Writer Wednesday: Meet Terri Osburn

TOsburnWelcome to Writer Wednesday! This week we have Terri Osburn spending some time with us, and I couldn’t be more delighted. I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Osburn in person at the most recent Virginia LoveFest, part of the Virginia Festival of the Book, held each year in Charlottesville, Virginia. She was so down-to-earth and relaxed that she was just a pleasure to be around. So settle in – you can’t absorb her in-person persona via a screen, but you can at least get to know her a little better!

Which type of romance do you love most, and why?

My favorite romances are the ones in which real people find real love. The ones that take me on an emotional rollercoaster ride and leave me smiling at the end. There’s something about a love story turning out the way it should. The way we wish all love stories went in real life.

Name two things people don’t know about you.

No one would guess upon meeting me, but I was actually a pageant queen in my early years. I modeled in pageants from ages 5 to 8 have about fifty trophies still sitting around somewhere, though I have no idea where. Another little known fact about me is that I spent three years in my high school marching band, and the first year I carried a bass drum. I was about 4’10” and looked as ridiculous as you’d think, but I was good.

What fellow romance author do you recommend reading, and why?

The author I adore most in the world is LaVyrle Spencer. Sadly, she’s no longer writing, but I believe her former books are still available, if not from the major distributors, then you should find copies in any used book store. She’s the kind of writer I dream of being, and that I describe in my first answer. If you’ve never read a Spencer book, you have a gift of a backlist waiting for you.

[ML says: Oh my gosh, yes! LaVyrle Spencer is my all-time favorite romance author, as well. After (stupidly) giving away all of my romances in the ’90s, I’ve slowly been collecting her works again, and am so happy about that.]

Now let’s hear about Terri’s latest books!


In the first book in the new Ardent Springs Series, we learn that chasing her Hollywood dreams didn’t go so well for Lorelei Pratchett. Now she’s back in Ardent Springs, TN, the source of nothing but bad memories, trying to figure out her next move. Her high school sweetheart, Spencer Boyd, wants a second chance with the girl who broke his heart, but Lorelei isn’t ready to make her homecoming a permanent situation.

HIS FIRST AND LAST is available in print, Kindle, and audio now.

The second in the Ardent Springs Series, OUR NOW AND FOREVER is available for pre-order.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Terri! It’s been a pleasure. 

#VALoveFest at the Virginia Festival of the Book

With Sabrina Jeffries!
With Sabrina Jeffries!

For the second year in a row, I was privileged to attend the Love Fest romance panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book (this year extended to two days, instead of just one – huzzah!).

Spending time in the company of romance authors and their fans is a hoot, y’all. Pretty much every author I’ve encountered has been delightful in person, and many of them have zany, witty, wildly entertaining personalities, as well. I love the romance community.

Day 1 of the VA Love fest was composed of three panels:

Bless Her Heart: Why We Love Quirky Southern Characters in Romance Fiction

Pamela Morsi, Terri Osburn, and Kieran Kramer

Pamela Morsi, Terri Osburn and Kieran Kramer discussed writing those quirky Southern characters we all love. I tweeted from the event (as my form of taking notes). One of my favorite tidbits was this one from Pamela Morsi: “If you’re writing fiction, you’re always writing in a small town, even if your story is set in London.”

They Lived Happily Enough for Now: Challenges in Writing Modern Fiction

Virginia Festival of the Book Love Fest Love for Now
L to R: Kimberly Kincaid, Tracey Livesay, Carey Heywood, Delancey Stewart

In the second panel of the day, panelists Kimberly Kincaid, Tracey Livesay, and Carey Heywood affirmed that contemporary romance plots often look to internal rather than external conflicts, because there are fewer external barriers now. Kimberly Kincaid reminded us that great conflict starts with great characters – and that flawed characters are the best characters, as long as there’s a reason for the flaws.

Wicked, Witchy, & Wonderful: Strong Heroines in Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy

Virginia Festival of the Book
L to R: Melissa Marr, Mary Behre, Jaye Wells, moderator Caryn Moya Block

Panelists Melissa Marr, Mary Behre, and Jaye Wells discussed kick-ass heroines during the final Saturday LoveFest panel, as well as gender(ed) issues often encountered in romance. Melissa Marr affirmed that she writes strong heroines to show boys and girls that girls are cool. Jaye Wells says she uses magic in her books as a metaphor for power, as a useful way of showing women that they have power, and helping them determine how to use it.

Day Two likewise had three panels:

LoveFest Workshop: “Screaming To Be Ignored” — Capturing the Reader’s Attention

Virginia Festival of the Book Love Fest Screaming to be Ignored
L to R: Moderator Kimberly Kincaid, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Terri Osburn, Mary Jo Putney, Joanna Bourne, Mary Burton

Day Two of the VA Love Fest moved from downtown Charlottesville to Barnes & Noble, where we gathered to hear writers’ reactions to submitted queries and/or sample pages. Joanna Bourne succinctly summed up what does and does not belong in a query (and reminded us that the best and simplest dialog tag really is “said”.). Other panelists included Rachel Kramer Bussel, Terri Osburn, Mary Jo Putney, and Mary Burton.

LoveFest Workshop: Q&A About the Romance Biz After Publishing

Virginia Festival of the Book Love Fest Romance Biz
L to R: Avery Flynn, Sabrina Jeffries, Mary Jo Putney, Mollie Cox Bryan, Mary Burton

Next up, published authors Avery Flynn, Sabrina Jeffries, Mary Jo Putney, Mollie Cox Bryan, and Mary Burton talked about changes on the publishing front, conceding that digital books have driven word counts down, and reflecting on whether the pressure to publish quickly is driving down quality, as well. Mary Jo Putney reminded us to always put the story first: “Do not sacrifice quality for quantity, for readers won’t buy your next book.” When asked whether they would go the traditional or indie route were they newbie authors starting out today, most said they would follow the hybrid model of doing both.

LoveFest Book Signing: Meet & Greet Romance Authors

With Pamela Morsi!
With Pamela Morsi!

We capped off the day with a delightful “Meet & Greet” session. I got my picture with Ms. Jeffries for the second year in a row (wahoo!), and also with the fabulous Pamela Morsi, and chatted with many more authors.

Thank you to the Virginia Romance Writers, the Washington Romance Writers, and Sue London for sponsoring this year’s panels.

I highly suggest you mark your calendars for next year’s Book Fest and join us at the romance panels. It’s worth it!