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Archive for July, 2011

A LOVER’S PROMISE
Connor Grant left his first love in the Highlands, vowing to return after serving in the king’s army. Seven years later, he is still fighting for the crown, and his victories are legendary-both in the battlefield and in the bedroom. Yet he’s never forgotten his bonnie lass. And he certainly never expected to see her amidst the splendor of the British royal court: beautiful, breathtaking, and tempting him past the point of no return.
A LADY’S DESTINY
The night he left, Mairi MacGregor banished Connor from her life forever. Now her heart belongs only to Scotland. As part of a secret alliance, she journeys to London in search of information . . . only to find herself face to face with the one man she swore she’d never trust again. Though Mairi’s body still craves Connor’s touch, she can’t forgive his betrayal. But a traitor lurks in their midst and to protect her beloved Highlands, Mairi must make a leap of faith and join forces with Connor-even if it means losing her heart to him again.

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Writing is a career best suited for people who don’t mind being alone. In fact, you had better love the solitary life if you mean to take up the pen…er…keyboard. I’m not saying authors are lonely. The truth of it is, we never are. We have dozens and dozens of characters roaming around inside our heads day in and day out. They become friends, family, familiar faces in our oftentimes-quiet world. (Unless, like me, you have 4 dogs and a cockatoo.) I don’t think authors realize what loners we are happy to be until something like a huge writer’s conference comes around to yank us out of our desk chairs and hurl us back into civilization.

This year’s Romance Writers of America conference was my first. Yes, despite being a published author for six years, I was a conference virgin. Of course, I had some idea of what to expect; workshops, signings, actually having a schedule that required me to get out of bed before 7:30am. Getting on the subway to Times Square and fighting to make my way through droves of tourists who’d stopped to take pictures of the Naked Cowboy or the Transformers premiere.

But this conference, aptly named Bright Lights, Big Stories, was so much more than I could have imagined. Sure, the Readers for Life Literacy Autographing was the most crowded affair I’ve attended in years, but an enormous amount of money was raised for literacy programs, so the slightly claustrophobic atmosphere was worth it. I gushed over some of my favorite authors like Teresa Medeiros, Christina Dodd, Julianne MacLean, and Karen Hawkins just to name a few. I chucked my t-shirt and jeans for a fancy outfit to wear to a cocktail party given by my publisher. My feet were screaming for mercy by the end of the night because I thought I was cool and walked the endless NYC streets from the hotel to the party. But, oh, it was wonderful finally meeting my editor and all the amazing people who make working with Grand Central Publishing such a rewarding experience.

The most exciting part of the conference though, was the Grand Central book signing. Meeting my fellow authors and the people who help turn my manuscripts into real books is great—maybe even better than being alone with my Highland heroes (for a few days anyway) but meeting the people who read my books was the highlight of the conference. They came from everywhere, Texas, California, and even the Netherlands. Seeing the excitement in their eyes, hearing how they love the stories I’ve toiled over, and being able to thank them in person for their support was priceless.

Yes, I like the solitary job of writing, but I already miss the crowds, the bright lights and the big stories.

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A big thank you to Paula for joining with us today!

To find out more about Paula Quinn, visit www.paulaquinn.com. And for a chance to win TAMED BY A HIGHLANDER, just leave a comment below. Good luck! 😀

 

 

 

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The second volume of The Embers Series (begun with Fallen Embers) continues the saga set in an alternate Alaska, where those born with the power to control the elements rule as nobility over those who cannot — for now. As Blowing Embers begins, the shapeshifting slaves of Fairbanks have broken their chains with the help of Kiera, the Fire Mage mysteriously transported into their realm with her young nephew, and then lifted her to govern their city. But Kiera and her co-rulers struggle to integrate the former slaves and the remaining mages. A worse threat outside Fairbanks waits to fracture the fragile peace. Governor Vrishka, the Skani Water Mage of Barrow, has marched an army from the North, and sends terms: Surrender Fairbanks and restore the Skani mages to rule, or he will raze the city and kill all the shifters. He gifts them ten turns of the sun to make their decision. Halfway through the armistice a devastating blow steals all hope for Fairbanks’ victory, and crushes Kiera’s heart. Can she summon the strength to transcend her grief and find a way to defeat Vrishka? If so, what price is she willing to pay? Five days — and a city — await her decision.

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How many books do you put aside when you’ve finished them, and never think of them again? I’ll bet a lot. Too many.

 

What makes a book memorable, loveable, is most often the characters. One, or more. They are people you like. Care about. Struggle and cry and triumph with.

 

In order to do that, you have to be able to identify with the characters. Know them. Like them. See yourself or someone you know in them. Maybe even fall in love with them. You can’t do that if you can’t remember who is who. And, too often, that is precisely what happens in stories.

 

Authors forget that readers don’t know their characters the same way they do. Authors, of course, spend hours and hours developing each one of their characters. But it isn’t until the reader actually begins reading the text that they get to meet each story’s featured people, and since readers can’t see the characters, the writer has to provide some mechanism to make each character stand out, right from the start.

 

In other words, an author has to make each character memorable. I’ve heard this practice called a “hook,” but whatever you call it, it’s more important than worldbuilding, or a killer ability to write description. Who cares, really, if you visit a beautiful alien planet, or a magnificent tenth century Welsh palace, if you can’t remember who you’re visiting it with?

 

A particular physical trait can be a hook, or a way of speaking or a tendency to do something. In my books, which are set in a magical Alternate Alaska, each of my characters has something special that sets them apart – and makes them easy to remember. For example, Kiera, my main character, is a plus-sized woman with long dark hair. As we go along, we learn that she holds a brown belt in tai kwon-do. Laszlo, her love interest, is the biggest man she has ever seen – a big man with umber skin who doesn’t seem to mind even extreme cold. Marco, the teenage boy Kiera befriends, has icy blond hair, bad judgment, and a quick wit. And Mosha, the slave healer in the army Kiera travels with, sports an odd accent.

 

What sorts of things have you found memorable in books? What’s made you want to read more by the same author?

 

(Leave a comment to be automatically entered into the contest for a free copy of Blowing Embers in kindle format!)

(This video can also be seen at http://www.lauriowen.com/be.html)

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A big thank you to Lauri for joining with us today!

Please visit www.lauriowen.com to learn more about The Embers series. And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win. Good luck! 😀

 

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Winners!

Diane Sallans

wins THE ANGEL IN MY ARMS by Stefanie Sloane

Congratulations! Please contact me at lillie80 at gmail dot com to claim your prize.

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And, in case you missed it, Na S. won SOLDIER ON HER DOORSTEP by Soraya Lane. Contact Soraya via her website (http://www.sorayalane.com)

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