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Saturday, March 28, 2009


Let’s begin with death…

Yes, this was my thought when I started to write IMMORTAL DANGER, my upcoming paranormal release from Kensington Brava. Maybe starting the book with my heroine’s death wasn’t the nicest thing that I’ve ever done to a character—the woman barely has screen (er, book) time before she’s attacked.

But for this particular story, the beginning had to be about death.

So my heroine, Maya Black, dies in the first few pages of my book, and it is only with her death that her character truly comes alive. Because Maya doesn’t stay dead. She comes back, better, stronger, and ready to kick butt like never before.

From that death, the rest of my story unfolded. The novel appeared for me, the characters and plot points all fell into place, and, well, all it took was a little death. J

Since I’m talking about my beginning, why don’t you share your favorite book openings with me? Maybe I can add some books to my TBR list! And one commenter will be selected to win her/his choice of an autographed book from my backlist.

Thank you so much to the wonderful folks at TRRC for having me here today! It’s a pleasure to visit your home on the web!

Cynthia Eden
IMMORTAL DANGER—03/31/09 from Kensington Brava
Believe in monsters. They believe in you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER: Susan Mallery

Let me start by saying it's not my fault. I didn't plan to write a women's fiction book. I'm a romance writer. I love romance. I love all the firsts. First meet, first kiss, first—well, you know. But I had this idea for a story...

The heroine came to me one Saturday afternoon while I was watching Project Runway. (I’m obsessed with Project Runway.) With great excitement, I told my agent all about this quirky, artsy girl. Megan was one of those kids who could take an outfit from ordinary to awesome with nothing but scissors and some thread. She saw art in fabric and texture, put together odd combinations that shouldn’t have worked but did.

What would happen to a girl like that, I wondered, if she bowed to family pressure and got a “sensible” job? And how would she feel about a sister who rejected sensibility to pursue her own crazy dream?

“Sounds fabulous,” my agent said. “You realize, of course, it’s not a romance.”

Not a romance? Heresy! Of course it’s a romance. I’m a romance writer. So I pulled out Travis, the Boy Not Taken. The bad boy Megan loved but let go. See? A real, live hero. They kiss. They—well, you know. (Hope I haven’t ruined any surprises for you.)

My agent patted my hand condescendingly. “Not a romance,” she repeated. “You want to tell Megan’s story.”

She was right, as she often is. Travis is a big part of Megan’s story, but her annoying sister and hypochondriac mother also play major roles. Sunset Bay is Megan’s journey. Rediscovering her quirky, funny side. Making peace with her less than perfect family. And yes, finding the man who will appreciate everything that’s unique and wonderful about her.

Sunset Bay was such fun to write that I almost hated finishing it. Almost. To celebrate its release, I’m giving away $250 in gift cards to some of my favorite department stores so that some lucky reader will be able to enjoy a fashion spree. You can enter at my website, http://www.susanmallery.com/.

Sunset Bay is, I’m forced to admit, women’s fiction. But wow, the line between romance and women’s fiction sure is blurry. At least for me. What’s the difference between the two for you?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER: Susan Krinard

Okay, I admit it. I'm a drama queen.

Anyone who's read my books knows that I am not a subtle, delicate writer. I love drama. I love big, windswept tales of passion and adventure. My characters are unabashedly larger-than-life, and so are my stories.

That's why, when a new Publisher's Weekly review of my forthcoming book, Lord of Legends, called my story “overwrought,” I really wasn't surprised.

That's right. I'm as overwrought as a New Mexico sunset, a raging Pacific Ocean, a Texas thunderstorm. As melodramatic as one of those humongous historical epics Hollywood doesn't make any more. As unapologetically romantic as The Prisoner of Zenda, King Solomon's Mines, or The Mask of Zorro. I love duels to the death, hair-raising escapes, operatic sacrifices, and eternal love.

In short, I'm an old-fashioned storyteller.

So, this is a warning to any reader who prefers a quieter, more refined type of story. I don't believe in false advertising. If you don't care for swashbuckling characters, intricate plots, “overwrought” sacrifices and explosively dramatic finales, I'm not for you.

And that's okay! Where would we be without a good range of different types of writers and stories? I happen to love Jane Austen as much as Jane Eyre, and would be lost without them. Not everyone is a drama queen, nor should they be. I'm thrilled that we can all find what we want, that reading can bring such joy to our lives.

Well … now that you've been warned , may I tell you a little about Lord of Legends?
I've always loved writing paranormal stories, of course. Way back in the early 90's, when werewolf protagonists were almost unheard-of in romance and those few that existed were “cursed,” I wrote my first romance novel, Prince of Wolves. Luc Gevaudan was not cursed … he controlled his own Change, wasn't affected by silver bullets, and was very happy to be what he was. Little was I to know that fifteen years later werewolves (the non-cursed kind) would be all the rage.

Meanwhile, I've been plugging along with my paranormal romances for over fifteen years, continuing with my werewolves series and adding vampires, time-travel, ghosts, reincarnation and witches into the mix. And I'm always looking for something a little different, a little new … which is why I took a chance on setting my three werewolf/vampire novels in the 1920's.
That trilogy didn't go over as well as I'd hoped … seems that once again I'm ahead of the curve. I'm willing to bet in less than five years the 20's will be all the rage, too.

But back to Lord of Legends …
I decided a few years ago that I'd like to explore some of the “faerie” myths of the British Isles. After a bit of research, I created my “Fane” … the Fair Folk of Celtic legend, also known as the Sidhe (pronounced “shee”.) Though most faerie lore shrinks the Fair Folk to a diminutive size, I decided to go back to the old Irish legends that paint the Sidhe as resembling humans in stature. I placed my Fane in the Land of the Young, Tir-na-Nog, a plane where life is eternal and beauty commonplace.

Like most Faerie folk, the Fane were not always kind to mortals. In fact, my Fane tended toward selfishness, arrogance, and disdain for humankind. There were exceptions, of course: my hero Hern in The Forest Lord, for one. And their half-human children, like Donal in Lord of the Beasts, were often torn between the magical Fane world and troubled earth, between immortality and love.

Since I've always adored shapeshifters, I considered how I could fit them into my Fane world. I wanted to do something different. So I came up with the idea of a shape-shifting unicorn: the King of the Unicorns, Arion, who is exiled from Tir-na-Nog and forced to take human form.
Arion begins by despising the human world to which he's been condemned, a helpless prisoner of the mortal lord who longs to hunt him as the rarest of game. But his arrogant heart is slowly awakened by the woman who saves him, Mariah Marron, the new but untouched bride of the Earl of Donnington. He'll have to decide if he can sacrifice his true nature—even his very life—for the sake of the woman he's coming to love, or abandon her to her own imprisonment. And Mariah will have to make the same choice between captivity and her love for the man she calls Ash.

It's a dramatic story. It's larger-than-life. It doesn't come with a warning label, but if it did, it would say:

Caution: Raging Romance Ahead!