NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Marcelle Dube . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guest Author: Alanna Coca and Giveaway!

Hello! Thanks for having me today. My name is Alanna Coca, and although I've only published one romantic suspense so far, it is certainly my favorite genre to read, and I'd love to write more. My idol is Sandra Brown, who started out writing genre romance, and now has these twisty and engrossing books that make me want to grovel at her feet and beg for paper scraps.
I won't do that though. I have some pride.
My stumbling block is the fact that I'm a pantser. Now, flying by the seat of my pants works fine when I write contemporary romance, and it's very easy when I write erotic romance under my alter ego Olivia Brynn. Those characters have no problem talking me through their plot as I'm typing away. I like to add a little bit of mystery and a few twists to those books as well, but a romantic suspense needs a little (okay, a lot) more thought beforehand.
For example, I wrote PreView back in 2008. In my mind it was going to be a straight up mystery. I thought I'd write a series of books starring this heroine as she goes through her everyday life solving crimes that have yet to occur using her prophetic dreams.
This is the first book where I started with chapter one, because that's what woke me from a sound sleep one autumn morning.
 Before the "new wip glow" wore off, I immediately wrote the last chapter, because I knew just how I wanted the whole conflict resolved. Back to chapter two, where the heroine informed me that she's got a love interest.
Oh, okay. So it's a romance. Got it.
*Tweak the final chapter*
This is when I see that Trevor, the love interest, is a difficult guy to like. (One reviewer describes him as dark chocolate, "a bitter treat") So I tried to talk Ryann, the heroine, out of a happily ever after with this guy, but she's got her sights set. So I bounced from beginning to end, and worked my way to the middle. This involved a lot of tweaking, a little hero-slapping, and several scene rewrites. 
Sigh.
If only I could plot!
But finally, I finished the book, and ended up falling for the hero right along with Ryann. and couldn't have been happier when Carina Press took it. To have PreView sitting on the virtual shelves with the amazing authors and books you'll find at Carina was a thrill. I'll admit to a little bit of happy dancing, and maybe more than a little bit of liquid-spirit-lifting.
For more of a taste of PreView, you can visit my website where I have a trailer and excerpt set up.
To thank the lovely Not Your Usual Suspects authors for letting me crash their blog, I'd like to give a copy of PreView away to a NYUS reader.  Just comment here with a snippet of the last dream you remember having. Now, if it's a sex dream, I probably don't want details, but the weirder the better. I'll choose one random commenter to win a digital copy of PreView.
I'll start: The last dream I remember involved my friend's tiny baby who for some reason was no bigger than a mouse. I had to change her poopy diaper.
Sometimes I wonder about me.
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23 comments:

JB Lynn said...

Love "a bitter treat".

Actually the alarm clock woke me from a dream this morning where I'd actually changed POV. I'd never had that happen before. I'm assuming it's because I'm struggling to write in 3rd person again after writing in 1st for the last 2.5 books...

Alanna Coca said...

JB, you mean you were dreaming in third person? So you saw yourself? I think I've done that only once in my life. A bit unsettling. Thanks for stopping by!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Welcome, Alanna. Nice have you with us, even if briefly. I sympathize with your plotting issues, since I'm a pantser myself. As for dreams, I rarely remember them, and maybe that's a good thing...

Alanna Coca said...

Marcelle, thanks so much for having me! I have a hard time remembering my dreams as well. Except when I use an alarm. For some reason that helps it stick :)

Elise Warner said...

Woke up after dreaming--if first person--about someone I haven't thought about in years. Have begun using him in a revision I'm working on. Can't remember that ever happening before.

Dhympna said...

Do you have lip gloss on yet? ;)

I did quite enjoy this book.

Alanna Coca said...

Elise, I wonder if your subconscious stored him specifically for this story! I'm sure my characters are parts of real people in my life too.

Dhympna, my lip gloss is poppin. My lip gloss is cool. All the boys keep jocking
They chase me after school.

Dee Carney said...

I think I would have committed bookicide if I went through your process for getting this one done! Good job keeping with it!

Alanna Coca said...

Bookicide? Is that that ctrl-A-delete thing? :) I'm too much of a wimp to do that. Thanks for stopping by, Dee!

Saranna DeWylde said...

Hmm. The last dream I had was really weird. But everything that comes out of my head is weird.

I was with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time. We were on a train and he was a gunslinging outlaw. I remember the corset digging into my ribs and he brought me tea...

Alanna Coca said...

Wow! A real time travel dream! I don't think my imagination is advanced enough for that. Mine are all contemporary dreams lol

Cathy Perkins said...

I rarely remember my dreams - now day dreams, that's another topic!

Saschakeet said...

Yes, I liked this book. And just last night I dreamed that you were writing more romantic suspense. What are the odds?

Diana

Alanna Coca said...

Cathy, in our line of work, daydreams are required. :) I can stare out the window at nothing for hours.

Sashakeet, please dream an putline for me. I need to learn how to do this whole "plotting" thing.

Maureen A. Miller said...

I'll be down there with you, Alana...looking for those paper scraps!

Alanna Coca said...

Maureen, Sandra is brilliant, isn't she? She's on Twitter now, and she TWEETED ME! Seriously, I had a fangirl moment. Well hour maybe. Okay, I'm still geeking out.

Debby said...

I never remember my dreams. What does that say?
debby236 at gmail dot com

Shirley Wells said...

Welcome, Alanna. Good to have you here!

I rarely remember dreams but, this one, I do remember. I was in a big old hotel being chased by a masked man. I was hiding behind a locked door and felt his breath come through the keyhole. I woke up in a right old state - and I'm sure it will end up in a book one day. :)

Rikk said...

The last dream i can recall started out on a dark dreary filled rainy night horrible weather to be out and about in ,the fog so thick you could only see a few meters even with a flashlight ,the wind chill had temperatures close to freezing and steady dropping ,not a night that most would want to be out during the month of February in Texas on a bridge ,from a distance it was obvious that a horrible accident had had happened , the scene of flashing lights and state troopers along with local law enforcement suggested that there might be more to this incident , the horrific look on young officers faces as to what they had witnessed on that bridge , bringing grown men to fear and clutch for there weapons , they were looking for something. From the distant you could barley make out the silhouette of what appeared to be a yellow mustang with black stripes along the side(was this my car?) , but there was something else that didn't quite make sense , the gashes along the side of the car looked to have been torn or ripped away which suggested this was not a impact collision ,something had removed metal with ease from this vehicle , i tried to move closer for a better look but something inside me would not let me move from the trees that i had found comfort and security crouched behind nor could i utter a word to call for help as i looked on .The rain continued to fall heavily down turning into sleet, this was going to be a bad winter storm and for me a even longer night as i looked down upon the the tree line , there is something over there i know it as flashes of thunder and lighting flashed above. I could now see that the local news was now emerging upon the scene.None of them are safe this much i can tell you but i cant recall all the details of What had happened tonight to me ,how did i escape from the car and should i stay hidden for I feel there is something still out there ... those fools should not stay on that bridge much longer there time will be short ....the dream then fades into a hour before what happened along hwy 287 near Eagle Mountain lake ,with the sound of Rainbow's music from the early 80's blaring from the radio heading towards the bridge near Goat Man island ...

Toni Anderson said...

Last dream I remember was waking in a cold sweat after being chased by a T-Rex. A lot of my nightmares involve being chased by big animals--apes, tigers... I'm not sure what that says about me LOL, except 'coward'.Thanks for being our guest, Alanna :)

Alanna Coca said...

Debby, maybe you sleep too deeply? Or maybe all your dreams came true in real life :)

Shirley and Toni, I get those being chased dreams too. I wake up exhausted!

Rikk, that's a very cool dream. Are your dreams always so detailed? I think you have a story to tell.

Thanks everyone for stopping by, I'm off to Random.org to draw a winner! I'll post here.

Alanna Coca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alanna Coca said...

I sent all the commenter's names through Random.org, and they came up with a winner: RIKK!!

Congrats Rikk, I'll be contacting you via email.

Again, it was wonderful being here today, I loved hearing the dreams!

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