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Elisabeth: Marked

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33,126 / 95,000

Joan: Buried Secrets

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Linda: Facing It

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:~: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 :~:

Encouraging young writers?

A few weeks ago, my daughter told me she thinks she wants to be a writer when she grows up. The first question that came to mind was this: "What else do you want to do?" I'm very proud of her and want to support her in whatever she wants to do, but at the same time, I know how difficult this field is, and how difficult it is to support oneself in this kind of a career. I'm passionate about what I do, but I would really like to see her settle in to something a little more stable. So as I'm encouraging her to follow her dreams, I'm also encouraging her to make sure she finds the balance between her dreams and security.

Having dealt with the struggle firsthand--and dealing with it still on a near daily basis--I wouldn't want to see her go through the same thing unless she really, really wanted it. So I told her I would be happy to look at anything she writes, and then gently explained that she might want to think of something else she'd like to do when she grows up, just in case. It doesn't hurt to have a backup plan. I don't have one myself, and there are days I wish I did. ;)

Earlier today, I told someone what I do, and she immediately asked me if I made money like Danielle Steel. Um, not even close. :) Because I write for small presses, I have to write a lot to bring in steady paychecks. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, and I wouldn't change anything if I had the chance. I guess it's all part of being a parent. We don't want to see our kids struggling, and want to make sure they have good lives.

What do you think? Would you encourage your child to follow their dreams, encourage them to go for security, or a little of both?

:~: Monday, July 30, 2007 :~:

Ideas in The Most Unlikely Places

First off, big apologies for not blogging last Monday. I was on a family vacation, and when I realized I'd forgotten to arrange a stand-in for my blog day, it was too late.

Speaking of vacations though, that's a good segue into my topic today. Which is having book ideas strike in unlikely places. Last week the family and I were here (see side photo): Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Now, I tend to think the phrase family vacation is about the biggest oxymoron on the planet, because a vacation with small kids is no vacation at all for the parents. It's work most of the time. But we did manage to have a really great time, and because we had extended family around us, it made for an even greater time.

Normally on vacation, I get my best book ideas. Sitting on a lounge chair on the beach, drink in hand, soaking up the sun while I listen to the ebb and flow of the surf always switches the creative side of my brain into gear. I LOVE vacation just to sit and think. This vacation though? Not so much brain activity going on. We were chasing kids out of the surf so they wouldn't get sucked out to sea, herding the 2 yr old so he didn't disappear down the beach following sea gulls, slathering on sunscreen so my oh-so-white-rarely-see-the-sun children didn't fry to a crisp, visiting with the relatives, playing baseball on the sand and building sand alligators (and castles and moats and digging gigantic holes). So, in a nutshell, very little time to sit and ponder my current book or any new book ideas. However, just being out of my normal routine seems to have worked, and the experiences we had - good and bad - have been percolating in my brain as possible upcoming book ideas.

For example. One night my hubby and I joined my two cousins and their husbands on a casino cruise that left out of North Myrtle Beach. The brochure read: Gambling, buffet dinner and a sunset cruise. Sounded like fun to us. Until we saw the boat. (See picture.) Um, definitely not a Norwegian Cruise Liner. I think this boat had to be at least 50 yrs old inside and out. It smelled of stale cigarettes, and rocked side to side worse than any dingy I've ever been on. And the buffet dinner? Chef Boyardee spaghetti, wilted lettuce and fried pork chops. Being from the west coast, I can honestly say I've never had a fried pork chop, and probably wouldn't have if I hadn't been starving. But the combo - spaghetti and fried pork chops - just added to the whole atmosphere and I found myself wondering what we'd signed up for. But then my cousin's husband commented that the boat would be so easy to rob, and suddenly book ideas were going off in my head.

Another book idea struck while we were here: Broadway at the Beach. Think of Downtown Disney in Orlando and you have a good idea of Broadway at the Beach. Restaurants, shopping, rides, entertainment and about twenty million people. While waiting for my cousin, we somehow managed to lose our youngest in the crowd (he's two, super fast and very independent). I have to say, that was the scariest moment of my life. The kid just disappeared. Luckily, we found him about five minutes later, hanging out in a t-shirt shop we'd popped into momentarily a few moments before. He was kicked back on a sofa, shoes off, talking to the sales girls. This experience stuck with me though because I have a book about halfway finished which deals with a missing child. And though I NEVER want anyone to experience the fear when you lose a child, even for a moment, it gave me incredible insight into what that particular book is missing. I had new scenes and character emotions firing off in my head.

Other ideas struck simply from people watching. One lady was dressed to the nines, waiting for her plane to Atlanta. I hate sitting on a plane, so why would someone get so dressed up to simply sit there for almost two hours? And what was waiting for her in Atlanta? Another woman kept giving me dirty looks on the plane when my 2 yr old was simply talking (okay, he talks loud, but come on, he's a kid). Why does she hate children so much? And still another idea popped into my head when we had a very scary landing back in Portland and I saw how stressed out (and relieved) other passengers were.

So where do you get your best ideas? At home? On vacation? Going about your daily duties or in unique places? And if you ever had an experience that birthed a book idea, I'd love to hear it.


:~: Friday, July 27, 2007 :~:

Say What?!

I finally had someone say it to me this week. To be sure, it almost knocked me off my feet, but I held it together and didn't laugh aloud when he said it.

"I thought writing a romance novel would be easy."

Or words to that effect. I also know, because I know the person who said them pretty well, that they weren't meant in a disparaging way.

But, oh, am I thinking the poor dear is misguided!

But, y'all, I really did want to laugh -- both at the irony and at the idea. Okay, we have to acknowledge up front that in many ways, the romance novel is still the unwelcome bastard child of all things literary. I won't bore you with the sales statistics, blah, blah, blah.

But really, is any novel easy to write? I don't think so.

The gist of the conversation was that the speaker has been thinking of writing a romance novel. Has been looking at H/S guidelines. Has really no clue what's involved in writing a romance novel, let alone selling one.

But you know, that's okay, because Lord knows we've all been there. So I thought about all those people who helped me when I was starting out and said or did misguided things. I thought about the authors who are ahead of me in the publication game and continue to help me in various ways.

And I didn't laugh.

I paid it forward.

Because while it may not be easy to write a romance novel, it's very easy to extend someone a helping hand along the way.


:~: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 :~:

Speaker Roundup

I'd say these Wednesday's roll around fast, but I said that last week, so I doubt it will fly two weeks in a row.

I've been busily cultivating our RWA chapter here on the central coast of CA. We've got almost 30 gals interested, and a dozen attended the first meeting. Hopefully another handful will attend in August.

I put out a call to speakers, thinking I'd get a lot of no's. Instead I got a lot of "Sure, love to's". I'm still rather stunned at the calibur of speakers who have agreed to come. I'm booked every month from Sept to June with some awesome topics and presenters.

Sept: Vineyard tour showing the inner workings. We'll get to observe the actual harvest, too. And their falconer will be there to show us his birds and how they work.

Oct: Rae Monet and Cynthia Lea Clark on FBI heroines and the mind of a villain.

Nov: Charlotte Cook, president of Komenar Publishing will talk about the state of the industry and what every author should know.

Jan: Lisa Shield, life coach and relationship counselor, is working up a presentation-slash-workshop on love and romance and how to relate the real life romance cycle to your romantic characters.

Feb: Martha Engber presents an intensive 6 hr workshop on character building.

April: My DH is going to do the firehouse tour, let the gals put on turnouts, breath through the breathing apparatus, carry a firehose, and once they're good and tired and smelly, he and the guys will put on a show--use the jaws to pry off the top of a car and rescue some poor dummy (manaquin dummy, not a dummy, dummy), or observe the burn trailors where firefighters train for structure fires or some other such exciting visual.

May: Bonnie Hearn Hill, suspense author published with MIRA, will swing by and give and interactive talk about first chapters and critique members' work.

Phew...and I still have other fabulous authors and speakers checking schedules and getting back to me including Simon Wood, suspense author, Robin Burcell, mystery and romance author, Sandy Blair, highland historical paranormal author, Holly Payne, screenwriter and author...

I know I'm missing a few.

We are truly blessed to have such giving people in the writing community.

Who have you seen speak or taken a workshop from that was fabulous? Who would you like to see speak or give a workshop?


:~: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 :~:

Rejections, thick skins, and practice

In the past couple of days, I've learned that maintaining a thick skin takes practice, the same way as growing one does. After six years, countless rejections (and a final line editor calling one of my heroines TSTL...two weeks before the book was scheduled to be released :grin: ) I think I've developed a pretty thick skin. If I'm submitting regularly, I'm generally averaging a lot of rejections at once, and I have no problem ignoring them and moving on to the next project.

In the past few weeks, I've gotten a couple of rejections that I took way more personally than I should have. This past year, I haven't done much submitting at all, and I think I'm out of practice as far as the rejections go.

Does this happen to anyone else, or am I the only crazy one around here? :grin:

:~: Friday, July 20, 2007 :~:

Just. Can't. Focus.

It's Friday evening, and I have nothing to say. This is not good. I've started and abandoned three different posts for today's blog.

Or rather I have nothing to say that makes sense.

I think my creativity has been expended as far as blogging because I'm four chapters into my 70 Days of Sweat book (18K+ in a week, baby!), working on edits on HOL, working on print galleys for WMM, writing unit plans for school (twelve more days until pre-planning) and teaching a drama workshop.

That's probably exacerbated by the fact my A/C went out this week and it's been over 100 here every day. Thank God, the air is fixed!

How about you? Ever have days when you simply can't concentrate? Any suggestions?


:~: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 :~:

Holy Cow...It's Wednesday

Yes, I'm just realizing it now!

I've been tied up for the last week with new chapter business. Lord, there is a lot of business to handle for a new RWA chapter!

Here...you can help us choose a name. We're located smack in the middle of California on the coast and in the heart of wine country (2nd only to Napa...and I'm not so sure we're second anymore).

Choose the ones you like from the following list...or add your own thoughts in the comments.


:~: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 :~:

Favorite Tips?

I spent a good portion of the morning reading online craft articles, and I've been sitting here for the past half hour, alternating between deleting what I've typed and staring at a blinking cursor. Since no brilliant blog topic seems to be jumping out at me (not that brilliance is generally one of my traits :grin: ), I'm going to ask a couple of questions instead.

What are some of your favorite writing tips?
What's the best writing advice you've ever received? The worst?

I think the best advice I've received is to grow a thick skin and not take rejection personally. The worst advice--follow the rules and don't push too many boundaries. I tried to follow the rules with my first couple of books, but since then I've learned which ones should be broken, which ones I can get away with bending, and pushing boundaries is actually a lot of fun. :)

:~: Monday, July 16, 2007 :~:

Conference Wrap-Up

Hi-ho from the wilds of Oregon! I'm home from Nationals in Dallas, and so glad to be back in the Pacific Northwest. I always love traveling, but coming home - especially after an exhausting (but good!) conference - is the best feeling.

I could go on and on about the workshops I attended, about everything I learned from this pub or that pub, but I thought instead I'd give you my top ten Dallas moments you probably won't read anywhere else. (Sorry I don't have pictures. My camera battery died and my roommates took all the pictures - which I haven't received in my email yet.)

Top 10 Dallas Moments

10. The Literacy Signing. I always love talking to my favorite authors and this year was no exception. Sherrilyn Kenyon knows how to wear a hat. ;)

9. The Forensics Workshops. There were a few this time. I got some great information and lists of resources.

8. Free Books! This time I was smart and brought an extra bag just for books. (And man, was it a bitch to haul through the airport.) Some will go to my chapter for our Fall Conference. Some will go right into my TBR piles. :)

7. Meeting some of my online friends in person. Edie Ramer, Karmela Johnson, Lexi Connor. It's so awesome to put faces with names, and these ladies are the up-and-comers. Names to watch for in the future. Their enthusiasm is palpable.

6. All the new friends I made. Shelby Reed, Delilah Ahrendt, Kristina McMorris, Lynda Gayle, JT Bock, Marcia Harris. The list goes on and on. I made so many new friends, and I can't wait to see all of their careers take off.

5. Hanging with my roomies. I love these girls! We stayed up late every night, got way too little sleep and were tired every morning, but it was well worth it. They are da bomb. (And remember girls, what happens in Dallas stays in Dallas.)

4. Having dinner with the other GH Finalists. What a great group of women. I wanted all of them to win.

3. Michael Hauge's workshop on plotting and character arcs. Oh. My. God. If you EVER have a chance to take a Michael Hauge workshop...DO IT. I would never have gone if my roommate hadn't taken his Saturday morning workshop, and I really didn't expect to stay through the afternoon one, especially since it was standing room only (and I was standing). But...wow. I had about 12 aha! moments listening to his workshop, never once looked at my watch, and didn't even care that my feet were killing me until after the session was over. It was head and shoulders above any other workshop I attended the entire week. So good in fact, it made the $325 conference registration worth it.

2. Meeting my agent face-to-face. I know there are authors who never meet their agent face-to-face, and I'm sure they have great relationships, but there's something about meeting your agent in the flesh that changes everything. You just can't read body language and enthusiasm over email (or even the phone) the way you can in person. And I gotta say, I love my agent!

1. Being a GH finalist. I'm a realist. I know being a GH finalist doesn't mean much outside the organization, but I'm really glad I went to Nationals because I finaled. It was the catalyst that pushed me into going. Someone told me you're treated like a princess when you're a finalist, and I have to say, that's pretty much true (though your roommates will give you a hard time about it. LOL). I met so many people I might not otherwise have met, I was included in parties I wouldn't have been invited to, and when my name was announced during the awards ceremony and I heard whoops and hollers instead of just the standard clapping, I can't even begin to tell you how warm and fuzzy that made me feel inside. Even though I didn't win my category, it was an honor just to be nominated. (And that's no bull, I really really REALLY mean it.)

If you went to Dallas, I'd love to hear your top ten moments. If you didn't, share what you did this week. I need to catch up!


:~: Friday, July 13, 2007 :~:

My Love Affair with Diction

I love words. Obviously. But I'm on a mission to vary my diction -- my choice of words in my writing. As my editor will attest, I tend to latch on to a word or words during a manuscript and refuse to let go (my favorites tend to be again, smile, etc.).

So here are some words for slow movements I'm working toward using in my latest MS:


I want to work in these sight descriptive words:

lithe (already used this one, I think)

I need to work on some taste and smell words, too, especially since I have a coastal setting in sections.

Do you have "favorite" words you latch on to?


:~: Thursday, July 12, 2007 :~:

Craft: Patterns of Cumulative Sentences

I love cumulative sentences. They're a great way to take a "telling" sentence and add some "show."

The following content is from the writing resources I use when teaching Writers Workshop at the high school level. I think it's from America's Choice, but I'm not sure. Anyway . . .

Look at the pattern these sentences have in common:

1) He lay for a quarter of an hour without thinking, lips parted, legs and arms extended, breathing quietly as he gazed at the figures in the wallpaper until they were hidded in darkness. -- Saul Bellow

2) One remembers them from another time -- playing handball in the playground, going to church, wondering if they were going to be promoted at school. -- James Baldwin

3) I sensed a wrongness around me, like an alarm clock that had gone off without being set. -- Maya Angelou

4) A moment later she was swimming back to the side of the pool, her head of short-clipped auburn hair held up straight ahead of her, as though it were a rose on a long stem. -- Phillip Roth

5) His hands were huge and brown from the sun, with white hairs matting on the backs of his fingers. -- Helen Norris

6) Her hair was slicked against her head with a bun in the back, a proper married-lady hairdo. -- Maxine Hong Kingston

7) He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: a neatly trimmed mustache, hair turning silver at the temples, and eyes so black they were like tinted windows of a sleek limousine -- he could see out, but you couldn't see in. -- John Berendt

If you'll notice each sentence begins with a "telling part" and then adds details (sensory, descriptive or figurative -- love the simile in Angelou's example) to "show." It's a nice way to vary your sentence structure, too.

One way I have my students use this as a sentence-level revision strategy is to have them go through and pinpoint sentences that are "telling" and which could have "showing" details added. Once they find these, they take the telling sentences and rewrite them into cumulative sentences. It adds richness to their writing every time.


:~: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 :~:

The Learning Curve

I'm in a glass class at my almamader this week: glass fusing, which is where you melt the glass in a kiln instead of how I've always worked with it--in the torch.

The class is fascinating. Our instructor is open and helpful and willing to show us any aspect of glass we'd like--not just fusing. Today I'm going to try my hand at sandblasting, something that has always interested me.

As I was driving home yesterday, exhausted from the sheer mountain of new information I'd been exposed to in just two days, it occurred to me that this was how I felt as I walked along the learning path to writing. And like glass, the learning path never really ends, it just twists and turns and leads to new interesting places and possibilities.

Eventually you become a master--which doesn't mean you know everything, it means you have a vast knowledge and know the many facets of applying that knowledge to create something of your own design, your own voice. (Yes, there are voices in art, too.) But that mastery takes many, many years of study.

One woman who writes craft, Elizabeth Lyons, said at a conference once: "A writing apprenticeship takes approximately 10 years. That doesn't mean you won't get published until you've been writing ten years, obviously. It means that you don't really understand all the facets and elements of writing until you've been working hard at it for ten years."

IMO, with my many careers behind me and years of study in multiple areas--medicine, glass, writing--I think 10 years is about right.

What do you think?


:~: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 :~:

The fun of a challenge

I signed up to participate in the Seventy Days of Sweat writing challenge. I've signed up for writing challenges before--NaNoWriMo and a BIAW--but never really did well in them. I'm not the type of person who works well under a deadline. I tend to put things off until the last minute, and then rush to get everything done at once. I actually surprised myself by writing on Sunday, when the challenge started. Sundays are usually my days off, but part of the challenge is to write every single day. Not a ton of pages, but six per day. For me, that's a very manageable number and probably the reason I've met my goals for the past three days.

For me, the fun in the challenge doesn't come from the competition, at least not competition with other authors. I like the feeling of accomplishment I get from actually having a page total every single day. I never write for seventy days straight. I usually write for a few weeks to a month, and then take another few weeks off to recharge, so I expect about halfway through the challenge I'm going to be feeling the pressure. ;)

Who else is doing the challenge? When it comes to writing, what challenges you? Beating personal goals? A little friendly competition? Something else?

:~: Monday, July 09, 2007 :~:

Last Minute Wrap-Up

The hours are whittling down. I'm trying to get everything done before I board a jet-plane tomorrow afternoon bound for the RWA National Convention in Dallas, TX. There are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. (Story of my life.)

Not only do I have to have the house in order for Grandma who will be babysitting, but I just found out this morning the forecast calls for temps in the 100-102 degree range here starting tomorrow. Now, this is Oregon, people. And while those of you in the south and east may cringe at this revelation - we don't have a/c. We honestly only ever have super hot days like this a handful of times through the summer, and just about the time I think about splurging on a/c, the hot weather passes. Though why it always seems to hit when I'm at Nationals is beyond me. So imagine, if you will, Grandma babysitting three Gremlins in 102 temps, in a non-a/c house. Not fun. I think this goes above and beyond the grandmotherly call of duty (which I know she'll remind me of later).

So, my day now not only consists of getting things ready for Grandma, packing, making lists, etc. but also getting the kids all packed up because she's probably going to end up taking them to her house - where there is a/c. I suppose in the long run it's not a big deal, but it's extra work when I'm already feeling the crunch. I long for the days when I can leave without having to worry about this and that, but I have a feeling (knowing my personality) that isn't ever going to happen. Sorta like the writing, really. I long for the days when the house is quiet and all the Gremlins are at school and I can write in my leisurely peace. Talking with writer friends who are at that point though (and, again, knowing my personality), I'll still probably find other things to do during the day besides write and then be stuck writing late at night again like I do now.

I'm not sure about internet access at the Hyatt where I'm staying, but assuming it's not obscenely outrageous, I'll try to post updates to my blog this week, so check there periodically because you just never know who I may run into. I'm taking two wonderful writer friends from my local RWA chapter with me - my mentor, Alice Sharpe, and my good buddy, Lisa Pulliam - and I heard through the grapevine last night they're planning sinister things while we're in Dallas to add fodder to our chapter blog. Those silly girls, they don't have a clue who they're dealing with. (insert evil laugh here...) Seriously though, I'm touched they decided to go with me and know it's because they want to support me on GH night. I'm bringing my camera though, so if they get out of line, I'll post incriminating photos of them here next week. :)

Okay, kids are screaming, the house is chaos, and my list of things "to do" is getting longer by the minute. I'm signing off. Have a great week!


:~: Friday, July 06, 2007 :~:

Book Warnings

In case you've never browsed the selections at Samhain, each information page on a book includes warnings. It's a neat idea, if you think about it -- might keep you from buying a book you'd toss at the wall or it might induce you to buy a book.

For the most part, the "warnings" are pretty standard: explicit sex, male-male sex, explicit language, violence, etc.

So I was participating in an author chat at Fallen Angels Reviews last night and we began talking about those warnings, specifically because an author directed us to her "humorous" warning about crispy villagers (it's a dragon book). Anyway, someone commented that the more creative warnings induced her to buy the books.

Now, I've seen male-male romances tagged as "hot nekkid man love," which I'm sure lures in more readers than "male-male sex."

To that end, since I'm promo-obsessed lately anyway, I thought I'd work on revamping my warnings for future books.

Instead of "mature language," I'm going to use "Lots of cussing. Perhaps even gratuitious use of the F-bomb."

For "explicit sex?" Hot naked loving! Or for one certain book, "hot naked loving with . . ." (Wait. Can't finish that. Connie visits me here and if Connie is reading it . . . my students might find their way over here . . .). Use your imagination. ;-)

A little violence involved? How about a warning that says "an ass-kicking good read"? Or "dastardly villain injured in this book!"

What do you think? And do you have suggestions for warnings you'd like to see on books before you buy?


:~: Thursday, July 05, 2007 :~:

Review: REVEALING SKILLS by Summer Devon

First, I must tell you I don't read fantasy. Much, anyway. And fantasy romance is not my genre of choice. However, I'd been intrigued by Summer Devon's Revealing Skills since Summer's alter ego, Kate Rothwell, blogged about a rejection letter she'd received on the manuscript.

So . . . Devon has a hero (Gilrohan) who's a rat. Literally. Well, he's a shapeshifter who turns into a rat, among other things. I was in love with him by, oh, page three.

And she has a heroine {Tabica) who is a slave who's much, much more. I was rooting for her from the beginning. She's a straightforward woman of strength, just the type of character I love.

I hate reviews that give away too much of the plot, but let me share with you the places Devon had me absolutely dying for more:

1) The love scenes. The sex is OMG hot.
2) When the balance of power shifts and Gilrohan realizes who and what Tabica is? He's trying to distance himself, but just can't pull it off, poor guy.
3) Tabica's acceptance of Gil when he's in a form most abhorrent to her. What does that say of true love? A lot.
4) Watching Tabica come into her own as a strong woman is incredible. Devon pulls this off during the final confrontation scene and I was so glad to see Tabica taking a stand that tied into her treatment early in the book.
5) The HEA? Very satisfying, simply because I'd wanted these two to be together and in love through most of the book and there are powerful things standing between them.

So, I know as review summaries go, I've been a little vague. That's because I don't want to ruin the story for you. But let me say this:


It's available in print or e-book form from Samhain Publishing.

Seriously. Go buy it. You won't regret it.

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:~: Wednesday, July 04, 2007 :~:

The Big Bang

Seemed appropriate that on the 4th of July we'd talk about Big Bangs...only today it will be about ending your novel with one.

I recently took an online class with Lisa Garner, and her last lecture was on ending with a bang. She pulls together all the elements needed to do that just as you'd expect a multi-pubbed, bestselling author to do.

Far be it from me to attempt and paraphrase her words, so I'm going to share a few of her own words.

From Lisa Garner:

"First, all good romantic suspense novels need the BLACK MOMENT. In plotting terms, the Black Moment is when all seems lost. It is the ultimate collision of internal and external conflict. The villain has set a bigger mousetrap, the hero can’t think of way out of it, and he is terrified that he is failing the heroine as he has failed too many times before. This in where your character’s mettle is truly tested..."

"Black Moments are extremely important in romantic suspense. It’s the emotional apex when everything comes together. Hope and despair, love and hate..."

"Resolution in romantic suspense will almost always involve action of some kind. You want to end with a bang. Think big, bigger, and biggest..."

"When it comes to vanquishing the villain, you need to choose which character gets to deliver the death blow. I mean this seriously. While both the hero and heroine have an interest in defeating the bad guy, one of them probably has something more personal at stake, and the ending will be more emotionally fulfilling for your reader, if that character gets to play the pivotal role..."

"...after you have wrapped up your plot, defeated the bad guy, and explained the plot twists, end with your hero and heroine. Let them laugh, cry or love. Tell the reader how they will continue their lives together, stronger, healthier, and happier. This will provide the final warm glow so that your reader can lean back against the headboard and feel satisfied..."

She makes it sound so easy, doesn't she? **Sigh**

Everyone, enjoy your Independence Day celebrations! And tonight while you're watching the fireworks finale, think about your WIP--does it have the necessary elements to end with a BIG BANG?


:~: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 :~:

Good Guys vs. Bad Boys

Ninety percent of my heroes are bad boys. I just seem to enjoy writing them more than I do the good guys. In fact, when I'm faced with a hero who's a good guy, I really don't even know what to do with him. *grin* For me, it's a very thin line between him being nice and being a doormat.

I can't exactly nail down what the appeal of the bad boy is for me, but I just love them...in fiction. In real life, I prefer good guys, so I find it a little strange that my preference when I'm reading or writing is so different from what I want in the real world. Or maybe it isn't so surprising. Maybe the appeal of the bad boy is that he's a fantasy. A man who can't be tamed, but then he finds the right woman and he's willing to change for her.

Do you like good guys, or bad boys? What about either of them appeals to you?

:~: Monday, July 02, 2007 :~:

Better Late Than Never

Okay, so I officially missed the east coast time zone thing for the blog. It's 9:23 pm here, and I'm just now sitting down at the computer for the day. What ever happened to the lazy dog days of summer??? Being a west coaster, I still have two and a half hours to get it in, though I feel like a major slacker. Apologies to those of you out east.

I could tell you about my frazzled day, about the 8-yr old who decided not to cooperate with the dentist and threw a conniption fit in the chair, about my 5-yr old who doesn't understand older kids don't want to play with a "little" boy, about my 2-yr old who has hit the terrible twos with a shebang. But I'll spare you. ;) Instead, I want to know if you're watching this new reality show, Age of Love?

Anyone who knows me knows I'm NOT a reality show fan. AT ALL. Actually, I despise all reality shows. But tonight (while trying to escape from the kids), I sat on the couch and this show happened to come on. I started watching only because it was the first time I'd sat down all day and I didn't feel like moving. And now I think I might just be hooked.

If you've missed the previews, here's the gist. 30-yr old Australian tennis pro thinks he's going on a regular reality-TV dating show. Surprise? All the women he meets are in their 40s. He's taken aback, but then gets to know them. Not so bad. Then, just as he's settling in with the idea of dating a 40-yr old woman, the producers throw six 20-yr old women into the mix. Cougars vs. Kittens. And rooooowrrrr. The claws come out.

So far, the 40-yr old women are more goal oriented, more down to earth, and a lot more likeable. Sure, the 20-yr old women are skinnier, they like to parade around in bikinis, but are shallow and catty about the older group. Not looking good for the younger girls. At least that's the way it comes off. Of course, the producers spin it the way they want to spin it. And this is a 30-yr old guy after all, so who knows what the hell he's really thinking (or with what).

An interesting show. And it definitely got me thinking about my heroines ages. I tend to make most of my heroines somewhere in their 30s. Maybe because that's where I'm at age-wise. What about the rest of you? Do you like to read/write books with heroines in their 20s, 30s, 40s or older? Why? And is anyone watching Age of Love? If so, tell me what you think.