Marcia’s Romantically Yours
Issue # 30
marcia king-gamble

Dear Romance Writer,

The heat is definitely on this June. My air conditioning is already cranked on high and I have a pile of ‘Must Reads’ that I can't wait to dive into while lounging poolside. If you haven't already, pick up a copy of Ingrid Weaver’s From Russia, With Love. It’s a fabulous book and the first in the Mediterranean Nights Series. Click on the link below to read the first three intriguing chapters,
From Russia With Love Sneak Peek

Next up is Joanne Rock’s Scent of a Woman; the second in the Med series. Joanne, by the way is our June interview. You'll enjoy what this talented multi-published, mother of three has to say on time management and writing from the male point of view. Donna Hill’s Guilty Pleasures is another book I can't wait to read. No one tells a gripping story quite like Donna.


Dear Romance Writer,

Welcome to the sometimes frustrating life of a writer; rewarding as it can be.

This month I made the difficult decision to skip the Romance Writer’s of America’s conference in Dallas. Several tight deadlines dictated that I kept my butt in a chair and concentrated on writing that great American novel. If you did attend the conference drop me a line and share the highlights with me. I really missed seeing old friends.

Self control and discipline is something every author quickly learns. Let’s face it, most of us would rather be out promoting our books, learning something new at workshops, or socializing with friends. But if you don’t write, you don’t get published, and if you don’t get published, you don’t get paid, and so the cycle goes.

That said, this month we welcome Cindy Breeding, a graduate of the Writing for Love or Money Program and the first author to get published. She’ll be contributing regularly and I can’t wait to read her articles. Find out more about this talented and driven novelist by logging onto

Also in this issue is an exciting author interview with a personal favorite of mine; Cindy Kirk. Cindy’s book is the third in Harlequin’s Mediterranean Nights Series. You may pick up a copy of The Tycoon’s Son at your favorite book store or at For a sneak preview be sure to read Cindy’s upbeat interview below. You’ll get a great sense of her fun personality.

We’re well into summer and most of us are have a difficult time sitting indoors. Why not bring that laptop poolside? There’s nothing like sun to spark your creativity and get the adrenaline flowing.

Happy summer everyone!

Romantically Yours,

Marcia King-Gamble
Editor -- Romantically Yours

Tools of the Trade

Cynthia Breeding is the author of Camelot’s Destiny and My Noble Knight, both published by Kensington. She has a novella, Capture Her Heart, contracted to Samhain Publishing for release in January, 2008, and a novella to be published in an anthology by Highland Press as well. In addition, two more completed manuscripts are on editor’s desks, as well as fully detailed outlines for five more books waiting to be written.

Avoiding Writer’s Block

At the recent RWA conference, I heard Nora Roberts speak. One of the questions that was asked her was, “What is your writing process?” She gave us her answer, but also added that the writing process is an individual thing and what works for one writer might not work for another. There is no one “right” way to “write”.

That same answer applies to avoiding writer’s block. Each author must work out his/her own method. However, here’s what works for me:

    1. Set aside a designated time, even if it’s only one hour, each day to write.
    2. This time is SACRED. No interruptions unless blood is being spilled or an ambulance arrives at your door.
    3. Make yourself sit down at the computer at that time even if you don’t feel like it.
    A comment I often hear from aspiring writers is that they have a great idea and even a great beginning and then, suddenly, they just don’t what else to write or where they want to go with the story.
    The second rule in Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is: “Begin with the End in Mind”. I love this idea.
    You’ve got a wonderful idea for a story. How do you want it to end?
    The ending will be your guideline for plotting.
    After I decide that, here’s what I do:
    1. I decide on who my hero and heroine will be. On separate index cards, I do a physical description of each and also what personality traits I want each of them to have. This is the time to really think about what inner conflicts each of them will have since that drives your story. You can add more details as your characters come-to-life for you.
    2. What major events are going to happen in your story? There must also be some kind of outer conflict that brings the hero and heroine together. Again, using 5x7 index cards, I jot down the MAJOR things I want to happen, one to a card. I label the cards Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc. One card per chapter.
    3. Do you have a sub-plot? If there is going to be a secondary story or strong secondary characters, jot down the major things that are going to take place within that sub-plot as well. Some of those things will be listed on the same card as the major events.
    4. Fill in the details. Next, I go back and fill in the details that need to take place in each chapter. I usually have four or five details that will be developed into scenes per chapter. More sub-details will pop up as this happens and can always be added even as the story is being written.

All of this is part of the writing process and, as Nora Roberts said, no one process works for everyone. I like using index cards because they can be rearranged or extra chapters can be added as the plot develops. Some people like to jot down just major ideas on a piece of paper or use sticky-notes. Try not to give in to the temptation that “I’ll just start writing and see what happens”. It doesn’t usually work for newbies.

Knowing what major things should happen between the beginning and the end is the way to avoid writer’s block.

For me, the more details the better. Usually, I fill up the entire front side of each chapter card and part of the back, as well. This enables me, when my Muse is late for a writing session, to know where I want the story to go next.

Then, I start writing. If I’m feeling particularly “blocked”, I start with dialogue. Have the hero say something to the heroine. Get a conversation going even if it doesn’t make much sense. The hero can even “ask” the heroine what she wants to do next... With word-processing, it’s easy to delete once the creative urge surges through you and you can get back to the main plot. Don’t be surprised, though, if your characters actually come up with some good ideas. In Camelot’s Destiny, Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar took over on more than one occasion!

Lastly, I’d like to go back to the beginning. Sit down at the computer at the designated time of day, every day, even if you have to stare at a blank screen for a few minutes. The mind hates a vacuum. So do your characters. Something will come to you. Write it down. Get the process going. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.


    August 17-19, 2007
    Romance Writers of New Zealand
    Crown Plaza Hotel
    Albert Street,
    Auckland New Zealand
    Keynote: Jennifer Crusie

    September 20-23, 2007
    American Christian Fiction Writers
    Dallas, TX.

    September 28-30, 2007
    Moonlight and Magnolias Conference
    Location: Hilton Atlanta Northeast
    Keynote: Linda Howard
    To register visit:

    October 5-6, 2007
    Put A Book In Your Heart
    The Sheraton at Woodbridge Place Hotel
    New Jersey
    Keynote: Karen Robards
    For details:

    October 26-28, 2007
    Emerald City Writers’ Conference
    Bellevue Hilton
    Bellevue, WA
    Keynote: Jayne Ann Krentz AKA Amanda Quick


Cindy Kirk is an award winning writer of contemporary romances. This lifelong Nebraska resident expertly juggles two successful careers. Cindy holds down a day job and yet this year she’ll release three books. She’s smart. She’s sassy. And she’s willing to share. Want to know more about Cindy? Log onto her website

Interview with Cindy Kirk


You just attended RWA’s National Conference in Dallas. Can you share with the readers some of the highlights?


The highlights for me were probably nothing that would interest your readers. I go to RWA to meet with writer friends from all over the country…some I only get to see once a year. The one thing I miss is the time to attend the workshops. I attended RWA for three years before I sold and loved the workshops. The only ones I can’t attend are ones where they talk about character arcs etc. Those confuse me.


Tell us a little about Cindy Kirk? What inspires her and what is she passionate about?


I’d have to say that Cindy Kirk is passionate about family, writing, and travel. She also adores animals of all kinds.


Let’s talk character development. When you get an idea for a book what steps do you take to flesh out your hero and heroine? Guide us through the process.


I really learn about the hero and heroine by writing the first five or six chapters. I continue to learn more about them as I write the book. When I get a story idea I start off by asking “what if” questions-like what if a woman led two lives? Sometimes I start writing the first chapte r before even firming up a synopsis. I’m very much a seat-of-my-pants writer. Usually I have no idea how the H&H are going to get together and how the book is going to end. When I sit down on Saturday to write my twenty pages, I don’t know what I’m going to write.


Every author has been rejected at some point or another. How do you overcome rejection, remain positive and keep writing?


I believe that it is through adversity that we grow stronger. I also believe that my writing career will go in the way it’s meant to go. The closing of the Silhouette Romance line made me decide to work on a single title idea I’d had clanking around in my head. That led to my first sale to Avon


Tell us about the Tycoon’s Son, the third in Harlequin’s Mediterranean Series.


It involves a rich man’s illegitimate son who not only finds his true love but comes to grips with the father who has never wanted anything to do with him. Writing Theo was a challenge for me since he was Greek and definitely a strong alpha male. Like most readers I want to fall in love with the hero and so I had to soften some of those strong alpha traits…just a little.


If you weren’t writing novels would you be in another creative field? If so what?


This is an interesting question because I’m not that creative in any other field. I suppose I would try my hand at writing lyrics. I love songs that tell a story.


How many books do you typically write a year?


Two to three


How do you successfully juggle the responsibilities of a day job with that of your writing career? Any tips for both the aspiring and seasoned writers?



Everyone writes differently. I write all my new pages on Saturday (in longhand). My goal is 20 pages per week. I key the pages in on Sunday, editing as I input. I print the pages out and take them everywhere with me for the next week. Any spare time I have I work on cleaning them up.

Writing has to be something you want enough to put toward the top of your priority list. The more you write the more creative you’ll find yourself being. And writing the pages and actively moving toward the end of the book will fuel your motivation.


You currently live in Nebraska. Has Nebraska been a setting for any of your novels?


Nebraska was the setting for the very first novel I sold. It was an inspirational novel released in May 2000 as Unforgettable Faith. My working title was Faith on a Harley. I’ve often wished I could have kept that title. Can you guess what the heroine’s name was and what she rode?


One of my biggest challenges as a writer is to introduce new and exciting careers to the reader. Do you have any words of wisdom about Internet Sites or books to introduce the reader to careers other than the standard lawyer or doctor?


There are some sites that will give you insight into the day-to-day life of certain occupations, but I prefer to find someone actually working in that profession and ask them questions directly. If I don’t know anyone with the occupation I’m looking for, I post a request on one of the many writers’ loops I’m on and someone always responds.


What advice regarding promotion would you give to someone new to the writing business? What’s the best money that can be spent with a limited budget?


I think having a website. As a reader, if I’m interested in an author, it’s the first place I check out.


Finally what sparks your creativity? How are you able to come up with new and different ideas?


Anything can spark an idea…a song, a phrase, something I see. I’ve found that the more actively I’m involved with the writing process, the more creative I’ve become. From the time I was small, I’ve had ideas. I thought everyone made up stories before they fell asleep or changed the ending to television shows and movies they didn’t like.

Who’s Acquiring

Loose ID, LLC

    1802 N Carson St, Ste 212-2924
    Carson City, NV 89701

Acquisition Editor - Treva Harte

Erotic love stories of 20,000 - 110,000 words.. Acquiring heterosexual and homosexual polyamorous partnering. Not run of the mill romances must have cross- partnering (multi-cultural, same sex, or polyamorous or kink central to the story.

Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

    512 Forest Lake Drive
    Warner Robins, GA. 31093

    Acquisition Editor - Marty Mathews

      Agents accepting Romance Fiction Queries:

        Caren Johnson Literary Agency
        132 East 43rd Street #216
        New York, NY 10017
        Query by e mail -

      Did you know?" gives great advice on juggling parenthood and a writing career successfully. You’ll get valuable tips from other successful writers.


      Romantically Yours is a FREE monthly newsletter. I would love to hear from you. Please send comments, news, research, or story ideas directly to Marcia King-Gamble at