Tag Archive for: romantic fiction

Smile, You’re On!

By Laura Spinella 
My first public reading was nothing short of a disaster. Trust me; there
was nothing beautiful about it.  The
moment was so bad I couldn’t even articulate the aforementioned pun at my own
expense. (See Beautiful Disaster, Penguin, 2011) It was a packed library, which I wasn’t expecting. The sight of the
room was promptly followed by a panic attack, which I definitely wasn’t
expecting. In an aftermath of humiliation, I was left to wonder why such a
thing would happen to me. Theater was my passion in high school. I had no
problem getting up in front of a packed auditorium to belt out scenes and songs
from some of Broadway’s best shows. It’s particularly puzzling when you
consider that I am a far better writer than I am a singer. (Should you disagree,
no need to email) Yet that awful library moment ties with my five worst
publication experiences—thus far. A woman who came to a book club meeting, just
to make sure I understood her loathing of romantic Southern set novels, is a
close second.
            I would like to file
these experiences under live and learn. But with PERFECT TIMING out this
fall, my chances of avoiding public speaking and the occasional bitter book
club member are a moot point. In fact, I’d probably be wise to garner what I can and make an attempt to learn from it. So, what’s up with the public library debacle? A freak incident? Maybe. Was it the awkwardly timed realization that my words were suddenly out there for
the world to comment on at large? Could be. Or it might have been this: A
character that appears on stage comes with a predetermined script. While I
could certainly script my speech, there was no character involved. It was just
me… behind a podium…. a very undersized podium from what I recall.
            Many writers wear public
speaking like a second skin. They read fluidly from their books, conveying a story
as though the audience were a mesmerized group of kindergarteners. Speeches are
effortless, drawing in listeners and making them feel comfortable. These
authors segue from the written word to spoken the one as if public speaking were
their native tongue. To me, it’s a foreign dialect for which I don’t have much
natural talent. However, I do excel in group-specific public arenas. I’m great at book
clubs, almost entertaining—even if you don’t love romantic Southern fiction.
There’s something easy about sitting around with a group of women, even if you
don’t know a single one personally, and just chatting. On the other hand, I’m
stunned by the idea of getting up in front of that same group and being the targeted
center of attention.
Targeted center of
… perhaps therein lies a clue.
            Interestingly, I do have
a middle-of-the-road experience when it comes to public gatherings. More than
once, I’ve been asked to speak to my college alumni. I wasn’t flawless in these
instances, but I was certainly more comfortable than a generic public setting.
I suppose it has to do with camaraderie. While the alumni I spoke to were
individual strangers, we shared a common bond in having attended the same
university. My mind translated this as friendly territory, trickling down to my
nerves, which, in turn, did not fray. Had I sought professional help, I’m sure
this would have been the diagnosis.
            So tell me Gang members
and readers alike, how do you handle these situations? Are some of us just
naturally gifted when it comes to public gab? Or is it a skill that evolves
over time—like most things. You have captive audience here, please drop me
comment on public speaking 101.      
Laura Spinella is the award-winning author of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER and the upcoming novel, PERFECT TIMING. Visit her at lauraspinella.net  

Romantic Fiction…A Way to Deal With His Vanishing Act

By Lucianne Rivers

As a romance writer, I’m naturally interested in romance. Recently I became a member of an online dating site that sends out dating advice to its members in emails. One headline caught my eye, “Why Men Go Poof!” We’ve all experienced the disappearance of men we’ve been seeing. Suddenly they stop calling, or texting, or facebooking, or whatever. No reason given. Or the reason they give is some excuse you find hard to understand or believe. At the end of the day, if someone wants to be with you, they’ll be with you, correct?

And yet. When a man goes “poof,” I burn with curiosity. But whyyyyyyyyyyyyy did he just vanish? Was it me? I have a vivid imagination, so you can guess all the variations and possible explanations I come up with. In the last month, this happened to me. A week or so later I got up the courage to ask the man I’d been dating for his reason. And fair dues to him (as we’d say in Ireland) he let me know it wasn’t me; that he is too stressed to think about included another person in his brain and life. And I believe him, weirdly.

Sure, men can vanish because you have a rabbit in your kitchen you’re waiting to boil, or you because you have bad breath, or hate sex, or like it too much, etc, etc. But maybe sometimes they disappear because they have their own issues. Maybe it’s not me or you. It’s them. And that’s why I write romance novellas, because when a man goes “poof” in a story, he always comes back.

Escape his vanishing act by delving into the romantic lives of Jane, Margo and Allison Caldwell as they search the globe for their long presumed dead father, Zach, finding love and danger on the way in, HOLD ME, THRILL ME, ENTICE ME.

Author bio: Lucianne writes romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Cobblestone Press. Born and raised in Ireland, she currently lives in New Mexico with her young daughter.
Formerly a stage and television actress, she now manages a non-profit and is NM State Champion in her weight class for Olympic style weightlifting. Long story. Recently she has taken up Crossfit, Jiu Jitsu and boxing.

ENTICE ME by Lucianne Rivers

Heartsick over the untimely death of her mother, Allison Caldwell is blindsided again by the secret revealed in her mom’s will. Her supposedly dead father is alive, and she and her two sisters must find him in order to settle the Caldwell estate.

Robert Rivera, private investigator and former Navy SEAL, alerts Allison to new intel identifying her father as a P.O.W. in Afghanistan. With her sisters out of the country pursuing leads, Allison insists on heading to the war-ravaged country to find him. Robert doesn’t want his naïve client to take the risk. He knows what danger lays in that godforsaken land he’s lived through it. Barely.

But Allison is determined to go, and Robert can’t let her travel alone. Reluctantly appreciative, Allison quickly realizes how much she needs his guidance and protection, and how deeply she longs for his love. Robert struggles to understand her effect on his battle-weary heart.

The path to Allison’s father is blocked by terrorists, traps and treachery-all demons of Robert’s past. Can he survive a second round with the enemy and keep Allison out of harm’s way?

Title: Entice Me (Caldwell Sisters, #3)
Author: Lucianne Rivers
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novella
Launch Date: October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-937044-32-9

Buy links:
B&N, Amazon , Diesel

A Few Good Men… Can Have a Questionable Past

By Laura Spinella

I have a thing for men. Good to know… is probably your reaction to that. Fair enough, but I was referring to male characters, the ones I cast in books. Arguably, the female character is at the heart of most romantic fiction. Her job is to drive the story and fan the flames, be someone worthy of the reader’s investment. It makes sense. The majority of novels within the genre are written by women, readers of romantic fiction are, by and large, women. So it’s a safe bet that strong women with whom the reader can identify will be at the forefront of romantic fiction.

That said, enter me. Maybe it’s because I feel the contemporary capable female protagonist is a given, especially since swooning is passé and obey falls to the category of offensive four-letter words. While it’s interesting to see a female character evolve, overcome if need be, I take it for granted that she will get there. The guy, on the other hand, him I’m not so sure about. And I do my damnedest, starting on page one, to have the reader wondering right along with me. Give me a guy who’s a challenge—a tattered past with a touch of mental anguish… precarious future with questionable motives… geez, make him an alcoholic and let me pull him out of the gutter—I’ve got his back. In my book, literally, there’s no hero like a fallen one. And I’ll take my best shot at turning him into someone deserving of your attention and/or $15.00 retail.

It took years to recognize this pattern in my writing, longer still to embrace it. In fact, I remember the moment the obvious dawned on me—kind of like getting smacked upside the head by the wayward crew from a boys’ correctional facility. Anyway, I’d attended a high-end (aka snooty) writing workshop where the instructor was a well-known author I’d never heard of and the room filled with people bearing card-carrying writing credentials. Of course, my blank resume and I were scheduled to go last. As expected, they ripped my story up one side and down the other. Afterward, in a one-on-one with the well-known author, he said, “You create very sympathetic male characters—mystifying, really.” Still stinging from my trip to the whipping post, I took this as a criticism. I asked if he had a suggestion as to how I might cure this grievous writing blunder. In reply, he looked at me queerly and shook his head. “Why would you do that? You have much to work on, but the man in your story… Well, let’s just say I fell for him—and I don’t go that way.” Viva the downtrodden man.

How about you? Are you all about female characters who win the day or do flawed men stand a chance on your bookshelf?

Laura Spinella