Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Writing and Vaudeville #MFRWauthor #writingtips

 When I read this quote by Dwight V, Swain, I chuckled but then had to admit it was so true.  "Writing fiction is like playing in vaudeville, except that you have to devise a new act for each performance."

Each story a writer creates has it's own problems and success or failure. We've all read some favorite authors, maybe even devour every thing they write. But we don't like all of them. Some of the stories fall flat. Sometimes when writing, one story doesn't resonate with the writer the way the last one did. In the beginning all the stories seem wonderful to the author but discovering that each story is in some way harder than the last one is a hard admission to make.

Consistence and productivity are the keys to making a career. Writing one story that is an instant success and then writing little more because the story doesn't work doesn't see the author going anywhere. Often they're frustrated.

Endurance seems to be what happens. If the story idea is a good one, keeping at it day after day can be the key until suddenly all forms a shape a pattern and the story comes together.  So are you persistent? Do you have within the desire to produce word after word, delete those words one after another, listen to critique partners and make the suggested changes? If so, you're on the way but remember each new story is like the vaudeville act that you're showing to a slew of readers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Battling Writer's Block #MFRWauthor, #am writing

The first thing one needs to look at is what causes writer's block.  The first one is inhibition. You sit there, you have a great idea and you start writing. Suddenly you begin to question yourself. Is what I'm writing different enough from all the other books out there? Is what I'm planning to write good enough? Is what I'm writing relevant? These kinds of question result in false starts and of throwing hands into the air and believing the story has gotten into a corner that the writer can's solve.

A second cause of writer's block is the desire for fame and glory. When the book doesn't make the best seller's list or doesn't fly off the shelves, receive those glowing reviews, the writer begins to wonder if telling stories is worth the trouble. Part of the fame and glory quest is the desire for money.

Blocked, blocked. Nothing is ever good enough. No amount of work seems to solve the problems the writer sees in his stories. He or she throws the towel in the laundry and the pages in the garbage and announces they have "Writer's block." Having admitted that, there's no reason to try again. Problem is with this solution, digging into the work can overcome the block. "Persistence pays."

In a corner. Maybe you thought you were writing a 1000,000 word story when it's really a 60,000 word story. Maybe the ideas you thought were wonderful weren't thought out enough. Maybe a twist would turn them into a story. About being different. There are only so many plots flying around. What matters is the words chosen and the characters developed. The last group of those with writer's block may never cure their block. Writing for all those things doesn't really matter if you're not driven to write even if no one reads the story. Writers write.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters - Release Day #MFRWauthor

\Meander 1 _ Today Melodic Dreams is being released. This is the third of the MoonChild series and a story that I really enjoyed writing since at one point in my career, I composed music. Even had some of the compositions aired in public and was told by a teacher I should study go to a school to explore my talent. Did't happen. Any way, the story was a fun one to write.

Meander 2 - Tomorrow another of my books goes on sale at Amazon. The Doctor's Dilemma is a cute story about a doctor as restless as a tumbleweed and a nurse who wants a settled life because of her childhood. For some reason the book always sells well.

Meander 3 - Am working on Toth's Priest and right now I feel like I'm writing a chapter reminding me of when I went to the movies to see Lawrence of Arabia and they crossed and crossed the desert. This time it's my hero who sometimes acts in haste and regrets. He's doing that now and I'm building up to the fight scene when he's left for dead by the baddies.  Soon I'll have to start putting together the other books for release. That's the part I dislike.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

3 Blog Visit Sunday discoveries by Janet Lane Walters

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Passion's Sacred Dance by Julie D. Revezzo

Passion's Sacred Dance.

Unless Stacy Macken can stave off her creditors, she may lose her historic art gallery--a loss she can't afford for, she suspects, more reason than one. Then Aaron Fielding appears, claiming to be a Tuatha dé Danaan warrior dedicated to protecting humanity from demonic monsters and that her land is their sacred battlefield. Confirming everything she feared. Stacy and Aaron must work together to ensure mankind survives, but their mutual attraction only complicates things.

When the hairs on the back of Stacy’s neck prickled, a quick glance over her shoulder confirmed the woman still watched her. Uncomfortable, Stacy strode to the far side of the café to escape the woman’s scrutiny. Something told her to look back.
The woman with the startling eyes stood right behind her, glaring. Her eyes glowed like quicksilver.
Miss Silver Eyes smelled of patchouli, musk, and some other strange scent she couldn’t identify.
The woman leaned close to Stacy’s ear, and her voice sounded raspy when she spoke, “We will have this ground. This harshad time, Stacy Macken, the ground is ours, and they will never dance again.”
Harshad? How did she know about the harshad wars? Had the time truly come, then, already?
Stacy stared as impossibly long incisors slid down from the woman’s gums like snake fangs. Miss Silver Eyes clamped a hand around her upper arm. Shock pulsed through Stacy’s body, rooting her to the spot, despite her mind’s order to flee. The woman’s steely gaze, the ruby and shark’s tooth earring glittering in her right earlobe, and the dark threat mesmerized Stacy. “No, you won’t have this ground.” A cool male voice brought the silver-eyed woman up short and the fog lifted from Stacy’s mind.
Aaron Fielding stood before her dressed in casual jeans and a gray, cable knit sweater. He seemed right at home here among the students, and yet somehow he also stood apart. The air shifted. Stacy could have sworn his leather coat, for just an instant, took on the shape of a golden eagle’s wings.
A high-pitched whine escaped from the silver-eyed woman’s throat.  She cocked her head as she took Aaron in, a bemused smile spreading over her face as if she were privy to some private joke.
He retrieved an item from his coat. At first, Stacy thought the object might be a baton, and then it changed shape and substance, wood to steel. The innocuous baton became a sword.
An hysterical laugh bubbled up inside her and Miss Silver Eyes tossed her aside. Stacy landed hard against a table and gasped at the pain. She rolled over, sitting upright, and pulled her knees to her chest.
Miss Silver Eyes threw a punch at Aaron. He sidestepped her fist and flicked the baton-sword-thing at her head.
“Now, wait!” Stacy jumped to her feet and caught the baton before it bashed the woman’s face in. Aaron grasped her upraised hand, removed it from the baton, and thrust her behind him. “For your own good, don’t interfere.”
Miss Silver Eyes screamed. Steel glinted from her fists as she rushed headlong at Aaron.
He raised the weapon while muttering something in a foreign language.
Stacy squeezed her eyes shut, too frightened to move. Surely, the woman would knock them both to the floor. The impact she anticipated never came. Instead, an explosion of light split the air. Cringing and blinking in the brightness, she saw that the woman, hands outstretched, had gone utterly still.
Stacy frowned as she studied the woman, wondering what happened.
Aaron repositioned the weapon he carried and shoved it into a hidden pocket in his coat. “Stay back.” He clasped a hand around Stacy’s wrist and pushed her a little further behind him. Or tried. She dug her heels in and didn’t move. Aaron frowned hard.
“For your own good, stay out of the way,” he said.
“Why should I?” Her heart beat a wicked tempo and panic skittered through her.
“If the spell breaks before I’m done you’ll regret it,
trust me.”

Passion's Sacred Dance is available at: Amazon:
Barnes and Noble:

or from The Wild Rose Press:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Juli D. Revezzo

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?

My take on it is that that's actually the elements of a non-fiction article more than the elements of fiction. My big points are What? and Who? and sometimes Where? What's going on? who's it affecting (and conversely,who's doing the saving)? and why comes in if there's a mystery about what's going on (like in my Antique Magic series). My where, lately, has all centered in the same place, Florida, so it tends to come in only in the characters complaints about how hot or (or strangely cold) it is for the area. ;) How is just a by-product of the others.

1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?

 Not really? They always seem to (to answer your next question) come in on their own and show me what they're like. I just fill in the empty spaces in between their pixels, so to speak, as I write. For instance, in the beginning of my latest two romances, I didn't except immortal warriors to walk into Passion's Sacred Dance, nor a Faery Godmother to end up helping out a ranch owner in my forthcoming title Changeling's Crown. They basically always start out with the question "this is the situation" who can deal with it (or not ;))"?

2. Do your characters come before the plot?

Honestly, usually they come together. Every first inkling of a story I get there's a girl or a guy always trying to do something.

3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
No--well, sometimes, not always. Sometimes I'm a few chapters in before I know the end.

4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

There's a joke around my house that I am the map queen! *lol* So, when I know where my character's going to be (roughly) if it's somewhere outside an area I'm familiar with, I'll look up the area to find a map, and (since I write paranormal and fantasy ) I noddle around with it until it's set just the way the characters need it. When I was younger I wrote high fantasy and so I used to actually sketch my world's  maps in notebooks (and sticky pads, and pieces of loose leaf paper!), now I just write down "somewhere squeezed in between this city and that".

5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
 Both. Books are my first choice if I can get them, online if I have to.

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?

 In most cases, I'm a draft writer, and yes I do revise as I go along. Why? Because I always find something that I missed the first 500 few times through!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Matt Blakefield from A Sudden Seduction by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #NCPauthor

“You’re next.”
Matt Blakefield choked on the piece of wedding cake he’d been about to swallow. “Not in a million years.”
His gaze slid around the table in the inn’s dining room spearing each couple with a glare. Friends and family had gathered to celebrate this morning’s marriage of his brother to the mother of his recently discovered son. Since the nine-year-old was the only other unattached male present, Matt knew the whispered remark had been addressed to him.
“I have a friend,” one of his sisters said.
The other grinned. “She’d be perfect.”
“No sale.” Matt dropped the napkin on the table.
“Remember the curse.” Mark grinned. “None of us has escaped.”
Time to hit the road. With this decision made, as though in answer to his desire, Matt’s cell phone vibrated. Salvation,
He answered. “Matt here…You did…Great news…I’m on my way…Yeah today…Doesn’t matter.”
As if he’d stay here where plans he wanted no part of were being laid. He’d been present for the important event. There was no reason for him to linger and a huge need to escape. Although the meeting with the Good Magazine Group’s investigator wasn’t until Monday morning, Matt seized the opportunity. “Have to leave. Have information on this year’s make-over house for Good Livin’.”
“On the weekend?” His father, CEO of the magazine group and recently married to his teenage sweetheart, arched an eyebrow.
“Yeah. It’s the Smiton house. You know the one I intend to use as the project for showing people how to convert a house from energy sucking to energy efficient. Jules has a line on the owner. I want the contract signed so we can start work.”
His father’s eyes narrowed. “If there’s a problem find another house. Who knows what condition the Smiton’s house is in? No one has lived there for years.”
“I checked. The place is sound.”
“Find a house where the owners are in residence. They’ll appreciate the free upgrade.”
Matt groaned. “And spend hours listening to complaints about being inconvenienced or hearing about changes that won’t work.” Matt pushed to his feet. What he didn’t say was that he planned to buy and live in the house.
He kissed his new sister-in-law. “Let Mark spoil you and Davey. My brother has a few years of making up to do.”
Matt strode to the coatroom to retrieve his leather jacket and helmet. He’d planned to hang out here until tomorrow but not with the schemes buzzing in the ladies’ heads. He leaned over the counter, kissed the middle-aged woman’s cheek and dropped a ten spot in the tip dish.
He dashed out the door and down the steps to the parking lot and his bike. As the engine roared to life the relatives gathered and protests began.
So much for a quick escape. He braced for the arguments.
“Stay,” his new sister-in-law called. “You can have one of the cabins all to yourself.”
“We won’t bother you. I promise,” his step-mother said.
She wouldn’t but her promise didn’t include his sisters. “Another time.”
“Matt, it’s going to rain.” The voices of four females rose in a chorus.
“I won’t melt.” He slipped on his helmet. With a spray of gravel he headed to the road.
Exit Matthew, fleeing a bunch of women intent on ending his bachelor state.
What about his father, brother and his sisters’ fiancés. He bet the guys envied his freedom.”
“You’re next.” Had someone said that or was it his imagination?
He waved. “Not today. Not this year. Maybe never.” The engine’s roar drowned any comments.
Visions of being followed by a parade of match-makers crowded his thoughts. Instead of heading for the interstate he decided to cross from Vermont into upstate New York. Exploring new territory was a perfect ending to his escape.
Once they’d found the perfect mate, why did happy couples believe every bachelor should be part of a twosome? He wasn’t ready to take a wife or enter a long term situation. He enjoyed his single state and found pleasure with a variety of women. Granted there’d been a dry spell lately—not his fault. He hadn’t met a woman who’d tempted him for even a night.
As he sped along the serpentine roads, a misting rain began. Moments after crossing into New York the storm turned earnest. Water fell in wind-driven gusts. Thunder rumbled like a mad drummer played a kettledrum. Lightning streaked across the sky in a brilliant display. Although the time was late afternoon the darkness spoke of night.
Time to find a motel, bed and breakfast or a rustic inn with a room for the night.

He reached a crossroads and paused to read the signs. The nearest town was fifty miles away. He dug out his cell. No service. He wiped the face plate of his helmet and chose a road. The headlights cast a tunnel through the gloom. Shadows impinged on the narrow band of light. He sent the bike down the road. Off on an adventure, hopefully with a dry room at the end of the road.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Just Before You Start #MFRWauthor

This technique is taken from Dwight V. Swain's book Techniques of the Selling Writer. I do this every time I start a book and I find it keeps me on track. Doesn't keep me from exploring side roads but it keeps me moving toward the end of the book. A few times I haven't done this, the book ends up not as good as others. The other thing is often my stories are a three person bit and each of the characters has a different path to take but entwining these story lines is important. So here goes.

What you need are a sentence and a question. The sentence contains the situation, the character, and the goal. The question gives the opponent and the impending disaster. Sounds simple, and it really is. Here are the ones I set out for my current work in progress.

Threatened with a situation that will destroy her, Amara decides to accept an escape into an alternate Egypt where she must perform a task and receive, love and acceptance. Can she live in an alien land and rescue Namose from the evil priest Hebu to bring justice to the land?

As a prisoner of the evil priest, Namose is forced to aid him in gaining powers granted to the priests of Toth and knowing he must escape to prevent the foreign priests from destroying the Two Lands. Can he find a way to escape and join forces with Amara to bring justice to the land.

Scheming to bring the worship of Aken Re, the one and only god to the Two Lands, Hebu has captured Namose and schemes to kidnap the children who are the future of the Two Lands and turn them into followers of his god. Can he succeed when Amara and Namose join forces to defeat him?

Those are the plot lines that set for me what the story will be. Now it's time to write the story. It's something worth trying. Usually I don't have to put it down. The statement and question form in my head but any time I find myself drifting off track, thinking of the original statement question will bring me back on track.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - Linguistic Competence #MFRWauthor

I've been reading John Gardner's  On Becoming A Novelist and am coming to the end of his great advice. What I read today is about linguistic competency. "Have faith" is the advice he gives. For me, the words come out in a rush during the first draft. Then I go back and look at the words. What I usually find is a lot of repetition. The same word appears line after line and paragraph after paragraph. The scene becomes boring. Not that there isn't action or emotion but because the same words are used time and time again. Doubt sets in. Will this story of these two interesting people ever come to life. Finding the right words will help. "Have faith."

As I sit about revising I find I've fallen into several patterns in the attempt to get the story down. That's when faith comes in. How many times did I use that particular word. Is there a better word. Why are there so many its. That one is easy to change by finding when the specific works best. Some words can remain even though they are repeats. Repeated words often bring a strange understanding of what is happening in the scene.

Do I sit with a dictionary or the Thesarus? Sometimes I do. Other times a good substitute word leaps into my thoughts and the one that appears is absolutely right. The dictionary comes in handy when the spelling is wrong on a word. So what I've learned is to have faith and use the tools when absolutely necessary. Linguistic competency comes from reading and writing. So have faith.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - Typing in the dark. The switch controlling the lights in my study broke. Of course this had to happen on Sunday when no one in their right mind would call an electrician. I have managed to light the area where I write things by hand but the computer is nearly in the dark. It's not the screen, that's bright enough. It's the keyboard that's in the dark. I've found a solution. They laughed at Christmas when I won the strange LED little light but it has come in handy once again. Typing goes slower than I would like but it does happen and for that I'm glad. Perseverance is part of what one must do to become a published author.

Meander 2 - Traded Easter baskets for the grandchildren for hard boiled decorated eggs. Sounds silly but for me there's nothing like children dyed eggs at Easter. Oldest granddaughter agrees and says "It's no fun dying eggs when you're older." Had a great visit with the kids though. Enjoy them a lot.

Meander 3 - Finally figured where I went wrong while writing the third episode of the Alternate Egypt world stories. Am back on track and now ready to go forward. One problem is that I won't have anything new to read at critique. Not a problem for me but could be for the others. I may not have anything to read next week either but I am pleased with how the story is going. Melodic Dreams is with the editor and hopefully I'll soon have it back for edits. Hope I didn't miss too many problems.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

3 Blog Visit Sunday - Discoveries by Janet Lane Walters

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Cursed in Shadow by Andrea Cooper #MFRWauthor

When I rose, the two guards sidestepped away. Nay, they would not gamble their lives again by being within my reach.Thankfully, since rescuing Celeste from the oak cave had taken all night, Shadowdancer was rested for the ride back to Tamlon.With Celeste’s wounds slathered with yarroway and other healing plants, she mounted. Then Emillya climbed up behind her.

At least one Elvin besides me did not hate humans. If Emillya didn’t like humans, or Celeste for that matter, she wouldn’t speak to her much less ride on a horse with her. I ran alongside them while Celeste and Emillya talked. One guard raced on the opposite side of Shadowdancer, the other in front. And it appeared the horse gave the Elvin a race.

The Elvin were considerate enough to let Shadowdancer canter or walk whenever he tired. How they understood that running the horse too long too fast would be the end of him I do not know. There have never been horses in Elvin lands for as long as I can remember.

We all took turns getting Celeste to talk to us about her cave adventure; she must stay awake awhile longer, even though we could all see she fought to keep her eyes open.

“As soon as you’ve rested,” Emillya told her, glowering at my constant interruptions to translate, “you need to view the prophecies of the four. Nivel gave me instructions when he left with Brock. The library vaults await unchanged. He told me you’d come back after banishing the Warloc to the underworld.

“Hopefully, Brock hasn’t caused unrealized damage by the oak magic trapping you.”

I nearly stumbled at her words. How was I to know snares waited to spring upon humans in our land? Our kind was immune.Just as I opened my mouth to voice my argument, Celeste smiled at me. Her grey eyes held a glimmer of her merriment, and my frown eased.

With a chuckle, I turned back to the path. Celeste was safe now. And that was all that mattered.

“We’ll make camp at dark.” Emillya patted Shadowdancer’s rump. “Should make Tamlon soon. It’s a fine horse—any other I fear would take us three or four nights to return.”

“That reminds me.” I said. “How did you get to the labyrinth so soon? The journey from Tamlon is longer than the time of Celeste’s entrapment.”

“We have a secret path Nivel created. It’s ancient magic and travels Elvin here within an hour.”

“Then let’s take this path back.” Celeste said.

“It’s only for Elvin. The magic would crush a human and perhaps even a horse.”

“Perhaps your magic needs to be altered now.” Celeste smiled.

“Indeed.” Emillya answered. “I’ll mention the request to the elders.”

When we arrived in Tamlon, I hoped to show Celeste the wonders of my land. And bask in the sun naked with her.

After the others slept, I laid down beside Celeste. She turned and snuggled her head under my chin. “Your language is so beautiful. Almost like music with its rhythms and melody.”

My hand traced circles up and down her back. “Emir voulan sptrea.”

“What does that mean?”

I eased her chin up and she looked into my eyes. “We are one heart.” I kissed her and relished in the sweetness of her mouth for we could do little else with company.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Andrea Cooper #MFRWauthor

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?
I agree that plot is extremely important. I have read many novels in which there was no real plot or it felt thrown together. I think plot is what helps keep the reader turning pages.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
The plot comes easily to me, then the characters. If I cannot picture or hear a main character, I do a character profile and an interview. Usually, during the interview, the character will open up to me. Once, I had a character give me her mantra, which I would not have known if I had skipped over the interview.
However, some characters just come to me. Brock, from The Garnet Dagger Book 1 Legends of Oblivion, repeated the first few lines in the book in my mind when I was at work one day, until I wrote them down.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
The plot comes first for me, then the characters. Once they came simultaneously as stubborn, feisty Kaireen in Viking Fire – my historical romance. Also, I have secondary characters, like Elva in Viking Fire, that I did not plot out in advance and revealed themselves while I was writing.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I know in a general way how the story will end. However, I do not have specifics. One novel I wrote, unpublished to date, I knew the antagonist would die. However, I spent the whole novel thinking it would be one of the main characters would be the one to kill him, when a minor character stepped forward. He had a past with the villain that clicked into place at the ending.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I choose the settings of my imagination in part and the internet. Many of my novels, whether fantasy, paranormal or historical romance, take place in an ancient world. I research locations, buildings, etc. The best research tool was a Young Adult reference book about the Middle Ages.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Both. I go online first, then for specific questions I look to books.
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 am a draft writer. I have to get the story out on paper, because although I know the ending-ish, I do not know the road the characters and plot will take to get there. So far, I have not outlined a novel. I enjoy discovering the characters and story as I write.

Attached is the excerpt and cover. 

Cursed in Shadow Book 1.5 Legends of Oblivion series
Only 99cents

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Mark from A Second Seduction by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Mark Blakefield sat behind the desk in his office.  He listened to the head writer’s description of his New England trip.  “Found the Green Mountain Inn on our last day.  Place is perfect for a feature in Good Travelin’.  Owned by a single mom with one child.  Inn’s been in her family for generations.  An inn for all seasons.  Fabulous food.  Scenic vistas.  Skiing, leaf peeping, lake with boats, fishing, walking and riding trails.  Look at the photos and let me know.  Be glad to return.”  He grinned.  “Owner’s easy on the eyes.”
            Mark accepted the stack of photos.  Why Jonas insisted on using a camera when digital ones were so available Mark would never know.  “What did your wife say?”
            The older man winked.  “She laughed and liked the idea.”
            Mark rolled his eyes.  “The pair of you matchmaking again?”
            Jonas shrugged.  “She thought you’d like the lady.”
            “I’ll let you know if the inn will work.”
            “See you.”  Jonas turned and strode away.
            Mark looked at each snapshot.  The leaves on a hillside had just begun to change color.  Another showed a lake shimmering in the sunlight.  He put down several of the large inn.  Others showed a garden near a two-story house and several cottages.  A boy about nine or ten mugged for the camera.  He stared at the next one where a woman stood with the blond boy.  His jaw clenched.
            “Damn her.”  What was Christa Parsons doing at this inn?  Mark opened his laptop and started a search for directions to this inn.  Was the woman Christa?  Could he be mistaken?  Had he forgotten what she looked like?  Not possible.  He printed the directions.  With the photo of the boy and the printout in one hand and his laptop in the other he strode to the door.  He stopped at his secretary’s desk.  “I’ll be out of town for several days, maybe a week.”
            “Where should I say you are?”
            “Just a phone or an email away.”
            He didn’t wait for the elevator but took the stairs to the basement parking garage.  Traffic was a nightmare with honking horns, squealing brakes and raised fists.  When he reached his condo he felt as though he’d won a war.  He dashed inside and packed.  He zapped a frozen burger and stopped in the living room to remove a picture from the photo album on the coffee table.
            He stared at the two pictures.  Had to be.  Why hadn’t she told him?  He intended to learn the answer to that and a dozen other questions.  He tucked the picture in his shirt pocket, grabbed his jacket, a six pack and a tin of cookies.  Outside he loaded everything in the trunk of his silver sports car.  He slid behind the wheel.  Christa Parsons had some explaining to do.
            Though eight PM was a bit late to start the trip, a touch of anger and impatience to know why spurred him on.  The need for action was too strong to allow him to sit and brood.
            Why hadn’t she called him?  Why had she vanished without a word?  For ten years her disappearance had puzzled him.  Had the fault been his?
            His thoughts turned to those days of falling in love.  Hadn’t taken long and that was a Blakefield tradition.  Love came fast and hard.  The long weekend of mind-blowing sex remained vivid.  There had been more than the physical attraction.  They had so many likes and dislikes in common.  The ending had been done with a clever, abrupt and brutal.
            She’d run to her dorm for an hour.  As he was leaving to pick her up for dinner, Tony had returned from the beach and Matt had called with news.  Mark had shouted he was in love.  He’d handed Tony the phone and dashed to her almost-deserted dorm.  She hadn’t been there and the two people he’d encountered had never heard of Christa Parsons.
            He revved the engine and backed into the street.  Jonas had discovered the where but the why remained unexplained.  He frowned.  When had Christa Parsons become Christa Sommers?  Had she married?  Jonas had called her a single mother.  Was there an ex lingering about?  Mark couldn’t imagine any man letting Christa go.
            At midnight he found a motel, slept until six, ate breakfast and was on the road by eight.  After grabbing a burger and fries at a fast food place, he pulled into the parking lot of the rustic Green Mountain Inn.  The two-story building had a large screened porch.  Two wings spread from the central portion.  The number of cars in the parking lot brought a moment of concern.  Were there any rooms available?
            He shrugged.  Didn’t matter.  If not here, he would find somewhere and haunt the inn until he knew all.  As he left the car he paused and surveyed the scene.  The hills blazed with colors.  Scarlet, orange and yellow were framed against a background of dark green.
            Though he wasn’t amused Mark grinned.  Christa Parsons, here I come with questions.  I hope you have good reasons for your actions.
            Along with his anger he felt a pulsing need.  Those four days had been filled with fabulous sex, laughter and a sharing of dreams.  Before he left the inn he would know what went wrong and why she had hidden his son from him.
            He dropped the keys in the pocket of his black leather jacket and strode toward the entrance.  A door opened.  Two young women stepped onto the porch.  Tight jeans and skinny tops and boots.  Both carried jackets.  As they approached he noticed a resemblance to Christa.  Their hair was a darker brown and lacked the strands of gold he remembered.  Their features weren’t as refined.  Sisters or cousins?  He paused at the foot of the steps and waited for them to pass.  Their voices reached him.
            “I don’t understand why Christa said no.”
            “If we keep on her she’ll change her mind.”  The taller of the two halted.  “Always works.”
            “It has to.  I’ll go buggy if I have to hang here much longer.”  The second young woman’s shrill voice made Mark wince.  “How can she say we have no share in the inn?  Daddy was the owner.  Mom said so.  That makes us owners as much as she is.”
            “She has to give us the money.  I’m tired of being an underpaid servant.”
            Mark stepped aside to let them past.  So, all wasn’t well in Christa’s world.
            The taller young woman nodded.  “I’m not waiting ‘til ski season for some action.”
            The second groaned.  “At least the place jumps then.”
            “Not if she sells.”
            “We won’t let her.”  She reached the bottom step, saw Mark and smiled.  “Well, hello.”
            “Do we know you?”  the taller one asked.  “You look sort of familiar.  Are you staying?”
            “Depends.”  He brushed past them.  He knew the type and he didn’t want what they offered.
            Just inside the door he stopped short.  Though her back was to him he had found Christa.  A battle raged in his thoughts between anger and desire.  His heart raced.  His hands clenched.  Memories of love-making arose and were countered by his knowledge of the sun she’d hidden from him.  His gaze roamed from her neck down her back.
            She turned.  Her breasts seemed fuller than he remembered.  He recalled how they’d responded to his touch.  He fought an urge to lunge across the counter and kiss her until she cried for him to come in her.
            Mark stepped to the counter.  “Hello Christa Parsons.”
            “It’s Sommers.”  She grasped the edge.  “What do you want?”  Her voice trembled.
            He caught a hint of fear in her blue eyes.  “You have something of mine.”
            “What are you talking about?”
            He smiled.  She knows.  The tension in her voice and the whiteness of her knuckles showed her awareness of his reason for his presence.  “A boy.  A bit older than nine.  Blond hair, green eyes.”  He pulled the photos from his pocket and slapped them on the counter.  “Our son.  Yours truly at that age.  They could be twins.”
            “Mark, go away.”
            He shook his head.  “I can’t.”
            “How did you learn?”
            Though her face had blanched she didn’t back away.  “A colleague and his wife stayed here.  He liked the inn, the food and the view.  He took pictures.  One happened to be of you and the other of my son.”
            “What do you plan?”

            The tears forming in her eyes almost made him walk away.  He couldn’t.  He had a son.  “For starters, get acquainted.  I’m not sure what else.”  He opened his wallet and slid a credit card from a slot.  “I want a room.  Not sure how long I’ll stay.  Start with a week.  I’ll get my bags.”  He turned to leave and nearly collided with the young women he’d seen outside.  He arched a brow.  “Ladies, curiosity could get you in trouble.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - To Plan or Not #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLoveauthor #EPICauthor

Planning your story or not is the question. I'm all for planning but my plans leave room for those changes that occur when an Aha Moment sends the plan off kilter. There's not much, but I've planned an entire book of 80,000 words in eight pages. Sometimes there are more pages, sometimes less. We've all been children and there's that "Tell me a story." We've said that and we've heard our children say that. Think of the stories we were told or read to our children and you get the impact. For me planning is all tell and little show. The show comes when I sit down to write the story.

A two detailed plan can mean the story stops before you begin. Why write the story when you know everything that's going to occur? What happens if the characters as they develop must take a different path than the one you've chosen to reach the end? The plan has gone awry and the story is put aside. Rigid planning doesn't allow for the wonderful twists and turns that happen while trying to reach that end. They live happily ever after. The bad guys are caught and punished. Good defeats evil. Those kind of endings can be reached with a rigid plan but the writing can lose the freshness that makes the story sing.

Without a plan, the story is all over the place. The end is never reached. Or if it is the reader could be bored because they know the end the moment they story begins. The story becomes an entire stream of consciousness with no real reason to exist. The reader may say "I know how this will end. Who cares."

How does one plan? Know the kind of story you're going to write. Romance, mystery, fantasy or any of the genres. Then find a character who wants something and why they want that. Take them on a road trip in your head or on paper and see what roads can be taken to reach that illusive goal. Keep the plan loose. Maybe one minute a scene that shows the end will occur but make that the goal and also remember this can change. Suddenly the story takes shape and you can write and write until the story you planned comes to an end that may or may not be the one you first envisioned.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - The Fictional Dream - Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLove Author

You've been sitting and some people will say just staring but what you're really doing is fictionally dreaming. The scene in your head is perfect for what you want to put into your story. Then you sit down to write and the words won't come. They're never the right words. That aha moment you had seemed wonderful but now it's gone flat.

The problem is in your head. There's the censor in your head that stops the flow. Turning this off can be almost impossible. The mechanics of writing have taken over and become a huge ogre. Not that word but this one. . Panic sets in. "This is never going to be perfect." How can I find the words? What am I going to do. Before you know what has happened you've worked yourself into a state where you've lost the dream and can't write another word on the story. Happens all the time to me. Don't know about you. But what to do.

I've a drawer of bits and pieces that never went beyond the point where the fictional dream stopped being a dream. But I've gone back and turned many of these fits and starts into stories. Some succeed and some fall a bit flat but that's the life. I've learned which scenes in the fictional dream stop me so when trying to put the story on paper, I have this trick that usually works for me. Maybe it will work for you. I write the scene in a sentence. They kiss. They make love. The body is found. There is a fight. Choreograph the duel. Once the story's down and I know where the characters are really headed, I can go back and sketch in these scenes and then work on them until the direction is found. Suddenly the fictional dream scene is there and maybe the direction isn't what I initally saw but it works.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLoveauthor

Meander 1 - In the company of peers. This weekend I spent a day with p fellow writers from HVRWA and the time was well spent. Writing is a lonely visit/ Being with other people who have a total fascination with the written word is interesting and fun. We don't write the same things and that's what's fun and challenging. We don't have the same way of writing and that makes for interest. We're all at different places in our careers. Another way to learn and grow. That's what this is all about. The one thing we have in common is inventing worlds and people in them from historical to current and to even the future. There was a glitch or two with restaurants now understand separate checks to the wind that drive us inside rather than being out in one of the few beautiful days we've had for months. We're looking forward to doing it again next year and perhaps having a larger group to add to the mix.

Meander 2 - Creating worlds. A difference of opinions occurred. I really believe that every writer when they create a story does world-building. Some people don't agree. "But I know the rules of the world I create." Yes, you do but you only choose the rules that suit your story. Maybe when writing fantasy or paranormal stories, the rules are invented. Perhaps some of them but these rules are based on rules that occur in the world where we're based. Thinking about this when one is writing a historical, do they really know the rules of the world they operate in. They may have ideas but I feel they're brought from what we know today and changed in little ways to fit the facts. So with what we write today. I may never be able to convince people who don't believe this but the discussions are fun.

Meander 3 - Have sent off Melodic Dreams and it will be out possibly in late April or even May. Am moving into the Plot draft of Toth's Priest and expanding what was a short rough draft into a much longer one. Then I'll look at settings and onto characters. Hopefully then all I'll have to do is clean up the mss. There are two books in the trilogy that I'll have to get together to submit for re-issue so I'll be having a busy spring and summer.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

3 Blog Visit Sunday - Discoveries by Janet Lane Walters

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Fallen Angel by Alisa Anderson #MFRWauthor

This man was seriously bad news. One she knew she needed to stay away from.  She was fully aware of his reputation from Allison. Not only with the ladies, but of being a notorious Mafioso. She also knew he was very much married, an arranged marriage at that, but supposedly there was some story there and she was never discussed. Ever.

Nick swung his leg over a chair and sat down. “Okay, let’s see what you got. Get on the stage and I’ll clue Mikey when you’re ready. Oh and Manhattan…how do you feel about going topless?”

Jess hesitated for a moment before she climbed on the stage.

This was the end of the line for her. She was desperate now. If she didn’t make this work, it was back to Kansas for her. Back to her old life, back to her family…back to her father…back to his world.
Becoming the failure he always said she would be. Not this time.

He would never get the opportunity to touch her again.

She shivered. She was never going back to them. Or him. She was done with that portion of her life. Not even if said life, depended on it.

Which, in a way, it kind of did. For her piece own piece of mind, for her sanity, to escape the dark recesses of her mind and find some semblance of happiness, she needed this.  Just once, it would be nice to get a decent night’s sleep.

No nightmares. No terror filled panic attacks, wondering if tonight was the night her father emptied his gun in her head. No dreaded anticipation of what was to come.

Foul, alcohol-laced breath…sweaty hands…suffocating her…moving all over her body, touching her…violating her…going places no father should ever be…

“Kid?” Nick’s voice jolted her out of her thoughts and she looked up sharply and met his gaze. It was too soon to mask the naked fear and haunted, gnawing ache in her eyes. She knew he could see it all.

What surprised her was his curiously knowing silence. As if he knew exactly what she was thinking and feeling, and could relate. He was giving her an out.

One that she was not going to take. Jess shook herself.

“I guess I’m ok with it. But will you, I mean will they be able to touch my boobs?” If he caught the slip, he didn’t let on. “And why did you ask me where I was from, if you already knew?” She was annoyed at both him and herself for the slip and for the way he made her feel.

There was an awkward pause before Nick finally spoke. “I ask because I can. It’s my club. You got a problem, there’s the door.” Nick arched his brow at her.

She nodded and glanced away. Ass.

He continued. “Now then. No touching by others period.  However, there are no rules for me. You’ll never have to do anything you aren’t good with. I promise.”

Why the fuck did he promise that?  Jess wasn’t about to ask.

“Mikey, Hot Child in City. When you’re ready, kid.”  He leaned forwarded and put a cigar in his mouth.

As the music started playing, Jess wasn’t really sure what to do at first.  How the hell am I going to do this?  She closed her eyes and started swaying to the music.  When she opened them she looked directly at him and something took over her. She found herself dancing for him, seducing him with each hip grind and twirl around the pole.

She noticed the more she danced the harder he breathed. He was actually getting a rather large hard on and didn’t seem to care if she knew.  He was feeding her, and she got lost in his eyes and forgetting they were in a club. His club.

He was intrigued with her from the moment he saw her. Her blond hair was shining in the lights. He could see through the white tank top she wore as it stretched over her exquisite breasts. Her stomach was flat, even her belly button looked inviting to him.  Her long legs were gorgeous, and those tight black shorts she wore outlined every curve of her shapely ass.

He swallowed hard. How was it she could be so fucking hot yet be so angelic and innocent? What was she, all of nineteen? And what was it about this girl he felt he needed to protect? What was he hiding behind those eyes that hid a lifetime of pain, and were much wiser than her years? He didn’t know much about her but planned on finding out. That was for fucking sure.

He heard the music stop.

Just like that, the spell was broken.

“Not haalf bad. The club is open from seven till three.  The slot is two nights a week. I don’t pay my girls but you’ll be well taken care of.  Tips are yours, except for the ten percent I take off the top for allowing you to dance on my stage.”

“Your stage name is Manhattan.  Remember it.”

He got up from the chair and started walking toward the back.  He turned and looked at her standing on the stage.

“See you at six, Manhattan.

That is, if you’ll be back.”


where you can find me:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Alisa Anderson #MFRWauthor

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?

I'm inclined to agree with you. When you don't have a direction to take your characters to, the whole story falls flat.

1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
 A lot of times i base characters on people I've met. Sometimes they are people I want to meet someday. I use my instinct to determine each story's characters. I also want characters I can relate to. It's all about what feels right to me, and who I think might resonate with the audience.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?

Absolutely. I certainly love good plot, but if I can't root for the characters, most of the time it's a no go.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

For me, it's a combination. I choose settings I know, but I love researching locations I have never been to and maybe hope to visit one day. It's a great fantasy element for me.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

Mostly online, but I have a massive book collection, both fiction and nonfiction and I will often use that as well. You also have to make sure you carefully verify all sources since there is such erroneous information on the internet. Yes, I love ebooks and the internet, but there is still nothing like opening a book.
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?

Again, it's kind of all the above. I have a general plot summary that at times will see many revisions. My characters often talk to me however, and in the end, they are the ones who dictate where the story goes. I have tried to go around them and trust me. It doesn't work. Since I want to sleep at night, it's just easier to do what they say. *grins*

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Steve from A Silken Seduction by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Steve sank into the wheelchair the attendant held.  His leg throbbed and the bruised and abraded shoulder, back and arm ached.  He felt drained.  Since the accident that had left him with a broken leg and other injuries he’d had little sleep.  A week had passed before he’d been cleared for travel.
The airline employee wheeled him past shops and a food court to an elevator.  “You being met?”
“My boss.”  They exited the elevator and turned toward the baggage claim area.  He saw her.  “No.”
The attendant let loose a low whistle.  “That your boss?”
“His sister.”  Steve swallowed.
“Man, she’s a babe and you’re helpless.  Shame.”
Steve grinned.  “Hardly helpless but I’m not touching her.”  He wanted to but he wouldn’t.  Megan Blakefield was trouble.  She was one woman who could make him forget he liked his freedom.
“You dead or is she taken?”
“Neither.  It’s complicated.”  That was the truth.  Much as he denied the attraction Megan was able to make part of him stand at attention in less than a second.  He reacted that way every time he saw her.  She also made him act as rude as a teenager with his first crush.
Steve shifted the camera case.  He wasn’t walking her road.  She was a forever woman and he was a today and maybe tomorrow man.  There was always a new place that cried to be photographed.  Have camera and love to travel was his way of life.
“Steve,”  she said.
He loved the prim precision of her voice.  “Megan, you’re looking … good,”  he drawled.  Slowly his gaze moved from her short blonde curls over her breasts and drifted lower before returning to her face.  As usual she blushed.  “Get a bit too much sun.”
According to her sister Megan had rules of life, a large dose of curiosity and a penchant for leaping then looking.  Could he push her into a more intimate reaction?
His gaze lingered on her mouth.  He wanted to taste her full lips and explore her taste.  He wanted to inhale the fragrance of her passion.
Wouldn’t happen.  She would jump to the wrong conclusions the way she had when she’d shouted her suspicions about the stolen exclusive.  When her voice had lost the crisp cool tones his interest had peaked but his anger had won.
Sure Simone had been his boss and his lover for a brief interval.  But he didn’t give secrets away.  Megan had apologized.  He’d told her the next time she jumped to aim for his bed.  Scarlet had been the color of the day with a touch of glacial glare from her blue eyes.  Did she remember?
The attendant dropped a duffle on the floor.  Steve slipped him a tip.  With the man’s assistance Steve carefully made the transfer to the wheelchair Megan held.  She fitted the duffle to the handles in the back and pushed him outside.  As they crossed the street and went down a ramp the sounds she made brought a grin to his lips.  “A bit out of condition, are you?  I can show you some exercises to build stamina.”
“Not needed.  You’re riding in a relic left from the days when my brothers were involved in sports.  Bet that cast weighs a ton.”
“Hardly.  It’s fiberglass.”
“Who’s taking care of you when you get home?  You are an invalid.”
“Care to see how much of one I am.”  He imagined the rosy hue of her cheeks.  “You driving back to the city after you leave me off?”
“Not tonight.  I left a message for Allie.  I’ll bunk on the couch in their home office.”
“Brave woman.  That pair can’t leave each other alone.  You’ll need blinders and earplugs.  They’re in lust.”
“That’s love.  They’re engaged.”
“When did that happen?”
“Last week.  They’ve set a date for December.  So I believe it’s love.”
“Guess so.”  He turned his head so he could see her.  “Why did Mark send you?”
“I live the closest to the airport and everyone else was busy.  I figure I was his last resort.”
Steve sucked in a breath.  Was his friend and editor of Good Travelin’ playing matchmaker?  Just because Mark had caught him closely observing Megan every chance he could didn’t mean more than an admiration of a pretty woman.  Not that being cozy with her for a month of two wouldn’t be great but for forever.  No way.
Megan halted the wheelchair beside a gray sedan.  She opened the passenger’s door and slid the seat back.  Once he was belted in she stowed the chair and bags in the trunk.
Steve had planned to stay awake and keep her company but the long flight, the pain pills and the two beers he’d drunk united.  The last thing he remembered was Megan promising to have him home in less than an hour.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Researching The Facts, #MFRWauthor

The odd thing about researching the facts for your stories is there's either too much or too little. I've been a victim of both. The trick is to do just enough. That can be hard, very hard. First let's talk about too much.

You're writing a story that needs the facts to make the story seem to have occurred in the world you've created and you set out to do the research to dig up some facts to let the world know you understand what you're writing. The journey begins and one fact leads to another and you become so involved in finding those facts that you forget the story. This has happened to me. I have shelves of research books from the days before the internet that I've used and still use when I'm working. While working on All Our Yesterdays, I was writing about a number of cultures and spend hour after hour in the college library. One fact led to another and another. I must have spend months digging out facts. Somewhere along the road, the research became more important than the story. One day, I decided enough is enough. I began writing and suddenly all those things I had discovered found their way into the story. Instead of fiction to be enjoyed what I wrote sounded like a research paper. The problem was too much research.

At the other end of the spectrum comes too little research. I've been guilty of this as well. As a nurse, I knew a bit about medical issues and set out to write a medical romance. Finished the book and sat down to read what I'd written and found this sounded more like a fantasy than a contemporary story set in the real world. The reason was clear. I'd glossed over those bits that made the story seem real so I had to go back and find the facts I needed for the story. What does an ICU look like? What are the symptoms of a particular disease? All these things were needed to be there in bits and pieces to make the story seem real.

So we come to doing just enough. I've found a way that works most of the time. At least for me. I barrel ahead with the rough draft and anytime I need some fact I write, "Look up salukis" or "choreograph a fight scene" or "love scene goes here." This doesn't work all the time because sometimes finding one of the books I need to use for research or hitting sites on the internet provide me with facts I need to use lead me to read just one more bit.

What about you? Do you do too much research and forget the story or do you end up with too little and find the story doesn't ring true?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - How You Write #MFRWauthor

Pen, pencil, computer. Does it matter how you write your stories? Much depends on how you think. What really matters is finding the right words. Might even have to do with how your brain is wired or even with habit. What really matters is not the way the words appear but what the words are.  Language slips and slides like a skier on a twisting course down the mountain. The choice of words can embarrass the writer or perhaps give hints to where he was born. Happens when you're talking to people.

Do you stand on line or in line? Do you buy a hoagie, hero or any number of other names for a sandwich that's large and often tasty? Choice of words is important most of the time. Depends on what you want to say. Sometimes, maybe even often, you'll look over what you've written and scratch your head. What does that sentence mean? How did that phrase creep into my work? Not talking about typos where the words miss-typed are really words, but the sentence filled with words without meaning.

Sometimes those words written in the heat of composition make a lot of sense. Sometimes they're so stilted they make you uncomfortable. The fortunate thing is words can always be re-written and the right ones found, the ones that make the reader turn the pages. Now back to the matter of how you write. Does it really matter? Isn't the trick getting the words on the paper so they can be revised until they say what you mean?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor, #amwriting

Meander 1 - Which character in what is essentially a two character story is the focus? A focus character to me means something different from what is a viewpoint character. Happens in romance all the time. The hero and heroine have problems that must be worked out. Which one becomes the focus character. To me he or she who opens the book is the focus character. I've seen friends and critique partners struggle and struggle and open their stories with the wrong character and thus the story seems to fall flat. Often they are enamored by the heroine and can't see it's the hero who has the problem that's the focus of the book. When starting a book, I ask myself this question. Who has the most to lose and who has the most to win? When the answer settles on one of the two in the story, that's who opens the story.

Meander 2 - Some members of our chapter are heading to the shore for a retreat. This was open to all but not everyone decided to go. It's just an overnight. Hopefully as well as just sitting back and relaxing we'll find solutions to problems. We'll have some brain-storming sessions, read for critique and have fun.

Meander 3 - Have finished the edits on Melodic Dreams and now must prepare the manuscript to send out to the publisher. That means filling out the art sheet and other interesting things. The publisher has made the work here easier by shortening the information asked for. But it's up to me to do this wonderfully and that can be the problem. I have no cover sense. But I'll do my best. Typing in all the corrections can be fun and that will take me days. I'm also working on Toth's Priest. The second draft where I try to fill in all the blanks that I left out in the rough draft. With luck, this will bring the story close to the wordage I want for the book to be at. 70,000 words. We will see. This is a fun book to write and it completes the trilogy.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

3 Blog Visit Sunday- Discoveries by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor The changing map of Europe for historical author

Pamper yourself with a basket from

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Hot Bayou Nights by Elizabeth Shore

Jackson held out a hand before her. “Dance with me.”
Her jaw nearly fell open with surprise—and excitement— never thinking for a minute that Jackson Rivard was a man who would dance. Maybe he’d been right about that unpredictable thing. Her gaze took in the sight of his strong, muscular arms and she imagined them wrapped around her, holding her tight as he guided her across the floor. His body would be pressed up against hers, and she’d feel the scorching rock hard wall of his chest...
Oh, but this was a bad idea on so many levels. Right?
She shrugged, embarrassed warmth creeping up from her neck to her cheeks. “I don’t know how.”
“I’ll teach you. Come.” He stood, apparently not accepting no for an answer. Carla’s heartbeat knocked against her chest, nervous anticipation fueling its speed. As discreetly as possible, she swiped her damp palms along the sides of her skirt before accepting Jackson’s outstretched hand and rising from the table, allowing him to lead. They made their way across the room and onto the dance floor, where Jackson found them room.
“The Cajun waltz is very similar to other kinds of waltzes,” he said, “except we tend to hold our women closer, and the music can be a lot slower than a Strauss waltz, for example.”
Carla shook her head. “I don’t know how to dance any kind of waltz, so it’s a waste of your time to explain the difference.”
Jackson smiled. “Then just follow me.”
“I’m going to make a fool of myself,” she said, trying to ignore the swirling butterflies in her stomach as Jackson placed his right hand against the small of her back.
“Think of it as part of your fear assignment,” he whispered in her ear. Carla’s heart leapt as the caress of his breath drifted against her skin.
“It’s three steps,” Jackson explained as he resumed proper posture. “Long, short short; long, short short. Let me lead you. You’ll be fine.”
With him as her guide, she believed him. The warmth of his body flowed to her through his hands, his strength and sureness like a beacon, guiding her way. She made a couple of missteps in the beginning, but Jackson turned out to be such a competent teacher he neatly covered for her.
“Relax,” he said. “And enjoy.”
She did her best. The music captivated her, its mournful beauty striking a chord in her heart. She opened her mind to everything around her: the band, the other dancers, the heat of their bodies, the aromas of the food. But mostly she embraced the man who held her, who led her around the room, making sure she looked like she belonged there.
“Don’t look at your feet,” he whispered into her ear. “Look at me.”
She did as he asked, raising her chin to look into Jackson’s blue eyes, and then she was lost. Her breath whooshed out as he trapped her in his gaze, like an insect in a spider’s web. Except unlike the insect, Carla never wanted out. She felt as if she could drown in him. Helpless, her mind drifted to thoughts of what he could do to her. His lips on hers, fingers skating across her naked skin, his body flush against hers on the bed while he held her down, sucking her breasts, his rock hard arousal pressed against her. She could reach down between their bodies and take him in her hands, stroking him, teasing, making him even harder. She would hear the ragged panting of his breaths against her skin, ready for her. His fingers would drift downward to slip between thighs, mercilessly stroking until her hips arched up, so hot for him, and then he would enter¾
The music stopped, dousing her fantasy like a bucket of cold water. Jackson stepped back to look down at her, smiling.
“Did you like it?”
Ooooh yeah. “Definitely. A lot.” She prayed like mad that she bore no telltale red face from her little mental visit to his bedroom and plastered on a giant smile. She needed to pull herself together and pay no attention to her trembling knees or the throbbing pulses between legs. Jackson Rivard was dangerous—to her career, her fear assignment, her sanity. She had to remember that.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Elizabeth Shore, #MFRWauthor

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?
I'd have to go with theme. The central ideas that dominate the work. I think the message of the story is embedded in the theme, and theme drives the characters as well as the plot. So yeah, that's my take.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I tend to create characters in layers. I think about the foundation of a person, head-strong man, for example. Then I give him vulnerabilities, traits he'd probably prefer to keep hidden. I think about when or why he'd have to reveal those vulnerabilities. I think about difficult situations characters could find themselves in and how they'd have to grow as a person to overcome obstacles. I have to be able to identify with each character in my book and they're always going to be multi-dimensional people, just as we all are in real life. It's important for me to feel like the characters are real and that their behavior, when placed in tough situations, is something readers can support and accept. It's disappointing to me when I read a book or see a movie and the protagonist behaves in such a bizarre manner that it just leaves me wrinkling my forehead in confusion. I don't need wrinkles.
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
Yes, pretty much always. I love plot-driven stories, but it's not interesting unless the people driving the plot forward are interesting. People are fascinating to me and I love creating characters.
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I'm definitely a plotter but not necessarily down to the last detail. I outline before I start writing, which mainly started because I have a time-consuming day job and I found myself spending way too much time trying to figure out where I'd left off from one week to the next. So outlining helps keep me moving and on track, but I leave plenty of flexibility for the characters to tell me where we're going in the story. They're the bosses, I'm just the worker in the trenches.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I let my imagination do the choosing. In Hot Bayou Nights for example, Louisiana just came calling to me. It's hot and sultry and sensual . . . it seemed right, so that's where the book is set. But I don't have plans of houses sitting around, I just decorate in my noggin. :-)
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
Both. Online is certainly handy, but you have to be careful. As everyone knows, there's a lot of misinformation on the web. I have a library of research books and utilize them fully.
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 do a general outline all the way to the end, then I start writing and really listen to my characters. They tell me what we're doing. I don't think I've ever written a book that ended up being exactly as I'd outlined when I started. Characters help the story evolve, and often new ideas will come to me as I'm writing that I realize absolutely must be in the story. So it's a process, but one that I love. There's nothing like the satisfaction of completing a book, followed by the excitement of beginning the next one.