I have a secret weapon for writing 5-star fiction most people don’t know about. I’m not a writer who spends weeks or months plotting new stories. When I write, I don’t create book boards, outlines to plan my storylines, or worry over where my arcs should occur, how the villain will cause chaos, or what the hero or heroine will do to insure an HEA. I don’t even know in advance how my manuscripts will end.

If you consider all those necessary details, you might scratch your head in wonder how I’ve managed to write even one cohesive story––let alone a novel. But four books in a year? Impossible, right? Not really. Last year, I published four books…and all four books had different genres. Ha, if you had asked me on January one if I could accomplish that feat, I would have belly laughed at the prospect. Without my secret weapon, writing one manuscript would have been impossible. 

How Do I Come Up With Story Ideas?

Ideas blossom everywhere. The smallest detail in everyday life can trigger a story. The first time I heard Atlanta’s Lake Lanier was man-made, and an entire community still slept beneath the lake, my creative juices exploded. Freak accidents, strange phenomena, and eerie lore attached to Lake Lanier claiming the lake never gives up its dead presented the perfect setting for time travel––a topic I’ve loved ever since my third grade teacher read to our class Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time.

Ideas bubbled to the surface and my debut novel, BENEATH THE LAKE, was born. What if excavation created more than a lake? What if during construction dynamite explosions triggered a seismic shift, creating a portal connecting past to future? That one premise not only unlocked three stories in my first trilogy, Lake Lanier Mysteries, it also set up my newest series, Three Sisters Island Mysteries, a time travel suspense cozy mystery trilogy. TIMELESS SECRETS revolves around Lake Lanier’s time portal, too. For me, storyline ideas have never been a problem. But ideas don’t write books, so what about the writing process?

What Is My Secret Weapon?

Once an idea niggles, I think about how to present a hook in the first few lines. What intrigue will my hero or heroine confront? When I answer that question, my first character comes to life and that’s all I need. Why? Because my characters write my books…as clear as whispers in my ear, they tell me their stories. I’m simply the vessel they use to reveal the saga to the world. That might sound absurd to many, but believe it or not, I have no idea where my chapters will go until I begin writing…and as the chapters unfold, they reveal the pathway every inch of the way until the journeys play out.

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I never know how my books will end, how long they’ll be, or what genres will unfold until my secret weapon––my characters––reveal their tale. Some people say I have an innate gift or talent. Some say I write by the seat of my pants. All I know is my characters are my secret weapon, and their stories have led me to multiple 5-Star books and a USA Today and Amazon best selling author status.

But make no mistake, YOU, my readers, breathe life into those characters and fuel my stories to completion. YOU are my inspiration to write my books! Without YOU, the ideas would wither and die in the dusty attic corners of my mind. So, thank you all for following me and my work. I cherish each and every one of you.

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