Friday, April 25, 2014

Inching into spring

I am FINALLY seeing some green in the landscape around me. I'm in the Midwest and winter has been a long time going and spring is a long time coming. We're in that odd in-between place, the Ugly Time.

The fun thing is that I finished a manuscript and got a great idea for a new one, so I'm already starting it. I'm hoping to spend spring on that book, then in summer I have other books to work on. Plans, plans, plans. I don't have a lot of garden plans this year, but that always changes the first time I walk through a landscape nursery and see all the flowers.

It's nice to look ahead finally. Spring was so far off just a month ago, but now -- it's here! Get out there and enjoy it!

(30 books and counting)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why I Write What I Do by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Reposted from Dawn Marie Hamilton Writes.

My friend, Ashley York, author of The Bruised Thistle, asked me to participate in a blog tour about our writing processes. Perhaps you might enjoy learning a wee about why I write what I do.

What am I working on?

My current work-in-process is Just Wait For Me, the third novel in the Highland Gardens series of Scottish historical time travel romances spiced with scheming faeries, mischievous brownies, and other fae creatures. The story begins as King James IV dies during the Battle of Flodden. The hero is the ever loyal Stephen MacEwen, cousin to the MacLachlans, who we met in the first two books. He's been a bit glum and lost emotionally since Patrick (Book 1) left Scotland.

Wounded during the battle, he is whisked away by the fae before the English can kill him, for they have other plans for the blond warrior. We met the heroine, Jillian O'Donnell, at the end of the first book, Just Beyond the Garden Gate, and she played a minor, secondary role in the second book, Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon. She's suffering from unrequited love, and joins her brother on a bicycling vacation to get away from all the happy-happy between Finn and Elspeth (Book 2).

She ends up falling through time and becomes a fae target for a matchmaking scheme. After meeting Jillian, Stephen regrets making a rash decision to handfast with a lass he barely remembers before leaving to fight for his king. How can he not fall in love with Jillian—a woman from the future? I hope readers will have fun untangling the web of deceit weaved by the fae.

Blurb for Just Wait For Me:
In the chaotic aftermath of the battle of Flodden, an injured Highland warrior makes a bargain with a twenty-first century lass cast back in time by a meddling, matchmaking faerie. Stephen MacEwen promises that if the lass will help him get home, he'll find a way to send her forward to her own time. But is that a promise he'll want to keep? And after spending time with Stephen, will Jillian O'Donnell want to go?

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My books tend to bend traditional genre lines. The Highland Gardens series combines Scottish historical, time travel and fantasy elements. Magic is weaved throughout. My new Crimson Storm paranormal series blends vampires, shifters, Scottish history, and timetravel with voodoo magic. My goal is to build a world where a reader believes anything is possible.

Why do I write what I do?

I've always had a vivid imagination. As a child I had an imaginary playmate named Michael. I can't help making up stories in my head. During the midst of a corporate career, while traveling 80% of the time, I made up stories about people in airports and hotel lobbies. It was inevitable that I would start writing novels. Since all things Scottish fascinate me, inspire me—the people, the land—my books have a heavy Scottish influence. Fantasy art has inspired me to incorporate elements of magic. The TV series Dark Shadows is probably the root of my paranormal influence. Most important, though, I'm inspired by romance. Why wouldn't I want to write about lovers overcoming all obstacles to find a happily-ever-after?

How does my writing process work?

The process for writing each story is different, but all begin with the seed of an idea—perhaps a character, a setting, or a plot thread. I might start writing and research along the way or begin with research and move on to the writing. I start with a rough outline and use a storyboard to expand on the plot as I write. After a very rough draft is written, I go back and layer in more detail. The story gets passed off to critique partners then I edit, edit, and edit, before sending the manuscript to a professional editor for two passes.

Hope you enjoyed learning about my writing process.

Sea Panther is my newest release:

After evading arrest for Jacobite activities, Scottish nobleman Robert MacLachlan turns privateer. A Caribbean Voodoo priestess curses him to an eternal existence as a vampire shifter torn between the dual natures of a Florida panther and an immortal blood-thirsting man. For centuries, he seeks to reverse the black magic whilst maintaining his honor. Cruising the twenty-first century Atlantic, he becomes shorthanded to sail his 90-foot yacht, Sea Panther. The last thing he wants is a female crewmember and the call of her blood.

Although she swore never to sail again after her father died in a sailing accident, Kimberly Scot answers the captain's crew wanted ad to escape a hit man. She's lost everything, her fiancé, her job, and most of her money, along with money belonging to her ex-clients. A taste of Kimberly's blood convinces Robert she is the one woman who can claim the panther's heart. To break the curse, they travel back in time to where it all began—Jamaica 1715.

For more about my books, visit my author page at Amazon.

And for another fascinating glimpse into an author's writing process, visit Cate Parke and the Tuesday's Child blog. Cate is one of my fabulous critique partners and author of the Dreams of Oakhurst series set in pre-Revolutionary War, Charleston, South Carolina.

~Dawn Marie

Monday, April 21, 2014


It is not bad grammar to split infinitives! Don't believe me? 

The grammar girl says so at
She references wikipedia

I am relieved! I have struggled for several years to retrain my brain and my ear to hate split infinitives, and I still stumble when I read un-split infinitive phrases like, "She decided not to go."

When speaking, "Decide to not go," sounds better to me, probably because when I say it, I emphasize 'not' for clarity.

The fact that the rule against splitting infinitives is imaginary doesn't mean it is a good idea to do it in our writing, though. It invites nasty comments from well-intentioned readers and red line corrections from editors. 

It's good to know I am grammatically correct if I turn to my significant other and say, "The next time you want to accidently forget to take out the trash..."

After, Star Trek opened each episode with, "To boldly go where no one has gone before."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting ready to promote at a writing convention

Next month is the 2014 RT Book Lovers convention in New Orleans, which is a fantastic place to have a convention... too bad I’m not going to see much of the city due to being there only for the convention.

Still, the RT folks have done a pretty good job of setting up some events that take in the area outside the hotel, including a visit to Mardi Gras World, which is apparently set up in the warehouses where they keep some of the parade floats, and a pub crawl along Bourbon Street. Not sure if I will make it to that one since I’m supposed to be working a table later that evening at the Samhain Saints and Sinners party as a “Saint”. Booze and Sainthood don’t seem to go together too well. But we’ll see. Maybe I can pace myself, get some of the local color and still be an Angel at 9:00.

But this article is less about the convention, which I’ll talk about in next month’s article, and more about the preparation in advance.

You might think that all someone has to do for a convention is sign-up, reserve a hotel room, and organize their travel. And for many people that would be all that is needed.

But going to a convention like RT Book Lovers, which is my big promotional event of the year, requires far more. Sometimes the preparation begins as early as the day after the previous year’s convention, if not during the convention, when people are available to discuss ideas for seminars, panels, and parties for the following year.

For me I have one big personal event to promote my science fiction romance stories, Linnea Sinclair’s Intergalactic Bar and Grille party. I also participate in whatever big reader events the publishers Ellora’s Cave and Samhain are doing, but the IgBAG is where I spend the bulk of my time and money. At that party we give away 250 goodie bags, as well as an assortment of door prizes of various sorts, including books, t-shirts, cups, posters, and whatever. Last year I created small charms with book covers on them and made charm bracelets, giving those away as prizes, and I usually bring books from some of my out of print inventory.

The goodie bags this year will have small baggies with one of my book cover business cards and a small laser light that fits onto your finger. I ordered 400 of these laser lights from a mail order company and am still stuffing cards and lights into the bags. So far I’ve made about 150 of them, so I have a few more to do for the bags.

Any leftovers from the IgBAG go out onto promo lane. That is another thing I do for the convention is reserve a spot on promo lane when I register for the convention. This provides a place for me to put a poster featuring my books, plus a bin with small items to give away. In the past I’ve tried various low-cost items including pens and plastic luggage tags but for the RT convention I like to do unconventional things like my “mini-costume kits”. 

RT encourages costumes for its participants, so I provide baggies with vampire teeth and temporary tattoos. Since this year is in New Orleans, I’ve gone with Mardi Gras colored teeth and themed tattoos. I’ll have 288 of those prepared to give away on promo lane, in addition to the extra laser lights.

Vampire teeth, temporary tattoos, laser lights, and completed give-aways.

This is what I’ll be doing for the next month. Creating book cover charms and making charm bracelets, stuffing bags with laser lights and cards, making costume kits, and wondering if there is anything I’ve forgotten...

Oh yes. I wonder what kind of costume I’m going to need to throw out beads at Mardi Gras World? Should I be shopping for a feathered g-string? Yikes, that's a scary thought.

So what kind of give-aways do other people do at a convention like RT? I'm always looking for new ideas.

Monday, April 14, 2014

TO AUDIO OR NOT TO AUDIO by Rolynn Anderson

Scene: Condo Fitness Center in Mauna Lani, the Big Island.  I’m puffing away on a stairmaster when a guy comes in, hops on the treadmill next to me, says hello, downs liquid energy from a tiny bottle and starts walking.  Turns out he’s a talk-show radio man (great voice!) from Seattle.  I blurt: “You do audio books?”  Turns out he’s retiring and wants to read for audio books among other projects.  “I’ll be cheap,” he says.

So I have this guy’s phone number and I don’t know what to do with it.  Tell me, my author friends.  How many of you are shelling out money for audio books?  At what point in a writer’s career is this a smart move?  How much does it cost for a high-priced reader?  What might I pay for a ‘cheap’ reader?
Is there a whole new set of social networking avenues for selling audio books (meaning I’ll have to double my promo efforts)?

Help me out, buds!

Sidenote:  LIE CATCHERS released worldwide this month, in all formats.  Yippee!  Here are the Amazon and Wild Rose Press buy sites:


Two unsolved murders will tear apart an Alaska fishing town unless a writer and a government agent reveal their secret obsessions.

Treasury agent Parker Browne is working undercover in Petersburg, Alaska to investigate a money scam and a murder. His prime suspect, Liv Hanson, is a freelance writer struggling to save her family’s business. Free spirited, full of life, and with a talent for catching liars, she fascinates Parker.

Trying to prove she’s a legitimate writer who cares about Petersburg’s issues, Liv pens a series of newspaper articles about an old, unsolved murder. When her cold case ties in with Parker’s investigation, bullets start to fly.

Parker understands money trails, and Liv knows the town residents. But he gave up on love two years ago, and she trusts no one, especially with her carefully guarded secret. If they mesh their skills to find the killers, will they survive the fallout?

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Golden Claddagh Contest: Deadline May 10th


Enter Celtic Hearts Romance Writers Chapter contest The Golden Claddagh!

We have four categories for unpublished authors and published authors with unpublished  manuscripts.
* Historical
* Fantasy-Futuristic-Paranormal
* Contemporary
* Young Adult/New Adult
Our contest due date is May 10th. Finalists will be notified by June 15th and winners notified by August 1st–Winners will be announced at the CHRW Annual General Meeting at RWA National Convention in San Antonio, TX in July 2014.
The competition is open to RWA members ONLY.
Manuscripts must be unpublished and un-contracted in any form, including self-publishing. The manuscript rights must belong to the author and be available to contract, should a final judge wish to offer publication.
The GC entry must be a full-length novel (more than 40K). Novellas or Short stories will not be accepted.
Manuscripts must be completed by the time results are returned. Entrant must retain all rights to the entry and not have granted any of them to a publisher or any other party by the contest entry deadline.
If your manuscript is accepted for publication during the time of our contest (dates will be specified) you must notify the contest coordinator; your submission(s) will be withdrawn from consideration and your entry fee(s) returned.
Please Note:
  • Previously entered manuscripts may be entered again, but no previous winningmanuscript shall be re-entered, even if revised.
  • You may submit multiple entries so long as you pay an entry fee and submit a completed entry form for each submission.
  • You may not enter the same manuscript in more than one category. *Entry fee per entry: $10.00 CHRW members and $15.00 non-member CHRWA members.
CHRW reserves the right to discard all electronic entries and return fees if a minimum number of three (3) entries are not received in any category. Entrants will be contacted before the entries are returned and given the option to place their entry in another category if it is eligible. We may also refuse an entry that does not follow the rules stated here in the guidelines.
All Payments are Electronic through PayPal. The easy link is here:
If you wish to go directly to PayPal, please use Paypal address:
Entry fee: $10.00 CHRW members and $15.00 non-member CHRWA members.
All entries will be read and scored for the first round by two trained judges and one published author, and the lowest score dropped. The three entries with the highest total scores in each category will move to the final round. An editor/agent will judge the final round and select a winner from the finalists in each category.
Future, Fantasy & Paranormal: Romance novel where the mains focus is on the romantic relationship, but the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are integral to the story (includes time-travel).
Contemporary: Includes, single title, long and short romantic fiction with a contemporary setting set after 1945. Main focus is the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.
Historical: Romance novel set primarily before 1945 — any location. Please specify your time period and setting in your entry.
Young Adult/New Adult:  Romance novels in which young adult or new adult themes constitute an integral part of the plot. *Romance subplot not required*
Entry Composition: No Synopsis required! Your entry must have the following:
1.     An email “cover page” which includes the author’s real name, address, telephone number(s), e-mail address, submission title, category, manuscript word count and PayPal confirmation # should be submitted in text of the e-mail. Do not include the cover page in the same attachment as your manuscript.
2.     The beginning of your manuscript, including prologue, cannot exceed thirty (30) pages. Standard manuscript format must be followed:
  • 1 inch margins
  • Double spaced in a standard font and size 12-point.
  • The TITLE of the manuscript, the category, and any subcategory should be placed on the top left hand side of the entry. The PAGE NUMBER should be on the top right side of the entry.
  • We will not accept entries that have colored, or designer fonts. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME ON THE MANUSCRIPT.
3. Manuscript must be in a .doc or .rtf file format.
NOTE: Your entry must not exceed thirty (30) pages total.
Contemporary Category -
FFP Category -
Historical Category -
Young Adult/New Adult Category -
Final Round Judges
Angela James - Carina Press
Kerry Buckley - Carina Press
Laurie McLean - Forward Literary, Inc
Beth Miller - Writers House
Leis Pederson - Berkley Publishing
Julie Mianecki - Penguin Books
Alissa Davis - Carina Press
Elizabeth Bistrow - Penguin Books
Young Adult/New Adult
Nicole Fischer - Avon Press
The FIRST PLACE winners in each category will receive a $50 dollar cash prize and a commemorative pin.
The SECOND and THIRD PLACE winners in each category will receive free workshops through Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

For questions please contact the contest chair, Alisa Walker at: