Monday, April 28, 2014

How Important is a Story's Setting?

It isn't often I get two new writers asking me the same question, but that happened this week!  So I thought I'd answer their question here on my blog...

The question?
How important is setting in your romances?

The answer is very important!  For any book, no matter what genre, the setting is as integral to the story as the characters.  It's your stage.  It can also be a formidable character in your story.

That's right.  Your setting can be a character.  If you read John Sandford's WINTER PREY you will see what I mean.  The story can't take place without the setting.  It becomes an adversary as much as the killer the detective hunts.  I also think many of Stephen King's settings become characters in his tales as well.  I recently reread THE SHINING.  Who could deny that the hotel doesn't have a life of its own?

When creating settings, I also think about what problems my story characters will need to perform.  Settings need to speak to the story problems.

I want my setting to help and hinder and enhance those story problems.  In my fantasy romances (VIRTUAL HEAVEN, VIRTUAL DESIRE, VIRTUAL WARRIOR) I wanted to convey my love of Arthurian legend, but also make my own rules.  And once you set "world rules" you have to stick to think them out very carefully!  Then use them to help and hinder your characters!

When writing historical romance, the historical setting and the events of the time dictate much of the setting.  Putting the reader in a time period so they become immersed in that world is a tough job requiring lots of research!  Don't skimp on the research!  The readers will know and just as a character who isn't adequately fleshed out will disappoint a reader, so will an inadequate setting make your story feel as if it isn't real.

I hope I answered the question!  Characters may drive a romance, but the setting is one of the vehicles, along with plot, that carries them along!

Happy Writing!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March is National Women's History Month

March is National Women's History Month.
I'm especially fond of March for this reason. 

Women who forge their own paths often have something interesting to say, so I thought I'd share a few quotes:

"If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation." Abigail Adams

"In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman." Margaret Thatcher

"Well-behaved women seldom make history." Laurel Ulrich

Celebrate the Wonderful Women in Your Life this Month!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Winners!

Congratulations to . . .


. . .  who are the five lucky winners
of my
Valentine Day Book Giveaway!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014



Between today, February 12th, and Midnight, February 14th,
I'll be celebrating Valentine's Day and LOVE by giving away 5 ebook editions of my books*.

Click here to be entered in a random drawing (winners picked by

February Calendar of Contests and Events

You could win a LOVELY autographed print copy of LORD OF SWORDS at various romance sites!
On my website:  Click here to enter.

At Fresh Fiction: Click here to enter.
At RomanceBooks4Us:  Click here to enter.
(Visit my page at RB4U while you're there)


Friday, February 14th at 9PM ET
Join me at Smexy Fab Four's Valentine Event
I'll be playing games and giving away prizes.
(This event goes from 7PM on 2/14 to 2/16 at 5PM

Click here to bookmark the event.

Sunday, February 16th, 8PM ET
Join Me at Writerspace's
Valentine Soiree

(This event lasts from 8PM to 11PM ET)

I'll be chatting romance and giving away 5 autographed copies of LORD OF SWORDS.

There will be dozens of authors there with prizes, but you must register to join the soiree.

Monday, February 3, 2014


February is the month of LOVE!!  I've become a little jaded through the years and my husband and I never really got into V-day gifts as we were always saving for something . . . houses, vacations, and so on and then the not giving became a habit.  We always do cards, both the funny kind and the ones that bring tears to your eyes.

But this year, February has extra meaning for me.  My son is getting married on February 8th!  I'm so excited.  He's marrying a lovely girl and they are just destined to be the perfect couple.  I'm looking
forward to the wedding as well because they live in Hawaii (I live in the Philadelphia 'burbs) so we don't see each other that often.

So, do you love this month or hate it?  I remember my first year of teaching at the high school level and I saw a bevy of my homeroom girls huddled and looking upset.  When I asked what was wrong, they said Valentine's Day was always humiliating because of a school fund-raiser.  The fund-raiser did very well.  For $0.50 you could buy a carnation, write a little note, attach it and it would be delivered to the recipient in homeroom.  Of course, some students had special someones who sent not just one but a dozen flowers.  But watching the process take place and not getting a flower was tantamount to announcing, NO ONE LOVES ME!

We sat down and brainstormed ways to change this.  One of the girls suggested that people should be able to buy them for friends, or buy them as thank-yous for teachers who had helped them.  In the end, they also decided they should all just buy themselves some flowers (the notes were sealed before being handed in for delivery) saving themselves humiliation.  But I was happy they decided to go for change instead that involved thanking those in the school who might not get noticed very often.  I watched the girls head to the student council meeting where they had decided they'd try out their ideas.

I don't know how other years went before that one, but that Valentine's Day it was great to see flowers in the cafeteria, the janitor's office, on secretaries' desks.  It was great to see so many kids carrying flowers and smiling.  There were tons of smiles that day.

I think the kids discovered that love can have other meanings beyond the typical boy/girl couple.  And I'm sure the fund-raiser doubled it's take.

So, are you a fan of Valentine's Day?  Love it or hate it?

Please return between February 12 and February 14th when I'll be celebrating Valentine's Day and LOVE by giving away ebook versions of my books.  Click here to enter..

Friday, January 24, 2014

National Compliment Day

Today is National Compliment Day...

I like this day.  I've complimented all those I've come in contact with so far.  I had a business breakfast at a tiny restaurant near my house and complimented the server who was very attentive (but not annoyingly so).  I then took my mom to the doctor and complimented the whole bunch . . . they are so patient with my 91 year old mom and her millions of questions (millions because with dementia, she forgets the answers really quickly).

I've also taken time to compliment my husband.  He always picks up the slack for me.  When I'm in the writing zone, I'm pretty neglectful of household stuff.  He never complains!

What was best about remembering it was National Compliment Day and making compliments was seeing the smiles on faces afterward.  I found I also did a lot of smiling today.  And smiling is good for you!

So, if you haven't complimented someone yet today . . . Get on it!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hey . . . Vote for Me!

Dear Readers,
I am so tickled that I was nominated in two of the Readers' Choice categories at Loves Romance Cafe!  Please run (figuratively) over to Loves Romance Cafe and vote for me! 

Best Alpha Male - Lord Gilles - LORD OF THE KEEP
Best Couple - Reed Savage and Kara Sinclair - CHRISTMAS IN SAVAGE BAY

You must join to vote (If you are a writer, this is a good promo site, so joining is not wasted and if you are a reader you will find tons of new books to add to your TBR list).

Click here to join and vote and thanks ahead of time!

I treasure every "Readers" nomination.  It is for the readers we write and to be acknowledged is the best of rewards!

Oh...and if you're reading this and haven't read the two books, you can read excerpts and so on by clicking on the book covers here on the left!