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What's Next?

By: Marie Force
I'm being asked "what's next?" a lot now that "Line of Scrimmage" has been out for more than a month. It reminds me of when I got married and people started asking when we planned to have kids. Then we had our daughter and they asked if we'd be having another one. Once we had a daughter and a son, a few asked if we were going for number three, but that tapered off once they took a good look at the glazed look in our eyes from a baby who didn't sleep for the first 18 months of his life. Now that my first published "baby" is out in stores, the question becomes what's next?

I'm very excited about my second book, "Same Time Sunday," which is based on a conversation I overheard in an airport ten years ago. A young man and woman waiting with me for a delayed flight were talking about the difficulties of their long-distance relationships and both were worried about the weekend ahead. They discovered they were on the same flight home on Sunday night, and I imagined them falling in love with each other. I carried the idea around for about seven years before I finally wrote it, and three years after I finished the book it will be published! Set in Baltimore, MD, Jacksonville, FL, and Newport, RI, "Same Time Sunday" encompasses three of the four places I've lived in my life (the other is Rota, Spain), and I was thrilled to be able to tap into the locations and experiences I encountered during my ten years as a Navy wife.

This book offers a little bit of everything: a sizzling romance, a contentious murder trial, and a love "square" as opposed to the more common triangle. My hero and heroine, Michael and Juliana, are involved with other people when we first meet them, which is not something I've often seen in the romance genre. As their relationship progresses from friendship to love, they're grappling with the demise of long-term relationships with other people. I was intrigued by the notion of the right one coming along at the worst possible time. This book breaks the mold in a number of ways, and I love the way it ends. I hope you will, too. Watch for it in the spring!

What do you think of books that step outside the romance formula? How do you feel about seeing your hero and heroine with other people before they come together as a couple? And do you participate in the sport of eavesdropping? :-)


  1. Stepping outside the romance formula? You know me.*&^%the rules. Most of romance many subgenres came about because someone had another idea.

    At the same time, I ask myself, how many rules would I have to break before it wouldn't be a romance? If might be a good book--just not a romance. It might be a fun question for us to toss around sometime.

    Still it's always fun and exciting to see someone kick out the sides of the box. I'll be looking forward to Same Time Next Sunday.

  2. Okay, one more on my TBR pile. This is such a great idea, Marie. I love "what if" scenarios for starting books - I've got a series planned for one that started with just that one idea.

    Can't wait for it!

  3. I think breaking romance rules is almost a "must" now--look at basically every book on the Casablanca line: there's something distinctly different about each one that is totally original and captivating to readers. Reviewers tell me all the time that our books are fresh and exciting!

  4. Marie, I'm so intrigued I want to read this book right now. And I have done exactly the same thing, lifting a part of real life in which I may or may not be directly involved, to spin into anything from a little snippet of a story to the entire plot. Life is fascinating, and no part of it is safe from a writer!

  5. Morning ladies!
    Thanks for the votes of confidence and the interest in Same Time Sunday! Good to know that you are ready for a little rule breaking!

  6. Marie, I have no doubt I shall love your latest after reading LOS. When does it come out?

    I agree with the breaking rules. I am not enough of a 'general' romance expert to really know what all the rules are! Can't say I've blazed too many trails yet, but then tackling a sequel, happily-ever-after serial idea is not done too often, I don't think!

  7. Hey Sharon,
    Not sure yet of the exact release date. I hope to know that in the next week or so. I am right now finalizing the very last of the revisions to turn it back in to Deb tomorrow.

    Sometimes not knowing all the "rules" works to our benefit. I joined RWA after I wrote LOS and learned that sports heroes are a no-no. How glad am I that I didn't know that? :-) When I hear the "rules" I say WHATEVER! There's no substitute for a good story.

  8. I think its fine for the hero and heroine to have been with other people but once they have started a relationship I don't like them to be with other people as long as they are in that relationship. Does that make sense? I think you need to think outside the box to make the story interesting or different. By the way I finshed Line of Scrimmage and I love it read it in one day and have it on my keeper shelf looking forward to the next but no pressure

  9. Hi Beth,
    Thanks for the kind words about LOS. I'm thrilled to hear you liked it enough to read it in one day!

    I agree with what you said about the h/h not being shown with other people once their relationship begins. I definitely stuck to that rule with Same Time Sunday, even though I probably broke a few others!

    If you email me at, I'll add you to my mailing list to make sure you're notified when STS comes out. Thanks for stopping by today!

  10. I am LOL at Danielle's comment. What a nice way to say we Casa Sisters are all a bunch of non-conformists! :-) As I've always said, "I'm a mutant and I'm proud!"

    As for the h/h being with other people BEFORE they meet... PULLLLEASE! Realistically, if they are passed puberty then there's a 99% chance they've been involved in a relationship. One author I read a couple of years ago made all her heroines 26+ year old virgins. Sorry, I didn't believe it for a minute! Not given everything else in their backstories. I happen to think that my 26 year old heroine with a couple of bad love affairs in her past is far more plausible.

    Or maybe my art is imitating my life?!?! I'll never tell!


  11. This sounds really intriguing, Marie! I think I'm OK with some rule-breaking, but don't ever mess with my HEA! There are a few other things I prefer not to read about, but I do think as AC pointed out, it's pretty reasonable to expect that the couple have some history prior to their relationship. I don't know that I would like a lot of the book to dwell too much on those prior relationships (and I have to say that I'm not big on any relationships that continue after the H/h meet) but I think it'd be pretty fascinating to read about how they deal with the very real life stuff like ending relationships and starting new ones.

    Sorry to ramble!

  12. Interesting thoughts on H/h relationships and past lovers, etc. Of course, past involvements do not HAVE to involve sex. It is the emotional attachment that makes it interesting, IMHO, not strictly whether they did-the-deed or not. If one is going to go the virgin route, it has to be carefully thought out. Of course that is a bit more plausible in the time period I write in; another reason why I can say it isn't so much about the sex, as that would have been a bit more unlikely, but about the emotions involved. I went for making Mr. Darcy a virgin, which will probably make some of you laugh, but I gave it tremendous thought and spun it so that it made sense completely within the context of the story. Is that stepping outside of the romance formula?! Probably! So I am a rebel right off the bat. LOL.

  13. If the book gets me in from the start I will love it no matter what as long as the basic HEA is there I am sure to enjoy it. I am looking forward to this one Marie I loved Line Of Scrimmage and I am sure I will love this one as well.
    As to evesdropping I am sure we all do it, it really must be human nature I think LOL.

    Have Fun

  14. LOL Cindy!! You frisky gal, you! It's the riding crop. It has to be!

    My h/h are shown not just with other people but WITH them, if you catch my drift :-)

  15. Hi Fedora!
    Nice to hear from you! My h/h in Same Time Sunday hit some major bumps along the way, but the ending of this book is my favorite out of all the books I've written (and hope to see published some day). I promise you will be satisfied!

  16. Sharon,
    Mr Darcy is a virgin! I love it. That alone makes me want to read the book. These little decisions we make have such a ripple effect, don't they?

  17. Hi Helen,
    Glad I'm not the only one who eavesdrops. I'm also a shameless people watcher. I guess that makes me NOSY, right?

    Thanks for the kind words about LOS. I think you'll like STS, too, and I hope you'll be hooked from the first chapter!

  18. Sounds like another winner, Marie! You just keep right on breaking the rules. It's what we do best!

  19. Thanks, Cheryl! You know a thing or two about breaking rules!


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