Thursday, March 29, 2007

Haiku: Flashed Yesterday

Man in the restroom
Neglects to lock the damn door.
He wore red boxers.

Addendum: Red boxers with white polka dots!


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Who Let The Dogs Out?

Thursday Thirteen: Animals I'd Like as a Pet

1. I like Dobermans. There is just something about that breed that says Cool. A character in one of my books owns a Dobie named Thor.

2. Pugs are adorable. I always liked them, but really became enamoured when I saw the movie Men In Black had an alien pug character. One of my favorite scenes is when he sings along with the radio, "Who let the dogs out who, who, who, who!"

3. A chihuahua. I like these little guys, bug-eyes and all.

4. Oh, and Shar-Peis, those wrinkly dogs.

5. A Siamese cat. My son is allergic, though, so that's out.

6. I like Abyssinians, too. They look elegant and remind me of Ancient Egypt, a subject that fascinated me in school.

7. If I could afford it, I'd love to own horses. I mentioned that on another Thursday Thirteen. Of course, I'd need the property to go with them.

8. Tropical fish. I love fish, but I don't love the science of maintaining the ocean environment. I'd enjoy having a little Nemo to watch.

9. Finches. I like these little guys and the funny little beeping noises they make.

10. Okay, call me geeky, but it would be really cool to own a falcon, like they did in medieval times.

11. Again, if I had property, I might like to keep chickens, like Martha Stewart. It would be terrific to be able to have fresh from the nest eggs.

12. A tarantula. Don't tell my kids, but I think this would be a very cool pet. Unfortunately, you have to feed them crickets and that is not something I want to do.

13. Along that line, I think it would be interesting to have a scorpion, too.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged. If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!


Internet + Kate = A Happy Writer

I am currently revising ALL IN, a novella that takes place in Fabulous Las Vegas. The characters were going to watch the fountains at the Bellagio and it had been a while since I'd seen them myself. I needed a romantic song to play and I had no idea how long the shows were or if the lights were colored or not.

So, I ran a search and found actual VIDEOS! OMG! I was so excited. I even found THE perfect song. Here's a link, if you're interested. And don't blame me if the song sticks in your head for a couple of days.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In The Mood to Obliterate?

Here's a fun site. Choose a website and destroy it. Well, not really. You don't actually do anything to the site itself.

Pick your method of destruction, click GO, and click on the screen when the website appears.

My favorites: Acid, darts, eraser, muddy footprints, and pop-up ads.

Labels: ,

Monday, March 26, 2007

Story: "Mending Hearts" by Katharine Swartz from the March 27, 2007 issue.

Tagline: Marielle didn’t believe the locket—or her heart—could be mended…

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with a mind toward what works and doesn't work for me as a writer, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

This was a nice solid story, but nothing out of the ordinary. For those of you who took my class, you’ll have noticed the plot in which a loved one’s advice is followed. You should also note that the story did not have a climax.

Best Part: The double meaning of the title was clever.

In My Humble Opinion “Sorry. That wasn’t very smooth was it? I’m not good at this stuff,” he blushed.

Sheesh. He blushes. (Not only that, but he blushes the dialogue.) I like beta heroes, but this is a little namby-pamby for me.

Grade: B


Friday, March 23, 2007

Artist: Elizabeth Barnes

How cool is this? It's called Study after Persistence of Memory, Salvadore Dali. The artist started out with a commission for a cast of a woman's pregnant torso. Her muse demanded more, so she started individualizing each torso with paint. Here's the classic painting she based this particular piece on.

Here is Hope II, by Gustav Klimt, one of my favorite artists.

Here is the belly cast version by Barnes.

And here is a piece she didn't model after any famous work of art, but I love the whimsy of it. Plus, it's a pregnant person's tummy, so I imagine these are Mr. and Mrs. Giraffe. LOL. Yep. I'm a silly romantic, all right. To see more of her work, go to Artful Expressions.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Things I Have In/On My Desk

1. Post-Its. Can't live without these. I have some in my purse and in my work-apron pocket!
2. Hand lotion.
3. A kitchen timer. When I write, I lose track of time and I need this to remind me to get the laundry or pick my kid up from school.
4. My sexy word list
5. A large cup of coffee that I nurse all day
6. My Siamese fighting fish
7. My mocha candle.
8. A phone which I use to ignore telemarketing contractors trying to improve my home.
9. A pile of papers, coupons, magazines, files, the kids' school pictures, that I procrastinate doing anything about.
10. My date book.
11. Nail clippers. I'm a little OCD about hangnails. If I spot them, I MUST clip.
12. Dental Floss. Another OCD idiosyncrasy. I can't stand anything between my teeth.
13. My watch and charm bracelet. I can't type with them on, so they invariably end up near my computer.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged. If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Death by Potato Chip

I'm a dead woman. I bought these chips on impulse yesterday. I just tasted one. OH. MY. GOD. It's an orgasm in my mouth. Buy them today. Don't share.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Story: "Silver Lining" by Tima Smith from the March 20, 2007 issue.

Tagline: Sometimes even the flu has an upside—just ask Kim and Glen!

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with a mind toward what works and doesn't work for me as a writer, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

Smith provided me with a nice change of pace. The majority of stories in WW are “getting together” stories, so when I started reading “Silver Lining,” I looked forward to reading about an already established couple. But then, she surprised me by going into a flashback to show how Glen and Kim met, but by then I already liked the characters and was willing to go along for the ride.

I was laughing at the poor clown. Beta Hero, all the way, here. He was so inept, but since I knew it was Glen, I forgave him for being so lousy at his job.

Ah, I noticed something here that I realize I never mentioned in my online class or at the workshop I presented to my RWA chapter last Sunday. It is a story tool called the Misunderstanding which appears often in WW stories. Usually the misunderstanding is that one of the characters thinks that the other is married, because of the child in the story (which is usually a niece or nephew.) So, keep this device in mind when writing your stories. Showing your hero or heroine interacting with children demonstrates how likable they are and provides a way for readers to identify with them, especially if the situation is one that we’ve all been in or witnessed.

The big climax here had to do with the party (they had an hour left and nothing to do) instead of with the couple themselves, but it worked out wonderfully because the solution showed Glen and Kim working together, advancing their relationship and handily solving the story problem.

Best Part: “Minus the red nose, blue hair and polka dot suit, Glen was a great-looking guy.” Because I write erotic romance and the characters always have to have that instant attraction thing going on, it was really nice to see two more realistic people hook up even though one of them was completely “disguised.”

In My Humble Opinion: I was a little confused as to the settting. The party was at The Muffin Man, and I had no idea what type of place was, except that it had pizza (or allowed it to be delivered) and you could bring in an outside entertainer. Ifound myself out of the story and wondering why it was called the Muffin Man when no one had muffins. Also, the ending was a little anti-climactic. I realize she needed to bring the flu theme back in, but it just didn’t click for me and I was a little confused as to which flu victims she needed to thank, the ones in her office, or her sister and husband and Glen’s brother. I eventually figured it out, but by then… Bottom line, I think it needed a stronger ending.

Grade: B-

Sunday, March 18, 2007

No Academy Speech For Me

Last Saturday, EPIC announced the winners of their Eppie Awards and Losing It did not win. :( I was disappointed, but not devastated. It sure would have been cool to get that big honkin' crystal trophy, but I didn't really expect to win. Sylvia Day won, which is no surprise. My inner perfectionist critic reminds me that I am no USA Today bestselling author and what could I have been thinking!! LOL

Still, it was fun just making it to the finals. I can only hope as time goes on that working with professional editors will help my writing get sharper. There is always next year. :D


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Lottery Wishes

What I Would Have Done with the Lottery Mega Millions Jackpot (an topic stolen from Robin Rotham)

1. Talk with The Man (a financial planner, oddly enough) and invest most of it.
2. Cruise the world with my family and friends.
3. Buy several homes...Hawaii, Florence, New York, London, and someplace Alpine. I'd let The Man choose that one, since we'd get a place with the ski slopes in mind.
4. Buy homes for my mom and mother-in-law.
5. Buy some horses. I've always liked riding.
6. Get a tummy tuck.
7. Donate some money to my Cal State Northridge sorority house, Kappa Kappa Gamma.
8. Send some kick-ass care packages to the troops.
9. Adopt a kid or two.
10. Get The Man a Rolex.
11. Hire a personal trainer, masseuse, and live-in housekeeper.
12. Enroll in one of those amateur culinary classes.
13. Tip the guy who sold me the winning ticket.

I'm getting the linky thing soon, I hope, so I can list other TTers here.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I know many authors who find pictures of their main characters in magazines so they can refer to them while they're writing the book. I've never done that. I usually just picture them in my head. However, I did find this fabulous picture on the internet and actually think it's spot on for the hero of my Ellora's Cave Caveman story, A Man of Vision, coming out September 23rd.

My character, Cristoforo, is an Italian sculptor. Can't you just picture this man with a hammer and chisel in hand?


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Like I Need More Aliases!

Kate Willoughby's Aliases

Your movie star name: French Fries Eugene
Your fashion designer name is Kate Florence
Your socialite name is Buffy New York
Your fly girl / guy name is K Wil
Your detective name is Cheetah Birmingham
Your barfly name is Popcorn Margarita
Your soap opera name is Delilah Outpost
Your rock star name is Butterfinger Jet
Your Star Wars name is Katton Wilkel
Your punk rock band name is The Amused UFO


Monday, March 12, 2007

Story: "A Second Chance" by Beverly Giroux from the March 13, 2007 issue.

Tagline: Katie realized tha ther happiness did not depend on Michael's career choices...

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with a mind toward what works and doesn't work for me as a writer, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

Katie is facing the big 3-0 birthday and her boyfriend tells her he's moving to L.A., without her. Bummer! She has a good reason to splurge on four pieces of birthday cake. I totally sympathize with her! This spurs her to move on with her life. I love when characters learn and grow during the course of a story, and it's hard to do that inside of 1000 words. Katie's a real go-getter. She even throws herself a party, something I would never have been brave enough to do.

I really liked the surprise Giroux sprung on us--that the good-looking man at the party was really Michael, the boyfriend. She really had me going!

Best Part: "I was afraid. Afraid you'd say no. Afraid that if you said yes, I wouldn't make you happy." That sounds like a real, honest-to-goodness guy. I'd forgive him.

In My Humble Opinion: However, as much as I liked the heroine, then ending fell flat for me. I didn't "feel the love" between these two. While on the one hand I admired Katie's ability to bounce back, I don't know if I believed she really loved him because I didn't see that much heartache.

Grade: B-


Friday, March 09, 2007

Artist: Deborah Tidwell

I love finding new art to admire and recently found this wonderful lady. I love the everyday topics she chooses to paint. I relate to many of the viewpoints.
Decisions, Decisions

Haven't we all been in THIS situation? I'd probably get the Doritos.

This one is called Weighing In. I completely relate to this, but would never even pick up a copy of Triathlete magazine, let alone have it languish in my bathroom.

Lastly, The Bath. I see this view of myself whenever possible. And the thickness of the thighs seems true to size! LOL Her tub seems much deeper than mine, though. I'm jealous.

To see more of her true-to-life, accessible paintings: Deborah Tidwell


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: So. Cal. Living

I am a native California Girl. I'm even--like totally!--a Valley girl, if you remember that song by Frank Zappa. So, today's Thursday Thirteen is about why Southern California is a great place to live.

1. The weather is terrific here near Los Angeles. Sure we don't get "seasons," but I can look at pictures of vibrant autumn leaves and be very glad I will never have to shovel my driveway.

2. Sometimes you see movie stars. I stood in line for a movie with Sally Fields. As a kid I played with Helen Reddy's daughter and went to elementary school with Jodie Foster. My mom had a long term relationship with Harpo Marx's son. David James Elliott (JAG) comes into the Starbucks where I work. Sometimes he's even sweaty and wearing a tank. Yeah, baby!

3. The beach!

4. Disneyland. The revamped Space Mountain totally rocks!

5. Pink's Hot Dogs. Oh. My. God. I saw on the Food Channel that when Tom Hanks wraps up a movie, he orders Pink's dogs for everyone.

6. If we want snow, we can get it by driving to Big Bear, or Mammoth, or Lake Tahoe.

7. Fantastic Mexican food is all over the place. There's even a Mexican market down the street now that has a HUGE hot food counter. Sure, they also sell goat parts, but I just try not to peruse meat section too closely.

8. Contrary to popular belief, the smog isn't much worse than any other metropolitan area.

9. Non-smoking restaurants.

10. Great produce, very fresh.

11. Earthquakes. I'm serious! I'd much rather have the occasional earthquake than an annual threat of hurricanes or tornadoes.

12. If you feel like visiting an alien land, Las Vegas is quite close by car.

13. We have happy cows.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged. If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Barbie Poo

Have you seen this latest Barbie thing? I just about shit (pun intended!) when I finally saw this commercial on TV. My boys tried over and over to get me to see it, but I only just did.

This is Barbie and her dog, Tanner. You feed the little brown food to him and then pump his tail and it comes out his butt as poop, which Barbie cleans up with her pooper scooper and dumps into the trash can.

WTF??? Can you imagine this product development meeting?

"Hey, I have this great idea for a pooping dog."

"Fantastic. But what about cat lovers?"

"I love that, too. We'll make the litterbox pink with a matching scooper. Then after that we can have Barbie and her pet parrot, that splats magnetic bird crap. We can include a little statue for it to decorate."

NOTE: I apologize, but I have cancelled the contest for the Martha Stewart Living magazine subscription.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Richelle Mead Spotlight

It was my pleasure to have interviewed Richelle Mead for my Author Spotlight feature recently. Richelle is a paranormal author. Or rather, she is an author of the paranormal! LOL. (Yeah, I know, don't quit my day job.)

Anyway, read on to find out more about Ms. Mead.

Which of your books has been the hardest to write? Why?
My YA book Vampire Academy has actually been the hardest because YA gets put under a lot more scrutiny than adult fiction does. That’s not to say I was forced into writing what I didn’t want to; there are just a lot more guidelines to keep in mind. Plus, it took me a while to realize that teen voices aren’t too much different than adult ones. The writing was slow-going until I accepted that.

What do you feel is your strength as a writer? What do you do best?
I believe hands down that I do dialogue and characterization the best. So much so, in fact, that I sometimes let other details slip through. I’ll get so caught up in some wacky conversation that my editors have to reign me in and say, “Hey, describe the setting already!”

If one of your books was made into a movie, who would play the lead characters? Why?
This alarms a lot of people, but Denise Richards is probably the actress that most resembles Georgina the succubus physically. That wasn’t my intent—just something I noticed one day. As for who could really *play* her personality-wise…hmm, that’s one I’ve got to think on.

Tell me something about you that very few people know.
I love entering contests. It’s like a passive-aggressive response to my deeply-buried thrill-seeking nature. I get the same rush when one of my books goes on submission. Will I win the raffle—or the contract—or won’t I?

What is your favorite romantic movie with a bittersweet ending? What about a happy one?
Wow, it’s actually been a while since I’ve seen a romantic movie. I think my favorite happy ending one would be Amelie, and I’m not just saying that to sound all artsy and stuff. It’s such a wacky and whimsical movie…just the way love should be.

My favorite bittersweet one is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which I’ve only seen once because it’s so heartbreaking. Nonetheless, the movie is amazingly done…and also painfully realistic.

What was your last purchase?
A pair of jeans with sequins on the pockets designed for someone half my age. Yeah, I know.

Is there a skill you don’t have, but wish you did?
I wish I could sing. Correction: I wish I could sing well. I actually break out into song all the time around my house when I’m by myself. My cats seem to be particularly fond of show tunes. Unfortunately, they’re not very astute critics.

If you had to leave Seattle forever and move to another country, which would you choose and why?
I’d move to Canada, specifically Vancouver. Vancouver’s a lot like Seattle, except with better public transportation and night life. Plus, they do all sorts of adorable things in Canada. Like, they put hockey players on their money and teach their children about important political issues and world affairs.

What was the worst job you ever had?
Selling New Age hypnosis classes on the telephone. Please don’t make me elaborate on that. I’ve almost got it blocked out.

I read the blurb for Succubus Blues and noticed the drink reference. What a coincidence! When I’m not writing, I’m pulling espresso at Starbucks. Is your favorite drink the White Chocolate Mocha?
No, but strangely, whenever I write any of the succubus books, I really start craving mochas. When I write about Eugenie in Dark Swan, I crave her vice: Milky Ways. Thank goodness my book about a drug-abusing womanizer never went anywhere—there’s no telling what I’d be into then.

Heh heh. It's been a while since I interviewed an author due to tight deadlines and my online class, so it's been fun getting back into it, made even more fun by the funny Richelle. Check out her Succubus Blues, out now from Kensington, her blog, and her beautiful website. If you go there, tell me if you don't see a resemblance between the author herself and the heroine on her book cover...


Monday, March 05, 2007

Story: "Moving On" by Danette Haworth from the March 6, 2007 issue.

Tagline: Sometimes the fresh start you're hoping for is right around the corner...

What follows is an analysis of a Woman's World story with a mind toward what works and doesn't work for me as a writer, peppered with some personal opinion, too. :)

Ah, this story shows that the supermarket is the new health club when it comes to meeting guys. LOL. My friend, Diane Crawford, will be happy to see that WW published yet another story with food in it!

I liked this story a lot. The characters felt real and I identified easily with Casey, the heroine. Haworth has set the story in an everyday place, which gives the reader a sense of "wow, this could happen to me, too!" which I think is something Woman's World likes.

I thought it was very funny when the heroine blurts, "Onward!" and then inwardly cringes. Who among us has never said something idiotic in front of the opposite sex? And then, when he parrots back her comment, I just fall in love with him myself. He eases her discomfort and shows how funny he is at the same time.

Best Part: I thought this sentence was especially endearing: "It was the shopping cart guy."

In My Humble Opinion: "I couldn't believe I'd been so bold." I don't know...this sentence sounds kooky to me, even if it's only in her head. "Forward" is just as weird a word. Maybe "gutsy" would have had a more contemporary feel.

Grade: A-


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Free Book Winner

During the month of February, anyone who commented on the blog was entered to win a copy of my 2007 Eppie Award Finalist novella, Losing It. I'm happy, if a little late, in announcing Linda is the lucky winner. Linda commented on this page, about

Linda, email me at kate_willoughby @ (no spaces) so I can send you my book. :)


Friday, March 02, 2007

Wishes and Lunchboxes

Fantastic news! Mary Altman, my editor at Ellora's Cave, wants to acquire my latest story, All In. It's going to be a novella, instead of a Naughty Nuptials Quickie, possibly the first in a series of books! I am extremely excited at the thought of having my own series. The books all take place in our world, but wishes can come true, granted by fairies employed by the Universal Wish Federation.

I jokingly told Mary that I can already envision the t-shirts, the dolls, and the UWF lunchboxes, and she said, she would so want a UWF lunchbox. ::giggles:: That just made my day!


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Shoulda Movies

Movies are an important part of American culture, and yet there are many movies that most everyone has seen that I have not. Two of them I'll probably never see (marked with an N), but some of them I would like to rent, just so I can finally understand what people are talking about when they refer to these movies.

1. It's a Wonderful Life
2. Breakfast at Tiffany's
3. Rocky Horror Picture Show
4. On the Waterfront
5. Rear Window
6. Pulp Fiction
7. Fargo (N)
8. The Graduate
9. Rebel Without a Cause
10. Psycho (N)
11. Casablanca
12. Dr. Zhivago
13. Citizen Kane (N)

What are some of the movies you've never seen but "everyone else" has?

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged. If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well!