But just how many parts of each of these elements do you need in order for a novel to be considered Romantic Suspense and not just a mystery, thriller or romance?A balance of romance and mystery is key to creating a Romantic Suspense because readers of this subgenre expect two key things:1) that there is some mystery that will need to be solved; and2) that the protagonists will eventually fall in love. With today’s trends toward stronger, more independent heroines, expect that many Romantic Suspenses may also have a fair share of action as part of the mystery subplot. In addition, with the growing popularity of paranormals, you may also find paranormal elements creeping into Romantic Suspense. For example, my first vampire novel, DARKNESS CALLS, was crafted to be predominantly a Romantic Suspense with a secondary vampire subplot.What kinds of novels fit the mold of Romantic Suspense? Single titles such as BREAKWATER by Carla Neggers, CLOSE-UP by Virginia Kantra, and COLD TRUTH by Mariah Stewart exemplify the subgenre. Single title novels generally run from 85,000 to 100,000 words and with the longer length thanks to this word count, both the mystery and romance elements may include secondary characters and plots, but key to having a Romantic Suspense will be the coexistence of both romance and mystery in the storyline and the resolution that Romantic Suspense readers expect, namely, a happily-ever-after for a hero and heroine who have found love along the way to solving the mystery.Romantic Suspense single titles are being sought by publishers like Avon, Berkley/Jove, Dorchester and Harlequin just to name a few although there are many others (check out http://www.karenafox.com/publishers.htm for additional information).Series such as Silhouette Bombshell, Harlequin Intrigue and Silhouette Intimate Moments typify Romantic Suspense category novels.Silhouette Bombshell personifies the trend toward action-packed novels with larger-than-life kick butt heroines. Think Alias, Lara Croft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all of which contained peril, mystery and of course, romance. For Bombshell, keep in mind that the guidelines stress that the heroine’s savvy, sexiness and strength will help her get herself and others out of difficult situations and provide a thrill-ride for the reader. The novels, however, “also contain an exciting romance subplot, and, in the end, the heroine always gets her man!” The Bombshell word count is from 70,000 to 75,000.So if Bombshell is one part mystery, two parts action and one part romance, how can we categorize Romantic Suspense lines such as Harlequin Intrigue and Silhouette Intimate Moments?Silhouette Intimate Moments seems to have struggled with its identity in past years, but the rebranding that will begin in October and finish with the line being renamed Silhouette Romantic Suspense in February 2007 makes it clear what this line is all about – action, mystery and romance. But are Silhouette Intimate Moments one part mystery and two parts romance? The guidelines available at eharlequin.com make it clear that “(a) strong, compelling romance should dominate the book, but there must be a suspense plot. Silhouette Intimate Moments romances are fueled by the romance and not the suspense.”The Capturing the Crown Series from Silhouette Intimate Moments is one example of a Romantic Suspense continuity series. A continuity series is a set of novels written by several different authors, but with a story arc that spans all the novels. This involves working with a detailed “bible” created by either the publisher or the authors. The “bible” will detail the elements of each novel as well as the continuing story threads that each author must place in their novels in order to keep the story arc going from one novel to the next.The Silhouette Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense word count is from 60,000 to 65,000.Harlequin Intrigue, on the other hand, clearly places its focus on having two parts peril to one part romance. As noted in the guidelines at eharlequin.com, “(w)hether a murder mystery, psychological suspense or thriller, the love story must be inextricably bound to the mystery where all loose ends are tied up neatly…and shared dangers lead right to shared passions.” Kathleen Long’s WHEN A STRANGER CALLS is one example of the kind of Romantic Suspense in the Harlequin Intrigue line, which has a word count of 60,000 to 65,000.So what is the perfect recipe for a Romantic Suspense?Regardless of how many parts action, mystery or thriller you include in your recipe, there’s one element you can’t be without – romance. It’s the spice providing the essential flavoring to all the other elements in the subgenre known as Romantic Suspense.
The Mystery Case Files series is one the best known brands in the hidden object game genre. It combines the challenges of various styles of puzzles (ranging from the standard hidden object games to other mind-boggling puzzles) together with the enjoyable atmosphere of crime whodunits and mystery thrillers. With seven games released so far – all of which have become bestselling and award-winning hits – this series is still going strong and looks like it’s here to stay for a very long time. It has even moved across to the mobile platform.MCF: HuntsvilleHuntsville is the game that started it all for Mystery Case Files. Climb the crime-fighting ranks from rookie to master detective in this classic hidden object game whodunit where eagle eyes save the day.Solve criminal cases by searching for clues and identifying suspects in the game that turned the hidden object game genre into an internet sensation. Solve petty thefts and forgeries in various locales such as the local barber shop and the library with the help of your trusty Crime Computer.MCF: Prime SuspectsRevisit the world of Mystery Case Files as the master detective. This time, you face your biggest case yet: the theft of the Queen’s Hope, the largest diamond in the world.Eliminate each of your suspects in Capital City by searching for clues throughout the many locales in the City, from the Rialto Theater to the hotdog stand. Use the Crime Computer to help identify suspects and strike off bad leads. You can also unlock hidden levels by finding and combining special hidden items scattered throughout the crime scenes.MCF: RavenhearstTake a break from the world of gumshoe crime-fighting and embark on a mystery thriller in the quaint English countryside. Solve the mystery of Ravenhearst manor and of the American schoolteacher who somehow got involved in its mysteries with disastrous consequences.Explore the various rooms in Ravenhearst manor and look for clues that will help you piece together the diary of Emma the schoolteacher, which will hopefully reveal the secrets of the mansion and find out what’s been haunting this elegant estate. Access locked rooms with new puzzles that will challenge your mind!MCF: Madame FateContinue on the journey of the Master Detective as you are hired by Madame Fate, a carnival owner. She has seen her own murder in the future and wants you to catch the murderer before it is too late!Search for clues in the colourful areas which include the tunnel of love and the mermaid’s tank. Solve interesting puzzles in order to interrogate the various characters in the carnival, and access the crystal ball via more puzzles in order to discover the identity of the murderer.MCF: Return to RavenhearstThe story of the ghost of Emma Ravenhearst continues in the next chapter in the Mystery Case Files series! Visit a transformed Ravenhearst Manor in a game that’s more adventure and puzzles than your typical hidden object game.Solve over 150 puzzles and find hidden objects in levels and rooms that have been seamlessly integrated into a haunting adventure story. If the tricky puzzles won’t stump you, the gorgeously painted and rendered graphics will!MCF: Agent X and MCF: MillionHeirThese 2 games mark the crossover of the Mystery Case Files games over to the mobile platform. Agent X explores the adventures of the detective on cellphones with Glu Mobile capability.MillionHeir represents a partnership between Mystery Case Files with a giant in the mobile gaming industry. Published by Nintendo and available for the Nintendo DS gaming console, MillionHeir presents hidden object games in a manner that has never been seen before.Visit Hidden Puzzles for more information about each individual Mystery Case Files game.