Tag Archives: Romance

Looking for Action

Passive voice. It’s every writer’s enemy. If you’ve ever had to write book reports or term papers with any degree of regularity, the telling style of writing is something that is hammered into you. With the analysis type papers we write in school it’s all about tell, tell, tell. Writing in passive voice can become so automatic we slip into it in our fiction. All that manages to do is create a very slow ,tedious read.

Fiction writing is all about the active voice. We want to show not tell so that our readers are in the action, seeing it unfold. Writing inactive voice is all about crafting the scene so that it comes to life in the readers mind.  We don’t want narrators to run amok explaining the events that unfold.  After all, this is a book not a dissertation. With that being said, I’m going to use an excerpt from my current WIP to demonstrate my point and give you a before and after shot.

The Original Scene

Thank god for decent night vision, Adrian thought as he navigated his way to the suite’s bathroom. Lee slept soundly and he didn’t want to turn on a bright room light and awaken him. Closing the door behind him, he flipped on the bathroom light revealing a sizable room that had black granite counters and floor tiles, a jacuzzi tube that could fit three people, and a little alcove for the toilet. He took a minute to study himself in the mirror that covered the wall from counter top to ceiling and stared in amused wonder at the variety of markings that Leland had left on his body. Lee had always been a territorial sort. He used the bathroom, then exited to go check in with North since he’d been out of touch all afternoon. The blow came out of the darkness. He heard the rustle of clothing mere moments before the blow landed and was able to deflect the first blow, but didn’t react in time to completely block the second. The knife his attacker wielded sliced his forearm. Pain radiated up Adrian’s arm from the slice, in the at instance he knew something wasn’t right. 

Rather blah if I do say so myself. Lots of telling, internalization, and unnecessary description.  I’m telling the reader about the action instead of putting the reader in the middle of it. The scene was full of he felt, he saw, he heard. All of this is telling which distances the reader from the story and slows the overall pace. That’s certainly not something that you want especially not when it’s building toward a fight scene and you really don’t want to slow the pacing of the actual fight scene with telling. Now try the scene again after two rounds of rewrites.

The Edited Version

“Thank  god for decent night vision.” Adrian padded to the suite’s bathroom. The hinges gave a soft squeak and he cringed, frozen in place. He glanced back over his shoulder toward the king sized bed. Lee’s face stayed buried in the pillow. Adrian let out the breath he’d been holding. He really didn’t want to dive into round two of messed up relationship discussions. Sleeping with Lee wasn’t one of his better ideas, but once Lee had kissed him he couldn’t have stopped if he’d wanted.

He eased the door shut and flipped on the lights, squinting as the over bright blast assailed his eyes. He took a minute to study himself in the mirror that covered half of the wall.

“Damn Lee,” he murmured. The cold granite pressed into his stomach as he leaned in to the counter as he poked at the variety of markings that Leland had left on his body. “I look like the victim of a vacuum run amok.”  He turned trying to get a look at the injury on his back. No more pain, but the flesh remained a bit raw and pink.

 He used the bathroom, then washed up. He needed to call Chris. He hadn’t checked in all afternoon. He eased the door open and reached to flick off the light, as he did a rustle of fabric caught his attention. He whirled in time to see the glint of a blade as it arced toward him. He deflect the first strike, but he didn’t react in time to completely block the second . The knife his attacker wielded sliced his forearm.

“Leland. Grab your phone and get the hell out of here. Now!” He yelled. His strength seemed to wane and an odd tingling sensation grew with every blow he landed. Something wasn’t right.

See the difference? Instead of telling you what Adrian heard, you’re hearing it with him,  feeling his emotions with him, etc. I’ve also sped up the pacing, made the scene flow better,  and made the page easier to read by having smaller chunks of text instead of massive paragraphs.

What other tips and tricks to you have for shifting a scene from passive to active. Believe me I need all the help I can get.




Celebrate Amazon Heat’s Release With Us!

Today is a very exciting day for Melinda and I. Today our novella, Amazon Heat, releases from Carina Press. To celebrate, we’re having a release party with a giveaway of a $50 Amazon gift card at Bitten by Books. Please stop in an join us. The party officially starts at 1:00 PM EST but you can pop in on our RSVP page to get extra points towards winning the prize.

We couldn’t be more excited about the release of the first in our series. Let us share a bit about the book

2 years ago…

Driven by grief to find a cure for cancer, Elizabeth DeMarco left Logan Spencer to accept a position on a research expedition to the Amazon rainforest. Kidnapped by guerrillas, she was saved by a secret all-female civilization, the last of the ancient Amazons. But Elizabeth discovers she’s traded one form of captivity for another.


Logan never stopped searching for Elizabeth. While consulting in the remote Brazilian interior near where she was kidnapped, Logan suffers what should be a fatal fall. Near death, he’s collected by the Amazons and magically healed. Elizabeth is the first person he sees as he wakes.

But there’s no time for a joyful reunion. The Amazons’ mystical medicine is rapidly changing Logan. They want his DNA and plan to take it—and then kill him. Logan and Elizabeth must escape before dawn or Logan—and their second chance at happiness—is doomed.

Buy it at: Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance EBooks.

It’s also available in audio through Audible.com. I just listened to the audio sample it sounds so awesome!

Celebrate with us every one. It’s an exciting day!


Get in on the Action! Exciting Excerpts from Robin Perini & Melinda Leigh

Attacking the Page is part of Montlake debut authors Robin Perini & Melinda Leigh’s Grand Slam Joint Blog Tour Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of our debut books from Montlake Romance, IN HER SIGHTS and SHE CAN RUN, Robin and I are blogging together and giving away a Kindle to a lucky commenter on one of these four blogs. One entry per blog permitted. Comment on all four blogs to be entered four times. There will be free books, too!  In fact, we’re giving away 2 copies each of IN HER SIGHTS and SHE CAN RUN today.
November 27 –  Romance Bandits
November 28 –  Attacking the Page
November 29 – Get Lost in a Story
December 8 – Caridad.com
Contest ends midnight (EST), December 9th.  The Kindle winner will be announced on the four blogs and on Melinda and Robin’s websites on or around December 10th.Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Contest open to US residents only. Entrants using multiple accounts will be ineligible.

And now for the action!

IN HER SIGHTS by Robin perini

The trigger felt right.

The sight was zeroed in, the balance perfect. The Remington 700/40 fit her body and her mind like an old friend she could trust, and Jasmine “Jazz” Parker didn’t trust easily. But she and this rifle were connected in a way a lover, friend, or family could never be. The Remington would never let her down.

The only hitch—she didn’t have an ideal shot at the kidnapper. Not yet, anyway.

Sweat beaded her brow in the Colorado midmorning sun. Without taking her gaze from her target, she wiped away the perspiration. Every second counted, and she had to stay ready. Negotiations had fallen apart hours ago and the ending seemed inevitable. To save the governor’s daughter, Jazz would excise the five-year-old girl’s captor.

Jazz shifted, relieving the pressure against her knees, the stiffness in her hips, but the rifle remained steady. She centered her sight on the small break in the window.

Having focused through the high-powered Leupold scope for hours, she waited for an opportunity for the scumbag’s blond head to move into range. They all made a mistake sooner or later. His face or the back of his head, she didn’t care, but she needed a clear shot through to the medulla oblongata. The kill had to be clean; the man had to crumple with no time to think and no reflex to pull the trigger.

“Blue Four, have you acquired the target?”

The question came through her earpiece loud and clear, but she spoke quietly into the microphone. “Negative.”

“Blue Two, what is target’s position?”

“Zone Two, pacing. He’s carrying the girl, a gun at her head, a Bowie on the southeast corner table. He’s nervous, unpredictable.”

Jazz could trust Gabe Montgomery’s assessment of the situation. He, unlike his brother, Luke, she could count on. And what was Luke doing in her head anyway? Now was not the time to be thinking about the one guy she should never have let near her.

“Blue Two to Blue Leader.” Gabe’s voice filtered through the communications system. “He’s on the move again. Going toward Zone One. I repeat. He’s headed to Zone One.”

Jazz’s body froze in readiness. He was coming her way. If Blue Leader ordered the guys to rush the house, she had to be on her game. She would protect them. She wouldn’t fail.

The blinds fluttered. Jazz forced her breathing into a comfortable, familiar pattern. “Blue Leader, this is Blue Four. I see movement.”

A blond head peered out, face straight on front, the area between nose and teeth in clear view.

“Target acquired. It’s a good shot.”

“Can you see the girl?”

“He’s got a gun to her head.”

Only a second passed before the expected order came through.

“Take the shot, Blue Four.”

“Ten-Four, Blue Leader.”

Slowly, deliberately, Jazz exhaled and, between heartbeats, squeezed the trigger.


Award-winning author Robin Perini’s love of heart-stopping suspense and poignant romance, coupled with her adoration of high tech weaponry and covert ops, encouraged her secret inner commando to take on the challenge of writing romantic suspense novels.  Her mission’s motto: “when danger and romance collide, no heart is safe.”

As a writer, Robin is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high stakes adventures with a love story sure to melt their hearts. Robin’s strong characters and tightly woven plots have garnered her seven prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finals, and Golden Heart Winner in 2011. Stolen Lullaby, will be published by Harlequin Intrigue® in May, 2012 as Finding Her Son. Her other 2011 Golden Heart® Finalist, In Her Sights, will be published by Amazon’s Montlake Romance November 29, 2011.

By day, she works for an advanced technology corporation, and in her spare time, you might find her giving one of her many nationally acclaimed writing workshops or find her training in competitive small-bore rifle silhouette shooting.  She’s a voracious reader and a die-hard fan of the T.V. series, BONES.

Robin loves to interact with readers.  You can catch interact with her via AmazonFacebook, Goodreads, Google+ or Twitter.  For more information on Robin Perini and her books, see her website, RobinPerini.com

SHE CAN RUN by Melinda Leigh

Beth’s hand trembled. Her knuckles hovered an inch from the recessed oak panel. The office door was closed, which meant Richard didn’t want to be disturbed. She glanced at the box in her hand, delivered by messenger just moments before. It must be important. Would Richard be angry if she interrupted him? Or angrier if she didn’t? Her stomach clenched. He’d be angry no matter what she did.

With a hitched breath, she rapped lightly. The latch hadn’t caught properly and the door swung open. Beth froze, paralyzed by the scene before her.

Confusion shifted into comprehension, and fear turned her insides to ice water.

Could she slip out before he noticed her? She eased backward, but Richard sensed her presence. He turned and stared. Their gazes locked for a few seconds, his feral, hers panicked. The lion and the gazelle.

Then he grabbed the crystal letter opener on his desk and lunged.

Beth ran.

She couldn’t leave the house. Her children were upstairs. She needed a weapon. Her eyes locked on the kitchen doorway ten feet away.

His Italian loafers scraped the wood floor of the hall behind her as he fought for traction. The rubber soles of her sneakers fared better. She almost outran him. Almost.

At the threshold, he caught her in a flying tackle. She flung her hands out. Pain shot through her wrists and palms as she braced her fall before her face slammed into the tile.

After all this time wondering if he’d eventually kill her, there was now no more doubt. If she didn’t get away, she was dead.

Panting, on all fours, he pulled on her legs. She donkey-kicked backwards, catching him on the side of the face. He grunted. His grip loosened, and she belly-crawled forward a few inches before his hand closed around her calf.

She raised her chin and eyed the knife drawer, an impossible ten feet away on the other side of the room. In a frantic visual sweep, her peripheral vision caught the cordless flashlight plugged into the outlet on her left.

She kicked at his fingers. They jerked open. Pulling a knee under her body, she pushed forward and yanked the flashlight from the wall. Richard crawled closer and slashed at her middle. Her skin registered a flash of agony, then went numb.

Without losing momentum, she turned over and swung the flashlight in an arc toward his head. Metal clanged against bone.

His eyes widened in shock before his body went limp.

Shaking, Beth scrambled out from under his torso. Blood seeped through her silk blouse.

Lungs heaving, she rooted through the odds-and-ends drawer and pulled out a roll of duct tape. She rolled him to his side, forced his wrists behind his back, and taped them together. As an extra precaution, she secured his hands to a heavy table leg, then bound his ankles. She slapped a final piece of tape across his mouth. Richard wasn’t going anywhere until the cook arrived in the morning.

Adrenaline and nausea coursed through Beth as she glanced at the clock. She had exactly ten hours to vanish.


More than a decade ago, Melinda Leigh left a career in banking to raise her children and never looked back.  She started writing when her youngest child entered first grade as a way to preserve her sanity. Melinda holds a 2nd degree belt in Kenpo Karate, studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and teaches women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house in the suburbs with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs and one neurotic cat with an inexplicable fear of ceiling fans.  With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination.

Melinda is a member of Liberty States Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death, and International Thriller Writers.  Readers can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.  Find out more about Melinda at her website, MelindaLeighAuthor.com.

What do you think of these two excerpts?  Comment for a chance to win free books today and be entered in the Kindle Grand Slam giveaway!

Summer Reading

Summer will officially be here as of June 21st. The summer months signify a couple of things for me. First, my birthday(July 26th)  is rapidly approaching. Second, the season for reading is here. When the weather turns warm, it’s time to break out the shorts and kick back in the air conditioning, in my favorite chair with a good book. I know most people think about beach/pool reading, but I so don’t do hot. In anticipation of lazy weekends and lengthier vacations, I’ve already started loading my Nook and my iPod with a books that I plan on reading over the summer months.  Some are from my TBR pile that I’m finally getting around to reading others are hot, new release for the summer.

So far I’ve got the following in my summer reading pile:

  • Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb
  • New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
  • The Search by Nora Roberts
  • Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
  • Smoking Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
  • Breaking the Rules by Suzanne Brockmann – Just finished reading this and really enjoyed it.
  • Bad Company by K.A. Mitchell
  • Finding Forgiveness by Dana Marie Bell

I’m sure this list will grow as summer passes. I’ll be sure to keep you updated. Now tell me, what’s on everyone else’s reading lists this summer? Any suggestion for books I should add to my list?

If you’re looking for a fun romance reading challenge for the summer, Book Chick City is hosting one. It’s runs between June 1st and Sept. 30th. The goal is to read eight romances novels in four months. If you’re interested in the details of the challenge click the link about above.

***Update on Virginia Kantra’s post contents. Janet Kerr was selected as the winner of a signed book. Congratulations! To collect you can contact Virginia through her website with your contact info. www.VirginiaKantra.com***

Let’s Talk Favorite Love Scenes

If you’re writing romance and you haven’t read Monday’s post by Caridad Pineiro about writing sexy love scenes you may want to check it out. She offers some really terrific tips.

Today I want to talk about favorite love scenes. The romance genre encompasses a wide range of sub-genres. At one end of the spectrum are inspirational romances, where the sexual contact is kept at a minimum and is usually behind closed doors. At the other end is erotic romance which leaves little to the imagination. Personally, I enjoy a fairly wide range of love scenes, but most definitely door open scenes. I not really a huge fan of fade to black unless it’s warranted.  As long as the placement of the love scene and the progression of the relationship make sense, bring it on.

One of my favorite love scenes is between Eve and Roarke in Naked in Death by J.D. Robb. When these two make love for the first time they get so much more then they expected. Both of them experience something that they’ve never found with anyone else, and that they weren’t even sure they were capable of feeling. It’s sexy, touching, and truly memorable.

Another scene I like is Robin and Jules in Force of Nature by Suzanne Brockmann. I think it’s a fave partly because Suz made us wait so long for these two men to get together. She really built the tension in the previous books. Every time they were in a scene together I would shout at the book “Just kiss him already!” Getting back to my point, this is subtle and suggestive love scene. The love making is not explicit at all, but still sexy as hell.  However, the best part of the scene is the afterglow in Robin’s POV. He’s just so awed that this man that he’s been in love with for years is finally here in his arms. I just loved it.

So I’m wondering, as a reader, how do you prefer your love scenes and do you have a favorite?