Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE SECRET OF THE INDIA ORCHID by Nancy Campbell Allen

THE SECRET OF THE INDIA ORCHID by Nancy Campbell Allen. This is another fantastic proper romance from Shadow Mountain. There have been a couple of books I've read recently set in India, and I have loved all of them. This is no exception. This story is full of mystery, secrets, and broken-hearted love. Anthony is an Earl caught between duty and his heart. Sophia is just trying to understand why. As the plot unfolds and thickens, the pages fly by to see whether or not secrets are revealed in time and hearts can forgive. It's a wonderful story that is for anyone who loves mysterious secrets with their love stories. I highly recommend it.

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Anthony Blake, the Earl of Wilshire, is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies—including his own—has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the facade of a flirtatious playboy.
Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.
She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?




Friday, August 11, 2017

HAVENCROSS by Julie Daines


HAVENCROSS by Julie Daines. I thoroughly enjoyed this Regency Romance. It had elements of piracy, betrayl, love, King Arthur, and much more woven throughout the story. Elaine and Gareth were wonderful characters to get to know and love. Havencross itself was a beautiful setting that was perfect for everything that needed to happen, and it helped me fall in love with this particular area. Julie did a wonderful job of keeping the pages turning. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a story full of adventure love, intrigue, and forgiveness, this is the book for you. 


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When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother—and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago. It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine—when she rejected his marriage proposal. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he has never stopped loving her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth—and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Guest Post -- Marlene Bateman

Today I have a guest post by Marlene Bateman. She has many books out, her latest being SEARCHING FOR IRENE. Be sure to check out all her books. Enjoy her Tips on Plotting.



Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner


Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die. 





Tips on Plotting
By Marlene Bateman, author of Searching for Irene

Plot is built of significant events in a given story. The events are significant because they have important consequences.  For a plot to be effective, there must be something very specific at stake—something vital.  Ask yourself what the central conflict is, the struggle that’s the basis of plot.  Then ask yourself how to show—rather than tell—why this is so important to the character and how to best make the reader understand, empathize and care about what happens.
  • Make Tension Fuel Your Plot. Without tension, there is no plot.  Remember, whenever the protagonist’s desires are denied, tension arises.
  • Make Certain There Is a Two-way Urgency.  Your protagonist wants a particular, important desire fulfilled as soon as possible, and the antagonist wants to wreck the chance of that happening, also as soon as possible. 
For Example, if the hero wants to preserve his valuable stamp collection and the villain has stolen it and intends to sell the items piecemeal their wants are on a collision course. But why would the reader care about the stamp collection? If it belonged to President Franklin Roosevelt, an avid stamp collection, the reader will care more. He will care if the protagonist cares.

  • Create Tension Through Opposition.  The role of the antagonist is to thwart the intention of the protagonist. Make the antagonist as smart, wily, and brave as the protagonist.
  • Work to Express the Core Plot In a Sentence Or Two. Pretend you’re writing a description for the TV guide.  See how brief and direct you can make your summaries.  For example; The police chief of a New England vacation community, although terrified of the ocean, sets out to destroy a huge killer shark. (Jaws)
  • Make Tension Grow As Opposition Increases.  It’s a chain of cause and effect, which builds and produces conflict and tension, which you need to keep the story going.  Every time something happens, the stakes grow larger, the actions snowball.
  • Throw in a Surprise or Two or Three. Nice surprises are one of the pleasures of life. When reading a book, readers thrill to the unexpected: a new obstacle, an unexpected confrontation by an enemy, or a sudden twist of circumstance. Every twist in your story starts adrenaline pumping and pages turning. Surprises aren’t hard to create. Look at each important incident in your plot and see what you would expect to happen next. Then have the opposite happen.
  • Make Change the Point of Your StoryWe expect events to affect the main character in such a way that they force a change in his personality.  Your main character should be a different person at the end of the book than he was at the beginning.
  • Balance Scene and Exposition. After an intense scene, have some exposition to cover events of a day or two or a week.  You can account for the doings of several characters that don’t merit full scenes or describe distant events that have a bearing on the here and now.  
  • When Something Happens, Make Sure It’s Important.  Plot is your compass.  You’ve got a general idea of the direction you’re headed. If you write something that is specifically related to the advancement of the plot, keep it. If not, chuck it.  
  • Make the Causal Look Casual.  Everything in your writing has a reason, a cause that leads to an effect, which in turn becomes the next cause. For example; If a shotgun is necessary, show it casually—in a way that the reader almost doesn’t notice.  Later, when a gun is called for, readers will remember seeing one earlier.
  • Make Sure Your Lead Character Performs the Central Action of the Climax. Keep the main character on center stage with the action. Your main character should act, not be acted upon.
THANK YOU, MARLENE!!