C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


At RWA? Authors Kim Harrison and Vicki Pettersson will leave you breathless and twitterpated...



Kim Harrison and Vicki Pettersson will leave you breathless and twitterpated if you let them... Psst... You really should let them. I bet those two New York Times Bestselling Authors will help make your summer reading a wild, wickedly delicious bit of mischievous fun. Ever buy a book you can't put down? Ever get so totally hung up on a well written character that it starts to feel like a guilty pleasure because you'd rather be in the pages of a hot, fast read than wasting time with your slow brick and mortars whining about X, Y and Z?

Show me your hot authors because I am about to show you mine... You can start adding to the list by tossing Jocelynn Drake right next to my two favorite redheads because having cheeky-monkey Nightwalker, Dayhunter and Dawnbreaker banter with my snarky attorney girlfriends is a favorite highlight of my weekend. We stipulate she gives Dark Days a whole new wonderful meaning. Burn the Night: The Final Dark Days novel is out. I'm speed reading it now so if you want to know what I know about JD go buy that puppy.

Good books need to be experienced and loved like Kim's Pale Demon and Vicki's The Neon Graveyard...

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011  Carolyn Tann Starr 2011

If you crave intellectually drop dead gorgeous Urban Fantasy plotting and pacing with a twist of romance then you need to get a new reading habit and take a peek inside the complicated worlds created by people like Vicki Pettersson, Jocelynn Drake and Kim Harrison. Romance novels are not the fru-fru some of you think they are. I'm talking splatt gun, where's my sword, shape shifting run for your life the gates of Hell are upon you kinda ride where we might actually have time for a bathroom break and a kiss or two if they don't kill us first (LOL).

Kim and Vicki have certainly made my summer reading list mad fun and very interesting. The ladies certainly know how to spin the suspenseful misadventures of quirky, cool characters, so I was walking on moonbeams yesterday when I was fortunate to spend a little time chatting and bantering with those two lovely ladies at the Romance Writers of America's Charity Book Signing. If you're clueless you may want to start reading the blogs of your fave writers. Some are amazingly candid and can make you howl with laughter at times. Here's one of my fave Vicki quotes off her bog where today she talks about being at RWA and, "providing readers what they love best: a meaningful emotional connection through the exacting lens of a story. Writers write for a bevy of different reasons, but I can tell you that I write specifically for that connection. I’m interested in what unites us as people, regardless of any individual’s sex, race, sexuality, religion, birthplace or class."

For those of you who do read me on a regular basis you do realize there's more colorful info following that line, right? Did I just leave you a hint to stop reading me click that link? You betcha (LOL). ;-)

I would have missed a lot of interesting posts and personal insights from Vicki plus seeing Kim if not for actively participating in social media like the Kim-Stream and the Drama Box because two social media posts by Kim was all it took to get the conversation going viral with die hard Rachel Morgan / Hollows fans drooling for an opportunity to meet Kim Harrison in New York at the RWA Conference.

Some people, like me, turned their professional schedules on its ear to play hookie for a chance to spend some play time with the talented people who help us escape from the reality of our hard working days for a bit of fun and relaxation. Or in Jocelynn's, Kim's and Vicki's case another stellar OM-friggin'-G moment where you love the humor hiccups between the heart racing angst of wondering where the hell is this going??? If not for Kim and the Drama Box I and a whole cabal of gal pals would not currently be hunting down every single Jocelynn Drake and Vicki Pettersson book we can get our hands on. Yeah, me and my gal pals have all things Kimi. We're just waiting for Blood Work on July 12th (LOL). Talk about another summer literary yummy... THE first Hollows Graphic Novel ever - in hardcover - yay - but I digress... ;-)

This stellar charity event was held at the Marriott Marquee's Broadway Ballroom in Times Square on the 28th. I was also honored to meet and spend time speaking with Erin Fry (RWA Editor, Publications Manager), Guy Harrison (Kim Harrison's husband) plus best selling authors Rebecca York (Romance Writers of America Centennial Award) and Sharon Sala (RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Recipient). It was fun spending time with aspiring writers like Sandra L. True (writing as Sadie Lynne) from Mendota Heights, MN because when you are new to the profession there is comfort in sharing your uncertainties, hopes and dreams with someone nice who understands how you truly feel because they are also a new writer. I was happy to introduce her to the concept of blogging to improve her search engine optimization and had a number of fun, interesting marketing conversations with other attendees as well.

I did notice several new/aspiring authors who were active in social media appeared to have a bit more confidence and verve than the ones who only used their computers as a business tool for accounting, writing and e-mail. Note to newbies: BIG mistake. If you are not active in social media you are missing a stellar opportunity to hone your interpersonal communication skills and make invaluable, wonderful, fun virtual friendships that can also teach you about the stuff you don't know. If you are really lucky, sometimes your virtual friends grow into true friends like my blogging buddies Elizabeth Weintraub and Margaret Rome. When Elizabeth was writing her real estate book "The Short Sale Savior," she started mentoring me from California on how to be a writer (versus a blogger) and soon I started habitually cranking out 2,000 words a day. When I confessed my secret habit to Margaret she was on the phone to her publisher about my ideas and suddenly I was staring at a Maryland imprint ready to take the project whenever I say go. Terrified, I keep doing re-writes and hoarding chapters because I am afraid. Then I decide I'd rather play in Kindle because if I crash and burn as a writer I wont hurt anyone...

Every good book you read makes you want to be a better writer... Good books generate questions. When authors answer them most readers become active fans. 

Events like the one sponsored by RWA do one major thing well: it gives the writing industry direct access to the people who have the resources to make things happen. It's a giant think tank with the best and brightest minds in the room talking about their future and honoring the contributions of others. So when Kim Harrison looks you in the eye and says, "My friend Pettersson has a new book you should read," you can bet your bottom dollar before summer is done there will not be a Pettersson book that I and my aspiring writing pals have not read.

If you want to be a great writer read the great writers. Pick a subject, any subject, then obsess until you pick your next subject. Watch their interviews. Read their blogs. Look for all those intangible little things that make you love what they do.

Having access to the people we love to read is priceless. Sometimes, if we are lucky, they will introduce us to their friends so we can discover new works and writers to love. Then we get to learn something uniquely new about the person giving the heartfelt endorsement while we get to meet someone else and discover their amazing writing. The goodwill of the first writer always spills over to the person referred because it is the gift of anticipation and trust. The best part is when they both share little things about their writing day. Kim Harrison's An open letter to "I am special" writers is a must read because it's one of many favorite examples at her blog about the intimacy of being honest. It's also ironic, a wee bit snarky and just plain educational fun (LOL). 

When I met Vicki Pettersson for the first time I walked right up to her and told her Kim specifically sent me directly to her and that I had to have her new book. If I had to buy it then so did the rest of the workshop peeps. I didn't want a picture with her I wanted video because it's a Kim-Stream/writer thing. Guess what? I got my video because I was honest and we had fun together. Best part? My workshop crew is buying the books and we're reading them and are absolutely wild about Vicki. Chasing Jocelynn and Vicki across social media accounts is just as much fun as chasing Kim because we know an absolute truth: it really is the author talking in their own social media accounts and not a friggin' intern.

Do you know Kim Harrison knew a few of our of names before we could say who we were? That's because from Monday to Friday she speaks on-line with her readers in Facebook and her blog. If it is your real face on Facebook, Google, Wordpress and Twitter avatars that means you can be recognized in a ballroom with 400 authors and thousands of people streaming through. I bet a fan having a moment like that is priceless because I experienced it and so did other peeps from the Kim-Stream.

The charity signing ROCKS! So do the member authors so you need to support your fave authors, attend professional events and make new contacts and friends. Want to learn more? To quote RWA's website: "The "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing has become one of the most popular events at RWA's Annual Conference. More than 400 romance authors participate in this two-hour autographing event, and each year we raise thousands of dollars, which are donated to ProLiteracy Worldwide and local literacy organizations. Since 1990, RWA has donated more than $670,000 to literacy charities."

Last night the autographing event was extended because the fans kept streaming in and the authors as a group showed extraordinary kindness to their public by remaining and continuing to raise funds for charity. I know a significant number of people started working at 7:30 AM so it was more than a 12 hour shift for quite a few conference attendees (I was there taking pictures, chatting in the Atrium with attendees and updating social media associates for over 12 hours. I have first hand-knowledge. Authors are dedicated people).

ProLiteracy "champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies. We envision a world in which everyone can read, write, compute, and use technology to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives." http://www.proliteracy.org

Want to go on a reading adventure with me? Read this book and buy any of the authors mentioned today. They are all good. I'm still reeling from yesterday. That was amazing to witness so feel free to support the 400 RWA authors who were gracious to the public at that charity event. What a marvelous group of people.

The anthology "Unbound" by Kim Harrison, Melissa Marr, Jeaniene Frost, Jocelynn Drake and Vicki Pettersson





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Comment balloon 19 commentsC Tann-Starr • June 29 2011 11:02PM


I'm into non-fiction and history. I guess that is boring to some but I love it. I am reading "Original Intent" by David Barton about our constitution and the follies of our Supreme Court Justices who seem to like to legislate from the bench. The first half of the book are about religion, our founders and their intent in the constitution based on their own writings instead of the made up modern day commentary that is way off base. Great read. Extremely interesting. Katerina 

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 9 years ago

Katerina, I read everything interesting under the sun. My last Kindle for PC download was the Federal Rules of Evidence for work (LOL). I just find that novels aren't just one thing anymore. They cross into multiple categories all the time but sometimes we miss a really good read because we think we would never like a partiucular subject. I had no idea about Kim until my writing mentors assigned her as required reading. I got hooked big time and am loving every single minute discovering something new about the process, her and her characters. Now I'm getting hooked on her peers. It's a whole new world. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

You would have to be speed reading to do all you do. What an amazing amount of information and introductions to so many writers. Thank you for the mention. Love Vickie's quote... a meaningful emotional connection through the exacting lens of a story.

Must bookmark this and come back when it's not so late. I am very excited for you and also very proud.



Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 9 years ago

Thank you, Margaret. I've been reading Vicki's blog. I only commented once over there because I'm learning what does and does not matter to her. It's interesting getting a peek into their day. You get a feel for who they are as a real person. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

What an interesting review, Carolyn. How much time have I spent over on Vicki's blog? More than I intended when first clicking over, I'm sure. The video you made of the RWA book signing really captures the spirit of the event. The video Vicki did on her previous life as a Vegas showgirl is most entertaining. Thanks for sending me the link to this post!

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Platinum Realty) over 9 years ago

Maria, you are very welcome. I love experiencing the surprise of learning something new about the people I like. It can be mad fun when they're candid and/or have a quirky sense of humor. I love to laugh the ladies have repeatedly given me some of the best laughing out loud moments from reading their work. Best part? As fans we get to discover new social media friends who like the same authors (and we've been Facebook chatting like crazy - LOL). :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

You never cease to amaze me with your talent and interests in so many areas!

Posted by Marcy Moyer, Probate, Trust, and Investment Specialist (eXp Realty of California Silicon Valley Probate, Trust, and Investment Sales) over 9 years ago

Thank you, Marcy. I always was a Curious George kinda gal. I'm rubbing off on my curious kids (LOL). ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

No one does a book review like you!  You should have posted in Realtors and Friends to Read group!  I'm adding these books to my "to read" section in goodreads.com.  

Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) over 9 years ago

I'm with Susan, C--what a fabulous review!  I know these authors LOVE your reviews as well.  As stated before, I have no clue how you do all you do--you are amazing, C!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 9 years ago

Carolyn, you and Mama Liz know how to put a lot of punch into 2.5 minutes! The Book signing really looked like a great event. Ah, more to read. lol

Posted by Connie Harvey, Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate (Pilkerton Realtors) over 9 years ago

Susan, I moved it into Realtors and Friends that Read. What was I thinking??? Of course it should have been in your book review forum!!! MY bad, Man-GIggly. Will put the rest of the pending book reviews there too, Gorgeous. Love you. ;-)

Thanks, Debe. I have fun doing it (LOL). ;-)

Connie, it was MAD COOL! My first charity signing too. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Susan, will check out GoodReads.com too. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

I LOVE Kim Harrison!  I also read Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series, Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock series, Ilona Andrews (in general)...basically any kick a** female lead urban fantasy with a well-written plot.  I haven't read Vicki Pettersson yet...she's next...

Great review!

Posted by Lisa Hicks, Serving Central and Southern Maine (Hoang Realty) over 9 years ago

Lisa, I heart Kimi too. Thank you for the list of new authors for me to try out this summer. Stephen, the Blur Minion just got off the phone with me and my 5 year old wants me in FL right now (LOL). He has a new monster truck. We need to fill it with sand. Beach sand and rocks. I have to call him back later and negotiate two more weeks of being in NY to finish two portraits. Wish me luck with that. Shorty is tricky - my hot wheels bribe might not get me what I want this time. Should I try Transforners 3 or Cars 2? (LOL).

I try to lurk in Facebook more often because I like playing in the Kim-Stream and now I get to mess with Vicki an Jocelynn too. Ooooooo, shiny new blogs to read and lurk on (LOL).

It's mad fun disovering something new about them all. I've met some of Kim's fans in real life and they are the sweetest people. I'm having lunch with one on Saturday. Seems I won a couple of autographed books on Facebook and the irony is one of them is from Kim Harrison (LMAO). I have no idea who the other writer is because I went ga-ga when I found out I was getting another signed book from Kimi and I simply can't remember who it is. Damn, I'm having another senior moment at age 46 - that is just so un-cool (ROTFL).

Who knew the woman could inadvertently short circuit me from long distances with a a single autograph? That's not in the on-line fan manuals (LOL). I may need a 12-step learn-how-to-manage-being-twitterpated program if this keeps up. Geez... I got it baaaaaad but it feels sooooooo goooood. That's why they call it "addiction" (LMAO).

Yeah... I'm an unrepentant Kimaholic big time.

I wonder what it's gonna be like managing a three-author-addiction. Well...um... this is new... (LOL). ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

LITERAL ADDICTION and Book Monster Reviews are very pleased to announce a Q&A Interview, 2 hr interactive Live Chat, and Contest Giveaway with Jocelynn Drake, best selling author of the Dark Days series.

The Q&A will be posted to both Book Monster Reviews (http://www.bookmonsterreviews.blogspot.com/) and LITERAL ADDICTION (http://www.literaladdiction.com/authors-corner.php/) the morning of 7/10.

In order to be eligible for the Contest you must be a Follower of the Book Monster Blog, a Member of the LITERAL ADDICTION Forum on the page with the Q&A, and post a Comment regarding the Q&A to BOTH places with your email address. Then, from 5:00 - 7:00pm EST (4-6pm Cen, 3-5pm PDT, 2-4pm, MDT), head over to LITERAL ADDICTION's Contact Us page (http://www.literaladdiction.com/contact-us.php/) to join in on the Live Chat with Jocelynn!

(There are days when I really love my Facebook peeps. How cool is this? I won my new Kimi book from them)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Blog Bet: If I get to page one of Google for the phrase RWA NYC my gal pals will foot the bill for a drive to MI to get my Blood Work graphic novel signed by Kimi if she does a book tour. Hint: RE-BLOG ME (yeah -I'm a Google Whore - there's no shame to my blogging game - besides, it's all fun - LOL). My Main Chicka doesn't know I'm already on page 2 of Google out of over 1,000,000 generic entries for the phrase. Shhhhhh... she already read the post and wont be back anytime soon (P.S. thank you for the e-mails and the link love - very cool). ;-)

Carolyn Tann Starr 2011


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Pretty cool hangout luv!  I have a blast writing and publishing books and have started the journey to train and coach aspiring authors to birth their book project. A book is a friend! xoxo

Posted by Elayna Fernandez, BE Positive and You'll BE Powerful! (The Positive Mom) over 9 years ago

Elayna, you train and coach aspiring authors to birth their book projects? Seriously? SERIOUSLY??? Holy cow! Embed me some links, woman! I need a keeper. I'm driving my intellectual girlfriends insane over here (and my editor is going to kill me if I don't type faster - LOL). ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

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