Friday, November 11, 2011


Two copies of Genie Knows Best are available to two commenters on today's blog.

My guest is romance writer, Judi Fennell.

Judi is a magically delicious storyteller and a dear friend from whom I've learn so much about this business. She's was also one of the first writers to read my work (a big moment of trepidation for me). 

Judi taught me the importance in having band-aids and the need of blood on standby after the reading and her comments. Yeah, I thought the manuscript was in imminent danger of bleeding to death, lol! 

But seriously, she also taught me the value of being objective of when it comes to your writing and critiques, the value of learning the craft of writing, and following your dreamsthey don't magically. You work for them. 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who liked to tell stories. From “Casper made me do it” when she rode her tricycle into the street, to the little raindrop who fell from the sky in that very first First Grade Essay, to Mr. Magical who lived in the sewer with a zebra-striped alligator, and Cotton The Lonely Rabbit, she always told stories. (Not fibs, mind you. I told stories. Fibs are an entirely different matter and not at all part of this discussion. And I totally plead the fifth on that.)

So the little girl wrote her stories, even won some awards for them, but the idea of becoming an actual Writer was laughable. Seriously, only those people could become authors. The exalted ones. The ones with talent. And agents. And editors. The general masses weren’t like these Authors.

Yet here I am today. An author. Who gets paid and has books on bookstore shelves. And has an agent and an editor. Even a publicist. And reviewers and, best of all, fans.

How did this happen?

You know, when I used to go to the library with my mom when I was younger and headed right to the romance section—and specifically the Ls and Ms (for Charlotte Lamb and Anne Mather), I had no idea “real people” could become authors. Books took me away to far off places. They taught me new things. They showed me heroines who could become who and what they wanted to be without compromising who they were. The stories fired my imagination and, in my voracious reading, I couldn’t imagine a better career.

But that was for those people. Not me.

As I said, I’ve always written. But it wasn’t until my youngest went to kindergarten that I sat down and wrote a “real” full length novel. (The one I wrote in 9th grade when I had about as much life experience as an amoeba doesn’t count.) I had no idea what POV or head-hopping were. I had no idea about Goal, Motivation, or Conflict. I only knew that I had two characters who went through some stuff and ended up living happily ever after.

That first full length novel has been revised, oh, maybe a hundred times. I’m not exaggerating. I still have the earliest completed version. I mailed it to myself with a date stamp across the flap and thought that was a good enough copyright—told you I didn’t have a clue about any of this. I won’t even tell you how I mailed that first manuscript off to editors and agents in a way that makes me cringe to this day. I’ll never tell any of them that they once received a submission from me in a way that broke every rule I now know I should have adhered to. Well, except for the confetti. I didn’t put confetti in the envelope, thank God. One saving grace.

But I digress…

I’d written this story that had just popped into my head and then had no idea what to do with it. Hubs was the one who scoured the internet for Romance Writers of America and my local chapter. He even called the president to talk to her about me joining—all without me knowing he was doing this. Then he presented me with the meeting place, time, and driving directions, made play dates for the kids, and sent me on my way.

I can still remember the trepidation I felt going into that meeting. I mean, seriously, who did I think I was? I was going to be with real authors. I was a poser. A wannabe. They’d laugh me out of the meeting.

How wrong I was. Writers, especially romance writers, are some of the most encouraging, generous, knowledgeable, helpful, smart people I know. I remember meeting my very first published author at that meeting; she’d brought in copies of her latest release. Of course I bought one and of course I had her autograph it. We’ve become friends and I still have that book to this day.

But I left that meeting with utter excitement. I could do this! Others had done it. Other people just like me, with kids and homes and husbands and jobs. People who had the same dream.

This month, my fifth “dream” is being released from Sourcebooks Casablanca, the second in my Bottled Magic series, Genie Knows Best. And the thrill is as big and spine-shivering as the first book I released. The trepidation as I wait for reviewer and reader comments. The same impatience as I now await publication of the third book. The same angst as I work on my next proposal. The same worry that I won’t be able to do it again.

It’s a strange thing to be able to call myself an author. For years it was a dream. And, no, it didn’t happen overnight and there was no genie magic involved—how much easier that would have been. A lot of hard work. A lot of lonely hours with just my laptop and my imaginary characters to keep me company. A lot of “Don’t bother Mommy; she’s writing her book”s and a lot of take-out pizza.

And I wonder as I hold all five books in my hand (trust me, it doesn’t get old!) if someone out there who’s reading my stories has the same dream I had? Who wants to write but thinks she can’t be published. Who thinks that it’s only those people who can publish books. And I want to reach out to her and say, “You can do this. If the stories are inside of you, all you have to do is sit at the computer and type them up. Or write them by hand. Or dictate them into a recorder. Just get the stories out. That makes you an author. To become a published one takes more work, but you can’t be published if you don’t have a story to publish.”

Sia, I want to thank you for having me back on Over Coffee. You’ve been on this ride with me since before publication and I know it’s only a matter of time before you’ll hold your dream in your hands.

  • To the readers out there—what are your perceptions of published authors? Am I alone in how I thought? And do you harbor the dream, too? 
  • Or, if not to become an author, what is your dream? 
  • And what’s holding you back from achieving it?

Genie Knows Best by Judi Fennell – In Stores November 2011

Be careful what you wish for… 

Samantha Blaine is about to make a fateful discovery. A tall, dark, handsome, ohmygosh kind of fateful discovery… 

Kal is very pleased to meet his attractive new master—especially since he intends to seduce her into granting him freedom. But when seriously dark magic spells trouble for both of them, Kal can’t help himself from falling for the woman who holds his fate in her hands…

 Warmly acclaimed by readers and critics alike, Judi Fennell brings to life a fabulous world of magic and mayhem where wishes come true in the most unexpected ways! Excerpt

Judi Fennell is an award-winning author and writes what she calls “fairy tales with a twist.” Her romance novels have been finalists in's First Chapters and First Chapters Romance contests, and have won numerous RWA Chapter Awards, including the FF&P Prism Award, and the New Jersey Golden Leaf Award. Judi lives with her family in suburban Philadelphia, PA, where she is working on the next book in the Genie Trilogy, Magic Gone Wild, set for release in August 2012. 

For more information, please visit, Facebook, Twitter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Carolyn Brown On Being 'Gracefully' Challenged

We have two copies of Darn Good Cowboy Christmas to give to two commenters today.

My guest is romance author, Carolyn Brown.

Hold on a moment while I have a brief fan-girl moment-squeee! Okay, I'm better now. 

If you have to ask me why the squee, then you haven't been reading her books. Not only is she a fabulous storyteller, but she has some the sexiest and fun loving cowboys this side of the Rio Grande--both sides, if you want my biased opinion. Her towns and citizens feel so real I just know all I have to do is find a map (trust me, I've been looking) and I can go visit with them. I absolutely love the way they talk and the expressions used. It would be fun to head over to the O'Donnell house for Sunday dinner and listen to the music afterward--I'd even put up with Colleen to do that, LOL! Carolyn tends to make me laugh--a lot.

Today, she talks about a glitch she faced not so long ago, that wasn't very funny, but how she tells it in retrospect, is.

Happy Holidays everyone! Thank you, Sia, for inviting me to stop by your site today! Halloween is over. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and after that Christmas. And I have a brand new Christmas book on the market, Darn Good Cowboy Christmas.

Liz has been raised in a traveling carnival and the top thing on her list has been a house with no wheels. Her Uncle Haskell gave her the house, a barn and twenty acres. The next thing on her list was a cowboy of her own. Will the very sexy Raylen O’Donnell be that cowboy?

A few years ago it was doubtful that I would ever write another book. Talk about a glitch that put me quite literally out of the deadline world for a while. I had one that writers shiver about.

It was all Husband’s fault. He had house shoes that he just slid his feet down in and shuffled along like an old man. Well, in his shuffling he kicked some of the air from the living room into the kitchen without telling me that it was sitting there, precariously at the end of the bar.

Now, realize that I am gracefully challenged and even a little bit of air that’s been moved from one place to another is a disaster and I tripped and fell! Splat! Right there in the kitchen floor!

My left arm is the stupidest part of my whole body. I say this because it thought it could hold all of me up and prevent me from bashing my brains in on the kitchen floor. The silly thing hit the floor and I heard a loud crack and saw a lot of blood.

Husband said that we had to go to Beloved Daughter’s house and tell her about the accident before we could go to the hospital. So there I was sitting in the passenger’s seat of the pickup truck with my feet on the dash while he tells her that he thinks my arm might be broken. No, he did not tell her that it was all his fault and that I was already cussing those damn house shoes. That’s when I pushed my feet against the window to get away from the pain and made the prettiest spider web cracks all over the whole window.

We drove twenty-five miles to the hospital with him looking between the cracks and worrying that I’d never be able to type again. He sure didn’t want to live with me if that was the case. He pulled up to the emergency room doors and I let myself out of the truck with my good arm, started through those big double doors (I understand now they lock them) and the receptionist yelled at me that I have to fill out papers before I was allowed back there.

“Tell Husband to fill them out. I have to get this fixed so I can write a book,” I told her.

The triage expert had the audacity to ask me why I thought my arm was broken. I figured he had cow chips for brains so I peeled the towel off and held up the bloody mess. His little eyes popped out and he blanched. Then he asked me how much I weighed. Again, not so smart! I lied by ten pounds or maybe it was twenty. I figured I had the right since my bone was poking out of the skin.

They took me to a room to wait for the surgeon and cut my favorite denim jumper and my shirt off my body. I told them I’d just kicked the windshield out and they’d best leave my new bra alone so they laid the scissors down and backed away slowly.

I went to surgery and that’s when they told me that the “knockout medicine” was given based on weight. And I panicked! I had lied about my weight and I’d wake up too soon! There would be a mess in operating room four that no one would ever forget.

Being drug sensitive, I went out like a light and woke up several hours later, looked at my arm and knew I’d never type again. But in six weeks the apparatus came off and the cast went on and I told my fingers if they didn’t type, they’d listen to me bitch until the undertaker laid me in the casket and crossed them over my chest. They believed me and hence, Darn Good Cowboy Christmas, my tenth cowboy romance and fifty-fourth book is now on the shelves.

  • The heroine of my book, Liz, wanted a house with no wheels and a cowboy. 
  • I wanted to be able to type again. 
  • What’s on your list this year?

Darn Good Cowboy Christmas   

by Carolyn Brown—In Stores NOW!

 He’s One Hot Cowboy

Raylen O’Donnell is one smokin’ hot cowboy. He could have any woman he wants, but he’s never been able to forget a certain dark-haired girl who disappeared from his life. So when she suddenly returns to the ranch nexct door, Raylen’s not fixing to let her get away again

And She’s Out for a Sizzlin’ Christmas

Raised in a traveling carnival, Lizelle Hanson thought all she wanted was a house that didn’t have wheels and a sexy cowboy for her very own. But settling down’s going to take some getting used to, and cathing Raylen, the hotter-than-hell cowboy next door, might just take a little holiday magic…Excerpt 

BUY: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million Available in both print and ebook.

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than forty books published, and credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. She writes bestselling single title cowboy and country music mass market romances. Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma, where she is working on her next book, One Hot Cowboy Wedding, which will be in stores in April 2012.

For more information, please visit

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hi-ho,The derry-o A NaNo-ing I Go

November is National Novel Writing Month, or as most call its, NaNo. This is my second year of Thirty days and nights of literary abandon--aka insanity.

I have on my author info the following: "Sia McKye claims, other than being insane to sign up for this, she's pretty normal. Sia writes paranormal and contemporary romance. She also has a successful Blog where she features various authors and their books. Sia should know all about writing, after all she's done, but when contemplating that concept, tends to laugh manically.

I'm pretty much focused on meeting my writing goals and all my spare time is being used in doing so. If you don't see me on line or blog hopping much (the great time thief) you'll know why.

I'm mostly a pantzer, meaning I have a general idea of where I'm going and what will happen, but the specifics are subject to change as the characters develop their own mind and personality. I've had a few surprises along the way. I'm over 10k consecutive  words into this story. I've hit a few glitches and brick walls. Ouch. When that happens I've been known to pound my head on the wall and ask myself why in the hell do I put myself in this sort of position to begin with, LOL! But then a funny thing happens. My mind just skips ahead and I find myself writing other scenes that I will have to connect to the overall story later. I probably have another 15k of scenes like that. What I've discovered is I can come back to where I left off and I can move forward again.

I have a couple of writing buddies who take several weeks before NaNo to prep for their story. They get their research in order, figure out scenes, characters, and plot points. A couple of them will finish their 50k by mid month. They are leaps and bounds ahead of me and that's okay. 

I've been researching the background for this story for months. My research file over 8 MB thick covering history, languages, old legends, and the region of my setting--including maps--fauna and flora and the habits of such. While I've actually lived in the state the story takes place in and know it well, there was still much I didn't know. It was fun. But now comes the building the story and weaving the characters into the world. 

My goal is to achieve the 50,000 words. Me and the writing support critters are working hard towards accomplishing that.

  • How about you? Are you a participant? How's it going?
  • You can find me on NaNo site as Sia McKye. Buddy up with me!
This week's guests: Carolyn Brown-Wednesday and the Magically Delicious, Judi Fennell-Friday 

A couple of things to make you smile: