About 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 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.  She also writes the Unbound series for Changeling Press.  View website

I Love New York

After two years of huddling in the local area, if not battened down at home, we’re finally traveling again. Last month I told you about our trip to New Orleans. Now we’re at it again. As I write this, I have paused in my packing for Thrillerfest, in New York City, which will be in full swing when this blog comes out. We’re driving because it’s only three and half hours away. I’m looking forward to seeing my thriller-writer buddies, and on the Sunday afternoon after the conference, we are going to a Broadway play, POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive. I read a review in The Washington Post, and it sounded like fun. So we bought tickets. When it’s over, we’ll jump back in the car and drive home.

But this New York City trip isn’t even our first visit to New York. We’ve barely caught our breath from the trip last week. Our grandson graduated from Ithaca College, and we went to the graduation. His major is writing for film, television, and emerging media. Not only did he graduate magna cum laude, he got the faculty award for excellence in the major, and got into the communications honor society. That was a pretty exciting moment for us.

As you may have noticed, the weather has been a bit weird lately. Here’s a good illustration. When we went into the graduation ceremony, the temperature was in the upper 80s. When we got out, it was in the mid 50s. Actually, that was good for the next day, when we did some exploring of Ithaca. We started with a trip to the Cornell Botanic Gardens. The office was closed Monday, but we could still walk around the gardens. Here are a few pictures.

I am a hosta freak, and I’ve never seen this one before.

Here I am about to be swallowed up by a giant weeping spruce.

After the botanic gardens, we stopped for “lunch” at the Cornell Dairy Bar. I enjoyed something different-–black raspberry ice cream. Norman stuck with our usual strawberry.

Next we went to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They have interesting exhibits in the building, but the highlights are outside. There are a lot bird feeders. If you’d like to take a peek, they are at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N609loYkFJo The camera’s trained on only part of the setup. I’m sorry you can’t also see the finch feeder.

One of the staff told us we could see a mom goose sitting on her nest from one of the trails. She was on an island, where she was protected from predators.

We ended the day with wonderful sandwiches from the Ithaca Bakery.

I should also say, we stayed at the Statler Hotel on the Cornell campus. Because it’s the training hotel for the Cornell hospitality program, the service was wonderful. And I loved the way the dining room was decorated.

After Thrillerfest, we’ll be home until the end of the month, when we’re taking our traditional anniversary trip with my sister and brother-in-law.

Go Big, Then Go Home

One of my husband’s favorite activities is traveling. He loves visiting new places and seeing new sights. Of course, that was impossible during the pandemic. This April we finally decided to take a trip. Because we’re still not so sure about going to foreign countries, I suggested New Orleans–which is close to going to a foreign country while still being in the U.S. It’s not a new experience for us, but I figured knowing the lay of the land would be an advantage. The first time I went there was in 1985. I know because we went to research a suspense novel I’d set there. It was called In Search of the Dove, and it was the third book in a trilogy that revolved around a secret government agency called the Peregrine Connection. I researched the unique NOLA cemeteries and voodoo shops. My hero stayed at the same boutique hotel where we stayed. Later he got drugged and shoved into one of the cemetery crypts. The heroine figures out where he is and rescues him.

I’ve returned over the years, usually to research other books. Here’s one, At Risk, I wrote for my Decorah Security Series.

It’s about a young chef who is trying to bring in some extra cash by hosting voodoo ceremonies in her restaurant dining room. Unfortunately she gets into a lot of trouble when one of her guests is poisoned and the cops are sure she did it. On the good side she does reconnect with the man she loved and lost ten years ago.

This trip was just for fun–to celebrate my birthday. It started out with a bit of frustration when we were trying to find the Chris Owens (a Bourbon Street performer who died recently) Easter Parade. Even though we had the parade route, we weren’t sure where to pick it up. We came to a big public building with wide steps, where it looked like something interesting was going on. But what? A group of men all in Elvis wigs and costumes (plus bunny ears) were gathering together and greeting each other. It turned out they were the Rolling Elvi. I took a picture with a couple of them,

Lucky for us, they were also waiting for the start of the Chris Owens Parade. Cars and floats began lining up, and then the parade began.

The participants were tossing things into the crowd. Unfortunately, I got hit by a flying carrot (for Easter, get it). But Norman and I also scored several strings of beads, and I got a teddy bear, which I intend to give away the next time I have a contest.

Of course, one of the things we went to NOLA for is the food. How about this artfully arranged plate of lobster dumplings from GW Fins.

the number one rated TripAdvisor restaurant in town. If you want reservations, make them well before you get to town. We lucked out because we ran into a guy in our hotel who knew somebody who could get us in on short notice.

Another memorable restaurant was Atchafalaya in the Garden District. I loved their patio and the planters with mixtures of flowers and herbs.

My latest book, now on preorder (Amazon, Changeling Press) is Harri Unbound.

It’s about a young woman who’s kidnapped and sold into slavery, but she makes her escape using her magical power. The problem is, her sister is still in the clutches of the kidnappers, and she vows to rescue her. Luckily a swashbuckling young noble volunteers to help her.

You can sign up for my Newsletter at www.rebeccayork.com. Newsletter subscribers are eligible to enter my Contest and win some nice prizes, including that teddy bear I got at the NOLA Easter Parade.

Facebook Memories

I have never been disciplined enough to keep a diary, but it’s fun to look at the memories that Facebook decides to show me. I realized I could add more memories by scrolling back through the pictures I’ve posted.

Here’s a picture of me on an Antarctic cruise ship in Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. We took this cruise unaware–like almost everyone else–that a pandemic was about to take over the world. We got home in February and later felt lucky that we escaped without ending up quarantined (as our ship was two cruises later!).

The pandemic changed everybody’s behavior. Because it was a lot safer to stay home before there was a vaccine, I started cutting Norman’s hair. The first time, I could use his professional cut as a guide. Next time I had to wing it. I’m still doing it.

This picture is from April 2020. It’s when Michele Hauf redid all my Off-World covers to give them a distinctive look. All of them are currently on sale for 99c on Amazon.

Here’s another picture from the beginning of the pandemic. Remember when they said you could wear a scarf over your face instead of a mask. This was my first attempt. I actually wore it to the grocery store. I remember some guy staring at me while I was quickly trying to buy some ground beef.

And here’s an early picture of my formerly-feral cat, Holly.

When I first brought her in, I confined her to the guest bedroom so she would have a safe place to acclimate to indoor living. After she stopped hiding under the bed, she started exploring the bedroom, including walking on the bed rail. She’s now a thoroughly integrated indoor cat–but only with me and Norman. When the doorbell rings, she shoots out of the room and heads for parts unknown. When she was first here, I thought she might have disappeared into an alternate universe. Now I’m sure she’s still in the house. She mostly stays upstairs because she’s afraid of Nelson, my other cat, who has made it clear she resents having to share her happy home.

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What, Exactly, Is Romantic Suspense?

If a romance is the story of a relationship developing between two people, what is romantic suspense?

It’s a romance with an added element–the couple is falling in love against a backdrop of suspense and danger. I used to say, a man and a woman, but today the lovers could be a variety of combinations, two men or a woman and a lizard creature from the planet Alpha Lasagna.

But it’s not a story where one person is solving a crime–and has a love interest on the side. Think of it like pie a la mode–the ice cream melts into the pie and you can’t separate them. Both people have to be in the middle of the mystery, suspense and danger.

The author must keep the focus as much on the danger elements of the story as on the romance.

Often the heroine is in trouble first and drags the hero into danger with her. In my Decorah Security novel, Fire on the Moon, the heroine goes in search of her father’s brother who lives in Florida. Her father is dying, and she wants him to repair the relationship between the brothers before it’s too late. But after she gets to her uncle’s house, gangsters break in, kill him, and set the place on fire. She escapes, and the hero finds her running down the beach, fleeing the burning structure. Because he’s sheltering her, the bad guys come after both of them. As they hide out together and try to figure out who is after them, they fall in love. But he’s worried about what will happen when she finds out here’s a werewolf.

Sometimes both characters share a mutual goal. In Gawain Unbound, my latest novella for Changeling Press, the magician Madrin cruelly enchanted Gawain’s brother and killed Catrin’s father. She enlists Gawain on a journey of revenge. Posing as troubadours, they travel toward the magician’s castle. Along the way, they fall in love. Yet neither wants to give up their dangerous mission.

Some readers complain about the instant love aspect of romantic suspense. To heighten the tension, the writer has to keep the plot clicking along and bring the story to a conclusion before the bad guys can kill the h/h. This means their relationship must develop quickly. One way around this problem is to give them a mutual backstory.

Maybe they were antagonists in the past. Or perhaps they were in love, but it didn’t work out. Now they are thrown together into a dangerous situation. If you can’t give them a shared background, just use the danger to heighten their emotions

How much romance and how much suspense? I try for fifty-fifty although I might tip more to the suspense.

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