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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What Are You Reading Wednesday

Time for another installment of... What are you reading Wednesday? This is a regular blog feature in which we share some lines from the books we're reading, talk about why we like the book/characters/author and get some ideas for books to add to our To Be Read piles. Because don't we all need more books to read? Yeah, I thought so.

So, turn to page 150 in the book you're reading, go to line 15 and write the line in the comments section. I'll start us off:

"Her village houses glowed invitingly, making Abby imagine strolling along between them, hand in hand with Dirk as they peeped into shop windows and snuggled together to stay warm." ~ The Nurse Who Saved Christmas by Janice Lynn

This is the second Janice Lynn medical romance I've picked up and...I really like it! I've enjoyed them both, but this one has stuck with me a little more. So much that I'm re-reading a Christmas book at the beginning of March!

Okay, you're turn: what are you reading?

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 12:02:10 PM

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Monday, February 28, 2011

My Own Piece of Hollywood

I've never been to Los Angeles. Actually I've never been farther west that Nevada, but this spring we're headed to Hollywood. The husband and I are planning a trip to Las Vegas and then a 2-day excursion to Hollywood/Los Angeles. I had my first taste of Hollywood this weekend, right here in Ohio.

This weekend we attended a murder-mystery night with some friends at the Mansfield Reformatory - the real-life prison where Shawshank Redemption, scenes from Tango & Cash and Air Force One were shot. We all joked about going to prison to have some fun before we actually drove through the gates...but driving through? Yeah, that made it a little more serious. Of course, we still joked about it.

Unlike many other prisons, the Mansfield Reformatory doesn't have cells facing one another; if you're in a cell, you're facing a rock wall. No windows. The exterior, barbed-wire-topped walls have been torn down, paint is peeling from the bars, and no prisoners have been inside the walls since the 1990s. And yet there is still a feeling of lonliness and loss inside. Solemnity that even the silliness of the murder-mystery (there were a lot of jokers in the crowd) just couldn't cut through. I can't imagine what it would be like for the actual prisoners. Which brings me to books and atmosphere, which is a part of setting. The part of setting that I usually don't get right right away. My books are mostly fun and a lot flirty, but there still needs to be an atmospheric undertone...just like the undertone of the prison was still there on our fun date night.

Another thing that really caught my attention - and had me reached for my notebook and pen often - were the non-prison events held there. They host weddings, receptions, ghost hunting, haunted houses...the list goes on. And I thought, what an interesting kind of place to set a romance novel - not my usual contemporary books, but something different. I've had about twenty ideas hit me since Saturday night, and I'm making notes. Most will probably remain ideas, but I'm hoping that one might be something more....

What about you? Where do you get your ideas?

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 3:51:43 PM

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome Chloe Cole and L.C. Chase

 Hiya, everyone! I have two very special guests on the blog today - talking about a hot new romance release. This week "Three to Tango", written by Chloe Cole and L.C. Chase released...and we have Chloe and L.C. here today, yakking about the book, their writing partnership and what's next on their writerly journey.

Here's a little blurbage from the book (and isn't that a sweet cover??):

Best friends and roommates, Jace and Melody have been inseparable since middle school. Although Mel knows Jace is gay, she has yet to find a man who can compare. When they decide to add a third roommate to their nest, they both find themselves falling for him. It's not the first time they've wanted the same man, but this time, they're both determined to get him. Agreeing Alec should be the one to choose, they begin a heated competition for a place in Alec’s bed and his heart. Winner take all, no hard feelings...

Alec has lived with his two gorgeous roomies for six months. So far, he’s managed to relegate his desire for each of them to his daydreams. When he discovers that they both want him and have decided to compete for his attention, he sets out to prove that it can be win-win situation for all of them, and he shouldn’t have to choose.

Sometimes it takes three to tango.

Kristina- First, the book. This is one hawt read, how did you come up with the concept?

Chloe - I think I may have lobbed up some ideas about the characters and their occupations after the fact, but the core of the story was all L.C. We agreed to separately come up with a handful of ideas each, throw them into the pot and see which one grabbed us. It was remarkably easy to make our decision once they were out there. These characters sort of drew us in early on and we both knew fairly quickly that this was the story we were meant to tell together. 

L.C. – You know, I actually don’t remember how that popped into my head – but it was originally called “A Perfect Circle”. I do remember wanting to try something light, something dark, and something in between. Tango was the light idea, of course, and like Chloe said, was clearly meant to be our story.

Kristina - Which character is your fave – Jace, Mel or Alex?

Chloe - Oooh, I KNOW L.C. and I are going to have different answers here! I am going to say Mel. Even though I love the boys, Mel makes me laugh. She’s such a tomboy in some ways and she’s the type of chick I would love to hang out with and chat with over a margarita. 

L.C. – Chloe knows me so well. ;-) I love them all, of course, but Jace holds a special place in my heart. I have a thing for the creative, driven, soulful, heart-wide-open types. He’s just a doll, and want to wrap him up in a big ole hug.

Kristina- How did your writing partnership develop?

Chloe - L.C. and I are both members of an awesome crit group called Chapter By Chapter.  There are currently 7 active members and we spend a lot of virtual time with one another. We’re a really diverse group, so we have some members who write sweeter romance, some geared more toward single title, others toward category etc. L.C. and I both were writing more erotic romance, and were both really open about genre, length etc.  At the same time, we have really different styles. She has a really lilting, lovely voice, whereas mine is more sort of terse and punchy.  I felt like we could really do something interesting by mixing our styles together.  So I emailed her and asked if she wanted to write a book with me. I think she said “DUH! OF COURSE I DO!” and the rest is history.

L.C. – Yep, I believe “DUH” is what I said. Like there was any other answer. ;-) We have a fabulous crit group, and I love everyone’s voices for different reasons. I always loved Chloe’s voice – sharp, sassy, refreshing. So, there was no way I was going to pass on collaborating with her. The girl rocks! 

Kristina - You both write solo novels as well as working in partnership … was it hard to stop writing just for yourself and instead write with another author in mind?

Chloe - Nope. In theory, it should have been really hard. I mean, I’m a total panster, and you really can’t do that when you’re writing as a team.  So we brainstormed and outlined the whole thing etc. then sort of called dibs on chapters, depending on how strongly we felt about them. So I was like “Dibs on 1!” and she was like “Ooh, dibs on 3!” and somehow it all worked out. As we wrote and the characters grew, things changed.  Some things got dropped, some added etc. but it really flowed and we were both totally willing to let things morph sort of naturally. Now that you mention it, I’m going to go back and look at our original outline just for giggles. 

L.C. – Not at all. We pretty much hit the ground running, stride-for-stride, start to finish, laughing the whole way. For me, having to be accountable to another author challenged me to step up my game – and I live for challenge. ;-) I’m probably a bit more of a planner, but we both had zero issue rolling with changes as they came, and every piece fit nice and tight in just the right place.  The whole process was just… smooth.

Kristina - What is next for you – as solo writers and as a combo…will we see another collaboration soon?

Chloe - I’m just finishing up a sequel to my Ellora’s Cave release, "Naughty Godmother". Then I have a steampunk romance called "The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale" coming out with Carina Press in April, which I am super excited about. As for another collaboration, we had started mapping one out while we were still writing "Three to Tango!" It’s a sooper seekrit m/m vamp novel. We’ve both been working on some solo projects, but we’ve already done some of the outlining etc. and look forward to getting it off the ground in the next month or so.

L.C. - I currently have a contemporary M/M romance about a couple of hot cowboys out on submission (fingers crossed), as well as two more M/M contemporaries in progress, one of which should be complete by the end of March. As for our next Cole/Chase collaboration, did you see what Chloe just said? It’s going to be novel length. J I’m stoked!

Kristina - Where can readers buy "Three to Tango"?

Chloe - Right now, it’s available here on the Loose Id website. Within the next few weeks it will be available at third party retailers, including Amazon.

L.C. – Yeah, what she said.

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 3:12:03 AM

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Are You Reading Wednesday

Alrighty...time for another installment of... What are you reading Wednesday? This is a regular blog feature in which we share some lines from the books we're reading, talk about why we like the book/characters/author and get some ideas for books to add to our To Be Read piles. Because don't we all need more books to read? Yeah, I thought so.

So, turn to page 150 in the book you're reading, go to line 15 and write the line in the comments section. I'll start us off:

"He was shrugging into the suit jacket he was holding when he got a look at his car. Not so much at his car as as what somebody had done to it." ~~ Indecent by
Tori Carrington

Oh, Tori Carrington, how do I love thee? I love how you wind characters up into a fever and then don't. let. them. relax. I love how two simple sentences make me want to read even faster to get to this part of the book! Don't you want to know what's going on with the car? Did someone go all Carrie Underwood on it? Or is it a teensy fender issue? Or is it spraypainted? The options go on and on...and now I need to go read.

Your turn! Let's share some lines...it's What Are You Reading Wednesday!!

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 12:09:49 PM

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Monday, February 21, 2011

A Change In The Schedule

Today is President's Day. We had planned to change our schedule - go see friends, have some great BBQ and maybe shop a little. One of the joys of being self-employed is that we can make these decisions on the spur of the moment. Of course Mother Nature doesn't always work with us.

This morning we awoke to an ice storm, icy roads. Our change in the schedule is off. That got me thinking about how I've changed my writing schedule over the past three weeks.

I started taking a workshop with Candace Havens this year...I'm really trying to increase my writing output and I'm also trying to push myself to the next level - Contracted Writer Level. In the workshop we began a Fast Draft two weeks ago with the goal of writing and finishing a book in 2 weeks. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment.

You know what I realized? This actually does work for me. It sounds impossible, but writing that first draft in a quick manner has helped me get the ideas on the page without stopping and mulling and tweaking constantly. I've had to write fast or fall behind, and I really wanted to stay on target. This draft is so far from perfect I won't get go into it. But the story bones are there. I can fix the problems though - add in more emotion, deepen the conflicts, edit, edit, edit. The point is that the story is written so what I have left is more manageable.

You know what else I realized? I still need to tweak this plan to fit my style, my way of doing things. I was about half-way through the book when I realized I had a major problem with the first three chapters. That problem would not leave me alone so I retreated, took off 2 days of new writing and fixed that problem. I ripped apart the first three chapters - which are still not perfect by any stretch of the imagination - and it made pushing forward on the last half of the book so much simpler to write.

Now, of course, revisions begin and I may learn that I hate this fast-drafted book with a passion, but right now I am basking in the fact that I wrote an entire book in two weeks just because I changed my schedule a little bit.

Do you ever change your schedule? How? And do you find those changes increase your decrease your productivity?

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 2:36:00 PM

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What Are You Reading Wednesday

Alrighty, Aphrodites! It's Wednesday and around here that means one thing: time to share some great lines! Each Wednesday I turn to page 150, line 15 and share. Then it's your turn!

Okay, so I'm in the middle of 4 - not kidding, 4 - novels right now. A Jayne Ann Krentz, a Mira Lyn Kelly, a Whitney Otto and a Kris Tualla. Today I'm sharing from Kris Tualla and since I have her book on my Kindle, I'm guessing at page 150.

"He laughed. 'No, Sydney. You aren't a typical woman." ~
Kris Tualla, A Woman of Choice

What I like about the book: Norse Heroes. No kilts (although I do like a good kilted man!), just blonde, buffed heroes. And, it's set in Missouri - my home state. So it's like reading about home.

Okay, your turn: what are you reading?

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 5:26:31 AM

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Monday, February 14, 2011

So Romantic

Okay, hands up: who has had a truly romantic moment? I mean movie-worthy, name in lights romance? Personally, I've had more comedic-romantic moments than pure romance.

Example One: I couldn't get the ring box open when my husband proposed. In my defense it was a rose-shaped box and it was kinda dark. Still, my husband likes to torture me with that story at least once each year.

There are many more where that one came from, but we'll save those moments for another day.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I want to be a romantic and, for me, nothing is better than the following letter. Written during the Civil War by a soldier to his love back home. Ahhhh...the romance. Here's a clip:

But, O Sara! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights...always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

Wow! Powerful. The letter, which can be found here in full, actually makes me sad - and not just because he died in the war soon after writing the letter. But because we don't write like that to our loved ones any longer. Now it's quick texts or a tweet or two. Maybe a mix tape. No long letter filled with feeling.

So, I think today I'll write my love a letter...how about you? And while we're on the subject: what is the most romantic thing you've done or have had done? Come on, let's share the love today - it's Valentine's Day!!

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 1:12:52 AM

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Funny Line But What Does It Mean

It's probably just me, but I realized a couple days ago that I don't get commercials. I'm not just talking about the recently finished Super Bowl XLV, either, although...really, where was the creativity? Here are just three commercials that don't make sense to me.

First, the shake weight. Yes, they are interesting, but have you seen the shake weight commercial - the one with all the guys? Don't they look a little...not PG rated? I mean, it's exercise equipment. But they don't appear to be exercising in a family friendly way....

Second, Payday. It's a candy bar. Been around for ages. But a couple weeks ago I saw a new commercial - hawking it as 'the world's first energy bar'. Really? Jittery sugar bomb, maybe, but energy bar? Uhhhhhh.... 

Finally, and I can't remember which male enhancement/whatever product it was. I'll call it Viagra-esque. No, not the double bathtubs one. This one was different, a bunch of guys talking or something about their women. With the tagline: 'don't give her a diamond this Valentine's day...give her the family jewels'.

Before you ask, so I'm not watching adult channels, just your average primetime stations. The commercials aren't bad, I just don't get 'em. And if I don't get the message, obviously I'm not attaching to the brand. But I remembered the products? Yeah, technically. Although I actually remembered the Payday commercial and then had to wrack my brain to think up two more examples.

This, of course, made me wonder if readers will get my message - once I'm published. I think so. I hope so. I can't know, though, until I'm at that point because I don't have focus groups or test pods or...wait! Yes, I do. We all do - they're called critique partners! Once we're at submission stage, they are the responses from agents or editors. Our job is to listen, really listen, and then make the changes that make sense.

Don't you think?

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 12:46:58 PM

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What Are You Reading Wednesday

So last week I started a new, regular Wednesday feature here on the blog. What are you reading Wednesday - in which we share specific lines from the books we're reading. The books can be for fun, research, learning or just impulse buys. Anything goes.

Here's what you do: turn to page 150, go to the 15th line and write it in the comments section along with the title and author of the book. Tell us what you like/don't like about the line or the book in general. That's it.

My line? Actually I'm cheating a bit - but only because the book I reached for didn't have a page 150. So I'm using the last page of the book.

Kate Walker's 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance by (of course) Kate Walker. Page: 148, line 15: Soon you'll be sent a contract - it's a standard one for all authors, but read it carefully and don't be afraid to ask if there is any part of it you don't understand.

Sound advice, I think. It's always better to ask for clarification - whether it's a book contract or a cell phone bill - than to regret not asking later.

So, what are you reading? Give me some lines!

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 1:08:20 AM

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Grab A Goal Monday

 

It's February 7. Do you know where your goals are? Do you even remember the goals you hastily (or painfully) wrote down in early January? I do, and while I'm not mad about my progress I also realize that I can do more. I think that is a good thing. 

What do I mean? My overall goals for the year: write 4 books – 2 novels, 2 novellas – and keep the queries out. So far? Have a full with a potential agent who I like to think is salivating over my words but in actuality probably hasn't gotten to me or is busy with the red pen as I write this. I've got both of my full projects loosely plotted and character arched. I have 1 of my novellas plotted and it's looking more like a series of novellas (is that possible? Have no idea as this is my first stab at novella-land) than a single story. So, I'm making good progress. The actual writing of said books begins this week.

Back to my second question-answer. 'I realize that I can do more'. Okay, I'm not a complete idiot and I know that when I get in to the actual writing there will be issues. There have already been issues – it took me over two weeks to plot and character arc 1 book, and I'm still not happy with it. The novella idea completely stymied me until I decided to just got for the series idea and deal with it. And yet I am still on-target with one-quarter of February in the books. Holy cow, February is here!

For me the schedule is the key in the lock of goal-setting. I have a busy non-fiction writing schedule, a toddler, a husband who also works from home and a radio show. Not to mention blogging and RWA chapter meetings and family commitments and the list goes on. But I've scheduled in my time to write, I've figured out my rewards system and I'm doing it. My calendar has all these pretty, red Xs on days I've hit my goals. I so don't want to break the chain.

Are you rewarding yourself this year? Are you sticking with your goals? Or do you need to rework things? It's still early in 2011, now is the time to make those changes…come on, tell me about your challenges. It just might help you move forward.

Posted By: Kristina Knight @ 3:11:01 PM

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