Category Archives for "Creativity"

Redesigning my covers

Cover design to be determined

I’m getting ready to change the covers on my books. While I absolutely love my covers, my books are mostly appearing on thriller and suspense bestseller lists these days. I’m afraid the romantic suspense style covers may be turning away those readers.

I’m currently leaning toward having either no people on the cover, or a shadowy couple.

I’d love to get your feedback before I make the change.

  1. If you’ve read one of my books, how big a role did the cover play in your decision to purchase it?
  2. Do you have a preference regarding people or no people? Single person or a couple? Why?
  3. Are there thriller, suspense, or action-adventure covers that you love? If yes, please post a link or an image! I’d like to give my cover designer some samples as we discuss the new design.

Thanks so much!

Here are a few covers that I like. What do you think? Would any of these styles fit my books?

Redfall Cover
Remington Kane Cover
Dead Lawyers Don't Lie cover
The Shadow Patrol

P.S. Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Comments on my blog are moderated, so it can take up to 24 hours before your comment appears.

Ballet is storytelling, too

When you think of a storyteller, do you imagine a person sitting at a campfire speaking to an enthralled group? Or a writer putting words on the page?

Have you ever thought about ballet as a form of storytelling? If not, then I encourage you to watch this YouTube video. It’s a broadcast of a rehearsal for Liam Scarlett’s ballet Frankenstein at the Royal Ballet in London. Skip ahead to about the two minute thirty second mark to start the summary of the story and then hear Mr. Scarlett talk about his goals for the ballet before the rehearsal starts.

I first became aware of Liam Scarlett as a choreographer during last year’s World Ballet Day Live event. That’s when top ballet schools around the world open their doors to the cameras and we get to see company class, rehearsals, and interviews with the dancers. The 2015 event included a rehearsal at San Francisco Ballet of Mr. Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries. I was impressed by Mr. Scarlett’s emphasis on having the dancers bring out the emotions behind the movements. You can see that in this footage of Frankenstein. He keeps asking his dancers to dig deeper to reveal the complex and powerful emotions at work.

What I love about this video is that Mr. Scarlett is trying to depict via movement and facial expressions some of the very same emotions that I try to show in my books. Hope. Despair. Love. He uses the body in conjunction with music, while I work with the more limited resource of words.

While I won’t be choreographing a ballet any time soon, I do think that on rewrites I’ll try to imagine myself as a choreographer like Mr. Scarlett, giving my characters directions on how best to reveal the emotions coming up in the scene. Hopefully this will result in more nuanced body movements from my characters.

If you watch this video, I’d love to know what you think!

I Am Not an Architect

In the course of writing a book I often need to put myself into the heads of my characters. No surprise there. What continues to surprise me is how often I need to think like a landscape designer, architect, or interior designer in order to make certain that my characters have the environmental support (or obstacles) needed to fulfill the scene's goal.

Case in point. In my current manuscript I needed to figure out what an external staircase on a hotel would look like. I wanted part of the stairs to be visible, and part of the stairs to be hidden. The staircase is occupied by a couple of terrorists that the hero will ​need to take out.

I became obsessed with figuring out the configuration of this staircase. Finally, I downloaded a free trial of SketchUp, which is an architectural modeling program. As you'll see from the below screenshot, I am NOT an architect. I couldn't figure out how to get the staircase to wrap around instead of dead-ending into the walls, and didn't have the time to dive into the tutorials.

However, this diagram did give me the necessary layout so I could move beyond my block and continue writing the scene.

I think it's a pretty good thing that I gave up my brief goal of being an architect all those decades ago! LOL​ 

What do you think?​

Staircase model

Dining Table Plotting

Once again I'm using my whiteboard to plot out the action. Unfortunately, this takes up nearly my entire dining table!

I'm getting very good at moving the whiteboard from the table to the floor without spilling too many of the figures. 😉

Romance Meter

I’m in the process of revising the first draft of book three in the WAR series, WAR: Opposition. In order to keep straight where the hero and heroine are in their relationship, I made this handy-dandy Romance Meter. 😀



As I’m working on a scene I move the arrow to indicate how far they’ve come from the dark cloud of “I don’t trust you” to “I love you and trust you completely.” That helps me tweak the scene so that it aligns with their current status.

Another type of creativity

Being a creative person means that you can think up a solution to a shortage or other problem. MacGyver anyone?

In my case, it meant figuring out how to make that crucial first cup of coffee of the day after I discovered that there were no coffee filters.

My solution? Use a clean handkerchief. It worked remarkably well. Thanks for the donation, Dad!