Friday, January 29, 2010

Breaking Free

So, I ventured into the world of first person POV recently and I have to say, it was a little bit scary. I haven’t written in first person since I was a teen…and that was some time ago! I can’t say why exactly I stopped writing this way, maybe as a teen it was all about me so the writing reflected that…I don’t know what happened, but somewhere down the line I just stopped and switched over to third person, got comfortable with it and there I stayed. For. A. Long. Time.

When the inspiration hit I initially started the story in third person but something seemed off. I couldn’t get into my protagonist's head in the way that I wanted to. I had only written about five pages when I realized that I needed to switch it over. So I did. And then the chaos began.

It was hard. It was uncomfortable. It took longer than I had expected. My major issues revolved around consistency…making sure everything stayed in the same tense. Thank goodness for my writing group…it’s being beta read right now. (Thank you for that, you poor dears.)

All in all though I did enjoy breaking out of my comfort zone. I don’t know how successful I was with it…time will tell on that front, but either way, it was fun. I totally recommend breaking free and trying something different; it’s worth the risk.

How about you all, have you every dared to break out of your comfort zone to try something new? How did it feel? Would you do it again?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Seven Things You Didn't Know About Me

So, I got tagged by fellow writer, Michelle Muto, to write seven things that you didn’t know about me…in return, or paying it forward, I would like to tag a couple of fellow writers: Danica Avet and Diane Girard to write their own list of seven.

I’m sure you’re all excited so I won’t keep you waiting…here are the seven things that you didn’t know about me…

1) I was born on the cusp of Leo and Cancer which makes me a confident, loyal, stubbornly vain, moody, oversensitive, domineering, caring type of person…how’s that for confusing! I love being born on a cusp because it means that I can always read two horoscopes and pick the one that I think sounds better for me! Do I believe in all of that horoscope mumbo, jumbo…well, yes, I do…which leads me to my next thing...

2) I am superstitious! Yes, that’s right, I believe, I believe, I believe…but only sometimes. After doing a degree in Psychology, I managed to convince myself out of believing in many of my superstitious ideas…with the exception of a few stubborn clingers…I cannot walk past a penny without picking it up, I do not walk under ladders, and I have a strong aversion to umbrellas being opened inside. I know, I know, it makes no sense, why these three? I can’t answer that…it is what it is.

3) Not only do I have a degree in Psychology but I also have one in English…as well as a third one, which I can’t tell you about because then you’ll know what I do for a living ; ) But I can tell you that I spent seven years in school achieving all of my fancy education and it was only with my last degree that I actually got a job! Apparently no one will hire a newly graduated English major…Psychology major; I wish someone had told me that!

4) I find listening to music very inspirational…just not when I’m writing. I get really pumped up when I hear a great song. It makes me think of all of the possibilities out there for me as a writer if I just keep working at it. I love listening to music except when I’m writing. I can have the t.v. on, or work in a busy coffee shop, but the second I hear music I lose all ability to focus on the writing and instead get lost in the rhythm and beat.

5) One of my favorite authors is Wilkie Collins, a Victorian novelist who was good friends with Charles Dickens. I have spent years tracking down all of his works and I believe I have read them all. His more famous fiction, The Women in White and The Moonstone are usually the titles people think of when I mention this author but he has many, many more great novels to read.

6) My favorite ice-cream is Mint Chocolate Chip…my mom buys me a Mint Chocolate Chip ice-cream cake for my birthday every year…can’t get enough of the stuff!

7) And finally, I love touring old houses. My husband and I went on a vacation to tour the old mansions in Newport and it was awesome. I love immersing myself in that old world and imaging what it would have been like to live as a woman in such confining and formal times. If you ever get the chance you should go and take those tours, it is fascinating to see such amazing works of art!

The End…there you go, seven things you didn’t know about me before now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Romance is for sappy women...

Okay, so I was reading an article about the myths surrounding romance and found myself saying (out loud, embarrassingly enough) HELL YEAH! People do have a lot of misconceptions about modern romance…and I’ve had to enlighten many of my friends about what is out there and how good it is.

I find that with the romance that I am reading, whether paranormal or historical, there are a few very key things that are a must in order for me to want to pick up another book by the same author. These same things are elements that I include (or at least try to include) in all of my paranormal romance and to some extent, my urban fantasy…so YES, I hold myself to the same standards as the authors I read.

So, here we go:

Number One, The Sex: Okay, so I listed this as number one because, well, its romance for goodness sakes…the sex is important. For my tastes I like the intimate moments to be on the more graphic side…and frequent…I can wait for it to happen but I prefer for something to happen within the first hundred pages or so.

Number Two, The Strong Heroine: I like to see the female lead in some kind of position of strength. Even if there are moments throughout the novel where she is in need of help…or if she starts off being insecure and unsure of her power. I like it when she comes through a particularly difficult situation on her own…without the need of being saved by the hero…I like the kick-ass, strong, independent type…always.

Number Three, The Strong Alpha Male: Now, with that said about my women, I also like to see a strong male lead. No sniveling, wimpy boys for me…no, the hero must be muscular, strong, defiant and very much the bad boy. As much as you want to smack him for being stubborn or insensitive, it’s part of what makes him more appealing…and tempting…especially to the strong heroine who might need to be dominated every once in a while. But, he’s not that dense that he totally misses his opportunity to get the girl…no, unless it’s urban fantasy…and then that type of ending is expected, I want to see my hero figure out what he needs to do in order to fix things that he, or someone else, messed up.

Number Four, The Fast Moving Plot/High Tension and Danger: Of course…duh…there has to be a lot of violence, high stakes…blood, death, gore…it’s romance but it’s not for sissies. I like there to be a good melding of thriller, horror and romance…if there isn’t something to lose, some threat that the hero or heroine could die, then I’m usually not interested.

Number Five, (This one is particularly important for Paranormal Romance) Believable world building…not too much but not too little: This is important…particularly if the novel I am reading is a part of a series. I want to be able to understand what is going on with enough information about the world to get me going but I don’t want so much world building that I know too much! I don’t want it to be so in my face that I lose track of the romance in an attempt to keep the politics straight. As well…I’ve been into the world of paranormal for practically my whole life. I live for Halloween; my kitchen is decorated with jack-o-lanterns. All. Year. Round. So you can’t fool me…if you don’t love it too, I can tell.

Some great examples of authors who I love…and who incorporate these things into their novels in some way or other (whether we’re talking romance, paranormal or historical, or urban fantasy) that have me coming back for more are: Kresley Cole, Rhiannon Byrd, D.B. Reynolds, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison Sharon Ashwood and Veronica Wolff. There are more out there but these women do it particularly well.

So you tell me…what misconceptions have you heard about romance? What are your standards that keep you coming back for more?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hot Market!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, internet reading, trolling through sites that discuss current fiction trends and whatnot…just out of curiosity…and I’ve been finding the same kind of message being repeated over and over…apparently the romance market is HOT right now…hotter than it has been in a while. In particular, paranormal and historical romance is leading the way in high sales.

Now, the common belief that is presented by various publishing professionals is that the reason this type of romance is doing so well is because, due to the current economic crisis, we are all seeking a safe way to escape into a fantasy world.

I find this idea very intriguing. I am both a reader and writer of paranormal romance; I also enjoy a Scottish rogue from the sixteenth century or so every once in a while…but I never considered this a means of escaping the depression of the current economic times!

Personally, I think that there has always been a desire for paranormal romance; it’s just taken the rest of the world a while to figure out what a market there is for it. When I was a teenager I was reading historical romance, The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon was the first one I ever read…and then I was hooked. But there really wasn’t anything around that entered into the romantic paranormal world….except for Anne Rice…and although I love her books, they aren’t exactly satisfying in the romance department.

It doesn’t surprise me that paranormal is going strong. I have been entrenched in the supernatural genre in one way or another from the time that I was a child, preferring children’s books about little witches over Winnie the Pooh…I love writing in a genre that allows me to escape into a world of my own making. So escaping is on the agenda, just not from the current economic woes!

So what do you all think? What draws you to paranormal or historical romance? It is a way of escaping reality? Or do you love it for other reasons?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year...and The Winner is...

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

My lovely daughter as once again pulled a name out of a hat for this month's winner of a copy of The Temptress. The winner is...D.B. Reynolds!