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Feb 28 - Scottish Historical Romance Author Claire Delacroix

Saturday, February 28, 2015

An Interview with Medieval Scottish Romance Author Claire Delacroix

Why Scotland? or What drew you to write Scottish Romance novels?
I've written medieval romances set all over Europe, but after I traveled to Scotland, I knew I had to use it as a setting. I loved visiting all the castles, both ruined and maintained. The land is also very beautiful and the rich history is inspiring, too. I love to include folk tales in my books, as well as fantasy elements, and Scotland has a wonderful history of stories about the Fae. 

When writing Scottish Romance novels, besides the story, what is it you want to convey about Scotland and that time in history to your readers?
Throughout the medieval era, all over Europe, there's a persistent notion that more is going on in the world than what we mortals notice. Many cultures tell stories of otherworldly beings, of gods walking amongst us or even of the intervention of the divine in our world. I love that sense that so much is possible, and also that much of what's happening is hidden. The idea of worlds parallel to our own is fascinating. In my most recent Scottish-set medieval romance series - The True Love Brides - the family at Kinfairlie was caught up in events in the realm of the Fae, because their holding of Kinfairlie is said to be a portal between the worlds. I finished that series with The Warrior's Prize, which was published in December. http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/the-true-love-brides/

What about research? Do you love it or is it a necessary evil?
I have a degree in medieval history, so you can probably guess the answer to that! I'm at my happiest with piles of research books on and around my desk, and maps spread across the floor of my office.

What can we expect on the book shelves in 2015?
This year, I'm starting a new medieval romance series called The Champions of St. Euphemia. A group of Templar knights set out together from Jerusalem, entrusted with a parcel to deliver to the Temple in Paris. They very soon discover that the parcel is sufficiently valuable that someone will kill for it, and realize that they know very little about each other, and the women who have joined their small party. There are four stories in this series, following their journey across Europe to end with a wedding in Scotland. The Crusader's Bride is the first book and it will be out in June. http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/champions-of-st-euphemia/the-crusaders-bride/

You can read an excerpt on my site or download the first chapter from my online store, right here. https://deborahcooke.selz.com/

I also have a new Scottish medieval romance boxed set publishing on February 24. Kinfairlie Knights includes three full length Scottish medieval romances, each of which is first in a series. The Rogue, The Beauty Bride and The Renegade's Heart are all included, and it's specially priced at just 99 cents through March 18. http://deborahcooke.com/claire-delacroix-books/boxed-sets/kinfairlie-knights/

I'm planning to write the story of the last sibling from Kinfairlie (that's Ross) and launch a new series set at Inverfyre in the Highlands, after the Templar series is done. That might just squeak into the 2015 release schedule, so stay tuned!

Tell us a little about your writing process for example are you an inveterate plotter, a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants author, organic, or some mix of them all.
I'm naturally a pantser but 20 years of working with publishers has convinced me of the merit of a synopsis. I now write the first sketch of the synopsis (maybe a paragraph) then the first chapter of the book. That gives the characters a chance to speak up and interact, and gives me a sense of the story's strengths and weaknesses. Then I finish the synopsis (8 - 10 pages double spaced) and then I dive into the writing of the book itself. One thing I do that is apparently unusual is that I revise continuously - whatever is behind me in the book manuscript has to be clean for me to envision what's next. In that way, by the time I write the last scene of the book, the rest has been edited and revised multiple times. I usually write the last scene, read it once, then spell check and send it to my editor. From what I understand, not many authors write that way, but it works for me.


Claire Delacroix is a pseudonym used by bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke. Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, #1 Kindle Bestselling, KOBO Bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ Bestselling Author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.
Deborah has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels. She writes as herself,

Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and of Novelists Inc. She is an avid knitter, and lives in Canada with her husband.

To learn more:
Twitter @Cooke_Delacroix
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12694.Claire_Delacroix

Friday, February 27, 2015

Like, Lust, Love--Where Do They Fit in Romance Novels?

By Linda Lovely

Can you lust after someone you don’t like? Can you love someone yet dislike that person? Can you like and lust but not love? These are questions all authors should ask as they plot their books and consider the best ways to add conflict or increase tension if they’re writing novels that include romantic relationships.
The Power of Lust
In fictional romances, one of the tropes is a heroine who lusts for a hero she despises. She gets all tingly the moment he enters a room. It’s as if he’s a force field. She tries to fight her attraction but she’s powerless to squelch it. Of course, if the book is a romance, she eventually discovers the hero is not despicable, and she falls in love (usually before she satisfies her lust). The issue of “like” may or may not be fully addressed.

Okay, given the right circumstances, I can suspend disbelief and buy into this oft-used plot device. Our hormones don’t always listen to reason. While “like” is a thinking/logic idea, lust (and love) occur at a more subconscious level and sometimes defy logic.  So it’s not hard to imagine lusting after someone you don’t like—especially if your dislike is based on assumptions and hearsay. In this case our logic—the reason we don’t like someone—may be flawed. Thus, the enemies-to-lovers trope can be believable if done correctly.

However, there is a point where I draw the line. If the heroine has actually witnessed (or experienced) a man doing something detestable, say backhanding his mother or kicking a cat, I have a harder time believing her lust “force field” wouldn’t break down.  (Unless, of course, we later learn an alien being killed his mother and is inhabiting her body or the kicked cat is a shape-shifter.)  
Like Versus Love
A friend of mine, a mother, confessed to me that she loved all four of her children equally, but she couldn’t help liking two of them a lot more than their siblings. Love of family members—whether they’re likable or not—is another trope in fiction. This is the blood is thicker theory. Of course, what’s called “love” in this instance may actually be better described as clan loyalty.

But, I couldn’t love a man I didn’t like and respect. So, if I’m writing a romance, the hero has to win the respect of the heroine before she can truly love him. In my case, the hero also has to be able to make the heroine laugh in order for her to fall madly in love. Okay, that’s a personal peccadillo.
Like, Lust and Love
I do think it’s possible to really like someone and yet find it impossible to take that next step to love. As noted earlier, like is a function of logic. Lust and love not so much. This reality offers lots of fictional opportunities. Movies like “Four Weddings and a Funeral” do an excellent job of exploring such disconnects among friends when one longs to move her/his relationship to the next step only to find the sentiment isn’t shared.

That’s why if I’m reading a romance, I want the whole kit and caboodle—like, lust, love—to convince me that a hero and heroine will actually have a happy ever after (HEA).


Do you agree?      

Thursday, February 26, 2015


HAS THE MAGIC GONE? - MARGARET TANNER

Has the magic evaporated? Drifted away on the wind now that the Valentine’s Day chocolates are all eaten and the dead roses have been taken away with the trash? Of course, the real romantic may have saved a rose petal or two, pressed them between the covers of a book to savor and recall the romantic gesture at a later date. The cynics amongst us might say that Valentine’s Day is commercialized rubbish, but not the true romantic. To them, Valentine’s Day equates to romance.

Without romance the world would be a sad and lonely place, and I don’t think I am alone in thinking this way.  Tens of thousands of women who read romance books know the truth. Love makes the world go round. No matter whether the story finishes with death or birth, happiness or sadness, as long as, in the mind of the romance reader, the ending is satisfying to them, they are happy and ready to buy their next romance book.

Some of the best romance books I have read had me crying at the end, but I didn’t feel cheated because under the right circumstances, and as strange as it might seem to some, a sad ending makes for a grand finale. I guess a comic ending would work well for some, but not for me. I want the emotion to tug at my heart, fill my eyes with tears and cause my heart to pound. Have me worried sick that the hero and heroine will never get their happily ever after ending after all the angst and suffering they have gone through. I would feel cheated, betrayed even, if an author did that to me.

In keeping with our guest bloggers for the month of February – writers of Scottish romance, I thought I would mention my novel, Savage Possession. It is set in frontier Australia, but has a decidedly Scottish flavor.

SAVAGE POSSESSION

BLURB:
A sweeping tale of love's triumph over tragedy and treachery in frontier Australia.

A mistaken identity opens the door for Martin Mulvaney to take his revenge on the granddaughter of his mortal enemy.

An old Scottish feud, a love that should never have happened, and a series of extraordinary coincidences trap two lovers in a family vendetta that threatens to destroy their love, if not their lives.

EXCERPT:

“For God’s sake, Sam. What’s wrong?”

“Your, your, Storm is named Elizabeth,” Sam said in a harsh whisper. “Elizabeth Campbell, old Fergus’ granddaughter.”

“What!” The statement was like a mule kick to his stomach and Martin almost doubled over with shock.

“No! She can’t be,” he rasped.

“Didn’t you see the resemblance?”

 “What’s the matter?” Storm asked in a panic stricken voice.

Martin ignored her distress. “You’re a Campbell,” he snarled, advancing towards her with deadly intent. “Get out of my sight.”

“But, Martin,” she pleaded, “what have I done?”

“Done?” He gritted his teeth to stop himself grabbing hold of her. “You’re the granddaughter of my mortal enemy.”

“Stop it,” Sam intervened. “Go to your room, girlie, until we sort this mess out.”

As she fled, Martin hurled a string of curses at her.

“I’ve made a whore out of Fergus Campbell’s granddaughter. Better than killing the old bastard.”  He gave a harsh bark of laughter. “I heard somewhere he doted on those twins of his. I ought to grab her by the scruff of the neck, drag her to the Black Stallion and tell everyone in the public bar what a talented little harlot I turned her into.”  He enjoyed the idea for a moment.

“Listen to me, son.”

“No. You listen to me. I’ve waited years for a chance to destroy old Fergus. He ruined my life. Oh, revenge will be sweet. Took a stock whip to me once, did you know that?  I want that Scottish Highland pride ground into the dust. I want him to be so humiliated he’ll want to crawl off somewhere and die.”

“What about the girl? You said the gypsies abused her.”

“They did, but she’s a whore, a Campbell whore.”

“You can’t blame her for what happened years ago. Bury the past for the love of God,” Sam pleaded. “This thirst for revenge will destroy you.”

 


Margaret's Website: http://www.margarettanner.com/ 

 

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hot and Cold Running Releases

by M.L. Buchman

One of things I think I enjoy most about being an author is finding out about strange places and people. Writers cover a wide spectrum from "I just make it up as I go" to "I want to get as much right as I can" to nutcases like me who are total research hounds!

"Bloodhound Trials Feb 2008 -79" by John Leslie - Flickr: Wikimedia
Okay, maybe I'm not that bad.

This habit of asking: "What's over there?" has led me to innumerable odd places over the years, an ice & snow climbing class on Mt. Rainier, hiking in the wilderness of a half dozen states, flying and jumping out of airplanes (though not the same one), and bicycling around the world for a year and a half to name a few.

All of that experience gives me the jumping off points for my stories that lead me to yet stranger research corners. And sometimes it is the juxtaposition of those corners that is the most fun.

This month I have an ice-bound short story and a blazing wildfire novel. Writing those back to back was particularly amusing because, as a writer who is a research hound, I immerse myself in the environment.

To write Heart of the Storm I drew on dozens of climbing texts that I've read (mostly when I was younger and it would scare my parents to death--I then started building plastic model motorcycles which really freaked them out, though I've never owned a real one), winter climbing blogs, equipment sites, and my own experience riding my bicycle around the base of Mt. Rainier (a 14,000' peak in Washington state that's at the center of this story).

To write Wildfire at Larch Creek I was abruptly back in my Firehawks world of wildland firefighters, specifically the smokejumpers. For that tale, in addition to all my prior research into wildfires I was off into mircoclimates in the valleys around Denali and just how do the small village survive out in the Alaskan bush, I also went reaching back to the tiny town where I spent six years as a kid in upstate New York (1,200 people and 10,000 head of dairy cow).
This is pretty much the whole town; the school and gas station take up the other side of the street.
(image from Google Maps--new sidewalks! Very cool!)



A Night Stalkers short story (click for more info)
How Michael and Mark came to fly together.
A Firehawks / Larch Creek romance (click for more info)
Two-Tall Tim finds returning home is never easy on the heart,
especially when true love awaits.

They were certainly fun to write!

Also look for (or pre-order), the next Night Stalkers novel coming March 3rd!!

A Night Stalkers novel (click for more info)
Delta Force Colonel Michael Gibson gets his Night Stalker...for life.
Perhaps I should have titled this blog, "A Bro-mance and Two Romances" or maybe "Cold, Hot, and Steamy Releases!"  I do so love writing! 

Now I'm off to research...but that would be telling!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why Unrequited Love? by Sarah Raplee

THIS HEART OF MINE
Hi! I'm Sarah Raplee, and I write scary, funny paranormal and steampunk romances. I write because I can't help it, and it's more fun than most of the alternatives. I have short stories in two anthologies, LOVE & MAGICK and GIFTS FROM THE HEART  from Windtree Press. My PN Romantic Suspense novel, BLINDSIGHT, will be released next month.

I’ve always been interested in stories of unrequited love. One of my favorite opening lines in a romance novel is from the great Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ This Heart of Mine.

The day Kevin Tucker nearly killed her, Molly Somerville swore off unrequited love forever.

Of course, just when Molly is ready to finally move on, Fate has other plans for this unlikely couple. Which begs the question, why does a person love someone for years when the object of their affections not only doesn’t love them back, but is unlikely to or even incapable of ever returning their love? Doesn't even know of their love?

Loving someone you know is out of reach may be a way to protect your heart. If you never have their love, you can never feel the pain of losing it.

Never telling someone you love them means never risking rejection.

Loving someone from afar may mean never having to deal with the reality of their flaws. You can create an idealized version of this perfect person who doesn’t really exist. Maybe you are too young or immature, or have too many unresolved ‘issues’ for a real love relationship between two normal, flawed people. For some, maybe it’s a practice step on the road to true love.

Sometimes, keeping your feelings to yourself may be a matter of honor. Your beloved is your friend’s husband or wife. Or a criminal. Or your people’s enemy.


What are your thoughts about unrequited love?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Question and Answer Session with Amanda Scott

Romancing the Genres caught up with Amanda Scott who graciously answered a few questions about Scotland, writing, Scotland, history and Scotland!
What draws you to Scotland?
I've written books set in the English Regency and Victorian periods and books set in Wales, as well as the Scottish Historicals I’m writing now. My field is British history with an emphasis on England and Scotland, and my heritage is Scottish on both sides with the addition of Welsh on my father’s side. 
Most of my Scottish ancestors hail from the Borders (Scott, Douglas, Logan), and the rest are Jamisons from Clan Gunn and the Isles of Orkney. I tell people I have horse thieves (reivers) hanging from every branch of the family tree. 
Library Journal actually credited me with starting the Scottish Historical genre with my book BORDER BRIDE (which took seven years to find a publisher, at Dell! Then Diana Gabaldon sent Outlander to Dell just about the time the numbers for BORDER BRIDE began rolling in, and Outlander is what really set everything off. Kensington republished BORDER BRIDE in September 2001, and it hit the US Today best-seller list. It is now available only in its electronic version from the usual online outlets.
What do you love about writing Scottish historical romances? 
I love writing about Scotland, because historically Scottish women have always had strong influences and been legal entities under early Celtic and later institutionalized laws. In the Celtic regions, their influence was particularly strong, because they were allowed, even expected, to sit in on the doings of the chiefs, even of the Lords of the Isles. Legally, such meetings or courts had to be held outside or at least in a space large enough to accommodate all comers. 
In the Lowlands and Borders, men did tend to expect their women always to heed their commands, but they were not legally allowed to beat them severely or control them the way Englishmen could legally control wives and daughters (and were legally expected to). 
In England, a woman was not even an entity under the law unless she was a widow. Before that, she was merely her father’s daughter or her husband’s wife, and the man was supposed to control her. Englishmen who wanted to leave inheritances to their daughters or granddaughters had to go through legal hoops to make sure that her husband or father could not seize her inheritance. 
Those of you who read Regency romances will recognize Lady Sally Jersey as such a woman. Sally was the wealthiest woman in England, because her grandfather (Robert Child of Child’s Bank) left her his fortune, skipping his own daughter, Anne, who married a man he loathed Sally’s father, John Fane, the 10th Earl of Westmorland). He wasn't fond of the Earl of Jersey, either, so he arranged for Sally to inherit the works in her own right. In Scotland, a woman could even inherit a title. A Scotsman could certainly put his wife or daughter over his knee and smack her, but if a man was brutal to his wife or daughter, the rest of the clan or village would shame him for it.
What's the hardest aspect of writing your books?
Getting the ass in the chair (as Virginia Woolf so gracefully phrased it). I’m very disciplined, overall, and get everything in on time (albeit often at the very last minute). However, when Life intervenes, things can go way off course and getting back on course can be challenging. 
I also sometimes have trouble getting into my normal rhythm. I work better in the mornings and evenings than I do in the afternoon, but I also need exercise and fresh air, and in Sacramento, anytime other than winter or early spring (and yes, we do have winter when temps can drop into the teens and twenties) I need to walk in the morning, and I prefer to get the big walk out of the way then. I can hear some of you who live in the Midwest and East snickering at the temperatures I mentioned. My husband and I lived in Omaha for 7 years, and our son was born there, so I know what real cold is, too. In any event, things do usually come together, and by the second half of any first draft, I normally produce ten to twenty pages a day.

Where do you get the inspiration for your characters/storyline?
Ideas, especially the first germinations, come from everywhere you can possibly imagine. Since I write Historicals, the background ideas and characters usually come from the research, and I do a LOT of research for every book. 
But everything else, character traits, even characters, can pop up when I least expect them. For example, I sign books at Scottish games all over the west coast and inland as far as Colorado, and I met a woman who worked in the booth, who was so nice that she nearly drove the rest of us nuts. If I stood up, she would ask if I was going to the bathroom, and should she tell fans that I would be right back. At lunchtime, she would make a list of all the food vendors and offer to get sandwiches or drinks for any of us who were signing. She hovered but always very kindly and with our best interests at heart. 
I had just finished Border Fire, where the heroine’s brother was a bad guy, and I wanted him to be the hero of my next book, Border Storm. I knew he’d have some lessons to learn for readers to accept him in that role, and giving him a kindly aunt seemed just the ticket. By the way, any author who tells you that s/he never uses people s/he knows as characters is full of it. We all write what we know (or we certainly should). The thing is that we pick certain traits and use those examples to pattern our characters. We also give those characters flaws that the originals either do not have or would never admit to having. J

You have a new release, Devil's Moon, coming out next month. Tell us a little about this book.

 DEVIL’S MOON (Forever, late March 2015), the sequel to MOONLIGHT RAIDER (Forever, September 2014) is set in early 15th century Scotland and is an excellent example of how a plot can germinate. In the course of researching the Scotts of Buccleuch (my own most likely heritage), I came across the Gledstanes of Coklaw in a book written in the late 19th century about the Scotts. The Gledstanes are ancestors of the Gladstones, as in Prime Minister Gladstone of Great Britain
More to the point, for DEVIL’S MOON, during the late 19th century, a jar of silver coins was discovered a short distance outside Coklaw’s wall. The coins were very old, though, dating to the 14th century and before. The author made a good case for their provenance, and the seed for DEVIL’S MOON was planted and began to germinate.
The heroine is Lady Robina Gledstanes, whose twin brother died recently in a Border skirmish with the villainous English, and Robina can still hear Rab talking to her but has confided this fact to no one else. Her nine-year-old brother, Benjy is the new heir. 
The hero is Sir David “Devil” Ormiston of Ormiston, a knight and warrior with a legendary temper, whose best friend was Rab Gledstanes. Rab died defending Dev and made him promise to keep an eye on Robina and Benjy. Not being a relation, still grieving himself, and knowing that Robina has a mind of her own, Dev has not yet decided how to approach the matter when he sees someone riding Rab’s charger and leading a band of reivers, sets out in pursuit, and catches guess-who in her bedchamber ….
Tell us a little about yourself, your writing life.
Amanda Scott
I think I covered my writing life above. I’m a fourth-generation Californian with Scottish ancestry on both sides. My father’s Scott family included Jamisons, Logans, Fergusons, and other clans. My mother's Lowell family included Douglases. There are also a few Welsh Joneses in the Scott mix. I’m married, have one son, two grandchildren, and a Persian cat named Willy Magee, who was the model for the Wee Biter in SEDUCED BY A ROGUE. I spend a good part of my summers writing, hiking, kayaking, and just zoning out at our cabin in the High Sierras. No phone, no electricity, no sewers, no road, just peaceful bliss.

Also, I am always eager to learn more about readers’ thoughts and expectations. So, if you've yearned to read about something historically Scottish or a particular type of hero or heroine that you have yet to discover in my books or anyone else’s, just let me know. Likewise, if you have a pet peeve, just say so. I've received many excellent suggestions from readers in the past (such as the one who discovered the unpublished 16th century manuscript from which sprouted the seeds for the Galloway trilogy: TAMED BY A LAIRD, SEDUCED BY A ROGUE, and TEMPTED BY A WARRIOR).
You can reach me through my website www.amandascottauthor.com or my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/amandascottauthor and you can find most of my older eBooks with buy points in all formats on my page at Open Road Media www.openroadmedia.com/amanda-scott


Friday, February 20, 2015

A Love Affair with Words


Hi, I'm Pippa Jay - author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul.

And I'm in love with writing. I love the shape of letters, and the creation of words as I put the letters together. I love crafting sentences out of the words and weaving them into stories. I have loved writing for as long as I can remember. The love affair began the day I badgered my dad to write my own name out in full - a long and complex affair. I remember sitting at a camping table in the sun, carefully shaping out each letter over and over again until I had it perfect. And I just kept going.

It's ironic to look back at that and recall another situation with my dad years later. The moment he read something of mine, then told me I'd never be a writer. Not because I was a girl and that wasn't allowed or appropriate or anything else (my dad was not a misogynist at least, for which I'm eternally grateful). No. It was because I had no talent or ability. My story was boring. Pretty hard to take from someone you respect and as an already insecure teen whose family had just split up. It was a bad time for all of us. I get that. To find out someone you love doesn't love you any more is soul crushing. But it wasn't any easier being told you suck at the thing you love to do most in the world. At that time it was the only sure thing I had that was mine, that couldn't be taken away or pulled apart by everything else collapsing around me.


Despite that (or maybe because of that - trying to prove someone wrong can be as compelling a drive as your own desire to achieve something) I went on to complete my first ever novel a year later. It was a 40K Doctor Who story (you know I'm a SF geek, right?) and I even went as far as submitting it to the then publishers of the Doctor Who novels - WH Allen. It was rejected, but I had a letter full of constructive criticism and encouragement. Then things happened, and I abandoned my writing for the next twenty years. 


August 2009 found me married sixteen years, with three little redhaired monsters. Happy to be a wife and a mother, but feeling that I'd lost my identity beyond those two labels. Overweight and bored, I dug out an unfinished short story and went to work. A frenzied six weeks later (during which my husband became convinced I'd gone insane) I had a 60K rough first draft. This became two separate stories, the first part evolving into a 100K science fiction romance called Keir.

Re-releasing 7th May

I'd rediscovered my first love, and it was euphoric. Nearly six years down the line I've ten titles available, with one new release, one re-release, and three of last year's digital titles now releasing in print this year. I couldn't do this now without the love and support of my husband (who still thinks I'm a little crazy but who is often the one to encourage me on my down days) and my three little monsters (who think it's quite cool to have an author as their mum). They always come first, of course, but I hope to continue my love affair with words for the rest of my life.




So I leave you with one of my favourite quotes (and one appropriate to a Whovian and an author of scifi romance). Why don't you leave me one of yours in the comments?



Want to connect? You can stalk me at my website, or at my blog, but without doubt my favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.