Showing posts with label #AmWriting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #AmWriting. Show all posts

Thursday, February 9, 2017

#MFRWAuthor-to-Author: Research... Necessary but Time Consuming @DMBurton72

Have you ever started researching a topic only to discover you’ve spent the better part of an hour going from one site to another to another? Those pesky side links.

In a HubSpot (a marketing site) article about bad habits, the author wrote about Black Hole Browsing. Although I’d never heard of that term, I knew exactly what it meant. I’ve fallen victim to that bad habit more than once. For example, while researching the topic of cryo-sleep for my novella MISION TO NEW EARTH, I visited way too many sites.

I knew about the body being put into hibernation for long-distance space travel from movies like Avatar, Interstellar, 2001: A Space Odyssey. But I wanted to know more, and before I knew it—Wham!—I’d fallen into that Black Hole.

As a sci-fi writer, I’m not concerned with the mechanics of cryosleep or hibernation. I compare it to an automobile. I don’t know (don’t need to know) how my car works. I just need to know that when I put the key in the ignition, that car will take me where I want to go.

From what I’d read, seen in movies, and researched, I gathered enough info to make the scene of my astronauts going into cryosleep believable. At least, I hope so. Or that the reader can suspend disbelief. I was more concerned with the emotions experienced by the astronauts. Their excitement on being pioneers to a new planet warred with fear of dying in flight. Or, as in the movie Passengers, they could wake up too soon then use too much fuel (for life support, artificial gravity, food, etc.) and not be able to get to the new planet.

For me as a reader, emotions carry more weight than scientific facts. Not to be sexist, but generally men like more facts and science in their stories, while women tend to enjoy the emotional journey the characters go on. My target audience are women who like adventure along with romance. Whether my stories take them to small towns in west Michigan or on a starship into deep space, I need to make sure my facts are straight. Nothing tears me away from a story than one that has inaccurate facts. Hence, my need to research. I just wish I could avoid those pesky side links that take me from one interesting article to another and then to another.

It takes discipline to avoid falling into the Black Hole of browsing. Why? Because when we’re researching we’re not writing.

How about you? Have you ever fallen into the Black Hole of research?

Diane combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren. 

Diane's newest book is Mission to New Earth, a Science Fiction novel.

Would you go on a one-way trip to explore a new planet? Would you do it to save humankind?

Earth’s overpopulation and dwindling resources force the United Earth Space Agency to expedite exploration of new planets for a possible new home. When new crises ensue—a giant tsunami and the threat of nuclear winter—the timeline changes. Eight years of training crammed into four. Sara Grenard and her team prepare for launch, but are they ready for the one-way trip? Will the Goldilocks planet prove just right for Earth’s inhabitants? Before time runs out.
As I waited for confirmation from the director, seconds ticked by slower than a melting glacier. The question kept running through my mind. Are we prepared? They shortened our training. Four years instead of eight. My God, what did they leave out?
“Commander Grenard.” Director Ashcroft rose stiffly. “Your team passed the landing simulation.”
I slowly released a breath, when I really wanted to jump up, hug everyone in the booth, and do a happy dance. Instead, I nodded. “Thank you, sir. I’ll share your words with the team.”
As I got up, the technician winked. “Nice job, Sara.”
I smiled. Of all the techs, Roland was the most supportive. He’d been with our team all four years, starting in New Mexico. Back then, we thought we had eight years to prepare. Four years at White Sands before moving to Ares Station on Mars. But a catastrophe prompted the move to Ares two years sooner. We spent a year there instead of two before moving to Titan. Despite Director Ashcroft’s reassurance, I worried. I feared for my team.
We were about to leave on an adventure of a lifetime. Just thinking about how fortunate we were to explore possible new homes for Earth’s inhabitants, I was still awestruck. Giddiness raced through me and with it the ever-present trepidation. What could go wrong? Were we prepared for all eventualities? What if—
I had to stop speculating on the dangers of our mission. My fear could easily infect my team and spread worse than the bout of influenza that devastated three teams before we left Ares. I was certain the other commanders didn’t have my fears. I bet they didn’t have a swarm of bees roiling around in their stomachs.
CONNECT With Diane

Monday, October 31, 2016

CONNECT with Other #MFRWauthors for #NaNoWriMo!

Are You NaNo-ing?
November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as #NaNoWriMo. It happens each November and many authors, both old and new, find it motivational.

It pushes authors to increase their word count higher for the month - and typically spurs on higher word counts for a few months afterwards too.

You can SIGN UP here. You should set up a profile and bookmark it because this is where you will go each day or so to update your writing stats.

You'll also earn badges and be able to see your writing progress, along with connecting with other authors.

Let's CONNECT with other MFRW Authors!
1. After you register, come back HERE and put your NaNo Link in a comment.
2. Scroll through comments and follow others.
3. You can also find NaNoWriMo on these social media sites:

Friday, October 28, 2016

#WWoW Author-to-Author Tips from #MFRWauthor @RowlandKathleen

MFRW author Kathleen Rowland shares what she knows about the publishing industry.
Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts.  Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.
website  |  twitter  |  facebook  |  goodreads

Author-to-Author Tips... Sharing what I know about the publishing industry
Action sells! Books that have an action sequence within the first 25 pages sell better. Readers of romantic suspense look for fast paced.  Plotting is critical to build a cohesive, multilayered storyline.

Should an author publish traditionally or self-publish? It’s okay to ride two horses at the same time. It does take longer for a novel to go from proofing to publication, but often self-pubbed books rush through edits. I submit longer books, over 40,000 words, to my publisher but self-publish novelettas (10,000 and under).

Is paperback coming back as opposed to paperless eBooks?  My publisher focuses first on eBook sales.  If the eBook doesn’t sell, neither will a print book. That is true, but the readership of romantic suspense is 60% eBook and 40% paperback. In other genres print books took an upswing.  Some readers like both print and e-readers.

What’s good about being a writer? In our own lives, even a bit of negativity is usable.  Were you ever involved with an alcoholic? That experience can help shape a character. How about being a single parent and providing for children while making ends meet? In my current work-in-progress, Vivienne Rourke takes tentative steps toward a new life after losing her husband.  Her cousin is missing, and she works as a detective, always hoping to locate her.  Another wonderful part of being a writer is hearing from fans. I learned on the reservation that the ancient, sacred charge of the storyteller is to beguile the time. I’m thrilled when I hear that someone has used my books to get through some particularly difficult illness either as a patient or as they sit on the sidelines while someone they love is terribly ill. It gratifies me to know that by immersing themselves in my stories, people are able to set their own lives aside and live and walk in someone else’s shoes. It tells me I’m doing a good job at the best job in the world.

Is bringing something new to the table with research or breaking news better than following trends relevant to your genre?  I write romantic suspense, and the most popular contemporary romance subgenre is action/adventure. I feel a smart-selling author needs to have awareness of requirements within a sub-genre.  Romantic suspense requires DANGER.  Allow me to expand.  Suspense incorporates a sense of tension throughout the book with heart-pounding action, adrenaline-inducing chase, edge of your seat thrills, life-threatening situations, and dangerous criminals. These are common elements.  ROMANCE. There’s a central love story.  Our lovers have to traverse nail-biting adventures before they become acquainted with each other and fall in love. As an author I weave both romance and mystery.
No Backstory Not none, but weave backstory in with mercifully short dialogue. The biggest error is over-writing and manufacturing emotions.  Characters must react in the present, be honest and real. They react to their situation and to each other.  Their issues are background.  Life is messy. The thrill ride is dangerous, authentic, eye-widening, and passionate.

Kathleen's newest book is Deadly Alliance, an Erotic Romantic Suspense.
Finn doesn't trust Amy.  Dog that he is, they're after the same shiny bone-- his missing cash.  Some alliances have dangerous consequences. Chilling adrenalin rush when Amy witnesses a fight between an Irish gang and domestic terrorists, is caught in the crosshairs, and needs Finn's protection. Finn doesn't trust Amy.  Dog that he is, they're after the same bone.  Some alliances have dangerous consequences. BUY LINK

Monday, October 17, 2016

#WWoW A Day In The Life of A #MFRWauthor Ann Raina

A Day In The Life of MFRW Author Ann Raina
Ann Raina lives and works in Germany with cats and a horse. Riding and writing are her favorite hobbies. So far she has written thirteen novels for eXtasy Books with more to come. Her latest series, starting with The Secretary’s Bodyguard, turns around a couple getting into dangerous, life-threatening adventures.

In all of her books she combines romance, suspense, and humorous elements, for no thrilling story can stand without a comic relief.

Connect with Ann on facebook or on her website.

I work in an office. I have a horse to take care of every day. These demands limit my writing time, including on weekends. Therefore I'm used to write wherever I go and have time to ponder ideas, scenes, and character development. I don't leave the house without a notebook and pen.

My latest, now published book was written in four months because the story came up nicely and many characters offered themselves for developing from the series' first three books. I loved adding new characters, and my muse did a lot in creating their backgrounds. With the storyline set and the main characters defined, I used every minute of the day to write the scenes.

It was so much fun, especially the afternoons with my muse -- lots of coffee, cookies, and enough paper to write down essential notes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Writer's Block or Procrastination?@barbbradley

I am so sorry I haven't posted in a few months. As you know from an earlier blog I have been dealing with caring for my mother-in-law. I'm sad to tell you that she has passed away. The last two months were a whirlwind. Having to contact all the different people to make them aware, canceling the things I needed to. It's been crazy and I've had to make lists to keep it all straight.

With my mother-in-law gone I now supposedly have more time...

But I can't figure out what I seem to be doing with it.

I some of it is dealing with my grief and having to follow up on those phone calls to make sure I didn't miss anyone. Part of it is procrastination. I've been working on the same series since we moved in with my mother-in-law and even though I have one to finish and another one rattling around in my head I think I have this series linked to her.

I'm so grateful that I learned to write every night, whether I'm in the mood or not. It's going to help me work my way through all this. I'm going to put one word in front of the other until I'm writing the way I have in the past.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Beyond Aesthetic Attraction: The Romantic Relationship Is More Than Skin-Deep #MFRWauthor #WriteTip #Writers #Authors

We all appreciate beauty. How can we not, when it's all around us? From babyhood, we are attracted to pretty things, and as adults this partiality continues. As romance authors, we try to bring beauty to our readers. Who doesn't admire the stunning heroine? Or fall in love with the smoking-hot hero?

But is this what romance really is about? A simple equation with few variables easily solved? Stunning Heroine + Smoking-hot Hero + Major Hots For Each Other = Happy-Ever-After? If you're thinking: sure, why not? Keep reading.

Lust is not romance   

Let me ask you this...are you in a relationship? What made you fall in love with the person you're with? Was it his amazing eyes and fabulous hair? Her tinkling laugh, and impressive waist-to-hip ratio? I'm willing to guess that you fell in love with your beloved's core qualities. Don't get me wrong, attraction is a huge part of the falling-for-you stage of any relationship, but it isn't what makes us commit to a lifetime with this one person above all others. The same should be true for our hero and heroine. Have you ever read a story/book and wondered what on earth the H/h saw in the other person? I have! We might fall instantly in lust with the way someone looks, but getting to know that person dictates how we will feel about them long-term. The same ought to be said for our H/h. 

We might fall in lust with looks, but we fall in love with personalities 

If your hero is horrible to your heroine on almost every page the reader will wonder what on earth the heroine sees in him, and what sort of glutton for punishment she is.

I remember years ago when I was trying to crack a particular category romance line, I would read almost every book in that line each month and more often than not hate the heroes. They tended to be coldhearted toward the heroines--except when they wanted to cart them off the bed!--and I so desperately wanted to read about wonderful, caring heroes who showed the heroine love and affection while still having big enough internal conflicts to keep them apart. So I wrote these type of heroes, hoping to change the romance world with my wonderful, fun heroes. Needless to say, these guys never managed to get me picked up by the publisher. I still write this type of hero because this is the type of man I love. If I can't fall in love with my male lead, how can I expect my readers to love him?

So what makes people fall in love?           

We've already establish that it's beyond aesthetics. It's more than skin deep. It's the many layers that make up a person's character--their very essence. It's their hopes and dreams, virtues, interests and skills, ambition. It's the connection between the two central characters--yes, most definitely physical attraction should play a fundamental part, but also a meeting of their minds--mutual admiration (even while they butt heads), compassion, affection. Not only do you want your reader to see why these two people would fall in love, you want the reader to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that your H/h's HEA will last forever, and not until the first hiccup that comes along after the reader has closed the book.  

A few years ago, my husband and I were on our way out for the day when we came to a set of traffic lights that were on red. We were six cars behind the first car. The lights changed to green and the first car didn't move. Being British, we waited politely until the light turned back to red and no one had moved. With some neck-stretching, and head bobbing and ducking, we managed to see that the driver of the first car was a woman and she had her friend with her. I know some men who would have started griping about women drivers, but not my hubby. He said he was going to check to make sure the women were okay and, as he got out of the car, I hopped into the driver's seat. 

I can't tell you how big my heart swelled in my chest as I watched my beloved walk past four other male drivers in front of us on his way to the first car in the queue containing the two women. My hero-hubby spoke to the woman driver, then as the light changed back to green he moved to the back of the woman's car and pushed her around the corner, and off the road. Would you believe me if I told you that none of the other men in that queue even attempted to help those women, or even helped my hubby to push the car??? 

At that moment, as I watched my beloved rescue the female driver, I fell deeper in love with him. Until that instant, I didn't think it was possible for me to love him any more than I already did.

Once back in our car, hubby told me the woman had flooded the engine and was so upset it brought her to tears. She kept thanking him for his kindness and help, and I suspect she probably fell a little in love with him, too.

It's these sort of actions that make our central characters fall for each other and creates the magnetic pull of deep attraction. And it's what makes our readers believe the love story we tell them.      

Give your characters scenes which show them in action doing the things that compel them to fall in love with each other. At the heart of your romance story is the relationship, and this relationship is a collection of layers that run far beneath the surface appreciation of beauty.

Until next time, write with clarity and style!

Monique x 

Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge. 

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her HERE to learn more about her and check out her other books.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Writing Through Adversity @barbbradley #MFRWauthor #amwriting

We all have rough days - I know I have had my share this year and I hope I'll give a little inspiration as I vent over what I have been through. We all handle adversity differently. I like to escape, by sleeping, writing, and working. Whatever helps me forget what is going on for a little while.

So lets look at what's been happening in my life. Back in March I was told that my mother-in-law probably won't make it a year, She's 88 and has COPD, congestive heart failure, AFIB, and pulmonary hypertension. I've been her caregiver for the last few years and have learned more about these diseases than I want to know. The doctors recommended that we get her in the Bridge to Hospice program so as she deteriorates we have something in place.

Dealing with this put a weight on my shoulders I didn't need, but I took it in stride and continued to write every night.

When I called the company in my area to set this up they told me that home hospice would keep her care at home. No more trips to the emergency, no more doctor calls. I said great because I know she doesn't want to go in a hospital.

So the nurse came to the house to start the enrollment, The rules for home hospice are quite strict. She must be home bound although she could go out every once in a while. Well she wanted to go to the YMCA one time because they were having a luncheon, but she didn't say it to the nurse that way. My MIL said she was going to the Y. She also has restless leg syndrome and it chose the moment when we were enrolling her into the program to get up and walk around the room. The nurse felt if she was going to the Y and that mobile she wasn't ready for home hospice.

Not what I needed, but I squared my shoulders and kept writing.

Now along with all the other things my MIL has Macular (sp) degeneration so her vision is failing. There were several more trips to the ER but I think when her eye doctor declared her legally blind she finally realized we needed the help home hospice can give us.

A little less stress and more writing.

In the middle of August my dad had back surgery and had a disk replaced. Well at the beginning of October I got a text from my step-mom that the disk collapsed and he was back in the hospital. The disk was contaminated when it went in him and he got this weird infection from it so they put him on antibiotics and said he'd be there for six weeks before they could replace the disk. He lives about eight hours from me so I was worried and stressed but still wrote.

My mom, who lives near me, had knee surgery on Oct 8th. I learned she was getting a little confused and it worried me. More stress. She went into a rehab center for her rehabilitation and I try to visit her every day. Trying to balance the two mom's can take some juggling, but still found the time to write every day.

Now that's a lot isn't it? But I've kept writing. It gives me relief from all of this. But I'm not done.

My MIL's hearing is gone. I had to have her tested and they show a strong hearing loss, A hearing aid does help her, but with her oxygen tube, and her glasses, there is no place for the hearing aid. When we borrowed it from the office to see how she would do with it, within the day she it had popped out of her ear too many times or I would find it dangling next to her ear like a weird hairpiece. We're going to try something else.

The day after this I went down to see my dad in the hospital. We had a great visit, but the poor thing is allergic to the antibiotics. Broke out in hives just before I arrived. Oh and he lost his cell  phone and his upper teeth, but that's a story for one of my books. On my way home my car broke down. At the time I write this it is about four hours away being worked on. I still have to go back after it.

It started losing power halfway between where my father lives in SC and my where my sister lives in NC. I was able to find a place and found out my battery was bad so I replaced it and was on my way, except that wasn't the problem. I passed the exit I normally take to see my sister and my car died again. I was able to get it to her mechanic and he said it was my alternator. I had to stay with my sister for the night (and I did some writing) then the next day after I got my car I got on the road once again. About an hour and a half down the road my car started loosing power again. I had no clue where to go or how to get the car to a repair shop but I put on my big girl panties and got it done.The hubby and I are planning a trip to go after it once it's fixed...again.

Now, I didn't write this to make you feel sorry for me. I wrote this to show you can't let the crapstorm that life serves you from time to time stop you from doing something you love. I love writing and I'm not going to stop, no matter what.


Timeless Desire - Book 9 of the Vespian Way Due out at the beginning of Nov.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Day in the Writing Life of #MFRWauthor @Jill_Blake_

I'm a type-A personality. I make lists and plan things out to the very last detail. When all else is chaos, my systematic approach to writing is often the only thing that keeps me sane. (Not to mention it’s cheaper than therapy.)

I start with a character or premise that strikes my fancy. Around this, I build a world, populating it with composite portraits of friends and neighbors, family and coworkers. I fill in my characters’ histories, make family trees, create life plans. Often I do a lot of background reading on whatever topic or environment is relevant to my story.

Then comes plotting. True to form, I keep timelines of important events in my characters’ lives, and use an actual calendar to keep track of their activities in the ongoing present.

Then I go back and write. Each session begins by re-reading the last scene or chapter, making a few edits if needed, and then mapping out a bare-bones outline of the next chapter, fleshing it out, and finally jotting some notes for the following writing session. This continues—two to three sessions a week, each several hours long—for four to six months. That’s how long the process takes me from start to finish for each book. The editing, beta-reading, cover design, formatting, and marketing all come later, often overlapping with the planning stages for my next book.

Sometimes I look around at fellow writers who are incredibly fast and prolific, and wonder how they do it. Some are pantsers. Some are able to multi-task, or write despite distractions. 

Alas, that is not me. I need complete quiet and freedom from interruptions in order to write. That’s hard to come by in a house with husband and three small kids. Not to mention the time constraints imposed by my day job. Did I mention I’m a physician? I average fifty hours a week seeing patients, and also take (thankfully infrequent) call.

So, slow and steady it is. At least for now.

Contributed by Jill Blake
Jill Blake loves chocolate, leisurely walks where she doesn’t break a sweat, and books with a guaranteed happy ending. A native of Philadelphia, Jill now lives in southern California with her husband and three children. During the day, she works as a physician in a busy medical practice. At night, she pens steamy romances.


Beyond the Ivory Tower... coming in November 2015

If there’s one thing math professor Anna Larazev believes in, it’s the value of higher education. So when her younger sister announces she’s dropping out of college, Anna places the blame squarely on the man who inspired her sister’s rebellion.

Venture capitalist Ethan Talbot claims the US academic system is broken. His solution? Pay top students to “opt out” and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams without wasting time and money on a university degree.

In a passionate battle for the hearts and minds of a new generation, Anna will do whatever it takes to prove Ethan wrong. But when his demands take a more personal turn, will she sacrifice her principles to come out on top?

Ethan ignored the first few emails. Likewise the faxed letter, the phone message slips, and the envelope delivered by registered mail.
Ever since his usual assistant, Margaret, went on medical leave, he’d been saddled with a series of temps who had neither the wits nor the will to guard his inner sanctum. What he really needed was someone who not only knew how to organize his schedule and take dictation, but could also screen out and deflect all the noise of the outside world. There were simply too many people asking for money, or looking for a job, or hoping for an interview or sound bite, or just eager for the opportunity to rub elbows with the man of the moment.
Frankly, he was tired of it. But until Margaret returned from getting her hip replaced, he was unlikely to catch a break.
Maybe, after this weekend’s summit, he’d take some time off. Fly down to Belize and do some diving. Or visit his parents in upstate New York. He hadn’t seen them since Christmas. And even then he’d spent most of his time taking meetings by Skype and reviewing business plan executive summaries, financial projections, and capitalization tables.
Sighing, he turned away from his contemplation of San Francisco’s skyline. He needed to make one more pass through his PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow’s keynote address.
He was nearly halfway through the slides when the door burst open and he found himself facing an interruption he couldn’t ignore.
She was five foot five--but that was the only average thing about her. She swept into the room with rapid, angry strides, dark brows drawn together over almond shaped eyes, nostrils flaring. Her hair was caught in a casual twist from which glossy black strands escaped to tumble past high cheekbones and bare neck. A V-cut T-shirt that stopped just short of displaying any cleavage was tucked into a pair of close-fitting jeans.
Ethan’s latest assistant—Tina? Trisha? something with a T—scurried in after her. “Dr. Larazev—”
The woman shook off the restraining hand and continued to advance.
“Ma’am, please.” The assistant cast Ethan a nervous glance. “I’m sure we can schedule you in for an appointment. If you’ll just come with me…”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making Your Reader Like Your Characters #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg #WriteTip #Authors

Have you ever read a story and absolutely hated one or both of the main characters? 

This month I’m looking at how we can make our readers like our character.

The first thing the reader will want to know is who the character is and why should s/he root for them. Why should the reader care what happens to the character?

Recently I saw the film Interstellar with Matthew Mcconaughey, one of my favorite actors. If you haven’t seen this movie—a: I highly recommend it! It was amazing, so emotional and touching. And b: I’ll try not to ruin it for you so in the interest of giving you a heads-up…Spoiler Alert…

I was thoroughly enjoying the movie when it got to the part where one of the characters died. Sadly I didn’t care because I didn’t really know him, which is always a warning that that character will more than likely be the first to get bumped off. But what made it worse is that the character became too stupid to live (TSTL) just before he died. I positively disliked him for his sheer stupidity. After his untimely exit, I didn’t give him a second thought.

In contrast, when the main character almost died I was on the edge of my seat. The difference between these two characters? I never really got to know the first guy, so I wasn’t invested in him or really cared about him, and it was easy to dislike him for his stupidity because there was no reason for his actions. 

Meanwhile, I’d gotten to know the main character, empathized with him, cared about him, so I was invested and wanted him to survive. Plus he fought for his life. The other guy stood around like an idiot and did nothing! 

Don’t get me wrong, we want our characters to be flawed. Without flaws, our characters have no way of changing or growing. 

The flaw is the external representation of the internal fear. What I mean is the flaw is the result of the internal conflict, and internal conflict usually results from a past emotional scar.

For example, what if your hero is overprotective because somewhere in his past a loved one got injured or killed because of something he did or didn’t do. Say, maybe, as a teen he had a girlfriend and they got in a fight while driving home. She demands he pull over and let her out. He’s so mad he does exactly that and leaves her. She is attacked and possibly murdered. The hero has to live with this for the rest of his life. So now he won’t let the heroine out of his sight because he wants to protect her and make sure nothing bad ever happens to her. 

Now, if we make the flaw too dominant we will make the hero unlikable. In order to make your reader like him, you need to let the reader see the reason for his fear and you need to make your hero begin to fight the impulse to be overprotective along the way.  

Don’t make your characters’ issues so deep and dark that you create jerks. On the other hand, if you do have deep dark issues, you need to work extra hard to show the reader why the character is like this and give glimpses of a softer side—hint that this character can change. 

So How Do You Make Your Character Likable?

Start with the core competencies of your character, made up of three aspects: strengths, skills, and desires. As well as having bad experiences from the past that gives us our internal conflicts, we also have happy moments that might inspire us to do, or be something. I like to think that for every bad moment of the past there is a good. As authors we often focus on the bad in order to get a hold of the internal conflicts, but when we let the reader see the good moments that influenced our characters we allow the reader to bond with, and therefore, care about and like, our characters on a deeper level. 

Our overprotective hero from above may be a rescuer at his core. You can give him a job to reflect this and maybe he beats himself up so much because he feels guilty that he couldn’t save the past girlfriend. His black moment can come when we place him in a redemptive situation and give him an opportunity to redeem himself from the past by now saving the heroine. This guy can have a lot of layers, and if we show them to the reader, she will not only understand him, she will fall in love with him. 

The trick is to show the character’s niceness before you show the flaw. That way the reader is already invested and will stay to find out if this character finds her/his happy ever after. 

Do leave a comment in the comment section below. Even if you just want to say "Hi!", I'd be thrilled to know you stopped by.

Until next time, write with clarity and style!

Monique x 

Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge. 

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her HERE to learn more about her and check out her other books.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Where Do Book Ideas Come From? ASK #MFRWauthor @VellaCMunn

What became the Seasons Heartbeat series started the fall afternoon a dear friend and I were watching a fierce storm head our way. Fueled by a glass of wine and the wind whipping the evergreens while the sky became dark purple, I started thinking about how much I'm impacted by the wilderness. In only a few minutes I had the series' basic concept in mind. I wrote four books with each one taking place during a different season plus a novella that covers a single day. Hopefully I've created flawed and complex people who allow their peaceful mountain surroundings to free them from their pasts and open them to love. 

Seasons Heartbeat:Spring
by Vella Munn
Contemporary Romance
Seasons Heartbeat Series

Alisha Hearne must decide whether to sell the family's mountain cabin or stay and tackle the necessary repairs and face painful memories. The nearby resort represents one thing to Nate Quaid—where he earns a living. Nothing means more to him than freedom and forgetting his past.

Despite their reservations, loneliness and need bring them together but are they capable of revealing their deepest secrets and exposing their vulnerabilities?

Do they dare risk falling in love?

Amazon: Seasons Heartbeat: Spring is romance at its best. Ms Munn's vivid descriptions of Lake Serene and her family's mountain cabin made me feel as though I was right there in that beautiful setting.
Amazon: The author's love of nature comes through so clearly in this book that I can almost imagine myself at Lake Serene. She has made the environment another character in the story and the book is richer for it.

Taking her cue from the older man who’d already started toward the shore, she trailed behind him. Doc was right. The crazy boat driver appeared to be checking out the fifty-some small docks belonging to private cabin owners. At least he’d slowed to trolling speed. At the rate he was going, he’d reach her dock in a couple of minutes so she planted herself as close to the listing structure as she dared. She didn’t care what he thought of her dock. She just wanted to give him a piece of her mind about his disregard for what this high mountain lake stood for. As she waited, she studied Mount Steens across the lake. The top was still buried under snow and thus intimidating to her. By late summer the sharp edges would show. She'd never climbed it, but when she was growing up, she used to tell herself she could tackle it no problem. She just wasn't sure whether she'd have to carry a sleeping bag and plan on having to stay the night.
Night alone near the top of the area's most imposing mountain. Away from all responsibility.
The motor’s high growl triggered something inside that she didn’t want to examine. She’d been under a lot of tension lately and didn’t need this idiot adding to it. She wanted him gone and the quiet back. Not just quiet. She needed to smell what was left of the snow, the water, pine and dirt. To be renewed.
Now that he was close, she realized this wasn’t one of the nearly-derelict boats she remembered the resort renting out. At least twenty-feet long, it had both a trolling motor and an outboard she figured was least ninety horsepower. Judging by the shiny sides and immaculate pedestal fishing seat, the craft was new. Envy nibbled at her. Being in control of the craft would be a ball.
As it eased around partly-submerged trees and closed in on her dock, she forced herself to stop imagining she was putting it through its paces and concentrated on the man with his hand on the steering wheel. It was hard to be certain, but she guessed him to be in his early thirties. The wind had been having its way with his longish dark brown hair while his slightly canted nose and cheeks were wind-chapped. He had a square jaw, deep-set eyes shielded by shaggy brows, and a serious slant to his mouth that made her wonder if there might be more to him than a hell-raiser after all.
Over a blue T-shirt sporting a motorcycle logo he wore an unsnapped grey windbreaker that speed had pushed away from a chest made for physical labor. This was no indulged teenager, not this man with his broad shoulders and big, strong, tanned hands. Because he was sitting low in the boat, she couldn’t see his lower half.
“Where’s your life vest?” Doc called out.
When the man didn’t immediately respond, she wondered if he was debating answering. If he gave Doc a hard time, she’d give him a piece of her mind.
He shifted into neutral and indicated behind him.
“Crazy as you’ve been driving, I’m surprised you thought of safety,” Doc grumbled. “There’s a speed limit here.”
The man shrugged. She wanted to examine his expression, but now that the wind was in charge, the boat had started to turn away from the shore. It swayed with the waves it had created. She imagined him a drifter, a lost soul without any idea how to put his life on course. He spent one week here, another week there, never planning beyond following impulse.
Then he put the motor back into gear and came alongside the dock, making her decide he had some sense of direction after all. He stood and reached out so he could grab the one remaining cleat. He wrapped a tie rope around it and sat back down.
“This yours?” he asked Doc, indicating the listing dock.
“No,” she said. “It’s mine.”
“Needs work.”
The understatement almost made her laugh. “Thanks for pointing that out. Winter’s been a little rough on it.”
He’d turned his attention to her while she was talking, surely time enough for her to get used to the intensity in his eyes. There was something arresting about him, something on the wild side perhaps. She half expected him to jump out of the boat and take off at a dead run because that was his way of dealing with the energy boiling inside him. This wasn’t a man for sitting and contemplating his navel. Just sitting inside a motionless boat was testing the limits of his self-restraint.

ABOUT Vella Munn
Vella Munn has been writing ever since she created a comic book with a horse as the hero. She has had over 60 books published and can't imagine doing anything else. She lives in rural Oregon with her family and two rescue dogs.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Author-to-Author Tip: Find Your #Writing Zone @Siera_London #MFRWauthor

Not all roadblocks to writing are created equally and most are multi-faceted.
Don’t get sucked into an emotional black hole because your writing life isn’t where you want it to be. It’s okay. Admitting there is a problem opens you up to the possibility of moving from where you are to where you want to be as a writer.

Writers love questions, so here’s one for you.
What is hindering your ability to get the words out of your head and onto the page?
Is it time, space, motivation, fear, or lack of creativity, or something else?

Write where you feel the most comfortable. When I told my husband I wanted to be a writer, we built a house with an office. It’s a beautiful space with plenty of sunlight, a view of the backyard, and the surrounding trees. But guess what, I write more words with my feet up on the living room couch in front of the fireplace. Go figure? I have a friend that writes best in the bathtub. Do what works for you. Don’t force yourself into a mold that works against your productivity.

Motivation, Fear, & Creativity.
I struggle with two of these anti-writing demons on a weekly basis. This is where the ritual kicks in. My morning starts with a two minute tension tamer breathing exercise CD and prayer. These two behaviors act as a mental and physical reminder that I am preparing myself to write. I spend 15 minutes on social media, eat my breakfast, then I sit down to write. This routine helps me to focus on the task to come-writing, not the fear of what will I write today. I’m a pantser so if I’m having trouble with a scene, I stop and take my character on an adventure. I pick a central character and take them to lunch, a meeting or back to work. You decide where you want them to go, have them interact with another person in the story, and write down their dialogue. Maybe, I’ll use the scene later or maybe I won’t, but I’m still writing. You get the picture? Don’t be afraid to write a bad scene.  Writing a good story is a process. The first words you write are not the final words in the story. Notice, I didn’t have you jump to another WIP. A part of the process of becoming a prolific writer is finishing the work you started.

Goal setting.
What is it you want to change, improve or eliminate from your writing life? In my case, I wanted to write in sixty minutes intervals. Not staring at the computer screen for sixty minutes, not checking emails, chatting, tweeting or on Facebook. Set a realistic goal for yourself. I’m not going to tell you how much time to devote to your writing, but I’m going to strongly encourage you to commit to a daily word count and a timeframe to reevaluate your progress. This is a personal goal, do not set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals at this stage. When I admitted to myself that I wasn’t using my available writing time wisely I started with a daily writing goal of 100 words per day, every day for a one month time period. Within two weeks I was writing more than 250 words per day. There were spelling errors, grammar no-no’s, and poor word choices, but I was writing every day. The story was out of my head and on the paper. Remember, your words are your own. You needn’t share them with a single, living sole until you are ready. So, it doesn’t matter if the words aren’t perfect, get the best words for the moment on the page.

Tactics & Implementation.
How are you going to accomplish this goal? We are writers, so you have to write your plan down. Mine was posted on a sticky note on the mirror in the bathroom. What are the action steps you are willing to take every day to achieve each of your writing goals? For me, I had to limit time on social media to specific intervals first thing in the morning for a total of 15 minutes, again in the afternoon and later at night- total of 45 minutes on social media at three different intervals. If you need to share your writing plan with another for additional support and encouragement, please do so. I prefer to keep new endeavors to myself initially. I approach new challenges like an undercover agent, too many prying eyes can jeopardize my mission. Give yourself some flexibility, if a component of the plan isn’t working, change it. No summit meeting required and you don’t have to wait till a designated evaluation date.

Which parts of your writing ritual did you master the first time out of the gate? Which action steps didn’t work for you or your lifestyle? Again, you own this process, you decide what stays and what has to go. Sit down, take your time, and evaluate your accomplishment with each action step. Be honest about your progress. If you missed the mark on a few goals, don’t beat yourself up. It’s your plan, adjust the game plan and get back on track. Get feedback from your family or friends if you shared your plan with them. Did you seem more relaxed, more organized, or more focused while implementing your writing ritual? When I put myself on a writing ritual my husband was much happier. No more staying up until 2 am with my character’s soundtrack pumping through the sound system. Music helps me connect with my characters, but that’s for another blog.

If you met your daily word count for the designated time frame, share it with your social media family. Spread the word and help another writer establish a writing ritual. And remember, the writing ritual is not about editing, revising, or structure, it’s about getting your story out of your head and onto the paper.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Writing Process: Meeting Your Editor - Part 2

The editing process is a very in depth topic and not one I feel should be crammed into one blog so I'm going to spread this out a little. :D

Here we go with the next installment:

Some publishers will introduce you to your editor by sending you both an e-mail. That way you and the editor will have each other’s e-mail address. This doesn’t mean you’re supposed to e-mail her/him all the time, asking where they are in your work. Other publishers will leave it up to the editor to contact the author.

Full time editors work on more than one manuscript at a time. Depending on how fast they can edit they could be working on five or more when they are working on yours. If they are part-time they might only work on one at a time, but most of us will edit one, send it to the author and pick up another one. As an avid reader I always want a book to read.

Your editor also has a life. They have family, some have children, some have elderly parents they take care of. They get sick, have a bad day, work a day job, have bills to pay. Understand we’re not perfect. I’ve had have times were it has taken me a long time (almost a month) to edit a book because of things going on in my life. Please know your editor is working as hard and as fast as they can to get your book back to you.

They want to make your book the best it can be and to rush would defeat that purpose. I know you have a deadline and it’s approaching fast but which would you rather have? A decent book put out on time or a great book that is a little late? Something to think about.

Next month I’ll be talking about what little I know about self publishing...Then we’ll get into the actual editing process.


Barbara Donlon Bradley wears many hats. She’s a mother, wife, care-giver, author, and editor. She’s a senior editor for Melange Books, and writes for Phaze and Melange books/Satin Romances with over twenty titles under her belt.

Author Sites:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Author-To-Author: First Page Check List #MFRWauthor @RuthACasie #amwriting

A First Page Check List
I've been catching up with my inbox. It was getting out of hand. Between being in my cave writing, Thanksgiving and the holidays well, lets just say I needed an intervention. 

One of the gems I unearthed was a post by Ray Rhamey of the Flogged Quill. (follow the link to see original article)

The Challenge: Does This Narrative Compel You To Turn the Page?
It's the first page that grabs the reader. Many times its the first sentence.

Here is Ray's first-page checklist:

It begins connecting the reader with the protagonist.
Something is happening. On a first page, this does NOT include a character musing about whatever.
What happens is dramatized in an immediate scene with action and description plus, if it works, dialogue.
What happens moves the story forward.
What happens has consequences for the protagonist.
The protagonist desires something.
The protagonist does something.
There's enough of a setting to orient the reader as to where things are happening.
It happens in the NOW of the story.
Backstory? What backstory? We're in the NOW of the story.
Set-up? What set-up? We're in the NOW of the story.
What happens raises a story question-what happens next? or why did that happen?

I remember the first draft of my first story. I eagerly read it at literary group meeting to three well published authors. I had worked hard on the story especially the opening. I saw it as a movie. The first thing I see in a movie is the setting. So, I diligently, and meticulously, described the scene.

Are you laughing? They loved the description. They told me to save it for someplace else but to come up with something more compelling. It was replaced with a fight scene.

Let's Talk About It.
Think about some of the books you've read or written. How did they begin? What did you like, or not like about it?

Post contributed by Ruth A. Casie
Ruth writes contemporary and historical fantasy romance for Carina Press, Harlequin and Timeless Scribes Publishing. Formerly from Brooklyn, New York, she lives in New Jersey with her very supportive husband Paul.

Her latest book is Knight of Rapture, a Historical PNR Fantasy, with Timeless Scribes Publishing.

For months Lord Arik has been trying to find the precise spell to rescue his wife, Rebeka, but the druid knight will soon discover that reaching her four hundred years in the future is the easiest part of his quest. 
Bran, the dark druid, follows Arik across the centuries, tireless in his quest for revenge. He’ll force Arik to make a choice, return to save his beloved family and home or stay in the 21st century and save Rebeka. He can’t save them both.
Rebeka Tyler has no recollection of where she’s been the past five months. On top of that, ownership of her home, Fayne Manor, is called into question. When accidents begin to happen it looks more and more like she is the target. Further complicating things is the strange man who conveniently appears wherever trouble brews—watching her, perhaps even….protecting her? Or is he a deliberate attempt to distract her? Rebeka can only be sure of one thing—her family name and manor have survived for over eleven centuries. She won’t let them fall… in any century.
website  |  blog  |  twitter 

Friday, March 6, 2015

#MFRWorg Author-to-Author: Writing Tips @RobinGlasser1 #MFRWauthor

MFRW Author Robin Glasser shares some advice to improve your writing.

Besides being an author, I’m also an editor, which makes writing difficult because I’m constantly editing my work—one of the main reasons it takes me so long to write a book. A good exercise I learned from one of many writing groups is to keep paper and pen by your bed. As soon as you wake up, start scribbling. I've covered oodles of pages this way, some of which were real gems!

Read a lot.

Try to write something everyday. If you find yourself staring at a blank page and nothing's happening, promote your book on Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, for examples.

Join a writing group for feedback and sympathy. If one’s not available, start your own in the library. I did and it was great fun plus I learned a lot too! Oh, and read what you've written aloud or have someone read your pages back to you. You’ll be amazed by what your ears pick up that your eyes might have missed!

I try extremely hard to avoid clichés and write lines that will stand out. Michael Chabon, another author I admire, always has some memorable phrases sprinkled throughout his books. One description that comes to mind (paraphrasing): “his face was like a sagging front porch…” I mean, how visual is that!

Recovering copywriter, Robin Glasser has written for a variety of magazines ranging from Readers' Digest to Penthouse Letters, where she wrote a column called "The Red Hot Woman." Her poetry has been published in Upstairs at Duroc and The Riverside Poetry Review. Ms. Glasser's novel, MY LIFE AS A CONCUBINE, is based on her experiences in Paris or as she likes to call it, The City of Merde, and has been re-released from Smashwords and is available in paperback and as an ebook. Robin guarantees MEN AT WORK, her fully-illustrated book of poetry, will put twinkles in your eyes and sparkles in your pants. Don't forget to watch her fast-paced peepshows based on these tongue & cheeky poems at You can get a copy from Her latest novel, THE BRAIN EXCHANGE, is available at Smashwords, Amazon, and virtual bookstores near you. She now reads at various venues in New York. 

The Brain Exchange

Erotic SciFi Suspense
Abandon your beliefs and let your reality run wild. Imagine being fully aware inside a body of the opposite gender. Now imagine the best sex you ever had. Would this just be different? Or better? Or the best ever?

CONNECT with Robin

Friday, February 20, 2015

Author-to-Author: On Writing Erotica @SuzDeMello #MFRWauthor

Scenes are the building blocks of your story, for acts are comprised of scenes. They're nothing
more than events, most often interactions between your characters. Scenes should fulfill at least one or two of the below purposes—best if you can include all four.

•Advance plot
•Reveal or develop character
•Complicate or resolve conflict
•Express setting, mood, theme

Everything in your manuscript should have a function, even every comma or em-dash.

How does this apply to the writing of erotica?
Too often, sex scenes are shoehorned into a story to increase the word count or the heat level, while those scenes don't fulfill any other function. To quote from Plotting and Planning again, Everything in a story should contribute to it, from the biggest monster to the tiniest comma.

If a scene doesn't contribute to the story, it doesn't belong there. It doesn't matter how well-written it is. It doesn't matter how hot it is. It doesn't matter how much you, the author, may love the beautiful prose or the scorching hot, kinky sex.

There's a piece of writerly advice out there: Kill your darlings.

No one's quite sure where this phrase originated, but it's been repeated often, by such notable authors as William Faulkner and Stephen King. (SOURCE)

But it doesn't matter who originated the phrase--it's great advice. We often fall in love with our prose and are loath to cut it, especially when we may have slaved over a particularly well-turned clause or exhaustively researched, say, the eating habits of the lesser lemur of Madagascar.

Fiction is no place to be a smarty-pants. Leave that for term papers, book reports and theses.

In terms of writing sex scenes, what do we leave in and what to we cut?
We leave in those scenes that fulfill at least one of the above purposes. Ideally, a well-written, thoughtfully planned encounter will fulfill more than one purpose.

Here's a brief example, from a story I wrote called Gypsy Witch. The backstory is that the heroine is dating a cop.
Ben propped himself up on his elbows to better see the naked woman beneath him. Sheened with sweat, Elena’s lush curves glowed in the reddish half-light of her bedroom, curtained in exotically patterned swaths of gauze and silk. A curl of smoke from a lit incense stick scented the air with sandalwood. Otherworldly New Age music flowed out of a boombox in the corner, irritating the hell out of him. 
Though the paragraph is very sensual, there’s quite a bit of characterization and even a little conflict—and this is only the first paragraph of the story. We see that Ben is very “feet-on-the-ground” while Elena, his lover, is exotic and New-Agey. So character is described, setting is related and the romantic conflict is shown.

If you like what you read, find the story here:

As a romance novelist, I believe firmly that erotic scenes should never be gratuitous. If a writer keeps the purposes a scene must fulfill in mind while writing, the sex is never out of place but is a seamless part of a well-written story.

From my writing treatise, Plotting and Planning, available at

ABOUT Suz deMello
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms as Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.

--Find her books at
--For editing services, email her at
--Befriend her on Facebook:
--She tweets @Suzdemello;
--Her current blog is

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Importance of a Target Audience for Authors #MFRWauthor #mfrwblog

By now, we’ve all heard of the “long tail” in sales, from music to television shows to books. With the advent of the digital age, no longer are we all resigned to watching “Leave it to Beaver” together. Instead, we can download a mermaid ménage story or a YA fantasy romance, as we choose.

But what that means is that our marketing efforts are also more spread out. From genre-specific blogs to niche groups on Goodreads, from Pinterest boards to Youtube channels, there is a marketing avenue for all of us.  The problem, though, is that we all have limited time and resources. So we have to determine where our specific audience hangs out the most.
Where is my target audience?

Broad audience better?

Many of us write our books and hope that they appeal to a broad audience. But in all likelihood, we do have a targeted audience in mind already. For instance, if we write slightly steamier or erotic romance, we are probably not expecting the inspirational crowd to pick up our book, or vice versa.  And, we all know the feeling of having picked up a book that we thought was something else, only to be disappointed by its contents. (Will we ever go read that author again?)

However, if we have defined our audience, then everything from our cover to our taglines will reflect what the reader wants, and our readers will be happy to have their expectations met!  

So here are some ideas for determining our target audience:

Do a survey, either on Facebook, or better yet, through your newsletter subscriptions. Keep it simple – no more than ten questions – and, along with demographics like age and nationality, ask deeper questions about preferences and themes.  Ask what their favorite social media is, too.  

Your ideal readers:

Think hard about the type of person that you would want to read your books.  If you could dream up a reader, what would he or she look like? Define these:

• Personality
• Attitudes
• Values
• Interests/hobbies
• Lifestyles
• Behavior

Once you have those people in mind, it is easier to determine where they hang out, and then, market accordingly.

Ways to Market:

 Search blogs on your topic of interest (even if they are not romance-related), and ask to guest blog. For instance, my latest novels are set in the Paelolithic. I will be heavily targeting all of the Paleo lifestyle sites, too. (And loving that Paleo hashtag!)

Most people would normally recommend, too, that we buy more targeted ads on Goodreads or Facebook, however I still cannot find convincing data that says that these ads generate great sales. As many have said before me, the most important thing an author can do is 1. Write a great book and 2. Engage with readers on a personal level.

So finding your target audience will allow you to find those readers, and then engage with them where they are.  (Of course, like most things, this is easier said than done…)

What about you? What sort of target audience have you defined – or not – for yourself, and how has that helped your sales? Love to hear any and all comments!

About the Author:
Erin writes sensuous paranormal romances set in exotic locales. Her latest book is a sexy minotaur shifter story set in Crete.  A regular blogger for Marketing for Romance Writers as well as Heroes and Heartbreakers, Erin lives in Atlanta with her two little paranormal beings and one unruly husband.

Erin also now offers editing services, including help with bios and queries, on her website.  She's giving away a critique of a first chapter with a subscription to her newsletter

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Author-to-Author: #Thursday13 Benefits of Collaborative Writing @ErincMcRae @Racheline_M #MFRWauthor

Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae talk about COLLABORATIVE WRITING.
Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese’s gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry, is published by Torquere Press. The first novel, Starling, was released September 2014; its sequel, Doves, is scheduled for January 2015. The release date for book 3, Phoenix,will be announced soon. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller focused on themes of sex, gender, desire and mourning. Erin McRae is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C.

Joint Blog:
Joint Facebook Page:

13 Reasons We Love Collaborating:
1. Two brains takes writer's block off the table.
2. Having an audience from day one.
3. Knowing someone loves the characters as much as you do.
4. Someone to argue about commas with before the copy editor gets involved.
5. The work always gets done. If one of us can't, the other can.
6. Division of labor!
7. Saving our spouses from having to read first drafts.
8. Always having someone to say ""Don't read the comments!""
9. Making each other laugh while editing.
10. Always having someone on continuity.
11. Winning NaNoWriMo is so much easier!
12. Being able to do more events in more locations!
13. Sometimes it's spooky.Synchronicity, mind reading, coming up with the same story at the same time -- it's all best sort of writing magic.

Thier latest book, STARLING, is with Torquere Press.

Be careful what you wish for...

When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.

Because the stars aren't benign

Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends -- and even the paparazzi! -- quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.

But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.

Can J. Alex Cook find his own happily ever after with the man of his dreams when the whole world is watching?

"STARLING is a reader's treasure that completely engaged me from the very beginning. I found myself talking to my kindle, offering advice, yelling, cringing, cheering and processing each emotional experience as if it was my own. The realities of life, love and self discovery that are presented in this highly character driven story are exceptional. STARLING is well written and develops at a slow but steady pace that perfectly complements its raw emotionalism. I was thrilled with this first offering in the Love in Los Angeles series and am eagerly anticipating further additions by this exciting writing duo!"" - Carly's Book Reviews

Alex finds him alone, eventually, in the kitchen.
“I‘m glad you came,” Paul tells him and offers him another beer.
Alex shrugs. “Thanks,” he says, both for the drink and for Paul actually meaning it.
Paul regards him in silence for a moment. “How are you?”
“Here,” Alex says, because it’s the simplest summation of his current state of being in all its forms.
Paul laughs, loud and surprised like he sometimes does. Alex grins back at him. When Paul’s smile stays and his eyes meet Alex’s and then linger, Alex knows he’s doing the stupid squinchy-eyed thing again. He turns his head away a little, because Margaret has told him what that look can do. He’s not sure what he should be expecting or wanting out of tonight yet.
“Hey, no.” Paul raises his hand and presses two fingertips, damp and cool, against Alex’s temple. He turns Alex’s head back until their eyes meet again, and then he drops his hand slowly. Alex knows it’s to give him a chance to stop him if he wants.
He doesn’t, and Paul’s hand settles on his waist. “Party’s out there,” he says, and tips his head back towards the living room.
“Wanna go join?”
It’s not an invitation Alex has any interest in saying no to."