All Blogs Are Property of Bloggers And Copying Is Not Permitted

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The picture that launched a thousand sighs...
I have the 2011 Jimmy Thomas calendar hanging on the wall across from my bed.  It's such a great calendar - only if you like gorgeous men in beautiful and provocative settings of course!  As much as I loved the March picture (Jimmy asleep whilst swathed in light blue satin bedding-yum!), the August picture intrigues me more.  Jimmy is posed with an alluring and beautiful woman, in what appears to be a big pre-kiss moment.  Jimmy's pictures are quite artful, he puts as much emotion in them as he can.  He does photographically what writers do on paper; tell an unforgettable story vividly through setting, characters, and emotion.  In the August picture, I can really feel the electricity between the characters.  For me, it's that heady moment before that much-anticipated first kiss. The emotion is so strong in those few seconds before the lip lock that it almost seems better than the kiss itself.  As a scientist, my brain attributes this to the raging hormones whipping about in the circulation,  but as a writer I don't even want to go there!  It's passionate desire yearning - no, straining - for fulfillment baby, pure and simple. 

Can you feel the love tonight?

 As a newbie writer, I'm noticing that there seem to be as many treatments of the romantic scene as there are authors.  Contests often request that you show both passion and sexual tension, and/or other emotions.  My question is this, does this moment really have to be so complicated?  What if this moment is describing a perfect day between the hero and heroine - a moment early in their relationship, before everything goes to hell in a handbasket? You know - the scene that will replay in the character's minds during flashbacks?  I understand that context is very important in storytelling and as a result each scene will have its own unique characteristics; some scenes will have greater felicity and others more pathos. 
  I'm still writing toward my big love scenes in my first novel, and since it's a young adult story, I can't get too racy, but I will build  carefully to that first big "love connection" between my characters.  In so doing, I expect that my treatment will be much like a Jimmy Thomas photograph; the anticipation of the moment will be slightly greater than the consummation of it.  How do you treat your big moments in your writing?  Newbie writers need to know!  ☺

Sunday, August 28, 2011

THE BIG PICTURE by Mary Andrews

Hi. My name is Mary Andrews.

I recently submitted book III of The Fireborn Chronicles series to MuseItUp Press and I’m working on Book IV. The series deals with the inevitable fusion of Man, Machine & the Paranormal—what I like to call Psionic Sci Fi.

The beauty of writing science fiction is that I can take any subject and any type of character, jumble up a mish-mash of environments in any time frame and lead a reader into the wonderful
world of ‘What If.’

For instance: sometimes, maybe always, life isn’t what we expect. It gets all jumbled up and things zig instead of zag. People don’t make sense. But what if there’s a reason for all this? What if everything serves a purpose too large for us to see?

In my first blog entry on my website, I wrote about a universal cause and affect epiphany I had while watching a Nova broadcast about The Big Bang. In it I wondered why artists have to be artists and why mathematicians, scientists, public servants, teachers, etc are compelled to follow their courses.

As I stepped back far enough and looked, there appeared a pattern and categories; artists dream...scientists create...laborers build...public servants guide.

And in an even more complex scale, every .failure and every success of every individual in every daily endeavor affects those who witness it. Like dominoes, or better still, like the Olympic torch, we each carry a spark and pass it until it come to fruition. The billions of us whose names will never be remembered spawn Einsteins, Hawkins, Gandhis....

Eventually I decided that perhaps in the big picture we, as a species, are instinctively driven to escape the bonds of this world before it meets its inevitable end. Granted, we’re talking a long range project here, but....

The ‘What Ifs’ can surely boggle the mind and the possibilities are limitless. So I really enjoy following the loopity-loops my characters concoct when a story gets going. (Yeah, I confess, after my characters solidify into their environments I'm little more than their transcriptionist.)

The Fireborn Chronicles (book I) follows the formation of an interstellar dark ops team of outcast psychics in a far distant future hundreds of years after Earth’s demise. While in pursuit of a psionic kidnapper they discover an unexpected future in the past and begin to wonder if anything is truly what it seems?

The underlying theme of The Fireborn Chronicles: Resonances (book II) involves a blend of destiny, free will and perspective while troubled characters, both gifted and cursed with rogue abilities careen down a path not of their choosing.

QUESTION: If destiny forces an individual into a role, is that a life of service or slavery?

Ride along as they find how slavery can be liberating, power can
enslave, and clairvoyance can bite you on the...hindmost parts.

—Joe W.Trent (author of
The King of Silk)

So Readers, do you believe in predestination? Do you think that sometimes, maybe always, life isn’t what we expect for a reason? What’s your take on these things?

*NASA/courtesy of art Resonances:Delilah Stephens...cover art The Fireborn Chronicles: Laura Diehl

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pace Yourself.....

Ladies...I am in lockdown trying to prepare for Hurricane Irene. Keep my family in your prayers as it's about to hit in a matter of hours. I reposted this from an email I received a few weeks ago from I promise to post something more personal when I finally get out of hurricane mode. Enjoy!

Writers must consider pacing when they learn how to write a novel. Pacing is a writing device used to control the speed at which a plot advances. Many people claim to have read a book they just couldn’t put down, which means they have read a book with great pacing. The pace of a novel features elements like knowing when to use description and when to add cliffhangers. It can encompass the style and structure of sentences. With pacing, writers need to make sure they don't go too fast or too slow. They need to find the right combination to keep the readers involved in the story.

Evaluate the Pace of the Novel
When it comes to writing a novel, a person can evaluate the pace of the story by reading it aloud and by asking questions. By paying attention while reading, he or she can identify areas that need an adjustment to the pace.

In some cases, people may feel like their eyes glazed over. Or they may suddenly find themselves thinking about what they need to buy at the grocery store? If so, they have most likely allowed the pace to slow down too much.

At other times, a writer may read a section and feel drained, tired, or out of breath? These types of feelings can indicate that the pace is too fast. Writers should expect to their readers to feel the same way they do about a certain section.

Control Pacing With Sentence Structure
The way a person writes sentences can play a role in the pace of his or her fiction writing. Long, flowing sentences slow down the action. By adding in descriptive sentences, an author allows the reader to take a break from action-packed moments. Short sentences build tension. They propel the reader forward.

Depending on the scene, authors can use sentence structure to improve the pace. If a paragraph seems to drag, a person can look at the sentences and consider whether he or she can cut some of them or reduce them to be quick-paced. When a writers feel like they are rushing through a scene, they can consider adding a descriptive element. This can be done by pulling in the details of the setting. What does the main character hear, see, smell, taste, know, or feel? By weaving these answers into the story, a writer can slow the action down.

Read This Next
Fiction Writing Overview Basics of Writing Fantasy Fiction Structure of Your Novel: The Three Act Drama Use Dialogue, Internal Thoughts, and Exposition to Change the Novel’s Pace. Like sentence structure, there are other techniques writers can use to control the pace of the story. Short interchanges of dialogue between characters increase the speed at which a person will read the conversation. Long speeches by a certain character will slow it down.

Another technique involves the use of internal thoughts, also called internal monologue. By pulling the reader into the main character’s mind, authors slow the action. As an added bonus, this will also help the readers to feel connected to the main character.

With exposition, a writer brings the back story, or background information, into the text. There are a few ways to do this, including the use of writing tools like flashbacks or comparing a current event to a previous one. By nature, exposition slows the pace of the story.

When a writer feels like the story needs to pick up the pace, he or she can look for areas with too much dialogue, internal monologue, or exposition. Once a person identifies the problem, he or she should cut the elements killing the pace.

Utilize Writing Tools to Improve Novel Writing
By looking at elements like pace, writers craft a better novel, which means they are one step closer to their publishing goals. Every aspect of writing from hook to dialogue to internal monologue affects how a story reads, so authors want to make sure they pay attention to the craft of writing, as well as the creative process.

Marianne Morea

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Misplaced Beatles

An event from my childhood

An event from my childhood? Hmmmm, let me see. Do I write about my visits to my grandparent’s farm and how we (my brothers and cousins) chased the neighbor’s cows around just before milking time? Or about how my brothers and I, with the help of the neighborhood kids, set up a couple of two by four pieces of wood between two branches of a huge tree and then tied a rope to an even higher branch so we could swing out like Tarzan? Or how about when my best friend, Denise, and I would climb a ladder and crawl onto an open garage door and have another friend pull the door down so we could slide off it, never once thinking that if we raised our heads we’d whack it on the frame of the garage? Ignorance was truly bliss back then!

There are so many things that stand out in my mind, but I think I will write about my infatuation with the Beatles. I always wrote stories. In elementary school they were dog and horse stories (I was horse crazy which was transferred to cats in my teenage years). When the Beatles first came out I thought nothing of them. But my best friend and partner-in-crime, Denise, loved them so it wasn’t long before I became infatuated. I was thirteen, Denise twelve. My stories stopped being about dogs and horses and were now Beatle stories, where Denise and I married our favorite Beatle. I never finished it, as the story continued for thirteen composition books. It was a hoot when I found them in 1998 when my brothers and I had the unfortunate task of cleaning out our parents home. I could tell they were written by a child, but what the heck. They brought back many cherished memories.

Denise and I pantomimed the songs from their albums. I have them all - from the first to the last. We did the early ones, as we stopped doing it upon entering high school. Before then Denise was no longer Denise. She was George. And I became Paul. My father would tease us but we didn’t care. To this day I still play the guitar left-handed even though I am right-handed. I learned how to eat with my left hand, write and so on. Talk about obsession!

One day we thought it would be great if we had guitars instead of air, so Denise and I decided to make a couple out of plywood. The pieces we had weren’t long enough for the body and the neck of the guitars so we opted to make the body and neck separately and then glue them together. We started with George Harrison’s guitar.

First we drew the body (just like his) and then we took turns using a hand-saw to cut it out. It was tiring but we didn’t give up. After the body, we did the neck of the guitar. Then we glued the neck to the body and drilled holes for the strap. We let it set over night.

Then came the time to test it out. We put on “Don’t Bother Me” from Meet the Beatles album because George sang it. I stood back and watched Denise pantomime the song perfectly. At the end I clapped.

“Bravo!” I said. “Now bow.”

Smiling, Denise made a flourished bow, extending her hand. That’s when it happened. The neck of the guitar disengaged from the body and the two separate pieces hung from her neck. It was so comical, we both started laughing. Needless to say, we didn’t bother making Paul’s guitar. But boy - did we have a hoot!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Real Life Inspires Art

A big hello to our All Day, All Night Writing Divas aficionados! I’m Susanne Marie Knight (SusANNE is my entry into this terrific group of writers!) and I write in quite a few different genres. My motto is Romance Writing with a Twist! To date I have 32 books published/under contract.

For today’s blog, let’s talk about incorporating things from the real world or from your personal life into your books. By “things” I mean events, locations, emotions, experiences; you know, the kinds of touches that can bring your novel to life. These snippets or bits and pieces from real life can help endear the story to you AND your readers.

For example, in my newest fantasy romance, UNCOVERING CAMELOT, Stonehenge, specifically the Stonehenge Memorial in Washington State, figures prominently. Also important are Merlin and other members of the Arthurian legend.

But a personal touch to this tale concerns an off-chance remark a friend had said before I’d even started to think about writing this book: she was the youngest in a family of seven daughters. Seven daughters conjured up fairy tales I’d read as a child. The hero was often the seventh son of the seventh son. I couldn’t ignore this opportunity. My heroine, Heather Woods, had to be the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter, thereby enabling her to have a magical experience.

Here’s the blurb:
A VACATION RUINED--Heather Woods suddenly learns her boyfriend, Connor, cancelled their summer plans. Determined to forget about him, she visits her flaky godmother, Nerissa, instead, for an impromptu vacation. Nerissa insists that Heather has a healing gift, something Heather doesn’t believe. But when she experiences visions... hallucinations... or whatever her jaunts back to Camelot are, she fears for her sanity. Meeting a man that might actually be Merlin the magician, and his very attractive nephew, Matthew, convince Heather that she’s in the middle of a strange, metaphysical phenomenon.

A VACATION CHANGED--Judge Matthew Limner also finds his vacation plans changed. He receives a call from a long-lost Uncle Mallory--so long-lost that he hadn’t even known Mallory existed. Mallory flies in from London, and expects to go sightseeing with Matthew. Resigned, Matthew plays the host. First stop: the Stonehenge Memorial in southern Washington. A chance encounter--or is it?--with Nerissa and Heather convince Matthew that something much more than coincidence is happening in this tiny corner of the world.

Available at

For my newest book in the popular Minx Tobin Murder Mystery Series, THE VIRTUAL VALENTINE, I combined my love for the murder mystery genre with my fitness background for the heroine’s occupation. Here’s a pic of me with the legendary Sherlock Holmes!

I also included an interest of mine in THE VIRTUAL VALENTINE--Lewis Carroll’s fantasy world. In my book, I created a café called the Mimsy Grove, based on Carroll’s poem, “Jabberwocky.” The café features servers dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland. “Off with her head!” Oops!

Here’s the blurb:
KISSES CAN BE DEADLY--The serial killer stalking Los Angeles will soon be served his just deserts. But that doesn’t mean Minx Tobin is out of danger. First, there’s a crank caller. Then her tire is slashed. Quite possibly, her throat is next. But if the throat-slashing murderer is out of the picture, then who has it in for Minx?

Gabe Harris works two full-time jobs. First is solving murders as homicide lieutenant for LAPD. Second is trying to keep his new girlfriend, Minx, out of danger. But this time, she isn’t to blame for her predicament. Gabe’s job is proving hazardous to her health.

Available at Desert Breeze Publishing, ,, and other Internet locations.

A few quick examples that also helped motivate me to include in my books are:
GRAVE FUTURE (paranormal suspense): I did get lost in the Poconos looking for a friend’s summer home.
THE RELUCTANT LANDLORD (Regency romance): The young character of Freddy likes to insist he's the Duke of Wellington, a hero from the Napoleonic Wars. I can thank a child from my daughter's pre-school for this. Out of the blue, a boy walked over to me and with a serious face, told me he was Batman!
Alien Heat (science-fiction/futuristic romance): The secondary character of Will Flagg was inspired by a boy I knew in seventh grade, and generated this passage: "There were two things Will Flagg hated above all else. The first was to be called 'short.' The second was to be a disappointment to someone he thought highly of. Unfortunately, the latter was just about to happen."
PAST INDISCRETIONS (paranormal suspense): This novel is about Atlantis, past lives, and cloning. I created the Colby clan with three boys and a girl. One weekend, my family met a couple with three boys and a girl in the same birth order as my book. My daughter mentioned, "Mom, they all have the same face. It's scary!" I pounced on this sentence because it was a perfect fit, especially since my book deals with human cloning.

What type of personal experiences do you like to include in your writing? Or read about?

For more info on Romance Writing with a Twist, visit me at my website or blog! Thanks!

Susanne Marie Knight

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What We Deserve as Writers

Good morning! Today I’d like to talk about what we deserve as authors and as writers working so hard to be published. And it is work! We all know that. Start to finish, it took me two solid years to have my paranormal/suspense novel ALEX published. My short stories took far less time, of course, but in a way, trying to tell a story in less than 15,000wds can be just as difficult.

Then there’s the blog tours/reviews to set up and Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep up with. Though my problem there is that I spend way too much time talking to friends instead of promoting. It’s amazing how addictive Facebook is… We also have to keep busy on book sites and Goodreads and writing groups. So many tiny details to keep track of! Book signings and press releases… Then there’s trying to find time for my WIP.

Don’t get me wrong! I absolutely love doing guest blogs and meeting new writers and having my stories reviewed, especially when people like them. But as writers, we put so much of our time and ourselves into our work it’s wonderful to get a pat on the back now and again.

And that brings me to my topic for today. I’d like to share this post from Tony Eldridge that I found very inspiring. It assures me that all the effort I’ve put in has been worth it and reminds me why I write in the first place.

So, what do you deserve as an author? In my humble opinion, you deserve:

• Self Respect- This is huge. No matter what is going on in your life, you did what few others have done. That is something to be proud of and something no one can take away. Like earning a diploma, it's something you will always have.

• Proof that you can overcome great obstacles- If you can write a book, then you deserve to know that you can overcome any obstacles set in your path. The skill of overcoming obstacles is one that's worth gold when you have tangible evidence you can do it.

• A legacy to leave to your descendants- 100 years after people leave this earth, there is little left as a legacy. A book is a way to live eternally to those who come after us. What a wonderful thought that your great-great grandchildren will read your words with pride.

To me, it all boils down to this: As an author, you deserve to be proud of your great accomplishment. So, get out there and do your best to persuade people to read your book and to help share it with others. The passion and knowledge you have about your book will help find those people just waiting to discover your book and the joy you have created between the covers.

-Tony Eldridge

Keep up the good work and good writing! Have an enjoyable, productive day.
Dianne Hartsock

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Should You Be Able To Tell a Book By Its Cover?

Since August 1st my book, A Faerie Fated Forever - Book 1 of my Forever Series - is free on almost all venues. Over 23,431 people (as of 1:50 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, 8/16) have downloaded the book on Amazon alone. If you haven't picked it up yet, click THIS LINK and then click the button to your Reader. It's free for just about everybody but Sony Reader owners (Sony hasn't been posting updates from Smashwords for a while now, I've changed prices, added The Duke of Eden, and the changes are out and about everywhere but Sony. Email them and ask them why Faerie isn't free on their site!) If you do own a Sony Reader, click the Smashwords button for your free copy. Everybody go get it now - we'll wait.

Done yet? Yet? Okay, let's continue.

One of the reviews on Amazon inspired this post. Here's the review page for Faerie, the review was from MM on August 12th. It's 3 stars and is headed "ok...definitely not for kids." As you can see, the reviewer felt Faerie was a combination of a fairy tale and modern romance novel. And this reviewer likes fairy tales but gives modern romance novels a pass. The reviewer's pretty smart because her description is pretty close to the mark in saying the book is part fairy tale, part romance novel. She says parts of it are over the top (since that's how I describe my "unique" voice - I surely don't disagree). And I want to make it clear that I'm not dissing the review or the reviewer - I truly and deeply appreciate every reader who takes the time to leave a review. This post is the polar opposite of a "dis." I'm writing it because the reviewer made me think and I thought this blog might be a good place to gather some opinions.

MM says that BASED ON THE COVER IMAGE she didn't expect Faerie to contain explicit sexual descriptions and thought it was something "for a much younger crowd." But truthfully, Faerie is a very sensual story that takes the reader right inside the bedroom. It does contain graphic sexual descriptions. The cover of the book shows a faerie dusted couple holding hands in a beautiful meadow. Okay, they weren't rolling around in a mad clench but - to me - holding hands with the person who holds your heart can be a very intimate experience.

Now, take a look at the cover for my newest book, The Duke Of Eden. It shows an oh-so-yummy bare-chested, man-tittie-showing hunk standing in a wild garden at the foot of some ancient, moss covered steps. The beads of sweat on his chiseled chest suggest that he might've been up to some pretty naughty things. But you know what? When I read MM's review and thought about it, I realized that in Duke, there aren't really any explicit sexual descriptions. There's lust aplenty and some grappling and groping, but the book never takes the reader into the bedroom. But I'll bet you the prettiest duck in the pond that MM would've automatically passed on Duke, based on the cover alone.

Is it an obligation of a romance book cover to illustrate the heat level of the book?

I've never thought about this, but my instinctive reaction is -- no it's not. But I'll bet some people disagree on this point. I have books of all heat levels on my keeper shelves and some of the raciest look the most innocuous. Some of the milder books have hunky men or a couple in a clench on the cover. I think the cover just illustrates what the cover artist considered to be one of its "selling" features. It could be the hero, the heroine, something that symbolizes the story, or just a pretty shot of the area where the story occurs. You can't tell a book by its cover.

I've been after my DH - who is the graphics genius who designs my smashing covers - to re-do all the old book covers to feature lots and lots of man titted yumminess. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, I like a well-chiseled chest as much as the next lady - and better than some, apparently. But mostly, I think that the racier images help sales. On the endless expanses of the virtual bookshelves, a customer clicks rapidly from one page to the next. Think of your own habits with anything from ebook shopping to browsing a merchant's site for a new gadget or gizmo. Something has to make you stop on one page rather than another. That something is often the art on the page.

But in the age of the virtual bookstore where the hands clicking the pages could belong to a thirtysomething someone or a fourteen-year-old someone - Do Virtual Covers Have More Of An Obligation to Accurately Illustrate The Heat Level? And if we create some code, what are the odds that the result would be authors adding heat in order to qualify for the hotter cover or the warning label? You'll recall something similar happened with the labels on video games and with the movie ratings. The cold hard fact is - heat sells.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions. So let me have 'em - now DISH!!!

Mary Anne Graham
Quacking Alone Romances
Friend Quacking Alone on Facebook!
Follow Quacking Alone on Twitter!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard (?) to Do

Is breaking hard to do - for both people? In romance books, "the breakup" is a pivotal point in the budding relationship between a hero and heroine. Although upset and angry, both stress over the end of their love affair, and rejoice in a reconciliation for that "happily-ever-after" ending.

But in real life, does it happen that way? Do people part, make up, and end up happy? Not always, as your love life may show. Most of us go through a series of "being in love", ending relationships ourselves, or experienced being "dumped". And, of course, there are times when the "parting" is by mutual consent.

All my books have the "black moment" of love affairs ending. Either the hero or heroine decided it was time to "leave". Although hurt, the decision was made and justified repeatedly in the dumper's head.

In "Second Sight Dating", Dan leaves the conference room, after both have their say about their confusion/positions on what happened with his job and her business. Upset, Serena mourns the loss of their relationship, but justification seems to work both ways. Stubborn, they stay apart until Dan relents and seeks her forgiveness.

BTW, this is a FREE READ at Amazon and Ellora's Cave.

In "Anything You Can Do", Although hurt, Allison justifies dumping Jeff, after thinking he used and betrayed her trust. He, in return, feels betrayed until he learns all the facts behind her leaving him. Jeff goes to her and explains everything. All is forgiven and they have their "happily-ever-after".

In "Street of Dreams", Angry Eileen breaks up with Nick when she assumes he's taken full credit for their joint mission. Once again, a hero goes after the woman he loves and wins her back.

Did these couples find it hard to break up? Maybe just hurt, but justified in ending their relationships. Does this happen in real life?

Not for me, and I've been both the "dumper" and dumped. A few ended relationships were by mutual agreement, no regrets. Two relationships ended because we'd moved on to different paths in life. And no, we didn't keep in touch. I saw no reason to do that.

Two relationships where I was dumped had me very upset at first, then angry. I figured each guy wasn't worth my time, and obviously they hadn't thought much about us as a couple to begin I didn't need them.

One I dumped was more for an evil, sinister, female need for revenge. After my boyfriend canceled our date to date another...and I found out...I had no trouble saying "get lost". My anger overrode my hurt and I felt great at dumping him.

So, what's your story? Have you found breaking up hard to do? Sometimes? Always? A little or each?

Photos: Flickr: Tiago Riberio an Lunabee's photostreams.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Perfect Hero?

To me, the "perfect hero" is an imperfect one. He has flaws that shape his character, whether they're obvious on first sight (a limp or scar no reader can miss) or hidden deeply within his psyche. Arik, the hero of my PERFECT MASTER, has both: horrific scars he suffered at the hands of his own father that are both highly visible and deeply entrenched in his emotions.

A flawed hero is the perfect canvas for a heroine to heal with caring and love. In PERFECT MASTER, a futuristic BDSM tale available at Ellora's Cave Publishing, the heroine has consented to mate with her planet's crown prince, sight unseen, to satisfy her desire for limitless power. She finds, instead, a monster of a man who hides behind a fearsome facade, who intends to keep her at the same distance he does his subjects--until she forces him to open his mind and heart to her as she has opened her body to him.

I write a good many tortured heroes--Arik is only the most recent one. I'm happy to be a part of the All Day, All Night Writing Divas, and I hope you'll check out my web site and my books--as long as you like your romance super-hot and steamy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Breaking Through Writer's Block

I discovered a long time ago that I thrive on a good challenge. Double dog dare me, and I'm RIGHT there to take on whatever you suggest.

I use this character trait to break through writer's block by either setting myself a time limit to write a certain amount of words ("Write or Die" can help with this, but it's not for the faint-hearted) or I have a friend select a set of random words to include in something I write. During NaNoWriMo, I'll also use their "dares".

It's fun, it's challenging, and it forces my brain to think outside the box.

My first published short story, "Now That We've Found You" started as a dare from my then crit group to write a story using a list of astronomy words. My very young daughter was obessessed with dinosaurs, and the little girl in the story is loosely based on her. We were only supposed to choose ten of the 70 or so listed, but that wasn't good enough for me -- nope... I was determined to use ALL SEVENTY WORDS.

I almost did.

The end result has many of them edited out now, because my editor deleted the entire first scene, but it was the determination to use those words that got me writing. That story's first draft was completed in a matter of days.

My first published novel, "One Love for Liv" was a product of NaNoWriMo. I actually finished my 55,000 words early -- thanks in great part to dares. One of the characters in the story (who ended up being my favorite) was created completely from a dare -- have one of your characters trying to break a Guiness Book World record. Well... Frank ended up not trying to break one, but several, and I selected some of the strangest ones I could find. Liv's story ended up being pretty wacky in parts because of the dares, but they got me through and I think it actually made the story stronger.

What do you do to break through writer's block?

Visit Marianne Arkins at her website or blog.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Here’s a great concept: get together a group of women whose names have “Anne” in them, and see what happens. I can’t think of a better way to randomize a blog. Can’t wait to see what varied writings come of this.

Hi, my name is Julianne, a name I’d thought was unique until I was nearly thirty years old and Bruce Springsteen met Julianne Phillips. Imagine my shock when attending a concert in 1984 and I heard Bruce dedicate a song to her. I’d never in my life heard of anyone named Julianne, and thought my parents had made up the name. Up to that point, I’d thought I was the only Julianne on the planet. It took me a full minute to realize he didn’t mean me.

Since then I’ve heard of or met several Juliannes. Julianne Moore, of course, Julianne Hough, several Julianne Lees including a viola player with the Boston Symphony, and my friend Julianne McCoy. Where I live there is also a Julie Ann Lee and everyone who knows her tells me about her. I’ve never met her, but I certainly know about her because when my daughter was fifteen she used to date Julie Lee’s son. That’s life in the small, I guess. Hendersonville is the sort of place where twice I’ve randomly run into people for whom I frequently receive wrong number calls on the telephone. But that’s a blog entry for another day.

In any case, my name is Julianne and I’m an author. Since 1993 I’ve written newspaper articles, short stories, magazine articles, Internet content, novels, newsletters, websites, and video sleeve copy to pay the bills. All my life I’ve been good with words, which sound great but often I’ve wished for skills a little more marketable than stringing words together. After all, one quick glance at the average Facebook wall will tell you that nobody cares much about grammar and spelling any more. So I eke out a living and have sent both my children to college by wordsmithing.

These days it’s all novels. Over the past decade and a half I’ve had ten professional publications in the US, all from Berkley Publishing. My first series of four books, beginning with “Son of the Sword,” were time travel stories set in eighteenth century Scotland during the Jacobite Rebellions. The second series of three, beginning with “Knight Tenebrae,” were also time travel but set in early fourteenth century during the Wars of Independence. My historical fiction is as true to known fact as humanly possible when writing fiction. No Bravehearting for me, and that is why I’ve segued into straight historical where accuracy is paramount. My last three books were “Her Mother’s Daughter” about Queen Mary Tudor, “A Question of Guilt,” about Mary, Queen of Scots, and “Spanish Bride,” under the pseudonym Laurien Gardner, about Catherine of Aragon.

This year I’m off to something else, taking a stab at historical mystery under the name Anne Rutherford. (Still an “Anne.”) The first of these is titled “The Opening Night Murdre,” set in Restoration London and a fictional theatre troupe. I have a degree in theatre art from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and am thrilled to be using that knowledge in my novels for something more than just characterization and plot principles. I’m still in the research phase at this time, and I’m looking forward to the actual writing. The Restoration is such a fascinating period, because of enormous change, great wealth, crushing poverty, and it was a time of awakening for women, who began to have an inkling of their true potential.

Keep watching this space for more and interesting posts from the “Annes.” I think it’s going to be exciting.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Why write?

Many times in interviews, the question is asked, "Why do you write?" or "What motivated you to start writing?" Even co-workers ask me, "How do you do it?"

My husband says I have a lot of patience. Well, I do, but writing is so much more. I enjoy writing, and gosh darn it, I'd love to write full time. After a long and stressful day at the office, I'm ecstatic to come home and spend a few hours writing. I have so many ideas for books. I want to get them out of my head and share them with others. I'm a very sharing person, in case you didn't know :o) Check out my blog for contests!
Back to the subject. Writing started as an interest of mine that I never fully pursued. When I was a kid in school, the teachers always made good comments about my essays and reports. I liked writing, even then. During my teen years, I wrote to pen-pals. Fast forward several years, and I wrote a short story. But all along, I had other priorities in life. Writing was a hobby.

Years pass by, I finish school, gain a degree, my kid grows up, and I find myself having a lot of free time. I started writing again. This time, I write and write and can't stop. Yes, I'm addicted to writing. Like with reading, my mind is in another world when I write. No stress. No worries. Whatever I want to conjure up, I can. We all have to have some way to escape reality. Right?

How do I do it? Answer- writing is a passion. I choose to spend my time writing or reading evenings and weekends instead of lounging on the sofa—not that relaxing in front of the telly is bad. I just spend my time differently. MY choice. I like to stay active, mentally not physically active. Never been a runner or into sports. I'm the geek, the reader, the curious one getting into trouble. Maybe writing has always been a piece of my soul that I couldn't or wouldn't release. And now that I have time, I spend every minute that I can writing. The nerdy beast is free. LOL. I write because I love it and it satisfies me. In a way, I do think it has been a part of me since birth. Can't explain it, but it feels right. Know what I mean?

Where do I plan to go with my writing? As far as possible. Hell, yeah! And if a publisher doesn't want the story, guess what? There's this great thing called "self publication" that is taking off like a wild fire. Freelance editors and cover artists are looking for work. Writers can now take control.
So, I say to those wanting to write or have not been published yet . . . write what you love and enjoy, and don't give up. Don't get discouraged by rejections. If you truly want to write, then do it. There are tools available, resources, to help you. Reading and writing helps improve your work. I firmly believe this. Pursue your dream. If you don't, you have yourself to blame.

BTW, my 4th Soul Catcher novel, Love Conquers All Evil, comes out 8/15/2011.

If you are interested in paranormal romance and/or urban fantasy, stop by my website or publisher's website for blurbs and more information. (

Have a good day!

Mary Abshire
Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Author

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mary Caelsto, New Age Girl at Heart

I've always been a new age girl. I blame it on the local library. At the age of sixteen I fell in love with the work of Mercedes Lackey and had just finished her books Oathbound and Oathbreaker. The main character, Tarma, worshipped a goddess. The writing seemed so vivid, and being an aspiring teenage writer myself, I knew it had to be researched from something in real life. So off I went to the library and came home with a copy of Margot Adler's, Drawing Down The Moon.
Once I discovered Wicca, a whole new world of tarot, crystals, anything and everything new age was opened up to me. Although faith has been a strong part of my family, I'm blessed to have family that looks beyond the labels to the person beneath. When writing science fiction and fantasy, it seemed easy to incorporate my faith. As a romance reader and writer, I'd thrilled to Evelyn Vaughn's The Circle series from the old Silhouette Shadows line. Seeing paganism, or Wicca, depicted with accuracy in romantic fiction makes me smile. Thus, when it comes to writing the "books of my heart", I choose to write what I like to call pagan inspirational romance.
I've had two books published, and a cute, sweet, novella about a rescued kitten, with Pink Petal Books. As a nonfiction author, I've had numerous articles published in magazines and websites. (My most recent article has appeared in the latest issue of Global Goddess.) I've also had a nonfiction book about reiki for animals published, as well as repackaged into ebooks several years' worth of articles I've written about pet parrot care.
I look forward to blogging here every month and sharing a little bit about myself and my work.
And to those who celebrated Lughnasadh, the first harvest festival earlier this week, Happy Harvest! May all you reap the bounty of the season. :) I know I'm enjoying fresh, Iowa grown sweet corn (YUM!) and the sweet banana and chili peppers in my garden. (Waiting for the tomatoes to ripen, yet, alas.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Welcome to Our New Look!

We've moved...and have a new look and more bloggers! We're still some "Mariannes", with variations of spelling, and other "friends" who have a variation of Mary or Ann in their names.

A new look, some new bloggers. We are unpublished writers and published authors. And, we write romance as well as other genres. Our names are on the right sidebar...and our blogging dates are there, too.

Thanks for stopping by!