The Calm Between Books

Hi everyone,jane

Today Teresa Noelle Roberts visits us, talking about living her dream, and the life between books.  This for me is quite fascinating, as one of the things I’ve noticed along this writing journey is that when I particularly get horrendously busy with writing/editing/promoting etc, I crave housework.  I crave something where I don’t actually have to think.  I crave simple. Easy.  I thought this craving for order and a concise life would disappear, that it was a freak thing at one stage of a particular book, but no, it rears its head (ugly head??) with each book.  So I have figured it’s all about balance, taking it in my stride and turning on the answerphone when I want to take a nana nap (and no I’m not a nana yet!)

Today, I have finished this round of edits…so I’m kinda in the calm between the next round LOL.  Now… housework, or a snooze?

Big decision.

Welcome to Teresa Noelle Robberts.


The Calm Between Books

As a writer, I find the position I’m in now a curious and delightful one: I’m actually spending much of my time writing, as in putting together new words.

If you’re a reader, not a writer, this statement may not make a lot of sense. What else do writers do?

But if you are a writer, you may understand. My latest book, Knowing the Ropes, came out in February. After I wrote the book—and while I was working on the next one—came rounds of edits. I have a wonderful and wise editor and a meticulous line editor, so it was several rounds. Then came sending out review copies, setting up a blog tour, and figuring out other forms of promo. The promo storm, of course, continues after the book is released.

Then just when things were starting to settle down, I got the proofs for the forthcoming print edition, and oh, could I pull together some reviews to include?

Of course I could, and did, and I was thrilled by the chance to do so. I’m not complaining for a second about being a published author. It was my dream even as a small child, and I still end up pinching myself that I not only get to write books and stories, but I get paid to do so. My imaginary friends help me pay my bills, just like I always hoped from the time I realized that books didn’t appear magically out of the air: other people created them.

But my little-girl self never imagined all the business aspects of being an author, and while my adult self accepts them and even enjoys them (I’ve been reviewing cover proofs for a forthcoming book and that’s just plain fun), my inner child just wants to write stories.

Which is why I’m enjoying this brief time when Knowing the Ropes has been released into the wild, needing only occasional attention from me, and when the edits for my next release, Cougar’s Courage (Duals and Donovans: The Different, Book 3, due out in October from Samhain), haven’t arrived yet.

Of course, I’ll probably post this and those edits will be in my in-box the next morning, so I’d better get cranking out some new words while the writing is good.

Knowing the Ropes:KnowingTheRopes_v1


Blurb: Selene’s had submissive fantasies most of her life, but as a domestic abuse counselor, she’s leery of giving up control. Until she meets Nick, a dom who offers to show her the ins and outs of ropes, paddles, and floggers.

Selene’s common sense, kinkiness, and smoking sensuality is Nick’s dream. Except they’ve agreed to a no-strings arrangement, not romance. When an ex needs their help, can they save their love from all the things they’re afraid to say?

Warning:  Sexy, kinky, geeky dominant guy. Smart submissive woman. Crazy ex. A little experimentation between girlfriends. And lots and lots of kinky sex.


A tease of an excerpt:

Selene stretched out her bare foot, brushed it against his calf. Hard muscle under soft denim. Nice.

Yeah, Nick might just have something to do with the euphoria.

He took the hand that wasn’t holding her beer.

No, he didn’t exactly take her hand. He covered her hand with his and closed his fingers around her wrist. Then he looked into her eyes.

A slow, sensual smile opened on his face as he said, “That’s better. Isn’t it?”

It wasn’t really a question, but he was giving her an out if she wanted it.

She didn’t. That firm grip on her wrist hinted at so many things she’d dreamed of. “Oh yes,” she breathed. “Better.” She dropped her voice a notch. “And wetter.”

It may have been purely coincidence that the woman sitting behind her giggled at that second, but Selene was sure she’d overhead.

Heat flared in Selene’s cheeks and, to her surprise, between her legs. She squirmed in her seat, less from actual embarrassment than to enjoy the pressure the movement put on her swollen lips.

Under the cover of the first round of food arriving, Nick leaned forward. “So, you enjoy a little bit of public embarrassment? I’ll file that away for later.”

“You’re so confident that there’ll be a later?”

“What do you think?” He ran one fingernail down the tender inside of her forearm.

His nails weren’t sharp, but she still shivered.


Find Teresa –

Twitter: @TeresNoeRoberts



Buy links:


Amazon US:

Barnes and Noble:




Happy reading everyone

Jane Beckenham


Scorching sex: definitely on the menu. Hold the love, please…

Workaholic Carly Mason is caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock: an invitation for four days of sun and sand with her friends and their men. The hard place: “Mr. Invisible”, who lusts after her with delicious abandon, doesn’t exist—Carly invented him to keep her friends off her back about her lack of a love life.

Then she encounters a motorbike-riding Adonis whose image taunts her during the wee small hours. When fate drops him in her sights the next day, she grabs the opportunity to offer him a job. Pretend to be her Romeo, just for the duration of her getaway.

Exhausted from months negotiating his multi-million-dollar company’s expansion, Marco Valente is more than tempted by Carly’s outrageous proposal. If nothing else, it’ll give him a temporary escape from his high-profile life—and his mother’s serial-bride attitude.

Once on the island, Carly realizes her well-meaning friends have tricked her into a “relaxing” vacation. For the next four days and nights, it’s just her and her hired Romeo. And a growing connection that definitely wasn’t part of the contract…

LIving with your characters

Hi everyone.jane


I had a break from blogging last week – family/real life getting in the way.  Back again though, and locked in the writing cave editing my Regency. 

A kind of weird thing struck me the other day, however.  Here it is 2013 and I’m writing a Regency set in 1813.  Isn’t that so freaky?  Exactly two hundred years apart. 

It also got me wondering (don’t get the straight jacket out yet), but I wonder if people back then thought about the future, what it would be?  I really don’t think they would have ever thought that we would be writing about them.  And yes I know my characters are made up etc, but to me they are real.

I remember a lifetime ago reading Juliette Benzoni’s books.  Loved, loved, loved her medieval series –Catherine and in my naiveté I wondered how she knew what these characters thought and said etc.   They were so real on the page and when the hero Anaud died, I was devastated, cried my eyes out.  It was just so unexpected. 

Now that I think is a sign of a great story and craftsmanship.  Ms Benzoni made me BELIEVE those characters were real.  I cared about them deeply.  Felt their pain, their joy, rode with them on horseback, smelt the flowers.  Basically I lived their story.   

They were my introduction to sagas that spanned over 6 books, similar emotions stirred years later when reading Jamie and Claire’s story in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. 

This got me to thinking (yes more thinking) about other characters I’ve loved.  Sophia James’  Lady Madeline Randwick in Ashblane’s Lady.   You feel her pain and despair from page one.  Then there is the fun and quirky Poppy Collins in Nicola Marsh’s  Not the Marrying Kind and the entire quirky town of Love in Crazy Love

Many a time as I’m reading I find myself grinning – a sure sign that it’s a satisfying read and that I really love the characters. 

With my own books, especially when I’m in galley edit mode just before publication I get the warm fuzzies particularly as I read the end.  It’s like ‘wow I wrote that’!  Such a buzz, and one of course I hope my readers will love it too.


So, who is your most favorite character of all time?  And why?  What reaction did you get when you finished their story?


Happy reading everyone


Jane Beckenham


PS – An excerpt from HE’S THE ONE


The moment Cade turned, everything changed.

Cade Harper. Bad boy. One sexy guy.

Taylor’s voice stalled in her throat, and she knew, when his smiling eyes captured hers, she was in way over her head.

Cade wiped his hands on a cloth and again Taylor’s gaze followed. Long, lean fingers. Fingers that would touch… Oh, boy!

He smiled. “You wanted to see me?”

She nodded and felt herself drowning in that smile. His dark eyes twinkled, a swirl of gold and chocolate brown. Just like Hershey Kisses.


Yep. She was definitely going under.

“Lady, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve got a bar to run,” he said, grabbing a knife and cutting a lemon into wafer-thin slices.

Taylor shook herself. Okay. Come on. Just say it. “I’ve got a favor to ask.”

“Ask away then,” he said, not looking up.

Taylor burned and eyed the milling crowd. “Actually, it’s a proposition.”

He definitely looked then, and his gaze focused on her. He placed the razor-sharp knife on the cutting board. His mouth quirked at one corner, smiling, gaze assessing. “Sounds intriguing.”

Sounds stupid.

He leant forward and rested both hands on the bar, the flex and tension in his forearms a powerful tease. Taylor swallowed hard.

“Is there anywhere we can talk—privately?”

“Out back in the den.” He flicked a hand toward a door behind the bar.

“More like going into the lion’s den,” she muttered.

“You say something?”

“Ah…no.” She dropped her gaze. Damn. Why hadn’t she chosen a different career? One where her clients didn’t ask about sex?

Holding herself stiff and feeling as if all eyes followed her movements, she walked behind the bar. As she brushed past him, the musky scent of his cologne teased her senses. Taylor willed the butterflies dancing a tango in her stomach to abate. They didn’t listen.

No more than a storeroom with boxes piled high along three of its four walls and a desk barely visible beneath a pile of papers and computer sheets, this room wore many different hats.

Every word Taylor had practiced dissolved from her memory as Cade closed the door behind him. The soft click of the latch echoed a thousand-fold. She spun around. He leant against the door, arms folded across his formidable chest, his gaze candid. He looked dangerous—but very delicious.

He spoke first. “Do I know you?”

“Not really.” Not yet.

“Shame.” He gave another of his long, lingering smiles, the kind that emphasized the dimples on either side of his sexy mouth. It set her toes curling and her body pulsing. Her internal temperature gauge hit the jackpot. Oh, Lordy, she was out of her depth.

But here goes.

“I’m Taylor Sullivan. We didn’t meet, exactly, at Brianna Bennett’s wedding. I was her planner.” She jerked out her hand. Cade took it in his. Warm, strong fingers enveloped hers. The tips were slightly calloused, and the friction sent goose bumps skittering across her heated skin. She willed herself not to yank her hand from his and held herself in check.

“You touting for another wedding to plan?” Cade pushed away from the door, dwarfing the room. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of jeans that skimmed his long, muscular thighs. “If you are,” he said, with a shrug, “you’re out of luck. Marriage and I don’t mix.”

Taylor tightened her grip on her bag, desperate to silence the slamming of her heartbeat. “So I heard.”

“You’ve heard more about me than I have of you,” he replied.

A hint of a smile tipped the corners of her mouth. “You’re quite well known, Mr. Harper. Successful and entrepreneurial.”

“I work hard.”

“And play hard, so the papers say.”

“Gossip and innuendo,” he countered, his steely gaze sizing her up.

A bead of sweat trickled between her breasts. Cade hadn’t taken his eyes off her since they’d entered the back room.

That has to be a good thing. Shows he’s interested, her subconscious reminded her.

Taylor shifted from foot to foot.

It’s now or never, Sullivan.

With a deep breath that really didn’t soothe her chaotic thoughts, she pulled herself to her full five-foot-ten height and dived in. “I want you to have sex with me.”

Cade’s dark eyes bolted wide. “Whoa.”

Heat suffused Taylor’s cheeks. “Oh, hell, this is stupid.” How dumb could she be? She reached for her bag, but the over-laden carryall slid from her fingers and upended, scattering its contents across the floor.

Taylor gasped and, for one long, drawn-out second, simply stared. Her breath strangulated in her throat, and a furious heat burned behind her eyes. There, right at Cade’s feet, lay her box of condoms.

Blinking back tears, she dropped to her knees and gathered everything as fast as she could. “Stupid, stupid.”

Then worse worsened.

Cade reached the condoms the second before she did.

“You must be a good Girl Scout,” he said and passed the box to her.

Their fingers touched.

Their eyes met.


All the oxygen seemed to be sucked from her lungs. She pulled away, shaking her head, struggling for a semblance of practicality.

“Always be prepared. Isn’t that their motto?” Cade chuckled.

This was bad. Really bad. Mortified, Taylor refused to look at him and kept her lips firmly closed. She shoved the box into her bag and zipped it closed with a firm tug.

Open up again,she warned silently, and you’ll be in the rubbish bin.

She straightened, walked to the door and opened it. Strains of Dr. Hook’s “Sexy Eyes” wafted into the small room. How appropriate. Cade’s dark eyes were just that, downright sinful and sexy.

“Wait,” he said.


“You’ve just proposed something way out there and I want to know why.”

Her hand fell from the door.

“You intrigue me.”

Cade’s seductive gaze traveled her length, lighting a trail of heat to the tips of her toes.

“Are you going to tell me why you walked in here and offered yourself? Sex is a serious game.”

Taylor searched for the right words, unsure if there were any right ones. “In my business, I need experience.”

“You plan weddings. You don’t have to sleep with the grooms.”

Taylor gasped, but not one single word came out. Cade wanted an answer. Deserved one. She clutched her bag, kneading the leather. “I…get asked questions,” she finally managed to whisper.

“What sort of questions?”

“Damn it, Cade, do I have to spell it out?”

“Seems so,” he said with a hint of amusement glittering in his way-too-sexy eyes.

“You’re enjoying this.”

“Sure,” he said, not even denying it. He gave another of his smiles, the ones that got her all hot and bothered. And right now, she was very bothered.

“I get asked questions—about sex. S-E-X. Got it?” Taylor looked everywhere but at Cade.

“Got it.”

She thought he’d laugh, joke, something, but not do this…not be gentle. Cade caught her chin in his fingers, turning her so she had to look at him. “So why not answer them?”

Oh, man. Where were those damned red shoes of Dorothy’s when she needed them? Kansas looked pretty appealing right now.

“I can’t answer them.”


The tip of her tongue slid along her teeth. “Look, I realize this is on the edge of weird.”

“True,” he agreed, much to her chagrin. “I don’t have a beautiful lady come into my bar every day and ask for sex.”

He didn’t? Taylor’s brows knitted. Why not? Cade was hunk material. He made her forget—everything.

“Questions, you said,” he prompted.

Oh, God, there was no way out. Not even an earthquake could save her now. “The questions are something that goes with the territory of being a wedding planner. Brides get anxious,” she said, hugging her bag to her chest. “They may be experienced, even living with their partners, but sometimes, as the wedding draws near, they get skittery. They ask, um…questions—about sex. Questions I can’t answer, because…”

“Because you’re a virgin?”

Oh, where was that earthquake when a girl wanted it? “That’s right.” Heat burned her face. Her scalp. Everywhere. She speared Cade with a direct glare. Don’t you dare laugh! Don’t you make me feel any worse than I do, she silently challenged.

But he didn’t laugh. He didn’t smile. What he did was worse. Much worse.

He closed the gap between them. Taylor’s body erupted into high alert, nipples pebbling beneath her lacy bra. She could deal with him at a distance. But close up, everything changed. Body heat got in the way.




Introducing…Tina Donahue

Hi everyone,jane

Well Thursday is about over and I have missed the boat with my blog post.  Life sure does get in the way sometimes. 


I’d like to take the time today and introduce you to author Tina Donahue.  Previously the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company, today, Tina writes contemporary, erotic, paranormal and historical romances.   I met Tina as a Samhain author.  She also writes for Ellora’s Cave and Kensington and runs the Sweet ‘n Sexy Divas blogspot.  Check it out here.  


Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites praise her work and her list of awards is a whos who in the writing world.  A finalist in the in the 2011 EPIC competition.  Winner of the Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books.  Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition (2011 and 2012), second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years) and she’s also featured in the 2012 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market.


 Today Tina is giving us a peek at her novel


 Passion without limit. Carnal hunger that knows no bounds.

 Outlawed Realm, Book 3

 Within Earth’s five dimensions, nothing is as it seems…and desire is never far away.

 In E4’s jungle, Kuma was the Alpha werewolf, bent on revenge against the hated guards. Swept with them into the E1 dimension, now he prowls Seattle at night, stopping the thugs from abducting women for use as sex slaves in E4’s Pleasure Palace.

 On her way home from her nursing job, Gwen senses danger in the night’s shadows—an instant before a stranger attacks. Clinging to consciousness, she watches the impossible, a wolf fighting him off…protecting her. She wakes in her own bed, convinced it must have been a dream until she sees Kuma in human form. Virile, intense. A man like no other.

 Within his powerful embrace, Gwen experiences rapture she didn’t believe existed. His unrestrained lust and burning need end her loneliness, though not the menace they face. The guards are a constant threat in their hunt for women and their determination to see Kuma dead. Together, he and Gwen must fight—for his life, her freedom, their future.

 Warning: Out-of-this-world sex and a romance to die for. Features a hunk whose inner beast won’t be tamed, and the woman who craves his most shameless desire.

Buy Link:


Shameless Desire

 A stream of male and female workers to his left exited the tall beige building, stalling his thoughts. He fought the urge to fall back into the shadows of the hospital, uncertain as to what went on within. The structure was nothing like the Pleasure Palace in the realm from which he’d come. The Palace’s contours were massive and black with no openings at all, the activities inside hidden from those in the jungle. Icy white light poured from this building’s many windows, too high for him to peer inside.

The woman’s scent grew stronger.

He looked beyond the males and females who moved past. At that moment, the crowd thinned out, revealing a woman who’d lagged behind the others. Her.

The breeze seemed to pause. He no longer felt the rain sprinkling his face. Indescribable sensations pumped through him, a mixture of wonder and caution. He shouldn’t stare, knowing it would bring attention to himself, yet he couldn’t resist.

A tall female, she wore jeans as he did and what he’d learned was a hoodie on this side, the navy fabric pulled up over her head, protecting her hair from the thin autumn shower, hiding those tresses from him. The few wisps that escaped were short and dark. She’d stopped in a wedge of light from the building, the harsh illumination revealing her exotic features, lush lips, coppery skin. Her fragrance wafted toward him again, the woodsy scent intoxicating, complementing her pale blue eyes, the color sheer, ethereal.

Beads of water collected on her long, dark lashes.

She shoved her hands into her hoodie’s pockets, advanced a few steps, then stopped, noticing him.

Rain pattered against the concrete, matching the brisk thumping of his pulse. Music poured from inside a car, the steady throb of its bass intensifying the moment. Wind whipped past. Tires swished over asphalt.

Ignoring the incessant noise, she studied him with what appeared to be female interest and curiosity. His legs weakened at the thought that she might come to him. He imagined her drawing closer.

She remained where she was, color rising to her cheeks, darkening them. Why? Because she feared him…or wanted him?

Heat radiated from his chest to his belly and groin, stiffening his cock. Unused to clothing, he wanted to tear away his jeans, tee and suede jacket. At the very least, he ached to approach her. Intuition warned him to remain where he was…for the moment. When she left, he’d follow. He had no choice, sensing what awaited her on the shadowed streets. Within the last half hour, the smell of a guard—one of the most hated predators in his realm—had grown more obvious, leading him to this part of the city. If the night air had been calm, he might have located the man’s hiding place with little effort. As it was, the wind kept changing direction, snatching the odor away.

To put her at ease and keep her from leaving the safety of this place, he smiled.

Her lips parted. A bead of rain slipped over the bottom one to her chin. He imagined licking it off, kissing her throat, taking her into his arms and doing so much more.

His desire didn’t go unnoticed. She seemed uncertain whether to return his smile or to flee.

Stay here until the threat’s gone. The guard will move on to a new location. He’ll stalk another woman.

Her indecision broke. She crossed the parking lot, her strides long and purposeful.

On instinct, he advanced a step, then stopped himself from tailing her. He couldn’t now, not after they’d exchanged such a prolonged glance. For him to follow too close behind would make her run, perhaps scream, bringing unwanted notice. His only option was to wait and allow things to play out as they had since he’d come to this realm, hunting—killing—protecting those he could in the hours before dawn.



You can find Tina at:






Amazon author page:

My page at TRR:



Happy reading everyone

Jane Beckenham


Twitter @JaneBeckenham



So I’ve been  given this fab award:


The Sunshine Award is given to bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the Blogosphere”.   Isnt’ that so lovely.

Here are the Sunshine Award rules:
1) Thank the person who presented you with the award and link them in your blog post.
2) Do the Q and A that comes with the award (see below).
3) Present the award to 10-12 other bloggers and link them to your blog.

So without further ado…

1          Gosh, I really need to first thank the lovely Eve Devon for passing this on to me.  The name Sunshine Award really just makes you want to smile.

2          Q and A:

Favourite Colour:   I have to say that without a doubt my favourite color is blue and pink would be a very close second.  Anyone who has been to my home will recognise my passion for all shades of blue.  I convinced my hubby just a few months ago to paint our family room, dining room and lounge in shades of blue.  I have blue furniture, blue glass/plates/ornaments.  But rest easy it’s not overkill

Pink of course is there too.  What can I say, I’m a girlie, girl.


Favourite Animal: Dog.  We adopted our dog a Jack Russell/Springer Spaniel (his mother was a good time gal) and I adore him.  Bingo was an abused puppy who was rescued and we took him in at age 5 months.  He’s a darling and when we’re away later this year I’m going to be soooo home sick for him.


 Favourite Number: Hmmm now this is something I really don’t know.  My dad’s lucky number was 4,and I guess since I was a daddy’s girl, that I’ll have to pick four.


Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink:  Oh, I’m a diet coke nut.  I try not to be really, truly, but I reckon since I don’t drink tea or coffee (actually I don’t really drink hot drinks at all) that my thirst for DC is ok.  Isn’t it?


Facebook or Twitter:   Well I tried to be a twitter gal, but really I’ve gone back to FB – more interaction, more real to me.


My Passion:   Apart from my writing?  It would definitely have to be interior design, I’m bonkers for it.  Many years ago I trained as an interior designer, but.. well, writing got in the way.  I love reading about people’s homes (i.e. I have way too many magazines), love watching the home programmes on TV, and I’m looking forward to buying some different home magazines when I’m in the US in June and July.


Getting or receiving presents: I like giving gifts.  Except for men because I think they’re hard to buy for LOL.  I
Favourite Pattern: Um – Florals of all kinds I think.  Again I think it’s that girlie girl thing going on.

Favourite Day of the Week:  Monday – because it’s the start of something new. And everyone is gone to work and I have a QUIET house to myself


Favourite Flower: Definitely lavender.  Because I love the smell, and it’s meant to help you sleep and I’m a terrible sleeper.


3          And now I get to nominate:

Anne Ashby

Elle Druskin

Louisa George

Helen Lacey

Abbey MacInnis

Frances Housden

Ally Broadfield

Sara Hantz

Annie Seaton

Patricia Eimer


Thanks to Eve Devon for passing it on!

 Happy reading everyone

Jane Beckenham

Secrets and Seduction

Jane Beckenham

Samhain Publishing


He wants to hate her, but a little lust wouldn’t hurt…

The only emotion Leah Grainger can muster when thinking of her dead husband is relief. Until she learns his gambling debt threatens her beloved farm and the child she wanted to protect from the rootless existence she grew up with.

The last straw? Her husband’s brother demands a meeting. When she charges into his office to tell him she won’t let another Grainger screw up her life, the startlingly handsome, former oil rig wildcatter goes for the jugular. He’s claimed legal guardianship of her daughter, bought her mortgage…and he’s moving in.

The final email Mac received from his suicidal brother blamed Leah for everything. If it’s the last thing he does, he plans to protect his niece. Even if it means using his millions to gain the upper hand. And hardening his heart against the beautiful Leah’s protests of innocence.

Yet something seems off. Leah is nothing like the uncaring woman his brother described. She’s warm, loving…and when a new threat to her child surfaces and she reaches out to him in need, his body won’t let him say no. Even when her last secret forces him to make a decision that exposes his most closely guarded possession. His heart. 

Product Warnings

Contains tug-your-heart love, raise-the-roof lust, a marriage of convenience and hot sex that will give a whole new meaning to the word “wildcatter”.


Four Cup Review – Literary Nymphs




Welcome to Author Louisa George

Hi everyonejane

That time again.  This week I’m absolutely delighted to bring author Louisa George to you.  I’ve known Louisa for quite a few years now and when she received THE CALL from Harlequin Medical a few years ago I was dancing for joy for her.  (just a note here… LEAVE A COMMENT – because Louisa is giving away a book to one lucky person)

 I’ve asked Louisa to tell us about how she creates characters.

 Character Forming

 Louisa George photoHi Jane! Thanks so much for inviting me here- hello from Auckland, New Zealand where the sun is shining and we’re just moving into fall!

Today I’m going to share a little about creating characters Louisa George style.

For me, characters aren’t just important to the story- they are the story. If, as we are told, there are really only 7 true plots, characters are what make those plots unique and different for each author’s books. Characters and their actions/reactions to a situation, in genre fiction at least, are what draw the reader in and keep them hooked to the end. Why? Because without character you don’t have emotion. And emotion is what romance readers expect.

There are lots of how-to books to help with character development, I use one called ‘45 Master Characters’ by Victoria Lynn Schmidt if I’m looking for character trait inspiration.

People often ask me if I base my characters on an individual /friend / relative. Heck no! I’d be sued! Instead I look for inspiration from everywhere/anywhere- magazine images, overheard conversations, an emotion (such as jealousy or revenge), or the news.  In my current release, The Last Doctor She Should Ever Date I kind of based heroine Dani’s family on the Kardashians! I wondered what it would be like if you were the only member of that family who didn’t seek fame and fortune and notoriety. So Dani was born!

I often start with an image or a feeling to develop character. In my third book, The War Hero’s Locked-Away Heart I began my story with an image that I just couldn’t get out of my head.  A woman is jogging along a seemingly deserted beach (although she hates jogging) and she sees a man standing on a rocky outcrop staring out to sea. He looks disheveled and haunted and her interest is piqued.

I began to ask myself a few questions:

-why would a woman be jogging if she hated it

-why would she be intrigued by someone standing on a rock

-why was he there

-why was he disheveled

I already knew a couple of things: the heroine, Skye was a secondary character in another book I wrote and she became quite real to me so I just had to write her story. But until I began I had no idea what her story was.  I also knew she was an unconventional heroine- she had short black spiky hair and a pierced nose. (Yeah, why I wrote her like that in the first book I don’t know, but it came back to haunt me lots of times!).

Turns out that Skye has a nurturer personality. She has looked after her dying mother and then taken on the care of her 3 younger teenage brothers. She’s also a nurse at the local GP practice. That’s why she’s intrigued by the loner on the rock. Does he need helping? Because she’s the one to do it. Only, she’s out jogging because she’s getting fit to go travelling, leave all her nurturing days behind and have an adventure with an exotic Mediterranean man somewhere far away.

Hero- Adam. I just had a ‘feeling’ about him. I knew he’d suffered something terrible.  So I asked him a load of questions until he told me what it was.

I don’t always do character questionnaires, although they can be useful to get to know a character. But I prefer to ‘write myself’ into the character’s head a little –a few pages, maybe a chapter until I can see them more clearly, what they like, and don’t like, what they want. What motivates them. What are their goals etc. Often from their goals you can derive a great conflict. Eg: Army medic Adam was suffering from survivor’s guilt after his platoon went down, he has wandered aimlessly through the last 4 years and now needs to put roots down.

So we have a basic external conflict: Skye wants to leave. Adam wants to stay. For me, that’s a good enough basis to start writing!

I’ve just finished my 6th book for publication and I’m trying to think which character is my favourite. They’re like my children, though, I can’t have a favourite! I think the most fun to write was Dani, she had a wild past and such a bubbly personality I couldn’t help but love her.

Category books are great for finding well-written characters. In 55,000 words you can only generally deal with the two main protagonists’ story of falling in love – but we do get to know them very well. It’s important to make readers empathise immediately so I always like to put them in some sort of predicament on page 1. I particularly admire authors who write great characters, such as the great Liz Fielding and Kate Hardy. When I read their books I know I’m in for a deeply emotional ride with characters I will immediately love.

I was once told that to find the true strength of your main character you have to be mean to them. Throughout the course of the book you have to give them a variety of obstacles to face, and they have to a) get steadily worse and b) be the worse possible things they could ever imagine! I started out resisting this idea because I didn’t want to hurt my babies, but now I get tougher and meaner. Mainly, however, in category romance, the tests are to their emotions- I make them want to trust but be unable to, to want to let go, but struggle against it. Then when they finally do, things go bad. And then worse. (hee, hee). But it’s testament to their inner strength that they can get over all their character faults and let love in, just before I write those wonderful words The End.

Visit Louisa’s website

Louisa’s latest release, The Last Doctor She Should Ever Date Last Doctor US

And here:

All about Louisa George

Having tried a variety of careers in retail, marketing and nursing (where a scratchy starched uniform was mandatory), Louisa is now thrilled that her dream job of writing for Harlequin Mills and Boon means she gets to go to work in her pyjamas.

 Originally from Yorkshire, England, Louisa now lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with her husband, two sports-mad teenage sons and two male cats. Writing romance is her opportunity to covertly inject a hefty dose of pink into her heavily testosterone-dominated household.

When she’s not writing or reading Louisa loves to spend time with her family and friends, enjoys traveling, and adores eating great food (preferably cooked by someone else). She’s also hopelessly addicted to zumba.

Visit her at


Thanks to Louisa for some great character insight.  Now you won’t think your authors are mean to their characters when they leave them in a burning house, or kill off the only person they’ve ever loved – until the hero comes along of course!


Jane Beckenham


Scorching sex: definitely on the menu. Hold the love, please…

Workaholic Carly Mason is caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock: an invitation for four days of sun and sand with her friends and their men. The hard place: “Mr. Invisible”, who lusts after her with delicious abandon, doesn’t exist—Carly invented him to keep her friends off her back about her lack of a love life.

Then she encounters a motorbike-riding Adonis whose image taunts her during the wee small hours. When fate drops him in her sights the next day, she grabs the opportunity to offer him a job. Pretend to be her Romeo, just for the duration of her getaway.

Exhausted from months negotiating his multi-million-dollar company’s expansion, Marco Valente is more than tempted by Carly’s outrageous proposal. If nothing else, it’ll give him a temporary escape from his high-profile life—and his mother’s serial-bride attitude.

Once on the island, Carly realizes her well-meaning friends have tricked her into a “relaxing” vacation. For the next four days and nights, it’s just her and her hired Romeo. And a growing connection that definitely wasn’t part of the contract…


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