I will be suspending my monthly blogs to start interacting with readers on Facebook!
Please visit and Like my page at www.facebook.com/lilysantananovelist for a chance to win an Unexpectedly You book/beach themed gift basket. The promotion will run until October 31, 2103 when a random Facebook follower will be chosen to win the prize.
Thank you and I look forward to chatting with you on FB.
Make sure to stop by for a chance to win a beach themed gift basket or a $25.00 AMZ gift card.
Sept 30th: Snarky Mom Reads
Oct 1st: It's Raining Books
Oct 2nd: Straight from the Library
Oct 3rd: Bunny's Review
Oct 3rd: 2nd Stop - Stephanie's Book Shelf
Oct 4th: Long and Short Reviews - Review Only
Oct 4th: Beyond My Writing Space
I love to read books where the sexual tension is palpable on the page. As an author, I know how difficult it is to achieve this. Throwing your characters in bed for l'amour doesn't always, if ever, achieve sexual tension unless you've managed to build it up to a point where the chemistry is cracklling the page.
As a reader, I know when the author has hooked me. My heart beats, my plams sweat, I get that giddy feeling the heroine gets and I LOVE it. So exciting. I eat up the page like it's Cheez Doodles (crunchy, of course, duh).
So how do you manufacture the chemistry on the page? I'm certainly not the expert, but like many of you, have an opinion. It all boils down to emotional stakes. This is the internal arc of the character that you establish in the set up. The scenes where the sexual tension is at its peak is when the hero or heroine is overcome by an emotion (physical or not, but typically is) they can't control, even if they know it is to the detriment of their current belief system about who they are as an individual.
As a reader, many of us have felt this emotion before. We can relate. We know that 'going there' is emotional suicide, but we can't help ourselves. A force, unbidden, propels us toward the 'danger.'
In Unexpectedly You, I tried to bring this heat for Emma in this scene where she checks on Mitch after he dives into the ocean to save her dog.
He has a fever. Panic gripped her heart.
Like a moth to a flame.
Finally! I can reveal my fabulous cover for my debut romance, Unexpectedly You, which will be released August 26, 2013. It is, however, available for pre-sale now...so what are you waiting for? Get it while it lasts. Now! (Sorry, I always wanted to sound like one of those annoying mattress discount ads on the radio).
All kidding aside, I'm thrilled to have my dream finally come to a reality. I hope you enjoy Mitch and Emma's enemies-to-lovers story. I had a blast writing it and in all honesty, when I finally wrote The End, my heart broke.
I fell hard and fast for my hero Mitch McKenna. Though the same can't be said for my feisty heroine Emma LeFleur. You see, it took Emma a while to see Mitch's charm. Eventually, Mitch's sexy sense of humor melts her heart but not before she almost drives him mad in her attempt to make him regret the deal they'd made. Here, check out one of her brilliant moves.
Emma jumped every time the door chimed, signaling a customer had entered the store. She glanced at the clock and sighed. She expected Mitch to come in at any moment and she was dreading having to face him again—especially after having had to endure his smug expression on the drive home last night. Damn Lorraine and her perverted mouth.
Unexpectedly You, Carina Press ISBN # 978-14268-9601-9
To save his flailing real estate development project Mitch McKenna knows what he must do: persuade his nemesis and neighbor Emma LeFleur to go to bat for him and convince the town that he’s a sweetheart. Easy as pie, unless you consider he’s threatened to bulldoze her home with her in it.
As you can see, I had a really boring time at last week's Romantic Times Conference (NOT). Really, it was my first time and I was simultaneously excited and overwhelmed. I had a fan-girl moment meeting Janelle Taylor. I even had dinner with The Laura Kinsale at a local barbeque place called Smokin' Guns. We gushed over the deep-fried mac & cheese.
RT did a fantastic job organizing every event to precision. I was in awe. This conference reminded me of how huge (did I say over 2,000 attendees?) the romance community is and how fun to spend it with old and new friends.
Readers flew in from as far as Seattle, Boston, LA, and New York to meet their favorite authors. Who knew folks would choose to spend their vacation in a conference standing in countless lines? But, then again, we did have Julie Garwood, Jude Devereaux, Angie Fox, Brenda Novak, Robyn Carr, and many many more amazing authors on site to hob nob with and dance the night away. I can only beg the Publishing Gods to grant me such amazing readers one day. You people are hard-core and the reason we write. We love you!
Hope to see you at next year's RT 2014 in Nawlin's.
Ellora's Cave Disco Ball with their cover models. No, I am not photoshopped. They might be. Bwaahhhah.
Back from hiatus folks! Sorry for being MIA. As my chosen title states, sometimes life just takes over and everything takes a back seat. But the recent terrorizing events in Boston and Texas remind us that we cannot take our loved ones for granted and we must not let our dreams languish. We should treat each day as a precious gift to cherish and share with those we love.
As promised, here's my list of the top 10 books that helped me get published.
1. Larry Brooks - Story Engineering (a bible)
2. Leigh Michaels - On Writing Romance (inspirational and relevant)
3. Michael Hauge - Writing Screenplays That Sell (crack - a must read)
4, Les Edgerton - Hooked (eye opening)
5. Stephen King - On Writing (masterful yet humble)
6. Jack Bickham - Scene and Structure (who knew I needed a sequel?)
7. Ronald Tobias - 20 Master Plots (foundational)
8. Evan Marshall - The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing (nitty gritty)
9. Jordan E. Rosenfeld - Make a SCENE (super nitty gritty - the engine of your story)
10. Christie Craig and Faye Hughes - The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel (this is the book that started it all)
Special thanks to:
11. James Vogler - The Writer's Journey (need 10 cups of expresso and Redbull before reading, but brilliant)
12. Jessica Morrell - Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to write the bad guys of fiction (fun and empowering)
Back in 2008 when I first decided to seriously pursue my dream of writing romance for a living I picked up Leigh Michaels' On Writing Romance. Though there are thousands of books on crafting a novel - some focusing on plot, scene, characters, viewpoint, etc., Ms. Michaels' book covers all of the above but with the added complexity of having the romance be at the the center of your story. A romantic novel has two protagonists - the hero and the heroine. There are two internal arcs not to mention the external conflict and - yeah the romantic arc as well. James Patterson, Dean Koontz - ha! They have it easy I tell you. Though more than once I've felt like killing off a character or two when they refuse to bend to my will.
I loved Leigh's book so much that as soon as I learned she taught a romance workshop with NYC's Gotham Writer's Workshop, I eagerly registered. After attending both Romance I and II, I knew why I loved her book so much. Leigh is truly a gifted instructor and it showed not only in her thoughtful feedback to my stories during class, but also in the way her narrative flowed in her book. To the point and with great examples.
That was three years ago. Today, my first book is being published by Carina Press. If you're reading this, Leigh, I want to thank you. Thank you for the encouragement I received from you. Thank you for your book that helped me make sense of the crazy insane world of writing a romantic novel. Your generosity in sharing your experience writing for Harlequin (over 80+ novels) has been an inspiration. I'm excited to be writing for Harlequin's digital first press today - it seems like a natural progression for me based on the knowledge learned from a wonderful teacher.
Click on book to learn more about Leigh Michaels.
·Today begins my series posts on books that made me say "Ah Ha!" By no means will the list be exhaustive of all the spectacular books on writing available and probably sitting on my reading shelf. However, these particular books hold a special place in my heart because they helped me finish my manuscript and in the process gave me hope that I can achieve my lifelong dream. Thus, without further delay, the first book on my list is (drum roll please...)
1. Story Engineering by the fabulous Larry Brooks (pictured above speaking at the Rose City Writers Winter Intensive, April 1, 2012, Portland, Oregon).
· This book kicked my ass. It lit neurons I didn't know existed. It brought a lot of story structure theory I've read before into focus in a way that I was able to relate and therefore use in my work. Another reason I enjoyed Mr. Brooks' book is he uses recent movies as opposed to movies from the 1970's or even 1980's to exemplify his concepts. By doing so, I wasn't worried about his concepts being out of date with today's viewers and readers.
· Here's the most important nugget of gold Mr. Brooks helped me understand and for which I will always be grateful.
Let me set the stage: During our last Winter Intensive, speaking to a room full of romance writers, Mr. Brooks was puzzled when all of the questions thrown at him had to do with the non-romantic external plot. Shaking his head, he asked, "Aren't you all writing a romance novel?" Absolutely no one in the audience had an answer and I started to worry that no one in the audience got what he was talking about.
·Here it is folks: If you are writing a romance, your focus should be on the H/H and showing the reader how they fall in love. The HOW part is the 'romantic plot' so even though there should be another external plot that will move the story along its arc, this is really secondary in a romance novel. Seems simple, right? Not so much. It's actually easier to develop an external non-romantic plot with lots of twists and turns but harder to show that developing love between two people.
·Wow! Thanks Mr. Brooks for this. I will always be grateful. Want to know more about Mr. Brooks' visit to the Rose City Romance Writers? Check out his blog here. http://storyfix.com/what-i-just-learned-from-a-room-full-of-romance-writers