Friday, July 2, 2010

Melding Life And Wrting

It's my pleasure to have, Kathryne Kennedy, visting with us today. Kathryne has the knack of creating magical worlds and inviting you to come play. She's a wonderful storyteller with a great sense of humor and the ability to connect you with her characters and world.

There is a much work involved with creating a new series. It's not only one story you have to concern yourself with, but several. By the time an author has sold the series, they must not only define the world and its laws, but give a character sketch of each set of characters in the projected series, and a brief synopsis of each of the projected stories within the series.

So how does an author juggle their life and the life of the world of characters?

A big hello to Sia and all of her readers! It’s a pleasure to be back here again.

It was suggested that I write a post about how I juggle my writing life and my real life, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don’t necessarily juggle. It’s more of a melding of the two.

The great thing about being a writer is that you can work anywhere, and inspiration comes at any time. The most common places for me to have sudden inspiration is in the shower (which is why I keep a notebook in there, although my bathroom floor has a tendency to get soapy and wet), that fuzzy state between waking and sleeping, while I’m talking with my family about my latest book, and whenever I just relax and rest. It’s almost as if the back of my brain is constantly working and it just takes a nudge to allow it to come out.

So truly, I guess I’m thinking about writing all of the time, especially when I get caught up in a new magical world like the one I created in The Fire Lord’s Lover. It explains many things. Like, why I have a tendency to wander off in the middle of a conversation, and have to ask my friend what in the world I was talking about to get back on track. Or why I have a tendency to walk into the corners of walls, or forget why I went into a room, or where I was going.

Is that why writers are thought of as a bit kooky?

Or is it just me? Maybe other writers have a way to juggle both worlds and I just haven’t mastered the trick of it yet. But I can see someone make a gesture and I’ll immediately think of how I can incorporate that into my character. Or watch people interact and think of how charming that would be for my hero/heroine. Or fall in love with a character from a movie and launch into an entirely new world with evolved characters of my own. Or see a wedding and wonder what characteristics made these two fall in love with each other and how they managed to overcome any obstacles in their way. Or suddenly wonder why things are the way they are, and what could change to alter the world as it is? Or see a single girl, and create a man that would be perfect for her. Or vice versa.

I lived, breathed, and slept The Fire Lord’s Lover. I can’t turn the creativity on and off, although there are times when my imagination stalls, and other times when it jumps so far ahead of me that I can’t see the ending of where it’s taking me.

But despite looking like a bit of an airhead most of the time, I have to admit that I love it. There’s an old saying that life is what you make it, and I think that’s true. What you carry around in your head, what thoughts you choose to focus on, becomes your life; because it’s the way you perceive your world (that half-empty, half-full glass of water thing).

For me, I carry around love stories, new worlds of magic, characters that charm me, adventures that I can lose myself in. My life is wonderful, no matter what I’m doing in the ‘real’ world, so maybe not being able to juggle is a good thing.

  • If you’re a writer, do you find yourself thinking about your writing most of the time?
  • Or if you’re an avid reader, do you find yourself remembering a great scene from a novel you just finished reading?

I’d love to hear about it!

~ * ~ * ~* ~

Fire Lord's Lover

If his powers are discovered, his father will destroy him...

In a magical land ruled by ruthless Elven Lords, the Fire Lord's son Dominic Raikes plays a deadly game to conceal his growing might from his malevolent father, until his arranged bride awakens in him passions he thought he had buried forever.

Unless his bride kills him first...

Lady Cassandra has been raised in outward purity and innocence, while secretly being trained as an assassin. Her mission is to bring down the Elven Lord and his champion son. But when she gets to court she discovers that nothing is what it seems, least of all the man she married...

Then Dominic and Cassandra together discover an unspeakable evil, one that threatens the destruction of the magical realm they would give their souls to save... Excerpt

See my review (4 1/2 stars a great read, must have book) for this series and book at Night Owl Reviews

Buy: Amazon,  Barnes and Noble,  Borders, BooksAMillion,  Chapters/Indigo.

Kathryne Kennedy is a multipublished, award-winning author of magical romances. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives in Arizona with her wonderful family—which includes two very tiny Chihuahuas.

She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh YES, I Can!

My guest is romance author, Marie Force. Readers may be familiar with Line Of Scrimmage and Love At First Flight. Marie writes with humor and creates memorable characters.

Recently Marie branched into Romantic Suspense. She had a particular premise in mind for a series but was told it wouldn’t work. Never tell a stubborn Celt it can’t be done, as she explains:

“You can’t write a romance series that features the same couple in every book. You just can’t.”

I love the word “can’t.” I really do. Telling me I can’t do something is like dangling a red blanket in front of a bull. It just makes me want to scream CAN SO at the top of my lungs. But rather than getting mad after everyone and her sister told me I couldn’t do it, I decided to get even. I wrote FATAL AFFAIR, intending for it to launch a series featuring Washington, D.C. Police Lieutenant Sam Holland and her love interest, U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano. I worked hard in FATAL AFFAIR to surround Sam and Nick with a rich cast of supporting characters, and I put them in a city that will provide endless sources of story and conflict for my fearless duo as well as their friends and family.

I wrote that book, I loved that book, and my agent loved it, too. Knowing the series idea would be a tough sell to romanceland, I decided to start book 2 just to make sure I could get this plan to work the way I thought it would. (Another no-no in the writing world: starting book 2 before you sell book 1. Did someone say, “can’t”? Hmmm, thought so.)

We put FATAL AFFAIR out on submission and guess what we were told? You just can’t write a romance series featuring the same couple in every book. You can’t. Ouch. I mean, I knew it, but I still hoped someone might be willing to take a teeny tiny risk that maybe, just maybe, I COULD write a series featuring the same couple in every book. That maybe, just maybe, rabid romance readers would connect with this couple and want more, more, more! That maybe, just maybe, as a rabid romance reader myself, I knew what it took to make this work.

Meanwhile, back at book 2, I was finding it downright difficult to keep up the conflict in the relationship of my newly in love couple. You know that stage—the rose-color glasses phase when everything is hunky dory? Well, of course I couldn’t let them be TOO happy, now could I? I was 50,000 words into FATAL JUSTICE and being challenged like I’d never been challenged before when I got the official word that FATAL AFFAIR hadn’t sold.

What’s a girl to do?

Well, scream and yell and punch a few things (not people, don’t worry, although I did give my kids a heads up that it was a good day to steer clear of Mom :-). After the hissy fit subsided, my mulish Irish pride kicked in, and I set out to finish that second book.

After a significant amount of bone marrow and brain matter was donated to the cause, I finished with a scene that is probably my all-time favorite in any of my books. It took me a full year to write FATAL JUSTICE—four times longer than it took to write FATAL AFFAIR—and I finished with tears on my face because before I even wrote the words “THE END,” this book I loved with my all my heart was dead on arrival. No one would ever see it.

A year later, I sold FATAL AFFAIR to Carina, which opened its doors promising to blow the lid off the publishing world. And last week, on the fifth anniversary of the day I wrote “THE END” for the very first time in my life, Carina bought FATAL JUSTICE—eighteen months after the DOA day.

Guess what?


I couldn’t be more delighted to have found a home for these two books, and hopefully more to come in this series. I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with editors who can see the potential and possibilities for Sam, Nick, and their cast of supporting characters (yes, I’m talking to you, Angela James and Jessica Schulte!). I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with the savvy, professional, incredibly author-centric group behind Carina as well as the Harlequin team supporting this effort. Every aspect of my association with Carina has been a delight.

And how about that cover?

Whoa! They gave me everything I asked for and then some!

When someone tells you that you can’t do something? Do it anyway. You just never know where it will lead you.

What about you? Have you ever been told *it can't be done*, and proven them wrong?

~ * ~ * ~

Fatal Affair

On the morning of the most important vote of Senator John O’Connor’s career he is late—again. His best friend and chief of staff, Nick Cappuano sets off to O'Connor’s apartment expecting to roust him from bed and hoping he is alone. But what Nick finds is that O’Connor, the handsome, amiable Senator from Virginia, has been brutally murdered, and Nick’s world comes crashing down around him. Complicating the disaster, the detective assigned to the case is none other than Sam Holland, Nick’s one-night stand from six years earlier, the woman who broke his heart and haunts his dreams. With six years worth of unfinished business hanging between them and more than a few scores to settle personally and professionally, Nick and Sam set out to find the senator's killer while trying—and failing—to resist the overwhelming attraction between them that seems to have only grown over the years.

It soon becomes clear that the senator’s past holds secrets that not only led to his death but now endanger Nick and Sam as well. Working together to find a killer and to rediscover the love they thought they lost long ago, they must put the past behind them and build a future that offers a world of new opportunities for both of them—including an offer from the Virginia Democrats for Nick to finish the last year of John’s term.

Marie Force’s first romantic suspense, FATAL AFFAIR, will be out June 21, 2010 from Carina Press. Book 2 in the Fatal Series, FATAL JUSTICE, is coming soon from Carina. She is also the author of LINE OF SCRIMMAGE and LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT. Of LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, Booklist said, “With its humor and endearing characters, Force’s charming novel will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, reaching far beyond sports fans.” Wild on Books said, “LOVE AT FIRST FLIGHT by Marie Force is most definitely a keeper. It is an astounding book. I loved every single word!” A third contemporary, EVERYBODY LOVES A HERO, is due out Feb. 1, 2011. Since 1996, Marie has been the communications director for a national organization similar to the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of RWA’s New England, From the Heart and Published Author Special Interest Chapters. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two children and a feisty dog named Brandy.
and on Twitter at Marie loves to hear from readers. Contact her at

Monday, June 28, 2010

MONDAY MUSINGS: The Ah HA Moments Of Discovery

I love how a story goes from a nebulous idea to something real. It takes on a life of its own, the characters become real with quirks you didn’t even know. Or if you’re writing a trait I love it when there’s that ah-ha moment and you know why the character has that foible.

The story I’m writing now, for instance. My heroine would finger her pendant. That’s how I saw her. I didn’t think anything of it other than I knew it was silver with a moon and a howling wolf it had something green on it but I didn’t pay attention. I’ve seen pendants similar and was probably channeling the Pyramid catalog. More scenes go by and I’m enjoying this story. A lot. Enter the hero, who I might add, is one hawt guy. As he walks up to her she again reaches for her pendant, but not just because it’s a nervous affectation, but also because it became hot to the touch—enough that she felt it was burning her skin. Hmmm. Where did that come from? I haven’t a clue other than I now knew it had something to do with the hero. It’s still not totally clear what the deal with this pendant but I’m enjoying getting clues.

It was the same with the gatepost in her yard. I knew as I was writing it was a gatepost and at the time it was a *prop*. The heroine is also a wildlife photographer and one of the ways she relaxes is by playing the guitar in the evenings. The cabin is some distance from anywhere, which makes sense for the story. She tends to pat this gatepost now and then. She also sees wildlife outside her gate where she sits to play her music. So this animal has been showing up frequently. In one scene, she’s gone into the house but is looking out the window at the animal, which is eyeing the fence and gate. I make another discovery. The gatepost is actually a totem. Who knew? I didn’t until that moment.

The totem was carved by a cousin who is Native American, and the top of the totem is a male wolf showing it’s teeth, the next figure is of a woman, hair blowing in the wind and two hands, palms up and in one is a moon and the other a green butterfly, or lunar moth. Under that is a female wolf with a cub and a baby Lynx playing.

I actually sat down and drew what it was although I didn't have a way to picture it here.

So now I understand the pendant better and I know the meaning of the totem figures. The fact remains, I didn’t plan on these objects when I thought of the story. I usually have an idea, a what if…Then the characters come together and the general story line. I know the ending, the enemy, some of the general issues. It lives in my head for a good while before I start typing.

With this particular story, quite a bit of research was needed. I have tons of notes on the area, on facets of the premise, her line of work—trust me, I’m very much an amateur photographer so getting the correct equipment she uses is important. And of course, I did quite a bit of research on the Native American tribes of the area.

For me, it’s fun to make discoveries along the way when writing a story and it’s happened numerous times with several stories. It's one way I know my characters or world are now real to me.

What about when you’re writing? Do you have those moments of discovery?

Couple of things to announce. Kate Douglas has generously decided to award a book to every person who commented on her blog from Friday to Sunday. For those of you who haven't left an email addy, contact me at siamckye at with your address and I will pass it on to Kate. She will then contact you as far as your mailing address and books available.

 WEDNESDAY'S guest Blogger, Marie Force, with her newest Romantic Suspense series: Fatal Affair.

FRIDAY, July 1st, Kathyrne Kennedy and an excerpt of her fabulous new book, Fire Lord's Lover!

My apologies to her fans who stop by today expecting to see Kathryne. Due to a glitch we had the wrong dates. Stop back by Friday-Sunday. We will be giving away copies of Fire Lord's Lover. 
Wolf print is by a favorite artist of mine. If you wish to see some of her work click here.