Friday, May 22, 2009

Twisting Fate With Karen Michelle Nutt

Ever want to go back in time and change the past? Maybe erase the decade you spent rockin' crimped hair, LA Gear and White Snake jean jacket? Well, if you remember Marty McFly and the Time Space Continuum, such is not possible! Inconceivable!

But what if you could?

Time Travel Romance author, Karen Michelle Nutt, explores the possibility of influencing the past in her books At The Stroke of Midnight, Lost In The Mist of Time and her new release, A TWIST OF FATE.

Book Cover

Through the wild and woolly world of yahoo loops, I was able to meet Karen and sweet-talk her into letting me pick her brain about writing! After my grueling questions, I'm sure she's going to block me! LOL

Ok, newbies and awesome authors, sit back and enjoy a good Pre-Memorial Day weekend "grilling." KMN is on the barbie, baby!

1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

Common sense tells Karen Michelle Nutt that influencing the past is impossible, but she does her best when time traveling to another century, bringing soul mates together. When she’s not changing the past, she spends her day with shape-shifters and vampires, encouraging them to embrace their destinies with a wee bit of magic.

On another plane of existence, Ms. Nutt lives with her husband of twenty-four happily-ever-after years. Her three children keep this realm fascinating with teenage drama and college-day dilemmas, while the pets—four dogs and three cats and a guinea pig join in on the fun.

As to what the future may bring, the tale is still being woven into the tapestry of time.

2) Every writer has a distinctive ‘voice’- what would be your voice’s tagline?

Time Travel, Magic and Otherworldly Romances ... embrace your destiny and enter my world!

3) Do you have a favorite book on writing? If so, which one and why?

Out of all the books I have stacked on the shelves of my bookcase, there are only two I keep on my desk. A must have for romance writers are The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book by Jean Kent and The Millennium Phrase Book by Rebecca Andrews. There are descriptive phrases or tags to help you find the right word to give your imagination a jolt.

4) Do you set goals each for what you want to accomplish each day? Word count? Pages?

Alas, I have tried to set a goal, but my muse rebels when I try to demand a word count for the day. I may write 6k one day and maybe only 2k on another day. If I’m given a deadline, I tend to procrastinate to the very end. I guess my muse likes to work under pressure.

5) What kind of character archetypes do you tend to favor for your stories?

One character I tend to favor is the alpha hero, where they’re born to lead and are tough, decisive and may be a bit overbearing and inflexible, but still have a lovable side.

I also like the tortured, secretive, brooding, and unforgiving hero. He’s also vulnerable and a bit of a loner, but also creative.

For the heroine: I like a “take charge” female, who is goal oriented. She’s the boss.

I also like the battle-ready heroine. She isn’t a shrinking violet or a damsel in distress. A headstrong heroine is great for standing toe to toe with the alpha hero or next to him in a battle.

6) What do you look for in a publisher? Any tips for Pub Shopping?

I didn’t ask this question the first time I tried to submit my work. There were so many options. I’m happy with the publishers I’m signed with now. Tease Publishing and Wild Rose Press are my main publishers. I look forward to working with Highland Press. I have a short story signed with them.

My advice for finding the right publisher: Make sure you research your publishing house to see if it handles your type of story. This will reduce the number of rejection letters you’ll receive. Also do you want an e-book publisher or a print publisher? The publishers I work with offer both for full-length novels and e-book for short stories.

Here’s some pros and cons: While e-publishers don't typically pay advances, royalties for e-books are usually a good deal higher than for print books--30%, 40%, even 50% of the download price, as opposed to 8-15% for print publishers.

Electronic publishing allows publishers to deliver books to readers faster. The industry now offers new hardware and software devices. You can store hundreds of books to a Sony Reader, Kindle or any other reading device you purchase. E-book market has a greater draw for shorter length stories. Even the big publishing houses now offer books in e-book form.

The drawback is not being able to hold a book. Though I do have my stories in e-book, I’m still partial to the printed book.

7) Moving to everyone’s favorite…Query Letters. Love ‘em or Hate ‘em? Any tips on writing them?

Hate query letters. (Lol) However, they are needed to submit your work. A query letter should be a single page cover letter, introducing you and your novel. Keep it simple and to the point. There should be three paragraphs: the hook, mini synopsis and your writer’s biography. A query letter is meant to get the agent or publisher to read your book. Don’t stray from the format.

Here’s what you need:
A hook is a one-sentence tagline for your book, something that will hook the reader. For an example look at the publishing houses and see the taglines they have listed.

Mini-synopsis: This is where you must condense your entire novel of 300 or more pages into one paragraph. Not fun, but it does become easier in time. Check out the backs of books and you’ll have an idea of what this paragraph should look like.

Writers Paragraph is the easy part. It’s about you. Don’t fear if you don’t have any publishing experiences, awards or degrees. If it’s short, you’ll have more space for the synopsis.

8)After that grilling, how about an easy one. *heehee* What is coming up next for Karen Michelle Nutt? An WIP’s you want to dish about?

Whew, an easy question. With Tease Publishing, I have a Tease Short, Shattered Illusions and a time travel (full-length), Creighton Manor coming soon. With Wild Rose Press, I have a paranormal (werewolf) tale, Moon Shifters in the works. With Highland Press, my short is The Spirit of Love and will be in the Second Time Around Anthology.

Intrigued? Here's a blurb for A TWIST OF FATE:

Has a twist of fate sent her back in time?

Arianna Ward wakes up to find her memory in fragments, like a long forgotten dream. Everyone claims her name is Annabelle. The year is 1814 and she’s married to Captain Keldon Buchanan, a man who despises her. The more she learns about her life, the more she realizes why she’s chosen to forget it. Arianna is determined to prove she isn’t a malicious and deceitful person. She doesn’t understand why she wanted to destroy her marriage when her heart tells her she belongs with Keldon.

Keldon harbors his own secrets. He's the Highland Pirate and secrecy is the difference between life and death. He doesn’t trust his wife, but he finds his heart softening to the woman his wife has become. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear he's married to another person and he’s falling in love with her.

The Battle of New Orleans threatens Keldon and Arianna’s safety, but the past haunts them, jeopardizing their chance for happiness

Here's a Tasty Teaser to kick off your weekend:


The Present
Blue Run Plantation, South Carolina

Songs from Aerosmith blared from the roller coaster ride drowning out the screams as the people in the cars sped around the track. The aroma of the sweet, sugary smell of cotton candy and buttered popcorn filled the night air. Paper wrappers, cups and cheap stuffed animals littered the fairgrounds. Families, couples—young and old laughed and joked as they tried their hands at the carnival games while stuffing their faces with hot dogs, hamburgers, or big turkey legs.

The muggy air promised rain later tonight, but no one seemed anxious to leave the festivities. Arianna plopped down on the bench and smiled. She had helped the historical society plan the event and all proceeds from the carnival’s productive night would go toward the restoration of Blue Run Plantation.

Her eyes wandered toward the mansion silhouetted against the darkening sky of blue, orange and gold. In the colonial era, the river served as a highway for the Low Country plantations and the families used the tides to travel. She could only imagine how majestic Blue Run would have stood facing the Ashley River.


She turned and waved as she caught sight of Megan hurrying toward her. Her long brown ponytail swung behind her with purpose, making Arianna suspicious. “What does the spitfire want me to do now?” she whispered under her breath.

Megan pulled Arianna to her feet. “Everyone’s been talking about Madam Carlotta.”


“The gypsy fortuneteller. People claim she has been freakishly accurate. We have to check this out.”

“And why would I care?” Arianna dragged her feet.

“We’re going to have our fortunes told. I want to know if Gregory plans on proposing to me on my birthday.”

Megan and Gregory had been a couple since their first year of college and the way he’s been scraping and saving, Arianna could give the prediction herself. Gregory would propose no doubt about it. “Megan, I don’t—”

“And you’re going to find out who your one and only is.”

Arianna drew in a frustrated sigh. “Not everyone is destined to find his or her soul mate.” At twenty-six, Arianna had become a successful music teacher at USC School of Music. With heavy schedules, concerts, and her time with the historical society, dating became a distant memory.

Megan stopped in her tracks and spun her around. “You don’t give a guy a chance. Look at you.” She swung her hand up from Arianna’s head to her toes. “Talented, tall, slender, blonde with cornflower blue eyes—men should be lining up to snatch you up, but you snub your nose.”

“Do not.” She lifted her chin.

Megan laughed. “Sure you don’t. You spend all your free time researching for the Historical Society and with the new items they uncovered you’ve been busier than ever. And I’ll have you know, I’ve seen you stare at the portrait.”

“What portrait?”

“Oh, don’t act all innocent. The portrait of the dark, handsome, brooding man related to the Buchanans of Blue Run. If you ask me, the family buried the portrait for a reason. He was probably an embarrassment to their refined upstanding position in society. I don’t need to do research. The man’s arrogant stance reeks of danger and my guess is he paid for it with his life.”

“It appears I’m not the only one obsessed with the portrait.”

“Only because I was curious as to why you’ve become a hermit. If you want someone dangerous, at least make sure he’s alive. Now stop stalling and let’s find out if Carlotta knows where your dark and dangerous guy is hiding.”

“Very funny.” Arianna shook her head. “Where are we going anyway?”

“To the mansion. Don’t you find it perfect?”

“No, I don’t find it perfect. The mansion isn’t safe for people to run in and out of; it’s still being restored. How did this gypsy woman obtain permission?”

“Oh lighten up, Arianna. Someone from the Historical Society must have given her the keys. Besides, she’s drawing in loads of money. Isn’t that the plan?”

“Sure, but—” Thunder rumbled cutting off Arianna’s words and she gave up arguing. “We’re in for a storm tonight.” Arianna looked up at the sky as a flash of light sizzled across the heavens.

“All the more reason to hurry. My hair will frizz worse than it has already.”
Torches lined the walk like breadcrumbs leading them to their destination. Arianna stopped and placed her hands on her hips. She frowned at the big purple sign over the entrance of the mansion that spelled out FORTUNES, in bold black letters. “She’s defacing private property.”

Megan yanked her arm. “Sue her later, but first our fortunes.”

They stepped into the front foyer of darkness. A battery operated globe stood on the floor giving the illusion of the heavens opening up to them. A foldable card table stood in the center of the foyer with a large crystal ball on display. Inside the glass an eerie glowing mist swirled around in milky silence. The fortuneteller wore a colorful scarf like a headband to keep her dark curly hair away from her face. She adorned herself with gold jewelry, hoops in her ears, with chains around her neck and bands around her wrists. The whole ensemble gave the appearance that she could be a descendant from gypsies.

Carlotta beckoned her forward, her bracelets tinkling like tiny bells. "One at a time, please." Her voice was rich and flavored with a fake Romanian accent. "Let Carlotta tell you what you want to know."

Megan gave Arianna a slight push. “I’ll wait outside.

Arianna rolled her eyes at her friend, but she approached the table and sat down.

"For the cost of my eyesight into the future, there is a small donation of twenty dollars." She held out her hand and waited.

“Twenty …” she huffed. “Fine.” She reminded herself this was for a good cause. She pulled out a crisp bill from her purse and paid the hefty price.

Carlotta stuffed the money into a skull-adorned black box. "Now, we shall see what the cards hold for you. She shuffled the tarot cards before she turned them over revealing first the Death card, then the World card and then the Lovers card. “This cannot be right.”


Carlotta chuckled nervously. “Sometimes the cards are not clear.” She scooped them up and put them back in a pile. “Let me see your palm."

Arianna leaned forward and held out her hand.

The fortuneteller’s brows furrowed as she concentrated, a look of fear passing over her features before she concealed her anxiety.

A primitive warning sounded in Arianna’s mind. She suddenly didn’t want her fortune read. She tried to pull her hand away, but Carlotta wouldn’t release her.

"You have an interesting palm." Carlotta pointed to the line that ran the course of her hand. "This is your life line. You will live a long life."

“What’s the shorter one next to it mean?”

Carlotta didn’t answer. Her eyes rolled back in her head and her whole body jerked as if she was being controlled by another force. She flung to one side then the other before she sat up ramrod straight.

Blood slid through Arianna’s veins like cold needles and she tried to break free, but Carlotta’s grip was like a vice. As if this wasn’t freaky enough, the woman began to hum.

Arianna froze and her eyes widened in surprise as she recognized the melody. It was an old Scottish tune, she’d been haunted by as long as she could remember. The melody lingered in her subconscious surfacing at odd moments like an annoying tick. Her parents swore they never taught her the song and no one knew where she’d picked up the tune.

How did this fake fortuneteller know it? Arianna again yanked her arm and this time pulled free. She rubbed her bruised hand, staring at the woman with suspicion.

Carlotta blinked rapidly before she focused her gaze on Arianna. "I am sorry. Did I hurt you?"

"I'm fine," Arianna answered, surprised that her voice sounded calm. "But I think I'll skip the fortunetelling, if you don't mind?” She didn't wait for Carlotta to say anything, but stood and hurried toward the exit.

"Arianna," Carlotta called.

She halted and whirled around. "How did you know my name?"

“Does it matter?”

She arched her brow. “Yes, I believe it does. Is this some kind of hoax?”
“You don’t belong here.” Carlotta dropped her fake accent.

“Excuse me?”

“There are souls out there … wandering … lost, but time always has a way of sorting out the mistakes. You belong to Blue Run. Your destiny intertwines with his.”

“What are you talking about?”

Carlotta walked around the table to face Arianna. "You must listen, for you don’t have much time. You will think you have met your end, but it won’t be over. You’ll return to where you belong, and another woman will take your place of doom.”

“Is this all a part of your theatrical presentation because if it is, I don’t like it?”

“In this other era, you will meet a very strong man with the blackest of hair.”

“Did you hear me?”

“His eyes will be green, clear and sharp like a cat,” Carlotta continued. “He is called …” She chewed on her lower lip, but then her eyes lit up. “The Scotsman. He is called the Scotsman. Trust him, for he will protect you. He may feel mistrust for you because of the other woman's black heart, but in time, he will see you for who you really are. He’s your soul mate. It will be his child you carry."

Terror had kept Arianna frozen in her spot, enduring Carlotta’s eerie premonition, but now the woman had finished and Arianna took a step back. “You’re crazy.” She pointed her finger at her.

Thunder rolled shaking the rafters. Dust and debris fell around Arianna and she held up her hands to protect her head. Coughing, she turned and ran for the door, but a sharp pain to the back of her skull brought her to her knees.

“Watch out!” Carlotta warned.

Arianna looked over her shoulder. Her eyes widened in horror as she watched the wood beam hurdling toward her.

I'd like to extend a BIG thank you to Karen for being here with us today and sharing her expertise. And THANK YOU to everyone who made the trek over here. If you'd like to know more about Karen and her books, visit her website: or at

If you're in the mood for a little Huey Lewis and the News,
click here to experience Power of Love from Back To The Future with hunky-dunky Michael J. Fox!!! Did anyone else have a crush on him? I know I loved Marty McFly and Alex from Family Ties. What can I say...I'm a dork! *wink wink* Have a WONDERFUL weekend everyone and hug a Veteran!


Savannah Chase said...

Thank you for another fantastic interview....I have added the book to my TBR sounds like a great read...

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Karen, it was fun learning about you! I use both of those phrase books, also. They are must haves for the romance author. I look forward to exploring your work!


Kaye Manro said...

Hi Karen, I love time travels too. Read them, write them. Good luck with yours. Wonderful interview, Sarah.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Hi Karen and Sarah,
Super interview. Lots of useful tips here and good things. Wonderful vivid excerpt!
All the best best with you writing. Thank you!

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Hi Karen and Sarah,

Great interview and some really helpful tips!

Loved the excerpt!

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Karen and Sarah,
Sorry to be dropping by so late but thought "better late than never."
The interview was super and Karen made some excellent points that I wish I had known quite a few months ago. LOL Especially about the hated QUERY LETTER. My hardest part is the synopsis.
I particularly love this book because it is both time travel and it is set in my neck of the woods in the state of South Carolina.