Tuesday, July 24, 2007

To-Do Tuesday: Dog Days of Summer

Welcome to today's edition of To-Do Tuesday. The romance writing world seems to be slowly recovering from RWA nationals. It's also the middle of the summer--vacations, kids, and ice cream take priority over blogs, contests, and newsletters. My in-box isn't empty, but it's certainly suffering some sluggish sympathy pains over the dog days of summer.

But, never fear! I've rounded up enough news and opportunities for you to enjoy--preferably with a bowl of ice cream or a nice refreshing glass of ice tea. If you've got strategies for writing through this lull, please share them below, and be sure to check out my question of the day!

A Perfectly Good Nanny Released This Friday

Paty Jager's latest release, A Perfectly Good Nanny, is available in e-book form this Friday. If you looked for it last Friday, the boy wizard placed the dreaded memory spell on Paty. I'm pretty sure he just didn't want the competition. The hard copies will be available in November. Congrats again Paty!

MWVRWA Members at Writer's Faire on August 2

Mark your calendars for next Thursday! The Writer's Faire in Portland is a huge, FREE book signing and networking event from 6-9. It kicks off the Willamette Writer's Conference, but you don't have to be registered for the conference to attend. Over 60 authors, editors, and publishing companies will have tables at the event. Attendees can also participate in raffles to win an hour with an author. Our own Paty Jager will be among those signing books. Some other MWVRWA members have made rumblings about attending, so if you'll be among those signing books or those attending, let us know! Be sure to stop by Paty's table if you go!

Chris Young Celebrates Latest Release

Chris Young shared her latest cover with us. Rebel Heart is currently available in e-book format from Awestruck press, and hard copies should be available soon.

Set 500 years in the future, this book is a radical departure from Christine's historical offerings. But, like Piper's post yesterday, Christine proves that she can manage multiple genres with aplomb. You can click here to read three sample chapters and purchase the book.

One reviewer shared: "REBEL HEART is a well-written futuristic novel of a time that very possibly could come to pass, when viral plagues have laid the planet waste, and life is lived either in the sterile confines of domed habitats, or as pariahs in the outside wilderness. The world-building is excellent, vivid, and true-to-life. The characters will quickly catch and hold the reader's sympathies. The plot is quick, and takes time to examine many valid social, economic, class, and political issues as well. Christine Young delivers a winner which will capture the interest of futuristic/science fiction fans as well as the general reader."

Congrats Christine!
It's a . . . . . . .

Finished Manuscript! My other WIP is still baking (thank goodness!), but I finished my current WIP last week. At 8 months gestation, the book and the baby have been racing neck and neck, but the book finally won! Clocking in at just over 92,000 words, this book is my third manuscript, but my first ST length Adult Contemporary. In fact, it's almost exactly the length of my two previous MS added together. Now that I've finished, I can see the bones of the story more clearly, and I'm excited to begin editing.

AND in a karmic payoff for finishing, I received another request on my YA! An agent who had previously requested the partial has now asked for the full. I mailed it off yesterday. Think good thoughts!
Harlequin SuperRomance Contest!

Harlequin SuperRomance is sponsoring the "Conflict of Interest" contest. They're looking for the scene that best illustrates the conflict between the hero and heroine. SuperRomance is one of Harlequin's longer lines, so you might want to check this out, particularly if your work straddles the border between ST and category length. You can click here for the full contest details!

Blaze Blush Line Coming

In other Harlequin news, while at nationals, Editor Brenda Chin announced a new mini-line "Blaze Blush." This new line will feature lighter, fun, and sexy stories, similar to the old "Temptation" line. Full guidelines are not yet up on Harlequin's website, but several sources have reported that Chin is accepting queries for the line.

Author Island Contests Continue

The Author Island, "Book a Week for a Year" contest continues through July 31. Several authors have added new contests of their own this week. Be sure to check out all the contests at Author Island!

Question of the Day: Taboo Flaws

Several recent posts have focused on flawed heroes and heroines. Paty's post tackling the taboo of prostitution made me think about other taboo "flaws" or backstory. My newest WIP (I'm drafting a new MS AND editing the recently finished MS b/c I'm clearly insane!) has a heroine who's a recovered alcoholic. Now, I've read plenty of books where the hero skirts the addiction line (and usually the heroine saves him from his alcoholic bottom) but addictions seem much more taboo where heroines are concerned. Apparently, I'm just drawn to issue-driven fiction.

So, I'll ask you--Are there certain "taboo" character flaws? Is there history/backstory you just don't want to see? Do certain flaws make it harder to identify with/love a particular character? Thoughts?

As always, thanks for sending me your news and announcements and keep it coming!


Karen Duvall said...

Congrats, Wavy, on typing "The End"! It's a great feeling, isn't it? I get butterflies just thinking about it. 8^)

I think there are lots of taboos that would really put a unique twist on the same-old, same-old, if done well. My ghost story romance involves a reformed gambler, which is an addiction. I have a reformed criminal in my novella. My WIP has a reformed thief. So Wavy, I'm with you on issue-driven stories. I'm drawn to that, too, as both a reader and a writer.

I know we should never say never, but I think a novel involving characters who have mollested or killed children would never be hero material in any kind of novel. Could a reformed rapist of adult women? Now that would be interesting. I'd like to see that done. Not sure it would work, though. And the revelation of the hero having once been a rapist would probably need to come later in the story. The issues that drove him to such violent behavior would be fascinating, though. Redeemable? Hmmm....

Could the heroine have once been a porn star? Not the same as prostitution, but close. Hmm. I don't think that would work, but again, never say never. 8^) It might make an interesting tough heroine who has a devil-may-care attitude: So what if she screwed for the cameras, it was her only way to pay her mother's hospital bills after the car accident the heroine was responsible for. Good people may do just about anything for the right reasons. Will we like them more for their moral sacrifice? I don't know. It's up to the author to make it work.

Paty Jager said...

Congrats on the request for the full, Wavy! Woo hoo!

Congrats, Chris on the release of your futuristic!

I think a good writer can make a reader like anyone. But there are some things a person would do in there past that would make it hard for a reader to sympathize with them.

As Karen stated, I don't think I could like a rapist no matter the reason. I read a book some years ago and the way the hero treated the heroine in a love scene was cruel(almost a rape in my estimation) and that is the only thing that has stayed with me about that book and I will never pick up another book by that author.

Can a murderer be redeemed? If the reason behind the murder is valid. Self defense, shooting a person who was vile and had harmed/killed many people.

wavybrains said...

Oooooh Karen---what hero just THOUGHT he was a rapist and carried that burden around with him????

I read a book where a reformed Porn star was a secondary character with her own romantic arc--and it totally worked. I'm not sure if that could carry a book though.

Paty--the "near" rape seems rather common in historicals particularly Scottish ones or ones set prior to 1700 or so. It seems like it's part of the arc the hero goes through--barbarian to tender lover, but I agree, unless it's handled really well it can cross a line.

Karen Duvall said...

Wavy, I love that idea. If handled well, I bet it would work! As long as he didn't get to angsty about it.

Alice Sharpe said...

Yeah, maybe a man who thought he was a rapist. But not a real one. I don't care if he reformed, off with his head and other, um, vital parts.

A porn star is different. Hurting yourself is one thing, hurting others another thing. I could totally go for a heroine who left that persona behind, esp. if it was now coming back to get her. Would part of her feel it was retribution for her former evil ways? Would the growth she had started on her own take additional leaps as she struggled with a new crises? Makes you think.

Congrats to you Wavy for writing the first "the end" on your wip. Some people don't write those words until the very last draft. Not me, I write them when I have emotionally finished the story that first time.

Yea! Chris, the cover looks intriguing. And once again, congrats, Paty.

Neat conversation, Wavy.


Barbara said...

Congratulations, Wavy, on finishing your WIP at last and on the request for a full! Good luck! Congratulations, Christine, on successfully going from historicals to futuristic! I'm also inspired by issues and my major commitment to our novel is developing a relationship between a recovered alcoholic hero and a wavering compulsive overeater. I think the key is to find an issue that enough readers know something about or have had some experience with and put a new twist on it. Everyone has some kind of relationship with food and alcohol and many wonder why some people have so much trouble with those everyday substances and how they can recover. I think Janet Evanovich's mysteries have a character who is a former prostitute, but that's not romance. I would find it too creepy to get that close to a rapist, molestor or murderer as a reader or a writer.

Paty Jager said...

Oh yeah! Lula! I love her in the Stephanie Plum books! She's a riot! I had thought about having a quirky madam as a friend/sidekick for my Pinkerton character, but that was getting too close to what Janet Evanovich has in her books, so I'm still working up the secondary characters for that series.

But you can bet somewhere along the way Esther Mae will meet up with a prostitute or two after all she is after unsavory characters who would frequent those establishments.

Interesting topic, Wavy!

wavybrains said...

Paty, if she's a Pinkerton, it's likely that the Stage/Train/Telegraph would be an ideal place for secondary characters. She's going to need a source on who's coming and going, and gossip. The train station or stage coach master would be an ideal person for her to know/confide in. I believe that occasionally a widow would run a hotel/boarding house in conjunction with a depot. Telegraph operators would be another source of informant/friend for your heroine. Just some ideas.