Quiz: Which Type of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?


Authors Grace Burrowes, Katie MacAlister, and Shana Galen would love to invite you to take their historical romance quiz. Below is the quiz written by the authors which asks readers if they are royalty, an operative, or a member of a retinue.

#1 What word best describes you?

a) effervescent
b) nonconfrontational (mostly)
c) stealthy

#2 My favorite hobby is …

a) comparative study of the male form
b) looking after my darling baron
c) target practice

#3 What is the perfect late night snack?

a) bread, cheese, meats, lemon tarts … whatever can be liberated from the kitchen
b) the baron’s kisses
c) ratafia, shaken not stirred

#4 My ideal man must have …

a) a sublime derriere
b) an aptitude for growing hardy, contrary flowers
c) brains

#5 What accessory do you never leave home without?

a) my corset (large bosoms are such a trial)
b) my composure
c) my pistol


TheTruthAboutLeoIf you choose mostly As … then you are as sparkling and resourceful as Her Serene Royal Highness Dagmar from The Truth about Leo by Katie MacAlister. Dagmar may have been raised in a strictly formal manner, but she’s never let that stop her from pursuing anything that catches her interest. She’s a bit quirky, marches to her own drummer, and has a fine, fine appreciation of the manly form.

TheTraitorIf you choose mostly Bs … then you are clearly the stuff a baroness is made of, much like Millicent, from The Traitor. Milly is sweet, fierce, determined, and brave but slow to trust. Sebastian, Baron St. Clair, is ALSO sweet, fierce, determined and brave, and relentless when it comes to protecting those he cares for. Alas for both Sebastian and Milly, an enemy stalks them who is not sweet. By the time Milly is done with Sebastian’s enemies, they are not very brave either. So if you chose mostly B’s, the bad guys better steer mighty clear of you!

LoveAndLetSpyIf you choose mostly Cs … then you are equipped to be a master spy like Jane Bonde from Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen. Jane is smart, cunning, and loyal, but she has her weaknesses too. Her latest weakness goes by the name Dominic Griffyn. Planning a wedding and defeating a villain intent upon the destruction of England is tricky, but if you’re the sort who multitasks easily, then you too have Jane’s unique skills and panache.

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Forget Babies, Here’s Where Love Scenes Come From

dani collinsGuest blog by Dani Collins, author of The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection: Mastering Her Role\Playing the Master

One of the most clichéd question we romance writers get is something along the lines of, “How do you research the sex scenes?” It’s one of those things where the people saying it don’t mean anything, they see a clever witticism, but from our end it’s kind of like a stranger walking into my bedroom uninvited. I don’t care if I’m only watering the plants, it’s still an invasion. We writers smile and pretend it’s fine, but we’re always privately thinking, Dude. Not cool.

I’ve had quite an increase in those sly remarks since I came out about the erotic romances I have releasing this August, so I thought I’d talk about how these super-sexy books actually came into being. Hashtag-spoiler-alert: Not based on my own life.

About fifteen years ago, which was a good ten years into my twenty-five year journey to making my first sale, I was super frustrated with all the rejections I was receiving from romance and decided to try my hand at erotica. It was gaining popularity at the time. Ellora’s Cave was the hot publisher of the day, and I was definitely not alone in thinking an erotic ebook might be the wedge that opened the door for other publishing endeavors. In fact, when I mentioned to a writer friend that I was going to write an erotica, she said, “Et tu Brute?” because so many people were doing it.

I was a little hurt, to be honest. It made me feel like she thought I was being a sell-out. Or maybe that trying to do an end run was cheating. I wrote the book anyway. I had what I thought was a fun premise—an alpha Presents-type hero, Jason, who has an alter-ego who’s even more dominant (Dominic). The virgin-like (history of repression) heroine, Arianne, asks to meet this other persona so he can ‘teach’ her to be sexy.

The lessons in intimacy escalated naturally, which made the book fairly straightforward to write. The final manuscript had some problems. My agent at the time suggested I develop the hero more, especially in his Clark Kent guise. I didn’t know how. I actually went to contract on the story, flawed as it was, but wound up with a case of cold-feet, partly induced by that sense of judgment from my friend. I shelved it and moved on to other genres.

Do I regret that decision? Not really. I wasn’t ready in a couple of ways. I wasn’t prepared to start my publishing career as an erotic writer—not because I’m a snob or anything, but my writer friend was right about one thing. I was betraying myself. My heart belonged to straight romance. But I knew I wasn’t ready as a writer. I genuinely didn’t feel I had the skills to do the story justice.

Fast forward fifteen years and a handful of Harlequin Presents under my belt. Given the popularity of Fifty Shades, I figured it was now or never for that erotica sitting on my hard drive. I asked my editor if she’d like to see it and then I had to take a fresh look at the hero’s journey in that book before I sent it to her.

With the experience I’d gained over the years, I was able to see how to expand on the romance and develop the hero and I wasn’t the only one who loved the final product. The team at HarlequinE did too. In fact, they loved it so much, they asked for another one.

One piece of advice I often heard over the years of submitting and getting rejected was to always have a follow up book in mind. “No one wants a one-book wonder,” published authors would say. “They’ll want to know what you’re planning next.”

Well, I always thought it would be fun to have a companion novel to the above, but with the heroine having a secret identity. For any would-be writers in the group, let me state right here that the difference between a premise and an idea is the premise has a story thread you can already follow, eg. How will the heroine learn to be sexy? Questions spring to mind about how this story will play out.

An idea inspires questions like: Who is the main character? Where is it set? What is the premise? After much cogitating, I came up with: Ann is being forced to marry Porter. She isn’t sure she wants to, especially when she’s made-over into the submissive, Violet, and sees the world he inhabits (a BDSM club in Paris.)

Coming up with that was a challenge, but even harder was writing erotic romance again. I hadn’t written one in years. Yes, I had revised one, but the skeleton of the story was there. Those of you thinking erotic romance is just a romance with blunt language and graphic sex are dead wrong. You’re juggling a whole different element. I’m sorry to kill the mystique, but writing erotic romance is work, same as any other book.

Which means I probably should have entitled this post Why I Probably Won’t Write Another Erotic Romance. But I won’t say that because if the right premise comes along, I will write one. (In fact, I wound up writing a novella length one for The Chatsfield Series which is also out in August. My editor gave me the premise. If you enjoy bondage stories, you’ll want to look up The Secret In Room 823.)

Which required a ton of research. Honestly, I think the real reason I get my back up when I’m asked about researching love scenes is the implication that I can’t just use the internet like I do with everything else. No one asks, “Does your husband help you murder people so you get that right?”

Am I being over-sensitive? How would you answer that question? What’s your pet peeve about your job?

I’d love to draw from the commenters for one e-copy of The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection.


Two lessons of disguise, erotic pleasure, and liberation from renowned author Dani Collins.

Playing The Master

In a week, timid Ann Parker will belong to the coldly handsome Porter Navarro—a marriage arranged by her vicious stepfather. But when she’s secretly made over and presented to Porter as “Violet,” she is initiated into his world of dark, exquisite delights. One where he is master. But it’s only as Violet that Ann tastes true freedom. And her liberation will cost not only her sensual teacher, but the man she’s grown to love…

Mastering Her Role

Arianne has it bad for her friend and neighbour, Jason. Unfortunately, rumour has it that Jason has a kinky side, and Arianne’s inner freak is still hiding in the closet. So Arianne asks Jason to introduce her to his friend Dominic—a sexually dominant instructor in the ways of pleasure. And so Arianne begins her lessons of sexuality, lust, and being thoroughly and deliciously ravished. But behind his mask, Dominic seems awfully familiar…

Buy: The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection: Mastering Her Role\Playing the Master

EXCERPT – Playing The Master:

On the telephone he had sounded like Jason with a British accent. More or less.

The relationship between the two men was something of a mystery. She’d pressed Celine after the woman said with haughty amusement, I thought he would have introduced you to Dominic by now. But she’d only received a smirk in response.

Arianne wondered how much he’d be like Jason as she stood outside the hotel-room door. Until Jason had yanked her into his arms and spoken so explicitly, she’d only suspected what kind of man lurked beneath his quiet exterior. The idea of giving herself over to someone like that made her breath stutter, urging her to back out of this crazy stunt and retreat down the hall.

It didn’t matter how desperately she wanted Jason. He was a man who enjoyed highly sophisticated sex play. She’d never reach his level. This was—

The door opened.

The man who filled the open frame wore black from silk shirt to snug leather pants tucked into tall, well-worn boots that reminded her of Jason’s. She couldn’t be sure of his identity by looking at his hands or face. He wore leather gloves and a silky kerchief thing, cut with eyeholes. It hid the upper half of his face and hair, like a pirate.

Below the mask was a blond goatee. Jason’s hair was dark as a raven’s wing. This man was about as tall as Jason, but Jason had green eyes, while the ones staring at her were brown.

Stop comparing him to Jason, she scolded herself. He looked like the kind of man who wouldn’t put up with that sort of divided attention.

“Too timid to knock? Come in,” he said in that subtle accent, so crisp with authority. He braced the door with a straight elbow, remaining in the space so she would have to duck beneath his arm and brush his body to get by.

Her purse felt slippery in her grip, and she was pretty sure she was going to faint.

When she hesitated, he said, “Would it help to know I don’t intend to touch you? You wanted to meet me, so we’ll talk.”

She managed to swallow and nod then pressed through the tiny opening, feeling the brush of soft silk against her bare shoulder. She hadn’t known what to wear and had settled on this lacy sundress. It was too virginal, she realized. It screamed of inexperience. Timid. Newbie.

But she was here now, looking around the elegant suite. This was a chic boutique hotel, and he’d booked them into one of the best rooms, a suite on an upper floor. It had a lounge area, a small bar and a door to the left that would be the bathroom. The bed sat on a platform three stairs up, next to the hollow of a three-sided window alcove. Across the foot of the ornate king-size bed draped a fringed, peacock-blue sheet. A footstool, also ornately carved and upholstered in red velvet, stood beside the bed next to a discreet black suitcase.

Wondering what the case might contain made her abdomen tense. She jerked her gaze to the drawn sheers over the window that allowed some of the afternoon sun to penetrate, bringing a glow to the polished wood detailing above the empty fireplace. The room was comfortably warm. The air-conditioning, off. No hum. No music, either, just silence as he waited behind her.

She knew she ought to turn to face him, but it was easier to continue studying the room. In one corner stood a screen, black, with an inlay of tile chips. Perhaps it belonged to him, since mosaic nudes in Kama Sutra poses decorated it. Something red hung over the top of it. The rest of the furniture appeared to be hotel issue. Lovely, but not provocative—not like that screen or the suitcase.

“I said I wouldn’t touch you but I have a custom, Arianne. People who play sexual games need signals between them to express readiness to begin and closure at the end. It builds trust. You will kiss me now and again when you leave.”

Was he kidding?

She pivoted slowly, trying to find something reassuring in the cut of his jawline, but he was pure wickedness, lounging so negligently beside the door. She didn’t think she could do it and wound up shaking her head at him.

“I was under the impression you wanted to reset the boundaries you’ve placed on your sexuality. Have you changed your mind?”

Buy: The Dani Collins Erotic Romance Collection: Mastering Her Role\Playing the Master


After a brilliant debut in the UK with No Longer Forbidden, a Mills & Boon Modern Book Of The Month January 2013, Dani’s first Harlequin Presents, Proof Of Their Sin, won the Reviewer’s Choice by Romantic Times Book Reviews for Best First In Series. While her focus is Harlequin Presents, Dani also writes romantic comedy, medieval fantasy, and coming August of 2014, erotic romance. Whatever the genre, she always delivers sexy alpha heroes, witty, spirited heroines, complex emotions and loads of passion.

Enter Dani Collins’ Masked Desires Contest for a chance to express your secret desires from behind a masquerade mask.

Stay current with Dani’s new releases by joining her newsletter or visiting her here:

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Life Lessons as Learned from Romance: Finding Your Partner

jadedGuest post by Ember Leigh, author of Jaded

My name is Ember Leigh, and I’m the author of Jaded from Breathless Press. I write contemporary erotic romance that usually features a lot of emotional conflict as one or both characters struggle to come to terms with being in a relationship.

That sounds like a lot of stories, right? It’s true, romance novels tend to address specific emotional issues (not to mention the sexual aspect) and they typically end HEA or HFN. It’s part of what we love about it – we can count on the arc! But throughout the years, I’ve noticed that romance novels have something very specific to say about that eventual romantic partner.

No, I don’t mean that romances are telling us that this eventual partner is impossibly sculpted and divinely sunkissed and lights a fire worthy of three fire departments in the nether regions. We’d all like that though, right?

Really, I think romance novels are secretly giving us clues about how to find our one and only.

Plenty of readers come to romance novels as an outlet within very happy marriages, but plenty of other readers are single and looking. Perhaps romance novels can help us learn how to, in effect, bring this heavenly-bodied, dangerous-fire-lighting creature to our front doors.

If you can’t read the romance genre like a secret treasure map, don’t worry. I’ve cracked the code and I’ll share with you all of my totally-proven-this-is-backed-by-science-I-swear theories.

What Romance Novels Suggest We Do In Order to Lure ‘The Mate’:

  1. Break up with your shitty ex-boyfriend. This is a great rule for life in general – clearing out the old to make way for the new. And hopefully the new is impossibly toned, amazing in the kitchen and loves whispering in your ear about poetry — or whatever it is that gets your motor running.
  2. Make a vow to never date men again. This might not be the most psychologically healthy response to life situations, but it’s certainly something that happens. Maybe it lasts for a week – maybe for 15 minutes. Regardless, after a certain degree of heartbreak or heart strain, it feels almost smart to plant that foot and say “Men, never again.” Isabella does this in my novel Jaded – and months later, Luke shows up at her door. (Science!)
  3. Do what you love. Get totally lost in your passion and livelihood. As the saying goes, “If you are looking for the love of your life, stop. They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.” And lots of romance heroine’s find love exactly when they least expect it – because they’re just doing what they do –loving, living, and totally rocking.
  4.  Get trapped someplace. In a snow storm, on a remote island, in an airport, even in an abandoned well. Getting trapped is usually a sure first sign that the love of your life is right around the corner. He might save you, he might ignore you, he might resent you for being the cause of being trapped in the first place – but by god, love and sparks aren’t far away.
  5. Start an epic journey. This might be to a different galaxy, historical time travel, a different continent or simply a road trip. No matter the time or place, epic journeys are a great way to stimulate true love and ensure that a delightful partner crosses paths with you. They’re also a great way to introduce really inventive ways for having sex – in zero gravity, horse-and-carriage trips through 1800’s Ireland, or on top of an RV lost in the Badlands.

In your life or favorite novels, what helped attract that delightful hero and those dangerous flames of desire?

Website: www.emberleighromance.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/emberleighauthor

Book Blurb:

When a construction crew shows up at Isabella’s house for a remodel, she never imagined it would include her love life, too.

After one too many broken hearts, Isabella has sworn off love…and men altogether. When hunky Luke shows up to remodel her house and starts coming on to her hard, she’s sure he’s just a player using the wrong head. With Luke, however, Isabella quickly learns there’s more than meets the eye. Will she let her guard down and let him in, or will she be forever Jaded?

Buy: Jaded

Top 10 Love Lessons from Kick-Ass Heroines

AC_TheInnocentAssassins1600x2400Guest blog by Pema Donyo, author of The Innocent Assassins

My upcoming release, THE INNOCENT ASSASSINS, features a former assassin serving undercover as a spy for the CIA. Along the way, she struggles with her feelings for the assassin organization’s next-in-command. To be honest, kick-ass heroines provide even better love lessons than traditional romance heroines. Starlets of romantic suspense and thrillers are strong enough to defeat some serious bad guys and smart enough to navigate their way through love.

  1. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games): Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Clever Katniss is careful about who she trusts in a dangerous dystopia. While we may not all live in District 12, we can all use her advice to proceed cautiously into any romance.
  2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter): Think rationally, not rashly. Hermione doesn’t follow Ron when he decides to leave. While she harbors a major crush on him, she doesn’t let it stop her from helping Harry save the entire wizarding world.
  3. Sydney Bristow (Alias): Bad timing doesn’t mean a bad relationship. The relationship between Sydney and her on-again, off-again love interest Michael Vaughn includes her dramatic fake death, his confusing fake death, and tons of cringe-worthy hairstyle changes. Once the timing is right, they are able to make things work.
  4. Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): First impressions aren’t everything. Or in Buffy and Spike’s case, brutal hatred and a centuries-old mythical struggle. Feelings change over time even if you’re a slayer and he’s a vampire.
  5. Nyota Uhura (Star Trek): Cultural barriers are surmountable. She and Spock come from different planets (actually, though). While there probably aren’t many favorite TV shows they share in common, Uhura doesn’t let a little culture clash keep her from love.
  6. Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones): Don’t let heartbreak hold you back. Partly because she’s awesome as an independent leader and partly because GOT seems intent to destroy every happy couple on the show, her husband dies after she falls in love with him. Nevertheless, does our girl Daenerys continue emerging as a political force to be reckoned with? Definitely.
  7. Princess Merida (Brave): You can save yourself without a man. Merida doesn’t end the movie by choosing a husband; she chooses a life for herself on her own terms. She saves her mother and her brothers by depending on herself, not a love interest. (Also magic, let’s be real.)
  8. Cristina Yang (Grey’s Anatomy): Never let past disappointment keep you from future happiness. After Burke’s last-minute abandonment at the altar, she didn’t let his mood swings stop her from trying marriage a second time with Owen. She “dances it out” and moves on with her life.
  9. Olivia Pope (Scandal): Get your head in the game. The political game, that is. Olivia loves Fitz, but she understands that sometimes love isn’t enough. Between managing her super successful firm and sorting through real sketchy family issues, Liv has enough on her plate. While romance is important, this shouldn’t come at the expense of one’s own well-being and success.
  10. Claire Underwood (House of Cards): Find someone who complements you. Claire and Frank are both equally ambitious and hard-working. They help each other succeed rather than bring each other down. Lawsuits, murders, social climbing – you name it, they’ve supported each other through it.

What lessons from these heroines do you think are missing? What other kick-ass heroines come to mind for you? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.


There are three rules to staying an assassin at the corporation of Covert Operatives: (1) your parents must be deceased, (2) your contracts must remain confidential, and (3) you must be under the age of eighteen.

After a murder mission goes awry a month before her eighteenth birthday, Covert Operatives assassin Jane Lu finds herself caught by the federal government and forced to spy for the CIA while remaining in Covert Operatives. Once her spying mission is over, she will be allowed to live a civilian life without facing criminal consequences—a life she’s only dreamed of having.

As Jane leaks information to the CIA, she uncovers secrets with enough power to both destroy Covert Operatives and her own boyfriend, Adrian King, who’s next in line to be CEO of the company. When her identity as a double agent for the CIA is discovered within Covert Operatives, she must decide where her allegiance, and her heart, truly lies.

944577_443747015661779_555683919_n-2 (3)AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY:

Pema Donyo is a coffee-fueled college student by day and a creative writer by night. She currently lives in sunny Southern California, where any temperature less than 70 degrees is freezing and flip-flops never go out of season. As a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna, she’s still working on mastering that delicate balance between finishing homework, meeting publisher deadlines, and… college. Her debut novel, The Innocent Assassins, is signed for publication with Astraea Press in June 2014. Catch up with her latest release information or writerly musings on her blog.

Author website: pemadonyo.wordpress.com

10 Key Elements to a Heartfelt Romance

Picture2Guest Blog by Dee Dee M. Scott, author of Sent From Heaven

Thanks so much for having me on today. I write in many genres, but I have to say, other than writing thriller/horror my other favorite genre to write is Romance. I was a romance reader way before I was a romance writer. My mother always read romance books and when she finished one I would pick it up and devour it. I had no idea what I was reading at the time being I was very young. However, reading those books at an adolescent age showed me what it took to write a heartfelt romance. Here are the ten key elements I learned early on that stuck with me when I began to write my own romance novels.

  1. First there must be an irresistible strong hero and a sassy heroine. Both characters must also be likable. I’m sure readers have their own preference, but sometimes nothing turns a reader off more than a mean or arrogant hero or heroine. Sure the hero and heroine will have flaws, but they must also be able to win over the heart of the readers.
  2. The attraction the hero and heroine have for one another must be at first glance, and the chemistry must be palpable. It is also a good idea to have the hero and heroine meet right away instead of five or six chapters later.
  3. The hero and heroine should be perfect for each other, but not perfect. They should have flaws, weaknesses, secrets and maybe even some annoying habits. They should have things that happened in their past that shaped them into who they are as well.
  4. The hero and heroine need to be placed in situations that keep them meeting up and spending time together.  Readers need to be able to see them doing exciting things or in situations that allow them to actually get to know one another.
  5. Watch the pace of the story. Is it too soon for the character to confess their love for one another or do you confess it near the middle or end? And what about love scenes? Or the first kiss? Whatever the decisions, it should fit the story and also appear believable and natural.
  6. It’s a good idea to add secondary characters that add tension to the hero and heroine’s relationship.  The couple needs to have lots of drama throughout the story before they reach their happily-ever-after. And what better way than to add an annoying parent, sister, brother or ex to the story. However, find a nice balance with secondary characters so their story won’t weaken the romance or take away from the hero and heroine’s story.
  7. There must be a conflict(s) or a major misunderstanding that threatens the hero and heroine’s happily- ever- after. Maybe the heroine has a secret or the hero refuses to give in to a demand of the heroine. Whatever the case, there must be trouble that may prevent them from being together.
  8. Passion and love scenes are a must. Along with the outward connection the couple must have a great physical relationship.
  9. Don’t forget the happily ever after. There’s nothing more satisfying then for the hero and heroine to have a good ending after so much adversity.
  10. Have fun and write from your heart. The first draft shouldn’t be perfect but you should get the story out before you start the arduous process of making corrections.

Blurb:  Sent From Heaven

Best-selling romance author Maya Smith’s life is far different from the characters she creates in her novels. Left to raise a baby without the assistance of the married father, she has given up on finding a prince on a white horse to rescue her. Enter Cardiologist and single father, Ford Tucker. Dr. Tucker is all work and no play. He has dedicated his life to work and raising his daughter. When Ford becomes Maya’s Cardiologist, he is instantly smitten with her. Sparks fly and the passion’s hot as ever between the two. But just when Ford thinks he has finally found Ms. Right, and Maya thinks she’s found her prince, a devastating secret is revealed that will rock the core of their relationship. Will their bond survive the terrible secret? Or will Ford end up alone and Maya prince less?

Buy: Sent From Heaven


Dr. Ford Tucker walked behind the desk and sat in his leather office chair. His eyes remained glued to the file in his hands. “You’re MRI looks good,” Ford said, placing the folder aside. He locked his eyes on Maya. “In the meantime, you should continue taking your medicine and keep your yearly checkups.”

Happy with her test results, Maya breathed a sigh of relief. “Is there anything else I need to do, doctor?” she asked.

“Yes,” Ford answered, braiding his fingers together on the desk. “Have dinner with me.”

“Dinner?” Maya asked, completely surprised.

“Yes, let me take you out.” Ford stood from his seat. He moved to Maya and helped her from the chair. “So, what do you say?”

Maya strapped on her purse. “Why do you want to take me out?”

Ford gently took her hand. “My little girl has taken a liking to you.”

Maya smiled playfully and her seductive brown eyes twinkled. “I’ve taken a liking to your daughter too.”

“What about me?”

“You’re interesting, I guess,” Maya said coolly.

Looking disappointed, Ford inched in even closer. “Just interesting?”

“Okay; so far you seem like a wonderful man,” Maya admitted, while fondling his stylish tie.

He lifted her face to his. “I think you’re wonderful too.”

Maya felt a hot shiver threatening to convulse her, but she regained control.

“So, can I take you out?” Ford asked again, flashing his Colgate smile.

Maya blushed. “I’d like that.”

Ford planted a lingering kiss to her lips. He winked his eye at her before grabbing his file from the desk.

Maya’s entire body burned as she watched him exit the office. When the door closed, her weak legs collapsed. She slid into the chair, taking in several deep hot breaths. She’d tried to play it cool, but she could feel her entire body trembling.

Buy: Sent From Heaven

AuthorphotoAuthor Bio

Dee Dee M. Scott is the author of the best-selling books: Sent from Heaven 1& 2. She is also a screenwriter, playwright, director and producer. Currently, Dee Dee has eight authors signed to her publishing company, Ahsyad Publication and her movie: Lake House will play in selected theaters soon.

Connect with Dee Dee @ www.addmsentertainment.com

Out of Your Reading “Comfort” Zone

lovehateIf you’re like me, you have a list of things that you like and hate to read. Sometimes though, you come across a book that you should dislike emphatically because it hits on one major dislike or several minor dislikes… and yet, despite the book containing things you dislike to read you find yourself irresistibly drawn into the author’s world. I call these books the exceptions to the rules. After all, isn’t it a lady’s prerogative to change her mind? In my case, for instance:

  • I don’t like werewolf heroes/heroines in my paranormal romance, but I love Molly Harper’s How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf. This book is fun, hilarious, and feel-good.
  • I don’t like sibling’s best friend/best friend’s sibling romances, but I love Grace Callaway’s Her Prodigal Passion. It’s steamy, passionate, and filled with angsty-goodness.
  • I don’t like beta heroes, but I love Julia Quinn’s Just Like Heaven… and it also fits the sibling’s best friend trope too. If you like audiobooks, you should snag this book in that format.
  • I don’t like selfish/whiny heroines, but I love Emma by Jane Austen… I will watch the mini-series over and over because it’s sweet and contains one of my favorite tropes — a May/December romance.
  • I don’t like children in romances, but I love Teresa Medeiros’ Charming the Prince. I especially love that the heroine bonds with the kids and they wage war on the hero.

What are some of the books that have landed on your radar that would normally stay buried? What makes them the exception to the rule for you?

Photo Credits: Aussiegall

Three Pet Peeves That Get My Goat

book tossMany of us have pet peeves when it comes to our reading habits. There are certain things that when executed just about darn get our goat. For me, I have three pet peeves that really get my ire up; I wonder if you’ll agree.

  1. Contradictions – If a character has never roller-skated don’t make the character an expert at it the first time he or she encounters a roller rink or ice skates. If a character loves classical music, don’t write that she or he never heard Mozart’s music played. If he or she is terrible with kids, don’t introduce a bundle of joy (related or unrelated to the character) and have the character create an instant rapport with the baby. It doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request. Character growth is one thing, but instant change while possible, isn’t going to fly without some exceptional writing. Blatant disregard for the personality and background of a character is a violation of the world you, the author, are building. It pulls readers out of your story quicker than they can finish reading the contradiction.
  2. Never-Ending Pity Parties – When a character ruminates on his or her troubles to the point that it becomes repetitive information (with no growth) and excruciating to read, I back away. Worst still — is the pity party with conflicting wishy-washy-ness… “I’m always bullied/overlooked career-wise/ignored by the opposite sex; I have a thick skin from years of mistreatment, but today this minor remark really, really, hurt my feelings! And I who have never cried after that terrible time when I was six, will cry buckets today.” I love angst in my novels, don’t get me wrong, but whiny woe-is-me attitudes need to be checked. When characters want to be agreed with and coddled for their “unique troubles” I am quick to scoff. I will empathize with the character to a point and then not care anymore. Don’t overdo it!
  3. Telling Not Showing – Details please! I want to submerse myself in the story. I want to do the things the characters do and feel like I am an extended part of them or the story. When an author “tells” what is and isn’t instead of “showing” through prose, the story begins to reek of falseness and deceptively. For example, force-feeding a character’s change of heart comes across condescending and calculated. It rubs the wrong way. Less “tell” and more “show” please. I don’t need a laundry-list of items that are checked off to prove something. What I want is expansive storytelling that sweeps me up and along with the characters. Let me snuggle into my comfy couch and into your book.

When it comes to these three peeves, I try to overlook the first few instances because every story deserves a chance to shine, but once it starts piling up… it’s less about the story and more about my complaints regarding the writing. My boyfriend can attest to that! What are your pet peeves when it comes to romances or books in general?

The Allure of the Impossible Romantic Interest

elizabeth bennetAs is most often the case in a romance novel, one or both main characters is considered an impossible catch. Hero or heroine, this particular lead is often regarded as the cream of the crop, the tip of the top, and the best of the best. He’s the most eligible bachelor. She’s the rarest diamond of the first waters. And so forth.

Why is this? I believe it is because the allure of catching an “impossible catch” is too great to pass up. The impossible catch is a huge draw for readers, myself included. The best books walk the fine line between impossible and actual, and your heart quickens with the leads as they fall in love.

Generally speaking, if the impossible catch is the hero, he doesn’t want to be caught. In fact, he strives vigorously to avoid any situation that might end with him at the altar. When he’s caught though, it’s what he most desires and that is very sexy.

If the impossible catch is the heroine, she generally has multiple options of marriage. She’s the belle of the ball. Her hero is not a good match for her economically speaking, but she doesn’t care… it’s his heart that matters most!

Some of my favorite “impossible catches” include Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Edward Cullen from Twilight, Mr. Edward Rochester and Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre, Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones, Justin Allistair of These Old Shades, and Sidonie Forsythe from Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed.

Who are some of your favorite impossible-to-catch heroes and heroines?