Regency Romances are Fun

Hello to everyone from May Burnett in Vienna, Austria. I’ve been writing in a variety of genres for over a year now. Writing is much more interesting than my former day job in the civil service.

I have always loved romance, especially historical romance, and over the years have collected about two thousand such novels, even though I only kept the best. There are just so many excellent romances written over the last twenty years, and though tastes are gradually changing, I always feel a pang at giving away one of my old favourites.

Like many other readers I always felt that I could write historical romance too, if not as brilliantly as a Loretta Chase or Mary Balogh, then at least as good as the average. I did not fool myself that it would be easy, in fact one of the first EBooks I published, under the pseudonym of May Essex, had the title How to Write an Awful Romance. I wrote it as a challenge to myself, to see if I could write, edit and self-publish it in one single day. This pamphlet was actually discussed months later, approvingly, by the well-known All About Romance blog.

Of course I could not then use the same pen name for my own first attempts. First she explains how to write an awful book, then she goes ahead and does it … I could just imagine the sarcastic comments.

My first venture into Romance proper was a Regency novel published in June 2014, The Impostor Debutante, which sold over 1000 copies, not counting borrows, in the first month. To my delight, it also garnered a number of mostly favourable reviews. In July the sequel followed, My Last Marchioness. The working title for the next volume is The Sister Quest. The whole series, The Amberley Chronicles, is projected to have seven or eight titles eventually, published at eight-weekly intervals.  This is a schedule that only self-publishing allows, by the way, no traditional publisher could or would do it, and probably very few writers.

Since I write first of all to please myself, rather than following current trends and prevailing tastes, my books do not completely fit all readers’ expectations. I am fed up with the countless tortured, self-indulgent and flawed heroes and endless dukes, and write about decent, mature people with minor flaws like vanity or class prejudice. I do not like to delve at length into extremely negative emotions like guilt and anguish. Some of my characters tend to be reserved or excellent liars, to keep up appearances and temporarily mislead the reader along with other characters. Since I like to hide crucial facts and clues, maybe I will try my hand at a regency mystery with a romantic subplot next.

My aim is entertainment, even though I touch on serious subjects on occasion. I only hope that my readers will have as much pleasure with my books, as I have fun writing them.

Chapters as TV episodes

Hi my name is Emily, and I’m one of those relatively unpublished authors that you were warned would be part of this blog. I don’t know why I felt the need to AA-style introduce myself, but deal with it… oh and keep reading. Even though I’ve been writing since I was in high school, I’m one of those people with a thousand beginnings, maybe two fleshed out ideas, and absolutely nothing polished.

I’m am (probably way too excited) to say that this month I had a flash fiction story posted on linguisticerosion.com and a short story published in romance magazine =)  http://www.fictionmagazines.com/shop/romance-issues/romance-magazine-vol-02-06/

Okay, now that I’ve gotten my shameless self-promotion out of the way, I want to delve into my topic. Every time I’m binge watching a show on Netflix, I can’t help but think of how it parallels to a book unfolding. My brain wants to view each episode like a chapter. The easier this is for my brain to do this, the more I find a show satisfying.

This led my to think of each chapter I write as an episode (of my own fantasy show). Sometimes this concept is easy a la Game of Thrones season one. In fact, I constantly find myself wondering, just like with a novel, if TV show writers have an outline for their plots or if they are just making shit up as they go (sans GoT because I know they have like 10,000+ words of an outline). I mean, it felt that way with Lost. Nothing added up and some things were simply just forgotten as the seasons went on. And what was that ending?

I thought the biggest difference between novels and TV episodes was that while novels are constantly moving forward, TV episodes tend to have an overarching story with episodes that loop around. However, I think the same thing could be said for some novel series that I have read.

After binge watching Lost Girl yesterday, I decided to call these sub-plot-loop-a-rounds. Each episode branches off into a sub-plot that gets neatly wrapped up by the end of the episode; however, there is still that overarching story that pulls the show forward. The same could be said of a novel series, especially the kind that lead to 20 books.There is a main point driving the books forward, but each individual novel has a subplot that is explored and concluded.

The comparisons led me to wonder if this is just a natural progression of the way we expect stories (on TV and in novels) now? Personally, I’ve always preferred stand alone books, and satisfying season finales. I hate cliffhanger endings, I think they are exploiting. Maybe even a cop out of writing a complete story. I thought TV was the primary villain in this regard a la Grey’s Anatomy, but the same thing seems to happen with some books too. Matter of fact, I lose interest in shows and books after about (book) season 3. It almost always seems to be downhill from that point. It always seems like writers are reaching for ideas. I also hate that when there is no conclusion in sight. I’m also a little butt hurt still about the conclusion to Lost, but that’s a different post topic.

Speaking of Lost though, I’ve noticed a far amount of misleading clues in TV shows. Mostly Lost Girl since that’s what I’m onto now. Is this acceptable in novels? Is it acceptable to lead your reader astray in order to surprise them? I’ve been told that makes an unreliable character/ narrator, but if it’s accepted in TV, why not? Do you feel cheated when shows pan into something (like a dead body) foreshadowing-ly and then next episode you find out dude was just passed out in his zombie make-up?

And just like the Lost writers, I made it this far and forgot what my conclusion was…after all my complaining about satisfying endings, I’m feeling the pressure now. Granted from someone who has written The End on one (dreadful) novel, I guess I shouldn’t be pointing too many fingers.

So, I suppose, I’m asking. Do you see your novel as a TV show? Can you see your chapter unfold in your head as you write it? Do you end the chapter and wonder if people will tune in next week i.e. turn the next page? Oh, and how many subplots are just too freaking many?

I also have a infrequently updated tumblr : umyeahrightokay.tumblr.com

And my email is emmaleigh234@gmail.com. And as soon as I’m hip to all that other social media, I’ll update my contact info =)

I write multicultural romance novels

My husband is of Italian/Ukranian decent. I’m of Haitian/French heritage. My sisters in laws are Irish, Thai and African-American. Oh yes, my husband’s childhood friend is Jewish and his wife is Italian. I often refer to us as the United Colors of Benetton. We are a diverse bunch with all of our little kinks. You should see our Christmas parties.

I started this post with a little background of me and my family to help understand why I have chosen to write novels that portrays my world, because really, up until recently there weren’t many to choose from. I fell in love with romance novels around the age of 14. There were no interracial romance novels then. When I started searching the internet for them, they were so badly written and focused so much on the race factor that I was turned off.  For me, love is not about the color of the skin, but an emotion that runs so deep inside us that it transcends race and gender.

In my novel, The Scale, currently available at Secrets Cravings Publishing, the heroine is an African-American curvy woman, and the hero is blond hair, blue eyes, and tattooed alpha. While their race came up once, it didn’t drive the plot. The Scale is about self-acceptance, the struggle with body image, what society identifies as beautiful, and of course falling in love.

In my current WIP, Need You Now, my FMC is Latina and the MMC is American-Italian. Once again, while their cultural background is mentioned, but is not the primary focus.

I’ve chosen to write about the kind of romance that reflects today’s society. My FMC and MMC are of a diverse background. While their cultural, demographic differences are mentioned, those things are not the focus. Love is.

I’m a writer of contemporary women’s fiction and romance. I write about diversity without focusing on our differences.

The Scale Blurb: 

Twenty-seven year old, African-American, Minka Greene has to endure watching her twin sister marry the man she loves. Her weight is up, and her confidence is down. Not exactly the ideal time to meet the real man of her dreams.

The Scale opens in Martha’s Vineyard with Minka attending Keely and Blake’s engagement party at Martha’s Way, the beautiful inn owned and operated by the tall, blond, tattooed man with the piercing blue eyes. It just so happens Jason Montgomery is also Blake’s childhood friend and the best man. Dealing with a whirl of emotions, Minka faints in Jason’s arms.

When she wakes up naked in Jason’s bed after a night of passion, the Vineyard confirmed bachelor struggling with his own demons and the woman filled with self-doubt and pining for another man are joined in an experience that will change their lives.

The Scale is the first book of the Martha’s Way series.

Excerpt from The Scale: 

What could possibly go wrong with a dance?  Their bodies would touch, and the thought of being so close to him worried her a bit. But it also triggered a level of excitement within her that she hadn’t known existed prior to tonight.

She wanted more. She wanted to feel him against her. Touch his hair and hold him as close as possible. Tomorrow she could deal with Keely, Blake, and reality. Tonight, she wanted to lose herself in Jason even if it was for one dance.

TheScale

Author Bio:

Author of contemporary sensual, empowered romance, with fun relatable characters. I’m also a wife, and mommy to 2 energizer bunnies. Member of Secret Cravings Publishing. When I do have time to breathe, I like to run, hike with my camera at hand, and work on my gardening and knitting skills. I promised my husband I’d knit him a scarf…that was 5 years ago.

For latest news on my current WIP, interviews with fellow authors, or just to see what I’m up to, check out my blog at  http://mikajolie.com/

While there, sign up for my monthly newsletter. Or sign up to be a member of my Street Team.

 I’m also on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook. Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8294433.Mika_Jolie Twitter: https://twitter.com/MikaJolie1

Facebook: https: //www.facebook.com/search/more/?q=Mika+Jolie+Author&init=public

Blog: http://mikajolie.com/

Email: Mikajolie2@gmail.com

 Join me in my journey and celebrate love

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Herding Cats

I am blessed with a community on-line through Scribophile, and in that community, a “neighborhood” called Writers Who Love Romance.

Along with my membership in Romance Writers of America, this community has done more to motivate me and keep me focused on writing, editing, and publishing than anything else I’ve tried.

Another huge part of the Published-Author-Making-A-Living-Through-Writing puzzle is marketing. This starts with self-promotion. And I recently discovered many introverted authors are terrified of that.

Understand that I love to do public speaking. At my current employment, whenever a speaker is needed, my peers know I will gladly volunteer. So it never occurred to me that some folk would be scared of blogging. Really? You can sit naked at your computer, post your blog, and delete comments that you don’t like. Why be worried about that?

Using the theory that there is security in numbers, I proposed to the neighborhood that we do a group blog. The response has been overwhelming. Now, getting these shy and creative creatures to all to the same process is similar to herding cats. And it’s not a simple process.

Step One: Create a log-in and password on WordPress.
Step Two: Send me an email so I can invite you to the blog.
Step Three: Be sure I have the correct pen name to use.
Step Four: Find a topic and write your blog, some place besides on WordPress. I’ve lost a number of blog posts through crazy, random happenstances before. I finally figured out that I need to write the whole thing in a Word doc or similar program, save it there, select all, copy, and paste it into the blog.
Step Five: Select your name as the category, so that people will know it’s yours, and select or create tags, to tie in to Google searches.
Step Six: Make sure you put it out on Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media platforms that you use.
Step Seven: Look for comments over the next few days, and reply if needed.
Step Eight: Start thinking of your next post.

That’s all it takes. Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.

The actual group of authors is a mix of published, unpublished, expert bloggers, and first timers. They are all charming, funny, imaginative folk whom I am proud to call neighbors and fellow bloggers.

I ask that you read the future blog posts with an open mind and a cheerful heart. Let us know when you like things and/or have suggestions. After all, we are doing this to connect with you!

See you next time.

Are We There Yet?

Welcome to a new blog about being a writer, an author, a purveyor of fine sentences and stories.  My fellow writers and I are putting this together, and we will soon have weekly posts to entertain you.  For now, this is just a place holder, like those Under Construction signs you see at the mall.

While you wait, enjoy this musical interlude: