Story Elements: Conflict

So when we plan a storybook romance, what are some of the elements, besides the First Meet, we try to put into it? We can’t make everything smooth sailing, or we’d have no story. A good story always contains conflict of some type. We have to make one or both of the main characters hard to get, or give them problems to overcome, or dangerous adversaries to defeat.

In The Quietest Woman in the South, I put in a murderous family that pursued them across several states, trying to kill them. They tried to escape, then fought back. This element is called External Conflict, and can be a source of suspense and unexpected plot turns.

Or the woman may not realize that this is the man for her. She thinks he is too handsome or rich or popular to see anything in her. Or she doubts his intentions until he has rescued her from danger, or has demonstrated that she can trust him. This element is called Internal Conflict, and can be the more emotional of the two types of conflict.

The best books usually have both types of conflict in them. Tennessee Touch held an emotional uncertainty for the heroine. She had had numerous stepfathers, including one who tried to attack her, so that she distrusted men in general.

In “The Prettiest Girl in the Land,” Ruth Trahern is plain compared to her sister, Mary. So Ruth doesn’t think any handsome man would be interested in her. This is how she feels:

He sat there atop his horse, with hat, boots, bandana, and chaps, looking so much the western cowboy that I hadn’t recognized him, even though he’d tipped that hat to me several times during the morning. He was handsome enough to bring a dead polecat back to life, and my heart did a little flip.

But this was Gage, who was a rolling stone, handsome as the devil and not responsible for anything except to break women’s hearts. I reminded myself of that, and my heart just flopped right back down in place.

Another element is the Other Woman, or the Interfering Parent, or Best Friend who really isn’t a friend. Then there is always the Boss who can be a source of conflict, either in the office or as an officer in the military. When doing a longer novel, it is handy to have one or more of these mixed into the story.

Series or Standalones #amwriting #Romance #mgtab @jacqbiggar

Series or Standalones

That was the question posed by a member of The Story Empire earlier this week. You can read his full thoughts here– well worth your time.

I’ve read many great standalone books, (Cinderella anyone?) but have to admit I enjoy stories set in a series much more. There’s a deeper connection to a) the characters, and b) location- though either of those can, and often do, change throughout the course of a series.

From NY Book Editors:

Writing a book series can be incredibly challenging (that’s the bad news), but it’s also one of the best ways to develop a loyal fan base (that’s the good news).

NY Book Editors-2016

The books can follow one or two main characters through a variety of adventures- such as J.D. Robb’s In Death series or the Harry Potter franchise.

They can also be set around a location and the citizens within- Susan Mallery’s Fools Gold series or J.R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Some follow a progression of events and are best read in order, while others are self-contained stories within the series and can easily be read out of order.

Whichever style you prefer, series seem to be growing in popularity, some are even twenty books long and counting!, and readers can’t get enough.

I’m currently working on the third story in my Gambling Hearts series, My Girl. The series follows the lives, and loves, of three siblings born and raised on a Texas hill country ranch.

This is Aaron’s story:

Sometimes, the right decision isn’t the easiest one to make

Trish Sylvester knows her family and when they accept a week long stay at a rustic dude ranch, she is concerned- especially since it’s at her ex’s home.

Aaron is overjoyed at the opening of his family’s guest ranch, until he learns their first guest is his ex-girlfriend, her parents–and a fiancé.

And that isn’t the only surprise.

Excerpt

“I met your fiancé,” he said, his voice ripe with challenge. The outdoors clung to her skin, sun and flowers combining to intoxicate him more than the whiskey.

She lifted her chin, eyes narrowing. “What did you say to him, Aaron? I’d hoped we could all act like adults while we’re here.”

Aaron laughed, his hands doing the job his heart urged him to do, forcing her to come up against his chest with a soft oomph. “Darlin’, I’m definitely a man, make no mistake.” He leaned down and brushed her lips, setting up a warning through his chest. He was playing with fire, and if he wasn’t careful, there was little doubt who was going to get burned. Again.

“Aaron, stop this,” she murmured, though her lips parted on a sigh. “We can’t…”

He lifted his head and stared at her upturned face. “Can’t what, Trish? You invited yourself onto my territory and brought reinforcements. I want to know why.”

She moved out of his arms. He pretended not to feel the loss.

“We needed a break from the city,” she said. “Surely, you can understand that? Your sister sent an email to me highlighting the new business venture—congrats, by the way—and I thought it would be fun to come and check it out. End of story.”

He eyed her nervously tucking her hair behind her ear and knew she was bluffing. The question remained; why?


Box Set News

We have a new box set releasing August 30th!

Sweet and Sassy Baby Love 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KHEMW5

Add to your TBR list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47873355-sweet-and-sassy-baby-love

Recommend us on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/sweet-and-sassy-baby-love-by-suzanne-jenkins-and-jen-talty

Nine NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors offer stories of men and women who go to great lengths for the children they love.

A scent of innocence, that touch of softness, an angelic nap, and deep belly laughs. Babies and toddlers bring great joy, love, humor, and even conflict into our lives. But first, we need a passionate encounter, a romance that transcends time.

How do you feel about series or standalone stories? Let’s talk about it.

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Where do you get your ideas? by USA Today bestselling author Nancy Radke #mgtab

Click here for link to Amazon.

So it is finally summer and I’m considering ideas for my next series. Readers sometimes wonder where we get our ideas, so this time I’ll write about what inspired one of my books.

The Handsomest Man in the Country (free) came about when I decided to try writing a book similar to those of Louis L’Amour. Starting with the end of the Civil War, I placed my heroine, Mally, in the mountains of Tennessee, and started writing. I had a theme, that of not judging a person by his looks. Also I had my great grandmother’s written account of her and her husband coming west in a wagon train as first-person background information.

All her life, Mally has wanted to marry the handsomest man in the country. She is a very pretty girl and looks forward to her teen years and having the boys come courting. The nearby neighbor woman has sons her age, with the most handsome one being Gage Courtney. Gage lets her ride his horse, and she decides he’s the one for her.

Then the Civil War begins. Her father and the Courtney boys leave to fight. She loses both parents at the end of the war and the Courtney boys are nowhere around. Following her father’s wishes, she sets out for Missouri to find her uncle and his wife. They have also lost their farm and are all ready to start west for Oregon Territory. Mally joins them, but soon a marriage of convenience forces her to marry a man she’s never met, one who makes her mules look good after he shaves off his beard. (That idea came from a TV show I once watched where the man looked quite handsome until he shaved.)

Trey Trahern knows he isn’t a man that girls would ever look at twice and considers himself fortunate to have Mally as a wife. He knows she was forced into this marriage and tells her that he will stay with her, but will release her if she wants out.

Soon after they are wed, the man of her dreams, Gage Courtney, rides up and joins the wagon train. Trey invites him to build next to them. What is Mally to do?

The rest of the Trahern books tell about the Trahern boys and their cousins and sisters. Now 13 books in all, it is a series I almost didn’t write, but which has turned into my best-selling series. You never know where a storyline will lead you.

Next series I’m considering writing is one based upon fairy-tales like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and The Ugly Duckling. I’ve been watching The Adventures of Merlin on TV and like the magic element, although I don’t know if I will put it in or not. Comment below if you have a story idea you’d like to see developed. My books are always clean and wholesome.

Each month on the Authors’ Billboard we have a contest running on our monthly board. Please visit and enter.

The #Blogging World is Alive and Well @jacqbiggar #Reading

Blogging is alive and well.

I’m surprised by how many writers feel they’re wasting time by building connections within the writing community. Where do they think book reviewers hang out?

As a reader, I’ve found many fantastic new reads thanks to the reviews I’ve read on blogging sites.

As an author, I follow blogs like Writers in the Storm and Story Empire to learn my craft. I’ve also learned the blogging community is open and friendly- always happy to welcome newcomers into their midst.

It’s a good way to build SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, too! By commenting on other blogs, you’ll soon find your own stats will grow, along with your connections, so… win-win 🙂

A good way to do this is to make use of the WordPress Reader- you can find this on the top left of your website.

You can choose the posts you follow or do a search for those you’re interested in. I even follow the local news stations from there!

 

 

One of the best benefits to blogging are the friends you can make from all over the world. I’ve met people from South Africa, Sicily, England, France, the U.S and Canada. And the amazing thing is- we all love books!

One such friend recently read my new release, Skating on Thin Ice, and posted an amazing review. Here it is- in part from Staci Troilo’s awesome blog:

When a romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) set in the hockey world (one of my favorite past times) was released by one of my favorite authors (Jacquie Biggar), I had to bump it in the queue. And like Letang’s slapshot through a goalie’s five-hole, I blazed through it. Here are my thoughts:


★★★★★ She Shoots and Scores!

Jacquie Biggar has done it again. I have yet another new book boyfriend—Mac Wanowski, captain of the Victoria WarHawks hockey team.

Mac is the perfect guy—a body that won’t quit, a quick wit to match, intelligent, chivalrous, and just damaged enough to tug your heartstrings without wanting to bash him over the head for his stupidity. (Well, not too often, anyway.)

Sam is his perfect match—strong, smart, quick-tempered, sassy, big-hearted. And she has a past with true heartache and a present with secrets that make her just a little mysterious.

If they gave a Stanley Cup to authors, Biggar would deserve one for this story.

⛸🏒⛸

Blurb:

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

Amazon Purchase Link

⛸🏒⛸

As you can see, the blogging community is a valuable resource. One you, as a writer, cannot afford to ignore!

 

You can also read Skating on Thin Ice in an upcoming anthology published by authors from The Authors’ Billboard- A Night She’ll Remember

Available March 31st!

Lives change as passions flare when nine USA Today Bestselling Authors share tales of intrigue, hints of suspense and new romance guaranteed to keep you reading.

Second chances, broken engagements, accidents, misled information and opposites attract are just some of what you’ll find within the passion-filled pages of A Night She’ll Remember.

 

Be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.