Adventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic suspense and adventure for Lyrical Press, Kensington’s digital line.
Recently I went on a hike at my town’s local greenway. I soaked up bright sunshine, admired the lush landscaping and a gently rolling stream that followed the trail. Then suddenly, I had an epiphany. Not the earth shattering, life changing kind. More like a realization, a cosmic connecting of the dots when it comes to being a writer.
It’s no secret that I love travel. I like going places. That fascination has infiltrated into my stories too, which brings us to that moment of truth on the trail. It occurred to me that books and real estate have a lot in common. Location, location, location. It’s also my mantra. I’m always on the prowl for a new place to explore – whether for vacations, movie time, or reading choices.
It also plays into being a writer. Some people start their story with characters. The WHO is important. They want to know everything about them – eye color, hair color, where they went to school. Not me. I start my story with the WHERE. Then I move into the WHAT. Until I get deep into location and plot, characters are just a vague impression. It’s taken me four books and a long nature hike to realize this is my process.
Setting is what motivates me to begin the book. Imagery helps create my story. I have a blank wall next to my computer. When I start to build my story world, that wall turns into a collage of pictures that detail out every major scene location. The deeper into the book I get, the more images fill that space.
Mere words cannot express how much I enjoy this kind of research. It’s the best part of writing. And yet, what inspires me to choose a location…I can’t say. I saw something, heard something, I honestly don’t know. It just happens.
DIAMOND LEGACY is set in Botswana, Africa because I wanted a story about diamond smuggling. I dug in and learned that mining for the gemstone dominates the country’s economy and work force. And the animals! It was a perfect choice.
EMERALD FIRE opens in St. Lucia, West Indies. What better place to hide modern day pirates? Full of secret coves, luxury yachts, & breathtaking scenery, it’s every bit the perfect Caribbean island. We visited a few years ago, after I wrote the book. I really want to go again.
The latest book in the Jewel Intrigue Novels is PHANTOM PEARL. It’s a book divided. First half is in Australia, the second half Singapore. This time though, I took research to a whole new level. Hubby and I went to Australia and it was two weeks of pure awesome. This article could easily describe how endlessly amazing the place is, but I’ll restrain myself. Let me just say – if you’ve ever thought about it – DON’T WAIT. DO IT. It’s totally worth the 17 hour flight.
Back to PHANTOM PEARL. It’s a treasure hunting story that involves a WWII mystery surrounding Japan and Malaysia. So I hid the truth in the rainforests of Far North, Queensland.
Then it’s on to Singapore for a grand finale on Jurong Island, a massive industrial seaport. Have yet to visit Singapore, but if I ever get the chance… Did you know their airport is consistently voted best in the world? It’s a destination all its own.
Based on my book reviews it seems my passion for travel shines through, because there’s a consistent theme. Vivid imagery, how the setting takes on a life of its own. I had one that swore I’d been to Africa. I wish! My secret weapon is Google Earth and travel journal sites like Trip Advisor. I spend hours going over every square inch by satellite and reading real life reviews for nuggets of gold to use in my books.
I’m already thinking of my next tale and I’m fairly certain it will be set in Italy’s spectacular Amalfi Coast. Because look at it! Can you imagine basking on board a luxury yacht in this harbor, sipping limoncello while soaking up the Mediterranean sun? Yes, please!
So what about you? If you could go anywhere on the planet, where would it be?
Tell me the #1 spot on your bucket list and you’ll be entered to win a free copy of DIAMOND LEGACY or EMERALD FIRE. Africa or St. Lucia? The destination is yours to make.
Thank you, Monica, for being our guest today on A Slice of Orange.
Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, INTO THE FIRESTORM, took the #7 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. This will be the 15th novel in a row to be included on that prestigious list. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.
Make sure you read about Kat’s special May contest. You will find more information after her blog post.
Every summer my husband and I try to have some kind of adventure. Not the hearty kind we used to undertake–like riding horseback into the high Sierras or tent camping for a week in Montana. But whatever we choose, summer is great time for a getaway.
This year, we’re driving from our home in Montana to the Western Writers of America conference in Kansas City, Missouri. We’ll take the back roads, meander two-lane highways that wind through six different states.
Along the way we hope to visit old writer friends, Kathleen and Michael Gear–authors of the PEOPLE series that takes place 10,000 years ago. They live on a buffalo ranch in Wyoming.
From there, we’ll head for the Dakotas, spend a little time in Rapid City, a great old West town. Lots of historic buildings and fun art galleries.
Staying off the beaten path, you can find all sorts of intriguing bits of history. Sioux City sits right on the Missouri, plenty of steamboat lore, and you can learn about Louis and Clark in Omaha. If you’ve never done a cross country road trip, it’s really a worthwhile adventure.
Speaking of highway adventures, BEYOND REASON travels the roadways of Texas. It’s the story of Carly Drake, a young woman who inherits her grandfather’s trucking firm and all the problem that go with it–including murder.
Carly’s biggest problem, however, turns out to be six foot-five-inches of solid male muscle–handsome, mega-rich, powerful and controlling, Lincoln Cain.
It’s high action all the way and of course plenty of hot romance. I hope you’ll watch for BEYOND REASON and that you enjoy it.
So…what’s your favorite adventure? Love to hear about it. Have a great summer and happy reading!
VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7eAZvxU-VM
SPECIAL CONTEST: http://www.katmartin.com/beyond-reason-giveaway/
To CELEBRATE the release of BEYOND REASON, enter Kat’s new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY and AGAINST THE TIDE. Contest runs from May 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017.
MAY CONTEST: http://www.katmartin.com/monthly-contest/
For May, Kat Martin is giving away to FIVE winners an audio edition of one of her AGAINST series books, plus a copy of INTO THE FIRESTORM.
My regular blog here at A Slice of Orange on the 6th of last month was about loving multiple genres. I’m going to focus on that once again now.
Why? Well, when you read this, I will most likely be at the California Crime Writers Conference in the Culver City area of L.A. Unsurprisingly, it’s primarily for people who write mysteries, suspense novels, and related subject.
The following weekend will be all about romance writing for me, since I’ll be attending the OCC meeting on Saturday, and the Los Angeles Romance Writers will meet on that Sunday since the following one, its regularly scheduled third Sunday of the month, will be Fathers Day.
So is it any surprise to you that the subject of my upcoming online class hosted by OCC will be… yes, about writing in both of those genres? In fact, I had a special blog posted about it on Tuesday, May 26, here at A Slice of Orange.
The class is called Kiss Me or Kill Me: Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers. Those who are interested in adding suspense or mystery to their romances without necessarily changing genres should find it interesting, too, as should mystery or suspense writers who’d like to add some romance to their work.
And me? I’ve said for a while that all romances I write contain some element of mystery or suspense, and all mysteries I write generally contain a romantic interest. Aren’t both some of the most fun aspects of life–or at least reading?
What’s that? My online class for OCC, with the alternate name of Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers. This will be my second time to present it.
The class will run from June 15 through July 12, and my intention is to have fun teaching my students how to have their characters solve murders while falling in love!
Here’s the class description:
All romances contain some suspense: will the hero and heroine resolve conflicts by the end and live happily ever after?
All cozy mysteries contain suspense, too, but do they always involve romance? Not necessarily, but the best ones do! Those romances seldom reach HEA by the end of the book, though. Cozies are usually parts of a series, and the suspense of romance can continue through subsequent books–even though the mysteries in each book must get resolved by the end.
What other similarities and differences are there between romances and cozies? Theyâ€™ll be addressed in Kiss Me Or Kill Me: Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers.
The class will also address the basics of writing cozies: choosing a protagonist and deciding how sheâ€™ll get involved solving mysteries; choosing a theme for the series; introducing and following through with a love interestâ€”or not; throwing in a corpse or two, plus hiding clues for solving the murders; planning a series; and much more!
There will be online class discussions and writing exercises, too. Kiss Me or Kill Me will also contain enough basics on writing cozies that non-romance writers will learn a lot as well.
So… are you a romance writer who likes mysteries? A mystery writer who likes romance? I’ll be delighted to help you learn how to combine them.
I hope to see you in my class.