Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Marrying Author--Intro

My current WIP--that's work-in-progress for those unfamiliar with the abbreviation :)--has hit 28,000 words and it's entered a rebellious phase. This isn't unusual; it seems to happen every single time I write a full-length novel. And I'm a plotter. I can only imagine the uprisings my pantser friends contend with.

Since it seems to happen every single time I set out to write a longer work of fiction, I thought it might behoove me to explore how I got here. My brilliantly laid-out manuscript and carefully crafted characters have decided to rebel and take me in directions I never intended to go. It started as a neat loaf of bread all proofed and ready to bake and became a handful of peanut butter cookie dough--all oozing and sticky. I've lost control and the trick is getting it back. But how did this transformation happen?

For me--and I'm sure many other authors--a manuscript goes through many of the same **stages the a relationship does. And yes, I've had many a story break my heart, but if all goes well and the project comes to fruition, this is what I go through:

1. The Romantic Stage
Ahhh, just like new love, a new idea for a novel is intoxicating. At least, it should be. If I don't become smitten and obsessed with the new novel, then it's probably not the WIP for me.

2. The Power Struggle
This is the rebellion, when the plot and characters take on a life of their own. And just like in a real world relationship, it's a tug of war that's critical to the growth of the novel.

3. Stability
All the plot snags and character inconsistencies have been smoothed out. The novel has matured and come into its own. Now it's time to kick the writing schedule into overdrive and get the first draft done.

4. Commitment
First draft finished, it's time to smooth out the rough edges and put some shine on the manuscript. This means self-edits, pre-edits, copy edits, line edits, and proofreading. Yep, it's time to do the REAL work of writing.

5. Co-creation
It's you and me against the world, little novel. Now published and presented for public consumption, the book no longer belongs only to me. Hopefully it will touch readers and my words will live on in their hearts and minds.

So when writers say they're married to their work, I'm inclined to believe them because apparently, I am too.

Next week, we'll discuss the Romantic Phase and how I know an idea and I have chemistry!
**relationship stages complied from The Couple's Journey, by Dr. Susan M Campbell

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GLAAD Spirit Day 2010

Usually I keep my blog politics-neutral, but this is a cause I feel passionately about. Love is beautiful. Hate is not.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Please welcome my guest, Sherry Gloag, author of The Brat. She's talking about building chemistry between her characters. Take it away, Sherry :)

The Brat started life with my heroine, Gina Williams’ unexpected arrival.

“How would you handle a story that pivots around incidents that happened a quarter of a century ago?” she asked.

“I’m not sure,” I replied, and pondered my options.

How naïve was that? It turned out I had few options while writing The Brat.

The meeting of two mothers determines the destinies of their children a quarter of a century later.

Ben and Gina both experienced childhood rejection and betrayals that shaped their lives, so when they finally meet there’s little chance they will ever trust each other.

It takes the actions of Ben’s father, Theo, to bring them together. But will the consequences destroy the one thing he’s striving to secure?

Without giving away too much of the plot, that in a nutshell is the seed that creates the tension between Gina and Ben.

There are various secondary characters that muddy the waters and hike up the tension between them, and it all plays out on an extended time line which spikes the aggravations still further.

Both Gina and Ben have major issues to deal with, and the chemistry between them grows when they are forced to work together to present a united front to the outside world.

So, to answer your question, I did not sit down and map out each move for the characters. It was more a case of the story unfolding as it progressed.

Sure I had some major re-writing to do to tighten up each scene and ensure the time-line flowed accurately. But at the end of the day this was a magical experience where I found myself ‘in the zone’ more often than not while writing The Brat.

Gina Williams is a 35-year-old famous children’s author, who also writes detective mysteries under the name of George Williamson.

She was robbed of her childhood when aged ten by the late mother of the hero, Ben Kouvaris.

When he was ten-years-old his mother sent him to her ex Theo Kouvaris, multi-millionaire, who lives in Greece. When he returns to her funeral he is haunted by the beautiful woman who organised the funeral.

When his father orders him to marry he thinks of Gina Williams.

They have to overcome the horrors of the past and forgive their parents for their betrayals. Will their past destroy their future?


A voice from the grave filled her mind to the exclusion of everything else. “No one cares about a guttersnipe like you. You’re nothing but a snivelling little brat. You have no past and no future. You are no one and never will be. Your place is here, for you have nothing else to aspire to, and nowhere else to go.”

More than two decades later the words still fuelled her ambitions to achieve. They still goaded her into proving to herself and others that she could succeed. Her aspirations and dreams propelled her need to prove herself.

“Watch it, luv!” A hand yanked her back from the curb. “You got a death wish or som’it?” The blast of a car horn jerked her back against her rescuer.

“Oh!” Gina gasped. “I wasn’t paying attention…”

Her voice trailed off. Her memories stole her concentration. “Thank you.” She eased her arm from within his grasp and held out her hand. “Your quick actions saved my life.”

“Think nothing of it.” The man touched his cap, stepped back, and soon disappeared in the crowds. Shaken more than she cared to admit, she looked around and entered a nearby coffee shop.

She fought the ghosts from her past and wrestled them back into that black box in her mind she’d kept locked for almost two decades. With the exception of her agent and best friend, Liz, she’d never shared her secrets, and Liz didn’t know the half of them, just enough for Liz to realize her children’s adventure stories evolved from her childhood fantasies.

Sherry's Links

Buy The Brat at The Wild Rose Press

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Author Spotlight: Jessica Chambers--Voices on the Waves

Please welcome my guest today, Jessica Chambers!

Jessica was born in the UK in 1982, and currently lives with her family and crazy Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor, most famous for its castle and nearby Eton College. At the age of five, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pitmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that has left her almost totally blind.

Jessica has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. As a shy person, she loves

being able to escape into another world, and the sense of power that comes with controlling everything that goes on in that world. She especially loves writing women’s fiction centred around memorable characters that leap off the page, and her debut novel, a sweet holiday read called Voices On The Waves, is now available from Red Rose Publishing.

Blurb for Voices on the Waves:

When Faye Wakefield runs a competition offering nine lucky winners a two-week holiday at her beautiful farmhouse retreat in Cornwall, she promises an experience they will never forget. However, even Faye could not have imagined how bringing these people together would change their lives forever.

Just as she hoped, the competition yields a diverse mixture of characters. Among them are Leah Shaw, a shy young woman with troubled eyes, the womanising business tycoon Marcus Armitage, Karenza Jackson, ruled by her deep-rooted need for independence, retired nurse Bronwyn Davis, and Patrick O’Leary, an Irishman with an affiliation for the whisky bottle.

So begins a gently unfolding story of love and illicit affairs, heartbreak and self-discovery. Yet, as sparks fly and the guests share their long-suppressed secrets, only Faye knows of her ulterior motive for inviting them all under her roof.


Marcus’s mood did not improve the next day when he awoke to another leaden sky. Yet, it seemed destiny was on his side. Returning downstairs, having showered and put on his best trousers, he found Leah alone in the kitchen brewing coffee.

“Hmmm, that smells good.”

Leah glanced up, blushing. “Marcus, I didn’t hear you coming. Would you like a cup?”

“Thanks, angel.” With his most dashing smile, he settled at the table where he could best admire her slender figure at work. He noticed a glow about her that hadn’t been there before. Perhaps she wasn’t quite as unaware of his interest as he’d believed.

“Where are the others?” he asked casually.

“Anjum dragged Will off for a walk and Faye’s cleaning her flat. I assume everyone else is in the sitting room.”

Perfect, Marcus mused. He smiled at Leah as she placed a mug in front of him. “Won’t you join me?”

“Oh, I’m sure you’d rather be left in peace. I’d only bore you.”

“Please, have a seat. I promise you won’t bore me in the slightest. Far from it, in fact.”

“I’m not sure about that.” Leah laughed, but nevertheless sat down opposite him.

A few more well chosen compliments and he’d have her falling at his feet. Feeling the time had come to carry out his plan, Marcus heaved a deep sigh and sunk his head in his hands.

At once, Leah looked concerned. “Is everything all right?”

“Well, no, actually.” He pretended to struggle with himself before continuing. “You see, it’s my wife. Things haven’t been going too well between us for some time now.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Thanks, angel. It’s always sad when a relationship breaks down. I suppose we’ve both changed as we’ve grown older. We just don’t share the same interests anymore.” He shook his head with a grimace. “Then, a month ago, I discovered she’d been having an affair for the past year.”

“How … how awful.”

“I was pretty cut up, I can tell you. That was the main reason I came on this holiday. I had to get away for a bit.”

Marcus experienced only a twinge of guilt at falsifying his wife’s character. It was worth it to gain the sympathy of this innocent young thing. Leah seemed too choked up to speak.

“It’s okay,” he said bravely. “I was devastated at first, but once I’d got over the initial shock, I saw how void our marriage really was. I haven’t truly loved Alison for years, and the hurt I suffered was actually nothing more than injured pride. Of course, once I accepted this, I was able to recognize the feelings I was beginning to have for someone else.”

Leah appeared startled. “Tiffany, you mean?”

“Tiffany?” He suppressed a smirk. “Lord no! She’s a sweet girl, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve grown very fond of her, but she was the one who came on to me, not the other way around. I admit I may have encouraged her more than I should have, but I suppose I was still upset over Alison. I’m certainly not proud of it.” He smiled across at her. “So have another guess.”

“You don’t have to tell me,” Leah said. “It’s none of my business.”

Marcus laughed, really enjoying himself. “But don’t you see? What would be the point my telling anyone else when it’s you I’m interested in?”

Leah set down her mug with a clunk. Barely seeming to notice the spilled coffee pooling on the table, she stared at him, speechless.

“I know this must seem a bit sudden,” Marcus said, earnest now as he leaned towards her, “but ever since our conversation in the arbor, I haven’t stopped thinking about you. I’m not suggesting we rush into anything. All I ask is the opportunity to get to know you better.”

Finishing his declaration, which he felt had contained just the right mixture of flattery and sincerity, he sat back to study Leah’s reaction.

“Marcus, I … I don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything just yet. The last thing I want is to pressurize you into committing yourself or to tell me how you feel. Your attitude towards me these last couple of days has told me that plainly enough. All I want is for us to take things slowly and see how it goes.”

“But, Marcus, I…”

“Hush.” Touched by her confusion, he went around the table to drape his arm over the back of her chair. “Don’t get yourself in a state. I know I’m quite a bit older than you—old enough to be your father, some might argue—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good between us.” He reached for her. “Let me show you.”

Tomorrow, The Voices On The Waves Blog Tour continues when I join J.J. Devine for an interview over at her blog. Hope to see you there!

More Jessica Links:





For the duration of my October blog tour for Voices On The Waves, everyone who comments on any of my posts along the way is automatically entered into the draw to win a $15 gift voucher for Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The five winners will be announced on my blog on October 31st.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Virtual Book Tour--Game, Set, Match by Nana Malone

Please welcome my guest today, Nana Malone. She's talking about her latest release--Game, Set, Match at The Wild Rose Press--and what it's like to write about a heroine who's also a mother. Take it away, Nana!

All the Single Ladies...Or Not So Much by Nana Malone

First, I’d like to thank Cindy for hosting me on the blog today and giving me the opportunity to meet your fabulous readers.

As Beyonce said “All the single ladies, All the single ladies, All the single ladies…” Somehow the summer anthem wouldn’t have been nearly the same if she’d swapped married ladies for single ladies. Writing the carefree single gal is a whole different ballgame than writing about a wife or mother.

I remember my single days. Ahh, the days of not answering to anyone but myself. I remember when the only responsibility I had was worrying about paying rent, grabbing the latest hot duds from H&M, and where happy hour was going to be that night. I lived for Sex and the City and I was fabulous. Or at least I thought I was. How I miss those days. Or do I? Writing the single heroine is a raucous fast passed adventure. Her life is about exploration and finding love. Every scene is an opportunity to show her growing into the woman she’s supposed to become. But those single days were sometimes lonely and hard and often filled with heartbreak. My mother called them growing pains.

Writing a mother is a whole different world. In Game, Set, Match, Izzy is your classic caretaker. As is the way of mothers, she thinks of everyone before she thinks of herself. She’d love to give herself over to a torrid affair with Jason and just have a good time. But she knows the consequences. She has more than just herself to think about. She knows Jason can not only break her heart but her son’s as well.

Do I have a preference for the kind of heroine I like to write? No. I love them all. As a new mother. I now understand what it means to have your whole life revolve around someone else entirely. It’s a whole new perspective. Because I’m at this point in my life, it’s great to be able to explore it with the feelings that are so fresh.

But boy do I love my single heroine. It reminds me a little bit of who I used to be. Though I doubt I was ever quite so fabulous.


Off the court, tennis star Jason Cartwright’s playboy image is taking a public beating. On the court, he’s down forty-love. A knee injury is shutting down his game, and the paparazzi are splashing his love life on every magazine. A comeback is in order, but the makeover he needs to save his faltering career is in the hands of the woman he loved and left fifteen years ago.

While single-mom, Izzy Connors, sees people for who they really are through the lens of and good looks haven’t dimmed since he broke her heart, all she sees is his wasted talent and playboy lifestyle.

Can Izzy put the past behind her and help Jason get his game, and his image, back on track? Or will the click of her camera shatter his world as well as his heart?


Dark glasses masked his eyes, but Izzy knew behind them, she’d find intense heat able to strip her to the soul. His tousled blond hair just as she remembered it, a little unkempt, as if he hadn’t bothered with it. He was every bit the Hollywood playboy portrayed in the press. And that devil-may-care sexiness was going to be the death of her.

Before she could say anything else, his strong arms and a warm musky scent enveloped her. Involuntarily, her body stilled like an ice sculpture as her breasts came into contact with the hard planes of his chest. Unable to process the situation, she heard a faint clatter as his sunglasses fell to the floor. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried not to think of the last time she’d seen him, the last time he’d abandoned her for Sabrina.

Damn, Izzy, you look amazing.” He set her down, but kept hold of one of her hands. Whiskey eyes poured warm amber over every inch of her body. “How’ve you been?”

The source of her greatest humiliation wanted to know how she’d been, as if they were old buddies. She reminded herself they, for all intents and purposes, were old buddies, until she’d made the mistake of pegging him as her first lover.

Behind Jason, his companion, with his rugged dark good looks and infectious smile, saved her from having to speak. Not that she could have. “Did I miss something, Jase? You two know each other?”

Jason’s smile flashed, making her want to do all manner of inappropriate things. Smash his head in with a frying pan? Strip him bare and see if he still looked as good as he promised? Launch a full TET offensive on him with her lips?

Not necessarily in that order.

Nana's links:

Get your copy of Game, Set, Match today at Amazon!

or at The Wild Rose Press

Monday, October 4, 2010

Anticipation by Denysé Bridger

Wonderful author and my dear friend, Denysé Bridger whipped up a gorgeous bit of fan-fiction for my Four Brothers Clan series, namely one special hunk of des Quatre-Freres gorgeousness--Rémy. Thank you, Denysé, for all the support. Rémy and I love you! Check out the series at Cobblestone Press :) ~Hugs, Cindy!


© Denysé Bridger

The heat of the day wasn’t cooling fast enough, and she was in desperate need of a change of scenery. Familiar sounds droned in the background, and the air was heavy with moisture, heat, and fragrance from the flower boxes in the neighborhood. Life had a softer rhythm in New Orleans, one that she’d grown to love. Evening was chasing the sundown and the shadows were reaching across the city, darkness breathing chillier air into the heat-waves, calming them into quiescence.

She went into the bedroom of her small flat and flung open the closet door, surveying her options for a dress that suited her mood. She had a special date tonight, and wanted it to be perfect. Her smile was slow and thoughtful, something she couldn’t repress. She’d never been lucky in love, but somehow Fate had given her another chance, with a man who was easily the most remarkable person she’d ever met. They’d been friends for almost a year, they had only been dating for a couple of weeks, and it was an unspoken understanding between them that the pace would be slow–neither of them was prepared to risk losing the relationship they had.

The shimmer of red satin caught her eye, and she pulled out the strapless dress. It was simple, gathered at the waist, a softly flowing skirt with slits on the sides. Comfortable, but also very chic. She tossed it onto the bed and went to the chest of drawers. A quick search turned up the lacy black stockings she’d bought ages ago for one of the dates she never went on. Even if he never saw the sexy underwear she was going to put on, it would make her feel beautiful... something she'd rarely felt in her life.

Humming softly she headed for the bathroom and decided on a scented bath instead of a quick shower. She hit play on the CD system before she dropped her clothes and headed to the bathtub... the sounds of smooth, sultry jazz drifted into the room after her and she closed her eyes as the silken water caressed her. She indulged herself in the pleasant idyll for forty-five minutes, and then dressed. She finished the outfit with lovely red heels, and left her auburn hair flowing in waves down her back–heat or not, it was easier than trying to contain it in any kind of style. Minimal makeup, and a spritz of scent on her bare shoulders was the last touch. A glance at the clock told her she had fifteen minutes to get to the club where she'd arranged to meet him.

Jazz clubs were among the most prolific and popular aspects of New Orleans, each one of them unique, but also sharing inherent similarities. The music–rich, pulsing, sensual rhythms that told stories to those who really listened–was as intrinsic to the city as the laid-back pace and culture that merged to make it a place unlike any other. She straightened the silk scarf that was on one shoulder, and went inside, smiling without real thought. Her eyes adjusted quickly, and she looked toward the bar.

"Looking for someone?"

Startled a great deal more than she should have been, she whirled to face him, and laughed when she saw he was smiling broadly at her. When his gaze slid over her, heat flushed through her veins and left her shaking. He took his time, appraising her with blatant hunger, and she'd never felt more beautiful in her life than when his dazzling blue eyes once again locked with hers.

“You look more beautiful every time I see you, mon amour,” he breathed in a tone of unabashed appreciation.

She blushed, unable to stop the response, and reached up to touch the side of his face, knowing there was little need to even attempt a reply. In that moment, the world narrowed until it was encompassed totally in the blue eyes that watched her. How could she have known him for so long and not noticed how devastatingly handsome he was? It seemed impossible to recall that until recently they’d seen each other as friends only, and now they were taking a huge risk, hoping that love’s many faces could merge into a perfect blend between their hearts.

Music throbbed in the air, slowly washing over them, the steady pulse magically matching the rhythm of the jazz beat. Rémy’s sapphire stare darkened and he took her hands and drew her onto the dance floor. She followed, her smile growing with each step they took. She shivered in the moment it took for him to pull her closer, when their bodies met, she bit back a sigh, but knew he’d heard it anyway when a low growl sounded next to her ear, and mutated into laughter that poured into her veins and slid along her spine like silk. She almost purred with pleasure.

“Don’t think,” he murmured smoothly, “just feel the music, and the night.”

“And you,” she whispered before leaning into him and allowing everything to fade into the background. All that existed was Rémy, and the surge of wild excitement she felt in his arms. She leaned into him; let the slow rhythm of his movement draw her into his very soul. The scent of his skin was intoxicating, the feel of smooth muscles pressed to her sent endless ripples of heat tingling along her veins, and the sultry pulse of the music drummed in her ears like a racing heartbeat. All that was missing was the taste of his kiss...

Rémy heard her thought, or so it seemed. His hand slid into her hair, and he gently drew her head from his shoulder, just far enough to look into her eyes. They were still moving, but his smoldering gaze was locked with hers for an eternity of moments before he bent his head to hers. For just an instant, all she was aware of was the soft curve of his lips as he smiled before he covered her mouth with his. His kiss was slow and gentle, exploring and teasing as they experienced their first taste of each other. When he finally ended the kiss and they stared at each other in bemused surprise, he laughed a little.

"I've wanted to do that for a long time, ma cher."

"What else have you wanted to do?"

His grin created a minor earthquake inside her and heat rose in her cheeks. She knew he'd seen it when he pulled her tightly to him and the rumble of his laughter was all she could hear.

"Anticipation is everything, mon amour... enjoy it."

Sighing, she nodded, and knew it would be more than worth the wait...

Read more of Denysé's fabulous work here: