Monday, September 24, 2012

Wife for Hire Celebration!

I love all the books I've edited, but this week, I'm celebrating one in particular. Christine Bell's Wife for Hire hit #2 on the Nook bestseller list, so to commemorate this milestone, I'm giving away a $50 gift certificate to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Have you read Wife for Hire yet? Awesome! Hope you loved it. No? You should, but it's not required to enter. For your chance in this celebratory giveaway, just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. You get extra points if you do extra stuff to spread the word about Wife for Hire and this contest, so be sure to use the widget to maximize your chances.

Wife for Hire is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

"I'm holding a pie." <- Best. Line. Ever.

He needs a wife for three weeks…

Owen Phipps is out for revenge. His mission? To expose the man who stole his sister’s money and dignity. All he needs is a “wife” who can play along. Too bad his last best hope is an actress who tries to mace him with perfume when he offers her the role of a lifetime.

Lindy Knight is a real sap. She loves too hard, feels too deep, and often finds herself saying yes when she should be saying “Let me think about it.” She can’t believe her good fortune when Owen offers her more than enough money to hold off foreclosure until she can find a job. Three weeks at a resort, money she desperately needs, and she gets to help bring a criminal to justice? Score.

It seems easy enough until a couples bonding game turns intimate, and they realize how dangerous their mutual attraction could be. Can they keep their hands to themselves long enough to find the evidence Owen needs? Or are the close quarters more temptation than they can handle?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tales from Revising: Less isn't Alway More

Sailing away from Pylos, Greece - Photo by Ann Kopchik
I haven't been around much at all on this blog, and I do apologize for that. Partly, I've been swamped editing for Entangled Publishing and partly, I've been swamped because I sold a book.

Yup. I sold my erotic paranormal romance to Loose Id. My story is about a grieving sculptor who meets a forest fae while on a trans-Atlantic cruise. So what's a forest fae doing on a big boat in the middle of the ocean? Hunting vampires, of course.

Anyway, so there's a bit of news.

I just finished my first round of revisions with my editor and have learned something:

Less is not always more.

Good action scenes (and like it or not, love scenes are action scenes) need to have three components: the actions of the characters, what the character is feeling physically, and the emotions of the character.

I had a very bad habit with this novel of describing only the physical actions of the characters and skimping out on the feeling and emotional aspects. Which, you know, is why we read books rather than watch TV or movies. Books let you crawl into the head of a character the way visual media can't.

So, despite also cutting out a bunch of things from my manuscript, I also added nearly 3,000 words.

The odd thing is that I know this. As an editor, I push for it with my authors. Show me more. Give me more emotion (especially with heroes). Let me know what is happening in their head, what they feel.

But as a writer, I get blinded a little lot by the fact that I know my characters and of course they're feeling stuff and having emotions and all that... and it should be obvious, right?

Except that unless it's in the words, it's not. The reader only has the words. They don't have the direct link to the writer's brain.

So sometimes less isn't more.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Problem with LGBT Fiction

If you were at the local bookstore, and you were in the mood for some heterosexual romance with white characters, where would you look first? The Heterosexual section? In the Erotica section, even though you're looking for something with very little sex and that isn't not explicit? Or would you look in the romance section?

If you were at the local bookstore to find some m/m romance, where would you look first? What about African-American romance?

I haven't understood the logic of labeling romance novels as "niche" because the main characters are not white and heterosexual. To borrow a lyric from the 80s (and you're welcome for the earworm): people are people.  Characters are characters. Stories are stories.

If a story is a romance, it will follow a building romantic relationship where characters ultimately triumph over external and personal obstacles and find a promising ending. It doesn't matter if a couple consists of a werewolf and a vampire or a Taiwanese man and an African-American woman - both ought to be shelved in romance. If a couple is a Martian man and a woman from a system  near our galaxy's super massive black hole, or a gay man and a gay man, none of the experiences in the story we read will address anything more alien than the human experience.

When I first acquired Adrien-Luc Sanders's novella "From the Ashes," I couldn't get over how beautifully told the story was despite the hero's less than heroic past. It's a story with meat and teeth that would appeal to people who've never considered reading m/m before. Because, frankly, sexuality is a non-issue in the story. It's just one more character trait shared by both heroes. The characters who fall in love are both men, yet the story's themes of redemption and familial expectation are universal. Characters are characters. Stories are stories.

I'm proud to have played a part in this book's production, and I'm hopeful we'll see it sit next to other romances in the mainstream rankings. To work toward that goal, Adrien-Luc is hosting a giveaway. If his story "From the Ashes" hits the top 100 of Amazon Kindle bestsellers, he's giving away Visa gift cards worth $500 and $250. For more details, hit his blog. You don't have to buy anything. You don't have to tweet anything. Just enter to win and cheer LGBT romance into the mainstream lists.

Sociopath. Killer. Deviant. Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called that and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father's inhuman empire.

Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford--antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.

One kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. But when his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias's hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile deeper, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean--or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?

Win $500 or $250 Visa Gift Cards or a manuscript crit if From the Ashes reaches the Amazon top 100!
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