Busy Little Bee

Monday, August 25, 2008
I'm full of cliches lately. Last post, I was doing three steps in my two-steps-forward-one-step-back writing career. And now I've been such a busy little bee this past week because when it rains it pours.

Not only have I been working like a bat out of hell on our new house to get it finished, but I've nearly been at death's door with my thyroid problems and have finally gotten an appointment for tests this week. On top of that, my writing has really taken off and publishers keep asking for more to read. Plus we're at the height of our busy season at work and I've been swamped there. Not to mention, my parents fiftieth wedding anniversary is less that two weeks away and final touches are being made on that. And now, NOW of all times, the publisher who read my finalist entry in the Ignite the Flame Contest, wants to see a partial and synopsis. So, I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off to polish that off and send it in. I've barely had time to think, much less keep up with my critique group. I keep telling myself it'll all be over soon, but man. Soon keeps getting stretched out another couple of months.

Okay... I think I have all the cliches out of my system now (Oops. Guess not!). Hopefully, I'll have good news to report soon.

Two-Step to the Top

Monday, August 18, 2008
I think I read somewhere that struggling to become published is like a country line dance… It’s two steps forward and one step back. Well, I’ve taken three steps forward this week.

First of all, I turned eligible for the PRO membership in Romance Writers of America. Or, in other words, a publisher finally asked to read one of my full manuscripts, not just a couple of sample chapters. But not only did one publisher ask to see one of my entire manuscripts, but four days after the first one contacted me, a second publisher wrote, wanting to see another full manuscript.

That would've been enough enthusiasm to last me the rest of the week. But then, I received an email from a contest coordinator. And, bam, I finished second in COFW’s Ignite the Flame Contest. I’m still in a state of shock. For me, these accomplishments are major.

Now if only I knew the two-step, I’d celebrate by dancing out a country western favorite. Sigh. I guess it’s back to the ice cream instead. It's a good thing I have an overactive thyroid or all this ice cream celebrating would stick a lot longer. I could be like, this love handle is for the time I won second in the COFW contest and that love handle is for the two letters I received, asking for full manuscripts...

But, I digress. I'll let you go for now. See you in a few.

Brockmann's Dark of Night Mystery

Monday, August 11, 2008
Today’s topic is Suzanne Brockmann’s series of Troubleshooters books. The most recent installment, Into the Fire (book no. 13 in the series), was released on July 22, 2008. On her website, Brockmann announced that book no. 14 will be out in early 2009. Dark of Night has caused such a stir because no one has been officially informed who’s going to star in this story. What we do know is that the book begins on the same day ITF ends and Brockmann advises us we should be able to figure out who the main hero and heroine are going to be. But to be perfectly honest with you, I haven’t got a clue… okay, so I have plenty of clues, but they’re all so very debatable.

And debate is exactly what Brockmann fans are doing. After googling the story, I found numerous heated discussions. A few that caught my attention are the following sites:
Suzanne Brockmann’s Message Board
Adwoff’s Message Board
DON : Who Do You Think?
An Amazon Discussion
Another Amazon Discussion

Before I continue, I warn you this blog is crammed full of spoilers, so if you haven’t read any of Brockmann’s books or you’re not caught up with the series, BEWARE, I talk openly about what’s already happened. Don’t read any further if you don’t want to know about books one through thirteen… er, well, actually I’ll probably only mention books seven (Flashpoint), eight (Hot Target), ten (Into the Storm), and thirteen (Into the Fire). I’ve learned that HEA stands for Happily Ever After, so I’m going to condense the term to that acronym as well.

Okay, then. Most of the discussions I’ve read are certain Sophia stars in DON (Dark of Night), but the real question they debate is who’s going to co-star with her, Decker or Dave? I think it’d be funny if Brockmann tricked us all and published a story about, say, Jay Lopez. But she told us on her website, we’d be able to figure this out. So, let’s start figuring. Two, or maybe three, romances develop in book 13. There's Izzy, Sophia, and Decker. Izzy’s two possible choices are Eden and Tracy, though I have to say, neither affair seemed to end very well. So, I’m going to join the rest of the crowd and say, no, it’s not about him. I’m not even sure Iz has met his fair lady yet.

So that leaves us Sophia and Decker. But the big question is, will they end up together… or with other people. Since Flashpoint, I myself have supported a Sophia/Decker match. Their meet scene will go down in history as one of the most amazing romance scenes of all time. But, wow, I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that they shared an intense moment in Kazbekistan. I think it’s important that it was given from Decker’s point of view too. Since we were in his head, we saw all the heat and passion Sophia sparked in him. She also filled a loneliness he’d been feeling. If we had read this from her point of view, however, there would’ve been fear and desperation and the overall tone would’ve felt more like a perversion than a hot temptation. I don’t think we can ever forget this moment because neither Sophia nor Decker has forgotten it. In the stories Hot Target and Into the Storm, they’re very awkward around each other because of their first encounter and therefore have more sexual tension between them.

But many people are right... the after affects from that scene have dragged on. I sincerely hope Decker's talk with the psychiatrist helped him deal with all the issues he has about Sophia. Since Decker and Sophia have been so uncomfortable around each other, there are some very convincing opinions on the message boards swearing Dave will end up with Sophia. We can’t forget good ol’ Dave by any means. He’s been in every book right along with Sophia and Decker. And he’s gotten close to Sophia, becoming her best friend. They’ve opened up to each other and he’s really stepped it up in the hero department in Into the Storm and especially Into the Fire. I love Dave to pieces. He’s been there for Sophia and he’s the ultimate good guy.

I don’t want him with Sophia, however. This might sound awful because I love Sophia’s character too, but I don’t think she deserves him. Yikes, I do sound bad. As terrible as I sound though, Sophia has confided her feelings for Decker way too many times to Dave and he’ll always wonder if he’s playing second fiddle. I think his heroine should fall for him right away. He’s been so good and patient, he should get a HEA with a woman whose affections he has no doubts about, though that would be a good complication to overcome in DON if he was Sophia's leading man. Does she truly love him or not?

I still have a big thing for Decker though. Dave may be wonderful, but Decker has the alpha hero part down. Even when we’re in his point of view, he seems to hide a part of himself. He’s mysterious and masculine and he really does want to do the right thing, so I feel obligated to cheer for him. When he’s in the same room with Sophia, all the attention seems to suck into around them and focus on their interaction, suggesting they're fated to end up together.

Also, when he talked with the doctor lady, he kept waiting for the moment she’d mention Sophia. He may have dreaded it, but he was also anxious for it. He became tense, thinking she'd want to know how his heart stopped when he thought maybe Sophia had been shot way back in Hot Target. I think that was a very revealing moment. It shows he does have feelings for Sophia. It shows he's working through his messy emotions too and he'll soon be able to star in his own book.

But then he goes and kisses the doctor later and that throws things off because suddenly there’s that attraction to wonder about. And Sophia kissing Dave tosses another wrench in the situation. I mean, what's a reader supposed to think? I have a feeling Brockmann has purposely give us these distractions though, to make us wonder… which she’s successfully done. Oh, yeah. The woman knows what she's doing. If only I could accomplish 5% of her talent. Yes, insert dreamy sigh here.

That’s why I’d like to see Sophia, Dave, and Decker get all their HEAs in one book because whoever Sophia ends up with, someone’s going to get hurt and a small part of me will be disappointed. But if they paired off with their respective loves in one, tidy story, then I could deal. It’d be nice if that all happened in DON, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

So, okay. Let's get back on track. DON will most likely star Sophia or Decker. Sophia's possible matches are Decker, Dave, or Danny Gillman. But I think we'll all agree Danny doesn't have a shot. Then there's Decker. His possible loves are Sophia, the doctor lady (Yeah, I can't remember her name. Sorry), or Tracy.

I know, I know. Tracy? Yeah, that's probably not likely. But they shared a phone conversation where she invited him to open up to her if he needed someone to talk to. They also shared a moment in Into the Storm when he stopped by her room to get warm clothes for Sophia after she fell into the water. But those were just moments. Probably no big deal. Then, there was that attraction Decker felt for Hannah when she stared at his mouth to read his lips. Since she's so much like Tess, maybe he'll wait around for another Tess-like character. But I don't really believe that myself.

There's also the possibility that Tracy could end up with Dave. She was talking about him looking good in jeans. And she cuts his hair. That could get some serious sensual action going on. So, we can't forget about that... though it's also unlikely.

Ergo, the story could, maybe, possibly but unlikely star Tracy with Decker, Dave, or--yep--Izzy. I'm feeling some very odd triangles going on here. Or the story could be about Dave with... Sophia, Tracy, or some unnamed heroine to be. I'm kinda rooting for a newbie to catch Dave. I'd like his woman to feel an instant attraction to him.

So... Those are all my strange ideas. Why don't you leave a comment and let me know who YOU think will star in the upcoming Troubleshooters book, Dark of Night.

Romance in the News

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We romance lovers made the national news.

If you didn't get to attend RWA's National Conference in San Fransisco last week--like me--then, here's a little video coverage about it. LJ, in my critique group, returned yesterday and has lots to report. She says she learned a heap of information and is happy to pass it along. It won't be as exciting second hand, but I'm sure she'll do a wonderful job of paraphrasing what happened.
I hope I'm not cheating by posting so many videos lately. Since I learned how to do it, I've become a little addicted. I'll try to tone it down, though. Toodles!

August Nightstand Reviews

Monday, August 4, 2008
Duchess By Night by Eloisa James (Historical Romance). James has a wonderful, unique style. I became addicted to her stories after reading Much Ado About You. You can really tell she's a history professor too because there's such a rich level of historical tidbits. But the woman knows how to make them entertaining .

The Wedding Dual by Karen L. King (Historical Romance). King is in my MARA writing group so I wanted to read her work. Now I need to read all her stories because they're that good.

Chasing Charlie by Kathy Carmichael (Contemporary Romance). I was directed to Carmichael's website because she has great tips on writing a synopsis. But after reading her synopsis for Chasing Charlie, I had to read it myself. What a fun, light story. Reading a Carmichael is a good way to sit back and relax.

Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann (Romantic Suspence). Reading this story is not relaxing, however. Talk about stressful. Brockmann sure knows how to pack in the tension. Wow. I'm amazed. There were actually three romance stories going on in this book, but only one was resolved. I can't wait to read Dark of Night coming out in 2009 to see who stars in her next Troubleshooters book.

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione (Paranormal Romace). Paranomral Erotica I think it more like it. But golly, there were some vivid intimate scenes in this book. Good, though. I really like the world she created. I wouldn't mind meeting a few of these demons in a dark alley.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (YA Paranormal Romance). Finally, I get to talk about the Twilight Saga. Twilight is Book One in the series and I just love it. It's a great coming of age book for teen girls and has enough romance to keep me reading. But it's also got some eerie paranormal mystery that keeps you wanting to know what's going to happen. There's some good action too. Great way to start a series.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer (YA Paranormal Romance). Book Two in the Twilight Saga. To me, this book was very emotional. I think I cried through most of it. But when Edward left Bella, my heart broke with her. Though she doesn't focus on how much his absence hurts her, you can feel it in everything she does and thinks. Very dramatic. But has a happy ending. I loved it.

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer (YA Paranormal Romance). This is my least favorite book in the Twilight Saga. In the third story, our heroine realizes Edward isn't the only guy she loves. Even though I understand why she feels what she does and it makes perfect sense, it seems to take away from that oh-so powerful thing she had with Edward. He's so understanding too, I just felt frustrated because it happened to all three of them (Bella, Edward, and Jacob). But I still liked the story. It was still very powerful. Weird, huh?

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer (YA Paranormal Romance). Fourth book in the Twilight Saga. I loved it... I even like when they jumped from Bella's perspective to Jacob's. And I'm so happy he got the ending he did. I felt bad for him after the last three books, but I loved everything about this finale. The twist with Nessie was even totally awesome. I never thought she'd be making an appearance. In my opinion, the Twilight books had a more satisfying end than the Harry Potter books. There're just so good.