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emaginings: Nobility in Romance

April 16, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

What a wonderful meeting we had this last Saturday!

In the morning, we had a guest in PAW, Dawn Vaeoso of All Romance eBooks. I was already familiar with ARe, but mostly as a reader. Dawn and Debra led a lively discussion and I think we all learned something. I missed the morning workshop by Jackie Barbosa, but heard it was excellent.

But I want to riff a little on something our afternoon speaker, James Scott Bell said in his fabulous talk. When talking about creating unforgettable characters, he listed several characteristics that will make your characters jump off the page:

  • Unpredictable
  • Passionate
  • Resourceful
  • Complex
  • Gutsy
  • Wounded
  • Noble

In passing, he noted that the last quality, nobility, is underused, but also discussed characters who are willing to sacrifice to attain their goals or to save someone else. I was busy listening and taking notes, but still thought at the time that nobility isn’t so rare in romance. I’ve been in critique and plot groups for years and can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve been plotting, usually toward the end of the book, only to have someone ask: What is he/she going to sacrifice? Or at least be willing to sacrifice?

Of course, the classic example of character sacrifice is The Gift of the Magi. Such a beautiful, romantic story. But that kind of sacrifice isn’t at all uncommon in romance. We’ve all read romances where the hero or heroine jumps in the path of a bullet to save the other. But it needn’t be a life or death matter. Is one willing to give up a job opportunity to be with the other? Or willing to uproot his/her life and move far away? There are lots of possibilities.

Here’s how the mutual sacrifice works in Rogue’s Hostage, my captive story set during the French & Indian War. Toward the end of the book, Jacques and Mara are trapped in the besieged city of Quebec. Mara’s brother, Gideon, is with the besieging British Army. Jacques knows the situation is dire and tries to have Mara ransomed to the British. He is willing to give up the woman he loves in order to keep her safe. When things go wrong, Mara risks her relationship with her brother, her only living relative, to save the man she loves. I could say more, but that would be giving away a spoiler, so I’ll refrain. 

What do you think? Are romance characters more noble than most?

Linda McLaughlin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont

Rogue’s Hostage buy links:
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00BJO26OY
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1005663623
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/291719


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emaginings: Romance Fantasies

February 16, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , ,

When I joined OCC in 1988, I knew very little about writing romance. One of the first Special Events I attended was a day long workshop at the Fullerton Library taught by Ann Maxwell, aka Elizabeth Lowell. It was an amazing overview of writing romance fiction.
One of the things she said that stuck in my mind was how important it was to tap into the reader’s romantic fantasies. She went on to list some of the more popular fantasies, like Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, the Guardian fantasy, and the captive story. That day I decided I wanted to write a captive story, and eventually decided to set it against the backdrop of the French & Indian War where frontier settlers were taken hostage by war parties led by French officers.
The captive story is an old one, with roots in the Greek myth of Persephone in the Underworld, and in reality. Among tribal societies, marriage by capture was not uncommon, a pre-scientific method of enlarging the gene pool. In our own time, the Stockholm Syndrome has been observed, in which hostages begin to identify with their captors. Though “marriage by capture” is no longer practiced, the story still resonates in the collective unconscious. 
That book became Rogue’s Hostage, which was a finalist in a number of contests including the Orange Rose and was eventually published by Amber Quill Press in 2003. In a few weeks it is getting a new incarnation as an indie book with a sensual new cover designed by OCC’s talented Lex Valentine.
This is the book of my heart and I’d never have finished and published it without the wonderful educational programs and the support of my friends at OCCRWA. 
What is your favorite romance fantasy?

Linda Mac

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emaginings: Blogging Around

January 16, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , ,

Last month I promised a report on the blog hop and mini-tour I’d planned for my latest release How To Woo… A Reluctant Bride. I ended up doing a second blog hop in January, so will include that also. This is by no means scientific, but just the results of my little experiment. Keep in mind that this was an attempt to revive a blog that had been essentially dormant for several years, so there was little or no base of support to draw from.

Note: I’m only going to discuss sales at Amazon.com since those were the only ones of any size.

The Secret Santa Blog Hop was first, from Mon. Dec. 17 through Thursday Dec. 20. My story was uploaded to Amazon on Dec. 11 and was live by Dec. 12, so the blog hop took place the following week. The grand prize for this blog hop was a Kindle Fire preloaded with a bunch of the participating authors books, including mine. The prize for commenting on my post was a $15.00 gift card, and over the course of the hop + tour, I also gave away two free e-books (winners choice). I got 25 entrants for the gift card. Not bad. The page views during the hop ranged from 66 the first day (some of them me until I figured out I could check comments from the Dashboard) to only 14 on the last day.

I checked my sales on Sunday and again on Thursday and saw I had picked up ten sales. Might have been more if I hadn’t offered e-book giveaways for the mini-blog tour. Someone, I’ve forgotten who, said not to do that. Offer something other than a book so they will buy yours. I think it’s good advice.

Starting on Thursday, Dec. 21, I blogged at several other sites including the main TRS (The Romance Studio) blog on Dec. 21. There were very few comments and I have no idea how many page hits were involved. However, by Monday, Dec. 2 4, I had sold another 15 copies. Again, not too bad when everyone is getting ready for the holidays. By Dec. 29 I was up to a total of 79 copies.

This month I participated in the Something New, Something Naughty Blog Hop from Thu. Jan.  10 through Sun. Jan. 13. Page views ranged from 26 to 42 and I had comments from 27 people. The grand prizes for this hop were gift certificates from EdensFantasy and two other gift cards of the winner’s choice. Again I did the $15.00 gift card giveaway.

I also guested at Louisa Bacio’s blog on Jan. 11 and she told me there were 138 page views. That’s awesome!

By the evening of Jan. 11, my sales for that month at Amazon were up to 102, in addition to the 79 in December. I realize that might not sound like a lot to some of you, but it was more than I expected, so I am happy.

My thoughts:

I liked the blog hop better as there was some camaraderie with the other writers involved and I only had to come up with one blog post for each tour. Writing blog posts can be time consuming. The mini-blog tour (3 days, 4 different blogs) was more stressful as each one had to be different. Next time I will try to plan further ahead to lessen the stress, but this was thrown together very last minute. 

Did the blog hop and mini-blog tour help?

I’ll never be certain, but I can’t imagine it hurt. The objective was to raise my visibility online and I do think that happened. Next time I may do a smaller amount on the gift card giveaway, but this is all a learning process. I’m not sure I recommend doing two blog hops so close together, but with a new release, and at this time of year, I think this was a good move. I would definitely blog hop again and I’m grateful to the writers who organized the hops, namely Tabitha Blake (Secret Santa) and Jennifer Wright and Lisabet Sarai (Something New, Something Naughty) as well as our own Louisa Bacio.

UPDATE: I forgot to add thanks to Tara Lain for her fabulous talk on blog tours at the November OCC meeting, and to my three Yahoo support groups where I learned about self-publishing and discovered organized blog tours: Indie Romance Ink, Authors Network and Marketing For Romance Writers. And a big thanks to Vivienne Westlake, author of A Marquess For Christmas, for doing an excerpt exchange.

Now I have to stop blogging for a bit and work on another story!

Has anyone else tried blog tours or hops? Any thoughts on their effectiveness? 

Linda Mac w/a Lyndi Lamont

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emaginings: Blog hops and Tours

December 16, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

Tara Lain’s November talk on blog tours inspired me to throw together a last minute combination of blog hop and mini-tour to promote my latest self-published release, How To Woo… A Reluctant Bride.

It all starts tomorrow with the Secret Santa Blog Hop. I won’t be the only OCC member participating. I saw Tara’s name on the list and Beth Yarnell’s and there may be more of us.

Here’s my schedule:

Dec. 17-19, Secret Santa Blog Hop
Dec. 20, Servants of the Muse blog
Dec. 21, The Romance Studio blog
Dec. 22, Love in a Book Reviews

TRS is the prize and I’m not sure how I lucked into a date there at such short notice. Next month I’ll report on how my blog hop/tour worked out.

You can find an example of one of Tara’s blog tours here.

One of the best things about our Orange County Chapter is the way we all support and help each other, and I know we’re all grateful for our wonderful writing community.

Happy Holidays!

Linda McLaughlin aka Lyndi Lamont

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emaginings: Tarot For Writers Revisited

October 17, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

Yesterday was the New Moon, an auspicious time to begin new projects. I am starting a new story and need ideas for scenes. So I turned to my trusty tarot cards. Since this is a spicy story, I used the Sensual Wicca deck. In the process of interpreting the cards, I dragged out my copy of Tarot For Writers by Corinne Kenner. Once again, I was impressed by how helpful the book is.

I received some insights from using the Celtic Cross for Writers spread, and the spread for three-act structure, but the most helpful suggestion was to simply draw ask “what happens next” and keep drawing cards. I gave it a try. I shuffled the cards and kept turning them over until I had a baker’s dozen of idea, from she seduces him to a debt is repaid.

I realizes this kind of visual aide doesn’t work for everyone, but if you are at all inclined towards the mystical approach, I do recommend this book. You can read my original long review at my Flights-A-Fancy blog.

Kenner’s website can be found at http://tarotforwriters.com/

My comments on the Sensual Wicca deck can be found at my Lyndi Lamont blog.

What do you do to jump start a new story?

Linda McLaughlin/Lyndi Lamont

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