Friday, August 29, 2008

Contest Winner & Friday Fiction

Current Read: Delicious by Sherry Thomas

Congratulations to...


Dina, you are this week's lucky winner. Email me at with your snail mail address and I will get Barbara's book, Scandalous by Night, on its way to you!
Thanks to everyone who joined us this week and an extra special "thank you" to Barbara Pierce for being this week's "Word Wizard". Can't wait for your next book, Barbara!

Please join us next week when we feature Berkley Sensation debut author, Kate Noble.

Here are just a couple of links to excerpts. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Compromised by Kate Noble

"Just what in the hell did you think you were doing?"Well, apparently he wasn't dead. Neither was she for that matter, but Gail was definitely bruised. When she had taken the black beauty’s bridle and swung him about, his rider had been thrown into her, and he took her down in his path. To be fair, he had done his best to soften the blow, embracing her in his arms and twisting about so he cushioned her fall. They had landed in a tangled mass of arms and legs about three feet out into the lake, shallow enough so they wouldn't drown, but enough water to soften the landing. Slightly. If she stood the lake would be about as high as her mid-calf. But they weren't standing. After a few heart-stopping moments below the surface, the man pulled his head out of the water and propped himself up on one elbow. The other arm was wrapped firmly around Gail's waist, and she lying most unladylike across his lap.…

Read more here. And meet Kate right here at Armchair Heroines next week!

Julia Quinn's new book, Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, will be available at the end of September. No excerpt as of yet, but here is the back cover copy.

There went the bride...
Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting...for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all...

It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancée—all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay—and he does intend to marry her...eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas’s world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he’s not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love...with his own fiancée!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! See you next week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Author Feature: Barbara Pierce

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I am pleased to introduce Barbara Pierce, today's "Word Wizard". Barbara has a new book out, Scandalous by Night, and it is amazing! I stayed up until almost 3 a.m. because I just had to finish it! You can see a trailer for Scandalous by Night here (scroll down to the middle of the page). You can also read an excerpt here.

Even among that band of rakes known as les sauvages nobles, Lord Everod’s reputation is truly wicked. Countless willing partners have enjoyed his sensual prowess, but now one lovely innocent has his undivided attention. The alluring Miss Maura Keighly once lost Everod his family’s regard, and almost cost him his life. And no vengeance could be sweeter than the delicious seduction he has planned…

Maura is on the verge of marrying another. Yet no sooner has she set foot among the ton than Everod makes himself known, tempting and taunting her by word and deed, filling her days and nights with illicit longing. His wanton invitation is plain, yet Maura’s passionate response blindsides them both. For the first time, Everod feels something more potent than lust. Simple surrender will never be enough; Everod must possess Maura completely. But the past cannot be so easily forgotten—and some desires are even more dangerous than revenge…

So, without further ado, please welcome Barbara Pierce!
Barbara, tell us a little about your books.
To date, I’ve written nine Regency historicals. My books are made up of dark, sexy alpha males, stubborn heroines, and passion that will make your toes curl! With the exception of my debut, A Desperate Game, my books can be divided between two family series: the Bedegraynes and the Carlisles. Last April, the second book in the Carlisle series, Sinful Between the Sheets received a Romantic Times 2007 Reviewers’ Choice Award for Most Sensual Historical Romance.
Congratulations! What are you working on now?
At the moment, I’m currently in between contracts with my publisher. I’ve already turned in my proposal so I’m in wait-n-see mode.
Yikes - nail biting time!? :0) What is your biggest challenge when it comes to writing?
For me, it’s the synopsis. I’d rather just create a basic outline and write the book. Despite that, I have to admit that once I sit down and write it, I do appreciate having a more detailed summary for the book.
I'm not a huge fan of synopsis writing myself. What books have you read that are now your favorites?
Oh, I could list hundreds. A few from my short list would be: Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey, When Angels Fall by Meagan McKinney, The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning, & Shadow Lover by Anne Stuart.
I'm adding those to my "to be read" list as we speak! What do you do when you aren't writing?
I read (for pleasure and research), play video games with my kids, & watch movies with my husband.
What is your favorite video game to play with your kiddos?
The games change from month to month. Right now, we're playing Persona 3: FES and Radiata Stories.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. Inspiration usually strikes when I’m not looking for it.
And how do you keep your creativity charged?
It’s not always easy because of deadlines and family schedules, but I do try to put aside some “me” time each day. I may work out, catch-up with family/friends, read, or do absolutely nothing. I love writing, but there are days when I could easily spend thirteen hours in front of the computer. That isn’t healthy for my body or mind, so I do strive to maintain balance in my life.
As always, here is a random question for you, in the spirit of a new school year: Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Eike. She was one of those awe-inspiring teachers that pushed me beyond my self-imposed limitations.
Anything else you'd like to share?
The fourth installment in the Carlisle series, Scandalous by Night was released earlier this month. To read the excerpt, watch the trailer, or learn more about my other books, please visit my website at
Thank you for being here, Barbara. I can't wait for the next installment! :0) You can also find
Barbara on myspace.
We have a signed copy of Barbara's book Scandalous by Night up for grabs so be sure to share what's on your mind! The winner will be chosen by random drawing on Friday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fiction Friday and Contest Winner

Current Read: Lessons from a Courtesan by Jenna Petersen

Thanks to all of you who stopped by to visit with Paty Jager. And a special thank you to Paty for taking the time to hang out with us!

We have a winner for this week's contest...


Elaine Cantrell

Elaine, please e-mail Paty at and the two of you can figure out specifics. Congratulations again!

TGIF! Here are some fiction excerpts to kick off your weekend right!

Kristan Higgins is this year's RITA winner for her book, Catch of the Day. To read an excerpt from her Catch of the Day and her newest book, Just One of the Guys, click here. Then click on published work!

Historical romance author Paula Quinn has a new book out this month. It's called A Highlander Never Surrenders. You can read an excerpt here.

The second book in Anna Windsor's Dark Crescent Sisterhood series is now available. You can read an excerpt from Bound by Flame here.

Happy reading on this Friday! I'll see you all next week when Barbara Pierce stops by!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Author Interview: Paty Jager

Current Read: Compromised by Kate Noble

Today I am pleased to welcome Paty Jager! Paty is a western romance author with The Wild Rose Press.

How did you get started in writing?

Wow! Are you talking about as an adult or a child? LOL As a child I wrote plays for our stuffed animals. Then as a teenager I wrote an ongoing adventure story with two friends. Then when my children were small I wrote stories for them, took a couple writing classes and wrote freelance for the local paper. When I had an experience where I wanted to "kill" someone, I wrote a book and murdered them. After writing one book, I realized I liked writing and COULD write a book length story from start to finish that made sense. Then I read LaVyrle Spencer's "Hummingbird" and I knew I had to write historical western romance. And that's where my passion has been.

I find writing to be cathartic also! Tell us about your books.

My historical western published books are the first two in the Halsey brother five books series: "Marshal in Petticoats" and "Outlaw in Petticoats". These books are set in the 1880's in Oregon. The first book is in the gold country fo the Blue Mountains and the second book travels from Baker City, OR to The Dalles, OR and back. Each book has a Halsey brother as the hero and a feisty heorine who wins his heart. My other historical western is "Gambling on an Angel". This book is set along the Columbia River with a Saloon owner as the hero and a woman who believes in the temperance movement as the heorine. I also have a contemporary western, "Perfectly Good Nanny" which won an EPPIE for best contemporary romance. "Perfectly Good Nanny" is set on a cattle ranch in South Eastern Oregon. A rancher is struggling to raise a preteen daughter and a toddler son while keeping his ranch solvent. The daughter pretends to be him and orders a nanny, with the help of a neighbor, via the internet.

Can you tell us about how you research for your books? How much, where, how, etc?

Research, my favorite word! So far my books have been located in Oregon because it is easier for me to travel to the areas and schlep through the museums and visit with locals who know the history. I like the trivial historical facts. I do in depth research of an area when I use them as setting. I request the micro film from newspapers of the time and place to read and get a feel for what was happening there at the time. They also give an idea of the businesses. I contact the local museums and request specific information. And I purchase lots of used books about the history of areas. Trivial information I've gleaned so far- I learned miners came down to a small town and stole the post office so they wouldn't have to travel down the mountain for their mail. I made this town the setting for my accident prone heroine in "Marshal in Petticoats". While researching for Outlaw in Petticoats, I found out a saloon had holes bored out under the counter so a man could put his fingers in the holes to help him remain standing when he had drank too much. I incorporated this into the book. Both facts I found out while interviewing a historian. I always gather ten times as much information as goes into a book, but the more I learn about an area and time, the more I feel I can make it come alive in a story.

I love research, too, which is one of the reasons I always ask about it. :0) What "writer dream" do you have yet to achieve?

My writer dream is to win a RITA. The highest honor a romance author can achieve.

What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on the fourth Halsey brother book,(the third is with my editor), a new historical western series, and a contemporary western.

What was your favorite experience with a reader?

I have several favorites. LOL When my first book "Marshal in Petticoats" came out, two of our good friends who happen to be male and in their 70's bought it. I was a little worried because Marshal has several racy scenes. I recieved a call two different mornings from each of the men. The calls started out: "You're in trouble." Which had me gulping and thinking, he's going to get after me for the racy scenes. Then they said, "You kept me up till four in the morning. I loved it!" My husband has been stopped by several people and told how much they enjoyed my books, and a month ago I attended a funeral. As my daughter and I were driving away, a woman came running down the parking lot after us. We stopped and she leaned in the window. "Ellie just told me who you are. I love your books!"

That's wonderful! Readers are awesome! What do you do when you aren't writing?

You mean there is such a thing as not writing? LOL I help my husband take care of our two places. One is 70 acres and one is 280. So I tend to drive a lot of tractor and change irrigation hand line. Also we spend as much time as we can with our grown kids and grandkids.

Here is your random question: Did you used to get excited for school to start back up after summer vacation?

I loved school! We lived in a small community. During the summer I didn't see my friends and we weren't allowed to talk on the phone because we were on a party line and my dad didn't want us holding up the phone. And I would have read all the books I owned! We made a couple trips a summer to the library. We had to or I'd go bonkers! I had a book in my hand all the time. I've always been an avid reader and I loved school because they gave us all those great books to read.

Anything else you'd like to share?

The second Halsey brother book "Outlaw in Petticoats" is available in ebook at:

November 7, 2008 you can purchase it in print from any book store.

Thank you for having me at Armchair Heroines!

Thank you, Paty!

We have one of Paty's e-books available in this week's contest so let us know what's on your mind!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Editor Interview

Current Read: Compromised by Kate Noble

Today is a momentous one here at Armchair Heroines! I am pleased to welcome Helen Andrew, an editor for The Wild Rose Press. Helen is our first editor interviewee! Welcome, Helen...and on to the interview:

Tell us about your job as an editor. What are your responsiblities? What does your day look like?

I am responsible for evaluating the queries that my senior editor sends to me, requesting a partial if the query looks good, then evaluating the partial. If the partial is good and fits the requirements of our line (Cactus Rose, which is western historical), then I request the full. At that point, I sometimes send the manuscript to a reader to get an opinion before I read it myself. Whether I do this depends on my work load at the time. If I like the story, I accept it, and then I begin edits. Anywhere from 2-3 rounds of line edits is normal.

For those of you unfamiliar with the "getting published" process, here is what happens (typically): an author sends a query letter to an agent or an editor. The letter tells a little about the author and her story and asks the editor or agent if he or she might be interested in reading more. If the editor or agent is interested, he or she will request a partial (usually the first 30 pages). Then if the agent or editor likes the partial, he or she will request the full manuscript. If the editor or agent still likes the project, then the process continues...and that's yet another story! Sounds a bit daunting, doesn't it? Certainly adds to the respect I have for authors - it's a jungle out there!

So, Helen, what is your least favorite part of being an editor?

Sending rejections. At The Wild Rose Press, no one gets a canned rejection letter. I really like that philosophy. Every writer gets a personalized letter which includes positive comments and suggestions for improvement. But it's still rejection, and I don't like doing it.

A personal rejection letter is easier to stomach than a canned one...not that I would know! :0) Ha-ha-ha! What is the best part of being an editor?

Helping authors realize their dream of being published.

Tell us a little about The Wild Rose Press.

The Wild Rose Press just celebrated its second birthday in May. They've grown so much in two years, and I'm proud to be associated with them. The owners are two fantastic women who are the reason that the company has become so successful. The Wild Rose Press publishes only romance, but in every genre imaginable, from young adult and inspirational to erotic.

Happy birthday Wild Rose Press! I can't believe it's only been two guys are huge and still just toddlers! ;0)

There are many different "lines" at The Wild Rose Press. Can you explain that and talk more about the individual lines?

Sure. The lines all have "rose" names, but they are basically just genres and sub-genres of romance. For example, I do most of my work for Cactus Rose, which is western historical romance. We also have Yellow Rose, which is contemporary western. It's probably easier if I just list the lines.

American Rose -- American historical, before 1900
Cactus Rose -- western historical
English Tea Rose -- non-American historical
Vintage Rose -- historical after 1900
Sweetheart Rose -- sweet contemporary (like the old Harlequins)
Champagne Rose -- contemporary
Yellow Rose -- western contemporary
Faery Rose -- light paranormal (fairies, ghosts, etc.)
Black Rose -- dark paranormal (vampires, werewolves, etc.)
White Rose -- inspirational
Climbing Rose -- young adult
Crimson Rose -- Romantic Suspense
Scarlet Rose -- Erotic

I hope I didn't leave any out!

Not only does TWRP press accept all genres of romance, they also accept various lengths, from 1750 words to 100,000.

Any special projects that you are working on right now?

I'm glad you asked! Yes, we're very excited about two projects right now in Cactus Rose. The first one is a Native American series called "Earth Songs" which we launched in June. We are looking for well-written, historically accurate stories which feature a Native American hero, heroine, or both. Stories can feature any location and tribe, but must take place between 1870 and 1890. Stories should be under 40,000 words. If any of you authors out there have ever toyed with the idea of a Native American romance, now is the time to write it. If you already have one written, send your query to We'd love to take a look!

Our other special project is an anthology called "Lawmen and Outlaws." We are looking for four novellas, two featuring lawmen and two featuring outlaws, in the 20,000 to 25,000 word range. We have offered this opportunity to our already published authors.

What are you seeing alot of as you read manuscripts?

In Cactus, we see a lot of mail order bride stories. Writing-wise, some things I see a lot are head-hopping (my biggest pet peeve!), poor sentence structure, and lack of sensory detail. Sensory detail is very important in romance writing. The reader wants to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste everything the character does. The best advice I can give a new writer is to take the time to self-educate about the romance genre. There are some wonderful resources available. Also, proof your manuscript thoroughly. You wouldn't believe how many writers submit with typos and misspellings.

Good info for you readers aspiring to be writers! What would you like to see more of?

Native American stories, which is why we launched Earth Songs. I'd also like to see some pioneering and frontier type stories, set west of the Mississippi. Think Laura Ingalls Wilder, only romance. And of course cowboys. We always love hot cowboys! And we will never turn our back on a well-written, compelling story, even if we have a hundred other mail order bride stories.

And, of course, a random question for you: What are you listening to right now?

Actually, nothing. I rarely listen to music when I work. Boring, I know!

Your house must be quiet! I need music to drown out the barking dog, squealing children, hollering husband, spinning washing machine...

Helen, thank you so much for being here today! It was interesting to learn more about the business side of the romance novels.

All of you Armchair Heroines out sure to check out The Wild Rose Press! As you can see from above, there is something for everyone!

Join us tomorrow for an interview with Wild Rose Press author, Paty Jager!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Contest Winner

Congratulations to...

Valerie Everhart!

Valerie, you are the winner of this week's contest. E-mail me your snail mail address at, and I will put He of the Fiery Sword in the mail to you on Monday!

A huge thank you to Skhye for taking time out of her busy schedule to hang out here with us at Armchair Heroines! And a huge thank you to all of you who commented. What a great time we had!

Next week I have something new scheduled...on Tuesday we will welcome Helen Andrews, an editor for The Wild Rose Press. Helen is going to share her experiences as an editor with us. Then on Wednesday, I'm pleased to welcome Paty Jager, a Wild Rose Press author! More fun in store so be sure to stop by and say "hi".

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Author Interview: Skhye Moncrief

Current Read: Scandalous by Night by Barbara Pierce

Please welcome today's Word Wizard, Skhye Moncrief!

Thank you, Skhye for being here.When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you know?

I started reading at 4. I loved books. I remember writing as a child and then writing a lot during junior high and high school. But I didn't pick up the torch again until I was in graduate school. A friend was writing a novel and asked me to read it. I did and remembered how I wrote a novel for my journal work in high-school English classes. That's when I became obsessed with writing, again.

I know that feeling! :0) What inspired the idea of He of the Fiery Sword?

Fiery Sword was an idea I had since writing my first Time Guardian tale. I believe it was number 4 in the series. But King Arthur stemmed from "what were dragons" in my kooky oh-everything-was-misinterpreted-in-history-by-the-person-who-witnessed-my-time-travelers story idea. Honestly, that explains the whole story world aside from the gods warring among themselves. The title arose from the same line of thinking. I got my hands on a deck of Brian Froud's Fairy Oracle Tarot deck and liked his card titles/meanings, i.e. HE OF THE FIERY SWORD. But as you know from reading my novel, everything has multiple meanings. So, the title can be a bit misleading. ;)

That is certainly the truth - part of why I enjoyed it! Can you tell us how you researched for this book?

How? Gadz. Must I confess? I knew most hard-core Celtic romance readers were not going to like what I did with my series. Essentially, I disemboweled Celtic legend. But, as I said, I had too much fun twisting what is reported as legend into oops-somebody-got-that-wrong that I couldn't stop. And I used to have a running bibliography. But the list of books and documentaries grew so long that I abandoned the effort after three years of working on these stories. I researched everything from numerology to reading archaeological studies. I am a bit obsessive compulsive when it comes to research. So most people would probably wince at the hundreds of books and documentaries I crammed onto my shelves while writing this series. My husband kept asking if I really needed another King Arthur or Viking video... When someone as insane as I finally realizes she has read enough books on astrology, witches, runes, Freemasons, druids, magic, myth, and alchemy aside from history and archaeology reports to write twenty books, I decided to stop buying more research material and just focus on the writing. Of course, this could have just been one of my reasons to collect things... The major epiphany I had with HOTFS was when I signed up for a Medieval Literature course just so I could truly know a fraction of what my Druids would know. That's when I decided to give King Arthur an overhaul. He deals with lust and love just like those medieval romances. He didn't before Medieval Lit. And I had a firm grasp on what King Arthur and his peers knew, had, and did afterward.

What are you working on now?

Now, I mainly work on revising and submitting novels I wrote before baby. I have an idea for a paranormal I wrote a chapter for last year. So, I need to get back to it. At the moment, I have three novels that follow King Arthur's story in edits. And my editor wants another novella for the SONG OF THE MUSES Greek muse series I wrote a story for last December.

Congratulations! It's always great when an editor comes asking. :0) What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

When I'm not writing, I like to shop for incredible deals, sneak chocolate (because I'm not supposed to eat caffeine with my annoying health issue), and I'm working on teaching my daughter to read and do basic math. I'm a bit nutty about education of which carries over into my parenting. LOL

Parenting has a tendency to bring out the nuts in us I think. And your random question: What is your favorite animal and why?

Okay, I'm going with real animals because I studied hard science for an extremely long time in college and tend to be plain-Jane boring. Or I'd say dragons. My favorite animal has always been a horse. Looking back as the student of anthropology, I see my love of the freedom and power reflected in horses. I'm also attracted to their human-induced beauty--the byproduct of breeding. I tend to be drawn to specific breeds (something we can thank humans for instead of Mother Nature). On the flipside, a gal I critiqued with who wielded a few degrees in literature and writing mentioned how females like horses because they had something between their legs... Uh, please don't go Freudian on me here. I'm just into the freedom, power, and beauty of the beast. :) Remember, I'm plain-Jane boring.

Plain-Jane boring isn't how I would describe you! :0) Thank you so much for being here Skhye. This interview was a kick! Skhye writes a blog about reference books which is incredibly interesting. You can check it out here. Also visit Skhye's website here.

We have a signed copy of He of the Fiery Sword up for grabs so share your thoughts with us! The drawing will be on Friday.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Contest Winner & Fiction

Congratulations to...


Beth, you are the lucky winner of Jennifer Morey's book, The Secret Soldier! I have your snail mail address so it will be winging its way toward you on Monday!

Thank you, Jennie, for taking time to visit Armchair Heroines!

Beth, be sure and let us know what you think of The Secret Soldier!

This is a big month for romance author, Holly Jacobs. She has two releases! One from Avalon Books and the other with Harlequin Superromance.

You can read about Same Time Next Summer here. And Everything But a Bride here.

In the realm of historical romance, author Barbara Pierce has a new release, Scandalous by Night. You can read an excerpt here. Also watch for Barbara here at Armchair Heroines on August 27th!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Word Wizard: Jennifer Morey

Current Read: The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

I am pleased to welcome Jennifer Morey, debut Sihouette Romantic Suspense author! Jennie's first book, The Secret Soldier, is selling like hot cakes. On Saturday, she did a book signing and sold 60 books in an hour and a half!

Thanks for joining us today, Jennie. Congratulations on your first sale and your fast and furious booksigning! Tell us a little about The Secret Soldier.

Thank you, Tiffany. And thank you for thinking of me to do this interview!

The Secret Soldier has a soft spot in my heart because I was inspired by real events. A few years ago (2004?) there were reports of several contractors beheadings in Iraq. The stories upset me so much that I decided to write my own happy ending to a similar situation. Sabine O’Clery is an American contractor who is kidnapped in Afghanistan. Her father runs a private military company and asks Cullen McQueen to rescue her. Cullen runs a secret counter-terror organization for the US government and owes Sabine’s father a favor. He reluctantly agrees to carryout the mission. A plane crash on a Greek island and a farewell kiss spark huge public interest. Cullen is careful to stay out of the limelight, but when Sabine is attacked in the United States, he can’t resist risking exposure by going to her.

This is the first book in your series called All McQueen's Men. What is next for the series?

Yes. All the stories for All McQueen’s Men will feature characters who work for Cullen’s secret counter-terror organization. Readers will see Cullen in all the books, but only in the background. Book 2 (working title: Moving into Crosshairs - but it will likely be changed) is about a talkative electrical engineer who inherits a staggering fortune and an unpaid debt that has terrorists threatening her life. Farren Gage travels to the Marmaris International Yacht Festival in Marmaris, Turkey in search of answers. On the way, she crosses paths with Elam Rhule, an operative for Cullen’s organization, Tactical Executive Security (TES). While Elam protects Farren from the terrorists threatening her, a prominent congressman’s connection to her estranged mother leads to an unexpected twist.

What do you know now about writing that you wish you'd have learned earlier?

It’s all about storytelling. You can spew all the garbage you want about the rules of grammar, but that is a small piece of the craft. That’s not to say you can write bad grammar and get away with it. All I’m saying is grammar is the easy part to learn. You don’t have to be able to toss around fancy terms and textbook definitions to do it well. Storytelling is different. It’s harder. Anybody can memorize the definition of a transitive verb, but what teaches you to tell a good story? Sure, there’s how-to books on it, but even the most detailed instruction can’t tell a writer how to write a good story. It’s too passion-driven. I think learning how to get in the character’s head as deep as you can is a good place to start. Show don’t tell. You hear it all the time. It’s the heart of good writing and not something easily taught. If I could have focused more on that early on, I might have learned to show rather than tell a lot sooner than I did.

Excellent advice! What is your biggest challenge when it comes to writing?

I think I just answered that (smiling huge). For me, it’s staying deep in a character’s head. It’s too easy to slip out of it. Pretty soon I’m perched in a tree and my character is a cardboard cutout down in the yard.

I love that visual. How do you make time to write? Do you have a special routine?

Before my divorce, I would write every free moment I had, which was every moment I wasn’t at my day job or asleep. It wasn’t something I had to force myself to do. I love writing. That’s how I wanted to spend all my time. But now things have changed and I have to be more disciplined. Instead of playing with my newfound freedom every available moment I have, I have to decide ahead of time how much I want to get done each week. Once I decide, I sit down Saturday and Sunday mornings and do it. I also take “writing days” as often as possible. I am fortunate to have a supportive boss who lets me take as much time off as I can. I try to write after work, too, but sometimes it is too hard to switch gears from a busy day at an aerospace/imagery corporation to writing romantic fiction. The two are very different.

Can you tell us a little about your road to becoming a published author?

It was ten years long. When I first started writing in 1997, I didn’t know how to write. My grammar was bad, and I was a horrible teller. I wrote 5 or 6 books before I really started to see a change. The more you get into your characters’ heads, the better your characterization becomes. The two go together. If you think about it you can see why. I was so excited the first time I realized that concept. Suddenly, the meaning of “character driven” plots was totally clear to me. I think The Secret Soldier was the first manuscript that really showed my progress. I didn’t see it until my critique partners pointed it out in spring of 2005. The writing was so much different than my earlier works. This was around the time when I began to final in several contests. I wrote a pirate paranormal that landed me an agent, too. He wasn’t my dream agent, but he was hungry and I liked and respected him. While he wasn’t able to sell the paranormal, his interest represented another milestone on my way to publication. I could feel myself on the brink, but I never quit spilled over to the other side. It was a frustrating couple of years.

The Secret Soldier finaled in more contests than any of my other manuscripts. I almost gave up on it because it never won or sold. I decided to give it one more shot, and that shot was Oklahoma-Romance Writers’ 2006 Finally a Bride contest. In this contest, every entry has to have finaled but not won any other contest, which not only makes the competition tough, it gets a lot of attention from final round judges. I noticed the final round judge in the suspense category was Natashya Wilson from Silhouette Romantic Suspense. I wasn’t targeting category, but I didn’t figure I had much to lose with this manuscript. So I entered, and the impossible happened. Natashya loved it and after asking me to reduce the word count, bought it.

Congratulations! Here is a “just for fun”, random question for you: If you could wake up tomorrow with one special ability, what would it be and why?

I’d wish for the ability to quit my day job, or at least reduce it to half time. Then it wouldn’t be so hard to find time to write.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I feel very fortunate to belong to a group like CRW (Colorado Romance Writers). I’ve never felt more welcome anywhere else.

Thank you so much for taking some time out to chat with us, Jennie. Best of luck with The Secret Soldier and with your upcoming projects! You can visit Jennie’s website at

Be sure to share your thoughts with us via comments because we have a signed copy of The Secret Soldier to give away! Be sure to post by Friday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What's Happening in the Romance Writers' World

So this weekend was huge for many romance writers! The Romance Writers of America held their annual National Conference in San Francisco. It's known as "Nationals" to romance writers.
The RITA Awards winners were announced Saturday night. The RITAs are like the Academy Awards of the romance writing world. They are named after Rita Clay Estrada who served as the first president of Romance Writers of America. I thought we'd have our own RITAs right here at Armchair Heroines. Below are the listings of nominees for 2008 from several categories. I only included a couple because there are a bunch of categories! Post a comment and tell me your choice for winner in any or all of the categories!

2008 RITA for Best First Book Finalists

Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey

Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra

Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Prom Dates From Hell by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Snow Angel by Jamie Carie

Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee

Treasure by Helen Brenna

2008 RITA for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance Finalists

Blame It On Cupid by Jennifer Greene

Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins

Coming Undone by Susan Andersen

Sexiest Man Alive by Diana Holquist

She's No Angel by Leslie Kelly

Tangled Up In You by Rachel Gibson

Tempt Me Tonight by Toni Blake

The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer

** If you didn't see the video some of these ladies did, check it out below.

If we get a good response, I'll post more RITAs on Thursday!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Contest Winner & Some Fiction on this Fine Friday!

Happy August, everyone! Is it just me or did July disappear in the blink of an eye? Yikes!

OK, I know you all are on the edge of your seats waiting to see who won the contest for Lindsay's book, A Knight's Vow...

The winner is...

Oh, this is so exciting...

All right, I'll get on with it. I was just messing with you guys! :0)


Congratulations, Kimmy! A Knight's Vow will be winging its way toward you by the end of the day. Thank you to all of you for your comments and questions and an extra special thank you to Lindsay for hanging out with us this week!

I have some fun and fine fiction for you today, but first I'm pleased to announce that my website is officially up and running! Whew-ew! Feel free to drop by and check it out at Be sure to click on the resources page. There's information for readers, writers, booksellers and librarians. A huge thank you goes to my webmaster, Devin, for all of his hard work and especially for putting up with me and my *throat clearing* rather exacting personality. Some people call him a computer ninja but he's my computer god!

So, on to the order of the day - Fiction!

Here is a trailer for Dance with Deception from lovely historical author, Tracy Goodwin. I haven't read this book yet but can't wait to get my hands on it!

Looks good, doesn't it? You can read an excerpt here.

In other fiction news, Monday is a HUGE day for Sherrilyn Kenyon fans. Her newest release in the Dark Hunters series, Acheron, will be available. You can find questions, some background info and an excerpt here.

So, now you have a good start on your fiction fix for this, the first Friday in August! Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you next week. Our word wizard will be Silhouette Romantic Suspense debut author, Jennifer Morey! If you are in the northern Colorado area and would like to meet Jennifer in person stop by the Centerra Barnes & Noble in Loveland tomorrow from 2 - 4 pm. There's more information on Jennifer's website.