Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blog Hop: Which Two Genres Mix Best?

There are so many genres out there these days.  I love science fiction, mystery, cozy mystery, Victorian romance (as in Jane Austen), Regency if it’s done right, some paranormal, some fantasy and some plain old contemporary romance. 

The reason I said Regency if it’s done right is because I’m a perfectionist.  Don’t include twenty-first century idiom or psychobabble in Regency romance.  Don’t let the heroine be too forward or allow the hero to kiss her too soon.  Do some research about the customs of the time.  DO NOT combine Regency with erotica unless it is after the marriage has taken place!  Nice single girls did not compromise themselves that way back then.  If they did and they were discovered, they were ruined.  If there was even a rumor of such behavior, they were ruined.  Girls who did not marry usually went to their graves with their virginity intact.

You’ll notice the rather large separation between sci-fi and fantasy.  Another of my pet peeves is when I tell people I love sci-fi and they say, “Oh, so do I!  Have you read…?” Every one of the books following those three words is a fantasy.  No.  I’ve read Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury, Pohl, David Weber, and Lois McMaster Bujold (whom I’ve met), to name a few.  I’ve tried to read Ursula K. Le Guin, but she tries too hard to be literary for me.  Maybe I should go back and re-read The Left Hand of God.  I was in my twenties when it didn’t make sense to me.  Well, okay, on the fantasy side I have read The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and even The Silmarillion.  In fact, I did a term paper on Tolkien.

Me, I write sci-fi/futuristic romance/chick-lit.  But I don’t recommend it.  People who like sci-fi tend to sneer at romance and I haven’t been able to afford to attend a romance con to see how sci-fi romance is accepted there.  It never sold well.  Maybe I’m not being fair.  I’m a Red Rose author.  Wendi Felter released Rock Bound without sending the ARC to me and I was ashamed of the typos and errors in it so I didn’t market it as avidly as I should have.  I fixed it, but Felter refused to publish the corrected version, complaining about how difficult it was to reformat the book.  After I got my rights back, I offered it as a free read until a guy in Mensa told me Rock Bound was “too good to be free.”  That was comforting.  A lot of Mensans read sci-fi.  I’ve now self-pubbed and I’m launching it Friday, April 1.  Details are on my website.

Back to the question, though—I guess in today’s world romance and paranormal mix best.  Paranormal covers a fairly broad mix of possibilities and it’s hot right now.  Who can resist a sexy vampire?  Or werewolf?  Or werecougar? (The cat one, not the older woman dating a younger man.)  A ghost?  A wizard?  How heartbreaking is it for an immortal to fall in love with a mortal?  Should I turn the person I love and subject them to the soulless hell I live in?  Should Edward turn Bella in the Twilight Series?  At the end of the eighties TV series Forever Knight, Nick tried to turn Natalie, but he went too far and killed her so he threw himself onto a wooden stake committing vampire suicide, and I cried my eyes out.

In the Undead and… series by Mary Janet Davidson, Betsy Taylor gets hit by a car and finds herself unable to stay dead and craving blood.  To make matters worse, when her fangs come out, she lisps.  She has an attitude and a potty mouth, but she is really funny.  I listen to this series on audio books and the girl who reads it has a wonderful voice.  Ms. Davidson handles first-person writing masterfully—an extremely difficult feat—and I just crack up when I hear, “Thon of a bith!” and know those fangs are coming down.  Oh, yes—Betsy’s in love with a hunk.  She doesn’t want to be, but she is.  He tricks her into marrying him long before she admits she loves him.  That’s one of the obstacles to her admitting it.

So, yes—I think paranormal mixes best with romance, even though that’s not what I write.

To see what other authors think, go to Alternative Read.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Six Sentences from Rock Bound

The future is a dangerous place for dreamers and idealists.
When a dictator takes over the United States, Annie Peterson attends a protest in Washington, DC, with her husband, Paul. US troops fire into the crowd killing him. Jake Johnsrud, a virtual stranger, risks his life to save Annie’s. They are among the survivors who are sentenced to slavery on the Moon for their “crimes.”
Jake is forced to mine, while Annie is sentenced as a sex slave to "service" the men. Jake fights increasing feelings of anger and jealousy as Annie struggles to perform her job, while she resists her increasing attraction to him. Along with their fellow inmates, they fight to survive on the lunar "rock" that is their prison.

The song was a slow, romantic ballad and as Jake took Annie in his arms, she felt an electrical force shoot down her spine. They began to sway gently to the music, Annie’s face titled up so that she could look into his eyes. Her skin burned through her tee-shirt where his hand rested at the small of her back. She felt herself beginning to drift closer, snuggling into his embrace, her head almost touching his shoulder when she stiffened, stopped dancing and broke away from him, her mind screaming, What do you think you’re doing? He’s not Paul! Oh, God, he’s not Paul!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Would a Rose Smell as Sweet?"

A site called Alternative-Read run by a lady across the Pond called Sassy Brit has started a featured called a “blog hop” on Thursdays.  She asks a question and you answer it on your blog, place your link on her site, and then comment on other authors’ answers.  By the time I finished my answer, I realized it was almost eight p.m. Central Time—rather late to participate, but I decided to use the post anyway.  This is going on my calendar and I will post earlier next week.  Meanwhile, this week’s question was, “How important are the names of your characters, or for that matter, the titles of your books?”

“What’s in a name?”  Juliet asked that question when she realized Romeo was the son of her father’s arch-enemy.  If only his last name wasn’t Capulet, they could have such a wonderful life together.  Instead, they had a wonderful death together.

How do I name my characters?  Apparently not as carefully as Shakespeare.  Actually, how did he name his characters?  Where did he get names like Shylock or Portia or Montague or Capulet?  If these people lived in “Fair Verona” why didn’t they have Italian names?

I sort of pull my characters’ names out of the air.  My heroines’ names so far are names I would have given my daughters if I’d had more girls.  Well, I would have loved to have had a Kristen (the heroine of Crystal Lady, my WIP).  I ended up with a Christine—it was her father’s turn to choose a name and he came close.  Katie was another name I liked.  She’s the heroine of Rock Crazy.  Rock Bound, most of my characters have family names or close to them.  Even the villain is a family name of sorts.  And it is a total coincidence that it fit so well.

The villain is a dictator who takes over the United States.  One of my characters has been protesting his ecological policies from the very beginning.  In one scene she says something like, “Freezeland’s been living up to his name.  By the time he’s through, we won’t have any land left.”  Honestly, I was just lucky that my daughters’ ex-laws’ last name is Freezeland.  They were flattered when they realized I used their name in my book.  I hope if they’re reading this they won’t get angry that he’s the villain.

After I used up the family last names, I started looking them up in the White Pages. I would open the book, close my eyes, and point.  But I’m not sure we even have a White Pages anymore, so now I go online.  All of those sites have meanings with the names, so now I think more about who the character is and try to find a last name that reflects those traits.  When I was looking for a maiden name for Katie, I realized she probably shouldn't be Irish if she was married to a Scott.  Even in 2066 that may not be a good combination.  She's volatile enough without a history of Scottish/Irish conflict. 

As for the title, that’s extremely important.  It has to give you an idea of what the book is about.  My tag lines for Rock Bound and Rock Crazy both mention “that God-forsaken rock the Moon.”  Neither of my heroines particularly wants to be there.  At least not for the reasons they end up there.  Annie Peterson is on the Moon as a slave.  Katie McGowan’s husband takes her to the Moon and divorces her as a tough love scheme to get her to have brain surgery to control her bi-polar disorder. Crystal Lady is the name of the song Sean Wesley, the hero of the book writes for Kristin.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven

Liana (Lee) Alvarez is a tough, yet sensitive PI who works for her family's business-a high tech PI firm in the heart of Silicon Valley.  When Lee stumbles onto a murder in a warehouse at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, she calls upon her family—a blueblood mother, a computer-genius brother, and a good-hearted uncle—to solve the case.

A Note from Acey Deucy to Rum Tum Tugger

Dude:  There are easier ways to get adopted than by practically drowning.  Take me for instance.  My mom was smart enough to give birth to my siblings and me on an unnamed person’s patio in a secret house that kept us warm and dry. And Rochelle, who lived next door, was a really soft touch.  All I had to do was climb her screen door and meow at her while she was on the phone, and I had her.  She hung up, ran outside and scooped me up saying, “Oh, look! Acey knows my voice!”  Then I gave her the eyes.  You know—the kitty eyes.  Yup, it works every time.  But that’s how you got Lee.  With the eyes and the pitiful meow.  I suppose I’ll let Rochelle take over now.  It’s a nice day and the mice’re stirring out back by the auto museum.  Good hunting for Dusty and me.

Are you done Acey?  Can I work now?  Sheesh!

Acey (in laundry basket) and Tugger

Murder is a Family Business is another winner from MuseItUp Publishing, Inc.  In fact, it was a top ten finisher in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll, 2010.  Okay, so all of my reviews so far have been good ones.  I pretty much don’t read books I don’t enjoy.  Who does?  Anyway…

Heather’s mystery is tight and scary and often humorous.  Can you imagine having a mother who supports you in her own blue-blood way?  What can you say about a Girl Scout Leader who guts fish perfectly coiffed and manicured wearing a beaded Halston gown—with an apron, of course?  I don’t think Lee’s the only member of that troop who had difficulty getting that image out of her mind.  No wonder she rebels by wearing the bright colors of the Latina of her heritage, albeit with designer labels.  She’s doing a favor for a long-time friend of her mother’s when she stumbles upon that body on the wharf in a deluge.  She stumbles onto Tugger that day, as well—both literally.  Tugger, of course, is the safer of the two discoveries.

Read the book.  You’ll see what I mean.

Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Dark Side of the Moon by Terri Lynn Main

When history professor and former FBI profiler, Carolyn Masters took a position at Armstrong University on the moon, she thought she had left the past behind her.  However, she isn’t on the moon long before she is called in to join Michael Cheravik, a rough and occasionally obnoxious former Dallas homicide detective, to investigate the death of Juan McAlister, astromechanics professor and lunar independence activist.
As the investigation progresses, they find that they must not only solve the murder, but stop a terrorist plot against earth, and maybe exorcise the demons of their past.

I greatly enjoyed this taut mystery and found myself on the edge of my seat through much of it, although there were a few very funny scenes as people adjusted to lunar gravity—especially the part about the Thanksgiving turkey.  Do not read that while eating or drinking!

Terri has definitely done her homework and I found her transportation system fascinating.  A huge balloon inserts capsules into orbit and their rockets jockey them toward L-5, the point at which the gravitation pull between the Earth and Moon is equal. The capsule docks with the L-5 habitat and after a few days’ layover, the passengers catch the shuttle to Armstrong.

I highly recommend this book.  But frankly, I knew when I bought it that it would be a great read.  It’s from MuseItUp Publishing, Inc. and Lea Shizas doesn’t accept anything but the crème de la crème of manuscripts.

The Dark Side of the Moon by Terri Lynn Main
Buy it at:

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Book Review Forever With You by L. J. Holmes

Forever With You by L. J. Holmes is a book that will engage you at the beginning and keep you wondering until the surprise ending.
When she suddenly becomes wealthy, Coryne, an attorney uses her money to represent battered women and their children for free. She also builds her dream home, reluctantly hiring Keith Patterson’s construction company. She buys a tiny camper trailer and parks it on the property to personally ensure the work is done to her exacting specifications and promptly on time. Despite major barriers, she’s irresistibly drawn to Keith’s surfer-boy good looks, which invade her dreams—both waking and sleeping. And, she can tell he is just as interested in her.
This short story is only nineteen pages long, but those pages will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering why Coryne is so resistant to Keith’s charm and availability and how he will break down her walls. I highly recommend this entertaining and surprising read.