Friday, May 28, 2010

OUR READERS: An Author's Blessing and Inspiration.

I'm so glad to have, Donna Grant, visiting again OVER COFFEE with the next in her fabulous Dark Sword Series, FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDER.

I'm in the process of reading, FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDER, and I have to tell you it's a great read. Sometimes you wonder about the second book in a new series but this one is good, lots of action, hot sex scenes, and a strong story. Donna has the knack of creating a world within a world that is fascinating. I liked Fallon in the first book, but in this one you see his growth and overcoming his fears to be who and what he really is--a strong warrior. You'll love him. Lady Larena is a delightful surprise and I won't spoil it for you. Suffice to say she'll surprise you with her deceptive beauty and the persona of a Lady which overlays steel and her fierce loyalty. She a tough lady in a time when many weren't but then she's a Scot and Highland women weren't usually weak and wimpy. The story grabs you, constantly builds tension and it's hard to put down.

I had the chance to meet Donna and her husband at the RT Convention. A highlight of the convention. She's a lot of fun. I watched her with her fans and although I know she was tired, I think we all were, she never showed it or brushed off her readers. Donna greeted all with a warm smile. You could tell she really enjoyed interacting with them.

Donna's topic today is about how important readers are to an author.

Thank you to Sia so much for inviting me. I had the pleasure of meeting her at RT. I had a fabulous time, and the lunch we shared is one I’ll treasure always. J

The reason I became an author is fairly easy. I had to get the stories out of my head! I’ve always had a very active imagination (ask my parents, I’d scare myself silly as a kid and couldn’t sleep alone), so it didn’t surprise anyone in my family when I tried writing my first novel. The fact it was a romance also didn’t shock anyone since that’s all I read.

There is so much about being an author I love. I love setting down to start a new book. The excitement and adventure and love that await me with new characters are as thrilling to me as jumping out of airplanes is to adrenaline junkies. I love diving deeper into a story, and I even like revisions. I might complain and think I might not be able to do them, but always, I take a deep breath and give it a go. It helps that I have the most awesome editor on the planet. J

The one thing I love above all else about being an author is you, the readers. The emails and letters and cards are simply the best. I keep everything, too! All the emails I print out and put together in a binder with the letters and cards I receive. It’s readers who connect with our characters as deeply – and sometimes even deeper – than an author does.

I get absolutely giddy when I get an email from a reader who found a secondary character that really connected with her, when she begs for his story and gets excited when I tell her he does get his own book. There is just nothing better than knowing someone has read one of my books and enjoyed it. It truly warms my heart!

Readers are very important to an author’s career. It’s reader who can help push a book or series in ways that a publisher never dreamed of. It’s readers who help to inspire an author. It’s readers who spend hard earned money on our books for an escape. And I feel particularly humbled when I know someone has bought my books.

A simple thank you never seems good enough, so I try to spend as much time with readers as I can. I love interacting with them and learning what they liked – and even what they didn’t enjoy – about my books. You can find me most days on Twitter and Facebook and even MySpace. I do have a blog that I try to post to at least twice a week.

Sometimes deadlines, revisions, copy edits, galleys, and promoting a book can really pull me away from readers, but I do try to give them a portion of each day. I endeavor to go to conferences and readers luncheons so I can meet up with readers and mayhap meet new ones. J

With the release of my newest, FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDER, the second in my historical paranormal series, Dark Sword, I’ve met some really great readers through blog tours, conferences, and contests. I’ve had some great response to the series, which is so wonderful.

I get a lot of questions though. Like how did I come up with the idea? That’s a difficult one to answer really. I don’t remember the exact idea, but I do remember thinking I could have a lot of fun with it. At first it was going to be a trilogy about the three brothers, but the more I thought about the books, the more I began to plan for them, the more I realized that I could make the series as long or as short as I needed. As it is, I plan on 15 books. I hope I’m lucky enough to be able to write all of them, and as of right now, I’m contracted for 6 books.

But when I was deciding on the characters, I wanted the heroes to be larger than life. I wanted them to have gone through hell, literally, and managed to pull themselves - somewhat - out of it. But it wouldn’t be a romance if the hero didn’t need a heroine to help him. J I like strong heroines, and if my heroes were going to be immortal with primeval gods inside them, then my heroines had to be able to stand with them or they’d be run over.So, the answer came when I realized my heroines were going to be Druids. What better way to mix the legends and lore of Britain than with my Highlanders? Each hero, or Warrior, has a different god inside him giving him different powers than the others. (i.e. teleporting, controlling water, reading minds, etc…) However, my Druids would have simpler magic. They talk to trees, help plants grow, and heal the sick. Each Druid would also have something special that was just hers, and in some way it would help/effect each Warrior. I’ve had such a grand time pairing up the Druids with each Warrior.

  • Do you like to meet or chat with the authors that write your favorite books?

Thanks for stopping by, and for those who comment you could win a signed copy of DANGEROUS HIGHLANDER.

Here’s the back cover for the FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDER…


Fallon MacLeod has gifts any warrior would covet - fierce strength, unmatched skill, even immortality. But those gifts come at a price that puts everyone he loves at risk. Only when his brother, Quinn, is taken captive does Fallon leave the seclusion of his Highland home to seek the king's aid. And though every women at court would gladly be his for the asking, one alone causes desire to roar to life within him: beautiful, mysterious Larena Monroe.


Rumors swirl around the castle about "The McLeod" but Larena knows the truth. Like Fallon, Larena is searching for a way to vanquish the evil Druid who wants to wreak havoc on earth. Drawn to Fallon in spite of her fear, she surrenders to a passion that shocks them both with its raw intensity. But Larena dares not hope for more - not when she holds a secret that could turn her fiery Highland love against her forever…



To find out more about me please visit my website at

To read more about the Dark Sword series, see pics of the Warriors, take the quiz, download wallpaper, or search characters, please visit

Peace and love!


Donna Grant is bestselling author of more than twenty novels spanning multiple genres of romance - Scottish Medieval, historical, dark fantasy, time travel, paranormal, and erotic.

Donna lives in Texas with her husband and two kids.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

THE ART OF JABBERING: Not Such a Bad a Thing—Well Not all the Time

My guest is romance author, Christie Craig. You may have read some of her books like Divorced, Desperate and Deceived and Divorced, Desperate And Dating.

I recently had the opportunity to read Christie’s book. Oh what a fun book to read, and laugh? Oh my goodness this book cracked me up. It’s a good blend of comedy and suspense. I love Christie’s sense of humor and her ability to infuse that humor in her writing and her word plays without losing that edge of danger needed for a good suspense story. Her characters are real and fun and tend to get into some wacky situations. You’ll love Precious, Texas and Shala, Sky, Redfoot, and Martha and her red Cadillac. Wait until you meet the guy in the pink bathrobe and smells like a skunk. You’ll be laughing your, um, head off. If you enjoy witty, sexy romantic suspense, you’ll love Shut Up And Kiss Me.

Christie shares with us The Art of Jabbering & Networking at Conferences.

Shala Winters, my heroine in Shut Up And Kiss Me is a bit of a jabberer, and guess what my hero can’t stand? Yup, you got it. Sky Gomez can’t stand a jabbering woman. In the book he states: He would walk uphill naked and barefoot through the snow and a bed of porcupine needles to avoid a jabbering woman. I bet you can figure out just how that works out for him too, can’t you? Basically, there is no escape, not even an uphill path through the snow or porcupine needles. Sky is stuck with Shala and her endless chatter. I make sure of it. Love in the making.

The crazy thing is that while Shut Up and Kiss Me is the perfect title for the book, I had originally given the title to an earlier book and another heroine who had a habit of talking a wee bit much. So I guess you could say, I have a tendency to write about heroines who aren’t afraid to talk. Now, how I have so much insight into this character trait is beyond me. I can hear everyone who knows me cracking up right now.

So, fine! I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a talker, and the ol’ foot-in-the-mouth moment is something I’ve experienced once or twice, maybe a dozen times. There was the time I stepped out into my backyard just in time to hear my next door neighbor, positioned on top of his ever-increasing CB radio antenna, yell down to my husband, “Hey, it works.”

And I yelled back, “It should. It’s big enough.”

Only to have my husband--after he finished laughing his butt off and after he picked his butt up from the ground--tell me they hadn’t been discussing the antenna, but my neighbor’s vasectomy. Yeah, I had my big toe stuck between my molars for about a week on that one. And for about a year, every time I saw my neighbor I swear he walked a little taller.

Ahh, but foot-in-the-mouth moments aside, jabbering isn’t altogether a bad thing. Not for my fiction, and especially not for me as a writer.

Here’s what I mean:

Jabbering -- Good For Fiction

Jabbering, or to say it another way, talking before you think-- saying what you mean before filtering it-- is one of the best keys to writing good dialogue. The heck with politeness and political correctness. Kick aside what people expect your characters to say, and let them do a little jabbering, and speak their minds. Just for fun, let me show you what I mean.

“How are you this morning?” Linda asked, as Jeffery walked into the boardroom with the other six members.

Jeffery paused. “I’m fine thank you.”

Now that’s just plain ol’ polite dialogue and frankly it’s boring. How about we spice that up:

“How are you this morning?” Linda asked, as Jeffery walked into the boardroom with the other six members.

Jeffery flinched. “How the hell can you even ask me that after what you did?”

Better, don’t you think? Or maybe let’s try.

“How are you this morning?” Linda asked, as Jeffery walked into the boardroom with the other \six members.

“I’m doing fabulous and as soon as I can get you alone and naked again, I’ll be doing even better.”

To write great dialogue let your characters say the truth, the hell with consequences. Hey, kids can get away with it, why not our characters. For example, my three-year-old son accidentally walked into the bathroom as my mom stepped out of the shower.

“Wow, I didn’t know you looked like that naked,” he said.
My mom grabbed the towel and covered herself. “Like what?”
“Like a fat lady,” he said in total honesty.

I didn’t say there wouldn’t be consequences, just the hell with them. Yes, I had a talk with my young son about political correctness, but let me tell you, it was funny, it was honest—my mom had gained weight and was hiding it behind her clothes—and while it happened more than a dozen years ago, the whole family still laughs at it.

So make you character’s dialogue memorable and maybe even funny by letting them talk with child-like honesty.

Jabbering -- Good for Verbal Networking

The art of jabbering is basically the art of carrying on a conversation--and being able to communicate with the editors, agents, other writers, and eventually your fans. Probably one of the best networking skills I’ve attained is the ability to talk. While some believe it was a natural talent, I beg to differ. I was a wallflower in high school. It wasn’t until I sold my book and was asked to speak at conferences did I learn the fine art of jabbering. So here’s a few tips and advice to shy writers trying to build their verbal networking skills.

  • At conference or any social event, pretend it’s your party and your place to make everyone else feel welcome.

  • Make the conversation about the person you are speaking to and not all about yourself. People love it when you show interest in them, and it makes the person curious about you. So you’ll usually get your time in the spot light as well. (This even works in pitch sessions. Ask an agent, so what types of books are you really wanting to see right now? Eventually the conversation will come back around to what type of book you have, but by then hopefully you’ll be relaxed a bit and won’t feel so nervous.)

  • Find the person who is standing alone and go greet them. I’ve made more friends by simply looking for the lone stranger in the room and introducing myself. Amazingly, a few of them were editors.

  • Don’t be afraid to try public speaking—unless it truly is your worst fear. Most speakers are nervous at first, but if you practice your talk, have confidence in what you’re saying, see it as opportunity to share your knowledge, chances are you might even learn to like it. Start out giving short talks to small groups and build up from there. Speaking at conferences is the best PR.

  • Have fun, smile and watch your body language. Nothing draws a crowd more than people having fun. We all want to join the party. A big smile says I’m open, friendly, and invites people to come and say hello. Closed body language, arms crossed, and avoiding eye contact of others keeps people back.

    Okay, so there you have it. Why jabbering isn’t altogether a bad thing—as long as you keep your foot out of your mouth.
Today, what I’d love to hear from you is some funny foot-in-the-mouth situations, or perhaps some of your tips on dialogue and verbal networking.

One commenter will receive an autographed copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me. So make sure you leave a comment.
~ * ~ * ~
Back Cover Blurb:

WELCOME TO PRECIOUS, TEXAS...where fistfights serve as dinner theater and fire ants rain from the sky. The locals are usually very friendly, if a bit eccentric. No pictures please, or you may find yourself a guest of the county morgue.

Photojournalist Shala Winters already had her hands full bringing tourism to this backward, podunk little town, but her job just got tougher. Pictures can say a thousand words, and one of Shala’s is screaming bloody murder. Now she has to entrust a macho, infuriating lawman with her life—but she’ll never trust him with her heart.

Trusted or not, Sky Gomez isn’t about to let a killer get his hands on Shala’s Nikon—or any of her more comely assets, for that matter. Her mouth might move faster than a Piney Woods roadrunner, but all he can think about is how good it must taste…and how she’ll never escape true love.
Browse the features of the book HERE
You can find Christie Craig: Website Workshops Write With Us Writer's blog Facebook Killer Fiction

Christie Craig, an Alabama native, is an award-winning, multi-published writer, multi-published photo journalist, motivational speaker, and writing teacher. Her non-fiction articles and photography have appeared in almost three thousand national magazines. A Golden Heart finalist, and a finalist in more than fifty RWA-sponsored contests, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone. Published by Silhouette in the 90s, she recently broke back into fiction in a big way, making four book sales in one day. Her seventh humorous single title romance novel, published by Dorchester, will hit the stands in June 2010.

Her non-fiction book, co-authored by Faye Hughes, released September 08, is The Everything Guide To Writing A Romance Novel and their second non-fiction book, a humorous self-help relationship book, Wild, Wicked and Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You Are in a Romance Novel is scheduled to be released December 2010. Craig’s latest writing adventure is the sale of a young adult paranormal romance series, Shadow Falls Camp, that will be published by St. Martins Press in the near future.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday

I have to admit, usually Mondays are calm in my house. Everyone is either off to work or school and the house is mine, mine I say. And quiet. Today, not so much.

Today just tops off a rather manic week dealing with all sorts of fires including my son having surgery last Monday to remove tonsils as big as Texas. Nothing like having your kid famous for tonsils. Let me tell you, tonsillectomies are a simple procedure in the normal course of events and if the patient is 10 or under. At 15 or older? Not so much. Then you add the fact that most guys turn into little kids when they're sick. Or in this case, a toddler. A beleaguered mom has to bridge that fine line of sympathy and tough love. She is also reduced to pulling out a pacifier and disposable diaper (I keep a supply on hand for my grand nieces) when the whining becomes too much. But, by golly, it sure gets the point across in a very tangible way, lol!

All this has been going on as I do a mad scramble, after attending Romance Times Convention, booking authors for the blog for June and July. I'm still scrambling. But I do have some good guests coming up. On Wednesday I have Christie Craig, SHUT UP AND KISS ME. A fun book I really enjoyed reading.

Today, a week after surgery, was suppose to be calm. Ha! Teach me to think. I have a bleeding throat and a scared kid to content with. Have I mentioned I have the utmost respect for nurses? You don't get paid nearly enough and there should be a halo given for patience and maintaining a caring attitude despite cranky and hurting patients. Ah well, this too shall pass. :-)

I have some goodies to hand out. Namely winners of books. Yay. Winners are always fun and I have some great books to hand out to the following:

Francis Ray, IT HAD TO BE YOU:
  • Leann Stewart

Cindy Gerard, RISK NO SECRETS:

  • Lisa, (Modokker)

Brenda Jackson, HIDDEN PLEASURES (5 copies):

  • Melissa Bradley
  • Angewolfstorm
  • Terry's Crafty Fingers
  • LadySilver
  • LaTiscia


  • Annette Fitgearald


  • Vivian Archer

  • Allyson Rueban

  • Sunsinger
  • Barbara Croy

Congratulations to the winners! Be sure to contact me, with your physical address so we can get your books out to you.

Have a great week everyone!

Meanwhile, if you'll excuse me I'm just gonna.....