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. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Monday, April 18, 2016


Recently, the Southwest Florida chapter of RWA sponsored their Hearts in the Sand Writing Conference.  This year, the program was conducted by dynamite Debra Dixon, author, lecturer, and publisher of Belle Books.

Deb’s topic at the conference was her well-known, and deservedly so, Book-in-a-Day Workshop.  If any of you have had the opportunity to hear her on this subject, you know she lays bare the necessity in fiction of GMC—Goal, Motivation, Conflict—and how to achieve all three in your own work.  That was in the morning.  After lunch, she explored Christopher Vogler’s The Hero’s Journey and how its 12 stages can help you effectively plot your WIP.

Please consider all of the above important backstory (I know, I know, I can hear you now!) for what happened during lunch.  It’s the terrific little promotional idea of one of SWFRW’s chapter members, Roseanne Vrugtman, Ph.D., (who as Abigail Dane has authored The Pirate and the Virgin Available at: A while before the conference, Roseanne asked the pubbed chapter members to submit excerpts, 60 to75 words long, from recent releases, along with their name and book title.  She downloaded these excerpts on small, color-bordered cards and stood them in little decorative stands, three or four on each luncheon table.

They were so eye-catching, people were picking them up, reading them, enjoying the short peeks and, hopefully, becoming intrigued with the novels.  With apologies for the poor photography, here’s one below.  And beneath the snapshot are two sample passages from two books in my Murders by Design Series.      

Ah, the lights were on. Rossi was
back. Mr. Hottie with the penetrating
eyes and…“Hello, I’m home.”

“At last,” he said stepping out of
the bedroom.

“Actually I’m early tonight,” I said,
dropping my packages on a chair.

“There’s no such thing as early
where you’re concerned. I’ve been
waiting for ten full minutes. It’s been

“God, you say the most perfect things.”
“I know.” He laughed and began
kissing me.

Rooms To Die For
by Jean Harrington


Rossi stuffed the money back in the oilskin packet and handed it to me.

“Is that wise?” Francesco asked, nodding at the oilskin.

“Yes,” Rossi said, “it is." Together, we lifted Chip off the floor and walked him out to the car.

 The espresso machine went next and then the bottle of Dom Perigean.

I rode shotgun, the oilskin bag clutched in my lap.

Ha!  I should have known—a bottle of Dom Perignon was always a good omen.

 Killer Kitchens
 by Jean Harrington

Jean Harrington is the author of the tongue-in-cheek, Naples-set Murders by Design Mystery Series.  She says her books can be downloaded from Amazon at killer prices.


Jacqueline Floyd said...

Hi Jean. As a member is SWFRW, I attended the fabulous conference, too. The excerpts at lunch were a special little touch that drew a lot of attention. Great idea to share for others to try.

Anne Marie Becker said...

That sounds like the perfect conference to me. :) I use the ideas from Dixon's GMC book all the time, both during the plotting stage and when I feel like I'm running off the rails somewhere in my book. It helps me stay or get back on track. And Vogler...I've had his book for ages but couldn't get into it. I'll have to give it another try. Would have been so helpful to have someone lay it out for me in a conference! :D

jean harrington said...

Hi Jacki, Weren't we seat mates at the conference? I agree, it was fabulous.

And Anne Marie, Yes, having the book is great, but that personal dimension made it come alive.

Rita said...

I love Deb's GMC book. Your excerpt cards are a wonderful idea and look very lovely.

jean harrington said...

Yes, thanks, Rita, the excerpt cards are a great idea, due to Roseanne Vrugtman, my fellow SWFRW chapter here in Florida.

Marcelle Dubé said...

What a fun PR idea, Jean. Thanks for sharing!

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