Monday, October 28, 2013

Fantasy Romance--What is it?

This week I'm guest blogging at fellow WisRWA author Steven Mitchell's blog on the topic of Fantasy Romance.  I'm putting out my definition and hoping to get some feedback on what readers and writers identify as elements of the category.  Stop over and add your thoughts at

BLOODSTONE the Kindle edition releases today at Amazon! Hooray!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What do you do you do when your hero just won’t tell you his name?

You’re the author, right? You control the story. After all, it’s all coming out of your head, isn’t it?

Now I usually haven’t had much trouble naming my main characters as soon as they appear on the page. Some friends have asked me how I can come up with such unusual names as are necessary in fantasy, but the only challenge I’ve usually had is getting the spelling arranged so the reader can pronounce them in some way close to how I hear the names in my head. Secondary characters have had their names changed on occasion, but most of them spring on the page “fully named” as soon as I conceive of them (buddies Grodar and Morys, for instance from THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE, and Rees and Pumble from my upcoming release BLOODSTONE).

But main characters—the author should know their names before she begins to write the first draft.

Tell that to my hero of BLOODSTONE.

He insisted on being “the man” for the first third of the book—or the Shadow Man, as he’s known to others—before I decided I had to figure out what he wasn’t telling me. Turns out he had a very good reason for withholding his true identity. He was in serious denial and had almost forgotten who he used to be.


Once another character unlocked his memories in a series of flashbacks, I knew who he was and how he came to be the Shadow Man. And I finally got a name. Not to mention a full sense of how the heroine would both challenge and complete him.

I don’t recommend diving into writing a story without a name for a main character. A well-chosen name tells both the writer and the reader a great deal about that person. The writer has a mental, emotional, and sometimes physical guide to that character and how he/she might react and what might motivate him/her. The reader forms an instant impression to that character. For instance, who didn’t correctly size up J.K. Rowling’s Severus Snape or Draco Malfoy as soon as either of them appeared on the page? Names are powerful or we writers wouldn’t invest so much effort in choosing the right one.

Still, if a character refuses to "play nice," perhaps he or she is telling you something and you need to dig deeper.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BLOODSTONE hits the e-shelves on October 28th!

What if looking at the face of the man you loved meant death?
Years ago, warrior Durren Drakkonwehr was cursed by a mage. Now feared and reviled as the Shadow Man, he keeps to himself, only going to town to trade rare bloodstones—petrified dragon’s blood—for supplies. Though he hides his face, he can’t hide his heart from the woman who haunts his dreams…
Needing bloodstones for a jewelry commission, Mirianna and her father journey across the dreaded Wehrland where the beast-men roam. When their party is attacked, only the Shadow Man can save them. Strangely drawn to him, Mirianna offers herself in return for her father’s rescue.
Living in the ruined fortress with the Shadow Man, Mirianna slowly realizes that a flesh-and-blood man, not a fiend hides there in hoods and darkness. But are love and courage enough to lift the curse and restore the man?
BLOODSTONE, my Beauty-and-the-Beast-type fantasy romance debuts as an Amazon Kindle Select title on October 28th. I hope you'll join me for an awesome release!
Read on for an excerpt:

What about us? What do we do?”

            Only the hood rotated, cocking with exaggerated deliberation. “Why, you die, old man.”

            Her father blanched. His grip on Mirianna’s arms faltered.

            She saw the Shadow Man turn, saw the muscles of his thighs bunch as he prepared to leap down the hillside, saw, in the corner of her eye, shapes gathering along the tree line below, horrible shapes she’d seen only hours before rushing at her from a darkened clearing. With a shudder, she broke from her father’s grasp.

            “Please!” She reached out to the black sleeve. “Help us!”

            He recoiled at her touch like one snake-bitten. The sudden, sharp focus of his regard staggered her, but she backed no more than a step. No matter how he terrified her, he’d helped her once. She’d been led to him again, and not, her instincts told her, without reason.

            “Please,” she repeated. “Help us. I—we’ll do anything.”


            His voice was a whisper that caressed flesh. Mirianna’s stomach quivered. Her breasts tingled. Her mouth grew even drier. Without thinking, she slid her tongue along her lips. Vaguely, she wondered what she’d done. And why time seemed suspended, as if everyone but she and the Shadow Man had been cast in stone and all sound arrested. All sound except the taut, guttural repeat of his question.