Friday, February 28, 2014

Gemstones and Story Icons

When I was a child, my pockets were always full of colorful and uniquely shaped stones. I still have an assortment of rocks collected over the years. It’s no wonder unique stones play a part in both of my published works.

In my first book PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE, gemstones have personal and political significance. In the icon the Prince is seeking, the Crown of Tolem, there were once four gemstones. The Kingdom Stone, a triangle-cut blue topaz, remains in the icon, the Crown. The other three princely or territorial stones have been broken out and the whereabouts of only the Tolem Stone, a round ruby, is known. The other two are believed to be a tiger-eye and a milky quartz. In addition, my heroine is a believer in the power of the birthstone, the one she wears around her neck that connects her to the deities.

In my current release BLOODSTONE I indulged my fascination for rocks and gems by making my hero a gem-hunter and my heroine’s father a gem-cutter (something like a jeweler). Consequently, my hero uses the properties of gems to describe the heroine, and the title object is desired for its unique properties. Besides being petrified drops of dragon’s blood, it reacts to sunshine with a burst of fiery red light, and my hero has a mystical connection to it. I called it bloodstone—for obvious reasons—but it isn’t at all like the real bloodstone gem. My bloodstone is actually inspired by a piece of volcanic glass known in the Southwest as an Apache Tear. The Apache Tear is droplet shaped and looks dull until you hold it up to a source of light. Then you realize it’s translucent. However, it doesn’t throw out bursts of fiery red light when exposed to sunlight like my fictional bloodstone.

When I was a child, I loved stories and stones. I had no idea I’d later be able to combine both loves in books. Even though “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” what gems are you fascinated by or drawn to?

All the month of March, I'm participating in The Romance Reviews March Anniversary Party. A total of 450 authors are giving away books and other prizes at or click on the poster on the left. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Monster as Hero--What's the Allure?

Beauty and the Beast. Cupid and Psyche. The Donkey Prince. What do these myths/fairy tales have in common?

A time-tested romantic archetype—the monster whose humanity must be restored through love.

The fairy tale Beast has made himself a monster. He’s committed acts so inhumane, he’s cursed with an exterior as ugly as his heart. Cupid, the Roman god of love, falls in love with the human Psyche, but like all ‘rock stars’ he’s afraid she’ll love him only because of who he is, his incredible beauty, and not for himself. He pretends to be a horrible monster and keeps her literally in the dark to see if he can win her love by his actions. The Donkey Prince is cursed at birth with a donkey’s body due to his parents’ actions. Determined to be accepted, he learns to play beautiful music, wear fine clothes, and behave with princely manners, but nothing will hide his donkey features.

They’re monsters, regardless of the reason, because that’s how they show themselves to the world.

How do they deal with it? The Beast withdraws, drowning in his misery and guilt. Cupid hides behind darkness and deceives his bride and her family. The Donkey Prince picks up his lute and seeks solace in his music.

What can save them? A woman courageous enough to withstand everything the monstrous exterior can throw at her because her compassionate heart detects the spark of humanity within.

With patience and prodding, Beauty digs the Beast out of selfish misery to selfless caring. Psyche pursues her man/god through all the trials his mother Venus throws at her to convince Cupid (and his mother) she fell in love with the beast long before she knew he was a god. The princess falls in love with the heart of the donkey who can make such beautiful music, and he sheds his animal skin.

Why do we love these monster-heroes?

Because each of us yearns to be seen for who we truly are rather than what we look like. We don’t want to be books judged by our covers. Look inside. Read our pages. Discover our stories. Every time one of these monster-heroes is redeemed and revealed, it’s an affirmation that love truly does see with the heart and not with society’s eyes.

Obviously, I’m fascinated with the monster-hero since I featured him in BLOODSTONE, but what about you? Who’s your favorite monster-hero? Why?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Spotlight and Giveaway!

BLOODSTONE is featured now through Feb. 21st on Riverina Romantics. In the run-up to BLOODSTONE's worldwide release on Feb. 21st, I'm giving away one e-copy of BLOODSTONE as well as one e-copy of my debut fantasy romance, THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE. Hop over to Riverina Romantics to enter the rafflecopter giveaway:

Leave a comment! I'd love to talk about fairy tales with you.