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Shana Abé

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Sweetest Dark, The
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Beth Ciotta
Pseudonym/s: CB Scott is the published author name of writing team of Cynthia Valero and Beth Ciotta
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I wrote my first book when I was ten years old. Fifty hand written pages with really horrible illustrations (I've never had a talent for drawing). The title was The Littlest Green Man. The story starred a curious Martian who decided to visit Earth and ended up feeling like an 'alien.' He just didn't fit in. My next book came in my high school years. It was children's story about an octopus with an identity crisis. He felt different from the other 'fish in the sea' and set off on a journey to find out how he fit in. It didn't occur to me at the time, but of course it's obvious--I have always felt a little quirky and out of the normal loop of life. It's not surprising that I gravitated toward the arts. But rather than nurturing my writing, I pursued a career as a singer. That passion burned strong and sustained me for more than twenty-five years before ebbing to a dull flicker. An artist without passion is a frightening thing (for the artist anyway.) Then out of the blue I started reading romance novels and experienced an epiphany. This was what I was supposed to be doing!

That was in 1994 and I have never looked back. I started typing my first manuscript, and quickly realized that I didn't have a clue as how to construct a novel. I attended my first Romantic Times Convention that year hoping to glean some wisdom from the writing workshops. What I learned was that I was doing everything wrong! Conflict? Point of View? Pacing? Characterization? I had an innate talent for storytelling, but I didn't know jack about the craft of writing. Luckily, another writer turned me onto Romance Writers of America which I joined soon after along with my amazing local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers. I attended monthly workshops, national writer's conventions, read several "How To" books as well as books within the genre, and continued to write under the guidance of my mentor, published author Sandra Chastain (to whom I am forever grateful.)

In 1996 I joined forces with my critique partner (and good friend), Cynthia Valero and CB Scott was born. Together we wrote two paranormal manuscripts. In 2000 we finaled in RWA's Golden Heart, a contest for unpublished authors. Soon after we signed with ImaJinn Books, a leading publisher in paranormal romance. Since then we have published three novels with ImaJinn Books and one short story which appears in an anthology (Dream Quest) for LTD Books.

From 2000 -2002 Cyndi and I wrote and directed the Mr. Romance Pageant (a production show in which models compete to win a cover shoot for a romance novel) for the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention. Who will be the next Fabio? In 2003 I co-wrote and directed the same production with friend and author Mary Stella. I could fill several pages introducing you to all of the wonderful friends I have made through the years in conjunction with the Romantic Times Conventions. For now I will simply state my affection for Kathryn Falk, Connie Perry, Heather Graham, Sandra Chastain, Stephanie Bond, Julie Templeton, Karyn Monk, Leslie Burbank, and Helen Rosburg . . . all guiding forces (in addition to Cynthia Klimback and Mary Stella) in my life.

Most recently, I have signed with Medallion Press, an amazing publishing company with an ambitious and passionate vision. I am thrilled to be a part of this team and to spread my wings as a solo writer. I grew up on screwball romantic comedy movies--Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Rock Hudson and Doris Day--and I would have to say that those wonderful madcap movies influence my writing even today. I can't think of anything more fulfilling than writing stories where everyone (except the villain, of course!) gets a happy ending .

from author’s web site



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Photo: Beth Ciotta
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