Choosing the Setting for Your Novel

Guest Post by Author Tabby MorayA Tabby Moray2

As I was writing House Sitter in Paradise, the first novel in the Humorous Island Romance Series, Saint Lucia immediately came to mind not only because of its unparalleled beauty, but because I had an old acquaintance who was from the island. He’d tell these wonderful stories of his childhood growing up on the island and I always envied him this wonderful experience.


Fast forward to being an adult with an overactive imagination and a penchant for romance and I

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The Pitons in Saint Lucia

was penning a story smack dab in the middle of this wonderful island paradise. Mind you, I’ve never actually been there!

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The Tiny Island Paradise of Saint Lucia

All the research for all four novels was done via the internet, all the way down to using Google Maps to ensure my characters were where I wanted them to be in a given moment. I’d close my eyes and swear my toes were dipped in warm island waters, the Caribbean lapping gently at my ankles (sigh!). Below, I illustrate the steps I used to pick my beautiful island locales.


How to Chose the Setting for Your Novels
  • Choose settings based on the emotions you want to evoke in your readers. In my novels I wanted the reader to feel as though they were right there with my characters enjoying the island life.
  • Choose settings that set the pace for the novel. In Medium in Paradise, I wanted to convey more of a small town island feel as opposed to tropical, so I set the novel in St. Simon Island off the coast of Georgia.
  • Choose settings that make the reader feel like they’re not in Kansas anymore. While writing Treasure Hunter in Paradise, I wanted to feel like I was in a place that was completely foreign to me. Sounds, foods, people and language. I wanted to be out of my safe zone. So I decided a fictional locale off the coast of Africa was just the ticket. In some novels, writers achieve this through world building that takes readers into new dimensions.
  • Choose settings that create conflict. Conflict creates delicious and necessary tension for your novel. In Counselor in Paradise, the tension is created not just because the main character is on a private island and feels out of her element, but because her communication to the outside world is fully monitored. This builds tension and creates conflict simultaneously.
  • Choose settings you can realistically write. As writers we can sometimes be overly ambitious, choosing settings that we don’t have the background or research to write. This can trap us and create writers block, leaving a great manuscript gathering dust in a forgotten corner (I’ve done this!) Start by keeping settings simple and as you write more, your experience will allow you to do more.

As the day quickly approaches for the debut of my novels on February 19th, I have all the dreams and nerves of any writer.

Wish me luck and keep on writing!



Medium_in_Paradise EBOOK
Medium Dina Douglass has hidden her psychic abilities all her life, but a misfit ghost and a sexy detective are about to change all that, whether she’s ready or not.

Salty Gurl Books was pleased to sign on Tabby Moray as one of our hot new romance writers!

Available February 19th, her Humorous Paradise Romance series had our editors jet-setting joyously around the worlds sultriest beaches and snuggling up with some of the fiction worlds hottest men! Here’s a few things about this writer to help you get to know her better:


Treasure_Hunter_in_Paradise EBOOK

When Ava Anderson flies to a little known island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, she thinks she’s merely getting a simple inheritance from a deceased uncle. But she gets more than she bargained for in the hands and bed of the super hot Frederic Rako.

Bake homemade stuff that’s bad for you. Namely cinnamon buns (probably why I’m left with a good 10-12lbs of cellulite growth in the thigh area when the spring comes back round–dammit).


One that bakes said cinnamon buns and revels in my rubenesque 10-12lbs of cellulite thigh growth.


One that doesn’t lie to me when the spring comes around about my weight gain. Instead of falsely positive commentary when asked, ‘How do I look in this size 6 tank top dress?’, they say, ‘Think sausage in a very, very tight casing.’ therefore saving me the indignity of a stranger saying this behind my back.


Anything made with bread. Yummm…

House Sitter in Paradise EBOOK

Moon Montgomery doesn’t like vacations one bit. But when a house sitting gig on the lush tropical island of Saint Lucia falls in her lap, she can’t say no. And when the scorching Garret Kistler walks into her life, she doesn’t want to…


Counselor_in_Paradise SMALL

Marriage counselor Carey Covington gets the offer of a lifetime: a four month long assignment in a tropical paradise with celebrity clients. But when she discovers they’ve also hired famed and unorthodox Dawson Edwards and that he’s determined to lure her into his bed, they won’t be the only ones in need of counseling.

The best pet is one that doesn’t have to be fed, walked and only desires an occasional, absent-minded pat. So yes, I do have a couple of stuffed animals.


Paranormal and science-fiction/fantasy. Those genres allow world building and my intellectual side likes this idea.


They can reach me at I’m still working on my social media platforms, so stay tuned!


7 Keys to Writing Irresistible Plots

Perfect for writers struggling to figure out how to write compelling plots.


Flaming Horse of Doom Why? Because, hey, Flaming Horse of Doom! That’s why.

If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you’ve probably struggled with plotting.

Plot is more than just what happens in the story. There’s a bigger structure to what happens, and when, and why.

Do it right, and you’ll create a gripping story. But do it wrong, and your story will get nothing but yawns.

Want to know the secret to writing irresistible plots?

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Marketing: Utilizing Online Groups

In this world of so little time and so much to do, using your time wisely is the only way to go about things. As any writer knows, it’s a real challenge gaining new followers. Therefore, it’s also a challenge marketing your fantastic new book.

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However, here are a few tips we can offer to fast forward your marketing and grow your fan base utilizing online Groups:

    • VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Set aside some time each day to join social media groups and online forums relevant to your books marketing efforts.
    • Utilizing your groups, post content that potential fans can click on to link back to your blog, website or social media platform.
    • Write your posts during your down time and if possible, schedule them to go out at least once a week. Hootsuite makes scheduling posts a cinch for social media.
Cartoon #2665
  • Write content that is a direct sell for your book ONLY if it’s through promotion groups. Otherwise, stick to posting links to content that directs readers back to your blog or social media platform.
  • When posting to Facebook via a blog, be certain to share your post across all of the relevant groups you participate in. This will take time AND patience!

Remember this Saying:

‘Only 1% of us are lucky. The other 99% of us worked like hell for it’

Stay Salty!

About That Sexy Scene…

So much sex in books these days. Everybody’s just sexin’ it up (including us)! None of those ladies in the 1920’s, working day and night for women’s rights, could possibly have known that we’d get to this liberating day.

Sexy in Bed

But here we are…

With that said, we over here at Salty Gurl Books want to get in bed with writers who want to write about sex. Let’s get cozy, shall we?


  • Do Your Research. This is the easy part. Just read lots and lots of books with steamy sex scenes. From here, you should be able to get a darn good idea of what to write and what not to write (and HOW not to write) a sex scene.
  • Moderation is the Key. There’s nothing worse than a sex scene on every other page. Not only is it monotonous, your reader will lose their urgency to turn the pages of your sexy read. We use the 1:50 Rule. Graphic sex shouldn’t happen more than once for every 50 pages of writing in a contemporary romance. Other very sexy things can happen, but the graphic sex should be saved for special occasions. So, for 150 page book, graphic sex shouldn’t happen more than 3 times. When it happens and how it happens is also important. Think lightly seasoned and sprinkled throughout.
  • Write According to Your Sub-Genre. Nothing is more shocking than thinking you’re reading a sweet romance, only to discover a quarter of the way in that you’re reading a torrid male on male BDSM novel. A tad exaggerated, but you get our drift.
  • Keep Characters in Character. We’ve read many books over here at Salty Gurl where a character goes from being a shy virgin on one page to a wild, bronco buster on the next. Not true in fiction (well, maybe erotica…) or in real life.
  • Keep Sex Realistic. Hey look, we all like to indulge in fantasies that are a little out there from time to time. But chances are, if in your real life you’re not having sex while doing a handstand, chained in a dungeon and being smeared with honey by three hunky brothers (hmm…starting to sound pretty good…) then it’s probably getting a little out there for your contemporary romance.
  • Quit Talking and Get to It! Good Lord! Nothing is worse than characters that chatter their way nervously through sex. Takes us all right outta the moment, maybe even to the point of chucking the book at the wall in disgust!

That about covers it folk. Keep writing great sex and we’ll keep reading it.

Here’s another writers perspective on the subject:

Of Hunks, Heroines and Heat

Brrr! It’s cold outside! But over here at Salty Gurl Books we got things heated up with a few sexy, laugh out loud romances. The Humorous Paradise Romance series by author Tabby Moray guides readers from the tiny island Paradise of St. Simon off the southern coast of Georgia, all the way over to the velvety sand beaches of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean Sea. Our paradise series heroines win the hearts of their hunks through sass, smarts and if necessary, brawn. Take a peek at the delicious covers and be prepared to get heated up when they debut on Friday, February, 19th….

Salty Gurl Books Goes Blog, Blog, BLOG!

We said we wouldn’t do it, but here we are, writing our very first blog post…AGAIN. We tried this before, failed abysmally and ran back to the safety of Facebook with our tails tucked between our legs to lick our wounds. But, a couple of years later after a bit of research (okay, a LOT of research) and fortitude of spirit, we decided to give it another go. With our new-found knowledge, and patience, we feel we’ll be a raring success!

Salty Gurl Books Blog will be a mishmash of info about our books (of course!), social media marketing and networking, anything to do with writing tips and guest posts by interesting characters.

Anyway, it’s late here in North Carolina and we’re pooped. So, goodnight and we hope to see you again.

Stay Salty!

salt shaker