Thursday, March 31, 2011

Young Love -- YA Romance

Ever wonder why so many of us (non-young adults) can't seem to get enough of reading stories about teenage love? Not that some YA can't get pretty steamy, but there are far smokier scenes in adult romance novels. So why do we still love our regular doses of young love?

Some of my guesses?

We Miss Being the Center of Attention

Bella & Edward - Twilight
There is nothing like that rush of realizing -- for the first time -- that his sun (pardon the pun, Edward) rises and sets for you. Adult men have just as many responsibilities as we do. Teenage men can make the girl of their dreams the center of their world.

Our Complicated Isn't Really So Complicated
Elena & Stefan  - Vampire Diaries
It may not feel that way, but our lives are fairly unfettered during our teenage years. Emotionally challenging, you bet, but most are spared the worrying about bills, mortgage payments, shuttling the kids to soccer practice. A teenage girl can enjoy falling in love without a mile long To-Do list waiting for her when she gets home.

You Can Only Experience Your First Time Once
Joey & Pacey - Dawson's Creek

First kiss. First love. First sexual experience. First heartbreak. Those things only come along once, and because we don't have any experience with them all our senses are running full tilt. We're constantly caught in a state between terrified and exhilarated.

We Still Believe Fairy Tale Endings Are Possible
Sam & Austin  - A Cinderella Story

Not that we all turn into jaded shrews as we age. . . but after we suffer a broken heart or two, we often  guard our emotions a little more carefully. After we lose our first love, we tend look at new romantic partners with the hope that he'll turn out to be our Prince Charming. Whereas the first time we fell in love we were sure it was going to last forever.

Those are just some of the reasons why I think I tend to get swept up so easily in a good YA romance. How about you?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Writing for the Market?

This past weekend on Twitter I tossed around a phrase I heard about on a few blogs.

"Write for the Market".

I don't know about you, but writing for the market doesn't generally work. Or does it?

what if you were to take what I said about and use the following formula: Write one project for the market and one project for yourself.

Does that make a difference?

I have two thoughts. I haven't quite drank my pot of coffee yet, and I'm chocolate free for the morning, so my thoughts might be a bit scattered, but ....

This works if you are writing short stories or novellas for epublishers. But for novels? Writing about something your not passionate about, or something totally away from your genre just because it's hot - doesn't sound like a winning formula to me.

This also works if what is hot is something you enjoy writing about. If I'm a contemporary romance writer and the market is screaming for sci-fi, well ... no amount of chocolate is gonna help me then.

I'm curious. What do you think? Since this works mainly for novellas and short stories - do you use this formula? Write for the market and for yourself? You make money with your backlist, or so they say. If your backlist includes what's hot right now, then fantastic. If it doesn't - will it make a difference?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I want to be like . . .

For the last two weeks, Tracy, Anya, and I have focused on the mouth watering guys. But what about the heroines? Which of these four would you prefer to be like?

Kick ass . . .

Proud yet witty. Not ready to swoon for any handsome man . . .

Sweet and innocent . . .

 Or sexy.

And, of course, I can’t have a post without some yummy eye candy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's Your Heat? Sweet and Sensual or Hot and Steamy?

How hot can you handle your romance?
Are you the kind of gal who likes to blush while reading your romance story but not necessarily get aroused? Maybe you prefer stories focused on the relationship more than anything else. A little bit of kissing, touching is okay. To you, the sex isn’t an integral part of the story and if you skipped over those steamy pages you would still be able to follow the plot without noticing any gaping holes. HEA or Happily Ever After is necessary for this type of story. Sex is just an added spice.

But what about the stories that get your body flustered? You know, the ones where you experience heat flashes just reading about the rippling muscles. The relationship growth of your characters is developed through sex, not around it. If you skip over all the juicy details, you’ll miss the whole story – and wouldn’t that be a shame! The only time you put the book down is when you want to test the authors theory on certain positions ;) When you finally do close the book you’re beaming from head to toe because the HEA is exactly what you thought it would be.

But – what if those are too tame for you. Then my friend, you turn to a pure erotica story. Yep, the full dirty ;) The sexual journey is crucial to the character’s growth – notice I didn’t say romantic growth? You could have two strangers meet and have the most amazing sexual experience and still part ways. But something inside of them changed. HEA’s are rarely an integral part of erotica. It could happen, but don’t expect it.

Alright – if that still isn’t good enough – what then? Porn. Good old fashion porn, where plot, character development and romance have nothing to do with what you are reading. As long as your body is aroused from start to finish, then the author did his/her job.

(You'll have to use your imagination for this picture ... )

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Forever = Sexy

In honor of St. Patty's Day, I was planning to post pictures of hot male leprechauns.  Unfortunately, after an extensive Google search, I've learned there really aren't any.

So instead, I decided to take a quick gander as to WHY the paranormal market is so booming. From young adult to adult. Dystopian to romance. Paranormal characters are taking the literary world by storm and have been for quite a while.  

But why?

I think the answer is pretty simple. Because the larger majority of readers are female. And though we all have different tastes there are some common themes most of us have a hard time denying.

1) We're greedy with the idea of romance. We want to be loved like we're the most important thing in his world. To win a man's heart & devotion for one lifetime is a wonderful thing, but to win it for eternity . . . VICTORY!
Legolas - Lord of the Rings

2)  We love men with depth! The more delicious layers we can peel from a man to get to the center of who he truly is, the more we fall in love with him along the way. We melt over the notion of all the late night, post-coital, secret-sharing talks it'll take to begin skimming the surface of the man who's been through so much. 

Louis - Interview with the Vampire

3)  We're more superficial than we'd like to admit. Yes, we want a man who stirs our heart first and foremost, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't also appreciate it if he had a face & body we could stare at for hours! Immortal men provide the best of both worlds: They possess the wisdom of age & the beauty of youth.

Damon Salvatore - The Vampire Diaries

I think this is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to tapping into why, as a reading community, we just can't seem to get enough of the sexy creatures of the paranormal variety.

Any personal faves?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yummy Treat of the Day

I'm in the mood for some fun ;) We all enjoy eye candy, so why not indulge on a daily basis?

I'll be posting a daily 'yummy' with thoughts on how he would fit a story.

This one is a treat for sure. I see him in a YA novel (oh Stina .....). His smoldering gaze would set off a flood of butterflies in my teen body when I was that age, for sure! I wouldn't trust him with my daughters though, he has that 'I'm so innocent' look down pat. Wonder if he has a 6-pack under that sweater or not?

What about you? How would you use him?

Monday, March 14, 2011

E-Pub, Self-Pub or Agent? How To Choose?

Most writers have a goal. Many writers have plans to achieve that goal. Few writers actually make the goal.

So what happens if you are one of those writers who not only have a goal in mind but find yourself passing the goal before you have the time to hit the breaks?

I'd like to think we (writers) all have the same want/need. Publication. How we reach it is another matter. Do you spend years throwing your novel out there to agents and wait for one to see the passion? Do you decide to do it yourself and self-pub? Or do you decide to forgo the agent and send to the publisher directly? Either of these ways will work. Which one you choose is up to you.

For me, I decided to bypass the agent (with this story) and sent it directly to an e-publisher. Why not? With our market today in romance, the ereaders are expanding faster than anyone thought to project. To be honest though, it was a crapshoot for me. I wrote a story in a weekend and spent a month editing it. Then decided to just 'do it' - I hit send.

Can you imagine my surprise when Liquid Silver Books wrote me back saying they wanted it? Anya is my pen name - with my 'real' name, I've been trying for over a year to grab an agent's attention for a women's fiction I wrote. Go figure - I can write steamy romance - something I decide to try as a 'distraction' ;)

There are many ways to reach our goal, but I think as writers we need to be a 'tad bit' pliable when choosing the path to take. What works for one (hello ... Amanda Hawking) may not work for another.

Although, on that note ... have you noticed that some agencies are now bringing on agents who only deal with ebooks? Hmmm .... another venue to pursue perhaps?

What about you? Have you thought of a plan to reach your goal? Are you open to other means or are you stuck on the one path?

(thoughts on my contract and ... OMG ... my books is getting published ... later)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lunch hour Romances

I did the unthinkable.

I indulged in a lunch hour fantasy while sitting at my desk. And yes, the full blown type of fantasy, complete with the clenching, the tightening and whatnot ...

I wasn't the only one I'm sure :)

Since the wonderful invention of the e-reader, I bet you a Cadbury Egg chocolate that millions of women have done the same :)

Mine was all for research mind you. I'm delving into the 'submissive/dominant' lifestyle for a story and since I only live vicariously through my favorite writers, I need to do lots of research. Lots and lots of research.
(if you want to do 'research' too ... my favorites right now are Desiree Holt - Delight Me, Dominique Adair - her Jane Porter series and Tiffany Reisz.

Only a few years ago I remember riding the bus to work and seeing countless women reading books covered by fabric book covers. I never quite understood what the new 'fad' was for until someone wiser than me and more in tune to her own romantic fantasies confided that those homemade covers hid the barely clad yet amazingly hot romance covers. GO FIGURE!

But now we have the e-readers - the Kindle, Kobo and whatnot - where NO ONE needs to know what you are reading. I wonder how many woman have a mini "O" on the bus, the train or even while sitting at their desk during their lunch hour???

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who’s the Hottest Hero of Them All?

In the world of romance fiction (both adult and YA), at least five types of heroes dwell among us.

The Alpha

He’s the dominant male who walks into the room and takes charge. Not the best person for you if you’re a take charge kind of gal (of course this makes for great conflict in fiction).  He tough and rugged, and most often in a leadership position. His career path often lies in the world of the military, espionage, corporate CEO. He’s definitely hot in romantic suspense since saving lives is what he lives for.

The Beta

He’s the complete opposite to the alpha. He won’t tell you what to do, but that doesn’t mean you can walk all over him either. And talk about a world of jobs open to him. He can do anything. Whereas the Alpha won’t tell you what’s bugging him, the beta will. But he won’t dump all his woes on you all at once. In YA, he covers a number of types including the sweet boy next door and the slightly nerdy classmate.

The Bad Boy

A favorite in YA, apparently. There’s something appealing about him, especially the edge of danger that seems to be part of him. Of course in real life, this is one guy you want to avoid. He’s usually not tameable like he is in fiction.

The Tortured hero

Something bad has happened in this guy’s past that has put him emotionally at a distance . . . until the right girl comes along. Like the bad boy, this is one guy you want to avoid in real life, but he’s a real hottie in fiction.

The Playboy

This guy has tons of girlfriends, or at least flirts a lot, but when the right one comes along (aka the heroine), he’s more than happy to settle down.

My question for you is: Which is your favorite romance hero(es)? And if you read both YA and adult romances, do you prefer the same type of guy for each?

(This list was adapted from Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eye Candy - Oh So Sweet

Eye candy.

There's nothing sweeter, more tempting or more appealing than having that eye candy right in front of you while you fantasize er... write.

I'm dabbling with a paranormal romance right now - my lovely Tabby has her choice of two men, one is chocolate and the other vanilla ... and the way she figures, why pick one when she can have both? (gotta love that girl!).

I knew right away how I wanted me yummy treats (characters) to look. The first one who popped into my head was Shemar Moore. Talk about yummy candy. Melt in your mouth smooth ...

What about you? When you are writing your character, you have their picture in your mind. Are they usually actors you've enjoyed watching or someone completely made up? Do you go searching online and in magazines for your characters?

Tell me ... where do you get your eye candy?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Where does YOUR inspiration come from?

Inspiration comes in so many different venues. There's no right or wrong answers. For some it comes from watching movies or shows, talking with other writer friends, reading a good book, a tweet or comment on a blog. Inspiration can hit you literally anywhere.

What about when you are in the process of writing and you hit a blank spot. What then? What do you do? Where do you go? Do you pick up a book from your TBR pile and lose yourself?

I'm asking because that's where I'm at. Deep in a scene (bondage) and the words refuse to come.

So what do I do? I go to my favorite twitter persona and re-read her novel she recently published. I loved her story. She teases the reader, tantilizes them with a fantasy world some only wish to discover and leaves them begging for more.

If you have yet to read Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz, then you should download it today. She delves into erotica in a way that leaves your body wanting more. And she's my inspiration for today.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Romance Genre? Take Your Pick!

Growing up I always thought there were two types of romance. Silly girl that I was (actually I was shelted and it was an advertous girlfriend who introduced me to a secret side that I never knew I had).
Harlequin and the other kind (you know, the kind that let you think there was something going on between the sheets but never spelled it out for you ...)

It took a while, but I found out that I loved the historical romances (something about that scottish burrrr and english gentry that stirred the juices ...) and slowly found the modern day romance.

Since then, the genres for romance are numerous. Whatever suits your fancy. And I mean that literally. Erotica, homosexual, sweet, inspirational, paranormal ... take your pick.

As a reader, what do we read? As writers, how do we pick?

I'll share my secret. When I meander through a book store with a latte in hand, I choose three books. Supernatural, historical (I still need my scottish fix) and contemporary. I enjoy all three and depending on my mood, I tend to favor one over the other. Currently I'm into paranormal, although I just finished writing a contemporary.

So here's my question.

Why do we have to choose when there's so much out there?

Why not broaden our horizons and experiment? With the explosion of e-readers now there's no need to stick to a genre. On my iphone I have the Kindle app, the e-reader and the Kobo app. There are so many FREE books for you to download and test read. Take advantage of them. Then, when you find either an author or a genre you love, go ahead and start buying them. Support your authors. But don't stop there ... explore, expand ... find new loves ...

Then come back here and tell me about it!