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What makes a romantic suspense novel?

As a reader as well as a writer, I like the mix of danger and romance. Statistics show I’m not alone. Romantic suspense books are popular sellers.

I’ve often wondered why we love a dash, or should I say a slash of suspense with our romance. I guess a psychologist could answer that. But for me, a well plotted romance and an equally well plotted suspense, woven seamlessly together works. Each storyline moves the plot forward and holds my attention. Perhaps the need to solve a mystery helps keep my pages turning.

A romantic suspense must have a compelling love story often with the hero and heroine striving toward different goals. They share a strong attraction for each other that might get in the way of solving the mystery, perhaps even put them in danger. Still, they must be sympathetic as each of them struggle with internal problems and personal baggage while maintaining a determination to catch the bad guy(s). Right is on their side, though the villain might take issue that statement.

A believable villain is important too. Not just a crazy man or woman wanting to hurt people, but a villain with a credible goal. The average person would think the objective is completely wrong. However, the villain knows he’s righteous. The idea keeps him motivated and the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. The anti-hero should be intelligent, a person to be reckoned with, fear imparting and perhaps a bit mad.

Mysteries are often written in the first person. However, the romantic suspense has multiple points of view allowing the reader to understand the motivation of many characters.

In suspense, it just gets worse and worse until the reader can’t see how the hero and heroine will solve the suspense and survive. There is often a possibility the villain may win and all will be lost.

You can check out romantic suspense books on Amazon.

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Harvest Moon

Reggi Allder writes suspense and contemporary romance novels, including the Her Country Heart Sierra Creek Series and the Dangerous Series. Her characters cope with life as each fight to discover a hidden strength and work toward a lifelong goal. Learn more about Reggi and her books at her website.

Fall is a wonderful time of year. Here on the west coast, the large harvest moon lights the night and though the weather is still warm, with the cooler nights, the leaves have begun to change to glorious autumn colors.
 
As a writer of suspense, I sometimes see the night as a place of mystery and danger. But the amazing glow of a full moon can light nefarious activities usually hidden by darkness. So, the harvest moon might help track the villain or aide the hero/ heroine in a search for a mysterious stalker. And though it is almost Halloween, the real scary moments come from true to life characters who appear normal but plan to execute a diabolical crime for simple reasons such as greed, revenge, or jealousy.
 
In my romantic suspense novels, I have used vacation locations in California as counterpoints to danger, including Lake Tahoe and Carmel By the Sea, Lake Arrowhead. For my current romantic suspense, Dangerous Denial, I needed to find a retreat for my main character after she survives a traumatic experience. The heroine is an organic gardener who dreams of owning her own vineyard. So, Sonoma County was the ticket.
 
Though hard truths gnaw at her, the heroine is doing her best to forget the past and concentrate on her future. However, even if she denies being in danger, the full moon shows the reader she is being observed. Meanwhile, Sonoma Country offers an opportunity to contrast the beauty of the vineyards and the charming Pacific coast villages that dot the area, with the lurking danger pursuing her.
 
I enjoyed doing a bit of historic research while looking into the wine industry. Father Junipero Serra was the first to introduce wine grapes to California when he planted the vines, brought from Mexico, in 1769. Though many more people may have heard of Napa Valley wines, the vineyards of Sonoma Country were planted first. The Spanish Franciscan fathers laid the foundation for the wine industry in 1832 when Padre Jose Altimera planted several thousand grapevines at their northernmost mission, San Francisco Solano in Sonoma. Later, the grapevines were introduced to the Napa Valley.
 
At harvest time, the picking of grapes in Sonoma County is done in the late summer and autumn. The heat of the day often rises above one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Night harvesting started in in the early 1970s because the grape sugar levels were more stable in the lower evening temperatures. Some vineyards may still harvest using hand tools, including knives and/or shears, manual or electric. 
 
After the grapes are cut, they are placed in containers and taken to the winery. Afterward, the wine is often stored in wooden barrels in wine caves built into the hills of the area. No matter the outside temperature, inside the caves the air varies only about 5 degrees Fahrenheit, between 58 degrees and 63 degrees throughout the year.
 
A question I wanted answered: Do some of the wineries make sparkling wine and champagne? Yes.
 
If you would like to visit Sonoma, many places are still open: https://www.sonomacounty.com/coronavirusn
 
Wine cave tours:
https://www.sonomacounty.com/articles/guide-visiting-wine-caves-sonoma-wine-country
 
If you like the author Jack London, Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf, visit the State Historic Park:
https://jacklondonpark.com/
 

Dangerous Denial

Dangerous Denial
The Dangerous Series, Book 2
 
What would you do if you witnessed a murder and no one believed you?
 
Executive assistant Skye Turner thinks most people are good until her beloved boss is murdered. The police call his death a suicide. What is the truth? She needs help to uncover the circumstances leading to his death.
 
United States black ops member Jon Lancaster is restless while he recovers from injuries received during his last assignment. Pretty and diverting, Skye is probably mistaken about her boss’s death. Still, he decides to assist her in deciphering the events of the day the man died and also dig though the clues left for her.
 
Can Skye and Jon control their growing desire for each other? Are they ready for the lurking danger waiting for them?

Lies and betrayals—can you win against the odds?

Whether it involves business or family, everyone has a secret in their life, even if they aren’t aware of it. That’s the premise in Dangerous Money.

When my heroine realizes her dream job, she’s thrown into the world of the superrich and ruthless and finds herself surrounded by a web of lies.

A caterer, she’s given the job to plan the birthday party for a billionaire software developer. Money is no object and only the best is acceptable. But before the evening is over the man is poisoned and she is the prime suspect.

She’s stunned when the police believe she’d kill a man she only met once. A reporter, looking for an exclusive story to revive his career, is her only possible ally. But can she trust a man who’s only interested in his job? Not only that, why is someone trying to kill her?

For one of the protagonists, I needed a strong male who wouldn’t be put off by threats or danger, a person who wouldn’t stop even in the face of his own fears. A character other than the usual cop or law enforcement officer was required. In order to bring us TV’s nightly news reports from all over the world, foreign correspondents are often in life threatening situations without the benefit of a weapon. According to ABC News, more than seventy journalists were killed on the job just in 2013. At least fifty were killed in Afghanistan. Forty-nine journalists were killed in 2019 and many more were held hostage.

I admire these brave men and women for their dedication to protect the people’s right to know. An investigative journalist, back home after being wounded overseas, was the right person to be my protagonist. He would not be easily deterred and would continue to fight for the truth even against the odds.

The mystery/ romantic suspense, take place in the California beach community of Carmel by the Sea. The book concerns a software developer so, it seemed obvious to set the book in the Silicon Valley with its many big-name companies and even more startups. However, I’ve spent many summer vacations in Carmel-by-the-Sea / Monterey, California. With my family, I kayaked, swam and went sightseeing. We enjoyed Point Lobos State Reserve, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seventeen Mile Drive, just to mention a few of our favorites.

Watching the waves on the beach during one of the visits, I realized the tranquil beauty and perfect beach weather of the area could be a counterpoint to a dark mystery punctuated by imminent danger.
If you are interested in Carmel: https://www.carmelcalifornia.com/

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Dangerou

Christmas

Happy Holiday to all, whatever holiday you celebrate.

Though I don’t do much baking during the rest of the year, at Christmas time I enjoy making Christmas cookies and pies. I put on holiday music and cook.

Usually traditional Christmas songs like Silent Night and Oh Holy Night are played, but recently I heard a song that was more country. “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy” is a song co-written by Buck Owens and Don Rich in 1965. The song has been covered by several country music artists, including Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley among others. This tune rang a bell with me because in our family my husband always dressed up in a Santa suit on a Christmas Eve. One year the younger of our kids said she could tell it was Daddy because Santa wore the same glasses as he did. The jig was up, but the kids still wanted him to wear the suit the next year too.

Now we have a four year old and a six year old in the family, so my hubby will be back in the Santa suit again.

Do you have a special holiday tradition?

Whatever holiday you and your family celebrate, have a wonderful and safe time during this extraordinary year!

Here is a pie recipe to serve or deliver to the family and remain safe with Covid.

AN EASY PUMPKIN PIE RECIPE:

  • 1 deep dish frozen pie crust. Keep frozen until used.
  • 1 14 oz can of pure pumpkin
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, add more if needed for taste
  1. Preheat oven at 425F
  2. In a large bowl beat 2 eggs, then add sugar, pumpkin, spice and mix together. Slowly add half and half. When completely mixed, pour into the frozen crust.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes at 425F. Reduce heat to 350 F and cook for 55 to 60 minutes or until an inserted knife come out clean.
  4. After pie cools, keep covered in the refrigerator until needed. Serve with a whipping cream topping.

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Looking for a summer love? How about a classic romance? Plus 5 Summer Safety Tips

We have all been waiting to be out in the sun. Are you finally able to hit the beach or shore?

When you do go, remember to bring a book with you. Here are five great classic romance novels available in print or eBooks. Let them take you away from the world of responsibly and transport you to a place far away from today’s life.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon published 1991 and published in the U.K. under the title “Cross Stitch. Plot? This book is too long for a synopsis. I’ll just say it’s a great read, 20th century, 18th century, Scotland, historical romance, science fiction; it’s one of the best.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen published 1813. This tells the story of the Bennet family, the father, a country gentleman, his wife and five daughters. Each daughter needs a suitable husband. The main character is Elizabeth Bennet. As the book opens an appropriate gentleman moves nearby and the excitement begins. Read this book and understand why readers love Mr. Darcy. Temperature: Sweet.

Jane Ayre by Charlotte Brontë published 1847. This book follows Jane from childhood to her life as a governess at Thornfield Hall with its dark secrets and her relationship with the mysterious Mr. Rochester. I first read this in high school and still love it. Temperature: Sweet.

Little Women Louisa May Alcott published 1868. Family life and love in the 1860s. Meg is the eldest daughter is and on the brink of love and Jo is a tomboy who longs to be a writer. This is different than the movie and gives a truer version of life rather than the 21st idea of what it should have been. Temperature: Sweet.

Tell me No Lies by Elizabeth Lowell published 1986. Priceless artifacts are smuggled from China into the U.S. An international crisis is brewing and a thief must be caught. One woman is the key to understanding the events. If you like this book try Lowell’s series Amber Beach, Jade Island and Pearl Cove. Temperature: Hot.

5 Summer Safety Tips

  1. Stay out of the sun during the hottest time of the day 10 am to 4 pm.
  2. Wear sun block and reapply every few hours or when you go into the water.
  3. Do not use sun block on babies under six months of age, instead keep babies in the shade.
  4. Remember to protect your eyes from the sun. If you use sun glasses be sure they are UV protected and if you can wear a hat. Good for babies too.
  5. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.