Monthly Archives: February 2017

Welcome to the World Baby Book–Your Title Is… How I Choose a Title #MFRWauthor

Titles are tricky.  They represent your story. And more importantly they need to hook a reader enough to read the blurb, if not buy your book.

I really don’t have a process for picking titles. Mostly they come to me as I’m coming up with the story. Some of my titles weren’t chosen by me initially for the book, but evolved either by suggestion from an editor, or from the need to redirect my thoughts.

Gambling On A Secret, Sara Walter Ellwood, contemporary western romance, romantic suspense, cowboy romance, Texas romance, small town romanceMy book Gambling On A Secret had been  originally submitted with the title of “Butterfly.” In the story, the metamorphosis of for the two main characters is an important theme of the story. Heroine even mentions this to the hero when she describes what her vision for the broken down ranch is. She wants to turn the ugly into something beautiful. Like a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly. She even calls her ranch the Butterfly Ranch.

But when I submitted the book, the acquiring editor asked me to change the title since it didn’t sound “western-y” enough. I don’t regret this. In fact, I’m glad for it. The title we came up with worA Hunter's Angel, The Hunter's Dagger Series, A Hunter's Demon, A Hunter's Blade, Cera duBois, Sara Walter Ellwoodks just as good if not better for the book and it allowed me to have a similarity in the titles for the other books in the series, which up until then had been untitled because I could never think of anything that worked with “Butterfly.”

With my title for Heartsrings, I chose to change it when I did the final rewrite of this story. At the time I didn’t know I’d turn it into a series, but I knew the working title of “The Long Road Home” just didn’t feel right for the story. This idea of coming home, is still a major theme in the story, but it seemed stale. I did some brainstorming and came up with the title Heartstrings. Then when I decided to create a series by adding books Heartsong and Heartland to the mix, I was glad I’d decided to change it.

A Hunter’s Angel got it’s title before I even knew what the story would be. This title came to me at the same time as I got the idea of a vampire who hunted vampires out of a need to redeem himself. Only it wasn’t doing good that would redeem him. It was the love of a woman.

A Hunter’s Blade got its title in a similar fashion. The newly turned vampire hero of that story, who we first meet as a cocky human in A Hunter’s Angel, only wants one thing–the right to carry a hunter’s dagger or blade.discovery-of-witches-web-1

One of my favorite books that I’ve ever read, I was attracted to simply because of the title. The novel is called A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and is the first book in the All Souls series.  I read the title in a blog comment about four years ago and it sparked my imagination. The blog commenter didn’t say much about the book, only the author’s name and that he liked it. I was piqued and looked the book up. Next, I bought it and devoured it. Then I bought the second and pre-ordered the third and went on an amazing ride. The books are a jumble of my favorite genres–fantasy, history, paranormal, time travel, and even a little science fiction. I recently read that the story will be made into a TV series–I can’t wait to see it.

Do you have any books that you’ve read simply because of a great title?
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Categories: A Hunter's Angel, A Hunter's Blade, Gambling On a Secret, Heartstrings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Songs that Have Inspired Me #MFRWauthor

Music plays a big part in all of my contemporary westerns, particularly country music. I don’t always listen to music when I write, but I often plan or plot my stories while listening. I’ve even gotten story ideas from listening to either a certain artist or from a particular song.

Sometimes I’ll even hear a song after I’ve written a story that makes me think about a certain character.

Here’s a list of songs that have either inspired me while/before writing or make me think of a character.

  1. 11 by Cassadee Pope, Album: Frame by Frame (2013)

This song makes me think of my heroine from Heartland. The song is about a young girl whose life is turned upside down when her parents divorce. The same thing happens to Emily as a child. Because Emily is a country-turned-pop singer, I almost always picture her singing it when I hear it.

  1. Black Tears by Jason Aldean, Album: Night Train (2012)

The first time I heard this song I instantly thought about my heroine from Gambling On A Secret. The song is an emotional ballad about a stripper and how much she hates what she’s doing and often cries her mascara off; hence the black tears. Charli from Gambling On A Secret had run away from home when she was fifteen and ended up working as a stripper in Las Vegas. The song fits Charli so much it could have been written about her.

  1. Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts, (the version I have comes from the Album: Greatest Hits, Vol 1, 2008)

Heartstrings was inspired by this song. The original title of this story was “The Long Road Home.” In the story my hero is trying to find his way back home—and to the daughter he never knew. The heroine also has a broken road ahead of her—she has to forgive the hero for leaving and herself for pushing him away. This song also inspired the song Seth writes with his teenage daughter in the story.

  1. Drunk On A Plane by Dirks Bentley, Album Riser (2014)

My currently out of print novella, Chasing A Cowboy (published in the anthology set Cowboy Up) was directly inspired by this song. I heard it one day not long after it was released as a radio single and instantly pictured a country singer groom jilted at the altar and going on the honeymoon alone… Only there’s a little less drinking on the plane and I send the run-away bride’s fraternal twin sister after the groom.

This last list are singers who’ve inspired the singers in some of my stories:Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart, Sara Walter Ellwood, Contemporary Western Romance, Cowboys, Texas Romance, Native American Romance, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing

Toby Keith—my hero Seth Kendall from Heartstrings is loosely modeled after a young Toby Keith. Crazy fact—I had never seen Toby Keith’s movie Broken Bridges (a story about a country singer who meets his daughter for the first time) until long after I wrote Heartstrings.  In fact, I didn’t even know the movie existed until a friend told me about it.  Then I had to see it to make sure my story didn’t too closely resemble the movie.  I was greatly relieved that, other than the trope, the two have nothing much in common. Well, except the heroes look like Toby Keith…

Heartstrings, Sara Walter Ellwood, contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, small town romance, Country Music star hero, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing, Heartsong, Heartland, Colton Gamblers, Singing to the HeartBilly Currington/Luke Bryan—these two singers both have inspired my hero Gabe McKenna from Heartsong… Only Gabe is dark haired, but he likes to shake his cute butt on stage like Luke Bryan does.

Taylor Swift/ LeAnn Rimes/troubled young artists like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears—A mesh-up these artistsHeartland, Heartsong, Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart, Sara Walter Ellwood, Cowboys, Texas Romance, Contemporary Western Romance gave me elements that made up my troubled young songstress Emily Kendall from Heartland. Like Taylor Swift and LeAnn Rimes, Emily has an amazing-crazy talent at a tender age. She’s only fifteen when she gets her first record deal and she blurs the genre lines—making as many country number one as she does pop. But like so many young artists, she marries far too young and begins using drugs—until she finds out she’s pregnant and realizes she has to get away from her pop star ex-husband.

 

Writers get their ideas from everywhere… Music is just one of the places where I find mine.
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Categories: Gambling On a Secret, Heartland, Heartsong, Heartstrings, Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day! Most of my books are on Sale or are Free for a limited time… Come check them out.

Most of my Kensington books on sale for February:

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Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart, Sara Walter Ellwood, Contemporary Western Romance, Cowboys, Texas Romance, Native American Romance, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing

 Book 1 of the SINGING TO THE HEART series

Only $0.99 at all vendors.

amazon b&nitunes     Kobo

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Heartstrings, Sara Walter Ellwood, contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, small town romance, Country Music star hero, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing, Heartsong, Heartland, Colton Gamblers, Singing to the Heart

 Book 2 of the SINGING TO THE HEART series

Only $0.99 at all vendors.

 amazon b&nitunes     Kobo

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Heartland, Heartsong, Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart, Sara Walter Ellwood, Cowboys, Texas Romance, Contemporary Western Romance

 Book 3 of the SINGING TO THE HEART series

Only $1.99 at all vendors.

  amazon b&nitunes     Kobo

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Gambling On A Secret, Sara Walter Ellwood, contemporary western romance, romantic suspense, cowboy romance, Texas romance, small town romance

 Book 1 of the Colton Gamblers series

Free at these vendors

 amazon  itunes     Kobo

$0.99 at

b&n

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Books on Sale or Free until February 14:

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A Hunter's Angel, The Hunter's Dagger Series, A Hunter's Demon, A Hunter's Blade, Cera duBois, Sara Walter Ellwood

Prequel Novella of The Hutner’s Dagger series

Free on Amazon

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A Hunter's Angel, The Hunter's Dagger Series, A Hunter's Demon, A Hunter's Blade, Cera duBois, Sara Walter Ellwood

Book 1 of The Hutner’s Dagger series

$0.99 on Amazon

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The Birthday Fantasy, Sara Walter Ellwood, Beach read, Colorado romance, cowboy, contemporary western romance

The Birthday Fantasy

Free on Amazon

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Categories: A Hunter's Angel, A Hunter's Demon, Colton Gambers, Gambling On a Secret, Heartland, Heartsong, Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart, The Birthday Fantasy, The Hunter's Dagger Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Out in My Garden…My Favorite Hobby #MFRWauthor

Besides writing, I love to garden. I have a substantial English/Cottage garden that surrounds my house and takes up most of my yard.  I also have a sizable vegetable garden and love to can the bounty that comes from it. I’m always changing something in it. Despite having a book to write this spring, I plan to rip things apart again and redesign some of it.  Today, I’m going to take you on a tour of my favorite place to be in the spring…

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Even in winter, I love my garden when it snows.  This picture was taken a couple of years ago.

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spring, flowers, gardening

From February to November, something is always in bloom in my garden. These are commonly called snowdrops, the botanical name is Galanthus. Although they are not as gorgeous as tulips and daffodils, when I see them every late winter—sometimes even peeking their white flowers out of the snow—I know Spring is not far away.

 

 

 

 

These pictures show some of my favorite April to June flowers.

spring, flowers, gardening Spring, flowers, gardening spring, flowers, gardenign spring, gardening, flowers

spring, flowers, gardening contemporary western romantic suspesne authror Sara Walter Ellwood spring, flowers, gardening spring, flowers, gardening

 

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I love butterflies… In fact, the premise for my story Gambling On A Secret came from watching one of these guys break out of it’s cocoon.

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Here is a great shot of my vegetable garden… And what I like to do with the tomatoes–home made spaghetti sauce. Yum!

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Just a few of the many garden pictures I’ve taken over the years. These pictures were taken about 10 years apart.

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plantsI even bring the garden inside….

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And finally, here are a few photos of my gardening partner….

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Hope you enjoyed the tour.

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Categories: Insights, Out In The Garden | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

How I Met My Best Author Friend–@D’Ann Lindun @DLindun #MFRWauthor

I’d like you to meet someone who has been pretty darn important in helping me become published. Although D’Ann Lindun and I have never met in person, I still value her as one of my very best friends. We “met” on line back in 2010 on a writer’s Yahoo Group. I responded to something she said in what was becoming a heated subject, and she emailed me privately to thank me for standing up with her.

From this, we became critique partners and friends. I was pretty damned new at this whole writing to get published business and D’Ann had been trying for several years. She’s from Colorado and writes contemporary western romance, the same genre I found myself writing in… Thing is this Pennsylvania bred and born gal really had no idea what she was doing. I grew up on a farm, and for this reason, I found writing westerns more comfortable. After all, I knew what it takes to raise cattle–and chickens and pigs and, well, we raised a lot of different animals growing up–but not like how cattle are raised out west.

D’Ann saved my ass by setting me straight. I often say I know what I know about what it really means to be a cowboy, or cowgirl, from her. She taught me so much, and I owe her for that.

But my friendship, love, and respect doesn’t stop there. If it wasn’t for D’Ann, I may not have published my first western when I did. I was coming off a bad spot in my fledgling career. I had to fire an agent who wasn’t really doing anything for me. I was in the midst of overhauling the story that would become Gambling On A Secret, but had no real idea what I was going to do with it. D’Ann sponsored an editor friend of hers who worked for Lyrical Press (before the Kensington acquisition) on her blog where she was taking pitches. D’Ann emphatically encouraged me to pitch something. And at the last moment I did. That editor requested my manuscript and within a few months I got my contract for Gambling On A Secret.

The next time D’Ann helped my career was by asking me to be involved with the wildly successful Cowboy Up anthology sets. Through these, I became a bestselling Amazon author.

She has been a pillar of support and encouragement throughout the years I’ve known her.

She also is one of my all time favorite authors. Her books are amazing and I would recommend them to everyone.

You can find her books on Amazon

D'Ann Lindun, Black Mountain Series, Contemporary Western Romance

 

 

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Categories: Cowboy Up, Gambling On a Secret, Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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