Marcia’s Romantically Yours
Issue # 32
marcia king-gamble

Dear Romance Writer,

Fall is in the air and that usually means the holidays are right around the corner. I can't think of a better time to catch up on that neglected reading. For those of you who took the summer off and gotten out of the habit of writing, carve out an hour each day and get back to it. Writing can be both relaxing and cathartic. I know it helped me work through many difficult situations that would have otherwise left me pulling out my hair.

This November, the fourth in the Flamingo Beach series is being released. This one’s titled ‘Sex on Flamingo Beach,’ and I had nothing to do with the title. My preference has always been for titles that are far more subtle. However, my publisher’s sales force voted on it. Since sex sells, naturally I was forced to deliver. I am delighted to tell you that this story received four stars from Romantic Times Book Review Magazine.

Here’s a taste of what you're in store for.



Hero, Rowan James and heroine, Emilie Richardson, characters introduced in previous books are at it again. Rowan’s a land developer and Emilie manages leisure sales for Flamingo Beach’s largest resort. While they sound like a match made in heaven, Emilie, a light skinned black woman is having difficulty falling for a man outside of her race. Rowan James has never been part of her plan.

Can these two get it together and embark on a meaningful relationship? Will the townsfolk of Flamingo Beach accept them? Pick up a copy of Sex on Flamingo Beach and get your answers.

The trick this Halloween season is to keep writing. The treat might be a very nice, lucrative two book contract. Have a happy Halloween and stay away from the hobgoblins!

Romantically Yours,

Marcia King-Gamble
Editor -- Romantically Yours


Tools of the Trade

Doing Effective Research
by Cindy Breeding

Whether you are a historical writer needing to decide whether crinolines were worn during the Regency period or whether you write contemporary and need to be able to describe a crime scene investigation, writers need to do research.

Of course, you want to do this in the most efficient, effective way possible so you can get to where you need to be_writing the STORY.

The Internet is a life-saver. If I need to know who was Pope in 1496 or which Henry usurped Richard’s throne in England, the answer is but a couple of mouse clicks away. However, the Internet can be deceptive, since anyone can post to much of it. And it can be enticing, luring the “researcher” into spending hours, rather than minutes parked in front of the computer.

Having taught “how to” do a research paper to a decade’s worth of uninterested high school students, I developed a formula, of sorts, that helps you cut to the chase.

Since I love the Arthurian period (my first book is Camelot’s Destiny), I will use examples from that research, but you can substitute your own elements.

    1. Jot down the major areas that you will need to know something about. (ie: For Camelot’s Destiny: Roman-style warfare; swordplay/fencing; archery; 6th century clothing; 6th century food; medicinal herbs available in England; Druid folklore)

    2. Buy 3x5 index cards, a file folder box, and a binder

    3. Google topics on Internet.
    (Here’s a trick: do NOT stop to read the article once you've brought it up. Learn to scan the first paragraph or two and, if it looks like it has information you need, print it out.)

    4. Arrange your print-outs by topic so you’ll have all the information about one area together.

    5. With a marker, highlight sentences that are important on each source.

    6. Take an index card and jot down the MOST important information from each source. Use a different index card for each printout and on the top left, cite the source. On the top right, jot down what area of research the card contains. (ie: “Clothing” “Weaponry”)

    7. Go to the library, B&N, etc. and find BOOKS about what you are researching. Books tend to have more reliable information in them and you want to make sure what you've taken from the Internet is correct. Skim through these for more information, using the method above.

    8. Organize your information alphabetically by topic in the file-folder box. Do the same for all those printouts and put them in a binder. The index cards will be your quick source of reference when you're writing. If the Muse is being helpful and your fingers are flying, you don't want to lose momentum by having to stop and look for information. On the other hand, if and when you need more information, it is already there in the binder for you.

    9. Be aware of other references as well. Newspapers, magazine articles, TV/movies can all lend snippets that you can jot down on a card and add to your files.

    10. Don't rely on your memory for details. Even if you think you'll remember every step a CSI takes, you won't. And, most authors tend to stick with the same genre when writing that second or tenth book and the information will always be at hand.

Happy Writing!



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

      October 26-28
      South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference
      Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort
      Contact: Susan Boyer, 20 Howe Street, Unit 6
      Greenville, SC 29601
      864 370 9262

      October 27 - November 02, 2007
      Master Class Beach Retreat Week
      Beach house on Isle of Palms, SC
      Fee: $500.00
      Presenters: Jennifer Crusie, Nina Bruhns, Susan Meier
      FMI -

      November 2007
      RWA's Mystery/Suspense Chapter is pleased to announce and Intrigue KILLERINSTINCT online workshop for the month of NOVEMBER 2007.

      WORKSHOP: The Ultimate Class on Book Marketing & Public Relations: Beyond the Bookstore-Making it Happen through Publicity

      INSTRUCTOR: Linn Random

      PAYMENT MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE 27TH day of the month PRIOR to The start of the class. Cost of each Workshop is (Currently) $15.00 US for KOD Members, $30.00 US for non-KOD Members. (RWA membership NOT required to take the course). For more information check out

      November 1-4 2007
      Tony Hillerman
      Mystery Writers Conference
      Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, NM
      505 471-1565

      November 03, 2007
      Saguaro Romance Writers
      Sheraton Four Points Hotel
      Conference Center, Tucson, AZ
      Fee- $85-$95
      Presenters: Laura Baker & Robin Perini
      FMI - or

      November 03, 2007
      Empowering Characters’ Emotions
      Sponsor: Vancouver Island Chapter
      Coast Bastion Inn, Nanaimo, BC
      Fee: $85.00 - $125
      Presenter: Margie Lawson
      FMI - or


    Award winning author Karen Kendall although born in New Jersey considers herself an honorary Texan. A graduate of a seven-sisters school, Karen majored in art history. She’s been writing since 2001 and has won numerous awards. I've interviewed Karen before and enjoyed her witty responses and willingness to share. Currently I am reading her most recent offering- An Affair to Remember and loving it. You will too. Read what this talented author has to say below.

    Interview with Karen Kendall


    Tell us about growing up in Texas with a brilliant mother who just happened to be a professor. Would you say she was influential in you becoming a writer?


    My mother was very influential in my becoming a writer. Not only was the house full of books, but we went to the library every week to get MORE books. She wasn't a big fan of t.v., so I was only allowed to watch one hour of television per day, which meant that I read constantly for entertainment. It was a short step from there to making up my own stories.



    How many books have you written to date? Of these books which is your favorite, and why?


    I've now written 20 books, although only 17 of them are contracted. My first three are still howling under the bed. They're pretty bad. My favorite book is the one I just turned in, which is called TAKE ME IF YOU CAN and will be released by Signet in April of 2008. It’s a romantic adventure with a light suspense element and it was so much fun to write! I love the hero, too.



    You've written for Blaze; a relatively hot line but not exactly Erotica. What are your thoughts about writing Erotica? Why do you think that genre has become such a big seller?


    I think there are some brilliant erotica writers out there, but I'm not one of them. My standard joke is that I'm probably the most repressed Blaze author in the whole line! Erotica is a huge, growing market, though-probably because there are a lot of other somewhat repressed people out there who are very happy to have someone else write their fantasies for them. LOL.



    Who are some of your favorite authors and why?


    I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jenny Crusie and Janet Evanovich for their wonderful humor and warmth. I love Judith Ivory for her brilliance, her lyricism and her insight into character and Cherry Adair if I want a dangerous adventure. This is always the hardest question for me, because there are so many authors I love!


    How do you go about creating your characters? For example Helena Stamos in An Affair to Remember - book 5 in the Med Series is creative, artsy and spunky. Did you have a particular person in mind when you created her?


    Creating characters is a very organic process for me. While I never, ever take anyone out of real life, I am sometimes inspired by someone’s quirks or attributes. Then I'll build on those and try to step into the developing character’s shoes. It’s like a daydream. “If I'm this kind of person, how will I look at the world or react to a given situation?” It’s a little like acting.

    When I created Helena Stamos, I began with a rough sketch of who she was: the artistic younger daughter of a very rich and autocratic man. I figured she would probably be something of a rebel, and since she’s a costume designer she would have an art background. I built her character from there.



    Tell us about An Affair to Remember and the dynamic relationship between Helena and Nick?


    AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER was a complicated book to write because all of the characters are part of a continuity series-twelve books by twelve different authors. So we all had to be very careful in writing other authors’ story people.

    The relationship between Helena and Nick is complex, since they'd been lovers years before. When they encounter each other again, Nick is the captain of a ship owned by Helena’s father. His profession demands a certain formality and perfect manners-a forced calm that is at odds with Helena’s more turbulent, artistic personality. They both have reasons for feeling betrayed by the other and the attraction between them still sizzles.


    Once you have an idea for a story what is the next step? How do you flesh it out?


    Once I have an idea for a story, the next step is for me to flesh out one of the characters. Then I try to come up with another character who will basically clash with the first one, drive him/her crazy. A story’s impetus depends entirely on a strong conflict, so I have to dream up a reason for them to butt heads. It’s also important to come up with an emotional conflict that the couple must work through by the end of the story.


    If you weren't writing books what other creative field would you be in, and why?


    If I weren't writing books, I'd probably be doing something with art or interior design. I have this wild hair to go to cooking school, but that might take all of the pleasure out of cooking for me.


    What advice would you give to a writer when words just aren't flowing and the scene just doesn't seem to move?


    All writers run into problems during manuscripts, but I don't believe much in writer’s block. If I'm blocked, I know that I'm either afraid of something or I haven't figured something out. So I have to sit down and work through the issue, because the only way past it is through it-if you know what I mean. Generally if a particular scene isn't working, then I know there’s no conflict. Every scene is a unit of conflict.


    Describe your favorite kind of hero? What is it about this type of man that fascinates you?


    My favorite kind of hero is a gentleman deep inside, but he may not always appear to be one. He’s got a sense of fun and is very witty. I'm probably fascinated by this kind of hero because my husband is one!


    In the last few years we've experienced the popularity of chick lit, paranormals, urban fiction etc. Pretend you had a crystal ball, what do you think might be the wave of the future?


    I think the wave of the future is actually going to be a bit of the past. Historicals are gaining in popularity. I also expect to see a little of the ‘eighties glam fiction return-but that’s just my hunch.


    If you were a brand new author with a limited budget for advertising, say $500.00. How would you spend it?


    Hey, I'm still a pretty new author with a limited budget for advertising! But if I had a five hundred dollar budget, I'd probably spend it on a good website.


    Finally, what are other things about Karen Kendall that a reader should know?


    Oh, great-you only ask easy questions, don't you! Hmmm, other things readers should know about KK . . . well, for one thing I'm making a shift in genre. I used to write only romantic comedy and now I'm making a shift towards glamorous romantic adventure with a light suspense element. My April ’08 Signet release, TAKE ME IF YOU CAN, revolves around an agency that recovers stolen art. Since I have an art background, this is a lot of fun for me! And I adore the hero, Liam James. I hope readers will love him as much as I do.

    Thanks for the interview! I've enjoyed doing it and wish everyone a wonderful fall season filled with great books. Romantically yours, Karen Kendall

    (Karen Kendall’s October release is AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. Read more about it and the Harlequin Mediterranean Nights series at her website, Karen also writes for NAL/Signet. TAKE ME IF YOU CAN will be an April ’08 release.)

    Who’s Acquiring

    Book Cents Literary Agency
    2011 Quarrier St.
    Charleston WV 25311
    304 741-1526

    Crescent Moon Press

    Announces a Launch Contest

    Did you know?

    The late breaking news on the Harlequin front is that both the Next and the Everlasting lines have been canceled. The final Next release will be in February 2008, while the remaining Everlasting titles will be published as Super Romances.


    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