CONFLICT IS VITAL!
Conflict is defined as:
1. war: warfare between opposing forces, especially a prolonged and bitter but sporadic struggle
2. difference: a disagreement or clash between ideas, principles, or people
3. mental struggle: a psychological state resulting from the often unconscious opposition between simultaneous but incompatible desires, needs, drives, or impulses –
Conflict is vital to most any novel or story and the author is tasked with creating believable conflicts for the protagonists and antagonists. Conflict creates suspense, gains empathy for your characters, and the resolution whether a happy conclusion or not, is vital, but especially in a suspenseful romance.
The writing gods say the best stories hold both major and minor conflicts as well as both internal and external conflicts. And this was my goal when I wrote my Alaskan based trilogy.
In Murder, Madness & Love Detective Steven Quaid finds that he has become infatuated with a woman who could be a murderer. His internal struggle complicates his investigation as he grapples with his emotions and his duty.
Sarah Palmer, the object of his infatuation and frustration, has her own battles and in one unexpected fight, they voice their issues. Will they transcend them and work together to catch a killer?
In an excerpt from Murder, Madness & Love, I've titled A Spider vs. A Hawk (Hawk is the nickname Steven Quaid has earned for his sleuthing skills) the personal conflict, or differences between the two main characters is voiced. Do you see a winner?
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A Spider vs. A Hawk
Sarah did not trust Steven Quaid. He wanted to arrest her, and on no logical basis. Sarah quickened her pace and walked ahead, eager to be away from him.
Steven caught up with her, though, stepping into her path. "What’s the matter with you? I’ve tried my damnedest to get to know you, but you keep pulling away. Why? Why won’t you talk to me?"
"Mr. Quaid, please stop playing games. You don't want to know me. You want to catch a murderer—not just the one who killed those young women, but me, the black widow. Do you actually imagine a friendship between us—suddenly I’ll feel guilty because you’ve been so understanding, then what? I spontaneously confess. Get real. If you don't mind, Mr. Quaid, I can live without the small talk." No longer interested in hiding her anger, she bypassed him and hurried down the path once more.
"That’s Detective Quaid, thank you!"
His lack of response to anything else she’d said surprised Sarah. She turned to face him. "You don't deserve the title. A detective is a person who investigates. You know, uncovers information, facts, truths not readily available to the public. All you’re doing is listening to gossip. All you know is hearsay, rumor, and lies. Have you even searched for the truth? Or is your normal practice sitting on your duff and waiting for the murderer to find you, so they can get their sins off their chest? The Hawk! More like the vulture!"
Tired, she walked away slowly, her defeat evident in the bow of her shoulders.
"My friends use that name; you’ve no right! Stop walking away from me while I’m talking to you." He grabbed her arm and flung her around. "You want to trade insults. At least I’m not so callous I sing You Are My Sunshine right after learning of the deaths of two young women I knew personally. Or go to a party dressed in black and red, flaunting your spidery inclinations. So, come on, lady, what are you hiding from? Tell me what you know, because you know something."
She pulled her arm from his grasp. Anger sent adrenaline through her veins, but she stayed silent. He had his hands on his hips now, his rage full blown. He thought she dressed in black and red because she wanted to flaunt her spidery inclinations—appalled, embarrassed, and determined to fight back, she stood her ground.
"Tell me the truth. I’m listening. Truth for you means self-incrimination, doesn’t it? You’re one cold bitch. Don’t worry; I’ll uncover the evidence, and without your help. How dare you insult me! Who are you to judge me—a rich widow pretending to be an important executive while innocent women die because of what you did! Believe me, I have much better things to do than protect your ungrateful hide."
"Yes, I am a rich widow pretending to be something I’m not, while innocent women die instead of me. Because I can afford security guards and an entire police force to guard my ungrateful hide. In celebration, I wear the colors of my namesake and sing—with any luck, not off key. You know exactly who I am. The question is: who are you? A man pretending to be a detective while innocent women die while you chase... what? A spider? Since we both know who we are, let’s forgo the pleasantries. Just do your job, and I’ll flaunt my spidey-ness to hell and back!"
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~Murder, Madness & Love is Available at~
Sunlight blazes on an empty canvas.
Arctic winds gather snowflakes on a frosty window ledge as a statuesque form appears. She moves past a table littered with papers. Headlines splash news of murder, but it's the photo of another young woman with features mirroring her own that draws her attention.
A different headline peeks from underneath the Anchorage Times.
Wealthy Businessman Dies in Car Crash ... BLACK WIDOW SUSPECTED!
Graphic images swirl through her head and a tear rolls down her cheek. She drifts toward an easel and a trembling hand dips a sable brush into a palette of paint.
The Westminster doorbell chimes. The brush slips and blood-red paint stains the floor.
Detective Steven Quaid waits. His Tlingit, Indian features carved from granite, mask his Irish passion ...
Will he arrest her this time?
All fingers point to her guilt.
But, is she guilty of this cunning plot? Or, just a victim of circumstantial evidence?
The door opens ...
His eyes lock on hers ...
His heart races ...
Hers skips a beat.
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An adventurous spirit took Yolanda Renée to Alaska where she hiked the Brooks Range, traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and learned to sleep under the midnight sun.
She claims her vivid imagination as a blessing, a habit, a hobby, a calling and sometimes a curse.
Renée now resides in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, and Boston terrier, Patches.
Learn more about Renée and her books by following these links:
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Thank you Beverly, for hosting me today!
I would love to give away an eBook copy of Murder, Madness & Love to one lucky reader. If they leave their email address in the comments section, it will qualify them to win. The contest winner will be announced on September 16, 2013 - here on Beverly's blog.
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You heard right, folks! I will be randomly selecting one lucky winner to win an eBook copy of the book so just leave your e-mail address in your comment and keep your fingers crossed!
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Huge thanks to Yolanda for stopping by today and for including me in this awesome tour of hers. Don't forget to stop by her site to say hi and see the full list of the other blogs she's touring!