Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Return to Gothic Romance

Having just returned from a visit to the Northwest, which always inspires me to write, I got to thinking about why I enjoy writing romantic suspense. I was always captured as a young reader by the works of writers like Daphne DuMaurier, Victoria Holt and my all time favorite, Phyllis Whitney. Recently I was going through a box of old books and ran across some of my old copies of those Phyllis Whitney books.

I had to pull them out and I'm now re-reading Lost Island and enjoying it as much as I did back in the early 1970s. It's the story of a young heroine who returns to an island off the Georgia coast, with an old mansion where she once fell in love.

After reading so many of Whitney's books, I always wanted to write gothic romances. She set them all over the country, from Hawaii to New Mexico and Maine, and I always learned something about the location by reading her books. 

It was with a tip of my writing pen toward writers like Phyllis Whitney that I attempted my first gothic romance, Shadows from the Past, which I set in a mansion on a fictitious island in the Puget Sound. I admit my heroines are a little more worldly than those of Whitney, but the lure of the old mansion, Redfern Manor, in a lonely location with a touch of sinister evil lurking was what I was trying to accomplish. Here's a blurb:

Stacey Moreno is a cartoonist who would love to be as adventurous as the cartoon character she draws, and when she goes undercover to find out what really led to the death of a good friend, she runs into danger, secrets and a very sexy man.  

Last week as I visited the Northwest, I was again drawn by the lure of Redfern Manor. For a while I've been kicking around the idea for a return to Evergreen Island and after a few days with the sea wind blowing my hair and listening to the cry of the seagulls in the early morning mist, I knew I had to finish that story. 

Gothic romances are still a draw, and so are heroines searching out hidden truths and sexy heroes. That is why the gothic romance, like those of Whitney and new writers working in the genre today, will always be a draw for readers.

Shadows from the Past remains available in print and as an e-book at and

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reality Romance

My guest today is author Kathy Clark who has a great idea for reading and writing romance.

Is that book you just downloaded to your ebook reader or stuff into your carry-on for your next plane trip a romance, fantasy, suspense, or maybe erotica? Those are broad "genres" that publishers have established to categorize books. But what if a book crosses genres or isn't easily defined?

Real life romance doesn't fit into a genre. Almost everyone's everyday activities include romance, fantasy, suspense, and, yes, even erotica.  It's always been difficult to categorize my books because they, like real life, have elements of several genres. That inability to classify them has made publishers nervous because their bean counters like things in neat columns and rows. Just as people aren't one-dimensional, neither are my books.

So, as my husband, Bob, and I were brainstorming on our wine deck, we came up with a new classification, one that crosses the boundaries while reflecting the real world.  It’s called Reality Romance.  Not everyone falls in love with a billionaire or shape shifts into a dragon or sparkles in the sunshine.  But all of us know a gorgeous hunk that happens to be a firefighter, a cop, a soldier, a teacher, or some other normal occupation.  These people are complex, interesting, mysterious, sexy, dangerous, fun, intelligent, and all those characteristics that make wonderful characters in our new genre.
They are real people, living real lives, but with a twist. They are average... until they have to become heroes, heroines, or villains. Their days are filled with suspense and mystery just like yours, but maybe they have a body in the closet or handcuffs in their nightstand. And like you they work to address their challenges and take advantage of opportunities they didn't see coming. maybe the hero or heroine aren't popping blood pressure meds and Prozac like you are, but they have failures and successes and things that raise their blood pressure and threaten their lives... and oh yeah, sometimes they have relationships that may or may not work out. This is the very core of a Reality Romance.

It has been written that reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. Romance has been defined as a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love, a well-developed story that creates a feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life for the reader. It's clear that a true romance novel crosses all those invisible boundaries publishers have set. In actuality, a good romance novel should more closely reflect real life.

Our work, over fifty books and screenplays as of the end of 2015, have several common elements regardless of the trope or genre. Our stories have been classified as contemporary romance, suspense, romantic suspense, young adult, new adult, erotica, and even historical. In actuality they are:

* Realistic, with authentic and memorable characters
* About real people caught in new or challenging situations
* Snappy dialogue and genuine feelings that make a reader want to jump inside the story to hang out with or perhaps help the characters
* Believable story lines and fluid pacing that draw characters through their challenges, opportunities and situations and leave the reader cheering for the characters' success and survival.

The hero or heroine of the story can look back on the last page of any Kathy Clark novel and think, it didn't go as planned and that's okay.

Reality romance. A story that is well told, entertaining and has the unexpected blend of suspense, mystery, thrills, erotica, fantasy, romance that everyone has in their life at one time or another...only more, only better and with a happy ending.

Find out about all these novels and all our books on our website at and here are the links to our books.

Romantic Suspense, New Adult [Indie published]
Worst Date Ever

Erotic Romance [Loose Id and Indie published]
Master Suite

Mainstream romantic suspense [Random House LLC published 3 of the 6 to date]
Cries In The
After Love

Friday, April 8, 2016

My Love Affair with Baseball and Writing Romance

This week was Opening Day in many Major League Baseball cities and it got me to thinking about the past when becoming a writer was just a dream I could barely imagine coming true.

When I was in my teens I had two big loves during every summer -- reading romance novels and watching baseball games.  I was a true believer in romance and I walked to the library every week to get two to three romance novels. I think I went through every Avon and Avalon romance in our town's library. Some I read more than once.

But I was also a big fan of major league baseball.  I couldn't get enough of it, listening to games on the radio and watching TV games on weekends. Even though I had never been to a big league game and there wasn't much hope I was getting to one any time soon, I followed every team's daily fortunes in the pennant races. I lived in a small southern Colorado farming town and there wasn't a single big league team within 400 miles. This was long before expansion brought the Colorado Rockies to Denver.

When I eventually discovered Denver had a "farm" team, or minor league team named the Bears, I began to get up my hopes that someday I might actually get to see a major league baseball team play. I spent one whole summer in Denver and delayed my college education for a year just so I could look for work and see the Minnesota Twins play the Denver Bears in an exhibition game. It was worth it just to see the great Dean Chance pitch and get autographs from Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew. Imagine my excitement a few years later when I even made it to San Diego for Opening Day and got to see the Padres take on the Houston Astros.

My love affair with baseball was in full swing and after that I seldom missed an Opening Day. I loved the excitement of starting a new season. Every record was wiped clean and any team could win the pennant on that day. Since my first opening day I've made it to a good many in the different cities where I've lived, Colorado Rockies, California Angels, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners. ahh... the thought still brings tears to my eyes.

So naturally when I started writing romances I had to write a book dedicated to baseball. I couldn't put a woman in a uniform, but I could certainly put her into the broadcasting booth, and that was just what I did with my first romance, Love On Deck. It's a book that remains one of my favorites as announcer Cere Morales goes after her dream of broadcasting baseball games and runs into a sexy baseball manager, Sam Lucero, who can't hide his feelings that women have no business on the field or in the clubhouse. The book has been out a few years, but it's still one of my favorites and I love to re-read it and remember my first days at a major league baseball field. 

Here's a blurb from Love on Deck:

"Women don't belong on the baseball field. "
That's the way handsome, playboy manager Sam Lucero thinks, but just try telling that to Amber Morales-she wants to be a baseball radio announcer. But she wants no part of a macho ex-jock who is trying to tell her what she can and can't do. But while they may be striking out on the field, their hearts are hitting a grand slam in the bedroom.

It received 4 Stars from RT Book Reviews and it's still a fun read.

Mysterious Doings

As the  summer begins, it is time to start selecting those books we want to take on vacation or for sitting around the pool or at  the beach...