Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Storyboarding with Vanessa Kelly

Summer has started and the kids are out of school. I thought I would share Vanessa Kelly’s Storyboarding technique with all of you. Just a little something to help get your motor running if summer time has you distracted from your writing.

Vanessa Kelly on Storyboarding…

Before I begin plotting, I usually spend several weeks doing research for the book and brainstorming with my critique partner. When the story ideas start to come together in my head, I then start on my plot board. It's divided into two rows horizontally across the middle. Then I break it down into scene or chapters. It can be either one - just something that is a finite scene or piece of action in the book. For each scene I have four stickies, which I layer one on top of the other, moving scenes horizontally across the board. For each scene I have:
1. a yellow sticky, which states where the scene is located and what the main action of the scene is.
2. a pink sticky, which sets out in one or two sentences the heroine's goal for the scene, or her emotional arc or issue for that scene.
3. a blue sticky, with the hero's goal for the scene, or his emotional arc or issue.
4. a purple sticky, which is my goal for the scene, i.e. First Meet, First Sex Scene, Turning Point, Advance Sub-plot, etc... Obviously, if the heroine or hero isn't in the scene, I don't include that sticky.

I try not to over think it, pushing myself to work quickly so I can get some kind of flow. And I don't stress. The beauty of working with stickies is that you can rewrite or change them, even shuffle them, any time. I'm always rewriting stickies as I go along, getting different ideas or refining the characters' goals. And by forcing myself to reduce things to one or two sentences, I can really home in on goals and motivations. It's a great brainstorming exercise, and can be a lot of fun if you just let it rip.

It only takes me a day or so to do it. It's a focused brainstorming exercise more than anything else, and your plot will change - often quite a bit - once you start writing. But it's a good safety net, and I can also write a synopsis based on the plot board before I even start the book.

Here is a picture to give you a visual.

This was very exciting for me to see. Hope it helps all of you as well. Thank you for stopping in.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spotlight Author with Caris Roane

Good morning friends, I have another great author here with me today, Caris Roane.

Micole, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. And I especially want to welcome my Goodreads and Facebook fans who have responded to my event invitations. So, please, those of you who are familiar with my Guardians of Ascension series, feel free to make comments and ask questions! I’d love to talk about all of the upcoming books...without, of course, giving away too many spoilers!

Tell us about you and your books.

Well, I’ve been out of my mind for paranormal romance for a long time now. And though I’d written Regency romance as Valerie King, after reading the first few novels of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, I knew I had to write my own series based on hunky warrior vampires.

What are you working on now?

Right now, my vampire series, Guardians of Ascension, takes up all of my time. The first two books have been released: ASCENSION and BURNING SKIES. The third book, WINGS OF FIRE, releases in September and the fourth, BORN OF ASHES, in January of next year…which means, I’m working on the fifth book, OBSIDIAN FLAME! It’s been an absolute blast to write and for those who are following the series, the fourth book belongs to Warrior Jean-Pierre and the fifth, to our beloved Thorne, the leader of the Warriors of the Blood.

How long did it take for you to get the call?

After submitting for the first time (though that submission was my second completed manuscript of many moons ago), I got the call within the first year from Kensington who then published all my Regency romance work for years afterward. It was a great relationship and a wonderful ride!

Maybe that seems fast or fortuitous, but the reality was that I had been writing for a good long while before that sale. I’d say the whole process of selling the first book took me about 9 years and two babies to complete. A good part of that time was spent experimenting as well as trying to determine if this was the right path for me

When you are writing, what is your process? Plotter or Panster?

I confess I’m a weird combination of both. I’ll do some plotting then the pantser part of me has to have a field day and take over, then I rework my plot, then let it go so that my brain can play, then back to plotting. What’s even weirder…about a third of the way through the process of understanding what my book is about I absolutely have to know how the story ends, from the climax all the way through to the resolution chapters. And yet even with all that said, I also work hard to structure my stories around the hero’s journey.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

My favorite thing about writing romance is the romance. It’s watching two people find each other, not just in the first pages, but really find each other all the way through the story, discover each other, know each other, truly fall in love…then of course have a Happily-Ever-After!

What do you do when you are not writing?

That tends to change. Right now I’m stuck on watching Divine Design, Design Inc., and Sarah’s Summer House. And I know there are many of you out there who know exactly what I’m talking about. For those who don’t, these are interior design shows and I’m addicted! Go figure!

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

I think the best advice I can give is to really feel passionate about your subject. You’ll enjoy what you write and all that enjoyment will automatically translate through your words and straight to the reader’s heart.

Where can we learn more about you and your books?

I can be found at my website,, I’m on Facebook as well under Caris Roane, and you can contact me personally at

Thank you for being a guest here on Micole Writes Romance.

Thank you, Micole. It’s been great being with you today!
Blessings, Caris

Make sure to comment and tell Caris what you think of her books or ask her a question. She is giving away two signed copies, one of ASCENCION and one of BURNING. See everyone next week when I will be talking about storyboarding.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spotlight Author with Alexa Bourne

Alexa Bourne is my guest today. She is a pre-published author who loves to help teach other writers the things she has learned along her journey to becoming published. I had the opportunity to take her class KILLER OPENINGS a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it. She is a great teacher and has a lot of knowledge and support to give to all of you writers out there! So here she is to share a little bit about herself, her writing, and her life with us.

Tell us a little about the classes you teach and why you decided to share your knowledge with other writers.

Actually, a couple of writer friends suggested I look into teaching online classes. I’m a teacher in my day job and those friends thought I might be interested in and good at teaching online classes. (Turns out I DO love it!)

Shortly after those conversations, I saw a request for class proposals and decided to explore what I might be able to teach. As I put the first proposal together, I started getting excited and started looking into other class ideas.

At the moment, I have 3 classes that I teach: Killer Openings (about the importance of the 1st line, 1st paragraph & 1st page), Contests: The Basics, and Finished That Manuscript…Now What? (about what the next steps should be once a writer finishes a manuscript). I taught Killer Openings for the first time in April and had a blast. I’ll be teaching Contests: The Basics next month through Hearts Through History. Here’s the blurb:
With so many writing contests out there and so many details to consider, it’s easy for a writer to be overwhelmed! Contests: The Basics will take students through the contest process, step-by-step---from choosing a contest, to preparing the entry, from dealing with the emotional aspects of “contesting” to deciphering the results. Students will leave class with a better understanding of the process and with a list of resources for making the most out of their contest experiences.

When you are writing, what is your process? Plotter or Panster?

Pantser, all the way. I get a scene idea and I run with it. I write a really, really, REALLY rough manuscript draft in one month. (After completing NaNoWriMo, I found I really enjoy that process.) This is where I learn about my characters and the plot ideas. I write the rough draft on paper, too. (I know, I’m one of the few!) After the rough draft, I go back and organize my plot and my characters’ GMCs. Then comes the next draft, which happens a bit more on computer. I usually go through 4-6 drafts. The last draft is actually me reading the entire book out loud. I find I can pick up missed words, misspellings, and awkward phrasing that way. Then once the manuscript is submitted, I spend 24 hours celebrating- watching a movie, shopping, having a margarita!- and then I get busy with the next story.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

I’m a sucker for a happy ending! I love watching two people who want nothing to do with each other learn to trust each other and fall in love. I love writing flawed characters that grab the readers from the first page. I figure there’s enough violence in the real world so I make sure justice is done and the hero and heroine are stronger together by the end of my manuscripts.
What is the hardest part about your job?

I write mostly romantic suspense, so the hardest part for me is achieving a balance between the romance and the suspense. Also, making sure all the suspense elements are logical, flow and are wrapped up by the end of the book.
What type of hero do you find irresistible?

Hot ones! LOL! Flawed, rough around the edges heroes. I like the ones whose words may be rough, but their actions are sweet and tender. For example, my current hero snaps at my heroine, but then she sees him gently playing with a puppy.

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

Don’t give up! You’ll never succeed if you quit!
For newer authors, finish your first manuscript before moving on. It’s so important to write THE END. For everyone, know when to say when. We could all keep revising the same chapter, partial, manuscript over and over, but there comes a point where you’ve got to let it go and start something new.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to be published! LOL! I’m working on building my own tutoring/editing/critiquing business, so I hope that is up and running well enough that I can stop teaching full-time. Other than that I really have no idea.

Where can we learn more about you, your writing, and your classes?

I have a website- There you can find out more about me, my manuscripts, and the classes I’ll be teaching. I also have a blog that I post to pretty regularly- And I’m on Facebook!

Thank you so much, Micole, for having me!

It was my pleasure Alexa. Good luck with your classes as well as your journey to publishing.

See you back here next week.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spotlight Author with Kaily Hart

Kaily Hart is my guest today and boy is she an author on the move. Let’s see what she has to share with us today. Welcome Kaily, can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?

My most recent book is PLAY ME. The official blurb reads:

Lily Hamilton had her quiet, predictable life all mapped out, including a hot-shot attorney for a fiancé. That is until she catches him screwing around and takes off in his prized Mercedes, for once not giving a damn where she’s headed. How clichéd is that?

Gabriel Jackson is raw and disillusioned. Driving a tow truck is a far cry from the dangerous career he turned his back on, but when he finds the classy blonde in a dangerous part of LA, he’s immediately back in the role of protector.

Lily is hot and sweet and so out of his league it’s not funny, yet Gabe can’t deny the sizzling heat between them. He thinks he wants hard, fast and rough—until he gets his hands on her. He knows he should stay the hell away, but Lily makes him feel, really feel, for the first time in two years. Is she just slumming or can she see beyond the harsh, broken façade to the man beneath? A man who dreams of making her his?

I loved writing PLAY ME. Gabe is rough and tough, but he’s been impacted by what’s happened in his past. He doesn’t realize it but he needs Lily in a way he would never have imagined. Sigh…

What are you working on now?

Gosh, what am I NOT working on LOL? Generally, I work on a ‘primary’ book and will often get ideas along the way that I’ll quickly capture and then move on back to the main book. One story is usually stronger and talks to me more. It tends to be the dominant story. Unfortunately, this time I had two stories that seemed to want to be told. At once and really bad!! So, I’m working on 2 books that I’ll finish up within the next couple of weeks. They are both contemporary romances. Hot and steamy ones, of course! I’m also outlining a paranormal book and working on a longer, full length contemporary story. Busy, busy, busy!

What is your writing process? Plotter or Panster?

Well, I’m a bit hard to classify I think. For longer stories, I do a lot of character preparation. I usually create what I call a ‘character map’. It’s a very detailed spreadsheet on the hero and heroine. By the end of that I know them so well, I can throw them into any situation and know how they’ll act. I also have a rough outline when I start and know the main scenes. Sort of LOL. But what happens between those? I figure the detail out when I write. I like some surprises along the way J.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

I think it’s the feel good nature of it. It might be tortuous to get there, but there’s a happy ending – good triumphs over evil and love conquers all! Nothing wrong with that, right?

What is the hardest part about your job?

Trying to figure out a way to write all the stories in my head faster! My ideas file is bulging.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

OMG, I just love an alpha hero, the rougher around the edges the better. By alpha I mean strong with a core of honor, protective to the point of sacrifice and a guy who will only let his special woman see how vulnerable he can be to her. Sigh…

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

I wish I had writing secrets to share! The best advice I can give is to write. Write and finish a book. Write another one. Only 3% of people that start out to write a book actually finish it. If you’ve done that you’ve already reached a huge milestone! The next big hurdle is getting it out there. Fear of rejection probably keeps some of those books under wraps. You can’t get published unless you put yourself and your work out there. Every authors that’s published got rejected, probably in some form or another. You have to believe and persevere!

When you aren’t writing steaming hot romances what do you do in your spare time?

Thinking about writing steaming hot romances? LOL. Seriously, I am. I plot a LOT. Probably when I shouldn’t be - like when I’m driving. I love to turn my books over in my mind and I’ve been known to jot ideas down on just about anything because the good ones always come when it’s least convenient. Recently I didn’t have a piece of paper with me so I ended up writing down a line of dialogue on a used snow cone cup that was in the car from a birthday party the day before, sticky raspberry residue and all! When I’m not thinking about writing, I’m usually rounding up my 4 kids. Or tying to J.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Still writing! My goal is to make writing a career and to be successful doing it. I don’t necessary have tangible goals in mind but simply I’d like to continue to write books that people read and enjoy and I’d love to become an ‘auto buy author’ for readers!!

Where can we learn more about you and your books Kaily?

PICTURE THIS, PAY UP and PLAY ME (yeah, I may have a “P” fetish) are all available from Ellora’s Cave and all other ebook outlets! I’m also often on FaceBook and Twitter and I keep my blog current with what I’m up to. I would love people to stop by or reach out to me!

Web –
Blog -
Facebook –
Twitter -

Thank you for being my guest today, Kaily. Good luck on all of your writing ventures and sales!!!

See everyone next week when I will have Alexa Bourne as my guest.