Category Archives: Writing suspensefully

Guest Post KayLyn Cooper of “Explosive Combination”

Thank you Kimber for inviting me today and helping me celebrate the debut of Explosive Combination and the launch of my romance writing career.

Thanks for stopping by, KayLyn! It’s great to have you here and congrats on your new release! 🙂 Mind telling us a bit about it?

After thirty years of writing for corporations, which verged on creative writing and pushed that fiction/non-fiction line sometimes, I leaped with joy over the line about two years ago.

I write Romantic Suspense because that’s what I enjoy the most; a good story filled with what I like to call “Run and Gun and LOTS of Fun!”

A very close cousin looked at me when I told her about this book and asked, “Why didn’t you write about cowboys? You know enough about them.”

That’s probably the reason I didn’t.

Weekends of my youth were filled with western horse shows. We’d fill the camper with my parents and all six kids (yes, I have four Alpha brothers and a sister) and a few strays from the neighborhood always managed to wiggle in as well. We’d pull a horse trailer with six to eight horses on board, park everyone in the grassy field next to a show ring and spend the weekend under the blazing sun and field lights at night.

By most accounts, it was every little girl’s dream; horses and cowboys.

By the time I reached seventeen, I’d had enough of both. I traded my mare in for the horsepower found under the hood of muscle cars and my boots for high heels.

I discovered bad boys were everywhere. Thank God! I finally found there were a few good men and some of them drove fast cars. Macho Marine had a Road Runner in those days and it could pass everything on the highway…except a gas station.

After following my Marine across the country and around the world for twenty-three years, he changed his uniform for khaki slacks and button-down shirts. But it was the men and women we met during those years of military service that are the inspiration for the strong women who handle their Alpha males in my books.

In Explosive Combination, ATF Special Agent Harper Tambini is kidnapped by a Colombian drug lord and forced to use her explosives knowledge to kill his competition before she can escape with the help of undercover CIA agent Rafe Silva. As they make their way through the rivers, mountains and jungles, their desire for each other detonates. But Harper reminds Rafe of his murdered fiancée, and the shadow world he wants to leave. Harper learned the hard way that men never stay, so now she doesn’t keep them around long enough to see if the sparks can light a fire that will last forever. In their short time together, can they crystalize a relationship, or will it all blow up?

BUY LINKS

Print:

Use discount code PYQ4X6YR for 10% OFF – Only at https://www.createspace.com/4626245

Buy from:

Liquid Silver Books

All Romance

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

*Coming Soon from Kobo.

OTHER LINKS

Website: http://www.KaLynCooper.com

Email: KaLyn@KaLynCooper.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kalyn.cooper.52

Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/kalyncooper/

Twitter: @KaLynCooperbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20958755-explosive-combination?ac=1

Enter to Win a FREE copy of Explosive Combination!

Comment here or on the following posts and you are automatically entered to win a free copy of Explosive Combination. LIKE and Follow KaLyn’s Facebook page, Twitter or email her to be entered. Winner will be drawn at random on March 15th.

March 2 Love Lust and Laptops

March 3rd Moni’s Romantic Imperative

March 4 Rosanna Leo

March 5 Daisy Banks

March 5 Houston Haven

March 5 Kimber Vale

March 5 Tara Quan

March 11 Allyson Lindt book review

March 12 Gemini Girls

Excerpt:

Rafe stood on Harper’s balcony and watched her sleep. He’d slipped undetected over the railing from his rooms next door. Christ, the Deputy Director of the CIA was involved. Rafe was now responsible for Harper’s safety and he vowed he’d die before he’d allow anything or anyone to hurt her.

Harper stirred. He crept to the bed and bent to shake her shoulder to awaken her.

She grabbed his arm and flipped him onto the bed face down, arms locked behind his back. She held a steak knife to his throat. His legs splayed, and her knee nudged his crotch.

“Harper,” he choked out in English, “I’m CIA. I’m one of the good guys. Let me up.”

She held her position. “You’re very high ranking in this organization to be CIA. How long have you been under cover?” She kept her face close to his and spoke in undertones.

Good. She wasn’t going to immediately blow his cover. “I started at the top. Narváez and I were college roommates. Now can you get off me?”

His heart beat rapidly for what seemed to take forever. The cold steel at his throat didn’t quiver. He heard her sigh and the pressure of her leg at his crotch ease. She finally removed the knife from his throat and slid off his back.

“I’d hoped someone was inside, but I didn’t think it was you.” She moved quickly away from him and braced herself on her knees, the knife still held in fighting position.

Rafe rolled onto his back and sat up. He rubbed where the blade had pressed, thankful not to feel any blood on his neck. “You’re good. I never saw you steal that from the supper table.” He glanced at the satisfied look on her face.

“Yes, I am good. The hardest part was to find some place under that dress that it wouldn’t imprint. The last thing I wanted was Narváez to strip-search me at the supper table.” She shuddered.

He fluffed a pillow and leaned against the headboard as he stretched out his legs that had gotten a nice little workout in the past two hours. The climb up the mountain wasn’t strenuous, but a gain of a thousand feet over two miles wasn’t a stroll on the beach. It was his crotch, not his burning thighs, that he wanted to rub. But he was too much a Southern gentleman to make such a crude move.

BIO

KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense. Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world, and thirty years in PR taught her that fact can be stranger than fiction. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination. She, her husband, and bird dog live in Tennessee on a micro-plantation filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not writing, she’s at the shooting range or on the river.


Lisa M. Owens Takes Us Back in Time

Author Lisa Owens is here today!  She’s answering a few of my burning questions, and giving us a glimpse of her time travel romance, If Only. Reviewers are calling her book a “sweetly emotional” read that pulls off “the seemingly impossible.”  I’m excited to check this one out!

1) Do you believe in Happily Ever Afters in real life? Why or why not?

I believe that Happily Ever Afters are possible but I also believe that they are somewhat rare. There is so much temptation that can lead a relationship astray. Nowadays, when people get married, it seems as though most of those people are only committed to those sacred vows until something better comes along.

I suppose in some way, that is why I write what I write. That way, they could stay in love forever.

2) How would you describe your writing style/tone of your stories to someone who hasn’t read you yet?

I write stories about everyday women in emotionally charged situations.

Full of love, red-hot sex and overflowing with emotion.

(How can an author write about love without expressing any emotion? I try to write stories about women that you will cheer for when they’re up and cry along with them with they are down.)

3) Let’s say you were abducted by aliens. Why did they choose you and why did they consequently let you go?

Why would they choose me: Probably because of my wild imagination.

Why would they let me go: Same reason. They would probably get sick and tired of me following them all around the spaceship, carrying my notebook and pencil, asking them all sorts of questions. (How fast does your ship go? What do you eat? How do you mate? What do you need humans for?)

Eventually, they would run away screaming and open the portal door, booting me out on my ass.

4) While you’re writing/planning—music or no music? If music, what kind?

It just kind of varies. Some days, I work better with music. On other days, I work better without.

The type of music I listen to mainly depends on what kind of a scene I am writing. When I am writing a sex scene, for example, I listen to Mariah Carey or Celine Dion. If I am working on an angry scene, like the confrontational scene between Bree and her ex-husband, I listen to more female empowered songs. For example: Pink, Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson.

5) Do you have only one WIP, or do you bounce around between projects?

I like to have a couple of different projects to work on. That way, if I get stuck on one storyline, I can switch to the other. I limit myself to only having two works in progress at a time. That way, I always know my story line and I have a less chance of getting confused that I would if I had four or five projects that I was working on concurrently.

6) Tell us a little about your current WIP.

I am currently working on two manuscripts.

One is the continuation of my If Only series. It is about a woman who married for love instead of for money. Fourteen years later, she wonders how her life would have been different if she had married for money instead.

The other is the story of a Marine who returns home from fighting in Afghanistan to discover that things aren’t the same as they were when he left.

7) Please give us a two-hundred word teaser from your latest release, as well as the tag line for your book.

What would you do if you had the opportunity to go back and relive your greatest mistake?

Five years ago, Bree Sexton walked out on her fiancé and into the arms of a charming and handsome stranger. She has regretted her decision ever since. Instead of a fairy-tale marriage, her “prince” shattered her dreams and her spirit with physical violence and emotional cruelty she barely escaped.

She then mysteriously wakes up in bed with the fiancé she loved and left, the life she’d dreamed of now a reality, until her cruel ex-husband reappears to destroy her new life. But what is real, and what is make-believe? Is she really getting the chance she has always dreamed of? And when it is all said and done, will she finally end up with the man she has always regretted leaving? Or will she wake up to discover herself alone?

8) Do you have any manuscripts collecting cyber dust on your hard drive? What and why?

None collecting dust on my hard drive, but I do have a file cabinet filled with plays and stories from my teenage years. I recently went through them and I found several that although they were written poorly, the storylines were good ideas for teen novels. I am thinking that someday, I might dust them off and try writing a few books for teenagers. Until then, they will stay locked in my file cabinet, away from prying eyes, collecting dust bunnies.

9) What’s the meanest thing you ever did to one of your characters?

The meanest thing I have ever done to one of my characters has to be the trials that I put Bree Sexton through in If Only. Although it is first and foremost a romance novel, it goes into some detail as to the physical and emotional abuse that her ex-husband put her through.

10) Where can we find more information about you and your books?

http://www.lmowens.com/ https://twitter.com/_lisamowens

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lisa-M-Owens-Author-Page/401065116637549

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6884569.Lisa_M_Owens

Buy If Only:

from Liquid Silver Books

from Amazon

from Barnes & Noble

Thanks so much for stopping over to chat! I look forward to checking out your work!

Thank you for having me, Kimber!


The Best Laid Plans

This sounds like a post about planning to get laid and then having it backfire, doesn’t it?  Or, is that just my perverted take on it?  Well, it’s not.  If I plan to get laid, I get laid, dammit.

Last month, I decided to whip out 20,000 words for a sub call about witches for Total-E-bound. They are planning their Halloween releases, and it sounded right up my alley.  Of course, in true Kimber fashion, I over-shot on my plot.  I sent my psuedo-novella to Lefty—-my wing-woman, my sounding board, my editor, and BFF—-who, in true Lefty fashion, asked me where the hell the rest of my story was and made fun off my bitchy heroine and typos.

Cooking Witches - Unknown Date

Cooking Witches – Unknown Date (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, the upper word limit was 20K and that’s where I stopped.  There was no “rest of.”  But Lefty confirmed my fears.  I knew while I was writing it that I had a ton going on and the page-space was running out under my fingers.  I rushed some things and left way too many questions unanswered.  So, “Spelling Trouble” goes back to the drawing board.  I have a nice first 1/3 of a novel.  😛

Thankfully, Lefty is not only brutally honest, she’s also a wicked-awesome-plot-bunny-wrassler-extraordinaire.  If the science ever permits it, I’d like to have her head sewn on my shoulders so we can combine our evil forces and take over the world.

Lefty, the hubs and I saw a commercial for “I Killed My BFF” last night, and I knew in a heartbeat that you are the one I would kill if I was on that show.  I love you, man!

-Kimber


Don’t be a Nit-Twit, Sparky. Or Suspense During Certain Armageddon.

Like how I did that?  The double title?  One to be all cute and crafty and one to let you know what the actual blog post it pertaining to?  I’d say the idea was all mine, but that would be a lie.  And I am a crap liar.  Also a shitty secret-keeper.  FYI:  If you tell me you have a secret, I will swear up and down that I will never breathe a word of it over my favorite dog’s dead body.  Then you tell me, and I blab it EVERYWHERE.  I don’t have a favorite dog, and I cannot refrain from spilling my (your) guts to random strangers on the street.  So do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.  Just sayin’.
But I digress.  How unusual.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the HBO show “Hung.”  It took me a week to figure out what program I have watched with any regularity that uses the dual title thing.  I should have known!  And to promo “Hung” (because they need me to do so on my piddly-ass blog thing) the male hooker, what’s his face–Thomas Jane, is hotter than a ball sack with a cup on for the whole nine innings.

Did you like how I did that?  I don’t even watch basketball.  Go figure.

So I’m twittering the other day and I come across this tweet about, “Can there be suspense when you already know everyone will die?”  Now, the author of said tweet provided a (now evident) link to his blog, which was a review of the latest Final Destination movie.  Gotta be number 12 or there-about.  So, I respond without looking at the link, thinking that this is a deep question for writers and quite in keeping with my (failed) plan to blog on suspense for a bit.  And BINGO was his name O.  Right?  Wrong.

Yes.  I am a Nit-Twit.  I’m getting better, though, and seeking online council from a variety of smut writers, beer brewers, and various other persons willing to “be friends” with me, or whatever the Tweet version of that Facebook shite is.

Anyway, I dive bomb in with an intriguing and well-thought-out answer (por supuesto).  I twat, “You can always play with the when,” and “If the reader cares about the characters, there can still be suspense, even in certain death.”

I thought I was onto something.  And the whole line of thought got me stuck on “On the Beach.”  You know, that old school book set in a futuristic 1960-something about a group of people living in Australia following a nuclear holocaust?  They are just waiting for the fallout to reach them and snuff their lives out slowly and painfully.  There are people starting relationships, babies, and gardens.  And offing themselves, if I remember correctly.

That was the play on “when” I was considering.  It’s been a while since I read it, and it may deserve a revisit just for nostalgia’s sake.  And while not the epitome of suspense, this dated book kept me reading, and crying, and wondering what will happen until the end.  Now, granted, I was a nerdy little kid when I read it.  Perhaps it would not strum me so hard today.  Was it white-knuckle material?  Not by a flower-pot, but it was moving, and thought-provoking, and stayed with me as an example of subtle horror done right.

And, while I cannot remember precisely thinking that “there must be a way for them to live” I know that I was.  That is my nature.  It is fiction (realistic for the time, yes) but where there is an imagination, there is always a way, no?  It is the nature of the pen.

Same with stupid sequels to a movie that never should have had a second.  It’s fiction.  And they defy death throughout.  At least in the first one, two characters survive, right?  My memory of that film is as foggy as “On the Beach,” but the hero and heroine make it, right?

Until next time when they are reborn with different faces and suffer most disturbingly for denying death his just cheese cake.

Well, the twitterer seemed to think the whole “when” thing was invalid and reminded me that he was referring to a specific blog post

(Yes; I am a twitter douche bag.  So don’t friend me if you think I am not worthy of following your book’s rise to mediocrity or your “too adorable for words” cat photos).

The tweeter added, within his allotted character count, to say that I was correct about the “caring about the character” part.  Unfortunately, that was the entire point of his post.  So no points for me.  And no one cares about the Final D 2011 characters, although people will still, apparently, pay money to see them in the theaters.

If only he realized I never even read the blog until after I felt like a jackass.
Oh wait…I guess he did.

So, that concludes my most recent rectal ramblings.  Stay tuned as I plan to denigrate the Holy Bible, or at least major parts of it, in a future post.  That, or write a poem about Clammy Clams.  Maybe both.


Necrophilia. How can something so wrong feel so right?

That was my catchy title to get your attention.  This post isn’t really about necrophilia.

Or is it?

Actually, I have been remiss in my blogging.  Not only that, but my posts have not been as bizrotic as I originally intended.  So, in an effort to kill two birds with one stone (and then have sex with them before making bird stone soup and feeding it to innocent travelers lost in the woods) I am attempting to illuminate more on the subject of suspenseful writing.

This is meant to help me as well as anyone else who stumbles into this trap I’ve set.  I do occasionally get wordy in my writing.  You see, I love descriptive and emotive writing.  Whenever I come up with a thought-provoking simile or metaphor I get closer to my happy place.  Of course, my editing pal cringes when she hits them.

So, I am trying to tone it down.  And one place where wordiness never works is action/suspense.  It kills it.  In the bad way.

Enough talk.  On to the exercise.  The key point here is that short, concise sentences (or even incomplete sentences) add to the suspense levels.  Long winded crap sucks the action right out of your scene.

First the long-winded business…

The body lay contorted and unnatural on the cobblestone path.  Her arms were up above her head like a ballerina en point, but instead of rod-straight legs, her lower half was alien.  A foot was completely missing on one leg and the other had something like an extra joint between the hip and the knee.  The leg stuck out, arced like the crescent moon that faintly illuminated the scene.

I leaned over the gruesome shape and breathed deeply.  The odor of chloroform assaulted my senses.  But there was another far more sinister scent pervading the body.  The musky smell of dog clung to the dead girl as thickly as the tenacious strings of saliva that dripped from her wounds like mutilated jellyfish.

I looked up in horror as the sound of a low growl rumbled in the still night.  Orange eyes met mine briefly before the wolf leapt through the air.  I watched its snowy underbelly close in on me in slow motion.  I pedaled backward like a crab but the beast was too fast and met its mark.

Air rushed from my lungs like the bellows of an accordion and I felt the beast’s hot breath steam across my cheek.  A runner of drool slid from his yawning maw and slithered down my cheek.

I knew I would share the same fate as the pathetic woman who lay mere feet from me.  Too bad I didn’t get to hit that first. —-There is was, folks.  Just as promised.

Okay, let’s take the last 3 paragraphs and try to tighten them up for better action/suspense pacing.

I looked up.  A low growl rumbled from the beast.  I backpedaled like a crab.

But it was leaping.  Desperate, I pushed myself back.

Too slow.  The wolf collided with my chest.  Air whooshed from my lungs.

Its rancid breath overwhelmed me.

Thick drool slithered down my cheek.

I was a dead man.

————–

So, anyway.  That was the lesson for the day.  My example was crap because I think the first one was better with the mood building/description.  Probably would have worked better with a fighting scene.  Kicking and punching and all that.  POW!  I’ll keep practicing.  Feel free to give it a shot in the comments or to make fun of me.  I’ll look for a good example from a literary master to lay on ya next time.


Creating Suspense in Writing

Well, it ain’t like the movies.  Queue the creepy out-of-tune piano.  Turn up the volume and speed of the hero/heroine’s heart beat.  Flash to a memory or vision of the future such as the word REDRUM scrawled on a mirror in blood-red lipstick or a tidal wave of sangria spilling out of an elevator.

Good.  Now we’re all shaking in our boots.  The blatant waste of that much wine certainly scares the crap out of me.

But in writing, we don’t get the benefits of sound effects or music, unless we describe them.  It is a delicate matter.  An author can’t be too overt with the auditory description.  Fine smatterings of sound clips sprinkled throughout do more to suck the reader into your world.  And therein lies the suspense.  The reader must feel that the action that is occurring is their own.  Your world building must be real.  The pounding heart rate, or rush of blood beating in the character’s ears, become the reader’s heart rate, the reader’s ears.

And when the shriveled up naked lady jumps out of the bathtub and tries to strangle the little boy, she is really strangling us all.

At least I hope so.

In the next couple of blog postings, I plan to explore different writing techniques used to add suspense.  So stay tuned (insert evil laugh).


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