Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Friends with Annette Blair....

Welcome to our first Friday Friends with our special guest, paranormal romantic comedy writer, ANNETTE BLAIR.

We are thrilled to have you as our first guest, Annette. Lots of things to talk about today.

HWH: I know you have some news so why don't you share that with us first before we talk about The Naked Dragon.

AB: First, thank you for inviting me to be with you. I’m honored to be your first guest. My first bit of news is that A VEILED DECEPTION the first in my Vintage Magic Mystery Series is a 2010 Romantic Times Book Club Reviewers' Choice Award Nominee. I'm so excited.

More good news came in Wednesday: LARCENY AND LACE, the second in my Vintage Magic Mystery Series, was chosen to be a Fresh Pick at Fresh Fiction. The book cover and a link to LARCENY AND LACE appeared on every page of on January 5, 2010 and mailed to the subscribers of the Fresh Pick newsletter on January 5, 2010. "The Fresh Pick is chosen by a group of readers and is never a purchased advertisement or promotion. We've chosen your book because it appeals to us and we like to share our diverse tastes in reading..."

At Penelope’s Romance Reviews: Penelope’s Top 20 for 2009: Most Embarrassing Moment of Blubbering While Reading A Romance Novel: While reading Annette Blair's Larceny and Lace, a light paranormal mystery with romantic elements, I cried not once but twice! Blair does an extraordinary job adding sweetness into this fun, snappy mystery. Here's the review.

HWH: Congratulations, Annette, on all the great news! What a way to start the new year!! Now let's talk about The Naked Dragon. Tell us about the book and how you came up with the idea.

AB: I got the idea for the dragon story on an airplane, on my way home from an RT Conference a few years ago, so I took out my notebook and plotted for the whole trip. For the longest time, I didn’t know where to use the story, then I came up with the Works Like Magick Employment Agency idea, and I knew that the first would be my dragon story.

Below is a short, and a long, blurb.

Mini Blurb: The Works Like Magick Employment Agency has a reputation for perfectly matching clients with magical temps. So when McKenna Greylock requests a handyman, the gorgeous Bastian Dragonelli arrives to repair her B&B...and fire up her bedroom.

Story of the story:

“McKenna Greylock,” Bastian said. “I have in my shorts one resourceful, multi-talented, prehensile dragon lance. And, in its own magnificent way, it very nearly does breathe fire.”

In Salem, human magick has thinned the veil between the planes to a permeable mist, forming a portal into the city, allowing time travelers and chameleons of the universe to enter there.

Bastian Dragonelli, once a Roman warrior turned dragon, is the first of his legion to be returned to earth, a man. So his brothers can also be saved and sent to earth, Bastian must reclaim the magick of Andra, Goddess of Hope, who sacrificed hers to transform him. He must seek his heart mate and make her quest his own. But the dark, powerful Killian, Sorceress of Chaos, who turned his legion into dragons and skewed his transition back into a man, is hot on his heels.

McKenna Greylock, the last non-magickal descendant of Ciarra, a witch who survived Salem's hanging times, needs a jack-of-all-trades to help turn her dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast so she doesn't lose her home and her family's centuries-old legacy.

Enter McKenna's cousin, Vivica Quinlan, Ciarra's most magickal descendent, owner of the Works Like Magick Employment Agency. Vivica has a gift for matching human employers with magickal employees. Like Ciarra before her, Vivica knows when magickal supernatural ancients are about to arrive. She greets them and acclimates them to life, and to making a living, in Salem.

Besides Killian's threatening presence, Bastian's life is also complicated by McKenna, his guardian dragon, a troublemaking fairy, and a case of culture shock. Bastian also has a problem with his man lance. It won't behave at all the way he remembered it should. Not at all...

HWH: Sounds great, Annette. I love the title, The Naked Dragon. Where did you come up with the name?

AB: I chose that name because Bastian Dragonelli comes through the veil naked (due to his transformation) and lands on a thorn bush in a circle of chanting women. (witches) This is Salem, of course. Also, all of Bastian Dragonelli’s “assets” cannot be seen unless he is naked.

HWH: LOL! Okay, a little tip bit on writing for our writer friends. You told me once that you didn’t work with a critique partner. Is that still true? If so, can you give us some tips on what you have learned to look for while editing your work?

AB: I don’t work with a critique partner because I’m writing three books a year, and it’s hard for someone to keep up with me. I do a rough first draft, mostly in dialogue. So when I go back to edit, I look to ground my characters, give the story a sense of location, color, life. I look for character reactions when I’m editing, unnecessary words, better and more specific words, clear goals, motivations and conflicts. I usually make up a “don’t forget” list as I’m writing, and I look for the things I put on my list, like more comedy in such and such a scene, a snarky remark I thought of for a certain spot, that kind of thing.

HWH: Interesting. I'll have to keep that in mind. I’ve read your journey to publication posted on your website. It is very inspiring. What has been the best writing advice you’ve read/received?

AB: The best advice is something I discovered myself, since my road to publication was so long. “If you do not write and you do not submit, you will never sell.” Also remember that you can’t judge your own work. So pay attention to your editor. She knows what she’s talking about.

HWH: So true. Okay, last question. What do you find helpful when you have writer’s block?

AB: Getting away from writing. I make sure there’s a pad and paper in my purse and I get out of the house. I go antiquing, shopping, to bookstores. Or I go and pick up my grands at nursery school and kindergarten, take them to the playground, maybe, spend the evening with them, right there on the floor, give them all my attention, maybe give them their tubbies, put them in their pajamas, then I come home smiling and ready to write again. One of them is totally into making up stories and he asks the minute I walk in the door. Also, I love to get away with writer friends or spend a day with my brainstorming buddies. We bounce ideas off each other and the time we spend talking is invigorating and inspiring.

HWH: Thanks so much, Annette, for being with us. I know you've been under the weather this past week and I hope you are feeling better!

To all our viewers, thanks for being with us. Annette will stick around all day and answer any questions or comments you may have. The Naked Dragon is available at your local bookstore now. If you don't see it on the shelf, have them order it.

Be sure to visit Annettes website for all her upcoming and past books!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! We hope to see you back here next Friday when our special guest will be author Kathleen O'Connor. And before you go, click on the link to the right to become a FOLLOWER of Heriones with Hearts!


  1. With all my answers, I didn't include my web address. It's

    Feel free to ask questions and I'll answer them. HAPPY NEW YEAR!


  2. I really enjoyed your interview, Annette, and am in awe of your imagination in creating your fascinating story.
    Do you read a lot of paranormal romance as well as writing it?

  3. Paula, I should read more, but I don't have time. It's a real task for me to write three books a year. Some people write fast, but I'm not one of them. On the other hand, I'd hate to read other people's stories and discover that they wrote something like I'm writing, so I'd rather not know. That way, I'm sure I take it strictly out of my own crazy brain. Thanks for asking. Hugs and Happy New Year.

  4. That reassures me, because I don't read very much either!
    Happy 2010 to you too.

  5. You don't read but you write, Paula? Glad you're reassured. I have to add that I used to read voraciously before I started my writing career. And If I do read, I don't read the kind of book I'm in the process of writing. You should know about the trends in the market.

  6. Hey, Annette,

    I learned something new about you. I didn't realize that your books were paranormal romantic comedy. That's probably why I do enjoy your work. I'm not a parnormal reader, but I like your stuff. Although, I think your stuff should titled parnormal romantic comedy tear jerkers... :)

  7. LOL, thanks for the wonderful compliment. I guess they run the gamut. I like that, PARANORMAL ROMANTIC COMEDY TEAR JERKERS. LOL, LOL. Wonder if my publisher would go for it.

    Sorry I couldn't get on late yesterday, my network went down.

  8. I used to read a lot too, but don't seem to find enough time these days (except maybe on long distance flights). When I started writing novels again (after a long break), I bought myself a bunch of romance novels to see just what had changed. Then I put them all to one side, and concentrated on my writing.

  9. Then you've got the background for it, Paula. I always read on long flights, too, btw, unless I take my netbook computer with me because I'm on deadline. :(

    I think we can't go wrong concentrating on our writing. I usually go to one writer's meeting a month, my local group, and the occasional conference, and between that and online news, I think I have a handle on the biz/market. Plus my agent keeps me on the straight and narrow.

  10. Hey, Annette,

    I was looking into that netbook and thought it was only good for going online. Does it have word in it? Hmmm.. I may have to go to best buy and see it in person. Can you plug a memory stick into it? I can't do that with the laptop I have, its a dinosaur!!

  11. I have a netbook and have loaded Word on to it. Yes, you can plug a memory stick in, mine has 3 USB sockets.
    The main drawback is the length of time the battery lasts if you want to use it not plugged in. Mine lasts for about 2 hours - not much good on a 9 hour flight LOL

  12. Toni, you can plug a memory stick into a netbook, so yes, I work on it when I'm away and then just transfer my work onto my big computer. Also, I didn't connect the netbook to the internet, so when I have to make every minute count, I go into some corner of the house and write like crazy without being TEMPTED by the internet. (You can go anywhere with the netbook, even outside, though not in RI this time of year. :)

    The problem with a netbook is that it doesn't come with Microsoft Office. You need a portable disk drive to load the software on. That's about $60 I believe. But we borrowed one for an hour or so. Other people I know already had a portable drive.

    I love my netbook, so easy to use and the weight of it doesn't hurt my knees. I got a lap desk (bean-bag bottom, desk top) that I sit the computer on and go to town.

    I hope this helps.

  13. ps: Toni, the netbook (mine is an Acer 11") has 6 usb slots to plug in memory sticks or wireless mouse, etc.

  14. Paula, I got my netbook for my birthday in September. It has a 4 hour battery. They have some now with 9 hour batteries. A writer friend has one. A techie I know says that second party manufacturers will soon make long-life batteries for the netbooks, so we'll be able to replace our 4 hour batteries with 9 hour ones. Might even be in place already.

    Toni, it takes some research to find the right one for you, especially on that will feel good for your hands to type on. Some brands have the keys just too close together; that's why I chose an 11" not a 10".