Inciting Incident to 3rd Act Twist! 5 Top Plot Points #amwriting #writingcraft

Hi welcome. Many writers, like me, structure books quite intuitively, sensing when twists and turns are needed to keep the reader engaged. But there actually are rules and pointers for plot structure that can help us. Below is a particularly fun rundown on the 5 top plot points that apply to both books and movies. I hope you enjoy it. My upcoming new release, Return of the Chauffeur’s Son, takes my hero from yearning for the same guy since he was 11, to almost getting his heart’s desire only to discover it might not be what he wants, while uncovering something even more desirable — that he might have given up because he was too blind to see. You can pre-order it HERE.

Here are those Top 5 Plots Points!

Thank you for coming by!

Doing Fathers Right! Happy Day!

WolfinGucciLoafersLGHi everyone–

For those in the US, Happy Father’s Day! One of the great things a writer gets to do is create families the way they would like them to be. While i didn’t have the easiest childhood, i get to write fathers and mothers that embody what i would like to have seen as a child. One of those is in my recent book, Wolf in Gucci Loafers. The character is actually a grandfather and i love him. He revealed himself on every page to be just the kind of Pop-Pop we would all love to have. Here’s a scene honoring father’s and grandfather’s everywhere. I was blessed with a fabulous grandfather and a wonderful father-in-law who is still robust and doing great at 91. Here’s to them!

Socialite Lindsey Vanessen wants someone to love who will love him back—an impossibility for a gay, half-human, half-werewolf. Too aggressive for humans, too gay for wolves, and needing to protect the pack from human discovery, Lindsey tries to content himself with life as a successful businessman. But when someone starts kidnapping members of wealthy families, Lindsey meets tough cop Seth Zakowsy—the hunky embodiment of everything Lindsey wants but can’t have.

 Seth has never been attracted to flamboyant men. What would the guys in the department think of Lindsey? But intrigue turns to lust when he discovers Lindsey’s biting, snarling passion more than matches his dominant side. It might mean a chance at love for a cop in black leather and a wolf in Gucci loafers.


“Lindsey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, sir. I’m doing well.”

“Come talk to me.” His grandfather turned and walked into the living room.

Did he want to talk? He’d have to be careful, but yes. Pop-Pop was a smart man. He walked down the stairs and into the large, comfortable room. His grandfather sat on a love seat at one end of the room, so he took the identical seat across from him. He leaned back and crossed his legs. Look relaxed.

Pop-Pop sat forward. “Romantic troubles?”

Wow. The old man had a way of diving to the truth. “Not exactly.”

“I heard you had a date with the Westerberg son. Your mother’s doing, I believe.” The old man could have been talking about a date with a girl, he was so comfortable with it.

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you like him?”

“Well enough.”

“Ah, so he’s not the issue.”

Lindsey grinned. His grandfather was enjoying the guessing game.

“So if it’s not exactly romantic troubles, what exactly is it?”

“I guess you could call it unrequited romantic interest.”

He rubbed his hands together. “Now this is interesting. I’ve seen you with many men over the years since you returned from school, but none of them lasted more than a few dates, and none of them ever sparked what I would call romantic interest. How odd that you should affix your affection on one who doesn’t care about you. Have you considered it might be a form of self-protection? Only wanting the ones you can’t have has a way of keeping you single.”

Lindsey grinned. “I guess that’s possible sometimes, but not in this case. He’s just highly inappropriate. A tough cop I met while helping Dave with the kidnapping issue. Dave asked if I would take him to the polo match to give him a chance to investigate among people we know without being too obvious. So I did it.” Lindsey shrugged.

“And got caught in your own trap.”

He smiled, but it hurt around the edges. “Yes, I guess. I found him attractive from the start but assumed he was straight, so it was just a harmless flirtation. After the match, I found out he’s gay, so that made the vast expanse between us more real.”

Pop-Pop frowned. “It’s not like you to discriminate based on class.”

“Nothing like that, sir. He’s the one discriminating, I’m sure. I’m simply not at all his type. A bit too lavender silk for his black leather, shall we say.”

His grandfather steepled his fingers and stared over them. “You’re not just one thing, Lindsey. I’ve know many men in my life and you’re one of the very best. Smart, decisive, action-oriented, kind, and basically good. Unlike your father, I might add. You need a man who sees that. But you’ve got good judgment, so if you think this cop is romance-worthy, then my bet is there’s something there worth pursuing. Ride him down, son!” He laughed that big robust sound that had comforted Lindsey since the day he was born.


I’m really excited, because i’m starting the third book in this series this week and i’ll get to enjoy Pop-Pop and a lot of my favorite characters again in new situations! Can’t wait! : )

How This Author Get’s It All Done


I recently had some folks ask me about my daily schedule and life so i jotted it down. Here’s what it looks like:

Like many writers, I work full-time at another job as well. In fact, I own my job. I’m a partner in a small ad/PR firm which I helped found many years ago. Unlike many writers, I don’t hate my day job. Quite the contrary. I think both professions feed each other. If you know what my day job is, you understand better why I’m such a passionate participant in social media and why I actually enjoy blogging. I have promotional and marketing instincts and training, so I do more promo than many authors. I’m also a fairly prolific author. My first book came out in January of 2011 and I’m now writing book 23. I’m also a huge believer in reasonably healthy living, so exercise and a balanced diet have to come in there somewhere. I’m married to the love of my life, have a house, a family and a my soul-dog.2013-01-18 12.30.53

It’s a balancing act.

5-6AM — Get up, check and answer email and social media for my author life. If time permits, do some writing.

6:30 — Take off out the door with my dog for a mile and a half walk which includes a stop for wheat grass juice and veggie juice and ends with a trip to the coffee shop for tea and dog treats. (Alternatively, do a complete Pilates and Yoga routine.)

7:45 – 9:00 — Check and answer business emails and Tara Lain emails, make soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, shower and make the 1 minute commute to my home office

9 – about 12ish — Work my butt off doing strategic planning, program development and copy writing for clients

12 – 1ish — Lunch — often raw veggies with tahini sauce, some raw nuts, and a piece of string cheese. Write on my WIP

1-3ish — More client work

3-3:30ish — WIP and social media

3:30 – 5 — Clients, conference calls, etc.

5-6 — WIP and social media including blogging

6-7 — Dinner and some TV

7 – 9:30 — A mix of family time, TV, and writing.

9:30 — head for bed, read and sleep

On Fridays, I have more writing time and, of course, big chunks of the weekend are devoted to creating books. I also blog almost every day. Because I work at home, I generally see emails come in for both my lives and can respond to something urgent very quickly, so I’m extremely lucky.

The secret to getting it all done to me is being able and willing to do small bits at a time. I don’t have to have hours to write. Got 15 minutes? Pull up the WIP and go to work. I figure if i write 1000 words a day, i’ve created 365,000 words a year. That’s a bunch of books. Of course, many days i don’t reach 1000 and many more days i do 2,000 or more words. I’m also a big believer in spending one-third of my writer time doing promo of some kind, so i plan for that every day.  As Nike says, just do it. Doing, doing, done. : )