Wednesday, September 29, 2010

IWL Conference recap and great news: Part 2

I was 'sposed to write this yesterday, but my WIP was calling. Ah, well.
Despite having only 4 hours of sleep, I rolled out of bed an hour earlier than I was 'sposed to because my husband wouldn't quit snoring. I arrived at the Coeur d'Alene Inn trying not to rub my tired eyes and smear my makeup. I hoped I didn't sound like a zombie when I greeted people.

The first speaker up was Asa Bradley There's supposed to be a nifty circle thingie above the "A" but I couldn't figure it out. Anyway, Asa explained websites, domain names, blogs, and other necessities for an author to make their mark on the web. Despite my exhaustion, I learned a ton.

Then, Pat Adair of the independent publisher, "Living Oracles" was up to talk about the future of publishing. A lot of the talk was about technology. i.e. links embedded in e-books and 3D TVs and online book printing devised right in the bookstore. It was fascinating and scary.

Then Kitty Fleischman, editor of Idaho Magazine explained what they were looking for and how to submit. That woman was energetic and hilarious. I may have a few ideas to submit to her.

Then it was lunch and more awards were announced. I am pleased to tell you all that my novel, BITE ME, YOUR GRACE received an honorable mention, despite that my entry was only the first chapter, which was the one that my agent and I did the most work on. Two awards in two days. I am thrilled!

After lunch we had a real treat. David Givens, author of The Nonverbal Dictionary, which is used by FBI and Law enforcement all over the country, shared some basics about body language that will benefit every writer. His book is free on the web and I recommend that you check it out!

The final workshop was a marketing panel composed of self published authors, marketing gurus and independent publishers. People later told me that my questions and comments were interesting, but by then  I was so tired that I couldn't remember what I said. There was a banquet later, but I couldn't make it. I went home and curled up with a book.

The next day I went to grandma's tree farm to help split and stack firewood. I'm still sore.

Monday, September 27, 2010

IWL Conference recap and great news: Part 1.

I belong to the Idaho Writer's League, an awesome organization that just celebrated its 70th anniversary and has been a wonderful support to me since 2003. This year it was Coeur d'Alene's turn to host the annual conference. Unfortunately, due to budget issues, I had resigned myself to not being able to go. But then, the day before the conference, a miracle occurred that allowed me to attend.

We had an astounding variety of speakers and workshops this year. First up was "Eddit yourrselv" by Chris Moore , author of "Writing: a Crash Course. Then I attended  Patrice Lewis's fabulous workshop on freelance writing.
Lunch was next, but I had to run errands and came back to discover that my short story had won 1st place in the "assigned theme" writing contest. The theme was "Strange Places" and my story was about a haunted church. I received a certificate to hang on my wall and a check for $35. So now I'm officially a paid and award-winning author!

I had 10 minutes for hugs and congratulations before it was on to the next workshop. I elected to go to Chris Moore's talk on setting, since I sometimes have a problem with "talking heads." Then I got to hear a wonderful talk on public speaking (an author's dread) by the awesome Dr. Mark William Cochran.
Then there was the most interesting workshop of the day. Ed Santos gave a talk on some freaky criminal statistics and simple self defense. He also had some great tips on simple weapons.

Then everyone got to go to Center Target Sports so they could get a chance to shoot the guns they write about. Alas, I missed the fun since I had to work that night.

After work, I was too excited to go to bed like a good writer, so I went out to celebrate and didn't get to bed until midnight.

I'll cover day 2 tomorrow.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is there such thing as "so bad it's good" books?

I love terrible movies. I have no idea why, but excessive cheese, bad acting, and convoluted plots make me smile like a kid on Christmas. Think: "Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town," "Night of The Demons" the "Subspecies" franchise, "Puppet Master," Hell, anything by Full Moon Entertainment, "Napoleon Dynamite," etc.

But are there gems like this in the literary world? At first I'd like to think so. A lot of my favorite romance novels have the corniest titles and trashiest covers I've ever seen. i.e. "Silken Savage." But the author created a beautiful story and put in a lot of heavy research. Really, she portrays the Cheyenne culture and history as it really was with none of the sugar-coating that most "Native American romance" authors ever dare.

And then there's Virginia Henley with her gratuitous purple prose and sometimes stomach-churning terms for male and female anatomy. But still she manages to give you a worthy history lesson that your school teachers only wish to teach and intermingles it with bawdy humor and heartrending love stories.

Dan Brown has so many literary faux pas in his work that there are blogs and websites dedicated to his foibles. But he still spins a good yarn.

So my ultimate opinion is: though a book can have endearing faults, the whole cannot be terrible and still be loved. On the other hand, I would love a counter-argument. And on Wednesday, my best friend and I will roar with laughter as we watch "The Apple" and "Monsturd,"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


So I put the names in a hat and the lucky winners of a copy of either MARKED or ENTWINED by the awesome Elisabeth Naughton are, DRUMROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL:
Shelley and blackroze37atyahoodotcom!
Email me your addresses to and I'll pass em on to the author. Thanks so much for participating! I can't wait til next time!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Guest Post from Paranormal Romance Author, Elisabeth Naughton: On Writing a Series

I am beyond thrilled to announce that one of my new favorite authors has agreed to appear today and do a guest post! Without further ado, I present, Elisabeth Naughton!

Thanks so much to Brooklyn Ann for inviting me to guest post today! For those of you who don’t already know me, I write dark paranormal novels deeply rooted in Greek mythology. The second book in my Eternal Guardians series – ENTWINED - just released last month. If you’re a paranormal fan, ENTWINED has got it all - seething demons, conniving gods, betrayal, heartbreak, magick and a wicked hot love story.

I absolutely love writing the Eternal Guardians series because there are so many threads from which to build. The first book in the series – MARKED (May 2010) – grew from a spark. I knew I wanted to write something about Greek mythology. I knew I wanted it to be dark and sexy. And I knew I wanted this big warrior dude to have to find a woman who didn’t know she was linked to a world she never thought existed, fall for her but be trapped because he knew by finding her, he was sealing her death. When I started writing MARKED, that’s about as much as I knew. But the story grew from those minute threads and from there blossomed into an entire series.

For me, the key to writing an ongoing series is developing the secondary characters enough in each book so that readers are eager to read their stories. One reviewer who recently read ENTWINED said, “…the building of the secondary stories has me itching for the next book.” In my opinion, the secondary characters and their struggles have to be as enticing as the main story, because when the main story is done, those secondary struggles and characters are the gems that will bring readers back for more.

I admit to not being a highly organized writer. I don’t plot out every moment ahead of time. Generally, I know the basic turning points of a book when I sit down to write it, but the secondary characters grow and develop as the main story is unfolding. Take Orpheus, for example. He’s a secondary character who pops up in MARKED. He lives in Argolea, his brother Gryphon is an Argonaut, he was passed over by the gods to serve with the Argonauts even though he’s just as big and strong as they are and he’s linked to the ancient hero Perseus, just like his brother. But he’s got a secret. One deadly wicked secret that, if anyone knew, they’d kill him for. When I wrote MARKED, I had no idea just how Orpheus fit into the world. Who is he, really? Because I didn’t know much about him (other than what I listed above), I thought he might fade into the background as the books went on. But no, he’s grown and changed and become as integral to my world as the Argonauts are. His story begins in MARKED, unfolds a touch in ENTWINED, and explodes in TEMPTED (book 3, release date TBA). He’s not an Argonaut. He’s a secondary character. But because his transformation has become so important, guess who’ll be getting book 4? You guessed it: Orpheus.

I love when readers write to tell me they can’t wait to read so-and-so’s book. With the release of ENTWINED I get daily emails asking, “Who’s next? Who is Isadora’s hero? What about Demetrius? What about Orpheus? What about…(fill in the blank)?” As a writer, these are questions I ask myself all the time (and my poor critique partner who listens to me ramble about this series on a daily basis). So it’s very cool to know that readers are as invested in my world as I am.

Do I know where this series will ultimately end? Not entirely. I have a vision of what the very end looks like. But I don’t know the specific steps along the way. Unearthing those story gems is what I love most about writing this series. And as long as they’re there to unearth, I’ll continue writing them.

How about you? Are you a fan of ongoing series? What is it about a series that makes you salivate for the next book? I’ve got books to give away today! Let’s pick two winners from the comments. Your choice of either MARKED or ENTWINED.

Happy Reading!


A previous junior-high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton now writes sexy romantic adventure and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her debut release, Stolen Fury, heralded by Publisher’s Weekly as “A rock-solid debut,” was a 2010 double RITA® nominee by Romance Writers of America in the Best First Book category and the Best Romantic Suspense category. When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit the author’s website at

Thanks so much for appearing, Elisabeth! Contest winners will be drawn on Wednesday, however, of you don't win, check out this tidbit of news I got direct from Ms. Naughton herself: "As for you have an ereader? If so you can download it free from
B&N right now and next week (starting on the 15th) Amazon is making it free
for the Kindle through the end of the month."

Friday, September 3, 2010

When our favorite authors go downhill.

I am sure this happens to you all often. You get hooked on an author, eagerly awaiting their next release while voraciously re-reading their previous books to whet your appetite for the new installment.
You bring their newest shiny book home, perhaps you even call in sick from work to devour it. You crack it open and begin reading the first few pages with a joyous grin. Then, it starts. Your smile dims somewhat. This character would never do something like that. However, with high hopes, you read further. Perhaps there's a nifty twist to explain it. A few pages later, a perplexed frown mars your features. Either a crappy character or a cheesy plot device has entered the picture. And is that yet another typo?

You finish the book and close it, aching with disappointment. What happened? If this were anyone but your favorite author, you would have tossed the book aside by the second chapter. Nevertheless, meager hope shines in your breast. Maybe the author was having some personal issues. Maybe this bad book was needed to lead up to something awesome. have a bad feeling. You wait for the next book, but not with half the excitement as before. You don't run to the closest bookstore to get it. Instead, you search for the best bargain, and even then part with your money grudgingly.

And your suspicions were confirmed. This one is even worse than the last. Still, you've invested a lot of time with this author and retain some loyalty. You wait until the next one is released in paperback...and again it was a waste of money. Better just get it at the library next time.

As a reader, I feel horribly betrayed when this happens.

As an author, I fall on my knees and pray, "Please don't let me end up like them!"

But really, what happened? I hear rumors sometimes that this or that author has literally gone insane. I read in the news that another had lost a close relative. Or perhaps it is as simple as not following Stephen King's credo to "write with the door closed" during the first draft. It is hard enough for an unpublished writer to refrain from talking about their project or even showing it to friends and family. I can't imagine what it's like for best-sellers whose work everyone and their cat is clamoring for. But like King says: "...if no one says to you, '....this is Wonderful!,' you are a lot less apt to slack off or to start concentrating on the wrong thing...being wonderful, for instance, instead of telling the goddam story."

Of course...there are a few out there that I am more in favor of the "gone insane" theory. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The uneducated view of a romance writer.

Do you believe that many people would believe that a romance writer would truly be like this? And is this portrayal funny or insulting? I think it's funny because it's so overblown, but I hear that the book is much darker. I anticipate a rousing discussion after viewing this. :)