AUGUST - Celebrating Sci-Fi/Futuristic/Post-Apocalyptic Romance

08-27 SciFi Romance Author Evelyn Lederman

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Love I Space!

by M. L. Buchman

Okay, I admit it. I'm a romance writer who loves science fiction, but has written almost no science fiction romances at all.

First, a frame of reference of what I mean when I say that I love science fiction. When I was 9 years old, my dad finished a book and set it down on the table. I picked it up to see what it was: Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars. I was in my mid-20s before I willingly read a book that wasn't science fiction or fantasy. I would talk poor unsuspecting elementary and junior high teachers into letting me read those "weird" books in a genre that some of them had never even heard of. Write a parody of a "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"? Sure. I wrote it about the Pioneer 10 Spacecraft (then a recent launch rather than presently several times farther away than Neptune and still trucking along).

The science fiction that I have written is mostly fiction with strong romantic elements. This is because, well, I've always been a mush. Give me Notting Hill over the Avengers any day of the week.

So, after years of writing romances and a few thrillers, I find myself thinking about science fiction once more. Science Fiction romance is on the rise and my three short stories in my Future Night Stalkers series were a test of that. They've been fun to write and as a bonus, have sold very nicely as well.

I thought that was all I had done. But then I realized that I had a strange little set of stories that were scattered about in different places--some published, some not. They had started out with Solar Stupid which had started out as this odd voice in my head that I decided to try out on paper. Then it grew Moon Shine and Double Down and... So I set out to collect them together. And once I had, I couldn't help myself and I wrote a pair of new stories, and some introductions, and...

Less than a week after I first had the thought, I released the full Chronicles just yesterday.

While the Me and Elsie stories aren't romance; they're in that SRE category. Kinda. Well, it's a hard series to describe...(most folks either love it or hate it). But it was really a surprise to me that I had been keeping my hand in science fiction all along without really noticing that I was doing it.

Of course The Me and Elsie Chronicles (and Jen too) isn't exactly mainstream SF, either. It's a voice piece. It's Appalachian gal truckers in space. (Having grown up in a small hick rural town, I found it oddly comfortable to write these stories. I prefer to think that's because of my love for science fiction rather than my inner hick, but there are times it worries me a little bit.)

And for some reason, this last two weeks of August is all about collections. I just finished the final installment in my contemporary romance series: Eagle Cove with Keepsake for Eagle Cove. That in turn led me to creating The Complete Eagle Cove.

And, what with thinking about collections so much and all, I went ahead and collected my Ides of Matt stories for 2015 which will be available for pre-order by next week.

Part of what is so surreal about all this is: if just a decade ago I was to write about thinking up and releasing all of this work (Me and Elsie and The Complete) over a 15-day period, it would have been science fiction. In 2006 the Kindle didn't exist. Creating a collection of short stories and having it available in days instead of a year would have been unimaginable. Finishing a novel then thinking, "Oh, that should be in a collection too," and then releasing them on the same day (8/30), never would have happened!

Suddenly I'm questioning just how much I know about science fiction in the first place. Sure, I've read hundreds, maybe thousands of them (even more than I've read romances). But when I think about how fast the world is changing it boggles the mind. I'd be presumptuous to try and write an SF story.

But then I think about it. I already have. And the Future Night Stalkers are begging for a novel (which knowing me means two or three). And then when I really think about science fiction romance, there's this odd voice in my head...

M. L. Buchman has over 50 novels and 30 short stories in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” placing two titles on their “Top 101 Romances of the Last 10 Years” list. He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of the Year” by RT Book Reviews and was a 2016 RWA RITA finalist. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate projectmanager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. 

He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Hi, I'm paranormal romance author Sarah Raplee. I've written stories published in two anthologies by Windtree Press. My first full-length novel, BLINDSIGHT, is coming out this fall.

The amazing, magical, loving, and slightly freaky way my father comforted me from the Other Side (of death, for those of you without access to tv, radio, print media, or the internet) while my mother hovered on the brink of death was a life-changing experience for me. He had died six years before, but he proved he's still around, keeping an eye on his loved ones.

* Keep in mind what some tv character on some show I once watched said: "One connection to an event is a coincidence, two is a pattern, three is a plan."

When my husband and I arrived the day after Mom was admitted to the hospital with a life-threatening infection, we introduced ourselves to her nurse, Diana. Not Diane, Diana. 

My only sister is named Diana. I smiled at the coincidence.

Later, Mom's condition worsened. She was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. Her new nurse was named Sally. That's my childhood nickname. Dad always called me Sally.

I remember thinking, O-kay, Dad, is this your doing?

The next day I received a resounding, "Yes."

The new nurse on duty was named Catherine. Guess what Mom's name is? Yup! She never goes by Cathy, always Catherine. With a 'C'. Just like her nurse!

I found it comforting that Dad was watching over Mom and would be there if she lost the battle with the killer bacteria.

Another nurse was named Lisa, like Dad's eldest granddaughter. The hunky male nurse was Dave, like my daughter's first husband, who was a professional pilot like my father. Another of Mom's nurses was Amy, which was an inside joke that I'm not going to explain. Apparently people keep a sense of humor in the Afterlife.

Dad loved to fly almost as much as he loved his family. When he was dying of cancer, he hoped to regain enough strength to soar above Oregon’s high desert one more time—in a hot air balloon. Unfortunately, he was too sick to accomplish his goal.

Fast forward to six months after and two thousand miles away from his death to my youngest son’s house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The kids had climbed in bed with their parents because it was a Sunday morning. No one had to get up early.

Then the danged Siamese cat jumped onto the bed. Instead of pouncing on someone to wake them up, he ignored them all as he walked across them to the headboard and stood on his hind legs to peer through the window into the back yard. Whipping his tail back and forth, he yowled like a banshee. Three-year-old Lily stood up to see what had scared him. “Mommy, Daddy, look! Look!” 

Her parents sat up and checked out the back yard. A rainbow-striped hot air balloon was landing - in their back yard! How often does that happen???

Back to my mother’s hospital room. Dr. Boddie (pronounced body - ain't that a hoot?) explains that my mom’s condition is deteriorating. Her infection may have spread into her spinal fluid, causing meningitis. He needs to do a spinal tap to be sure so he will know how to proceed with her treatment.

I held Mom’s hand as they rolled her to a procedure room where they would draw fluid from her spinal canal. My throat ached with fear. I closed my eyes and mentally reached out into the ether. Tell me she’s going to be all right, Dad. We stopped. I opened my eyes and looked inside the procedure room.

A poster of five hot air balloons soaring high above the ground greeted me. 

I knew Mom would make it. After a stay in the Intensive Care Unit, she did.

I've learned that messages from the Next Life don’t usually come in the form of email, snail mail, or phone calls (but I’ve learned to never say never). 

No doubt the Afterlife  has immutable Laws that govern one’s actions, just as in this life gravity happens, fire burns and in a vacuum, no one can hear you scream. That doesn’t mean the people who have moved on from this earthly plane don’t try to offer comfort, assistance, and the occasional laugh to their loved ones.

It means they have to get creative - and we have to pay attention.

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Life-Changing Event - A BIG one!

By Courtney Pierce

A number of cathartic events have happened in my fifty-seven years, most of which changed me for the good. The bad ones tend to fuel my sense of humor. Those juicy, truthful moments come out in my books. I write colorful stories with themes of getting older and growing young with wisdom: marriage, losing parents, aging siblings who act like kids, menopause, and dealing with all the stuff we collect over the years. My characters make crazy-bad choices for the right reasons, and they also make the right choices with questionable intent. The ridiculous truth ends up being funny because of the way my characters react to serious situations. I’ve reconciled so much of life through their antics.

Now I’m going to get personal, deeply personal for my readers and RTG audience. No funny pictures. Only truth.

I did get hit with a life-changing frying pan this summer―a heavy iron one. The hurt is fresh, so bear with me. My heart aches as I mow the lawn, take out the garbage, and separate the recycling. When I heard the dreaded words from my husband of thirty-seven years, “I never wanted you to find out,” panic and disbelief steamrolled over me. No air to breathe. In slow motion, the long-standing vows I treasured―counted on―shattered like the free-fall of Steuben-blown crystal. Our respected relationship, held on a pedestal by family and friends, toppled in eight short weeks from discovery to divorce. I did find out about another woman, in more detail than I could handle.

A wife knows every nuance of her husband’s behavior after decades of marriage. We wives are like cats that go on alert when the furniture is moved. We puff up. Little white lies are deflected to keep the peace. We swallow to assess and process. Denial sets in with the fear that something solid has become liquid and unstable. Then a mission starts to form after finding a Viagra pill in the lint screen of the dryer. That pill in his pocket wasn't meant for me. A new emotion takes over―an obsessive hunt for who barged in and redecorated my life without my permission. I confronted; he denied. It was me. Paranoid. He had to work through whatever he was going through. I wrote about obsession to find truth through my character of Olivia Novak in The Executrix, Indigo Lake, and the upcoming Indigo Legacy. Confession―she’s fictional me in marriage counseling, working through my husband’s mid-life crisis. The therapist spotted his dishonesty before I did.

A drastic change in behavior told me everything: the avoidance of my gaze, the lack of two-way conversation, the abandonment every Saturday for a whole day of errands―and the compulsive texting on his phone. I'd never violated his privacy before, but I had to know because I have an over-active imagination. The screen illuminated with the confirmation of my worst fear. The back-and-forth words “I love you” in virtual print rang hollow. They were texted to someone else, and texted back by someone else to him. My head went in a different direction than my body as I wanted to retch in the sink. A whirl of thoughts circled the assets of loved ones in my life: his family, my family, close friends, colleagues, and our cat. Our fifteen-year-old sweet calico would be divorced too, through no fault of hers.

Women boomers can get stuck between the chauvinist expectations of the ’50s and the live-in-the-moment, free-spirited enlightenment of the ’60s. Strong, accomplished women can become a threat to some men’s fantasies of being singularly adored, a need to be greeted at the door with a cocktail and a kiss after their wives kick butt all day. This will be a cornerstone of my future standalone novel, titled Unfair Ratios. Write from the heart. Fix it in fiction. Drag the needle over “The Girl from Ipanema” spinning on the turntable.

I’ve found this relationship shift to be an epidemic among boomers with long-standing marriages of unbroken trust, for both men and women. Many boomers want to redecorate their lives when they face their mortality. It can happen with the offer for a senior discount, the development of an illness, or an increase in the amount of hair in the shower drain, never mind that deadline reminder to sign up for Medicare. Those immortal rock stars, once rock-solid, begin to die. We listen to their hits and dance in the kitchen to not let go. Suddenly the old concert ticket stubs and high school yearbooks make an appearance to prompt searches to connect on Facebook. The folk music reunion specials on PBS make us pine for those special moments of youth―but they look different, sound different. Not quite the same. A betrayal of expectations that grown-up life would hold all those same feelings.

There are scores of us discarded wives who count ourselves among the Gray Betrayed. But no one will ever see my gray. No way. I’m still that tow-headed blond girl, married at twenty, who grew up. I’m going to be smokin' hot in life’s third act, me and my Post-menopausal Zing (a real syndrome worth Googling). A new author photo is forthcoming. Post-marriage-me will be better, a free-me reaching for my unrealized potential.

But how does one unlove someone after nearly four decades? Darned if I know. There are no tears left to shed. I’m on a day-by-day self-discovery of my identity as one, not two. All I know is that life is too short to settle for mediocre. Start with new bedding and a re-paint of the bedroom. No shoes in the house. Rearrange the furniture and art on the walls. Change the smoke detector batteries. Make it mine, and mine alone. 

And then there’s that prod of Zing I mentioned, an insatiable urge for intimacy. It happens to women in their upper fifties who’ve never had children. I don’t know how to date. I don’t want to catch a disease. I can’t even think about a relationship with any semblance of trust. I'm assured that when I least expect it the trust will spark with someone wired like me. But I do have one unattached man in my life. He lives in my nightstand. My doctor―God love him―recommended this extra-curricular activity to relieve the stress. He said it’s perfectly healthy. Okay . . . I’m a good student. I love me as I pay the bills and swagger around like Slim Pickins searching for his horse. An itch I can't scratch.

My Mom and two sisters have been amazing, just as I captured them in the Dushane Sisters Trilogy. They rallied to protect the injured middle cub, and I treasure them for it. I certainly wrote truth in the series, but I didn’t know how real their arms would become.

There you have it. My life-changing event. Am I angry? You bet. But my new path is illuminated with the bright lights. I’m taking the high road, the only road I know that's not fraught with danger. I'm going to be a hitchhiker on that road to what life has to offer. Route 66 is pretty barren of predators these days. 

And like my cat, I’ll land on my feet―better, stronger, and independent. A tougher writer too. Time to double-down. The other side holds the promise that my life isn’t falling apart, but that the pieces are finally coming together. Sage words from my massage therapist. It’s all going into my writing, and the pain will be tragically hilarious. That’s how I deal with tragic things. Stay tuned.

Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon. She writes for baby boomers. Her novels are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. Courtney has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, She Writes, and Sisters in Crime. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at: and Both print and E-books are available at and through most major online book retailers

The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears . . . and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in early 2017. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Life- Changing Event In A Galaxy Far, Far Away... #StarWars #scifi

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. I had to think long and hard about this post. I'm a believer in alternative timelines and parallel universes, that every decision we make in life - even the small ones - changes the path we take while another version of ourselves is sent down another track. So for me, even a minor decision can be potentially momentous, creating multiple alternative possibilities in time and space, and a concept I've used in my time travel series.
But before I get too sucked in by the theory of alternative universes... I think most people have a least one significant and life changing experience. Not long ago I wrote about my near death experience, so I didn't want to go over that one again - it was terrifying but surprisingly didn't prompt any big changes in my life other than relief that I survived it. My marriage, the death of my mother when I was 19, the birth of each of my children - all have had an impact, and probably the most major.
But I've decided I want to talk about something that changed my life as an author and led me to write what I write. It might seem somewhat frivolous to some, but for the the eight year old me it was transformational.
The opening to Star Wars: A New Hope when it was first shown on TV. I'd never seen it. Never heard of it. With Christmas coming up it was a special premier in the days when you had to wait years for films to reach TV, and videos were still an expensive luxury. That explosion of music, the novel scrawl of a written prologue, then a tiny spaceship pursued by one that swamped the screen with weapons blazing...I'd never seen anything like it before. I was instantly transfixed.
Despite being a life long Whovian (my parents were fans, and I can remember the first episode I ever saw - Planet of the Spiders - when I was just three years old), until that point I had been writing fantasy. I was still in love with the elves of Tolkien, young Garion of the Belgariad saga by David Eddings, and the magic of the Shannara trilogy. Spaceships came a poor second to unicorns, and blasters to swords and magic stones.
Until the day I saw that opening. Everything changed. It was like being able to step into one of those alternative universes, where there were still knights but they wielded mind powers instead of magic and lightsabers instead of metal swords. I. Was. Hooked. I was also deeply in love with the main character - Luke Skywalker - a crush that is still with me to this day (though maybe not quite so deeply, lol). I wanted to be a Jedi, wield a lightsaber, convince my parents that it wasn't bedtime yet with my mind powers, and zoom around a galaxy far, far away in my very own X-Wing.

That passion has never left me. I switched from writing fantasy to a version of Star Wars, then onto space opera and scifi of my own. Though many years later I went back to my Whovian roots and wrote a time travel romance that became my debut publication, the thrill from that first view of Star Wars has never left me. I felt it again when I saw The Force Awakens at the cinema this Christmas just past - almost thirty six years to the day after seeing it the first time - with Disney staying loyal to the fanship by retaining the films iconic opening. Even thinking about the music and the script crawling up the screen can set me bouncing in my seat. It was the same excitement I felt when I was lucky enough to attend the three day Star Wars Celebration Europe in London less than a month ago, and where I got to see my childhood crush in person (even if I didn't get close enough for a photo).

Right now I'm reworking what I call my Star Wars story - Gethyon - having got the rights back so that I can re-release it in September. While it has elements from my time travel series to which it's connected, this is the one most loyal to my love of Star Wars: a young man who feels out of place in the universe, struggling to manage the powers he discovers and to face his responsibilities instead of running away. I can't wait to put it back out!
Somewhere out there may be an eight year old me who didn't get to see that film and have her life changed forever. I'm just glad that one isn't me!
Want to chat? Find me on Twitter as @pippajaygreen where I'll talk all things geek, books and chooks (and other things beside).

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer End Blues...

Where Did The Summer Go?

I started back at the crazy day job this week. It seemed like just yesterday, I skipped out of the doors, like the students had a couple weeks prior, my head filled with grand ideas of painting rooms and counter tops, spending countless hours at the beach, reading awesome books, and sleeping in past 5 am.

This summer set all kinds of records for humidity… not great painting weather, I’d still be waiting for quick dry paint to set. As a person with serve asthma, the humidity is NOT my friend. Add a case of pneumonia and it’s safe to say that I returned to the crazy day job with my most of my to-do list still in-tact.

I did accomplish most of my writing goals and I did sleep past 5 am – 3 times actually....and it was drug induced sleep but hey...

I always fill my summer to-do list to the point wonder woman wouldn’t be able to complete it. Without the crazy day job sucking 50 hours out of my week, I feel I should be able to do70 hours worth of ‘stuff’. Yes, I know it doesn’t make sense. But yet I do it year after year.
The one thing that has changed is my willingness to prioritize and know deep down all of it isn’t going to happen. However, it’s still slightly disheartening to go back to work without fresh painted walls and counter tops, I did go back thinking I rocked this summer as far as my writing went.

One thing I always make time to do is catch a couple of the movies that are shown at the beach just a mile from my house....

My word of the year is ‘reinvent’. My goals all relate to ‘reinventing’ myself….in my writing, personally as far as weeding out the drains in my life, financially, etc. It’s through these goals I look at my summer and reflect. Sure, I could have done better but I did good.

Painting was NO where on my ‘reinventing’ goals, it was my ‘want’ goals. In the past I’ve struggled to separate goals from those that move me forward and those I just want. Now the walls and counter will need to be painted. I realize this but I also know I’ll find time.

Are you a goal master? Or do you ever struggle with goal setting? Separating the forward goals from the want goals?

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Life Altering Decision

by Vivienne Lorret

This month at Romancing the Genres, we are talking about the decisions or events that have altered the course of our lives. There is one, in particular, that changed mine for the better.

For far too many years, I wasn’t an active participant in my own life. Most days, I was on autopilot, overwhelmed from trying to meet the expectations of my employer, my family, and the ideals I’d set for myself. I simply got out of bed and completed a seemingly pre-determined list of tasks.

Too often, I found myself saying, “I wish I would have…” but felt as if I had no control over those decisions. Until, one day, when I heard the advice that I was offering a friend. I was so busy telling her how she deserved happiness and to work toward her dreams, that I didn’t bother to listen.

It seems strange to say this, but I suddenly realized that I was a person who deserved happiness, too. Aren’t we all? Yet, for so long, my main focus was to ensure the ease and contentment of those around me. At home, I would stay up late, squandering my sleep to catch a little “me time,” instead of demanding it when it was most convenient—and necessary—for me. At work, I bore the brunt of a cruel co-worker’s comments, while trying to remain professional. I didn’t even take any vacation time, partly to avoid confrontation, and partly because I’d been denied before (so why bother?). In fact, I was so busy filling everyone else’s glass of felicity that I ignored my own and didn’t notice that it had nearly evaporated.

But then, I’d had that epiphany. Why wasn’t I pursuing my own dreams? Why wasn’t I treating myself with the same compassion that I had for my friends and family? This was my life, after all. Wasn’t it?

I made a decision that changed my life. I left my job and took a family vacation (the first one in years).

On the drive home from Virginia Beach, a story started turning around in my head (many ideas come to me this way). A character named Ethan Weatherstone spoke to me. He was exasperated and certain that his long-time neighbor and friend, Penelope, lacked any sense. Ethan told her flat-out that her latest scheme of leaving of London on a mail coach would only lead to her ruin. Although, begrudgingly, he confessed to himself a fondness for her freckles, and from there, the story blossomed.

When I returned home, I saw that Avon Impulse had sent out a “call for submissions” for a Christmas story. I’d always dreamed of writing for Avon. My keeper shelf was (and still is) stacked with books from amazing authors who’d made the cut. The only problem was, the deadline for the story was in less than two weeks.

Fueled by a newly awakened inner-drive, I took a chance.

I wrote “Tempting Mr. Weatherstone” in eight days, holding my breath the whole time, and clicked SEND before I gave myself too much time to think. I haven’t looked back since.

Courage is one of life's biggest blessings.

Warm wishes and happy reading,


~USA TODAY bestselling author Vivienne Lorret loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order ... but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is an Avon Impulse author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series, The Duke's Christmas Wish, and the Season's Original Series. Sign up for her newsletter at

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fiction's Inciting Incident and Point of No Return: Life Changing Events, by Kristin Holt

In fiction, “Life Changing Event” (LCE) is often referred to as the Inciting Incident, the situation/occurrence that kicks the story ball into play. Overlapping with the Inciting Incident is a component of fiction called the Hook—action/situation that snags the reader’s attention and holds it long enough for the reader to care about the hero and what he wants.

We’ve all read one too many books where the supposed Hook and/or Inciting Incident were not inherent to the story and plot. A random, disconnected, flashy beginning or an attention-grabbing action scene that is not an integral part of the story is a rip-off and one of the big reasons why readers abandon books.

All readers know what comes after the initial story set-up (Hook and Inciting Incident). Circumstances get worse, pressures on the hero grow, and before too many pages pass by, he reaches the Point of No Return.

Some might argue that this is actually the LCE. Personally, I don’t think it matters if it’s one or the other or both.

The Point of No Return is the event/catastrophe/circumstance that our hero cannot ignore, plunging him into the quest. The character’s life is irrevocably changed. His world is kicked out from beneath him and nothing will ever be the same again.

The character figures out merely reacting to circumstances is no longer enough.

It’s not a “hey, if you get a chance…”, not a suggestion. It’s not an invitation.

He’s provoked, compelled, 100% in.

He must engage.

Otherwise, the event would not be a LCE (Life Changing Event—emphasis on the changing).

LCE’s demand a character to take action. No more simply floating along living day by day, reacting to the conflict the bad guys (and good guys) toss in his way.

The best of fiction shows us the character—belief system, capacities, flaws, strengths—by putting them through a LCE and allowing readers to see them react and act. The reader hears the character’s thoughts and words spoken.

The writer might have the character do something tremendously risky or illegal, mean-spirited or callous—but that’s perfectly okay because the reader understands the character and exactly why he does what he does.

Make the stakes high enough, crank up the pressure, and readers find themselves rooting for the character, caring about what he cares about, turning pages well after midnight, and vested in the character’s success and eventual triumph.

The reader “falls in”, lives and breathes the story through the point of view character. The reader lives vicariously, experiencing the emotional highs and lows, the risks, danger, falling in love (all the best parts of the selected genre).

It’s all connected. The character’s LCE is the Hook, Inciting Incident, Point of No Return. Plot points and huge setbacks (such as death of a mentor) will inevitably count as more LCE’s. Everything matters, is woven together, and nothing extraneous detracts from the thrill of the roller coaster ride. The reader’s recliner disappears under the power of the written word. Bedtime comes and goes, and despite the fact she must get up in a short six hours, the reader can’t set the book down.

Gifted, highly skilled, experienced authors make it look easy.

I know it's not.

What authors do you enjoy reading because Life Changing Events at the beginning of their books bring characters to life and make for a powerful read?

Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author writes Sweet Victorian Romance set in the American West. She writes frequent articles about the nineteenth century American west--every subject of possible interest to readers and amateur historians. She contributes monthly to Sweet Americana Sweethearts (first Friday of each month) and Romancing the Genres (third Tuesday of each month).