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Wanna Blab? by Kitty Bucholtz

March 9, 2016 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz tagged as , , ,

Have you heard of Blab? Chances are you haven’t yet. It’s a fairly new social media video platform that is still in beta, but there are thousands of people using it already.

The idea is that you can do a live video chat with up to four people in video boxes (unlike Periscope, which only allows one camera, the one on your phone). It sometimes reminds me of the old TV game show Hollywood Squares. You can allow people to leave the video box and let someone else come in to change up the conversation, or you can “lock the chair” so that only the people you want to be on video are allowed.

You can schedule a blab in advance or you can hop on and start talking. You can even choose to record a blab, but you can’t pre-record it to make it available at a certain time. Like YouTube, anyone in the world can go find your recording (if you recorded it) on the site and watch it at any time, and anyone in the world can watch your live blab.

There’s even a chat box so people watching can contribute to the conversation. Viewers can also click on the hands icon at the bottom of each video square to “give props” to that speaker (like the hearts in Periscope give love). It’s connected to Twitter so you can log in with your Twitter ID, tweet about your blab while you’re doing it, and you can get more followers from inside Blab and send them a message that you’re now live.

The frosting on the cake? It’s easy!

Go to Blab to check it out. You’ll see dozens of people chatting live at any given time. The search bar isn’t the greatest, but you can search for people or recordings, and you can follow people so you’ll be informed when they’re live.

YA author Elena Dillon and I started a new live Blab show last month called Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books. (Come “follow” us!) We’d been thinking about doing a podcast, but there is a real time commitment to making a good podcast. With Blab, we hit the record button, interview our author guest, hit the stop recording button, and in less than an hour Blab sends us a link to the recording to download to our computer and upload to our blog and/or YouTube channel. We also send the link to the author we interviewed so they can upload it to their sites as well.

We’ve done four episodes already, interviewing Tracy Reed, Alina K. Field, Debbie Decker, and Tracy Lydia Garner. Tonight’s guest is romantic suspense author Beth Yarnell. Click Beth’s name at 7pm Pacific time to watch the show!

Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books is a weekly show interviewing a new author every Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm Pacific time. If you’re a published author and would like to know more about being interviewed on our show, please email us at blababoutbooks AT gmail DOT com.

And if you read fiction and like to hear authors talk about their books, join us each week! It’s lots of fun and you may find a new author to try.

Kitty Bucholtz


Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon. The free short story “Superhero in Disguise” and the new short story “Welcome to Loon Lake” are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.


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An Up Close and Personal Interview of Kitty Bucholtz

June 9, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

Kitty Bucholtz  is the author of the romantic comedy Little Miss Lovesick and the light urban fantasy Unexpected Superhero. Though she grew up in Northern Michigan, the setting for many of her stories, she followed her husband to Australia twice. While he made a penguin named Mumble dance, she earned her MA in Creative Writing in Sydney. When she’s not unpacking or repacking, she’s working on her next book or chatting with readers on Facebook.

Kitty was interview by long time OCC/RWA member Marianne H. Donley.

Marianne: First question, do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

Kitty: It’s funny you should ask because I discovered one theme a couple years ago, but I discovered a secondary theme while writing my book, Unexpected Superhero. After several years of writing, I finally realized that I write about women who are finding out that they have more “power” than they think they have. Mostly, it comes down to personal strength, inner resolve, and the character to think through how to change a situation they’re not happy with, though in Unexpected Superhero, she literally discovers a power she didn’t know she had. That theme comes directly from me and my life experience. I’ve never wanted to just accept a bad situation; I’m always trying to make things better.

But writing this new book, I realized that several of my stories have a “protecting children in danger” element. It’s a little weird to me because I don’t have children. Where did this theme come from? I could guess, but I don’t really know. The fun part about not knowing is that I get to find out more about it as I write!

Marianne: What’s the best writing advice you ever received? What’s the worst?

Kitty: The best advice I’ve gotten is “trust yourself.” It takes a lot of writing for that advice to be useful, but there’s a point at which trusting yourself is the best thing you can do.

The worst advice I’ve gotten is “real writers write every day.” That doesn’t work for me. I work best in bursts. That may mean writing 5-8 hours a day for weeks to finish a book, then 10-14 hours a day doing what I call the book build, creating the files that will become the ebook and print book. Then I may read all day every day for a week, and half a day every day for another couple weeks, researching and ingesting material that will eventually find its way into another book. The only way I overcame the worst advice for me was by taking the best advice for me – I trusted that I had figured out how I worked best.

Marianne: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how do you get past that?

Kitty: I’m laughing! Run out of ideas? No! I get tangled up in my ideas and get stuck when I don’t realize I’ve got two or more ideas working against each other. That’s been happening a bit with my next release, Love at the Fluff and Fold. But that’s been untangling more as I finish the current book and spend more time on the new book.

An example to show you why the question made me laugh – when I was hired at E! Entertainment, the cable TV network, I had to sign a standard contract. In it was a clause that any creative ideas I came up with, at work or away from work, while employed there would be the property of E! Entertainment. I made a polite but assertive fuss about it and wouldn’t sign the contract. The network attorney finally said that I should provide a list of all the titles of projects I’d already thought of and those would be exempt. My agent suggested I write down everything I’d ever thought of, ever. I took her advice and the addendum was two pages long, single-spaced. I think there were fifty or more ideas listed!

Marianne: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Kitty: I get really excited about people discussing ideas with passion. Once at a party, I got all fired up talking to a friend’s uncle about economics because he was passionate and I knew a bit about the subject and was really interested in what he had to say. I love talking about God and how everything works together, from personal situations to the fact that we are on the only planet in the known universe that provides the exact mix of elements for us to live freely. I cry over commercials and TV shows, even though I know it’s pretend, because I’m thinking, “Somewhere, there’s a real person this is happening to, and I feel for them.” There’s just something about passion and energy coming together in the form of ideas that makes me crazy excited!

Marianne: What are you dying to try next?

Kitty: Ooo, good one! Well, it’s something I’ve been interested in for a long time, but it’s going to require a ton of research and I’m inherently lazy, so… LOL! During a class in my master’s degree program, we had to write one scene in each of eight different categories from romance to detective to thriller, etc. One assignment was to write a scene with “magic” in it. That led to my master’s degree final project – a spiritual warfare, angels vs. demons story set in modern New York City with a teenage girl as the main player for both sides. Kind of a Joan of Arcadia meets Supernatural story laced with the kinds of humor that are in both of those TV shows.

This is kind of a “book of my heart” story, inasmuch as I have some really strong spiritual beliefs that I want to use without disrespecting them. I need to research what we think we know about angels and demons, what we think we know about what is happening outside of our five senses, and I need to research New York, its tunnel systems, the political climate, the financial district, and more. Yikes! So I’m slightly terrified! But I’m hoping to have at least a strong first draft done in the next 12-15 months.

Marianne: Okay, last question. What would you like to hear God say when you arrive?

Kitty: I’m really glad I made you, Kitty. You really crack me up!

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Author Interview

December 13, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

Interview with best-selling romance writer Hailey North

by Shauna Roberts

[Note: The original article about OCC member Nancy Wagner, writing as Hailey North, appears at http://shaunaroberts.blogspot.com/]

Welcome, Hailey, to my blog. Thank you for taking the time to answer questions about your new contemporary romance from HarperCollins, Not the Marrying Kind.

In Not the Marrying Kind, two urbanites reluctantly return to the small town where they both went to high school and bump into each other for the first time since then. You moved from the city to a small town shortly before writing this book. Did any of your experiences or emotions about this move make their way into the novel?

I appreciate this question . . . yes, I suppose my move from New Orleans to Covington did influence my characters’ experiences. Though as someone who lived in many small towns around the South and Midwest, I think I envisioned Harriet from that greater experience of having left (er, fled) the southern Midwest to college in California. The visits back to the Midwest were not without their challenges.

This book was different from your previous books. Less humor than usual and more . . . je ne sais quoi. Depth? Sorrow? Strength?

What was different was me pressing into places inside myself that really, really hurt. It’s more authentic. Most of my ha-ha funny stuff is a means of protecting my vulnerability.

For the post-Hurricane Katrina reader, romances were perfect for taking one’s mind off the difficulties of everyday life and vicariously experiencing good events. But for you as a writer, was it difficult to write a story with a happy ending when you were displaced and your house destroyed?

It was difficult to write, period. It would have been harder to write a bleak story. I’ve spent years and years of my life scribbling in notebooks, filling the pages with dreams and characters. After Katrina when my husband and I hauled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow to the street, I cried as I said goodbye to the molded, warped piles of all those notebooks. But even as I cried, I was cheered by the reality that those notebooks had become published novels and if I’d done it before, I could do it again.

As you’ve noted, this book is not my typical “light romance.” I was in no mood after losing our home in Hurricane Katrina to tred too lightly into a happily ever after story. However, as I spent more and more time with Harriet and Jake and their family and friends, I came to realize that despite tragedy and trauma, we can all come out okay on the other end. They helped me to realize the redemption.

Did Hurricane Katrina change anything about the way you write, either your method or your characters or plot?

The most important thing that Hurricane Katrina changed about my writing is that I now possess a laptop. We packed, at the last minute, I must confess, to evacuate and I didn’t tow my desktop or any backup disks. We were leaving, after all, for only a few days. Hahahaha. When we made our way back to our flooded house and I found my desk and computer and boxes of files and all our wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves full of books tossed around like dinghies in a particularly violent storm, I could do nothing but cry. And then begin to shovel the resulting mess into the wheelbarrow my husband transported to the street to be picked up by the Bobcat and dump truck crews. Words can barely express the loss.

And about being a newlywed . . . thank God we went through it together. It made us even more bonded.

Even though Not the Marrying Kind takes place in Arkansas and never mentions Katrina, it feels like a Katrina book to me because the intertwined themes of loss and recovery are so strong. Yet it’s an optimistic book, not a sad one. It was cathartic for me to read; was it cathartic for you to write? Or was it hard to write about loss when the wounds were still so fresh?

I think my response above answers this question. And yes, when all was said and done, it was cathartic. We carry on. We grow through the loss. We are reborn.

I’ve always found the story of how your early critique group helped you get published inspiring. Could you retell the story for blog readers who don’t know you?

As to my early critique group . . . yes, and yes and yes. Gosh, have I written anything that contained a comma splice? If so, I owe a dollar! We were merciless. Met every Wednesday evening without fail for four or so years. We all published our first books, all five of us. Wow! And yes, I did have to “audition” to get accepted as a member. Thank you, Meryl Sawyer and Olga Bicos. And thanks for letting me pass muster!

Many romance writers, including you, started out as lawyers. Which is harder, being a lawyer or writing romance novels? Which is more fun?

Which is harder, being a lawyer or a romance writer? It depends. Seriously. My husband is a criminal defense lawyer specializing in capital cases. If he flubs up, his client gets the needle or the electric chair. If I slack off, I miss a bestseller list. Hmm . . . .

What is your favorite part of writing?

My favorite part of writing is hearing from readers who relate to my characters as people. Living, breathing, complicated, annoying, adorable people.

What is your writing regimen? Would you recommend it to aspiring authors?

My writing regimen?? Hahahahahahaha. When I’m on deadline I write like a maniac. A whirling dervish.

Do you write with or without your cats Mocha, Stanley and Daisy?

At this very moment, Daisy is asleep on my lap. Mocha is in her safe place, the laundry basket at the foot of our bed. And Stanley is snoring peacefully on the foot of said bed.

What books can we look forward to in the future from you?

Books in the future . . . ah, now, that’s a good question. I may do some more “Nancy Wagner” books . . . as in Two Sisters and All Our Lives, the first two books I published with Avon Books, before I transfigured into Nikki Holiday, author of paranormal romantic comedies. And then . . . and only then, came Hailey North. So it’s yet to be known who I shall be next.

Thank you again for visiting my blog to talk about writing and your new book Not the Marrying Kind.

Visit Hailey North’s Websites at http://www.haileynorth.com// and http://www.harpercollins.com/authors/17884/Hailey_North/index.aspx/. Her book Not the Marrying Kind is available at all major bookstores and can be ordered online from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.


Shauna Roberts is an award-winning medical writer and editor specializing in diabetes and related subjects, a penner of fantasy, science fiction, and romance stories and novels. Her medical writing website: http://nasw.org/users/ShaunaRoberts/ Her fiction writing website: www.shaunaroberts.com Her blog: http://www.blogger.com/www.shaunaroberts.blogspot.com

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September 7, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

JANET QUINN’s Life Balancing Act

Janet Quinn has wanted to be a published author since she was seventeen. Despite the demands of her “other life” as mother, teacher, and active OCC volunteer, she’s managed to accomplish her goal and garner ten sales to her credit.

Q. Janet, you are one busy lady. I know that you work as a Director of Education, are a mother of three boys, an active member of OCC, and you still find time to write. Can you give us some idea of how you manage all this so well?

A. Luckily my sons are grown and don’t take a lot of time now, though all three of them are living with me again. My youngest does most of the cooking, shopping and housework, which helps. I only work a 30 hour week, which is more than enough. When I get home at 5 p.m. on Thursdays,I become a writer instead of the Director of Ed for Sylvan. Thursday night through Sunday night I write and do promotion. I usually write during the afternoon and evenings since the boys go out and it’s just me and Chewbacca, the dog. He likes to help me write. He thinks if I’m at the computer, I must want to play ball.

Q. Do you ever have trouble keeping up with it all?

A. Yes, sometimes I don’t manage so well. There are days I just sit on the couch and watch TV or read a book. Then the next day I’m back at it. Everyone is allowed days when they can’t cope and I figure I’m allowed a couple a month.

Q. I agree! I personally take several! Looking back, is there anything you wish you’d done differently after publishing that first book?

A. I’ve always wished my first editor and I had a better relationship. I’ve had a couple of agents I wished I’d never hired. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve managed to accomplish.

Q. You should be. So what’s the best writing advice you ever received?

A. Sit my backside in the chair and finish the book.

Q. Yeah, sitting is good; finishing the book is even better. But what inspires you to get past the hard times?

A. My sons inspire me. They have always been very supportive. My middle one said to me once, “I tell everyone you’re a writer. It would be nice it you sold something.” A week later I sold my first book. A lot of my inspiration also comes from within. I love telling stories. I always have since I learned to talk and I just can’t imagine not putting them down.

Q. I know that THE KILTED GOVERNESS is available now, and you’ve sold a contemporary
that should follow soon. So what can we expect to see from you after that?

A. I have a witch book and an alternative universe book I’m working on. Those are both fun, though the alternative universe is a challenge to make it different than a fantasy. I’m also working on a sequel to THE RIVER’S TREASURE which is my first sequel and an underground railroad story. I think I’m moving more to the fantasy side because I find it so much fun to create worlds where my rules are the only ones that count.


Available now by Janet Quinn at her website: www.janet-quinn.com

WHISKEY SHOTS Vol 7 from Whiskey Creek Press,

Available from Whiskey Creek Press

Available at Amber Quill Press


(Sandy Novy-Chvostal aka Sandra Paul loves interviewing OCC’s talented authors. To read more of her interview with Janet–and to learn Janet’s thoughts on writing for e-publishers compared to a traditional house, check out the OCC interview in the September ’07 issue of the Orange Blossom.)

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Author Interview with Suzanne Forster

April 28, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

The Climbing Career Path
Suzanne Forster

by Sandy Novy-Chvostal

Suzanne Forster, author of The Arrangement (Mira) released this month, advises writers who have hit a wall to talk to their characters. “Find out who they are, what they want, and most importantly, identify their wound,” says Suzanne. “Pain and pain avoidance are the prime motivators for almost everything we do in life, even our humor.”

And who would know that better than this best-selling author, who never intended to be a romance author, until a fateful accident changed her plans, and then her dreams, as well?

Q. You’ve said that for you, becoming a writer, was literally an accident. Can you explain in more detail?

I had a car accident. I was in a doctoral program in clinical psychology at the time, but the accident was serious enough that I had to drop out. My recovery was a long one, and I began writing to fill the hours. Being Type A, I wasn’t content with something non-taxing, like journal writing. I had to turn it into a novel. Unfortunately, it was a really dreadful novel, and as soon as I was physically able, I started taking classes at the local community college. Within a year I was in enrolled in a novel-writing workshop and involved in my second tome, which was only marginally better than the first. It was the third attempt that made the finals in the Golden Heart, and ultimately became my first published book, Undercover Angel.

Q. How does your background in psychology affect your writing? Characterization?

A: In more ways than I can possibly recount. I thought it might be a drawback because I hadn’t had the exposure to classic literature and story analysis that most English majors have, but once I’d filled in some of the basics with classes in novel, script and poetry writing, I realized that my studies in psychology were going to be a plus. Understanding the different personality types and what motivated them helped tremendously in developing characters and storylines. But it was my curiosity about some of the darker aspects of human behavior and why people do what they do that led me to major in psychology, so I was really fascinated with the unconscious conflicts that drive our defense mechanisms, our manipulations, and create our blind spots. The secrets we keep from each and from ourselves are the basis of many of my suspense plots, and I think my preference for characters with interesting flaws and psychological dilemmas may have been the result of all those hours immersed in Freudian and Jungian theory.

So, the psychology didn’t pay off in any expected way, but it did pay off. It even helped with the romantic comedies I’ve written. Understanding human foibles and frailties and being able to laugh at them has inspired many a quirky plot idea.

Q. What do you enjoy most about writing?

A: I love the idea stage of a story, which for me includes writing the story proposal and the first draft. The second and third drafts, not so much. Revisions, ugh!

Q. What do you find the most challenging about being a writer?

A: My first inclination was to say that revisions are the most challenging, and in a technical sense, I think that’s true. But the most challenging thing about the writing life for me is the isolation. I don’t know what I’d do without my writers’ loops and my Yahoo readers’ group. It used to be the phone that kept me connected, but now it’s the internet.

Q. If I’ve counted right, The Arrangement (Mira), will be your 30th release. You’ve hit the lists–New York Times, USA Today–and you’re one of the few authors to have received a 5 from Romantic Times. How did this impact your career?

A: Looking back over the entire twenty-plus years of my career, I think getting the 5 rating from RT had a major impact. I was writing series romance in relative obscurity until then, and no one was more stunned at RT’s announcement than I was, especially since I didn’t know they gave out 5s. It probably also helped that they hadn’t awarded one in the two years before I got mine. Plus, it just happened to be July, the month of the RWA national conference, so there was the advantage of lots of writers congregated in one place, and lots of buzz. Timing really is everything, but I had nothing to do with that, of course. It was just dumb luck, for which I am eternally grateful.

I suspect the 5 was also instrumental in my move from series to single title because of the agents and editors who might not have noticed or read my work otherwise. And again the timing was such that romance sales were strong, and several series authors were being encouraged to move into single title. Editors were actually looking for authors who might be able to make the move, and Again I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time. I sometimes wonder what the probability is of the convergence of all those elements at one time. It wouldn’t surprise me if it were similar to winning the lottery. I was just very very lucky.

Another career event that made a big difference was having the interest of more than one publisher when I moved into single title. That created a small, but significant, bidding situation that made it possible for me to write a single title book for as much as I’d been making writing several series romances. Otherwise, it would have been very difficult financially. In general, single title books are longer and more complex, but the starting advances often don’t reflect that. It’s one of the reasons many series writers have elected not to make the move. Again, for me, it was timing, luck, and a bit of networking that made the difference.

Q. Besides your popularity, was there another factor that instigated the bidding war?

A: There were several. As I mentioned, some very popular series authors had moved into single title and were doing extraordinarily well. They blazed the trail for all of us who followed. The resurgence of interest in sexy romantic suspense helped too. My series romances had been evolving in that direction, and while my editor nurtured that interest, she also noticed that my stories were bursting at the seams. She was several steps ahead of me in thinking that I might be ready to make the move. Ironically, she moved before I did to another publisher.

She took an editing position at another publishing house, but remained interested in working with me. That’s how the bidding situation came about. I’d been writing series, so there was no option clause involved. Technically, I was free to submit my single title idea to both my current editor and the editor who’d moved, and both agreed to look at a detailed story proposal in lieu of a partial manuscript, which would have involved a short synopsis and chapters.

Talk about pressure. I knew I had to come up with the mother of all synopses, because that was essentially what I would be doing–writing a longer, more detailed synopsis with all the hooks and selling points of a story proposal. I opened with a two-paragraph teaser, similar to a back cover blurb, but my real goal was to make the ensuing pages read like a page-turning short story. In this case, it worked. That synopsis resulted in a two-book, six-figure deal and the story proposal became my single title debut novel, Shameless.

Q. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

A: Oh, so many things. In retrospect, it seems as if I’ve made questionable choices several times along the way. I’d be in trouble if I were to go into detail, but generally speaking, things like staying with agents and publishers when I probably should have left, and leaving agents and publishers when I probably should have stayed, and every other possible combination of those variables. But I also know that I made the best decisions I could have at the time, given what I knew. So yes, there may be a couple things I would do differently if I could travel back in time, but I don’t regret anything. Regretting choices is a time and energy waster, very counterproductive. Whoever came up with keep your eye on the prize had the right idea.

Q. What advice do you have for new writers?

A: Nothing very exciting, I’m afraid. More than anything, I’d say a writing career takes discipline and perseverance and wanting it really bad. Most of those popular slogans are good advice, such as following your bliss and staying the course, and then there’s Nikes’ Just Do It, which is as profound as it is simple, if you think about it. But don’t think about it, just do it.

Q. Advice for writers that may have hit a wall?

A: If you’ve hit a wall while writing, talk to your characters. You’ve probably lost touch with them or perhaps didn’t know them well enough in the first place. Plumb the depths. Find out who they are, what they want, and most importantly, identify their wound. I think it was Joan Didion who said write from the wound. Pain and pain avoidance are the prime motivators for almost everything we do in life, even our humor.

(Don’t miss reading about Suzanne’s advice on sexual tension in this month’s issue of OCC’s Orange Blossom.)

Sandy Novy-Chvostal (aka Sandra Paul) has a degree in journalism, but prefers to write from the heart. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have three children, three cats, and one overgrown “puppy.” Romantic Times has labeled Sandra Paul’s work as “outrageously funny and surprisingly perceptive” while Rendezvous stated “Sandra Paul is imagination with wings.”

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