Thursday, June 30, 2011

On The Couch - Why Character Therapy Works

For those of you who are not familiar with Character Therapist, Jeannie Campbell's work, she is an amazing asset for authors. I've written in to her website with questions that I have for three of my novels and I couldn't be happier with what she's done to help me layer and deepen my characters.

In one instance, I was writing a character that had been in foster care as a teen. I wanted to know how she might react if a love interest from those tumultuous years suddenly returned. Jeannie’s insight into teen relationships and how tragic situations can fuel our behavior really helped me to flesh out the couple’s past and present relationship.

Another book had me stuck when I had to figure out how far a childhood friend would go to pull someone back into their life. Jeannie not only explained the dynamics, she had some great ideas to up the drama in my story.

I am happy to say that the Jeannie has helped me on my path to publication. I have been blessed with a three-book deal that includes the novels I submitted to Character Therapy.  I’m working on another series right now and can’t wait to get my dark hero on her couch.

From motivation to reactions based on real insight into human behavior and relationships, Jeannie is amazing and pinpointing what you need to heighten drama and avoid clich├ęs.

She is launching a new website and its something you should take a look at if you have the chance. So hop on over to Character and take a peek.

Friday, June 24, 2011

MC Blogfest - Reyna From Purple Knot

In honor of the website launch for Jeannie Campbell's Character Therapist,  Elizabeth Mueller is hosting the Main Character Blogfest.

Jeannie helps writers to understand and therefore better layer the people they write. So she's given three questions for the Blogfest:

  • Question 1: What is your greatest fear?
  • Question 2: What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • Question 3: What is your biggest regret?

RULES: Pretend you are one of your MCs and answer all 3 questions.

Greatest Fear:
I suppose my greatest fear would be that I would be for people to see how scared and vulnerable I feel inside. I'm known as being a tough cookie. I'm a private detective, for goodness sake. I hunt down bad guys, but...I still feel broken. Like I can't get over what happened in Seattle and no matter how hard I work or how successful I am it won't be enough.  I miss James. I'm afraid that won't ever go away.

Biggest Accomplishment:
I've made it in a male dominated profession. Really made it. I moved from everything I knew and loved and not only survived...I thrived.  I'm shocked more than anyone.

Biggest Regret:
Letting fear win. It won't happen again. Nothing will keep me from doing what I know is right. If I had one more chance...a do over. Well, I wouldn't let a second chance at happiness or love pass me by.

Stop by Jeannie's site and make an appointment. I can't tell you how much she's helped me.  I also hope that you take a peek at the other participants in the Getting To Know Your MC Blogfest!

Reyna is the main character in Purple Knot, an edge-of-your-seat romance set in Seattle.

Available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever
book are sold.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vlog Video And A Note From My MC

I've tons of fun so far on my Purple Knot Blog tour. All the hosts have been so creative and generous to me and I am so thankful!

I am so excited for tomorrow's blog stop at Elena Solodow's You're Wright. Except When You're Rong. For those of you who follow her, you know that she takes excerpts from books and acts out the scene in a video post or vlog!  Well Elena is doing a scene from Purple Knot!

Its an excerpt that has not been released yet and its a really exciting one! Elena will take us into the thick of a harrowing scene.  I ca't wait!

Then, on Thursday, the 23rd, blogger Ralene Burke over at Faith Without Limits, is hosting an interview with my main character Reyna Cruz..she's spilling the beans about me and my strange writing habits.

Today I am at Joanne Troppello's, It Only Takes a Mustard Seed where she is featuring my book along with a fun interview!

There have been tons of great entries into the contest to win a Detective Kit Gift Basket and there's still time to enter!

Prizes include goodies to eat and drink, gift cards, a cool gadget from Think and a copy of Purple Knot!

<----Just click this badge to go to the form.

Contest ends on June 30th ~

Photograph by Enockson.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What's In Your Media Kit?

This is a GIF for online promotion on sidebars, etc.

What Goes Into A Media Kit?

Whether its guest posting or being featured on a blog, the one thing you need to have on hand, after a stellar novel, is a Media Kit.  You never know when someone has a slot open up and if you're prepared, you might just snag that opportunity. Here are some things to have ready to go...

·        A .jpeg of your book cover. Usually your publisher will send you a few different kinds. High resolution for print and some lower ones for thumbnails and online sites.

·        An up-to-date photograph. Preferably a professionally done head shot.

·        Two versions of your author bio. One short one, a little more than a few lines, to go at the bottom of posts. Make sure that it has links to your blog and book site. You'll also need a more extended one-page version for things like newsletters and for interviewers to create questions.

·        Sample interview. Have a list of questions that you've answered. Sometimes the host blog will just go with it or use it to create their own questions for you. It helps to show if you're quirky or funny or profound...your voice.

·        A stellar excerpt. Something that grabs the reader and makes them want more. Most people use the scene where the hero and heroine meet. Others use the precipitating event. Don't give a way too much. It’s usually only 200-300 words.

·        A short synopsis of your book. Sometimes space is limited, so a great blurb about your book is a handy promotion tool.

Create a folder on your desktop and have all of these things at the ready. If you get a call for something, you have it all organized already. This way you don't accidentally forget to include your bio with links or something vital like that.

Some other things to consider adding to your Media Kit are:

·        Book trailer. Some bloggers will post a link to it if it’s on YouTube or just embed it in the post about you.

·        Your upcoming events. Are you on a blog tour or having a launch party? Include that information.

·        Where to Buy. Finally, if your book is out already, have the purchase information available for posting.

Believe me when I say having this all done is a real life-saver. I learned the hard way on this one. I was offered an opportunity to guest post, but didn't remember to put a little mention about my upcoming release.  I'd lost out on an opportunity...don't make the same mistake. Create a folder on your desktop with these things and you’ll never miss out. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dark Allure...

Come journey with me to a dark and dangerous place...Roland Yeoman's Writing in the Crosshairs blog is hosting a stop on my Purple Knot blog tour.

Written into the dark setting of Roland's imagination, I sit down at the haunted hangout, Meilori's, for an interview at midnight.

Surrounded by his cast of dangerous characters, find out who I encounter...and if I make it out in one piece!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wish You Were Here...

Well, we are halfway through the blog tour for Purple Knot, and I've had a great time so far...I'm so thankful to all of you that have shown your support!

Here are a few of the writing articles to check out if you missed them:

Thank you to all my wonderful blog hosts and hostesses so far! Its been so fun hanging out in your neck of the blogosphere.

My Next Stop Is.....

Joy at Edgy Inspirational Romance has offered to host a stop on my Purple Knot Blog Tour! I hope you will hop on over to extend some blogger love to her for being so supportive.

Friday, June 17, 2011

How A Killer Synopsis Can Keep You From The Slush Pile

The amazing Kristal Lee over at Romancing Myths and Legends has invited me over to talk about, How to write a Killer Synopsis.

Do you know...

  • What are the formatting MUSTS?
  • What 3 things do you NEED to include?
  • What about cliff-hangers?

Sashay on over to find out...

Photograph by AMagill.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Watery Tart...

Did you know....Purple Knot is set in Seattle?
Today I am visiting the Watery Tart!  I've written a guest post for Hart Johnson's blog called, 5 Query No-No's and How to Avoid Them. 

Have you made these mistakes that can cost you? Hop on over to her blog to find out...

Just a reminder to enter the Gift Basket Giveaway.

<----Just click this badge to go to the form.

Prizes include goodies to eat and drink, gift cards, a cool gadget from Think and a copy of Purple Knot!

Contest ends on June 30th ~

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One Sentence Snapshots

Some of the coolest descriptions of characters come from cop novels. 

As a fan of Dashiell Hammett, John Sandford, and Michael Conelley I marvel at how they describe both the personality and look of a character in one sentence snapshots. 

These guys don't use descriptions like: Eyes like crystalline glass...or raven hair that fell in a wave...bleh!

They are masters of the the snapshot describe a person, a scene, an idea.  This make all of the rest of their long prose paragraphs, melancholy musings, and clipped action all seem to tie together.

For example, in The Poet, Michael Connelly describes his dead brother's partner, a detective named Wexler, like this:

Wexler was built like a small bull, powerful but squat.

You get the image of a man squeezed into a detectives shirt and tie, the muscles and power, but no finesse.  All that from a few words.

Connelly also describes a scene, a macbre one, where a crime scene photo shows a man who'd shot himself in the head leaning back in the carseat.  Connelly doesn't get graphic or even detailed. He uses one sentence and its chilling:

Blood had worked its way like a thick necklace around his neck from the back and then down over the sweater.

No description of color, consistency, splatter, or gore...just a snapshot image. A powerful one.

My absolute favorite cop drama author, John Sandford who writes the Lucas Davenport "Prey" novels is wonderful at introducing characters. Lucas, a former street cop, has a lot of that wry suspicion that comes out when he assesses someone.

In Broken Prey, Sandford introduces a character like this:

He was short, big nosed, red haired, pugnacious, intense, never wrong, willing to bend any ethical rule, and three years out of journalism school.

This was a great introduction to the smarmy, conniving, character that Ruffe Ignace turns out to be.

I've tried to do this type of thing in my own writing for Purple Knot. When introducing a motorcycle gang member from the point of view of the main character, a chemist, I wrote this:

Crawley had the rat-faced scowl of someone who grew up around too little food and mean adults.

My hope is to convey more than what a simple description of his clothes and hair would allow.  

So here is my challenge for you today...use the comments to write in one of your own character introductions...I'd love to see how other writers work.  

Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by IdeaListic.

Today I'm at JoAnn Carter's blog for an interview! I'd love it if you popped on over for a visit.  Having a wonderful time cruising the ether on my Purple Knot blog tour!

Thank you to all who have commented and encouraged me so far.


Don't forget to enter the Detective Kit Gift Basket contest!  

<----Just click this badge to go to the form.

Prizes include goodies to eat and drink, gift cards, a cool gadget from Think and a copy of Purple Knot!

Contest ends on June 30th ~

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Confidence Pitfalls

My writer’s group gives out awards. In fact, on my first visit the hostess gathered us from the snack table in the kitchen and arranged the ten of us on the couch and floor in front of the fireplace. They even did one of those tongue-drum-rolls. I was fascinated. Sandwiched between an accountant and an aerobics instructor, I waited eagerly.

The hostess handed out cheap plastic leis and an onion that she’d spray-painted gold. Needless to say, I had to have them. You see they were silly prizes for really hard feats of accomplishments. The lei was given to whoever did the most submissions that month. 

Query letters, proposals, whatever…as long as you sent something in. The gold onion was for the person who’d received the most rejections. It’s easy to celebrate successes, they all knew that. What is hard is pressing on despite someone telling you, in black and white, that you’re not good enough.

Being a writer, at least one who cares if they’re published, is tough on the ego. I once received a rejection notice that wasn’t even on a whole piece of paper. Just a three-inch strip of paper with the words, “Thanks, but we’ll pass,” written on it. Ouch. The silly prizes at my critique group were symbols of encouragement to keep going, keep trying.

I like reading rejection stories from famous authors. I like watching Biography of how writers or directors kept coming up against people that told them to quit, and how their success is all the more sweet because they didn’t.

There are a lot of pitfalls in this profession, things like jealousy, discouragement, frustration, doubt. But surrounding yourself with a good support group is like balm to the wounds inflicted by the form letter rejection. 

Today I'm On The Hot Seat at Cally Jackson's blog. Stop by and say hello! I'd love to chat.

Also...You're all invited to enter the gift basket contest ---> 
You can sign up at the "Detective Office" on my sidebar.

The gift basket has lots of cool prizes, some Purple Knot book swag, and a special doo-hicky from Think Geek.

Monday, June 13, 2011


My Awesome Crit Partner, Erin Spock, Hold On To Your Bloomers!
We all could use a hand with our writing. Whether its to check for form, pace, cheesy dialogue...getting our stuff in front of other writers for critique is really important.  

But how do you find a decent crit partner?  One you don't want to that pushes you to be a better writer?

If you'd like to find out, then pop on over to EA West's blog, The West Corner. You may find my article, How To Find A Critique Partner, helpful.

I will be on Blog Talk Radio today chatting with Jo-Anne Vandermeulen on her show, Authors Articulating! It's live...stop by for a chat and some fun!

Don't forget to enter the contest for a surveillance gift basket...its filled to the brim with goodies, gift cards, and a cool gadget! Not to mention my new release, Purple Knot!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Should You Go?

With the economy like it is, we all have to be extra thoughtful about how we spend money. Something like a conference might get scratched off your list...but wait!  That may be a bad idea.

Want to know why?

Hop on over to Erin Spock at Hold On To Your Bloomers and take a gander at my article - Get Thee to a Conference!

Don't forget to enter the Detective Kit Gift Basket contest!  

<----Just click this badge to go to the form.

Prizes include goodies to eat and drink, gift cards, a cool gadget from Think and a copy of Purple Knot!

Contest ends on June 30th ~

Photograph by Chispita.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I've Been Tagged!

Just a reminder that today I will be making blog stops at J.C. Martin's Fighter Writer and Preslaysa Williams at The Literary MamaPlease stop by and spread the blogger love.

And Now......A TAG!

Francine over at Romancing The Blog tagged me with a 7 Question Tag so here goes!

  • Do you think you're hot?  Only in the summer or after running...other than that -- meh!
  • Upload a picture or wallpaper you're using at the moment...

I'm writing a Gothic romance so this is my inspiration.
  • When was the last time you ate chicken meat? Yesterday. We're big white meat consumers in the Byrnes Family.
  • The song you listened to recently? 
  • What were thinking about when as you were doing this? I was thinking about how fun it would be to go camping soon. I really have a hankering for s'mores right now!
  • Do you have nicknames? What are they? My family calls me Rocky and my friends call me Coco.

Also...Today is the Sizzling Summer Reads Giveaway at The Romance Reviews -- come and enter for some fun prizes and exclusive excerpts!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fade To Blue - Book Review

Today it is my pleasure to review Fade to Blue by Julie Carobini.

First, let me give you a little blurb ~ 

Suz Mitchell is the determined dreamer we should all be and won't allow her ex-husband Len's jail sentence to ruin their young son Jeremiah's life. An accomplished artist, she moves with her child across the country to California's central coast and lands a sweet job restoring priceless paintings at the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the ocean.

To her utter surprise, a serious old flame, Seth, is also now working at Hearst and jumbles the dreams inside Suz's heart. While sorting out the awkwardness of their past split and current spiritual differences, a repentent Len shows up eager to restore his family.
Suz must learn to let God be the true restorer of all that once seemed lost.

From the very first line you get a taste of spunky single-mom, Suz Mitchell's voice. Julie Carobini's series, known for their lush descriptions of the California coast, take us into books filled with charm, humor, and true heart.

I loved this book, the first one I've read of Julie's, and I'm eager to get my hands on the others in the Otter Bay series.  Well written, Julie's dialogue and inner voice of her characters provide a vivid picture of the families she writes about.

A great read, its perfect for a beach day, road trip, or just to curl up on the couch. I give Fade to Blue - Five Stars.

Today I am over at Keierah J. Reilley's blog, Ramblings of an Insecure Writer,  for a Interview.  Please stop on over an show her some blog buddy love for hosting a stop on my Purple Knot Blog Tour.

Also, don't forget to enter the Detective Kit Gift Basket contest. The button to get to the form is on my sidebar --->

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Are They Worth It?

So there's recently been a lot of elation and heartbreak for writers who entered writing contests earlier this year. From RWA's Golden Heart to ACFW's Genesis, there were hundreds if not thousands of entries.

Some of you may wonder if its worth it to you as an author to enter. Well I have guest post over at Susan Field's Blog on 3 Reasons Why To Enter A Writing Contest...why would it help you as an author?

Hope you stop on over and see!


Don't forget to enter the Detective Kit Gift Basket contest!  

<----Just click this badge to go to the form.

Prizes include goodies to eat and drink, gift cards, a cool gadget from Think and a copy of Purple Knot!

Contest ends on June 30th ~

Photograph by ShortsandLongs.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Plans...What Are You Doing?

With all the craziness of the book launch and the blog tour, I've noticed that summer vacation is looking like a much needed part of my writing regime.

I love to camp and with six kids, you can imagine how fun (crazy) that is.  I'm talking my husband into a pop-up because they are easy to set up and I feel like the toddlers would be safer in there than in a tent.

Lake Arrowhead or Lake Gregory here in California are a favorite of my kids.  I also enjoyed Russian Gulch up in northern California a few summers ago.

My frequent visits to Seattle to hangout with my brother and his wife afford me a break from being a mommy and let me be, 'Raquel - Urban Explorer' or you know, a tourist.

I've done most of my craziest things during the summer.  I got married, tried soaring over a lake on a zip line, taken underground tours of sewers...must be the heat, but I think I got my tattoos in the summertime come to think of it!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to disconnecting and relaxing with kiddos and my super hubby...What are your plans this summer?

Today, for the 8th stop on my Purple Knot Blog Tour... I am at Dana Pratola's Dana Pratola's Blog for an interview. I'm having such a great time on this blog tour thanks to all of your comments and encouragement!  ((HUGS))

You're all invited to the Purple Knot Release Party at The Romance StudioThursday, June 9th, I will be giving away a free copy of my debut novel!  

Hope to see you there!


Don't forget to enter the Detective Kit Gift Basket contest!  

<----Just click this badge to go to the form.

Prizes include goodies to eat and drink, gift cards, a cool gadget from Think and a copy of Purple Knot!

Contest ends on June 30th ~

Photograph by Kevin Dooley.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Do You Write With 6 Kids?

The Byrnes Clan at Disneyland

This must be the question I get the most in author interviews. How do you find time to write while homeschooling six kids?

Stop by Dora Hiers Blog for the answer in my A Day In The Life...  She is the 7th stop on my Purple Knot blog tour.

Hope to see you all over there!

Also...You're all invited to the Purple Knot Release Party at The Romance StudioThursday, June 9th, I will be giving away a free copy of my debut novel!  

Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What I Didn't Know...

I've got a few inside tips from my journey to publication that I'd love to share with you.  Juicy tid-bits like...

  • What is so important to know about what you put in your proposal? 
  • Want to know a secret about editors and those red pens?

My good friend Lynnette Labelle has offered to host a blog stop over at her blog, Chatter Box Chit-Chat. Find out 5 Surprising Things I Didn't Know About Getting Published. 

Also...You're all invited to the Purple Knot Release Party at The Romance Studio. Thursday, June 9th, I will be giving away a free copy of my debut novel!  

Hope to see you there!
Photograph by Sarah G.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blogging Basics for the Beginning Writer

Agents and publishers want you to do it. All your friends have one. Blogging isn't as hard as it seems. 

My blog stop at Myne Whitman Writes today has reasons why it can help you as a writer and some pitfalls to avoid when blogging to build a platform.

This blog tour is building some steam thanks to all of you! Can't wait to see your comments.

Photograph by Bruno Abreu.