Friday, September 27, 2013

FAQ: You just use a formula to write your books, right?

This is a question I get from time to time: So, you use a formula to write your books, right?

I've heard other romance writers address this question before by saying, "no, there is no formula." I think writers feel insulted when someone tells them their craft can be copied by using a formula.

But I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I use a formula.

And I'm going to share it with you.

If you want to write a good romantic suspense novel, all you need is:

A hero

A heroine

A romance

A plot

A conflict

A setting

A happily ever after

I won't overcomplicate the formula, but here are a couple notes in case that brief list is too vague and you're less an addition person and more into algebra.

A hero: compelling and worth reading about. the reader should care about him. he needs something at stake. provide enough backstory to give him depth, but not too much to slow the pace. the book is taking place in the present - not the past. don't make him perfect. perfect is boring. know his motivations. what makes him tick? what does he want? what is keeping him from getting it?

A heroine: ditto.

A romance: after an initial attraction or chemistry, the characters should fall in love over the course of the novel. they need a reason to want to be together and stay together despite the problems that threaten to pull them apart and the murkiness of the future. they can't be completely in love with no issues because it's hard to keep the tension when this is the case.

A plot: what happens in the book. not a series of unrelated events, each scene should build on the one before it. don't resolve conflicts too quickly. start the scene with a hook and end with a cliffhanger. make the reader turn the page.

A conflict: you need an internal conflict for each character, an internal between them, and an external conflict which may take the form of a villain or a disaster or anything else that causes a problem for your characters.

A setting: should be an active part of the book. where the book takes place should affect the plot and the characters.

A happily ever after: tie it all up with a bow! if you have any secondary characters who are loose threads, that's a great opening for your next book.

See? Simple.

Now: get writing!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Amazing Benefits for the Workforce

I read an article in Working Mother magazine about the benefits that the best companies in the United States offer to their employees. I've worked at some nice places and some not-so-nice places, but these benefits amaze me!

- mentoring programs
- paid maternity leave
- paid volunteer time
- on-site fitness centers and classes
- massage therapy services at work
- prepared take home meals
- backup childcare

Since I work from home, I can't expect to be offered these benefits, but kudos to the companies on the list!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Protecting His Princess Giveaway

My advanced reader copies of Protecting His Princess arrived today. I'm thinking about fun giveaways, like offering copies if a reader sends me a picture of one of my other books in a cool place (poolside? on the beach?) that I could post to my website/blog. What do you think?

To everyone who's written a review or emailed me about my other books, thank you so much for your support. It means a lot to me.

I am working on line edits for Traitorous Attraction (book 4) now. Connor's story has a tentative pub date of May 2014.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wounded Warrior Project

Brady Truman, the hero in SHIELDING THE SUSPECT, is injured and unable to return to active duty as an Air Force pararescueman. He has lost his career and his goals for the future are destroyed. He feels adrift in confusion and hurt and bitterness. By the end of the novel, Brady gets help from a great organization.

While there are many organizations who do wonderful work for veterans, I wanted to highlight the Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project helps wounded soldiers to adjust life outside the military. I encourage you to visit their website (waiting on approval to post the link). It's a thank you to all that our country's servicemen and servicewomen have done to protect freedom, democracy and the pursuit of happiness.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013