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Welcome to the website of Mindy Klasky, USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen romance and fantasy novels!  Look around, read some blog posts, and click on other pages for information about Mindy and her books. Mindy updates her blog every few days — but she posts much more regularly on Facebook and Twitter. She’d love for you to join in the conversation, so don’t be shy!

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Why Retreat When You Can Write Full Time?

Last week, I drove two hours north to the Pennsylvania woods, where I rented a cabin with Maria V. Snyder for a week-long writing retreat.

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I suspect some of you are wondering why I’d do something crazy like that.  I mean, I have the luxury (and the responsibility) of writing full time.  Why spend a total of four hours in the car to go to a place where I need to carry in bedding and pots and pans and food, all to write, just like I write at home?  (For reference, I’ve written an article about writing retreats — how to set them up and why do do them — here.)

Short answer:  It’s not just like at home.

For one thing, I’ve driven two hours to get there, and I’ll drive two hours to get home, so there’s a time cost to going there.  Far more importantly, there’s a family cost to going there — I’ve left behind my husband and our cats, upsetting human and feline schedules alike.  I’ve turned my world and the world of those I love upside down.

So I damn well better be productive while I’m there.

In an ordinary week, when I’m writing at full speed, I produce 15,000 words of solid first draft.  Those words aren’t perfect, and there will likely be fairly substantial revisions in specific language, but the plot is set and the general sequence of events and the backbone of the writing.

In the four full days of the retreat (Monday through Thursday, plus a few hours on Sunday after I arrived), I drafted almost 30,000 words.  That’s one third of the new Jane Madison novel, JOY OF WITCHCRAFT.  Those words are more likely to survive editing than my usual words because they were written quickly, in close proximity to each other.  (I find that I do my best writing fast.)

In addition to drafting all those words, I also built a Scrivener file that contains all the Jane novels in one large project.  That file makes my writing vastly more efficient — I can search one file to see if I’ve used a name before, or to track down the characteristics of a crystal or an herb,  or to recall the name of a spell.  It took  me a few hours to do the work (see, Sunday evening), but the labor will benefit me for all the Jane novels to come.

Usually, I alternate writing time with breaks — taking long walks in the woods, heading down to the lake, etc.  On this retreat, alas, it rained *buckets* on Monday.  And then on Tuesday, the temperature didn’t get above 25.  (I took a short walk, but I headed back when the wind nearly blew my frozen ear lobes off my head.)  On Wednesday and Thursday, the words were flowing and the temps were still glacial, so I kept my head down and wrote, wrote, wrote.  On Friday, before we left, I did take one relatively long walk, but it was mostly a chance to say goodbye to the site.

Maria, I’ve discovered, is a great retreat-mate.  We keep very different hours.  I wake up relatively early, write a chunk in the morning, break for lunch, write a chunk in the afternoon, break for dinner, write a chunk in the evening, then go to bed around 11:00.  She wakes up much later (around my lunch time) and she works must later (till 3 or 4 in the morning.)  Therefore, we both have “alone time,” the same way that we have “together time.”  It works out well.

I have two other retreats already scheduled in the new year — mini-retreats that last a weekend and take place at the homes of writer-friends.  I’m looking forward to them, to the socializing, to the discussing business, to the short intense bursts of writing.

But I’m also already planning my next retreat in the woods.  Because I’ll have another third of a book to get drafted.  I always do.  :-)

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Not Dead Yet

Not dead.  Not carried off by the camelback crickets that insist on taking refuge on the ground level of our home (and some of them are HUGE this year!) Not king yet.

But, um, where did the past ten days go?

Let’s see…

We had houseguests visiting from Canada — the charming Julie Czerneda (in the midst of her book launch tour for A PLAY OF SHADOW) and her husband, Roger.  They arrived with flavored coffees (blueberry! maple!) in hand and a ***gorgeous*** matted photograph of a unicorn ice sculpture, taken by Roger himself.  We enjoyed long conversations about writing, books, publishing, politics, music, travel, and I don’t know what else.

Julie and Roger were in town for the World Fantasy Convention, which took place in a hotel just a couple of miles from our house.  I didn’t attend the con as a member (I’ve been publishing too little fantasy!), but I did hang out in the hotel lobby and bar for two days, visiting with friends and catching up with folks I haven’t seen in far too long.  I also had a chance to meet some Book View Cafe members for the first time in person — I’d love to have a chance to visit each of our co-op members, because communicating face-to-face adds so much more to our online chats!

With Julie and Roger in tow, we went to hear Suzanne Vega play at a small venue in DC.  Stranger to music that I am, I only knew a couple of her songs, but I loved her performance.  Stevie Wonder was playing a huge arena show just a couple of blocks away, and I think we *totally* made the right choice for the evening :-)

I’ve begun outlining my next book, JOY OF WITCHCRAFT, which will be the fifth Jane Madison book.  I’m having a wonderful time getting back into Jane’s world.  Poor librarian-witch! Nothing goes easily for her!

We went to an amazing Smithsonian lecture on Istanbul, taught by Nigel McGilchrist.  Alas, I knew very little about Istanbul prior to the talk, but I learned a great deal of history (and some information about art and food and geology and, and, and, and…)  One of the great things about Nigel’s lectures is his ability to fold together so many different disciplines as he speaks.  His slides illustrate his points beautifully, and he speaks without notes, making everything feel very real and immediate.  And now, alas, I have more travel destinations to add to my list :-)

And I’ve been preparing for a writing retreat next week.  I’ll be stealing away with Maria V. Snyder.  We’re heading off to a state park, where we’ll rent a cabin (just as the first major blast of arctic air is set to hit the region!)  I intend to get about a third of a novel written while I’m there — and to have great conversations about writing, publishing, etc.  (Maria and I keep somewhat different schedules — I wake up early and go to bed before midnight; she wakes up after noon and works until the wee hours of the morning.  That gives us both some “alone time” to get a lot of work done and some “social time” to talk.  A great arrangement!)  I’m generally very productive on retreats — I have to justify taking the time away from Mark and the cats!

So, that’s the past.  And I’ll be scarce for the next week.  But after that, I hope to be back in the usual swing of things!

What about you?  How’s the autumn treating you?  Tell me something wonderful about November!

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In the End, It’s ALWAYS RIGHT!

Sigh.  The World Series is over, and there’s no baseball to watch on television (until spring training starts — in five short months!)  I knew I’d be mourning the end of the season (even if I couldn’t predict how early my poor Nationals would have been out of the running…) And so, way, way back, when I first started planning the Diamond Brides Series, I knew the last launch would come shortly after the Series wound up.  One last jolt of baseball for the year…  One last visit with the team — the Raleigh Rockets — we’ve come to know so well.

So, this is it!  ALWAYS RIGHT launches today!

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ALWAYS RIGHT is the book I thought of, when I first imagined writing the Diamond Brides.  I knew exactly how Kyle Norton behaves; his superstitions were my very first inkling about the Raleigh Rockets.  Here’s what that tiny seed grew into:

Teetering on the brink of success as a patent lawyer, Amanda Carter is courting financial disaster. She’s juggling her family’s crippling medical expenses and a huge payment to join her law firm partners – nearly impossible burdens because her father stole her identity. If she doesn’t pay up and win her current case, everything she’s worked for will crash to a humiliating end.

Easy-going right fielder Kyle Norton is mired in the worst hitting slump of his career—until a black-haired beauty in the stands offers him her sunglasses. Slump broken, superstitious Kyle is convinced Amanda is the key to the championship his team so desperately wants to win for its dying owner.

Kyle needs Amanda to give him her glasses at every game. Amanda needs to bury herself in work and win the lawsuit—if she can find the money to buy into the firm. Soon, Amanda and Kyle are locked in battle, united by need and consumed by passion. In the end, only one can be always right.

ALWAYS RIGHT costs just $2.99.  You can buy your copy from your favorite vendor:  Amazon Kindle | Apple iBooks | B&N Nook | Book View Cafe | Kobo. A print edition will be available shortly.

So, what do you say?  Ignore the autumn for a day!  Buy ALWAYS RIGHT!  And send the baseball season off in style!

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Want Some Low-Cost Books?

Okay, I was going to say “cheap” books, but you all might take that the wrong way :-)

Kobo is having *another* massive sale this weekend!  From October 31 – November 2, you can buy dozens of books for 35% off their list price.  All you need to do is go to the sale website:

http://www.kobo.com/unlimited35

Browse through the offerings and fill your shopping cart.  Then check out, using the discount code UNLIMITED35.  (And yes, as the code’s name implies, your savings are unlimited.  You can buy as many books as you want, shopping in as many sessions as you want, throughout the duration of the sale.)

You’ll find my Diamond Brides books — CENTER STAGE and STOPPING SHORT.

If you aren’t already a Kobo customer, you might consider signing up.  If you live in the States, you can “team” your Kobo membership with an independent bookstore, so the bricks-and-mortar store gets credit for your purchase. I spent a lot of time talking to the Kobo folks at the NINC conference last week, and I’m really impressed by their business model.

Plus, you know.  Low-cost books.  Cheap, even.

Happy reading!

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Can’t Blog. Brain is Full.

Well, I’m back!  (Did you notice I was gone?  Please say you noticed I was gone!)

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I just spent five days in St. Petersburg, Florida, attending the 2014 Novelists, Inc. conference.  I knew I was in for something good when I looked at the program and there was at least one panel that interested me in every single time slot (sometimes two or three!)  And I suspected I’d enjoy the conference when I saw the resort hotel, with its white sand beaches.  And I was pretty sure I’d enjoy at least the *meals* when I saw the elaborate menus for every conference meal.

But I hadn’t counted on how much I would learn. And how many ideas I’d have, sitting and listening to others. And how many new projects would start to tempt me, as I traded thoughts with other professional writers.

I’ve been to lots of conventions — tons of World Fantasy, lots of Worldcon, a healthy handful of RWA Nationals.  But this is the first conference I’ve ever been to that ran like the librarian and lawyer conferences I used to attend — career furtherance, from keynote address to final thoughts.

It’s also the first convention where I live-tweeted some of the sessions.  Yes.  Me.  @MindyKlasky. #Ninc14.

Pardon me, now. I’ll be over in the corner, revamping my massive to do list.  Don’t laugh.  That’s what I’m calling that massive scroll of a document!  To do.  Sometime before I die :-)

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My Own Private World Series

So, the World Series starts tonight.  I’m still mourning the fact that my Washington Nationals aren’t in it (although I’m relieved that I don’t have to juggle watching the Series with attending the Novelists, Inc. conference that starts tomorrow!)

I’m marking the Series in my own special way — with the publication of more Diamond Brides books!  First up — TRIPLE PLAY II, the omnibus (three-in-one) collection of the middle three Diamond Brides novels.

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Here’s what you get:

Second Thoughts: In an unexpected reunion, career-driven second baseman Nick Durban discovers that he is the father of photographer Jamie Martin’s six-year-old daughter, but Jamie can’t trust the ex-fiancé who walked out on her years before.

Third Degree: Chef Ashley Harris and third baseman Josh Cantor are competing in a cooking reality show, and the flames in the bedroom roar even higher than the ones in the kitchen.

Stopping Short:  Bad-boy shortstop Drew Marshall will be cut by the team unless widowed spin doctor Jessica Barnes manages to save his career — a tall order after a well-intentioned teammate announces Drew and Jessica are engaged.

All for just $7.99!  You can buy your copy from your favorite vendor:  Amazon Kindle | Apple | B&N Nook | Book View Cafe | Kobo   A print edition will be available shortly.

And it’s not just TRIPLE PLAY II that’s hitting the electronic shelves today.  CENTER STAGE is now available direct from its publisher, Book View Cafe.

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Book View Cafe is a professional authors’ publishing cooperative offering DRM-free ebooks in multiple formats to readers around the world. With authors in a variety of genres including fantasy, romance, mystery, and science fiction, Book View Café has something for everyone. Book View is good for readers because you can enjoy high-quality DRM-free ebooks from your favorite authors at reasonable prices. Book View  is good for writers because 95% of the profits goes directly to the book’s author. Book View  authors include New York Times and USA Today bestsellers; Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick Award winners; World Fantasy and Rita Award nominees; and winners and nominees of many other publishing awards. If you haven’t checked out our website before, take a peek today!

Now, let’s play ball!

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Yet Another @Kobo Sale!

Once again, Kobo is having another sale!  This one runs from October 17 – 19, and some of my books are available with *major* discounts!

CATCHING HELL — now 25% off!

FROM LEFT FIELD — now 35% off!

TRIPLE PLAY I (the first three volumes of the Diamond Brides Series) — now 50% off!

There are three different promo codes for this sale, and three lists to purchase from.  Start at the  front page of the sale, and order using the promo codes listed there.  It’s as easy as one, two, three!

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What a Way to Celebrate!

Well, I’m a year older now.

Okay, technically, I’m a day older than I was yesterday, and three days older than I was on October 12, my official birthday.  But you know what I mean.

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This year, we decided to take advantage of a relative’s kind offer, and we spent my birthday (and a long weekend!) at the beach — Duck, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks.  We typically go down there once or twice a year, usually in the heart of winter.  Duck is a wonderful place off season — nearly deserted, with most businesses closed up tight, with nearly no one on the beach, and with cold, bracing winds that can howl all night in classic nor’easters.

Not so much in mid-October this year!

The temps were in the 80s — I dramatically overpacked for cool weather and just got by with the T-shirts I brought (and I mourned my failure to bring shorts or sandalsl!)  On Saturday, the beach was actually *crowded*, and there were lots of folks on the sand every day.  All the businesses were open (even the Dairy Queen :-) ), and the roads were surprisingly busy.  In short, “our” Duck looked completely different from the Duck we normally encounter.

Of course, it was enjoyable, all the same.  We took walks on the sand (with surprisingly high tides and lots of waves!), and we indulged in meals at our favorite restaurants.  We got a lot of reading done, and we watched a lot of movies — binged the second half of HOMELAND, Season 3, and the BEYOND Linklater movies, and an odd, well-made little film called A SIMPLE PLAN.

All in all, a perfect birthday weekend, brightened by the Facebook posts of many, and emails from even more, and cards and phone calls and, and, and, and…  I feel well and truly spoiled!  (I also feel like I’m never going to eat anything other than salad and lean grilled meats, for the rest of my life :-) )

And that is why it’s time for me to get back to work :-)

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Urgent! Hurry! Act Now!

Tomorrow (October 14) is the last day EVER when you will be able to buy Playing for Passion, the USA Today bestselling boxed set of ***twelve*** sports-themed romances, all for just $0.99.

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The set includes the first volume of my Diamond Brides series, Perfect Pitch.  You know you want to read these books.  So get out there and buy your set today.  Because by Wednesday?  It’ll be too late!

Buy now:  Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

 

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Compare and Contrast (Book Releases, That Is)

Well, this is rather odd.  I have two books releasing today, and I don’t think it’s possible for any author to have two more different books hitting the market simultaneously.

Darkbeast Rebellion

First up:  DARKBEAST REBELLION, by Morgan Keyes (that’s, um, me.) This is the paperback version of my middle grade fantasy novel, second in the DARKBEAST series.  Here’s the back-of-the-book blurb:

Keara, her friend Goran, and the wily old actor, Taggart, are fleeing for their lives. They have all spared their darkbeasts, the creatures that take on their darker deeds and emotions and lift their spirits. But their actions defy the law, which dictates that all citizens must kill their darkbeasts on their twelfth birthdays.

There are rumors of safe havens, groups of people called Darkers who spared their darkbeasts and live outside the law. To find the Darkers, the trio must embark on a dangerous journey—and evade the Inquisitors who are searching for them everywhere. In the middle of winter, freezing and exhausted, Keara and her companions are taken to an underground encampment that seems the answer to all their hopes. But are these Darkers really what they appear to be?

DARKBEAST REBELLION is a steal, at $7.99 in paperback.  You probably won’t find this book in stores — Barnes & Noble declined to carry it in physical stores for unknown reasons.  (Rumor has it, they didn’t like the story of a girl who rebels against the religion of her parents.) But it’s widely available online:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

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And then there’s my second release for the day…  CENTER STAGE.  That one’s by Mindy Klasky, and it’s the eighth volume in the Diamond Brides Series.  The back of the book blurb tells you what it’s all about!

Actress Lindsey Ormond has always followed the rules – be nice, keep quiet, and never, ever get involved with a bad boy. But her good behavior has yielded lousy results – she was just left at the altar for the second time in two years.

Raleigh Rockets center fielder Ryan Green keeps life simple – play ball, have fun, and keep an eye on his recently widowed father. When Ryan attends Lindsey’s disaster of a wedding, another sizzling task hits his to-do list – help Lindsey learn how to break the rules.

Before long, Ryan is showing Lindsey just how much fun she’s been missing – in the bedroom and beyond. But Lindsey’s brother Zach (part of the Rockets’ management team) disapproves of their new relationship. And Zach just offered Ryan’s father the job of a lifetime.

When the conflict moves center stage, will Ryan choose Lindsey? Or will his obligations to the Rockets and his father send Lindsey back to her stifled life alone?

If you like stories about jilted brides, about guys who fall in love with the kid sister of their good friend, about good girls learning how to be just a little bad, then this one is for you!  You can read a sample here:  http://www.mindyklasky.com/index.php/books/passion/diamond-bride-series/bookspassiondiamond-bride-seriescenter-stage/

And you can buy CENTER STAGE here:  (Amazon Kindle | Amazon Print | Apple | Createspace Print | Kobo) (More links coming soon!)

So? What are you waiting for?  It’s time to get reading!

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