Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | April 17, 2014

What A Writer Needs – Part 1

I’m pitch hitting for Gerri tonight due to an illness.  Which brings me to one of the most important things a writer needs in his or her life–sleep.

Sleep restores us. It builds our energies. For some of us, sleep gives us dreams

Credited to CorkBilly on Flickr

Credited to CorkBilly on Flickr

which eventually become stories and books.  I have found that to optimize our sleep, we can do the following:

1. Take a bath not a shower.  Soak in the scented bath salts of your choice. I like sandlewood vanilla myself.  Some find lavender to be very restful.  Lavender is symbolic of magic, love, protection, healing, and vision like the fields of lavender in this photo.

2. Use a nice body lotion that you rub all over yourself including your face.  Make sure it’s not something you could be allergic too.

3. Wear loose pajamas.  The goal of tonight is to moisturize and relax to sleep deeper.

4. Before entering the bed spray in the air around you a fragrance. I always use lilacs or wisteria.

5. Now climb into bed and turn out the lights and stretch out over cool sheets and sleep.  You need it and it will give back more than you put in.  If you feel cold later in the night, have a blanket close to hand.  You’re going to wake up from a wonderfully restful sleep.

Now good night, everyone, and get well soon, Gerri!

Susan Hanniford Crowley
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark.
Specializing in vampires and rare supernaturals.
New Release: Vampire King of New York, available in Amazon Kindle and Print, Nook and Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

Posted by: Toni Kelly | April 16, 2014

A Writer’s Stamina

I know I’ve written about running before and my enjoyment of it. These days, I don’t get to do much running, but I hope to get back to it later on in the year. This past weekend, as I watched my toddler run circles around me (literally), I couldn’t help but think about stamina, not just a runner’s stamina but more specifically, a writer’s stamina.

For those of us in the world who are writers or acquainted with one a more writers, it is easy to see that the art of writing takes quite a bit a stamina, among other qualities; however, I don’t think that is a trait that many think about.

We talk about story telling ability, creative mindsets, language skills and overall determination to write a book/article/short story/etc. and while it is important to have these traits as well, I’ve always found a writer’s stamina to sit in one place for hours upon hours for weeks or even months at a time fascinating. Of course we don’t literally sit for this entire time. We all have lives to live, but the truth of the matter is, the longer we do sit and dedicate the time, the more productive we will be. Simple logic as long as you don’t have writer’s block. I will also venture to say that a great majority of those who set out to write novels and don’t finish them usually fail when it comes to the stamina it takes to get the work done (just my opinion). Some may lack knowledge or skill, but to some degree these can be learned. Stamina, however, is a bit harder to gain. It requires strong will, discipline and endurance—not to mention a passion or love for what one is doing. Runners usually love running just as writers love to write.

For those writers out there, this is me from the side line cheering you on towards the finish of that work in progress. You can do it! For those of you who’ve tried writing and not succeeded toward finishing a work, try again; see if you have the stamina and passion to get it done. If not, no big deal, find something you love to do and work towards it. You’ll find the path less resistant when you aren’t forcing it.

Happy writing this week!

Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | April 15, 2014

Paths to Publishing by Leia Shaw

It’s no secret that I’m self-published. I’m not ashamed. I don’t feel inferior to traditionally published authors. I consider myself successful by my own definition. I have no regrets. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in a short period of time. Self-publishing was the right choice for me.

However, things change.

And they don’t always change because one path is better than the other. Sometimes it’s just about a different experience, new adventures, and making the most of opportunities.

I’m talking about going down the traditional publishing path. Three years ago, when I first started writing, traditional publishing wasn’t the right move for me. Now, I believe it is. Again, not because it’s better, more successful, or more legitimate. Only because it’s something new to try, another way to make income. And because writing is my day job, I have to entertain all avenues of making money.

So, being the type of person who is accustomed to deciding what I want and then getting it, I am eagerly awaiting the moment I can tell you more. For now, I leave you with a smirking goodbye ;)



Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | April 14, 2014

Bunny Ears Weekly Paranormal-Scope

While I’m not qualified in any way to read neither stars nor planets, I am intimately linked with the paranormal in the world. In many ways, so are you.

The Paranormal-Scope is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to guide your life by. Let’s have a little fun.  Are you wearing your bunny ears yet?

The week ahead for:

You’ve survived and it’s time to celebrate.  Plan a weekend away.  Check with your local gnome for some great places.

Going out to eat has made you appreciate good home cooking. Buy some new cookbooks and experiment.  Hobbits love cooking.

Enjoy walking in the fresh air.  Buys some flowers for your home. Pixies will love you for it.

Vampires love to wander on spring nights. Their victims are distracted so easily by flowers. Limit walks to well traveled and lit paths.

Shapeshifters love to dance.  Dance a little everyday and lighten your heart.

Your budget comes to the forefront. Like a goblin, be frugal.

You are doing well, and opportunities are changing.  Like the wind under a dragon’s wing, be ready for change.

Vampires are great dressers. Time to add new things to the wardrobe.

Are you seeing flying pigs?  You need a vacation.

Dragons will keep you safely under wing. Sleep restfully and have great dreams.

Glitter is akin to fairy dust. Use more of it to enhance your natural charms.

Dolphins will lead you into untroubled waters.  Watch for new friends and keep the old ones close.


Susan Hanniford Crowley
Specializing in Vampires and Rare Supernaturals
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark

P.S. VAMPIRE KING OF NEW YORK is now out in Print at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, in ebook  in KindleNook, and Kobo!



“Before there is a touch, a taste, a moan, a smell, there is perception, seeing and being seen, eye-beckoned.”  This quotation from Anne Taylor Fleming in her article, “Awaken Her Senses:  Look,” in Best Life, persuades us that sight is the primary sense that we use.  Other senses may be touted as being more important, but the sense of sight in a romance novel is paramount to an excellent read.

Romance writers are always told to “put the five senses into your writing.”  What is meant by that is we need, as much as possible, to put our readers into the virtual bodies of our heroes and heroines.  Most romance readers want to vicariously experience the joys and thrills of love by putting themselves into the characters they read about.  In order to do this, the author needs to describe in detail, everything the characters experience—what they hear, touch, taste, and smell, and see.

In this final post on the senses, I’m exploring the sense of sight and how much our readers depend on us to be their eyes within the world of the novel.  When creating a scene, the writer must visualize that place, those people, the action–must see them in her mind before translating that onto the blank page of the manuscript.  In doing so, the writer becomes the guide for the reader, helps them navigate a clear path, shows them exactly what they want the reader to see and thereby creates the vision of the book for the reader.

The best way to do this, at least for me, is to submerge yourself in the character, much as
the reader will do, and experience the setting, action, and other characters first hand through them.  Like an actor who takes on a role, if the writer takes on the persona of his/her character, he/she can see what they see and pass that imagery along–vividly–to the reader.

This technique is called “showing,” and is usually tied to the advice “show don’t tell.”  Excellent advice for a writer, but what exactly does it mean?  Beth Hill, a fiction editor, writes in the article “Show and Tell–Not Just A Game We Play,” that “Telling forces a reader to stand outside a candy store window, able to see, perhaps, and hear what happens inside.  But he remains outside.  Yet when a writer shows, he invites the reader into the store to taste the bite of bitter chocolate or the tang of a lemon drop.”  It is not, however, description.

“When a writer shows rather than tells, the reader is allowed a more active role. He draws conclusions, he projects himself into the story and into the character’s shoes, he experiences the character’s emotions with the character.”  In short, when show is employed correctly, the reader can live vicariously through the characters, seeing what they see, hearing what they hear, tasting what they taste.  A good “show” can involve the reader, suck them into the book, let them become part of the book themselves.  So much so, they will come joyfully back to experience more.

Do you have problems with showing rather than telling?  How have you overcome this in the past?  Tell me, how do you put your reader into your scenes?  Thanks for coming by!

Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | April 12, 2014

The Name Game-Marian Didn’t Say I Couldn’t Help

I’ve taught a workshop on character naming. Using baby names books is really only the tip of the ice berg. Let me give you some additional resources.

1. Baby name books for other cultures or countries
2. Telephone book
3. Cemetery stones
4. Family trees
5. Take any common name and rearrange the letters
6. Take a scrabble board and toss the letters
7. Random name generators  There are several on the web.
8. Write down all the names of all the authors on your library shelf or go to a library if need be, then switch around first and last names.
9. Look at signs and products and start mixing up names – just go through cupboards and drawer or to a store and list down everything possible first or last name you see.
10. The Bible is also an excellent source of names.

I think this is plenty of help.  Good luck in Marian’s contest.

- Susan
Susan Hanniford Crowley


Posted by: malanouette | April 11, 2014

What’s in a name?

Happy Friday everyone. What are you reading this week? I’m reading 25,000 Book of Baby Names. No, LOL, I’m not pregnant. I’m looking for a unique name for a character in my next book. Tomorrow I’m going to head to Barnes & Noble and buy some more books on the subject.

Wow, a thought just struck me. I’m going to run a contest. The prize a signed print copy of Burn in Hell, when it’s released in three or four weeks. Sorry, but the contest is only open to USA and Canadian residents.

naughtyWhat is the contest, you ask?

Submit your suggestions for the female lead in my next book. The character will be similar to the model above. Put on your thinking caps. The contest will run through April 25th. On the 26th I’ll pick and announce the name and the winner in the comment section of this post. Don’t forget to add your email addresses so I can contact you. Or if you prefer your Facebook address and I’ll PM you.


Good luck! I can’t wait to discover who she’ll be. If you’re submitting your own name as the character, a release will have to be signed if the name is chosen.


Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | April 10, 2014

Thursday’s With Gerri-Catching Up by Gerri Brousseau

Hi Everyone. I feel as if I haven’t talked to you all in a long time, so let’s catch up. First of all I want to personally thank each and every one of you who contributed to Therapy Dog for Teo. We were able to raise enough money for Leia’s family to get the dog! The power of social media is amazing. Now we are trying to raise money for the local training for the dog, so if you still haven’t gotten her book, please do.

Secondly, for those of you who remember that I was going to start a diet and be accountable to you, I’m happy to report that I have lost 15-pounds and I’m still going! Changed eating habits and reduced portions significantly. Will begin working out soon (see further comment below).

The next thing I wanted to share with you all is that I’m in the process of moving. Now we all know that moving SUCKS, and although we all know it, we tend to forget just how much it sucks until we are actually doing it. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had until I had to pack it up! Good Lord, it’s time to have a major tag sale. I’m moving as many of the light boxes to the new place as I can carry so that the movers won’t have to deal with it, but after a while I decided it’s what I’m paying them to do. Further on the matter of moving, the new location has a gym on the property and I plan to begin working out as soon as I’m all settled in. In the meantime, while figuring all this out, I came up with a great story idea so it all pays off.

Catching up on the situation with my poor little pug that’s failing. I’ve made the decision that it’s his time and I’ve set the appointment with the vet. I’m sick over it. I love him and he’s a great little dog, so loving and trusting. But, this decision has to be about his quality of life and so we approach his final days with sadness.

Still working at the DDJ (dreaded day job) with the boss that’s a creative energy vampire and by the time I get home at night, I’ve got zero creative energy left. Between this and moving, I have not written a word on my work in progress, despite the fact that I have things all laid out in my head as to where I want the book to go. I have been spending my evenings packing up the house. Just finished packing up all my books (sad face), and now I’m wondering which box I packed the charger for my Kindle in. If packing and moving are not stressful enough, my son and his wife (and baby girl) are also moving. Boxes, Boxes Everywhere! It’s crazy because we are moving within 5 days of each other!

The next thing I wanted to share with you that I’m super excited about is that in 33 days from today, I will be at RT in New Orleans. I’ve never been there and I can hardly wait. Somehow I feel that a paranormal vampire romance may be coming out of this trip. Looking forward to the whole “Big Easy” experience and all I have to say about that is “laissez le bon temps rouler!” (let the good times roll) If any of you are planning to attend, please look for me.

In June I’m going to be speaking at a writer’s retreat in CT. I’m thrilled to be asked and can’t wait to share with them. I’ll post more on that as the time grows near. Also in June, my third novel, “To Kill a Monarch” will be available in print. Can’t wait to hold the book in hand. Nothing like opening up that box and seeing your book cover.

There now, I feel as if we are all caught up. Do you have any exciting news to share with me? Would love to hear what’s going on in your lives. Oh, almost forgot . . . I’m thinking of posting a story here, one episode at a time. Would anyone be interested in something like that?

Posted by: Toni Kelly | April 9, 2014

Project Book

I’ve recently been tasked with a fairly big project during my day job, which requires a lot more planning than I’m used to. It has required quite a bit of effort on my part and as I learn to plan it out and set a timeline, I can’t help but see the correlation between this particular project and one’s plan for a book.

Okay, so let me back up a bit. First off, I have been for most of my “author career” a punster. For those of you new to that term, there are pansters and planners. When it comes to books, most of what I have written comes sort of spur of the moment, fly by the seat of my pants. I’d say that I’m currently going through an evolution when it comes to that as the longer I write, the more I want to plan. Perhaps I now realize how much time I am saving myself during the editing phase.

Anyhow, back to the project. As I go through the planning on this project, I’m using my knowledge of planning books to influence how I plan this project and hoping I’ll learn more about planning/plotting my books. Either way, I came up with 5 points to my plan and thought I’d share them with you all, especially for any of you new authors looking to get started.

  1. First off, you must decide what your goal or purpose is. In the world of books we call this GMC (Goal, motivation and conflict)
  2. Next, create your timelines. With books, there are a couple. The first is your own timeline on writing the book. Do you have a deadline? If not, set your own. It will help with disciplining yourself when it comes to writing. The second timeline involves your storyline. This can vary depending on the plot and pacing of your book. My simplest recommendation for beginners is to use an easy rhythm when you start out. Sort of like: action scene, recovery scene, action scene, recovery scene, etc. You want some sort of pace but it needs to fit with your story.
  3. Afterwards, you have your moving pieces. Just like with projects, books can have their own difficulties: potential plot twists that come up, characters who demand more attention—not to mention all the external factors of agents and publishers who may request or suggest changes. My advice is to be flexible and willing to adapt as long as you don’t feel you are compromising a large part of you.
  4. Know your audience. Most of us write to tell stories to someone. Whether that someone is me, you or millions of readers worldwide, we should usually have a target in mind. We don’t need to please all of these people or have them experience the same reaction, but ideally, you want them to feel something after they read your work. To do that, you need to know your target audience.
  5. And of course, before you present or publish your work, check it. This is largely known as editing and is hugely important whether done by your publisher or by yourself. A project with faulty information will lose its audience and turn them off to its owner. As such, a book with incorrect research/facts or tons of grammatical errors will not only be tossed aside, but it will also turn off readers to said author.

That’s all folks. Hope this helps and good luck with the planning. Happy writing this week!


Posted by: Susan Hanniford Crowley | April 8, 2014

Dressing for RT by Leia Shaw

RT is in 35 days.

Recently I’ve been asked about appropriate attire at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, as well as planning my own wardrobe for the event. The way I describe RT to people who haven’t been there is like a giant party about books. And when it comes to dress, anything goes. Literally.

Last year, I saw people walking around in full steampunk gear, kitty ears, corsets, blazers and heels, tutus, and jeans and t-shirts. Nobody seemed to care if you were covered in glitter or wearing all black. When it comes to the evening parties, which usually have a theme, many people go all out, spending months making or buying an outlandish costume. It’s definitely fun to watch people, and if you like having a reason to dress crazy, it’s extra fun to attend.

For me, I like the idea of dressing up in costume. The little girl inside jumps up and down clapping. But I’m also a bit of a tomboy. Something to remember is you’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing around. Drinking, talking, maybe dancing… It’s also not so easy running up and down to your room a million times to get changed, especially if you’re not staying in the hosting hotel. In my case, comfort is important. I may get dressed to the nines in heels, lipstick, spanx, jewelry, etc. But by the time I walk the many hallways of the hotel, down the elevator or stairs, and to the banquet hall, I’m ready for the heels to come off. Once I start a drink or meal, the lipstick gets wiped off. When I start dancing or wanting to move in any way, the hair goes up and the spanx come off. So within the first hour of partying, I end up barefoot, hair in a ponytail, wearing just my dress. Happens every time. So why bother?

vampires2  vampires

Maybe that one special moment, the entrance, when you feel pretty and special is worth it. Last year, I used a lot of suitcase space on costumes just for a three second entrance. This year, I’m broke and busy and probably just going to comfort. I applaud those who plan and sew and put together dazzling clothing for RT, I admire your sparkles and fancy boots from a distance, but this year, that will not be me.

Come say hi anyway. I do have one corset I plan to wear, probably just with jeans. And I have a couple funny t-shirts, but I’ll be the boring one, looking all normal and stuff. Another year, when I have more money and time, and maybe aren’t such a baby about walking in heels, I’ll dress up again.

But those of you worrying your little heads off about looking professional, just don’t. RT is cool like that. You can wear anything and still fit in.

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,754 other followers