#amreading / #amwriting ~ No. 1

Welcome to my latest reading and writing exploits – including interesting blogs, books, news on social media, alongside my ongoing trials and tribulations as I attempt to write my first book.

#amreading

I’ve been having a MASSIVE re-reading session of Nalini Singh’s Psy / Changling novels (see my blog on Nalini here). I’ve re-read the first ten books of the series, plus the collection of short stories (Cooper and Grace be still my beating heart!), over the past couple of weeks. It’s been a while since I read them the first time, so I’ve really enjoyed immersing myself in this world again from the beginning. It’s hard to pick out my favourites but the Alphas’ stories have to be top of the list. Lucas and Hawke are amazing characters and their mates are more than a match for them.

My favourite books are like a comfort blanket, one that I bring out when I need a specific emotional fix, but I also re-read when the current new books that I have on my kindle have proven a disappointment and unfortunately that’s the case at the moment. I’m hoping for better things soon.

Writer’s Digest is a veritable gold mine of information for writers. This post feels relevant to me at the moment: Self-Editing Advice: How to Tackle Character Consistency

Heroes and Heartbreakers is a brilliant blog for all things romance and I’ll be referencing it regularly because their posts are ace. This one caught my eye today and brings a new term to something that I love in my romance novels – the competence kink. 

On Twitter:

@TropeHero and @TropeHeroine are so worth a follow. Clever, funny and perfect for lovers of romance.

trope hero twitter pic

#amwriting

I’ve finished my first draft – yipee! I finished it a week ago actually but for one reason or another (half-term so kids at home / youngest was ill / I was sleep deprived) I’ve only just started to edit it. To be honest, taking the time away from it has been a good thing. The distance from it has made the story clearer to me in a way.

My first job when I begin editing is to layer emotion through the story showing the emotional development of my central character, Helena, but I’m mulling over adding a couple of scenes and keep having startling revelations about the detail – while I’m trying to get to sleep or washing up! The notes app on my phone is full of random, and not so random, thoughts that keep springing into my mind since I finished the first draft.

I edited the first ten pages today and it felt pretty good.

Any good book recommendations this week?

Kx

The Wonderful Worlds of Nalini Singh

I discovered Nalini Singh about 5 years ago when I got my first Kindle. She has 3 series on the go, The Guild Hunter (paranormal), Psy / Changeling (shifter / paranormal) and A Rock Kiss (contemporary romance). I started with The Guild Hunter series and never looked back. She’s an automatic buy for me now and one of my all time favourite authors.

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I love her style of writing, her strong and tender heroes and unstoppable, likeable heroines. There are archangels, vampires, leopards and wolves (just to name a few) plus the intricate and fascinating world of the Psy. The books are so exciting and packed full of action, I can never put them down once I start one.

The worlds that she has created in her paranormal series are impressively detailed and how she keeps track of so many story lines is beyond me. But at the heart of every single book is a romance. Elena and Raphael, Dmitri and Honor (Guild Hunter) are some of my all time favourite characters and their stories are beautiful. I re-read several of her books on a regular basis.

I’ve recommended these books to a few people and they’re hooked just like I am – even my mother-in-law! (Hi Rita) So if you’re looking for some exciting series to get your reading chops into and you haven’t discovered Nalini Singh yet, now’s your chance. Her back catalogue is huge, the Psy / Changeling series alone has 21 books in it. The Guild Hunter series has 8 full length novels and 4 short story collections.

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I really recommend you read the short stories too because they give you a real insight into the world and a host of characters. Plus it helps if you’ve read Ashwini and Janvier’s short story in Angels’ Pawn before their story in Archangel’s Shadows. Ashwini and Janvier’s story is amazing – one of the best in the series.

The Rock Kiss series are contemporary romances based around the members of a rock band, although my favourite book in the series is actually about one of the rock girlfriend’s best friend and her relationship with her CEO boss (Charlotte and Gabriel in Rock Hard). They’re hot and sexy and Nalini Singh writes contemporary as well as she writes paranormal, so it’s a win-win situation. There are currently 4 full length novels in this series.

rock hard cover

If you haven’t read any of these books yet then I’m actually a little envious because that means you’ve got loads of awesome books ahead of you. Here’s Nalini’s website where you can check out the series order and keep up with her latest news. She also has a great newsletter where you get lots of previews of what she’s writing and her insight into characters and where the stories are going http://nalinisingh.com/.

Happy reading!

Kx

Why Romance?

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember. I have vivid memories as a kid of the books that I read and how they made me feel. That was back in the days before Kindles and Amazon, ebooks and self-publishing. I read all my Mum’s Catherine Cookson books, then began to look further afield.

I had a library card and I wasn’t afraid to use it!

It was a rare day when I didn’t have my 10 book allocation piled up on the desk by my bed. Danielle Steel, Jilly Cooper, Jude Deveraux, Judith Krantz, LaVyrle Spencer, Barbara Delinsky, Susan Lewis to name just a few of the authors that I used to look out for. God, that list takes me back! The only author who I read anymore from that list is LaVyrle Spencer because Morning Glory is one of the best books I’ve ever read. But that’s not to take anything away from the pleasure I got from those books at the time.

I was transported from my little bedroom in suburban England, to London, New York, San Fransisco, rural America, China and beyond.

Romance

I watched love stories unfold and heartbreak strike and I lived through it all because I knew I was going to get a happy ending. Some people hate that; they laugh and smirk and patronise the romance genre because of it but that is exactly what I love. I want to know that the characters and their lives that I’m currently immersed in are going to be together when I close the book. There is enough crap in life, I don’t want to read about it all the time as well!

Reading for me is about escaping to another world, another set of people and familiar tropes and story lines. There’s comfort in familiarity and knowing that I’m going to get a HEA or a HFN – either one is ok to be honest.

Romance is about all the ways you can fall in love and all the ways that love can become difficult. I like strong, gutsy main characters and a rowdy, funny supporting cast. I want to care about the characters and route for their success and their happy ending. I like my romance sexy and hot. What’s all that flirting and sexual tension about if there’s no pay off?! Right?

When I find an author that I love, I’m loyal and read pretty much everything that they’ve written. If I pick up a book and it doesn’t grab me within the first ten pages, you’ve lost a reader for life. There are too many good books out there to waste time on rubbish books (of which there are unfortunately many).

My reading tastes have changed over the years but not the genre. I may dip my toe in a thriller every once in awhile, but I always go back to my first reading love. I’m fairly sure romance books are a borderline addiction for me and I’m ok with that. 

How about you?

Happy reading!

Kx