Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Caroline Clemmons says she  wanted to be a writer since reading her first Nancy Drew novel. But it was not until she discovered Nora Roberts that she turned her energy to writing historical romances, contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries, and paranormals.  She says her path to publication was a bit longer than Nora's but the journey was worth the effort. 
She currently lives on a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas.
She has joined us today to discuss method POV writing. If you find this post useful, don't forget to leave Caroline a comment.


Okay, here’s the magic key to writing great characters and handling POV. This is the writer’s version of the secret handshake. Ready?
My advice for achieving good characters is that you practice method POV writing.

What,” you ask? “Method POV writing? I thought the term was method acting.”
Those of you who’ve had theater classes know how important it is to become the character one portrays on stage. I maintain it’s just as important for authors to become a method writer. 

Become the character in whose point of view you’re writing! 
This is important no matter whether the viewpoint is hero, heroine, villain, or a secondary character. You’re not merely a secretary or reporter recording notes of a meeting going on inside your head. You must BECOME one of the participants of that meeting, recording all you see and feel during the events of the scene.

Even though you are a creator goddess, you are not looking down on a scene unfolding beneath your lofty perch. Using your goddess-like power, you have become the POV character. You are IN the scene and whatever happens is happening to you.  
How would you feel if these words were spoken to you? If these actions were taken toward you? What do you smell and hear? Is the air cool or sultry, is there a light breeze or a storm? Are you hopeful or distraught?

Method POV is how you eliminate head hopping. Method POV is also how you inbed emotion into your story.

If you become the character, you won’t switch back and forth because you’ll be immersed in one character’s experiences. Some successful writers don’t adhere to this policy. Nora Roberts constantly switches POV. I love her books, and that’s the only thing she does that annoys me. At (I think this is the year—where does time go?) the 1996 RWA conference in Dallas, Nora said, “I like to know what all the people in the room are thinking.”

Fine, but we don’t have her fan base or star status. We must stick to one or two POV’s per scene? We love all our characters, so which one do you choose for the POV? A good choice is to pick the character who has the most to lose in the scene and use his/her POV. 
Emotions pull in readers!
Let the reader know exactly what you as POV character feel. Make your experiences alive, real to the reader. Pull the reader into the scene so he or she shares your POV character’s experiences and emotions through your writing. If you become the character, you will show events in the scene as they appear to you instead of telling the reader how others in the scene react. Instead of hopping to the other characters’ heads to record their thoughts, you will tell us how you as the POV character perceive what the other character feels or what he’s thinking. You won't say, though, things like this:

John stared at Mary, and she knew he thought she was crazy.

Mary can't know what John thinks unless he tells her. Otherwise, she can only guess. She can think:

John stared at Mary, and she wondered if he thought she was crazy.

Emotions experienced by the POV character create a similar response from the reader. Reel in the reader with credible, realistically expressed emotions. Remember what Charles Dickens said, “Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em cry, make ‘em wait.”
Sometimes what the POV character perceives is different than the actual reaction of the other character, but you don’t care. As the POV character, all that matters at that moment is how you perceive your surroundings. This applies to each character who has a POV in your book.
John held up a handkerchief, “This looks like yours and I found it near Higgins’ body. Did you see Higgins die?”
“No, of course not.” Mary appeared flustered and wouldn’t meet his gaze. “Why would you ask that of me?”
She’s lying, John thought. Perhaps Higgins attacked her and she killed him in self defense. 
John thinks Mary is guilty, but in fact she is only protecting her brother, the one she thinks is the murderer. The misconception drives a wedge between hero John and heroine Mary, and at this point the reader doesn’t know why she’s lying. Situations like this can be used as plot devices to further the story. 
By the way, I don’t mean misconceptions that could be solved by the h/h sitting down and talking over the situation. I mean secrets or misconceptions that create a problem, but their existence can’t be talked through because neither character knows they’re there or one character cannot reveal the truth. My favorite illustration of this is a movie, "The Scarlet Pimpernel," the version starring Jane Seymour.
You probably know to limit the number of viewpoints. In a single title, I would have no more than four or five. In category, fewer viewpoints can be given—usually only two, those of the hero and heroine. 
I once had someone ask me how she could imagine herself to be one of her characters? It surprised me, coming from a writer. That’s not one of my problems, so I had supposed all writers could play make believe. Author Rebecca Russell suggests that if your imagination needs a jolt to visualize yourself as a deadly killer, for instance, try writing a few paragraphs of the character’s backstory as if you were telling it to someone else. 
Example: When I was three, my mother died. My father told me I reminded him of my cheating mother, so he abandoned me to my grandparents when I was five. They were repressed evangelicals who believed beating a child taught obedience. When that failed, they locked me in a closet without food.

They died in a fire when I was eighteen. Some believed I killed them. Maybe so, but they deserved it. Since then, I’ve been alone. Sometimes alone is better. I’ve always been alone, never hoped for more. 
Then I met Mary, lovely Mary with her beautiful smile and kind heart. If I could force Mary to love me, then I know I could be happy at last. Mary says she loves John, but I know she really wants to be with me. John is keeping her from me, I know he is, so he has to die. Then Mary will love only me because I saved her from John’s control. She’ll see she belongs to me then. Forever.
Oooh, I creeped myself out, but you get the idea.
In order to know how you would respond to any event, you first have to understand the character. For instance, a savvy streetwise woman will respond to a threat differently than a shy, sheltered woman. If you're in the character's head, you will automatically react correctly.

Don’t you love being you? A god or goddess builds a world and its inhabitants to fit your requirements?  Do you have a crown or tiara to wear while you write?
For a peek at Caroline's newest book go to her website at .

Two million dollars? What a fortune to inherit! Courtney Madison has battled poverty her entire twenty-five years but is determined to make a safe and happy home for her teenaged brother after the death of their mom. Her inheritance in West Texas looks like the answer to her prayers. Once she arrives in Sweet Springs, Texas and moves in across the road from a handsome rancher, she soon learns her problems are just beginning.
Derek Corrigan, who co-owns some of Ms. Madison’s properties, suspects the worst of his new neighbor and vows to fight his growing attraction. He knows what women do to him--they always leave and take away chunks of his heart. He's been there, done that, had the vaccination long ago and is cured. Or is he?

Caroline's newest book may be purchased as an e-book at Amazon and from The Wild Rose Press.

If you have a question don't forget to go to comments and ask.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

GFW Writers Round Robin Day 7

And we continue our Round Robin Short Story series, "A Delicious Dalliance," with a section from Kimberly Packard.
Read along and let us know what you think, readers!

With her head held high, she stood and pranced out, the ruffles of her yellow sundress bouncing off her knees. Alex would’ve loved this dress.

A Delicious Dalliance, continued...


The smoky, sexy voice caressed Seven’s ear. It was a voice that belonged to a Victoria’s Secret model, one that woke up with the right amount of makeup smudge under her eye. The type of voice that sounded like it’s been smoking since it was a teenager but without the stained teeth to prove it. It was also the voice belonging to the owner’s leggy daughter.

“Uh, hi,” Sev said, trying not to imagine Alex curled up alongside his boss’s daughter. “Does Chef Alex Laurent work at this restaurant?”

A boredom-laced “Oui” blew through the line.

“Great, I’d like to make a reservation for tonight.”

“How many?”

“Just one.”

The bombshell paused so long that Sev thought she lost the connection. “I have an opening at eight. But why only one, Chef Laurent’s food is for lovers, do you have one, no?”

Actually, I have two, but that would make for an awkward dinner-time conversation. “Eight is great,” Sev confirmed, ignoring the woman’s suggestion to bring a lover, preferring to meet one there instead. When asked for a name, Saffron came out of her mouth before she could stop herself. She should have given her name as Seven. He would looked at the reservation list and known she was coming. But, she knew why she didn’t. If he knew she was coming, he would have too much time to prepare for the argument she deserved.


Thankfully, Brad was nowhere to be found when she rushed by her apartment after work to prepare for dinner. She showered, shaved and primped in record speed, only slowing down long enough to put serious thought into which little black dress Alex would find most appealing. It was the impulse buy from Paris that won out against the others. The one that she bought in her still post-orgasmic bliss from her night with Alex that even though, at the time, she knew he’d never see her in it, she bought it in hopes that he would. The short dress sashayed mid-thigh and the impossibly tall red heels only accented her tanned, tone calves. Eat your heart out, Chef.

The restaurant was bustling when she arrived. The owner’s daughter barely gave Sev a glance when she checked in and lazily led her to a small, claustrophobic table seated too close to the bathroom. This must be why she got a reservation so easily, no one wanted to sit at the table where the sound of toilets flushing drowned the piped-in Spanish guitar.

Deep breath, Sev. You’re just having a nice dinner by yourself, waiting for the man of your dreams to appear from the kitchen. To ease her nerves, she picked a nice bottle of tempranillo from the menu and let the earthy sweet juice flood her mouth and warm her throat, imagining her whole body relaxing as nectar of the gods radiated from her stomach. With each bite she took that evening, she imagined it to be a nibble on his ear, or a lick on his neck. By the final bite, she wasn’t sure if she was ready to explode from satiation or lust.

“I’d love to meet the chef and compliment him on dinner,” she told her server after he poured her third glass of wine. The young man curtly nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. Sev’s eyes fixated on the swinging wooden door as her hands instantly smoothed her hair and her tongued licked away any traces of his food from her lips.

Just as the door to the kitchen swung open, a torso blocked her view. Her angry eyes flicked up, her drunken lips pursed to tell the stranger to get the hell out of her way when her jaw went slack at the sight of Brad standing before her with a single peony in his hand.


“Sev,” he smiled at her as sweat dotted his pale brow. He knelt down so quickly she reached to catch him, thinking he was passing out, but recoiled at his outstretched hand. “Will you marry me?”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Creating Emotion: The Lifeblood Of Your Story

It’s our pleasure to welcome Author, Linda Style back to our blogLinda is the award-winning author of 14 novels published by Harlequin Super Romance. She’s also the co-founder of Bootcamp for Novelists Online where she teaches the advanced level writing courses. With degrees in behavioral science and journalism, Linda has worked as a case manager, a human rights advocate, a program director for mental health services, a management consultant, and as the editor-in-chief for AZ View Magazine. In addition to her novels, Linda has written both fiction and nonfiction for newspapers and magazines. Her books, described by reviewers as emotional, fast-paced stories that keep you riveted to the page, have won several awards, including the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence, the Orange Rose award for Best Book of the Year. Linda was recently featured in a USA Today interview where she talked about her current release, A SOLDIER’S SECRET. If you'd like a more indepth discussion of today's topic, Linda offers it in her Bootcamp for Novelists online course.


Every human being on this earth experiences emotion. Every human being experiences some kind of emotion all day, every day. It’s part of the human condition.

Your laughter at someone’s joke, your anxiety while getting ready to make a public speech, your anger at a co-worker, your fear that someone will read your story and not like it, your pain at seeing your son or daughter cry because someone said something bad about him, it’s all about emotion.

Think about it. Everything we do in life is related to emotion. You laugh, you cry, you’re elated, you’re ambivalent, you rejoice, you rail at injustice. It’s one big emotional world out there.

It’s no wonder then, that because our books are about people, our stories should be infused with emotion, too. Emotion IS the lifeblood of your story. Emotion creates the richness and depth that makes your story come alive and your characters compelling. Without it, your story will be static. Your characters lifeless.

If you want your stories to succeed, it’s important to understand the dynamics of emotion. For our story purposes, there are three basic components of emotion.

1.  Reader Emotion

2.  Author Emotion

3. Character Emotion

Let’s look at those one at a time.

READER EMOTION: The first thing you must do in your story on the very first page, and preferably on the first line, is to elicit an emotional reaction from the reader. When a reader has a reaction, he’s experiencing emotion. He’s emotionally involved. When he’s involved, he’s hooked. So, our first job as writers is to create an emotional experience for the reader. How do we do that?

Human beings experience three types of emotional responses:

The first is the VOYEURISTIC response, which comes from curiosity about new information and the relationship between characters. The voyeuristic response is generated by our passions and interests. It’s something that cannot be taught.

The second is the VICARIOUS response, also known as empathy. We feel what the characters feel. It comes from character emotions, which are created by the events the writer has set up.

The third is the VISCERAL response, which is the main reason we pay to go and sit in a dark room for two hours with a bunch of strangers. It’s why we read Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  It’s what we feel as a result of reading a book or experiencing what’s on the screen. It’s our immediate physical emotional response. Your technical skills as a writer should create an environment for the reader to experience visceral emotions.

To create this environment, you must appeal directly to the reader’s emotional needs which are:
a.       The need for new information
b.      The need to bond – to empathize with characters and follow their adventures.
c.       The need for conflict resolution – we like to solve problems, take action and deal with conflict and change and triumph over them.
d.      The need for completion – to make order out of chaos. We need structure in our lives…and emotionally satisfying endings. We’re only satisfied when issues are resolved and all questions are answered.

If you create a story that caters to these needs, you will engage the reader emotionally.

Have you all heard the phrase: Write the book of your heart? I can’t tell you how many times early on in my writing career I heard that phrase. I also heard: Write what you know. Familiar? I heard those phrases so many times they were almost clichés. Not only did the phrases seem clichéd, the idea seemed really stupid if I was going to write about serial killers. I doubted anyone who wrote about serial killers really knew the subject as well as a serial killer, and the subject certainly wasn’t near and dear to my heart. But then I discovered the reason behind those two almost cliched phrases, and guess what….it’s all about emotion! That’s right.

When we write what we know, it’s more likely that we’re going to put our heart and soul into the book. We have passion about the subject and passion is emotion. Author emotion. If you write without that internal passion, you’re writing empty. You’re writing something that doesn’t mean much to you ... and it will show.  Writing without emotion will result in a story that’s like a well-dressed department store mannequin. The dummy is dressed nicely, but it’s not alive. It has no depth. It might be interesting on the surface, but it’s lifeless.

Author emotion contributes not only to the emotional depth of your story, it creates authenticity and helps form your voice and style. When your passion is revealed through your words, you show your readers a bit of who you are. That’s a pretty scary thought for some of us….and probably why so many writers avoid it. We don’t want our families to think that’s how we feel about them…or we think they might be shocked at the love scenes or the language we use. So, we pull back. We’re terrified that people will think our characters are us. Or even worse, maybe they will see us for who we really are. That’s the really scary part.

Reaching deep inside to write with author emotion isn’t an easy thing to do. But we need that passion. We don’t write about our personal experiences per se, but we must draw upon our emotional experiences to create like emotions in our characters. The person on paper is not who we are, but the emotions should be those we know and have felt throughout out lives.

Your story cannot live without emotion and understanding the dynamics -- where emotion comes from and how it’s experienced by the reader -- is just the beginning. Unless you’re one of the gifted few who can write a book on instinct, the next step involves the craft of writing and learning special techniques that help you convey the kind of emotion that makes your story authentic and your characters come to life on the page. It’s the skillful combination of technique and author passion that creates real emotion -- the lifeblood of your story.


Marriage? This must be a joke! Natalia Sokoloff has nerves of steel, but when David “Mac” MacAllister proposes marriage, she breaks into a cold sweat. A wife is Mac’s best chance at adopting the son he fathered while on active duty in Iraq. And Natalia is his buddy. Besides, she owes him for saving her life during combat.
So how can she refuse? Especially if this is only temporary—they only need to play house until the adoption is final. Except even that’s far too long and too intimate for Natalia. Because there are some things a girl doesn’t want even her best friend to know.
Buy Linda's book at Amazon, B&N and Harlequin.Harlequin

Friday, February 24, 2012


About Braving The Blaze...

Single-minded Dean Harward is going to become a veterinarian if it kills him.  He’s worked summers as a volunteer wildfire fighter to earn big cash for college.  Just his luck, a pyrophobic woman gets assigned to his team.  He’s certain she’ll get him killed before he can graduate. Ginger Warby is a walking firestorm as accidents continually spark around her.  Or are they accidents?  Can Dean keep the flames of desire he reluctantly feels for her under control long enough to keep them and his Yellow Labrador alive? 

“I know volunteering sounds crazy, but I’ve got to do this.” Ginger Warby locked her fingers together and sat down on her best friend’s floral-print sofa.
Brenda whirled around in bewilderment. “This has got to be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever thought of doing. Why? Why would you even try? I know how terrified you are of fire.” She flopped into the mauve recliner next to Ginger, her face still rumpled in disbelief. “Look at cooking school.”
Ginger took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. So she had flunked out of culinary school. She’d done her best. She couldn’t help it if she couldn’t set her Crepes Suzette…or the Bombe Alaska…or…or the Lobster fra Diavolo on fire. Three little dishes. There’d been plenty of other meals she’d fixed to perfection.
At least she’d managed to get over her fear of gas stoves and barbeque grills while she attended school. She’d made progress. Well, as long as they didn’t have a flare-up of flames. The image of the time her T-bone steaks dripped grease and sent flames roaring up through the grill popped into her mind. She’d gone screaming out of the class as her classmates roared with laughter.
Before she’d chosen culinary art for her career, she should’ve realized where there’s heat, there’s fire. Why did chefs prefer gas stoves to electric anyway? Someone somewhere had to start a new trend.
 “You’re afraid of a sparkler, Ging.” Brenda shook her head in skepticism.
“I’ve gotten better though. You just don’t understand.”
“I know my best friend just told me she’s planning to put herself in the middle of the biggest wildfire Utah’s ever seen, but she’s afraid of a match. You’re going from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. Somebody has to talk some sense into you.”
 How could Ginger explain all of her reasoning? Especially since the death of Brenda’s brother, Barrett, had a lot to do with her decision. Only a week had gone by since his funeral. Ginger hoped she could get over her fear and at the same time understand Barrett’s tragic death.
“I just feel strongly about going, Bren. I really want to face my fears. And besides, they desperately need help on this fire. I’ll just be one of the camp crew, anyway.”
Brenda reached for her hand. “So face your fears. But putting yourself in the middle of a one-hundred thousand acre wildfire is just plain nuts.”
“Could you stop mentioning that?”
“Wildfire, wildfire, wildfire.”
Ginger cringed.
“You can’t even face the word, let alone face the actual fire.” Brenda hit her palm to her forehead. “This doesn’t have anything to do with Barrett, does it?”
Ginger noticed the glassy look in her best friend’s eyes. “No, not really. As I said, they need the help. Let’s talk about you. What’ve you been up to since we last talked?”
“And your hair!” Brenda stared at her with a horrified look. “You cut off all your gorgeous butter-colored hair for a fire? Since we were eight, you swore you’d never cut it.”
“It was always getting in my pots of soup. I’m…I’m glad it’s gone.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Well, I certainly didn’t want it to catch on fire. I’ll be much safer with my hair short.” She didn’t want her terror to show, so she ducked her head.
“But did you use a scythe to cut it? My gosh, it stands out everywhere.”
“Still not happy with this discussion, Bren,” she returned in frustration.
Brenda clicked her tongue. “I still can’t believe you’re thinking of doing such a crazy thing.”
“Not thinking; I’m doing.”
“Not thinking is right. Daniel doesn’t even want to face that monster.” Brenda sobered. “I don’t want to lose someone else to a fire.”
Ginger’s heart lodged in her throat. “I know, and you won’t. I’ll just be doing camp duty, and you need Daniel here with you and little Darcy. How are things with the two of you?” Ginger asked, still hoping to change the subject.
“Have you talked to Sage yet?” Brenda asked instead.
Ginger sighed. How could her friend manage to bring up every subject she’d been trying to ban from her mind?
“I’m sure he’d want to discuss this plan of yours.” Brenda leaned back in the recliner with a raised brow.
“I…I haven’t seen him since the funeral.” She dug her nails into her thumbs until she couldn’t stand the pain any longer. Sage had gotten over what she’d done years ago. At least he acted like he had forgiven her. She just couldn’t forgive herself.
“What do you think he’s going to say about this?” Brenda crooked her neck, scanning the backyard for her daughter. “I shouldn’t let her outside in all this smoke, but she gets tired of being cooped up. And frankly, I’m not sure the air is any better inside than out no matter what they say on the news.”
“Come on. Let’s talk about something else besides the fire. What’s been going on since we last talked?” Ginger asked.
She knew her friend well enough to know she wouldn’t let the subject drop, but she didn’t want to hear another word about Sage or the Tushar fire. Ginger’s anxiety would explode through the roof if they kept talking about the subject. She already felt like running back to Salt Lake with her tail between her legs.
Convincing herself to come back home for Barrett’s funeral after flunking out at school was bad enough, but volunteering to fight her biggest trepidation on earth stressed her out to the max. She again tried not to think about being seventeen and the events which lead up to her phobia. The images flashed in her mind. Darn. Didn’t want to think about that memory. Could she ever put the experience behind her?
After this wildfire, would she be able to go back to school and face that flambé? Would she get her degree? Would she ever be able to do anything without being frightened? She mentally shook herself. She had to move forward, or otherwise she’d never be able to move on with her life.
“So then Daniel and I took little Darcy to Hogle Zoo, and do you know what she said when she saw the monkeys?” Brenda’s eyes sparkled with love for her little daughter.
Ginger shrugged, but couldn’t manage to control the flashing images of smoke, orange flames and sizzling trees which played over and over in her mind. How could she when smoke already burned her throat like eating suicide chicken wings basted with Tabasco sauce, hot pepper flakes and chopped chilies for garnish. It amazed her that a fire so many miles away could fill Brenda’s house with so much smoke the place looked like they’d landed in the middle of a smoker’s convention.
“Hey, are you listening?” Brenda asked.
“Uh, yeah. Little Darcy is adorable.”
And the story of Darcy and the monkeys was sweet, but Ginger had to admit she didn’t have her full attention on the story. Despite her determination to face her pyrophobia head on, black fear consumed her thoughts. At this point, she wished she’d have stayed in her safe little apartment hundreds of miles away. Being here brought back too many memories. Seeing Brenda made her return especially difficult; she looked too much like her brother. The thought of Barrett’s death made her chicken croissant sandwich from lunch do the funky chicken in her stomach.
How could Barrett have gotten trapped in a fire on his farm? What had sparked the flames? Could it have been equipment like they’d said? A van riding the rim of a blown tire on I-15? Another cigarette thrown from a passing car? There’d been lots of possibilities but no answers. If the police thought the fire looked suspicious, why weren’t they investigating further?
The Tushar fire had everyone’s attention, that’s why. It claimed her thoughts too, but she couldn’t forget about Barrett. Having been more than good friends with him at one time, she unequivocally wanted to know all the circumstances surrounding his death. Unfortunately, what had taken his life happened to be fire, making this all the more difficult for her to confront.
Barrett and Ginger’s brother, Sage, had been best friends. Along with her and Brenda, they had been the awesome foursome through their school years. They’d done everything together. She’d been surprised Sage and Brenda hadn’t married. As for her and Barrett… The thought stung like a thorn pricking her finger picking blackberries on the family farm. More memories she didn’t want to think about right now.
She needed to pay attention to Brenda. She did care about the everyday life of her best friend, but an overwhelming, terrifying dread clogged her brain. She needed to push her phobias aside and listen.
Brenda jumped to her feet and headed toward the kitchen. “I think we could both use a glass of cold iced tea.”
If only they had enough tea to put out the wildfire.

Cindy A. Christiansen, an author of sweet romance with comedy, suspense...and dogs has spent the week with us on our blog here in Texas. Her inclusion of dogs in all of her books shows her love for them and she donates time and money to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs.She lives with her wonderful family and delightful dogs in West Jordan, UT.
 Please leave a comment for Cindy and thank you so much for stopping by our blog.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GFW Writers Round Robin Day 6

And we continue our Round Robin Short Story series, "A Delicious Dalliance," with a section from Bryan Grubbs.
Read along and let us know what you think, readers!

With her head held high, she stood and pranced out, the ruffles of her yellow sundress bouncing off her knees. Alex would’ve loved this dress.

A Delicious Dalliance, continued...

“Yes I am aware that you’re trying to cut down on paper. Hurray for you. What I’m asking is for nine little digits of an incoming phone call that happened last Friday night.”

Two hours and thirteen minutes, three transfers and over an hour of jazzy porno music had eaten through Seven’s lunch and was now bringing up indigestion to accompany her frustration. She had stopped off on her way to work to pick up a replacement for her phone. Without the sim-card, she had lost all of her phone numbers.

Funny that she could still remember her best friend’s phone number from the third grade, the number to her parent’s cottage and to the local deli down the street whenever she wanted a sandwich delivered for lunch, but all other numbers were lost to her – especially the one she really wanted.

“That information will be on your statement at the end of the month.”

She let out an audible sigh. She’d done her best to control her temper, but now she was fueled by hunger, frustration, and an over-whelming urge to shove her freshly scuffed Claiborne up some call-center ass. “I don’t want the information at the end of the month. I want the information now.

There was only humming from the receiver when her assistant, Tony, ducked his immaculate coif through the door.

“Sev, darling? I am so sorry to bother you, but your two-o-clock is here and looking a bit hot under the collar.” The corner of his mouth pulled back dramatically into a grimace.

She put her hand over the mouthpiece and whispered, “I’ll be right there.” A tall margarita was the only thing that could extinguish the raging nerves and calm the boiling sea in her bloodstream, but Tony’s flamboyant nature was a close second.

The voice came through the receiver again. “Miss? I’m going to have to transfer you.”

Seven bit back a response that she found all-too appropriate and tapped the ‘End Call’ button. “Just blow out the candles,” she told herself, taking deep breaths and letting the air escape slowly across the blackened wick in her mind. The wax was just about to drip on Alex’s exposed body when Tony peeped in again.

“Sev! Get that cutie-patootie in high gear! Never leave a good-looking man waiting!”

“Tell me about it,” she muttered, brushing her hands down the folds of her skirt as she walked out the door behind Tony.


Incisors were doing their damage on her bottom lip while eyes locked on to the green Jetta in the parking garage, doing nothing to assist with her failing battle against the bile uprising. What kind of man drives a Jetta anyway? Is that how she was to see herself? Thrown to practicality with surprisingly ample trunk space?

She shook her head, fingers drumming on the friction-worn plastic of the steering wheel, contemplating her next plan of action.

It wasn’t that Brad hadn’t been sweet and managed to charm her in his own way. It was that Seven had come to a realization. She wanted heat. She wanted fire. She wanted steam. She couldn’t make herself settle for sweaty palms. Evenings in on the couch when there were wild nights of irresponsible drinking and dancing still left in her.

Still, the idea of watching those dog-faithful eyes widening with hurt and self-pity was enough to keep her opinions at bay.

Instead of getting out of the car, she gripped the keys still dangling from the ignition and gave them a firm twist. If Alex only had one day off and was working at one of four restaurants tonight, that meant she had a pretty easy way of tracking him down.

Recalling the name of the restaurant she’d seen him standing in front of only a few nights ago, she scrolled through listings until she found the number, highlighted it, and hit dial.

To be continued...

Thanks, Bryan! And now we turn it over to our readers. Please let us know what you think. The next section will be from Kimberly Packard, scheduled to be posted on Tuesday, Feb 28th.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Cindy A. Christiansen, an author of sweet romance with comedy, suspense...and dogs is spending the week with us on our blog here in Texas..Her inclusion of dogs in all of her books shows her love for them and she donates time and money to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs.She lives with her wonderful family and delightful dogs in West Jordan, UT.

Cindy will appear again  on Friday with an excerpt of her newest book. Don't forget to comment at the end of the post.

Here we go with the next 25 writing tips.

TIP #26. Try to eliminate unnecessary words and keep sentences simple and direct. Don't use flowery sentences.

TIP #27. Put notes, emails, newspaper articles, journal entries, letters or diary entries within your manuscript in italics.

TIP #28. Spell out words and avoid abbreviations. If you do use them, spell out the title in the first reference and then use the initials. Example: Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI.

TIP #29. Italicize sounds and foreign words.

TIP #30. Be careful with dialogue tags to make sure the action tag refers to the person saying the dialogue. Two characters should never speak in same paragraph.

TIP #31. Use more than one of the senses to describe a scene, not just sight.

TIP #32. Even though your manuscript is fiction, make sure your facts are accurate.

TIP #33. Each main character needs at least one internal goal and one external goal.

TIP #34. Each main character needs a long-term goal as well as short-term goals.

TIP #35. For romance, the hero and heroine need some type of relationship conflict as to why they can't be together.

TIP #36. By the end of the book, your main characters should come to some kind of epiphany.

TIP #37. Conflict is what drives your book and makes a reader keep turning pages.

TIP #38. Know all about your characters and their background, even if you don't include all of it in your book.The character's baggage is what drives them to make the decisions they do.

TIP #39. Remember that all characters have secrets.

TIP #40. Emotion is at the heart of a good book and you must clearly give your characters 
emotions and explain the reasons for those emotions.

TIP #41. Know exactly what is at stake for your character and what they're willing to do or not do if a situation arises. For example: Would your heroine really shoot a gun? Why or why not. You need to know what motives her to do one or the other. It will usually be something related to a past experience.

TIP #42. Increase the intensity of the character's situation as the plot thickens-whether by their reaction to the event or the severity of the situation.

TIP #43. Your antagonist needs strong goals and motivations. Explain them.

TIP #44. If you have a character that isn't particularly likeable, give him/her a strong, important goal so that the reader can sympathize.

TIP #45. As the author, keep dangers high on your list of goals. This includes physical danger, psychological danger, or emotional danger. Use a combination. Keep time of the essence for your characters.

TIP #46. Know your five W's for every scene you write.

TIP #47. Write each scene from the character's POV who has the most at stake to lose.

TIP #48. Write your query in the same voice as your book. For example: humor - funny. This lets the publisher/agent know you can write from that angle.

TIP #49. Come up with a tight blurb that defines each main character in one or two words that are pertinent to the book and uses the same voice as the book.

TIP #50. Start promoting before you've sold. Be prepared and ready for when it all hits.
Good luck with your writing. If there's a tip here that  you like or if you have a helpful writing tip let us know.  Please come back on Friday when Cindy will share an excerpt of  her book BRAVING THE BLAZE.

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