Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway: Splintered Lies by Karen Lopp

Published: May 18th, 2014
Cover Artist: Karen Lopp


Detective Rissa Marten sacrificed her only chance for a normal life to put a drug lord behind bars. Now, her life in the shadows has to be brought to life to save the man she has secretly loved for years. With a price on her head can she risk letting him know? 

Detective Jerah Qassem has built his career as an undercover agent in the dangerous world of drug cartels. But when a ghost from his past is resurrected can he overcome his bitterness in time to save her life?

Between the Romance and the Suspense 

Hello, everyone and welcome to my blog tour! First, let me say “Thank You” to my host for having me here today on this wonderful blog and showcasing my latest release, “Splintered Lies.” 

Writing a Romantic Suspense requires some decisions early on in the process. An author needs to find a healthy balance between the Romance and the Suspense. Depending on preferences, the amount of suspense can vary widely. The romance, of course, is a must, but what are some of the issues? When and where do you insert these elements? I believe each story should be evaluated separately as your plot and characters evolve. 

Sometimes the actions will overtake the romance because the story demands it. If the story is set in the height of a battle, you can’t just stop the action and have the couple sneak off to a peaceful location and forget about what is happening all around them. They will have to grab their moments. Bullets are flying and the bad guys are relentless. It is unbelievable if all is calm between them when there is danger on all sides. This can also add to the tension between the couple. After all, they want one another, but the circumstances keep getting in the way. Frustrations will run high. In the midst of their desire they must deal with chaos, while trying to sneak in a kiss without getting so distracted they lose their lives. A writer must keep the surrounding plot tension in mind while writing the romance. 

That passionate kiss or embrace just before a fight scene should emphasize the couple’s desperate need for one another. Don’t just write a simple kiss or hug. The moment is fraught with danger and they realize they may not live through it. Show more than just lust or even love here. Add in the fears of dying, some regret, a flash of memory, or a failure to achieve something they always promised themselves they would do. Tie this into the story later by having the character fulfill it or overcome the fear. However, this also isn’t the place for a full on love scene. Focus on the heightened emotions, not the overwhelming physical needs to keep the suspense realistic and tight. 

Save the love scene for when the bullets aren’t flying and they are in a reasonably safe place - or at least believe they are safe. Don’t have them shooting a gun at an enemy who is firing back and still thinking about sex. Living, or saving someone else, is what will be on their mind. If they are a prisoner, they can have those thoughts. Tied up and helpless is an acceptable time for them to disengage from reality and focus on something else. It may be what keeps them sane during that trying time. Sex can take place right before a big battle, a misunderstanding directly after can add to the tension as danger descends on your couple. Larger-than-life heroes and heroines still need to be realistic. Super sexy scenes have to take place when there is actually time for them. 

When the suspense is built more around discovering who is committing the crimes, the romance between the couple can develop at a slower pace. The couple isn’t in direct danger. This will also make it easier to delve into their past issues with a partner that may be hindering this relationship. Action scenes will be fewer and less intense with this storyline. However, the psychological tension will be kicked into high gear. Instead of a need to survive, this style relies more heavily on the intellectual challenges and the disturbing bent of a criminal’s mind. Delving into the sick and twisted minds of killers presents a different set of emotional trauma. For example, nightmares would be more common here because they are forced to dwell on the disturbing patterns the killer follows. Fear, rather than adrenaline will be one of the emotions that develops the characters and the romance. 

As with any romance, the couple must have a happy ending. A faster pace is necessary; however it must fit the particular story. These are not hard rules to follow, just some guidelines that should be observed and considered for each unique story. Choosing the balance is subjective. Each of us has a different perspective and preference. If you ask 100 people what the proper balance is you will get 100 different answers. But if the story holds true, the unfolding events doesn’t mean having chapters filled with only suspense or only romance you are on the right path. When the story demands action give it action, when things settle down go heavy on the romance. It is the ebb and flow the will bring a smooth rhythm to your story and leave the reader satisfied.


Jerah Qassem had never been more grateful for his years of undercover training than at this moment. Fingers tight around the tumbler to stop the tremors, he watched the apparition glide up to the bar, and wondered if someone had laced his drink with a hallucinogen. Mary was dead. He had nightmares or wet dreams about her most nights for the last eight years.

It wasn’t only the woman’s face that had his insides swirling like a hurricane. It was the way she moved. Long, smooth strides, shoulders straight and eyes darting around like a caged cat. Mary had always been casting looks over her shoulder as if she expected someone to jump out and chase her. But those legs were just as toned and shapely as Mary’s had been. She had been athletic and grabbed every chance she could to romp around the beach. Even the hair was the exact same color of ripened wheat and bounced just below her shoulders. Just like Mary had worn it.

Chills erupted all over his body and cold fingers caressed the nape of his neck. Unable to blink, Jerah stared at the ghost of Mary. The girl he had sent to her death in a fit of anger. The girl he had fallen in love with, yet had been too proud and ambitious to acknowledge until she was gone. Forever.

Jerah closed his eyes against the jarring memory of two firemen holding him back from the charred remains of the building he had sent Mary into as three body bags were carried out. A shudder rattled down his spine. He had relived that day too often. When he glanced back at the bar, the woman had taken a seat and smiled at the bartender. Jerah knew that smile. The same smile that once had almost melted his resolve to not get involved. He had had a career to build. Mary had stirred up thoughts of forever and love, things he hadn’t been ready for. The temptation had been great. But somehow, he persevered and tossed away the best thing that had ever happened to him.

Air exploded from his chest and Jerah shook his head. He did not believe in ghosts. Prickles sprang up his legs as if his blood had decided to flow again. He tugged his leaden body from the chair and stalked to the bar. “Give me a shot of Wild Turkey.” Needing the fortification, he gulped down the amber liquid. Fire burned down his throat. Nope, he wasn’t dreaming. Hands braced on the edge of the bar, he turned to the woman at his side.


A voice from the grave, soft and melodic, brushed across his ears. That face, resurrected from the dead, shimmered under the neon lights, a few years older, but still able to mesmerize him. Fear, anger, and profound sadness glittered in those honey-hued eyes as the color leeched from her face.

Anger and shock swelled like a wave and crashed over Jerah. That’s all she had to say? After leaving him to believe she had been killed?

Blood roared in his ears and he clamped a shaking hand around her arm. “Come with me.” A tiny voice told him this was a bad idea. That too many curious eyes watched this little exchange. But he couldn’t help it. Mary was alive and he damn sure wanted to know how. Carl and the risk of a blown cover be damned. Besides, this wasn’t the usual meeting place, and Carl wasn’t here yet.

“Let go of me, Jerah.” The sharp whisper of dismissal slapped him in the face.

He leaned in close and tightened his grip. “You are coming with me and I don’t give a shit if you cause a scene or not.” The bartender sat another drink on the counter and Jerah gulped it down in one swallow, ignoring the open interest of the bartender. The burn of alcohol on his throat was not enough to ease the utter chaos of his insides. “Come on.”

Mary catapulted out of her stool at his tug and stumbled into him. When she landed against his chest, sizzles and crackles exploded over his flesh like a bolt of lightning. Conscious control flew away as Jerah’s free hand snaked to the nape of her neck and he feathered his fingers through her soft tresses. Something he had dreamed of many nights over the years.

About the author:
Stories have always been a part of my life, from books to tales passed down from my ancestors that brought history to life. Danger, struggles and the will power to overcome are all found in the rich legacy of my family tree. Inspiration from their lives inspired me to write what I love. Branching out to contemporary suspense has been another dream come true. I hope my stories bring you entertainment and inspiration. 

I love history of all times and places. And my second but equal love of suspense fills my books.


Unknown said...

Thank you for hosting me today. I am honored.

Cheryl R said...

I think that you paragraph about keeping a balance between romance and action in a book is right on! It is so true and I think in the end the book such as this has more real character development than in just plain romance books. Thanks for the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

I love happy ending always. Why? You immerse yourself so much in a book well I need to smile at the end :) Will be the first time reading this author stories by the look of it I will enjoy it. Thank you and good luck.

Unknown said...

Good luck with the drawing, Cheryl and thank you for coming by today.

Unknown said...

I hope you do enjoy the book and thanks for stopping in.

Unknown said...

This book sounds really good, and I look forward to reading about
Detective Rissa Marten she sounds like a really good character. And I so love the prize, somthing different and cool with winter coming would love to snuggle in that throw and read your book thank you.

Anonymous said...

This looks like an amazing read! ^_^

Unknown said...

Your book sounds great and a amazing gift prize thank you

Juana said...

I want to read this book. I enjoyed the excerpt and I like the beautiful book cover too.

jmesparza821 at gmail dot com

CCAM said...

I believe that the Guest Post and the interview answers are a great way to "feel" the author. I liked this GP so I will try the book. Thank you.