Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Five for January 31, 2014

1. I finished the 3rd draft of my WIP. Yay! Right on schedule with my goals for this year. It's been sent to my CPs and betas. Now I wait. Is anyone done reading yet?! Waiting is the hardest part. Best I get started on the revisions for my superhero WIP.

2. I sent my short story for the Untethered Realms anthology to be revised. Ahead of schedule. Though I didn't write it this month. I can't count it as one of the short stories for my goals this year. Novels come first this year, though. And querying. Yikes!

3. Oh! That reminds me: thank you to all of you who left tips on my Wednesday post about querying. Those were really helpful. I have a specific publisher in mind that I want to try first. If I have no luck there, I'll make a list and start sending queries out in small groups.

4. I have a parent-teacher conference this morning. Why do I feel so nervous? I know my son is smart, sweet, and well mannered. The other day my husband was playing Flow on his iPhone and the boy wanted to give it a try. He picked it up right away. A genius! Then later in the day he threw a fit to take down the bathroom because the ice cubes I gave him to play with in the tub were melting. Yup. I have to keep reminding myself he's just 3.

5. I'm doing all right for my goals this year. I get an A+ for revising, but only a D for managing to balance writing and networking. Yet I get a B+ for relaxing before bed and going to sleep at a reasonable hour. I've only had to have one nap this month. This is a huge improvement over last year when I wanted to nap five days of the week because I was so tired.

It's Friday! Woot! Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review of Tempting Clover

Breaking a goblin's curse is more difficult than Clover thought. Especially when love and nightshade are crucial ingredients.

For two years, Clover has been at a goblin's beck and call. Two years of no orgasms. Until she heard a rumor the sage witch could help her break the goblin's curse. There's only a few minor details, like how would she find love on short notice and how deadly are nightshade berries?

Reed's life was simple—own a bar, walk to work, fight a little. He didn't expect to tangle with a wanton elfess who disappeared on him not once but twice. Let alone save her from a depraved goblin. He'd sworn off women like her for good, so why did he feel the need to protect her?

My review:
The beautiful elf Clover has lost her freedom all for want of shelter from a storm. Next time she'd be more careful to check who is taking her in! Held under a goblin's curse, Clover must supply him with the evidence of her arousal so the ugly beast can use it for his potions. She meets a gorgeous bartender named Reed who makes her hotter than anyone else before, and even more so, makes her heart beat faster with something else. Can Clover find a way to break the goblin's curse and be free to love as she chooses?

This book was so much fun! It's a modernized fairy tale with a naughty twist. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but gives the reader a fantastic story about elves and goblins. There isn't too much world building or back story. It wasn't needed. This tale is all about the characters and the present conflict.

Clover is a strong protagonist, never giving up trying to find a way to free herself from the curse. She's beautiful and daring. Reed is incredibly sexy. An alpha with powerful morals. The scenes with the two of them are sizzling! As for the goblin, I loathed him. A villain that twists my stomach.

You don't need to read the first book in this series to enjoy this one, but you don't want to miss out on any of the Trouble With Elves books. Decadent Kane does know how to tantalize her readers!

About the author: 
If I had to describe myself, it would be in a word that has infinite meanings with a complexity which falls off the tongue.
A word made up of many elements, is deceptive in appearance, and creates an illusion from the imagination.
My word would be Phantasmagoric.

You can find Decadent Kane here:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - querying paranormal romance

Since I'll be querying my paranormal romance (PNR) novel soon, I've been doing a lot of reading about how to write the most effective letter. PNR stories are so varied and quite popular these days. You need to stand out to get noticed, and it all starts with this one email.

The same rules for any query letter apply here too:
- Be professional.
- Be concise.
- Mind your manners.

You want to hook the editor or agent. Most people reading queries for PNR don't want the email to start off with the boring "I'm seeking representation for my blah blah blah." Jump right into it. Ensnare them immediately with the story hook.

If you're able to capture the hook in one sentence, go for it. It's difficult because you want it to encompass the protagonist, the tone, and the conflict. Example: When reluctant psychic, Remy Jones, saves the life of an old woman, she doesn’t expect to be granted a wish in return. (Keri Arthur's HEART'S WISH)

The brief blurb for the book should be between four and six sentences. Make every word count. You must cover the who, what, where, when, and why. And it can't be an every day voice. This is PNR. You must take them out of the ordinary. Also remember that the romance is key. It's what everything hinges upon. Grab their hearts and twist with a great furry werewolf hand.

Include tropes. If you think you don't have any, read your manuscript again. They're there. The tropes like vampires-hate-werewolves-but-protagonist-falls-in-love-with-one or best-friends-turned-lovers are important for the agent or editor to know where you're coming from. PNR publishers tend to like Alpha males, but they won't totally discount you if you have another powerful trope. There's also a call for unique supernatural creatures.

I wish I could offer you more tips than these. I wish someone could tell me what the secret is to writing an amazing query letter. As much as we want to break it down and make a science of it, it's more about heart than anything else.

Do you have any tips for writing query letters?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday with Spell of Summoning

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This one has been on my Kindle for a while, and I'm so glad I finally got to it in my TBR list. A great paranormal romance by Anna Abner with a refreshing take on necromancers. No longer the creepy, basement lurking evil mages you're used to reading. This guy is hot!

Here's your teaser:
"Yeah." It wasn't that she didn't or couldn't trust Kristin, but how did a person admit they were being possessed by a demon? (45% on my Kindle)

* * * * *

We're coming upon that time of year again.
Romance is in the air.
And it can be on your e-reader too.
The Valentine's Day Book Giveaway!
Hilary Grossman and T.B. Markinson have organized a great group giveaway. 21 authors are giving away books! I'm giving away a digital copy of The 13th Floor Complete Collection.

 Don't worry. I'll remind you of it again!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tempting Clover by Decadent Kane teaser excerpt

Breaking a goblin's curse is more difficult than Clover thought. Especially when love and nightshade are crucial ingredients.

For two years, Clover has been at a goblin's beck and call. Two years of no orgasms. Until she heard a rumor the sage witch could help her break the goblin's curse. There's only a few minor details, like how would she find love on short notice and how deadly are nightshade berries?

Reed's life was simple—own a bar, walk to work, fight a little. He didn't expect to tangle with a wanton elfess who disappeared on him not once but twice. Let alone save her from a depraved goblin. He'd sworn off women like her for good, so why did he feel the need to protect her?

Teaser excerpt:

"How come I get the feeling you're trying to get away from me?" She countered him at the end of the bar.
"Because I am." No reason to lie about it. The colder he was maybe the more it would make her realize he didn't want her. On the other hand, perhaps he was trying to convince himself he didn't want her.
Clover gave a pout. "I don't think I'm going to make it that easy on you." She leaned over the bar so her next words would only be heard by him. "The last time we saw each other I'm quite sure you wanted to do something with me."
Reed sucked in air. Clover was tearing apart his resolve already. Why'd she have to be so forth coming? Why'd he have to be attracted to her? "What do you want from me?"
"Everything." Her eyes slid over his body and Reed could have sworn she was actually touching the sensitive flesh beneath his clothes. A gentle caress and he hardened despite his best efforts.
He narrowed his gaze on her. "Careful or you might get more than you bargained for." Oh, for the love of snails, he was flirting back. It was as if he had no control over his body at all.
Clover slid over the counter and Reed let the bar fall to the back of his mind. His gaze held hers and he was sure he'd fall into her depths. She pulled her warm body right up alongside of his. "Only one problem, I'm cursed."

About the author: 
If I had to describe myself, it would be in a word that has infinite meanings with a complexity which falls off the tongue.
A word made up of many elements, is deceptive in appearance, and creates an illusion from the imagination.
My word would be Phantasmagoric.

You can find Decadent Kane here:
Facebook * Twitter * Blog * Goodreads * Newsletter 

Join me on Thursday for my review of TEMPTING CLOVER.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Super Sweet Blogger Award

Here are the rules for accepting the Super Sweet Blogging Award:

1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you.
2. Answer 5 Super Sweet questions.
3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post.
4. Nominate a bakers’s dozen (13) other deserving bloggers.

5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.

Thank you so much to the super awesome Susanne Drazic for this great award! 

The Super Sweet Questions:
1. Cookies or Cake?   Both? Do I have to pick one? All right, cookies.
2. Chocolate or Vanilla?   Chocolate.
3. Favorite Sweet Treat?   Chocolate chip cookies.
4. When Do You Crave Sweet Things The Most?   At night after the boy is in bed.
5. Sweet Nick Name?    Cookie. (My junior leader name in Brownies.)

I love to share my sweets, so I'm handing out awards thick with frosting to anyone that would like to take it. Let us know what your sweet treat is!

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Five for January 24, 2014

1. I started on the third draft of my WIP. One step closer to a beautiful polish and then, oh no, querying! Yikes! Is it okay to start panicking about that now even though I'm not close to starting to do it yet? I have all these different scenarios playing out in my head. I think I've covered every possibility. Of course, something I totally didn't expect will happen. Hence the panic.

2. When I started the work on my third draft, I made a new list of plot points for the chapters. (Since I changed the chapters around in the second draft.) I marked out parts for action, romance, characterization, and key plot points. I even used colored pencils. I really liked using color. Did it help me? Well, everything looks to be in order just the way it is. Until my CPs and beta readers have their say, that is! I'm on the right track, though.

3. Lots of school delays this week. We don't have a ton of snow, but it's frigid. My day to assist in my son's preschool class is on Monday. By the look of the forecast, we're due for another delay. Class will be later, so I'll be sitting down to have lunch with nine three-year-olds. It has the possibility of great entertainment. Let's hope it's all comedy!

4. This week I ordered flowers for my mom (who's retiring in a week) and my Nana (whose birthday is at the beginning of February). It made me get excited about growing more in our garden this year. Then thinking about the warmer weather, I decided I needed a wide brimmed sun hat. Maybe a straw hat or something in that fashion. My thoughts came to a screeching halt. When did I become a woman who wears a straw hat?!

5. No plans for the weekend which is nice. What about you?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Model Position cover reveal

For Sienna, love and art are perilous games. Is she ready to take that gamble?
Sienna is a beautiful, talented artist poised on the precipice of soaring into the glamorous, yet cutthroat Manhattan art scene.
Dave Hightower is a hooked-up, handsome heir to the hippest gallery in NYC, Gallery Hightower.
Erik is the live drawing model with his sizzling green eyes fixed only on Sienna.
Three’s a crowd, so Sienna must make a choice: date Dave and ride the fast track to landing a show at Gallery Hightower and hobnobbing with the art glitterati, or follow her heart and take a chance with Erik, the stunning male model who’s stealing her heart. But Erik has some worrisome secrets, and who in their right mind would make live modeling their career?

Dare Sienna throw away her chances of hitting it big to follow her heart?

When Kitsy Clare isn’t creating stories on her favorite Mac Air, she teaches speculative fiction and creative writing workshops. She also loves to draw, travel, read spicy romance, sci-fi and all kinds of thrillers. She divides her time between New York City and her studio in the Catskills, where she enjoys the sounds of birds, bullfrogs and the random coyote. 

Kitsy Clare is the pen name for her new adult romance. She also writes young adult fiction using her real name, Catherine Stine. Her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One won finalist spots in both YA and Science Fiction in the 2013 USA Book News International Book Awards. It was also granted an Indie Reader Approved notable stamp. Her YA Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book. Ruby’s Fire, the new companion novel to Fireseed One, is receiving high praise from reviewers. She’s a member of SFWA, SCBWI and CBIG. She can be found on,, and

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - intelligent people do read romance

Myth: Smart people don't read or write romance.
Truth: Yes, they do. The misconceptions come from tropes that are decades old. There's still fluff out there, but nowadays, many romance novels have solid plots, great characterization, and amazing world building. Sometimes there's a shirtless man on the cover or a buxom woman, but beneath those cheesy covers, you can find truly wonderful stories.

Myth: The Alpha males in romance novels create unrealistic expectations for women in real life.
Truth: Ha! Most of the women I know, myself included, do not want an Alpha like the ones in those stories. Possessive, arrogant, and demanding? No thank you. We can do without the conflict. We know the difference between fantasy and reality. It's fun to read about Alphas, but we're smart enough to know we want a man who treats us with respect and sees us as an equal.

Myth: Romance novels are smut.
Truth: Smart folks know romance books focus on relationships. We love them because they take us on an emotional journey. Sometimes there is sex involved. Just like in real life relationships. Books are safe places to live out fantasies. There's nothing wrong with that.

Myth: The women in romance novels are stupid and weak.
Truth: Not at all. Many heroines in modern romances are smart, strong, and independent. The fact that they swoon over the hero doesn't make them any less so. The heroine knows what she wants and she won't settle for less. She's an admirable role model.

Myth: The happily-ever-after is unrealistic.
Truth: Yes, sometimes it is. Yet that's what makes romance books such a great escape. It helps to lift up the reader emotionally and gives them hope. Is it really so wrong to hope and strive for your own happily-ever-after?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Story Sprouts blog tour - Why Writing in Community Rocks our Socks

I'm very pleased to welcome Alana and Nutschell to my blog today.
I love the guest post topic they chose. Take it away!

Writing Groups: Why Writing in Community Rocks our Socks

In my experience, writing tends to be a pretty solitary activity. As writers, we all seem to have our … quirks, shall we call them? … about the ambiance in which we compose. 

For some, it may be a certain musical style, for others silence or the persistent hum of a favorite white noise.

I've heard tales of early morning writers who rise before the world wakes, ready to welcome the day with a visit to their keyboard. (Is this as shocking to you as it is to me?) I know of others who treat writing as a nine to five, clocking in and clocking back out. Then there are the night owls, like me, who struggle to find the inspiration until finally it drips out of our pores in the silence of the night.

Then there are the rituals associated with a favorite beverage, a preferred warm-up, the litany of distractions such as email and social media to breeze through first, perhaps a moment of meditation, favorite clothing, angles, particular lighting, charms, stretches, pets, seances … who knows?!

Notice one thing I did not mention? 


Writing demands focus and inner reflection, and generally having people around does not help with either. People are noisy. They ask questions. And they talk. And they move, which makes noise even if they are not talking. So when people are around, writers are often forced to turn away from writing, or else dive so deeply into ourselves that we force the world around us with all its cries for attention to disappear. Everything else must fade but the words on the page. And people, especially people who know us and love us, don't usually like to fade.

So why, if we are so particular, would we ever want to write in a group? Why attend a writing retreat or a writing workshop? Why put ourselves smack dab in the middle of a bunch of people to do the thing we usually want to do alone?

Twenty writers recently spent six hours together with the Children's Book Writers of Los Angeles, writing furiously through ten exercises and ultimately producing the Story Sprouts: CBW-LA Writing Day 2013 Exercises and Anthology book you see below. Considering how many of us usually write alone, delving into the idea of writing in community and why the Writing Day was such a success at creating beautiful poetry and prose fascinated me.
  • To start off with, there is a huge difference between writing around other writers, and writing around our spouses and friends and roommates and children. Writers get the quiet. Writers seek the quiet.
  • Everyone has a streak of competition, including writers - it is not limited to athletes. If you, as a writer among writers, are sitting in a room, or in a resort, and you are the only one sitting with a silent keyboard or a motionless pen and paper, you will find something to write about. Inspiration will strike. You will not let all of those other writers get their story going without you.
  • Writing in rhythms is healthy. The mind and body need breaks and cycles. They can not go for days without taking brief respites to refuel or relax. When you attend a writing workshop or a writer's retreat, you will be able to (forced to?) break together, finding a healthy balance between social interaction and alone time.
  • Speaking of alone, you will find out you are not alone. Feel vulnerable about your work, certain you are a genius one minute and a fool the next? Wonder if you are the only person in the world who must sit down at the desk, stand up to boil water, sit back down and pretend to write while you really wait for the whistle, get up to make sure you turned the stove on because it seems like it's been ages and there's no sign of hot water, sit back down after you see the red light that indicated the burner is turned on, stand up when the whistle goes off, prepare your tea, sip your tea, and sit back down before you can write? Yeah, you're not alone there either. Or whatever else your hyper-critical inner editor says or your pre-writing ritual involves either.
  • Comparing notes helps. Sometimes all we need to finish up a first draft or get back into revisions with renewed verve is someone else's thoughts. Quotes are great. Insight from "real people" in person is even better.
  • Brainstorms are way more entertaining and unexpected in groups. And they are guaranteed to get your mind moving in a direction you hadn't planned.
  • Bookworm fashion. In L.A., I generally see women with designer bags, or at the very least a trendy department store bag to fit the season. I carry around unique artsy-fartsy bags that are handmade by artisans and large enough to fit my books or writing tools. I know I'm home in a room full of writers when I see a dozen bags that don't belong anywhere near a designer rack either.
  • Instant feedback. Are you stuck on a certain character, or having trouble with a scene? Maybe you have a "big picture" problem, like whether to use first or third person, or whether your hero is a male or female character. Whatever you're trying to figure out, there are uber-creative people around to bounce ideas off of.
  • No distractions! When you are away from your home or office desk and computer, writing in a group setting towards a shared goal, all those distractions that normally plague you and compete for your attention melt away, and allow you to focus on the task at hand.
  • Writing in community builds up your support group - and holds you accountable. Writers want to see one another succeed and achieve great things! Retreat and workshop participants will want to cheer you on in your future endeavours- they will also want to know that you are still writing.
  • Blogging is great, social media is great, reading books about writing is great, but nothing beats the energy exchange of being together in the real world. We are wired to be together. Even the introverts among us. The beautiful thing about writing in community is that introverts can be around other people and choose not to engage deeply or put on a social act. They can just be, quietly, in the energy of others, working parallel towards a similar goal. No pressure to speak or perform.
  • It's a confidence boost! If you share your ideas or writing, chances are at least one person will offer up praise and support for what you are doing. And even if you don't share, the fact that you dedicated time to your craft and knocked out a few hundred, even a few thousand, words will give you a sense of accomplishment.
  • If you're working your way through the Story Sprouts exercises, fair warning - you'll really need a group for exercise six. So you might as well plan your group writing experience now. 
  • Finally? Writing in community is just plain fun.
So, how can you write in community? 
  • If you don't have a group of writers who you know, you can start slowly by writing in a park or a coffee shop. Chances are, there will be lots of students or freelance employees working all around you. You may not have the opportunity to interact like you would at a workshop or a retreat, but you'll certainly get a taste of what it feels like to write around others.
  • If you do have a group of writers, agree on a date and time to get together and promise to spend at least an hour of it writing - no chatter! When you're done, share what you're working on, or simply congratulate one another for an hour well spent.
  • Look for "official" writing groups on Google or Meetup, even your local library, and join in their next writing workshop or retreat. CBW-LA is a non-profit group open to anyone who wants to attend - our members get a discount, but anyone can look for us and take advantage of a critique, informational lecture or writing workshop!
  • Peruse the back of writing magazines for writers' retreats. Find one that speaks to you and sign up for a full week of uninterrupted writing time.
If you are in the L.A. area, please do look us up: CBW-LA. We'd love to have you join us at any event! And if you're not in L.A., we hope that you find a good group and write in community at least once to try it out. If you live elsewhere and you have a writing group you love and want to share, mention it in the comments.
Thanks so much Christine … and to all you bloggers, writers and readers our there! We had a wonderful time here on our Story Sprouts worldwide blog tour! Cheers!
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: CBW-LA Publications (October 18, 2013)
  • Edited by: Alana Garrigues, Nutschell Anne Windsor
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989878791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989878791
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

  • 19 Authors
  • 38 Combined Anthology Entries – 2 per Contributing Author
  • 6-hour Workshop
  • 10 Writing Exercises (included in Story Sprouts)
  • Dozens of Photo, Character and Conflict Prompts (included in Story Sprouts)
  • 240 pages
What happens when linguistic lovers and tale tellers workshop together? Inspiration. Wonder. Discovery. Growth. Magic.
Brave and talented, the writers featured in this anthology took on the challenge of dedicating one day to the raw and creative process of writing.
A rare view into the building blocks of composition, Story Sprouts is made up of nearly 40 works of poetry and prose from 19 published and aspiring children's book authors.
This compilation includes all of the anthology writing exercises and prompts, along with tips, techniques and free online writing resources to help writers improve their craft.

Learn more about Story Sprouts at
Join the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles at

Find Nutschell at: