The Search For A Story When Writing a Book: How to Separate the Suck

ToWishUponARoman_200x300Guest post by Ishabelle Torry, author of To Wish Upon A Roman

As an author and history major still in the midst of my studies enrolled in a university, I often research history that I find to be boring. Why? Because I have to in order to earn my degree, of course! My preferences in history leans toward ancient, the older—the better. However, one of my recent classes was the Renaissance, and I was less than thrilled at first—until I realized just exactly what the Renaissance really consisted of. It was more than a new age, but the revival of the old ways and studies, aided by a new thought process called humanism. This fact intrigued me.

I started to wonder just what exactly lent to this new ideology in history. So I read, and I read. Not only did I read my required texts for assignments, but I did extra research on my own. And you know what I found? Henry VIII. Yep, good old Henry the Horny, Henry the Religion Changer…or dare I say it—Henry the Wife Executioner.

His affairs were fascinating, and his court deliciously scandalous. Aside from Henry, there had been only one other English monarch that dared to marry whom he desired against the wishes of tradition pre modern age. But Henry took it a step further. He made it a habit to search for love. Unfortunately for Anne Boleyn (second wife) and Katherine Howard (fifth wife), he proved to be fickle and untrusting. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! However, the tawdry ending of these two women, not to mention the divorces to the other wives, taught me something—and it was related to the Renaissance notion of humanism and individuality.

There was more to the Renaissance than a revival of classical literature and new methods of painting, such as that of Michelangelo. The people of Tudor England were influenced by humanism and individuality, and they sought it with all their worth. There in fact was a new era emerging in regards to marriage and sex, and most importantly love. In a sense, Henry VIII may have led the way to modern day romance.

And Henry wasn’t alone! His sister, Mary Tudor, also married Charles Brandon against her king’s wishes because she loved him, and he her. Later on down the line, Elizabeth I would also refute the status quo, and decide not to marry at all! See the connection…people were thinking for themselves. They desired, and they went for it.

So, I am sure you’re asking where the creativity is in this brief history lesson? Peeling back the suckish layers of history of Henry VIII’s political endeavors (if that’s what bores you) and other duties to England, there is still an awesome story to be told involving sex, love, lies, marriage and betrayal. It’s almost like a sordid romance novel, per se. And say you’re fascinated with the political aspects, and the suckish part to you is the romance—there is still a story to be found. The point is THERE IS ALWAYS a story where you look if you know how to separate the suck.

I dare anyone who reads this blog to pick a time period in history and read a little about it. Can you separate the suck and form a possible story line?

Author Bio: Ishabelle Torry is a full time mother, wife and student. She enjoys time with her family, and their plethora of pets on the farm. In her spare time, she is constantly dreaming of characters and the worlds they are found in. Occasionally, Ishabelle has been known to argue with her characters and bribe them with cookies when they have a wayward moment.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IshabelleTorry?ref=bookmarks

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Book Blurb:

When Lucy received the locket from the estate of her aunt, it came with a warning to never speak his name…but where’s the fun in that?

Trapped for seventeen hundred years, General Hadrian Marias awaits his release from a crystal prison and a chance to find the reincarnated soul of his wife, Lucia. Instead, upon being summoned into the modern world, he finds Lucy—the descendant of Genevieve, the Celtic witch responsible for his entrapment. Everything he knows about Lucy stems from his experience with Genevieve, but he soon discovers the only thing Lucy shares with her ancient ancestor is an uncanny resemblance. He quickly finds himself drawn to the feisty vixen. But can he ever forgive himself for losing Lucia of the past, and move forward with Lucy?

Lucy Brady was devastated to receive word of her aunt’s death. Her only joy, a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation. Inside the golden locket hides a crystal containing the essence of Hadrian. Even though warned to never say his name, she chalks it up to superstition and inadvertently summons an ancient Roman general who demands his freedom from her tyrannical bloodline. Deeming the general’s appearance a prank, Lucy agrees to grant his freedom—in lieu of sex for a fortnight. Will the next fortnight of passion be enough to keep Hadrian at Lucy’s side? Or will he choose absolute freedom from her bloodline?

Buy: To Wish Upon A Roman

Excerpt:

Hadrian was infatuated by the witch’s sudden change. Her demeanor had gone from a scared rabbit to a cunning wolf as she slowly advanced in his direction. She looked ready to pounce.

Damn the gods.

He shook his head in frustration, swearing at his lack-wit brain. He assumed the dark woman with the strange clothing and heavy face paint had been Genevieve’s kin, but instead the innocent angel before him was the vile sorceress’s descendant. How could he have missed it? She even had the same violet pigment as Genevieve. He now knew for certain this pale beauty was his newest captor. “Release me.”

“You never answered me,” she purred prettily, taking slow deliberate steps toward him and emphasizing the sway of her hips.

Hadrian grunted. The witch recognized her powers already. She was another generation warned in advance; already knowing he couldn’t harm her physically as long as she controlled him.

Damn her smugness! He took a step back with each forward step she took. “Stay back, witch.”

He didn’t mean it. He felt himself harden with her approach. He hated her. Nay, he didn’t, but he should. Something about her perplexed him. She has her ancestor’s looks. Genevieve. His last step back was blocked by the loveseat. He thought to sidestep the smiling vixen, but a squared table blocked his path.

Curse her and her second sight! She has me purposely trapped!

The witch appeared to enjoy his uneasiness as she played cat and mouse. She obviously delighted in being the predator, moving in just the right way to keep him cornered. Her siren voice with its otherworldly quality beckoned him as she spoke. Aye, she was just as much the devil’s mistress as Genevieve.

“I ask you one more time, Hadrian Marias: Why should I release you?”

His pulse pounded in his ears. “It would be the honorable thing to do, milady. Seeing your family has held me prisoner for almost two millennia.”

“I see.” She dared to wink. “What’s in it for me?”

His paranoia threatened his temper. He felt the sudden need to hide from this enchantress. He would not make the same mistake again and trust a witch. No matter how beautiful she was or innocent she appeared, she was evil. Genevieve’s blood ran through her veins. “What do you want?” He finally managed to ask, hoping she didn’t hear the apprehension in his tone.

She threw her sultry head back and her laughter floated on the air and teased his defenses.

Devil’s Mistress…

She smirked. “In fourteen days, I will release you, but only if you become my sex slave and guarantee my satisfaction.”

Buy: To Wish Upon A Roman

Get into Bed with Samantha Grace (Author Interview 2)

little white lieKeira: What little white lie inspired Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie?

Samantha Grace: The words “little white lie” in the title are meant a bit tongue-in-cheek. What seems like a small lie in the beginning—allowing Captain Daniel Hillary to believe she is a widow—places her future and that of her brother and cousin in jeopardy. But probably what is most damaging isn’t necessarily a lie. When the captain notices she seems desperate to leave New Orleans, he asks if she is in trouble. Is she a fugitive? She tells him no, but she is running from someone and this places everyone on ship in danger. Of course, Lisette couldn’t have predicted the danger, because it’s unreasonable that her fiancé would pursue her for her small dowry.

Keira: When is lying acceptable?

Samantha: Tough question. Sometimes what I might consider the “truth” is actually just my opinion. Giving my unvarnished opinion may cause more harm than good in some situations, such as when there is nothing the person can do about it. For example, you’re walking into a party and your friend asks if the dress she’s wearing makes her look fat. Maybe I think she should have chosen a black dress, because she’s still carrying some baby weight from her last pregnancy and it shows in the white dress. What would it accomplish by telling her what I think? Is she really going to run out and buy a new dress at the moment? No. She would go into the party feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious. Why would I steal her joy?

Another time it makes no sense to give a dissenting opinion is when it doesn’t really matter what I think. If my friend loves her new haircut and I think it looks hideous, it seems arrogant to think my opinion is more valuable than hers. I’ll keep my mouth closed.

On the other hand, I work closely with other writers and I’m asked to give feedback on something they’ve written. I always tell them “this is just my opinion”, but if I see a potential problem or have a negative reaction to a character, I feel a duty to respectfully tell them what I think. If I’m not honest, it may hurt their chances of making a sale, or they might receive criticism from readers. It’s their decision if they want to listen to my feedback.

I feel I have to weigh the potential harm against the good when deciding whether or not to tell the truth. The only time I would lie without hesitation is if the truth would place another person in danger.

Keira: Is it ever acceptable if the intentions were selfish?

Samantha: Wow. Another great question. Essentially, most intentions could be considered selfish, I suppose. If we lie to protect a friend’s feelings, it’s because we don’t want to lose the friendship, right? But if we are lying for self-gain, then no. I don’t think it’s ever acceptable.

Keira: Why does Captain Daniel Hillary not allow women on board his ship? Is it superstition?

Samantha: Daniel had a woman die on his ship, so he thinks sea travel is too dangerous for women. I can’t go into more detail without giving away an important part of the story. :)

Keira: Fill in the Blank: Quick weddings lead to _____________.

Samantha: interesting wedding nights.

I had fun writing Daniel and Lisette’s wedding night scene. It has a dose of humor along with a little sweetness and a bit of steaminess. I couldn’t write a sweeping love scene without it feeling generic. It really had to fit the characters.

Keira: What is your next project?

Samantha: I recently returned revisions for the last Beau Monde Bachelors story, Lady Vivian Defies a Duke, to my new editor, Leah Hultenschmidt. The book will be released May 1, 2013, and here is a basic overview of the story.

Luke Forest, the Duke of Foxhaven, inherited more than a title with his father’s untimely death; he has a fiancée he never knew existed. Luke isn’t any more suited to be a husband than he is to fill his father’s Hessians, so he pays a call to his betrothed, hoping he can convince her to break their agreement. When Lady Vivian refuses, he proposes to find her a replacement husband at his mother’s house party and she agrees. Little does he realize Lady Vivian intends to win his heart long before they reach their destination.

Samantha Grace Spring

Author Bio: Samantha Grace made her debut earlier this year with Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. Her newest regency romance, Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and she did a happy dance in her kitchen. Samantha lives with her husband, their two tenacious kids, and an endless parade of characters that inhabit her imagination. You can connect with Samantha at:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Lady Scribes

Buy: Miss Lavigne’s Little White Lie

Review: Almost Home by Pam Jenoff

By Susan S., Guest Reviewer

Almost Home is a beautifully, captivating read, with plot twists galore and a who done it feel until the very end!

Jordan Weiss (heroine) is an intelligence officer from Washington, D.C. She’s about to embark on a journey, which terrifies her, more than any covert operation she’s ever had. One where she must travel to London and confront a painful past.

Her new assignment is to find the person(s) responsible for a money laundering scheme. Money which is being funneled for illegal activities. But, when her main lead goes missing and people start turning up dead, it’s a race against time to find answers. After all, the Albanian mobsters aren’t known for their kindness. They’ll shoot to kill if anyone stands in their way.

When an old rowing buddy from Cambridge (Chris Bannister) rips open old wounds, Jordan will have to uncover dark secrets, before she can begin to heal. Her ex-boyfriend’s drowning 10 years ago hasn’t been easy on either of them. Jared’s death left grief and unanswered questions in its wake. Chris’s re-emergence has brought along a slew of dangerous potholes. Will Jordan complete her assignment, and maneuver them like a professional operative? Or, will she find herself on the wrong side of a gun wielding mobster.

Recommendations:

You “should” read this novel, if you enjoy Harlequin Intrigue and romantic suspense. Almost Home intermingles elements from the movies Clear and Present Danger and Oxford Blues. Jenoff’s novel “may not” be for you, if you like short reads like categories. Or, if you’re hoping to read erotica scenes, or are eager for that happily ever after.

Pam Jenoff is a new-to-me author. Can she write? Oh, absolutely! In fact, her writing is almost poetic. While reading, she had me so engrossed in the story; I’d lose all track of time. Be forewarned though, there is “no” happily ever after. The author leaves us with an unanswered question in the end. Leaving a door open for a sequel, maybe? I’d like to read it, if she does write one.

POV: Heroine’s, first person.

My favorite scene: Jordan has a flash back of an intimate moment spent with Jared. It’s raining; they’re in the ruins of a chapel, making love. The author does a beautiful job of setting that scene up for us.

Almost Home does not have a “developing relationship” between a hero and a heroine. As a contemporary fiction with suspense elements it garners a 5 star rating. As a romance novel, it earns a 2 star rating.

2 Stars, 5 Stars, Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense, ATRIA Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., Copyright 2009, Print Pages, 376. ISBN-10: 1-4165-9069-2 ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-9069-9

Buy: Almost Home: A Novel

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