Originally posted on Sisters of Suspense:

Have you ever bought a book after reading the back cover blurb and been disappointed? I have. It’s bound to happen to all of us one time or another.

Interested in a better way to find new authors?

Well, do we have a deal for you. A FREE Romantic Suspense sampler. And there’s nothing better than free, right?

The Sisters of Suspense Anthology  #1

Snippets of Suspense MED

Spine-tingling mystery and suspense

with a steamy side-dish of romance.

Delicious characters, intriguing story-lines, fun, love, and laughter—all there to introduce you to new authors you’re going to love.

A collection of opening chapters from ten very different books by ten very different award-winning authors:

Veronica Forand, Melissa Keir, Jo-Ann Carson, Jacquie Biggar, Marian Lanouette, Jacqui Nelson, Pat Amsden, Marsha R. West, Kathryn Jane, and McKenna Sinclair

Here’s the kind of story you’ll get:

*Brilliant art appraiser, Alex Northrop’s ex used stolen art to fund his…

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Fire-Breathers and Criticism: Daddy Long Legs Rules at the Davenport Theatre

“Isn’t it terrific?” I gushed at intermission during a performance of Daddy Long Legs at Manhattan’s Davenport Theatre.

“No less than a creative masterpiece”


“I wouldn’t say that,” the man next to me replied. I thought he was going to be funny and try to find some other superlative. Instead he continued, “the singing is very nice, but other than that ….” He shrugged his shoulders and wrinkled his nose as if he’d caught the scent of bad fish.

Astounded, I kept thinking about his lack of enthusiasm as I went to wait on  the interminable lady’s room line. I knew I’d try to get more out of him. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trying to be combative, or even trying to change his mind, I just wanted to know why.

Megan McGinnis and Paul Alexander Nolan in DADDY LONG LEGS

When I approached him, he rolled his eyes and said, “Can you honestly say that’s the best thing you’ve ever seen? I wouldn’t use the word ‘terrific’ for anything less.”

To my mind, what we’d just seen was no less than a creative masterpiece. Based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Mark Twain’s niece, Jean Webster, John Caird’s witty dialogue and Paul Gordon’s music and lyrics succinctly trimmed a novel — which spanned more than four years, multiple locations, and covered topics as diverse as the treatment of orphans, the education of girls, suffrage for women, and socialism — down to two characters, and 120 minutes, without missing a beat. Megan McGinnis in DADDY LONG LEGS

Paul Alexander Nolan in DADDY LONG LEGS

Further, the performances of Megan McGinnis as the orphan sent to college and Paul Alexander Nolan as the crotchety, anonymous benefactor were flawless.

Their singing was exceptional, their love story poignant, and even though only one kiss was shared at the very end, their chemistry was apparent from their first moments on stage. This is in stark contrast to Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse’s film version, which although delightful, left the viewer in doubt of actual attraction between the protagonists.

Like Clare Booth Luce’s Pulitzer winning play, The Women,the creators and actors of Daddy Long Legs were able to conjure an unseen cast with a few words of dialogue and the notes of an excellent score. (Click HERE to hear some of the songs.)

Paul Alexander Nolan and Megan McGinnis in DADDY LONG LEGS

Special kudos also go out to  David Farley whose imaginative and detailed set and quick-change costuming outdid many Broadway musicals this season.

At its heart, Daddy Long Legs is about a relationship between a man and a woman overcoming the barriers of social inequality to find a way to continue together. I wondered if the romantic plot might be the reason why the man at the theater felt so differently than I did.

It reminded me of the times when I gave a book a five star rating and was amazed to see others score it a one or a two. To make matters worse, when I had questioned the man a second time, he’d made some nasty comments about my taste and the fact my husband wasn’t with me — raising his arm to indicating my hubby must be off in a corner drinking. I realized this guy wouldn’t be content to low rate a book or play, he’d be the anonymous critic who’d bash the author and leave them cringing in a corner, possibly never to write again.

It also gave me courage.

Too often we don’t see or hear the applause, but only the negative criticism. We allow the crazies to color our own opinions of ourselves and our work. This extends to other reviewers who are oft times too cowed to express a different opinion in view of a fire-breather’s ultra-confident scorching.

Paul Alexander Nolan in DADDY LONG LEGS

But thankfully, theater is different than publishing. At the end of the performance, Daddy Long Legs received a standing ovation from men and women alike. The fire-breather was definitely in the minority and the vast majority of the audience saw the brilliance and hard work of an incredible cast.

The charming and intimate Davenport Theater is about a block from the traditional Broadway theaters. While this show is aimed at adults, it is definitely suitable for children age eight and up, particularly for fans of Anne of Green Gables or the American Girl dolls and books.I wonder how long before theater producers realize a Jerusha doll would be a big seller. If they ever make one, I’ll be the first in line.

Unfortunately, the author of Daddy Long Legs, Jean Webster died in childbirth a few years after her novel was published. I think it wonderful that her work is being brought to a whole new generation and am sure she would be pleased with this delightful production.

Click here for more information on Daddy Long Legs.

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Daniel

King Charles III a Resolute Failure

NB: This begins a series of theater reviews — some a day trip from D.C. in New York and others as far as Chicago. There is so much to see and do — I hope my readers get out there and enjoy!

Broadway’s Music Box Theater is a place of great fondness for me. It was the site of the first play I ever saw, plus countless others that I have loved.  Opening nights are exciting: Waiting on line, the crowd filing in, the sound of taxicabs fading to that of an orchestra as it tunes. Unfortunately, the production of King Charles III that officially opened on November 1st,  will not join those treasured memories.


The idea of of a futuristic play about the Royal Family seemed so delightfully absurd, I couldn’t wait to see this play and was lucky enough to get in during previews. Most people adore the Royals — perhaps it’s the result of too many Disney Princess stories — but whether following their births and celebrations, or making them the butt of jokes, I think their squabbles and predicaments both fascinating  and ridiculous. They are worthy of soap opera fame, yet rarified, dignified, and interesting. With tremendous curiosity, I went to see Mike Bartlett’s Olivier-winning play.

King Charles III should abdicate before audiences rise like a revolutionary mob and demand its execution.

The characters were so insipid, they were worse than two-dimensional, cardboard figures. The actors seem chosen more for their physical similarities to their subjects rather than real talent. Charles is portrayed as a vacillating monarch, unable to shed tears at his mother’s death, who refuses to sign into law a bill he opposes — the one bright spot in the tedious plot. He is manipulated  by politicians and his wife, Camila, who is reduced to a flighty idiot, seeking the glory of his office, who scarcely listens to his misgivings.

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Kate is portrayed as a woman who oversteps her position and threatens her husband for the benefit of her children. Somehow she doesn’t know that the King is the King as soon as the previous monarch dies. She goes on and on about how he won’t be coronated for three months. Even as Americans we all know the coronation is a formalization, a ceremony, and the office of monarch never goes vacant. (Remember all those movies — the King is dead, long live the King?)

The anti-monarchist sentiment of the play is brought to the forefront as Prince Harry, portrayed as a drunken, boorish, wild-child (never mentioning him as a military officer), becomes enamored of a loud-mouthed girl. She denounces everything he is, prompting him to surrender his title. Once again raising the issue of whether or not Harry is truly Charles’ son is not only hackneyed but cruel.

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Add to this the oddest, most annoying ghost of the late Princess Diana, moaning, striking poses, and sauntering up and down the aisles for no apparent reason, and you can see how difficult it is to like even one thing about this play.

The set lacks imagination and consists of a gray stone wall that hints at the interior of a castle. Never mind that Buckingham Palace has plaster walls and gilt finishes, this set design is both boring and lazy.

I was intrigued by the notion that this would be an alternate future play where there wouldn’t be Hitlers, or robots, or scenes of mass destruction. But from the horrid acting, to the over-written dialogue that aims at Shakespearian iambic pentameter and casts poor Kate as another Lady Macbeth, this play is truly a disaster.

Besides Macbeth, there are shades of Hamlet, Henry IV and even Richard III. While anyone who would attempt such a thing would normally be roundly smacked — especially as bad as this play is — the subject matter of the play is so controversial, so popularly anti-monarchist, that critics have been swept away by ephemera instead of calling a dud a dud. The tepid applause of the audience should be the first indication that no amount of highbrow allusion can pull the wool over a New York theater audience’s eyes.

Get Wicked with Entangled Blog Hop

Diana Belchase:

A fantastic contest for a fantastic book. The talented Pintip Dunn is stopping by to tell us a little bit about her debut novel, Forget Tomorrow. It’s filled with all the teen angst anyone could want while asking really probing questions about whether we can change ourselves and our futures. Take it away, Pintip!

Originally posted on :

Hello! Welcome to my stop of the Get Wicked with Entangled Blog Hop!

The thing is…I’m not really wicked. I write YA novels. I’m a mother of three kids. The most wicked I get is this:

Pin Halloween

But when you add in the fact that I am Maleficient to my daughter’s Mal this Halloween, the wickedness factor goes down quite a bit.

But no matter. The villain in my upcoming book, FORGET TOMORROW, is wicked enough for the both of us. Chairwoman Dresden, head of the Future Memory Agency, is downright scary in her ambition and single-mindedness. She’ll do anything to achieve her goals, even if it means sacrificing the innocent.

Callie, my heroine, has enough on her plate. Will she be able to circumvent Fate AND defeat Chairwoman Dresden? We shall see . . .

In the meantime, I’d love to give away a prize to thank you for stopping…

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The Thin Line Between Alpha-Hero and Alpha-Jerk #amwriting #books #RSsos

Diana Belchase:

The wonderful writer, Sarah Andre, explains what the difference is between a great character and a mediocre one. Thanks Sarah for being here today and sharing your writing secrets.

Originally posted on Sisters of Suspense:

Sarah Andre Sarah Andre

Hi! Sarah Andre here–if you’ve read any info about me lately, I’ve been broadcasting the release of a new romantic suspense novel ‘Secrets That Kill‘ in December or January. I was right on schedule in rewriting, revising and meeting my editor’s deadline. I thought it was a fantastic story; one chapter was so emotionally wrenching it even made me cry. I sent it off to the editor and danced around the house singing MC Hammer’s ‘Can’t Touch This.’ Naturally I expected critical feedback (can you believe we pay to be insulted?) :) and that I would need more revising. But overall this story was on fire! You can imagine my shock then, when my Critique Partner/bff and my editor both sent back almost identical emails: “Your hero is a jerk.”

Holy smokes! I can assure you that after 10 years in this career I know my strengths…

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How to Structure #Suspense in 3 Steps – My Bing, Bang, Boom Theory

Originally posted on Sisters of Suspense:


Create a dynamite opening brimming with pulse-pounding action.

I love the opening scene in Indiana Jones and James Bond movies, because they are so tightly wound with action, conflict and suspense. My heart pounds and I gasp for breath.

Here is a clip of the opening of Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark.

And here is a clip of the opening of A Quantum of Solace.

And Covert Affairs


Introduce each of the major characters. Write a provocative chapter for each one. Sometimes two. Whatever it takes to establish who they are and why we should care.

This is the step I stumbled on when I first started writing suspense. I tried to introduce the bad guy later in the book thinking it would make him more mysterious. My beta-readers complained. “Who is this guy? Are we supposed to like him?” Trust me, I learned the hard way…

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