Almost every author has heard the adage – Write what you know. If you’re like me, the first time that phrase reared it’s head, you turned politely around and made the ewww face. The things I know are boring. I don’t lead a fast-paced life, I don’t travel the world, I don’t have stories – and those I do aren’t necessarily romance-novel worthy. They’re the kind that make someone ask, “Good grief, how much more boring can a person get?”

In an effort to avoid what I know, and create a tale someone else might enjoy, I plunged into the world of historical romance… and promptly created an over-the-top, god-like hero with a simpering heroine who had a temper that popped up out of nowhere. Needless to say, that didn’t work so much.

I piddled with another historical, a contemporary about horses, and a full fantasy series. And while I grew with my craft, and things were far more logical, things just weren’t clicking the way I wanted them to.

That’s when it occurred to me – even though I was writing what I didn’t know, I knew parts of everything I wrote. The historicals encompassed time periods where I knew certain parts and aspects of the time. The first contemporary covered more or less fictionalized events that centered around one summer I spent in the barns growing up. My fantasy series stemmed from ten years of online fantasy gaming design.

Did I know exactly what every utensil was called in my historicals? No. But I knew how life in Rome’s class system worked. Did I know how the Olympics handled an injury to one team member in a sport that required two? Nope. But I knew how to get the team to the qualifiers. Did I know by heart the dice-roll totals required to overpower a race when confronted by an uber monster? Heck no! But I knew the generalities of what affected magic, and the success thereof.

And then another thought hit me (yes, a rather basic thought) – This is what research is for. This was a classic face-palm moment.

Writing what you know doesn’t have to be about something that happened in a day in the life at the office. Writing what you know can be as simple as knowing the best office gossip occurs in front of the candy machine outside the elevator on the third floor.

It’s taking a handful of pieces of knowledge, weaving them together with the other parts of craft, and creating a complete story. It can start with a piece of a conversation overheard. It can start with witnessing a traffic jam. It can start anywhere. The key is knowing how to make that singular aspect entertaining and build from that point, while using readily-available tools to research all the stuff you might not know but need as filler.

The first result of this light bulb flicking on was my book, Seduction’s Stakes. I know horses, but my day-to-day horse experiences only touch on the world of racing. However, the contacts I’d established through my breeding farm provided colorful pictures that gave me the ability to write a full-length romance centered around the world of high-stakes racing. Do I have the means to wager 5000.00 on a bet? Absolutely not. But have I seen the effects of what can happen for those who do? And the outcome – positive or negative – in such situations? Yep. My imagination filled in the rest. And research filled in all the details, right down to a vivid journal entry written by a reporter after one leg of the Triple Crown came to a close.

It was this book that made me fully realize I was writing what I knew, and when the imagination took hold, what I know may not be so boring after all. I don’t have to write about the back-breaking hours mucking stalls. I can create grooms for that! The hours put into training? Well, I can hire a trainer in my novel.

And so forth.

Which leads me to where I am at now. Horses have become a very comfortable subject for me, and I have a great deal of fun plugging in the little things I’ve been exposed to. My coming releases Waiting For Yes, and A Christmas To Believe In, both use this approach. In Waiting For Yes, I used the goals I had as a young girl and blew them up to three times their original size. I’d never competed at Arabian Nationals, never wanted to. But I have competed locally and known the desperation to place if for no other reason than to prove everyone who said “You can’t do it”, wrong.

A Christmas To Believe In touches on some of the very real set backs a Thoroughbred breeder can face. I took my own fears of what could happen, the training I’ve had in dealing with those situations, and tied everything into a Christmas homecoming.

Again, pieces of what I know. Not the full scenario of what I do day in and day out.

So the next time you hear Write what you know, don’t automatically assume like I did, there’s nothing entertaining in your world. There’s always a story lurking somewhere. But if you try to avoid what you understand, your experiences, your story will fall flat and your readers will be left unfulfilled.


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Yay, yay, yay -- Snoopy dance day.

Actually, this all transpired last week, so I am a little late on the announcement. But it doesn't change the enthusiasm!

For those who have been receiving my newsletter, I've mentioned working on a Christmas project with two other authors. Well, I received word from The Wild Rose Press that A Christmas To Believe In has been contracted.

This isn't an anthology. It is slated as the third book in a trilogy. I can't say anymore, until we know whether the whole proposal is accepted or not.

For your blurb enjoyment --

When a man's dreams are in ruin, all he needs is someone to believe...

Struggling Thoroughbred breeder, Clint King, hasn’t been home for Christmas in five years. Like his brothers, Alex and Heath, life has kept him away. Clint’s farm is barely hanging on. His prize mare's due to foal any day, and in the wake of his father’s death, Clint can’t stand the idea of returning. The memories are too much, let alone his father’s imposing shadow. Except, Alex is getting married on Christmas Eve, and their mother’s put her foot down. She’ll have her boys at home. With his mare in tow behind him, Clint prepares to meet a sister he’s never known and Alex’s unexpected triplets. The one salvation he looks forward to is childhood companion, tomboy Jesse Saurs. Yet when he reunites with Jesse, he uncomfortably discovers she’s become all woman.

Jesse Saurs has everything she needs – financial security, a home, and a foster child who’s about to become her son. She’s spent two years breaking down Ethan’s emotional barriers, and with the final hearing scheduled just before Christmas, this year promises to make his dreams come true. When she learns Clint and his brothers are returning, she anticipates a holiday reunion that’s sure to entertain Ethan. But on the night of Clint’s return, the ‘brother’ she expected leaves her trembling after just a single hug. Even worse, Ethan makes it clear Clint's not welcome.

Will this Christmas destroy what's left of hopes and dreams, or will it give the three the gift they've all been longing for?


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Yes, that's right, romance author me, does not celebrate the dreaded "V" Day. Now, admittedly, this didn't start by choice. I've been asked if I put personal things in my writing, and the answer is always, "Very seldom". However, in Timeless Valentine, I stole a real life experience. My introduction to Valentine's Day began with delivering flowers to my high school boyfriend's other girlfriend. Cough.

So, I've kept that tradition. Single or attached, I've never expected, nor received, anything related to Valentine's, parents aside. Oh, and the one year my best friend sent me flowers out of pity. And the hype that is associated with the holiday, I simply do not understand. Perhaps that's my practical side. I'd just as soon forego flowers (which die) for a coffee mug (virtually indestructable and a necessity to late-night writing). I don't like flashy jewelry, it tends to get ruined with horses -- so those commercials for diamonds make me roll my eyes. I'd rather skip the formal night on the town, for a home-cooked meal I don't have to prepare.

It has come to my attention, however, that as a romance author I'm supposed to be celebrating this holiday several times over. That my disassociation with it is somehow... taboo.

In light of that, I'm going to ask you all to share your Valentine's stories over the next week. What did you all do? What was the most special thing you've ever done? How did your significant other show you, you were number one?

Maybe you can inspire me to look at this Valentine's thing in a different light. And if you can, I'll send you a signed copy of Timeless Valentine.

Happy February 14th, everyone!


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Hey all!

Today I received the new cover for Waiting For Yes.

Now... look beyond the 1970s Orange and notice the horse. Pretty isn't he?

The book's not too bad either, if I do say so myself:

A winter snowstorm. A horse with a past.
A woman who has everything riding on the line.
One man holds the ability to fulfill her dreams...
If he can vanquish the nightmares.

Gabrielle Warrenton gave up everything to pursue her dream of a first-class Egyptian Arabian breeding farm. Her future lies in her new stallion’s success. Though she possesses an exceptional eye for horseflesh, she lacks the training knowledge, and Bahadur Mamoon has a date with the nation’s most affluent show in three weeks. Nothing that would present a problem given his previous credentials. Only, the sellers disguised one critical fact—he’s crazy.

Jake Lindsey-Sullivan was once part of an exceptional Arabian training team. Under his mother’s guidance, he developed an instinctual talent, but she was the star, the cornerstone of his life. Until she met a premature death. Grief-stricken and plagued by guilt, Jake abandoned the world of horses. Now an over-the-road truck driver, he evades the memories.

When a snowstorm throws two Arabian professionals into close-quarters, they discover an engulfing passion. But will Mamoon rip open emotional scars, or forever seal them shut?


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"Victorians used the term 'limbs' as a euphenism for legs, which were thought to be so sexually exciting to a man, even a glimpse of a table leg could incite him to sexual frenzy. Table skirts were invented to prevent any unnatural unions between men and furniture."
(History Channel International)



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