Behind the Scenes Writer’s Life: Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

BookAn author’s most dreaded question. Hell, we don’t know where we get our ideas. From a bottle stashed inside the toilet tank? Three-for-a-buck at the nearest convenience store? A mash-up of Glee re-runs and Terminator movies?

But I can tell you where a few of my ideas are hatched.

They’re punched, pummeled, and argued into shape over a long-weekend that I spend holed up with Adrienne Giordano, Tracey Devlyn, and Theresa Stevens. This weekend, the four of us spent a two full days and two half-days hashing out four stories.

So what does a plotting weekend look like?


Afternoon – pick-up the gals at the airport, have lunch on the way to the cabin. Arrive to discover teenagers have found their way into the cabin and wiped out our liquor stash. #Winefail

Evening – get started around 5pm and flesh out one book in Theresa’s exciting contemporary romance series.


Morning – work on characters and basic plot line of Adrienne’s new Intrigue.

Afternoon – work on Kelsey’s new single title contemporary romance without tons of success. I need to retrench and re-read some of the prior book because the heroine is flat and isn’t working with the hero.

Evening – work on a pretty intricate plot for Tracey’s historical romantic thriller that will kick off a new series for her. Very good stuff! Break for dinner and then the others listen to Kelsey ramble about her characters. Get enough insight to work again the next morning.


Morning – make significant progress on Kelsey’s book, enough that I’m super-excited about a new series I hope to have out some time in 2015!

Afternoon – dive into Adrienne’s story in more detail so that she has structure down to the scene level!

Evening – for all our hard work, treat ourselves with a meal cooked by someone else :-)


Morning – head back to the airport to send the gals back to Chicago

So what does that all amount to?

  • 3 flights from Chicago
  • 7 hours of driving for Kelsey
  • 6 different “brainstorming sessions”
  • ½ roll of Ikea paper
  • 2 dead markers
  • Handful amateur illustrations (sketched by yours truly)
  • 1 head-clearing hike
  • 1 sunset-watching from the porch
  • Lots of snacks including fruit, crackers, biscotti and plenty of chocolate
  • 0 wine
  • Tons of laughter

And what’s the reward for all this insanely fun work? Several amazing books spanning from contemporary romance to romantic suspense to historical romantic thrillers.

Oh yeah, and the splurge of the weekend? A four-course meal cooked by a personal chef! Yeah, baby!

Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day (which is apparently different from Squirrel Awareness Month in October). So take a minute to reflect on and be thankful for all the squirrels in your life. If you family is anything like mine, you have plenty of them. :-)

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  1. Delene Yochum says

    I know ya’ll were there to work and boy it’s sounds like you did! But I still would have liked to be a fly on the wall!! Looking forward to reading the books that come out of theses sessions! Sorry about the wine!! I bet next time there will be a liquor store stop on the way :) Cool about the personal chef I’ve always wanted to experience that! Ofcourse my squirrels I mean family think I’m their personal chef :)

    • says

      Delene -

      I get what you’re saying. The personal chef was a total indulgence! Usually, we stay at a hotel so we saved that cost this time and invested it in our stomachs :-). Perfect way to end the weekend!


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