Disney and #RWA17 and Animals, Oh My! Tara in Orlando.

Hi —

RWA17 is over. I stayed  an extra day in Orlando for a visit to Animal Kingdom, but after a short park stop, I got rained out and spent most of the day writing. The week has been  educational, exhilarating and exhausting. Add fun to that list. I got here Tuesday evening and on Wednesday there were only a few workshops, so i thought I’d walk over to Epcot Center and play a little then return to the hotel. I was meeting friends in the afternoon, so i thought i’d return later. Instead, i had such a great time, i never left. I went on all the Epcot attractions, and wandered around with my tea in hand. Yes, it was 97 degrees, thank you, but i still had a ton of fun. I had a Chinese lunch, walked through the World Showcase, went on Soarin’ andSpaceship Earth, saw the dinosaurs fro the last time (they’re going away), then met Kc and Chudney and we splurged on a delicious dinner in the French restaurant. It was fabulous. I got back after walking 19,000 steps at 8:30 at night.

The next day, i got down to work, and Thursday and Friday literally went to a workshop every 90 minutes. Fantastic topics on why series sell, how to use tropes to create high concept. the French market for romance, creating deeply dimensional characters and much more. I was also representing my OCCRWA chapter as President, so i attended the RWA annual meeting and the Leadership breakfast. Then we had the big Literacy signing which was very successful. I saw lots of friends. I even managed to squeak in a few thousand words on my WIP and finish edits on two books.

Today, Sunday, was my last day in Florida, and, as predicted, it rained a lot (although not as much as i expected). I got to take the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and walk through the Gorilla Trek before the rain really started. Then i had to come back to check in on my transportation for tomorrow, so i stayed in the hotel and got productive.

It’s been a fun and worthwhile trip, although i could definitely sleep a couple straight days! Tomorrow is my flight home then back to work on all fronts!

I want to tell you that my next new release is coming in three weeks — Fool of Main Beach. This is one of my fave books ever. Check it out HERE. Talk soon. : )

Amazing Things Writers Learn — My Wild Journeys

LordOfAThousandSteps400Hi and welcome. Have you ever wondered about the Amazing Things Writers Learn? As you can imagine, a romance writer has to learn craft — a lot of it — and it’s a never ending process. We learn how to write in deep point of view, never straying from the ideas, experiences, sights, sounds, smells and tastes our point of view character might have. We learn character arc, and scene structure  and — well, you get the idea.

But then, we have to learn all the things necessary for our stories. There’s an old adage that says, Write What You Know. Okay, that’s true on some levels. We write the love, hope, fear, anger and all the other emotions of our lives. We pour them onto the pages. But details of the story? We essentially never know all of those. Nine out of ten times, we have to do research and that takes writers on wild and amazing journeys.

Just for the books i released in 2016, here are some of my amazing travels into worlds not my own —

TacklingTheTightEnd-400For TACKLING THE TIGHT END, i dove deep into the world of Native culture, particularly exploring the idea of the two spirited that was inherent among some Native communities. I have to confess, this was one of my favorite research projects. Also for that book, I learned even more about football, the tight end position specifically, Indian casinos, hand guns, Native adoption, and towns in Arizona.

Compared to that book, TAYLOR MAID was relatively simple. I had to brush up on my perf4.250x7.000.inddknowledge of Las Vegas, marriage laws all over the country, inheritance laws, and review my drag queen dressing details.

PrinceOfThePlayhousePRINCE OF THE PLAYHOUSE took me back to Laguna Beach where i lived for many years, so the setting was familiar, but that was the only easy part. While i know a lot about Shakespeare, i still had to search for specific scenes to use as backdrop for the action. I also had to dig into Hispanic gang culture in LA, and really had to get my facts straight on juvenile felony offenses. Whew. A writer’s life!

Then came BEAUTY, INC. For that one all i had to master was the cosmetics industry, chemical formulations for face Beauty,Inc-400x600creams, cancer information centers, and Brooklyn. LOL!

LORD OF A THOUSAND STEPS went back to Laguna Beach but a different end. Thousand Steps Beach is in south Laguna and, while i’m quite familiar with it, i needed details since my heroes spend a lot of time there. I also had to learn a lot of information about architecture (my husband’s an architect so i have built-in expertise), divorce and custody laws, and architectural schooling in Mexico.

Coming up in October is the re-release of SPELL CAT. Since it’s paranormal, i get to make up my own rules for the world, but my hero is a history professor and teaches a class on witchcraft, so lots of research was required for that.

In November, my first ever murder mystery releases. It’s called DEATH DANCER. I was lucky to participate in a workshop on crime scene procedure earlier this year, so i used a lot of that information, plus had to do lots of research on ballet, and streets in New York City.

Another really fun learning experience came for my first cowboy romance which releases in December. It’s called COWBOYS DON’T COME OUT. Interestingly, it mostly takes place in Hana, Hawaii and other locations on Maui. I got to dive into the whole Hawaiian cowboy (paniolo) tradition as well as take an imaginary vacation learning all the details about places like Makawao and Kahului. There was also a lot of searches related to horses, how to ride, how to teach someone to ride, cowboy equipment, and more.

So it’s been a fun and exciting year plunging into new subjects and universes! As you read, remember virtually every page has some topic or detail that had to be researched. Little things like expressions kids use, slang, where a street is located, the kind of trees you find in different locations, all require a trip to Google. Join in My Wild Journeys!

#RT16 Blew Us Away!

13006465_1089255664468227_7407824527138887974_nHi —

Despite feeling crappy most of the week — Las Vegas smoke and noise don’t agree with me much — I’ve got to say it was an incredible #RT16. Literally thousands of people lined the halls — mostly sitting on the floors — so they wouldn’t miss a second of their favorite events and parties.

I was lucky enough to get to do a ton of fun events. One highlight for me was my panel, IMG_1726Laughing Through Your Tears, which shared the whys and hows of adding humor to otherwise straightforward romance novels. My panelists were Tessa Dare, Charlie Cochet, Eli Easton, and ZA Maxfield. How’s that for an amazing group? A couple people shared they felt it was the best panel at #RT16!!

I also got to join in on a Hybrid Author 101 panel headed by Eli Easton and another on Agony to Ecstasy — on pacing in novels that ZA Maxfield put together. Both were fabulous and all of our workshops were packed.

13015194_996455217115459_7398456557851146911_nI also got to have fun at some wonderful Dreamspinner Press parties for readers — our Apples to Apples game which readers seemed to love, and, of course, the FAN-tastic Day Party packed with readers coming to get books and autographs from their favorite authors. An, of course, the Giant Book Fair where tons of great friends came though the doors to buy my books and give me hugs!

Best of all, of course, is seeing great friends all in one place. I got to hang out with pals Eli Easton, Kc 13015220_829346693836150_6032123301820752542_nBurn, ZA Maxfield, Chudney Thomas, BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, Sean Michael, Kiernan Kelly, Lynn Lorenz, Kim Fielding, Poppy Dennison, Andrew Gray, and, of course, the great Elizabeth North and my editor, Anne Regan.

That’s just a tiny bit of an amazing week. Happy to have gotten to go — and happy to be home. If you haven’t entered to win the $25 GC in my Prince of the Playhouse blog tour, do it NOW!!  And thanks to all who have made this book such a success. : )