Thursday, March 8, 2012

Debra Kayn, today's Friday Friend

Please welcome Debra Kayn, a fellow Savvy Authors member, who has come to tell us about her new release from Carina Press.

Thank you, Ana, for having me here today!

When I started writing the Sisters of McDougal Ranch series, my editor advised me to start a character bible. I’m sure she heard my poor pantser heart drop. I don’t plot. I was a firm believer that some writers plotted, and some sat down and starting pushing the keys on their laptop.

A funny thing about series books is you have to plot. There are certain things that must be included with each book. The five sisters show up in each other’s stories, and although they’re family…they’re all different. I had to keep everyone straight, and character bibles and plotting helped.

Right when I thought I was getting the hang of taking notes and writing timelines, I sold the 4th book of the series to a new publishing house. I received an editor that said, “We’re going to take this book and turn it into a category romance. You will also learn how to use Goal, Motivation, and Conflict in every scene.” I found out that my idea of plotting had a long way to go. The results were fabulous, and made me a believer in my ability to write.

That’s the wonderful thing about writing. I never stop learning. There are lots of classes available online for writers. Some are free, some cost a little money, but you will learn. There are things I know (I swear I do!), but someone different can teach me and it all makes perfect sense.

Here are some places to find classes, mentors, information that I’ve found invaluable in my writing career.

I’ll leave you today with a blurb from Margot’s Lawman, the 3rd book of the Sisters of McDougal Ranch series:

It's hard to keep a secret in the small town of Pike, Montana, but veterinarian Margot McDougal and sheriff Roy Lee Hanson managed to keep their relationship on the sly for months. Margot cares for Roy Lee, but the last thing she needs is to worry about local gossip while she's busy running her clinic and dealing with the loss of her beloved father.

Roy Lee can't wait to tell the world that he loves Margot. He respected her decision to keep their affair quiet—until now. It's time for everyone to know Margot is his gal...especially Ryan Martin, her new assistant. He's formed an attachment to Margot and Roy Lee is sure the city boy's unexplained appearance in Pike means he's up to no good.

Margot just wants to help Ryan fit in, and Roy Lee's jealousy soon drives a wedge between them. A wedge that only increases when Margot is roped into Ryan's secret, too...

Check out all 3 of the Sisters of McDougal Ranch series books at Carina Press – Harlequin’s Digital First imprint or your favorite ebook distributor. You won’t have long to wait for #4, Florentine’s Hero, so make sure you come by my website and stay up to date on the upcoming release day.

Multi-published romance author Debra Kayn lives in the beautiful Coastal Mountains of Oregon on a hobby farm. Her love of animals includes dogs, chickens, goats, rabbits, turkeys, geese, and yes...pigs. The peacefulness of a flowing creek across her property provides an excellent spot to read a book on a summer day, go swimming, and catch the ever-elusive fish using a pink sparkly fishing pole. Meeting her husband on a blind date in her teens made her a true believer in love and romance, and she can promise you that all her books will have a happily-ever-after.

Visit Debra’s website
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  1. Hi Debra,

    Welcome to Heroines with Hearts! It's so nice to have you here today.

    I love a series. And I agree, it's so important to keep those details straight across the books.

    Thanks for sharing the writing links!

  2. Hi Debra, thanks so much for being a guest today. The links are so helpful, and a character bible is a must, even for pantsers like us! :) Good luck.

  3. Hi Debra and Jennifer -

    Thanks for having me here today. I agree, character bibles save me. I always think I'll remember the details, but I'm getting old! lol

  4. I find them helpful even if I'm not writing a series--I never can remember the eye color or the little details like that.

  5. Hi Debra - sorry I'm late today, but welcome to HWH. It's interesting that you were able to change from being a pantser into a plotter. Not sure I could do it, because every time I try to plot, my characters rebel and refuse to follow my outline plot! But I can understand how to need to keep a 'character bible' if you're writing a series.
    I'm intrigued about how you sold a 4th book in a series to a different publisher as I thought publishers wanted first refusal on any sequel or any book using the same characters as earlier books with them.
    Also I be grateful if you could explain 'category' romance and whether this is different or the same as a series romance. I've seen these explained in different ways, and I'm still not sure what they mean!

  6. Hi Paula,

    I'm still learning to plot, but what is working for me is a very simple outline, and as I write each scene I write the goal, motivation, and conflict out. Sometimes I don't see problems until I'm all done, but it's easy to go back and pick the scene that needs fixing.

    A lot of epublishers do hold the rights to the characters/worlds of series. Carina Press doesn't, and takes one book at a time, each dependent on acceptance. They chose to stop after the 3rd book, so I was able to take the next book to Entangled Publishing.

    Imo, series books have more leeway. They can be done in the author's voice and style. Category romances follow goal, motivation, conflict in every scene. You also keep within the trope. The tropes being Friends to lovers, Secret baby, Boss/employee, brides, sheikhs, ect. Basically, you know what to expect with a category, but you're surprised by the delivery. :-)

    I hope I helped a little!

  7. Thanks so much, Debra. I'm anxious to read your series.

  8. Thanks for the explanations, Debra. That's the best description of category romance I've ever read!

  9. Thanks everyone! And, thank you for letting me guest spot. :-)