Marcia’s Romantically Yours
Issue # 31
marcia king-gamble

Dear Romance Writer,

Can you believe we’re about to bring the curtain down on another summer. Where does the time go? I spent most of mine writing or putting the finishing touches on one project or another. Writing gives me immense satisfaction and I am passionate about it, but finding balance is the key.

As the years fly by time seems to become a more and more precious commodity. We spend time juggling jobs, families, and hobbies. Making ‘me’ time falls to the very bottom of a long ‘to do’ list.

So how can we make time? We carve it out just like we do for eating, sleeping and socializing. It may require getting up an hour earlier to take that yoga or kickboxing class. Perhaps it means going to sleep an hour later so that you can work on scrap booking or that long list of ‘to read’ books. Maybe it’s simply cutting out lunch to enjoy a much needed pedicure or facial. Whatever it takes, do it. The rewards will more than make up for that hour you think you didn’t have.



Jolts of inspiration often hit when you are at your most relaxed. People interaction can spark thoughts for a new storyline. Most of my best and most creative ideas percolated under a warm shower or when I was simply out walking.

Remember the old adage all work and no play makes Jack (substitute Janet) a dull boy? Well it’s true. Consider it stimulating time rather than wasted time and if you use that hour for personal reflection so be it.

Go out and take a brisk walk, jump into the pool, and frolic like you’ve never frolicked before. Indulge your inner child and let your creativity shine through.

The end result is even better writing!

Romantically Yours,

Marcia King-Gamble
Editor -- Romantically Yours


Tools of the Trade

Putting Passion on Paper

Passion has been defined as having or showing strong feelings. It’s also been considered the driver of compelling emotions. It’s a fire burning deep within your soul, an itch that only you can scratch. It is an intensity of emotion that bubbles up propelling you to action. At times it can be a palpable and all consuming thing, and often the difference between putting one foot in front the other and living.

Passion can be the thing that keeps you up at night, and if channeled right it can be the driving force that helps you to create page turning books. It can be your reason for living, and the difference between writing a so-so book and one that readers can’t put down.

Passion incites and ignites thought, compelling you to write the story swirling around in your head, enabling you to bring to it your unique voice and style.

So why are we so afraid of giving in to this unbridled emotion? Why are we conditioned to think that exposing raw feelings makes us vulnerable? Writing is about being open enough to sharing your feelings and making yourself vulnerable. It’s about getting into someone else’s head and telling the story from their point of view. It’s about engaging all the senses so that we can feel, taste, hear, see, smell, and touch.

Here is an exercise that can help you put that passion into your writing.

Take the word Romance and write all the words that come to mind when you think of it. Don’t censor yourself.


    Hot, passionate, steamy, sizzling, a soul connection, love, dreamy, special, bond, etc.

We’ll do the same with Beach.

    Sunset, romance, soothing, inspiring, relaxing, hot, waves lapping, seagulls etc.

Now jot the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and touch associated with each word. Reach deep within yourself. Nothing is too silly or too far out there not to be considered

    Let’s go with Romance again.

    When I met Marianne it was an immediate connection. I was lost in those beautiful brown eyes. That curly, bouncy hair made me want to thread my fingers through it and inhale the wonderful strawberry scent of her shampoo. I can still taste the tanginess of her in my mouth. I can hear her voice with the slight inflection way after she’s spoken and I can feel the velvet of her skin.

Can we see Marianne? Can we hear her, touch her, taste her, and smell her? Does Marianne exude sensuality? Is there any doubt how her lover feels about her?

    Now let’s try Beach.

    Sand sifts through my toes, the salty taste is on my tongue, a soft breeze kisses the golden hairs on my forearms. All around me is a sea of blue. I pause to scoop up a handful of black sand. It feels like grain. Smells converge: cotton candy, popcorn, hot dogs. I realize I am starving. The bark of a seagull gets my attention as it dips down to feed.

Does this scene make you want to go the beach? Does it bring a memory or two back?

If you’re at a point in your writing where your scene doesn’t feel right, or isn’t moving, why not take the time to scribble a few words and engage the senses. Let your imagination go wild.

Go to it and put the passion back in your writing!


    September 20-23, 2007
    National ACFW Conference
    Dallas, TX.
    For Christian Writers

    September 20-23, 2007
    American Christian Fiction Writers
    Dallas, TX.

    September 28-30, 2007
    Moonlight and Magnolias Conference
    Location: Hilton Atlanta Northeast
    Keynote: Linda Howard
    To register visit:

    October 5-6, 2007
    Put A Book In Your Heart
    The Sheraton at Woodbridge Place Hotel
    New Jersey
    Keynote: Karen Robards
    For details:

    October 26-28, 2007
    Emerald City Writers’ Conference
    Bellevue Hilton
    Bellevue, WA
    Keynote: Jayne Ann Krentz AKA Amanda Quick

    October 26-28
    South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference
    Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort
    Contact: Susan Boyer, 20 Howe Street, Unit 6
    Greenville, SC 29601
    864 370 9262


Marisa Carroll is a collaboration between sisters Carol Wagner and Marian Franz. Are you fascinated by how these creative partnerships work? I know I was curious to find out how professional disagreements are settled. The two sisters, one an ex nurse, the other employed by a university, have set the ambitious goal of writing fifty books. They are also the authors of Breaking all the Rules, the fourth in the Mediterranean series. Gain some insight into this mutually rewarding partnership by reading the interview below.

Interview with Marisa Carroll


Marisa Carroll is a partnership. How did the writing team Marisa Carroll come about? How did you come up with that name?


I (Carol) started writing with a high school friend as a lark. We published two books with Dell's Candlelight Ecstasy line in the early 80s. After that my friend decided to take her career in a different direction. Marian had been our proof-reader and typist and it seemed natural for her to move into the partnership, which she did. Marisa is a conjunction of Marian and Lisa, her daughter's name. And Carroll is self-explanatory, I guess.



What happens when one partner disagrees with the other about the storyline or a character’s motivations? How are disagreements settled?


After this many books we have remarkably few disagreements. When we do have differing opinions on motivation or behavior we settle it like everyone else by discussion and compromise.


Did you always feel you were destined to be writers? If not what did you do before the writing bug bit?


No. Writing came along as a challenge and neither of us ever planned to make a living at it. It's just happened one book at a time. Marian is employed full time at Bowling Green State University and Carol is a former nurse.


Tell us about your favorite storylines? What keeps you inspired and what keeps you going in a sometimes tough business?


We love stories with small town settings and family dynamics interacting with the emotional risks two sometimes lonely and scarred people must take to find true happiness. We know there are thousands of women out there who want to read the kind of stories we enjoy writing.


Breaking All the Rules is a September release and the fourth in Harlequin’s Mediterranean Series. Give us a sneak peek of this intriguing story.


Recently divorced, Lola Sandler is a sports journalist. Along with her two sisters she's given her mother a cruise aboard the luxury liner, Alexandra's Dream, as a 65th birthday treat. Her sisters are having relationship problems of their own and her widowed mother is turning into the ship's social butterfly. Lola can handle all that. She's even finding romance for herself with Eric Lashman, the ship's reclusive South African golf pro. But Eric has secrets and Lola's a reporter. Can she break all her own rules and write a career-making expose about him? Will her developing attraction to him force her to make a choice: write a news story or live a love story?


In terms of character development, how do you flesh out your characters before sitting down to write? Do you let them develop as you go along?


We have a very good idea of how our characters will behave in a book, but they sometimes surprise us and we find the book going in a slightly different direction than we'd planned, but always returning to a happy-ever after-ending.


On that same note would you describe yourself as a seat of the pants writer, or does every scene have to be meticulously planned out?


We usually work from a detailed synopsis but we do allow ourselves to let our characters have their heads in scenes--within reason. :)


Do you have a website? What do you do to promote yourselves?


We don't have a website. We've come to the realization that while many authors can spend time on promotions, blogs and websites we need to concentrate on our writing.


How about fun? Are their activities you recommend to help spark creativity?


We have many and varied interests. We spend a lot of time just talking over ideas--when we don't have grandchildren visiting or we aren't busy with our other business partnership, a Long-arm, custom quilting business that we started last year.


I read somewhere that you also write historicals. I admire your versatility. What kind of mindset do you need to be in to move back and forth between contemporary life and that of yesteryear? Is it a quick switch off?


I'm afraid that information is incorrect. Marian and I are both history and genealogy buffs but we've never written a historical romance. We have great respect for authors who can move between genres and time periods in this way, but we don't number ourselves among them.


Many authors subscribe to not putting all of their eggs in one basket. Have you always written for Harlequin, or do you write for other publishers as well?


We've published exclusively with Harlequin since 1983.


Finally, tell us about your publishing goal? Fifty books seems a mighty tall order. What’s the plan to get you there?


To just keep creating strong love stories with believable characters that editors want to buy and publish.

Did you know? provides a hilarious take on the publishing world. Miss Nark is an anonymous agent answering readers’ questions.

Harlequin will publish nonfiction books next fall, focusing on self-help, relationships, health, diet and fitness, memoir, biography and inspirational. This could very well open up new writing opportunities for you.


Romantically Yours is a FREE monthly newsletter. I would love to hear from you. Please send comments, news, research, or story ideas directly to Marcia King-Gamble at