Write Motivation with Desiree Holt

Colorado struck Gold this past weekend with its 33rd annual writer’s conference, and yours truly enjoyed every minute of it. There were so many great people and events that I’m going to share the experience over a couple of posts with you.

DESIREE HOLT

Desiree Holt at RMFW's Colorado Gold Conference

Desiree talks about building stories around character at CO Gold.

USA Today called Desiree the “Nora Roberts of erotic romance writing.”  Since her first book was published in 2006, she has produced an incredible 197 books . . . and counting!  Desiree is a graduate of the University of Michigan (go blue!) and even has the U of M fight song as her ring tone.  How do I know this?  I had the happy honor of giving this great woman a ride from the airport to the convention hotel.  We spent about an hour or so together, and I have to say, it was one of the best hours I’ve had in a good while.

We met as she stepped out of the tram area and instantly clicked.  This tiny woman of indeterminate years and a dash of style was so warm we hugged immediately.  Soon after, we were snug in the car and she was telling me about life in Texas and her plans to move closer to family somewhere in Florida.  I was taken aback, as it seems like we’ve lived in the same states, just at different times. Heck, Desiree could be one of my sisters.

The biggest impact upon meeting her is that Desiree has a seemingly boundless energy. She is excited about life, about writing, and about what’s next on the agenda. Those of us lucky enough to attend her workshop on building characters got a sampling of how she brainstorms while we built a character together.

“Quick, someone,” said Desiree, “give me a gender.”  Someone shouted out “female.”  Female it was. “Now, ask yourself some questions about your character.  Things you’d ask a friend about someone you don’t know.  What food does she like to eat?”

And we were off.  Soon, a young woman (in her early forties) is opening the door to a total (and totally hot) stranger, who is dripping from the rain he just ran through, and asking for help with his flat tire, because his cell phone can’t get reception in this less populated part of town.  The sparks fly as the artist-welder takes him in, only to have him inadvertently insult her.

I’m sure, right now, there are thirty or forty new stories being written with these characters leading the plot along.

Meeting Desiree Holt

Meeting the warm and wonderful Desiree Holt.

Something else Desiree shared was her love of meeting strangers.  Imagine that–an extroverted writer.  Good for her!  She has her smart phone with her constantly and will ask total strangers if she can take their picture and ask them a few questions.  She gives them her business card and the two are off and running.

Case in point was a nice-looking waiter who Desiree chatted up with family looking on.  At one point Desiree’s daughter apparently said to the waiter, “Don’t worry, she’s harmless.  My mom’s a writer.”  The answers flowed and soon the young man became a football player for Desiree’s series, Game On.  I have a copy of the first book there called Forward Pass. One word–Hot. Okay, one more–Blush!  Wow. I’m only on chapter four and this book has me thinking thoughts I long believed went dormant.

Yet having sports figures as main characters should be a natural for Desiree.  She was the first woman sports reporter for her university’s, Michigan Daily newspaper.  Between that and working for a while as a stringer for four or five publications, Desiree picked up the habit of writing fast and furious.  She said she currently works on at least three projects at a time.  That way, when she’s stuck on one, she can move to another and the words keep flowing.

Great advice from a successful writer.

And my favorite Desiree line?  This obviously middle-aged (okay my daughter would say “senior”) was at a book signing and a reader walked up to say something like, “You haven’t done all the exploits you’ve written about, have you?”  Desiree smiled and said, “Of course I have, but you see dear, I’m only twenty-seven years old.” They both laughed and Desiree earned another fan.

Wishing you a happy, stranger-filled week.

More Shameless Self-Promo Work: Let’s Party!

Do you remember the movies where authors were big celebrities and were constantly at New York parties?  Have you ever been to a book launch at a book store?  The two events seem widely different.  The world of writing fiction is much different than all the glamour of the movies, and that can be a big disappointment–IF you’re a roll with the flow kind of person. Me? I want, and therefore am willing, to make good things happen.  And so are my writing friends.

So . . . 

pic of book launch cakeInstead of quietly launching our books to the same friends we drag with us to every writing event, we decided to join forces and increase the size of our book launches by each of the four of us inviting 10 friends to not a book launch, but a baby book shower.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I had a blast and our guests said they had fun too.  Here’s what happened:

 

Planning . . .

Back in May we began planning the event.  We designed an invitation to have pictures of our covers and a baby umbrella to boot.  We didn’t mention anything about selling or reading or signing our books.  This was designed as a day to thank our readers and friends who promote and support us.

Playing . . .

And then, on Saturday, Christine Goff, Catherine Dilts, and Pat Coleman each brought a baby shower game that they’d tweaked to be more in line with mystery/suspense writing to the event.  We had food, soft drinks and great attitudes to pull this off.  Thirty-five friends and well-wishers came.  No one knew everyone, but everyone knew we were all there because we love books.  How cool is that?

Word search at the partyPat Coleman led the way with a word search filled with words from each of our books.  The prize winner received copies of each author’s book and some tea and other tea-related items, because Pat’s new book is called Tea and Treachery. Yummy little mystery.

Catherine Dilts had us trying to cover ourselves up, by earning patches of cloth for bathing suits of the 1920’s.  You see, Agatha Christy was launching The Mysterious Affair at Styles in 1920 and our guests were invited to the beach party she was having.  Can you answer some of these questions:

  • Do you ever read more than one book at a time?
  • Have you given a book as a gift this year?
  • How much (in pounds) was Agatha paid for her Styles book?

Catherine’s book, Stone Cold Case, is the second in her Rock Shop Mystery series, and she gave away a very cool ammonite with our books.

Thanks for all the help!

We couldn’t have done this without the help of our friends!

Christine Goff, who is branching out into a new, thriller/mystery realm, wrote Dark Waters from the memory of visiting the middle east several years ago.  Lee Child wrote on her cover, that this book is “altogether terrific.” Wow.

Chris had us all on a scavenger hunt around my house, looking for middle eastern and thriller/suspense objects.  She even had one person wear one of the objects. And the winner of this game received a garden water and rain gauge inside their basket of books.

Lastly, I had people try to solve a mystery by looking at a “crime scene.”  I’m attaching my photos of the doll house I set this up in so that you can try your hand at solving this:

  • Who is the victim?

    dollhouse murder scene

    Who done it?

  • How were they killed?
  • What did the victim collect?
  • What other hobby did they enjoy?
  • Who is the prime suspect & why?
  • Who the heck decorated the house? (Okay, this was a freebie–except that no one would take credit for that house’s decor!)

If you want the answers to these questions, let me know and I’ll send them along.

THANK YOU to all my wonderful hosts, guests, and reading friends for helping to make this book launch a huge success.

Now, let’s hope the sales will follow.

Wishing you a great and creative week.