Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

LET YOUR CHARACTERS WRITE YOUR LOVE SCENES/PART FOUR



Revised and updated from a workshop I did several years ago, this post is all about using your characters to make your love scenes unique and intricate to your story. It has been posted in several parts over the last few months. If you’re a writer, this may help inspire you to write some of the most difficult scenes in your book: your sensual encounters. If you’re a reader, you will get lots of sneak peeks into the Relics of Merlin series, which is being re-released by Sourcebooks over the next few years.

The Relics of Merlin series of books are whimsical romances set in a magical Victorian London of sexy shape-shifters, enchanted tea, wicked spells and loose corsets. Since I’ll be using excerpts from several of the books in the series, I thought it might be helpful to have a quick overview of each:

Enchanting the Lady:  In a world where magic rules everything, two misfits--Felicity Seymore, a Victorian beauty unable to perform even the simplest spell, and Sir Terence Blackwell, a were-lion searching for Merlin's relics--form a passionate alliance.

Double Enchantment:  When Lady Jasmina accidentally creates a double of herself using a relic, the mix-up brings her real self into a compromising position with sexy were-stallion, Sir Sterling Thorn.

Enchanting the Beast: In the third book of the Relics of Merlin series, ghost-hunter Philomena Radcliff comes to Grimspell castle to rid the residence of spirits, but she finds most haunting of all a reclusive were-wolf suspected of murder.

Everlasting Enchantment: In this brand-new fourth book, Sir Gareth Solimere has been trapped inside of one of Merlin’s relics for centuries, and only true love will set him free. But when were-panther Lady Millicent Pantere steals the relic, will she be his salvation or his doom?

So why am I doing a post on (gasp) sex scenes? Because several friends of mine said it was the hardest thing for them to write. Since they are my favorite part of the book to write, I thought I’d share how I do it and hopefully it will be helpful to others. Since I always seem to learn better by example, I’ll be giving examples from all my books to show how my love scenes are a development of my characters, plot and setting. I’m sure there are many other ways to develop a love scene, so let this be an inspiration and not a rule. If you’ve read any of my other posts on writing, you know my favorite motto is: there are no rules in writing, just guidelines.

(Read my previous posts on this subject by searching for the title in the LABELS or CATEGORIES in the far right sidebar.)


FOUR: USING YOUR CHARACTERS’ PERSONALITIES

Or you might want to think of this as: why your characters are perfect for each other.  What personality traits complement each other? Your character’s flaws, strengths, goals and motivation all combine to create a unique personality. Let the character’s personality add depth to your love scene and lead you into even more romantic encounters.  The following example on using your character’s personality is from Enchanting the Beast:

“But then I realized,” she mumbled, her eyes watching his every move, “that it wasn’t your predatory nature itself that fascinated me so much, as it was…”
Nico couldn’t resist the temptation any longer.  His hands curved around and under her breasts and he gave them a gentle squeeze.  Her breasts were heavy and full in his hands, so very perfect.  He lowered his mouth and kissed the top where the cloth had exposed the skin.  His shaft had been hard for some time but now his trousers felt as if they nearly strangled him.
Nico dropped her breasts long enough to yank on the flimsy gown, exposing her hardened, dark nipples.  Before she could finish her gasp of surprise he had his hands under her breasts again, lifting them and burying his face in all of that soft, sweet flesh.
“Ah, Nico,” she groaned, her hands weaving through his hair.  She raked her fingers back from his temples and he yielded his feast to look into her eyes.  “Don’t you see?  It’s not your nature that fascinates me.  I…I cannot resist the lure of taming your beast.”
Nico grinned, more wolfishly than he’d intended.  “It’s not possible, lady.”

Nico is a were-wolf, who is struggling with the predatory nature of his beast.  Philomena is an older woman (a ghost-hunter by trade) who has the ability to tame him. Their personalities led to a full chapter love scene, the longest I’ve ever written.  But the moment Phil calms him, Nico’s beast-nature surfaces again. So they went back and forth between their two personalities during a romantic encounter, until Philomena finally won.:}

Consider both your hero and heroine.  What facets of their personalities make them perfect for each other?  What parts clash, and need to be resolved (or compromised on) before they can have their happily-ever-after?  Let that lead you to write their first love scene, where their conflicts are revealed.  Can you resolve some of them in that first scene?  Reveal how their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other and maybe hint how this will help resolve their conflicts.  Then consider their next love scene and the next, until they’ve finally resolved all of their issues and they have revealed enough of their personalities to each other that they can appreciate how perfect they are for each other.

Until Next Time,
Kathryne

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Christmas Gift from Sourcebooks: Check out 99 Cent Special Ebook Offers! http://books.sourcebooks.com/promos/

That's right! My publisher is saying Merry Christmas all month long with special 99 cent ebook offers, including my bestselling title, THE FIRE LORD'S LOVER. You can see all the other great titles and sign up for email alerts here at: http://books.sourcebooks.com/promos/

Ho Ho Ho!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Have the first page of your manuscript critiqued today by Sourcebooks Editor, Deb Werksman!

That's right! My editor, Deb Werksman, is offering a free critique on our Sourcebooks Author Blog today! Post the first page of your Romance or Women's Fiction manuscript here: http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/2012/11/contest-first-page-critiques.html

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LET YOUR CHARACTERS WRITE YOUR LOVE SCENES/PART THREE



Revised and updated from a workshop I did several years ago, this post is all about using your characters to make your love scenes unique and intricate to your story. It has been posted in several parts over the last few months. If you’re a writer, this may help inspire you to write some of the most difficult scenes in your book: your sensual encounters. If you’re a reader, you will get lots of sneak peeks into the Relics of Merlin series, which is being re-released by Sourcebooks over the next few years.

The Relics of Merlin series of books are whimsical romances set in a magical Victorian London of sexy shape-shifters, enchanted tea, wicked spells and loose corsets. Since I’ll be using excerpts from several of the books in the series, I thought it might be helpful to have a quick overview of each:

Enchanting the Lady:  In a world where magic rules everything, two misfits--Felicity Seymore, a Victorian beauty unable to perform even the simplest spell, and Sir Terence Blackwell, a were-lion searching for Merlin's relics--form a passionate alliance.

Double Enchantment:  When Lady Jasmina accidentally creates a double of herself using a relic, the mix-up brings her real self into a compromising position with sexy were-stallion, Sir Sterling Thorn.

Enchanting the Beast: In the third book of the Relics of Merlin series, ghost-hunter Philomena Radcliff comes to Grimspell castle to rid the residence of spirits, but she finds most haunting of all a reclusive were-wolf suspected of murder.

Everlasting Enchantment: In this brand-new fourth book, Sir Gareth Solimere has been trapped inside of one of Merlin’s relics for centuries, and only true love will set him free. But when were-panther Lady Millicent Pantere steals the relic, will she be his salvation or his doom?

So why am I doing a post on (gasp) sex scenes? Because several friends of mine said it was the hardest thing for them to write. Since they are my favorite part of the book to write, I thought I’d share how I do it and hopefully it will be helpful to others. Since I always seem to learn better by example, I’ll be giving examples from all my books to show how my love scenes are a development of my characters, plot and setting. I’m sure there are many other ways to develop a love scene, so let this be an inspiration and not a rule. If you’ve read any of my other posts on writing, you know my favorite motto is: there are no rules in writing, just guidelines.

(Read my previous posts on this subject by searching for the title in the LABELS or CATEGORIES in the far right sidebar.)

THREE: USING YOUR CHARACTERS’ GOALS

The following excerpt is taken from the same scene I used from Enchanting the Lady for using a character’s flaws.  In this part, Felicity has been covering her nervousness with speech, and Terence takes advantage of it to pursue his own goal—to find the magical relic by discovering Felicity’s involvement with it:

   “So, you like to talk?”  His voice had gentled to a purr.  “All right, we’ll talk.  Had any bad dreams lately?”  He started at the buttons on his shirt, slowly releasing them one at a time.
   Felicity’s head spun.  Tonight of all nights he had to ask her about her dreams?  “No, not since the one I had at Fairview Manor.  Why?”
   “It got you that time, didn’t it?  What was it, a fog of black, a slimy monster, a mist of knives?”  He stripped off his shirt and let it fall to the floor.  His skin gleamed gold in the candlelight, the hairs of his chest made a pattern that sharpened to a point near the top of his trousers.

So Terence is intent on making love to Felicity but at the same time he’s still pursuing his goal: finding the relic. Consider how your character’s goals can lead you through their love scene or create one for you.  This next excerpt is from Double Enchantment. At this point in the story, Sterling’s goal is obvious:

   Frenzy gripped him and he rocked her up and down against his groin, pulled away and then plunged in again, seeking that threshold of pleasure that only Lady Jasmina could give him. And when it came he groaned with the force of it, half-aware that her own release shook her body in union with his.
   “Let go,” he finally rasped. Jasmina tore her cramped fingers from the headboard and he gathered her into his arms, her legs still wrapped around him, his shaft still inside her as she sat on his lap. He kissed the hair away from her face and stroked her back. He couldn’t afford to show her any mercy. He would have her promises before she came back to earth. “You are mine now.”
   “I know.”
   “I will tell your father that we are to be married.”

So think about what your character wants.  It will probably change throughout your book (although their primary goal might not) and each new goal can lead you to a new, unique love scene. Consider what your character wants.  Can the H/H provide it for them?  Can you use the love scene to reflect their individual goals?

Until Next Time,
Kathryne 

Friday, November 16, 2012

RT Book Reviews Nominates THE LORD OF ILLUSION for Reviewer's Choice Award...

in the Historical Fantasy/Paranormal category. See all of the Historical nominees here:
http://www.rtbookreviews.com/rt-daily-blog/first-wave-rts-2012-award-nominees-here-historical-romances

This has been a week of wonderful news! (BTW I'm using the list of RT nominees as my Christmas shopping list this year! Don't they look like fabulous reads?)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

THE LORD OF ILLUSION is a Booklist Top Ten Romance of 2012


The Lord of Illusion. By Kathryne Kennedy. 2012. Sourcebooks/Casablanca, paper, $7.99 (9781402236549).
In her superb third fantasy-steeped romantic-suspense novel in the Elven Lords series, Kennedy follows outcast Drystan as he searches for the rainbow-eyed girl of his visions and finds enslaved Camille. 







I'm proud to be included along with my fellow Sourcebooks author, M.L. Buchman, some of my favorite authors, Eloisa James, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Kleypas and more. You can read the full list here: http://www.booklistonline.com/ProductInfo.aspx?pid=5668426&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

LET YOUR CHARACTERS WRITE YOUR LOVE SCENES/PART TWO



Revised and updated from a workshop I did several years ago, this post is all about using your characters to make your love scenes unique and intricate to your story. This is the second installment, with more to be posted over the next few months. If you’re a writer, this may help inspire you to write some of the most difficult scenes in your book: your sensual encounters. If you’re a reader, you will get lots of sneak peeks into the Relics of Merlin series, which is being re-released by Sourcebooks over the next few years.

The Relics of Merlin series of books are whimsical romances set in a magical Victorian London of sexy shape-shifters, enchanted tea, wicked spells and loose corsets. Since I’ll be using excerpts from several of the books in the series, I thought it might be helpful to have a quick overview of each:

Enchanting the Lady:  In a world where magic rules everything, two misfits--Felicity Seymore, a Victorian beauty unable to perform even the simplest spell, and Sir Terence Blackwell, a were-lion searching for Merlin's relics--form a passionate alliance.

Double Enchantment:  When Lady Jasmina accidentally creates a double of herself using a relic, the mix-up brings her real self into a compromising position with sexy were-stallion, Sir Sterling Thorn.

Enchanting the Beast: In the third book of the Relics of Merlin series, ghost-hunter Philomena Radcliff comes to Grimspell castle to rid the residence of spirits, but she finds most haunting of all a reclusive were-wolf suspected of murder.

Everlasting Enchantment: In this brand-new fourth book, Sir Gareth Solimere has been trapped inside of one of Merlin’s relics for centuries, and only true love will set him free. But when were-panther Lady Millicent Pantere steals the relic, will she be his salvation or his doom?

So why am I doing a post on (gasp) sex scenes? Because several friends of mine said it was the hardest thing for them to write. Since they are my favorite part of the book to write, I thought I’d share how I do it and hopefully it will be helpful to others. Since I always seem to learn better by example, I’ll be giving examples from all my books to show how my love scenes are a development of my characters, plot and setting. I’m sure there are many other ways to develop a love scene, so let this be an inspiration and not a rule. If you’ve read any of my other posts on writing, you know my favorite motto is: there are no rules in writing, just guidelines.

(Read my previous posts on this subject by searching for the title in the LABELS or CATEGORIES in the far right sidebar.)


TWO: USING YOUR CHARACTERS’ STRENGTHS

This excerpt is from Double Enchantment. Jasmina is determined to show Sterling that she is a passionate woman, and fortunately for her, our hero understands that:

     One black brow went up. “Are you sure?” he said through gritted teeth. He knew. He knew she wanted control, and his voice said it would probably kill him.
     “Yes.”
     He nodded. He would allow it anyway. Jasmina gave him a wicked smile and stood up between his legs. Her wet chemise molded to her skin; she could feel it sticking between the folds of her legs and across her breasts. Sir Sterling groaned.
     “Stand,” she instructed, and he came out of the water so fast it poured over the sides of the tub and raced across the wooden floor. Jasmina rescued the bar of soap and started lathering her hands again. He closed his eyes and seemed to whisper some fervent prayer, but Jasmina was too busy studying every inch of his magnificent body to pay much notice. She ran her hands across his chest again, this time continuing down the sides of his waist to his slim hips, feeling the bone and muscle. A part of her felt she was discovering new territory, but another part of her seemed to know exactly what she would find. She shook off the confusion and concentrated on her task.
Lady Jasmina leaned forward and curved her hands over the small dips in the sides of his bottom, to the full, round back of it. She ran her slick hands over the twin mounds, feeling him tremble from the effort it took not to move. She refused to pity him. Her fingertips swept up the curves to his lower back, and she felt two more very small dips there. How absolutely wonderful.

What are your characters’ strengths?  How can you use them to guide their romantic encounter?  In the above scene, the heroine’s strengths are obvious, but the hero is even stronger.  He understands why Jasmina needs control and he allows her to have it, not always an easy thing to do. Try exploring the strengths of your characters and how they can inspire your love scene. Think about their hidden strengths as well, like Sterling’s understanding of Jasmina, and how you can use those to lead readers through a romantic encounter.

Until Next Time,
Kathryne

Friday, October 19, 2012

A deleted scene from ENCHANTING THE LADY

I don't often have whole scenes deleted from a book, and this was so long ago I'm not even sure why this scene never made it into the book. But it still captures a bit of a sense of wonder for me, and with the re-release of the Relics of Merlins series, I thought readers of Enchanting the Lady would enjoy it as an addition to Terence and Felicity's love story, so I'm sharing it here with you today:


   Felicity turned her head back around.  Terence strode to the end of the balcony and stopped.  Felicity opened her mouth, for surely what sat in the garden had to be an illusion.  But she knew down to her toes that her husband had brought her a real dragon.  Somehow, he’d managed to provide a steed beyond her wildest dreams.
   While Terence walked down the stairs and onto a graveled path, she stared at the dragon, trying to memorize every glowing scale, every line of sleek muscle.  The dragon dwarfed the sculptured trees around it, making them appear mere child’s toys.  Its eyes stared at her, holding in their depths the wisdom of ages, and it snorted a stream of fire from its nostrils that appeared more of a theatrical display than a threat.
   Felicity had to remind herself to breathe again.  The magnificent creature spread out a wing flat against the grass, and Terence strode up it as if it were another flight of stairs.  Her husband bounced a bit, the leather springing beneath his feet, and held out his hand to Felicity. She swallowed, raised her chin, and fled up the wing to her husband’s side. Terence guided her to sit down on the dragon’s back, in the space between its wings.
   Daisy licked her cheek and she shared a look of wonder with her pet.  She would swear the little dragonnette on her shoulder smiled.
   Felicity caressed the scales she sat on, her fingers smoothing into the ridges of the dragon’s hide.  Terence sat behind her, his legs half-bent, showing her how to hold on.  She leaned back against his warm chest, and her husband sighed into her hair.
   His hands lay over hers, showing how to grip the underside of the scales for even more purchase. Which she gratefully appreciated a moment later.
   The world lurched sickeningly and Felicity’s stomach flew up into her throat, and then with another few beats of the dragon’s wings they were in the air. Climbing higher.  So high that the air grew chill, and she leaned farther back into Terence for warmth.  No wonder the creatures were cold-blooded.
   Stars shone brighter than she’d ever seen them; the moon grew so large she thought if she reached out she might be able to touch it.  But her fingers gripped a scale so tightly that she knew her hands would be sore on the morrow.
   A small price to pay for the glory of flying on a dragon’s back.
   Felicity felt a tingle of fear only once, when the dragon banked slightly, but when she felt herself slide, the creature twitched, setting her firmly back into her seat.  So each time it banked she just stared at the view below.  London by moonlight, with the Thames cutting through the middle of it, and tiny twinkles of lights from the houses below.  Buckingham Palace sat like a tiny jewel surrounded by parks and squares, and the tracks of the railroads crisscrossed the streets like some crazy jigsaw puzzle.
   The dragon’s flight left the city behind, to soar farther and higher, to great mountain peaks and valleys in shadow.  Felicity’s eyes watered from the cold and because she dared not blink, in case she missed anything.  The frosty air numbed her toes and fingers and the tip of her nose, but she barely felt it.
When a dream comes true, who has time for thoughts of comfort?
   She didn’t know how long they flew over England.  It seemed as if time hung suspended, but when they neared London again, she would swear that it had been just but a moment.
   The dragon circled the city, as if it didn’t want their flight to end either, but it lowered with each pass, the mansions and buildings appearing larger each time, until Felicity wondered where on earth it would manage to land.
   She expected one of the parks, but instead they hit a rooftop with a resounding thud, the dragon’s wings flapping in short bursts.  They had no room to walk down a wing, so the dragon lay down, and Terence jumped lightly off, as if he dismounted a dragon every day.  Felicity tumbled from her own perch in a tangle of silken skirts, her husband catching her in his arms like so much fluff.
   Terence stood her on her feet and opened a door set in the roof.  She had no idea where they were, nor what manner of house would have a door in its roof, but she refused to leave the dragon until it left her.
   The dragon beat its wings to rise and Felicity found herself flat on her bottom, the force of the wind slapping her down.  With a lurch the dragon’s claws left the rooftop, and she felt tears prick her eyes as she watched it soar upward again, until it was only a colorful speck in the black night.  And then it faded beyond her sight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

LET YOUR CHARACTERS WRITE YOUR LOVE SCENES/PART ONE



Revised and updated from a workshop I did several years ago, this post is all about using your characters to make your love scenes unique and intricate to your story. It will be posted in several parts over the next few months:

1.     Using your characters’ flaws.
2.     Using your characters’ strengths.
3.     Using your characters’ goals.
4.     Using your characters’ personalities.
5.     Using plot and conflict.
6.     Using setting.

If you’re a writer, this may help inspire you to write some of the most difficult scenes in your book: your sensual encounters. If you’re a reader, you will get lots of sneak peeks into the Relics of Merlin series, which is being re-released by Sourcebooks over the next few years.

The Relics of Merlin series of books are whimsical romances set in a magical Victorian London of sexy shape-shifters, enchanted tea, wicked spells and loose corsets. Since I’ll be using excerpts from several of the books in the series, I thought it might be helpful to have a quick overview of each:

Enchanting the Lady:  In a world where magic rules everything, two misfits--Felicity Seymore, a Victorian beauty unable to perform even the simplest spell, and Sir Terence Blackwell, a were-lion searching for Merlin's relics--form a passionate alliance.

Double Enchantment:  When Lady Jasmina accidentally creates a double of herself using a relic, the mix-up brings her real self into a compromising position with sexy were-stallion, Sir Sterling Thorn.

Enchanting the Beast: In the third book of the Relics of Merlin series, ghost-hunter Philomena Radcliff comes to Grimspell castle to rid the residence of spirits, but she finds most haunting of all a reclusive were-wolf suspected of murder.

Everlasting Enchantment: In this brand-new fourth book, Sir Gareth Solimere has been trapped inside of one of Merlin’s relics for centuries, and only true love will set him free. But when were-panther Lady Millicent Pantere steals the relic, will she be his salvation or his doom?

So why am I doing a post on (gasp) sex scenes? Because several friends of mine said it was the hardest thing for them to write. Since they are my favorite part of the book to write, I thought I’d share how I do it and hopefully it will be helpful to others. Since I always seem to learn better by example, I’ll be giving examples from all my books to show how my love scenes are a development of my characters, plot and setting. I’m sure there are many other ways to develop a love scene, so let this be an inspiration and not a rule. If you’ve read any of my other posts on writing, you know my favorite motto is: there are no rules in writing, just guidelines.

ONE:  USING YOUR CHARACTERS’ FLAWS

This is probably one of my favorite scenes from my books, so this one came to me right away. In Enchanting the Lady, Felicity has been under a don’t-notice-me spell most of her life. Although she’s a beautiful girl, she thinks she’s forgettable and plain. This is her wedding night, and she’s waiting for the arrival of her new husband:

   If only she were more memorable.  What if he came into the room and didn’t even notice her in the bed?  That, she decided, would be more dreadful than him not coming at all. 
   Felicity lowered the bedcovers.  She leaned back on her arms, thrusting her breasts against the sheer cloth of her nightgown.  She did have a nice figure, surely he remembered that from their night in the Gardens.  A nice face wasn’t everything, was it?
   She crawled out from beneath the bedcovers and smoothed them flat.  Then she tried several different positions, hoping to gain his attention when he walked in.  He’d yet to forget her--but the longer he took, the more she doubted.
   Felicity lay sideways, hand propped on her head, gown billowing around her body, outlining the curve of her hips.  She lifted her leg and pointed the toe.  With a grimace, she rolled onto her stomach, propped her head again, and looked at her back.  Yes, the gown draped her behind in an enticing manner-- she could just make out the dark line between her cheeks.  But would he like that sort of view?
   She grimaced again and rolled onto her back.  Perhaps if she propped the pillows behind her, yes, and spread her hair out like a halo, and then flung out her arms like so…
   No, that wouldn’t do.  She should sit on the edge of the bed, and then put her arms behind her, and look over her shoulder with a smile of wicked invitation…
She flopped backwards, her legs spread and hanging down the side of the bed, her arms flung wide in agony.  She couldn’t find a single position that didn’t make her feel like a fool.  Still, she got up to try again.  Maybe if she stood on the…
   The door edged open with a soft creak, and Terence slipped into the room.  Felicity froze in mid-pose, having been so involved in making herself look desirable that she’d forgotten all about him.
   Terence glanced at the bed, and his mouth dropped open.  The look of utter amazement on his face made Felicity look down at herself.  She couldn’t even recall how she’d managed this latest arrangement.  Somehow her gown had gotten tangled around her waist, and she was on all fours, her long, black hair cascading down her back and over her shoulders, her bare bottom exposed to his gaze.
     Well, she needn’t wonder if he’d like that sort of view.  His eyes glittered with appreciation.

I realize you may not have the fantasy element in your book. But how many women do you know that are very attractive, but wholly insecure in their looks? Wouldn’t the complete vulnerability of sex bring that fear to the forefront? How much fun could you have incorporating that into your love scene? And it certainly doesn’t just apply to your heroine.  What issues does your hero have that can lead to the development of an intriguing encounter?  Which leads me to my next excerpt, again from Enchanting the Lady:

   Terence took a step forward, his hands fumbling with his tie.  His voice slurred the words.  “It might have been better if you’d already been asleep with that delightful body hidden beneath the linens.”
   “Why?”
   He threw his cravat on the floor and started shrugging off his coat.  “Because now it’s too late and I can’t stop this from happening.”
   Felicity dragged the top of the bedcovers closer to her.  His words sparked a kernel of fear in her belly.  Was it so dreadful then, that he’d try to spare her from it?  Why did he act so strange?  “Are you drunk?”
   “Certainly not.”  Terence threw his coat over a chair.  “Slightly foxed, but never drunk.”
   Felicity’s hands finally closed on the edge of the bedcovers, and she started to drag them over her.
   “Don’t do that,” he growled.

So is your hero approaching the encounter with trust issues?  Are you writing a mystery where your heroine may be a suspect, and despite your hero’s attraction for her, he’s still suspicious?  Does your hero want your heroine, and he’s angry at himself because of it?  Whether it’s trust or power issues, let your characters guide you in their interactions so that your love scene will be as unique as your entire novel is.

Until Next Time,
Kathryne

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sharing a photo of one of my most handsome fans...

holding some of my books found on the shelves of Powell's bookstore in Portland, Oregon. Thank you for sending me the photo of your adorable husband, Sabrina!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FOR WRITERS: SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING A GREAT QUERY LETTER


I'm currently helping a new writer with her query letter, and since I'm covering similar issues, I thought I'd also share this with my readers who might be aspiring authors.

A great query letter is clear, concise, and to the point. It doesn’t meander or include information that’s not pertinent to luring the agent/editor into reading/asking for your manuscript. As a rule of thumb, if you’re in doubt as to whether something should go into your query letter or not, leave it out. Some of these tips you might already know, but I’m writing this to include people who have no experience with query letters.

The basics of a great query letter are:

Your hook, general details of your manuscript, and reason for querying particular agent/editor.

Your comparison/tagline and book summary.

Your bio and platform.

It sounds simple, but to write a dynamic letter with so few words and in one page can be a challenge! So here are some suggestions to help you:

1. Salutation. Never use a general form of address like Dear Madam or Dear Sir. Address your query letter to the editor or agent you are sending to by name.

2. Start the first paragraph with your hook or pitch.

Why am I suggesting you start a query letter with the hook for your novel? Because agents/editors get hundreds of queries a month, and generally will only read the first couple of sentences before going on to the next. This is your chance to (hopefully) lure them in to reading the rest of your letter. This is a subject I hope to expand on in a future blog post. For now, I can suggest that you research other author’s pitches on the internet to help you come up with yours.

Follow your hook with pertinent details (What type of book is it? Word Count? Is it a finished manuscript?)

Then follow with the reason you are writing to this particular agent/editor. Whether it’s because you were referred to them, or they publish another author whose work is similar to yours, or maybe you’ve just read a lot of the books they publish/represent. Also, if you have met the agent/editor at a conference and they asked to see your work, be sure to remind them of it here…and if you’re querying via email, put Requested Material in your subject line. If you are querying by snail mail, put this on the envelope, somewhere under the name and address of the agent/editor.

3. Now launch into your plot summary, and lead with a tagline and/or comparison of another book, author, movie, or character.

Here’s some examples of comparisons to help you: Indiana Jones meets The Real Housewives. In the tradition of The Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter for grown-ups. The imagination of JK Rowling and the romance of Julie Garwood.

If you need help on how to come up with a tagline, I wrote a blog post about it here: http://kathrynekennedy.blogspot.com/2010/05/for-writers-taglines-query-letter.html

If you’re struggling with your plot summary, study the back cover blurbs on books in your genre to help you formulate an intriguing summary. Another way to approach your summary is to write one paragraph about your heroine, and then another about your hero, working in their goals and motivations. In a romance, you want to show why these two people are uniquely perfect for one another. Weave your plot in with the emotional conflict.

4. For your biography, include personal information about you if it pertains to the book you’ve written. For example, you raise Arabian horses and have written a Western. You did your Doctorate on Italy and have written a historical romance in that time period. Include any major publishing credits or contest wins. Keep in mind that you don’t need to pad your bio. Sometimes less publishing experience will work for you.

And here’s a tip that I’d suggest in this internet era. List your platforms, if you have any. If you Blog or Tweet or have Facebook friends, include them here. And if you have other platforms available to you, mention your profession or degree. Why? If you’re an attorney, for example, you have a platform within that community. If you have a degree, you have a platform in the university alumni.

5. Your closing sentence, short and professional. Be sure to submit only what the agent/editor’s guidelines asked for, which means that you should have already visited their website for this information.

Include your own website url or blog (if you have one) after your signature/name if you haven’t already included it in your address information. Most agents/editors want submissions via email, so you may not have a formal return address on your letter.

EXAMPLE QUERY LETTER

Here’s an example of a professional query letter to help you with the points I’ve mentioned above:

Dear Ms. Wheeler:

When a Wild West American heiress travels to London and hires an impoverished Duke to launch her into English society, his predictable Victorian life is turned upside down. This is the premise of my single title Historical Romance novel, complete at 100,000 words. I’m interested in your representation because I attended your workshop at the Desert Dreams conference and appreciated your insight into promoting an author’s career.

Who says a proper lady can’t carry a knife? Inspired by the classic tale of Pygmalion, My Unfair Lady is about a Wild West beauty who takes Victorian London by storm. Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society--it's the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she's determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart.

The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king's ransom if he'll teach her to become a proper lady, he's prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it's not her fortune he finds impossible to resist.

I have published several short stories in various magazines, including a Sword and Sorceress book anthology. I earned Honorable Mention twice in the Writers of the Future contest. I am a member of Romance Writer’s of America and have served as librarian in my local chapter. I am on many social-networking sites, including 400 Twitter followers, 500 Facebook friends, 1,500 Myspace friends, and 500 Gather connections. I have a degree in Business Administration and am a licensed insurance professional.  

I’m sending you the first twenty pages of my manuscript per your submission guidelines. Thank you for taking the time to review my request.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kathryne Kennedy
http://www.kathrynekennedy.com

I hope you find these suggestions helpful, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to share!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Congratulations to Tory Michaels & Mary Keith!

They are the lucky winners of an autographed ARC of Enchanting the Lady. Kindly send me an email with your mailing address, ladies, so I can send your prizes. Email kathryne@kathrynekennedy.com

Thanks to all who stopped by and commented. Lovely to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

ENCHANTING THE LADY is in bookstores!


 The re-release of ENCHANTING THE LADY, the first book in the RELICS OF MERLIN series, is in bookstores August 1st with a fabulous new cover! Since the magical relic in this book is a pearl, I’m celebrating with a new contest on my website, where you can enter to win a gorgeous pearl necklace. All you need to do is sign up for my newsletter. The details can be found here (after August 1st): http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/contest.html

Since this is a re-release, I won’t be doing a blog tour this month. However, I do have six autographed Advanced Reading Copies up for grabs. You can enter to win two here, just by leaving me a comment (Make sure to check the comments tomorrow to see if you have won, I’ll post the winners at the bottom of the comments section.) I would love to know what you like best about the new cover. For me, my favorite element is Daisy, the little dragonette on Felicity’s shoulder!

As Always,
Wishing You My Magical Best,
Kathryne


ENCHANTING THE LADY BY KATHRYNE KENNEDY—IN STORES AUGUST 2012

THEIR MAGIC LIVES WITHIN EACH ONE OF THEM…
In a Victorian England with a rigid hierarchy of magic, lion shape-shifter Sir Terence Blackwell is at the bottom rung of society. Only Lady Felicity Seymour, who has no magic, no inheritance, and no prospects, may be willing to judge the man strictly on his own merits.

HOWEVER DEEPLY IT MAY BE HIDDEN…
When family pressures push Lady Felicity into a terrible fate, she has only Sir Terence to turn to. As the two outcasts are propelled by circumstances beyond their control, they are forced to explore the unseen depths beneath society’s fa├žade. And what they discover about each other is more real and more beautiful than they ever could have imagined…


"Simply delightful, imaginative, historically vigorous, and ripe for further adventures."—Publishers Weekly

"Delightful, refreshing, and unique."—Single Titles, 5 Stars

"Fabulously imaginative setting and charmingly original characters"—Chicago Tribune


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathryne Kennedy is a critically acclaimed, best-selling, award-winning author of magical romances. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at www.kathrynekennedy.com. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Arizona, where she is working on the next book in her Relics of Merlin series, Everlasting Enchantment.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Join the fight against cancer! http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2012/ArizonaEvent2012?px=6579279&pg=personal&fr_id=1760


Copied from the Susan G. Komen Fight Against Cancer Website:
 
My daughter Jeanette Fox, fought bravely for 9 long years, never complaining and always trying to make others feel better.  When asked how are you, she would always answer "fine, I am very healthy, just a tad of Cancer". 
 
While under the care of Hospice Of the Valley, she raced to crochet baby blankets for her niece, Leah & new born nephew, Luke.  (she got them completed)  She was busy helping a Hospice worker plan her wedding and another Hospice worker with parenting skills.  The week before her death she typed transcripts for an attorney friend.  Friends said coming to see Jeanette was so uplifting, she made you happy.
Jeanette entered heaven with a broken back, broken rib, broken leg, cancerous liver...5 hip replacements....all under the title of BREAST CANCER. Among her last words to me was "Mom, I will not give up". She brightened my day with her determination and smile. So.....(sister) Connie & I will remember Jeanette as we are "TEAM NET" in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day 60 mile walk. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP.

Please support me as I take an amazing journey in the fight to end breast cancer! The Susan G. Komen 3-Day TM is a 60-mile walk over the course of three days. Net proceeds from the 3-Day are invested in breast cancer research and community programs.  My daughter, Connie & I will be TEAM NET........Our first struggle will be getting all the donation needed to participate in the 3-Day Walk.  We can do this, WE WILL NOT GIVE UP.

http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2012/ArizonaEvent2012?px=6579279&pg=personal&fr_id=1760 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

FOR WRITERS: Published Novel Contest: Shooting Star Award for the Epilepsy Foundation

Have a published novel or novella in need of accolades and FREE promotion?  

Want to help a worthy organization in the process?

Enter to win the Book Boost's 
1st Annual Shooting Star Contest!


Who? (it could be YOU!)

Top three winners in EACH category will win the following prizes:

1st place:
  • 1 year of Free Promotion at the Book Boost (includes 2 cover ad placements and unlimited monthly guest blog appearances a $50 value)
  • A personalized Shooting Star Award Trophy 
  • A $25 gift certificate to the online store of your choice
  • A Shooting Star graphic for use on your website/blog
  • A year's worth of "bragging rights"!

2nd place:
  • 6 months of Free Promotion at the Book Boost (includes 1 cover ad placement and unlimited monthly guest blog appearances a $25 value)
  • A personalized Shooting Star Award Certificate
  • A $15 gift certificate to the online store of your choice
  • A Shooting Star graphic for use on your website/blog

3rd place:
  • 3 months of Free Promotion at the Book Boost (includes 1 cover ad placement and unlimited monthly guest blog appearances a $15 value)
  • A personalized Shooting Star Award Certificate
  • A $10 gift certificate to the online store of your choice
  • A Shooting Star graphic for use on your website/blog

What?

Rules & Details:

Genres accepted:
  • Romance (any sub-genre)
  • Paranormal/Fantasy
  • Young Adult/Middle Grade (any sub-genre)
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Novella (any genre)
1.  A minimum of 10 entries required in each category.  If your 1st category choice is canceled due to lack of entries, your entry will be moved to your 2nd choice category.  If you don't feel that your book falls under a second category, please be advised that no refunds of contest fees will be allowed due to the charitable donation purpose of this event.
2.  No Minimum or Maximum Length is required for your entry (but if your novel is under 40,000 words, we recommend entering it into the Novella category).
3.  All fiction published books are accepted (including self-published or indie published).  We welcome all fiction.  No non-fiction at this time.
4.  You may enter as many individual books as you wish but not the same book in multiple categories. Only one entry per book.
5.  Book must have a copyright date between July 2011 and September 2012.
6.  E-books and/or print books are accepted.  To enter an e-book, simply send the entry attached in PDF format to the e-mail address as provided in the "How to Enter" section below.  To enter a print book, please mail 3 copies to the address as provided in the "How to Enter" section below.
7.  Did we forget a rule or fail to answer your question?  Just ask away in the Comments section below or e-mail us and we will respond promptly.

When?

Contest opens for entries on July 1, 2012

Contest closes for entries on October 1, 2012 (entries must be time stamped via e-mail no later than 11:59 p.m. Central time)

Winners announced by December 31, 2012

Where?

As an author, I believe the best judges of our work are "regular readers" as in the book loving folks of my community.  All judges will be local folks from The River Region where I reside.  They will consist of readers, booksellers, and librarians from the tri-county area.

Each entry will be judged by 3 unique judges on a scale from 1 to 10 using the following criteria:
  • Cover/Professional Presentation
  • Plot
  • Character Likeability
  • Originality
  • Over-all Enjoyment Factor

Why?

After several disturbing medical events, in September 2011, I was officially diagnosed with epilepsy.  As an author, who creates people and worlds within my mind on a daily basis...this diagnosis has proven to be quite a challenge for me.  During the last year, I've met many others who suffer from this condition and I'm inspired to help them.  Men, women, and children of all ages cope with the challenges and many of them need help.  The folks over at The Epilepsy Foundation believe in seizing the moment and celebrating life.  I believe in the same...wish upon a shooting star and we may just find a cure!

So, for the purposes of your entry fees, they'll be donated to this wonderful organization, The Epilepsy Foundation.

All contest prizes are donated by The Book Boost Blog.

How?

Okay, already!  I'm ready to enter...how do I proceed?

Entries accepted electronically and via mail.

To ENTER:  

1.  Send the following information to us at (thebookboost@gmail.com):
  • Subject Line:  Shooting Star Contest
  • Your name (or pen name that you want announced when you win)
  • Your e-mail address
  • Your mailing address (for prize winning trophy, of course)
  • Your phone number (for winning notification)
  • Your payment method (PayPal or check)  If PayPal, please remit $10 per entry to thebookboost@gmail.com and be sure to reference your pen name/e-mail address in the comments section of the payment.  A Buy Now link to make a PayPal payment is located in the right hand column of The Book Boost Blog under Shooting Star Contest Payments.  If via check, please remit $10 per entry to:  The Book Boost, PO Box 680871, Prattville, AL  36068 and be sure to reference your pen name/e-mail address in the Memo section of the check.
  • Your 1st choice for entry category (see the "What?" section above for choices)
  • Your 2nd choice for entry category (see the "What?" section above for choices)
  • The title of your entry (if entering more than one book, please send a separate e-mail for each entry with all of the above information included but you may combine payments into one single payment)
  • Your entry method: PDF or Print Book (if PDF, attach a copy to your entry and if print book, send 3 copies of your book to:  The Book Boost, PO Box 680871, Prattville, AL  36068

Any questions?  Contact us at:  thebookboost@gmail.com

We thank you in advance for your help in spreading the word about our contest and for your support!

(NOTE: I COPIED THIS DIRECTLY FROM BOOK BOOST'S BLOG. YOU WILL NEED TO GO TO THEIR PAGE TO MAKE A PAYPAL PAYMENT.)

http://www.thebookboost.blogspot.com/2012/07/published-novel-contest-shooting-star.html

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Sneak Peek at the New Cover for DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT!

Sourcebooks will be re-releasing the second book in the RELICS OF MERLIN series, DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT, next year, but they have already been working on the new cover. Isn't it fabulous? There's a teeny tiny surprise on it for me and my readers! Do you see Trouble??

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

PAINTING PICTURES WITH WORDS


A reader once told me “You paint pictures with words.” It surprised me, for I had never thought of my writing that way before, and I had to give some thought as to how I managed to do that for her.

So I talked to several of my writer friends, asking them their process. I was amazed to find that we all did it differently (okay, keep in mind, this was years ago when I was still new to even being around other writers). One gal told me she would write during commercials of her favorite TV show. Another other said she wrote while her kids were at ballet or ball practice. Another said she’d hide in her bedroom and bar the door to write. One used a very detailed outline, knowing each step her character would take. Another said she wrote up pages of character charts, outlining the way they would speak, the decisions they would make, the choices that would propel them toward the resolution of the plot.

Knowing other methods helped me to understand my own writing process. And that I did it the hard way. Not out of choice, mind you, but just because it was the only way I could tell a story. I do start with a general outline, but the magic for me is in the process itself. In getting to know my characters through the story. In immersing myself in the world and fully visualizing being there. And so I have to have complete focus in order to write.

Many of my friends can teach other writers how to write. Me, I’m not so good at teaching. I just write. And it’s difficult for me to explain exactly how, because it’s such an organic process for me.

In THE LADY OF THE STORM, I wrote a scene involving a magical mountain, and in order to get it on paper, I had to be standing there myself, in that very moment:

   Gray clouds moved over the skies, covering the brief
morning sunshine, but even in that dimness the mountain
of crystal blazed, as if it possessed some inner light.
It sat in the middle of a field of tall grass, the enormous
base of it a cluster of square-shaped stones angling
inward toward the top into four-sided capped spires.
   “Oh, dear,” muttered Cecily.
   A river ran straight to the base of it, and they rode
parallel alongside. Belle snorted at the tall grass that
swished against her belly, the much taller Apollo
eyeing her with a merry gleam as he stepped lightly
over the growth.
   “Do you hear that?” asked Giles.
   Cecily cocked her head. The river gurgled beside
them, the grass rustled in the rising wind of the coming
storm, the leather of their saddles creaked, and from far
away, she could hear the faint sounds of the city. And
between and betwixt those soft noises shivered a song
that she couldn’t quite catch the tune of.
   “It’s the mountain,” she replied. “The crystal is
singing.”

There’s no right or wrong way to write. It’s just whatever works for you. And for me, I don’t have a prayer of getting my reader to see what I’m writing unless I actually can see it myself. And even then, there’s no guarantee that I can connect with everyone’s inner vision.

Until Next Time,
Kathryne

PS. I was just notified that THE LADY OF THE STORM took first place in The Golden Quill contest. I’m honored to be chosen among such talented writers!

Friday, June 15, 2012

FOR WRITERS: GREETINGS FROM A BOOK By Langdon Kennedy

Many of you know that my son is a writer as well, and although all of his stories amaze me, this one I thought was particularly lovely for writers, so sharing it with you today.

Greetings From A Book
By Langdon Kennedy

         Hello. My name's The Adventures of The Silver Wizard, and I am a book. And I'd like to take this time to tell you what it's like to be a book. Bear with me, it will only take a moment.
       Now I suppose I could spend my time complaining. I could talk about the irritation of being left to become dusty. Dust is like dandruff to us. Please dust us from time to time, alright? I could talk about the scars that are tears in our pages. Or the broken spines that are like broken bones. Or perhaps a bent or torn cover that's like having your face mauled. Or perhaps the feeling of isolation under furniture instead of the camaraderie of brothers on a bookshelf? Could I mention the shame of being used to stop a door? But I'm not sure if complaining would do me any good. I'm not sure if you would listen.
          No. I should explain to you the best part of being a book. I should explain to you what being read is like. It is a beautiful experience. It is how we live. A book manifests when it is read into the human mind. The soul of the book enters the soul of the human mind. We live in there. The words in us become. Every concept is born, breathes in a way, until we experience a sort of rush like adrenaline as every part of us is brought to life. When your eyes pull a word from the page into your mind you pull us away from stasis into being. Like waking from a coma into a new life. I suppose it is difficult to explain to you humans the reincarnation that is being read.
       And each time it is different, because each human interprets us differently. And each time we are read, each time the words on our pages are born into a human mind, it is different, and we live an entirely new life. Though the words on our page are the same, that soul of us is the same, we are born again differently in you. Each and every one of you are different parents to us. 
      And even when the same people read us over again we are born differently. It's a magical feeling, really.
      I'm sorry if that rant was a little long, but I took this time to talk to you today to give you a little perspective. And to make sure you're a bit more considerate when you pick up your next book. Oh, and don't skim. It hurts our feelings.

Sincerely,
The Adventures of The Silver Wizard
 
If you enjoyed Langdon's story, you can stop by and leave him a comment here: http://langdonflashfictions.blogspot.com/ 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Congrats to my winners!

Chosen by Random.org, cause I always want everyone to win, and would have a difficult time if I didn't have this nifty website to choose the winners for me!

8. Igna Jurevicius
13. infinitieh
26. Mary (email beginning with mcm917)
30. Eva

These ladies were the lucky recipients of an autographed book bag, with some extra goodies inside. Thanks to all my newsletter subscribers who entered and commented. MY READERS ROCK!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A lovely note from the winner of the citrine necklace!


>> To: Kathryne Kennedy <kathryne@kathrynekennedy.com>
>> Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:39 PM
>> Subject: Re: Kathryne Kennedy's Newsletter Subscriber Contest
>>
>> I received the necklace on Tuesday, and it's beautiful. I'm looking
>> forward to wearing it to work on Wednesday, which just happens to
>> be my 20th wedding anniversary, so it's nice to have something
>> special and new to show off. The pendant is larger than I expected,
>> which is a good thing with me. A small, delicate piece is nice
>> sometimes,
>> but my style is definitely big and bold (I've been inspired by a lot of
>> the jewelry in the TV series "The Tudors").
>>
>> Thank you again, very much!
>>
>> Auriette L>>

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Discover a New Love--Have you heard about the new romance ebook Book Club?

If you're an avid romance reader, you can save money, discover new authors, and connect with many of your favorites! Sourcebooks' new ebook club offers so much to readers! There's events and parties and many ways to connect with other readers and authors. What's especially exciting for me is that The Lord of Illusion is a featured book. I'm in fine company with Catherine Mann, Shana Galen, and Terry Spear! You can check us out here: http://www.discoveranewlove.com/featured-selections/featured-romance-ebooks.html

And the Discover a New Love's home page is here: http://www.discoveranewlove.com/

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm chatting now at: http://www.discoveranewlove.com/parties/

Live chat party with Kathryne Kennedy! Win prizes! Monday 5-28 8pm CST http://www.discoveranewlove.com/parties/

Join me and my host, the incomparable Barbara Vey, for an hour of conversation, fun and fabulous prizes! Up for grabs is a genuine endless pearl necklace, two paperback copies of one of my books, and a free six-month ebook club subscription! I will be answering all of your comments live and in-person, so feel free to ask as many questions as we have time for.

Join us tonight, Monday, May 28th, 8pm CST here: http://www.discoveranewlove.com/parties/

Not sure of the time? Check CST time here: http://wwp.central-standard-time.com/

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Kathryne