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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Guest Blog & Contest with Author Cynthia Eden

I have lost count of how many times author Cynthia Eden has been a guest here on Amberkatze's Book Blog but she, like all my author guests, is always welcome! So I will let Cynthia take the stage and only say, read her books, they are powerful and hot enough to keep you warm on these cold winter nights! ;)


The Writing Life

Hi, everyone! (And thanks so much to Amber for inviting me over to her lovely home on the Web.) Today, I’m going to chat about the writing life. Ideas. Inspiration. Blank Pages. You know, the fun stuff.

I’ve never really had a problem getting story ideas. Many authors talk about writer’s block, but, luckily, I’ve avoided that problem so far. Instead, my issue is that I have too MANY story ideas. So many stories that I want to write—and just not enough time to write them all! When I first started writing, I created an Idea File (it’s a simple Word document now). When I get ideas, I immediately type them in my idea file. I don’t want to lose the new idea, but I also don’t want to get derailed from my current WIP. I write down the points in the Idea File, and then, when I’m finished (and my writing schedule permits), I head back to that idea. My Idea File is about 12 pages long right now.

I think I get so many story ideas because I’m literally inspired by just about everything. Long walks. The beach. Scary movies. Dean from Supernatural :) For my latest release, ETERNAL FLAME, I took the old firestarter legend and twisted it a bit. My heroine, Jana Carter, is an Ignitor. With a thought, she can burn a house to the ground. A very powerful lady. And since I do have a semi-obsession with monsters, I paired her with a dangerous demon hero. Then their story inspired another that is currently dancing in my head. I love the cycle of story inspiration.

But…even with the inspiration and my handy Idea File, I still can find myself nervous when I first begin to start a new story. It’s that blank screen (blank pages—gah!) that gets to me. I start on page one, and I know that I have to write t least 400 pages before I’ll be done. I hope that I’ll lead my characters down the right path. I hope that I can keep the pacing moving and that my characters will be fully developed and engaging. As I stare at that blank screen, I hope for all of those things.

Then I start writing. Sometimes, I begin by writing alternate beginnings. I will try out 2 or 3 beginnings and see which one flows the best for me. Once I’ve got the one that lets the words flow the fastest, I dig into the story. I write and write, and I don’t look back. I save my edits for the end because I don’t want to interrupt the story flow. I write, I write…and I get at least 400 pages.

That’s my writing life, and I sure wouldn’t trade it for any other job in the world.
Do you have any writing life questions for me? Or story questions? Ask away—one commenter will win an autographed copy of ETERNAL FLAME (or any Cynthia Eden book that you’d like).

Thanks for checking out my post!
Cynthia Eden


THE NAUGHTY LIST--Available now from Kensington Brava
ETERNAL FLAME--Available now from Kensington Brava


Contest Time

Yes you read right! Cynthia is giving away a signed book!

How to Enter

Ask Cynthia a question about her writing or her books.

No Question = No Entry

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

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You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com links/Banners below and around the site!

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The contest will stay open until Sunday 12th of December 2010 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.


Cindy McCune said...

Hey Cynthia!
Some authors research fighting by DOING, by joining Dojo's. With today's security measures being what they are, have you found doing research on police protocols hindered in any way? And do you research online or through personal contact?

Victoria said...

Hi Cynthia -

How I wish I could write. It must be amazing having all those ideas to draw from. It still makes me wonder with so many how do you keep from mixing things up? I know there are files and cards and things like that but you have so much. Do you use a board to jot things on?

Thanks for the post.

Blodeuedd said...

Hi Cynthia,
What to ask, I always forget all those questions I would love to ask authors when I should remember them.

When you started writing, how did you managed to give the story away so to say. I would be so nervous to let anyone read my works

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Cynthia. I love Ben and was wondering if there are plans for him to have his own book.

Cynthia Eden said...

Hi, Amber! Thanks so much for having me over!!

Hey, CLMcCune! I haven't found my research hindered, but I do wonder if my searches every git flagged by some government agency--especially since I spend a LOT of time on the FBI website. :-) I like to do research both online and in person whenever I have the chance.

Cynthia Eden said...

Thanks for checking out the post, Victoria! I use an old-fashioned journal to help me keep track of plot points (actually, I have about 6 journals now!). I write down my important points so that I can check back easily.

Blodeuedd, I was nervous--I still am! Whenver a new book comes out, I always wonder what people will think about it. But, writing makes me so happy, that I just had to face my fears and send my stories out into the big, bad world.

Cynthia Eden said...

Hi, Jane!! Right now, I am getting the most requests (in terms of follow-up books for Ben and for Tony). When I get requests, I do try to write the stories (editor permitting!). So while I don't have anything written for him yet, I would certainly be open to doing his story.

LSUReader said...

Cynthia--I enjoyed your column. So, when you're not writing, what are you doing to recharge your creative batteries? What genres do you read for pleasure?

JenM said...

Hi Cynthia - I know you must do a lot of research for your books. Is there anything in particular that you learned recently that has really made an impression on you?

Cynthia Eden said...

Glad you enjoyed the post, LSUReader! In between books, I love to go to the movies--I'm movie obsessed. I'm also fortunate that I live close to a beach, and my beach trips are great for recharging. I read mostly paranormal romances and romantic suspense novels. I read what I like to write. :-)

Cynthia Eden said...

Hi, JenM!When I was researching Deadly Heat (a romantic suspense due out in Feb from Grand Central), I had to gather a great deal of information on fire-fighters and fire-fighting (in general). I, sadly, learned that my home state has a huge incidence of fire-related deaths. One of the highest in the nation. The firefighter I spoke with said that folks in Alabama will often take some of their children out and then rush back in to rescue anyone else in the fire--but, there isn't time to ever go back in, and if you try--as he said--you're DRT (Dead Right There). Very sad.

Barbara E. said...

Hi Cynthia,
How do you decide the setting of your books? Do you make the city or area a part of the story, or could they have taken place anywhere?

debbie said...

I was wondering if you have ever based any of your charcters on friends or family, and what was their reaction when the found out about it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Cynthia!
I'd like to know what a typical working day is like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal like so many words or pages? and if you don't mind, how long have you been writing?


Shirley said...

Hi Cynthia!

What kind of books do you like to read? do you have time to read between writing and everyday life getting in the way?


Ina said...

Hi Cynthia!
thanks so much for your post - I'm currently reading Deadly Fear and I love it! and I saw that there will be 5 new books released in 2011! that's incredible! how do you manage that??
wish you all the best, Ina

Taylor Z said...

Hey again...
Boy I have lost count on how many contests of yours i have entered. Oh well...the only bad thing is that i don't know what to say anymore...Happy Holidays!

Taylor Z

Anonymous said...

What other books do you like to write? Any suggestions for someone who is interested in trying to write a book for the first time? Please enter me in contest. I would love to read your books. Tore923@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Hi, How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying?
and how many books to date?


C.S. Maxwell said...

Hello, Cynthia--
When you have down time (hah), what is your go-to author in the paranormal world that is an auto-buy for you? And what author influenced you more than any other? oops...that's two :)

Shiloh Tolbert said...

Hi Cynthia,

My question is how do you juggle all of your responsibilities? I know you have a twitter account, different blog appearances, your own website, writing, etc. Do you have an assistant or someone who helps manage all of that or do you handle it all yourself?

Julie S said...

Did you always love the genre that you write about?


Sharon S. said...

You are a new author to me and I look forward to reading you . Do you have any rituals when you write or any prop you like to have around you? Do you listen to music when you write?

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Cynthia! I just went Christmas shopping the other night and made Santa (AKA hubby) buy me Deadly Fear to make sure it wound up in my stocking Christmas morning. Can't wait to read it!

I have two questions for you. I know you said you never suffer from writer's block, but do you ever get stuck on a scene while you're working on a book? What tricks do you have up your sleeve to keep the story flowing?

Kaylea Cross :)

Unknown said...

Hi Cynthia! My question is what is the hardest part about developing a character?

Stephanie G

Paranormal Haven

Amy said...

Hi Cynthia,

What is your writing process? Do you write an outline of the major events in a book then fill in the little details?


Cynthia Eden said...

Hi, Barbara! When possible, I like to use settings that I've visited--that way, I can add more realistic elements into the story. That's why a lot of my books are based in the South. I'm writing the areas I know best!

LOL, Debbie, I have! Dr. Emily Drake in Hotter After Midnight was inspired by a friend of mine (a psychology professor). I hope she was flattered! I think the world of my friend, and I tried to make Emily into a very strong character.

Cynthia Eden said...

Christine, I try to write for about 3-4 hours in the morning. If I don't meet my word count/page goal, then I will keep writing that night (after my 4 yr old goes to sleep). I usually set a goal of either 10 or 15 pages, and I just don't sleep until I meet my goal. I've been writing full time for over 5 years now. But...I've been writing off-and-on for over 17 years.

Hey, Shirley! I love dark paranormals and romantic suspenses. I usually don't read while I'm writing a story. I buy the books, then, when I finish writing my book, I take about 2-3 weeks off and have a mad, bad reading frenzy!

Cynthia Eden said...

Thank you, Ina! As for the books coming out in 2011...I just wrote as quickly as I could! I love writing, so spending the extra hours working isn't a hardship for me at all. Hope you enjoy the rest of Deadly Fear!!

Keep entering, Taylor! Someone has to win! Happy holidays to you, too!

Hi, Tore! I like to write paranormals, romantic suspense, and I'm even trying YA. If you're interested in writing, I'd encourage you to seek out writing organizations/groups that might be in your area. Support groups can be amazing--and those groups can also be a fountain of industry information. Follow your heart and believe in your writing talent. Good luck!

Cynthia Eden said...

Oh, man...let me think, Christina! Okay, I wrote my first book when I was 18--and the book was HORRIBLE. Horrible. I wrote off and on through college, off-and-on through various jobs, and then I *think* I sold my first book in 2004. So from the time I wrote the first (terrible!) story, until the time I sold was about 10 yrs. Since then, I've contracted 17 novels and sold 10 novellas.

Trishd, my fave author is Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle--I read her no matter what name she uses! She influenced me the most because she introduced me to romance novels and got me hooked on the genre.

Cynthia Eden said...

Shiloh, I wish I had an assistant--that would be awesome!! My husband is a web designer by trade, so he helps me out on the technical end. The other stuff--it's me. I just have to budget out my time to make sure that I don't miss anything. (But sometimes, I do miss stuff! I hate that!)

I do, Julie! Loving it makes the writing so much easier.

Hi, Sharon! I like to listen to music before I write--to sort of set the mood. Once I start writing, I just like to hear silence...and my characters.

Cynthia Eden said...

Kaylea, you and Santa are awesome! Hope you enjoy Deadly Fear! And, yes, sometimes, I can get stuck in a scene and when I do--I know something is very wrong. Getting bogged down that way is my sign that I need to ditch the scene and start from scratch (and I HATE having to cut those pages out!). But when the bog happens, I just take a deep breath, cut the scene, and try something new to get the story going again.

Hey, Stephanie! Balance. That's the hardest part. I've found that I really enjoy writing about dark characters, but I don't want them to be *too* dark, so I have to add enough elements in there to show that even crazy villains can have good points.

Cynthia Eden said...

Hi, Amy! It depends on the book. For some books, I will write out extensive 10-15 page outlines that tell me exactly where the story will go even before I write a single page of the actual story. For other books, I just like to go with the flow--and let the characters lead me.

mverno said...

how many books have you written mverno@roadrunner.com

jeanette8042 said...

Hi Cynthia! When writing do you map out everything first or do you just write whatever come to mind?

whitewolfreads said...

I haven't read any of your books but they are definitely on my TBR list (a list that seems to grow each day). Thank you for giving us a glimpse into how you get your inspiration. are there any ideas that have been sitting around for a while that for ever reason you could not develop into another story?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jmspettoli/status/12012231990452224

justpeachy36 said...

How did you get into writing these kinds of books? I always wonder about how people get their inspirations.

Please enter me in the giveaway.


Asylumgirl said...

Hi Cynthia! How is your writing process different when writing full-length novels versus novellas?

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

latishajean said...

I heard so many great things about your books! I was wondering who is your favorite character in your books? Alot of things were already asked and learned alot about your books! Thank you so much :)
tishajean@ charter.net

Sue Brandes said...

Hi Cynthia. Love your books. Love your book covers. Do you have anything special around your writing desk?
Sue B

GothMisfitjazz said...

Hey Cynthia,
I have a question how did you start writing and how did you keep it going? I been trying and I am ready to just throw my hands in the air because I am so frustrated with it. So the question is how did you get the inspiration to write it all the way through without stopping :D

donnas said...

Hi Cynthia,

You have written great books in multiple genres. Is there one that is your favorite or one you find easier or harder to write in than others?

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bacchus76 at myself dot com

Anonymous said...

How do you choose names that fit the characters so well?





ParaJunkee said...

It's amazing that you come with those ideas like that. How long does it take you to work through them before you start writing??

Taffy said...

How many books do you have waiting to be written/edited/published?


wanda f said...

Hi Cynthia thanks for sharing today .My question is what is your favorite genre to write ? to read ? and who is /are you favorite author/authors to read ?

clynsg said...

Are your books usually pretty clean when you submit them, or do you find that the editing process at the publisher requires fairly large amounts of work on your part?

cgclynsg0 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I love Dean, too. Have you ever considered writing in a different genre and what genre is it?
Tweeted. http://twitter.com/mbreakfield/statuses/13237225806372864

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...


Cynthia, Any plans for any YA books in your future? I've seen many authors tapping into this new genre and have wondered how much harder it is to connect with the younger readers. I love it as hopefully this will encourage them to be readers as they mature and grow in life.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

saturdaynightfever said...

Does titling your books cause any difficulties for you?


susansmoaks said...

do you ever get writer's block? what do you do about it?
susansmoaks at gmail dot com

Meredith said...

Cynthia, if you weren't writing, what do you think your career would be?

meredithfl at gmail dot com