September 30, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

Since January I have posted information on books released by friends.  For the next few weeks, though, I'm going to do something different.  I'm opening my blog up to anyone who wants to post their blurb and links to buy their book.....just post the information in the comment section.

Then promote the blog on twitter, facebook, etc.  Let's see if it helps generate sales.

I'll start with my own blurb. 

September 28, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Chili

From this week's guest blogger, Terri Thackston comes a recipe just in time for cooler weather and football season - Chili!

Murderous drug runners, a wildfire in the Texas desert and the  President's runaway daughter…Game Warden Shannon Walker didn't sign up for any of this. Add a sexy Secret Service Agent, unexpected betrayal and a desperate escape into the desert, and the border becomes hotter than Shannon can handle.

Border Heat is available in various ebook formats at, and

Border Heat Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 chopped jalapeno, fresh or pickled, finely chopped
1 10 oz can tomatoes and green chilies
4 cups V8 Juice
1 6 oz can tomato paste
3 tblspns light brown sugar

Brown ground beef, adding onion and bell peppers as the meat cooks. Drain grease. Add jalapeno plus tomatoes and green chilies, mixing well as mixture continues to cook. Add V8 Juice and bring to boil. Add tomato paste and brown sugar. Simmer for twenty minutes.

September 25, 2011

Reality and Fiction…Blurring the Lines

It’s tough to make up stories that other people want to read. There’s a lot of thinking and imagining, researching and studying, and writing, writing, writing to do. So, hey—why not just pluck a storyline out of the newspaper or local television news broadcast? After all, news stories include ready-made plots and characters. They’re intriguing. People follow them. Why not borrow the most interesting details and turn them into a ‘made-up’ story?

While using real storylines from the news might seem a simple way to develop a fiction plot, writers must take care when blending real current events with fiction. Too much detail can land a writer in hot water. After all, fiction writers don’t want to expose real people to real harm through their stories. True crime writers might want to take such risks.

But in fiction, it’s better to choose only an element or two from life and then blur the lines between reality and fiction. Changes in location, names, even resolution are the simplest to make. The story should simulate real events, but on a limited basis. Then, with hard work, imagination and a bit of luck, the story can become even more exciting than what first grabbed the writer’s attention. And it will belong to the writer.

For my latest novel, Border Heat, I hope I’ve managed to do all of that in a way that will catch the attention of readers. The story takes place in a wildlife management area located in deep West Texas. WMAs do exist, but the Pinyon Plateau in Border Heat is imaginary. By using an imaginary site, I was able to make up access points, landmark features and other elements to suit the story. The plot involves two major news elements: drug runners that bring their goods across the Texas/Mexico border and an out of control wildfire that devours precious land and threatens lives. Both elements are highly visible in the daily news—particularly now—but I took only the basic threat of each, weaving them into my own imaginary story.

Then I assembled a group of characters about whom I hope readers will care. Game Warden Shannon Walker and Secret Service Agent Tucker Daye share a history that has left each of them emotionally hurt and yet driven to succeed in their separate lives. But they remain linked together by Shannon’s niece, Chloe—who happens to be the daughter of the President of the United States—and a past fire that killed Chloe’s mother while she was under Tucker’s protection.

Toss in the approaching wildfire that cuts them off from safety, trapping them with murderous drug runners who pursue them for nefarious reasons, and I believe I’ve created a compelling action/thriller that is based on real occurrences without ‘being’ real. I hope that Border Heat will pull in readers and keep them turning pages as they, too, make an escape…across the blurred lines between reality and fiction.

Border Heat is available in various ebook formats at, and
Visit me at

Check back on Wednesday for my Wednesdsay Chow recipe - Border Heat Chili.

September 24, 2011

New Me

Yeah, what happened to this post?  Well, there's still pretty much the old me. I've lost a total of 9 pounds since May, which I really think sucks.  But I do have to admit, I've not been dieting per se.  I been doing Zumba twice a week, though. I love it.

Now, why have I decided to post?  Well, I had blood work done a couple of weeks ago and got the results this week.  My triglycerides are through the roof and as I'm already on a cholesterol lowering med, my doctor suggested a supplement instead.  I am not advocating anything here, so I won't give the name of it yet.  I got the stuff in the mail today, a high fiber mix I can put in water, juice, milk or cola (not sure I want to drink orange flavored milk). I drink it 10-15 mins before I eat.  In addition to lowering the triglycerides, it's also supposed to help me lose weight.  Oh, yea!!!  So, I'm going to keep you updated on that "side-effect."

I'm also going to have to cut back on white bread, white rice, pasta, know everything I like!
Here's as website to check .... guess I need to look it over again, too.  11 Power Foods to Lower Cholesterol.

Anna Kathryn

September 21, 2011

Saftey Tips

While I think some of the following stories may be Urban Legends,  overall, the safety tips are good reminders to be aware of your surroundings and to listen to your instincts.  If a situation raises the hair on the back of your neck, pay attention.  I especially like Tip 4...pound that into your head. If someone bad gets into the car with you, wreck your car, even if it's into another car. You have insurance and I, myself, would be understanding of a woman who hits my car in an effort to escape a rapist and murderer, wouldn't you?

Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this. It may save your life or a loved one's life.

In daylight hours, refresh yourself of these things to do in an emergency situation...

This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children, & everyone you know.

After reading these crucial tips ,
forward them to someone you care about.

It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do :

The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide.

If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse,


Toss it away from you .... Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse.


3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy.. The driver won 't see you, but everybody else will.

This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!)

The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.

AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR , LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head




Instead gun the engine and speed into anything,
wrecking the car .

Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat

they will get the worst of it.

As soon as the car crashes bail out and run .

It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor , and in the back seat.

B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door . Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

C.) Look at the car parked on the driver 's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side.. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.

IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As we are always trying to be sympathetic:


It may get you raped, or killed.

Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help ' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird.. The police told her 'Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.. '

The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over.

The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door. ' He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby ' s cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby.. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby ' s cries outside their doors when they 're home alone at night.

10.  Water scam! If you wake up in the middle
of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your outside taps full blast so that you will go out to investigate and then attack. Stay alert, keep safe, and look out for your neighbors!

Please pass this on

This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby Theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana.

I ' d like you to forward this to everyone you know.

It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle.

I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well.

We all need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it ' s better to be safe than sorry.

Wednesday's Chow - Cola Fruit Salad

Cola Fruit Salad


1 16-oz can pitted Bing cherries
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple
Reserve fruit juice from cans
2 small packages black cherry gelatin
1 12-oz can cola
1 cup chopped pecans


Drain off juice into a measuring cup, add water to make 2 cups.  Place drained fruit into a bowl.  Heat fruit juice in pot just to boiling. Stir in gelatin and keep stirring until dissolved.  Add cola, chill until slightly thick.  Stir in fruit and nuts, then pour into a mold and chill until firm.

September 19, 2011

Seasonal Transitions

As a writer there are times when I feel more like writing than others. Autumn is one of those times when I'm really ready to write. To help in this transition from summer's triple-digit temperatures to autumn's clear blue crisp days, my family has gotten into the habit of taking a family vacation.

So what does that have to do with writing? First off, vacations are wonderful opportunities to observe others around you. For instance, the harried parents who took their little one out on the patio of a nice restaurant while waiting for their meal to arrive. I watched them visibly relax when the child's noise and activity were away from patrons who might complain. Or watch a young couple on the deck of a paddle wheeler as it chugs slowly along a bayou. They snuggle and whisper, oblivious of the fifty other passengers. Or the couple who sat next to my family. The man and his wife--for they were married--acted independently, each going their own way, doing their own thing. Finally they joined back up at a bench near me. Together but separate. The total opposite of the young couple leaning against the ship's front rail. Note the camaraderie of the men and women who work on the ferry that transports vehicles and passengers from Galveston to Bolivar several times an hour. They're all business in their scruffy looking outfits with official orange jackets. But among themselves as the ferry plows through water intersected by huge ships and small pleasure crafts they joked. The ferry approaches the next dock and it's back to business, the humor seen by me as a walk-on passenger, gone. Sit on the back porch of Murdock's Souvenir shop where Adirondack chairs and rockers are free for the sitting and you really get a nice slice of life that can easily slip into any of your literary characters.

Often I come back from vacations with some story percolating in my head. One of those that simply buzzes between your ears and won't let you sleep. You've GOT to write SOMETHING down about that story before you go bonkers!

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Begin retired, days are often the same. However my husband is a substitute teacher in the local schools and is often gone Monday through Friday. For me, that establishes a pattern for my writing that is missing in the helter-skelter of summer's going here and there at the drop of a hat. I settle down to my writing, with a renewed sense of expectation, often including into my fiction the vacation characters I saw. The weather is wonderful with cooler days and crisp nights. I'm ready to write, energized and jazzed.

One other tradition I observe--and my family begs for when temperatures cool--fits perfectly with this particular blog's format. Anna always includes recipes. I have one to share. One that suits autumn and soothes my soul. One of my family's favorite things to eat when the weather is cool is gingerbread. Enjoy the recipe, remember to observe, take advantage of autumn's beauty and let your heart enter your writing each day.

Jane Carver
Books and stories can be found at:
Just for fun:

Jane Carver
A recipe from Marguerite Robinson
Baltimore, MD

350* for 35-40 minutes
13 X 9 greased pan

2 cups of flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup boiling water

--In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger and allspice. Set aside.
--In another large bowl (you'll combine all in this one), combine oil, molasses, sugar and eggs. With mixer on medium (or beat by hand) beat 3 minutes until blended. Add dry ingredients, beating until smooth and well-blended. Quickly/safely stir in boiling water. Pour into prepared pan.
--Sprinkle with powdered sugar when completely cool.

September 18, 2011

Writer's Contest Survey

One of my RWA chapters is doing a survey on why you'd enter a contest. It takes only 2-3 minutes. Please help us out. And if you want to leave your email, you'll be entered in a drawing for a free online workshop.

To improve its annual Romance Through The Ages (RTTA) contest, the Hearts Through History chapter of RWA is asking for your opinion of contests in general, and the RTTA in particular. Please go to to take our short survey and be entered for a chance to win a free online workshop from Hearts Through History.
Anne Kathryn

September 14, 2011

Wednesday's Chow - Stack Cake

Stack Cake was a traditional pioneer wedding cake. Each guest would bring a layer of cake to the ceremony and the cake would be put together at the celebration. Usually applesauce, made from fresh or dried apples was spread between each layer and the layers were stacked.  The bride’s popularity could be measured by the number of stacks and by the number of layers in each stack….the more stacks, the more popular she was. Though one does wonder how this really worked, if she got the catch of the county, would the other girls rejoice in the marriage with lots of layers?

As each guest brought their own favorite type of cake, the cake was apt to be colorful and of varied flavors.  Here’s a recipe for a simple molasses cake, typical of a pioneer times and very likely to be part of a Wedding Stack Cake.

Stack Cake


 1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
3 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 16 ½-oz jars chunk-style spiced applesauce
Whipped cream
Chopped nuts


Cream together butter and sugar.  Stir in molasses; add eggs, one at a time, beating after each.  Stir together flour, soda, and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Grease and flour three 8x1½ -inch baking pans.  Pour 1 1/3 cups batter into each pan (refrigerate remaining batter).  Bake at 350° till done, about 15 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes, remove from pans and cool on rack.  Wash pans, grease and flour. Repeat with remaining batter. Spread applesauce between layers. Spread whipped cream and nuts on top layer.  Makes 24 servings.

September 12, 2011

Guest Blogger - Chris Enss

Today I have Chris Enss, multi-published authors of ‘true life’ Western books.  If you’ve read some of my blogs, or took my August class, Pioneering Women of the West, you’ll know that I reference Chris’s books…..A LOT. The first of her books I acquired was Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier.  I now have close to a dozen of her books on my shelf.

As my guest bloggers know, I don’t usually do interviews, but I knew a lot of my friends had questions for Chris, so I made an exception.  So without further ado – Chris Enss’s interview.

Me: If you could spend an hour talking to anyone from any time in history, who would it be?

Chris: Bill Tilghman. He was an exceptional lawman. Men like Wyatt Earp would cross into another lawman’s jurisdiction to track down his brother’s killers, which is understandable, but few men would do that simply to uphold the law. Tilghman was that kind of man.

Me: I don’t think I’ve heard of Tilghman. I’ll have to look him up. Most of your books are about women and set in the “Old West.” How did you get drawn to this era and subject?

Chris: I was working on a scenic byway travel tape for the Nevada County California Forest Service and wanted to include the accomplishments of women in the history of the area. There was very little written about what women did in Northern California in the mid-1800s and what was written about those courageous ladies did not include their first names. I thought it was a sad that women were only known as “Missus So & So…” No first name given. They were only identified with who they were married to. I wanted to change that.

Me: I very much agree with your way of thinking. Women are often overlooked in history. I’m glad you decided to research our foremothers. You’ve written on a lot of different subjects, do you have a favorite among your books? Why?

Chris: The romantic tales of the Old West and anything having to do with mail-order brides. I am fascinated with the men and women who corresponded for a short time and agreed to marry their pen-pals sight unseen. Many of the mail-order brides I researched were married for decades. The couples shared a common goal of settling the west and carving out a life for themselves in a new territory. There’s something profoundly romantic about that to me.

Me: Well, that resonates with my romantic souls.  Your books are non-fiction, have you thought about writing a fiction book?

Chris: I hope to embark on fiction writing soon. My favorite book is The Ballad of Frankie Silver by Sharyn McCrumb. To craft a story such as that would be wonderful. She’s a brilliant author.

Me: Great.  I look forward to seeing you’re fiction in print! One of my friends wanted to know what resources do you use for your research and what are your verification methods?

Chris:  don’t like to use secondary sources – I try to track down the primary source on all I write. But even that isn’t always accurate. My goal is to find three independent primary sources to back up what I’m writing. It used to be good enough that I simply listed the sources in the bibliography but now I make sure I have notes on every fact that might be in question. Readers can always track where I got the information.

Me: That sounds like a lot of work, but I know with the internet, it’s easy to find misleading “facts.” Speaking of facts, what’s the most fascinating fact you came across in your research?

Chris: There are so many…that Annie Oakley was a seamstress and made all the clothes she wore in Buffalo Bill Cody’s western shows; that Calamity Jane was buried in a white dress, frontier mothers whipped-stitched their babies into their diapers, actress Maude Adams was an accomplished electrical engineer…tell me when to stop.

Me: LOL.  I understand. I should have asked ‘what is one’ or better yet, ‘tell me some of….’  In doing all this research, what inspires you to write about one person and not another? Is it a particular story? The availability of material?

Chris: I try to select individuals or historic events to write about that haven’t been covered by so many other writers. Sometimes my goal is hampered by the lack of material on a subject but I try to move past that and dig until I find those rich nuggets of information. I love the research part of the job. I also like having written more than writing.

Me: Sounds good. I for one love to learn about different people or even unknown facts of those who think we know.  Who is the person (or persons) you’ve found the most fascinating? Why?

Chris: Elizabeth Custer, Wyatt Earp, Laura Dalton – any frontiersmen who stood up for their family and fought to defend their life and honor. Libbie made it her life’s work to defend her husband George, Wyatt embarked on a ride through the Southwest to track down the men who shot his brothers, and Laura Dalton would rather have died than tell the law where the Dalton gang was hiding. These people had a sense of loyalty I desperately admire.

Me: Interesting list of people. How do you usually spend your writing time?

Chris: I generally work on three books at a time. I divide my day into four parts. I try to write two pages a day on each book and spend time promoting the material I’ve completed. It helps that I have no children, a hopeless insomniac, and have virtually no social life to speak of.

Me: Sounds like you keep very busy. Do you travel to the places you write about for research?

Chris: The majority of the time, yes. I find I can’t really write about a person or an Old West happening unless I am at the spot they were or the scene of the historic event.

Me: What do you like to do when you’re not researching or writing?

Chris: Planning the next book I’d like to write and drafting a comprehensive proposal to submit to my editor.

Me:  LOL, sounds like a true writer. What would our readers be most surprised to learn about you?

Chris: I was a standup comic for years and was one of the comics on Showtime’s program “The Search for America’s Funniest Person.”

Me: I’d like to see one of your comedy shows. Tell us where readers can find your books?

Chris: Barnes & Noble,, bookstores and at such vacation spots such as Yellowstone and Yosemite and through my website at

Visit for more information about me and books! Hope to see all your readers there.

Thank you so much for being with me today, Chris.  And for my readers: Win one of Chris’s books! She will give away two of her books: Love Untamed: True Romance Stories of the Old West and Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier.  Just leave a comment, with your email address, to be eligible for the drawing…two winners, twice the fun!

September 10, 2011

Saturday's Salacious Suggestions

By Teri Thackston

Murderous drug runners, a wildfire in the Texas desert and the President's runaway daughter…Game Warden Shannon Walker didn't sign up for any of this. Add a sexy Secret Service Agent, unexpected betrayal and an escape into the desert, and the border becomes hotter than Shannon can handle. 


September 9, 2011

The Friday Record – This Week’s History

As I stated last week, I have a neat new book, 365: Great Stories From History, One for Every Day of the Year by W.B. Marsh & Bruce Carrick.  It is exactly what it says, a history lesson for each day of the year.  So, what happened this week?  A lot. 

September 5, 1638 - King Louis XIV is born, a miracle due to the fact his parents had been estranged for the previous fifteen years. However, nine months prior to Louis XIV’s birth, his father was stranded in a rain storm near his mother’s home.  So dad took refuge at mom’s and, evidently, a few more liberties as well.  Louis XIV ruled for an exceptional 72 years, longer than any other monarch in European history. 

September 6, 1901 – Leon Czolgosz shot and fatally wounded U. S President William McKinley. Czolgosz stated that he shot McKinley because he was an enemy of working people. He was convicted of the murder and electrocuted on October 29, 1901.  For further reading on McKinley: 

September 7, 1812 – The beginning of the end for Napoleon Bonaparte.  At the end of June, Napoleon entered Russia with an army of 530,000 men.  The army marched across the vast Russian country-side, while the Tsar refused to engage his army in a skirmish. By early September Napoleon’s forces had been reduced to about 130,000, mostly due to sickness, accident and occasional guerrilla warfare.  On September 6th, Napoleon’s army arrived in Borodino, a town about 60 miles from Moscow.  There, General Prince Mikhail Kutuzov is waiting for him.  On the morning of September 7th, Napoleon ordered his cannons to open fire.  By nightfall, more than 45,000 Russians are killed or wounded, but there were plenty of other Russians to take their places on the front line. Napoleon, 1,500 miles from home, lost 30,000 men.

Kutuzov ordered a retreat, allowing the French to claim a victory, but it was a farce.  While Napoleon had marched toward Moscow, the Russians had deserted it.  When his surviving army arrived, the city was empty and on fire.  For the next three months, they occupied an empty, burning city before finally, in the dead of winter, heading back to the Polish border. In the end, Napoleon lost all but 10,000 of his original force of over half a million. 

Also on September 7, in 1533, Queen Elizabeth I was born.

September 8, 1935 – A very possible U.S. president is assassinated.  Huey Long, the former governor of Louisiana, current U. S. Senator and future presidential candidate was shot by Dr. Carl Austin Weiss in the state capital building in Baton Rouge.  Weiss was also killed that day, so his true motives will never be known.  Bullet holes from this shooting can still be seen in the capital marble walls.

September 9, 1087 – William the Conqueror died in France.  After invading, conquering and uniting England, William had to return to France to defend the Duchy of Normandy from the French Army. During the battle, William’s horse stumbled and he is thrown against the iron pommel, rupturing his intestines.  Five weeks later, after an agonizing illness as infection spread throughout his abdomen, William died.  The illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy and a tanner’s daughter ruled England for 21 years, during which time he built White Tower in the Tower of England and created a vast deer preserve still around today and called New Forest in Hampshire.

September 10, 1898 – On a quay in Geneva, an Italian anarchist stabs to death Elisabeth of Bavaria, the estranged wife of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph.  You’ll have to investigate this tidbit yourself!

September 7, 2011

JOIN ME - Writer's Workshop

The Write Way

Presented by the Roses of Houston

Saturday, September 17, 2011

12 Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Boomerang Book Store
907 W Main St (Hwy 518)
League City, TX 77573
(281) 316-1404

With Multi-published Authors:

Anne Marie Novark

Self-Publishing: The New Paradigm/Living My Dream

Skhye Moncrief

Show: Don’t Tell

Anna Kathryn Lanier

The Hero’s Journey in The Mythological Woods

Wednesday's Chow

Broccoli Slaw


1 bunch of broccoli, heads cut off
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled


1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoon vinegar


Fix the dressing ahead of time and put in refrigerator. Mix the broccoli, onion and bacon. An hour before serving, pour dressing over broccoli mixture.

September 6, 2011

The 2011 Lone Star Writer’s Conference


The 2011 Lone Star Writer’s Conference

Presenter: Screenwriter and Novelist Alexandra Sokoloff
Topic: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors: From High Concept to Big Twist

Agents: Natalie M. Fischer - Assistant Agent at the Bradford Literary Agency
Pam Hopkins - Hopkins Literary Associates
Taylor Martindale - Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

Editor: Kelli Collins, Editor-in-Chief, Ellora’s Cave

Location: Houston Marriot North at Greenspoint
Date & Time: October 15, 2011; 9 am to 5 pm (registration and breakfast 8:30
- 9:00 a.m.)
Cost: $125.00 (includes lunch and coffee breaks)

Alexandra Sokoloff presents…

Are you finally committed to writing that novel but have no idea how to get
started? Or are you a published author - but know you need some plotting
help to move your books and career up to that next level?

Screenwriting is a compressed and dynamic storytelling form and the
techniques of screenwriting are easily adaptable to novel writing. You can
jump-start your plot and bring your characters and scenes vibrantly alive on
the page - by watching your favorite movies and learning from the
storytelling tricks of great filmmakers.

In this workshop, based on award-winning author/screenwriter Alexandra
Sokoloff’s internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks For Authors
blog and workbook, you'll learn how to use techniques of film writing such
• the High Concept Premise
• the Three-Act, Eight-Sequence Structure
• the Storyboard Grid
• the Index Card Method of Plotting

PLUS: tricks of film pacing and suspense, character arc and drive, visual
storytelling, and building image systems - to structure and color your novel
for maximum emotional impact, unbearable suspense and riveting pacing, no
matter what genre you're writing in.

You'll start to create your own personalized workbook of genre tricks based
on your favorite books and movies and tailored to your own brand of
storytelling, and a collage book to build visual image systems. And the
emphasis on premise is invaluable for crafting that all-important query and

In this rapidly changing world of publishing, more and more agents and
editors are looking for novels that have the pacing, emotional excitement,
and big, unique, "high concept" premises of Hollywood movies (and the
potential for that movie or TV sale!).

Whether you're just starting to develop a book or script, or rewriting for
maximum impact, this workshop will introduce you to an easy, effective and
fun process to help you make your book or script the best it can be.
Alexandra Sokoloff is a screenwriter who has sold original suspense and
thriller scripts and adapted novels for numerous Hollywood studios, for
producers such as Michael Bay, Laura Ziskin, David Heyman, and Neal Moritz.

Her adaptation of Sabine Deitmer's psychological thriller COLD KISSES was
filmed in Germany.

Alex is the author of the supernatural thrillers THE HARROWING, THE PRICE,
THE UNSEEN, and BOOK OF SHADOWS, and a new paranormal romance, THE SHIFTERS.
SCREENWRITERS!), a workbook based on her internationally acclaimed blog and
workshops. She is a Thriller Award winner and a Bram Stoker and Anthony
Award nominee.

Alex has served on the Board of Directors of the WGAw, the screenwriters'
union, and the board of Mystery Writers of America, and is the founder
of, an online community and resource center of 2000+
professional screenwriters.

In her spare time (!)she performs with Heather Graham's Slush Pile Players,
and dances every chance she gets. Visit her website
at: And her blog on Screenwriting Tricks for
Authors at

1) Natalie M. Fischer is an Assistant Agent at the Bradford Literary Agency.
An honors graduate of the University of San Diego, California, Natalie holds
a B.A. in Literature/Writing. She started as an intern at the Sandra
Dijkstra Literary Agency in 2007, after which time she left to write author
profiles and book reviews for the San Diego Union Tribune. Finding that
journalism was just not for her, she returned to work full-time at the
Dijkstra Agency in April 2009, and started building her own client list in
September of that same year. She made her move to the Bradford Agency in
February of 2011.

Natalie's interests include talented, hard-working new authors with a fresh,
unique voice and hook. Her specialty is commercial fiction, with an emphasis
in children’s literature (from picture book-YA/Teen), romance (contemporary
and historical), historical fiction, multi-cultural fiction, paranormal,
sci-fi/fantasy in YA or romance only, fairy-tale/legend spin-offs, and
“beautiful dark” novels. She will also consider select nonfiction (has to
have a fantastic hook and an even more fantastic author platform) and that
amazing project she never even knew she was looking for! She is always drawn
to an open and positive attitude in an author, good grammar, and
fantastical, engaging and sexy plots.

The Bradford Literary Agency is a boutique agency located in sunny San
Diego, California. Founded in 2001, it is an editorial-focused agency that
prefers to work closely with its authors in helping to build strong,
sustainable careers.

Read more about the agency at, follow Natalie on Twitter
@Natalie_Fischer, or visit her blog, Adventures in Agentland.

2) Pam Hopkins - Hopkins Literary Associates. She represents Romance almost
exclusively. The areas she would be seeking projects in are Historical,
Contemporary, Mainstream, Romantic Suspense, Inspirational, Paranormal and
Series Romance. She does represent a bit in the area of Historical Novels
and Historical Mystery as well.

3) Taylor Martindale - Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency
She is most interested in acquiring Young Adult fiction--specifically gritty
contemporary, unique paranormal / urban fantasy, and any story with a
captivating voice. She loves the way YA authors manage to bring today’s
teenage culture to vivid life, set fire to imagination, and make their
audience put aside cell phones for the crisp (or wrinkled) pages of a book.

Taylor is also interested in children’s picture books, commercial fiction,
women’s fiction, and multi-cultural fiction. She is looking for engaging and
unforgettable characters and stories that stay with you long after you turn
the final page. ** She will also take other pitches and pass them on to
other agents she works with.

Taylor is a proud graduate of The College of William and Mary and holds a BA
in English, with a minor in Hispanic Studies. She was the Copy Chief of her
college newspaper for three years and occasionally does freelance writing
for a local paper. Before joining SDLA in Summer 2009, Taylor was the
Submissions Coordinator at Bliss Literary Agency, Intl.

Kelli Collins spent a dozen years as a newspaper journalist and editor
before finding her true passion in the erotic romance industry. After seven
years with EC, that love affair is still going strong. You can frequently
find her on Twitter andFacebook, or meet her in person at conferences large
and small.
Kelli Collins, Editor-in-Chief,
Twitter ~ Facebook

** 2011 Registration Form **

or make check payable: NWHRWA,
Northwest Houston RWA
Conference Registration
P.O. Box 11801
Spring, Texas 77379

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after this date.
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