Tag Archives: writing

Follow The Rules

I’ve been thinking a lot about the rules lately. Not laws. 😉 The rules when it comes to what I write. You might be thinking, what rules? There are no rules, beyond basic grammar, spelling and punctuation. Except there are.

In the genres I write, contemporary and suspenseful romance, the rules are pretty basic. They’re the same as the real world. I don’t deal in magic, portals to other dimensions, space travel, or supernatural creatures. People don’t fly, murder is wrong, and no man or woman is perfect. Sounds simple enough, right? I used to think so, but lately, I’ve been thinking that I’ve got a set of rules that I write within.

Let me explain a bit more.

In a fantasy novel, for example, the rules are different. There might be magic, wizards, flying people, and werewolves, etc, right? But they follow rules, or canon, set out by the author. They might be: magic is good, but can be used by bad people. People can fly, but it requires a certain spell, or they’re not able to fly beyond our own atmosphere. Werewolves exist, but only at the full moon, or maybe they can shapeshift on their own schedule. It all depends on the novel, or the world that the author has created. Once they’ve established that world, the rules are set. If a werewolf can only change at the full moon, then that is the rule. If people can fly without a magic spell, then they don’t need to cast a spell before jumping off the Eiffel Tower. They can’t break the rules. They can’t, in the penultimate chapter, suddenly have a werewolf change at the new moon. It would be against the rules. Do you understand?

When it comes to my own work, you still wouldn’t think the rules are all that restrictive. And they’re really not, but I do have them. I didn’t start out telling myself that I have to follow them, or that I can never change them. Each of my hockey-romance books are stand-alone and could each presumably come with a new set of rules if I wanted.

The TAITS series of adventure/mystery, they on the other hand, do have to follow the rules I’ve created. The technology they use is advanced, but it’s not omnipotent. They take care of foreign threats in far-off places, but they can still diffuse situations they come across at home. The characters are faster, smarter, and more resourceful than the average person, which means they can move faster, or handle more firepower than most people. There are a few other minor details that you probably never gave a second thought to while reading them, or that I even considered while writing them. All together, it makes up a sort of playbook that I have to reference whenever I write something new.

I’m not sure when it occurred to me that I’ve been writing everything I do within a set of rules. I suppose it’s been on my mind in the last couple months since I’ve posted the last two stories on Lit, “Cold as Ice” and “Reflections on Ice.” I enjoyed writing both of those, for different reasons, and to me, they ended on satisfactory notes. The majority of feedback I received was positive, but there were several people who commented that I’d ended the stories without a marriage, or even a hint of a proposal. This isn’t the first time I’ve had that sort of response, and I suppose it’s because I rarely end my stories with marriage or a proposal. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but in my mind, I cannot suddenly have my characters go from the first tentative confessions of love to all-out marriage and commitment at the end of my stories.

I write contemporary romance, which, to me, means they’re modern interpretations of love and romance, within the societal norms I’m used to in the Western world. Meaning, people don’t meet and get married after dating for a month or two. They don’t even get engaged. Not typically, anyway. I’m sure everyone out there has some story of love-at-first-sight or meant-to-be about real, live people they know, but whatever the case may be, that is not typical. That is a very small percentage of people who experience those things, and in my opinion, having those situations in my stories would not make sense.

There have been three stories in my catalogue of work where the characters have come together in marriage or engagement by the end. In those stories, that step in their relationship made sense. They’d been together for some time, and they’d spoken of marriage or a life together. It wasn’t just a grand finale chapter or epilogue I tacked on the end to bring some kind of final conclusion to the story.

In my other works, the characters have only known each other for a very short amount of time. (Kaitlyn and Alex dated for about two months, Mina and Drew, the same, Dylan and Cassia dated a grand total of two and a half weeks before the end) To me, it would be disingenuous to have them end in marriage mere weeks after they got together in the beginning. It may not have started out as a rule in my head, but it has come to be something I do follow, in my efforts to keep my stories as “real” as possible. Yes, yes, I know. I write fiction, and really, my hockey-romance stories could arguably be classified as pure fantasy, but I still try to have realistic characters, dealing with realistic issues in a realistic world, our world.

Maybe I don’t like the stereotypical happily ever after scenario because I don’t want to see my stories ending at all. Maybe I like to keep them open-ended for future sequels. 🙂 I know I like revisiting characters in later stories, weaving friendships throughout and updating on characters from old stories – in a more realistic timeline.

I’m not suggesting my rules are the same for all romance, contemporary or otherwise. They’re just what I find myself working with, or having had worked with all along. Any set of stories, romance, fantasy, or otherwise, does fall within a set of rules. You may not know it, may never be able to pick them out after having read them, but they’re there. I know occasionally I read something and find myself detaching a bit from the story, and it can sometimes be because the author has strayed from their own canon.

I read a truly awful hockey-romance themed ebook a few weeks ago. The story was all over the place, the characters went from being jerks to whiners and back again repeatedly, and there was a sad lack of research when it came to hockey facts, which annoyed me to no end. How hard is it to Google even the most basic hockey facts? Altogether, along with poor editing, I couldn’t get into it at all. It felt like the writer put down whatever they felt like in the moment, without a thought for previous actions or timelines. I can suspend my disbelief for just about any kind of story – I mean, look at what I write! – but this was too much. It’s just an example, of my own opinion, of how a story loses so much when an author isn’t consistent at all. Can you think of anything you’ve read recently that sounds similar?

I’m currently working on something brand new, in a new genre for me. It’s a fantasy story, and I’m making the rules up as I go, but writing notes as I go along as well. I’m sure I’ll contradict myself at some point – hence, the notes – but that’s why there’s the editing process. I hope the end product will be faithful to the world I’ve created and that I won’t have readers poking hole after hole in my efforts. It’s definitely got some plot points that will require firm guidelines. It’s not something I’ve spent a lot of time on before – well, not since I was a kid – but I’m excited to be working on something new and exciting anyway.

The rules are there for a reason. Then again, many of you are probably thinking, rules are meant to be broken. Maybe, maybe not. When it comes to my own writing, I’ll always be working on the things I need to, in order to improve and continue to deliver something I love, in the hopes you might love it as well. 🙂

Take care, and happy reading!



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Hobbies and Stuff

Someone commented recently on one of my stories (don’t recall which one, or what exactly the comment said) but it pointed out a flaw in most of the stories I’ve written. The comment was only directed at the one story, but I’ve been looking them over, and thinking about it, and it’s true. My characters have no hobbies. The men are worse off than the women, for sure. They don’t seem to do anything but play hockey, work out, and think about the women. The women, well, some read, they all drink a lot of wine, it seems, and watch hockey.

I’m not saying this is a huge problem, by any stretch. Be honest, when you read a romance, of any genre, do you want pages and pages of the main characters doing their own thing, whether it’s reading, playing video games, knitting, or going to the movies? Or would you rather they interact, go out on dates, etc.? I know if a story is really good, and when the chemistry is off the charts, I get bored fast by the pages in between their interactions. I skim the descriptions of jobs or whatever else fills the character’s day until I can get back to the good stuff. This is just my preference, so perhaps some of that has crept into my stories.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have their hobbies. I think that in every healthy relationship, each party should have their own interests. I read, and write (though I don’t think I’d classify my writing as just a hobby), and with those two things, I’m mostly content. I’ve dabbled in other things in the past, like cross-stitching, scrapbooking, and painting, but nothing stuck like reading and writing. My guy, on the other hand, has a few game apps that he plays, also reads a bit (he’s my biggest fan 🙂 ), and has his cigars and all his cigar buddies. I’m sure you all have your own interests, sometimes similar to your partners, sometimes different. Do you spend your days talking about it with friends and family? Probably not too often.

In my stories, I try to keep the pace brisk, without seeming rushed. That means I head from one character interaction to another, trying to keep the inner monologues and overly descriptive passages to a minimum. Again, the reason for this is that my own preference is to read something that is well-paced. So many books and stories get bogged down by too much description, whether it’s the setting, the way a character looks or dresses, or what they do at work. I know I find my eyes glazing over if it drags on paragraph after paragraph. I don’t want to know the infinite details of an ancient stone castle, or the minutiae of a character’s career. A few lines to get a sense of something, and done. I recently read an ebook that was a decent story, with fun characters, but for every line of dialogue, there were about three or four paragraphs of inner monologue, in between the dialogue, which ended up making a five minute conversation into about a ten page passage. It got a bit tedious, to say the least. I read a different ebook last week, where the story was 80% what the characters were doing apart from each other, with very little actual interaction between the two leads. It was boring, and I found myself not caring at all about them when they were together – which, by the way, they only seemed to get together to have some sexy time.

So back to my original point – should I spend more time giving my characters more well-rounded lives? I worry that if I try to write about these other hobbies and activities, that I might actually have to know more about them. I could have the ladies do some of the things I’ve done, be it reading or scrapbooking, but beyond that, I don’t know what I could have them spending time on. Gardening? Don’t know about it other than how to cut grass and pull weeds. Making clothes? Nope. Haven’t used a sewing machine since junior high school.

And when it comes to the men, I’d have an even harder time. What do they spend their time doing? My dad has always been a carpenter. He’s spent years working at various hardware stores, and most of his spare time making things; furniture, picture frames toys, etc. I know about those things, so I could have someone doing that, but what hockey player is going to have that kind of time on his hands, outside of working out, practice, games, and travelling? And that’s another thing… what kind of hobby travels well? Reading, sure. That’s easy, but not every player on a team is going to be a reader. What else is there? Card games? Picking up women? I seriously have no idea. So how could I possibly write about it?

I guess I could wing it, just like I do with most of their lives. I don’t know how much they work out, or practice, or how they speak to each other, and I think I’ve managed to fake it all right for these past few years, no? 😉 Then I do run the risk of someone calling me out on getting the facts wrong. I wish I could spend my days researching everything to the max. I would read up on everything I could, travel to all the cities I write about, see all the arenas, and take notes like crazy. But I can’t do that, not yet, anyway. So for now, I am winging it.

I guess the question I want to ask today is, what are your hobbies? How much time do you spend on them, in between work, kids, and other obligations? And would you really care to see it in anything you read, or would you prefer to read about the characters and the story? Just thinking some thoughts today. 🙂

As always, take care, and happy reading!


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New Year, Nothing New

Here we are. It’s 2018. And I’ve accomplished nothing so far. To be fair, I was travelling until four days ago, and this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and read or relax since then. November and December were crazy as well, so all together, I haven’t had much downtime since before Halloween. That’s OK though. I’ve been squeezing in a lot of writing, or planning numerous stories, even with my busy schedule. Even made some awesome notes and headway in a couple of brand new projects. They’re not quite ready for sharing yet, but I may post a ‘sneak peek’ in the coming days. I’ll keep you posted, as always.

Does anyone out there do New Year’s resolutions? I don’t. They’re never a good idea, in my opinion. It might be something you can stick with, but in general, New Year’s resolutions just don’t work. I remember when I was going to the gym regularly – ah, I miss it so much. Also miss weighing less…  – every January, there’d be this massive uptick in attendance. It would last for a good month, then by February, they’d start dropping like flies, until we were back to the ‘usual’ crowd. It may have been that they switched to different times (I used to go at opening every morning, 5:30 a.m., it was the best, most productive time for me) but my guess is most people just didn’t last. And that’s OK too. I couldn’t continue going to the gym because of the cost. I’ve been seriously thinking about carving out space in my budget for it though, because I loved going. I don’t think I’d classify that as a resolution though.

If anything, my resolutions are the same as always. Save more money, don’t sweat the small stuff, and write more. Always write more.

And on that note, I’m going to get to it. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and that you’re not letting the winter blues get you down. For my part, I’ll be so happy when the daylight starts to stretch again. 🙂

Until next time, take care and happy reading!

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Vacation Days

Hello. It’s been a while, and I have been busy. I’ve been writing, reading a lot, working even more, and wishing I could win the lottery somehow, just so I could write all the time. 🙂 Alas, bills…

In other news, I just got back from a wonderful vacation, to Havana, Cuba. I’ve shared some pictures, if you’d care to look, and rest assured, I wasn’t a total sloth on the trip. I did write some, and have an entire story plotted out in my mind now, all thanks to the wonderful sights, food, drinks and people that I met while I was there. No, I’m not telling you anything, except that it’ll be a story in a certain spy-adventure-romance story that I write. 😉

Not much else to report. I have also finished a new Ice story, and I will be posting it up on Lit soon. I’ve attached a preview in the Sneak Peeks section. Be sure to check it out, and check back for updates on any other news.

I wish I had something more interesting to share, something about writing, or my struggles with writing, or even anything good I’ve written or experienced lately. Other than vacation – which was incredible, let me tell you! – my life isn’t terribly exciting these days. I’m just trying to work and save and pay some bills. You know, life. UGH.

Rest assured, I’m still hard at work on my next writing project. Sometimes it’s hockey-romance, sometimes it’s my adventures, and sometimes it’s something else entirely. I’ve had a few other files on the go lately that are totally different from other things I’ve done. They’re not ready for sharing but writing them has been fun and new.

So that’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Please check out my pictures below. My holiday was wonderful, and exotic and everything I saw and tasted was brand new, and I loved every minute of it. Even when I fell down and hurt my foot, which led to a lot of swelling and limping for the next several days. 🙂

As always, take care, and happy reading!


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“Sugar and Ice” – Update


I’m happy to report (so soon!) that my latest release, “Sugar and Ice”, is now available at all the usual retailers for purchase now. You can buy it at Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble Nook Book Store, Kobo Books, and at the iTunes book store. I hope you take the time to check it out, and maybe buy it! If you do, please leave a comment on whichever site you purchase it from. It’s wonderful support for an indie author like me, who can’t afford much in the way of traditional advertising.

As always, take care and happy reading!

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New Sneak Peek

If you’ve read my latest “Ice” story publication, “A Crack in the Ice”, you might be familiar with the characters featured in my next story. I’m hoping to have this completed and ready for publication this spring or summer, but as always, I don’t make any promises!
Anyway, pop onto my Sneak Peeks page for a taste of what’s to come. The title is “Sugar and Ice.”

I hope everyone is enjoying what’s left of the weekend. As always, take care and happy reading. 🙂


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Hello! You look fantastic. 🙂

It’s been ages since I’ve written and posted and I am sorry for that. It’s been a crazy year. I was working two jobs again and just got through my first week of work after a two week holiday. So I’m finally recovered enough to write! And just in time for NaNoWriMo, too. 😉 (That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those who don’t know, and happens every November.)

I have been playing with the idea of writing something for NaNo, but I just don’t think I can give it the commitment required. It got me thinking about working for a deadline. I’m not good with that. Although, to be fair, I’ve never had to really work for a deadline. I write for myself, not a publisher and so I only set my own deadlines. As in, none. 🙂 I wonder if I would accomplish more if I did have dates to meet and obligations. On the other hand, I wonder if I’d end up angry and frustrated, and unable to write, over having to meet a deadline. I have a hard enough time focusing without the added stress of a deadline. I know lots of people out there work for deadlines all the time, not just writers. They manage just fine. Or they might not, I don’t know either way.

In any case, I’m not writing about this now because I’m setting a deadline for myself. Or rather, not a firm one. I am going to make it my goal to work only on revising and editing the fourth in my TAITS series, “Duty and Deception” for the next few months. I want to try and do a couple pages every day and I’m hoping I’ll get it done and out there by Christmas. But that’s not a deadline!! I can’t make any promises. 🙂 I’m too undisciplined for that.

Seeing as how I am done with my part time work at the golf course for the summer, I do hope to post more frequently on here and to maybe publish one or two stories aside from D&D. Again, no promises. As a lame excuse, today I’m tired because I was up super late last night playing Scrabble with my SO. I knew I had to stop and go to sleep when the letters all started to look the same. That, and when I started trying to use words like gbrzoo, and hugal. 🙂

And on that note, I’m going to get a fresh coffee, and try to get some work done. I hope everyone is enjoying some fine fall weather and looking forward to next weekend!

Take care and happy reading.

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