So instead of getting all wordy about my time in New Orleans last week at the fantastic Romance Slam Jam Conference and then the incredible RT Book Lovers Convention I decided to let pictures do the talking for me with a few collages.
First up a collage from Romance Slam Jam. I’ll say it here once again… I can’t thank the amazing Farrah Rochon enough for inviting me. I feel like I made so many new friends and I got to speak on my 1st ever panel with the super talented Yvette Hines and Sienna Mynx. Talk about a great moment and one that I’ll always cherish. Not to mention signing next to our keynote speaker Angie Daniels. Holla! I’m already looking forward to next year in Dallas!
Next up was the RT Book Lovers Convention at the Marriott. Wowza! Talk about a grand time. Over 2000 attendees and 700 authors. There are still friends I’m connecting with online that I didn’t get to see in the crowd. But I’m sure grateful for those that I did. Can you spot some of your favorite authors in this group?
I was so happy to have my 1st ever RT signing here and to sit next to the wonderful USA Today Bestselling Callie Hutton. There were so many amazing authors in both rooms and I was proud to be among them. I’ll also be forever be grateful to my friends who came by to see me at my spot and put on their best fan faces for pics. You all are the very best and we had a fantastic time. Thank you all so much. I can’t wait to whoop it up again.
Now where are my shrimp and gravy? I’m starting to feel a little put out after not having them for over a day. Hmph. seems a girl’s gotten a tad spoiled.
All the best,
Today on ye old blog I’m so happy to have my RWA chaptermate, friend and debut author, Julia Tagan here to talk about her writing and her historical A Question Of Class out from Kensington/Lyrical. Thanks so much for being here today on ye old blog, Julia!
First off can you tell us a bit about your current work A Question of Class?
Sure thing – thanks for having me! “A Question of Class” is set in New York City in 1810 and involves a woman who’s risen into high society, only to find out she’s being tossed aside:
On the strength of her wit and intelligence, Catherine Delcour climbed from Connecticut poverty to opulent Paris society. But once in New York, her lowly past is a scandal her wine merchant husband won’t tolerate. After five years of marriage, Morris announces their union isn’t valid and reveals his plan to send her to the West Indies. Fearing she’ll end up destitute, Catherine schemes to escape–and secure her future with his treasured bottle of wine.
Under the guise of supervising Delcour’s wayward wife, Benjamin Thomas seeks to avenge his sister’s death by ruining him. But Catherine isn’t the spoiled society wife Benjamin expects. His growing affection for Catherine threatens more than his carefully constructed plans. His vow to never touch another man’s wife has never been harder to keep than when he’s around the beguiling beauty.
When Catherine and Benjamin join forces, their sensual natures collide even as their individual desires for passion, vengeance, and escape threaten to tear them apart.
What inspired you to write this story?
I was inspired by a visit to the Morris-Jumel Mansion, which is located in upper Manhattan. A scandalous woman named Eliza Jumel lived there in the 1800s, and after reading her biography, I realized her story would make a great jumping-off point for a romance. Her ghost apparently haunts the mansion to this day.
What made you choose this genre to write in? Do you enjoy the research part of being a historical author?
I love the idea of stepping back in time, and I have to say the research part of writing is both enthralling and distracting. You can research for months and months and still feel you don’t know everything you should. At some point, you just have to start writing. For example, in an early draft I had a coyote howling in the distance, until one of the judges in a contest I’d entered pointed out that there weren’t coyotes in New York in the early 1800s. Who knew? Luckily, there were wolves, so it was an easy fix.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing schedule. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
I am such a plotter, no question about it. I’m amazed and awed at authors who dive into a story without knowing their way out. My process involves first figuring out who the main characters are, doing tons of research into the period, and then setting up an elaborate diagram on the wall of my study, using different colored sticky-notes, to figure out what happens when. From there I write the synopsis and then I’m good to go. It helps because even if I’m stuck on one scene, I’m excited about what’s coming up and that gets me through any rough patches.
Lastly what can readers expect next from you?
My next historical romance, “Stages of Desire,” just went to contract with Kensington/Lyrical and will hopefully be released by the end of the year. It’s set in London during the Regency era and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure. I’m so excited for you and A Question of Class!
And thank you for being such an inspiration to all your fellow authors and readers!
Thank you too!
A Question of Class can be picked up here
And Julia can be reached here:
On her site: http://juliatagan.com
All the best,
Today on ye old blog I’m so happy to have my RWA chapter-mate and friend Falguni Kothari here to speak about her writing, life and her latest release Bootie and the Beast. Hi Falguni Thanks so much for being here today. It’s a real treat.
First off can you tell us a bit about your latest work work Bootie and the Beast?
Thank you for having me here, Kwana. The treat is mine, believe me, as I’d love to tell you all about the Beast.
As you can probably tell from the title, this book is a delicious metaphor of the traditional “Beauty and the Beast” with a voodoo/fate-tweaking bootie thrown in instead of a rose. (There is a rose involved but only as body art.) So, Bootie and the Beast is the story of Diya “Beauty” Mathur, a slandered Indian supermodel, who on her father’s angry insistence must hideout for a couple of weeks in Krish “the Beast” Menon’s Dallas lair. Beauty and the Beast have a long, bickering history and this cozy little marooning gives them a chance to deal with past issues.
For supermodel Beauty Mathur, life is one giant pink-colored party. For numbers man Krish Menon, life is all about control. She is vivacious, winsome and has a devil-may-care attitude. He is balanced, beastly and abides no nonsense. She jets about the globe, drenched in designer labels and inspires princely men to act out fairytales for her. He growls instead of talks, snarls instead of asks, and no one on the planet makes the Beast growl or snarl louder than Beauty Mathur.
Yet for all their differences Diya and Krish are friends—the rarest of friends.
When Diya gets embroiled in a shocking scandal that not only threatens her reputation but her single-and-fabulous status too, Krish steps in to protect her like he always has. But something is different this time. The Beast has a secret and Beauty will not rest until she peels it off him. The meddling has an unexpected result: it changes the status of Beauty’s relationship with the Beast forever.
What inspired you to write this story?
Diya is a secondary character in my debut romance, IT’S YOUR MOVE, WORDFREAK!
Even as an MC’s BFF, Diya Mathur was amazing and fun and the minute I put her in Wordfreak, I knew I had to give her a center-stage story. When Krish Menon (brother to Diya’s BFF, Alisha Menon) made his appearance, it was like a gong went off in my head. OMG! I thought, the BFF and the brother…the fashion model and the numbers man…how perfect. And it was…is perfect.
Do you feel your works are more character or plot driven?
Definitely character-driven. I always imagine the characters first. Flesh them out in my mind and the plot/issue they have to deal with comes in after.
What made you choose this genre to write in?
I love to read about HEAs and get unrealistically ticked off when a book refuses to give two people who are perfect for each other a happily-ever-after. It’s fiction, for heaven’s sake! You can allow fictional characters to be happy no matter what insane thing you have to do to get them there. I think it’s the Bollywood diet I’ve been on all my life. Bollywood cinema is big on romances and Shah Rukh Khan, the King of Romance, gives me the shivers.
This is a favorite of mine. Care to share the story of your “overnight” success with my readers?
I don’t know about “overnight” but yeah, sometimes it feels like that. About 5 years ago, my mother shook me out of my I-am-a-homemaker-and-mother-of-two-and-therefore-satisfied-with-life bubble by insisting I DO SOMETHING for myself. I got married young and did not finish college, so I thought why not jog down that road as I love reading and learning anyway. I decided to start with a couple of online classes at the community college, see if I could in fact study and give tests again. Surprisingly, all the online classes that I liked had something to do with literature or writing. I started with short and sweet courses, not too taxing. One of them was “How to Write a Romance Novel.” It was so much fun that I took another one on Grammar. By this time, I was hooked and had about half a manuscript down. A year later, I finished the manuscript and a friend who had read it pushed me to publish it. “There’s no harm in trying,” she said. “At the most, you’ll get rejected. What’s the big deal in that?” Other than my ego, nothing was wrong with that. But I put on my “brave woman” pants and looked into publishing protocol and found that in the US, I’d need an agent first. I didn’t consider e-pub or self-pub only because I thought until I know the business I’d rather have someone else deal with it. Of course, I was rejected—23 times for Wordfreak—but I did not get dejected as it was all too knew for me. Sometime amidst those rejections, I visited family in India. There, another friend suggested I chuck my manuscript at publishers in India, as my book was so “Indian” even if it wasn’t written in a typically Indian way. So, I did. And a few months later, Rupa Publications, India’s leading publisher, sent me my first contract. And that’s my success story. I know I have been luckier than most in many ways and believe me I do not take my fortune for granted for a minute.
What a wonderful story is perseverance. I love it! Lastly, can you share with my readers what we can expect next from you?
I am in the process of finding a publisher for my Urban Fantasy, a project that speaks to my soul, and is quite aptly called Soul Warrior: The Age of Kali. This story is what I got when I injected the Indian epic, the Mahabharata, with a heavy dose of the Avengers.
What am I working on? My current WIP is an unconventional love story between three soul mates.
Three soul mates! That sounds really exciting. Thanks so much for being here today and best of luck with Bootie and the Beast!
Folks you all can keep up with Falguni here:
All the best,
Today on ye old blog I’m super thrilled to have my chaptermate and friend Sofia Tate here to talk about her debut BREATHLESS FOR HIM out July 1 from Forever Yours. Thanks so much for being here on ye old blog today, Sofia. It’s a real treat.
Thank you, Kwana. It’s my pleasure!
First off can you tell us a bit about your current work?
BREATHLESS FOR HIM is a contemporary erotic romance about a billionaire named Davison Berkeley, who comes from a wealthy society family in Manhattan. One night, he retrieves a glove that he lost at a trendy bistro, and the instant he meets the coat check girl, Allegra Orsini, the spark is ignited-he is instantly drawn to her. For Allegra, the feeling is mutual. Allegra is the daughter of a butcher in Little Italy. She is also an aspiring opera singer and a graduate student of voice at a Manhattan conservatory. The lingering trauma of an event that happened to Allegra when she was five years old will affect her relationship with Davison, as will Davison’s ex-girlfriend, Ashton Canterbury.
What inspired you to write this story?
The basis of the story is a short story I wrote when I was studying for my MFA degree in creative writing. One evening in my fiction workshop, my professor gave us a story prompt-two left gloves. We had five minutes to write a story about them. I developed the story and titled it “Hearsay,” a word that plays a prominent role in the opening chapter. Basically, the first chapter of BREATHLESS FOR HIM is that story.
What made you choose this genre to write in?
Years ago, I tried writing a book in the vein of Bridget Jones’ Diary, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Around 2010, I wrote about 100 pages of a paranormal romance. Then I started buying RT Book Reviews every month to learn more about the romance industry. I read a review of SINFUL by Charlotte Featherstone and bought it immediately for my Kindle. After reading it, I knew I finally found my niche in erotic romance, but instead of historical erotic romance, I knew I’d be better at writing contemporary.
Tell us a bit about your writing schedule. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?
I’m a plotter, but I don’t use a whiteboard or Scrivener. I write in a notebook, always using these red Pilot rolling ball extra fine pens I get at Staples-I guess you could say that’s my superstition. If Pilot ever stopped making them, I’d be devastated. I usually write at night, but I also write during the day when I can.
This is a favorite of mine. Care to share the story of your “overnight” success with my readers?
BREATHLESS FOR HIM had already been rejected by two publishers last year before I got the offer from my editor at Forever Yours. It took exactly a month between submission and the offer, which I think is mind-blowing and I’m still in awe of it all.
Who are some of your favorite writers that have influenced you? (sub-question) What book is currently on your nightstand or e-reader?
Charlotte Featherstone, Eden Bradley, Samantha Young, Raine Miller, Sylvia Day, Logan Belle, and Kate Pearce. I just finished reading Collide and Pulse by Gail McHugh. Gavin Blake-oh my! That man….
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Hone your craft. Take writing classes. If you’re an aspiring romance writer, read RT Book Reviews. Go to the RT convention. Join RWA and your local RWA chapter. And READ! Read both in the genre you want to write in and outside it.
Right now, I’m working on Book 2 in my Davison & Allegra series, DEVOTED TO HIM, which will be out December 2 from Forever Yours.
Yay! I’m so excited to hear there will be a book 2 on the way! Throws confetti!
Thanks so much for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure. And now for some extra fun, Sofia has agreed to give one lucky commenter a copy of BREATHLESS FOR HIM, so comment away! Winner will be announced on Friday!
Sofia Tate can be found:
And you can pick up your copy of BREATHLESS FOR HIM here:
All the best,
Author photo credit: Katana Photography
The fabulous and super talented Michelle Monkou tagged me in this writing process blog tour and as I do with all tag type things I froze but then realized we were not playing freeze tag so there you have it. I’m it… So RUN! No don’t run, sit a bit and read on about my process and how this writing thing works for me….Enjoy.
What am I working on?
But the thing about the world being your oyster and all means the possibilities are endless and oh boy pretty shiny thing over there. But no, I must focus and work on one project at a time (Well maybe two). This year I’ve got a fun romantic comedy brewing and I’m working on a sequel for BOUNCE so there is all sorts of sexy fun suburbia intrigue coming that way.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? I think the difference in my work, like what others have said before me, is voice. People say all the stories have been told and I don’t know, for the most part that may be true. But I do know the stories have not been told my way. It’s always fun for me to find a new author with an exciting and new voice and I hope that now some folks are getting that feeling in my works too.
Why do I write what I do? I’ve always been a dreamer, making up stories in my head. I’ve also always been a fan of romance and contemporary women’s fiction so writing in this genre was a natural fit.
How does your writing process work?
Can I just say it’s a mystery?
As for work? I don’t know how well it works. I’m always looking for ways to streamline it and write now I’m taking a fantastic Scrivener class given my Gwen Hernandez to help me get my many writing thoughts into a more organized contained place.
I’d like to get to the point that I wake, up sit at the keyboard and the words flow like spring rain and not my usual open laptop, sit and stare. Blink. Go to kitchen come back. Sit, stare some more, reach for the faraway word. Write a sentence. Stare at screen. Walk to kitchen again. Go back to computer. Turn away. Flip TV on then Off. Check emails. Oh wait, Twitter! Look at clock an hour later panic then write a few hundred words. The character’s voices now too loud to be ignored a moment longer so I must write and quiet them down until the next day’s noise.
Yeah I’m thinking this process can be improved on dramatically. There are many stories to write and a smooth process will help it a bunch.
And now with me being it an all I have the fun job of tagging other writers so that they can share their processes with you. So I’m now tagging…
Synithia Williams: Synithia Williams has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her publishing dreams. Her first novel, You Can’t Plan Love was published in August 2012 by Crimson Romance. When she isn’t writing, this local government gal, works to improve air and water quality, while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons. www.SynithiaWilliams.com
Jeanine McAdam : : Jeanine McAdam is a writer of twenty-five romantic short stories, a few spicy anthologies and three cowboy books. Telling stories about imperfect people finding perfect love is her thing. She’s currently writing about bull riders and the spunky urban women who love them in her Skirts and Spurs Trilogy. www.JeanineMcAdam.com
Falguni Kothari: Born and bred in Mumbai, Falguni Kothari currently lives in New York with her family and an utterly spoiled dog. She’s the author of BOOTIE AND THE BEAST (April 2014 via Harlequin Mills and Boon,) IT’S YOUR MOVE, WORDFREAK! and SCRABBULOUS IMPRESSIONS, a short story. www.FalguniKothari.com
All the best,
Hey there lovely peeps! As you know I’m always thrilled when I’m honored enough to have a fabulous author here on ye old blog with an interview or a guest post and today is no exception because after much coaxing (don’t believe what she tells you) I am finally able to welcome my friend Irene Preston on ye old blog. I was lucky enough to meet Irene when I found out we would both be writing for Crimson Romance. Later I became a huge fan of Irene after reading her fantastic book, Infamous. What a well written, sexy, adult love story. I’m so happy to have her here guest posting today. And now Irene ye old blog is your old blog (I do reserve the right to chime in here and there though. Be warned) …
Love is Easy….
Well, this is the month of love. Valentines. Cupids. Be Mine Forever. So when Kwana invited me on the blog (okay, I begged) (see I told you don’t believe her LOL) , I thought I would do a little post about, you know, that ‘Forever’ part.
Here’s a little secret from the old married folks. Falling is love is easy. There’s a sweet little chemical cocktail (adrenaline and dopamine with just a hint of serotonin) that makes the whole thing very dreamy and swell. There are dates (where you both clean up to the best of your ability). There is a lot of being on your best behavior and sucking in your tummy. There might be chocolate.
Yep, falling in love is just dreamy.
Being married is hard. (true that) That’s the real secret us old married folks don’t tell you when you’re floating around on that haze of serotonin.
No matter how much you love someone, maintaining a daily relationship with them is hard. Let me prepare you right now. You are both going to do stupid stuff. Not stupid like accidentally letting slip out that yes, those pants do make your partner’s ass look fat. Trust me, anyone who’s lived together five minutes can patch over that little slip. I’m talking Relationship Armageddon level stupid. You will BOTH do those things.
Kwana recently released Bounce (love it, love it, love it), which addresses a major stupid moment as well as a host of other things. I wish I’d written it. Instead I wrote a flighty little book called Infamous. (A fantastic book mind you!) It’s sort of a ‘what if Paris Hilton fell in love with Mr. Super Conservative Soccer Dad’ type thing.
You know what happens? It’s all dreamy (Serotonin! Dopamine!) right up until real life blows up in their faces (or the dopamine levels dipped, whatever).
Now comes the fun part. Can we put this happy couple back together? To be honest, I love stories that start after the ride into the sunset. That’s when the real challenges start. That’s when the serotonin wears off and we’re left with non-chemical-enhanced life (okay, maybe there’s a little wine with dinner). And if we are very, very lucky and willing to work very, very hard – that’s when love deepens into something truly lasting and beautiful – when we don’t give up, when we fight to keep our happily ever after.
I hope you’ve read Bounce, because Kwana gets the whole thing exactly right. (Kwana inserts snort) If you’re looking for another after-the-sunset read, I hope you’ll give Infamous a try. (Yes, do!) It’s a little fluffier, but the message is the same. Love is easy. Marriage is hard. The rewards are worth it. (So very worth it!)
Here’s the blurb:
Four years ago, Morgan Riley and Jessica Sinclair’s love affair was pure Hollywood–the windswept beach, the whirlwind romance, the runaway marriage. Unfortunately, the ride into the sunset didn’t survive the publication of the bride’s tell-all book two months after she said, “I do.” Now, for their daughter’s sake, Morgan agrees to give his notorious wife another chance to be part of their family. But can a party girl be content with a quiet life in the suburbs?
As a Hollywood insider, Jessica has spent her life partying with A-list celebrities, shopping on Rodeo Drive, and living through scandal after scandal. When her estranged husband offers her a second chance at a “normal” lifestyle, she can’t pass up her shot at real happiness. Soon Jessica’s spending her days attending P.T.A. meetings and burning cookies, and her nights in sexy role-play, hoping Morgan will overlook her deficiencies as a homemaker. But what will Morgan do when Jessica winds up back in the tabloids–with his teenage daughter right next to her?
And, I’ve brought a little sample for you :
She took a deep breath and turned around.
The site of him hit her right in the gut. He was standing in the wide doorway that separated the kitchen and living room. He had just come from the shower and his dark hair was still damp and glistening. He was wearing a faded polo shirt that stretched over his broad shoulders. A pair of well-worn jeans clung to his lean hips. He hadn’t bothered with shoes.
She set the plates on the counter before she dropped them. The casual clothes were a dirty trick. She had been prepared to greet him in his usual business suit–but somehow the bare feet and damp hair seemed far too intimate. Which was silly, wasn’t it? Because the situation wasn’t nearly as intimate as it was going to get later tonight.
Morgan crossed the room to drop a kiss on Kinsey’s forehead.
“Miss me, pumpkin? Or have you been too busy spending all my money?”
His dark eyes met Jessica’s over Kinsey’s head and he gave her a slow smile. It was not a businessman’s smile. It was a lover’s smile. It reminded her of all the things they had been to each other and done to each other in this house. Despite the heat glittering in his eyes, it reminded her that in this house Morgan ruled with his cool and logical mind and he would not be swayed by her passion.
Well, she had come of her own free will.
She lifted her chin a little and gave him a smile of her own.
“Wine or soda?”
It was the start of an evening that was terrible in its normalcy. It could have been the happy family scene in any Hollywood movie—pizza and sodas consumed at the island in the kitchen, sharing the cleaning up, then popcorn and a pay-per-view movie on T.V. in the family room. All evening, as they played their happy parts, Morgan’s eyes followed Jessica. All evening she smiled and smiled—the suburban wife and mother, home with her family. All evening she knew with awful certainty what a fraud she was—the jarring note in this otherwise perfect family setting. The words from the Sesame Street song echoed in her head, “One of these things is not like the others; one of these things just doesn’t belong.”
To put the final, humiliating touch on the evening, she was hyper-aware of every move Morgan made. The three of them sat on the long sofa in the den. Kinsey was in the middle, but it was Morgan who was crowding her space. He lounged against the far armrest, his bare feet propped up on the coffee table during the movie.
She couldn’t take her eyes off his feet. Good grief, when had she ever found a man’s feet sexy before? Maybe it was because she wouldn’t let herself look directly at him, and his feet were the only part of him solidly in her peripheral vision. If she let her gaze wander just a little farther up, she could see the outline of his strong legs under the jeans, and then her imagination would take her even further, to where the denim clung lovingly to his hard thighs and the slight bulge at the very top of one of them.
She didn’t want to watch the movie. She wanted to watch Morgan, to drink him in and store him up. She very much wanted to keep this casual and relaxed Morgan that she had thought never to see again.
She still wasn’t sure why he had let her come back. Sooner or later, maybe even tonight, he was going to realize she could never fit in here. The scene was all perfect except for the cookie-cutter wife. No matter how hard she tried, no matter how many strands of pearls she bought, she was never going to fit into that June Cleaver role. When Morgan came to his senses, she was going to wind up ruthlessly evicted again. She would be sent back to Hollywood with all the other glossy, plastic people who played happy families on the screen and made train wrecks of their personal lives.
Hmmm…is marriage getting easier or…erm…harder here. I can’t quite remember.
You can get a longer sample (the full first chapter in fact) on my website.
Now, it’s your turn. Do you like books that start after a couple is already in a relationship? What about reunion stories? Or do you prefer first meetings and that super-sized seratonin cocktail? What’s your favorite example of either?
Since it is almost Mardi Gras – in honor of my cover, I’ll send a couple of Mardi Gras masks to one commenter.
Irene Preston has to write romances-after all, she’s living one! As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.
You can get Infamous on-line at Amazon.com for only $1.99 (Sale ends Feb. 28)
As of this week, you can also find the paperback at Barnes and Noble and other local booksellers.
Thanks so much for being here today Irene and thanks for your too kind words about BOUNCE.
Don’t forget folks to comment for you chance at those cool Mardi Gras masks and please leave your contact info so Irene can get in touch with you if you win! Thanks.
All the best,
Lucky day! Nope it’s not me today on ye old blog today, but a good friend of mine and RWA/NYC chapter mate, Alyssa Cole here to talk about dark themes in romance. I do love it when things get a little dark and can’t wait to read Alyssa’s novel Eagle’s Heart. Take it away Alyssa (oh and don’t forget to comment for your chance to win a copy of Eagle’s Heart.
In general, when we read romance we’re trying to escape from the horrors of reality. We want to retreat to the safety provided by Scottish lairds and billionaire bad boys. But sometimes, we want something a little darker, a little grittier. We want our hero and heroine to really be put through the ringer, to get that vicarious thrill of danger and suspense as they struggle to find love in a hopeless place. (Rihanna knows what I’m talking about. Also, now you have that song stuck in your head. Mwahaha!) We’ll follow them along the tightrope of their story because the safety net of romance’s golden rule is always stretched beneath us: no matter what obstacles get thrown their way, the hero and heroine will make it to the other side, where a happy ending awaits them.
Writing a romance with dark themes is a balancing act for the author, too. My recently released novel, Eagle’s Heart, tackles some tough subjects. Organized crime. Child abuse. Human trafficking. These subjects are integral to the story that needed to be told, but I also didn’t want to overwhelm the reader or plunge them into despair. Romance is supposed to make you feel good! To keep things balanced for the reader, I tried to apply liberal doses of humor.
My heroine, Salomeh, is a high school English teacher who is falsely accused of a heinous crime. But comedy is born from darkness, and she uses her sense of humor to give her situation some levity:
“Marta, they’ve already won.” Salomeh picked up one of the less icky tissues and swiped at her nose. “I may as well be Hester Prynne, but instead of being branded with a scarlet letter, I’m photoshopped into a picture with pedobear.”
Julian, my hero, is a hunky Albanian FBI agent known for his ability to charm information out of people. Julian hides his tragic past behind his carefully constructed persona, using witty rejoinders as his primary means of communication:
“That looked like it went well,” Julian quipped as Yates climbed into the passenger seat of the beige minivan. “Isn’t getting information from the community supposed to be part of your skill set?”
“She only called me loathsome, so I’d say that it went better than usual,” she said. “And before you start critiquing me, you should remember that shooting people in the face is also part of my skill set.”
“If you shoot as well as you talk to strangers, I think I’m safe,” he said as he pulled off, navigating the car around a group of kids on bikes.
By giving my characters a sense of humor about the darker aspects of life, I hoped to make some of the more bitter aspects of the story easier to swallow for the reader.
What do you think of romance novels with dark themes? Have you read any that you really enjoyed, or any that were just too much for you? Comment below to win a free copy of the book!
Alyssa Cole is a Brooklyn-based science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie. In addition to writing, she hosts a Romance Book Club and teaches romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy traveling, learning French, and, of course, writing, she can be found curled up in bed with her favorite books, Skyping with her fiancé, and watching cat videos on the Internet.
You can get Eagle’s Heart on Amazon here
And at Loose Id here
Thanks for being with us today Alyssa!
All the best,
Today I’m thrilled to welcome to ye old blog as a guest author, the super fab, Reese Ryan here to talk The Complicated Character and her latest work Love Me Not out from Carina Press. Take it away Reese!
The Complicated Character
I’m a complicated girl. It’s okay. I’ve come to terms with that. At this stage in my life, I heartily embrace it. Not surprisingly, I’m fascinated by other complex characters; both real and fictional. Of course, living with a complicated person can, at times, be taxing. (Just ask my husband.) But peeling back the layers is part of the fun. Like unstacking one of those Russian nesting dolls or finally getting to the center of a Charms Blow Pop.
Jamie Charles, the heroine in my latest release, Love Me Not, is definitely a complicated character. In response to her difficult upbringing, she’s developed a tough outer skin. Like a callous that forms to protect the raw, damaged layer underneath. She can be bristly, judgmental and sometimes downright mean. Yet, she’s bright, talented and fiercely loyal to her adopted family, the Gordons.
She’s made a conscious choice not to get emotionally involved with anyone, believing that she is incapable of ever being that girl. The kind that falls in love and stays with someone forever. But when Miles Copeland comes along, he doesn’t buy that for a second, and he’s determined to prove her wrong.
Miles is also a multi-faceted character. Though in many ways, he’s the exact opposite of Jamie. Her past has driven her to put an electrified fence around her heart, but deep down she has a capacity to love deeply. Miles is all sunshine and charm, but below the surface he is dealing with a painful past of his own.
Jamie can certainly be hard to love. After all, it’s the one thing she believes she doesn’t want. However, Miles is determined to show her that he’s just the man for the job.
Do you like complex characters in books, television and movies? If so, tell us who your favorites are in the comments below. If complicated characters drive you crazy, tell us why. Then be sure to enter the Rafflecopter contest below for your chance to win the tour Grand Prize: $25 GC for your e-reader; $10 Starbucks e-card and a digital copy of my Bad Boys Gone Good Series.
Tortured artist, Jamie Charles’ life is a careful balance between flashes of brilliance and self-loathing. Her art is as dark and dramatic as her painful past. Her resentment of the biological parents—who were too preoccupied with their addictions to bother with her—fuels her ambition to succeed as an artist, but also takes a heavy, personal toll.
Miles Copeland climbed to the top of his advertising agency because he isn’t afraid of taking risks and because he has something to prove to the father who betrayed his family. But when he falls for a moody, Gothic beauty with zero interest in anything but a purely physical relationship, he finds himself in dangerous territory.
Jamie prefers living hard and fast without the complications of love, but finds it impossible to resist the stunningly handsome, yet incredibly sweet man who is determined to have every piece of her–including her heart. Miles shows Jamie the beauty of being loved madly and deeply, but is it enough to make her finally learn to love herself, and open her heart to him?
Love Me Not Excerpt
“You’re not the only person who can read people, mister.” She crossed her arms and stared at him.
“Okay, so maybe I can afford pricey shoes and—”
“A black BMW.”
His mouth gaped open. “How’d you—?”
“It’s a gift,” she said proudly, leaning in a little closer. “I could tell you were a BMW guy two minutes after we met. Took me another fifteen minutes to figure out you’d probably go for classic black, probably a high-end five series…maybe the six series. Definitely not the seven, ’cause that’d just be flaunting it.”
He let out a low whistle and ran his fingers through his hair. “No way. The valet must be acting as your secret informant.”
“Nope. I told you, it’s a gift.” She rested her elbows on the bar and leaned even closer to him. Her voice was a husky whisper. “Don’t look now, but the older guy coming in the door with the chick in the tiny sequin skirt who’s young enough to be his granddaughter…bet he drives a wee little Corvette in some wildly inappropriate color like lemon yellow.” She backed away from him and headed to the other end of the bar to refresh another customer’s drink. When she was done she returned to Miles and whispered, “So whadya think? You think I’m right?”
He had that ridiculously sexy grin plastered on his face again, the wattage decidedly turned up a notch. “That guy is staying at my hotel. You’re only half right, though. He drives a nineteen sixty-five Corvette Stingray, but it isn’t yellow, it’s Incredible Hulk green.”
Jamie shuddered. “Even worse. And the guy should be taken behind a woodshed and beaten for mutilating an American classic like that. Not to mention the fact that he’s corrupting a minor.”
They giggled like naughty schoolchildren making fun of the substitute teacher’s ten-buck toupee, and something about it felt good. Familiar. Like having an inside joke with an old friend.
“You’re a bad influence on me.” She swiped underneath her eye with the heel of her hand, careful not to ruin her makeup. “I shouldn’t be making fun of the customers.”
“You’re telling me you wouldn’t have slammed that guy’s superhero-inspired midlife crisis on wheels if I wasn’t here?” He smiled at her. “Then I’m really glad I came. Face it, you might not want to talk about it, but you needed a good laugh tonight.”
Bad Boys Gone Good Series
Love Me Not explores the story of Jamie Charles and Miles Copeland. When these characters were introduced in Book #1–Making the First Move–they were already a couple, and Jamie had undergone a transformation. In that book we were given glimpses of what led to that change. Love Me Not steps backward, to tell the story of how Jamie met Miles.
If you haven’t already read Making the First Move…don’t. Read Love Me Not first.
Comment on this post, follow this blog, or choose one of the other available options to enter the Love Me Not blog tour contest below for your chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card, a $10 Starbucks e-Card and both books in the Bad Boys Gone Good series to date–Love Me Not & Making the First Move.
Reese Ryan writes sexy, contemporary fiction filled with colorful characters and sinfully-sweet romance. She secretly enjoys torturing her heroines with family and career drama, reformed bad boys, revealed secrets, and the occasional identity crisis, but always rewards them with a happily ever after.
Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Central North Carolina where she has happily declared herself a Bohemian Southern Belle. Visit Reese online at ReeseRyan.com. Follow her on Twitter @ReeseRyanWrites. Connect with her on Facebook or Goodreads.
Love Me Not Blog Tour Grand Prize
- $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card
- $10 Starbucks e-Card
- Digital copy of Love Me Not by Reese Ryan
- Digital copy of Making the First Move by Reese Ryan
Thanks so much for being here Reese!
All the best,
P.S. Don’t folks don’t forget to enter my BOUNCE contest running throughout this month!
I’m so happy to have my friend and chaptermate Lena Hart guest posting here today talking about her latest novel BECAUSE THIS IS FOREVER and a fun romance trope the secret baby! Please be sure to click on the raffle to enter her great giveaway! Take it away Lena!
Meet Mikey: Writing the Secret Baby Novel + GIVEAWAY
By Lena Hart
I have to admit, I never imagined I’d write a secret baby story. It’s a romance novel trope that’s been overdone and I just didn’t think I could write a unique enough story where the heroine would have a compelling enough motivation to keep her pregnancy from the hero.
But alas, I have written such a story and boy, was it a journey!
The most challenging part of writing the secret baby story: the “research”. This was a struggle for me—and a learning experience—because, not only did I have to learn to be a mother of an overly energetic 4-year old boy, I also had to get into the mind of said 4-year old. I don’t have any children of my own and don’t have much exposure to young children so writing about Mikey, my hero and heroine’s son, took a bit of Googling, ease-dropping, and quite a bit of people-watching.
During my online and field research I got to learn the dynamics of what eventually became Mikey. I learned that the average 4-year old speaks their minds—to the point of tactlessness—that they are picky eaters, occasionally demanding, and are a potential danger to themselves. Though some of my research came from watching the mothers on the bus or train, I have to give many thanks to the Mommy-blogs and YouTube videos that provided me with more insight into the mind of a toddler then I would have probably never gotten elsewhere.
The snippets I read and video clips I watched convinced me that there is little exaggeration needed when writing toddlers. They are truly natural-born entertainers. My heroine, Mia, certainly had her hands full with her chatty, energetic son and though I didn’t put in everything I gleaned from my online and field “research”, just having the knowledge made it seamless for me to channel the patient and occasional sternness my heroine needed in handle her son.
Ultimately, what I’ve learned about writing this story trope is that it’s one of those classic storylines that readers not only enjoy but can also connect and relate with. Yes, it’s a trope that may present little originality but like apple (or sweet potato) pie during the holidays, it never gets old. It’s a trope that introduces circumstances centered around some truth and I believe that provides a sort of comfort and familiarity to readers who enjoy reading about family and second chances at love.
I enjoyed writing Mia, Nate, and Mikey’s story—despite the mental and emotional rollercoaster this family put me on. And now I’m more than ready to take on the challenge of writing my next “Mikey”.
What do you love about the secret baby novel? Leave a comment and one lucky winner will be selected to win 1 of the 5 secret prizes. Prize and winner will be announced on December 1st.♥
Lena Hart writes sensual romances with a hint of mystery and suspense. Her bestselling debut novel, BECAUSE THIS IS FOREVER, was released October 2013. To learn more about Lena and her work, visit www.LenaHartSite.com or find her musing out loud at www.scatblogging.blogspot.com.
More about “Because This Is Forever”:
Thanks so much for being here today Lena!
All the best everyone and best of luck!
Happy Friday! I hope you all had a good night last night with plenty of treats and no tricks. Things started out slow over by me. I decorated the porch along with Jack who was without a costume this year but still feeling festive and we sat and waited.
And waited some more. But once it got dark and my purple lights came up the kids really started to come out and it was quite a lot of fun answering the door in my Witch’s Hat. It started to drizzle around 8:45 which put an end to the Trick or Treaters wich was fine by me because it was getting on time to settle in for the real Halloween scare with Scandal.
Wow! It was so good. You can check out my recap for the week over at Heroes and Heartbreakers. I’d love to hear your comments.
A big thank you to all who commented on the fab Lise Horton’s WORDS OF LUST interview. I’m so grateful to Lise for being here. Thanks to random number generator I have pulled a name for her book giveaway and the winner is Maria Ferrer! Congrats Maria! Lise will be in touch. And no worries if you didn’t win you can click here to buy your own copy of WORDS OF LUST.
Have a great weekend!
All the best,
image from Scandalabc tumblr