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Archive for May, 2014

DarkMoon_coverIt’s been a tough week for me, with terrible headaches that culminated in a migraine that struck me at work on Wednesday and sent me off to hospital. Blch!

So it’s been a week of no computer for me. Luckily I pre-published Daniel DeLorne’s guest blog with me on Thursday (check it out here) and I had already organised this guest blog to talk about my process and Dark Moon on Darksiders Downunder Darklight On… So I haven’t been completely absent. 🙂

I’m still not spending much time on the computer, so I’ll sign off for now, but I’d love you to visit me with the Darksiders and leave a comment.

Check you later

I’m excited to have Daniel De Lorne on my blog today. I’ve recently got to know Daniel (we’re on the Romance Writers of Australia committee together) and I can tell you, this is one lovely guy. So when I found out he was releasing his first book, I jumped at the chance to feature him and his novel, ‘Beckoning Blood’ on my site.  Daniel agreed to be put in the hot seat and answer my questions about himself and his novel.

Beckoning Blood Cover 1000Hi Daniel. Thanks for being a guest on my blog. I’ll start off with the always expected question – tell us a little bit about ‘Beckoning Blood.’

It’s about twin brothers, Olivier and Thierry, who get made into vampires. Thierry is in love with Etienne but Olivier can’t bear it. He’s obsessed with his brother and orchestrates Etienne’s death and Thierry’s becoming an immortal. Though Thierry really can’t stand his brother, he stays with him through the centuries…until Etienne’s soul returns. Then all hell breaks loose.

It’s a bloodier and grittier m/m paranormal than most readers are probably used to. Lots of blood, a bit gruesome and violent. All the good stuff. 🙂

Beckoning Blood is your first published novel – congratulations. Can you tell us a little bit about your ‘call’ story?

Thanks 🙂 Beckoning Blood was the first full length novel I wrote. I completed the first draft in 2009, got some interest from the first few chapters after attending the Romance Writers of Australia conference in 2010 but unfortunately it didn’t eventuate into a deal. I rewrote and edited parts of the book over the next couple of years and then submitted it to Escape Publishing in 2012. Initially it was a no but Kate Cuthbert, the managing editor, gave some great feedback and said she’d be happy to see it again. I went away, rewrote the opening, submitted it and it got accepted in the second half of 2013. I was over the moon about it, as I was starting to think it would never find a home.

Beckoning Blood is a dark and bloody visit into history and mythology with a male on male romance. M/M romance is a genre primarily written by females for females. What do you think it is about this genre that particularly appeals to women? As a man writing the genre, did you have to change the way you viewed things knowing your audience was mostly women, or did you just write what seemed real for you? (personally, I write what I like and just hope that others do too, but I know not everyone does that.)

I’ve read female readers’ and writers’ thoughts on why m/m appeals to them and some have to do with the exotic nature of the romance, or maybe the added…vulnerability…of men who love men. Of course, it could have a lot to do with the hotness of two guys getting it on. I’m not really certain of the attraction for them but I’m glad there is such a large readership.

I can’t say I changed much to what I thought female readers would like because, like you, I’d rather write what I like and hope others do too. I think the audience is broad enough now to accept something different.

I love paranormal books and have bookshelves full of them. What inspires you to write paranormal? What’s their appeal to you? Where do your ideas come from?

The wonder and the impossibility of paranormal and fantasy stories wormed its way into my brain when I was little and the fascination has stuck with me ever since. I like stories where the impossible becomes possible, where the different is part of the norm. That’s not to say that the real world doesn’t hold wonder for me, because it does, but writing about the paranormal just has a stronger allure.

My ideas come from all over the place. Often it’s from a song or a particularly beautiful piece of music, combined with whatever I’m feeling or looking at at the time. Then presto! An idea is born. I’ll often have a scene in my head with an intense emotion attached to it and I’ll work from there.

Daniel-de-Lorne PhotoYou’re and ex-pat Aussie living over in Canada. What do you do when you’re not being a writer?

Well, there’s the cooking, and the cleaning, and the shopping…just kidding. I don’t clean and I hate shopping. I’m a freelance writer and editor, so that helps bring in some money, which we need as my partner and I have been doing a lot of travelling. So, I spend time planning trips (next we’re off to Salzburg for a week), but otherwise it’s the usual house stuff. Now that the weather is warmer in Toronto, I’m heading out more often to explore the city. I love to explore and perhaps that’s why I like creating imaginary worlds in my books.

Writers are always being given advice to diversify and write in different genres – although this doesn’t work for everyone. Aside from dark paranormal, do you write or have aspirations to write any other genres?

I’ve recently written a book that leans more towards fantasy. It’s not that far from dark paranormal but it’s definitely got a different feel to it. I’ve also got a few ideas for contemporary books, not necessarily romance but there’d be a romantic storyline in it at the least. Really, it comes down to what the idea is about and I worry about the genre later.

You have recently joined the Romance Writers of Australia committee, an organisation primarily run by women for women, mostly because most romance writers are women). Although, we have seen more and more men joining RWA and writing romance in the last few years. What is your experience being a man in a primarily female oriented organisation? Do you think people’s ideas about romance are changing, making joining organisations such as RWA more appealing for more writers? What have the benefits been for you?

I love it. I’m certainly a point of difference within the organisation. I hope attitudes are changing, however, I’ve still come across plenty of people (writers included) who sneer at the romance genre. What I think does help is RWA having a bigger presence and reaching those writers who still feel ashamed about writing romance. What I love most about RWA is its sense of community. Hearing stories of writers who’ve joined and then brought to tears because they’ve finally found their home always make me smile. And for the sneerers? Well, jealousy’s a curse.

What’s Daniel De Lorne’s pet peeve? What’s your favourite thing?

In the writing world, my pet peeve is the snobbishness from writers who don’t write in the romance genre and readers who don’t read in the romance genre. I was in a short story workshop once and the romance genre bashing was pretty free and easy. THAT made my blood boil. Next time it happens, I’m going to say something.

Favourite thing: that sense of discovery when writing a new story. I don’t plot much so every chapter is a surprise. Even more surprising is when it all comes together with some beautiful (and unconscious) imagery or plot turns.

What’s been the most surprising aspect of your writing career so far? What have you had the most difficulties with? What have you learned the most from?

The most surprising thing is that people like the book. I’ve got a few really good early reviews and that’s quite validating. Similarly, the most difficult thing is the not-so-good reviews. But you get that and just have to deal with it.

What’s up next for you? Any projects on the boil that you’re particularly excited about?

Next I’m working on the sequel to Beckoning Blood. I’ve written one draft but it needs a lot of work to get it to publishable standard. Then there are a couple of others I need to edit. Maybe amongst all that I’ll be able to work on something new. A few characters and scenes have taken root inside my head so I’m keen to get to them.

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog today, Daniel. It was fun finding out a little bit more about you and your writing. Congratulations once again and good luck with the book.

You can buy Daniel’s novel, Beckoning Blood, from:

Escape Publishing

Kindle

iBooks

Kobo

Nook

Author bio:

Daniel de Lorne writes mostly about the loves and trials of hot and sexy paranormal men – and creatures. He grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and developed a fascination for the mythical and magical early on. Daniel wrote stories from a young age but it was high school biology class he remembers fondly as providing an excellent cover for writing stories that were filled with teen angst and fantastical creatures. He now lives in Canada with his partner. It was while in this great northern frontier that Escape Publishing accepted his first book, Beckoning Blood, for publication.

For a free read, introducing you to the “heroes” of Daniel’s book, head to his website at www.danieldelorne.com/the-boys.

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DarkMoon_coverI’m over on Book Babe  today promoting Dark Moon and having a general chat about something I’ve not talked about much before.

Tara at Book Babe asked me about how my acting influenced my writing, a question a few people have been interested in, but I’ve never been asked to write an entire blog about it. So, I began to write about acting and writing and realised that for me, there’s not much difference between the two of them, and that what I learned acting really does influence how I write.

I’d love you to come and visit and let me know what you think.

See you there.

I’m all nervous and fluttery. I’ve just done that hugely difficult thing – pressed ‘send’ to my editors and agent on the novel I’ve been working on for the past year. Blood sweat and tears (both mine and my fabulous critique group – thanks especially to Marnie, my Beta reader on this one) has gone into writing and redrafting and redrafting and redrafting this novel amidst edits for Killing Me Softly and Dark Moon and all the promo blogging I’ve been doing for both. But, finally, it is done.

As all writers do, I felt I could probably have gone over it once again, but I try to keep in mind the very sage words my husband’s friend, and now mine, Mel Scott (MJ Scott, author of the Half-light City series among others) said to my husband one time when he was talking with her about my writing -: ‘Just tell the girl to stop playing with the bloody thing and send it off.’

So, I made myself stop after this last draft, even though the uncertain part of me is screaming at me there were things still to play with, and just sent the bloody thing off.

Now for the nerve-wracking wait to hear what my editors at Penguin’s Destiny Romance, and my agent, Alex Adsett, think of it (sound of teeth chewing fingernails off and stomach gurgling horribly).

I hope, sooner rather than later, I’ll have some good news to share with everyone. But if not, I won’t give up. This is a story dying to be told and I will do my utmost to get it out there to everyone who enjoyed Dark Moon so much.

DarkMoon_coverThe last few months have been a bit of a blur in regards to all the guest posts I’ve written for Dark Moon. It’s been fun looking at my novel and characters in different ways and answering a whole heap of questions about my process and where my ideas come from, but they are all a bit of a scramble in my mind. So, I was having a little look over some of them the other day and thought that some of them bore repeating. So I am going to share some of my favourites with you here. There will be a link to the original blog post if you’d like to go and look at the original blog post on the original blog site, but the main thrust of the blog will be below.

The first one was a blog I did for LoveCats Downunder. It isn’t really a blog about Dark Moon at all, but about my love of the romance genre and what it means to me and it was hugely cathartic to write. I hope you enjoy it too.

THE TIMES SHORT ROMANCE SAVED ME

I was writing a blog the other day about my love of paranormal and romantic suspense (the 2 genres I write in). It was titled ‘When Romance Isn’t Enough’ and was about my need for that third character in a romance book – the world building or the evil mastermind or killer who gets a look in. However, within that blog, I mentioned there were times when the romance alone was very much enough and it made me think there was a blog in that. So, here I am at the Lovecats where romance is front and centre.

You hear all the time the put-downs people have about romance books, most especially short romance in what has been traditionally known as the category variety – what all the lovely and talented ladies here on Lovecats write. They often say those books are filled with predictable tropes, you already know the ending – they’re going to end up together – and the fact they are centred on two people falling in love sets unrealistic ideals for women.

Rubbish!

Cover of one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books.

Cover of one of my favourite Georgette Heyer books.

Those people are talking out of their you-know-whats. They fail to understand that the people who write, read and love those novels (people like me and you and the Lovecats) actually want those things. We want to know the hero and heroine are going to get together at the end – the suspense is in how the author will get them there when there’s so many obstacles in the way. In regards to the tropes, it’s said there are only 7 true story types, so how can you write anything but a trope if this is true? But even if it isn’t, we still want the tropes. They are comforting and fun and not predictable at all in the hands of a clever writer who can twist and bend them into a pretzel and then say to their characters, ‘Get out of that one! Ha!’

And the fact that the books are centred on two people falling in love is not setting unrealistic ideals for women. Women aren’t stupid. We know they are the fantastical end of reality. But we want that fantastical end for just a little while in amongst the chaos that is the modern woman’s life. Those romances, the tropes, the predictable endings, they all saved my sanity time and again throughout my life.

I first really started to get into reading category romance when I was in VCE. I like to read before going to bed – it’s part of my ‘go to sleep’ routine. When my eyes were practically popping out of my head from the study grind and I was feeling more stressed than VCE alone was culpable for (my VCE year was filled with personal stresses I won’t go into here suffice to say, it was amazing I even turned up at times and got through the year). My Nanna gave me some of her favourite Nora Roberts category novels and a bunch of others too, because she thought they’d be good to read at the end of a hard day when my mind was too busy for my usual diet of fantasy books. Boy, was she right.

I inhaled those books like they were lollies – a special candy made up of whizz fizz and popping candy put together with a dollop of strawberry chuppa-chups and chocolate on the side. They were bright and sparkly and always made me feel special and cheery at the end (but kind of sad, in a good way, because I didn’t want to leave those characters there.) Those books got me through some very hard times during that year.

The book that got me into Romantic Suspense

The book that got me into Romantic Suspense

They were the bright in the dark, and to this day, Nora Roberts is one of my favourite authors.

This trend continued throughout university when I was doing a double major in English and Drama and was reading great thick books from Chaucer, Thackery, Austen and Shakespeare through to Alice Munro and Margaret Attwood, not to mention plays like Hedder Gabler, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Waiting for Godot – heavy stuff. I would put down the heavy at the end of the day and sink into the delights of a romance, full of its twisty-turny pretzel-shaped tropes and delight in the triumph of both author and characters when they finally got their happy ever after. I continued with this trend after I finished uni – whenever the stresses of life were getting to me, I picked up a new category and off I went; an instant sanity refresher!

Years later when I began to write after giving up the theatre world to have a family, I tried my hand at these ‘simple’ romances I loved, only to find that they are not so simple to write. I failed at writing them (had some great ideas, but I just couldn’t manage to keep that third character out of the room!) and had to wave my career as a famous category writer good-bye.

I turned instead to the other genres I love to read – paranormal and fantasy and romantic suspense – and have succeeded in starting to carve a little career for myself in these. But I tip my cap in awe to the authors who manage to wrestle their story into the pages of a category romance and manage to come up with an enticing, sparkly read with that ‘aahh’ feeling at the end. You ladies saved my sanity (you’re still doing it) and I thank you from the bottom of my filled-with-romance heart.

 

I’m not sure how many of you out there are migraine sufferers, but I can tell you, it’s a horrifying thing I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy or arch nemesis. Not that I have a worst enemy or arch nemesis, given I’m not a superhero or X-man or live in a fantasy or sci-fi show or book! My life just isn’t melodramatic enough to have a ‘worst enemy’ or ‘arch nemesis’. Although, if I was to say something was that, it would in actual fact, be my migraines.

They are the interrupter of plans, the destroyer of lovely days with the family and the heralder of pain I would rather not experience again, but know I will, regardless of how careful I am about what I eat and drink, how much I make sure I get to bed early to try to get a good night’s sleep and do all the things I need to do to reduce stress. They are an unwanted journey my body insists I go on every now and then when things are just not going right inside. I call it a visit to Migraine City. I’d prefer to never have got acquainted with Migraine City, but I have been making visits since I was 9. Mostly, they don’t come more than a couple of times a year, but there are times when other factors can make them worse.

When I was pregnant and going through IVF, they were at their absolute worse. I journeyed to Migraine City regularly, with many days recovering from my trips there – the Migraine Hangover Days. Not to mention those days spent in the outerlying suburbs, where the growth of a nasty headache is the passport through to the centre of Migraine City. Sometimes there were very few days between these times and I spent much of that period of my life living with the threat of the next trip looming close on the horizon. Those days, thankfully, fell behind me as I worked hard at righting all the things that were made not right by the IVF and pregnancy woes I endured.

Then, a few years ago, I was injured and my back, neck and shoulder were affected and the headaches and trips to Migraine City started up more frequently again. It is an ongoing issue that I am trying my hardest with trips to the physio, massages and the occasional accupuncture to deal with. At the moment, my neck particularly is out (which can give me headaches and migraines) and my hormones are not being good little hormones, so it was no surprise I got a migraine. I managed to fend it off a week ago with medication and half a day in bed, but I was foolish to think it might have gone away. My trip into Migraine City had only been postponed, not avoided completely.  Yesterday was a horrible day and today I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck – my muscles are weak and aching and yet tight at the same time and I have a dull headache I know won’t go away for a few days. My hearing is still a little touchy and my sinuses, ears and throat feel like I’ve had a cold and are a bit touchy and sore.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband and family who are incredibly helpful so that I don’t have to worry about getting the boys to and from school, call work to organise someone to cover my shifts, pack lunches, remind the boys if it’s music or sports day and so on when I am curled up in bed, clutching my head and am hardly able to think around the pain to speak, let alone organise the ins and outs of my day. I still have to catch up on everything I missed yesterday, and my writing schedule is now behind, but I couldn’t imagine having to go through this without the help I have. Every time I have a migraine and am laid up in bed for a day or two or three, I thank whoever is in charge of such things for the family I have. My family can’t visit Migraine City with me, (and I would never want them to actually come with me) but I am thankful they are there, ready to pick up the slack and pick me up on the other side when I stumble out.

Who do you have around you to make the shit times better? I hope you all have someone – it’s a hard road to do it all alone.

Romance Writers of Australia