Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Nancy Weeks

We all know there are six elements of fiction. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. I believe the first five lead to the sixth which for me is plot. What's your take on this?
This is a very interesting question. In real life, the person I have become has been greatly influenced by where I have been, who I have met and the events that have occurred around me. Plot in fiction writing is very similar to life. The way my characters deal with the world I have created and the conflict they encounter is what drives the plot. How my characters change after each conflict is why I could never write the last chapters first. I may be writing a simple boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boys-gets-girl back and lives happily-ever-after story that has been written time and again. It is how my characters change from the conflict as the plot unfolds that makes each story so unique.
How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
 I would love to say that I have found this great formula for creating characters, but the truth is they first appear in my head as what ifs. I do write up brief bios on my characters from the hero/heroine/villain to the cab driver who just appeared on page one. I have a real grasp of who everyone is from the beginning. I then allow the characters to grow as I develop the story around them. What I find so magical about the writing process is how a very minor character in the beginning of the book can develop a strong enough presence that by the end of the book, I’m aching to write their story. 
Do your characters come before the plot?
I’m writing a series of five books about brothers. Each brother will have his own book. In that sense, I have the character before the plot. However, since I write romantic suspense, my stories always end with a happy-ever-after. When deciding on my heroine, I need the plot first so I can develop my heroine to not only fit my hero but the plot line.  I hope that makes some sense to someone. J
 Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
 Again, yes and no. I know my hero and heroine will be madly in love with each other and they will have beaten the bad guy. How that all happens is a magical mystery when I write that first sentence.  
Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
 My books begin in a familiar setting, a place I either live or have visited and know well.
A couple years ago, I would have buried myself inside bookstores or my local library looking for just the right setting when I wanted to take my characters somewhere I have never been. With the development of virtual tours over the Internet, those trips are no longer necessary. In my third book, In the Shadow of Malice, I wanted my hero to have this great beach house that overlooked the ocean. I had a great time going through the wonderful beach homes for sale from Los Angeles to San Francisco. You can see the home I picked on my Pinterest wall. [Link is below]

Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

The Internet has become my best friend. With each book, I promise myself this time I’m going to write about something I know about. So far that hasn’t happen.  I research everything from how to take a gun away from someone when they are facing you to what injuries can develop from a choke hold to what a bomb vest looks like. Yup, I do worry that one day the men in the black suits are going to come banging on my door. Hopefully, my real law enforcement friends will come bail me out and convince the judge that I really am sweet, harmless and a romance writer.

Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?

Oh, easy question. I’m definitely revise as I go along. I can’t move to the next chapter until the previous one is just right. After the manuscript is completed, I do let it set awhile before I go back in for another revision. As for my characters, I may have a basic idea who I want them to be in the end, but I love to let them have their own voice. As I get to know them better, my original route may change a little. However, I always end with my couple in each other’s arms.


Nancy C. Weeks lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she loves spending her days on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company.

Find Nancy at:
Twitter: @NancyCWeeks

Buy links for In the Shadow of Evil and In the Shadow of Greed


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday's Opening Scene - Sort of from Words Perfect - Becoming your own Critique Partner

This book is a hard one to do an opening Scene for since it's non=fiction so I thought I'd share the introduction of the crazy book Jane Toombs and I wrote

Tonight is your critique group's meeting and you're psyched. You've worked hard on your story. You expect nothing but compliments. Then you read your scene and your high is brought low.

Partner One folds her hands. "The scene is beautifully written. You have such a way with description. But is the scene necessary?"

"Too much description?" you ask.

Partner One shakes her head. "Not exactly, but before you write, remember the three purposes of a scene are to define character, to give added information and to advance the plot."

Partner Two leans forward. "That's where the problem lies. You have a great setting, interesting characters, but your plot has too many holes."

"Holes in my plot?"

"Your plot can be saved," Partner Two says. "You need to think about your story and select the most important elements. Look again at the who, when, where, what, why and how."

You check your work. "I forgot the what and the why."

"You've got it."

Partner Three looks at the notes she's been making while you read. "Your characters have good motivations for their actions, but I think the dialogue needs work. All your characters sound alike and they sound like you."

These three partners have given you indications of where you've gone right and where you've gone wrong. In the process you've learned something, plus discovered the value of critiques. But what happens if you can't connect with a critique partner or a group of other writers who are willing to play the role of critiquers?
Becoming Your Own Critique Partner is designed to help you find the flaws in your manuscript and correct them. The areas where less-than-sharp images can cause a rejection will be illustrated by examples of the wrong and the right ways to create images and a discussion of the various stumbling points to keep you from being led astray. It will also show you where your areas of excellence are. Checklists and exercises will aid in eliminating flaws and help to improve your writing.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Maximizing Your Strengths - Emotional Involvement

You've just decided to become a writer or you've been doing this for years and maybe need a bit of learning or reminding yourself of the skills. So let's look at what Dwight V Swain says in Techniques Of A Selling Writer. This is one of the books I use to remind myself about what things I need to hone my skills. "You must be capable of emotional involvement."

Just what does that mean? Everyone has emotions but becoming emotionally involved in the lives of characters is a bit different, yet each writer brings a bit of himself or herself into the mix. Not every writer touches every reader. If so there would only be one kind of writer. Think of the various kinds of stories out there and the way each writer taps into the emotions of the characters and the readers,

The words you choose are those chosen to bring feelings into the story. Without those feelings the stories fall flat. Stories arise from feelings. If you can't empathize with your characters, the stories will fall flat. It's usually easy to work with heroes and heroines and their emotions. This isn't necessarily so. We've all read stories where for some reason, either of these two main characters falls flat. For some reason, the writer hasn't an emotional connection to either one or to both.

Take the villain, male or female. It's a lot easier for the writer to have an emotional reaction to one of these. Why? We all love the ones we love to hate. For myself, writing villains comes fairly easy because my emotions are involved. Writing heroines also is usually easy because I can invest my feelings in their development. Heros are harder, partly because I'm not a man but building feelings into them. I'm not one much for that macho alpha male and when reading stories with this kind of hero, they often fall flat.

So when choosing your characters you have to feel for and with them. What about you? Are some characters easier for you to relate to?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Quote from John Gardner

When I read this bit in On Becoming A Novelist by John Gardner, I chuckled for it seemed to nail many of the writers I know."No novelist is hurt by a natural inclination to go to extremes, driving himself too hard, dissatisfied with himself and the world around him and driven to improve on both if he can."

For me, this means that in the worlds I create there is the chance to make things work out for the characters I write about. Also I hope the reader will see in the happy and even sad endings the hope things will be brighter for them. Like many novelists I began in short stories and then graduated to novels. Sometimes I still write shorter things but mostly when I do, there is some connection between the stories.

Take Amber Chronicles, There is a connection between the tales in the stories. They're about finding love and learning to want for the other a happy ending. The main character appears to be young and selfish but she strives for love. Her journey toward the end teaches her lessons. Does she succeed? Hopefully, her happy ending will be the one she wants.

When writing short stories I was taking a small slice from the life of the characters. These stories pointed to the possibility but often did not give more than that satisfactory ending.

What about you? What are you trying to improve in your reach for the ending of the novel you're working on?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters

 Meander 1 - Trends - Writers try to look at trends and there are those who imitate them. Do they come out ahead or are there a lot of clone books out there that flood the market? I have a problem of trying to write what I think I would like to read and I also noticed many things about my own writing. The ones with doctors and nurses or hospital settings tend to do better than the ones that are fantasies. The mysteries also do well. But I love fantasies and mysteries but I also like medical romances. I guess I don't follow the trends since I don't write vampires or shape-shifters or BDSM. I guess I just like to write and don't think of the trends.

Meander 2 - JeRoWriMo - I've been writing this month to try to hit the 30,000 word goal. I made it but the rest of the days of the month I'll have to get back to the things I've been neglecting. One is to get a book up on CreateSpace. The other is to write a farewell to the Jewels of the Quill a promotional group I've been part of since I'm not sure when and that is the point. I think I've been a member for 10 plus years but I can't be sure. I guess I'll wing it.

Meander 3 - My writing. I've finally gotten a firm outline for Toth's Priest and will be able to get moving on that but the push is to finish the drafts on Melodic Dreams making sure the emotions and settings are clear enough for others to see. Sometimes I get into they did this and they did that scenario and forget about the little touches that make the story come alive. I should be ready for the clean-up work on this story by the end of March and get it off to the publisher. Then getting the 2 rights back books into the proper format for BWL while working on the final book of the trilogy. Also trying to get the first of the YA series into print so I can see if a local bookstore will let me have a signing, Will see how that goes.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

3 Blog Visit Sunday discoveries by Janet Lane Walters

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday's Chapter is from Kidnapped Hearts by Cait Jarrod

Kidnapped Hearts by Cait Jarrod
Chapter 1
Thunder boomed outside The Memory Café. Pamela pushed her chair from the desk and crossed to the window. Lightning lit the darkened August sky, illuminating the fragile trees bowing in the wind along the historic streets of Fredericksburg in Virginia.
She should have left with her employees. Instead, a half-hour after the café closed, she had watched them climb into their cars and drive away. Her heart had pommeled pounded when she twisted the deadbolts before heading to her office.
Why had she stayed alone? Her father said she needed a backbone, so she stayed, trying to live up to his motto: Be strong. Be brave.
She sucked in a deep breath, settled in the chair behind her desk, and looked at the picture of her grandparents, dad, and herself on her laptop. Though they lived in Florida hundreds of miles away, the three of them were her inspiration.
A loud rumble vibrated the office. Pamela jumped. She should have checked the weather channel before deciding to stay late, but the skies had been clear earlier.
Don’t be scared of what you can’t see. Another one of her father’s sayings reverberated in her head. Those words, along with defense classes her dad had paid for, gave her courage but not in a storm. Thunderstorms reminded her of the evil in people, one in particular.
She clicked the mouse, opened the bookkeeping application, and started entering the night’s figures. Lightning cracked, lights flickered. Her heart pounded to the beat of the rain hitting the windowpanes.
Enough was enough; backbone or not, she needed to get out of there. She switched off the computer, grabbed her purse, and then headed toward the back door, turning off the light on the way. She grasped the doorknob with one hand and unlocked the first deadbolt Panama Jack had installed four months ago. The doorknob moved under her hand. Jerking her hand away, she backed off.
The knob twisted again. Her heart leaped into her throat. Not again.
She relocked the deadbolt, ran into the kitchen, and snatched a knife from a drawer before squatting behind the stainless steel island.
The storm rumbled outside. Minutes passed with no sign of movement. Pamela peered around the island. The window in the back of the kitchen lit up. A face stared in. She screamed. Her purse fell to the floor with a loud thud.
Sam? It couldn’t be—he was in jail.
The window illuminated again. The man grinned, his teeth gleaming. Not Sam.
Fear knotted her stomach. She lost her balance and fell. The knife clattered across the concrete floor, hitting the wall. Afraid, she sucked in gulps of air, trying to calm her nerves enough to move.
After a few minutes passed, she surveyed the window. A flash of light cast the outside in a beam of light, followed by a loud clap of thunder. The face had disappeared. She bit her bottom lip. Where did he go? She scooted to the knife on her bottom, not an easy task in a form fitting skirt. With the knife secured in her hand, she rose and pressed her body against the wall.
Slowly, she inched toward the window where the teeth had gleamed at her. Not wanting to see him, but also not wanting to remain scared that the intruder was still out there, she peeked around the window trim. The parking lot came into view. The lights in the back lot glowed while the spaces bordering the building remained dark. The bulb outside the back door had blown since her employees left.
A hissing sound escaped her. The fear she experienced the night of the attack recurred tenfold, as the familiar scene unfolded, and the pressing question popped into her mind. Why did she think she needed to stay alone? Be strong. Be brave. Her dad’s words replayed in her mind.
Someone pounded on a door.
The knot in her stomach jumped to her throat. Kitchen lights were on, making it easy for whoever was outside to see her. She pulled off her stilettos, ducked under the window, then inched toward the switch. Lightning beat her to it.
The emergency lights blinked on, but not in the kitchen. It remained in darkness. Only the glow from the dining room and the hallway seeped through, giving little light.
The knife clutched at her side, she slid her hand along the kitchen wall to the receiver.
The phone line was dead.
It can’t be. Phone lines were underground in the city. With a trembling hand, she reached for her cell inside her purse, coming up empty. Her purse lay on the other side of the kitchen.
Another thump on the door, and her knees buckled. She slumped to the floor. This can’t be happening. The coldness from the concrete floor penetrated her skin. The night of the attack roared into her mind with the sound of thunder.
Lightning flashed, illuminating the room and bringing the image of Sam’s angry face to mind. Pamela flinched. The memory of Sam’s reaction to her when she refused his unwanted advances still unnerved her.
The rain came down harder, drumming even louder against the roof. She had to leave.
Glass shattered across the kitchen from the window the intruder stood at minutes ago. A loud thud followed.
She screamed.
Be strong. Be brave.
On shaky feet, Pamela stood. She clutched the knife in her hand like the killer in Psycho.
The Memory Café’s security alarm whirled. A shattering sound from the dining room penetrated the volume of the alarm.
This wasn’t good.
On the night Sam busted in the back door and attacked her, the police had arrived quickly. She blew out a puff of air, blowing sweat-dampened, dark hair off her forehead, and prayed they would arrive as fast as last time.
A light seeped into the kitchen through the swinging doors that lead to the dining room. A figured moved. The doors swung closed, and the light from the dining room disappeared, taking the figure with it.
Her heart thumped wildly in her chest.
A hand slid over her mouth, and another grasped her wrist. The knife clanked to the floor. The hand left her wrist and slid across her stomach, holding her firmly against a hard body.
“I’m FBI.” A man’s voice whispered next to her ear. “Is anyone else here?” He lifted his fingers away from her mouth. “Don’t scream.”
She swallowed the scream he warned her against and tried to take control of the fleeing instinct as she wondered how he found her so easily. “How do I know you are who you say?” she whispered back.
“You don’t. You’ll have to trust me.”
Trust, not something she did easily. “Why?”
“Either trust me or don’t, the choice is yours.” She felt his hot breath as he leaned closer. “If I was going to hurt you, don’t you think I would have already?”
She absorbed his words. They made sense. Right now, not having a means to contact anyone, he was her only defense against the man at the window.
“Is anyone else in here?” He asked again.
“I don’t know.”
“Stay here.” His hand slid away from her stomach.
Pamela gauged the darkness in the kitchen, and panic set in. She’d take the odds of staying with him over being left alone. “No way.” She spun, running into his back.
“Keep quiet.”
Tiptoeing behind him, she held the back of his shirt as they walked into the hallway where he covered the emergency light with one of the kitchen towels from the kitchen, the light in the hallway dimmed. “Why did you do that?”
He turned to glare at her. “Stay quiet.”
I need the light. In darkness, bad things happen.
As if he heard her, his words plunged into her internal rant. “You’re safe.”
The strength of them calmed her, or maybe the pat on her leg that followed did. Either way, the man personified safety. Edging toward the storage room, she spotted a gun in his hands, leading the way. Once there, he said, “Stay.” Before she had a chance to argue, he pulled her hand off his shirt and added, “Don’t argue.” He disappeared into the darkened room. Emergency lights should be installed in every room.
Less than a minute later, he reappeared. Her chewed nails thought he’d been gone a lifetime.
He touched her hand. “Let’s go.”
How could he see? They went through the same procedure when they reached her office. Only this time, she nibbled on the nails on her other hand.
He stepped out of the office.
She finally asked, “How can you see?”
She’d been concentrating but still couldn’t see anything. “Did you cover the lights in the dining room, too?”
“No. It must have malfunctioned.”
“Like the ones in the kitchen.” She didn’t believe it. Someone must have tampered with them. But who? Why?
He crossed to the emergency light in the hallway. “No one’s here,” he said, removing the towel.
She skimmed his dark hair and five o’clock shadow.
“What’s your name?”
“Pamela Young, I own this establishment.”
The overhead lights flicked on, shining brightly. His blue gaze stared into hers. “Are you okay?”
Her hand flew to her chest. She could lose herself in those eyes.
“You’re pale. Shock will do that to a person.” He grabbed her hand and tugged. “You need water.”
The kitchen fluorescent lights glowed, permitting Pamela to see the broken window. He released her hand and walked toward the sink.
She walked toward the object that had made the thud. A brick with an envelope tied to it.
Another one?
She stopped.
Water soaked her back.
Her eyes were glued to the brick, or rather the note attached to the brick. She didn’t notice the towel he had in his hand until he grumbled, “I’ll do it myself,” and started to blot the back of her shirt.
 A glass of water sat on the counter. She drank it, wishing for something stronger to wash down the burning fear.
“I’ll take care of it.” He plucked a couple of latex gloves from a box she kept on the counter, slipped them on his hands, and untied the envelope. After pulling out the note, the agent glanced up at her.
She shook her head. No way would she read it.
He unfolded the paper and silently scanned it. His grim expression confirmed her fear, another note. Her arms folded across her body.
The first said, Give back the bonds.
Two days later and she still didn’t have a clue about the bonds.
The second read: Leave the bonds in the trashcan by the City Docks, or your mother will suffer the consequences.
If the person who made the threat knew anything about her life, he or she would know Pamela rarely talked to her mother. She hadn’t since Vivian decided to leave for a career in New York City.
The previous notes, Pamela had deemed to be sick pranks by teenagers. One was in her mailbox and the other under the windshield wiper on her car. Both were classic juvenile stunts. Judging by the agent’s expression, this note held more impact. “What does it say?” Her voice shook, making the words barely recognizable.
Instead of answering her question, the agent asked, “Are you involved in criminal activity?”
Her mouth opened. The audacity of the question rendered her speechless.
His eyebrows rose, waiting for an answer.
Dropping her arms, she said, “Of course not.” Her chin jutted upward. “What does the note say?”
He glanced at the paper, studied her for a second, then cleared his throat. “It says: you’ve run out of time. Don’t involve the police.”
She turned away, clutching her stomach as bile rose to her throat. 
A consoling hand touched her back.
She swallowed.
“If you’ve got yourself in a mess, I can help, but you’ll have to be honest with me.”
She straightened and looked over her shoulder. He stood close, too close. “Who are you?”
“Police, is anyone in there?” a voice shouted from the rear of the café.
Thank goodness, the police arrived quickly, Pamela thought.
“In the kitchen,” the FBI guy responded.
An officer wearing a blue uniform appeared. “I didn’t know you were back in town.”
“I just returned tonight.”
The officer chuckled as he shook the agent’s hand. “Glad to see you, Jake Gibson.”
Finally, she had a name. She looked at the man named Jake. His name seemed familiar, but not his face. Hands on her hips, she glanced around the kitchen. Several uniformed police officers inspected The Memory Café.
“Pamela, you need this.”
Pamela She glanced behind her to see Jake holding a towel. “Wrap this around your waist. Your skirt’s torn.”
It took a few seconds for the words to register. She touched the ripped material, feeling the fabric separated. It had torn from the hem to the waist; no wonder the concrete floor felt cold earlier. At that moment, it dawned on her. Jake He stood behind her when she clutched her stomach, getting a view of her bare butt. Pamela glared at him and accepted the towel. Deciding to wear a thong to avoid unwanted panty lines had seemed like the right decision this morning. Next time, she’d go with the lines.
In response, Jake winked.
“Ma’am,” the officer said.
“Sorry, Pamela Young is the owner of The Memory Café. Ms. Young, this is Sergeant Glenn Harrison.”
Pamela She held the towel tightly around her waist and forced a smile. “Please call me Pamela.”
Sergeant Harrison lifted his chin and flipped open a notepad. “PamelaMa’am, what triggered your alarm?”
Jake moved behind the detective, held up the note and shook his head. The message was clear; he didn’t want her to tell the police. His blue eyes urged her to listen. She did. Looking away from the officer and his shadow, she eyed the broken window. “Someone threw a brick through the window.”
Jake’s hand fisted, but he remained silent. His gloves had vanished.
The officer glimpsed the brick on the table then tilted his head toward the window on the far wall. “That window?”
Pamela She scanned the table for the rope that had tied the note to the brick. It had vanished. She shifted her eyes to the hole in the window. “Yes.”
“So youYou have a Peeping Tom?”
“I don’t know.”
“Can you give me a description of the person?”
“It was a man. A hood covered his head. The only thing I could see was his teeth and they shined at me.”
The officer wrote in his notepad. “What happened to your front door?”
Pamela believed the agent had caused the commotion in the dining room, but hadn’t asked.
“I broke the glass in the front door when I heard a female screaming and. When no one answered my knock, I broke the glass.”
The officer looked at him. “And you happened to be near the café during a thunderstorm?”
The agent shoved his hands in his pockets. “Yep.”
“I don’t see how you could have heard anything between the thunder and the security alarms, but you’re the agent, not me.” The officer’s phone rang. “Excuse me.”
When the officer walked away, Jake turned to her. “Are you holding up okay?”
“I could be better.”
The officer came back into view. “That was the FBI. They didn’t know you were here, but once I told them, they asked that you stay. Two FBI agents are en route, a forensic artist, and a field agent. Know anything?”
Jake shrugged.
The officer hit his notepad against his thigh. “Typical agent, you guys are never forthcoming.” He turned toward Pamela. “Ms. Young, do you have anything else that you need to tell me?”
She needed to tell him about the notes, but for some reason Jake wanted the information kept quiet. She hoped this vaguely familiar man wasn’t leading her astray. The last thing she needed was to get in trouble with the police for withholding evidence. On second thought, she wasn’t the one keeping information from the officer. It was Agent Gibson. “No.”
Footsteps coming toward them interrupted their conversation. A woman wearing the same blue uniform as the officer in front of her, with the exception of the skirt, stopped beside them. “The light bulb was busted.”
Pamela twisted away from the police. One hand covered her mouth while the other held the towel like a lifeline. She mumbled, “This isn’t good.”
The agent touched her shoulder. The action, although a small gesture, meant a lot.
“If you need anything, give me a call.” The officer handed her his card, then smacked the agent on the back. “See you around.”
“Have a good one,” Agent Gibson replied to the officer’s back, as he handed over an inside out latex glove to the arriving field agent. The FBI’s forensic artist followed.
The agent separated the material and looked inside the glove then nodded. “I’ll send the note and string to the lab.”
“You put them inside the glove?” Pamela asked, looking up at Jake.
Jake He didn’t respond. “I need the lab work expedited on the note, string, and brick,.” Jake then pointed at the third item.
The agent placed the evidence in a Ziploc bag. “Will do.”
The forensic artist led Pamela to a table in the dining room. She gave the a parcel description of the man in the window while Jake cleaned up the glass by the front door.
Within minutes, the artist packed up the supplies and the two agents left.
Pamela twirled, looking for Jake. She found him by the rear entrance, where the doorknob twisted beneath her hands. He shook hands with the officers as they exited the café. Everyone knew him. She took in his clothing. He wore jeans and a t-shirt, not a drop of water on him.
He smiled at the last officer leaving the café before turning his blue eyes on her.
Pamela She jammed her hands on her hips. “If you were outside during the storm, why aren’t you wet?”
He closed the distance to her and jutted his chin toward the hooks by the front door. A black raincoat hung from a hook, a puddle of water beneath it. “I can’t move well in the coat.”
She glared at him.
He montioned for him to follow her and  unbuttoned a couple of buttons on the back of the jacket. The flap dropped down, and the words FBI appeared. “I am who I said, except I retired a few days ago.”
She looked him over. “Why were you outside my café this time of night during a thunderstorm?”
“We’ll get to that. First, we have a few things we need to take care of, then I’ll escort you home.”
Her eyes widened.
“Your windows first, and then afterwards, we need to find a way to keep you safe. I’m assuming by your reaction earlier you’ve received other notes.”
She remained silent. What was she supposed toshould she say to him? He wanted answers but wouldn’t answer her questions.
“And by the silence, I know I’m right.”
Her mouth gaped open as he walked into the kitchen. She padded behind him. He was looking through the drawers.
“What are you looking for?”
“Duct tape.”
“It’s in the storage room.” She led the way through the hall to the storage room, removed the tape from a box, and turned, running into his chest again. At five-eight, the top of her head reached his nose. Lifting her chin, she met gentle eyes and swallowed. A warm surge of heat rushed through her body. “Umm, I think there’s a roll of vinyl shelf paper in the corner that we could use to cover the holes.”
He cleared his throat. “I’ll have a man come over in the morning to replace the glass for you.”
“No need. I have a repairman, Panama Jack.”
Jake’s eyebrows arched. “Panama Jack? Well, if he isn’t available, let me know.”
She found the roll and headed toward the front entrance.
Jake unrolled the shelf paper and held it over the small hole in the front door while Pamela stretched the duct tape and attached the vinyl paper to the window. He took the roll and finished taping the other three sides, and then they moved through the kitchen doors to the shattered window and repeated the process.
“I’ll need to make a list for the repairman.” She strolled into her office, settled in her chair, and searched for a notepad.
Jake followed. His concern started to touch a place she didn’t want to consider. Giving up on the post-its, her hands went up in the air. He pulled the pad from an organizer and tossed it to her. “You can’t stay alone.”
Her eyebrows rose. “Agent Gibson—”
“Jake,” he interrupted.
She focused on the paper; anywhere was better than being sucked in by those blue eyes. “I have enough men in my life to watch over me, to a fault sometimes. I don’t need any more.” She knew her comment was mean, but she couldn’t take the chance of letting this man inside the wall she erected after Sam.
He crossed to her side of the desk and propped his butt on the corner. Crossing arms and legs, he looked down at her. “I’m trained to protect. Are your friends?”
She was forced to look at him, all of him. One had been. “It doesn’t matter. You’re not watching over me.”
“At least let me drive you home.”
As if to support Jake’s comment, thunder boomed, and the lights flicked off. The emergency lights immediately flickered, brightening the area.
She wrote the kitchen and dining room emergency lights on the list, then the back door light along with the windowpanes. He made a good point. “I’ll drive to a girlfriend’s house.”
“It’s late.”
The clock on the wall chimed two. Her friend would unnecessarily worry receiving a call at this time of night.
“What about tomorrow night?” Jake said, interrupting her deliberations.
Tomorrow hadn’t entered her mind. Late in the afternoon, the Band of Friends, known as the BOFs, would be meeting at the café. She could stay with one of them. “I have a friend I can stay with tomorrow night.”
He straightened and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket then flashed a badge. “Proof, I’m who I say.”
Pamela looked at the badge and the picture beside it. The FBI jacket could have been anyone’s, but the badge was definitely his. Again, the name Jake Gibson caught her attention. “The badge has retired across it.”
“Like I said, I retired a few days ago.” He shoved the wallet back into his back pocket. “I’ll sleep on your couch, and you can lock the bedroom door.”
“Could a locked door stop you?”
He touched both her shoulders. Blue compassionate eyes looked at her. “Look, I’m here to help you, not hurt. I can’t force you to let me stay, but I hope you will reconsider.”
As she gazed into his eyes, she noticed the same unfaltering demeanor she had seen in other men who had been to war. The look that said, I’d do whatever it takes to protect you. But why would he volunteer to help her?
He disappeared and a second later returned with his raincoat in his hands. “Come on, let’s get you home.” He tugged on her hand until she stood, then wrapped his raincoat around her.
The deer in the headlights look had to be what he saw when he eased her into his arms and said, “I’ll take care of this.”
She didn’t understand why this man with the familiar name was being so nice to her and didn’t truly know if she could trust him. Yet, she needed help, and he was offering. Burying her head in his shirt, she did what she refused to do in front of another man. She cried.

Something about his rectitude, his charm, and she knew under his watchful eye, she’d be safe. From what or who she needed protection continued to be a mystery.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Cait Jarrod

1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
 I don’t. As the story develops, the character evolves. I write the rough draft then go back and develop the characters.

2. Do your characters come before the plot?
 No. The plot comes first.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
 No. I’ll write a skeleton outline…sometimes, but my fingers lead the way to the end. What I think might happen could change midstream.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
 I’ve done both. In Kidnapped Hearts, I used places I had visited. For Entangled Love, I used the setting in California that I’d vacationed, but found house plans on line for the characters’ homes.

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Mostly online.

6. Are you a draft writer or do you revise as you go along and why? Do you sketch out your plot or do you let the characters develop the route to the end?
 I’m a draft writer. I like to get the ideas out first, let it sit for a bit, then go back and add depth. Sometimes, I revise a few times before I’m content with the outcome. The characters for the most part develop in the route to the end. I never know what kind of curve ball they’ll throw me.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday's Opening Scene from Woman Freed From Amber part of the Amber Chronicles by Janet Lane Walters

Woman Freed From Amber

The youngest prince of Rivand stared at the sky. The moon had risen and was
new. He lifted the bottle of wine and drank deeply. If only he could find something to be
other than the wastrel prince, a man without a place in the kingdom. He drank again and
finished the bottle. When he gestured for another, he saw the palace page appear.
Kristen tried to make himself invisible. There could be no other man or woman in this
tavern being sought by the king.

He watched the page search the faces of the men gathered around the tables.
Perhaps he wouldn’t be seen here on the balcony. His hopes were dashed when the page
hurried through the crowded room and appeared at Kristan’s side, “Your sire requests
your presence.”

Kristin rose and followed the boy to the tavern door. At least he hadn’t imbibed
enough to make his stagger. He mounted his horse and rode through town to the
imposing stone building that had been his home for all his life.

As he entered the throne room, she saw his father waited. His oldest brother
usually sat at the king’s side. Where was the crown prince? Did this mean his heir was
about to be born? Kristen shivered. One day, a crown prince might be called to face the
Witch of the Woods. He recalled the cryptic words he’d read in his grandfather memoirs
and remembered his vow to free the woman caught in the amber gem.

“Kristen,” his father’s voice was low and rumbled with anger. “Your conduct is
unbecoming to a prince. I’m tired of hearing of your constant pursuit of wine, women
and dice.”

Kristan straightened. “What else is there for me? My oldest brother follows you.
The second will be his advisor. The third will head the army. The fourth, the navy. The
fifth the treasury and the sixth the agriculture of Rivand. There is nothing left for me.”

“Not so. There is marriage. One has been arranged with the daughter of Wevald.
Put your affairs in order. You leave at the end of the week.”

“I don’t want to marry someone I’ve never seen.” Kristan turned and fled the

“You will do as ordered,” The king shouted.

Kristan raced along the empty corridors until he reached his chambers. He sat on
the edge of the bed and wished the numbness of the liquor he’d drunk would return. He
had to make plans. This marriage his father had arranged wasn’t for him. From deep
inside came the certainty that for him there was another destiny though what he didn’t

He rose. He had to leave the palace tonight. Where he would go, he wasn’t sure.
He found a haversack and quickly packed a few changes of clothes. From the chest at the
foot of his bed he took the sleeping blanket he had used on hunting trips. His hand
brushed a tear-shaped globe. He lifted the amber crystal and held it to the candlelight.

“Emme,” he whispered. His thoughts flashed to the night his grandfather had
died and how the valet had brought the amber orb to him. For years, he had kept the
globe beside his bed and stared at the woman trapped inside. Without knowing why, he
tucked the sphere in his haversack. He stuffed coins in his boots where many men kept
knives. He hurried to the stable and saddled his horse. He rode quickly through the town
and exited the gates and rode toward the forest.

The crescent of the new moon rose but the light cast was dimmed by the trees.
Though the leaves were those of spring and small, the trees were crowded. Kristan heard
a rustling. The wind or an animal, he thought. The small light cast by the crescent moon
cast shadows.

“Hoy.” The shout startled him. Someone leaped from one of the trees and
knocked him from the horse. The animal squealed.

Kristan was unable to free his sword. His attackers slashed with knives. He was
able to land a few blows before something hit his head so hard he was dazed. He
collapsed and held his breath.

The thieves grabbed his pack and began to rummage in the contents. He was glad
he had thought to hide his coins.

“What’s this?”

“Amber and a large chunk.” Suddenly one of the men screamed. “No.”

The amber globe fell to the ground. The men ran. Moonlight illuminated the
globe and the shimmer around the sphere appeared to grow. Kristen tried to get to his
knees. His head felt as thought he’d been spinning for he couldn’t believe what he
thought he saw.

* *

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Writing and Writers

Read a quote by Dwight V Swain in Techniques Of The Selling Writer that says everything you wanted to know about being a writer. Thought I'd use this as a jump off point. "The greatest talent in writing is nerve. You bet your ego that your unconscious has something in it besides dinner."

What a great thought and so very true. Just to sit down and decide you're going to be a writer and tell stories you hope will interest people who would like to read them takes nerve. And often brings an ego beating. Reader A loves your story and you feel on air. Along comes Reader B and they think ho hum. Not good and not bad. Then Reader C arrives with a total pan that makes you wonder if you have the nerve to try again. Here along with nerve comes persistence. Your nerve comes to the rescue and you write another story, holding that ego out there for people to praise and to knock. Your ego must roll with the punches as you gear your nerve for a third, fourth and fifth try to capture the readers.

So becoming a writer takes nerve and a healthy ego. But one has to make sure their nerve and ego are pushing you to write when you have nothing to say. It's all right to write things only a select few want to read. It's also all right to write things the masses follow. Keeping your ego under control will all your nerve to rise again and again.

There are many paths on the way to becoming a writer and we'll explore them in future bits here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - The Aha Moment

While reading books by other writers there can be a moment when you sit back and say "Aha.". All of a sudden something in those words causes the reader to sit up and take notice. Mr. Gardner speaks of it as a strangeness. But it's not really strange. It's the moment the unexpected arrives and makes the reader sit up. It's also hard to explain and difficult to induce.

This can happen to the writer when merrily moving along the path they've chosen and that unexpected moment occurs. Often this can be a slip from the characters into something that is of importance to the writer. The writer has entered a fugue state and the words flow in unexpected ways. The writer not only visualizes the scene but becomes the character and experiences the scene and writes. The imaginary becomes real.

This isn't a state that can be reached for. The moment just happens and when emerging from this moment what it written seems more real than real. Part of the reason is the writer has infused a bit of himself into the story. Gladly accept these moments. Reaching for them can tighten the flow of words until they won't come. Just go with the flow.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters

Meander 1 - Heart Throb is on special sale at Kindle books. Don't know what will happen with the book this time since it's been out for a long time but it has garnered a lot of great reviews and one sad one. But I liked the story and the characters. Here's the place to pick up the book if you want a spicy read.  Heart Throb   

Meander 2 - Now to books one has picked up for their Kindle that were free. What do you do when you read them or rather start to read and something annoys you on the first page. I have this thing about It is. One of the book used this four times on the first page. Now I could go and write a damaging review but the book was free. I won't trash another writer so I did what I needed to do. Just took it from my reader. Yes, it will stay in the long list I have but I really could care less.

Meander 3 - My own writing is going well, sort of. I was trucking along on the rough draft of Toth's priest and realized the book was headed to a dead end so I had to sit down and re-work the story line. So that's what I've been doing lately. I always have a plot outline that's never set in stone but changes as the story changes. The story will be better for the changes. As for Melodic Dreams. Am typing in the last few chapters and then will do another re-write. There's a bit I need to change about the heroine and her view of the hero. She's attracted to him and he's not behaving wonderfully to her. He has trust issues that are valid. So there needs to be some questioning by her as to why she's attracted. This will be worked out in the next draft.