Monday, March 27, 2006

Make-Believe Mondays With Teresa Bodwell

Last week Make-believe Mondays was pushed back while I dealt with the flu, but today I am well and happy to be able to introduce Teresa Bodwell, my friend from RWAonline. For those of you who've emailed saying you wished there were more western romances out there, Teresa writes western historical romance for Kensington. I don't believe I've mentioned this previously, but as with all of my published friends from RWAonline, you may purchase signed copies through their website on my links page. Now lets hear from Teresa.

First, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Teresa: I'm trying something new--a sexy contemporary. The working title is "Hot Lips" named for the hero, a jazz trombonist with great lips and a nimble tongue. When the heroine meets him, she tells him that she's always wanted to kiss a trombone player. He fulfills her fantasy in more ways than one.

What an interesting way to begin!

Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?

Teresa: Creating and enjoying creative works go hand in hand. That means reading books, watching good movies and spending time with the greatest creation of all--nature.

There is nothing like being outdoors--feeling sun on your shoulders, walking through snow, running along a sandy beach, watching powerful river surging over rocks. These things all spark my imagination.

Debra: In westerns the lansdcape is so much a part of the story and you have an appreciation for the outdoors which really shines through.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Teresa: Yes. It varies with each story when that magic occurs, but it does always happen. After the characters become friends who will confide in me, I may have to go back and revise parts that I had written before I really knew the characters.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Teresa: Yes. As a matter of fact it was a very powerful dream image that gave me an essential scene in "Moonlight Whispers", my story in the anthology, MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS. I dreamed of snow falling on a moonlit night. Unlike rain that will wake you with its sound, snow falls silently with no warning. A bright full moon on new fallen snow will make the night shine almost as bright as day. I've sometimes been awakened during the night, thinking I'd overslept because it was so bright only to find that it was the moonlight reflecting off of snow. That was my dream--a bright light waking a woman. As she stands gazing at the light, a man comes up behind her, wraps her in a blanket and whispers to her. That scene comes in the middle of the story, but it is a key to the whole relationship.

Debra: How amazing that a strong visual image can lie at the core of a story, spreading out as if it were a seed planted. For many of us dreams are a powerful aid to creating and what a gift they are when they stay with us in such a strong way!

Teresa, thank you for visiting with us to share a glimpse into how dreams and imagination come together in an authors life. To learn more about Teresa and her books visit

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Make-Believe Mondays With Monica Burns

Today on Make-Believe Mondays allow me to introduce my friend Monica Burns. We met through RWA online and Monica sold me my first ebook last year at the RT convention, opening up a whole world and way of reading for me. Monica writes sensual historical romance and though she began her publishing career in ebooks, her award winning work has now found its way into the bookstores.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Monica: Sometimes. It depends on the book. Some of my characters are more open than others. Devlyn from Love’s Revenge (in the Forbidden Pleasures anthology) has been the most outspoken of all my heroes. Probably because he’s an in-your-face alpha. He doesn’t care what people think about him. Morgan from Love’s Portrait was a bit more reserved, but he too showed up to speak his mind just the other day. I was reviewing sample bookmarks from my vendor, and they were so totally unhappy with the design they were growling like two bears. Usually, the characters don’t show to comment on my marketing items, but these two guys were unbelievable. One of them growled that he wasn’t a zebra (there were white swirls on black for the first design). Then Morgan complained about the color background and how it was too reddish brown. These two hammered away at me and my vendor until I opened up the final sample and it was like having a freaking orgasm. The guys were shouting with lots of gusto and I was drooling. So yes, my characters do come alive, and they stay with me. There’s no one certain point in time that it happens. At least not that I can tell. It’s sort of like a one day they’re not there and then the next day, poof! There they are.

Oh, I simply love this. Characters do care what happens to them, yet I'd never considered they might be concerned with their own marketing. How interesting.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Monica: Most of my stories are from my dreams. In truth, I believe I’m seeing scenes from past lives I’ve lived or that I’m tapping into the thoughts of others in the universe when I dream. I’m very lucky that I remember most of my dreams. Not everyone has that. I still remember a dream I had when I was about 14 or 15. It ran for two nights straight, took place in the late 1800s on a train with a villain shooting the hero. Really potent stuff. *grin* I still haven’t written that dream yet, but I’m betting it’s coming.

How wonderful to remember your dreams. They can be such slippery wisps at times.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Monica: Well, I was a pretty unique kid. Not many 12-year-olds read Edgar Cayce for pleasure reading. LOL But I did read a lot of the classics, thanks to my wonderful maternal grandmother. The woman gave us books for presents and they were all the great classics. She’s the one who got me hooked on the Scarlet Pimpernel and the Three Musketeers. Great romantic adventures.

She sounds like an absolutely wonderful Grandmother! We should raise our glasses to the Grandmothers of the world who encourage stories and imagination!

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Monica: Dream it, believe it, achieve it. That’s one of my mottos. It means that whatever I imagine, as long as I believe in it, I can achieve it. There are no limits. The universe might be shrinking in on itself, but the final collapse is so far away as to be almost infinite, so holding back is of no value to anyone, especially ones self. Imagine yourself a bird flying over a couple walking along a beach. Imagine what they’re saying to each other. Imagine what will happen when drop your load on them. LOL Just imagine it, and you’ll do it.

Monica, that is such a lovely motto and one to post by our computers as we write. Thank you for joining us here to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers. To learn more visit