BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Giveaway & Guest Post by mystery author Jacqui Lane

A cozy mystery, with dogs, set in the state where I went to college? How could I resist? Since there was no room in my review schedule, I asked for a guest post.  I hope you'll enjoy and if you read the book, let me know what you thought.

Jacqueline Corcoran and Lane Stone have teamed up to write about some of their favorite topics – dogs, mysteries, and Middleburg, Virginia, which is known as the nation’s horse and hunt capital. MALTIPOOS ARE MURDER is the first in their doggie day spa romantic suspense series.

Jacqueline Corcoran lives in Arlington, Virginia with her rescue animals, husband, and two children. She holds a Ph.D. in social work and is on faculty at the Virginia Commonwealth University. She has published numerous professional academic articles and fourteen books in her field. Her mysteries include Maiming of the Shrew (Cozy Cat Press), A Month of Sundays (Whimsical Publications), Backlit (Etopia Press), and Memoir of Death (Etopia Press). See her website at

Lane Stone and her husband, Larry Korb, divide their time between Sugar Hill, Georgia and Alexandria, Virginia. She’s the author of the Tiara Investigations Mystery series. When not writing, she’s usually playing golf. Her volunteer work includes raising money for women political candidates and conducting home visits for A Forever Home, a dog foster organization. She is on the Political Science Advisory Board for Georgia State University, and she serves on Sugar Hill’s 75th Anniversary Planning Committee.
Find Jacqui Lane Online:

What We Learned from Writing Romances

Jacqui Lane

My co-author Lane Stone and I both came from a mystery background as readers and as authors, so romance was new for us. This is what we learned from working with our editor and writing and editing numerous drafts of Maltipoos are Murder:

1. Make the heroine young. Originally, we had our heroine Cara Rogers at age 31 but found out that she was too old for romance, according to our editor. Twenties was more desirable, so she became 27.

2. Don’t have too many men cluttering up the landscape. Originally, Cara’s ex-boyfriend was not an ex at the start of the book, and we had described her increasing dissatisfaction with this relationship and then how she ended it. I have always been fascinated by the complexities of break-ups, but this had no place in the romance. Our editor suggested that readers might be turned off by Cara being embroiled with someone else initially and that she needed to be free to be attracted to a new person. In the revised version, the relationship was already over.

3. How to balance romance and mystery. Lane and I, coming from our mystery background, had the mystery front and center but our editor was always romance foremost. She was desperate to have Cara and Cole go to dinner dates quite early on, but we kept saying, “She’s a witness, possibly even a suspect. They can’t be dating yet.” That leads to our next lesson . . .

4. The couple in every scene. Somehow, we had to try to put both people in the couple on stage together for a significant amount of time and preferably every scene. We did this through accidental run-ins, or Cara or Cole fabricating reasons to see the other person. If they absolutely had to be apart, we would have each character thinking about/longing for the other one in internal monologue.

5. Sparks, sparks, sparks. The main characters had to constantly be having physical reactions to each other. One thing that became a little tricky for us was that at the beginning of the book, the main character discovers her relative’s body. It seemed a little inappropriate, if not downright tacky, that she would be having a physical attraction to Cole at that point. However, a romance requires the early attraction between the two people. How we handled this was to have her question her reactions in internal monologue as in, “Why was she feeling this now? It must have been all that had happened this morning.”

6. The characters have to be likeable. This is true for all writing but is especially important for romance to have likeable characters. We had a couple of instances in the beginning pages where our main character was a little snippy. Come on, she was a well-respected veterinarian finding herself managing a doggie day spa where every room has a cutesy name, and “pet parents” leave spending money for their little darlings. That simply had to go though because our editor questioned Cara’s likeability at this point.

A big thing also is that the reader has to admire the male lead because in a way she has to fall in love with him, too. We have a smart female protagonist in Cara so at times in her “investigation,” she would be ahead of the detective, but we had to make sure that he didn’t come off as “dumb.” He had to find out things she didn’t or couldn’t because of her lack of law enforcement background, and in the end, of course, he puts the mystery together. J

7. Romance tropes. There are certain longstanding conventions in romance that readers expect ( Ideally, there should be more than one trope operating, although we only used one: “opposites attract.” Cara is the big city professional woman, and Cole is “small town law enforcement.” Opposites attract is a common trope because the characters believe at the outset that they can’t be together because they are too different, creating conflict that lasts throughout the whole book until the Happily Ever After.

 I’m sure we’ll be learning more in books two, three, and four about romances, but this is our first-book list. If you write romances, what else would you add to this list? If you read romances, what do you like to see?


Can a murder investigation keep these opposites from attracting?

Cara Rogers wants a fresh start after a slew of bad luck in Washington DC. Moving to Virginia to help her aunt run La Maison de Chien, a doggie spa, is just the peace of mind she needs. No stress. Just her aunt, the dogs, and wide-open country.  But when she finds Aunt Marian floating in the doggie swimming pool, the rest she so desperately needs flies out the window. The only witness to the death is Rex, an apricot maltipoo, and while he may not be able to talk, he’s communicating the only way he knows how—one paw at a time. And Rex’s clues lead to murder.

Can Cara keep the doggie spa afloat, convince Middleburg homicide detective Cole Sampson that Aunt Marian’s death was no accident, and keep Rex from the killer’s clutches before they all end up as dead as dogs?

Publisher: Entangled Ignite
Format: ebook
Release Date: March 27, 2014
Buying Links: OmniLit* Goodreads Amazon* Barnes & Noble Entangled



Giveaway Info: Doggie Gift Basket & $20 Amazon GC (2 winners)

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  1. 1. With all due respect to your editor, that's BS. She needs to talk to more romance readers. 31 is not too old and there's a huge craving for leads in their 30s, 40s, and on up. It's too late for this series but the next one, you can make the heroine 31 or even older.

    2. YES!

    3. Yes, thank you. Too many authors ignore that.

    4. Umm,no. They should be together yes, but every scene? No, plus it's not realistic,

    5. Yes

    6. Likeable, yes, though some readers are willing to forgo likability. It isn't, however, necessary to admire the hero, and sometimes it's not even desirable.

    7. Tropes are inevitable and opposites attract can be a good one.

    Interesting post, thank you.

    1. Bea is absolutely right on #1. I'm in my middle years and happily married, but I would LOVE to read about women in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s finding love. I agree with #2 and with the authors' take on #3. I'll differ a little with Bea on #6 -- I prefer the hero to be someone the heroine can care about and respect, which does imply a certain amount of admirable-ness.

      Oh, and I'm guessing a maltipoo is a Maltese/poodle mix?

  2. I always wonder if it is just the editors who want that and not the readers. I love older heroines. I love the sounds of this book. The blurb is so refreshing.

  3. This book sounds unique, wonderful and memorable. I am older and enjoy reading about mature heroines. thanks.saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. What who are these editors? 31 is too old for romance? Nope. wrong. I maybe in my 40's and married but romance never gets old. This sounds good and I do like the opposites attract trope.

  5. Lol - I was just going to echo Kim's comment. 31 is too old for romance? I'm 34 and disagree. The Plume Orchard series has characters in their 30s and they are wonderful. I would've read them even in my 20s. This book does sound fun, though.

  6. Whew yeah I was gonna chime in on the age thing too. I'd much prefer a heroine in her 30s (I'm 31). Late twenties are fine but dang that's pretty terrible advice when so many romance readers are older than that and LOVE older heroines. Heck the followers of my blog (and myself) love it when the heroine is even older than 30. Have read some incredible romances where the heroine was 40s-50s.

  7. I'm going to have to agree about the age thing. I definitely wouldn't have considered 31 too old at all. Particularly not for an established vet. Age aside this sounds like a fun book!

  8. Thanks for all these comments, enjoyed reading all of them. We were surprised about the age thing too and worried, like Katherine, if our main character was a veterinarian, she had to go through all that schooling, then establish her practice, lose her practice. That would age her a bit already, wouldn't it?

    Interesting to hear about the trope conversation too. We are continuing to have the conversation in the writing of book #2:)

  9. Hi, Lane here. (The Lane part of Jacqui Lane.) Bea (and everyone else posting on the age issue) thanks for your post. Our - individually written - other books do have older protagonists. This has been a great discussion. Did you like reading about Emma and J.D.'s relationship? I hope so. We loved writing it, and it will def. be continued.

  10. Hi Jacqui and Lane, thanks for stopping by. This has been an interesting discussion. I look forward to reading the book.

  11. Four years makes a difference between "young" and "too old"?! What? Wow.


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