Writing a Breakout Novel

9 09 2010

Gotta love my CPs (critique partners, for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym). Where else would I find such a great group of cheerleaders. They keep me going on my manuscripts, subtly pressuring me to complete a new chapter for each critique. And it works.

Sure some chapters need a lot of work, but my CPS are always generous with their crits (and their praise, so I don’t get discouraged). And sometimes they do something extra special that makes my heart race. Last night was a case in point. One generous member of the Piedmont Plotters gifted all of us in the group with Donald Maass’s (yikes, all those s‘s? But it’s what CMoS says is correct, & I always follow Chicago Manual of Style) Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. How cool is that? I’m guessing we’re all going to be breakout novelists soon. Can’t help but be.

According to the promo, we’ll “learn to: – Create a powerful and sweeping sense of time and place – Develop larger-than-life characters – Sustain a high degree of narrative tension from start to finish – Weave sub-plots into the main action – Explore universal themes that will interest a large audience.”

From the first lesson, which you can see here, your protagonist needs to have at least one heroic quality. Try the exercises on page 12 and see what heroic qualities you value.

I couldn’t resist adding more than one person I admire, but it turned out they all had similar qualities. My list included Mother Teresa, Gandhi, MLK Jr., and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I’m drawn to people who fight for human rights, who fight convention, and dare to be different. I was intrigued to find that the protagonists of all my books share these qualities.

Two other things that resonate with me are selfless giving and nonviolent protests. Interestingly enough, my main characters don’t always use peaceful means to reach their goals. And sometimes (a character flaw, perhaps?) they’re far from selfless. It definitely set me thinking.

What about you? Who are your heros/heroines? And why are you drawn to them? Do your book characters reflect those values?





Overcoming Procrastination

29 08 2010

My Muse--Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I just stumbled across a blog called “Getting Jump Started” that has what the author, Sarah  Bush, calls the 20 Minute Technique. To get moving on projects (especially creative ones) that you’ve stalled on for a while, set a timer for 20 minutes and do something–anything–related to the project. Sounds easy, right?

It is. I’ve been using this technique for years, only I set the timer for 10 minutes. The results are the same. It shoves me out of my complacency and gets me moving in the right direction. Even if it’s only a tiny step, I’m one step closer to finishing than I was before. And it works for writing a novel, painting a picture, cleaning the house, or any task that I’ve been avoiding.

One of the reasons it works so well is that, for a perfectionist like me, the critical part of my brain shuts down. It dismisses those 10-minute efforts.

“Ha,” it says. “There’s no way you can do anything productive in such a short amount of time.” And it stalks off.

Yay! It’s amazing what a great creative start I get before it realizes that I’m actually getting things done without it. By the time it comes storming over to demand that my creative half pay attention to its directives, the work’s well under way. And even it can see that the creative side’s doing a super job. Sometimes it stalks off to sulk; other times it points a finger at all the mistakes, but by then my creative side is strong enough to handle the barbs.

Most of the time procrastination is fear of failure, so the 10- or 20-minute trick helps. No one can write a perfect novel in that short a time, so for a little while, my muse can play freely without the pressure of producing a perfect product.





Pop over to Prairie Chicks

14 08 2010

I’m blogging at Prairie Chicks about overcoming rejection letters. If you’re a new writer who’s getting a slew of rejection letters, I have advice–one big tip that can help new (or even experienced) writers take their work to the next level.

The blog is called:





Killer Nashville

13 08 2010

Well, I’ll soon be off to Killer Nashville, the great crime writing conference. Looking for tips on how to bump off pesky characters, pull off a heist, or escape a jail sentence? You’ve come to the right place. Where else could you sit down to dinner with tablemates who are all interested in discussing the best way to poison people so it’s undectable. Sort of makes me a bit paranoid. I find myself curling my arm around my plate to protect my food, but who knows if that would help. One of these would-be writers might have experimented with their poisons in the kitchen.

So what turns people crazy enough to write about sneaky ways to kill other human beings, or to read these books by the dozens? Not sure I want to delve into the psychology behind it, but I once heard that crime writers are often perfectionists who love to solve puzzles. Perfectionists do tend to get themselves all worked up over small details & threaten to kill people who mess up their orderly lives. So I’d suggest you steer clear of perfectionists when you’re choosing a spouse or a friend. You never know when they might knife you in the back.

Here’s a schedule if you’re interested in attending. Keynote speaker is Jeffery Deaver; find out more about him on his website. Agent and editor pitch sessions are included in the registration price. Conference runs from Thursday evening, August 19, to Sunday afternoon, August 22, 2010. Hope to see you there.





Savvy Authors

17 05 2010

Does everyone know about SavvyAuthors? SavvyAuthors is a one-stop resource for all your writing needs regardless of your stage in your career. They offer everything from workshops to promotion and marketing help.

They have lots of great classes for a low price. It costs $30 to join, which gives you access to free classes and a reduced rate on class prices. Or you can take classes without joining. With classes costing $10-25, most people can easily afford it. And they have some terrific teachers.

Here’s a sampling for the next two months:

May 2010 Events

2

Fairies and Other Magic Folk (Workshop)
Instructor: Sharron Gunn. Walt Disney would have you believe that fairies are sweet little creatures with wings and wands. Helpful entities like Tinkerbell and the Tooth Fairy. Walt was wrong. In Celtic lands people believe it’s not wise to go about your business in…
Duration: 27 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

3

Steamed Up: The Anatomy of Writing Steampunk (Workshop)
Instructor: Beth Daniels aka Nied Darnell. Toss another shovel full of coal on the fire, it’s time to get steamed up with steam punk, one of the newest “societies” around. What qualifies it as a society? Let’s see, there are graphic novels, jewelry, apparel, home accessories, mu…
Duration: 28 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

3

Who ARE All These People? The Role of Secondary Characters in Romance (Workshop)
Instructor: Jen Safrey. You have your hero. You are in love with him, and you’re sure your readers will be too. He’s sexy, smart, rugged, shy, daring, protective, whatever. You have your heroine. You have put a little of yourself into her, and you’re sure your rea…
Duration: 28 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Todd Stone Presents – Character(s) and Conflict–More is More and More is Better (Workshop)
Six lessons, four weeks Presenter: Todd Stone, the Novelist’s Boot Camp guy Ever hear an editor say “Sorry, your story has too much conflict?” Didn’t think so. And you probably won’t, either. In this workshop we’ll provide you wit…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Edge of your Seat: How to add Suspense to your Writing (Workshop)
Instructor: Fleur Bradley. Do you ever wonder what makes that book such a page-turner? Wish you could keep a reader at the edge of your seat with your writing? This workshop teaches you how to write riveting fiction, and how to write chapters that keep your …
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Inside the Criminal Mind (Workshop)
Instructor: Lucinda Schroeder. Inside the Criminal Mind gives writers the information they’ll need to characterize their deviate story people. This course covers criminal motivation, mind-set, self-talk and why deviants expect their crimes to go undetected. Devi…
Duration: 27 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

16

Creating Your Own Book Trailer **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Kris Tualla. Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $…
Duration: 11 days Promo, Technology Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

17

The Four Point Critique: Making your critiques positive, constructive, specific and honest. **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Teresa Bodwell. The Four Point Critique: Making your critiques positive, constructive, specific and honest. The workshops will help you refine your critiquing skills through lecture, discussion and hands on critiquing. Topics include: Tips for great fee…
Duration: 20 days Craft Members: $25

31

Creating an Effective Book Business Plan (Workshop)
Presented by Deborah Magnus. One of the most productive things an author can do is write a Book Business Plan. It’s a required exercise for non-fiction book proposals and easily as important as actually writing the book, whether non-fiction or fiction. Why? 1) Writ…
Duration: 4 days Publishing, Promo, Industry Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

31

The Power of the Right Question (Workshop)
Instructor: Susan Meier. Ever wonder why some authors books seem to be head and shoulders above the rest? In The Power of the Right Question, Susan Meier discusses Story Question, Chapter Question and development of Questions for Lists of Twenty and shows you how t…
Duration: 28 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

June 2010 Events

3

Ignite Your Fiction (Workshop)
Instructor: Sally Walker. Learn how to examine and WRITE succinct, vivid examples of Exposition, Description, Narration/Summary, and Action-Dialogue. Experienced writers will learn to “think” in revision and New writers will work on the habit of purpose from the ver…
Duration: 25 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

7

Make a Scene (Workshop)
Instructor: June Diehl. Make a Scene explores the elements that go into structuring a scene, how to decide how to begin and end a scene, and the types of scenes and when to use them. We will also touch on setting, point of view, and character and plot development …
Duration: 14 days Craft Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

7

Weapons, Violence and Reality (Workshop)
Instructor: Rory Miller. Conflict is the essence of story-telling. Violence is the rawest and most visceral form of conflict. Rory Miller, former Corrections Officer, Tactical Team leader and Contractor/Advisor in Iraq will help you get the details right. The cla…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

7

Completing Your Mystery (Workshop)
Instructor: Jacqueline Corcoran. Like many writers, you may have a library of books on writing craft, but have you used them? Learn my step-by-step method for applying exercises to develop your craft and complete your mystery. In this hands-on class with lots of “homewo…
Duration: 14 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

13

Creating Your Own Book Trailer **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Kris Tualla. Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $…
Duration: 11 days Promo, Technology Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

14

Show Don’t Tell (Workshop)
Instructor: Flo Fitzpatrick. Are your characters spending too much time explaining, telling, thinking, feeling, musing, wondering or debating? Let’s turn those “tell” sentences into “showstoppers!” Join Flo Fitzpatrick for a fun workshop that will rev up your writin…
Duration: 19 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

15

Romantic Suspense 19 SPOTS LEFT (Workshop)
Instructor: Dee Lloyd. To keep the reader eagerly turning pages from the first word to the last, a Romantic Suspense novel needs engaging characters, a believable and complicated plot and fast-moving pace. This workshop will give you some of the tools necessar…
Duration: 20 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

20

Flash Fiction: What is it? How do I write it? Why should I bother? 19 SPOTS LEFT (Workshop)
Instructor: Jim Harrington. This workshop is aimed at writers who are new to flash fiction. The topics covered include: Session 1 – 6/21 – What is flash fiction? Session 2 – 6/23 – Choosing a story to write Session 3 – 6/25 – That’s a story? Session 4 – 6/28 – T…
Duration: 13 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

20

Everyone Needs a Name, a guide to character naming (Workshop)
Instructor: Kathy Frost. Finding the perfect name for your main character can be difficult enough, but most stories need a supporting cast. You’ll need names for all your characters, from the lead and their love interest to the neighborhood grocer. For many write…
Duration: 6 days Craft Members: FREE
Non-Members: $5

20

The Dirty Little Secrets of Character Development (Workshop)
Instructor: Keena Kincaid. Do you know the secret to character development? We all keep secrets from each other—and sometimes from ourselves. Three-dimensional characters are no different, and it’s the author’s job to reveal those deep, dark secrets and desires t…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $10
Non-Members: $20

21

Silencing Your Inner Saboteur (Workshop)
Instructor: Sherry Peters. In this workshop, writers will identify the voice of your saboteur, recognize the tricks it uses to keep you from achieving your goals, and how to win the battle against it. The lessons will cover: Introduction of the class and the In…
Duration: 20 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

28

The Heroine’s Journey: Adapting Four-Act Structure to the Character-Driven Story (Workshop)
Instructor: Wendy Lyn Watson. Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey is a basic “four act” mythic story structure that can be used to describe everything from the legend of King Arthur to Alien. There’s something about this narrative structure that resonates with us on an…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

28

Using Writer’s Block As A Building Block For Ideas (Workshop)
Instructor: Raquel Rodriguez. Using Writer’s Block As A Building Block For Ideas Want to just write? Stop fighting your Muse! Dry spells can indicate the dreaded writer’s block, a rough wall to hurtle. Teacher and writer, Raquel Rodriguez, can help you understand t…
Duration: 27 days Craft, Writing Life Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

28

The ‘W’ Plot…Or the Other White Meat for Plotters (Workshop)
Instructor: Karen Docter. One of the staples of any writers group conversations is the plot. It’s integral to every novel, holds everything together. It’s the vehicle that carries readers from page one to “The End”. It’s one of the scariest things an author faces …
Duration: 25 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

Check them out. You’ll be glad you did.
savvyauthors.com – Writers Helping Writers

http://www.savvyauthors.com/workshops.cfm





Grammar Grrrs…

26 04 2010

Hate seeing misspelled words? Misused expressions? Poor grammar?

You’re not alone. Some of us grammar geeks have been enjoying the wisdom and humor of Hyperbole and a Half. Not only does it contain rants on subjects dear to my heart, but Allie Brosh, the author, also draws pics.

Ever wonder what an Alot looks like? Check out her blog to find out.

BTW, if you’re not a grammar geek like me, put need help with that part of your writing, her pictures will help you remember what words to use when.





Tony DiTerlizzi

27 10 2009

Check out this fabulous interview by one of my fav illustrators:

http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1821

The art is to die for…





Why Do I Fear Rejection?

28 09 2009

Lauren Barnholdt just posted a great link to a blog about rejections. It got me thinking. If I hung my rejection letters side by side, I wonder how much footage they’d take up. But that led me to a different thought. How long would my string of acceptances be?

I’ve written more than 850 articles for magazines, educational publishers, and websites, plus I’ve sold several books. So I’ve had quite a few acceptance letters. Obviously, some letters (or emails) asked me to write more than one article, but still, let’s say I had 400 acceptances. If I multiply that by 8.5″, I have at least 3400″ of acceptances–or about 283′. Hmmm… And I’m guessing I have about 100-150 rejections, which gives me 1275″ of rejections or about 106′.

So why am I scared to send things out? Odds are, I’m much more likely to get an acceptance. But I still dread it.

I spent this past weekend at the SCBWI Carolinas conference, where several people urged me to send out my picture book dummy. I hate to say how long I’ve had that dummy worked up. I’d been dreaming of doing it for years. Back in the early 2000s an editor at a large publishing house expressed an interest in the text. She said she had the perfect illustrator in mind for it. I was thrilled. But before it was contracted, she left publishing. And there went my dream.

I turned back to magazine and educational writing, which blossomed into my career. But that picture book kept nagging at me. I took a picture book illustration class with Robert Quackenbush, and he liked that text and urged me to illustrate it. I was too scared and sure I couldn’t do it justice, so I illustrated a humorous easy reader with cartoons.

Several years later I took another illustration class with Matt Novak. Once again, I was encouraged to illustrate this text. I took the plunge. I spent hours on detailed pastels that my classmates praised. I even received an “A” in the class for my work. So why almost 5 years later is that picture book dummy still sitting in my art cupboard?

I dusted it off this summer and took it to an SCBWI critique group organized by Lauren Patton. Again, I was encouraged to send it off. But this fall it was still sitting in my cupboard. It went with me to the SCBWI Carolinas conference, where once again I heard I needed to send it off. So now I’m trying hard to talk myself into it.

OK, I followed the suggestion in the blog and hung up all my rejection letters. Then I hung up all the acceptances. So now I have to ask myself: if people who have only received rejection letters so far can keep on submitting, why can’t I??

Ooh, better go send it out quickly, before my internal critic can think of any negative replies. Anyone else have this problem?? Or these fears of rejection??





Want to Channel Past Lives?

3 09 2009

Book Three_The Scorpions StrkieCool cover, huh? Makes you eager to pick up Book 3, doesn’t it? Wonder what it’s about?

Well, if you want to find out, go to:

http://www.greenstoneofhealing.com/

Written by C.L. Talmadge, this is the third in the series Green Stone of Healing®, a speculative epic that features four generations of strong-willed female characters who inherit a mysterious green gem ultimately revealed to mend broken bones and broken hearts, protect against missiles, and render its wearers undetectable.

And check out the other terrific covers below.

I was lucky enough to snag C.L. Talmadge

for an interview. So you can learn more about her vision, her writing, and the therapy that has allowed her to capture these stories on paper.

Book Two_Fallout So here’s some intimate information on C.L.:

When did you first dream of being a writer and what steps did you take to follow your dream?

I had dreamed of being a writer since about 1966-67, when the mother of my best friend put a Taylor Caldwell novel in my hand and told me, “You can write a book like this.”

After college I decided to become a journalist, just like a lot of other graduates in the mid-1970s, immediately following the Watergate scandal. But I eventually found work on newspapers, magazines, and even a newswire. I honed my skills at writing on deadline. That has been very useful in writing fiction because I know how to write the most possible in between working a “day” job. It helped cure me of “writer’s block,” a luxury you don’t have when your editor is glaring at you just minutes before deadline.

What do you find most challenging about being a writer? What do you love most?

The biggest challenge in writing fiction is to convey the depth of my characters’ feelings. Words are so inadequate when describing the intensity and range of human emotions. That is always my greatest struggle.

The biggest challenge in writing nonfiction is to be as clear, concise, and lucid as possible in laying out my case or making my arguments. Book One_The Vision

What do I love about writing? To me, writing is sort of like breathing. Got to keep on doing it to live. I don’t know if that qualifies as what I love most about writing. It’s much more like an obsession.

In addition to writing, what are your other passions and why?

Healing and politics are my other passions. I regard them as closely connected. Being emotionally and spiritually wounded for so much of my early life, I always had an interest in healing. Western medicine has nothing for anything but physical wounds, and I wanted answers for the non-physical, or metaphysical. So I looked for them for myself, found ones that made sense to me, and they are very much a part of my fiction and nonfiction alike. For politics, I write columns syndicated by North Star Writers Group (www.northstarwriters.com) and I blog as StoneScribe (www.healingstonebooks.com/stonescribe).

Candace-large What characters in your books are most like you and why?

Certain characters in my books are me. I mean that most literally. I believe in reincarnation, and I believe I once lived a life as Helen Andros, the first-generation heroine of my series, and another subsequent life as Helen’s granddaughter. As the friend of Helen’s mother says about her in the second book, “She can keep her legs shut, but not her lips.” Ditto for me. Just like Helen, I always have an opinion. Unlike Helen, I have learned to deliver my opinions with a bit more tact these days. Just a bit, however. Don’t want to take this tact thing too far.

What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

My major stumbling block to become a fiction writer was my own emotional and spiritual wounds. I spent my early adult years looking for healing and found it in a powerful method called Sunan therapy. I co-authored nonfiction about this approach to healing emotional and spiritual wounds called Hope is in the Garden: Healing Resolution Through Unconditional Love. After 12 years of Sunan therapy on an as-needed basis, the past-life memories that form this series came roaring back to my conscious mind, and I started writing.

What comes first in your writing process? A scene, characters, title? Are you a plotter?

Character comes first, last, and always for me. The first rule for all writers of any kind of fiction: Know thy character(s)! If a writer does not know her characters intimately, she will not know how they will react to meeting the hero or in any other circumstances. Not knowing the characters is the problem behind so many poor movies/novels that are all “high concept” and no substance.

I knew the ending of this story when I first set out to write the series back in 1998. So what plotting I do involves determining what events I am going to include in the books and how to order these events into chapters. I have far too much material in my head ever to use completely.

Where do you get your ideas? And what do you do if your muse decides to take a vacation?

My ideas come from my experiences, both in this lifetime and others. Past lives are a rich source of ideas for novels. I believe that writers like Taylor Caldwell tapped their own past lives for some if not all of their novels, too.

My muse does not dare take a vacation. It has too much deadline training to do that. If I stop writing, it’s because I am having emotional difficulties with the events I am about to put down on paper. I have run into this a number of times because the lives I lived as Helen and her granddaughter were very painful and powerful. Their power has affected me to this day. The pain I resolve through an alternative approach called Sunan therapy (mentioned above). It’s an ongoing process that shapes my life and my writing every day.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now?

I am finalizing the series’ fourth book, Outcast, for publication on Oct. 1. I am two-thirds of the way through the first draft of the fifth book in my series. Its working title is Treachery.  And I am always churning out weekly political columns and occasional blogs.

Here’s  some exciting news and a special offer from C.L.:

The fourth in the series, Outcast, will be published Oct. 1. Vote for the first book, The Vision, through Sept. 25 and get a free e-book on healing, love, and spirituality. Details at C.L.’s blog: www.healingstonebooks.com/stonescribe.

Thanks so much for joining us today, C.L. The series sounds wonderful. And I’d love to learn more about Sunan therapy. Maybe you could pop back again sometime to enlighten us. I also forgot to ask one important question. Who is the artist of your fab covers?

Readers, you also have an opportunity to win the books. One lucky commenter on C.L.’s blog tour will be getting a set of books. Interested? Why don’t you tell us: do you ever feel as if you are channeling a past life as you write?





Leprechauns and Shamrocks

16 08 2009
Clare Austin

Clare Austin

I’m thrilled to have author Clare Austin here with us today. If you can’t guess by the lovely pic, her book is set in the land of leprechauns and shamrocks. And Clare’s relaxing in the gorgeous green fields of Ireland. So I’m off to the Emerald Isle to interview her.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog today. I have been rushing from place to place on this virtual book tour. I am flying by the seat of my pants most of the time now. Things will settle in I’m certain and I will get back to my usual writing routine. It’s fun promoting my book Butterfly, but I am starting to yearn for the days when most of my time was spent on my current work in progress.

How do I find time to write? Whether it is a chapter of the next book, a blog or email…I love to write. Now, for the disclaimer…I have no children at home.  My sons are all grown up and I am truly enjoying the “empty nest.” When they were little, I read constantly, but I didn’t write. For those of you who do, you have my admiration.

I write every day. Sometimes it is simply to jot down notes between other pressing daily tasks, but I can’t help but write. Stories come to me at odd times, my characters speak out loud while I drive my car, ride my horse and  go to sleep at night meditating on a scene or character. I’ve always told stories in my head. When I was a child I lived where I had plenty of room to ride a pony, swim in the sea or go hill-walking with my dogs as my only companions. I told them stories, made up rhymes, sang silly songs. It never occurred to me that other kids didn’t do the same.

When people find out I write, many of them want to give me their ideas for a story. I always tell them the story is theirs and would be best written by them. I have so many stories in my head and on my computer desk, I could live to be quite old and never get all of them written.

Stories are all around us. We often fail to open our minds and hearts to let them in. I read constantly: history, narrative non-fiction, science, autobiographies and always read fiction outside my own genre. I’m a naturally shy person, so I have had to learn to be bold about approaching people in social situations and asking them to tell me about themselves. Especially in Ireland where folks love to talk, the stories abound. Ask directions and you will get a story. I was walking in the marina in Howth Harbor, just the north side of Dublin Bay recently and a man was working on his boat. I stopped to ask him about the boats name…Róis Aris…which I know in Irish means Rosy Again. He told me the story of the boat and why her name was Rosy. I am now working on a love story…Rosy Again…with bits and pieces of this man’s musings as my inspiration.

That is how it happens…a news article, a stranger’s reminiscences, a song that sticks in my head and causes me to wonder what pain or joy the composer felt when it was written.

Writers all go about the process in different ways. I truly believe I had to banish my inner editor—that still small voice who tells you your writing sucks—and just spill words all over my computer screen. My writing is character driven. They tell me where to go and I rarely argue. Sometimes that means a character I thought was going in one book even ends up in another because she or he isn’t going to tell the story I want to write at the time. That works for me. The first year of my writing, I wrote four full length novels. I had a critique partner for a short while who kept saying I should perfect one and then think about another. I couldn’t do it. The faster I wrote, the happier I was. And it was all about having fun.  It still is for me.

Butterfly_final large Butterfly is the first book in The Fad Trilogy and is available now. The second book in this trilogy is Angel’s Share, a romantic suspense that takes the reader from the pubs of Dublin to the dark and dangerous streets of South Boston. It is set to release March 2010.

Hot Flash is a stand-alone story of loves lost and a second chance at happiness. It  will be available in paperback edition early in 2010 published by The Wild Rose Press.

Please go to my website www.clareaustin.com for excerpts and cover art for all my upcoming books.

If you go to http://www.myspace.com/clare_austin you can see some of my pictures of Ireland and hear some of my favorite music.

I also promised another excerpt (if you missed the first one, scroll down the page a bit; I promise it’ll be worth it):

Flannery swung through the door into the dining room with a flourish but nearly tripped over a bar stool when she saw the now familiar profile, broad shoulders, and curly dark hair of the man who had come to see her sister.

“Sufferin’ ducks, and if it isn’t himself come to brighten the day at O’Fallon’s.” Cade was as compelling as she remembered. Today he was dressed in jeans, a black knit shirt, leather bomber jacket, and a slow smile that would stop a saint in her tracks.

“What can I get you?” She thought a couple of shots of good Irish whiskey would sort him out.

“I’d try the fish an’ chips if you would join me?”

She gave him one of her best smiles, turned toward the kitchen, and yelled, “Hey, Jamie, I’m taking my break. Give us a one an’ one, a serving of the bangers and mushy peas, a couple o’ Harps, and an Inishowen, would you there?”

“Anything for the love of my life,” Jamie called from behind the door.

“Stow it, Jamie Mac!” Flannery shot back, then turned to Cade. “He’s always good fer craic, our Jamie.”

“Craic? Inishowen? One and one? Would you like to translate?”

“Whatta ya mean ‘translate’? You speak English don’tcha?” she teased. “Okay…I’m just giving you a time. ‘Craic’ is fun, ‘Inishowen’ is a whiskey from County Donegal, and a ‘one and one’ is what we, the feckin’ Irish, call fish ‘n chips.”

Flannery’s pulse quickened at the way his dark eyes, shaded by long lashes, swept lazily over her, undressing her, right here in a public place. Yes, as her girlfriends back home liked to say, “He was a ride.”