Hi friends! As you see we’ve got the totally awesome and wonderful Laura K. Curtis visiting with us today! Not only is she great in general she also stepped in at the last minute with not only a great post, but also a giveaway! Whee! So without further ado …
HEA vs. HFN
How do you like your happy endings? And get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about the ends of your romance novels, not your massages. For as long as I can remember, the two major tenets defining a novel as a “romance” were:
1. Central love story between two (or more) characters
2. The relationship is successful, culminating in a “happily ever after.”
But a few years ago, the genre stretched as it became more realistic to include “happy for now” as well as “happily ever after.” That is, the couple (or however many—I’m just going to use “couple” as shorthand) is in a relationship at the end of the book, but without the promise of forever together. Continue reading →
Hi friends! Today we have my buddy Laura K. Curtis visiting with us! She is all sorts of awesomecakes, and guess what? Her debut book is out today! Whee! So not only is she a debut author, it’s also release day! *sing songs* So I hope you’re extra welcoming with her. 😀
Why I Love Serial Killers (In Fiction)
In college (lo these many moons ago), I double majored in English and Psych. I didn’t learn nearly as much about either one as I hoped to, but I did learn that people, whether on paper or in reality, are endlessly fascinating. In fact, I probably learned as much about the workings of the human mind and heart in my lit classes as I did in my actual Psychology coursework.
Here’s one thing I know: we’re all a little neurotic. I mean, seriously, do you know anyone who’s not just a little off? I certainly don’t. And I’m not at all sure I want to. Quirks are what make people interesting.
But serial killers…well, their quirks are well beyond the average. They set everyone else’s neuroses into perspective and allow the more normal relationships in the stories that feature them to coalesce in that normative light.
Now, that’s not to say that you can just toss a serial killer into a book or movie or television show and I will automatically like it better (I’m looking at you, The Mentalist…you could have left the Red John episodes out), but when a serial killer is well-written, he provides a certain balance that sharpens the other characters. One show that does this consistently is Criminal Minds. I’ll never forget the episode about the comic book artist who has a psychotic break—yes, he killed a lot of people very violently, but in the end you felt sorry for him. That’s an achievement.
And I love a rampaging killer in a romantic suspense. Shannon McKenna brings the crazy really well, I think. Her villains have some normal motive—a desire for power or for wealth—but then they take it totally over the top. Of course, her heroes and heroines are totally over the top, too; they have to be in order to go toe-to-toe with the lunacy of the villains.
When it comes to nature vs. nurture, I’m a believer in both. It’s not enough for me that a character is just plain nuts, I have to know how he got that way. But just a “bad childhood” won’t do it for me, either. Especially since so very often in romance, either the hero or heroine also has a troubled past. What’s intriguing to me is why the hero turned into the hero when the villain turned into the villain.
So bring on the serial killers…and the heroes and heroines who fight them. I’ll be sitting here in the safety of my living room, gobbling them up.
And I know you all want to hear about Laura’s book… so here you go!
Lucy Sadler Caldwell is a successful true-crime writer. But the one story she’s never been able to come to terms with is the murder of her own mother–until now. She’s returned to Dobbs Hollow, Texas, the hometown she fled seventeen years ago, to finally expose the real killer.
After a bullet took out his knee in Houston, Detective Ethan Donovan found himself without a lot of options, which is how he ended up as Chief of Police in Dobbs Hollow. Lucy sure isn’t asking for his help–she’s not big on trust–but he can’t help feeling a strong desire to come to her aid.
And though Lucy is armed to the teeth, she will need all the help she can get. When she starts digging into the past, she unearths a psychotic killer who will stop at nothing to silence her forever…
Guess what else? Lots of giveaways!!! Laura is giving away something every day on her blog. Seriously – check it out here. But more? Someone who leaves a comment here at ALBTALBS will win something as well! ‘Tis the season and all, yes?
So I hope you all respond to her post (comments of substance win me over…) And offer Laura many congratulations and felicitations on her fancy new book! Yay!
Hi friends! Still having problems with internet. I actually have the customer service number in my phone now and I’m pretty sure I’ve called them more than even my family. So. More issues in fact, but the lovely and wonderful Laura K. Curtis is here to save the day! Which is fitting because how else should one start off the year but awesome? So she’s our very first special reader guest of 2013! Whee! And it’s a great topic too. 😀
When I was young, the bookstore in the town where I lived didn’t have a romance section. They had general fiction (where they shelved the top romance authors of the day, though I didn’t know it because they also shelved classics I had to read for school there so I avoided those shelves), mystery and thriller, and sci-fi and fantasy. Still, I read a ton of romance; I just called it “epic fantasy.”
Every fantasy novel I read–and I gobbled them up like candy–had a romance at its heart. Mercedes Lacky was all thinly disguised romance, and Barbara Hambly’s Darwath trilogy made my heart happy. In the long sagas, like the Dragon Prince series by Melanie Rawn, once the central romance became less important, I lost interest. Jennifer Roberson’s Tiger and Del books hooked me so deeply that despite not being a re-reader, I reread them years later to be sure I hadn’t been wrong about loving them. (I hadn’t. I read all the books over in one great, gulping swoop.)
Then one day I discovered the Harlequin rack at the drugstore. Wait…books just about romance? I couldn’t believe it! I bought a bunch of them and read through them in about ten minutes. This was a problem. I was used to huge, fat books. Books filled with battles and politics and even magic as well as romance.
So I went back to fantasy for a while…and then the drugstore added another rack. There they stocked mostly thrillers, but also juicy, intriguingly-covered books by a woman named Jude Deveraux. Ho-ly Mo-ly. Not only were these books fat, but they had sex in them. The epic fantasy tended to be closed-door, and so were the Harlequins of the day. My eyes about bugged out of my head.
By the time I went off to college, I’d become a solid romance reader. I’d moved from Deveraux to Judith Krantz–remember her? I found I loved the whole modern setting of glitz and glam. Historicals took me to another word, but if I was going to another world, I still preferred my romance dressed as epic fantasy.
Given my history, you’d think I would be all over paranormal romance. But oddly, I’m not. I don’t care for non-human romances (well, I don’t mind elvish romance), but I don’t even like guys with hairy backs, let alone were-critters. And I want my vampires to scare me. I love traditional urban fantasy along the lines of Robert Holdstock and Charles de Lint, but I’m not a fan of paranormal romance.
That’s not to say I don’t like any fantasy romance. If you’ve never read Anne Bishop, you should. Right freaking now. But that’s more epic fantasy than urban fantasy. I still go for the giant epics, which probably explains my current puzzlement with the huge surge of novellas and category-length books.
So, yeah, if anyone tells you they don’t read romance, but they read epic fantasy, just snicker politely behind your hand. That’s what I do.
*NB I just picked those covers because they’re interesting. And I like pictures. So my apologies to Laura if those are in fact books that she doesn’t like.
Have you ever read any of those books? Which romances do you prefer? And how did you get started?