Leave a comment and enter below for a chance to win a copy of Susan May Warren’s new book, “Storm Front.” Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Note: This post contains affiliate links meaning I will get a small commission if you click and buy from that link.

Award-winning author Susan May Warren has charmed readers with her action-packed Montana Rescue series. With this next installment, Storm Front, Warren executes the perfect blend of romance, adventure, and danger.

A tornado has destroyed a small Minnesota community, and among the missing are not only a group of students but PEAK Rescue team leader Chet King. Ty Remington will stop at nothing to rescue his mentor, not even when the girl he loved—and lost—walks back into his life.

A blogger for Vortex Storm Chasers, Brette Arnold didn’t expect her adventures to land her in the same place as Ty, the guy who she ran from over a year ago. She had her reasons and believes that falling for him again would only lead to heartache. But Ty isn’t the kind of man to give up—not on the missing students or on her.

Life and love hang in the balance in Susan May Warren’s breathless story of holding on to hope during a deadly summer of storms.

What is the one thing that I’ve learned the hard way so that others don’t have to?

This is a massive question. Like, for example, when you whip egg whites, keep the mixer going the same direction the entire time, and keep whipping until they fold in on themselves. Or, perhaps, don’t bring almonds back into the country, even if you bought them in the United States. Finally, and I think this was my best lesson, when your daughter says, at the age of 14, that she wants blue hair, don’t freak out, but just say, “what shade?” It’ll grow out.

But as a writer, the best lesson for me has been a very simple, but fantastic trick to getting my stories on the page, consistently, with minimal rewrites and under deadline: Tell Yourself The Story.

After I’ve created my characters, figured out the theme, the character change journey and what their black moment and happy ending will be, I take my phone, or my recorder, and a cup or three of coffee, I tell myself the story.

I like talk-to-text because the app then transcribes it into a document. I can then clean it up and divide the summary into chapters for Scrivener.

Basically, I lay out my notes, my plotting and character charts (I use a method called the Story Equation), and I sit and talk out the entire story like I might be telling it to a friend. Sometimes I write it in the POV of the characters so I can hear their emotions and motivation for each action. It requires me to make sure I have a good reason for everything my character does, as well as ensures that all the threads are woven through the entire story. Once it’s told, or written, I listen/read it like a reader, asking questions about possible plot holes, motivations, and character reactions. This technique almost acts like an initial plot/content edit as I’m ironing out all the wrinkles in the plot before I start putting it on paper.

Of course, I allow myself room to change the plot as the characters demand when I get into the story, but if I can start out with a strong story, one I like, and with characters I not only like but want to go on the journey with, then I know I at least have a strong foundation.

So…if you’re a writer, tell yourself the story before you write it. If you fall in love with it first, then there’s a pretty good chance your readers will, too!

Purchase a copy of Storm Front
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Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, and A Matter of Trust. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas.

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