Worth the Risk Release Date Update

The release date for Worth the Risk has been moved forward to December 15, 2018. This time travel romance with an immortal hero and a modern, sometimes psychic heroine, is shaping up to be my longest novel to date, so it has taken longer than I anticipated to complete. In the meantime, the good news is the pre-order period available in most markets has been extended with the price set to $2.99. Pre-order on Amazon at this price will be made available for a short time before release. I am also considering a box set of the previous books, but until then, the single titles available to catch you up to Worth the Risk are, in order:

The Castle - This novella length story is set in the fantasy world of time travelers and introduces Heather and her ill-fated love with the immortal Eric.

If I Stay - A full length novel, this story is set mostly in Regency England and also the fantasy world of the time travelers. The heroine, Ariana (Heather and Eric's daughter), is a time traveler with amnesia, and her hero is Justin, a Regency duke.

An Unsuitable Entanglement - This novella length story is set mostly in the fantasy world of the time travelers, with time traveling stops along the way! The heroine is Alison, a time traveler who begins her adventures with a hero far less serious than she, the outrageous Lord Percy from Regency England (the best friend of Justin).

Ghost of a Promise - this full length novel is a departure from the world of time travelers, but here, in this romantic suspense story set in a contemporary setting, is where you'll meet Carrie, the future heroine in Worth the Risk. But if you want to jump in here, to this first of the two stories featuring the Riley siblings, feel free to do so! Ben Riley, Carrie's brother, must work out the mystery of his death (yep, it's a ghost story) and save his wife Beth, who is the troubled heroine at the mercy of the worst in-laws a husband could ever imagine.

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Carrie and Eric (aka Nick until she learns his secret) have an epic adventure coming to you soon, I promise!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Writing Magic into a Romance and World-Building

Magic.  We've been charmed by magic in our romantic stories since the fairy tales of childhood.  Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White...these stories are the classics at the core of our love affair with romance. 

The line of whether it is a traditional or paranormal romance is constantly shifting.  Whether we realize it or not, it's often the promise of a classic theme, such as forbidden love, with its roots traced back to fairy tales that draws us to both. We don't have to have talking mice or a fairy godmother with literal magical powers to recognize a Cinderella theme of class barriers and of wishing for a rags-to-rich miracle to change the future. Magic, in a fairy tale, is necessary to break down such a barrier and accomplish the rags-to-riches miracle.

Once we've all grown up, however, we might feel that Cinderella deserved more than magic. This is part of the "what if?" game many writers have done to fill in the "gaps and consequences" of Cinderella's magical romance.  Such as, while we all know she is kind and beautiful, how does the prince know this?  The kindness trait, that is.  Why did the prince love her?  And why should she love him?  Is our need to retell the story (and other fairy tales) partly because we want to prove that magic wasn't necessary?

There have been hundreds of retellings of fairy tales, some with and many without magic.  Without magic, Austen's Pride and Prejudice has been used as an example of a retelling of Cinderella.  Jane Eyre is another, although I hesitate to say it is without magic. With Jane Eyre, if there is such a thing as a paranormal atmosphere then this story has it with the gothic feel of the manor house, Thornfield, and the mystical feel of the moors. Is this not magic?  And while the story is so familiar that I can't not know that the "woman in the attic" is Mr. Rochester's very real wife, I still love the hint of a supernatural possibility. Who or what is in the attic?

Or is it really magic?  In the case of Snow White, there is the magic of the mirror, the magic of the queen shapeshifting into an old woman, the magic of the poisoned apple and the magic of the kiss awakening Snow White. Wrapped up in the magic are themes of the fear of beauty fading, of good defeating evil, or possibly the message of love being more powerful than the strongest of magic. In a modern retelling, or by modern perceptions, the use of poison is understood as a skill or knowledge that can be acquired, and is not necessarily magic. And, to be quite unromantic, Snow White's awakening could be explained by science also. Might the effect of the poison have been temporary and the timing of the kiss a coincidence?

And that mirror.  That's magic, right?  Or in another explanation, is the queen insane, hallucinating, or a little of both.  And might the shapeshifting into the old woman be a clever, but "unmagical" disguise?

This taking away of the magic might be an odd thing for a paranormal writer to contemplate, but I think it's an interesting "exercise" to try with my own story.  What is left behind when magic can be explained?  Are the motives and characters still strong and intelligent without the magic?  How will an ordinary person view the magic?  What will they assume and in what ways might they be wrong?

And then, as much as possible, I want the magic to be real.  I want magic wands and time travel. (I'm undecided on the talking animals.)  But I'll take the illusion too!
Magic is magic if it is unknown or unexplainable to the characters.  With this sort of definition, it's also not too much of a stretch to include the reader in  what she knows ordoesn't know about the magic of the story.  And lastly and most important, magic is not found only in the genre of fantasy. Reading a story that transports us to another time or location is magical, and creating something into existance from our imagination is working magic.

And you thought you weren't a paranormal writer.  *grin*  Okay, perhaps you still aren't tempted to include ghosts, vampires, shapeshifters, wizards, witches, elves, ogres, werewolves, aliens, fairies, angels, or maybe a mad scientist who just thinks he/she has magical powers.  Or maybe you are tempted!  Either way, you'll want to do some world-building.

World-Building. Or is that World Building...or Worldbuilding?  I've found it all three ways, so I'll just pick one and go with World-Building.  What is this anyway and who it for?  We think of world-building with fantasy and paranormal first, but it's also used for historical and contemporary stories. 
Basically, it has a lot to do with the story's setting, that "third character," to make your world interesting and believable to your reader. In paranormal writing, it's also about creating a solid mythology. Think about the stereotypes a reader might have about those mythical creatures in fairy tales and literature and how to go along with expectations or if you break and reinvent the rules. 

Another way to describe it is "setting the stage," which is what set designers do to set the mood and scene. One of my favorite classes by the way led to this post:  The Writer's Perspective:  Making Connections in a Setting.


 Here are some wonderful links on world-building for your magical studies:

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