Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Power Of Emotions

So often as writer's we hear about the need to incorporate the five senses - taste, touch, hearing, sight and smell - in our writing. I completely agree with this. Without those elements in balance, the writing becomes flat. The reader finds it harder to immerse themselves in a scene if they can't smell it or hear it. A love scene loses its "oomph" if we don't know what the hero's hands feel like on the heroine's skin, what scents are there, what get the picture (literally).

But what about the power of emotions?

I think many times when we as writers get stuck in a scene or can't find words to fill a page, it's because we are dancing around the emotion. Writing emotion isn't easy. It requires an investment on the part of the writer. You must connect with what's on the page or that lack of connection will show through.

Think about the books that are on your keeper shelf. Why are they there? Did they make you laugh? Cry? Fill you with hope, longing, a sense of well-being? Tapping into emotion is what lifts a story from mundane to magnificent and makes it memorable (no more alliteration, I promise.)

What are these emotions?

The primary and most strongly felt emotions are love, happiness, hope, compassion, courage, pain, hunger, hate, anger, grief, fear and greed. The secondary and less powerful emotions are a sense of humor, loyalty, gratitude, pride, curiosity, self-pity, loneliness, jealousy, vanity, timidity, inferiority, envy, suspicion, revenge, guilt, shame and boredom.

The challenge.

Pick a scene that's not working for you and read through it. What emotions are present? If you can't tell or you're too close to your own work, have a friend or CP read it, then ask them what emotions they get out of the scene.

Were the emotions the ones you were going for? Did a character come across as angry when you meant for them to be afraid? Maybe there wasn't much emotion in the scene at all. Look at your word choices. What can be stronger? More distinct? Look at that list of emotions and see what you can pull in. Of course, there's more to emotion than what characters say. Emotion shows in our body language, our facial expression, the tone of our voice...we convey emotion with our whole being.

Some Help.

Not sure how to tap into your emotions when you write?

Music can be a great aid in this. Pick something that fits the mood of what you're writing. Listen to it once through. What does it make you feel? What sort of actions does it make you think of? Channel that into your writing.

You might also try making a list of your "triggers".

Are there particular movies that make you weep? Laugh? Scared? Why? How? Watch some of those movies and take notes on how the characters move, what their faces do, what their voices sound like.

What about those books on your keeper shelf we talked about earlier? Pull a few of those down and read some of your favorite passages. What's going on there that makes the story so powerful? Look at the language, the word choice, the sentence structure. There are so many ways to change the tone and mood of a scene.

And remember, no story is one dimensional when it comes to emotion. I tend to write with a humorous voice, but there are still poignant moments in each of my stories. Connecting with the reader and making them feel makes for great reading.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hurricane? What Hurricane?

So far, this isn't much of a storm. It's barely raining. I expect that to change as the day progresses but right now, everything's cool.

Here are a few interesting blogs for you to peruse while I try to get some writing done:

Rachel Vater - Agent

Flogging The Quill

Writer Unboxed

Teach Me Tonight

Have a great blog you think I should read? Tell me about it in the comments.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cake Anyone?

I tried to post this yesterday but blogger was being a pain in my backside. This is a cake I made for a recent family gathering. White chocolate buttercream frosting on white cake with an interior layer of fresh raspberries. It was delish, if I do say so myself. I so enjoy the baking process. You might even say it's a hobby of mine. I made a banana cake last night but alas, there's not much of that left to photograph. On a side note, I have TONS of writing to do and I seem to be having a flying ant invasion in my office. I wonder if this is in any way related to the baking...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Proud Auntie Day

I took many pics of my sweet little nephew Benjamin (he calls himself Bobo) when I was visiting family on my recent trip. Here are a few of my faves. Isn't he going to be a heartbreaker? Some people say he looks a little like his Auntie Kristen...
This is his "mean" face. So funny!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Not A Romantic Suspense Fan UNTIL...

I read Roxanne St. Claire's Thrill Me To Death . Wow! What a great read! Not only is Roxanne a great writer - some of her phrasing is just perfection - but she's got a real talent for sculpting larger than life characters you can believe in. This book was just so much fun! (And yes, it is rather on the sexy side...whew!)

Romantic Suspense isn't my usual read, but from now on Roxanne's Bullet Catcher series is on my automatic buy list. These books are just too good to pass up. This one kept me up 'til 2am!

Here's the blurb:

A hot-blooded bodyguard. An heiress worth a cool billion. And one dangerous attraction.... Roxanne St. Claire delivers a heart-pounding thrill ride in the second Bullet Catchers novel!


Max Roper never lets emotion get in the way of his job -- not since the tragic shooting that killed his fiancée's father. Now the former DEA agent is a Bullet Catcher, and he's managed to block out Cori's bitter goodbye -- and their sizzling passion. Those dangerous desires come back with a vengeance when Max is assigned to protect a recently widowed heiress: who turns out to be Cori. But Max must also discover his ex's dark
secret...and they both know she can't hide anything from him.


Her luxury lifestyle suggests that Cori has gone from being a trophy wife to a merry widow, but nothing could be further from the truth. Suspicious of her billionaire husband's sudden death, she hires a bodyguard. But her protector is the one man who can melt her every defense -- the one man she blames for her deepest sorrow, the one man whose six-feet four-inches of solid muscle ignites reckless passion in her. And as they close in on a killer who hides in plain view, their high-stakes affair could cost her everything...including her life.

You REALLY need to check this book out. It's a great escape.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tiny Cars & Critique Groups

It's good to be home, but I had a wonderful visit with family. My 2 year old nephew is such a sweet child. He didn't want to give me a hug or a kiss when I was getting ready to leave, instead he kept saying no. My sister-in-law says he thinks if he doesn't say goodbye to you, you can't leave. Anyway, he was laying on the floor where we'd been playing cars and I kept trying for a hug. Finally he said something instead of "no". He said "sad". Talk about breaking my heart. I told him I was sad too but that I'd see him again soon. I not only got a hug and a kiss, but also a Matchbox Rolls Royce to keep me company on the plane ride home (with an explanation about how the doors opened and where the babyseat would go). I adore that child.

Anyway, work beckons. I'm writing an article on critique groups and I'd love your feedback. Here are a few questions: (If you don't want to answer these publicly, email me with the answers at kristen @ - minus the spaces. Let me know if you do/don't want to be quoted. This is for the RWR.)

1. Are you published or unpublished?
2. Did getting published change your critique group needs? If so, how?
3. Have you ever left a critique group? Why? How did you know it was time to leave?
4. What's the right number of members in a critique group for you? Is that how many your current group contains?
5. How many members of your group are published?
6. How did you form the group you're in?
7. If you don't have a critique group, why not?
8. If you only have a singular critique partner, why is that your choice?
9. Things you love about your critique group.
10. Things you'd like to change about your critique group.
11. Is your group online, do you meet in real life, or both?
12. How many critique groups, partners, etc. have you been through?


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Who Says You Can't Go Home Again?

I'm headed up to the Eastern Shore of Maryland today to see my mom, dad, grandfather, brother, sis-in-law and adorable nephew. I haven't seen Ben (the nephew - refers to himself as Bobo - how cute is that?) since last March. Far too long.

While I'm there, I'm going to eat crabs! Mmmm...

My mother tells me there's a good chance some shopping will be done as well. I love that woman.

What are the things you look forward to when you visit "home"?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


FULL SWING by Crystal Jordan
(Cobblestone Press, August 18, 2006)

The only place they still communicate is between the sheets...a professional woman golfer and an Army Ranger struggle to save their marriage after he's seriously injured in combat and has to retire. Outside the bedroom, everything is falling apart because he believes she deserves better than a broken man, but she dreams of a future when they stop fighting and start talking long enough to reclaim the happily ever after that once seemed so certain.

Crystal Jordan only began writing about a year ago after she finished graduate school and needed something to fill the hours that used to be eaten away by homework. What started as a hobby has quickly become a new career. She now writes paranormal, futuristic, contemporary, and erotic romance. Additionally, she is a member of RWA and its erotic romance chapter, Passionate Ink. She also belongs to the award winning author's resource website and forum, where she serves as a moderator and Paranormal Co-Liaison.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back to the Writing

I'm writing again - not that I wasn't writing before but prepping for conference, being at conference, recovering from conference and an interested writing opportunity unrelated to my WIP took me off course for a while.

So now I'm back and rediscovering my story and my characters. I love my hero and heroine! They're fun characters, full of issues (both natural and supernatural) and I'm ready to finish this story and give them a HEA. They deserve that much after everything I've put them through.

But getting back into the story has meant focusing in a big way, since I came home from conference I've had numerous new ideas. Ideas that are pestering me to be written. Do you have that issue? A head full of ideas and no time to write them all? How do you work around them? Do you write them down, take notes, tuck them away in a file? Do the ideas come to you fully formed with a hero, a heroine, a working title, a plot line OR are they just sketches?

Or maybe you're one of those writers who struggles for the next idea?

Talk to me! (Just wanted to say I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all your "scent" replies. Great stuff!)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What are your favorite smells?

Before you think this is just a random question, it isn't. I'm doing some research. So just hush up and answer.

I love the smell of baking bread, freshly mowed grass, watermelon, the sea as you approach it, the earth after a good rain.

What about you?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Promo Items

Anyone who went to Nationals probably came back with a bunch of promotional items - bookmarks, pens, book thongs, temporary tattooes, lip gloss, get the picture. There were even condoms in the goody room this year. Other than shock value, I'm not sure what the point of those was. Would you actually use a free condom? Would you trust it? But I digress.

I love pens and bookmarks (I love having the matching bookmark for the book I'm reading. Even better if the book and/or bookmark has been signed by the author. Yes, I'm a geek.) Of all those goodies, what do you like the best? What do you hang on to? Be honest, is there a promo item you wouldn't even bother to pick up?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Atlanta, Part IV - The Night Of The Broken Cigarette

Okay, this is the last Atlanta post and then this blog will return to its regularly scheduled nonsense.

The Night Of The Broken Cigarette started out like any other (well, any other night in which you attend a publisher's party and make plans to crash another). Jax, Jo Marie (not pictured), Lara and I hopped into a cab and headed over to Rays In The City for the St. Martin's party. Never in our wildest dreams did we anticipate the events to come...

We arrived about a half hour into the festivities and as things hadn't really gotten too hectic yet, we were able to secure a table. That was our first stroke of genius. As the place filled up, tables (and chairs) became a hot commodity. We were soon joined by wickedly good author, Ronda Thompson. It was then that the supernatural talents of the wait staff became apparent.

With snake-like flexibility and uncanny quickness, they would deftly remove any discarded items. A crumpled napkin would barely touch the tablecloth and a hand would dart in and take it away. Wily women that we are, we decided to test the staff. But of course, we had to make it interesting. So we set up a particularly difficult arrangement to maneuver. Below you see Lara arranging glasses and the candle holder around our bait -- the squeezed lime.

And so we waited. Waiters buzzed by, their eyes darting to our table top but none seemed brave enough to take on our challenge. A few even paused, glancing at the lime longingly but alas, they shied away.

Then it happened. A lone soul went in for the clean-up. I had my camera at the ready. As soon as he touched the lime, I yelled, "Stop!" He yanked his hand back, unsure of himself. I reassured him I only wanted photographic evidence and cajoled him to touch the lime so the picture could be taken. He obliged me, the sweet boy, as you can see for yourself.

There were other interesting events that night such as the table visit from the very happy Jenny Bent, my chat with RITA winner Lori Handeland, Jax's chat with author Susan Squires, our ability to make Ronda Thompson laugh until she cried and while I'm not sure I should mention it, I think Bob Mayer was under the impression I was trying to pick him up at one point.

Obviously, there are no pictures of that.

Why, you ask, was this post titled The Night Of The Broken Cigarette? Settle down, I'm about to tell you. Not long after the lime incident, Ronda decided to go out for a smoke. She had her cigarette in hand when more silliness ensured, resulting in her cigarette breaking off right at the filter.

The cigarette hadn't even touched the table for a second when a hunky waiter came up and asked her if she'd like another. We were in awe. Did the service run so deep? What else could they provide? She declined but we immediately speculated where that replacement cigarette would have come from if she'd asked for it. Lara guessed he would have pulled it from behind Ronda's ear, like a Vegas magician. I wasn't so sure. I wondered out loud if it wouldn't have come from somewhere a little more...hidden.

Ah well. Somethings are best left to the imagination, don't you think?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Atlanta, Part IIII - Random Diva Images

A random group of divas prepares to set off into Hotlanta and leave their mark...

Jax-a-licious and Super Star Sylvia Day at the Literacy Signing. Is there a nicer chickie than Sylvia? She's such a sweetie!

Jax and I in our awards ceremony best mugging for the camera. (And yes, that is the "Jungle Goddess" dress I spoke of. C'est magnifique, no?)

Shelli loves butter. Mmmm...come to mama, you lucious dairy product, you! In Shelli's defense, it was good butter. And by the end of the night, that butter was saying her name...

Me and the magically delicious Candy Havens, double RITA nominee. Have you picked up her fab follow up to Charmed & Dangerous, Charmed & Ready? If not, you're dismissed to go buy it.

Well! GO!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Atlanta, Part III - The Harlequin Party

So me and my posse crashed the Harlequin party (okay, we were encouraged to do so by many people and escorted to the event by the lovely and talented Lori Handeland and her agent). We started out at the St. Martin's party, which we were invited to, but alas, they had no dessert. We went to Harlequin in search of chocolate.

We were not disappointed. A few of the items on the dessert buffet were spoons of apple crumble, "shots" of red velvet cake, chocolate cups of Baileys, miniature creme brulees and of course, a lovely chocolate fountain with an assortment of dipping goodies.

The dance floor was jumping and the fabulous authors/editors/agents were everywhere! Rumor has it HQ super-editor Tracy Farrell shut the joint down. (Actually it's not a rumor, I confirmed it with her the next day. She was rather proud of outlasting the "young" editors.)

A few of the people I spoke to are Tony Kariyainni, Roxanne St. Claire, Jennifer Skully, Leslie Kelly, Jill Monroe, Renee Luke, Donna Grant, Deidre Knight, Julie Ramsey, Elaine Spencer, Gena Showalter and PC Cast.

Yes, that picture is blurry. Trust me that it's PC Cast and Gena Showalter. I don't know why it's so blurry but it's a pretty good indication of how everyone was feeling - warm and fuzzy.

My favorite moment of the night? When Gena pointed to her champagne & chambord cocktail and said, "This tastes like a vitamin!"

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Some Hints About The Post Below

A. They both write paranormals.
B. They both blog.
C. They're both crazy.

Atlanta, Part II - Name That Bosom

Not only does this impressive cleavage belong to a fabulous multi-published author but the fingers belong to another delicious multi-published author. Can you guess?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Atlanta, Part I - The Knight Agency Party

I confess, I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have. Next year, I'll be better, I swear. I should have gotten a picture of all of us on the bus headed out to Madison for the Knight Agency party - especially since Sylvia Day and Mel Francis were sitting in front of me and my seatmate, Gemma Halliday. (Have you seen Mel's new hairdo? It's fab!)

The Knight Agency sign. Isn't it pretty?

Random folks milling about (that's Mel in the black & white polka dot dress in the background.) You can see the yellow house in the back - that's the offices of the Knight Agency. So pretty inside!

The back of Diana Peterfreund and the profile of her brother. I think they're talking to Maureen McGowen.