November 30, 2010

Holiday Cheer - Coming Soon

Okay, after much debating, I've decided to once again do Holiday Cheer.  For those who don't know what that is, for the past 2-3 years, I've sent out via emails or posted here on my blog daily recipes for holiday dishes.  I was debating whether I'd do it this year, as it's a bit time consuming, and finally decided that I would.  So starting on December 1st, I'll post a cookie, candy, or other  holiday goodie recipe.  Some of the recipes I would have used, others will just be ones I found that look interesting.

I'll also be giving away prizes throughout the month, so be sure to comment and leave a contact email so you can claim your prize.

Happy Holidays!

Anna Kathryn
FREE COOKBOOK available December 8-31, 2010

November 29, 2010

Nonreaders - An Untapped Resource

by Gloria Davidson Marlow

Thanks for letting me chat with you today! It's been a busy weekend and I'm a bit late showing up, but it's a pleasure to be here.

I thought I'd talk today about an untapped resource for writers - people who don't read. Now you all are probably looking at me a bit askance. Why do we writers care about people who don't read, right?

A few years ago, I suggested to a writers group I belonged to that some of us lease exhibition space at the Jacksonville fair to promote and sell our books. I was shocked when the group leader informed me that people who attend fairs are not "readers" and we would be wasting our time. I took immediate exception to that line of thought. We may not have sold books at the fair, simply because attendees may not have come prepared financially to purchase books, but to discount a whole segment of the population as not being "readers" because they have children or are seen by one writer as a lower class and not the type of reader he would want, is folly. In my opinion, he passed up an opportunity for himself and others to be introduced to a wide range of readers or potential readers.

None of us were born readers. I, for one, couldn't read a single word when I was born. Some of my earliest memories, however, are of my mom reading to my sister and me. It was on our living room sofa, curled up beside my mom and little sister, that a reader was born.

Other readers were born later in life and in different ways, but all had one thing in common. For a few hours, they were transported to another world, taken to live vicariously through someone they had never met, and most likely, someone who never really existed at all.

Even as a reader since childhood, I love to experience that. I love to be swept away and lost in the characters and plot to the point where the real world ceases to exist for just little while. As a writer, that is what I want to give my readers. I know from experience, that if I find an author who can do that for me, I go back and read more by her. I hope my readers feel the same way.

My sister did not become an avid reader on the sofa in our living room. Although she does read other things, she isn't a big book reader. So when she told me my first book was the best book she ever read, it was easy for me to discount it and tease that it was the only book she'd ever read. When she fell in love with the hero in my second book, I began to think of her as one of my readers.

When I talk about my books, a lot of people tell me they love to read and they enjoyed my books. That means a lot. But there are an equal number of people who tell me they never read, but they love my books. They almost always want to know when my next one is coming out. They may not be readers of anyone else, but they are most definitely "mine".

Do they or their opinions matter less because they don't usually read? I don't think so. I am actually awed and flattered that my words, my characters, my plots, and my voice is the one that transported them. It was my book that initiated them into the world of readers and it is my writing that keeps them there.

I have a fairly short list of authors who I love to read. When I find one I really like, I read everything they write. They may not be as famous or well known as many other writers. While other writers I know were reading the classics, I was devouring Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. While those writers continued their literary educations, I was falling in love with the worlds created by Jude Deveraux and Elizabeth Thornton. I remember the first books I ever read by each one of them, and I continued reading them until I'd read every one.

I wasn't born a reader, but it was those women, along with the writers of my childhood book list, who made me into one. It is my pleasure and privilege to carry that torch to my little part of the world.

Read more about me and my books at

November 27, 2010

Things That Sound Dirty at Thanksgiving but Aren't

~ Reach in and grab the giblets.

~ Whew, that's one terrific spread!

~ I'm in the mood for a little dark meat.

~ Tying the legs together will keep the insides moist.

~ Talk about huge breasts!

~ It's Cool Whip time!!!!

~ If I don't unbuckle my pants, I'm going to burst!

~ It must be broken, cause when I push on the tip, nothing squirts out!

~ All I want is stuffin'!

November 26, 2010

Building Characters that come alive with Ciara Gold

First, a huge thank you to Anna Kathryn for letting me guest blog today. She's a jewel, especially when I was scheduled to post on Monday and I had one of those senior moments. And yet, it's moments like those that help give ideas to characterization.

My muse has been running amuck lately with new story ideas and characters, but that's better than having writer's block so I'm happy. Holidays are a great time to sit back and people watch, to see how folks react to different situations. Tonight was no exception as we had a room full watching the TAMU/UT game where half the group were UT fans and the other half, TAMU fans. I'm happy to say, I was on the winning side. Whoop! But the bantering back and forth provided a wealth of catchy dialogue. Gotta luv that.

So, here are some of the things I do to get into a character's psyche:
  1. People watch. How does a shy person react to a situation as opposed to a boisterous person?
  2. Background. Each character needs a background, roots, cultural heritage, religious preference. Did something happen when he/she was six to make him afraid of dogs? Do they always associate kites with an exceptionally happy moment?
  3. Astrology.  When were they born? What characteristics do they have based on their sign?
  4. Numerology. I love choosing names that support their astrological signs. If a name I have in mind doesn't work with my previous perception of their character, then I choose another.
  5. Regional influences. This one is hard if you write about a character that's not from an area you're familiar with. Doubtful a native New Yorker is going to say y'all.
  6. Quirky mannerisms. Does she scrunch her nose each time she's mulling over a problem? Does he tap his foot when  he's aggravated.
Overall, people are complex creatures, so characters should be complex also. 

I have a Victorian fantasy romance, The Keeper of Moon Haven coming out in December and the hero is one of my favorite characters. He's half elf and half human. The elf in him gives him wizard like abilities, which made for a most interesting character.  I have another book coming out in April that probably has the most complex hero and heroine I've every written. He's a futuristic warrior with knowledge of all of his reincarnated souls. And they do love popping up at the most inconvenient times. Be on the lookout for Dragon Hunter this coming spring.

So, how do you go about building your characters? Or if you're a reader, what makes you identify with a character in a book?

Again, thanks to Anna Kathryn for letting me visit. To learn more about me and my work, stop by my website where I have sample first chapters for all my books.

November 24, 2010

Sexy Comments & Profile Graphics

Wednesday's Chow - Giblet Dressing

This is a family recipe, one I got from my mom....I'm not sure where she got it from, but it's the only dressing I ever fix for Thanksgiving.  Make it the night before and refrigerate it over night.  It is important that you don't stuff the turkey until just before you put it in the oven. Stuffing it too early makes for the right condition for nasty stuff to grow and we don't want visits to the E.R. on Thanksgiving!

Giblet Dressing


Turkey giblets
1 ½ loaves of day old bread
1 stick butter
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp sage
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning


Simmer turkey giblets in water for one hour. Remove giblets to cool and reserve broth.

Meanwhile, tear bread into small pieces in a large bowl. Sauté celery and onion in butter until tender. Pour vegetables and butter over bread. Add seasonings. Chop giblets and add to bread mixture. Pour 1 cup reserved broth over bread mixture, adding a little bit at a time as need to moisten the bread. Season to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stuff turkey just prior to cooking.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: Do not stuff the turkey with dressing until reading to put into the oven.

PS Leave a comment to be eligible for my monthly drawing.  See to the right for the November Romance Prize Package.

Anna Kathryn Lanier

November 19, 2010

Join me today

I'm at Seduced by History today, blogging on Noah Webster – American Lexicographer. Stop by and say hi.

Anna Kathryn

November 17, 2010

Wednesday's Chow - Peachy Pork Chops

I'm back. I was out of town last week and forgot to set up a recipe before I headed out, so sorry about missing Wednesday's Chow's recipe.  I fixed this for my husband and me a couple of weeks ago and we really liked it.  The preserves gives the chops a nice sweet flavor.  Add rice and green beans and you have a great, easy meal.

Peachy Pork Chops


4 (4-oz) boneless loin pork chops
¼ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup peach or apricot preserves
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt


Coat non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Add pork chops to pan and cook on each side until done, about 6 minutes. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add onion to pan and sauté until lightly browned. Stir in preserves, soy sauce, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring for until thickened, about 3minutes. Return pork chops to the pan, turning to coat with sauce.

Serve with warm rice.

November 15, 2010


Join me, Skhye Moncrief and Anne Marie Novark:

Saturday Nov. 20


Absolute Hair

Pasadena, TX

On Burke between Spencer and Vista

That Dreaded, Evil Synopsis--Guest Blogger Cindy K. Green

I’ve always hated the idea of the synopsis, and I know I'm not alone. To most authors it is the equivalent of a four-letter word. However, I have to admit that while investing quite a lot of time recently studying up on it that I’ve learned to like it. Shh! Don’t tell. Part of the reason is because when you take the time to write the synopsis it gives you the opportunity to evaluate your novel or story and make sure it has value and that it is indeed ready for submission.

So let’s get to it as I share with you the research I’ve put together on writing the synopsis.

What is a synopsis?

A synopsis is a summary of your book in its entirety. It’s an overview of plot, characters, and conflict. Its style is a preview of coming attractions—characters, dramatic moments, and plot.

What should be in your synopsis?

1. Theme - The theme pulls the entire book together. Sometimes you don’t even know what the theme is until you’re ready to write the synopsis. But identifying that theme really is a selling factor for your novel.
2. Set the Period - When you start off the synopsis set the scene and let the reader know the place and time period if that is relevant.
3. Hook - Start with a hook—like a back cover blurb. Grab the reader’s attention and let them know what makes your book so different.
4. Plot summary - This is the heart of the synopsis. It includes the beginning, middle and end. Don’t forget the END! Introduce the problem, the conflict and the resolution. Provide the opening incident (beginning), effort to reach the goal (middle), and climax—success or failure (the end). The plot must spring from your characters not events.
5. Character Sketches - Show that your story is character driven (Although it would be near impossible to write a romance that wasn’t character driven—wouldn’t it?) Take a paragraph to describe your main characters—his past, his motivations, what drives him and makes him unique, his flaws. Include your hero and heroine and an antagonists if a major plot in your story. The rest of your characters give role names within the summary. Things like friend, mother-in-law, policeman, clerk, etc.
6. Dialogue - Use dialogue sparingly in the synopsis if at all. It slows down pace and takes up space. In a synopsis, every word must be efficient.
7. Emotional Turning Points - It’s the small scenes which move the plot forward. You can’t include all those scenes in the synopsis. The big scenes, the emotional turning points, should be included. The climax is the final turning point along with a statement regarding how your protagonist changes by books end.

Take Note:  Open with a problem and what’s at stake—set the stage. (If there is no problem then you may have started your book too soon within the story.) Introduce your protagonist with a hint at inner problems and conflict before going into the plot summary.

More advice:
Be Clear.
Be Concise.
Be Complete.

Remember that less is better than more.

The tone of the synopsis should denote the style of your book. It should carry your ‘author voice.’

Avoid using adverbs, internal monologue, dialogue, scenic descriptions, cliches.

Give a clear ending to your story.

Use Present tense from the author’s point of view

Make your nouns concrete and your verbs vivid. Not unlike in your novel—but even more so.

Length—a paragraph or two synopsis within a query is adequate. Only one to two pages when included with the query (single spaced with double spaces between paragraphs). If a synopsis is requested with a partial or full manuscript, then the standard length is five pages (double spaced). This is the length sent by agents to acquiring editors.

There is no right way to write a synopsis. I’ve heard successful authors say—it’s just like telling a friend what your novel is about.

To get started I have a synopsis worksheet for you. It’s not a form for the perfect synopsis. It will however get you thinking and help you to start writing your ideas down which you can then use to write into your synopsis. Email me for the worksheet at

Check out the many sample synopses on the web from published authors who’ve made the big sale. Reading several of those will help as start to write your own.

Have fun! No really, try to have fun with it. Make yours stand out from the crowd and a sense of humor just might do the trick.

I’m running a great Christmas contest on my blog. All you have to do is watch the book trailer for my holiday romance, All I Want for Christmas, and send me an email. And if anyone is interested in getting a free read today, send me an email at Put FREE READ in the subject and let me know if you want the humorous contemporary, My Grand Epiphany or the historical western, Second Chances.

From All I Want for Christmas:

Blurb: Best Friends or True Love? Only Santa Knows.

Kathryn Graham hates Christmas. She hates the snow, the decorations, the whole nine yards. Nick Pringle on the other hand can’t get enough of the season. He may be her best friend and fellow writer at Redburn Weekly Magazine, but sometimes his exuberance gets on her very last nerve. Now they’ve been assigned to cover the orphan toy drive story. It’s just a puff piece not the serious journalism Kathryn hopes for, but maybe—as Nick says—there are no old stories just new angles.

Nick Pringle has been in love with Kathryn practically since the day they met. When he realizes that she’s lost her Christmas spirit, he figures he’s just the guy to help her find it again. He enacts a plan to send her anonymous gifts from Secret Santa, but will any of this really make a difference in her? Will she ever see him as anything more than her smart-aleck partner even after their passionate kisses? Then again maybe he’ll get what he wants for Christmas after all.


Halfway through the film, Nick’s fingers brushed over Kathryn’s wrist and a surge whipped through her like an electrical charge. His hand ended up on her knee, and he leaned over close to her ear. “You have any more of those Milkduds?”

“Huh?” Oh, candy. He just wanted more snacks. Well, of course, what other reason would he have for touching her like that?

“Here,” she whispered and held out the container to him.

His face remained close to hers, his warm hand still molded to the shape of her knee. She accidentally moved in too close and her forehead bumped his cheek. Looking up at him, Kathryn saw he wasn’t smiling. His eyes had grown serious and all thoughts of candy dissipated. His attention dropped to her mouth and suddenly Kathryn couldn’t swallow. Could he possibly be considering kissing her? Just then, he turned his attention back to the movie and lifted his hand from her knee.

An unexplainable inclination took over as Kathryn pushed his hand back to her knee. His face whipped back to her. Questions filled his features. His chest moved up and then down. He smoothed his hand over her pants from her knee to her thigh and back again. Her skin pebbled under the material at his touch. This was soon followed by heat tingling from her stomach to the tips of her toes.

She leaned in towards him and he met her halfway. And just like that their lips met. Giddiness spun through Kathryn’s head with sparks tingling her skin. The kiss was light and sweet yet searing all at once. Lucidity began to return to her the next moment. What was she doing? Oh, right, she was kissing Nick Pringle. She was kissing a co-worker. Worse yet, she was making out with her best friend. What was she thinking? She had to stop and yet it was the last thing she wanted to do.

The whole idea was ludicrous. An outrageous act and yet somehow her body’s sole response was that it wanted more. Whoa! Had it been that long since she’d had a date? Time to reign in those annoying hormones which threatened to take over her sanity.

She broke off the kiss and rested her hand against his chest. She could feel his heart speeding at the rate of a train. A train wreck is more like it. Ay-yi-yi! How was she going to get herself out of this one?

On sale now (for a $1 off at Champagne Books), All Romance e-books and Amazon.

Cindy K. Green is a multi-published author with degrees in History and Education. Previously a middle school English & History teacher, she now homeschools her own children and writes in several genres: Inspirational, Contemporary, YA, Suspense and Historical romance. Find out more about Cindy and her books at You can also visit her on her Blog. In addition, she has a Homeschooling Blog and a Teen Fiction Blog. She can be reached by email at She’s on Myspace Facebook Twitter and Twitter for her YA friends. And she has a Newsletter.

November 14, 2010

FREE Cookbook

Want a cookbook with 27 mouth-watering recipes, including Cheesy Biscuits, Son-of-a-Gun Stew, Green Beans with Basil, Chocolate Cherry Cake, Apple Strudel, Tortellini Soup, Taco Casserole, and Italian Cream Cake?

It can be yours....for FREE, when you purchase my upcoming book A GIFT BEYOND ALL MEASURE.

Sorry, you will need to wait for both the story and the cookbook....A GIFT BEYOND ALL MEASURE doesn't come out until December 8th from The Wild Rose Press.  But I wanted to give everyone a heads up....if you purchase the book between December 8the and December 31st, 2010, you can get the book for free off my website.  More details will come on how to obtain the A GIFT BEYOND ALL MEASURE COOK BOOK.

Anna Kathryn Lanier

November 5, 2010

A sorry case of plagerism

Wow, this is unbelievable.  A writer posts an article with recipes about medieval cooking and a cooking 'magazine' steals it and publishes it in their magazine without letting the author know anything about it.  When the author contacts them about plagiarising her work, they add insult to injury by telling her that anything on the Internet is 'free domain' and they had to edit it so much (i.e. change her medieval spelling) and since they had to edit it so much she should pay them!

Read all about it here:

And see more info at Smart Bitches. They have set up a definition for Judith Griggs (the now famous editor) and it's now the number one link when you google Judith Griggs.  Cool.

Anna Kathryn

November 4, 2010

Wednesdays Chow - Shrimp Nachos


24 large corn tortilla chips
1/2 cup black beans dip
1/4 cup chunky salsa
24 cooked medium shrimp peeled and deveined
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced into 24 slices
1/2 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese


Preheat oven to broil. Top each tortilla chips with 1 tsp bean dip, 1/2 tsp salsa, 1 shrimp, 1 avocado slice and about 1 tsp cheese.  Place on baking sheet.

Broil with tops about 5 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until cheese is just melted.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

November 3, 2010

Contest Winners

Congratulations to Carol L, who won my blog drawing for October and four romance novels: On the Steamy Side by Louisa Edwards, Enemy Lover by Karin Harlow, Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz, The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick.

And also, congratulations to Joye for winning my website guest book drawing.  Joye also won four romance novels: Loving Bella by Renee Ryan, A Highlander's Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue, Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran, The Perfect Poison by Amanda Quick.

I'll be setting up more contests soon, so stay tuned.
Anna Kathryn Lanier

November 1, 2010

Never Give Up by guest blogger Loreen Augeri

Never give up is the best piece of writing advice I’ve ever been given. If I hadn’t taken those three little words to heart, Tormented Hearts would have never been published.

Writing is hard. Receiving rejection letters is agonizing. Sometimes you believe you will never receive “the call” or “the e-mail” for e-publishing. But it does happen. I’ve been writing for fifteen years and as of May, I can now say I am a published author. I would have never become one if I had given up.

I decided long ago that even if I never got published, my time and effort were not wasted. I was learning about the craft. And the more I wrote, the better I got. While I created historical characters and gave them life, I was acquiring knowledge of different eras, what people wore, what they ate, and how they acted.
And once you’ve finished that novel, don’t put off sending out query letters. It is hard to send your manuscript out to editors and agents to be criticized and rejected, but it is a necessary evil. One that is sometimes painful. But most people endure hardship on the way to success.

So I hope every aspiring author remembers those words that mean so much. Never give up.
I want to thank Anna Kathryn for having me here today. If you would like to learn more about me or Tormented Hearts published by The Wild Rose Press visit my website at


The world of Brett Armstrong, the Earl of Tremont, collapses when his wife and unborn child die. Determined to punish himself for the part he played in their demise, he turns his back on society and retreats to the country. Hard, physical labor during the day and mind-numbing gin at night help to keep at bay the demons that threaten to devour him. Until Catherine Hammond creeps into his world. Not wishing to resurrect his dormant emotions and the resulting pain, Brett struggles against the sensuality she exudes and battles to defeat his rising desire.

Abused by her aristocratic husband, commoner Catherine Hammond flees from his cruelty. Her hope is to hide and create a new life. She vows to never again associate with the upper classes that have heaped unbearable pain upon her family. Escaping without funds, Catherine is forced to work as a servant in the Earl of Tremont's household. His tantalizing, amorous advances ignite a fire within the cold regions of her heart, but she refuses to fall in love with a man who may destroy her.


As she stalked past him, his fingers grazed her shoulder to halt her. A sizzling warmth pierced her skin and swirled throughout her body. Catherine restrained the gasp that fought to break from her lips. She’d prayed the sensations she experienced last night resulted from the lingering effects of the dream and lack of sleep, but they seared her again.

Brett jerked his hand back as if she scalded him, and it hovered in the air above her shoulder. Unsure, she turned to him. The pulse in his temple beat at a frantic rate, and the muscles in his jaw clenched. It affected him, too. She delved deep into his eyes, and the turmoil that appeared to tear him in different directions caught and captured her.

She yearned for the heat of his fingers to engulf her again, to feel his body pressed against hers like last night, the whisper of his breath on her cheek, the exquisite thrill of not being alone. Her gaze fell to his appealing, moist lips. Not thin and dry like Lord Wallingford’s.

Brett leaned toward her and then withdrew. He swallowed, and his Adam’s apple bobbed before he cleared his throat. “You can stay here with him.”

She blinked as the strange immediacy to be embraced faded away. What had she been thinking? She never wanted another man to touch her. Ever. Especially not one of his station.

Loreen Augeri
Tormented Hearts - The Wild Rose Press