Toni McGee Causey

Establishing Character

on February 28, 2013

Story is Character.┬áThat’s the famous quote from Robert McKee. Story is character. Character is story. Meaning, without character, you have no story. Your character drives the story, your character makes the reader invested in the story. Without a character the reader can relate to, at least on some level, or sympathize with, or care about, the reader will be dissatisfied. Yes, you can certainly write a fabulous bestseller without characters you care about (I can think of at least one thriller I read this year where I hated the characters and hated the ending, yet couldn’t put the book down),… Read More


Thrillerfest VII

on July 19, 2012

I’ve been a member of International Thriller Writers since almost the beginning of their organization. (In fact, I missed being a charter member by three days! Grr.) Since the first, small conference in Arizona in 2006, I’ve only missed one “Thrillerfest” when it conflicted with RWA. If there’s ever another conflict, I won’t be skipping out on Thrillerfest. There are many reasons why I love this conference, not least of which is the thriller/suspense focus. The conference is in New York City and gives me the opportunity to sit down with my editor and agent every year. While meeting in… Read More


Sifting through the Garbage

on June 7, 2012

First, I want to apologize to our loyal MSW readers for our Summer Slump. While we’ve been redesigning and reorganizing the blog, we have been neglecting it … that will change, just please have patience while we’re under construction! STALKED is done. I turned it into my editor on Tuesday and spent yesterday a complete vegetable, playing games with the kids and goofing off. Then I went to bed early — 10:30. That’s early for me, because I’m usually up until 2 in the morning. Today, it’s back to work! I’m editing a novella I wrote 6 years ago. Needless… Read More


Money Can’t Buy Love

on July 21, 2011

I’m back from New York City where I was at first the Romance Writers of America conference then the International Thriller Writers “Thrillerfest.” There are many great wrap-ups of the conferences around cyberspace, and it’s kind of old news, so I won’t rehash it here. Besides, I have little to add. But one thing that happened–and is still happening–I want to talk about, because I think it affects all authors … and readers. Self-promotion. There was an undercurrent of angst among authors–and not just debut authors or midlist authors–that they needed to do *more* self-promotion. Many conversations, particularly at RWA,… Read More


Money Can't Buy Love

on July 21, 2011

I’m back from New York City where I was at first the Romance Writers of America conference then the International Thriller Writers “Thrillerfest.” There are many great wrap-ups of the conferences around cyberspace, and it’s kind of old news, so I won’t rehash it here. Besides, I have little to add. But one thing that happened–and is still happening–I want to talk about, because I think it affects all authors … and readers. Self-promotion. There was an undercurrent of angst among authors–and not just debut authors or midlist authors–that they needed to do *more* self-promotion. Many conversations, particularly at RWA,… Read More


Anatomy of a Superficial Novel Part Deux

on February 17, 2011

Yesterday, an aspiring writer emailed me and asked if I had any advice. I told her: write every day, learn to discern advice from critique groups (or anyone who reads your work) to figure out if it makes your story stronger or not, be self-critical without being self-defeating, and edit ruthlessly. Few published authors sold their first completed manuscript–I sold my fifth. So if you love to write, and knew today that you would never be published, and yet you still wrote, you’re halfway to publication. That “I sold my fifth” means only one thing: I didn’t give up. Most… Read More


Romantic Suspense: Dead or Alive?

on December 27, 2010

ADDED 12.28: Whoops! the tinyurl in the TWITTER contest link comes here, when it should be going to a description of LOVE ME TO DEATH! Bad me. Here’s the correct link: http://tinyurl.com/2wel7a5 We usually take a break blogging over the Christmas season, so the MSW gals have graciously allowed me to pretty much take over the blog this week because my new book comes out tomorrow. And because it’s the first book of a series, it’s particularly important to spread the word. Even more so because this week is a heavy week in publishing–a lot of big books are coming… Read More


And they call themselves friends?

on February 11, 2010

Last year it was Cherry Adair. We were both at the Emerald City Writers conference and she told me about this new show called FRINGE and I absolutely had to watch it. Those of you who know Cherry understand that excuses are not accepted, so she really didn’t pay attention when I explained I didn’t have time to add a new show on my watch list. And I was admittedly intrigued by the concept. It took me awhile to buy it on iTunes. Half the season was over. I thought, okay just one episode. Now I’m waiting weekly for the… Read More


Travel Day

on October 22, 2009

First, the winners from two weeks ago . . . Shanae, Deb C. and Sabrina!!! If you’d like a copy of FEAR NO EVIL, email me (allison @ allisonbrennan.com) your mailing address. If you have a copy, and want to send one to a friend, send me their name and mailing address and I’ll send it to them and give you credit! Okay, this is a quickie. Sorry! I’m off to New Jersey in the wee hours of Thursday morning to speak to the New Jersey Romance Writers conference. I’m very excited about this conference because I’ve heard fabulous things… Read More


Vacation Almost Over

on August 13, 2009

I’m late posting today because I’m on vacation–of sorts. We took the kids to Lake Tahoe in the cabin I won through Brenda Novak’s auction. It’s a perfect place for kids. Though we ate out at least once a day, it’s fantastic to have a kitchen for breakfast and dinner when we’re worn out; the cabin is five-bedroom, two-bath house that sleeps everyone in my family–including my mom!–and it’s close enough to the beaches and casinos and main road that we can get anywhere we want pretty quick. We didn’t stress about planning stuff 24/7. One day was a boat… Read More