Sunday, April 28, 2019


BREAKING CHAINS will release May 13th.  This book has been one of the hardest for me to write. It is about Derrick Armstrong the most troubled member of the team. It has been a very emotional journey for me with this team. And it is bittersweet to write this one. 
It is the last book for this SEAL team but there will be others following with a new team under the SEAL Team Heartbreakers umbrella. 


Ex-Navy SEAL Derrick Armstrong walks out of the Miramar military brig with a dishonorable discharge, a criminal record, and no prospects. The odds are against him being able to build a normal life after prison, but his training as a SEAL keeps him going. 

Ella Bailey is struggling financially to raise her seven-year-old son alone. Life has dealt her some hard blows and when Derrick steps between her and another one, she’s both grateful and wary. She views men as obstacles to avoid, but she’s drawn to Derrick, and sees something special in him. 

Derrick’s kept his past a secret. When Ella’s ex-boss is found dead and the cops question them both, he realizes, whether he’s done anything or not, he’s living on borrowed time. When they train their sights on Ella instead, he moves to protect her, and in the process exposes his past. 

Will she kick him to the curb or will she allow him to build a life with her and her son?



An Excerpt from the book: 

Iraq 2011
Goddamn Cutter. He’d taken the Iraqi kid’s side against him. That ungrateful little turd hadn’t given a shit that they were saving his bacon, getting him out of a dangerous area of the city. He hadn’t even wanted to return home. He’d take off again first opportunity he got, and they’d be chasing his ass down again. Damn him.
So he grabbed the little shit. So what? There were worse things a kid could suffer. He knew all about them.
Derrick braced his feet against the turbulence that rocked the CH-47 Chinook. He turned to Brett, unable to stifle his fury. “We’ll be facing him down the barrel of an AK-47 in less than a year. He’s probably working for al-Qaeda already.”
Brett pinched the bridge of his nose. Maybe the asshole had a headache. Serves him right.
The Chinook bounced and Derrick swore. With anger still riding him, he only half heard Greenback’s complaint about the ride and Bowie’s smartass remark.
Brett leaned close, and Derrick tipped his head so he could hear him above the whomp-whomp of the propellers. “You need to talk to Hawk about what happened or we’ll be up to our necks in shit. The kid’s bound to talk.”
Fuck that. “It’s his word against ours, Cutter.” Or was it? Was Cutter turning on him?
Cutter’s jaw tightened. “I want you to put in for some counseling, Strong Man.”
Jesus Christ, he couldn’t believe it. Brett was turning on him. His teammate. His brother. Blood rushed into Derrick’s head and his heart hammered inside his ears. This was happening more and more lately. More and more lately he could feel his anger crawling around under his skin looking for a way out. It took all his control not to punch Brett in the face. “That little bastard spent twenty minutes pissing on us and our country, and I’m the one who needs counseling? That’s bullshit.”
“Did you get another letter from Marjorie?” Brett asked.
The change of subject gouged at his control. “What the fuck does that have to do with anything?”
“Every time you get a letter from home you get fucked up. If her letters make you—”
He shoved his face close to Brett’s. “Leave it alone, Cutter.”
Marjorie said she loved him, but she was busy with her work, up for a promotion, all sorts of other shit. Every time he got a letter from her, she wrote about all the things she was doing without him. Then he started thinking about what else she might be doing… Just the idea of her being with some other guy… His pulse skyrocketed and his breathing with it.
Jesus, he wanted to go home. Everything would be fine once he was home.
“Ten minutes out.” The controller’s voice came over the bitch box.
“COM systems on,” Lieutenant Hawk Yazzie ordered.
Derrick adjusted his throat mike, his attention on the other five members of their team. Thanks to the noise from the props, the chances of any of them hearing his discussion with Brett were slim to none. Greenback was trapped in his own thoughts, his face emotionless. Derrick had seen him like that before every mission. Flash had been in a weird mood for days, seeming to be off in his own world, too. Maybe he was also having dreams.
Hawk looked over the map one last time, folded the schematic, then tucked it away. Bowie and Doc were giving each other shit, as always.
He jerked as Cutter squeezed his shoulder.
“Forget about the shit that happened this morning and get your head in the game. Everything else needs to stay on board this chopper.”
For the first time, Derrick’s trust lay on a shaky edge that threatened to crumble. “As long as you have my six, we’re good, Cutter.”
Cutter nodded, his eyes steely.
Brett was a vault about most things, but Derrick bet he’d talk to Hawk about that damn kid as soon as the mission was over. He’d be worried about repercussions to his career if he sat on it.
A vein began to pulse at Derrick’s temple and he rubbed at it. But what about his own career?
Brett had a family. All Derrick had was the team. He couldn’t afford to lose them.
“Fall in.” Hawk’s voice came across the COM.
Derrick dragged his thoughts back to the mission, but the anger simmered under the surface like a fever that wouldn’t break.
Everyone took their position, one behind the other.
Wind whipped through the cabin as the bay door lowered. A crew member threw out the rappel rope while another manned the machine gun mounted at the bay door.
The Chinook couldn’t hover in one position too long, otherwise they’d draw attention.
Hawk gripped the rope and stepped off the platform. Darkness swallowed him. Greenback, Bowie, Doc, and Flash followed, then Cutter. The rope slid through Derrick’s gloves like butter, and as soon as his boots hit the ground, he dogged Brett’s footsteps while they double-timed away from the drop site.
Ten minutes later they regrouped and started the mile-long trek into the town.
The darkness was so intense it had a texture to it. Without their night vision goggles they would have been blind. The almost inaudible whisper of cloth brushing cloth was the only sound as they spread out but kept each other in sight.
He knew when they were getting close to town because the air hung stagnant and hot, clinging to the rank smell of raw sewage as though reluctant to let it go. They fell into single file again and hugged the shadows while they leapfrogged through the battle-scarred area. Electricity had been knocked out, and the darkness was both a comfort and a threat. The high-pitched squall of a baby close by carried to them. The hum of an engine followed from the east.
Through his night vision goggles, Derrick homed in on Hawk’s hand signals. They’d reached their destination. The building housing the al-Qaeda armory sat in the midst of similar structures housing families. The mission was to collapse the armory inward to keep from taking out the buildings around it. Although if the terrorists were really harboring any kind of explosives besides C-4, it might make things interesting.
They split up and searched for cover. Three of them would enter from the east, three from the west.
Derrick hunkered down in the shadows not far from Brett. On the periphery of his mind he worried at the earlier situation, gnawing at it like a piece of tough steak. What would Hawk do if Brett told him he’d roughed up the boy? He just grabbed him and scared the shit out of him, didn’t smack him around or anything, but he’d threatened to. Hawk had already chewed his ass about his temper. What if he lost his place on the team because of the Iraqi guy’s son?
His breathing went ragged on a rush of rage. They were trying to help these people throw off the terrorist assholes, help them build a better government, and what did they get? Nothing but grief.
To try and relieve some of the pressure, Derrick clenched his fists until his knuckles hurt. He needed to concentrate on what was in front of him. But it was like peering through a green fog to see through the night vision goggles. He had to get his shit together.
His vision cleared when he heard clicks over his COM system. Hawk was inside the building and he reported no movement. He drew a deep breath.
The idea that something might be wrong with him flitted through his mind, but he stomped it flat. He’d deal with this shit once he was back home.
They were close. They just had to get through this mission and they’d be home in a few weeks.
He forced his attention on the top of the building. Through the blurry green goggles, he watched the guards wander from corner to corner. At the first hint of a gap in their surveillance, he hunched over and shot out of the shadows, silently crossing the distance between the alley he’d hidden in to the lower level window he’d targeted to climb through.
An itchy feeling between his shoulder blades dogged him like someone had him in their crosshairs. It drove him into the shadows close to the building. He quickly slid the window up, slung his assault rifle across his back, and wiggled inside. For a few seconds he rested on his hands and knees, allowing the itchy feeling to ease and his breathing to calm before he rose. He clicked his COM, drew his service weapon, then in four easy strides reached the door and cracked it open.
The hall was clear. He stole out of the room and moved east toward the area he was to wire. At the sound of footsteps coming his way he darted into one of the rooms and eased the door shut. The space was empty but for four pallets on the floor where the terrorists were sleeping. The room smelled of old sweat and gun oil.
Two men argued in the Kurdish dialect of the region, their voices growing louder as they closed in on his position.
Every muscle in his body tightened. He jerked his K-bar free and rolled back against the wall behind the door. If they entered the room, he’d have to take them out as soundlessly as possible.
Their voices dwindled away as they turned a corner, and his tension eased. The heavy beat of their feet sounded hollow as they climbed the stairs. He cracked the door, looked both ways, then eased silently back out of the room.
Voices came from the top of the stairs, and he pulled back against the wall until they moved deeper into the building, then hustled across the back hall. His target was the southeast corner of the building’s interior wall. They wanted to knock out the supports on the main floor and collapse the structure inward, so he should have entered the building from the back, but there were no windows low enough to gain entry.
His booted steps sounded loud even though he placed each foot as carefully as he could. Standing outside the door to the room he was supposed to rig with explosives, he took a breath and listened for any sound behind the barrier. Everything remained still.
He opened the door, slipped in to one side, and shut it. Aside from a table, the room was completely empty. He released his pent-up breath, holstered his sidearm, set his assault rifle to one side, and shrugged free of his pack, removing the C-4 and blasting caps and setting them out in an orderly fashion.
Five minutes later he had the room rigged to blow. He glanced at his watch and set the timer. Shouldering his pack again, he swung his assault rifle up and cracked open the door.
As he checked the hall for hostiles, a dark, unwanted thought crept into his mind like a bad dream. Without Brett, there’d be no inquiry into what happened with the kid.
He and Brett went through BUD/S together. He’s my best bud. He has to keep his fucking mouth shut about the kid.
But he knew Brett, knew he wouldn’t. Rage and fear pulsed inside him like a second heartbeat, and a mist of sweat slicked his skin.
God, he was tired.
How many nights had it been since he slept? He’d lost count.
He was a SEAL, and sometimes he had to get tough to keep going. He had to keep going. Tough…
Sometimes you had to get tough in order to get info. That’s what he’d go with.
But which one of them would they believe?
He couldn’t lose his place on the team! He might be transferred to another, but these guys were the closest thing to family he had.
Derrick went through the schematic of the building in his head. He knew where Brett was. He had to talk to him. Brett needed to see reason.
He eased out into the hall, shut the door, and moved stealthily in the direction of the northwest corner.
The trip back through the building was surprisingly easy. Security was surprisingly lax, but the al-Qaeda were in the heart of the city surrounded by sympathizers. Why bother with a guard at the door?
This was the room where Brett was supposed to be. What if he’d already finished rigging it to blow and bugged out? He hadn’t heard his clicks on the Com.
If Brett was gone and working his way back to his cover, he’d deal with him later. He’d try to reason with him again. If he was still here… He turned the knob and ghosted into the room.
Fast and slick, Brett drew his sidearm and pointed it at him. Recognition lit his eyes, and, after a moment of tension, relief followed. He shoved the pistol back in its holster.
Derrick put a finger to his lips and pressed his ear to the door. He signaled all clear and for him to hurry.
If Brett talked to Hawk…
He’d spill his guts. Derrick knew it.
He couldn’t let Brett take away his place on the team. He just couldn’t.
His girl would think he was a loser. She’d leave him. And she had to stay. She was all he had.
His father’s voice, derisive, bitter ate away inside him, “You’ll always be nothing, boy. Fucking nothing.” He shook his head to rid himself of the voice permanently embedded in his brain.
He waited for Brett to set the timer.
Derrick stepped toward him, reaching for the anger that propelled him here to this room. Panic and regret echoed back.
Brett was turning on him, he knew he was. Had he told the others what he’d done?
Being a SEAL was everything. Without it he’d be nothing. He’d have nothing. The pressure inside his head intensified until it was unbearable.
He gripped his rifle with both hands. Sensing his movement, Brett shifted to the side and started to look up. With a half-growl, half-sob, Derrick brought the stock of the weapon down against his teammate’s temple. Brett slumped sideways to the floor.
The numbers on the timer raced on.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt.
Teresa Reasor

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Dogwood Writer's Conference April 26-27


I'll be a guest speaker at The Dogwood Writer's Conference at Greenbo Lake State Park,  at 965 Lodge Road, Greenup, Kentucky 41144, on April 26-27 this week. Registration is available on Saturday the 27th if you're interested. It will last all day.

I'll be teaching a workshop on building 3-dimensional characters and how to stay organized while you're doing it.  I wanted to use my blog to post some of my favorite books on the subject and the writing forms and tools I use consistently when I build my characters.

The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook By Sherrilyn Kenyon ( find this book very helpful when naming my characters.)

 You can also use baby naming books and baby naming websites.  Depending on the country or area of the United States you're writing about this is just one website you'll find helpful. there are numerous ones out there.
This one is popular baby names by state.

The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami Cowden, Carolyn LaFever, & Sue Viders  (Love this book on Archetypes.  It was one of my first books on the subject and one I have referred to numerous times.)

Writing Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card  ( Another favorite)

Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story, Structure, Plot and Character Development by K.M. Weiland

Creating Unforgettable Characters  by Linda Seger

Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood

Building Believable Characters by Marc McClutcheon

Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella

James N. Frey has a very good series of books
How to Write a Damn Good Novel
How to Write a Damn Good Novel II
How to Write a Damn Good Thriller
How to Write a Damn Good Mystery

In every one of these books,  Frey gives insights into character and how they fit into the story.

Story by Robert McKee   Mckee is a screenplay writer for television and movies so Character Motivation and Dialogue are BIG things in this book.  I bought the book and the CD.

All the things I'm going to post below are the things I put in my book bible. I build one every time I write a book to help me keep track of the information I have about my characters, where my plot is going and the book itself. 

Things that will go into your bible are your character plotting sheets.
Your character interview sheets.
Your character arc sheets
Character insights
Research or the links to online research.
The rough draft of your story as you complete each chapter.
Notes on things you think about.
Your 20 things that can happen in each chapter.


Since I write Romantic Suspense I have my own take on the Plotting Stairway. This helps me plot the story which is what is going to happen to my characters and how they feel about it. For every action your character takes they have to have a motivation behind it. And their experiences in the past, their profession, their emotions will drive those motivations and actions.

Stairway to Suspense
1st step: The hook (the Call to Action.)   
Romantic Hook
2nd step: The decision that turns the story.
The decision or choice the heroine/hero makes that turns the story in the direction it will travel. This choice is based on some character flaw that guides the character’s motivation toward the choice.  
Romantic call to action.
3rd stepThe choice creates obstacles to solving the situation.
First Kiss
4th stepAnother choice, More problems, situation worsens. The character makes another choice, which causes more problems and the situation worsens.
First Time They Make Love
5th stepMore choices, more obstacles.
The more choices a character makes, the more obstacles will fall into his/her path. 
Gray Moment
6th stepThe climax.
The greatest obstacles are faced and the greatest attempts are made to overcome the situation created in the hook.
Black Moment
7th step: The resolution.
It’s short, sweet, and should tie up all the loose ends and leave the reader feeling completely satisfied. 
Romantic Resolution

 I always do a CHARACTER INTERVIEW SHEET  for my hero, heroine, and my bad guy. In order to write about these characters, you need to know them. These are only some of the questions you can ask your characters to get a clue about their personality and motivations.

In-Depth Character Interview:
Color Guide


Physical Appearance
Perception of Self
Interrelations with Others

Full Name

Reason/Meaning of name

Nickname & Meaning

Age – how old does he/she look?

Eye color – glasses or contacts?

Hair color – wears hair how?

Weight – height – type of build?

Skin tone – skin type?

Facial shape – distinguishing marks?

Predominant (favorite) features?

Looks like?

Is he/she healthy?

Fav color

Fav music

Fav food

Fav literature

Fav expression

Fav expletives

Smokes? What? When and how much?

Drinks? What? When and how much?



Type of childhood

First memory

Most important event that still affects character? Why?


Religion? Practicing? Why/why not?



Relationship with her


Relationship with him


How many?

Birth order

Relationship with each

Children of siblings

Most at ease when…

Most ill at ease when…



How he/she feels about self

Past failures he/she would be most embarrassed to have people know

If granted one wish, what would it be, and why?

Greatest source of strength in character’s personality (whether he/she recognizes it as such or not).

Greatest source of weakness in character’s personality (whether he/she recognizes it as such or not).

Character’s soft spot

Is this obvious to others? If not, why not?

Biggest vulnerability, why?

Is he/she an optimist or pessimist?

Introvert or extrovert?

Drives and motivations


Good characteristics

Character flaws



Biggest regret

Minor regrets

Biggest accomplishment

Minor accomplishments

Character’s darkest secret

Who (if anyone) knows about it?

How did he/she find out?

One word character would use to describe self.

Complete description of how character describes self.

What does character consider best physical characteristic?

What does character consider worst physical characteristic?

Are these realistic assessments? If not, why?

How does character think others perceive him/her?

What would character change about self? Why?

If that change occurred, would character be as happy as he/she thinks he/she would? Why?

How does character relate with others?

How is he/she perceived by: Strangers? Friends? Lover/Spouse? Hero/heroine?

Character’s first impressions of hero/heroine. Why?

What happens to change that perception?

What do friends and family like most about character?

What do friends and family like least about character?

Immediate goals

Long-range goals

How does he/she plan to see these goals accomplished?

How does he/she react in a crisis?

How does he/she face a problem?

What kind of problems does the character usually have?

How does the character deal with NEW problems?

How does character react to change?

Favorite clothes

Least favorite clothes, and why?


Vehicle, and why?

Places he/she wants to live, and why?

Spending habits (frugal, spendthrift, etc.), and why?

What does he/she do too much of?

Too little of?

Most prized possession, and why?

Who does character secretly admire, and why?

Person character is most influenced by, and why?

Who is the most important person in his/her life before book starts? Why?

How does character spend the week before the book starts?

I also always fill out a Character Grid for my hero, heroine, and bad guy. I need to know their motivations before I can understand why they're doing what they're going to do. 

Character Grid

Hero’s name

Heroine’s name

Inciting Incident

Plot point number one. This is an external event. It’s what takes your hero/heroine out of the ordinary world.

Long Range Goal

This is internal. It’s a part of the character’s self-image. This is what really drives your character toward reaching his/her goals.

Short Range Goal

These are the plot points. You will get most of your scenes from these. They are external.

Character Flaw

This must be something concrete. It is the barrier that keeps the character from being who he/she can be. Change MUST come here in order to achieve resolution and growth. This also ties into the black moment. This flaw will lead the characters to the black moment. Without growth in this area, resolution cannot occur. The long-range goal is linked to this flaw.


Relationship Barrier

What’s inside your character to keep him/her from loving. This is distorted thinking. The black moment is grown directly from this barrier which is grown directly out of the character flaw. Avoid misunderstandings here, this must be concrete.

Black Moment

Grown directly from the relationship barrier and character flaw. It is the identity crisis, which means this black moment must crack the character’s life long beliefs. It’s the worst thing that can happen to someone with this specific long-range goal and character flaw and relationship barrier. The black moment occurs because the character won’t give up the long-range goal.



The growth. An epiphany. The character realizes the flaws in his/her beliefs. He/she doesn’t need the long-range goal anymore. Somebody HAS to change.


This is an extension of the Realization. One of them HAS to toss away the long-range goal and show he/she has changed and grown to bring about a satisfying resolution to the story.

(NOTES) Misunderstandings create a false sense of tension. A misunderstanding that can be cleared up easily with a frank conversation is not true conflict. Make sure the conflict in your story is something concrete the hero and heroine must overcome.


Keeping Track of the Characters in Your Series  

 I always create a table in Word to create a Character chart for names, physical descriptions and how they will fit into my story. Every character I introduce or mention in my story has a place on my chart because if your character is talking about them you're going to have to remember what they looked like, where they fit into your character's life and why they're talking about them in the first place. If they're in the book, you'll have to know about them. Possibly not as in depth as your hero, heroine and bad guy, but you'll have to know something in order to write about them. 

Create a spreadsheet or table to organize the characters for each book. Continue to build that spreadsheet or table with each book, but also create a separate one for each book bible.

Name and nickname
Characters  place in the story
Physical description & other info

 I keep a running character chart because I write SERIES.  And you never know when one of the characters from one book will pop in on another. If that happens, I list the character and all his information in that section of the chart and any changes that might have taken place in their history so I'll know what's happened in their life that may affect how they behave in my story. 


Your series time line
Breaking Free

Hawk & Zoe

Hawk makes Lt. Commander



Zoe/ Hawk
Zoe has baby

Clara/ Russell

Russel loses his son

Breaking Away

 Flash surfaces

Flash Harold Carney/ Samantha

Flash and Samantha are married

Harold is Senior Petty Officer

Captain James Jackson /

Captian Jackson is now an admiral

Building Ties

Brett & Tess

Brett and Tess Marry Brett is Lt. and has his own team

2014 Breaking Ties

Oliver Shaker/ Selena

Selena survives Cancer and has a new baby

 Oliver is now an Lt and has his own team

2015  Breaking Boundaries

Calahan / Rose

Rose and Calahan are married

2016 Breaking Out

Doc-Zach O’Conor / Piper

Doc has his own team
 Doc and piper are living together and planning a wedding.

2017 Breaking Point


2018 Breaking Hearts

Bowie- Reviera / Alaina

Bowie has promoted to LT. and will have his own team.

2019 Breaking Chains

Derrick Armstrong/ Ella Bailey

 Derrick is out of prison and
Is readjusting.

2020 Building Strength  Introducing new team . First story  Bullet

 These are just some of the things I'll be covering in my presentation. I'll also be going over using Setting as a character, motivation, and numerous other things. I thought I'd post these few things here on the blog for all writers to enjoy. Feel free to use any of my ideas.  

Write on,
Teresa Reasor