Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sit-down Saturday with Kate James and Giveaway

Today we’re celebrating the release of When I Found You.



This is the third book in your K-9 trilogy. What was your inspiration for writing the trilogy?



Kate: I have tremendous respect and appreciation for law enforcement personnel who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe, and I love all animals, with a particular fondness for dogs. In that context, the K-9 trilogy was a natural outcome for me.

How did you come up with the story idea for
When I Found You?

Kate: I wanted the story to have a plot that dealt with emotionally-charged, current-day issues that readers would find intriguing. I considered the most common specializations of police service dogs and their handlers, and since the first and second books in the trilogy featured search and rescue, and narcotics detection respectively, for the third book, I chose explosives as Logan and Boomer’s specialization.

I have been fascinated by airports and the aviation sector for as long as I can remember. Professionally, I have had involvement in the industry. As such, I have more insight into an airport’s operation than the average person might, and I also tend to pay more attention to media coverage of airport or aviation related incidents. Although I write fiction, my personal belief is that for a reader to be drawn into a story (among other attributes) it has to be genuine and credible. There are a number of elements to this story that I refer to as fictionalizing facts!

Tell us about the research you did for the trilogy.

Kate: I really enjoyed doing the research for the trilogy. My husband put me in touch with some of his law enforcement contacts. After obtaining the requisite security clearance and necessary approvals, I had the great pleasure of spending a considerable amount of time with PC Jim Hilton of Ontario’s York Regional Police. PC Hilton is a K-9 expert and trainer, and is partnered with explosives detection dog, Max. PC Hilton was extremely generous with his time, knowledge and expertise, and I loved meeting the dogs.

How did you come up with the title for When I Found You?

Kate: My editor and I had a challenging time coming up with a title for this book. I wanted it to start with “When” to keep it consistent with the first two books in the trilogy. We considered a number of titles, but none seemed quite right. So we asked readers! I was thrilled to see the tremendous enthusiasm demonstrated by many readers.

As it turned out, we didn’t have just one winner but four. As a token of appreciation, each of the four winners received autographed copies of all three books in the trilogy. (Summer Halls and June Smalls, please contact me, if you are reading this, so I can send you a copy of When I Found You!)

What’s next for you? 

Kate: Mid-June, I submitted the manuscript for my next release, which will likely be the first book in a mini-series set in a small town in the Adirondack Mountains region, the heroine’s home being loosely based on our cottage in Ontario (please see picture below).



For readers who enjoyed my K-9 trilogy, here’s a nice little surprise! When I submitted my most recent proposal to Harlequin, they added an extra book to my contract. There will be a fourth book in the K-9 trilogy! I suppose we’ll have to start calling it the “K-9 series!” It’s the story of rookie K-9 officer, Shannon Clemens, and her rookie police service dog, Darwin, both of whom readers will get to know a little in When I Found You. I’m also writing in the characters for a possible fifth book!
J

If you could pick actors to play the hero and heroine, who would they be?




Kate: We had a Facebook party for our July releases and that was one of the questions I asked participants. There were a lot of great suggestions made, including the actress and actor I had in mind, Megan Fox for Ariana and Ian Somerhalder for Logan.


What would you like your readers to know?

Kate: I would like them to know how grateful I am to everyone who chooses to spend some of their valuable leisure time reading one of my books. I am also very appreciative when those same people take a moment to send me an e-mail or post a review to let me know how they enjoyed one of my books. Ultimately, that’s what being an author is all about!

© © ©

Excerpt from When I Found You

While Logan and Boomer worked the area between Gates 16 and 18, Ariana wandered ahead to the next section of the concourse. She watched the members of her team and other airport personnel undertake an orderly evacuation. People had obviously been shaken by the explosion, but the staff were communicating that it was a minor incident to keep everyone calm. She followed in the wake of the evacuation, scanning the area for anything that might’ve been out of the ordinary, although she knew it was futile.

     She was glad she hadn’t dismissed the letter as a ruse. Ariana had been in her job long enough to know that the airport received a considerable number of false threats on a regular basis.

     In this case, the threat just hadn’t felt like a prank, and Ariana trusted her instincts. Whoever was behind it had access to her office, making it far more likely that he’d have means of entry to other secure areas, as well. Granted, security in most areas of the terminals was electronic and far more advanced than the rudimentary manual lock on her office door. And she always kept her door locked when she wasn’t in it. Electronic security was harder to breach, but if someone wanted in badly enough, there were ways. No easy feat, but possible.

     Ariana checked in with her team to get status updates about the search. For the time being, they believed that they were dealing with an individual. Even so, they couldn’t assume that only Terminal 1 was targeted. They had to check the entire airport.

     She monitored the evacuation process for Terminal 1, and she kept Calvin and Molly informed.

     From the cryptic updates Logan received, Ariana surmised that Sergeant Vasquez and his dog had left Terminal 2 and were heading to Terminal 1.

     She caught up to where the passengers were exiting the concourse and paused. She watched Logan as he supervised Boomer. When he glanced at her, she could picture the bright blue gleam of his eyes, although he was too far for her to discern their color. It was only a moment in time, but Ariana felt a spark pass between them, across the nearly empty concourse.

     Disconcerted, she broke eye contact and made her way toward the concession area, still seeking anything that might not appear right.

     Suddenly, Boomer rushed by her in a blur and she heard her name called from a distance. Swinging around, she saw Logan sprinting toward her. She felt the floor shudder, and an earsplitting sound reverberated around her. Before she could process what was happening, she was flying through the air.

© © ©

To celebrate the release of When I Found You, I have set up an Amazon giveaway. You can enter here. (Sorry, Canadian friends. Amazon wouldn't let me set one up for Canadian residents. L)

Finally, I am pleased to announce the winner of my Prism Book Tours blog tour K-9 trilogy prize pack. Congratulations Tracy Snyder! Here is what you have won!!


Happy reading, everyone!



Kate James
spent much of her childhood abroad before attending university in Canada. She built a successful business career, but her passion has always been literature. As a result, Kate turned her energy to her love of the written word. Her writing has been recognized with a number of awards. She and her husband, Ken, enjoy traveling and the outdoors with their beloved Labrador Retrievers, Harley and Logan.

Kate would love to hear from you. You can connect with her by e-mail (readers@kate-james.com), through her website (www.kate-james.com), her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/katejamesbooks), Twitter (@katejamesbooks) or mail at PO Box 446, Schomberg, ON, L0G 1T0, Canada. 

When I Found You (Book 3 in the K-9 Trilogy)

Is she part of the solution…or the problem?


It could be a terrorist threat. Or is it some other sinister plot? An unprecedented rash of security breaches at San Diego's international airport is putting passengers at risk and bringing the competence of the airport's chief of security, Ariana Atkins, into question. With explosives the weapon of choice, police K-9 unit captain Logan O'Connor and his bomb detection dog, Boomer, might be Ariana's best, if not only, line of defense. Logan is certain his belief in Ariana, and his growing love for her, aren't misplaced…but it wouldn't be the first time he's misjudged someone's intentions.

Buy Links
Or  you can by all three books here.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Writing in Paradise by Janice Carter

We all have our favorite places to write.  For some, that place is a corner desk or a third floor refuge from kids and pets.  Some even like to write in coffee shops, though that doesn't work for me.  Too many distractions for an inveterate people-watcher.  Even thinking about it conjures a vision of streams of interesting, sometimes fascinating, people.  See?  I'm already off track.
      My favorite place to write is from paradise.  Otherwise known as Garden Island, it was dubbed 'paradise' years ago by one of its owners and the nickname has stuck.  Garden Island is a small (65 acres) island at the juncture of Lake Ontario and the St.Lawrence River near Kingston Ontario.  It's been privately owned by the same family for almost 200 years.  As a grandchild of recent (1920s) immigrants to Canada, I find that awesome.
       The family once had a ship building empire and Garden Island is where sailing ships and steam ships were built by scores of men who worked and lived on the island.  These 65 acres once contained a village of 750 people, complete with schoolhouse, post office, general store and even a library.  A long lane running from the 'foot' to the 'head' of the island was the main thoroughfare for all those people, their work horses, carts, carriages and sleighs in winter.
       We still use that long lane, only now wheelbarrow and bicycles are the norm.  For there are no motorized vehicles here in paradise, other than lawn mowers and tractors.  The ship building empire gave way to modern times and gradually closed shop.  Villagers left to live and work elsewhere.  The island reverted to its original owner - Mother Nature- and swaths of vegetation filled in the old work places, hiding relics to be discovered by treasure hunters ever since.
          We don't own our small plot of paradise, but luckily have a more or less lifetime lease and have raised our daughters in the same cottage for the past 30 years.  Since our retirement, my husband and I have been able to live here on and off for six months of the year.  We have laying hens and a dozen Guinea hens that forage at will because, for the first time in many summers, there are no foxes on the island.  A herd of about 8 white-tailed deer and a large variety of birds and water fowl, plus more  chipmunks than one could ever wish for, and a LOT of garter snakes, round up the non-human
creatures here.  I have overlooked the insect world, unfamiliar as it is to me, but there are spiders -too many varieties to consider!- and bees.
        Yep.  Honey bees living in six hives in the meadow, tended by my husband, the island beekeeper, who treats everyone to organic honey every season.
         The 20 or so buildings on the island are, for the most part, remnants of that former ship building village and now house families that have been vacationing here for multi-generations.  The old post office is a museum and the huge sail loft where sails for tall ships were once stitched is the venue for our annual Thanksgiving potluck and other Garden Island events.  For parents, children, grandchildren and island guests love to get together to celebrate and any special event will do.
         This love of gathering makes the island a very heartwarming place.  And whether it is an exceptional sunset or a sparkling summer day, I am always inspired by our small chunk of paradise.

     

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A New Series by Tara Taylor Quinn


So happy to be able to share this with you!! In just three days a new ttq series is launching!!! Family Secrets is, first and foremost, intense, emotional fiction! It's the name of a national reality cooking show. And every single story in the series revolves around a family secret!! More good news...they're coming to you fairly quickly! Book two, Her Soldier's Baby is out in November. And book three, The Cowboy's Twins is out in January!

Mostly what I can say about this series is that the people who have worked on it are talking about it. One of the books has inexplicably drawn three of us in to the point of mentioning it to each other. Maybe that doesn't sound so odd, but I write emotional stories. The team that works on them is pretty used to that!

This first book is especially personal to me. In it you meet Dawson. He's four years old and has Down Syndrome. To some, this sounds like a handicap. In my world it is not so. I have a very very special nephew who also has Down Syndrome. From the moment I held him as a new baby, he brought a striking joy to my heart. He turned ten this summer and that feeling has not changed. When you're with him, you feel like you're in the presence of an angel. Not that he's always an angel. He's all boy. But he's got a way of looking at the world that makes things clear. You know what matters, and you know what doesn't! For Love or Money is dedicated to him.

As a bonus...because this series revolves around contestants from a cooking show, you get to read about a lot of great food with recipe hints thrown in!

If anyone is interested in reviewing this and other ttq books, please drop me a line at staff@tarataylorquinn.com! Or to hear all the latest news about giveaways and upcoming releases feel free to join my mailing list!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Good morning from the mountains!

Hi Everyone,
Sorry I'm a little late getting this blog posted. I'm working with a different computer and having some problems with it. But I'm here now. And where is here? Actually I'm over 5,000 feet above sea level with a view to one of the tallest peaks east of the Mississippi River.

This is my summer place. I rent a condo on the mountain top where I hunker down for a couple of months to escape the heat of a south Florida summer. This year I'm experiencing a "working vacation" because I have started a new book for Heartwarming - one set in the mountains I love. I'm also celebrating the release of the second book in my trilogy, The Daughters of Dancing Falls. This book, to be released Aug. 1, The Bridesmaid Wore Sneakers, is the love story of the middle sister, Jude. I hope you'll take a look. Jude is a single mother who still grieves over the death of her soldier husband. Will her grief end? Will she find a new love? Well this IS a romance so you probably know the answer. How she gets to her happy ending is the good part.

What do you think of working vacations? When I traveled with my late husband and my son (back in the day) I wouldn't think of working. Much too busy, priorities were different. Now it's just me and I find comfort in the familiar, and the familiar is writing to me. I still find time for a few rounds of golf (I'm terrible!) too many dinners in southern restaurants, and too many shoppiing trips to charming country stores. I'm happy here. I'm happy writing. What's your happy place and are you like me? Always glad to get home again?

Have a great day no matter where you are, and check out The Bridesmaid Wore Sneakers. I think I lucked out with a cover this time.

Cynthia


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The New Love of My Life

by Lee McKenzie

A miracle happened this month, and I am thrilled to introduce her to you. This precious little bundle made me a grandmother, and she is the new love of my life.


In my (completely unbiased, of course) opinion, she is the most beautiful baby to have ever graced the planet. Yes, I know every grandmother says that, but seriously...how gorgeous is she?

She was going to need a place to sleep so before she was born, her grandfather and I embarked on...you guessed it...a DIY project. We had kept the cradle our children slept in as infants, but the color was dated and dreary and it definitely needed an update.

Years ago, the cradle had been taken apart for storage.
I knew we had to use Annie Sloan chalk paint because it's virtually VOC-free and satisfied our desire for this new little person to have a non-toxic place to sleep. The mom-and-dad-to-be chose the color ~ a beautiful shade called Duck Egg Blue.

Painting in progress and various components laid out on the patio to dry.
The project was completed and delivered just in time!


I have several other DIY projects on the go but I'll share those another time. And lately my thrift-store forays have yielded some interesting finds. I scored these six silver pieces -- a sugar scoop made in Germany, a small spreader (not sure where it's from) and four Loxley pastry forks that were made in England. I didn't think to put anything in the picture for scale, but the pastry forks are five inches long. All six pieces were jumbled in a bag for $4.
Thrift store silverware ~ before and after polishing.
At another shop I found this charming little pierced silver berry spoon in a random bin of cutlery. It polished up very nicely! Again, no scale, but it's also five inches long. And after researching the markings on the back, I discovered it was made in England sometime between 1872 and 1894. I think it's adorable!

Victorian-era silver berry spoon, before and after.
I love the look and feel of silver, and I frequently use it for family dinners and other occasions. And I recently discovered there's a baby spoon and fork that goes with my silver flatware, so I'm now on the hunt for that! Wish me luck!

Happy reading!

Until next time,
Lee
...writing fifty shades of pink
To Catch a Wife, Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2016
His Best Friend's Wife, Harlequin Heartwarming, January 2017
www.LeeMcKenzie.com

Monday, July 25, 2016

When Writers Write Too Much

Patricia Johns

I've recently submitted a completed manuscript to my Western Romance editor, and I'm wiped! It's a good feeling, this exhaustion. It means I used my time wisely. Not a wasted minute! Well... a few wasted minutes on Facebook, but I'm only human. ;)

When I'm brain dead after a completed project, there are a few things I do as I readjust to the real world:

1. Watch Netflix, which isn't exactly the real world, but it is a great stress buster.

2. Remind my friends that I'm still alive and make a few social plans. I tend to stay closeted away while I'm poring over a manuscript, so my friends wait until I emerge. They're so nice.

3. Cook. It's a good idea to refill the freezer for my next lengthy writing binge. When I write and cook at the same time, I burn food. Apparently, my multi-tasking isn't as great as I imagine.

So now that I've come up blinking to the surface again, I will leave you with a picture of my son at the beach, enjoying a little bit of the summer after all!


Patricia Bradley


Like Patricia J, I just turned in a book— a romantic suspense that weighed in at 92,000 words in 3 months and I’m dame bread. Brain dead. Three months of getting up a five a.m. and writing (or staring at the computer, anyway) for eight to ten hours a day. And as always, I put on five pounds. :-/ So the first thing I did was bake a cake. You know, one last hurrah before I starve myself until the five pounds are gone.

Then I did…NOTHING. The first day after I turned the book in, I got up at six-thirty and spent TWO hours on my deck, drinking coffee and doing nothing at all. Well, maybe I did catch up on my Facebook posts. Then I had a leisurely lunch and at four-thirty I went to a Pilates class. And that weekend, I went shopping! It felt so strange to have the time to actually go into a store and take the time to look at the sales racks and to even try clothes on.

And then, this week I went to meet my great-niece in Chattanooga. Kinley Bryn was born June 13, and because of the deadline, I couldn’t go see her. She is such a cutie. 


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sit Down Saturday with Amy Vastine


Today we’re celebrating the July release of The Girl He Used to Love


So, Amy, where did you get the idea for this novel?


I watched a few episodes of the show Nashville, and the series is loosely based on the idea of that show. I love music and am inspired by it all the time. I also have a thing for guys who play guitar, so it seemed like the perfect idea to write about a record company. The show Nashville also has tons of drama, meaning I thought it would be easy to come up with some high stakes and tension!

What is your favorite scene?


My favorite scene is probably when Dean and Faith dance at the church picnic. Dean has a hard time watching other guys hit on the girl he used to love and cuts in. They both care about one another so much but are afraid of expressing any of it. Here's a little bit ....

“I didn’t need you to step in,” she insisted. “Ty isn’t like Charles.”

“Good to know,” he replied without loosening his hold on her.

This close, his eyes reminded her of green glass. If she looked hard enough, maybe she could see into his head and figure out what he was thinking.

Sawyer hadn’t started the next song; he was busy taking requests. There was no reason for Dean to be holding her the way he was, but she couldn’t find it in her to step away and wait for the music.

“Thank you for telling me to stay.” His words sank right into her heart and made it swell.

“You’re welcome.” Faith tried her best not to think about the way he held her hand or the small sliver of space that separated her body from his. She didn’t dare dwell on the rapid beating of her heart.

“Addison would have ditched this picnic a long time ago.”

Faith smiled, knowing he was right. “She’d be spending a day like this by the lake, working on her tan.”

Dean nodded in agreement just as Sawyer and his band found one last song to play.

He started strumming his guitar, slow and serious. The melody took shape and Faith realized it was “Amazing Grace.” Once he began singing, it took everything Faith had not to cry.

Slowly, with his eyes never leaving hers, Dean led her in a dance. It was as if everyone else at the picnic disappeared, her brother’s voice the only sound in the world. Faith felt Addison’s presence in that moment. Observing. Listening. Forgiving? Faith couldn’t be sure. All she knew was that she hoped Dean felt it, too.



If you could pick actors to play the hero and heroine, who would they be?


I actually asked people who follow my Facebook page to choose between Taylor Kitsch and Chris Hemsworth when I was writing the story. Chris won by a bit of a landslide, so Dean became a blond instead of a brunette!
I also had them choose between Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester for Faith. I think the girls look so similar that it was pretty much tied. I would pick Minka if you made me choose!

What music would match the mood of this novel?


To get in the country mood, I listened to a lot of Country Hits on Spotify while writing this book and the second one in this series, Catch a Fallen Star, coming out in December. I think since it's set outside of Nashville on a horse farm, you gotta think country.

This is your 5th Heartwarming book. Exactly what does that mean to you?
I am so excited about this milestone! I never expected to write one book, let alone five. The support I have received from readers and from the editors over at Harlequin has been incredible. I am so grateful to have to opportunity to use writing as a creative outlet. I hope there are five more in me!



What do you plan to work on next?
The second book in the series is done and I can't wait. I will hopefully be continuing the series for many more books. Faith's brother, Sawyer, definitely needs a story! I am also working on a Christmas novella for A Heartwarming Christmas coming out in October. My story is called Peace, Love, and Baby Joy. The entire set is ready for preorder for only 99 cents right now - check it out HERE!

****ANNOUNCEMENT****
Winner of the giveaway posted on July 13th is Britney Adams! Congratulations, Britney. Please send your info to amy@amyvastine.com and I will send you that book.

Amy Vastine has been plotting stories in her head for as long as she can remember. An eternal optimist, she studied social work, hoping to teach others how to find their silver lining. Now, she enjoys creating happily ever afters for all to read. This USA Today bestselling author lives outside Chicago with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, three fun-loving children, and their sweet but mischievous puppy dog.

Visit her all over the web:
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER

Friday, July 22, 2016

Words to live and love by


Good morning, all!

Am taking the coward's way out today because, like Sophia, I hadn't realized this was a five Friday month, and was thinking about what to do for next week.  Then I really looked at the calendar.
But hearing from the world's brilliant people is more fun than 'listening' to me, anyway.

Got the idea for this blog because I was checking out the Wayfair website (One of my favorite distractions - have never ordered anything, but it all looks so cool!)  And there was a wall hanging with this quote from Coco Chanel - KEEP YOUR HEELS,  HEAD,  AND STANDARDS HIGH.
I love it!  So, went looking for other quotes we don't run across all the time.  It seemed appropriate to us to quote from the subject of love.

YOU CAN'T BLAME GRAVITY FOR FALLING IN LOVE - Albert Eistein

LET US ALWAYS MEET EACH OTHER WITH A SMILE, FOR THE SMILE IS THE BEGINNING OF LOVE - Mother Teresa

SPREAD LOVE EVERYWHERE YOU GO.  LET NO ONE EVER COME TO YOU WITHOUT LEAVING HAPPIER - Mother Teresa

I HAVE DECIDED TO STICK WITH LOVE.  HATE IS TOO GREAT A BURDEN TO BEAR - Martin Luther King

LOVE IS SMOKE MADE WITH THE FUME OF SIGHS - William Shakespeare

TO LOVE AND BE LOVED IS TO FEEL THE SUN FROM BOTH SIDES David Viscott

BEING DEEPLY LOVED BY SOMEONE GIVES YOU STRENGTH, WHILE LOVING SOMEONE DEEPLY GIVES YOU COURAGE - Lao Tzu

LOVE IS A SINGLE SOUL INHABITING TWO BODIES - Aristotle

AND JUST BECAUSE WE NEED SOME LAUGHS . . .

A WOMAN'S MIND IF CLEANER THAN A MAN'S: SHE CHANGES IT MORE OFTEN
- Oliver Herford

A DAY WITHOUT SUNSHINE IS LIKE, YOU KNOW, NIGHT - Steve Martin

I BELIEVE THAT IF LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS, YOU SHOULD MAKE LEMONADE . . . AND TRY TO FIND SOMEBODY WHOSE LIFE HAS GIVEN THEM VODKA, AND HAVE A PARTY  - Ron White

GO TO HEAVEN FOR THE CLIMATE, HELL FOR THE COMPANY - Mark Twain

AND IF WE LET THE FOLLOWING HAPPEN, WE'D ALL BE UNEMPLOYED . . .

I LOVE DEADLINES.  I LIKE THE WHOOSHING SOUND THEY MAKE AS THEY FLY BY - Douglas Adams

Hadn't heard that quote from Shakespeare before.  The man did have a way with words.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and that you'll think of brilliant observations so that one day, the world will be quoting you!



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Process and place

Liz Flaherty

Helen suggested we talk about writing process this month. Or maybe our special places to write. Since…ahem…I don’t actually have a process, I opted for places to write. (Let me add here that if anyone knows of a good place for me to find a process, I'm all ears.)
My favorite is my desk in my office. When the college professor my son worked with retired, he gave Jock his desk. Since they were moving anyway and Jock didn’t have anywhere to put it, he asked if I’d store the big oak teacher’s desk. I said sure. For a while. And now I say he can have it when I die, because it’s not going anywhere until then. It sits by the windows in my office and I have an uninterrupted view of the fields and woods to the west. I’m a country girl—it doesn’t get better than that.
Unless I’m at another son and daughter-in-law’s house in North Carolina, when I sit in the breakfast nook with my laptop before anyone else is up. It’s just a cup of tea, me, and the Blue Ridge. If this doesn’t ignite the fire in your writer’s heart, then your wood’s wet.

One time, years ago, I had edits to do—a horrifying number of them, as a matter of fact; I think I had to rewrite the book—and I was pretty much stuck. The longer I worried about it—and looked at the calendar because I didn’t have very long and the time was flying by—the more stuck I got. We were going away for the weekend and I ended up in the dining room in a Hampton Inn at something like four in the morning doing edits. I don’t remember where we were. I only know I worked there all morning, ignoring the filling-up and emptying-out of the room and drinking cup after cup of coffee. And being gloriously unstuck. So it has become a semi-tradition that when I have edits—especially if they’re heavy—the Flahertys end up in a motel or a state park lodge for a weekend.

Where’s your favorite place to work? Or, even better—in case I need to borrow it—your favorite way to get unstuck?

Helen DePrima

I wish I had a favorite place to write – maybe I’d be more organized and productive. My best location is anywhere I won’t be disturbed by the phone or my husband or the dog wanting to go out or come in. A big leather recliner in the family room works well for me except that my Maine Coon cat likes to participate in the process; try typing with a large bundle of fur in your lap. I’ve worked in hotel rooms, on ferries and in parking garages – I rarely leave the house without my beloved laptop.


As far as method, I’ve heard there are two kinds of writers: organized and organic. Since no one’s ever accused me of being organized, I guess I fall into the organic camp. I once attended a writers’ workshop where the presenter taped a long sheet of butcher’s paper to the wall. She had outlined every chapter, every scene, probably every paragraph. If that were the required method of writing, I’d be dishing up fast food orders instead. The extent of my organization is envisioning my main characters at the beginning of their adventure and following them to jot down how they proceed. I generally have some idea how the story will end, but sometimes not even that is set in stone. In The Bull Rider, my female lead uttered three words entirely without my planning or permission and the whole plot took off cross-country with me in hot pursuit. The resulting excursion greatly enriched the story. Being receptive to unimagined possibilities is my one best writing tool.

I can usually get unstuck with a little exercise – swimming or hiking or even just a quick turn around the patch of trees and brush stretching behind our woodpile. I got hopelessly bogged down recently over the POV in the book I just completed – who should be the lead in a key scene – when it occurred to me to have a third character recount the action after the fact. Problem solved.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Who Tells Your Story by Syndi Powell



I had heard about this hip hop musical about one of America's Founding Fathers, and I became curious to find out what such a combination would sound like. I listened to it once, twice. And then it happened: I became obsessed with the musical "Hamilton: An American Musical" by Lin-Manuel Miranda. He's a gifted storyteller, bringing the story of the man on our ten dollar bill to life. But one line that stood out at the beginning changed the way I looked at the book I'm currently writing: Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

As writers, we often look to who lives or dies in our stories, but we should also be looking at who is telling the story. Each scene comes from one person's point of view, and if you flipped that it could change how it plays out. After all, two people witness an event, and you'll get two different stories about what happened. The major details may agree, but the little details could change depending on who is telling the story at the time. Similar to the Japanese film, "Rashomon", the truth of what happened depends on who is speaking.

How can we apply this to our writing? Often, we pick whose point of view a particular scene is from by who has the most at stake. But we could add depth to our story by looking at how it would play by changing the POV. Each character comes in the scene with a particular agenda, hoping to steer the story based on that. If my hero wants to convince the heroine that they need to take their relationship to the next level, then he will manipulate his dialogue to get the desired outcome. But what if that same scene is from the heroine's point of view who wants to keep the status quo. She will use her dialogue and body language to emphasize the need to stay the same. Depending on whose point of view you choose will determine the words and mood of the scene.

By coming at the same scene from different points of view, I can determine the strongest thread of action. It will also influence the direction of the plot since I tend to write by the seat of my pants rather than by methodically planning. It's brought up some surprises and twists that I hadn't expected. I hope it's also created some depth in the characters since I'm going deeper into what they see, feel, think.

Hamilton believed in the power of words. He used them to create and to destroy. Miranda believes in the power of music and story. And me? I know that we need to find out who lives, who dies, and who tells our story.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Miracles...by T.R. McClure

My first book with Harlequin Heartwarming, Wanted: The Perfect Mom, debuted in June.

Last Friday I sent in the second manuscript for the Home to Bear Meadows series. In Wendy's Story, one of the characters partially recovers from automobile injuries. I wondered if the recovery would be believable to the reader. After all, I'm writing romantic fiction, not science fiction. During the last stages of writing, the phrase "medicine is part science and part miracle" popped into my head. Where did that come from?

Maybe from a story that's been circulating in the local newspapers and television stations here in central Pennsylvania.

Emily Whitehead lives in Philipsburg, PA, a town "just over the mountain" from me. She was diagnosed with standard risk pre-b acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was five years old. You can find more about her story at www.emilywhitehead.com. After several relapses, she became the first person in the world to try the experimental treatment of genetically modified T-cells, a phase 1 clinical trial at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The first person.

She was in the news because her foundation just hosted the second annual tee off for t-cells golf tournament, the money from which pays for another child to receive the treatment. Her foundation funds researchers to help them find less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer. See www.emilywhiteheadfoundation.org.

Now 11, she and her parents attend fundraising events and speak at conferences to share their story. And she is over three years cancer free.

You don't have to travel far to find a miracle. One might be "just over the mountain".

Medicine is part science and part miracle.
http://emilywhitehead.com/2015/02/emilys-story-on-hbo-vice-special-report-killing-cancer/

Whatever you're reading today, romance, science fiction, or the local news...
Enjoy the read.
T.R. www.trmcclure.com