Can I Re-Write That Ending?
Have you ever watched a movie or read a book where you really wanted to change the ending? This doesn't happen to me as much when I read a Romance because Romance always delivers that happily ever after. Come to think of it, the fact that I write Romance is probably why I often have the desire to tweak endings of books and movies that aren't billed as Romances.


This occurred most recently when I watched the Viggo Mortensen movie, Eastern Promises. It's not a Romance and it's not for the faint of heart, but it is a great movie and Viggo's performance is fantastic. He plays Nikolai, a member of the Russian mafia, Vory v Zakone. Naomi Watts is the female lead, Anna, and there are sparks between the two and even a kiss. Of course the Romance writer in me hoped for more. (There was the nude fight scene though!)


(If you're going to see this movie and don't want any spoilers, you can stop here!)


The movie does have a happy ending in that we discover Nikolai isn't as bad as he seems, and everyone gets what they want to an extent. But the writer in me already had the ending scene in mind: Anna would see Nikolai on the street about a year later, surrounded by his minions. He'd see her. Their eyes would lock. Then we'd have the hope that they'd see each other again in the future and live happily ever after. Well, the director, David Cronenberg, didn't use my ending! I loved the movie, but the ending scene flashed so clearly in my mind I was actually surprised the movie didn't end that way - would've been much more dramatic and romantic than the way it actually did end.


Do you ever envision better endings for movies or books than the actual ending? I suppose that's how fan fiction and sequels got started...
How Do You Name Your Characters?


I use The Writer Digest Character-Naming Sourcebook especially for ethnicity, interesting first names I've seen as writer's pseudonyms, names I've come across in genealogy searches--super for historicals (check out Rootsweb.com to see what names were popular when), google searches for a particular popular name for a certain ethnic group, baby naming guides on the Internet or in books.

Usually I have an idea what I want in the very beginning, but sometimes I have to change names if they sound too similar or start with the same letter so I don't confuse readers. Jake, Jack, Jock

Sometimes, if I've had a bad experience with someone, that name becomes my villain's name. Most often though, the name is chosen for its villainous quality—Crassus and Bruin for the bad lupus garous in Don’t Cry Wolf, Volan in Heart of the Wolf.
Devlyn, Heart of the Wolf

I try to make my name consistent with the character--a wimpy guy wouldn't be called Brutus or Hunter. A fairylike woman wouldn't be called Peg. The wrong name can jar the reader.

Devlyn is the hero in Heart of the Wolf—to me he sounds devilish, roguish. Bella is the heroine, old world feel to the name, also different, and since they live so long, it appealed.

Using the right name, can add a bit of characterization! Using the wrong name can give a wrong impression.

Have you ever read a book where you cringe every time you read a name because it just doesn’t suit the character? Sometimes it’s impossible to please everyone. I met a guy who said his ex-wife’s name was Terry, but he wouldn’t hold it against me. Everyone has bad experiences with someone during their lives, so any name can have a negative connotation to someone out there. All we can do is come up with the best name we can.

In one book, the names were so complicated, I stumbled over them all the time. Make them simple enough that your reader doesn’t have that much trouble. Not only did I stumble over the names, it was hard to keep track of who was who. Not good.

Not that a writer can’t go for something that isn’t usually done. But somehow I just can’t see a strong virile Timothy, or can you imagine Captain Bligh named Marion?

How do you come up with names for your stories?

Terry Spear, Heart of the Wolf (April 08), Don't Cry Wolf, Sourcebooks, http://www.terryspear.com/
LOST returns

Those who know me well know that I am a major fan of the TV series Lost (and you probably get tired of me talking about it LOL.) I'm excited the new season begins this Thursday night, Jan 31 at 8pm est on ABC (two hour premier). No excuse to miss it now. If you haven't ever watched this show, you are missing out. But I recommend you watch it from the beginning, each episode in order because if you miss one or two you'll be lost. No pun intended. The only way to do that now if you've missed the first 3 seasons is to rent or buy the DVDs. And of course I do have every episode on DVD. You can also watch some episodes online if you're fortunate enough to have high speed everything, details below.

I came to the show late myself, having missed the first two seasons, which I watched on DVD, then watched season 3 as it aired. Everyone (especially other romance writers) kept saying the characterization is incredible and writers can learn lots from the show. That was the reason I started watching it, but not the reason I continued.

What's so great about the show? Well, I have to say it's unique among TV series. I can't think of another one (that I watch) that is formatted the same way or has the same rich characterization and tight complex plotting. Each character is unique, three dimensional with a full backstory and lots of emotional baggage. They are real in that not one of them is all 100% good or bad. Even the characters I love most have bad characteristics and big flaws. (Don't we all love Sawyer? Kate? Sayid? Even though they may have done bad things in the past.)

The writers of the show use backstory or interesting flashbacks in a more compelling way than backstory has been used before in my experience. As authors, we are told to be careful about using flashbacks because it takes the reader out of the current story. Not so with Lost because the backstory is shown in such a way that it is necessary for the current story. Backstory ties into current story very tightly and without it the viewer would not understand the reasons for the character's actions in the current time frame.

What else is compelling about the show besides the characters and their backstories? The plot. It keeps me guessing. I can never predict (or almost never predict) what is going to happen next. It's incredibly complex and interwoven. Everything is connected in bizarre, sometimes paranormal, ways. It's unusual but completely believable.

If you've missed some or all of Lost, here is a (slightly amusing, very simplified) 8 minute video which gives a compact synopsis of the whole first 3 seasons. No, this definitely doesn't do it justice. I almost hesitate to recommend it because the shows are so much better than this.

http://abc.go.com/primetime/lost/index?pn=index
Click on "Lost in 8 minutes 15 seconds"

Here you can watch full episodes if you have a fast enough internet connection and fast computer. (Which I thought I did because I do watch other TV shows online but apparently not for this HD.)
http://dynamic.abc.go.com/streaming/landing
Scroll down to the bottom to watch the very first episode. Then you'll be hooked too. :-)
Are you a fan of Lost? What are your favorite things about the show?
Anticipation
For some reason, Carly Simon is serenading inside my skull. But there’s no zesty condiment being squeezed or tipped on end for this blog’s topic. Instead, an emotional reaction is the core of my subject matter.

There’s something unique and unrelenting about love, when it’s new and when you know it’s true. A couple meets and realizes their attraction. Then anticipation kicks in. As someone who believes love can solve so many problems, I enjoy reading romance novels and living the story vicariously through the central characters. The first romance I recall reading was ROMEO AND JULIET. What a tormented and sensational tale played out on the pages involving that amorous pair. Even though only ten years old at the time, I pondered what passion and love would hold for me when the time was ripe. After all, Shakespeare’s memorable characters gave their lives for love. Faced with a stellar conflict, they made the ultimate sacrifice. The Bard tapped the dramatic depths and stirred strong emotional reactions in his readers. Of all the romantic stories I’ve read over the years, I’ve never experienced more anticipation over the outcome than I did while reading R&J. From time to time I re-read this classic and marvel at the scope of the story and how it remains a timeless literary treasure. What kept me turning those pages was the hope to which I clung as their struggles and the sexual tension mounted.

What about you, readers? Do you delight in the rush of adrenaline and the surge of emotions as you embark on a romantic journey with those characters in romance novels? Do you find yourself eagerly anticipating the point where the couple has overcome their conflicts and earned their happily ever after?


Feel the heat in erotic fiction,

Shawna Moore
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave
Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace
Happy Hookers Online Workshop Coming February!

February 4-29, 2008

Happy Hookers! Engaging the Reader from Start to Finish

Instructor: Terry Spear
Cost: $25.00 payable by PayPal
Deadline to Register: January 30th

For more information go to:http://www.pasic.net/classes.html

Slow starts and sleepy endings to scenes and chapters can ruin a manuscript's chance of being published. Conversely, solid hooks can make the sale – as workshop instructor Terry Spear demonstrates, with six publishers currently hooked for six manuscripts. Setting such practical matters aside, what author wouldn't be thrilled to hear someone say, "I couldn't put the book down"? Strong hooks are a vital ingredient in strong writing. In this online class, which features lectures, discussion, practical exercises, and handouts, she'll teach students how to captivate readers with great openings, scene hooks, chapter cliff hangers, and intriguing back cover blurbs. Participants will have the chance to master the hook in all its environments, from the query letter through the novel.

About the Instructor:
Terry Spear has published in many genres, including historical romanticsuspense, contemporary, urban fantasy, and under the name Terry Lee Wilde, young adult paranormal and fantasy romances. She's the author of Winning the Highlander's Heart, is a debut paranormal author for Sourcebooks with the urban fantasy, Heart of the Wolf, coming April 1st, Don’t Cry Wolf, April 2009, and The Vampire…In My Dreams is already out with Samhain. Deadly Liaisons is coming in November, Relative Danger, TBA. She also writes nonfiction for numerous genealogy, WWII, teen, and family magazines, and has had romantic fiction published in magazines.

Currently, she's working on a third sequel to Heart of the Wolf, Betrayal of the Wolf.

Her website: http://www.terryspear.com/
Deadline to Register: January 30th
For more information go to: http://www.pasic.net/classes.html
Why We Read Erotic Romance


Now that I've gotten your attention with the hot, sexy, half-nekkid bod, tell me what you REALLY like about erotic romance. Although I think most women enjoy a good visual, they prefer the words, imaginings, and emotions beneath the skin. That's why erotic romance is enjoying a huge surge in popularity. Women have discovered their own Playboy magazine, but instead of looking at hot men, we're reading about them. It's not just the hot sex, it's the story, stupid.
I think that's one of the reasons why Deep Throat was such a popular X-rated movie. Although I saw the movie many years ago (on the UCLA campus to be exact), I remember it as having an actual story and lots of humor. Otherwise, I have no interest in watching explicit sex scenes in a film. Ahhh, but give me a sensual read.
The best of erotic romance should be able to stand on its own without the sex. The sex scenes are heightened and hotter when we have insights into the traits, strengths, and insecurities that drive the characters.
What are some of the reasons you read (or write) erotic romance? What needs and desires does it fulfill or exorcise for you?
I Got THE CALL!!!

I always love to hear stories of how an author got their first call. Most have written for years, love to read, loved to tell stories since they were small, but getting THE CALL is always unique.

For me, I received my first call for two books, The Vampire…In My Dreams and Ghostly Liaisons from Medallion Press. The way it happened was I was dying in bed with the worst flu that had hit me in a very long time. Fevers, chills, truly felt I couldn’t live another day. And then I got THE CALL. Forget the fevers, the chills, feeling like I was going to die any moment. I had to tell my family, and then I had to tell the world, via the Internet. I spent hours on the Internet, then finally went back to bed, contract fairies floating in my head.

Medallion Press closed the Young Adult line in September, the month before Ghostly Liaisons, my first book was to be released.

That’s okay. Because then I had the chance to receive THE CALL again. I kept sending out manuscripts, getting rejections, and sending out again. And it happened. It was similar to the first time…

“Is this book still available for sale?”

“Yes!”

Only this time the purchasing editor said she hadn’t finished reading it. But so far she loved it. “Was my werewolf world unique?”

Luckily, I had read several other werewolf novels and watched werewolf movies over the years and none of them had done what I had. Of course, I paused before I said yes. What if the editor didn’t want unique? Was it too different from other author’s works? Unique is great, but being too different, can be a problem. So, what did I say?

“Yes!”

Great, but she had to finish reading it. Talk about cliff hangers. She would get back with me in a few days. A few days passed, a few more. She called. She loved it. But it still wasn’t THE CALL. She had to pitch it before a board. Another week passed, and then a few days after that, it came.

“We want it!” she said.

I didn’t respond instantly. I kept waiting for the—but--

Nope, no “buts.” They wanted it! So HEART OF THE WOLF will be out April 1, 2008 and that’s no April Fools!!!

It received a terrific Publisher’s Weekly Review and the day after that my editor called and said, “I love Don’t Cry Wolf. I haven’t finished reading it, but if the end is as good as the rest, I’m pitching it to my Publisher next week.”

This time I was a little more reassured the news would be good, but until it’s really a done deal…it’s not a done deal.

And once again, I got THE CALL. Don’t Cry Wolf will come out in Spring, 2009!!!

This is what we work so hard for after writing and writing and writing, revising and revising some more, and suffering the interminable rejections, and finally there comes a day when we receive—THE CALL!

Don’t let those doubts get you down. Keep writing, revising, and submitting, and you can one day share with us your story of how you received THE CALL.

Terry Spearhttp://www.terryspear.com/, Heart of the Wolf, Don’t Cry Wolf, Winning the Highlander’s Heart, The Vampire…In My Dreams
Love at First Sight? Second? Third?


FALLING IN LOVE – At first sight? Second? Third?


The more years I survive, the more I mull certain questions and topics. As an author of romance fiction who’s also married, one of these topics is whether or not love at first sight is actually experienced or simply imagined? When I look back over my dating days, I definitely experienced a physical response and attraction to those guys a good amount of time before realizing each held potential as someone with whom I could fall in love. Of course, my mind and body were also responding to them on various levels including how they conducted themselves with others, addressed me, etc. However, love didn’t enter into the picture at first date or second. I’ve never been one to make snap judgments or rush into anything, but all of the guys I dated engaged me on a mental and physical level. A short time after meeting my husband for the first time, I knew there was a strong chance he was a man I could marry. But I couldn’t say after that first glance, in all honesty, I knew without a doubt he was the man with whom I’d eventually walk down the aisle. We knew each other a couple months before an event occurred that convinced me he was a man who not only cared about my welfare but who would also stick with me through good times and bad. The hardest bit for me to reconcile is that someone can truly, in a nanosecond, meet someone and know that person is the one to whom they’ll entrust their heart—ergo fall in love. Could happen, but color me a bit skeptical as I believe true love takes time to mature into a foundation on which a woman can build the rest of her life.

What about you? Do you believe in love at first sight, or is this merely a fantasy women want fulfilled but is, in actuality, a rarity?


Shawna Moore
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
Shawna’s Myspace
Helle’s Myspace
USA Today National Bestselling author, Joy Nash

I'm privileged to announce USA Today National Bestselling author, Joy Nash, shared a little about herself with our readers—and what a success story. Learn how she did it!

She is the award-winning author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance fiction with Celtic, magic, fantasy, futuristic, romantic and sensual themes. My first chance to read one of her books was during a Romance Writers of America contest, Celtic Fire, and I was hooked. Now, all her books have a special place in my heart and truly are keepers. Her new book, Deep Magic, is now available everywhere! Read the excerpt of the second book in Joy's Druids of Avalon series, and order it online today!

Thanks so much, Joy, for taking the time to share with us today.

1. Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
Certainly! My latest book, Deep Magic, was released on Jan 2, 2008. Deep Magic is the second book in my Druids of Avalon series, which has been compared by reviewers to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon and Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy. The Druids of Avalon series follows the lives of the Druid ancestors of King Arthur, as they struggle to pave the path for the great future king. Deep Magic, in which I tell my own version of how the great sword Excalibur was forged, follows the first book in the Druids series, The Grail King.

DEEP MAGIC... After generations of persecution, Britain's Druids have returned to Avalon, conjuring a magical mist to shield their illegal haven from Roman eyes. When a rogue Roman sorcerer threatens the isle's secrecy, Gwendolyn, the chosen successor to Avalon's Guardian, turns to forbidden Deep Magic in an effort to save the Druids from discovery. Crucial to her plans is Marcus Aquila, the handsome Roman blacksmith who once saved her life. But Gwen, a shapeshifter, cannot fully control the wolf that hides in her soul. The beast threatens the tentative love she and Marcus have forged. And what of the sword of Deep Magic they’ve created together...will it be Avalon's salvation...or its downfall?

You can read an excerpt of Deep Magic on my website, http://www.joynash.com/. Or you can listen to a podcast of me reading a different excerpt on Dorchester Publishing's website http://www.dorchesterpub.com/ !

2. What's coming up next?
Right now I'm hard at work finishing the urban fantasy Immortals: The Crossing. The Immortals series is a multi-author series I've co-authored with Jennifer Ashley and Robin Popp. The first round of Immortals books were released in 2007 – and all four titles became USA Today Bestsellers! Now four new Immortals books -- three full length novels and an anthology (with one full length book and one novella from each Immortals author) will be released beginning September 2008. Immortals: The Crossing (Oct 08), features the Sidhe demigod Mac, a very popular secondary character from my first Immortals book, Immortals: The Awakening. To keep up on Immortals happening, visit http://www.immortals-series.com/



3. Share with us how you felt when you learned you made the USA Today National Bestselling list.
The Awakening is the third book in the Immortals series. After Jennifer's The Calling and Robin's The Darkening each hit the USA Today list, I was on pins and needles waiting for my sales figures. I really didn't want to let the team down by tanking! Especially with JK Rowling taking up about twenty bestseller slots with her seven Harry Potter books in various incarnations . Luckily, The Awakening came through for us, as did Jennifer's finale, The Gathering. I was ecstatic, of course, and probably just as relieved.

4. Have you used a critique group? What are the benefits?
Yes, I've been in a critique group since I joined RWA in 2001. After a few false starts, I teamed up with two wonderful authors, Donna Birdsell and Anita Nolan. None of us were published when we began critiquing. Donna is now multi-published, with books from Berkley Sensation and Harlequin NEXT. Anita is now pursuing publication for middle grade readers, and has published educational short historical fiction as part of a middle grade history textbook series. I highly recommend critique partners. They keep you honest! They will tell you if some plot point's not working, and they'll catch all kinds of inconsistencies you've missed, even after your fifteenth read through. Often, authors are just too close to their own work to be able to see the story objectively, through a reader's eye.

5. What is your writing space like? Do you write at a desk? Somewhere else? Listen to music? Have to have no distractions?
If I had to write at a desk, I wouldn't have finished my first book! I write on a laptop computer, while sitting on the living room couch (you know, the one in the room near the front door that no one ever uses). Often, my dog is curled up at the end of the couch. The coffee table is my desk, supporting my feet and all the notes I've written to myself. I never listen to music while writing – I find it distracting. When I first started, I needed absolute silence (and preferably an empty house), but now I can filter out most background noise, like the TV in the family room, and the normal noise generated by three teens/preteens. But I do have a set of noise-cancelling headphones, and I'm not afraid to use them!

6. What is the message you'd like to share with your readers?
That there will always be real life heroes—men and women who face external foes, and their own weaknesses, with honor and optimism. They may not be fighting to save the world, like the heroes in a novel, but they are fighting for a piece of their own world. For their marriage and family, or for a child's future, for the good of their community or country, or to defeat an illness, or to just do their job honestly and as well as they can. And that love is always a part of that struggle. The heroes in books may be larger than life, but the inspiration for those characters are everywhere around us.

7. Do you feel contests helped you in making it where you are today? Why or why not?
Yes, I definitely do. I first entered contests in order to get honest critiques – and mostly that was worthwhile, especially the painful critiques from knowledgeable judges who ruthlessly pointed out my weaknesses. Of course, there were a few downers – here and there I encountered a less-than-tactful judges whose subjective comments made my blood pressure skyrocket! The first manuscript I sent out on the contest circuit had fair results, especially after a good number of rewrites. It was the second manuscript, however, that hit paydirt. Celtic Fire did extremely well in contests in 2003/2004. I was somewhat of a contest slut....ahem diva...but the effort paid off – Celtic Fire became a 2004 Golden Heart finalist. As a result, I had numerous requests from publishers, and the manuscript ended up selling to Dorchester. I used to joke that if all the judges that ever read the first chapters of Celtic Fire in a contest actually went out and bought it, that the book would hit the NY Times list!

8. When did you start writing and what gets you through the rough times, if any?
I always fooled around with writing a book, but I really started writing seriously in 2001. It was one of those silver lining things. In autumn of 2000, I came down with a flu that never went away – it turned into a case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that took almost four years to completely heal. The first year was particularly bad. I struggled to take care of my three young children, and had no energy for anything else that involved moving around. Funny thing about CFS is, you're extremely fatigued, but it's also hard to sleep. So I read a lot of books, and eventually started writing my own, mostly to get my mind off of worrying if I was every going to be able to walk a mile without needed to lie down for three hours afterward. So actually, it's the writing that gets me through the rough times. Writing is fun. I never get tired of it, though I do sometimes get distracted by all the other things in my life. My trick is to write in the morning, first thing after the kids leave for school. If I put it off, sometimes my pages don't get done.

9. What was your happiest moment as far as writing goes?
I probably screamed the loudest when I learned Celtic Fire was a Golden Heart Finalist. Selling Celtic Fire to Dorchester was also a high point. But I'd have to say that Immortals: The Awakening hitting the USA Today list has been my biggest thrill.

10. What advice can you give to readers?
The same advice I give my children – concentrate on creating and spreading goodwill, and break the karma of the bad by not passing it along to the next person when it hits you.

Wow, Joy, this is an incredible story. I’ve never heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but what a journey! And to think that horrible flu was the beginning of a successful line of books that capture the reader’s heart. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!! And anyone who has a yearning to read the kind of stories that will keep you hooked to the page until the very end, check out Joy’s work. I’m sold!

Terry Spear
http://www.terryspear.com/
Sold!!! Don't Cry Wolf, sequel to Heart of the Wolf
Too Stupid to Live?
Most romance writers are familiar with the description of a heroine as "too stupid to live." You know, the gal who has been stalked three-quarters of the way through the book and still opens her front door on a dark and stormy night when she hears a noise on her porch. But there has to be some willingness on the part of readers (and movie-goers) to suspend their disbelief. If everyone in books acted responsibly and sanely, there would be no good stories to tell! If Cinderella had told her Fairy Godmother she was nuts if she thought she was going to get into a coach that was a pumpkin a few seconds before, in glass slippers no less, Cin never would have met her Prince. If Scarlett had stayed home like any other sensible woman in her widow's weeds instead of going to that dance in Atlanta, she never would have caught Rhett's attention. Questionable choices don't just exist between the pages of a book either. If Anne Boleyn hadn't fallen in love with a king already married to a Catholic queen...well, we all know what happened there.


The fact is, many women (and men) may not be "too stupid to live," but they oftentimes make decisions that aren't based on any logic or concern for their own safety. In my December Harlequin Intrigue, The Stranger and I, the heroine accepts a ride from another American tourist in Mexico...and it leads to a world of pain (it also leads to one hot hero). Before I sold the book, someone told me that this was unbelievable. A woman would never accept a ride from a stranger in a foreign country. Oh really? When I was in my early twenties, my cousin and I drove around Europe and routinely picked up hitchhikers, and most of them weren't even Americans (there were a couple of cute Frenchmen though). Too stupid to live? Maybe, but we were young, eager to soak up foreign cultures (try to keep your minds out of the gutter here), and invincible.


So have you ever done anything that would have some editor or agent out there deeming you "too stupid to live"?
10 Things Romance Writers Can Learn From America's Next Top Model
By Nicole North

The world of romance writing and Tyra Banks' show about modeling have more in common than you think. Both contain women pursuing their dreams with passion and intensity. Both are about conveying emotion artistically. And if you succeed, both thrust you into the public eye. What nuggets of wisdom from the show can be applied to the romance writing industry?

1. Jealousy hurts you more than it does the one you're jealous of. On America's Next Top Model (ANTM) when one girl observes a peer taking better pictures and garnering praise from the judges, jealousy is often the natural result. She feels defensive and maybe wants to rip the other girl's hair out so that next time her photo won't be so incredible. In the publishing world, when your peers are selling manuscripts and receiving three book contracts, you may also feel envious. Okay, maybe you are allowed a couple minutes of jealousy; you're human after all. But after that, try to see her side of things. Maybe she's been writing longer than you or working harder. You will help yourself more if you take this approach. Jealousy is a poison that will turn you into a bitter, cranky person. And it won't help you achieve your goals faster.

2. Play up your natural strengths. If a model has a killer runway walk, she's not only going to enjoy stomping down that runway at every opportunity, but also doing it with a flare and confidence that will get her noticed. As a writer, if you're good at writing love scenes consider focusing on spicy or erotic romance. If you're skilled in crafting edge-of-your-seat action scenes maybe you should write romantic suspense. Figure out your strengths and showcase them.

3. Practice overcoming your weakness. On ANTM this season, one of the girls didn't know how to change her facial expressions on camera. She showed the same blank look in every photograph. Tyra told her to practice smiling with only her eyes while looking in the mirror, and she did. What a difference. In her next photos, she received praise instead of blahs! If you're constantly receiving the same comments about your writing from editors, agents or contest judges, perhaps you should work on whatever element they're pointing out, whether it's improving the emotion or character motivation. Even if you're not a natural at something like this, you can still turn it into a strength through learning.

4. Don't over-think it. On ANTM it's obvious when a model is over-thinking a pose. It looks stiff and uncomfortable. In writing, if you're afraid of writing something "wrong" then you'll feel paralyzed. You won't move forward and your writing will feel awkward, forced or unnatural. Relax and let the words flow in your own voice. You can go back later and fix it.

5. Listen to the advice of industry professionals and those who have "made it." We can't see our own faults because we're too close to them. This is where a critique from someone more experienced is invaluable. Whether you are a model or a writer, if you are willing to absorb and put into practice the advice of those who know more about the business than you, you're halfway there. Some people are too stubborn to listen and they end up mired in their own illusions of grandeur. This is not to say you should change everything about your writing to please someone else, but seriously consider all helpful advice before you brush it off.

6. Don't argue. This relates to #5. The example from ANTM comes from a girl this season who continued to talk back to one of the panel judges with defensive smart remarks. They sent her home. When an industry professional or contest judge makes a comment about your work, whether you agree with it or not, don't argue. It's unprofessional. Thank them and move on. If you still disagree with their assessment and know for a fact they're wrong, ignore them.

7. You can be in the bottom two and still end up on top. One of the ANTM winners from a past season was in the bottom two a couple times. In other words, she wasn't doing so great half the time. She was a favorite of mine, very likable, tough but vulnerable. Some of her photos bombed. But she wanted it badly and worked on improving each week. In the end, she was the winner. None of us are perfect. Our manuscripts and novels aren't perfect. Some win contests, some lose. It's up to us to drag ourselves out of the bottom two and struggle up that ladder with an eye on our goal. No one said it would be easy.

8. How bad do you want it? Some of the girls on ANTM who end up in the top twelve don't really want to be a model. What are they doing there? I like to see them go home early and make room for those who want it and want it BAD. These people are pursuing their dreams and working hard; they deserve a chance to prove themselves worthy.

9. Keep the confidence. I've noticed many of the girls on ANTM start out fantastic, take wonderful photos, win challenges, but when their confidence dwindles so does their success. Maybe they did horribly the week before and now they believe they'll be sent home... and often, they are. When you interact with industry professionals, whether by email, letter or in person, present yourself with confidence. Believe strongly in yourself and your stories. But don't be cocky or have an attitude; this is as unappealing as low self-esteem.

10. A rejection doesn't mean your life is over. Even if a girl doesn't win ANTM, she can still have a successful modeling career. After a rejection letter, keep writing, working hard to improve and knowing you can succeed. You will.

Nicole North's novella "Devil in a Kilt" will be out in December '08 in Red Sage Secrets, Volume 27. Her websites are www.nicolenorth.com and http://fierceromance.blogspot.com/

This article first appeared in FTHRW's newsletter, Words From the Heart.
Have an Umbrella? From Drizzle to Deluge
Late last year I decided to allow for more spontaneity in every aspect of my life in 2008. Some would deem this a resolution, but I prefer calling this a new approach or outlook. Instead of resorting to advanced planning I’d let Life surprise me from time to time. Go figure. The moment I let down my guard, Life turned nasty over the past several days. All was going along smoothly and then—Wham—certain events threatened to veer me off course in a major way. I was thankful I hadn’t lost my fondness of contingency plans. The resulting reality check—no matter how much I want to slacken my grip on those proverbial reins, I can’t toss them aside for extended periods of time. Remaining flexible, while recalling and utilizing past successful strategies, is the best way for me to navigate emergencies and devastating news or events. This also holds true for my writing. Sometimes freestyle works well, sometimes a more choreographed method works better.

For the past seven years I’ve been writing full-time. Over those years, my process has changed and morphs with each story written. In the beginning, I surrendered completely to my creativity and didn’t use plotting sheets or a white board. Before I wrote the first sentence, I knew the story’s beginning and ending and some of the rising action scenes, but I didn’t script anything formally. On reflection, that process didn’t work and cost me more time during the self-editing of subsequent drafts. Currently I prefer plotting most of the scenes in advance, but I allow for spontaneity and don’t mind tossing out scenes already jotted in favor of ones that work better for the plot and/or characterization.

What about you? Are you an advance planner, a go-with-the-flow type, or a person who favors an approach somewhere in between?

Feel the heat in erotic fiction,

Shawna Moore
ROUGHRIDER – Ellora’s Cave
HELLE IN HEELS – Ellora’s Cave
Shawna's Myspace
Helle's Myspace
Rachel Carrington makes us "Breathless"
Today I'm happy to say Rachel Carrington is here to tell us about herself and her newest story out with Red Sage.

Rachel Carrington a successful business woman and multi-published author. She is the ideal independent woman we all want to be. Single and with a full schedule, she prefers to keep her affairs casual and not have the excess emotional baggage that normally comes with the relationship. Motivated, adventurous, and with a wicked sense of humor, she brings us stories we not only dive into but hate to see end. Rachel writes dark paranormal and magical fantasies mixed with wizards, witches, and elves. From mystical worlds to the dark and dangerous corners of other universes, her books take you outside the bounds of reality and into the world where your imagination can take flight. She currently writes for Red Sage Publishing, Ellora's Cave, Samhain Publishing, Loose-Id, and Forbidden Publications.

Nicole North: Thanks for being a guest here at our blog, Rachel! Please tell us about your story "Breathless" in Red Sage Secrets Vol. 22 Dark Whispers.

Rachel Carrington: Let me start by saying this was one of my favorite novellas to write. Pairing a rogue wizard with a determined sorceress was fun and opened up doors of opportunity for dialogue, action, and sex!

Breathless is one of those books which started out one way and ended up going in a completely opposite direction. I fully intended Lark, the heroine, to be this kick-ass heroine and Zac, the hero, to be a rogue wizard. However, Zac’s emotional pain (and reasons behind it) came in much later after I’d actually finished the story. I had to give him a reason to be such an ass to begin with.

Here's a little more information:

Lark Hogan is a martial arts expert who has been trained to handle almost anything, except for the death of her sister at the hands of a madman. Seeking vengeance, Lark sets out to stop him, but though endowed with special gifts, she knows she can’t do it without help.

Zac is a mystery and a dangerous ally for Lark. He is a mercenary, an independent wizard who lives life only for himself, loving no one. The last thing he wants to do is help this sexy, lethal woman who confronts him, even if she knows what he is.

Confronting a common enemy, Lark and Zac battle their own demons as well as their own powerful attraction, and when sex gives way to love, this couple will fight to the death to protect what they’ve found.

NN: I love paranormal stories like this and can't wait to read this one. What inspired you to write this story?

RC: I've always wanted to write a story about a rogue wizard because for so long, the wizards I wrote about were honorable, upstanding sorcerers who had a strict code of what was right and what was wrong. So this was a challenge.

NN: He sounds like a bad boy alpha. Yummy! Please tell us more about the hero of this story.

RC: Zac is a mercenary—a rogue wizard who has been hurt by circumstances beyond his control. He believes his family has caused his pain, and that's what has changed his outlook on life. He doesn't want to get close to anyone again because of that pain. But then Lark comes along, and he's not prepared for what she does to his heart.

NN: I love tortured heroes!! They're so intense and they just need a good woman's love. :-) You have a lot of books published! Please tell us about some of your other works.

RC: I have another novella releasing with Red Sage in December 2008, I believe. It’s entitled Enchanted Spell, and the teaser description would be: Take one bitchy witch and toss her into country filled with wizards—her mortal enemies—and there’s bound to be trouble.

I also have three more books in the Hot Magic series I have with Ellora’s Cave which should be releasing in 2008. They are Unchained Spell, Timeless Spell, and Breaking the Spell, which are all sequels to Indigo Spell.

The series revolves around a family of wizards known as The Assembly, and I tell the stories of four of the wizards, three of whom are brothers. Their separate journeys are filled with the trials of falling in love with women they aren’t supposed to love and the dangers they face because of their feelings.

I also have several more books releasing in 2008, so check out my website at http://www.dawnrachel.com/ to find out more.

NN: Congratulations on all your sales!! What is your writing process or method?

RC: I'm an evening person, so I do most of my writing after midnight. It's my most creative time. I just grab my laptop, crawl up on my bed, and dive in. I don't really have a set process as to how I choose what to write other than whatever work is due at the moment. And sadly, there really is no method to my madness. I can be working on one book, realize another one is only 2,000 words or so away from being finished, and I'll switch over just so I can mark another goal off my list. It actually sounds more scatter-brained than it is! LOL

NN: Sounds like a smart method. What was the most important thing you learned (the thing that made all the difference) just before you made your first sale?

RC: Take the next step. I don't think I every really thought about giving up or quitting when all the rejections were coming in, but it did get tough for a while. I've always been a very determined, aggressive person, so I had to get to a point where the rejections were just another piece of paper (unless there was information on that which helped to improve my writing). So I just kept taking steps!

NN: Wonderful advice! Some people are afraid of taking that next step. What's next for you?

RC: Besides the books I have coming out this coming year, I'm about to start working on a screenplay for one of my books as well as a non-fiction book and a different type of cookbook with a close friend. (Trust me. It's one like you've never seen before). I have a couple of speaking engagements lined up for this year as well. I'll post everything on my website as soon as I get more information!

NN: Great! Best of luck with all your projects. I can't wait to find out about that cookbook. Thanks again for being a guest here!!

RC: Thank you so much for having me, Nicole.

Everyone please visit Rachel's websites:

http://www.dawnrachel.com/
www.bebo.com/rachelcarrington
www.myspace.com/drcarrington

A question for blog readers: If you read erotic romance, do you prefer full-length novels or novellas in this subgenre and why? Thanks in advance for commenting!
Heart of the Wolf--Publisher's Weekly Review

From Publisher's Weekly--


Heart of the Wolf Terry Spear. Sourcebooks/Casablanca, $6.99 (384p) ISBN 978−1−4022−1157−7
Red werewolf Bella flees her adoptive pack of gray werewolves when the alpha male Volan tries forcibly to claim her as his mate. Her real love, beta male Devlyn, has been out of her life for years, but comes after her when she finds herself accidentally captured by humans. Bella becomes convinced that Devlyn only wants to return her to Volan, but soon realizes that Devlyn loves her as much as she loves him, and is willing to fight Volan to the death to claim her. That problem pales, however, as a pack of red werewolves takes to killing human females in a crazed quest to claim Bella for their own. Bella and Devlyn must defeat the rogue wolves before Devlyn's final confrontation with Volan. The vulpine couple's chemistry crackles off the page, but the real strength of the book lies in Spear's depiction of pack power dynamics, as well as in the details of human−wolf interaction. Her wolf world feels at once palpable and even plausible. (Apr.)
(c) 2007 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Terry Spear,
Heart of the Wolf
www.terryspear.com Sign up on my newsletter for contests coming up!
Different Moods for Different Genres?



I'm Carol. I'm Mia. I'm Carol. I'm Mia. I'm Carol AND I'm Mia. Shades of Chinatown aside, I am Carol and Mia. Carol writes category romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue. These stories are breathless, seat-of-your-pants rides with plenty of danger and more than a few dead bodies piling up. The suspense shares equal billing with the romance, and more often than not, the danger increases the sexual tension between the hero and the heroine. While the romance can be hot, the hero and heroine usually don't have a lot of time to spend between the sheets with each other. One good, juicy love scene, maybe two is about what you're going to find in an Intrigue. Have to make sure there's plenty of time for the bullets to fly.


But as Mia, I write erotic romance where the hero and heroine spend most of their time between the sheets, and they don't refer to each other's body parts with euphemistic language either! Even in one story I wrote, Hot on Her Heels (Secrets Vol. 24, coming in July '08), which is a romantic suspense, the feel and pacing of the story is much different from the Intrigues because it's an erotic romance (and you won't find an Intrigue hero shaking his stuff in a leopard-print g-string working undercover at a strip club either!).
Although the genres are different, I can't really claim that I do anything different to get into the moods of the stories. No Al Green or Barry White music for writing erotica; no hard-driving Green Day for writing Intrigues. I don't wear black, high-heeled boots and jeans for writing Intrigues or thigh-high stockings and bustiers for writing erotica (much to my husband's great lament). I guess I just get into the stories. I can even work on one type of story one day and a different one the next or even during the same day if I'm doing revisions.
I have to admit I do get a little carried away with the love scenes in the Intrigues sometimes, and have to pull back, and I do enjoy writing erotic romances that have a little intrigue in them. So I suppose there's a little melding that goes on between the two genres.
I'd be curious to know from those of you who write different genres if you do anything to get into the particular mood of that genre. Thanks for dropping by. I'm off to work on another erotic romance. Better find those thigh-high stockings....


Rae Monet talks about Blood Game

Rae Monet is a multi-published, award winning, sensual romance author and speaker. She is former Air Force, FBI agent and now is a licensed Private Investigator as well has having a Bachelor and Masters Degrees in business. Rae loves to write strong female characters, lots of action, and hot romance.

Nicole: Thanks for being a guest at Fierce Romance, Rae! Beautiful cover! Please tell us about Blood Game, out now from Red Sage.

Rae Monet: You bet, I'd be happy to. Blood Game is the second book in my futuristic Vampire series called Blood Squad. The books in this series hold a special place in my heart, they touch on the healing of love and the need for hope. There are two more stories planned in the series. Sangerian Rose is the first book, it comes out this week from Cerridwen Press. Here's the short blurb for Blood Game:

When a rogue vampire threatens the truce between vampire and hunters, Byron Sangerian is caught in the middle of an unraveling mystery. The only reality anchoring him to sanity is one, flawed human woman, in a Blood Game he can’t seem to win.

NN: Sounds wonderful! Please tell us more about the world this story is set in and how you created it.

RM: Blood Game is set in the future, the year 2075. It's 16 years after the Treaty of the Faction was signed which forces a truce between the Vampires and the Human Hunters. I created the plot on a dare from my sister who loves vampires, but wanted to see them moved into the future and so the Blood Squad Series was born.

NN: Interesting twist! Please tell us more about your hot hero, Byron.

RM: Byron is the third and youngest brother of the Sangerian Clan Vampire Brothers. Yes, he's the baby. Tall, muscular, blond hair, very sensual. His personality style is very carefree until he's kidnapped and tortured by a rebel vampire clan. Byron's world is turned around until he meets one flawed woman who brings him back.

NN: Sounds like a hero I'd easily fall in love with. What inspired you to write this story?

RM: It had to be my sister all the way. We set about plotting the book when I was laid up in the hospital. Thinking about writing the book really got me through a difficult time in my life. You can visit the Blood Squad, including my trailer here: http://raemonet.com/BloodSquad.html


NN: You have other books published. Please tell us about some of them.

RM: I've published over thirteen book in various series. Like I said, the first book in the Blood Squad series will be coming out next book from Cerridwen Press. Then I have my Racing Romance Series, my Wolf Warrior Series, my Romantic Suspense Series. My gosh, so many I can't list them all but if you mosey over to my website at http://RaeMonet.com I have them all listed out.

NN: Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

RM: I subscribe to Nora's philosophy, butt in chair.

NN: LOL! Great advice! What is your writing process or method?

RM: When I sit down to write I try to give myself several uninterrupted, quiet hours to really get into the nitty-gritty of what I'm writing, but sometimes that will stretch to 8 hours or more when I'm in a groove.

NN: Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

RM: What's you favorite genre to read?

Please come explore Rae's other books on her website, http://www.raemonet.com/
Happy Hookers Online Workshop Coming February!

February 4-29, 2008 Happy Hookers!

Engaging the Reader from Start to Finish


Instructor: Terry Spear

Cost: $25.00 payable by PayPal

Deadline to Register: January 30th

For more information go to:http://www.pasic.net/classes.html


Slow starts and sleepy endings to scenes and chapters can ruin a manuscript's chance of being published. Conversely, solid hooks can make the sale – as workshop instructor Terry Spear demonstrates, with six publishers currently hooked for six manuscripts. Setting such practical matters aside, what author wouldn't be thrilled to hear someone say, "I couldn't put the book down"? Strong hooks are a vital ingredient in strong writing. In this online class, which features lectures, discussion, practical exercises, and handouts, she'll teach students how to captivate readers with great openings, scene hooks, chapter cliff hangers, and intriguing back cover blurbs. Participants will master the hook in all its environments, from the query letter through the novel.
About the Instructor: Terry Spear has published in many genres, including historical romantic suspense, contemporary, urban fantasy, and under the name Terry Lee Wilde, young adult paranormal and fantasy romances. She's the author of Winning the Highlander's Heart, is a debut paranormal author for Sourcebooks with the urban fantasy, Heart of the Wolf, coming April 1st, and The Vampire…In My Dreams is already out. Deadly Liaisons is coming in November. She also writes nonfiction for numerous genealogy, WWII, teen, and family magazines, and has had romantic fiction published in magazines. Currently, she's working on a sequel to Heart of the Wolf, Betrayal of the Wolf.
Deadline to Register: January 30th
For more information go to:http://www.pasic.net/classes.html
What Makes a Book Memorable
Do you have at least one bookcase filled with books with which you couldn’t bear to part? Books that are keepers in every sense? I’ve mysteries, romances, historicals, erotica, women’s fiction, medical suspenses, literary classics, etc. But one of the books I read this past fall definitely earned an alphabetized spot in my master bookcase. CAN’T WAIT TO GET TO HEAVEN by Fannie Flagg is memorable in every way. Her keen storytelling ability, humorous fictional “voice” and characters made this tale come alive for me and I couldn’t put the book down. I read this novel from cover to cover in one sitting and plan on re-reading it a couple times a year. Elner Shimfissel ranks right up there with the most well-written, clearly-defined characters I’ve ever read. Her exploits and insights, as well as those of other characters, will tap your emotions on every page. Fannie has also provided her readers with a stellar cast of secondary characters, each a fictional persona you won’t forget. I remember watching Fannie during her guest panelist days on MATCH GAME. While reading CAN’T WAIT TO GET TO HEAVEN, her authorial “voice” rang loud and clear. This is a skill we authors strive to master and one that puts an author on my auto-buy list. Can’t wait to read Fannie’s next novel.

What about you all? What book do you find memorable and pull from your bookshelf time and again?


Blessings and all the best,


Shawna Moore's Website
ROUGHRIDER -- Ellora's Cave
HELLE IN HEELS -- Ellora's Cave
Myspace
Helle's Myspace
Pumping up Boring, Nothing Scenes...Make Them Work!
Watch out for Boring, Nothing Scenes!!!
What makes for a unexciting, dull scene?

By analyzing each and every scene, we can learn to avoid tedious scenes. Or at least recognize it when we're doing edits. Write them, fine, just to get something down on the paper. But edit the "boringness" out in the final phases of the process.

So what makes for a boring scene?

** Doing stuff, but not moving the story forward.
** No conflict.
** Not pursuing a goal
** Not showing something new and different...same old things repeated.
** Back story.
** Making unlikeable characters that we really don't care enough about to read.
** Not showing the motivation for why someone does something.
** Failure to show emotion.
** Failure to show actions and their resulting reactions.
** All dialogue.
** All narration.

Now, have you read published works that have scenes like this? Absolutely. I don't know how many times I've read a book and skipped over pages of boring back story or scenes that just don't move the story forward.

So make every scene count. Make them do double duty, triple duty. What do we want to say in the scene? The point we want to get across?

How can we make it as riveting as the rest of our scenes?

Make sure we show the characters pursuing a goal, changing, strengthening the characterizations, showing something that prevents characters from reaching the goal (conflict), show new twists, reveal new information. Make the reader care about our characters.

What else can you do to make boring, nothing scenes spring to life?

We owe it to our readers to hook them so much, they can't put the book down. Out with the boring scenes, in with the riveting. :)
Terry Spear Heart of the Wolf coming April 1st from Sourcebooks!
http://www.terryspear.com/

Winning the Highlander's Heart available now on Amazon.com!
Nita Wick tells us How Faerie Dust is Made

Today we have a wonderful guest here, my friend, Nita Wick, talking about her book, How Faerie Dust is Made... released today!

NN: Welcome, Nita! Thanks for being a guest at Fierce Romance! What a beautiful, creative cover. Please tell us about How Faerie Dust is Made.

Nita Wick: Hi, Nicole! Thank you so much for inviting me. How Faerie Dust is Made is part one of The Roscommon Faerie Tales. In the series, a colony of faeries lives among the lush green forests of Roscommon, Ireland near the Arigna Mountains. Their lives would be peaceful were it not for the humans who live in the area with them. The humans dislike faeries and their magic, and the two races are often at odds. But faerie or human, love makes no distinction. And both will soon find that love is the greatest magic of all.

In How Faerie Dust is Made, Conall may be human, but he is Aisling’s life mate. She’s certain of it. After all, a faerie knows these things. Can her magic end the feud between their families? And just how is faerie dust made?

NN: Sounds like a fun, entertaining, romantic story! Please tell us more about your faeries and their world.

NW: The faeries of Roscommon have the ability to be both human size and small. With their magic, they can take their smaller form which is about six inches high. In this form, they have wings. Their magic can be put to many uses such as helping plants to grow and healing arts. Some faeries are more powerful than others. And some even practice other, darker forms of magic like witchcraft. Just like humans, the faeries have their faults as well as virtues. Some of them are very nice people you’d love to befriend. A few you might want to avoid.

NN: They sound charming! What a unique world. Please tell us more about the hero, Conall.

NW: Oh, Conall is one handsome Irish man. He stands well over six feet, has auburn hair and blue green eyes, and that lilting Irish brogue that makes a woman’s heart flutter. If he weren’t so blasted opinionated and stubborn, he’d be almost perfect.

NN: He sounds yummy!! What inspired you to write this story?

NW: I’ve always been fascinated with stories of faeries. I suppose like all my stories this one began when I was daydreaming – again. I imagined a very handsome hero stumbling across a lovely, petite woman in the forest. I didn’t understand at first why he was so upset to discover that the woman was faerie. Turns out, the humans of Roscommon don’t much like faeries.

NN: Interesting! Which element of this story was hardest for you?

NW: I can’t say that any of it was really hard to write. I loved my characters and my imaginary world so much I didn’t want to leave it. So I didn’t. I’m about half finished with part two and I’ve begun an outline for part three.

NN: Wow that's super! I'm sure everyone will want to visit this world again and again. Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?

NW: Hang in there. Don’t give up. And write what you enjoy writing. Don’t force yourself to write what’s hot in the industry right now. By the time you get it written and submitted, the trends will have changed anyway. You can always tell when an author has put her heart and soul in a book. That’s the kind of book a reader remembers. That’s the one on their Keeper Shelf.

NN: Great advice!! Would you like to ask blog readers a question?

NW: Yes! Do you like faerie stories? Did you ever imagine yourself as a faerie princess?

Oh, and I’d also like to ask everyone to stop by my web site. I have several pages with more information about The Roscommon Faerie Tales. You can learn more about the characters, the setting, Irish Gods & Goddesses, and some Gaelic words used in the book.

I’ll be having a contest to celebrate the release. There will be a print copy of How Faerie Dust is Made as well as other prizes! Every member of my newsletter mailing list will automatically be entered to win! So sign up for my newsletter at www.nitawick.com! You’ll find more info about the contest on my site soon!
Available in ebook and print – http://www.thewildrosepress.com/
Direct link to purchase: How Faerie Dust is Made
Guilty Pleasures

Oftentimes resolutions and goals are about giving things up, which is why they usually fail. Why should we give up things that give us pleasure? OK, if they're truly harmful, we definitely need to give it a try. But what about those guilty little pleasures that don't hurt anybody?


Some of my guilty pleasures include: checking out people.com and even voting in the polls of who wears it better; coming home at lunch and watching All My Children; Nacho Doritos; singing very loudly in the car (and sometimes holding my cell phone as a microphone); and panting over David Beckham's Armani underwear adds.
So how about it? Care to shelve those New Year's resolutions and tell us about your guilty little pleasures?

What Did I Do Today??? More on Goals~~
I posted a note about goals the other day, to make them quantifiable and doable. Also, it helps to keep oneself honest by either having a friend or family member making you accountable, or by keeping track of your own progress.

Take for instance, Betrayal of the Wolf, the sequel to Heart of the Wolf. I started writing it 4 weeks ago. The holidays cut into it a bit, but I was able to manage 89,000 words. I'm now uploading some of the chapters for critique, getting it ready to send to my editor. How did I manage to write so much in such a short amount of time?
First, I set a goal of 5,000 words a day. Some days I made it. Some I was far short of--mostly because of the holidays--but other days I wrote even more. Every single day I noted how many words I had left to write, and how many I had written. So on the first day 5,200 done, 84,800 left to go. Sounds horrible, right? But I kept whittling it down, day after day.

And now I'm nearly finished. I'll go beyond the 90,000 while I'm doing revisions and will no longer worry about the word count but about the quality of the story, adding more conflict, characterization, hooks.

Every day I told my family, I've finished such and such and have only so many more words to go. Lots of rolled eyes and laughs for the first 45,000 words, but as I continued down the road, my mother was asking when I was sending it to my editor. Monday?

Not ready yet. I need to finish editing it. But at least now I have a novel to edit.

So whether it's writing a book, losing weight, or doing some other project you've a mind to accomplish, make yourself accountable. Even with losing weight, if you keep track of all the calories you've eaten in a day, it can be astounding...making yourself aware of how much you're accomplishing can be all that it takes to make it work.
What about someone who wants to be more productive at anything? How much time is wasted on tv? Emails? Phone calls? Daydreaming?

By making yourself accountable, you can reach your goals. :)

Terry Spear
Heart of the Wolf will be released April 1st from Sourcebooks!!
If you're looking for a sexy, urban fantasy with hot alpha males and alpha females who stand up to them, take a look. Best selling authors~~Joy Nash, Cathy Clamp, and Patti O'Shea~~along with Tess Mallory, Deborah Macgillivray, Sandy Blair and new Red Sage author, Nicole North have endorsed it!
Happy New Year & New Contest!
Some writing friends and I are holding a new Contest for Valentine's Day! Enter before Feb 13.

THE QUEST FOR PASSION CONTEST: 13 Authors & 21 Prizes

In honor of our readers and in gratitude for choosing the various stories we love to write, we are hosting a special contest. Win prizes dedicated to love and passion: jewelry, romance books, chocolates, gift certificates, and perfume ~ all those things we’re hoping our sweethearts will sneak in for a Valentine's celebration! With 20 prizes and 1 grand prize, what do you have to lose in playing?


How to participate:
Visit each of the following author websites:















Find the word *heart* in one of their book’s titles, cover blurbs, or excerpts. OR, in the case of book reviewers who are joining us this month, find the heart (graphic) they leave next to one of their reviews as an indicator of the book title you need for the contest.


Make a list of the book title (for the blurb/excerpt or for the title of the book reviewed) from each site and email the entire list to happyendings2007@aol.com.


The contest ends midnight CST on February 13, 2008.
Winners will be posted on Valentine’s Day 2008 (unless there is an emergency and we must delay notification!).
Good luck!


The Prize I'm offering is handmade sterling silver and semi-precious stone earrings. Entering my portion of the contest is easy. Just go to www.nicolenorth.com, click on my "Books" page from the menu. You will easily find the info you need on that page.

While you're there, please check out my excerpt which I just added.
Thanks & Happy New Year!!


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