I have been a bookworm my whole life and can often be found wandering the house, attempting to do my chores without looking away from whatever I’m reading, but I only began writing about five years ago. When I started I honestly thought I could just sit down and bash out the story that was swimming around in my head. Unsurprisingly, it turned out that it wasn’t actually that easy. Apparently writing is a craft and like any craft you need to actually learn what you’re doing.
So I took some courses and joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association (a real must for any budding romance writer – they and their local chapters are amazing). I have also spent the last few years working out where I sit on the planning or writing by the seat of my pants spectrum.
As someone who is notoriously organised (I love a list), I had expected to be a planner. I was wrong, very, very wrong! The one time I tried to plan a full novel, I was so bored with the story when it came to writing it that I totally ran out of steam and it remains unfinished on my computer to this day.
So I then tried to just write without planning. It started off great but I ground to a halt at around 30,000 words and I spent weeks feeling completely stumped as to how to proceed.
It turns out, I like to do a bit of both. When I write now I let the ideas float around in my head for a few weeks before I try putting pen to paper, or more accurately, fingers to keyboard. During that time I make notes in one of the many notebooks I carry everywhere. They are never very coherent but they let me capture the mental images I have of my characters and settings.
When the itch of ideas grows too strong I start writing and keep going until I get stumped, at which point the Post-its and whiteboard come out. I use them to corral my thoughts and spot where more work is needed. It’s the perfect blend of just getting the story out creatively, and planning.
The one thing I’ve really taken away in all of my learning is that I love to get advice and listen to everyone’s ideas and trying them all on for size. You never know which ones might fit!
Jackson Halland has spent ten years running from a mistake that cost him everything, including Amory Parker, the woman he loved. With his gut-wrenching response to her reappearance, he realizes that if she will forgive him, then maybe, just maybe, he can forgive himself.
After ten years of working undercover Amory agrees to one final mission. Vowing to get justice for the woman she promised, and failed, to protect, nothing will stand in her way, not the prolific criminal she’s determined to bring down and certainly not coming face to face with the man she fell in love with on her very first undercover assignment, even if he has no idea who she really is, or the part she played in his past.
Amory was so engrossed in her thoughts she didn’t hear the approaching sound of bare feet, padding on the smooth wooden floor, until a deep groan broke through them and she looked up to see Jackson. His mussed, dark blond hair was shot through with strands of gold in the overhead lighting.
The man was incredibly made. His arms stretching up and behind his head caused the bottom of his t-shirt to lift a few teasing inches, revealing a tantalizing glimpse of a tanned, rock-hard stomach. They weren’t the sculpted lines that came from the gym, but powerful, solid muscles. A fine trail of hair led the way to the top of his loose navy shorts. As he reached the bottom of the stairs, her gaze was transfixed.
His legs were long and thick, every muscle rippling as he moved down the stairs into the hallway. A rush of heat shot through her body, setting every nerve alight. Her stomach rolled as she absorbed the sight while a little lower everything tightened and tingled. She’d hoped that her memory had been flawed, tinted by the rose-colored lenses of what she had long since accepted was her first love. That clearly wasn’t the case. Rather than letting himself go he had become more impressive. The slenderness of youth had filled out, living up to the promise of overwhelming masculinity.
His lean muscles had broadened, and whilst the softness of youth had faded from his features, it had left a strong profile in its wake. Jackson had grown up all man. She gulped, heat flooding her.
The good feeling from her run was replaced by a more base desire to touch every inch of his perfect body. To pull it hard against her own and feel those muscular planes mold against her. She unconsciously licked her lips as she watched him.
As she met his eyes, the feeling of heat evaporated, replaced by a harsh chill of dread that sank through to her toes. His emotions were playing across his face and it was clear that, despite her DCI’s reassurances, Jackson had joined the dots and figured out who she was. The recognition clearly shocked him as his whole body jolted abruptly to a stop.
Unable to move, she stared helplessly as he began to walk toward her, his face a mix of unreadable emotions. As he reached out, her body began to respond to the heat that rolled off of him. The scent of his skin washed over her, but she moved back defensively. It was a tactical mistake, giving away that she knew who he was, that she had known all along.
“Amory?” he whispered, hope shining oddly through that one word.
Almost imperceptibly shaking her head, all her professionalism flew out the window, and with her heart sinking she managed a stuttered whisper, “N-n-no… No, you’re wrong. I’m Olivia.”
No amount of training was going to get her through this. Despite her only half-admitted hope that he’d see who she really was, Amory knew too much was at stake for this to happen, but it had. Now she had to endure the awful consequences of him recognizing her, the hatred that would follow this moment.
I live in England and am married to an amazing Elvis & Neil Diamond tribute artist, thanks to whom I have a house full of jumpsuits & trophies. This, of course, is a source of much embarrassment to our two teenage children!
I am a little obsessive about books and have an embarrassingly huge and ever growing pile of things that I just ‘have’ to read next to my bed.
I squeeze my daydreaming … ahem … ‘writing’ around my family and my day job in HR, and am convinced that chocolate & diet coke should be considered a well-balanced diet!
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