Friday, April 30, 2010

The Writing Process, Special Guest Author Sara Creasy

As a new author, my goal with this blog is to help other writers, and I decided that I want to start by adding some valuable information from other authors.

My first guest author, we have Sara Creasy joining us to talk about her writing process. First, Sara, I want to congratulate you on your first release, Song of Scarabaeus. I also want to thank you for stopping by to discuss your writing process with us. I know many aspiring writers and authors will be able to relate. Welcome, Sara.
Hi everyone, and thanks Dawn for inviting me to guest blog. This has been an exciting few days for me, with my debut science fiction romance novel Song of Scarabaeus hitting the shelves on 27th April. Today I mailed off a few copies to various friends, and the postal clerk got excited when he realized the name on the book was the same as the name on the return address label. “This is your book?” What a wonderful feeling, when a complete stranger shares your excitement!

Dawn asked me to talk about my writing process. As writers, we all have different hurdles to overcome as we churn out those words. For me, it took a long time to realize that my day job was holding me back. For many years I worked as a text book editor, and I loved it. Editors have a different relationship to words than writers do. Writers, of course, need to wear their editing hat at certain points in the process – it’s a learned skill that I recommend any writer cultivates. But for me, my editing hat was attached to my head with superglue, and that wasn’t conducive to creative writing. That was my hurdle.

I would agonize for hours over a single paragraph while my inner editor berated me for writing such awful prose. No wonder it took me years to complete a first draft. It’s difficult to keep writing when you’re so unhappy with what you’ve already written. For people like me, it’s almost impossible to resist the urge to revise every sentence a dozen times before moving on, only to go back ten pages a few minutes later and fiddle again.

The key, I realized, was to clearly delineate the writing and editing stages of the process. First drafts are supposed to be awful, and completely unfit for another’s eyes. (Seriously, don’t show your first draft to anyone!) So take off that editing hat, get your first draft down, and know you will come back later to wrestle it into shape.

This is something I’m still learning to do. The inner editor dies hard! To some extent, you have to stop caring so much about the writing and instead focus on the story that’s bursting to get out of your imagination and onto the page. When I force myself to just keep going, I often find that when I read over the work the next day, it’s really a lot better than I thought at the time. It’s less labored, more natural, more exciting, more genuine. And it’s words on the page, which means it’s that much closer to “The End.”

I’ve written a few writing and editing articles on my blog,, for anyone interested in more tips.


Thank you, Sara. And thank you to our readers for visiting and feel free to comment or ask questions.

Below is a blurb of Sara’s debut novel, Song of Scarabaeus. You can buy Sara's novel at all the usual places, including Barnes & Nobles, Amazon, etc.

Sara's website is

Blurb: Song of Scarabaeus

The best cypherteck in the galaxy, Edie can reinvent planets with little more than a thought. Trained since childhood in advanced biocyph seed technology by the all-powerful Crib empire, her mission is to terraform alien worlds while her masters bleed the outlawed Fringe populations dry. When renegade mercenaries kidnap Edie, she's not entirely sure it's a bad thing… until they leash her to a bodyguard, Finn—a former freedom fighter-turned-slave, beaten down but never broken. If Edie strays from Finn's side, he dies. If she doesn't cooperate, the pirates will kill them both. But Edie's abilities far surpass anything her enemies imagine. And now, with Finn her only ally as the merciless Crib closes in, she'll have to prove it or die on the site of her only failure… a world called Scarabaeus.

Thanks again for stopping by...

Dawn Chartier
Not An Angel, May 12, 2010


(Posted with permission from Sara Megibow - for more info check out


This year I will be attending the Romance Writers Convention in Nashville (July) and World Fantasy in Columbus (October). Some other conferences may yet come up, but that's my schedule for right now. Amazingly, I am already preparing for RWA even though summer feels light years away. At these conferences, I hope to meet writers shopping for an agent and I've been thinking of ideas to help smooth that process.

1. If you have a completed work of fiction ready to submit, prepare a two sentence blurb that you can rattle off at any time (in the elevator, after a workshop, in a pitch session - whatever). Know your word count and your genre (and subgenre) and practice reciting these things out loud. (Example "FRANK is a completed historical romance at 100,000 words. It's about a hero who is driven to shun society at the impetus of a mysterious and sexy bar wench.") (I just made that up, no laughing please.)

2. Have access to your work. Who knows, I may be impressed with your pitch (the one you've just successfully rattled off to me while waiting in line for coffee). If I ask for 30 pages, it would be great if you could say - "heck, I have them right here on my iPhone - can I send them to you?" Have two versions ready to send electronically - the first 30 pages as one document (labeled with your name, the title of the work, genre, word count and your contact information including email address). Also, have the full manuscript ready to go (with same info attached at the beginning of the document). Save them and have them in microsoft word format (no pictures, no headshots, no weblinks) and at the very least have access to them in your hotel room.

3. Update your writer website and blog before the conference and include the addresses of those tools in anything that you submit. Yes, that means you should have a website and a blog - make sure they are professional, accurate and engaging. An update doesn't have to be fancy - just make sure you have a recent blog entry (example, "I'm off to RWA - looking forward to finding an agent for FRANK") and that your website mentions your writing (better yet, there is a blurb on your completed manuscript already loaded and accessible!)

I am looking forward to this year's conferences. I enjoy meeting and talking to writers and am actively looking for new talent to represent!
Sincerely,Sara Megibow
Associate Literary Agent

* A note from me. Make sure Sara represents your genre' before you sign up to pitch to her. And I wish I had a i-phone, darn...Also, if your pitching to other agents, take a look a what they might want ready, it could be different from Sara's list.*

(Thanks for letting me share these helpful tips, Sara!)

Good luck to all those pitching!!
Dawn Chartier
Not An Angel, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Marketing For Writers....

Now that my release date is getting closer, I can't help but feel a little nervous due to the promotion end of the "authors" job. (not that I mind it, but its something new to me.)

I've put the question out there on a few authors groups, "What's the best way to promote your book?" I got so many answers my head spun. (grin) Bottom line is that I need to find my own way. What might work for them, may not work for me. True. Just like writing - everyone has their own style and voice.

I plan to try out different methods and see what works. My plan is to "Blog Swap" with other authors. Mostly, new authors, but I'm open to anyone with a book coming out or just released. So if you know of any new authors that want to swap blogs - send them my way...

Mainly I think writers need to be *friendly* to anyone who crosses their path. I heard Deborah LeBlanc state this over and over again. She says to put others first. Help those around you. If you go to Deborah LeBlanc's website you'll see how she helps others. What a great lady!

FYI: I'll have a few guest bloggers once they are back from RT, and then I'll be on their blogs. I'll let you know once all the details are completed.

Lots of luck to every author ready to promote!

Friday, April 23, 2010

*Free Chapter* to read of Deadly Destruction (my romantic suspense - WIP)

If you are not over the age of 18, this is not for your eyes......Do not read....

I've never posted a free chapter before, but I enjoyed this one due to the conflict between the Hero and Heroine. I hope you enjoy reading it too...This is from my romantic suspense novel "Deadly Destruction" still in draft form....(excuse any typo's and formatting problems)

Chapter 10 - Deadly Destruction

A woman stood at the Museum’s grand entrance and offered to take Storm’s clutch. She refused the offer, needing something to hold on to, something to help her relax.

She hated functions like this. Hated anything that would make her stand out. She sighed. Who was she kidding? Redheads always stood out.

She searched the main room for Harper. “Just look for a large crowd gathering around,” she mumbled.

Bingo. And there he was. Handsome as ever in his black tux. She smiled. He made a fine looking mayor. With his charm and supporters, he’d definitely be re-elected.

Harper spotted her, winked and held up a finger indicating he’d be a minute. Senator Long stood next to him, his eyes glued to a woman’s cleavage. Argh. She turned around, grateful Harper didn’t need her. She didn’t want to have to shake Senator Long’s hand or have to dodge a kiss.

A waiter with slick black hair walked by, and she snatched a glass of champagne from his tray. The tray almost tilted out of his hand.

“Thank you,” she said when he glared at her.

She held her clutch in one hand and the drink in the other as she strolled into the next room. Beautiful artwork hung perfectly displayed on the walls, and she couldn’t help but be enthralled by some. A piece of art stopped Storm, she stared at the beautiful picture wondering if it would cost a small fortune, she moved on to the next piece, and bumped glass first into someone.

“I’m so sorry.” Embarrassed, she glanced up, noticing a tall man with dark hair. He had a very handsome face, but now the poor guy wore a wet jacket.

“I’m not normally such a goof,” she said. “I’ll get some napkins.”

The man smiled. “No need. It’s dark and no one will notice.” He shook his hand dry, then put it out for her to take. “I’m Paul Stuart.”

Storm noted his wet hand and waved a waiter over. “Nice to meet you, Paul.” She grabbed a handful of napkins off the waiter’s tray, then dabbed at Paul’s jacket.

She nodded to the waiter, then glanced at Paul. “I’m Storm Morgeaux, the klutz of the fundraiser.”

Paul’s eyes widened. “You don’t say.” He laughed. “Well, if you’ll excuse me. It was lovely to meet you.”

Storm narrowed her eyes. “You too.” She lowered her chin and sniffed close to her arms. Deodorant’s still working. She glanced at her dress. No technical mishaps. She shrugged and continued studying the artwork as she moved into the next parlor.

A loud laugh in the larger room caught her attention. She glanced up to see Paul whispering into a man’s ear. That explained why he ran off so quickly; he thought she was trying to pick him up, but obviously he’s gay. Then Paul turned and pointed at her. Her breath caught as the other man turned and she saw his face.

“Doctor Davis,” she groaned.

Cursing beneath her breath, she couldn’t think straight. She tilted her head, and could help send him a pleasant, fake smile. What the hell was he doing here?

When he didn’t return her smile, she turned and bumped into Harper, spilling the rest of her drink down the front of her gown and some on him as well.

“Oh God,” she said. “I’m so sorry.” Harper waved to the same waiter that helped her earlier. The waiter shook his head, napkins in hand. Storm scowled at him.

Harper grabbed a handful and began blotting them on her dress. “Thanks,” he said, dismissing the waiter.

When his hand lifted higher, near her breasts, she stopped him and moved his hand back to his side.

He smirked. “Just making sure you weren’t wet - yet.”

She hesitated. She wanted to tell him she had to leave, but she couldn’t do that just yet. “Thanks. I got it from here.” She took the cloth from him and finished drying herself.

Harper chuckled. “No fun.” He lowered his head, and kissed her. “I’ll have to lick it off you tonight,” he whispered.

She felt her face flush knowing Nate was probably still watching. She took a step back. “I’ve been clumsy all day. Lack of sleep I guess.”

He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and walked her into the main dining room. She turned sideways, curious to see if Nate saw her, but he was gone.

"Looking for someone?” Harper asked, scanning the room.

“Yes. I saw a waiter with some crawfish pies. I’m starved.”

Harper pointed to the right. “Over there. Let’s get you some food.”

On the way toward a buffet table someone pulled Harper to the side.
He whispered in her ear. “I’ll only be a minute, you mind?”

Storm shook her head and pointed to the food. “I’ll be buried in the pies or jambalaya or maybe gumbo.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Be careful,” he said, then winked, turned, and continued his conversation with another political man who vaguley looked familar. Inhaling the delicious scents, she stepped in that direction.

Jazz music blared over most conversations as she made her way to the pirogue filled with boiled shrimp. She breathed in the smell of the seafood. She felt her stomach rumble, glancing down, she patted her tummy. “Shh.”

“What? The Mayor doesn’t feed his girlfriend?”

She knew that distinct thick drawl that melted her insides. “I’m – she started to tell him she wasn’t Harper’s girlfriend, but decided against it. “He feeds me just fine.”

She turned and Nate’s sad blue eyes surprised her. Was he jealous?

“Guess I know your secret now,” he said sarcastically. “Why didn’t you just tell me you were Mayor Harper’s lover?”

Oh God. She wanted to take his hand, yank him outside, and kiss the hell out of him. The seriousness in his eyes had her pulse racing.

What could she say? She was the Mayor’s lover on occasions, but only when she wanted him to be. No, that would sound pathetic. Hell. She was pretty, damn pathetic. “I’m sorry.” The only thing she could think to say.

He forced a smile. “So am I. But at least I know not to waste my time anymore.”

He whirled to leave but before she realized it, she grabbed his arm. “Wait.”

He twisted half way around. “Why?”

The hurt in his eyes was unmistakable, but there was something else. Attraction. He still wanted her.
Nate couldn’t believe his luck. He came to the fund raiser, drank the right amount of whiskey to forget her, and here she was, standing in front of him, holding his arm. “I asked, why?”
She owed him an answer. Especially after witnessing the mayor kiss her. He deserved an answer.

And by the desire in her eyes, he could tell she still wanted him too. A spark still flared between them.

He watched Storm, clutching her purse against the green dress that clung to every sexy curve. How he remembered molding those curves with his hands and mouth. Her taste still lingered on his tongue long after he’d dressed for work that morning. He’d watched her sleep for a few moments before he’d left.

But tonight he noticed her soft red curls, dangling in spirals several inches past her shoulders, and her make-up, she was actually wearing some. As a natural beauty, she didn’t need it.
He forced himself to control his hunger, temper and his breathing, but all three were slipping from his grasp. He had to get the hell out of her - here. Damn it. Here.

Why’d she have to lie to him? If she wasn’t interested in him, all she had to do was tell him to get the fuck lost. But she hadn’t. Instead, she had sex with him.


He stepped toward her and leaned near her ear. “If this was some kind of sick joke.” His eyes bore into hers, searching. The faint scent of her perfume brought back images he’d tried hard to forget.

He closed his eyes, remembering her mouth and hands all over him, and her smooth, silky skin sliding beneath his. “I don’t get it.”

She released his arm. “Nate, I wasn’t playing games. What happened was unexpected. I hadn’t planned that to happen.” She glanced around. “This is awkward. Can we go somewhere to talk?”

“No. I gotta go.” He pivoted and left her standing alone. She called out to him, but he had to keep walking. It was the only way. He marched to the bar and stood next to Paul. “I need a double Chivas on the rocks.”

The barmaid nodded.

“I don’t think you should.”

Nate didn’t care.

“Women, again?” Paul asked, knowingly.

“Nope. Never. Ever. Again.” Nate downed the drink in one long gulp. How the hell had he allowed himself to feel something for this woman so fast. It wasn’t like they’d been dating or anything. One fuck doesn’t count for shit, but try telling that to his jealous heart.

Seeing Mayor Harper kiss Storm twisted a knife in his gut. The pain hurt like hell. Then when the Mayor put his arms around her waist, he wanted to run over and knock Harper on his political ass. He groaned under his breath.

“Slow down, man.” Paul patted Nate’s shoulder. “I need a sober partner marketing our new surgery center. That’s why I bought those expensive tickets. Most of these people are loaded and they could be future contributors or even clients.”

Nate glanced at his friend.

Then Paul lifted his chin, indicating for Nate to look behind him. He turned and saw a slender, sexy brunette standing behind him, staring. The slit on her dress rose almost to her thigh, and the v shaped neckline around her overflowing breasts landed almost on her naval.

He ordered another drink. “Marketing.” He could tell his words slurred just slightly, confirmed by the grin on Paul’s face.

“Go get em’, tiger.” Paul laughed. “But don’t scare her off.” He pushed Nate toward the woman.

Nate stumbled. The lady in red smiled when she noticed him approaching.

“Hi there, sweetheart.” Her southern accent dripped heavily as she sized him slowly.


She put her hand out and Nate lifted it to his mouth and kissed the inside of her wrist.
The woman’s smile widened. “Let’s say we go outside in the garden, shall we?”

Nate took her hand and placed it across his arm. “Lets shall.” He didn’t make a lick of sense. His gaze traveled across the room and found Storm watching. Her arms crossed just under her chest. “It’s crowded in here,” he said.

He’d get Storm out of his mind one way or another. If good ole’ Mr. Scotch couldn’t do it, maybe the brunette could. All he could do was try, plus he’d let Paul believe he was outside, marketing.

Once in the garden, the woman backed him into a wall. She forced her lips on his. “Whoa. Slow down.” He pried her hands from around his neck.

“Why, darlin’?” She lifted her face and puckered her lips. He turned his head and she sighed. “I thought we both were on the same page.”

He thought he was as well until she threw herself at him. It almost sobered him. “We are. But let’s go for a walk first. Get away from prying eyes.”

He had to try to keep her from trying to seduce him. Clasping his hands, she grabbed his arm and wrapped it over her shoulder.

“You can feel me and no one would ever know.” She angled his hands on her breasts. For a split second, he allowed himself to enjoy her warmth, but it didn’t take long to realize he didn’t care one way or another. Not that she was ugly, though her beauty didn’t do a thing for him. They walked across the garden and came to a gazebo.

“Shall we?” she asked.

With a casual nod, he followed. “I think I gave you the wrong impression – Ms?” He didn’t even know her name.

“Mary Long,” she ran her hand along his chest. “And you are?”

Long? That name sounded familiar. The only Long he was familiar with was Senator Christian Long. Holy hell. Was she his wife? Damn. Damn. Damn.

“I’m Davis.” He didn’t dare give his full name.

Bugs buzzed between them. He patted his face as though something had bit him. “We better get inside quick. I’m allergic to mosquito bites.” He stood and put his hand out for her.

She tilted her head. “Seriously?”

“Oh yeah. If one of those blood suckers bite me I swell up the size of a watermelon.” He knew by her look she wouldn’t dare be caught in public with a man who had a large watermelon head. He slapped his face. “Oh no.”

Mary’s eyes rounded the size of quarters. “My God. It got you?”

“Oh God.” He gasped.

She ran away faster than he thought she could in those spiked heels, not even bothering to look back to make sure he was following.

“Nice meeting you too,” he whispered. What the hell are you doing? You don’t want to touch another woman, and especially not the senator’s wife. Damn it.

Rubbing his face, he moaned into his hands. Storm Morgeaux ruined him. One night with her, and his life was done with.

He snorted. “Drunk and pitiful.”

Storm twisted the ring around her finger, aching to leave the fund raiser in a bad way. She paced the front parlor, then searched for Harper. Instead of finding him, she found good ole’ Dr. Davis hitting on the Long’s wife.

She scanned the room and found the senator eyeing a young waitress. Those two deserved each other, and the Senator would deserve whatever he got. Nate on the other hand -.

What the hell was he doing? Did he have a death wish?

A shot of jealousy moved through Storm when Mary hooked her arm around Nate’s. Storm ached to pounce on her like a wild cat, wanting to claw the woman to pieces. A pang of regret settled in her bones for blowing him off, but it was for the best. Wasn’t it? It had to be, but why didn’t it feel that way?

She twisted the ring again and again while her temper rose. She glanced to the left and saw Harper buried deep in conversation with more politicians. She hoped he hadn’t spotted her staring at Nate.

She had to warn Nate that Mary was married to someone that could squash him and his career. She could at least do that much for him. Especially since he seemed to think she was a total liar. In some ways, she had become one. It poisoned her, and hurt to realize she comprimised the standards and morals she had built herself around. Gone.

How had she lost sight of who she was?

Okay, she’d let him in on Mary, then leave and go home. She thought about Chevy and hoped to God he’d been the perfect gentleman without her. At least she hoped she still had a sofa to sit on. She continued to the back door, when Paul Stuart stopped her.

"Hello, Ms. Morgeaux. We meet again.” He stood in her way.

“Hello, Paul. Excuse me.” She stepped around him.

“I wouldn’t go out there right now if I were you.” He raised his brows. “You might not want to see the view.”

Storm crossed her arms. “You are not me, so move it.” She so was not herself either, but she blasted the door open and Mary ran inside, her face flushed, her hair a slight mess.

Mary gasped. “Oops. Sorry.”

Storm watched the senator's wife run into the ladies restroom. Damn, that was fast. They couldn’t have. They hadn’t. Or had they? Heat sucked the breath from her, and flushed her face as she stepped outside.

“Looking for me?” Nate called from the right.

Storm narrowed her eyes at him. “No. I’m looking for Harper.”

“Sure you are.” He strode toward her, his body tilting toward the side like gravity was pulling on him. He stopped, adjusted his tie and his stand.

“Do you know who that woman was?” She pointed toward the door and didn’t let him answer.
“That’s Mary Long. You know, the senator’s wife. Have you no couth?”

He stepped inches from her. “Look who’s talking!”

Her temper gnawed for release, and she tried to keep her cool by biting her top lip. She held her fist close to her sides. “Is that what this is about? You screwed her because I’m here with Harper, my date?” If he was trying to get to her, he had suceeded.

Nate’s brows creased. “Date? You said he was your boyfriend.”

“I did not. You said that.” She crossed her arms so she wouldn’t hit him.

He took a step closer, his eyes narrowed, and his chest rose up and down. “Why did you come out here?”

Screw it. It was clear he didn’t want her around. Hello! You dumped him, it was for the best, remember. Frustration flared through her, thinking about Mary touching Nate and Nate touching her. God only knows what STDs the senator gave her, and what she might have given to Nate.

Hell, why had she come out here in the first place? To stop him from making a complete ass out of himself, or was it to stop Mary from having Nate. Damn, she didn’t know anymore.

Nate glared at her, waiting for her reply. He stumbled a step back, and then two steps forward.

She shook her head. “Are you drunk?” She sighed and gave in to the truth. “I was only trying to help.”

Nate inched closer, his knees bumping her legs. She shut her eyes, aware his face was inches from hers. The smell of whiskey and man mingled in the sultry air. Her gut clenched. She suspected if she tasted him, she would get high. Would it be from the alcohol or the man?

Light-headed and dizzy, she rubbed her temples. Standing so close to him, she was overwhelmed by the memories of his seductive kiss. How she’d melted beneath his touch.

His breath brushed her face and strands of hair tickled her neck, spreading shivers down the slope of her back. God, she wanted him to touch her right now.

As though he’d read her mind, his hand roughly cupped underneath her chin, and lifted her gaze to meet his. “And just who were you trying to help, Storm?”

Monday, April 19, 2010

NOT AN ANGEL, release date May 12, 2010

As though you haven't heard it enough...I'm also spreading the word *here* that my first novel, NOT AN ANGEL, will be released on May 12, 2010. (that's not too far away)

Screams!!!!! I'm so damn excited.......

Available at:
You can read an excerpt on the publishers website or my website:

NOT AN ANGEL, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 17th - Agent Pamela Ahearn will be the presenter at Sola-RWA group

For the April meeting Agent, Pamela Ahearn will discuss common mistakes writers make.

Ahearn was born in Cincinnati and raised on Long Island, she holds an MA from University of Chicago in Comparative Literature, and an AB from Brown University in Comp. Lit/German. She worked at Bantam Books, Dell Books and Richard Curtis Agency before moving to New Orleans, where she was with Southern Writers Agency for eight years. In l992 she founded The Ahearn Agency, Inc., which currently represents between 30-35 authors with a specialization in romance and suspense. She has represented several New York Times, USA-Today and Walden’s Bestselling authors as well as RITA, Anthony and Agatha Award winners/nominees, including Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, S.W. Hubbard, Wendy Lindstrom, Sabrina Jeffries, Meagan McKinney, Laura Joh Rowland, Carlene Thompson and Allan Topol. She is the author of one historical romance, and lives with her husband Barry and son Thomas in New Orleans.

Come by and visit us at this months meeting.
Dawn Chartier
NOT AN ANGEL, coming May 12, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010