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The Grand Gesture in Romance Novels

It’s my pleasure to welcome Ines Johnson today. She’s here to talk about her new release Pumpkin, a Cindermama story.

Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

Now it’s on to The Grand Gesture…

Traditionally the Grand Gesture is known to be a common plotting point in romance stories where the hero does something bold or gives up something big in order to show the heroine that his love is true.

In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy puts aside his contempt of Wickham to help save Lydia’s reputation. This grand gesture is what finally convinces Elizabeth to take his hand.

In Twilight, Edward’s grand gesture, the thing that shows his true love of Bella, is when he sucks the poison out of her wrist without killing her.

For more on grand gestures, we’ll turn to the hero of my latest release, Pumpkin: a Cindermama story. This romance is a fairytale retelling of -you guessed it- the Cinderella story.

EXCERPT

The Mistress of Ceremonies hurried through her introductions and then the microphone was in Manny’s hand, but he didn’t take out the notes of his prepared speech.

Pumpkin"Many of you knew my mother," he began. There was a murmur of nostalgic assent throughout the crowd.

"You may not know that after her diagnosis, she spent most of her days watching romantic comedies. She believed she could laugh the illness out of her body. Her favorite moments in these films were something called the Grand Gesture. That scene just after all hope is lost because one of the lovers, normally the guy, has done something stupid that’s led to the end of the relationship. So he thinks up this bold, romantic move to get the woman back."

A glance around the room told Manny that he held the largely female crowd in rapt attention.

"An example of a grand gesture would be a guy telling his estranged wife that she completes him in the midst of an angry mob of women. Or rescuing her underwear from the class geek and returning it to her at her sister’s wedding. Or holding a boom box over his head, in front of her bedroom window, early in the morning, while blasting the song that was playing as he deflowered her."

A different wave of nostalgia swept through the crowd this time as they remembered these treasured moments of Hollywood cinema.

"In the real world, some people might call these behaviors creepy, or stalker-ish. But not my mother. She loved them. She believed in love, believed that when you loved someone you said it loud, you showed it often, and you never gave up."

Manny paused here, partly for effect, mostly to collect himself as visions of his mother’s joyous face played in his head. He rubbed the heel of his hand against his chest.

"The national divorce rate is 50 percent."

There was no surprise in the room, where most of the men were older and the women on their arms were younger.

"There’s never been a divorce in the Charmayne family. Not one recorded anywhere in our family line."

The sparkle of young women’s eyes threatened to blind Manny from where he stood on the stage.

"What that means is when a Charmayne gives you their pledge, they are committed."

The decision was a split second one, but once Manny made it he stuck with it. He stepped around the podium, mic in hand and dropped to one knee. The gasp of every woman in the room was near deafening.

"To earn your vote, I will do whatever I have to, including blast Peter Gabriel in the streets. Charmaynes don’t quit. I’m committed to this, to the people of this town. I hope that I can count on your vote."

The room erupted in thunderous applause, and the women’s eyes sparkled even brighter.

We’ve seen literary heroes perform the feat of a grand gesture near the end of the tale. In Pumpkin: a Cindermama story, my hero Manny talks about this moment in the first act. I take a moment early in the book to teach the reader the rules of the grand gesture in this speech so that they are prepped for later in the book when I break these rules in favor of a more non-traditional grand gesture near the end of the story. To find out who messed up and how they declared their love in a grand way, pick up the book.

Interested in learning more?

Here’s the blurb:

Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Now she believes she’s not cut from the storybook, heroine cloth and searches for Mr. Good Enough amongst the sidekicks and supporting men of the town.

Love at first sight isn’t a cliche for town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne. For generations the Charmaynes have spotted their soulmates by seeing a golden aura the first time they laid eyes on The One.

When Manny meets Pumpkin he sees…nothing, but sparks fly off the richter scale. The more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.

Purchase at Amazon

Visit Ines:

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Do you have any questions for Ines? Ask away in the comments section.

The First Meeting: Leo and Jocelyn

MistressOfMerrivale72sm

I’m visiting Jill Hughey today where Mistress of Merrivale is featured. Read about the first meeting between my hero and heroine, Leo and Jocelyn.

My post at Jill Hughey’s blog

Summoned: Trapped By A Paranormal Bond!

Summoned By Rainy Kaye

 

I’d like to welcome Rainy Kaye today with Summoned, which sounds like a very interesting book and perfect for those paranormal fans out there. Here’s the BLURB:

SummonedTwenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker. Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets. Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

 

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

 

Find out more at http://www.summonedtheseries.com

Blog http://www.rainyofthedark.com/

Newsletter http://bookandblogservices.hosted.phplist.com/lists/?p=subscribe&id=6

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/rainyofthedark

Wattpad http://www.wattpad.com/rainyofthedark

YouTube Link for Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCkf92MVvh4

 

CONTEST: Rainy Kaye is giving away an Amazon $10 gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the Summoned Tour. Complete the rafflecopter below to enter the draw.

To get a better chance of winning, follow the rest of the Summoned tour here.

RAFFLECOPTER CODE: a Rafflecopter giveaway

13 Mistakes I made on the way to publication by Martha O’Sullivan

I’d like to welcome a special guest today – Martha O’Sullivan. Like me, she is a writer, and today she’s talking about mistakes she made on the road to publication. I’ve made some of the same mistakes. Have you? Over to Martha…

Thursday Thirteen

13 Mistakes I made on the way to publication by Martha O’Sullivan

1. I thought I needed an agent.

2. I thought I had to go through traditional publishing and print channels.

3. I thought Harlequin ruled the world.

4. I should have brought The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist before I wrote my first book instead of when I was editing my second.

5. I underestimated how generous, supportive and welcoming writers were.

6. I should have gone to RWA Nationals the year I started writing. I should have joined TARA from the get-go.

7. I should have kept reading. I started writing at night instead of reading.

8. I should always write the last chapter first. I should have known this since I find myself reading the last few pages of a book midway through chapter two.

9. I should have joined a critique group.

10. I should have shouted that I was writing from the rooftops instead of keeping it to myself.

11. I should have known the last rejection hurts just as much as the first one.

12. I should have known that writing the book was the easy part.

13. I knew how bad I wanted it, so I should have known I would do it.

But the one thing I did right? I never gave up! And here I am!

Have you made any mistakes during your writing journey? Are there things you would have done differently?

The Chances Trilogy by Martha O’Sullivan

Second Chance Chance Encounter last chance cov

Second Chance, the Chances trilogy opener, is a reunion/love triangle romance that keeps the shores of Lake Tahoe blazing hot long after the sultry summer sun has set. Chance Encounter, the trilogy’s second installment, heats up San Francisco’s chilly days and blustery nights with white-hot passion and pulse-pounding suspense. And in Last Chance, the conclusion of the trilogy, the snow-packed Sierras melt into lust-fueled puddles despite the single-digit temperatures of the Lake Tahoe winter.

Please visit Martha’s web site at www.marthaosullivan26.wix.com/marthaosullivan for excerpts, reviews and more.

The Chances trilogy by Martha O’Sullivan (http://twitter.com/@m_osullivan26)  available at: www.marthaosullivan26.wix.com/marthaosullivan

http://eredsage.com/store/OSULLIVAN_MARTHA.html Also available on: Amazon, BN.com, AllRomanceEbooks, Kobo Books and Bookstrand

BIO:

Martha O’Sullivan has loved reading romance novels for as long as she can remember. So much so that she would continue the story in her head long after the last chapter was read. Writing her own novels is the realization of a lifelong dream for this stay-at-home mom. Martha writes contemporary and erotic romances with traditional couples and happy endings. She is the author of the Chances trilogy available now from Red Sage Publishing. Her current work-in-progress is a sweet and steamy Christmas novel set in Florida. A native Chicagoan, she lives her own happy ending in Tampa with her husband and two daughters.

The Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Writers

Today my special guest Amy Denim is doing my Thursday Thirteen for me. I know—score! She’s here to tell us about business plans and her new release The Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Writers. Check out her easy 13 point plan below.

Oh, and Amy is giving away a copy of her book, so make sure you leave a comment below.

Welcome, Amy!

Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans by Amy Denim

Thirteen Questions to Build Yourself a Business Plan or The Thirteen Minute Business Plan

Have you thought about putting together a business plan? But, oh, it’s such a long and complicated process. Ugh. Why bother, when you could spend your valuable time writing. But, wait, what’s this? A guide to help authors write a business plan on coffee breaks?

Okay, so I find when things get boring and staid that some humor and creativity makes it all much more fun. And let’s admit that a traditional business plan is anything but fun. But having one can be an important part of taking control of your writing career. To get you started I’ve created a quick and easy set of questions that hit all the main parts of a plan and it really should only take you about a coffee break to complete it.

Okay, put your thinking cap/top hat/beanie with the helicopter rotor /tiara on. It’s time to think about what you really want from your writing career.

These questions are to get you started thinking about your goals, but don’t go crazy and spend hours making lists and/or daydreaming about your success as a writer, I want you to do these on a coffee break.

I call this the Coffee Break Business Plan. This is all about basic goals, which you can expand on to create a full-blown business plan, so spend only a few minutes thinking about each of these questions. Write a couple of sentences to answer them or make yourself a nice bullet-point list. If you’d like a template to print out to help you with this exercise, you can download one at www.coffeebreaksocialmedia.com/Books/Resources.

Grab a cup of coffee and a pen

Write down the answers to these questions.

1. How many books do you plan to write? In what genre?

2. What’s your projected word count?

3. When will you finish each project? Or, how much time will you need to complete each project? (Don’t forget to build in time for critiques, beta readers, editing, and all those other activities… besides actually writing the book.)

4. How will you publish these books? Traditionally, self-published, a hybrid approach?

5. If you’re self-publishing, what services will you need and how much will you spend on those?

6. Who is your competition? Who else writes books like yours?

7. How will you sell and market your books?

8. How much money will it cost you to publish and market? What services might you pay for to help you do that?

9. How much money do you plan to make, and when will you see that revenue?

10. When do you plan to achieve these goals?

11. What resources do you need (like a budget template, word count tracker, a reference book about business plans) to complete your plan?

12. When can you review your goals to see what you’ve accomplished and what you need to revise?

13. What rewards can you set up for yourself to say “Job well done!”

There you go. You just created a basic business plan. For real. Laminate that sucker and put it up big and pretty in front of your computer. Every time you sit down to write, take a look and focus on writing to achieve those goals. If the IRS comes knocking, you can wave it in their faces.

If you’d like assistance expanding your business plan I can help with that too. Leave a comment on the blog today, ask questions about business plans or anything else you’d like and one lucky commenter will win a copy my new book The Coffee Break Guide to Business Plans for Authors: The Step-By-Step Guide to Taking Control of Your Writing Career. But, if you can’t wait to win it, it’s available now on Amazon.

Amy DenimAmy Denim writes business books for writers and contemporary romance. She loves hot heroes (like chefs and cowboys) and curvy intelligent heroines (like chefs and cowgirls.)

She’s been a franchise sales coordinator, a lifeguard, a personal shopper, and a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. But now she spends her days reading and writing at her local library or in her book cave.

Amy started out her writer’s life scared out of her wits because she didn’t have a business plan, hadn’t yet created an online platform, wasn’t on Twitter, didn’t have a Facebook fanpage and had never even heard of Goodreads. She just wrote books. So she spent a year becoming a publishing industry information fiend and now does consulting for creatives on how to use take control of their writing careers. She started Coffee Break Social Media to help writers and artists learn to use SM platforms effectively (without the scare tactics) but still have time to create. She believes business plans and social media can be every writer’s friend, sometimes they just need an introduction.

Visit Amy on her author website at www.AmyDenim.com or for tips and tricks on the writing business at www.coffeebreaksocialmedia.com.

The Coffice and Alien Cats

Freesias

Freesias in our garden

Today I’m out visiting on the web. I’m making a stop at the RWA chapter Contemporary Romance Writers where I tell all about my coffice.

My second stop is with author Lynda Hilburn where I discuss alien cats.

Tale of Two Taniwha

I’m visiting Susan Johnson today with a tale of two taniwha. There is also a contest where I’m giving away a download from my back list. I hope to see you there!

Matau, the Giant

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

Like most countries, New Zealand has myths to explain the formation of various lakes and mountains. This is the legend of how Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand was formed.

Renowned beauty Manata lived in Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. She was popular with neighboring men and many of them wanted to take her as their wife. Manata’s father didn’t consider any of the suitors husband material.

One of her suitors was called Matakauri. He loved Manata and she loved him in return.

One day a giant called Matau stole Manata from her home and carried her away into the mountains. Manata’s father told Matakauri that if he could rescue his daughter, he’d approve of a marriage between them.

Matakauri knew that the giant always turned sleepy when the wind blew from the nor’west, and once conditions were right, he set out to rescue his love. When he arrived the giant was sound asleep.

“Come with me,” Matakauri said. “I’ll take you home.”

“The giant has tied me to him with a rope made from the skin of his two-headed dogs. It is impossible to break,” Manata cried.

Matakauri tried to cut it, but to no avail. Manata started weeping and when her tears fell on the rope it dissolved. Freed, the lovers fled to safety.

As promised, the couple married, but Matakauri worried about the giant returning and stealing his new wife. When the wind blew from the nor’west again, he sneaked up to the giant’s home and found the giant curled up and sleeping on a bed of bracken. Matakauri set fire to the bracken and the giant suffocated before he regained consciousness. The giant’s body sank deeper and deeper into the ground until he created an enormous chasm many kilometers long. His entire body was consumed by the flames, except the heart, which kept beating.

Rain began to fall and it flowed into the new chasm. The heat generated by the fiery giant bonfire melted the snow on the nearby mountains. Soon the chasm was full of water and it remains as a lake to this day—a lake shaped like a giant who has drawn up his knees in sleep.

Meanwhile the giant’s heart still beats beneath the surface of the water, sometimes so hard that the waves thunder against the shoreline.

I didn’t realize we had giant myths in New Zealand, and I’ve been enjoying reading through Taniwha, Giants, and Supernatural Creatures by Aw Reed and Ross Calman. Do you have any local giant myths?

Today I’m visiting Lissa Matthews where I’m discussing Maxwell’s, the fictional club in Past Regrets. There’s a giveaway too.

How Will The World End?

I’d like to welcome Hart Johnson to my blog. She has a new serial called A Flock of Ill Omens with the first part coming out today. Hart asked everyone who is helping her spread the word about her new release to say how we think the world will come to an end. Her suggestions ranged from Aliens, Zombies, Asteroid, A Giant Spaghetti Monster, or an Attack of the Interrobang!? Food for thought, right?

Once you’ve read about Hart’s serial, scroll down to see how I think the world might end…

Deadliest virus in a century, or a social experiment gone awry?

Every year they warned about the flu and more often than not, it amounted to nothing. Sidney Knight, a young freelance reporter had certainly never written on it. But a trip to Lincoln City, Oregon cut short by a beach full of dead seagulls and a panicked warning from her brother the scientist catch her attention. This batch is different. Deadlier. And the vaccine doesn’t seem to be helping. It almost looks like it’s making it worse…

A Flock of Ill Omens

A Flock of Ill Omens is the first episode of A Shot in the Light, an Apocalypse Conspiracy Tale about what happens when people play God for fun and profit. There will be approximately ten episodes, each the equivalent of about 100 pages.

Good Reads has a sneak peek posted. You can find the purchase link and more information about the book here. And if you want it FOR FREE, I will be offering it free on the release dates of at least the next two in the serial: September 19 and October 10.

Hart Johnson writes books from her bathtub and can be found at Confessions of a Watery Tart, though be warned. She is likely to lead you into shenanigans.

blogfestShot

HOW DO I THINK THE WORLD WILL END?

During the last two years, we’ve had a rash of earthquakes around the world and in New Zealand, my home country. While the majority of the quakes have occurred in the lower North and the South Islands of our country, we have a sleeping dragon in the Auckland region where I live.

The city of Auckland is built on a field of volcanoes.

Rangitoto, Mt Victoria, North Head

See the three peaks/mounds in the photo above? They’re all dormant volcanoes and there are hundreds more. The volcano in the far left of this photo is Rangitoto, which erupted a mere 600 years ago and is the “youngest” in the region. Mt Victoria (middle) and North Head (right) are much older.

Volcanoes within a field do not usually erupt again. Instead a new one pops up somewhere else, and scientists say that this could happen at any time. We’re due.

I think the huge number of earthquakes occurring worldwide is an early warning, and New Zealand is in the midst of the problem. One big volcano will obliterate Auckland for sure, but I’m thinking a super volcano. One that will cause earthquakes, maybe cause other volcanoes around the ring of fire to flare, trigger large tsunamis and send ripple effects across the globe.

How do you think the world might end? Do you go with my theory, Hart’s theory, or do you have one of your own?

Oops, I almost forgot – today I’m visiting Felicity Heaton where I’m discussing another thing unique to New Zealand—The Terrifying Taniwha! I hope to see you there!

Step Back With the Pharaohs

Donkey Ride, Valley of the Kings, Egypt

When we visited Egypt a few years ago, one of the things I worried about most was the excursion to the Valley of the Kings via donkey. I’d never ridden a donkey before and my concern was that I’d fall off! The donkey ride from Luxor up into the hills and down into the Valley of the Kings turned out to be the highlight of my trip. It certainly beat the coaches that took most of the tourists to the site. My donkey was called Michael Jackson and that’s us in the middle of the photo. The other two girls were part of our group.

The donkeys ambled on the way there, but on the journey home they trotted, setting a brisk pace. We arrived home in time for lunch after exploring several of the tombs which once housed the royals. It was a fun excursion, and I loved it.

Today I’m visiting Mari Carr. I’m talking about the friends to lovers trope and there’s a giveaway. I hope to see you there!

It’s our wedding anniversary today. Thirty-one years of married life seem to have flown past in the blink of an eye. Happy anniversary, Mr. Munro!