Tourist Tuesday

Last week I featured a charming little park in the middle of downtown where I live. It has lovely flowers, soothing fountains, red brick paths, and a charming gazebo. A place for romance – or – murder :-O

This week, I’m going to share a few other local things that spark my muse.

Welcome to my neighborhood….

Where there are ….

Things that go nowhere…

Things that lurk in the fog…

Things abandoned in the woods…

And a red waterfall….

What do you see in my neighborhood, I’d love to hear



Tourist Tuesday

As a writer, I’m always clicking pictures of places I could use in one of stories and … not always in the way you would expect. For example…


A walk in a forgotten city garden.


She’s amazed at the beauty and wonders why no one else is there.


Drinking her lemonade, she decides she’s glad to have it to herself.


She makes her way to the gazebo. She smiles thinking she’s like a princess with her own private garden….only instead of Prince Charming waiting for her,  there is a killer. One who grooms the garden to lure his victims in. She’s a fly in his spider web.

I love this park…the beauty, the contrast of the business city around it, but I can’t help but think a serial killer would love it to 😉 I’ve made places we go into book settings so often, my hubby will now ask, ‘Is someone dying here or having great sex?’ Because with me it could go either way 😀

Have you ever been somewhere and have an unexpected way to use the setting hit you?


Writer’s Wednesday

I’m continuing my using/recycling a magazine into a writing prompt. Last week was vague as I just started to brain storm but this week I felt the story coming together some what. I came up with the character’s names. I narrowed the premise down a bit… Samuel(my hero) is catching Marchesa (my heroine). She’s running because she can’t trust Samuel enough to risk her daughter’s life. I haven’t really found an angle with Marchesa’s eyes that I’m thrilled with yet…

IMAG0210 (1)

There is a secret obsession which I haven’t developed yet but I fell in love with the idea… the rest I’ve talked about


Time is going to be a major factor in this story. Marchesa’s time is running out… why I haven’t developed yet but she’s desperate…. she needs to make sure her daughter is safe and she bring herself to trust Samuel.

These pages followed the those of last week. Next week my goal is to do 4 pages of prompts. Now that I’ve developed some basic blocks, I’m excited to continue to use this as food for my plot bunny.

Writer’s Wednesday

Today I’m going to start a new series for Writer’s Wednesday on writing prompts…I know some writers use prompts daily to ‘start’ the juices. I’m not that but I do occasionally like to do prompts, mostly when I’m ‘stuck’. I use the prompt as a free writing tool to let my mind wander (like it doesn’t do it enough on it’s own that I need to encourage this behavior).

The series I’m doing is how to turn a magazine into a writer’s prompt journal. I came up with the idea last week as I sat at the beach relaxing and thumbing through the pages of the latest InStyle magazine. I often use magazines to make story boards/pages for a story I’m working on but I realized a lot of the pages sparked different ideas. For example, here is the second page of the magazine….


I used both pages for this prompt


I added the admit one ticket I had in my storyboard stash



She’s going to be my focus for these prompts…




My plan is to focus on the same character through out the magazine. I don’t know her name yet (I struggle with names) but I do know that

  • she has a daughter – one of the phases above the admit one ticket is… she lures men to their death to protect her daughter. I’m not sure what that means exactly.
  • I know her eyes are going to have something to do with the story…
  • My hero is aware of the stakes because one of the lines in my free writing is…He has one chance to save her … 

I’m going to definitely use the next two pages and I plan on doing those this week so make sure to check back to see how the prompts are going.

Do you use writing prompts? If so what kind are they and when?


I don’t want to it boring….

A hundred years of paint + a heat gun = GREAT PLOT IDEAS

I had a great weekend with kiddos and hubby. Spent Saturday at some local brew houses. Hubby and son are big craft beer snobs, I eat ice cream 😉 Now it’s time to step into reality. I have writing deadlines and since Mother Nature has decided to let Spring move in there are house projects that need tackling.
This year’s home improvement biggie is repainting the third level hall and doors. Our house is over a hundred years so the wood work has a hundred years of paint on it :>( This means hours of bonding time with a heat gun. Currently, I’m guessing I have about 2,000 hours of one on one time with various heat guns.

My hubby hates the heat gun….hate might be mild – loathes the heat gun is probably a closer description. For the very reasons my hubby hates it, I don’t mind it, well besides the blisters. You can’t listen to the radio or an audio book because the gun is too loud. It’s all about repeating the same action over and over for the entire job.

Now while I suffer from serious shiny object disease, I do find that this is a great time to toss around plot ideas. Something about the annoying buzz of the heat gun, the blisters, and the boring scraping action sets my muse on fire. Maybe she’s scared if she doesn’t start feeding me great ideas we’ll be stuck doing this forever – hahaha.
Have you ever had a boring activity that is somehow relaxing?

Writer’s Wednesday

I’ve blogged a couple of times about the importance of settings. While I think we as writers talk a lot about settings it still is the most under used element in writing. To write a story with a ‘vague’ setting is like writing a romance without ever describing your hero. As I talk to few writers, I often hear that they don’t want to use a place they aren’t familiar with. Now while I agree that it can be a challenge, I also think the internet has open the entire world to writers.

My novella, Taking a Risk, is sit in the Amazon. Never been there. But afternoon spent viewing travel sites, nature sites, and cultural sites, I felt I could write a story there. I made a list of some of the native wildlife, the temperature and general weather conditions for the time of year my story, and some of local history. I bookmarked sites I felt I would I return to as I was writing.
Also don’t overlook social media as a great reference source. I’m friends on Facebook with fellow writers from all over the world.
I’m not saying every book needs to take place exotic place. Remember the setting is a character. The ‘real’ tooth fairy has no place in a romance. Taking a Risk needed to be take place in the Amazon. The jungle was as important as the hero or heroine.
As a pantser the only ‘planning’ I do before beginning a new WIP is start pulling pictures from my character notebook. The setting is included in this skeleton list I start off with. I have to know where my story takes place.

As with certain characters, settings have some stereotypes….

A small town adds quaintness but it can also amp up the suspense. A secret everyone knows about but refuses to admit. What will they do to keep their skeleton in the closet? The Inheritance takes in a small rural town. Beth (my heroine) doesn’t know where to turn when things start to get ‘creepy’ – everyone seems to be a part of the conspiracy. Beth also has to deal with one grocery store that doesn’t carry kale which she needs for her morning smoothie. Now while this doesn’t play into the suspense it does add to her frustration.

Or maybe the cold harshness of a big city works better with your story. The chaos of urban living adds a barrier to your hero seeking a peaceful evening to seduce your heroine.

Of course, I love to take a setting and twist it into something unexpected. For example isn’t this garden beautiful? A wonderful place to sit and read…or so one of my heroines think. But in reality a serial killer selects his victims from this park.

Lacey spends hours reading here unaware a serial killer watches her - planning her torture and finally her death

Lacey spends hours reading here unaware a serial killer watches her – planning her torture and finally her death

An oasis in the heart of a city

An oasis in the heart of a city

flowers the color of blood

flowers the color of blood

Don’t overlook the power of a setting. Also don’t be afraid of it. Let your muse run wild with a place, what unexpected things can happen in a place?

Writer’s Wednesday

The Inheritance…

Beth Larkson thought the neglected the farmhouse she’d inherited was a nightmare – that was before she found the serial killer’s graveyard in her backyard.

The Theme aka The story compass

The theme keeps me from  loosing my characters down a rabbit hole :D

The theme keeps me from loosing my characters down a rabbit hole 😀

All my stories have a theme sometimes it’s apparent but other times it’s a backdrop more of a compass for me. Last week I shared the story board I had started for The Inheritance, this week I thought I would talk about the theme because in this story it is a front player.

For The Inheritance I used a tarot deck for character development (I’ll talk about that next week) and for the theme. While ‘brewing’ the story, I chose three cards to use as possible themes.  The four of cups, the king of swords and the tower. I did a little brain storming on all three card and decided the tower is an ideal theme card for this WIP – it sums everything up nice and neatly.

The tower upright means ~ Disaster, upheaval, sudden change, revelation.

I don’t just use the meaning of the card but also the picture on card.

The Tower4 cups

king of swordsThe man and woman falling represent my hero and heroine being thrown off their game, while the lightening bolt and the number 16 both relate to my serial killer. I haven’t decided how the crown fits in but I’m sure it come to me.

These four words are a snapshot of everything in Beth’s future. The first chapter sets the upheaval into motion which leads to a sudden change that brings about a shocking revelation that brings her almost to disaster.

I placed the tower card on my story board and printed out disaster, upheaval, sudden change, and revelation to add to it. By making these elements center on my storyboard, I ((hopefully)) can avoid random dead end rabbit trails.

These four elements influence both my hero and heroine’s GMC. While the tower is much apparent in Beth’s life, it is also the driving force in Duncan’s life. He’s already been through the upheaval, sudden change, and disaster elements, it will be the revelation that shakes him up in the story.

Writer’s Wednesday

The Inheritance…

Beth Larkson thought the neglected the farmhouse she’d inherited was a nightmare – that was before she found the serial killer’s graveyard in her backyard.

The inspiration for The Inheritance

The inspiration for The Inheritance

My current WIP is moving along nicely 🙂 As the kickoff project of 2014, I hope this is a sign of the year to come. One thing I’m really really really focusing on this year (again) is better tracking of the details as I write. The massive spreadsheet I set-up has made it through the first 1/3 test. Turning this aspect over to the ‘project’ side of my brain has seemed to finally work…. The test will come at the end. Will I keep it up ALL the way through????

I’m not a plotter and until recently not a great detail logger BUT I love to make story boards!!! I collect all sort of pictures, slogans, and other visual aides as I write. (I’m a very visual person – never tell me how to do something show me if you want to understand). I’ve talked about this before and shared some of the ones I’ve done. While some of my storyboards, at least half, are on some form of poster board, I do often use something else as my foundation.

The Inheritance is only the second book I’ve written that takes place Michigan. I live in the cold, I don’t want to write about the cold. I needed a map of Michigan to reference as the killer, hero, and heroine move around. I wanted to make sure I had things ‘right.’ As I was cleaning out one of the closets for my 2014 things in 2014 Challenge, I found this map 😀 NOW it’s my reference AND story board. I’ll continue to add to it as I write of images I see that strike my ‘fancy’ for this WIP. I love that it’s lamented so I can write on it with dry erase markers.


The back side of the map… yup that hotness in the bottom corner is my hero 😀


I’m using the area on the bottom as a place to stick my random plot or subplot notes








Do any of my fellow writers make story boards? If so do you have a ‘standard’ format you work with or do you change?

Tag You’re IT blog Hop

I hated playing tag as a kid. I was like the chubby dork in the movies who was always it AND could never tag anyone else. BUT I’m excited to be tagged this time because I get to share a ‘sneak peaks’ on a current WIP that I have said ANYTHING about yet.

Thanks Samatha 😉 so very much for tagging me to take part in the Tag You’re IT blog hop. I in turn tag three other authors (I don’t even have to chase them around a playground – woot woot) and invite them to answer the same questions for their Monday blogs.  They then tag 3 more authors, and so on and so forth till it’s one great big giant Tag-Along! Sound good? Here goes!

A little romance...A little murder

A little romance…A little murder

1. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on 3 stories right now. I’ve discussed the 2 space operas I’m working on BUT I also started a suspense-romance set in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan.
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?

This will be the first story I’ve written set in the same place I live. And it’s written in single POV – not 1st person – but strictly from the heroine’s POV. I usually do at least two – the hero and heroine but most common 3.
3. Why do you write what you do?

I love to kill people J Not really. I do however love the tension of someone facing a death situation.
4. How does your writing process work?

Well, I haven’t really refined a process yet. I’m a pantser so it seems each WIP takes on an entirely different process. The young adult I’m planning on writing for NANOWRIMO has had more plotting/planning done than any of my previous books.  In life I like to follow the rabbit down the hole to see where it will lead me, so I tend to do the same in my writing. It’s hard to plan a rabbit’s appearance.
Here are the 3 authors I’ve tagged for this hop:

Tasarla Romaney – 

Suzanne Rock

Danita Minnis 

Thanks for stopping by, and happy blog-hopping!

Motivation Monday and Winners

First, I’d like to thank everyone who stopped by during the End of the Summer blog hop 🙂 And the winner of the gift card and Kick Start is JeanMP.

Now for Monday’s motivation. This week I’m talking about double Duty –

You know the old saying – ‘don’t work harder, work smarter’ well, I’m giving that a try with this month’s projects. October’s projects are a space opera Christmas novella and space opera full length. While they are in the same genre, they have none of the same characters nor are they in the ‘same’ world but I thought they would make good writing companions. And even though the worlds are different I thought I could do some borrowing in the world building.

I usually work on two books at the same time but they are usually one adult and one Young adult. I used the reasoning that the variety would help with my shiny object disorder but as I’ve settled into writing full time, I realize that I’m not getting the word count daily totals I need.

It should be interesting to see what the end of the month totals are. My reading theme for September was non-fiction and one of the books I read was Changeology ( I also read Healing Hands by Ben Carson. Both of these ‘re’stressed the importance of going after your dream full throttle and I possess all I need to make it happen.

What are some of the ways you ‘work smarter’ instead of harder?