Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The allure of the romance...

I've just returned from the annual RWA National Conference and it's always so very cool to be surrounded by that many other fans of romance. The literacy signing is exceptionally cool as we get to meet many of you, our readers. We so appreciate your kind words. After a week with fellow romance lovers I'm left wondering what it is that keeps us returning to both reading and writing romance.

The allure of the happy ending is, indeed, great, and many of us read romances exclusively because of this very element. But I think at the heart of things, romance is a bit more and the real reason we all cuddle up with our favorite heroes and heroines (either writing or reading) is all of the stuff that actually leads to the happy ending. The enduring power of love is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I'd like to think that most of us have felt it in our own lives. But even before that, you can know, believe in your heart of hearts that it's out there. This, too, is a great pull to the genre. Yet it's still not quite what I want to put my finger on though.

There is a key difference between villains and heroes - heroes must grow and change, but villains don't have to. This is, I believe, the true draw of romance. Most of us are eternal optimists, we like to believe that no matter how the day goes, in the end all will be well. We know the world doesn't always work that way, but we still wake up the next morning hoping for the same thing. In the romance world, everyday doesn't always end pleasant, but we know it's coming. The characters we read/write about are flawed and they have fears and dreams and secret desires – all attributes that you and I have – and like real people when the going gets tough, our characters (eventually) face those fears and make big, scary decisions. They grow and they change and they overcome. They walk through fire and they come out on the other side stronger and more able. They tackle their big issue and they resolve it before they get their happy ending, so we know that happiness will endure past the last page of the book. It's this what gives us the real hope? Seeing people overcome adversity and pain and fears. Isn't that we all want in our own lives? To overcome and battle our own demons? And triumph! Yes, yes, this really is the happy ending. Were it not for the growth and the change, then the happy ending in the relationship would be a bit watered down and unsatisfying.

So three cheers for our strong characters, they do what a lot of characters in other books do not. They win and they are better people in the end.

You can read about my own strong characters overcoming their own challenges on July 28th when Seduce Me hits bookstores everywhere. Be sure to check out my website, www.RobynDeHart.com for the latest reviews and an excerpt.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Highland Lass's Border Laird in a Kilt

I can plot every intimate detail of a hero and heroine’s adventure. I can whip out snappy dialogue and describe times and places I’ve never been. My words can keep readers up all night, make them giggle, make them sigh. In a pinch, I can even come up with catchy marketing phrases for bookmarks and promotion.

Just please don’t ask me to come up with TITLES for my books!

That’s my Achilles’ heel. (Hey--“Achilles’ Heel”? Wouldn’t that make a great romance title?) See what I mean?

My latest manuscript, a historical set in the time of Mary Queen of Scots, is in final revisions, and it’s still going by “Book Number 1 of 2.”

Ideally, the title for this book should reflect:
1) It’s Scottish
2) It’s a romance
3) It’s different from every other Scottish romance you’ve read

But the telltale Scots-indicator words--“Highland,” “Kilt” and “Border”--have been done to death (not to mention that my story takes place in the Lowlands, in the time before kilts).

This suggestion, by the way, was sent to me by my father, who thinks my problem is HILARIOUS...

My husband thinks I should just change what I write, since a lot of the titles I’ve come up with sound like military action novels:

Tempered Steel
In Harm’s Way
By Honor Bound

You can see my dilemma. So how about it? Does anyone have any spectacular titles for a romance featuring a kick-arse Scots lass and her English hero?

Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
DANGER'S KISS - Flirting with trouble May 2008

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Romance Writers of America (and Washington, D.C), Here I Come!

In just four days' time, I'm headed across the country to Washington D.C., where I'm going to the Romance Writers of America National Conference for the first time as a "real, published author," and I'm going to be meeting (and signing A HINT OF WICKED!) with a group of amazing Grand Central authors.

I'm also in the middle of a deadline, and apparently I'm getting page proofs in the mail, which I'll be working on on the airplane. I have nothing to wear (will the clothes I wore last year still fit?), and I have no idea about shoes...or even transportation from the airport... Yikes! Time is short--I'd better get on all that.

I'm going to be the nervous nelly newbie, I just know it. I'm generally a pretty shy person, and I'm super quiet in groups. When someone asks me something and everyone turns and looks at me, waiting for the answer, I tend to turn beet red. But I'm so excited, and so thrilled to be going! AND I feel so honored to be a one of the Grand Central Romance writers, because truly, some of my favorite authors write for this house. Is it possible to be a giggling fangirl and part of the group at the same time? Guess I'll find out!

If you're coming to DC, please stop by and say hi (I'm likely to be the blonde wallflower in ill-fitting clothing and mismatched shoes hiding in the corner), but if not, I'll be Twittering from the conference, so come on over & check out my updates (I'm @jenniferhaymore over on Twitter and Jennifer Haymore on Facebook).

Okay, off to sort through my closet in a last lame attempt to find something to wear. I have no time left to shop at this point! See you soon, everyone!


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Biggest Author Signing of the Year!

Well, maybe not the biggest of the year, but certainly a gosh-darn large one. The author signing I'm talking about is RWA's "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing in Washington D.C. How big is it? Dude! Over 500 romance authors will be there! Here's the info:

2009 RWA "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing
Wednesday, July 15th
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Exhibit Hall

The best part of this signing? Not only wlll you get a chance to meet and chat with your favorite authors, but all proceeds from the autographing go to literacy charities. For a list of the 500-plus who will attend, go to RWA's website, but here are some of the Grand Central Publishing authors who will be attending (and if I miss anyone, please add your name in the comments section.):

Sherrill Bodine
Shannon K. Butcher
Susan Crandall
Robyn DeHart
Lilli Feisty
Jennifer Haymore
Rita Herron
Diana Holquist
Elizabeth Hoyt (and Julia Harper)
Carolyn Jewel
Marliss Melton
Andrea Pickens
Karen Rose
Michelle Rowen
Kelley St. John
I hope we see you there!
Elizabeth Hoyt