Tag Archives: romance

Long Island Romance Writers Spring Luncheon 2016

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Long Island Romance Writers, Inc. celebrated their 19th Annual Agent/Editor Luncheon on Friday, May 6, 2016, at the one of the loveliest venues in Nassau County, Fox Hollow Country Club. This was the place to be for romance authors, editors, and agents.

 

 

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Thee grounds sported lovely gardens and cascading fountains, not to mention an impressive outdoor fireplace.

 

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I understand the event started seventeen years ago as a Victorian tea in a member’s back yard and has grown to a gala event.

 

 

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My dear friend, author Jenna Victoria, is the Luncheon Committee Chair of the Long Island Chapter of RWA. I’m sure that means she’s the chief cook and bottle washer. At any event, she did a smashing job.

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This year’s keynote speaker was Leah Hultenschmidt, Editorial Director for Forever and Forever Yours at Grand Central Publishing. With quite a bit of wit and style, she spoke on trends in the romance publishing industry.

 

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After a scrumptious lunch, the afternoon ended with winners announced of lovely raffle baskets. That was followed by the event’s ever popular ice-cream sundae buffet, for which there was quite a long line.

 

 

 

 

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Crime Fiction: How Much Romance? How Much Grit? What About the Christian Market?

She's Mine on sale for 99 2/18/15

She’s Mine on sale for 99 2/18/15

The very talented writer Tammy Doherty and moi have been gal-pals almost since we met online (more years ago than we’d like to admit) in the Northeast Zone Group of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). One of the things we’ve always done is kick around questions and idea. So, we decided, for Valentine’s Day, we’d like to put our usual ramblings into a blog article about how much romance and grit is too much in crime fiction, and what’s going on in the Christian crime fic market.

Free for Valentine's Day weekend

Free for Valentine’s Day weekend

Nike: I think in murder mysteries, thrillers, and romantic suspense getting the mix of romance and grit right is essential. In traditional murder mysteries, detective stories, and starker crime fiction, romance should be secondary to the mystery. The chase for the killer should be the main thing. When you get over into cozies, that’s a different thing, IMO. There can be a fair amount of romance, but of a gentle kind. In romantic suspense, the reader expects quite a bit of romance. I’m launching into a contemporary detective story series where the police procedure has to be right, and the investigation is the thing. Yet romance is there nudging its way in. HARMFUL INTENT, is the first in what I hope is a long “couples” series. Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, private investigator and Deputy Sheriff Dawson Hughes solve a murder in Abilene, Texas. In the second novel, happenstance brings Ronnie and Dawson to solve a missing child case on the east coast. Later books in the series will have a different couple’s detective team.
Tammy: I agree with you, Nike. In a traditional murder mystery or suspense thriller, the crime must control the spotlight. But even in those stories, interaction between characters is what makes the story enjoyable to read. With Romantic Suspense, the very definition of the genre demands more than just interaction. At least two main characters must become romantically involved. Often, the suspense plot is what draws them together yet this isn’t enough. For the “romance” part of the title to apply, the hero and heroine must not only be drawn to each other but there must also be a genuine attraction worthy of long-term involvement. In other words, they need to fall in love. My new romantic suspener, gives them a common challenge to overcome. Still, once the suspense plot is resolved if there isn’t real romance and love remaining, the title fails. Later books in this series will feature other residents of Naultag, MA, the setting for SHE’S MINE, characters who will find love while facing and overcoming suspenseful conflicts. The key is in the balance: too little suspense and it’s just plain romance; too suspense will turn away the romance reader. So how much is too much grittiness?

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Nike: I’m so glad you brought up grittiness. I was just thinking about that. I like realistic mysteries and detective stories. There’s nothing more disheartening than to read a story where the author hasn’t got a clue about police procedure and everything is pristine. To my mind, if there’s a murder scene depicted, it doesn’t have to be gory, but there has to be some grit, or I won’t believe it. Cozy mysteries are a different animal, they should be light on grit. In my novels, I like to rough up my main characters. I did that in my historical mystery series to several of my heroes and heroines. In HARMFUL INTENT, Ronnie practically gets the stuffing knocked out of her by one of the villains. She and Dawson will get worked over in book two. My novels have lots of action, twists and turns, romance, and some humor. My intent is that they will clearly depict good vs. evil, and yet uplift. I do have some grit, but I don’t write noir. I’d like to think I write grit with grace.

Tammy: Grit with grace, I like that! I’ve been toying with a tag-line for my writing and what I’ve come up with so far is “suspense you can fall in love with” or “romance that keeps you in suspense.” I think the second one sums it up best. In romantic suspense, the grit needs to be there but cannot overshadow the romance. I like romantic suspense with believable police and EMS procedural aspects, but because it’s romance there’s some leeway for literary license. In SHE’S MINE, I did the research to make sure all my fire scenes are accurate for this region. For example, my characters call for an ambulance not “a bus” as they might in a NYC. Bad things happen to Caitlin and Sean in this novel, what gets them through it all is the romance. The story is lighter than a straight mystery novel without being unrealistic or “fluff.” I like the interplay between your main characters but they’re still keeping it on the professional side. My characters delve into the romance aspect right away with the suspense being one of the obstacles to their happily-ever-after.
What I’m finding very interesting is the increase of crime/mystery fiction in the Christian market, particularly with the rise of Indie publishing. How people juxtapose their faith with the grittiness of this world makes for wide-open storytelling possibilities.
Nike: That’s a great line and it describes your work: “romance that keeps you in suspense.” You write romantic suspense. The romance is major in your stories, no doubt about it, but so is the suspense. That line says it. I also couldn’t decide between two tag lines, so I kept them both. I use the short one mostly, but do pop the longer one out now and then: “literature that reads like pulp fiction” also “I like my bad guys really bad, and my good guys smarter and better.”

What I’m noticing is more Christian men writing and what they’re writing is crime fiction and action-adventure. These are the two genres I like to read. Mostly the male writers such as Mark Young (who had a career as a police officer) get the police procedure right, and then there’s J. Mark Bertrand’s outstanding Roland March detective series. There are also women who are getting details about fire arms and fight scenes right. I’m proud to say, I’m thought to be one of them. I’m a research fanatic. I spend hours researching firearms and other weapons, tactics for a fight scene, and police procedure out in the field. But I’m not the only female Christian author writing technically correct gritty scenes. Luana Erlich (who leans more toward espionage) does this, so does Virginia Tenery. Tammy, you do, and there are others as well.

Celtic Cross now FREE

Celtic Cross now FREE

Since you are my guest, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that your outstanding western suspense novel CELTIC CROSS is going FREE this weekend and will be FREE from then on in.

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Christians and Sex Talk ~ It’s Really Not Murder, Trust Me

 

 

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Courtesy of FreeImages by Bethtt

There’s no problem with waiting until marriage for sexual intimacy. The Bible says so and believing Christians should do so.

There is a problem with waiting until marriage to have “sex talk.” I didn’t say dirty talk. I said sex talk. A lot of young Christians go on their honeymoon and to their wedding bed not knowing what on earth to do. I don’t think many Christians would be surprised to hear it’s not unusual for more than a few married Christians to wonder if their marriage is missing something sexually. [I learned this listening to the Joni Show.] With no previous experience, they have no yardstick to measure, but they have doubts about what’s going on in their bedroom.

Can I suggest to couples, if you’re not adult enough to talk about your sexual expectations, you might not be adult enough for marriage?

Unless couples are cloistered, in this age of over-the-top television and movies, even without any carnal knowledge, couples getting ready for marriage have some idea of what goes on in the married bedroom. So, why not talk about it? Frankly, even before over-exposed media, most couples understood the fundamentals. Anyone who grew up on a farm certainly knew.

What is physically sexually appealing about your partner? Talk about it. What is not sexually appealing? Oh, maybe that’s when a woman doesn’t shave her legs. You’d be surprised to find out how many married women don’t shave their legs unless they know they’re going to be seen out in a dress or skirt. Yes, only if they’re going out. That means hubby is seeing their hairy legs and that might be a huge turn off to him. What about if the husband decides to grow a beard and the wife finds it scratchy when the kissing starts? These are things that should be talked about when the serious discussions about marriage start. Not a good idea to wait until the night before the wedding.

Do you expect your partner to be toned and/or buff and to keep that up? If so, say so during dating. Don’t wait until the first child arrives to tell your wife you expect her to be in better shape. You might get a dirty diaper thrown at you. It’s incorrect to think Christians don’t have these expectations. It might be the wife telling her husband to get rid of his “love handles.” Listen, can we talk? If flab is a turn off to you, discuss it before the engagement. Oh, so you’re thinking that as a Christian you should be above letting a little thing like physical appearance turn you off. News flash, it is physical appearance that is the turn on. Oh, and sense of humor, that lilt in your partner’s laugh, and other ethereal things.

Do you have a fantasy you’ve never shared? She wants to feel like a princess with a rose on her pillow and gallant love talk. She thinks he’ll feel that’s weird or sissified and won’t want to do it. Tell him about it and maybe he’ll think it’s great. He has this little fantasy he’s afraid to share because he thinks she’ll think he’s a reprobate. Tell her. First of all, it’s the real you and she should know. Secondly, she might not think it’s off the chart. Or she may say it gonna take a little tweaking (that’s tweaking, not twerking), but she’ll try it.

Widowed and divorced Christians do have sexual experience and real sexual preferences. It’s really important to talk about this when the relationship begins to move toward seriousness.

What about letting your partner undress you? How about bathing or showering together in a romantic/sexual way? Do you crave eating strawberries with whipped cream in bed? Why not talk about feisty-sex. How feisty is feisty? When does it get scary, too rough? Can it be kinda-rough and still be romantic? Does this include getting bossy? Just because he’s the Christian head of the woman doesn’t mean the husband can be sexually bossy! He’s to love his wife as Christ loved the church…and that includes in the bedroom. Especially In the bedroom.


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