Head Explodes

Angry, Frustrated WomanYep. Some days I feel my head will explode from all that I have to do and remember. I’m sure you’re the same way. So much information is thrown our way each day. Heck! Each second! I think all the information we receive in some ways makes us aware but not really smarter. So we have to decide what is important and what isn’t. So over the years I’ve narrowed down what I watch and read.

I’m looking forward to retiring from my day job. Then I can empty my head of all the useless (will be after I leave) information and make room for what I love. Reading and writing romance. Improving my craft, learning new ways to promote my books (if you don’t know they exist, how would you know to read them?), and so many interesting facets to being a published author.

One of my big drawbacks is my self-confidence. I believe a lot of authors have that problem. So something I read today I have to share with you. It got me to thinking. (HA!)

From Wizard of Oz
Wizard: Not having fear isn’t brave, it’s foolhardy. Any real hero knows fear.
Cowardly Lion: I’ll tell you one thing though, so does a real coward.
Wizard: The difference is a hero masters his fear.

So here’s to mastering my fears.

~~

On January 15, I will be at the Romance Magicians’ blog.  Come by and see me!

A Growth of a Series

PrintFirst, I love reading books with bad boy heroes. Hell, I married one. If you’ve ever read my Circle series, you’ll know how much I love writing about dangerous, ill-tempered (HA!) men.

When I began writing the Brothers of Mayhem series, I had already read a couple MC (romance/fiction) books and watched all of the Sons of Anarchy. Click here to read my post about researching the series.

So I thought readers of MC books would be interested to know that the first book (HIDDEN HEAT) of the Brothers of Mayhem is not the typical MC story. The majority of the bikers in that story are not good guys. But you will see a shift in book two (FULL HEAT – Storm’s story). It has a mixture of good and bad. New blood.

By book three (NAKED HEAT – Wolf’s story) you’ll see more of the brotherhood that you come to expect in a MC romance. And in the fourth book (RAW HEAT – Cutter’s story), the club heals and the brotherhood tightens.

It’s like this, throughout the series, each book can be read separately as stand-alones, but like the romance in each story, the club has a path to take with all of the ups and downs. The growth of the club as an unit will ensure its survival. In the end, it will have the right guy in place and everyone will be happy. *sniff* I do love for my people to have a happy ending.

And you could say each story has something for everyone, from the unique MC story to the hard core.

It’s The Small Things

Beautiful Woman Enjoys CoffeeI can’t help but laugh at the title. Being a romance author, I can imagine what some people may be thinking of what I’m about to post. Not THAT!

Over the years of writing (a lot) and the few years published, I learned a few minor things I would like to pass on.

Avoid naming your hero or heroine with initials, such as J.T., J.R., L.B., M.J., etc. In one of my unpublished books, I had a big strapping sheriff referred to as J.T. I got so tired of fighting with the software wanting to capitalize after every time I typed his “name.” Yes. I could’ve turned off the autocorrect, but really, that would be a hassle too. (And note how I ended the sentence above with J.T. and started the next with I. Looked odd, didn’t it?)

Continuing on about names, there are certain ones you’ll want to avoid. Of course, most authors know not to name the heroine and heroine (and other characters, if at all possible) with the same first initial. Such as John and Jane, or Mark and Mary, etc. Readers often scan over names and this may cause confusion along the way.

But this one is a little different. During my usual break each evening, I was reading a contemporary romance — even when I’m under deadline, I make myself take one hour each night to read — and the hero’s name was Woolf.

Oddly, I’m writing a hero with the same name but different spelling, Wolf as in Wolfgang (NAKED HEAT). Anyway, the other author’s heroine would say his name during sex. Common enough, but when I hear it in my mind as I read, it sounds like the heroine is barking. Think about . . . Woolf, Woolf, oh, Woolf. Yeah. You hear it too. So this is probably the last hero I’ll have with that name and my heroine is most likely to scream “Who’s my daddy?” before I’ll let her bark. (Just teasing.)

Avoid heroes with one eye, unless you’re writing a tear jerker. (No pun intended.) Oh, this one happened in my second book, CIRCLE OF DANGER. The hero had been badly burned when he was ten. He lost one eye. Do you have any idea how often eyes are mentioned in romances? Cliché warning: They are the windows to the soul. So in this book, I avoided saying, “His beautiful blue eye looked at her,” or anything like that. Too scary sounding. (Don’t come at me about being insensitive; this has to do with the flow of the story along with setting up the mood. The hero was very sexy even with one eye and scars.)

The next one I mentioned on Facebook the other day.

Authors, please do not place the heroine’s name directly after the hero’s dialogue and vice versa. Example only.

“You look beautiful today,” he said as he pulled Mary into a hug. After a long kiss, he looked deep into her eyes. He wanted her more every day.
“And yesterday?” John smiled as Mary stepped away.
“Do you want a drink?” 
“Yes. A beer will be fine,” 

*This is a better way (my opinion).*
“You look beautiful today,” he said as he pulled Mary into a hug. After a long kiss, he looked deep into her eyes. He wanted her more every day.
“And yesterday?” Mary teased.
John smiled. He loved her sense of humor.
“Do you want a drink?” He nodded toward the bar.
“Yes. A beer will be fine.”

Can you tell in the first example who is saying what after the first line? I have to read a bit more to get it straight in my mind.

That’s it for now. I’ll probably think of ten other small details (and make a few boo-boos myself.)  HA!

What Model Of Alpha Do You Want?

tumblr_myfffeXLM61srko8to1_r1_500Reviews are a double edge sword. Authors want and need them to get the word out about their books, but reviews with low ratings and pure hate for a book are not helpful in my opinion. The reason I say it that way is that I had a well-known blogger tell me even horrible reviews can help sell a book. You know, everyone wanting to see if a book is really as terrible as everyone is saying. Heaven forbid, if that ever happens to me. I’m all for the positive hook.

Anyway, reviews per se is not what this post is about.

Occasionally, I read reviews from some of my favorite authors. Why you ask? Whenever I’m feeling down about my writing (what the fuck am I doing?) and need to see even my favorite NYT bestselling authors have a handful of disparagers among their hundreds of five star reviews. Yesterday, I was looking at an author whose publisher had released her backlist in ebook. So thrilling because now I can get copies for my iPad and the paperbacks can stay on my shelves in good condition.

On one hand, I was surprised by the many one stars (and anger) for books I love of hers. As I read the reviews, the main theme appeared to be the way the heroes treated the heroines.

See, from 1970s to 1990s, it had been popular for the heroes to be what I call supreme alphas. It started with the bodice rippers (literally, and by the way, I freaking hate that term for current day romance in general). Yes. Historical romances were queen in the beginning and the heroes thought nothing of ripping the bodice off the heroines. It was so different from what women had been reading before then. I can get into the dynamics of the sexual revolution and birth control and woman finding out they loved sex when there was little fear of pregnancy (only 2% to 9% fear as pills are 91% to 98% effective), but that is still not what this post is about.

In my dear favorite author’s earlier books, the heroes bossed and took over the heroines’ lives as if the women had no sense at all. At the time, and to a point nowadays, I love reading books with those types of heroes. But from what I’ve read in other articles, reviews and in general conversations with twenty- to thirty-something readers, they do not want a hero to act that way. In real life, I wouldn’t either, but, folks, this is fantasy. Anyway, onward and upward…

I thought that was interesting considering how many readers love kinky doms (BDSM), demanding billionaires, and dangerous bikers (MCs). So I compared the differences and realized in most cases, the older romances with dominating males, the heroes came across as cold and unfeeling at least until the end. While the new wave alphas show tenderness and often sweet talk their heroines, they are the same type of heroes, but they have smoother edges.

Both have pluses and minuses. I have found that sometimes when I’m reading a new author’s male point of view, the guys sound a little girlish. More of how the author wished a male would be. From what I know of most men, they are straightforward in speech and action and rarely think about how so-and-so feels about something. They believe they do what must be done and not worry overmuch about it. They have gut feelings and realizations. Not all of that touchy, feely, (I’m not talking about sex) I-have-to-talk-it-out stuff. Of course, there are the exceptions, but they are usually the villains.  HA!

Oh, if you’re reading an old romance, be sure to keep all of this mind. Hopefully the publisher (or author, if self-published) will show the original published date. It would be best in the end. Fewer rants by readers. Geez!

Congratulations to The Winners!

PrintFor the last couple weeks, my newsletter subscribers had received instructions on how to win gift cards. I first offered one $20 gift card. With so many people participating, I added 3 $10 gift cards. But when I was picking the winners, I decided to add one more $10 gift card. I sure wish I could’ve given everyone a gift card.

I loved the enthusiasm. What a blast! Thank you!

Here are the winners. Check your email box.

$20 Gift Card
Colleen Conklin

$10 Gift Card
Pat Fordyce
Joy Isley
L Lam
Catherine Lemanski

If you wish to receive future newsletters and giveaways, go to my website and sign up.  Click here.

Merry Christmas, everyone!Glowing Christmas Tree in Snow

New Love

Today, I’m over at the Romance Magicians’ blog talking about my newest love.  Hint: He has a big stick.  HA!  Come over and visit.

Giveaways from Loveswept

keanu_Reeves

Isn’t he gorgeous, especially in leather pants?

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter.  Click here.  And these are the reasons why.

Random House will be giving away ebooks and a $20 gift card. Each day you’ll receive a newsletter with how to win that day’s giveaway.
 
Day 1 Tuesday 12/1: Alpha Males with Jackie Ashenden and Maisey Yates

Enter to win The Deacons of Bourbon Street series, including MAKE YOU BURN by Megan Crane, FIRE ME UP by Rachael Johns, HOLD ME DOWN by Jackie Ashenden, and STRIP YOU BARE by Maisey Yates. Prize will be delivered via the ebook retailer of your choice.

Day 2 Friday 12/4: Hot Men and Fast Cars with Erin McCarthy and Tracy Wolff.

Enter to win FLAT OUT SEXY by Erin McCarthy and ACCELERATE by Tracy Wolff. Prize will be delivered via the ebook retailer of your choice.

Day 3 Tuesday 12/8: Molly O’Keefe and Tracy Wolff play “Never have I ever.”

Enter to win EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID by M. O’Keefe. Prize will be delivered via the ebook retailer of your choice.

Day 4 Friday 12/11: Three authors talk about Motorcycle Clubs and what makes the men hot! Carla Swafford, Megan Crane, and Violetta Rand

Enter to win PERSUASION by Violetta Rand and HIDDEN HEAT by Carla Swafford. Prize will be delivered via the ebook retailer of your choice.

Day 5 Tuesday 12/15: Authors play Kill, Marry, Shag!

Enter to win a $20 gift card to the ebook retailer of your choice.

Be sure to sign up for the other authors’ newsletters too!

A THOUSAND FACES

psychoHave you ever heard someone say about another person, “She’s the same every day.” They are usually referring to an even tempered, always pleasant person. They meant it as a compliment. I never thought it like that. To have the same emotion without showing frustration, anger, joy, despair, etc., something isn’t right. But that’s only one face the person is showing.

No, they weren’t saying it about me. HA!

We all know that people have more than one face. You’re probably thinking split personality, No. Think of it this way.

When you’re at work, you act like an professional (I hope). You watch how you talk and act.

When you’re at home, and if you have children, you show another side of yourself. You sure can’t treat them like co-workers. You have a spouse, you talk differently with them. Don’t want to treat her/him like a child. You have a mom or/and dad, once again another face to each one. You meet a stranger you’re interested in knowing, or a stranger you want to go away, you’ll find yourself talking and acting differently.

Of course, there are outside factors that can change how a person responds. Maybe a death of a love one or being involved in a horrific accident. Then from that day on, more faces are presented to different people.

That’s why one person can remark how even tempered a person is at work, while another will remember that same person went bonkers at a ball game.

We each have faces to fit the situation, time and place, but each face or tone is a small piece of the same person inside.That’s why you can know a person for years and they can act in an unexpected manner.

Okay. That’s all the lite-psychology for today.  LOL!

So if you’re told your hero or heroine acted out of character, it is most likely you didn’t make clear the motives or circumstances behind the tone, attitude or feeling. No need to go into details about the physical abuse a character went through as a child. Usually, it can be done with one sentence when we want to present another aspect of the character’s personality. Later in the story, you can sprinkle more of the backstory. No need to info dump.

End of lesson for the day.  :-)

Getting All Revved Up

How well do you remember things? I forget stuff all the time. So go to Amazon and preorder Hidden Heat. Click here. Presto! On February 16, it will show up on your Kindle or in an email.
Hidden Heat Facebook ad

Watching The Voice

If y8251a-adamlevine25e225802599sgirlfriend252cannevyalitsynaandadamlevineinvoguerussiaou don’t know already, I’m a big fan of Adam Levine. I love Maroon 5. And yes, I enjoy Pharrell (talent galore) and Blake (funny!). So watching The Voice makes sense. The blind auditions are the best part (along with Adam).  In fact, Adam is who I based Thorn (HIDDEN HEAT) on. Just had to say it. Now back to my writing (FULL HEAT).