06-23-18 Robin Weaver – My Crazy Road to Romantic Suspense Publishing

Saturday, June 23, 2018

My Crazy Route to Romantic Suspense Publishing

By Robin Weaver

Not me, but could have been.
In sixth grade, I had a best friend who created a book of short stories. Well, not an actual book, but a compilation of typed pages, hole-punched and joined together by pronged fasteners. Even so… That was the coolest thing ever.

Note, this same friend later decided he’d sleep in a coffin every night.  And did. But that’s a topic for another blog.

Anyway, Pudgy (my childhood nickname—I’m not sure why) decided then and there… “I, too, will be a writer.”
My parent’s reaction…


Being at that impressionable age, I didn’t then realize I was
giving up a dream, but I did pursue a more practical degree.

Until… About ten years ago, another friend showed me a compilation of short stories. This was an actual book (headers, footers, page numbers, etc.—the whole ISBN). Again, the coolest thing ever.

Thus my dream emerged from the ashes of my geeky IT existence.  A few months later, a genealogy quest uncovered my great-great Uncle Noverta.  That’s when I decided I must write mystery-suspense (not that I hadn’t already decided that—being a Nancy Drew/Colombo/Linda Howard/John Grisham fan girl).

But back to Noverta… You see, the District Attorney decided ole Verta had murdered his wife—in the coldest of blood. No matter that Noverta’s folks, and even his inlaws, insisted the poor wife committed suicide. Maybe the neat little bullet hole in the middle of her forehead was coincidental.

Okay, confession time. There’s no evidence of a neat little hole. You see, the deeply buried writer gene cannot resist embellishing an already cool story. Anyway, Noverta’s jury didn’t buy the suicide defense and Great-great Uncle went to Parchment Prison in Jackson Mississippi. Not only did Noverta not serve his time-before-my-time, he escaped from that maximum security cell easy-peasy.

Stranger than the strangest fiction… (Did I happen to mention Noverta’s last name, like my grandfather’s, was actually Strange?)

Hold on, the story gets even better.  Our escaped con somehow made his way to Colorado, where he became the deputy sheriff. That’s not my writer gene, that’s the truth and nothing but.  I swear on a stack of mystery books. Noverta served in law enforcement under the pseudonym Charles Boltz for over thirty years.

I Decided to Finally Write that Book.  How could I not? Only research proved far more difficult than I anticipated. Apparently, Google didn’t exist in the 1930s. Sigh. I did find a distant cousin in Colorado, who was Noverta’s great-grand daughter (we are Facebook friends). The Colorado Boltz’s knew nothing of the Mississippi con man.

Anyway, when I couldn’t fill in all the pieces of Noverta’s story, I decided to make it fiction (somewhat). Only once I started writing Framing Noverta, the tale took over and the novel became the story of Sheriff Cal Henderson—a baseball hero turned cop who does his best to prove Noverta has been—you guessed it--Framed.

You do get part of Noverta’s story. Like the real-life character, good ole Vertie gets tried, convicted, and framed. He escapes and heads out west. Book 2 of this series, Saving Noverta, is expected to be released this November. The tale picks up in Colorado with a former-salon-gal-turned-maid finding something strange In Sheriff Noverta’s house.

We all have at least one…interesting character in our family tree. Hope you have as much fun  as I did chopping down the branches.

Happy hunting, happy reading.


How can you uphold the law when following the rules will destroy everything worth protecting?

Weary of D.C. murder and mayhem, Cal Henderson trades in his city badge for a sheriff’s star. Regrettably, his Tennessee hometown proves anything but peaceful—a woman is shot dead in her bed and the only viable suspects are his best friend, Noverta, and the love of Cal’s life—the current Mrs. Grace Gardner.
Noverta escapes from jail, making Cal question his efforts to prove the man’s innocence. As more evidence points toward Grace’s involvement in the murder,

Friday, June 22, 2018

Fantasy Vacations Change

By Linda Lovely

My best vacation ever was the first one I took with my husband. We left Rochester, New York, when it was still tight in winter’s grip, and flew to Club Med in Martinique for two glorious weeks.

The setting was magnificent. Lush green mountains rising out of a clear blue sea. Temperatures in the eighties with caressing tropical breezes. White sand beaches dotted with pink shell treasures. Bougainvillea loaded with red blooms.

The atmosphere, food and entertainment were equally captivating. Club Med was all-inclusive. One price let you try any sport you fancied. Tom and I learned to sail. We even raced each other for prizes—me in an all-women boat, Tom’s all male. We played tennis, snorkeled, and swam. We grazed our way through sumptuous buffets, drank the complimentary wine and beer, and didn’t bother to count how many glasses. We laughed at the nightly shows, played backgammon, danced under the stars. 

Every night at dinner we were seated with strangers who soon became friends—even when they wouldn’t admit they knew English. (Ha-they could speak it better than my French!) But I was young and reckless enough to admit I knew a little French. So I made clumsy attempts at translation. I recall a request to ask two French gentlemen how they might ask a woman to go to bed with them. Their answer: “But a Frenchman doesn’t need to ask.”

We even dared to visit a nude beach. There a Frenchman told us he always could spot the Americans—they always kept their eyes glued to your face, afraid to let their gaze wander.

I was in my mid-twenties; Tom, early thirties. The fact that we were newly in love added its own magic. I can close my eyes and remember the smells, the touch of the breeze, the taste of the food.

\Would I want to repeat that vacation today—some forty years later? Absolutely not. It was the fantasy vacation of a twenty-something. I loved it, but I think trying to repeat it would tarnish the memory. For starters, I’ve developed a wine allergy and there’s no way in Hades I’d stroll onto a nude beach.

My fantasy vacation now? Perhaps a train trip across Canada from Banff to Vancouver or vice versa with maybe a side trip to Alaska. Lots of gorgeous scenery, some hikes in the woods, good reads, and my husband seated beside me on the train. He’s still the person I love most. 

Fantasies change. That doesn’t make one better than another. Just right for the moment.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Let's vacation with a killer...

While I’m not a fan of the snow and endless cold, Michigan has some amazing places to vacation or staycation. 
A staycation for me - less than a 1/2 a mile away... the beach….

Miles and miles of forest….(these are from a forest path about 5 miles from my house - another staycation)

And some mountains…

I went on a hiking trip several – okay a lot – of years ago.  It was amazing!  One of my favorite family outings. And because this was such a great trip, I wrote a book using the Porcupine Mountains as a setting.  I mean what better to honor a great family vacation then turn it into the playground of a serial killer????

Hiking with a Killer


For their second wedding anniversary, Heather and Max plan on spending a weekend hiking in the Porcupine Mountains. 

It's early May so they plan sharing the park only with the squirrels, deer, and maybe a bear. But they soon learn a much larger and more dangerous predator is hunting. And they are the prey.

In order to celebrate another anniversary, they have to survive this one.


Heather Ultisk shifted her shoulders, so she could ease out of the backpack. The beauty of it almost made her forget her aching muscles and the blister on her left big toe. The late spring afternoon sun sparkled off the tumbling water creating hundreds of mini rainbows. She stood holding her camera but knew any picture she took wouldn't do the waterfall justice.

"Breath taking." She began clicking her camera. Moving slightly trying to capture the beauty with her lens.

"It's nothing compared to you," Max Ultisk said from behind her as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “For the last two years, I've been lucky enough to be married to the most beautiful woman in the world."

She giggled at her husband's corny line. "Really Max, it's a good thing you’re a computer gaming geek because you would have failed completely in the card writing business."

He nuzzled her neck. The roughness of his six o'clock shadow against her soft skin fanned the flickering flames of her desire. "I'm serious, Heather. I love you and I'm truly a lucky man. These last two years have been amazing. How many other women would want to hike the Porcupine Mountains for their second wedding anniversary?"

Available July 1, 2018

Have a great month! And enjoy your vacation or staycation...

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Is 'traveling' the same as 'a holiday'? For me, travel conjures up images of moving from place to place, being out most days looking at sites and having new experiences. A holiday is going to a destination and staying put. No housework. No responsibilities. Just relaxing. And writing. Yes,  a perfect holiday would be going somewhere that has no daily distractions and interruptions, but has a beautiful view, wi-fi and few hours a day to sit and write, and evenings to chill out with my man.

I recently accompanied him to Fiji where he was working. With no car, so no means of going anywhere interesting, no TV and no company during the day I had little option for keeping myself occupied other than writing. And I wrote more than I ever had in the same time-frame at home. With my laptop on the balcony, a view of Suva harbour and a beautiful cool breeze, I'd write in 100 words sprints from mid-morning to mid-afternoon and my ever-increasing word count spurred me on even more. I felt so productive and motivated.

I'm currently in the midst of writing/editing two contributions to upcoming box sets and as I sat in my office, stared at the screen, then got up and put on a load of washing, or ducked out to the shops, or binged on a TV series I joked about how we need to go back to Fiji so I can get the words done. But he's headed off to PNG (Papua New Guinea) which isn't a particularly safe place so I'm still at my desk at home, daydreaming about locations where I'd be inspired to happily set up my laptop and pump out the words.

BALI - I spent some family time here  a while back and love the place. This villa at Jimbaran was away from the main tourist areas and was tranquil and relaxing.

Sitting on one of those sun lounges again, or on the plump sofa in the living area, with all that greenery, the sparkle of the pool and the quiet of the surroundings would not only be conducive to gluing my bum to the seat and writing, but there is nothing to distract me - well apart from ordering some delicious nasi goreng or slipping into the cool water, but there's only so much time you can spend in the pool!

SANTORINI - One of those deck chairs has my name on it. Looking out to Mediterranean Sea, on the terrace of one of the iconic white buildings on this beautiful Greek island, who could not be inspired to create a story about love? I would have to take some time off from writing to indulge in one of my other passions - photography - but if this was my writing spot for a week or so, the words would flow and a glass of crisp white at the end of the day would be my reward.

ENGLISH CANALS - I adore the English countryside. All that green is so beautiful and restful, but in a car on those narrow English roads and lanes you can't just stop and take in the scenery, or take photos. But on a barge (especially if someone else is driving) I could kick back on a comfy bed with my laptop as fields and villages drift by. No shops to tempt me away from my writing, no cafes or restaurants unless we tie up somewhere. Just the ripple of the water as we float leisurely along the network of canals. I could finish my English historical!

LAKE COMO - With my laptop (and camera) in hand, hopefully I can find a somewhere to sit and write with this fabulous Italian view. Maybe on a luxury water limousine, or just a spot on a grassy lake-side bank. It wouldn't even matter if it was cloudy like this, just being in this imposing landscape is inspiring in itself. I can guarantee that housework or gardening wouldn't be tempting me away from my writing.

Looking at all these fantasy holidays, I'm not surprised they're all water locations. Despite being someone who doesn't swim well and is a bit terrified of deep water, I'm still somehow drawn to it. Any sort of water. A pool, the ocean, a river, a lake. A luxury bath! The look of it, the feel of it (as long as it's not icy cold), the sound of it whether it's just gentle lapping or waves crashing

My affinity with water has finally translated to a story. The heroine from my current WIP is a Selkie, a seal shapeshifter from Celtic mythology. I wanted her hero to be a surfer and I was so excited to find that there are in fact Surf beaches in Ireland - there's even a music and surf festival in Bundoran which is the vague setting for my story. I know if I could be here to write, I wouldn't be procrastinating and finding the thought of washing floors so enticing.

Surf at Bundoran Beach (from discoverbundoran.com)

Find out more about Andra at www.andraashe.com

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Fantasy Vacation to Alaska...by Kristin Wallace

I’ve been off topic for a good bit this year, since I had 3 book releases back to back (to back). This month, I can follow the theme, which is “My Fantasy Vacation”. Next month I’ll be fulfilling one of those fantasies as I go on an Alaskan cruise with my family. 

I’ve known many people who have gone, and everyone says it’s amazing. I can’t wait. We fly from Florida to Alaska, so from one corner to the other corner. It’s pretty much the furthest you can in the US. I don’t know how many hours that will take. I don’t even want to think about it. There will also be a time big changes, as Alaska is 4 hours behind Florida. Losing those hours is rough. You want to go to bed at like 8 because, of course, it’s midnight back home. It’s pretty easy to wake up, on the other hand. Also, since Alaska is so far north, and it’s the middle of the summer, it will be daylight most of the time, anywhere from 18 to 22 hours a day. The sun barely sets, which I’m thinking will mess with the body quite a bit.

We’re flying into Anchorage, Alaska. From there we’re going on a 4-day train trip into Denali National Park. Then we have a 7-day cruise, which ends in Vancouver. We have excursions booked to see the glaciers, of course. Plus, a fun adventure to see sled dogs. Not sure if we just watch or if you can actually ride in a sled. (I’d totally do that, if they let us.) Whale watching is also on the agenda. There’s sure to be a bear hanging out in National Park. Don’t they just sit around waiting for photo opps all the time? 

So, have any of you done the Alaskan cruise? Tell me your experience? Is there anything I shouldn’t miss? What was your favorite part? Give me some travel tips! 

I’ll actually be on the cruise when it’s my day to post next month, so in August I’ll be back with the update on my trip. 

Kristin Wallaceis the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. She has three series, Shellwater Key Tales(sweet contemporary romance) and Covington Falls Chronicles (inspirational romance). Check out her newest series, The Heiress Games, a sweet contemporary that sees three very different women competing for custody of a pampered pig…and a $120 million fortune. 

Book 1: Least Likely Heiress
Book 2 Not Quite An Heiress
Book 3: The Forgotten Heiress

Available at Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and Kobo

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Hi, I’m Sarah Raplee, author of the Psychic Agents Series of Romantic Suspense novels. Why psychic agents?
Because they are so fun to write! 
I love “what ifs”. 
For example:
What if the FBI has a top-secret unit of agents with extraordinary psychic abilities who are a resource for both U.S. law enforcement agencies and those of our allies?
What if an agent who can find anything or anyone, anywhere, can’t find the man who murdered his family?
What if every time a blind wedding singer kisses a man, he passes out?
What if a drug cartel run by powerful psychic criminals kidnaps and enslaves other psychics in order to achieve world domination?
I also love world building, constructing a world in which such a story can take place. In order for the stories set in this world to make sense, I have to design a “cosmology” of rules that govern the way things work.
For example:
Is the general public aware that psychic Talents are real? Or is this knowledge limited to a select group?
How does the top-secret unit get assigned to cases?
Is psychic Talent inherited? Developed by exposure to a virus? Caused by an experiment gone awry?
If inherited, how is it passed down?
Do parents with the same Talents pass the same Talents to their children?
What happens when a regular human has a child with someone with Talent?
I had a wonderful time world building the Psychic Agents series. I hope I’ve piqued your interest so you'll read the blurb for BLINDSIGHT, Book 1 in the Psychic Agents series from Windtree Press.
A tenacious FBI Psychic Agent who can find anything…
A lonely blind woman with a dangerous kiss…
A brutal psychic criminal obsessed with killing one and controlling the other…
When FBI Psychic Agent Hector Guerrero’s family was kidnapped and murdered, he swore to stop the slave trade in psychics. Undercover for three years in the Mendoza Drug Cartel, he’s zeroing in on a hidden prison camp in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Nothing will stop him from taking down the Cartel.
Blind wedding singer Melisenda Smith can’t keep from projecting her emotional energy onto others through touch. Meli’s nomadic life performing throughout the Pacific Northwest allows her to avoid physical and emotional intimacy. But now her only family, her elderly guide dog Freddy, must stop traveling. Desperate to pay for a career change so she can work from home and keep her beloved companion, Meli accepts a risky gig at a drug lord’s wilderness wedding.
When the Cartel targets Meli for kidnapping, Hector loses his focus. When Meli blows his cover, she loses Hector’s trust. When Meli rescues Hector from a torture chamber, Hector might well lose his battered heart.
I hope you enjoyed my post. Please visit my Amazon Author Page to learn more. ~Sarah

Friday, June 15, 2018

Creating Worlds I'd Want To Stay In #amwriting #scifirom

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories with a romantic soul. A lot of the settings in my books are literally out of this world (though not all). Part of the appeal of writing is creating worlds I 'd actually want to visit, though many are based on locations in my real life. For example, the tropical islands of Metraxi in my scifi romance series Redemption are based on sunny days spent on the local beaches. In fact, I even ran a digital holiday tour of the planet!
Blue Moon Holiday Tours
Find your dream destination among the stars!
Hello, my name is Melanda Troi, and I'd like to introduce you to the latest and hottest destination in our brochure - the tropical idyll of Kasha-Asor on the planet Metraxi. 
Why should you visit? Well, have I mentioned the temperate climate, with 95% guaranteed sunshine during the extended summer? How about the fact that 70% of their land mass is small to medium sized islands, guaranteeing fairly secluded beaches of distinctive pale pink sand?
Or if you prefer moonlight walks by the sea, Metraxi has a single and rather attractive lunar satellite. Their moon also accounts for their gentle tides *hides winter weather statistics*
I suppose some might find the appearance of the native population somewhat...unsettling, but I can personally assure you of their friendliness!
Species: saurian
Planet of origin: Metraxi
Threat rating on the GC scale: moderate
However, visitors should be aware to read thoroughly all pre-arrival information regarding the planet before arrival to avoid any holiday spoilers such as an upset stomach.
Also exercise caution with certain marine species when diving/exploring the vast coral reefs.
Name: Sabre eel
Threat level: high (aggressive and territorial, soporific bite)

So Metraxi has lots to offer. Strings of tropical isles to pick and choose from, warm, safe seas *hides reports of gigantic sea monsters*, pink sand, a pretty moon, friendly natives, and an extensive range of delicious seafood. Why don't you come visit?

Of course, I suppose an endless seaside holiday could get boring after a while, so I make sure to keep my characters on their toes by adventures elsewhere. :P
Part of the first book is also set on a medieval level world based on my love of the period, although I'm not so sure I'd want to stay there for long. Not with the lack of civilised comforts a 21st century human like myself is used to! No proper sanitation, no real medicine, no social media...wait, that last bit is starting to sound attractive...
The other benefit to writing far future stories is all the amazing technology they have. Rooms, even cities that clean themselves and change colour or furniture on request, environmental control, free transport, miraculous healthcare, space travel, equality...who wouldn't want to visit there, or better still live there?! Of course, they aren't all perfect utopias (where would be the fun in writing or reading that?!) but a lot of things that I hope for humanity are there. If only we could stop being so self destructive...
The reactions of my Travellers when arriving on new worlds are based on the culture shock I experienced visiting Taiwan in 2000. But some of my books feature real life places I'd like to go to. My YA zombie novella Restless In Peaceville is set in Louisiana, with much thanks to my friends who live there and were able to correct any of my cultural or geographical errors, and to direct me to the best places to research it. Google Maps also came in handy, allowing me to virtually walk round the town that I based my own fictional one on. I even have an urban fantasy tucked away on my hard drive set in my historical hometown of Colchester, though I don't know if I'll ever finish it.

But in real life, there are other places I'd love to visit. New Zealand and Finland are both high on my list. I'd like to go back to Sweden sometime, and take my kids for their first visit. I have a hankering to visit Fuerteventura, a place hubs and I tried to go before having children, but time and money constraints meant we ended up on Gran Canaria instead - still a beautiful place and we got to see Atlantic dolphins and pilot whales in the wild, but not the original plan. So in the meantime, I have to settle for visiting the ones in my head and making them as exciting and interesting for me to create as it hopefully is for my readers to visit.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

My Fantasy Vacation by Lynn Lovegreen

I have been fortunate enough to travel to many wonderful places. Whether it’s taking the ferry to Dutch Harbor, Alaska on the Aleutian Chain, or seeing Shakespeare’s Globe in London, much of my bucket list has already been checked off. But I would like to have a fantasy vacation, too.

I am taking the phrase “fantasy vacation” literally here—why confine ourselves to reality? My fantasy vacation would be with tour guide William Shakespeare.

We’d start in Stratford-Upon-Avon, where he’d show me around his hometown. He’d give an intimate tour of the places he lived in and frequented, and I’d meet Anne Hathaway (and see if they loved each other dearly—I’ve always wondered). And they’d introduce me to their three kids, too!

Then we’d go down to London. Shakespeare would give me a working tour of the Globe Theatre, including at least one rehearsal and a performance of one of his plays.—I have so many favorites that I’d let him pick one. None of them would disappoint me.—I’d sit back to watch and soak up all the gossip from the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (or the King’s Men if that’s the period we were in). Maybe a Renaissance colleague like Kit Marlowe or Ben Jonson would stop by.

Plus, I’d ask Shakespeare all the questions I’ve been pondering for years. What was his favorite play and why? Did he ever think those poems and plays might be preserved and enjoyed after his life? And why did he leave Anne “the second best bed” in his will?  

I know I can’t really go on my fantasy vacation. But it’s fun to imagine, isn’t it?!

Lynn Lovegreen has lived in Alaska for almost fifty years. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and volunteering at her local library. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in Alaska, a great place for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Crafting the Perfect Romantic Couple

Hi everyone! 

I am YA, and now MG author Barbara Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for adolescents and teens. My tagline tells you what I am about - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them.  My newest book, Courage, is fiction for kids in grades third through seventh coming out July 31, 2018 from Harper Collins.

I give it six months, maybe less.

Have you ever closed a romance book and said that to yourself about the relationship? You just know this particular hero and heroine, who may be happy together right now, will never last as a couple. Roarke and Dallas, the couple in J D Robb's incredibly popular In Death series, are obviously a forever couple. An after they ever actually die, their ghosts will still hang together kind of couple. On the other hand, it comes as no surprise that in Jurassic World 2, Owen and Claire, the couple who saved the world and resumed their on-again, off-again romance in the prior movie are off again, they barely stayed together longer than the roll of the credits.

All characters—in all types of stories—need motivation for their actions. Otherwise they are simply an actor’s puppets, and most adult readers are beyond the puppet show stage. That's certainly true of romance readers.

Because they’re the hero and heroine and I need them to fall in love.

Readers see through that kind of thing fast. Author motivation does not count. Readers are not interested in what the author needs. They want to feel that the love is real. No matter what happens to people in the real world, in our stories, characters should fall in love for a reason. Love doesn’t happen just because two people are "hot". It's not enough to pair an insanely beautiful heroine and square-jawed, heavily ripped hero and call them a match. Look at the Bachelor/Bachelorette reality TV shows for proof of that. The hotness factor on those sets has thermometers exploding. The love, not so much. The HEAs they have produced are almost nonexistent.

Instead, lets think about he impostor syndrome. Writers (and many other people) know all about feeling it would be a disaster of untold proportions if the world ever found out the truth of our incompetence. So we wear masks and pretend that all is well. Don’t we rejoice when an agent or acquiring editor says they LOVE our work? That’s the high, when someone sees our real ability and and believes in us.

In our stories, intimacy can begin when one character sees behind another's Identity mask  they present to the world and accepts them for who they really are; their true Essence. (Can you tell I’ve been to Michael Hauge’s all day story mastery seminar? Twice actually, and I’d go a third time in a heartbeat.)

If you have never had the privilege, let me say he shows authors how to run the emotional arc in tandem with the plot while characters break free from their Identity and let their inner Essence shine through.  In romances, the feels authentic and long-lasting to readers when characters see the Identity but also notice the Essence and loves them more as they break free from that Identity to their true self.

A few definitions.

The IDENTITY is the mask, the thing your character puts on like a suit of armor when he/she rolls out of bed, to protect them from the worlds harsh reality. It's not about being weak, the decorated SEAL has an identity, so does the cowboy or surgeon, or the boy next door. This is the person you show readers at the start of your story. You should also show a hint of what they could become, the ESSENCE hiding the armor, the “impostor” who will not face the world without the benefit of the identity mask. That Essence is the character's potential and their only hope for real intimacy

That's because every character should also have a WOUND. Something back happened in their backstory, an emotional injury that still brings pain. The Identity pushes back the pain and guards against having the wound reopened.

The hero/heroine has a BELIEF or world view, shaped by that personal pain. The past, backstory, colors how they view life. Some parts of the belief may be correct, some horribly wrong, but it is how they see the world.

NEED: The character must want or need something. This may be subconscious, so they do not even know how much they need this thing, just that something is missing in their lives. In other words, in addition to having a goal like defeating the villain and saving the world, there is an inner goal they probably can’t articulate at the start of the story.

Last, but absolutely not least, what they FEAR. That's why the armor is necessary. Yes, even your stalwart, sturdy Shape-shifter or Alien has some secret fear. It's usually tied into the potential for experiencing that Wound again. Better to hide safely inside the mask of false identity than risk proving their Belief is true, that the Fear is real, and wind up Wounded again.

The love interest has to see inside the Identity mask and cheer for their Essence as it reveals itself.  Find it, cheer for it, and fall in love with the true self. Does it get any better than knowing someone sees the real you, and loves you anyway?

BTW, this love interest, male or female, may have their own Identity/Essence crisis going on.

Your job, as writer, is to force your character to challenge that belief system. Use the plot elements to to make them pursue their Need, push through the Fear and risk being Wounded again. During this battle, the Essence hidden inside begins to come out. When the love interest sees this and recognizes love for the Essential self, readers will have no problem believing that this is a love for the ages.

NOTE: By the time you read this, I will be on my way to the 2018 Romance Slam Jam Booklovers Convention  http://rsjconvention.com/authors-attending-romance-slam-jam-2018/  . The conference keynote speaker is  USA Today Bestselling Author Farrah Rochon (https://sites.google.com/site/farrahrochon/) . I will be presenting an extended version of this information in a workshop entitled Crafting Heroes and Heroines.

For more about Michael Hauge, because I just gave tiny taste of the awesome information he gives in his seminars,  he is giving a workshop titled: Identity, Essence and the Heroine's 3 Journeys  at the RWA conference in Boulder, Co next month. This is part of the YARWA sponsored Day of YA. https://www.storymastery.com/events/michael-hauges-identity-essence-and-the-heroines-3-journeys/ 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dream Vacations Without Leaving Home

by Madelle Morgan

What if you could go on vacation without actually travelling anywhere? That's the type of "staycation" that is opening up with virtual reality (VR).

3D video capture and Google mapping are making the world's sights accessible from your living room. It's called Virtual Reality Tourism.

This didn't exactly sneak up on me. I'm a tech geek and knew the technology was under development. Finally, after years of innovation and investment, the VR headsets are much less clunky, the price point has dropped, and 3D video capture equipment is more widely available.

Kids of all ages who desire the latest gadgets are putting VR headsets on their gift lists.

Why is this of interest to romance authors?

The applications of VR are unfolding, but they all involve telling a story. Examples are in the fields of entertainment, real estate sales, training, and travel.


VR, like other forms of entertainment such as television and film, is a medium that requires writers. The immersive experiences will need scripts. Narrators and actors will connect you to the places captured in the VR world. Video game designers are well positioned to expand into VR games, taking the expression "immersed in the story" to a whole new level.

Real Estate Sales

Soon online 360 degree videos of homes for sale or rent will be outdated sales tools. Agents will give their clients headsets and virtually "walk" them through dwellings to narrow down the selection before an in-person visit. Imagine touring several homes in an afternoon without the hassle of driving to them.


Aircraft control simulators used to train pilots and loved by gamers have been around for a while. But did you know surgeons, crane and other heavy equipment operators, emergency services personnel, and basically anyone who develops skill with repetitive practice can learn using simulation software and VR?

Wouldn't you prefer that aspiring surgeons make any learning mistakes in a virtual environment, rather than screw up in real life?

Travel & Tourism

Wearing the headsets, we'll be able to virtually wander around museums, tour historic sites, visit vineyards (sadly, no wine tasting), ride roller coasters, and even "experience" outer space! Writers, the virtual tour guides will require scripts.

Here's a description of 8 Virtual Reality Travel Experiences That Will Blow Your Mind.

At my age, Virtual Reality Tourism is the only way I'm ever going to visit Machu Picchu.

There are many European castles I'd love to tour, but I'm not sure my legs will get me up all those tower steps.

What applications for virtual reality do you envision ten years down the road?


Madelle Morgan is a Canadian author who writes romance with heat, heart and humor. Check out these summer beach reads.

Caught on Camera: Hollywood wedding romance set in Muskoka, Canada—summer playground of the rich and famous.


Diamond Hunter, a romantic suspense, is a free read in Kindle Unlimited.


Saturday, June 9, 2018


Hi, I'm Sue Ward Drake. 

I’ve been a writer all my life. A column for my high school paper. Travel journals. Poetry (published when newspapers published poetry). Advertising copy. I cut my reader’s teeth on Nancy Drew mysteries and early adventure stories that were in my school library. Eventually, I moved on to Helen MacInnes who held her own with the male post-WWII, Cold-War thriller writers—and she wrote romantic suspense.

After joining RWA and beginning to read the longer contemporaries with suspense elements, I wrote and rewrote a few manuscripts, selling the third one, I think. My first published romance follows both the mystery and the thriller genre models.

For someone who doesn’t like roller coasters and who used to give herself nightmares just by looking at paint spatters on her bedroom window, I’m surprised the suspense is actually easier to write than the romance, though I’m fascinated by what makes people tick, romantic couple-type people. For the suspense, I usually have to go over and over a scene to produce the proper edge-of-the-seat tension.

The most difficult aspect is getting the romance and the suspense to coalesce into a unit so one can’t be separated from the other.

I am currently working on more romantic suspense stories. My re-released first romantic suspense, HEAR NO EVIL, has plenty of suspense and a MacGuffin. And then of course, there is romance. I find having to juggle two or three elements fascinating and the most fun way to spend my writing time.

For Molly Light, painting is her path out of a silent, solitary world. Now her talent is awarded with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to paint under the blue skies of the Mediterranean. Her journey to Greece with the brooding, enigmatic stranger who awarded her the prize, plunges her into the terrifying world of international intrigue from which there seems no escape. Nor can she escape the suspicion in this man’s eyes whenever he looks at her—or the overpowering desire his every touch arouses.

Bent on revenge for the brutal torture he’d once endured, Stefanos Metadorakis believes Molly is sharing secret military plans with a U.S. enemy. His instructions are to accompany her to Greece, watch her every movement—and mood—not fall in lust with her. But he’s inexplicably drawn to Molly, and it’s not long before their passions explode. As distrust mixes with desire, dangerous forces are closing in, their sights set on Molly. Can the lovers forget the past and learn to trust each other enough to survive? 

With a childhood spent in a house full of dark windows in every room, Sue Ward Drake developed a vivid imagination for spooky happenings. Her sometimes undependable hearing gave her a chance to imagine the worst, and she grew fond of suspenseful tales. After a lifetime traveling the globe including a year in Spain, nearly that long on a Greek island, and over thirty-four years in New Orleans, she now happily resides in Nevada with her husband of thirty-nine years within minutes of the mountains and no more than three hours from the sea.

Sue will be speaking at Emerald City Writers Conference in Bellevue, WA October 25 - 28, 2018 on disabled characters and how to frame and write emotion. Please visit her at: www.SueWardDrake.com or on Twitter at @SueWardDrake.