Posts Tagged ‘Novels’

2017 Book News & Changes

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Hey everyone! Long time no speak. 🙂 I hope your New Year is already fantastic.

The beginning of a new year brings the promise of dumping the old and starting the new. I rarely make resolutions. If I do, I don’t often write them down. This year I have a major goal. It isn’t writing a certain number of words a week or books a year. It’s continuing some of the things I’ve been working on for several years. At the end of the year, though, I did see some things crystal clear.

One. Make sure I stay on the course of positivity in my professional and personal life.

Two. Continue to write whatever blows my skirt up. Right now that is mostly horror. Sometimes it’ll be romance.

Three. Continue my exciting new ventures with two professionals and friends in the television and movie world, including becoming…drum roll…a producer at a brand new production company. Yep, you heard it here. More on this when I have bigger details to share.

In slightly different news, one of my publishers is going out of business and will be done by January 13. My story Comeuppance (featured in the Nightmares and Echoes III anthology) will be in limbo after that date until I fold it into my own horror anthology. Eclipse and Hostility will go back up on Amazon and other outlets probably by the end of the month. Many thanks to Jennifer Tover and Josh Hilden of Gorillas With Scissors Press for being honest, hard-working, and stand up people. Best of luck to them in all their future adventures.

Okay all! That’s it for today. Until next time, live, love and dream.

Publishing: Adapting & Surviving

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Gratitude is sometimes hard to cultivate, especially if you’re rolling with the punches, whatever those punches might be. I’ve been busy, busy the last few weeks, but it’s all pretty much been good stuff. Even though I have a million things to be grateful for, I’m like everyone else. Sometimes need to remind myself to do a check in and say, “Hey idiot, look at the amazing things you’ve got in your life!” Having an incredible writing career is very much one of the top spots in that gratitude list.

Like every writer at some point in time, I’ve had to jump through hoops and adapt. One of my more recent adaptations is creating more straight horror stories whether they are short stories or full-fledged novels. I’ve always enjoyed writing paranormal romance, but I realized that horror writing had grabbed me by the throat (pun intended) and was begging me to get more involved. (I recently joined Horror Writers Association as an example). Rather than strangling that desire, I am jumping in with both feet. I can tell that my creativity needs it.

So where am I going with this?

A writer, in order to survive the publishing world, has to be willing to adapt.

Over the last several months I’ve seen many authors say they’re quitting writing. Everyone has different reasons. For some it’s been as simple as transitioning into a new career they prefer or feel drawn to at this point in time. They may have been writing thirty years or twenty years and they feel there are other things they’d rather do now. If they can leave the writing career with absolutely no regrets, with a sense of “this is right” in their gut, I say more power to them. Some, though, aren’t feeling it is right in their guts. They aren’t relieved, calmed or settled. They’re profoundly sad and torn up.

Some are quitting because they are discouraged. They might be burned out and blocked. For those individuals they may need some time away from writing to recharge, reassess, and discover through self-analysis what is required to reboot their creativity. These people often come back to writing with a whole new energy, even if it is months later. Many have worked with me in my capacity as a creativity coach. I love helping them discover their way back to writing.

Then there are people who have stopped writing because at the end of the day, if they can’t get accolades, money, and significant recognition for their writing…well that’s the end game. They’re unhappy because they’ve been writing five years or ten years or even twenty and they haven’t become a NY Times best seller and they aren’t making much money. Or maybe they were a NY Times bestseller and they used to make money hand over fist. Just like anyone who used to make money in a career and no longer is, it is understandable they might feel disappointed and discouraged. Some of these writers will stop writing for a while and realize at some point they really were writing for more than money. But if you truly can’t and don’t want to write unless the bucks are rolling in, there is no shame in quitting.

I’d encourage you, though, to consider the fact that making a lot of cash in the writing world has never been guaranteed and has never been particularly easy. Learning to deal with that reality so that you can either move on to another career or to find a brand new way to keep writing in your life…that is paramount. Keep asking yourself why you started writing in the first place. If it was purely for fame and fortune so be it. If it is for the amazing love and satisfaction that can come from creating, and if that creation brings you a high, then maybe money isn’t your honest reason for doing this writing thing. Maybe it’s time to explore adaptation and discovering how to reboot that creativity and keep writing in your life.

Think about that.

Whiddon & Cornelison on Characters & Settings

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Please welcome authors Karen Whiddon and Beth Cornelison to my blog. They have a new book out today called Rock-A-Bye Rescue. Be sure to stop by your favorite bookstores and grab a copy. Karen gives us some insight into characterization and Beth tells us about setting. Take it away ladies!


It was a dark and stormy night… Using setting in story
by Beth Cornelison

It was a dark and stormy night…

Ah, yes. The trite opening line that even Snoopy, in his Great Writer persona, used to set the stage for his novel. Why? Because setting, when used to the fullest advantage, is an important element of a writer’s toolbox. What would Rebecca be without the mysterious and austere Manderley? Would Star Wars be the same in a galaxy just around the corner from Earth?

The setting of a story, used to full advantage, affects the plot and the mood and can reflect a theme in a novel. In To Love, Honor and Defend, one of the first books I published with Harlequin Romantic Suspense, the stark cold weather, gray skies and bare trees mirrored the feelings of isolation, fear and betrayal my heroine felt. Setting can also be used for contrast, thereby highlighting some aspect of plot or character. In Healing Luke, my grumpy and bitter hero glares irritably at the bright Florida sunshine early in the story, showing the reader the truly dark place his life had reach.

Knowing the importance of setting, when I set out to write Rock-a-bye Rescue with Karen Whiddon, I knew we needed to pick a setting that would complement our story. I needed my characters to be cut off from help for a period of time, to feel alone, with the chill of fear and suspicion hanging over them. This sort of scenario is becoming harder and harder to believably achieve in the real world. Cell phones, the Internet and GPS tracking have all made keeping in touch and staying connected with the world easier. While this is great for real life, it makes the job of a suspense writer harder!

Instant communication doesn’t allow your heroine to feel suitably cut-off from help and reliant on the dark and mysterious hero who shows up at her door. The potential for a climactic battle of life and death holds less tension if a call to the local police could bring help in a matter of minutes. To build a sense of danger and suspense for Guarding Eve, I needed my hero, heroine and her infant charge to be essentially on their own for a significant period of time— enough time for danger to find them and pose a threat to life and limb. Circumstances had to be just right, and an essential element to framing and plotting the story was the setting. But how? A natural or man-made disaster, geography, or failure of technology?

After an exchange of emails, Karen and I chose the mountains of West Virginia where finding a cellular signal is difficult. But isolated mountain roads and a cabin tucked away in the woods were not enough to isolate my heroine in the modern world. So I added a significant ice storm that would close steep and twisty roads, knock out power, and strand my heroine and baby Eve. In addition, the treacherous roads provided a means for the bad guys to escape captivity, setting the suspense plot in motion. Karen seized on these elements for her story as well, and we had the foundation for plotting our “babies in jeopardy” novellas.

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Rita Award finalist Beth Cornelison made her first sale to Harlequin in June 2004 and has gone on to publish many more books with Harlequin/Silhouette as well as other publishers. Cornelison has presented writing workshops across the United States, and she currently lives in Louisiana with her husband and three spoiled cats. For more info about her books, her latest news, recipes and photos, visit

Characters Are People Too
By Karen Whiddon

When Beth and I got together to write our joined novellas for the Harlequin Romantic Suspense 2-in-1 Rock-A-Bye-Rescue, we decided on setting and backstory first. Then, while Beth worked on developing her characters, I worked on mine. We’d mutually agreed to make the villain two brothers, with one coming after her couple and the other coming after mine.

For such a short book, I knew I wanted to have my characters former lovers. Nothing better than to throw two people with unresolved issues together and watch sparks fly! Most of my stories start with the people. My hero Garrett Ware lives for his career as an FBI agent. He’s never stopped loving my heroine, Michelle Morgan, but the differences that tore them apart five years ago seemed insurmountable. Most importantly they broke up because she wanted children and he, raised by an abusive drunken father and fearful mother, didn’t. He believed he didn’t know how to be a father.

Michelle has always been a nurturing person. She looked after her baby sister as best she could, and wanted nothing more than a family of her own. When her sister Lydia was taken in by a cult leader, believing she loved him, Michelle moved to a nearby cabin in case Lydia wanted to get out. Unfortunately, Lydia is killed, but not before she bears the cult leader a baby. The baby is delivered to Michelle for safekeeping while the FBI and police search for the escaped cult leader and his brother.

With the setting Beth mentioned earlier – remote location in the West Virginia mountains, a crazed bad guy wanting to kill an innocent infant, I added in a blizzard to ratchet things up a bit more.
So we have a couple who never stopped loving each other trapped together in a cabin. A woman who now has her greatest desire, a baby, but at the cost of losing her sister. And the man charged with protecting them, about to come to terms if love can be greater than fear.

A writer can have the most beautiful setting in the world, the most dangerous villain, and an intricate plot, but without people we can root for, who can make us ache when they hurt and laugh when they feel joy, the reader will feel something’s lacking. That’s why it’s up to the author to create believable, sympathetic characters, like Beth and I did in our stories.

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Award winning author Karen Whiddon spun fanciful tales for her younger brothers as early as the age of eleven. Growing up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, then the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, she found enough magic in the rugged peaks to keep her imagination fueled for years.

 Now making her home in North Texas, she shares her life with her hero-like husband and four doting dogs. In her spare time she volunteers for Legacy Boxer Rescue, Inc. She has published over 45 books. Currently she writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne.

You can email Karen at


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Writing: Keeping The Daydream Alive

Friday, May 1st, 2015



Pardon me if I’ve posted this blog before! I just emerged from several hours of writing. I’m still in that fog, that ecstasy stage when I’ve written a scene I’m very pleased with. I’m planning on jumping straight into writing more this afternoon. Strike while the iron is hot. Lately I’ve been compelled to talk more about writing and what a writer needs to keep that iron hot. Writers listen to far too many shoulds I think. There’s a lot to be said for doing things your own way and to use another tried and true saying…damn the torpedoes.

Don’t daydream. Don’t be unrealistic. Don’t have fun.

As children we are sometimes lectured to rein in our creativity, and as adults the admonitions are often equally as powerful. Adults often forget or perhaps we’ve never known, that in order to create we must daydream and we must open ourselves to possibilities. And by gosh we’ve gotta have fun.

Whether we’re painting, dancing, sculpting, drawing or writing, we have limited ability to create satisfying art if we don’t daydream. As children we did it naturally. As adults we often need to relearn how to discover the beauty of daydreaming and the benefits it can have for our creative practice.

Rediscovering daydreaming can be as easy as taking the time to remember our childhoods. As a creative people we can usually recall those blissful moments of staring outside and being fascinated with the world. Play was the ultimate in creativity.

Few things are more exciting than finding that much talked about inner child. Because without that innocence, that piece of us that says it’s all right to play, creativity can escape us.

How do we recapture that bliss? It could be as simple as trying this one simple idea:

Take a pad of paper outside wherever you won’t be disturbed. It could be a park, your backyard or even your front porch. Breathe deeply and absorb what you’re hearing and seeing. Reconnect with the part of you that wants to return to basics. Scribble. Sketch even if you aren’t a painter or into drawing. Brainstorm a story idea based on what you see around you even if you aren’t a storyteller. Color outside of the lines. No idea is too strange. No picture is too ugly. This is your recess. Children don’t know they “can’t” do something until they’re told they can’t. Remember what it was like before someone told you “no.”

Try this whenever you’re feeling creatively stifled and discover how much easier it is to access the beauty of daydreaming.

Denise A. Agnew is the author of over 60 novels. Denise is also a paranormal investigator, Reiki Master and Certified Creativity Coach.  Visit Denise’s websites at and


Just Say Yes To Creativity

Monday, April 27th, 2015


It’s entirely possible that I said ALL of this in another blog not that long ago. My brain is a bit pickled from traveling. Got back from being out of town last week. 🙂

In my other hat as a creativity coach, I see the many slings and arrows (stealing from Shakespeare here) that creative people endure on a daily basis. Steven Pressfield, in his great book The War of Art, calls it resistance. A resistance formed by the mind that says, “Hey I can do the dishes and bow down to other outside influences before I write.” But there’s another way authors can make themselves nuts. Okay there are A LOT of other ways authors can make themselves nuts. One in particular is refusing to create what you want most to create.

Creativity. It asks you to perform, to write, to paint, to dance. It asks you to do something so few will ever do, because most people are afraid. Most people are slotted into a box early on, even if they once ventured, as a child, toward creativity.

I don’t know about you, but I think it is counterproductive to creativity to tell your muse to shut up. Yet writers do it every day. I so often see writers, who burn to create, sitting inside a box. The box that says, “This is the thing to write, because everyone else is writing it.” I also hear writers say, “I can’t wait to finish writing this book so I can start the book I really want to write.” Does this seem counter to creativity to you? To write something you don’t want to write? Perhaps there are writers who are happiest in a box. And this cool. They should stay and do what they want if most of the time they are happy. But there are far more writers who long to create that weird story. The one that nags at them in the middle of the night. If they’ve always been a romance author and this idea they have is for a mainstream book or a horror novel or some genre they’ve never tried before, they’ll shut themselves down. Or they’ll allow someone else to shut them down. It’s not practical to write that crazy idea. What will people think? It doesn’t matter what they think. Or what I think. It’s your creativity asking you to have the adventure. So have it and be joyful.

Many writers I know (including myself), will get wild ideas for a novel. Do I say, “Damn that sounds like a super complex story and it will be a lot of work and it’s way outside of what I’ve done before.” Yes, I say all of that. Then I notice how I feel about the book ideas. I get, really excited. I also get scared. Yet I know the complex ideas, the exciting and scary are usually amazingly fulfilling, the most gratifying stories I’ll ever write. So I write down the ideas and keep them in a future book file. Because my current work in progress is one of those wild ideas I had a long time ago. You know what? That’s exciting. That’s creativity working in me.

Keep your mind open to the possibilities and allow your creativity to say yes to things instead of no. It’s amazing how much happiness and joy there is to be found in just saying yes.

Writers & The Crazy Idea

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Every writer has those moments where we want to throw up our hands and scream. Very few writers never have this experience. I know I have. The trick is in understanding how to navigate around the resistance we have to creating. This is a huge topic! Several writers have covered writer’s block and other forms of resistance to creating. One author who has a slew of good advice is Steven Pressfield. Steven’s book The War of Art is one of my favorite books on the topic. Steven also wrote a book called Do The Work. Recently I was reading this book again and came across some particularly great parts of the book.

“When an idea pops into our head and we think, “No, this is too crazy.” That’s the idea we want. When we think, “This notion is completely off the wall…should I even take the time to work on this?” The answer is yes. Never doubt the soup. Never say no. The answer is always yes.”

In the romance writing industry there are a lot of authors, probably a majority, who reject the idea above. But I believe in it wholeheartedly. 🙂 Whatever the idea is, there’s a really good chance it has tremendous merit and it’s firing you up to create some great stuff! Don’t ignore the muse!

With that tiny piece of advice, I’m off to be a slug. Maybe if I don’t fall asleep, I’ll write some today.

Two Seekrit Projects!

Monday, March 24th, 2014


Seekrit projects. They hide in the shadows where they tempt you to walk down the long, dark tunnel with no flashlight. Ahem. Well, that’s what they’re like for me. Most every author I know alludes to a secret writing project now and then. You know. The writing projects that jump up and bite us in the rear and demand to be written. I’m not usually secretive enough to announce to the world that I’m being quiet about about a current work in progress. 🙂

For the last month or so I’ve done research for a book I’ve wanted to write for some time. Unable to think of a decent title for it, I’ve just decided it’s called That Novel About That Thang. 🙂 Early last week I got another idea for yet another project which may or may not turn into a trilogy. I do have a title for that trilogy and the first story. After additional research, I decided to jump into the brand new project at the same time as That Novel About That Thang. Just call me creative this month.

2011-09-15 Denise Agnew Guest Pic

So with that in mind, I won’t linger too long in that dark forest without the flashlight. Off I go!

Five Truths About Writing You Don’t Often Hear

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

I’ve been motivated by my creativity surge in the last week to state some creativity and writing truths. Obviously they are just “my” truth, but I think they often apply to other people in the writing industry.

1.  If you wait to be motivated to write, you may not finish the book. So write whether you’re inspired or not.

2. Writing every day isn’t necessary, but if you don’t write for more than a specific amount of time you’ve set as a vacation, you might want to ask yourself if you’re avoiding writing all together.

3. Write the weird ideas. The ideas that make you want to to explore, to research and make you so excited you can’t stand it. Write the ideas that make you wonder what other people will think if you DARE write them. Those are the book your soul, your creativity knows you were meant to write. If you’re genuinely excited to write a certain story, don’t let anything get in your way. That includes publishers, agents, spousal units…other family members and friends.

4. Monetary success has nothing to do with the quality of a book.

5. Writing from the heart is almost always far more satisfying then writing to formula or shoulds.

Those are your five writing truths. 🙂 I hope they make you think about your writing journey.

My Social Media Experiment & Creativity Surge

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Hey all. 🙂 I hope you’re having a great week already. I thought I’d pop in and say thank you to everyone who has picked up Before There Was You since it released March 10. I really appreciate it!

Next, I wanted to report on my social media experiment. Since last Thursday I decided I’d take a month off from Twitter and Facebook. Okay, I lied. I had a stop over last night on both to say OMG about the last episode of The Walking Dead. It was so fantastic I had to say something. 🙂

Anyhoo, my social media experiment is going well. It’s been a great rest for my brain. My primary goal was to see how much more creative I felt overall if I didn’t feel I needed to participate in social media. Thursday I immediately got an idea for a new story. A disaster story. I know, I know, I am the queen of the disaster romance…the kind where hero and heroine have to battle for their lives through a a disaster, some of which are real situations in history.  This story idea included zombies at first, but I decided that was a no go. I also haven’t figured out if it will be a novel or three novels. I do have a title for the story.  Anyhoo, we’ll see how that goes.

That Novel About That Thang? It’s still in the research stage. I got another research book Saturday and I was so excited. You know you’re really into your creative mode when a research book is thrilling!

Plus, I have three novels in a trilogy to revise and haven’t gotten around to that yet. But you know what? I feel no sense of urgency. It’s all good at the pace I’m going.

So that’s what I’m doing right now. Back to research and creating novels. Talk again soon.

Creativity and Book Recommendations!

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Howdy all. I’m finished writing the last book in my trilogy. Time for a little chill out before I start a new historical novel. I’m glad I’m not writing a trilogy for a while. They can drain the brain. Time for a historical! Because I couldn’t find a great title yet, I’ve decided to refer to it as That Book About That Thang. 🙂

Training as a creativity coach and being an author myself, I know how difficult creativity can be. While I’ve got a lot of great books on creativity, there are some that come to mind immediately that I believe have a lot to offer the creative person. Be sure to click on these links and take a look.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

On Writing: 10th. Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Crafty by Stephen King

Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott 

I hope you’ll take time to check out these books. There are some other great books on the writing life, and I’ll be sharing them with you in other blogs.

Have a wonderful weekend!