Monday, July 20, 2009

Credit Where Credit is Due

The Romance Writers of America's RITA awards were announced this past Saturday night.  I was fortunate enough to have my first book, STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT, be a finalist in two categories.  Of course, the downside of being a double finalist is having two chances to lose, which is exactly what happened. Laughing      
Thankfully I didn't get my hopes up too high and really didn't expect to win, though I did prepare something for my editor to read if it happened, since I couldn't be at the ceremony.  As nice as it would have been to win, what would have meant the most to me would have been the chance to acknowledge some people who truly deserved it for their part in making the book what it was.  But of course, I don't need an award to do that.  If there's one thing I've learned, it's how important it is to express gratitude for those who've helped us along the way when we have the chance.  To that end, here's the speech that went unused on Saturday night:       
STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT is a book I honestly didn’t think would ever be published, let alone recognized in any way, so having it be acknowledged really is beyond anything I ever imagined.  Thank you to RWA and the judges for this honor.  I’d like to thank my editor, Sean Mackiewicz, for pulling my query from the slush and thinking this story might be worth something, and for absolutely everything that followed.  Thank you to everybody at Intrigue and at Harlequin for their enthusiasm, support and hard work on the book’s behalf.  Special thanks to Vicki in the proofreading department for her keen eye.    

I’d like to thank my friends who’ve always been encouraging about my writing even when I really didn’t believe them, and the Intrigue authors past and present whose books made me dream of joining their ranks and who have been so welcoming once I finally did.

And finally, thank you to my grandmother, who used to pick up the Intrigues for me every month back before I could buy them for myself, who bought me that first ream of paper when I started my own attempt on an old typewriter, and who died suddenly just before the book came out and who never got to see it.  

Thank you.  
I hope you'll join me in congratulating the winners, as well as take the time to remember and thank those who've helped you in your own journey.  If there's anyone who hasn't read it but would like to, I have a Larger Print copy of STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT to give away.  One winner will be chosen late tomorrow.  All you have to do to enter is make a comment.

Kerry Connor

Friday, July 17, 2009

Are you a plotter or a the kitchen?

When it comes to writing, I'm a plotter. Oh, I went through a romantic phase where I thought I was a pantser, floating along with the flow of my story and letting my characters do all the driving. Problem was, I never managed to finish anything because my characters apparently have Attention Deficit Disorder and would drive us in circles chasing butterflies or unicorns or somesuch. Only when I became a plotter could I actually be productive. So, for me, that answers that eternal question.

In the kitchen, however, I'm a pantser, as I recently discovered after joining Weight Watchers® Online. I've never been much of a cook, since I've worked outside the home since I graduated from college, and I've generally had only myself to cook for. But when I joined Weight Watchers® earlier this year, I committed to cooking more of my own food. Which was quite the interesting commitment, since I didn't actually know that much about cooking. But I did some quick study. Read recipes, watched a lot of Food Network, frequented food blogs—I guess in that aspect, I was acting like the plotter that I am.

But when it came to actually cooking, I found that I wasn't the sort to follow a recipe. I like playing around with spices, or throwing in a twist to recipes to make something new. Instead of sweet French Toast, I tried making a savory version of the egg-coated bread dish, mixing red peppers and onions into the egg mixture and sandwiching a slice of fat free cheese and a sprinkle of feta cheese in the middle to make a sort of weird French Toast Grilled Cheese Sandwich. (For the record, it was delicious). I don't plan these meals out until I open the fridge to see what's inside to work with. So I guess I'll have to cop to being a pantser at the stove.

What about you? Are you a plotter or a pantser in the kitchen? How about when it comes to home decorating--go by a carefully plotted out floor plan or just mess around with furnishings and decor until you get it like you like it? Do you find you're consistently a plotter or a pantser in all things or, like me, that you're sometimes one and sometimes the other?

And what, if anything, does that tell us about our own personalities?

Monday, July 13, 2009

25 Years and Counting

This year, Harlequin Intrigue is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary. I’ve been writing for the line nearly that long. I sold my first Intrigue in 1985–DOUBLE IMAGES, published in February 1986.

Since I was invited to write one of the August anniversary books—STEALING THUNDER—I thought I would take a look back at some of the Intrigues I’ve written over the years.

When I wrote DOUBLE IMAGES—a story about a music video producer—I was Supervisor of Television Production at a community college. I also had a background in film. For my 25th birthday, my then boyfriend wrote a song for me called “Our Favorite Game.” So I used my film background to create a music video before music videos existed. I did it for fun, for artistic challenge. And when I decided to try writing an Intrigue, I went with something I knew. My heroine was a director of music videos hired to film a top band.

Even though I’d already sold two romances on my own and a couple with a writing partner, I wrote the entire novel. The senior editor at Intrigue really liked the story, but asked for some revisions. For example, I dressed my hero in a Superman costume for the big finish (I mean, he was supposed to be a hero, right?), and the editor suggested it was a bit too much. So I revised. And sold my first Intrigue.

Look for more of my “stories behind the stories” in August—I’ll be blogging several times. Is there a particular Intrigue you’d like to know more about?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coming Attractions

In January, we let you know what books were coming out from Intrigue in the first half of 2009. Here's what's coming up the rest of the year:

July 2009
#1143. Showdown In West Texas - Amanda Stevens
#1144. She's Positive - Delores Fossen
#1145. Small-Town Secrets - Debra Webb
#1146. Pregnesia - Carla Cassidy
#1147. Mountain Investigation - Jessica Andersen
#1148. Captive Of The Desert King - Donna Young

August 2009
#1149. Stealing Thunder - Patricia Rosemoor
#1150. More Than A Man - Rebecca York
#1151. The Bride's Secrets - Debra Webb
#1152. Cowboy To The Core - Joanna Wayne
#1153. Familiar Showdown - Caroline Burnes
#1154. Navajo Courage - Aimee Thurlo

September 2009
#1155. Smokin' Six Shooter - B.J. Daniels
#1156. An Unexpected Clue - Elle James
#1157. His Secret Life - Debra Webb
#1158. His Best Friend's Baby - Mallory Kane
#1159. Peek-A-Boo Protector - Rita Herron
#1160. Covert Cootchie-Cootchie-Coo - Ann Voss Peterson

October 2009
#1161. One Hot Forty-Five - B.J. Daniels
#1162. The Sharpshooter's Secret Son - Mallory Kane
#1163. Christmas Guardian - Delores Fossen
#1164. Internal Affairs - Jessica Andersen
#1165. Colorado Abduction - Cassie Miles
#1166. Agent Daddy - Alice Sharpe

November 2009
#1167. Bravo Tango Cowboy - Joanna Wayne
#1168. The Colonel's Widow? - Mallory Kane
#1169. Magnum Force Man - Amanda Stevens
#1170. Trusting A Stranger - Kerry Connor
#1171. Bodyguard Under The Mistletoe - Cassie Miles
#1172. Operation XOXO - Elle James

December 2009
#1173. First Night - Debra Webb
#1174. His Secret Christmas Baby - Rita Herron
#1175. Scene Of The Crime: Bridgewater, Texas - Carla Cassidy
#1176. Beauty And The Badge - Julie Miller
#1177. Secluded With The Cowboy - Cassie Miles
#1178. Police Protector - Dani Sinclair