Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Loucinda McGary Guest Blog w/ a Giveaway!


Since I sold my first romantic suspense novel almost two years ago, the question I am most often asked is: Where do you come up with the ideas for you books? I always answer, “Everywhere!” And that is honestly the truth!

Sometimes I’ll read or see something that will inspire me to learn more. Sometimes it is a more nebulous series of events that eventually leads to the development of a plot or character. I never really know what might inspire me, or when inspiration might hit, but I can tell you exactly what led me to write my latest book The Treasures of Venice. The thing that spurred me start writing this story was a piece of music.

I’ve been a fan of classical music since the days when I watched Bugs Bunny slap Elmer Fudd’s bald head with his ears in time to the Overture to The Barber of Seville. My car radio is perpetually tuned to a classical station. Such was the case a couple of years ago when I was out running errands, I was listening to the classical station while driving around town. Suddenly, a lively and interesting piece of music came on, one that I had never heard before – a rare occurrence for a long-time listener like me.

When the music ended, the announcer came on and said, “That was the incidental music to the opera ‘The Jewels of the Madonna’ by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari.”

Hmmmm. I’d never heard of the opera or its composer, so when I got home I googled both. After reading the libretto (translated into English) of “The Jewels of the Madonna,” I thought it was an interesting story with many possibilities. Then I learned that the composer, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari was a Venetian, and that seemed to seal the deal. I’d always thought Venice was one of the most romantic settings in the world—a city built on water with a long and often mysterious history. The place left a very lasting impression on me when I’d visited for a few chilly days in February almost a decade ago.

I started to play every writer’s favorite game: What if… And my imagination ran wild. What eventually emerged was the dual storyline for the book that ultimately became The Treasures of Venice! In its final form, the story had very little to do with the opera that inspired it, except that there are stolen jewels and tragedy ensues. The beautiful setting of Venice came fully back to my mind with the help of photos and my travel journal, and all the characters and plot developments took shape with very little coaxing on my part. Though the dual storyline was a bit challenging, most of the writing was a pure labor of love for me, and I’m so excited that my editor also loved the story because I can now share it will all of you!

My good friend Nancy L. called me on her lunch break today to tell me that in spite of having to get up and go to work, she stayed awake reading until 1 a.m. because she just had to see how the story ended! I hope you will enjoy The Treasures of Venice just as much, though I don’t expect everyone to stay up half the night reading. :-) But I would like to know what makes you keep reading a book long past your bedtime? What was the last book that kept you up until the wee hours of the morning?

About the Author

Loucinda McGary took early retirement from her managerial career to pursue her twin passions of travel and writing, and sets her novels of romantic suspense in the fascinating places she has visited. She was a finalist in the 2006 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest in Romantic Suspense. She lives in Sacramento, CA. For more information, please visit

One lucky commenter will win a copy of Loucinda's books: The Wild Sight and The Treasures of Venice. US and Canada Only. No email in your comment = No entry. Deadline to enter is August 30th, Winner announced August 31st.


  1. These books would be wonderful!!
    Please enter my name in your draw.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. please enter me in the giveaway

  3. Wow! Thats SO cool how she got her idea for the book! Who could of known a song could lead to a book!

    This is a great giveaway!


  4. These books look so good. Thanks for the great contest!

    Amy M
    atc218 at aol dot com

  5. This sounds like a great book that will be an interesting read. So please sign me up.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  6. Hi Aunty Cindy!! Great post and had to LOL about finding ideas everywhere. :>

  7. These books look great - please count me in!
    Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

    And, to answer Loucinda's question - a book that keeps me up is usually a mystery or a book where I really enjoy the characters. The last book to keep me up past my bedtime was "Firefly Lane" by Kristin Hannah.

  8. Hi Cheryl

    I've heard great things about Firefly Lane but still haven't had the opportunity to pick it up. Sounds like one I need to put on my wishlist:0

  9. Hey Jeanne!
    Thanks for popping by! And thanks to everyone for entering the contest! I hope you enjoy The Treasures of Venice.


  10. Cheryl,
    Thanx for the recommendation. I haven't read "Firefly Lane" either, but will put it on my list. I think memorable characters are the main ingredient to keep my up late too!

    Hope you enjoy TToV!


  11. Hi Aunty Cindy! (waves madly)

    I love hearing about your process for this! My ideas come from everywhere too, and I have more of them in a notebook than I could ever write. Not all of them are workable, but still, I think it's so interesting where they come from.

    I had a writing mentor once, who told me that ideas fly around in the air, and whoever is listening at the moment can grab one and use it. I sort of believe that, because I've found that "hearing" the ideas is a bit of a skill I can nurture--or not. Funny how life experiences and whatever is happening in the moment combine to make up what we call inspiration. The muse is a strange creature indeed. So interesting that music sparked yours, and ended up as this wondeful creation!

    Wendy, you have such a beautiful blog! I love the rich colors.

  12. Hi Aunty Cindy

    I am so glad that you heard that piece of music that started the mind turning out this story that I know I am going to love can't wait to read it.

    There have been many books over the years that have kept me up really late reading I just have to get to the end to find out all that is happening but they are always worth it.

    I am so excited about this book as you know I loved the Wild Sight and am going to love this one as well I can't wait to get to know Sam and Keirnan ( I hope I spelt that correct it is very early here in Australia)

    Have Fun

  13. Aha! So That was the music Bugs slapped Elmer to. Interesting piece of trivia. Fabulous guest post. The book sounds wonderful. Please count me in.


  14. Hi, AC!!

    What keeps me up late reading? Mostly a combination of memorable, likable characters AND a compelling plot. I can't remember the most recent "can't stop reading" book, but Julia Quinn's On the Way to the Wedding was one of them. As was The Wild Sight ;)

    Can't wait for Treasures of Venice!


    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  15. Hi Aunty Cindy,
    Congrats on the upcoming release. You have the loveliest covers.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  16. Yeah, everything inspires me, too. Especially songs.

    No need to enter me. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

  17. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. These books are unique and captivating. Love to read them. What keeps me riveted to a book is the mezmerizing plot and the portrayal of the characters. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  18. Cindy, I love the "what if" game! I picked up TToV last night and am eager to read it. What a gorgeous cover!

    What makes me stay up late--jeopardy. Uncertainty and risk. But only if the characters have already engaged me.

  19. Sounds wonderful, please count me in!
    Always enjoy discovering new authors!


  20. Cassondra,
    I LURVE your mentor's idea of the ideas flying around and we writers having to 'listen carefully' to hear them! I truly never know what will spark an idea until it happens.

    I also agree that Wendy has a beautiful blog. Thanx sooo much for inviting me to blog with you, Wendy!


  21. Hi Kaye!
    See, ya never know what you're going to learn on a romance blog. ;-) Bugs Bunny cartoons used the overtures of both The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro and several pieces from Wagner too. I think lots of kids got an intro to classical music thanks to ole Bugs.


  22. This book sounds great! Please enter me. The last book that kept me up too late was The Camel Club by David Baldacci.

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  23. Fedora,

    Can't thank you enough for including ME in the same paragraph as Julia Quinn! She is GREAT at creating compelling characters you just can't stop reading about!


  24. Wonderful! A book that has beautiful jewelry as a plot point. Please enter me!


  25. Hi Jane!
    (Aunty waves madly at her BB!) Thanks for the kudos on the cover. Wish I could take credit, but it was ALL the Sourcebooks Art. Dept. who does FABULOUS work.

    Susan Helene, Thanx a bunch for passing on the word!


  26. Hi Traveler!

    Thanx so much for the compliments. My books truly are stories from my heart. So glad you enjoy them!

    Etirv, hope you enjoy TToV too!


  27. Nancy,

    That angle of danger and risk is also why I LURVE reading and writing romantic suspense!

    Thanx a bunch for picking up the book! Hope you enjoy it,

  28. DarcyO,
    David Baldacci is always a compelling read!

    Janel, the jewels aren't exactly jewelry, but they are a very important part of the plot. Hope you enjoy the story!


  29. Hi, Cindy, I love hearing where writers get their ideas because, truly, the sources often are very illusive.

    Treasures of Venice will always be Jewels of the Madonna in my mind since I read it in draft and love it so much.

    Everyone's in for a real treat on this one!

  30. Loucinda, thanks so much for taking time out of your day to visit my blog and talk about your new book. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read what you have in store for us next!

  31. It was nice reading the guest post. I would enjoy every much to read these books.


  32. Keeping me reading requires characters I care about and an intriguing premise. Sounds simple, doesn't it? LOL

    I'm so glad I got to meet you, even in passing, in DC.

  33. sounds great thanks so much

    count me in

    wadesherry@hotmail dot com

  34. last one was pd james newest,,thx for contest.need a good summer read..

  35. Awesome book the characters in the story are rocking and thanks for the post..
    Plug and play Security Systems no Contracts at the best affordable Prices

  36. Great post and giveaway!

    Please enter me since I love romantic suspense books and these look great!

    To keep me reading a book must be well written and the characters must be interesting.

    The last book I read that keep me past my bedtime was "I Can See You" by Karen Rose.


  37. Wendy,
    Thank you so much for hosting me today! You have a lovely blog and I've enjoyed hearing people's opinions!

    THANX everyone who thinks the books sound good. I hope you'll enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!


  38. I never would have taken you for a classical music aficionado, Cindy! Wonders never cease! LOL.

    Can't wait to read the book. I told Emmy yours was already available and she was so thrilled. Amazon should come through soon.

    Best of luck, my friend. Sharon

  39. Congratulations to Cindy on her new release. Nice cover.


  40. count me in please
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  41. the book sounds good.

    kalynnick AT yahoo DOT com

  42. I'd love to read this :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  43. I really enjoyed this guest post! These sound like such good books. Thanks for this giveaway and please count me in.


  44. Please count me in. Thanks so much!

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT ocm

  45. Thanx again for all your comments and interest in my books!

    (Aunty waves at her Casa-Sister) Hey, Sharon! I'm just full of surprises, aren't I? :-)

    Also, Wendy, I forgot to respond to your comment about what I have in store next. My third romantic suspense with paranormal elements is due out from Sourcebooks in Spring 2010. The current title is The Wild Irish Sea and in it, a beautiful telepath begs a troubled ex-police officer to help her locate her missing twin brother.


  46. This looks great! Please enter me!

    What a wonderful guest post!

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  47. The books sounds totally scrumptious.

    shadowlord28 at gmail dot com

  48. please enter me in to this giveaway I enjoy reading new authors! :)

  49. This book sounds wonderful!
    I would love to win this, please enter me in the giveaway, thanks!

  50. Please include me in your giveaway

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