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Posts Tagged ‘Romance Writers of Australia’

Me and Kerrie Patterson - both gritty writers

Me and Kerrie Patterson – both gritty writers

Just recently, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I write, why I write, where I get inspiration from, and how it is I can keep going when the obvious rewards (publishing, money) are so minimal and rejection is so rife. All good questions and I’m not going to answer all of them here as I’d go on for pages and pages trying to cover it all.

However, I will answer the how I keep going part despite the negatives, because I think that’s an important subject for all writers – for anyone actually who is wanting to do anything and stick at it.

It all comes down to grit.

Aint Love GrandI always associate strongly with music, and there have been a few songs which have spoken to me a lot about the drive to keep going despite all the odds and the push backs and the rejections. I actually sang these last year at the Romance Writers of Australia, Ain’t Love Grand! conference last year. The weekend’s theme was a cabaret one, so it seemed to fit, especially with my background in performance, primarily in cabaret and theatre restaurants. I sang ‘Maybe this time’ from Cabaret, a song the editors at Harlequin Australia had asked me to sing at the cocktail party they sponsored after they found out about my performance background.  I was very happy to sing this song, as I play it to myself (and sing it to myself) a lot when I’m struggling a bit to find the oomph to keep going. It speaks to me about never giving up, always looking to what you want, even when you keep getting knocked to the ground over and over. I finished with ‘They just keep moving the line,’ from the TV musical, Smash, another favourite song to listen and sing to. It once again is about putting your head down and just keep marching forward, keep reaching for the goal, even when that goal is moved over and over again. It was an amazing pleasure to share these with my writing friends and compatriots at the conference and I know that those songs spoke to them as well.

Singing about grit

Singing about grit

But to go with these songs, I had to write a speech to go with them, to explain why there are important to me, what they give me, and why I think the meaning behind them can speak to others as well who are in this crazy writing journey as well. I closed the conference with this speech, and it went over well, but I didn’t really think much about it afterwards. However, given the conversations I’ve had lately with a number of people about how I do this, how I keep on keeping on, it seemed to me that the best thing to do is to share the speech I gave to RWA members last August and hope it speaks to others now as it did then.

GRIT – A WRITER’S BEST FRIEND

With this being our 25th year, and with the Olympics having just been on, it has made me think about what it is that drives people and organisations like ours to success. What made Lynne Wilding and her fellow romance authors think they could succeed in this industry all those years ago when they were stuck here in Australia, so far from the home of romance publishing OS and what made them think that they could start RWA and wish to succour and help other authors like them? What kept them going through the hard times? And for that matter, what makes any of us want to excel at something, to turn it from a hobby to something more, to exceed expectations, to overcome difficulties, stress, personal and physical struggles, to enhance our own abilities to the point of success and then do it all again?

Are we touched with madness? Are we delusional? Were the ladies who started RWA either of those things?IMG_1008

I don’t think so. I think it is something else that drives us – and them – to what others perceive of as madness.

Many people say, ‘Oh, I wish I could become a writer,’ or ‘I wish I had time to write,’ or ‘I know I could be a brilliant writer, if only…’ but it takes a certain kind of person to rise above those procrastinating sentences and to actually put the hard yards in to make the time, to learn to be brilliant, to take a wish and make it real. Lynne Wilding and her fellow authors who started RWA were that certain kind of people. And I think that none of you would be here today if you also weren’t that certain kind of person. But what is it in us that makes the difference between the ‘I wish’ and the ‘I do’? (and yes, that is the world’s worst pun for us and the HEAs we write!)

The one essence that rises above talent, or natural proclivity or drive, is GRIT. Yes, grit. Psychological research states that grit is as important in a person’s ability to succeed as talent or drive. What is grit, I hear you ask and why do I think you might like to hear about it? The reason I think you need to hear about it is that everyone here is dusted over with varying layers of grit – and you thought that was the tiredness of the long weekend you’ve just got through! No, you’re not tired and covered in dust – you’re just gritty.

Grit is the ability to keep driving through, no matter the obstacles, to pick yourself up and dust yourself down after knockbacks, to get on with the myriad, boring little activities and repetitive tasks that ensure expertise in something; the knuckling down when it seems hopeless and finding some way, any way, forward.

Eddie the Eagle movie poster

Eddie the Eagle movie poster

Have any of you seen or heard of Eddie The Eagle? He was a British man of no particular talent who decided that he wanted to go to the Olympics. However, he was only the 9th fastest skier in Britain at the time. And he’d tried many other sports before he’d hit on that one. When everything seemed to be ranged against him, he looked up, pressed on, and found a sport that nobody in Britain had pursued in a competitive way since 1929 – ski jumping. Despite having no sponsorship and many other obstacles in his way (including people telling him that he was demented), Eddie the Eagle found his way to the Winter Olympics in 1988 and won the heart of the spectators, media – and the world. He did it because he never gave up. He wasn’t good – just good enough to qualify. His jump was less than half that of the person who actually won. And he came roundly last. But that didn’t matter. He wanted to do it and he found a way. He didn’t give up. He had grit. And he succeeded in his dreams of participating in the Olympics.

I think RWA has had grit – despite hard times of almost bankruptcy – where a few, wonderful women knuckled down and wouldn’t give up because they didn’t want to lose what was so precious to them and others (see, grit). Despite the knocks our genre regularly gets from the media and literary types, our organisation has persevered, we’ve grown, we’ve got better, we hold onto what’s important and look to the sky, like Eddie the Eagle, wanting to fly. RWA has grit.

Lana and Daniel - more gritty writers

Me, Lana and Daniel – writers with grit

And as individuals, each and every person in this room has grit. You have to hold onto that grit no matter what, because this industry is ever changing. It can feel like you’re flying one moment only to hit the snow pack hard and feel bruised and broken because you’ve got a bad review, or not done well at a comp, or your critique partner doesn’t like what you’ve written, or your book didn’t sell and your publisher won’t publish the next book, or your self-published or traditionally published book is just floundering in a sea of other books. Feel sad – have that pity party for one, I’m not saying don’t. But then dig deep. Use that grit I know you have and raise your head back to the sky and forge on. Read, watch TV or the movies, go out with family or friends, play sport, go to the gym, sink into another hobby that brings you joy, do whatever you need to do to fill that well and make yourself feel better and then get stuck back in. Because nothing is truly worthwhile in this world when it’s too easy, when it’s handed to you on a silver platter. When you’re in the depths of despair, it can feel like that would be nice – I’d rather like someone to just float on by and tell me how brilliant I am out of the blue and give me everything I’ve ever dreamed of. But is that likely to happen? Nope. What is more likely is that the grit that’s inside me, the thing that makes me want this and hold onto that dream for grim death and never give in, will rise up with a little bit of coaxing from me and carry me forward.

RWA logoSo, going forward, I wish you all grit. I hope you have enough to cover yourself in it, to breathe in its gritty-grittiness, to feel the coarse-edginess of it on your skin, toughening you a little bit more, making you harder to knock down. And for this next year, while I am still president, I promise you that RWA will continue to have grit too, will continue to help you, work alongside you, be there for the good times and the bad, give you a helping hand to get back up, yell at you a bit when you stay in your pity party a bit too long (but nicely), and help give you the strength to make that grit truly mean something in the end.

 

An Unsuitable Match Hi Res Cover PicI’ve been incomunicado lately, what with end of term stuff, school holidays, and family issues, but we’re back in business tonight with the gorgeous and talented Sasha Cottman as she talks to us about her new novel, ‘An Unsuitable Match’.

Sasha’s debut novel, ‘Letter from a Rake’ won her huge raves and most recently was one of the finalists in the Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Awards (Romantic Book of the Year) – very prestigious.

Sasha started writing after attending a writing course with Anne Gracie – who better to learn about writing historical romance series from than Anne? It’s no wonder Sasha’s novels are fun, charming romps with engaging characters and plenty of heart. Sasha is here to talk about how she went from writing a standalone book to a series. Sasha is also going to do a ‘Clip Chips’ giveaway.Chip Clips She has these funky clips you use on open packets of chips etc to keep them fresh – great idea. I need some of those – and she’s going to give some away, but only to those who make a comment. So if you want some of these fun clips, please leave a comment (and a way to get in touch with you) and your name will go into the draw.

Take it away, Sasha.

 

Thanks Leisl.

Part way through writing Letter from a Rake, Letter From a RakeI suddenly realised I had the makings of a series. The secondary character of David Radley began to take shape as a likely hero for another novel. Thus the Duke of Strathmore series was born.

I have to confess at this point I love a good series. Nothing is more exciting knowing that when I have finished one book, another, with often familiar characters awaits me. I have lost count of the Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster series books I own. It was at that moment, I decided to not only write one but a number of stories about the Radley family. All standalone stories, but with intertwined characters who make ‘guest’ appearances in other stories.

In Letter from a Rake, David has declared his love for Lady Clarice Langham. In An Unsuitable Match, he now faces the almost insurmountable task of making his long held dream to marry her come to fruition. He has held a secret love for Clarice for many years and it comes as a shock to both her and a number of other people when it becomes public knowledge.

David is seen by many in London society, as an unashamed rake. The fact that he is illegitimate only adds to his lack of suitability as a husband. He has a lot of hurdles to overcome.

Clarice Langham was an intriguing person to write as my heroine. She hides herself from the world, concealing a dark secret about her past. When David declares his love for her, she is frightened. She does not believe that he is serious in his intent. No one could love someone like her. Add to that, the fact that her father opposes their relationship and a world of conflict presents itself.

For Clarice to overcome her fears and face a possible future with David, she has to find an inner bravery which she doesn’t feel she possesses. Fortunately, her cause is added by a number of strong secondary female characters who do have good intentions. David’s sisters Millie and Lucy see Clarice’s potential and work to bring her out of the long mourning period she has observed after the death of her mother. I enjoyed writing the scenes where the two of them conspire to create a happy ending for both their brother and Clarice. I have found in a number of books that female characters are written as being selfish and self-centred when it comes to other women. For both the Radley girls and Clarice’s grandmother, Lady Alice, they would like nothing better than to see Clarice happily married.

At the end of An Unsuitable Match, a glimpse is seen of Lucy’s possible future. I am currently writing book 3 in the Duke of Strathmore series where hopefully Lucy gets to meet her forever man. After all the match making she has done to get her two brothers married off to lovely girls, I think it is time she found happiness for herself.

 

An Unsuitable Match Hi Res Cover PicAn Unsuitable Match Blurb:

The Favourite Heiress…
 
Once engaged to the future Duke of Strathmore, the beautiful Lady Clarice Langham now finds herself in the humiliating position of celebrating his marriage – to another woman.  As a result of the scandal, it seems her reign as London’s most eligible debutante has come to an end.  But things begin to look up when handsome and charming rake David Radley makes it clear that, at least as far as he’s concerned, she’s still the catch of the season.
 
The Illegitimate Son…
 
The eldest son of the Duke of Strathmore, David Radley has been raised alongside his father’s legitimate children.  But while he is generally received as part of the family, not everyone thinks he should be, and especially not Clarice’s father, the Earl of Langham, who forbids her from having anything to do with him.
 
An Unsuitable Match…
 
David’s been in love with Clarice for years, and it isn’t long before the attraction between them develops into something deeper. Yet he senses Clarice is hiding something and until she reveals her secret, she won’t be free to follow her heart. Despite everything, David will not give up on Clarice, not even when another seems set to claim her…

Buy Links

An Unsuitable Match is available at the following places.

Amazon

Kobo

iTunes

GooglePlay

JB Hi Fi

Sainbury’s

 

sasha cottman author picAuthor Bio

Born in England, but raised in Australia, Sasha has a love for both countries. Having her heart in two places has created a love for travel, which at last count was to over 55 countries. A travel guide is always on her pile of new books to read.

Sasha lives with her husband, teenage daughter and a cat who thinks sitting on the keyboard is being helpful. Her family have managed to find all but one of her secret chocolate hiding places. On the weekends Sasha loves walking on the beach while devising new ways to torture her characters.

Social Media Links

You can follow Sasha and find out more about her and her books on her website:

http://www.sashacottman.com

Blog:http://www.sashacottman.com/in-the-regency-kitchen

Follow her on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/sashacottman

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sashacottmanauthor    

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7136108.Sasha_Cottman

Sasha’s newest release An Unsuitable Match is released through Destiny Romance September 2014.

Book Trailer

An Unsuitable Match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af0ITmSQ5kQ

 

And don’t forget to comment to go into the drawer for a Chip Clip.

Earlier on this week, I wrote about the importance of having a tribe when you do something crazy like, ah…I don’t know…write. I wasn’t planning on writing anymore about it, but something happened this week to a friend of mine that just backs this up and I thought I’d share. It’s important to share. Without sharing, it’s even easier to feel like you’re even more alone, and when bad or difficult things happen,

Not all dreams are behind this door.

Not all dreams are behind this door.

when doors you really wanted to be open suddenly close, it makes it even harder to pick your splattered carcass off the floor, reform into a 3D emotionful being, and keep on keeping on (which, by the way, is the only way to succeed at this writing thing – but that’s another blog.)

What happened to my friend is something that’s happened to me multiple times, has happened to other writing friends of mine and is bound to happen to all of us again. In fact, despite the fact that I have been published, that doesn’t make me suddenly immune to all those ups and downs that go with writing – in many ways, it’s even worse now, because there is more to try to hold onto and the slope is just as slippery as ever.

Anyway, my friend’s latest work was rejected. It’s a brilliant historical YA novel set in Tasmania and has had much interest (as my writing group knew it would from the first moment she brought it to the group for critique, because she has an engaging, unique voice, fantastic characters, has done brilliant research and weaves it in in the best way so that you feel immersed in the time without feeling like you’re having a history lesson and the story is full of emotion and conflict.) However, it was rejected right at the last step of the process.

Reject Rejection c/o Alex Pattakos via Huffingtonpost.com

Reject Rejection c/o Alex Pattakos via Huffingtonpost.com

The editor loved it, there were other people at the publishing house who also loved it, but it was still a no because marketing just doesn’t have confidence in YA historical at the moment from a new author.

An absolute, total bummer. The worst thing ever, to know you’re so close and yet still so far. Particularly as there is nothing she can do about that. It wasn’t like they were saying her writing was bad – they loved it – it’s just that they don’t think there’s a market for it at the moment, so it was a ‘no’. A horrible, unfair, totally devastating no. A no that felt like a bullet to the heart. I felt so terribly bad for her, so desperately wanting to make it better in some way, even though I knew the only thing that could truly make it better, was for the answer to have been ‘yes’. Which, I can’t do anything about.

But just like when I got bad news in the past and shared it, when she wrote that awful email to us, her writing group, her tribe, we rallied around her, pointing out the positives of the letter she was sent and the phone conversation she’d had. There were many emails that day and in the days following and the emails went from desperately depressed and hopelessly disappointed, to, if not happy, encouraged and willing not to throw everything in, but try again in the near future, while talking options, plans, possibilities.

 

Frana, Marnie and me - members of my RWA writing group and essential tribe members

Frana, Marnie and me – members of my RWA writing group and essential tribe members

I know from personal experience how important this process is. When I first started writing, I tried to do it by myself. I honestly thought it was best. I wrote, I put my work out there, I got rejected and so I put that manuscript aside and wrote another one, starting the process all over again. I might still be doing that if not for a lucky meeting with

Anne Gracie

Anne Gracie – one of my favourite authors

Anne Gracie who explained the rejection letters I had been getting weren’t just rejection letters, but were asking me to work on certain things in the manuscripts and try again (I never saw them in this way, and just thought my manuscript had been rejected because it was crap and put it aside.) She encouraged me to join RWA, to get a critique partner, to sign up to a writing group, to go in contests, to improve, to network, to understand what I was doing on so many levels that I couldn’t possibly do by myself. RWA logo

Thankfully I was wearing my sensible pants that day and didn’t just listen to her advice, but actually followed through, because, not only did I learn things about my writing that I really needed to learn so that I could get better and get published, it led me to my tribe. Or tribes. The people who have lifted me up when I’ve been down, who’ve encouraged when I needed it the most, who kicked my arse when I needed it, who helped me see the strengths and faults in my work, who celebrated with me through the good news and even helped throw me a Release Day Party when I wouldn’t have thrown one myself. I couldn’t do without them. And this week, I know my friend couldn’t have done without us too.

Book Launch for Killing Me Softly with my friend, fellow writer and tribe member, Liz

Book Launch for Killing Me Softly with my friend, fellow writer and founding member of one of my writing groups, Liz, at her house. 

 

I’m sure she, just like me, has wonderful, loving, supportive loved ones, family and friends, who would have been there to help buck her up in her time of need, but there is something a little different getting that same support and caring from others who share in your madness. Your tribe understands the exact nature of those highs and lows and they tend to know the exact right thing to say to help you out of the deepest crevice. I know my friend will make it out of her crevice and will strive onward and upward and will eventually reach her goals because I see her and her work in the way she can’t at the moment – as brilliant and true and worthy. And as one of her tribe, it is my job to make sure that one day soon, she not only remembers that, but she sees it and believes it too.

A writer needs a tribe. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has got one and they’ll tell you the same because it’s true.

The Melbourne based Destineers Tribe

The Melbourne based Destineers Tribe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every year I hang out for August for 2 reasons: 1) It is the time of the year we usually take a few days to go skiing with my family and 2) It is the RWAustralia conference. As a writer, I look forward to the RWA conference every year – it is a place to hang with other people who completely understand the madness that overcomes me and makes me want to write.

Frana, Marnie and me

Frana, Marnie and me

No, not just want. Need. It is a heat in my veins, a pressing in my brain, a twitchy feeling in my fingertips that makes me have to sit down at the keyboard and tippy-type the words that have been piling up in my mind to express the characters and stories that build and build there.

Only other writers truly understand this particular madness. Only they really know what I mean when I talk about the characters in my head as if they’re real people, talking to me, pressing me to tell their stories, not leaving me alone until I have. Only a fellow writer understands when I talk about pantsing, and the fact that I sit down to write something and yet the characters often take the words and turn them into something entirely unexpected, and joyful. They understand when I talk about my Muse. They know what I mean when I talk about Hero and Heroine’s journey, 3 act structure, GMC’s (Goals, Motivation and Conflict – c/o Debra Dixon), the black moment, POV, head jumping, character and story arcs and so on. They speak the same language. They have the same, or similar goals. They are my tribe.

My Destineers Melbourne Tribe

My Destineers Melbourne Tribe

Having a tribe is incredibly important when you are doing something as singular and lonely as writing. I didn’t realise this until I joined a writing group. I thought I could do it on my own. I was so very wrong. I am now a member of two writing groups who I discuss the trials and tribulations of being a writer with and help me with the ‘big stuff’ in my writing. I have critique partners who help me with more indepth critiques of my writing. And I have Romance Writers of Australia.

Alli, Alex and me

Alli, Alex and me

 

I have made some wonderful friends and great contacts through RWA and continue to meet more and more people every year at the conference – all these wonderful, lovely, mad people who are part of my tribe. It is a time for us to hang loose, have fun, get away from the normal every day stresses of our lives and just concentrate on learning and networking and thinking about our writing. It has become a must for me every year to save up the money and make sure I go. It helps to keep me sane. It helps to inspire me. It fills my well.

Helene, Jennifer and me

Helene, Jennifer and me

When people ask me about what advice I would give to someone starting out on the path I have journeyed down (a path of learning and discovery that never ends) the best advice I could give is to find your tribe – those who think and are driven by the same thing as you. I think this is true for any endeavour – it is made better by sharing it with others who have the same obsession/love as you. But with writing, because it can be so lonely, I think it is even more important. Whether it is a writing group that meets online or face to face, a critique partner or a larger organisation like RWAustralia, I think it is essential for writers to have their tribe.

Rachel Bailey and me

Rachel Bailey and me

 

 

Nicole-2Today it’s my pleasure to do a blog swap with fellow RWA author and paranormal romance lover, Nicole Murphy. While she is multi-published, I thought it would be interesting to hear a little about her call story with a twist. Take it away, Nicole.

My call story – I never got a phone call.

Whenever I read other people’s call stories, I have a moment of searing jealousy because I never actually got ‘the call’. I wasn’t delivered the news over the phone, but via email. And not because I was signing with an American publisher either. Nope, my publihser was here in Australia, and someone I knew from attending science fiction conventions.

This all happened way back in 2009. I’ve blogged about it here. The fact I didn’t get the phone call didn’t, I thought, take away anything from that moment.

Until earlier this year. The wonderful Kate Cuthbert from Escape Publishing had asked me to write her a science fiction romance. SF romance is selling well at the moment, and Kate  (having read my urban fantasy romance Dream of Asarlai trilogy) thought I could do a good job of writing one. In one of those serendipitous moments, I’d actually just picked up an abandoned sf romance manuscript, having finally worked out what was wrong with it.

So I finished it, polished it and sent it to Kate, letting her know if she liked it, I had plans for a second book. Then January 6 I get an email from her – ‘Can I call you about the science fiction romance?’

Being a writer, and thus easily able to imagine the worst in a situation (because that’s what we do – make lives hell for our characters then have them work it out), I decided the reason Kate wanted to call me was that she hated the book, but because she had specifically asked me to write it she couldn’t tell me that via email.

I said sure and Kate called later that day. It just so happened that the moment she called, two of my friends arrived to pick me up for our annual two-week writing retreat.

I smiled grimly at them then shoed them away while I braced myself for Kate to deliver the bad news.

“First, I loved it,” she said. “Now, how many books were you planning on writing in this world?”

I was stunned. “I told you about the second.”

“Yes, right, but there’s other characters. Hera for example. And Plissa.”

My little writer brain started to whirr. “Oooh, Plissa would be interesting.”

‘That’s it then. Write that book and we’ll buy it. All three.”

I hung up  the phone, kinda stumbled into the loungeroom where my friends were chatting to my husband and said, “I just sold a trilogy.”

Done. Just like that, the Jorda series existed. And I finally got to experience that moment of standing on the other end of a phone, listening to someone deliver you news you’re always dreamed of. Doesn’t matter that it wasn’t my first. I think when I sell my 50th book (please, let this keep going so I do that) I’ll be just as excited. I think the moment I’m no longer excited to hear I’ve sold a book is the day I should quit writing.

So that was the rest of this year sorted. I’ve been flat-chat ever since. The second book I’d planned wasn’t written, let alone the third book that didn’t exist even in potential until that conversation in January.

COV_DreamOfAsarlaiThe first book, Loving the Prince, is out August 1. If you want to get an idea what it might be like, why don’t you read the books that convinced Kate I could do it – the Dream of Asarlai trilogy.

You can buy the Dream of Asarlai omnibus now from

Kindle

Kobo

iTunes

About Nicole

Nicole Murphy is the author of the Dream of Asarlai trilogy, published by HarperCollins (re-launched as an electronic omnibus in April), and a couple dozen speculative fiction shorts. Her science fiction romance trilogy, the Jorda series, will be released by Escape Publishing in 2014/2015. As Elizabeth Dunk she’s published contemporary romance with Escape Publishing and in July will be releasing a collection of paranormal erotic novellas, also with Escape.

Find out more about Nicole/Elizabeth at her website – http://nicolermurphy.com or follow her on Twitter (@nicole_r_murphy) or on Facebook.

Thanks, Nicole, for dropping by. It’s always great when a fellow writer shares a little bit of their life with us. Good luck with the new releases when they come out, but in the meantime, everyone can get a taste by reading the Dream of Asarlai series.

 

 

Scorched_smI’m very excited to have Erica Hayes on my blog today. I met Erica through Romance Writers of Australia and have been working with her as a fellow contest manager for a few years now. She is one super switched on chick with a sassy sense of humour and a massive talent. She won the premier award the RWA has – the Valerie Parv Award – a number of years ago, a win that helped to launch her career and since then has become a successful paranormal author whose books can be found in all the major book retailers in Australia and oversees.

She has a new book out, Scorched, which she is here to tell us about, but first, given I’ve been asked alot lately about why I write paranormal and what I think makes up a paranormal story, I thought I’d ask to get her ideas on it.

So, over to Erica and her thoughts on the paranormal and paranormal creatures.

Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Leisl for hosting me on her blog today.

What makes a creature paranormal? Is it inhuman magical powers? The ability to cheat death? Strange eating habits? Sharp teeth? There’s such a range of paranormal fiction these days that it’s hard to tell.

Back in the day, there were vamps and weres, and that was about it. If it didn’t suck blood or do the funky furry thing, no one cared. Certainly romance readers didn’t care! Everyone loves a hot alpha vampire, right? The hotter the better. Orgasmic blood-sucking, improbably large man parts, endless hard-ons, whatever you like. Hell, the guy’s dead. No circulation! We’re just making this stuff up anyway, right, so let’s make it good.

My point: everyone’s favourite creatures weren’t just humans with added magic—they were something else. Something other.

But then we started to branch out. Demons, angels, dragons, coyote shifters, whatever monster floats your boat… but whatever the paranormalicality is, it has to be sexy. Zombies—the rotting, brain-munching kind—are out. Likewise the yukky kind of shapeshifter. Spiders and bugs are definitely no-go. (Unless you’re talking about villains. Then you can be as creepy as you like. Brr.)

But we’re also talking magical people. Witches, psychics, people who move things with their minds or cast hexes or bring other people back from the dead. Paranormal doesn’t have to be a creature feature anymore. No monsters required.

Even superheroes are cool again. The line between paranormal and contemporary is blurring—after all, what’s a rock star or an improbably young and sexy billionaire but a superhero of a different sort? He may not have magical powers, exactly—unless you count improbably large man parts and endless hard-ons… oh, wait…—but he sure as hell isn’t ordinary.

Maybe this is why I find the everyday kind of contemporary so uninspiring. The ones with normal people leading normal, boring little lives. Snore. For me, there’s no magic without a little fantasy. Sorry, but there it is. Enough with all this BDSM thing so we can pretend it’s dangerwous, too.

Danger, pfft. When’s the last time you got your leg chewed off and munched to bits by a horny rock star? Or accidentally came back from the dead and suffered in crippling bloodthirst FOR ALL ETERNITYYY from a hot night of whip-and-chain action?

Danger?? Please. Just give the dude fangs and be done. Fantasy, folks: you know you want some.

Erica HayesP.S. If you like cool superhero-flavoured action in your fantasy – and hey, who doesn’t? – I have this new book out, called Scorched. Just so you know 🙂

Thanks for that, Erica. I love your take on that and the way you pull no punches. I’m rather fond of the paranormal as well. Can’t wait to read your new book. Speaking of which, here is a little bit about it:

Scorched

In a world where everyone wears a mask, you can’t trust anyone… not even yourself.

Verity Fortune was once Sapphire City’s top crime-fighter, wielding her powers of telekinesis to battle the city’s most despicable villains. Now, she’s consumed by a single burning desire: revenge. Against those who took away her mask, her memory, and nearly her life. Having escaped from the asylum they left her to rot in, Verity dons her mask once again and becomes the Seeker, a vigilante warrior for truth.

But when she unwittingly uncovers an evil conspiracy deep within her own family, she’s suddenly on the run, alone and hunted by those she thought were on her side…

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