Friday, July 21, 2006

Cait London GuestBlog: The Things Writers Do...

Contest Today!!! One lucky Bella -- who's name shall be drawn from all commentors today -- will win a copy each of "Silence the Whispers," and "Flashback," courtesy of Cait London!

Get set for those fab reads, and for this insight into the quirky life of a quite talented writer. Ms. London, if you will...

Most writers have quite the "outside life," and I do; it all adds to the story texture. My novels have a lot of "me" in them, that is, I've usually done it. (Here someone usually raises their hand with a reseach sex-scenes question, but we'll overlook that.)

As for the sites of my books, I've been to all of them, and love to drive--no music, no chatting, just the sound of the tires helping to spin stories. I've driven the Oregon Trail to research a historical, then up into Canada to research the Mounties, and I just knew that Tom Selleck would be perfect in that role. I've thrown tomahawks, and frankly that scared me. They put me in the women's throw line, and since I'm a little athletic, the thing hit the target and bounced back at my feet. Then I tried a historical Pike's Peak gold miner's recipe for biscuits and ended up with 250.

In writing contemporary SILENCE THE WHISPERS, out this month, I drove around Oklahoma a bit with a friend. We killed a box of donuts, more fun. We did not stop at the biker's convention, though they invited us. That seafoam on FLASHBACK is an element taken from driving up the West coast from San Fran to WA State; we just missed visiting two lighthouses on the whole trip. I just painted one from Lake Michigan. The roses from California.

I'm an artsy kind of person, and I miss painting--painted my first still life at 10, a bottle of grandma's wine and some fruit. It was good enough to sell. I did a bit of that for a while, canned some jam (doing that lately, too, and I think there's a story in that one), raised 3 daughters, sewed for them, including Barbie's clothes, gardened, and I currently enjoy herbs. So all of that is in my books, including a stint in an office, and computers, of course.

Here's where the psychology of the writer comes in (I'm writing a piece on writer types and what they write, or should write elsewhere): A hefty percentage of writers are arty-types involved in jewelry-making, quilting, crafts, and a big percentage are artist/painters. To the ones whom I've interviewed, it seems like writing a story at the same time you're painting does not work. It's one or the other. But apparently art, in one form or another, is transferable. Interesting.

I'm not painting that much now, taking more photos, and some of them not that bad. I did about 50 self-portraits, trying to find one to suit a bookseller who wanted a casual-in-home thing. I placed the camera on timer, put it on the fireplace mantel, and clicked away. Some have my fingers in them, or the book is upside down, or my brown eye is closer to the camera than my green one. Take a hint: Don't ever eat something with cracked pepper before taking a self-portrait. :) Yes, it's there. These are so funny when shown in a family slide show. I learned a lot; I'll do better next time.

We can't write all the time, you know. Our pink boas would get tired.

Visit Cait at!!!


Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Welcome,Cait! So glad to have you here today. I have to tell you, Friday is usually the day I post a picture of a snaxy (sexy with an edible quality) guy, and we pretty much talk about cheesy, sophmoric things like, well, snaxy guys.

But we'll try today to keep to our usual level of erudite and provocative (non-Friday) blogger etiquette, and impress you with our knowledge of all things romance.

But, if you could tell us how you research those love scenes...

We may get silly sometimes, but we're always positive and supportive. So,.....Welcome to our little world!

So, Cait...who are some of the fantasy guys you keep in mind when you write? Or is it just Tom Sellick for you?

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

BTW, Bellas, winners of this week's contests will be announced this weekend. :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, yeah. That's sophOmoric. As opposed to simply moronic, which is what I am when it comes to spelling. Sorry, Cait. I'm already dragging this down, aren't I?

Stacy~ said...

Welcome Cait! It's so great to have you here :) And good morning Michelle. We miss having you play with us more often. But you're on duck tour duty, so we'll just have to wait til you get back

I love that a lot of readers get to do some of that fun research (including the love scenes!) for their books. The places they visit, the tours, the people they meet, the history - I love all that. I think it adds a lot of flavor to the story when it's done "in person" instead of through the library or internet channels. Of course, not every aspect of research is about the roadtrip, but some of it should be. I don't think a lot of writers get much vacation time because even when they take the time off, they are still plotting, imagining, creating. And as a reader, I totally love that LOL.

So Cait, tell us, what's the most "exotic" or unusual research you've ever done? And do you have a "book of the heart", the one that touched you the most while writing it?

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome, Cait!! I loved your blog. You reminded me of a combo between my sister and mother. Both are very creative and artistic. My sister loves to paint but doesn't do much of it lately, and my mother was always sewing (including Barbie clothes) and the jams that she makes is to die for. :o)

You mentioned that you drive on your research tours. I, too, love to drive. Whenever you take a vacation, I'm the one who drives. My husband doesn't even question it anymore, he just gets into the passenger side and goes to sleep. :o)
My issue is that I *don't* do airplanes. It is inconvenient when going far places but as I remind my family, 'think of all the things you would be missing if we were in the air'. :o)

CrystalGB said...

Hi Cait. Wonderful blog. It sounds like you have a great time visiting the places you set your books. How do you pick the area you will set a book?
I think it is great that you paint. It shows how creative that you are. :)

Rach said...

Hi Cait!! Welcome!! =) Mornin' Bellas!

Cait it sounds as if you have been very blessed in the creativity department. I'm lucky to be able to knit two rows without dropping a stitch. I found it fascinating that you are not able to create more than one thing at a time, be it a painting or a book. I guess it is better to put all your energy and focus to complete one thing well than to divide it and get to mediocre items.

Oh, and one green eye and one brown eye?? How cool!!

I wish I could stay and play today but I have a shopping date about an hour away. I'll check in when I get home. Have fun ya'll!! =)

Hey, Michelle, my word ver is just for you: ducxq Ducks quack??

amy kennedy said...

Cait--I have in front of me on my desk a quote of yours!I read it every day.

'Start plotting with revenge, possession and escape'

I always love hearing about other creative endeavers, I love making things out of other things, I try to draw, and I have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine.

My problem is I start way too many things--or at least my husband thinks that's my problem--but then if I'm stuck on one thing, I go to the next.

Do you ever start writing more than one book?

Oh, and Julie, I'm there with you on the whole airplane thing.

Unknown said...

Hi Cait!

I love that you travel to research for your writing. I think that adds a great deal of authenticity and heart. What would be your dream destination to travel for research or otherwise?

Hugs, Zara

Anna Destefano said...

Hey Bellas!!!

Hey Cait, welcome to the funnest blogspot there is ;O)

Can't wait to get my hands on your "whispers." Sounds great, and your blog leaved me hankering for some North Georgia Mountain time. We usually drive up some time in the late fall when the leaves are at the peak and the great little towns up there are showing off all their shiny. My son loves the roadside flea markets (so do my husband and I, truth be told).

I'm feeling relaxed just thinkikng about it;O)

The dreaded deadline is past, Bellas, and the book's in, so I'll be hanging out here a bit more over the weekend as I pack for RWA.

Oh, and I used to scrapbook like the dickens as a creative outlet when I needed a break from the writing...maybe a little of that is in order this weekend,, nails, new shoes, try on party clothes to make sure they still fit, pack chocolate for the goody room, scrapbooking...yep, sounds like a plan!!! LOL!!!

Cait, can't wait to hear what you find snaxy :O)

robynl said...

Hi Cait; you sound like you are related to us-homemade jams/jellies, painting, crafts. Mom could make something out of nothing and in the earlier years she had to b/c of lack of money. I scrapbook and do crafts.
You surely are artistic.

Anna Destefano said...

Okay, Cait...I'm a burned out writer today...the Bellas understand, because they'v seen me type fast before...

But so you won't think I'm nuts...your blog left me hankering (guess I should have made that hankerin', since I was clearly talking around a hayseed ;o)

amy kennedy said...

Anna, we new what you meant. Glad you're past your deadline and can hang out with us.

Robynl, my mom as well--she was always doing something--still is. She and her friends would make braided rugs from old wool coats they bought from the Goodwill, she painted and antiqued and baked bread every week. Man, I'm tired jupst thinking about it. Now she's a public speaker and a writer.

Cait, I want to add to Bamabelle's question--what comes first the destination or the idea?

ellie said...

travel is the greatest inspiration for writing. I envy you being able to go on all those great trips.

pearl said...

Love your books and no wonder as you write from personal experience and those great travels which make it all the more real.

sharon said...

enjoy your books and it is great to know about your travels all over.

joelle said...

You are indeed lucky to have first hand travels to give you the motivation and interest to write such great stories.

Cait London said...

My dears, you are in for a surprise. BTW, I have no idea what that biscuit cookbook is doing :)

I do enjoy driving/traveling by car more than anything--just silence, me and the tires and the stories going around in my head.

I actually can get a story from anything, and have odd objects around me, to visually help with that. Take a look at
a special pg I created just for you.

The lighthouse painting is a 2-part, created to go into a corner, or together. My photo wasn't that good, but then, I hurried.

The crystals, shells, stones, are my own little display and I'm a little bit into that, karmas, etc. as you can read in my books. Aromatherapy is great.

The storyteller doll was purchased from the Najahos, 3 as my lucky number. That pottery is from my potter daughter, now an organ transplant coordinator in heart and lung. Another daughter is a national advertising executive, and another is quite the character and always knows someone who knows someone that I need to interview, and I sell off pieces of them in my books :) Basically, I grew my own research. :)

Then the Oregon coastline was great, and I'm currently scanning and doctoring old family photos, but that one did not turn out.

Then. I'm a spa nut, facials, massages, and a make-up junkie. Cabinets of that stuff, love it all.

All of this stuff goes into my books, but not the cookbook. Though you can find recipes at my website and a lot of other things. Great writing tips at my blog, too, that's I'm behind there, but have just finished a tour I need to post.

Oh, and I love fairies.

Cait London

Cait London said...

The cups in the photos at
go with a regular contest at my website, a favorite cup for every activity.

About the things around me: I once got a whole book from a ceramic hippo given to me by a daughter. Another whole historical came from just watching an Amish girl ride her paint pony alongside the road, her long skirt blowing up a bit to reveal jeans.

I can suck up ideas from seeing anything, so I'm a visual-vampire-idea-sucker. Got another story from an old windmill, one blade, turning slowly in the KS flatland.

I think one of my best scenes came from just looking down inside a washer while it chugged at the clothes. Great scene.

Ideas are easy for me, but usually I really plot, matching the characters, opposing them, but a whole series of plot techniques. And I do not write to the market.

Basically, stories do not come from just sitting behind a desk, not the life in them. So in answer to that question, I believe the story idea comes prior to the location.

On the other hand, while at Silhouette Desire, I was not invited to Montana Mavericks, this after going to Montana every summer. So I asked my Avon editor if I wrote a book set in Montana, could Montana be used in the title. She said yes, and we used Sleepless in Montana.

Words also give me ideas, like "homecoming" and "quest." But more and more I am hearing my story fishing techniques used in workshops that I'm not doing--I've been around that long. :)
my enewsletter, tells a lot of this stuff.


Julie in Ohio said...

My goodness, Cait. Do you get to sit down and take a breather? :o)

I haven't read any of your books but from what you have said it sounds like the kind of read I enjoy. :o)
Travelling is something that I love to do. I love scenery and if you are in an airplane, you don't get the kind of view (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).
I do most of my travelling in my mind but I can imagine that anywhere you go would tell a story to you, whether it's the farmer in the fields or executive in a hurry for his next appointment.

I, too, have three daughters so I can relate with each one being their own characters and it changes on a regular basis. :o)

Cait London said...

Here's some more stuff, if you're not tired of me yet--

1. I am not going to RWA. This yr, I'm working very hard on new projects, and I am also a high self-promoter with newsletters galore, blogging, website creator, bookmark designer, etc. so I really need some time to catch up.
For instance, I have a book due in a wk, a big important one.

2. I do not believe in Book of Your Heart, cannot say that strongly enough.
This because EVERY BOOK should be the book of your heart. EVERY ONE.

3. I only write one bk at a time, tho I have to work on galleys and copyedits and promotions and proposals for others. I calculate that a writer like me juggles about 5 different processes in books at one time, but only writes one.

4. My dream destination. Hmm. Western mountains. A cabin by a lake. (bathroom tho, an inside one.)

5. Also, I go to a lot of festivals, i.e. the Highland Games, Rendezvous, Gem shows, horse shows, whatever.

All good stimulus for a writer's creativity.

6. As for personality, I might be quiet, but the mind is churning, you know? Am not too much into some of the hyper promo stuff, but rather laid back. I think in a way, an author who is too over-the-top/hyper/pushy, appears desperate. Not good for a long term career. (Hope I didn't offend.)

7. Then as for hunks. It's a fun topic, but not really into that too much, Michelle. I think I may be more into the craft of writing, tho I do appreciate the visuals :)


Jennifer Y. said...

I love Cait's books and can't wait to read this one!

Minna said...

I totally agree with Jennifer! I can't wait either.

Maureen said...

Just bought your book (it was very conveniently in the supermarket as I was shopping) and looking forward to reading it this weekend. I wish I could paint but I do love taking pictures.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, all. First, the biscuit mix is cowboy mix, and I was looking for a graphic to refer to the big buscuit batch Cait made, a batch big as the open spaces of the great West, I guess.

Next, it's kinda nice to hear about how a writer experiences her work, isn't it? Cool to know that someone we admire for a specific skill is, when it comes right down to it, a lot like us: a woman who enjoys trying her hand at lots of fun things. Gives us inspiration to realize how important our forays into hobbies and avocations can move our lives into new, important directions, whether it's writing a book, or making a new friend.

I know a lot of us feel that way about how we've all fallen into e-friendship here.

Cait: it's wild that your daughter's a transplant coordinator. I have a kidney transplant and spent several years (while Miss PA and after) promoting donor awareness around the country, and working with several organ procurement groups as well as support groups for recipients and donors' families. Experiences I'm fortunate to have had.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hiya Cait, Michelle and Bellas!
Just wanted to pop in and say that I've know Cait for years and am in awe of the way she keeps all those balls in the air. (Juggling. Projects. You know what I mean.) When I visited her MO chapter years back she made sure I saw the sights in the Branson area, and did we have a lovely time! That was about the time she decided to do some remodeling, and while she was at it, why not be her own contractor?! The woman is amazing. And, oh, by the way, she writes a fine book as well.

Ducking back into my writing hole in the wall. Cherish Cait, Bellas!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh--we're doing a bit about our best and worst covers right now at We'd love to get some Bella thoughts.

amy kennedy said...

Cait, even though it sounds as if you do alot at one time--it also sounds as if you are so calm. I become calm just reading your comments.

Rach said...

Hi Bellas! Anna and Kathleen, good to see you guys! =)

Anna, glad the book is finished =).

Michelle, my father passed away from renal failure while we were trying to organize a possible transplant. I'm so very glad yours has been so successful!! =)

Cait, just reading all you do makes me tired =). I love to surround myself with multi-talented ladies--I keep hoping some it will rub off on me ;o).

I read so many of your books when you were writing at Silhouette and I thoroughly enjoyed them. =)

City Slicker said...

I wish I had come across your blog sooner. I love your voice. WIll be checking back regularly.

Cait London said...

Michelle, my daughter "worked" in kidneys prior to heart/lung, so I learned a little about that. Great cause.

And Kathleen, I've known for about the same time as she's known me :) Very talented person who somehow manages to balance a busy life.

I've met a tremendous number of really nice people since I've been published, some writers, some editors, and those friendships continue. And I feel really lucky to be in this industry. Really good experiences with 5 agents, changing for different career moves. I'm appreciative of it all.

But at one time, I worked a day job, had 3 teenage daughters as a single mother and wrote for 2 publishers, so life didn't give a lot of time to play :) I basically stayed home and wrote my fingers off :)

For anyone who missed it, I posted some of my favorite things photos on a special page at my website,

Am signing bks tomorrow in Joplin's Books A Million. If you're around, pls drop in. I will have ironed my linens :) I've been traveling so much lately that luggage is stacked up with picnic coolers of all sizes and a giant basket that I keep beside me while traveling--easy to reach for those CDs, bottled water, camera, makeup, learning tapes, whatever. It's huge and squat, either African or Mexican reed whatever, but I really use baskets a lot when car traveling. Put them in front of the door before leaving and start tossing in stuff I need. By the time I leave,it's pretty much all there.

After my signing, we're going to see Pirates, and then I'm "holing up" for a wk to finish this first bk of a trilogy. Well. Maybe. We're doing some ad work on a Christmas anthology, SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL that has to go out.

Friday. Love 'em. I always feel more productive on Friday evenings, and I guess that comes from when I was working a full-time regular paycheck job.

Rach said...

Cait, thank you so much for visiting with us today! =)

Julie in Ohio said...

Thanks for blogging with us today, Cait. It was nice to meet you. I'm sorry I missed alot but had to do the mommy thing. :o)

off topic-- I made up some Rach's 'ritas. That is a sinfully wonderful recipe. I don't know where you got it from but it needs to be written in stone somewhere and used often. :o)

--Julie, typing very slowly so nobody knows she is slurring her words. *g*

Rach said...

Okay, off topic as well--See, Julie, I toldja so!! Aren't they INCREDIBLE??? After only one you are feelin' NO pain ;o). And, you don't even taste the beer...

Julie in Ohio said...

No beer taste at all. You are absolutely correct.
After one, no pain...what happens after one? I'll let ya'll know tomorrow afternoon...*g*

Rach said...

Um, more than two might possibly leave you with pain tomorrow morning. ;oP Tomorrow afternoon, however...

Enjoy yourself, Jules! You deserve it =). Isn't that what we were bloggin' about yesterday, indulging ourselves?

I'm now off to indulge myself in some hard earned sleep...

Kati said...

Jules - In my sister's case, whoops, she was pregnant! LOL! Easy on the 'Ritas!

I missed you guys this week and it looks like there was lots of fun to be had!

I'm home from Atlanta, and brought possibly the most vicious cold I've ever had with me. I'm feeling whiny and pitiful and do believe I will do my best to bake it out of me next to the pool. But major cooties! Yuck!

Can't wait to see what's up for next week, aren't Michelle, Anna, Vivi and others off to Atlanta for Nationals? Can't wait to hear all the gritty details!

Rach said...

Hey, MK, welcome home! =) I'm so sorry you have a summer cold. Aren't they the WORST?? I think baking by the pool in a remote corner where you can contaminate no one is in order.

Yes, I do believe all the above are headed to Nationals, as is Monica. I'm so jealous =).

Feel better!

amy kennedy said...

Stacy's going too.

Lucky Bellas.

Julie in Ohio said...

Hey, all!!

LOL, MK-- I can say with all honesty...I AM NOT PREGNANT! I threaten my husband at times (I love the way his face gets white) but I have figured out what causes that and the nice doctor fixed that for me. :o)
Welcome home! Sorry about the cold, though. Yuck! My cure all for colds is Aleve Cold and Sinus. That stuff rocks.
How did your presentation go?

I can say without reservation that those are the best 'ritas *EVER*. I had more than one and live to tell about it. Other than being in need of a nap, no permanant damage done. :o)

Lucy Monroe said...

Cait...I find myself using up whatever leftover artistic energy I have on my website. I used to stamp, sew, restore furniture, lots of other creative type things...but not so much now. I can get lost for hours getting just the right look on a webpage though. Sigh...

And Michelle, I'm so hoping you won't mind me posting a link to my blog here, but the Blog Party during Nationals has grown huge with lots of authors participating and a prize list that is truly phenomenal. I'm really impressed with everyone's generosity and wanted to share news of it here too.

I've got the list of participating authors and the prize giveaways up on my blog right now. For those of us not going to RWA, this is going to be SO much fun! Party starts Monday! So, maybe you can drop by Michelle?

Hope to see everyone there!


Rach said...

Julie, glad to hear there is no permanent damage =). And, I TOLD you they are the best 'ritas ever! (Sorry, I keep saying I told you so, but I just love them SO much =). )

Lucy, I'm heading over to check it all out! Thanks for organizing this!! =)

Julie in Ohio said...

Rach, it's OK. An "I told you so" is acceptable in this circumstance.
And I believe that I keep saying they are sinfully delicious, so we're even. :o)

Kati said...

Julie - Good thing you had the nice doctor fix you up, cause it sounds like Rach has turned you into a lush! ;-P I know my sister used to joke that while her hubby was always handsome, he was d*mn near irresistable after a pomegranite margarita!

Well, not too much luck lying by the pool today, kind of overcast and really hot. Still feeling icky, but have hunkered down to watch Fellowship of the Ring (mmmmm....Viggo), so I'm sure I'll be feeling better soon. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that I can actually sleep tonight!

I'm reading Julie Ann Long's BEAUTY AND THE SPY. I'm enjoying it so far. I'm definitely behind the times with her, seems like everyone I know loves her stuff and I'm just a goober for not having read her.

Rach and Michelle - I finished THE WINDFLOWER this week. It's just so...perfect. My roommate snatched it out of my hands the minute I was done. I could barely get her attention today she was so engrossed. I can't wait to hear what you guys think of it.

OK, back to Viggo, he's feeling neglected.

Julie in Ohio said...

MK, you can't neglect Viggo...or else I may come in a snag him. :o)

The Windflower? What am I missing?
Are you telling me after my spending spree at Amazon there is still a book out there that I don't have? *g*

BTW, dh is beginning to get suspicious. I have received boxes everyday this week and he now looks at me with a raised eyebrow.
I am staying strong and admitting nothing. :o)

Julie in Ohio said...

MK, you don't have to worry about Rach turning me into a lush...I was one loonngg before I met her. *g*

Kati said...

Jules - THE WINDFLOWER...the best romance ever written. By Tom and Sharon Curtis (or Laura London). It's literally one of the most perfect romances ever written. It's got everything...pirates, dreamy hero, smart heroine, amaaaazing secondaries, everything. The prose is perfect and the dialogue is hilarious and beautiful.

It's such a wonderful read!

Only was published in 1984 and reissued in the 1990s. It's a little expensive (in the $10 range) but it's completely worth it, IMHO.

amy kennedy said...

My husband knows I find him uber attractive after a glass of merlot...

Marykate read Julie Ann London's other stuff too. I get this wrong everytime, but, To Love a Thief and, darn, I can't remember the name of her first one--look it up.

Lucy, I'm sure Michelle won't mind, we pretty much egged you on.

Julie, deny everything.

Rach, I'm sorry I haven't tried your 'rita recipe yet--I got lazy and am drinking a Mike-arita.

I finished Lord Perfect--I want to be Bathsheba and I love Rathbourne.
Pretty sure after one Mike-arita I am Bathsheba.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Windflower. MK, were you telling me about the online bookseller? I thought I ordered it a week or so ago, but never rec'd it. Does anyone know the name of the online store?

Kati said...

Yes, it's Mostly Sandy can find anything. Ebay's got it too.

Anonymous said...

I second that about "Windflower". I kept hearing, rather reading, that it was just so wonderful. Well, everybody has different tastes.

But when I read it, I honestly tried to find something wrong with it and couldn't. It is definitely in the top 5 books I've ever read. And my reading spans more than a century. It really is awesome and definitely one of the books that I'll not willingly give up until I die--unless it's destroyed in some way.

Cait's books sound great too and I find it wonderful that she researches her books so well. Did you actually find a Mountie to interview or did you just get general information about them?

Rach said...

Sorry about the lousy weather, MK. I was awakened with MAJOR t-storms this am. Yuck.

My first dd was conceived after consuming an entire bottle of champagne. Yeah, not such a smart move.

I am currently enjoying one mighty fine 'right. Weekends are 'rita nights in our house. LOL Amy--Bathseba is definitely not a bad herione to be! You'll really have to let me know what you think once you try the 'rita recipe =).

I finally got WINDFLOWER from Jess, so I'll be starting it this evening--assuming I haven't embibed too much *g* ;o).

Julie, I could have *sworn* we told you about this one. How in the world did you miss it?? ;oP Oh, and LOL on the hubby front. See, that's what he gets for going out of town to play golf.

I did find WINDFLOWER on Amazon, just so you guys know.

Julie in Ohio said...

LOL, Rach-- might you have mentioned this book last night? If so, that would be the reason behind my amnesia regarding it. *g*
I may have to wait a bit before doing any more shopping on Amazon. :o)
Did I tell you that "As You Desire" came in today? I can't wait to start it. :o)

Rach said...

Oh, Jules, you are so gonna LOVE AYD!!! Connie's best IMHO =).

I'm feelin' the effects of two 'ritas--please pardon any goofs ;oP. Ahhhh, the cure all for what ails ya! =)