Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A romance / mystery writer asks, “Have you spoken to the voices in your head recently?”

Hi all, I'm Reggi Allder a writer of romantic suspense and contemporary novels. Today I'm happy to introduce guest blogger Lois Winston. Lois writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name.

Have You Spoken to the Voices in Your Head Recently? by Lois Winston

With apologies to Rick Castle, there are two kinds of folk who sit around listening to the voices in their heads—schizophrenics and mystery writers. I’m the kind that doesn’t talk back. Usually.

I say usually because every once in a while it becomes necessary for me to argue with one of those voices, otherwise known as my characters. They can be very demanding. If they don’t like the direction I’ve taken a story, they let me know—quite vociferously. I’ll be sitting at my computer, typing away, when all of a sudden my heroine will absolutely, positively refuse to take part in the next scene. As a matter of fact, she’ll most likely stamp her foot down so hard that she gives me both a whopping headache and a royal pain in my butt.

When this happens, I have no choice but to listen. You see, the problem with those voices in my head is that they’re unionized. If one refuses to budge, they all line up in solidarity, effectively shutting down my muse. Not listening means staring at a blinking cursor for hours on end. Since the blinking cursor is the bane of any writer’s existence, it behooves me to pay attention when the voices threaten to go on strike.

So there I was the other day, forced to listen to my heroine as she tossed one monkey wrench after another into my plot. “You’re taking the easy way out,” she screamed at me. “I demand more conflict! Another red herring! One more plot twist!”

When I’m doing something wrong, my characters are not shy about letting me know it. They’re the little niggle of doubt that erupts into a giant roar when I ignore them and keep traveling down the wrong plot road. But sometimes I can be just as stubborn because I think I know better, and I’ll start arguing. Big mistake. They outnumber me, so they’re a lot louder. Eventually I have no recourse but to give in and write the story their way.

That’s when I hear, “You’ll thank us in the end.”

And you know what? They’re always right.

Lost in Manhattan

by Lois Winston, writing as Emma Carlyle

One by one members of the Montgomery family have died in tragic accidents. Photographer Sarah Montgomery is the last surviving member of the aeronautics dynasty. After the death of her beloved grandfather, she accepts the fact that her husband never loved her and initiates divorce proceeding. On the way home from the lawyer’s office, Sarah is hit by a cab. Days later she awakens in the hospital and has no idea who she is.

Industrialist Trent Caldwell harbors guilt over his wife’s death. A passenger in the cab that struck Sarah, he now feels responsible for her injuries. When no one steps forward to identify the woman in the hospital, he arranges for his housekeeper to care for her in his home. Seeing in Sarah someone who just might draw Trent out of the darkness he’s succumbed to since his wife’s death, she sets about playing matchmaker.

But the Montgomery family deaths weren’t accidents. Someone harbors a deadly secret and using skills perfected as a youthful IRA operative, has systematically eliminated the family out of a need for revenge. Realizing Sarah’s true identity, the assassin now has one more kill to make in order to fulfill a promise made long ago.

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Award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.Visit Lois/Emma at and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, Follow everyone on Twitter:

Thanks for stopping by. Come again next week.  
If you like strong males, determined women, mystery and romance
please check out my books on Amazon

Money Power and Poison  
Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.   

Shattered Rules 
Does love always deserve a second chance? 


  1. Never again will I see writing as a solitary job! Thank you Lois for giving us a glimpse into how you create your stories - or how your characters make you create your stories :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Jacqui! Glad you enjoyed the guest blog.

  3. Very interesting to read about how these characters come to life!

  4. I guess you'll never be lonely, Lois! I haven't had too many arguments with the characters in my head, but I admit they have led me in some completely unexpected directions. Their chatter usually occurs in the blink of an eye - and my fingers seem to type what they say more quickly than my brain even recognizes what's going on. Surprise! Where did that come from? Who said to type that? They can, indeed, be quite insistent.

  5. One thing about those voices in your head, Claire, is that they keep you from staring at a blinking cursor! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I, too, know exactly what you're talking about, and I smiled all the way through this post. I am so happy to meet Emma Carlyle and this new series. Sounds like something I will enjoy reading.

  7. Thanks, Jackie! If you read any of the Emma Carlyle books, I'd love to know what you think of them.