Striking off in a New Direction

For awhile now, I’ve been reading a lot of non-magical romantic suspense and watching a whole lot of true crime on the ID channel. I used to watch HGTV a lot, but lately, it’s all true crime for me. I’ve been reading Laura Griffin‘s books, as well as Linda Howard, Pamela Claire‘s I-team books, and Linda Castillo, among others. I’ve never thought myself capable of writing a mystery or a suspense novel. I figured my plots would be way too obvious. But lately I’ve found myself thinking in terms of characters and plots and I’m taking notes on a romantic suspense novel and have even written a bit of the opening. If you’re curious, check out this post, and keep in mind, the writing is very rough.

You might ask why I’m switching genres. Well, I’m not. I love fantasy and I have no plans to leave it. But I […]

Continue reading Striking off in a New Direction

Wherein No One is Safe

I won’t lie to you, today’s post is inspired by three really amazing books that are hitting the stands today:

GATED by Amy Christine Parker, about a girl who grows up in a cult and finds herself dangerously at odds with the leader as the “end times” approach. A debut YA thriller from Random House Children’s.

TERMINATED by Rachel Caine, about a woman kept “alive” by a crazy dangerous drug that various groups want to control and engineer for deadly fun and profit. The really amazing conclusion to the Revivalist series from Roc Books.

BITING BAD by Chloe Neill, about a woman who was turned into a vampire against her will and now stands Sentinel for her people, which means putting herself between the Master of her House and any danger that comes his way. In this installment of the Chicagoland Vampires series from NAL, this means anti-vampire riots erupting […]

Continue reading Wherein No One is Safe


Tension I’ve read a few submissions in the past couple of years that while beautifully written and psychologically or philosophically interesting were almost entirely without suspense. There was no tension driving the plot, no overarching conflict to keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat and turning those pages late into the night. In the end I had to decline representation, because I knew they wouldn’t sell, and if they did, it wouldn’t be in sufficient numbers to build a career.

So today I want to talk about that conflict and how you can pump it up. Whether you’re writing a romance where the primary tension is whether the hero and heroine’s issues will keep them from finding true love or a science fiction epic about the overthrow of an evil empire, a good novel needs three things. The reader must:

a) fear that the protagonists might […]

Continue reading Tension