It’s Romance Month

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Image courtesy Creative Commons

February is usually the coldest month of the year on the northern side of the equator. Maybe that’s why Valentine’s Day is in the middle of it: to raise the temperature with thoughts of love, and plenty of books, too.

Why do authors write romance as scenes or themes, or sometimes, whole books? Some members who don’t typically write romance have some thoughts.

M.L. Doyle

When I read a book, whether it’s mystery, thriller, science fiction or fantasy, and there isn’t a little bit of romance in it, the lack of it seems off to me.

Aside from writing the occasional erotica story, I never set out to write romance. When I start a new project, I’m writing mystery or urban fantasy, and the romantic stuff is what happens when I put my characters in a room together. I honestly never feel as if I’m making them fall in love, or get naked with each other. They simply do it on their own and I’m just along to describe it as best I can. In other words, if the romance isn’t organic in the story, I’m not going to make it up.

Do I read romantic literature? Sure. I’ve read piles of romance, from the tame to the downright taboo. Some of it is really compelling.

I read a story about a couple who are about to get married, when one of the man’s old friends shows up. Long story short, they become this threesome. They love each other and they have to figure out how they are going to appear to the outside world. Are they married? Is one just a friend? What happens if she gets pregnant? How do they tell who the father is? And won’t the third guy just always feel like the outsider? It went way beyond the usual romantic elements and was really engaging and well written.

Other stories seem to try too hard.

I think all literature is supposed to move us in some way. If it doesn’t move you, why read it? Romance moves you in specific ways; maybe goes out of its way to manufacture those emotions, but so do horror and thriller and mystery. There’s a lot of bad, trite, trashy romance out there, but there are also gems that reel you in and don’t let go.

I laugh now at how many men are enjoying the show Outlander. When those books came out, they were considered romantic adventure. In any case, they were considered to be well into the romance category and therefore, not “real” literature. Now that they’re on the screen, maybe men won’t be so quick to turn their noses up at the other romantic works.

Alan McDermott

There’s no hard and fast recipe for a successful thriller, but most of the ingredients are the same: a capable, relatable protagonist; a believable villain; lots of action; plenty of intrigue.  One thing that wouldn’t have been high on my list was romance, but looking back, my heroes have had their fair share.

Tom Gray started out a married man, but that lasted one chapter.  Two books later, he had a new love interest, Vick.  Once again, fate intervened, and I must have subconsciously decided to leave him a single man for the duration.  He never found love again, but my new character made up for it.

Eva Driscoll first appears in Run and Hide.  She’s single, but when events conspire to reunite her with an old lover, she soon picks up where she left off. Fast forward to the next book, and the thriller gods have their own plans for the pair.

The last of my characters to get romantic is Simon “Sonny” Baines.  He’s painted as a ladies’ man throughout the series, but never actually got to know anyone.  That is, until my newest offering, Fight to Survive.  Will he get the girl of his dreams?  You’ll have to read it to find out.

Scott Bury

Love and some kind of romance are common to all people, in all cultures, through all time. So a romance can be a part of any kind of story.

I find that a lot of romance stories, especially the big-selling ones, are too predictable. I prefer a story where I don’t see the relationship budding before my eyes. At the same time, I don’t like stories where two personalities who would never be attracted to each other in the real world fall in love despite all the obstacles.

While I don’t set out to write romance (okay, that one time), when I start to write a story, I think about who the characters are, who they are or could be attracted to. Then I can have a lot of fun as I put challenges in front of them. Love or a relationship can grow as two people (or maybe more) work or fight through a challenge. On the other hand, difficulty can destroy a relationship, as we see all the time.

What do you say?

Do you read romance? Tell us why do you do, or why you avoid it, and tell us why in the Comments below. Every one who leaves a comment gets a free e-book from one of our members.

I see my job as a writer as bringing my readers into the story, and making them see what the characters see, feel what they feel, in a way they can believe and that resonates with their own experiences, fears and desires.

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Monday musings: A new year means new words on the page

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By M.L. Doyle

It’s January and the start of a brand spanking new year. I’ve searched Roku for free fitness channels and loaded them up. I’ve packed my refrigerator with tons of leafy greens with the focused goal of not letting any of them go to waste. I have a couple of large garbage bags full of clothes and shoes I didn’t wear in the last 365 days, and I’ve tossed out all the old shampoos, conditioners, lotions, makeup and beautifying products I acquired over the last year thinking they would somehow improve my life.

I spent money on all that crap and now I’m getting rid of it. As regretful as I may be for having purchased things I shouldn’t have, it feels good to start a new year with a lighter load.

Just as we all make resolutions at the beginning of a new year, writer’s set goals for the words they will produce and this year, mine are a bit ambitious.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been working on the second book in my Desert Goddess Series. The Bonding Spell, released in 2015, was one of the most enjoyable books I’d ever written. Staff Sergeant Hester Trueblood picks up a shiny, gold coin while on duty in Iraq and her life is forever changed. As the new embodiment of the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna, Hester returns to her home in Minneapolis, and tries to come to terms with her changed circumstances and the bitchy goddess voice in her head.

It’s a wild, Jim Butcher-style, urban fantasy romp that is funny, sexy and filled with mystery. I couldn’t wait to dig into the sequel, but had no idea when I started it, just how much more story there was to tell. “The Bonding Blade” has opened my eyes to more of Hester and Inanna’s world, the warriors dedicated to fighting and sacrificing for them, and the demi-god, Gilgamesh who is devoted, by destiny, to love them, no matter what they do.

As the New Year begins, my greatest goal is to publish “The Bonding Blade” with as much perfection as I can bring to it. I’m aiming for a late June or early July publication date.

While “The Bonding Blade” is going through final edits, reviews and promotions, I’ll be rewriting a couple of stories that were originally published in Amazon Kindle Worlds. Kindle Worlds have gone away, so the rights to these novellas have returned to me and I’m going to make full use of them.

In the first novella, Archimedes Ford is an FBI agent who has slogged through life carrying a heavy secret. His latest case brings him face to face with someone who will make it impossible for him to keep hiding any longer. Major Corey Turner spent his entire career with secrets too, until the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy finally ended. Archie Ford has difficulty concentrating on solving his complicated case, but he soon learns he’s not just saving the life of a young girl, but also saving his own.

“Archimedes and the Soldier,” is the first of two Archimedes Ford novellas which will both become spinoffs of The Master Sergeant Harper three-book mystery series already in existence.

And if that’s not enough, I plan to at least outline a forth book in the Master Sergeant Harper series. All I know is that Harper will be going to the Sergeant Major’s academy in El Paso, Texas. It’s a huge leap in her career and one she’s been aiming for, ever since she put on an Army uniform. But the academy is a tough school. Not everyone passes and British Sergeant Major Harry Fogg isn’t making it any easier for her.

They say, if you make New Year’s resolutions you should write them down or tell others so you have some tangible proof of your goals and a need to hold yourself accountable. Well, I’ve done it now. I’ll check back this time next year to see how close I am to meeting them.

Win a copy of The Bonding Spell, either by commenting here. One winner will be selected by random draw.

M.L. Doyle

M.L. Doyle has served in the US Army at home and abroad for more than three decades as both a soldier and civilian. She calls on those experiences in her award-winning Master Sergeant Harper mystery series, her Desert Goddess urban fantasy series, erotic romance writing and coauthored memoirs which all feature women who wear combat boots.

Check her out on Facebook.com, or Twitter @mldoyleauthor, and you can read excerpts of all of her work on her website at www.mldoyleauthor.com.

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Bestseller joins BestSelling Reads: Meet M.L. Doyle

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Bestselling and award-winning author M.L. Doyle has joined the ranks of BestSelling Reads.

Mary Doyle is the author of two memoirs, three mystery novels, a four-novella erotic romance series, and the first of a series of urban fantasy novels. Her first novel, The Peacekeeper’s Photograph, won the Carey McCray Memorial Literary Award for best unpublished novel from the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop. It has since been published and received consistent five-star reviews.

“When I published my first book in 2010, I thought writing was a solitary thing. It’s still up to me alone to put words on the page, but I’ve learned that working within a writing community means you can find the support you need when you need it,” she says. “I know and have worked with many of the authors in BestSelling Reads already and I am honored to be invited to join such a talented group.”

Mary Doyle’s first book was as the co-author of  I’m Still Standing: From Captive Soldier to free citizen—my journey home (2010, Touchstone) which chronicles the story of Spec. (Ret.) Shoshana Johnson, a member of the 507th Maintenance Company who was captured during an ambush and held prisoner in the early days of the Iraq War. The book was nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award in the literary category for best Autobiography/biography, a year in which the category included books about Nelson Mandela, Jay Z and Ray Charles.

Mary has also co-authored another military memoir. A Promise Fulfilled, My life as a Wife and Mother, Soldier and General Officer tells the compelling story of Brigadier General (retired) Julia Cleckley, the first African-American female general of the line in the U.S. Army National Guard. The book chronicles Cleckley’s journey from joining the Women’s Army Corps, to a position of power wearing the star of a military general. The story details her journey to success while facing the most devastating losses a woman can endure: the loss of a husband and of a child.

Originally from Minnesota, Mary Doyle served almost two decades in the Army Reserve. She was stationed in Germany, Korea and the U.S., and her career took her from Central America, the Middle East, and across western and eastern Europe.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast communications from Metropolitan State University and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma.

The Peacekeeper’s Photograph was planned as the first in a trilogy that now includes The Sapper’s Plot and The General’s Ambition, both featuring Master Sergeant Lauren Harper. But experience has shown that Mary isn’t done with writing about Master Sergeant Harper and her British companion, Sergeant Major Harry Fogg. Mary has written companion short stories, The Ceremony and Canceled Plans. She is planning a fourth and perhaps a fifth book in the series.

Mary’s adult romance series is called Limited Partnerships. It comprises Part I – Charlie, Part II – Luke, Part III – Wolf and Part IV – Derek, are available as individual ebooks format and as the Limited Partnerships Omnibus in ebook and paperback.

Her current project is a second novel in her Desert Goddess urban fantasy series that began with The Bonding Spell (2015). “I’ve been working on The Bonding Blade for a couple of years and I can’t wait to release it to the world,” she says. “It’s the second book in the Desert Goddess series aand I think it moves the story in a whole new direction. Ever since I released The Bonding Spell, my readers have been clamoring for the next book. I’m so happy to be closer to delivering it and can now promise that I’ll announce a release date by very soon.”

Mary loves to hear from readers. Find out more about her and her books on her BestSelling Reads Author page; check her out on Facebook.com/mldoyleauthor, or Twitter @mldoyleauthor.

You can read excerpts of all of her work on her website, www.mldoyleauthor.com.

 

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