Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font

Archive for 'Tea for Two'

Finding Love & Fortune, Old Age & Wrinkles

Tea For Two Where do you find love? It’s a question I asked here on my blog not long ago, producing some interesting answers. Today the Tea For Two Tour continues at Love Romance Passion and I’m talking about romance and meeting places. I’m also doing a giveaway so don’t forget to come and say hello.

Random thought – I must have more wrinkles than I thought because the bus driver stopped at the old folk’s home to let me off the bus, instead of continuing to the stop just a bit farther down the road. (which is closer to my house) He was trying to be nice, but I think I should be insulted. What do you think? LOL I think everyone is picking on me this year, that’s what I think.

A White Box

A book is a sum of things—characters, setting and description, dialogue, pace and plot. It’s the combination of all of these elements, done in the right way that makes a book exciting and sought after by readers.

Photobucket

It takes a lot of work to get a book to a standard that’s saleable. My first drafts are like white boxes. People inhabit the white box—my characters that is, but they’re quiet and in shock from the lack of scenery. It’s all white in there, after all.

During the first stages, my characters are a bit superficial and half the time they have no idea what they’re doing, what their purpose is in the box. It’s almost like the first run through of a play where the cast are strangers and feeling their way into their parts.

It’s during the second and third run through that I add the color and turn my white box into a real world, complete with real people. Adding setting and description is a skill I’ve fought to learn—it certainly doesn’t come naturally.

Not so long ago, it was normal to read very flowery descriptions in books. These days descriptions in fiction are briefer and spare at times.

Here’s a paragraph from Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer.

The Apparition wore a coat of the palest apricot cloth, with a flowered vest of fine brocade, and startling white small-clothes. Red-heeled shoes were on his feet, and his stockings were adorned by sprawling golden clocks. He carried an amber-clouded can and a jeweled snuff-box, while ever and anon he raised a cobwebby handkerchief to his aristocratic nose. He minced down the street towards the market-place, followed by the awestricken glances of an amazed population.

That’s a lot of description for one person, although I have to say I’d love to see him in person. You probably won’t find this amount of description in a modern romance, not focused on one person. We’re more likely to add it in more sparingly in bits and pieces.

This snippet is taken from Dark Lover by JR Ward.

When she was finished with the Twinkie, she flipped open her phone, hit speed dial, and put in an order for beef with broccoli. As she walked along, she looked at the familiar, grim landmarks. Along this stretch of Trade Street, there were only bars, strip clubs, and the occasional tattoo parlor. The Chinese food place and the Tex-Mex buffet were the only two restaurants. The rest of the buildings, which had been used as offices in the twenties, when downtown had been thriving, were vacant. She knew every crack in the sidewalk; she could time the traffic lights. And the patois of sounds drifting out of open doors and windows offered no surprises either.

With this paragraph, we get a little characterization along with a feel for the neighborhood. We learn that although the district is run down, the place is home for our heroine.

In another book, that shall remain nameless, the description of a room sounded like a shopping list. It mentioned an antique rug, hardwood floors, a Victorian sofa and the color of the brocade, a coffee table and the type of wood, the silver tea service on top, two Victorian chairs, a gas fireplace, silver-framed photo frames, the photos inside them, the mantelpiece, a cherry and glass counter and quite a few other things.

The actual story wasn’t too bad, but this description, done list style, made me roll my eyes. I’ve edited the list quite a bit. The descriptions took up over half a page.

What I try to do is show the character experiencing the setting, give sensory details. I show them walking across a thick carpet and wondering if their shoes are going to get lost in the pile or holding out their hands to catch snowflakes, feeling the cold and dampness or tasting it melt on their tongue. They might notice the cars buried in snow or hear the chains on the tires as they fight for purchase. I try to involve the character’s senses of sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing to make the description come alive.

Here’s a paragraph taken from Tea For Two by Shelley Munro

“I see a line of dots.” Hayley Williams peered solemnly into her customer’s white china teacup. Outside her colorful curtain-partitioned area of the tea tent, children shrieked with excitement as they lined up for the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round. Her assistant chatted to one of the ladies in charge of the tea, extolling the high points of a reading by Madam Deveraux. Somewhere in the distance, a toddler howled and a brass band played “Rock Around the Clock”. Closer, touts shouted spasmodically about the exciting things available at their stalls. The clatter of china and the muted gossip of the ladies in the makeshift café added to the cacophony of fairground sounds.

For me this is actually quite a long description, but I hope it plops you right in the middle of a fairground.

When it comes to describing characters, I’m typically very brief because as a reader, I like to imagine myself as the heroine. If there’s too much description I think it gets in the way of my imagination. Just a brief hair color, eyes, build etc is all I need. You might think differently.

How much description do you like to read in your books? Do you like lots of description or a bare minimum? Do you like detailed description of characters? And writers: what approach do you use when it comes to description? Do you have a white box like me or is your world colorful from the start?

It’s Tea and Romance with a Side of Aliens!

Tea For TwoToday I kick off my Tea For Two book tour at Book Junkie. I’m talking about books and keeping track. There’s a giveaway, so come on over and say hello.

My monthly column at The Raven Happy Hour is also live today. Do you know what to do if you see a UFO or come face-to-face with an alien? No? Then you should come over and take notes because you never know!

Raven Scavenger Hunt

It’s time for the annual Raven Scavenger Hunt. Click on the icon below to get to the offical Scavenger Hunt Page.

Raven Scavenger Hunt

You might win one of the following prizes:

Autographed book Dragons Prefer Blondes by Candace Havens
E-book from N.J. Walters’ backlist (winner’s choice)
E-book from Bianca D’Arc’s backlist (winner’s choice)
E-book from Candice Gilmer’s currently available backlist (winner’s choice)
Belong to the Night by Cynthia Eden (print paranormal romance anthology)
Tea for Two by Shelley Munro (print)
November ebook from Cobblestone – THE DEMON NEXT DOOR: ALI by Kate Austin
Forbidden: The Sacrifice (eBook copy) by Samantha Sommersby
Autographed print book from Shiloh Walker’s Backlist
E-book Divinity Warriors 1: Lilith Enraptured by Michelle M. Pillow
Mayan Secrets by Ciar Cullen (print US or Canada), ebook otherwise
E-book of Obsession (romantic suspense) by Sharon Cullen
Selkie Island by Jorrie Spencer
Autographed copy of Tempting Turquoise (print) by Amy Ruttan
Autographed copy of Hard Candy by Amanda Young
Adrienne (print) by D. Renee Bagby
Heart of the Volcano, ebook by Imogen Howson
E-book copy of Private Property by Leah Braemel
Furry, Fluffy & Wild (ebook anthology) by Nina Pierce
Venus In Blue Jeans (print) by Meg Benjamin
E-book copy of Lay Me Down in pfd format by Taige Crenshaw
The Forbidden Chamber (ebook) by Ella Drake
The Ghost Exterminator: A Love Story (ebook) by Vivi Andrews
Angelic Avenger (ebook) by Kaye Chambers

Contest Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered my contest and wished me a happy holiday. Hubby and I had a wonderful time. It was very relaxing and the days passed way too quickly.

Three people guessed the correct total of 18. I decided to put all three names in a hat and draw out one winner for my original prize of a print copy of Tea For Two and award the other two downloads of their choice.

The winner of Tea For Two is Elaine.
Eva S and Rachel M will receive a download of their choice.

Congratulations to all three winners!! (all winners have been contacted via email)

Here is the list of the books I read during my holiday.

1. Grady’s Awakening by Bianca D’Arc
2. Touching Midnight (MIRA) by Fiona Brand
3. Mystery book
4. Mystery book
5. Mystery book
6. Mystery book
7. Mystery book
8. Mystery book
9. Mystery book
10. Kilt Worthy by Catherine Bybee
11. Thai’d Up by Helen Hardt
12. Payback by Rose Middleton
13. Chasing Smoke by KA Mitchell
14. Start Me Up by Victoria Dahl
15. Bengal’s Heart (Breeds) by Lora Leigh
16. Passion Unleashed (The Demonica Series) by Larissa Ione
17. Personal Demons by Stacia Kane
18. Even Demons Get the Blues by Maree Anderson

Note: I can’t give you titles of the mystery books since I’m judging them in a contest.

I had a very happy time reading by the pool, and as you can see by the titles I mixed and matched genres very nicely. Some of the mystery books were historicals so I think I covered them all! My favorite read was Passion Unleashed by Larissa Ione. This is book three in her series and if you like paranormals you should definitely try these books featuring demon brothers who work in a hospital for paranormal creatures.

Thanks for entering my contest!

5 Heart Sweetheart Award

I was very excited to learn TEA FOR TWO won the 5 Heart Sweetheart award from The Romance Studio this week.

Tea for Two This week’s 5 Heart Sweetheart…

“Ms. Shelley Munro is quickly becoming a must read author. I enjoy her style and her approach to her varied plots. These two main characters were certainly no exception. The storyline was full of secrets (from both Hayley and Sam). The more time the couple spent together, the less likely it became that Sam would buy into his family’s theory that Norville’s fell in love at first sight. Ms. Munro has such an appealing way of revealing her story that it is impossible to put down the book.” – Brenda Talley.

Thanks so much to The Romance Studio and all the readers who voted for Tea For Two!