Thursday, August 13, 2009

Helen Hardt Is One Hot Mama!

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 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,

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!


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Helen and The Hot Mamas.
What can I say,except great interview and your stories sound well - hot.
Best of luck with them.

Cate Masters said...

I second Margaret on all counts! Great interview, great writing advice Helen and sounds like hot fun too! I've said it before, but I love this title. Congrats on this and all your successes!
Glad you're getting a night out, Sarah!

Helen Hardt said...

Sarah, happy birthday! I had no idea, and I'm honored ;). Thank you so much for having me, and I'm thrilled to have played a part in the success of The Lovestruck Novice. It's a great blog!

Helen Hardt said...

Margaret, thank you!

Helen Hardt said...

Thank you, Cate! I have to admit, TU is one of my favorite titles, too.

Anonymous said...


So nice to see you here -- and great editing tips! Thanks so much for your words of editing wisdom!

Are you really taking NaNoWriMo on again?

I'll do it if you do!


Jennifer Ross said...

Great interview, ladies. Yes, that is a terrific title! Did you pick it, Helen, or was it your editor?

Viola Estrella said...

Hi Sarah and Helen,
Congrats on your second EC contract, H! Happy Bday, Sarah!

Emma Lai said...

Happy birthday, Sarah! Congrats on your success, Helen! I love the sensory detail you provide. Definitely an author to read if you're looking to learn about how to pull the reader into a scene!

April Vine said...

Happy Birthday Sarah!
Helen!!! Just when I think I’ve read my best Helen Hardt yet, you prove me wrong!!!! Love, love, love Thai’d Up, and Aran....Hmm…fanning myself…he is TOO HOT!!! Huge congrats on your new contracts, can't wait for those.
And an excellent and generous interview. Thank you, Helen and Sarah :)

Mary Ricksen said...

Hi Helen, you know I love you!
Good luck sweetie!

Helen Hardt said...

Ashley, great to see you! Yes, I am definitely doing NaNo again. Will this be your first time? I'd love to have you as a NaNo friend!

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Jennifer! I can actually take credit for Thai'd Up. This is the one case where I came up with a title first. I knew I had to write that story! I had already sold my first erotic short to TWRP's Destination Pleasure series, and I figured Thai'd Up could definitely fit that series. So I came up with an idea and wrote it. This is the only time I've come up with a title first, LOL. Usually the title is the hardest part for me.

Helen Hardt said...

Thanks, Vi!

Helen Hardt said...

Thanks, Emma! And congrats to you on the major success of His Ship, Her Fantasy. Number one, woman!

Helen Hardt said...

April, where have you been, hon! I've missed you! I'm so glad you enjoyed TU ;). When is your Destination Pleasure story coming out?

Helen Hardt said...

Mary, you always make my day ;). Love you too!

Emma Lai said...

Thanks, Helen! If I recall correctly, you're #1 on the Quick Reads Bestsellers. Woohoo!

Anonymous said...


It would be the second OFFICIAL TIME I've entered. Last year, I was going to but my hubby threatened divorce! ;-)

We'll see how it goes. I'll be cheering you on, regardless.

(Frankly, I think I can do it. I know you can! :)


Sarah Simas said...

Hi ladies!!

Thanks for swinging by! It's been crazy today and I'm so ready for the weekend!


Cari Quinn said...

Have a wonderful birthday, Sarah!

Great to see you here, Helen. Wonderful advice as always. I'm so excited about your many upcoming releases! :)

Christina Phillips said...

Happy birthday, Sarah :-)

Another wonderful interview, Helen! Congratulations again on all your success and here's to lots more too!!!

Kaye Manro said...

I may be late-- but I'm here to say congrats to Helen on all her success. Great interview Sarah. Helen has wonderful info for writers.