Regal Annelise or Down-Home Annie — Does a Name Really Matter?

CANT_STOP_LOVING_YOU cover Guest blog by Lynnette Austin, author of Can’t Stop Lovin’ You

Think of some of the great characters in your favorite books. Would Darcy have been Darcy if he’d been given the name Maynard or Jethro? Would Agent 007 appear as debonair if Ian Fleming had called him Egbert Humphrey instead of Bond, James Bond? What about the daydreaming, flighty Prissy in Gone with the Wind? If her name had been Sydney or Helen we’d have lost some of her special flair and flavor, wouldn’t we?

A character’s name should reveal something about him or her, should help paint that all-important picture for the reader. Locale, profession, character traits, a character’s age, ethnic origin all have to be considered. Sometimes it’s a physical characteristic. If a character is named Rusty, he’d better have red hair. Ebony? Raven? Both evoke a beautiful woman with flowing black tresses. Even the name of inanimate objects can take on great importance. Can anyone ever forget Wilson in Cast Away with Tom Hanks?

When I start a story, it absolutely refuses to flow until I get those names right. A Lucy doesn’t behave the same as a Lucille or a Lena. When I was still teaching, I had the sweetest, shyest little girl imaginable in my class. Her name? Rebel. This might work in a story if I deliberately wanted a name that was the antithesis of my character, maybe even as a forewarning of a character change to come. But the name sets up certain expectations, doesn’t it?

NTTH cover My new Maverick Junction series takes place in Texas, and my men are…sigh…sexy cowboys. Their names had to fit this persona. No Percy or Norman or Julian for these guys. Not in these books. My guys needed to be rough-and-tumble and ready to hop onto the back of a racing stallion in their worn jeans and Stetsons. Meet Cash Hardeman, Ty Rawlins, and Brawley Odell. Strong men, strong names.

And their women? In Somebody Like You, the first of the Maverick Junction books, Annelise Elizabeth Katherine Montjoy is a beyond-wealthy heiress, the next thing to royalty, and her name needed the ring of that. To her family, her business associates, and the ever-present press, she’s Annelise. However, when she arrives in Maverick Junction, Texas, she wants to leave all that behind, and she becomes Annie. Just Annie. A small name change; a huge difference. Annelise is hounded by the paparazzi; Annie can enjoy pizza and beer at Bubba’s Roadhouse, muck out Cash’s stables, and redo her rented apartment with second-hand furniture and a few gallons of paint. She needed a name that could be transformed, and I think this one worked. Regal Annelise. Down-home Annie.

Ty’s lady in Nearest Thing to Heaven is a sophisticated city-dweller, a believer in fairies and magic, a woman with a very soft center. She needed a classy name. One that radiated cool and calm. A quiet name. Sophie London. Feminine, but strong enough to take on a widower and his four-year-old triplets—while running her own business.

Can’t Stop Lovin’ You features Brawly Odell and Maggie Sullivan. Yep. Both very strong-willed with tempers to match. When these ex-high-school-sweethearts tangle, it’s fireworks time.

somebodylikeyouMel is the owner, editor, and reporter of small-town Maverick Junction’s newspaper. I’d been very careful to give my main male characters very manly names. Mel, though, was never intended as anything more than a secondary character. But I really like Mel and think he deserves his own story, his very own happily-ever-after. So what do I do? I’ve boxed myself into a corner. Or have I? I never disclosed his last name. I decided on Ryker, and all of a sudden, my scholarly, somewhat weak-sounding Mel becomes Mel Ryker, a force to be reckoned with. By choosing a hard-sounding last name, Mel became hero material.

Haunt character and baby name websites, scour those “name your baby” books—of which there are many! Mine is so worn, I really need to consider replacing it soon. But having met so many great friends between its covers, I’m reluctant to do that. J

I also have a fantastic book titled Don’t Call Me Rover: 5,001 Names for Your Pet by Rita Blockton to help find that just-right moniker for pets because they, too, become important characters. I don’t think I’ve ever written a book without giving at least one of my characters a four-legged friend. And then, of course, we have fish and birds and… I could go on and on.

The right name completes your character. All by itself, it conveys so much about him or her to the reader. Take the time up-front to get this right, and it’ll pay huge dividends.

What’s your favorite character’s name? Why?

Happy writing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALynnette Austin loves Starbucks, Peppermint Patties, and long rides with the windows down and the music cranked up! One of the great things about writing is thatdaydreaming is not only permissible but encouraged. Somebody Like YouNearest Thing to Heaven, and Can’t Stop Lovin’ You are the first three books in her Maverick Junction series, contemporary romances set in Texas.

Come visit me at my website www.authorlynnetteaustin.com

You can also contact me at:

twitter@lynnettaustin

www.Goodreads.com/author/LynnetteHallberg

Check out www.lynnettehallberg.com for my non-Maverick Junction books.

Somebody Like YouNearest Thing to Heaven, and Can’t Stop Lovin’ You are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in print and digital versions.

What’s In A Name? Funny Character Names in Romance Novels

A Devil in DisguiseGuest blog by Sandra Scholes

A male friend of mine once met me at a discreet corner of Waterstones book store. While I browsed the romance section, watching me reading the blurb on the back cover – he snatched it from me, read it and started to laugh while people passed us by, probably thinking we were odd, or worse, mad.

I asked him what was funny, and he said “Have all the heroes and heroines in these books got weird names?”

It was my turn to laugh then. I took the book back off him, putting it back on the shelf, and picked up a couple more, handing them to him while he read the back covers. Within minutes he almost fitted with laughter.

The thing is, I have been reading these books for years, and the thought of the names being even slightly hilarious had never crossed my mind. I thought they were well written, the characters had spirit, they leapt off the page – the last thing I thought of was how funny their names were, but Dominic made me sit up and listen, and when I looked a bit closely at the names, it wasn’t long before I would understand what he meant – it doesn’t stop me from reading them though!

Here area some of the funniest names I’ve seen so far:

If there are any you want to add to the list you have seen recently – please do, I would love to read them.

Fantasy in Real Terms

guestblog

by Teal Ceagh, guest blogger and author of Destiny’s Trinities trilogy.

Today, you might be curious to know, is Miranda Otto’s birthday. She’s the Australian actor who played Éowyn in The Lord of the Rings.

I’m a huge The Lord of the Rings fan – I’m one of those strange people who reads the book once a year from cover to cover. Well, I used to. Now, I trek through the extended Director’s Cut of the movie every year around Christmas time with anyone in my family who’s mad enough, or who has enough spare time to sit through the twelve to fifteen hours it takes to watch all three movies with meal breaks and repeats of the really good scenes.

I really like my fantasy stuff. Surprisingly, The Lord of the Rings is about the only high fantasy I like. The rest of it I prefer in real time – a.k.a. urban fantasy. I like the way high fantasy characters play off against shopping malls, city streets and common everyday situations we all know and deal with ourselves. It gives context to the characters and situations we meet in new fantasy and a way of instantly orienting ourselves in a new fantasy universe, which is one of the biggest headaches about high fantasy. I don’t actually enjoy having to learn a new language and a dozen different character names, race names, and a twelve letter word for something that is just a knife, in the end. I’m more interested in the way the characters interact with each other and how the plot moves forward.

For the same reason I like including a decent romance in my own urban fantasies, one that includes the sexual side of the romance. As I wrote here on Love Romance Passion on November 24, we’re all sexual creatures in the end…it’s natural to include that side of our natures.

I’m at the end of what ended up being a surprise tour, and a surprisingly long book tour for not one, but two, books – the last two books in the Destiny’s Trinities series for Ellora’s Cave. I’ve been honoured by Love Romance Passion to not only start the tour here (November 24) but also to end it here. I started here when Mia’s Return was released and I end the book tour here as more or less as Sera’s Gift has been released (December 9). I thank them for the double dates and hosting me. Having a loud erotic urban fantasy author on the premises can’t be easy!

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Mia’s Return

Ten years ago, Alexander hungered for Mia Menendez and for a single day they had indulged that passion before tragedy struck. Now Mia is back, but she thinks Alexander died ten years ago and no man has been able to stir her heart since. The truth could kill her.

Wyatt Whitacker, demon hunter, hates Alexander and all his kind. But one look at Mia and her pulse-stopping curves and his scarred, angry heart begins to melt and his body to rouse in ways he’s long forgotten.

The bonding has begun…

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Excerpt

Mia found the Starbucks he’d directed her to without trouble. By the time she reached it, the snow was falling heavily, making everything muffled except the traffic, which was a constant even in the snow. Even though it was barely six the night was dense, still and silent.

He was sitting in a big wingback chair and she was unable to believe he’d actually kept his word. After she’d hung up she’d realized that he could have agreed to meet just to get her off the phone and she’d fallen for it because she was so green at this sort of thing.

But he was here and she didn’t know whether to kiss him, or crawl into his lap. So she sat in the other chair and put her hands on the table to still their trembling. “You don’t have to tell me what happened,” she said. “But I do want to say I’m so glad that what I thought happened ten years ago, didn’t.”

There were too many people too close to them for her to speak of it more plainly.

Alexander tilted his head to one side. “So am I.” He gave an awkward smile.

She stared at him, at his wonderful blue eyes. “God, you look so good,” she said wonderingly. She reached out to touch his face and his hand covered hers as she cupped it. Warmth, heat…and he was trembling too. She pushed her hand so that her palm brushed over his lips, inviting a kiss. His lips seared her palm and his hand stilled her wrist, keeping her hand steady so that his tongue could swirl over her palm. His eyes speared into her as he did it.

She gasped, her nerve endings sizzling to life, her clit pounding with energy. “Oh my god,” she whispered. “No one but you has ever been able to do that to me.”

Alexander lowered her hand and began to stroke the inner wrist. Little delicate strokes that made her toes tingle and curl and her pussy grow moist. “No one?” he said, with a smile.

“No one,” she said flatly. “Alex, can we go somewhere? Your place? Even just for a while?”

He reached over and drew her bangs out of her eyes. “In ten years, you’ve had a string of miserable lovers who’ve all failed to take care of you?”

“Alexander.”

He sat back and she could see that he had given up trying to avoid her question. He looked at her directly. “I can’t take you back to my apartment,” he said simply.

“A hotel then,” she said. “Mine.”

He looked out the window at the falling snow.

“What is it I’m missing?”

“What is it you’re not telling me?” He looked at her.

She could feel her cheeks heating. “Specifics then. I’ve had two lovers since you, Alexander. Both of them total disasters. No man so much as raises my pulse. Except you.”

She could see his breath shorten beneath the overcoat as he stared at her. “Christ,” he whispered, looking stricken.

“Is it too much to ask for a night, Alexander?” she added gently.

“There are things you don’t know about me,” he said.

She almost laughed. “Worse than before?” What she had not known in San Diego had got him a bullet in the head…or almost had. What could possibly be worse?

“These things could kill you,” he said softly. “I’d rather you live.”

He was trying to tell he wouldn’t give her the night she so desperately craved. Disappointment flared in her like a thousand fire ant bites. Suddenly she needed to move, to be away from all these people that were lapping up her rejection like the day’s soap opera installment.

“Can we at least walk?” she said, trying to blink away her tears.

“It’s safer here. Among people,” he said cryptically.

There was to be no relief, no softening of the rejection. She averted her head and staggered from her chair, out of the store and into the muffling quiet of the snow, letting it enfold her. Across the road was the park. Dark, quiet and lonely. Away from everyone who had witnessed her humiliation.

She ran.

* * * * *

Alexander ran after her, dismayed at her reaction and alarmed at her direction. There were plenty of human predators in Central Park as well as vampeen drawn to his vampire traces.

She was just ahead of him and Central Park had lights along the paths. He caught up with her quickly and grabbed her arm. She was crying silently.

He pulled her to one side, onto the snow-covered grass, their boots kicking up the thin layer. He wiped her tears. “Don’t,” he said softly.

“What else should I do? I’m out of options.” Her voice was thick with more tears.

He remembered when her voice was husky with lust rather than tears and his body tightened, strumming with that remembered moment. Why was he refusing her now? He could go back to her hotel room, fuck her until she was spent, that was all she asked for. There would be no complications. What was stopping him?

Because he knew he wouldn’t have the strength to let her go in the morning. Diego could do it. But he had been doing it for centuries and had a powerful motive to keep him moving from one woman to another, over and over again.

Alexander knew he could not.

He realized he was staring into Mia’s eyes and she was holding her breath, waiting for him. He was holding her to him and she had felt his tension, felt his ramrod stiff cock against her. She knew as well as he did that everything he’d said in the coffee shop was a pretext and that this moment was the real one.

He kissed her and it was like kissing honey and peaches. He swept his tongue into her mouth, tasting her sweetness, while his hands slid inside her coat, under her clothes and found her flesh. She was guiding him, as frantic as he and he groaned as his hand found the swell of her breasts, bereft of a confining bra.

She cried softly, arching hard against him, her pelvis grinding into him. His cock was throbbing now, his balls aching with growing tension.

“More,” Mia whispered. Her hand was on his wrist, guiding it under her skirt. He found the stop of her stockings—stockings! His heart fluttered—and smooth thighs, then lace panties, moist with her juices. It gave him an erotic charge to realize she was aroused enough to soak through her panties. He slid his fingers under the edges of them and found the heated lips of her pussy and pushed inside. She clenched around him, as she gasped, her hands clawing at his shoulders.

“Harder,” she whispered.

“You know, I can smell your woman’s scent from here,” came a drawled comment from behind him.

Alexander felt his animal instincts go into overdrive. He disengaged from Mia and whirled, reaching for the Glock. He pushed Mia behind him, his incisors trying to descend. He fought to tamp down his instincts and ride them out until he had the measure of the situation.

A man in jeans and denim jacket stood ten paces away from them. Sandy hair, wrinkled skin. Impossible to tell his age. Maybe mid-forties with hard living. Maybe early sixties. Rail thin. His clothes hung off his frame.

Alexander had been so caught up in Mia’s body that he’d failed to notice the man’s approach. “Move on,” he told him. “The gun is loaded and I’m not afraid to use it.”

The man laughed. “That so?” He moved closer, reaching into his jacket and withdrew a long, strangely curved knife. “I don’t need to load this and I’m not afraid to use it, neither.”

Then Alexander caught sight of the man’s eyes in the lamplight and became afraid. They were all black. No irises, no whites. Nothing but black. Evil eyes.

The man sprang with a sideways leap that looked animalistic. Alexander shot him three times, directly in the chest. It dropped him to the ground and if he had been human it should have killed him instantly. But the creature simply stood up and shook it off.

“Oh my god, Alex…” Mia whispered.

Alexander handed her the Glock. “Just keep shooting at it,” he said. “There’s twelve more bullets in the gun and they slow it down at least.”

“What about you?” she said.

He triggered the armguard and gripped the knife as it jumped into his hand. Mia’s eyes got very large. He was going to have to explain things later. Or invent things.

The creature came at him and he shoved Mia behind him again and swiped. He nearly decapitated the creature and it barely slowed it down.

Running footsteps from his right. Alexander didn’t bother looking. Friend or foe, he couldn’t afford to look. But the creature did and howled in frustration.

“Yeah, you fucking prick. Your time is up.”

The creature turned to face the newcomer and threw his hands up across his face. Alexander looked just in time to see the other man bring a shotgun to his shoulder and fire.

The shot was muffled, not explosive but the creature fell to the ground, writhing and kicking. The man fell on top of it and buried a black knife in its chest. With a black cloud of smoke, the creature disappeared, leaving oily plumes of black fumes tracing an outline of where it had lain.

The man stood up, dropped the black knife back into his coat and brushed off his hands. He was about five foot eleven, which put him only an inch shorter than Alexander but he seemed shorter because of the width of his shoulders. He was very thick across the chest and shoulders and the heavy winter-lined denim coat just exaggerated them. His black hair was once short and tidy but hadn’t been trimmed for a while. In the dim glow from the park lights it glinted blue-black. He looked at Alexander with angry black eyes that reminded him of Diego. “You’re a fucking vampire,” he said in disgust.

Mia, Alexander thought and winced.

“Only reason I don’t cut your heart out on the spot is because we’re not supposed to these days. Can’t believe you’re the good guys now. Fuck.” He picked up the shotgun. “Can’t you tell a demon when it’s coming at you, for chrissake?”

“That was a demon?” Alexander was stunned. “What did it want with Mia?”

“How the fuck would I know? It’s been in the Jersey area for three days, then suddenly veered toward New York yesterday like it had a noose around its neck. What is she? Something special?”

“You’re a hunter,” Alexander concluded.

“No shit,” the man said.

“Oh, I think I’m going to be sick,” Mia muttered.

Alexander whirled. Mia was bent over, her hands on her knees.

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Sera’s Gift by Teal Ceagh

Letting go is sometimes the only gift love has left to give.

Release date:  December 9, 2009

ISBN 9781419925511
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Sera arrives in New York to help Lindál, but a vampeen attack brings her face to face with two men and changes her life forever.

Diego Savage lives up to his name.  Cynical, rebellious and a womanizer, he doesn’t believe in the trinities at all. Only a handful of people know the truth about his scarred heart and terrible past, and it would take a miracle for him to change.  A miracle, or someone like Sera with her special gift.

Blake Harvey, dedicated NYC police lieutenant, takes one look at the tall, supple woman with the crystal blue eyes and glowing skin and knows his life is about to change in ways he can’t even define, but his body is already responding to with a power that is hard to deny.

The bonding has begun…

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Excerpt.

“Lieutenant!”

Blake jumped and realized he’d fallen asleep in his chair, the same moment he realized it was morning already. He glanced around at his office door. Anna Maria had her head around the door, looking at him. “You clocking off?” he said, glancing at his watch. Six a.m. Her night shift was over.

“You okay, boss?” she asked.

“Long night,” he said, trying to make it sound like he did this all the time. He stood up, stretching carefully, feeling the bones in his neck.

“’Kay. Night, boss.” She let the door shut itself.

He looked out the window. Daylight was trying to break through thunderclouds outside his windows. A soggy, fetid, miserable August day that matched his mood. He glanced at the three in-trays on his desk, all of them overloaded. They stood next to his computer, which was another two hundred and sixty gigabytes of hell screaming at him for attention.

What was happening in his city? Twelve years in the department and he no longer thought he understood New York and its denizens. He’d spent all night doing basic regression analysis. And the numbers frightened him. If things went on this way, New York would turn into an uncivilized all-out crime zone in about six weeks. The police department was slowly losing ground. It just didn’t have the numbers to cope. Rape and murder were the top two favorites, with decapitations being numero uno on the hit parade. But number three on the New York Times Best Seller List right now was Missing Persons. People were vanishing without trace in numbers higher than six hundred percent more than any time in the last three centuries…and that included two world wars, famines and plagues.

And the police couldn’t do a damn thing about it, except record particulars and wait. They were overtaxed by the murders and rapes already. A missing person was a lesser concern.

Blake pushed his hand through his hair. God, what a fucking nightmare.

The other lieutenants in the other departments across the boroughs made light of it. They were mostly older and had seen tough times before and while they all heard the same unsettling rumors about the cults, the gangs, the animalistic behavior, they were in denial. They didn’t want to look at the big picture.

The figures Blake had projected last night didn’t lie, though. Something was going on. But right now he couldn’t see what it was. Despite all the information flowing into his desk, it eluded him. Sometimes, like now when his energy was low, it felt like there was someone else out there manipulating the information that reached him, so that he couldn’t see the truth. Not all of it, anyway.

He bumped his forehead against the window and felt the chill spread across his flesh. It reminded him of how hot and tired he was. He’d been in these clothes for over twenty-four hours. He needed a break. So did his mind. He was slipping into paranoid delusions.

He picked up his jacket and logged off the computer. A few hours sleep, a shower and food, then he’d head back here. Things would look different, then. Maybe.

He clocked out and walked home to his apartment, feeling at odds with the day. Manhattan was just firing up for a busy day of commerce, while he was going home to sleep. He glanced up at the skyscrapers as he passed them. It all looked so innocent and normal.

Who’d’ve thought there was such a time bomb ticking away in her guts?

* * * * *

When Mia came bustling into the boardroom, Alexander felt his heart jump. Even after a year, she still managed to make him pause to catch his breath when she arrived after a small absence. She was here in his life. And she was never going away again.

He kept reminding himself to be thankful to whatever entity or force designed the trinities and chose him to be part of them. Him, Mia and Wyatt. How had he got so lucky? He was careful never to question that good fortune, but to grasp it with both hands and to work his ass off in service of the trinities and Seaveth, in gratitude.

Mia came up to him with the small smile she kept for him and Wyatt alone. “You’re brooding,” she said.

“Guilty.”

“I’ll shake you about it later,” she said. “Right now, we need to head to the keep for the assembly. The car is waiting.” She looked at the huge watch on her wrist. “And Wyatt still hasn’t shown up. Did he call you at all?”

“No call. No text. But he knows he has to be here. He’ll show, Mia. In a year, has he never not shown up for an assembly?”

“There’s always a first time,” she said darkly, thumbing through her Palm Pilot. She had become the staffing agency’s chief executive officer and completely indispensable, running both the private and public personas of the agency like clockwork and liaising with the Earthwing clan’s seniors and Seaveth’s portfolio with seamless efficiency.

Wyatt had returned to hunting but even there, Mia had left her mark, organizing and commercializing his ventures and bringing recruits to his doorstep. Now Wyatt’s hunting was an organized trade, with tools, equipment, partners and income. Wyatt had been stunned that demon hunting could raise revenue in a human world but Mia had shown him how to bring in profit for himself and make it attractive to other demon hunter and vampire investors and just like that, Wyatt had found himself an entrepreneur.

Mia glanced at her watch again. “Time to go. I’ve texted Wyatt and told him to go straight to the keep.” She chewed her lip. “I hope he’s okay.”

Alexander took her face in his hands. “He’ll be fine,” he said softly. “Stop it, Mia.” He kissed her to stop her fretting and slipped his tongue against her lips. He drew back when he tasted blood. “You just fed?”

She blushed. “Sorry, yes. I should have warned you.” This was one of the changes he’d had the hardest time accepting. As a result of the bonding, from time to time, Mia had to feed on blood, like a vampire. She ate normal food and excreted it like a human but every few months or so, like a vampire, she hungered for blood. Alexander had been devastated by the knowledge. Instead, Zachariah and the other vampires had taught Mia how to ingest the artificial blood developed by the clan.

At least she had no incisors. He was spared that.

Alexander hugged her, instead and let her go. “We were running late, I believe?” he reminded her.

“Damn, yes.” She straightened her business skirt back into place and threw him a dirty look. “I wish you would stop kissing me at work. You know I hate that.”

“While I can make you look like a cat on catnip, I’ll keep kissing you whenever you’re within reach,” Alexander growled softly as they hurried through the office to the elevator bank. The armored stretch limousine would be waiting for them in the lower basement. Max, the driver and one of the Earthwing clan, would have the engine running and his bolo tucked between the seat and the door, watching the street ramp. “Zack and Diego aren’t coming with us?” Alexander asked as they passed the other two partner offices without pausing.

Mia shook her head. “Zack is…he wanted to be with Seaveth today. Diego just didn’t show up this morning.” She frowned. Diego’s dedication to playing the role of a normal human was flaky, at best, despite the combined pressure Alexander and Zack tried to exert upon him. Diego had spent centuries unfettered. He was taking a longer time adjusting to Seaveth’s demands for assimilation than most. But they both knew he would be at the full assembly. Even he would not dare risk Seaveth’s wrath by missing that.

“He’ll come around,” Alexander assured her. “Diego is just…” He tried to find the right world.

“Savage,” Mia said succinctly. “I’ve heard the gossip. There’s a reason for his last name.”

“There is,” Alexander said flatly. “But whatever you’ve heard, it’s wrong.”

She glanced up at him, a furrow between her brows but she couldn’t ask him a more direct question for they had reached the foyer and were surrounded by strangers for the ride down to the basement.

In the elevator car, Alexander was swamped by memories of the day Mia had reappeared in his life, here in New York. She swiveled her head to look up at him and smiled and he knew she was thinking the same thing. She pressed closer to him in the crowded car.

She was getting many admiring glances from others in the car, who skimmed her high heels, smart skirt and jacket, silk shirt and shoulder-blade-length hair she refused to either cut or wear up in a bun despite the weather and the hourglass figure that the suit did nothing to hide.

She’s with me, Alexander thought. At last. And he curled his hand around her hip.

The car was empty by the time they reached the last basement and they looked out cautiously. The limousine was waiting as promised. Mia swapped her briefcase over to her left hand and they stepped out, heading for the limousine.

There was a rattle of metal to their right and Alexander turned, his animal instincts flaring. Max was already leaping from the driver’s seat, his bolo in his hand.

But Mia was faster. She had the gun pulled from the holster at the small of her back and out, ready to fire, before Alexander had completed his turn.

Her reactions were faster than his.

She dropped her briefcase and threw her arm out across Alexander’s path to prevent him from moving forward. “Stop. It’s Wyatt,” she said, putting the small caliber gun away again. She ran forward into the shadowy basement and was enfolded by the dark figure there. Alexander could not make out the details but she had been able to. This had been another of her changes. Not only were her reaction times faster than his, she could see and hear better than a vampire.

And Wyatt was stronger than one. She was leading him forward now but he did not look like the strong hunter who had gone off the day before to Quebec to hunt a gargoyle. He was hunched over, an arm to his stomach. Alexander felt his heart seize. He hurried forward.

“What happened?” He and Mia between them bundled Wyatt into the limousine. “The keep, Max.”

“Aye.” Max climbed in and got the long vehicle rolling with minimum fuss, pulling out into the traffic without delay.

Alexander was grateful for the smoked windows and air-conditioning. He and Mia stretched Wyatt on the seat. “What happened?” he repeated again as he tried to pull aside Wyatt’s shirt to see his stomach.

“Demon was working with the gargoyle. The damn things are ganging up together these days.” Wyatt rolled his head back.

“Why aren’t you healing?” Mia cried.

Alexander winced and leaned over to the back of the driver’s seat. “Sorry, family business, Max.” And he hit the button for the privacy screen, which slid up behind the driver’s seat, a blacked-out window of total privacy between them and Max. It was soundproof and bulletproof.

Alexander turned back to Wyatt and looked at the long crimson gashes on Wyatt’s stomach.

“You’re supposed to have vampire healing powers now,” Mia said, tears rolling down her face.

“He does,” Alexander said quietly, studying the wounds. “These were much worse, twelve hours ago.”

Wyatt swallowed and nodded. “A mate drove me down from Ontario through the night. I had trouble convincing him not to take me to hospital in Toronto but when I didn’t die on him right away and was still talking when we hit the New York border he was starting to put it together. He was happy to get rid of me, I think. I scared the crap out of him. And he hunts demons.” He tried to laugh and it turned into a series of coughs that looked painful. He finally took a deep breath and opened his eyes. “God it’s good to see you both.”

Mia threw herself on his chest and Alexander kissed his forehead. Wyatt held Mia to him and eyed Alexander. “I’m guessing the war ain’t over, if the ass-kicking I just took is any measure. No sign of the infamous third trinity?”

He shook his head.

“Fuck.” Wyatt sighed. “The elves are going to eat Seaveth for dinner at the assembly.”

For more information about Sera’s Gift, click here.

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10 Reasons to Love Georgette Heyer

georgette heyer

This post is a counter post to 10 Reasons Why I Can’t Read Georgette Heyer by Zarabeth. I was surprised but not upset with Zarabeth’s reaction to Georgette Heyer’s writing style. It does take a little getting used to and in my opinion the hardest Heyer to read is your first. This will probably not be the case if you read a lot of historical fiction. Trust me, the pages will soon begin to fly as you read Heyer. Here are some reasons to love her:

  1. Georgette Heyer novels have characters that steal into your heart and mind.
  2. Georgette Heyer novels are stories that are worth rereading over and over.
  3. Georgette Heyer writes farces that make you laugh out loud and shake your head in gentle amusement.
  4. Everyone seems to have a favorite or two Georgette Heyers they grew up with.
  5. Where else can you encounter thief cant and learn words like snabble and snaffle?
  6. Georgette Heyer provides it all from spinsters to female gamblers, from dandy heroes to brooding alphas, and from enemies to best friends. She has a whole gamut to choose from.
  7. Jane Austen fix. Need I say more?
  8. Fairly unusual character names like Lizzie Winwood, Marquis of Alverstoke, Vidal, etc.
  9. Reading Heyer with those glorious new tradeback covers from Sourcebooks is an experience not to be missed. Aren’t they just gorgeous? Strokes glossy cover… yum. Which are your favorites?
  10. All of Heyer’s novels are filled with sweetness and chastity. Like a fairytale all HEA are sealed with a kiss!

Now if you have read a Heyer and both Zarabeth’s and mine arguments about Georgette Heyer – where do you fall?

How do you feel about Georgett Heyer romances?

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Photo Credits: http://weheartit.com/

Get Into Bed With Sabrina Jeffries (Author Interview)

authorinterview

Boy, do I have a treat for LRP readers! I recently was able to interview Sabrina Jeffries after the RWA Conference. Amidst her busy schedule she was more than kind enough to sit down and respond in depth on the topics broached. Get a cup of tea or coffee sit back and kick up your heels as you read this author interview.

LRP: How did you find yourself writing romance? How did you become an author?

Sabrina: From age 9 on, believe it or not, I read romances, but I only wrote poetry and short stories until grad school. In college I decided I wanted to be a writer, but I thought the best route to that was to go to grad school in English, become a professor so I could have a paying job, and then try to publish stories and poetry. Somehow the academic work took over. Then while I was a visiting assistant professor of English at Tulane University, I sat down to develop a publishable academic work based on my dissertation about James Joyce and found it so boring that I started writing a novel instead. After a while, I realized I was writing a romance novel. It didn’t sell, but the next one did and I’ve been writing ever since. Ironically enough, when I was twelve I told myself that when I grew up, I would write down my romantic fantasies and sell them to people. I guess I knew my destiny deep inside. It just took me a little while to figure it out as an adult!

LRP: What is your favorite type of romance to read? Is it the same as what you write?

Sabrina: For the most part, I do prefer historical romance to any other kind of book, romance or otherwise, and yes, I like sex in the books a lot! I read other things, too, though. I’m not that fond of Westerns or medievals, and I do prefer British or foreign settings, but otherwise I’m not that picky. I also read a little nonfiction, the occasional mystery or science fiction novel, and a lot of suspense, though I don’t get nearly as much time to read as I’d like.

LRP: How do you decide character names?

Sabrina: I have a book (now OOP) called The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names. I thumb through that until I find one that appeals to me that is also period-correct.

LRP: What are some challenges in writing romance? Any particular genre of romance more difficult to pull off?

Sabrina: Finding new and different ways to explore relationships is always challenging, too. As for difficult genres, I actually find historicals harder to write, because of having to remember all the period constraints. The other day I caught myself before I could write, “She blindsided him.” Since that started in reference to football in the 60’s, it’s definitely not Regency. J

LRP: What kind of research do you do, if any?

Sabrina: I still have to do research related to everyday life in the period, depending on what will be covered in my book. I research the main events of the year of my setting. I pore over maps of the area and try to find out information about the flora and fauna. I also regularly use a Regency thesaurus. For book-specific stuff, I tap my hundred or so research books and my library of clippings from various sources, as well as Google Books, which is a fabulous resource, because you can find books contemporary to the period. I do most of my research WHILE I’m writing the book. I wait until I need to know something to research it, since I never know when I’m going to need to know something.

LRP: Is there anything you wish you’ve seen in a romance novel — and are you writing it for us?

Sabrina: I can honestly say that I never feel a lack in any of the books I read. If I did, I’d write it. I’m just always pleased when I can be surprised by a book. But do I ever say, “Wow, I wish someone would write about Regency female doctors”? No, not really.

LRP: What advice do you have for others who are interested in writing?

Sabrina: Perseverance is the key. You must keep writing, keep putting your work out there, and keep learning before AND after you get published. Never think you’ve come too far to learn. Even after having written 29 novels, I’m still learning about writing.

LRP: Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you handle it? What do you find difficult, if anything, about writing? And what do you like the best?

Sabrina: I don’t really get writer’s block. I do, however, get stuck on a particular scene or plot or character. When that happens, I try to take some time to relax and just let my thoughts meander. I read another author’s book or watch a movie to get the gearshift unstuck, so to speak. I’m also quite fond of hot showers, long walks, and jigsaw puzzles as ways to lull my conscious mind into letting my subconscious come up with answers I need. And if I’m REALLY desperate, I call my critique partners and bounce ideas off of them until I find a solution.

What I find most difficult about writing is trying to make it interesting time after time. Also, it’s hard to follow your own vision without imposing it on the characters. They become their own people in the course of the novel (if you’re any good, that is), and you have to respect that without letting them take over the book. You have to strike a balance, and that isn’t easy.

LRP: Was it difficult to get published? How did you find your agent? What’s the strategy behind the use of plural author names?

Sabrina: Yes, but not as hard as it is these days. In one respect I got lucky—I happened to join an RWA chapter that had as a member an agent just starting out in her career. That was especially lucky since all the agents I’d queried weren’t interested. I’m still with Pam Ahearn of The Ahearn Agency after nearly 20 years.

But even after landing an agent, I had 10 rejections on the first book she represented (the second book I’d written) before Leisure bought it. Over the years, I’ve received a number of rejections for a number of my books. Pirate Lord was rejected by five publishers, and that was after I’d already had 11 books published as Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas! I sold the 12th book I wrote, and then my publisher at the time gave it back to me—it’s still unpublished, mostly because it needs work and I don’t have time for it.

About the pseudonym thing, I wrote as Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas because my respective publishers didn’t want my growing career at one publishing house to be affected adversely by my numbers at the other house, and since I was an unknown author at the time, they weren’t taking any chances, so they insisted on my having two different pseudonyms. Then when I decided to write a completely different kind of historical, my new publisher wanted me to take a new name to reflect the new style and voice. By that point, I was an experienced writer, and I realized that I’d be better off choosing something catchy rather than something close to my real name.

Incidentally, that would be my advice to any new genre author—if you have a catchy real name, use it. If you don’t, choose something interesting and unique as a pseudonym because your name is part of the marketing package. And unfortunately, marketing is everything in today’s publishing world. Taking a pseudonym the third time around was the best thing that ever happened to me—but I did lose most of my old readers because they couldn’t find me. Sometimes, however, booksellers are more eager to take a chance on a debut author than an established one with lackluster sales, so you have to weigh whether to take a pseudonym in terms of marketing.

LRP: Do you work on deadlines now? How long does it usually take you to write a book? Have you written a book that seemed to write itself or a book that you had to drag out kicking and screaming?

Sabrina: Yes, I still work on deadlines. The shortest time I’ve ever written a book in is 4 and a half months (Night Vision). The longest is about 9 months, but I always aim for 6. Right now, I’m writing the book that is seeming to write itself, but I think that it’s because I know Charlotte and Cousin Michael so well that they’re just writing the book for me. To Pleasure a Prince was also easier to write, as was Beware a Scot’s Revenge, but NONE of them are easy. The hardest one was probably Let Sleeping Rogues Lie. I had a lot of issues to deal with and juggling them all was difficult.

LRP: What about bedroom scenes? What makes a good one?

Sabrina: Good ones are those that are so inextricably entwined with the story and the characters that they compel the reader to read them. It’s the people and their concerns that make love scenes interesting. Plus, I tap into every fantasy I’ve ever had. Fortunately, I’ve always had an active fantasy life where sex is concerned, and I haven’t even come NEAR to touching on all my fantasies.

Although honestly, I could spend hours on this subject. I do a whole workshop on it.

LRP: How do you define love?

Sabrina: Geez, you don’t ask the easy questions, do you? I couldn’t begin to define love. I just know what it is when I feel it. Plus, there are so many different kinds, aren’t there?

LRP: What do you hope your readers will gain from your books?

Sabrina: Joy and a release from the everyday troubles of life. I write to entertain, and if I succeed at that, then I feel I’ve done my job.

LRP: What do you do to relax and get away from writing? Is there something that really gets you away from it all?

Sabrina: I enjoy making jewelry, gourmet cooking, and reading (of course), but I also like to watch movies and listen to CDs a lot. I’m addicted to spider solitaire, so I have to watch how much I play it. And nothing relaxes me more than a good jigsaw puzzle, believe it or not. My idea of heaven is being able to do nothing but puzzles for a couple of days.

LRP: Could you provide a picture of your workspace? We’d love to see how and where you write!

Sabrina: This one is where I do the actual writing (it also doubles as a guest bedroom). I don’t have a nice bright window like this anywhere else upstairs, and I prefer to look out a window while I write, so this was the only option:

Sabrina Jeffries Office Part 1

BUT, my official office is what the former owners used as a bonus room (across the hall from this room). Since my dh has knee trouble, he doesn’t climb the stairs, so we can’t use that room as a bonus room, which is why I took it for my office. It’s FABULOUS. It’s just too dark for me to stand to write in. But I’m doing this at it right now. I do all my business stuff in it, plus some reading. I took 3 pics of IT.

The first pic is of the part of the room (there when we bought it) that has a “stage.” Apparently, the former owners had 3 teens who played in a band. My desk now sits on the stage in front of the built-in bookshelves.

Sabrina Jeffries Office Part 2

Here’s the rest of the office, the part not on the “stage.” I know, most people would kill for an office this big. I love it. Just can’t write my books in it. *G*

Sabrina Jeffries Office Part 3

And…

Sabrina Jeffries Office Part 4

LRP: Oh! How wonderful! Thanks for sharing your space with us. What are your hopes for the future?

Sabrina: I just hope to be able to keep writing books for years to come!

LRP: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? When can we expect your next book?

Sabrina: A reissue of my first Sabrina Jeffries book, The Pirate Lord, will be released August 26, 2008. Then, on October 28, 2008, comes Snowy Night with a Stranger, a Christmas-themed anthology with stories by Jane Feather, Julia London, and me. The heroine of my story is Elinor Bancroft from Let Sleeping Rogues Lie. Then, in July 2009, will come the fifth novel of the series, about Lucy Seton from Let Sleeping Rogues Lie. It will be followed by Charlotte and Cousin Michael’s romance in August 2009. No titles for these yet, but all will be revealed in that final book, so keep an eye out for both books in the summer of 2009!

LRP: Thanks so much for answering all these questions Sabrina! Good luck and many happy sales!

Got a burning question to ask Sabrina? Leave a comment!

Want to discuss this interview with others? Check out LRP’s shiny new forum!

Visit Sabrina’s blog and website for more information about Sabrina and her work!

See you here again on Monday! Have a great weekend!

Get into Bed with Jill Mansell (Author Interview)

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Keira: How did the ideas for An Offer You Can’t Refuse and Miranda’s Big Mistake come to you?

Jill: With Offer, I was very keen to write about a sparky bookshop manageress who loves books, and my readers seem to have appreciated this – mainly because they’re readers too! With Miranda, I wanted to set the story in a hair salon as I think they’re amazing places for eavesdropping, gossiping and fun. I don’t enjoy having my hair done, but I still love going because I know I’ll come away with enough ideas to fill ten books!

Keira: Do character names come easily for you or is there a trial and error process?

Jill: Good question. I use my books of babies’ names to find them, and sometimes they work straight away, but occasionally they don’t work out and need to be changed. A lot easier to do now, with word processors, than in the old days when you had to sit down with your 600 typed pages and a bucket of Tippex…

Keira: Do you prefer a heroine, hero, or couple over the other and why?

Jill: Sorry, I don’t understand this question. Is this an American term? I like all my main characters!

Keira: What do you think is the hardest thing for anyone to do in a relationship?

Jill: Ooh, another great question! Personally speaking, my other half is tidy and I’m not, so I have to try very hard to clean up after myself. And he has to try very hard not to mind when I fail! I suppose, in a nutshell, we’re talking about compromise.

jillphotonewcolor2

Keira: For you, what is the appeal of contemporary romance?

Jill: It’s easy entertainment and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. We like to relax and escape from the pressures of life. I write feel-good fiction and people tell me I’ve cheered them up. For me, that’s just perfect.

Keira:Is there anything you struggle with when writing? How to do you overcome that?

Jill: At the moment I’m struggling because my heroine has taken a job working in an office. The problem is, I’ve never worked in an office so I haven’t a clue what she’s supposed to be doing all day. If it was something more specific I could look it up on Google, but I’m just having to guess! (My agent had to break it to me that secretaries don’t take shorthand any more…)

Keira: If you could be one of your characters – either book – who would you be?

Jill: Either of them, but Miranda is probably the nicer person, so I’ll go with her. And she gets to see a great tennis match on the Centre Court at Wimbledon , which would make my year!

Keira: Fill in the blank: If you’re not writing you are ______

Jill: …Feeling very naughty and guilty, as if I’ve taken a day off work when I’m not even sick. Even when I’m doing other things, I’m probably still thinking about the characters and the plot at the back of my mind. (That ‘ s my excuse, anyway.) Yesterday was such a beautiful sunny day that my daughter and I went to Bath for lunch at Jamie Oliver ‘ s restaurant. We sat on the terrace, ate wonderful food and had the best time. Then we went shopping afterwards. Today I ‘ m working extra-hard to make up for it!

Keira: What inspired you to put pen to paper as it were and write in the first place?

Jill: This sounds terrible, but I really started because I wanted to become rich! I had no money at all and saw a magazine piece about successful romance writers whose lives had been transformed. I sat down and wrote a book. And now I’ve written twenty in total. It’s been wonderful and it has completely changed my life.

Keira: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Jill: I’d just like to say thanks, Keira, for asking to interview me. I’m so thrilled to be published in the States and everyone’s being so kind about my books. The feedback has been fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better response. You’re all stars!

You can visit Jill at her website and follow what she’s up to by checking out her diary. In the meanwhile, you can Buy: An Offer You Can’t Refuse or Purchase: Miranda’s Big Mistake.

Get Into Bed With Lynsay Sands (Author Interview)

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I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend off than with an author interview with romance writer Lynsay Sands. I got the opportunity to pose a series of questions about her writing and tips and advice for new writers. Her responses are a joy to read! Thank you again, Lynsay for interviewing with us, and now on with the interview!

LRP: So first question, what do you enjoy doing besides writing?

Lynsay: Walking and nature. Luckily the two things go together.

LRP: You like to write paranormal romance on top of historical. What do you think is the appeal of vampires?

Lynsay: Actually, I just like to write, period. I don’t prefer any genre. I have written medieval, regency, vampires and shape shifters. I’ve also written contemps and will do so again. I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at horror too, although I don’t think I write dark enough. My horror would probably be black comedy rather than strict horror.

As for the appeal of vampires, I can’t really answer that, that’s not what it’s about for me. With the Argeneaus it was the family and the situations that appealed to me. The vampire stuff was just handy as a problem of sorts, something that was both a blessing and a little bit of not-so-much-a-blessing at the same time. These are people who just happen to be vampires. They still have the same issues everyone else does.

LRP: How do you decide on character names and book titles?

Lynsay: That is the hardest and most important part for me. The names usually have a lot to do with their character for me and when I say I struggle at the beginning of writing a book, the name is part of what I’m struggling with. I can change the name several times until I find the character and the name that suits them.

As for book titles . . . I suck at those and my editor is always changing them. The Accidental Vampire is one of the few they didn’t change.

LRP: What is your advice to would-be authors?

Lynsay: Write what you enjoy and do it for your own pleasure. Do not go into writing for the money, or even thinking you’ll make any. Most writers don’t make much money. I’ve been lucky of late and can work at only this, but most writers have to continue to work a day job throughout their career. And this is HARD work. Believe me. At least it is for me. I work long hours. It isn’t just the writing you have to do. You come into it thinking it will just be writing your stories, but there is the writing of the book, the corrections, the proofs, the fan letters, the promotional stuff they want you to do, etc. etc.

And then it isn’t like accounting or engineering where if you get it right, it’s just right across the board. Writing is more subjective and a story is NEVER just right. You can’t please everyone and there is ALWAYS going to be someone who hates your story and seems to delight in telling you that. Even those who like them overall, may criticize the pants off you for something. That is life as a writer. You either develop a thick skin quickly, or . . . So make sure you love it if you’re going to give it a go.

LRP: How long does it take you to write a novel on average? What work took the shortest amount of time and what book gave you the most trouble?

Lynsay: Usually a month for the first round, I tend to write them straight through. The fastest I’ve ever written one was two weeks. That was my first book, The Deed. The one that gave me the most trouble was A Quick Bite. It was my first book for a new publisher and I was a bit anxious (read panicking like CRAZY) so I really struggled with it.

LRP: How do you handle writer’s block? (Or better still… coffee or tea?)

Lynsay: Tea . . . and sometimes coffee. As for writer’s block, moving work to a coffee shop and writing there by hand in a notebook usually loosens things up.

LRP: What is your favorite aspect of writing?

Lynsay: Finishing it. LOL. That’s not really true, though sometimes it is a relief to print them up and send them out. There are several aspects of writing that are great. Working from home is one. My commute is a short walk to the sunroom and I can go there in pjs or a toga if I like (grin).

Making my own hours is nice too, although with me, I tend to not know when to stop, I just work around the clock which isn’t good. But I guess the stories themselves are my real favorite part. I am experiencing them as I write them. It’s kind of like reading them but it takes longer and involves more work (grin). However, I laugh, or smile my way through the stories, and sniffle at the occasional touching scenes too and for me, that’s probably the best part. I get to enjoy the stories as I write them, and I write exactly what I enjoy. I’m just lucky others seem to enjoy them too.

LRP: What do you think makes a good bedroom scene?

Lynsay: I’m not sure. I’ve been told I write them well, but I’m not sure that’s true and if so why it is. I have a friend who has a real struggle with the sex scenes. I think she thinks too much. She seems to think people will think it’s her sex life she’s writing about, so she gets all self-conscious and is very stiff when writing them. I don’t get caught up in that. For me the beginning of the book is where I struggle. I can often write the first chapter or two twenty or more times. I’ve come to realize that what’s happening then is I’m getting to know my characters. Once I have a handle on them (how they think, feel, react, etc) the stories usually flow after that and become a film in my head that I’m just typing up as quickly as I can, sex scenes and all. That gives me a certain amount of distance from it all I guess and less self-consciousness than others might suffer.

LRP: What do you hope your readers will gain from your books?

Lynsay: I hope they get an escape from their everyday lives, a chance to relax and hopefully smile if not laugh. I don’t aspire to write something that makes them stop and think or changes their views on anything, I just think life is tough and we all need a break from it and I hope my books give readers the opportunity to do that

LRP: Thank you again Lynsay, for taking the time to answer all my questions.

:)

Lynsay is really friendly and welcomes questions. Be sure to visit her website @ http://www.lynsaysands.net/.

Lynsay also writes a blog, which you can visit @ http://lynsaysands.spaces.live.com/.

Don’t miss out on her upcoming vampire novel this fall: The Rogue Hunter (Argeneau Vampires, Book 10).

What’s your favorite book by Lynsay Sands?

Get Into Bed With Jamaica Layne (Author Interview)

authorinterview

LRP: I just read Market For Love and I was impressed by your details of the work atmosphere. Granted I have no background in finance America, you could have said anything and I would probably buy it, but that’s not the point. What you did write was entirely believable for me as a reader. So my question for you is how do you go about researching topics like corporate America to be able to include it into your writing?

Jamaica: —–I actually worked in Corporate America as a professional writer and editor for many years—including in Chicago’s LaSalle Street financial industry—-so it is actually very easy for me to write books in that setting.  I mostly wrote Market For Love based on my own experiences as a single woman working in the man’s world of finance, so very little independent research was needed for this particular book.

LRP: There were some pretty hot and heavy sex scenes in Market For Love in which your writing never faltered. I take it you’re pretty comfortable writing about it. In your opinion what makes a great bedroom scene?

Jamaica: —-I think a great bedroom scene (or sex scene, since very few of the sex scenes I write take place in actual bedrooms) involves three major things.  First, there has to be a lot of dramatic and sexual tension leading up to the scene itself, and you have to establish that through the story’s plotline and characterizations.  Second, you need to describe the sex acts in great detail, frankly, and without embarrassment.  Third, there needs to be a payoff—-and not just in terms of giving the characters orgasms.  There has to be a satisfying sexual payoff for the reader as well.  A well-written sex scene is really a ménage a trois between the man, the woman, and the reader.

LRP: That’s a very savvy statement! I’ll back you up on that one! Now Miranda and Max are some pretty solid names, easy to get behind because they’re not so far off the wall. Plus the alliteration helps I think. How did you decide their character names and naming characters in general?

Jamaica: —-You know, I usually just name my characters at random.  Whatever names pop into my head are usually the ones I use.  I also am pretty lucky in that I seem to have a talent for writing characters that live up to their names, too.  On the rare occasion that I find myself looking up names in a baby book or something, it’s usually to name minor characters.  I never have any difficulty naming my heroes and heroines.

LRP: I like to ask authors this question about the genre: what do you think is the most abused aspect of or in romance novels?

Jamaica: —–I think a major weakness of most “sweet” romance novels is the fact they leave the sex out.  One reason I’m so drawn to writing erotica is because it leaves the sex in without asking the reader to fill in their own details.  Don’t get me wrong—-I still like a good non-erotic romance novel—-but there still needs to be at least some sex and/or sensuality in order for it to appeal to me.  Even Jane Austen understood the importance of sex in romance—–all of her heroines are quite sensual, even though her books make no direct mention of sex.

LRP: Now it’s time for a really tough question, no answer is wrong here so don’t be shy. How do you define love?

Jamaica: —-I define love as an emotion that has no conditions.  Someone who truly loves you accepts you just as you are, warts and all, and doesn’t expect you to “change” for him/her.  And true mutual acceptance is an important part of sex, too.

LRP: Why did you decide to write romance instead of writing in another genre?

Jamaica: —–I actually do write in other genres besides romance.  I write romance more than anything else because I love the genre.  But more than that, I just love a good story.

LRP: What are some challenges you face when writing romance?

Jamaica: —-I think the biggest challenge is the inaccurate perceptions many people have of the romance genre.  So many people dismiss romance as “trash” when in fact 53% of all the books published every year in English are romance novels.  The entire publishing industry is dependent on the revenue generated by the romance genre, in fact. And that’s quite enlightening, considering too many writers in other genres think they are somehow “above” it.  Romance (and indirectly, erotica) go all the way back to Jane Austen, and anybody who disses Jane Austen answers to me!

Plus, there’s a very time-honored literary tradition when it comes to erotica as well—-D.H. Lawrence, Anais Nin, Henry Miller, even James Joyce wrote erotica. The longstanding literary tradition of erotica is what I focus upon whenever people try to criticize me for choosing to write it.  There’s also a pretty vocal subset of romance authors who really look down upon erotica authors, even treat them with open hostility—-which I don’t think makes sense at all when you consider how intertwined sex is with romance.

LRP: What do you hope your readers will gain from your books?

Jamaica: —-I hope they enjoy a good story, have their hearts set aflutter, and get a little turned on.  And also learn something in the process.

LRP: What do you do to relax and get away from writing? Is there something that really gets you away from it all?

Jamaica: —-I enjoy spending time with my husband and 1-year-old son.  I also enjoy reading, working out, sewing, painting, and gardening.

LRP: What would you say to aspiring writers about the whole process?

Jamaica: —–“Just Do It!”  Make time to write every day.  Make writing an integral part of your life.  Because if your goal is to become a working novelist, you will have deadlines and financial obligations that will require you to write every single day in order to make a living.  Career novelists usually have to write about 2,000 words a day to make their deadlines.  And writing 2,000 high-quality, PUBLISHABLE words a day, every day, takes time, commitment, and a hell of a lot of stamina.

LRP: Thank you so much for joining with us today Jamaica, I really appreciate your time! I know my readers will be grateful for all your insights and advice! Good luck with all your future writing projects!

Jamaica keeps a blog and you can get all her updates at http://jillelainehughes.blogspot.com/ or catch up with her on her author website.