Noble Author Sarah Ballance Familiar Light

I'll be blunt: writing a novella scares me to death. Creating characters readers will care about in just 10k words is one thing. Developing a solid plot that can be resolved in such a short space is yet another. Put them together and you've got … well, me in a panic.

The concept of FAMILIAR LIGHT started with the "Timeless Desire" blog tour theme. One angle I use often in writing is former lovers reuniting, so the theme was very much in my comfort zone. In this story, my main characters actually parted on good terms: after a hometown summer romance, Laney leaves for college and promises Bridger she will return the following spring. As it tends to do, life got in the way. Years later—out of college and into the real world—she realizes she misses what they had, so she goes back to him.

Bridger doesn't welcome her with open arms, and as an author, I wanted that bit of rejection there. In a way, it keeps it real. What are the odds he sat there waiting for her all those years? Nil! And in fact, as the blurb says, he "tangled a lot of sheets" in the process of NOT waiting, LOL, so there's definitely some bitterness there. I really enjoyed the dynamics of that particular scene! (You can see what happened when they meet again in the excerpt below).

Then, of course, comes the twist.

The challenge I had with FAMILIAR LIGHT was creating the suspense aspect—not because it was required, but because I love romantic suspense and am apparently a glutton for punishment. (Yeah, seriously. Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking, LOL.) Putting together a suspense plot that can be resolved for these characters in just 10k words was not the easiest of tasks, but fortunately I have a secret weapon: my husband.

Yep, my guy—who has never read a romance book in his life—happens to be fantastic for plotting, so this was the part I dragged him in. I had a basic idea of what I wanted (not a bit of which I can divulge here, LOL) and he helped me fill in the details. Within a couple of hours, I had a plot. Leaving details aside, I can say this: although they got off to a bad start, my characters didn't have a chance to dance around their emotions. The intensity of what they went through and the very real chance they had of losing one another permanently brought clarity to what they wanted . . . and fast.

As for the title, at one point during the process of writing I had an old song from the 80s in my head. Singing under my breath as I wrote, I got the words wrong and came up with "familiar light" where it should have been "different light." And I thought, wow. Epic book title moment! Between the lighthouse—which is centric to the story—and the theme, I had a winner: FAMILIAR LIGHT.

Thank you so much for reading along. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!



Seven years of longing comes down to just one night.

Laney Kent returns to Barrier Shoals hoping to reunite with her first love, Bridger. She anticipates his reception might be chilly, but what she doesn't expect is to become the victim of a deadly obsession … or that this night with Bridger could be her last.

Bridger Jansen tangled a lot of sheets trying to forget about Laney, but his heart knew what the rest of him refused to admit: he could love no one else. He's determined not to forgive her for leaving him without explanation, but when he fails to protect her from a viscous attack, the person he can't forgive just might be himself. BUY LINK:


"Can I help you?" The gruff question trickled through the cavernous space like water leaking through pipes. He seemed to materialize from the shadows as he strode toward her, the rise of heat from the concrete floor keeping him just out of focus.

But her heart knew.

She swallowed a hard knob of regret. "Bridger?"

He couldn't have heard her—not with the way she clung to his name, as if saying it out loud would be to lose another piece of him. But his step faltered, and the recognition in that interrupted cadence brought the burn of tears to her eyes.

No regrets.

She stood, trembling, as the fifty feet between them dwindled to ten. When he was close enough for her to make out the stubble lining his jaw, his legs stopped moving, but his gaze tore over her. The impassioned glare was without direction, a harsh reflection of the hard lines edging his face. The warm brown eyes she remembered were now a bitter shade of espresso.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

The words, tense with fury, sent her backpedaling against the concrete wall. Too late, she realized she no longer knew this man. They were kids when they'd parted ways, too naïve to realize they'd never keep those breathless promises. At least she'd been that way. His tone suggested otherwise.

They were alone in the deeply shadowed belly of Barrier Shoals Light. And for the first time within those walls, Laney tasted fear.

"Was I supposed to wait for you?" he asked.

Seven years had passed since her weak-kneed promise to return to him. She didn't have an answer for that.
He took another step, boxing her against the curvature of the rock. He stood close—so close, she had to tip her head to meet his eyes.

And she summoned courage to do it.

"Was I?" he asked, his voice softer now. He leaned closer. The stifling heat morphed into sexual innuendo, his skin slick with sweat, daring her to touch.

She was one careless thought away from taking him up on that unspoken suggestion. Her fingers itched to claw through his hair, to draw him closer until the distance between them evaporated. Memories of frantically grasping for purchase against the stone wall besieged her, curling fear into boundless adrenaline.

"Did you?"

Her words coaxed a slow grin from his sensual mouth. "Was I supposed to?"


Sarah Ballance said…
Thank so much for allowing me to take up space here today! The post looks wonderful - I really appreciate your time. :c)
booklover0226 said…
The post was interesting and informative.

I enjoyed both the post and excerpt.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com
Juditth Leger said…
Hi Sarah! No Prob! Any time you want to visit just let me know!!

Thanks for stopping by Amy and Tracey!!
Anonymous said…
Amy & Tracey,
Thanks for coming by to pay me a visit! It's good to see you.

I'm honored. Thank you! :c)
Gabrielle Lee said…
Love the excerpt. Great post! Nice to see that your husband helps you.

shadow_kohler said…
Interesting post! I love the sound of your book! Great excerpt! Im drooling over all of these books ive seen. lol Thanks!!
Anonymous said…
Thank you! And my husband is FABULOUS. I really lucked out with him. I appreciate your comment! :c)

I'm with you - these tours cause my TBR pile to topple, LOL. Thanks so much for commenting!
Michelle said…
Great post. Judith the blog colors and graphics are terrific. I look forward to Familiar Light and am sure you did a great job with the novella Sarah. Keep up the great work.
Anonymous said…
@Michelle, Thank you for the vote of confidence! :c) Let's hope I'm not booed off the stage, LOL. And I agree - this blog is lovely!
Carol L. said…
I loved the excerpt. Always enjoy finding out about Authors behind their books. Thanks for the post.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com
Steve Finnell said…
you are invited to follow my blog
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Carol. I appreciate the visit and the comment.

You too, Steve!
Anonymous said…
Thanks to everyone for your comments! Email addresses will be entered into the Kindle and overall prize giveaways. has selected Tracey D as the winner of the $5 Noble Romance gift card for commenting on this post. Congratulations, Tracey!

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