Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writer Routine Wednesday: Heidi Betts

Hey, all!
It's another week of my new blog segment:Writer Routine Wednesday, where every Wednesday from now until September 1st, I will host an author.
We'll get to know them better and their books as well as hear them describe their usual writing routine.

Maybe you'll pick up an idea they use for yourself!
Lots of great prizes are scheduled too!

So, please welcome author Heidi Betts today and hear about her writing routine!

BIO: Heidi Betts is the daughter of an Arabian sheik and a Las Vegas showgirl, as well as the heiress to the Chocolate is Better Than Sex Candy Company fortune. Because of this, she eats chocolate in all its many delicious forms for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between snacks . . . without ever gaining an ounce on her perfect five-foot-nine, size zero figure.
Each and every one of her breathtaking, award-winning novels has been adapted to film and gone on to become a phenomenal box office smash, featuring such mega-stars as Hugh Jackman and Sandra Bullock, Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts, and Harrison Ford and Charlize Theron.
Heidi readily admits that she is only able to write such passionate love stories because of her real-life happily-ever-after romance with superstar actor Dwayne Johnson, who makes every day a fairy tale. When she's not writing or making hot, toe-curling love with her "Rock" of a husband, Heidi can often be found riding naked on horseback (a la Lady Godiva) along the beaches of Malibu or hobnobbing with the rich and famous on Martha's Vineyard.
You can reach Heidi any time, day or night, by calling 1-800-DIAL-TONE. And if you'd like to experience your own perfect, idyllic life just like Heidi Betts, be sure to take the little purple pill. (Not the red one. Never the red one.)
For more information, please visit:
Heidi is also a Silhouette Desire author and this year has a December 2010 release planned: INHERITING HIS SECRET CHRISTMAS BABY (Dynasties: The Jarrods, Book 6),

Thanks for stopping by and taking time away from your hobobbing, Heidi! :)

Please describe a “typical” writing day for yourself. For example: Do you get up have your coffee, check e-mail, then write to a certain time? Do you have a set word or page goal when you do write?
As soon as I get up, the hungry masses demand to be fed. There is no coffee or anything else (including the bathroom—ack!) until their ravenous appetites have been satisfied. Then I like to exercise for about an hour…as much as I hate it (I do, I really do!) I also love it because it gets my blood flowing and gives me the energy I need to tackle the rest of the day. After that, I grab some breakfast and much-needed caffeine (in the form of tea, not coffee, thank you very much) and check e-mail or catch up on whatever minor business issues have cropped up overnight. Then…then…I can sit down to write. And I write the rest of the day, stopping only if I’m interrupted (which, yeah, happens a lot more than I’d like *evil scowl*) or to grab a bite to eat. I write in the evenings, too, whenever I can; and sometimes writing at night actually works better for me, so I try to take full advantage.

**Do you have another job outside of writing? (Being a mommie definitely counts!!) If the answer is yes, describe how you balance the two and how much time you devote to each.
I write full-time (you know, in theory) but I happen to be a bona fide cat lady, and despite popular belief, feline children are actually quite demanding. You know those “hungry masses” I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that would be my furbabies, waking me every single morning well before my alarm (why do I even bother setting the darn thing?) by walking on me, jumping on me, licking me, and yowling in my face until I get out of bed and feed them. And then they need to be fed several times throughout the day, as well, which explains many of those “*evil scowl* interruptions.”

**Are you a laptop, PC, Alphasmart, or by hand kind of writer?
I am an Alphie girl, hands down. Or these days, I guess it’s a Neo, since they’ve upgraded. (I actually have one of each and go back and forth, depending on my mood or if I’m juggling more than one story at a time.) I LOVE my AlphaSmarts, and have written every book, in its entirety, on my AlphaSmart since Number 4…that’s 16, plus 4 novellas—wow!
However, when it comes to revisions or editing, I do use a (borrowed) laptop or work at the PC because of the bigger screen and greater range of functions. And I both plot and outline (i.e. write my synopses) by hand…my brain just seems to work better that way on that sort of thing.

**Plotter or panster? If you’re a plotter, how much time do think you put into plotting before writing.
I’m a little bit of both, actually. I definitely plot about 80% of the time, because I find that if I don’t plot out my conflicts/motivations ahead of time, I get waaaaaaay off track when it comes time to write. I’m a very loose plotter, though, which puts me closer to the “pantser” category. I like to plot enough that I have a strong skeleton for my story, but leave enough room for creativity and inspiration to guide me through adding the muscle and flesh. (Okay, that just became a really weird, slightly gross analogy. Too many zombie movies lately, perhaps. :-p)

**Some writers make collages or listen to or create music soundtracks for their work-in-progress? Do you do any of those or have you thought about doing one of them?
To be honest, I tend to write in front of the TV instead of to music. (Though music works, too! I think it’s a left brain/right brain thing.) But I do love to create playlists for my books, usually putting them together as I move along with the story. Then what I love to do is blog about the music I would put on a soundtrack to the book, if I were making one, and also ask readers what songs they think suit the characters and story best. (Doing this for KNOCK ME FOR A LOOP—in which the hero was suspected of cheating on the heroine—was a blast!)

**What’s your favorite book on writing?
I’m not sure I have a favorite book on writing. I can’t even think of one! Probably because I’m not much for how-to stuff, and if I’ve ever even read one, it was years ago. What’s your favorite book on writing? Maybe I’ll check it out, just for a change of pace. ;-)

**What’s your favorite fiction book you’ve read so far this year?
I actually started reading them last year, but hands down I would have to say J.R. Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series. To be perfectly honest, I’d put off reading these books because it seems that every time folks go wild over a book/series/author, I pick it up and have sort of a lukewarm “eh” reaction. But when it came time to start writing THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, I found that my brain was still too enmeshed in regular contemporary and drew a blank on anything even remotely otherworldly. So to get myself in the mood and in the right frame of mind, I started watching all my favorite vampire movies and televisions shows, and of course reading vampire books. The BDB titles seemed like a good place to start, and from book one, I was hooked. Majorly hooked. And I swear, even though BITE is nothing like J.R. Ward’s series, they got me through writing my own vampire romance with flying colors. (Thanks, J.R., I owe you one. *g*)

**What’s your favorite way to reward yourself after you’ve finished writing a book?
In my fantasies: A quick jaunt over to the Islands (we’re talking the Hawaiian variety, here) with my main hunka-hunka burnin’ love, Dwayne Johnson.
In reality: Usually once I finish a book—and it’s not truly finished until I’ve polished and handed it over to my editor, so there’s a very anti-climactic period between typing “The End” and hitting “Send”—I crash. Sometimes for a night, sometimes for a week, but there’s always a very Austin Powers moment when I almost literally deflate and think, “…and, I’m spent!” That’s when I first take a much-needed nap, then love to sit down with a good book and just read, or watch a few movies/TV shows I’ve fallen behind on. The stuff that’s fun, but doesn’t take much energy or very many functioning brain cells.
Once the crash-and-burn portion of turning in another book has passed, though, I really do like to go out and do something to celebrate. Nothing too big or elaborate, but going out to dinner or doing a bit of shopping, sometimes even seeing a movie in an actual theatre (what a concept!) is a fun change of pace.
And then…it’s back to work and on to the next book!

Thanks so much, Heidi! Wow, writing in front of the TV is a new one! LOL!

Heidi is very excited to announce that her first single title paranormal and first Kensington Brava, THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS will be released September 28, 2010.

You can Pre-Order this book from:,, or your favorite retailer.

Here's a little bit about it:

In Heidi Betts’s collection of holiday novellas, vampires turn to Angelina Bertolli—vampire matchmaker extraordinaire—to help them find that special someone to curl up with under the mistletoe…

“All I Vant For Christmas”
Connor loves trimming the Christmas tree, baking gingerbread cookies, and hanging the mistletoe. But his vampire siblings won’t help. His friend Angelina sends party planner Jillian to the rescue. But when Jillian, who’s mortal, discovers she’s decking the halls for a family of vampires, will she run—or will Connor have a beautiful woman to share the holidays with?

“A Vampire in Her Stocking”
When Vivian learns that her secret crush Nick is terminally ill, she’s heartbroken. Confiding in Angelina, Vivian refuses to turn Nick into a vampire. Deciding to play Santa, Angelina changes Nick and leaves him wrapped in a red bow on Vivian’s doorstep…

“It’s A Wonderful Bite”
Although Angelina is happy with her boyfriend Sergio, she’s ready for a commitment. After drinking eggnog and watching It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, Angelina falls into a dream where she is mortal and Sergio isn’t interested in her. Talk about the nightmare before Christmas! But Santa must have checked his list twice because this Christmas Angelina’s wishes are coming true…

Check it out!

CONTEST: Heidi has generously offered to donate an autographed copy of one of her backlisted books to some lucky commenter. Winner's choice! (And there are many to choose from!) Check here for some ideas.

Her first western historical was released by Dorchester Publishing in 2000, with five more to follow. From there, Heidi moved into the modern world by writing numerous category titles for Silhouette Desire, and has since added both funny contemporaries and funny paranormals to her repertoire.

Please leave a comment below to be entered to win. The giveaway contest will run from now until Thursday 11:59PM (EST). I will announce the lucky winner this Friday!

Good luck and get into your writing routine!


Abhishek Duggal said...

Thanks for the opportunity!

forsurveysonly at gmail dot com

MJFredrick said...

I write in front of the TV in the evenings. Has to be something I don't pay too much attention to, though.

susanwilson44 said...

I am soo jealous! The Rock is your husband! We've just had a Rock fest weekend with my children who've watched the ToothFairy, Race to Witch Mountain and some wrestling! I love your books and had no idea that was your other half - no need to ask where you get inspiration!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I'm with you, writing in front of the TV would trip me up. But awesome Heidi can do it.

And I'll be the other lady riding naked on the Islands when I get my next book done. ;)

Fun interview.
~ Wendy

patti said...

Wow. Talk about interesting.
I love that Heidi has eschewed writers books.

Won't that blow a few minds.


Jennifer Shirk said...

Wendy: You crack me up!

Silke said...

Okay, I am still rolling on the floor from the bio. LOL
And Heidi... I could have told you that there is no snooze button on a cat wanting breakfast. :P
So you exercise before writing? Good idea. I find once I get writing, I don't want to stop for something as silly as, well, exercise. *rolls eyes*
However, these days I have at least 3 days a week where exercise comes before writing -- and the exercise is as much for me, as for the rather rotund black cob mare I ride. I tried to write sitting in her field while she grazes.
Did you know there are carrots hidden in a laptop? Or a notebook? The back of your jacket?
It's kinda hard to write when there is a horse's nose trying to help "touch type".
Thanks for sharing your day!

Piedmont Writer said...

With a bio like that I don't think I'd want to write, I'd just live my fairy tale life.

And no writing craft books. Lucky, lucky you!

Michelle Monkou said...

I love my Alpha Smart, unfortunately, it gathers dust since I use my laptop or netbook. I took too long to jump on the AlphaSmart bandwagon. Oh well, glad it has been the main tool for cranking out all those books. Here's to another slew of books.


Heidi Betts said...

Good morning, everyone! Thanks so much for joining me today, & thank you, Jennifer for inviting me!

Yes, it's true, I write in front of the TV. A lot of the time it's stuff I've seen before & can sort of block out, though. Anything I haven't seen & want to pay attention to has to wait until I'm not writing. :-)

@Wendy~ I would offer to meet you somewhere along the coastline so we could ride together, but if we're both naked...yeah, that might just get creepy. LOL

@Silke~ I found a great quote recently (which I can't find now, of course) that said something about needing to exercise first thing in the morning before your brain wakes up & figures out what you're doing. That's me. If I don't do it first thing (well, second thing after the hungry masses), I can easily talk myself out of it. And getting the blood flowing really does help with energy levels the rest of the day & stirring up creativity.

Re: writing books. I'm sure there was a time I skimmed a few, but I absolutely cannot sit down & read thru something like that. I zone out & retain nothing, I think because what I really want to be doing is either reading a good book (i.e. a romance novel!) or writing something of my own. So I might have borrowed a how-to book from time to time & looked up something I was curious about, but I honestly have never sat down & actually *read* a book about writing. I've learned thru trial & error, I guess.

Does that make me totally weird...or wise beyond my years? ;-)

Jaydee Morgan said...

As much as I dislike exercise, perhaps doing it first thing in the morning would be a good idea - especially before trying to write. I just may try that!

Again, love hearing all these writer routines!

Jessica Lemmon said...

WOW, I had to google AlphaSmart - what IS that thing? LOL

I love Heidi and had the rare privelage to read BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS already - and it's wonderful, fabulous, put it on your "to buy" list immediately.

(And, pls exclude me from the drawing so I can give someone else a chance to win one her faboo books!)

Heidi Betts said...

@Jaydee~ Getting the exercise done & out of the way first thing really is great because then it's DONE & that feeling of "gotta do it, gotta do it, don't wanna but gotta do it" doesn't hang over your head all day. Ugh, I hate that feeling.

Hi, @Jessica! Oh, I love my AlphaSmart. Actually like the Alphie a little better than the newer Neo, but I would still take either over a laptop any day. They're so simple & cords, no disks, no internet access. When I travel, I just stick it in my bag & go, & they don't search you for it at the airport. It saves automatically so you can just hit the button & know your work will be there when you get back. Yeah, okay, so obviously I'm a fan. :-D

Diana said...

I LOVE your bio. *must start dreaming up my own* I love your creative process [including the part about the demanding furbabies].

I still can't wait for "Bite" and I'm trying to be really patient.

Say hi to Dwayne.

M.Flagg said...

Hi Heidi.
What a great bio! You had me hooked with the first sentence. And you can write with the TV on? Neat! I like total quiet. I've seen the NEO, but I really like writing on my laptop.

Best of luck with your new release. I'll be sure to check it out! Of course, your bio sounds like a best seller as well.

~ Mickey

Michele Benard said...

good morning Heidi great interview.I took the kids to see the tooth fairy this summer at the movie theatre it was 1.00 movie what a treat to see Dwayne Johnson on the big screene with his shirt of yum :)

Michele Benard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carole said...

Hi! I didn't know you were married to Dwayne Johnson, I always liked him as an actor, and what a HUNK!!!I can imagine how you get your book ideas from him, anyways, I like your books alot, can't wait for another one to read. I want to win the book, Knock me for a Loop, that is if I'm picked. Have a good week and your interview was great!

carole said...

Hi! I didn't know you were married to Dwayne Johnson, I always liked him as an actor, and what a HUNK!!!I can imagine how you get your book ideas from him, anyways, I like your books alot, can't wait for another one to read. I want to win the book, Knock me for a Loop, that is if I'm picked. Have a good week and your interview was great!

Bossy Betty said...

Wow! What a bio! I mean, come on! The woman was destined to write.

Great interview! Her personality really comes out here. Can we have lunch together?

Liza said...

I got a lot of smiles out of this. Thanks!

Rula Sinara said...

Great interview! That has to be the best bio I've ever read, LOL! Your humor and titles have me hooked.

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm so glad you do these author interviews, Jennifer. I love learning about how other authors write. Gives me ideas in areas where I'm weak - a lot of areas - LOL.

Marcy said...

Love the interview, Jennifer.
Heidi, you're a blast!

Heidi Betts said...

Hi, everyone! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit with me today. Glad you're all enjoying the bio. I know it seems a little fantastic, but what can I's my life. ;-)

Dwayne is definitely a wonderful inspiration, altho I must admit that with this last book--THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS--I actually went with Jason Statham as the inspiration for one of my hunky vampires. If anybody asks, tho, it was Dwayne all the way. I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings. *g*

Heidi Betts said...

Curses! I should have known better than to admit I write in front of the TV. My DISH Network receiver just died. They're sending me another one, but it's going to take 3-5 days to arrive. :"-(

That high-pitched whine you hear...that's the sound of my despair as I wonder what I'm going to do until then, how many shows I'll be missing, & worry about what I already had recorded on the DVR. Will they survive? Will I have to start from scratch? Noooooooooooooooooo!

Diana said...

Sorry about the DISH network!

Paula R said...

Hey Heidi, popping in to say hello and show some love. It looks like you are having a fantabulous day. I learned something new about write in front of the television. I might have to try that...LOL!!!!

I can't wait to read your first foray into the vamp world. The WARDen is definitely a good way to get into that world, so glad you fell for the Brothers.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Carolyn V. said...

Great interview Jen!
Heidi your books sounds awesome! And I love that you give yourself time to relax and do a little shopping before jumping into the next wip. =)

Lydia Kang said...

Nice to meet you Heidi! And i loved your bio. ;)

Kathryn Magendie said...

That bio made me laugh! ....laughing!

You write on an Alpha Smart! OMG - my hats off to you! I had one, but quickly moved to desktop and then finally to PC . . . though, my Alpha Smart got me through a surgery when I was laid up all pitiful and all - I still have some files saved "alphasmart files" :-D

Good luck with your books!

Kathryn Magendie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T. Anne said...

OMGosh your book sounds wonderful. I LOVE the cover art!!! And feeding the masses before even using the bathroom in the morning? You are a MUCH better woman than me. ;) Nice to know you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi!!! I LOVE your books!

Okay--yeah, since I'm a regular at your blog you already knew that!! But I still have come over here and say Hi!!

Laura J.

Heidi Betts said...

Hello again to all the new visitors--thanks so much for coming out to chat with me today & for all the kind words about my books. :-D

Hi, @Paula & @T. Anne~ Thanks for the luv. :-) I sure hope you like BITE. I'm very excited about it & think it will appeal to a wide range of readers. Even those who don't normally like vampire books should enjoy it because it has enough of the other stuff (funny, sexy, holidays) to satisfy. But if you do like vamps...well, they're definitely there. :-D

PatriciaW said...

Heidi's bio alone makes me want to read her books. What a sense of humor!

Heidi Betts said...

@Carolyn~ I think you have to take time to decompress & recharge after any big project. And the end of a book usually gets a big push (i.e. no sleeping, no eating, no bathing :-p) which is very draining. I also find that if I jump straight from one book into the next, I can get a really good start...but then I hit a wall partway in & need to do the relax & recharge thing, anyway. Whether I do it now or do it later, it's gonna happen. LOL

@Lydia~ Great to meet you, too. Glad you enjoyed the bio. It's not easy being me, but I try. ;-)

Heidi Betts said...

@Kathryn~ I honestly don't know how people write on laptops or at the PC. Sitting at the computer all day hurts my eyes & back...& the keyboards on laptops drive me nuts. It's all I can do just to revise/edit/polish with one.

But I know some people were turned off by Alphies at first. They had very "sticky" keys that you had to hit really hard. They're much better now, esp. on the Neo. Another thing I love about them, tho, is that you can only see 4 lines of text at a time *&* writing is all you can do on them. No distractions & no room to rethink every word--all you can do is focus & work.

But I know folks who write by hand, so WHATEVER WORKS!!! Everybody has to find their own flow & their own process, & I say whatever works for you--go for it!

Heidi Betts said...

Hello, Anonymous. I mean, Huggy Bear. I mean, Laura. :-D Thanks for stopping by. And even tho I already know you love my books, you might be surprised to learn that I *never* tire of hearing that. *vbg*

@Patricia~ Thanks so much! I hope you find my books as amusing as you expect. (Gads, the pressure! 8-/)

Heidi Betts said...

Btw, if the rest of you read a lot of books on writing, what are some of your faves or ones that you've found to be helpful?

Paula R said...

Hey Heidi, I have read both Stephen Kings' On Writing and The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes...I have also heard some great things about Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Susan Fields said...

I've added the Black Dagger Brotherhood series to my TBR list. Thanks for another great interview, Jennifer!

Susan Fields said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana said...

I actually have a few books on writing but due to severe blockage of inspiration the past couple of years had never really cracked them open. Sad but true.

Hey fellow dungeon dwellers ;)

Velvet Over Steel said...

Great review & blog here!

Following and will be back soon!
PS. Please enter me too! Thanks!

Blessings & Hugs,

marybelle said...

I followed over from the newsletter. So happy I found you. Fingers crossed now.

Jen said...

Oh my gosh I made the cut-off!! Jennifer these are awesome and Heidi you're a girl after my own heart!!!! Your holiday novellas sound wonderful and since we are approaching the holidays count me on an extra dose of fun!!!

I love that you love your furbabies as much as I do, and I love how you "feed the masses" every morning!

To fun!

Linda Kage said...

I wouldn't mind winning this hunka, hunka Christmas love story! And I loved your bio!! Ahh, if only my life were that perfect!

It's great meeting you, Heidi.

Alissa said...

Great interview! Heidi is a lot of fun - loved the bio!

Talli Roland said...

Great intereview! Gosh, I do wish I could write in front of the telly. And wow, what an interesting bio Heidi has!

Heidi Betts said...

Good morning, all! I didn't realize we'd be going a second day until Jennifer said Wed's post would stay up, but yippee!

@Jen~ Yes, it's true. Around here, we have a saying--It's all about the cats. And also that my house is like Disney World for cats. They have more toys & furniture than I do. LOL

@Talli~ It occurred to me today that I read in front of the TV, too. Am I really that odd? I think I tune a lot of it out & that maybe the background noise keeps the analytical side of my brain buys while the creative side works. And I still manage to catch the pertinent points of whatever I'm watching...give or take a few reruns. *g*

Diana said...

I can also read in front of the TV but I zone out easily when trying to write something. Then if anyone walks into a room, I think a few months get taken off my life. Come to think of it that also happened when I was reading the World Cup edition of Vanity Fair.

I am seriously revising my list of dream jobs.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Jennifer and Heidi, this was such an awesome interview to read. Thanks so much for your generosity.

I still can't get over Heidi sometimes writes in front of the TV. I can't even have music playing without being distracted from my work!

Thanks again!

Julie Musil said...

Oh my gosh, that bio was hilarious! What a fun interview, thanks.

Tabitha Bird said...

Very cool! If I am not too late enter me too :)