Saturday workshop question #1: What have I worked on and/or learned in the past year?

A timely move to rural Nova Scotia ahead of a pandemic that closed the U.S. border opened the possibility to rewrite and publish one book and rapid write another.

My author genre shift from romance to romantic suspense wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined. Romance springs from a simple formula. Partner meets partner. Difficulties cause conflict that is overcome and conquered by love with the end result of happy ever after or at least happy for now.

Suspense needs the structure of a plan to keep the story from going off the rails. My developmental editor red-ink ripped apart the first draft and suggested tracks toward improvement. I grumbled, mostly agreed, and put the story back together again. The rewrite was painful but absolutely necessary for a strong plot built around a theme and characters that readers could both love and love to hate. The UnMatchables Case #1: Danger Noted was indie-published by 4Wurdz on October 28th. As of today, I’m about 5,000 words into the second case taken on by private investigator partners Eddie Emerson and Kelly Gillespie.

Lessons learned by The UnMatchables rewrite spiked my writer’s learning curve. Descriptions of characters to populate Parliament Hill in the political thriller set in Canada’s capital city flowed and poured onto word document pages. Next came a chapter-by-chapter outline of scenes and events. From May to September, as I edited and rewrote The UnMatchables, I transcribed the thoughts, dialogue, fears and triumphs of Chief of Staff Jerilynn Connor, Director of Parliamentary Protective Service Alec Martin and Prime Minister Evan Reid. Capital Strings is now in the hands of my developmental editor.

FAQ: Where do I find story ideas?

I pull most of mine from personal experiences, observation of and reading about people. The McKenna family saga wrapped around Chef Darien, the central character in my new Life in Love contemporary romance trilogy, began with an interview in a magazine of a successful man who appeared to have it all.

He had celebrity status, affluence, an abundance of talent and sex appeal. But he was alone and lonely. Like Darien, he longed for a life partner who would love him for who he was. A strong, independent partner secure in who she was. For Darien McKenna and Alison Clarke, love is ageless when it’s meant to be.

So it is with story ideas. Anything and everything is meant to be. Life is a story. The possibilities for theme, plot, setting and characters are endless.

Tomorrow’s musing: Which comes first: theme or plot? What do I need help with in my current project? Plot! The UnMatchables Case #1 Paperback