Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Magic of Mentors: Guest Post by Regan Black

What happens when your idol becomes your mentor? Magic!

Mentors are the people we look up to, people we admire for their various skills and expertise. They are the people we'd like to resemble when we grow up. Debra Webb, one of the top names in romantic suspense, has been that person for me for the majority of my career. She's driven, prolific, and quick with a plot twist.

We first met at a Smoky Mountain Romance Writers conference ages ago (miraculously, neither of us has aged a day since). Her advice from that weekend still carries me in good stead. Though our publishing paths differed, I’ve been fortunate that Deb has always been a tremendous source of support and encouragement throughout my career.

Deb gave me my first cover quote for Justice Incarnate (my first published novel). She taught me how to write a synopsis (a feat my critique partners greatly appreciated) and helped me sort out the editorial language of revision letters. In 2011, she introduced me to the editor of the Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance, who purchased an original Shadows of Justice novella for that anthology.
In the spring of 2012, amid the stunning success of her Faces of Evil series, Deb called to check on me. My year wasn't going nearly as well as hers. In fact, I was sure my career was going down in flames. I had the obituary written (some of my best work), but Deb refused to believe it. More importantly she refused to let me believe it.

That phone call was a catalyst. I took pages of notes while she dissected my circumstances, assessed my strengths, goals, and productivity, and laid out a plan to move me forward. Deb always has a plan.
The Unknown Identities series resulted from that call. We tweaked the marketing plan and assembled a collaboration which resulted in me joining her on the USA Today bestseller list. Six months later, another career-changing phone call united us as a writing team. 

The Hunk Next Door (coming from Harlequin Intrigue 11/1/2014) is our first contemporary romantic suspense novel, kicking off The Specialists: Heroes Next Door. Deb and I are excited to share these books with our readers. Being Deb’s co-author has been a joyful, energizing experience and I can hardly wait to see the results of my next phone call with my mentor.

Live the adventure!

In the season of hope, someone's out for blood. Police Chief Abigail Jensen is determined to protect her town—and avoid falling too hard for Riley, the new guy next door. But deciding who to trust can be deadly, especially when he has deep secrets….

Agent Riley O'Brien's mission is clear when he joins the CIA's covert Specialist task force: protect a small-town cop from a terrorist, no matter what. Trading his identity for the undercover guise of a handyman is part of the plan…getting close to Abigail on a personal—and passionate—level isn't.

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