#WriteTip - Got Pacing? by @TDHassettauthor, spotlighting her #rockstar #romance Isabel's Awakening

Gone are the days when I wrote by the seat of my pants. I miss the rush, the thrill of discovering my characters as words appear on the page. What I don't miss is having to trunk manuscripts half-way through, or backtrack and painstakingly rewrite large chunks of the story because of a decision I later made.

I consider myself a recovering pantser. I try my best to map out tales, and I use Scrivener somewhat religiously. However, more often than not, I tend to veer from plans already made. Luckily, since I write pretty short, I can get away with it. 

T.D. Hassett does not have that luxury. Since writing in the 60-90,000 range is one of my goals, I've invited her over to give me pointers on pacing. Afterwards, we take a closer look at her rockstar romance, Isabel's Awakening

Got Pacing? Four things I needed to know but didn't.

by T.D. Hassett

My very first book was written literally by the seat of my pants. As in I sat on the back deck drinking after work cocktails and typing away. I didn't know anything about formats, point of view or pacing. It was total luck that a couple of publishers offered contract on that bookand even luckier for me that one of those publishers had a special class for writers who needed fine tuning. I've now written five books and each one became easier to put together. So what were my big take a ways?

If you have too many points of view your story will be confusing! It seems that number is based on a book's length. A book in the 60-90,000 word zone should have three points of view; the hero, the heroine and possibly the villain to add a darkness to the telling.

Panstering versus plotting?  I am becoming more of a plotter with a panster attitude.  Not outlining or using a pacing guide can mean you have unfinished stories. Good stories that wind up stuck in a quagmire because you can’t bring them to conclusion without re-organizing what’s been written. I sincerely believe that my current work in progress would be abandoned by now if I hadn’t spent time using the plotting paradigms to get my ideas organized. Know how it will all come together before you get too far.

Make sure you are dividing up your story into stages to keep that pacing under control. Introduce your H/H by the first third of the story otherwise your reader may lose interest. The next stage should contain the key conflict: What makes this potential happily ever after seem to be doomed? The final section has to tie up all the loose ends. Leaving a few strands hanging is frustrating to the reader. Okay this last part is a personal pet peeve, as I really don't like cliffhanger books.

Finally, the epilogue should be detailed enough to satisfy your reader. My original ending to Isabel's Awakening had a big kiss at the end and that was it. Fortunately I was given some good advice and created an epilogue to show the readers that the happy couple was thriving and truly settled.

I hope these basic tips help in your writing.

Isabel's Awakening

by T.D. Hassett

Who didn’t know the biggest rock band in the world?

  Singer and front man Thomas Morgan was destroyed by the loss of his brother and total destruction of his marriage.  To avoid entanglements with others, even his young son, Thomas focused on promoting his music and newly formed record label. He thought he had everything at a safe distance, at least until Isabel literally slammed into his life.

High school teacher Isabel Warren finds herself falling head over heels in love with the sexy-as-sin singer for the rock band Becket. Soon Isabel’s orderly world of lesson plans, thesis writing, and student loan debt is competing against desire, passion, and her vulnerable heart.

As the sex sizzles, the two lovers will have to decide which parts of their dreams they will sacrifice for their fledgling relationship.


Thomas Becket Morgan was cranky and bored with this place already. His band was playing two shows in this tiny state over the coming weekend, and the small city lacked decent lodgings for the first night’s engagement, so the tour manager had set them up in this suburban hotel from hell.

The town appeared to be a bedroom community, ritzy houses set in quiet neighborhoods and one main road crowded with shopping malls, gas stations, high-end eateries, and designer outlet stores. Drive six miles down the road, and the view became tenement houses just like those in the depression-era book a photographer he admired named Riis had put out. This place was reasonably close to New York City—its one redeeming value—and had he known how close it was in advance, he would have commuted here for the show from his flat in the city.

Gordon, or Gordy as Thomas preferred to call him, acted as both babysitter and tour assistant. He stood in a ridiculously long line at the Five Guys burger place while Thomas looked for something to read. He was sick of hotel food and just wanted bangers and mash but would settle for a decent burger and fries. It had been dreary and raining all day, and they couldn’t even set up and do sound checks at the stadium until Friday morning. Today had been a wasted day.

He envied Rick, the bassist. Fucker. He was staying in his own home with his wife and children and just showing up to do the area shows. That bloke had brains and talent.

Thomas’ most prized possession, a 1963 Fender Telecaster custom guitar, had traveled with him to thirty-two states and twelve countries over the last twenty-four months, and he was sick of it all. He missed his boy and his house, which was now owned by his ex-wife, Sasha, the cheating coke-whore bitch. Thinking about Sasha left a bad taste in his mouth. At this point he even wondered if crazy should be added to the litany of insults against her. He had been receiving odd postcards mentioning his personal skeletons and offering to keep quiet in exchange for joining the sender in “making a real family.” She’d been just unhinged enough since the divorce to try mess with his head and send him that kind of shit.

He’d slept on the plane from Toronto today for too long and woken up with a kink in his neck and an urge to read the next book in a series he’d started reading some years back. Thomas didn’t know why he loved Herbert’s Dune series. Maybe it was the made-for-television movies they’d done on two of the books but whatever. All the desert scenes made him want to visit the Sahara or some big sandy place and ride a camel or some such foolery. Besides, for the rest of the East Coast portion of Becket’s tour, he would be stuck on buses with hours of boring highway scenery with few days off in between shows.

He grabbed a couple of books off the shelf and read the backs to kill time; he was already holding what he’d planned to buy.

The place was quiet; some soft pop canned music played over the store speakers. Sounded like a fucking Justin Bieber song. The walls were the standard beige with framed prints of famous books and movies scattered about. The DVD section had the largest number of shoppers, so the section with the science fiction novels was all his, although he thought he should buy some movies since hotel selections could be trying. He wouldn’t mind picking up the director’s cut of THX.

Just as he switched books, he saw a young woman walking toward his area. She was tall, early twenties or maybe late teens trying to look older, with wet hair hanging out of what he thought must have been a bun-sort of updo, that or one of those new styles. She looked so distracted in her wet blouse and severe long brown skirt. He idly wondered if she would bug him for an autograph and gush like so many of the others her age did. For the first time in forever, he actually hoped she would. It was not something he usually liked; he detested fan meet and greets. But this girl… She just looked yummy.

Her breasts were full. They were practically falling out of her bra through the thin, wet shirt, and her hips were what his granddad would have called “good breeding hips” in his day. She wasn’t all stick shaped and harsh angles like his ex; this girl was curvy and feminine. Her mouth was overfull, with lips that most women would have had to pay a surgeon to pump full of silicone, but somehow, he just knew they were natural. He didn’t think she was wearing makeup, and her skin looked so milk-pale and flawless. Absently, he wondered if she realized that the long, tight skirt down to her ankles made men think more about what was underneath than if she had been wearing a tight mini with fishnet stockings. He watched her like some sort of stalker while pretending to decide between two books.

She walked down the aisle, coming closer to him, and the whole thing was like an auto accident in slow motion. He knew she was going to fall but couldn’t believe she didn’t see the librarians’ step stool in front of her. One, two, three, and down she went, barreling into his chest as he reached forward to try to stop her headfirst descent. She landed in a partial kneel, breasts—oh those breasts—plastered right onto his stomach. He grasped her upper arm and elbow and tried to bring her back level. He slid her body up his shirt and felt hard nipples through the fabric of their clothes. As she stepped back and righted herself, he could see why. Her soaked shirt clearly showed her tits as if the shirt wasn’t even there. Her bra must have been ripped because her nipples were swollen and visible in all their pink glory. Oh, how he loved the pale girls. Such lovely contrasts they had.

She spoke, fast and nervous, but with a young voice. He couldn’t help but feel bad for her; he could tell she was mortified. Thomas pushed her back to her feet gently. He really would have preferred to keep those tits pressed to his chest a bit longer, but instead, he gave her the polite response his mum would expect. Twelve years of all this rock-and-roll shit and a whore-bag of an ex hadn’t left him totally jaded, just mostly.

She spoke, but it took his head a minute to let the words sink in. He couldn’t take his eyes off her face. This girl didn’t need cosmetics. Adding anything more to such kissable lips would be fatal to mankind. They shared a couple more inane comments and…

Oh fuck, she’s going.

He didn’t want her to go. Why had she come down this aisle anyway? Books, yes, books. Ask her about the books, his distracted brain hinted.

Well, fuck me, he muttered silently. She reads Herbert.

About T.D. Hassett

T.D. Hassett grew up reading the romance greats, Jackie Collins, Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught. She was certain that life should be like a romance novel, lots of passion, some incredible adventures and a guaranteed happily ever after. She attended college in New England earning a B.A. in history and a M.S. degree in clinical psychology before changing her mind again and studying education. Currently Ms. Hassett lives in Connecticut with her very patient husband and two young children. Her rambunctious family shares their home with 3 crazy cats and a darling Beta fish named Dorothy. Her eccentric relatives and their quest to make her feel like the only normal nut in the family tree inspire her writing. She also writes under the pen name of Tiffany Dawn. Visit her at www.naughtyandniceofromance.com or facebook/tdhassett/author

Author Interview – T.D. Hassett

I’m delighted to welcome my Liquid Silver pub buddy T.D. Hassett over today. She’s a writer of smoking hot contemporary romances (do not let those covers fool you), and she’s got a brand new book to talk about. Her new release, Darling’s Desire, is a rocker romance and the third book in her Love and Music series.

I’ll let her tell you all about it.

1. Hi Tiffany, and welcome to my blog. As my first guest in the rocker romance subgenre, you get to explain what ties them all together. Does music play a significant role, perhaps?

Absolutely!  The series follows the boys in the rock band Becket. Each sexy and stubborn one of them finds true love when they least expect it.  These gorgeous alphas meet their match with heroines that bring them to their knees.

Thomas’ story is the first in the series but they are standalone full-length novels; no worries about the cliffhanger endings that many readers don’t like. Each book includes a bit of mystery and steamy love scenes that contradict the sweet looking covers.

2. Although Ross is a drummer, a concert’s not how he and Darling meet. Can you tell me more about this mysterious lake house where the two meet?

Darling needs to pack up her late grandmother’s lake house and decide what to do with the property.  It has a checkered past; her mother disappeared from that house years before and recently a handyman was found dead on the property. Despite the house’s history, Darling’s best friend thinks it would make a fabulous weekend stop over for her and a couple members of the band. The weekend becomes a bit longer for troubled drummer Ross and his hesitant hostess.

3. I’m getting the reluctant lovers vibe from Ross and Darling. Do they both have reasons for not wanting to fall for each other just yet?

Now what fun would a romance novel be without some serious tension?  Ross sees Darling as too innocent for the likes of a jaded rock star such as himself. Besides, as soon as he clears up a paperwork issue he is on a jet to Europe to finish up a world tour – who has time for anything beyond a one-night stand?

Darling has been used and abused in a past relationship. She’s vowed to never read more into a man than what he says.  Ross might be hot but he’s troubled. He lost his wife less than a year before. How can she be lusting after a man still in mourning? She’s also busy dealing with local vandals trying to force her out – who has time for infatuation?

4. Despite these reservations, a birdie tells me “passions ignite.” Would you mind sharing a snippet from around the time this happens?


He might have dozed for a bit but was wide-awake at the sound of a splash coming from the lake. He leaped to his feet and ran down the steps to the dock. His heart pounded in his chest. He looked out into the black water with only the gibbous moon and some twinkling lights from the house’s windows aiding his view. There, just a dozen feet away and a couple feet down in the water. He slowly started to breathe again. This was no sea monster or what he’d feared the most, a toddling William fallen into the lake. This was a sea nymph come back to haunt him again.

He waited on the dock, watching the slow strokes of her arms slice through the water until she emerged into the night air. “You gave me a scare. I didn’t know skinny-dipping was part of the party plans.” She startled at his voice and sucked in a little water. He gave her a wink and watched her try to regain her composure.

“I’m not skinny-dipping, and I thought you went to bed.” She swam closer to the dock and rested a hand on the scuffed wood.

Darling heaved herself out of the water and twisted her body to sit gracefully on the scarred deck. “Could you hand me that towel?” she asked, pointing to the neatly folded pile by his foot. Ross forced his attention away from Darling as she toweled her bathing suit-clad body dry. She wrapped it around her body sarong-style and wrung the water out of her hair.

“You often go swimming this late at night? I mean, I just want to know what time to be out here for the show.” Ross shifted his weight from one foot to the other, wondering why the hell he was torturing himself by staying out here with Darling practically naked. The moon shone down, steam rising off the lake providing a mysterious glow.

“I haven’t been here since I was nine years old, but yes, back then we used to come down for night swimming.” She shivered a bit, and he caught sight of a flush of goose bumps on her skin. Guess the night air isn’t quite so warm after a dip in the lake.

“You’re shivering. Come here.” Ross pulled her into his arms and rubbed his warm hands up and down her bare limbs to warm her. He really shouldn’t be doing this. He was playing with fire.

“I didn’t mind the chill afterward when I was a kid. Brrr.” She snuggled against him, and he knew all was lost. He moved his finger under her chin and tipped her head back, finding her parted lips with his own. She didn’t move a muscle. At first, it was like she was a statue until he gently licked her upper lip and pressed his kiss deeper into her mouth. Darling let out a soft mew and began nibbling on his mouth and sliding her tongue against his. She tasted like vanilla and salt and smelled of the fresh outdoors and something that was all her own scent. He pulled her tighter against him, teasing his erection against her soft belly and already thinking about what he would like to do next. It had been so long since he’d felt desire, at least desire that he acted upon. He was separated from her lush body by a beach towel and scraps of featherlight fabric, and the thought was driving him wild. He swept his tongue deep in between her lips, thrusting and tasting the way he wanted to plunder other parts of her. In that moment, on that dock under the moonlight, he felt passion and longing like he’d never experienced before. Damn, I’m going to need a dip in a cold lake to shake this.

“Are you the deep-water person?” A shrill voice came out of the shadows from the beach, jolting Ross and Darling apart.

She jumped to the side of him, and he instinctively shoved her behind his body. Ross whipped his head toward the stranger. “Who the hell are you?” he barked, still feeling startled.

“No, you’re not from the deep water. You’re just a stranger. I’m David. I’m David.” The figure came a bit closer to the end of the dock, and now Ross could see that the voice belonged to a teenage boy. He squinted his eyes in the dim light and made out more details about David. That boy has lost too many balls in the high weeds, poor bastard. He had dark hair and thick glasses. He wore a loose T-shirt and jean shorts with old, worn sneakers. He clasped and unclasped his hands nervously before repeating himself. “I said, I’m David. I’m David, and you’re a stranger, you’re a stranger.”

“My name is Ross, and this here is Darling. Do you live nearby, David?” Ross questioned him gently, realizing that the boy was probably autistic or intellectually disabled and not some wandering psychopath who was going to hack them both to bits with a machete. Like his mom used to say about the wildlife, this boy was probably more nervous coming across them than they’d been surprised by him. Either way, Ross kept an eye on David. The boy kicked at the sand a few times with his old sneakers and glanced behind him toward the driveway.

“Yes, I’m David. I’m David. I live next door in the cottage. My dad does outdoor work. I help. I’m David,” the boy responded in his high-pitched voice seeming more at ease now.

Great, we’ve just met Boo Radley. David stepped onto the dock and walked within ten feet of them before giving a slight wave of his hand. Darling moved from behind Ross and waved back to the boy.

“I bet you’re Mr. Whitaker’s youngest boy. I used to live here every summer as a little girl, and now I’m back to stay, so it’s nice to meet one of my neighbors.” Darling smiled warmly at David before continuing, “It’s kind of late. Does your dad know where you are?”

“I’m David. I don’t go out in the water; there’s something in there. I’m David. My dad’s asleep on the couch again. He sleeps a lot.” David shook his head a few times.

“Oh, okay. So what’s this about something in the water?” Darling asked exactly what Ross was getting curious about himself.

“There’s a monster in the water. I’m David. There’s a secret that lives under the water, and someday it’ll come out. I’m David. I don’t like the water. That’s why it’s called Secret Lake, you know.” He looked down at his sneakers as if studying them.

“I’m pretty sure there are no monsters in the water. But, if you want to come fish off the dock or something during the day that would be okay, as long as you let someone know you are here. I don’t want your dad getting scared. It’s late now so we should all probably get to bed,” she offered.

Darling started walking back toward the house before Ross could even suggest picking up where they’d left off. Her stiff stride and squared shoulders signaled she wanted to be left alone, and he knew she was right to walk away from him. What the hell had he been thinking with, ’cause it sure as shit wasn’t his brain. She was practically a kid herself, couldn’t be more than twenty-one or so years old. With a shake of his head he followed David to the top of the driveway where he made sure the kid turned down a narrow gravel road and got to the porch of a small cottage. Once the kid had opened his door, Ross made his way back to the house and tiptoed up to his own room. He wasn’t surprised to see Beauty Belle had moved her dog bed upstairs—clever girl!—and settled in. Guess you’ll be the only woman looking for more of my company tonight. I sure hope you don’t snore, dog. He stripped out of his clothes and dropped into the creaking bed.

5. Now that's a great way to warm up! Before I let you go, I have to ask—what’s your next project. Is there another Love and Music book in the works?

I can’t say there won’t be one more Love and Music books but I did want to try something new. Recently I started a novel about an incubus who falls in love with a young veterinary technician.  It will be my first paranormal and I expect it to be more of a novella.  It is already red hot, lots of explicit sex including M/M so not one of my sweeter stories. I’m excited by the challenge.

Now that sounds intriguing. Since Tiffany’s book literally came out this week, she’s got a packed schedule (very much like her rock star heroes). For more about the book and author, just scroll down. As always, comments are much appreciated.

Darling's Desire

Darling Roberts is going back to the lake house her mother disappeared from thirteen years ago. She needs to decide to stay or sell. The locals believe the place cursed but her best friend thinks it would be a blast to spend the weekend there before heading to Europe. Madison is determined to set Darling up even if that means dragging a recently widowed rock and roll drummer to the scene of a murder.

Ross Daniels has a secret.  He can’t stand the pitying looks well-wishers have given him since his wife’s accidental death. The European leg of the Becket tour can’t come soon enough.  A weekend stay at a mutual friend’s lake house seems like a decent way to kill a couple of days before hopping a plane, at least until he spends some time with temptation herself.

Will they give in to passion before events at the lake house drive them apart?

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | AllRomance | LSBooks

About T.D. Hassett

T.D. Hassett grew up reading the romance greats—Jackie Collins, Julie Garwood, and Judith McNaught. She was certain that life should be like a romance novel, with lots of passion, some incredible adventures, and a guaranteed happily ever after. She attended college in New England, earning a B.A. in History and an M.S. in Clinical Psychology before changing her mind again and studying education. Currently Ms. Hassett lives in Connecticut with her very patient husband and two young children. Her rambunctious family shares their home with three crazy cats and a darling golden retriever named Delilah. Her eccentric relatives and their quest to make her feel like the only normal nut in the family tree inspire her writing.

Visit her at http://tdhassett.wordpress.com  -- She loves to hear from readers!