Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Turning the 10 Biggest Marriage Fears into a Romance Novel, Part 1

Here you go! For free. I am giving you story premises and concepts for you to flesh out and turn into a blockbuster book. How’s that for a gift?

Well, the blockbuster part is up to you, but I came across an article (“How to Conquer Your 10 Biggest Marriage Fears”) by Jane Greer, PhD a marriage and family therapist.

To me, that signals book ideas! You, too, right? The premise is the header in bold face. The concept follows and develops the premise. So here goes:

"We'll eventually have nothing in common."
Dick and Jane were childhood sweethearts. After high school graduation they married. Jane worked in her dad’s company to support them while Dick got technical training to be a plumber. Once Dick had a regular plumbing job, Jane stayed home to rear the kids. She was very involved with school activities for the kids. Then Dick got a hankering for a new job that required more schooling. Eventually, Dick was a white collar worker who traveled a lot. Jane worried that Dick had moved past her, that she was part of his old life. She didn’t know how to talk to him about his life now. Was he looking for someone who was a better match? What clues did she find, or think she found?

"If I get sick, he won't be able to hold it together."
Even when they were dating, Chuck would become frantic if Cassie got sick. Common colds had him showing up at her apartment with chicken soup and hot lemonade. She tried to conceal her minor illnesses so he’d stay calm. Most of the time he was a perfectly logical and reasonable fellow, but if she fell ill, he freaked. That’s why when the doctor told Cassie that she had a particularly aggressive kind of brain tumor with a low survival rate, she delayed telling Chuck. Could he handle serious illness? Would he step up to the plate and stay calm for her sake? She doubted it and fretted about when and how to tell him the news. Or even, if she’d tell him. Does he figure it out on his own?

"I don't want to end up like that couple."
Engaged Karen and Michael laughed at couples they observed when still dating. They’d go to restaurants, the park, or other such places couples frequented. They’d watch and make up for one another the dialogues they imagined from the body language. The angry and happy ones were easy. It was the silent partners or the emotionless couples who drew their attention the most. “There’s no passion. No there there,” Michael would say. “I don’t want us to end up like that couple,” Karen would add. “Give me passion, good or bad, but I don’t want to be emotionless when we’ve been married five years.” So what happened when they got drawn into a friendship with one of those couples? What secrets did each of the four have that impacted their entwined relationships?

"I'll forget about the person I once was."
Highly successful, independent, and financially secure Kendra meets Levi at a beach resort in Belize. She has given herself this trip in an attempt to forget a failed relationship and increasing stress at her high-powered job. Levi left all that behind four years ago and “retired” at age 32 to Belize to live a better life. Kendra admires the loose and easy way Levi lives his life and in a moment of madness phones her boss and joins Levi in the tropical life. All is well for a while, but Levi’s indifference to money, planning, and relationship commitment gets to her. She is torn because part of her loves her new lifestyle without schedules, killer heels and professional suits, but part of her yearns for the challenges she conquered and the power she yielded. When pregnant, she must decide whether to stay with Levi or return to her profession. Even if she goes back to the New York lifestyle, a child may cause her to forget about who she once was. If she stays in Belize, she must forget that person. Kendra realizes not matter what she is in danger of losing her sense of self.

"Sex will get less exciting and frequent."
Freddie is an amazing lover to Georgia, their sex frequent and passionate in their early months of marriage. It’s an unusual day if they don’t make love and sometimes they have more than one session. After several years and kids, sex has slowed down. Freddie is ten years older than Georgia and he’s slowing down. Georgia is in her peak. She wants more sex than he feels ready to give. She dresses up in outfits but he is turned off by the mother of his children in a French maid costume. She tries to “pick him up” in a bar by pretending to be someone else. Nothing brings excitement back to their routine and perfunctory couplings. She feels he is merely servicing her. Georgia creates an elaborate fantasy world where she is desirable and sexy. Freddie discovers what she’s doing and suspects an affair. Does he consider counseling? Will he talk to her and try some of her ideas to spark their relationship? Or do they head for divorce?

Next week, tune in for five more novel premises and concepts. Get busy outlining that next book!

I’d love it if you’d share this post on social media. I even made a FB post and tweet for you to share easily. Thank you so much!

Facebook post: Angelica French gives romance writers book ideas based on the biggest marriage fears people have. Check out these story starters at

Twitter: @romancerighter gives authors ideas for writing about the 10 biggest marriage fears

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I "Conference Know" a LOT of People

This blog is about relationships, and mostly here I deal with intimate, close, personal ones. But conference relationships are in a different ballpark, as they say. Maybe even a different sport.

I attend a number of writing conferences each year. As a writing professional, I see attendance as part of the package for getting to be a better writer. I wrote about that earlier this week on another one of my blogs: “Why I Go to Conferences and Why You Should,Too”.

At conferences, I paste on my happy face and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me. I ask what heesh writes and I express interest. I take the proffered business card and hand over my three.

Is that bragging, I wonder? Look at me! Multiple pen names! Does that seem too forward? After all this is a conference on writing historical fiction. What does my seatmate care that I write plays, short stories and novels? What interest could there be in my writing in so many genres: mystery, women’s fiction, paranormal, science fiction, middle grade biographies, oh, and yes, historical fiction set in two time periods?

My seatmate might in fact infer what I have long feared to be true of myself: dilettante!

So we dance. “Tell me your concept.” “How long have you been writing?” “Traditionally published or an indie author?” “What’s next after your current WIP?”

And then the session begins with either a single speaker or a panel. I listen. I make notes.

Session over. “Bye. Have a good conference.” Then it’s off to dance again at the next session.

Are these superficial encounters the equivalent of the one-night stand?

At each conference there is at least one person I connect strongly with. We sit and talk over adult beverages. Or we sit in some lounge area on session breaks. We sometimes find ourselves attending the same sessions and sit together multiple times. Those exchanged cards I hang onto and communicate with at least a couple of times. And of those, a mere handful have turned into what might be called professional real friends. Especially if you see them each time you attend that conference.

I find a similar pattern within my on-line affinity groups on Facebook. A few people emerge as folks you’d really like to have on your team.

Is the dance a phony social convention or is the social glue of trying to connect a value beyond the superficiality of the interaction?