Let's turn it on! Let's turn it up!!
It's Friday and TLN's got one of the hottest Mama Writers here to steam your screen! Better get some ice 'cause HELEN HARDT is gonna make ya burn...for answers.
That's right, newbies! The Queen of Steam is going to get your heart racing with the honest truth about romance writing.
Sit tight! It's gonna be a wild ride!
1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?
When she was six years old, Helen Hardt wrote her first story and decided she wanted to be a writer. But as she grew, her life made many twists and turns along the way. After four decades on earth, will she finally realize her dream?
2) Using only 3 words, describe your "voice."
Heartwarming with heat.
3) Pantzer or Plotter?
Such a pantser! A premise will come to me -- sometimes it focuses on a character, sometimes an idea -- and if it doesn't leave my thoughts, I begin to write. I've had characters and stories that turn out way differently than I had originally envisioned. When I get stuck, I sometimes use the W plot method, a plotting device for pantsers. See http://www.karendocter.com/ for more on that.
Besides being an author, Helen is a freelance editor, as well. On her website, she has a wonderful helpful hints section under "Editing." Let's pick her marbles on some newbie favorites!!
4) Give us the 4-1-1 on POV. What's deal? Why can't we head hop? Julie Garwood does!
LOL, yes, she does. And so does Christine Feehan. And La Nora herself. (And admittedly, Nora does it so seamlessly that it's hardly noticeable.) But Angela Knight doesn't and she speaks out against it in her excellent book Passionate Ink: A Guide to Writing Erotic Romance, one of my writing bibles. Personally, I find head hopping very distracting. I can't get inside a character if POV is constantly switching. And if I can't get inside a character, I can't care about him or her. There's obviously no law against head hopping, and some editors are okay with it. But not all. An editor may reject you for head hopping, but no editor will reject you because you didn't head hop. She may reject you for some other reason, but not for lack of POV shifts. One less reason for rejection is always a good thing. I personally choose not to head hop in my own writing, and I urge others not to, as well. POV is about getting inside a character's head, feeling her feelings. A reader can't do that if POV is constantly shifting. And if a reader isn't feeling for your character, you've lost her.
5) Show vs. Tell. Care to clue us in on why it's so imporatnt?
Showing is essential in romance writing. No one wants to hear that the character is nervous. We want to feel her fluttering pulse, her tingling skin. The reader wants to feel, see, hear, taste, and smell everything the character does. Using sensory detail to show characters' emotions adds immediacy to your prose. If you've done your job well, your reader will fall in love with your hero right along with your heroine. That's what showing can do!
6) What is one of your biggest Pet Peeves when editing an MS?
In case you couldn't tell from my answer above, my biggest pet peeve is head hopping, LOL.
Alll righty, then! Back to grillin' the other side of Helen!!
7) You write a multitude of sub-genres of romance- from westerns to paranormals. Which is your hands-down-favorite to write and why?
I get asked this a lot, and I'm not sure I can answer. Seriously. My favorite is what I'm working on at the time. Whether it's a nineteenth century cowboy or a twenty-first century werewolf ;).
8) Tell us what's new and on deck for Helen Hardt?
It's been a busy year so far! I've had three releases already, and two more scheduled. Blood Wolf is a dark paranormal that won the Got Wolf? contest sponsored by The Wild Rose Press. It's coming in October in a two author anthology with the other long winner. Slow and Wet is an erotic menage which is coming in November to Ellora's Cave. Montego Lay is coming to the Destination Pleasure series at The Wild Rose Press. I don't have a release date for that one yet. And just a few days ago, my lovely Ellora's Cave editor offered me a contract for another menage story! Loving Eve will come out in February.
I have a couple other stories out on submission and some requests from conferences that I really need to polish up and get out the door. Plus several ideas are brewing, and NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! What I really need is a few more hours in the day, LOL.
Here's the blurb for one of my current releases, THAI'D UP.
Visiting Bangkok to do an interview for her employer, Heidi Clarke is intrigued by the wild and raucous nightlife. When a handsome and engaging stranger, dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, offers to escort her into a BDSM club,she's too curious to refuse. As the man behind the mask introduces Heidi to new and exciting pleasures of the flesh, she can't help but wonder who he is. Or if she really wants to know.
Now, that sounds hotter than a pepper sprout! I'd like to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to Helen for being here with us today AND for taking a chance on newbie. She was generous enough to give me my first break- a guest blog on her Helen's Heroes blog back when TLN wasn't even a blip on the radar.
So, when it came down to who was gonna get the Friday of MY BIRTHDAY Weekend- hands down- it had to be the wonderful Helen Hardt!
And Waa-Hoo THANK YOU goes out to all of you for swingin' by TLN! I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to the MAMA WRITERS yahoo loop and blog where I first met Helen.
In honor of all those other Hot Mamas out there- here's the super steamy Trace Adkins in HOT MAMA!! What a way to rock out a Friday and welcome in one h-o-t-t weekend! Oh, yeah! This mama is gettin' a night out!