Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall in Love with Fall Winner! WAIT! There's more!

I'm thrilled beyond words for a few reasons today...wait...not thrilled beyond words because then I would be jumping around too much to write and, well, here I am...anyway, I'm thrilled. Just. Thrilled.

Fall is in full swing. Nights are hazy. Clouds are heavy. My house smells like sugar cookies. I'm in absolute heaven.

If that isn't enough, I have a winner for the Fall in Love with Fall Giveaway. Julia (from the comments section of the original contest post), won Victoria Dahl's Crazy for Love and Elisabeth Naughton's Stolen Fury! Congratulations! I'll be contacting you via email to get your address. Be checking your email box.

If this beautiful overcast weather isn't enough for you, and you're not Julia (who should also be too thrilled for words that she's won), then maybe you can celebrate this next reason by jumping up and down with me.


Yup. You heard that right. I am now represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates. See? Good things are happening this time of year.

NaNoWriMo is undoubtedly included in all that goodness.

That reminds me...Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it's back to the WIP I go! *insert crazy annoying dwarf whistles here*

Friday, October 29, 2010

Giveaway Reminder! Goodies!

You're invited to participate in the Fall in Love with Fall Book Giveaway! It ends on Halloween so don't miss out.

It's no secret Fall is my favorite season. Between the leaves changing color and the rainfall inspiring me to write, I'm happy as a clam.

Me+Happy=Book Giveaway!

Lucky for you, right?

Victora Dahl's award-winning novel Crazy for Love

And an autographed copy of Elizabeth Naughton's Stolen Fury

Being a follower of this blog is a must.

Enter the contest by commenting on this post or the original one from September (which can be found under "Pararomance Contests" under "Labels" on the sidebar).

Extra entries will count as follows:

+2 Adding this contest post to your sidebar (shoot me an email or mention it in the comment so I can check it out)
+2 Blogging about the contest (shoot me another email or another comment so I can give mad thanks)
+1 Twittering this post (make sure to add @KM_Miller so I know you did it)

The contest will end October 31st. I mean, what other day in Fall would be more appropriate for a blog celebrating paranormal writing?!? (Now I wish I had some Halloween themed novels to dish out...maybe next year.)

Good luck and Happy Halloween! Be safe out there this weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lisa Sanchez Signing!

I talked about the value of critique partners the other day and how an honest read can give you focus and purpose. There's another awesome aspect of the critique partner gig that I failed to mention. It's the pride that comes from the success of that partner. One of my critique partners, Lisa Sanchez, had her first ever author signing Tuesday night. I downright glowed watching the room fill with family, friends, writers, and readers, all waiting to hear her talk about her writing process. I felt like a proud mama, listening to her read scenes so familiar to me.

I might've been more giddy than she was when she signed books for a LINE of people.

I couldn't miss the opportunity to snag a pic of the two of us together.

And here's the group of writers who went to Olive Garden after (minus Killian McRae who was behind the camera), from left to right: me, Lisa Langdale, Lisa Sanchez, Brenda Pandos, and Robin DeJarnett. These ladies are awesome writers, authors, and now friends.

If my first reading goes half as smoothly as hers did, I'll be a happy, happy girl. Way to go, Lisa!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Out with the old...

You wouldn't believe it if I told you...but for the last five years I've been cooking on a stove almost twice my age.

I call it The Green Machine. It's a 1960 GE. (They know how to make 'em, let me tell you.) And as of yesterday, it's gone!

There's nothing wrong with an avocado green appliance, really there's not. It served its purpose, cooking for my family for years and years with no problems. Okay, okay, so it was hideous...but it was free. I couldn't really complain, especially since new appliances can run upwards of two thousand dollars!

Now feast your eyes upon this...

Oh, I'm in heaven. I can't wait to start cooking on it. I'd love to blog more, but I'm heading out for a plot session with my fabulous critique partner, Lisa Sanchez. Her signing at the Tracy library was awesome last night--I can't wait to post pictures tomorrow!

Have a great one! *grin

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blog Hop!

Happy Monday! Or, er, good morning and I hope your Monday is going better than mine is. Ever had one of those days where you know you have a gazillion things to do? You can't possibly remember everything that's going on, so you write it down...then lose your list? Twice? Ever had one of those days where you try to get really organized, planning your schedule the night before because there's simply too much garbage going on for you to remember every last--and very important--detail on the actual day and then you sleep so hard you miss your alarm? Ever had one of those days when you want to hit the Do Over button and curl back in bed?

Yup. Today is that day for me. Tomorrow too.

I'm volunteering in a bunch of clasrooms this week for Halloween festivities. Oh, the glitter, the candy, the joy, the five extra pounds to cart around on my hips! *sigh* I'm hosting a party, and a game night at my house...on the same two different places. Serious baking is about to commence. I'm getting a new stove--which I am over the moon about. It's stainless and clean and purty and I'm going to love cooking on it. (You should see the pics tomorrow of the 1960's avocado green dinosaur I've been cooking on for the last five years. The horror!) I'm already thinking about what I want its first meal to be...corned beef and cabbage? Homemade lasagna? Pot roast? See what I mean about being busy? The house is trashed, there's laundry to be done, my fridge is empty, and I barely have time to rattle off this post.

So here I go. I'm off to battle the day...starting with another blog hop. Hope your Monday is restful, quiet, and stress-free.

Sunday, October 24, 2010



Your love is an endless mist
falling softly upon my shoulders.
The first taste of Fall
drenching my clothes
frizzing my hair.

I welcome it
standing exposed
feeling cleansed
born anew.
We run for cover
beneath our coats
our laughter drugging.
Dance in dizzing circles,
stomp through puddles,
soak our socks.

An unexpected kiss,
sets hearts aflame.
The rivers flood,
our souls carried with it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Value of A Good Reader/Crit Partner

When I finished my first novel, (a contemporary romantic suspense where I killed the hero in the end) I had no idea what it took to be published. (It's safe to say I was WAY off the mark in every aspect.) I had no clue that a romance novel required the HEA (happily-ever-after) ending to be published. I thought I could simply write a story that struck me, find an agent, and sell it. Boy, was I wrong.

Over the past two years I've learned so much about the industry. Note that I said I learned about the industry. It's not enough to perfect your craft. You have to understand market trends, where your novel would be shelved in a library or bookstore, and what audience you're targeting. Is your book geared for Young Adults? Middle grade? Adults? Is the market saturated with vampires? Weres? Are you writing another typical vampire story? If you are, better have a major twist to stand out...

My point is that it's not enough to write for the sake of writing or for the idea of being a writer. Writing is a business. Get to know it.

So how do you know if your writing is up to snuff with your competition? I'd say the first way is to READ, READ, READ other books in the genre you're writing. If you like J.R. Ward's Blackdagger Brotherhood (YOU MUST READ THEM IF YOU HAVEN'T YET--just sayin'), and want to write that style of book, read as much of the likes of her as you can.

Another great way is to land yourself a valuable critique partner. If you're asking yourself what "valuable" is, I can sum it up in one word: HONEST.

The person I let read my first novel (the person who gets the first reads of all my novels, actually) is someone who's been my friend a long time. (I'm talking since the fourth grade, folks.) She's smart. Educated. Reads a ton. But that's not why I initially gave her my material. I had tons of friends offering to read for me with the same qualities.

I knew she wouldn't be afraid to tell me if my writing sucked. No matter how much I knew it would hurt to hear, I needed to know.

And she didn't disappoint. (Oh, I took a major blow to my ego, let me tell you.) She told me it "wasn't good enough" time and time again. Still does. (Yes, we're still friends. No, I haven't thrust her into a story to kill her off in one of my battle scenes. What on earth would make you think that?)

The point is this: when I sent out my first book to be read, I wanted validation. I wanted to be told that my writing had potential--that I COULD be an author if I pushed hard enough. If that's what you want, let your mother or sister read your work. They'll validate you like nobody's business for finishing a novel.

I'll tell you now, it's not enough. Not if you want to make it in the business. However, if you have a mother or sister who's an honest crit partner, I suppose you have the best of both worlds! But for others, we have to pick and choose our readers with care.

Last night I sent over a new chapter to my brutally honest reader. She always calls after reading the pages sounding bright and cheery. (Even when she's telling me it's terrible, there's a smiling lilt in her voice.) I always grimace, waiting for the review. Last night she told me it was Great. She said I shouldn't change a single thing.

What meant the most weren't the words--thousands of readers and crit partners around the country probably tell authors the same thing. It meant so much because only a few reads before, she told me I could do better. She said the character's motivations fell flat. She was disinterested in where a particular story thread was going. (She didn't use those words, but that's what she meant.)

So last night when she said it was Awesome, I know that it is. I no longer wonder if she's just telling me that so as not to hurt my feelings. She doesn't sugar coat. And that's exactly what I need.

What do you need from a reader or crit partner? Do you like their comments to be soft and careful? Or brash and brutally honest? Can you get past the initial hurt feelings if they tell you it sucks? Or do you find another crit partner? I'm curious how the other side lives...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


November is officially National Novel Writing Month! I never thought I'd be someone who participated in NaNoWriMo...writing with wild abandon, forgetting about my rule to "edit as I go" and letting my fingers fly, never seemed appealing to me. I have a rhythm that seems to work so I go with it.

I'm not a test taking person.

I tend to freak when there's a time limit set on me. And nothing says pressure like 50,000 words in 30 days.

Yet here I am.

I'm officially giving NaNoWriMo a shot.

And it's not because I've lost my mind, although some might be inclined to argue otherwise.

It's because I've made a HUGE mistake. I signed up for the Golden Heart Contest hosted by Romance Writers of America...only I made the mistake of signing up my CURRENT work-in-progress instead of Enemy, Beloved (the finished paranormal waiting to go out).

People unfamiliar with the contest might be wondering why this is such a mistake. Allow me to fill you in...

The manuscript has to be finished, polished, perfected, and received in Houston's glorious offices no later than December 2nd, 2010. This means I have until the end of November to finish my novel. And as of this morning I've only written 30,000 words.

There are no refunds.

No going back. (No matter how many times I pound that Back arrow, the RWA site won't forget about my error.)

I have to somehow manage to write, not 50,000 words like the crazy contest requires, but 60,000 words. And they can't be unedited sloppy words. They've got to be good. Great. Intriguing enough to final me in the contest.

Come hell or high water, lack of sleep, endless nights, and pots and pots of coffee, NaNoWriMo, here I come.

I've got to blast the lid off this thing.

And I have no idea how the hell I'm going to do it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

*Banished* Winner!

The winner of a signed copy of Sophie Littlefield's Banished is Lora! Congratulations and thanks for taking the time to comment on her Author Spotlight! I'll be contacting you shortly via email to get your address. *grin

In writing news, the final, "final", okay, seriously final *NOW*, galley for Dark Tide Rising has been approved as of yesterday afternoon. (I wonder if editors hold a secret burning hatred for writers who find mistake after mistake in their final galleys? I couldn't apologize enough through this process. I have the best editor in the world...and the most patient.) Now I'm only waiting on a release date, which I'm hoping is sooner rather than later.

Good things happening all around. Lora, I'll be in touch. You'll enjoy Banished, guaranteed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Research, Fort Point, and a Giveaway Reminder!

Many people see the Golden Gate for what it is. A stretch of beautiful bridge that spans San Francisco Bay. A landmark that's often blanketed in curtains of fog.

But many people fail to see what's beneath it. No, I'm not talking about the goliath ships that sail beneath it's frame. Nor am I talking about the whales that visit the inland shores.

I'm talking about Fort Point.

The fortress stood strong, protecting San Francisco harbor from attack during the Civil War. (As it turns out, Confederate ships were on their way into SF Bay, ready to attack the Fort and control the west, when they discovered the war had ended. Only a few weeks earlier and there might've been a battle between the South and the West!) During World War II, Fort Point was used to keep a watchful eye on the anti-submarine net that stretched across the mouth of the bay and back.

Now, it's a National Historic Site. An awesome one. It also happens to be the scene for my kick-ass climax of my work-in-progress. I researched the heck out of the place online. I tapped into every resource I could find. (Mainly Google, Wikipedia, and the Fort Point site itself.) But for some reason, my vision fell short.

I didn't just want to know about the Fort. I wanted to see it with my own eyes. I wanted to feel it. The fading brick and mortar walls. The dusty stone floor. I wanted to know if chills would creep up my neck when I descended down one of the three steep (and very dark) staircases. I wanted to feel that unforgiving San Francisco wind bite at my face when I traipsed along the roof.

And boy, did I get what I asked for. All that, and then some.

Take a gander...

*The drive over the Bay Bridge

*Can you see Fort Point? It's the tiny building under the Golden Gate on the left.

*A closer view

*The courtyard

*Me behind bars.

*One of the MANY cannons.

*And me again, conquering a stack of 128-lb cannon balls. These deadly puppies could skip over the ocean waves and blast through the hull of a ship from a whopping two miles away!

*One of those creepy hallways I knew was there. My camera lit up the halls pretty good, but in reality they were DARK. Such good material. I'm gonna use the heck out of every spooky nook and cranny.

*View of the light tower from the roof. It was SO COLD. I couldn't stay up there longer than about five minutes. I can't imagine what it would be like in night.

Overall, I'm glad I went. My huge climactic battle scene is going to have so much more dimension than it would have before. It's one thing to read about Fort Point's haunts's something else entirely to experience it first hand.

**Side note: Don't forget Sophie Littlefield's book giveaway ends tomorrow. I'm going to choose a winner randomly from the people who commented on that specific Author Spotlight post. If you're interested in entering, you can find information on the giveaway under "Labels" and "Sophie Littlefield" or "Pararomance Contests".

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Major squealage over here! I'm jumping out of my skin! I'm so excited to finally be able to share my cover art for Dark Tide Rising...

Here it is...

You ready?





Love the anticipation? Yup. That's how I felt when I loaded up my email this afternoon. Isn't it beautiful? A sea facing cave...dreary Humboldt weather...rocky Northern California letters bleeding into name on the bottom! (See how I sneaked that last part in there?)

It's. Absolutely. Perfect.

I couldn't have asked for a better cover.

HUGE thanks to Kimberlee Mendoza, the talented-beyond-words-I'm-going-to-squeeze-her-if-I-ever-meet-her cover artist, and Rae Monet, the cover art coordinator at The Wild Rose Press.

I don't have a release date yet, but that should be coming soon. My grin is lighting up the night sky...can you see it?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Interview with Sophie Littlefield and Giveaway!

I'm continuing my Author Spotlight with Sophie Littlefield this morning. She's the fantabuluous author of adult thrillers and a young adult dystopian fiction novel. If you missed the post you can find scroll down or find it here.

KM: I've asked you about your writing process, your new dystopian fiction novel, Banished, and even asked about what the future holds for a bestselling novelist like yourself. Now for some fun...Ocean or Mountains?

SL: Impossible to pick! Growing up in Missouri, we had neither, and I didn't see them until I was a teenager. I still have a thrilling sense of adventure when I see either one. In fact I think that might be a good reason to keep your kids from experiencing anything at all interesting - you'll suck the wonder out of it for them. They have to grow up a little before they can appreciate it.

KM: Coffee or Tea?

SL: Coffee, pots and pots.

KM: Music or Movie?

SL: Movie! I need the story. Everything's about the story.

KM: Fall or Spring?

SL: October is the most beautiful month in Northern California. Plus, in the spring, my hiking trail gets muddy. Yuck!

KM: Twitter or Facebook?

SL: With great shame I confess that I once swore I would NEVER, EVER use Twitter. Now I kind of love it. Even if you say something dumb, which I often do, it's quickly whisked away by the twitter stream and you can see what your friends are up to and you don't have to concentrate too hard. Facebook's fun too but I'm not very good at it so I feel a little like I'm playing with someone else's matchbox cars when I'm trying to write clever status updates.

KM :Plotter or Pantser?

SL: Arrrrrgggg I keep trying to plot but I'm an undisciplined pantser to the core. Hell, I can't even carry a coherent conversation for more than a few minutes.

KM: Big city or Country?

SL: City! City, for God's sakes! Please, powers that be, lift me from this suburban purgatory where I have spent the last 13 years and drop me into any city on this earth. Ah, just kidding, kind of. I feel very lucky to have lived in a beautiful, safe community while raising my kids, but the MINUTE they are grown I am moving to Oakland.

KM: Boots or Heels?

SL: Oh! I am in love with both for sure, which is ironic since i spend 95% of my days in my ugly yet cozy fuzzy brown slippers, or my two pairs of New Balance sneakers - the "good" pair I wear to the gym and the "old" pair I wear for hiking. I always, always wear high heels when I go anywhere for my job - whether it's a conference or an RWA meeting or signing - just because I *can*. It feels so good to dress up on the rare occasions that I do, so I overdo it - pile on the makeup, jewelry, etc.

I used to think I'd always pick a sexy heel over a pair of boots but a few things have changed my mind. One was buying my red wing motorcycle boots. They may be ugly, but they are the most badass things I own and I love to wear them into the city sometimes on rainy evenings. The other was a couple of writing friends who own breathtaking boots that would make me insanely jealous except they're both really cool about helping me with fashion, which is not my strong suit - Daisy James and Gigi Pandian. The other day Daisy showed me this pair of black, over-the-knee high-heeled black boots that lace *up the back* - I was ready to sell my car to buy them.

KM: Finally...the question we've all been waiting for...Death by zombie or Death by Stella?

SL: Yikes! Love it, you crazy girl! Um, I'd have to pick Stella 'cause she'd be quick and merciful. The zombies....yuck! But your answer is WAY better :)

For those of you who are curious about my answer, here it is: I'd pick Death by Stella just so I could use it as bragging rights to those on the other side! "You got hit by a car? Lame! I was shot twelve times point blank by a bad-ass menopausal woman on a killing spree!" Classic.

I have to thank Sophie so much for stopping by. She's busier than heck, yet still managed to lend me a few minutes for this interview.

*And here we are at RWA Orlando with fellow SFARWA ladies. I'm in black on the bottom, she's the starlet in red on top. *grin

To win your FREE SIGNED COPY of Banished, leave a comment revealing your favorite genre to read and why. Don't forget to Follow. The winner will be chosen by in six days. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Author Spotlight with Sophie Littlefield!

Sophie Littlefield is the author of several thrillers for adults, including A Bad Day for Sorry and A Bad Day for Pretty. Her debut novel, A Bad Day for Sorry, has received nominations for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, and a Barry Award, all for Best First Novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, the Crimespree Award for Favorite First Book and the RTBookReviews Reviewers Choice Award.

I'm thrilled down to my toes that Sophie agreed to be the Author Spotlight for October. I've gotten the chance to know her at the San Francisco Area meetings for RWA--another great reason to join a local chapter of writers--and let me tell you, she's awesome. Her books are page-turners with real gritty characters you want to keep your eyes on. And her spunky southern personality sparkles through her dialogue making you want to get to know the writer behind the award winning novels.

Here's your chance. I'm doing a two-part spotlight this month with the opportunity to win a free signed copy of Banished in celebration of its release!

This little snippet was taken from

"There isn’t much worth living for in Gypsum, Missouri—or Trashtown, as the rich kids call the run-down neighborhood where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives. Hailey figures she’ll never belong—not with the popular kids at school, not with the rejects, not even with her cruel, sickly grandmother, who deals drugs out of their basement. Hailey never knew her dead mother, and she has no idea who her father was, but at least she has her four-year-old foster brother, Chub. Once she turns eighteen, Hailey plans to take Chub far from Gypsum and start a new life where no one can find them.

But when a classmate is injured in gym class, Hailey discovers a gift for healing that she never knew she possessed—and that she cannot ignore. Not only can she heal, she can bring the dying back to life. Confused by her powers, Hailey searches for answers but finds only more questions, until a mysterious visitor shows up at Gram’s house, claiming to be Hailey’s aunt Prairie.

There are people who will stop at nothing to keep Hailey in Trashtown, living out a legacy of despair and suffering. But when Prairie saves both Hailey and Chub from armed attackers who invade Gram’s house in the middle of the night, Hailey must decide where to place her trust. Will Prairie’s past, and the long-buried secret that caused her to leave Gypsum years earlier, ruin them all? Because as Hailey will soon find out, their power to heal is just the beginning.

This gripping novel from thriller writer Sophie Littlefield blazes a trail from small-town Missouri to the big city as Hailey battles an evil greater than she ever imagined, while discovering strengths she never knew she had."

Now, let's get to know Sophie Littlefield a little more...

KM: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

SL: The minute I could write words! I used crayon to "write" in my books when I was little and I think even then I wanted to be part of the process of making stories.

KM-Can you give the rundown of your journey to publication? Was it riddled with gravel and obstacles? Or was it a smooth, pristinely paved road?

SL: HA - love that, and yes, mine would be gravel-strewn and there would be places where the asphalt was broken and giant potholes. I wrote my first book about 17 years ago, and wrote lots more before I ever sold one. A BAD DAY FOR SORRY was my ninth book. I received countless rejections and some of them were very painful.

Just the other day I found a home for a story which, when I wrote it, received one of the chilliest rejections ever. The editor pretty much hated it, and I allowed myself to believe it was a bad story. But time passes and eventually I re-read it and thought to myself that it had some merit. The editor who chose it for an anthology loves it, and I respect his opinion. I wish I could go back to my former self - the one crying and/or cursing in front of the keyboard late at night - and whisper that it really would work out one day, if I just kept trying.

KM: After being nominated for a whole slew of awards (all of which you so deserved) for A Bad Day for Sorry, how did you deal with the pressure to pump out a second critically acclaimed book? And a third?

SL: I was lucky - I had finished the 2nd and 3rd before I was even nominated for any awards. Back then I only had one series, and few promotional obligations - I had no facebook or twitter account and was not on any guest blogs - and so I had the time to write ahead. Next month, when I attempt to finish the fourth in the series, I will be trying to juggle so much more, and I think *that's* when I'll have my emotional breakdown :)

KM: How would you describe Banished to your ABDFS followers?

SL: It's a very different voice - dark, angsty, fearful. Hailey, the protagonist of BANISHED, is not at all sassy or vengeful, and my treatment of the issues she faces is serious, rather than tongue-in-cheek as in the Stella books.

That said, my editors have told me there is common ground between the books. They find voice similarities (hard to see when you're the author) as well as setting - both take place in rural Missouri. And a sense of justice and empowerment for the women and girls in the books, of course.

KM: How were you able to effectively switch gears between mystery and dystopian YA?

SL: For reasons unknown to me, I have no trouble at all switching - and while writing these books I was occasionally working on still other projects as well, I have never had any difficulty putting myself in the head space and mood of whatever character I am writing. Maybe it's a sign of some mental illness or shortcoming, but I prefer to think that I am simply nimble emotionally. Just as some people can learn many languages and keep them separate in their minds, I seem to have a facility for understanding psyches - real or fictional.

KM: Can you give the rundown of your typical writing day?

SL: Ugh! I am hoping this is not always the case - but I'm pretty obsessed right now. I get up around 6am and make breakfast for my kids and chat with them until they leave at 7. Then I'm in the chair until they get home - with a break for the gym or to take a hike. I spend the evening with them - I like to cook a decent meal for them most nights - and there's a lot of talking and yelling and playing with the dog, and hollering about tardies and detentions, and Junior and I might paint our nails or go to Marshalls, which is just 2 blocks from our house. Then we all do homework - mostly email and promo, in my case - and Junior would kill me for this but I still read to her, just a few pages. None of us gets enough sleep - I'm usually at the desk until after midnight.

Now I should point out that, while I'm in the chair and hands-on-keyboard, much of that time is not being used...ahem...productively. This is my curse, and I am working really hard to try to become more productive. Also, I take breaks every hour or so to do all the house stuff - cleaning and laundry and napping and *occasionally* brushing my teeth.

KM: What's next for you?

SL: Later this week I'll be attending Bouchercon, which is the big mystery conference - kind of like RWA National for romance. This will be my fourth one and I love it, especially since now I have so many friends in the business.

Next year, I'll have four books coming out. The third Stella, A BAD DAY FOR SCANDAL, will be out in June. The sequel to BANISHED, UNFORSAKEN, will come out next fall. And I'm very excited about a new series, a post-apocalyptic trilogy from Harlequin Luna. The first two books will be out in March and August, and they are titled AFTERTIME and REBIRTH.

I'll be doing some travel next year, including the ALA conference, possibly SCWBI, BEA, and then Thrillerfest and RWA in the summer.

Visit her online at

Buy Banished at Amazon here.

**Thank you so much Sophie, for taking the time to answer some questions about your writing process. More to come tomorrow...

If you're wondering how to get your hands on Banished, it's easy. All you have to do is Follow my blog with an email and leave a comment on either today or tomorrow's post featuring Sophie Littlefield. In that comment, let us know what type of book you like to read best. Is it historical? Thriller? Paranormal? Suspense? And let us know what draws you in about those books. Contest ends one week from today: October 19th, 2010. U.S. entries only, please.

My comment (though I'm not entered to win): I usually like a plot-driven paranormal with uber powerful alpha males and blood spilled on the page. Lately, though, I've been hooked on historicals. I've read two this summer and plan to read many more. Did I mention Banished is tops on my To Be Read pile?

Stay tuned tomorrow for some of Sophie's likes and dislikes, including how she'd rather kick the bucket: Death by zombie or Death by Stella.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blog Hopping!

Brad Jaeger over at Aspiring Author is hosting a blog hop today in celebration of the First Novel That Moved You.

The novel that moved me the most was Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. I first read it as a senior in high school. I loved it then. I love it more now. It's my go-to book. My absolute favorite. I don't know why, but even though it's a thriller and a murder mystery, it's also one of the most sparking romances I've read. I usually don't read books more than once. After the spontaneous magic is gone, the once riveting story line becomes a tad boring. The butterflies that fluttered in my stomach on the first read are usually silent and tired, having expected the gut-wrenching moments from the first page.

Rebecca breaks the mold. It's the only book that gets me every time.

My stomach still somersaults when the new Mrs. Dewinter sees Manderley for the first time. I feel her anticipation, her worry about filling Rebecca's shoes and being a good wife for the man she's fallen for. I still get peeved to the point my fingers fly through the pages when batty old Mrs. Danvers tricks Mrs. Dewinter into putting on Rebecca's dress for the costume party. I can smell the salt and sand of the beach house where Maxim stayed, waiting for Rebecca to arrive with her lover. I can feel the tension in the courtroom when the final verdict is announced and the DeWinters are finally free from Rebecca's evil grip on their lives.

That's how I know it touched me. I remember every little thing about the story. I know those characters like they're my personal friends. Yet I'm still surprised by what happens. My heart still leaps at every turn.

Now head on over to Aspiring Author. Hop around other writers' blogs and find out which books touched them.

And over at Cali Cheer Mom, her weekly feature is still running strong. I always find new and interesting bloggers to follow on the list! Head over and meet some new writers/authors!

Silent Sunday


“The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. Proceed, and light will dawn, and shine with increasing clearness on your path.” --Jim Rohn

Friday, October 8, 2010


Writers and authors are officially the coolest people on the planet. Okay, so I don't know enough of them to make a blanket statement like that. Let me reprhase.

Allison Brennan is the coolest author on the planet.

She commented on my last blog post.


I hope she doesn't mind that I copy what she said into a separate blog post--I don't think she would being that she's the coolest author on the planet and all. It simply made my morning so I had to share...

Allison Brennan said...

Hi Kristin:

Because I'm a neurotic author (most of us are) I have a google alert on my name. I rarely comment when I read something, but thought you might be interested in my pub story.

First, great blog. You already know the moral of the story: this is your journey. Every author's journey is different.

So I had over 100 rejections from agents before I landed one. I noticed you have an agent!! Yeah you, that tells you that you have the talent and the voice, because agents don't sign everyone who says they want to be a writer.

I had the shortest rejection on the planet (aside from no response.) On my first full request, the agent rejected it by sending me back my cover letter with one word double underlined: SUPERFICIAL. :/

It took me five books before I found an agent. I ended up selling quickly, but getting to that point was hard and sometimes disillusioning.

Now, on a personal note, your name is so familiar I think we may have met. And then I see you're from Nor Cal and I KNOW we've met! :) Don't stress.

Original Comment Posted October 8, 2010 7:27 AM

First, I don't know if she'll read my blog again or not, but I want to say THANK YOU. Part of me is rejoicing that it's not as easy as it seems. Writing is such a solitary hobby/job/joy. It's sometimes too easy to think we're the only ones struggling with the process.

And we have met! When I went to RWA Orlando I knew there were a few people I really wanted to meet. Allison Brennan being one of them. We have mutual friends in the business, we live close to one another, belong to the same RWA local chapters, have the same taste in books (hello Saul and Koontz), and she seems like a down to earth writer who believes in helping others. After taking time out of her busy schedule to comment on my little blog, the last part is super clear.

Any famous, award winning, New York Times Bestselling Author who takes the time to reach out to a writer like me is one of The Greats...for more reasons than great writing. If you haven't read her books, you should. You really should.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Run your race

I've been thinking a lot about my running progress...well, more like focusing on the pain as I push through yet another grueling session. I still can't push myself further than about a mile before I start to think my knee is going to explode. But as of today, my lungs feel fine. It didn't take me as long to recover as it did two weeks ago. And that's awesome.

As I sat in a hurdler's stretch on my front lawn this morning, so happy that I managed to minimally limp on my run, the fifty-something guy down the street blew passed my house like he was going for Olympic Gold in the 100m dash. I picked my jaw up off the concrete. He lives, like, 2 miles away for goodness sake! I reigned in my death glare. He looked at me and waved. I waved back, very unenthused and still sweating bullets. Just before he passed my house he yelled, "Have a good day!" He wasn't even out of breath. You can't imagine the profanity that flew through my head.

I went from feeling like this... feeling like this, in two seconds flat...

My good day was shot. The old dude was gone on his run for over an hour. I know because I watched out my window with a big ass bag of potato chips. He jet by the house on his way back, too. He still didn't look winded. I started wondering how it's possible that a guy like that is able to make me feel like I'm not even moving. I'm not going anywhere. I'll never get to that point--it's so far off the horizon for me right now. I can barely drag my feet around a mile loop!

I got to thinking...

I've felt this feeling before. I've been feeling it all week actually. And I'm not only talking about my pathetic runs that make me feel like I should invest in canes and walkers right now. I'm talking about my writing journey.

I got my first rejection from a New York editor yesterday. It hurt. Much more than I thought it would. I think I've got pretty tough skin for a writer. I take almost everything constructively. The rejection, although coming from a very nice person with very good intentions, didn't come off so nice. It was brief. Too brief to make me think I can make it in this industry.

I drowned my sorrows in my current read, Carnal Sin. I got to thinking that I'll never reach Allison Brennan's status. If an editor who KNOWS this business thinks it's not good enough, then maybe I'm far off base.

More than a mile off base.

It was after I took a day (or two) to have a mini-pity-party that I realized everyone has a different race to run. I don't know how long Brennan wrote before she was published or before she hit bestselling status. I don't know what kind of rejections she got or what they said. And I shouldn't care. Not one bit. I should be focused on my journey. Some people reach success faster with seemingly little strife (damn you all), and some have to work and fight and toil and bubble for their success, for every little inch.

I was hoping to be the former. Looks like I'm just gonna have to keep pushing around that mile loop until I can sprint it without my knee giving me so much as a wince. I don't know how long it will take me...but I don't know how long that old dude has been running either. Maybe his six or seven mile sprint is off base from what he thinks is "good". (In what universe, right?)

Likewise, I have to run my race with this uber-critical writing biz. I have to find an agent who believes in my work as much as I do--one that'll offer to run with me on this journey.

I don't know if this is going to fall on deaf ears, but if you've ever felt like you're racing to catch up in this everyone seems to have it so much easier...or everyone is one step ahead...remember they're not. Everyone is running a different race with different motivations and different end goals.

Just run your race. Focus on your end goal instead of the success of those around you. I know I am. From here on out.*

*Except if I see old runner dude tomorrow I'm gonna have to bite down on my lip to keep from kicking dirt on his damned sweat-free shirt.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

True Colors

I have a new issue in my writing. It's attributing color to my character's hair, skin, eyes, etc.

In the FIRST DRAFT of my WIP, I wrote that my heroine has one blue eye, one brown. (Think Kate-Bosworth-esque)

When the hero first sees her, he remarks her eyes, and says there's more vibrance in them than a lush river valley. I honestly don't know what I was thinking. *slams hand to forehead.

I must've been looking out over this as I wrote the line:

Seriously, that's the view I have when I wonder a lush valley came to mind, huh?

Or maybe I was thinking about the beauty of this:

Which is where I golf...if you can call double-bogeying every hole golfing. Side note: I think the way I play should be called something like "woman whacking at ball with metal rod".

Anyhow, thanks to my critique partner Lisa, I realized that's a HORRIBLE way for the hero to think of the heroine's eyes. Now, this is when the epiphany hit me.

Saying a heroine's eyes are as colorful and lush as a fertile river valley wouldn't be so out of place if the hero is a farmer/cowboy who works valley land and appreciates its beauty. But my hero is a kick-ass shapeshifting assassin who's lived in the city his whole life.

Do you see the difference? I didn't at first. I do now.

Issue x2: My heroine in Enemy, Beloved is a chocoholic. (Who has absolutely nothing in common with me. Nope. No way.) Anytime I'm in her POV, and I'm describing something brown (ie: hero's hair color, hero's eyes), instead of using something bland like auburn, I use types of chocolate...his hair is mocha brown. His eyes are melted dark chocolate.

That's a hell of a lot better than using mahogany for that character or simply saying brown, don't you think?

This is my challenge for Immortal, Beloved. All colors must be true to character. No cop outs.

And you know what? If I had to pick a color for myself this morning, I'd pick Scattered Sienna. Yup. About sums up my morning...and this post. Pardon me as I bury my head back where it belongs--in my WIP. *dives back into action sequence where I describe secondary character's gray eyes as gunmetal gray. heh.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Things I'm Loving Right Now

I give you another Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Things I'm Loving Right Now:

10-This beautiful gloomy morning! I know, I know, it's contrary to what most people believe...but I'm absolutely glowing in this muggy California weather. I love the rain. The drizzle. The mist. I'm floating around the house, lighting candles and fixing up a scrumptious dinner in the crock pot. Loving it.


9-Because of #10, my muse is refreshed. I'm writing up a storm. Good thing too, because at the rate I've written the first eighty pages, it'll take me six months to write this book. I need to cut that time in half. The rain will help.


8-I'm absolutely in love with my Droid Incredible. I can access my email in two seconds. I hardly check in on my computer anymore. Who wants to be bothered with the whole "sign in" process anyway? Not me...I tend to not respond to emails as quickly, but that's okay...right? The speedy Droid apps are too handy...especially since I check my email for agents/editors every fifteen minutes or so...

7-The Biggest Loser. It's on tonight. I'm in love with Jillian Michaels. I think I may design a heroine after her in my next book.


6-The promise of a vacation on the horizon! In a few months the Miller fam is heading to Disneyland! Tank and Princess are beyond excited. We don't make the trip to So Cal very much, so when we do it's a big deal. Mickey here we come!


5-Kiersten White's Paranormalcy, Allison Brennan's Carnal Sin, and J.R. Ward's Lover Enshrined. For the first time in my life I'm reading more than one book at a time. I'm a little scattered, but I'm liking the variety. YA, suspense with a paranormal feel, and a hot-and-heavy paranormal. Great combo.

4-Chocolate. Simply because I've officially sworn myself off it starting yesterday and I'm craving it something wicked. Hello. My name's Kristin. I'm a chocoholic.


3-Scarfs! This one's a little odd, I know. But I don't wear scarfs when my hair is long. And later this month I'm cutting my hair Shirley Temple short. I'll post pictures of all the purty scarfs I buy to celebrate my new hair-do!


2-Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts". I don't know why, but this book is totally written on that song. I have a huge playlist to write to (see down below on right), but every time another song comes on I click it back to "Jar". I guess my muse is particular as of late.


And the number one thing I'm Absolutely, Positively Loving Right Now is THIS:

It's Twilight's Eclipse in a Minute! And it's HILARIOUS! If you can't laugh at this, I'm afraid you might have lost a bit of your sense of humor...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Meet an Author Monday

What is a blog hop?

A blog hop is a linky list that is SHARED ON MULTIPLE BLOGS.
When several blogs put the same linky list code on their blog, the
exact same list appears on each blog.

Blog visitors can submit their entries on any blog that contains the list.
The entries will appear on each blog where the list resides.

Blog readers see the same list on each blog, and can "HOP" from blog
to blog seeing the same list of links to follow: BLOG HOP!

Here's how Cali Cheer Mom's Blog Hop works:


•Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many "new to you" authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We'd love to chat with you!


•Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
•You will need to enter your name and blog url into the Linky tool.
•Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don't create a post for the hop, your readers won't have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!
•The purpose of the hop is to meet "new to you" authors and discover great new reads. Follow as many authors as you can. Leave a comment and introduce yourself!
•If you'd like to share the Linky list in a post on your blog ( Please do!) just follow the link and grab the code.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Silent Sunday


“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure”--Peter Marshall

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I don't get it.

Allow me to vent for a moment...

I've had issues with my knee for awhile. I've pretty much been banned from running. Having said that, running is the only way I can lose weight. I've officially decided.

After my knee surgery in May I started a workout program that lasted 3 weeks. I busted my behind at the gym, doing 45 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes of weights, and 15 minutes of core training five days a week. Husband (who used to be a trainer) modified my workouts based on how my body was responding and how my knee was feeling.

I didn't lose a single pound. My clothes didn't fit my body differently AT ALL.

When you're sweating it out for over an hour a day, the last thing you want to hear is that you're building muscle and soon it'll translate to pounds...even though that's the truth. That damn scale wouldn't budge. I was beyond irritated.

I started writing Immortal, Beloved and my workouts took a back seat. Until a few days ago. I went for ONE run. ONE LONG MILE RUN. (Though not really so long considering I used to run 5-6 miles a day.) I. Died. My knee throbbed. I couldn't breathe. I got that familiar hack that follows "out of shape" runners for hours after long runs.

And guess what? The next day, my pants buttoned easier. My shirts were baggier. I'm not joking. One killer run and I lost weight.

I'm not sure my knee is having this new workout program. I may be getting myself into hot water...I'm not sure how to differentiate the "good" pain from the "bad" pain yet...

I can't help but curse the weight-control gods (is that why it's called weight-watchers?). How can ONE run make such a huge difference when three weeks of strenuous low impact activity did little?

I don't get it. I kind of feel like I'm having the "tortoise and the hare race" with myself between what's "safe" for me to do at a snail's pace and what I want to happen at a rapid rate, though it hurts me.

I never thought I'd beg to run again, yet here I am. *sigh*