Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Leigh Court Spotlight

Author Leigh Court is not only talented, she's beautiful, too, damn it. If she wasn't a friend, I'd have to hate her. Anyway, she's done what I would like to do someday--write a historical romance, and it's a darned good one. Here are a few questions I asked her. I think you'll enjoy reading her answers.

I really loved The Disciplinarian. What was the genesis for that story?

I love historical romance, and I also love to put my characters into impossible situations -- in this case, a headstrong young Victorian wife, Clarissa Babcock, who is sent to London's notorious Disciplinarian, Jared Ashworth, for lessons in how to be a proper, submissive wife -- and then wait to see how the sparks fly and love grows!

You write historical. Have you ever thought it might be nice to actually live in a different time period or that maybe you'd been born in the wrong one?

While it's terribly romantic to pine for a time when men were true gentleman, I'd never want to give up running water and flushing toilets, LOL

What prompted you to choose your pseudonym?

The Disciplinarian is a sexy erotic romance, so I chose a pseudonym because I didn't want my mother to know I'd written it! As for the actual name Leigh Court, I thought it was generic enough that people might not be able to tell if it was a man or woman, so I could write as both.

Who are your top five favorite authors?

I read so much that it's hard to narrow it down to five! But I love historical fiction and stories with lots of action, so my favorites would be Dorothy Dunnett for her "Lymond Chronicles," anything by Jane Austin, Bernard Cornwell's "Archer" series, Susan Carroll's wonderfully entertaining "The Bride Finder" and "The Night Drifter" and early Anne Rice.

What is your favorite romantic movie with a bittersweet ending? What about a happy one?

The best bittersweet movie by far is Wuthering Heights (the 1939 version with Laurence Olivier) and the best one with a happy ending is Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth is yummy)!

Tell me about the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you.

I met my husband when I was 22, and every year he gives me 22 red roses on my birthday, saying I'll "always be 22 in his heart."

If you could change careers now without any consequences or financial loss, what would you switch to?

Being an author has been my dream since age 11, so if I could do that full time I would love to. My second choice would be to design Japanese gardens -- they're so beautiful and soothing!

What’s the one thing you’ll never understand?

Why the people of the world can't simply respect each other's differences and live in peace.

Tell me something about you that very few people know.

Not many people know that my career as a television journalist reporting bad news every day turned me into a romance writer -- it was my therapy!

Tell me about your work-in-progress.

I just finished a very sexy sci-fi/futuristic called The Traveler that my agent is currently pitching. I'm also working on two more historical novellas for Red Sage -- Lord & Master and Provocateur.

Well, I'm certainly looking forward to those books. If they're as hot and as well-written as The Disciplinarian, I'm in for a treat! Thanks for participating, Leigh!

Leigh's Website:


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chocolate Orange Swirl Cheesecake

1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp margarine, melted

4 8-oz packages of softened cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
2 tbsp orange flavored liqueur
1/2 tsp grated orange zest

Crust: Heat oven to 325. Mix crumbs, cinnamon, and margarine. Press onto bottom of 9" springform pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Filling: Increase oven temperature to 350.

Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addtion. Blend in sour cream and vanilla.

Blend chocolate into 3 cups batter and pour over crust, reserving about a quarter cup for swirls. Bake 30 minutes. Meanwhile, blend liqueur and zest into remaining batter.

Reduce oven temperature to 325. Pourremaining batter over chocolate layer. Spoon the reserved chocolate batter and make swirls with a knife. Continue baking for 30 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of pan. Cool. Keep refrigerated. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Haiku: Sweet Temptation

Struggling for weight loss

I eye the cranberry scone

O hated pastry


Friday, January 26, 2007

Embrace Your Inner Geek

During the Christmas season, I did some online shopping. I wanted to share a website that I really enjoyed surfing -- Think Geek, Stuff for the Smart Masses. What I liked in particular about this place was the tongue-in-cheek humor in the catalog itself.

Here's a shirt that tickled my funny bone. I actually am one of those people who "don't." I certainly couldn't tell you how to write 3 in binary. (Is it 11?) But I remember enough from school that I was able to get the joke. I guess that makes me a geek-wannabe.

I bought my boys some acrobots, partly because of the hilarious "customer action shots" that were posted on the site. I'd sure love to get the LED license plate frame and be able to customize messages on it, but I don't think I could get gutsy enough to advertise my books on it. Still a bit in the closet to fellow-PTA members, etc.


Thursday, January 25, 2007


I haven't blogged about art for quite a while, so I decided to search for a suitable piece and found something very interesting, at least to me. Monet is perhaps the most well-known impressionist painter. I was looking at some of his work online and found "Irises" (top.) I was quite familiar with Van Gogh's "Irises," (bottom) and realized that those flowers must have been popular among impressionists.

Then I saw one of Monet's "Water Lillies" paintings, an even more prevalent blossom for him! But what struck me was its resemblance to Van Gogh's "Starry Night." And then I started really looking at "Starry Night" and noticed a yin-yang shape in the sky, and I love yin-yangs. I have to say that I like the colors better in Monet's, but the flow of Van Gogh's is something that will always appeal to me.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Valentine's Day Ideas?

My New Year's Resolution was to be a better wife. I think that since my children were born, I've concentrated so hard on being a terrific mom, that my husband was relegated to the back of the bus. To that end, I'm making 2007, the Year of the Hubby.

Valentine's Day is coming, so I'm going to send him an email everyday, from February 1 -14, telling him what I love and appreciate about him. I'm also going to make a sign for his parking spot at work, anchored in a pot of sand.

Do you have any ideas you'd like to share, big or small?


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Actions Speak Louder

Since I'm starting my *online class, "The Secrets of Selling to Woman's World Magazine," next month, I thought it was about time to review another of their stories.

Story: "Just Fine" by Suzanne DuBois from the January 23rd issue.
Tagline: Sally realized how nice it felt to have someone who was really on her side.

Ah, the beloved beta hero makes yet another appearance. At a team-building ski weekend, Sally is drooling over her supervisor, while her friend, Josh, plays the part of the best friend standing on the sidelines. Of course, Sally realizes that Josh might be the man for her after all. I think the story imparts a terrific message: that a good man shows he cares by his actions.

Best Part: "Gathered in the hotel's meeting room, the office gang shared in some teasing--and Sally's 'horizontal' ski technique got lots of laughs."

Just My Humble Opinion: My pragmatic side makes me wonder about the wisdom in pursuing your supervisor, but that's really a minor complaint. This is light fiction, after all.

Grade: B

*To find out more about the class, sponsored by Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, go here.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Pleasure Island

Okay, reality shows are a fact of life these days. The only one I ever got hooked on was Project Runway, the one where the fashion designers duke it out for money, a spread in Elle magazine, a car, and probably some other stuff I can’t remember right now. How they could create clothing out of the strangest materials amazed me. The challenges that the show presented to the contestants were very creative, too. One time they had to design an outfit for Barbie. Another time they had to redesign the U.S. Postal Service uniform.

Anyway, I’m getting off the subject. What I wanted to do today was have you imagine that you are the star of an extraordinary reality show - and I mean that literally - Pleasure Island.

The object of Pleasure Island is to take five men and decide who is the sexiest. Now, you can populate your island with whomever you like. They can be celebrities. They can be characters from books, movies, or TV. They can be people from your past. They can be historical figures.

These five men will have to meet many sexual challenges. Maybe the first challenge would be to turn you on with only words. Maybe you want to find out who can make the best use of a scarf and rose petals. Perhaps, you naughty girl, you might even present a team challenge. It’s your choice.

So, name your five men and come up with a challenge for them! Everyone who participates will get a chance to appear in a cameo role in my next book. Good luck!

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Never too much?

I've been writing a ton in the past two weeks trying to get this story done by February first. It's coming along nicely, and so, literally, are the characters. I did a little math just now and 48% of what I've written so far is sex. The longest sex scene I have is over 3000 words long. There won't be a problem making Ellora's Cave's hottest rating! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to kick my characters out of the hotel room or they're going to spontaneously combust.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bonnie Dee Spotlight

Bonnie Dee writes about "flawed, often damaged people who find the fulfillment they seek in one another." Those are my kind of stories. I love tortured heroes. Please read on to find out more about my fellow Liquid Silver Author!

Like most of the world, I love the book cover for Bone Deep. If that book were to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the lead characters? Why?

Unknowns. A name actor would distract from the mystery of Tom. You’d be thinking about him being Johnny Depp with a lot of fake tats instead of immersing yourself in the character. And if Tom is played by an unknown actor, his leading lady should not outshine him by being a famous actress.

Do you have tattoos? If so, what/where are they? If not, where would you get one and what would you get?

I have no tattoos but if I had one it would be a tribal band around the ankle. I think they look classy. I do have a story about my 18-year-old who got a tattoo between her shoulder blades a couple of months ago on her birthday—a lotus flower with the Om sign in the center. A couple of her friends and I went with her and all watched and chatted with the artist. Meanwhile in the other tatooist’s chair was a young guy about the same age, also with Mom in attendance. The dichotomy between men and women struck me. Our little flock of females never shut up. My daughter’s friends cooed over her and told her how beautiful the tat was. Stone silence from the other side of the room. Could you imagine if he’d brought his friends along? You’d never see a bunch of males fluttering around one of their own commiserating on the pain and saying how great he was going to look when it was over.

Which of your characters would you like to meet? Why?

I’m more of a watcher than a participator so I wouldn’t really care to meet any of my characters as a real person. I’d have nothing to say. However, I do like my character, Amy Chang in Moon Over Bourbon Street. She’s a no-nonsense, sharp-tongued individual who I’d probably get along with very well.

Looking at your own books, what is your favorite line of dialogue?

I can’t pick one off the top of my head, but in general I like dialogue where I have the couple in a book joking around together about something mundane. I’m especially fond of having them exchange a childhood memory, which not only gives insight into the character telling the tale, but also tells something about their partner in the way they react to the story.

Which of your books has been the hardest to write? Why?

Moon Over Bourbon Street, set in New Orleans, was half finished with Hurricane Katrina hit. I had to put the story aside as it seemed inappropriate to write something set in the ravaged city. Months later, when I took it back up, I had a plotting issue and asked for suggestions from fellow Liquid Silver authors. Lisa Andel gave great advice and I finally finished the story.

Name some of your favorite books (by other authors! Heh heh.)

I read Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone a while ago and liked that fairly well. I also like Patricia Gaffney’s historicals from the late ‘90s. I honestly don’t read that much, preferring to kick back in the evening with a movie or TV drama.

Apart from romance, what do you usually read?

I was a Stephen King reader for many years, but have missed most of his recent titles. Again, I prefer to watch Prison Break, Lost, Jericho and cable shows like The Sopranos, Carnivale or Deadwood.

If you could become a character in a TV, movie, or book, who would it be? Why?

I like my life so much I can’t imagine who I’d rather be. But I thought long and hard about this and decided I could do with a big dose of Gilligan. The best quality of that goofy guy is that he takes things in stride and is always upbeat no matter what.

What was your last purchase?

We finally got around to buying our belated Christmas gift a 42” HD LCD TV. I’ve wanted it for a long time. Of course, right away we found out that if you have one of these new Hi-Def televisions you also have to upgrade your satellite box to get that crystal clear picture. One expense leads to another.

Do you have a favorite quote?

I practice a yoga-based religion and my favorite affirmation is from Paramahansa Yogananda. “I will reason. I will will, and I will act. But guide thou my reason, will and activity to the right thing that I should do.”


Well, I think that the right thing for the readers to do is visit Bonnie at her website and blog. Thanks, Bonnie, for participating! I hope you had fun.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Over the Hump

You probably haven't been monitoring how I'm doing on my work-in-progress, but I have. Like every other sentence. LOL. I have to turn in this latest story, tentatively titled "All In," to my editor at Ellora's Cave on February 1st. I have to admit, having this deadline, and someone that is going to hold me to it, someone who is pivotal to the advancement of my career, is doing wonders for my "muse."

I'm a supremely slow writer, so I'm proud to announce that I have officially finished half the story. At the risk of jinxing it, I'll also say that the plot seems to be unfolding nicely, revealing itself to me bit by bit as I write and the characters, Mariah and Tucker, are coming along too, which is my usual MO.

So, I'd better get back to it!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Debbie Mumford Spotlight

With three stories published by Freya's Bower, Debbie Mumford is an author on the rise. You'd think she'd have enough of words by the time she got home from work as a technical writer for a land-use / architectural firm, but she doesn't. She manages to find the creativity to write fantasy romances that let you fly with dragons or flirt with faeries. Read on to find out more about this talented writer!

Which of your characters would you like to meet? Why?

I’d love to meet Caedyrn, the hero of Sorcha’s Heart. As a black dragon, he takes “tall, dark and handsome” to new heights, and Sorcha (lucky woman!) gets to love him in both forms. (Warning: shapeshifters ahead!) Sigh.

Which of your books has been the hardest to write? Why?

I think I’ll cheat on that question and say Opening Her Eyes, which is technically the hardest book I didn’t write! Opening Her Eyes was supposed to be my first contemporary romance—you know, nothing weird, just normal, everyday people. Unfortunately, I decided to use a different technique. I followed a detailed and rigorous outline system (which shall remain nameless) and discovered to my dismay that I am quite capable of outlining a story to death. By the time I finished, I had no desire to write the book. All the magic was gone.

Needless to say, I won’t use that particular technique again! I’m sure it works wonders for some folks, but it was deadly to my writing process.

I adore reading thrillers, but doubt I could ever write one. Is there a genre you’d like to write, but don’t think you could?

Definitely! I adore science fiction—I’ve been reading it since childhood—but I don’t feel like I have a sufficient grasp on scientific issues to write it successfully. Besides, I like to write happy endings, and those aren’t always attainable in true sci-fi.

If you were teaching a course on popular fiction, what are a few books that would be on your reading list?

Hmmm. That’s a hard one; I wouldn’t want to overload my students with reading material. LOL. Okay, buckle down here, Debbie. Dying to Please by Linda Howard; Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (the incomparable Nora Roberts!); Outlander by Diana Gabaldon; and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

What was the worst job you ever had?

Data entry for a manufacturing firm. They had a fail-safe system, so they didn’t care about accuracy, only speed. I’m very accurate, but my speed is only so-so. Besides, they weren’t interested in my thoughts and analysis, only my ability to move data from paper to computer. It was a lousy fit. We parted company in short order … to shouts of delight on both sides!

If you could be a man for a day, what would you do? Be specific. ;)

No thanks! I’ve never had any desire to be male. That might be because I grew up as an only girl with five older brothers. I’ve often thought that if I were interested in writing a memoir (which I’m not!), the perfect title would be “Growing Up Female in a Testosterone-Soaked World.”

What would you do with $1000 in spare cash?

I’d take an autumn vacation to Quebec to enjoy the fall colors and meet my fabulous editor face-to-face.

If you were a car, what would you be? Why?

A red, Mustang convertible. It’s fast, sexy and powerful. Yeah, baby!

If you had to leave the United States forever and move to another country, which would you choose and why?

Oh, not something I’d be happy doing, but since this is a hypothetical question … Scotland. I speak the language (more or less), and my ancestral roots are Scots-Irish. I feel a distinct pull to Celtic lands and legends.

Tell me about your work in progress.

I’m currently revising my contemporary, paranormal romance, Second Sight, for Freya’s Bower. As soon as that earns my editor’s approval, I’ll move on to the first sequel to Sorcha’s Heart. I wrote a very rough first draft of Aislinn’s Tale during NaNoWriMo this year, so I’m enjoying a break from it at the moment. Once Second Sight is turned over to Freya’s Bower, I’ll be raring to work on Aislinn again!

Thanks so much for this opportunity to chat with you, Kate! Please stop by my website and take a peek at my cover art on the Books page. I’m biased, of course, but I think Freya’s Bower is producing some of the best cover art in the e-book industry!

My thanks go to Debbie for agreeing to be interviewed. I admire her willingness to contribute to that anthology for charity, Dreams and Desires. She not only has talent, but a big heart as well.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

PR That Melts in your Mouth

I bought some personalized M&M's today for promotional giveaways. I'd been thinking about this for a long time, but hesitated because I couldn't fit the name Willoughby on the M&M. I compromised and put "Smokin' Hot" on one M&M and "Kate W's Romance" on the other. The coupon I used will give me about two pounds of candy and I'll repackage them into individual bags with labels that have my full name on them. I think this is exciting, although I'm sure dh will think it unnecessary $50. Here's the site if you're interested in checking it out.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Mini-Rant: Food TV Trend

Sometimes I just have to get something off my chest. What's with the Food Channel? I love that channel, but it seems like every chef they have has to have a show where they travel around and eat food. Recently they've been really promoting Giada's Weekend Getaways. I can't help but think they all just want to see the sights and so they think of a show that will allow them to do that. Food 911 is the exception, because Tyler is helping people cook and obviously the people who need help are going to live in different cities. But otherwise, I find myself resistent to watching those shows because, although I might be wrong, I feel like I'm being used to support those TV chefs' travel agendas. Because, you know, it's all about me!


Friday, January 05, 2007

Damned MPAA!

For those of you with kids, I want to recommend this terrific site. At they rate movies so that parents know exactly what to watch out for. The line between PG and PG-13 is so blurry that this site is a godsend to me. Each movie is evaluated for sex, violence, and profanity.

They even go into further detail for each category, stating the exact words uttered and how many times they're uttered, what type of sexual activity occurs on screen, and all the instances of violence.

It's just a fantastic tool for making informed decisions. I use it mainly for guidance in rentals because they're not always super-fast to rate movies in the theatre. Give it a try!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The List

I swiped this from Eden Bradley's blog. Apparently I'm supposed to bold any of the things I've done. My grand total was 45/150. I also italicized (and changed the verb tense) of things I'd LIKE to do.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swim with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (a small one)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watch a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grow and eat your own vegetables
18. Touch an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watch a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visit all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watch wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visit Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visit Japan
55. Milk a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounge around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visit the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
("The Hawaiians" starring Charlton Heston)
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Get flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (Ongoing)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over a zillion times
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication Fiction stories, not articles)
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart by accident
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fire a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visit all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach (One of those big hissing ones)
133. Eat fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipp all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream everyday (Being a stay at home mom and a published author)
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair (It was a craft boutique)
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head (had spikes back in college)
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life


Monday, January 01, 2007

Not USA Today, But...

I found out that Losing It was the #5 top seller at Liquid Silver Books for the second quarter of 2006. How cool is that? I get quarterly statements from them telling me how many copies I've sold, but without knowing how much other authors sell, the numbers only indicate how large my royalty check will be and not how "successful" the book has proven to be. Now I know that Losing It was pretty darned successful. I'm really proud of that book and getting prouder as time goes on.