Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guest Avalon/Montlake author Carolyn Hughey aka R.T. Roberts

Hello Seekerville,  Sandra here with Carolyn Hughey,  a friend I met at the Tucson Festival of Books. Like me, she wrote for Avalon and now publishes with Montlake Publishing.  She writes romance under her own name and writes mystery using the name K. T. Roberts.  Please give her a warm Seekerville welcome. 

Carolyn and Sandra selling books at the Tucson Festival of Books

When Sandra Leesmith invited me to the Seekersville blog, it felt like I had won the Academy Award. It is truly an honor to be here.

In the midst of so much bad stuff happening around us today, it’s nice to have a place to go to escape into an author’s world if only for a brief spell.

So my question is this?  Can a humorous contemporary romance author write some serious drama in a mystery? Yes, I can!

I know you’re going to laugh at this, but I actually began writing for therapy! Yep, that’s exactly what I did. When one of my friends read what I’d written, she wanted to know more and encouraged me to finish the story. And so it began. Two years later, I submitted my first manuscript to Avalon Books only because I was looking for a rejection so I could flaunt the title of PRO as a member of Romance Writers of America. Well, I got the title all right and a contract for Cupid’s Web. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Now seven years later and I have nine books published, and another ready for release in September.

So how did I do it? Well, there are no shortcuts.

I studied every book I could get my hands on, took every workshop and even some college courses. When you want something badly enough, the only answer is doing the hard work to get there. In other words, there are no magic pills for achieving your goals. As much as I’d like to tell you to twitch your nose like a witch and pretend you have magic powers, it ain’t happening until you do the work.  But you know that. Your parents drummed that into your head from early childhood. It’s an inescapable fact.

I wrote my first story as a pantster.  That means: by the seat of my pants in author talk. Actually, the story came easy to me because it had been in my head for a long time. I knew the opening and the ending, and had absolutely no idea about the middle. Cupid’s Web is about a young woman who wants to establish her identity and begin to build a life for herself in New York, away from her well-meaning mother who believes all women should be married and having children.

And then, I attempted my second book and thought I’d do it the same way. Unfortunately, or maybe I should say fortunately, because I learned a valuable lesson, I struggled.  When I complained to my engineer husband that the story wasn’t coming easy, he gave me a lecture on outlining. Well, I made a feeble attempt at it, and showed him what I came up with. He just shook his head and insisted I needed to do more. I yes’d him to death and continued on my merry way until I found myself finishing one chapter and staring at the screen trying to figure out what I should put in the next. Ha! That’s when I decided hubby was right and I made a concerted effort to develop a map of my story. Now, I wouldn’t write a story without an outline. Like the experts say, if you don’t have a map of where you’re going, how are you going to get there?

Once you submit that first story, understand that as a writer we face many challenges and the big ‘R’ for rejection is just a fact of our lives. Don’t let the fear of rejection steal your dream. Sometimes, if the publisher is nice, they’ll tell you what you did wrong instead of sending you the standard rejection. So think of it as a learning curve. And let’s face it if you were starting a new job, it would take you a while before you knew what you were doing. So, if this is your dream, you must do it. It’s all a learning process of finding what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes rejections have nothing to do with whether you’re a good writer or not. But I must admit, the first rejection is the hardest. At first, you’re insulted, then you’re sad, then anger sets in like rigor mortis. How dare they?? My best advice is to develop a thick skin, file the rejections in the round file, and move on.

In the alternative, if you’re tired of the publisher rejections, why not try the self-publishing route? I have several author friends who are self-published and now NY Times best selling authors. A friend of mine, Marie Force, is doing an amazing job with her self-pubs, and even bought a house with her profits. And, as a matter of fact, actually turned down a contract from a publisher because she was making more money from her self-pubbing. There is nothing wrong with self-publishing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Let me say that again, There is nothing wrong with self-publishing. Just make sure you have someone to edit your work before you post it. If you have a good story, regardless of who published it, readers will buy it. I honestly do not think readers’ check to see who the publisher is before they’ll buy it? I’d be shocked to find out otherwise. What they want is a good, well-written story that entertains and offers them an escape. That’s all it takes.

And now I come to my journey as a mystery writer. After several contemporary romance, I wanted something that was meatier in substance. Law fascinates me. The fact that I have a sister who was in law enforcement for thirty-six years, operating uncover for the New York Port Authority makes my stories that much more authentic and gives me a front row seat into its operation.

The first story in my Kensington-Gerard Detective series entitled The Last Witness, took me six years to finalize and it stems from a conversation I had with my daughter. Fascinated by the story, I decided to use that as the basis for the tale.
Book One in the Gerard-Kensington Detective Series 

Two crime vanishing victim...

NYPD detectives Tate Kensington and Zachary Gerard are convinced one killer is at work, but proving it seems an impossible feat until a pre-teen prank blows the case wide open. These detectives have their own pasts to haunt them - Tate's ex-flame is now her boss, and Zach's estranged father is counsel for the defense. Complicating things even more are death threats, witnesses going AWOL, and an increasing attraction neither of them can keep denying. Can the pair put away a killer on a paper-thin case? Or will their disappearing Jane Doe prove to be...THE LAST WITNESS....

My heroine, Detective Tate Kensington, is modeled after my sister, Jessie, and she’s a complex character. But isn’t that just the way life is? Life isn’t all peaches and cream—it’s reality, so why make your characters any different? They need flaws just like we have. Makes for a lot of interesting conflict.
My recent release, Elusive Justice is an awesome story. Okay, I know that sounds egotistical, but if you don’t love your work, how can anyone else love it? Of course, you must also be objective about your work. Look at it honestly to determine.

Here’s the log line: What if a missing piece of evidence in a seven-year old cold case is the resolution to solving a crime?

Book Two in the Gerard-Kensington Detective Series

Two detectives, two cases . . . seemingly unrelated until a baffling discovery entwines them forever . . .

Tate Kensington thought she was out of homicide for good. Missing Persons is hard on the heart, but it gives her the resources and spare time she needs to help a young girl desperately searching for her beloved brother.

Meanwhile, with a murder case that has him stumped, Zachary Gerard is beginning to resent all the time Tate's been devoting to her pet project instead of him. Zachary's murder victim is turning out to be way more than anyone ever suspected, and the red tape isn't making this case any easier.

When it suddenly becomes clear that the two cases are not as independent as Kensington or Gerard thought, secrets long buried will be revealed, and the pair will team up once again on the hunt for . . . Elusive Justice.
I have two series and I’m about to start a third. Keep in mind that readers love series. Why? Because the characters become good friends and they want to know what happens to them from one book to the next.  So keep that in mind when you’re starting your writing career or writing a series.

In closing, I hope I’ve given you a little bit of a glimpse into the world of an author. But before I leave, I’d like to give you a tip about how I remember all those pertinent details of my characters for my next book? I use 4X6 index cards and file the card in a box under the alphabetical tab so that whenever I need it, its right there at my fingertips. Things like the main characters’ physical features, what street they live on, places they frequent, and anything else that you think you’ll use in the next book. Try it. You’ll be amazed and thrilled you found a way to keep track!

I am delighted to have been here with you today. To show you my gratitude, I am giving away a digital copy of Elusive Justice to one lucky winner who’ll be selected at random. And if you enjoy the book, I’d love a review on Amazon.

I’d love to hear from you. I also hope you’ll stay in touch. Stop by my website to check out my books, as well as my blog. You can find me at, my blog at I can also be reached at a blog with five of my author friends.

Before we go to comments I want to add an answer to a question I had for K.T. Roberts.  My question was How much romance do you include in your mystery?

In Book One, it's 80/20, Book Two is 70/40 but I believe the actual formula is 70/30 in order to be considered a romance.

Thanks Carolyn for joining us today.  If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comment section.  I have plenty of Chocolate Velvet coffee and today have a platter of fresh sliced fruits and Krispy Kreme donuts.  Enjoy.


  1. Hi Carolyn:

    It’s after 12 and still no comments! (We've been open an hour). I think Seekervillians are in shock! This is Pantser country.

    You asked:

    “Like the experts say, if you don’t have a map of where you’re going, how are you going to get there?”

    You’re assuming there is a ‘there’! There is no there; there is only where: that’s where you end up which is as big a surprise for the S O T P author as it is for the reader.

    Knowing where you are going just turns you into a bus driver.

    BTW: I’m the plotter. Love what you have to say. I even love that you spell pantster the way you do.


  2. LOL Vince, thanks for your comment. I spelled Pantster that way to see if you were paying attention. And now that I have your attention, I'm happy. ;-)

    So you really believe knowing where you're going is being a bus driver, huh? :-) Well, for me it works and let's face it, you have to use what works for you.

    I remember trying to write two books at the same time after my first contract with Avalon. One was a humorous romance and the other a mystery. Neither had been outlined and man, I was having a tough time. Needless to say, it was a bad idea trying to write two genres at the same time. What was I thinking?

    Again, thanks for stopping by to say hello.

  3. Vince. Vince. Vince. Are we discussing Nature versus Nurture AGAIN?

    Thank you, Carolyn. "You have to use what works for you."

    All you plotters who have characters in your book start telling you that you had plotted them in the wrong direction, raise your hands.

    AHA!!! I rest my case.

  4. Thank you Carolyn and Sandra! I envy those who can write contemporary crime/detective/police/military mystery and suspense. Just knowing so much about procedure and the laws amazes me! (Waving to Debby Giusti!)

    Carolyn, these stories sound awesome-and I appreciate you sharing your journey with us. Loved the photos of you and Sandra. The Tucson festival of books must be a blast.

    How does your sister feel about being a template for your heroine?

    Do you have anyone else in law enforcement read over your stories in the final edits?

  5. lol! I'm laughing at the Pantser/Plotter dilemma.... and thinking how fun that is across the board!

    Carolyn, thanks for being here! So nice to see the wide-range you encompass and tell me this: how do your Avalon sweet romance readers react to the reality in your suspense novels? Has that been a cause for concern?

    Tell us what prompted that change for you.

    While I eat 3 Krispy Kreme donuts because we don't have them in upstate New York anymore.

    And I miss them THIS MUCH.

    Love your indy-covers, by the way. The hand and the shower window????

    OH MY STARS, that's a suspense cover for sure. Who did your covers?

  6. Carolyn,

    Welcome to Seekerville. I've enjoyed your post this morning, and your books sound great.

    Thanks so much for sharing, it's great to meet you.

    I'm heading for the fruit now even though the Chocolate Velvet Cake sounds delicious.

    Jackie L.

  7. Sandra, thanks for bringing Carolyn to Seekerville today.

    Loved hearing about your writing journey, Carolyn. Congrats on your success and all the books you've multiple genres.

    I plot too! So I'm raising my coffee mug to outlines and synopses that keep us on track.

    Your mystery series sounds scary good!

  8. Waving back to Deb Marvin!

    Smiling and sending hugs, too!

  9. Welcome, Carolyn! I love hearing about a writer's journey to publication and how they've grown as a writer in the process. Thank you for sharing! Your books sound great!

  10. Hi CAROLYN, Its still early out our way, but I'm loving the discussion about pantster versus plotter.

    Wow, two genres at once was brave. What tricks did you use to keep them separated? You mentioned 4x6 cards for characters. I'm picturing a room full of them. lol

  11. VINCE, I'm definitely a plotter also as I wouldn't drive a bus (or RV) without knowing where I'm going.

    And yes TINA my characters often tell me to go another direction. But that's okay. At least we got out of the garage.

    RUTHY no Krispy Cremes. You were the one who started me on these yummy delights. I'd never heard of them until you brought them to Seekerville.

  12. I'm curious about Ruthy's questions. Did Avalon have as strict guidelines for "clean" mystery as they did for romance?

    I'm also curious about how you came up with R. T. Roberts. And why you chose another name.

    Have you changed your writing style now that you're writing for Montlake? I know from experience that they don't have the same restrictions as Avalon.

  13. Hi Tina. So it looks like Mr. Vince is the jokester of the group. And speaking of characters, who despite your guidance, take a left turn when you plotted them to make a right? That can happen all too easily when they exercise their independence. Like Tina asked, who hasn't had a character take carte blanche? :-) Sometimes it works, and sometimes . . . well, you already know the answer to that. Thanks for stopping by, Tina

  14. Hi Carolyn,

    Thank you for discussing all of the various choices that writers have to achieve success. Your titles give me some more to add to my TBR pile.

    I am a big fan of Marie Force's and while I don't write mysteries or suspense, I love reading them. They also help me to learn certain techniques since every book has some level of suspense in it! And Marie's career trajectory does teach some lessons in how writers can make their own success. Increasingly, I see several writers are having several books over the course of one couple's romance--they told her she was crazy to do it! Thank you for stopping by today,


  15. Hi Debra. My sister loves the attention! :-)
    As far as reading it, I belong to a wonderful yahoo group called 'crimescenewriters" where I can ask all kinds of questions and get the answers pretty quickly. The core members of the group are made up of law enforcement in some capacity. And if they don't have the answer, they know where to get it. If you write mystery, I urge you to join.
    I also belong to Sisters in Crime, and although I can't always get someone to read my work, I definitely have another source to get my answers.Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Hi Ruth,
    Your question about how my Avalon readers feel about the reality in my mysteries? I used a pen name for that very reason because my fans associate me with sweet romances.

    The change? Well, I've always been drawn to law enforcement which has totally convinced me that I must have done that kind of work in another life. :-) Seriously though, I've found writing mystery much more satisfying. With a contemporary, it's boy meets girl--the standard formula . . . but with a mystery, I can dig deeper, and use lots of twists and turns mystery writing affords me.

    Thanks for asking.

  17. Ooh, how I love waking up to Seekervillers comments...not as early as you, Sandra, at least not this morning! Have a beautiful day, friends


    AMEN TO YOUR STATEMENT: "Sometimes rejections have nothing to do with whether you’re a good writer or not." THIS has been key with me because I'm one of those passionate romance writers who is somewhat polarizing in the CBA, so I understand this WELL from both the publisher aspect (45 rejections before I sold) and a sprinkling of 1-star reviews that could singe hair.

    You also said, "But I must admit, the first rejection is the hardest."

    LOL ... AMEN to that, too -- I cried all the way to the parking lot one day after work after I got my first 1-star review that started out with the phrase, "This is simply a horrible book." :| But you're SO right, Carolyn -- gotta toughen that hide A LOT because even after that same "1-star" book went on to win American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Book of the Year, I still get those scathing rejections of my work, so that tough skin sure comes in handy!!

    Your books look VERY intriguing, especially Elusive Justice, which reminds me a wee bit of the movie, Psycho ... ;)


  19. Carolyn, welcome. I'm a firm believer in outlines, ingrained in me by an author from my local RWA chapter. The outline helps you write when you don't feel like it or just have a few minutes.

    Vince, I have what I'm told is old Peruvian joke. I thought you mihgt enjoy it.

    A family is at funeral, listeniing to the euology.

    Speaker: In all his life, Andres always focused on the road ahead. He never slowed down and never stopped to see who he was passing by. He wanted to see as much of life as he could so he never let off the gas pedal.

    Kid (tugging his mom's sleeve): Mom, I didn't know Uncle Andres was a bus driver.

  20. What a loving, fun group you have here in Seekerville! Waving hello to Deb and Glynna. Thanks for reading my post and welcoming me.

    You're absolutely right about me being brave by writing two different genres at the same time. It wasn't until one of my critique partners asked me if I'd intended to make my mystery humorous that I realized trying to write the two simultaneously was a dumb idea.

    Now, about those Krispy Cremes? They do look wonderful, but I'm afraid to try them for fear I'll become addicted!

    My mysteries were not published by Avalon. Their restrictions were just too . . . well, restricting. They also wanted more romance than mystery. The other thing was word count. Montlake on the other hand, is more flexible. I really love, love, love being a Montlake author. They're awesome.

    And lastly, how did I choose my pen name? I've always loved the name Katie, so I used the initials instead of spelling it out. As for Roberts? My husband's name is Robert, so I'm now, Robert's K. T. :-)

    Thanks for asking!

  21. Marianne, I'm loving all the comments too! Thanks for reading my post.

    Jackie, I'm heading for the fruit too!

    Piper, I'm a big fan of Marie's too. She's helped me on numerous occasions.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  22. Ruthy, you have my sympathy on no longer having Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I remember when I lived in Oregon and the first Krispy Kreme was built there. We finally went after it had been there a month and the line was still over an hour long.

  23. Thanks for coming to Seekerville, Carolyn!

    I envy you writing in two genres. I'd like to give it a try. Like most everyone else I love a good series, especially a romantic mystery series!

  24. Julie,

    You're a woman after my own heart. Writing is difficult--you put yourself out there for all the world to see and when someone comes along and gives you a one star review, it's devastating.

    My very first release, "Cupid's Web" is a chicklit. It was released during the chicklit downward spiral. My feeling is, if you don't like the genre, why pick up the book in the first place. At the time, hubby and I were on vacation. Imagine my surprise when I logged onto my computer and saw my very first review from Publisher's Weekly where the reviewer starts the review with 'chef turned author writes an unappetizing . . ." Wow! Talk about a shocker. I cried for days. I've since had a few more on different books. What I try to remember is not everyone is going to love my work and that's okay. I don't think shooting down the author just because you didn't like their style of writing is nice, but if you check out reviews they've left for other books, very often, you'll find they don't like much.

    Just remember, even NY Times best selling authors get bad reviews once in a while. It's okay. What I find so amazing is that I can have tons of compliments, but that one dang bad review seems to stick in my mind.

  25. Carolyn, I love it that you subbed it for the rejection to be an RWA Pro...and got a yes! That is perfect. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

  26. Are here we call developing a thick skin as......growing a rhino hide.

    It really helps.

  27. I stuck a toe in the contemporary suspense waters, too, using a pseudonym. Mary Nealy.

    I find it really creatively energizing to write something else once in a while. I think I come back to the cowboys with a different attitude and recapture that sense of fun.

  28. Because I'm so excited to be here and you all have been so nice, I'm going to add to my giveaway by picking two winners and including a digital copy of The Last Witness as well.

    So don't run out and buy your copies just yet. You never know, you might be one of the winners!

  29. Welcome, Carolyn!

    To borrow a phrase from Ruthy--OH MY STARS! Here we are back to the age-old pantser/plotter debate! Yep, it's absolutely true--you have to use what works for you.

    And for me, it's writing as a pantser. Now don't get me wrong. I don't start writing with no clue whatsoever about where I'm headed. I usually have at least a GENERAL idea of what the ending will be. But as to how we get there . . . it's (almost) totally up to my characters.

  30. WALT that is a funny joke. When we traveled in Latin America we were always told to find the older bus drivers. lol

  31. CAROLYN I didn't realize Avalon hadn't published your mysteries. I also love love love writing for Montlake. They let you have input on the cover. They are terrific in paying you. What I find really interesting and FUN is how many of our books sell in Europe.

    Waving at our European readers.

  32. Thanks CAROLYN for offering another winner an opportunity to read one of your mysteries. Now I wish I wasn't a Seeker. LOL

  33. Hi Carolyn:

    While there are some plotters in Seekerville, (and they are very well behaved), I believe most of them are adult onset plotters: that is, former pantsters who were later mugged by deadlines.

    I’m a type 1 plotter. While all my childhood writer friends were writing novels in their black and white marble notebooks, I was plotting novels. I’d plot one after another. My mother would often ask when I was going to actually write one. I’d tell her the fun was in the creation, not the execution. Naturally I found a career in advertising where the idea is 98% of the project and the execution only 2%. Also ads are short. (Besides, when you’re good enough, you can get lower level people to execute your ideas.)

    Besides being a joker, (some might say an agitator), I’m also a philosopher. To that point I’d like you to consider this statement: (I’m being serious now)

    “My question was How much romance do you include in your mystery?

    I believe that to the degree that you can quantify this, that is give the percentage of each, to that same degree something as gone wrong.

    I believe it is possible to write the story so that these themes are so interwoven and organically interdependent that they are inseparable in the reader’s mind. In one sense it’s 100% a romance and in another sense it’s 100% a mystery.

    Debby Guisti has written two books ( “The General’s Secretary” and “The Officer’s Secret”) where there are four separate themes in each that are just so interwoven: a mystery theme, a suspense theme (they are not the same) a romance theme, and an inspirational theme. The romance and suspense themes share a unique commonality of conflict because in both books the heroine has good reason to believe that the hero, who is trying to protect her, may actually be the one who is trying to kill her! (Should she risk her heart with someone who may be trying to kill her?) OMG!

    Also in both books a natural calamity whips up all the themes into a death defying extended climax. The four themes are thoroughly homogenized. Trying to determine what percent of these two books are romance, would be like trying to determine what percent of a given person is body and what percent is mind. It’s just not divisible in that way. What you have is: the story.

    I think Debby takes plotting to a level where it disappears. These are great books for writers to read. They are also great books for philosophers to review. : )

    BTW: I just downloaded “Dishing Up Romance” for my Kindle. The blurb sold me immediately. I like romances with the word ‘romance’ in the title. (That’s the kind I write!) I also like it when cooking is involved. I just love the Davidson, ‘Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries.’ Do any of your mysteries involve cooking? Debby is about the only romantic mystery writer that I read but I’d like to give one of yours a try, being a fellow plotter and all). Which book should I start with?


  34. Hi Walt:

    That is a great joke. In a way, it validates the theme the speaker was advancing. It reminds me of the comment that Oscar Wilde made about a cynic: “He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

    Rushing through life, without stopping to smell the roses, is to see everything and appreciate nothing.

    It makes me wonder, how much did Ralph Kramden enjoy life? And poor Alice, she never did get to go to the moon. oy vey iz mir.*


    *as we say in New York.

  35. "I was looking for a rejection so I could flaunt the title of PRO as a member of Romance Writers of America."

    That is too funny, Carolyn, but hey, been there, done that myself! How I coveted that PRO status! :)

    Welcome to Seekerville!

  36. Walt, I think we're kindred spirits! And I totally agree that having my outline helps me even when I don't feel like writing because I know where I'm going with the story. :-)

    Cara, you should definitely try writing in a different genre. It gives you a whole new perspective. And as Mary suggested, it's a breather from the normal writing and it can only enhance your writing when you go back to the other genre writing.

  37. Ruthy, did you have to mention Krispy Kremes again?

    You KNOW what happened the last time you did that...

  38. Aha! Vince, I can see there's a very deep person inside that jokester voice of yours. :-) My romances are painlessly interwoven in my mysteries. The romance is between the two detectives who are partners. But Debra's books sound intriguing too.

    Thanks for downloading Dishing Up Romance! The basis of the story is about cooking with lots of recipes after every chapter. I'm a chef by trade, although I only entertain now as opposed to working in a restaurant. You'll read lots of funny things about what happens in restaurant kitchens and the series is based on things that actually happened, although some are slightly exaggerated.

    The second book in that series is One Menu at a Time also available in digital and paperback, and the last of the series, Catering to Love is due out in September.

    My two best selling novels are Shut Up and Kiss Me and Dishing Up Romance.

    I'd start with Shut Up and Kiss Me, that is, unless you like reading chicklit, which is what you'll find in Cupid's Web.

    Thanks for asking!

  39. Myra, it's great you're able to write by the seat of your pants. There's nothing wrong with that if it works. I was just saying it doesn't work for me. :-)

  40. Hi Pam,

    I'm glad you understand that PRO status thing. LOL And about those darn Krispy Cremes. Man, you guys have me salivating over here.

    Thanks for your welcome!

  41. Sandra,

    I was very surprised by how many of my books sold in Europe too! Wow!

    I actually just cashed a check that was sent to me in pounds and almost fainted at the dollar amount. Thank you to my wonderful fans everywhere.

    I highly recommend writing/submitting to Montlake.

  42. "I believe most of them are adult onset plotters: that is, former pantsters who were later mugged by deadlines."

    I am rolling on the floor laughing at this one.

    FIVE POINTS for the Plotter.


  43. I doubt even a deadline would turn me into a full-fledged plotter! I just don't "see" the story unfold until my characters are actually living it out on the page.

    Really, I think the whole plotter/panster thing all depends on how our individual brains are wired.

    So, as has been said many times before, do whatever works for YOU and don't try to force yourself into a system that doesn't fit.

  44. Hi Carolyn:

    I’m having a lot of fun. The mail, which brings my work for the day, has not arrived yet -- so the mice can play.

    I must admit that I’m not a big fan of chicklit because the books I’ve read (that I think might have been chicklit -- I read them before I knew what chicklit was) did not seem to have a very good opinion of men. Many of the criticisms of the men in those books are actually true -- which makes the genre even more annoying for a man to read.

    These chicklit books remind me of a story I once heard:

    The heroine, after years of having her mother and aunts hound her to get married, finally settles and marries the hero. However, she knows she ‘settled’ -- something she promised her girlfriends she would never do! (Settling seems to be chicklit’s unforgiveable sin) And being a rather outspoken female, she let the poor guy have it on their wedding night.

    “I love you, Harry, but I must be honest with you upfront from the start: you have some serious faults.” She then went on to name three of them.

    “Honey, I love you too, and I’m man enough to admit I do have those faults that you mentioned. However, you should know that it was those very same faults that prevented me from getting a better wife.”


    Oh, yes, I do prefer romances: the heroes are always better than men really are! What’s not to like? And the military heroes: they’re the best. It was Maureen Child’s Marine heroes that got me reading romances.


    P.S. I just read the blurb for “Shut up and Kiss Me” – and it’s as good as copywriting gets. Who writes those blurbs? Do you or does your publisher? I thought “Dishing Up Romance” was a great blurb but “Shut up and Kiss Me” is even better. To Wit:

    What's hotter than a summer in New York City? Two sexy Italian chefs fighting over you, of course!

    Ellana Licari, a hopeless romantic, has her sights set on the tall, dark, and handsome chef Nick Soranno. With the help of the two meddling mamas, she's determined to show him she's 'The One' not that scrawny redhead who's rapidly becoming more than his casual 'flavor of the month.'

    I would hire that copywriter!

    P.P.S. If I don't win this book, I'm going to buy it.

  45. Interesting post. I laughed at the sentence where you subbed something with the expectation of being rejected and then, you weren't. God has a sense of humor.

    Your books look quite interesting. I like your source of inspiration for your mystery writing. Yet another new author I'm getting introduced to here at Seekerville.

    Count me in for the op to win something. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  46. I've been running errands for too many hours today, trying to get ready for my trip to Milwaukee! Had hoped everything would fit in one carry-on. 'Fraid not. Actually, I've tried every suitcase to see which one would pack the best.

    Carolyn, you mentioned crimescenewriters. How can I join? Sounds like a great reference site.

  47. Vince, thanks for your very, very, very kind words about my stories.

    You're receiving my Hero of the Day Award, along with cyber hugs!

    Mega thanks!

  48. Hi Carolyn!
    Thanks for the inspiring words!
    I love your covers! The one with the hand is just perfect!

  49. HI VINCE If your book is published by traditional publishers, they write the book blurb. They have special editors that do just that.

    However, they like it when an author writes a great blurb in their synopsis that they can use.

    When you self publish, you write your own blurb.

  50. MYRA I agree with you. We all are wired so uniquely and that is what is so wonderful about us.

    If a group of authors were given a synopsis to write about, each story would be so different, even though they all had the same synopsis.

    God loves variety. (Heard that in a movie. Can't remember which one, but that phrase stuck with me)

  51. DEB H. I agree. God does have an amazing sense of humor.

    Hi EVA MARIE, I like that cover too. Doesn't it just scream suspense?

  52. >> Tate's ex-flame is now her boss, and Zach's estranged father is counsel for the defense <<

    Yeah, Carolyn, but is there any conflict? :-) That sounds like a great story.

    A question about writing a series. You said the readers get to know the characters, etc. Do you, as a writer, know things about your characters that you let unfold from one book to the next? For example, is there anything about the character in book 3 that might not have been apparent in book 1?

    Of course, I could just read the series and find out for myself :-)

    Oh, and I love that you sent in the manuscript to become a PRO with a rejection. The best laid plans ....

    Nancy C

  53. You guys are just wonderful! Thank you for your comments. I'm having as much fun as Vince.

    Mr. Vince, I have to tell you, there is no bashing of men in my stories. The only bashing are other females who get in the way of my heroines plans. :-)

    As for the blurbs, I do write them even for my traditional publisher, but they change it to whatever they want. And I agree, the blurb is great.

    Deb H, Thank God, HE does have a sense of humor. :-)

    Eva Marie, here's the link to the yahoo group.

    Nancy C, I do reveal more as the series develops from one story to the next.

    I'm glad you guys like my covers. I love them. The cover for The Last Witness was done by an outside company, but I did the cover for Elusive Justice, and my other self-published books.

    I hope I've responded to everyone. If I've missed you, please give me a poke.

  54. Welcome Carolyn! I'm later chiming in today (had to be ready for the delivery men with my NEW DRYER!). Yes, that may sound silly, but after my old one broke a week ago and I've been draping towels, etc. in front of windows to get them dry, I was thrilled to see the delivery men, LOL.

    Thank you for sharing this post with us--a great overview of helpful information. And CONGRATS on your writing career--your suspense books sound very intriguing.

    Ooohhhh...I sure hope there are some Krispy Kremes left...YUM!(as I reach for a cream-filled one) *wink*.
    Thanks again for being with us today! Blessings from Georgia,
    Patti Jo

  55. Thank you, Patti Jo. I'm thrilled to have been here with such a fun group.

  56. Patti Jo, a new dryer is huge! Enjoy!

    Ah, the pleasures of the modern age. I feel for the women of old who had to hang their laundry outside. Maybe it smelled fresh, but it was also hard as nails when they brought it indoors.

    I brought peach cobbler to celebrate your new appliance, Patti Jo! :)

  57. Thanks, Carolyn, for being with us today. Hope we can meet in a future conference perhaps?

  58. Debbi Gusti, I'll be in Atlanta. I'd love to meet you and all the others. It would truly be my pleasure.

  59. Hi Carolyn,

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Your books sound great!

  60. Thank you CAROLYN for sharing with us today.

    I'll be in ATLANTA also. Won't it be fun?

    All this talk of peach cobbler is making me hungry. I hope we get some when we're in Georgia.

  61. Thank you for a wonderful day filled with comments and super friendly people. Sandra is picking the winners and we'll let you know as soon as she does.

    One thing I should mention about my two mysteries, they contain cussing and overtures of sex, but no actual explicit scenes. If the winners decide they'd prefer one of my sweet romances, I have five to choose from. Check out my website at for excerpts and information about all my books.

    Again, I thank you for making my day so special.