Monday, June 30, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthors

 Meander 1 - Not In Your World - This new scheme that's related to fanfic troubles me. Sure it looks like the authors will be making money from fans who intrude into their world, My real problem with this is that though there are many writers whose world I really like, I would never write a story in their worlds. The creator of each world puts a lot of themselves into the making of that world. I know that many writers, maybe not many, but some have started their careers by writing stories in worlds created by other people. I'm not sure this is going to bring out those fans who do this for their own satisfaction and I'm not sure what will happen when one of these fans totally changes a person's characters and tries to make them their own creation. So I won't tramp into your world as a writer, As a reader, I'll be there to read each new episode and really wish there were more stories coming faster but only the ones written by you. I'll continue to create my own worlds, too.

Meander 2 - The results of an experiment. The month of June has shown 1000 more hits on the blog than the May list. While every month, or mostly every one there's been a steady increase, except for several when the count went down but the increase is usually a hundred or so. The experiment was run by Marketing For Romance Writers and worked at least for me. The beginning of the month was the usual amount of hits until the sharing day. That's when the number of hits grew. Not the number of comments but that's another thing. Some days there are many and some days just a few.

Meander 3 - Have passed the middle on another draft of Toth's Priest and the words are adding up. This is good. Book is about halfway to the final goal. Did the revisions on the second of this trilogy and hopefully I'll get to the end of the third one before long. I'm fleshing scenes in this draft and the next ones will go to making the story as good as I can,

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Series - Affinities _ Confrontation #MFRWauthor

The final book in the Affinities Series shows the characters having control of their powers. They must face all of their enemies in this segment of the story. I did find it hard, not to write the ending, but to say goodbye to this group of young people. The groupings ehre are the same yet different, showing how each of the four affinities has to face a challenge.

They must defeat not only the four who have talents like theirs and are banded together, but Dom Senet and He Who Walks With Evil. There are also those doms and domas who have been corrupted by Dom Senet. They must also see that those who should be the heirs to the rulers of the four princedoms are able to take their places.

Finding all the loose ends is a must in writing the final book of a series and I certainly hope I have. Could the series have gone on. Probably but any future stories would have been different since the characters are reaching the end of their teen years and would become older and have different lives. Who knows. If one had more time and the ideas came, there could be sequels or prequels. Who knows.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Instincts by Mary Marvella #MFRWauthor

Sam Samuels rubbed his stiff neck. He’d removed his tie and unbuttoned the top button on his dress shirt. He’d left his sports coat in his truck, but he still felt over-dressed. By now he should have shed his business attire for worn jeans and a tee shirt.

He’d put in a long day. His notebook page was full of ways the school security system needed to be improved. It had taken years to get the board to agree to look at a plan and proposal for his company to do the job. Small town-folks in Georgia weren’t into change, but recent violence in so many schools, even small-town ones, pointed to the need for caution everywhere.

Sam had waited until after his regular calls to begin this part of his plan. His son was a student here and he’d make it a safe place for Sean, even if he had to cut his price to the bone, past cost. This wouldn’t be the first time he’d cut his price to put a good security system where it was needed. The one at his parents’ church and the community center had been donations, pure and simple. Nothing was more important than taking care of family.
Sam’s mobile phone startled him.

“Samuels, here.”

“Samuels, here, too, Dad. Coach said to remind you I need my physical exam papers and your permission slip by next Wednesday or I can’t start Spring practice.”

“Well, Samuels, your doctor’s appointment is Friday at four and I’ve already signed the permission slip.”

“Oh, yeah. Got a library stop after supper with Bill and his parents, then some of the guys wanted to ...”

“Don’t be late.”

“But I don’t have school tomorrow.”

“Not one minute after eleven, you know the rules.”

Sam grinned as he broke the connection. Sean always made curfew at the last minute. One mess-up, one speeding ticket, or even one bad grade and he’d lose the Corvette his mother bought him. He’d lose the car and football. For a traffic offense he’d surrender his driver’s license, his mother’s rule. Shared custody had worked well, especially with her traveling on business a lot since the divorce.

He rubbed his five o’clock stubble, then started on his second page of meticulous notes. His cramped handwriting made his eyes hurt. He shouldn’t have left his reading glasses in the truck.

Clicking heels on wood distracted him. The wearer sounded small but business-like, in a hurry. He glanced in the direction of the feminine sound. The lady wore navy hose and a navy skirt. He smiled and nodded at Ms. Roberts as she passed him on her way to the parking lot. “Good evening,” he said to her back as she barely slowed her exit, leaving a light floral scent to wrap around him.

Her impersonal nod toward him could have been meant for anyone.  “And a good evening to you, too,” he
muttered to the closing door. Typical for her. She wasn’t the friendliest woman he’d ever met. Most women at least gave him a smile when he spoke to them. Suddenly his gut cramped. He glanced around the deserted hall. Familiar pressure built in his head. A premonition attack was coming on. Why now? Why when his son’s teacher had passed by? He didn’t need an attack now. He hurried to the school parking lot to catch up with the cause of his discomfort. He’d finish his figures later.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Mary Marvella

I usually start with a character. What if a man or woman heard or saw...?
I try to find the thing that character least needs or wants and slam that character into that difficult situation.

I might envision a situation and ask myself who would hate that situation the most. Guess who gets to work around that situation?

In Haunting Refrain William, a psychologist, doesn't believe in love or magic or ghosts. So I make him realize he loves his next door neighbor as more than a friend and she thinks she has ghosts in her attic and that he was her husband in another life. AND, to be mean, I give him memories of his life as her husband and on battlefields during the War of Northern Agression. (The US Civil war! )

 In Protective Instincts I have a widow who is beginning to get back into like as she deals with her grief. What if someone is threatening her? What of someone wants to kill her? What if a man insists he needs to protect her?

Characters dive my plots, since I toss them into difficult situations. If a character is not ready for love, I make that person fall in love. I don't plot, but I know where each story begins and where I want it to end. Getting to the end is an adventure for me and for my characters. I write about the South and characters who believe the way I do, so I know what drives them.
Behavior which is normal and acceptable for a retired Marine would shock most other folks. So what if that Marine had to behave in a manner totally not his style? We love the "fish out of water" stories. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Damon from Heart Throb by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Eric Damon Blair III surveyed his new living space and grinned. Though the condo was mostly unfurnished he was pleased with the place he’d bought last week. In the living room he’d created a nest of pillows on the dark blue carpet. Perfect for viewing the huge flat screen TV and for making love.

He strode into the bedroom where the most important item of furniture had been delivered. The king-size bed was ready for the kind of action he preferred. Soft sheets, plump pillows on a firm mattress. Just thinking about using this spot set his heard speeding to send extra blood to his groin. Not yet, he warned. Soon.
He turned and scanned the living area. One of his favorite features was the bar between the kitchen and dining areas. With a couple of bar stools he could eat there until he purchased a table and chairs.

Once he knew his way around town and found some willing helpers he would buy furniture. He closed his eyes and visualized his aides. A sleek blonde. A ravishing redhead. A cuddly woman with brown hair. A sultry ebony-haired siren. All he had to do was meet them and lure them to his nest. That had never been a problem.

No strings. No commitments. He had no intention of traveling the road his parents had worn to ruts. Serial monogamy. He’d lost count of the numbers of step-mamas and step-papas that flowed through his life like a fleet of paper boats launched on a pond. No marriage meant no divorce, the end of every road his parents had traveled.

He flipped the cover of his cell phone and tapped his cousin’s number. Better inform her of his new residence before she phoned the police to report him missing or every hospital between the city and here searching for his body. She answered on the second ring.

“Hi, Lin. I’m in town.”

“Eric, where are you?”

“It’s Damon. Eric is my father and our grandfather.”

She laughed. “Forgot the name change. You’re late. What happened? Traffic? An accident? Were you hurt?”

“None of the above.”

“Then where are you. I’ve been pacing for two hours.”

“In town. Had a bit of luck.” He settled against the headboard of the bed. “Found a place.”

“Aren’t you staying with us? I have plans.”

“I bet you do.” He swallowed a growl. He imagined she had a dozen schemes to match him with a matrimonial-seeking friend or three. He had no intention of camping in his cousin’s guest room. Watching a nesting set of parents wasn’t a scene he wanted to endure.

She laughed. “Caught me. So where is this place and how did you find it?”

“Ran into the brother of a patient. He wanted to sell his condo. Had the money from the trust so I bought. Place is great. Once I’m settled I’ll throw a party.”

“You are coming to dinner tonight, aren’t you?”


“Eric, Damon, whoever you are. There’s a friend I want you to meet. Ben and I invited her over. You’ll like her. She’s great.”

Score one for men’s intuition. “Forget your schemes.” Damon groaned. “What is it with you happily-marrieds? Can’t stand to see someone unattached? I need no help finding women. That’s plural. Don’t want or need permanent.”

She laughed. “Neither does my friend.  I thought you two would be a perfect match.”

“Thanks for thinking of me. I’ll find my own women. Talk to you later. I’m off to unpack the car.”

“When will we see you?”

“If something doesn’t come up I’ll swing by tomorrow or Sunday. Unless I’m diverted. Imagine you get the picture.”

She laughed. “Sure of yourself, aren’t you? Good luck in the hunt. Don’t expect to succeed. You’re new in town.”

He chuckled. “You’d be surprised. Sometimes being the new face has amazing results. Gives the ladies a new body to explore.”

“You’re impossible.”

“But loveable. Ciao.”

Damon rose from the bed and headed to the door. Time to unpack the stereo system. Then shower, shave, change and hit the local watering spots. Fridays were always social nights at the bars. Surely he’d find more interesting company that an unattached female who needed friends to find her a date. Even if she didn’t admit to being a player in the husband hunt he rarely met a woman who didn’t turn huntress the moment she learned he was a doctor.

* * *

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - To Be A Series #MFRWauthor

For books to be considered a series, there must be a connection. The stories may all be read-alone books but to make them a series, there must be a connection. There needs to be a person, place or thing that connects all of them. When reading this, I think of Andre Norton's Witch World series. Within this world, there are a number of what I'd call sub-series. What gives them a common bond is the world giving the background for the story.

So let's look at other bonds that connect stories. There may be a character who is present in each of the books. This character could be taken from early life to adulthood. What needs to be shown is the character in this case must grow and change in the books. The recurring character could be someone like a particular crime fighter who enters each book to solve a crime. My own Mrs. Miller books have the heroine being there to solve a murder in each of the stories.

In the recurring character series, there can be other characters who come into some of the books and not so much in either. One of more of the characters may take on the change and growth that the focus character doesn't. In my mystery series Lars goes from a barely mentioned character to Katherine's husband.

Another kind of series involves a loosely bound group of characters. Perhaps they work for the same agency, live in the same town or have some other connection that brings them together. The characters in these stories take turns in having their adventures. I once started a series where this was the basis but I ran out of steam and so far there are only three stories in the series. Will I finish this series. Not sure about that. My mind seems to run to trilogies for the most of the time.

There are two other kinds of series that I'll cover next week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - A Story Is... #MFRWauthor

Once again, thanks to Dwight V. Swain for this quote. "A story is movement through the eternal now from past to future.

Sounds mystical and is sort of. Each story written is happening in the character's present and shows movement from a single incident to reach a goal. The past is that moment when the incident occurs that is the trigger for the character's desires and actions to gain that desire. Though one writes in past tense for the story most of the time, the story is a journey.

I've seen stories written in the present tense and must admit they make me uncomfortable. A number of them are written in first person but for me this isn't what a story is about. That's just me. What about you?

So each story has a beginning and the journey takes the characters on a journey heading toward the end. To reach the end the story has to pass certain points where the character or characters must make decisions. Do I continue on this journey? Is the goal what I really want? Have I changed? Have any of the other characters changed, making my decisions different?  The middle of the story is where things happen and drive the character to reach the end.

Where the character ends is the future for that character. And this future is based on the decisions made throughout the story. One thing about the ending. This point must be a satisfactory ending for these characters. We all like happy endings but sometimes they aren't the satisfactory ending for a particular character.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 Writing seems to be a slow go lately. The story is a good one but for some reason this writer is lagging. I think it's the same reason that's happened in the past and that's telling someone whose in a position to see the book move forward about the story before it's done. Years ago I nearly landed a top agent but she sent me home to write a book I'd told her about. I couldn't write the book. I must have torn sheets and sheets of paper but nothing would come. Though this time is a bit different, I did tell my publisher about the book and than what was going like a rocket headed toward Mars slowed to the snail creeping along in the grass. I will finish the book and hopefully before long. That's what being a writer means. Pushing ahead and finishing the job.

Meander 2 Last week I had three books on sale. This week there's only 1. Let's hope the numbers I saw mean sales. Would be wonderful. Not that I want to earn a million dollars, I just like the possibility of a check every few months.

Meander 3 Am reading a good book by Joan Hovey. Mystery and suspense. There was a twist that snuck up on my and really slammed. That's always a great thing to happen when one is reading mystery and suspense. Makes it a good story. Twists and turns are good in other kinds of stories but the unexpected always makes the reader sit up and say whoa. That's what I did last night while reading. But then this author is a great writer.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Series - Affinities Searches - Book Three #MFRWauthor

Searches is the third book of the series and here, the last two focus characters are introduces. There are eight characters viewpoints, two for each affinity. Why? There were things happening elsewhere in this world that I needed to tell and thus these characters were born and given a voice,

Searches divides the groups into three sets, each with a discovery to make. One group seeks the others of the affinities who need to be found to complete so there are sixteen with affinities. Another group seeks the jewels that enhance their powers. The third group seeks the missing talismans. There are adventures, near captures and matters to be learned,

The blurb says. " Having found a safe place in a tower fortress, the friends set out to find what they need to defeat Dom Senet and He Who Walks With Evil.

In this segment the characters learn Dom Senet has somehow rescued an evil one who comes from the land their ancestors fled years ago. This book leads to the final book making sure the characters have the things they need to give them the chance to win.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from The Broken by Julia Duncan #MFRWauthor

Excerpt for THE BROKEN:

The time before the start of the invasion dwindled, as did the fear of my own death. I felt for Ouriel’s knife strapped at my back, and the weight of it steadied me...

I didn’t notice the demons until one had his arm clamped around my throat. Choking, I looked around and saw we were surrounded.

Without thinking, I reached for the knife at my back. Instinct and training took over, and I slammed my gift from Ouriel into the abdomen of the demon holding me. He dropped to the ground. I turned to stab him a few more times, to keep him out of the fight a bit longer, and ran for Miriam and Ouriel. My sister was rapidly firing off arrow after arrow, sinking as many as left her quiver into demon flesh.

But more kept popping in all around us.

I can’t say how many demons I cut and sliced with my knife and nails to get to my sister and my Warrior, but I got through enough to guard their backs. Finally, the three of us stood together, facing down the enemy. Ouriel slipped me his knife, and both of my hands became deadly. Behind me and out of breath, he shouted, “Miriam, get Rose out of here! Run for Ishmael’s house. I will cover you!”

“No way!” I yelled back. “I’m not leaving you!”

Ouriel decapitated two more of the demons rushing him. “You have to!”

No!” I screamed and took down one of my own, kicking and jabbing her into a bloody pulp.

“We can’t hold them all off,” Miriam panted. “And I must save you at all costs.”

Ouriel spun and, in one fluid move, gored a demon and pushed me through the opening toward Ishmael’s house.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Julia Duncan

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 think, for me, the Why always comes first.  I need to know the reason I MUST write whatever it is I’m writing.  Without purpose, everything else doesn’t make sense.  After that, the other five elements blend together so that I’m not sure which came second…or sixth.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?
I don’t have a method.  I think about their circumstances and ask myself, “Who does this person need to be to survive all this awfulness?  Why is he/she the only one capable of doing this?”  Then, I take the favorite foibles of one of my favorite people and infuse my characters with them.  I try to let my characters tell me who they want to be. 
2. Do your characters come before the plot?
 Oh, that’s a hard question!  I just finished saying that plot informs my characters, but I’m now thinking, “Wait.  Is it my characters who inform my plot?”  I’m pretty sure the plot comes first and the characters evolve to survive it, but…
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?
I always know how the story will end.  That idea is rarely general.  In fact, I usually write the climax of my novels first, then go back to the beginning.  That helps me remember who I want my characters to become, and it lets me write someone who needs to learn whatever lesson I’m trying to channel.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?
I choose settings I know.  I’m a very visual person, so my characters always live in places I’ve lived.  My writing is set almost exclusively in El Paso, Texas—my hometown.  As for a character’s house…well, I pick out a house in the neighborhood I want them to live in, so I have an idea what his/her house looks like, but the floor plan is an invention of my own brain.  (I’m pretty sure strangers wouldn’t appreciate me traipsing through their homes…as much as I’m dying to do it.)
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?
A lot of my research comes from books I read in college or for fun afterward.  (I’m a history/theology nerd.)  But I also do extensive online research on accredited sites.  When I’m on to something, I’ll devour anything I can find on the subject.
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 revise as I go along for two reasons—I’m a compulsive editor (I’ve already edited this sentence twice before it’ll be done) and because I have a terrible memory.  I like to be reminded of where I’ve just been so I can make sure I’m going where I meant to go.  I’m so ADD that, if I tried to write it straight in one go, my novels would wander around like a herd of cats.
I do sketch out my plots.  Sometimes I map out the whole novel, and sometimes I plan a few chapters ahead.  Again, my ADD would be the death of my writing if I didn’t.  (I’m the worst about

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Drew from Gemstones by Janet Lane Walters

Drew Barlow, Earl of Denmere, slouched on the brocade sofa and crossed his legs at the ankles. His highly polished Hessians gleamed in the light from the fire. He stared at the flames that danced and sent sparks flying up the chimney.
"What does an impoverished earl do?" He addressed his question to the portrait above the chimney piece. To restore the estates pillaged by his predecessor, marriage to an heiress with a considerable fortune and probably a father in trade was essential. While some members of the ton would look askance at his choice, his family had created enough scandals to make the taint of trade a mere blemish.
He groaned. His mother’s passionate nature, his father’s drunken behavior, the late earl’s obsession with gaming. All played a part in his need to wed and his antipathy toward marriage.
A log fell and sent a rain of sparks flying. The Dowager Countess of Denmere was the only woman he respected. His need to marry money was as much for her as for the estates and to pay the debts left by his distant cousin.
Aldora had rescued him from a drunk and abusive father. She had seen to his education, and thought not related to him other than by marriage, had treated him like a son. She deserved the comforts he couldn’t afford to give her.
The library door opened to reveal his host. Drew’s London house had been rented, and for the past two weeks, he’d been a guest in his friend’s Mayfair townhouse.
Tristan Atwell, Duke of Cairnton, strode into the room. Only a white shirt relieved the stark black of his riding clothes. He held a crop in one hand and leaned against the Adam’s mantelpiece to study Drew. "Town is a bit thin of company these days."
Drew nodded. "I should have come in March but I had a dozen problems to untangle."
"I have the acquaintance of a wealthy widow who would favor an earl as a second husband. Would you like me to arrange an introduction?"
Drew shook his head. "A widow is used to controlling her own fortune and bestows her favors where she will."
Tristan lifted a crystal decanter and filled a glass with port. "A loan? My pockets are deep."
Drew considered the essential purchases needed to put the estates in working order and shook his head. "They’re not bottomless. I didn’t come to town to drag you into my financial problems."
"Let me have your cattle. A team of grays might lighten my reputation."
"And ruin your image." Drew chuckled. "Why not one of whites?"
Tristan shrugged, "You make being a friend difficult."
Drew looked up. Would Tristan, who always had blunt to spare, understand the need to pull himself from the River Tick? With an infusion of a goodly sum, the farms and herds would bring a profit. "Tattersall’s will do the honors. Having me as your guest is enough."
Tristan shook his head. "Anyone who contemplates marriage is either a fool or desperate."
"I plead guilty to both conditions." Tristan’s raised eyebrow and sardonic expression made Drew laugh. "I do what I must. What do you hear from Michael and Niall?"
"From Niall, nothing."
"I’m sure he’s in the thick of action. He was always one to love a fight. And Michael?"
Tristan’s stance relaxed. "He’s awaiting the birth of his heir or heiress. Never thought he’d be the first caught in the parson’s mousetrap." He turned from the window. "What say you join me for an evening at Eugenie’s? Her charming cousin, the fair Janine, frequently asks about you."
"Another time." Drew followed his friend to the door.
While women looked on him with favor, he seldom accepted their invitations to dally. To surrender was to flirt with the loss of control, something he couldn’t afford. Too often, he’d seen what happened to a man who gave in to his passions.
A footman approached. "Your Grace, a message for the Earl has arrived. His man’s in the kitchen and awaits an answer."
Drew accepted the note. As he read the contents, he frowned.
"Bad news?"
"She wants me to come home. She has received a letter concerning something I must attend to at once."
"Another demand for money from some tradesman?"
Drew’s casual shrug belied a deep sense of frustration that threatened to drag him to the depths. In the year since his distant cousin’s death, there had been many such demands. "The note is vague and so unlike her. I fear the news has overset her. I’ll leave at once."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - More on Types of Series #MFRWauthor

Now we come to Trilogies and series that stop with four books. According to Writing the Fiction Series, a trilogy or a four book set usually is the story of the same character in a connected set. This isn't necessarily so. There are trilogies where the world is the same and while the characters are interconnected , each book focuses on a different character but they take place in the same world.

At present I'm working on an alternate world story where three characters from the present world are sent to an ancient world on a different continuum. The method of their arrival is the same but in each book there are different tasks the characters must accomplish bringing them together in the final book.

There can be spin-offs constitute a different kind of series. Often this involves a group of friends who the reader knows from another book and each friend has their chance to have their story. Often seen in romance stories.  They can also be generational stories where the stories start with parent and go to their off-spring and even to grandchildren.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Yuesday's Inspiration - A Story Is... #MFRWauthor

Once again a quote from Dwight V. Swain to prime the pump.  "A story is a double-barreled attack upon your readers."

The image this quote produced in my head made me laugh. Then I started to think. For me this means when writing my stories, I need to stimulate the emotions of my readers for my characters. And I need to do this in a logical way, Can't have them throwing the book across the room or deleting it from the devise they're reading the story on. So this double-barreled approach needs to be considered and to be applied to the story.

The emotion in your story needs to appeal to the reader you hope will discover you and become a fan. Chances are you won't sell that cute romance to a die-hard techno thriller fan. Of course there are some readers who devour most any kind of book. Those are the kind you could be aiming for. But -- You won't find readers loving your stories if you don't love your story. Every book you write should be the book of your heart at that moment until the next one comes along. Writers are fickle. There should be a shirt with that written on the front. So pull out the emotions in your story, the ones that appeal to you. Remember when you're going for an emotional approach to your story - Don't become the preacher and beat the reader's head over the point you want to make.

Now about the second barrel of that gun. Logic. There's nothing that upsets a reader more than coming to a point in the story when it stops making sense. I've been a judge for a number of contests. Some writers fail to make the story seem logical in the first few pages, some in the first 50 or 60 pages. When the progression of the story stops being logical, the reader will be lost. That's not what you want to do.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - Being Discounted - This week three of my books are on sale and a fourth is coming up on Wednesday. So if you want to read Affinities - Searches, Rekindled Dreams or A Double Opposition head to Amazon now. Affinities - Confrontations comes up on the 18th. Having books on sale really gives the pocket a boost at royalty time. Different from the old days when having your book put on sale meant no one was buying it and on those remandered sales the author received nothing.

Meander 2 - How do you tell writer friends that they write too fast or too slow. Writing too fast often means there's no revision and no feedback from other people. Then one comes up with a story no one wants to read. This has happened to me and I've learned I won't do that anymore. Writing too slow means several things. One lets life get in the way. Some people live lives of drama and everything gets in the way of their writing, Or they take on jobs that relate to writing but aren't really oriented in the direction they dream about. Or they spend time trying to make a scene perfect and feel they can't go on for another word or two.

Meander 3 - My writing. Toth's Priest is moving slowly but this is the draft where I need to put in all those scenes I skipped or wrote so fast they don't make sense to anyone but me. Did receive the covers for the first 2 books of the trilogy and they are beautiful.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday - My Series Affinities - Havens - Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Havens is the second book in the series and this time a new view point character is added because there are friends from the city who need rescued. The story starts with four of the main characters traveling through a winter world to find a haven with the grandmother of Zand who learned he must die to save his life. The four Ash, Ky, Jay and Bran finally find a place where they are safe and can learn how to use their affinities.

Back in the city, Zand sees his step-mother and her sons sent from the city relieving him of one of the groups seeking his life. But Dom Senet the major villain remains a threat to Zand. The way to make it appear he has died arises and he joins the four after a healing that prevents the very threatening death.

But the friends they left in the city are under threat. One of the street children turns on her rescuer through jealousy over not having an affinity and a feeling of love. Val and Geni now need rescued from the city. The four and Zand return to the city. But the rescue causes them to seek another haven. And during this time them learn about a group of four with affinities who have been corrupted by Dom Senet.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday's Excerpt from Under The Cover Of Moonlight by Allie Quinn #MFRWauthor

A few moments later, Rachel returned to his table. “Is there anything else you’d like?”

A few answers, he wanted to say but didn’t.

“Would you like more tea or anything else?”

“No, thank you. I’m fine.”

“Well, your burger should be right up. How’s the soup?”

“It may be the best I’ve ever tasted.” He offered her a light smile.

“Thanks, I made it myself.”

A thief of the biggest medical breakthrough in history, and she could cook too. Just how many talents and law-breaking commandments did this woman possess? “It’s tasty and gone.”

“Can I take your bowl? Or would you like some more? Refills are free.”

“You can take the bowl.”

Zack moved the bowl closer to her at the same time she reached for it, and her hand brushed against his. It was nothing more than a light touch skin to skin. But her touch sizzled on him. His mouth suddenly went dry.
He wanted her.

Just like that.

He wanted her in a way he hadn’t wanted any woman, ever. He could easily envision standing and kissing her. And he didn’t care who watched.

He sucked in a breath and fought down a shiver as his insides grew tight. When he swallowed, he found his throat painful.

The bowl slipped from Rachel’s grasp, but she managed a quick catch.

“Careful there.” He cleared his throat.

“Sorry,” she said at the same time.

He met her gaze, and the need to shiver was gone. Now he felt warm all over. It was as if she’d touched him again, like putting her palms flat on his chest or his abdomen. Neither of them had moved. Who the hell is this woman? He’d met hundreds of women, some of whom he thought worthy enough to stand by his side. And yet, he’d never reacted to one like this. He shook his head to clear his thoughts.

What am I thinking? I can’t want this woman. I can’t desire this woman. Now or ever.

A tiny voice touched him and said, why not enjoy her, and then destroy her?

Because he didn’t work that way, that’s why. He was not that kind of monster.

Perhaps she recognized him. Perhaps she knew why he was there. Perhaps she knew he was there to stop her.

She didn’t look at him as if she knew who he was.

But she did look at him as if she wanted to know who he was.

A few moments later, she brought his food out.

“So what exactly are you doing in town?” she asked as she slid the plate in front of him.

She tried to make her question sound casual, but there was just too much bluntness in her words.

And like lies told in board meetings, Zack recognized a need-to-know question when he heard one. “Just a vacation.”

“It’s a bit cold for that, don’t you think?” she asked.

He wanted to ask her if the lake was too cold for diving since that was how she’d managed to steal his computer program—by retrieving it from the lake after Darrel Green tossed it in. “Well, it’s never too cold to do a bit of ice fishing, now is it?”

The grin she gave him was enough to say, yeah, right. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but you don’t look like the fisherman type.”

Her words told him she was as interested in him as he was in her. This could get very interesting. “Oh? What type do I look like?”

“The type who’d be in a boardroom dressed in a tan suit. Or perhaps a guy who works with computers all day.”

For a long moment, Zack couldn’t reply. Damn, he didn’t like how well she read him. Perhaps she had a file with his picture and information under the counter. He’d never know. What he did know was that she was too observant for a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner lost in the mountains in the middle of nowhere.

“Okay, so I have a confession,” he said. “I do sometimes wear a suit. And I do know how to find my way around a computer. But it was suggested that I take a vacation. A colleague told me about this place, said it was a beautiful escape, a place to get away from the rest of the world. So here I am.” Not exactly all a lie. The man in charge of the security detail had said those exact words when he’d told him where Darrel Green had gone with his stolen information. And the smile Zack gave her was one he often used to get what he wanted.

“Well, good for you,” she said.

He thought she bought his words.

“So where are you staying?”

“I rented a house for a month.”

“You did need to get away, didn’t you?” She grinned, and it looked genuine.

He grinned back, liking the way her mouth softened. He pulled a piece of paper with directions and the address of the house out of his jeans pocket. “Yes, I did. Maybe you can tell me the easiest way to find this place. I had hoped to arrive here in the daylight but couldn’t quite seem to make it.”
She glanced at the address and the picture of the house he’d rented. “Yes, I know that place. The backyard has a deck that stretches all the way to the lake. I think you’ll like it. If you go back down Main and take a left on Oak, you’ll come to the lake. Take another left on Lake Drive. It’s the third house on the right. You can’t miss it.”

“Thanks.” He folded the paper and stuck it back in his pocket.

“You’re welcome. Enjoy your burger.”

And a moment later when she came back with the pitcher of tea, she didn’t bother to ask if he wanted more. She just refilled his glass.

Later, he stood the deck of his rented log house and looked at the frozen lake before he took in the dark house next door. He stopped at the sight of Rachel and her dog, Mav, standing on her own deck watching him.

The fire in him grew steadily.

He sucked in a lungful of cold air and discovered there was no controlling his reaction to her. There was only learning to live with it. “I’m afraid you had the advantage.” His yell was unusually loud over the snow and distance and stillness.

“Oh?” she called back

“You knew we were neighbors before I did. You could have said something.”

“Sorry.” Her answer was short.

He grinned, knowing full well if she was sorry about anything, it was that she’d gotten caught spying on him. But he let it go. “I’d invite you for a drink, but my refrigerator’s empty.”

“And I’m afraid you have the advantage.”

He sure as hell hoped so.

“You know my name, but I don’t know yours.”

For a half second, he contemplated giving her a fake name. Then he chose not to. He would have to live down an alias with everyone in town if he did. And he may need the trust of others in the future. He couldn’t start things off with a lie. “Zack McCullin.” Under the moonlight, he studied her, watching for any sign of recognition or worry or perhaps even fear at the sound of his name.

“Well, Zack McCullin”—she spoke his name without any hesitancy or worry or fear in her voice—“why don’t you come over here? My fridge isn’t empty.”

Night had settled in like a dark blanket over the lake. The misty snow was still in the air but not as hard as before.

By the time Zack reached her, Rachel was still peering out over the lake through a pair of binoculars. The dog watched the lake, too, as if he expected to see a creature break its way up through the ice.

“See anything interesting?” He bit his tongue to keep from adding, Like someone breaking a hole in the ice and dropping in a plastic, watertight container with a flash drive?

She took the glasses from her eyes and looked up at him. Her light eyes sparkled with reflected moonlight, and her face looked somewhat softer to him, not on alert, although still looking ready—ready for what, he had no idea. Her eyes looked a bit less haunted, too, but not by much.

“Nothing unusual,” she replied. “Everything’s calm.”

He shrugged. “That’s good, right?”

“That’s very good.”

The dog nudged him. Zack reached down and scratched his chin. “Hi, Mav.”

Satisfied with his greeting, Mav moved away closer to the edge of the deck and looked out at the lake again.
The flatness of Rachel’s confirmation told him there had been a time once when things weren’t so calm. He wondered what had caused the ripples.

“I promised you a drink. Let’s go in. We shouldn’t be out here in the dark, anyway,” Rachel said before she turned and headed up the deck, which, unlike his, was completely cleared of snow. The dog stared at him a long moment, as if to say come on, what are you waiting for? Then he too followed.

“Why not?” he asked. “Afraid of the bogeyman?”

She paused in her step and turned back to meet his gaze. “As a matter of fact, yes, I am. And you never know when he might be lurking out here.”

Zack didn’t like her serious tone. In fact, he fought down a shiver. There was more to this place than met the eye. There was even a scent in the air, something more than mountain freshness. Zack couldn’t place it. But he was determined to find out what the secret was.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday's How She Does It featuring Allie Quinn

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?

Interesting question. I guess I never considered the plot to the be sixth element, although it does make sense. I see the plot as being a combination of the other five, and yet for me and writing my stories, the order in which you have them--who, what, when, where, why and how are usually the order in which my story plugs along. I generally take a character, have something happen to him/her, add in the when and where setting which usually works against the character. Then I try to wrap things up with the why and how. 

When I began writing IN THE DEAD OF COLD, which was released by Loose Id February, 2014, I first thought of the character--Jane and asked the question: What if she was plain Jane, but had extraordinary gifts, then what if I tossed her into the most frightening place and isolated her and created a hero who scared the wits out of her even though she couldn't live without him? And that was how it unfolded.
1.      How do you create your characters? Do you have a specific method?

My characters are developed by what the story needs. As I think of the action I want to take place, I consider which would work best (or not). Is the situation one that calls for a damsel in distress or a kick-ass heroine ready to change the world. At the same time, the character has to fit the part. Then I start asking what flaws should the characters have. Flaws make them more likeable and believable. For me, characters talk to me. I let them talk, put them into a given situation and see where they take it. If I want to write a stalker story, then I need a character who is being stalked. Every person would react differently if she thought she was being stalked. I ask myself how I want her to react and create her from there. As I do so, I develop the stalker and the story comes together like working a puzzle from the inside to the edge.
2. Do your characters come before the plot? 

Yes, about half the time. In UNDER THE COVER OF MOONLIGHT released by Loose Id June 10, 2014, I had introduced Zack McCullin, the hero, in the previous novel IN THE DEAD OF COLD. He didn't get much novel time at all in the first, and yet I felt the need to let him out and tell his story. As I looked at his character and thought about him working computer security, I simply asked asked myself, how would he react if someone stole a computer program that was important to him? Then how would he react when he discovered that thief was his soul mate?
3. Do you know how the story will end before you begin? In a general way or a specific one?

I know it will have a happy ending. I generally see the ending before I get half-way through. I continuously play the what if game as I go along, which may or may not change any ending I see at the beginning. It is much easier for me to see a beginning of a story than the end. I'm much better, however, at seeing the big picture and then going back and adding sub-plots and details and emotion.
4. Do you choose settings you know or do you have books of settings and plans of houses sitting around?

I make up fictional towns, but I put them in places I've been.  For my Moonlight Assassins series, it's set in a fictional town in Colorado simply because I liked the mountains when I saw them. I also needed a place that would be isolated if necessary. I've been known to choose islands for the same reason. I can't get the setting wrong if it's fictional.
5. Where do you do your research? On line or from books?

Both. I can usually see a story in a photograph.
 Also if I visit a place or a historic house, I might research that place then develop a story around a single tidbit of information I learned. There is a house in a nearby town that I learned was once a sanitarium for TB patients and that there were still holes cut in the bedroom doors for medications to be distributed. I wrote a haunted house story using that house.
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 try to revise as I go along. I hate to waste time. But most of the time the way I write is I get the just of the story down. Then I go through again, and ADD. Usually emotion is needed. Emotion deepens my characters. The third time I go through it, I try to remove unnecessary words, such as those ending in ly. I let the characters develop the route to the end. A single small reaction by a character can change the entire direction of the story. I just have be careful not to let the characters take over!

writing as Allie Quinn

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Thursday's Hero - Patrick from Code Blue by Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Patrick stood on the porch. The ceiling light glinted on his honey-blond hair. She left the car and walked to the porch.
"Welcome home. Long night." His deep voice promised security.
For an instant, she thought of finding forgetfulness in his arms the way she had the night Jim had died. But that encounter had nearly destroyed their friendship.
Tears spilled down her cheeks. Were they for Barbara, herself or some unknown reason? She fought to control feelings of helplessness. If Patrick saw her as weak, he would react the same way Jim had. She never wanted to be smothered again.
He reached for her hand. "Don't tell me you knew the nurse I heard about on the police band."
She nodded. "I found the body." She fumbled in her purse for the house key. Patrick put his arm around her shoulders. For a moment, she leaned against him. "I'll be all right."
"I know, but it must have been a brutal shock. If you need a shoulder, mine's broad." He plucked the keys from her hand and opened the door.
She dropped her coat on the arm of the couch. A splotch of dried blood stained the right knee of her uniform. She gasped. Why hadn't someone told her?
She felt unclean. Her skin itched. She wanted to tear off the uniform. As she hurried to the stairs, she unfastened the buttons of her white shirt. "I have to shower."
The note of panic in Susan's voice drew Patrick to the stairs. When she turned, he saw the bloodstained knee of her uniform. He gripped the newel post. She must have found the body not long after the woman had been killed. His muscles tensed. Had the murderer seen her?
Long after she vanished, he remained at the foot of the steps. He wanted to follow her, to hold her, to protect her. She might be in danger. What if she had seen something that could identify the killer?
He released his held breath and walked to the kitchen. There, he measured coffee and turned on the machine. While the coffee brewed, he returned to the living room and took a bottle of brandy from the antique icebox Susan used as a bar.
Memories of the night Jim died arose. He had held Susan in his arms. A light kiss meant to offer comfort had ignited passion. He had forgotten her grief, forgotten his friend and had drowned in the heady sensations of making love with the woman he had wanted for years. The shock of hearing her call him Jim had iced his desire.
For months after the funeral, she had avoided him. Though he had understood and shared the guilt, he had feared they would never regain what had been lost. This past summer, they had become friends again, but he wanted more. Sometimes, he thought his desire for her had become an obsession.
Patrick leaned against the counter. He loved her, but she had to be more secure about her ability to deal with life before she would be ready for a relationship.
He reached for two mugs hanging from hooks above the kitchen table, poured coffee and laced Susan's with brandy. Just as she came down the stairs, he entered the living room. His body reacted to the gentle sway of her light brown caftan.
She sat on one end of the couch and tucked her feet under her. After taking the mug in her hands, she sipped and coughed. "You should have warned me."
"The perfect antidote for tonight's shock. Will help you sleep."
"Thanks, and thank you for the flowers." She leaned forward and stroked one of the chrysanthemums with a finger.
Patrick imagined her touching him in the same way. He lifted his mug. "Who was killed?"
"Barbara Denton."
"The infamous Barbara?"
"The very one."
"Any idea why?"
She cradled the coffee mug between her hands. "I think she was blackmailing someone."
The instincts Patrick had honed when he'd been a crime reporter rose to the surface. "Someone you work with?"
She looked up. "I don't know."
Who was she protecting? "What made you think of blackmail?"
"There was money scattered--" She leaned against the back of the couch. "Even talking about the murder makes me sick. I didn't like her, but I like the way she died even less." She put the mug on the end table.
"More?" he asked.
She shook her head. "I want to curl into a fetal position and stay that way for a month."
"What would that solve?" He put his hand on her shoulder.
"Nothing. I don't want to go to work tomorrow."
"Call in sick."
"They won't buy that. I'm just back from vacation."
"Ask for a different unit."
"Transfers take months."
He inched closer. "You don't have to stay at Bradley Memorial. What about home care?"
"Would you leave the newspaper for a magazine?"
Even when the erratic hours had destroyed his marriage, he hadn't considered changing jobs. "You win."
Susan stretched. "You've helped me answer a question I've been asking myself all evening. I don't want to leave the hospital."
"Have you considered a different shift?"
"I might." She spoke through a yawn.
"I'd better go. Will you be all right?" He reached for her hand. If she asked, he would gladly stay.
"Thanks for being here."
He tapped her chin with his fingers. "Remember, I'm just a wall away. Bang three times and I'll be over."
"You're a good man, Patrick Macleith."
Her reaction wasn't the one he wanted, but for now, her admiration was enough. He pushed aside the urge to take her into his arms. Moving too fast would scare her. He rose and reached for his black jacket. "Would you like to have Thanksgiving dinner at my place? The twins will be here."
"I'm working."
"Then we'll eat at noon. Will you come?"
"Only if I can bring something?"
"The pies. Your crusts are terrific. Come early and help."
"What time?"
"Nine thirty. We'll watch the parades."
She walked to the door with him. "Again, thanks."
He jammed his hands in his jacket pockets and crossed the porch to his side of the large house. How much longer could he be with her without betraying his feelings? If he let her know how he felt, he was sure she would back away again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday's Writer's Tip = Looking at Types of Series. #MFRWauthor

Still reading  Writing Fiction Series by Karen Wiesner and pulling out tidbits to share. The breakdown of the kind of series is what I'm reading now. And looking at my own writing while doing so. I may have written or attempted to write many of these "book bundles" without realizing that's what I was doing. How about you? Have you ever thought about what kind of series your connected books fall into?

A basic look at series shows there has to be some connection between the books. This can be a character, a world, a theme, a plot, something that holds the books together and that the reader can realize there is a connection.

What's the difference between a series and a serial. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be a difference in the two, but there is. A serial is more like a collection of parts of an entire book released in segments. When I was writing All Our Yesterdays, I knew I was writing a serial. There was a connection between all the major characters, hero, heroine, support characters, villain and villainess that ran through the stories. Each segment of the story was leading to the ending in the final segment of the story. While each of the segments is a story complete in itself, the plot isn't solved until the last segment is written. Writing this story was fun but the end goal was always kept in mind and that was a happy ever after for the star crossed lovers through time. Rather reminded me of "The Perils of Pauline" something watched as a child during Saturday movie marathons at the local theater.

Among the stories that fit the picture of  a series are prequels and sequels. Sometimes while writing a story, the writer realizes there needs to be something else told of the story that happened in the past that needs to be shown to readers to make the created world characters make sense. Or the writer realizes that the final book in the series needs to have an ending that shows there is or was a future for the characters or the world. These stories are generally written after the original book.

Next time, there will be a look at other kinds of series. Have you ever wondered what kind of series you've written? I know I have.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday's Inspiration - A story is... #MFRWauthor

Once again I'm looking at just what a story is and am using small quotes from Dwight V. Swain's Techniques of a Selling Writer. "A story is a chain of scenes and sequences."

Every scene in a story has a beginning, a middle and an end. The scene builds the conflict between the characters who all have desires they want to fulfill. The scene is lived by the characters and will involve the reader. There are a number of types of scenes, probably as many as the writer can dream up. A scene is something the character must experience with another character and both have desires. Usually only one of these characters can have their desire fulfilled. It is possible the character in the scene may not be another person. Nature can be a character the focus person is battling against. Society can also be the character in a sense. The scene always ends in defeat for one of the participants. The scene leads to the sequel.

The sequel represents the down time, the time for considering other options on the way to reaching the goal. The sequel also changes the tempo of the story giving the character and the reader time to breathe and to think. I've read many stories where the scene is so intense that I find it hard to breathe. Something needs to change. Time is needed to take a breath and to consider what comes next. There have been times while writing a scene that my pen flies over the paper so rapidly I'm not sure what I'm writing. A time comes when I find I can't go on and thus must end the scene and allow myself and the character to think about what has happened. This is the sequel.

So to find the trick one must balance scene and sequel. A story with all scenes never gives the reader or the character time to reflect. A story that is mostly sequel will become boring.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor

Meander 1 - I open my blog two days a week for other authors to do a bit of promoting but I've noticed there are few of these authors who promote that they're there or even post a thanks. I know when I'm on someone else's blog, I let the world know and I pop by several times during the day and the days after so if there are comments I can respond to them. How about you? When you're guesting on someone else's blog do you promote your appearance and check the blog for visitors?

Meander 2 - I've been writing about series on Sunday and also on Wednesday with Writer's tip, using a friend Karen Wiesner's book about series. Do you write series. I realized if trilogies are included I have a number of them and several that aren't completed. I'm also reading book 12 of a great series. Every time there's a new book in the Foreigner series, I start and read them one by one. But then I'm a re-reader and enjoy visiting favorite worlds. Has become interesting these days since so many of them are now electronic and some are in paper. How about you? Are series your favorites?

Meander 3. Received the cover for Bast's Warrior and really like it. Am ready to send off Horu's Choice to the publisher and now much really push to finish Toth's Priest. The first two are being re-released and the third is a new story. There is more of everything in this story. More action, more love and finding all the loose ends has been a challenge. Need about 15 to 20 thousand roads and to write all those scenes that say there's a fight or they make love, or look up this or that fact. Hopefully I'll finish by August or before so all the other stuff can be finished.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday - Series - Affinities - Other characters

Every series needs at least one villain in the first book of the Affinities Series, there are more than one.

Dom Senet is the major villain who continues through all four of the stories. He belongs to the original people of the land, those who have affinities and he has all four to some extent. Behind him is a shadow that isn't seen clearly until later in the series.

There are minor villains in this story. Zand's step-mother who is trying for power over her husband. She's a nasty one but has little power. She has two sons who aren't the nicest ones either and they will play roles in later books of the series. They give Zand much trouble.

The four who have found refuge in a sheltered and hidden garden in the large town make friends with two who also have talents. One of these will take a major role in later stories. There are also several children who were orphaned street children who play a role in later stories, one acting out of jealousy causes a real problem. Valcon has gathered the street children after his father was killed. He has an affinity for Water. Genira is rescued. Her affinity is for Earth. In the rescue attempt Kylandra is captured by Dom Senet and taken to the palace. She is rescued by Zand.

The first half of Escape takes the four plus Zand to the city and the second part is of their adventures in the garden. The book ends in winter with a departure and a threat of death.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Saturday's Chapter from Gabe Kincaid by Caroline Clemmons #MFRWauthor

GABE KINCAID blurb set up:
Gabe Kincaid has reasons to hate lies and those who tell them. He moved from Austin to Kincaid Springs and joined his great uncle’s law firm. Gabe believes he’s happy and pushes aside those moments of loneliness, of wishing for more. He strongly believes in the law, in justice, and obeying rules. Doing what’s right is fulfilling, isn’t it? Then why is he so fascinated with a circus fortuneteller who spins tales faster than a cowboy whirls his lariat?
Katie Worthington poses as Dorothy Duncan in a small-time circus. If she isn’t behind the scenes mending costumes or in the circus kitchen, she’s disguised as the fortuneteller, Maharani Shimza, Mystic of the East. Even so, she worries about being killed by the men pursuing her. She fears a brawl at her fortune telling tent that sends her into the Kincaid’s protective custody will end with her exposure and death. Then, a death at the circus implicates her. How can she escape when that attorney pops up every time she turns around?   
Will Gabe and Katie let the sparks between them ignite into a passionate romance or will her secrets destroy their chance at a happily ever after?

Chapter One

Savannah, Georgia, 1886
Katie Worthington watched Mary Lou Chitwood’s departing carriage. Her best friend’s blond curls danced with the summer breeze and swaying coach as Mary Lou leaned her head and arm out the window to wave farewell. Katie returned the gesture. The new play they had attended had proven boring and the theatre hot and stuffy, so she and Mary Lou had left at intermission. By then the evening had been too advanced for two young ladies to go elsewhere. Except for the fun of seeing Mary Lou, Katie resented that their evening out had been wasted.
Today was the servant’s half day off, so she used her key and crept inside quietly in case GranDa had turned in. Sounds drifted to her and she realized her grandfather had visitors. Should she risk intruding to greet them or slip up to her room? Katie paused outside his study and listened.
“Get these damn papers tidied. Can’t have it looking like there was a struggle.”
Uncle Walt? His voice sounded odd. Cold instead of friendly. Angry instead of jovial. She stepped closer to determine why.
“Old fool never should have challenged us. He had money enough to spare.”
She identified the second man as Douglas Banterman, Uncle Walt’s friend and partner. She had never liked Mr. Banterman. He reminded her of a wolf. The big, bad kind.
Uncle Walt spoke again, “He won’t give us any trouble now. All we have to do is make this look like suicide.”
A terrible suspicion crept up her spine and sent goose bumps along her arms. What struggle? Surely her clever GranDa wasn’t the old fool they mentioned. And make what look like suicide? She tiptoed to the study and peeked inside.
“GranDa?” The words escaped in a horrified rush when she saw the hole in her beloved grandfather’s temple and the gun on his desk. She started toward him but stopped when she saw blood sprayed across the desk and on the nearby wall.
Uncle Walt looked up. His gaze held cold fury. “Kathryn. Your grandfather killed himself. Banterman and I were trying to clean this up and spare you. Go to your room until I call you.” No greeting or soft words of condolence. Instead, his icy tone cut the air like a knife aimed at her heart.
What had happened to her kindly, jovial Uncle Walt? Fear clutched her in its grip and sent frightening thoughts spinning in her mind. Shaking her head, she turned and raced for the front door.
Uncle Walt yelled. “Stop her. Don’t let her leave the house.”
Mr. Banterman caught up with her and grabbed her arm as she reached the door. “You’ll have to come with me now, Miss Worthington.” In his other hand, he held a pistol.
Uncle Walt met them in the foyer. “Lock her in her room upstairs. I’ll decide how to deal with her later.” He hadn’t even bothered to meet her gaze.
Deal with her? Katie hated the man’s ominous tone. “What happened to GranDa?”
Uncle Walt’s glare froze all hope of escape. “I told you he shot himself. If you know what’s good for you, Kathryn Elizabeth Worthington, you’ll go to your room peacefully.”
Only a fool would argue with him now, but she knew he lied. Her heart broke for beloved grandfather’s betrayal by a trusted friend. Pretending a meekness she had never possessed and likely never would, she sobbed and allowed Mr. Banterman to lead her up the stairs.
“My room’s at the end of the hall.” She swiped at her eyes with her free hand. “Poor GranDa. I didn’t know he was sad or worried.”
“Yeah, well, live and learn.” The man’s tone held neither sympathy nor respect. Without another word, he took the key from the door and locked her inside her room.
Sobbing for her grandfather, she sought the comfort of her favorite blue moirĂ© chair. Horror had her pondering the two men downstairs. Uncle Walt wasn’t really related. He’d been her godfather, her own father’s best friend. As such, he frequently visited GranDa’s home and shared many friends in common.
Now he was a powerful Judge. Banterman was a respected attorney. If they said her grandfather committed suicide, no one would question them.
But GranDa would never shoot himself, especially where she would find him. Strong, healthy, and forceful, he had cared for her since the death of her parents ten years ago when she was twelve. He doted on her, protected her, loved her. He would never willingly abandon her.
Suicidal men didn’t make plans for the future, did they? GranDa planned for a trip to the museum’s new exhibit tomorrow. He’d booked a trip for next week on the newly extended Georgia of Central Railroad for Tybee Island and two weeks at their cottage there. 
Puzzling out the death, she recalled that Walt Milligan and Douglas Banterman’s firm handled her grandfather’s estate. And hers from her parents. Math wasn’t her favorite subject, but she could add two and two. And the sum equaled embezzlement and murder.
What if those two said she killed her grandfather? No one would believe otherwise. Is that how they intended to “deal” with her later—to make her their scapegoat? They might even intend to kill her and make it look as if she’d killed GranDa and then herself. Or that they’d both been victims of a burglary. She didn’t intend to give them an opportunity to implement whatever evil plan they concocted.
In her grief stricken state she wanted to throw herself across her bed and weep buckets for her wonderful grandfather. Instead she fought for strength. Think. Make a plan.
Images of what might be flashed through her mind. She shook uncontrollably. Her breath burst in and out in gasps. Visions of the worst outcome forced her to make a decision.
Too late to help GranDa, she must save herself. She wiped her eyes and blew her nose. Time for action.
Katie arose and gathered essentials into a valise, including the little derringer GranDa had given her. From the bedside table she grabbed the allowance she stashed in her room. GranDa was generous, and she never spent all of her funds. She counted quickly. Not enough to get her far, but it would have to do.
Tears still streaming for her dear GranDa, she slipped out of her pink silk crepe dress and hung it in her wardrobe. In its place she donned a blue sprigged muslin day dress. Sturdy kid halfboots replaced her satin party shoes. When she’d included the minimum necessary to her survival, she opened her window and dropped her luggage.
She paused for a last, longing look at the beautiful room she loved. Not simply because of the soothing shades of blue accented by white. Not because it represented a portion of her fortune spent decorating to her tastes. Not because of the freedom she had enjoyed here.
No, it reminded her of life with her beloved GranDa. She stepped onto the large branch she’d used most of her life as a second exit and climbed down the tree. Katie jumped from the lowest limb and picked up the valise.
Crying softly, she strode swiftly across the grounds. Walt Milligan yelled her name. She turned to see him leaning out her window. There was no mistaking the gun in his hand. Breaking into a run, she slipped into the night.
She wanted to seek out Mary Lou, but hers was the first place Uncle Walt would check. Besides, she couldn’t put her best friend and the Chitwood family at risk from those two men. Katie needed to disappear where no one would find her. 
Where could that be? Think, Katie, think. How could she escape a powerful District Judge? He knew her friends, knew where she might run, knew where to look for her.
What seemed like hours later, Katie’s aching feet protested the miles she’d covered. Her eyes were bound to be red and puffy. Having the derringer with her offered a measure of comfort, especially since she’d stopped long enough to slip it from her valise into her pocket.
The seamy part of Savannah she’d reached offered no hope of decent shelter but plenty of danger for a woman alone. Recalling GranDa’s cautions, she knew not to dally or look as lost and bewildered as she was. She dared not stop and rest or even wash her tear-stained face.
An unkempt fellow staggered toward her. “Hey, girlie, want me to help you carry your bag?”
His companion elbowed him and gave a guttural laugh. “I can help you do a lots o’ things.” 
She longed to run, but hadn’t the strength. Her heart pounded in her ears and a vise gripped her chest. Forcing herself to appear calm, she didn’t look their way or pause. Instead, she strode with purpose toward she knew not where. They called after her but didn’t follow, thank heavens.
But what if they had? She didn’t want to shoot anyone, nor even threaten to do so. She couldn’t shoot at those two for being drunk. She was the interloper, the trespasser here. Besides, her little derringer held only two shots. Not much help if a crowd gathered.
Dawn would break in another hour, then what would she do? Surely she’d reach the edge of town or somewhere she could hide soon. Her clothes betrayed her social status, her valise her transient situation. Where would she hide? Suddenly, she spotted the perfect place to vanish.
Smiling with relief at her good fortune, she walked onto darkened circus grounds.  

About Caroline
Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling author of historical and contemporary western romances whose books have garnered numerous awards. Her latest release is GABE KINCAID, book four of her popular Kincaid series. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.
Caroline is a member of Romance Writers of America, Yellow Rose Romance Writers, From The Heart Romance Writers, and Hearts Through History Romance Writers. Her latest publications include the acclaimed historical Men of Stone Mountain series: BRAZOS BRIDE, HIGH STAKES BRIDE, and BLUEBONNET BRIDE and the audio books of BRAZOS BRIDE and HIGH STAKES BRIDE.
Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. Prior to writing full time, her jobs included stay-at-home mom (her favorite), secretary, newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, bookkeeper for the local tax assessor and—for a short and fun time—an  antique dealer. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, painting, and getting together with family and friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.