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Romance Writers Weekly

 

 

Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

This week’s topic comes from Carrie Elks: Stephen King famously said that it’s necessary to ‘kill your darlings’ when editing your work. Do you have anything you had to remove from a book that you’re still proud of? Or something that embarrasses you so much it will never again see the light of day? If you’re feeling really brave, share some of it with us!

I must admit that my first book, Intoxicated, was over 400,000 words long. It was epic and the result of five years effort. I held onto every word of that book like my life depended on it. After all, I had put everything I had into writing it. When I finally decided to get serious and publish the darn thing, I realized I would have to do the dreaded thing and “kill my darlings”.

On the advice of several published authors, I cut the first chapter. It was mostly backstory anyway. Now, the story started in the thick of the action. Then I went in and deleted all the “info dumps” where I needlessly provided information that would put most readers to sleep. I also have an unconscious love for over-the-top drama. My editor said, “There sure is a lot of face-slapping going on. Is that really necessary?” She was so right. She also said, “Everyone is always ‘short of breath’ or their ‘heart is pounding’. You’re writing a book about physically abusive people with COPD.” I’m embarrassed to think about it now, but she was right. Bless her for sticking with me. I hope I’ve gotten better about those things.

Now, for the shameful admission: I am a word-hoarder. I couldn’t bear to part with the 330,000 words that I cut, so I stuck them in a file. Yes, I still have them, and yes, I occasionally go back to read them. I’m thinking about writing a sequel and might use parts of it.

I’m currently in edits on my fifth book. Sometimes I cringe at the thought of deleting one of my favorite scenes, but in the end, it’s all about what serves the story. If the scene doesn’t move the plot forward or provide growth for the characters, it’s got to go. I won’t say that it’s easy, but I’ve gotten a lot better about it.

Thanks for stopping by this week. Be sure to take the next stop on the tour and find out what creative idea Xio Axelrod has come up with for this interesting topic.

 

ROMANCE WRITERS WEEKLY

 

 

Romance weekly pic

Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all…about our writing of course! Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the blog on this site we’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

This week we’re doing something a little different. We’re creating flash fiction of 500 words or less. The theme comes from Fiona Riplee and must include an empty parking lot, abandoned SUV, and a Chihuahua in the driver’s seat. I can’t wait to see what everyone has come up with.

Kelli was already twenty minutes late for work when the tire blew on her Mercedes convertible. The car jerked at the moment Kelli lifted her coffee for a sip. Hot brown liquid splattered down the front of her cream silk suit. She dropped the coffee cup on her lap and gripped the steering wheel with both hands.

The morning had started off in the worst possible way. Her alarm failed to go off, the dog threw up on the new white sofa, and the hot water heater went out in the middle of her shower. In the interest of time, she had taken a shorter but more dangerous route. Now she had a flat tire in the worst part of town where a double homicide happened in broad daylight less than a week ago. Just her luck. She limped the car into the nearest parking lot, empty except for an abandoned SUV, and considered her options. With no bars on her cellphone, the best choice seemed to be the convenience store on the next block.

She searched her purse and found the canister of pepper spray her dad had given her years ago. She tucked it in her pocket and clutched it with white knuckles as she walked along the abandoned sidewalk. The buildings beside her were boarded up, covered with gang graffiti and eerily silent. A shiver shook her despite the burning summer heat. She felt the weight of unfamiliar eyes watching her every step.

The heel of her stiletto caught in a crack of the pavement. She stumbled and would have gone down but for the strong hands that gripped her elbows. Startled, she looked up into the unfamiliar scarred face of a stranger. His mouth quirked in a knowing smile, sending a bolt of panic into her gut.

“Thanks,” she said and hoped her voice sounded more confident than she felt.

“My pleasure,” he replied, in a gritty voice. His hands slid up her arms and lingered on her bare shoulders.

She stepped back and tried to go around him, but he moved with her, blocking her path. Fear snaked up her spine. She scanned the street, but it was empty. Her fingers tightened around the pepper spray, ready to react if he came one step closer.

The screech of tires distracted the man as a purple Buick rounded the corner. Zebra stripes covered the seats and pink velvet covered the dashboard. The car skidded to a halt next to her and the passenger door flew open.

“Get in.” The voice belonged to a wizened old woman perched on a pillow, looking like a Chihuahua sitting in the driver’s seat. A giant pistol rested across her lap. “Hurry up.”

Kelli dove into the car as the man made a grab for her. The car careened down the street at breakneck speed while Kelli tried to right herself. The old woman glanced over at her and revealed a toothless grin. She dropped Kelli at the closest auto body shop and drove away without comment.

When her co-workers asked her why she was late, Kelli just shook her head and said she’d had car trouble. She doubted anyone would believe her farfetched tale. In fact, she hardly believed it herself.

Thanks for stopping by this week. Be sure to take the next stop on the tour and find out what creative idea Leslie Hachtel has come up with.

 

COVER REVEAL: Fire’s Field, The Elemental Series Book #2

COVER REVEAL:  Fire’s Field, The Elementals Series Book #2

 

Fire's Field

 

Bound by a dark enchantment, only an elemental flame can light the way.

BLURB:

 

Vengeance

Forged in rage and sorrow, a dark witch’s spell travels down her ancestral line to Violet Levina. Enchanted with the power of the entire Electromagnetic spectrum—microwaves, gamma rays, radio waves, Violet is cursed with limitless energy and the obligation to destroy an insidious creature composed of dark matter.

Justice

For over five hundred years, Flint has served as Fire, aiding Earth’s environment and its people as one of four Elementals. Yet only once in his long existence has he been burned. A flaming redhead ignites the embers of his heart, but he finds her resistant to the heat building between them.

Illumination

Knowing she must fulfill her destiny, Violet travels to her ancestral home in Ireland, accompanied by the fiery Elemental. Not fooled by his charms and brazen demeanor, Violet wishes only to shield him from the coming battle, but can’t deny the flames of desire flickering when she is at his side.

Love

While standing together against unrelenting adversaries, false friends, family betrayals, and an underlying seed of darkness, they must burn bright or the ruthless power behind the ancient spell will turn everything to ash.

With Flint as her beacon in a field of darkness, Violet will discover that love holds the most powerful magic of all.

 

Fire’s Field Release date: May 19th, 2015

Jillian Jacobs Bio:  In the spring of 2013, Jillian Jacobs changed her career path and became a romance writer. After reading for years, she figured writing a romance would be quick and easy. Nope! With the guidance of the Indiana Romance Writers of America chapter, she’s learned there are many “rules” to writing a proper romance. Being re-schooled has been an interesting journey, and she hopes the best trails are yet to be traveled.

Water’s Threshold, the first in Jillian’s Elementals series, was a finalist in Chicago-North’s 2014 Fire and Ice contest in the Women’s Fiction category.

Jillian is a: Tea Guzzler, Polish Pottery Hoarder, and lover of all things Moose.

The genres she writes under are: Paranormal and Contemporary with suspenseful elements.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: www.jillianjacobs.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreenMooseProd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jillian-Jacobs/737689872920933

 

 

Fire’s Field Prologue Excerpt #1:

 

They were coming for her.

On the eve of her mother’s 25th birthday, a young witch fought back chills as the sounds of braying bloodhounds echoed through the forest. A single red stroke, mixed with the faintest purple, lit the darkening sky, as night, along with death, crept closer.

At the banks of River Nore, Sorcha rocked back and forth, tears of innocence-lost escaping down her cheeks. Heart splintering, she searched her memory for a spell to ease her mother’s torment. With her hands locked in the fabric of her mother’s woolen dress, she chanted pleas to the Goddess Isis to hear her cries and heal her mother.

To no avail.

The only answer came in the form of the demon’s sickness dripping from her mother’s mouth in a sludge of grimy gray mud.

Fear unlike anything she’d ever felt iced her heart, as once more she begged, swore her very life in exchange for the continued beat of her mother’s heart.

A piercing pain shot through her overburdened mind as the beast fought to break through her mental shields. Weakened by her angst and un-tested youth, she left a crack exposed, and the beast slipped in. Squinting her eyes closed, her entire body shaking with the will to deny the sick beast entrance, she couldn’t prevent his foul words from seeping through.

“Your mother paid for her defiance, for her inability to accept this gift only I could give her. Look at you simpering and shaking, if you weren’t so weak I’d use you, but no matter, I’ll be back.”

Drained from holding back the tempest, Sorcha let loose true sobs for the loss of the deepest love of her life, her solid fortress during every storm, the lyrical voice singing away her nightmares. Ignoring her drenched skirts, she released all her torment against her mother’s breast, barely catching the beat of her mother’s weakening heart between each aching moan torn from the depths of her soul.

No one came to her aid. No one soothed her broken spirit.

The sounds of the hounds drew closer, their howls a mad cacophony in her surreal world. The yellow-glow from fire-tipped sticks, created a mystical glow in the woods before her. Snaps and cracks of branches reverberated across the forest as the frenzied townspeople advanced to accuse and convict one of their own—a witch.

 

Fire’s Field Excerpt #2

With each stroke of his tongue in her sweet mouth, he freed his white-hot nature.

She joined in the heated molding of their lips. Needy gasps escaped from her mouth. Her hands unclenched and clenched his striped, dress shirt, before she broke away. “This will…I can’t…this will ruin everything. The prophecy states—”

“I thought you were a scientist.” He seared kisses along the curve of her neck and shoulder.

Violet bit her plumped lower lip. “I am, but you see—”

“Why would you believe in something as scientifically unsupported as a prophecy?”

“Because I come from a line of witches.”

He nudged her with his hips. “Would you like to see—”

“Don’t you dare say it.” Violet glared before bracing two fingers against his lips.

“Say what?”

She tipped back and studied face. “You know exactly what you were going to say.”

He hunched his shoulders and raised a single brow. “I was just going to ask if you would like to see the dessert list.”

“I doubt that.”

“Why Violet, you seem disappointed.” He stifled a grin. “What exactly did you want me to say?”

She poked him.

A tiny electric pulse shocked then burned his neck.

“Ow!” He jerked, then nudged away her hand. “Damn it.”

“Understand this, I don’t find your perverse innuendoes funny.”

“Woman, I may be an Elemental, but I can still feel pain.” He rubbed his neck and pondered why her jolt had actually elicited a sexual response.

Violet shrugged.

Her indifferent shrug sent a blaze of fury down his spine, lighting his elemental nature. She really had no idea who she was dealing with.

He arched a brow and flashed a searing grin. “If offending you ignites your inner spark, then I’ll do exactly that, because that is who you really are, that is the woman I want unleashed.” He kissed her once more before settling her stunned form back in her seat.

Ms. Gamma-girl needed to understand she wasn’t the only one who could deliver a shock.

 

Fire’s Field Excerpt #3

The running water stopped, and moments later the bathroom door slid open, and though he knew it was a mistake, Flint glanced at the vision appearing out of the steam.

Violet’s semi-dry hair lay in strands against her shoulders. Her pajama top made evident she wasn’t wearing a bra beneath, and her shorts revealed trim legs. Her smell evoked thoughts of a field of flowers in some forbidden land where you could look but not pluck. Hell, forget plucking. What he wanted involved total annihilation of her body, marking her with his fiery tattoo. Burning across every inch of her skin until she melted in the overwhelming blaze. But there wouldn’t be any burning or marking, she was innocent. And though, he’d sear down that path soon, tonight wouldn’t lead him anywhere but out the door.

 

Fire’s Field Excerpt #4

“I think…I believe perhaps she’s been infected by Quint.”

Oh, please no, those words were not helping her tamp down this overwhelming surge to destroy something. Then suddenly, an odd surge of hate seeped from somewhere deep in her soul. No, she didn’t hate, where was this foreign expression of emotion coming from. Her whole body began to shake. “Flint, I’m going to need you to back away. It’s my duty to—”

“No, Violet. Calm down.” He gripped her shoulders, and his eyes flared red. “Listen, she’s not fully infected, just a small seed. I see swirling darkness in her mind, and her willingness to heeds its call. A small slither of whatever Quint is, exists within her. He’s always been able to track us. I believe that’s how she’s following me. But she has no grander scheme today. This was just her having a little fun.”

Violet opened the door, and collapsed onto the seat. Bending over she braced her elbows on her knees, and scrubbed her hands through her hair. Focus. Don’t let it out.

 

Fire’s Field Excerpt #5

In an effort to calm her own desires, Violet took a deep breath and bit down hard on her bottom lip. “I’m sorry. I just feel this sense of urgency.” She cupped his jaw. “Everything about my life has been so very controlled, fixed on one goal. Equations with answers, but with you, I’m like…well, like Pi, a never ending number.” She leaned forward and brushed a light kiss on his warm lips. “Everything about you is so raw.”

“So I’m raw pie?” Flint chuckled and then kissed her forehead. With a bit of finagling, he reversed their positions and settled her between his legs. “We’ll have our more, but not here. This isn’t our place.” The husky murmur vibrated more through his chest than his lips.

Violet shuffled against him. Silent, because she understood taking their more would need to happen soon. She nodded and squeezed his hand. “No, this isn’t our place.” A twinge of sadness stole across her heart. How many moments of stillness did they have? Moments of just reveling in quiet comfort. Of finding peace through the simple joining of their hands.

At times like these, the weight of the spell’s burden became almost unbearable. The urge to scream and pull her hair, to fight back with an enchantment of her own, scorched across her damned soul.

Each hand on the clock ticked closer to her final showdown. Centuries ago, her ancestor had written the equation of her life across the chalkboard of time—no X, no Y, just death.

 

Fire’s Field Excerpt #6

In the darkness, Flint handed Violet what felt like a piece of glass.

“I can’t see. What is it?” The piece was still warm from his touch.

“Need me to shine a little light on the subject?” Flint chuckled then raised his hand beside hers and lit a small flame in his palm.

The light flickered across the glass and illuminated his gift.

A vibrant purple flower.

“It’s a violet.” Violet brushed her finger against the glass petals.

“No, it’s more than that. Look closer.”

Flint waved the flame over the flower.

And she saw it—a heart bursting with every shade of red sparkled within the flower’s glass core.

“Oh Flint, It’s beautiful. So precious. However did you get that heart inside?”

“You tell me.” He tipped her chin to meet her gaze. “Because my heart is locked deep inside a violet, and I never want to break free.”

 

Romance Writers Weekly

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It’s that time again, boys and girl! The authors at Romance Writers Weekly are back again to share their thoughts and insights about life and writing. If you’re here from Raine Balkera‘s blog, welcome! If you’re just starting out, be sure to check out the other authors in the hop. This week’s question comes from A.S. Fenichel.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

I’ve been a lot of places, most of them hot and tropical. My most favorite place is Rome, Italy. I visited there with my parents a few years ago and it was great beyond my wildest dreams. Being a huge history buff, I was enamored with the ancient ruins that are everywhere around the city. My eight-year old self dreamed of visiting Pompeii. I never thought it would actually happen.

The people were friendly and so helpful. I lost ten pounds walking the city streets from morning until late at night which is pretty good considering the food is out of this world! Fresh pasta and wine. And don’t get me started with the gelato. I met a girl from Florence on the flight there. Her advice was to eat gelato – lots and lots. Believe me, I did my best. Sometimes I ate it three times a day and once in the piazza outside the Pantheon! I threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, so I’m sure I will go back.

pantheon

The top of my bucket list is Scotland. I am obsessed with Scotland. When I’m not writing, I’m reading or watching documentaries on Scotland. My bookshelves are full of research books about Scotland. It’s so full of mystery and history. I can’t wait to visit the places where my ancestors once lived.

Well, enough about that. I could go on forever. I love to travel. I think it brings new perspective to life. I hope you get the chance to take a trip or two in your future!

Be sure to check out Mikki Cober as the next stop on the hop!

DARK ROMANCE

I’m not a romantic, which is an odd thing for a romance writer to say. I don’t believe in soulmates or perfect love or anything like that. As a result, I’m obsessed with “darker” romance. Think along the lines of Wuthering Heights or The Great Gatsby. Life is messy and complicated and people are imperfect. After a lifetime of reading love stories with happy endings, I’m now into more realistic plots where not everyone gets their HEA (Happy Ever After).

For the above reasons, I’m a huge fan of Megan Hart and Colleen Hoover. I recently finished Deeper by Megan Hart and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby over Nick’s predicament. Talk about a tortured soul. Everything about his situation is futile. His story is over and he knows it. Wow. I’m tearing up again just thinking about it. And Megan Hart doesn’t feel the need to tie up the end with a tidy bow. She leaves it open and that keeps me thinking about the story for days or weeks later, wondering where the characters are going to end up. For me, that’s a good book. Something that stimulates my emotions and thoughts.

If you haven’t read Ugly Love yet by Colleen Hoover, I highly recommend it as another option for a darker romance. Although it has an HFN (Happy For Now) ending, I was left feeling unsettled at the end and with a book hangover that followed me around like a fifth of Tequilla, two lemons, and a shaker of salt. I really liked the unconventional method of storytelling. The heroine’s story is told in present time while the hero’s story takes place in the past.

So, if you’re looking for something a little grittier and a lot less hearts-and-flowers, check out these two authors.

deeper

Ugly Love

Romance Writers Weekly

 

Romance weekly pic

This week’s question comes from Mishka Jenkins.

What would you say your writing strengths and weaknesses are?

My best strength would be dialogue. I seem to have a half dozen conversations going on in my head at any given time. I have a degree in Speech Pathology so the tendency to dissect speech patterns is ingrained in me. I also eavesdrop a lot. Not to be mean or gossip, but for research purposes only. You can learn much about conversation by listening. For instance, most men speak in short sentences and leave off the subject. (Example: “Going to the store. See you later.”) And I have another friend who repeats everything in threes when he’s drunk.

My biggest weakness is my love of adverbs. Stephen King said, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” I must be headed there because I love, love, LOVE to use them. Just ask my editor. My first rough draft is always filled with adverbs which I absolutely, ruthlessly (see?) cut out of my final drafts.

It seems every time I write a new manuscript, it’s filled with different strengths or weaknesses. I guess that’s all a part of learning and growing as a writer.

Thanks for stopping by! Please be sure to drop by and see Tracey Gee, the next blog for our topic, for more fun and enlightening stories about writing.

 

Romance Writers Weekly

Romance weekly pic

It’s been awhile, but I’m back this week. I’ve had a lot going on with book releases and two new books in the works for Spring 2015. So here’s the question for the week:

How do you choose the setting for your book? Does where you live influence you?

In my Felony Romance Series, the stories center around an underground nightclub. Back in my younger days, I hit the club circuit on a nightly basis. I’ve borrowed bits and pieces from the places I visited and incorporated them into Felony Bar. Believe it or not, there are underground clubs everywhere, even in the most obscure cities.

Felony is based on a real basement bar in Chicago. I liked the dark, gritty feel of the place. Once you went down the stairs, it was like entering another world. Another location of inspiration was a bar in Fort Wayne where several clubs were joined by a common area. There were girls dancing behind screens and in cages. It was all very wild and so much fun. The final place I used is located in Indianapolis and is steeped in history. I love the way that bar winds around, with cubbies and alcoves, and it’s ties to gangsters from The Roaring Twenties. Take all those places, roll them into one, and you’ve got Felony Bar!

My hometown hasn’t played much part in my novels yet. I live in a tiny town with a saloon, no stoplights, and there is a church for every forty people. Church bells ring in the afternoons. The shops close at noon on Wednesdays. Everyone knows everyone. It’s a sweet place untouched by the hustle and bustle of city life. I hope to write something in the future about my little village. It might be small but it has secrets to tell!

Thanks for dropping by. Please be sure to drop by the next stop on our tour, J.j. Devine, my friend and a wonderful author. See you next week!

VINDICATED – RELEASE DAY

Release January 20, 2015
Release January 20, 2015

It’s finally here!

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Life has never been easy for Karly Eriksson. Raised in a dysfunctional and abusive home, she struggles to break the chain of misfortune. She’s determined to finish college and rescue her little sister Emma from a similar fate at any cost, including her self-esteem.

The mistakes of her past complicate her future when she hooks up with Randy Mackenzie, the tattooed bouncer/bartender from the infamous Felony Bar. They shared one night together during the previous summer, and now he’s back in her life. He’s hot, intense, and tortured by emotions he’ll never reveal to anyone, especially her.

Despite Randy’s feelings for Karly, he can’t tell her what she needs to hear. She’s the only sunshine in his bleak existence, illuminating the dark and dusty corners of his life. The mother of his child left him because he couldn’t say those three little words, and it cost him the most precious thing in his life: his son. Will he lose Karly, too, or can he overcome his irrational fear of emotional intimacy?

This is the second book in the Felony Romance series. It can be read as a standalone but is meant to be read following Intoxicated (Book 1), and Unexpected (Book 1.5).

Warning:  this book contains hot bartenders, sexy bouncers, and lots of steamy romance.

Here’s to 2015

I’ve got a lot going on in 2015. Vindicated (Book 2) of the Felony Romance series is available for preorder and releases on January 20th. I’m also working on an anthology with my RWA group. Look for four more books in the Felony Romance series to be available this year. Impulsive (Book 3) is targeted for June and the untitled Book 4 is targeted for July. I hope to have two more in the series for in the fall.

And I’m toying with a spinoff series called the Felony Rock Star Romance series. But that’s more than I can think about at the moment.

Here’s a sneak peak of the paperback covers for Vindicated and Impulsive. I hope you like them as much as I do!

Unexpected paperback cover Vindicated cover pic (550x410)