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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: The Lost Lenore

(Don't forget to leave a comment on the Spring is in the Air Blog Hop for some prizes and to check out the rest of my VBT schedule! Also, this is my 100th post! Woo hoo!)

Trope: The Lost Lenore

Description: The Lost Lenore is a dead love interest of one of the main characters. Not only is she dead, her absence has a profound effect on the character for the rest of the work, to the point where it can even influence the plot. Lost Lenores can either be dead at the beginning of the story, or die early on; either way, it's the reaction to her death that determines whether or not she qualifies for this trope. (While they're frequently female, every now and then a male Lost Lenore pops up.)

Examples: Lenore from The Raven (duh), Mal from Inception, Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks

Pros: Love is powerful and can even transcend death. A Lost Lenore can also kick off all sorts of plots for the lover she left behind, from some soul-searching and self-discovery to kick-ass vengeance (depending on the circumstances). In romance, the audience is touched if the hero is able to work through his grief and learn to love again.

Cons: There's a fine line to straddle here, for if the hero doesn't grieve long enough for the audience's liking, it can feel like he's cheating on the Lost Lenore if he finds himself with another woman too quickly. Tone is important to keep in mind here, as anything overly cheery will feel incongruous right after her death. Also, considering they're dead (or die quickly), Lost Lenores can be difficult to develop and make into three-dimensional characters.

Would/Did I Use It?: I'd say Meyta from Disintegration definitely qualifies. (That's not a spoiler, it's in the blurb of the book.) She's dead by the second chapter, but don't think for a moment that she'll be easily forgotten. (And that's all I'll say about that, as I don't want to reveal true spoilers!) I did keep the concerns on the "cons" list in mind, and I hope I struck that proper balance between grieving and moving on to the actual love interest of the book.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"Disintegration" Virtual Book Tour!

The Disintegration Virtual Book Tour kicks off today! Thanks to the fantastic people over at CBLS Promotions, I'm taking over the internet for the next two weeks with interviews, guest posts, etc. If you want to follow me around to learn everything from my thoughts on paranormal romance to the story of my most embarrassing moment, check out the full schedule.

There's also a giveaway going on throughout the tour, so come win more stuff!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 22, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday (Friday): Hot Scientist

Sorry for the late Trope-tastic Thursday! If you're looking to participate in the Spring is in the Air Blog Hop, make sure you leave a comment on this post.

Trope: Hot Scientist

Description: Who says women can't be smart AND sexy? The Hot Scientist is always dressed to impress (with or without white lab coat) with her hair perfectly styled and make-up expertly applied. If the main character hasn't previously met Dr. Hottie, he'll be surprised that she's 1) a woman and 2) so very attractive. Even though she could be strutting her stuff down a runway, she is very capable at her job and will never steer our hero in the wrong direction with whatever information she provides.

Examples: Dr. Brennan from Bones, Dr. Christmas Jones from The World is Not Enough, a number of characters from Doctor Who

Pros: I'll never argue against smart, capable women. This trope sort of counteracts the "geeky/nerdy scientist" or even the "dowdy librarian" stereotype in that a woman can be good at her job while still caring about her physical appearance. Even if she's not actively fighting alongside the hero, whatever assistance she supplies is invaluable in bringing about a victorious ending.

Cons: Realism doesn't get a lot of emphasis here. You're not going to find a lot of women working in laboratories wearing stiletto heels and letting their long hair float in the breeze in the real world. (In fact, many such places explicitly ban such things.) I'm also not crazy about the default assumption being that the scientist is either going to be male or unattractive. Why are smart sexy women still considered to be so shocking or out of the ordinary?

Would/Did I Use It?: I don't think I've used this one; not in any major works, anyway. As the pros and cons lists indicate, I have mixed feelings about this trope. On the one hand, I'm all for beautiful women with a brain inside their pretty little heads, and I don't consider it unrealistic that such women can achieve high levels of education and succeed in science-based careers. On the other hand, there are still some whiffs of misogyny lingering around this trope, and I'm not completely comfortable with that. It could be argued that this trope is not so much about the character herself, but the reaction to her. If that's the case, then I think I'll pass.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring is in the Air Blog Hop!

If your weather is anything like mine, it certainly doesn't feel like spring is in the air. But that's okay! The Spring is in the Air Blog Hop is sure to warm things up for you!

Spring has always been traditionally linked with romance, and for good reason. Flowers bloom as the ground thaws out, and as the temperatures rise, we're ready to go out and do something. Falling in love is always a popular item on the list. Even if you're already coupled up, spring is a wonderful time to discover new experiences with your partner!

We've got some terrific prizes for you on this blog hop to help melt the winter blues away! On my stop of the hop, two lucky people will win this spiffy refrigerator magnet, as well as an eBook of his/her choosing from this list! As a grand prize, the lovely people over at XOXO Publishing have compiled an amazing eBook prize package for one incredibly lucky participant.

The rules are easy! To be eligible for the main prize, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post (and be sure to include your email address). For the smaller prizes, follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget. 

To kick off those spring-like feelings, I'll attach a brief excerpt from one of my novels, The Edge of the Sphere. Thanks for participating, and Happy Spring!

He collapsed on top of her, his face landing in the cushion of her silken hair. Breathing heavily, he inhaled the aroma of moss, honeysuckle, and something else that was simply, undeniably her. He slid to the side, keeping his arms wrapped tightly around her. Liora turned to face him, and her tangible movements in the aftermath of their activities brought him more joy than he ever thought possible.

Even as exhaustion descended upon him like a soothing rain, she captured his undivided attention. “I love you,” he said.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Congratulations to the winners of the Lucky in Love Blog Hop! Over here, Amber gets a spiffy new magnet for her fridge and Meghan won an ebook of her choosing! For the grand prizes, Shadow37 won an Amazon Gift Card and Heather B. will have all sorts of swag from the swag pack filling her house!

Didn't get lucky this time? That's okay, because the Spring is in the Air Blog Hop kicks off tomorrow! Be sure to check back here for more opportunities to fantastic prizes and a new list of blogs to peruse!

Me, I had a fantastic St. Patrick's Day weekend. Not only did I forgo the beer and get a ton of writing done on the day itself, but I had the opportunity to meet a very good friend of mine from halfway around the world and spend some time with him face to face! He's always been one of my biggest supporters (in fact, he even inspired my second novel), and we had an amazing time this weekend. My husband was a little skeptical at first about meeting strange internet people from an ocean away, but even he couldn't deny how much fun we all had! So over the course of this blog hop, I was lucky in love, lucky in friendship, lucky in creative efforts...I just hope this lucky streak continues!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lucky in Love Blog Hop!

Top o' the mornin' to ya! (Okay, I don't have even a drop of Irish blood in me, so I'll stop pretending right now. But green is my favorite color!) Have you ever stopped to think about how much luck is really involved in dating? Back before I got married, I sometimes wondered how people ever got together in the first place. Sometimes, I believe a lot of it has to do with simply being in the right place at the right time!

Obviously, romance works out every now and then (or else humans would have died off long ago). And even though blossoming romance can be filled with trials and tribulations, we do love witnessing the journey and getting those warm fuzzy feelings. We laugh and cry with our favorite characters, and cheer them on when they finally are lucky enough to get together with the object of their desire.

To carry on with this lucky theme, we've all got plenty of prizes to give away! For my stop along this hop, I'll be choosing two winners: Winner #1 will get a super-nifty refrigerator magnet sent to his/her house. (US only) Winner #2 will get an e-book of his/her choosing from this list. BOTH winners will get a sneak peek of the upcoming sequel to Searching the Skies! (Instructions for entering are on the Rafflecopter below.)

As always, that's not all! There are two grand prizes for this hop! 1st Prize is a $100 Amazon or B&N gift card. 2nd Prize is a swag pack filled with all sorts of goodies! To be sure you're entered for the grand prizes, leave a comment on this post, and don't forget your email address! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: Childhood Friend Romance

I have a feature and giveaway going on over at Sensuous Promotions today - be sure to go check it out!

Trope: Childhood Friend Romance

Description: Our lovestruck protagonists have known each other for nearly their entire lives. Over the years, the innocent games of childhood have evolved into mature feelings of passion and love. This trope has a number of variations - it can end with Happily Ever After, it can lead up to Happily Ever After until tragedy strikes, or it can be portrayed as one-sided unrequited love where the HEA is never achieved.

Examples: Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights, Christine and Raoul from Phantom of the Opera, Forrest and Jenny from Forrest Gump, Cory and Topanga from my secret favorite show Boy Meets World

Pros: There's something sweet about this trope (assuming it ends well). While there's something to be said for torrid love affairs, when it comes to choosing a life partner, don't we want to be with someone we can consider a best friend? Even when there's no happy ending with this trope, the drama feels real, not contrived, and pulls us into the story. (I'm sure we all have that person from childhood about whom we occasionally wonder "what might have been?")

Cons: The transition from friends to lovers can be difficult to make, both in real life and in fiction. Also, characterization has to be spot-on accurate here: If you're starting with your characters as adults, you need to find a way to establish their friendship without a big infodump. If you're starting all the way from childhood...well, that's a long road and it better be interesting and well-paced. Also, if this trope takes a turn into unrequited love territory, there's a good chance of a love triangle developing, and we all know how many pros and cons there are to those.

Would/Did I Use It?: It's stated in Searching the Skies that Geneva and Marcus were childhood friends, but nothing romantic ever happened until after almost ten years of separation. As I said, there's a sweet, wholesome quality to this trope...but there aren't any laws prohibiting sweet and wholesome from going to naughty and scintillating! On my long list of potential story ideas, this trope comes up at least one more time, so I'm going to give it the thumbs up.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Realism vs. Excitement

Those of you who've seen my facebook posts know I've been working on some action scenes for the StS sequel. (The gun-slinging hero type of action, not that kind of action.) I've been struggling a little bit with this section, and I think I've pinpointed why: while the point of this part of the plot is for Geneva to go into a dangerous situation and be the Big Damn Hero, I don't want it to come across as implausible.

There's a fine line between overanalyzing each step while fretting about all the potential bad outcomes and having characters just jump into the fray and shoot the shit out of everything that moves. Ideally, I want to straddle that line. While we do like cheering for our heroes and we want them to go kick the asses of everyone who poses a threat to their well-being, we also want them to have depth and be believable. Actions have consequences. It can take me out of a story if an author tends to ignore that simple fact.

I'm not going to give away too many spoilers here, but I hope I've found a good balance between Geneva exercising caution/showing awareness and whipping out her weapons/being a total badass. I want her to be tough, but not heartless; savvy, but not pessimistic. Above all, my main goal for this series is to keep things FUN!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: Amnesiac Lover

Trope: Amnesiac Lover

Description: In this trope, our love interests have already found each other and have started on the path to "happily ever after". But then...tragedy strikes! One partner suffers some injury or other experience that results in the loss of memory and can't remember his/her true love. (In some cases, both partners have amnesia.) Throughout the story, they set out to rediscover their love. The Amnesiac Lover learns why his/her partner was so awesome to begin with and they resume skipping down that HEA road.

Examples: Sarah from Chuck (yes, again!), Paige from The Vow, Joel and Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Pros: If you're a fan of the idea that "love conquers all", this is a pretty good trope. Nothing will ever keep our heroes apart, as even amnesia is powerless in the face of true love. This trope also offers up a good change of pace in the romance genre - in a way, we already know the end result for the couple (as they've already wound up together), but we're able to relive the journey with a different sort of tension.

Cons: Most stories that use this trope do not portray amnesia with any sense of medical accuracy. (Most, not all.) If this comes up in a series of books, TV shows, or films, the audience can feel cheated by having the couple they've been rooting for all along be torn apart by yet another dramatic twist. Even if the Amnesiac Lover recovers and the couple falls in love all over again, we're left wondering - are they really going to be the same?

Would/Did I Use It?: While I have included an amnesiac character in a book, she (Liora from EotS) doesn't fall under this category, as she fell in love after the amnesia kicked in. However, I'm not opposed to this trope. Sometimes it's interesting to see a romance from the other end, after the couple has already gotten together. In real-life situations, even without any sort of trauma, I think it's important every now and then to remember the things that attracted you to your partner in the first place. Stories like these can be a needed reminder not to take them for granted.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I hate titling things. Sometimes the perfect title comes to me right away, and I ride out the entire project without having to worry about it in the slightest (see: Disintegration). Sometimes the issue tugs at the back of my mind while I'm writing and the title doesn't appear in my brain until about halfway through (see: The Edge of the Sphere). Sometimes I finish the whole project and then realize, "damn, I have to give this thing a name, don't I?" (see: Searching the Skies)

I suppose, then, it's fitting that a name for the StS sequel has yet to make itself known to me. I'm about 2/3 - 3/4 of the way through writing, and I have NO idea what the title is going to be. I've tossed around some suggestions with my friends, and they all pretty much nicely told me the same thing: pile o' suck.

As it is a sequel, I'd ideally like the title to have the same "celestial" feel. Also, I have [at least] one more book planned with these characters, and I don't want to back myself into a corner when it comes to titling #3. Rejected ideas from the pile o' suck include:

 - [Verb-]ing the Skies. Even if I wrote a dozen more books, I could probably find enough verbs to keep this trend going for a while. "Guarding", "Exploring", and "Saving" were tossed around as possibilities; I'm apprehensive about using something beginning with S, as then I might be trapped in the realm of alliteration FOREVER.

 - Guarding the Galaxies. See above concern about the trap of alliteration. If I kept going with that theme, I'd probably eventually wind up at "Protecting the Planets" or "Bolstering the Black Holes", and I just don't think that's going to end well.

 - Love Among the Stars. Gag me. (I might go back later and delete this confession that such a title actually crossed my mind.)

So I'm stuck. I know I'm worrying over nothing, and I know that by the time I'm ready to ship it off to my editor, it will have the most glorious title that ever was and ever will be. Here's to hoping I'll get lucky and divine inspiration will strike when I least expect it.