Thursday Writing Quote ~ Anonymous

A blank page is God's way of showing you how hard it is to be God. ~ Anonymous

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Don't Let New Releases Sneak Past You


If you're like me, you have authors who are on an auto-buy list. I want to know as soon as they have a new book out, so I can devour it. Goodreads has a nice feature with their New Release Newsletter, which you can set to let you know when an author whose books you've read has a pending release.

At least, that's how I thought it worked. Turns out that's not quite true.

When I contacted Goodreads, inquiring how an indie author could get in the newsletter (because indie and small press author's don't have the option of setting their releases up for pre-order on Amazon so how would GR know when they have a pending release?), this is what they said.

When we make decisions about the new releases mailer, we look at the site activity around those titles to determine what to include. We look at how people have shelved the book to determine the genre, and then we look at how many people have added it to their to-read list or rated the book. We take the top few from each of the selected genres and include them in the newsletter.

So as it turns out, if I'm waiting for a new release that's not by one of Goodread's "hot" authors, I'll only know it's out when I stumble across it. As a reader, that's not good enough.

As a writer, it really annoys me because, once again, those who need exposure most are getting cut out. Goodreads will, however, let you buy an ad in the newsletter. It really does feel like the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

So how do you know when your favorite non-best-selling author releases a new book?

There are other alternatives. There's Edelweiss, a site that wants to be your book discovery service, but they don't appear to include indies, so you won't see new books by authors like Courtney Milan, who decided to strike out on their own. Since Courtney's an auto-buy author for me, Edelweiss isn't a satisfactory option.

So who can give me the service I'm craving?

Are you going to be surprised when I say Amazon?

Love them or hate them, as with so many things, they do this particular service well and with a simple elegance.

You go to the author's page on Amazon (click on the author's name below any of their books to get there) then click on their Stay-Up-To-Date feature. 


And voila. 

As a reader, you'll now know as soon as it comes out. 

As a writer, you'll always have fans who don't want to be on your mailing list. You can point them here. Everyone wins.

If you want to jet over to my author page on Amazon to avail yourself of this nifty feature, click here.

Happy reading. 

Who are your auto-buy authors?

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Christopher Vogler

It’s best to acquaint yourself with the Hero’s Journey ideas and then forget about them as you sit down to write. If you get lost, refer to the metaphor as you would check a map on a journey. But don’t mistake the map for the journey. You don’t drive with a map pasted to your windshield. You consult it before setting out or when you get disoriented. The joy of a journey is not reading or following a map, but exploring unknown places and wandering off the map now and then. It’s only by getting creatively lost, beyond the boundaries of tradition, that new discoveries can be made. ~ Christopher Vogler

Release Day

I don't normally post on Mondays, but this isn't a normal Monday.

It's Release Day!


That's right. Snow White & the Eighth Dwarf is now available on Amazon!

I love fairy tale retellings, so it's exciting for me to add my own take to this genre. It's also different from my normal stories in other ways. First, it's told in first person by the eighth dwarf. The one every one excised from their version of the story. Bitchy.

Normally, I write in third person because I like being able to give both the hero and heroine's viewpoints, but I never even questioned that this needed to be in first. Strong characters tend to have a strong voice. One you can hear in your head. That was double true for Bitchy. With her snarky and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor, I couldn't have kept her off the page if I'd wanted to, and I didn't want to. She's just too much fun.

So to celebrate, I'm sharing Bitchy's description of a few of "the boys."



I’m not saying the boys are perfect. Far from it. But they’re mine . . . So some of their habits can be annoying, but I’m used to them. I wouldn’t change one single hair on their heads.

So, okay, maybe the girlie magazines under Doc's bed could go. No one really believes that cock 'n bull about him using them to study anatomy. After all, he ain't no gynecologist.

And Dopey could cut back on the pot smoking. (Really? His name wasn’t your first clue?) You should see him plow through a pan of brownies when he has a full-on case of the munchies. It’s a wonder that boy doesn’t weigh eighty pounds.

Grumpy understands me like none of the others do. Even so, he gets on my nerves sometimes with all his grumbling and negativity. No sense of humor at all.

You’ve probably figured out by now that dwarfs aren’t named at birth. The naming ceremony occurs later, when the child or adolescent (or even occasionally an adult) starts to show a dominant trait. Even so, we sometimes get it wrong. Sleepy’s a classic example. He doesn’t sleep any more than anyone else. He’s just a severe night person, so if you see him during the day, he’s often sleeping. Or fighting hard to stay awake. But once night falls, he’s the life of the party. I wouldn’t change a thing about him. Well, except maybe the snoring.

What can I say about Sneezy? I love that boy to death. It’s a pity about the allergies though. The forest is the absolute worst place for him, but none of us could bear to part with him, so he stays. It is kind of annoying though, having to make sure everything is hypoallergenic. I work my tail off dusting, and he’s very sensitive about the rocks I use to pound his clothes clean at the river. It’s a wonder they didn’t name him Hives.
 

I hate to be a tease--well, okay, that's not true--but if you want the rest, you'll have to go to Amazon to get it. If you do, I'd love to hear what you think of it.

                                         

My apologies to customers of B&N and other retailers. I'm experimenting with Amazon's Select program to see if it's worthwhile, so this won't be available elsewhere until the 90-day exclusive period is over. I figured y'all would rather I experimented with a short story than with the next installment of the McKnight's romance. (Which is coming before too much longer.) In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Bitchy's story.

The Soundtrack - Chris LeDoux

Music is one of the things I consider when I think about my characters. Who they listen to says something about who they are. So who does Sol, the hero in my upcoming release, listen to? Why, Chris LeDoux, of course. Who else would a bull rider listen to but an honest-to-God Champion Bareback Rider?

Chris is a little hard to categorize. He called his music country with a western attitude. He wrote many a rodeo song, but sometimes he put a rock spin on them. He's not only recorded with country greats Garth Brooks and Charlie Daniels, but also with rocker Bon Jovi.





I like everything Chris recorded, but at heart, I'm a ballad kind of person, and Chris gave us some lovely ballads. I slipped this one in at Zach and Maddie's wedding reception because that's where this song belongs.




At one time, many, many moons ago, Garth Brooks was Chris's opening act. Garth credits Chris with teaching him how to put on a show. Garth's first hit, Much Too Young (to Feel This Damned Old) includes a line about driving down the road listening to "a worn-out tape of Chris LeDoux" which put the spotlight on Chris. The two developed a close friendship and Garth was featured in a couple of Chris's songs.




Sadly, some things do change. Chris died far too young in 2005, but his music keeps him alive in the hearts of his many fans.

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ Richard Curtis

Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks. ~ Richard Curtis

Writer's Guide to Character Traits - A Review


Writer's Guide to Character Traits
By Linda N. Edelstein, PH.D.
Writer’s Digest Books

At almost 400 pages (trade paperback sized), this book looks really promising, but it bites off more than it can chew, trying to be all things to all people. Four hundred pages isn't enough for that.

It’s set up in an encyclopedic format, starting with the general categories of personality types and child and adolescent types and moving into more specifics such as psychological disorders, criminal types, sexual issues, etc. In each of these areas, you’re given the stock description of whatever the topic is. 

Not only does it try to define character types, it goes on to discuss life stages: childhood, adolescence and young adulthood; falling in love; getting married; having a family; divorce; step children, aging, bereavement, etc.

So we’ve got character types AND life stages. That’s awfully ambitious. Too ambitious, IMHO, because what you get is a superficial look at all of it. My feeling is that if I built a character on what’s here, I’d end up with a very clich├ęd character.

So what good is it?

Well, if one used this as an initial resource, it might have value. For instance, if you have a character (let’s say a villain) who has certain traits and you want him to appear consistent, you might peruse the psychological disorders section.

Let’s say, for instance, you decide that your character fits the profile of a narcissist. This book would give you some basic core traits but not a true in-depth understanding of the possible ways that personality profile might manifest itself. FREX: How does a narcissist respond when his view of himself is threatened? That’s not really covered here. (Having worked for a narcissist, I can tell you that they can do some pretty surprising—and appalling—things in the name of ego.) So you’d need to move on to more specialized source material, but this would work as a jumping off point. Just don't expect too much.

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ Faulkner

I write only when I'm inspired. Fortunately I'm inspired at 9 o'clock every morning. ~ William Faulkner

Earning the Happy Ending

Some years ago, I submitted one of the rare short stories I’ve written to a magazine. It was good enough to come home with a personal rejection that explained that hero hadn’t earned his happy ending. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant at the time, but I’ve since figured it out.
 
Happy endings (or unhappy one for that matter) can’t be gifts to the character. They can’t be happenstance or the result of someone else’s actions or choices. They can’t occur because the character happened to be in the right place at the right time. They must be the result of something the character did.
 
I was reminded of this recently when reading an early draft by a fellow writer. In chapter 1, the couple meets. In chapter 6, the hero thinks she’s the one. For me, this qualifies as insta-love.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, insta-love is when two characters in a romance fall in love too quickly. Insta-attraction, insta-like, insta-lust are all okay, but insta-love? Not so much.

Like happy endings, love has to be earned. It’s earned in little moments as the two get to know and trust each other. It’s earned when he holds her while she cries or when she keeps his secrets or takes care of him when he’s sick.

Insta-love is too much like that guy who wants to get laid and doesn’t care who the woman is. All he’s looking for is a warm body. In a romance, you don't want readers to feel like the heroine is the warm body who happened to be at the right place at the right time. The reader needs to feel the this is the woman he'd have searched his whole life for.

So that's two things your characters have to earn. Love and happy endings.

Thanksgiving Turkeys

Today is Thanksgiving in America. This is a day we traditionally spend with family eating turkey and pumpkin pie until we think we're going to explode. In honor of the day, here's a clip from the classic TV show WKRP In Cincinnati [1978]. I think the younger crowd have never seen this series which is a damned shame.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Nuggets for November

A good post on chapter endings.
http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2013/08/chaptering-those-magical-last-lines.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QueryTracker+%28QueryTracker+Blog%29

As far as I'm concerned, you can never know too much about your characters, especially their inner lives.
http://storyfix.com/improving-your-fiction-the-relationship-chart-part-1

On a budget? Check out these places to promote your books:
http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/15-places-to-promote-your-book-for-free_b76294

Dave Farland had some great thoughts on how to make characters interesting
http://www.davidfarland.net/writing_tips/?a=281

So you're ready to start promo-ing your book. What works? What doesn't? What isn't worth your time?
http://elenesallinger.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/blog-tours-lessons-learned/

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Elmore Leonard

My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip. ~ Elmore Leonard

The Soundtrack - Waylon Jennings


In Knight of Hearts, Rachel is a fan of Outlaw Country, which includes artists like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, and Johnny Cash. These are more than just Big Name Artists. They're legendary and as such, they deserve individual attention.


Even if you're not a country fan, you still might know Waylon's voice, because he both voiced the narrator and sang the theme song for The Dukes of Hazard.

By only a stroke of luck though did we get to know Waylon. He recorded his first song in 1958 but continued to play in Buddy Holly's band. During a 1959 tour, he gave up his seat on a plane to the Big Bopper. That ill-fated plane crashed, killing not only the Bopper, but Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens.

Like many of the older country musicians, music videos weren't part of Waylon's career. There are videos of live performances, but I opted for this version because I couldn't find a performance video that included the female vocal in the background. Maybe that's a minor point for some, but it adds a poignancy that moves me, and I didn't want you to miss it. And for me, including the song Amanda is a no brainer. One of the most beautiful love ballads ever.




Waylon didn't just occasional sing duets. For one album, a group called The Outlaws formed, consisting of Waylon, his wife Jessi Colter, Willie Nelson, and Tompall Glaser. He partnered for a couple of albums with Willie Nelson, including the Grammy Award winning album Waylon & Willie.


As if that wasn't enough, Waylon and Willie joined forces with two more country legends, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, to form the band The Highwaymen. This was never what one would call a big career move. More like an excuse for the four friends to play together.




Waylon put out some great music and I'm so glad we got the chance to know him.

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Kurt Vonnegut

When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Why Self-Help Books Can Be a Writer's Best Friend

I read a lot of writing craft books. That makes sense because I'm a writer and I want my craft to continue to improve. I also read a lot of relationship books. Why? Because I write romance. Because romances involve two people, and in my stories, that means a man and a woman. I know how women think because I am one, but men, not so much, and in spite of what they say about themselves, men are not as easy to understand as they think they are. From my standpoint, it's vital to write them with as much insight as possible.

So why is it important to get men right? For one thing, it adds verisimilitude to our characters. I remember starting a story once where the hero, already married to the heroine, was talking to his buddy about wanting to start a family. His dialog included the phrase I want a baby. Now notice I said that I started this story, not that I read it. I didn't finish it because this scene wasn't about a guy. This was a woman in a hairy suit. Men want "a family." Women want "a baby." Plus, no guy, at least no straight guy, is going to talk to his buddy about this. In my opinion, this author had zero understanding of the male mind.

Here's another reason, and one I've never seen mentioned. Lots of young women read romances. In the process, they internalize a lot of what they read. They want the strong, dashing heroes they find between the covers. Wouldn't it be great if our books also taught them ways to relate to men that they could use in real life to make their relationships better? Ways that would help their guys be the hero they both want him to be? In order to do that, we have to write real men instead of those fantasy guys who only reside in fairy tales. Then again, maybe I'm the only romance writer who sees this as desirable. Or maybe others haven't really thought about it. I think it's a worthy goal.

Each of the books I'm going to look at are either written by men or rely heavily on interviews with men. They're not written in pseudo clinical language. The writing is accessible and even funny sometimes.
 
First up is:

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus 
by John Gray



Actually, any of the Men are from Mars books are worth your time.
 
These books are well balanced in their view of how men and women think, behave, and feel differently. Even though what I was looking for when I picked up the first of these books was insight into the male mind, I also got insights into my own gender. Perhaps even more importantly, I got a glimpse of how what makes perfect sense to me is confusing to a man. This is the stuff story conflict is made of, especially in romance.
 
So just to give you a taste, here are some snippets I think can stand on their on their own. These are taken primarily from Mars and Venus Together Forever.
 
If a man can put his feelings into action, he begins to feel more in control. By simply pacing back and forth when he is frustrated, he can find the same relief a woman might feel through talking.

~A great reminder to keep your man in motion when he's stressed.
 
For centuries, the sign that a woman was loved was her not having to ask. Now when a man appears to a woman as if he is not motivated to support her needs, it weakens her self-esteem and humiliates her. She feels that she is not worthy of her love.

~What's that famous (or is that infamous?) line women love to say? If he loved me, he'd know. Or the fight version of that line? If you don't know (what you did wrong), I'm not going to tell you. I do think however that the last line of this isn't exactly right. We don't feel unworthy of love; we feel as though HE sees us as unworthy. Maybe a minor point, but a telling one I think.
 
Gradually, I learned that when a woman is upset, she rarely has the ability to appreciate solutions. This is because what she needs then is to be heard, not fixed. In some cases, a solution makes matters worse by minimizing or even invalidating her feelings.

~Absolutely true. And a great way to create hurt feeling on both sides.
 
When a woman says she wants a sensitive man, she really means she wants a man who is strong but is sensitive to her needs. Quite commonly, a woman is turned off when a man becomes more sensitive than she is...If it persists too long, she becomes increasingly annoyed.

~I can't argue with this either. No wonder men are confused. Everything is a matter of degrees, but it's in those degrees that understanding happens. We want Alpha males, but with modifications. Knowing this helps us build that perfect hero for our heroine. And for our readers.
 
In one of the books, Gray also talks about how men and women earn/award relationship "points" which I thought was fascinating. Men, he says, feel that the bigger the gesture, the more points they should earn. Hence, flowers equal one point. A trip to Paris earns them fifty points. Women, on the other hand, give one point for each gesture. I don't think this is perfectly accurate. A trip to Paris, in my opinion is worth more points than flowers, BUT--and this is a but I think most women agree with--consistency is worth more a trip to Paris. The important thing here though is that men don't understand that this is how we see it, which gives a writer a valid way to create obstacles on the way to the happily ever after. 
 
There's lots of other good stuff. And by lots, I mean tons of insights that will help us build realistic men who are good guys but will still leave us lots of room to create conflict.

The Manual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date, and Mate--and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top by Steve Santagati

According to the author, all guys have a little of the bad boy inside them. And honestly, we women like that. We especially like it in our romance heroes. This book can help you write bad boy traits and what your heroine needs to do to bring him into her arms and keep him there.

This book gives insights into the male mind in an amusing voice, but I also found a lot of little gems that will undoubtedly work their way into my stories. Here are some examples.

Men are prone to a state known as "tit dizziness." It comes on often, many times a day, and puts us in a mild stupor, completely distracted from the tasks at hand. A number of sights can induce this affliction. Examples include:
  • buttons pulling on a blouse;
  • a hint of cleavage;
  • a top hugging the outline of a woman's breasts; and
  • visible bra straps

What I like about this is that romance novels tend to use the same triggers over and over, but this adds a few other options.

While under this mysterious spell of the breasts, men have wrecked cars and fallen down stairs.

I love this because I can picture these scenes. Would I consider writing such a scene? Hell, yes. I write rom-coms.

If your man spontaneously hugs you in public, look behind you. Sometimes there's a girl he wanted to check out.

Now there's a great move. Maybe not for my hero, but for his best friend or even one of the heroine's best guy buddies, it's a gem.

One of the hottest things a woman can do in a skirt is arch her back as she pushes luggage into the overhead compartment on a plane.

This is an action I never would have thought of on my own, but it's in my head now, and when the opportunity arises, I'll likely use it (or some modified version.)

There's lots more in this book. Things like ways guys approach an attractive woman. Places they look for women. As a writer, I'm always looking for ways for my characters to meet. Be sure to keep your writer's cap on as you read this book because there's lots of good stuff that can spark ideas.


Why Men Marry Bitches: A Woman's Guide to Winning Her Man's Heart by Sherry Argov

Don't let the B word in the title throw you off. The author doesn't mean you have to be a bitch to get a man. But she does believe that women who give a man everything get nothing in return. I think she's mostly right, but while she advocates a few of the same things, this isn't a book like The Rules. This is about understanding men.

This book caught my attention early when she wrote in the introduction:

I heard a lot of critics say, "Women should never play games." From where I sit, this is very amusing because it implies that men are always compassionate, altruistic, and honest--and in no way play games with women. The reality is that men stretch the truth and strategically omit critical information all the time in order to have their cake and eat it too.

I've never been a fan of game playing, but that observation is spot on. Men know exactly what women want and they play to it. Women can do the same thing, but to do that, they need to understand what men really want long term. As writers of romance, we also need to understand that, and this book is a good tool in that quest.

This book is replete with the differences in how men and women communicate about relationships--the she says/he hears or she does/he thinks stuff. Some of it will be stuff you recognize. Some you won't. One thing I recognized that some women might not is the section about men deliberately annoying women to see where they stand. She says:

Whereas women see no logic in pissing someone off, men see it as a testing tool.

Don't believe it? It's true.

My dad's best friend tells a story about how he and his wife went to my parent's house for dinner. The men decided to go to town for some unremembered reason. Before they left, Mom said, "Dinner is at one o'clock. Don't be late." So the men went to town. They were back in plenty of time, but Dad parked up the road, and they talked in the car until they were good and late. The sole purpose for this maneuver was to annoy my mom. A key thing to keep in mind about this is that my parents had been married for a good thirty years. So yes, men do this. The author talks about what a man learns from your response, but considering the story I just told, I suspect what they're looking for depends to some degree on what stage the relationship is in. After 30 years of marriage, my dad certainly was not looking for the same thing a guy looks for two months after he meets a woman.

According to the author, early in a relationship, a man may use this technique to figure out what he can get away with and how hard he has to work at getting the woman to forgive him. Are roses enough? A romantic weekend away? A trip to Paris?

Regardless, you can use this bizarre (to us women) male behavior in a story to create complications. Even if it doesn't seem like something you want your hero to do, if you show the man's best buddy doing it, you can create a contrast between the relationships that makes your hero look, well, heroic.

Or you might use it as a way to illuminate a past relationship. That ex-boyfriend who always turned on the charm with every waitress they encountered and made the heroine feel like she had to work harder to get his attention. There's dozens of ways to make this work in a story. And as an added bonus, you get to learn the correct response to this attention-getting behavior. (Which, BTW, my mom got right.)

Relationships are important which is why so many books on the topic get published. Here's a few others, in no particular order, that I've found worthwhile over the years.

When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal by Susan Forward, Ph.D.

Why Men Won't Commit: Getting What You Both Want Without Playing Games by George Weinberg, Ph.D.

How to Make a Man Fall in Love with You: The Fail-Proof, Fool-Proof Method by Tracy Cabot

How to Break Your Addiction to a Person by Howard Halpern

He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt


Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment by Steve Harvey


So what do you thing about relationship self-help books? Have you ever read one?

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ Winston Churchill

Writing a book was an adventure. To begin with, it was a toy, and amusement; then it became a mistress; then a master, and then a tyrant ~ Winston Churchill

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Bill Granger

The act of violence is usually a period in punctuation whereas everything leading up to it is exclamation. ~ Bill Granger



Nuggets for October

It's that time again. Worthwhile links from other writers.

Let the Writer Beware
https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/the-author-exploitation-business/

Looking for a cover designer? So is PG. Thanks to his loyal fans, there are lots of good leads in the comments. http://www.thepassivevoice.com/05/2013/where-do-you-find-cover-artists/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ThePassiveVoice+%28The+Passive+Voice%29

Trying to decide if you need multiple pseudonyms? http://scottwilliamcarter.com/2013/05/14/the-death-of-pseudonym-why-i-wrote-as-jack-nolte-and-why-im-republishing-those-mysteries-under-my-own-name/

Pricing your book? Be sure to look at Smashwords survey. http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/05/new-smashwords-survey-helps-authors.html

Looking for ways to sell your books from your own website? Read this:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelwolf/2013/07/31/self-publishing-an-e-book-here-are-4-ways-to-leave-amazons-30-tax-behind/

This is a wonderful guest post by Art Holcomb that covers a number of subtle points but the focus is, I suppose, showing character growth: http://storyfix.com/the-rule-book

Thursday Writing Quotes ~ Stephen King

Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s. ~ Stephen King

Note: King's new novel Doctor Sleep (aka The Shining part 2) is now available.

The Soundtrack - Josh Turner

I often write with music playing. It helps put me in the right mindset for the stories I write. It also finds its way into my stories. It's one of the ways I personalize my characters. I think it works well for the readers who are familiar with the music, and I have gotten comments on it in Goodread reviews. It also gives me a chance to introduce the music I love to my readers, if they're interested in following up.

I love it enough though, that I want to go a step further, so I decided that maybe once a month, I would explore the songs of one of the artists mentioned in my stories. So bless youtube, here we go.

When I was writing A Knight In Cowboy Boots, I had just come back to county music in a big way. (One of these days, maybe I'll explore my musical odyssey here.) Josh Turner was key to that return. I happened to catch his performance on one of the country awards shows about the time he released his sophomore album, Your Man. He'd been nominated for the Horizon Award on that program, so he sang the song currently on the charts, Would You Go With Me.




Now I LOVE baritones, and Josh has probably the prettiest baritone voice I've ever heard. It doesn't hurt that I love the rolling banjo in this song, too. (Or that Josh is so darn cute with that great smile.)

It took a few weeks but I couldn't shake the memory of that gorgeous voice, so I went out and bought the CD. At first, I thought Would You Go With Me was the only really good song on it, but it was good enough that I played that one song a dozen times. Then finally, I decided to give the rest of the CD a second chance. I can only claim to have been momentarily out of my mind that first time because the CD is AWESOME. I put it in the 5-CD changer I had at the time, where it stayed for MONTHS. I listened to it through the writing of A Knight in Cowboy Boots, and the songs started weaving their way into the story. When Zach and Maddie meet, they dance to the music on Zach's IPod, which turned out to be the same music I was listening to. (You knew that was coming, right?)

The song Your Man became their theme song. It's even the first song they dance to when Rachel and Mac go to their wedding reception in Knight of Hearts.



I'm going to include one more song. This one's an album cut, so there's no official video, but I like album cuts. Some of my favorite songs are album cuts. Maybe that's because I don't hear them often enough for them to get stale. Then again, I often shake my head over the songs that get released as single and the ones that get passed over. If I weren't writing books, that's the job I'd want. Single picker. There would be a lot more ballads on the airwaves if I had my way.





So that's how I came back to country music, and how Zach and Maddie found "their song." And I still perk my ears up when someone says "baritone." So who's your favorite baritone?

Thursday Writing Quote ~ Robert Campbell

When deep into a scene, writing on overdrive as it were, something magical very often takes place, some hidden well of imagination tapped, and I find myself a passenger floating on the raft of what is sometimes called inspiration along a river of words in full flood. ~ Robert Campbell