Beauty and the Barbarian this month!

 

When did you start writing, and why?

 

Anne of Green Gables, Sullivan Entertainment

Anne of Green Gables, Sullivan Entertainment

I’ve had so many first starts at writing. My first book, at tender 11 inspired by long winter nights in the countryside and the high jinks of Anne of Green Gables, but set in the 70’s. My first play, at 19 while running a children’s summer theatre. My first stab at a romance novel, at 23 challenged by a friend, and further attempts pre and post children. More recently I redoubled my efforts at writing – as an actress I have a lot of spare time and dangerously too much creative energy. Writing is another outlet for my study of the expression of human behavior and relationship.

What do you like best about writing?

cut-cushion-copyWhen it flows it’s on par with great sex, runner’s endorphins, a full fat crème brule or a woody cabernet sauvignon without complication, calories or a hangover. I’m learning to like all of the stages of producing a smokin’ finished piece. I used to hate rewrites. Now I realize rewrites are to writing what rehearsal is to acting. One of the secrets to my success as a career actress is to send love and energy into the parts of the process that trouble me. Fairy-godmother them into strengths. I soon expect to be dubbed Revision Queen. You’re invited to the coronation.

If you could go on a writing retreat, where would you go and for how long?

I’m hoping to do that this summer at my country house in the Laurentian mountains. I expect my teens and voice work will punch time holes in my concentration so it won’t be a real retreat.

Eleuthera Vacations

Eleuthera Vacations

Location of a real ‘dream retreat’ would depend on the time of year. I live in the Great White North. If it were January, it’d be the Bahamas for the winter, probably the island of Eleuthera. March or April? An English garden or a flat in Paris, 2-3 weeks. Late fall? Probably Arizona or the desert in SoCal. A month. Wherever, whenever it would include dear friend Sarah Hegger to bounce plot and characters back and forth, get me to move my butt (actually exercise) once every few days, and to supply the appropriate ‘there, there’s’ and ‘woot, woot’s’ as needed.

 

The Bride Gift, Soul Mate Publishing

The Bride Gift, Soul Mate Publishing

Speaking of the Grand Dame, Sarah Hegger is next on the blog tour. It’s an exciting week for this word wench. Her first book release, The Bride Gift happens tomorrow! (Wishing her good fortune and multiple downloads.) Please hop to her blog here:

http://sarahhegger.wordpress.com

 

Love, love, love your comments. Please feel free to leave one. xo

The Writing Process Blog Tour

The MEANS to the end. That’s what this tour is about. Someone (Day’s) contacted me. I post and tag three others. See end of this post for those deets.

Thank-you Day’s Lee for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  Day’s and I met years ago travelling back and forth from Montreal to Ottawa for ORWA (Ottawa Romance Writers of America) Meetings. Day’s is currently putting together a collection of short stories called The Red Pagoda and Other Stories. Read her post on her writing process at http://dayslee.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/my-writing-process-blog-tour/

And now, on to the questions…

What are you working on?

A romantic contemporary series about three siblings, Matt, Arabella and Sebastian Beaumont. The first, Stolen Kiss is being subjected to yet another rigorous swath of editing (merci to the Margie Lawson lectures and method).

images-4Matt and Ruby’s love story. It’s essentially a road trip between a Boston princess and a hot mechanic with bad guys getting in the way. And I’m in the midst of pouring out a rough draft of the second book, Stolen Heart. It features marine biologist Arabella and the last person she would ever want as her bodyguard, Gus McIsaac. The third, Stolen Love is in the dream stage, with the hero, Seb a reformed felon, fully developed and a good glimpse of the heroine, single mom-social worker Mari captured.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I think the same thing that it comes down to for most genre fiction writers: images-9My voice. It’s pretty strong. I try to surprise and delight myself and my readers. Fresh twists are key and I love humor. I pour that sh*t on everything. Acting for most of my life and all the human study that involves certainly adds color. Years in various media made me a fair wordsmith. My own mass cornucopia of life adventures taught me to throw my characters into the deepest end of an orca tank and see how they survive.

 Why do you write what you do?

I love people and relationship and the diversion romance brings. Plus, the romance genre is really quite a feminist vehicle. allposters.com_It was born out the notion of love and the right to choose your life partner in a time when women didn’t often have that freedom. It’s evolved to the current standard where the heroine literally brings her partner to his knees (in a proposal, or at least the happy intention of a long life together). The matriarch of my family (93, still kicking, also a fan of romance novels) once said to me, “The world always needs more love.” I agree with her.

How does your writing process work?

Characters first. Sometimes just a hazy outline. Sometimes clearer than HDTV. Ruby, the heroine in the first book of the Stolen series popped Unknown-1into my head on a family car trip through the Yukon and wisecracked, “So Kim, when are you going to write my story?” After I write out character sketches, my fiction people percolate in a lot of dreamtime. I interview them and build back-story. Then I use a structure template, like Snyder’s Save the Cat and pump out a dirty draft. Then I rewrite. Many times. Eliminate passive voice, weed out clichés (irony alert), bring my own flavors to the soup. Lastly, read it out loud. In my day job, I’m a very well paid voice actor. Nothing beats reading text out loud to check for rhythm, flow and errors.

 

Hey this was fun. Let me introduce the ladies, three of my Romance Weekly sisters, to whom I am passing the virtual blog baton—the blogon. Check their posts May 19:

GetAttachment-1.aspxJ.J. Devine grew up loving the written word. She spent her days daydreaming and imagining what life would be like if she lived between the pages of the books she read. Today, she still spends her days dreaming. Only now she pens them into the romance novels she enjoys writing to share with her readers. On her down time, she enjoys spending time with her hubby, children, grandchildren, and pets. As well as helping to bring public awareness on the subject of domestic violence.

http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer.html

 

GetAttachment.aspxJeana Mann is the author of sizzling hot contemporary romance. Her debut release Intoxicated was a First Place Winner of the 2013 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest and a finalist for the Carolyn Readers Choice Award. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Crossroads Romance Writers, Indiana RWA, and Celtic Heart RWA.

 

http://jeanaemann.net/

 

GetAttachment-2.aspxCarolyn Spear, a mother of two and wife of one, lives to read, garden and explore. She channels characters’ stories to share with others. A strange combination of small town girl, travel enthusiast and geek, she is thrilled to be a part of the shared world of the Wiccan Haus.

 

http://www.carolynspearromance.com/blog.html

 

 

Thanks SO much for stopping by. Grateful for your presence. More delighted by comments than chocolate.

Forever Anne

15 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM ANNE OF GREEN GABLES

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If I had to pick one author of fiction who most impacted my childhood, it would be L.M. Montgomery. I read constantly as a child, but there was no author who delighted me more than the woman who wrote my favorite fictional character into existence. I really don’t remember a time during my childhood when I was not reading a book by Montgomery. The Anne of Green Gables series is made up of eight books, and then there is my second favorite series, the Emily of New Moon series, as well as a host of other books starring strong female leads who always saw life as an adventure, loved beauty, and loved to learn. The books you read in childhood can have a profound impact on your life. For me, Anne helped me shape a very distinct view of the world.

Even now, I feel like something in my life is slightly off if I have gone too long without re-reading an L.M. Montgomery book. Her talent for capturing human nature and for showing beauty in the commonplace, adds a distinct flavor to life that I cannot fully explain in words. It sounds overly-dramatic, maybe, but it is the truth. I feel indebted to L.M. in many ways, and I know I am not alone in my sentiments.
As a little tribute, I want to review a few of the things Anne has taught us. I present to you fifteen things we learned from Anne:
1. Making mistakes is a part of life; but if you make up your mind to learn from them, they can’t hold you back.
“It’s so hard to get up again—although of course the harder it is the more satisfaction you have when you do get up, haven’t you?” 
2. People won’t always understand you, but that doesn’t mean you should conform to the ideals of unimaginative people.
3. Kindred spirits can be found in very unexpected places, so give everyone a chance.
4. Imagination makes the world a better place, but unfortunately it is of no help at all when it comes to geometry.
5. A plain or boring name does not define you:
“That’s a lovely idea, Diana,’ said Anne enthusiastically. ‘Living so that you beautify your name, even if it wasn’t beautiful to begin with…making it stand in people’s thoughts for something so lovely and pleasant that they never think of it by itself.”
6. When it comes to boys, set your standards high and don’t bother with those who don’t meet that standard.
 
“Young men are all very well in their place, but it doesn’t do to drag them into everything, does it?”
 
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7. Octobers make the world a more beautiful place.
8. Wearing pretty clothes makes it easier to be good, specifically, wearing puffed sleeves.
9. No matter how dreary today looks, no matter how flawed we may feel, there is always hope in a new day. Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.
10. Having ambitions and big goals can be tiring, but they are worth the sacrifice. One should never stop working diligently toward something.
11. Literature not only opens different worlds to us, it helps us to see the world differently.
12. One should be in no hurry to grow up whatsoever.
“One can’t get over the habit of being a little girl all at once.” 
13. Always speak what is on your mind if it adds beauty to the conversation:
“If a kiss could be seen I think it would look like a violet,’ said Priscilla. Anne glowed. ‘I’m so glad you spoke that thought, Priscilla, instead of just thinking it and keeping it to yourself. This world would be a much more interesting place…although it is very interesting, anyhow…if people spoke out their real thoughts.” 
14. It is better to live vulnerably, than to live in fear that your hopes may be dashed:
“When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts…it’s like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.” 
 
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15. And finally, the lesson that possibly took Anne the longest to learn: true love doesn’t look like it does in day dreams.
“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps…perhaps…love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.” 
Oh, Anne. We love you. Now excuse me while I go re-read the entire series. Feel free to just…talk about Anne in the comment section.
Images via 123 

JENNYWILLIAMS Jenny Williams is an Oklahoma-native who moved to Washington, D.C. in 2009 to fulfill her dream of living in her favorite city and working on Capitol Hill. It took her two-and-a-half-years, however,  to realize that her true passion was not in writing someone else’s policies behind a desk all day but rather in the thing she has always loved: observing the beauty of the world and writing about it. Leaving politics without glancing back, she entered the less glamorous private sector which allows her more time for writing and her other favorite things: making breakfast, tearing up while reading Anne of Green Gables for the fiftieth time and exploring the district with her husband. She can be found elsewhere on the internet at Jeneric Generation.

 

Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat

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Ever wonder how the minds of authors tick? Welcome to Romance Weekly, the blog tour where we unscrew the watch face and let you see the inner workings. This week’s questions come from Leslie Hachtel.

 

Do you prefer to write futuristic, contemporary or historical romances and why?

 

artworks-000060768775-b90ps9-originalThough I love to read all three (and dystopia and paranormal), I write contemporary because the authors that have more recently inspired me most are most prolific in this time period. We live in very exciting times filled with lots of conflict even on a day-to-day level. Staying in the now helps narrow my study of human relationships and emotions. I really want to capture the essence of the struggles and joys of falling in love.

 

What is your favorite time in history and how and why does it inspire you?

82f249f591efceed6dcc3ddcac39bc12As a kid, I was a sci-fi junkie. Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury. I ate them for breakfast, lunch and midnight snacks. I also love, love, loved the 19th century, and stories by authors from Austin and Dickens to the Bronte’s and Jules Verne. Maybe that means if I do venture out of the contemporary world, I should try steam punk, or at the very least the Victorian era. Hmmm. Future fodder.

 

How has your life experience contributed to your writing?

 

 

Not him, but he's cute, right?

Not him, but he’s cute, right?

I’ve had some pretty diverse experiences, so um, wow. Running a kids theatre school, dating a medicine man in training and living with Lakota in South Dakota (not my husband now), weathergirl on national cable, surviving a production business with 2 friends, Girl Scout leader, homeschooling for 9 years, radio dj, converting to Judaism, celebrating a 20th wedding anniversary, becoming vegan. See what I mean? (just a few highlights) I guess through all of it I’ve always studied human behavior and story. I don’t write about any of those experiences, but all that I’ve learned about people, and myself, certainly contribute to this. I think—or is it hope—that it makes my characters razor defined, my plots iron bright, my hooks gourmet irresistible. Like, I said, it’s my hope.

 

J.J.Devine has racked up a few compelling life experiences herself. See how she answers these questions at the next stop on our blog tour: http://definingjjdevine.weebly.com/ramblings-of-a-writer.html

 

Book Love

I love books like I love Ethiopian food.

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Ever had a plate? Uber delicious. A yummy variety of simple foods, spiced in deliciously surprising ways, that sits trencher style on a large flat round of teff, soaking its mouthwatering goodness into the spongy bread. Spread on a large round plate meant for ripping into and sharing with one or two others.

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I want to soak up the head bread of the books I read (and write) like airy crepes sop up the stewed spinach, lentils and beets. I want to rip into the characters with heart like fingers tear teff into spoons to gather every spice soaked morsel.

 

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Shared on the same plate with a loved one. The ultimate finger food. Secrets of the soul. Intimate sustenance. Prepared in a time honored way.

Let’s dig in.