Thursday, December 16, 2010

Guest Blogging

I've joined a new group blog: Not Your Usual Suspects

This is a group of authors who write mysteries, suspense and romantic suspense.

I'll be blogging 12/17/2010 there. Drop by and check it out.

I'll be posting there about once a month. I'll link back here so you can make sure and visit.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Exciting News!!!

I got some exciting news today from my publisher, Carina Press.

Desperate Choices, my romantic suspense with paranormal elements, is being released as an audiobook. will be recording and releasing it. The tentative release date is 11/12/2010 (this is the scheduled date, but may not be the actual date--I'll post more information as I get it.)

This was a complete surprise to me. I hadn't heard that Desperate Choices was one of the books picked by I knew of several others with Carina that had been, because they had received e-mails notifying them--but I didn't get anything, so I just assumed that it wasn't on the list.

Picture my surprise when I opened an e-mail earlier today and saw Desperate Choices right there, listed with the other titles to be released in November. WooHoo!!!

So for all those readers who don't always have the time to "read" the book, they can listen to it instead. How exciting is that?!?

Okay, off to work on "Family Ties" my work-in-progress.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where does the time go?

It seems like I just did a blog during our torrential downpour, but when I checked that happened over the weekend. Here it is, Wednesday, and I'm unprepared again to have a blog ready.

Seems like the story of my life recently. Every time I think I've got a handle on things, be it my work life, my social obligations, or my writing schedule, somebody or something always throws a monkey wrench into the mix, and off the track I go.

The day job has been pretty crazy hectic, with me learning a new account. That takes time and slows me down tremendously, having to make sure everything is perfect and stopping to recheck instructions. Then between lousy weather and other personal things (I so won't go into that now), my time seems to just get eaten away bite by bite until before you know it, the day's gone and nothing seems to get accomplished.

I gave myself a self-imposed deadline to have my novella finished. That has come and gone and it's still not finished. So I readjusted my timeline, adding some more days; I bet you can guess--yep, it's still not finished.

Family Ties (tentative title at this point) is still languishing, begging to get finished. It's another romantic suspense project. So, I'm going to close out the blog for tonight, and try to get in a few pages before it's bedtime.

Good night, all.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night . . .

Okay, not really. It was actually a dark and stormy afternoon. Huge storms rolled through my area this afternoon, with all the accompany thunder, lightning, and tornado sirens blaring. Fortunately, none were actually spotted in my area, but better safe than sorry.

This morning we had our monthly RWA Chapter meeting (Dallas Area Romance Authors). I love going to these meetings every fourth Saturday of the month. Getting together with like-minded writing friends always seems to invigorate me and I get a spike in those creative juices, making me eager to go home and work on my current WIP. (After lunch of course--wouldn't want to miss any of the juicy gossip that gets discussed after the meeting.) :-)

Things didn't quite go that way today. The fabulous Lori Wilde spoke about Plotting your Theme . . . which was wonderful and I took copious notes.

Then on the way home, the heavens let loose and the storms rolled in. That was actually okay with me because we needed the rain desperately. What I didn't need was the tornado warning, the straight line winds and the terrified dog I came home to greet. Then on top of that, my day job called and asked if I could "work." Again. This seems to happen more and more consistently on my Saturday off. What can you do?

But, that meant instead of sitting down and writing (which is what I wanted to do), I sat down at my computer and went to work.

So now, here I am at 9:44 p.m. getting started working on my manuscript. I won't be able to work on it for long, though, because tomorrow is a work day, so I'll be getting up bright and early and starting the day job.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to squeeze in some more writing tomorrow after work. Keep your fingers crossed . . .

Don't forget, Desperate Choices is now available for download from Carina Press, Amazon, and other e-book retailers.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guest--Vicki Batman

Since Vicki graciously hosted me at her blog when my book, Desperate Choices, was released from Carina Press (September 27, 2010), I thought I'd return the favor and have her come by and tell us a bit about writing short stories. I'm curious about the differences in writing novel-length work and shorts. Vicki has had a number shorts published in the last several months. So, without further ado, here's Vicki. :-)

Writing Short Stories

Seven years ago, I sat in a library, listening to romance authors tell their stories, their journeys to publication. I was awestruck because writing was something I'd always wanted to do, but I’d never pursued.

So how did my journey begin? On a return trip to Dallas with girlfriends, our conversation had died. My librarian friend injected a spark with her version of “car games.” For example: Pick one: Englebert Humperdink or Tom Jones? I picked Englebert because he seemed more romantic. The others picked Tom because he is wild.

Next question: Write the opening paragraph of a book using the word window. When my turn came, I had nothing. Why? I didn’t want to embarrass myself because deep down inside I wanted to write. I’d been writing poetry since age nine, wrote great school papers, edited and produced four different newsletters over the years. When I became hooked on Dick Francis mysteries, I confessed to Hubby, “I wish I could write like him.”

It took me 20 years to try.

So I went home with the prompt of “window,” and two days later had written eight chapters. My friend read my work and kindly said to "keep going." So far, I’ve completed three manuscripts, several essays, and sold twelve short stories.

How did I get to writing short stories? Most of us think “books,” but there are still short stories being written today. I’ve been writing short romantic fiction for approximately three years. A DARA friend asked me to critique six shorts she wanted to submit to Women’s World magazine. I guess osmosis set in because after reviewing all of them, something stirred in my head and I wrote one. Then another and another. I haven’t stopped! Frankly, I like the “in and out” aspect. (And no sagging middle!)After critiquing mine, my friend said to submit to the Trues.

The Trues are magazines published by Dorchester Media and have been around for generations. Many of you may have read them way back when while waiting for your mom at the beauty shop. Titles include True Confessions, True Experience, True Love, True Romance, and True Story.

A true story is a problem story. A typical one is written in the first-person woman’s viewpoint, though a male viewpoint is published occasionally. Each story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The protagonist confronts a problem and must resolve it through her actions. The more emotionally-charged the problem, the greater the reader’s involvement and the more “confessional” the story seems. Then if necessary, background information is supplied, explaining how the protagonist came to be in her current situation. The conclusion comes from her attempts to solve her problem and usually has a happy ending.

For me writing begins with an impetus. Those ideas, prompts, whatever which come from the most unusual places. For example, the idea for "Christmas Ties" (December 2009 TR) came when I walked through my closet (yep, it's a big one) and my eye wandered over to my hubby's enormous tie collection (about 200). Something hit me and I went what if? What if? a girl has to buy a Christmas gift for her dad? But not a tie because he has bunches. So she goes to the store and sure enough, the tie display catches her eye. What if? the store owner has to buy his dying father a Christmas gift and he'd admired his son's tie. What if? the girl and the guy grab the same tie at the same time? What if? the guy is the town's playboy? What if? the girl has sworn off playboys after the bad experience her sister had? What if??

What if is a great game for a pantser like me.

Or sometimes the prompt comes from journaling. For example, years ago, my hubby brought home a motorcycle. We were keeping our heads above the water financially; so money wasn't the problem. It was buying something expensive without talking it over with me, his wife. Then he snuck it home.

So I put the story on paper as therapy and then what if? hit. What if? the husband surprised his wife with her dream car. (Okay, hubby did do this, too and I still drive it to this day). This story, "Never, Ever," is tentatively scheduled to be published in the December 2010 True Love. Here's an excerpt:

“I can’t believe you bought this.” Hands squeezed firmly on my hips, I studied the monstrosity taking up almost half of our already too small two-car garage -- a motorcycle. Not the cutesy Vespa type. Oh no, my husband had to buy the biggest one out there, bigger than a Harley, as big as a car. A Honda Valkyrie with a six-cylinder engine, six chrome-capped carbs, and six headers, he’d explained.
Blacker than black, ferocious looking, it roared with horsepower. Vroom-room.
My hubby looked enthralled. “Isn’t she a beauty?”
A beauty? Fury built inside me. My unbelieving gaze went from him to “her.” I was no biker babe. Cool classic cars, which the whole family could ride in, appealed more. To me, “she” yelled “frivolously spent hard-earned dough.”
He’d lost his freakin’ mind, I thought, fisting my hands as anger churned under my skin like hot, bubbling mud. My stare drilled into my accountant-nerd husband. Dark suit, whiter-than-white starched shirt, red and blue striped tie skewed. His dark hair, flecked with gray strands, had been cut short. His bronzy colored glasses matched his eyes.
The urge to smack him-smack him-smack him consumed me.
Could he even ride the damn thing?
My friend, the emergency room nurse, called motorcycles something else, and now that thought played in my head. The last thing I wanted was my loved one lying on the road in the middle of no-wheres-ville.
“I can’t believe you bought this.” Stunned beyond the outer limits, I couldn’t stop repeating the phrase. “I can’t believe you bought this without consulting me, your wife of ten years, the one person who is supposed to make money decisions with you.”
Feeling the pea-green sickness of hopelessness swill in my stomach, tears filled my eyes. I reached back and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. How could he? “I’d never, ever buy something this expensive, not without talking to you.”
“I wanted one.” Legs spread, his arms crossed his chest in the oh-so-manly stubborn way. His dark face had an unusual heated sexy appeal. “End of story.”
With a huff, I rolled my eyes. “Admit it. You’re having a mid-life crisis. You want to relive your glorious youth when you travelled across America. You and the open road, just like that-that crazy biker movie from way back when.”
“I’m entitled to spend some money on myself. I earned it.”
Which implied I didn’t earn any. I stayed home and shuttled kids, washed clothes, cleaned house, cooked food, taught Sunday school, and in my spare time served on various volunteer organizations like the PTA and Library Board. Not to mention, did the yard work, except for mowing. (I drew a hard line at wrapping weed-eater string around my ankle.) His inference belittled my contributions to our family and that stung.
Didn’t I read somewhere that a stay-at-home mom earned the equivalent of a $122,000 a year salary?
Meaning, where was mine?
I didn’t spend money recklessly. My depression-era raised parents didn’t bring me up that way. Our family motto read “squeeze blood from a turnip.”
“I’d never buy a car without talking to you first,” I said. “If you felt you couldn’t discuss this with me, then-then I think our marriage is in jeopardy. In fact, you’ve lied by omission. It’s just like when you brought home---”
He shook his finger. “Don’t go there---”
“The dog. For weeks you said ‘no dog’ and then one day -- poof! A dog.”

Once hubby and I were returning from a company trip and the couple who traveled with us helped me with my luggage. I retrieved my tote and met hubby at baggage claim. He had an irritated look on his face; so I explained what had happened. I guess he took my friend's help the wrong way (profound guilt-hehehe) and he exploded with "So what are you going to do? Write a story about it?"

I did. What if? a girl went on a weekend getaway with her lover? What if? the veil falls from her eyes and she sees him for the pain he really is? What if? the guy who helped her on the flight is attracted to her? What if??

Are you thinking hubby's most of my inspiration? LOL. He has helped and believe me, takes full credit for it too. (Keep doing crazy things, Handsome.)

I've written stories based on the police and fire academies, my grandmother's tomato cake recipe, and traveling in the Mediterranean. I've looked at pictures, a building, a car on a freeway and poof! Maybe I listen well to my inner voice.

Since there are fewer words in a short story, usually, there are less characters, places, or smaller conflict. When I write a 1,000 word story, I write big and edit small. I have a harder time adding to over taking away.

Short stories come in various lengths. Women's World takes 800 words. The Trues (Confessions, Story, Romance, Love, Experience) come in around 3,000 to 8,000 words. It depends on their guidelines. Some of the online publishers have a higher word count.

Writing isn't easy for me. I put down dialogue first. Go back to add details. Flesh out characters, the conflict. Add deep pov. And revise, revise, and revise. When I feel I can't go any farther, I send it to friends for critiquing. One will tell me if the premise is viable. Another points out a few changes. Another makes it bloody. I take all that information in and revise, revise and revise, staying true to my voice and sticking in my wacky humor. It's my way, but I only want to send in my very best.

Ultimately, I'd LOVE to sell my books. I have two novellas, "I Believe," a paranormal erotica, and "Kissing School," a sweet mistaken identity story, I'd like to see published. Several other stories are under consideration, too.

Where to buy the magazines? Look for the Trues the next time you are in the grocery or book store. B&N, Hastings, Books a Million. Don’t forget the beauty shop! Also, the magazines can be digitally downloaded from

To tickle your fancy, here's an excerpt from "Candy Cane Twist," my December 2010 True Love:

I glared at Pop, secretly thinking "old man" and wanting to throttle him. He sat cozied in his battered brown leather recliner, his arm extended my way with a twenty crumpled in his wrinkled fingers. Jones, his poodle pal, danced at my feet for attention.
“Please, Paige," my grandfather said, "go to Myers and buy the lacey candy canes. Myers is the only department store which carries them.” Then he added in a solemn voice the clencher, the one that would grab even the mean, cold Grinch’s heart, “It’s for your grandmother. For Christmas.”
Now why did he have to go and use that line? He knew I hated -- with a capital "H" -- going to any store. I especially detested Myers. “She likes Hershey chocolate, too, the dark kind with almonds. All the grocery stores stock it.”
“No, only her favorite will do.” He flapped the bill in my direction again, causing Jones to snap at it.
Every holiday season, Myers imported a unique candy cane from Italy. The box, constructed of a high-quality cardboard, was lined in ivory satin. In each partition rested a crinkly cellophane-wrapped twisted white stick, the edges banded in orange, yellow, or green. Orders were not available through the internet which I knew for a fact ‘cause I checked two years ago. Nowadays, one box of twelve would probably cost every bit of the twenty he'd flashed.
My eyes had gleamed with delight when my grandmother gave me a stick rimmed with the orange stripe. It was almost a rite of passage (and privilege) to get one. Carefully, I tore it open and proceeded to lick one...two...three...four-five-six times. Instead of the traditional peppermint, a sharp tang of citrus sparked my taste buds.
God, he was so stubborn.
“I have to have these in case...” his fist gently tapped his breastbone in the frightening potential heart attack manner, "well, you know."
Grandpop did not play fair. In my gut I knew he'd faked for drama. Considering his age, however, the possibility existed, causing a small slice of my ticker to worry.
I really had no choice.
I shifted my weight a bit more, staring at the bill flapping over Jones's head. Pop had no idea what he'd asked me to do. I had good reason not to go to Myers, only he didn't know why. He'd bug and bug me to run his errand until I'd cave.
I snatched the twenty away. “Fine. But this is the last time.”
He chuckled, "I think you say that every year.”
“I mean it. I’m never setting foot in that place again.”
He leveled his "wise eye" look on me. “Grow up. You’re twenty-six for chrissakes. I'd been married five years at your age.”
I countered with the same ol' argument. “Unlike my peers, Pop, I want to be married for a lifetime. Not to try on marriage and toss it away like an old sock if I don't like the fit.”
“You're getting a little long in the tooth.”
“And if I might suggest..."
Blowing a huff up my face, I shifted my fists to my hips. “What.”
“Put on that pretty dress you wore for your sister’s birthday party. Its lines hugged your curves.”
Pop’s words stung my heart, probably more than he realized. I glanced at my current attire. So work boots and jeans weren’t the most attractive things to wear. They were practical for my job and I’d been raised on practicality -- by him.
I brushed my eye to stave forming tears. “In my wildest dreams I never thought grandparents looked at their offspring that way.”
“I’m not blind, just old. All I’m suggestin' is you wear the dress and high heels. It flatters your figure. You never know who you might run into...”
Like I wanted that to happen. My goal was to avoid seeing anyone I knew.
Then he hammered the final nail in the coffin. “And while there, why don't you get a haircut? Your long horse tail reminds me of pioneer women. Short and sassy with some of what you gals say are highlights would be pretty. Your mom told me Myers' Spring Water Salon is the best---"
“It is and the most expensive---"
“I’ll pay for the cut. Add a manicure and pedicure, too.” He dug out his mended-with-duct-tape wallet and removed the credit card. “Use this. Think of it as an early Christmas present.”
If my own grandfather thought I had the "uglies," did others think the same thing?

Happy reading and writing!

Thanks, Vicki. Anybody else have questions about writing "shorts" for magazines or any other questions for Vicki? Pop a question into the comment section and we'll try to get it answered for you.

Thanks for coming by.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Upcoming guest blogger

Quickie post tonight. On Friday, October 15, 2010 Vicki Batman will be guest blogging, talking about writing for magazines such as True Love and True Confessions. She'll also have excerpts from her upcoming stories.

Plan on joining us on Friday, and feel free to ask questions.

Okay, need to get off blog and back to writing on the work in progress.


Monday, October 4, 2010

October 5, 2010


Desperate Choices has been picked as the Fresh Pick of the day for October 5, 2010 at Fresh Fiction. I'm thrilled with the honor of being prominently displayed on their site.

Desperate Choices is available now for purchase at Carina Press. It is available in PDF format and ePUB formats.

Right now it's available for 10% off the cover price.

Have a great evening everyone.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Guest Blogging -- Tia Nevitt and The Sevenfold Spell

Thank you for having me, Kathy! Kathy and I are doing a blog swap. She’s over at Carina Press today, blogging about her romantic suspense novel, Desperate Choices, so I’m here, ready to entertain all the potential readers checking out her blog. We did the same thing in reverse, yesterday.

Today I’ll take a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to write for Carina Press.

The Call
Angela James, the Editor-in-Chief, usually makes the acquisition calls. For me, the call came while I was in the car. My submission had been out for three weeks. We had just done a school field trip, and we were going to have lunch. My cellphone showed a New England area code, so I said to my husband that I’d better take this call.

The connection—which is usually clear—was horrible. I only understood a few words – “Angela” and then later, “The Sevenfold Spell”. It was wonderful and mortifying at the same time, because I really think I made an idiot of myself. I think God arranges these things go keep us humble.

The Contract
Harlequin has a standard, sixteen page contract—including the term sheet—that spells out everything, crystal clear. I really need to give kudos to the contract team for avoiding mind-boggling legalese. Hilda, especially, gets kudos for answering all my questions. There was only one part that I had trouble understanding. An experienced author helped me with that part, and after many Google searches, I signed the contract.

The Editing
My editor is Alissa Davis, who came to Carina Press from Dorchester. When I got the deadline for the first edit, I said to my husband, “I don’t think I’ll be able to make it.” He asked, “Would you be able to do it if you had a laptop?” The answer was an unequivocal yes, because the laptop got me out of the computer room and into the family room while I work. We got the laptop and I made my first deadline. A week later, Alissa sent the second editing pass, and couple of weeks after that, she sent the copyeditor’s edits, all which required more rewrites. I made all deadlines.

A side effect of all this was the dismantling of our computer room, which we converted in to a den.

The Author Community
At about this time, I got an email from Angela inviting me to something I didn’t know existed—an author email group. I love having the author group because for one thing, it made it easier for me to find authors like Kathy for cross-promotion. Plus, the community is filled with kindred spirits and we go to each other with good news—and bad.

The Cover Art
And at about this time, I received an email from Aideen, Harlequin’s Digital Commerce Manager, with my Art Fact Sheet. I went a bit overboard when filling it out, deciding that too much information was better than too little. Before I filled it out, this form was one page. By the time I was finished with it, it was four pages of dense text, with hyperlinks to multiple photos online.

The Cover Art
Not two weeks later, Aideen sent me the cover art. It was a great moment, seeing my title and my name there on the cover, amid all that beautiful art.

I was surprised and delighted to be part of the cover copy process, because I had heard that authors aren’t usually involved. Alissa sent me the draft that the editorial team had come up with. Between us, we had a few minor tweaks. It was during this time that I suggested and received approval for my Accidental Enchantments series title.

The Ebooks
It was almost two months ahead of my release date before Emma Cunningham sent me the final copy of the actual ebook. She sent it in three formats, ePub, PDF and Kindle.

The Promotion
The promotion rocks. A few weeks ago, Jenny Schwarz tweeted me about an ad with my book cover she saw on Dear Author. As I write this, the same ad is running on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. At the beginning of August, Tara Stevens emailed me about becoming a Spotlight Author over at Romance Junkies. Plus, we each get to be a star for a day at Carina Press, which must take a lot of work on their part. Also, I keep seeing these little promotional things that Carina Press is doing for this author or that, well after the book’s publication date.

Writing for Carina Press has been great. They truly make us feel like rock stars!

Have you ever wondered what happens to the other people in the fairy tale?

Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying “good” fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.

Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.

Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia’s prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation, which plays right into the evil fairy’s diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she’s willing to make?

Not even a stint in the military as an aircraft mechanic could erase Tia Nevitt’s love of fairy tales. To this day, she loves to read (and write) books that take her to another place, or another time, or both. Tia has also worked on an assembly line, as a computer programmer, a technical writer and a business analyst. Over the years, she has suffered from TMI (too many interests) syndrome, and under its influence she also learned calligraphy, and how to play the violin and piano. All these activities occasionally distract her from her true calling, the writing of fiction, but she always comes home. When she’s not writing, she keeps a book blog called Debuts & Reviews, where she focuses on debut novels. She lives in the southeast with her husband and daughter.

Thanks, Tia. Your experience was very similar to mine. I love working with Carina Press, too. Do you have questions about e-books? Or about fairy tales? Post your questions in the comments section. Tia and I will be checking back throughout the day.

The Great Blog Swap

I'm doing a blog swap with my release day buddy from Carina Press, Tia Nevitt. I'm over at her site today, and she'll be right here tomorrow, blogging.

Tomorrow, I'll be blogging at the Carina Press blog. Please drop by there, as well, and feel free to leave comments. You might win a copy of Desperate Choices.



Remember, drop back by here tomorrow, and show your support for Tia's new release, The Sevenfold Spell.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Scheduled blogging

I know, I know, its been too long again since my last post. But I really have been busy. Did a guest blogging tour on Vicki Batman's blog and it was terrific. Had a lot of people come by and comment, which was great.

So I'm returning the favor. Vicki will be blogging right here on 10/15/2010. Vicki writes some terrific short stories for several magazines, including True Love and True Romance. So plan on coming by and asking any questions you might have about writing short for the magazine market. Plus Vicki's a terrific writer, so drop by and show her some love.

In addition, I'll be blogging on Wednesday, 09/15/2010, over at Leah Braemel's site about Desperate Choices and my first sale.

I hope you'll drop by. Leah is a terrific writer and a fellow Carina Press author. Her latest release, Texas Tangle, is out now. You'll definitely want to pick up a copy of this terrific and "hot" story. Steamy doesn't begin to cover it.

Another blog I'll be doing is on 09/27/2010 (release day) with Shelley Munro. Another fellow Carina press author, Shelley has graciously agreed to host me on her blog A Taste of Kiwi.

Also, fellow Carina Press author, Tia Nevitt, will be guest blogging here on 09/29/2010 about her release, The Sevenfold Spell, releasing from Carina Press on 09/27/2010 (we're release day buddies--so plan on sharing the love and go buy her novella, too--while your over there buying Desperate Choices.) I'll be blogging on her site the next day, 09/28/2010,

I'll also be blogging on the Carina Press blog on 09/29/2010, and giving away a copy of Desperate Choices to one commentor. Drop by and leave a comment and you may be the lucky person to receive your very own copy from me.

Okay, to recap.

09/15/2010--Kathy Ivan at
09/27/2010--Kathy Ivan at
09/28/2010--Kathy Ivan at
09/29/2010--Kathy Ivan at
09/29/2010--Tia Nevitt at
10/15/2010--Vicki Batman at

Okay I think that's enough for another day.

Till next time,


Friday, August 27, 2010

Blog tour today!!!

I'm guest blogging at Vicki Batman's blog today, answering questions about my writing journey and about Desperate Choices.

One visitor to the site who leaves a comment will receive a copy of Desperate Choices.

This is my first guest blog, so please drop by and leave a comment.

Till next time,


Friday, August 20, 2010

Before and After

This will be a quick blog to answer a question. Yes, I'm still losing weight. To the left is a current photo taken about 8 weeks ago. To the right is a photo from about 3 years ago. See any difference?

To date I've lost about 135 lbs. No, I didn't have any surgery, no quick fixes. It's taken me 2 years to get to this point. Of course, I still have more to lose; hopefully, I can get back and stay on track. My goal right now is to lose another 30 lbs before the end of the year. Keep your fingers (and toes) crossed that I can do it. In total, I'd like to lose another 65 lbs or so, which would be a total weight loss of 200 lbs.

Truthfully, it's hard to believe I ever let myself get that big, and God Willing, I'll never be that big again. But its a daily choice, deciding what to eat and what to stay away from. Old habits, even after 2 years, are hard to fight.

On the writing front, I'm still plugging away at my suspense novella which I hope to have finished by the end of this month. So, I'll close out the blog, so I can get back to writing.

Till next time,


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Excerpt from Desperate Choices

This will be a quick blog post tonight. So many things are happening in e-publishing right now, it's enough to make your head spin. I'm sure in the long run, this will ultimately be a good thing for both publishing houses and authors. Its just this transition time that can be ultra-scary.

So, here's a short excerpt from Desperate Choices, which releases on September 27, 2010. I hope you like it.

Even though it was late afternoon, in her mind’s eye it was twilight. The dusky time between day and night where everything fades to shades of gray, black and white. She extended her extrasensory flow, hearing nothing except the normal sounds of nature. Crickets chirped, mosquitoes buzzed, an occasional bird lifted in flight. The normal sounds of a Louisiana evening.

Things began coalescing into definition. She stood alongside a motorbike. The motor wasn’t running.

She let her psychic senses run free. In the distance, she heard an engine. Its growl grew louder as it approached. A vehicle pulled to the side of the road a short distance ahead of where she stood beside the bike.

“Theresa,” Max interrupted. Never opening her eyes, she raised her finger to her mouth, motioning for quiet.

She concentrated on the vehicle, but as hard as she tried, it wouldn’t come into a clear image. She could only determine it was a light color and large. Focus, she whispered in her mind. Go deeper. Bring it into focus.

A sudden jolt broke her concentration. Her neck snapped back, jarring her from the vision and back into reality. Theresa stared up at Max’s face inches from hers, so close she could feel the warmth of his breath. His grasp on her shoulders felt firm yet insistent.

“Theresa.” A hint of anxiety filled Max’s normally placid voice. “Theresa. Snap out of it.”

“What’s wrong, Max?”

“What’s wrong? You were standing there, barely breathing, shaking like a leaf, and you ask me ‘What’s wrong?’” Max’s hold on her eased and she watched him run a hand across his eyes. “What the hell just happened?”

The vision vanished, faded away like mist evaporating. Nothing left but the daylight surrounding her and Max. She handed him the phone and managed to stagger a couple of steps, resting her hip against the hood of the car.

Her body trembled, exhaustion enveloping her like a heavy cloak. This was one of the reasons she hated this kind of reading. It wiped her out, leaving her emotionally and physically drained.

“There’s not a lot I can tell you, Max. I saw the bike at the side of the road. Right there.” She pointed. “It wasn’t running. I couldn’t tell why not. I didn’t get the impression there was anything mechanically wrong, but…”

She took a few steps away from the car and glanced toward the woods. They were dense, thick and mysterious, yet no sense of danger emanated from them. Sunlight poured through the few leaves, wiping away all trace of the twilight hues from her vision.

“Another vehicle pulled over there.” She gestured toward the road again, indicating an area about twenty feet beyond where his car was parked. “It was large, light in color. Maybe white or a light yellow or tan, I couldn’t tell. It stopped. I sensed a brief moment of fear, but just as quickly it was gone. Tommy felt relief. He didn’t seem afraid. He seemed thankful, maybe even happy.”

Theresa looked up into Max’s eyes for the first time since the vision ended and met his gray-eyed gaze.

“Max, whoever took Tommy wasn’t a stranger. It was somebody he knew.”

Copyright 2010 Kathy Ivan
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

Till next time,


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Facebook and quick updates

Well, I've finally joined the social networking age with a bang. First I've started blogging, gotten a web site and now I've started a facebook page (Kathy Ivan). So hopefully I'll start getting friends and being friended. Is friended a word, anyway? Plus I tweet (meaning I'm on twitter.)

I'm working on my current work in progress, did several more pages today. This will probably be a shorter, possibly novella length story. At least that's the plan. Let's see if I can keep it to that length. It may end up longer. Every time I say it's going to be a shorter story, then, bam, here come the words and pretty soon it's way past novella length.

Thanks for all the people who commented on the cover for Desperate Choices here on the blog or via e-mail. I truly appreciate your kind words, even though I didn't do the art work! Believe me, there's not an artistic bone in my body. My creative outlet is with words.

I'm trying very hard to banish the procrastination gene that seems to run rampant in my. Progressing a little bit every day, because time management is not my friend. I can become obsessed in doing one thing to the exclusion of everything else. But, I'm trying.

Okay, will try to post more soon.

Till next time,


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Uncooperative characters and new cover art

Time sure has been flying by recently. The writing is going slow right now. My hero in the current WIP is so not wanting to cooperate with me. He beat me over the head, wanting his story told, and now he's pretty much shut up and is digging in his heels. Apparently he doesn't like the storyline that I thought would work for him. Okay, I'm listening. Tell me another story.

Oh, I also got the final version of my cover for Desperate Choices today. It is absolutely gorgeous. I've sent the .jpg to my web mistress to be added to my site (, and as soon as it's up, I'll post here so you can see it along with the back cover copy.

I've also attached it at the beginning of this blog. Carina's art department did an outstanding job; the mood and the tone are spot on and I'm very, very happy with the end result.

This has to be a quick drive-by blog tonight, as I want to get a few minutes of writing in. Tonight was an exercise/gym night so getting a later start than I wanted but still some writing is better than a blank pain.

Till next time,


Monday, July 26, 2010

Bits of nonsense

Not a whole lot going on right now on the writing front with regard to Desperate Choices. It has "gone to production."

I got my new business cards in today. They look pretty cool. The front has my contact information such as my name, e-mail address, and phone number. Plus the back is done in golden yellow with the name of the book (Desperate Choices) and and my release date (September 27, 2010).

I still can't believe after so long that all my efforts are finally paying off.

I was also asked to write an article for my local RWA chapter newsletter, which should be in the September issue.

I'm also working on a new story, which is what I was doing right before coming over to write this blog entry.

I really, really, really wish I was going to RWA Nationals in Orlando this week. Almost everybody I know is going. I couldn't get the time off work (and really couldn't justify the expense--but that's another story). Of course, this was the year after my first sale and I got invites to all the major Harlequin/Carina events. . . and I can't go!!!

Next year, though, I'm so planning to go. It will be in New York, so I've started saving already, because as we all know, New York is rather expensive. I don't care; I'll find a way to make it happen.

Okay, going back to work on the story now. Till next time. . .


Thursday, July 8, 2010


Well, I’ve done it again. I keep meaning to post to the blog and time just slips away and before you know it, days have passed.

I did get a sneak preview of my cover for Desperate Choices and all I can say is “AWESOME”. The artists doing the covers for Carina Press have been doing a tremendous job. I don’t think I’ve seen a cover yet from them that hasn’t been terrific.

I’ll post the cover here on the blog and on my web site as soon as I get the final version from Carina.

In the meantime, all the edits (so far) have been turned in. The back cover copy has been done. Now I need to start lining up blog interviews, and promotional opportunities for Desperate Choices. Plus when it gets closer to release time (September 27, 2010 in case I haven’t shouted it from the rooftops loud enough for everybody to know), I’ll need to start getting reviewers lined up, too. Reviews—now that’s a scary thought.

I will be doing a blog interview on Vicki Batman's blog on 08/10/2010. I'll post more details before then with the link.

On the diet front, I have been a bad girl. Way too much celebrating the last few weeks. Everybody wanted to go out to dinner or lunch to celebrate the contract on the book. So the diet pretty much went out the window. Hopefully I’m back on track again now that all the partying is done (at least for the moment), and can get back to eating healthier again.

The good thing is that I’ve been able to at least maintain my weight loss. I've fluctuated a couple of pounds up and then back down but I haven’t put the weight back on. (For those who don’t know, I had to make a major lifestyle change 2 years ago—in the last 2 years I have lost 135 pounds.) Changing the way you eat is a daily struggle to make the right choices, and get back into the mind set of knowing that it has to be done. I’m trying, though. And I’ll keep trying every day until I reach my goal. It won’t stop there, though, as I’ll have to keep at this for the rest of my life in order to maintain what I’ve accomplished. I never want to be 350 pounds again—and I won’t.

Tonight its back to work on the current work-in-progress (romantic suspense).

Until next time, happy reading and happy writing.


Thursday, June 24, 2010


Tonight I'm continuing to work on the line edits for Desperate Choices. I'm almost finished with these and should have them done very soon. I also got the back cover copy this afternoon from my publisher (how great does that sound--my publisher). Carina Press has been absolutely terrific to work with, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Other than one minor change, the back cover copy looks good to me. I'm going to think about it overnight and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning, but I like it and hope it will attract people to want to buy and read the book.

Once I've sent the back cover copy through and the line edits/revisions, I hope to start on my next project, a romantic suspense (of course). I'm going to talk to a former police officer this weekend regarding some research that I need for the book, so I'll be sure to make lots of notes.

Okay, till next time. Happy reading and happy writing!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Well, I got all of my revisions, rewrites, etc. back to my editor at Carina Press on the 18th. (They were due on the 19th). She really liked them and the new scene that I added.

Things seem to move really quickly with e-publishing. I've already gotten my line edits back from her, so that's what I've been working on yesterday and today (and will again tomorrow after the day job is done).

It still at times seems a bit surreal that somebody actually bought my book. I've been writing seriously for the last five years, and this validation that I'm on the right track really means a lot.

I need to go and update my website in the next couple of days, as well as continue to blog my progress on the road to publication. I haven't been very diligent about updating my website, but my web mistress, Rae Monet, does a fabulous job and created a wonderful design for my site.

I've also started scheduling guest blogs for when the book comes out (in September). I'll also be having guests blogging here in the coming months as well, so keep your eye's peeled for that, too.

That's it for tonight, gonna wrap up the writing and make a fresh start in the morning. G'night everyone.


Monday, June 14, 2010


I know its been several months since I posted to my blog. Time just got away from me. Life has been taking some unexpected twists and turns lately on the writing front. If you read my posts back in January when I first started this blog, I had established some goals for 2010.

I did actually accomplish a few of those things. I have been doing some writing on a new manuscript. I did enter some work in a contest--where the scores I received were okay but nothing spectacular. But along the way something happened I wasn't expecting.


Desperate Choices is a book that is near and dear to my heart. I wrote it a few years ago and loved the story. I shopped it around, as all writers do when they finish polishing their work. While I got good feedback on it, mostly I heard it "wasn't what they were looking for" or "it wasn't right for them."

In March I had e-mailed my critique partner about a new publisher I thought might be interested in one of her stories. After a bit of back and forth mailing, she finally said: "I'll send mine if you'll send yours."

So that's how Desperate Choices ended up on the desk of an editor at Carina Press. On May 11, 2010 at about 10:30 a.m. I got "the call" from Angela James telling me they wanted to offer me a contract for Desperate Choices.

After I picked myself up off the floor, of course I told them I was interested.

So, in the last month I've received the call, made the sale, am working on revisions/edits, and sent the art fact sheet back so they can start working on my cover.

I'll be posting more as things progress, but tentatively the release date is scheduled for September 2010.

Till next time--hopefully it won't be several months from now.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pantser versus Plotter, which am I?

Well, I've been finishing up the character profiles for my WIP, a paranormal (werewolf) story and trying to get down to some serious writing. First chapter is done, and I'll be starting on chapter 2 today, after the day job and once I've gone and worked out at my local Curves.

I've done a mini-outline so that I know where I'm at least beginning the story. I don't always write up an outline/synopsis of any sort when I'm writing, but for some reason this story just seemed to need it, so that's what I've done.

I'm not a "pantser" or a "plotter" per se. I'm basically a hybrid of the 2. I'll get the idea for a story, that kernel where the spark or inspiration comes from. I'll try to get that written down quickly, because if I don't, it will sometimes go out into the ether, never to be seen again. Then I'll try to do some character development, getting to know the heroine, the hero, and the villain. Then its a lot of seat-of-the-pants writing, hoping that the story will flow.

Whenever it doesn't, or I hit a roadblock, that's when I'll start outlining pertinent areas. The things I want to happen or the locations I know will be in the book. Sometimes this will be enough to break the logjam and get things rolling again. Other times, my procrastination gene kicks in, and I'll let things sit for weeks at a time without every sitting down to the computer (or even picking up pen and paper). That's when it's really hard to get back into the flow, at least for me.

I find that if I write on a fairly consistent basis (or try to), the story seems to appear on the page much easier. If I take long breaks in between, it's much more difficult to get the rhythm back that was there in the beginning.

As I stated in earlier posts, I plan to be much more proactive with my writing this year, so plan on seeing blogs at least once or twice a week, and well as updates on my website.

If there's anything about my writing, how I do things, or any other topics you'd like to see here, drop me a line in the comments or e-mail me and I'll try to get to those.

That's it for now. Happy writing, everybody!!!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Changes and procrastination

Well, it's finally warmer outside. The ice has thawed, but now they are predicting rain. Winter just gets blah, blah in January.

Writing has been a little slow, but I'm progressing bit-by-bit. I'm working on my outline/synopsis for my werewolf story as well as finishing up chapter 1. Trying to start things off with a bang, and keep the momentum rushing forward.

I tend to be the queen of procrastination, and getting my huge backside into the chair seems to be the biggest obstacle. Once there, my muse can take hold and fly, but I can always come up with something that needs to be done first. Dishes, laundry, floors, changing the sheets, all those pesky things that can be put off until I'm done . . . nope, "I'll just think about the plot as I'm washing the dishes." That's all well and good, but once they're finished, do I sit down and start? Heck, no.

I'm thinking about the story (or stories) all the time, taking down copious notes on things to add, delete, etc. But actually getting my fanny in the seat takes willpower and determination, which recently I seem to be lacking, at least as far as my writing goes.

On a side note, for those new to me, I've been changing my lifestyle and eating habits for the last 18 months, trying to loose a LOT of weight. As of this morning, I've lost 127 lbs in that 18 months. This feels TREMENDOUS. I'm happier, definitely healthier, and my family and friends are thrilled with the changes that I've made.

So, the question that I pose is this? If I can be so focused and determined to stick to a healthier eating plan and lifestyle, why can't I stick my backside into a chair and do the thing that I love doing (writing)?

Till next time,


Thursday, January 7, 2010


BRRR!!! With the temperature in the lower 20s this morning and ice on the roads, I really have to say I LOVE working at home. Mornings like this make me very happy that I have a job (other than my writing) where I can do everything from home.

On the writing front, as I said in my last post, I have several manuscripts in various stages of completion, although none of them as far along as I would like. I tend to become scatterbrained about sticking to one genre when I'm writing. I love to read in all genres, and my muse wants to write in all of them.

Hopefully over the course of this coming year, I'll outline on this blog my progress with the works in progress, as well as other writing news, writing tips, and things of interest to fellow readers and writers.

I hope you'll come back and visit often. I'd love hearing from you, so feel free to leave comments.

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Today will be the first writing of my new blog. Welcome to all. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you've set goals for the New Year.

My New Year's goals center around my writing.
1. Resolve to finish one of the many unfinished manuscripts that are in various stages of completion.
2. Send out said finished manuscript to agents and editors this year.
3. Enter at least 3 contests this year (I didn't enter a single one all of last year.)
4. Update and maintain my website (

I'm hoping to post tidbits about my writing as I get adjusted to writing a blog. So, please bear with me as I'm new to this, but trying hard not to be such a procrastinator this year.

So, till next time, hoping you have wonderful and prosperous new year (with writing contracts for us all.)