Friday, July 31, 2009

Welcome, Liena Ferror

Hey everyone, it's Friday at Paranormal Romantics that means you're stuck with me, J. Hali. Today I'll be interviewing a fellow Eirelander, Liena Ferror, author of the soon to be released The Risen: Queen of the Ghost Drakon. Hi, Liena. Welcome to PR and thank you for taking time to talk to me. I know you brought along a special guest, so lets get started. Who do you have with you?

LF: The blond colored lycan in wolf form is Gannon Langon. Gannon, care to change and introduce yourself?

JHS: Right here? Holy crap. Uhh…WOW! Nice.

GL: Hi, Ms. Steele. Thank you for having Liena and myself today. I see you’re slightly surprised by my height. At six-foot-seven, I get that a lot. Liena, may I tell them a little about myself?

LF: Sure, go ahead. We’ll get to me.

GL: Thank you. I am a rare blonde lycan. I was born and bred in the Northeastern United States but settled in the Pennsylvania area with the Langon clan hundreds of years ago. I have a wonderful mate named Keara, Queen of the Ghost Drakon, and a beautiful eleven-year-old daughter we adopted named Josephine. I live on the grounds of the Mansion owned by Master Vampire Andres Kaden, the leader of the Kadenian Alliance which I am a member of.

JHS: Okay, well, Gannon, I was a little shocked by some other fabulous body parts too. Liena, can you tell us a little about yourself?

LF: I’m from South Central Pennsylvania, born and bred. I have a great husband and two wonderful children. One still in school and the other serving in the Navy. I was fortunate to have parents that instilled a love of reading in me.

JHS: How long have you been writing?

LF: I’ve been seriously writing for about two years now. Prior to that, my nose was always buried in a book. One day my husband commented that as much as I read, I should try to write a book. The rest is history as they say. My first release is due out November 20, 2009 from Eirelander Publishing.

JHS: That’s wonderful. Can you tell us a little about your favorite character?

LF: I like every character I’ve created in the world of The Risen. Primarily the characters are male and members of the Alliance but they are all charming, handsome and hard-headed as hell at times. Some are lycans, others are vampires. As the series progresses, I will be bringing in more female characters.

GL: Come on, Liena. You didn’t mention the demons, fae, or drakons that are part of the paranormal world as we know it.

LF: That's true, Gannon. Your mate is half fae and half drakon, or dragon in easier terms.

GL: A beautiful mix if you ask me.

LF: She is beautiful. That much is true. Here is an excerpt from Gannon’s story.

He looked down at her. Her lips beckoned him. He stared into her eyes for a moment. Gannon’s gaze lowered again to her mouth and his head followed.
He moved slowly, giving her time to retreat. He saw acknowledgement in her eyes when she raised her face toward his and met him halfway. Gannon brushed his lips softly across hers. The same jolt of electricity that went through them earlier hit them tenfold. She gasped and Gannon didn’t hesitate. His tongue thrust into her mouth. By the Gods, she tastes just like ambrosia. His tongue swept against hers.
Gannon felt her arms wind around his neck. She pulled him close and he went into her arms willingly. He grabbed her hips and pulled them even more tightly together. Her slim body fit against his perfectly. His blood pounded through his body and settled into his cock. He hardened painfully against the denim of his jeans. The friction created by her belly moving against his cock only added to the pressure building inside him.
Gannon breathed deeply when she trembled in his arms. He inhaled jasmine, spice and her womanly musk. “I smell your desire, Keara,” he said huskily against her lips. “Do you want me?” he asked her, point blank.
“God, yes,” she whispered.
“Jesus, I want you. I want to be inside you.” He kissed her deeply, and then gradually softened the kiss. He lifted his head and gazed into her eyes. “We either need to stop or go to your bedroom. The choice is yours.”
She took a deep breath. “Make love to me, Gannon.”
“Are you sure, Keara?” His eyes searched hers. “If we make love, my mating scent will be all over you. It will warn all other lycan males that you are mine. I’ll end up being very territorial when other unmated males are around you.”
“Are you sure you want to mate with a human who is so…so…”
“Perfect for me,” he finished for her. “Stop questioning it.” He easily lifted her into his arms and held her against his chest, savoring the feel of her plastered to his body.
“Put me down.”
He took her lips in a punishing kiss while he strode for what he hoped was her bedroom. Peeking through the veil of his lashes, a spurt of relief mingled with his passion. Good guess. He flicked on her overhead light, and walked over to her bed. Laying her gently in the center, he looked around the room and was happy to see it full of candles, presumably made by her. “Do you have matches or a lighter?”
She pointed to the bedside table. He opened the drawer and found a candle lighter. He quickly went around the room and lit all the candles he could find before he walked back to the bed. He returned the lighter to its drawer.
He turned to look at her. She was breathtaking lying in the center of the bed with candle light dancing over her flushed features. Her eyes were such a light silver blue shade that his heart thudded. At least for tonight, this woman was his.
His to worship.
His to pleasure.

JHS: That is hot! I've had the opportunity to read some of this, Liena, and you’ve built quite a fantastic world for readers to delve into. And I have to say, Gannon, Keara does sound quite the unusual beauty. Liena, who inspired or inspires you the most?

GL: You really should see her bookshelf, Ms. Steele. She has everything from Nora Roberts to Clive Cussler on them.

LF: That is true. I can’t say just one author influenced me. I was influenced by many of the books I’ve read. My favorite genre is romance but I haven’t passed up a Clive Cussler book yet.

JHS: When you’re not writing, what are some of your favorite things to do? Do you and Gannon ever hang out together?

LF: When I’m not writing, I’m usually on the computer, reading a book and on occasion I’ll make jewelry. I’m a home body.

GL: She doesn’t hang out with us very much though she’s always more than welcome to hang at the Mansion with us.

LF: Thank you, Gannon. That was sweet of you.

GL: Yep, that’s me. Sugary sweet.

JHS: I see you’re shaking your head, Liena. I’m afraid to ask why. Are you working on anything new?

LF: Yes, I am working on the second novel in the series tentatively titled Frost at Dusk. This will be Andres Kaden and Lena Erickson’s story. Lena is an ice drakon and vampire hybrid who uses her deadly blood to avenge the death of a family member much to the dismay of the Alliance members and Andres, who thinks Lena is the hottest woman to grace this Earth. Her deadly blood, however, may add a strain to their relationship.

JHS: This story just sounds better and better. Maybe we’ll get to meet Andres sometime. Do you have any advice for new writers?

LF: My best advice is to have fun! Practice makes perfect. There is no time frame on when you need to complete your first story. Tweak it until you feel comfortable with it. Try to find yourself a critique partner or group. Someone who is honest with you and will help you perfect your work.

JHS: I know your release date isn't until November. Once it's available, how can readers get your book?

GL: Liena and I can be found at Eirelander Publishing. Feel free to stop by and look around.

LF: Thanks, Gannon, for answering that for me. Below are a few links that you can use to find me.

I can be found at http://www.lienaferror.webs.com/, http://www.lienaferror.wordpress.com/, www.myspace.com/authorlienaferror and of course like Gannon said, http://www.eirelanderpublishing.com/ is where you can pick up The Risen: Queen of the Ghost Drakon when it releases in November.

JHS: Gannon’s looking a little antsy so I’ll wrap this up, it was a pleasure talking to you. I appreciate you and him taking time out of your schedules to join us at Paranormal Romantics.

GL: Thanks for having us, Ms. Steele. I need to get back to my family. Josephine had a big biology test and I want to see how she did.Add Image

JHS: Do they all change like that? It was pretty fast. You’re smiling, Liena, so I assume I’m safe.

LF: Yes, you're safe, and thank you for having us. It was a blast being here today.

I’m really glad that’s over with. Talk about scary. Gannon's a pretty big wolf and an even bigger guy – all over if you know what I mean. Hey, look folks stop by next Friday to see what I cook up. Until then, remember - Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.-J. Hali Steele

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Upcoming Paranormal & Sci-Fi Goodies to Add to Your List


Hey Readers! My brain is mush as I'm currently on a marathon writing session working toward my manuscript deadline but I'm popping out to take a breather to share some goodies coming up.


2012

What's the story?
An academic researcher leads a group of people in a fight to counteract the apocalyptic events that were predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar.

Standouts: It's Roland Emmerich, nuff said. ;-) While some people thinks he's cheesy and action oriented with no story, I love him because he can bring the entertainment. He fills his movies with action, a good story and enough human drama to make you relate to the characters and cheer for them to get out of their predicament. With 2012 he's up the survival stakes very high this time around and I'm eager to see how it plays out. Plus with a cast like John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofer, Thandie Newton, Danny Glover and many more, you know it's going to be awesome.

Release Date: November 13, 2009





Daybreakers

What's the story?
Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, a researcher in the year 2019, in which an unknown plague has transformed the world's population into vampires. As the human population nears extinction, vampires must capture and farm every remaining human, or find a blood substitute before time runs out. However, a covert group of vampires makes a remarkable discovery, one which has the power to save the human race.

Standouts: Story sounds awesome, movie looks great with tension some fine big time actors in a futuristic setting and vampires! Bummer that vampires are seen as a disease that has to be cured. That trope has been long running in paranormal fiction and I like when stories deviate to show them as a separate species living among humans. As Sam Neil says "What's to cure?" But I do like the twist that humans are becoming an endangered species while vampires are taking over. Bonus on that. Very interested to see this movie and what kind of story it'll tell

Release Date: January 8th, 2010

Notable Trailer Music: Runnin' Up That Hill by Placebo





The Book of Eli

What's the Story?
A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.

Standouts: Another one with an awesome cast and some gorgeous looking cinematography. If you're like me an love some good futuristic dystopia sci-fi, add this one to your movie list to check out next year.

Release Date: January 15, 2010





If you're in the New Orleans, LA area this autumn, check out the Vampire Film Festival The website is full of goodies including some Vampire Short Films, articles, a section on vampire fiction books (including a fanged Sherrilyn Kenyon giving an interview), and an open call for all you filmmakers with vampire themed short films.

One notable section is the upcoming vampire and werewolf movies. I'll be bookmarking this site for later.

As for on the blogosphere, authors Patricia Altner and Michele Hauf are teaming up for a new vampire themed blog called VampChix. Check them out: http://vampchix.blogspot.com

Til next time!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Interview with Antonia Tirinth!


Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing the talented Antonia Tirinth to my blog.


Sandra: Tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been writing?

Antonia: I’m a 30 year old lab tech for Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD who loves reading, writing and cats. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember but right after college I stopped writing. I got into a big slump but then I met Delilah K. Stephans and she got me back into it. She’s been a great help to me. We are writing buddies and she’s pushed the both of us to grow in our writing.

Sandra: How do you balance the job and writing?

Antonia: It can be a little difficult finding the balance but lab work offers me a few breaks here and there that I can get 5-10 minutes of writing in. Plus there’s lunch time.

Sandra: What genre do you like to write best in?

Antonia: I tend to lean towards the fantasy side when I write. I love dragons so they usually become my subject of choice.

Sandra: Did any one person influence your writing style?

Antonia: Hands down that honor is Del’s. She always gets first look at my works and she’s a great editor.

Sandra: How do you find ideas for your books?

Antonia: I pull my ideas from many different places. I take bits and chunks of things I see that I like and put them in a mixing bowl. Phrases of songs, a picture, someone’s personality, all of it can inspire me to write.

Sandra: How difficult is it for you to get into “writer’s mode”?

Antonia: It’s actually not terribly difficult for me. I need to have music on, that’s my only real requirement.


Sandra: Tell me a little about your new book.

Antonia: The Gathering, which released on last Monday from Lyrical Press, Inc., is the second in my Tales of the Rikashi Series. The Rikashi are a race of dragon shape-shifters that have been hiding among humans for centuries. This one focuses on the brother of the main character from my first book, The Quickening. He is attempting to solve the mystery of a prophecy, which sorting out his feelings for the daughter of an enemy.

Sandra: How did the inspiration for this work come to you?

Antonia: This one sprang from part of a song by DragonForce called Revolution Deathsquad. The line is :

Cry out for the fallen heroes lost in time ago
In our minds they still belong
when the sands of time are gone

Rise over shadowed mountains blazing with power
Crossing valleys endless tears in unity we stand
Far and wide across the land the victory is ours
On towards the gates of reason
Fight for the truth and the freedom

You’ll have to read the book to find out why.


Sandra: Do you have any writing rituals? Like special music, times of the day, foods, etc?

Antonia: I have two different songs lists for each series. The Rikashi List has DragonForce, Dream Evil, and Kamelot. For the other series, The Tarot Kings, I have Celine Dion, Heart, Cat Stevens, and Finger Eleven.


Sandra: Do you identify with the characters you write about?

Antonia: I definitely do. I think every character has a little bit of me in him/her or some part of people I know.


Sandra: You’ve recently signed with a new publisher. Can you tell me about that?

Antonia: I have just signed with Red Rose Publishing for a different series that is out of my usual area on several levels. The first is that it’s not fantasy or even really paranormal and the second is that it’s an erotic series. I thought it would be a good idea to spread out and have a few publishers.

Sandra: You have a few books to your credit. Is there a favorite among them?

Antonia: I think my favorite so far is the one coming up in November, the third in the Rikashi Series, called Black Velvet. I’m not going to say more or I’ll spoil The Gathering.


Sandra: What piece of advice can you tell aspiring writers that you wished someone told you when you started?

Antonia: Don’t give up. Don’t let anyone discourage you from your dream. If you want it, go after it. You may have to work hard to do it but you can do it.


Sandra: What is your next project?

Antonia: Right now, I’m working on setting down the plot for Book Four of the Rikashi Series and the second book in the series from Red Rose.



Sandra: Thanks for being here today! Think I may just have another few books to add to be TBR pile!


Blurb for The Gathering

Can Gem and Shirak find their way through madness and sorrow to forge a new peace?

Gem Tunuviel thought her father's insane quest was at an end. She was wrong. He is resolved on destruction. Driven to escape him, she seeks the faces in her visions: other Rikashi, dragon shape-shifters like herself.

Shirak Gwindor, haunted by nightmares of half-remembered tortures, is also following a vision. He struggles to keep his attraction for Gem buried under his rigid sense of duty.

As a force draws the Rikashi together, can Gem find acceptance with others of her own kind, or must she keep her true self hidden?

To find out more about where to purchase The Gathering, please visit the following links:

Buy Link : http://www.onceuponabookstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_26&products_id=159

And other links :

Blog : www.antoniatiranth.blogspot.com
Twitter : www.twitter.com/antoniatiranth
Facebook : www.facebook.com/tiranth
website : www.antoniatiranth.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Waiting is the Hardest Part


It really is.

 

Below is an example of what my day is like while I am waiting to hear back on a submission.

 

Rebecca wakes up in the morning and runs to the bathroom (Too much information?) I’m 30 weeks pregnant with our third child, what can I say?  The children get up and my amazing husband and I somehow tag team them into eating breakfast, getting dressed, and out the door so, at the moment (at least until the end of August) my older son can go to camp.  I come home and stick on my computer.

 

Okay, I’ll pause here and admit for the sake of admitting to anxiety that sometimes I get the computer on before this moment. Sometimes, I get it on when I first get up.  I cannot tell a lie. But let’s say it’s one of those days when I don’t and this is the point where it comes on.

 

I check my e-mail. If I’m lucky there is a note there from my amazing CP and some friends in addition to the bill reminders and the things some of the online stores think I should be buying from them.  I check my groups and I sigh.  Why the sigh, Rebecca, you might ask? 

 

Because I am waiting on submissions. 

 

Now, I can’t complain.  Not at all.  I just sent out the query letters.  It could be months until I hear and that would still be reasonable. 

 

But that doesn’t mean that I won’t check my e-mail another fifty times that day on the off chance that somehow the person reading the submissions read at lightening speed.

 

I can’t imagine being the editor in charge of deciding whose work gets signed and who’s doesn’t.  It would be rough for me and the acquisition editors I have worked with have been amazing.  So I don’t blame them when I’m sitting there hitting renew on the webbrowser and holding my breath. 

 

Its my own anxiety, I know that.  I had a writer advise me to just keep writing and forget about it. I assure you I am.  I have a work in progress moving right along and two more stewing in my brain.  I have other things I could be submitting.  But none of that is going to erase the need to keep checking that lingers in the side of my brain where I know I’m still waiting to hear. 

 

Is this just me? What do you do when you’re waiting?  

 

On another note, next Monday, August 3rd, 2009 my first book will be released. It is called Her Wolf: The Westervelt Wolves Book 1.  Here is my amazing cover.


 

Liquid Silver Books took a chance on me when they signed me to my first contract last winter. I will be eternally grateful for the chance.  Now, I guess I get to wait to see what people think of my writing which I have to admit feels a little bit like opening my diary for the world to see. But that’s okay, it’s always been my dream. 

 

So we’ll need to see which I find harder: waiting on submissions or waiting to see what people think. 

 

Anyone out there with experience in this want to tell me which will be harder??

 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Writing Under the Influence.

Happy Manic Monday! My vaca is over and I'm off to the grind. Before I go, I want to talk about influences. Thing that make you go 'hmm?' That inspire a story or a character. Non written stuff that cause you to scrible notes on lunch napkins and try to descipher them later on at home.


There's the bad vices, drugs and alcohol, that some authors turn to. I can't go that route, they just make me sleep or write like I'm in kindergarten. Music is used often and one of my strongest influences but I'm want to talk but the weird things. The ones you keep in your closet.



Driving through a horrid snow storm in the mountains, where I live, gave birth to a new vampire. I haven't written her story yet, but she whispers to me. Watching an episode of So You Think You Can Dance last summer started my paranormal adventure in Budapest. Gardening this spring led to thoughts of aliens and brought my new sci-fi novella which I am presently working on.




What odd inspirations have you experienced? What did it make you write?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Paranormal Romantics Goes International!

One of my favorite parts of the RWA conference was attending the Passionate Ink party in DC. It was a blast. Met lots of fellow Ellora’s Cave and Changeling Press authors. Paranormal Romantics donated a basket for the festivities that was won by Cat Marsters and it will be traveling across the Atlantic to Essex. Cat – hope you enjoy all the goodies!

Meeting the president of PI, Francesca Hawley, who is an awesome lady, was super for a lot of reasons. At the AGM she was the only person with a copy of the resolution for RWChange. She pulled it up on her phone and read it to the room. Now THAT is an example of digital technology at work.

Angela James was “passionate’ in her speech on the digital publishing industry. She has it posted at her blog and you really shouldn’t miss it: http://nicemommy-evileditor.com/blog/?p=2583

Below, are the winners of the Passionate Plume and Stroke of Midnight contest. Congratulations to the winners and to all who entered. (** indicates Passionate Ink member)

PASSIONATE PLUME:

Contemporary
1st -Mari Carr - Erotic Research
2nd - Eileen Ann Brennan** - Marnie’s Secret
3rd - Katie Reus - Running From The Past
HM Jenna Bayley-Burke** - Her Cinderella Complex
HM Saskia Walker** - Reckless

Futuristic /Fantasy /SciFi
1st - Denise Rossetti** - Strongman
2nd - Mari Freeman** - Birthright
3rd - Mechele Armstrong** - Settler’s Mine 3: The Woman
HM Dee Brice** - His Virtual Assassin
HM Mima - In Service

Historical
1st - Kate Pearce** - Simply Sinful
2nd - Alice Gaines** - Sans Regret
3rd - Emma Wildes - A Devil’s Bargain
HM Elizabeth Amber** - Lyon, The Lords of Satyr
HM Samantha Kane** - Retreat From Love (Brothers In Arms)

Novella
1st - Natasha Moore** - Sunrise in Jewel of the Nile II
2nd - Anna Leigh Keaton** - Sweetest Desires
3rd - Jade Buchanan** - Horsfall: Tail of Two Brothers
HM Samantha Kane** - A Lady In Waiting
HM Carolina Valdez** - Tie ‘Em Up, Hold ‘Em Down

Paranormal /Time Travel
1st - Crystal Jordan** - Treasured
2nd - Eden Rivers** - Broken Pentacle
3rd - Dana Marie Bell** - The Wallflower, Halle Pumas Book 1
HM Mackenzie McKade** - Black Widow
HM Jennifer North** - Party Vamps

STROKE OF MIDNIGHT:

Contemporary
1st Place - Kate MacArthur - The Third Piece
2nd Place - Janet Mullany** - A Subtext of Sex
3rd Place - Grace Hood - Come On Baby, Light My Fire
HM - Nett Robbens - Falling Again
HM - Alannah Lynne** - Last Call

Paranormal/Time Travel
1st Place - Erika Sands - D’Nar
2nd Place - Lyra Verna - Mastering Her Dark Soul
3rd Place - Paris Brandon** - Blood On The Moon
HM - Letitia Brave - Pandora’s Box
HM - Serena Shay** - The Challenge

Novella
1st Place - Michal Scott** - Alone on Earth
2nd Place - Minx Malone** - Milo’s Revenge
3rd Place - Michal Scott** - Possessed by the Past
HM - Michal Scott** - Pandora’s Box
HM - Trinity Blake - Time Pirate

Futuristic/Fantasy/SciFi
1st Place - Sara Avellino - Renegade
2nd Place - Leigh Court** - The Edge of TIme
3rd Place - Ella Drake - Caught In Silver
HM - Jeffe Kennedy** - Obsidian
HM - Michelle Polaris - Bound Odyssey

Remember: Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.J. Hali Steele

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Testing Romantic Conventions



I’m currently editing a multi-genre story that can be woman’s fiction, suspense and noir but also a romance because it has an HEA. But the path to getting there is about a woman’s journey back to herself and to the man she loves rather than the hero and heroine fighting odds to be together. The hero is coming up more in this draft than he has in the past but the story is very much the heroine’s. I think it may shift into a “dark romance” if anything.

It got me thinking about some things regarding the romance genre. Lately there has been a lot of genre bending with the new paranormals dancing between suspense, romance, fantasy, detective and even a little bit of sci-fi that makes bookstore placement even more confusing. But as we move into the digital age with unlimited shelf space and numerous genre handles it’s becoming less limiting.

But what about the audience who is looking for a certain type of story? Will they be willing to stretch their idea of what a romance is to, say, darker romances that still end in HEA? A fellow writer friend of mine sent me some Anne Stuart titles to check out and her stories, based on what I’ve read from the blurbs, are what I have in mind as an example. I'm currently looking for more like hers where the heroes are sort of anti-heroes in a way in high octane jobs like assassin, spies, etc. Something like The Replacement Killers which I love and wish we got that kiss in the deleted scenes.

According to the recent RWA coverage roundup at DA, editors eagerly looking for something new to release and readers are even more so willing to look for twists on old themes, new voices and styles and new stories to indulge in.

Will strict genres be a thing of the past and the focus more so on larger definitions of romantic fiction, mainstream fiction or perhaps literary love stories? I love the idea of the former which is a staple of Black Lyon Publishing. But I wonder how the next generation of romance readers will accept it.

How about you guys? How stringent are you on the types of romance books you read?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back to the Beginning

This week is only halfway through and already it's been full of ups and downs.

Monday started out in typical Monday fashion: bad. Rejections for writers are a part of the process and a way of life. Usually, I can brush them off and move forward without thinking about them. This one threw me for a loop and sent me into a tailspin. There's no rhyme or reason for it and I can't explain why. The knee-jerk reaction is "what's wrong with it?" "there's nothing wrong with my baby" then after a couple hours, the reaction morphs to "I'm a total crap writer and should just give it up right now" But, the good news is it was a revise and resubmit so after several hours spent in "woe is me" mode, I put it away.

Thank goodness for my CP who let me beat myself up for about half a minute then shoved me back on the horse.

Tuesday was better because I finished a historical/paranormal novel I'd been working on since May. 64K of new shiny words, and yeah it needs some self-editing and a few once overs before it'll be ready to be sent out into the world but it's still a great accomplishment, and a huge sigh of relief.

So, what now?

Back to the beginning. All kinds of beginnings.

Today I'll be taking the rejected story out, picking it apart, injecting it with new scenes, cutting some others, sending it out to my awesome CP, having a cow when she says "no, not yet" and starting again until she gives me the thumbs up. LOL

Such is life.

But the best news? By week's end I get to start on a brand spanking new novel :-) This time will be a light, bouncy contemporary novel and after spending a couple months with a historical, I definitely need it :-) It's very exciting to start over. A fresh start doing something new feels wonderful. Of course, ask me how it's going a couple months from now and you might get a different answer. LOL

So, that's a day in the life of a writer. The good, the bad and the ugly. Thanks for listening.

Oh sure, every time I open that rejected story, I cringe. Somehow it takes more energy to re-work a story than to type it out the first time, but if the restructuring makes it better, great!

Gotta go. I've got a lot of work to do today. Make it a good one, folks :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Interview with author Esmerelda Bishop


Today I am interviewing the wonderfully talented Esmerelda Bishop.  Her book “The Feline Fugitive” is available now from Lyrical Press. 


 

Hi Esmerelda, thanks for taking the time out to do this interview!!

 

It’s my pleasureJ

 

 

First of all, tell me what you’re working on right now.  Is it a Paranormal, Contemporary, or a Historical?

 

Right now I am working on a contemporary romantic comedy. This will be my first full comedy. Humor is always laced somewhere in my writing, but this will be the first one where I focus on it. So far, I’m enjoying myself.

 

I know you have written in almost all genres of Romance. How do you choose which one you want to work on?  Or does it choose you?  Do you have a favorite out of the choices?

 

 

I’m not really sure how I pick what I’m working on. I think it chooses me. I really have no control over what “takes” in a plot. Plots pop in my head all the time and I’m like “Ohhhh! What a great idea!” then a week later I have the first chapter written and it fizzles out. Eventually one hits me that just flows out of me and I just go with it. As for a favorite. Hmm. There is something special about each genre, but if I had to pick a favorite, it’d be contemporary. I’m free to do what I want in contemporary without limitations. I love that.

 

 

I’ve just finished reading “The Feline Fugitive” and I have to tell you that in addition to being completely riveted by the story, I couldn’t help but laugh throughout the book.  Did you mean for your heroine to be so funny or did she just start out that way?

She just came out that way. LOL. I will say, I’m thrilled you found her funny. Humor is not an easy thing to write and it is subjective. While one person might find something bust-a-gut-funny another will not. So I smile knowing that a story I wrote that had a humorous edge made you laugh. It was supposed toJ

What do you do when you’re not writing?  Do you have a favorite movie or a favorite book?

 

I’m a mom to five year old twins. They keep me very busy. LOL.  But when I’m not being a writer, mom, or wife, I love to be me and veg out with my friends. I’m also a gym rat. I love working out. Disgusting, I know. But, I do.

 

I have a ton of favorite movies. Too many to list and they cross a wide spectrum of genres. A few off the top of my head is: Titanic, Ever After, and anything with Seth Rogan, that man cracks me up.

 

Favorite authors/books are a little easier. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. J.K. Rowling created a stunning world with a series that held me captivated. I’m also a huge Karen Marie Moning fan. My favorite of her Highlander series is To Tame a Highland Warrior. Grimm Roderick stole my heart in that story. But I will say that Jericho Barrons in her new Fever Series is giving Grimm a run for his money.  Never thought I would say that, but dang it, Jericho is hot.

 

 

Who inspires you to write when you’re having writers block?

 

Good question.  I have no idea. Writers block and me are very good friends. However, I just came back from Nationals. Surprisingly, I found most writers don’t believe it exists. Outside interference creates it. That was a huge Ah-ha moment for me. Because it is very true in my case. Everyday worries affect my ability to write, ranging anywhere from finances to selling the last story I wrote. It’s learning to separate those worries from my muse so she is not affected. It is something I have to work on and plan to.

 

On this blog, we talk a lot about our muses.  Tell me about yours.

 

Mostly she is just an extension of me, a little place in my head that likes to talk. She sounds, thinks and acts like me but she has the ability to take plots and weave fantastic tales. I know that it sounds like my muse is me. But that is not what I’m saying. We are one in the same, but without her I wouldn’t be able to write.  Trust me, she’s went silent on more than one occasion and I miss her when she does that.

 

 

Thanks so much for doing this Esmerelda.  It’s been so nice having you here. Please check out her promotional video for "The Feline Fugitive" too. 

It's located here: 

The Feline Fugitive


 

Thanks for having me! I’ve enjoyed it!

 

 

Rebecca Royce

Monday, July 20, 2009


Happy Manic Monday everyone. Truth be told, I'm exhausted. I started my vacation on Friday and my weekend has been crazy. Today, I'm stepping back and reminding myself that I'm suppose to be relaxing and not killing myself!


These last few weeks I've been pondering skill vs talent. Personally, I think talent is something that comes naturally to someone and skill is something learned. The perfect combination of these two things is what makes our stars in sports, music, acting, and of course, writing.


I've read comments in other forums and blogs that have lead me to a conclusion. It is easier for an author to learn the skill of writing than to learn the art of storytelling. Am I wrong?


Depending on comments. I would like to offer monthly articles or links to them on the craft. Maybe if I lucky a educated guest speaker.


Grammar is my biggest weakness and I'm considering signing up for a basic class since articles are not helping. What is yours and what are you doing about it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

ARE YOU KIND?

J. Hali's away. Today's guest bloggers are Jag Arizon and Leron Wilder.

“Hello. My name is Jag.”
“Dude! Why you talking like that?”
“Shut up, Leron. J. Hali asked me to do this. I brought you along for moral support. Don’t give me no shit.” He shook his head. “I knew I should have asked my lady to come with me.”
“You sound like a freaking robot. That’s all I’m saying.”
“Can you do better?” Jag was pissed.
“Yeah, here you go: What’s up people? Glad you stopped by. See, something natural like that.”
“Oh, right, that was so much better.”
“Hey, Jag, can I tell them about my book – HOT TIN ROOF?
“That’d be great, man. They know about me and Barbara from WITH EXTRA CREAM already. Go ahead. Cripes, what the hell, Leron…why’d you change to your beast?”
Because I can. I like this freedom. How long is J. gone for?
“Who knows. S he’s usually around. What if she doesn’t come back?”
What if she doesn’t? Hell, if she comes back she might want to be writing about Trent or something else totally. She’s always going on about those freaked out angels.
“Hey, did you lose words in the edit thingy?” Jag asked.
Leron nodded his large feline head and changed back to his vampyre form. “Yup. Not too bad though.”
“Damn, man. Cover your ass. What if someone walks in?” Jag’s brows raised and he peered at the mirrored glass around the small room.
“Who’s coming in here? It’s hardly big enough for us.”
Jag relaxed a little. “Tell us about your story.”
The smile that covered Leron’s face was pitiful. Jag laughed long and hard at his friend.
“She’s hot, Jag. Everything I want in a mate is wrapped up in that one gorgeous bundle. She’s tall as hell, too. I like that. What if she doesn’t want me?” Leron’s eyes bugged open. “Hell and damnation, I just thought about that.”
“I don’t know if the people care how she looks, dude.”
“Screw ‘em then. I’m not telling them anything if that’s the case.”
Jag’s clothes disappeared, a growl to wake the devil erupted from deep in his chest and thundered through the tiny interview space. Fur traveled up his naked torso, Rosette-spotted hair raced up his arms. Claws protruded from large paws that slammed to the floor and shook the room.
Talk or I’ll bite your ass off.
“Christ, you’re serious?”
Yeah. I promised J. I’d do this for her. I’m gonna do it right.
“Okay already. Let me see…how about I do one of those blurb things she’s always writing?”
That’ll work.
“Okay, here people, a blurb from HOT TIN ROOF coming August 28th from Changeling Press. And you’ll be sorry you didn’t let me describe my babe. She’s hot –
Shut up and post the blurb. Damn, Trent wouldn’t have been this bad.

BLURB
Leron Wilder felt like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Nothing had gone right since his best friend had mated. Not something he looked forward to. Leron loved his freedom. But his life was out of sync. He’d been stuck training a new cat who was a badass wannabe. He’d only stopped by the Coffee Swirl to catch up with his ex partner but the minute he licked the new waitress, his life went to hell.

Corinne Nelson was on the run. She found a quiet little town to settle in, had a new job and her life was looking up. It was all going swell until the hottest man she’d ever seen licked her hand. Maybe jail wouldn’t be that bad after all…

Jag had resumed his human-like appearance. “Sounds cool.”
“Yeah, she did one of those video trailers and if you folks want to see, here’s where you can find it. Hey, I’ll put yours here too, Jag.”
“Thanks.”

HOT TIN ROOF - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P91i2wsr_R8
WITH EXTRA CREAM - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA6oixiq8xQ

“Hah, now they’ll have to see Cory anyway.”
“Jeez, it’s not like she’s as good looking as Barb.”
“Huh?”
“You heard me.”

All hell broke loose. An unearthly sound traveled the halls of the small studio as the jaguars clashed together in battle. The room’s walls vibrated. A crashing sound was followed by explosive pops and smoke as electrical equipment tumbled from the racks.

Unbeknownst to the male combatants, two women watched from the other side of the glass.
“Should we break it up?”
Barbara smiled at Cory. “Let them fight it out. We get to fawn all over them afterwards.”

Remember: Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.- J. Hali Steele

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Of Books and TV Shows

Do you ever have one of those creepy weeks where the days just start to mesh one into the other? I could have sworn it was just Friday a minute ago. Then again it works in favor because it doesn’t feel like a whole week has gone by and I’d be dying to see the next episode of True Blood (Sara’s SO gonna make a play for Jason, the question isn’t if anymore but when! What’s Daphne got up her sleeve? And are we going to see Luna from the books? I liked her…).

During these meshes of day filled weeks I’ve been catching up on tons of reading and sorting through my writing. Right now I have a lot of story ideas I’d love to test but the ideas are screaming more so than the actual stories are. I guess I’m the type of writer that needs to really feel close to a story, to commit to it in a way, before I completely dive into it. I guess that’s why I like rewrites and edits better. This especially hits after I’ve finished a particularly large work that I’ve recently committed to. Now I’m in that in between stage where I’m not quite sure what to write next. I do have a suspense noir that’s riding the edge between women’s fiction and romance that I’m dabbling with. A love letter to my home town of LA in a way.

Other than that, I’ve been catching up on my TBR pile. I’m waaay behind on the current PR/UF books and am slowly chipping away at the big series going on now. I usually read tons of small press, epubbed and indie authors because I find such wonderful diverse voices there that I don’t usually find in the big presses lately. So far, I’m hooked on Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and I’m liking the Sookie Stackhouse series although I have to admit True Blood is a little more interesting with it’s suspense (not so much the first season because it was too sex saturated for my blood; second season is more suspenseful and plot driven woo hoo). The book series is interesting with all the different paranormals running around the world. I don’t think the Merry Gentry series is for me because it’s a bit too chatty. I feel like I’m reading an encyclopedia (although I love encyclopedias!) on the sidhe/Seelie/Unseelie entry of faeries and it keeps repeating. A shame because I love faeries (woo hoo Annie’s faerie post from Monday) and the first book held much promise of such an intricate world. I think I was tainted by Butcher’s treatment of the faeries in Summer Knight (Awesome book!) and the recent Unseelie by Meredith Holmes which I plan to give a reread soon.

I have some others that are in the pile like the abundance of vampire books and their series and, of course, the awesome and amazing next entry in the Outlander series Echo in the Bone. Any Outlander fans out there? I know I’m not the only one who, after getting my copy in September, will promptly disappear from the world to read that sucker from front to back cover. I keep hearing delicious hints about what’s going to happen in this book series and we may even get a taste of Scotland again (yay!). 2 more months and yes I’m counting lol. If anyone hasn’t tried this series, do try it! The bulk of it is mainly historical with a dash of romance (those who like the HEA may want to stick with the first book) some time travel and a dash of the paranormal. I loved the first two books the best.

I’m also finding myself leaning toward fantasy romances lately. I don’t know what it is. I think I’m having and overglut (new word!) of PR/UF and I still need my speculative romance fix. So I’m going back to my fantasy/SF roots with some more romance in the mix. One that’s on my keeper list for this year is Life’s Breath by Nancy Wald. Great story that harkens back to medieval with a dash of fantasy setting and some very yummy and funny male heroes. I’m also going through Legend of the Seeker withdrawals and the second season won’t be coming back until October. Grr! I love me some Richard and Kahlen is my she-ro. I may have to revisit Season 1 soon which is like one big epic fantasy film complete with HEA (well until Season 2 hehe).

For those looking for more paranormal shows to add to your list, and if you have BBC America, check out Being Human which is a show featuring a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost living in a Bristol flat. It’s awesome! I did a review for the show here and I gotta say I haven’t seen anything this freshly written and original in a while. I know the tropes are tried and true in the paranormal genre now but the way they are presented here and written is simply great. The US version may be cut a little from the UK version cause there’s a bit of naked bums running around and the language for their shows are little bit more, hmm, freer than US network shows but definitely check it out if you can.

So, if anyone has any fantasy romance recs please drop em in the comments whether you have a recent release, a coming soon one or know of any goodies you’ve read recently. The TBR pile is a full one but yet that monster is always hungry. ;-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Confidence...where art thou?

You’ve all heard the saying “sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you” right? Well, I’m having one of those kind of weeks. I’m battling a bear and he’s not friendly and loveable, and he’s got a bad attitude.

Nothing exactly is wrong. Nothing hideous has occurred, but neither has anything stupendous come to my attention. Most of my writing friends are away at RWA Nationals, my family members are all away on vacation or doing their own thing, my other friends are busy with their own lives, which is fine because the world doesn't revolve around me, but email and Facebook are pretty boring right now.

I'm all alone! :-)

Which for a writer, it should be a good thing. Means I should buckle down and write with no distractions. Right?

I can’t.

It’s quiet. Too quiet.

Which is when my companions Doubt and Panic make a reappearance to undermine my other acquaintance Confidence.

Here’s why. Currently, I’m waiting for word on three manuscripts I’ve got out there in the ambiguous world of submission limbo. I know waiting is part of the game. We’ve all been there. But it’s such a long time. It’s in this waiting where Doubt starts getting restless in the backseat of my mind and says “Are we there yet?” Then his brother Panic wails, “What if I’m not good enough?” What happened to confidence? She’s cowering in the farthest seat of the mind mini-van, totally in denial.

Yeah, I’m there.

Why, you ask? This should be a very exciting time. I’m heading into the homestretch of the historical novel I’ve been working on, I’m dabbling in a contemporary short, and I’m itching to start my next novel. Then there’s the first and second round edits I’ve done for a holiday short releasing in November. Yes, all of this stuff is exciting, the book is going well, I still like my characters and haven’t tried to kill them off just so they wouldn’t bother me anymore…but wait. I can’t help but wonder if the characters have enough motivation, and if they do, is it clear? Is the storyline stupid, maybe too transparent? Does anyone even like my heroine?

This is my problem. Without distractions and constant “background noise” of life and friends with moral support, I see my characters in my head as if they were practicing for a play, holding scripts, staring at me saying, “Why the hell am I doing this? Is there a point? Because I’m not really feeling it.”

Then my Confidence goes “I don’t have any idea.” What happens after that? Doubt and Panic gang up and start throwing popcorn at her, laughing with evil glee. Then she starts thinking about the other books I’ve submitted, wondering if there are fatal flaws in the plot line, goals for the main characters, is there enough conflict, and whether the existing conflict is gripping or believable. Will anyone like to read about an ordinary woman who lives an ordinary life but has a bunch of extra ordinary stuff thrown at her that she’s kinda conflicted about in her own mind until she makes a clear decision about what she wants?

I don’t have any idea.

Yup, quiet times. I don’t really like them so much.

I try my best. I write every day. I do my best to plot out what needs to happen in each of my chapters, I tweak the writing, yank out sections and re-write them, etc. But still I wonder if I’ll ever be good enough. Will my writing ever catch the interest of the writing powers-that-be so I can start making waves instead of ripples in the writing pond? Will my books ever be at a point that I can leave the pond and swim in the ocean?

Again, I don’t have any idea, but I can keeping learning and dream…and hope.

So, fellow writers, what do you do to silence Doubt and Panic? How do you coerce Confidence to come out of hiding? What do you tell yourself in the quiet times when you start, well thinking?

Until I find out, I’ll just keep doing what I do: write.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

House construction and noisy characters

We have had for the last few days some wonderful houseguests in our home.  The kind of houseguests who don’t mind staying in our home with no kitchen.  (Imagine that the fridge is in the dining room and the toaster oven in the living room.) My delightful husband and children have adjusted so well to this that we hardly notice the inconveniences anymore, although they make the people who come in the house crazy. 

 

I am currently in the middle of writing not one but two books with a third short story potentially finding it’s way in there.   See, this is a problem for me, I can’t seem to stop the new characters and story lines from plowing their way into my mind and making their way at home. 

 

I’ve tried, after being given advice from Sandra and J. Hali, to make a notebook where I can write these ideas down to visit them later.  Big problem. Even writing them down makes me start to write them and I lose track of what I need to be working on. 

 

More times than not, I either abandon what I should be working on and write the new idea or I lose the new idea all together. 

 

So, I’m asking all the writers out there for some great ideas on how to quiet the new people in my head and make them wait their turn.  What do you do?  Because right now it is a minefield inside of my poor brain and I could use the advice.

 

Of course maybe I just like craziness, because the dust and the banging in the house no longer bothers me at all. 

 

 

Best to all of you!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Got Fairy?






Happy Manic Monday. Last week’s interview with RF Long got me thinking about fairies. I’ve never written a story about these mystical beings but do like to read them. My recent favorite is LK Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series. I’m reaching the end of her last novel Swallowing Darkness. All these thoughts have led me to one question. When did my fascination start?


The first fantasy book I read was The Lion,the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. Fairies made a small appearance but enough for me to say it was the start. Tinkerbell from Disney? Even though I loved her, my fascination had not bloomed yet.




It began with a history book which described the belief systems of medieval civilization. Once I read of the Sidhe, of their kindness and their evil, I was hooked. I wonder now if it was the darkness of these stories that attracted me more than the magic. If I wanted light and joy shouldn’t Tink have been enough?


Like anyone, my interest expanded and I went away from fantasy for awhile to divulge in sci-fi until I joined a critique group and read someone’s urban fantasy that contained fairy myth. *cough Rae cough* I was hooked again. There are a lot of different worlds built about this subject. We’ve got Rae’s which I let her describe. Angela Knight wrote Master of the Moon which she entwined King Author history to the Sidhe. I’ve already mentioned LKH where she has the Sidhe living openly among modern Americans.


Do you like fairies? Dark or light? What books would you recommend?


Friday, July 10, 2009

Repeat That Please!

You’ve got your story name, you know who the characters are, and you’ve even done a plot outline. You’re set. A blank document is open and you’re off to the races. Fingers glide over the keys as the story unfolds right before your eyes. Went so well, you finished a chapter in record time. Now the real fun begins. You submit it to your critique group, or a partner, a beta reader – whatever. You’ve done this a few hundred times or more. You know all the pitfalls so you’ve already self-edited the problems out. You’ve eliminated every single one of them right?

Spell checked. Check.
Grammar. Check.
Not too many ly words. Check.
You need a few of those ing words. Check
To instead of too, there for their. Check

Here’s where it gets tricky. There are a few words we all should check - was, that, right, thought, really, started. There’s had, would, just, then and when. Did I cover most of them? No! Okay lets check for as, could, all, so and and – make sure you haven’t used it too many times. Check for of, the, he or she when you could have used the character’s name or maybe you didn’t need either. I’ve seen lists of these words somewhere. I’ve checked them all.

Wait, I want to take you back a few months. I had a chapter in for a critique and I got a note via the group email that it had been critted by someone. I’m grinning – really. I’m happy someone read it and I’m going to get some great pointers or ideas on how to make it better. I open the file and immediately I see quite a few red comment boxes down the side, nothing too major. I’m not scared yet. I get to one comment that said “I know you write paranormal, but can they possibly know so much?” In 2,700+/- words, and only seven pages, I’d used ‘knew’ 28 times!

Now I’m scared because, no, they can’t know that much. Hell, even I know that much.

Moving forward to now, I’ve made all my checks and luckily my characters have learned that they don’t know too much anymore. I place my chapter in for critiquing and I happily move on to the next. Soon I see an email, and great, someone’s read my chapter. I click on the link and I open it, excited to see what someone thought about my new story and I’ll possibly get some suggestions or comments that will help me to tighten it up, make it crisper. Let me say here how lucky I am because in the past they (my critters) helped me open a door I’d left closed, yet my character walked through it. I have body parts that move on their own. Hey! I write paranormal – it’s possible. My hero walks behind the woman he’s going to fall in love with and tells us her eyes are blue. Okay, so he can’t see through her skull. Maybe he read it in her mind. Remember, I write paranormal romances. Anyway, my critters catch this kind of stuff.

Today I got a crit back and guess what? Take, took and taking all took over my damn story. I don’t know where they came from. Swear! Just then, really, I knew, as all this was happening that, and no matter when this started to happen, I thought I had checked it, I know I was going to, I even knew I did, but there it was so blatantly in my face. Who would have thought, how could it be? I checked, it shouldn’t be there! Anyway, all-in-all it wasn’t too bad. Did I get to use all my words? *ROFLMAO*

Something good came from this experience though - I have a new word to put on my list. Check.

Does this problem plague you? Do you have a list of overused or repeat words? Are you heavy on the ly or ing words? Share a few with us.

Remember: Growl and roar – it’s okay to let the beast out. J. Hali Steele.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Call For Dialogue Between Readers and Authors

Today's blog is in response to Jane's insightful post over at Dear Author ' Digital Publishing Has to Step Up Its Game'. Here at Paranormal Romantics we've been and will be digitally published. We wouldn't be here without you readers out there and much of the business is driven by your input and thoughts as to what kind of books you'd to read.

DA already has a wonderful dialogue going on with its readers in the comments section so I urge you to continue reading if you check out the article.

For a few years now I've been studying the publishing industry with much interest. As an avid reader since I was young I had NO idea the intricacies of pre book production to bookstore sales until my buddy/biz partner/fellow writer Melissa and I opened up our own publishing company in 2007. Boy was that a rude awakening! Co-ops, books turned out (rather than faced in spine out), big corporate publishing was all unknown to me. (Agent Nathan Bransford has a great guest blogger this week breaking the bookstore placement politics in the recent blog ‘Book Sales Demystified’ if you’re interested). In my early reading days I was a library addict and didn't know that sales had to be made from publisher to library just to shelve books either.

I used to go with my family to bookstores and browse with interest, grabbing interesting looking reads based on the gorgeous painted cover and the fascinating blurb. Any SF/F book that had a kickin’ looking female character automatically grabbed my attention which, in the 80's, wasn't as widespread as it us now. I came to the counter to rejoin my family, each with our own stack, and even in the car I couldn't wait to get home before I dipped my hand in the bags to check out what goodies I got.

Sadly those days are gone as much of our favorite independent bookstores have closed (although one is still hanging on) and so went with it blind browsing. Now I mainly shop online for great reads and have recently acquired tons of old backlists at thrift stores (they're gold mines, I tell ya).

Some of it is also because of the business I'm in. The online writing community is a small one and usually I come across someone who knows someone else who frequent my writing boards. Reader blogs report when authors behave badly so word gets around when things go awry in authorland. It makes it hard to browse blindly when you see an author on the shelf who has threatened one of their readers!

On the other hand when I see an author on the shelf who has made a recent sale, I excitedly start sharing the news deal with my fellow browsing family member, including the company and the little author details that, well, that only us authors pretty much care about.

Online book publishing and sales have changed the face of the entire publishing industry and it’s continuing to make waves as online venues outsell their brick and mortar counterparts. With online blogs, zines and publishers cropping up alongside direct reader connection from author to reader and vice versa, a community of authors, aspiring authors and readers are growing. Publishers like Tor and Harlequin are taking note but there is still much to be done.

I would like to get my fellow PRomantics blog family’s thoughts on this as well as all you readers and authors out on the web. What would you like to see for the future of digital publishing? Where would you like to see the industry go? For readers, if you were given a chance to have your greatest reading wishes fulfilled with the oncoming new era of publishing, what would you like to see happen? Anything goes from access to certain books, the perfect digital reading device (that maybe looks like a book?), the types of genres you’d like to see, book cover wishes, anything you would like to see in the books you read.

I’ll try to steer some of my editors and publishers this way and hopefully the wish list spreads to make an impact and make the industry better for readers and authors a like.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Frankly, My Dear...

For some reason, this week’s blog spot snuck up on me fast and furious and caught me in a very vulnerable and unprepared state. I hate that feeling, like I’ve just walked into class knowing full well I hadn’t done my homework.

Luckily, thanks to a fellow author, I found inspiration from some of his suggestions on what I should blog about.

My offering for the week is what makes a good romance novel ending. I’ve already talked about endings from an authorial point of view. Now I’m interested in what readers like.

For instance, I know I personally I hate investing time and money in a book that has a dumb, contrived, or saw-it-coming-a-mile-away ending, less than satisfying. I’ve been known to throw a paperback book across the room because of the ending.

So, I wanna know what sort of endings make your heart go pitter-pat? What makes you smile or sigh when you finish a book? What makes you wish the book weren’t over or that there was a sequel?

A good writer always leaves a reader wanting more, and I think it goes beyond the happy ending. What is the magic formula that makes you say “now THAT was a good book.”

I know from experience that I’m only happy with my endings fifty percent of the time, though my CP tells me they’re good anyway. Even if I re-write an ending, I’m not completely satisfied though the characters are content, things were wrapped up nicely, and everything is right with the world. Why is that, I wonder? Perhaps I have separation anxiety about my own characters. Maybe I’m just a perfectionist. I suspect it’s a mix of the two.

Tell me. I’m dying to know what you, the reader, wants (so I don’t mess up one of my endings!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Bad Heroes and Getting to a Happy End

Yesterday, I made the decision to temporarily leave a critique group that I had been for a long time.  It wasn’t an easy choice to make because I love the women who make up that group and I learned a ton working with them.  But, several months ago, I hit the jackpot and found a really fabulous critique partner.  The woman really knows her stuff and there is nothing like having someone really pay attention to your work to make you write better.

 

So, when it started to feel like my head might explode—I’m pregnant, we’re renovating the house, I’m editing a full length novel, I just finished writing a full length novel, I’ve started writing another full length novel, and I have a husband and two small children at home who need me—I knew something had to give.

 

Fortunately, I happen to be a member of two critique groups.  So I knew that giving up one group did not have to mean giving up critiquing all together, it just meant that out of everything I did, something would have to be let go. 

 

I will miss them all terribly and I hope they continue to let me know what they are doing in their writing and in their lives.

 

This got me thinking about endings.  I really struggle to end a book.  My father had this great line he used to say when I was growing up, and I have no idea if it is someone else’s quote that he uses, or if he made it up himself but he used to say: It’s better to have a horrible ending than horrors without end.  I think about this a lot in real life.  I’ve had to end ‘friendships,’ business dealings, and relationships that just were getting too horrid for words.  Each time although the end was awful, I felt better for having made the break. 

 

But this just doesn’t work so well in the land of Happily Ever After or Happy For Now.  For the record, up until this point all of my work has been HEA although I am currently working on something that is a little different for me (1st person narrative, HFN) and we’ll see how that goes.  I digress. 

 

Readers aren’t happy with a good enough happy ending.  Especially in a full length, they have spent a lot of time reading and investing in your hero and your heroine and they expect to see them reach their conclusion. In Romance, that is a Happy Ever After.  Whatever challenges they have been through, they just want to see them ride off into the proverbial sunset and be happy together. 

 

Our readers, however, are not stupid.  Just because you claim the couple is happy does not mean they believe you. If ten pages before the end of the book, the hero is berating the heroine in a terribly demeaning manner, having him simply come back and apologize does not a happy ending make.  We all live in the real world (or some semblance of it) and we know that a woman who takes that kind of abuse and forgives it with a smile is most likely doomed to a life of that kind of behavior. 

 

So I guess my question is this: Since we write about bad boys, alpha males, and lets face it the kind of guys our mothers told us to stay away from when we were children and were smart to do so, how do we redeem them at the end?  What is the secret for taking a bad boy and making him so much better that we can’t help but forgive them?  Why do we forgive them in our books when we would never let our friends, sisters, girlfriends get any where near them in real life?

 

 

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Monday everyone. Today I've invited author RF Long to join me. Her new release Soul Fire comes out tomorrow from Samhain and I can't wait to get my hands on it.



Ruth, if you could please tell our readers something about yourself.


Hi! I'm R. F. Long. I've published a novella "The Wolf's Sister" and two novels "The Scroll Thief" and "Soul Fire" with Samhain. An additional novella "The Wolf's Mate" which is a sequel to "The Wolf's Sister" is on the way early next year.




I live in Ireland and that informs an awful lot of what I write. I've always loved fantasy and legends, which really meant that even from a childhood I wanted to write not just stories, but fantastic stories. Loves of my life include (in the order they arrived) Robin Hood, King Arthur, Zorro, The Lord of the Rings, my husband, my children, Captain Jack Sparrow, and a black cat called Atlantis. There's something of a theme there, I think.





Can you tell us about your latest release Soul Fire?

"Soul Fire" is a bit of a departure for me. I had always written fantasy set in other worlds and civilisations. But "Soul Fire" is a paranormal romance, set in the English countryside. It grew out of my love of folklore, particularly Irish fairy stories. The fairies in Irish folklore, particularly the Sidhe, are not the cute little winged figures that the Victorians gave the world. They are more like Tolkien's elves in a lot of ways, although with a darker, sinister side. Dominant, handsome, and more than a little bit dangerous to humankind, they live alongside us, hidden and even those who seem kindly to humans can quickly turn on them.

An old Irish belief is that when the angels warred in heaven, some refused to pick a side, preferring to see what the outcome would be. After the Fall, those angels were expelled, came to earth to live among mankind but hidden in their own Realm, and became the Sidhe. They were not good enough for heaven, nor bad enough for hell. In "Soul Fire" the world of men, which they call the Iron World, is just as dangerous to the Sidhe as theirs is to us. They also consider humans to be dangerous, hense the Sidhe saying: "Iron born and iron bred, trust not iron, it will see you dead."


Here's the blurb:

Rowan Blake could really use a magic wand to keep her struggling art gallery afloat. But the faerie key she stumbles across is far from a lucky charm. It’s a magnet for danger, and by touching it she’s unwittingly put herself in the middle of a war between the forces of light and dark. And in the arms of its rightful owner, Prince Daire.


While searching for his brother, Daire finds himself trapped in the Iron World with a mere mortal woman who ignites his passion like no other. Each stolen kiss deepens their attraction and sends him spiraling closer and closer to the edge of his inherent dark desires. Desires that act as a homing beacon for the Dark Sidhe, who are intent on forcing him to fight on their side.

The longer he lingers in her arms—and in her bed—the closer his enemies get to her door. And the greater the risk that the gateway to the Faerie Realm will shift, destroying not only his power to protect her, but his very life.
--
Daire and Rowan were enormous fun to write, as was Aynia, the leader of the Dark Sidhe, and Daire's former lover.



Who or what inspires your writing ?

Gosh, so many things. As I mentioned above legends, myth and folklore act as great inspirations to me. I've recently been working on a book which uses English folklore, and links into the Germanic roots of many of those stories as well as the Celtic legends.


The thing which struck me the most was the way these stories intersect, as if, by telling stories our ancesters were able to work out problems, issues and methods of interpreting their world. From race to race similar stories exist, often with similar resolutions and themes, which makes me believe that we aren't so very different after all.


Music also acts as a great source of inspiration to me. I usually have a song or piece of orchestral music I associate with a book. In the case of "Soul Fire" it is Within Temptations' "Mother Earth". It captures the romance, the mystery and the danger that run throughout the story. And my husband. Though it might embarass him a bit, there is a strong element of him in every one of my heroes.







Besides writing what other things might you be doing?


I work full time in a library with lots of rare and unusual books. And we have two small children. So I'm usually tied up with one or the other - work or home. I also enjoy making bead jewellery and recently made some pendants based on the magical key which Daire wears in "Soul Fire". I'm hoping to hold some giveaways upon the release of the book. So keep in touch, they're pretty. Life tends to get pretty hectic, but I get great support from my family and friends so if I need to withdraw to the writing cave, I usually can. :)


What attracts you to writing in the paranormal genre?

I love the paranormal becuase anything can happen. Anything at all. But as opposed to fantasy, paranormal brings that wonderous element into our world and makes it real. I also think that in paranormal stories the problems faced are just so much bigger, and more world changing, so huge that they really are life and death issues. And when people are faced with things like that they get a chance to show how truly heroic they can be.

It's as if we're looking at life on a much bigger screen, therefore we can see all the details.Paranormal heroes also play a part. They tend to be much larger than life. The things they deal with force them to be more guarded in their approach to love. The best part of a paranormal romance for me is when his guard first slips, when he finally shows that he loves the heroine, even if he does not consciously want to.

That's magic and it gets me every time.


Any advice for the aspiring writer?


The best thing any writer can do is "write". It's as simple as that. Even if you are not sure of what you are doing or where you are going with a story, keep writing. You can go back and make it shine later on, but if you sit there staring at a blank screen because you're looking for perfect magical words from your muse, you'll probably still be sitting there staring at a blank screen at the end of the day. Most of the technical bones of writing can be learned, people get ideas all the time that are inspired, but the actual persistence and dedication it takes to write a whole story down (be it novel, novella or a short story) is the thing that I believe makes or breaks an aspiring writer.

The key is in the title: Writers write.

Only by sitting down and doing just that will you be a writer. It doesn't matter if you plan every scene or fly by the seat of your pants. You've got to write. Once you have a first draft, it helps if you can step away from it for a while and come back to it fresh in a week or so. Then go through it and read, looking for anything in the plot or with the characters that doesn't make sense. And then you re-write.

But if the screen stays blank, you'll have nothing to re-write. So get those words down!


Who or what inspires your writing ?

Gosh, so many things. As I mentioned above legends, myth and folklore act as great inspirations to me. I've recently been working on a book which uses English folklore, and links into the Germanic roots of many of those stories as well as the Celtic legends. The thing which struck me the most was the way these stories intersect, as if, by telling stories our ancesters were able to work out problems, issues and methods of interpreting their world. From race to race similar stories exist, often with similar resolutions and themes, which makes me believe that we aren't so very different after all.Music also acts as a great source of inspiration to me. I usually have a song or piece of orchestral music I associate with a book. In the case of "Soul Fire" it is Within Temptations' "Mother Earth". It captures the romance, the mystery and the danger that run throughout the story.And my husband. Though it might embarass him a bit, there is a strong element of him in every one of my heroes.


Besides writing what other things might you be doing?


I work full time in a library with lots of rare and unusual books. And we have two small children. So I'm usually tied up with one or the other - work or home. I also enjoy making bead jewellery and recently made some pendants based on the magical key which Daire wears in "Soul Fire". I'm hoping to hold some giveaways upon the release of the book. So keep in touch, they're pretty.Life tends to get pretty hectic, but I get great support from my family and friends so if I need to withdraw to the writing cave, I usually can. :)

Can you share the links to your web or blog site so readers know how to contact you?


My website is www.rflong.com and there's a generally news blog there. I'm also to be found on Livejournal - http://rflong.livejournal.com - and on Twitter - @RFLong. I love to hear from readers so please don't be shy.

Thanks for visiting Paranormal Romantics, Ruth.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Just so happens this is my favorite holiday. Mostly because it's hot. I love heat. I'm not a person who endures the cold well. And then there's fireworks. I'm like a kid when it comes to the colors splashing in the sky. The noise is exciting and makes my heart pump. I feel alive.

Last night my sisters and a best friend made me go out. Said I needed it. They know me pretty well and were probably right. I had a good time. I relaxed and enjoyed some really awesome music. We went to a place in the area called Arthur's where it was open mike night.

Let me tell you - they jammed. I mean good old fashioned music blaring, foot tapping, guitar playing frenzy.

I happen to run into a gentleman I hadn't seen for a long time. We'd worked together back in the 80's. He's a musician and damned good. We caught up on old times and what we're both doing now. I told him about my writing, he shared stories about his music. Turns out he's created some original pieces for others to enjoy.
Now, I'm thinking I need fantastic music for the trailers I do so I asked if he could do something for me and he thinks he can. I left feeling so good, hopes high and now I can't wait to hear from him. He invited me back to listen to his group and I plan to go.
My sisters were right, my friend was right - I needed to get out. The fact that I met an old friend only made it better. The fact I had a foot-stomping good time made it worth it. I'm looking forward to the third Thursday of the month now. Only problem is the third Thursday of this month I'll be in DC at RWA. But there is always August.

The great time I spent with family and friends was refreshing. I'm looking forward to the weekend and fireworks. I'm looking forward to the color and the noise riding across the sky, sending chills up my spine.

Then it'll be back to work.

Share with me your favorite 4th of July memory. Was it a cookout, fireworks or just spending time with family and friends?

Have a great Independence Day weekend and remember:
Growl and roar-it's okay to let the beast out. - J. Hali Steele