Thursday, June 21, 2012

Excuse me...Haven't we seen this plot before??

Standing in the grocery store line last night, I happened to glance at one of those soap opera magazines on the rack. You know the ones, smaller than the average periodical, like the TV Guide of soaps. Normally I glance over whatever tabloid seem the most sensational just to keep up on the headline news. I mean really, do we honestly have the right to judge every mom in Hollywood or gawk at what they look like in a bathing suit?

Anyway--I digress. The soap teaser that caught my eye was in the form of a question. "Who killed Stefano?" 

For those of you who have NEVER followed Days of Our Lives- Stefano is a character who first appeared on Days in 1982 and was once named the all time best villain by Soap Opera Digest. Did you catch that? 1982! 

The character Stefano DiMera has been played by three different actors over time but the first and last, Joseph Mascolo was born in 1929, started the role at 53 years old and was still going strong until this month when his character was shot...again... Now, I don't know how old the fictional character was, but Mascolo is 83. 

My point with this trip down memory lane is to point out that repetitive plots are everywhere. As a writer, I'm forever trying to come up with fresh new ideas. New characters, new stories, new angles, new everything. And still, I am inevitably influenced by what I see, hear, read, or watch in entertainment and media. 

Soap operas are a great example of this. They all recycle plots and characters. I've never been a follower myself, but my mother watched Days when I was a kid and I can remember playing with my dolls (yes, if you can imagine it- I had dolls) and listening to the evil Stefano being lost, found, shot, alive, dead, the father of numerous kids, scheming, lying, being reformed, shot again, dead but not dead, and the list goes on and on and on. He isn't the only bad guy to go through this either. That was twenty plus years ago. Given the latest plot and headline, I'm guessing not much has changed on the show. And that's okay. Because sometimes we like a little predictable unpredictability in our television shows. 

So maybe the best plots aren't the ones that are so far out there we can't relate to them. Maybe the best ones are the ones that give us a familiar base and then something new and fresh to keep us guessing. Maybe the plot doesn't change, but the reaction does because social rules now aren't what they were in the eighties. Maybe the change is in the technology or the science, or even the galaxy if you're talking sci-fi. 

Given this reasoning, it's easy to see why the vampire story fad comes in and out and then right back in. We love the familiarity of certain aspects of our cultural mythos, but we also love to see a new take on it. (Hence the Twilight Fever sweeping our teenage demographic)

So next time you pick up a book or see a trailer for an upcoming film, don't wave it off as "already done". Read and watch with an expectation of seeing a new twist on an old story. Because sometimes those are the ones that inevitably become our favorites.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What do Heroes Look Like?

Look at the hot dude up there on his wild gray horse. I can look at him and go- "Yeah, I'd totally go out with him." I mean sure, from an equestrian perspective, his heels are in the totally wrong position which would probably mean that when his horse reared like that he'd go over backwards- flip ass over teakettle- and right over the horse's tail. And he does look a little girly in his breeches. But still. He looks heroic up there doesn't he?

Uh huh, reality check. That's Napoleon. Which means he's probably riding a freakin' Welsh Pony and not a Warmblood. So he probably only looks man sized because the horse is itty bitty. And when he gets off the pony he's reduced to actual size which was SHORT. And we all know he had a kind of short guy complex going where he was reported to be somewhat mean spirited.

On the other hand, Napoleon did win some decisive battles, gain some territory, and get the girl. So would YOU consider him a hero?

Hero is such a negligible word. We use it constantly to describe an overcomer. The protagonist of almost every film, play, and book is referred to as the hero. Regardless of whether or not they want to be thrust into a leadership role, look the part, or can even do the job- we slap the label on them and shove them into the gladitorial ring as a ritual sacrifice of sorts.

Okay, maybe that was a tad overdramatic. But still.

I think my favorite heroes will always be the ones who didn't really want the job. Or the anti-heroes who would just as soon watch the world end as save it. A great quote from a legendary anti-hero asked to save the universe was this, "You said it was all circling the drain, right?"--shrug--"It had to end sometime."

This is classic hero-speak for "I suppose I'll do something about the end of the world if there's really no one else to take care of it." But that's the kind of guy we like. Or at least the kind of guy I like. I don't want the hero who's been dreaming and training for the big mission. I want the one who's been prepared by life's ups and downs for a job he didn't want.

Some of history's greatest heroes have been like that. George Washington never wanted to be President of the United States. And according to Hollywood's upcoming summer film- Lincoln only wanted to be president in order to rid the world of Vampires. (Kidding! Although Abraham Lincoln-Vampire Hunter is a great book!)

So what about real, everyday heroes? Most of them don't look like Riddick. (Too bad, really.) They're the men & women we meet at the store, or the ones who live next door, or our cousin's neighbor's uncle's brother... They're just people who step up when no one else will. Their battles don't have to be epic. Maybe they just help you find your dog, or fix your screen door, or even your computer (I have a heroic geek at home myself).

So while I will continue to write my heroes hot, sexy, and sometimes cranky, I want all of us to see that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. The worst thing we can do is keep looking for hot and hunky when we have heroic sitting in our living room.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sex, Violence, & Rock n Roll

If I had to pick- the band Cold would be my all time favorite. I love the way they rock a spider on all their album covers. I love the album progression from angry to insightful. There is a Cold song for every mood. And maybe the draw for me is the fact that they're considered a post grunge American rock band. And having spent a good deal of my teen years immersed in grunge culture, that's a comfortable place for me to be. Whatever the reason, Cold is my go to band for the Phoenix series.

That might surprise some of you. To think that Connor and Jessa's hot love affair was punctuated by angry guitar solos? If that's the case, you aren't thinking it through enough. Love and anger are just two breaths apart. Sex and violence seem to often go hand in hand. I don't even have to see your faces to know you're thinking to yourself- "She's lost her damn mind!" I'm not talking about beating your partner. I'm not even talking about spanking (although there's most definitely a place for that!) I'm talking about the intensity of human emotion that takes place during sex. Let's be honest- It's consuming. It sparks and ignites and burns the whole world down. It's even the reason human nature leads us to have sex with a person who has just shared an intense emotional or physical situation with us. Sex is a return to the primal side. It transcends civility and manners. It breaches etiquette and forces us out of our comfort zones. It leaves us bare and vulnerable while making us stronger. If you've never felt that- then maybe you aren't doing it right. Or- you've never been with the right partner.

So if you'd really like to take a walk inside Phoenix Rising, download Cold's Year of the Spider or 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage and let the music make you feel alive.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Impetuous - All Romance Ebooks

If you're looking for sassy humor and spicy romance, take a look at Impetuous. This is the third book in my Boston Avant Garde series and I promise you won't be disappointed. I'm really excited at how this story turned out. Not only that, but if you loved Strung Out and Crescendo, you'll enjoy some familiar faces. And don't forget to let me what you think of the new book. I want to hear all of your comments!

                                                          Impetuous - All Romance Ebooks

Friday, June 1, 2012

Phoenix Rising - Now Available to Combat the Summer Doldrums...

It is so great to see my favorite erotic romance available for sale again! Seriously, if you missed the chance to read this one the first time around, pick it up. I promise you won't be disappointed. And I suppose if you are, I'd like to know why...

What always strikes me when I reread this book, is the chemistry between the two main characters. This is one of those books that always makes me take a step back and wonder - "Did I really write that? It's pretty awesome!" Of course, it wasn't entirely me. My editor Anna Melton deserves some major props. We've been together a long time. And she's the one who pushed her sleeves back and dug into the confusing parts and really GOT what I was going for.

The bar in this book is really what a lot of readers get excited about. I've lost count of the number of people who've asked me where this place is. They all want to go hang out there. We had a running household joke that I would eventually open a bar and name it Phoenix Rising, just to make it a reality. Bars are great places to use as a backdrop for romance novels. It doesn't seem as though it would be, but they function as a place where we tend to lose our inhibitions. We let it all hang out, and that's when we discover who we really are. Whether we're experiencing the first pangs of romance , or just passing time with friends, it's a fantastic atmosphere to relax in. And there's a bar out there for every taste. Sometimes its even like stepping into another country.

So come hang out in MY bar, you never know what you'll find...