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The Idea Machine

by on March 18, 2013

My idea machine. For sale, cheap.

I actually have one of these in my basement. When I’m short on ideas, I take it out, crank it up and the ideas for stories come tumbling out, neatly printed in 3×5 cards, ready to tack up on my idea board for further perusal.

In addition, I have some oceanfront property in Kansas that’s for sale too.  Real cheap.

I’ve been asked often, “Where do you get your ideas?”  I know I’m not special.  Most writers have been asked that.  Readers want to see where the magic happens.

There is no magic.

There is no idea machine.  If only!

Ideas have different compartments to me.  There are ideas for stories, there are ideas for settings and there are ideas for people.

Stories are not just light bulbs of inspiration.  They take work and nurturing and more hard work.  Creating a story, with characters out of a speck of an idea…”what if a farmer had to take a wife….” isn’t the easiest work on the planet.  Why is mental work sometimes the hardest?

If I’m feeling flush with creativity, I’ll sit down and write a list of one or two sentence ideas for a story with a sentence each for the main characters. If the idea takes hold, I can always go back and fill in the blanks.  Sometimes these spur of the moment ideas work out into full fleshed stories.  Sometimes they hide in the notebook pages, waiting for just the right time to spring back to life, usually when I’m in the middle of doing something else.

But that’s how the mind works and as a writer, you have to go with the flow or you’re lost.  This isn’t a paint by numbers exercise!

Speaking of ideas, I got the idea for my latest story while watching Jurassic Park.  I have no idea how it came down to this, because this story has no dinosaurs, but it does have a disgruntled programmer. They’re so sensitive, the surgeons of the software world.

While all of my books are fun for me to write, this was especially so.  Not only was this my first foray into “romantic suspense”,  but the relationship between the main characters was different for me.  They’re friends with benefits, and both seem to maintain that makes it easier for them to work together.  But does it really?

Inspired by Jurassic Park. But no sexy dinosaurs, only spanking.


Software designer Violet Connelly prefers code to cuddling, but is unable to resist the occasional closed-door meeting with her business partner and fellow developer Francis Rushmore. They’re on the fast track to submitting their educational game to a competition that has the potential to reap a lucrative contract and pull their failing company out of its decline.

But unexplainable glitches keep appearing in the program. A change in deadline means they have only two weeks to do four weeks’ worth of work. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the lovers’ holiday as well as a potential rival for Violet’s affections forces them both to examine their true feelings for each other. Will the added personal and professional pressures bring them closer or tear them apart?

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