Carnivalesque: The Stigma of Romance

We serving up a hot topic today and talking about the Stigma of Romance Novels. Come join my fellow Carnivalesque: Travelling Blog Show friends as we discuss the myths and realities of the romance genre! Stop by Janet’s Journal and hear what Jana Richards, Hayley E. Lavik, Joanne Brothwell, and I have to say about it!

 

 

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T Minus 48 Hours Until Release Day

I’m going to be in two different places today as I go out and about promoting my debut romantic suspense, Backlash. Yay! June 1st is the official release day and I’m so excited! The countdown is on and I’m celebrating by giving things away.

I’m also excited to be guest blogging about small towns over at Janet’s Journal and hanging out with my friend and the good folks over at her place. I’m also giving away a short story I wrote called, Waiting for Mason. To get a copy all you have to do is leave a comment with your email address and tell me your favorite fictional setting.

 

As well, I’ll be visiting at Long and Short Reviews doing an Author Interview. I’m giving away a prize there, too! A $10.00 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press.

Backlash is available in print from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. It will be available also available in ebook come June 1st.

 

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Six Sentence Sunday

It’s that time of week again. Time to travel around cyberspace sampling six sentences of published works or works-in-progress by various authors. It’s Six Sentence Sunday!

My six sentences comes from my romantic suspense, Backlash. My hero, Constable Chase Porter, has just found out that the Prairie Brotherhood, a criminal gang, has put a contract out on Lily Wheeler, my heroine.

Chase wrapped his hands around the top railing and lowered his pulsing head. A growl tore out of him. It had nothing to do with human and everything to do with wild. His heart rate jacked. His skull heated while fear, aggression, and predatory instinct pumped panic through his arteries and spiked it straight to his heart.

 

Enjoy your Sunday!

Backlash is now available in print from The Wild Rose Press, and Amazon. It will available in digital format on June1st.

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Fiction Friday

So, I’ve been reading! At one point I had three books on the go. That’s very strange for me. I generally stick to reading one book at time, with one on deck and one in the hole. All other months, except for July, August, and December, I have a book club book on the go. Hopefully. Usually I’m falling behind the eight ball on that one. This month is no exception.

Let’s start with that one. Room by Emily Donoghue. Room is the story of a five-year-old called Jack, who lives in a single room with his Ma and has never been outside. When he turns five, he starts to ask questions, and his mother reveals to him that there is a world outside. Told entirely in Jack’s voice, ROOM is no horror story or tearjerker, but a celebration of resilience and the love between parent and child.

I’ve started it and it’s so engaging and fresh. But it’s the beginning. My problem is a mistrust of words ‘no horror story or tearjerker’. I guess I’ll find out!

 

The one I’ve finished. For the first time ever I picked a book because I saw it on Facebook! Jillian Stone’s The Seduction of Phaeton Black. Loved it! A bit Steampunk, a little Sherlock Holmes-ish, hints of the erotic, some Paranormal bits.

Unfairly linked to Scotland Yard’s failure to solve the Whitechapel murders, Phaeton is offered a second chance to redeem himself. A mysterious fiend, or vampire is stalking the Strand. After a glass and a consult with the green fairy, he agrees to take on the case.

On his first surveillance, Phaeton pursues an elusive stranger and encounters several curious, horrifying beings. But the most intriguing creature of all is a Cajun beauty who captures him at knifepoint and threatens to spirit away his heart.

What a delightful book! Mary Balogh at her best. The Proposal is Book 1 of the Survivors’ Club series and Gwen, Lady Muir’s story. Gwen, wealthy, aristocratic widow after a troubled marriage, has resisted remarriage for many years. But at last she is restless and believes she could find contentment in a marriage with a quiet, refined man. Large, powerful, dour Hugo, Lord Trentham, is reluctantly in search of a practical, capable woman of middle class origin, like himself, to help with his newly busy life after his father’s death. When he rescues Gwen after she has sprained her ankle on a deserted beach, they feel a mutual dislike and resentment of each other.

I’ve only recently learned of Saskatoon author, Anthony Bidulka. His books sound awesome. I’ve been busy adding his books to my TBR pile! A gay wedding gone bad. A missing groom. An unsullied reputation at risk. Enter Russell Quant, cute, gay and a rookie private detective. With a nose for good wine and bad lies, Quant is off to France on his first big case. From the smudgy streets of Paris, he cajoles and sleuths his way to the pastel-coloured promenade of Sanary-sur-Mer.

Back in Saskatoon, Quant comes face to face with a client who may be the bad guy, a quarry who turns up in the most unexpected place and a cast of colourful suspects: the vile sister, the best friend, the colleague, the ex-lover, the lawyer, the priest, the snoopy neighbour—are they involved? Or is someone else lurking in the shadows? As he works through his case, Quant juggles his detective gig with the responsibilities of a personal life brimful of captivating personalities.

Have you discovered any new authors lately? Read any good books? Added anything to your already teetering TBR pile?


 

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Carnivalesque: Your First Fictional Crush

Today our Carnivalesque: Travelling Blog Show exploits take us to Hayley E. Lavik’s blog were we’re confessing to our first fictional crushes. Not only that, but we’re also confessing to what that says about us. Should be interesting, so come join Hayley E. Lavik, Jana Richards, Joanne Brothwell, and Janet Corcoran.

I’ll give you a hint. One of my first fictional crushes had super fantastic wheels. I liked his ride almost as much as I liked him. It was the ’70’s and my favorite boy crush band was the Bay City Rollers.

 

We’d love to have to stop by and confess to your own crushes! You can also follow along on Twitter #blogshow @karyngood

 

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Is There a Secret Formula to Creating Strong Female Characters?

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”  Zig Ziglar:

Nope, no secret formula. But in my mind there are a few requirements.

Confidence: No surprise there. Confidence is incredibly appealing. It affects how we feel, our behavior towards others, and the outcome of any undertaking. It creates a heroine who is more powerful, more in control, and more satisfied. They expect equality, cooperation, and respect whether they bus tables or run companies. Whether they run a daycare or a country.

Passion: A heroine can be down and out, discouraged beyond belief, have lost hope. But once that fire within has been stoked it allows her to live life, experience it, and claim it. She does not live a life of temperance. When she regales her grandchildren with stories of her past, her tales are met with wide eyes and open mouths.

Determination: There is no superpower greater than determination. She will let nothing stand in her way. There is no obstacle big enough, no danger great enough to keep her from her goal. From winning. Because who can afford to lose if the life of their children is on the line? Their patient’s life? A total stranger’s?

Strength: Often the ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ response is a luxury they can’t afford. Someone has to be around to look after the kids, the dog, the house, the neighborhood, the community. Women are the fixers. The multitaskers. The gatherers. They can be the hunters. The thief in the night. They can be whatever they have to be to survive.

Commitment: They know the cost of responsibility and are willing to pay it. When all seems lost they do not allow the feeling of wanting to quit to overpower their commitment. There is no ‘taking your best shot’, there is only try harder.

Purpose: The foundation for all the rest of it. To know what they are to do and why. Not to be confused with wanting power over something or someone else. It does not need to be about conquest and supremacy. It is deeply personal. It is passionate. It is backed up with thoughts, words and deeds. It will be evident in how she feels, heals, creates, and shapes her future.

“Beauty is a true expression of who you are. The coolest girls are never the ones that have the prettiest face or the best bodies; they’re the ones with their own unique style and look. They are the ones who are true to who they are.”   Wendy Zomnir

There you have it. My take on heroines. I’d love to hear your thoughts or have you add to the list!

 

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Romanticism and The Hero

The Romanticists did not present a hero as a statistical average, but as an abstraction of man’s best and highest potentiality, applicable to and achievable by all men, in various degrees, according to their individual choices. Ayn Rand  The Romantic Manifesto

I don’t pretend to know a lot about Romanticism or the Romantic Era, other than quoting Thoreau or Emerson on occasion and I doubt that counts as knowledgeable. And it’s been a couple of decades since I’ve read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I haven’t read anything of hers since, although I have always wanted to read The Fountainhead. But this quote came up when I was researching heroes and it spoke to me.

If it means what I think it means (and that’s not always guaranteed), it’s speaks to the essence of character. It’s about being true to your purpose and moving forward despite obstacles or because of them and how that is represented in late 18th century and early 19th century in art, literature and philosophy.

She goes on to write:

If man possesses volition, then the crucial aspect of his life is his choice of values—if he chooses values, then he must act to gain and/or keep them—if so, then he must set his goals and engage in purposeful action to achieve them. The literary form expressing the essence of such action is the plot. (A plot is a purposeful progression of logically connected events leading to the resolution of a climax.) Ayn Rand The Romantic Manifesto

From hero to plot, internal to external conflict. I like it. I think that’s what it means to be romance hero or heroine of today. Purposeful action in defense of one’s values and beliefs. As a romance writer it’s important to note that the unrealistic muscled fantasy hero we are often accused of creating is really symbolic of their inner strength of character. Though they have flaws and are guilty of making wrong decisions, they try to make it right. That’s my kind of hero.

Of course, I’m not going to complain if they happen to look good naked! What are your thoughts?

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Carnivalesque: The Value of Conferences

This week our Carnivalesque Travelling Blog heads to Joanne Brothwell’s blog where we’ll be talking about attending conferences and whether it’s worth the money? So come join Hayley LavikJanet CorcoranJana Richards, Joanne Brothwell and myself over at her place as we let loose our opinions. You can also find us on Twitter: @karygood, @jscorcoran, and @hayleyelavik and follow the discussion using hashtag #blogshow.

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Introducing My Hero Chase Porter

Welcome to hero week! Yesterday I shared my Alpha Male Toolkit. All those qualities and attributes that make a great romance hero.

“Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed.”  Peter S. Beagle

Constable Chase Porter is dedicated to his job. He has put everything he has into his career, and used that career to elude thinking about the past. Now he finds himself back in Aspen Lake. He’s back on track to catch an illusive gang leader. Too bad that path leads him directly to the one woman he wants to avoid.

Excerpt

“What are you doing here?” Her fingers tightened around her cup, and the resulting pop from the pressure filled the small space. She glanced back at the door, all confusion, and he knew she was hoping for some kind of intervention. For someone else to join them, anyone else.

He stalled and took a second to settle his arms on the tabletop. He pushed at the file and offered her an anemic look of confusion. “Here?”

“Yes. Here. In this room. In Aspen Lake. In the parking lot of my school.” She spread her hands out and motioned around her. “Here!” She averted her gaze and inhaled a deep breath before spotlighting him, apprehension darkening her eyes, deepening the blue color.

“My job.” To him, it was that simple.

“Your job?”

“I’ve been transferred to the Aspen Lake detachment.”

“You’re a cop?” Her look of skepticism said it all. The air of disbelief pricked at his ego. He shifted in his chair. Like all the times in fifth grade when his teacher, Miss Carlisle, had asked him why he had no lunch. Had asked questions about his father.

“Is that so hard to believe?” He had worked his ass off to get where he was, and he was a damned good cop. The work he did with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, and his reputation, proved his dedication to his job. None of which she’d be aware of, or care about if she did. When he burnt a bridge, the only thing he left behind was ash.

You can now order a print copy of Backlash from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. Ebook format coming on June 1st.

 

 

 

What he’s sworn to protect, she’s willing to sacrifice to save those she loves…

 

 

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Strong Heroes: The Whole Package

It’s Heroes Week here on the blog as I’m celebrating the print release of BACKLASH.

No one can argue with the appeal of strong heroes. There is considerable discussion, however, over the definition of the word strong and what that means in terms of attributes other than muscles. Not that there’s anything wrong with a nicely sculpted six pack.

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.” Thucydides

When written well they are incredibly sexy. So, what can I do to create a hero who is fantasy worthy? Who embodies the qualities that would keep a reader turning the pages?

**Strong Heroes Toolkit

Sense of Honor: Most important would be a sense of honor. A strictly held to Code of Conduct. That requires honesty, fairness, and integrity in one’s beliefs. Above all, he had better back it up with his actions.

Set of Core Values: These speak to what the hero wants. To his motivation. Ideally, one or more of his beliefs will have to change in order for him to have his happily ever after. Conflict, conflict, conflict.

Exemplary Hero Credentials: I might show him saving someone, or performing an act of heroism, for which he takes no credit early on in the story. I might create a situation revealing his ability to love and commit, even if he would shudder at the thought. An alpha hero needs to prove himself worthy of sympathy by the reader.

Respect for the Heroine as an Equal: They may butt heads. They may clash. They may disagree. They may not treat each other as inferior, weak, or stupid. They are partners. Boundaries must be set and often by the heroine.

Stamina and A Very Specific Skill Set: Yes, I do mean sexual prowess. This may be one of the areas subject to the largest level of poetic license in the romantic fantasy. The ability to make love all night long. Over and over again. Always putting the pleasure of the heroine before his own. But whatever the type of sex, it must be mutual. There is no “you know you want it” type thinking. No means no. Any alpha male worth reading knows this. Choice offered. Answer respected. No qualifiers.

Physical Strength: My idea of the perfect alpha male involves muscles, and lots of them. Frankly, I’m not so much about physical appearance, beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all that, but I’m a sucker for a six-pack. One of my favorite books by Eloisa James is called A Duke Of Her Own. It is the Duke of Villiers story. The Duke, who is not thought to be especially attractive, knows it’s his money that draws women to his bed. However, he is equally aware that his physique and his skill keeps them there.

Natural Leadership Qualities: Who isn’t drawn to these? To the alpha in the pack who doesn’t second-guess? Who leads instinctively? Part of the fantasy remember? Confident and sexy.

Feelings: He has them. He does not discuss them. Unless. Absolutely. Necessary. An alpha male needs a strong voice. He needs to use language and descriptors appropriate to an alpha male.

Courage: I think there’s a quote that goes something like: Courage is not the lack of fear, but rather it is taking action in the face of, and despite, fear. My idea of the alpha male psyche includes a healthy sense of fear accompanied by smart action in the face of it. Their physical strength must match their inner strength.

A Serious Flaw: Or two. While talking about world-building from my friend, Hayley, I learned about the Rules of Magic. I think it should apply to alpha males, too. Just as magic can’t do anything it pleases, neither can alpha males. You can’t just bandy about all that testosterone without limits and repercussions. They need a weakness. To be vulnerable. How else are you going to make him suffer? Have the heroine make him suffer? Create conflict? And more conflict?

Are you drawn to alpha males? What qualities and traits would appear in your Alpha Male Toolkit? Do you have a favorite alpha male character?

**My Strong Males Toolkit first appeared on a group blog I used to write for called The Prairie Chicks Write Romance but I thought it might be worth sharing again.

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