This Wednesday, look for Carly Phillips to post about her upcoming release CROSS MY HEART, and find out how you can win a very special prize while you're here!


Back from Atlanta

I'm back from Atlanta, where I attended RWA's national conference, so posting will begin again starting Aug 1. The conference was a blast. Here's a sneak peak at some of my favorite moments. Check my personal blog for more pictures of the conference!

<<<< Author Cherry Adair signs at the Literacy signing

>>>> Me and author Kristi Gold, relaxing after a long conference day.


See you in August

The Idea Boutique will remain quiet for the rest of July while I'm attending the RWA national conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

For those of you who will be in that area next week, check out this amazing list of authors who will be signing books at the Literacy Signing. Come by and meet your favorites!

July 26, 2006 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Atlanta Marriott Marquis265 Peachtree Center AvenueAtlanta, Georgia 30303

I'll be there helping to set up and break it all down.

When I return, we'll kick off August with a great group of writers:
August 1 - Joy V Smith
August 2 - Carly Phillips
August 4 - Elizabeth Sinclair
August 6 - Sophie Jordan
August 8 - Bronwyn Jameson
August 11 - Brenda Novak
August 15 - Sandra Schwab
August 22 - Marjorie M Liu
August 30 - Kelly Mcclymer

See the sidebar for a complete list of upcoming authors.

See you soon!!!!!!!!!!


Angels with Attitude - Michelle Rowen

ANGEL WITH ATTITUDE had a very slow birth and began life as something very different than how it ended up.

The summer of 2004, I was mourning the loss of the television series "Angel." :-) At that time I was obsessed with writing urban fantasy and I was mulling over an idea for a series, a la Jim Butcher or Laurell K. Hamilton. I had just bought an old anthology from a garage sale called "Vampire Detectives" because the cover amused me. Really, check it out. I read a couple of the stories, and thought: Detectives. Hmm. Interesting. Angel (the vampire) was a detective. That was a good series with lots of story potential. But I couldn't have a vampire detective. That had been done already.

Then I thought about his name, "Angel," and then thought what about an angel, no, a "fallen" angel, who becomes a detective to help humans out and hopefully earn enough brownie points to regain entry to Heaven. Cool! I wrote it as a short story for a workshop I was in and the concept went over pretty well. That short story is currently available on my website.
Nanowrimo (Nanowrimo.org) was just about to start. I signed up and wrote 50K of wandering, aimless drivel. The character didn't feel right. It didn't make any sense that she was a private investigator. My secondary characters were taking over. It was a big honkin mess. Then I got "The Call" for my first book, BITTEN & SMITTEN. "What else are you working on?" the editors wanted to know. "Oh, a book about a fallen angel. Love interest's a demon," I told them. "We love that idea," they said. "We want that as book two."So, back to square one. Since my first book is about an "Everygal" who becomes a vampire, I figured my angel should be an Everygal too. So no more detective. But she goes out of her way to do "good deeds" to earn her brownie points. Also, now it had to be a comedy romance. The detective version was way darker. There was a bit of romance between her and the demon love interest, but it wasn't happy. And since it was supposedly the first book in a "series," it didn't have an HEA ending.

So I sent my fallen angel (now making ends meet working at a Niagara Falls motel as a maid) on a quest to retrieve the Key to Heaven with a sexy Tempter demon and a talking rat. All of which (except for the rat, but a girl needs a sidekick!) existed in the detective version, only this time it felt more fun and interesting. I enjoyed writing it this time because all the pieces fell into place this time.

I wrote it in first person, then when it was finished, I realized that it should have been written in third. Instead of accepting it the way it was, I decided to plunge in and change the point of view. Note: I do not recommend trying to do this if you want to keep your sanity intact.

When I finished, I felt the story line was a little too wacky. Luckily my editor thought it was just right. And now my tale of angels, demons, witches, magic and the Underworld has fallen to earth two years after its original inception.


A Restless Knight - Deborah MacGillivray

Dreams and obsessions…my starting point for writing A Restless Knight. I worked for my grandfather, a retired historian, doing research and restoration to our family’s history. He translated old papers and I rewrote them in narrative. We were preserving our history and lore, but also making it more readable, accessible.

I became obsessed with a story told for centuries in the family about an English knight who came to claim a Scots lass—my great-great (oodles of greats) grandmother. The story intrigued me, so I spent some time trying to verify the facts. I kept running into the same brick wall. Parts were real, parts I couldn’t prove.

I started to dream about the woman in the tale, my ancestor. Several times a week, I dreamt vividly, saw parts of her life. One day, I knew I wanted to write her story as a Historical Romance.

As I started out, I saw the hero through her eyes. I reached about halfway into the book and knew something was off. It troubled me for a few weeks.

Then Julian Challon came to me one night and demanded I hear his side. Suddenly, I knew what was missing—balance. I had her version of him, not the flesh and blood man. Once I shifted focus away from her, the story was there before my eyes. Julian’ side brought a strength, a power, a poignancy to the tale that I had to portray.

Julian is a powerful man, nearly a king’s equal, but is worn down by the horrors of war. He needs peace. He’s not a brash young knight-errant, but a battle-hardened warrior who can no longer stomach the ugliness, the brutalities warfare brings to men. He hopes by claiming the daughter of a Scottish lord he will discover some measure of healing in the Highlands of Scotland. Little did Challon know he would find more than he ever hoped for in the small glen in the mist-shrouded hills with a lass named Tamlyn.

Books:A Restless Knight - July 2006 - Kensington Zebra Historical
The Invasion of Falgannon Isle - December 2006 - Dorchester Love SpellRavenhawke - August 2007 - Kensington Zebra HistoricalRiding the Thunder - December 2006 - Dorchester Love Spell - Cat O' Nine Tales - October 2006 - Highland Press



July is going to be slow here at The Idea Boutique, due mostly to the RWA conference coming up at the end of the month. Definitely no posts will be updated from July 25-31, as I'll be in Atlanta and computerless. Since a lot of our contributors will be there as well, we have only a couple, *THOUGH FABULOUS* posters this month. Be sure to check them out!

Lined up this month:

This Thursday, July 13... Deborah MacGillivray
July 17 - Michelle Rowen


Look who's coming to the Idea Boutique

July 17 - Michelle Rowen
Aug 4 - Elizabeth Sinclair
Aug 11 - Brenda Novak
Sept 30 - Saskia Walker
Nov 22 - Dolores J Wilson
Dec 28 - Susan Crandall
Jan 31- Rowena Cherry
May 30 - Kate Angell


Lucy Monroe - The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain

So, you want how I got my idea for The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain?

Okay...here goes...

The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain is the third in a trilogy of books I pitched to Harlequin the first year I sold to Presents. Initially, the senior editor said, "No thanks. We like to have our series done by more established authors." I had tons of ideas careening inside my head, so it wasn't hard to choose another one to pitch and sell to them, but I was really happy when they finally said yes to the trilogy. So, in my mind all three books were always part of the same idea...three brothers who believed that the men in their family were destined to love only once. Each man was impacted differently by this belief and managed to mess up with his true love because of it.

In Claudio's case, I knew I wanted to write a marriage in jeopardy story. He was the oldest and the most "alpha" if you will. I could see so much about him before the story was fully formed. I really knew this guy. Therese only came to me as I started looking for his mate. But then as I began to write this story, Therese's past and present began to impact me even more than Claudio. She was so wounded and tortured. He had a lot of learning to do, but he could only do it through her pain which became his own. Because he's that kind of man. His own perso
nal pain wouldn't be as impacting for him as someone else's. It was a really challenging book to write as the idea morphed and became bigger than my first vision (which pretty much always happens).

I'm not sure if I've answered the question where I got the idea/inspiration for this story so much as how it came to be, but for me...they are one in the same.

Hugs, Lucy
TEMPT ME (Historical - 2nd in trilogy) April....AND ABLE (3rd in Brava Merc Trilogy) May
HIS ROYAL LOVE-CHILD (2nd in Har Presents Royal Trilogy) June
My Blog:


More authors to post soon!

Deborah MacGillivray (July 13)
Sophie Jordan (Aug 6)
Marjorie M Liu (Aug 22)
Cindy Holby (Dec 1)


Straight on Until a New Planet - JOY V SMITH

I love SF, and some of my favorite stories are about other worlds, including Andre Norton's adventure-filled books, Christopher Anvil's Pandora's Planet, Gordon R. Dickson's The Outposter, Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, Robert A. Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars, and Keith Laumer's Retief series.

Usually I start out with a story and then fit in the background--planet and culture, though some of my stories are set completely on Earth. While my main characters are usually Americans in stories set on Earth, elsewhere I often give Terrans backgrounds of other countries and cultures to make them more interesting.

Some planets are simple, with little description of wildlife, moon(s), etc. (I don't want to worry about tides and how things evolved). I've spent more time inventing planets like Snakebite in Hidebound, which also included the hero's planet (one even nastier than Snakebite so that the humanoids evolved physical protection); I made this planet interdicted. And then there's the colonized planet in Velvet of Swords (more nasty flora and fauna as the result of genetic engineering). It was colonized by humans and aliens, with the humans indulging themselves in old Terran cultures.

Other interesting planets are found in What Price a Friendly Freep to explain the aliens; Pretty Pink Planet and Hot Yellow Planet, which was began, as I recall, as an experiment in writing a series story with similar titles; Royal Guardians (I think this is an alternate universe); and When Danger Rules, where the royal family is strange. Time portals from Terra to other planets or time machines to other times are fun too.

There are books (see Writer's Digest Book Club listings) and websites, such as Patricia Wrede's Worldbuilder Questions: "http://www.io.com/~eighner/world_builder/world_builder_index.html" , on world-building; I haven't spent much time there, but I've discussed various ideas on AOL writing boards, where a writer can ask for input when trying to solve a story problem. I recently asked about missiles and subs in the Zap Gun folder (SF/Fantasy board), where we also discussed Keith Laumer's Bolo (super tanks) series.

For some stories, I've had to create maps to keep track of where my characters are running amuck. I have to keep track of directions and distances. If you're writing a story about Mars or the moon, however, you can use NASA maps, available in books, on websites, or even as posters. There are also Mars and moon globes. Nowadays, there is less invention in stories set there.

So, you can find the blocks for building your world in the far corners of the universe of the mind, but for decorating and landscaping, you may want to research other planets and other cultures (I think the Celtic culture is way over-used, though that's mostly in fantasy), found in fiction and non-fiction books; then you can put your own twist on a planet, an animal, or an intelligent being. And don't hesitate to use a tentacled alien; they're not passe if you can add something new.


Joy V. Smith has been writing stories since she was a kid. Her stories have been published in print magazines, webzines, and anthologies; and her SF has been published in two audiobooks, including Sugar Time. Her recent non-fiction includes her book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook and an interview with Lyn McConchie. She lives in Florida on a registered backyard wildlife habitat with Xena the Warrior Puppy.