When I read a romance novel (and I read a lot of them), I look for witty dialogue, fresh humor, and chemistry. The Best Medicine, another installment of Tracy Brogan’s Bell Harbor series, has all that and more. Her snappy writing shines, and the chemistry between Evelyn and Tyler kept me turning the pages well after my usual bedtime.
I try to avoid sad, depressing movies and books as a rule. This is a side effect of cancer.
You see, I’m a cancer survivor, and every cancer survivor deals with the fear of the dreadful disease returning. Worries about what will become of the loved ones they’ll leave behind. Wonders if their mark on the world was big enough to be remembered. Assesses their life with regrets over mistakes, unfulfilled dreams, and what could be in the future if only they survive.
This is heavy stuff, and the reason I swore off wallowing in the cinematic and literary misery of woebegone characters.
However, The Fault In Our Stars was well worth the racking sobs that filled my bedroom as I read the book into the wee hours of the morning. I suffered little embarrassment as my loud, snotty sniffles echoed through the quiet movie theater, my husband making an extra run to the restroom for more tissues.
John Green ingeniously portrays the affect cancer has on its victim and on every single person in the victim’s life. Parents, a lover, close friends, distant acquaintances. They’re all touched by it, and each person processes the tragedy of it differently. Some become bitter, some prepare for it, some ignore it.
I won’t spoil it by giving away the ending, but I love it that Mr. Green allows the two characters to find a happy ending…in their own way.
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has done it again. The sixth installment of her Charley Davidson series, Sixth Grave On The Edge, doesn’t disappoint. It’s full of nail-biting intrigue, creepy ghosts that evoke a chuckle (or ten), family drama, angels and demons that play out her brilliant paranormal premise, and of course, the yummy Reyes Farrow whose otherworldly sensuality literally steams off the page.
Questions from previous installments are answered, while new mysteries are introduced. I simply can’t wait to find out who Mr. Wong really is. And will he meet Ms. Wight before the series ends? (Snort.)
A great read, no matter what genre you prefer.
To start at the beginning, here’s the entire series:
Click on any cover to go to the product page on Amazon!
Tag! I’m it! I’ve been tagged in The Writing Process Blog Tour by my 2014 Golden Heart® sister and critique buddy, Shelly Chalmers.
Honestly, I’m just happy I have a process. I remember, quite vividly, when I did not. While every writer’s process is different and continues to evolve, there is a time when most (probably every) new writer feels adrift, incompetent, and completely without direction.
The Process comes from experience, trial and error, failure, a willingness to learn and grow, and then finally finding a new piece to the puzzle that fits. Years down the road, I’ve pieced together enough of the puzzle that a process has emerged. It may not work for anyone else, but it works for me. It’s a map that I can follow, so if I veer off course while writing a story, I can easily find my way back to it.
As part of the blog tour, here are four questions every writer must answer:
What am I working on right now?
I’m working on the second installment of my Red River series. Dr. Blake Holloway is the town medical doctor. Angelique Barbetta is a tough-as-nails attorney. She’s been sent to Red River to work on a legal case that will put Doc Holloway and most of Red River’s hardworking proprietors out of business. Angelique loses a throw down with her weenie dog, Sergeant Schnitzel, over a pair of her panties, and the black lace thong
ends up in the hands of none other than Dr. Tall, Dark and Hot-some.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The setting of northern New Mexico is intriguing, mysterious and unique. I’ve tried to capitalize on that.
The canines in my stories aren’t just props, they’re actual characters, and they’re funny.
My stories are more like romantic comedy, not just boy meets girl in a small town. But I’ve also made the characters face real-life issues like loss, grief, insecurities, illness and over-zealous ambition. No easy task, when you’re trying to be funny.
Why do I write what I write?
I actually started writing historical suspense. While working on my third book, I decided to finish it by writing really, really fast. That’s when my true writer’s voice came out, and I realized my voice was too modern and quirky for historicals.
I knew contemporary romance would be a much better fit for me, and I wrote Love In Living Color. I can’t say I won’t ever try historicals again, but I know I’ve found my home with contemporaries.
How does my writing process work?
I start with an enormous amount of pre-writing – the writing that takes place before the actual writing starts. I buy a dozen poster boards, and I start designing the two lead characters…what do they look like, how did they grow up, what are their hobbies, favorite foods, do they sleep on their stomach…I fill up at least ten poster boards with information and pictures about my two leads. Those characters are my BFF’s by the time I start writing the story. (So, yeah, writers really do have imaginary friends. A lot of them.)
I come up with a long list of secondary characters, many of which don’t make the cut.
I do research into the setting. I’ve never written a story unless I’ve actually been to that location and spent a good deal of time there.
I’m not a detailed plotter, but I usually have at least ten of the major plot points mapped out before I start writing the story. I also have a long list of plot/scene ideas that might fit into the story. Some change, some don’t, new ones are created…you get the picture.
When I finally start writing, I try to meet a daily word count. Some days I’m successful, some days I’m not. But I do sit down and write, write, write every day.
After the story is complete, it gets revised at least once. And then I cheat. I have Stephanie Thompson Communications copyedit my work. She’s one of the best, and she makes me look good.
Every writer has a different process. Take a look at Shelly Chalmers’ process at www.scchalmers.com. You can also connect with Shelly via Twitter: @scchalmers.
Kari Bovee, writer of historical mysteries, will have her process up on 6/23/14 at www.Karibovee.com, Twitter: @Karibovee, and Facebook: Kari Bovee.
Here’s my excerpt from MY NEW FAVORITE COLOR – The story of a young breast cancer survivor, Angelique Barbetta, and her new neighbor, Blake Holloway. They meet for the first time when he brings home her runaway weenie dog and her…um…well, you’ll see.
As he sat the glass bottle on the porch, a small dachshund tore into his backyard carrying something in his mouth. The dog stopped about ten feet in front of him, and they stared each other down. Too well groomed to be a stray, it probably belonged to his nearest neighbor, a new renter that just moved in.
“Hey, little buddy. Come here.” Blake tried to coax the dog closer with a kind voice.
The rogue weenie dog squatted like it was about to pounce and run away.
Tearing off a hefty piece of baloney, Blake held it out and laid the sandwich on a plate next to his root beer. The dog inched forward, finally snagging the baloney after he dropped the…um, black panties?
Holding the tiny strings up for a quick look, he supposed it was women’s panties. He’d used dental floss that would cover more. Probably be more comfortable, too.