A Writer’s Thought Process

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A Writer’s Thought Process

Today I’m going to do a scary thing.

I’m going to let you in on my mind, my thought process.

Don’t worry, it’s fairly harmless. Promise! But sometimes it’s fun to give a little insight as to how certain characters were created and why they are who they are.

So today, I’m going to talk about one of my most recent intriguing and reader-loved characters, Nola Monroe.

Nola Monroe is an heiress, and she’s the twin sister of Lizette Monroe.

This year, I debuted my new series (Yeah, ANOTHER new series) Winning Your Heart. Last year, the opportunity came up for the Luck of the Draw boxed set. The theme was a big win. Could be a sweepstakes, could be the lottery. As long as the characters won in a big way.

My mind raced with ideas. I bounced back and forth.

Aha! I came up with an idea that I’ve always wanted to write- twins switching places.

So, Nola won a sweepstakes, but couldn’t go. She begged Lizette to take her place.

Now here’s where the thinking really began. I needed a very good reason why Nola couldn’t go. Sending her sister on a much needed vacation after her jerk-face of an ex slandered her name and broke up with her on national TV just didn’t feel real enough. Not when Nola’s childhood best friend, who happens to be sponsoring the sweepstakes, comes into play.

That’s how Nola Monroe became a character who was a prisoner inside her home.

She has agoraphobia.

And being an heiress, the Monroe twins are in the spotlight more than they ever cared to be. Their father created a legacy with Monroe Industries.

Nola and Lizette lost their parents within three weeks ago, and Nola is unable to handle it. She hasn’t left her house in over a year.

That’s reason enough to send her sister. Plus the whole ex thing. It’s a good escape. Nola never expected to win, and why put a good trip to waste? Especially one to Paris!

The Monroe twins have fast become a hit. I knew going in with Lizette’s story in So Unlike Me that Nola would have to have her own. I can’t write about one twin and not the other, especially when giving Nola an interesting history with agoraphobia. So much for that intended stand-alone.

I knew this series would be fun and interesting. I did not anticipate the amazing response so far to this series or the characters. It’s now become one of my highest rated series so far. I have a tendency to tackle different subjects in my books, and having an agoraphobic character would prove to be an interesting challenge. Nola’s story follows in book 2, Forbidden Shelter, and it dives into her battle with agoraphobia. Her difficult personality and back story all started because I needed ONE good reason to have her switch places with her twin, because THAT was the story I wanted to write in So Unlike Me.

So there you have it. A little thought process in a crazy writer’s brain.

Fellow authors, share a little about how one of your most challenging and intriguing characters came about! Inquiring minds want to know!

And here’s a little more on the Winning Your Heart series with twin sisters Lizette and Nola Monroe.



Nikki Lynn Barrett

No matter where she goes, USA Today Bestselling author Nikki Lynn Barrett hears voices in her head. Instead of calling her crazy and locking her up, her family realizes it’s just a product of being an author and allows her to write the stories so that the voices shut up.
But they don’t. And probably never will. There’s no need to lock her up, Nikki knows she’ll never escape the voices, not until each and every last story is written. And for every story she writes, about ten or more ideas pop up.

When she isn’t slaving away at her computer writing books that will probably make you cry and keep you in suspense, Nikki plots to take over the world one book at a time. What? It’s a sickness. One she can’t escape!

Books aren’t her only addiction, though. Nikki can be found making up parodies to drive her son crazy, and bantering back and forth with her husband, who somehow manages to steal her away from the fictional world she lives in all the time.

Nikki lives in Arizona with her husband and son, where she can be found using every creativity outlet she can find through music, photography, handcrafted things, and random interests that she may pick up from time to time.

If you want to learn more about the author who makes people cry for a living, check her out at www.nikkilynnbarrett.com

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Using Memories of Holidays Past

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So many memories crowded in around me as I visited Baltimore recently. We had taken our grandson to the Maryland Zoo, and I knew it was close to where my grandmother lived when I was a kid. I remembered the name of her street which was only a block long. Using dueling GPS’s, the two guys in the car found the location. It was sad to see the block so run-down, and truthfully, I can’t be sure which house was hers.

But that doesn’t dampen the memories of driving there from our house in DC to see grandma.  Especially memorable were her Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. She didn’t actually do the cooking. There was always a maid in the kitchen deep into holiday food preparation. We’d have all the usual treats: turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. As a kid, I never understood why one bowl of stuffing was always so wet. Now that I’m the cook, I know it’s because it was actually in the turkey. On the table there was always a bowl of celery sticks with the leaves still on. I suppose that was a sop to healthy eating.

From an early age, I liked the dark meat best. They’d take some of the meat off a turkey leg and give me the rest to chomp on—sometimes while running around the house.  And while the adults were still relaxing at the table, we kids would climb underneath and crawl around on the crosspieces of the table legs. Then we’d come up for air to have cookies and pie.

In CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, my holiday romantic suspense, I’ve tried to recreate the holiday atmosphere from those long-ago dinners. Only because I’m writing fiction, I can make it even better. Well, not at the beginning, where my heroine Chelsea Caldwell sees a ghost on the road when she’s out picking up Christmas decorations for her aunt.

Ghosts and murder take up a fair amount of the book. But when my hero and heroine aren’t sparring about the reality of the supernatural, they’re enjoying the holiday spirit at Aunt Sophie’s B&B, the House of the Seven Gables. I had so much fun designing the Christmas decorations—garlands adorned with Eastern Shore ducks and a stunning tree that my hero and heroine decorate together. I put lots of glitter on it—and lights. That was always a sore point for me as a kid. Because my mother had heard about Christmas tree fires burning down people’s houses, we couldn’t have anything electric on ours. You’d better believe that when I grew up, the first tree I decorated had lots of lights.

I’m sure you have a ton of holiday memories, and if you’re a writer, you put them in your books. What are some of your favorite traditions that you still enjoy?

Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.
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Celebration, Superstition and Ghosts

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Halloween originated with Samhain, the ancient Celtic festival of bonfires and costumes meant to ward off roaming ghosts. It was the time of the year when the veil between the living and the dead lifted so spirits could walk on Earth. (Celts appeased them with treats.) Later in Ireland and Britain, on All Hallows Eve, Christians prayed for protection from evil in the world.

November 1 is All Saints Day, meant to remind us how we’re supposed to live. On November 2 , All Souls Day, people pray for the dead trapped between heaven and hell.

Throughout the Middle Ages, this three-day period was celebrated. The Pagan tradition of appeasing the spirits of the dead remained, including the practice of lighting candles for  souls waiting to go to heaven.

To remember the departed, many cultures prepare meals for the souls of the dead, light candles or leave flowers on relatives’ graves. Each celebration touches on cultural beliefs about the spirit world, honoring the dead.

Day of the Dead in Mexico combines the ancient Aztec custom of celebrating ancestors with All Souls’ Day. Celebrated on November 1 and 2, Day of the Dead is joyful inthat  it helps people remember the deceased with candlelit altars so spirits can find their way back to their relatives. The altars are set with the deceased’s favorite foods — in case they’re hungry — and personal items they favored. Papier-mâché skeletons and small plastic or clay skeletons represent Day of the Dead.

Halloween and Christmas have always been my favorite holidays, and creating the series RETURN TO JENKINS COVE with Rebecca York and Ann Voss Peterson added some fun Halloween scare via ghosts into the Christmas season. By why is Jenkins Cove haunted? Why can’t the ghosts move on …

Christmas… Ghosts… Mystery… Romance…
Something evil lurks in the charming town of Jenkins Cove. When Sophie Caldwell devotes a room in her B&B to communicate with spirits, dangerous secrets rise to the surface, and the lives of three couples will never be the same.

But why is Jenkins Cove haunted? Why do the ghosts remain behind? What justice must be served before they can move on?

Christmas Delivery (Return to Jenkins Cove Book 3)
Haunted by ghosts, Jenkins Cove will now have to deal with Simon Shea who has “returned from the dead” seeking revenge…only to reconnect with Lexie Thornton, the girl he loved, and the daughter they conceived thirteen years ago.

Excerpt from Christmas Delivery:

The fog was lighter here, the chill greater, and once past the fence’s wooden gate, which had been left open, Simon realized where he was. The cemetery. Why had the spirit brought him here?

Following the curving redbrick path lined by boxwood on both sides, Simon kept track of the mop of pale hair, which appeared on the other side of the hedge, then lost him altogether. When he came to the open area dotted with gravestones and markers, Simon only half hoped he would actually find him again. He gazed around, past a couple of large willow oaks and a magnolia tree in the center of the graveyard, then spotted the ghostly figure at a far gravesite, touching the stone that identified its occupant.

Again, he looked up with hollow eyes and gestured that he should come.

Reluctantly, Simon did. Not wanting to cross anyone’s grave — he’d had enough of that in his former life — he stayed on the brick path, keeping his gaze locked on the figure still summoning him.

One minute the fog seemed to circle the kid, the next he seemed to fade away into the mists. “Wait! Don’t go!” But the demand came too late. He was already gone. And Simon was moving to the headstone he’d touched, had obviously wanted Simon to see.

A deep, arctic cold suddenly surrounded Simon and then the breath was knocked out of him as he stopped in the spot where the wraith had disappeared. Looking down, Simon understood why Lexie believed he was dead and buried. The headstone bore his name and the dates of his birth and of his supposed death on Christmas Eve thirteen years before.

Not a man who easily believed in what he couldn’t see, Simon had no doubts about who had led him here. Or who was buried in his grave. He was certain the kid he’d seen shot had taken his place. Thirteen years ago and his ghost still wandered, unable to rest, Simon thought. How many ghosts inhabited this area? How many souls were denied eternal rest?

Of one thing he was certain. The boy he’d seen shot had been buried in his stead. How had they pulled that one off? They looked nothing alike. A closed coffin, then? How had he supposedly died so that no one would have raised the alarm? Who had been in on his supposed death? More questions that needed answering. Another reason for him to stay undercover awhile.

Did ghosts seek retribution? he wondered. Considering the evil that had stalked the town unchecked, probably not.

But now the town had to deal with him.

99c each through November 7

Christmas Spirit by Rebecca York
Christmas Awakening by Ann Voss Peterson
Christmas Delivery by Patricia Rosemoor


Christmas Spirit …Christmas Awakening …Christmas Delivery
Each of these stories are complete novels, but only the full series will get to the bottom of all the ghostly happenings in Jenkins Cove.


Patricia Rosemoor

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Patricia Rosemoor has had 99 novels, 8 publishers and more than 7 million books in print. Patricia writes dangerous love, romantic suspense or paranormal romantic thrillers. Patricia has won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America and two Reviewers Choice and two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times BOOKreviews, and in her other life, she taught Popular Fiction and Suspense-Thriller Writing at Columbia College Chicago.

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Boo! Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween!

Did you buy candy?  Will you dress up to greet the little goblins who come to your front door?  My husband occasionally dresses up, but not in anything scary.  Our decorations are limited to three pumpkins and a wreath, but we have TONS of candy!  That could be a problem if we don’t get enough trick-or-treaters.  Or maybe I can just send the remainder to his work group!

One member of our family is carrying on the Halloween spirit for us.  Our pomeranian Bijou is wearing ghostly bows.  Here’s a pic.  Enjoy! 🙂  xo, Leanne


Leanne Banks

Leanne Banks is a national #1 best-selling author with over fifty romance novels to her credit. Leanne was born and raised in the wonderful town of Roanoke, Virginia. Growing up in “the star city of the south” had a huge impact on her outlook and her writing. Her B.S. in Psychology only qualifies her to treat fictional characters and she began writing when her two children were very young. Leanne believes in the transforming power of love, so writing romance novels comes naturally to her. Her muse is a 4.5 lb Pomeranian who is happy to snooze beside Leanne while Leanne creates. Leanne loves travel and trips to the beach, but what’s most important to her is family. Leanne’s home on the web is www.leannebanks.com To get the most up-to-date scoop on Leanne, visit her on facebook http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/leanne.banks

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The Castle of Your Dreams~Historical Romance Settings by Ari Thatcher

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What is it about estate homes in historical novels that leave us pining to live there? You know you want to, admit it. None of us laughed at Elizabeth Bennet when she declared she thought she probably first fell in love with Mr. Darcy when she saw Pemberly. We all sighed with her when she first saw that impressive prospect from her uncle’s carriage.

Is it privilege we long for? Money? Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire, shown here, stands on 3000 acres of wooded parkland. In California, where I live, the only properties with that kind of acreage are cattle ranches, and they are getting fewer with each passing decade. And most have a working farm house, not one set up for entertaining.

While researching my next release, A Christmas Dragon Scheme, I looked at floor plans of the great country houses and was impressed with one thing: the houses with a royal suite. The owners ran in high enough circles they needed a room for the King to sleep in when he dropped by. We have hotels with Presidential Suites in the U.S, not homes!

Of course, the home or castle is only a backdrop to the characters in a story, but the research is so much fun! Without the country houses belonging to the peerage, we might as well be writing about the smithy or rag lady. Those books are fun in their way, but we need our occasional chance at becoming mistress of Pemberly, don’t we?

Ari Thatcher

USA Today Bestselling author Ari Thatcher is the naughty side of sweet romance author Aileen Fish. Ari has always loved sexy romance where love takes the leading role. Reviews have called her work “captivating” and “compelling”, and her characters “intelligent, intriguing and realistic.”

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Christmas Ghost Stories

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Mixing ghosts and Christmas? Why not?

I should tell you that I’ve had a long association with ghosts. Well not personal encounters but fictional ghosts.

When I was seven and eight, I hung out with a bunch of neighborhood kids. Most of us lived in two apartment houses on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. An older boy named Martin from around the corner was also part of the group.

Back in those days, we’d go out to play and stay for hours. And when it was time for dinner, my mom would stand at the back window of our apartment and call me. If I was outside, I’d hear her and come home.

But sometimes we would sneak into a nearby parking garage. It was already dark and spooky in there, and Martin would make it spookier by telling us ghost stories. I’d sit with my back against the wall, trying not to shake as he talked of horrors rising from the grave and ravaging the living Then I’d run home as fast as I could, imagining the ghosts right behind me.

My next encounter with ghost stories was also with an older boy, who lived up the street from us after we moved to a house in the next school district. He had a stack of horror comic books. With them, I didn’t have to imagine monsters climbing out of their graves to attack the innocent (or sometimes the guilty). I could see drawings of them—which scared me more than the earlier ghost stories. But they also fascinated me.

Fast forward to my career as a writer. I still like ghost stories, but now I’m the one in control. And my paranormal are also romances, where the hero and heroine vanquish the specters before their HEA.

The ghost stories I like best are set in the holiday season where I get to intertwine warmth and joy with an exciting suspense plot and a sexy love story.

My first foray into Christmas paranormal was CHRISTMAS CAPTIVE, where Jordan Campbell is in a coma and being held captive by his greedy relatives who are hoping to kill him. Hannah Andrews is hired by Decorah Security as his nurse because she’s able to get into communication with him when nobody else can. Not only that but she visits the ghosts of his past. It’s a supernatural story with a totally happy ending.

My new release, CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, is also a ghost story, set in a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In this book, the heroine, Chelsea Caldwell, has been communicating with spirits since she was a girl, but she’s tried to deny that talent because a lot of people in town thought she was lying and mocked her. As the story opens, she encounters a dead woman who is desperate for justice. At the same time she must deal with Michael Bryant, an investigative reporter and guest at her aunt’s B&B who wants to prove that she’s making it all up. Naturally, since I write romantic suspense, they must work together to solve a murder. And when Chelsea is in terrible danger, Michael must trust a ghost to help him save her.

It might seem strange to mix ghosts and Christmas. But if Charles Dickens could do it, so can I.

Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.
 View website

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What’s Almost Better Than Sex?

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Why food, of course! Remember, I did say “almost”. Next to writing sexy romantic thrillers, along with my very special guy, I enjoy, make that–lust after food. I love to cook it, eat it, discuss it, and frankly, play with it. Which for sensualists is totally understandable given that food in all its glorious iterations is sensuality personified. As Robin Leach says in his intro to Amy Reiley’ terrific sensual cook book Fork Me, Spoon Me “Forget the bedroom. The new sensual spot is in the kitchen—the perfect foreplay to getting hot and steamy, at—or on—the counter.”
Face it. What can be more erotic than paging through glorious recipes featuring lusciously beautiful, tasty food in preparation for a special night—or morning or mid-afternoon with your special guy? To me, one of the best indicators of a man’s sensual “acumen” is how he relates to food. Does he eat for the pleasure of it as well to satisfy his hunger? Does he choose food based on color, taste, texture and aroma? And the real test, does he like to play with his food, eat with his fingers and of course to feed succulent pieces to you?
Two of my favorite cookbooks are InterCOURSES; An Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge and Reiley’s Fork Me Spoon Me. Both books feature tantalizing recipes guaranteed to liven your tastes buds and stoke your hormones. They are encyclopedias to the time-honored aphrodisiac powers of various foods. The pictures alone are sensual visual treats. So grab your favorite guy/gal and head to the kitchen—the new sensual hot spot!
Check out our sexy: Cooking with the Authors of Summer Heat edited by Rebecca York. Each tempting recipe is linked to a novella in the sexy new Box Set: Summer Heat, Love on Fire– a collection of sixteen sexy romances by New York Times, USA Today and other Bestselling Authors. Available on Amazon. http://amzn.to/2yKWeBr

Check out my NEW RELEASE: SEIZED: Book 2; Sizzling Hot Detective Series, The Criminal Affairs Collection. WARNING: Romance so HOT it singes the pages. HOT, tough, explicit. Not for the faint at heart. Definitely bring a fan!

Special Introductory Price: $0.99 http://amzn.to/2gJ9z8S

Taylor Lee

USA Today Best Selling author Taylor Lee writes Suspenseful Mystery Thrillers – with a heavy dose of Sexy to Sizzling HOT Romance.

In the five years that she has been writing, Taylor has written more than forty books. Her eight, series track her Special Operatives, Covert Agents, Cops, Firefighters and other iconic heroes and heroines, through the harrowing situations that make up their lives. From human trafficking rings to corrupt politicians, Taylor investigates the underbelly of society and the criminals who flourish there.

Taylor says: “From the residue in my personal blender of mixed races, cultures and world views, my characters emerge. It comforts me to know that while evil slinks in the shadows, the “good guys and gals” of the world sniff it out – and snuff it out.

My characters are arrogant alpha males and the feisty women who bring them to their knees – and vice versa… They fight hard, love hard and don’t mince words. They are dangerous men and women in dangerous times. Love, passion and ridding the world of evil? What’s not to like?

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As a painter I was also an avid reader

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As a painter I was also an avid reader, I would paint during the day and go to bed early with a book. Painting was my raison d’etre, my passion, I went to sleep  thinking about it, after reading Dean Koontz of course and then waking up to fresh ideas for the bare canvas.

As in life, things change, to use a cliché, I saw the painting had become a business, global in fact, with paintings in Europe,  US and even China. A couple found themselves in a police station deep; in the US and across the pond, the BBC TV studios. It had indeed become a very lucrative occupation. It came to the point where I was commissioned to paint works which would be the theme for a new restaurant on Miami Beach.  The paintings were blown up; to eight feet and placed throughout this incredible restaurant. I was so thrilled I was living the dream, but gradually when other orders tumbled in, I realized I was behind a conveyer belt. I was enclosed in a factory of other people’s desires. I was painting what people liked and not what inspired me. I went to bed thinking of canvasses in cardboard boxes waiting to be used on buyer’s orders. I felt flattened, withering like grass in a desert…

As I was retired, I didn’t have to provide for the family, we helped them out of course that’s what parents never stop doing. But I didn’t need to sweat over a conveyer belt, but with the death of the flower I no longer yearned to paint.

After reading all of my hero’s Dean Kootnz’s books I decided to have a go at writing. Yes, you‘ve guessed it, the excitement rose. So I took a couple of University courses, and set about becoming a writer. Am I a sensation?  Am I the next Dan Brown or Stephen King? God no, I am very small fry. I’ve made the top ten in my genre a few times but nothing that had me drenched in exultation, or skipping to the bank, rather to the money lenders – joking. But, the fairly successful writer has to be careful they do not get stuck in a genre that sells!!! If it only sales that matter then the trip to the desert I near.

So the passion is still with me, but I have a yearning to go down to the cabin in the garden and have a look at some of my paintings stacked against the cabin walls. Maybe open a box of bare canvasses Maybe I need to seek out a new genre in writing, or maybe I need to paint a little again.

All images are copyrighted © by Katy Walters. The use of this image is prohibited unless prior written permission from the artist is obtained.


Katy Walters

Katy lives on the South coast with her husband and a loving hyper friendly dog who likes to greet and lick everyone on sight. She has a BA Hons (Psych) BA Eng.Lit. MA in Religion and Mysticism and a Hon Dr. Science for research into pain control.
She was a psychologist and hypnotherapist before changing direction for full time creative writing, Her main genres are historical romance, crime and science fiction.

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