Thursday, 27 March 2008

Well, well, well...

The year is running fast, deadline is almost upon the Romance Spinners spinning their second anthology.

March 31st.

It seemed like lightyears away at the time. We could fly around the moon a dozen times and still be in time to write THE END

Where have all the eons gone.

Are you ready for us?

I'm glad I'm writing the story, I can't imagine what sort of cover will be designed for us.

Which brings me to a point. If you are there and have the time, what sort of covers do you like? Personally I tend to like subtle covers. Not the bodice ripper kind. I like my imagination to dictate the hero to me. If I want George Clooney in my imagination then let me have him rather than be dictated to. Same goes for my heroine.

Covers are very important. They are the marketing tool. Probably the one chance on a shelf of hundreds of little pieces of competition so they are so important. Style, color, and a good blurb on the back to entice the reader to give it a bit of time to really consider putting in an investment.

Back to editing Zara Penney. Deadline is nigh.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

World Horror Convention

Yep, you heard me. I'm going to the World Horror Convention next weekend in Salt Lake City.

"But," I hear you say, "You're a Romance writer."

And so I am, mostly. But some of my published stories are a bit dark. Especially that one where Our Heroine attempts to scoop her eyeballs out with a spoon.

Now, there has been a trend for genre-bending the past decade or so. Anyone here read Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series? If so, would you call it romance or horror? Or perhaps both?

I love this new trend for genre-bending. In the 80's and 90's I thought many genre books were starting to get stale with the same old tropes, structures and memes. I mean, there are only so many fantasy quest novels one can read before it all starts looking alike. After all, a McGuffin is a McGuffin.

Then some smart cookies started reading outside their usual genre (which, really, is something every writer should be doing) and started applying the earmarks of one genre to another.

And so we got Fantasy Romance. And Science Fiction Mysteries. And Romantic Horror.

At first, some purists thought this invasion from other genres would dilute or corrupt the genre they knew and loved, but the rest of us realised the trend for what it was--a breath of fresh air.

So now today fans of Romance can stand on a hilltop and say, "all this is ours, and that bit over there," and Horror writers can stand on another hilltop and say, "all this is ours, and that bit over there." And "that bit over there" is a timeshare Victorian home that various genres can enjoy on occasion. (Ne'er you mind the flux capacitor in the basement. It's stable.)

And that's one of the reasons why I'm going to the World Horror Convention. Y'all are welcome to come join me.

P.S. for Holly: I think Richard Armitage would play an excellent Mr Darcy.

Thursday, 20 March 2008


I wish all my fellow Spinners, their families an friends, and those that will be reading our forthcoming anthology the happiest of Easters. And here's a bit of fun:

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed
tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a
rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghi t pclae. The rset can be a
taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is
bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the
wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was
ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.

Hope the Bunny Rabbit brings you a nice big chocolate egg.

Zara Penney

Friday, 7 March 2008

The Faerie Most Enchanting

Look what I found. Not in the bottom of my garden in a cauliflower as tradition would have it, but in my inbox at my email. And her arrival there bodes well for the launch of our anthology, very soon.

Her name is Phoebe and her mother's a Lizzard.

Both are good luck omens.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

What is it about romance novels?

Romance novels are devoured by woman around the world. Even those who hate them, secretly read them. They have been called trashy, forbidden, inappropriate and not true literary works. But we all know the truth is that romance is one of the biggest selling genres around.

To be honest, I don't think their are many out there with the close minded attitude that romance novels are the gateway to sin anymore. (at least they have quieted down some) Sure, we run across the occasional naysayer, but what that naysayer doesn't realize is that she is missing out on a wonderful, heart enlightening journey of love to rival the ages. And what these protesters are really against is the sex. But if they read the book they would see that the sex is an escalation of love. A meeting of souls, right?

Why do I read romance novels? It's not for the happily ever after or the awkward meeting of two destined souls, but for the middle of the novel. Where attraction is intensely strong and undeniably there. The hero and heroine fight it, deny it, and try to avoid it. Yet, circumstances keep forcing them together. I love the pull and tug of hearts. The yearning for what (they believe) they cannot have or deserve to experience. It is the ultimate kick start to the heart.

Some of my favorite novels? Karen Marie Monings entire Highlander series. Why? KMM creates a world unlike any I've ever read and within this world one man and one woman defy the fates, traverse time and conquer the impossible just to savor one more minute with each other. He is the missing the piece of her and she is the reparation for his damaged soul. I think my favorite is Immortal Highlander where the bad guy (who really isn't so bad) turns good. He is a faery who feels the way humans feel. He is fighting to return to his position beside the queen, all the while he has already found his rightful place in this world, the human realm.

Other novels?
Pride and Prejudice is a classic. I love... love Mr. Darcy.
Kinley MacGregor's Macallister Series- these four brothers are the men of men. They are stubborn, arrogant and tortured souls who need the very thing they don't want. The love of a good woman.
Jude Deveraux's The Duchess- a book I could read over and over again. The heroine is to wed the fair-hared brother, a titled duke, but falls in love with his dark, exotic older brother (the true duke) who had been her childhood hero under another name. Obviously, the older brother has some issues and wants nothing to do with society or his title. She must make a choice, he must come back from the dead and learn to accept her choice. -- Love it!

I read romance for the same reason I write it. It's captivating and refreshing. When I first started writing I never even gave a thought to what genre I would write. I just wrote what I loved. Just when I picked up my first romance novel. I didn't think about what genre I wanted to read, I was just gravitated toward it.

So why do you read romance novels? And if you haven't read one yet, why? What are your favorites or what can't you stand? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Sitting on the other side of the fence...

My style of writing is to gallop to the finishing post. Then like a sniffer dog I start to follow me with the editor head and the weaver's head. Weaving, changing, looping, detailing, and this style I think I got from the canvas at my art teacher's knee:

"From ze general to ze particular! She'd say in her Hungarian accent waving her arms like Zsa Zsa Gabor - easy for her since her name was Olga and she was 110% Hungarian.

Well, how does it feel to be on this side of the fence, where the ending of my story was reached in the Bare Bone Stakes? Wonderfully comfortable. No panic. No block. Luxurious. Its like the hot bath to which now I add the bubble bath.

Since dabbling in the historical I am finding my interest in dabbling in it very nice. Or as Estienne would say: "I like it very well indeed!" I've always been a history buff, and have loads of books on just about every subject - meaning lots of reference points. As with the Securement of Greggie Donald from our upcoming anthology set in the Highlands of Scotland, I am finding happy 'accidents' in my research which can steer the plot quite significantly once I find them. There is joy in discovery, a quickening of the heart and oh... spooky but this gives me an idea... kind of joy.

Regency. It has loads of taradiddles and 'diamond of the first water' and nabobs. Very flavorable language.
And we are so Austenised these days with a rich tapestry of things from the BBC on DVD, one can almost imagine ourselves there, in amongst our cast of characters.

Expect to meet Estienne Devereaux, Duke of Blamain. Blamain is a real place you know. As a matter of fact I'm sitting in it right now. Living there. I'm the housekeeper, the cook and the footman and the Duchesse of it. The supermarket is there. And isn't life grand when you have the luxury of authorship to use it as freely as have I.

Of course as per usual, I am currently in love with my darling Estienne, despite his obvious arrogance - and taunted as he is by the frustrating boy poaching on his parklands. But sshhhh. I don't want to say too much.

Except to protest "This is such hard work!"

and to whisper "Ah but it is so much fun."