Wednesday, August 31, 2011

COTT Champ Lisa T Bergren

*Guest post by Michelle Massaro

Congratulations, Lisa T. Bergren, author of Waterfall! Lisa's winning excerpt was discovered by COTT's new Talent Scout, Katie McCurdy. You can read Katie's review here. This YA title is being highly-praised by adults and is only the second YA title to win at Clash Of The Titles. Visit Lisa's site to learn more about her.
About the book:

Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one.
Remaining means giving up all she’s known and loved…
and leaving means forfeiting what she’s come to know…and love itself.
Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds… until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.
And thus does she come to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, who takes her back to his father’s castle—a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Sounds amazing, doesn't it? No wonder it won! If you're ready to read it, head to Amazon now. You can read Lisa's COTT interview here or check out her excerpt here.

Lisa, welcome to the COTT Hall of Fame. We're very happy to have you join us!

Readers, do you hunger for a well-written convo--one dripping with sarcasm or perhaps laced with unspoken meaning? Maybe you like a quick wit or a character whose comments make you LOL. Wish you could influence the dialogue of the fictional characters you read? This week COTT is hosting a showdown for the Snappiest Dialogue. Hurry on over and let our authors know what you like, and what you long to see, in the spoken interaction between characters. See you there!

* Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor for COTT and has a passion for evangelizing through fiction. She writes contemporary inspirational novels with heart-rending themes intended to frame the message of God’s healing love. Michelle has written for Romantic Times, Circle Of Friends, and Pentalk Community, among others. Find her on twitter @MLMassaro, Facebook, or her blog, Adventures in Writing, and join the fun.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Controlled Chaos - 6 kids...Easy Squeazy!

Awesome Hubby and our six...yes, SIX kids.
As a homeschool mom of six, my day starts off pretty mellow. The kids wake up at their own times, eat and start on their work.  It’s not until the mid-morning hour when all of them are bustling around that the fun really begins.  I sit at my laptop in the classroom and try to do research for my book while simultaneously mixing icing ‘glue’ for our Great Wall of China replica made out of sugar cubes.

Once I have that going, I get the crock pot going with tonight’s meal. Usually some hearty chicken stew…it’s easy and yummy.  Meanwhile the babies have started to feed the water turtle their playdoh, so I fish that out with the pen I was using to jot down some personality quirk ideas for a character in my new work in progress.

I get the babies busy on some coloring, give my high schooler a lecture on Skyping while doing math, and settle down to check my email and Twitter...for two minutes. Because my Jr. Higher needs me to help him look up the average rainfall for Papua New Guinea for his report.  I print out his information, pop on over to my blog, read and answer comments, and start on a new post, but…

I answer a call from my mother who wonders why I never bring her grandkids over anymore (we were there last week) and I flip through the calendar and find a time between my critique group meeting and date night with hubby. I write myself a note on the paper with my character quirks and put it on the fridge as a reminder.
School time over, I put the babies to their nap and sit down to read the last chapter I wrote so I can get ‘in the groove’ of writing. 

Until my third grader reminds me that we are supposed to be planting the potato he’s been growing with toothpicks and a glass…my GOOD crystal? Oh well we get it into the ground and I wash off, pop the bread in the oven and sit down to type…something. Where was I again?

Hubby comes home, dinner and homework are tackled, we put the kids down and I have some coffee on the couch with my sweetheart.  He goes off to grade papers and I settle down at my laptop. Nine-thirty and ready to write.  Now if I could only find my notes on character quirks…

(Post originally appeared on Purple Knot blog tour.)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Do You Make These Query Mistakes?

We all talk about agents as the gatekeepers to publication. Well, your query letter is your key to that kingdom. With so much riding on first impressions, here are five query no-no’s to avoid.

You query someone who doesn’t represent your genre. Make sure to research the agent you send your query to. Websites like Query Tracker and books like Writer’s Market all list the genre agents represent. Do your homework so you don’t waste your time.

You don’t talk about your book. I know it sounds crazy, but a lot of people do this. Queries are pitch letters for your book. So make the bulk of your one-page allotment about the manuscript. Don’t go off on what inspired you or how you researched it. Sell the idea of the book.

You have grammar mistakes. This one is a biggie because it represents you as a writer. Do you have a grasp on the craft? Can you get to the point? Have you heard of a comma?  Queries reveal a lot about you as a writer. Make sure you shine.

You come off as arrogant, clueless, or both. Yes, you want to show confidence. Of course, you are proud of your book. But telling the agent that your manuscript is the next Twilight or whatever your genre’s superstar is makes you look terrible. And don’t announce that it’s "recently finished" – otherwise known as unedited.

 You don’t wait long enough. One thing you don’t want to do is annoy the agent. Don’t call five times to see if they got it. Don’t call them at all, actually. An email after a month is acceptable for follow up.

What are some things you should do?

Write it in the voice of your book. Is your novel fast-paced? Then convey energy in your pitch. Show them that you pack a punch in your writing.

Hit all three biggies: Who is it about? What is the conflict? What happens if they don’t stop it?

Give the vitals: What is the word count? What is the genre? Give them specifics that will help them visualize who they’d pitch your book to.

Mention you’ve gone social: Don’t refer them to your website to read more…they don’t do that. But do mention you feel comfortable using social media to promote your book. List a blog address or a Twitter account, but remember—those are NOT for the agent to go searching for information they need.

Send the right format: Some agents have gone paperless and only accept email queries. Some only want the query as the body of the email and not as an attachment. Don’t knock yourself out of the running before you even start by not sending what they want.

With a little research and attention to detail, your query can catch the attention you deserve. Take the time to do it right and you’ll give yourself a fighting chance to snag that dream agent.

(Post originally appeared on Purple Knot blog tour.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smooth Sailing - Romantic Friday Writers

Today for the Romantic Friday Writers the theme is Smooth Sailing. This scene takes place on a boat, a very special one built as a wedding present from James to his fiancĂ©, Rain.  What follows is the aftermath of the tragedy that tore them apart...

     Moonlight glinted off the water and cast quivering blue reflection across the polished deck.  James leaned against the railing and let his gaze follow the slivers of moonlight dance across the surface.

He heard movement behind him and then his sister was next to him.  She leaned against his shoulder like she’d done since their dual birth.  She whispered next to him her voice as full of sorrow as his had been.

“What are you going to do?”

James shrugged.

“Nothing I can do, now.  Rain said, 'No.'  She sent me away. I think...I think she's slipped too far for me to...”

Grief and frustration burned in his chest and he blew his breath out slowly.  He rubbed the silver key in his hand. This couldn't be real, couldn't be happening.

His sister wiped her cheek and James realized she was crying, had been crying, also.  He hugged her with his left arm and they stood watching the waves lick at the hull.

Finally she asked, “Are you going to keep her, the boat?”

James closed his eyes and then nodded.

“What about Rain?” His sister’s voice broke. “I mean, this isn’t the end, is it?”

Hearing her name made the hollow in his chest ache and James grit his teeth.

“I can’t give up on her,” he said softly. “I know in my bones that we’re supposed to be together.”

His sister made a murmuring noise.

“Then we wait,” she said finally. “I mean, she’s the one, right?”

James swallowed against the lump in his throat.  His voice was hoarse when he answered.

“Yeah,” he said and rubbed the silver key again. “My one and only.”

I'm so happy I got to share a small portion of what is one of my favorite romances. If you'd like to check out the other entries in the Romantic Friday Writers challenge for this week, then hop on over. 

Or if you'd like to join, then enter your blog address in the linky on the RFW home page.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Twitter Schmitter - How To Remain A Reclusive Writer

You're a writer. What care you for social media like Twitter? But, its expected now by agents and publishers and so you've signed up for an account while shuddering at the thought of your inner writing sanctum being invaded.  Well fear not... I'm here to help you rid yourself of those pesky followers. With Seven Simple too, can tank your Twitter following!

Step One: Make sure your account is locked so that no one you follow can follow you back. This keeps your Tweets confined to you and your family members -- who call if they have anything to tell you. Excellent start so far!

Step Two: Choose your name like you're trying to encrypt your identity. Don't make your Twitter handle your real name...or that of your blog. No! That's too easy for others to catch on to who you are. Make it something like H82Twt so that you remain true to your reclusive writer persona.

Step Three: Use the lines in your profile to make obscure statements and claims instead of telling people who you are and what you do. Death to all Palladins...Me like chocolate...Joss is Boss. These are all excellent ways to hide your true identity. Be creative!

Step Four: Take a strangely cropped picture of just your eyes or maybe an avatar of you as a purple dingo and use that as your profile photo. That really helps to ward off recognition. You don't want people to recognize the picture on your book or blog as that of the person they've been interacting, no!

Step Five: Follow the Rule of Five...Make sure you either Tweet every five minutes or every five days. That's the magic number. This enables you to flood the feed of prospective readers and writer buddies with absolute junk...and then you disappear for days. Trust me...this works wonders!

Step Six: Ignore others. Don't retweet interesting blog posts, contests, funny articles, or anything that might be of interest to other people or help them reach others. Remember, the goal is to remain unengaged with the world at large.  Also...if someone does follow you...DO NOT FOLLOW BACK. That will just encourage them.

Step Seven: Stay away from searches!  Don't look up topics that interest you like #amwriting or #writetips. These discussions and Tweet threads will suck you in and you'll be tempted to answer someone's question, comment on their Tweet, or otherwise join in. Don't fall for it!

There are of course, many other ways to sabotage your Twitter account. Keep in mind that while these methods are effective, they are not foolproof.  

Bots will eventually follow you and it is your duty to open their direct messages about phones and pet meds and CLICK THE LINK....this spams all of your four followers!  They love that.

If I have missed anything, feel free to leave your suggestions for successful Twitter tanking in the comments. 

All kidding aside, writers can gain a lot of good from Twitter. I've heard about contests, open calls for submissions, and new agents on the block, all from Tweets. I've connected with writers going to similar conferences, been introduced to critique groups, and learned about extremely helpful blogs via Tweets. Social media can be an advantage.  The trick is balance. Make sure you leave time for your first love...writing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Join the Campaign!

Today marks the first day of sign-ups for Rachel Harrie's Platform-Building Campaign! I did this last year and had a blast and made some lasting connections with other word lovers.

A new concept of groups was established last time and I got to know  bloggers in my own genre. From interviews, ice-breakers, a choose your own adventure blog hop, and other cool meme's the challenges were so much fun!

So if you're interested in meeting with other bloggers and joining in on some creative challenges, then head on over to Rach Writes to sign up. The link closes at the end of August, so don't wait.

Do You Remember...

Guest post by: Jennifer Slattery

Do you remember those dances held during junior high and high school? How you and your friends would spend hours pre-dance talking about what you'd wear, how you'd do your hair, and...giggle, blush, giggle...who might ask you to dance? 

Only those dances never quite ended up how we envisioned, at least not in my school. Inevitably, the guys huddled near the far, heavily-shadowed wall while the girls spent their time crying in the bathroom or trying to comfort their near hysterical friend hiding in the stall.

At least in Junior High. High School got a little better and people actually danced, and the bathrooms were far less crowded with splotchy-faced, sniffling girls.

But reading this week's excerpts actually brought me back even sixth grade.

We didn't have dances--instead, our school hosted skating parties. Do you remember those? "Elvirah" blaring from those gigantic speakers while a disco ball lit up the room, making that feather pinned in your hair really stand out. 

(Those have come back, btw. Seriously.) 

We'd do the hokey-pokey, skate on one foot, then backward...but what the girls waited for, holding their breath and scanning the glittering room for their short, waif-thin and equally shy hero, was when the DJ announced, "Find a parnter!"

Now here's where it gets really fun, and extremely embarrassing, but remember I was a stupid kid with absolutely no life....

Who knew come skating party time, a boy--maybe even the boy--might hold my hand. Oh, the very thought made my stomach twirl.

In preparation, I slathered lotion on my hands the week leading up the event--and I mean slathered. Then, I'd rub it in and hold my hand out to my mom. 

"Are my hands soft? Feel them."

She'd laugh and feel my hand. Then I'd slather on more. 

"Feel them now."

She remained patient for about three or four applications.

What about you? Any stupid, cheek-burning stories to share?
Be sure to come meet our competing authors this week on COTT

Friday, August 19, 2011

How To Find a Critique Partner

A good critique partner is worth their weight in gold. Someone who points out what you can’t see, is clear and precise in their advice, and able to do all this with the compassion and understanding that can only come from a fellow writer, well if you find one, you’re on cloud nine.

The problem is that it’s really hard to find them. I have  been blessed with a phenomenal team mate in the writing life and I wanted to share some tips on how to find a critique partner of your own.

·        Join yahoo groups in your genre. Did you know that there are thousands of groups all specializing in a type of writing? From science fiction-horror to paranormal vampire teen love stories, there is a group for you. The best place to find a critique partner is where other writers in your genre hang out.

·        Join a local critique group. Writers that take the time out of their busy schedule to meet with other writers are bound to be serious about their craft. Join a group and bring your chapters. It’s a great way to get multiple critiques at once.

·        Take Part in Blogfests. If you have a blog, and you should if you’re a writer bent on publication, then joining blogfests is a great way to meet other writers. Sometimes you hit it off with someone and exchange chapters with one another. Blogger, Rachel Harrie, came up with a Beta-Match campaign in June that was awesome.

·        Join a Writer’s Guild. Most guilds offer a forum for writers to exchange work and critique each other’s chapters. It’s a nice way to connect with other members as well.

Whichever avenue you chose, be sure that you understand that it is usually a quid pro quo situation. For every chapter that you submit, you critique someone else’s.  Also remember to be gracious. If you don’t like the advice, don’t argue. Thank them for their time and move on.  With a little luck and some perseverance, you’ll find your dream writing partner.

(Post originally appeared on Purple Knot blog tour.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love Never Fails...

Today I am a guest blogger over at Carol Ann Erhardt's Blog! She is featuring an interview and my new release, Purple Knot.

I'd love to see some familiar faces over there so if you have a moment, hop on over for a visit.

And don't forget to stop back here for my post tomorrow on How To Find A Critique Partner. Worth their weight in gold, a person that gives you honest feedback is hard to find, but I've got some helpful tips on how to find the elusive creatures.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New COTT Champion: A Familiar Evil by Anne Patrick

 *guest post by Jennifer Slattery

The next Clash of the Titles literary champion is Anne Patrick! Her her novel A Familiar Evil won the vote for Author’s Choice.

Here’s a blip of her COTT winning excerpt (excerpt B):

“Excuse me. I’m looking for Chief Russell.”

Jordan’s stomach did a nosedive at the familiar voice of her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
“You found her,” Frank answered.
Jordan looked up just as Sam smiled. “Indeed I have.” He started toward her desk.
Colleen barged through the opened door. “Chief, there’s an Agent Russell here to see…oh, I guess you found her.”
“Agent Russell,” Frank repeated. He turned back to Jordan, “Isn’t Russell your married name?” He then shifted his gaze back to Sam, “That must mean you’re her husband.”
“Not for much longer.” Jordan hurried around her desk and ushered Frank out the door. “You’ll be hearing from me.” She closed the door and looked at Sam. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m here at your request.”

Read the full excerpt here.

A few reader comments: 
  • I'm hooked! Loved the tension between Jordan and Sam.
  • Both were really good! I Liked Excerpt B because of the rather humorous exchange between husband and wife. :-) Definitely a book I'd want to get and read!
  • Love tension in Excerpt B. And there's promise of lots more!! 
After reading Anne’s tension-filled excerpt, we wanted to know how she came up with such great stories. Her answer? She writes on the fly.

“I’m a Pantser,” Anne said. “I never plan anything. As a matter of fact I didn’t know who the killer was in A Familiar Evil until toward the end of the book when he sprang out at me and said, ‘I’m your man.’ Of course I had suspected he was the one but I wasn’t for sure. There are several possibilities.”

Her plot ideas come to her just as unexpectedly. “Often times when I'm researching one book, ideas for another start to sprout,” Anne said. “Reading the paper is another good source for me. Life is truly stranger than fiction.

Read the full interview here.

What Anne had to say about her time on Clash:

"Thanks for having me here at COTT. You ladies are awesome!"
Want to join the fun? Hop on over to Clash of the Titles now to vote for our next literary champion and be entered into our drawing for a free book! And don’t forget to stop by Clash of the Titles Book Club to join our cyber-chat. We’re devouring Delia Latham’s Destiny’s Dream.

*Jennifer Slattery is the marketing manager for Clash of the Titles. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters. She’s also written for numerous other publications and websites including the Breakthrough Intercessor, Bloom!, Afictionado, the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, and Granola Bar Devotions. She has a short piece in Bethany House’s Love is a Flame (under a pen name) forwarded by Gary Chapman, another piece in Cathy Messecar’s A Still and Quiet Soul, and a third piece scheduled to appear in Majesty House’s Popcorn Miracles. 

You can find out more about her and her writing at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud and you can catch some great writing tips at her writing blog, Words That Keep.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Why I Need a Jeweled Dagger

Dance of the Setting Sun

I'm doing research on a new book. Having recently finished and sent off Whispers on Shadow Bay, the first book in my new Noble Island Mysteries series, I am giddy with excitement to begin learning something new.

That something new is for book two, Secrets at Crescent Point. It is a story that centers on the gypsy clan that inhabits the outskirts and surrounding waters of Noble Island. As an author, I create worlds for my characters and the reader with as much detail as possible and that is why I do a lot of research before I begin writing.

For instance, I've been researching the Romani gypsies. Things like clothing descriptions, particularly the dresses used in the veil dances and festivals. 

I learned that in the Romani gypsy culture, family name can hearken back to what the family's occupation used to be whether a silver smith, wood carver, performer, etc. I also hope to find some recipes to try.

My Baby
My husband isn't quite convinced I need a dagger to write this book, but he did not see the bound dagger fight...yes, as in bound by a rope or long piece of silk at the wrists to the guy that is trying to stab you.

I mean, pirates had daggers...gladiators, evil spy chicks, even the Mughals of India. Surely, I need one as well! For research, of course. Plus it would look VERY cool next to all the other bizarre detritus of my writing obsession.

What about you?  What do you most love about researching a new book?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Confused! - Romantic Friday Writers

Challenge #14
Today at Romantic Friday Writers the Challenge is..."Confused."  If you'd like to participate, hop on over and  join the Linky.

This scene is from my latest WIP, Whispers on Shadow Bay.  Its a Gothic Romance so it is supposed to have a bit of a darker feel.

Rosetta is stranded at Shadow Bay, an aging estate on Noble Island, and has gotten turned around on her way back to the house. She's come to the island to start over and to escape a scandal. Simon is the master of the old mansion with secrets of his own.

Whispers on Shadow Bay

Threading through the tall grass, I took the trail to a clearing. Waves of purple and pink flowers swayed in the cool breeze. Their sweet scent drifted over me as they swished with the tumbling air. August back home was sticky and hot. Out here, the whispers of fall chilled the air. I shivered in my t-shirt and looked back over my shoulder at Simon. He wasn’t near the car anymore. I couldn’t see him at all. I’d never reacted so thoroughly to anyone before; blushing and stammering like a school girl with a crush. What was wrong with me?
Extending my arms over the waist-high blooms, I waded through the field and let the petals tickle my palms. The tourist website had described Noble Island as beautiful and foreboding. Given to sudden shifts in weather, it was unpredictable by nature. As if reading my thoughts, a sudden change from daylight to gray drew my eyes skyward. Dark clouds slid across the pale sun and whipped up a wind.
I hugged myself and hurried toward the other side of the clearing to the trees. Halfway there, sudden movement in the flowers caught my eye. I froze. A flash of raven hair rifled through the blooms and was gone. Heart ramming in my chest, I scanned the stems, squinting. Further away, a sound like a child’s giggle distorted by the wind echoed across the field.
“Hello?” I took a step back into the clearing. “Who’s out there?”
Straining to hear more, the field swayed in rivulets with the buffeting wind, but was silent. Thunder rumbled overhead, the dark clouds roiling with flashes of purple. If there was a child out here in this weather, they’d surely get chilled. Another step in to the grasses and I caught sight of a shock of pink material billowing over the flowers but it was gone before I could focus. The hair on my arms spiked with building static, a bright thread of light tore along the sky. It lit up the pale face of a child peering out at me from behind a tree across the clearing. It was gone with the flash.
“Lost?” A voice said over my shoulder.
Gasping with fright, I staggered back and turned to face Simon.
“Did you see that?” I said, hand to my chest.
“What?” He looked past me, his jaw set.
“I thought I saw…something.” Head pounding with a headache, I rubbed my temple.
“I found this in the car.” He held out my sweater and I turned to slip my arms in the sleeves. “With the weather turning, I thought you might be cold.”
“Thank you.” I shook my head. “You didn’t see anything?”
 “Come inside, Rosetta.” The teasing smile no longer at his lips, he extended his hand. “It’s not safe out here at once it starts to get dark.”
“But…there’s someone out there.” I glanced behind us as he pulled me into the woods.
The dark look on Simon’s face made my stomach flop. “There always is.”

Thank you so much for stopping by! There are other challenge excerpts over at the Romantic Friday Writers site.  Don't forget to vote on the sidebar poll.

There are challenges every Friday and if you'd like to join in, all you have to do is follow and participate.

Until next time...Go Write!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Writing Contest - A big Thumbs UP!

If you aren’t an active part of a critique group or have some Beta readers giving you feedback on your manuscript, assessing how you’re growing as a writer can be difficult. One of the best ways to do this is by entering a writing contest.  Now, it may seem intimidating, but here are three reasons why you should go ahead and fill out that entry form.

·         It will help you learn to follow directions. This may seem like a little thing, but it is surprising how many people burn an opportunity with an agent or editor simply because they didn’t check the submission requirements. Check them. Follow them to the letter. To. The. Letter. A contest, much like submitting a query, is a winnowing process and you don’t want to end up on the threshing floor before they even read your story.

·         You learn to work with a deadline. All contests have a date at which submissions are no longer accepted. Writing to deadline is something that you will eventually have to do and learning how you deal with this during a contest is a lot better than freaking out when an agent gives you one. Do you need to get more organized? Do you need specific writing times to be productive? A contest deadline will reveal how you work under pressure.

·         You learn how to take critique. Even if you blow them out of the water and final on your first try, you will get back suggestions for improvement. Taking criticism graciously is an essential part of being a writer. Learn how you handle it from a contest and you can be sure you won’t break down later on when dealing with a publishing editor. Do you argue? Do you get hurt? Do you throw up your hands and walk away or buckle down and improve? Contests can help you see how you deal with this.

There are a lot of inexpensive contests out there with wonderful professionals willing to look over your first 50 pages and give you honest feedback.  The types of contests available span the genres, from romance to flash fiction, there’s something out there for your style and story.

Many writers’ guilds offer contests as well as their local chapters. Romance Writers of America and Writer’s Digest Magazine both have excellent opportunities to get your work in front of professionals. Take care to enter contests that only charge a nominal fee. Around thirty-five dollars is the norm. Anything that charges a hefty entrants price may not be reputable.

Contests can be exciting and helpful if you enter them with the right attitude. Who knows, you might take the trophy.

(Post originally appeared on Purple Knot blog tour.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Win a Free Book on Goodreads!

I know, right?
In honor of the end of summer, I'm giving away a print or eBook copy of Purple Knot on Goodreads. With vacation coming to a close, you have a chance to win an edge of your seat romance to take to the beach, camping, or to just read by the pool.  

All you have to do is click on the button below to enter.  The giveaway closes in one month...September 10th.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Purple Knot by Raquel Byrnes

Purple Knot
by Raquel Byrnes

Giveaway ends September 10, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Also a quick favor to ask of you all. If anyone has purchased a copy of Purple Knot, I would love a picture of you for my author website. I have a page for romance lover pics.  If you bought an eBook copy...just hold up your reader.

When my next book releases later this year, I will pick a submitted picture at random and send them an ARC of Ruby Dawn, Book 2 in the Shades of Hope series.

So get those entries in and send me your pics.  Until next time...Go Write!

Photograph by Ogimogi.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Reyna Cruz here, main character in Raquel’s book, Purple Knot. I’m here to give you a peek inside the strange world of her writing habits.

Ever seen one of those Bugs Bunny cartoons where Bugs is talking and then all of a sudden the artist erases his ears and draws antlers on him?  How about when he’s eating a carrot and then the artist draws a wick and fire and it’s suddenly dynamite?  Yeah…it’s like that.

She starts out with a pretty good structure. I know what’s going on. I have a goal…a mystery to solve and then, WHAM!  My ex-fiancĂ©, Jimmy, is suddenly at my front door.  What in the world?  So okay, there’s a good reason.

But then she adds something tragic. Someone I love is in trouble…dire danger and I’m all ramped up and still dealing with the feelings over Jimmy being back in the picture. But she’s decided we’re in love still, right?

Uh, no. She just got some comments from her Beta Reader, darn her! Apparently I’m conflicted about Jimmy and though I want to kiss him…I don’t. And then there’s a total misunderstanding and he’s pulling away. Raquel is so mean!

So now she’s writing in a plot twist that’s not too bad, I can totally handle it. Wait…what?  Critiques are back from her writers group. Oh, no.  That plot twist is now so much more dramatic, the stakes so much higher. I can’t believe she turned the tables on me like that! 

Okay, well it’s time for her to do the report cards for her kids. She homeschools, you know. So I’m just stuck here, probably for days, mid-air…literally.  I wonder if she’ll write something soft for me to land on?

Ouch! Not quite the way I expected that to end. She’s ramping up to the climax of the book, making Jimmy declare, uh, wait she deleted that.  Now she’s pacing and eating chocolate. Not good.

Uh, oh. I recognize that crazy look in her eyes. Her fingers flying over the keyboard at break-neck speed. I’m shocked…I had no idea what was coming!  And Jimmy and me, we…are you serious?

Raquel may be a bit crazy and she may make a lot of changes, but it’s always an adventure. I hope you come with me along an amazing journey in, Purple Knot! You won’t be sorry.

~Reyna "Rain" Cruz, Private Investigator

(Post originally appeared on Purple Knot blog tour.)
Photograph by Todd Huffman.