Thursday, October 23, 2014

Homicide detective murders romance novel plot

Hello everyone! I don't know if you remember, but in September I posted about the Citizen's Police Academy (CPA) class I was taking. You can check the post out here, but to summarize: the Durham Police Department offers an introduction on all its many pieces and parts that runs for six weeks. You learn about everything from the bicycle unit to forensics and it's awesome. If your police department offers one, you should take it.

The last day of the class was October 2nd. I missed it (because I had to work), but I got my certificate and a nice photo at the second-to-last class.

Now I'm applying all the research to my writing. The results have been messy.

When people ask me about my process and my research, I tell them that I research as I write and that's true. Usually that serves me fine. Usually I have enough understanding to sketch the basics of a plot and scene to fill in later with details as I do more and more research.

Yeah. That's not working with this book.

I knew television cop dramas weren't accurate. I knew I only had the foggiest idea what an actual police department did and how a homicide was investigated. I knew all this and I had a detailed sketch of my novel anyway. Because how off could I be? This method had worked for me for five other books.

Then I talked with a homicide detective about the specifics of the book I was working on and he murdered the plot. Shot the poor thing dead. 

So now, instead of writing, I've been revising the plot to fit the actuality of police detective work. And it's a messy process.

The left notebook is my notes from both the detective and the CPA class. There's a laptop in the upper right with what I had of the book open so I can go through it scene by scene.The bottom notebook has a new detailed outline of each scene (with some scenes deleted and others added) to make what I'm writing fit the real world. And there are post-its to remind me not to forget to account for something later in the book.

I have an office and a desk, but for some reason all this is taking place at my dining room table.

Here's a little excerpt from the book. I tried to find an excerpt that wasn't going be modified with my research and wasn't successful. The feeling of the book will stay the same and this should give you a good sense of the feeling the book starts out with.
Every Wednesday at eleven o'clock in the morning, two things happened in Detective Howie Berry's cubicle. First, the weather radio beeped and a scratchy female voice sounded out a test. The all-clear was always immediately followed by phone call. The bustle of the room would halt—as if by the magic they claimed not to believe in—and then Howie would strain to hear the words of another scratchy, hard-to-understand female voice through the phone.

I'm curious about what you guys and gals think of police departments in books and on television. Do you read a lot of romance novels with cops in them? Does the representation of the police in romance novels fit with your expectation and does your expectation come from personal experience or (like me) from cop shows on television?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I really gotta paint these spots...
next weekend...
I love getting things done on weekends. Not just the usual laundry and grocery shopping, but all those projects I have on the go, whether it’s writing (my bread and butter) or something more creative, like a crochet project. Having something tangible to show for your time and effort is always a good feeling.

This weekend, my husband replaced the screen in our kitchen window, which had been ripped since we moved in to the house. For years, I’d wanted to try to do it myself, but I’ve never been strong enough to get the windows out of the frame, so I put it off. And I didn’t ask my husband to do it, either—he just took the initiative.

It’s always the chores that I really ought to do that I put off the most—little household repairs that keep piling up on my to-do list. While I’m fairly handy, I simply lack the resolve, and find other ways to occupy my time.

A brief list of things I’ve put off:

  1. Repainting a few newly plastered spots on the wall throughout the house 
  2. Giving the hallway a much-needed second coat of paint
  3. Removing all the old rags my house’s previous owner stuffed between the joists in my basement as insulation (pretty sure this is dangerous and not to code)
  4. Reorganizing my books and DVDs
  5. Fixing various other holes in the walls
  6. Writing
  7. Blogging

Instead of these really important (in my mind) chores, I end up:

  1. Crocheting
  2. Watching TV
  3. Painting
  4. Cleaning
  5. Cooking
  6. Writing
  7. Tweeting and Facebooking

Comment to win this
crocheted cup sleeve!
Yes, I know number 6 is the same on both lists. But it’s what I end up writing that matters—like a piece of Doctor Who fan fiction instead of a book that’s ondeadline. That’s the funny thing about any project: you can always find one more thing to distract you from completing one task. For example, I’ve been crocheting a granny square blanket since last August and I still haven’t finished it because now I’m bent on making crocheted cup holders.

My only strategy for getting things done seems to be drinking at least two cups of coffee early in the day. Then I’ll spend the rest of the day zooming around the house, looking for things to do to work off the caffeine. It’s probably not the healthiest thing to do, and it never results in good writing—or any writing, since I get too fidgeting to sit still. But at least I might have something to show for it at the end.

Do you have any strategies to get certain chores done? Reply below and I’ll pick one commenter to receive a reusable crocheted coffee cup sleeve and my special recipe for chocolate chip cookies!

EDIT: Winner will be chosen Friday, October 24, 2014, 11:59 p.m. EST.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this is still a reality. It seems like just yesterday I received the call from my agent that Harlequin Super Romance wanted to buy my book when in real time it occurred three years ago.

That book (Out of the Depths--August 2012) was followed by two more, The Summer Place (April 2013) and Moonlight in Paris (February 2014). At that point, I signed a four-book contract, and the dream I was living became an actual second career. So it's with much pride that I present my 4th Harlequin Super Romance--His Kind of Perfection.

I love writing for the Super Romance line because it gives me a chance to make up stories about characters who could be my neighbors. Yeah, I know how wildly popular the billionaires and the sheikhs are in the romance genre. And when I'm looking for pure fantasy, I have no problem settling in with one of those guys. But the stories that truly steal my heart are the ones that convince me that hunky hero is just an ordinary guy who makes the world a better place, not with his money, but with his heart.

Enter my latest hero--boat mechanic Kale Barlow. Mmmm-mmm. I think Kale is one of the hottest heroes I've ever written, and I love him to pieces. He's just so ... so real. Despite how thin the model on my book cover looks, my hero Kale is overweight. In fact, at the beginning of the book, his girlfriend breaks up with him because he's gained so much weight, she isn't attracted to him anymore. In an effort to win her back, Kale joins a gym and enlists the help of a personal trainer, who just so happens to be the heroine, Bree Rice. In her work, Bree has been surrounded by buff guys with drool-worthy physiques, and yet it's Kale who wins her heart with his engaging personality.

I'll admit, I wasn't sure this concept would fly. I'd never read a book with an overweight hero, and my husband keeps telling me to remind people that "the fat hero" isn't based on him. :-) But the RT reviewer set my mind at ease when she wrote that Kale's weight didn't make him seem unattractive in the least.
Precisely the Kale I was going for.

To me, Kale's the boy-next-door. The one who really is out there, waiting to be noticed and appreciated and loved for the kind, gentle, and honorable way he faces life every day. He's not perfect ... but he's as close as most of us are ever going to get.

His kind of perfection is perfect for me.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winner from Cathryn Parry's Monday Blog Post

Scotland for Christmas
The winner from my Monday blog post is Tammy Yenalavitch. Congratulations, Tammy!

Please send your address via my website contact form, here, and I'll mail the book to you.

Take care, everyone!

Cathryn Parry

Friday, October 17, 2014

Disney World and Harlequin SuperRomance and Kristina Knight!

Hi, everyone! I'm back with my very first SuperRomance cover (gah, I love it!). The book will release all over the place in January (gah, how is January only 2.5 months away?!?) so I'm sharing it with you all.

I was at Disney World when I got the news that I sold to Supers. I'd had this idea that I'd been playing around with for a while, about a woman who didn't want a man in her life but who did want a family. And a man who had wanted a family very badly and then lost everything. The characters kind of took over and the book wrote itself, a little bit.

My agent and I talked about where to send it and SuperRomance was the first place we thought of. Fast-forward a few weeks, and my family and I went off to Disney World for vacation. The day we were at The Magic Kingdom, my agent called, but my battery was practically dead so I couldn't answer. A couple of hours later we were back at the hotel, the phone was charged enough to make a call ... and she told me that SuperRomance wanted not only that book, but two more. I was flabbergasted. Seriously. Flabbergasted. I knew I wanted Harlequin to buy the book, but I tried not to get my hopes too set on the idea...just in case! So as my agent is talking to me about options and the deal on the table, and my daughter is bouncing on the hotel bed, and my husband is watching the Atlanta Braves on TV, I'm sliding down the wall and hyperventilating a little bit.

Thankfully my agent 'gets' me and she didn't freak when I couldn't really say anything in response to her questions...and how here we are seven months later and the book has been revised and edited and it's going through whatever it needs to to be a physical book ... and I have this gorgeous cover that is so much of what I wanted for this first SuperRomance.

Here's the blurb:

The Daddy Surprise

Since the loss of his wife, Alex Ryan has been living a half-life. But with one phone call, Alex discovers he's the biological father of a four-year-old girl, and everything changes.

Single mom Paige Kenner preferred to have a family without the man. Now suddenly there's Alex, who desperately wants to be a father to her little girl. A gorgeous, kind and committed father. Letting a stranger into their lives is far too dangerous, especially if his presence stirs a part of Paige that she longs to forget. . .
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