Murder, Mayhem, and Love. It’s all in day’s work!

MURDER IN PARADISE BAY is only .99 for the next few days, so grab it while it’s hot!

I love all the books I’ve written and adore all the characters, which is why I like to write series with a large and expanding community so that I can revisit the people I’ve created and catch up on what is happening in their lives. MURDER IN PARADISE BAY is the 4th book in the NY State Trooper Series and Stacey Sutten is one of the strongest female leads from the get go. She’s a very confidant young woman at twenty-five. Raised by a single dad, who had her at 17, she’s developed a very thick skin, a mouth like razor, and tenderness that is untouchable. I love her because her arch isn’t about gaining confidence, or strength, but giving it. Throughout the book, she has to give it to her father, the love of her life, even the people she works with. But her growth as a woman comes from learning how to lean on others and let them into her soul, especially Doug Tanner.

What I love about Doug is he’s humble man. Having been homeless until fifteen when Stacey’s father takes him in, has taught him the value of a kind heart and honest work. What is interesting about Doug is that he is 9 years younger than Stacey’s father, and 9 years older than Stacey. Even more interesting is that at 15 and throughout his young adult life, he’d been Jim’s (Stacey’s father) best friend and eventual business partner. Jim helped Doug go to college and become an architect. Jim felt strongly that he couldn’t bring a woman into their lives. He wanted to be a dedicated father and he focused all his attention on Stacey and his growing business…then Doug.

But as Stacey grew up, graduated from college, and became a State Trooper, a shift in relationships occur and while Doug will always be Jim’s business partner, its obvious to everyone that Doug and Stacey are destine to be together…even her father.

So, I came up with Doug, Stacey, and her father, Jim back in 2005. Really, not kidding. I wrote their story (though Stacey was a dance teacher, NOT), but the background was the same and Doug was accused of killing his late wife. But I knew the book/story wasn’t right, but these three characters wouldn’t leave me alone! So when I needed to introduce my next State Trooper in DEADLY SECRETS, all of a sudden, Stacey waltzed into the station house and blew my mind.

I love how writing works.

The story flew from my brain to my fingers, partly because I’ve lived with this people for like EVER!

Stacey will always hold a special place in my heart. She’s the only female trooper in the series and she’s one kick ass female!  And Doug? Oy. All my hero’s have man crushes on him.

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Happy reading!

Are you a #plotter or a #pantser? What’s the difference and why is it important? #amwriting

There is no right way to write a book. Nor is there a wrong way. The must is that it is well written. So, how do you get to a well written product?

One of the age old discussions about writing is plotting or pantsing. I think it’s important to understand where you fall on this pendulum. If you understand yourself and how your brain works, you’re writing will improve as will your stories.

After writing 10 books and a couple of novellas, I’ve developed certain patterns that make the hardest part of writing not so hard, and writing is the hardest part. The first few books I wrote, I definitely  relied o pantsing. I started with people and then tossed story ideas at them. I rewrote the same characters a few different times, in different settings, with different stories. Always the same people. I had those people down! I believe its why IN TWO WEEKS and MURDER IN PARADISE BAY are my strongest in terms of character. Not that the others aren’t flipping awesome, many of my readers have told me that Stacey Sutten, from MURDER IN PARADISE BAY is by far my strongest female lead. Funny, she and her hero Doug were the people of the second novel I wrote, only she wasn’t a trooper, but a dance teacher and it wasn’t set in Lake George. BUT, Doug was business partners with her father and he was accused of murder. Huh, interesting…why? Because I agree with Bob Mayer that story can change, but idea can’t.

However, those first few books were very painful to write because of all the pantsing and not have a clear vision. I took a lot of workshops on plotting, because I considered myself a plotter. Back then, my plotting consisted of notes in a spreadsheet and not many notes and they constantly changed as I constantly changed my story. It got exhausting.

But over the course of a few years, I leaned that I’m not the plotter I once thought I was. Yeah, my stories have some interesting twists and turns, but I can tell you that in most of my novels I get to a certain point and go, nope, that’s no who done it. I go back and read and think, wow, that’s who done it. Or, sometimes I have to create a new character for the who done it part. I hate when that happens.

So, before I start a book, here is what I “Plot”

Story Idea: Very important. So for the book that comes out on 23 May 2017 DEADLY SEDUCTION the story idea was: What if the woman you’re sleeping with was sent to destroy your career?

Character GMC (Goal, Motivation, and Conflict) for both hero and heroine: What do your characters want? Why do they want it? Why can’t they have it?

Character backstory: I write down everything I think I know about the all the characters.

Plot Points: This part is hard sometimes. Generally, all I know at the start of the book is the inciting incident, a few random scene ideas and conflict resolution. Most of the time I think I know the dark moment, but sometimes that changes.

That’s really it. I put it all in a spreadsheet and I start writing. I track my scenes, constantly making notes for revision. As I write, I discover, so I need to be able to adjust to those discoveries.

My conclusion is that I’m a plotter with pantsing tendencies!

How do you plot?