Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alternative Hero Material

It's my crazy great pleasure to have Lynne Marshall at Tattered Pages today, with a fabulous post about alternative heroes. I CAN'T WAIT to see comments on this one~ And be sure to leave one, cuz Lynne is hosting a give-away!

As romance readers, we’ve gotten used to reading about heroes who light up the room when they enter. They’re gorgeous and little birdies go tweet tweet tweet around their heads whenever they smile. Without spending any time at the gym, and while eating anything they want, they still manage to be cut and wash-boarded. Did I mention they are moguls, top-notch surgeons, millionaires and/or undercover cops, and even though every woman on earth drools over them, they only have eyes for the heroine?

Ah, the power of romantic fiction. Sigh.

What about regular guys? Aren’t they worthy of our undying love, too? 

Inspired by reading AJ Nuest’s book, Jezebel’s Wish, where the heroine, Jezzy—what I call an alternative heroine—is far from the norm in the perfect looking, today-girl, I-can-have-it-all-type departments, I got an idea for this blog. So here’s my plan, I’d like to talk a little about alternative heroes, the not-so-perfect men who still manage to win over our hearts in our favorite books. 

Anyone ever read Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer? Will Parker was skinny, homeless, and out of work at the tail end of the great depression when he stumbles into Eleanor Dinsmore’s life by answering her ad for a husband. She thinks Will is a bag of bones and as the story plays out, she helps fatten him up, and turn him into the man he is destined to be. Did I mention she is a widow, pregnant, and has two other children, and is in great need of a man to help her work her land?

That scenario doesn’t sound very sexy does it? Well, I’m here to tell you that book will grab you by the collar and pull you into its depth faster than any Stetson clad Texas billionaire.

Suz Brockman wrote a guy named Ken “Wildcard” Karmody who was only five-feet-eight, in Out of Control, one of her Navy Seal Series. Not your average hero material, you suggest? Let’s just say you’d be wrong about that statement, too.

Recently, I read a fun book called Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts, where the hero turns out to be a cross dressing nightclub entertainer in Vegas. This was a harder stretch for me because I kept imagining him with waxed eyebrows whenever he and the heroine got up close and personal.

I’ve got one more alternative hero I’d like to tell you about. His name is Tyler White, and he is an over forty, has-been singer on his comeback tour in One for the Road, my current release with The Wild Rose Press. He’s big, six-feet-four, a bit out of shape, he smokes, and has blood pressure issues. Is that your idea of a hero? Probably not. The last thing he’s interested in doing is falling in love with a forty-six year old widow while renting her forty-foot RV for his cross country tour. Without spoiling the story, I’ll just mention that while challenged by D’Anne and the trials and tribulations of being on the road twenty-four-seven with his band and a picky widow, not to mention a mystery he needs to help solve, he becomes the man he was meant to be…a true hero.

I don’t have any problems with dreamboats as heroes, but once in a while I like to spice up my reading life with grittier characters who have realistic flaws, guys like Will, Ken, and Tyler White. How about you?

Tell us who your favorite alternative hero is from either a book or a movie, and get your name in a drawing for your choice of either a print or e-book gift coupon for One for the Road from Amazon

Lynne Marshall (  is a multi-published author of Medical Romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon, with an upcoming Harlequin Special Edition, Courting His Favorite Nurse, due out 3/12. Her current release is a full length contemporary romance, One for the Road, from The Wild Rose Press 

Lynne believes it’s never too late to fall in love, and that second chances are gifts from life which are not to be squandered.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tattered Pages Welcomes Author Silver James!

Thank you so much for being here, Silver. Tell us how your writing career began.
English class in the eighth grade. In a spiral bound notebook with a black and white plaid cover. I would scribble madly and then slip it to my best friend, Angela, so she could read it. Titled “The Talisman”, the book was a time travel wherein two teenage girls were transported to King Arthur’s court. And fell in love with two lovely knights. With much hi-jinks and hilarity along the way. Needless to say, it was abysmal. Luckily, I grew up and learned more about the craft. ;-)
Oh my gosh, that's an awesome story. So you started out in the time-travel romance genre. Are you still there?
I often describe myself as a cross-genre writer. My reading tastes are eclectic so I had no choice but to chase after my Muse in my writing. Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense with paranormal elements, SciFi and Fantasy, straight mystery, and even a couple of straight contemporaries have all shown up in my WIP pile.
Wow! So what heat level do you prefer to write? What about the heat level you prefer to read? Are we keeping that bedroom door open or closed here?
As a reader, I tend to skip over the lusty parts. There are only so many ways to insert Tab A in Slot B. That said, if a writer gets into the emotions of the participants, that’s a different story. As for my own writing, a lot depends on the story and the characters. I have some that go behind closed doors. I have others that will ignite a room and never do more than simply look at each other.
Sounds awesome! Of the characters you created, which one is your favorite and why?
That’s like picking a favorite child. I guess it’s a good thing I only have one of those. LOL Taking the easy way out, I’m going to say whichever character’s head I happen to be in at any given moment. Right now, that’s Rory MacDermot, the hero in my current WIP. He’s surprised me on more than one occasion.
I love it with my characters surprise me. That's gotta be the best part about writing. Have you ever considered self-publication?
I have, yes. I have two series, an Urban Fantasy and a Romantic Suspense, my agent is shopping around. If no one bites, I’ll be very tempted to go the self-pub route. I believe very strongly in these series and would like to see them out there in the “wild.”
It is VERY intriguing, I agree. What are you working on now?
I’m working on the final book in my Faerie Trilogy with Wild Rose Press. FAERIE FOOL revisits many of the characters from the first book, FAERIE FATE, though in this lifetime, rather than the past. I still have elements of reincarnation, time travel, and those wonder feuding fae, Abhean and Manannán mac Lir, mucking about in mortal lives.
After finishing a manuscript, do you take some time off or dive right in to the next story?
That depends on the To-Do list from my agent. When I finish a manuscript, I send it off to my critique partner, so I don’t work on it again until she sends it back. I might take a day or two to read a book, because it seems like I never have enough time to read for pleasure. However, there are times that Iffy, my Muse, is running around waving her scissors and threatening dire results if I don’t leap into the next project.
LOL! That's too funny! Gotta love Iffy! What’s on your nightstand (or downloaded onto your Kindle) right now?
What’s not? *looks guilty* My TBR pile is HUGE—I mean like over a hundred books. I’m currently working my way through Regan Hasting’s VISIONS OF SKYFIRE and Kat Henry Duran’s EMBRACEABLE YOU from the Class of ’85 Reunion series from The Wild Rose Press.
Too many books, not enough time, my friend. Which Superhero would you most love to date?
Uhm…none of them. Men in tights aren’t my thing. Sergeant Rock? Now HIM I’d go out with! (Does anyone besides me even remember Sergeant Rock?)
Uhhh...not me. Anyone else? What about your husband Has he read your work?
He does if I ask, though he used to read my WIPs quite often. He is wonderful to brainstorm with, and I find that much more valuable than his thoughts on my writing.
Favorite cocktail?
Margarita on the rocks with lots of salt. MmmMmmm, good!
What about hobbies?
Hobbies? Who has time? *gigglesnort* Okay. Seriously. I read every spare moment I have. I used to needlepoint and I did some handpainted clothing once upon a time. But then I started writing in earnest and that’s my…passion. It is both job and hobby and all-consuming attention whore.
I hear ya there. Any pets?
I am owned by a full-blood Newfoundland dog (all 150 pounds of him!) named Cooper, a half-Newf/half-Golden Retriever named Boone who is the doobie of all dogs. Boone’s mantra is, “Can’t we all just get along? So pet me!” And of course, there is Adidas, the cat who rules us all.
Thanks for being my guest, Silver! Glad to have you at AJ’s Tattered Pages!
Thank you for inviting me, AJ. I’ve enjoyed my time here at Tattered Pages. And to celebrate my work on the final book of the Faerie Trilogy, I’m giving away the first book, FAERIE FATE to one lucky commenter, picked at random.
Whoo Hoo! Hear that, folks? Keep reading to learn about Silver's Give-Away, FAERIE FATE!!
BIO: With a rampant imagination aided and abetted by a Muse who runs with scissors, Silver James loves to share the stories created in that vast comic void pretending to be her mind. Over the course of her lifetime, she's been a military officer's wife, mother, state appellate court marshal, airport rescue firefighter and forensic fire photographer, crime analyst, technical crime scene investigator, and writer. Retired from the “real world” now, she lives in Oklahoma and spends her days at the computer with her two Newfoundland dogs, the cat who rules them all, and myriad characters all clamoring for attention. To find out more about Silver, visit her at

If you could go back, do it over again, would you take a chance to find true love?

What if you had no choice?

On her fiftieth birthday, the faerie catapult Rebecca Miller a thousand years into the past to find her happily ever after with Ciaran MacDermot, Chief of Clann MacDermot, the last Fenian warrior in his line. In the twenty-first century, Becca is old enough to be Ciaran’s mother. In the tenth, she’s young enough to be his bride.
The fae forgot to mention one slight stipulation. The lovers must be bound before the Festival of Light, or Becca will forever disappear into Tir Nan Óg, the faerie Land of the Ever Young.
Will they discover the binding words before time runs out and they’re torn apart forever? Or will their eternal love defeat their Faerie Fate?
Without the words, history is doomed to repeat itself.
The little clock she’d received as a present on her twenty-fifth birthday whirred and chimed the time. One small, tinkling chime. Two. Finally, twelve in all. Midnight between March twentieth and March twenty-first. The vernal equinox. The day when light and dark, good and evil, love and hate all balanced on the finely tuned axis of mother earth.
Voices, strange with lilting accents, whispered somewhere in the darkness of her dream.
“She sleeps,” said a soft voice, feminine, one Becca didn’t recognize.
“Aye,” said the second voice. This one was deep, male, arrogant.
“Will she remember?”
“Nay, she’ll not.”
“How then will she know what to do?”
“She’ll know.” He sounded confident.
“What of him?”
“Aye, he’ll definitely know now. He should have known the last time, but she was too afraid, and he was too full of himself.”
“What is so different this time?” She was skeptical.
“She was young then, not matched well to him. Now, she’s no young soul. She’s had all those lives without him, the lonely nights, and the ache in her heart for all time. This time, she has courage born in the fires of suffering. She’ll know not to run from him, but to him.”
“You’re sure with the knowing of it this time?”
“And, if it doesn’t work?”
“Ciaran dies. Again.”
A sharp intake of breath came from the woman. “That cannot happen. Too much went wrong the first time.”
Twitter: @SilverJames_

Hi, AJ. Thank you so much for inviting me to visit you here at Tattered Pages.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sex or Not to Sex, That is the Question

I canNOT tell you how honored I am to have my dear friend and fellow Wild Rose Press author Calisa Rhose with me at Tattered Pages today!

Thank you for having me into your cyber home, AJ. I’m all a titter to be here!

When I first began writing, back in the dark ages, I wrote about love. There’s always a HEA in my books. However- there wasn’t always sex. Did the characters have it? Who knows? I pretty much just left that to the netherworld of the imagination of the reader.

There’s something I began to understand about myself and writing much later on, though. I care what others think. Maybe I care too much. I cringe to write sex scenes, so what someone else thinks affects my writing. I read sex scenes, well, mild sex scenes. Erotic would never find a place in my vision. Yes, I’m a southern gal. Nana (my gramma) taught me that sex belongs behind a closed door. Therefore, I was ashamed to read about it. Desires were my bravest venture. So, write about sex? Me? When the universe spins backward!

Then some writers and I started a critique group, Chapter By Chapter. *wave hello Twinkies!* I’m sure some of you have heard of erotic author, Chloe Cole (Christine Bell). Maybe some of you have heard of LC Chase, M/M author (also writes a killer ‘straight’ vampire). Chloe’s short stories were my first adventure into erotics, and she and LC’s Three To Tango, a ménage, was another first for me.’ Okay—so my kindle blushes as much as I do with all the body parts stored within. I don’t necessarily ‘like’ to read erotic, but I know it takes as much talent and work to write as my romance does. I respect the authors as much as any.

But the point is—not every writer is the same. Not every book has sex. That doesn’t make them any less good, and visa versa.

In April I was offered my first contract. It’s been a relatively short journey, and a fairly smooth one for me from beginning to write to first sale—but in December HOME will be released with The Wild Rose Press. I’m an author! It feels strange still to say that and know it isn’t just that I write—which was in itself was my proudest moment to be able to admit to—but I sold a book. I’m published! Guess what? You won’t find sex in HOME. What you will find, I hope, is sizzling sexual tension and sensual love bordering on sex. I didn’t plan it that way, it’s how my heroine demanded it—who she is. And we all know to listen to our characters.

Does that mean I never learned to write sex? Well, I do what we’ve all been told to do. Write every day, practice moving outside my comfort zone. So, yes; I can write sex scenes now. I owe it in part to those steamy sex gurus who write erotic. Yes, I read it now. What writer worth their weight in paper won’t try new things? I’m not saying an inspirational writer should pick up a Chloe Cole book- not at all.

But even sweet writers should read something they wouldn’t normally write just for the experience in sensuality. Because let’s face it—erotic authors can write some kinda sensual!

I can now write, and let someone else read, sex scenes. Mine will doubtfully ever be part A goes into part B scenes, but the door is open a crack. Just a crack.

What about you? What is writing outside your comfort zone, and do you read it?

Thanks again AJ, for letting me come and ramble all over your Tattered Pages.
Small-town country girl Calisa Rhose has been writing since she was a teen in central Oklahoma. It wasn’t until 2005 that she realized if “they” can do it there’s no reason why she couldn’t write and get published, too. That realization began her journey into the world of publishing. After a cross-country move with her husband and their three grown daughters (plus families) back to her home state, Calisa dove into her writing. She joined RWA and the local chapter OKRWA. Since that day she has been more determined than ever to see her name in lights. She intends to nurture others and continue to grow as an author.

She’d love to hear from her readers at and you can visit Calisa at
Find out about her first book HOME on the Bookshelf page.
Twitter and Facebook her.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tattered Pages Welcomes Suzanne G. Rogers

I'm so happy to have Suzanne with us today, who brings a wonderful post about being...

In Between a Rock and a Publisher

Do you remember Aron Ralston, the man who had to cut off his own arm to escape a mountain climbing accident? For him it was a horrible dilemma—he had to choose between losing a limb or losing his life.

Far less dramatic, but equally unpalatable, was the choice I had to make to publish with Astraea Press. My YA fantasy novel, “The Last Great Wizard of Yden,” was written from a first-person point of view. Their response to my submission was positive; the story idea was unique and compelling, but the POV didn’t grab them. Would I be willing to rewrite it from first to third person?

Let me whip out my pocketknife.

Why not just take the reject and move on to another publisher? Because I felt instinctively that Astraea Press was the right publisher for this manuscript. The label specializes in “wholesome” reads, and “Yden” was that. AP was likely to have the sort of following that would enjoy my novel. AP was also small enough to give my book the individualized attention I was looking for. So I agreed to rewrite the first three chapters, just to see if the project was even doable.

Several issues became obvious to me right away. Events seen from the perspective of a 16-year-old were not necessarily logical when viewed from a third-person POV. I had to shore up those plot flaws that popped out like spores of mold on a sea of cottage cheese. I had to rely more heavily on dialogue to reveal information, since I could no longer rely on the “inner monologue” of the main character. Scenes had to be laid out differently to achieve a forward momentum. 

On the plus side, I’d learned a lot about writing since the manuscript was first completed.  I was able to give the rewrite the benefit of my increased skill. For some reason, I also had more clarity of thought and could rip out those sections that seemed muddled to me now.   I ended up editing out a lot of action that was labored, and replacing it with new scenes. I also laid in a lot more fun dialogue and jokes. Once I finished the three chapters, I kept going. The rewrite took me about a month.

Three weeks after my re-submission, I got the acceptance. Four months later, I had the launch of my first published full-length novel. Now I have to turn my attention to rewriting the two already-completed sequels. 

Where’s that pocketknife again?

--S.G. Rogers--

Read the excerpt from The Last Great Wizard of Yden:

After his father is kidnapped, sixteen-year-old Jon stumbles across a closely guarded family secret--one that will challenge everything he has ever believed about his father and himself.  A magical ring his father leaves behind unlocks a portal to another dimension, but in using it, Jon unwittingly unchains the forces of evil. A crisis develops when a malevolent wizard transports to Earth to kidnap one of Jon’s friends. With the help of some unlikely schoolmates, and a warrior princess from Yden, Jon embarks on a dangerous quest to free his friend and his father from the most vicious wizard the magical world has ever known. In the end, Jon will be forced to fight for his life as he attempts to rescue the last great wizard of Yden.

And here's the excerpt:
“Where did you get that Dragon Clan ring, boy?” Warlord Mandral demanded.

“None of your business.”

The congregants gasped, and Jon’s reply earned him a smack on the head from the nearest cygard. Mandral, however, acted as if he hadn’t heard him. He beckoned to the man with the scroll. “Minister Tyrg, what is the charge against this prisoner?”

“Theft,” Tyrg said. His voice sounded almost like the hiss of a snake. “Merchant Moala has filed a claim for the cuff.”

Stig pulled up Jon’s sleeve to reveal the transporter cuff.

“Moala is an accomplished liar. His claim is denied,” Mandral said.

Jon sighed with relief, but his deliverance was short-lived.

“Take the ring and the cuff,” the warlord said. “Then whip the boy for his insolence.”

Ophelia’s eyes remained dull, and Jon was beginning to panic.

Stig caressed his ax. “The ring and cuff cannot be removed.”

Mandral exchanged a sharp glance with Tyrg. “Is this the ancient magic of inseparability?”

Tyrg shook his head in confusion. “A wizard becomes one with his clan ring and transporter cuff, yes. But there are few wizards left, and none of them have apprentices.”

The warlord studied Jon’s features. He tugged Ophelia to confirm the ring would not leave Jon’s finger. “Who are you?”

“No one in particular. I'm not from around here,” Jon replied.

With practiced speed and agility, Mandral unsheathed a thin dagger strapped to his thigh and pointed it at the hollow of Jon’s throat. “That's not what I asked.”

Jon felt the razor-sharp tip pierce his skin. He had no doubt the blade had meted out its share of death. He gulped. “Jon. Jon Hansen.”

A sudden commotion distracted Mandral from slitting Jon’s throat. A struggle had erupted between a newly arrived prisoner and the cygard holding him captive. Half a dozen cygards descended, but Mandral forbade them from intervention. The prisoner, covered from head to toe in a green hooded cape, was besting his captor. The cygard staggered up the chamber from a well-placed sidekick to his ribs. Then, the prisoner twisted in the air to slam a nimble hook kick to the cygard's head. The cygard’s helmet flew off, revealing his ugly face. Audibly disgusted, the onlookers averted their eyes until the fallen cygard managed to get his now-dented helmet back on.

Mandral laughed in delight. He directed the hovering cygards to subdue the prisoner and tie his tether on the ring next to Jon’s. The dented cygard yanked off the prisoner's cape and stepped back. The crowd murmured.

The newcomer was female, and a stunning one at that. Her full, waist-length hair was a wavy chestnut with red highlights. Her eyes were a violet color, and her skin was a golden tan. Despite his own predicament, Jon flushed. He couldn’t help but stare. From the expressions of the other men in the room, he knew he wasn't the only one.

* * * *

The Last Great Wizard of Yden sounds fabulous, Suzanne. So tell us, how did your writing career begin?
My mommy made me do it. When I was a child, whenever we went anywhere my mother made me write about it afterwards. I still laugh about “Our Trp to Sanfransco” where Daddy wet his pants (spilled a drink)!

That's too funny. But go Mom! Since The Last Great Wizard is YA fantasy, is that the genre you tend to stay with?
Although all of my writing tends to have a bit of innocence to it, I write for all age levels. I’ve written stories for children’s magazines as well as for romance labels such as The Wild Rose Press (“Clash of Wills” – coming in 2012!). My current WIP actually has the word “damn” in it. Oops.

*Gasp, sputter* Shame on you! Speaking of which, what IS your current WIP?
The book is called “Tournament of Chance,” and it morphed out of a short story I wrote and submitted to a prestige magazine. Although it was rejected, the editors liked it and told me they’d only rejected it because it didn’t have the “tone” they were looking for.  Well, neither do my thighs, so I didn’t let that discourage me. It’s now a nearly finished manuscript about a strong female protagonist archer who shoots through the glass ceiling keeping the commoners in their place.

LOL about the thighs. I hear you there. Tournament of Chance sound awesome. I LOVE the strong female lead. So other than writing, do you have any interesting hobbies?
I saw “Billy Jack” when I was a kid and I thought his martial arts moves were SO COOL. It wasn’t until “Total Recall” came around that I realized a girl (Sharon Stone) could do it, too. Since then, I’ve loved martial arts. Interestingly, I earned my first black belt under Billy Blanks (of TaeBo fame).

How cool is THAT! Billy Blanks is awesome. Favorite cocktail?
Pomegranate martini when I can get it. I also like cranberry vodka drinks on account of the cranberry juice is so beneficial. 

Suzanne, we need to get together and party. After a few Pometinis I'm going to make you show me some TaiBo moves! Thanks so much for being my guest!

In her former lives, S.G. Rogers was a lawyer and an actress, but she’s now grown up and settled down as an author. Drawn to fantasy literature, she’s lived in some of the most magical places in America, including La Jolla, California, Asheville, North Carolina, and currently Savannah, Georgia. She resides with her son, husband, and two hairless cats—which look and act quite a bit like dragons. When she’s not writing, she enjoys practicing martial arts. You can find S.G. Rogers at 


Twitter: @suzannegrogers

Thursday, October 13, 2011