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So sad, few professional authors ever reach that level and I certainly hadn't gone beyond needing the money when my agent told me my editor suggested I set my next paranormal in Scotland. I'm not too crazy about using settings or plot devices that are currently hot. There are a number of reasons why that I'm not going to talk of in this blog because, more troubling, the suggestion contained a hint that perhaps the story could be straight romance, no paranormal at all.
Well . . . readers either praise me for it or complain, but they all seem to know I'm not real great at writing straight, tender romance. I adore a good love story quite as much as anyone else, but I not quite as good at writing them. What I think I am good at is crafting stories where the love is so pressured, the characters so endangered, that emotions rise to unbearable heights, forcing the attraction to go beyond everyday conversations and conventions.
A time bubble, which sent me out to research Einstein in the children's books section I always visit first when I'm researching something I'm a dummy in. The great man's take on time truly is radical – he calls it the fabric of time – and numbers of readers didn't understand my best stab at explaining it. But you don't need to understand the mechanics of time to understand the disturbance that this handful of thugs brought to the Scottish paradise when they crossed through the fragile gate. Not that these hardy people weren't up to the battle. Let's face it they could squash these twenty-first century fops like bugs. But the ruler of the paradise had said no fair killing outsiders, meaning I had to create a bigger conflict
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This book turned out to be so much fun to write, proving that "needing the money" maybe isn't such a bad thing after all. THE DRAGON HOUR not only had me researching stuff I'd always been interested in, it stayed on the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders Books bestseller lists for nearly two years, plus going out to win me the PRISM award from the FF&P chapter of Romance Writers of America.
That was quite a surprise. I'd been up for the PRISM before, but lost out to my good friend, Christina Skye. I was so sure I wouldn't win I didn't even write an acceptance speech, something my friends really balled me out about. But that didn't mean winning wasn't just thrilling, it was astounding. How, I wondered, could a book that threatened to be so flat end up as an award winner? And I know I'm not the only author that has happened to.
Which puts me in mind of Christina Dodd, whose book cover for CASTLES IN THE AIR came complete with a three-armed woman. That's not a typo, this historical heroine did indeed have three arms. Fortunately, none in naughty places, but very visibly present. So what did Christina do? She kept her wits about her. Rather than complaining and crying "Why me?" Christina went to her email loops and sent readers straight out to see this unusual and startling mistake. The book became a bestseller.
How about you? Have you had a surprising success? Or maybe it didn't happen to you directly, but you know someone else who had that experience. If so, let me know by dropping a line in the comments section or sending me an email. If I get enough of them, I'll do a dedicated blog about these unique situations and surprisingly delightful outcomes.
In the meantime, I retain my fondness for Ormeskirk. Without him, there would have been no story at all except for a micro-war between a handful of thugs and a village full of Scots. Ho-hum.
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