Tuesday, October 30, 2012

That Voodoo That You Do

For those of you who don't know, I have studied the history and lore of the practice of voodoo for almost twenty-five years. It isn't something I consciously decided to take up in the hope of improving my love life or turning someone into a zombie. (Although, now I think about it, turning Gerard Butler into my voodoo love slave does have a certain appeal!)

I became interested in voodoo when I played research assistant (translation - driver, note taker, secretary and gopher) to one of the most eccentric professors ever to grace the hallowed halls of the University of Southern Mississippi - Dr. O (aka The Professor of Enemy Languages - He taught German and Russian.) The study of the voodoo religion as practiced in Louisiana was a passion of his and he did a great deal of research on the subject in the years I knew him. Research I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat to, which resulted in my meeting some fascinating people and seeing some amazing and quite unbelievable things.

I don't really intend to post a long, drawn-out dissertation on voodoo today. If anyone has any specific questions or wants to be pointed to some great research resources I would be happy to do so. Just zip me an e-mail and I'll do the best I can to help. (louisa@louisacornell.com)

 I will tell you most of the movies with voodoo themes have picked bits and pieces from various versions of voodoo or hoodoo and therefore don't give a really great picture of the practices of specific versions of the voodoo faith. Yes, it is a faith, a religion and its roots can be found in African spiritual practices, Catholicism, and rituals from many Caribbean island beliefs. A priest is called a oungan, a priestess a mambo. Spirits are lwa or lao and hold a similar position as saints in Catholicism. Catholic saints can be called upon as well. Gris-gris can be worked for good or evil and there is always a price to pay.

And what does all of this have to do with writing? Quite a bit actually. Not long ago I was looking over my copy of all of those notes I took. In 1986 Dr. O spent several evenings speaking with a lady who was well known in the New Orleans voodoo community then. She is even better known now and we'll just leave it at that. I asked her a question, and while I found her answer confusing then, it makes perfect sense now.

"How do you cast a spell on someone who doesn't believe?"

"Ah, bebe, when you work the gris-gris what they believe is not so important as what you believe. If you believe, you can make them believe."

Marie Laveau
Writing is very much like weaving a spell. We want to draw the reader into our world, sometimes into our very souls. There is no magic potion or ritual we can perform to make our stories an unforgettable part of our readers' lives, something they will never forget. Like the mambo we study, we learn our craft, we find out as much as we can about what our readers want and need. We use our words, our voice, our creativity and inspiration. We pour our hearts, souls, sweat and sometimes it even feels like our blood onto the page in the hope of working a spell of love, revenge, fame, fortune and every secret desire for our readers. We want the sorcery of what we write to wrap around them on every page, to drift into their minds, to creep up on them and to mark them as changed by what we have wrought.

But do we believe? Think of the writers whose work we truly admire. Think of those moments when you are curled up in your favorite chair and become so deeply involved in the story you are reading that the dinner has burned, the phone is ringing and the tornado warning is sounding and you haven't budged. Think of those books you've read and finishing it was like waking up from a dream. You have to look around and get your bearings because for a few hours you were at Hogwarts, you were hanging out at the Sanctuary Bar with Ash and the Dark Hunters, you were dancing the night away with a handsome duke. Of course you weren't really doing all of those things, but for a little while you BELIEVED you were. How did it happen? The author made you BELIEVE. You know how?

                                     They Believed!

 Reading those notes it hit me. If I want my stories to be real, to be magic, I have to believe. I have to believe my characters, my plot, my conflict, my setting - all of it - is real. At least while I'm writing it I do. I have to invest my entire self into believing in my story and believing in myself as the only person who can work the spell to make my story come to life. With all of the other things a writer must do I think a writer must believe in their story in order to make it believable. It may well be the final step, the final difference between those who write books and those who make magic. 


                                "If you believe, you can make them believe!"

How about you? Do you believe in your stories? What sorts of things do you do to work your story magic? What books have you read and fallen under the writer's spell? How do you do that voodoo that you do? Are you a magician or a sorcerer's apprentice? Your fellow magicians want to know.


And the Launch Blog Winner Is...

Arrrr!!!  Special thanks to everyone who posted yesterday!
The winner of the Duke by Day, Rogue by Night Launch Blog is....  ba ba baaaaaaaa, rat a tat tat, rat a tat tat... Pat Trainum!!!!  Pat, I'll be contacting you and arranging an immediate delivery of pirate treasure for your pleasure. 
Katherine Bone
Duke by Day, Rogue by Night Available now, Crimson Romance

Monday, October 29, 2012

Duke by Day, Rogue by Night Launch Partay

Today is de day!!!  Today marks two firsts for me.  One, I’m happy to say I can now call myself a contributing member to the Romance Magician’s blog.  Woot!!!  Two, my debut release DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT comes out today!!!  (Raising me mug of rum with a merry smile and a sly wink!)

What a jovial day it is, me hearties!  Years and years of slaving away at the keyboard, instead of toiling as a mealy-mouthed deckhand, have finally paid off.  What began as a research marvel, discovering the tiny detail that Admiral Nelson was never without his tea, became a trilogy I fondly call the Nelson’s Tea Series. Why?  In the early 1800’s when France and Spain were at odds with England, Admiral Nelson was never without his tea.  Yes, even when he was aboard ship barking orders to prepare for a broadside, Nelson took time for a spot of tea every day.  Well, that got me to pondering, like any writer would. One, I love tea.  Two, what if Nelson’s Tea was code for a group of mercenaries, first sons from every walk of life, who used their status in society as a cover for what they really did for England?  Men Nelson could not do without.  Men no one would suspect of being in league with the well-loved Admiral.  Men Nelson could depend upon for secrecy and a promise to defend England until their dying breath.

As a former military brat, military wife and now military mom, I have a fondness for all things military, which means I live by a code that has nothing do to with guidelines and I adore alpha males.  ;)

Because of what I’ve experienced in my life, I have a fondness for swashbuckling adventure and romance.  So it’s not so much of a stretch for me to showcase 3 men who play a pivotal role in this series, Percival Avery, Marques Stanton, future 7th Duke of Blendingham, is a dashing rogue in search of his sister’s killers.  Lieutenant Henry Guffald, British Naval Officer, son of a farmer is a man with a rebellious streak bent on moving his way up the naval ranks.  Garrick Seaton, son of an Earl, member of a smuggling family firmly nestled within the Cornish Coast is a pirate with rakish ways that no woman can tame, or can she?  These men are Rogues, Rebels & Rakes and they coincidentally make up my tagline.  (Pirate!)

Aye, will you join me in a dram of rum?  Today, I’m hosting a cyber partay on Facebook.  (Pirate!)  You can find me at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Katherine-Bones-Official-Fan-Page/134578253291785 and https://www.facebook.com/katherine.bone.35?ref=tn_tnmn and on Twitter at: @katherinelbone. 

To show my gratitude to you all for sharing this day with me, I’ve brought along more pirate booty!  Comment on today’s blog for a chance to win some treasure!  I’ll be choosing one lucky commenter tomorrow (caveat: you must leave an email addy or contact info with your comment in order to win.  Pirate flag not included).
DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT can be found at CrimsonRomance.com/ and Amazon.com.  It should also be available soon on B&N, ITunes and Sony.

Here’s a teaser:

Constance Danbury is fleeing an arranged marriage to lecherous Lord Burton, a man who has blackmailed her father and is nearly twice her age. Her escape takes her aboard a merchantman bound for Spain, where she hopes an aunt will help her procure funds to save her father’s dwindling reputation. But fate intervenes. Constance is captured by a pirate with a wit and stubbornness to match her own, and a secret he’ll do anything to keep.

Nobleman Percival Avery is a member of Nelson’s Tea, an elite group whose members are first sons from every tier in society. Undercover, he disguises himself as a pirate to infiltrate the gang of cutthroats responsible for his sister’s death. But when his vessel attacks a merchantman with valuable cargo, Percy is forced to choose between vengeance and saving the life of his commander’s niece, Constance Danbury. Mutiny is sure to obliterate his well-laid plans. It also aligns him with the one woman sure to see through his disguise. Forced to play the fop by day to outwit his enemies, he masquerades as a rogue by night in order to avenge his sister’s death – and to win his true love’s heart.

 Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is a rollicking romp of a pirate romance in the classic style. From ship deck to London ballroom, Katherine Bone’s story is packed with intrigue, and the disguise of her rough and dangerous hero as a town popinjay positively delights.” – Katharine Ashe, author of Captured by a Rogue Lord

“Ms. Bone has weaved a captivating tale of cat and mouse that will keep the reader turning pages long into the night.” – Michelle Beattie, author of Romancing the Pirate

“Katherine Bone is an author after my own heart! Duke by Day, Rogue by Night is a sexy, adventurous romp guaranteed to keep you reading into the wee hours of the night.” – Shana Galen, author of The Rogue’s Pirate Bride

Heat level: Sensual

I’ll leave you with this thought. If you could be a pirate would you have a parrot or an undead monkey?  And, would you wear eyeliner or would you rather have a smoking beard?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Supernatural Sightseeing

When I travel, I love to visit literary hot spots--places like Thomas Wolfe’s home in Asheville, N.C. The To Kill a Mockingbird courthouse in Monroeville, Ala. J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts at Universal Studios. 

My bucket list includes visits to the setting of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence. To Hemingway’s Paris from A Moveable Feast. To Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon.  

Right now, I need some drivable locations. So I created this map for Alabama day trips that promise possible interaction with real live magical beings. 

Though supernaturals tend to lay low, a few brave Alabama authors have coaxed a handful of dangerous, yet heroic, characters to reveal their stories. 

All you need to do is click on the map locations to plan your adventure. 

View Paranormals Amok--A Guide to Sighting Supernaturals Alabama in in a larger map

You’ll find friendly supernaturals lurking just about everywhere. But their enemies are powerful supernaturals, too, and they’re after the good guys--so sightsee with your eyes wide open.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Month of Firsts, Gifts & Celebrations

October has been a month of firsts for me and super-busy. But that's good. Sometimes we get into ruts or stick with the familiar because it's easier...and safer. Trying something new is always risky, but it has its rewards. You stretch your boundaries and grow.

One of the firsts I'm proudest of is the publication of my multicultural short, "DEAD: A Ghost Story."

Unlike my other published stories, DEAD is NOT a romance. In it, Nasreen – the Indian-American protagonist grapples with her life and death in West Texas.

DEAD was inspired by the many immigrant wives I met during my time as a business reporter in West Texas. For the most part these women are invisible to the mainstream society for various reasons – language barriers, isolation, and unfamiliarity with their adopted country’s laws and social mores etc. So this story was written to recognize them and to highlight a usually hush-hush part of the immigrant story.

I have readers who love my genie romances, so why not write another one instead of trying on a completely different genre? Because the idea of all the invisible Nasreens in the world sort of haunted me until I’d written the story. In doing so, I discovered a different side of myself, a new voice inside.

If you'd like to check DEAD out, here's the Amazon link.

Another first I'm proud of is putting together my Author's Basket for the Southern Magic Romance Readers Luncheon 2012.

I'm not a crafty person. I can't turn ribbons into works of art, and gift wrapping usually involves LOTS of tape...and the end result isn't pretty. Hey, it's what's inside and the thought that counts, right?

But, I'd promised my Southern Magic sisters a raffle basket and by hook and crook I'd get it done. So I enlisted the DH (he's married to me and doesn't have a choice...plus, he's very practical & task oriented).

I loved the shopping part. A perk of writing genie romances and stories with an Asian flavor means I can have fun getting colorful, exotic gifts. Of course, I over-shopped. But that's okay, my DH managed to fit most everything into the basket in a nice, snug, efficient way. Here take a look:

(The book in the back is a Moroccan cookbook, then other good reads, incense, candles, Christmas decorations and more...um, like I said...I had fun shopping!)

We ran into trouble when it came to wrapping. I measured/guesstimated the cellophane and it was too short. So we had to creatively angle the basket, pull and stretch...and use LOTS of tape. By the end of it all, I wasn't even going to attempt working with a ribbon. Instead, I purchased a pre-curled pretty concoction and stuck in on top!

Now I have got my fingers and toes crossed that the ribbon bit stays stuck...if not, I hope the recipient is too distracted by the goodies inside to notice the missing finery. Whew, I feel like I have truly earned the good times and the several glasses of wine I'll enjoy when I finally get to my first Readers Luncheon.

Share some of the firsts you are proud of and you could win a Kindle copy of "Dead: A Ghost Story." Just leave a comment and way to contact you to be included in the random picking!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hometown Heroines Now Available

I'm happy to announce that Hometown Heroines is now available for Nook/Kindle/Kobo and many other e-readers. It will also be available in print in a week or two. Enjoy!

Writing Like The Wind

Lately, I've been trying very hard not get addicted to new television shows. I have to write! But there are some that just grip me--like Game Of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin's books. In fact, I've refused to read his books because I want to be surprised as I watch. (Now that is odd--because I'm usually all about the book, especially audio)

There is also something else I'm learning--that if you create a world that draws great interest, people want to read *more*.  If you don't write fast enough, people either move on or you get you tube videos/songs made for you like the one below. (Which is awesome--cracked me up)

I am finding that I have a *drive* to write. To get the next book out...but it is not coming out fast enough for me. So, I am taking a craft class to see if I can move forth a bit more purposefully. So far, I am loving it. It makes my brain hurt. I will let you know how it works.

So what method do you use to write faster? Are you a Pantser, Plotter, or both? What works for you?

And for Readers, do you feel like singing the song you see above to some of your favorite writers--and to which ones? --You realize you could speak directly to some of your favorite Authors at Southern Magic Reader's Luncheon on November 3rd, 2012, in Birmingham.  Now that would be fun! Tickets are still on Sale until October 28th, 2012. http://www.southernmagic.org/luncheon.html
Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Grand Prize Winner!

Lisa J! 


You have won our Blog Blitz's grand prize of a

Please send your address to Carla Swafford @ Charter.net.

The KINDLE FIRE was provided by the following authors.

Lisa Dunick
Heather Leonard

Thanks to everyone for visiting our blog and commenting!

Be on the look out for the next blitz in 2013!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Winner of Megan's Giveaway!

Congratulations to TAWNYA. She's won a $20 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel (your choice!) AND a copy of Megan's upcoming release, A ROYAL PAIN.
(Announced 10/16/12)

Author Interview: Megan Mulry

Today I'm welcoming debut author Megan Mulry to the Romance Magician's Blog.

Megan's first book, A ROYAL PAIN, is coming out from Sourcebooks just a couple of days before the 2012 Southern Magic Readers' Luncheon. Publisher's Weekly gave A ROYAL PAIN a starred review, calling it "A delightful love story… worth reading again and again." 

Megan will be joining us at the Readers' Luncheon (featuring Sherrilyn Kenyon) in Birmingham on November 3rd, but she stopped by today to talk about her book and writing. Be sure to leave a comment below, and you'll be entered to win a gift card and a copy of Megan's upcoming release, A ROYAL PAIN. AND you'll be entered to win the grand prize in the Blog Blitz--a Kindle Fire.

I started following you on Twitter a while back when someone retweeted a link to your blog post "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Romance Novel." In the post, you talk about your journey toward loving romance novels, a journey made more difficult because you, like much of society, is trained to think of them as not being "real" literature. So much of what you said, I could have written myself. I think I went through pretty much the same journey toward reading romance (including the early discovery of Amanda Quick), so I wonder, what made you take the leap from devouring Romance novels to creating them?

Taking the leap: after reading all the Amanda Quick, Julia Quinn, and Judith McNaught that I could get my hands on, I felt like there was a world I wanted to read about that had all the attention to manners and modes of dress and social mores that I love in Regency romances, but that would also be modern and steamy. I know the Regency romances can be steamy, but I guess I wanted it sexually liberated…not oh-we've-had-sex-so-I-we'll-have-to-get-married type sex. (Although I love that too!) After that seed was planted in my mind, the manuscript just sort of fell into place. I think after reading hundreds of those books in a year, something happened to me sort of like what Malcolm Gladwell described in Outliers. The structure and tropes and expectations became sort of internalized. I knew what I loved about those books and I wanted to create the same feelings in my readers (easier said than done).

 Hundreds in a year? Sounds exactly like what I did a few years ago. Until then, I'd never picked up a romance, and at first I told myself that it was just "research," that I was learning about the genre. I still wasn't thinking about writing yet, but I wasn't wrong. All that reading did teach me about the genre, probably better than any craft book could.

So tell us a little about your path to publication: Once you started writing, when did you feel like you had a book that was ready? How many manuscripts did you go through before you landed an agent and then a publisher for A ROYAL PAIN? 

Ready? You're hilarious. Just last week I turned in second-round edits on my second book and I still don't think it's ready. But I guess that's the point. My husband often accuses me of being rash, the phrase shoot-first-aim-later comes to mind. There's a component to all of this that requires the writer to just say, "Screw it." As long as I keep telling myself that my books are no better or worse than what's out there, I seem to move forward. It's about letting go. Also, in terms of endless self-editing, I don't notice much difference between things I've self-edited twice and things I've self-edited ten times. So I'll go with the twice, thanks. 

I wrote one full manuscript before A Royal Pain.

I love that--the "screw it" approach. And I think you're right. I always feel like sending your work out into the world takes something between courage and blissful naivet√©. But it also takes that willingness to let the work go and to stop believing in perfection. 

Speaking of perfection, your debut novel, A ROYAL PAIN, is coming out from Sourcebooks on November 1st. Tell us a little about the book. 

Here's the party line: "Bronte Talbott follows all of the exploits of the British royals. After all, they're the world's most preeminent dysfunctional family. And who is she to judge? Bronte's own search for love isn't going all that well, especially after her smooth-talking Texan boyfriend abruptly leaves her in the dust. Bronte keeps a lookout for a rebound to help mend her broken heart, and when she meets Max Heyworth, she's certain he's the perfect transitional man. But when she discovers he's a duke, she has to decide if she wants to stay with him for the long haul and deal with the opportunities-- and challenges-- of becoming a royal."

It's pretty hard for me to see the story objectively because I get lost down the rabbit holes of Bronte's neurotic nature, Max's veiled arrogance, the Duchess's control issues, etc. But that pretty much sums it up. (And beautiful clothes! And jewelry! And kissing!)

I was lucky enough to read A ROYAL PAIN back when it was still in the edits. One of my absolute favorite parts is your heroine, Bronte. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that she's an amazingly complex character, and one that you can't help but root for. I loved her strengths and the way her past shaped her, and I especially loved her proclivity to use four-letter words. Was there a part of her story that you found hard to write or to make feel authentic? 

I was lucky enough to have you read it! Unfortunately, it was far too easy for me to make Bronte feel authentic. I can totally relate to her! When beta readers started coming back with comments like, "I love how screwed up she is." I was sort of like, "Oh! Ha! Right." Shit. I take heart in lofty quotes from writers like Somerset Maugham that good fiction is "emotionally autobiographical" or something like that. 

I did have a hard time working through Bronte's issues with her father, because he was such a prick and I couldn't relate to that with "emotionally autobiographical honesty." Turns out most people I know have good dads, but after a little while it wasn't too hard to meet some whose fathers were jerks. As a writer, once you start casting about, you'll usually happen upon good examples of bad behavior pretty quickly. 

Tell us a little about Max--Bronte's love interest in the story. Did you have anyone in mind when you came up with him? I had Fitzwilliam Darcy in mind. And occasionally Clive Owen, when I wanted a bit o' rough. Need I say more?

No. Not at all. *sigh*

I know you're hard at work on edits for the other books in the series. How has writing and editing the second and third books been different for you than writing and selling that first one was? 

This has been so on my mind lately. The fast drafts of the first three books in the series flew out of my brain like a hose on full-spray. Up all night. Feverish writing sprints. Then A Royal Pain got a major makeover when I was in the getting-an-agent phase. My agent also happens to be an amazing editor in her own right and really helped make the book what it is today. Then it got another makeover once it got to the publisher. (We want it to sell? Remember?) I feel like it went through several unique iterations. 

Now, with books two and three it's more like I write it and send it to my editor and it's much quicker. My agent still reads everything I write, but this time it was like, "Great! Send it to Sourcebooks!" And I was like, "Uh. Okay." 

Also, with books two and three, I am dealing with the issues of what my editor calls "reader expectations," or what we've promised the reader. Being edited is one of the best experiences of my professional life. I storm around like a toddler for about ten minutes after the editorial call: "She wants me to what?! I have to change what?! Open the book with the hero?!" And then about an hour later I'm like, "That's such a good idea. Why didn't I think of that?" For book three, I'm probably going to re-write or add about a third of the book based on editorial input. That's the major difference. 

Finally, I know we met on Twitter--What advice do you have for new or debut authors for using social media or the web to promote yourself or your books?

Since I'm on a Somerset Maugham kick, here's what he has to say: “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” The same could be said about a social media strategy. I am not a strategic person. I have no idea. I just push forward and hope I don't leave too much of a wake in my path. For me, the main thing to remember is that if I think I'm pulling the wool over someone's eyes or being really clever, I'm probably not.

 I disagree with writers who say "Turn off the Internet!" or "Go into your writing cave!" First of all, I don't have the luxury of all that spelunking. Two kids. Dog. Husband. (I am humming "Nice work if you can get it…"). I use Twitter as a writing tool. I use the #1k1hr hashtag almost everyday. When I was on the agent search I used the #askagent hashtag and followed lots of agents. When I was on submission I followed lots of editors. These people make themselves available to you! Use them! But mainly, Twitter is a great place to be with other writers. My closest writer-friends are people I first met on Twitter (then met in person at RWA and/or RT conferences). In terms of how promotion and social media actually sell books…I'll have to let you know in November. My primary job is (and always will be I hope!) writing the books. Having an agent and a publisher puts a lot of the major promotional stuff into far more capable hands than mine.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Megan!

Thank you so much for having me at Romance Magicians! I can't wait to meet you in person (finally!) in Birmingham!

Because this interview is part of the Southern Magic Blog Blitz, we're giving away prizes! Leave a comment about how social media has helped you meet authors or readers, and you'll be entered to win a $20 gift card from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel (your choice!) AND a copy of Megan's upcoming release, A ROYAL PAIN. All comments will also be entered to win the grand prize: A Kindle Fire!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Don't Forget!

If you've been commenting on this blog the last month, don't forget to check each post and see if you won a giveaway! Look for the balloons (in Katherine Bone's post it was a chest with pocket watch).

Tuesday (10/16) is the day we announce the U.S. winner of the Kindle Fire. Probably by 9 p.m. Central USA. (In future big giveaways, we hope to have something worked out for international followers.)

A lot of fun is coming up in 3 weeks. The deadline for the Romance Readers Luncheon's registration is October 28. The Harbert Center downtown Birmingham is easy to reach, directly off the interstate, and they have free parking across the street. It's amazing how little traffic there is in the area on Saturday morning. So if you hate driving downtown, this will be a new and good experience for you.

We hope to see you there. We plan a lot of fun, food, BOOKS, and swag for everyone.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Winner of KC's Giveaway!

The lucky winner is bn100 of KC's newest release, TEXAS WIDE OPEN!!


(Announced 10/14/2012)

“I saw my death in his eyes.” by KC Klein

The title above was a direct quote from my latest release, TEXAS WIDE OPEN, out November 15th (you can go ahead and pre-order, so you don’t have to try and remember on the 15th) with Kensington.

I do say “was” because my editor didn't like the sentence saying something about how it was too violent and would the hero really be thinking murder if he loved her? I was a good girl. I changed the wording, not a big deal. But I do have to disagree with her reasoning.

Honestly, I don’t know much about death, but being married for seventeen years, I do know something about love. And anyone married for any length of time is sure to have witnessed violence in their spouse’s eyes, and sure as hell is hot, the vice-versa has occurred.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure there are two different versions of the time I saw pure crazy in my husband’s gaze. Being an honest person, I’ll point out the discrepancies and let you be the judge. We’d been married a few years, and my husband knew I had a habit of, shall we say, living in a dream world. He’d grown used to taking care of the day to day details, but there were times that I was asked to step up.

My husband had (In his version he says broke. In mine, I say lightly sprained.) his ankle. He was on crutches for a few weeks and could no longer drive to work and so had to take the bus. As a good wife I was supposed to pick up my poor, injured husband from the bus stop. Unfortunately, I forgot.

So yes, my husband had to walk on crutches (His version—a full mile in a hundred and twenty degree heat, which is possible since we live in Phoenix. My version—it barely broke a hundred and the distance couldn't be more than a half a mile.) all the way home. What was I doing that I forgot to pick him up? Curling my hair.

The image of my dear husband standing in the doorway, face beat red, dripping sweat, mouth foaming is still burned into my brain. And yes, for a split second, I did see my own death staring right back at me. There were a few awkward moments of him chasing me around the couch and me not about to get caught. (This time him being on crutches worked in my favor.) I think he finally sprawled himself on the couch too exhausted to limp after me anymore. Then I apologized, profusely.

Due to his sense of humor and my ability to make him laugh, he forgave me, and we’re still married eleven years later. But my point is in every relationship there comes a time when you wish the other person dead, even if you love them. Fortunately, we've never acted on those impulses (which would be bad), and my characters don’t either (because that would not be a love story, that would be a horror story). Every relationship has its ups and downs, and as with art imitating life, so do my characters. But it’s the thrill of experiencing the journey of how they get to the other side of happily-ever-after that makes writing romance so rewarding.

So, are you curious as to why the heroine sees her death in the hero’s eyes? I’ll give you a hint, it has something to do with his truck and a baseball bat, but you gotta read the story to find out. J

KC Klein loves living her dream of writing romance novels and sharing that with readers. If you like gritty, sexy, on-the-edge-of-your-seat-have-to-find-out-what-happens-next romance novels than check out her book, DARK FUTURE. You can download it to your Kindle here or your Nook here. If hot cowboys, honorable heroes, and sexy love stories is how you roll, please check out her newest release, TEXAS WIDE OPEN. You can pre-order it for your Kindle here or Nook here. KC loves connecting with readers. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and also her blog, Romance With an Edge.

KC is giving away a copy of her soon-to-be released TEXAS WIDE OPEN to one lucky commenter.

Just 16 more days before the cut-off date to register for Southern Magic's Romance Readers Luncheon in Birmingham, Alabama on November 3, 2012.  Click here to learn more. Over 30 authors attending with Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love. Free books and swag and much more.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Winner of Carla's Giveaway!

Congratulations to the winner of the $10 Gift card! Shannon Ro!  Email me at carla @ carlaswafford.com and let me know your email address and what type of card (Amazon or B&N).

You have until October 31 to claim your prize.

What's That Line?

Everyone who visits this blog has one thing in common, they love to read. This game comes up whenever I can't think of something to write or the expected post doesn't pan out. So go to the current book you're reading or the last one that you read (if you're in-between books), turn to the page with the first kiss and type it in. Be sure to give us the name of the author and book. Then we can add it to our TBR pile.
I'm reading Lori Foster's RUN THE RISK.

At the first touch of his mouth on hers, she made a sound of pleasure, and Logan knew he was a goner.

The giveaway today is a $10 Amazon or B&N gift e-card (your choice) to one lucky commenter. 

As we've mentioned the last few weeks, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love are our speakers at the Romance Readers Luncheon November 3.  You can find out more information at www.southernmagic.org. If you've never attended, you will be surprised by how many books you get to take home along with all kinds of swag. And with there being 30 other authors, that's 30 chances of winning their baskets as a door prize. Most organizations only give away one door prize, we have one for every author hosting a table. Hope to see you there!

Winner of Betty's Giveaway!

So the new winner is JoAnn! Please send me an email at betty @bettybolte (dot) com and include your mailing address. I'll send the gift card ASAP. Thanks for commenting and congratulations!


(Announced at 10/12/12 7:12 a.m.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Evolution of Family Recipes – Have they really changed?

While I was in Boston in August, I found an awesome cookbook: <i>Our Founding Foods</i> by Jane Tennant with  S.G.B Tennant, Jr. I was super excited about finding this book so that as I write about the American Revolution I can include some foody aspects based on the recipes from Martha Washington and other famous first ladies.
This wonderful book prompted me to write about how recipes (aka receipts) have changed over the decades since the beginnings of the United States. As a result of that blog post (which you can read on my website: www.bettybolte.com/blog.htm) several of my nieces requested copies of family recipes that I have, and for some of my own.
Typing up the recipes for casseroles and cookies handed down from my mother, grandmother, and several aunts was easy. But they also want my recipes. Hmmm. Recipe?

I cook by adding a bit of this and a dash of that to the meats and vegies. How do I relay the quantities of seasoning when I “eyeball” the amount of each ingredient as I add it? In fact, the seasonings vary each time I make my smothered chicken or pork chops. Meatloaf has a few standard ingredients, but then there are whims involved as well.
I’ve had to tell my lovely nieces that those “recipes” will take longer to pull together than the ones handed down to me. Which illustrates why so many family recipes are lost unless someone takes the time to quantify the ingredients.
For example, my smothered chicken. I start with frozen chicken breasts (for simplicity when I was working full time and had no time to defrost them) in a covered baking dish. Then I decide between a can of no-salt added diced tomatoes, a can of cream of mushroom/chicken/celery (pick one) soup, or both. Then I add grated parmesan cheese and seasonings – garlic, pepper, herbs. Like I said, the seasonings change with my whim and the time of year. Stir that together and pour over the chicken. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, or until done. Obviously, if you’re using thawed chicken the baking time will be reduced.
My daughter has her own variations to that recipe, sometimes including sliced black olives or nuts. That’s the cool thing about the recipe, though, it’s variability. But it’s also why it’s hard to capture it on paper with any amount of precision.
But do we need precision when it comes to recipes? Some people do, some people don’t. I think it depends on how comfortable you are in the kitchen.

Which brings me back to my title question: have family recipes changed as much as those in cookbooks? We still have unwritten recipes that we share with each other that have never been anchored on a page. Indeed, they are only written in my head.
Like my characters, the meals I make each day are ingrained in my mind but do not appear in any cookbook. That’s not to say I don’t use recipes – I do! For baking cookies and cakes and brownies; I can never remember the amounts of flour, baking soda, etc., and do not want to court disaster. But fixing dinner or breakfast or lunch is a much different enterprise.
What family recipes do you have that only exist in your head? Tell me in the comments and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $20 gift card to Babies-R-Us/Toys-R-Us! You’ll also be entered to win the Kindle Fire at the end of the month.(Note that only U.S. residents are eligible to win the Kindle Fire.)
The RWA Southern Magic chapter in Birmingham, Alabama, is hosting their annual Romance Readers Luncheon on November 3, 2012. This event is a celebration of people who read romances and everyone is invited. I’ll be there, along with many other writers, so I hope you’ll try to join in the fun! For more info and to register to attend, please visit http://www.southernmagic.org/luncheon.html.