Divas of Desire

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Romance According to Rachell: Guest Blog with Mary DeSantis

Hello everyone! I’m so happy to announce that we have a special guest here with us today. A good friend and fellow SHUer, Mary DeSantis is a fantasy writer who is here today to talk about writing romance when you’re not a romance writer. You can find Mary on the web at www.outofthelockbox.blogspot.com. And now I’ll let her take it away…

I’m a fantasy writer—urban, young adult, epic—you name it. However, I also grew up watching Disney movies. If there’s one thing that’s unavoidable in most of those movies, it’s the romance. Prince+Princess=happily ever after. Needless to say, that influenced me quite a bit.

Despite all that, though, I don’t write romance. I’m actually terrible at straight-up romance. I have a fundamental problem bringing two characters together as a main storyline in a believable way. This doesn’t change the influence of the Disney romance, though.

One thing I did notice in all of the Disney Princess movies was the magical intervention. As I got older, I wondered if I could keep the romance true but still incorporate the magic. Then, I got older, started reading real fantasy books, and answered my question—yes, people do it all the time. And, I fell in love with “romance-on-the-side.” Think of it as the other woman/genre…never mind.

So, when I’m writing something where there is a hero and heroine whom I want to end up together, they do. It’s not that simple, though. It’s never the main plotline, and, more importantly, there’s always a long and sometimes bloody battle before they get there. Eye on the prize, I tell myself because there are those times where I find myself wanting to stay in those romantic moments and expand on them until they’re my story. All those years of Disney movies, I guess.

I keep on task, though. I’ve worked out three steps to take to make sure I don’t turn my fantasy novel into a romance one—mainly because I have very little confidence in my ability to write romance novels. So, before I list my three steps, I want to tip my hat to all romance writers. There’s a stigma that romance is “so easy—anyone can write that.” No, no, no—I’ve tried. I fail. It’s not easy, and anyone who agrees with the stigma has obviously never tried.

But, back on that track I was so proud of not straying from. Three ways to write romance into fantasy but keep the book fantasy.

-Interrupt the romance
When I find myself pulled into one of those moments, I ruin the moment. (I know. I’m sorry, characters.) They’re about to kiss or spill their hearts and they are attacked. Or, someone screams. Heck—or the heroin’s ancient ability that she can’t control yet turns her into a chimera. That puts a damper on the romance. It also creates a beautiful segue into an epic battle or adventure scene.

-Make the romance contingent on the fantastic elements
Maybe that heroin with the chimera problem is forced into an alliance with the handsome hero. And, maybe he thinks she’s a freak because she turns into a giant, three-headed monster. And, maybe she wants to bite his head off while she’s a giant, three-headed monster. And then—there’s the battle or the adventure. I know it’s been done and done again, but the following is true. Having characters save/protect one another brings them together. The epic journey and battles breech the gap. But, she still turns into a giant three-headed monster. Romance could be a problem. So, the clearly fantasy-genre problem needs to be fixed before the romance can happen.

-Spread out the romance
Fantasy novels, particularly epic fantasy novels, tend to run longer than romance, mystery, young adult, or most other genres. So, that leaves a lot more time for the hero and heroine to get to know one another. They may start out hating each other, or they might start out as friends who grow together. Or, they might start out in love, break apart, and the heroin might fall for a chimera (unlikely, unless she turns into a chimera, but hey). The key thing here is time. Spread out the romantic moments. Put the battles, the adventures, the serious conversations about the deteriorated state of the world between them. Make it so that, with everything else going on, there isn’t a lot of time for romance. I even sometimes make it so that the romantic moments are—literally—on the fly. Example: a kiss for luck. Small but can be built on later between the army of dragons and the bottomless pit.

There it is. At least, that’s how I do it. It works for me, but, as I say whenever I prescribe a method for anything, it’s not universal. If it works for you, great. If not, pass it along, it may help someone else.

Thank you, Rachell, for letting me guest post. It’s been a pleasure, and I had a lot of fun writing this.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Five Sentence Friday

Hello, everyone!

I don't know if Five Sentence Friday is actually a meme, but I'm so excited about my upcoming release "Uncollared" (coming August 7 from Loose Id!) that I just couldn't resist sharing. This bit appears in the first chapter, after Mia has been released fom her relationship with Master Philip. Now that Mia is free,  Philip's friend Chess Ryan can't deny his attraction to her.

He thought of the way she looked at Philip as if the sun rose and set on him. Could it be that he, Chess Ryan, wanted a woman to gaze on him with that kind of admiration and love? As if he were Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, and George Clooney rolled into one. But she’d always been off-limits because she belonged to Philip.
She’s not off-limits now.
There's another excerpt at my website www.nonaraines.com
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Nona Raines
Hot Contemporary Romance
 Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

Monday, July 23, 2012

Romance According to Rachell: Blog Tour!

Good Morning, 

Welcome back to Divas of Desire.  

As you know, my first book is coming out in just under a month. To celebrate this, I'm doing a little bit of a blog tour. At each stop, there will be some more information about me and about the book. I'll put up some excerpts and some more insight about the book. I will also be having some friends stop by here to do a bit of guest blogging as well over the next few weeks. 

But first, a little more about the tour dates and what to expect at each stop: 

July 26, 2012 -  I will be at Sally Bosco's blog at www.sallybosco.com. Some bio info, the blurb for An Affair Across Times Square and a bit about craft, specifically how I used National Novel Writing Month to write the book. 

August 17, 2012 - I'll be at Mary DeSantis's blog at www.outofthelockbox.blogspot.com. Mary interviewed me about the book and you'll also find a sexy snippet from chapter 2 of An Affair Across Times Square

August 21, 2012 - Release Date - I'll be blogging at Rachel Leigh's blog at www.rachelleigh.co.uk. That's another interview with the blurb and a tease from chapter 1.

I'm very honored and excited to be doing a blog tour and I hope you'll stop by and share some love with me on these days. I have a few more invitations at some other blogs, but no firm dates yet, so I'll post those as they come in. I'll also be putting updates on my Facebook page. So stop by there if you'd like some more info. 

I've also made a couple promotional videos with a reading of the blurb and the first scene. I'll be posting those soon on Facebook, here, and/or my website. 

I've decided to put up some pictures with many of my blog posts, just because I think they're pretty. Some will have to do with my books and others will just be pictures I'd like to share.  
This one has to do with An Affair Across Times Square. 
Can you guess where this is?


Friday, July 20, 2012

Life Is What Happens...

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

This quote is attributed to singer/songwriter John Lennon. No matter how we plan, life comes along and kicks us in the butt when we least expect it.
Even when we should expect it. A week and a half ago, if you'd asked me about my life, I'd have told you I was the caretaker of my eighty-eight year old mother. She'd spent time in the homes of my sister and brother, and I was happy to volunteer for a turn.
But things have changed now. After spending nine months with me, my siblings and I had to make the decision to place Mom in a nursing home.  She got sick, had to be hospitalized, and we realized that we simply could no longer provide the care she needed. It's been a difficult time, fraught with confusion, fear, some guilt and—I'll be honest—not a little relief. Many phone calls have been made to family, social workers and other authorities.

This is not meant to be a "poor me" or even a "poor Mom" blog. We're glad Mom is somewhere safe where she can be cared for. She's in the same facility where my grandmother was many years ago, where Mom was a volunteer for twenty years. Many people remember her and she knows them.  It felt good to hear a staff member tell her "You took care of us all those years, now it's our turn to take care of you."
I'm sharing all this with you because I want to give people a heads up about what I've learned. It may sound very basic, but when you're in this situation, it's easy to miss the forest for the trees.

First and foremost, if there is an elderly or infirm person in your life—have a plan. Have several plans. By that I mean, have some options ready in case your loved one can no longer live independently in his/her home. This may involve a difficult discussion. Let's face it, we all like to think we'll die peacefully in our sleep. But chances are as we age our abilities will deteriorate and we'll need to make changes in living arrangements. And while living with a family member may seem an ideal solution, believe me, you don't what you're getting into until you're in it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not sorry that I tried. But that may not be the best solution, especially if an older person needs a lot of care. While help is sometimes available though special programs, unless you have funds the main burden remains on the caretaker. And let's be real--that caretaker is almost always a woman.

So have the talk! You might have to "force" your parent or older relative to sit down with you. If living with family isn't possible, investigate assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Talk to people you know who've been in similar circumstances. And for goodness sake, discuss the financials.

I don't want to go on too long, so I'll stop here. But in the future I hope to share more of what I'm learning. Take care, everyone.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hoping for August

Due to a higher-than-usual number of new releases, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that ABOVE THE LAW, Book Four in The Men of Sanctuary series, will be released at http://www.nobleromance.com/ early in August.

Above The Law - book blurb:

Officer Abigail O'Connell, state game warden, and Glennon Garrett, security & surveillance expert, fall hard for each other while working a protection detail at Sanctuary lodge. After the crisis ends, there's no reason to remain hands-off. The hot sex commences, even with Glennon's shattered leg in a cast and his ruined shoulder in a sling.

When handsome Deputy Joe Collins uses the house key Abigail gave him, he unintentionally catches Abigail and Glennon naked in her bed in a rather compromising position—several positions, actually.

Abigail and Joe are best friends, buddies--and they made a sacred pact never to hit on each other. Breaking free of her self-imposed  celibacy, Abigail is suddenly enjoying hot wild sex with a buff, muscled macho dude, a former Navy SEAL.

Joe's difficulty arises not only with jealousy over Abigail going from sexual famine to sensual feast, but with his unexpected attraction to her partner, Glennon.

When the three get rip-roaring toasted during a straight tequila night, Jose Cuervo flies and inhibitions die.
How will the two men react to each other—and to Abigail—in the harsh light of day? Who is the stalker in their midst who can reveal their most intimate secrets, even ruin their lives?

(Warning ~ This Book Contains Sexually Explicit Scenes Described in Graphic Detail,
featuring a Male/Male/Female Ménage a Trois relationship and Male/Male action)

I've very jealous of Nona and Rachell--they have their new covers already! Designer Fiona Jayde has done a marvelous job with my book covers so far. I can't wait to see what she comes up with for this book.

Dear Readers: who are your favorite cover artists and designers? Do you tend to choose books--print and e-book--by their cover art, first? Then read the cover blurbs? Curious authors would like to know!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Romance According to Rachell: The countdown

I hope you all didn't miss me too much last week. My rugrats were keeping me very busy. 

I have an official release date for the release of An Affair Across Times Square. So I'm here to celebrate with you! The release date is exactly five weeks from tomorrow. August, 21, 2012. Let the countdown begin! 

To celebrate this event, I put up a little snippet of the book on my website. Click here to read the excerpt. 

There's also a bit on that site about the process and idea for An Affair Across Times Square. So I thought I'd share a little more with you all about the book. Here's the little teaser that goes along with it...

Layla Morgan is tired of getting into trouble, and getting hurt. And she fears her wild nature is going to strike yet again. But maybe this time, she’s finally met the guy that can stand close enough to touch her inner flames, and not get burned. The man across Times Square seems enthralled by her wildness instead of scared in the face of it. He can’t seem to look away as she shows him just how much fun she can have… with herself.

After one glance of silky skin and talented fingers, Tyler Lachlan doesn’t stand a chance of resisting the delicious distraction of the mystery woman from the Marietta Hotel. He’s sure there’s more to her than her sultry voice and mahogany thighs, but he doesn’t know if he’s willing to risk his career to find out.

Could what began as a voyeuristic affair across Times Square develop into something more? 

And what better way to celebrate than by giving presents???? I'll be doing some giveaways here and on some other blogs over the next five weeks. I'm still scheduling my guest blogging spots, but check back here next Monday for the schedule and even maybe the first of my give-aways. 


Friday, July 13, 2012


In case you haven't had a chance to visit my website or Facebook page, just wanted to share the gorgeous cover of my upcoming release, UNCOLLARED. The publisher is Loose Id and Ginny Glass is the cover artist.

Let me share the blurb with you:

Submissive Mia Manetti is devastated when her first Master uncollars her just as she was hoping for a permanent relationship with him. Trying to move on, she agrees to sub for a powerful and sexy new Dom.

Chess Ryan has wanted Mia from the first moment he saw her at Club Restraint, but it was always "hands off" because she belonged to his friend Philip. Now, thanks to that friend's maneuvers, Mia is finally his. But only for a little while.

Mia finds it increasingly difficult to keep her feelings in check as she experiences erotic delights with Master Chess, sensual and sexual fantasies that she's never known before. Is she setting herself up for another heart ache?

Guilt, secrets and misplaced pride all keep Chess and Mia from being completely honest with each other. As they connect sexually and emotionally, they realize their relationship has grown too serious to be called "play". How far are they willing to go as Master and slave?

This is a new sub-genre for me, and I'm excited about it. And it was written long before The Fifty Shades of Gray phenomenon, I swear!

I hope readers enjoy it.

Nona Raines

For more about me and my books, please visit www.nonaraines.com

Friday, July 6, 2012

Same Scene, Different Book—Part Two

Hi friends! Last week I wrote about the first of two scenes that overlap from my second book, Take This Man, to my latest erotic romance, Her Perfect Man.  I got some excellent advice from best-selling author Kristan Higgins to start the story off with a bang—or rather, a smack with a submarine sandwich!
The next scene that appears in both books is the night when Adam Vostek appears at Kim Hansen's door with a couple of six-packs and a long face.  He's had huge fight with Elyse, the woman he loves. Kim suspects he's come for a roll in the hay and reads him the riot act. He accepts her tongue-lashing because he doesn't want to be alone and after a few too many beers, falls asleep on her futon.
In the earlier book, this scene was from Adam's POV, but in Her Perfect Man, we now see it from his ex-girlfriend Kim's point of view.
It was challenging but a lot of fun to revisit the scene from Kim's POV. We learn a lot more about her. Adam thinks she's just pissed off, but the reader discovers she's also sad, worried and confused about her own life. She has plenty of pithy advice for her ex even as she scoffs at her inability to practice what she preaches. While her trusty cat Groucho plays watchdog, Kim has a chance to reassess her feelings for Adam. Was she really in love with him after all?  Just as she tries to sort it all out, Charlie (her new love interest) shows up at her door and it all hits the fan.  While she tries to play it cool in front of Adam, she's upset that Charlie found her in a somewhat "compromising situation" and automatically seems to suspect the worst.
In revisiting these two scenes in Her Perfect Man, I wasn't trying to take the easy way out. I wanted to enrich the reader's understanding of Kim. I hope my effort was a success.
For more about me and my books, please visit www.nonaraines.com
Nona Raines
Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Romance According to Rachell: New Cover

Good morning bloggerverse and welcome to the Divas of Desire! 

This week I want to share something awesome with all of you (don't you feel special?) I got my cover art! My artist's name is Valerie Tibbs and she rocks my socks. It's very difficult for an author to let someone visualize something that's been living inside your head for so many months (or years). In my case, Tyler and Layla were partly based on a model and an actor, so I had images in my mind of what they should look like. 

I was asked to give physical descriptions and some other information to the cover artist and also put in a decent-sized excerpt from the book for inspiration. I sent her a spicy little scene from the first section of the book and it did the trick! The cover is gorgeous and nice and hot! It's a great realization of the characters inside my head and inside the book. 

I quite like it and I hope you will all feel the same. So without further ado, here it is...

What do you think?


The Romance Reviews