Archive | July 2012

Welcome our guest, Natalie Star!!

Plotter Or Panster?

Plotter or Panster? That is the question of the day. What is the difference you ask? Well, the Plotter, as the dictionary states, is a contriver of a literary plot. The writer’s who claim to be plotters actually go through the motions to plan their story in great detail before writing the first line. “Panster” which is not in the dictionary is writers jargon. In the literary world it means one who writes without a preconceived written plan. They just sort of write as their brain dishes it out, or they write by the seat of their pants = panster.

Which one am I?

My friends, family and fans may know this one. I am a panster through and through. Once I wrote an outline and the only thing I stuck to was the character names and physical descriptions. I sort of stayed with the story line, but as the story went on the character’s developed, and as they grew into themselves the narrative had to change to keep up with the characters.

This isn’t to say I don’t plan, when I write anything I have a vague outline in my head, but that’s about as elaborate as I get. I know I will stray. It would make me angry to spend hours on an outline and not even use it. In those 2-3 hours or more writing the outline I could have written thousands of words in the manuscript. And with life a busy as it is, I’m not happy with the loss of those unproductive hours. This is why I call myself a panster.

The Keeper (Young Adult/Paranormal Romance), by Natalie Star


The morning of her sixteenth birthday, Billie feels blessed despite the reoccurring nightmare that wakes her. Loving parents, a caring boyfriend, and great friends surround her until an heirloom necklace throws her into a world she never imagined.
“Gifted” with supernatural powers and an unexpected destiny as the Keeper, Billie and a mysterious boy from her past must work together to find answers. But, as they begin to discover feelings for one another, he disappears leaving her to fight evil alone. Her life spirals out of control. She breaks up with her boyfriend, Tony, and alienates her best friends Arianna and Jocelyn to protect them from the truth.
As dark forces pursue her, Billie longs to run away from it all, yet a need to do what’s right compels her to face the future as the keeper of more than her own fortune.

Excerpt One:

“I have something special for you. Sit, I’ll go get it.” And before I knew it, she rushed down the hall.

“Hurry, Mom, I have to get to school!” I yelled after her. She was back in a flash. “Here, honey.” She handed me a long narrow velvet jewelry box, maroon in color, the coloring faded from age and use. I flipped back the lid and saw a gold chain with a charm hanging from it. Definitely nothing I would have handpicked, nice enough I guess, but it looked older than dirt itself. There was a yellowish gemstone, citrine I think, no larger than a nickel and it was set on top of a golden sunburst. She explained, “It’s been in our family for years. It’s been handed down from generation to generation on the sixteenth birthday.”

“Um, thank you. How old is it, and where did it come from?” I questioned because it even smelled old.

“No one in recent memory knows the answer to either question. We do know it is an honor to receive it, and you have to wear it for your whole birthday, no matter what,” Mom explained.

“Or what, I will have seven years bad luck?” I didn’t know what else to say.

“No, worse, a whole life of bad luck.” Mom said it so seriously.

“Well, if that isn’t convincing enough, put it on me!” I was not superstitious but why take chances?

I lifted my flat ironed hair out-of-the-way, and Mom placed the chain around my neck. The second I heard it click into place, I felt funny, and I swear the jewelry’s temperature rose. I stood up in a state of a panic as it warmed and the heat spread from my neck throughout my body. Everything went white, and then pulled out.

“Billie!” Mom screamed.

Excerpt Two:

“Do I want to know?” he asked uneasy.

“Probably not, so if you want to call it quits and go on with your life I would totally understand because all of what I have to tell you is unsettling and will be life changing. If you want out, now’s the time.” I waited.
I didn’t know I held my breath until Ty stopped walking. He kept his stare on the ground. “If you don’t tell me now, I will always wonder and probably regret not knowing because it seems important.”

“You need to be absolutely sure you want to know before I tell you. So think about it for a few minutes.” I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach for him.

He nodded, and we followed the overgrown trail for a while through curves and switchbacks. The path led through all kinds of trees and wild growth. Never have I seen such beauty in autumn. I could see yellows, oranges, and reds all around us. It would have been silent if it weren’t for the fluttering leaves and nuts falling from the trees, and our feet crunching over the dead vegetation on the ground. I stomped my feet, and I liked the noise it made. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. I put my arms out and spun in a circle while crunching. I felt giddy. I almost forgot where I was and why. Ty regarded me as if I’d lost my mind, which I probably had.

“What?” I asked as I spun past him.

“Just watching you.” He continued to watch with smiling eyes.

“It’s fun. You should try it.” I grabbed his hands because he wouldn’t come willingly, and we spun and spun until we were dizzy. We fell to the ground and lay there for a minute to catch our breath and get our heads straight.

I watched him. He seemed genuinely happy, and I felt genuinely crappy. Could I really take away his happy life and innocence? That’s exactly what I was about to do by unleashing the truth. I sat up.

He too sat up and looked toward me. “You okay?” He twirled a strand of my hair. I knew which bit of hair, too; the one that always curled away on its own.

I shook my head. “Not really. I don’t want to tell you. I thought I did, but now I’m not sure.”

“I don’t want you to tell me…not yet. First let’s have a few more minutes of normal.” He reached for my chin and tilted it toward him and pressed his lips to mine. We lay back in the leaves holding and kissing one another. We were consumed in each other’s sweet perfect kisses.

I pushed away from him and lay my head on his chest. He stroked my hair as we listened to the sounds of Mother Nature. I could hear his heartbeat, and it was calm and soothing. It didn’t match mine.

I jumped to my feet in a split second. I was on total alert. My heart pounded so loud I felt it in my ears.

“What’s going on?” Ty asked. Still on the ground where I was a second ago, he swiveled his head around.

“We’re done with normal.” I reached for my gem. Yep, cold but I didn’t need to feel it, I actually sensed it beforehand. I dropped a hand to help him up. He stared at it. “Ty, come on we don’t have time for this. I am stronger than you, much stronger, so this is why you need to get out of here.”

He took my hand. I pulled him to his feet. He gasped. With a peck on his cheek, I told him, “Go. Run.” But he stood there not moving. I saw and heard nothing. I closed my eyes and went into my mind to see what might come in the near future, and it wasn’t pretty.

“I might need to take my own advice and run.” I took Ty’s arm and dragged him along with me. It was too little, too late. We were surrounded.

“What can I do?” His voice crackled in fear. His head whipped around looking from one monster to the next. The creatures completely surrounded us. There was no way out, and they were hungry, hungry with a desire to kill. I could hear them in my head: kill.

“Try to stay alive,” I said. I felt sick to my stomach because I knew he wouldn’t make it through this.


Book Trailer on You Tube:!/iamjustnatalie

Purchase sites:

Author Bio:

Three years ago, if you told me one day I would love to read and write, I would have told you you were crazy-out-of-your-mind. Since then I have read 150+ books and written 2 complete novels (one of them being The Keeper) and I have 3 more in the works.

When I’m not reading or writing, I can be found with my husband supporting my two children on the soccer fields. Or maybe running around with my camera taking photos while camping and/or hiking. Or lastly, and most probable – I’m watching movies on Netflix while simultaneously perusing Facebook.

Our family resides in the state of Virginia along with our old-unintelligent-diabetic cat named Lucky.


Thank you Natalie for being such an awesome guest!  K.R. and I are a mix of the two ourselves.  I am the plotter and she is the panster of our dynamic writing duo!  Everyone check out Natalie’s book on Amazon and see for yourself what the fuss is all about.

Blessings, K.R. and T.L.


A Celebration of Marilyn

TODAY, yes today is the kick off the Marilyn Monroe’s 50th Anniversary Celebration! Starting today we’re hosting a contest for the entire month of August.

Along with cake (what’s a celebration without cake?????)

There will be tons of ‘What She Knew’ Signature Prizes and giveaways!

Today’s opportunity through Sunday, that’s August 1-5, leave a comment below with your favorite quote and you’ll be entered into the giveaway drawing. No purchase necessary for this one!

Also when you buy a book, in any form, and send us a screen shot of the receipt, we’ll enter you for a prize. You’ll love it! These prizes will make great Christmas gifts if you already have a copy of the book for yourself. Just email it to

Watch for postings and participate via Facebook, Twitter and right here on our blog. We are so excited!! As if you couldn’t tell!!

We will be partnering with two of Marilyn’s favorite charities: St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and March of Dimes. Each charity will receive a portion of all the proceeds we make on book sales for the whole month of August. We have TV and radio interviews scheduled so be sure and tune in! And, we are hosting book signings in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Don’t worry, we will keep you all informed on the exact dates and times for all of the above.

Some of the What She Knew Signature Prizes are:

~ Marilyn inspired gift sets (pink purses and goodies) and What She Knew book bags ~

~ What She Knew bookmarks ~

~ What She Knew signature pens ~

Just to name a few!!

The grand prize (to be announced) will include an hour of face time with us via Skype plus a collectors edition of “What She Knew” signed and no longer available to the public. You’ll get to ask us questions and we’ll answer about anything writing related. All you need to do, is purchase a book (any format) and email us a screen copy of your receipt! That’s all, easy peasy!

As a bonus, if you order a paperback book you will receive two entry’s and if you order a hardback book you will receive three entry’s. For eReader books, you will receive one entry per purchase. Remember, these make nice gifts and the more you order, the more entry’s you will have!!

 Where to get the book? 

For the month of August, if you order the book at Gator Creek Entertainment ~ ~ (our managing company) you will be able to buy the paperback and/or the hardback at 25% off!!  It’s a win/win!!  You receive great savings and the two charity’s receive great donations!!

If you prefer an eReader format, then go to Amazon for Kindle ~ ~  or Barnes and Noble for Nook ~



And remember, email that to!

Let’s get started on the festivities!!

Just tell us what your favorite Marilyn quote is! That’s all, you can comment below. We will host your quote on our website and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a What She Knew Signature Prize!! So come and celebrate the life of Marilyn Monroe with us! After all, every women wants to be her and every man wants to be with her. She has been and continues to be THE most loved icon ever.

K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns
Twitter: whatsheknewbook

Marilyn Monroe – A Woman Before Her Time

Marilyn was all about equal rights – a woman well before her time.

In 1953, she asked the owner of the Mocambo (club) to allow Ella Fitzgerald to sing there. In return for taking this leap of faith, Marilyn promised that she would be there every night in the front row. At this time, Marilyn was coming into her own as a famous star and carried a lot of clout. Even thought he was head over heals about Marilyn (like everyone else), and after some convincing on her part, he said yes. Here are Ella’s own words about this incredible event:

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her time. And she didn’t know it.” – Ella Fitzgerald

This is a wonderful story about how one person took her sphere of influence and did something good with it. She didn’t just use it for her own gain, she used it to aide someone else. What Marilyn did, really helped start the revolution towards equal rights for all men, regardless of color. And whether you realize it or not, we are all like Marilyn in one way, we are all ‘famous.’ We all have areas in our life that we are very influential. Think on this: What is your pull? Where are you considered a star?

Our challenge to you is this: what can you do today that will positively affect someone elses journey? It may never end up on the front page for the whole world to read, but it can end up on the front page of your life and thereby inspire the next generation to do likewise. We would love it if you would share your thoughts with us.

Blessings, K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns
Twitter: whatsheknewbook
Facebook: whatsheknew

Welcome our guest for this week, Ed Griffin

Welcome Ed! It is so nice to have you here with us on our blog! Ed has come to answer the question “How do you improve your writing style?” Let’s jump right in and glean all we can from this seasoned author.

How do you improve your writing style?

When I first started writing, I didn’t know anything about style. Over the years, I learned about the power of dialogue – the superhero of writing – and I learned – sort of learned – about “Show Don’t Tell.”

One day after I’d been writing about ten years, I realized I had something called “my writing style,” and I think it’s still true today, twenty-six years after I started writing. This is my writing style:

I write for the ordinary reader, not for the literary market.

Even though I know that 85% of what is written is non-fiction, the gods have made me a fiction writer. I accept that and I’ve learned to apply fiction methods to non-fiction subjects.

I use a lot of dialogue and a lot of action. Most of my readers tell me my stories are fast-moving, page-turners.

I’m weak on setting the scene. The women in my writing group hammer at me with questions like:

“What is she wearing?”

“What month does this scene take place in?”

“What do the two people see around them? What do they smell?”

Here’s where I ‘Tell, instead of Show.’ I write “He sat at a big, messy desk. No windows or posters offset the plain institutional green walls.” I don’t give my reader a feel for the room.

So how do you improve your writing style? You don’t imitate someone else, that’s for sure. Even though it’s hard to see your own work objectively, you take the big rules of writing and examine your own work.

What are the big rules of writing?

~Show, don’t tell.

~Prefer nouns and verbs to adjectives and adverbs.

~Avoid the use of qualifiers — rather, very, little, pretty.

~Use the active voice.

~Put statements in a positive form.

~Avoid sexism. Use ‘inclusive’ language.

~Write to be understood, not to impress.

~Don’t overuse the verb “to be” (is) (was).

~Conflict. Conflict. Conflict.

~Read what you write—–out loud.

~Let your writing cool after the first draft.

~Cut the fat.

~Use the hero’s journey.

~And more.

It’s easy to start thinking you can relax. Several people tell you they enjoyed your last book. “Hell, man, that book’s a page turner.” And “I couldn’t put it down.” Even though part of your mind knows this is not the whole story, you start to believe it and you don’t improve your craft. You don’t go to conferences. You ignore advice from your writing mates. You don’t read ‘how to’ articles.

At a writing conference, I walked into a workshop and was surprised to see the keynote speaker sitting there. She was a mystery writer and the workshop was on plot. When the workshop was over, I said, “I’m surprised to see you here. As a mystery writer, you must know a lot about plot.”

“You never stop learning,” she said. “You never stop learning.”

I have a lot to learn about using the five senses to improve my writing. What about you? What’s your writing style like? What do you need to improve on?

Find Ed online at:

Personal FB

FB page


Personal Blog

Writer’s Write Daily Blog

Prison Uncensored Blog

We want to thank Ed again for sharing with us how we can improve our writing style. We know you learned a thing or two today as well. Ed has quite a bit of knowledge and experience when it comes to writing. Remember: you never stop learning. Never. Please feel free to ask Ed questions or have a conversation with him about the questions he asked. You can post your questions here, on our blog, and we will make sure that Ed gets them.

K.R. and T.L.
Twitter: @whatsheknewbook

Poetry Marilyn Style!

What comes to mind when you think of Marilyn? Words like glamor, star, sex goddess, beauty, actress, singer, tease possibly? These are some of the words we would use and come easily to our minds. Well, what about writer? Poet? We have to say, that poetry is not something we ever really thought of Marilyn ever being interested in.

It’s refreshing to see, that even in her writing, she was a free spirit. Her words didn’t need to rhyme, the prose didn’t have to be elegant or important, and she was happy with ‘just getting my thoughts onto paper.’ Marilyn really loved reading too. It wasn’t something she advertised, because “who would ever believe a blond bombshell could be smart?”

Here are some of her original poetry:

O, Time Be Kind

O, Time
Be Kind
Help this weary being
To forget what is sad to remember
Loose my loneliness,
Ease my mind,
While you eat my flesh.


I am of both your directions
Existing more with the cold frost
Strong as a cobweb in the wind
Hanging downward the most
Somehow remaining
those beaded rays have the colours
I’ve seen in paintings-ah life
they have cheated you
thinner than a cobweb’s thread
sheerer than any-
but it did attach itself
and held fast in strong winds
and singed by the leaping hot fires
life-of which at singular times
I am both of your directions-
somehow I remain hanging downward the most
as both of your directions pull me

Nite of the Nite

Night of the Nite-soothing-
Seems different-Night has
No eyes nor no one-Silence-
except to the Night itself

I Could Have Loved You Once

I could have loved you once
and even said it
But you went away,
When you came back it was too late
And love was a forgotten word.

From Time To Time

From time to time
I make it rhyme
but don’t hold that kind
of thing
Oh well, what the hell,
so it won’t sell.
What I want to tell-
is what’s on my mind:
‘taint Dishes,
‘taint Wishes,
it’s thoughts
flinging by
before I die-
and to think
in ink.

My Song

My sex is ice cream
come to me
there’s a tender dream
to share
I’m every man’s love affair
with America
sweet angel of sex
sugar of sex
and tender
I ask no price
I’m waiting between the sheets
a rare sexy morning
take me
I’m easy
I’m happy
child-goddess nymphet
child of the universe
my skin glowing
my undergarment
I’m an angel of sex, you bet
and as the poet says
when you drink a beer to me
(even yet)
Let a smile come to your lips.

Blessings, K.R. and T.L.

Summer’s hot but Marilyn’s still hotter!

It’s crazy.  After nearly 50 years Marilyn Monroe is still the hottest woman around.  Did you know that she sells more posters and novelties to the college crowd than any other modern day actress, actor or songster? 


Why?  That is a question many would love to know the answer to.  What is it about her that draws millions of people to her grave every year?  Or that she has fan clubs who honor her memory and guard it like she was family?  Why is Marilyn such a beloved symbol of womanhood?

ImageWe believe that in part she was a woman who made no apologies for who she was.  She did her own thing and lived her own life but she was kind and gentle to those she loved.  While it is true that Marilyn had a few quirks, don’t we all, she accepted her flaws with grace and embraced her own unique personality.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of her death, may all women be like Marilyn, embrace ourselves, love ourselves and most of all accept who we are.  As our beloved Marilyn once said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”  Live the motto ladies!  Love yourselves.

Immortal Marilyn

For today, we thought we would share an older book trailer that we made several years ago for “What She Knew.” Though MasterKoda has made us our latest one, and it totally rocks the literary world, we just can’t give up our other one. It will always hold a special place in our hearts. So, for posterity’s sake, we share it with you today. For us and the world, Marilyn will remain immortal, kept alive by the many pictures of her in stills and movies.

Thanks for walking down memory lane with us. You can always see the MasterKoda LitFlix here on our blog page, on the right hand side, under BLOGROLL. Like we said, it is FANTASTIC!! It really takes the reader on a journey of suspense and mystery. Makes you wonder what did she know and did it possibly have something to do with her death. Check it out today and ‘like’ it on Youtube please!

BLessings, K.R. and T.L.
Facebook: whatsheknew
Twitter: @whatsheknewbook