Monday 28 August 2017

What are 'Romantic Elements' in a Book?

Hello darlings, and welcome to Miranda's August Musings!

Every now and then a book with the label 'Romantic Elements' pops up, and you think - what does that mean? Is it still a romance?

Yes it is, but in a slightly different way. In romance fiction the romance is the main part of the story.

In a book with romantic elements the romance is definitely there in the plot, but it's not the main part of the story. The protagonists enter on their journey and get to their fantastic end, but the bonus is a romance sub-plot and often a happy - or at least 'optimistic' ending.

Examples? Why yes, glad you asked. Just so happens I've read three in the last few weeks.

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I read The Dangers of Truffle Hunting because I planned to go to the recent Mudgee Reader's Festival and hoped to meet the author, Sunni Overend. Unfortunately (long story) I didn't get there, but I really enjoyed the book! It's written in a very cool, refreshingly unapologetic, on trend, hip voice. The relationships are fun and realistic, and the questions about the heroine's fiance Scott and potential lover Raph lured the story on. I loved the theme of being true to yourself. (Psst! 'Strong language' warning.)

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Isn't this book gorgeous? I totally snapped up The Romance Reader's Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell. It packed a punch, building up to a huge showdown at the end. There is a book within this book, notably The Pirate Lover, a fairly dated bodice-ripping pirate romance which is then eerily echoed in the main story. So much so I found myself wondering which bits of the book within the book were going to be part of the main book. (!) Lots of bad, violent guys here, lots of angst and grief, some ghosts, and a great story. Plus, you know, pirates.

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Last but definitely not least is Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland. For starters, this is set in a bookshop. Immediate huge big tick for me. The issues the book touches on are mesmerising to read, and done with a huge heart. Domestic violence, fostering, mental illness, panic attacks, a love story, more. By the end of the book I loved Loveday, the main character, and those around her. I really wanted a happy ending for her, and you will too. Such a great read I didn't want it to end.

What do you think? Do you enjoy books with Big Issues and a Great Story that, incidentally, also have Romantic Elements? Let me know!

Love from Miranda xx

Love to Love:
Sunshine on winter days.

Love to Laugh:
At my default setting: books set in a bookshop or library, must read...!

Love to Learn:
About other people's fave books. My TBR just grows and grows.

Monday 21 August 2017

RWA Conference Round-Up: Love Gone Wild. Yes, absolutely!

by Enisa Haines

It's August, the month when RWAustralia entices romance writers to their annual Romance Writers Conference. And entice writers they did, this year to the gorgeous Pullman King George Square Hotel, Brisbane.

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The RWAustralia Conference is that wondrous time when bestselling authors reveal their paths to publication; where writers attend workshops focused on the craft of writing, or take the opportunity so generously given to pitch their stories to an agent or editor. It's the time when writers gather together, old friends mingling with new, and celebrate their love of the romance genre.

The Bring Out the Animal in You Cocktail Party was fun, fun, fun. Especially the costumes!

As always, the keynote speakers grabbed my attention. Marion Lennox and Kate Forsyth were so emotive, so inspiring. Equally valuable were the workshop sessions. A variety of topics, each aimed at educating. I was reminded of things I already knew and learned a lot more. 

Some unforgettable quotes:

Marion Lennox - RITA Award-winning author:
Photo courtesy of: Joanne Boog

"Every day I sit at my computer and imagine people in my head."
"At times writing is easy. Often it's not. Protect your magic."

Kate Forsyth - Aurealis Award-winning author:

"Books are magic. They transport you to other worlds where for a while you travel the journey of other characters."

Ally Blake - Harlequin Mills & Boon author:

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"Show up. Show up. Show up." And after a while the muse shows up, too."
"If it isn't beautiful or functional, lose it!"
"Do not write 'The End' until the book is finished!'

Chris Taylor - indie author of romantic suspense:
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"Choose a character's past with care, one that they can get over."

Lauren K McKellar - author and editor:
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"Page-turning quality is reader magic."

Liz Pelletier - Founder, Entangled Publishing:
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"The key to crafting a bestseller is entertainment."
"Tell a story readers want to hear."

Inspire. Entertain. Create magic. Every speaker I listened to, every workshop I attended, those were the messages I received, and will nurture as I now look back on the conference as a wonderful memory to treasure as I write.

Do you love attending writers' conferences? Do they fill you with inspiration?

Love to love - beautiful dancing at the Butterfly Ball Gala Awards Dinner

Love to laugh: at funny animal snaps.

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Love to learn: all about writing, both serious and fun!

Monday 14 August 2017

Author Spotlight - Elizabeth Ellen Carter

I am so excited to introduce you to a fantastic and talented Romance Author, Elizabeth Ellen Carter.

Elizabeth Ellen Carter writes richly detailed historical romantic adventures. Her full length 3 book Regency era series Heart Of The Corsairs is released in 2017 and 2018 - Captive Of The Corsairs (July 2017), Revenge Of The Corsairs (November 2017) and Shadow Of The Corsairs (early 2018). Her other full length titles include the Roman era thriller Dark Heart, the medieval romantic adventure Warrior's Surrender, and the Regency titles Moonstone Obsession and Moonstone Conspiracy. Also available is the novella Nocturne.
A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years.

What is one ‘must have’ when you are writing?
An internet connection – which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I can research on the fly, and a curse because I can get easily distracted.

What are you reading at the moment?
I’m between books at the moment but I’m about to start on Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky in the coming week.

Like to share something that recently made you happy? 
The hope of a family reconciliation following the passing of my grandmother. There was a rift between two much loved members of my family that I hope will have come to an end.

Like to share an embarrassing moment?
I heard my husband talking and I was answering him until I realized that he was talking to someone on the phone. 

Who is your favourite literary crush? 
GK Chesterton. He had a searing intellect, a devastating wit and his fiction stories are a joy to read.

If you were the main character in your favourite book, who would you be?
I’d be Nora Charles in The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammet – she’s happily married, rich, drinks a lot and solves murder mysteries with her husband.

What is your writing schedule? Morning, afternoon or night? 
I still hold a day job, so I write in the evenings, so I try to make sure I do a lot of preparation during the day, thinking about the structure of scenes and dialogue.

Are you a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between? 
Somewhere in between, I think. I have a story arc and key way-points but how I get to those points is an adventure in of itself.

Buy your copy here

What is the premise of your latest book?
Bluestocking Sophia Green’s future is uncertain. Orphaned as a child and raised by the wealthy Cappleman family, she has become the companion to her attractive younger cousin, Laura, while harboring to her breast an unrequited love for Laura’s diffident brother.

Sea captain Kit Hardacre’s past is a mystery – even to him. Kidnapped by Barbary Coast pirates at the age of 10, he does not remember his parents or even his real name. All he recalls are things he would rather forget.

When Laura’s reputation is threatened by a scandal, Sophia suggests weathering the storm in Sicily with their elderly uncle, a prominent archaeologist.

Their passage to Palermo is aboard Hardacre’s ship, but the Calliope, like its captain, is not all it seems. Both have only one mission – to rid the world of the evil pirate slaver Kaddouri or die in the attempt.

Initially disdainful of the captain’s devil-may-care attitude, Sophia can’t deny a growing attraction. And Kit begins to see in her a woman who could help him forget the horrors of his past.

Sophia allows herself to be drawn into the shallows of Kit’s world, but when the naive misjudgment of her cousins sees Laura abducted, Sophia is dragged into dangerous depths that could cost her life or her sanity in a living hell.

Who would you cast as your main characters?
Josh Whitehouse, who plays Hugh Armitage in the new series of Poldark would make a good Kit Hardacre – Kit is also a dancer, so he’s not big and muscle-bound. Spanish actress Paula Echevarria would be perfect as Sophia

Josh Whitehouse is Hugh Armitage on Poldark

What unique challenges did the book pose?
Captive of the Corsairs and indeed all three book in the Heart of the Corsairs series deals with very serious subject matters – both historically and psychologically - slavery, including sexual slavery, drug addiction, risk-taking behaviours and post-traumatic stress disorder.

I didn’t want to shy away from the reality of life at that time, but I was also conscious of the fact that it is a historical romance and there had to be a happily ever after.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m near the end of the first draft of Revenge of the Corsairs, the sequel to Captive of the Corsairs. This book will tell Laura Cappleman’s story following her abduction.

What do you love to love?
I love my husband (who would be a who, not a what, LOL), my cats, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and great times with family and friends.

What do you love to laugh at?
I love a good comedy with razor-sharp dialogue. I also tend to see the absurd side of life, so there’s plenty to laugh at there!

What do you love to learn about?
History (of course!) and human nature – the psychology of why people do the things they do.