Thursday, August 28, 2014

One Stop Shopping

Debra is thrilled with the new 'buy' buttons on her publisher's web-site.

In today's fast paced world, time savers and convenience features are huge. The Wild Rose Press is implementing what I think is a brilliant addition to their catalog.

In the past, readers could browse the TWRP catalog looking for specific authors and titles and could then buy the book through the Press either in digital format or in paperback if it was available. However, if a reader wanted a Kindle or a Nook version, they'd need to hop on over to either the Amazon or Barnes and Nobel site.

No longer. Starting with their new titles and then working backwards until the entire catalog is updated, TWRP is including the Amazon and B & N buy buttons with the proper links on all of their titles. Like I said, I think this is a brilliant maneuver. Because sometimes taking that extra step of needing to log into a completely new site to order a book might cause someone to say 'forget it'. And that could cost sales.

It's all about getting our books into the hands of readers. And anything that can help in that, is all right in my book!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Readers Don't Want

Paula looks at reasons given by readers for not liking a book.

We often read or hear about what readers want in a romance novel – strong characters, good plot etc. Equally important, it seems, are the things they don’t want. Some time ago, I compile a list (from various sources) of ‘not wanted’ features in novels. Here is my ‘top ten’ of dislikes (with some of my original list combined at times) – in no particular order:

1. Too many characters introduced too quickly in the story (especially at the beginning

2. Too much backstory at the beginning

3. Too much description of places and/or narrative and/or researched details

4. Slow pacing, with nothing much happening for several pages

5. Too much description of characters doing ‘ordinary’ things like cooking or gardening i.e. scenes which don’t advance the plot or give an insight into the character(s)

6. Unnatural dialogue/characters who talk like they’re in a 1940s slushy movie/characters who use each other’s names all the time in dialogue

7. No emotion and/or feelings stated rather than shown

8. Plot holes or loose ends not tied up at the end of the story

9. Hero/heroine not very likeable – selfish, petty, ‘too stupid to live’

10. Author intrusion – telling us things the characters don’t know or see.

What would you add to this list?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Book Is Rereleasing

For the first time, I’m involved in a rerelease of one of my books. It’s kind of cool, because it means I’ve been writing long enough for this to happen. J That’s also a really positive spin on the actual reason I’m rereleasing it, but I won’t go negative here.

Suffice to say that my current publisher loves the book and wants to rerelease it under their imprint. So I said yes. And they gave me a gorgeous cover, although it took me a few days to adjust to it.

First of all, I’m really not good with change. So anytime something changes, it’s a big deal to me.

Second of all, this was my first book ever. Although I’m not a fan of the “my book is my baby” argument that authors sometimes use, this is my very favorite book that I wrote and am most proud of. I’ve associated it with my original cover for so long at this point, that they are connected.

When my editor sent me her cover suggestion, saying, “Here’s your book,” my first thought was, “that’s not my book.” Because it looked different. I needed time to connect to it.

But now that I have, I love it.

For the moment, I’m going through the manuscript and doing a last round of edits. Honestly, I’m not rewriting the book, unless there is something that jumps out at me. So, I’ve fixed POV problems, I’ve fixed blatant errors that I wish had been caught before it was published the first time, and I’ve tightened things up a bit. But I’m not deleting scenes that, if I were writing the book now, I might not include or I might do differently.

It will be rereleased in November and I can’t wait!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Introducing characters in film or on the page

Ana posts a craft article from the RWA-Scriptscene loop on introducing characters
As all spec writers know, there are two things that count above all else when it comes to this screenwriting malarkey, and that's story and CHARACTER. No one ever disagrees with this, ¦ because you'd have to be CRAZY, right??
Yet too often, characterisation is underwritten in the spec screenplays I read. What's more, this will be the case from the get-go, with writers relying on cliche and familiar introductions for their characters. And as you can guess, those writers start as they mean to go on … It's a sad fact of screenwriting life that very few badly introduced characters miraculously turn into rounded, well-drawn and authentic characters over the course of the rest of the narrative! Supersadface.
So here's 10 character introductions I would like to see a LOT less of. Ready? Let's go!
1)  Character waking up in a messy room. This character's life is a mess! We can tell this by the fact s/he wakes up amongst overflowing ashtrays, empty bottles and glasses, plus dirty clothes strewn everywhere. Extra bonus points if s/he talks to thin air too about how terrible everything is. S/he may also receive a phone call from their Boss firing them and/or their mother, telling them to get their lives in order. EPIC FAIL. MORE: How Best To Introduce A Character?
2) Character running/jogging. Characters are not what they SAY, but what they DO,¦ and it would seem the average character runs. A LOT. Look, this was cool when Clarice Starling did it back in 1991, but remember this: she wasn't **just** running, she was undertaking an FBI OBSTACLE TEST. Think about that for a second – obstacles. Ooooooh! Protagonists need obstacles, right? RIGHT. MORE: All About Obstacles 
3) Character training (especially boxing or martial arts). Is your main character female? Great! Then introduce her in a gym, kicking the shit out of a punchbag and maybe grabbing a poor defenseless man between her thighs and pinning him to the floor. Because I know that's what I do when I'm not script reading. All women do, yeah? WHAT. MORE: 5 Ways To Write A Complex Female Character
4) Character in the shower. Look, we ALL like a bit of shower hottie action and I don't want to ruin everybody's fun, but it IS a cliche. Gratuitous shots of your tortured hero in the shower, so we can see scars and bruises all over his/her body. Tattoos of various life affirming quotes (Semper Fidelis is a favourite) are optional extras for the true cliche. BULLSEYE. MORE: 4 Tips To Write An Unusual Character
5) Character taking a lecture/meeting. Sure, lectures and meetings are handy expositional shortcuts, but these are such oldies, we need to tread VERY carefully. If your character is simply delivering information the audience needs to know? BAD. If your character has to deal with something in the course of that lecture, “ a heckling student, perhaps?,  then that exposition is easier disguised and your character's nature revealed in doing so. MUCH BETTER. MORE: 11 Expositional Cliches That Will Kill Your Story
6)  Character at work that has absolutely nothing to do with the story or character's motivation. Sometimes writers will introduce characters in unusual places of work. Whilst a great start, the first time we see a character, we need to get a sense of WHY we're seeing him/her there (and not somewhere else). If we consider Ray in WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005), we meet him at work, operating a crane. Why? To show this character is very much an Average Joe: a blue collar worker, he is a straightforward guy who believes his own eyes. That's why we can believe ultimately he will do whatever needs to be done to survive. That's his motivation. MORE: An Ounce Of Behavior Is Worth A Pound Of Words by Daniel Martin Eckhart 
7)   Characters in the middle of a battle that turns out to be a simulation. Argh, can we put this one to bed now?! I last saw this opener produced in X MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006) and it felt older and stinkier than a three-week-old Gorgonzola even then, yet spec science fiction screenplays STILL persist in introducing their characters and arenas this way. If you're even going to attempt to try this one, you simply must subvert it (and our expectations) in some way! MORE: 5 Expendable Heroes We Hate To Love
8)   Character in the middle of a rescue, gunfight [or similar] and someone DIES and it's HIS FAULT. The Tortured Hero usually becomes tortured on the basis of someone dying on (usually) his watch: cue our hero, gathering the (usually) female character (who's dead) in his arms and wailing "Noooooooooooo!" To be fair, I haven't seen this character introduction in a produced movie for a good while (though Hugh Jackman seemed to do it a lot in the resolutions of his movies in the early noughties), but sadly spec screenplays are still doing it, usually within the first ten pages. Over and over. MORE: What Is A Hero?
9) Character in the middle of an exciting event  gets rewound. I blame MEMENTO for this one. We'll join a character on page 1, right in the midst of the action. Sometimes it will be high octane; other times, it will be some sort of intriguing "smaller" occurrence. But whatever: because suddenly it's all gone and those dreaded words appear as a caption: "48 HOURS (OR SIMILAR) EARLIER."Yaaaargh! You can't do this to us! I'm so bored of spec screenplays rewinding like this; it feels stale and old. What's more, too often those events rewind to characters waking up; running; in the shower! NAUGHTY WRITERS. Sheesh. MORE: All About Non-Linearity 
10) Character gets no real introduction at all. Yet all of the above pale into insignificance when we consider the average character in spec screenplays gets NO introduction. That's right, NONE! This generally happens one of three ways I find:
i) Walking. That's right: your character is walking down the street. Or ambling. Or striding. Whatevs. Doesn't matter how many synonyms you use homies, it's still just someone walking. What does this tell us about this character?? Not much, that's what. MORE: How To Make Your Screenplay Visual 
ii) Clothes. Get this: clothes do not maketh the (wo)man. Right? Right. Yes, yes, whether someone is disheveled or pristine DOES make a difference, so use those words, not whether they're wearing jeans or not. PLEASE. MORE: Character Introductions & Voice by Julie Gray
iii) Nothing. That' right. NOTHING. The character simply starts talking. OMG. No!!! MORE: All About Opening IMAGES
So next time you're wondering about how to introduce your characters, think about WHO they are, WHERE they are, WHAT they're doing, and what this means to the story. Remember, when it comes to character introductions: start as you mean to go on.
- See more at:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A New Series

Debra contemplates beginning a new series.

Last week if you remember I was lamenting my lack of foresight in giving my minor characters better names now that I was considering using them as main characters in stories of their own. These thoughts are still wandering around in my head, but I found in the last week they've been pushed a bit out of the limelight as new ideas and thoughts are whirling around in there.

I'm thinking about starting a new series. Because I have time to work on three books now that school has started again, right?

I've had the idea in my head for years to write a story about a rock star. Now that my music taste has evolved, he'll probably be a country star, but the idea will remain generally the same. In my early musings it had always been a stand alone book. But recently, the idea has morphed and grown and now I'm thinking the country star book should be the first in a new series of three. I'm sure it all stems from my love of reading series, and the fun and success I had writing my Corral series. I'm still working on a name for the series, but I've got the main characters thought out. Each book will focus on a different brother from the same family. At one time I thought about two brothers and a sister, but that seemed a bit similar to the format of my first series, so I thought I'd shake it up a bit. I've even thought about the love interests for each of the guys. And, I've written the teaser blurb for each of the stories.

Now I'd love for these to be print books, just because it's more fun for me, not necessarily better sales, but I like having actual books on my shelf. If they are print books, each needs to be a certain word count. For a while TWRP was going to print for books 65,000 and over, but I think they've dropped that count down a bit. But any way you look at it, that's a lot of words. And right now I have no time to write them.

School is back in full swing and right now it's all about getting a new set of students used to routines, schedules, and procedures. Which means I'm tired by the end of the day.

But I'm hoping my ill-timed muse will hang around until things get running a bit more smoothly...and then I can really put pen to paper, or more accurately, fingers to the keyboard, and get going with these stories.

In the meantime, I'm working with TWRP on getting my Corral series into a boxed set and waiting to hear back on the mss I submitted to my editor at the end of last month. So for me, lots of goings on in the writing side of life.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Advice about writing from well-know writers

Paula chooses some writing advice from writers

I found a website recently with 8 or 10 pieces of advice (or rules?) about writing from several well-known writers, and I've picked out one from each list - usually the one to which I felt I could relate to most, and have added my brief comments about each..

Neil Gaiman: The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
I'm not sure this is absolutely accurate, as there are some 'rules' or at least some 'good practice' advice that we should follow, but to me this advice basically means, 'Don't slavishly follow every rule you find about plotting, characters, or writing. 
Elmore Leonard: Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed an author ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.
I agree with this, at least most of the time, although I think there are odd occasions when another verb might be needed.
Kurt Vonnegut: Start as close to the end as possible.
I love this! So often we start our stories too soon - I know I have done so in the past! I've even read advice that says, 'Write your story and then get rid of the first chapter'.
David Ogilvy: Write the way you talk. Naturally. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
I'd amend this to say, 'Write the way your characters talk' although that assumes you can hear their voices in your head. However, I'd certainly agree that most people do use simple words and short sentences when they are speaking.

John Steinbeck: Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
This is intriguing advice which I had not thought about before. In one sense, I think I do write to one person i.e. myself!

Henry Miller: Work on one thing at a time until finished.
I don't always do this. Sometimes I put one story on a backburner while I write another, but I don't usually work on two things at the same time. I need to concentrate one story and one set of characters, and not keep switching to another.

Zadie Smith: Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
I definitely need to train myself to do this!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Balancing Act

Finding the balance between writing and real life is always difficult. We’ve all written about that before, and it’s similar to finding the balance between any responsibilities we may have, whether it’s family and work, work and writing or even family and friends.

Discipline and routine help me balance writing and real life, but sometimes, even that doesn’t help. Right now is one of those times. In a few short weeks, my youngest daughter will have her Bat Mitzvah, and while I have many people helping me do everything, none of them are able to read my mind (the nerve!) and now is the time that all the last minute details get ironed out. School starts in a couple of weeks and there’s prep for that as well, including tutoring to try to get ahead of the curve. And my critique group meets in a week and I have to prepare my work and critique the others’ beforehand. And finally, I have a book coming out September 10, for which I need to arrange publicity.

So I have a lot on my plate. When my plate gets full, some of my writing slides off. As much as I’d like to get to work on my new manuscript, I need to put that on the backburner for now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get to it now and then, but my plan is to get to it steadily in mid-September.

Until then, I may be a little AWOL. But don’t worry, I’ll be back!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Checklist after first draft

Ana's new first draft checklist.

Larry Brooks posted the slides from a powerpoint presentation in his latest blog post. One had a check list of essential story elements that an author should have defined after completing his or her first draft.

I revised them to check my WIP, now that words are flowing more easily again, and got a boost of confidence. I checked off every point.

1. What the protagonist wants, what she needs, and why for both.
2. What strong external antagonism or antagonist blocks the protagonist's path.
3. If all sub-plot threads are resolved by the end.
4. The first plot twist, aka the turning point that sets the protagonist on his or her story quest. (Story quest is defined by the story's core dramatic question.)
5. A strong dramatic story arc.
6. The main character's story arc that shows emotional growth and ultimate change.
7. A strong midpoint that energizes the second half of the story.  No sagging middle.

A story needs these to be elements. You might not get all down pat in the first draft, but IMO, no one can finish a good final draft without them.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Books of Their Own - The Name Game

Debra is attempting to use minor characters from her series in books of their own.

When I set out to write my first book, I purposely included a cast of secondary characters who would, one day, get their own stories. And while these characters naturally weren't as up front in the spotlight as the hero and heroine, they did play an integral role in the story. I gave them unique traits and voices in order to set up their future stories. I even gave them names that would one day be fitting for the heroes in other books.

Now that the series is done, I've found I'm not quite ready to leave the world I created. So, I got it into my head to do a few 'spin off' stories. The Corral would be featured, but we really wouldn't hear too much about the main couples from the three books in the series except in passing. They won't have dialogue or any major interaction with the new characters. My plan was to take minor characters I'd mentioned in the main books and use them as my heros and/or heroines.

Which is all fine and good, but at the time I never thought about using them as a main characters, so I didn't put a lot of thought into their names. Now this is turning into a bit of a problem as I try to go forward with my plan. It's not that I've given them bad names. Just...ordinary names. Ones that purposely faded into the background as to not take away from the main hero and heroine.

For me, naming my characters is a huge deal. Usually I have one pretty much set from the start, and then I try to 'match up' a name for the love interest. Usually I have a character in mind, and I choose a name to go with that type of character. Now I'm trying to do the opposite. I have a list of names and need to create characters around them. It's proving to be quite tricky.

Right now I have a story I started where I'm using one of the waitresses from The Corral as the heroine. Waitresses I've named in previous books are: Pam, Tina, Darla. The hero's name is Tyler (And I've already grown familiar with him, so I'm not changing it.) so Tina is out. Tina and Tyler? Nope. Not gonna fly. Pam is a lovely name, it just doesn't seem to work for a heroine. For me. Do I extend it? Go with Pamela? Darla could work, but in the third book in the series I referred to her as the 'new' I then need to worry about an exact time line and how these stories fit chronologically into the main series? Is anyone but me going to really care or notice if the timing is a bit off? Especially since the stories aren't related at all?

Maybe I need to dig back into the books and see if I listed anymore waitress names.

I guess in the future I need to be more careful about choosing minor character names in my stories...just in case, right?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Family Secrets - Now Available for Kindle and in paperback

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Speaking to a large audience

Next Tuesday Paula will be doing a talk about her ‘writing career’ to between 160 and 200 people. Eeek!

I’ve done several talks during the past two or three years, sometimes to groups I know, other times to groups where I only knew a couple of people, but these groups haven’t been more than about 30.

Having said that, I’ve had plenty of experiences in the past of addressing large audiences. On several occasions, I’ve given formal speeches or reports in a room or hall of 200+ people, but that basically involved reading a speech I’d printed out beforehand. When I was teaching, I often used to address a school hall full of teenagers (about 400 of them), either to give them information or instructions, but that was fairly easy to do (the phrase ‘captive audience’ springs to mind!). I even ‘opened’ an International Girl Guide camp once with over 1,000 girls and leaders, using only a few notes scribbled a scrap of paper. I’ve also spoken ‘off the cuff’ many times to County or District Girl Guide groups.

So it’s not as if I haven’t ever spoken to a large audience before, and I'm aware of some of the techniques, like imagining you're talking to a couple of people in the audience, rather than trying to address them all, and making eye contact with some of the audience too. I know how to pace a talk (without gabbling!), I know how to vary my voice tone, and I know how to add humour (hopefully in the right places).  One piece of advice I've heard is to imagine your audience sitting there naked - which I've never understood, so I won't go there!

Obviously, speaking to a large group is very different from talking to a small group. The latter is re like a ‘fireside chat’ where I can be relaxed and simply talk to the group informally, rather like I would talk to a friend. I don’t have any problems with this. However, speaking to a large group demands a different approach, because you have to find the balance between the formal speech and the informal chat. I don’t want to ‘read’ my talk, which is why I won’t write it out verbatim. At the same time, I know the cards I’ve used for my other talks, with brief bullet points to remind me of what I want to include, won’t be sufficient for this talk to a larger audience. I’m trying to find the happy medium, and am fairly confident I will find it.

There are, however, two things that make me nervous: 

First, I shall have to cope with technology! Evidently I shall have a radio mike, and I shall also be using my laptop connected to a projector. In my small group talks, I’ve been able to hold up print-outs of photographs, or copies of my books, but that won’t work with a large audience. The people at the back of the hall wouldn’t be able to see those, so I spent a whole day last week creating a ‘Power Point’ presentation of pictures I want to use, ranging from my favourite childhood books to my current novels, and various other photos too. This means I’ll have to remember when to click the remote for the next picture – and hope nothing goes wrong with any of the equipment. I've already had 3 trial runs with the laptop and projector - and shall probably have 3 more before next Tuesday!

Second, this talk is different from those I’ve done in the past to large audiences, because this is about me! Can I keep all those people interested in ‘me’ for 40 or 45 minutes? Or are they going to fall asleep after 5 minutes? I hope not – but I’ll let you know how it goes!

P.S I dreamt last night that only 6 people turned up for my talk LOL!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Have A Cover!

Two, actually. The first one is for Miriam's Surrender, the second book in my Women of Valor series (I also have a series title--yay!). I love it! Here it is:

What do you think?

It’s funny because whenever it’s time to work on the covers for my books, I always laugh. My publisher sends me a cover sheet that I’m supposed to fill out with information about my book—title, summary, character information, setting. I’m also supposed to suggest photos that I like and the type of cover I’d like—do I want people or not, is there a particular item or symbol I want to show, etc. And the best part is the section that asks, “What DON’T you want on the cover.”

Now, writers often compare their books to babies. We create the book and know our characters as if they were real people. That’s true. But having had babies—two of them—I see a big difference between what I create and whom I birth. While I’m partial to my own writing, I recognize that my book is a thing. It’s not my baby. Therefore, while I definitely give parameters, I don’t usually have too many “must haves” or “must not haves.”

Miriam’s Surrender is my fourth book. It is also the fourth cover that, while maybe didn’t completely ignore my suggestions, used the judgment of the art department more than mine. And it’s the fourth cover that I completely loved from the moment I saw it.

Even though I’m not a fan of split covers.

Even though I’m not a fan of people on my covers (yes, every single one of mine has had a person on it—go figure).

Even though it doesn’t have anything to do with the first cover in the series.

I love this cover!

However, I was also given a mock up of another cover, the rerelease of A Heart of Little Faith, which Rebel Ink is going to republish soon. I'm having a hard time deciding if I like it or not. I think, honestly, my biggest problem is that I'm so used to associating the old cover with the title, that any change jars me. It's not that I don't like the cover; I do. It's just that it's different, and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not good with change.

So I'm going to spend a good part of the day, when I'm not doing something specific, staring at the mock cover and getting used to it. Because I do really like it. It's just different.

I just finished working with a graphics designer on promo material for Miriam’s Surrender, which releases on September 10. If you’d like me to send it to you, leave a comment on the blog and I’ll do so.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How do you get back into your story?

For a week, I was a mile down the road babysitting my grandkids. I might have well been a zillion miles away. My immersion in my WIP was interrupted, and I am having trouble getting back in.

Have you had this problem? How do you deal with it?

I'd love to know. It might help me!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Say Hello to Friday Friend, Jessica Lauryn

My NJRW friend, Jessica Lauryn, is visiting us once again. She has a new book out and is talking to us about writing a series.

A great book can do wonders for the soul. It’s there for you when you need a friend, or a distraction. It can serve as an escape, or a fantasy in which to indulge. Books comfort us, and they take us to places and times we’d otherwise never know. There’s only one thing I love more than a great book. That is, a great series. 

When I was an adolescent, I loved reading Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High. Twin sisters Jessica and Elizabeth served as the perfect contrast to one another. One is introverted, smart, and studious, while the other is the life of the party. At the age of 12, I had no idea why I was so drawn to the duo, other than the obvious fact that I wanted to be living the life of a teenage girl myself. But looking back, I realize the draw actually stemmed from something much deeper than that. 

Series writing can take on a life of its own. In a romance series, the author creates her very own world. She starts with a setting: a time, a place in which her characters will exist in. Then, she gets to work building. Hero and heroine’s story is told in book 1. And in book 2, a new couple typically takes center stage. I think the most exciting part of doing this, for me, the author, is figuring out how I will connect the characters from one book to the next. They don’t necessarily need to know one another, but I’ve found it can be a lot more fun when they do. Writing a series is very different from writing a stand-along book because you have a lot more time and space to play around with. You (the reader) get to see how a family, a group of friends, maybe even an entire town affects the lives of the people around them, possibly for years to come. 

My debut series, The Pinnacles of Power, was never supposed to be a series. While I was writing what eventually became my second release, Dangerous Proposal, I was creating what I intended to be the one and only book of its kind. I was, as writers do, spending hours inside the characters’ heads, trying to get to know them. Something I wasn’t expecting struck me while I was doing this. That was, there were several characters in the story besides my hero and heroine who had a story to tell. I already had a setting I loved (several settings, actually), and I had characters who had the potential to become couples, lovers, and soul-mates. They were screaming for me to tell their stories, and so I began doing just that. Barely realizing what I was doing, a series was soon born. 

Reading book 1 in a series may not feel much different than reading a stand-alone novel. Doing so, you’ll discover a plot, characters, conflict, and, as is the way with romance novels, a happily ever after. The real fun (at least, for me) comes in book 2, when you already know something about the authors’ world. In books 3 and 4, you know even more, and you’re likely to recognize the main characters as well. You may feel as though you sort-of know them as people, and the setting and time have become all-too familiar to you. This is when your imagination can really take over, because you can completely immerse yourself in the author’s fantasy world—the greatest thing a reader can experience! 

I love books. But given the choice, I prefer that they be part of a series. The imagination is one of the greatest things in existence. And I find it easier to put that machine to use when there is a world of stories and characters crafted and bound for my reading enjoyment! 

Blurb for Dangerous Secret:

Abigail MacKenzie has been trying to put her father’s tragic death behind her.  Set on becoming a teacher, Abigail wants nothing more than to forge a new, happy life.  But when a handsome stranger produces a random clue about her father’s shooting, hopes of finding her father’s killer come flooding back to the surface.  Abigail is determined to get justice for her Dad, even if it means learning the dangerous secret of a man with a will of steel and eyes that cut straight through the wall around her heart.

After making a reckless mistake and a mysterious discovery that cost him his job, medical student Ryan Newberry is happy to accept and position he can get.  But when he realizes that one of the employees who’ll be working under him at the Washington Valley Hotel is Abigail MacKenzie, the sweet, pretty girl he met weeks before, he fears the past might be in danger of repeating itself.  As one discovery leads to another, Ryan quickly realizes that he is sitting on a network of criminal activity.  In spite of the risks, he must keep Abigail safe from the surrounding threats.  He only hopes that his desires for his new front desk associate won’t lead both of them down a path of danger from which he won’t be able to protect them.

Excerpt for Dangerous Secret:

Abigail’s heart pounded as she stared at the metal object lying in the middle of the blanket. As many suspicions as she had about Ryan, she’d never really believed he was the killer. Aside from the fact that it would devastate her, it didn’t make sense for him to have murdered anyone. Her father’s shooter had left him for dead. Ryan had lost his mind because he’d thought she’d broken her arm.

She looked into Ryan’s eyes—eyes that were looking directly at hers. As bad as his having a gun looked, as bad as everything she’d surmised about him seemed, something inside her was telling her to believe in his innocence. She was sure she ought to be committed for even thinking that way. But she just couldn’t believe that this guy she’d come to know and even care about could be a killer.

Could she?

“Shouldn't you be calling the cops?” Ryan asked.

“I—”Abigail hesitated. Hardly believing her own naivete, because she was certain that she was being very naïve, she said, “I’m not calling the cops. I don’t know why, but I believe you. At least, I can’t be sure enough that you did anything criminal without more definitive proof.”

The warmth in his eyes shot straight to her aching core. “Thank you.”

Abigail smiled briefly. As though it were someone else saying the words, she went on, “I like you, Ryan. I’m sure you know that I do, but”—emotion spilled into her voice—“I can’t do this anymore. It’s dangerous, and…” She took a centering breath. “Just because I might believe in you, doesn't mean that you believe in me. So once I walk out that door, I don’t think that we should be alone like this again.”

Ryan nodded. Walking toward her, he wrapped his arms tenaciously around her body. His warm mouth coming against her ear, he said, “That doesn't mean we can’t be together tonight.”

A sensation of candescence spread through Abigail’s body. After months of fighting, she was sure Ryan had been doing everything he could to push her away. But here he was, standing beside her in a dark room, making her weak with the very sound of his words. A man she’d just discovered with a loaded gun—she was about to trust him with everything she had.

She trembled as Ryan inched closer. He took her hands and laid them against the center of his chest, just where they’d been before they pulled apart. She didn’t know what he intended, only knew that she wanted whatever it was like a desire she didn’t dared to dream.

Weary of the look in his eye, which indicated he wanted more than just to hold her, she said, “I don’t know, Ryan. After everything that’s happened, all the doubts and suspicion I’ve been carrying, and now this.” Looking from the gun on the bed to his twinkling blue gaze, she said, “I’m just not sure.”

He tightened his grip on her hands. “I know you’re not sure if you can trust me. I’ve never given you any reason to trust me. But if you knew how much I want you, how much I’ve wanted you since the beginning, Abigail…” He shook his head. “One night. That’s all I’m asking for. Just give me this one night. And I’ll make all of your dreams come true.”

Warmth shimmied over Abigail’s skin like melted butter. He was serious, and the look in his eyes confirmed that he meant what he was saying. Until just five minutes ago, she’d thought Ryan Newberry couldn’t stand her, that his only agenda where she was concerned was keeping her out of his hair. But the way he was looking at her, passion burning like wildfire in his eyes, all common sense seemed to escape her.

She perched on her toes as Ryan leaned in. Her eyes fell closed as his warms lips surrounded hers.

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