Monday, December 21, 2009

"Strength of a Promise" for the holidays

Yes, I should be writing, but wanted to share my holiday gift for romance readers. I'm giving away signed copies of the hardback STRENGTH OF A PROMISE until they're gone. If you're interested, please visit my website: (This is not a trick -- I'm paying postage and signing the books. My hope is that if you enjoy the book, you'll tell your friends about it!) Please note: this is a spicy romance, but definitely not erotica. Also, I'll mail right after Christmas.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Romance Authors' Writing Tips

Some of the Romance Authors have a tradition of sharing writing tips at the end of the year. In the spirit of sharing, here they are:

Lois Sullivan: Start every chapter with a hook and when writing romance, write the heroine and hero in a deep point of view.

Brenda Schetnan: Be open to suggestions from your editor. Be prepared that what comes out your fingertips may not be the final product. Your editor will have a different vision for the story than you might have. Don't get upset, get revising and be open to the process.

Tammy Baumann: From The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, "In order to even begin to learn how to play his instrument, it takes the guitarist weeks to build calluses on his fingertips; it takes the saxophonist months to strengthen his lips so that he might play his instrument for only a five minute stretch; it can take a pianist years to develop dual hand and multiple finger coordination. Why do writers assume they can just 'write' with no training whatsoever--and then expect, on their first attempt, to be published internationally? What makes them think they're so much inherently greater, need so much less training than any other artists?" In other words, work on your craft, never stop learning and practicing.

Louise Bergin: Don't lose sight of your vision for your story. Unless it's someone offering you money, only make the changes to your manuscript that further your vision.

Gabi Stevens: When you reach that point in your career and need to make bookmarks, make them stand out by buying bookmark tassels and fun beads to decorate the top. You can find the tassels on line and fit the beads to your books. I found some great hearts and stars that worked really well.

Sarah Storme: 1) "Never give up. Never surrender." ~Galaxy Quest (movie) 2) It's great to set goals, but don't waste time being envious of others. Enjoy where you are in your writing career, because each phase offers its own marvels. If you're just starting out, you have the amazing discovery of the "writer's zone" ahead of you. If you've signed your first contract, you're about to experience the thrill of seeing your name on a book. Once you move to the next phase, those wonders give way to others. The journey is everything, so travel it with joy!

Jeanne Magill: I recommend Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" for romantic inspiration. It's available on Rhapsody or other sites, even as an Amazon download.
I usually favor silence when I read or write, but sometimes instrumental background music is helpful, especially movie soundtracks.

Darynda Jones: Try idea books like The Pocket Muse or The Writer's Block to come up with small subplots to keep things interesting as your story moves forward.

Georgi Porter: Surround yourself with successful people/writers like the LERA group!

Barb Simmons: My tip is keeping inspiring words/phrases around you where you write. I have three that I feel very strongly about. The first is a red laminated sign with a mantra that says, Passion, Confidence, Tenacity, Guts. The other two are: a yellow paper star from Margie Lawson that says, "When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher," and finally from Winston Churchill, "If you're going through hell, keep going."

Celeste Bradley: Take the printed manuscript and highlight the POVs. Just mark a line down the side of the page-pink for your heroine, blue for your hero, green for anyone else. Then read straight through in one POV without stopping. Look for consistency in motivation and voice, repetition and weaknesses. Then read through the other main POV, doing the same thing. You'll end up with seamless characterization!

Thank you all for a wonderful year of inspiration and friendship! ~Sarah

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Donna MacQuigg's New Cover

With author Donna MacQuigg's permission, I'm very happy to unveiled the cover for her upcoming release THE DRAGON'S SECRET due out in May 2010.  What gorgeous art!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas in New Mexico

Christmas time once again and New Mexicans are continuing the age old tradition of lining their homes and driveways with Luminaries. New Mexico is a state with annual wind speeds around eight miles per hour capable of exceeding thirty during the winter. We see an average snow fall of six feet with temperature shifts of about fifty degrees between day and night to melt the snow. So one may question why New Mexicans continue the Christmas tradition of filling small lunch bags with sand and a votive candle as a form of decoration. If you’re like me, an explanation is well overdue.

Originally the Luminaries were ignited as huge bonfires initiating the holiday season and were accompanied by smaller individual bonfires lit as a way of inviting Christ into ones home, this beautiful tradition also served to help reduce the amount of nearby flammable material and was followed by the post holiday tradition of rebuilding cindered homes and extinguishing the Bosque.

This tradition began to loose popularity along with the concept of placing lit candles upon Christmas trees to create a festive glow called arson when New Mexican were unable to afford the cost of increasing insurance along side natural gas prices during the holidays.

The tradition then changed to filling lunch sacks with sand and placing within a small votive candle. These sacks were then placed upon the house and driveway with little fear of fire because they were quickly extinguished by wind and slush and continuously supervised by the individual responsible for the now traditional “ hourly re-lighting” ceremony.

This tradition continued for another hundred years when New Mexican ingenuity again kicked in with the latest development of electric luminaries. These evolutionary marvels managed to provide unwavering electrical light supported within a plastic frame and covered with a plastic “lunch bag” look alike. However, this use of modern technology also serves to greatly reduce the cumbersome weight of the luminaries and requires that these decorations be nailed in place or stuck down with silicon caulking.

With this latest chapter in New Mexican decorations comes the new holiday tradition of retrieving your plastic bags from the neighbor’s yard and “re” re-sticking your plastic frames to your adobe roof. So to all New Mexicans out there rebuilding their home or restuccoing the holes you nailed into your adobe, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Breaking news for the holiday! 

Barbara Simmons received an offer last evening for her romance novel SWEET CHARITY from Red Sage Publishing.

Congratulations, Barbara!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Mexico Authors and Guests sign books

On November 14th, New Mexico Romance authors Celeste Bradley, Lydia Parks (yes, that's me), and Amanda McCabe joined out-of-town guests Mary Buckham, Dianna Love, and Serrilyn Kenyon for a book signing at the ABQ Uptown Borders. In case you missed it, I'll share some of my pictures. Granted, the quality of the photos leaves something to be desired, but I'm a writer, not a photographer.

The place was packed, with lots of Sherrilyn Kenyon fans waiting around for hours before we arrived.Her fans are wonderful; some show up in costumes, and they bring gifts for her and lots of books for her to sign. I dream of having such devoted fans.

I had an absolute blast sitting in the first chair at the table. Because Sherrilyn talks to every fan, takes pictures with them, and gives them hugs, the line moved slowly enough for me to talk to everyone. I discovered a bunch of vampire fans, and some that had even read my books. I ended up signing more books than I expected, and Celeste and Amanda did very well. We also had other New Mexico Romance authors around to cheer us on. (Big thank you's to Gabi Stevens, Belle Sloan, and Molly Evans - not shown - as well as all the others who stopped in!)

For me, it was truly inspiring to see how Sherrilyn handled so many adoring fans. I had fun just being there, soaking up all the excitement. Several of us will be signing again in February and May (at least) around town. Be sure to stop in and say hello!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Golden Heart Entry Forms Due Today

RWA's 2010 Golden Heart Award contest for unpublished romance manuscripts has an entry deadline of November 16--today!--at 5:00 pm CT.  Entries can be sent by fax with payment information included.  (Contest submissions are due by December 2.) 

Click on the link at left under "Contests (Unpublished)" to get more information on the contest.

LERA Announces Rebecca Contest Winners

LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) announced the winners of the 2009 Rebecca Contest at a writers' conference luncheon on Saturday, November 14th, held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The official notification is below.

"Here are the results of the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors' contest.
Congratulations to all of the wonderful finalists! And a special thank you
to our judges, final judges, and everyone who helped make the Rebecca such a
success this year.

Single-title Contemporary (Final judge - Laura Cifelli - NAL)
#1 - DATE WITH THE DEVIL by Jennifer Lawler
#2 - BLUE RIDGE FEAR by Robin Weaver
#3 - THE GAVEL'S ECHO by Anne-Marie Carroll

Series Contemporary (Final judge - Patience Smith - Silhouette)
#1 - THE WANTED BRIDE by Sylvia McDaniel
#2 - GRAVE SECRETS by Linda Trout
#3 - FLIPPING GRAPES by Jeanne M. Dickson

Historical (Final judge - Becky Vinter - NAL):
#1 - DARK ANGEL by TJ Bennett
#2 - DANGEROUS DESIRES by Sharon Calvin
#3 - THE CAVALRYMAN by Kayla Westra

Paranormal (Final judge - Leah Hultenschmidt - Dorchester):
#1 - TAMING TWILIGHT by Kat Sullivan
#2 - MAGICK IN THE MARROW by Zita Christian
#3 - LEGEND OF THE DRUID LAIRD by Barbara Longley

Erotica (Final judge - Theresa Stevens - Red Sage):
#1 - SWEET CHARITY by Belle Sloan (requested manuscript!)
#2 - UNTIL EMIE by Rosie Murphy w/a Gabriella Edwards (requested
#3 - FOREVER YOUR GIRL by Brenda Schetnan w/a Tami Sinclair

Friday, November 6, 2009


Here's an article to inspire all of us.
May it happen to us all.
--Gabi Stevens

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

As a vampire writer, I have to post on Halloween, one of my favorite days of the year. Anything can happen on Halloween. It's a time that inspires me to write. The most recent mystery of a 'good friend of mine' (wink, wink), The Not-So-High Seas, is even set during the week before Halloween, 1926. (Yes,, she started writing it in the fall.)

In New Orleans, my hometown, Halloween was a major event. Always fun. Above-ground cemeteries became spookier, and voodoo and witches' supply stores did a booming business. Everyone partied. (Not a big surprise, I suppose.) We trick-or-treated until we couldn't carry our candy haul anymore.

A dozen years ago, I spent some time just before Halloween in Boston and Salem. People were carving jack-o-lanterns and decorating their houses. The air was crisp and maple leaves were blood-red. What a wonderful time to be there! (Didn't hurt that it was still lobster season, but that's another story.) I highly recommend Halloween in Salem.

And then, there's always Santa Fe. Maybe it's the fact that it's an older city and has narrow, dark streets near the plaza, but something about it says 'ghosts.' And Halloween is the lead-in to el Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) when the dead are honored. It's the day we most easily communicate with loved ones who are no longer with us. I enjoyed writing about vampires in Santa Fe in Addicted.

Where do you like to celebrate Halloween? I want to plan the next few, so I need some good hints.

I'm off to write. One shouldn't keep impatient vampires waiting.

Happy Halloween

~~~ from ~~~

NM Romance Writers

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Contest News

~ Permission to forward granted ~

There's still time to get your submission packet in to the Ohio Valley RWA's
Enchanted Words Contest! All entries will receive detailed feedback from

experienced and trained first-round judges. Finalists will be read by BOTH

an editor AND an agent who are actively looking for work in the subgenres

they're judging. But hurry, the contest deadline is Nov. 1st!
<<<  You can find the Enchanted Words Contest link on the sidebar listed at the left.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Special Event in Albuquerque

Romance Authors Roundtable

Sherilyn Kenyon
Dianne Love
Mary Buckham

~~ and local authors ~~

Celeste Bradley
Amanda McCabe
Lydia Parks

Saturday, November 14th at 6:00 PM
BORDERS at Albuquerque Uptown
2240 Q St. NE

Get your favorite novel signed or discover new ones!

Contact Borders store for details and event guidelines.

Local Writers' Conference

2009 LERA Write From The Heart Conference

Come join LERA, Dianna Love, and Mary Buckham (with special guest Sherrilyn Kenyon) as they present their innovative, day long workshop:

From Thought To Plot

What: Interactive Workshop
When: Saturday, November 14th
Time: 8:30 to 5:00 at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Location: 2401 12th St. NW Albuquerque, New Mexico
(just five minutes from Old Town Albuquerque)

Book signing after the conference: Borders at ABQ Uptown. Authors will include Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, Mary Buckham, Celeste Bradley, Amanda McCabe, and Lydia Parks (local author)!

About "New Mexico Romance Writers"

This blog was created on October 24, 2009 to provide news, resources and promotion for New Mexico romance writers and authors.  Thank you for visiting. 

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