Archive for the ‘Romance authors’ Category

One question that is heard these days around the writing circuit is, “What is your brand?”

At first I felt the question needed a question from me. “Brand? My shoes?” Maybe they recognized the clothing I wore, maybe they just were dying to have a pair of jeans like those I wore, or maybe even they admired a piece of jewelry. No…these days I hear more about branding even though I had always felt it was more obvious what type writer was, well, what.

I know one writer whose brand is vampires. She writes romances based in the world of vampires and sorcery. That’s cool. Another writer I know is marketing to young adult readers. She writes books of romances mainly between couples in their really early twenties. I’ve even seen some young adult romances with characters in their late teens. And yes, I know authors who love to write erotic romances as well.

Brands are definitely important, I suppose, if you meet a group of writers and want to establish exactly what each author writes. Do they write Regency, Victorian, Westerns, contemporary? Do they write about vampires or zombies, do they write about high society Regency couples or modern couples in middle class America? Perhaps they write strictly about a certain part of the country or a certain sub-genre. Maybe their work is sweet, perhaps it is a bit spicy…perhaps it is incredibly erotic.

I’d grouped writers into categories most of my life…never realizing I was actually branding them in my head. But, to be honest, knowing the brand you represent and the way you market your books based on that knowledge gives you an idea of what you will do once your book is ready for the public. At conferences I’ve seen authors wearing clothing that defines their work…many are often in character for dinners or events. Victorian dresses, vampire teeth, boas or supernatural characters are not that unusual. It definitely shows me what books these authors write. I love how easily I recognize their brands!

Yes, I am beginning to see the way branding works for writers. As in any other profession…it is good to know how to market your work and to whom. By identifying your specific brand you are able to reach the right demographic for your book.

I’m still learning about how to build my brand…

What is yours?


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Atlanta is an amazing city for writers. I recently attended the 2013 Romance Writers of America convention there and I must say this city is not only filled with amazing romance authors but is an inspirational part of our country for someone like me.

To see the home that Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind, lived in and to imagine the history that took place among the hills that surround the city…it boggles the mind.

It was such an honor to get to see and hear many of today’s successful authors. The workshops were not only informative but were great places to bond with others in the writing field.

Look for my blog to post more often (had you noticed I’ve been MIA for a few months?) and for my webpages to get a slight overhaul. It is good to be back online and getting my writing organized once again after a few months’ absence to take care of things I’d let pile up during this busy year.

What’s been happening in your world while I’ve been busy elsewhere…



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“You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God’s adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by.”

~~~ Mark Twain in a letter to his son Orion Clemens, 23 March 1878

I often wonder how many authors have this problem. I write…then I re-write…then I edit…then I critique myself…then the cycle begins again. I believe I am my own worst critic. Is this the reason so many authors belong to critique groups? Could it be possible I truly am my own worst critic and need the fresh eyes of another writer?

My stories are fresh and unique. I love that about them. Not only are the novels of the vein most romance readers love but in the style I know and enjoy. Would joining a critique group make them better? I think this may be one avenue I may explore. However, I enjoy the solitude of writing, of getting into those characters in my head and giving them voice…would leaning on another author alter my style or enhance it?

While at Moonlight and Magnolias a few months ago I was honored to win a couple of raffles. One was the privilege (and it is indeed a privilege) to have a critique of my work by Sandra Chastain. Ms. Chastain not only is a lady with respect among her peers as a writer of fifty or so novels, she is a co-founder of the new imprint, BelleBooks, a Southern-oriented fiction publisher. Some of my contemporary and several of my historical storylines would fit her category perfectly. Perhaps this is the reason I am a bit nervous about having her see my work. It is an honor as well as a chance to let her examine my work through the eyes of a publisher and as a fellow writer. Could it lead to a new chapter in my writing life? Wouldn’t that be fabulous! Absolutely.

Chastain is a lovely lady, her influence in Georgia Romance Writers Chapter is obvious. An award for writers within the Moonlight and Magnolias Maggies annual event is named for her. She was one of their founding members and still attends today! This is what I love about her…the interest in the organization and in new members. The fact she actually co-founded BelleBooks and is now active in publication is inspiring! I met her once before through a new Georgia friend, Jackie Rodriquez, and was impressed with her knowledge and quick wit. She is an encouraging staple in the Southern writers’ community.

Twain, historically famous for his novels Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as well as countless others, has been a long-time favorite author of mine. While he isn’t known for romance novels (Judith McNaught, you have the top spot in firing up my Regency aspirations!) he is a writer with a voice all his own. I lived through his work…and that is what I seek for my own readers. Much as I could feel that little kiss between Tom and Becky, I want my readers to feel the kisses in my books. The friendship and devotion between Tom and his friend, Huck, are colorful and alive. I loved that as a child and still do.

Ms. Chastain, Mr. Twain, Ms. McNaught. I love their influences on writers. Different genres, different styles, different readers. But what stands out in my mind…they all appeal to their own unique audiences.

After conquering a few dire weeks of writer’s block, of overcoming a few family and personal obstacles and simply dealing with my own self-doubts I am proud to say my work for Ms. Chastain is coming along nicely. I had written several chapters months ago and had them ready to submit to her for critique…then I’d re-written…then I’d edited. You get the picture, yes? Sometimes I feel I edit my voice out of my own work.

Today I am going back to page one. I am looking it over with a keen eye for my styling and my voice. And, as much as I’ll want to follow that old routine once again, I will be submitting my work to be critiqued and with just the right amount of thunder and lightning. Who knows, I may wind up with my original chapters…but I am determined to present my own voice to be critiqued.

I’m feeling the romance in writing!


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It seems ages since I’ve posted on my blog and I am so, so sorry. That old saying holds true, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”…especially in my life lately.

While the beginning of the year was busy as well as productive, February hit with a vengeance. Not only was my writing experiencing a little block, my family seemed to hit a stumbling block as well. While one member of my family is far away and trying to decide on the next steps in establishing her career, others were at home or nearby experiencing health and life-threatening problems.

tornado-heavily-damages-usm-campus-in-ha-77602As shown on this photo from Alabama’s 13, an  EF4 tornado hit the college town of Hattiesburg, MS, last Sunday. This photo was taken seconds before it struck the home my youngest daughter was using while attending classes there. It destroyed her home and left her looking for a new place to live. Not only did it damage her home but she was unfortunate to be in the midst of this monster tornado. She was at a neighbor’s when it blew through her neighborhood taking down power lines, downing trees and destroying homes and cars. A traumatizing experience, I do not think she will forget this experience any time soon. But she is moving on…she’s found a new home with new roommates, she has already settled in and is happy and healthy. Most of all, she is unhurt.

Unknown to most, I was about two blocks down the street when this storm blew through. My husband had taken ill and was being seen at the hospital there. He got to experience the power outage while being given an MRI scan on a lower floor while I was on the topmost floor, in the hallway with visitors and patients, as the lights flickered and went out and that classic roar was heard overhead. It was a scary sound but nothing compared to the screeching winds my daughter experienced just blocks away as windows busted out of the home she was in and trees crashed around them.

The experience has given me new perspective on the delicate balance of time. As I stated in the title it has given me pause and has made me try to see the ‘lemonade’ in the world around me. Writer’s block? Gone. Busy? Still. Tired? Absolutely. But…

I have realized just how precarious our circumstances are. Life is not an absolute given but a delicate flower that can be blown away in the wind. Here today…gone tomorrow. We never know. Chasing my dream of writing is a fabulous and rewarding endeavor but I must treat it as I should. Sometimes I go off on different ventures, leaving my writing sometimes for days.

Back on my writing schedule, I am ready to resume my  normal life. This will be the year my work is available!

Have a glass of lemonade….I have,


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Most writers speak of their muse. Maybe it is a person or place or thing that inspires their work or a ‘state of being’ that comes over the writer that speaks volumes to him/her as the words flow onto the pages. I have to admit I have often ‘mused’ about this feeling. My personal muse is nothing tangible…it is just a feeling. But after reading and talking with other authors about their own muses…is mine simply the need to write?

I would love to hear from other authors about where and when their muse appeared. And, honestly, I’d love to know what inspires your work…what is your muse?

I am inspired to write at peculiar hours…perhaps at 3 a.m. on a quiet night or in the midst of a beautiful thunderstorm or early in the morning just as I finish my breakfast. Different scenarios in my work are inspired by different things. Hey, perhaps that quiet night or that thunderstorm or that great sunrise is my muse?

My late maternal grandmother was a teacher. My late paternal great great grandfather wrote his own life story of growing up and being in the Civil War. Maybe these ancestors have influenced my own thought processes, perhaps they are my muses. In fact, I feel they are definitely influential in my writing. I never met either, but I too love to put words onto paper. Maybe it has been an inherited need to write…a tiny piece of them that continues on in me.

Whatever it is for individual authors, we all have that overwhelming need to write. I believe inspiration comes from all sources, if you look hard enough. And, I believe that teensy spark that I feel in my mind when an idea seeded from that inspiration becomes a need to write…that teensy spark is the muse. Is that my inherited need to write? Is it my curiosity has sparked my imagination? Or is it just my creative imagination cranking into gear?

It is truly a bit of it all. I am curious about things, I have a vibrant imagination and I learned at an early age the wonder of books. My muse is life…wish I could capture it all on my pages,



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“For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.”  Louis L’Amour

As writers we find ourselves immersed in the lives of our characters. At their beck and call, if you will.

For those who read (and write) historical novels, there is nothing like the discovery of the way it felt to live all those years ago…be it mid-twentieth century or the Stone Age.

For those reading (and writing)  contemporary novels it is the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes. A really great book allows the reader the ability to see life through the eyes of the main characters…a chance to become someone else for a while.

Yes, I write mostly fiction, but can you imagine the lives of great people who lived before us! Those who fought and lived and loved and died to shape the world we live in today.

In studying genealogy I’ve come in contact with it all. The thrill of times past, knowing how some of my ancestors lived through some famed eras. They brought their own history to America from Europe as settlers in a new land. Some were already living on American soil before the arrival of those new pilgrims. Many fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, the War of 1812; and settled land that has remained in my family for generations. My ancestors had even lived in the time of King Arthur, and one or two had fought in the War of the Roses.

The Great Depression and the World Wars shaped the lived of more recent ancestors. In fact, those particular times had a great deal to do with how my parents and grandparents grew up. And now, sometimes as I write, I hear those details they relived in stories to me…becoming words on my paper. Perhaps, and I think this is a wonderful thing, my muse is my own history.

As one paragraph on wisegeek.com states, “Whether the muse is spiritual or a person of flesh and blood, it is true that the world of the arts is indebted to its muses. Without these inspirational people who have loved and encouraged the artist, a wealth of paintings and music would be missing from the world.”

I am positive this holds true for writers as well,





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How many of you are writers who have attended author conventions? I love these events…if, for no other reason, it is because I come home with loads of books, excerpts, bookmarks, goodies and other writing aids.

But. Yes, these days there is always a ‘but’. Travel is becoming more difficult when you leave home with one suitcase and come home with that one suitcase…and loads of other goodies that you really hadn’t planned on stuffing into that one suitcase along with your clothing. Well over half of said suitcase is filled with paperback novels. Alongside these novels are bookmarks, business cards, handy-dandy post-it pads, etc. Plus, this year I actually won a raffle (I was shocked, I never win stuff!) that contained delightful goodies like coffees, chocolates, items for pampering myself like soaps and gels, a mug for said coffees, wine glasses and wine, an eReader and more!

That one suitcase has reached a definite fifty pound limit…so I have filled the complimentary book sack I’d received with some items and, when it was filled, I filled my gift bag (quite large thank goodness) that had come in the original book sack. Some things are stuffed into my extra-large purse (at least I remembered to bring that one this year) and I may have some things in my jacket pockets! Hope no one bumps me in line…I promise I am not a bookstore thief! I like the rattan basket that contained my cute gifts so I’ll be toting it too..

So, if you see a crazy lady lugging an overly stuffed suitcase with an overly stuffed purse on one shoulder and an overly stuffed book bag on the other…and dragging an empty basket…I am truly not crazy, just headed back to the comforts of home,


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“What stories are you carrying inside you that are yearning to be freed onto the page? What stories are you carrying inside that, once freed onto the page, will also free you? Whatever they are, write one of them. Now.” ~~ Maya Angelou
As I attend the Moonlight and Magnolias Writer Conference I see faces of new writers filled with hope, I meet authors who have accomplished so much that we, as unpublished writers want to do and wonderful, endearing people who work in the publishing industry who strive to make us all remember they are here to listen to and offer chances to us as we chase our dreams.
I am a people-watcher and am usually that quiet person you see observing others. However, at times like this, I love the energy and sense of renewal it gives me in my own pursuit of dreams.

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Mystery. Something about a decades long mystery intrigues us. What happens when the mystery is finally solved. Do we forget? Do we romanticize? Do we delve deep within our writers’ minds and come up with storylines?

Probably all of the above. And more.

Today, June 1st, marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the famed flight that eventually ended with the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. A woman pioneer of her time, Ms. Earhart was known as an aviator. She flew across the Atlantic, both accompanied and alone. She was also known for her smiling photos, waving as she readied to pilot another flight (something not familiar to most women in the 1930’s). She was a daring pioneer of that era…both among women and among the population in general.

On the final leg of what would have been an around the world adventure, Ms. Earhart set out July 2 from Lae, New Guinea for Howland Island…just a hop and skip to Hawaii and then the mainland of the United States. She had traveled her around the world course with just 7,000 miles ahead of her and her navigator, Fred Noonan. On that day she went from being not only a famous female pilot but also became one of the greatest mysteries of her time.

She never arrived at Howland Island.

Did she crash at sea from lack of fuel? Many supported this idea. Did she and Noonan ‘run away’ and live quietly somewhere far, far away? Others wondered about this. Perhaps they’d never intended to ever arrive at Howland Island…and had in reality become spies during the 30’s…a time of great changes in Europe and Asia? Others grasped at this idea.

Castaways? Likely, it seems. Oh no, not like the characters of Gilligan’s Island fame. Life would never have been that easy in the area it is suggested they’d found themselves. It has been suggested they found themselves low on fuel, without radio contact and in dire need of somewhere to land in a blue and expansive Pacific Ocean. Finding a tiny waterless atoll, they possibly had landed on an exposed reef, taken up residence on an uninhabited island then called Gardner Island (now known as Nikumaroro (only about 350 miles northwest of Howland Island) and survived there for an unknown length of time.  Charts show this is a plausible theory. Bones, makeup and a shoe found on the island are links to Earhart’s era. A very recent find, a broken glass jar that contained freckle-fading cream (Amelia Earhart was known to use this product as she did not like her own freckles) could possibly provide DNA links to Ms. Earhart herself.

This is one story I will continue to follow. Perhaps it will spark a storyline…perhaps it already has. Her story, at face value, is simple. She was lost at sea while flying around the world. But, after looking at all the stories of her disappearance, about Mr. Noonan, about what has been found on this particular island throughout the years (did you know an aerial photo taken just a few years after her disappearance shows the nose wheel of a plane like hers sticking out of the water just off Gardner Island?), about old campsites and a bounced radio signal heard in Florida of both Amelia and Mr. Noonan pleading for assistance and giving their approximate location.

How can this not spark a writer’s imagination. Above even that…how could it not initiate further funding and studies of the areas in question. I wonder if Mark Ballard could find remnants of the plane? I wonder if TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) will finally provide us the answers.

Did she lose her way and crash at sea? Did she perhaps crash-land in Australia (another theory that has been explored)? Was she taken prisoner by the Japanese or enlisted as a spy somehow? Was Gardner Island home to castaways once upon a time?

I wonder what happened….



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Today I am turning over my blog post to author Wenona Hulsey. Do check out her books and note the links to her work…and be sure to look for more guest posts on later dates in my blog. Okay…no more talk from me…let’s meet Wenona!

Big thanks for letting me join you today.  I love doing guest posts because I enjoy meeting new people.  So after reading this, don’t be a stranger, I’m always hanging out at some social network table so come chat with me.  I’m leaving you the address to my favorite places at the end of this post!

How about I tell you a bit about me first? I’m Wenona Hulsey, mother of two and blue collar worker by day.  But at night I turn into Wenona Hulsey, master of words and worlds.  I’ve always written for as long as I can remember. I really got into writing about a year ago because I was searching for a creative outlet during a time in my life when I felt like I was living in a rut.  I sing terrible, I dance like I’m having seizures and my art looks like stick figures so I turned to what came easiest to me —writing.  I started working on my first novel, Burden of Blood, and it moved along remarkably fast.  I guess that could be contributed to my recent binge reading of all books labeled paranormal romances but I had an idea of what I wanted and I put it to paper.

As I was nearing the end of my writing frenzy on Burden of Blood a fascinating novelette idea popped into my head and Blood Awakening was born.  It works as a back story to two of the main characters in Burden of Blood, giving you more detail and insight into who Nicole Keenan and her best friend Kat were before their world was turned on its head.  I would consider Blood Awakening more of a thriller, suspense with a dash of paranormal and comedy thrown in.  But Burden of Blood is full on Epic Fantasy with hot warriors and gothic fairies in leading roles.

Now that I’ve sent both Blood Awakening and Burden of Blood out into the world, I’m working on book two in the Blood Burden series which is titled Blood of Fire.  I’m hoping to have this one published in summer of 2012.

Okay, I’ll stop yammering away and give you all the juicy details about my books and a bit on where you can find me if you want to chat.  Thanks so much for letting me join you today!

  Blood Awakening  

Nicole, a small town Alabama girl, and her best friend Kat take a weekend trip to Panama City, Florida. Kat looking to have a good time and Nicole hoping to escape the pain of losing her mother for a little while. Little did Nicole know, the escape would awaken an ancient power that is hidden in her blood.  A power that evil wants for its own and will do whatever it takes to have it.

This short story is a look into best friends’, Nicole and Kat, life before a centuries old grudge and Nicole’s emerging powers rips them apart. A power that Nicole wants no part of as it brings her to her knees and forces her to walk away from her small town life and everyone she loves.

Blood Awakening ebook can be found on Amazon  and B&N.

Burden of Blood

No one wants to know everyone’s darkest secrets, especially not police officer, Nicole Keenan. All she wants is a blissfully normal life in the small, Alabama town where she was born. But as generations of power running through her veins start to wake up, an ancient grudge is ignited that threatens to push her over the edge. She can hardly believe in what she is, let alone that a dark force will not stop until she joins them. Or is dead.

Nicole Keenan’s life enters into a dangerous dance with warriors and gothic fairies. Southern tradition collides with Irish folklore as she learns about love, heartbreak, and The Burden of Blood.

 Burden of Blood ebook can be found on Amazon.  Soon to be available in print.


 Meet the Author…

Author Wenona Hulsey is a lover of all things written. When she was a child, you could find her reading anything from Edger Allen Poe to the back of cereal boxes. Today you will find her with an ebook reader glued to her hands except for the times when she is writing or spending time with her family. She is also an avid social networker, who loves to meet new people. You can friend her on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/WenonaHulsey, like her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/WenonaHulseyAuthor  or follow along on her Blog http://www.wenonahulsey.com/.

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