Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Perfect Spot for Crime

Sometimes story ideas come from strange places. Since I write Romantic Suspense, naturally there must be a crime scene to launch the suspense aspect. I love hands-on research, and when a story in the local paper caught my eye I was off and running.

The title of the article was Bogs Worth Exploring and Protecting by Evelyn Anderson. The article informed me that bogs are among Pennsylvania's most valued habitats. I learned a glacier once covered the northwestern part of the state, the basis and foundation for bogs. The area I was considering for my story's setting was referred to as a fen because of its alkalinity. Yet each bog is unique.

I don't wish to bore readers with technical data about bogs, although personally I found it interesting, but as I read the article, the word swampy grabbed my attention. More details got my imagination churning: floating sphagnum and glacial pools. I tweaked the image with shadows, winding paths, and the lingering odor often associated with a damp, swampy setting.

Hmmm...or a dead body, maybe?

Since my stories are set in places within easy access to the Great Lakes and all the wonderful sights bordering their shores, a crime within this rich, fertile, shadowy environment got me off and running....or, typing.

Here are two excerpts from Deadly Reflection. The first is my hero's encounter in the bog, the second is my heroine's shocking introduction to the shadowy, swampy environment that changes her life forever.

Enter: Nick McGraw: Vacationing police detective.

Perspiration trickled down Nick's spine, and a steady breeze molded his tee shirt to his damp skin. Swirling up from the bog were smells he'd almost forgotten.

         Moisture laden peat, thick as plush carpet, and an underlying hint of decay.

Then the wind shifted, and an all too familiar stench permeated the air around him. The hair on the back of Nick's neck rose and out of habit, he reached for his Walther PPK.

Enter: Cassandra Burke: An innocent bystander, maybe....

She swiped a hand across her eyes, crouched low, and peered into the surrounding shadows.

What is that smell?

Rufus lurched away, disappearing into the gloom.

"That's it." She scrambled after him. As she pushed through dense foliage, the swampy ground gave beneath her feet and seeped between her toes. Finally, frustrated and spitting mad, she caught sight of the retriever's golden coat.

"Rufus, come here."

He spared her the flick of one ear. He'd heard her, but he made no move to obey. Instead, he crept forward, heading straight for a pile of sticks, leaves, and God knows what else. Something reeked to high heaven, and the hum of insects droned in her ears.
            Thanks for stopping by my Blog about the Bog!

Available now:
Deadly Reflection


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Reinventing A Writing Career


Reinventing A Writing Career
The initial message came in an email. My publisher's name as the sender was welcome since I'd met my June 1st deadline for my eighth Romantic Suspense novel and was eager to start the editing process.
It took a couple of read throughs before reality sunk in. My publisher was closing. No explanation, only the bare fact that in a matter of days my seven successful novels would disappear from all selling points, along with reviews. The rights to my books would revert to me, a bright spot in the solemn post, and I could purchase my covers.
Numb best described my state of mind. Once I recovered, I had a choice to make, and nothing I'd ever faced during my writing career scared me more than facing that decision.
So, I did what good writers do...I researched my options, which was almost as scary as the dreaded email! A turning point came when all the writers, wonderful authors, and friends,  I'd come to know throughout my writing career stepped up, providing a plethora of ideas and information. Self-publishing is not one size fits all, I was happy to discover. Sorting through options and reading self-proclaimed success for taking one path or another was daunting, but I eventually came to a decision and found a path suitable for me to follow.
My success depends on my ability to jump into the Social Media pool and not drown! Trial and error will be my companion, along with wonderful, warm, willing and helpful fellow writers who have traveled the same path and splash in the Social Media waves. 
I'll start in the shallow end of that pool, and hope in the future I can dive from the high board and come up smiling!
A note to all my past readers...thank you, and be patient because I must wade before I can swim. That eighth novel will take some time to hit the shelves, but I promise to make that happen as soon as possible.

Will prepare my books for publishing through 

Stand by for the upcoming re-release of

~Deadly Reflection~


Friday, August 24, 2018

Emma Lane - Author

by Emma Lane

Gardens grow of their own volition. You labor with the lay out and lovingly place the plants. By the third year, your garden has selected what it will and will not accept. But it’s gorgeous, healthy and you wouldn’t change a single thing. (Okay, maybe you’ll move that fragrant dianthus in front of that balloon flower which is taller.) Some of it is your fault because you couldn’t resist that church sale and your neighbor shared several perennials. Status normal. Allow your garden nostalgia. You show it off by saying, “I got that one for next to nothing on sale, Susan Smith gave me that one when she moved to Florida, I miss her so! My mother-in-law finally broke down and shared that rose. Would you believe how she can make cuttings and root them?” This iris came from … and that one came from…

SEASONAL: Do plan spring shrubs/bulbs which are so welcome. Fall red/yellow leaves.

INVASIVE: When someone mentions the plant is invasive, believe it! I love the golden blooms of Rudbeckia Goldstrum, but it will take over if given the chance. Plant it way over there where you can mow it if need be; same with any sort of mint.

PARTNERSHIPS: Delphenium back up to fences almost poetically, a partnership. Peonies are almost small bushes. I love to make a back ground hedge row from them. Yellow coreopsis and red yarrow are made in heaven for hot colors.

FRIENDSHIP: The deer, rabbits, groundhog, the neighbor’s pets, etc have destroyed some of your hard work? This is your opportunity to share and discover new friends. What better way to become acquainted? You’ll learn to laugh and maybe learn new gardening secrets while you commiserate.

Now that your garden is all you want it to be, take a good book and relax in all that beauty. May I suggest one of my Regency releases?

Can an arrogant duke overcome his prejudice against a beautiful but managing female in time to find true love and happiness?

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king's business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother's estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Fatigue and the effects of the brandy on top of the ale now gave his gait a distinct wobble. He chuckled, amused at his condition.

As he reached for the portrait of great Uncle Barney, he lurched into the back of the red leather sofa in front of the cosy fire. “Deuce take it,” he exclaimed when a rounded arm rolled into view. He spotted the gentle curve of a hip and walked around to the front, where he spied a tumbled haze of dark curls hiding a face. It is indeed a female—a sleeping female.

Who was she? The gown was too rich for his household staff. Curious, he knelt beside the sofa.
“Only one way to find out,” he whispered and moved one dark curl. He sat back, satisfied when a handsome face swam into view. She sighed and rolled over, revealing a generous figure and a pair of rosy lips. She might be Sleeping Beauty—but not one of my relatives. He leaned over and kissed those tempting lips.

As he lingered there, she sighed and came partially awake. He could not resist. He deepened the kiss and sounds of satisfaction like yum and umm came from those delicious lips. Her hand stroked his face, then reached around his head to pull him closer. Delighted with this turn of events, the Duke of Westerton complied enthusiastically and extended an arm around a slender waist. How much of the ale and brandy had he imbibed? Dizziness overcame his senses as he slid down on the floor and knew no more.

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Memories Meet Muse by Nancy Kay

A muse in the verb form means to ponder or reflect. As a noun, however, the muse becomes a power that inspires a poet or artist or, to my mind, a writer. Writers speak with familiarity of their personal muse and, in many instances, rely on the sometimes elusive power that haunts their minds and guides their fingers over the keyboard. A muse dwells within our minds. Fertile ground for writers, but like virgin soil the muse needs something to expand and grow.
All of my stories rely on a variety of memories, some as simple as the rise of wind before a storm accompanied by the distant roll of thunder. The warmth of sun on a summer day or the crisp chill of fall with hills dressed in deep reds and brilliant yellows. My next story digs deep into the past and weaves bits and pieces of years gone by and places no longer in existence into a current day story. My muse insists I add spice to those memories from years gone by, adding suspense, mystery and romance.
'Return To Intermezzo' took root when I uncovered an old photo taken on a vacation many years ago. Intermezzo is the name scrolled on the front of the tiny cottage in the photo.  Upon researching the name I discovered it means a pause between serious acts in a play, similar to an intermission with light musical entertainment. The definition fits. A vacation should be a pause to lift the soul and break up life's oftentimes monotony.
Memories branched like new growth as each chapter unfolded and I discovered when muse met memories the harvest was bountiful.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Location Research for Wine and Spirits by Nancy Kay

Devil's Backbone

Wine and Spirits research took me to some amazing places, and The Devil's Backbone was the perfect location for a spooky, suspenseful novel.


The chief stream near Girard, Pa. is Elk creek, which flows from Fairview, Pa. through the center of the township from east to northwest  for about thirty miles and empties into Lake Erie. Initially the valley of the stream is narrow and precipitous, but as it meanders north it widens out with steep bluffs on both sides. At the junction of the Little Elk there is a high peak, resembling part of a Roman profile called "The Devil’s Nose."

A short distance south is the natural curiosity known as "The Devil’s Backbone." An almost perpendicular hill runs for a quarter of a mile, then rounds the bluff and comes back to a point opposite forming a sort of loop. At the narrowest place the crest, or backbone, is not more than two feet across, and the height is over 100 feet. 

The first time I saw this awesome formation I got chills. Then my mind started churning, and the location worked it's way into Wine And Spirits.

Spooky locations are the bread and butter of suspense, and this one provided the perfect setting for a key role in Wine And Spirits.