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February 20, 2018

Where Did You Get that Story Idea? by Kathleen Baldwin #CreativeInspiration


Good morning! I’m Kathleen Baldwin, author of the award-winning Stranje House novels. Like most authors, the question I’m asked most often by readers is, “Where did you get the idea for your books?”

Every author has her own answer. 

I love adventure in real life and in books. Guess where I get my ideas for my adventurous heros and heroines . . .
You guessed it. For me, adventuring in the wild is a powerful source of inspiration. I love being out in nature. But hey, I also enjoy doing research. How's that for a dichotomy?  Dusty musty old books are often a source of inspiration as well.

TRUTH: Inspiration comes from many places. 
Here's several wonderful authors answering that question.

  


 When Allison B. Collins is dreaming up ideas she turns to two of her favorite places for inspiration; songs and Pinterest. She found this photo of a frozen lighthouse on Pinterest and it was the inspiration for a story she is still writing.  






I'll wager a song helped inspire her for her lovely story, A Family for the Rancher, about a two broken-hearted people finding a unique path to hope and love.


 The extremely imaginative Michelle Miles finds inspiration in beautiful gardens. She has a Pinterest board devoted to them. 
Artwork by the amazing Anne Stokes is also a strong source of Michelle's inspiration.




Don’t miss Michelle’s wonderful fantasy, On the Hunt for the Wizard King. This series will delight your imagination. 


  




Pushcart Prize nominee and all around brilliant writer, Liese
Sherwood-Fabre is inspired by questions like, "What if?" or "How did this happen?"

After living in Russia for several years, Liese wrote a masterful post cold war Russian suspense exploring the question, “How far will a mother go to save the life of her child.”

Her current work in progress resulted from the question "How did Sherlock Holmes become Sherlock Holmes?" Meet Sherlock at age 13 when he and his family must prove his mother didn't murder the village midwife. (I can't wait to read it!)




Some of Liese’s inspiration also surfaces while doing extensive research into Victorian England. She published some of her work in a collection of essays, The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes, Essays on Victorian England. It’s available everywhere.   






Karilyn Bentley, who always has exciting stories, gets her inspiration while taking a shower. Karilyn is NOT going to give us a photo of herself in the shower!

 So, I found this one of a cute guy, and maybe it will inspire you?

Karilyn says, “There’s something about standing under the hot water that gives me all sorts of writing ideas.” 








One of those intriguing hot water inspirations became her latest book, Devil Take Me. Oooh, that sounds fun!




The extraordinary Elizabeth Essex has an art history degree! So she is often inspired by historical art. 


For her upcoming novel,
Mad, Bad & Dangerous To Marry, Thomas Gainsborough's portrait of the young Mr and Mrs William Hallett, also known as The Morning Walk, (from the National Portrait Gallery) was the impetus to write about a wonderfully compatible couple who seemed very much equals, but also very much in love. And the story just spun itself out from there…







So what gets your creative juices flowing?  


Tell us in the comments. We'd love to hear. 
We are always eager to test drive new creative stimuli. 


February 15, 2018

.@VickiBatman - What Makes me Stop Writing? #readromance #RomanceLivesForever #MFRWauthor


I remember the first time my brain didn’t want to write. I’d been working on my first romantic comedy mystery for a few months when Handsome was diagnosed with throat cancer. My whole world stopped. (FMI see Romance Lives Forever at: Romance Lives Forever .)

But how to keep the creativity going? I did develop a game plan—I took writing classes (didn’t comment much but worked on all lessons), played my favorite Word Search no Vowels, I critiqued with friends, journaled, attended my local romance writing chapter meetings. Most importantly, I set a deadline for after when his treatment would end and our lives would be back on track.
On the designated date, I booted up my computer and found my book. It had been haunting me, and when thoughts popped in my head, boom! I wrote them down and saved them. I had decided if I could only write twenty words, that was what I would do. I started with chapter one and worked. I was so nervous because I thought what if I can’t get back in my groove? The next day, I did better, and after that, better, till finally, my fingers were flying again.

Then ten years later, Handsome had to have a reconstructive plastic surgery (FMI: Romance Lives Forever ).
I had already been having trouble with my third book in the series; however, I had signed up to put a short story in an anthology. I worked and worked on it instead, and by the time we left the hospital, I’d submitted it.
Sometimes, fun doesn’t end. Now, Handsome is having another reconstructive plastic surgery. And you know what? I’m in the groove. I’ve been working on my third book and things are humming. Last year, I had mega trouble with this book, but I sat down in the fall and worked out the problem, and now, it feels good.
My lesson is persevere. I didn’t give up on me. I found a way to get me through the tough times.
So, here’s a tiny bit from Book 3 in the Hattie Cooks mystery series, Temporarily Out of Luck:
And I knew it took a great deal of courage to state what he’d just asked--to get lucky--although I knew he meant he really wanted us to explore the couple route. I knew from firsthand experience how much guts were required ‘cause several months back, I’d asked him to choose me.
         -That was after I’d been stabbed.
         -After I’d figured out he’d used me for information.
         -After we’d nearly had almost wild, almost sex.
         Sex would have been good. I set my finger to my lower lip, letting my mouth curve at the corners, remembering. Everybody knows sex is a good thing.
Find all my fun at: Author Central

February 6, 2018

A Family for the Rancher by Allison B. Collins #CowboystoGrooms #AFamilyfortheRancher #PlottingPrincesses #MFRW @allisonbcollins

Hi, everyone! It’s been ages since I blogged with the Plotting Princesses. So much has happened, but I’ll try to keep it short.

Under my real name, Allison B. Collins, I have a three book deal with Harlequin for a new series, Cowboys to Grooms!  It’s been a dream of mine for years to be a Harlequin author.  I’ve been reading their series for more years than I care to admit, and to now be writing for them—it’s better than the richest of chocolates and the bubbliest of champagnes. It really hit home last summer when I was invited to the Harlequin party at the Romance Writers of America conference.  Strictly for Harlequin authors and employees, I really felt like part of the Harlequin family. (I might have to write about it after the next one, so stay tuned!)

The first book, A FAMILY FOR THE RANCHER, just launched, and I’m over the moon excited about it. This series started out as a dream I had a couple of years ago. As soon as I woke up that next morning, I knew I had to turn it into a series of books. There are five brothers, so five books.  Nash is the oldest brother, and definitely a wounded hero home from the war in Afghanistan. I was so into writing about him that it made me cry several times. Kelsey Summers is the physical therapist Nash’s father hired to help Nash get better.  Kelsey arrives at the ranch with her mother and young daughter in tow. 

Blurb:

PART SOLDIER. PART SURVIVOR. ALL COWBOY.

Nash Sullivan doesn’t need help from anyone. Not his father, not his brothers and sure as heck not from a physical therapist—even a darn feisty one like Kelsey Summers. He lost his leg during his overseas deployment and he just wants to be left alone. Besides, the last thing a woman like Kelsey needs is half a man.

Single mom Kelsey knows all too well that the scars on the inside run the deepest. She needs to move on from her own tragic past, but the Sullivan ranch is starting to feel a little too much like home. And she can’t stop thinking about her wounded—and gorgeous—patient. Could Nash be the cure for her own broken heart?


Excerpt:

A knock sounded at the door, and her mother walked into the room. “I’ll get it, sweetie.”
Looking up to see who was at the door, Kelsey saw a deliveryman holding a huge vase of flowers.
Her mother squealed. “Flowers! I just love flowers. Thank you so much, young man.” She took the vase from him and closed the door. “I’ll bet they’re from Angus. Isn’t he just the sweetest?”
The urge to warn her mother again about forming a relationship with her employer died on her lips as Bunny looked at the little envelope on the arrangement and frowned.
“These aren’t for me. They’re for you. Who on earth would be sending you flowers? And here, of all places?” She brought the vase to the desk and set them down, handed Kelsey the card.
“There must be some mistake.” She read the outside of the envelope. It was her name all right. She slid a finger under the flap and opened it.

Thanks for last night. And for today. I appreciate it more than you know. Nash.

“Well? Who’s it from?” Her mother still stood next to her, tapping her foot.
“It’s nothing.”
“Then why are your cheeks red?” Bunny grabbed the card and read it aloud, then smiled. “Is that where you went last night? And just what is he thanking you for?”
“Mom, he’s my patient. I can’t talk about him.”
“I don’t think he was a patient last night when you left here so late. Are you seeing him?”
“No, Mom. In fact, his brothers were there. He just got in a little trouble, and we helped him.”
“I’ll bet he didn’t order flowers and have them rushed over for his brothers.” Bunny cupped Kelsey’s chin. “Angus told me Nash has been in trouble before. He used to get in fights, has always had an anger problem, and it’s escalated since he got out of the Army.”
Kelsey leaned back in the chair and crossed her arms. “Wouldn’t you be angry if you lost—had been through as much as he was in the war? He’s my patient. I have a professional relationship with him. That’s it. I don’t think you should be talking about him with Angus.”
“I don’t want to see you get hurt, that’s all.”
“I’m not going to. This is my job, you know. I’ve never gotten involved with patients before.”
“I know. But you’ve also never worked with a really good-looking cowboy before. I mean, have you seen what those worn-out jeans do for his butt?”
“Mother! I can’t believe you said that!”
Bunny laughed. “I may be old, but I’m still a woman. I’m telling you, you should check it out.” She walked out of the room, giggling.

I love these Sullivan men and the women they fall for so much, and am having the best time writing their stories.  And to think it all started with that really intense dream.

If you’re an author, have you ever had a dream that you turned into a book?
For readers, do you have dreams that you think should be a book? What was it—if you want to share, that is!

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