Monday 30 May 2016

Why We Write and Read Romance

by Enisa Haines

Image courtesy of:

I fell in love with romance books at a young age, a love affair that still burns strong today. Why is that? I know I'm not alone. There are many readers, and writers, out there who love the romance genre just as much as I do. What is it about the genre that keeps us enthralled? That question has always nagged at me and kept me wondering so as a quick way to satisfy my curiosity I queried my fellow Breathless bloggers.

Our newly-published author Marilyn loves romance because it's all about love and the so-sought-after happily-ever-after ending. She says:

Why I read romance: I've always been an eclectic reader, but what I enjoy most in every book I read is the romance aspect. To love and be loved is a basic human need, and to be emotionally transported into the love stories of characters that I've come to believe are real is just so fulfilling. Plus, the guarantee of a happy ending after a ride filled with fun, despair, passion, and angst is so appealing when the world is filled with too many not-so-happy endings.

Why I write romance: I can't remember a time when I didn't write. It wasn't always romance. I began with short twist-in-the-tale stories, but after having achieved success with that (more than a dozen stories published in national magazines) the challenge was no longer there. I decided I'd write category romance. Why category romance? Because I foolishly thought it'd be easy. Trust me, it isn't! Thankfully, as it turns out, my writing style is more suited to single-title. (Thanks to the team at Harlequin MIRA for making my dream come true with the publication of The Farmer's Perfect Match). As both reader and author what I'm ultimately after is a damn good read.

Karen loves that her imagination removes her from her everyday world. And, boy, it sure does. Karen's romantic suspense novels attest to it. Karen says:

Why I read romance: I love reading romance because it takes me away to another world, sometimes locations I have never been to with people (characters) I have never met, yet get to know throughout the journey - which is the story. I think most people like a good love story - especially ones that have barriers to overcome so they can finally be together. It's not so much when or if the hero and heroine will get together... it's how.

Why I write romance: I love writing because, like reading, it takes me to another place but instead of being taken as a passenger for the ride by the author, I am the driver and can take the story wherever I want it to go, have the characters do whatever I want them to do. Creating my own world full of romance, drama and intrigue is not always easy but very rewarding. which is of course why I love to write.

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Cassandra (lover of all things Regency and author of The Scandalous Wager) tells us:

Why I read romance: Romance books are my happy place. If I'm in a funk, a good romance can lift my spirits and distract me from my worries for a while. Generally, for me, it is an escape. A little time out from life, so to speak.

Why I write romance: I write romance because there is a constant curiosity within me to figure out this whole being human thing. I love the science of falling in love versus the fate of falling in love aspect of romance storytelling, too. If I don't write something every day it starts to gather in my head and becomes a distraction. Believe me, it is better that I get the words out than try to keep them in.

Our book reviewer Miranda sure loves to read and readily reveals just what it is about romance novels that she adores:

Why I read romance: I read because it relaxes me more than anything else in the world. Some people run or exercise to relax, others shop or watch television, some cook, or eat, or paint, sew, garden or knit. All great choices...except maybe the eating one. I read. I love sitting in my 'reading chair', putting the footrest up, coffee to hand, and losing myself in a fictional or inspirational world for a little while. It refreshes and rejuvenates me for the 'real' world when I eventually surface. I've learnt so much from reading, the little incidental facts from others' research - you don't realize how much you absorb until suddenly you can contribute to a conversation that was previously an unknown subject...because you've read a book about it! In times of grief and sickness I feel stressed and find it difficult to read - and that really tells me how much I *need* the comfort of reading. I try to read a little bit every day, even for a few minutes. The bliss of an hour or two is brilliant! When I commuted to work I loved the train time. Others madly worked on their laptops or tablets or phones, emailing, Facebooking, and so on. I read. Guaranteed reading time. Driving and going for walks mean there's a chance to listen to audio books - more bliss! People ask me how I find the time to read. Simple. I just do it. Try it for even ten minutes a day, and I guarantee it will get longer very quickly.

Dee, immersed in the world of medieval romance, tells us:

Why I read romance: I read romance to keep my belief in 'happily ever after' alive. Life is tough. Relationships, too. I know books are fiction but sometimes those 400 pages of fiction keep me going in real life. If a character in a book can make the impossible possible just think what I--a real human with strengths and talents--can do.

Why I write romance: I write romance because I have stories inside my head. LOL--So many of them! For my sanity and for the world's safety I need to get them out of my head and on paper.

Sharon shares her love of the genre:

Why I read romance: I love to read. I enjoy people. I am fascinated by their actions and motivations.

Why I write romance: I write because it is so enjoyable and because I have a strong urge to do so. It is difficult for me to explain where my motivation comes from as I don't fully understand it. I think having a love of reading, a fairly strong dose of creativity, a good imagination and a keen sense of fun all contribute to my desire to write and I love playing 'what if'.

Image courtesy of: Pixabay

And lastly, for me it's all about the emotion:

Why I read romance: Happily-ever-after is what everyone seeks in life. Seeing it happen to couples in romance fiction gives me faith that love is all-powerful and can overcome every obstacle encountered. Gives me faith that love can last a lifetime and always be enjoyed. I love immersing myself in the lives of the characters and knowing that all will come good in the end.

Why I write romance: How can I not when heroes and heroines and what they're going through are constantly in my head in visual form and don't leave me alone until I'm immersed in writing their stories down.

Image courtesy of:

How about you? Do you love to read and/or write romance? I'd love to see your responses.

Love to love: knowing that happily-ever-after exists.

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Love to laugh: at myself, really, at those times when someone says a joke and I just don't 'get' it.

Love to learn: how others feel about love and romance.

Monday 23 May 2016

Miranda's Musings in May


Darlings, at last the hot weather is cooling off... Hasn't it been a long, hot summer? Now, finally, it's time to snuggle with a book as the crispness of autumn sets in.

Do you have a favourite place to sit when you read? A throw for warmth? A favourite drink to sip? And dare I ask, a favourite snack to enjoy? Cassandra Samuels in her April 4th post Breathless Places 'outed' my reading chair. Here 'tis for those who missed it:

Chair, throw, cushion, coffee, and (she says virtuously) no a messy pile of books!

But what if you're not feeling brilliant with sniffles or pre-winter chills? Stressed with work or family? Do you feel able to pick up a new romance? Or do you turn to comfort reads? Those books you've had on your bookshelf for ages, yet love with each new reading?

I've got a few comfort reads that are like being hugged when I re-read them - I love them and they love me straight back; they give me tremendous pleasure and great joy. They melt stress. I feel happy. The world becomes a better place. Oh, the lovely power of romance!

For example, I love Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz. On a recent reread I was shocked to discover it's over twenty years old! (Actually, so am I. Who knew?) Who cares, this one still puts me in my happy place. It's fun and gorgeously entertaining, about a geeky computer guy who gets stood up at the altar (again), and he struggles to understand where he's gone wrong (again). The wedding planner and her crazy extended family bring huge chaos into his life...and love, and joy. Sigh. Guess who loves geeks? Moi, that's who!

Photo Credit:

Another is Duncan's Bride by Linda Howard. Goodness, another 20+ year old book! And...this is all about an arranged marriage. With a rancher and a city slicker. With a truckload of fun tossed in. Has it stood the test of time? Yes. My wordy, yes, yes, yes it has.

Photo Credit:

And there's Night Magic by Karen Robards. This one is a suspenseful on-the-run romance, with a big fat cat called Puff tossed in for sheer fun. I love cats in books - but I love any animal in books, come to think of it, as long as they have 'attitude,' which Puff does--in truckloads! The humans are fabulous, too. Another oldie but goodie.

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What makes these books comfort reads for me? Simple. The romance, the laughter, a great hero and heroine, a bit of suspense, and fantastic sizzles. They might be slightly outdated with technology bits like phones or computers and gadgets and such, but frankly, I don't care. They've ticked all my romance boxes and the stories have endured over twenty years. They're all on my keeper shelf and I've read them many times, even though there's a truckload of new ones to read in my TBR! And by the way, that Keeper Shelf just keeps getting bigger. It's turning into a Keeper Room...

Next time I'll bring you some new reading, but for now what books have you read and reread and love so much you've had to buy a few new copies? Maybe find the ebook of your comfort reads, just in case you're stuck somewhere with nothing to read (horrors).

What are your comfort reads? Ooh, can't wait to find out!

Till next time, darlings,


I love to love: Comfort reading! Snuggled in my chair, with my coffee... You get the drift.

I love to laugh: At fun animals in romances. Give them the biggest 'tude and I'm hooked.

I love to learn: What are your Comfort Reads? New or old, bring them on!

Monday 16 May 2016

DIY VIDEO MARKETING: Taking Advantage of the Video Revolution (without spending any money)

with guest blogger Gabrielle Battistel from Trailermade Production

Healthy and warm hellos to you! Marilyn Forsyth kindly invited me to share some thoughts with you from my writerly blog and working worlds… great to be here!

I work in video production and created the video trailer and teasers for Marilyn’s book, The Farmer's Perfect Match, through my production company Trailermade Production. I’ve worked in production and marketing for quite some time now, making trailers and animates for authors in varying genres all around the world.

Friends, I’ve soaked up the importance of how video marketing is needed and utilised, and I’d like to share a bit of knowledge with you…

Online video is now the 'go to' medium for promotion. Users/viewers gravitate in droves to the play button, especially in social media. A quick search on web video statistics will give you mind-blowing insights, like Facebook “having 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users.” (Whoah!)*

Now, for Authors on the promo trail, we are amongst exciting times because Authors can take advantage of this video explosion. Yes, you can spend wisely on “investment dressing” items like trailers and promos, BUT there are a couple of things you can do DIY-style that are easy and COST FREE!!

Here’s a little something from my own writer’s blog, GabbaWrites, about VLOGGING (video blogging) and on-camera VIDEO APPEARANCES…

Sight and sound and people in action are what viewers are drawn to like bees to pollen. For Authors, it’s a great time to leap into DIY vid marketing and the opportunity that comes with the way viewers gulp up online video. Vlogging is enticing and super engaging – just like the buzz you get after meeting an author at their signing event.So, with that, let me ask  some discussion questions:

What can you share with your viewers/readers that utilises that one-on-one ‘intimacy’? (How about what your writer’s space looks like - people love that!)

Did you cry through writing a particular scene … or an ending? Tell us about that.  (People love behind-the-scenes stuff like that too.)

Can you share how your research has taken you into some weird places on the web?

How about sharing the ways your pet tries to get your attention (like mine did in my vlog post)?
Viewers eat every bit of that sort of stuff up like cookie monster on a binge! (Right down to the last crumb.)

Give vlogging a go … you might be pleasantly surprised! If you get an opportunity to have a free on-camera video appearance PLEASE don’t be afraid … be inspired! There’s more tips from me on that, so PLEASE ASK!

You’re welcome to ask questions in the comments below. I’ll be answering them here and in my next vlog posts. Meantime, here’s Marilyn’s Trailer…

And in Breathless tradition:

I love to love... the optimism of empowerment. Give them a fish and they eat tonight. Teach them to fish and they’ll nourish themselves. (Hence give DIY vid marketing a go!)
I love to laugh... at the level of the good, healthy, tears running down your face type of stuff.
I love to learn... about people’s observances … e.g. when’s the first appearance of the kitty in my vlog post? You can answer that in the comments!


You can get in touch with the lovely Gabrielle via these social media links:
Trailermade Production website:

Monday 9 May 2016

The Not-So-Dreaded Synopsis and User-friendly Template

with Dee Scully

Question: What beginning writer hasn’t heard, spoken or at least felt these statements before? 
Answer: Not many.

Synopsis writing has become the stuff of urban legends.  Writers only whisper the word, shrinking away from it, pushing it down into the subconscious recesses of their minds where it lies in wait for just the right moment to emerge and wreak havoc with the delicate balance of a daily writing schedule.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Picture courtesy of Picture Quotes

Yeah, it seems hard. Somehow we have to whittle our 65,000-100,000 word manuscripts down to a meaningful 2-3 pages, encapsulating not only the whole story, including the resolution, but also the voice used when writing it! But what venture worth anything was ever really easy?

I’m not going to profess to be THE BEST SYNOPSIS WRITER OF ALL TIMES. Nor will I say that I’m any good at it, but I will share my template for honing synopses down to the requisite number of pages. My hope is that it will help you to become THE BEST SYNOPSIS WRITER OF ALL TIME.

Dee Scully's Synopsis Template

Don’t get me wrong. This template isn’t going to do the work for you. You still have to get stuck in and do it yourself, but it will give you a base to build on and hopefully at the end you will say, “Synopses aren’t so hard. They lighten my soul. I know my story and can sell it even better now that I’ve written the synopsis!”

Give it a go and let me know your thoughts. If you’ve got any brilliant ideas on how to easily write a synopsis share them in the comments below.

Until later…happy synopsis writing!

I love to love…deeply. I don’t ‘fall’ into relationships. I make conscious decisions to always be present to those I love and care for. It’s not easy, but it’s who I am.

Image courtesy of Picture Quotes

I love to laugh…out loud. Those who know me, know this to be true…and usually get caught up and laugh out loud right along with me!

Image courtesy of Pixaby and Dee Scully

I love to learn…new ways to make writing easy and Google always has a ready answer!

Image courtesy of Google

Monday 2 May 2016

Newbies Corner: Show Don't Tell

with Sharon Burke

Fiction writing courses and “how to” books frequently advise novice authors to show rather than tell. Doing this effectively is a great challenge for many new fiction writers, and a necessary precursor to publication.

Showing what your characters are going through brings your writing to life and enhances your readers' emotional experience.

There are several ways to achieve this.

Use more dialogue: Could some of the narrative sections in your novel or short story be rewritten as dialogue? Dialogue has immediacy and power. It helps your readers feel they are witnessing the scene you created.

For example, in Outback Dreams, Rachel Johns could simply have written Faith told Monty's mum, Monty was pursuing Ruby Jones. Instead Rachel captures our interest with animated dialogue, letting us know this information together with Faith's low opinion of Ruby: ''Monty barely stops work long enough to meet eligible women, and anyway, the only one he's shown any interest in recently is princess Ruby Jones.''

Use descriptive and sensory language: Using narrative to describe your viewpoint character's emotions with language linking these to the five senses helps your reader vicariously experience what the character is going through.

In The Beast's Garden, Kate Forsyth uses sensory and highly descriptive language to describe what the heroine experiences as she races towards a burning synagogue:
Shards of glass littered the road. Someone was painting “Jew” in bloody red letters across the wall. Someone else was beating and kicking a bundles of old rags in the gutter. Ava saw an arm flop. She caught hold of the window-sill, suddenly unable to take a breath.

Be more specific: Take the time to analyse novels from the sub-genre for which you are aiming. Notice the degree of detail and type of language the author uses to show rather than tell. Try rewriting some scenes from your own work applying what you have learned.

Are there times when you should tell rather than show with your writing? When is telling rather than showing most appropriate?

I love to love: I'm going to the ballet with my Dad tonight. I can't wait to spend the evening with him.

I love to laugh: A new series of the ABC comedy Upper Middle Bogan is currently being filmed. I'll either be glued to the television or buying a boxed DVD set. Probably both.

I love to learn: We did a marvellous novel plotting exercise in our writers' group last month. I learnt so much, and will definitely use these techniques again.