Friday, May 18, 2018

Beginnings, Endings and Sagging Middles

It’s that time for another group blog. This month’s topic is ‘How do you ensure a story has a good beginning, a satisfying ending, and good continuity in between?”

It’s a great topic, but my first thought was, if I knew that I’d be a NY Times best seller. But it is something every writer faces. How do we tackle it and hopefully make it happen?

I’m more of a pantser. I get an idea. Then I start to develop my characters and I start writing to see where I go. I know I need a hook and a few first pages to pull in a reader. I look at what I’ve written, maybe a chapter or two and go back to the beginning. Hopefully by now I’m learning about my h/h. What’s the inciting incident? What causes an abrupt shift in the story? What starts my h/h on their journey? Once I figure out exactly what that is, I write enough information to get the readers interest, and hopefully keep them reading to find out more.

I don’t find the satisfying ending too difficult. I write romantic suspense, so it will be a happily ever after ending. During the journey through the story I’ve gotten to know my characters, their idiosyncrasies, their real goals and they’re challenges getting together. They’ve reached their goals, resolved their personal issues, admitted their love and will live happily ever after.

And the continuity, or sometimes know as the sagging middles, has always been the biggest challenge for me. Keeping the story moving toward the goals, having the h/h grow, address their personal issues and solve the challenges, whatever they may be depending on the genre, this is my challenge. I do draw a basic chart for each main character with their personal issues and conflicts with each other and tick them off as they’re resolved. If I I’m staring at the screen and can’t figure out what to do next I remember what someone once told me. There’s no such thing as writing block, it means you don’t know your story or your characters as well as you should, or maybe you’re trying to make your characters do something that’s against their nature. So I stop, go back and do more research for the story and I talk to my characters.
Hopefully when I start to write again the middle will meet all those issues and proceed smoothly to the HEA.

I look forward to seeing what the other others have to say. I hope you do too. Join me in checking them out.
Skye Taylor
Marci Baun
Judith Copek
Margaret Fieland
A.J. Maguire

Dr. Bob Rich
Anne de Gruchy
Rhobin L Courtright

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Meet Icy Snow Blackstone

Icy Snow Blackstone was born in 1802, in northern Georgia where her father, the Reverend John Blackstone, was prominent in local politics. She married a minister, raised at least seven children, one of whom also became a minister, and lived there all her life. There are no photographs of her available because cameras were not invented at that time.

Two hundred and five years later, her great-great-great-great-granddaughter began using her name as a pseudonym for her romance novels. Her novels have won awards:
Earthman's Bride was the recipient of the 2008 Maryland Romance Writers Reveal Your Inner Vixen Fiction Award for Speculative/Other Romance. Icy Snow's Vietnam-era romance, Jericho Road, placed 8th in the 1997 National Writers Association Novel-writing Contest for that year. The present Icy Snow Blackstone lives far from her Southern roots in Lancaster County, Nebraska, where she continues to write romances. The Novel Tuesday's Child was voted Best Contemporary Romance of 2014 by the Paranormal Romance Guild's Reviewers Choice.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Icy Snow: I write mostly Southern romances. I’m familiar with that region, having been born there.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Icy Snow: I had a seventh grade teacher who encouraged my class to write.  We’d work on short stories and read them to the class.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Icy Snow: Anything! A word, a phrase, the ending of a movie I didn’t like…I’ll rewrite it the way I think it should’ve happened.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Icy Snow: The Shrek version of Puss in Boots. I think Antonio Banderas did a great job of making Puss into a suave rogue of a cat with a big heart and a mischievous streak.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Icy Snow: Probably the same thing I do every other day.  Read a book, write a little, watch some TV.  I’m a creature of habit!
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Icy Snow: Currently, I’m finishing up my romance Runaway Brother. It was inspired by a movie about a millionaire who “takes to the road” to see how the other half lives during the depression and ends up falling in love.

Blurb for Runaway Brother:

At the age of twenty-two, newly-graduated Nicolo Liguori is forced by his three brothers to become care-giver for his father, who suffered multiple strokes.  For the next ten years, Nick gives up his own ambitions , working during the day in the family jewelry business in Vanderhoek, New York, and returning to the Liguori mansion every night, to be at his father’s beck-and-call. Then Papa dies and Nick is free…or is he?  Carlo, Marco, and Pietro expect him to continue life as usual, but Nick has other ideas.  Secretly buying a motorcycle, he starts to work one day and… disappears.

Nick gets as far as the southern coast of Georgia before an accident disables his bike.  Stranded, with no idea of the South except what he’s seen on TV, Nick isn’t certain what kind of reception he’s going to get.  Then, a pretty Southern miss and a white tank disguised as a temperamental horse named Shazam change his life as they and the citizens of Oceano teach a runaway Yankee about life and love in a small Georgia town.


The track was getting narrower, barely two ruts now with a width of slender, wiry grass separating them.  He slowed the bike.  Don’t want to get that stuff caught in the spokes and stall the engine.
         Nick raised his head, looking around, then gave a loud sigh of exasperation.  Okay!  So I’m lost!  He’d just follow the road to wherever it went, probably to some farmer’s front yard.  When he got there, he’d apologize, turn around and get himself back to the main drag.  If he could find it.
            A broken branch loomed ahead, and he turned his attention to it, guiding the bike around it.  
           A second branch and several twigs littered the roadway.  Nick was so concerned with maneuvering around them he didn’t see the horse sail over the fence, wasn’t even aware it was there until he looked up and found the white shape almost directly in front of him.
           He jerked the wheel to the right, forgetting to apply the rear brakes first.  The bike skidded, its back wheel rising off the ground as the front one stopped rolling.  He had a brief vision of the animal leaping forward, its rider clinging to its back, wide, frightened blue eyes, flying blonde hair...
        The motorcycle went off the road, sliding into the ditch and running up the other side, the front fender striking one of the fence posts.  It bounced and rebounded, and Nick went flying over the handlebars, flipping in mid-air and hitting the same post with his back. The bike wavered a moment, then toppled onto its side.  Nick slid down the post, landing upside down in the ditch, his shoulders crushing coffeeweed into an aromatic mass.
        The pounding hooves stopped.  He heard running footsteps, opened his eyes and saw someone running toward him.  He closed them again.
        “Are you hurt?”
        This time when he opened his eyes, he was staring at the upside-down face of a very pretty girl, at least she’d have been pretty if her face wasn’t screwed up into such a dismayed scowl.
        Am I hurt?”  He managed a growl as he slid further into the weeds and rolled over.  “I just hit a fence and got tossed into a ditch!  What do you think?”  Clambering to his knees, while she plucked ineffectually at one arm, he jerked out of her grasp.  “I can get up by my—  Ow!” 
        He’d gotten upright, took a step, and his leg buckled, turning at the ankle    “Here.”  She slid into the ditch, offering a hand.  Reluctantly he took it, being careful not to put too much weight behind it as he let her pull him to his feet.  He could see she was worried and he really wasn’t hurt all that bad, but he was angry because she’d been so reckless.
        “What the Hell’s the matter with you?  Jumping in front of me like that!  If I’d hit that horse—”
        “What are you doing riding this road?  This is private property.”
        She was too pretty for him to pretend to stay angry at, so he toned it down, answering her question. “I got lost.  I only wanted to find the end of the road and turn around.”
        “You have a way to go.  The house is about a quarter of a mile that way.”  She nodded toward a group of pines thrust into the road, hiding the rest of it from sight. Nick looked in that direction, then back at her.  She, in turn, looked at the motorcycle, still on its side in the weeds.  You seem okay.  Is that hurt?”
        Nick got down on one knee, feeling under the bike.  His hand came away wet.  He sniffed at his fingers. 
        Gasoline. He pulled off one glove, exploring gingerly.  Something had punched a hole in the gas tank and gasoline was pouring into the grass.  He had no idea how, but it didn’t matter.  What did was that he wasn’t going anywhere as long as that hole was there.
        “Well?”  She appeared to be awaiting his diagnosis.
        He wiped his fingers on the seat of his jeans.  “Gas tank’s got a hole in it, clutch cable’s severed. Is there a motorcycle shop around here anywhere?”
        “No, but Marshall’s in town can probably repair it.  He does everything from lawn mowers to farm machinery.”
        Oh Lord, deliver me from small town handymen!  He was about to tell her he didn’t want Marshall touching his bike when he realized, What else am I going to do?  Do you have a better idea, Mr. Runaway?
        “So which way is town?”  He straightened, looked around as if expecting to see the city limits a few feet away.
        “Too far for you to push that thing,” she answered, gesturing at the front wheel.  “Not with it twisted like that.”
        “What do I do then, Miss Not-So-Helpful?  Since this is your fault—”
        “My fault?”  Hands went to her hips.  And deliciously slim ones they were, too.  Nick had a moment to think she looked anything but angry, though it was apparent she thought she did.  Cute, maybe.  Hell, he might even say adorable with those blonde wisps floating around her face, but angry?  Nope!  “Who’s the trespasser?  Who had his head down, studying the ground when he should’ve been looking straight ahead?”
        “You weren’t ahead of me,” he countered.  “You and that white tank of yours jumped a fence and came in from the side.
        “Never mind.  Just let me get the bike upright and point me in the right direction, and—”      
        “I’ll do no such thing.”  That made him stare at her, wondering if she was going to walk away, mount her white steed, and leave him stranded knee-deep in Kudzu or whatever-the-Hell these weeds were.  “I’ll ride back to the house and get my grandpa’s truck.  We”ll put the motorcycle in it.”
        She clambered up the bank, running toward the horse now was grazing on the other side of the road.  Catching the reins and a handful of mane, she swung into the horse’s back—very gracefully, he noted—then turned the animal’s head and trotted it back to him.
        “You stay right there,” she told him.  “I’ll be back in a jif!”  She kicked the horse in the ribs and sent it galloping down the road.
        Nick turned his attention back to the V-Rod.  It hadn’t moved.  Did he expect it to get up and limp over to him like a dog with a hurt paw, whimpering for sympathy?  Shaking his head, he leaned against the edge of the ditch, back against a fencepost.
        Welcome South, Brother!     

Buy Links:
Paper back from the publisher’s website:
e-Books/Kindle from Amazon:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Meet Juanita Aydlette

Juanita Aydlette is from Shreveport, Louisiana, and now lives in Texas.  She’s the only girl in a family of four brothers. She love music, planting flowers and is a dog lover…that’s why she works at an animal clinic.
Beverley: Are you a pet person?
Juanita: Yes I am. As a matter of fact, I work for a Veterinarian.
Beverley: Do you think pets (dogs/cats/birds/ horses/ etc.) belong in books? Why?
Juanita: I think pets belong in books, because they will definitely draw the curiosity of the reader. Pet lovers—and there are millions, can relate to animals as family member. I think it's important to them to find an author that feels that way too.
Beverley: Should they be the main characters? Why?
Juanita: I think it depends on the plot. If it's a fantasy or science fiction story, then why not? In that case, the animal can be as intelligent as a human.
Beverley: Should animals in books talk?
Juanita: Sure. As I said, in cases of science fiction and fantasy, why not?
Beverley: Do you include pets in your books?
Juanita: My first novel was published last year by Class Act Books, a fantasy romance/suspense,  and there are animals—not pets, but animals just the same.
Beverley: Any other thoughts on pets, and pets in books?
Juanita: If my husband didn't protest, I would probably try to acquire as many pets as I could. I think animals enhance a story, because they tend to bring out the soft side of most people.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write?
Juanita: So far, I have no preference. If I happen upon a situation that I feel will make a good story, then I plan to write about it. However, I do tend to lean more towards fantasy.
Beverley: What prompted you to write in the genre/s you do?
Juanita: I had a vivid imagination as a child, but no one to share it with. I have a lot of catching up to do as far as writing about it now. It's a little harder now that I'm older.
Beverley: What genres do you enjoy reading?
Juanita: I like thrillers, suspense, mysteries and romance also.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Juanita: I've been a closet-writer since high school; poems and such. I was shy and always worried about what people thought of me. Now, I don't care.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Juanita: Stephenie Meyer. I waited so long to decide to make this a reality, and after she did it, I felt like I could too.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Juanita: First, I started to write without any research on the publishing industry, so I took my first five rejections pretty hard. I had to go back and find out what I was doing wrong. Second, I work ten hours a day, so I have to squeeze time in for writing. That part really depresses me.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Juanita: Anything. I have ideas to pop up all the time—mostly at work, and I have little pieces of paper with notes on them stuck in my pockets by the end of the day.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Juanita: Constant disturbances by my husband and my dogs and also the phone ringing will drive me nuts.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Juanita: I will eat just about anything for breakfast, but if I have the time, I will stop at McDonalds and get oatmeal and a biscuit with butter.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Juanita: Usually I'm in a pair of shorts or my night clothes, because after working all day, I have to make time for an hour or so to write before I go to bed. Other than that, I spend an hour of my lunch break to write.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
I get most of my writing done at home on Saturdays.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Juanita: I use to watch The fantastic Four cartoons when I was younger, because everyone had special powers.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Juanita: I would like to meet actor Anthony Hopkins--just something about Hannibal Lector. I took him as a date to a Facebook party once.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Juanita: I would either write or just relax and watch television.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Juanita: I am working on part two of "It's in the Blood" entitled "Blood Ties." Hopefully it will be released early in 2018.

Blurb for It’s in the Blood:
Never stare at a green-eyed, shirtless hunk. Gabrielle Madsen is drawn in by such a pair of eyes that captures her soul and leaves her a prisoner of an addictive kind of love--not that she's complaining. But her educational trip turns out to be more than just a fun-filled summer escapade.
She’s faced with a life-changing decision that could affect the world around her. Her discovery of this ancient, legend-come-to-life proves to be deadly, but her heart can’t break away. She and Josh Van Ness fall in love and must battle the forces that want to keep them apart.

Excerpt for It’s in the Blood:
Away from the open menagerie was a path surrounded by dense trees. It was across a narrow decorative bridge built into the landscape. The thick greenery
provided a shady side to the open garden. A spotlight created by the sun beckoned to me from inside and I walked away from the others. My eyes were fixed on the pink and red groundcover that glimmered with a hypnotic seduction. I ventured toward the fragrant breeze, unaware of how far I had strayed.
After only a few yards inside the cover of the trees, my body was seized again by a rumble and a frightening snarl. A chill blanketed me and I couldn’t move. I didn’t dare look around, for the back of my blouse had already been saturated by the heated moisture from the breath of the beast. My first instinct was to scream, but fear had stolen my voice. So I took a deep breath and held it. The scent of horror filled my lungs. It was familiar. Was I being stalked by the animal that lurked outside my hotel grounds?
Help me please, rang inside my head. My eyes squeezed shut as its sharp fangs pinched my shoulder. Tears filled my eyes and my hands formed a fist. I waited to feel my bones snap when suddenly, it let go. The leaves crunched. The sound grew fainter by the second, then nothing. My eyes remained closed as I trembled and listened.
“Miss?” A woman’s voice severed my nightmare. “I saw you come out here. We’re getting ready to go to another area. You don’t want to be left behind.”

Without hesitation I ran past her, clutching my throat and sobbing. The other tourists were boarding the van and I made my way to the back. The woman I believed saved me from certain death, came and sat beside me.
“Hi. My name is Kara. Are you okay?” She placed her hand on my shoulder.
“Did you see anything?” I searched her eyes for a confirmation. “An animal? It was behind me.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t see anything,” she said and smiled.
“Was it a spider?” the little lady with the blinding yellow blouse asked.
“No. Never mind, Kara. I guess I’m just tired. Thank you for checking on me.”
“You’re welcome, you take care.” She quickly returned to her seat.
My body trembled as the bus came to stop. I ran from the tourist center to the hotel. Once inside the bathroom, I stripped and examined my shoulder. A painful bruise was both in front and in back. I cried out loud, shook convulsively, and then laughed hysterically. Was I going mad?

Buy Links for It’s in the Blood:
Paperback exclusively at the Publisher’s website:

You can find Juanita at:
Twitter: @Juanita Aydlette

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Small Tips for Website Design

I’m late posting. It’s that life thing. I’m redesigning my website.
Okay, I’m not doing it. I’m so not techie; I’m having someone do it.
It’s only been a year since I had it done and while it looked okay, the support was negligible. It was difficult explaining what I wanted done so things didn’t change. And when you’re not techie you don’t always realize what is actually happening.

I’m learning a few things this time around and thought I’d share them with you if you’re looking at redesigning your own site or having someone else do it. First, one of the top priorities is to find someone you can talk to and work with.
Someone you can contact when you have a question or a change. And if they have a twenty-three page contract, read it carefully and maybe reconsider.
Second I don’t own my present website. When I close it I lose the site and info.
Make sure you have the copyright to your site.
Next I was told not to use Weebly if I was going to design my own site.
Apparently it’s very difficult to download your info if you want to move it to a different site.
And it turns out the people who did mine last year made it even more difficult to move it.  I’m learning that now.

Also you need SSL – which I didn’t understand except I knew it was security. Now I realize that’s in the URL – HTTP – not the extra security. Https is secure and over the next year some sites may require the SSL.  And some host sites include the SSL free of charge.

So that’s a few tips I’m learning.
Anyone got any other tips for web designing?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Meet Amber Daulton and Mason plus a Giveaway

Amber Daulton lives her life by that one belief even though she normally isn’t so Zen.
As a fan of contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance novels alike, she can’t get enough of feisty heroines and alpha heroes. Her mind is a wonderland of adventure, laughter, and awesome ways of kicking a guy when he’s down. She probably wouldn’t be too sane without her computer and notebooks. After all, what’s a girl to do when people are jabbering away in her head and it’s hard to shut them up? Write! Nothing else works.

Character Interview
Beverley: What’s your name?
Mason: Mason Harding. Yeah, I know it’s a little funny. Mason means “stone worker,” and Harding means “hardness.” It’s like my parents didn’t want me to grow up and be a soft guy. Guess that worked in my favor.
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Mason: Aurora, Colorado is my hometown, and I grew up in a little suburb of the city. You know the drill. The damn neighborhood was all two-story houses, okay-sized yards, and white picket fences, but I’ve always preferred the urban areas. More stuff to do, and unfortunately for me in my stupid teen years, more places to get into trouble.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Mason: It’s a present day story. I moved to Denver to live with my brother after several years away, but let me tell you. Location and time means nothing when the past wants to haunt your ass. I learned that real quick.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Mason: My author, Amber, is a little nutty. I mean, I guess I got a good story to tell, but I didn’t think anyone would want to read about it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, some of which are embarrassing, but I’ve moved on with my life. I’m not ashamed of myself, and I like myself for the most part. I went to prison for ten years for a stupid, drunken mistake, but now I’m a free man. I’m determined to do right and stay out of trouble. It’s difficult, yeah, but I’m a stubborn man. I also have a good woman in my life. Mia is everything to me, so I’ll do what I must to stay away from my past.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Mason: Staying out of trouble, and then keeping Mia safe when trouble finds me.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Mason: Mia’s brother, Jim, is my parole officer, and he acted like a first rate jerk after he found out about us. If dealing with Jim wasn’t bad enough, I made some enemies in prison and then ran into them on the outside. On top of that, some old friends from before I went to prison found me and wouldn’t leave me the hell alone.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Mason: Yeah, sort of. I’m just taking it one day at a time, doing what I can to keep my head above water. Even though I got trouble coming at me from three sides, Mia is sticking by me. If not for her, who knows where I’d be right now. I owe Mia a lot.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Mason: Well, I could tell ya a bunch more, but I’d rather not get into the nitty-gritty details here. I’ll save that for Amber’s book.
Thanks for me interviewing me, Beverley. It’s been great.

Blurb for Arresting Mason:

Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?
Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcĂ©e behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life. When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

Excerpt from Arresting Mason:

“Which one is your car?” She glanced around the crowded parking lot. A few streetlights pushed back the darkness and shadows. The restaurant served customers until midnight on the weekends, but no one loitered in the lot, at least from what Mia could see.
“Don’t have one at the moment.” Mason hooked his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans. “I took the bus. It stopped a few blocks from here.”
“Would you like a ride?” She pulled the car keys from her purse. “I feel a little ridiculous we met here tonight. I just wasn’t sure if you were some kind of freak.”
His eyebrow lifted, and he closed the distance between them as a tiger would zero in on its mate. A sexy, masculine smile curled his lips. “Have you made up your mind yet?”
“I’ll let you know in the morning.” Desire trickled down her spine. Mia nodded toward the passenger side of the car for him to hop in.
He confiscated her keys instead to unlock and open the driver’s side door for her like a gentleman. Then he leaned closer and nuzzled her temple with his nose.
Not sure if he planned to seduce her in the parking lot or if he merely wanted to tease her, Mia pressed her hand to his chest and tried to think straight. “You’re the first guy I’ve gone on a date with since my divorce. I haven’t slept with anyone since Evan.” He tunneled his fingers through her wavy, chestnut-brown hair. “I haven’t dated anyone in a long time either. We’ll take it slow or fast, whatever you want, but I promise you one thing. After I’m done with you, you won’t even remember that bastard’s name.”
“Oh, God. She almost melted right then and there. “Fast. I want you, Mason.”
“Take me to your place and you can have me.”

Buy Links for Arresting Mason
Amazon | B&N | iTunes  | The Wild Rose Press store | Goodreads
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You can find Amber at:
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