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Scary. And It’s Not Even Halloween Anymore.

Scary times in the Writer’s Corral. I sent a manuscript off to an editor for the first time ever and waited with baited breath to see what she said. It’s one thing to write a contemporary romance. It’s a totally different thing to let a person who reads books for a living assess what you wrote. Aaack! […]

Books I Go Back To

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

Ms. Ibbotson walked a fine line between sweet and saccharine in this story. If her main characters are a tiny bit superhuman in terms of their ethics, you still wish they were your friends.

But what I really love, and why I go back to this particular book, is the way Ibbotson built the story. Her basic setup is so stable and thorough, the most serendipitous of occurrences seem perfectly acceptable to the reader. As a result, the ending is enormously satisfying.

I aspire to creating that kind of inevitability in my story lines.

On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels

This is my go to book for romance character development. Ms. Michael’s interview questions for main and even side characters are so detailed that by the time I have finished answering them, I have no doubt who I am writing about. The list of information is critical when I forget or lose track of a character’s attributes and need to get back on track.

On Writing by Stephen King

This book, I think, is Mr. King’s true masterpiece. Writing can feel a lot like gardening in April, a lot of back breaking labor covered up by unexpected snowfalls and delayed gratification. I reread this book to remind myself that even prolific and well received writers struggle to produce and aren’t always pleased with the results.

Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

This slim little book reminds me of Mary Poppins’ portmanteau. Every time you think you have taken out everything which is useful, you reach in one more time and find yet another important item. Ms. Hayes is sensitive to the unique issues of romance novel structure and explains those issues simply and clearly.

When I am working on plot structure for a romance novel, Romancing the Beat is right next to me.