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.