One of those random thoughts…

No Romance Weekly today, unfortunately!

Instead, have a post on something I been thinking of a lot lately 😀

The other day I watched Divergent (and my excitement had nothing at all to do with the fact Jai Courtney was in it…), and I will admit now I haven’t read the books, but what I want to talk about I can guess is part of the books.

The movie was going ok, I got the jist of the world and things and then it came to the point where Tris had to choose which faction she was going to be in for the rest of her life.

She had five choices- Abnegation (Selflessness), Erudite (Intelligence), Amity (Peaceful), Candor (Honest), and Dauntless (Brave).

She was originally in Abnegation, but she changed. Can you guess which faction she chose?

You were most likely right- it was Dauntless.

And that was great and all, and I could see it coming from a mile off, but I couldn’t help but sit there and think, ‘Why couldn’t she have been the heroine and still have been in abnegation?

What was wrong with the character’s main trait being selflessness or kindness and not the ability to kick someone’s butt?

Is that what makes a strong character now? The ability to knock someone out? Would someone who didn’t have the ability to beat of attackers be considered weak?

Ok, Tris has different circumstances with her being divergent and all, so she is all of the traits, but the main trait that is still focused on is her bravery and fighting skills.

I understand action scenes make for more excitement, and I, myself, enjoy the fight scenes.

But if Tris had stayed in abnegation or switched to amity, would the book have been so popular?

Would a book with not only a female lead, but one whose favoured trait is something that doesn’t involve fighting, have gone down well?

I don’t know, but it certainly got me thinking.

A few books I’ve read even start off with the character having no abilities, and then they go through a training chapter, and develop these fighting skills and only then are they classed as a good, rounded character and able to continue the story.

I write fight scenes in quite a few of my books, but in my stories I enjoy having the plot resolved in some way other than violence, even if there is a big fight scene. It’s part of the reason I enjoy writing romance, because it can be the powerful connection between people that can overcome things, not necessarily the fact that my female character can right hook the bad guy into oblivion!

Still, I admit myself that I would second think making a character, especially a female one, who didn’t have the ability to defend herself for the fear of having readers think she was weak.

But to be fair, I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to fight off an attacker, and I am not a fan of violence, yet anyone who has met me knows I certainly wouldn’t be called weak!

So, maybe it’s time to start thinking about that more? If we didn’t push the ability to kick butt as such a highly valued trait, and focused more on the nicer qualities, it might help people to see that violence isn’t always the answer and that being a nice person isn’t a weak thing?

Well, that post got a lot deeper than I meant it to 😀

Anyways, I’m not saying these awesome fighters aren’t great characters, because they’re brilliant! It was just a random thought I had 🙂

What do you think of this topic? Do you think characters could be written without the ability to fight and still be classed as a strong character?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 22,940 (+6094 since last check-in).

Books read towards challenge: 2/50
Currently reading: Thyme in a Flask by Glen Quarry

Character Sketch: Cosmas

Thought I’d do something a little different for today’s post. I recently got a graphics tablet and have been having great fun playing around with it.

I was inspired to draw a younger, care free version of Cosmas, who is a character from Prophecy of Stones.

Cosmas

Cosmas was one of my favourite characters to write, along with her bond mate Otto. There’s something really gentle but at the same time strong about her.

Excerpt:

“Will you not join us in celebration?” the man asked, spreading an arm behind him to gesture at the joyful crowd. “Will you dance?”

“Does she look like a woman who dances? Really?” Sindrin scoffed, leaning close to the man and jerking a thumb in Milana’s direction. She shot him a glare and put a hand on her hip. He took an instant step back, raising his hands before him in mock innocence.

“We will join you.” Cosmas’ soft voice flowed from Milana’s side, and she flicked her glance to her.

“Cosmas, we can’t-”

“Oh, come Milana, just for a moment,” Cosmas interrupted. She tugged Otto towards the crowd, the two of them spinning around, their laughter merging with the music that drifted over the area. Otto jigged on the spot whilst Cosmas’ agile, fluid moves made her the envy of the other dancers as she swirled and dipped with graceful ease around her bond mate.

If you’d like to find out more about Cosmas, why not check out Prophecy of Stones?

Prophecy of Stones

The bond of love can conquer all, but only if it is accepted.

Prophecy states that three champions imbued with the best virtues of the mortal race: heart, strength and soul, will be the ones to save them all from an enemy which threatens to steal the life from their world and those who live upon it.

These three, along with their scribe, his bond mate, and an overly sarcastic oracle, must set off on a journey which will take them through forest, city, swamp and mountain. On this quest they activate the magical stones which charge the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tildar and his cult of Dwell.

Yet the closer they draw to journey’s end, the more it seems that it is not the evil which will be their downfall, but the fear of a champion unwilling to accept the bond of their destiny.

Prophecy of Stones is a tale of adventure, love and magic.

Links:

Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes and Noble

*This is a scheduled post, I will be back on Monday to reply to comments and emails. Hope everyone has a brilliant weekend!* 🙂

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

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It’s Tuesday, which means it’s Romance Weekly Blog Hop time!

If you’ve joined me from Veronica Forand, then welcome! 🙂

This week the questions focus on characters.

1. How much free reign do you give your characters during a story?

I give them pretty much completely free reign. Although I love to have a plan, some of the best things can come from the unexpected moments when your character’s take the story out of your hands!

2. Have your characters ever done something so out of the blue that not only changed your story, but changed the tone and maybe even the genre you were originally going for? (Like your contemporary romance turned into a spicy paranormal)

I’ve had some characters do some things that were completely out of the blue, but I don’t think it’s ever changed the tone or genre. Though, it could still happen 😀

3. Do you have one character in your head that is sort of boss over all the rest? Or do you decide who to work on and when?

On my current WIP, I have a group of characters and I do have to say I’m pretty good at managing to spend time on each. Out of the group, there are three who are the strongest and the main focus, so obviously they get more time, but I do have a character with a smaller role who just loves to push his way into focus every time there’s a scene! 😀

Now why not go check out what Victoria Barbour has to say in response to these!

How would you answer these questions? Do you give your characters free reign to do as they wish when you write, or do you like to stick to a plan?

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

RW Banner

If you’ve joined me from the lovely Kim Handysides, then welcome!

So this week Sarah Hegger asked us to tell her our three favourite book boyfriends from any books we’ve read and why.

At first I thought, ‘pfft! Easy peasy!’, and then when I thought about it I found it quite difficult to choose just 3! 😀

Anyway, here are the ones that stood out the most to me:

1. Diesel from Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich

Ah, Diesel… What’s not to love about him? 😀

The man makes me swoon every time I read this book and although he doesn’t get together with Stephanie Plum, there is enough tension there to make the pages burn!

He is brash but kind, charming but understanding; definitely the type of guy I want in my life. Add to that the air of mystery about him and I’m sold!

2. Jonathan Harker from Bram Stoker’s, Dracula.

Ok, I watched the famous movie with Gary Oldman before I ever read this book and just assumed (bad, I know!) that the movie was a faithful retelling of the book. How wrong I was!

In the movie Jonathan Harker is a bit of a nothing, he doesn’t really do anything and certainly doesn’t inspire much romantic feeling.

Yet, in the book, he’s a COMPLETELY different character. Definitely one to swoon over. His dedication to Mina and his willingness to do whatever it takes to protect her makes my heart flutter, whilst at the same time he is a gentleman of his time with all the manners!

3. Otto from my book, Prophecy of Stones.

This is cheating a bit, seeing as it’s my own book 😀 But still, Otto is definitely a character that stands out to me as a man I would be happy to have around.

He’s calm, understanding, but strong; a man capable of leading his own life without relying on others. Although a secondary character, he stands out in his own right, and the intensity and depth that he shares with his bond mate is exactly what I’d want in my life.

And there we have it 😀 Those are the guys I’d pick straight away, if you know, they were real…

Anyways! Go find out who Veronica Forand has chosen for her three.

The Romance Weekly’s November Contest is up and ready if you want to enter! Some great prizes this month 🙂

Who would you choose as your book boyfriend/girlfriend?

The Magic Spark Release Day!

I’m so excited! 😀 The Magic Spark is out now!

MagicSparkCS

Blurb:
Successful businesswoman Alex is content with her life in London, and any ideas of romance have been left on the back burner. But when her fairy godmother, FG, waltzes into her office one morning announcing she has come to help Alex rekindle a passion for life and love, she is about to check herself into therapy!

The fairy godmother’s incessant wand-flicking soon lands them in the isolation of the Scottish highlands, where Alex’s next client, Mal Ross, not only stirs her professional interest but her romantic ones too.

Tasked with the enormous challenge of turning a historic castle into a flourishing hotel, the pair must work closely together whilst attempting to avoid the awkward situations the rom-com obsessed fairy godmother keeps forcing them into.

But the path of love is never smooth, no matter how much magic you throw at it.

The Magic Spark is a light, enjoyable read, full of fun and romance.

Favourite Quotes:

“What happened?” FG asked, scooting forward, her eyes wide with curiosity.

Owen seemed more than willing to participate in gossip. “Nobody really knows, not even me and I’ve worked for that family all my life. Me and my hen live not far from here, and there was a big commotion about it all in the village, though it was all very hush-hush. Didn’t please the locals not to know what was happening, that’s for sure.” He bellowed with a laugh so loud it filled the entire car with its jolly sound.

FG furrowed her brow. “Why does he live with a chicken?” she whispered.

“I think he means his wife,” Alex replied in just as much a hushed tone, whilst trying to stifle a chuckle.

They stood for a moment in silence before Paul’s blue-eyed gaze shifted to FG and his brows rose. “Oh, I’m sorry.” Alex jerked into action, giving introductions. “This is FG, she’s my-” She choked on her words. What was she meant to say? ‘Oh, this is just my fairy godmother who’s trying to set me up with your gardener?’ She bet that would go down real well.

“You’ll get cold, come on.” He stepped forwards and, before Alex had time to protest, he scooped her into his arms and cradled her to his chest.

“Because this isn’t at all embarrassing,” she said, flushing red and hoping he would think it was from the alcohol and not the fact she enjoyed being pressed up against him like some damsel from a fairy tale.

FG would have a field day if she found out about this.

For a full excerpt, click here to see the cover reveal post!

Links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Createspace (Paperback)

Smashwords

Goodreads

I really enjoyed writing The Magic Spark, it was a great book that I got to have some fun with, especially FG. That fairy godmother certainly made me chuckle!

Choices, choices…

Photo by Lauren Macdonald on Flickr

Photo by Lauren Macdonald on Flickr

So, my fifth manuscript is finally with the readers, and from the comments so far it sounds like it’s going great 😀

During the couple of weeks my readers have my manuscript, I usually start working on my cover, but also planning out my next book. This is so I’m totally organised and can begin writing as soon as the next month comes around.

The problem is choosing which book to write next.

Starting a new book is always exciting, with the thrill of finding new plots and twists, and figuring out characters to fill the world with! But there’s always a huge amount of nervous anticipation too, because I want to make sure I choose the right one.

It’s probably the same for all authors, but I do write a ton better when I’m really enjoying the story and characters I’m writing. And although I have a load of story ideas, I need make sure I figure out which one suits my current writing mood, and which one will keep me inspired and enthusiastic all the way through.

So, this week will be half working on getting organised on my new release, whilst also sifting through my piles of notes and notepads, trying to find which story is going to grab hold of my interest next.

It’s a tough job, as I already have about 4 which are really getting me inspired!

Starting and choosing a new story is definitely one of my favourite parts of being a writer 😀

How do you pick which story to write next? Do you have a bunch of story ideas to choose from? Is starting a new project one of your favourite things as a writer?

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: With the readers. Need to do cover/trailer/marketing.

Books read: 2/4

End of September Indie Review: Written and ready.

The Queen’s Jester- A passion fuelled, fantasy romance.

Queen'sJesterCoverThe Queen’s Jester
Fantasy romance.

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes and Noble

Blurb:
An exquisite wedding gift. A husband whom she loves. A Jester who she craves. A Kingdom in peril.

After receiving a beautiful emerald amulet at the celebrations of her wedding, new Queen Marie finds solace in the stunning, yet strange amulet. A warm comfort that fills the hole that her husband has left with his distance at her every affectionate touch.

That is until the new Jester arrives, his presence fuelling in Marie an instant burning need.

The more she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic man, the quicker she realises he is anything but the fool.

Marie must make a choice, one that could not only affect her marriage and her life…

But her entire Kingdom.

Queenq

queen2

Prophecy of Stones- A fantasy, romance, adventure!

ProphecyCover Prophecy of Stones
Fantasy, adventure romance.

To Buy:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes and Noble

Blurb:
The bond of love can conquer all, but only if it is accepted.

Prophecy states that three champions imbued with the best virtues of the mortal race: heart, strength and soul, will be the ones to save them all from an enemy which threatens to steal the life from their world and those who live upon it.

These three, along with their scribe, his bond mate, and an overly sarcastic oracle, must set off on a journey which will take them through forest, city, swamp and mountain. On this quest they activate the magical stones which charge the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tildar and his cult of Dwell.

Yet the closer they draw to journey’s end, the more it seems that it is not the evil which will be their downfall, but the fear of a champion unwilling to accept the bond of their destiny.

Prophecy of Stones is a tale of adventure, love and magic.

Trailer:

August 2014 Round-Up and September 2014 Plan

Books and Reading Wednesday postponed until Friday, because I am currently writing it! 😀

So, September already!

Actually this month felt rather normal compared to the others which have whipped by! It was still a busy month, but a bit more manageable at least.

Now a round up of August:

– Kept to schedule even though I completely skipped a week of writing.
– Posted every scheduled day.
– Started posting scheduled posts on a weekend.
– Got some great reviews for my books, including my newest, Prophecy of Stones.
Connected regularly with other bloggers, who I have to say are some amazing, talented, and very supportive people!
– Found the ‘Home’ button on Facebook! 😀 Meaning I can share other authors links more effectively.
– Read 5 books (1 over target, oh yeah!)- Scandal of the Season by Sophie Gee, In Search of a Love Story by Rachel Schurig, Sins of the Father by Melissa Barker-Simpson, The Unraveling of Lady Fury by Shehanne Moore, The Camelot Code by Sam Christer
– Started my Books and Reading Wednesday posts!
– Managed to write a couple of short pieces.
– Had an amazing interview done with DKC
– Didn’t do well on marketing 😦

I really am going to have to market better and in an imaginative way!

I have hardly done any marketing and seeing as I am trying to make this my career I am just going to have suck it up and get to it 😀

I’m still tempted by trying my hand at drawing, which I took back up this month after having a break. I did a couple of fan art pieces (sorry about quality, my scanner hates me so I took pics with camera):

Daniel and Teal'c from Stargate SG-1

Daniel and Teal’c from Stargate SG-1

Anders and Hawke from DA2 (Far too obsessed with this game!)

Anders and Hawke from DA2 (Far too obsessed with this game!)

Maybe a teensy bit obsessed with this Stargate SG-1 too!

Maybe a teensy bit obsessed with this Stargate SG-1 too!

Would illustrations of scenes from a book be the type of thing that might get you interested in it? Any idea for other forms of imaginative marketing?

Anyway, moving onto September.

Plan:

1st-5th- Self edits of manuscript/ Hopefully come up with a title!
6th-14th- Vacation! Woohoo! 😀
6-21st- Off to the readers/Work on cover/ Work on blurb/ Create interest in my other books (aka. The dreaded marketing!).
17th- Mid-September Book Review.
22nd-29th- Final edits and read out/ Finish formatting/Drum up interest!
24th- End of September Indie Book Review.
30th- Release day!

Wow, that was a bit confusing 😀

Goals:

– Read 4 books (which I should hit as I plan to read A LOT on my vacation).
Do some actual marketing instead of grumbling about doing it 😀
– Continue to actively support others and find new inventive ways of doing so.
– Write short and prompted pieces on regular basis.

Some other stuff that went on this month:

Elaine Jeremiah released her latest book, Reunion of the Heart!

The Amazing Winter (which should be her title with the amount she manages to accomplish!) got signed twice!

I won a copy of A Gift of Wings by Stephanie Stamm on the blog of L.Marie!

Blimey, that was a lot longer post than I meant it to be! Should be an exciting month 😀

How was your August? Have you got much going on in September?

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Editing first draft.

Books read: 1/4

Mid-September Book Review: Read, need to write review.

Meet my character blog hop!

So, I’ve been asked to participate in the Meet my Character blog hop by the awesome Shehanne Moore whose next book, ‘The Viking and The Courtesan‘ hopefully won’t be far from publishing after being signed with Soulmate publishing!

First, a bit of info about Shehanne Moore:

shey_blog_hop

When not cuddling inn signs in her beloved Scottish mountains, Shehanne Moore writes dark and smexy historical romance, featuring bad boys who need a bad girl to sort them out. She believes everyone deserves a little love, forgiveness and a second chance in life. Visit her blog to find out about past releases and hear more about her forthcoming time-slip historical, The Viking and The Courtesan.

Shehanne’s blog: http://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/

So first off I have two things to say before starting:

1. I’m VERY sorry to Shehanne who asked me to do this a couple of weeks ago and I just completely forgot, and she was really, really lovely to let me try it again!

2. I’m a terrible blog hopper. Because I actually forgot I had to find people to, you know, hop onto next 😀 So, I’m making a plea to other bloggers to do this and post a link in the comments? Because you’re all so lovely!

I swear I will get better at blogging one day!

Now onto the questions!

The character I have chosen is Alex Lailand from my work in progress, which is embarrassingly still untitled! 😀

What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Her name is Alexandra (Alex) Lailand and she is a completely fictional woman.

When and where is the story set?

The story is a modern day story set in London and Scotland!

What should we know about him/her?

Alex is a very practical woman, and a very confident one. She built her business from nothing to a business that allows her to have a fancy apartment and office in the middle of London.

Though city life is beginning to wear on her, she won’t admit it.

What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

What messes up her life? More like who messes up her life!

That would be FG, her rom-com obsessed fairy godmother who appeared in her office one day and sent her life spiralling into chaos. FG believes Alex has lost her heart and passion for life including love and business, and she isn’t leaving until that’s fixed!

Though FG’s imagination runs as far as throwing Alex into her own romantic tale, flinging her and her ‘perfect match’ into an assortment of clichés she’s picked up from watching and reading too much romance, which only serve to make things a little awkward for the pair.

What is the personal goal of the character?

To be successful.

Alex is all about getting the win, even if that means focusing only on the hard facts rather than the personal when it comes to her clients.

Is there a working title for this novel and can we read more about it?

There is currently no working title! Which I should probably rectify pretty soon.

I recently posted a short, unedited teaser from the first draft. And of course I shall post more about it the closer it gets to release day (end of September!).

Ok, now is the part where I’m supposed to link to the other bloggers participating in the hop! But like I said, I had a complete blank when it came to this hop apparently! So I really hope someone is willing to join in!

If you do, please post it next Monday and let me know and I will link to the post 🙂 If you want more info, drop me an email and I will send you the details! Email: harliqueen (at) Hotmail (dot) co (dot) uk

Progress Report:

Status of fifth manuscript: Editing first draft.

Books read this month: 0/4

Mid-September Book Review: Currently reading.