Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Three Questions to Ensure Conflict

Ask any editor the main reason submissions are rejected and they will tell you - lack of conflict. My editors at Love Inspired tweet about it frequently, speakers expound on it. Books delve into it and seminars go on for hours about its importance. So how do you build in conflict from the start? Make sure you can answer these three questions before you start writing your book.

Why are Hero and Heroine the worst for each other?
These two aren’t supposed to be soul mates from the moment they meet. Even if there’s an attraction or a history, they should have reasons why falling in love is the last thing they want.
Example: A woman who lost her husband to violence would resist falling in love with a man who was a cop. A man would resist falling for the woman who broke his heart years ago especially if he has his children’s hearts to protect now.

Why is this the worst possible time?
Falling in love has to be the very last thing on the hero and heroine’s agenda when the book opens. Something more important is going on. Loss of job, loved one, being stranded, forced to assume care of child or relative. The growing attraction should complicate their situations, and add to their conflicted emotions.

What is the urgency?
Set a timer on your story. Force the hero and heroine into making a decision. Example: His leave is up at the end of the month. Her dream job in another city starts soon. Once her mother is better she’ll return home. If there’s nothing pushing them forward, then they’re simply dating and dating equals no conflict.

If you’re like me the word conflict always made me envision a hero and heroine bickering, and fighting each other at every turn. It helped when I changed the word “conflict” to “obstacles”.  The goal of any romance is to keep the couple resisting falling in love until the very end. They have issues they need to confront internally, realizations to come to about themselves and their choices, and they have outward problems to overcome before they can have that happy ending.
Make it hard for them to fall in love. Make it cost them something they want. Then the ending will be much sweeter for the author and the reader.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Another Dover Romance On the Way

Time to schedule a trip down south. You’re invited back to Dover, Mississippi this March for another story about the Durrant family. This romance is for the middle brother, Tyler, a Dallas police officer wounded in the line of duty, and Ginger Sloan a widow who longs for a safe place to raise her son.
            You’ll meet Ty’s mentor, Dover Police Chief Brady Reynolds, and many other Dover residents as the church comes together to help a needy family. The Durrants are back too. Parents, Angie and Tom, Matt and Shelby and the kids, Cassidy and Kenny, (Rekindled Romance), and Laura and Adam Holbrook (Restoring His Heart)play a part in the story too.
           Ty and Ginger must overcome many obstacles before declaring their feelings. Dover in January can change from hot to cold in a moment, just like the up and down relationship between Ty and Ginger. Make your plans to stop by Dover in March and let Ginger and Ty share their journey to happiness with you.

Protecting the Widow’s Heart – Love Inspired March 2014

                           To Love and Protect
Ginger Sloan’s had enough of heartache. She just wants a peaceful place where she and her son can start over and feel safe. Getting stranded in a Lakeside cabin outside Dover, Mississippi, isn’t part of her plan. Then again, neither is falling for the cabin’s handsome owner. Injured on the job, detective Tyler Durrant retreats to his cabin to heal. He’s shocked to find the single mom  and her son there. And surprised at the way Ginger affects his heart. For the first time in years, he has hope for the future, but can he convince Ginger that she can find a safe haven in his arms.

            Book #3 - Home to Dover series - A small town with a big heart

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You Won't Believe What I did at the ACFW Conference!

I spent fifteen minutes talking with agent Mary Sue Seymour as we waited for the doors to open for the Gala. I tried to steal the chair from Chip MacGregor’s appointment area the first day because I was tired of standing. He said no. I chatted with Emily Rodmell about her helpful twitter posts. I exchanged greetings with Robin Jones Gunn as we waited for the elevator. I was scolded by Lena Nelson Dooley for not asking to be interviewed on her blog. I made a dozen new writer friends. I ate meals with authors and writers from all over the world. I met two young people ages fifteen and sixteen who were there to learn how to improve their writing. I sat with, and cheered on a Genesis award winner (Hi Suzanne).
            I raised my voice in praise and song with 500 other believers every morning. I sat at the feet of gifted teachers who helped me understand the middle of a book, the dangers of e-pub contracts, and ways to market my book most effectively. I encouraged several writers who were wondering if it would ever happen for them, and shared my story of the bad conference that turned out so well. I was encouraged by those a few steps higher on the ladder that me.  
            I laughed. I cried. I was lifted up by the keynote speaker who reminded us what our gifts and our journeys are all about. I was served by hotel staff that always smiled, always helped, and worked overtime to make sure our stay was perfection.
            I collected business cards from scores of writers with varied skills and talents that I can contact when I need research information. I spent time with Love Inspired authors and editors who have my best interests at heart. I stepped out of my comfort zone and looked to assist first timers and not worry about me.
            I was blessed beyond words.
And you say you can’t afford to go to conference? You can’t afford NOT to.

*(I understand the financial burden of conference, but please remember that there are scholarships available to help. Attendees are always looking for roommates to share the cost. Try and attend a conference near you to cut costs. If you are serious about your writing career you need to step out of your comfort zone and step into the publishing arena. Editors, agents, mentors and ACFW staff are all devoted to helping you learn and grow and work to put you in touch with people who can help. Meeting editors and agents in person can make all the difference. I met my agent when she sat down next to me at dinner. That wouldn’t have happened if I’d stayed home. So pray about it, plan for it and I hope to meet you next year in St Louis.)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Plantation Christmas Weddings

Plantation Christmas Weddings Barbour Publishing September 1, 2013

Four Christmas Weddings in four historic Antebellum homes, and love is in the air for four special couples attending.

It's almost time for my novella to be released. This collection is going to be extra fun because the four authors in the collection are all members of our writing group here in Mississippi. Virginia Vaughan, Cynthia Leavelle, Sylvia Barnes and me. This is going to make book signings a whole lot of fun.

The contemporary novellas are set in four historic plantation in Natchez, Mississippi and center around weddings held in each palatial home. What better setting to write a romance than the beautiful homes and gardens of these antebellum mansions.  Here's a sneak peek.

Christmas at Dunleith – Sylvia Barnes

City woman meets country guy when the parents of the bride and groom meet for the first time and sparks fly. Can the elegant and the charm of Natchez bridge the gap and turn sparks into fireworks?

Christmas at Brandon Hall – Virginia Vaughan

When the children of an estranged couple plot a reunion at their aunts wedding, will the memories of their own special time at Brandon Hall rekindled their love or end their marriage once and for all?

Christmas at Longwood – Cynthia Leavelle

A trip to Natchez for a friend’s wedding and to research her next novel, also turns up an old friend who holds the key to her own happily ever after.

Christmas at Monmouth – Lorraine Beatty

Planning other’s dream weddings is simple, coming to terms with being jilted at her own, isn’t. until an old boyfriend arrives and shows her what real love is.

Keep an eye on your local book stores. Plantation Christmas Weddings should be showing up on shelves in a few weeks.