Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down


Because bud vases are over-rated.
Because bud vases are over-rated.

Which just goes to tell you how today is going since it is both Monday, and raining. I actually love the rain, but I was really looking forward to working in the Garden Office today. Instead, I have to sit here and enjoy the flowers that got damaged when I was potting the plants. Notice the beautiful Blue Moon Beer vase.

So, I’m sure you’re all wondering how I was doing yesterday after Saturday’s Tackle Every Yard Project Imaginable. Well. Yes. The dog got me up Sunday at 6:45 to announce that she had to go out. (I really want a dog door.) So I rolled over and whimpered. Let the dog out, and went back to bed.

Twenty minutes later, I got back up with more whimpering, decided a full yoga workout was not in the cards, what with breathing hurting and all, let the dog back in and opted for working on one part of me at a time. Went back to bed with my Kindle and started a heavy-duty thumb workout with the Next Page button. After an hour, I figured I was ready to face the day.

Had some oatmeal and Advil for breakfast and then started baking, with occasional stretching added in. Then I got serious. Brownies. Oatmeal Cookies. Jell-O. You know. Everything a kid would like to take to school for a lunch treat. And yes, all wheat-free.
While the cookies were going, I went a little crazy and decided to change the sheets on my bed. Because, you know, it’s Sunday and I lead a really exciting life. Also, it was too cold to go hang out in Garden Office. While I was at it, I thought I’d flip the mattress around because that’s cheaper than buying a new one that lacks a crater in the center.

Let’s talk about how much a mattress weighs. I’m sure that under normal circumstances they weight what 50 pounds? Maybe? Whatever. Let me tell you, after digging all the holes, etc on Saturday, I had the arm strength of a butterfly. So that mattress weighed about 300 pounds.

Will all of you please get your minds out of the gutter?!!?

Since I needed to take a breather halfway through moving it around, I noticed all the dust collecting around all the spindles on the bed. I love this bed. It’s a gorgeous Arts and Crafts style thing. There are two reasons never to buy this bed. 1) It’s a dusting pain in the ass. 2) All your friends will make bondage jokes when they see it. Every. One. Of. Them. I didn’t realize you all lived in the gutter with me, or that you thought I had that much fun in bed, but whatever.

It took over an hour to dust this bed because the only way you get the dust off the spindle bases is with a toothbrush. Also, I had to stop every eight minutes to drop dough on a cookie sheet.

Finally, a lifetime later, my room was clean. No worries. I had a window open so you know everything was covered in pollen again by dinner. Yes, I know. I have allergies, I shouldn’t have open windows. But I’ve been locked in the house all winter and it needs airing out.

So, cleaned my room, cleaned the kitchen. Scrubbed the kitchen floor with a Magic Eraser mop head and if you haven’t tried one of those yet (and you have linoleum) you’ve got to try it. It’s like a before and after photo from a Mr. Clean commercial. And no, I did not take those before/after pictures because it would ruin the mystique that is me.

Romance writers. We have awesome sex all the time, have perfect husbands, and pristine kitchen floors. You’re buying it, right?

Onward through the day, I finally hit the Garden Office. Heaven! Wrote, did some research, and watched the Ex and Scout Son kill themselves replacing the belt on the lawnmower so that Snarky Daughter and I could mow the lawn after dinner.

Made dinner, mowed the lawn, took a bath, and read a really cute, sweet romance, Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros. Basically, Sunday was a day of doing really easy chores and watching other people work really hard fighting a lawnmower.

It’s just part of the glamorous life I lead as a romance writer.


The Garden Office

There was a moment this morning when I considered writing all day. Then I got out of bed and saw how beautiful it was outside and how cool it was outside, and I thought, why try to make a deadline when you can mow the lawn.

Just guessing, I’d say I have three acres to mow, and because of the weather, this was the first weekend it needed mowing. That’s always a joy because it means charging the lawn mower battery, checking the oil, adding gas, putting air in the tires. Love me some mowing season.

So I do all of that, which has me climbing all over the mower, and then it takes me about five minutes to get the damn thing started because what gas was in it was months old and apparently gas has an expiration date. Whatever. Anyway, it took forever to get the thing going and then there was that moment when I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t moving because, oh yeah, I put it in neutral when I started it. So would someone please explain to me why the mouse in the garage decided to hide under the tire while I did all of that?

Needless to say, I’m down one mouse. Alas, I only mowed for ten minutes before the belt that runs the 52-inch mowing deck shredded itself. Now the yard looks like I went to it for a while before deciding to take a beer break. For a day.

Some writers, dedicated writers, would have taken that as a sign that they were supposed to go back in the house and you know, write. I took it as a sign that I should split day lilies and iris, and plant some flowers in pots and make the freshly painted deck (my springtime office) look wonderful.

I have tons of empty pots kicking around in the garage, but didn’t have plants. So I talked Sarcastic Roommate in to going to Walmart with me so I could get some cheap annuals and have instant gratification. I also somehow talked her into helping me clear out some broken concrete left over from when the swing set came down a few weeks ago, and doing some weeding. I’m still not sure how that happened since she hates bugs, but she’s toying with the idea of putting in a small vegetable garden, so I was pointing to every spot with chickweed taking over, saying all that space is open. She said, “What’s chickweed?”

Chickweed is an invasive plant with shallow roots. Some people make tea with it. Those people should feel free to stop by and get some because there’s a bumper crop in my yard. Taking over the lawn and flower gardens. It’s even tried taking growing in corners of the deck. So, I grab some and rip it out of the ground and show her, and the next thing I know, it’s an hour later and we have a pile of weeds.

Nine hours after I wandered outside, I gave up the good fight and tossed a Mike Hard Lemonade into the freezer and headed for a shower. Do not mock the Mike’s. It’s the perfect yard work drink. Those who mock can be here at 10 tomorrow morning with shovels, rakes and hoes and we’ll do another ten hours of yard work, and then we’ll see how you feel about the Mike’s.

The before would have had the camo deck, no pots and no umbrella. In other news, the pollen is so bad, the black dog is turning yellow.
Here’s the after. The before would have had the camo deck, no pots and no umbrella. In other news, the pollen is so bad, the black dog is turning yellow.

The difference between this weekend and last weekend is huge around here. I should have taken a “before” picture, but I forgot until I was halfway done staining the deck and then it was too late. But imagine a camo-colored deck. Originally it had been a seafoam green, then it was an army green, and the dogs had worked very hard at removing layers of both and exposing the wood.

Maybe now that I have this nice office to work in, I can write.


One Direction Gremlins

I was on my way to Barnes and Noble this morning in a desperate attempt to focus on my To Do List when I realized I was singing along to some teeny-bopper ear worm. How old do I sound right now?

Anyway, it was some totally bouncy thing that I KNOW we don’t own because all of the music in the house is stored on my laptop. I mean, really, you never know when I’m going to want to break out into something from High School Musical 3. OK, really, I just wasn’t paying for the crap more than once, so we have one iTunes account, and everything is on my iPod, iPhone and iEverything else I can buy.

Just remember that if you ever pick up my iWhatever and start looking at the play lists. It’s not a reflection on me. I’m the one who always has her iPod in the car, so everything is there.


How do I know the words to this song? And even though it turned out that this was not One Direction (I know ’cause it’s STILL in my head so I just typed in the lyrics – God Bless free Wi-Fi), earlier this summer when we visited Scout Son at Boy Scout Camp (I went three weeks without my parents each summer, why can’t Scouts go more than 3 days), the older Scouts did this skit with a One Direction song.

My ex about fell off of his log bench when he saw me singing and bopping along. And once again, I stared at him and sang, I have no idea how I know the words to this song. But. I. Do.

I blame One Direction Gremlins. I firmly believe they’re the reason I can’t sleep at night these days. They’re also the reason I can’t have any rational conversation. My brain cells that once held the Pythagorean theorem are slowing being reprogrammed with “Baby you light up my world like nobody else.”

Really?!!? Grumble. I was that young once.

So now I’m sitting at B&N with my computer getting some work done because Kelly and Michael, and Hoda and Kathy Lee have all invaded my Living Room (aka the Office) and who the hell invited them anyway? What? There’s an OFF button on the remote? But then who would I talk to.

I turned them on because I feed off of noise and after I left the day job I needed to find out what the heck everybody else cared about when they didn’t spend 12 hours at work/commuting. Well, I’ve officially hit my capacity for pop culture. It happened when I wanted a weather report this morning and got the damn Oscar nominations. Because this is somehow news, but how cold it isn’t going to be today, isn’t. At least at B&N I can eavesdrop, which for a fiction writer, is the equivalent of research. And doesn’t that sound much nicer?

Anyway, if I stayed home, I was going to pick up a paintbrush instead of designing a website, so here I am. At B&N wondering if the not so hot guy at the other table is really the pretty hot guy from match.com that said he’s always here. If so, he touched up that photo. Not that THAT ever happens online. But he took the time to finish his profile and all I do is see if there’s anyone that interests me enough to start my profile, so kudos to him.

Sadly, the conversation next to me is an elderly woman and her caretaker talking about cat behavior. Really, if I’d wanted that I would have stayed home and watched my three taunt the dog. I may have to move to a different table. Because the characters I’m working on right now don’t have a cat.


Writing Wednesday: Building your Toolbox

Putting the other book on the shelf for a while to find a new heroine and plot means starting a new book in the meantime. And that means pulling out my trusty writer’s toolbox — and some wine and chocolate — and start  playing with my characters.

The toolbox is actually a bookshelf. I thought I’d share the books that I find indispensable as I write.

First up is The Writer’s Brainstorming Kit by Pam McCutcheon and Michael Waite. If you write on your own, this is a great book and deck of cards to get your creativity flowing. Each card has a descriptive word on it like greed, honesty or power. You deal cards for your hero and heroine, plot, antagonist, etc. For instance, if you draw honesty for your heroine, is it a benefit for her or a fatal flaw?

East Tarot Guide by Marcia Masino. Yes tarot. Yes really. I don’t particularly care if you believe in the cards. When you do a reading for a character, you force yourself to consider what the cards are saying. You may agree with them, or you may say, “No, that’s not it at all. The reason he’s that way is because…” Either way, you get something to work with.

The Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami Cowden, Carol LaFever and Sue Viders. This is one of my favorites because it looks at the sixteen archetypes and how they play together. Want to see the character traits of two beta personalities? It’s here, Want to see what some of the basic issues would be between your alpha hero and equally alpha heroine? It’s here, and it’s a great starting point for building your characters. Yes, this is where I tend to start my plotting.

GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Deb Dixon. Awesome. If you ever get to hear her speak on this or the hero’s journey, spend the money. It’s well worth it. In this book, Dixon uses movies you’re familiar with the explain why a character’s goal, motivation and conflict are key to writing believable characters. Once you read this, you’ll start dissecting everything you read that you love — or hate — and you’ll regularly find that the problem is because one of these things is missing. Don’t believe me? Go read Twilight and tell me what Bella’s GMC are. Good luck finding them.

These are my go-to books. If you’re looking for an all-around book on writing romance, check out Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger. former Executive Editor at Harlequin.

I’m off to plot a book. Good luck building your toolbox…and your book.



Writing Wednesday: Drastic Measures

I tried. I really did. I took a great plot and tried to write the book. The problem? I hate the plot.

Not a little dislike. I hate the plot.

I hate it so much that over the past six weeks, I’ve stripped wallpaper, redecorated my daughter’s bedroom, sewed things, looked for work, looked for clients, planted a garden, weeded it twice, cleaned the carpets, taken a group of girls to the zoo, and today I’m about to go out and spray poison ivy. On a side note, it’s only taken me this long to realize that the stuff that will kill the poison ivy will also probably kill the weeds… The denial has to be pretty strong when you don’t want to obliterate weeds with a simple spray.

There’s a point where you have to face your demons. Today, in honor of Writing Wednesday, I am killing the book. I have to. It all started with a princess. Well, turns out, I really don’t want to write about her. While the idea was great — is great — on index cards, every time I sit down to write this story, a voice in my head (the hero) says, “No. Seriously?!!? We’ve talked about this. She’s not for me.”

Now, usually that’s what they both say on paper and we all watch in fascination as the story proves the couple wrong and they live happily ever after. But this time, I think he’s right. She’s not for him. Or she’s not for me. There aren’t very many things I’m not willing to write about, but it appears princesses are currently on the list.

I’ve tried re-plotting it twice now and I can’t break the cycle because I’m too close to the story. Usually I can walk away for a few days and strip wallpaper and have inspiration strike, but on this one, I’m pushing too hard. I know it, the characters know it, my critique partner must know it, so I’m accepting it.

The book is part of a trilogy, but lucky for me, they don’t have to be in a particular order. In fact, at one point I thought this book would be the last, not the middle in the series. So this week, I get to find out why Joe is in the coffee shop (actually, I already know that one), and figure out why he’d fall for the girl who walks through his door.

No, that’s not a spoiler. It’s part of the Heiress at the Door series. I suppose she could climb through his window…or maybe the princess will do that in book three. If she’s still a princess.

Welcome to the joys of writing. In college I painted my room to avoid a paper. As you can see, not much has changed. I’m headed out to obliterate the poison ivy and mull over my new idea. What do you do to avoid the unavoidable?



Characters In My Head

Today I remembered what I loved about some of my characters. I’m in the editing stage on Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, which means I’ve stepped away from the book for a while. That’s key, because in those last weeks of writing, I’ve lived with those characters in my head for so long I can’t wait for them to get a happily ever after and leave me alone.

By the time I finished The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, I never wanted to see Blakely, NC again. Crazy grandmas and over-stepping fathers could take a cruise up the coast for all I cared. The good news is once I’ve been away from a book for a while, I begin to care again. And sure enough, with a few weeks away from the story, I remembered that I love Meg’s determination to right her father’s wrongs, and Evan’s fierce need for revenge is fun to fuel. Hey, it’s not directed at me!

In addition to editing, I’m also writing the third book in the Heiress at the Door series. Like Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge, this one also takes place in the Bay Area. Now, I fully admit to being homesick, but at this point I’m ready to move for my next book. Luckily, that one’s back in Blakely. And I’ve been away long enough that I’m ready to go back. I’m even looking forward to crazy grandma again, because that woman will mess with anyone’s love life and apparently there are a lot of clueless, lovelorn people in Blakely.

Editing takes three or four passes, so I’m sure by the end of all of that, I’ll be back to being thankful Meg and Evan live 3,000 miles away from me. But right now it’s a lot of fun to watch them work through their issues. And they have a lot of issues! You’ll get a chance to meet them this summer.



Writing Wednesday: Promotion

As some of you know, I had a small…um, large, run-in with a hammer ten days ago. Turns out, you need your hands to write. Since that’s been basically out of the picture, I turned to promotion planning and trying to figure out how to build readership. Most writers became writers to tell our stories, but every one of us wants people to read them. OK, we’d like it if you read them, but we really we want you to buy them.

With that in mind, I pulled up a chair at the virtual coffee table, poured a cup of coffee smuggler Slick Micky’s strongest brew(from Regan’s Tracking Shadows), grabbed a slice of my character, Jessica’s pound cake, and sat down with paranormal romance and urban fantasy author Regan Black to interview media specialist Terry Kate, and find out more about her company Paco Media and the cool things she’s doing for writers today.

Kimberly Hope: Thanks for sitting with us today, Terry. For those new to publishing, what is NetGalley and what are the pros/cons of using it?

Terry Kate: Netgalley is a service that offers authors and publishers a way to get in contact on a larger scale with reviewers, bloggers, librarians, and book sellers. The decisions on how the titles are treated, the format they go out in, whether they have Digital Rights Management, and other options are offered and then the account holder sets their terms. With a membership of 56,000 Netgalley is the place to be in order to build your brand and name recognition.

The downside is that you are giving away a lot of copies of your book. True they are electronic, but it still stings. Emotionally, the downside is that not all reviews are going to be positive. On a large scale that can be a knock, but it is also part of the game and you joined the team the minute you put that first book out to be purchased.

Regan Black: Can you tell us a bit about Paco Media Group, your mission and what you provide to authors?

Terry: PMG is a reflection of all the crazy, mad, and sometimes downright loony things that I have done. I wanted to learn to format for a pub that hired me, so now we can offer services in that area. I found out that writers needed help with this or that and I learned how along the way. HTML, SEO, branding, newsletters, social media, cover design, writing, editing, public speaking… there are more that have slipped my mind, but that starts the list. I get asked often why all of our services are not listed on the Paco Media Group site and the only answer I have is – What DON’T we do?

Every bit of it is to help authors. I get it. I am a reader first, so I want you off and working on the next book too. Every thing we do is important and beneficial, but most of all it’s time consuming and there is a learning curve. So we make it possible for creators to be creative.

Since we are so varied I usually open with a consultation so we can match services to your needs and budget. Custom PR and Marketing.

Kimberly: That sounds fantastic, but can authors who haven’t been noticed yet afford the services?

Terry: We have options for every budget, I do not want anyone to be discouraged. There are always ways to get noticed, some free, some paid, but they often require time. Your book may not have hit its stride yet, but balance that with the desire to write, spend family time, and just live. Then decide what is right for you and take away pressure from your day to day. Writing should be fun and that does not need to be sucked dry by the marketing and promo.

Regan: What is included in your NetGalley program?

Terry: The Basic Package with Netgalley is a two month posting of one title. Then the organization of a press pack. These materials will lead Netgalley members to you. Not only for reviews because we want to offer as wide spread promotion as possible. If the interested blogger can’t find a place in their schedule to review your book maybe instead they will offer an interview. They might be willing to take a press release from you and post that information for their readers.

This can be overwhelming. Dealing with so many blogs, so many requests. So we created a program I am calling the Library. PMG will help you organize materials from posts you have already written, materials that we have found online, and direct you to fast and effective means of advertising yourself and your book with out coming off as a used car salesman. We are your support and allow you to maximize every particle of exposure Netgalley offers.

Kimberly: Where can authors go to get more information or to sign up for the program?

Terry: Details are at Pacomediagroup.com and we have a special going on the cost of the promotion until Sunday so hurry to book your spot!

Kimberly: Terry, thanks for stopping by and giving us some ideas of how we can get into great promo tools like Netgalley!



Writing Wednesday: Creating Characters

So last week I said that books tend to come to me with a scene. But that “scene” may only be a few lines of dialogue. There are people who have fully-formed characters that enter their world. I’m not that lucky. My characters kind of dare me to get to know them. “We gave you that little taste. You want more? Figure us out!”

It’s cruel, but it’s the way they play. Over the years I’ve had to find a lot of tools to help me figure out who they are. If I’m lucky that little bit of dialogue gives me a hit about their internal or external conflicts, their goals and motivations. I start trying to figure out who they are by looking at what I learned about them from that scene.

When The Billionaire Bachelor’s Revenge came to me, I got the first line of the book: Meg looked up at the man who hated her almost as much as her father did, and said the four words that would change her life forever. “I need your help.”

She’s standing out in the rain and has to beg the hero for help. A man she’d hoped to never see again. And he’s not budging, not happy about letting her in. So why does she turn to him? And why does he finally let her in the house? Then there’s that whole comment about him hating her almost as much as her father? There’s some baggage to unpack. Why does he hate her?

Why, why why?

It all comes down to why. That’s where the conflict is, and conflict is what makes readers turn the page. The fact is the story ends with happily ever after because that’s where the conflict ends. We’ve gotten our happy ending. How many pages would you keep reading after that if there wasn’t conflict? The beauty of Once Upon A Time is that Snow and Charming got their happily ever after, but it only lasted about five minutes. Then the Evil Queen showed up, cursed everyone, and now they’re all stuck in Maine with amnesia. Five minutes is about all we can handle of happy.

For romance novels, we need two conflicts, internal and external. We need them because our readers know how the story ends. The internal conflict is the emotional issue, and each character in your story has one. The external conflict is what moves the story along, what the characters are trying to get, be it a house, a business, a client. We might not know the conflicts of the waiter in the restaurant where your leading couple is eating dinner, but he has them.

In The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé, Matt’s internal conflict is tied to his mother leaving him as a child. He wants to be loved, wants a family, but he wants a woman who won’t leave Blakely. Because he fears being left again. So the last person he should fall in love with is the woman who admits she’s come back home to lick her wounds before she leaves town again to escape her father.

You’ll notice I threw in the because statement there. When we look at conflict whether it’s internal or external, we also need to look at the character’s backstory. We need their goal (I want), motivation (because) and conflict (but). I want a bowl of ice cream because it’s heaven on a spoon and reminds me of my favorite times with my dad, but if I eat it my butt will get larger than it already is. Hey, it’s an external conflict, and it was easy. Will she or won’t she eat the ice cream? Tune in tomorrow…

The because makes it interesting. What memories does ice cream bring? And the conflict: do I want the walk down memory lane or the fat thighs and butt? You have to have all three to have believable characters because everyone has goals. And we all have backstory. That’s where I start with my characters. My backstory includes ice cream. What about yours?


Writing Wednesday: Plotting or Pantsing

A book usually starts in my head with a scene. One minute I’ll be minding my own business, doing whatever it is the day job requires, or listening to the kids take over the known monkey universe on some game system, and the next minute, I’m seeing two people I’ve never met in some scene.

And presto, I’m going to write a book.

If only the rest of the book was as easy as that first scene.

I have a confession. I used to be a Pantser. They say you’re either a Plotter or a Seat of Your Pants writer. I’m a living breathing example of someone who made the switch. When I started writing, I was a seat of your pants writer. I sat down each day at the keys and I had no idea what was going to happen next. Which was great, unless I sat down and really had no idea what to type. Every day was an adventure, although it could be terrifying if the words weren’t flowing.

I joined Romance Writers of America and went to a conference, where by chance (I didn’t know anybody in RWA), I sat down for breakfast with a woman who turned out to be Cait London. Yeah, I know. Too cool. That’s conference.

We were talking and we got on to the subject of query letters. Those joyous letters that you have to send to pitch your book in order for an editor to buy your book.

“Why would you write a book before you knew if it was going to sell? I mean once you’re published, wouldn’t you like to know the editor liked your book before you spent months writing it?”

“Well, yes. But I have to write the book before I write the proposal. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

I think I missed the first workshop session as Ms. London kindly explained how she plotted out a book so she could write a proposal for her editor before she wrote a word. The way she explained it made complete sense, and it’s the method I still use today. I don’t know if she actually suggested index cards, but it’s what works for me.

That doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Snarky Daughter was working on her Novelist Girl Scout badge recently and interviewed Regan Black about how she plotted her books. I think I heard Regan burst out laughing before asking, “Can you define ‘plot’ please?”

Right. She recently told me about a scene in her current book where the heroine screams. So, she screams and Regan realizes she has to go to a meeting. Which was apparently good because she didn’t know why the heroine screamed. Came back from the meeting, sat down and found out why (and it’s really good!).

I used to write that way, but I can’t now. Well, I can, but not to the level she does. My index cards aren’t really detailed, just enough to know what I need to sit down and work on each day.

And that’s key because otherwise I’ll go strip wallpaper instead of writing. Actually, I need to do that today anyway, but not before I get one of my index cards worked out.

The nice thing about index cards? I can take one with me when I’m waiting for Snarky Daughter or Scout Son somewhere and work on the scene for the day.

Given the fact that I was once a Pantser, you’d think I’d be able to write the scenes out of order, but I don’t work that way. I can, but it’s harder because I have to make things line up. If a bit of dialog comes to me, I’ll add it at the end of the file to write towards, but overall, I write the timeline of the book as it happens.

I guess what I’m saying here is, it doesn’t matter how you get the words on the page. It only matters that you get them there. It’s easy to go to conferences and hear professional writers share their process and think, “that’s the way it has to be done. I’m a hack.”

But that’s not the way it has to be done. It’s one way it can be done.

Process and muse go hand in hand. We can give them different tools to play with, but at the end of the day, you have to do what works for you. Even if it involves colored pencils, a pack of index cards, a bottle of wine, and a deck of Tarot cards. Don’t fight the process.


Facing a Blank Page

There are days when you sit down to write and you just start typing and hope for a great idea. Any great idea. Because anything is better than staring at a blank page. And you hope that if you type enough, you’ll come up with something better than talking about the ankle you sprained getting out of your car yesterday, or Scout Son being upset about having to dance in PE.

Given the choices, the blank page is beginning to look better. But there’s a theory that if you just keep typing, even if it’s just “I don’t know what to write,” that eventually you’ll get bored with writing that and you’ll start writing something interesting.

And if you do that one sentence at a time, you end up with a book.

Writing romance novels means putting up with a lot of nonsense and misconceptions. You’ve got people who think anyone can write a book. You’ve got the funny folks who make cracks about spending all your time doing “research.” The people who think that every book is the same simply because you have a happily ever after ending. But nobody says that about a murder mystery, and someone has to die for that book to be written.

The thing is, writing romance novels can be harder than a lot of other books – yes, I am biased – because everyone knows how a romance novel is going to end. So there has to be another plot that keeps people turning the pages in addition to the romantic plot, or else nobody wants to read the story. Because we know how that story is going to end.

So we type. We fold socks. We talk to ourselves. And then, even if we don’t know what comes next, we write. And trust that the ride will be worth it. That something will shake out that is true to our characters and the story we’re trying to share.

Because the other option is the story about how I sprained my ankle. And who wants to read about that?