Valentines Blog Tour featuring Amy Corwin

Today is the last day in the Valentine's Day Blog Tour. I am so glad I participated. Not only did I get to read some pretty interesting, and informative, blog posts, I met some terrific and talented women. If you haven't stopped at any of the posts, you're missing out. Trust me.

And if the fabulous posts weren't enough, and they are, commenting on any of the posts enters you in a drawing to win $40 in gift certificates and a chance to win the  GRAND prize (it's so big I had to use all caps) worth $50.

Today, I have Amy Corwin on my blog talking about how to Develop unique characters. Amy is an award-winning author who published her first historical mystery, I Bid One American, in 2008 and has since published two more historical mysteries featuring the Archer family. In 2012, Amy’s first cozy contemporary mystery, Whacked, will be released. She writes for The Wild Rose Press and Five Star/Gale.

Without further ado, (love that word) here's Amy!

Developing Unique Characters

There is nothing easy about writing and one of the hardest things is developing characters that resonate with readers. The people who populate our fiction need to be memorable, larger than life, and real.

When I was first starting out, there was a lot of advice for creating unique characters circulating around the Internet that basically consisted of one or more of the following:

• Write up a biography or life history of your characters, including their past traumas, aspirations, and goals;

• Make him/her one of the standard archetypes like “optimistic cheerleader” type or “Fearless Leader” type;

• Give him/her some unexpected hobby or trait, like the Fearless Leader has an entire basement devoted to O-scale model trains; and

• And if you have problems making him/her sympathetic, give him a pet.

It almost sounds easy, doesn’t it? A regular four step plan. Unfortunately, while I do take the time to write out a brief history of each character so I know ages, schools, physical description, etc, none of these things is ever really enough. Not to mention that I’ve seen the “unexpected hobby/trait” abused in uber-obvious attempts by authors to make their characters different. They often end up picking a hobby that just doesn’t really go with the basic character they’ve built so it winds up creating a patchwork/hodgepodge effect that doesn’t really work.

What works for me is just…writing. The first three chapters of every book I write are the “getting to know you phase”. I can detail characters, plot out the personality traits, hobbies, facts of their life, and even give them a pet schnauzer, but until those first three chapters are down on paper, the character remains an amorphous blob without a true identity or personality.

But once I start writing, well… The characters take over. They develop their own patterns of speech and behavior and often simply refuse to “play along” with the hobbies I’ve tried to give them. They toss them out and seek out their own forms of entertainment. Unfortunately for me, this usually means that I have to delete or completely rewrite the first three chapters of every book because they are my idea of who the characters should be, before they show me who they really are.

This is not to say, however, that there aren’t techniques I use because there are. Once I finish the first three chapters ad have a pretty good idea who the characters are and how they interact with each other, I stop to note their personality quirks. Each one has pet phrases or a turn of speech that is habitual, and I make sure I annotate my information to ensure I keep those peculiarities straight. Each character interacts and learns from the world around him/her in a different manner. Some are thinkers and need to intellectualize events to learn. Others are more physical and need to “work through” things in a physical way. And those sensory patterns are often reflected in their speech. For example, someone who needs to work physically with something in order to learn about it, may use physically-oriented figures of speech, e.g. “I just can’t seem to get a grip today.” Someone who relies more on learning and interacting through their auditory senses may say, “I hear you.”

I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you. Suffice to say, building characters is a process of layering details that combined with create a character who readers can sympathize with and yet who stands out in some way that makes her stand out in a way that makes her worthy of the title: heroine.

Here is a blurb for Amy's book, THE BRICKLAYER'S HELPER

What would you do if you were a young girl, orphaned during the early years of the 19th century? Without a family and references, you’d find pitifully few jobs for women, leaving you to face a desperate life of thievery or prostitution.

Sarah faces this terrible situation in The Bricklayer’s Helper.

Her story was based on the actual life of Catherine Wilson, who was orphaned at fourteen and faced a bleak future. Catherine refused to accept the social restrictions of her day and donned her deceased brother’s clothes to find work under the name of John Thomson.

Just like Catherine, Sarah finds herself orphaned and alone when a suspicious fire burns down her home with her family trapped inside. All she can remember about the horrific event is the warning to “run and hide,” and hide she does. Sarah cuts her hair and dons the garb of a young boy, hoping to survive on her own. In this disguise, she’s obtains a job as a bricklayer’s helper and remains safe for thirteen years.

When work takes her to London, a man from her past recognizes her and arranges a meeting, only to be murdered before they can speak. Desperate that she may be vulnerable, Sarah hires an inquiry agent from the Second Sons Inquiry Agency.

However, the inquiry agent, William Trenchard, is far too frippery for Sarah’s taste. In her experience, attractive men can rarely do more than fumble their way beneath a lady’s skirt, but she fears he may be her last chance. And William is so sick of being labeled a “Bedroom Bantam” that the look of disdain in Sarah’s eyes drives him to prove his worth.

Unfortunately, their decisions may prove to be dangerous to their hearts…if not downright fatal.

"This first novel by Ms. Corwin revealed her abilities to grip the reader’s attention…” – The Romance Studio

Visit Amy Corwin on the web at or

And don't forget the other stops in the Valentine's Tour!

Meet author AJ Nuest at

Meet author Lynne Roberts at (that's me!)

Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at

Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James at

Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at

Meet contemporary YA an adult romance author Linda Kage at

Meet paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons at

Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at

Meet Amie Louellen, author of fun and whimsical contemporary romance at

Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at


The final week of the month-long blog tour. Commenters this week are up for a weekly prize worth $40 and/or a Grand Prize worth over $50! Topic this week - Developing Unique Characters

Tomorrow, February 23th:

Meet author AJ Nuest at

Meet author Lynne Roberts at

Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at

Meet author Amy Corwin at

Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James at

Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at

Meet contemporary YA an adult romance author Linda Kage at

Meet paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons at

Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at

Meet Amie Louellen, author of fun and whimsical contemporary romance at

Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at

Looking for a hero?

Let's face it, the erotic, and romance for that matter, industry goes hand and hand with images of hunky heroes. We like to look at sculpted arms, toned shoulders, rippling abdomons... okay, you get the idea. As diverse as heroes are, there is one thing they have in common. Even if they're hiding behind Clark Kent glasses and pencil protecters, heroes are overflowing with the sex appeal, especially for our heroine.

Helen Hardt, an oh-so-talented author, features hunky heroes on her blog weekly. You really don't want to miss her Hump-Day Hunk.

Today, she's featuring my favorite hero: Caleb from CREATIVE LICENSE. So stop on by Helen's blog and meet Caleb.

Monday Pick Me Up

And he could assure one, couldn't he?

I'm on the road again.

Today I'm over in Romance Alley talking about my inspiration for CREATIVE LICENSE! Don't leave me lonely. : )

Please  don't forget, a comment on the Valentine Day Blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $30 gift certificate! Don't miss the awesome  true romance stories!

Valentine's Blog Tour Week Three featuring Linda Kage

To be honest with all of you, this is the week of the blog tour I've been looking forward to the most! Why? I guess it's no suprise, that as a romance writer, I'm in love with love and love stories. This week, the members of this blog tour will tell the story of how they met their significant other. I'm so excited to visit all the blogs and read!
Don't forget, commenting on a blog enters you in a contest where you can win $30 in gift certificates and a chance to win the grand prize valued at $50!

 Today I have the talented Linda Kage telling the story of how she met her significant other. Linda is a contemporary romance writer from the Midwestern USA, where she lives with her wonderful husband, daughter, and their nine cuckoo clocks. The eighth and final child of dairy farmers, she was forced into having a vivid imagination if she ever wanted to do something one of her siblings hadn't already tried.

I watched vh1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s on TV a while back and heard a line I loved.

"Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls came in number 39 and someone on the show made the comment that this was a good couples song. They said, "Couples who came together with Goo, stuck together." I was like, "Oh, yeah! Rock on," because of course that was me and my man's song back in 1998 when we met and, yep, we're still together.

So we digress way back to November of 1998, my freshman year of college. I came home for Thanksgiving break and made plans to meet my school friend Susan (hi Susan!) and get together to do... something. She made some comments beforehand about me meeting this guy friend of hers, but I didn't think too much of it at the time. I was more excited about getting to see Susan again.

The night of our reunion came. We, plus another friend of ours, piled into my 1990 Nissan Sentra and headed toward a honky tonk bar not too far away called Twisters. There, this guy friend of Susan's had already arrived and was playing pool with a group of his buddies. Susan introduced us, we all played pool for a couple of rounds, and then he asked me to dance.

I couldn't tell you what that first song was. It was probably some country tune. But after that, Garth Brooks "To Make You Feel My Love" came on and I oohed and awed over it because I'd just seen the movie Hope Floats with my sister. Graciously, he asked if I wanted to dance again. After that, he hurried to Susan and told he he'd like to go out with me sometime. Susan relayed the information to me, and instead of giving her an answer back, I walked over to him and felt obliged to tease him for being unable to ask me out himself. He blushed, I told him I’d be delighted to go out with him, and the rest is history. We went on our first date.

The next afternoon, before I had to drive back to college, we caught a movie at the local theatre, watching Will Smith in Enemy of the State, and then we went to Sonic Drive-In for a fountain drink. Since that day, Sonic has become "our special place". We usually go there every Valentine's Day to celebrate.

Six days ago, our daughter had her first birthday. And in July, we’ll celebrate our ten-year wedding anniversary. Who knows what we'll do next year, but I'm certain we'll do it together. Because we've been stuck together by Goo and our romance is one of those "for the long haul" doozies.

I think I’m such a romance junkie because I love hearing about, reading about, and watching movie about that first moment a couple meets. So of course I simple must—oh, yes, I must!—share the meet-scene from my young adult romance, The Stillburrow Crush:

The opposing team shuffled onto their bus with their heads lowered. And here came the champs. Braying like a bunch of coon dogs, they looked pumped and riled. The ground rumbled under my feet as the stampede approached.

Still huddled together in one lumped mass, they came, charging toward the side door of the gym that led to their locker room. Cleats click-clacked on the asphalt parking lot, reminding me of my Great Aunt Kay’s dog, Chigger, who liked to run across her linoleum floor, creating as much clatter as possible. The team blew by me, smelling of musty earth, sports cream and sweat.

I couldn’t spot Coach Newell, but there he was, trailing at the end, grinning with the rest of the idiots: quarterback Luke Carter.

I rose onto my toes and waved my hand. “Luke,” I called, and quickly dropped my fingers when I realized I probably looked like some overeager groupie.

The chanting was too loud, though. One player did glance my way, but moved on without speaking. All he saw of me was a long brown trench coat with a mop of fuzzy blond hair sticking out the top. Nothing worth pausing over, I’m sure.

“Carter!” I put a little more gut into the call and finally caught his attention.

In his red jersey smeared brown, he faltered a step, his head swiveling my way. Then with a quick sidestep, he slipped from the group and came toward me. The streetlights played the shadows like a puppeteer, dangling darkness over his torso and down. When he emerged from the shadows, I sucked in a breath. The football pads made his shoulders seem wider and his chest twice as broad, while thigh pads made his waistline look especially slim. He moved like he was full of cardboard, stiff and ambling.

He towered over me, a looming six feet two inches tall (according to the football roster) to my five feet seven. His helmet was off, hanging at his side, and he’d wrapped his fingers around the face guard. A cut across his right eyebrow sliced toward the corner of his eye. Tiny etches of blood filled the cracks and defined the spot where he’d have a healthy showing of crow’s feet someday. His wet black hair curled slightly down his forehead and around his ears. And his eyes were a blue so clear that if they’d been a lake, I could’ve seen right to their rocky bottoms.

Finally, he smiled…and I wanted to kick him.

He had a row of bright white teeth with a bit of an overbite, and a dimple I could’ve fallen into. I hated him for that grin. I mean, how dare he look at me with those blue orbs and display such a genuine smile? I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to step into line behind every other girl in school whose heart went into double-thump for this boy. He had no right to give me that busted-ice feeling.

Yeah, busted ice. It’s like making instant gelatin the fast way with ice instead of cold water. When the ice cubes drop into the boiling gelatin they crack and sometimes bust into a hundred pieces. Well, my stomach was full of a dozen of those cubes, busting and cracking all over inside me because Luke Carter was a vision.

“Yeah?” he asked, resting his helmet against his hip.

“Carrie Paxton,” I said, sticking my hand in the space of air between us. I tried to keep it professional despite my irritation over the busted ice in my gut. “Editor of The Central Record.”

“I know.” He took my hand. Compared to his, my fingers were small and weak. “You’re in my Trig class."

His handshake was cold and slightly damp. He squeezed my palm before letting go. My mouth dropped open.

He wasn’t supposed to know that about me.

I’m sorry. But no girl, despite how much that girl doesn’t care about popularity and all that junk, can remain calm when someone like Luke Carter shakes her hand and actually knows her name. OK, I admit he should’ve known my name. We’d gone to the same school since kindergarten. But noticing me enough to realize we shared a class? No way.

“Oh,” I said. If I’d had any air left in my lungs, I might’ve been able to continue, but I did a fairly decent job of making a fool out of myself as it was. “Well. I…I…I mean, is it OK to talk to you, er, ask you a few questions about the game? For the paper, that is.”

“Sure.” A bead of muddy sweat trickled out of his hairline and down his temple, mixing with blood before moving on. Fascinated, I watched it drool a crooked path down his cheek and neck and then into the collar of his jersey.

As if catching my entranced stare, he lifted the hand that held his helmet and wiped the sweat away with the back of his palm. “What do you want to know?”

I cleared my throat and dropped my eyes. “Umm, well…” I yanked a notebook from the inside pocket of my trench coat. The wind caught a few sheets, making the lined pages flail and thrash like they were drowning in the ocean or something. I tried to get a hold of them and rein them in but only succeeded in wrinkling most of the pad.

“Sorry,” I muttered, and dug deep into my outer pocket, frantically searching for my pen. I couldn’t find the irritating thing there, and switched hands on the notebook to search the other pocket. I didn’t dare look up. I could feel him watching and it made my cheeks hot.

He coughed, trying to get my attention, and my head flew up—long bangs falling into my eyes. He motioned toward my right ear with his index finger. I frowned, wondering if there was a twig or something in my hair and reached up, patting the area. And the pen, which had been securely tucked behind my ear, stabbed me.

What are some of your favorite meet scenes you’ve read, watched or heard about?

Don't forget to stop by the other blog stops today for more real-life romance!

Linda can be found at:

Linda Kage Blog Page - weekly -

Romance Books "R" Us - on the 12th of every month -

Climbing Roses of the Wild Rose Press - on the 12th of every month -

The Writers Vineyard - Every Fourth Wednesday -

Today's blog interary:

Meet author Amy Corwin at

Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James at

Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at

Meet paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons at

Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at

Meet Amie Louellen, author of fun and whimsical contemporary romance at

Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at

Meet author AJ Nuest at

And I'm at Lilly's

Pre-release Blog Tour for CREATIVE LICENSE Winner!!!

After going through all the comments and writing each name down then assigning a number have having baby girl pick a random number (she can count to 100, so it was fair).... drum roll please!

Emma Lai, you're the winner of the $10 gift certificate to Samhain!


Special guest blogger: CARI QUINN

If you've read any of my recent interviews, you'll know that when anyone ask me about a must-read author, Cari Quinn is high on my list. This writer creates such fabulous characters with absolutely amazing chemistry that I stand in awe... or rather sit as I'm busy devouring the story!

Cari and I share something in common besides our love for coffee: A release day! Today INSATIABLE releases from Loose Id. and Cari has graciously offered to switch blogs with me!

Without further rambling from me, here's Cari:

Friends to lovers rock my world!

Thanks so much to Lynne for having me here today! I love, love, love her writing and her Samhain release today, Creative License, is one of my favorite books. That Caleb...YUM!

Now it's confession time. I have a secret. It's not much of one, granted, since anyone who knows me knows how much I love this particular trope. But I have a favorite kind of story...take two friends, add in some sexual tension, some angst, a few stolen moments...and voila! My favorite storyline ever.

Why do I love those stories so much? The history, for one. There's something so sexy about being with a guy who knows all about you, which can eliminate a lot of the awkwardness. But then there's the potential weirdness of doing the naked limbo with a guy who's seen you in your rattiest pajamas, though for me as a writer that's a goldmine for conflict. I just love it when two characters start to see each other in a whole new light - and hopefully, start to see each other in the darkness too. ;)

Here's the tentative blurb for Insatiable, my friends to lovers story due out Tuesday 2/15 from Loose Id. The story of how I started writing this story back during, ahem, the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school is on my blog if you're interested.

Having all of her is the only thing that will satisfy him...

Shawn Griffin and Rachel Cooper have been best friends practically since birth, thanks to their families’ close relationship. But for the past few years, Shawn has been fantasizing about getting his best pal in his bed. When she announces she’s taking a trip to reconnect with an old lover, Shawn knows the time has come to put up or shut up. If she wants to go to New York City, fine. But he’s coming with her.

Rachel doesn’t know what to think of Shawn’s sudden interest. Determined to live life on her own terms, she refuses to fall right in line with her wealthy family’s wish that they get married and have perfect little babies. She just didn’t count on how determined her seemingly laid back -- and extremely sexy -- best friend would become after setting his sights on what he wants. Her, over and over again.

But when tragedy strikes, Rachel begins to wonder if she’ll lose not only her lover but her best friend too.

Thank you, Cari.

Here's where you can learn more about Cari and her work. Her blog is absolutely gorgeous, by the way... and honestly, I wouldn't steer you wrong, pick up any of her books and you won't be able to put it down. ; )


Valentine's Day Blog

Who better to spend Valentine's Day with than a group of romance writers? Well, okay.. ; ) Today I'm joining with several other authors at Selena Robin's blog to celebrate! Stop by and learn what our significant others have to say about us!

This is the last day in my pre-release blog tour, so comment for a chance to win a $10 Samhain gift certificate!


Week 2 Winner: Sherry Cahill!

Sherry won 2 TWRP gift cards worth $25! Sherry not only won Week 2's prizes, but she's also entered twice for the Grand Prize at the end of the month! Other grand prize entrants from Week 2 are: Darlene Fredette (also entered twice!), Judy, Michelle Miller, S. Denson, Zequeatta Jaques, Jennifer Shirk and Ciara Knight.

Don't miss the awesome next installment of the Valentine Blog tour this Wednesday 02/16/11!


That's the long and short of it.

Today, I'm over at Long and Short Reviews. Stop on by!

Remember, each day until February 15th,  RELEASE DAY for CREATIVE LICENSE!!!!, each comment on my pre-release  blog tour enters you in a contest in which the winner recieves a $10 Samhain gift card. The winner will be announced on February 15th!

Pre-release Blog Tour for CREATIVE LICENSE

Every day until February 15th, RELEASE DAY for CREATIVE LICENSE!!!!, each comment on my
Pre-release Blog tour enters you in a contest in which the winner recieves a $10 Samhain gift card. The winner will be announced on February 15th!

Today I am not at one place, but two! I've been interviewed by Crystal Posey of  Everybody Needs A Little Romance (which is holding a secondary contest in which you can win one of my backlist and a $5 or $10 Samhain gift certificate) and at NL Gervasio's blog

I'll be at Long and Short Reviews on Feb 11th.

On Feb 14th, I'll be over at Selena Robin's blog where my Significant Other gets his say!

Don't forget to visit me at  Linda Kage's blog as a part of the TWRP Valentine's Blog Tour where your comment puts you in the running for gift certificates totalling $30 and makes you eligible for the GRAND PRIZE.  This is a great bunch of talented and charming ladies. You won't want to miss it! Caroline Clemmons writes about where her creative ideas come from below!

Where Do Creative Ideas Come From featuring Caroline Clemmons

On our second week of the Valentines Day Blog tour, I am lucky enough to have contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance author Caroline Clemmons writing about where ideas come from. Take it away, Caroline!

Authors are frequently asked where they get their ideas. My friend, Bobbye Terry/Daryn Cross, tells people she orders her ideas from a small factory in Ohio. I love that answer!

Ideas pop into my head, whether I want them to or not. This is good and bad. The bad thing is that I’ll have to live to be at least two hundred to write all the ideas spinning in my brain right now. The good thing is I always have a story idea. The bad thing is my ideas use a large part of my concentration and I have to consciously focus in order to shut them out. The good thing is my characters are talking to me, waiting for me to write their story so they can shut up. Hey, I hear you saying writers are crazy. So what’s your point?

One of my favorite quotes is by author Meg Chittenden: “Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.”

My greatest sources are the questions “what if?” and “wouldn’t it be a better story if?” While doing research on one project, I come across items--totally unrelated--and an idea pops into my head, “Hey, wouldn’t that make a great story if....” Listening to the evening news on TV, I think, “That would make a much better story if....” Same with reading a magazine or newspaper.

On a trip, I see an old house and start wondering about the family who built it and weaving stories about the family who lived there. In a museum, the same happens with historic items: who used it, what kind of person was he/she, how far has it traveled?

One of the more pleasant ways to get story ideas is a nice trip. That’s where I received the idea for the hero and heroine in my current release, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE. Actually, this book was from two trips. Many years ago, my family spent a few days at a guest ranch (sounds better than “dude ranch,” doesn’t it?) near Bandera, the Mayan Ranch. I fell in love with that part of Texas and have set several books there. In 1998, my husband and I took our first trip to Ireland. The country and its history fascinated me, hence more “what ifs” arose to devil my mind.

Where do ideas come from? Everywhere!

To purchase my recent releases, the western historical THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE and the modern time travel OUT OF THE BLUE, in print and e-download please go to and other online stores including Amazon and Digi-Books. For my backlist of contemporaries, SNOWFIRES and BE MY GUEST, and linked historicals, THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE and THE MOST UNSUITABLE HUSBAND, please check Smashwords at They will soon be available in download from other online sources.

Thanks, Lynne, for letting me guest on your blog today.

It's been my pleasure, Caronine. Here is a sneak peak at THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, a western historical romance set in 1885:

Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father somehow arranged the trap for Dallas McClintock, but she agrees to wed handsome stranger. She’d do anything to protect her family, and she wants to save herself from the bully Tom Williams. A fine settled man like Dallas will rid himself of her soon enough, but at least she and her family will be safely away from Tom Williams.

Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora, but he is not a man who goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, but passion-filled nights with her make up for everything. Ah, but what is he to do with a wife and her wild Irish family?

Excerpt: G rated from THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE:

Dallas raised his gaze where Aoife directed. Four girls danced, but only one drew his attention. Shoulders straight and feet flying, Cenora met his glance, then broke away from the other dancers to perform only a few yards from him.

Catcalls sounded nearby. She ignored them but gave a toss of her head. Her hair had come unbound, and her act sent her fiery hair awhirl. Light from the blazing campfire cast an aura-like radiance around her. Lantern glow overhead reflected her eyes sparked with merriment, challenge, and something mysterious he couldn’t name.

No longer the delicate china doll, her wild beauty called to him, mesmerized him. He visualized her brilliant tresses spread across a pillow, her milky skin bared only for him. His body responded, and savage desire shot through him. Surprised at the depth of his reaction, he wondered if her performance in bed would parallel the unbridled nature of her dance.

Good Lord, could this glorious woman truly be his wife? And if so, heaven help him, what on earth was he to do with her?

Stop by and visit the other authors on the blog tour. Don't forget to comment for a chance to win a weekly prize. The more comments you make, the greater your chance of winning!

Meet contemporary and paranormal romance author Jill James at

Meet romantic suspense author Kat Duncan at

Meet contemporary YA and adult romance author Linda Kage at

Meet historical and paranormal romance writer Lilly Gayle at

Meet Amie Louellen, author of fun and whimsical contemporary romance at

Meet erotic western historical author Jennifer Jakes at

Meet author AJ Nuest at

Meet paranormal romance author Maeve Greyson at

Meet author Amy Corwin at

And I will be at Linda's!


We have a Week 1 Winner of the Valentine Blog Tour –  drum roll, please!
 The winner of a $15 gift certificate to TWRP and a $5 gift certificate to Samhain is…..Marci!!!

Thank you for your comment, Marci!

Next week's prizes are gift certificates valued at $25! Continue to comment to enter the weekly prizes and the Grand Prize!

Valentines Blog Tour: The Significance of First Lines featuring Amie Louellen

Please join me in welcoming Amie Louellen, author of fun and whimsical contemporary romance as she talks about the significance of first lines!

“The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail.”

When anyone says first lines, this immediately comes to mind. This is the first line from Jaws.

Jaws terrified me.

It stunted my growth.

It scarred me for life.

An effective first line sets the tone for the entire book. This line says DANGER.

First lines are no less important to the romance genre. In fact, every word of the romance is crucial. We already know the hero and heroine are going to get together, it’s the journey we’re after. What the author does with the first line tells us what to expect from this journey. Will it have murder? Mystery? Mayhem? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!) My books are funny—no great fish, no night waters, no danger. My first lines are chosen to set that tone—light hearted, fun, and whimsical.

“Must be a dream, Savanna Morgan thought lazily. And what a remarkable dream he was. ” (from Brodie’s Bride. WARNING—shameless bit of self-promotion ahead… Brodie’s Bride available soon from the Wild Rose Press.) (And yes, I know this is two sentences, but it’s my blog and my book. So hey…whadayagonnado?)

Ahem…that’s not to say all books start off perfectly—if that’s even possible. But I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been deceived by a first line. I’ve also lost count of how many of these I didn’t finish—most probably all of them. A first line that doesn’t set the book’s tone is like false advertising. It cheats the author as well as the reader.

Going back to Jaws. This first line illustrates a wealth of information. There’s the villain—the shark. She’s big, and she has stealth. This is her domain, and no one is safe. And the most clever part? All of this information comes from seventeen words. Consider—“The shark swam through the water.” Has the same basic information. And yet it doesn’t give me goosebumps. (well, okay… it does. But that’s my phobia and has nothing to do with good writing.) When compared to Benchley’s work, it pales in comparison.

Not every first line will be as memorable as “Call me Ishmael.” (from Moby Dick) But its job isn’t necessarily to be quotable. The first line should be captivating. It should pull you into the story and evoke some level of emotion (even crippling fear, as is the case with me and sharks). It should make you ask questions and intrigue you keep reading until you find the answers.

So when I say first lines, what comes to your mind? Leave a comment and get entered into a drawing featuring great prizes (Woooo…). What’s your favorite first line and why?

DISCLAIMER—for those of you who are interested, this is NOT my favorite first line. In fact it gives me the heebie-jeebies. (Did I mention the growth-stunting?) No, my favorite first line is “Kenny Traveler was lazy.” From Lady Be Good by the incomparable Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Or at least that’s my favorite today…)

Here's a sneak peak at Amie Louellen's Brodie's Bride


Waking up next to a beautiful golden-haired stranger isn’t the worst thing that has ever happened to Brodie Harper, but staying in a fake marriage in order to gain a new construction contract could very well be.

Savanna Morgan just wanted a way out of an engagement to a man she didn’t love. Marrying Brodie seemed liked the perfect answer at the time. Less perfect the next morning when she finds herself disowned by her father and flat broke. Now she must make it through the weekend. Monday they can get it all annulled and forget it ever happened.

The real problem may be keeping their hands off each other until then.


“Married,” the official supplied with a happy nod.

For the first time since the blonde had screamed and set off the pounding in his head, Brodie noticed the band that circled the fourth finger of his left hand. Married. Images of a scarlet chapel and gold rings flitted through his mind. Lost in the fog of straight shots of tequila, the whole ordeal seemed liked a dream. But if what the man said was true...

Holy heaven. The last time Brodie had gotten drunk had been the day his grandfather died. Then, he’d only acquired a tattoo, but this time... Married? And to a hooker? A gorgeous hooker. An expensive hooker by the depleted state of his wallet, but a hooker none-the-less.

“Where’s my dress?”

Brodie half-turned as his hooker-bride stumped down the stairs, her naked glory covered by the rumpled satin sheet. One red, high-rise pump was missing.

“I wouldn’t know,” he replied, his headache tripling.

“You took it off. You find it.” She punched him hard in the chest with one red lacquered fingernail.

“You want it. You find it,” he countered.

“That dress was an Armani. And you—”

Brodie leaned away from the blonde and closer to the man behind the counter. “Are you sure we’re married?”

“Quite certain.”

“Married?” she squeaked.

“One hundred percent sure?” Brodie added.

“It was a lovely ceremony.”


Damn, Brodie thought. He was too nice of a guy, but he couldn’t stand the panic he heard in her voice. He faced her and took her left hand in his own, turning them both so she could see their identical rings. “Seems we tied the knot last night, sunshine.”

Amie Louellen loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family…and maybe homemade tacos…and shoes. But reading and writing are definitely high on the list. When she's not creating quirky characters and happy endings she enjoys going to little league baseball games and boy scout meetings. Born and bred in Mississippi, Amie is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, a spoiled cat, and one very hyper beagle.

She'd love to hear from you. Contact her on her website, blog, or find her on FaceBook.

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