Category Archives: Karen’s Drop-In Diary

Karen’s Killer Drop-In Diary ~ 07-04-13 ~ And We’re Off to RomCon 2013! Part 3


[[Welcome to my writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Tuesday ~ 07/04/13 ~ and…

This is my final installment of RomCon 2013 festivities! I left off on Tuesday with the events of Friday, June 22. Let’s take a peek at Saturday!

satin_pleasures_final (2)

Saturday morning breakfast started with a wonderful surprise!  RomCon organizer, Michele Callahan, announced that SATIN PLEASURES was a Reader’s Crown Award finalist!!  This contest was judged by readers and had to receive a score of 8.0+ out of 10 to be included in the finals, not an easy feat! I was thrilled that so many readers enjoyed Dan’s & Tess’s story.

For some reason, I don’t have photos for the first two events I attended. Clearly, my camera was having issues. Or maybe it was operator error. Nah!

Anyway, I went to A Field Guide To Surviving The Apocalypse and helped save the world from zombies! Along with paranormal author, Shannan Albright, our band of merry women donned oodles of fun skills and special clothing. We had a witch, a wind dervish, and flying dragons to name just a few. I had a special tattoo on my back that swept over my body as armor (shades of Stargate?) so I was one of the warriors. I carried a bat-leth so I could cut a swath into the enemy. Is that cool, or what? For that kind of skill, I might even get a tattoo.  Good thing there isn’t really a zombie apocalypse, though. I DID pass out when I got my ears pierced as a youngster. 🙂

After saving the world, I moderated the Romantic Suspense Chat Panel with Allison Brennan, Heather Graham, Rebecca York, and Bob Mayer. Readers did not run out of questions for this wonderful group of authors and there was a lot of laughter thanks to the stories they shared with us.

YA Chat Panel 1    YA Chat Panel 4    YA Chat Panel 3

The next event I attended strictly as a reader and mom. It was a wonderful moment when I walked into the Young Adult and “New Adult” Romance Chat/Mixer, where my daughter, JM Kline (far left in 1st & 3rd photo), had her debut moment as an author. She published a short story in December 2012 called THE CHRISTMAS SHIFT. She launched the first of her young adult Shadow Shifters series novels, SHIFTING DREAMS, two days before RomCon!

In case you missed all of the rooftop shouts about JM Kline’s new release, you can find her novel at Amazon. Even if you aren’t a “young adult”, this is a wonderful story. You don’t have to take my word for it. Check out what this teacher had to say about the story: “This book rocked, and I can’t wait until it comes out in paperback to add to my class library….”

Needless to say, Mama’s proud. 🙂

My next event was What’s My Story?, an opportunity for readers to build a character from the ground up. I participated in, and moderated, this event so no pictures this time. Sorry! At least one author sat at each table with readers. Our mission? To uncover the story for one of four handsome male model photos. It was a difficult job but someone had to do it! 🙂 Toward the end of the hour, we read some of the stories we’d created. We came up with such fun, and very different, stories!

Jewelry 2013

I took an hour off to check out the vendor tables. Found some fun goodies, a gorgeous purple bracelet and a pair of mirrored “lure” earrings that really sparkled at Casino Night. I also added several new dragons to my collection. Have I mentioned how much I love dragons? Anyway, one dragon has a place of honor in my office. It’s a brass, cone-style incense burner. I can’t wait for my first opportunity to wear the blue dragon necklace & earrings.

After exploring the vendor tables, I went to my daughter’s autographing session and sat with her, again the proud mama. 🙂 They raffled off all of the wonderful baskets and giveaways donated by authors, the proceeds going to breast cancer research. (See first RomCon 2013 Diary for a photo of my contribution.) Over $2,200 was collected!

Casino Night 1    Casino Night 2    Casino Night 3    Casino Night 4

Saturday night was the Wild Rose Press Casino Night & Dinner Event. They sponsored a game around their authors, where we matched the authors with secret information. The authors went from table to table to share their secrets so we could check them off our list. Fun prizes were raffled.

Casino Night 5    Casino Night 6

Many of us played at the casino tables set up for after dinner fun. There were poker tables, Blackjack, Craps and Roulette, and everyone played with fake money chips.

The evening didn’t end there for many readers and authors. There was a Romance Idol Karaoke Challenge with celebrity judges, Heather Graham, Barbara Vey, Melissa Mayhue and Maggie Mae Gallagher.  Singers competed for books.

Hang in there…I’m almost done! Getting tired yet? 🙂

Readers Brunch 1        Readers Brunch 3

The RomCon 2013 convention culminated at the Reader’s Crown Brunch & Awards on Sunday morning. My romantic comedy, SATIN PLEASURES, was not only a Reader’s Crown Award finalist but entered in the 2013 RomCon Book Cover Contest. I was Cover #5. Readers voted by number through the weekend.  It was exciting thinking about what I’d accomplished even if I didn’t ultimately win.

Readers Brunch 5    Readers Brunch 2

I was fortunate to meet Elizabeth Essex, standing with me near the book cover contest board. She was also a finalist in the Reader’s Crown Award in the Historical category. I was excited when RomCon organizer, Michele Callahan (left), announced that Elizabeth won her category. I didn’t ultimately win the Contemporary category but that’s okay. I’m just thrilled so many readers enjoyed  my book.

As you can see, we had a wonderful time at RomCon 2013, June 21-23, in Colorado Springs. Despite the heat. Despite the fires in the area. Yes, we had to deal with smoke in the air but we had so many reasons to stay in the hotel and just play.  Thankfully, we’d had a couple of days of overcast days and rain that helped firefighters begin to get a handle on the fire that was raging near Colorado Springs the week before RomCon. Still, the smoke in the air was a constant reminder of what they were still fighting outside the city limits. I know I wasn’t alone in thinking about about all of the fires across our fair state.

It was wonderful to meet so many readers and authors, connect with friends I’d made last year, and enjoy an entire weekend of celebrating our favorite reading material. Romance novels.  I can hardly wait for next year and, if you didn’t have the opportunity to join us this time, I hope to meet you then.


(For more pictures of events ~ I couldn’t attend everything ~ be sure to check out the photos at the RomCon site at

See you on Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

Karen’s Killer Drop-In Diary ~ 07-02-13 ~ And We’re Off to RomCon 2013 Pt. Deux


[[Welcome to my writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Tuesday ~ 07/02/13 ~ and…

I missed posting last Thursday thanks to a flu I brought home from Colorado Springs with me from RomCon 2013. Clearly, I overdid preparing for the convention and didn’t move fast enough to stay out of the bug’s clutches. But I’m feeling much better now. 🙂

As a reminder, last week I began sharing some of the events that took place at this fabulous romance fan convention so that you might see some of the things that happen at these conventions. It was such a full weekend that there is still much to share.

Super Sleuth 1    Super Sleuth 2

One of the fun events I was able to organize on Friday was the Super Sleuth game, a Romantic Suspense Author Mixer, for the suspense readers.

Super Sleuth 3    Super Sleuth 4

Thirteen suspense authors participated…as suspects in our own variation of the Clue game! Each game table had 5 teams of two, with 2-3 participating authors. My talented daughter, JM Kline, created all of the cards we used, as well as emceed the game. The object of the game was to identify which of the authors was the murderer, with what weapon, and in what room.

Super Sleuth 5

An added twist was that the authors moved to another table every 3-5 minutes. We had so many cards, our emcee went from table to table to turn over the occasional card to help us eliminate suspects or weapons or rooms. When it was all over, there was one grand prize, a book bag that included a book from every suspense author. Everyone also received fun giveaways each of the authors brought. No one left empty-handed! Even the authors got to take home their personalized Clue games.  It was tremendous fun!

Queen For a Day Basket RomCon 2013

I don’t know why I don’t have pictures of the autographing that took place later in the day. I know someone took pictures on my camera! 🙂 Anyway, I had a wonderful time, made lots of new friends and signed my heart out. I autographed my romantic comedy, SATIN PLEASURES, and held a raffle for the candy dishes with the special code card in the bottom for my upcoming suspense release, KILLING SECRETS. Over 30 people signed up to win. It’s always exciting to give away goodies!

Improv 4    Improv 1

Friday evening we had a rip-roaring time after dinner at the Comedy Improv Dinner with the Stick Horses in Pants Comedy Improv Troupe. I don’t think this group of young men and women knew what they were getting into with a room full of romance writers! There was one memorable moment when a troupe member inadvertently uttered something that fed the laughter in the room with unintended consequences. You had to be there, and that’s all I’m saying! 🙂

Improv 2    Improv 3

My roomie, Lori, is always game to get involved in the fun stuff. She and another volunteer from the audience moved two of the players to fit the story that was being told…to much hilarity. You go, Lori!  She even provided the story of being bitten by a raccoon to prompt another of their wonderful skits. I can see this band of players coming back again next year. It was a favorite!

Virginal Party 1    Virginal Party 2        Virginal Party 3

It wasn’t enough that we laughed until our sides hurt at the Comedy Dinner but the finale of the night was A Very Virginal Bachelorette Party with a room full of fun games we could play, oodles of delicious chocolate to nibble on, and prizes to win. This was a messy variation of bobbing for apples. The thought of whipped cream in my nose while I bobbed for a cherry kept me from doing more than taking pictures.  Maybe next year I’ll be more adventurous!

We’re finally through Friday, our first day of the convention, and I still have a lot more pictures and stories to share, so join me again on Thursday. In fact, the photos I have to share are a drop in the bucket. I couldn’t attend every event all weekend, so be sure to check out the photos at the RomCon site at

See you on Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

Karen’s Killer Diary Drop-In ~ 06-25-13 ~ …And We’re Off To RomCon 2013!


[[Welcome to my writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Tuesday ~ 06/25/13 ~ and…

I haven’t shared any news with you for awhile.  It’s been a crazy time in my office lately so I have a lot to catch up over the next few weeks. I’ve been on a motorcycle vacation in Florida, prepared for and attended RomCon 2013.  Since I’m just home from RomCon, I’ll start there.

It has nothing to do with the fact that I haven’t yet sorted out the vacation pictures. Well, maybe it does…just a little!

For those who’ve never been to a romance fan convention, I thought you might to see some of the things that happen at these conventions. So I’m going to take my time and share more than one blog about the event so maybe you’ll be intrigued into joining us next year. 🙂

I was  incredibly busy these past few months preparing for RomCon 2013, an annual romance fan convention that took place in Colorado Springs, Colorado this past weekend. I’m a volunteer on staff and did my best to take care of the attending authors, organizing their schedules, etc. The last week before conference was N.U.T.S.  Why is it that, no matter how long you’ve been working on a project — we’ve been working almost a year — there are millions of last minute things that still need doing at the eleventh hour? Thankfully, with a little bit of effort, everything got done.

It was the best RomCon yet! Everyone I talked to, authors and readers alike, had a wonderful time. When I drove from Denver to Colorado Springs, I had a truckload just for the events I was involved with or organizing.

Queen For a Day Basket RomCon 2013

I donated a Queen For A Day basket to be raffled off at RomCon. The proceeds from the baskets and giveaways donated is going to breast cancer research. RomCon collected more than $2,200 from the raffle, thanks to all of the readers who purchased raffle tickets! You’re the best!

I didn’t get a photo of the reader who won my basket (pictured above), but I did get a chance to talk to her. I hope she has fun with the goodies I included: Earl Grey tea & European biscuit cookies for breakfast, a DVD of The Time Traveler’s Wife along with movie time popcorn for afternoon fun, some yummy smelling bubble bath along with a novel, my romantic comedy Satin Pleasures for evening enjoyment. There were candles and sparkling apple cider to sip from two champagne glasses and a vase of white silk roses filled with chocolates for bedtime. Everyone should have a day to pamper herself, don’t you think?

I personally raffled off the candy dishes filled with chocolates (shown above) — and a special code to win a Kindle copy of Killing Secrets when it’s released on July 31 — to three readers who signed up at my Speed Dating and Autographing sessions. Thirty wonderful readers stopped by my tables to chat and sign up for the raffle.  Nadia Holmberg, Joy Virgin, and Robin Martin each won one of the dishes. Joy was sightseeing and unable to pick up her dish so she generously told me to pick another name. I had to leave RomCon early to take someone to the airport so I’m not sure who ultimately won the dish. It was given away at the Sunday Reader’s Crown brunch.

2013-06-11 20.39.52SMALLER

I also took a lot of swag for the readers who participated in the same events. I found the most delicious smelling bubble bath — 4 different flavors like Hawaiian Blossom & Plum and Bali Mango & Mandarin — to share with readers who played Super Sleuth and What’s My Story? with me. I envision a lot of bubble baths happening across the country in the weeks to come!

RomCon 2013 Bag    Satin Pleasures Ad RomCon 2013

When I arrived at the hotel on Thursday, a bunch of us spent a couple of hours stuffing these wonderful canvass bags for the over 300 attendees. We stuffed books, bookmarks, postcards, a water bottle, candy, and all sorts of wonderful swag attending authors had sent for registered readers. It was so full, we had to tie the handles to keep everything in. Does it get any better than SWAG? The goody bag also included our weekend program where I had an ad for my romantic comedy. No, it doesn’t get old seeing my book cover in public. Always a thrill!

Michele Callahan launches Conf Fri    Me at Friday Breakfast

RomCon organizer, Michele Callahan, launched the convention Friday morning at breakfast. Yep, that’s me looking over my shoulder! Connected with some old friends from previous RomCon convention, and made some new ones!

Breakfast with Readers    Breakfast with Readers 2

Meet some of my friends! We bumped into each other throughout RomCon, and had so much fun! (I’m not tagging anyone since I don’t know if they want to be tagged. 🙂 If you recognize and want to tag yourself, feel free!)

Speed Date w Vicki Batman

The first event I participated in on Friday was SPEED DATING. What F.U.N.!!!! It’s just how you imagine speed dating works in the dating world. Every couple of minutes, someone tells all of the readers to move one chair where they’ll spend the next two minutes talking to a new author. I met so many delightful readers…and they met me. 🙂  I was also fortunate to be sitting next to an author, Vicki Batman, who I’ve been Facebook friends with forever! It was wonderful to finally meet face-to-face.

This was only the beginning of my schedule on Friday, and I have a lot more pictures and stories to share, so join me again on Thursday for more.

I know, I know, tease, tease, tease!

See you on Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

Karen’s Killer Diary Drop-In ~ 3-14-13 ~ The Deadline Challenged


[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 03/14/13 ~ and…

I’m setting new deadlines!

I was reminded a couple of days ago that RomCon 2013 is right around the corner.  I do know that. I’m helping to organize the romance convention being held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 20-23rd, after all.  But what didn’t quite hit me until now was how close that event date was as it pertained to me.

For those who don’t know what RomCon 2013 <> is, it’s an annual romance lovers convention. It’s a fun-filled weekend where romance authors and readers can mingle, play games, chat, have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, dress to the nines, and simply immerse themselves in their love for the romance genres. All of the genres. The food and events are excellent, the company even better.

I attended my first two conventions as a reader. It was wonderful to hang with the authors whose writing I’d loved and admired for years, authors who’d inspired me along my own writing journey.  Of course, I’m still an avid romance reader as I mentioned last week when I talked about the books I’m currently judging. However, I now have the pleasure of riding both sides of the fence at the convention and that’s so much fun.  I can hardly wait to attend RomCon this year.

But wait!

When my critique partner reminded me of the looming deadline for author promotion, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’m not ready!  At the back of my mind, I’d envisioned attending the convention with my new romantic suspense, Killing Secrets, in hand.  I’d convinced myself that I had plenty of time to finish the book, get it published, and sitting in a box at my feet ready for signing. After all, I had until June. Right?

“Not hardly!” as my favorite actor, John Wayne, “The Duke”, is famous for saying.  The truth is, I need to publish this book in the next 60 days or forget my plans to effectively unveil it at RomCon.  60 days…that’s all the time I have to get it ready to share with readers. I not only have to finish the book, but take care of all of the publication chores that surround it’s release, including formatting, promotion, creating swag, etc. Etc. Etc.

This is a relatively new self-publishing challenge for me.  Not something I’ve had much experience with to date. It’s so easy as a self-published author to not set deadlines.  “No one’s waiting for it, so no worries if I don’t write today!” I’ve been guilty of this mindset in the past but I was doing pretty well at writing regularly until my surgeries took over my life before the holidays. Those surgeries and the subsequent recovery difficulties did a number on my personal writing deadlines.

What’s interesting is that it isn’t really the writing deadline that’s throwing me for a loop.  I know I can finish this book in 60 days, despite the fact I’m still fighting to recover from this most recent knee surgery. I also have a vacation coming up soon which will cut into my time. I’ve analyzed my expected novel length and know that I can meet the minimum daily word count I need to finish.

It’s the business end of my career where I hiccupped.  I’m still feeling my way as a self-employed writer and don’t know all the ins-and-outs of what I need to do outside of my writing. So, when these new challenges come my way, I’m not quite as prepared as I’d like.

It’s a good thing I’m a fast learner, huh?  Lesson learned.  Challenge accepted.  New deadlines set. Killing Secrets will be in my suitcase when I leave for the convention.

Oh! Two last things before I go.

I’m celebrating my birthday by giving away two Amazon gift cards in the amount of $10 to two lucky readers who comment on my Novel Gems ~ Satin Pleasures Birthday Bash blog, Tuesday, March 12th.  Stop by that blog and leave a comment. I’ll announce the two winners on my actual birth date Monday, March 18th. Good luck!

For those who haven’t read my romantic comedy release, Satin Pleasures, my hero and heroine’s first kiss is being highlighted at Amorous Avenue at today. Don’t be put off by the Over-18 cover page.  Yes, some of the shared excerpts can be spicy, even erotic. My first kiss excerpt, however, is not.  Happy Reading!

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

Karen’s Killer Drop-In Diary ~ 03-07-13 ~ Judging for the Pleasure of It


[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 03/07/13 ~ and…

I’ve been reading a lot the past couple of weeks.  I wish I could say it wasn’t necessary to prompt me to read.  I should be reading every day.  It’s too easy to get completely immersed in my own work, and reading regularly helps me to keep my writing fresh.  And, like many writers, I love to read.  However, the truth is that I don’t seem to find enough time these days unless I’m judging a contest.

I judge two kinds of contests, those that are geared toward the writer where I analyze the writing itself, and those that are aimed at reader preferences.  The contest I’m currently judging is a reader contest. I really do enjoy the excuse to read for the pure pleasure of it.

So, what do I read? That’s easy. Romance. If there’s a romance in the story, I read it. Paranormal. Historical. Romantic suspense. Young Adult. Contemporary.  SciFi. In fact, I enjoy most of the genres.

What is it about the genre that I love most? Everything! That may sound facetious but it’s the truth. Yes, I love the heroes. What woman doesn’t want to read about a sexy man who falls desperately in love with the woman of his dreams, despite himself? I want to see that happen, experience it as it happens, alongside the heroine who deserves to find that one man who can love and cherish her for the person she is inside.

I wish I could say that every book I read in one of these contests is a gem just looking for space on my Keeper Shelf.  I’m often surprised at how many times I do find one of these books. I have discovered a lot of new authors this way.  On the other side of the coin are the books, and authors, that disappoint me.

I know that every book is not for every reader, and that’s okay. It’s why we have so many genres to choose from as readers.  There’s something for everyone.  When I judge writing contests as a writer, it’s relatively easy for me to remain objective and analyze the structure and elements of a story rather than my enjoyment. That’s not the case when I’m judging as a reader.

I judge reader contests based on my enjoyment of the whole experience.  It’s subjective because it’s personal.  Finding a sexy hero between the pages isn’t enough for me if the heroine is TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) or the writing style keeps me at a distance. I can love a heroine, her feisty nature, her desire to make her own way in the world but, match her up with a jerk I wouldn’t give the time of day to or have her do something that conflicts with the character you’ve drawn in my head, and you’ve lost me. I need to relate to a character’s actions, understand and accept them, on a personal level.

Still, I’m constantly amazed at how many authors do capture me on that personal level. The most difficult part of judging these contests is when I find all five books in a panel worthy of the highest score I can give them. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve ended up looking at a panel of books I’ve scored all 5’s, and then been forced to decide a tie-breaker list. I gave them all fives! How do I decide which of those books is my top favorite down to my least favorite of my favorites?

It’s a dilemma I love because it means that I was able to enjoy five books in a row, without a stinker in the bunch, and that’s why I read books in the first place.

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

Karen’s Killer Drop-In Diary ~ 02-28-13 ~ Back In The Saddle Again


[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 02/28/13 ~ and…

As you read this diary entry, I’m back in the saddle of my Just Write sessions with my best friends and critique buddies. Today on Just Write day, I plan to make a serious inroad into Killing Secrets which has languished long enough.  At the very least, I need to figure out where I am in the story so I can move on to the next scenes.

I’ve been missing my sessions with the ladies. We all tend to get so overwhelmed with outside stuff in our lives that turning one day a week over to our writing just makes sense…and keeps us sane.  It’s tough when we run into those times when we have to stop meeting altogether.  We haven’t met since before the holidays for the obvious reasons.  I even added two major surgeries into the mix this year! I admire any writer who can actually accomplish something in December.  January was tough because we’d lost our fifth member, Jan.  Our hearts just weren’t in it.  This will be our first session without our number one cheerleader.  I have no doubt she’ll be with us.

Yesterday, I was surprised to see the number of people who are now following me on Twitter. Over 8,000!  I’ve been a bit remiss in my Twitter posts during recent weeks thanks to my surgeries, although I have tried to dip into the Twitter pool every day, so this was a nice surprise. I guess I didn’t disappear as completely as I thought!  I can set my “guilt” card aside for now.  🙂

I’m chompin’ on the bit to move my office out of the dining room and back into my office downstairs now that I’m beginning to navigate the stairs again, but I’m going to force myself to wait another week. If I can get through this next weekend without hitting my husband with a “Honey Do” list to move everything, I might actually succeed in putting it off. I know I’m not in the position to carry all of this stuff back down there and put it all together again. I have all I can do to carry myself around! 🙂

On the other hand, I’m tempted to keep my office in the dining room until I finish painting the last partial wall/shelves so I don’t have to move everything around again but have a feeling I’m not going to be able to wait that long. I do miss my office and the “energy” I’ve created there that helps me to write. I’m ready to toddle slowly up and down the stairs, but painting walls and getting down on the floor to take care of the baseboards isn’t on my immediate agenda.  Must walk before I dance, right?!  My inner organizational goddess rails at this notion though.

Before I go, I’d like to introduce you to a new writing buddy. I received this cute pal from a great friend to help me with my convalescence. Thank you, Kally!! I named him “Bees Knees” and he’s been sitting to the right of my laptop for a couple of weeks. When I move back downstairs to my office, he’ll keep my writing dragon, Goldilash (also sharing in case you haven’t seen the writing buddy my daughter made for me), company on my desk.

Bees Knees Bear         Goldilash small

One other exciting thing that’s happening in the Docter household? Check out what my canaries are doing!  Photos on my Facebook page at!/pages/Karen-Docter-Author/112017712223396.

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

Karen’s Killer Drop-In Diary ~ 02/21/13 ~ Keep On Drifting


[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 02/21/13 ~ and…

I’ve been drifting through a busy week.

For those who didn’t check in last week, I went into the hospital last Wednesday to get my right knee replaced and didn’t get home until Friday afternoon. I’ve been playing catch up since then.

I wish I could say this right knee experience was exactly like the left knee I did in December, but I can’t.  The docs were right when they say knee surgeries are like having babies. No two are alike.  For some reason, the pain medication I used successfully last time isn’t cutting it now. Pain levels right now are rather distracting and I’m sleepy all the time. I know my body is simply reacting to a series of traumas but I was hoping to be more on top of things this time around. After all, I did it once, right?

I need some crackers to go with this whine, ya think? I’d go get some but they’re in the kitchen and that would require me getting out of this chair and toddling across the house. Hmmm, beginning to see the low calorie benefit to my dilemma!

I know I need to take my time and let my body heal but my brain’s getting antsy. I want to finish Killing Secrets because Killing Proof, the second in the Thorne’s Thorns series, is already beginning to jerk on my mental chain. The last thing I need to do is write two books at the same time. Talk about a train wreck. Ack!

I know a lot of authors who can write more than one story at a time – they’re waiting in the wings as the next set of victims I need to kill off in my novels 🙂  – but I’m not able to split my attention like that. Since I do try to never say “never” I did try it once. After all, I’m an organized Type-A personality. How hard could it be to wrestle two stories with a handful of characters each? Let me just say, it was not pretty.

It would appear that I’m as monogamous with my stories as with my romances. So, when new characters start talking to me when I haven’t sent the last pair off on their honeymoon, I know I need to get a move on and wind up whatever I’m working on. I did break open the file this week, fiddled with one of the scenes I’d completed earlier in the month, but that’s crawling and my muse wants to fly. The cheeky, demanding thing!  Each day is another chance to soar, so I’ll keep plugging.

I did have three successful, SATIN PLEASURES giveaway days last week to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I launched the giveaway on February 12th, and ran it through February 14th. It was great to check in from my hospital bed to see so many new readers had downloaded the book.  With any luck, a few will be inspired to write a review.

It is the best way to thank a writer and share their story with other readers!

I also participated in Kim Scott’s Fabulous Valentine’s Day Giveaway over the holiday. The giveaway highlighted 32 Books of Romance, and I gave away two copies of Satin Pleasures. Congratulations again to readers Jennifer Hibshman of Vandalia, MO and Heather Andrews of Fairfield, VT! Happy reading!

I made my hotel reservations for RomCon 2013! For anyone who hasn’t been to RomCon, you have no idea how exciting it is to know where I’ll be June 21-23rd!  I attend every year because it’s just so much fun to hang out and “play” with so many other readers and writers. I’ve been fortunate enough to run into a few of my cyber friends this way. Always fun!!! Even better, this year I’ll be running around the hotel on my own two legs.

Can anyone say motivation? 🙂

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

Karen’s Killer Diary Drop-In ~ 02-14-13 ~ A Romance Writer’s Life


[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 02/14/13 ~ and…

I’m wishing you a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY from my hospital bed where I’m sporting a brand new knee! I had thought to skip my Diary Drop-In this week since I’m not really online today. I don’t dare try to write anything new with pain meds muddying my brain — who knows what might come out of my mouth!  🙂  However, it occurred to me that you might enjoy a blast from the past considering the special nature of today’s date.

Valentine’s Day has always been special to romance writers. After all, love and romance is what this day, and romance writers, are all about. So, while I’m untangling my pink feathered boa from my IV, let me give you a peek into the glamorous life of a romance writer.

Heart-20&-20Bow-201  ======================= > Love-20Pen

 “We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.” ~ Epictetus ~

Know what a romance writer’s life is truly like?  Just ask around.  You’ll get variations on a theme.

We write in an office the size of a small barn.  It contains at least one elegant sofa designed for brainstorming comfort, not to mention the leather-bound executive chair where we cheerfully sit and dash off our word count each morning before heading off to lunch with our eager publisher.  We’re surrounded by carefully organized, dusted bookshelves displaying our many writing awards, maybe a family photo or two mixed in.   Life-sized posters of our heroes, muscular chests gleaming down on us like manna from heaven, hang on our walls providing heroic inspiration.

Maybe there’s soft music wafting from speakers cleverly hidden out of sight, while we leisurely pen our tomes on the uncluttered tabletop of our antique cherry wood desk.  There’s the requisite dog or cat sitting at our feet staring up at us with undemanding adoration, and the kiddies make their own snacks when they come home from school to avoid disturbing Mommy’s creative “zone”.  And, since all authors live in warm climates we can move outside and write poolside while a cabana boy – okay, an understanding significant other – keeps us fed and watered because we’d surely starve or die of thirst without someone to take care of us.

Hmmm, when did I start writing fantasy?

The reality is most authors don’t live this beautifully organized, bucolic scene of creativity, much as we may long for a smidgen of it.  We’re often lucky to have an office.  Some of us write at the kitchen table we may have had time to wipe clean of peanut butter.  We carve space out of our living rooms, jam a battered desk in the corner, and block out Spongebob’s maniacal laughter as he runs through the jellyfish fields with his butterfly net.  [That last sounds vaguely familiar!]  We pull out a secretary’s pad in the lunchroom at our day jobs and jot down a thought or, if we’re lucky, a scene before we rush back to work.

We might have book shelves….but dusted?  Trade that executive chair for the front seat of a car that carries you and half a dozen ball players to three different fields across town from each other at the same time.  And where in hell is that cabana boy when your significant other and kiddies are sitting around the dining room table with empty bellies and expectant expressions on their faces?

I don’t know about yours but mine is scrubbing the toilet while I lounge in the gazebo with my laptop eating bon bons.  It’s so difficult maintaining creativity when the toilet doesn’t sparkle, isn’t it?

[Reprint Newsletter, July Musings, July 2009]

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….

Karen’s Killer Drop-In ~ 02-07-13 ~ Catching Up


[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 02/07/13 ~ and…

I haven’t been consistent with my diary entries lately.  My only excuse is that I’ve been exceedingly busy, and January was a tough month and I’m frantically working to catch up.

Losing one of my dearest friends and critique partner (12 years) was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced.  I have yet to make peace with her loss, but I have been reminded that life is too short not to take what life has to offer and enjoy every minute of it. As a result, I’ve been taking more time for me and my family and friends, smelling the roses. Not sitting 16-18 hours a day at my computer. Finding a new schedule is challenging but I’ll get it sorted out.

Last month, I conducted my last online workshop, The “W” Plot…Or The Other White Meat for Plotters, for the Southern Tier Authors of Romance (STAR). I’ve taught the course for nine years and it was time to take a hiatus. I had a wonderful “last” class. The students were active and fun and talented. It was enjoyable working with them. The workshop will be available in its entirety on my website and I am scheduled to conduct the full-day version for the Saguaro Romance Writers in Tucson in October.

I’m busily trying to get ahead of my blogs and other work because I have another round of knee surgery scheduled for next week. Yay!  I did so well with my left knee I’m really looking forward to a matched set! 🙂  Can’t say I’m looking forward to the first few weeks of recovery but it will force me to sit still so I’m planning to get some writing done. With everything that’s happened in last couple of months Killing Secrets has languished. If all goes well, I’ll finish it in the next month and it can be my birthday present to everyone.

While I’m talking books, to celebrate the one year anniversary on Valentine’s Day of my romantic comedy release, Satin Pleasures, I’m going to give it away for three days!  If you haven’t had a chance to pick up this cute and sassy romance, now’s your chance.  Satin Pleasures will be FREE on Kindle February 12 – 14, 2013. If you already have the book and enjoyed the story, please spread the word to all of your friends.  If you did enjoy Dan’s and Tess’s story, please consider sharing a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Shelfari?  Thank you for sharing with other readers!

I’m getting excited about attending the RomCon 2013 readers’ convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado in June. I’ve spent part of this week connecting with almost 100 other authors already registered. We have five months to finalize all of the details of the convention.  I’m helping with programs.  I can’t wait to meet some of my favorite authors as well as mingle with readers. I’ve attended every year and had a blast each time.

For those who don’t know what RomCon is, it’s an annual convention where authors and readers get together and meet, mingle, play games, have intimate chats and workshops, enjoy fabulous food, dress up and just have a great time. For more information or to register, go to and click on Convention. I’d love to meet you there!

Despite the fact I will be in the hospital for much of next week, please do stop by my blog so you don’t miss my special author guest, Anna Brentwood, and her interview and Book Bench sneak peek. I’ll share a never-before-seen excerpt from Satin Pleasures on Tuesday and have an extra special recipe on Friday’s Killer Fixin’s blog.

Make your week a good one!

See you next Thursday for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….


Karen’s Killer Drop-In ~ 01-17-13 ~ Tribute to Author CJ Snyder


[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]


Dear Diary,

            It’s Thursday ~ 01/17/13 ~ and…

It’s been a difficult week.  I lost one of my dearest friends on Sunday.  CJ Snyder – or Jan as I knew her – passed suddenly and all of us who knew and loved her are still in a state of disbelief and shock.  She’d successfully beat breast cancer and was looking forward to taking her writing career to the next level when pancreatic cancer took her from us.

She had such a bright future in front of her. She published three wonderful romantic suspense novels that garnered her lots of fans – MAVERICK; WHILE YOU WERE DEAD and DEAD RECKONING (the first two books in her Black Fire trilogy). She was working on the final book in the series, DEAD TO RIGHT, and had more stories to share than she had time to write. She had a remarkably creative mind and an incredible writing talent.

Maverick    while You were dead    dead reckoning

Her books reflected her strength of character, her ability to see the good and the bad in people. She was genuine, spiritual, generous, sweet, and gave of herself to everyone she met. Over the twelve years we were critique partners, I came to depend on her weekly insights, her support and encouragement and, most of all, her friendship.

It’s thanks to Jan that I write romantic suspense. I struggled for years to make inroads into the traditional contemporary romance markets. When I began to reevaluate my career path, she asked me why I didn’t try to write for the romantic suspense market. I told her I couldn’t write suspense. She looked me in the eye and said, “But you already do.” It was a jaw-dropping moment for me. She was right. Almost every one of my contemporary romances held elements of suspense and I’d been stifling my voice.  She knew my heart before I did.  She freed my inner suspense writer and I’ll be forever grateful.

Her passing has left a huge hole in my heart. I miss her terribly. The past week has been exceedingly hard.  But, I also know I wouldn’t have missed having her in my life even knowing she’d be taken too soon. She was my sister in every way that mattered.

Jan leaves behind four children and nine grandchildren, her mother, sister, two brothers and a lot of friends she turned into family.

Rest in peace, my friend. I love you!

Learn more about CJ Snyder:

See you next Thursday for another entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….