April Goalapalooza

Yes, I'm trying to amp myself up to kick royal writing booty in April. I've made some serious progress lately - finally finished editing my LAST draft of VT at 2:30 this morning and sent it off for critique, then today I wrote my query letter and my synopsis. Synopsis isn't where it needs to be yet, but it's a good rough draft. Which means this baby's going to be in the mail by the end of the excuses!

Onto April...

This month, I intend to get caught up on a lot of little things that affect that needs to be sorted and replied to, filing - both virtual and physical - and spring cleaning. But most importantly, this month I'm going to WRITE! No more letting that slide. So my goals are...

1) To write a 10-15,000 word Nocturne Bite, tentatively titled Moonfever, along with the synopsis and two paragraph pitch. Update...pitch written and submitted!

2) To write my approx. 10,000 word erotic short Type Dirty To Me, along with the synopsis and query

That's it! I will post at least weekly with updates on my progress, or maybe a little more often if I need a boost. Or to vent. ;)

Here's to a productive April!


Winner of Michelle Rowen's Stakes & Stilettos is...


Krista, please email me your contact info at cari.m.quinn at gmail dot com and I'll forward your info on to Michelle! Thanks to everyone who came was a lot of fun! And don't forget to pick up Stakes & Stilettos!

Next month, I'm interviewing my good friend and critique partner, Helen Hardt, to celebrate her upcoming Scarlet Rose release, Passion in Paris. So please stop by!

In the meantime, I have so many goals I want to accomplish that I'll be starting April early. LOL This weekend, I'm hoping to post next month's goals, and this time, I intend to meet them!

Happy weekend!


Six Questions with Michelle Rowen...

Today I welcome my special guest, Michelle Rowen. I met Michelle a couple of years ago after I read her fantastic debut paranormal romance novel, Bitten & Smitten, featuring fledgling vampire Sarah Dearly. Sarah was turned into a vamp after the blind date from hell, literally, and her adventures - and frequently, flights for her life - with the love of her life, Master Vampire Thierry de Bennicoeur, have continued into the 4th book of the Immortality Bites series, which will be released March 31st. The fifth and final book, Tall, Dark & Fangsome, will be out in September. *wails*

Not only is Michelle an entertaining writer of paranormal romances, YAs, and hot paranormal contemporaries, as well as edgy futuristic romantic suspense novels as Michelle Maddox, she's also a terrific person. I've asked her numerous writing questions over the past couple years, and she's always been helpful and encouraging. She's also pretty damn funny, too. ;)

Here's the blurb for Stakes & Stilettos, which Michelle is generously giving away a copy of to one lucky commenter!

Staked, cursed, and still single…

Newly-vamped Sarah Dearly wants her normal life back, but fate is fighting against her. She tries to get a nice, regular job and gets staked at the interview, only to be rescued by a masked vampire who calls himself the Red Devil. Then a wallflower-turned-witch curses her, making her a bloodthirsty, sun-allergic nightwalker — the worst vampire there is. As if all that weren’t bad enough, she can’t get married because her 600-year-old boyfriend, Thierry, is in a centuries-long marriage of convenience he can’t escape.

…it’s enough to make a girl start biting.

As Sarah’s nightwalker tendencies make her more dangerous, even to those she loves, she’ll have to counteract that curse, unmask the increasingly intriguing Red Devil, and — oh yeah – get a commitment from her man. But if that’s what it takes to secure her happiness, Sarah is ready…even if it means embracing her inner vamp to do it.

I've read Stakes & Stilettos, and it's a great book! Any book featuring Thierry makes the top of my list...I have a wee bit of a crush on him. *blushes*

Now without further delay... Michelle

1) Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Almost always. Since I was about ten and I started rewriting the ending of books I read to suit my own tastes. I originally wanted to be a movie star (movie star, not actress, mind you), but that evolved to writing. Less paparazzi.

2) Are you writing in your "dream" genre or sub-genre, or is there another you'd love to try?

You know, I actually am. I’m very lucky. Paranormal/fantasy, especially with the mix of humor and drama is my favorite genre to read and it’s a thrill that I’m able to write the kind of books I used to look for on the shelves. I also really, really love darker, grittier urban fantasy, and I got to try that voice out a bit with my Michelle Maddox title Countdown. I’d love to do more stuff like that in the future. As far as a genre I haven’t written in that I’d like to try...I might say contemporary, or books that have less focus on the romance, but I think my stuff will always have some element of supernatural + romance in them, even if it’s only a small piece.

3) If you'd never gotten published or if the contracts dried up tomorrow (God forbid) would you continue to write anyway?

Maybe a little. Like, short stories, etc. I always had an eye on being published from the very beginning – I wanted to share my stories and characters with others, so if that wasn’t even a possibility, I’d probably gravitate to another area of the arts that I’d get viewer/reader connection – acting, illustration, etc. Writing is such a solitary profession that I can’t imagine doing it long-term without any outside interest or feedback. I’m a sucker for validation. It makes me feel like I actually exist. LOL

4) In the Immortality Bites series, why is Thierry the right man for Sarah? Other than being sexy, sophisticated, and protective, that is. That you've said you always imagined he resembled Hugh Jackman doesn't hurt either, but that may just be me. ;)

Thierry is the right man for Sarah because he is her exact opposite – serious and haunted from the past compared to her light and optimistic hope for the future. They complete each other. I think finding each other was like finding that piece of themselves that was missing, especially in Thierry’s case. He’d lived 600 years without that bit of light in his life and when he found Sarah he didn’t really know what to do with her, only that he couldn’t live without her. It’s been a slow character arc for him coming to this profound realization over the four books they're in together of the five book series. She is the prozac for his depression and he is the weight that keeps her balloon from flying off into the clouds. If that makes any sense. ;-)

5) What writing irons do you have in the fire right now? And what can we look for next from you?

I’m lucky enough to have several irons in that roaring fire. The last two books in my Immortality Bites series are out this year from Grand Central Publishing -- Stakes & Stilettos in April and Tall, Dark & Fangsome in September. I have the first book of my young adult Demon Princess series launching in October from Walker Books for Young Readers. My first Harlequin Blaze, a super sexy paranormal romp called Hot Spell is out in November. And in 2010 I’m launching a new humorous paranormal romance series with Berkley Books about demonic possession starting with Living in Eden. And then I might slip into a small coma.

6) Now the fun stuff...If you had to pick, would you rather date a vampire (and which one) or be a vampire yourself? (For the purposes of this question, Twilight's Edward Cullen is a viable choice, even if his portrayer is a wee bit young. ;))

Well, this is one of those “that depends” questions. It depends on what kind of vampire we’re talking about. I’d love to be the kind of vamp I write about – that are a lot like humans except for immortality, a bit of (hygienic) blood drinking, and some extra sensory stuff. I wouldn’t want to be a murderous monster who can’t go out into the sunlight which is actually what Sarah, my main character in Stakes & Stilettos, gets cursed with – poor dear). So, yes, I’d like to live forever if I could do it on my terms. But if I could only have a vamp boyfriend, I’d have to go with Spike from Buffy. He was the perfect mix of bad boy and guardian angel. And just for the record, the divine Robert Pattinson is 22 and anything over 20 is completely viable. ;-)

Now it's your turn. Comment on this post by midnight Eastern time on Wednesday, March 25th and you're in the running for a copy of Michelle's latest novel, Stakes & Stilettos. As someone who is lucky enough to have already read S&S, I can tell you you're in for a treat!

Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! To commemorate her visit, here's a pic of one of her favorite vampires, Edward Cullen from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. He's pretty, even if he is young. ;)

Want to find out more about either of Michelle's alter egos? Visit or


First Author Interview...and h/h from Damned

This week's goals: To complete editing VT, finish writing Query and Synopsis and get them in the mail. Finally!

Thanks for everyone's congratulations for finishing VT last week! I'm in hardcore editing mode tonight, under a strict deadline to get the bleeping thing out the door.

But ideas are percolating for my next full length project, my Urban Fantasy, Damned. Shea's an empathic former nun who can connect with the dead, and Gabe's a murdered rockstar stuck in Purgatory who needs to save human souls to finally save his own. I found Shea while watching TV tonight, and her name is Christina Hendricks. Apparently, she stars on Mad Men, though I don't watch much TV, so I had no clue. For Gabe, I picked the late Michael Hutchence of INXS, the perfect broody singer to inspire my own.

Here are a couple pics for your viewing pleasure. See what you think!

Monday, March 23rd is my first author interview. Michelle Rowen, fantastic author of paranormal romances and YAs, along with writing futuristic romantic suspense as Michelle Maddox, will be stopping by to answer a few of my questions. Best of all, she'll be giving away a copy of Stakes & Stilettos, her fabulous March 31st release, to a lucky commenter! Please stop by!


And I'm done!

The 28 pgs. I wrote today - a new personal record - finished VT off, and me too, just about. LOL But I typed The End, and I'm only about 1,300 words over my target word count, so I'm in good shape. Those extra words will disappear fast, because I always lose a couple thousand when I revise. In a couple days, I'll set about cleaning the ms up for the last time.

Until then, I'm happy dancing! WOOOHOOO!

And to celebrate... a lil Henri. ;)


Hope and Basketball

Thursday night, history was made in men's college basketball. #20 Syracuse University beat #4 UConn (our biggest arch rival) by 10 points in the SIXTH OT period. No, that's not a typo. ;)

I've been watching basketball regularly for about six years now, and I've seen a game go into 2 OT's maybe twice. Never seen one go into three. But SIX? That's unheard of, especially in a tournament quarterfinal between two top 20 teams.

It was an absolutely amazing, exhausting historic game, and I watched all four hours. Can't get me to sit still for a two hour movie, but a basketball game that goes until 1:20 in the morning? No problem!

Not everyone loves sports, or basketball in particular, but I think there are positive messages that anyone can take away from a game like this. First and foremost, hope is at the backbone of everything we do - from reading to writing to watching a nail-biter game. We hope to be transformed, even in some small way, by the experience. We hope that the underdog CAN win or the "mousy" girl CAN get the guy of her dreams. We hope that maybe THIS is the manuscript that will get us sold or get us noticed by that great editor or agent.

Hope is what keeps you going when you're so tired you're ready to drop. Hope is what motivates you when you're about to throw in the towel, but that little voice says, "Just one more try..."

Hope is the backbone of life.

Your destiny, in some ways, is exactly what you think it will be. Every thought and deed you choose to project brings you one step closer.

Pretty weighty stuff I got out of one terrific basketball game!

Weekly Goal Report: My goal this week is to finish VT! That is the goal. The ONLY goal. LOL I wrote 19.5 pgs this weekend, so the end's in sight. I see it, I see it... ;)


The Lure Of The Shiny New Project...

Or in my case, three. ;) Only two that are really eating at me right now - Damned, my UF and Type Dirty To Me, the recently resurrected erotic short I'm determined to finish - but still, all these voices in my head are keeping me up at night! I've worked on no less than three projects this week, which is a lot for me. So for right now, I'm trying to silence the chatter so I can get VT out the door.

In other news...tomorrow's Friday the 13th, and I know what I'll be doing. Reading! Christina Phillips has a great new erotic release from The Wild Rose Press, Touch Of The Demon. She's doing a blog tour all over cyberspace, so I'll be partying with her in spirit. To get you warmed up, here's her book trailer.

I don't think I'd mind her demon, Rafe, touching ME anytime! ;) Happy release day, Christina!


Would You Write For Free?

It's the age old question. If you were told, with all certainty, that you would never be offered any monetary compensation for your writing, would you continue to do it? Why or why not?

For me, that's an easy question. Yes, I'd keep writing. I can't NOT do it. I haven't been paid yet, but I've been writing since I was a kid. Literally. My first stories were Bible stories in 2nd grade. (Yes, I went to Catholic school.) What a journey I've taken, writing-wise, since then! ;)

This week's goal: To finish VT and all its accompaniments (query & synopsis.) Since I've been promising to complete this goal for a while now, I need to get on it. I also owe my two wonderful CPs critiques.

Today I attended my local romance writers' meeting, which provided lots of food for thought. Writing workshops always get my wheels cranking. Almost as soon as the speaker starts talking, I start scribbling.

Off to accomplish some goals...


What Type of Man turns you on...

Your result for The What type of MAN turns you on Test...

Tough guy

You scored 60% masculine, 59% athletic, 36% exotic, and 31% refined!

You love men, you love testosterone and you know it. You like a bad-ass man who knows what he wants. He isn't what you might bring home to mom but I don't think it really matters - he's hot! Someone like.....Vin Diesel. But let's face it, the whole point of this was to look at a bunch of hot guys. If you liked what you saw, please rate my test!

Take The What type of MAN turns you on Test
at HelloQuizzy

I'm not a huge Vin Diesel fan, but Vince Vaughn and Henri Castelli weren't options, apparently. Still, I agree with the assessment...I'm not into girly men. Usually. I'm sure there are exceptions to that, there usually are with me. ;)


Still Plugging Along...

Thanks to everyone who read and commented on the love scene I posted from Virgin Territory last week. I really appreciate the positive feedback, and I'll be sure to post another scene again soon. :)

I didn't get everything accomplished that I wanted to this week, but I'm finding lots of wisdom in the old adage, "just finish the damn book!" Because I've thought I've been finished with VT before, and it turned out I wasn't, at least if I wanted a shot at selling to Blaze, the nearer I get to THE END now, the more antsy I get. I keep adding pgs to my UF, Damned, rather than working on VT, though I did do some more work on it this weekend. But the new, shiny idea has to wait until VT's done. And then there's that pesky synop and query I've yet to send to Harlequin (or even finish, LOL.) But it's a new week, and I'm staying committed to my goals. Or maybe "recommitting" is a better word.

Tomorrow, I have 2 last GH entries to judge. And yes, tomorrow's the deadline. That's me, always giving myself room to spare. Ahem.

Hopefully, this week I'll get to pass on my "Lemonade" award to 10 other deserving blogs. Gotta have a little fun around here to break up the writing drudgery! ;)

Have a good week, writing and otherwise!