Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

If you’re a writer, you’re probably either a plotter or a pantser.

Plotters are usually predominately left-brained. This means they use the left side of their brain more than the right side. The left side of your brain is the one that controls logic and order. If you are predominantly left brained you probably like your life to be orderly, are good at math, regularly make and follow to-do lists, are punctual to appointments. You get the picture. Left brained people are more likely to create a detailed plot plan before writing, whether it is fiction or not. They are also more likely to write plot driven stories, where the action dictates what happens to the characters.
Pantsers write by “the seat of their pants”. They are more right-brained. They are creative, passionate, emotional, and can be messy and disorganized. They are more in touch with their senses, and their writing includes touch, taste, and feel. Pantsers keep their stories in their heads and sit down and type them without planning. They may even rebel against writing down the plot and creating a plan. Pantsers are more likely to write character-driven stories, where the emotions of the characters determine what happens.
Most of us have seen this dancing woman who spins. If she spins clockwise, you are using your right brain, and if she spins in an anti-clockwise direction you’re using your left brain.

If you’re quite evenly right and left brained, you should be able to change the direction she is spinning while you stare at the moving image. (Hint: look at her shadow–it somehow makes it easier to change her direction if you do.)

A lot of us are a mixture of both, and use our right and left brains equally.

Click on the link under the table below to take the left brain/right brain test and see how you fare.
Strangely, I scored more on the left side in that test, but I see the dancer spinning clockwise more that anti-clockwise, although I can change her. And I’m definitely a pantser.

Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz
The higher of these two numbers below indicates which side of your brain has dominance in your life. Realising your right brain/left brain tendancy will help you interact with and to understand others.
Left Brain Dominance: 9(9)
Right Brain Dominance: 6(6)
Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz


Peace and Love.


I’m happy to announce I’m giving away two print copies of WAY OUT OF LINE on Goodreads. 

Two kids from Texas–a sizzling romance–one stupid mistake. Intrigue, terror and undying love culminate in the vast African wilderness. 

Trent lied about her age. Hal was convicted of statutory rape. Two lives, ruined. Despite a brutal existence in prison, a desperate escape and a chance for a new life in Africa, Hal never forgets his first love. If only there were some way he could return home, return to Trent. Never, warns his wise friend Demetrio, reminding Hal that they are escaped felons, and to be caught is to go back to prison.
Trent can’t forget Hal, nor can she forgive herself for his fate. The future holds no promise, and finally she seeks solace and expiation in a cult calling itself The Church of Hallowed Revelation. Her parents seek to have her deprogrammed, but instead lose her to ruthless kidnappers, who hold her in their African headquarters until her ransom is paid. Seeking a hostage held by a quasi-military faction, Hal and Demetrio head into the wilderness. At the end of their quest is violence, death, and–just perhaps–another chance for Hal and Trent.

Click here to enter:

You have to be a member to enter. If you aren’t a member of and are an avid reader, it might benefit you to join. 

I wish you could all win, but if you don’t, you can always buy it from my publisher, Uncial Press at

Kickassitude – First Edit and Twila Gets a Dog

I recently started working on the first edit from my publisher, Uncial Press, on my upcoming sequel to Redneck P.I. which (I think) is very aptly called Kickassitude.

During the writing process, I edited it and re-edited it a gazillion times, but this is different. It is now filled with red ink from my editor, Jude. She is a wonderful person and an excellent editor, and I’ve learned more than I could ever have imagined from her.

The good news for me is–she said it was delightful all the way to the end, and there was a lot less red ink than there was in either of my previous books.

I loved writing this book. Twila is such a wonderful character. She appears to be simple, with her devil may care attitude, but is actually very complex. The more I write about her, the more I learn about her deepest fears and desires.

When I got to the soppy part, I cried, again. I always figure if I can make myself cry, with something I have read so many times, then I’ve done my job as a romance writer.

But… I decided I didn’t like the ending. So, I set about changing it, and I am really jazzed at the way it turned out. I am what is referred to as a “pantser”. I write by the seat of my pants rather than sitting down and planning the story before actually writing it. The new ending just flowed beautifully out of my head. It was all there.

I can’t publish it here–there’s such a huge surprise in it I could never give it away. It even surprised me!! I know my readers will enjoy it.

Here’s a little excerpt about the dog who adopts Twila:

“I can’t say I have ever seen this little guy before. Looks like a Cairn Terrier. Spunky little critters. If you’re gonna keep him you should buy a collar and a leash so you can control him better.”
“Keep him? No, I can’t have a dog,” I said.
“I guess you’ll have to take him to the pound in Grover then. Maybe they’ll be able to find him a home before his ninety days are up.”
I know I looked blank.
“You don’t know, do you? If they haven’t found a home after ninety days they’re euthanized.”
I gasped and looked at the little critter, who was being held tightly by Jared. He dropped his ears down and showed the whites of his eyes. He looked sadder than I could imagine any dog could look. How did he know what we were talking about? 
“They wouldn’t really do that, would they?”
Doc. Zerelda wore a sad expression as she cocked her head. “I’m afraid they do. They can’t keep them indefinitely He looks like he’d be a handful–people don’t usually take to aggressive dogs like him.”
I didn’t have to deliberate for long. “Okay, I guess I’ll have to keep him, then. Where’s that collar and leash?” I couldn’t believe what I was saying.
She led me to the board that displayed an assortment of webbing and leather dog gear. I chose a black leather collar with silver studs and a matching black leather leash. If he was gonna ride around on a Harley he should look the part. They helped me put it on. 

The Aurora Shootings

I know everyone who reads this will, like me, want to send loving thoughts or prayers, and condolences to the victims of the horrific attack in Aurora Colorado last night.

I cannot begin to imagine the shock and pain of the wounded, and the families of all the victims.

If only there were some sort of magic spell we could cast on all of society so bad and crazy people would all change their ways, and everyone could just be happy and live in harmony.

The sad thing is–if anyone were to write about a world like that, it would be a fairy tale–and readers would get bored.

In the fantasy world of fiction,and even stories based on true events, readers thrive on conflict and tension.

It can be romantic tension, where we live through the minds of the lovers, willing them to kiss, or take the next step, longing for them to touch one another.
Tension and conflict are also present in the lives of people who have to make choices, because we can never be sure if we are making the right choice. Even in our own lives, we all go back and wonder what would have happened if we had chosen the other path.

I know I don’t have to describe the tension created by horror or fear.

Sadly, most of the ideas for suspense novels come from real life events and people. Truth is stranger than fiction, so they say.

Maybe if we all wish for a world without evil our wishes will one day come true and evil will only exist in fiction..

Guest Blogger Michelle Miles — Paranormal and Fantasy Romance Author

Why I Write Paranormal and Fantasy Romance

by Michelle Miles
I have a confession to make. I didn’t become a voracious reader until I was in my early twenties.
Okay, that’s not exactly true either. I don’t think I was ever a voracious reader.
I chose books that grab me from the first page and don’t let go until the last. I prefer to read series because I like visiting with the same characters, even if the hero/heroine are different. I like being in that world. I’m a picky reader.
But one thing I can definitely say that has always—and will always—capture my imagination are fantasy worlds. I started reading fantasy in high school. I loved (and still do) the books by Patricia McKillip. She has this wonderful way of weaving fantastical stories that draw the reader in and keep the reader guessing. One of my favorites by her is Alphabet of Thorn. I’ve read it over and over.
I can’t say I’ve been writing since I was a kid, scratching out novels in crayon or pencil. I didn’t really get into it until I was well into my teen years and even then, I dabbled. I got away from it for a while in my early twenties and then came back to it again in my late twenties. I started reading again. The first novel I wrote was a fantasy that has yet to see the light of day. It’s still hiding in the dark recesses of my computer.
But my published first book wasn’t in fantasy or paranormal. Not right away. I started with contemporary. Probably because it was easier for me to craft a story in the real world. I hadn’t learned how to worldbuild yet. That would come later. But I did learn how to put together a story and how to write a novel. And, most importantly, how to finish a novel.
I have always loved the fantasy worlds. Creating places from the deepest part of imagination, weaving stories with magic and dragons and romance. Where I can be a fairy princess if I want and let the knight in shining armor rescue me from the clutches of the villain. Okay well not ME exactly. But my heroine. And really, she’s stronger than that. She doesn’t sit around and wait for the hero to save the day. She takes the bull by the horns—or rather the dragon by the wings—and goes after what she wants. She’s not afraid of adventure. She doesn’t shy away from facing death head on. She’s strong and strong-willed.
And that’s why I love writing it. I love being in that world and crafting those stories. It’s definitely by favorite genre to read and write.
Michelle Miles is published in contemporary, fantasy and paranormal romance. You can find her books in print and eBook at Amazon, B&N, and other online retailers. She is the author of the time travel series, The Adventures of Ransom and Fortune, and the fantasy series, Knights in Shining Armor.

10 Romance Sub-Genre Categories

Romance writers don’t always know what sub-genre their work fits into. A search on the Internet can help, but I found it lacking in clarity, so I’ve tried to put it down as succinctly as I could here.

According to Romance Writers of America, this includes anything set in the time period after 1945. I’m not sure if that is really contemporary—I’m no spring chicken and I wasn’t even born in 1945… Anyhow, contemporary romance takes place in modern times, with realistic, every day people.
Contemporary Series Romance—a series of romance novels set after 1945.
Contemporary Single Title Romance—they are also post 1945, basically any romantic 
 love story with a modern setting.
Chick-Lit—romantic adventures that may be humorous, geared toward single working young women. (Sex and the City comes to mind.)
Historical Romance—can be set in any historical period prior to 1945
Regency Romance—the majority of the story is set in the British Regency period.
Arthurian romance—the story is worked around King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Steampunk Romance—characters are set in Victorian England with 20thcentury technology—also known as Victorian Futurism.
American Western Romance—those cowboys were pretty hot stuff!
Religious Romance—a chaste courtship with no sex before marriage and religion plays an important role in the lives of the lovers.
Sweet Romance—the heroine is a virgin and the story does not include sex
Young Adult Romance—geared toward young adult readers with minimal sexual content.
Romantic suspense, which is what I write, can include any of the following, as long as the romance is central to the story:
Adventure, Crime Story, Murder Mystery, Espionage Adventure, Forensic Thriller, Legal Thriller, Medical Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Technological Thriller, Detective Story, Eco-Thriller or Natural Disaster.
My novel Way Out of Line falls into this category and “The Bodyguard” comes to mind to give you an idea of what makes romantic suspense.
Paranormal romance—can include time travel, the supernatural, fantasy, dragons and fairies  
Cyberpunk, Post-Apocalyptic or Dystopian romance—set in the near future where computers have taken over society
New Age Romance—deals with astrology, spiritual healing, psychic abilities and mysticism
Vampire Romance—usually a human falls in love with a vampire
Romantic Urban Fantasy—characters live in a modern day city setting but have supernatural powers
Dark Fantasy Romance—includes monsters, aliens, werewolves and zombies
Gothic Horror Romance—is set in the middle-ages with castles and dungeons, imprisonment, persecution and decay
Dark Mystery/Noir Romance—includes a detective element set in an urban underworld of crime and moral degradation
Erotic Vampire Horror—very dark romance with graphic sex, violence and terrifying scenes.
Romantic comedy—The characters find themselves in awkward situations and do crazy things that make you laugh.  My novel Redneck P.I. is classed as romantic suspense, but it could also fit into this category.
“Romancing the Stone” is classified as an adventure romantic comedy.
The romantic couple live in the world of extreme wealth, drive expensive cars and socialize with celebrities
This is usually about non-Caucasian characters, mainly African-American or Hispanic

Also known as romantica, this type of romance leaves little room for the imagination and describes sexual scenes in detail.
So many variations are possible—this definitely does not cover them all—but I hope it will help readers have a better idea of what to look for when shopping for their next story. I also think romance writers who are unsure of their sub-genre may benefit from this list.
I hope so. Peace and love.

Romantic Tales Set In Fantastic Worlds

First off, thanks Trish, for sharing your blog with me today.

As mysterious dark rituals summon other-dimensional creatures, young lovers embrace under a bright full moon. Super-powered humans battle secret militia forces and struggle to make their way in a world that fears them. A Templar Knight, from a thousand years in the past, holds the key to saving the future, but a beautiful sorceress holds the key to his heart. Welcome to my worlds.

I’m S. C. Mitchell, and I write paranormal romance. I create dark worlds filled with dangerous creatures and wonderfully gifted people who struggle to make those worlds a better, safer place to live and to love.

Paranormal romance is all about the dark and mysterious – capturing elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror. I love the challenge of blending all these elements into a story. But at the heart of every romance, no matter what the genre, is the story of two people falling in love and living happily ever after, or at least happy for now.
Growing up you could usually find my face buried in a comic book. Yeah, I was X-Men when X-Men wasn’t cool. My earliest literary influences include J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard and Anne McCaffrey. Later I discovered the writings of Nora Roberts and Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I found myself lost in their magical worlds and romantic tales.

I have the utmost respect for historical romance writers. They need to do intense research into their era to get the facts just right. Me? I make stuff up. It’s my world to create and play in. If someone needs to fly, they fly. If I need a growling beast…Grrrrrr! Done!

Still, the worlds I create have to be ‘realistic’ in an unrealistic sort of way. I can break all the traditional rules, but still need a set of rules and guidelines to work within. That’s the real fun and challenge of writing paranormal romance.

♥Romance—Why do I Write it?

Romance makes the world go round. Just think about it—what would the world be like without romance? Imagine never feeling that spark, never looking into someone’s eyes and having your heart miss a beat, never experiencing that breathless anticipation…

People often ask me why I chose to write romance. The truth is, romance chose me. I honestly didn’t sit down and mull over which genre to write in.When I first decided to write a novel, the story and characters were all there in my head. It was as if they came alive and dictated the story to me. I was just the scribe.
When the story was complete—there it was. A love story. When people asked what kind of book I was writing, that’s what I told them—a love story.

That first full length book manuscript was never published—I was satisfied with the fact that I had been able to write it. And I found that another story was bubbling over in my head, just begging to be written. When I wrote it, it turned out to be another love story.
That was when I first had the idea that I might be a romance writer, and I read up about the genre.
In those days, the publishers were like gods. Self-publishing and small presses were not an option. The publishers set their own “rules” that had to be followed if you had any chance of ever being published. It seemed to me that the lovers never actually had sex and never cursed; and they had to live happily ever after. There were other rules. I remember thinking they were very strict. If your book didn’t fit into one of the pre-set parameters, it was not a romance and could not be called a romance. My stories always had an edge to them—scary, suspenseful, exciting things happened in them—and some of the characters used bad language, which was frowned upon in the romance genre. So for a while I really didn’t know what to say when people asked me what genre I wrote in. 
Was it romance—or something else?
When I completed my novel, REDNECK P.I., I sent it to several publishers, complete with a query letter and whatever else they requested in their “Submission Guidelines.” I received a few rejection letters, but when Uncial Press contacted me to say they would like to publish my story, I was ecstatic. Now I had a wonderful professional editor and mentor, Jude. She told me I write romantic suspense. I finally knew what I genre I was writing.
I actually kind of think REDNECK P.I. is a cross between romantic suspense—excitement, tension and suspense are most certainly thrown into the mix—and romantic comedy. It could be classified as romance/romantic suspense/romantic comedy—but as far as I know, sub/sub genres have not yet become a reality. My character Twila is redneck—and proud of it. She has to choose between two hunky twins while helping to solve a murder and bring a pedophile to justice, ably assisted by her Harley-riding, weed-smoking great aunt Essie and her master hacker neighbor Gasser Cunha.
The up-coming sequel, KICKASSITUDE is also funny as well as suspenseful—and of course, sizzling hot. Twila works to find her mother’s murderer, and a dog named Scratch adopts her, and rides with her on the back of her Harley. Sexy young cowboy, Tanner Ferrano is determined to get her into bed with him…

My recently released WAY OUT OF LINE is more serious—purely a romantic suspense, about a couple of kids who get it on. Hal doesn’t know Trent is underage, and goes to prison for statutory rape. Trent beats herself up for ruining his life. Their love survives through some very difficult events and they are eventually reunited in Mozambique, Africa, when Hal rescues her from a militant group, and has to get her back to civilization.

IMPASSIONED—the novel I’m working on at the moment is also more serious. Riley Slater is happy with her life. She has her own veterinary practice in a small town in Colorado—and no one asks her about her past. Until gorgeous Powell Stewart shows up and her assistant, Jamie is murdered. Horse wrangler Randy, with his six-pack abs and a butt to die for is courting her at the time…

I love reading romance and suspense, and I guess that’s why I write the way I do. I’m hoping to get other romance authors who write in different sub-genres to guest blog for me so my readers and I can learn more about their stories and what drove them to write.