Friday, 25 June 2010

Guest Post: Anne Ashby - Why I Write Sweet/Traditional Romance?

Hi, My name is Anne Ashby and I write Sweet/Traditional romance – Why?

The obvious reason for writing Sweet romance is because I like to read sweet romances. But that’s too simplistic. For me, it’s the storyline/plot which attracts me to a book. The romance is secondary. In a Sweet romance you get both of these, a strong story and a great romance.

Sweet romances need a strong fleshed-out story to flow throughout the book because they don’t explore the intimate part of the developing relationship. Something has to replace this intimacy and with Sweet, it’s a strong, believable plot. As the hero and heroine must have plenty to keep them together on the page and yet be separated emotionally, plot and characterisation become very important. For me, this makes the book worth reading, and writing.

Arguably Sweet stories could be classified ‘old fashioned’ but I strongly disagree with this. Times have changed since consummation of a relationship in a Sweet story couldn’t occur unless the characters were married. Most Sweet stories are set in contemporary times and contemporary situations. Physical acts of love definitely still occur, they are just not described in any detail.  Emotions and tension should build and zing as strongly as in any romance.

I don’t write Sweet because I’m a prude, or at least I hope I’m not. Twenty one years served in the Navy while it was still a very male dominated Service cured me of any prudishness I might have grown up with. I write them because I have stories hankering to be told, and I’m a sucker for a romance. I hope my Sweet stories guide my readers down an intriguing pathway and allow their own imagination to soar.

Visit my website  or to order/read excerpts of my forthcoming books 

P.S from Dolly - Anne will be available to reply to comments after July 3rd. 

Monday, 21 June 2010

Your Collaboration Needed

So I had this bright idea - well it is bright, in my opinion :-)  Most people who follow this blog are writers, but we also share one other common identity: READERS.

Let's do something as readers that would benefit other readers and ourselves hopefully. I would like you to recommend up to 10 books (you can do 1 if you want) that you think people MUST read, or they are missing out on something. Please make sure it at least has the correct title and author's name.

Please EMAIL YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS to lostwanderer5 [at] gmail [dot] com. I will consolidate them, include your names and links with your recommendations. (So please make sure to send me your links too)

I think it will be a great thing for the readers, and for all of us, next time we have some Christmas money and wondering which authors' royalty cheques we should contribute towards. I haven't set a date for posting the list yet - depends on how many people might be interested, but I will give you a good few weeks.

If you want to leave a note in comment expressing your interest, please do so, but send the actual recommendations to my email address as it would be much easier to manage and to make sure I haven't missed anyone.

I really hope there will be good participation for this, and if your friends or family want to recommend something, send me their list and I will be happy to credit it to their names.

[Signs off....hoping to find a full inbox]

EDIT - Fiction and Non-Fiction both are fine. Just clarify which ones your recommendations are. Also, Adam's comment has led me to add - feel perfectly free and at ease to include your own book. If I had mine published, I am sure I would be including it :-)

Friday, 18 June 2010

Guest Post: John Baird - Why I Write Crime Thrillers?

Crime thrillers allow me to explore human emotions at their extremes, whilst writing about what interests me, such as, love, death, betrayal, vengeance, the pursuit, and the pursued. By placing an ‘everyman character’ (one that people can identify with) in a criminal world, I invite the reader to experience a dangerous journey from the safety of their imagination.    

There is an old adage that you should write what you know. I prefer to say, you should write about what interests you. It follows then, that you should write in the genre that you most often read. My enjoyment of fast-paced, plot-driven, American crime thrillers inspired my desire to write and influenced my style.  

Over time, my reading developed a familiarity with a structure that would enable me to entertain and excite to maximum effect. In a vague chronological order:

  1. An event/action that poses Intriguing questions.
  2. The presence of obstacles or Conflict.
  3. Chapter ending - what next? - Hooks.
  4. Gripping Suspense.
  5. Unexpected revelations and Twists.
  6. More conflict - pile on the pressure to an enthralling Climax.
  7. A surprise Resolution.

The key to keeping the pages turning is the need to know; what happens next? This need is why I read and write thrillers.

John Baird, author of Chasing Shadows, coming to America in the summer of 2010.











Friday, 11 June 2010

Guest Post: L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright - Why I Write Fantasy?

All About The Wonder: Why I Write Fantasy

            Yesterday, I met my first grader at the bus after school. As we walked home, he asked suddenly:, “Mom, why do you write fantasy?”
            I must admit, I was taken aback. I did not have an easy answer ready on the tip of my tongue (or any other part of my tongue, for that matter.) After stuttering a bit, I recovered and said, “Because it is filled with wonder—wonder, magic, and enchantment. Because when you write fantasy, you can write about anything.”
            And really, that is the reason. For me, it is all about the wonder.
            Fantasy can do anything, go anywhere, occur in any milieu. It can take place in your back yard, in the ancient past, on the moon, in another dimension—the nature and laws of which can be anything you imagine. It can be frightening, romantic, mysterious, filled with intriguing factoids. But there is one thing fantasy does better than any other genre, and that is wonder.
            Wonder is the sensation we feel when we suddenly discover that there is more to the world than we expected….and that this more is better, or at least more awe inspiring, than we had imagined. When this happens in real life—when we hold our infant son for the first time, or rush outside on our way to work to find a baby fawn, all wet and new, standing on our driveway, what is the first thing we always say when we describe the experience to someone else?
            “It was like magic!”
            I live in a world where there is wonder all around me, and no one else ever seems to notice it. Amazing things happen all the time.
Once, I went to the Mall in Washington D.C. in hopes of meeting an author I particularly admired. It is rather a rare thing, to have an author one admires in town. By an even rarer quirk of coincidences, I found myself not in line with the hundreds of other people who were waiting for his signature, but standing next to him, talking to his daughter. There was a sprinkling of rain—which did not dismay his die hard fans in the least—and, when I turned around, a huge rainbow arched across the sky. But it was not just in the sky. From our position, it was coming out of the dome of the capital building!
I had seldom seen a rainbow so clearly, much less one in so auspicious a place! (This was just at the very beginning of the bank crisis, while they were first discussing the bailout. I kept wanting to shout: “Hurry! Catch the Leprechaun! Grab the crock of gold!” ) Things like that just do not happen in real life.
But it did. I even have a picture.
            It was like magic!
            I have always wanted to have a daughter. I have also always wanted to adopt a child. When I was a teenager, I had friends who needed adopting, but no one wanted to take on children who were so old. Too much trouble. So that became one of my dreams, too: to adopt a teenager.
            I also wanted to be a writer. I have always wanted to tells stories. As a child, a group of adults who used to dress up as elves and kidnap their friends for fun once granted me the title “the Legendmaker,” because even way back then, everyone knew that was what I wanted to do.
            But wanting to write and succeeding are two different things. It took me nine years to finish my first novel and another six to sell it. By the time the book finally hit the shelves last summer, I had waited 17 years.
            Then, July 29th, 2009, a day I shall never forget, not if I lived for a thousand years, it actually happened. My book arrived! After all that time waiting, I held the beautiful volume in my hands.
            But it hardly mattered, because just a few hours before, my husband and I had grasped each other while we sent off the email saying, “Yes, we would like to be the parents to the thirteen year old girl who will lose her ability to have a family forever if she is not adopted before her fourteenth birthday in November.” With the return email, saying that our application was going forward, the picture of the beautiful Chinese girl we had received the day before suddenly became a picture of our daughter. For the first time, after waiting four years, we saw our daughter’s face.
            On the same day, I gained a book and a daughter!
            It was like magic!
            And that is why I write fantasy. Because I want to share that, to weave a tale of awe and enchantment so others can experience even a hint of the way I felt upon those two occasions.
Because nothing is more like magic than magic itself.
            When you walk into your garden and discover that fairies really are living in your lily-of-the-valley; when you are taking a rest by a cool mountain river and you suddenly realize that what you had taken for an outcropping of rock is peering at you; when you come around what you thought was a familiar corner an catch elves dancing in the moonlight, that is fantasy at its best. When done right, it reminds us of those moments in our lives, those real moments, when the curtain of mudanity is pulled aside, and we see, not a little man from Kansas, but something vast and glorious that, if only for an instance, lifts us out of our every day life and into eternity.
            And that is magic.

PS. Being an published author is a delightful thing…but being the mother of a teenage girl is even more wonderful. One’s life is filled with wonder every day.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Guest Post: Carol Ward - Why I Write Romance (and other stuff)?

Before we move on to Carol's post, first my sincere apologies that this wasn't posted yesterday. I had severe computer issues as well as plenty other so everything was on halt. Late, but still great post, so I hope you enjoy it. 


Why I write Romance (and other stuff)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. . .

Okay, maybe not really another galaxy, but there’s always been speculation. ;-)

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I started writing poetry in grade school, was introduced to the short story in high school, and started my first novel shortly after that.  My prose was mainly science fiction and fantasy, no surprise there because I was a voracious reader of both.

Somewhere along the way I got it in my head that I was meant to be a writer of short stories. The only problem was, my stories tended to be rather long. And the longer the story, the more likely an element of romance would sneak into it.

So I went through a period where I didn’t exactly abandon my writing, but I really didn’t take myself, or my writing seriously. Then my husband’s Aunt had me transcribe a novel she’d written based on a true-life relationship she’d been in.  The novel was horrifically bad, but the thing that got to me was, not only did she start this novel, she actually finished it.

I looked at my handful of stories, my abandoned novels, and realized that it was time to fish or cut bait. I needed a change of attitude. If I didn’t believe in myself, who would?

I started a blog. I signed up with the Absolute Write writer’s forum. I started writing poetry again. I discovered the joy of flash fiction, finding an outlet for some of my darker ideas.

By the time I participated in my first NaNoWriMo, the romance novels in my library outnumbered the fantasy/science fiction novels. So I wrote a fantasy romance. And not just a romance, a romance that had s*e*x in it. And I didn’t burst into flames! The next NaNo novel was set in space, also a romance, and this one was quite . . . um . . . let’s just say it was pretty steamy. ;-)

The ideas keep coming, and they’re mostly ideas for romance novels. Some steamy, some not so steamy; some fantasy, some science fiction, and even one contemporary.  Why do I write romance? Because if I didn’t let all those stories in my head out, my head would explode.

Why do I write all that other stuff? Because sometimes what I have to say needs to be said in the form of a poem. And sometimes I need to embrace the darkness in us all in the form of a flash fiction story.  But most of all, I write because I’m a writer. And that’s what we do.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

There is Time to Run & There is Time to Walk

My editing journey has been quite interesting so far. I have felt every imaginable emotion for it, and I have also gone through finding it easy, hard, and in-between.

One thing I have come to realise that to have the editing complete by a certain date is not going to work for me. At least not for this book - because this is the first book I am editing, hopefully to a state where it could be publishable. I am learning a lot, but sometimes it is also a chore. Sometimes, I go through chapter a day, and at other times one page a day is tough to handle.

Currently I am going through the tough period. I do not ignore it, and I always want to do something to it, but only a little bit. For last several days, perhaps a week even, I look at a page or even paragraph. In the beginning, I kept beating myself up for not meeting my targets, but now I am wondering if that little ease of pace, a little distance from the intensive focus might be a good idea, even a productive one. This story has evolved so much from its inception, and even now, I keep thinking of ways to make it better, so perhaps my brain needs a little time to assimilate before acting. I don't know. It just might be an excuse. But I don't think so, because I am not bored or sick of editing. I still want to complete this book. I still love it. I just want to be sure that I do my best on it, and not hurry the process to meet my deadlines. I will have enough deadlines when I do make it in the industry, for now, it is more important to make sure that I take time to be ready, to make sure I can deliver quality.

What do you think? Do you give yourself a break some time? Take it easy? Focus on the quality? Do you get frustrated when things don't finish on time? How do you handle it?