Monday, March 31, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

April 1, 2014 by DARLENE PANZERA

I want to thank my critique partner, D.V. Berkom for inviting me to join My Writing Process Blog Tour. As the author of two bestselling thriller series (Leine Basso and Kate Jones), her love of creating resilient, kick-butt female characters stems from a lifelong addiction to reading spy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, and longing to find the female equivalent within those pages. You can visit her blog at:

My Writing Process

1. What am I working on?

I am in the middle of writing my next novella in THE CUPCAKE DIARIES series. This would be Book 6 and features the Creative Cupcakes team going to compete in the Regional bake-off in Seattle. This story features Trish & Ollie Montgomery, a married couple who must rediscover their love for one another and learn to be a team again.

I am also working on a collection of short-short stories to group together into a sweet anthology and have plans to start working on a sweet ranch series.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write sweet, wholesome, traditional-style romances that feature lots of light-hearted humor on top like the fluffy frosting on a cupcake. But then there's that bottom layer of rich relationships between the characters. Focusing on friendship, family, and love, I give them real life issues they need to work out and core values they need to discover by the end of the story.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I love romance. I love thinking about  all the millions of different ways two people could meet, all the possibilities of what they could say, and  all the things that could happen. The choices are endless, and like a puzzle, I like figuring them out piece by piece. I also like building in all the connections between character, setting, plot to foreshadow future events, and tie everything together to feel like an organic whole.

4. How does my writing process work?

First, a fun idea for a dialogue exchange between the main characters pops into my head. Then I write it down and slip it into a folder on my desk. Then day after day other parts of the story will emerge and soon I'll have a whole folder of random notes. When I feel it's time to begin, I type all the notes into one word document on my laptop to see what I've got. Then using character charts I  brainstorm who these characters are, and using a plot template I figure out what needs to happen to them to help them grow into the people they need to be by the end of the story. Sometimes I put together a photo collage on a poster board to help generate ideas. Sometimes I use index cards and lay them out on the floor like dominos. Next I write the first full rough draft. Then I cut excess parts that don't fit the story and may move scenes to different locations. Then I do a rewrite, bringing in more detail to deepen the story. Last is the polish, which edits sentence structure and word choice to make the story shine. My critique group offers suggestions from start to finish to give me valuable feedback before I send it off to my publisher.

Who's up next?

These three amazing writers are joining us on April 14.

Dawn Luedecke

A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. As a child she would spend many afternoons reading books, watching western classics, and Rogers and Hammerstein movies. When she grew up she decided to leave the quiet country life for a chance to find adventure by serving in the United States Coast Guard. During that time she found her soul mate (and alpha male) and started a family and writing career. These days you can find her on the coastline as she follows her husband’s Coast Guard career along the beach. Visit her blog on her website at:

Debby Lee

Debby Lee belongs to several chapters of RWA, has published three short stories and a novella in A Cascades Christmas by Barbour Publishing. She’s happily married, has five children and lives in Washington. Reading is one of her favorite hobbies, as well as cheering for the Seattle Seahawks. Visit Debby’s website at and her blog at

Jackie Marilla

Jackie Marilla writes contemporary romance with just a little spice!  She published her first short story, ONLY ON VALENTINE’S DAY, with Books To Go Now in January of 2014.  Jackie lives on a farm in Hawai’i with her supportive husband, several feral cats, and a flock of hodgepodge chickens.  When she’s not at her desk writing, Jackie loves to visit her grown children and grandson in the Pacific Northwest, read, sew, and make lampwork glass beads.   In a past life, she was an elementary school teacher. Jackie is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Greater Seattle Chapter. Visit her blog at:


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