I love to read series, and I know that I'm not alone. Lots of people do that. What's there not to love? You can sneak a peek in what's going on in characters' lives after their story was told.
I love reading them, so it follows that I love writing them. I want my characters to go on living, and they never let me down.
They bring something more to a new story. They grow, and their development shapes the plot and shades light on the heroine and hero of a new novel.
I have written a few series by now, both as Roxana Nastase and as Rowena Dawn. I liked some of the novels, and I adored others. I know I wrote a good one if I read it the third time and I don't yawn.
However, it doesn't happen often. I can count the ones I love on the fingers of one hand.
I also know that it doesn't mean that everybody would read them with the same eyes. It hurts, but I can live with that.
I have just released a new book, and this one I do love. Not only because of the main characters, which are quite lovable, or because of the story and the humor infused in it. This novel connects two series, The Perfect Halves -- a suspense romance series, and The Winstons -- a paranormal series. Just imagine the potential. I hope I got it right.
Writing isn't easy, you know. And especially if you do it my way.
I read a lot of blogs about writing. Authors explain how they plan, and plot, and how they do their research. Everything is very structured and organized.
So, I figured I'd better keep silent about my writing. I'm far from being organized.
However, everyone has their style. That means that I shouldn't be afraid to talk about mine.
I start with an idea. It is a bit fuzzy, but it covers a few things. I know where to begin, and I have a general idea about the plot. I never write a plan or anything.
I did it once. I wrote the most boring book known to man. So, I stopped. Plans don't work for me.
It is enough if I know who the heroine is, or at least, I have some idea about her. I choose a man who seems right for her. Sometimes, I start with the guy. Anyway, that's just the beginning.
The storyline evolves along the time. Something new might appear and change the line. I don't mind at all. I like surprises.
Once, I got to the last chapter, and a new development popped into my mind. Of course, I went back and changed everything.
I remember what happened when I wrote one of my crime novels, A Churchgoing Woman. In chapter three or four, I realized that everything had shifted. Someone else had become the main male character. I just shrugged and went on with the new one.
I usually go with the story. If it leads me somewhere else, I never fight against it. I suppose the story knows better.
I also do my research while writing. I get to a point in the book, and I have to check something, a place or a profession. It might be anything. Thank God, I have unlimited Internet on my phone. It does come handy sometimes.
However, there's also a drawback. I start doing the research, and I sail from one thing to another. I waste about two hours or maybe more online, while my story patiently waits for me to get back to it. Eh, it happens.
Developing the plot and characters and doing the research at the same time is exhausting. Sometimes, it is also tricky.
For instance, while writing my last novel, Catching Lily - Live Wire, I had to set a mission. Remember, suspense series! An operation is a given. I had already covered the paranormal angle by then.
But let's return to that mission. I chose the site for it and researched it online. I checked even the satellite map. I was covered, or that's what I thought. I developed the scene, and it worked fine for a while.
Suddenly, I realize that the place I chose doesn't work as well as I thought.
Well, it happens. Nothing to it, but go back online and look for a different location.
Of course, I had to read about it first. Then, I checked it on the satellite map. Another hour went down before I went back to writing. But hey, what's the time in the big scheme of things?
The mission was a wonder. Everything clicked. I like the development. It is smooth and catchy. I'm satisfied. I'm even happy with it.
That, until I get to the last sequence. Where the heck is my main character? Everyone is there, and he is missing.
That gave me pause. I forgot Mark somewhere in the forest. Everyone had something to do, but Mark. I couldn't just leave him there. The story belonged to him.
I went back to the beginning of the chapter to retrace his steps. Then, I did something I had never done before. I took a piece of paper and drew something close to a parallelogram. I'm also good at drawing stick people if you were wondering. Anyway, I chose locations for each character. I determined their directions with arrows. Then I wrote the scene once more, glancing at that paper all the while. And thank God, Mark was in it this time.
Now you know. I tell myself a story when I write. The hard work comes afterward when I fuss over every word I put on paper. Not really on paper, as I use a computer, but you get the drift.
I know that most writers don't do that. And the ones that might won't say it out loud. Too many people would look down on them, I suppose.
So what? I would say.
Anyway, if you like suspense, romance and paranormal, or all of them rolled into one, you should try this novel, Catching Lily - Live Wire. You might like it. I, for one, did.
You can check the first chapter on the Stories tab.
Banner designed by Serban-Matei Bedereag
On September 29th, I will have a new release - the book is in pre-order right now, everywhere but Amazon. I cannot have pre-orders on Amazon until next year. So, the novel will be live on Amazon exactly on 29th.
This is a series crossover, more specifically book 4 in the series The Perfect Halves and book 4 in the series The Winstons. Mark from the former will meet Lily from the later, and sparkles will fill the sky: adventure, suspense, witchcraft and love.
My beta readers are telling me it is good. I do hope so!
Blurb: Lily has almost given up on her happily ever after. Mark is just on the run and hopes to keep his hide intact.
A chance encounter makes Lily hope again, and Mark find his stopping point.
Lily comes from a family of witches, and she has got a curse over her head. The Winston family is large, full of wonders, happiness, but also bitterness.
Mark is her chance to get involved with a man who resembles no one she has ever known. He is a strong man, full of secrets, and almost cold-hearted. Mark seizes his chance with Lily, but two questions remain to be answered. Will his past chase her away? Will her family secret come between the two of them?
Lily and Mark bring together the characters of two romance series, infusing their lives both with suspense and paranormal.
Part of first chapter:
Digging into her bag, Lily absently cleared the door of the shop, getting out in the crisp air of the end of December. Unconsciously, her tongue snaked out and caught a snowflake, a habit that she had never outgrown. With small steps, she moseyed blindly down the street. Her attention was engrossed on finding some room inside her handbag for a little perfume bottle she had just bought with Ellen, her cousin by marriage, in mind.
A whimsical smile fleeted over Lily's upturned lips, and her dark blue eyes sparkled with mischief. She could just imagine Ellen's surprise over that gift. The weird perfume bottle, shaped like a ballerina in a twirl, had just called to her the moment she entered the shop.
Lily knew Ellen quite well. Jay’s wife wasn’t the woman to ever go for such unpracticable things. Her cousin by marriage was far from being girly even though her features and body basically screamed Look out – female walking on the catwalk. Nevertheless, Ellen was as practical as they got, and she didn’t have an eye for the out of the common knick-knacks.
Just a few steps away from the corner of the street, a hard body ran into Lily, and she well-nigh pitched to the ground. Lily gasped. She panicked that her face would smash on the pavement. She would have hated to start a new year with a broken nose or split lips, and besides, her mother would have had a fit if Lily had appeared to their New Year’s party like that.
The shock knocked the air out of her chest, and she wheezed, trying to pull air back into her deprived lungs. A drunken stork now, she flipped her arms around to keep her footing, but to no avail. The melting snow had rendered the pavement slippery, in spite of the snowflakes flying around her. Worse, the sole and heels of her boots couldn’t purchase any traction to help her stand.
Luckily, two strong arms spared her to become more acquainted with the asphalt. They grasped her shoulders, halting her fall and steadying her on her feet.
Still, Lily groaned with dismay. All her shopping bags, and even her small shoulder bag, had slipped from her fingers, scattering around the two of them on the concrete splashed with fresh snow.
Fury fired her blood, and her eyes shot upward, looking directly into the angular face of the lean man, who had upset her balance. The need to shout at him was strong, but then, his green, calculating gaze captured hers, and she found herself snared in his intense stare.
Her teeth snapped together, and she swallowed her angry words. Her fingers reached up, and unconsciously, she anchored herself to the man who had taken little time to assess her features thoughtfully.
Her own reaction to him befuddled her, and Lily shook her head to clear it. At the same time, she swiftly raised a prayer of gratitude. At least, she hadn't sprawled on the hard pavement.
He didn’t seem to need too much time to make up his mind. The corners of his mouth curled in a satisfied grin, and with a speed that bemused her, he let go of her shoulders to slide one arm around her wrist and hold her on the spot.
He bent and retrieved one of the bags scattered on the street, and under Lily's puzzled look, with a brusque gesture, he snatched the cap he was wearing and stuffed it in the bag. His disheveled, curly, red hair glimmered in the winter sun.
Still holding the bag, he slid his both arms around her, pulling her against him. Lily's eyes rounded, and she opened her mouth to protest his manhandling her.
"Please, don't fight me about this," he bowed his head over hers, whispering hurriedly a hair away from her lips. "I need your help," he said with urgency in his voice, and then, he captured her mouth in a scorching kiss that went directly to her toes and made her head spin.
She whimpered, her fingers burrowing into his shoulders to keep her balance. A scattered thought reared in her mind and told her to fight him, yet she let herself get wrapped in the passion of his kiss.
The man brought her closer to the hard planes of his lean body, and a shiver ran along her spine when her body molded against his. She knew that she must have lost her mind but forgot about fighting him back. She responded to his demanding lips with a hunger she hadn’t experienced before.
Hasty heavy steps came around the corner, and the noise registered in her mind as something coming from afar. But then, her heart was beating too hard for her to notice that someone passed by them. She pushed the distant sound out of her mind and allowed herself to melt against the man's body, her fingers grabbing the chest pleats of his thick jacket.
The guy knew how to kiss. She would give him that. Her thick lashes lowered over her eyes, and she forgot about everything else but the man whose arms chained her to him, keeping her prisoner in their enclosure.
A few heartbeats later, the man lifted his head just a fraction and stared into her wide eyes for a few seconds, before pulling back and glancing over her shoulder. The left corner of his mouth turned upward in a sarcastic grin, and scorn glimmered in his pupils.
In the distance, three men were sprinting down the street, pushing the people in their path aside, insensible at the stares they attracted their way. A woman got pushed to the ground, but the men didn’t react to her distress cry. They didn’t spare a look on her.
Lily sensed the change in the man’s stance and opened her eyes. What she read in his pupils froze her to the core, and she stepped back, trying to put some distance between the two of them.
"No, you won't, sweetie," the man shook his head, his gaze turning back to her, while his greedy hands yanked her again into his hold.
For pre-order, you can find it here:
In her latest novel, Team Building with a Twist (Scarlet Leaf Publishing, Toronto) Roxana Nastase dishes out an engaging plot executed by a snappy cast of well-drawn characters--from the flippant, feisty Team Leader, Gilbert, who "looks like an unkempt bed," to the coolly inquisitive, shrewd, and attractive Chief Inspector Magda. These key figures are joined by various quirky individuals--including Adam, Anna, Alex, and Mia--all of whom play a significant role in the proceedings.
The group which employs these players sends them off to a mountain villa surrounded by trail-laced forest lands: Their purpose is to build work teams in a pleasant, vacation-like setting to enable them to function more efficiently in response to recent internal upheavals. Meanwhile problems, especially between these characters, do arise! But in the process of attempting to build these buttoned-down skill groups, some of these team members start turning up dead--apparent murder victims, and this immediately casts shadows of suspicion over the entire crew.
What kept this reader flipping pages was this: all these flamboyant characters became potential murder victims and, at the same time, they all became potential murderers. Stirring snippets of humor into this suspenseful story, and ultimately leading to a promising romance toward the conclusion, the result is a captivating, spark-filled read for anyone who enjoys a psychologically solid mystery.
--Tom Tolnay, writer, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Twilight Zone, Mystery Weekly, etc.
Born sometime in the past century, living in the 21st century.
Sometimes I have good ideas... (what do you think?)
Sometimes fascinating guests!
(that for sure!)
Sometimes I have to share some of my frustrations,..
(not too tempting, huh!)
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