Thursday, March 22, 2012

Weekly eBook Winners

Congratulations to the weekly ebook winners in Books We Love's annual Spring Fling Event!

This week's winner is Eleanor Harkins.

Eleanor wins her choice of any two Books We Love ebooks or Spice ebooks. She also receives TEN extra entries into the Kindle Fire drawing May 31. Eleanor, please visit our website and make your two choices, then email the titles to

Remember, only subscribers to our newsletter are eligible to enter our contests, so if you're not a subscriber go here and sign up now. Find the entry form for Spring Fling there too!

Congratulations Eleanor!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How She Does It - Jane Toombs

How I Create Stories

Janet and I approach writing so differently it’s a wonder we were able to co-author Becoming Your Own Critique Partner. But then, that was non-fiction. So maybe I should say our approach to writing fiction is quite different. Janet writes multiple drafts of her stories, whereas I do an overall synopsis for the entire book or series. I may deviate from this synopsis as I go along, but usually not radically. However, we both use the who, what. when, why, where and how method of creating.

1. How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific process?

I actually don’t know. All I can say is that they’re characters I feel will work with the plot.

2. Do your characters come before the plot? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

Plot and characters come together. As I write my synopsis, I somehow know what kind of characters will work well with this particular plot. However as I actually write the story , the characters take on life and voice, so I do deviate a bit from the synopsis, which can be as fluid as it needs to be.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

Pretty much--in a general way. The ending always depends on how much I deviate from the synopsis when writing the story.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

If I need to do research, once I settle on the setting , I do it before I start to write, because the research often leads to a change in the synopsis. Lately, though, I tend to use settings I’m familiar with or at least have visited.

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

Both. If I can’t find what I need online, I know my library will have just the right book I need. Besides, I’ve been writing for so many years now that I have books about almost everything.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What's Stopping You?

Let’s say you’ve decided on a project. You have all the tools and materials you need to complete this project. You have set aside the time needed and you’ve done your research so you can move forward. Nothing is stopping you. You’re prepared. And it’s going to be great. Ready?

It’s go time!

Wait, what happened?

Why are you stalling? What’s keeping you from completing the project? Oh…YOU are.


How many times has this happened to you? An idea comes to you and you’re psyched. You jot down the information, figure out what it’s going to take to complete, and get all pumped up to do it. Maybe you even tell other people about this fantastic project. You’ve got the visual in your mind of how it will look when it’s done. But even after all of that time and preparation, all the planning and dreaming, you aren't any closer to completion.

Don't sabotage yourself. Don't be the one standing in your own way. Be cautious of all the little signs that try and veer you off your path to success. They're bright and pretty and sparkly and sound a lot more fun than doing work ever will. We all want to have some fun in our day, and we should incorporate fun in our day, but even that has to have a limit. We owe it to ourselves to keep moving forward and working toward our goals. We owe it to ourselves to do what we're passionate about.

There will always be times when life puts up road blocks. You can’t plan for every crisis. Maybe you have health issues you have to work around. Perhaps a family member came down with a cold or the flu. Maybe your spouse gets laid off from work. Perhaps Mother Nature decides to have her say. Interruptions are a part of life. Teach yourself how to make use of the time that you have. Don't wait for the time. Make any time productive.

If you have only fifteen minutes to spend on the project a day, then make those fifteen minutes valuable. Give those fifteen minutes all of your attention. Baby that fifteen minutes. In as little as fifteen minutes a day, every day, eventually you will complete that project. If you can spend fifteen minutes on the phone, watching TV, playing a game, hitting the snooze button, reading emails, getting off track while researching, or sitting down thinking about how much you don’t want to do something…you have that time.

If you’ve been wondering how you’re going to fit in the time to write when you already have a busy schedule, then set aside smaller increments of time. If it means setting a timer and making yourself write for a minimum of fifteen minutes without distractions in order to get your writing done for the day, then set that timer and have at it. If it means getting up fifteen minutes earlier, then it may be worthwhile.

Say you can type 1,000 words in fifteen minutes. In seven days you could have 7,000 words of your story written. Over time these words add up.

Say you want to build a cabinet or clean out your closet. Don’t make the decision to try and do it all in one day. The task will seem too big and you’ll talk yourself right out of it. It’s easy to do. But by breaking it up into smaller bits of time, you may surprise yourself how much you can accomplish.

If you want something bad enough, you’ll make the time. You’ll never find time, but you can make it, and you can make it work for you.

Do you have a spare fifteen minutes in your day? What can you fill it with?

~Ann Cory

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Magic! The very word conjures images of sorcery, enchantment, bewitchment, and well, magic. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all practice magic--the good kind, that is, not dark magic. It is said that Wicca is the fastest growing religion in the United States. Most witches make a grimoire, or Book of Shadows. This is a blank book in which a witch writes down any information she thinks might be interesting or useful to her as a witch. Wiccans worship many goddesses and have many age-old traditions. Their motto is to do no harm. Here are two books that deal with magic, "The Wicca Handbook" by Eileen Holland and "Earth Mother Magic" by Judika Illes. Whether or not you believe in magic, it's enlightening to read about it.

Magic plays a part in several of my romances. In my fantasy novella, "Midnight for Morgana" a good witch helps Morgana achieve her dream of attending a fair near their village. The witch decks her out in gorgeous finery and provides her with a white horse. Prince Keir spies her at the fair and feels sure she is a princess. After all, Morgana is beautiful and is dressed so finely, she surely must be a princess. And only a princess will do as a wife for Prince Keir. But when he visits Morgana at her house, the prince is the last person Morgana wants to see. And the prince gets the surprise of his life.

"Night Secrets," a fantasy romance, also involves magic. Princess Keriam can spirit travel, an ability she fears may be mistaken for magic, should anyone discover her. Magic is forbidden in the kingdom of Avador. Should she be caught, she would be burned at the stake. Not even her father, the king, could save her. Roric, the king's courier, fears magic, certain that magic killed his wife and son years ago. He wants to love Keriam but fears she practices the craft. Radegunda is a good witch who aids Princess Keriam and the king. But she and Keriam must defeat Aradia, who practices black magic. Aradia conspires with the evil Balor to kill the king and take control of the kingdom. Can good magic overcome evil in the kingdom of Avador?

In "The Princess and the Curse" the fisherman Nolan Tremaine is charged with the task of sailing to a far distant realm and bringing back the bell of Bellarmine. A good witch enables him in his quest, and when he arrives at the far distant country, he finds that the bell is really the Belle of Bellarmine. Princess Leslie is a very unhappy woman who must marry an evil prince who has put a curse on the land. The wicked spell has made all the women barren, and only by her marriage to the evil prince will this curse be lifted.  Nolan wants to help her and take her away, but how can a humble fisherman save her from her fate? And will the good witch help him again?

I'd love for you to go to my website and read more about all of my romances.

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