Friday, May 6, 2011

Welcome to Tracy L. Ranson

Please welcome our Friday Friend, Tracy L. Ranson, who introduces herself:

I’ve been an avid fan of history all my life. That love started in my childhood. Instead of reading us fairy tales, my father would read to us from history books that he had, on all different subjects and levels. Intrigued by the past, I hungered to read more…

As I child, I would re-write the endings of all my books if I didn’t like the way they ended. My mother thought it was cute but she had no idea then what would happen today. It was only natural that later I would go onto writing.

I earned an engineering degree before I started writing, focusing all of my time and energy on it. After a while an opportunity to change careers came into play and I took it. My passion for writing came to the forefront.

With the love and support of my husband I am able to live the dream of being a writer. He is my inspiration for romance and what true love really is.

We live in a quite little neighborhood about two minutes from where I grew up. Our house is filled with 5 tails and 5 sets of paws. Thomas, Pavel and Victor our beloved felines. Weird names you ask? My husband is a hockey fanatic and decided to name all the pets with the names of current hockey players. Toby and Izzy are border collie/dachshund mix (don't ask because their mommy was the border collie) who are boundless bundles of energy that are always so happy to see me when I come home (so is hubby!)

My dream in life has always been to mold ideas and bring stories to life that are near and dear to everyone’s heart. I am very fortunate to be living my dream now. Continuing to hone my craft with each new book, I hope I am able to touch upon my readers and inspire them.

Which came first: The Plot or the Title?

Sounds like a boring philosophical question, right? It sure does! Actually, this struggle has been around for centuries, from the moment humans put pen to paper. All writers fight this every day, even some of the big name authors too.

Writing at best can sometimes be a double edged sword. You come up with a brilliant plot no one’s ever done before but you’re clueless as what to call it. Or the reverse can be true (this has happened to me so many times before, it’s silly). A writer may want to pull their hair out by the roots or continuously bang their heads against their desk in the vain hope that something will be beaten in (doesn’t work—I’m bald with a HUGE flat spot on my forehead….LOL…)

All kidding aside, there are a few simple tricks that I’ve used to help get me a title. Here’s a quick example:

A young destitute girl in England is taken in by a very wealthy Duke with the intention of making her his mistress. The girl resists because her interest is in his son, the handsome hero. The Duke makes her miserable because along the way, he’s discovered her true identity and threatens to expose her then send her to Revolutionary France to await her fate. The hero finds out as well and vows to protect her not only from his father but from the grisly end her parents, the King and Queen of France, suffered.

This plot obviously would need some work on it but it’s just an example. For something like this I would say:

What’s my premise? Secret princess on the run from France
What’s my concept? She has to lie about her true identity to keep from being killed.
What elements are most important? Concealment.
There’s two words that stick out in these two sentences for me. Secret and Lies.
There’s your title for the book: SECRETS AND LIES.

Okay, now for the flip side. What about no plot but a terrific title? This can be a bit trickier but not impossible.

Here’s a title: DARK BEFORE DAWN.

Now this one can go about 40 different ways but I’ll just pick one.

I start off by asking questions. Who likes the dark? Vampires, insects, night creatures….
I’ll go ahead and pick Vampires only because I LOATHE insects.
What about this Vampire?
He’s a lonely soul about a 1000 years old.
What about him? He would like a mate that’s willing but unfortunately, in his world, vampires are hunted and killed on sight without question. He can’t risk being killed because he is the leader of his band of vampire.

You see how this is going? The more questions you ask, the deeper you get into the story. Another great way to build a plot is play the What If ? game.

What if: the vampire was a woman who wants to be human again and there’s only one man who can turn her back…except he’s desperate to become a vampire.

See how that changes things? There are so many endless possibilities here.

Happy reading and hope this helps!


Tracy's latest release 'His Wicked Intentions' (an Erotic Historical Romance) is available at Desert Breeze Publishing.  Buy @

India Rookwood, daughter of an English lord, flees her country home in Scotland to escape her arranged marriage. She spends the night in the safety of Craogh Falloch only to be discovered by pirates. Taken to their captain, she sizes up the well built blond pirate reminiscent of the Vikings of old. She stands up to him and his demands, discovering in short order she stood before The Falcon, notorious pirate of legend and her father’s mortal enemy. From that moment on, India questions whether she can stand the against the tide of HIS WICKED INTENTIONS.

Captain Rafe Blackthorne watched his men amble down the hill with a strange, resistant figure in front of them. It was a woman from the way her thin gown flapped in the breeze, and from her gait, she did not seem a bit happy about coming aboard his ship. Where did they find her? He growled low. No matter. He would frighten her into never coming back to this area again. The less people knew about his hiding place, the better.

He leaned against the mizzen mast with his thumbs casually jammed into the worn waistband of his threadbare breeches, idly watching her approach. Her presence could prove interesting. He hadn't had a woman aboard his ship for nearly a year, at least not since Jamaica. That particular female had been a whore who had stowed away in the hopes of heading toward a new life elsewhere. What she discovered later had been his price for her freedom. He had enjoyed himself quite thoroughly with his payment but had grown bored with her quickly so he dropped her off at the next port.

The new woman possessed hair as black as night, tumbling down her slender shoulders in soft, cascading waves. Her lithe form possessed high breasts, indicative of youth. He frowned. He would have guessed her to be much older from her stride.

She stormed up his gangplank, her fists clenched at her sides. His men halted their work and cast their gazes to this newcomer, a mixture of curiosity and lust written on their features. Grayson and the others lumbered up behind her. "Get moving, gel! Me captain is waiting!"

Rafe watched the expression on her face deepen. Her cheeks burned a deep crimson, a color he found extremely attractive. A woman normally did not sport such a hue until she left a man's bed.

"Where is this captain you speak of?"

He smirked. She possessed a fiery nature, one he could see himself enjoying.

She threw a look over her slender pale shoulder and noticed him. Her eyes narrowed. "What exactly are you looking at?"


"I wish you to refrain from looking at me. I doubt whether your captain would be pleased at this."

Rafe couldn't help but smile. He stood and towered over her, crossing his arms over his chest. "Oh, he would be." He reacted instantly beneath his breeches to the whiskey-colored depths of her eyes, a mixture of innocence with a hint of deep secrecy. A slash of black lashes, a shade darker than her hair, framed those pretty orbs.

An inky eyebrow rose. "How so?" Her plump lips, rosy and red, emanated a silent enticement to be kissed. Perhaps he would have to accept her invitation and find out what else lay beneath her perfect exterior.

"Because I'm the captain."

Her shoulders fell back and her well-formed jaw dropped. "Yo -- you're the captain? You're the Black Falcon?"

His gaze traveled down, and he noticed the way her lovely breasts rose and fell in a quick rhythm, almost as if she could not control herself around him. He liked that -- sometimes. "Why do you find that so shocking?"

"No reason." She turned her face away from his as if she couldn't bear to look at him another moment more. "Why am I here?"

He turned to his first mate. "Why have you brought her?"

Grayson scratched his grizzled chin. "Well, Cap'n, I found her in ye cave, and I thought 'tis best I brung her."

"Good." Rafe turned to his new captive. "Who are you, girl?"

She lifted her blazing amber stare to face him, the previous emotions deepening and arousing the sleeping beast of desire within. "I will tell you if you let me go."

He took a reflexive step forward and gripped her slender arms. "Not until you tell me, will I let you go." Lust nipped at Rafe's loins as he visually caressed her face. Strong cheekbones framed her face, almost seemingly created by the finest sculptor, making for a perfect setting for her pert nose.

She lifted her determined jaw. "India."

"What an unusual name. Tell me, how did you come by it?"

"My parents named me after the country I was born in."

He shifted in his position. From the angle of her jaw to the curve of her cheek, she enticed him. He looked down again. She possessed a body he could see himself buried in all night. Gentle curves graced her form, from the gentle slope of her feminine shoulders to the indent of her waist. He could only imagine the treasures between those slender thighs -- his rod lengthened beneath his breeches. He shifted uneasily. "What's your last name?"


A cold chill passed up Rafe's spine, and he stiffened. That damned name! He ground his teeth in order to keep his emotions at bay. "Since I keep my promises, I will let you go, but not before I have shown you my hospitality as well as begged your forgiveness." He cast a glance to Grayson. "Take her to my cabin where she may wash in privacy."

Grayson tipped his fingers. "Aye, Cap'n." With that, Grayson guided India Rookwood from his sight to his cabin where she could clean up a bit.

Rafe smiled. What fortunate luck his enemy's daughter had fallen right into his hands, though he had not properly laid a trap for her, at least not yet. Rookwood would probably be worried sick. From what he knew of the evil bastard, he would stop at nothing to rescue his precious pawn. Well, Rookwood's search for his daughter would be useless. By the time Rafe did as he wished with her, the only good place for the girl would be a brothel or convent. After that, his revenge would be complete, and Ophelia's honor restored.

Rafe waited for Grayson to return then signaled his first mate over. The older man limped over and tipped his short, grubby fingers. "Tell the men to gather everything on board."

Grayson's gray eyebrows shot up. "We settin' sail so soon?"

"Yes. Be ready at eight bells."

You can meet Tracy at her website :

Thank you so much for being with us today, Tracy.  We wish you continued success with your writing.


  1. Thanks for being here today, Tracy! I like your plot vs title story-genesis idea. So many things can trigger a story concept.
    And I love pirates... a Peter Pan fan who wished Wendy had stayed in Neverland.
    Do you write a story outline?

  2. Hi Tracy, and welcome to HWH.

    Great introduction, plenty of ideas put forth for newbies to writing, and intriguing excerpt. ;)


  3. Hi Tracy,

    Thanks for joining us at Heroines wtih Hearts today! We're glad to have you.

    Interesting question about titles and plots. I think most of the time, mine arrive together. As soon as I start thinking about an idea for a story, I give it a title.

  4. Hi Tracy, glad to have you here. I love the exercises you suggest--they're lots of fun and generate some terrific ideas! Can't wait to read His Wicked Intentions.