Lakeside Porches and Good Friends

Five years ago, on the occasion of our friend John’s 90th birthday, my brother-in-law took us to Belhurst Castle (Geneva, NY) for the best Sunday brunch known to man. We sat on the porch overlooking magnificent Seneca Lake and celebrated John’s influence on our lives. On the way home, I got an idea for a series of romances, Lakeside Porches.

Well, today we reprised our Sunday brunch for John’s 95th birthday. In between those joyful occasions, I wrote the four romances that comprise Lakeside Porches. The setting is a fictional city (Tompkins Falls) on one of the Finger Lakes with a fictional but legendary lakeside inn and spa (The Manse), a fictional but troubled college (Tompkins College), and two fictional founding families (the Tompkins and the Cushmans). Today the characters of Lakeside Porches are part of my life and Tompkins Falls is as real to me as the Finger Lakes towns it draws on– Geneva, Canandaigua, and my hometown Seneca Falls.

Happy Birthday!But back to reality: after our feast today, the Belhurst surprised John with this giant piece of chocolate birthday cake studded with mini chips and a side of vanilla ice cream with real whip cream, raspberries, and a drizzle of raspberry sauce. Yup, that picture is the real thing! So are good friends and long conversations on the porch of a lakeside inn in the Finger Lakes. If you haven’t had the pleasure, you might want to plan it for 2017. Or pick up one of the series: Stepping Up to Love, Coming Hope to Love, Finding the Way Back to Love, and Waking Up to Love. Enjoy!

What reviewers and readers are saying about Waking Up To Love

WakingUpToLove200Early reviews about the newest in the Lakeside Porches series, Waking Up To Love, are so positive! Here’s are some excerpts:

Claire, The Coffeeholic Bookworm: This is a love story that feels good. I liked Lyssa’s story, her struggles with alcoholism and broken heart made her very human to me. Her character was relatable and flawed, but that’s what made her enticing and personable. Kyle, oh, this man was selfless, the kind of man worth introducing to your parents. . . Simply beautiful!

Judy Miracle, Wicked Babes Blog: This is my first Katie O’Boyle novel and I fell in love with the characters. . . I must say after reading all of this book i will be going back and reading books 1-3 to get the rest of the characters stories.

Bailey Ember, Texas Book Nook: I have loved Katie O’Boyle’s writing every since reading her first novel in this series. She brings her characters to life in such a way that the reader becomes invested in them immediately.

Margaret Tidwell, The World As I See It: Waking Up To Love by Katie O’Boyle was a sweet romance novel. . .  If you love romance novels then I know you will love this book as much as I did.

Reader “jfb”: Lyssa and her lover, Kyle, are not your average high school sweethearts. They each have a doctorate and are engaged in very authentic and well-researched university environments. The intrigue in the plot begins and ends in that environment, but the journey is fraught with cunning and danger. (Watch out for Rand, another PhD.) Every loving couple has hurdles to overcome in their development of a trusting and lasting relationship, but O’Boyle puts a completely new and different bent on that growth.

Meet Katie O’Boyle! Book signings and readings

Don’t let the snow stop you from enjoying a good book and meeting its author!

WakingUpToLove200Amazon is going all out for Lakeside Porches, with books 1-3 bundled together (http://tinyurl.com/no8lheu) and book 4 Waking Up To Love available now for pre-sale (http://tinyurl.com/q57dmu2). From now through early December, Katie has blog appearances with Lois Winston, Carla Biddle, Kim Lorraine, and Catherine Castle. Watch for information about a Reading Addictions blog tour.

If you live in the Finger Lakes area, Katie would love to meet you at one of these events:

  • Canandaigua Writers Group “Local Writers Read!” October 20 7-8:30 PM, at Wood Library, 134 N. Main Street, Canandaigua. Katie is reading the ghost scene from Waking Up To Love and signing books with fellow authors.
  • November 14 (10:00 AM – Noon), book signing with Roz Murphy, Beverly Wells, and other local authors outside the Fairport Pharmacy, 122 Fairport Village Landing, Fairport, NY.
  • November 21 (11:00 AM – 3:00 PM), book signing at Artizanns, 118 N. Main Street, Naples, NY.

Know another good venue for book signing and reading? Contact Katie though this website or at katie.oboyle.author (at) gmail (dot) com

Organizing Book Three of my series

Writing Book Two of the Lakeside Porches romances dropped me into the dilemmas all series writers face: how to recover from a “bad” character portrayal in a previous book, how to keep details straight (what color were his eyes? how old was she when?), and how to leave the door open for a change of heart? I didn’t have access then to the wonderful post today from writing duo C.D. Hersch (see Five Important Things You Should Know About Writing a Series) and other advice like it.

I was fortunate that Book One (Stepping Up To Love) was still in the editing process; I could, for example, still revise the brief appearance of Joel’s uncle Justin at the beginning and end of Book One. Thank heaven! I made Justin less nasty, more insightful, and a lot richer. That smoothed the way for a still-deeply-troubled Justin to be a redeemable, desirable, even likable hero in Book Two. It also insured that the Book One hero and heroine– Joel and Manda– had firmly established, meaningful relationships with Justin at the start of Book Two.

Even better, I learned from the mistake. I developed a scene-by-scene matrix for the second book, using advice from Bob Mayer and Jen Talty. I also kept notes about each character, including some backstory.

To keep my sanity and to insure a coherent, credible series, I’ve drafted three documents to help me with Book Three. The new book (working title “Gwen Gets a Clue”) has a main love story (psychologist Gwen Forrester from Books One and Two and a new character Peter Shaughnessy) and a significant subplot (Gwen’s pregnant niece Meg and her brainy college boyfriend Rick). Because Meg’s pregnancy coincides with Gianessa’s from Book Two (find out if the twins will really be named Jack and Jill) we’ll have return appearances from Dr. Bowes (see, I had to search for her name!), Justin, Sydney Shorey and her husband Danny Brennan (had to search for his name too, but I remembered he’s a Notre Dame grad), Sara and the Thrift Shop Adventure chicks, Tony (whose younger brother Sam is Peter’s partner) and of course Joel and Manda.

The three documents together make sense of all the characters and story elements:

– A Goals-Motivation-Conflict chart for Gwen, Peter, Meg, and Rick (thanks forever to Debra Dixon).
– A chronology of events that weaves together all four main characters (Gwen, Peter, Meg, and Rick) and that shows each one’s growth (character arc) and the arc of Gwen and Peter’s love story.
– Notes about the contribution of the Meg-Rick subplot showing how their needs, decisions, dilemmas, etc. are instrumental to the character growth of Gwen and Peter and showing the contrast between their young love relationship and the main love story between Gwen and Peter. I added explanations for the contribution and importance of Sam and Tony, Sydney and Danny, and Gianessa and Justin.

I did not number these documents 1-2-3 because their development was iterative. A change to one had ripple effects on the other two. It was only when I declared “Yes!” for the GMC chart that I felt confident I could “finalize” the other two. I now have the blueprints I need to proceed with the writing at an absolutely insane period with both my day jobs. I feel relaxed knowing that every stolen half hour of writing time will be time well spent. I can start a scene from any point on the chronology, with confidence. Or continue the scene. Or revise it. I know the scene’s significance and I know which details already exist and which can be created or embellished.

Will the new blueprints work? I think so. Will I backtrack into another scene-by-scene matrix, perhaps more complex than before? If I need to.

Please share your techniques, favorite links, resources, and examples for writing a coherent, credible series!