Robin D. Owens

My inspiration is most likely to come from physical objects. The whole Heart series came about because I bought a bloodstone pendulum (I love bloodstone) and thought about divination. T’Ash, my hero, had dice (Divination Dice)
which foretold his future in the opening line of HeartMate. "Today you will meet your HeartMate." So, I had these bloodstone dice being thrown by an ALPHA MALE. I needed a culture where he wouldn’t be thought of as wimpy
because he used the dice and it was okay to believe in the magic of them. I also made T’Ash a man who'd chiseled the stone from the quarry, shaped his Divination Dice and forged swords -- a jeweler and a blacksmith. I actually sat down and started writing, learning all this as I went along. So the "Heart" series was born, and the telepathic cat with attitude who strolled into the book on page 3 was, of course, modeled after my own rough ex-alley cat.

Regarding my Luna "Summoning Series" I don't recall where that idea came from, probably childhood reading of Edgar Rice Burrough’s "John Carter of
Mars" series.. Before I began seriously writing, I'd tell myself stories before I went to sleep at night. They were usually fantasy with a touch of romance. I was in England when my agent contacted me with news that a new fantasy imprint was opening up. From her description, some of those stories I told myself swept back into my head, were firmed up and became the
Summoning Series: Average American women are Summoned by magical warriors to another dimension to fight invading evil...

And the physical object ideas continue: on the bookcase headboard of my bed, I have a small box with a bit of very fragrant amber resin in it. I love that scent and when I had to come up with a fragrance for the flying horses in the Summoning series, I used amber resin.

Then I mold the world to the characters. Celta got the 70 minute septhour
because T’Ash was making a sword in HeartMate and despite magic, it HAD to
take a certain amount of time, but I also wanted it to be done in a day. The
only solution I could see was to stretch the hour. As a regular worker, I
always wanted a three day weekend, so I made a week with one.

Right now I have rules I can’t break and can hardly bend, so they will stay
solid. But if something new comes up – like experimenting with time in Heart
Dance – I get to play with more world building (actually figuring out the
rules of time slowed the writing of the book considerably and made my head

So original ideas come mostly from physical objects, then the characters
reveal the world to me while I write.

Thank you for the invitation to blog here, Heather, and for everyone: May
you enjoy your own creativity, whatever that may be, today.



Allyson James aka Jennifer Ashley

Because I talked about specific ideas for specific books in an earlier post, I thought I’d talk about where a writer’s ideas come from in general.

I know writers who get annoyed when asked where they get their ideas. I think that’s because we’re not always sure—ideas come when you least expect it, and they rarely come fully formed. Pieces add up and become stories, and we can’t always remember what was the initial spark.

I’m not always irritated by this question because I think it’s an intriguing one. Where do ideas come from? What sticks in the imagination and causes our brain to build them into stories?

Ideas come from everywhere. A good writer is an observer, one who views every single thing he or she does as food for a story. Riding a bus, watching other people, listening to what they talk about. You don’t have to travel to other countries to find substance for stories; they’re happening on your street in your city every day.

Reading newspapers, not just the dire news on the front page, but any stories in all the sections. News of a missing person might spark a story told from the perspective of the missing person. News of people reuniting might spark a novel about long-lost sisters finding each other and what happens after that.

I write historicals, and research often gives me good ideas either for a main story or for secondary characters. People in the past did amazing things—they weren’t much different than we are now. I remember one story about an eighteenth-century couple who’d courted each other for forty years and finally decided to get married in their sixties. Reading about real people, or reading their diaries and letters or magazine articles can give you stories with amazing depth.

Writers should keep themselves open all the time to ideas. Ideas are everywhere, pouring through the universe. Conversations with friends, a game (either played or observed), hands-on classes, family reunions, and so forth are all food for novels. People you meet randomly, something unusual happening to you or a friend, a move to a different city—all food for novels.

I’ll repeat how I got the idea for my current Berkley release, Dragon Heat, by Allyson James. I was staying in a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. I was by myself, so I only used one bedroom, and it suddenly occurred to me that it would be very cool if I opened the door and found a dragon lurking behind it. He’d be in a fold in reality between his world and mine, and he’d funny and snarky and like to watch television.

My imagination started to go. I wondered what a person would do who found a dragon in their apartment, and what their ensuing relationship would be. Because I liked romance, I imagined the snarky dragon stepping through the door and shifting into a gorgeous human male. All that from looking at a bedroom door in a New York apartment.

That’s just a taste of where ideas come from. If you’re a writer looking for ideas, stop everything, look around, observe, and then let your imagination run wild!


WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Saskia Walker

My most common source of inspiration is a sense of place. July sees the publication of my novella, WHAT YOU WISH FOR, in SECRETS volume 19. WHAT YOU WISH FOR is a perfect example of this inspiration at work, because the story grew out of an entrancing, romantic and mystical place. Set on the Cornish peninsula in England, the novella is a paranormal time travel. When I set out to write it I wanted the place to be as important as the characters —I wanted to capture a little bit of somewhere that is very special to me.

Cornwall is a beautiful part of the country, the very tiptoe of England. Dramatic landscape, rugged coastline, and untouched, cosy villages abound, and the history of the county is evident everywhere. The people have a whimsical attitude, and they play into the myths and legends of their locality. This makes it a popular place for tourists, and settlers who seek a more bohemian, timeless environment to live in. Not only that, but when you visit Cornwall you have the sense that anything is possible. There is a magical quality to the county, and that is what I have tried to capture in my story.

WHAT YOU WISH FOR features a London web designer who has moved to Cornwall to restore a cottage and intends to run her business from her home. As Lucy restores the cottage she becomes intrigued by its history, and the date of its build. She jokes that she will find out, even if she has to go back in time to get the answer. The local nurse has befriended Lucy, and unbeknownst to Lucy the local nurse is also the local white witch.

In the story, Lucy not only gets the chance to visit the house two hundred years earlier and find out when it was built, her life also collides with Cullen Thaine, a handsome visitor to the cottage who feels as much attached to Cornwall as she is, but who is about to leave. The conjunction of their lives in time and the attraction between them leads to passion, romance, and more. Someone must give up a part of themselves to be with the other, but who will it be?

The images here feature the harbour at Newquay, where the story is set, and the Bedruthan Steps, the treacherous, rocky coastline where many ships have floundered throughout history - an important location in my story.

SECRETS Volume 19 features four erotic romances, and has the subtitle “timeless passions.” I hope that readers of my novella will get a sense of the beautiful landscape in Cornwall, and through my two characters — who are both bound to the place in their own ways — experience the magical, romantic quality of life there.


To read more about Cornwall go here:


Laugh with Sandra Hill....

It's a funny thing about humor.

When I first started writing, I thought I was going to be immersed in straight historical or contemporary romance. Back then, I was never funny; my family still thinks I haven't a clue when it comes to humor. And I certainly had no idea of the impact that humor could have on readers. Sure, serious-themed books affect people, like Judith Arnold's BAREFOOT IN THE GRASS(a cancer victim) or Kathleen Korbel's (a Down Syndrome child). But believe me when I tell you, thousands of readers have written to tell me how important a laugh is in lives burdened by family trauma, everyday stress, and life in post 9/11 America. Who knew? In truth, I've come to believe that everybody needs a smile in their reading on occasion.

Some extreme examples: the lady who took my books into the hospital during the vigil for her terminally ill child, the freshman class at an ivy league school that compared one of my Viking stories to a serious literary novel (turns out it was a joke pulled on the incoming class), the woman dying of cancer who asked that one of my books be placed in her coffin face out during the viewing so that visitors would get a final laugh with her, all the women on an aircraft carrier who passed my books around to take their minds off some harrowing duties, the pilot in Iraq whose wife sent him one of my Cajun novels so he could read it and think of her in place of the heroine (imagine the teasing he got from his men, ), the women's centers, the husband and wife who role-played my stories, etc.

So now, when I start a new book, it is clearly humor I have in mind. Doesn't matter if they are historical, contemporary, or time travel. Doesn't matter if they are Vikings, Cajuns or NavySEALs. Romance first, but humor a clear second.

Having said that, when I started my second treasure hunting book in the Jinx series, PEARL JINX, July, 2007, I knew that Caleb Peachey, ex-Amish Navy SEAL, had to be the hero. You can see the humor right off the bat with that oxymoron. Then, I knew from Caleb having been a secondary character in PINK JINX that he had a fierce aversion to snakes; so, of course I had to put a huge snake in there...a snake named Sparky. Of course, Caleb needed to come back to Central Pennsylvania where he would confront his Amish family who had been shunning him for seventeen years...more humor (mixed in with the tears). But what kind of treasure could there be here in the boonies. Well, we have lots of deep caverns here. Hmmm. How about cave pearls? Need I mention how funny it is to see a big ol' Navy SEAL crawling over a huge snake, slipping in bat guano, diving into black water filled with ancient stalactites? And most important, Caleb needed a woman who could put him in his place...a woman who claimed he took himself far too seriously. That would be Dr. Claire Cassidy, historical archaeologist and the biggest pain in Caleb's very fine...behind. She is better known as "Crazy Claire."

If you'd like to know more about PEARL JINX, or watch its funny book video, or just hang around, come to my website: http://www.sandrahill.net/. And smile, for heaven's sake!


Carly Phillips Returns........

Sophisticated, Sexy Fun Contemporary Romance. That’s what I love to read and so that is what I love to write. I consider myself fortunate to be able to write what I love. I’ve always been a huge reader but I didn’t realize there was a romance section of the bookstore when I was younger, so I’d read books and even if I loved a book all the way through, if the end disappointed me, I hated the story. Then one day I discovered that I could read romance and ALWAYS HAVE THE HAPPY ENDING.

What a concept! Writing was an even bigger concept and it took me seven years and ten manuscripts to sell. Somehow I thought selling was the hard part but in the eight years since my first published book and in the 15 years since I’ve been writing, I discovered that the writing itself is STILL hard. Every book presents its own challenges.

CROSS MY HEART and its sequel SEALED WITH A KISS were doubly hard because not only was I writing (a challenge in itself) but I was adding a little more suspense than I usually had in my books. Why? Because both books were originally scheduled to come out in hardcover and I wanted to try something different for my hardcover readers. Now I’m happy to say that both books are being released in paperback – SEALED WITH A KISS for the first time – which my readers have really responded well to. So back to the challenges of adding mystery/suspense.

Just like when I started writing, I learned a lot of lessons along the way, writing these stories and I hope my readers enjoy them. As for me, after these two books, I’m going back to writing lighter, sexier books because after a lot of thought, sophisticated, sexy fun contemporary romance is what I love best. But I hope you’ll like CROSS MY HEART and SEALED WITH A KISS too.

So what kind of romance do you love to read?

For a sneak peek at CROSS MY HEART, visit http://www.carlyphillips.com/ and check out the video trailer and remember to click on the Free Reader Giveaway at the top of the page – and see what I have in store for readers who purchase CROSS MY HEART!

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