road to publication

Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat

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from SoulMate Publishing

from SoulMate Publishing

 

 

 

If you’ve just come from J.R. Richardson, author of the fabulous Cursed be the Wicked, the lady who penned this week’s questions, welcome! If you’ve come from somewhere else, welcome, welcome! This is my stop on Romance Weekly’s author blog tour.

 

 

How often do you write?

 

images-3I want to write everyday. I don’t. I probably get to write 4-6 days a week. Sometimes it’s new words, sometimes it’s editing. If I’m in the new words phase, it varies between 200-2,000 words, depending on whether I have narrations or other demands. If I’m editing, I try to do 2-3 chapters a day. I haven’t figured out how to add up word counts during editing days. And how do you figure time done plotting? Anybody? I dream of spending 6-8 uninterrupted hours a day writing. That’s my goal – so far unattainable, but as the kids get older and my husband gets more and more supportive and understands that I need unbroken quiet, my hope grows. (Because like Elna Rae says, where hope grows, miracles blossom)

 

images-4Do you think it’s important to your craft to write as much as you can, and as often as you can?

When I write more I produce more. But I’ve gone through times when I haven’t been able to meet my word counts. I don’t want to derail myself by thinking if I don’t write as often as I can that I’m a failed writer. You only fail when you stop trying. Life will let you write more sometimes and less others. Sometimes we need to refill the well, so we don’t run dry and that’s part of the process, too.

 

 

Stephanie Gauvin  on Mt Assiniboine

Stephanie Gauvin on Mt Assiniboine

What is your opinion on the saying “if you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer”?

For me it’s similar to acting. I am definitely an actress. What I call a “career” actress, because I’ve been able to live off nothing other than acting for over 20 years. I don’t get an acting gig everyday, but I do land 3-4 of them a week. I acted and practiced the craft for several years before I could “quit my day job”. It’s the same working in any art. You must practice your craft, hone those skills, until you are marketable. I act when I’m not getting paid to act. I notice my own feelings, emotions and those of others. I observe people. A lot. Since I’m primarily a voice actor, I read out loud and “play with my instrument”. In effect, I “act” daily. This is transferable to writing. Or painting. One of my artist friends, who happens to be in Who’s Who in American Art, responds the same way whenever some one asks her, “How long did it take to do that watercolor?” “30 minutes and 30 years,” she’ll say. There’s more to writing than writing. There’s reading and thinking and observing. And social media. Can’t forget that.

 

Ok, hop with me now to Veronica Forand’s blog. She’s a multi-award winner, Veronica is. Including being a Finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

http://veronicaforand.com

 

 

Romance Weekly #LoveWriteChat

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thursdaysatcoconuts400x600Welcome!

Thanks Beth Carter for the hand-off. (Watch for her release of Thursdays at Coconuts—don’t you love this cover?—in August)

Happy you landed here. It’s the Romance Weekly blog hop where twenty plus romance authors answer the same 3 interview questions and you get insight into the (sometimes) zany minds behind the stories you love. Thanks to Tessa Gray for this week’s questions.

Do any characters you’ve written into your books remind you of yourself? Explain which ones and why?

Ruby the main character in Stolen Kiss reminds me of my inner people pleaser. Like with Ruby, people pleasing was a good coping strategy for a chaotic childhood, but in her/my twenties became the biggest roadblock article-2161071-13AABF42000005DC-283_306x341to mature (lasted longer than a couple years) love. Arabella, the heroine in Stolen Heart is a manifestation of my inner geek. Though I love sciences, I went into arts. Ara took the other direction and became a renowned shark biologist who doesn’t see how she could ever balance a long term relationship with her work. Also, something I struggled with. And Mari, the heroine of Stolen Love is my nurturer, who must draw clear boundaries (like I have to with kids, husband, expectations of others) or lose her sense of herself to love.

 

Was there a teacher or mentor in your life who helped nurture your writing?

 

Apart from the hundreds of published authors I’ve read and the tight clutch of critique partners who inspire me by letting be part of their own process? Yes. I’m learning now from Margie Lawson how to revise my images-5work using her incredible (patented) Deep EDITS method. It’s really helped the anal plotter in me have a security blanket of techniques to trim, tailor and tighten my finished product. She’s going to be at the RWA conference in San Antonio and I’m doing an Immersion class with her in October in Colorado. Can’t wait!

 

Every author has the moment when they doubt their ability to write. When that happens to you, how do you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and continue? What do you do to inspire yourself?

 

images-30Read the work of others. If it’s good writing, it inspires me to emulate. If it’s bad writing (and we’ve all know that’s out there), I’m motivated to create something better. Sometimes I take a movie or Netflix break and absorb the stories of others. Having had success as an actor helps because I really believe in transferable skills, especially when the subject matter—capturing human emotion and growth—is the same. Connection with others, with life and nature (especially water) all help build the fire and itch to plot and stitch words together.

 

661f92_ff2541fde8b1431982d0f47354f3954e.jpg_srz_156_234_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzWhat fun questions! Please keep the blog hop going. Next stop, the award winning (and very loveable):

http://veronicaforand.com

 

 

(This is Veronica’s October release)

 

Lucky 7

lucky7

 

The infinitely fun and slightly wicked Rhenna Morgan pulled a fast one on me this morning and tagged me in The Lucky 7 game.

http://rhennamorgan.com/playing-lucky-7/#.U57iNgiRGUA.facebook

 

The rules:

Go to page 7 or 77 in your current WIP.

Go to line 7

Post on your blog the next 7 sentence or 7 lines—as they are!

Tag 7 people and do the same

You can choose between page 7 or 77.

images-4So, from my WIP Stolen Kiss, page 7

 

Ah. This was her code red hottie. Shock of unruly hair, cobalt blue eyes, tall. It fit.

“Listen.” His eyes intense like lasers. “My brother is in danger. Help me save him by pretending to be my girlfriend for a few minutes. If they start asking questions, let me do the talking. Please.”

Ruby was about to protest, but his hand trailed up and down along her spine spreading a warm shiver down the backs of her legs. More delicious than devil’s food cake.

 

Voila!

 

Now I have to tag 7 others, so

 

September-21-2011-22-10-21-cat044Vicki Mixon

Susan Petersen Wisnewski

Liz Berquist

J.J. Devine

Jami Gold

Debbie Robbins

Kristen Lamb

 

Tag! You’re it!

xoxxo

 

Friday 13th & the Feminine

81f551274210531ef94de3b03dbb836abf1dd550_mPerverse creature that I am, I always thought Friday the 13th should be lucky. Turns out, I’m right!

13 is a lucky number at least it used to be.

Why? Societies used to track time by the moon. We have 13 moons in a year, so all the lunar calendars (Jewish, Egyptian, etc) were based on thirteen. And the age of thirteen is when kids are called to the Bar for their Bar Mitzvah.

 

When I was a kid in Sunday school class, I remember one of my teachers saying 12 was lucky, because that was the number of Disciples. But it was thirteen if you counted Jesus. Or if you counted Mary Magdalene, who some say was the thirteenth disciple.

images-3 22-00-41Then there’s the connection with the feminine.

You now, women + moon = menses. I don’t know about you, but there’ve been times when it felt like the moon was pulling my insides out on a monthly basis.

freyaHow many women in a witch’s coven? 13. Because it’s a power number.

And Friday is a feminine power day too. Named after Frig or Freya, the most powerful feminine Norse goddess. She also had ties to Venus—another feminine symbol.

There’s only one Friday the 13th this whole year, but she’s a doozy. Today is also a full moon and if you consult you astrological calendar, you’ll see today Mercury is retrograde, which basically means communications do not go as planned. Contracts should not be signed today. It’s a good day to generate ideas though. Brainstorm!

How else can you take advantage of Friday the 13th and harness some of its power?

images-29Revel in the feminine today. Pamper yourself. If you’re a guy, connect with your inner female. Go with the flow. Celebrate beauty, home, love, passion and sex. Get with your loved one, or hey, read a romance novel. 😉

#LoveWriteChat

 

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images-8Ever 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. If you’ve come from Rhenna Morgan site, welcome! This week’s questions come from moi, with a little inspiration from Ryan.

 

What’s your ideal: alpha or beta and why?

RYAN-GOSLING-MEME-2In life, my first love was an alpha male and that didn’t work out so well. My first husband was a beta and that sucked too. The man I’ve been married to for 20+ years is a beta with a nice slice of alpha on the side. And I think that’s the kind of hero in fiction I’m most drawn to as well. I need that kind of rev in the girl parts a good alpha hero triggers, and the gooey marshmallow center he eventually reveals, but fervent feminist that I am, the beta has appeal that speaks to the staying power required of a happily ever after. (in my humble opinion) And apparently some people call this combo kind of guy a gamma. Others say a gamma is indifferent to the heroine (thus my reluctance to use that term) and why I prefer to call him Combo Man. Ooh. Then we’d have the A,B,C’s of heroes, right? Alpha, Beta, Combo. Purrrr.

Do you have a male buddy or mate you use for confirmation or inspiration when crafting your heroes? 80-best-ryan-gosling-hey-large-msg-136752204773

I absolutely talk to my darling husband, Edward for references on all things male. Underwear preferences. The male nipple arousal myth. All the naughty stuff. I have to keep in mind he has a very developed Yin. So not all his answers may apply. Other inspirations may come from movies, billboards, people on the street, observations. Then there’s the heroes themselves. Once they’re fully formed in my imagination. I talk to them. Ask them. What would you do Matt? Gus? Seb? And of course, they talk back. As long as no one consults the DSM IV criteria (of Mental Disorders), I’m still good.

What does any hero have to do to win your heart?

tumblr_lytzrqtBOc1r9ggz7o1_500Love the heroine. Be her rock. Be willing to humble (not humiliate) himself in front of her. Be willing to listen. Treat her right. Those are the most important things. In the not necessary, but-it’s-kind-of-like-topping-on-ice-cream category, he needs to be able to tick off one little attribute from my hero check list: he’s a good cook, OR he brings home lots of money OR he can fix anything OR he gives killer massage.

 

 

 

This was fun! Let’s hop on to Heart’s Ease series author Victoria Barbour’s site and see how she answered these questions.

http://victoriabarbour.com/blog Heart's Ease Banner

Comments make my day! ❤

#LoveWriteChat

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Blog hopping with fabulous Authors. That’s what we do here on Romance Weekly. If you’ve just come from Collette Cameron’s site, (author of The Earl’s Enticement) welcome. If you’ve popped in from fb or Twitter, welcome, welcome. This week’s questions are from Victoria Barbour, author of The Heart’s Ease series, set in breathtaking Newfoundland.

Have you always written Romance?

 

No. I started writing when I was 11. So, sci fi, adventures for girls, mysteries. In my twenties, I was a journalist. Strictly the facts ma’am. Although I was an avid reader of Romance (and multiple other genres) I didn’t really understand Romance until my thirties.  Had to build up enough life experience and sort out my own peccadilloes, I suppose. By then I grasped that Romance was more than a story about falling in love—‘cause falling in love may happen a few times in life. But it’s about how two people fall in love and problem solve together, how each inspires good in the other and how they discover not that one can’t live without the other, but that ‘my life is better with you in it than without you.”

 

How do you deal with critiques about the romance genre?

 

1992 Book Cover

1992 Book Cover

Chuckle, chuckle. I have a number of academic family members and many friends infused with cynicism borne of a life in media, so critiques abound. I refer some to a favorite Jayne Ann Krentz tome of mine, “Dangerous Men & Adventurous Women,” which features interviews and essays from writers of the genre on how Romance is the inversion of the power structure of a patriarchal society and how it celebrates the courage, strength, gentleness, and intelligence of  women and the joyous integration of both sexes. That often shuts them up. I might also add, ‘Romance novels were borne of the suffragette and women’s movement in the 19th century and celebrate one of equal right’s first freedoms: the ability to marry for love.’  Other tidbits I’ve been known to say in defence of my chosen medium: ‘No other genre consistently casts women in the main role’. ‘Romance novels feature one of the things women are fascinated with: relationship.’ ‘It’s the only genre where a woman literally brings a man to his knees.’

 

What’s the one thing about our genre you’d like people to know?

 

From The Big Bang Theory

From The Big Bang Theory

As you may be able to guess, I’m pretty good with justifying and promoting Romance when comparisons are made to other genres. To those who argue ‘Oh, but it’s so formulaic,’ I’d counter, “No more than mystery: someone dies, someone figures out who did it.” Boom. Romance novels are popular entertainment. And should be treated and admired as such. You could compare them to television series, films or popular music. Spectator sports, for that matter. (Btw: How many of us pull out a romance novel while significant other is engrossed in a game on TV?) Some romances delve into serious themes, like the TV series Heartland, some are on the lighter side, like The Big Bang Theory. They are not and never will be literature, in the same way foreign film festivals are apples to Hollywood’s oranges. To answer the question: Romance novels are valuable popular entertainment.

 

UnknownI hope you had fun. I did. And I ❤ your comments. The blog hop isn’t over! Next up: Meggan Connors who’s latest book, Highland Deception, I loved.   Check her out:

htttp://megganconnors.wordpress.com/blog/

#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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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.

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.