Thursday, May 27, 2010

TASTE OF TEMPTATION by New York Times Bestselling Author, Cheryl Holt

I am back to talk about Cheryl Holt's newest release TASTE OF TEMPTATION. The last time she visited the blog she was celebrating the release of the first book in the "Spinster's Cure" trilogy, PROMISE OF PLEASURE. Now book two of the three is out and I can't wait to get it!!! Today I am here to give you a little taste of what we all have to look forward to in June! Are you ready?

New York Times bestselling author CHERYL HOLT presents the second sizzling story in a bold new trilogy in which passion—and a few drops from a magical elixir—leads to the sensual education of an innocent governess…

Helen Hamilton is a twenty-five-year-old spinster with no income and no prospects who struggle to care for her two orphaned sisters. Destitute and only a heartbeat away from the streets, Helen applies for a position as a governess to the younger siblings of Captain Tristan Odell, the oldest and illegitimate son of notorious philanderer, the Earl of Hastings. But when Tristan turns Helen away, her future seems as desperate as her options. Determined to do whatever it takes to support her sisters, Helen ends up at a brothel, where she agrees to sell herself as a mistress to a client of wealth and prestige. She even drinks a potion to make men desire her--and is shocked when the man who buys her is non other than Tristan. he too is shocked--and aroused by the possibilities. He hires Helen, but offers her more than a position as governess. Enmeshed in an affair of unrestrained desire, their passion quickly grows, as does an unexpected danger that could soon destroy them both...

That's it my friends. That's all you get!!! You'll have to make a run to the bookstore the first of June! For more information about Cheryl or her books you can check out her website at

Thanks for stopping in!



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spotlight Author with New York Times Bestselling Author Sandra Brown

I am working on my six-month anniversary here at Micole Writes Romance! Those six months have been filled to the brim with happiness and many challenges both in writing career and life in general! By the time this blog posts, my family and I will have moved into a new home. Our first purchased home! ;-) Both exciting and scary! My oldest child will be graduating from high school within a couple of weeks and starting a new life. Again exciting and scary! With all of these new beginnings I feel a celebration is in order! I couldn't think of a better way to kick off the celebration than spotlighting one of my very favorite authors! She's beautiful, intelligent, kind, and such an inspiration. It is with great honor that I introduce my guest, Sandra Brown.

Let's get down to business...

Being an author comes with its fare share of joys and disappointments whether you are just starting or you have been in this business for many years. All of us need advice no matter where we are on this journey. What is the most valuable piece of advice that you have received through out your writing career that you would like to pass along to other authors out there?

The most valuable advice came to me from the editor, Alicia Condon. I was writing Intimate Moments for Silhouette. The trend at the time was humor. Writers were turning out very funny books. While I like to think that I have a funny line of dialog every now and then. I knew this wasn't my forte. I was writing about characters in strife! Worried that my books would be lost in the comic shuffle, I consulted Alicia about it. She said, "Keep doing what you do. It's what drew readers to you in the first place." So I've kept doing what I do. I've written historicals, contemporaries, thrillers, and something as different as RAINWATER, but with each book, I've tried to remain true to my "voice." A big mistake for a writer would be to follow a trend just for the sake of following it.

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

I enjoy most the storytelling process. My favorite day is one in which I can separate myself from the real world and spend hours of uninterrupted time with my characters. I love the make-believe! When I was a kid, my friends and I would say, "Play like..." And then fill in he blank. As a fiction writer I get to "play like" every day. What I like the least is having to deal with the business. It's a necessary evil, and I'm grateful that I have business to deal with! But it's not nearly as much fun as lying and playing God.

Every author that I have spoken to has their own writing process. Some spend weeks working on character building charts. Some use post it notes to plot their entire book. Others pull pictures from magazines and make a story board of sorts. Whats your writing process and how long would you say it takes when a new idea is sparked from sketching out the details to getting to THE END?

I start with an idea. I hasten to say that some ideas don't want to be books. Those ideas just sit there and go nowhere. For their lack of cooperation, I've had to cast aside some great ideas!

But when one starts to expand in my mind, I add to it, subtract from it, massage it, turn it this way and that. It's sort of like a combination lock: when all the tumblers are in place, it opens. that's what I call the "ah-ha" moment. That's when all the elements of the idea become a story. Up to that point, I've been taking handwritten notes. After the ah-ha moment, I go to the keyboard.

I don't do detailed character sketches because I don't know the characters yet. I have a rough idea of what each is like, what his or her goals are, and why it's going to be difficult for them to achieve those goals. But I prefer putting them inside the story, and letting them gradually introduce themselves to me--their strengths, weaknesses, traits, insecurities. I don't "cast" them like actors in a movie. I don't create them, so much as summon them. I feel like they are already there in my subconscious, waiting on me to find them. (You talk like this long enough and people think you're certifiable!)

At this stage, I also write a bullet point synopsis of the story, so that I (and my publisher) know basically what it's about and where it's ging. Again, I don't want to know every scene, because I like going to work everyday and waiting to see what will happen. Some of the best plot twists in my books weren't in the original synopsis.

After getting input from my editor on this outline (for lack of a better word), I write the first draft. I get the story on paper, so that it becomes official. This draft takes several months to write. When it's finished, I send it to my editor (usually with a heartfelt apology for how awful it is) and upon getting notes, I write a second draft.

This is the crafting draft, and it's as important as the first one, maybe more so. I rewrite just about every sentence, every word. I milk each scene for all it's worth. I check to see if all the scenes are engaged. Does that scene move the story along. or is it self-indulgent? Is it boring? Are the characters behaving realistically? This draft takes another several months.

The third draft is to check for pacing and make sure all the holes have been plugged. then the fourth draft is a read through--just in case I've missed something during the first three.

All of this takes a year.

Mrs. Brown, you have an amazing back list, one that I hope to have one day. Out of all of your books, which one would you say is your favorite?

I rarely answer this question, but I will tell you the ones that stand out in memory for one reason or another.

SLOW HEAT IN HEAVEN, because it was my "crossover" book. And I loved Cash Boudreaux
. The story was built around him.

THE TEXAS! Trilogy: LUCKY, CHASE, and SAGE., because they were such charming chracters, and I loved the time I spent with them. they were fascinating to watch. This was one of those instances when characters stepped into the spotlight inside my head and said, "Write about us."

ENVY because it's about a writer. it was one of the rare plots that came to me full-blown. All the elements were there in one afternoon. It was a writing challenge to weave the two storylines together, and I enjoyed that. I also loved the setting.

RAINWATER This story, these characters demanded that I write them. I had no choice. I simply loved them and everything about this book.

If you were a book, what your back cover blurb be?

Born in a small town in central Texas, Sandra Brown, enjoyed a happy childhood. She was a daydreamer and chronic reader. Her imagination was fed by books filled with romance, adventure, and mystery. But was imagination enough to see her dreams fulfilled? Bolstered by her one true love, Michael, she embarked on the adventure of her life. Armed with determination and a desire to tell stories, she reached toward a distant goal, only to discover that attaining one star opens up the pathway to many more - each littered with obstacles.

Wow! (tear, sniffle, tear) Mrs. Brown, I want to thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. It has been a great honor to have you here at Micole Writes Romance. I would also like to thank my friend Sarah Simas from The Lovestruck Novice blog, who so graciously let me borrow that back cover blurb question. ;-)

This interview a teaser. If you would like to find out more information about New York Times Bestselling Author, Sandra Brown you can find her on the web at

Thanks for stopping by. We love to hear comments and questions. See you next time friends.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spotlight Author with Karin Harlow

Can you believe how quickly summer is approaching? It seems I have only blinked my way into the middle of May! Too crazy! I'm so excited to introduce to you a new author Karin Harlow! She is here today to share with us her debut paranormal romantic suspense novel ENEMY LOVER. With that I am going to let you take the floor Karin and tell us all about your exciting new series.

First I'd like to thank you, Micole for inviting me! ENEMY LOVER my debut paranormal romantic suspense, releases May 25th! it's book one in my L.O.S.T., last Option Special Team, series. I could not be more excited. here's a quick blurb:

It's Jax Cassidy's first mission for L.O.S.T.--one that will give the former cop who went rogue a chance to prove herself. her assignment: gain the trust of assassin Marcus Cross... eliminate him... then take down Marcus's mentor, Joseph Lazarus, a man with a bold eye on the White House. But the woman who's known by her team for being femme fatale succumbs to passion, only to discover Cross's deadly secret. he's a vampire, and Joseph Lazarus is his creator.

Left for dead by his platoon in violent hills of Afghanistan, special ops sniper Marcus Cross was given a second chance at life. his newly heightened skills make him the perfect killing machine, and as Lazarus's right hand man, he's quickly rising to the top of his dark empire, purging enemies with speed and precision. Only when dangerous beauty Jax Cassidy is sent to bring him in does he begin to question Lazarus's motives and his own actions. But when Jax's life is threatened by the one thing that can destroy them both, Marcus must make a better choice--her death or his.

How's that for temptation??? I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy of this book! I didn't want the blurb to end! What can Karin Harlow fans look forward to this year?

The May 25th release of ENEMY LOVER!

Can you tell us what you are working on now or is it top S.E.C.R.E.T?

Book two of the L.O.S.T. series. No title yet, but my L.O.S.T. hero Nikko Cruz heads down to Miami and the sultry club scene in search of a notorious black widow whose latest victim was the son of a prominent Police Chief. turns out Nikko gets more than he bargained for, the black widow is a demon hunter with her own agenda that focuses solely on revenge.

I love that name Nikko. I have it on my "hero names list" just waiting to have his story told! ;-0 This story sounds just as enticing as ENEMY LOVER. Can't wait to see this one either.

If you had to pick one character in your books, who would be your favorite? And why. or if you don't have a favorite... which one do you connect with the most? And why?

I love Jax Cassidy in ENEMY LOVER, she is the woman I would love to be but am not brave enough to be. If I had to describe her in one word it would be: amazing. the other aspect of Jax, is she brings the very dark and very dangerous vampire, Marcus Cross to his knees.

What would you say makes your writing unique?

I write it like it is. I never make excuses for my characters. In ENEMY LOVER Jax is on her way to prison for premeditated murder. Not attempted murder, not second-degree murder, not, ops,-I didn't-mean-to-kill-him murder. She is a bad ass cop who crosses the line. Read ENEMY LOVER to find out why. ;-)

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

Panster. But, before I begin a story I must know who my protagonists are, what they want, how far they will go to get it and the same for the villian.

How long was your road to publication?

It took me 3 years and 3 or 4 manuscripts to sell.

Any advice for aspiring authors?

Write, write, write some more, hone your craft and do not, under any circumstances give up!!

Do you have any tricks of the trade you are willing to share with us?

I'm a pretty basic writer. I sit down every day and write. I don't have any special procedures or books I've read for light bulb moments. I've always been a trial and error kind of girl. it takes me longer but once I get it, I get it.

What has been your biggest fear that you have had to overcome as a writer?

That my writing is too lean. While I can tell a good story, and my characterization is solid, I'm a succinct writer, and sometimes I worry that I'm too succinct. But it's my voice and when I try to mess with it, it ain't purdy.

What do you do when you get stuck?

I throw a plot wrench none of us, me or my characters, saw coming. It messes things right up and calls all characters to action!

How do you deal with criticism?

I'm thick skinned and water-tight. We we're all entitled to our opinions and I don't begrudge anyone theirs. the only person whose criticism of my stories that matters to me is my editor's. If she no likely, then we work it out. I trust her implicitly.

Now just for fun...

Fast Five

If you were on a deserted island, what is one thing you couldn't live without and why?

Fresh water. Coz without it I would die. ;-)

Favorite Book Ever-

The Wolf and the Dove

Cowboy or Businessman-

A cowboy in Versace.

Bright Sunny Day or Cozy moonlit Night-


TV Show that may not be your favorite, but it stops you in your tracks and you can't walk away from it when it's on-

ugh- that train wreck called Wives of the OC!

Thank Karin for stopping by the Micole Writes Romance blog. I wish you much success on the release of your book ENEMY LOVER!!! Congratulations!

Thank you again, Micole for having me!

It has been a pleasure! I would love to have you back when the next one releases! But for now... you can find Karin's books most any place that sells books!!! Or you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. She's also giving away L.O.S.T. goodies i.e really cool mugs, bookmarks and every once awhile L.O.S.T sleeveless tees!!! You read it right! Make sure to go and check all of it out! See you next time friends.



Thursday, May 13, 2010

UNTIL HE MET RACHEL by Debra Salonen

UNTIL HE MET RACHEL is the latest, Harlequin Superromance release from my friend, Debra Salonen. You might remember her February 9th, blog interview. Well now she's back to celebrate the release! Here's a little refresher for all of our busy brains.

Accountant Rachel Grey moves to Sentinel Pass to start a web-design business after the breakup of her marriage. She meets local artist Rufus Miller, a man she's determined to work for. After she convinces Rufus to let her build his website, she realizes that Rufus' reluctance to share himself with his patrons is because he's hiding a big secret -- his former identity as a famous underwear model, R.J. Miline. Salonen's characters are likable, quirky and well drawn, and the tale will delight readers with its sparkling dialogue. The plot is given depth by the seriousness of Rufus' reason for withdrawing from society.
-Alexandra Kay, Romantic Times review (4.5 stars)

Sounds great! Can't wait to get my hands on this one. Make sure to look for UNTIL HE MET RACHEL in all of your local bookstores or anywhere you can find Harlequin Superromance books. Also 2 lucky readers will get their choice of one title from her "Spotlight on Sentenel Pass" back list. Yes, you read it right. You can win here for free! I love it!!!

If you'd like to find Debra on the web here's where you need to go.

Good luck readers! Remember to leave a comment for Debra!



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spotlight Author with Katherine Garbera

Hello friends. I am back with another great author, Katherin Garbera and she is here to share with us her latest release HIS ROYAL PRIZE. Due out this month. She has so much to share with us, so let's not waste any more time.

Katherine, give us all of the details on your latest release HIS ROYAL PRIZE.

HIS ROYAL PRIZE is the last book in my Devonshire Heirs series. Three illegitimate brothers are born into scandal and their billionaire father who has never been in their lives finally calls them all together but not to meet them instead he gives them a challenge if they want to inherit his company they will have to prove they are the most successful heir.

Geoff Devonshire's mother is a minor royal and Geoff has grown up in a world of wealth and privilege. His family has been careful to stay out of the spotlight after the unwanted paparazzi attention that Geoff's birth generated caused his mother to become a recluse. Now that he's being seen with the other Devonshire Bastards the press is interested in him again. His father is adamant that Geoff and the other heirs keep themselves out of the tabloid press, which should be a walk in the park for Geoff except he meets Amelia Munroe.

Amelia seems to generate scandal with everything she does. Years earlier a racy Internet video sealed her fate as a bad-girl heiress and she has learned to use that image for her own means to help promote causes and generate money.

Geoff and Amelia have a hot affair but outside influences keep them off balance and make each of them question if they should be together!

What do Katherine Garbera fans have to look forward to in 2010?

In 2010 I released five titles, the first two have already been out... MASTER OF FORTUNE & SCANDALIZING THE CEO. Then it's HIS ROYAL PRIZE in May, THE CEOs SUMMER SEDUCTION in June, THE PIRATE in July.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a new series for desires called Miami Nights. It's about three brothers who own the most popular nightclub in Miami and the woman they fall in love with.

If you had to pick a character in your books, who would be your favorite? And why? Or if you don't want to pick a favorite... which one do you connect with the most? And why?

My favorite Desire heroine is Kara in THE SPANISH ARISTOCRAT'S WOMAN, she is a big girl and unashamed of it. She looks at the world like she owns it and I love that. I love how comfortable she is in her own body.

My favorite Brava heroine is Daphne... she's the heroine in this summer's release THE PIRATE. Daphne is divorced and never expected to be. For the first time since she can remember she's all alone for the summer since her teen aged sons are with their dad and Daphne is struggling to figure out who she is if she's not a wife and mother.

My favorite Desire hero is Geoff Devonshire. I really like the way he balances his family obligation and still remains a bad boy.

My favorite Brava hero is JP because he's freshest in my mind to be honest I love them all. I try to create heroes who are tough on the outside and able to handle anything life throws at them and JP is just like that. But he doesn't count on Daphne or falling in love with her in the middle of a crisis!

How long was your road to publication?

Three years and three manuscripts! I started writing in 1993 and sold my first book in March 1996.

How many books do you have under your writing belt?

My 50th published title will be THE CEOs SUMMER SEDUCTION for Silhouette Desire.

Do you have any advice or writing secrets for aspiring authors?

Yes keep writing. Don't give up because you hear news or that what yo love to write is no longer in vogue. And read, you can't write in a vacuum.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

The happy ending. I love how you can take two people who on the surface look like they won't belong together and get to the heart of who they are to find out that they are soul mates.

Now tell us a little bit about Katherine Garbera. Who are you? What do you do when you're not writing hunky heroes and romantic love stories?

I'm a mom to two very cool teenagers who keep me on my toes. I'm engaged to the man who is the love of my life and my true soul mate. I love to read and travel and cook. And I can spend hours just sitting around laughing and talking and drinking wine!

Any other events or appearances coming up?

I will be in NJRW in October. I have a book signing in Hurst, TX in May... probably the best place for that information is at my website and then click on appearances.

Thank you Katherine, for stopping by Micole Writes Romance and sharing your story and books with all of us.

Thank you so much for asking me to stop by Micole!

You can find Katherine's books at,,

Hope you all will stop by next week when we have yet another great author in the seat! Until next time friends.



Thursday, May 6, 2010

SWEETEST LITTLE SIN by Christine Wells

Many of you are no stranger to Christine Wells and her seductive historical romances. May 4th, 2010 marks the day that her latest release, SWEETEST LITTLE SIN hits the shelves of book stores everywhere. Until her fans can get their hot little hands on it, how about I give you a little teaser of the book?

SWEETEST LITTLE SIN stars two secondary characters from her earlier historical romance, THE DANGEROUS DUKE. So many readers wrote begging for their story that she simply had to write it.

Still looking for a the teaser?

A Marquis' Betrayal
Lady Louisa Brooke has many suitors, but the one man for her is the wild and ruthless Marquis of Jardine. When Jardine suddenly abandons her after a long-standing liasion, he leaves her with nothing except the secret they share. Her future in ruins, Louisa recklessly accepts a mission from the head of the secret service and becomes embroiled in a perilous operation in which nothing is as it seems...

A Lady's Revenge
The Marquis of Jardine is determined to destroy the criminal mastermind who's sworn vengeance against all he holds dear. But when he hears that Louisa is to wed a dangerous enemy, Jardine is tortured by jealousy and fear for her safety. he tracks her down, only to discover that her mission collides with his.

A Love that Won't Be Denied
Together, Louisa and Jardine must now foil a plan to betray the secret service and escape a diabolical revenge. But can they put the past behind them, and take the greatest risk of all--on love?

If that wasn't enough to wet your whistle click on the link below to Read an excerpt.

FYI... Romantic Times Magazine awarded SWEETEST LITTLE SIN a 4.5 star Top Pick and called it a 'clever, pulse-pounding spy thriller'.

Make sure to hit your local bookstores and pick up Christine's Book. Until next time friends.

Hugs to you!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spotlight Author with Gabi Stevens

Welcome back! This week I am spotlighting Gabi Stevens. Her latest release THE WISH LIST can be found from Tor Books in May 2010. So Gabi, tell us a little bit about THE WISH LIST.

When Kristin Montgomery discovers her three aunts are actually fairy godmothers, her orderly world disappears like magic. No, not like magic; it is magic. Not only does she have to deal with burgeoning powers, she also uncovers a threat to the balance of the Arcani and Groundling worlds. Only by trusting her heart and her instincts can she keep herself and the ones she loves out of danger. THE WISH LIST is a lighter paranormal set in San Diego.

What do Gabi Stevens fans have to look forward to in 2010?

First, I will be at RomCon in Denver in July, and then I will be at the RWA National Conference in Nashville later in July. I have an essay in a book on GLEE in the fall, and then next year, April 2011, book two in the Time of Transition series, SPELLBOUND, comes out. It continues the story started in THE WISH LIST.

You write both Paranormal and Historical romance, two very different genres. How do you juggle them both? And do you find it hard to switch from one genre to the other when starting a new book?

I have always had many, many stories running around in my head (Still do). My two favorites genres in romance are paranormal and historical. The feel of the two genres can be very different, and for whatever reason, I don’t find it hard to separate the two. Now, add in the day job, being a mom, and everyday life…that’s the real juggling act.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Matching the vision in my head with the words on the paper is by far the hardest part for me. One thing I believe is important for writers to accept is that the words will never convey your story with one hundred percent accuracy. That doesn’t mean we don’t try, but a writer can get caught up in making things perfect and never finish anything or be so disappointed in a story she will never submit it. I sometimes spend hours trying to express just the right emotion or finding just the right word.

How long was your road to publication?

My first published book was the first book I ever wrote, but (and this is a big but--I should insert a joke here, but I think they’ve all been made) seven years elapsed between finishing the first book and publication. I made so many errors in that first book, but I liked the story. Essentially it was rewritten, not just revised, three times.

What steps did you take to make your dreams come true?

I made writing a priority in my life. My children, even when they were small, knew I was a writer. I took the time to write. I didn’t always have a spotless house, nor was every meal home-cooked, but I did carve out time for writing and took it seriously. I joined writers’ groups and made it a goal to be published.

What’s one thing that you know now that you wished you knew when you started your journey as a writer?

The writing road is not smooth. Many, many heartaches exist along the way and sometimes you have to be stronger than you believe you can be.

Do you have any advice or writing secrets for aspiring authors?

Read. Write. Then do both some more. And never, never give up. My first agent told me three things can make an author successful: talent, luck and persistence. An author only needs two of those three things, but one must be persistence.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I hope to be releasing at least two books a year, possibly three. I would love to write in both paranormal and historical. But I definitely see myself writing (did you read my answer about never giving up?). Oh, and traveling more. Fodder for books, doncha know?

What are you reading right now? If nothing at the moment then what do you like to read when you have time?

I am always reading. I consider myself a reading addict. There have been times when I had nothing to read in the house, so I turned to my husband’s engineering journals. In addition, I teach literature to eighth graders. So at this moment I’m reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, just finished Jodi Thomas’s Texas Princess, currently reading Leanna Renee Hieber’s The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, and I have Sense and Sensibility and Sea Serpents lined up next.

Thanks Gabi for stopping by Micole Writes Romance. It’s been great having you here. You can find Gabi Steven’s books at or at, or at a bookstore near you.

I hope you enjoyed this installment of Micole Writes Romance. If you have any questions or comments please make sure to leave them for us. We love to hear from you!!!! see you next time!!!



Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spotlight Author with Bonnie Hearn Hill

My faithful readers will remember today's guest from a few weeks ago. She was my very first attempt at promo!!! When her name and book covers graced the pages of my blog she was introducing to us her latest ARIES RISING in her Star Crossed series. Now she returns for an interview as well as an introduction to the second book in the series TAURUS EYES. Please welcome Bonnie Hearn Hill.

Hello Bonnie. Please let's not waste any more time. Tell us about TAURUS EYES.

It's the second in the Star Crossed series. At a Monterey summer writing camp led by a famous writer, Logan meets Jeremy, the guy of her dreams. But Jeremy is only interested in the ghost of Sean Baylor, whom the instructor has asked Logan to write about. Baylor, a dead rock star, may be haunting the seaside town. Logan has only her knowledge of astrology to help her solve the mystery.

I'm very close to this novel, which is a love story, and ultimately, I think about learning to let go.

What do Bonnie Hearn Hill fans have to look forward to in 2010?

Three novels--woo hoo. All three star Crossed books will be out this year. GEMINI NIGHT publishes in August.

What are you working on now?

I am playing around with a new idea. I've also done some co-authoring of nonfiction books.

You have recently taken a jump from Thrillers to Young Adult. How has the crossover of genres been for you? In writing and publishing aspect?

I've written several genres, including short fiction and nonfiction. I love YA. Not that i didn't love thrillers. Because I want to write character-driven fiction, the process is basically the same. Writing a single, first-person point of view after writing large thrillers has been a challenge, though. I think it's forced me to get really tight and focused with my writing.

You know, I never think I'm writing for teens.I just think about the characters, and the words pour out. Part of the joy is including astrology, which I learned about right along with my character. My best friend is Cosmopolitan astrologer Hazel Dixon-Cooper. She's in my critique group and has been extremely generous with her input.

Some writers sat that they have a story that has to be told others say that the characters come to them and demand that their story be told... how does it work for you?

Both ways. In this case the astrology came to me first, and I went looking for a character to tell the story. I just let Logan write me a letter.

With INTERN, my first thriller, my character, the political intern, needed to tell her story. She came to me when my husband and I were taking Amtrak back from San Francisco. i thought I smelled cigarette smoke and became ill. Somehow I was able to scribble down her words. Later, I asked my husband if he had smelled the smoke, and he said, "I don't know. I think I smelled it because you smelled it."

Another time, I knew I wanted to write about a slave after the end of the Civil War, but I didn't hear her voice until I was taking a bubble bath. I dripped bubbles all over the floor.

Bonnie, as an aspiring romance writer I am always looking for a good piece of advice or that secret that may help get me into that "published" group. Do you have any advice or writing secrets for me or other aspiring authors?

That is a great question, and I spent 23 years (after writing my first novel) looking for an answer. You are probably not that far away from the group. Craft is major. Ask yourself if your story has a hook. Is it a specific genre, not a hybrid, and does it have a high concept? Most people stop right there. The next step is to be sure you are showing and not telling. Are there well-developed scenes with goal, opposition, action, dialogue, conflict, resolution?

Most beginning writers fear conflict. They don't realize that it is just "I want A, and you want B."

If you follow the three-act structure, you need a major act every 25 percent of the book--at the end of Act I, in the middle of Act II, and at the end of Act III. the remaining 25 percent (Act III) is pretty much climax and resolution. There, I'll bet that's more than you wanted to know;-)

Does writing ever get any easier?

Great question. Someone compared it to riding a bicycle up the mountain, and I think that's a good comparison. Riding up the mountains tough, but i remind myself I've done it before, and that after I reach the top of that mountain, it's going to be a great ride down. With hat said, I do want to add that some books come easier than others.

When you were a guest speaker at my local romance writer's chapter, Yosemite Romance Writers you spoke highly of your weekly critique group. How do you know when your critique group is right for you?

They were all students at one time, so they were trained by me. Each one brings something different to the mix. Aries Christopher Allen Poe is brilliant, and I think it's fair to say no one critiques fiction as well as he does. Foe instance, in TAURUS EYES, I wrote a kissing scene in Chapter 4. Chris shook his head and said, "Bon, if you put that there, they will be in bed in Chapter 5."

He was right. I put the scene in the Word Spa and brought it out when the kids were going to be separated for a time.

Hazel Dixon-Cooper, as I mentioned, is wonderful with astrology input. Like every good Pisces, she's also well read in the paranormal field and can tell when something is a paranormal cliche. She's funny as hell, which always helps in an intense group, and she's very honest about her own challenges, which makes it easy for us to be honest too.

Dennis C. Lewis is an Aquarius psychologist. We'll all be on Page 6, and he'll say. "Ah, back here on page 2, you said this, but a paragraph before that you said..." And, you know, he is always right.

Genevieve Hinson is the newest member of our group. She's a social media genius who has helped me with promotion, and she's writing a killer young adult book. We worked together at the newspaper and are extremely close. Her comments are thoughtful, helpful and supportive.

I think that's most important. You have to love the people in your critique group, and they have to love you. I've been in other groups years ago that actually hindered my writing. that's because most groups are run by the strongest personality, and the strongest personality may not have the best agenda or the most knowledge.

This group brings out the best in me, and that's how you know if a group works. What does it bring out in you?

In your last answer you mention something that sparked my interest... What's a "Word Spa?"

In my private critique group, we have what they call Bonnie-isms for certain terms. Here are a few.

CINDERELLA GOES TO THE BALL: Not enough conflict in a scene. Protagonist achieves goal to easily.

ROBINSON CRUSOE SYNDROME: One character alone and thinking about his life. Again, no conflict.

STAGE BUSINESS: Smiled, shrugged, frowned, etc. Meaningless actions the author inserts only because she knows there needs to be action but not because they are organic to the character or the conflict.

THE OLD WORDS HOME: Where we send old-fashioned and/or out of place language. Located just past my backyard, it's a place where these words are cared for and live out their days in comfort.

THE WORD SPA: You write a brilliant description in the middle of a fast-moving scene. you write a love scene or an action scene too soon in the story. Simply copy it and send it to the Word Spa (located across from The Old Words Home). your brilliant writing will relax and hang out in comfort until it's time for you to retrieve it for this story or the next one. (I actually have a file on my computer labeled "Word Spa.")

I love it!!! Thank you, I will be refering back to this part for future reference!:-)

When you aren't writing Thrillers or Young Adult novels, what do you do in your spare time?

Writing is all I've ever wanted to do, and it takes up much of my life, thank goodness. Most of my friends are writers, and all of them totally support my work. I recently connected with Jeani Tokomoto, who was my first girlfriend. We met in kindergarten.

I also teach writing and speak at conferences. My husband Larry is a gifted artist and writer. I'm interested in health/fitness, a supporter of literacy causes and Cat House on the Kings.

Any other events or appearances coming up?

Bouchercon--this fall in San Francisco. I can't wait. It will be my version of a vacation. I also will read a story, "BLACK MOON LILITH," on KVPR's Valley Writers read. I was one of the first six readers, and the first woman, when the show made its debut in the 1980s.

Bonnie, I am so glad you were able to come back and visit with us here at Micole Writes Romance. It has been a pleasure getting to kn ow more about you, your writing style, and your books. I wish you much success with the release of TAURUS EYES. I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the book. Readers you can find Bonnie's books at Barnes and Noble, Borders, or Amazon.

Thanks for letting me drop by, and please keep writing. That's what gets you published. I am only where I a because I refused to give up.

Thank you. I will remember that!;-) See you next week friends when we will have another author in the Spotlight!