Friday, October 21, 2016

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

Author:  Susan Carlisle

Title: Married For The Boss's Baby

Genre: Contemporary

Released: May 1, 2016


An unexpected baby...
When successful surgeon Grant Smythe's baby half sister is orphaned, Grant is determined to be there for little Lily--unlike his own father.
A convenient proposal...
But a challenge for custody means Grant needs a wife, too! New nanny Sara Marcum is the ideal candidate...
A wife forever?
It might be temporary, but soon warmhearted Sara completes more than just Grant's family. Can he convince his bride-for-now to become his forever wife?

Connect with Susan online at Website     Facebook     Twitter

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

Author: Susannah Sandlin

Title: Black Diamond (Wilds of the Bayou, Book 2)

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Released: October 18, 2016


For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. For Louisana wildlife agent Jena Sinclair, it's a place of refuge--one where she can almost forget the tragedy that scarred both her skin and her soul. But when the remains of yet another fisherman turn up, Jena realizes that Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes is not safe for her ...or anyone else.For some people, the untamed beauty of the bayou is a place to hide. 

The mysterious deaths aren't her only problem. A dangerous drug known as Black Diamond is circulating through Terrebonne Parish, turning addicts into unpredictable sociopaths. Jena's investigation leads her to Cole Ryan--a handsome, wary recluse struggling with his own troubled history--who knows more than he's willing to admit. If they want to stop the killer, Jena and Cole must step out of the shadows of their pasts and learn to help each other...before the evils lurking in the bayou consume them both.

Connect with Susannah Sandlin at   Website     Facebook     Twitter

Friday, October 14, 2016

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

Author: Dianna Love

Title: Rogue Belador, Book 7

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Released: April 12, 2016


Immortals fear little ... except a secret in the wrong hands.

While searching for a way to save Brina of Treoir's failing memories, Tzader Burke discovers someone who can help her if Tzader is wiling to sneak into the heart of his enemy's stronghold--TAur Medb. He'll do anything to protect the woman he loves from becoming a mindless empty shell, but his decision could be the catalyst for an apocalyptic war. The deeper he digs for the truth, the more lies he uncovers that shake the very foundation of being a Belador and the future of his clan.

Tzader's ready to execute his mission. Alone. But the minute his best friends Quinn and Evalle, plus her Skinwalker mate Storm, find out about his suicide plan they organize a black ops team around him. While battling on every front, one secret surfaces that two immortal powers have spent thousands of years keeping buried. Tzader and his team have no choice but to fight for what they believe in, because the world as they know it is never going to be the same again.

Connect with Dianna online at Website    Facebook   Twitter

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Storm Clouds--Blowin' That Plot Around

(Before I begin this long-planned blog post, I should note here that I have mad respect for weather, and watching so many family and friends in the path of Matthew last week--and those still dealing with it in North Carolina--is heartbreaking. )

That said, I'm a weather geek, I'll admit it. "The Weather Channel" is often default viewing in my household, so I guess it's only fitting that a weather incident caused me to start writing fiction and weather incidents play a part in quite a few of my novels.

Here's how it all began. About eleven years ago, I was a New Orleanian with no intention of or interest in writing a novel. Then Hurricane Katrina happened, and all that came after. Then the mild PTSD, which actually didn't feel that mild. Then, a few years after the storm, I uprooted and moved back to my native Alabama.

Boy, was I bored. And homesick. So I decided to write a short story set in New Orleans. It would be about a woman who unexpectedly shifted into an Irish terrier who bore an uncanny resemblance to my dog Shane, a notoriously undisciplined redhead.

No, that story never got past the first page because I had another idea. I'd write a story about a wizard with dementia. I finished it. It sucked, but I had another idea.

I'd write a fantasy novel about Hurricane Katrina. And so I did, and through circumstances I can only attribute to divine providence I sold ROYAL STREET and Tor Books published it in 2012. Book five in that Sentinels of New Orleans series, BELLE CHASSE, will be out on November 8.

You know what happens in BELLE CHASSE? A hurricane, although this one is caused by squabbling princes of Faerie.

You just can't beat a crazed faerie for weather trauma.

But then there's STORM FORCE, where the characters are stuck in the bayous east of Houston by....a hurricane named Bertha, after my maternal grandmother (bless her heart).

I think there might have been a wee bit of a flood in DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD. And, yeah, okay, my characters might have encountered some really rough seas in LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP.

Yes, okay, okay, weatherman Jim Cantore did get a mention in PIRATE'S ALLEY. He was coming to New Orleans to try and explain the ongoing blizzard....also caused by crazy faeries.

I do have books without weather trauma, of course. A few. Not many. But it does make for great suspense and forced exposure of heroes and heroines. And, besides, faeries need something to do!

Do you have a favorite book that uses weather in its plot?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Enough Trope To Hang Yourself

Tropes have gotten a bad rap over time. They've been linked as a synonym to the dreaded "cliché".

But Merriam-Webster actually defines trope as "a word, phrase, or image used in a new and different way in order to create an artistic effect". (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

And that's the definition I prefer.

The romance genre definitely has its share of tropes, motifs, and clichés. To begin with, in order to be a romance novel, the story must have not only a love through-line within the text but also the proper ending--either a happy-for-now or even better, a happy-ever-after. A prerequisite is not uncommon in genre fiction. For example, who would read a mystery if there wasn't the expectation of it being solved by the end? Could you even call it part of the mystery genre if the killer is never caught or the wrong-doer never uncovered? A mystery reader expects a certain ending, just like a romance reader does.

Some other popular tropes in the romance genre include the secret baby, the marriage of convenience, friends (or enemies) to lovers, opposites attract, the fake fiancé, the brother's best friend, a fish out of water, and even the second chance at love.

But why do we return again and again, seeking out new and different stories to attach to these age old story motifs? Here are my theories:
  1. We can relate to them. Accidental pregnancies do occur. Friends sometimes become lovers (I married mine after knowing him 20 years). Occasionally our brother has a really good-looking friend. And almost everyone has been in a situation where they felt uncomfortably unprepared or like a fish out of water. We know these stories. We've often lived these stories. We read about them to feel a kinship with characters going through the same situation.
  2. They come with built-in conflict. Every writer knows conflict is a basic building block of story.  Trope conflicts usually have a bit of a gossipy, reality show feel to them, appealing to a reader's sense of voyeurism. Will the marriage of convenience end in divorce? How can a couple get past the obstacle that caused them to break up a decade earlier and take their second chance? What will the hero do when he suddenly finds out he's a father? How will the brother react when he finds out his best friend is dating his sibling? With built in angst and situations poised for disaster, readers want to see how the writer resolves them as well as get a dirty little secret thrill at peeking into an intimate, closed-door relationship that isn't normally exposed in real life.
  3. They allow for character growth. One thing tropes do well is give us characters that have to overcome something. Accidental pregnancy stories can be tragedies (not love stories) if parents don't rise to the responsibility of parenting. A fish out of water story becomes a harsh lesson unless the character is willing to step out of their comfort zone and learn what they need to know to succeed. Opposites attract stories become break-up stories unless both sides learn to compromise and make a relationship work. Readers want a character to change and grow in a story. Satisfying trope endings force that growth.
Because tropes are familiar to readers, when a writer uses a trope to construct fiction, it's almost like entering into a contract. Readers expect the writer to provide them with a story they already know but resolve it in a unique and different manner. Because each trope has been used countless times before, it's a task that's not easy for the writer to do.

But I'm going to try it. I've got an alien same-sex secret baby story that is dying to be written. I think the alien and the same-sex aspects will set my story apart enough from others written using the secret baby trope. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can pull it off.

So tell me--what is your favorite trope and what new and different story would you like to see using it?