Monday, July 4, 2022

The Game Authors Play...What If? by Ellen Parker #romance


Readers, please welcome Ellen Parker to Muse Monday on Discover... It's always fun to hear how an author works at putting that story into book form. 

What if…?

I’ve never taken an official poll -- but my guess is this is the most frequent game played by authors. I know I ask myself this question a dozen or more times a day. At least it seems that often when plotting a book, writing the first draft, and changing major items for the second draft.

At the very beginning of Morning Tryst, I had the meet cute between my protagonists, but not much else. Many games of “What if…” later, I wrote a two page, first-person, background for each of them. Lots of this pertained to family of origin and education. This document was paragraphs of little things the author needs to know, but the reader is only interested in portions or hints as the story unfolds.

What if…the state of Missouri hires one photographer to update materials on all the state parks and historic sites?

What if…the bartender is actually a millionaire?

What if…the protagonists hold opposite views of family?

What if…I can visit some of these places, explore the ground, and write the experience? 


The Blurb

During a San Francisco visit, photographer Serena Carter sights arresting potential in the hotel bartender and invites him to model. Later, in San Diego, they meet at a beach, and she discovers his personality as fascinating as the images her camera captures.

Self-made millionaire Zack Sans usually avoids cameras. He prefers the world of scientific laboratories and engineering students. But something intrigues him about the petite photographer.

When realistic Serena accepts an opportunity to photograph Missouri State Parks in all seasons, she expects the budding friendship to die. Will Zack’s ties to Missouri overcome cyberstalking, a wildlife encounter, and opposite views of family?


Gently setting the pitcher on the bar, Serena pressed her hands flat against the smooth, cool surface to conceal their sudden tremble. “Our table…we need…a refill. Drinks and supreme chicken nacho platter.” She lowered her gaze from gray eyes behind wire-framed glasses past a clean-shaven chin to rest on a black-and-gold nametag. An instant later, she shifted her line of sight to his neck and confirmed her earlier glimpses. In the next blink, she widened her view. Lingering her gaze on his face for the next few seconds, she classified the radiating character marks around his eyes as more age than smile. Fifty? If correct, he was near to her own fifty-two years. Hiding a sigh, she broke the silence. “We have a tab.”

He reached for the dirty pitcher and glanced over her shoulder. “Table twenty, the one in the corner— with four thirsty ladies?”

“Affirmative. We’re celebrating.” She questioned her use of the word the instant it left her lips. Reminiscing. After a day filled with the memorial service and the commitment ceremony, the four remaining best buddies shared drinks, food, and conversation. During recent minutes, the topics shifted from fond memories to current circumstances with a sprinkle of future plans.

“Anything else?” He tapped the order on a touch screen and lifted a cocktail shaker.

Slipping one hand into a pocket, she fingered a business card and waited for him to face her again. “I want to shoot you, Zack.”

Buy links for Morning Tryst:




Raised in a household filled with books, it was only natural that Ellen Parker grew into an avid reader. She turned to writing as a second career and enjoys spinning the type of story which appeals to multiple generations. She encourages her readers to share her work with mother or daughter – or both.

Ellen currently lives in St. Louis. When not guiding characters to “happily ever after” she’s apt to be reading, walking in the neighborhood, or tending her tiny garden. 

Find Ellen on her website:

Facebook: (20+) Ellen Parker | Facebook

Twitter: (20) Ellen Parker (@eparkerwrites) / Twitter


  1. Hi Ellen!
    Congratulations on "Morning Tryst". It sounds delicious!

  2. I really enjoy books with older heroines and heroes--now that I'm older, too. ;) This books sounds great!