Thursday, 29 January 2015

What does my character want?

Every so often, I share a little bit of the madness behind my writing method. I've talked about outlining and the downfalls of being either a plotter or a pantster. Truth is, when it comes to my own writing, I tend to employ a bit of each method. I've never been hugely successful at outlining down to the minute detail, and honestly, I don't enjoy it. I've always liked having some wiggle room.

Besides, a bit of wiggle in your romance is nice, non?

Unfortunately, too much wiggle room can leave a writer floundering at times. Without clear cut goals and a plot to help you achieve them, a story will meander. This can lead to writer's block, frustration, and the desire to feed one's manuscript through the shredder.

The trick that always puts me back on track is reminding myself of the following question: what does my character want?

It is crucial to establish your hero/heroine's needs and wants before you start writing. For that matter, a writer needs to understand what all her characters want, whether it's the good guys or the bad guys. What drives the character? What leads him to open that door? What possesses her to make small talk with the hunk who fixes her computer? A person's needs and wants, combined with his history and beliefs, will always influence how he reacts in a certain scene. It's not enough we show the hero walking to the store to buy milk. Why is having milk so important in that moment? And why is he headed to the corner store instead of the huge grocery chain? What does he hope to accomplish?

Once we know what a character wants, we can start to mess with his head. A good writer will throw up obstacles and introduce characters who cause tension. I always try to set my romances around a hero and heroine who have differing wants, perhaps even differing values. That's when the sparks fly.

Needs can change throughout the course of a book. Our hero may start his day knowing he wants to buy that carton of milk but he can end up running from a villain who has just held up the corner store. Plots evolve, but if readers don't understand what drives the hero, they won't give a toss about whether or not he succeeds in his goals.

It's not enough for the writer to want. The character must want something, too. And then it's the writer's job not to give it to him, at least not too quickly.

Monday, 26 January 2015

The Stand-In Release Day Party- Feb. 9

Hi friends. As we near the release day for my new contemporary romance The Stand-In, I invite you to participate in the release day party scheduled for Feb. 9.

Set to take place on Facebook, the party will be a blast. I have a wonderful contingent of guest authors to entertain you and we'll all be sharing our news and hot reads. The schedule is as follows:

Feb. 9

3-4pm - Tami Lund
4-5pm - KaLyn Cooper
5-6pm - Parker Kincade
6-7pm - Monette Michaels
7-8pm - Emilia Mancini/Marci Boudreaux
8-9pm - Rosanna Leo


* Please note* all times are in EST.

I know all these wonderful authors will have giveaways and I've got a couple of special things planned as well. This is a great chance to grab some sexy new books and ideas for your TBR list.

Please join us at: https://www.facebook.com/events/437438616404344/

Looking to get The Stand-In at a discount before the party? Simply head over to Liquid Silver Books and order. http://www.lsbooks.com/pre-order-coming-soon-romance-books-c322.php

I look forward to partying with you!




Saturday, 24 January 2015

Diane Saxon...Short Circuit Time!

I recently had the pleasure of reading Diane Saxon's sweet contemporary Loving Lydia. I am so pleased Diane is here to tell us about her new hot read Short Circuit Time. This talented author has transitioned so beautifully between romantic subgenres and I can't wait to see what she has in store.

Welcome, Diane.

Romancing the Genres

I think I’ve probably mentioned numerous times, I grew up on romances, the first one being read to me by my older sister, Margaret. The Princess Bride – still one of my favourite tales.

Then there were those naughty little Mills and Boon my mother kept on her bookshelf with enticing covers which hinted of passion. Where we lived, we had a mobile library. Every Tuesday we could get 6 more books out and no, I did not choose children’s books specifically, I chose adventure and romance and love and life.

Some of my favourite books are the ones that defy age groups. I was read the Hobbit when I was about seven by a fantastic English teacher. The Lord of the Rings was given as a gift when I was twelve.

But I must admit to enjoying those reads I wasn’t really supposed to have.  When the Lion Feeds, Wilbur Smith. At the age of fourteen, when I picked it up after my dad had finished reading it, he quietly went to my mum and asked if it was appropriate. Her reply – if it’s not, she’ll put it down. I’ve read every Wilbur Smith book since, but I still remember the thrill of that first novel, the great feel of it being just a little bit out of my league.

In recent years, I’ve read prolifically and I’ve found I tend to stick to the same main genre – that of romance. Within this wide genre I have discovered the delights of :
Contemporary - Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Anne Stuart, Lori Foster
Humour - Jennifer Cruisie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson,
Historical – Julie Garwood, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, Teresa Medeiros
Fantasy – J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter
Thrillers – Karen Rose, Julie Garwood, Karin Slaughter
Suspense – Cherry Adair, Linda Howard


Is it any wonder then that I feel the need to romance the genres myself? My first series - Atlantic Divide is Contemporary, with a touch of humour. It currently has three books Loving Lydia, Bad Girl Bill and Finding Zoe

Flight of Her Life is an all-out comedy. A great romp through a short story.
Flynn’s Kiss, the first book in my Disarmed & Dangerous series is a humorous contemporary with a touch of grit and certainly the next in that series, Barbara’s Redemption is even grittier. I’m almost finished that and believe me, the heroine is giving me a hard time.

I loved the historical I wrote for Nanowrimo, Her Captured Groom – a real challenge, and I have to re-look at this again before I can sub it, but worth the effort and I enjoyed it so much, that I currently have Book 2 as a work in progress – Hawk’s Lady.
The great news I have today is I have just signed a contract with Hartwood Publishing for a full length paranormal 75k word novel called Banshee Seduction – Montgomery’s Sin Book 1.
While I was writing Banshee Seduction, I was asked to join several other authors for a Christmas anthology, Paranormally Yours and my contribution was For Heaven’s Cakes – a builder by day, a wolf shape-shifter by night.
So, like my reading choices, I have found in my writing that I am blurring the lines a little in the genres – and loving every moment of it. And just to prove it, here’s my new Sci-Fi, Time Travel Romance.






Short Circuit Time by Diane Saxon
In the year 2086, Zaphira is alone, the last survivor of biological warfare on Earth. Before he died, her scientist father promised other survivors would come. Nobody has. So when a horribly mangled android shows up claiming to be her father’s assistant, Aiden, who has been sent through time to rescue her, she’s both frightened and astounded.
The last time she’d seen Aiden, she’d been sixteen, head-over-heels in love with him and had literally thrown herself at him, leaving her devastated by his rejection and him running for the hills. The following day, she’d been told of his death.
Eight years later he’s miraculously back, this time asking for her help. Without it, he won’t survive. But can she really put a dead man back together with tweezers?
For Aiden, everything has changed. There are no other humans, no government, and time travel has left his new android body unexpectedly weak and suffering from inexplicable genetic changes in eye and hair color, brought about by his molecular shake-up. Unbelievably, the scientist who sent him is dead, and he must rely on the scientist’s daughter to help him. A woman who he’s not so sure has his best interests at heart.
The last time he’d seen her, Zaphira had been a sixteen year old with a dangerous crush on him and he’d been rocked by the turmoil of his own feelings. Now she’s twenty four and literally holds his survival in her hands. Too bad everything he does and says seems to annoy her.
Trusting her might be his undoing. But he is left with no choice.
For Zaphira, getting used to the transformation of old Aiden to android Aiden requires a large mental leap. But when android Aiden starts to rebuild his human form to a new and improved standard, things start to get tricky.
The Aiden she loved as a little girl was her father’s nerdy assistant. The new Aiden is hot. But are her feelings as strong eight years later or are they simply a cherished memory?

Excerpt
Prologue
She narrowed her eyes and squinted at the skinny geek stumbling backward out of the passenger seat of her father’s car. She’d waited all day for the rumble of the engine of her daddy’s convertible. The old car had a distinct stutter and a sly rev she fantasized was because it had a mind of its own.
She smiled awkwardly, her mouth pulled tight across her braces and she pressed her fingers over her top lip to stop it from catching on the edge, rolling and making her look like a feral cat. Her face ached. They’d tightened the braces again and it hurt so much more this time. The smile dropped from her lips only to ping back up again as the geek caught his shoe on some piece of equipment in the foot well of her daddy’s car. He flipped backward, his gangly arms pin wheeling until he landed on his ass on the floor, minus his shoe.
He whipped his head up and she stepped back from the window hoping he hadn’t heard her girlish giggles. He wouldn’t be impressed. He was so much older and more mature.
Not many would believe he was twelve years her senior. Not with his thick russet hair falling in a boyish flop over his forehead, his fine gold-rimmed glasses perched right on the end of his nose.
Her heart fluttered in her chest as she chanced another peek.
His arms full of equipment, flushed to his hairline, he staggered toward the front door of her home. Adrenaline pumped hot through her veins. She took a few skips toward the hallway, ran back to the window to see her father’s car pulling away from the curbside. Her mother was out. She was the only one there to open the door. She darted back, hesitated, her pulse thrumming in the base of her throat.
A dull thud shuddered the door in its frame and she shot forward, wrenched it open before he did any further damage. His shoulder slid across the oak panel and he shot sideways through the entrance, his skinny limbs racing to keep up with the speed of his body, but to no avail. His foot skidded and down he went. The clatter of laboratory equipment skidding across the wooden floor filled her ears as did his quiet Irish curse.
“Bollocks.”
Stifling another snigger, she crouched to help, casting furtive little glances at him as he came to his knees, straightened his waistcoat and touched his fingers to his bow tie, ensuring it was still there.
“Hi Aiden.”
His deep frown almost made her stutter, but she knew he couldn’t sustain his annoyance. His small nervous cough made her smile.
“Hey.” The sound of his soft, smooth voice made her light-headed and she stopped what she was doing to gaze deep into his eyes.
He pushed his glasses further up his nose and glared at her. Unperturbed, she met his beautiful gaze with a lovesick one of her own.
“Do you need a hand down to the lab?” He dropped his gaze to her mouth. Her speech lisped embarrassingly through her clenched together teeth. She hated her braces, couldn’t wait to have them removed.
“No.”
Not wanting him to go yet, she piled another few items on top of the ones already in his arms and resisted the urge to stroke her fingers along the sleeve of his tweed jacket.
“Can I get you a coffee?”
“Zaphira…” he sighed, “Thank you, but no. I have work your father wants me to complete. I don’t want to be disturbed.”
Her chest ached. Just a little. The same as it always ached when he rejected her offers.
She bent to pick up Paco, her new puppy, snuggled her face into his thick fur and took comfort from his squirming, plump body as she hugged him close and let him lick sweet kisses across her chin.
Aiden paused at the lab door then glanced at her over his shoulder and her heart hitched again. There. It was there, the glint in his eye. The one that told her every time she was about to give up that there was a spark of interest. There was hope.

Buy Links for Short Circuit Time
About the Author
Diane Saxon lives in the Shropshire countryside with her tall, dark, handsome husband, two gorgeous daughters, a Dalmatian, one-eyed kitten, ginger cat, four chickens and a new black Labrador puppy called Beau, whose name has been borrowed for her hero in For Heaven's Cakes.

After working for years in a demanding job, on-call and travelling great distances, Diane gave it all up when her husband said “follow that dream”.

Having been hidden all too long, her characters have burst forth demanding plot lines of their own and she’s found the more she lets them, the more they’re inclined to run wild.

Previous Books:        

Loving Lydia -Atlantic Divide Book 1
Bad Girl Bill – Atlantic Divide Book 2
Finding Zoe - Atlantic Divide Book 3
Flight of Her Life
Flynn’s Kiss – Disarmed & Dangerous Book 1
For Heaven’s Cakes – Paranormally Yours Anthology