The Debutante Ball Welcomes Lori Foster

Author Lori Foster

We’re so glad to have romance legend Lori Foster with us to take a spin around the dance floor, with some great advice for writers!  Stay tuned after Lori’s post for information on how you can win a copy of one of her books!

Lori Foster is a Waldenbooks, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. During her career she has received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy and for Contemporary Romance; Amazon’s top-selling romance title for Too Much Temptation; Amazon’s Top Ten editors’ picks in romance for Causing Havoc; Waldenbooks’ second “Bestselling Original Contemporary” romance for  Say No To Joe; the BGI group’s “Bestselling Original Contemporary” romance for the The Secret Life of Bryan & “Bestselling Romantic Comedy” for Jude’s Law; and Amazon’s #1 Editors’ Pick in Romance for Servant: The AcceptanceLori has been featured as a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle, and the USA Today “Quick Cross” puzzle.


As well as writing a variety of romances in all lengths for multiple publishers, Lori has a successful urban fantasy series under the name L. L. Foster.

Lori Foster on Writer’s Block

In all of my comments, I’m going to assume we’re talking about romance books. That said, I don’t really believe in writer’s block. To me, that’s just one of the catch-phrases inherent in this business that are almost designed to stall your creativity.


“Bleeding on the page.” Yeah, who wants to do that!? If you’re not enjoying what you’re writing, I’d have doubts that others would either. If it’s making you so miserable, how will others relate to it? I understand scenes that pull your heart, that touch a sad memory. Those should be in there. Shoot, when writing my own books I snort, chuckle, cry a little, sigh… and I always know it’ll end happy so it’s okay. Because we write romance, we go into this knowing that it’ll all work out in the end!


“Book of your heart.” Well, aren’t they all books we love, otherwise why would we write them? To torture ourselves? Sort of like wearing a hair shirt or something? It’s silly.


To label one book more important than the other is (to me) sort of putting too much importance on the fact that it’s a book meant to entertain. That’s all. But believe me, that enough. We don’t have to make it sound more torturous just to validate it to those non-believers who think romance has no importance. Our books are not there to enlighten the world or solve conflict between nations.


If you’re entertained (and hopefully not bleeding) while writing the story, others will be entertained too! And that’s what our books need to do: entertain. They give relief to readers during times of hardship. I’ve gotten wonderful letters from moms who’ve read in the hospital while sitting with a sick child, spouse, or parent, or herself recovering from an illness or operation. I’ve gotten letters from an elderly gentleman doing chemotherapy, and he told me my books are what made it all less wrenching. I’ve gotten letters from victims of our economy, those who’ve lost a job, or a house, or more, and they say the books are a small get-away from the trouble.


That’s entertainment, and it’s a powerful, powerful thing!


So now that I have that out of the way… writers block. You could have major things going on in your life. Sick children, aging parents, 2nd job conflicts, divorce, etc… But that reflects back to my point: if you enjoy what you’re doing, then writing will be your downtime. There’s a difference in not having time to write, and choosing to do anything and everything else instead of writing.


If you sit down to write and nothing is coming to you…


a) You’re probably telling your friends far too much about your book, and therefore diminishing your drive to get it written. Contrary to popular opinion, you do not need to share each chapter, each page, with a critique group. Your group can’t buy your book, but an editor can. Polish it as much as you can and then send it in. You don’t need to be spoon-fed self doubts by friends who are giving their honest opinion on something that very well may not be the opinion of the editor. It should be YOUR book, in every possible way, not a book by committee. 
    There are truly no new storylines, no new characters, no new settings. The only thing new is YOU. Your voice, your unique take on how characters act and react. Cherish that.  Please. Do not dilute it by running it through the mill. If the only way you can share it is to finish it and send it to an editor, you’ll be far more motivated to write, write, write. A story with a few pits and hollows will stand out more than a shiny, smooth surface, because believe me, publishers get plenty of those.


b) Or it could be that you’ve taken the story in a wrong direction and now have yourself lost. In that case, you need to backtrack and “fix” where you went wrong so that the characters and their actions are more spontaneous and “believable” for how you’ve created them. I remember when writing “Caught in the Act,” I needed a specific thing to happen, but couldn’t figure out how. As you see in section (a) I am not a fan of writing groups. But I am a fan of talking out a problem with a friend. I call Dianne Castell aka Duffy Brown. I don’t bore her with the whole book, but I’ll tell her the situation and why I can’t figure it out, and more often than not, just saying it aloud gives me an idea and I work it out. Dianne does the same with me. Having a close friend who can drop into a scene with you to figure out a quirk is invaluable. 
    Sometimes all you need to do is take a look at the whole, not just that one section, and you see where the kink is in the otherwise straight shot to the end.


c) Or you could be trying to force yourself to write a book you don’t really want to write.  You look around and you see that vampires are selling. So what if you don’t enjoy those books – they’re selling and you want to sell! Or you see that erotica is a hot market. Not your thing, but again, you want to sell! Well, trust me on this, you won’t be happy. You have to write the book that wants to be written. For 99.9% of all writers, it’s going to be mega-tough to sell anyway. Why set yourself up with books you don’t “get” by trying to force yourself into a niche? Write the book you enjoy writing, make it the best book YOU can do, and don’t lose your enthusiasm along the way. It might be hard to believe right now, but the journey to publication is part of the fun.


Lori, we’re so glad you came by the Ball, and we’re grateful that you shared your experience with us! Want to know what’s next for Lori? Read on!


Lori’s new single title series for “Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor” will launch as three books, in three months, back to back in 2011. When You Dare is in May, Trace of Fever is in June, and Savor the Danger is in July. The books are tied together by characters who work in an elite and very private group to rescue women from human trafficking, and to take down the traffickers… by any means necessary. They work with clearance from the law, and outside the law when they have to. She’s working on a 4th book for the series now, out in 2012.

Love Lori like we love Lori? Visit her online:

Lori Foster also writing as L.L. Foster
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Because we love Lori so very, very much, we’re giving away two classic Lori titles: Too Much Temptation and Never Too Much, to two lucky commenter! These books are smart, sweet, and steamy enough to melt the last of the winter snow right off your roof!  We’ll announce the winners in the March 13 News Flash!

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63 thoughts on “The Debutante Ball Welcomes Lori Foster

  1. It boggles my mind how my fave authors keep turning out such awesome material but they do and I am eternally grateful!

  2. I don’t believe in writer’s block. If I’m stuck then I failed to plot something out properly. I’m a former pantster, and when I wrote that way I tended to write myself into trouble. Having discovered the power of structure (thank you, Larry Brooks, I bow to you) I know where I’m going and have no reason to be blocked…or go down trails that lead nowhere.

    • Oh JC Coy, if I planned, I’d be bored on the first page. LOL. But that’s the beauty of this biz – we each have our own way. New authors just need to find the way that works for them.

      Lori – a panster to the bitter end!

  3. Thanks for the great advice! I’ve found that if I am “blocked”, it’s more from fear of messing something up–if I just sit down and open the file and start on some stream of consciousness thing, I can get right on track…I write, “I don’t know what’s supposed to happen here, but if my hero walks into the room and looks at the heroine, and then…blahblahblah” something usually gets going!

  4. I’m with you on “writer’s block.” I never use the phrase. I simply refuse to believe in it. I do believe I can be lazy, scared, overwhelmed, resentful, confused and lazy (did I say that twice? Yeah.) But I write fiction. If I can’t think of something to write, I just make something up.

    Sure–I throw it away the following week, but in the meantime, I’m going again.

    Unless I’m being lazy.

  5. I agree with Cindi….I love to read and have for many years. Thank you to all the authors, including Lori, who keep me entertained.
    Lori…your take on writer’s block was very interesting, and definitely different from other viewpoints that I have read. Sounds sensible to me, but I am a reader and not a writer.
    Thank you for the opportunity to win your books.

    • RubyD, I often feel like a trout swimming upstream. I’ve found that my viewpoints are usually different form the norm. Luckily, in this biz, I can be different and still be okay. LOL

      Lori

  6. Lori, this is such a helpful post. I love your explanation about getting too many opinions while a story is still in progress. I have a friend I talk to when I have a trouble spot, and most of the time my brain is working in the background as we chat, as if it’s racing to come up with the answer first–which it usually does. LOL

    I love your books, and I’m glad there are new ones to look forward to soon. 🙂

  7. Lori, you’re so correct on the writer’s block. A writer is either stuck o na plot point, or has givcen up on themselves as a writer. A good example is that even at the height of the troubles with my oldest son and then his recent kidney transplant, I wrote a lot and frequently or edited what I wrote. In the book I just finished, The Diamond Road, I had to find a way for the bad guys to try to trap the heroine out where she couldn’t be rescued. I thought about it, I edited old pages, shortened old pages, did research, and on and on. Though I was plodding along on the book, I didn’t really write anything new for 6 months and stopped working on it totally for over 5 months. My progress was blocked by the need for the clever trap.
    One day about 6 months ago, I was driving to sub at the local high school and saw a beautiful animal someone had ran over. I can’t remember what it was, it may have been a fox. I almost cried because I love animals so much. I instantly looked up from the animal, and like a light bulb had exploded over my head, I knew what the trap would be! A torrent of new material came out because I knew what should happen just before and after the trap. A week ago, I sent the complete, shortened, and polished novel to two publishers and will send to my regular publisher this week!
    That’s a long illustration to show that it’s not always life that causes the so-called writer’s block, sometimes, it’s the work itself and the writer not knowing how to proceed. Even then, the mind is still working on it constantly, so you haven’t stopped working totally.
    In my mind, when you stop writing AND thinking about your work, that’s giving up on writing and yourself as a writer, not writer’s block.

  8. It’s SO weird that one of my L.L. Foster books is showing up with my posts! I can’t find a login in anywhere to change that out, so… just bear with me on it. Sorry for any confusion. That book is pretty old now. LOL

    Lori

  9. Loving Lori Foster books I am so pleased to know that you have this take on “writers block”. Please keep working through it and I can’t wait for your next series (those models already have my mind turning with ideas).

  10. Hi Lori! I totally agree with you on writers block. The few times I have felt blocked while writing it’s been because something went wrong and I just have to go back and find it, and fix it. The one person I really bounce ideas off is my best friend. She is always honest and always helps my out when I need her. I really cant wait to read your new series thats coming out. All of your books are wonderful!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  11. Lori, you hit the nail right on the head. Now that I am writing the book I want rather than the one I thought I could sell I am averaging between 2,000 and 3,000 words a day. The ideas keep bubbling.

    Thank you for making the points you did.

  12. Don’t have snow down here in Georgia, but could use some competition in the heat department for when that ol’ devil comes! Would love to win these!!

  13. Love, love, LOVE this post! As the romance writer of this year’s Debutante Ball group, I particularly enjoy your take on the whole “book of your heart” issue and the fact that we’re here to entertain, PERIOD.

    Well said!

    Tawna

  14. Lori– I like your viewpoint on writing.
    You have to write what you love.

    I think that shows in your books because us readers love what you write.

    Thanks to you and all the authors who give us wonderful books to read.
    Lynda

  15. Good luck with your new single title series. “Human trafficking” sounds like we’ll be in for some harsh scenes, but as long as everything turns out right in the end, I’m okay with that. Like you, I buy books for entertainment. It’s okay to paint a scene of tragedy, but don’t leave me there! I want to be satisfied when I reach the end, not horrified. I know you’ll make things right for the characters, so I buy your books. 🙂

  16. Lori it amazes me when a author can consistently put out books i end up loving. I’m still working thru your older books but i’m loving everyone on the way thru them. Glad you don’t get writers block! lol Can’t wait for the new series to start hitting the bookshelves and so glad i don’t have to wait to get to the next ones in the series very long. Hate to wait! lol

    Lisa B

  17. You’re all too kind! Thank you.
    I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that you all enjoy my new series. I can’t wait to hear the feedback. Hope it’s positive! LOL

    Hugs,

    Lori

  18. I don’t think of it as a block but more being having too many ideas in my head. When that happens I sew (my own clothes) giving my hands something to do frees up my brain.
    Paulette

  19. I would be more than happy to take these books and give them a home..:) I have their twins but would love a new set…wearing out the ones I have..:)

  20. I have seen some writers do a book every 8-12 months. It astonishes me. I can’t imagine the imagination that takes, or the supreme work ethic.

  21. Really interesting post, Lori! I happen to be a big fan of critique groups, but only when they’re small, and it’s a group you really trust. Mine includes two other writers and myself, and I’ve found their notes and thoughts incredibly helpful. I don’t agree with everything they say, and when their notes go against what I feel to be right for the story, I don’t implement those notes. It’s absolutely the case that in the end, others’ thoughts should be an impetus to focus you more clearly on your own voice and story — that’s when it works.

    Thanks for coming to the Ball!

  22. Great post. Thanks for sharing! Cant wait for the new trilogy. I only recently started reading her books. Loving them so far. Still have a bit of catching up to do though.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  23. I love Lori Foster books. Never been disappointed! The great thing about her books that if I haven’t read them in a while, I will start over on a series and its like reading it again for the first time. Cant wait for the new series! 🙂

  24. I don’t know if what I have is writers block or something else, but I do know that over the last few months my desire to write has faded. Heck, lately I’m forcing myself to read. I have no significant health or family troubles and I still love books, so I don’t know what the problem might be. I just know I’m struggling to rediscover the joy I used to find in losing myself in a story, whether it’s one I’m writing or one I’m reading. It feels like all my creativity has drained away and the sad part is I barely miss it.

  25. Thank you for this post – I, too, believe that books are mainly for entertainment and I’m tired of being told that I should write ‘literary’ (whatever that means), so thank you for giving me the confidence and permission to ignore the advice and be myself through my words.

  26. I cannot wait to read the new series. I’m scared to death of human trafficking but I love reading about rescues by hot men. Thanks!!

  27. In peoria, az, we have no snow on the roof, but we still love the heated books! 🙂

  28. Lori: I really enjoyed reading your post and your take on what the book’s purpose is. I love to read and I love to get lost in the book. I love books that make me laugh and those that make me cry. I love to escape my reality and get lost in a book. I don’t care if it’s a stretch of the imagination or that it couldn’t happen in ‘real life’ or the hero is too good to be true or the heroine whines at times – I’ve been entertained. And for that – I thank you and your fellow authors for providing tons of hours of entertainment!!! Having said that, I’m really looking forward to your new series. Human traffickers should be taken down – by any means possible. Thank you.

  29. I can totally relate to going off in the wrong direction! Sometimes I write, look it over and ask myself “What was I thinking?” That usually takes care of any “block” I have.

    I am continually impressed with the amount of great work that authors come out with. I write for fun and sometimes it takes me forever!

    I am looking forward to the new releases Lori and thanks for your take on writer’s block!

  30. Lori-You hit the nail on the head! As a reader, I want to be entertained when reading a romance, not lectured by some self absorbed, “tortured” artist (like those who write “great literature”). And I want a happy ending! That’s probably the main reason I read romances, if I were to analyze why. And I know you and my other fav romance authors will deliver! Thanks for all the great reads so far-so looking forward to the new books.

  31. I enjoy a lot of different types of books.. And I find it very interesting to learn about the process of writing. Thanks for being creative in writing!

  32. Lori, You know how much i love your books, it is interesting to read about one of my favorite authors, thank you for all your books and looking forward to more when your next series comes out! Agatha

  33. Lori – I am in love with you (literally as in books)!! I think you’re a fireball when it comes to writing, and anyone who can keep those books coming, along with Awards, is more than ok in my book!! Living up North, I desperately need the snow to be melted off of my roof, and my toes to be warmed, along with the rest of me. I know that your books are just the ticket! Whether it’s your website, a blog, or a book, you never cease to put a smile on my face, or some warmth in my heart. Thank you, and keep up the good work!! I could sure use some updated reading material!!

  34. I for one am glad my fav author’s (Lori being one)
    doesn’t have a problem with writer’s block. Can you
    imagine the horror of no new books out. LOL

  35. I lovethis post it would make sence that writers would have ablock when they have so manybooks i couldntkeep the characters from blurring so my hats r off to authors who can and I love Loris books its truelly an honor to read them i havent read the classics you mentioned but now ill haveto check them out for sure

    im enjoying this blog book marked and following

    mortalsinn@yahoo.com

  36. I really enjoyed the post and reading many of the replies. I am not a writer, but I have writer’s block all the time just trying to send a note or letter to someone:) Kudos to all the authors, I do not know how you keep coming up with the goods!!! Thanks, use readers appreciate it!!!

    Judy
    magnolias_1[at]msn[dot]com

  37. Wow I loved your answer about “writers block ” to me I always have this when I need to write and essay for school I think it has to due with the fact that I have too much others things on my mind and at the time I cannot just concentrate on the project at hand so there for I freeze. You are a great writer and I agree with you writers should write what they enjoy reading about not what is selling . Thats like me going to college to be something based on the money and not my interest in the subject I will be bored and hate life. I think I speak for us all that love you keep on writing and keep those contests coming 🙂 I love to read I learned how to read when I was two and have been reading ever sense I dont have a good day unless I read a few chapters a night in my book of choice that week.
    Have a great evening everybody

  38. So can’t wait for this new book! It’s on my Calendar! 🙂 Cover isn’t bad either! mmmm *Wicked Grins*

  39. I have read and re-read all of Lori’s books. There isn’t a bad one written, They’re all great writing. So when someone asks me what’s my favorite book, I just say… Lori Foster
    Keep those books coming Lori!!!

  40. I just love Lori’s books ! What a great Blog interview, and thanks for the info on writers block !

    Wishing Lori the best with her new release 🙂

  41. I look at my schoolwork the same way! If I talk about it TOO much then I have nothing to say when I start writing it all down!

  42. I love a book you can’t put down. I also love it when you can’t wait for the next book just because you want to know what is going to happen. 🙂

  43. I love Lori’s books. Shes a new author to me, only been reading her about a year or so. Took me awhile to catch up with all her work. Can’t wait to get my hand on the new series! Love you, Lori and keep on truckin’!

  44. I have been reading Lori’s books for several years but I have just recently found her on Facebook. I enjoy her daily posts that let you know what is going on in her life. I also enjoy her newsletters and her web page. I don’t know where she finds the time to write and keep her readers informed, but I appreciate it.

  45. Love Lori’s books! I can always count on her for a laugh and some steamy scenes! Thanks for all your writing Lori!

  46. Lori’s books are always a guarentee for a great read.. They are filled with great characters and good stories…
    Looking forward to these new books coming out…

  47. I read about Too Much Temptation and Never Too Shy, and have to say that the description above was spot on when it came to what I thought.

  48. I love learning about how writers think and are able to create such wonderful books that us readers get to enjoy. Thank you for your comments and suggestions to the great talented writers out there. I hope that they read your “Writer’s Block.” Thank you for sharing this with us readers. I wish I were a writer’s block helper!! What fun that would be!

  49. Lori is a favorite. Now reading, The Guy Next Door, and I saved her story for last. I knew it would be the best. I am half way through it and so far, oh yes, it is the best. The last one was ok, a clever ending. The middle one was even better. A wonderful love story and what a ‘happily ever after’ ending! 🙂

  50. Would love to win books by Lori. Have communicated and received materials—Thanks Lori!

  51. Lori – I love your books because you covef such a diverse and interesting collection of situations and characters. I’ve read your books for years and I’m always surprised by the many different story lines that you come up with. As always when you have a new series released I want to be able to read them all at once and the waiting for the next release is agony but well worth it.

  52. Lori: I always appreciate your straightforward viewpoints and advice. They are extremely beneficial and keep me from going too far down the “pity myself” trail. Though, sometimes we like to be left with some illusions for a while.
    I see terms, “Writer’s block”, “Bleeding on the page” and “Book of your heart” as socially, acceptable comments similar to those you expect to hear from, “How you doing?”,”How’s your day going?” or the check-out clerk asking “Did you find everything alright?” There’s a myriad of real answers under such simple questions.
    I think the writer in us is always writing: whether one is in front of a computer, tucking a kid into bed or driving 500 miles in the night to help a friend whose mom suddenly passed away. Granted, one can’t submit anything that isn’t on paper yet, which brings me to the most socially accepted line, “I’m sorry, but I can’t find the time.” Who knew it was hiding?

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