Monday, October 12, 2009

Welcome to the Word Place, Sweetheart Rose Author Kim Sheard

Hello!  Thank you for joining me today, and thanks also to Judy for the excellent idea of featuring each of TWRP’s lines, as well as providing the space for us to do so!

I am happy to represent the Sweetheart Rose line.  TWRP’s tag for the line is “Sigh, cry, and everything in between in these tender tales of the first blush of love.  Sweet Contemporary Romances.”

The key word here is “sweet,” which probably needs defining.  To me, sweet means you’d be comfortable with your mom, grandmother, or teenaged daughter reading it.  The couple may or may not have sex in the course of the story, but even if they do, it is not described.  You might read a scene where they head to the bed and/or wake up the next morning together, but you won’t find out what went where and for how long.

Yes, there are still readers who prefer sweet (but not necessarily inspirational/religious) romances!

Although my first piece of fiction was published professionally in 1999, I am still relatively new to the wonderful world of romance--my first and second romances were published in 2009, I’ve been marketing my third, and am now writing my fourth.  So, perhaps someday I will feel qualified to write about what went where and for how long.  I certainly don’t mind reading it!  But there are many things to learn about writing romances, and creating sex scenes is one I just haven’t worked out yet.  I guess I’m a bit of a prude about it.  (After all, my mother is my biggest fan.)  But once I feel I have characterization, chemistry, and conflict down cold, perhaps I will give it a try.  (Don’t ever let anyone tell you writing a romance is easy!)

But writing tips will come later.  First, more about me.  No, really, if I’m going to be giving writing advice, you should want to know my qualifications.  As I already mentioned, I was first published in 1999.  My first three short stories were published in Pocket Books Star Trek anthologies.


 After the second story proved I wasn’t just a one-hit wonder, I pursued writing more energetically.  I’ve had fifteen more short stories (science fiction, fantasy, and confessions, including romantic confessions) and a lot of non-fiction published since then.  In 2005, I completed and began submitting my first romance novel, The Show Must Go On, which was actually my second to get published, this August by BookStrand (  (And yes, regardless of the cover, this is a sweet romance.)

Early in 2007, my second romance novel, Movin’ Up With J.J., went out, and The Wild Rose Press ( bought it for the Sweetheart Rose line.  It came out in April.  Here’s the blurb:

Alexandra Coulter awaits the temporary worker needed for her Movin’ Up crew to pack and relocate the offices of a patent attorney. When a man strolls toward them, she assumes this is the temp and shouts out instructions. She has a business to run and a deadline to meet, and can’t get distracted by the handsome stranger.

Jacob Edward Chamberlain, Jr. needs to retrieve trade secrets left unsecured, and figures joining the moving crew will accomplish this without jeopardizing his practice.   What J.J. doesn’t share is the offices are his and his father is running for New Jersey governor.

Will Alex’s wish to experience something more enjoyable in life than work triumph over J.J.’s deception about his identity?

Remember, as a Sweetheart Rose, there is no explicit sex in this book.  However, this story is a nice one in that, depending on your leanings, you can believe they do or do not have sex during the course of the story.  There’s plenty of undescribed time when they could be having sex--as many loving couples do--or not.  You can use your imagination.  That’s what’s nice about sweet romances.  There’s a little more room for you as a reader to use your own imagination, at least as far as the details of the physical relationship are concerned.

OK, I promised writing tips.  Here are some things I’ve learned about writing over the last decade.

1.      Don’t let anyone tell you how you have to write.  Pick your advice, give different ideas a try, but then do things your own way.  “Your own way” may even vary from book to book.  Don’t sweat it.
2.      Don’t research, read, take classes, or collect ideas if it keeps you from writing.  Researching, reading, taking classes, and collecting ideas are good things, but only to the point that they support your writing, not replace it.
3.      Finish something.  If you feel your first draft is terrible, it can be fixed on the second time through.  Just finish.
4.      Ask for critiques, but only from people who know what they’re talking about.  These will probably be people who are at least as far along in their writing/publishing career as you.  If you’ve been published, your critiquers should also be published, preferably approximately the same number of times as you, or should be agents or editors (who may not actually write, but know what they’re talking about).
5.      Once you’re finished, submit.  A story or book won’t earn you any money or acclaim stuck on your hard drive.

And get out there and exercise your imagination with a sweet book!

Kim can be found on the web at


K9friend said...

Sounds like you have really found your niche!

Where do you find inspiration for your romance stories?

Linda Swift said...

Kim, I enjoyed reading your blog and liked your advice for other writers. You seem to be on the right track with all the published works you have already. I don't think you will necessarily have "advanced" when you add explicit sex to your books. Many readers, including myself, enjoy using our imaginations and find graphic descriptioons of who put what here a distraction! I wish you continued success with your writing. Linda

Linda Swift said...

oops, didn't proof before sending, That's descriptions (yes, I can spell, just can't remember to proof) and who put what where. It is Monday, isn't it?????

Kim said...

K9friend: Where do I find my inspiration? Hmm. It differs by book, I guess. The Show Must Go On started with a setting, community theater, with which I am intimately familiar. Then the characters evolved from bits and pieces of myself and other people I know. For Movin' Up With J.J., if I recall correctly, I picked elements of the characters and plots from a "column A" plus "column B" and "column C" happens to them kind of plot generator. Then I just added imagination.

Lots of different things can work, even for one person. :-)

Kim said...

Linda: Hope it's obvious I like both reading and writing sweet. Description in general is something I'm still working on (a known weakness), so being able to describe the sex act would be an advancement for me. If and when I decide to do so. I understand erotic romance tends to sell better than sweet, which is unfortunate for me from a sales perspective, but maybe the pendulum will swing back again someday.

Thanks for the good wishes!

Mary Ricksen said...

Great advise Kim. Stop overdoing the research if it starts to waste time and you don't need it!
Good luck and great sales!!!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Kim,
You have given out some really great advice. I don't write them, but I am very partial to a "sweet romance."
Best of luck with all your endeavours.

Kim said...

Thanks, Mary and Margaret for reading and for your good wishes!

P.L. Parker said...

I love the research part. Sometimes I get so involved in the research, I forget what I was researching. Eventually, I find myself. Good interview. Nice to meet you.

nlindabrit said...

Thank you for that excellent writing advice, Kim.

Kim said...

Thanks to those of you who joined me. I especially liked seeing the profile pictures of those of you who are holding your pets. I am a HUGE animal lover! :-)