Friday, October 19, 2018

Developing Tension in Your Book

How do you develop the tension every story needs to keep the reader involved? I’d say it’s conflict - conflict with exterior obstacles, setting, weather, the villain, financial, etc.
The dictionary defines tension as a strained relationship between individuals. Conflict, which can cause the tension, is defined as to come into direct disagreement, a battle or struggle or antagonism or opposition.

Since I write romantic suspense – the conflict and tension are very important to the plot. I’m trying to figure out exactly how I do it. When I first started writing I remember learning there was internal and external conflict. External was the villain, the situation, the setting, the outside stuff. Internal was personal goals and the reason the hero and heroine, or any other main characters, couldn’t get together.
External is the easiest. What are the H/H goals? Why can’t they reach them? What stands in their way? How can they circumvent the barriers? Can they circumvent the barriers? This creates the external conflict.

The internal conflict is a little trickier.  Now I tend to be more of a pantser but for the conflict and tension I used to draw a diagram, Hero on one side, Heroine on the other side. I’d list three conflicts on each side – what the hero thought he wanted. Example - No relationships, no children or pets, and a condo near all the action.  I’d draw a line down the middle and on the heroine side opposite the hero’s goals. I’d write what she thought she wanted. Example – a relationship like her parents, at least three children and a dog, and a Cape Cod style home in the suburbs.
There’s the conflict which will cause the tension between the H/H and prevent a romantic relationship. Then I go through each one and develop a sub plot for how he decides he does want a relationship. Or maybe the heroine is forced to stay with him in an apartment downtown and finds she likes it, at least for awhile.

In my latest book – to be released November 1st, The Foundation series– The Fourth Victim, Sara’s story. Sara is a survivor of an emotionally abusive relationship. She’s recovering and determined to become strong and help other women in abusive situations. She will never to be dependent on any man ever again. She meets Mac and sparks fly, but Mac is a macho type and trains women to protect themselves and help save others. He wants to protect Sara, stop her from helping other women and being at risk. He wants to keep her safe. That sets up the tension between them.
Do you have any hints on how to add tension? Please share them.

Now I’m off to learn what everyone else has to say. Don’t forget to check out these authors.
Anne Stenhouse
Skye Taylor
A.J. Maguire
Dr. Bob Rich
Helena Fairfax
Diane Bator
Judith Copek
Rhobin L Courtright

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Liese Sherwood-Fabre and her Latest Novel

Liese Sherwood-Fabre, knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ in the second grade for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD from Indiana University, she joined the federal government and had the opportunity to work and live internationally for more than fifteen years—in Africa, Latin America, and Russia. Returning to the states, she seriously pursued her writing career and has published various pieces. Her debut novel Saving Hope, a thriller set in Russia was based, in part, from her observations while in that country. She then turned to a childhood interest in Sherlock Holmes and researched Victorian England for an as-yet unpublished series on Sherlock growing up in a rather unusually gifted family. Along the way she has written and published a number of short stories, garnering awards such a Pushcart Prize nomination. She recently collected eleven of these tales into a volume: Virtual Harmony and Other Short, Sweet Romances, released on October 15.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Liese: I enjoy writing women’s fiction (which includes romance) and mystery/thriller. I’m also a sucker (pun intended) for a good vampire story. I think I enjoy writing these stories because it’s what I enjoy reading. I grew up on Nancy Drew and Barbara Cartland. The vampires, I’m not sure where they came from. Maybe old black and white films?
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Liese: Isaac Asimov. I enjoyed reading his books and came across a science fiction magazine that carried his name. When I read those stories, I thought, “I can do this,” and wrote one and submitted it. I had no idea what I was doing, and it was quickly rejected. Rather than being discouraged, I continued, but with the knowledge I needed some professional training, which I sought out through creative writing classes at a local community college.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Liese: A good “what if?” These usually come to me when I’m exercising. While I’m on the elliptical, I let my mind work on other problems. Often, a “what if?” question pops into my head (for example: what if two co-workers are bidding on the same holiday sweater for an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest?) and I start working out the plot during that time.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Liese: Oh dear. That’s hard. I grew up on the old Loony Tunes. I guess Bugs Bunny. He’s pretty clever and always has a smart-alecky answer to any question.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Liese: Wow, these are hard questions.
As far as an actual person, I would choose Jane Austen. In part, because she was a writer. At the same time, she was an independent thinker at a time where women weren’t necessarily encouraged to do so. She resisted marriage that wasn’t based on love (see a theme in her novels?).
In terms of fictional characters, Sherlock Holmes. A lot of myths and characterizations surround him, and I’d like to see which are true. I have a feeling he’s more human than he is often portrayed and would like to test out my hypothesis.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Liese: Probably nothing. I have two jobs: I work for the federal government, and I write. A chance to do nothing doesn’t present itself very often.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Liese: The third book in an unpublished series on Sherlock Holmes at age 13. It came from one of my “what if?” ponderings. How did Sherlock Holmes become Sherlock Holmes? Arthur Conan Doyle left few clues about his childhood. His ancestors were country squires, his grandmother was the sister of Vernet (a French portraitist), and he had a brother named Mycroft. While convention would suggest his father might have had something to do with it, I thought, “what if his mother was a brilliant woman who was stifled by Victorian customs?” Because Victorian women were in charge of their children’s education (until the boys of a certain class were sent off to boarding school), she could have been behind Sherlock and Mycroft developing their superior intellectual skills. The first book is being considered by a publisher, and I hope to have more news to share about that later.

Blurb for Virtual Harmony :
Love can bloom in infinite ways.
These eleven short romances follow love through cute meets to taking friendship to the next level to rekindling a marriage. Feelings can be sparked by an errant computer file, a hunt for diamonds, or even a fortune teller's tale. All that is needed is to open one's heart to let it in.
Search, find, and deepen love along the way in these sweet romances.

Excerpt from “Virtual Harmony”

I slumped into an empty chair at the coffee bar around the corner from my apartment. I was ending this foolishness. Now. For two weeks I’d been on a wild goose chase and gotten nowhere. Time to give up. 

It’d all started innocently enough. After plugging in my new MP3 player, and booting up my computer to download my playlist, my finger froze just above the mouse. An unfamiliar file folder appeared along with the others: "George's Songs."

Who was George, and how did he get on my computer?

Having moved into the neighborhood less than a month ago, I didn’t know anyone in the area, and no one had access to my computer. Another new icon appeared at the bottom of my screen and blinked on and off. My new wireless system was working. I returned my gaze to the “George’s Songs” icon. Somehow, my computer's system had picked up this George’s file and downloaded it to my machine.

Curiosity won out over caution, and without thinking twice, I opened the file to check out his playlist. Almost the entire list of songs I’d planned to download onto my MP3 player were already in George’s.

Whoever he was, George had good tastes.

Buy Links for Virtual Harmony:
Available through: B&N, iBooks, Kobo

Social links for Liese:

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October is Breast Cancer Month

Did you “Run for the Cure”?  Did you donate to Breast Cancer this month? No I’m not hustling for donations, but I would like to call attention to this month.  It’s Breast Cancer Month. Almost everyone knows someone who has or has had cancer.  Or maybe it’s you, and you’re a survivor. To me it’s very personal. I am a survivor. It’s been many years since diagnosis and treatment. Despite, or maybe because fo mammograms women are being diagnosed younger every day.

Many years ago (no, I’m not going to say how many) I volunteered for a breast cancer study in Canada for women between forty and sixty-five.  I only sneaked in by a few months. You were assigned a number when you volunteered. One set of numbers checked in and filled out a nutritional survey each year. The other side did a nutritional survey and had a mammogram.  I was put on the mammogram side. My second year I flunked out. If you’re diagnosed with cancer you get kicked out of the program. In my mammogram they found a small circle about the size of a dime with about ten pin pricks inside. It was the cancer. They did a fine wire biopsy to confirm it and I had surgery the next day.  If I hadn’t been on that study I probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed for at least another five years.  And who knows if I would have survived at that time. Back then most women who were diagnosed didn’t survive. Apparently some small cancers don’t grow, so maybe mine wouldn’t have got any larger, but honestly, I’m glad they found it and removed it.

Volunteering has positive effects. J (At least in my opinion)

I know there are pros and cons about mammograms.  Pros - They save lives. Mammograms are estimated to reduce cancer rates by 15%. Cons - They cause significant harm. Some will undergo treatment for no reason — because of a cancer that never would have grown. Women will “experience important psychological distress including anxiety and uncertainty for years because of false positive findings. This comes from a report at if you’d like to read the whole article.
And some breast cancers are too aggressive and virulent to control or “beat,” no matter how early caught. How and why breast cancer occurs is still an unknown at this time, but a healthy lifestyle can always help.

According to aCancer.Net link the average 5-year survival rate for people with breast cancer is 90%. The average 10-year survival rate is 83%. If the cancer is located only in the breast, the 5-year relative survival rate of people with breast cancer is 99%. Sixty-two percent (62%) of cases are diagnosed at this stage.

Here’s the link to that report.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Keta Diablo and her Latest Book

Keta Diablo lives in the Midwest part of the United States on six acres of gorgeous woodland. When she’s not writing or gardening she loves to commune with nature. A pair of barn owls returns to the property every year to birth their young and show them off in the high branches of the oak trees. Nothing more adorable than these white fluffy babies with heart-shaped faces. A lifelong animal lover, she devotes her time and support to the local animal shelter. Emma LaPounce, a rescued feline, has been her furry companion for the last ten years.

She’s an award-winning and best-selling author who writes in several genres: Western Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance and Contemporary Romance. In a past life, she wrote Gay Romance. My books have received numerous accolades, including RWA contest finalist, Authors After Dark finalist, Top Pick of the Month and Recommended Review from top review sites, and Best Romance Finalist from The Independent Author Network. 

For some strange reason, ghosts often show up in her stories, no matter the genre.

Beverley: Have you always wanted to be an author?
Keta: Oh, no. My mother, now 91 years young, reminds me that I always wanted to be number 1) a boy (I had four brothers), number 2) professional equestrian (course I called it a cowgirl).
Beverley: Tell us a little about the last/latest book you’ve written
Keta: See above in my Author Bio – for some strange reason ghosts always show up in my stories. No different in Comes A Specter, Book 2, Ghostland Series. Several reviewers said they loved the book, but the ghost scared the bejeebers out of them. Gee, I wasn't scared.
Anyway, I didn't even know I was writing about all these ghosts. One day, as I was going through my back list of books, I said, "Oh. My. Gosh. Keta!! You write about ghosts all the time." Read some of my blurbs and you'll see what I mean. No matter what genre I choose, somehow a ghost shows up. I used to see them—ghosts—when I was a toddler, but that's another story for another day. Maybe subconsciously, that's why they keep showing up in my stories.
Beverley: Where did you get the inspiration for this particular book?
Keta: Let's see, where were we? Oh, yeah…inspiration for Comes A Specter. I love Western Romance, and since I have such a penchant for dead people, er, I mean those who have crossed over, I created sort of a new sub-genre, Western Romance Ghost Stories. I love writing about cowboys, cowgirls, horses, ranches, rodeos, and…did I mention translucent spirits?
Beverley: On average how long does it take it for you to write a book?
Keta: That depends on many factors. First, a writer has to be at the top of her/his game physically and mentally to pull this off. Second, she/he has to create a great plot and well-developed characters (no cookie-cutter walk-ons). Third, he/she must plant their butt in the chair and write, write every day, even if you have to pull the words out of the air. Better to have gibberish at times than a blank page, right? Fourth, it depends on whether one is writing a novella or a novel. A novella, two months; a full-length novel 4-5 months. Caveat: Keta is a slow writer compared to many others.
Beverley: Do you have any unpublished/unfinished scripts?
Keta: Yes, we all have those. Some I keep under the bed, never to see the light of day. Others are sitting on my computer and flash me now and then to finish them.
Beverley: What types of books do you read?
Keta: Across many genres, but never romance when I'm writing romance. Thrillers, suspense, angels/demons, Native American fiction, and small town contemporary (serious stuff). I hardly ever read humorous. I bet that doesn't surprise you coming from a person who saw ghosts as a child, huh?
Beverley: What books are you reading right now?
Keta: Freefall (Kristen Heitzmann)
The Dead Game (Suzanne Leist)
and…1,697 waiting for me on my Paperwhite Kindle (sad)
Beverley:  Which are your three favorite books of all time?
Keta: To Kill A Mockingbird, Man On Fire, Gone With the Wind, Legends of the Fall.
Beverley: Do you/have you ever read a copy of your book after it has been published?
Keta: Gosh, no. I read it so many times while writing it; I'd get bored to death with the same old, same old. LOL.
Beverley: What advice would you give to an aspiring author who is just starting out?
Keta: Well, I'm really no one to be giving advice to other writers. I made plenty of mistakes starting out myself, so maybe that's it – study the craft of writing. Know the basic rules at least, and then get good enough at writing you feel comfortable breaking some. I mean, there are some you should never break, but breaking one now and then won't cause the earth to stop spinning. I have a lot of books on my Kindle (see above). I can't tell you how many times I read one chapter and delete the book. If it doesn't grab me right away with lots of questions, then I'm outta there. Take for example Harper Lee's opening line in To Kill A Mockingbird: Scout: When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
I mean, she hooked me. Completely. I was in the sixth grade the first time I read that line, and from that moment on, I wanted to know who Jem was and how the heck did he break his arm? That book really opened my eyes to reading, gave me an appreciation for love of the written word.  

Blurb about Comes a Specter, Book 2, Ghostland Series
Six months ago, Anya Fleming's ten- year-old son, Willie-boy, found his father hanging in the barn. Traumatized over his father's suicide, the boy hasn't spoken a word since. Now, Willie-boy has come down with a grave, unknown illness and there's only one man who can save him, Sutter Sky, a learned Blackfoot shaman known as Yellow Smoke—a shaman who was once deeply in love with Anya.

But Fate had other plans for Anya and Sutter—she was forced to marry Lewis Fleming, a cruel man who berated her night and day, and brokenhearted Sutter immersed himself in the mystical customs and beliefs of his People and became a shaman.

As if Anya didn't have enough to deal with after her husband's death and her son's illness, an evil, sinister ghost is terrorizing their ranch. Anya is convinced the spirit is Lewis, who apparently isn't done making her life miserable.
When she turns to Yellow Smoke for help, will he put side his bitterness and save Willie-boy? And can the renowned shaman dispel the powerful ghost from their lives and send him back to Hades?

Buy Links for Comes a Specter
Available on All venues November 1st 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Guest Angela Drake and her Latest Novel

Angela Drake believes in happy endings, the magic of ‘what if’ and second chances. When not living vicariously through her characters, Angela spends her day working social media accounts for musicians and authors. She enjoys time with her granddaughters, gardening, journaling, and a myriad of artistic pursuits. She shares a home in the Ozarks with her husband, two dogs and three cats. She loves networking with readers and writers through her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blog.

Beverley: Which genre do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Angela: I am a romantic at heart. I write in several sub-genres such as Astral travel, time travel, Western Historical but my passion is sweet romances with second chance at love themes. Those were the stories I grew up reading
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Angela: I’m not sure if there really was anyone. I wrote stories as a child. Though, I guess I’d have to say my ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Reeves got me started on romance. She had a friend who had a trade book store. Mrs. Reeves would bring boxes of books and put them on a back table of her class room. She wanted us reading. I read nearly every one she brought in for the first two years of high school.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Angela: Music, song lyrics. I’ll hear a line and suddenly my mind is swirling with a story idea. That’s where my first book, Somewhere Down the Line came from. My new book, An Ozarks Christmas, was inspired by a Garth Brooks song, That Ole Wind.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Angela: I’ve never been one to watch cartoons. Even as young as nine, my favorite shows to watch on Saturday morning were crafting/ decorating shows on PBS. That said, I think Jerry the mouse from Tom & Jerry is one of my favorites.
Beverley: Who would you love to meet in person and why?
Angela: Wow. I meet a lot of music artists with my day job as a music promoter. I think I would most like the opportunity to sit and talk with former President Barak Obama. I just always found him fascinating.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Angela: Oh, that’s easy. I would play in my craft room. I sell Stampin’ UP! stamping/ paper crafting products but I’d love to just get inky and play in paint for fun.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Angela: I’m on a two-week break of sorts. I’m researching Book 2 of the Planned to Perfection series, which I hope will launch in May 2019. But I won’t do any actual writing until November 1 during NanoWriMo.

Blurb from An Ozarks Christmas

From the moment he sees Stephanie across the crowded restaurant, Brendan Keane knows he has to have her… and does. Unaware that four years later, their lives would take different paths and Stephanie will marry someone else.

After the murder of her husband, Stephanie Douglas takes her two children and moves to the Ozarks, carrying with her a secret she’s harbored for ten years.

When Stephanie’s company, ’Planned to Perfection’, is called upon to plan his daughter’s wedding, Brendan’s back in her life.  And this time Stephanie fears she won’t be able to tell him good-bye.

Excerpt from An Ozarks Christmas

“May I join you?”
        So much for wishes. Her heart felt as if a beat had skipped then fluttered back to life. She knew without looking the voice belonged to Brendan Keane – entertainer, playboy and thief. Focusing on her wish, she hadn’t heard him open nor close the ballroom door as he came outside.
        Glancing to her left she could see the tall, strong frame of the man she couldn’t forget. The man who had stolen her heart so long ago.
        “Of course.” She struggled to keep her voice even. She wanted to tell him to go away. Not just from the hotel but from the close-knit community she called home. She hadn’t wanted him here from the beginning but her ultimate goal for the event to be a success over-ruled. This fundraiser would insure that every child in Eureka Springs and the surrounding area would receive a visit from Santa Claus. Being the biggest draw in the music business, Brendan Keane would make that possible. The fact he had volunteered to perform was a big boost to the benefit’s bottom line.
        “I’m sorry if I intruded.”
        An apology? In all their time together she’d never heard him apologize for anything – and he’d had plenty of occasions.
        “Not at all. I need to go back in anyway.” She hated that her voice shook. His mere presence shouldn’t be affecting her.

Buy Links for from An Ozarks Christmas
Amazon USA -   
Amazon UK             
Amazon Canada      
Amazon Australia   


Monday, October 8, 2018

My Thoughts on Writing and Some Basic Tips

These are things I need to keep reminding myself.

I’ve always written. I’ve said it before.  I remember writing those locked room plots, but I only wrote sketches or outlines.
When I decided I needed to get serious and quit thinking about it, I decided to write a romance. I think I got through two or three chapters before I had to bring a villain and then a body.  So I write romantic suspense. I also thought it would be easy. You write a story – right? How hard could it be?

I found out it wasn’t that easy. And I also found out that not only did I need a body or two, but I needed a romance. It helped develop the characters. I’ve read some great s mysteries and suspense books, but I always feel a little cheated, no matter how good the book. There’s no emotional connection between the characters. So I need that connection.

So I knew what I needed but it was hard to put it on paper and when I started I didn’t know about all the writing groups and organizations so I was on my own.  I didn’t have a plan for writing so it was trial and error. I worked full-time so I’d write in the evening. I’d be tired so I’d skip it. I’d write weekends, but there were other things that needed to be done. I’d read a writing book. Then I’d try and follow their suggestions.  I’d write and then I’d edit. I never got anywhere. Then I’d write without editing. I got a lot more written but it was hard to go back and edit. I’d stare at empty pages. I got nowhere when I didn’t write something.
I’ve come up with a few things I still need to remember even now. It doesn’t get any easier.
    -          Write every day – get words on a page – you can’t edit that blank page.
      -          Write because you love your story. Don’t try and write for the market.
-          Find a schedule that works for you; early morning, evening, after everyone’s in bed, on your lunch hour with a pen and notebook.
-          Stay focused – and don’t do social media until you’ve written your pages for the day. I think I read Stephen King writers 2500 words a day. Pick a number that works for you.
-          Don’t worry about being perfect – just write.
-          Set a timer if you need it.
-          Find a writing group or organization so you’re not writing alone.
       -          Read.

 And if anyone else has a good tip, please share it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Check Out Viviana MacKade's Latest Book

Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana MacKade lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Viviana: I write romantic suspense because I like dark chocolate with chili. Let me open up that one a bit.
I like sweet, but not too sweet–the dark chocolate. And I want a little bite to it–the chili.
Although, I have a cross-genre in the What’s Next section. My next series will be a fantasy; we’ll see how I flavor it.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Viviana: My family and Nora Roberts. I’ve always loved reading, and my whole family does it. I don’t have a single image of my mom, or my grandmother, without a book in their hands. But when I was 14, a school friend lent me a book by Her Majesty Nora Roberts and I remember thinking, “wow. I want to do this. I want to give people the same emotions I feel while I read. I want to do this”.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Viviana: Everything, or nothing, depending on which point of view you see it. I do my things, and stay very open to that sudden sparkle that makes me go, “oh, now that’s something to look into a bit more”. It can happen anywhere and at any moment, but I trained myself to listen to it and don’t let it go.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Viviana: I’m going to stick with Disney’s characters, or it would be nearly impossible to choose.
My favorite one is Flynn Ryder, from Tangled.
If my husband were a cartoon character, it would be Flynn. Big brown eyes, smart, reckless. A thief, I know, I know…. But a good guy in the end.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Viviana: Keep in mind I’m seriously low maintenance.
Those rare times I take a morning off (not a day, I would never do that), and I’m alone, I love to go to Wal-Mart. Oh, sweet baby Jesus, I can stay hours walking the food aisles, thinking about what I can do with all that food, pondering the impact of the 7% fat ground meat on my meatballs over the 15% fat. All the spices, oh, they have a new flour I haven’t tried yet. Then I get to the home department–do you know how long it takes choosing between kitchen wipes of different smells? Then I get to the bathroom stuff, and I’m lost in an endless universe of shampoos, hands soaps, lotions…
I don’t really care about clothes. Where else I would find in one place food, cleaning products for me and the house, and some extra, if not at Wal-Mart?
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Viviana: I’ll try my hand at Fantasy. I have an idea for what I think will be a great trilogy, which crazy good Heroines.

Blurb for His Midnight Sun

Tormented, fierce, and broken, sculptor Aidan Murphy has judged himself guilty. He yearns for love but pushes everyone away. He longs for acceptance but has lost the key to open his heart. Until he meets Summer Williams. Beautiful and smart, Dr. Williams promises haven for a man who believes he deserves none. All he has to do is let her in and risk his heart and soul.

Summer’s managed to keep her inner light alive, even through tragedy. She’s created a new life for herself and her daughter in Crescent Creek with loving, caring and fun friends–well, except brooding, breathtaking Aidan. She’s used to keeping away from his type, though. All she has to do is ignore the pull of a man who’s turning up to be much more than snarls and storms. Will her compassion and medical instincts let her?

Love can heal a broken soul and shake up a timid heart. Or it can unleash devastation and revenge.

Will Aidan and Summer survive the hurricane?

Buy Links for His Midnight Sun

You can find Viviana at:
Her website
Amazon Author page