Tag Archives: Romance

Learning from someone else’s mistakes – How to NOT write a novel

I’ve been reading a lot of romance novels lately. Not because it is my favorite genre, but to help strengthen my skills in writing inner-thought and making an emotional connection between the reader and the character.

I recently read a book that was AWESOME at this.  I was totally engaged. I liked the heroine. I cared about her. I liked the hero even more. They were both complex characters with faults that drove their characterization, and I completely believed them and felt like part of their lives. It was everything I wanted in a novel. This author totally deserved the “bestselling author” splash on her advertising.

At the end of the novel, there was one of those lovely magic buttons nice and handy so I could buy the next book.

Did I buy the next book? No.

Wasn’t I interested in the story? Didn’t I want to know more?

Yes. I totally did. I was ready to stay up late and read more.

So why didn’t I buy the next book?

The author, despite being incredibly talented, lost my trust. The story was not complete. Not by a long shot.

The heroine is being threatened by her brother and a former boyfriend who raped her. She had been in hiding for years, but they found her. She needs to go home and face them because her mother is dying. The hero of the story agrees to go home with her so she is not alone. BAM. It’s over. If you want to see what happens, you need to buy the next book. There isn’t even a neat, tidy closing thought to make the novel feel like it ended, like “I would be fine, I knew I would be fine because we would face this together.”

Nope—a closing line like that was not there. The chapter just ended, and the next page prompted you to buy the next book.


Now, if this had been a free read, I totally would have cut the author some slack. I would have purchased the next book. Call me snobby, but I expect a story to be complete when I pay $5.00 for it.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe I misunderstood. So I checked to make sure there was not a worded warning like “part one” that I overlooked.

Nope. Nada.

I went from being a wildly enthusiastic fan to a lukewarm, disappointed reader in a matter of seconds.

But the novel was great. Why wouldn’t you buy the next one?

Like I said, she has lost my trust. Will the next book finish the story, or will I be prompted to buy another book? I don’t know. I cannot trust that I will ever see a satisfying ending.

For now and probably forever, I will see this author’s name and red flags will pop up all over the place.

Why not just tell the truth?

Now, if it was stated up front that this was an add-on series, a work in progress available in installments (and priced at $.99 rather than $5.00 each) I would have totally slipped the next book in my cart. In fact, I think that’s an awesome idea.

But you just need to be honest about it.

Don’t lie to your readers.

Would I recommend this book? No. Absolutely not.

I sure did learn from it, though.

What would you think if you finished a book, and it totally left you hanging… Holding you ransom until you paid to find out what happened?


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An Example of Nailing the Setting

I recently picked up a historical novella to clear my head between longer novels.  Terri Rochenski wrote a short story in the Make Believe anthology that I really enjoyed, so I reached for her newest work “Alone No More”.

From the title, you get the gist.  Our MC is alone in love, and at the end she gets her man.  Romance never has a surprise ending, does it?  It’s probably the only genre where this is completely acceptable.  It’s the journey to the couple getting together that is the fun.

So, let’s talk about the setting.  Rochenski has a way of drawing you into her world in the first few pages, and never letting go.  Be it the costumes, technology, language, or just the general feel of a world or time period, Rochenski nails it.

Normally for me, this would be a drag.  I hate too much detail, but Rochenski is one of those authors who has figured out how to gently weave in the important parts of the world without slapping you in the face with laundry lists of details.  You envision a character walking through a room and noticing things around her, or you travel down a dirt road in a swaying cart. The details are interspersed inside the action.  Very well done. I like to read works like this on hopes that some of that setting flair rubs off on me.

If you are looking for a short, quiet historical I would highly recommend this.  Adrenaline junkies would find the middle of  “Alone No More” a bit long and uneventful, but this does happen in love sometimes… especially in an authentic historical setting.  I would recommend this book for the setting in itself.

Pick up a copy of “Alone No More” for some quiet holiday reading (Only $1.49 on sale at the White Rose Web Site.)  Everyone loves a sale this time of year!

AMAZON   /  The Wild Rose Press


Don’t sleep with him/her? Rule #19 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever


I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #19

19: Don’t allow characters who are sexually attracted to one another the opportunity to get into bed. Unless at least one of them has a jealous partner.

Umm…. What?

I’m staring at this, and trying to think about novels that were good, where there was a little bedroom time, but no jealous lover.

I have to admit… there are a lot… and they are fine. A sexual triangle just is not the main conflict of the story.

Sometimes the strong relationship between two characters makes the overall conflict (not necessarily a jealous partner) a deeper conflict, because the characters really care about each other.

Maybe Allen Guthrie has never read a romance novel? Maybe he just doesn’t like to read bedroom scenes?

What’s your take on this?


Related articles

A Review of “The Romance Novel Book Club” by Kastil Eavenshade

After crying my eyes out over the last novel I read, I REALLY needed a light fun read. I’d heard great things about “The Romance Novel Book Club” so I decided to give it a whirl. It ended up being a combination of everything I wanted, and also what I was trying to avoid.

Very mild spoiler alert: I will try not to give too much away.

“The Romance Novel Book Club” starts out as a whimsical story told in a great voice. We have a woman who reads a lot of Romance novels, and is looking for a whirlwind relationship like that in real life. The comparisons she makes to romance novels are truly hysterical, and for quite a long time I was reading with a smile on my face.

Then…. There was this shift.

Same girl. Same plotline, but after messing up her umteenth relationship, she begins dealing with an addiction problem that was a bit disturbing to me.

Addiction of every kind makes me want to yack. I find it truly sad that anyone could become totally dependent on anything. (Other than chocolate… that’s okay in my book. :-) )

Anyway… same great voice… same joking… but I began to seriously dislike the main character. At one point, she picks on a wayward waiter that she sets up as the “bad guy” – Normally I would have thought of this person as the bad guy, too… but I just ended up feeling sorry for him. I was considering stopping reading, until – quite to my surprise – the character admitted to her friend that she thought she might have an addiction.

For some reason, that admission – and also having the warm and fuzzy that the author MEANT me to have all those uncomfortable feelings, made me feel better. So I kept reading.

Thanks goodness that from that point forward, things started to get better. Once she had admitted to the addiction, she had the will to try to fight it, and I started to like her again.

So, yes, this is a book that will put a smile on your face, but it will also scare you a little bit. The author tackles a very serious subject. This is NOT a Romance novel. You might consider it an Anti-Romance novel. But there is a romance in it as well… and a happy ending, thank goodness.

Oh… and this is DEFINITELY for the 18 and over crowd.

Scratch that. 21 and over.

Maybe 25 and over.

Not for the kiddies. Get it?


A Review of Crossing Hathaway by Jocelyn Adams

I decided to give this book a whirl because I saw a few internet posts from the author saying it was a great seller for her, and she wasn’t sure why.

I think this is one of those classic cases of a beauty queen thinking she’s ugly or something… or maybe she just doesn’t have a mirror (or reading glasses in this case.)

Crossing Hathaway is a Contemporary Romance (not my favorite genre) But it had just enough of an “out of the ordinary” twist for me to make it interesting, and for me to really feel the peril that our Main Character is in.

Eva is an IT specialist who has to spend a week working for the obnoxious owner of her company when her immediate leader has to leave for a family emergency.  She ends up dealing with more than a jerk boss, though… In the end, her life is at stake.  Heart pounding!

Jocelyn Adam’s writing is extremely fluid, and far too easy to read.  For instance, you sit down to read for ten minutes, and two hours later you realize you are still reading.  It’s one of those “annoyingly good” things.

Tiramisu anybody?

And I imagine that the Tiramisu scene has probably had some chatter on the internet and other Romance circles.  I believe this is the longest love-making scene I have ever read… and it didn’t even seem like overkill.  I honestly don’t think I will be able to order tiramisu at a restaurant again without a snicker.


The chemistry between the two main characters and the MC’s best friend is flawless.  I easily could place myself in her situation.  I believed it all.

Was this the perfect book?  Well… no.  For one thing, there were no explosions, but I’ll forgive her that because the rest of it was so dern good.   There were two flaws though.  The more minor flaw was that I saw the climax coming from a mile away.  I was concerned about what was happening, but since I’d figured it out, I was just waiting for “it” to happen.  The good thing was that the book didn’t end there, like I thought it would.  It kept going in a way that I didn’t anticipate, and I felt completely satisfied with the ending.

The only real flaw that bothered me (and this won’t bother most at all) was the Main Character’s mouth in the beginning of the novel.  Her language did clear up by the end, and the author was probably using it as a plot device, but it didn’t resonate with me.  Okay, yeah, I may be a prude, but I can understand if someone stubs their toe and says “oh Sh*t”, but curses just hanging out there for really no reason at all bothers me.  In fact, I mentally deleted them completely, and the narrative read fine.  It almost seems like they were inserted after the fact, which I found odd.

So I’m going to dock this story one star just for that, but feel free to give it five stars in your mind if you don’t mind erroneous cursing.

Oh, and Jocelyn Adams – If you are still wondering why this novel sells so well – it’s because it is AWESOME. And well… Tiramisu probably has a lot to do with it, too. ;-)

Purchase link:  Crossing Hathaway


A Review of “Dipping in a Toe” By Linda Carroll-Bradd @lcarrollbradd

I was just floored by this short story.  This little tidbit did everything it was meant to do.  It wet my appetite, and left me screaming for more.

Normally, I don’t like shorts, because I always feel like there is more to the story that I have not been told.  To an extent, this is no exception to that. However, this was so superbly written that I was left feeling satisfied with the ending, and not wanting to chuck my E-reader at the wall.

This is a very simple story about a single mother being attracted to her kid’s much younger swim coach, and what happens when he returns her attention.

While this is a very sweet story. (Not even any kissing) I found myself submersed in the heat between these two characters, and feeling every sensory perception relayed by the author.

My only fault is how short it is (I read it in two nights, but I could have gobbled it in one sitting if I wanted to)  I would love to read more about this new couple, and if there is a part two, I am reaching for it.

In general, I like fantasy or chase novels, and romance bores me.  This story, though, just blew my socks off without any TNT.  For the first time in a long time, I am looking up an author to see what else she’s written.

I can’t find any reason in this book not to give it five stars.  This is sweet romance at its utter and complete best.

Review of “The Glass Man” by Jocelyn Adams

Strap yourself in.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I actually finished this book last year, and it was in my top five reads for 2012.  I never got around to reviewing it, so here’s a quick overview.

My opinion? I want to be Jocelyn Adams when I grow up.  Well, not completely, but I would love to have the “flow” that her writing style has.  She is really “readable”.

Have you ever read a great book, but it was easy to put it down?  Well, Glass Man is a great book that your husband has to pry out of your hands to make sure you go to bed at night… I call that “flow” because there is no hard break in the writing… as a reader, you just keep reading without knowing what’s going on.

Glassman is a story about a girl with supernatural powers and has no idea why she has these powers.  She is being chased by “The Glass Man” – a man who killed her entire family when she was young, and has been hunting her ever since.  Yep, this is one of my favorite tropes – the CHASE NOVEL.  Wahoo!  Action abounds!

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from beginning to end, with a few very minor nit-picks.

Nit Picks:

#1 is the language. Yeah, yeah, stamp me a prude, but I cannot relate to a heroine with a gutter mouth.  I’ve said before, using the word sh*t or even the F-bomb if you fall and hurt yourself is okay.  It’s natural.  But riddling the dialog with profanity bothers me.  I have to subtract a star for this.

#2 is that the main character is wearing a ridiculous outfit for a long time during the climax near the end of the story. Why Why Why? Is all I have to ask.  The narrative, which is otherwise outstanding, high energy and tense, is challenged, and at times ruined by the dumb outfit that the bad guy made her wear. I just don’t know where the author was going with that.  Maybe it was supposed to be comic relief, or maybe titillation… for me, it just made me roll my eyes.  So for this, I need to subtract another star.

Now let’s chat for a second about the character of the Glass Man.

Best Villain I have ever read

 Like EVER

Wanna lesson on how to write a villain?  Pick up Glass Man.  I mean DANG.  I actually found myself rooting for him most of the time.  He is just so darn bad you have to love him… and I just love a hot sexy villain.  He’s not bad… he’s doing the right thing!  Who cares if everyone else thinks he’s a psychopath?????

Pure brilliance on the villain, and I would LOVE to see a prequel that was based solely on his character.  There is a mention of an earlier event with the MC of this story where the villain actually “won”.  I would LOVE to see that made into a book.  Let’s cheer on that bad guy. Yahooooo!

Okay, so, if you didn’t catch my enthusiasm, I was trying to say that the villain was awesome, and for him alone, I will give this book an extra star.

So that’s a total of four stars for the Glass Man.  If you like paranormal stories, and can get in to a chase novel with a dash of romance and two supernatural being kicking the crud out of each other, you will just LOVE this.


The Little Blue Lady from Mars takes on a little Rock Star Romance


PKO_Alien 3 0003387I feel like I’ve been gone forever.


You should have treated it like a vacation. 

Did you have time to relax?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Relax? I did nothing but relax.

I actually did NOTHING. It was boring.

Well, now you are fresh and ready to do a brand new interview.

Are you ready to get started?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Totally.

Who’s here today?

Nicky Wells is here. [opens door]

Hi, Nicky!

Alien Huh CloseWhat’s with all the sparkles?

Who does this lady think she is?

What, you haven’t heard about me? Where have you been ~ in outer space? Everybody has heard about the Rock Star Romance Trilogy, and today, I want to shout about the release of the second book, Sophie’s Run.

Oh, and I’m here to give away two e-books.

Alien Huh CloseYou want to give away TWO books?  Getting pretty high and mighty there, aren’t you? You need to get through me before anything gets given to anyone.  You hear?

Umm, Okay.

Well, what do I have to do?

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Convince me your sappy Earthling book

is good enough for people to read.

LOL, where to start? Put simply, my brand of romance rocks your world. You’ll feel the tremors even if you happen to be stuck in outer space. Yeah, Little Blue Lady, just like you… Sophie’s Run has glitz, glamour, intrigue, romance, betrayal, travel and lots of food, not to mention a gorgeous rock star and a dashing male nurse. I mean, come on ~ what more do you want?

Alien SmileYou think I have glitz and glamour?


Okay, so tell me more, what would make someone want to read this little ditty?

With all the above ingredients, why wouldn’t they? But if you want the official sales spiel… well, if you like rock music, celebrities, romance and happy endings, then Sophie’s Run is a must-read. If you’ve ever dreamed of doing something completely crazy with your life, then Sophie’s Run is a must read.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Hmmm.  I like music, but if I haven’t read Sophie’s Turn,

would I want to read Sophie’s Run?

Obviously if you’ve already read Sophie’s Turn, you will want to find out what happens next. I should say that you don’t have to have read Sophie’s Turn to enjoy Sophie’s Run! While it is the second book in a Trilogy, and can totally and 100 per cent stand on its own.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Okay, let’s see if it’s up to par with my requirements.

Does anything explode?

Errr… yes, actually.

A cake. And there is a spectacular fire.

Alien SmileTee Hee.

Exploding cake… sounds delightfully messy.

I’m just not sure, though…

What, you’re still doubtful? After I’ve promised you glitz, glamour, intrigue, romance, betrayal, lots of food, travel, a rock star, a male nurse, an exploding cake and a fire? You are hard to please. All right, let’s see if the official blurb satisfies your hunger.

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

So she has finally found the man of her dreams; well, she’s seen him, for sure!  Yet rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal. Sophie has had enough. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Now, if you already told me she gets her life back on track, I know the ending.

Why would I need to read it?

Exploding cake, remember?


PKO_Alien 3 0003387Piff, please…

Have you ever actually exploded anything?

I have, in a manner of speaking. Fireworks, for starters, to mark the New Year. Then there’s my home entertainment special, the indoor volcano. Be sure you’ve got high enough ceilings if you try that one. Why would you do that? Let’s just say it keeps the kids quiet for a while. Oh and, at college, many years ago, there was this tradition of filling plastic bottles with dry ice, closing the lid, shaking it up and waiting for the boooom from a VERY safe distance. That was just for fun. I hasten to add that as a non-scientist, I was merely a spectator and never the purveyor of the dry ice nor the assembler of the bottles. Just for the record.

Alien SmileHa!

It does sound like there is a hidden and interesting side to you, Nicky Wells.

Do tell, have you ever painted your hair blue?

I have indeed. Not painted, exactly, but sprayed. It wasn’t just blue, it was blue-and-purple streaks. Why? Because I was fourteen and I needed to make a statement.

Alien SmileAnd what a beautiful statement it must have been!

So, have you ever traveled in space?


I do that all the time. My husband will come home and say, ‘you look all spaced out again’ and I’ll say, ‘well, yeah, I’m just on re-entry.’

Alien SmileYes! I love a fellow space traveler!

I’m hungry.

Want to raid Jennifer M. Eaton’s refrigerator?

Totally. I’m starving.

Does this mean I can give away a few books?

Alien SmileYes!

Let’s give away one copy of Sophie’s Turn,

and one copy of Sophie’s Run!



There you have it! And I didn’t even have to intervene!

Comment below for your chance to win one of two ebooks.

Sales links for Sophie’s Run:

Sophie’s Run is now available in Kindle edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and in Paperback edition from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. You can also get the paperback at Barnes & Noble, or download Sophie’s Run onto your Nook (coming soon).


My First Rejection Letter

Okay, it had to happen sooner or later. After three publications, I’ve finally received the inevitable “slap” of a rejection.  When I opened it and started reading, the email could have gone both ways, and then it slipped into…

“We are no longer able to reply to each query individually, but please be assured we consider every submission very carefully.  Unfortunately, your manuscript is not a good fit for us at this time.”

Okay, well, it was a “nice” rejection.  They didn’t say it stunk. They even asked to keep them in mind for my next project (yeah, it’s a form letter, but it was nice, and I will still keep them in mind.  They are a great publisher.)


I understand what people talk about now.  Since this was an all-encompassing form letter, I have no idea WHY it was rejected.  In fact, I don’t even know if they got past the query.

***I don’t know***

Are they glutted with Paranormal Romance right now?  I don’t know.

Was the story too short? I don’t know.

Have they seen the plot before?  I don’t know.

Was in not “Romancy” enough? I don’t know.

Did they not see the value of it as a continuing series? I don’t know.

Did they laugh at my inadequacy? I don’t know.

Honestly, when I first read it, I was not disappointed, even though I was really interested in that publisher.  My reaction was more like.  “Oh, okay, I’ll just look somewhere else”

But then those questions above started sinking in. I started questioning myself.

After a little while though, I dusted myself off.  I like the story, and I have it out at a few other publishers as well.  Someone will like it.

But while I’m waiting, I don’t want my cute little egg sitting in one basket.  I’m actively seeking a few more publishers.  One that I’ve found, I actually think I like MORE that my first pick.

We’ll see how it goes.  No tears, no disappointment, just onward and upward.

It’s just the business, right?

How do you feel about “form” rejections?


#FreeFriday Win a #Free Ebook “A Heart Broken ” by Sara Barnard


Yay!  It’s Freebee Fridays time!

First of all, Congrats to last week’s winner: Maddy

You’ve received a free copy of “Mona Lisa’s Room” by Vonnie Davis, and the bonus winner of “A Taste of Chocolate” is: Charissa

If you’d like to find out more about Vonnie Davis and her books, hop on over to http://vonniedavis.com/Home_Page.html


Alien SmileI’m starting to enjoy this.  I’m really looking forward to this week’s interview!

Yes, you are doing great. 

You were almost nice to Vonnie Davis.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Nice!  This cannot happen!

No one can this I’m nice!


Please forget I said that and at lest try to be nice to this author.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387We’ll see.

Why am I worried about this?

Okay, let her in.

Alien SmileHello. authory-looking person, please come in.

Yes, yes…

Come on in and have a seat.



My shirt matches you hair! 

Alien SmileWell, yes, it is nearly the same shade.

How wonderful.

Who are you, my dear?

My name is Sara Barnard and I want to take readers back in time to the 19th century so they can share in the adventures of Confederate Captain Sanderson Redding and his damsel, Charlotte Adamsland.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Huh? What’s all this confederate stuff.

I don’t understand.  What the heck is this a book about?


That’s the thing.

It’s only disguised as a book.

It’s really a time travel device. (Shhh.)


PKO_Alien 3 0003387Well that’s just crazy.  That’s just not possible.  Why would anyone want to read something like that!

So they can travel back in time.

Duh. (Whoops! Excuse me!)


PKO_Alien 3 0003387This one’s a little nutty

Give her a chance. 

She’s fun

PKO_Alien 3 0003387Okay.  Geeze. Alright Miss Time Travel.

Are there at least explosions?

There are some explosions,

all in a 19th century way of exploding.

PKO_Alien 3 0003387She actually thinks she’s time traveling.

Just go with it.


PKO_Alien 3 0003387Erghh…

Okay, what’s the story about?

The war (Civil, that is) is over, Sanderson is home, and life is good. Until the Army comes knocking. They’ve charged Sanderson with murder and unless he can track down the notorious outlaw William “Bloody Bill” Quantrill, he’ll face the hangman’s noose. Meanwhile, Charlotte is left in Minerva’s capable hands to endure a complicated pregnancy before battling a rash of hydrophobee that threatens the countryside; Cotton, Achilles, and Sanderson included.

Alien Huh CloseHydrophobee?  This is about being afraid of water?

You are one weird chic.

 It’s not about… Huh? 

PKO_Alien 3 0003387You said there was an explosion, right?



All Civil-War like

PKO_Alien 3 0003387I don’t believe you.

Have you ever actually exploded anything?

Yes once, but I’m not allowed to talk about it. We are still under a gag order. As to why, in true Texas fashion, it just needed explodin’.

Alien SmileYes!

Someone else who realizes the wonder of a grand explosion!

How about taking over the world?

Wait, who told you about that? Have you been talking to Althea the Green?

My success in world domination remains to be seen. Ask me again in 2015.

Alien SmileYes!  I will!

Maybe we can take over the world together?  What’s your plan?

Well the trick to taking over the world  is inventing a time travel device … hey, wait. Is this a trick question? I know nothing about it and I will deny it if it comes up again.


Alien SmileSo what should we explode first?

Well that is simple. I would explode what needed explodin’! And that can be anything from, wait, I’m not allowed to talk about it, remember?

Alien SmileHa Ha!  Yes!

I love Sara Barnard!

Quickly!  We must give away her book!

Let’s get rocking!

If anyone would like to win a free copy of


A Heart Broken (An Everlasting Heart #2) leave a comment below.

We will choose a winner on Monday.

Thanks Sara, and great job winning over the Little Blue Lady from Mars!

One day we will

rule the world together!


Alien SmileWell



Thanks for lett’n me hang!


If you’d like to find out more about Sara Barnard and her books, hop on over to www.sarabarnardbooks.com


The Little Blue Lady From Mars © Jennifer M. Eaton.