Monday, February 16, 2009

Guest Blogger ~ Kimber Chin

Today, the Menagerie is happy to have with us Kimber Chin as our guest blogger. It's been great fun getting to know her, and I'm sure y'all will too. So without further ado, here she is:

Writing With Photos

Every week, I feature a photo of a man in a great fitting suit on . As I write about men in suits (romances set in the business world), I figure my readers will find them interesting.

But that’s not why I take them.

I take these photos (candids, the guys will happily pose for photos as they are, well, guys, but I prefer candids) because they help me with my writing. If I need inspiration describing a man in the heat of contract negotiations, I study one of those photos. If I can’t remember what the hubby looked like while proposing (my jaded salesman vomited right before, he was so nervous), I pull out that photo of a man proposing to his girlfriend in a park. If I’m wondering how a man holds himself after being shot down, I have a photo of that too.

These photos are cheats, short cuts, reminders.

I do the same with other people, places, flowers, desserts (usually chocolate laden desserts). Invisible, my contemporary treasure hunt book, is partially set in Vegas. I have photo after photo of the fountains at Bellagio (one scene in the novel). I made notes of the smell of the water, the mist on my face, the way the wind changed the performance. I didn’t use all this, only bits and pieces, but I had it.

I also use photos as story starters. I’ll capture an interesting scene and use it for inspiration. Every month on , I post one of these photos. I may never use these starters but it helps prevent the dreaded writer’s block.

This is a snippet of the Bellagio scene from Invisible:

“Where are we going, Hagen?” Not that she cared. Or that anyone cared about her.

Certainly not this big man. He didn’t care. She was merely a means to an end.

“I think we both need some fresh air.”

Fresh air. That’s exactly what she needed. Some fresh air to clear out her brain. Had she lost a friend in there? Nikolay had been angry, angry enough to tell her goodbye. Sergei…he didn’t think she was good enough to marry his grandson.

Why did it matter to her? When had they crossed the line between source and friend? This was business.

She was running those thoughts through her mind, having herself a good ol’ fashioned pity party as they stood outside the Bellagio watching the fountains dance in time to the music. The coolness of the night air combined with the wet spray made her skin pucker into goose bumps.

Hagen, without asking, hung his jacket on her shoulders, swamping her. It was warm and smelled like him. He slid his hands around her waist, drawing her close.

If she closed her eyes, she could pretend that he cared, that she wasn’t all alone. That Birger hadn’t died and Sergei thought of her as a worthy friend and Nikolay hadn’t told her goodbye.

But it was a lie. They were all lies. “Hagen.”

$ * $ * $
Kimber Chin uses photos to give her contemporary romances set in the world of business life. She isn’t the best photographer in the world (not even close) but great photos aren’t needed. Every week, she features a photo of a man in a suit on her site

Breach Of Trust
by Kimber Chin

When a business secret is shared, can love survive?

by Kimber Chin

The first person she made disappear was herself.


Devon Gray said...

Hi Kimber! Nice to "see" you over here ;-) I love how you use photos. I just bet these men don't mind you taking their photos...especially if you tell them you write romance novels featuring powerful executives. Has anyone ever turned you down?

Kimber Chin said...

So nice to see you.
I love your 'home' here.
Kealie treated me like a princess!
She's an awesome hostess!

As for men and photos... Men will pose in the buff if asked, no matter what physical condition they're in. I think that is one of the fundamental differences between men and women. Men love their bodies. They may want to make them better but they're certainly not ashamed of them.

The most challenging part is taking the photos BEFORE they start posing. I like to capture natural expressions, not that grimace many guys think is 'tough.' LOL They are too adorable!

Helen Hardt said...

Hi Kimber, nice to meet you! So your romances are set in the business world -- interesting! In my life before kids, I was an attorney, but oddly, I've yet to set a book in a law firm. Perhaps I'll try it. I love your use of photography. I'm going to check out the photo on your site.


Marianne Arkins said...

LOL about men and posing! Clearly you haven't met my photo-phobic DH (who has nothing to be ashamed of in the body dept).

Still, I suspect you're mostly correct -- men don't have the image problems most women suffer from.

And, boy-oh-boy, there's just something about a guy in a suit, isn't there? YUM.

Mysti Holiday said...

Hi Kimber! Thanks for visiting with us today. I love the idea of using pictures for inspiration -- I know Kealie uses many, many of her "hotties" for her writing. I love that you go take your own! Wonder if Kealie could go take some of her own hottie pictures, lol!

Kealie Shay said...

What makes you think I DON'T take some of my own pictures, Mysti?

Thanks for being here with us today, Kimber. Great topic. I enjoyed surfing your blog and checking out the pictures.

Dawn Firelight said...

Hi Kimber - it's interesting that you mention using photos of things like flowers and desserts as well. I know lots of writers use pictures of people and places - I do that too - but it never occurred to me to try and use pictures of ordinary things to help me visualise them. I'm really bad at writing descriptions so this seems like a good trick to use! BTW, I just love your men in suits.

Kimber Chin said...


I see writers go two ways. Either they set their stories in the world they live in or they create their own. The former is rarer than the latter. I think because we like to escape along with our readers.

Though the law world, well, you know there's an interest in that setting. Simply ask John Grisham!

Kimber Chin said...


I have yet to find a man who DIDN'T look yummy in a suit. I think that's why they haven't changed much over the decades. Men know they're flattering.

Your hubby is photo-phobic?
Wow, he IS a rare one.
My hubby is a complete ham.

Kimber Chin said...


I don't know if I would be brave enough to ask my 'models' to pose in the state of undress Kealie prefers.


Kimber Chin said...


I had a lot of fun here today!
You and your readers rock!
Thanks for having me.

Kimber Chin said...


Taking photos of objects sure does beat accumulating them in the basement. Or worse, the writing den. LOL

I've seen some author's writing spaces. I don't think my hubby would be impressed. Not to mention my mom-in-law.

Julie Robinson said...

I agree about the writing spaces. Not to mention, I would be embarrassed for my mom and dad to see it.