Brandon Shire is doing a series revolving around favorite books and about six weeks ago I was one of the guest bloggers. This is a reposting of that article.
I have lots of favorites that revolve around my writing. A favorite way to write, as well as a place. Favorite things to surround myself with when I write, but an actual favorite book? I nearly gave myself hives trying to pick a favorite book of mine that I’d written. How could I possibly do that? It was like saying pick my favorite child.
Each book has its good and bad from the point of the writer. The book I’m most excited about is the one I’m currently writing. The book that gives me a warm gooey feeling (the thank heavens it’s done feeling) in my stomach is the one about to be released. But a favorite among the books already published, that was hard. So, I employed my variation of an age old technique. I stood in front of the framed versions of my covers, closed my eyes and went eenee, menie, miney, moe.
That’s how I decided to ramble on at you about Chained Hearts today. First let me insert the obligatory warnings. There may be spoilers here and this book is third in a series of six planned books. There, conscience clear, now let’s get at it, shall we?
The more I thought about what I wanted to write, the more I realized Chained Hearts had a lot of reasons to make it a favorite book of mine that I've written. When I went back and skimmed the story, because loving and remembering every nth detail are two different things, I saw there were a lot of parts to the story near and dear to my heart.
The basics of the series are, there is this guy, Todd Ruger and he lives about 300 years in our future and times have changed. Electricity is solar powered, the basic mode of transportation is horses and cell phones and computers live only in history books. Todd has an interesting job, he’s a supernatural bounty hunter known as a sentry. Todd’s main man is Nick, who is his mate as well as Todd’s slave. They are partners in every way. They have found themselves embroiled in a war where they are pawns of their government.
Todd is outgoing, one tough dude and afraid of nothing. Nick is quiet, uber-smart, sort of a smart ass and they are totally devoted to one another.
Chained Hearts afforded me the opportunity to really delve into each of these men’s inner most fears and feelings. The relationship between them is well established; they’ve already been through several crisis that have strengthened their bond. They confront a supernatural foe who can also dig deep into their minds.
I was able to explore how people deal when someone they love gets in a bad place in their heads. Just how far can one go and still be forgiven by the person closest to you? These are fascinating aspects of a character and throughout the book I have many opportunities to examine how each man will react, and what choices they make.
Digging into a character, and putting them in different situations to test their mettle is something I love to do. In Chained Hearts I was able to challenge my guys with both physical, as well as mental hurts with ghouly monsters and conniving women. On the flip side I could also delve into the various things they like, the little personal bits that really bring a character to life. Writing in a series gives me the time to let the characters grow not only personally, but in their relationship.
Blurb and Excerpt
Today is the last day of 'The Great Home Improvement Project 2013' ! Yay and thank heavens. I've had almost a month of people rumbling around and in my house. They've all done a great job, but I'll be glad to have things back to normal.
Before and after pics to follow.
Welcome today Jessica Skye Davies. Don't miss the links she has included for her blog with opportunities to win swag, books, and a goodie hamper.
Thanks so much to Elizabeth for hosting me! Today I’m talking about how I define the romance in my writing.
As many writers have said, one of the first questions people ask when you tell them you are a writer is, “what do you write?” My standard response is “non-traditional romantic fiction.” Kind of a mouthful, but it does raise curiosity. Once I get them hooked with that, and make clear that I’m not talking Harlequin or 50 Shades of Irresponsible Writing, that’s usually when I drop the other shoe – I write about guys. Together!
So the “non-traditional” part of my statement can refer to the m/m thing, but there’s more to it than that. I specify “romantic fiction,” as opposed to “romance.” Romance writing doesn’t have the greatest reputation. It’s usually seen as highly formulaic with underdeveloped, weak characterization and terribly forgettable plotlines. And ludicrous covers, let’s not forget those.
I give a very strong focus to characters in my writing. More than anything, I want my characters to come across as real and I make sure they’ve all got their own unique voice. Even my minor characters are “people” to me, each with his or her own story (whether we get to know that story or not). None of them are “superheroes” or in any way perfect. They’ve all got flaws, worries, and/or doubts.
As for the romance, it’s important, of course. But it’s not necessarily the only thing. The problems my characters face are generally from outside the relationship. It’s the relationship they rely on when everything else in their world has gone pear shaped. But they also learn to rely on themselves and friendships outside their relationship. Sort of an “it takes a village” thing. In social work theory, we call it the person-in-environment approach. No one is an island.
Most often, my romance deals with long-term, established couples. This is obviously going to be a different definition of romance than the boy-meets-boy bit. These guys are less often worrying about where they’re going for dinner to impress their date and more often seen cuddling on the couch with a take-away.
“…when we used to sit at the kitchen table on Saturday mornings, drinking tea and talking about the weekend’s plans. From when we used to curl up on the couch with take-away and a movie on Fridays after work.” (Sins of Another)
“The way he used to wrap an arm around my shoulders and lean in to kiss my jawline, while reaching into my stir-fry to pluck out those little miniature corn bits. I don’t particularly like them anyway and would just give them to him, but Nick liked to think he’s distracting me with romance.” (Sins of Another)
Are they stuck in a rut, settled, boring? Not hardly. They still get out and have plenty of fun, both as couples and as individuals. They have a different view of romance, one that is less hearts-and-flowers and more comfort and acceptance. One that prefers loose pyjama bottoms and thin t-shirts to tight trousers and shiny shirts.
“I can spend time with my mates without ringing Nick every hour, or he can join us and my mates don’t have to feel like third and fourth wheels. Our relationship is healthy because we love and trust one another explicitly.” (Sins of Another)
“It was tough enough to concentrate properly on cooking with Tyler walking around in those low-slung pajama pants and a T-shirt so thin Kevin could just get a hint of Tyler’s dark-chocolate nipples. He was certain that his boyfriend knew exactly what effect he was having.” (Possession)
And they are definitely still hot for one another!
“Tyler’s fingertips under Kevin’s strong chin brought their lips together. It wasn’t long before it was more tongues than lips, and not long after that before Tyler was rolling onto his back and all but dragging Kevin on top of him, his hands greedily roaming his lover’s chest.” (Possession)
“I step close to give him a hug, wondering if it’s not going to be a bit awkward. It is, but for only second, and then it feels just like it always did holding him – right. We still fit together just the same.” (Sins of Another)
“…he’s been the arms that aren’t afraid to hold me close and the lips that aren’t afraid to kiss me. And yes, the hand that isn’t afraid to touch me intimately. I never thought it would be important to feel sexually desirable at this point in my life, but Nick makes me feel like I’m still porn-star hot. The feeling is quite mutual.” (Sins of Another)
There are all sorts of definitions of romance. For me, the best definition is one that doesn’t reduce one’s individuality or independence, but enhances it; one that’s grounded in mutual respect and encourages growth within the relationship as well as outside of it; and, particularly, one in which problems are solved together rather than “heroically” on one’s partner’s behalf.
This is the sort of romance that underpins both Possession (available now) and Sins of Another (due to be released April 29, 2013), both from Dreamspinner Press.
Sins of Another contest!
Between now and May 29, 2013 I’ll be including clues in my blog tour stops and my own blog entries to references made within Sins of Another.
Here’s how it works: You get the clue from the blog posts and keep track of the answers on your own. After the last clue has been posted (May 29, 2013), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you follow the blog tour over the next couple months as I’ll be giving away swag bags, a goodie hamper, and a copy of Sins of Another.
This week’s clue:
Padrig’s mate Freddie is a hobbyist thespian. Two of the plays he’s appeared in are mentioned in the story. They are both popular, classic plays by quite well known playwrights, and both have to do with mistaken identity. Name the plays.
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