Writers, where do you get your ideas? In my just-released workbook, The Novel Workbook for Messy Writers, the whole first section is dedicated to getting ideas. While some experienced novelists probably have long lists of ideas waiting to be written, beginner writers might struggle with this step—the first step, really! That said, I encourage even experienced writers to complete “getting ideas” exercises. It’s a great for stretching and challenging your creative muscles. My workbook suggests numerous ways of generating ideas but one of my favorites is “This Meets That”.
“This Meets That” is similar to something we have in the book business called “comps”. “Comps” is short for comparables, and it refers to what other books that a book under discussion would be compared to. So an author, an agent, a publisher or a reviewer might describe a book thus: “It’s got the sweet romance of Stargirl but in a dystopian setting like Divergent” (I would read this!) Sometimes comps are simply expressed like “It’s X meets Y” or “part X and part Y”. When I was agent hunting, I described my young adult sci-fi, Zero Repeat Forever, as “Part Terminator and part Beauty and the Beast”. My publisher describes it as “The 5th Wave meets Beauty and the Beast”. But one of my favorite ways to describe it has always been “Twilight meets Terminator”!
What does this have to do with getting ideas? For indie romance authors, who often write and publish six or more books per year, the “getting ideas” part of writing is critical. Readers are hungry for new premises and new characters, but new ways of telling familiar stories are also always popular. So a great way to generate ideas is to mash two familiar stories together, creating something new. In doing this you not only have created an interesting premise for your book, but you also now have access to at least two existing books/stories’ worth of inspiration (and indeed detail) to draw from.
X meets Y premises can be lots of fun, and the further X is from Y the better, in my opinion. Only imagine the possibilities! I’d love to read “Cinderella meets Clan of the Cave Bear” for example. A prehistoric prince and his enchanted mystery princess? Are you kidding me? That would be awesome. Or how about “Scheherazade meets High Fidelity” about a plucky Muslim teen who keeps her disgruntled record store boss amused with stories so he doesn’t close down his failing business. (OMG someone please write this).
I could go on and on about this, but I’m at risk of coming up with premises I want to actually write. And I have a deadline. I need to focus!
What X meets Y retellings would you like to write?
There are many thousands, if not millions of aspiring novelists out there who simply don’t know where to start. Thousands more writers have attempted or even completed a novel or two but are looking for a new way of approaching their next one. Then there are successful, published novelists who are sure they’ve forgotten how to write a novel and will never be able to do it again. And finally there are published novelists who are confident they can do it again if they could just find their laptop under the chaos on their desk.
The Novel Workbook for Messy Writers is for all of the above and more. It’s a writer’s workbook that provides just enough structure to get the creative juices flowing, while leaving writers the freedom to get their words down how, when and where they want to. Lists, quotes, doodles, collage, prose, verse, song lyrics, maps and diagrams will all fit into the Workbook pages, allowing writers to create a complete and detailed blueprint for their novel, including such information as character names, setting descriptions, genre, musical inspiration, props, world-building and much more.
Including prompts and tips on each page, The Novel Workbook for Messy Writers is for novelists of all ages, at any stage in their writing career.
G.S. (Gabrielle) Prendergast is the bestselling author of numerous books for children and teens. She studied writing at the University of New South Wales in Australia, at San Francisco State University and the University of British Columbia. After years of working in the music industry, in social welfare, and the film industry, Gabrielle began writing books when she became a mother, so she could work from home. Her books have received nominations for the White Pine Award, the Canadian Library Association Award, the Vancouver Book Prize and several other honors. She won the BC Book Prize for her YA sci-fi Zero Repeat Forever and the Westchester Award for her YA novel in verse Audacious. Born in the UK and both an Australian and New Zealand citizen, Gabrielle now lives in East Vancouver in a permanent state of “under-construction”. You can find Gabrielle on Instagram or Tiktok @gsprendergast
UPDATE: The winners are…Jennifer Beyer, Debra Guyette, and ButtonsMom2003!
I love my Montana Bounty Hunters. I’ve said it before, but I try hard to make each of them individual rather than cookie-cutter characters with different names. I also love to dream up unique takedowns for your reading pleasure and to showcase who these men are. One of the sexiest characters I’ve written is Cochise.
MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
Former Army sniper, Cochise Mercier, left Denver SWAT under a cloud of controversy, which was why he ended up back home in Montana, and where he heard about the Montana Bounty Hunters. The “cloud” didn’t seem to bother his new boss, so he’s “all in” and finding he enjoys hunting down fugitives for bounties, encumbered by fewer rules.
Sammy McCallister is a by-the-book sheriff’s deputy, who has a beef with bounty hunters. Forced to stand by with her gun in her holster, while hunters take down scumbags, she’s particularly irked by the new guy in town. Cochise, with his long black hair and thousand-yard-stare, makes her uncomfortable, itchy in ways she’s never felt before. When she finds herself needing his help late one night, the reason for her irritation becomes all too clear. She wants him. But first, they have to make it out of the mountains alive…
Are you all caught up reading the original Montana Bounty Hunters series?
For a chance to win a download of one of the stories you may have missed
(I’ll pick three winners!), tell me this: What profession other than bounty hunters would you like to see in my Montana Bounty Hunters—Dead Horse branch, and beyond—stories?
Here are all the Bear Lodge Montana Bounty Hunters! Yes, it’s an old meme and Brian’s been out a while, but do you really care? 🙂
Cochise Mercier, the new hire at Montana Bounty Hunters, took a deep breath to force his heart to slow its pace. A trick he’d learned as an Army sniper to make sure a jerking breath didn’t mess up a shot. The trick worked in most situations when he needed his mind to slow and for his focus to home in on a target or a situation. Clearing his mind meant he was able to take in more of what was happening around him and enabled him to discard the things that weren’t important—like the way the wind beat a tree branch against the side of the house, a steady thump that sounded almost like clomping footsteps. Instead, he concentrated on the way the light, beaming through the tall arched windows at the front of the house, flickered whenever his target paced left or right, telling him where their mark was. An important fact, because in minutes, he’d have to breach the oak front door and be ready to take him down—with his weapon or his body, depending on whether Randy Pinter was armed. A fact Cochise would have to ascertain in a split second.
“Can’t see any movement in the back rooms,” came Jamie Burke’s voice through his earpiece. “I think he’s alone.”
He still wasn’t used to hearing a woman’s voice on the comms. He’d never had a female as part of any of his missions on the ground with the Army, and Denver’s SWAT had, at the time, been all male. That voice interrupted his calm. His instinct was to protect women and children, but she was a part of this team—and his boss—so again, he drew a deep breath, pushed aside his concern, and concentrated on his target. Pinter was pacing in front of the window to the right of the front door.
“Girlfriend’s car isn’t in the garage,” came Sky Reynold’s deep voice. “Must have gone for takeout. I’m moving around to the front.”
“Deputies just arrived,” Lacey Jones’s too perky voice sounded. “I’ll go brief them about what’s about to go down. Make sure they know we have the owner’s permission to be here.”
Cochise could hear the excitement in her higher pitch. Thank God, she was back at the road with the vehicles. The thought of her cotton-candy sweetness being anywhere near Pinter made him shudder. The girl might have qualified with her weapon and might be doing well with her self-defense classes, but she had no real experience going head-on with bad dudes. He didn’t want to be around the first time she was truly tested.
“You call it, Cochise,” Jamie said.
With his heart as slow as when he slept, he felt the familiar ice-water chill flow over him. “Ready,” he whispered and then stepped away from the bushes beside the porch. “Moving toward the door… On three. One…two…three.”
He pounded three times on the door. “Federal Recovery Agent! Get down on the floor!”
Then, just as they’d rehearsed, Sky popped up, used a short cudgel to break the right front window, and tossed a flashbang grenade through the opening he’d made.
Cochise turned his back and crouched beside the door. A split second later, he heard the explosion and a muffled shout. He stood and swung the battering ram against the thick front door. The frame around the door splintered. He tossed the ram and kicked the thick oak, waiting as it slammed forward against dark wood flooring. Then pulling his weapon from its holster, he stepped onto the door into the foyer. Read the rest of this entry »
First, thank you to everyone who got their copy of Guarding Hannah! And an extra thanks to those who took the time to post reviews! Thank you, thank you! Readers trust other readers to let them know a book is good!
Second, there are still release party contests ongoing on Elle James’s Brotherhood Protectors Facebook group. I have three separate ones; the other TEAM WOLF authors have several more. Go play! 🙂
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me what you would find most spectacular about Yellowstone! And have you ever been there?
“Delilah Devlin has given us another phenomenal, thrilling, pager turner to read. My words don’t do justice for how good this book is.”
“A wonderful story with great characters”
“The enticing storyline kept me on the edge of my seat and glued to the pages… Their chemistry was powerful… These two gave me some major Feels.”
What else do you need to know? You’re going to love the dog. 🙂
An ex-Special Forces soldier and his four-legged partner n ex-soldier who prefers dogs to most humans must protect a nature photographer from an extremist group hunting wolves in Yellowstone.
Nate “The Edge” Edgerton prefers dogs to humans, like Pierce, the retired war dog who saved his life in Afghanistan, because he prizes loyalty above all else. He trusts his team and his dog but has learned to be cautious trusting women. After Pierce rushes to the rescue of a nature photographer being threatened by wolf poachers, Nate earns his first assignment as a Brotherhood Protector. He’ll keep her safe but keeping his heart secure will prove to be the hardest part of the job.
Hannah Mackey, a nature photographer tracking wolves, photographs poachers in the act of killing a wolf, and she’s a second away from being shot herself when a large black dog rushes to her rescue, followed by a very handsome and angry man.
When Nate brings her to the Brotherhood Protectors, she’s dismayed that they’re insistent on providing her protection from retaliation by the well-organized poachers who are part of an extremist group, especially when they assign Nate as her protector. She has a job to do, and she’s not going to let the threat from a criminal gang stop her from doing it. She also doesn’t need the big, brooding man following her around. His dog, she’ll take, but Nate? Hell, no. Been there. She can take care of herself, thank you very much.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, let me know who your weekend book boyfriend will be!
If you haven’t already chosen your boyfriend, here’s a suggestion. 🙂
(This book is available for only $0.99 for a limited time only!)
Sometimes a hero and heroine chatter in a writer’s ear. I’ve had several over the course of my career who won’t go away once their story is written. Emmy from vampire series was talkative for many years and insisted on being included in nearly every story in that series. Lacey Jones from my original Montana Bounty Hunters series is my latest muse. When we first meet her in Dagger, we’re sure she seems flighty and vain, but as you get to know her, there’s more to this ditzy blonde than meets the eye.
For the next few days, I’ve dropped the price of Dagger because I want you to meet Lacey. I think you’ll love her! It’s a $3 savings, so be sure to get your copy now! As well, I have the first book, Reaper, available for the permanent sale price of $0.99!
Daniel “Dagger” Renfrew had been a lot of things—an Army Ranger, until he’d mouthed off one too many times to his CO and decided mustering out was better for his long-term aspirations than spending time in Leavenworth; a Seattle beat cop, until he’d gotten bored spending his nights sitting in a squad car in front of corner gas stations; a PI, until he’d informed the wife of the man who’d hired him that hubby was looking for the goods to violate their pre-nup, so she better sue for divorce first; and now, a bounty hunter, which, so far, suited his ADD proclivities. And, in his job, he didn’t look for the easy takedowns. He liked lying in mud or snow with his binoculars trained on a window, hoping for a glimpse of the dirtbag whose mugshot he carried in his hip pocket. If they were badasses—all the better. Dagger preferred when assholes tried to run, because then he’d have an excuse to mix it up, get physical, and blow off steam in an all-out brawl—when the situation warranted, of course.
However, he hadn’t had a job like that in a while. So, in his off-hours, he looked for cheap thrills—sweet-talking easy women out of their clothes or taking repo jobs from the local car dealership.
This morning, he was “reacquiring” a 2014 silver Nissan Altima with a fluffy steering wheel and pom-poms hanging from the rear-view mirror. After verifying the make and model, he strolled as nonchalantly as a man in black tactical pants and boots and a black GORE-TEX jacket could toward the vehicle parked in a condo driveway. Once past the driveway, he ducked low, out of sight of the bay windows in the front of the unit, and sidled up to the Nissan, close enough he could dart up, clear snow from the front windshield, and read the VIN number etched into the corner of the dashboard. After checking with the VIN in the cryptic text message from the dealership’s finance department, he ducked again and reached into his pocket for the key fob he’d picked up from Stuey Higginbotham, who’d called him about the job. He pressed the button, wincing when he accidently hit it twice, beeping the car alarm loud enough a dog in the distance began barking.
So now, stealth was out the door. Dagger cussed, hoping the woman who owned the car didn’t have a boyfriend with a shotgun beside the bed. He straightened, opened the car door, and shoved a small suitcase from the front seat to the passenger side and slid quickly into the car. Not a good move, because the woman who drove the car was obviously short, and his knees banged the dash as he felt for the sliding button to move back the seat and lower it. Seconds ticked by, and he riveted his gaze on the condo’s front door.
A curtain shifted in the window next to the door. A woman’s face, framed by something, maybe a towel, peered through the glass.
“Sorry, sweetheart.” He grinned and punched the ignition.
The door slammed open.
He pushed the gear shift into reverse, but not before he noted she wore a bathrobe that parted as she ran down the front steps, exposing well-toned legs clothed in skin-tight black leggings. Brown and cream polka dots spotted her face in a pattern. Her large blue eyes delivered a glacier glare.
Something about her…
His eyes narrowed, and his foot remained on the brake a second too long.
She slapped the hood of the car then came up beside the driver’s side window, her hands clapping against the glass. “No, you don’t, you bastard. That’s my car!”
He took a second. The towel around her head masked her long blonde hair. The creamy polka dots distracted from her lovely cheekbones and stubborn chin, but those eyes and those legs…? He hit the button to lower the window. He knew the moment she recognized him.
Her jaw sagged. “Dag? What the hell are you doing in my car?”
“Not your car anymore, Cupcake.”
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t call me that. And what do you mean it’s not my car?”
“It’s the dealership’s. Or the finance company’s. Don’t care which.”
“But it’s my car, Dag. You can’t take my car.” Her eyes widened.
Dag saw the shimmer of tears. But he knew that tactic. Knew how often she’d gotten out of speeding tickets and detention hall throughout high school, just flashing those big baby blues and adding a chin wobble that made most men turn to mush.
The wobble started.
At the sight, he nearly groaned. “Take it up with Stuey at Higginbotham Used Cars.”
Her hands fisted on her hips. “And just how the hell am I supposed to get there?”
He shrugged. “Not my problem.” He broke from her glare and adjusted the rearview mirror, any excuse to avoid looking at the woman who’d been the Prom Queen to his Prom King. Back then, they’d had the world at their feet.
She clutched the edge of his window in a white-knuckled grip. “Stop, you can’t leave without me. I have to talk to Stuey. Give me a minute to change.”
“No can do. I have to drop off the car then head to the day job.”
Her eyebrows rose. “This is your side gig?”
Giving a shrug, he let his foot off the brake, and the car inched backward. “Have to go, Lace.”
Her hands curled into fists, and she ran around the front of the car, circling to the passenger-side door.
Afraid he’d run over her pretty heeled boots, he stopped. She tugged on the door handle, but he stared through the glass, schooling his expression, careful not to give her a clue what he was thinking. Certainly not the fact he was enjoying the heck out of seeing her this rattled.
Again, she tried the handle, and then slapped the glass. “Let me inside!”
Maybe she saw that he wasn’t giving an inch. Again, she ran—this time to the back of the car. She spread her arms wide and leaned over the trunk, her tiny frame so short only the top of her face appeared in the rear window.
Exasperated now, Dagger glanced around the quiet street. Doors were opening.
I looked for a scene that would best show you both Hannah’s and Edge’s personalities. Hannah’s a stubborn, independent thing and Edge is the exact same. Here there are discussing the fact she needs protection, with her brother-in-law Billy in on the conversation. BTW, Pierce is his dog. I love writing these two! ~DD
“I don’t need protection,” Hannah said, shaking her head before he even finished.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Billy said. “Hell, I better call Rebecca and let her know to stay close to home until I get there.” He pulled his phone from his pocket and stepped away to place the call.
“This is ridiculous. I have an alarm system for my studio. My apartment’s in the back. I’ll be fine.”
Edge frowned. “If these men decide on taking revenge, they’ll play for keeps, Hannah. I don’t like the idea of having to shadow you either but—”
He stopped mid-sentence because her eyebrows shot up, and her mouth pursed as though he’d offended her.
“What I mean,” he amended, “is I’m in the same boat as you. Hell, so is Pierce. We have to lay low while my team sets up surveillance to make sure they won’t harm any one of us.”
“I can’t have you hovering over me. My studio isn’t huge. My apartment is small—one damn bathroom, a tiny kitchenette, and a bed.”
“Then come stay at the lodge. There’s plenty of room, and no one in their right mind will come after you when you’re surrounded by ex-Special Forces.”
“I’m not staying at the lodge. At least at my place, I can get some work done.”
Good Lord, she was going to argue about every damn little thing. “Fine. I’ll take the couch.”
Her gaze ran from his head down to his feet then back up again. “My couch is a loveseat.”
He gritted his teeth and smiled. “Then I’ll roll out my sleeping bag on the floor.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re not going to take no for an answer, are you?”
He couldn’t help it. Her voice was rough with aggravation, and her eyebrows were arrowed downward in the center. She was cute as hell when she was mad. He smiled.
Hannah gave him a hard glare and huffed. Then she threw up her hands and marched over to her brother-in-law who was still on the phone, presumably with his wife.
An argument ensued. Hannah’s hands gestured wildly; her face turned red. Billy, for his part, kept his cool, blinking once when she pointed her finger at his chest and tapped him. He pulled the phone from his ear, passed it to Hannah, then walked away. He headed straight for Edge.
“Women,” was all he said.
Edge grunted. “Your wife as stubborn as that one?” Edge asked, jerking his chin toward Hannah.
“It runs in the family.”
For some reason, Edge looked forward to meeting the mother and the sister. He cleared his throat. “You putting your wife on lockdown, too?”
“I’ll try, same as you.” Then he grinned, and the smile wrinkled the corners of his eyes. “I’m gonna call Sandy, their mom, to make sure she heads over there and sits on Rebecca until I get there.”
“Think she’ll be on your side?”
“She’s a mama bear. The stubborn’ll work in my favor.”
Edge chuckled. “And I thought I was going to have a nice quiet weekend.”
“Yeah, and now that you’ve met a Mackey woman, you can kiss all that goodbye.”
I’ve finished selecting the stories that will appear in SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY! Congratulations go out to the following authors!
“Fight like Cats and Wolves” by A.J. Harris
“Handfasted to the Highlander Warrior” by Aurora Russell
“SNAFU—Situation Normal, All F***ed Up” by Ava Cuvay
“Operation Purple Sparkle Diamond” by Brenda Margriet
“SEAL in Distress” by Denise De Marco
“Star Diplomacy” by Kimberly Dean
“Take Me to the Water” by Michal Scott
“This Time Forever” by N.J. Walters
“Weathering the Storm” by Natasha Moore
“Sarge in Charge” by Reina Torres
“Broken Trust” by Rhonda Lee Carver
“Clear to Engage” by Sukie Chapin
Of course, there will also be stories by Elle James and myself, too. I’m super-excited about this book! ~ Delilah