#WriteTip - 5 Places to Find Story Ideas by @MSKosciuszko, spotlighting her #Sweet #Romance ONCE AND FOREVER

I'm delighted to welcome M.S. Kaye back to my blog today. We've checked out the first two books in her series, and she's back with number 3. Find out all about it after this brief writing tip break. 

5 Places to Find Story Ideas

by M.S. Kaye

The first question most people ask me when they find out I write is “How do you come up with your ideas?” I think part of the trick is just to be constantly tuned into that part of your brain. Where other people might think, “Wow, I need to Facebook that,” writers are thinking, “Ooh, that’s a great story idea!” Other than everyday life, here are some places where I find ideas and inspiration:

  1. History—Some crazy things have happened in our world throughout the ages. Why not use it? I either pick an event or circumstance and modify it to fit my purposes, or create a link to some major event in history.
  2. Mythology and Fairy Tales—Even crazier things happen in mythology, which makes it a ripe playing ground for writers. One of my YA novels is about teenagers who have been reincarnated as Sumerian Gods. The book recreates a mythological story in a modern way.
  3. Movies—No, I don’t mean steal ideas, but you can pull bits and pieces about the story or characters and then twist it around in your mind and come up with something completely different.
  4. Dreams—I know it sounds corny, but some of my favorite stories come to me from the flashes I see in my dreams. My first novel was a story I’d dreamed clearly. It took me years to realize it wasn’t going to go away and I needed to write it down. Now it’s one of my favorite stories.
  5. Literature—I love referencing famous works to hint at the theme or plot points to come. Or maybe take an O. Henry story and expand it in a modern way. Maybe find out what happened to Tom Sawyer when he grew up.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Once & Forever

Book 3

by M.S. Kaye

Who is the mysterious Santa who leaves toys on the convent steps?

After a twelve-year separation, Eden is finally reunited with her brother, Thomas, but why hadn’t she reached out to him in all those years? Eden, a nun, is constantly struggling against her dark past of living on the streets, and her attraction to Trace, an ex-convict farm worker. As Eden and Trace confess their pasts to each other and grow closer, will they be able to resist getting too close?

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“You know what he did to git sent to prison?” one of the convenience store clerks murmured to the other.

Trace could just hear them over the horrible rendition of “Jingle Bells” playin’ through the speakers. He ignored them, like he always did. He tried to come into town late in the evening to avoid people as much as possible, but that also meant it was quiet enough that he could often hear what people murmured about him. Once he’d grabbed some protein bars and a can of beer, he headed up to the counter to pay.

The clerk with a buzz-cut told him the total, and Trace handed him some cash.

Neither of the clerks made eye contact with him, but they both hovered over the cash register as if he might snatch it and run.

Buzz-cut closed the cash drawer right quick and handed Trace’s change back.

“Thank you.” Trace stuffed the change in his pocket, took the bag of protein bars in one hand and his beer in the other, and walked out of the store.

He headed for the back lot toward the alley. He could get through most of downtown by way of the alley. This late at night it was almost too dark to see where he was goin’, but that was part of what he liked about it.

“Bitch,” someone growled. And then the sound of something—or someone—smacking into the brick wall of the back of the convenience store.

Trace moved more quickly and turned the corner, and he caught sight of a skinny, young woman punching a man in the face. His head snapped back. But then another man slammed his fist across her jaw. She looked so frail that the punch seemed like shooting a cannon ball at a piece of notebook paper.

“Hey!” Trace roared and ran at them. “Git away from her.”

About M.S. Kaye

M.S. Kaye has several published books under her black belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, Florida, where she tries not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at www.BooksByMSK.com.

To receive news on upcoming releases, sign up for email updates on her website.

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#NewRelease and #Giveaway - Summer Hearts #SweetRomance Anthology - Drowning Sandy by @SEDaleyAuthor

I'm delighted to spotlight the Summer Hearts anthology today. You may remember Kathy Bosman from her various visits to my blog. She's part of this collection of sweet romances as well, but she asked me to spotlight Sarah Daley's story instead. Since I've always had a weakness for mermaid stories, how can I resist?

Without further ado, here's a closer look at Drowning Sandy. (Don't forget to scroll all the way down to get to the Rafflecopter)

Drowning Sandy

by Sarah Daley

part of the summer hearts anthology

The water is calling...
and Sandy can no longer resist the urge to unleash her mermaid form. But a simple swim in Lake Ontario ends when she discovers the truth of her own banishment. When long time crush, Alardo, seems to shift in a direction she never dreamed possible, Sandy must make a choice — mermaid or human? Once she chooses, she can never go back.

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Character Interview with the Heroine and Hero

What is your favorite food?

Sandy: My mother’s lasagna, ooey-gooey and fresh from the oven. (Excuse me while I wipe off this drool.

Alardo: I’ve got a hard-core sweet tooth. Chocolate, carmel, anything sweet really. Not suppose to eat sweets with the strict diet the guard is on, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

Do prefer to plan things, or be spontaneous?

Sandy: I’m a planner. I plan everything, and have lists of the lists that need to be made. I do not take change well at ALL.

Alardo: I like to think I’m the perfect mix of both. Not to be cocky, but I can be spontaneous when I need to be, and yet I don’t mind taking my time and planning things out when it comes to getting things right.

What one thing do you wish you could tell your past self?

Sandy: That’s a tough question. Maybe I’d tell myself to just breath, but I don’t think I’d tell myself to do anything differently, because I’m pretty happy with the way things have ended up. It’s not perfect, but I feel like I’m where I was meant to be.

Alardo: O-o-oh that’s a tough one. I think I’d have to tell myself, to not hang with Shelly quite as much as I had. Who would have know that Sandy would take so absolutely wrong. Ugh.

Did you struggle to tell your author anything?

Sandy: Actually in the beginning she wanted me to share this book with my twin. It took her like two drafts before she got the fact that this was MY book. I love my twin, but this… this was about my moment. Shelly’s will come, and I can’t wait for you to read it!

Alardo: Nah, Sands was plenty of vocal for me. I knew Shelly wasn’t mean to be a lead roll in this book. I just sat back and waited, because my side of the story was told pretty straight on.    

What is your favorite part of your story?

Sandy: Honestly, this whole story is such a huge changing point in my life, it’s hard to pick just one moment. Maybe the first time Alardo kissed me. Wow, uh, did it get a little warm in here?

Alardo: That’s easy. My favorite moment was when I found out Sandy would be staying for good. If I’d been human, I would have collapsed and landed right on my well shaped behind. Mermen do not collapse though, so my parents will probably never know that for once in my life their ultra controlling, backwards thinking way of life actually did something right.  

What inspired the title of your story?

Sandy: I should think that would be sort of obvious. Ha-ha-ha!

Alardo: Well, Sandy went through quite a bit in the story. I think it’s a fitting title since she drowned both emotionally and mentally and then she drowned again quite literally. It was horrible, but like I said, it’s kind of perfect.

Do you think that there is a specific message to your story, that you’d like your readers to learn?

Sandy: Definitely! I think my story is all about choices, and how vital they can be to your life. The tiniest of choices can start a ripple effect, so to speak, that can turn into a tidal wave of change in your life.

Alardo: and along with what Sands just said, I think it’s important to remember to go with the flow. (And that pun is totally intended, by the way.)

What is the origin of your name? Does it have a neat story?

Sandy: Funny story, my name may or may not have come from one of the author’s cousins. But it was a totally inspirational situation. I don’t have a whole lot in common with her.

Alardo: My name is an older Greek name, meaning courageous prince. Originally this story was going to be titled, Sandy’s prince. Lame right? He-he-he

About Sarah Daley

Sarah Daley lives in Arizona with her best friend and husband, Chris, their adorable monster child, and neurotic dog.

At the age of six, she became a reading machine. Devouring everything she could possibly get her hands on. In high school she almost failed English three times because of her detest for writing book reports. Today, Sarah writes whatever stories haunt her dreams, and struggles to focus on one idea at a time. When she isn’t enjoying time with her family, or writing, you will find her nose stuck in a book, or out walking and enjoying the sunshine.

Drowning Sandy is her debut novella!

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Writing Tip - Creating Sexual Tension by Kathy Bosman

I'm delighted to welcome author Kathy Bosman here today. She's my pub-buddy over at Decadent Publishing and her multicultural sweet romance Dragonfly Moments is on sale for $0.99 (for a limited time). You can read all about it right after her writing tip. But first, I should tell you she's got an awesome giveaway going on. 


Click on the Rafflecopter link below to either win the grand prize of a $15 Amazon voucher or one of 5 dragonfly swag bags. Kathy's made beautiful beaded necklaces in a variety of colours and designs - one for each bag (pictured alongside her writing tip).


How to Create Sexual Tension by Kathy Bosman

Click here for a chance to win one of these beauties!

Click here for a chance to win one of these beauties!

Thank you, Tara Quan for hosting me on your blog today. Tara is a fellow Decadent Publishing author who writes spunky, exotic romances with paranormal, fantasy elements.

On my fourth day of my birthday blog tour, I'm offering a short writing tip. I could go into the usual writing tips, like not head hopping or changing point of views, or showing not telling, but today, I want to talk about something that I'm working on in my writing at the moment - sexual tension. Whether you write sweet or sexy romance, sexual tension is a very vital ingredient to keep the reader interested.

Sexual tension is that pull - it involves the emotions and physical attraction. It's that waiting, that longing, that wondering if they will kiss, if the couple will become one, if they will make love. It's built up in that waiting period before they take the action or until the next one. It's made stronger by conflict, by whatever pulls the couple apart, and it's also made stronger by bringing in all the senses.

Even if what you're waiting for happens, make the couple want more. Make them addicted to one another. Even better, bring them close to what they're longing for, but before it happens, stop. When they finally get a taste, use something to pull them apart. 

Show the sexual tension within them by internal dialogue, external dialogue and actions.

I don't know about you, but I like the element of the chase in a relationship. I like it when my man makes himself a bit hard to get sometimes. Doesn't that build sexual tension?

Build it up slowly, simmering beneath the surface until it bubbles up, unable to resist.

After that lead-in, I'm sure you're very curious about Kathy's book (I know I am). Read on for the blurb and trailer, and remember, it's on sale right now for only 99 cents!

Firefly Moments

Seven years earlier, a young and serious Tessa Calitz wrote a letter to free spirit Ryan le Roux promising her undying love. As time passed she forgot about that letter...but Ryan did not.

When he walks back into her life, Tessa is in a relationship and busy setting up her art gallery in Johannesburg. She has plans to start a family, and the arrival of Ryan throws her for a spin. He is the worst thing that could happen to her dream of stability...or is he?

When everything she clung to starts to crumble, Ryan is right beside her to inspire her to greater things. But her compulsion for having marriage and children on her terms alone pushes Ryan away--until she falls in love with an orphaned baby.

What can Ryan do to make Tessa realize that being with him is what her heart has longed for all along? 

Buy Links: Decadent | Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | ARe | Smashwords


About Kathy Bosman

Kathy loved reading as a child and used to devour several books a month. She pushed her dream to write books into the back of her mind for many years until her first child was a toddler and she spent many hours watching and amusing him. Why not write a book to pass the time? After trying out children's books, she found her niche in contemporary romance years later. She wrote her first romance novel in 2007 and was published in 2012.

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