It’s a Mystery – post by Nora Snowdon

As a writer I’m often asked where I get my story ideas from. And the answer is simple, heck if I know. Often I’ll be driving along, hear a song and think, right, if they were so perfect together then why did they break up? And I’ll fill in the blanks. So I guess in that instance my characters are inspired by other writers’ imaginary characters—well, unless I was listening to Taylor Swift. Who knows, maybe one of my books is loosely based on John Mayer or Jake Gylenhall?

One book I started with a funeral for Steve the fish. I had no other plot, characters or concept but liked the funeral as an opening hook. That story became about a psychic and a fraud squad cop. Then eventually I cut the opening scene because it no longer fit the story. Someday another story may start that way but only time will tell.

I love opening a book and having no idea where it will go both when I’m reading and writing. I know of people who check the last pages before buying novels to make sure they’ll like the ending. That is totally incomprehensible to me. Even though with romance novels you are supposed to get a happy ending, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. (maybe the writer didn’t get the happily-ever-after memo.) For me, knowing the ending makes the trip a waste of time.

So where do my story ideas come from? All I can say is, It’s a mystery, it’s a mystery, it’s a mystery.

Nora Snowdon Bio:

Living in New York and Toronto, Nora Snowdon was a jerk of all trades—one week hawking toys at major toy conventions, the next in a high end jewelry store pandering to the rich. She worked in the financial market, environmental protection biz, gambling dens, food service industry and sold shoes. During these years she also either appeared in or directed over twenty five plays.

Then Nora moved to the wet coast, took up health foods (dark chocolate and red wine) and became a Writer of Elegant Smut. Her ambition is to become a crazy cat lady and wine hoarder, not necessarily in that order. Visit Nora’s website at www.norasnowdon.com

Her novel Arsonists Anonymous is available now where all fine e-books are sold. Her second release from Crimson Romance is The Spanish Acquisition and will be available Dec 10, 2012

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Meet the Lady in Red – Barbara Barrett

Mentors

In my debut novel, The Sleepover Clause, my heroine, Aubrey Carpenter, figures out early on that the hero, Mitch McKenna, dislikes his job helping his two brothers customize luxury motor coaches. He’d much rather be practicing law, which was the career path he was following until health and job difficulties prompted his brothers to set up their new business. Mitch put aside his own aspirations in order to help them succeed in their venture.

When Aubrey suggests Mitch at least let his brothers know how he feels about participating in the family business, he first denies her suspicion and later accuses her of meddling where it isn’t appreciated.

It might have ended there, with Aubrey pushing and Mitch resisting, had Mitch’s old attorney friend and mentor, Orville Drummond, not joined forces with Aubrey to help Mitch find the courage to break away from his brothers. In fact, it’s actually Orville, for whom Mitch clerked while he was in law school, who presents him with an offer he can hardly turn down, although Mitch does at first.

I love developing my secondary characters almost as much as my main characters. Since they don’t have to carry the plot, they can get away with more than the hero and heroine. They can provide the comedy, be the moral compass, provide the shoulder to cry on, or lend an ear to listen to the hero and heroine as they experience conflict after conflict.

Orville can’t make Mitch change or take action; Mitch has to do that for himself. But Orville can provide other options or serve as the voice of reason or as Mitch’s cheerleader. At one point or another in the story, Orville does each of these.

When I first began my job in Iowa state government, I had a mentor, the director of my agency. She saw something in me from the day I was hired that I had yet to know was there. Was there favoritism involved? Maybe, a little. She didn’t hire me to work for her, nor did she promote me. But she encouraged me and provided me with opportunities to prove myself those first years on the job.

Our work association lasted a little less than a decade. She passed away shortly after she retired. But had she not been there cheering me on, listening, suggesting, I don’t know if I would have stayed in that job as long as I did. Or experienced the success and job satisfaction that I did.

Question: How about you? Have you had a mentor in your life? And if you were lucky enough to have that experience, how did it affect the rest of your life choices?     

Barbara Barrett can’t help being a bit schizo when it comes to her lifestyle, since she lives half the year in Florida (guess which season) and the other half in her home state of Iowa. She believes she has the best of both worlds, with visits to the Mouse in winter and her six grandchildren in summer. Although she has been writing romance fiction for several years, her debut novel, The Sleepover Clause, was just released this September by Crimson Romance. While she has refined her craft, she has also been active in RWA, particularly the Kiss of Death chapter (someday she’s going to start that cozy mystery series), chairing their annual conference planning committee for two years, including New York City.

website: http://www.barbarabarrettbooks.com

Twitter: @bbarrettbooks

Now available at: Crimson Romance ebooks, Amazon, B&N and iTunes

Metaphors. Do They Add To or Kill a Story?

Her mood was as bright as the sun. Ugh. So obvious.

Subliminal metaphors, however, can bring readers into a story without being overtly noticeable. Each of the characters in a novel has their own special interests or occupations. I find it helpful to the big picture of a story to subtly develop my character’s growth using metaphors that pertain to the main characters’ personal interests.

Black Creek Burning is a romantic suspense set to release this Monday, September 24th. The title in itself is a metaphor as a number of dark scenes happen in and around the Black Creek that flows between the main characters’ homes.

Brie Chapman is a teacher and a landscape designer. She watched the murder of her parents…a murder that had been meant for her. She uses her careers to bury her guilt and to keep her heart too occupied to be vulnerable. There are no suspects in the cold case but six years later, she inadvertently sparks the killer’s need to finish the job. I begin this story in the dead of winter on purpose. As Brie slowly learns to open her heart and allow the friends and family who love her to help her find the killer, so do the seasons develop and grow. One example is when she is uncovering some new, spring shoots as she realizes her own life is taking on new beginnings.

Nathan Reed is a woodworking artist. He inherits his two young nephews after the death of his brother and sister-in-law. After a few years, he realizes he is doing a less than acceptable job as a parent. Determined to keep his promise to his brother and to his nephews, he sells his famed woodworking studio and moves back to upstate New York to be closer to the boys’ only other living relatives, their grandparents. He finds a rundown, historic farmhouse and moves the three of them in with the intention of rebuilding the home in conjunction with building lasting memories between him and his nephews. Behind the house is Black Creek and beyond the creek is a classic Victorian owned by Brie. Her quirky lifestyle is intriguing and her habits fascinate him. He soon finds himself in the midst of falling in love and obsessed with solving a murder. Metaphors are subliminally scattered through the story representing the growth of Nathan as a father, the bond between him and Brie and as he gets closer to catching a killer.

Black Creek Burning is book one in the Black Creek romantic suspense trilogy. As with this novel, the others in the trilogy include the same subliminal metaphors that you, as readers, hopefully don’t see as obvious. To Fly in the Shadows is book two and is about a conservation biologist who specializes in the rehabilitation and banding of eagles. She was given the flight she needed to make her dreams come true…dreams that lived under a metaphorical shadow for a very long time. Book three is Dark Vengeance, a story of an artist who uses his talents to see clues in murder cases. So fun.

Ladies in Red is #8 on a 10 Blog Book Release Tour. A $40 giftcard drawing will be held the day after the September 24th release of Black Creek Burning. Each blog commented on enters a visitor in the drawing. A full list of still-active blogs is located on www.rtwolfe.com.

“A top-rate romantic suspense from a talented promising new author.  I hear rumors that this is the first book of a series, and I gleefully await the sequel!”

-Laurie Larsen,
–Author of Preacher Man, 2010 EPIC Award Winner

You can read Chapter One of Black Creek Burning on the www.rtwolfe.com site along as find links to FB, Twitter, Goodreads and more. Each of the characters in my trilogy has a drop down link with everything from gardening tips to woodworking photos…from pictures of a character’s puppy to a link to Treecylce. I’d love to have you over.

Click HERE for the Amazon Pre-Order page.

Thank you for stopping by!

-R.T. Wolfe

It Takes a Village to Publish a Book

I’m a huge believer in we learn best from each other.  And the Ladies in Red have proven that adage true, time after time. Sometimes we argue, sometimes we misunderstand, but like most workplaces, we learn to smooth over the rough patches and become stronger, because we’ve talked it out.

So with that in mind, I thought we’d talk about author signings today. I’m hoping to glean a lot of great ideas from your comments.

I’m doing my first author signing this month (if you don’t count the Chicken Soup books I signed at the cancer fundraiser. That’s me at the Horizon of Hope Breast Cancer Fundraiser Dinner.  And I love the way that dress feels, even if it does make me look pregnant.  Now that would be a modern miracle.)

I bought books for the signing.  This sounds easy.  Normally a bookseller who’s also a chapter member handles this step.  But due to health issues, she hasn’t been able to attend meetings. So my credit card and I took a leap of faith and invested in my career.

The cool thing about picking up the books, I got to see The Bull Rider’s Brother displayed in a bookstore. When the bookseller ordered my books, she also ordered a few for her store.  

I bought a signing pen.  Authors go crazy on signing pens. I think it’s our addiction to office supply stores.  My friend signs with free hotel pens she gets at her favorite sleep over stop. My weapon of choice?  A purple sharpie.

I’m also bringing postcards I had made up with The Bull Rider’s Brother’s cover and a blurb on the back as well as a teaser for book 2 and a paranormal that I’m releasing in November.  During one of the group face book conversations, someone mentioned stapling candy to the post card to make sure they go to a new home.  So now I’m adding buy candy to my lists of must do’s before the signing.

And bring my camera.  I forgot the camera when I picked up the books and missed a chance to see The Bull Rider’s Brother in the wild. I’ll make sure I ask a friend to snap pictures before I start and give her control of the camera.

I don’t think I need crowd control like at the signing I went to earlier this month.  The library staff asked if we wanted it personalized, how to spell our name, and slid a post-it with that information in the book.  Then a second helper opened the book to the signing page and put the stickie on the other side so the author could still talk without taking time just to get the details.

Someday.

So what am I missing?  What do you like to see at an author’s signing?  What brings you over to the table to find out what’s happening?  Or do you run by signing tables, trying not to make eye contact?

Lynn Cahoon

www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com

When Your Muse Mutates…

Attn:  I’m tagging this post as EYE CANDY.

My muse has been known to mutate.  It’s not his fault.  I take complete responsibility.  I get the kernel of a story in my head, and then I begin to ponder physical traits for my hero.  I rarely start with more than an amalgam of gorgeousness in mind.  Tall, of course.  Usually dark, but not always.  Broad shouldered and narrow hipped (I like swimmer’s bodies).  The eyes are a shade of blue, running from pale through electric (I reserve green eyes for my heroines).

I can chug along at the beginning of a story with this vague notion of my hero while I’m elbowing him in the ribs and generally getting to know him.  But sometimes I hit a snag.  I lose the excitement.  I need a nudge.

I begin a reconnaissance mission.

The first place I look is movies and TV.  Who is currently floating my boat in the celebrity arena?

While I was writing The Gettysburg Vampire (which will debut November 5 from Crimson Romance), I was heavy into The Tudors on Netflix.  And, woo doggies, I did like me some Henry Cavill.

He served me very well for quite a few chapters, and then I decided that he wasn’t dark enough (emotionally).  The better I became acquainted with my hero, the more tortured he became.  My muse needed to be more mysterious and brooding.

I began another quest.

My friend, Rachel (who’s English), asked if I’d ever seen the BBC series, North and South?  I wondered why the BBC would be doing a story about the Civil War, but she said that this was about England in the Industrial Revolution and the differences between the industrial north and the agricultural south.  Hmm.  Okay.   Turns out this wasn’t really about a story line, it was about the male lead, Richard Armitage.  Wowzers.

Yes, he was a perfect Malcolm McClellan, Ph.D.–college professor, Union cavalry officer…and vampire.

And then I saw Michael Fassbender in Jane Eyre, and when I needed an extra oomph of pure angst, I inserted him into a scene.  I’m big into five o’clock shadow.

And occasionally, I’d need a man in uniform.  Here’s James McAvoy as a Union officer.

How about you?  Does your muse ever mutate?

Why I Write: Behind the Scenes with Katherine Bone

Writers write.  That’s what we do best.  If we weren’t writing, I imagine we’d be telling stories or acting them out one way or another.  Writers are more like unfulfilled actors, sporting a bit of stage fright.  And so, imagine, if you will, a library with no writers in sight.  Hard to envision, isn’t it?  Lord knows, I’ve spent my fair share of time doing research.  But hey, just go with it.  Pirate!  In the middle of the library, children gather round in expectation that one of their favorite stories will be told.  The reader, a volunteer or library worker, sports a black eye patch and a beleaguered pirate hat.  Her mouth is quirked to the side with a brilliantly portrayed, “Arrrr, matey.”  Laughter abounds!   Yep, that would be me.  😉

Thankfully, I don’t have to appear occasionally at libraries because I write.  You see, I adore tales of adventure, mayhem, heroism and romance.  Just to be clear, pirates encompass all these and more.  Why?  Because.  They.  CAN.  Pirates, or the men and women, who become one for one reason or another, buck against systems to live by self-imposed guidelines or codes.  They don’t follow society’s dictates because they CHOOSE not to.  And if that means hanging from a gibbet, then make merry.  At least pirates lived life with no regrets, an occasional stash of gold, and a good supply of rum.  Well, I figure, so CAN I.

Writing about pirates is the real treasure.  Everybody loves a bad boy.  Bad boys are playgrounds for heroines who fight diligently to keep from falling head over heels in love.  Henry Morgan, Jean Bart, William Dampier, Captain William Kidd, Thomas Tew, Edward Drummond, John Roberts (the real Dread Pirate Roberts), and Edward Low were the best of the bad roving the seas.  (I wrote an article about them.  If you want more information, you can find it on my website: www.katherinebone.com.)  Sadly, all met wretched ends.  But as a writer I CAN take tidbits of these characters, meld them into stories with adventure and romance at the heart, twist motivations, add in vengeance, sprinkle a bit of mayhem, and voila!  Story gold!  Worth their weight in rum, wouldn’t you say?

This is why I write.  I write to take a reader somewhere they’ve never been.  I CAN take a reader back in history, or somewhere extravagant, and wield classic storylines into a Celtic knot without having to worry about dangling from a gibbet.  I CAN break the rules.  I CAN defy convention.  I CAN create passion or snuff it out.  I CAN take two people with nothing in common and entwine their fates like hemp rope.  I CAN and DO because I write.

Yes, I’m what you might call a modern day pirate.  I don’t attack off the coast of Somalia or pirate books on the Net.  I’m not limited to libraries or stages.  I HAVE pages and pages of empty white space at my disposal and a compass, my muse, pointing to what I want most— a bestseller.  Characters appear and guide me through the looking glass on the wildest journeys, sailing me to unknown horizons.  In the meantime, I’m supplied with a hearty dose of rum and treasure is dangled before me— hunky alpha heroes, my specialty.  Drink up me hearties, Yo ho!

Yes, “It’s a pirate’s life for me.”  Why do I write?  Because I CAN and CHOOSE and DO.  And guess what?  You CAN too!  Now, gird your loins and pack up your effects.  Set your eyes on that horizon and set sail for sights unknown.  Write because you CAN.  DO it because you CHOOSE.  Pirate!

As a writer what are rules you like to break?  They’re more like guidelines anyway.

As a reader, what instances can you pinpoint where rule-breaking works?  Snaps compass.  And really bad eggs.

Katherine Bone

DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT 10/29/12

Stop the Presses and Meet Bécquer (Immortal Love)

 

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

 

 

 

 

September 17 has  arrived and Immortal Love is finally on sale.

To celebrate let’s meet Becquer.

Let’s see him through Carla’s eyes as he insinuates himself into her life teasing her with his old-fashioned manners and good looks, before disappearing in a blur of blue.

 Carla Meets Bécquer

Bécquer came back sooner than I expected and set the espresso in front of me: a small cup on a saucer, the European way. I thanked him for the coffee and for the fact that he had brought me a real cup. How did he know, I wondered, that I missed the Spanish cafés and the coffee served like this, in white porcelain cups? Maybe he missed them, too, and he had guessed.

How strange the little things I remembered from my old life, the one I gave up when I followed my ex-husband to the States. I shook my head to get rid of the memories, and sipped my coffee.

Bécquer stared at me.

“I loved your story,” he said, when I put the cup down.

Bécquer at the Halloween Party. Dressed as Dorian Gray

Despite the fury that burned inside me, my breath caught in my chest, for he was a vision of beauty in his three piece black suit, the jacket open to reveal a white shirt, a red vest, a white rosebud caught in its lapel. His black hair, slightly longer than fashionable, came almost to his shoulders, framing his handsome face that, even now flustered in anger, had the beauty of a Michelangelo statue come to life.

In a swift movement, Bécquer was by my side. “How much have you heard?” he asked, a trace of irritation in his voice.

Bécquer drives away

Outside the window, coming down Main, a blue BMW convertible waited at the light. As I watched, the roof rolled back and the sun poured inside the car, on the black hair and pale skin of the man who claimed to be Bécquer. I held my breath, afraid that he would burst into flames. Across the distance, Bécquer smiled and, in my head, I heard his laughter, a clear laughter of childish joy. Before I could react, the light turned green and, with a slight movement of his hand, he shifted gears and disappeared in a blur of blue.

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban lives in Bucks County, PA where she works as a freelance writer, editor and translator.

You can visit her at her website or at her blog Dare to Read.

and purchase Immortal Love at Amazon.com