Novel Writers Workshop

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The workshop on SCENE & SEQUEL The Building Blocks of your Novel, was excellent. We had a good turnout, the bookstore was quiet so we could interact without interruption, and we met a couple of new members. One woman even traveled from Apple Valley, so I thought that was great.

For the first section, SCENE, I explained how to construct one, what it should include and what NOT to include and passed out templates I use when writing my novels. I asked the members to fill in the blank spaces with information from their own novels so they could see more clearly the issues of their own scenes, what’s important and what is not. Each member read their sections, and we, as a group, offered suggestions on how to make their scenes more dynamic.

For the next workshop, we’ll talk about the SEQUEL, and again I’ll hand out templates so they can identify more clearly what should be included.

I’m very proud of our members, which includes a husband & wife team who writes historical romance, and their first novel was recently published; a woman who has published through a Christian novel publisher; and we have newbies – writers who are just beginning their journeys. It’s exciting to watch them understand the technique they have heard about but may not have understood its use. I’m happy to help them along the way.

Novel Writers Workshop, Redlands, CA

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December 18, 2013 · 3:53 pm

The Sketchpad

I’ve been wavering between writing another paranormal or going back to the mystery/thriller genre and I’ve finally decided—rather a certain character has me more intrigued right now, so, I’ve begun a new mystery/thriller with a touch of the paranormal:


After a near-fatal accident down a Colorado mountainside, a police sketch artist awakens from a coma with visions of murder, compelling her to join the search for a serial rapist who’s escalated to murder. Coming to terms with her new ability taxes her marriage, threatens her sanity, and finally, her life.

Hope you’ll like it!

Brenda Hill 



Filed under Craft of Writing, My Blog

Black Friday deal on a Wednesday?


For yourself or as a gift for the thriller reader:

And Justice for Her, a boxed set of my 3 mystery/suspense Kindle thrillers, priced right for the season.

Only $.99

And Justice for Her – Amazon Kindle

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November 27, 2013 · 9:04 pm

Audio Version

Serpent Lake finalcover300It’s available! The audio version of The House on Serpent Lake is now available, perfect for that special someone who loves books, but has little time to read.

I’ve listened to the narrator and think she did a fantastic job. What do you think? Under the cover, click on Listen to the Sample:



November 16, 2013 · 6:22 pm

Exciting News about With Full Malice!

WithFullMaliceFront4Website200Harlequin’s WorldWide Mystery Division just offered a contract for the paperback rights to With Full Malice. Hooray! Since the book has already been released in hardback from my current publisher, Gale/Cengage, the mystery/thriller will  be reprinted in paperback and offered to Harlequin’s mystery subscribers.

But don’t hold your breath. It took about a year after signing the contract with Gale/Cengage for the book’s actual release. With as many lines–categories & sub-categories under the Harlequin umbrella, and most featuring new books each month–it’ll probably be a year or more before the paperback is ready to go. But since Harlequin is such a huge publisher, it’s still exciting news to me.

In the meantime, if you’d like to read it now, it’s currently available in hardcover & on Kindle:

Amazon Kindle:


Some reviews:

“A likable heroine, a deadly conspiracy, a white-knuckle climax – Brenda Hill’s With Full Malice has it all!”
Michael Prescott, New York Times bestselling author of Stealing Faces
“The premise of Hill’s third is certainly arresting, and the story holds your interest.”
Kirkus Reviews

“From its opening chapter to its stunning conclusion, WITH FULL MALICE is a thought-provoking, first-rate novel.”
The Big Thrill
International Thriller Writers

4 Stars – Compelling Page-Turner
“Hill draws the reader into a chilling tale of suspense.”
RT Book Review Magazine

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November 3, 2013 · 4:23 pm

New Novel Writers Group

images for 2012 invitation

Need to learn or brush up on the craft of writing? Join my novel writers group in Redlands, CA. At our next meeting we’ll critique opening pages, so critical to a writer’s success – or failure. If you’re writing a novel, published or aspiring, feel free to join us for sessions on the different techniques:


October 29, 2013 · 6:15 pm

Ten Times Guilty, FREE on Smashwords!

Ittg150f anyone would like to read my first novel, Ten Times Guilty, it’s FREE on Smashwords!

Single mother Tracy Michaels struggles to support her nine-month-old son as a tour guide in a Denver Victorian museum. Hoping for a better life, she changes hours to allow for classes at a tech school. Hurrying home after a late shift, she’s attacked, beaten and raped. She survives, but he’s watching her, threatening her baby’s life if she talks.

In the hospital, Tracy panics when when police show up in her room. What if he’s watching? She tries desperately to get rid of them, but Sergeant Reese Sanders is convinced she holds the key to a serial rapist that led to his sister’s death the year before.

Forced to run, Tracy seeks shelter in a safe house. With her counselor’s guidance, she discovers inner strength and courage, qualities she must test when her assailant finds her and demands she meet him.


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October 12, 2013 · 6:38 pm

More Suffering

I’m in agony this morning. While I’m thrilled the temps have cooled enough to open windows and doors, I’m also suffering the tortures of the addicted. Food addiction.

Ever since my life drastically changed a few years ago and I moved from MN to CA, I’ve comforted myself with food – fast-food, slow, home-cooked delights, and most deserts. Nothing was a bigger comfort than Haagen-Dazs bars, thick rich layers of chocolate covering ice cream. And not just one, but two or three boxes at a time, and they come three bars to a box.

And since I was severely traumatized, I couldn’t be around people, so I seldom left my new home except to get into my car and explore at night, driving on a new road, highway, then finding a place to stop and eat. I still consider that great fun.

The result? I made it through that lost time, but I packed on the weight. A lot of weight. So now I’m trying to get it off, and for someone who dearly loves food, that’s suffering. To top it off, I’m also breaking my addiction to diet soda.

Now I can’t diet like a normal person. When I try to ‘eat healthy’ like the experts say, I’m hungry all the time and all I think about is food. About the only thing that does work is the low-carb plan. Only problem is, like most people, I love carbs, and after a few weeks on the diet, I’m hating meat. Never thought I’d say I can’t stand the thought of another chop, steak, hamburger without the bun, or cheese. I want potatoes! I want pizza! Even a simple BLT would be heaven.

But I’m an addict. One bite of the forbidden fruit would melt all my resolve and put me right back on the weight gain track. So, I’m doing without. Most of the time I can get through the day.

Until today.

With the lower temps and doors and windows open, the smell of my neighbor’s cooking wafts in, and although I’m trying to ignore it, the aroma is driving me wild. Since I’m such a food lover, I know exactly what it is – fried potatoes with onions. My mouth salivates. I’ve tried to concentrate on my writing, but that scent lingers and teases me with visions of fresh fried potatoes, crispy on the outside, the insides soft enough to melt on the tongue. I can taste them, taste each little strip of potato. Maybe she’s having them with eggs, and I can picture the dish with crisp toast on the side, the cut corner dipping into the soft runny yolk. I like to dip the toast first, then mix the egg with potatoes for that perfect bite.

Or maybe she’s having them with a roast beef sandwich with rich, creamy gravy over both?

Oh, I’m going mad. I don’t have potatoes in the house, so I’d have to go marketing, then come home and cook, which sounds horrible when I’m so hungry. Maybe I could dash out to the drive-thru at McD’s for a breakfast. Scrambled eggs, sausage, and the potato patty would calm my craving, and one little break from my diet won’t hurt, that is if I can be strong the rest of the day. I’m almost convinced – until I glance at the clock. Too late. Breakfast is over and I don’t feel like going through the ritual of making myself presentable enough for a regular restaurant. So what to do?

I go to the fridge and stand, door open, looking over the contents, examining each item as if I didn’t know what was there, hoping by some miracle something looks good. It doesn’t. So I make an omelet: eggs, cheese, onions, some ham. More cheese. Not even appealing now, but I prepare it and I’ll eat. One thing about food – even if it’s not what I crave, I can better resist temptation when my stomach is full.

And I’ll close my door.


Filed under My Blog, Observations

Giving Up Things I Love

Well, today is a landmark day for me. It’s been one full week of no diet soda – actually, no soda at all. Won’t mention the brand, but anyone raised in the South can guess.

I’ve been addicted to the stuff, regular first, then the diet version ever since it was introduced in the ’80s, drinking several cans a day, then later switching to the 2 ltr. I’d panic if I could see the bottom and didn’t have an extra, so it was normal for midnight runs to the groc to get my fix.

But in recent years, I’ve noticed a downturn in health, so I started reading the labels. Scared me to death at the idea of what I was drinking, but not enough to stop. I tend to go overboard on things I like, so it’s a good thing I’ve never cared for alcohol or I’d be standing in front of a room declaring my addiction to everyone and trying to follow the 12-Step Program.

Last week when I took a good look at some changes in my body and emotional state and reread the warnings, I decided then and there it was time for a change. So I quit. And I also gave up fast food, which I love nearly as much as the colas, and I still crave both as much as I craved cigarettes when I gave them up in the ’80s.

But I’m trying to put health first, hoping that the sacrifices will pay off.

I just wish that trying to be healthier didn’t hurt so much.


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A Great Way to Brighten the Day for an Author

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I just received notice that Night Owl Reviews awarded The House on Serpent Lake with a ‘Top Pick’ review!


Night Owl Reviews




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August 2, 2013 · 7:32 pm