Saturday, August 19, 2017


Here we are with our August Round Robin Topic. This month the question is: when you are stumped on moving a plot line forward, what do you do to reinvigorate your imagination and get your characters moving?  

One of the first things I learned on this subject was to have something happen to your character(s). Preferably something bad! As an introductory creative writing tutor explained it, “Shoot the sheriff on the first page”.

Since those early days of introductory creative writing classes, I’ve learned that if you do hypothetically shoot the sheriff on the first page, you need to have a lot more to backup that action all the way through the book – especially if you want to avoid the dreaded sagging middle.

Writers who plot may be ahead of the game on this issue. They may have all their scenes in place and know what is going to happen to their characters. Maybe not so much for a writer who is a pantser – writing more organically and from the ideas in their head rather than bullet points on a page or sticky notes on a white board.

I tend to be a bit of both. I know my characters, I have an idea of where the story is going so flesh out my plot points before I start but I can still get caught out. Initially, I may just put the writing aside so the ideas can flow and gel into some sort of cohesion. I’ll revisit my characters’ motivations. Who wants what the most? What will they do to get it? What are they afraid of if they don’t achieve their goals? Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, and Conflict is one of my go-to craft books when I need a nudge.

Is this a place where I can reveal something about my characters? Maybe something good/bad from the past that neither knows about the other. It better be juicy because it could affect the relationship (not necessarily a romantic one) between my characters, for better or worse. Deep, dark secrets surfacing could hurt your character, or maybe explain why a character acted the way they did. Does your character need protecting from this secret? If so, why?

Using your setting to propel your plot line could also work. An environmental threat like a blizzard or a hurricane could prompt your characters into doing something extraordinary. I think we’ve all heard of someone suddenly displaying superhuman strength to move an object in order to save someone else. But please, if your character cannot swim, don’t have him/her dive into a raging torrent to save someone from drowning. The actions have to be plausible and in keeping with your character’s character.

Sometimes I’ll simply take the section I’m stuck on, start a new document with a lot of ‘what ifs’ and play with it. What if my heroine is trapped in a burning building? What if my hero has a broken collar bone and can’t get to her? What else might he be able to do? Who else might be involved in this scene?

I have generally found that if I do this, the plot picks itself up and off I go again. Like life, you never know when the curveballs are going to come your way, or how you are going to deal with them until they happen. Keeping an open and curious mind can lead to endless possibilities. It’s why I love writing.

Take a look at these other fine authors and see how they deal with their plot lines.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Books by Kymber Morgan

Following on from yesterday's post, here is a selection from some of Kymber Morgan's titles. Hope you check them out. 

This Cowboy's in for the Ride of His Life. If He Can Hold On.

CHASE DONAVAN, about to lose his ranch, returns to the Calgary Stampede’s famous Rangeland
Derby, the nightly Chuckwagon race that cost him his bride to be and nearly killed him four years ago.

But with no guarantee he'll win the prize money, he hedges his bet and accepts a lucrative contract as a male model - hoping no one finds out.

After he booted her out of his life on the eve of their wedding, JENNA CORDELL left her cowboy and her home behind, only to come full circle at this year's western art show.

When Jenna turns out to be Chase's photographer the re-kindling sparks between them rival the
Stampede’s Centennial fireworks display. But can she afford to open her heart again with his life on the line every race? And can he trust she won’t reveal his secret and turn him into the laughing stock of the rodeo world as pay back for stomping all over her heart in the past?

Is Her Love Real or Just a Myth?

Returning to her summertime home of Mystic Creek, CALLIE JAMISON discovers there’s a lot more involved to her grandmother’s legacy than a few cabins and some land, including a curse. The last thing she needs now is to fall in love.

ANTEROS, dark twin of Eros is responsible for avenging unrequited love, a job that’s been a lot harder since his brother succumbed to ambro-fever and has been running amok shooting all the wrong people – including Anteros.

The clock is ticking, not only on his immortality and Callie’s free will, but their hearts as well. Soon they’ll each have to decide if the overwhelming attraction they feel is the real deal or if they’ve simply been ‘Shafted’ and it’s all a cruel illusion.

Some Wolves Won't Bite Unless You Ask Them To.

Author, SARA GARDENER, orphaned at a young age, knows nothing of her lost heritage: that of the Wulverkynn, a rare breed of female able to mate with a Wulver male and his only hope of salvation.

The film industry’s ‘wolf whisperer’, RYAN SHERIDAN, is only weeks from turning full werewolf and becoming a mindless killer. His only option is to enter into an eternal mating bond neither party wants before moon rise on his thirtieth birthday, or his own family will be forced to put him down.

At the Romantic Times Convention in Atlanta, loneliness and desperation lead to one night of passion that shakes the foundations of both their worlds. Suddenly Sara finds herself in the cross hairs of a secret society bent on Wulver-kind annihilation, while Ryan struggles to keep her safe, both from his people’s ultimate threat and his overwhelming instinct to claim her as his own.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting Kymber and learning about her and her books as much as I have. For more information please check out her Author Links:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My guest this month is Kymber Morgan

My guest this month is Kymber Morgan, who writes Paranormal, Modern Fantasy and Contemporary Western Romance. Why multiple sub-genres? Because, she says, it's fun and she has a short attention span but don't tell anyone. 
I love her answer to Question #1. It made me tear up but I'm glad Kymber started and kept writing. I hope you enjoy meeting her and learning more about her.
1.     When and why did you start writing? What is it about writing that satisfies you the most?
Ten years ago I had a health scare that landed me in the hospital emergency room. Hours of waiting and multiple tests later I found myself admitted. At the time our health care system was strained to a near breaking point, so I was sent to an overcrowded ward where I was parked in a bed against a wall in a hallway leading to a private room. Positioned this way, my roommate and I were facing opposite directions but could glimpse one another from the shoulders up through all the apparatus we were each attached to. It was so tight, the nurses had to move my IV pole in order to wiggle around to attend to hers, and having never been intended to house a sick bed, the wall I was on had no way to hook up a TV or even a light for that matter. They literally called me the ‘wall-flower’. Okay, so you have the scene.

My wonderful husband, the ‘Alpha Muffin’ knows I hate hospitals (a previous unpleasant stay on an unrelated matter), so while they were getting me admitted, he went home and returned with my own fuzzy housecoat and the first couple of books off my ‘to be read’ pile in an attempt to keep me from turning into a raving lunatic. He even remembered to bring me a book light since there was no light in my hallway! Remember this is ten years ago and tablets including the Kindle weren’t ‘a thing’ yet, so we’re talking old school here; you needed light to read at night back then.

Long story short – hey, don’t laugh - I could make this much more drawn out if I wanted to ;-). My roommate Dorothy was a confirmed bachelorette of advanced years who, after having asked what I was reading, had informed me there was no such nonsense as love. There was lust and stupidity but that was about it, and she should know having been around some eighty plus years. Then, over the next five or six days, she saw my husband come to see me no matter how many hours he’d worked or how awful the weather (it was February in Canada and a very stormy year) or how busy he was on the home-front looking after our active tween-aged son with his busy sports calendar while I was out of commission. She saw how he always had a smile on his face and worked hard to cheer not only me up, but her too. She also saw how difficult it was for us to part at the end of every visit and how he ‘would get an eyelash or something in his eye as he left the room.

Then one night she wasn’t able to sleep any better than I was but didn’t want to watch TV, so I read aloud to her for a while. Then she asked how my husband and I met, so I told her the story, which is unique in it’s own way, but that’s tale for another time. I summed up my story by saying how blessed I was to be sharing my life with a wonderful man who was also my best friend and how, without him, I’d be a lesser version of me. She laughed in several places and snorted in others, but by the time I was finished, I realized she was sniffling. I was about to wrangle my IV pole into submission to get out of bed and go over to her when my crusty neighbour’s age-roughened voice came out of the dark. Over the beeps, bings and swooshes’ of all that hospital apparatus between us, she told me that for the first time in her life she believed love really did exist and that I should be writing books like the one we’d been reading from earlier. Now it was my turn to sniffle.

As happens in times of adversity you become close with the people who share it with you, so two weeks later when I was finally able to text ‘start the car!’ to my husband – yes it’s from that furniture store ad, and yes I did run out the front door in my little knit slippers and dove in the car before they changed their mind - as I left our room I hugged my friend, Dorothy, and promised to come back in a few days with a new book and read to her some more. She hugged me back and made me promise to give writing myself a try because if I could make a crusty old broad (her words, not mine) like her believe, I should be sharing with the rest of the deluded masses out there (again, her words, not mine).

I never got the chance to read to Dorothy again. She passed away the next day. But I have gone on to write in the hopes that my words might again touch some soul who is having a hard time believing love is real and quite often think of her standing over my shoulder as I do so. The thought that I may be able to lift someone’s spirits in times of trouble, as mine were by the authors I read in that hospital bed, or ultimately touch someone’s heart enough to have them question their belief that love is a ‘pile of pahooey’ is extremely satisfying for me. Thank you Dorothy.

2.     What was the best writing advice you ever had, and did it work?
“Finish the damn book!” comes to mind, but I think it was something Deirdre Knight once said to me that really resonated. She told me to always stay true to my own personal writer’s voice, and write the stories I want to read regardless of what the current trend is.

3.     Have you had a defining moment in your writing life that changed everything for you?
I’ve had two actually. The first is when I finally dug up the courage to join CaRWA the local Calgary writer’s group under the Romance Writer’s of American banner. Without the five years I spent laughing and learning from the wonderful people there I’d still be trying to figure out what a plot really was. And second, was when I had the pleasure of meeting an author I’m a super fan of – and managed to not make myself look like a dork at the time – who graciously treated me as an equal as she congratulated me on the success I’d just had at a signing we were both involved in. As we walked to the elevator together on aching feet with the muscles in our cheeks stiff from smiling and our fingers cramped from signing our books, we both groaned, then she winked at me and said, “Hey, it’s what we signed up for, right?” Then she spontaneously hugged me and said, “Isn’t it great!” That’s the moment I realized: I AM a writer.

4.     What advice about writing do you wish you had given yourself early in your writing career?
If I had sat down for a coffee with my earlier writing self I’d have stressed how important consistency is. Writing every day, even if it’s only a hundred words at a time is much better than doing a marathon, then settling in for a drought and writing nothing - kind of a tortoise vs. hare thing.

5.     Have you achieved all your career goals? If not, what goals are you still working on?
That’s easy, and a big resounding NO! I’m still working on everything. I believe the minute we stop striving to improve our writing craft or feel we’ve somehow can now put connecting with fans somewhere down the priority list, or we’ve got all the writing community relationships we could ever need, we might as well unplug our computers and drop our pens for good. It’s not a goal IMHO but a journey. One we need to work hard on to keep getting better and better at. And I still have to figure out how to make the whole life balance thing work too, something I think most of us wrestle with on a constant basis.

1.     What is the best or most memorable compliment you ever received?
It was the first time a reader overheard a conversation I was having about a book I’d written, and she said, “Oh my god, I read that book. I loved it!” Whew, still get chills on that one.

2.     What is the most memorable class you’ve ever taken?
James Scott Bell’s ‘Write Your Novel From the Middle”. Not only was the material awesome, he’s a singularly amazing speaker; knowledgeable and entertaining and can bring his audience to the point of tears from laughing so hard.

3.     Are you a glass half full or half empty kind of person? Or is the glass just malformed?
Ha ha, that depends on how fast or lopsided my world is spinning at any given moment, so I supposed I’d have to say malformed.

4.     Which of the four seasons do you like/dislike the most and why?
I’m not a cold weather person, so I used to think it was summer, but over the last few years, I’ve discovered it’s actually autumn. We’re so busy during the summer we never seem to get out camping, which is what my husband and I love to do more than anything, so we go long into the fall. The peace and quiet, changing leaves from weekend to weekend is something I look forward to every year. It’s still warm enough during the day, but cold enough at night that there aren’t as many people out there, so it becomes our own little piece of paradise in some ways. We’ve often found ourselves the only ones in the area. That’s when I love it the most.

1.     Lied about your age?
Yes, I said I was older than I am.

2.     Eaten ice cream straight from the carton?
Yes, and with a much bigger spoon than required.

3.     Ridden a motorcycle?
Yes, and ran one into a tree once too.

4.  Watched the stars at night?
Yes, as often as I can.

Please join me tomorrow Wednesday, August 16th, and check out some of Kymber's books.