Archive for the ‘This Writing Life’ Category

Lady in Red

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

This is one of my favorite books and I am so glad they have re-released the print version (e-book version also available!) It has been fun to revisit some of my favorite characters. If you have not read it yet and have been wanting to pick it up in print, here’s your chance!

To read more about LADY IN RED, click here!

Taking Chances

Editing . . . and editing . . . and editing . . . Did I mention I’ve been editing?

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

READER QUESTION: Karen, you mentioned on Facebook this week you were editing. Do you like editing or is writing more fun?

ANSWER: Right now, I’m editing the final draft of the first book of my Princes of Oxenburg series, which will be out August 2014. Some authors write slowly and carefully. For them, editing is a simple clean up: getting rid of passive voice, making sure no character is shrugging or smiling too often, looking for missing or misspelled words – that sort of thing.

That doesn’t work for me. I write forward in gloriously messy, hugely sweeping swatches, scribbling scene after scene as fast as I can imagine them, not always in order, either. I’ve never, EVER written ‘carefully.’ I can’t write while being ‘careful.’ ‘Careful’ stops my creativity, stifles my sense of humor, and doesn’t allow the characters in my mind enough room to breathe on their own.

When I write, I need to be unfettered and completely lost to the moment, and ‘careful’ is the opposite of that.

frustrated-writerFor me, editing is an amazingly frustrating process, but I still love every minute. The frustrating part is rereading and rereading and rereading, and tweaking and tweaking and tweaking, and adding and adding and adding, and subtracting and subtracting and subtracting – it’s slow, painstaking, and agonizing. But as onerous as it is, as many hours as it takes, I LOVE seeing those rough scenes slowly polished into something sparkly and beautiful and worth sharing. I feel so much satisfaction as I edit, that deep, soul-happy feeling that FINALLY, all is right with the world.

When you write something, do you write it as fast as you can, and then go back and edit it into shape? Or do you write slowly, carefully, so you have to do very little editing?

NOTE: My husband, Hot Cop, knows to never read over my shoulder when I’m writing. When he does, I screech and throw myself over the screen while yelling, “DON’T LOOK! IT’S NOT READY!” I don’t let anyone see my rough drafts, because they’re painfully rough and very, very drafty.

My kind of gift!

Monday, September 30th, 2013

A book is a gift you can open again and again.

What book has someone given you that you’ve read more than once?

My computer died.

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Sad face.

I’m waiting to find out what the verdict is on saving my baby. In the meantime, I am running through all the things that were on it – my latest pages for my next book, some random photos from my trip and other assorted things. All thing said, it’s not the end of the world, but I still feel a bit of loss.

As I wait for the genius to come over and look at my sad little laptop, I decided to list out the main things I use my computer for – in no particular order.

Writing. This goes without saying since my job is to come up with new stories for you all to enjoy.

Email. Business correspondence, as well as notes back and forth between my kids and family. And perhaps notices of fabulous shoe sales.

Surfing. Very important for research. And finding pictures of coffee. And Hugh Jackman. And cats. If I find one of Hugh Jackman drinking coffee while holding a cat, I’ll consider the day a huge success.

Candy Crush. I’m not proud, but there you go.

Accounting. Well, sort of. The program is there and I entered in a few things but we all know I’ll probably just bring the shoebox of receipts to my accountant and wish them luck and offer them chocolate as an apology.

Shopping. Those shoes aren’t gonna order themselves, you know.

Travel. Well, virtual travel. I love that I can take little video trips to my favorite locales when I need a mental break.

Facebook. I love chatting with my readers. And playing Candy Crush. Well, I’m past the point of loving Candy Crush, but the addiction has set in and I can’t seem to stop. Again, I’m not proud.

Puppies. Who doesn’t like pictures and videos of puppies?

What do you use your computer for? What would you miss the most if your computer died? (And remember to back your data up!)



A beautiful garden

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

A novel is a garden carried in the pocket.

Release Week

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

This week marks the release of the final installment of the Duchess Diaries series, How to Entice an Enchantress, into the literary wild. Usually I spend release week sitting at home manically checking the lists and rankings for the book. Possibly reading the early reviews and continuously asking Hot Cop if he thinks it will do well (he, being the smart and wonderful man that he is, always says “yes”.)

So this week ended up being a little different. I had to schedule meetings with my agent and editor in New York and so I find myself here in the Big Apple with daughter and a huge list of things to possibly distract me from Release Week Obsession.

First stop on the agenda is shoe shopping. I don’t know what it is about shoes but I love them. Flats, sandals, boots, loafers, heels…I love them all. I’ve scoped out a few places that are known to have great sales and a good selection and I’m off and running.

Second, I’m on the hunt for a glorious meal, which I don’t think is too difficult a task in this city. Good food is plentiful.

Third, I’m spending time with my daughter and some other friends while in town.

For the most part, my plan is working and I’m not obsessively starting at my computer screen and hitting REFRESH all the time. Of course, my smartphone battery might be running low (again) from trying to check it as I run about but the distractions are helping a bit.

What do you do when you need to be distracted from something? Have you picked up a copy of How to Entice an Enchantress yet?

Introducing the Hawkinistas!

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

I am so excited to announce the members of my new street team the Hawkinistas! I was so honored by all the submissions to be a part of this group and it was incredibly difficult to pare it down to a manageable size. But pare it down I did and I’m giddy about this fabulous group of readers!

Without further ado, I would like to announce my first group of Hawkinistas!

Alisha W

Ann T

Babbette C

Brandi H

Brianna M

Cail R

Cindie G

Cynthia St. G

Cynthia S

Donna B

Erin M

Grace A

Jennifer D

Joan W

Julie-Ann F

Kai W

Kay G

Laura F

Laura M

Lee S

Lili B

Lisa W

Marilyn L

Melissa L

Melody M

Molly M

Nancy G

Samantha H

Sandra C

Sandra N

Shan Mc

Sharon F

Suzanne V


Valerie M

Congratulations and I look forward to being a part of this amazing group! (Hawkinistas, check your emails for your intro letter if you haven’t already done so!)


Quotable fun

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Family is the only anchor that will hold in a choppy sea. From Scandal in Scotland by Karen Hawkins

Snacks for writers

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

I often get email from readers asking “Karen, what do you like to snack on when you’re writing?”

Ok, maybe not, but I thought that would be a better lead-in to a post about snacks than “I’m hungry and need to go to the grocery store so all thoughts are focused on what’s NOT in the house to nibble on.”

So, in case you were ever curious about what Karen Hawkins likes to writers eat whilst working, here is a very non-scientifically obtained list written down in no particular order – except brownies. Brownies always reside on top. Also I have listed the pros and cons of each.

Cheetos (or cheezy puffs as my friend calls them)

Neon orange, packed with salt, crunch and a faux-cheese flavor, these babies are a Hawkins House staple.

PROS: cheeeeeezy goodness

CONS: orange fingers, lips, keyboards, notepads and pens

Dark Chocolate

A more intense flavor than milk chocolate and, according to some report I’m sure I read somewhere on the interwebs, good for you.

PROS: It’s chocolate

CONS: None. It’s chocolate.


Used only in the most dire of need, since it’s a little heavy to snack on. But as every college student knows, pizza boosts brain power.

PROS: can be eaten hot or cold and they deliver it to your door!

CONS: Melted cheese and pepperoni grease on the keyboard.


Rich, moist, decadent and adaptable to all tastes.

PROS: They are BROWNIES. ‘Nuff said.

CONS: None, they are chocolate and a baked good.


Crunchy, light, available in a variety of flavors or just plain on the stove-top it’s easy to nosh on from the bowl or bag.

PROS: Good with butter and salt and smells lovely (unless burned – see “cons”)

CONS: Makes you want to go to the movies. Burned popcorn smell rivals any toxic cloud and lingers for days.

Grapes, fruit, cut up veggies.

Straight from the farm to the fridge, produce is a wonderful, healthy snack while writing.

PROS: healthy, not too messy to eat.

CONS: Benefit to the creative process is questionable, all those healthy nutrients detract from brain power.

Wine and Diet Coke

While not a “snack” both these beverages are staples in most author’s consumable arsenal.

PROS: One relaxes, the other perks up.

CONS: Tipsy or overly caffeinated writing often must be rewritten. Darn it.

What are your favorite snacks?

Today’s thought about reading

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Of all the diversions of life, there is one so peoper to fill up its empty space as the reading of useful and entertaining authors. James Addison