Category Archives for "Writing"

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

WAR: Opposition Is Finally Here!

Book three in the WAR series, WAR: Opposition, is finally available. You can find the ebook at most major e-retailers. The print book is also available in a few locations.

As my newsletter subscribers already know, I didn't expect this book to be about Seth and Kirra. I thought it was going to be Dev's book. But then I realized that Dev needed to grow a bit emotionally before he'd be ready for his story. So Opposition turned into the story of his sister, Kirra, instead, with Dev being a secondary point-of-view character.

I had a lot of fun writing these characters and hope you'll fall as much in love with them as I did!

Check out the Opposition page on my website for an excerpt and a playlist of songs that remind me of Seth and Kirra.

My cover designer made me a teaser graphic. What do you think?​

WAR: Opposition teaser graphic

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.

The StoryShop App – Write Better Stories Faster

One of the things that I struggle with as a writer is how to organize all my pre-planning work. That’s the characters sketches, the setting description, the major plot points, etc. The writers behind the Self-Publishing Podcast Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and David Wright decided that there needs to be a specific app for this. So they’ve put together a development team to create the StoryShop app, one place where a writer can perform all the pre-production work, then export it for use in the writer’s favorite writing program, such as Scrivener.

You can see a video about this app on their Kickstarter campaign page. Or listen to the podcast episode where they talk with their lead developer, Seth Atwood.

Note: Today, November 17, 2015 is the last day of the Kickstarter campaign. Special offers, such as a lifetime membership, are only offered during the Kickstarter campaign.


NaNoWriMo and Mapping an Island

November is National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo. This event involves thousands of writers from across the globe who are each attempting to complete a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month.

This will be my first year participating and I’m going to be working on a special project. In preparation, I drew a diagram of the island that my novel is going to take place on. No, these really aren’t the scribblings of a madwoman. It all makes perfect sense to me. 😀


Being a visual person, I often need to see a general map of the area my characters are operating in before I can write a scene. This map came in very handy for today’s writing session. However, you can probably guess that I never had a career as an urban planner or landscape designer. 😉

I also recently interviewed a member of my local chapter, Shannon Monroe, who is about to begin her ninth year participating in NaNoWriMo. You can find the interview here.

For everyone who is participating in this year’s NaNo, GOOD LUCK!!

Crime Scene Bandages

I recently received an email from the Crime Museum in Washington, DC which mentioned that they’re closing their doors after September 30, 2015. I was deeply saddened by this news.

If you haven’t visited, the museum has a fantastic range of exhibits dealing with both crime and its consequences. The museum exhibits cover everything from torture devices of the Middle Ages to a crime scene investigation simulation. There was an add-on CSI experience that I did on the day I visited. Afterward, I had a very informative discussion with a graduate student in forensics who was working at the museum.

There was so much information to absorb that I stayed all the way until the museum closed and still didn’t feel as if I’d seen everything. Months after my visit, I used the Crime Museum as the model for the museum scenes that take place near the end of Aftermath.

I hate to see such a valuable resource go away. I wish I still lived in Arlington, VA and could hop on over for one last visit. It’s a bit too far to make the trip from California.

Because they’re shutting their doors, all merchandise on the Crime Museum website is $20 or less. I couldn’t resist picking up some of these way cool crime scene bandages.


My September Newsletter is Out!

I have just sent out the September issue of my newsletter, which includes exclusive photos relating to WAR: Intrusion.

If you don’t see this in your inbox, please check your spam folder. Or, if you’re on Gmail, check to see if the newsletter is showing up on a separate tab. Newsletters are sometimes put on a Promotions tab.


#1LineWed – HOOKS (aka chapter endings)

I’m back! After a three-week hiatus, I’m again participating in #1LineWed on Twitter, sponsored by RWA’s Kiss of Death chapter.

Today’s theme is HOOKS (aka chapter endings). I just posted the hook from the end of Chapter One of WAR: Intrusion, the second book in my new romantic thriller series WAR. The hook for Chapter Two will go up by the end of the day.

I chose hooks from the first two chapters because the hooks that come later in the book contain spoilers. Today’s lines are also the first ones that are guaranteed to be in the final version of the book. There’s a possibility I might tweak them slightly, but I’m in the last stages of proofreading, which means no throwing away or completely rewriting lines.

If you’re not on Twitter, here’s what I posted the last time I participated in #1LineWed, on July 15th. That day, the theme was WATER. These lines are also from WAR: Intrusion. At that point, Intrusion was still a work in progress, aka WIP. I haven’t checked to see if these lines are still in the book or not. 😉

Lachlan wanted to feel her soft mouth under his more than he wanted his next sip of life-preserving water

She’d rather have his mouth against hers. He’d be hotter, and tastier, than this lukewarm, watery imitation of coffee.

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