Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why I write

Why do I write? I guess you could say I write because I HAVE to. I've always told stories; I started when my little sister kept bugging me so much that I needed some way to quiet her down so I could sleep. If I told her a story she would back off, so I bless her lovely little inquisitive heart - she got me started.

I always have a part of me open to the "What if." Snippets of news on NPR or seeing a field back-lit by a sky in gradations of violet and purple would spring me into story mode.

Why paranormal? This is an odd one. When I was nine years old, I wanted to become a nun. A nun! I wasn't even Catholic, but I loved the sense of ritual that I did not find in my parents' Protestant churches and becoming a nun seemed to have a mystical edge to it. However, I wasn't sure exactly what I was and was not sure about the celibacy thing so I put that idea in the background. Here is the odd and silly part - I saw the Bell, Book and Candle movie with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, and when I saw the modern witches in that movie it was like a deep inner bell rang really loud. That's what I was!! A witch. Of course, the early 1960s in upstate New York only had books on how bad witches were. I was too young to get a copy of Gerald Gardner's books on modern witches so it took until we moved to California and I became involved with Wiccans to realize that was "what I was."

In Wicca, the paranormal is normal, so writing stories with the paranormal reflected what I experienced. Also, all the stories I told my little sister had magical elements in them, snatched from dreams and an inner connection with the sacred. Also, I love to read paranormals, I started with fairy tales, then The Wizard of Oz and the Lord of the Rings. You tend to write the books you like to read and that was true of me.

My first full-length novel was a really long "magic, murder and mayhem in the Middle Ages" book about a half-Basque witch who comes into her full powers torn between the love of two men - one a Breton knight who was her childhood sweetheart and the other an Inquisition soldier sent to destroy her. I did a lot of research to get pedigrees for all my characters - minor barons and knights who really lived during that time. I got these from a series of French books at Berkeley titled 'L'Histoire de . . ." which were about the story of different areas of France. It was a lot of fun!

Up until 1997, I had a clear vision for all the books or stories I wrote, even though I am a "seat of the pants" writer who likes to be surprised. Then a string of deaths and catastrophes shut me down. The next book I wrote was less written by me, that is, I wrote it but the experience was more that it wrote me. That book became my Wild Rose Press release, Sacred Guardian.

I wrote Sacred Guardian to prove to myself that I was not going crazy. This is probably still up to some debate, but I fell into a horrifying and lengthy crisis that lasted years and when things got really bad, I started hearing voices. I've been Wiccan for over 30 years and have been in touch with inner guidance, but never, ever heard voices.

This was not the regular voice-in-the-head that dances around commenting on everything was a Voice that was not part of "me" at all and it scared the pants off me. Yet when I got really scared, it backed off and let me be. Finally, I asked it what it was and it told me it was an angel.

Yeah, right, sure, an angel. Angels and witches? Right. I thought, "Hey, maybe it's just a character trying to get me back into writing again. So I started writing it. I have to say that I tend to write long and fairly fast. But this book took me by the throat.

Over time, the book morphed and twisted. It would not sit still, because the experiences I was having kept growing. I had to really bear down on the book to get a story that could be told in 350 pages.

Years later, I'd written and had other stories published but this book still would not let me alone. Finally, after being to India several times and experiencing some really amazing things, I surrendered the fear that I was crazy and wrote the book.

I imagine there are other writers out there who have books that "wrote" them. What a ride!


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Why I write.

A simple question, right? Not so easy to answer. Well, I never thought of myself as a writer. While working on a second masters, one professor described me as such to our cohort of future school administrators. Arguing I was (and always would be) just a music teacher, she insisted, "No. You're a writer. Your papers tell a story." Okay. So I wrote three educational essays weekly during those two intense years - while teaching full time and staggering through a nasty divorce. Then my action research thesis wins a prestigious award, and I contributed a chapter in a textbook for urban music educators. Although it had to happen, I couldn't process difficult changes in my life after twenty-six years of marriage. I had two grown children who needed a better grip on the reality of our situation as well. My sense of self spiraled out of control in a dangerous way.

So my son told me to write. And longing for some type of salvation myself, I created a sensual vampire who would fight like hell for redemption. I figured ten pages of blah-blah-blah and I'd have my emotional catharsis. Retribution! was born - all 130,000 words of it. Believe it or not, a reputable publishing house asked me to lop off 30,000 words. Imagine that. I refused the horrid request and simmered with so much anger that I wrote Consequences... which came in at 140,000 words!

In two years I had two books, and then two contracted offered. I happily signed with TWRP - cut my word-counts way way down and did the happy dance with two proud kids who never stopped believing in their crazy mom. My goddess of an editor, Callie Lynn, named the series The Champion Chronicles. Very patiently, she nursed me through the edit process for Retribution! By the time we started Consequences, I think I made her proud. And when she contracted Inheritance, Book Three of the Trilogy, at last I understood why I write.

Writing is creative expression. As a paranormal author, my world takes any shape I choose. Character development, research, setting and mood capture my attention and the dust bunnies multiply while I craft my version of happily-ever-after. Now that I'm a Vice Principal in a large urban school, what I see every day would make anyone want to live in a fantasy, at least for a little while. I wish I had more time to let my imagination run wild and free. I know it will happen; just don't know when.

I've been blessed and then blessed again. I think my angels work overtime :)  This incredible journey into writing; this glorious pleasure of telling a story still makes me excited. Simply put, I write because it's a part of who I am. Why do you write?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why I Write

I’ve always been a writer. It’s something I remember doing since I could pick up crayons and draw. I’d create storylines for the images I drew and later when I learned how to write, I’d fill notebooks and pads of paper with stories. It was my mother who encouraged me to read and write. She was the reader in my family. There’s not a day that went by without her reading something. I have very clear memories of her sitting on the couch in the living room, her nose buried in a book, most often a romance novel.

As I grew out of reading children’s books and started looking for something with more substance, nearly bypassing the teenage books of the time, which unlike today were few and far between, I walked into my mother’s library and picked up a romance novel. She had plenty to choose from and after reading that, I walked to the nearby mall and purchased my own. From that day, I was addicted to reading romance and naturally, my writing began to reflect my reading.

I spent hours upon hours lost in the worlds I created as well as those created by other authors. It wasn’t until high school that I realized this was my passion. I took a creative writing class and it literally changed my life. The teacher praised my work to the other students, insisting they read what I wrote, much to my utter embarrassment. I was quite shy back then and I recall ducking my head into my desk as every student in the class looked at me with curious eyes. After class, a few of them approached me asking to read my short story. The teacher also pulled me aside to encourage me to continue my writing. He was sure, with a little work, I could easily lengthen my short story into a novel and perhaps get it published.

Up until then, it never occurred to me that people actually wrote stories for a living. These people called authors. I never imagined I could be counted among them. But, I took his advice and turned my hobby into a study of the craft. For several years, I attended conferences and workshops, read everything I could find about writing novels, romance in particular and in the meantime I got a job working at a bookstore, mostly to sustain my reading habit. It was a nice perk getting an employee discount to buy more books than I had ever dreamed of buying.

And during that time I wrote and wrote and wrote. I submitted some and wrote some more. Luckily, the rejections I received were encouraging instead of overly critical and I kept trying harder to polish my writing.

In 2006, I stepped down from my Assistant Manager position in the bookstore after I gave birth to my first son. After gazing into his beautiful blue eyes, I realized I hadn’t pursued my passion with as much fervor as it deserved. I never stopped writing, although some years I wrote and submitted more than others. I had dreamed of becoming published for several years and I wanted to prove to myself and my children that dreams really could come true. My son inspired me to be a better person, a person he could look up to and admire.

I fell back into writing with new determination. And on the day of his third birthday party, I received a contract from The Wild Rose Press. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I danced with my sons (by then I had 2 boys), and they giggled and laughed and had no idea why Mommy was so happy but they cleverly went along with it.

And now, expecting my third baby, I’m still writing and every time my boys catch a glimpse of the cover of my e-book while I’m online they jump and point at it, yelling “There’s mommy’s book!” It brings tears of joy to my eyes every time.

My paranormal romance debut, The Witch and the Wolf, was released in July 2010. For more information about me, stop by my website,

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Journey

When I was a child, I loved to read. For me, it seemed the natural next step was to try and write. My first story, written sometime in elementary school as a project, was Glartian the Martian, a children's book about a character whose differences made him feel alone. Depressing, but with a happy ending, of course. My next attempt was a romance. I was all of nine or ten at the time. So, what did I know about romance? Nothing, which is why the story was so bad. Horrible dialogue and wandering plot.

My attempts at writing stories ended there. But, I still loved to write. Poetry. Papers. I derived pleasure from creating fragments and sentences to convey my thoughts.

Ten. Twenty. Years went by before I once again tried my hand at story-telling. Purely as a means of distraction and entertainment. Distraction from studying for comprehensive exams. Entertainment for my husband, who also loves to read.

Family encouragement led me to submit my first short story, His Ship, Her Fantasy, a sci-fi romance, and lo and behold it was accepted. Then came His Hope, Her Salvation. Click here to buy.

Why sci-fi? Why fantasy? Why romance? I love to speculate and I love happy endings, so why not?

My journey continues into many realms...erotica (look for Twice is Not Enough, coming soon from The Wild Rose Press), suspense, flash fiction. The journey is exciting and nerve-wracking. I never know where it will take me, but the ride is fun.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why I wanted to be a writer

Why did I want to be a writer? Well, it beats working outside in this heat. :) Really, though. I've always made up stories in my mind and starting in 2nd grade, began writing them down. Most of those first stories were like Nancy Drew (my favorite book at the time), although the ones I'd carry on in my head (does anyone else live in their daydreams??) were more like Little House on the Prairie (another fav). In 9th grade, I wrote a report on what schools would be like in the future and the teacher told me it was way too creative for the assignment and suggested I should sign up for her creative writing class (which didn't fit in my schedule). Writing stopped completely in college, at least the creative kind. One day about 8 years ago I was sitting in cube-ville and thinking that I'd love a job that I could work at from home. It was like a light turning on b/c all these stories started piling into my head, wanting out on the page. The end result was not pretty (although I thought it wonderful), and I signed up for Writer's Digest to try to learn to write better. Then while at a book sale at work I stumbled across a romance novel, a paranormal romance novel. I'd given up on romance many years before, but didn't recognize this one as a romance novel until I was halfway through it. And loving it. That book introduced me into the genre and soon after I joined RWA and started trying to send out manuscripts. Since I loved reading fantasy growing up, paranormals were an obvious next step. I like to mix what I call Harry Potter elements into my writing. Give me a magical story any day and I'm in heaven on earth. A couple of years back, I read about the Got Wolf? contest on TWRP website and the rest is history. :)

What kinds of books do you like to read and why?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

about writing

Hello, and happy August. :) The question is: What brought me to be a writer? Well, it started a long time ago. In second grade, I liked to write poetry. I'd read it to my family. In high school, I wrote a lot of songs then eventually stories. Sometimes my sisters and I would put on plays and act them out at home, but it was really just for fun. In college, I wrote novel length stories, but just for my own amusement. Finally, in my thirties, I got the courage to submit to publishers. It took a few years to get a book deal.

I didn't read romance growing up, but I got married young, at 19. My mother-in-law handed me several romance books, and I liked them and sought out more. The happy endings are what hooked me for life. Then I began writing romances for the happiness they brought. And paranormal...well, I had an unusual childhood and an unusual mother. She taught me a lot about the supernatural when I was growing up. I combined the two genres, romance and paranormal, and had so much fun with the results that I'll do it again! Paranormal allows so much for the unexpected. Many people go for the mythical type and write about vampires and werewolves--great! But i don't write that type. I go with the things my mom taught me about, supernatural things that I believe actually exist: angels, the astral plane, karma, ghosts...and I throw in something that i wished existed but is still a blast to write about even though it's only in the realm of imagination: time travel.

That's the great thing about paranormal. It encompasses so much. As a wide open area, it offers a myriad of things to touch upon, and authors can write a huge variety of plots with this genre. -Corinne

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why writing?

Why did I start writing? I think when your day dreams become narrated scenes in your head, it's time to put the images on paper or someone my decided that you're 'Not quite right in the head.' Ya know what I mean?

I remember babysitting when I was a kid for a whopping one buck an hour, ya, I'm that old, and once the kids were all tucked in their beds I'd be sitting there either reading a category romance or putting pencil to paper. I wrote the beginning chapters of several books long before I ever experienced a real 'love life'. Boy do I wish I'd kept those first chapters. Sadly, I didn't. Writers are born, in my humble opinion. I'm just geared that way. If I could mold the way I dream, I would. Have you ever woke up from a fantastic dream frustrated and then sit there and add the happy ending you want? I do.

I'm Catherine Bybee... maker of dreams and happily ever afters. :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

From Dream to Reality

When I was in thirteen, my language arts teacher asked the class to write a story using all their spelling words. My story filled a spiral notebook and my love of writing began. The rest of the year and into the next, I filled pages of spiral notebooks with my stories. And then burned them in the basement fireplace so no one would learn my secret desire. I wanted to write romantic suspense and all my stories were based on my favorite television shows like EMERGENCY and MEDICAL CENTER.

But, bt the time I was a senior in high school, I’d quit writing. I decided it was a childish pursuit and I wanted a career in medicine. I chose a career in radiology. And forgot all about writing. For awhile. But the old dream haunted me and I could let it go. I told my husband about the stories I used to write and how I wanted to write again. Then in 1995, he bought my first computer and told me to stop dreaming and start writing.

Well, I still didn't think I could write, so I took a writing class and thought I'd just write children's stories for my daughters. But that didn't satisfy the dream. So, in 1996, I decided to write a romance.

It was a medical thriller and it was so bad there are no copies left of that horrid story. But I learned something from the attempt. I needed help. So, I joined Romance Writers of America and my local support group. And I studied the craft.

For twelve years, I wrote what I loved to read. Mainly, historicals and paranormal. But I kept getting rejected. I went through three agents and came close to getting published with a New York publisher. But after three revision letters, I was rejected again. I didn't give up.

I took every comment from every editor, agent, and publisher and revised my stories. I went to meetings and read books in the genres I wanted to write. And I edited and revised until I was sick of the characters. They became like annoying guests who’d overstayed their welcome. But I continued to pursue the dream.

Then finally, after thirteen years of rejection, I got THE EMAIL from Lill Farrell at The Wild Rose Press. She liked OUT OF THE DARKNESS, my paranormal vampire romance. I the email on Mother’s Day, 2009. And almost exactly one year to the date, on May 28, 2010, OUT OF THE DARKNESS was released!

Currently, I’m working on the sequel, INTO THE LIGHT. I’ve also submitted a full historical manuscript to The Wild Rose Press. So, I’m hopeful my dream of writing in more than one genre will come true.

Because after all, that’s what writers do. We dream.

What’s your dream?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grounded in Reality-Lost in Fiction

Hi Fellow Black Roses,
How did I get started writing? What brought me to romance? Paranormal romance?
Wow. I suppose I could tell you Frank Langella's Dracula and you'd understand immediately.
But there's a lot more to it than that.
I'm a scientist by profession, I have a BS degree in Biochemistry. I work in research and development in clinical chemistry. I'm literally grounded in reality. My work life is exact, precise; one mistake can create several days worth of setbacks.
So where do I fly free? In my writing. Instead of be governed by structure, I get to set the rules. I can even decide there are no rules. In the paranormal genre, I get to create worlds. In suspenses, I get to kill people :)). So the end result is: I do what I want to do in my books.
Why romance? I believe in happy endings. I couldn't imagine writing a book without a happy ending. And I believe in the power of love. My website says Sinful Suspense where Love Conquers All. I believe in that. I hope you do too.
So fellow Roses? How did you get started? What brought you to romance?
Let me know.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Let's Play Make Believe

When did I decide I wanted to be an author? The moment I picked up my first book. I would lose myself within the pages of a good western, where the heroes were rugged cowboys and the heroines were feisty women, who knew what they wanted. I would bite my nails reading a haunting ghost story where monsters did exist under the bed. I was charmed by the knights-in-shining-armor who risked all to save the lady. These authors had passion and wit. They created characters that touched my soul and created worlds where I could visit over and over again. These author belonged to a special club called let’s play make believe and I wanted to join. They were the ones who inspired me to pick up a pen and write. I’ve never regretted it.
**Note: They’re always looking for new recruits.
Time Travel and OtherWorldly Romance... Embrace your destiny and enter my world at: