Tuesday, August 30, 2011

6 Reasons you need more "babies."

Of course, this is how we feel when we have to "kill" them. 

Not human babies, silly. More “word babies,” or stories, poems, articles, etc. I cannot believe how many people write only one book and lay all their hopes and dreams on it. I never went that far, but I was guilty of putting my one book on through the submission process and endlessly obsessing over it for a long time before starting a new one. THIS IS BAD!!!


1.)Most published authors can tell you that their first few novels were rejected before they made their big break. Stephen King had several novels and countless short stories rejected before he wrote CARRIE and became my hero.

2.) If you’re not occupied with another project and wasting your time stalking your one project, you might just do something stupid and blow your career. Like publically complaining about rejections or the publishing industry.

3.)You’ll never grow as a writer. To become better at anything, you need to do it a lot. If you don’t write a lot, then you’re not much of a writer. How many paintings do you think Da Vinci did before the Mona Lisa?

4.) If all you ever talk about is your one “baby,” people are going to get bored quickly….unless it’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

5.) If your one “baby” dies, it won’t be so devastating if you have others. Knowing you have other stories to market gives you unbelievable confidence in this difficult industry.

It gets easier when you have more..seriously. On another note, this was a great album and was about killing babies in the metaphorical sense i.e. child abuse, govt. issues, drugs, etc.
6.) When you do get a publishing contract, it’ll likely be for more than one book. Nobody likes a one-hit-wonder….again unless it’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Benefit of New Experience

After a long hectic week I really just wanted to relax this weekend. Alas, that wasn't the case, hell, it never is. I had to abandon the kick-ass book I was reading and go to my friend's bachelorette party. Since we've been great friends since high school and I have few of those, there was no getting out of it. It wasn't the party itself that   evoked the most dread, it was the thought of the crowds. We were to go bar-hopping, which meant lots of unfamiliar crowds in unfamiliar places. ::cringe:: When I go out, I go to the same bar I've frequented for years to see the same drinking buddies.

But there was one thing I forgot: I am a happy drunk...and I had my friends with me. Sooo....

I had a blast! 

We started out at the bar across from mine and so I actually got to see a lot of my regular blue collar friends. They were quite amused and overwhelmed with my company of 14 wild women and our phallic party favors. There was a phallic cake complete with cream filling. We stayed long enough for me to get in the party spirit before we took the shuttle to the other side of downtown. The clubs were like those I read about and saw on TV with several hundred people dry-humping to "unch-chi-unch-chi-unchi" music and crazy lights everywhere. The floors were movie theater sticky. I stayed on the fringes and watched while having an awesome conversation with the bride's aunt who is a screen writer. With the others I enjoyed a rare bout of female bonding.

After the 3rd overwhelming club we went to the lawn in front of the resort and there was some public urination for a few ladies while we covered their backs and some of us made a plan to go somewhere more mellow, preferably where we could smoke indoors. About 5 of us made it, while the others continued clubbing. The calmer, more familiar bar was the perfect place to wind down and I was able to meet some new people and have those interesting conversations where one is overcome with liquid courage and reveals their personal demons and dreams to perfect strangers. It's a writer's ultimate delight. By last call, the remainder of my original party had left, probably to retrieve the bride (who'd indulged in an obscene amount of tequila and likely needed to get home) And...somehow I made it home.

Besides zombie-esque exhaustion the next day and a few mystery bruises, I think I survived the evening with lots of fodder for my writing. Also, I learned a lesson. I think I may need to get out of my comfort zone once in awhile and embrace new experiences more often. Oh, and 14 drunk women unleashed on the town is a formidable force indeed. We were unstoppable.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

5 WTF Moments in Fiction

We've all read novels where something happens to make us go, "WTF? " and I'm sure we've all written many. In reading and writing, I've come across enough to see that there seem to be different types.

1.) The "Contrived for Marketability" WTF: Maybe the editors wanted it, maybe the author guessed in advance that the editor would want it. Either way, there was a series I read in which I'm convinced the author put a love triangle in there just because love triangles have been popular in her genre. For one thing the "other guy" seemed to be just friends with the heroine until near the end of book one. For another, their few romantic incidents seemed forced. Finally, at the end, with no drama or fireworks, the character narrates that she picked the main guy, and other guy moved away to live happily ever after.I'm not a fan of love triangles but I don't mind them if they eventually have a point.

2.) The "Contrived to Please the Fans" WTF: When a series becomes really popular, there's online discussions everywhere speculating about which characters are going to do what and who next. One series I'm reading had many readers clamoring for 2 male characters to hook up. The problem was, only 1 was gay. So....all of a sudden, the straight guy turned gay. I'm sure plenty of fans are jumping for joy, but I'm just not buying it.

3.) The "Oh-Crap-I-Got-The-Characters-In-Too-Big-Of-A-Bind-And-Must-BS-My-Way-Out" WTF: We all know that action and tension is a main necessity in keeping the reader hooked, but it seems there are times where the author overdid it and had to manufacture a miracle so she may be free to move on to the next plot point...or worse, end the story. This is also known as Deus Ex Machina

4.) The "Why Did Nobody Think Of This?" WTF: Sometimes what's not there in a story is more baffling than what is. I read a novel in which a character became a political symbol and a catalyst for a revolution. The government seemed to do all they could to stop it from happening...except make the character ugly. With the people's obsession with image, it seemed an obvious solution...but then the bad guys would have won and there wouldn't be 3 books worth of awesomeness, so I'm prepared to forgive it.

5.) The Random WTF: Sometimes something happens in a story that comes out of nowhere...and I mean nowhere. Worse, it does nothing for the plot. Often those moments should be cut, but other times, they are teasers for future books. I have mixed feelings about these.

All of these WTFs have occurred at least once in books I've loved, so obviously they don't ruin the story...then again I've had some in my own writing that I know I'll have to fix.

What WTF moments have you written? In reading, which drive you closest to madness?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Physical Limitations

I'm going on day 3 of wearing this stupid brace on my hand....besides making typing difficult, it's hindering everything. My job is taking me 3 times longer to do, I'm constantly bumping my elbow on stuff, when I try to do laundry the clothes stick to the velcro...and I can't put on a bra without my husband's help. I don't mind the last part too much, LOL.

As a writer, these things automatically make me think of characters and plot points. I remember one of my characters who had both hands bandaged and splinted. My sympathy goes out to her more even as I remember readers laughing at her failed attempts to open a beer with her teeth. I remember another who temporarily lost her mind and damaged her feet by walking across 3 states. I'm already thinking I should put more emphasis on these details.

Physical limitations can heighten the suspense in a story. In Stephen King's THE LONG WALK, a mere charley horse or a cold can kill you. Think of all the scenes in which a character is hiding from a bad guy and has to sneeze or they are being chased and trip. What if they sprained their ankle? Mere exhaustion can be add tension as well. I read a series where the character has non-stop action but it was expressed how tired she was. I was on the edge of my seat just hoping she'd be able to get some rest.

What limitations have you put on your characters? Where can you add more?   

Monday, August 22, 2011

BREATHE AGAIN by Bonnie R. Paulson is out today!

My blog posts will be short for awhile because I messed up my left thumb and have to wear an awkward brace thingie for the next few weeks. But I still gotta share the good news. My buddie, sweet contemporary romance author, Bonnie R. Paulson has a book out today with Carina Press!!!! I pre-ordered BREATHE AGAIN so it was awesome having it show up on my Kindle this morning.

Here's a blurb: Maggie Lachlan is struggling to get over the death of her husband. After being overcome by emotion during a shift in the E.R., she's suspended indefinitely. Making things worse, she needs a place to stay after the quick sale of the house she shared with her late husband.

Fortunately, her friend Ryan Stewart offers her a room while she gets her life in order, much to the chagrin of his brother and housemate, Brodan Steele. Brodan doesn't want to like Maggie, not when he knows Ryan has feelings for her too. But it's hard to deny the attraction he feels for her when she's sleeping under the same roof.
Being so close to Brodan awakens something in Maggie, something she never felt during her marriage. But as long as she's haunted by the past, she can't open herself up to the future…

I just started it and let me tell you, it was riveting enough to make me forget I was stuck waiting at the Dr.'s office.

Buy it Here, now!! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

5 Reasons Why I don't Write YA

I don't know why, but for awhile, a lot of people online thought I wrote YA. Maybe it's because so many of my writer buddies do, maybe it's because I won a 1st place award for a YA short story. Either way, for an adult author, I hear a lot about the YA genre and due to recommendations, I've read a few. Now I'm reading the HUNGER GAMES trilogy and though I'm loving it, the series really got me thinking about why I don't write for teens even though a few characters in my series start out as teens in the first book.

1.) The "landscape" of most YA novels bears no resemblance to that of my teen years. There was drinking, smoking, sex, drugs, & rock n roll...and a ton of cussing. Seriously, most teens I knew, including myself, dropped the f-bomb like it was going to be banned next week. A friend and I were discussing that. Why is it that it's OK in YA novels for the characters to kill and sometimes even have sex, but say a naughty word and the author's doomed?

2.) I'm too cynical to believe in true love for teens. Face it, at that age, the hormones are going crazy. Teens, especially males have no clue what real love is, in my opinion. Many girls are still clinging to the Disney/ Prince Charming bullsh*$t that was rammed down their throats in childhood and most boys don't actually see girls as people. They see them as sex-objects and stepping stones to achieving "manhood." Furthermore, neither are mentally or emotionally prepared for a healthy symbiotic relationship like marriage. i.e. paying bills, sharing responsibilities, raising children, dealing with each other's obnoxious habits, etc.

3.) Speaking of those raging hormones.... I just can't wrap my credibility around the platonic cuddling that's so rampant in YA novels. The boy will get um...excited. That's what they're wired to do. The girl will either get excited too, or be frightened. No teen will be able to sleep comfortably in such a scenario...and very likely one or both won't be able to resist taking things into an adult situation.  Not to mention the discomfort of someone snoring, stealing the covers, shifting around, etc...though I'll leave that alone since it's a detail not acknowledged in adult romances. The hero never snores in my books! Still, I love the fuzzy dreamlike fantasy of the cuddling in those stories, I just couldn't honestly write that in an appropriate YA style.

4.) The themes: An agent or editor, (can't remember which) tweeted something like: "Don't write stories in which teens learn from an older person. Teens don't want to read about it/ don't think it's cool, etc." For one: My friends and I must have been really weird teens because we hung out with and learned from older people all the time...and they could buy us beer & cigarettes :) Younger characters learn from older ones all the time in my books as well. With centuries-old vampires and ancient sorcerers, there's a lot of knowledge to go around. Seriously, why didn't Bella ever ask Edward for help on a report on WWII or something? Hello, she could have gotten an A++++++++++++++! Sorry, I've seen A CHRISTMAS STORY too many times :)

5.) The responsibility: Face it, teens are impressionable. Because of Anne Rice, I grew fascinated with history, Beethoven, and John Keats. But because of Anton LaVey, my younger brother temporarily became a Satanist. Sometimes I worry that because of certain books, young girls will jump off cliffs when dumped by their boyfriends...or at least miss a ton of school and fail to get their diploma because they were too busy moping. I don't think I can handle the responsibility of either accidentally or purposely creating a role model for young people. Some of my characters drink and smoke. Two even smoke pot.

I hope nobody thinks I'm bashing YA in this post. Really I have nothing but admiration for those gifted authors who can delve back into the scary uncertainty of adolescence, the glow of first love, and those first painful lessons of the death of childhood and impending adulthood. Most of all, I am beyond pleased that those authors are getting teens reading.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Romance Novels Have Affected Me: An answer to the "witch-hunters."

It seems every week I run across some blog post or article listing a bunch of B.S. reasons why romance novels are "bad" for women. They say romance novels ruin marriages by giving us unhealthy expectations in our spouses, they ruin our sex lives because we will expect mind-blowing pleasure every time, they cause unplanned pregnancy because unprotected sex is rampant in the novels. Oh, and apparently they're addicting because they do the same things to our brains as porn does for men.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting sick of the witch-hunt. Nobody says those who read thrillers will become murderers, or fantasy fans start thinking they can do magic. After reading vintage Anne Rice I didn't start biting people...or develop bisexual tendencies.

But I can't say romance novels haven't changed me. They have indeed affected me in many ways.

For starters, romance novels have improved my marriage because

A.) They've taught me that communication issues are one of the biggest threats to a relationship. Every romance novel has at least one big misunderstanding. I do my best to keep the communication open with my husband to avoid this.

B.) They keep the feeling of falling in love fresh. That's one of the main joys of those novels and every time I look at my husband, I remember why I fell in love with him, both physically and emotionally.

C.) They remind me of the power of forgiveness. I'm one to hold a grudge, but these novels constantly display the benefit of letting go of resentment.

D.) They improve my sex life rather than harming it. I'm not going to get into personal details here, but I will say the love scenes keep me from taking intimacy for granted and remind me to never be ashamed of passion.

E.) The novels that do involve unprotected sex (since contrary to the witch-hunt article, condom use is becoming frequent in the genre) taught me that it only takes once to get pregnant, so before I had my tubal ligation, I remembered to take the pill every day.

F.) And yes, romance novels are addicting, but not in the way porn is for men. They are addicting in the way any good story is. For me, they're addicting because I live to see a happily ever somewhere.

G.) Finally, romance novels have inspired me to write my own stories and create my brands of happily ever after.

How do romance novels affect you? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Now that I have a Kindle...

When I first heard about e-readers I was scornful. Why would anyone want to give up the comfort of a nice durable paperback to read on a cold flat screen of some fragile, expensive dillywacker? Then when e-books began hurting print sales, I became hostile. Over the years my opinion slowly began to change.

Though I still love print books and they'll always be my favorite, a few things made me decide I'd like a Kindle.

1.) I can crit fellow writers' work on the Kindle.
2.) I keep winning e-books online but hate reading them on my laptop
3.) This is my bookcase. Books are stacked 3 deep and piled on top and on the floor in front...and it's still not enough! This is why my husband thought a Kindle would be a good idea...but now he thinks I should get rid of some books....meanie.

4.) Many publishers are e-book only. Not only do I want to read many of those books, but a few pubs I submitted my work to are e-pubs. It's be pretty silly if I ended up not being able to get my own book.

5.) Instant access. Many people would put this as a higher priority, but when I want the next book in a series, I have no problem getting into my car and driving to the library or bookstore. However, if they don't have it, or it's 2am, I can still get it on the Kindle.

All these factors made me go from "F&ck e-books" to "I WANT A KINDLE!" But I still couldn't afford one. This remains one of my biggest complaints on e-readers. Hell, if money weren't tight, I'd get a bigger house and put in more bookcases. :) Still, I watched Craigslist and e-bay for an affordable used model and entered contests to win one.

But.....this weekend I celebrated my birthday and was presented with a brand new Kindle! I was so happy I was literally hyperventilating and speaking in tongues. My critique partners, my husband, and another friend plotted together and pooled their money together to get me one...and a $25 Amazon gift card to get me started ::Excuse me a sec, I need to brush away another tear::

I am totally in love with it and have been having a blast downloading books and exploring its bells & whistles. However, now that I have a Kindle, I will still buy and read print books. I've heard so many people say "I'm never going back to print again!" Not me. In fact, I still have a stack of print books in my TBR list. And when I'm eating Cheetos, I'll feel safer with a trusty paperback.  

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blending History With Fiction: Guest Post by Author Sarah-Jane Stratford

Truth really is stranger than fiction – you don't need to be a history geek like me to discover that. When I started writing vampires into real historical events, part of my interest was in making fiction stranger than truth. Beyond that, I wanted to explore the essence of humanity, especially when put to the worst sort of test, and for me that meant working with characters who weren't really human and setting them in the midst of World War II. 

The madness and monstrosity of the time easily lends itself to the addition of real "monsters" – although juxtaposed against the Nazis, the vampires prove themselves more truly human. I wanted to be mindful, however, and not seem to be disrespectful or detract from the real accomplishments of the humans who resisted and fought the Nazis. Incorporating vampires both allowed me to play with fantasy elements such as elaborate attacks and escapes, but of course also set interesting boundaries, such as having to stay out of the sun. Millennials – vampires who are over 1000 years old – are much harder to kill, but they still have to be careful. This was especially fun when traveling to a sunny climate like Italy.

In the first book, The Midnight Guardian, I folded in a few real historical facts, but for The Moonlight Brigade, I went a bit more wild. Part of that is thanks to the hero, Mors. He's a wild character – the ultimate devil-may-care type – that far from being cautious about altering the course of human events, as a vampire ought to be, he'd launch himself right into the middle. You can't blame him, really. He's been around 2000 years and was general in the late Roman republic. He's not the sort to enjoy the quiet life.

As a young vampire, he stirs up fears in Rome that help spur the rise of Julius Caesar and the empire. There are a lot of reasons why the republic came apart, but historically we know that fear presages autocracy, so it stood to reason that one of those fears was vampires. The irony, of course was that the vampires didn't go away when Caesar became emperor.

It was also fun and easy to fold Mors into events like the Roman invasion of Britain – the place he would later call home; and the eighth-century siege of Constantinople. He was a natural fit in major events.

During World War II, he could still be brazen, but it was important that – while he's a consummate joker – he is serious as he assists the Allies in his own unique manner. I was very excited to give him the opportunity to interact with Mussolini at one point, even though the setting itself was of course fictional.

My absolute favorite blend of historical fact and the paranormal in The Moonlight Brigade came when Mors encountered Giulia, the leader of a small band of partisans. Although it's not one of the biggest stories of the war, many of the Italian partisans were women. Mussolini was very rigid about gender roles, which meant that a lot of women spent much of their time at home. Which gave them time to organize. While the partisan movement was not hugely active until after the Germans had taken over northern Italy in 1943, I saw no reason not to insert an Italian resistance to Fascism prior to that. Mors, ever the general, was eager to shape this resistance into an underground army – and they were just as eager to become that army. There are many photos of Italian women toting guns and living rough as they fought alongside men to liberate Italy. I found these photos highly inspiring as Mors and Giulia worked together. They prepare for the real invasion of Sicily…which took place at dawn.

The biggest and most exciting challenge with these books is the balance. My goal is always to be respectful of the real history and true to the fictional characters. It's those characters and their story which come first, so that sometimes absolute historical accuracy must give way (aside from the inaccuracy of there being vampires at all, of course – minor detail). I like to think that all my former history teachers understand.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Speaking of Series...

Yesterday I got together with my writer buddies, Bonnie R. Paulson and Shelley Martin. With them I discovered what's been holding me back on my latest project. Since it's a series, I've been having trouble figuring out how and when to work in details from previous books...and just how much information to fit in. More on this later.

That's when we began discussing the two main types of series novels. Sequential Series and Stand-Alone Series.

A Stand-Alone Series is one in which you could read the books in any order without missing anything. They can feature different characters like Judith McNaught's regency novels, or follow the same character on different adventures, Like Nancy Drew. How that girl stayed he same age from the 70's on, I'd like to know. :)

A Sequential Series is one in which it's best to read the books in order so you can follow a continuing story line. They may feature different characters, like the Dark Hunters or the Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, or the same character, like the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series.

But though there's a continuing story in the series, each novel, especially in romance, has stand-alone features, like a love story.

This is what I'm going for in mine. Today's mission will be to cut a little more back story that I believe unnecessary to the plot of this novel.

Oh, and contrary to what my progress bar for THE QUEEN OF PROPHECY says, I have been getting stuff done with it. I've just been cutting as much as I've been writing. :) See my post on this Monster Project for more explanation.

For those writing a series, which type are you working on? What problems are you attacking and what solutions have you found? 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer rerun: Series Novels

Many of my favorite novels are part of a series, and I'm willing to bet that's the case with many people. A lot of naturally want to write a series of our own because we love to read them, and because one's characters keep having adventures. Writing a series, however is a whole new animal compared to a stand-alone project. Especially with a romance series, since there must be a stand-alone love story in every installment.

One of the biggest issues, in my opinion is blending the stand-alone story with the continuing story of the series. In my first novel, I botched this badly. However, I still think that the story and characters are awesome, so I have passed it on to my Saintly beta readers in a bid to fix it. In the meantime I am composing an outline of the series itself, and then I will write mini outlines of the individual books in hopes of discovering which key points can be emphasized in which books.

One of the leading geniuses of blending individual love stories with a continuing saga is J.R. Ward with her Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. The romance unfolds naturally amidst the backdrop of the brutal war the Brotherhood fights. Future characters are introduced to the reader smoothly, and often teasingly.

Another team of authors that do a great job with a series are Stella and Audra Price. Their Eververse series is like the ultimate guilty pleasure soap opera. The reader eavesdrops on multiple characters with multiple plots that build and unfold throughout each consecutive novel.

What are some of your favorite series? What do the authors do that "Works," in your opinion?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why Self- Publishing Is Not For Me...at least for now.

No hidden meaning intended with this picture, I just thought it was funny. :)

I have many friends who have embarked in the world of self-publishing. Many have had great success with it, in fact. As they watched me through the disastrous situation with my former agent, they've begun trying to lure me to the "other side."

Despite the triumphs of my friends, I am still refusing to go that route and before I drown under the cries of "join us, join ussss!" (Sorry, friends, I gotta tease ya a bit.) I feel compelled to state my personal case. Here I go, in no particular order.

1.) Self-pubbing the "Right way" costs money. Yeah, anyone can throw their work up on Smashwords and other sites, but the most successful self-pubbed authors hire editors, cover artists, and pay for various forms of promotion. My funds are limited in that capacity. Speaking of promotion.

2.) All authors, whether commercial or self- pubbed, have to spend a lot of time and effort in online promotion. But I've noticed that the best self-pubbers are almost superhuman in their web presence. ::cough Jamie DeBree::cough Between my job, my family, and my writing/ editing schedule, it's enough for me to keep up with the blog/ twitter/ facebook. Still, I think I'm doing fairly well.

3.) Security. All respected authors have specific lines that the reader trusts to get what they expect from. i.e. unknown authors become an insta-buy for faithful readers of specific imprints. I would feel far more confident and honored for my work to be among a successful imprint.

4.) I WANT AN EDITOR!!!! A good editor supports your work and is behind you 100% ....but she won't let you go out in public with your fly unzipped, figuratively speaking. ;) There is so much I don't know about the industry and I would feel much more comfortable for an expert's advice on keeping my readers happy.

5.) I want a team behind me. Besides an editor, commercial publishers have marketing/ publicity departments. They do a bunch of mathematical calculations and secret magic ceremonies to determine the most profitable circumstances for your book release. Like, X-genres sell best in the fall, X types of titles are trending...or X author has a new release that month so let's do a different month so she won't overshadow you. How cool is that?

6.) I want a profitable cover. Yes, I've seen some really bitchin' covers in self-pubbed books, but a publisher's art department has even more resources. They have their own magic ceremonies to determine what cover will attract readers. Bold colors or pastels? Embossed or flat font? Topless guy (mmmm) or embracing couple?

7.) A GOOD agent would be a godsend. I know jack about negotiating contracts, subsidiary rights, foreign sales, or when it would be appropriate to approach the editor about a new project. And hopefully my agent would help me get my manuscript in its best shape before the editor sees it.

Yes, self-published authors get to keep the majority of their profits, but for me, the benefits of commercial publishing I listed above are well worth the reduction of my royalties.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Romance in Unexpected Places

When we want a good love story whether in books, movies, or music, we know where to look. For movies, most can be found either in the drama or romantic comedy section. For music, every pop and country artist has a plethora or romantic songs. For books, it's easy. There's always an entire section in the bookstore called: ROMANCE!!!

But I love it when a good romance catches me by surprise and I'd love to share a few.



This is an incredibly violent and disturbing movie. Mickey and Mallory Knox make Bonnie and Clyde look like Sandy and Danny from GREASE. But you can't help but root for them because they were so in love! OMFG, they were soooooo. In. Love.

Although the main couple in this movie was far more engaging than the average Disney pairing, (OMG, they actually had a functional, logical relationship!) The big, heart-clenching subplot was with the Cajun firefly, Ray, and the love of his life, Evangaline. I dare you to watch this and not choke up.


Admittedly, the heavy metal scene is not big on the "Awwww Factor" But in the hands of the best, your heart will melt even as you're still rocking out.

MEGADETH: "Promises" Megadeth does more songs about love than most, though many of the songs are tragic. This one, I think is among the most romantic

DIO: "As Long As It's Not About Love"

Metal's greatest forefather declared over and over that he didn't want to do love songs...so when I heard this I nearly fell out of my seat...then I happy-sighed for a good hour.


This is one of the greatest novels ever written, in my opinion. Ken Follet puts forest child turned stonemason, Jack, and Aliena, earl's daughter turned wool merchant, through heart-wrenching suffering before they finally get to be together. If you haven't read this treasure yet, buy it NOW!

INSOMNIA by Stephen King

King is NOT the 1st thing you think of when you think of romance. And I've noticed that the few times he does have a romantic subplot, it's either bland or tragic. However he does such a wonderful job with the blooming love between widowed-old timers, Ralph and Lois, that the reader can believe the couple's first spouses approve. You can get this one HERE

What surprising places have you found a good romance? From what you can tell from my tastes, the crazier, the better.