Posted On July 15, 2011 by Print This Post

Screams and Broken Trampolines with Tonya Kappes

We’re delighed to have Tonya Kappes, author of Carpe Bead ’em and The Ladybug Jinx, on the RU campus today. Tonya’s offering us a peek into the glamorous life of an author and her writing process. 

Screams and Broken Trampolines

“Good morning. Your coffee is ready.” My dear husband bends down and kisses my forehead before he heads out for work. “Have a great writing day.”

I roll over and lazily look out the window over the lush Kentucky bluegrass meadow outside. The birds are signing, I see a few deer nipping at the berry trees, and the reality sets in….

“Hurry up. The kids’ lunches need to be made. I’m late.” My dear sweet husband screams waking me from my wonderful dream.

I shield my eyes from the sun blasting through the window, and look out to see my dog having a barking match with the neighbor’s dog, bikes thrown down, and balls all over the yard, not to mention a beat up trampoline.

Before I get my foot on the floor, one of my four teenage boys run into the room needing a shirt ironed before school, and another one dangling a squeezed up tube of toothpaste in the air because I forgot to get some at the grocery store.

Now my real day can begin….

I wish I could say I go to my office with a cup of coffee in hand and read and respond to my emails, blog, check Facebook, Twitter, and the other social networking sites.

I don’t. I send my teenage boys off to school and get ready for the day job that I have in order to pay the bills. I go to said day job, come home, take boys to various extra-curricular activities, and then my writing begins.

Sleep? What’s that? I drink over TWO pots of coffee a day!

When Jen asked me about my writing process, I thought I was going to choke on my coffee. What writing process? The more I thought about it, the more I realized I do have a writing process. It’s just not a traditional process.

Some writing days are better than other. But I do write everyday and usually 2k words, I just take it with me. I wrote my first book under a tree during my son’s football practice.

My writing process begins with an idea, characters and I let them live in my world, in my head. I keep a writing journal with me (even at ballgames, honor clubs!). The story comes to life and I write. I write in school car line while waiting for my kids, the veterinarian’s office, grocery store line, church (yes! God wants me to be successful and make people happy with my words.), I don’t plot, or create really cool color coated charts. I just write. Generally by the end of the day, there are over 2k words that I have to put in my laptop…sleep? What’s that?

Seriously though, if someone really wants to be a writer, you make time for it. And even though my writing process is different, it works for me. In six years, all my boys will be out the door, and then I’ll have that dream of waking up looking out at the Kentucky bluegrass.

Tonya’s debut novel, Carpe Bead ‘em, hit Amazon’s best sellers list in under three days of its release and made it on Amazon’s exclusive Movers and Shakers List.


Okay, RU crew, tell us about your writing process. Do you carry a notebook with you wherever you go? What about  a voice recorder on the nightstand just in case you wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea? What works for you?


Do you use a software writing program? Gwen Hernandez joins us on Monday to discuss the highlights of Scrivener and why it’s become an integral part of a writer’s toolkit. 


Bio:  Tonya Kappes is the author of Carpe Bead ‘Em, which hit Amazon’s Best Seller’s list only six days after its debut. The Ladybug Jinx hit Amazon’s Best Seller’s list on the first day it was released.

Tonya has also authored two short stories which can be found in the Something Spooky This Way Comes and Believe Anthologies. Her co-authored, non-fiction book The Tricked-Out Toolbox, helps writers explore the best promotional and marketing strategies for their career, will debut January 2012.

Besides being the co-founder of the beyond quirky writer’s grog The Naked Hero (, 

When she’s not writing about quirky characters and even quirkier situations, she’s busy being the princess, queen and jester of her domain which includes her BFF husband, her four teenage boys and two dogs.

Why write a series set in a small town? Once upon a time, Tonya grew up in a small town and it helped shaped her into the woman she is today. To this day, she still loves going home.

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36 Responses to “Screams and Broken Trampolines with Tonya Kappes”

  1. Two pots of coffee a day?
    Good grief, Tonya. That would give me so many ‘jitters’ that I doubt I could type.
    I used to drink more than this, but my limit these days is about 6 rather small cups — spaced out over the morning.
    Lately, I’ve been trying to cut back to 4 small cups.
    Of course I have a son your age, so in 20 yrs, I bet you’ll start scaling back the caffeine.
    In the meantime, enjoy the buzz … because you wear it well.

    Posted by Jeff Salter | July 15, 2011, 5:40 am
  2. Hey Tonya,
    Just here to lend my support and tell you how proud I am of you. Course, you already know that…but in case you forgot, I’m here to yell it in front of the whole class. Well, maybe not the whole class but I am screaming it at the Romance University. HOW COOL IS THAT?!!

    Carpe Bead ‘Em was great, sweetie!

    Posted by Renee Vincent | July 15, 2011, 5:47 am
  3. Love the name Screams & Broken trampolines! Hey you need to slow down (ha) i know thats not going to happen. I love your books & can’t wait for the second Grandberry Falls. With all you do i don’t know how you have time to write,but keep up the good work. So proud of you!!!!

    Posted by Linda | July 15, 2011, 6:12 am
    • Oh, Linda, if I slow down-I might never get going again;) I’m so glad you loved The Ladybug Jinx. Grandberry Falls is definitely a great town to fall in love with. The next novel in the series, Happy New Life, will be out in mid-October. BUT I’m releasing my cozy paranormal mystery, SPLITSVILLE.COM, in August! I can’t wait to see how you like it!

      Posted by Tonya Kappes | July 15, 2011, 7:21 am
  4. Tonya, Your schedule sounds just about as chaotic as mine. 🙂 I’m so happy for you and the success you’ve had. 🙂 It’s well-deserved, and earned. 🙂
    I don’t write long hand, but I do carry a voice recorder with me everywhere I go. I get my words in during the evening. Weekends are mine. 🙂
    Thanks, Tonya for such a cool blog.

    Posted by Abbey MacInnis | July 15, 2011, 6:52 am
  5. Hi Tonya!

    Thanks so much for being with us today.

    I’m with you on the coffee. There’s nothing like a robust cup of legal stimulant.

    I’ve sat in hospital rooms and scribbled on a notebook. I bought a voice recorder months ago. It comes in handy.

    If you were granted one wish to make your writing life easier, what would it be?


    Posted by jennifer tanner | July 15, 2011, 7:23 am
    • Ummm…that’s a good question, Jen~It would definitely be having someone type my manuscript as I walk around and talk it out. I could write a book in a day if I could just say it outloud and not have to type it.

      Posted by Tonya Kappes | July 15, 2011, 8:42 am
  6. Morning Tonya! =)

    Life’s just an every day adventure isn’t it? lol….I’m glad you’re sneaking in writing time when you can, and however you can! I don’t drink coffee, but there’s definitely days I pray for some extra energy from somewhere!

    Looking forward to reading your books, they look to be a blast!



    Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 15, 2011, 7:28 am
    • Hi, Carrie! I do love my life. It’s become what I am and I’ve adapted. Life is a series of different stages.

      I try to create those get away moments for my readers who do need to escape the crazy life:) I hope you like them!!

      Posted by Tonya Kappes | July 15, 2011, 8:44 am
  7. Hey Tonya, way to suck me into your post with the opening imagery…lol!!!

    I don’t really have a process. I need to just get BICHOK and stop holding myself back. I let fear dictate when I write. I am so afraid of writing “bad” stories that I don’t set words to paper. I don’t want to do the “wrong” thing, and, rationally,I know there really isn’t a “wrong” thing, but I let that fear pound it into me anyway. I let myself be distracted by it…does that just mean I’m not ready? Who knows…some days I feel like I can and others I just don’t have the nerve to try. I keep telling myself Just Do It, like the old Nike slogan says, but I just can’t.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

    Posted by Paula R. | July 15, 2011, 7:39 am
    • Paula! Don’t be scared to do it! You never know until you try. Do it for yourself and keep them to yourself until you build up your confidence and trust someone to read it. Keep writing! It will come:)

      Posted by Tonya Kappes | July 15, 2011, 8:45 am
  8. Hi Tonya! Thanks for hanging out with us today. I used to have a process. I’d clear out all my emails, day job stuff, etc. and then in the afternoon I’d write.

    That doesn’t work anymore. 🙂 The plan changed when I got published and suddenly the marketing aspects of promoting a book took over. Now I get up and start writing before I even open my emails. It’s different, that’s for sure, but I’m getting my daily word counts in so that takes some pressure off and that’s never a bad thing.

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | July 15, 2011, 7:53 am
    • Isn’t that the case, Adrienne?? I’m finding that same issue now that I’m published. I have promoted myself two years before I even had a book published, but now I’m finding promoting a live book takes a lot of time. So now I do all my emails, social networking, etc… in the morning, day job, continue to write at sporting stuff, and promote more at night…sigh!

      Posted by Tonya Kappes | July 15, 2011, 8:50 am
  9. *waves madly* Hi Tonya!! I was so excited when I saw you were going to be joining us here! Tonya and I have been friends for quite awhile, but now my daughter has bonded with her, too. It made me feel OLD watching the two of them hang out at Lori Foster’s Get Together in June.

    Tonya is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and I hope she has great success. If you’d like to find out more about Tonya, a close *ahem* friend of mine interviewed her back in the day:

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | July 15, 2011, 8:50 am
  10. Hi Tonya,

    It’s nice to see someone counting the days or years til the kids are gone. I love’em, but. I’m in Harry Potter Hangover. They went to the midnight show and I just booted out the sleepovers. I think about a story before I go to sleep. Last night meant no sleep so I came up with a new beginning. Those story ideas do creep up on you. Have to be ready to catch them.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | July 15, 2011, 9:07 am
  11. Hi, Tonya. Welcome to RU!

    I “just wrote” when I first began writing, but I’ve found a lot of noise has crawled into my head since then – LOL. I’m curious how you stitch all those 2000-word sessions together into a book when you’re finished. Do you find that you write things you don’t need? Leave out critical bits? What does your revision process look like?

    Wishing you great writing!

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | July 15, 2011, 9:12 am
    • Hi, Kelsey!! I do a complete write with chapters etc….I’m lucky to have a wonderful critique group that’s includes Heather Webber, Hilda Knepp, Cathy Liggett, and Shelley Shephard Grey (Shelley Galloway) that I meet with bi-weekly. We exchange chapters and come up with different plots or character development. From there, I make the changes I agree with or enhance the story and continue to write new material. I also have a couple great beta readers who were actually just readers that have become friends. They work on plot holes as well as grammatical issues. They are invaluable. At that point, I’m generally finished writing and doing a first round of edits and my plot holes have been hammered out by then. The second round of edits is a full read and fix what I can. The third round of edits is sent to the editor. I’m always finding things I don’t need in the second round of edits. Even though I write 2k words a day, they might not be good words. But they are there to work with.

      Posted by Tonya Kappes | July 15, 2011, 12:54 pm
  12. Tonya, great post! I’m learning that everyone’s writing process is different–and sometimes it changes book to book! Yours is one that is a gem for anyone with a crazy-busy lifestyle… I don’t know how you moms do it, I really don’t!

    Go, you!

    Posted by Jenn Stark | July 15, 2011, 9:26 am
  13. Your post inspires me! If you can find time to write everyday with four boys in the house, then so can I…..and I don’t have boys, just two dogs!

    Posted by Suzanne | July 15, 2011, 9:28 am
  14. I so feel you! I do the same thing, notebook and pen go with me where ever I go! I wrote my first MS in 30 days while sitting at the red light, at the wash house, waiting after school for my son to get out and while making dinner. Fortunately I’m a stay at home mom so I still had some time spaced in between to sit down and right w/o distractions. But when I had to put on the breaks to do mommy stuff, the note pad and outline traveled with me! As mom’s we have to work our love of writing in with our love of family. Write on!

    Posted by M.J. Kane | July 15, 2011, 2:15 pm
  15. Oh, I know girl! I know!!! I dream about the day I wake up to an already made cup of coffee as I walk into my HOME office and write my little heart out all day. I may stop to clean the house…depending on whether I’ve let the cleaning staff off for the day or not. Oh, we can dream, we can dream.

    And may I say, I am absolutely thrilled with your success. You are one of the sweetest, most deserving people I am blessed to know. Keep it going!

    Posted by Gabriella Edwards | July 15, 2011, 4:37 pm
  16. Hi Tonya,

    Thanks for joining us today! Sorry to be so late.

    My process? I generally write on my lunch hour and a couple hours at night. For book 2, I’m trying to do a bit of plotting to help show me the way (nasty deadlines!). Although I find it very difficult to predict what’s next, my brain seems to like to know what’s on the docket for the day. I might only know the purpose of the scene, and I go from there.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this works for me.

    Thanks again,

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | July 15, 2011, 5:24 pm
  17. Tonya,

    Thanks for joining us today on RU and thanks to everyone for stopping by!

    Have a great weekend.


    Posted by jennifer tanner | July 15, 2011, 8:31 pm
  18. I always love hearing how others juggle lives and writing 🙂 Thanks for making smile Tonya!! Always fun to read your work…

    Posted by Anne Kemp | July 16, 2011, 11:01 am
  19. Tonya’s life looks suspiciously like mine, except I don’t drink coffee.

    I noticed a tremendous bump in my writing productivity when I stopped waiting for the perfect time to write using the perfect tools in the perfect place. Now, I grab notebook, which yes, I carry everywhere, and begin scribbling. I do try to plot at least a few scenes or chapters ahead so I have some idea where I wanted to go next. I actually think I’m more creative on notebook paper than on keyboard.

    Posted by PatriciaW | July 18, 2011, 1:31 pm

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