Posts Tagged ‘historical romance’

Workspace Wednesday Welcomes Kris Kennedy

It gives me no end of pleasure to bring you Kris Kennedy today as my Workspace Wednesday guest. Kris is a fellow Rock*It Reads author. I’m looking forward to meeting her in person one of these days, but even electronically, Kris’s personality shines through. She’s smart, insightful, energetic – just the kind of person you want to be around. And she’s extremely talented too! You may have read recently that her book DECEPTION just won Romantic Times’ K.I.S.S. Award for Best Historical Hero earlier this month. Without further ado, here’s Kris…

 

KRIS KENNEDY   When I think about my workspace, I feel ambivalent. I feel happy, for me. I have lots of workspaces, and can move around as the mood strikes me. I also feel sad, for my husband. Because I can move around as the mood strikes me.

I’m what you call a ‘spreader.’ I spread out. These pictures will not capture my utter spreadability. I’m like butter.

I’m also a researcher. A mad researcher. Writing medievals and Elizabethans requires a lot of research, and not all can happen online. I need big, heavy, beautiful books, and they too must spread. All over the house.

Then I must write notes, and mark up the big heavy books, so I can capture the information and be able to find it again. All this paper must move too.

We tried to set me up in an office in our extra bedroom. Bought a nice, big desk, set it front of a window, cleared out all the exercise equipment (at which point I bought a treadmill. My poor husband.) As an office, it totally works. See? I’m all set up.

 

Except, I rarely use the desk. I think it’s the chair. What I do use, without a doubt, is the treadmill desk.

 

Note my high-tech approach to ‘desk’–I laid the cardboard packing materials that came with the treadmill across its arms. It works fabulously! I can’t write fiction on it, but I can do all my online stuff, and burn 500-1000 calories, depending on how long I’m on Twitt— I mean, how long I’m on the treadmill. :)

Oh, that black splotch on the wall at the head of the treadmill? It’s a dress I WILL fit into again—it’s motivation. Or shame. Which is highly motivating. :)

 

Here you can get a peek-a-boo view of the approximately 6,549 research books (only a few are showing here), maps, folders, and scribbled sheets of paper I metabolize. Usually about 298 books are open and in use at any one point (if you look close, you’ll see copious post-it notes.) I write a lot of thoughts down by hand—I’m far too spatial to have everything be online or on the computer. I have old maps on England and Ireland on the walls, my husband got my covers framed, and index cards are taped to another wall, plotting out various plot timelines for stories. (Which I never use. Silly plotting.) I also have my son’s microscope there, as he sometimes brings in fun and exciting items to examine more closely.

 

Downstairs, we see the real nerve center—the dining room table. My husband loves this.

I have to admit, this picture reflects a false reality—there’s usually a lot more books and papers piled up. Over the last weekend, I cleaned up and moved a lot of stuff off the table, since we’re having about 30 people come to a potluck next weekend, and my husband was getting pale at the sight of mountains of research books and paper. “And so…are we gonna get this…when? Were you thinking, what was that? Today?”

Yes, sweetie, today.  :)

I love writing in the dining room, really. Way more than upstairs. And it only takes about 5 minutes every night to shift all the books and papers to the far end of the table so we can eat dinner, so why the heck not use it??  :)

But the sunlight is great (when we get sun), the kitchen is right behind me (probably a bad thing), I can let the dog in and out whenever needed, and when school & work are over and everyone’s home, I’m still part of us. Although seriously, I should probably rethink this approach, because it’s not the most work-conducive. But it is family-conducive, and I guess that’s more important right now.

 

 

Note the accoutrements I get rained down upon me if I stay connected in this way—Playmobil and Legos characters appear in random places at random times, scattered across my keyboard and research papers.

I see I haven’t taken any shots of the living room couch & table in front of it, which is my other workspace. (Refrain: My poor husband.) I sit there and write while they play splash-ball hockey around me, or toss balls over my head.

So if you read any of my books, know that as I try to transport you to another world in the story, I’m probably also transporting you around my house. My family seeps in. My dog, the Lego characters, my son’s laughter as he plays out back with friends, my husband calling to my son to come have a catch, the scent of dinner cooking and the touch of my husband’s hand on my back as he walks by. All because I’m sitting in the dining room aka: nerve center, not in my ‘office.’  :)

Silly offices.

I’ve got TWO books to give away to two commentors! Either THE IRISH WARRIOR or DECEPTION (your choice)! THE IRISH WARRIOR won RWA’s Golden Heart Award just before it was published, and DECEPTION just won Romantic Times’ K.I.S.S. Award for Best Historical Hero just last week!

So, fire away!  Do you think I’m nuts with this set-up? What does your husband/co-workers think of your work environment? Are they properly horrified, or are you the one they wish they could emulate? Is your workspace important to you, or could you write in a box?

 

Kris’s Website   |   Kris’s Twitter   |   Kris’s Facebook   |   Kris on Goodreads   |   Kris’s Amazon Author Page

 

Thank you, Kris. Silly offices, indeed. And great questions. I’m looking forward to reading the comments. Of which I’m sure there will be lots. Here are the two books up for grabs.

 

As his men are slaughtered around him, legendary Irish warrior Finian O’Melaghlin is held captive by the despised English Lord Rardove. Struggling to break free, Finian finds aid from an unlikely source: the beautiful Senna de Valery, who is also trying to escape Rardove’s bloodthirsty grasp. Risking both their lives, Senna releases Finian from his shackles so they can both flee, but their plight has just begun…Seeking safe refuge, Finian and Senna have only each other to depend on for survival. Neither can deny their immediate attraction, but indulging their desires will put them both in grave danger. Finian vows to protect the woman who saved his life, but he soon learns she is a pawn in a much larger battle. For Senna has an unbreakable link to a priceless treasure many centuries old. It is the stuff from which dreams are made and for which men will kill – and not even Finian may be strong enough to save her.

Award-winning author Kris Kennedy brings the treacherous world of thirteenth-century England to life in this scorching romantic adventure!

A dashing con man

Breaking and entering to reclaim her corrupt late father’s ledger comes surprisingly easily to Sophia Darnly. But is it mere coincidence that her misdeed unexpectedly reunites her with Kier, the outlaw lover who abandoned her years ago?

A lady skilled in trickery

Time has not erased Sophia from Kier’s heart, nor tamed her fiery spirit. She boldly insinuates herself into his plans. But Kier is on a mission of revenge, and can’t allow even the woman he once loved to stop him.

A game that could get them both killed

The danger mounts as they lure the leader of a powerful consortium who needs the fabled Darnly ledger—and all its damning details about the wealthiest merchants of England— to execute his nefarious plan. Their rekindled passion burns hot, but when they discover they too are the targets of a deadly deception, the fate of their love, and of England itself, lies in the balance.

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Barbara Phinney

 

It’s a special pleasure to have Barbara Phinney here today. Barbara is one of my very first writing friends. She and I, along with a handful of other aspiring romance writers from the area, were long time critique partners and basically taught each other to write. And we’re still sharing, but these days it’s more industry news, indie wisdom and promotional tips.

Welcome, Barbara!

 

BARBARA PHINNEY: Thank you, Norah!

There’s something dangerous in my office. Take a look at this picture. Yes, it’s cluttered. Yes, it looks like a very normal writer’s office. But in actuality there’s something very dangerous in it. No, I’m not talking about the fact that I write suspense, or the fact I like to murder a few characters every once in a while.

No I’m talking about that chair. The brown one, with the blue seat and the owl cushion. The one that just invites you to sit down on it, stretch your legs out and start talking to me.

That’s where the murder comes in. So many times I have been deep in a story, running with an idea and surfing on the wave of momentum, only to have my dear husband wander in, plunk himself down in that chair, and say, “I want you to  Google something for me.”

Slowly, I turn and look at him, lethally. “I’m busy.”

“It’ll only take a minute.”

That’s when the murder starts.

 

 

Now in reality, this man who so brazenly enters my office has his own computer as seen below.

 

 

Take a look at that. Isn’t that nice? A clean desk, a little water fountain and a brand-new notepad, even some fun little balloons I’ve received over the years. (Ignore the wire. I have a son who runs his Xbox from it.) What more could a husband, who doesn’t go on the computer very much, want? (We all know it’s my incredible generosity that allows him to have his own little corner of my office.)

So, no jury in the country would convict me of anything nasty when he has this nice little corner.

Moving on, I believe offices should reflect their users. They should be places filled with inspiring pictures, maps to dream over, knickknacks and collectibles that are precious only to that person, such as you see in this picture below.

 

 

You’ll find gift bells, empty and full bottles I’ve collected over the years, even the gourdhead birdhouse and childhood teddies. Under that Bolivian blanket is an ugly filing cabinet, frequented by my husband, hence his computer desk being so close to it.

There are very few things I would toss. Come to think of it, I would only dispose of that very dangerous chair but I won’t. After all, suspense writers need little incentive now and then, don’t they?

 

Barbara Phinney writes suspense, Christian (despite her murderous plots) romance and historicals, one of which is coming out in March, entitled Bound to the Warrior. She writes sci-fi and paranormal under the pen name of Georgina Lee, including a new Sherlock Holmes tale, Dead on her Feet.

You can find all of Barbara Phinney’s books here:  Amazon | B&N

Georgina Lee’s books are here:  Amazon | B&N

Her latest book is a fun and lively twist on the Sherlock Holmes novellas, found here.

 

Thank you, Barbara! That was such fun! I got such a kick out of you DH asking you to stop what you’re doing to Google something, instead of going to his own work station. Because, you know, it would take TIME to fire up that other computer. HIS time. LOL! I think you’re right — no jury would convict! Not if there were any authors on it.

Okay, it’s comment time. And as an incentive, Barbara will give away a copy of her awesomely atmospheric romantic suspense, Hard Target, to one lucky winner, in the electronic format of their choice. So bring it with the comments!

 

Hard Target

Sgt. Dawna Atkinson has worked hard for her South American embassy posting. She’d also taken the blame for a shared indiscretion with her instructor, Tay Hastings. But when her embassy is bombed, she comes under the microscope all the more. Worse still, her unit sends Tay to search for any mistakes she’s making.

Things go from bad to worse when a sniper tries to eliminate both Dawna and Tay within hours of Tay’s arrival. As the investigation heats up, and danger lurks around every crowded corner, Dawna and Tay find their relationship is also heating up. And with a killer who can create bombs, use a sniper rifle, and poison the embassy staff, Dawna must set aside her hurt or risk many lives. And Tay must set aside the distrust deep within him.

What Dawna and Tay can’t set aside is their growing attraction. And that may just get them both killed.

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Vanessa Kelly!

 

Some days, I can’t help but think I have the best job in the world, and not just because I get to make up stories! I also get to meet some very cool people. One of those awesome people is Vanessa Kelly. I got to know Vanessa when I was invited to join Rock*It Reads, of which she is a founding member. I can’t tell you how much respect and affection I have developed for her in the short time I’ve been with RIR. Take it away, Vanessa!

 

 

Hi, Norah!  Thanks so much for having me on Workspace Wednesday.  The first thing I did, naturally, was go on and look at some of the swell spaces you’ve highlighted.  Gave me some great organizing ideas!  For me, organization is critical because I work out of two offices.  Most of the year I live in a condo in Ottawa with my hubby, but I’m lucky enough to spend the winter in Florida, in a bungalow on a small but very beautiful lake.

 

Not surprisingly, my Ottawa office is the best supplied and holds most of my books and writing resources, because that’s where I spend most of the year.  Here’s a picture of the custom-designed bookcase for all my research books and materials.

 

 

 

The desk that you see in that photo, however, is not mine.  It’s my husband Randy’s workspace.  He’s my co-writer for my VK Sykes contemporary romance books.  If you want to see how closely we work together, check out this picture.

 

 

That’s my desk chair on the right.  Pretty darn close, I’d say!  In fact, we bump into each other on a regular basis.  Because we live in a condo with limited space, we had to put a lot of time into thinking about how the office would work.  Now here’s a picture of my desk.

 

Vanessa Kelly's Desk

 

Notice the Obus form cushion on my chair—like many writers, my back can often give me problems, so a really good chair and good posture is essential.  But on bad back days I usually move out to a big leather armchair in the living room.  I plop my Alphasmart on my little lap desk and write away.  It’s a good break from sitting at the desk and often seems to fuel my creativity.  It’s amazing how changing one’s environment, even just a little bit, can help the muse break out of her box.

 

Here’s the final picture from my Ottawa office, showing more of our custom built cabinets and bookshelves.  I’ve also got some awards posted on the wall, and you can also see that this corner is where I stack author copies, manuscripts, and other supplies I need within reach.

 

 

As you can see, my Ottawa office is pretty tight but I think it’s well designed and very functional.  As much as I love spending winters in Florida, I do miss my office while we’re gone.  But Florida has its compensations too, starting with this view out my back door.

 

Vanessa Kelly Florida Dock

 

The real advantage of my Florida office space is that I have more room to spread out, which is kind of funny because I don’t have nearly as much stuff here as I do in Ottawa.  But it’s still a pleasure to have the extra space.

 

 

Notice the swell built-in drawers and cabinets from the previous owner of the house.  That is a very handy feature for someone who has a lot of crap to organize!

 

Here’s a close up of my workspace.

 

 

See that white kitchen timer by my keyboard?  I set that at fifteen minute intervals to remind myself to get up and walk around.  Bad back, remember?

 

One of the things I also appreciate about my Florida office is where it’s located—the kitchen.  I love being in the kitchen.  It’s warm and cozy, and it only takes a second to get up and make myself a cup of tea and coffee.  Of course, it also means I’m way too close to all the food and the fridge, so I have to exercise some much-needed restraint.

 

And, no, I’m not going to post a picture of my kitchen, because I still haven’t done the breakfast dishes!

 

Vanessa Kelly was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.  Vanessa also writes contemporary romance with her husband under the name of V.K. Sykes.  You can find her on the web at www.vanessakellyauthor.com or at www.vksykes.com.

 

 

Thank you, Vanessa. That was awesome. And I’m so jealous! I’d like to try to write on that dock. :)

 

If you want to know more about Vanessa, visit her at one of these sites:

 

Check out her current books:

Cover - His Mistletoe BrideHis Mistletoe Bride

When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl’s granddaughter. Phoebe Linville is a sparkling American beauty, yes, but with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn’t long before she is challenging his rules—and surprising him in and out of bed…

Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas’s stubbornness even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the Earl of Merritt what real love is all about. And if that takes twelve nights of delicious seduction by a roaring fire, she’s more than willing to reveal her gifts very slowly…

Buy links:  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Books A Million

 

 

 

Bigger Than Beckham, by VK Sykes Cover - Bigger than Beckham

Sports journalist Martha Winston loves her career, but her life goes sideways when she inherits a pro soccer team from her father.  The team is almost bankrupt and on the skids, but Martha has vowed to save her beloved father’s legacy.  But she needs to get a financial infusion fast, or else lose the team to the wolves baying at her door.

Former British soccer hero Tony Branch wants to add Martha’s team to his growing sports empire.  But he wants it strictly on his terms—full control, not a partnership.   When Martha turns him down flat, he’s determined to change her mind by any means necessary.  If that includes using the sexual heat flaring between them, Tony is more than willing to play a game of seduction.

Buy links:  Kindle  Nook  Kobo  Smashwords

 

 

 

Okay, that brings us to the fun stuff – the giveaway! Leave a comment for Vanessa for a chance to win one of two prizes. She’ll be giving away a signed copy of His Mistletoe Bride to one winner, and an ebook copy of Bigger than Beckham to another.

 

 

 

 

 

Workspace Wednesday welcomes Deborah Hale!

Today I welcome Deborah Hale to Workspace Wednesday. Deborah was one of the first published romance authors I’d ever met, and from the beginning, she gave unstintingly of her knowledge of both writing craft and the romance publishing industry. A Golden Heart® winner herself, Deborah encouraged me to enter that prestigious contest. While I never won one of those coveted necklaces, I did final a number of times. I am grateful to this day for her encouragement.

 

I am also a huge fan of Deborah’s writing. If you were to zoom in on my shelves (3rd shelf from top, right end of cabinets), you would see quite an extensive collection of her books. Deborah is the author of over 20 historical romances and two other-world fantasies. I am thrilled to have her here.

 

 

Take it away, Deborah.

 

DEBORAH:  The first thing visitors usually notice when they enter my writing space is Deskzilla – the monster three-sided desk with shelves and a file drawer that takes up most of my office. I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Deskzilla over the years. At first I loved it passionately and produced over fifteen books while nestled in its solid embrace. But over the years it became the place I checked email, updated my website, did hours of historical research, played spider solitaire…almost everything except writing. Now I often write my first drafts longhand on yellow foolscap pads in the café overlooking my local grocery store. But Deskzilla waits faithfully for me to come home, type in my day’s work and revise it.

 

Deskzilla!

 

In addition to Deskzilla, my office is also home to the Closet of Author Copies. The boxes of books seem to proliferate faster than I can give them away, so take pity and enter my giveaways wherever you see them!

 

Closet of Author Copies

 

Beside the Closet of Author Copies are the Bookcases of International Editions. I used to have one shelf for copies of my books from all the different countries where they’ve been published. Then the collection grew to a whole bookcase. Now it’s about to outgrow two! I think the next step is to go vertical. Whenever I stop and really look at the Bookcases of International Editions, it feels more than a little surreal that my characters have traveled to so many places I probably never will.

 

Bookcases of International Editions

 

In the opposite corner of my office stand the Massive Shelves of Researchy Goodness. My family will tell you I write books to support my research habit. Because I’ve dabbled in so many different time periods, there are books here about 17th-18th century ballroom dancing, the Peninsular War, medieval life and Highland country estates. There is a whole shelf devoted to research for Confessions of a Courtesan. When I first considered self-publishing that book, it was an effort to recoup the money I’d spent on research materials. I’m happy to report I have succeeded!

 

Massive Shelves of Researchy Goodness

 

 

No tour of my office would be complete without a picture of my writing companion, Button. She has two spots under Deskzilla where she likes to curl up while I’m working. No matter how soundly she seems to be snoozing, the moment I stir from my chair, she’s up and alert, ready to follow me wherever I go.

 

Button

 

In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit this tour of my writing space hasn’t dwelt upon the piles of books and papers that seem to grow from my floor like stalagmites when I’m closing in on a deadline. I’ve also chosen to ignore my family’s junk that migrates in here and takes up residence. What can I say? I’m a Mom and a writer and neither of those is a tidy profession!

 

The unadorned truth

 

Thank you, Deborah! I love Deskzilla! That might be the most interesting tag I’ve ever put on a post!

 

Deborah’s Links:

Deborah Hale website
Elizabeth Charles page
Confessions of a Courtesan
Deborah's Author Page on Amazon
Deborah's Facebook Page

Okay, over to comments. What do you think? What’s your favorite element of Deborah’s space? Does the space match up with your expectations of a writer’s office? What, if anything, surprised you about it? (For me, it was the closet of author copies. I know Deborah’s prolific, but I never stopped to think how that would translate into so many boxes of books!)

 

BTW, Deborah has a number of fabulous give-aways. We’ll do a random drawing to determine who the lucky winners will be. Second and third place winners will receive a digital copy of Deborah’s Confessions of a Courtesan, in the e-format of their choice. The grand prize winner will receive the print set of her Gentlemen of Fortune series (Harlequin Historical).