Reckless Rebellion Print Giveaway

I’m currently running a giveaway over on GoodReads for a print copy of my book. If you want a chance to win, hope on over and enter now!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Reckless Rebellion by Rinelle Grey

Reckless Rebellion

by Rinelle Grey

Giveaway ends April 27, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Romance and the HEA – A Promise to the Reader

true-loveAt its core, a romance has to have to things: a central focus on the relationship between two characters, and a HEA ending – Happily Ever After.

I’ve noticed lately though, a tendency for writers to be considering writing a romance without the traditional HEA. Perhaps this has always been discussed, and I just haven’t read it, or perhaps it is new, following a general trend in society for ’real’, non happy endings.

Of course, there are a lot of well known love stories that DON’T have a happy ending, and I can count a lot of these as favourites of mine: Gone With the Wind and Love Story. Others though, have left a taste that wasn’t so pleasant, the most notable being City of Angels. Yes, it’s a movie, not a book, but it left a very lasting impact. To this day, I can’t talk about it without remembering the anger.

So what’s the difference? In both cases, the story ended badly for the characters, but one I loved, the other I hated.

The difference was my expectations. I had a pretty good idea how Gone With the Wind went. Everyone knows the famous last line – “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Love Story, by Eric Segal, is even more open about the ending, beginning the story with the line: “What do you say about a twenty-five year old woman who died?”

I’m typing those lines from memory, so they may not be perfect. My copies of these stories are up in my garage, but I’ve read both enough times to know passages off by heart.

With City of Angels, I went into it not knowing the ending. It ran exactly like a romance, had a perfect ending, and just when the closing credits should have run, they threw in a tragedy.

I’ve never watched the movie again. Thank heavens I only rented it!

The trick then, is to make sure readers know what to expect. If you try to fool people into thinking they’re reading a romance, when really it’s a love story with a tragic ending, then don’t worry, readers will tell each other in the reviews! I’ve skipped quite a few ’romance’ stories because of these sort of reviews.

For me, even though I’ve loved some love stories, these days, it’s all about the happy ending. I like knowing that I can read the story without really fearing for the characters. I can relax knowing that no matter how impossible it seems for the characters, that it will all work out in the end. That’s why I love reading romances. How many other genres can you read with that sort of knowledge?

It’s also why I write romances. I have zero interest in writing tragedy. I love happy, positive endings, to the point of being a little sappy sometimes. Readers of my stories can rest assured that they know what they’re getting in to.

Do you like knowing the story will have a happily ever after, or do you prefer to be surprised? How about those stories where they throw in a twist right at the end, and change everything you thought you’d known?

A Non-Writing Creative Endevour – Dice Dragons!

I made the mistake of showing my 9yo daughter some dice dragons on Facebook recently, made by the talented  Becca Golins. If you haven’t seen them, stop now and go look, I promise you won’t regret it.

My daughter wanted one desperately, and I did too! But even if I could justify the price, her shop is empty at the moment!

Luckily, continued searching led my daughter to her tutorial on YouTube, showing how she makes them. This we could do. So out to the craft store for some clay, and we sat down and watched the hour long tutorial, pausing and replaying a lot along the way!

Dice DragonThis is what I came up with.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out for my first try. And it’s awesome fun. I put a dice in this picture, but although I love the idea, I didn’t really curl the tail enough to hold the dice properly. So here she is without a dice.

Dragon Sculpture

While I pretty much followed the tutorial step by step, and made a dragon that looked pretty much like Becca’s, my daughter loves to experiment. This is her sculpture.

Img015_2448x2448

Of course, I sent a picture through to my sister, and the first thing she said was “You have to show me how to do that”. So today, we bought more clay, and headed round to make more dragons. I thought my dragon was lonely, and needed a friend. And that my husband shouldn’t be the only one in our house dragonless, so I picked out his favourite colours, and made this one.

Blue DragonPractice definitely improved my skills, and I tried a few different things here, the curly horns, and nose horn. But still mostly the same! But there was a reason for that. I needed them to match!

Img009_2448x2448

My daughter picked some really great colours for her next one, and did a really great job again I reckon!

Img008_2448x2448

And my sister, who is pretty much a grown up version of my daughter, did it her own way as well.

tzh9frsc

Now I’m just wishing I had written a fantasy novel with dragons in it! It would be really cool to make dragons from one of my books. Trolls just aren’t the same.

Oh well, might have to write one. Or maybe go make more dragons.

 

A Macro Editing Tip

Editing is one of those tasks that most writers hate. It’s longer, and more tedious than writing is, and lacks the thrill of discovery that comes with a first draft. And yet, it’s vitally important to putting out a good novel.

I’ve written before about some of my editing processes, so today I just wanted to share a new discovery with you.

I’ve spent the last couple of days re-reading what I’ve written so far on Reckless Recon, wanting to make sure it all makes sense, and work out where I’m going from here.

But I struggled with it. I read through the first couple of chapters, and kept making a lot of small edits, changing a word here and some sentence structure there, but it just wasn’t flowing. I wasn’t getting an idea of where the story was going, and if it was working.

Since I had to go out the next day, I copied the file to my iPad, figuring I could read some while my daughter was playing with her friends at the park. I couldn’t make changes, since I don’t have an app that can edit files that large (and I find it awkward on the iPad, the keyboard is just too limited), but reading it was what I wanted to do anyway!

And what I discovered was that when I couldn’t edit, I stopped looking at all those little details, and began to see the larger story, like I wanted to.

Yes, I still ended up with about 4 pages of notes on things I wanted to change (Including a very funny typo that I shared on Facebook), but they were mostly inconsistencies and big picture changes. Only a few typos and sentence structure issues.

I think this was because I didn’t get bogged down in sentence structure and flow. I just made a note like *expand on this, needs more feeling* or *this doesn’t work because there was sun just a few pages back*, and moved on.

So if you’re having trouble sticking to a macro edit of your novel, I highly recommend reading it on a device where you can’t edit as you go. I’m going to make sure I do this for at least one edit in the future.

How about you? Do you read through your work somewhere other than on your computer during the edit process?

Blog Tour – Review – Alliance, by Aubrie Dionne

Alliance - Aubrie DionneI recently had the honour of being asked for a cover quote for Aubrie Dionne’s new sci-fi romance, Alliance. You can click on the cover here to get a larger picture, so you can read it.

And today, I’m sharing this awesome story with you. Aubrie Dionne is on my auto-buy list, and I can definitely recommend any of her books, but particularly her Paradise Reclaimed series.

This is the third book in this series, and so far, it’s my favourite. It follows  Lyra, and her quest to get to know the beautiful alien.  Sometimes I find it hard to get back into a series like this, where each book follows a different couple, but not this one. I was immediately drawn back into the world and the characters, even though it’s been a while since I read the last book.

Aubrie Dionne writes characters with depth, in a beautifully described world. And it’s a world that is so different to ours, a lush, colourful, tropical planet, where many dangers await.

Another thing I loved about this book was the introduction of Lyra’s brother, and their relationship, as both grow and discover things about themselves throughout this story. It really added another dimension to the book, and I’m hoping we get to know her brother better in a future story.

This story was a trip away from normal life, into a world where everyone has the potential to be a hero.

BLURB:

“Saving him meant saving her colony…”

Lyra Bryan has been saving people her whole life from a chick in the ventilation pipes to her mentally ill brother when his mind drifts back to Old Earth. She meets her match when she finds a gorgeous alien man aboard the arachnid ship. Captured after a failed attempt to save his people, his spirit is broken, craving only vengeance. To save her colony, Lyra must save his body and soul.

Lyra’s lifemate, Tauren, is jealous of her obsession with the alien man and will do anything in his power to break them apart. While they travel to the arachnid’s home world to defeat the mother brain once and for all, they must set aside their differences and work as a team. But, can Tauren be trusted?

Grab a copy now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her books have received the highest ratings from Romance Times Magazine, as well as Night Owl Reviews and Two Lips Reviews. She has guest blogged on the USA Today Happily Ever After Blog and the Dear Teen Me blog and signed books at the Boston Book Festival, Barnes and Noble, and the Romance Writers of America conference. Her writings have appeared in numerous publications including Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Inkspell Publishing, Astraea Press, Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Publishing, Lyrical Press, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras.

World Building – is Simple ever Better?

As a sci-fi and fantasy writer, I don’t write stories set in our world. Instead, my stories exist in worlds that I’ve made up inside my head. I’m not bound by the constraints of reality, or the technology that currently exists. I don’t even need to follow the same development paths for my civilisations.

And yet, quite often, the worlds I write have a lot of similarities to our world. In the world of my Barren Planet Romances series, a lot of the world will seem familiar to readers. My characters drive cars, use cell phones and tablet computers, and wear modern clothing. Even the animals are similar to those on our world. The main differences in this story, are the fact that my planets have viable space travel, a planet wide (or rather, galaxy wide) government that is rather controlling, and some medical advances.

The fantasy world of Twin Curse is more different, since it’s set in a vaguely medieval setting without the technology we know today. Still, much of it will be familiar to readers – my characters fight with swords, stay in inns, and travel by horse or sailing boat.

So why do I keep my stories so similar to what exists today? Why not build a fantastical world where the animals each have their own characteristics, and everyone travels by hovercraft?

I believe this familiarity plays an important role in my stories - it allows people to visualise the scene and the character’s actions, without getting bogged down in long descriptions. When I say my character put their sword in their scabbard and mounted their horse, you all get the idea, and can picture exactly what they just did. When a cell phone buzzes, everyone knows that the character’s next move is to answer it, and how they do this.

In my stories, these little details aren’t important. My stories focus on the bigger picture. How space travel has changed the world my characters live in, and how they adapt to this change. How discovering she has magic can change Brianna’s whole world.

I write about characters. The setting is just a way of giving my characters the experiences they need to grow and change. And so I change it as much as I need to to provoke those changes. It’s better if everything else is invisible.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a detailed and vibrant fantasy/sci-fi world. I love immersing myself in those too. (In fact, I’ll be sharing one of my favourites with you on Friday.) But I think there is plenty of room in sci-fi and fantasy for both kinds of stories.

Which do you prefer? Do you love worldbuilding or reading about worlds completely different to our own, or do you like a bit of familiarity?

Jessica Dall – Author Interview

Jessica-author-picToday I have author Jessica Dall here to talk about her new book, The Copper Witch, and her inspiration for writing.

First up, I have to say, I have cover envy. Look at that beautiful cover. The colours are just gorgeous. It certainly inspired me to take a closer look.

 

Tell us a little about your latest book?

The Copper Witch is the first book in a generational series set in the fictional country of Egaia. The protagonist, Adela Tilden, is the daughter minor nobility, growing up on an estate that is currently failing due to lack of funds. Rather more ambitious than most feel she should be, however, Adela doesn’t let any of that hold her back as she sets her eyes on becoming someone important (or at least infamous). Though the country is fictional, the story is very strongly influenced by British history. My publisher has jokingly called it “Alternative World Historical Fiction” where society and politics just haven’t developed in quite the same pattern as they did in real life.

What inspired this story?

TheCopperWitchInspiration came from two things, mainly, I would say. First, I had recently started messing around with ancestry.com and had found an ancestor named “Adela” from an old English line which got me thinking about family and inheritance (major themes in The Copper Witch). After toying around with this character named Adela in my head for a bit, I stumbled upon Frank Cadogan Cowper’s painting “Vanity” and that sparked off the first scene of the book. From there the characters took over and started making things happen.

Have you always wanted to be an author, or did something inspire you more recently?

I’ve always written to some extent, even if it was just scribbling things here and there. I wrote my first proper novel in high school, but I didn’t actually consider writing professionally until college. Junior year I had an internship at a small press and a roommate who wanted to be an author, and I think the combination made me realize I could actually do something more with my writing than just share it with friends. I’ve been involved with publishing ever since.

How do you find time to write? What time of day works best for you?

I always have a notebook with me. Whenever I have some downtime (commuting on the train, sitting at lunch…) I can take that out and get a few pages written. I’m lucky that I’m able to write with distractions around, so I can fit in writing whenever I’m not doing something else. If I had to pick one time of day when I write the best, however, I would have to say late at night. I’ve always been a night owl creatively. Sadly it’s just not as easy to be up at all hours writing as it used to be in college.

Are you a plotter (plan the story out ahead of time, then just sit down and write), or a pantser (make it up as you write)?

I’m a diehard pantser. If I try to fully outline what I’m writing I either end up deviating soon into it or getting bored and never finishing. That perhaps has been the hardest part for me writing a series. I know how each book needs to end for the next one to begin and somehow I’ve been having to find my way back to that ending when everything else wants to change.

What do you do if you hit writers block?

It depends on how bad a case of writer’s block it is. For smaller cases I often am able to jumpstart my writing by switching from typing to writing longhand. For worse cases, I take a character I’m stuck with and throw them into some other random situation that has nothing to do with the actual story I’m writing. Once I let them talk enough, they generally come back around to the actual plot.

Book Blurb:

Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.

Book One of the Broken Line Series, available March 13th, 2014 from 5 Prince Publishing.

Author Bio: Jessica Dall finished her first novel at age 15 and been writing ever since. She is the author of such novels as Grey Areas and The Bleeding Crowd, the Broken Line Series, and a number of short stories which have appeared in both literary magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she works as a freelance editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.

You can visit Jessica at:
blog: jessicadall.com
facebook: facebook.com/jkdall
twitter: @JessicaDall

The Structure of a Novel

While it may seem that each novel is completely different, most of them have an underlying structure that has a surprising number of similarities. This is the basic structure I use for my novels, so I’m going to demonstrate it using those. I’m willing to bet it would work for quite a few novels though, not just mine!

The inciting incident:

Most novels begin with something happening that changes a character’s lives. Surprisingly, even in a romance novel, this isn’t necessarily meeting the romantic interest. For Reckless Rescue, it’s Marlee finding out she can’t be with Nelor because they are unable to have a child, and Tyris’s wife leaving him because he’s not allowed to have a child. For Twin Curse, it’s Brianna realising that her twin is in love with a man she can’t marry, when they law says they have to marry the same person.

This should at least be beginning in the first chapter. This is what you hope will hook your readers. It should also set up your character’s faults, flaws, or issues. The things they’re going to have to overcome before the novel’s end.

The Characters React:

The next few chapters will probably be your characters reacting to the inciting incident. They may do mostly mental things, like setting goals, or making resolutions, or they may get more physical, having fights with their parents/partners or running away.

In my novels, Marlee resolved to not get involved in a relationship again, Tyris went searching for a lost planet so he could change his fortune, and Brianna ran away from home!

Their actions may help the situation, or it may make it worse, but the important thing is that they do something. For me, this usually takes me through to about a quarter of the novel, and after this bit, is often where I hit writers block!

Which leads me into the next bit:

The Bigger Plot:

This is where things get real. Your characters have to face the consequences of their actions. They have to work to try to overcome things. But it shouldn’t be too easy. This is where you have to find some bigger things for your characters to deal with. Perhaps they realise that their actions have affected more than themselves. Perhaps they realise that their problems are small in comparison to those around them. Perhaps an alien attacks them.

In Reckless Rescue, Marlee and Tyris have to work together to survive a harsh winter, as well as dealing with a community of people who think they need to get together and make a baby! In Twin Curse, Brianna has to leave Lyall, who she’s beginning to care for, to return home to her village and fight the trolls.

Whatever it is, you want to keep making things worse for your characters. Whenever they think they’ve sorted it out, throw something new at them! And the best challenges are ones that tie back into those flaws and issues I mentioned in the first stage.

False Climax:

Eventually, you’ll reach a point where you’ve done it all. You’ve thrown all the punches, and your characters are about to give up. That’s when you have to throw them a bone. Give them a solution that seems to solve all their problems, in just the way they want. (Usually, at this point, they’re still trying to avoid dealing with the real problem or issue.)

For Marlee and Tyris, I let them think that Tyris might be able to repair his spaceship, and they could escape all the problems on Zerris rather than dealing with them. Brianna and Lyall come up with a solution to defeat the trolls.

Final Problem:

You guessed it. This is the point at which the intended plan fails. The characters realise that there is no easy way out. That they can’t get through this without facing whatever issue has been chasing them through the whole novel.

This is when it gets real.

And this is where I stop giving examples. Anything after this point is a little too spoilerish. :) But let’s just say that my characters have to find their inner strength, and stand up for what they believe in, even when everyone else around them doesn’t believe them.

Resolution:

At this point, your character’s face up to their problems, deal with their issues, and realise that the real solution might not be as impossible as they thought it was.

Make sure you tie up any loose ends, resolve all the problems (well, except for any you’re setting up for the sequel), and give them their happily ever after. (Sorry, I’m writing romance novels. If you write thrillers or horror, you’ll have to figure out how your end fits in there.)

 

The trouble I’m dealing with at the moment, is that Reckless Recon isn’t fitting into this plot! Or maybe I’m just not seeing it yet! I’m at around 35k, and I’m hitting the false climax. So either this is going to be a really short book, or this is a false false climax…

How about you? Do the books you write or read follow a similar structure, or something completely different?

Deleted Scenes

Last week, I took my daughter to see the new Disney movie, Frozen, and a new fan was born. Since then, everything has been about Frozen. We’ve sewn an Elsa dress, and the latest fun was to download the album from the movie. We paid extra for the extended album, and were rewarded with a lot of songs that were cut from the original movie, complete with explanations from the writers.

It’s interesting to see how much effort is put into songs and scenes that didn’t make it into the final movie. Not just the occasional scene, but whole storylines and plot devices. I always thought that since movies are storyboarded in advance (plotted), that they didn’t change much from the original. But I guess that, like writers, some directors are pantsers!

I usually end up with quite a few deleted scenes from my novels. I’ve included some from Reckless Rescue here, and some from Twin Curse here (Warning, spoilers!). And as I write Reckless Recon, I’m quickly creating a lot more!

I’ve written out scenes for this novel several times, then known there was just something wrong with them. After writing a lot at the beginning of the month, I’ve hit a difficult spot again. I had several days when I just couldn’t write, and I’ve realised that the story was just going in the wrong direction. Now I will have to backtrack, create a few more deleted scenes, and then go forwards again in the right direction.

Perhaps, if I plotted, I wouldn’t have these deleted scenes. But sometimes these moments, these unused scenes, help me learn more about my characters and the storyline than the right scenes do.

Do you like watching the extras on a movie to see the deleted scenes? Do you delete whole scenes from your own writing, or do you go straight through without stopping?

Reckless Recon – An Update, and A New Beginning

Reckless-Recon-Cover-thumbWell, progress on Reckless Recon has been going pretty well for the last couple of weeks. My frustration with realising I had to change a lot of chapters I’d written, combined with the release of Twin Curse, meant I didn’t get much written for a while, but I’m back on the horse now, and hoping to have the rough draft finished by the end of the month.

I’m currently at 32,000 words, so through a fair chunk. I’ve really been enjoying the direction the story’s taking (sometimes completely unexpectedly, as happens when you’re a pantser), and looking forward to seeing how the ending comes together.

Today I thought I’d share my new beginning. Not strictly changed because of my extra research, but more just because I came up with a cool idea for a new beginning.

“Can’t I just wear sunscreen?”

His mother scowled. “You’re not taking this seriously, Kerit. Don’t you realise that this planet still has virtually no ozone layer? The levels of UV are dangerously high. Any exposed skin will be burnt in less than five minutes. And if it rains…” She shuddered.

Kerit turned and looked in the mirror, grimacing. The baggy, slightly reflective jacket was comfortable enough, and wouldn’t hinder his climbing ability. And thankfully his mother, head scientist in this project, had declared his jeans and climbing boots protection enough. The slightly tinted, full face plexiglas mask felt weird, but he could live with it.

The gloves though, just weren’t going to cut it. He pulled them off.

You can read the first two books, Reckless Rescue and Reckless Rebellion, now, or if you’re already up on the story, and waiting for Reckless Recon, you can sign up to my mailing list to be notified as soon as it’s available.(No spam, I promise, only new release notifications.)

  • Copyright Notice

    All text and images used on this blog are the property of Rinelle Grey. Please do not use without permission.