Tag Archives: contemporary romance

A Rose By Any Other Name . . . Our Guest, Rebecca Rose

Happy Friday! Casey Wyatt here. Please join me in a big Scribes welcome for Rebecca Rose! Rebecca is a fellow member of CTRWA and a very talented, multipublished author. Also, she’s a lot of fun and fearlessly wears shoes that cause a mere mortals to weep!!

Tell us about your latest novel –Midnight Sunrise?

Gunnery Sergeant Jake Sanders may have survived the ambush, but he will need more than Marine strategies to escape the mental warfare he now lives in. When Sophia Agnés begins working for Jake, her stubborn and sometimes volatile qualities never picture038allude to her fight for self independence, or the passionate impact she will have on his recovery.

Being an ex-ballerina Sophia understands the words loyalty and hard work. When she falls for Jake with the force of a concussion grenade, she must decide if she has the courage, honor, and commitment, to make them a team that can defeat any enemy. Even an invisible one.

-A long time ago I read a story about a Gunnery Sergeant who came back from the war. He seemed perfectly fine, did normal things. Until one day he dressed in his military uniform, shined his shoes, and killed himself. This story stuck with me because of the many in my family who serve, and have served, in the armed forces. My grandfather never talked about his time in WWII, but I occasionally heard his screams in the night when I stayed with them.

This story took me two years to write and research. I needed to get all my information correct as to honor the men and woman who have served. My uncle Sergeant First Class Bernard Bolduc and my step-father First Sergeant Scott Ryer, assisted me with the scenes that were too emotional and too complicated for a civilian to understand. My step-father also helped me understand PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and Disassociation Disorder in the military. Being the man military personnel go to setup health appointments with, Sergeant Ryer’s input became vital to the authenticity of my story. (I was totally drained when I finished this novel and in bad need of a beer!)

Tell us about your previous publications –

 Divine Redemption is a story I selfishly wrote all for myself. It took two and half weeks and I didn’t change much of the original draft. I love a redemption story and believe everyone deserved a second chance. I’m just really glad my family gave me one at the end of this writing blitz. There was no food or clean clothes during that time.

BLURB: Sometimes Redemption Is The Only Salvation Needed To Forgive Yourself.

In his first ever selfless act Donald Write takes a bullet for a man he just met, Daniel Allen. Now he’s changed his name and moved across the country to live with Daniel’s family whose welcoming home reception wasn’t very warm.

Jacqueline is Daniel’s daughter. This soft spoken, well dressed lady soon teaches Donald that looks can be deceiving and her heart can be his if he’s willing to open up and except her gift of love.

Donald hadn’t counted on the intense and immediate attraction to Jacqueline. She’s the boss’s daughter and off limits; that is until he finds himself with an irresistible primal need to be with her. She shows him love in a way he’s never felt before and gives him the strength to become the better man he’s always wanted to be. But how can Donald touch and care for someone so pure of heart when their future can be destroyed by his past? A future built on redemption and second chances.

 Divine Turmoil is the first novel I ever wrote and it changed my life. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, even did small poems and stories for my local newspaper. However, this particular story cemented the storyteller in me. J

BLURB: Who Said Coming Home Was Easy?

Many people have felt the urge to get out.  It can affect even the most practical of people.  When one leaves and has to return, it can evoke feelings of failure.

Serena O’Neal is feeling just that.  Her resentful sister is now tossing their mother’s illness in her face. The blame needs to be placed somewhere, and Serena is the perfect scapegoat.

Brian Allen doesn’t believe in second chances.  He’s been down that road before, and thinks of himself as a failure when it comes to relationships.  However, Serena’s carefree personality and hidden fragility are too much for Brian to ignore.  He finds himself needing to take care of her, while his heart is falling deeply in love.

In life, unexpected surprises can be the most pleasant of astonishment’s. When Serena is faced with unconditional love, she runs once again. With a sudden revelation, she’s forced to go back home and face the mess she has created.  In doing so, she must not only convince the man she loves to forgive her, she must also forgive herself.

Please share your path to publication. I understand you started out with a digital e-publisher. What was that experience like? And why did you decide to go the traditional route?

I can’t say I really decided to go the e-pub route because I feel it picked me. After a hundred or so rejections from publishers and agents (some held Divine Turmoil up to ten months) I made a decision…if I didn’t land a contract in six months, I was going to self the career change. One day surfing the web I found Lyrical Press’s website. The minute I saw it, read about Renee Rocco, I knew it was my home. I sent my query, synopsis, and full manuscript (per their request) and a week later they offered me a contract. I loved being a Lyrical Press author; they all work together so well. But, I wanted a bigger press; somewhere I would be able to touch more readers with my divine redemption covertales.

Favorite pastime when not writing?

Totally messing with my children! LOL Really, we have the most fun. We’re a household of jokers. What’s really great is that as they’ve gotten older (17, 13, & 9) they still want to spend time with us. How crazy is that?

What advice do you have for newbie writers?

WRITE IT AND BE PROUD!! I didn’t tell anyone that I was writing until after receiving my first contract. I didn’t want to hear, “Oh, Becc thinks she’s going to be a writer. What is she thinking?” Actually, I did hear that one, but ignored them all. Believing in yourself is the key to any success. Now when people excuse my profession for writing fluff and eating Bon-bons it doesn’t hurt so much. I know the pain, tears, and sleepless nights they don’t realize are part of the job. I believe there is an illusion when it comes to a writers’ life and the reader really doesn’t want to know about. For instance; that I’m typing this (right now) with two cats curled up to me, I’m bone tired with eye strain from typing for hours, I don’t have high heeled feather slippers on but I do have pink flannel PJ’s and mismatched socks. See? I ruined it for ya, didn’t I? LOL

If you could travel back in time and forewarn your newbie writer self, what advice would you give her?

Oh Gosh! There are so many polar sides to me. I think I would tell her to be kinder to herself. While I don’t mind being late–most of the time, while I manage to let many things roll off of me, when I first started writing seriously I gave myself NO wiggle room. I’m still a stickler with perfection and reprimand myself for not knowing enough; however, I’m not losing sleep anymore from second guessing me. So, yes. I’d tell myself, “chill out!”

Do you have any other novels coming out soon? And can you give us a hint about them?

Yup, I have Midnight Sunrise and it’s follow up, which is yet to be titled. The follow up is fun. I really like torturing my characters.

Then I will be finishing up Noble Deception, which is an emotional mess for two people who clearly are supposed to be together except one of them is engaged!

Then I have the third installment to the Divine Series, Divine Valor, which will tell Gabe’s story.

Yikes, I better get cracking!

Now, you didn’t think you’d get away without answering a question about The Doubt Monster, did you? Does he or she plague you? And if so, how do you deal with him or her?

Oh, I didn’t think you would let me slide on that one! LOL That darn Doubt Monster is awful. J

My monster is conflict. I never feel I have enough of it, and adequate emotion to go with it. This is usually when my family suffers because I get upset about the scene not working out and I end up causing the conflict! LOL I tend to get the scene done after that. (In all fairness, I announce when this is happening and tell them that I’m looking for a fight. Everyone in the house is well trained now.)

Quiz time!

Favorite food?  Guacamole!! YUMMY (I do consider this a food)

Favorite place to visit? Our family vacation spot in Maine. It’s a little scary because we’re so far from civilization but, with no electricity all you can hear is your thoughts. The beavers and loons in the water are pretty cool, too.

Guilty pleasure? Really, really bad movies and TV. I’m so addicted to it. I drive everyone in the house nuts. Heeheehee

Sexiest man on earth? Sexiest woman?  Besides my husband? Hmm…Hugh Jackman. The man is incredible and I love him. The body, the talent, and–oh my–the accent!!! Guacamole and Hugh, now that’s a dream come true. J

Sexiest woman I would have to say Angelina Jolie. She beautiful inside and out. I like how she’s just a little crazy and believe that’s what makes her a great mom. Her volunteer work has touched millions and she’s ready to kick butt at any time. Truthfully, I think I might have a girl crush.

Stiletto heels or flats? Stilettos!! I’m a heel girl. Love, love, love them. Mark, my husband, gave me six inch stilettos for Christmas. Then there are these totally cool pink ones I just bought last month. I wasn’t wearing them for a while because moms can’t run after active kids in them. So, they were turned in for funny, ugly sneakers. The kids are glad I’m in heel mode, again.

On a guy – Tattoos or piercings? Oh, dear. The hubby has both! I’d have to say tattoos. For our eleventh anniversary we didn’t know what we were going to do without children.

He said, “Hey, wanna get tattoos?”

“Sure! Why not,” I said. And that’s how I got the phoenix on my hip. Mark has…umm…five, I think. Maybe more. I keep trying to convince him to get more. I giant one across his chest would be…WOW! *giggles*

BIO:

Once Rebecca Rose picked up her first romance novel she knew her destiny was typed on those pages. She lives to find romance in ordinary life doing everyday things, and believes we only need to be mindful enough to find it. While being slightly dyslexic creates some challenges, she feels compelled to write about the characters who reside in her head.

Now with multiple books published, she is a full-time writer with a nag for a muse who even talks obsessively in the car. That is, of course, when the voice can get a word in edgewise with her three children and husband of nineteen years along for the adventure.

Rebecca hopes her writing brings you to laugh, cry and rejoice with her characters. picture004Maybe even leave a lasting impression on your soul.

Buy link: http://lyricalpress.com/divine-redemption/

EXCERPT: When an intense attraction leads Donald into Jacqueline’s compassionate arms, he discovers redemption and second chances can be his–if he can stop his past
from destroying their future.

“Hey, Donald, I need that expense report. Where are you?”

“Under the desk.” Since Donald started working for the Allens, he’d learned a valuable lesson in patience. Not touching Jacqueline was the hardest thing he’d ever done.

“You know, Donald, there’s talk that you’re the most eligible bachelor in town.”

Donald craned his head to look at her. “That’s my chair you’re sitting in.”

“Yes, but I like the view of your behind.”

He wiggled it for her and she laughed.

“Donald, what are you looking for?”

“I dropped my paperclips.”

His dry response had another giggle coming from her.

“You’re too cute.”

“I’m not trying to be cute. This job really sucks sometimes, you know.”

“But you’re so good at it.” She rubbed her foot along his bottom, then attempted to go between his legs but Donald closed them.

“We talked about this, Jacqueline.” He turned and placed a hand on each of her knees.

“I’m only flirting with you.”

“You’re sexually harassing me, and I believe there’s a strict policy about that.”

“Donald,” she said, bringing her face close to his.

“Ya.” His eyes went to her lips and back to her eyes.

“I need that expense report.”

Thank you so much for having me I had a lot of fun.

Have a Sparkling Day!

Rebecca Rose

Thanks for being our guest today, Rebecca! Don’t be shy Scribes fans, if you have a question, ask away!.

Hot Potato

Hi, Scribe fans! Great to see you. I’m in the middle of a project–doing a rewrite on a novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. It’s a contemporary romance (with an embedded mystery, of course!) about a woman with an organizational problem. Ask me how I know about this, LOL! So how about if I share an easy recipe for a winter day, one that doesn’t require a lot of thought or energy? It will get you out of the kitchen and back to your Work-in-Progress in no time.

Mr._and_Mrs._Potato_Head_Toy_Story_3[1]

Easy Potato Soup

5 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (I like Yukon gold, but any potato will really do)
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
3 to 4 cups good chicken broth (or a couple of cans–but make sure it’s flavorful)

1/2 c. sour cream (light is okay, just don’t use the fat free stuff) — optional

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat a bit and cook until potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over low/medium heat until fragrant and translucent. Don’t allow the mixture to brown.

Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Don’t turn the heat back on yet. Add onion and garlic mixture. Add 2 cups of chicken broth, and mix with an immersion (stick) blender until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a potato masher will work fine, although you’ll end up with a chunkier soup. Add enough additional chicken broth to get to the consistency you like. (Remember when we made chicken broth? Click here. Now would be a great time to use it!)

Add salt and pepper to taste and heat the soup gently (over low heat). If desired, swirl in sour cream.

Enjoy as is, or top with leftover crumbled cooked bacon, diced ham, shredded cheddar cheese, or a sprinkling of chopped green onion. Serve with a green salad (get one of those salad kits in the produce section so you don’t have to wash lettuce).

Now, ask somebody else to do the dishes while you get back to work on your manuscript!

Help a sista out! What’s your favorite quick and easy recipe (other than calling for takeout–that’s a given) for when you’re deep in the writer’s cave?

Highland Haven – Krystal Brookes

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here. I’d like to introduce everyone to my fellow Pink Petal Books author Krystal Brookes. She’s been kind enough to answer our interview questions. Stay tuned to the end for an excerpt of her latest novella, Highland Haven.

Tell us about your latest novel –Highland Haven?

Highland Haven is the story of Erin Murray, a young teacher who has taken a job on a remote island in Scotland. She’s on the run from something and the island of Kilrigh seems like a safe haven. The first person she meets is the gorgeous, younger son of the laird. Finlay is kind, helpful and sexy, but Erin is not in a place to be able to trust again.

Do you have to read book 1, Highland Fling first? Can you tell us a bit about that book?

No both stories, while set on the same island can stand alone. The Hero of Highland Fling is Finlay’s older brother Brodie. When an old childhood friend comes back to Kilrigh, he falls for her and has to convince her that it’s worth coming back to Kilrigh permanently to be with him.

Is the Island of Kilrigh a real place? And if not, is it based on an actual location in Scotland?

No it’s completely made up. I did travel around some of the islands when I was younger and it is a mix of Skye (which is a lot larger than Kilrigh), Cumbrae and Mull. It also has a lot in common with the fictional island of Rhanna from the Christine Marion Fraser novels.

What made you decide to go with a smaller press? And how has your experience been so far?

I did Nanowrimo and I finished it but knew it needed a load of work (it’s still not finished). I had looked around for publishers and I liked Pink Petal because their submissions page made it sound like they really look after their authors. Many submission pages make it sound like they are doing you a huge favour and they are being inconvenienced by your submission. I didn’t get that sense from Pink Petal. They help to bring on new authors. Also they had out a submission call for Dangerous Men Dangerous places and I had an idea for a story, so I wrote it and took a chance. I really didn’t expect to get published first time.

You have a fantastic cover. How much input did you have into it? And who is that handsome man on the cover?

I get some input and get to say what kind of thing I like. Obviously there are some things that can’t be put on. I would have loved a game of shinty on the bottom but unfortunately, I doubt there are many royalty free photos of that. Obviously, the guy is meant to be Finlay. I have no idea who the model is. I love that it looks really tender.

Why a Scottish Contemporary? What drew you to that subject?

I come from Scotland, I live in Scotland and people always say you should write what you know. While not living on an island, I do live in the countryside. But I wasn’t keen to write historicals. I wanted to write about modern Scottish men with their iPhones in their sporrans, flashing their bare butts in Facebook photos.

Can you tell us a bit about the Dangerous Men series? And what’s it like writing short stories vs. longer novels?

Dangerous Men, Dangerous Places was an anthology. It is still available as such. It’s pretty much just that: stories about dangerous men in dangerous places. My story is called Bounty and is about a female Bounty hunter who has to crash land on a prison planet full of criminals whom she caught. Rob takes her in and protects her but she’s not sure how he’ll react when he finds out that she was the bounty hunter who caught him. It’s available in its own right as a short novella or as part of the anthology in ebook or print format.

I hear you got your start writing Star Trek fan fiction. What made you decided to write Scottish contemporary and science fiction? Was the transition hard?

Yeah, I first tried writing in 2011 when I wrote some fan fiction for my buddies. My profile (Libby Kim) still gets a lot of hits each day over in fanfiction.net. Most of my stories are about Janeway and Chakotay. My only real problem with changing was to stop seeing all my heroines with bobbed red hair like Captain Janeway. I can’t get away from the tall dark handsome hero though.

What advice do you have for newbie writers?

Don’t compare yourself to others. Work hard at the marketing. Take every opportunity to do blog tours and interviews etc. And remember that very few writers will get a lucky break on a scale like EL James did.

Do you have any other novels coming out soon? And can you give us a hint about them?

The third novella in the Kilrigh Heat series is due out on 20th December. Keep an eye on Pink Petal’s website and my website. I have a lot of nearly finished irons in the fire.

Now, it’s tradition to ask all our guests about The Doubt Monster. Does he or she plague you? And if so, how do you deal with him or her?

I live with the doubt monster constantly. I used to seek reassurance and still do to an extent. I guess I just try to ignore him.

Quiz time!

Favorite food? doughnuts

Favorite place to visit? the beach in the summer

Favorite pastime when not writing? visiting my nieces

Guilty pleasure? Sitting in Starbucks writing (I know, it’s so cliched.)

Sexiest man on earth? Colin Firth or Karl Urban

Kirk or Picard? Neither. Janeway. She is by far the best captain-if a little pre-menstrual at times. But having met both Shatner and Stewart, Stewart is the one with charisma in bucket loads. So I have to go for Picard.

Favorite Star Trek series? Favorite episode? Star Trek Voyager. Favourite episode is Scientific Method. She has ha huge dose of PMT in that one (and an alien device giving her headaches.)

Who would you cast to be in a movie version of Highland Haven? Daniel Radcliffe could play Finlay (if he can do a Scottish Accent – I’m sure Robbie Coltrane could teach him) and Evanna Lynch could play Erin (though the same again with the Scottish accent).

Excerpt

A couple of hours later, Erin and Finlay walked into the convenience store for a look around. They’d had lunch in the village pub, and he’d introduced her to the pub landlord, the barmaid, and all the customers who had come in for a lunchtime drink. The doctor and the dentist had both told her to pop in any time to register.

Erin’s eye caught a small stand of postcards showing beautiful views of Kilrigh. She stopped to leaf through them, picking a few that she would send to family and friends if she ever felt safe enough to let them know her address. Someone walked down the aisle, causing her to step closer to the shelf behind.

As she moved forward, her elbow caught a glass jar of jam, sending it smashing into pieces on the hard tile floor. Biting her lip, Erin immediately bent down to pick it up. Suddenly, she was hauled by the upper arms back to her feet by Finlay. Instinctively, she moved to shield her face, and she cowered, trying to pull her arm out of his grasp.

“Watch, you’ll cut yourself,” Finlay barked, moving her out of the way. His grip loosened, and he pushed her gently away as if she’d stung him. His dark brows knit together in a frown. He stared at her for a moment then looked away.

“Ailsa, do you have a brush and pan?” he called over the shelf to the woman behind the counter. The woman said yes and hurried away. Erin could not take her eyes off Finlay. She’d known in her head that not all men hit women, but somehow that knowledge disappeared from her heart. She had probably offended him by the way she reacted. He turned to her, his frown deepening.

“Sorry,” she whispered.

“No, no Erin, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you. I just didn’t want you to cut yourself. I didn’t mean to be so rough. You looked as if you thought I was going to…” His voice trailed off as the short, white-haired woman came up behind him and nudged him out of the way, so she could clean up the mess.

She wanted to get out the shop as quickly as possible. Such a nice day had been spoiled by her clumsiness. He’d never want to remain friends with someone as messed up as she was. She grabbed a packet of cold meat, not really caring what it was, a couple of tomatoes, and a loaf of bread. When she got to the cereals, she automatically reached for the bran flakes—then stopped. She didn’t even like bran flakes. But Pete had insisted on her eating the healthy cereal in case she got fat. She looked at the small selection and chose some nutty clusters with chocolate chips. She knew it was a mental middle-finger salute to the man who had terrorised her for years and it was childish in some ways, but she got great satisfaction for something as small as choosing her own breakfast cereal. She looked at Finlay, expecting a raised eyebrow over her unhealthy choice but he didn’t seem to notice. He seemed to be in a world of his own.

It took Ailsa only a minute or so to ring up her purchases on the till.

“That’s six pounds twenty-four, please.”

“What about the jam?”

“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” She looked around at Finlay, who was studying the display of car magazines.

“Please let me pay for it. I feel terrible.” Pete’s lazy drawl was in her head. She was stupid and clumsy. He was only with her because he felt sorry for her. She was ugly, fat, ignorant. She shuddered as she tried to push the memories away.

“Oh lass, don’t be silly. We have breakages all the time. I wouldn’t dream of taking the money for it. Besides, any friend of Finlay’s is a friend of mine.” Erin nodded and smiled. She already liked the white-haired, plump older woman. “He’s single, you know,” she whispered conspiratorially.

Heat flooded into Erin’s cheeks and she looked again to see if Finlay had heard. He seemed too engrossed in an article in one of the periodicals he had picked up.

“I do now, I guess.” She giggled and felt the tension ease a bit. Finlay turned and motioned her to go first out of the shop. They both thanked Ailsa, who winked at them and turned to continue cleaning the counter.

When they reached the jeep, Finlay opened the door for her to climb in, then moved around to the driver’s side and settled himself on the driver’s seat. He stared at the steering wheel, biting his lip as if working something out. He inhaled deeply before he addressed her.

“Erin, did you think I was going to hit you when you broke the jam?”

She turned her head from him, staring out the passenger side window—tears burning behind her eyes.

“Has someone hit you before?”

Blinking back the tears, she turned to face him. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she said gruffly.

“Fine.” He nodded, lifting a hand to cup her cheek. “Most men don’t hit women. I don’t hit women,” he emphasized before leaning forward and kissing her lightly first on one eye, then on the other. She kept her eyes closed—willing the tears away. Without another word, he turned on the engine, and the car moved off.

They drove in silence back to her cottage. As he stopped the vehicle, he produced a business card from his jeans pocket and handed it to her.

“It has my mobile, business, and home numbers. Call me if you need anything, are unsure of anything, or just want a chat.”

She nodded and gave him an uncertain smile. As she undid her seatbelt and opened the door, he laid his hand gently on her arm. “Erin, don’t judge us all by the actions of one weak-minded bully.”

This time she didn’t look at him. She simply got out of the jeep, shut the door, and headed for the cottage. At the front step, she looked back to see him run a hand dejectedly through his hair before putting the vehicle into gear and driving off.

She shut the door and leaned her back against it, allowing her legs to bend. As her butt hit the floor, she raised her knees, hugged them, and allowed the tears to flow. Was Pete’s behaviour going to cause this reaction in her for the rest of her life? Today, Finlay had shown a care and tenderness that Pete never had and she’d felt safe. But could she truly learn to trust him after all that had happened? She wasn’t sure.

Blurb

When Erin Murray decides to escape her past in Glasgow, she picks the small island of Kilrigh as her haven. Arriving at her new home, she’s alone and scared, but is welcomed by the overly cheerful laird’s son. The tall, dark and sexy Finlay must earn her trust–something she’s not willing to give easily.

Erin begins to let the walls of her heart come down, only for her past to darken Kilrigh. Can Finlay keep her world from falling apart and can their budding relationship survive this threat?

Available from http://pinkpetalbooks.com

About Krystal:

When Krystal Brookes isn’t enjoying staring at the beautiful scenery of her Scottish home, she’s writing about what’s under hunky Highlanders’ kilts, feeding her nieces too many sweets then taking them home, and drinking way too much coffee.

She started out writing Star Trek fan fiction but has recently progressed to original stories for publication. She writes contemporary Scottish romance and science fiction romance. When the wet dreary weather in Scotland gets too much, she dreams of taking off in a space ship to find warmer climes. Who wants to go to a sunny country when you can head for a sunny planet?

Krystal, thanks so much for being our guest today! Scribes readers, if you have a questions or Krystal, please ask! Am I the only one curious about the Scottish men Facebook butt flashing?

What Physics Games Taught Me

Thea Devine here, a rabid Mahjong Titans fan.  I play it endlessly, I’m fascinated by it, I love it.  But what I never expected was that I would go crazy nuts over physics games.  You know — the cut, slice, dice, collide and explode things kind of games.  Oh my goodness — your basic hopeless-at-math, barely-passed-algebra, don’t even talk to me about geometry, calculus. trigonometry or physics student madly in love with and intensively absorbed by physics games.

And I’m constantly searching out new ones (don’t tell my husband — who did take calculus and trig) and I spend far too much time playing games, which require analyzing angles, balance, sweet spots, swing, timing and torque, among other things, in order to collide, cut, destroy or dynamite the objective.

But here’s the thing:  the angles, timing, swing, and speed don’t always work the way you think they will.  Sometimes, when you slice one way, your object collapses the opposite way.  Or your maneuver to get two pieces to collide when one is descending faster than the other which is perched on a ledge with no discernible way to reach the oncoming object leaves you dizzy and totally perplexed.  How many times do you try it the way you think it should work before you realize you have to recalculate and devise a different  theory?

Sometimes, I discovered, you have to think back to front, down instead of up, sideways instead of straight ahead.

Sometimes, I thought in a lightbulb moment, that’s how you have to approach a plot that’s not working. Slice and dice.  Go under instead of over.  Cut the ground out from under a character and see what happens.  Think front to back, especially if you’re plotting a mystery.   The bad guy has to account for everything in order not to be suspected.  The guy who says he took off on a camping trip with his kids the snowy stormy night his wife was murdered sounds awfully suspicious.  There has to be a better alibi than that.  Start with the murder.  Who what when where why how.  Especially what and how.  Back to front:  how did he do it, how did he cover his tracks, what’s his alibi, how does he make it foolproof, where does he slip up (subtly)?

Or reverse things.  Make a male character into a woman (or vice versa).  That solved a problem for me when I had in my head the picture of this guy on a subway whom I noticed when my husband and I were on our way into Manhattan one evening (we lived in Brooklyn then — that’s how long he occupied my head).

He’d knelt in front of this couple, and the expression on his face was just gorgeous:  all lit up, all intense and focused on the couple. . For years I wanted to make him into a  a hero — but I couldn’t fit him and that moment into any scenario I was working on.  Then one day I thought — he doesn’t have to be a guy. And if I changed him and his glowing intensity into a woman, it would give me the heroine for a contemporary project I’d been thinking about.

Outside the box.  Sometimes you have switch off that linear thought process.  When I was in the midst of thinking about the plot for The Darkest Heart, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of a romantic vampire hero.  I was thinking blood, gore, dank, dark, dirt, yuck — romantic?  Really?  I mean I knew the reasons vampires are alluring:   they’re mysterious, they’re immortal;  you’re flirting with reckless endangerment (death is but a kiss away).  they’re protective … but none of that sparked any romance in me.  So I asked my husband.  And he said, in his logical look-at-every-angle way, “they’re victims.  They had no choice.”

I mean, I never even thought of that.  I wasn’t as deeply into physics games then (if that’s an excuse), so naturally I didn’t think of a different angle.  But instantly that one outside my box perception opened everything up for me.  My hero was now vulnerable.  He’s wrestling with what he was, what he’s become, what he can’t change, and where this irrevocable transformation must lead, even as he’s bent on a warpath of revenge.  And then the heroine pops up to derail all those plans …

And there was the plot.  All because of one different perspective on vampires.

Oh, do I love my husband!

Do you play physics games?  What about your plots and plans?  Have you ever sliced, diced, exploded or reversed a plot?  Did it work?  How much do you love your husband?

Welcome our Guest, Author Allison Merritt

Today’s guest is Indie-Author Allison Merritt. Her debut novel, TREASURE HUNTER’S LADY, is available on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.

Romy Farrington seems to have the perfect life—a world-famous archeologist father and upcoming marriage to a wealthy businessman. But to Romy, her new life in the city is a punishment.

For years, she traveled the world at her father’s side, exploring new lands and uncovering ancient secrets. It was everything she ever wanted, until a near-fatal encounter with hostile natives forced her and her father into a life of retirement in Boston and an undesired advance into proper society.

Everything changes again when she’s saved from an accident by a brash Texan in a back alley. Abel Courte may act like a care-free cowboy, but he’s harboring a secret—he’s searching for the Diamond of Uktena, a legendary jewel that can cure any disease known to man. He needs information Romy’s father has in order to get to the jewel. When he traces the origin of the Diamond to Dakota Territory, he sets off to claim the treasure, only to find the archeologist’s fiery redheaded daughter stuck to him like a bug in sap.

 In a race against time, Romy and Abel must learn to trust each other as they undertake a cross-country journey that will expose them to lands uncharted by white men, a deadly battle against the fearsome creature in possession of the Diamond and a fight to return to civilization where they might make the greatest discovery of all—love. 

Sounds great! Allison was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

 •      What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell? What is holding you back?

I grew up and still live in the Ozark Mountains. When I was a teenager, I worked at a theme park that illustrated the history of the area. I was a ride operator at an indoor roller coaster called Fire In The Hole that centered around a town destroyed by Baldknobbers–a vigilante group after the Civil War that gained too much power and abused it. The ride attendants were “volunteer firefighters” and the riders had to help put out the fire. It was so goofy, but a lot of fun. The sad thing is that the Baldknobbers were a guerilla organization that terrorized the Ozarks. I’d love to write a historical romance centered around that. I actually started a chapter a couple of years ago, but haven’t found the motivation to write a novel about it.

      What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

The decision to self-publish. I’ve pretty much shouldered the entire process, from writing to making my own covers. Thank God for critique partners willing to beta read. They’re true miracle workers. From the time I was a teenager, I wondered how I’d ever make it in the publishing world, but the way the Internet has welcomed indie authors, I feel like I’m home.

      They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere. What is yours? What is it about? What makes it terrible? Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

Yep, I definitely have one of those. Mine is called The Convict & the Cattleman. It’s set in 1840 in New South Wales, Australia. It’s about a woman sentenced to transportation for stealing and a cattle grazer who needs a nurse for his orphaned niece. The thing that made it so terrible is that the heroine is whiny, the hero is way too cranky and there’s an antagonist that is so cheesy, you just end up rolling your eyes at her. I worked on that novel for over a year and eventually felt that it was sucking out my soul. I’d love to rewrite it, but I don’t know if I’ll ever find the time.

      Do you have a word related pet peeve?

When I use Open Office, it refuses to accept armoire as a word. That is a legitimate piece of furniture and it drives me crazy. Also, negotiate. I argued with spell check for ten minutes one day trying to spell negotiate. I was spelling it wrong, of course, because I wanted it to say “negociate.” “Ti” does not spell “she.” I’m a victim of writing the way I talk.

      What is your junk food of choice?

I make this great sour cream dill dip to go with tortilla chips. I can’t give you an exact recipe because I never measure the ingredients, but it goes something like this: a 16oz tub of sour cream, onion powder to taste (the longer you leave it in the fridge, the more the onion flavor comes out), table salt, a whole bunch of dill (I use dried) and a splash of red wine vinegar or Worcestershire sauce. It is delicious! I can eat almost the whole tub at one sitting.

      What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?

I’m afraid of heights. Well, not heights so much as splattering on the ground (kind of like the hero in my novel, Abel). In 2010, after I lost my data entry job, I took a job interview at one of those zip-line places. I thought maybe I could work the cash register in the gift shop. They actually had the interviewees do the zip-line. I closed my eyes, stepped off the platform and swore a blue streak across the 100-foot cable to the next platform, but actually kind of enjoyed it. It wasn’t until we were ready to get back on the ground that I almost lost it. For some reason I assumed there would be stairs to get down. Nope. They want you to step into thin air and drop 100 feet to the ground. Why I was okay going across, I don’t know, but I balked big time at dropping. I forgot to keep my legs straight and ended up landing on my knees when I finally stepped off. Needless to say, I didn’t get that job.

      What is your guilty pleasure? {Remember: this is a ‘G’ rated blog!}

There’s a restaurant in my hometown called The Springfield Pasta Company. It was formerly The Pasta House Company, but who’s counting how many times it changed names, right? They have cheesecake that is to die for. It comes in huge slices with a layer of sour cream and a layer of cream cheese with strawberry topping. It’s the perfect reward after meeting a word count goal or finishing a novel.

 Thanks for being our guest!

You can follow Allison Merritt at:

Blog – http://havenovelwilledit.blogspot.com

Facebook – http://facebook.com/allisonmwrites

Twitter – http://twitter.com/allison_merritt