News and author-stuff, Writing

New Website Almost Ready!

I’ve been working hard (Read: tearing my hair out and cursing a bit), but the new website is almost ready to go!If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably seeing the new digs. What do you think?

You might have noticed that there’s also a new domain name. That’s okay. The old one will be coming back as well (because two is definitely better than one!)

What’s up next around here?

  • I’m working on formatting Must Love Plague, and once that’s all ready to go, I’ll be getting it ready for sale and you’ll get your first peek at the cover (I’ve given you a hint of the cover, but it’s so much better in person.) 🙂
  • I’m at work both on stories to go in the Shades of Beckwell series, plus working on Must Love Famine – because what could be better than a marriage of convenience in modern times…and a very dirty-minded grasshopper companion?

Thanks for sticking around, and I hope you enjoy the new place. I’m settling in, and hope to make it an even better experience for you all the time. So poke around, let me know what you think, what might be missing.

And remember, the world always holds some magic if we look hard enough.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

The Paranormal, Uncategorized

Trailer Reveal for RACE THE DARKNESS


Cover2Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads

Series: Fatal Dreams #1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: October 4, 2016



Cursed with a terrible gift…
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.
A gift that threatens to engulf them…
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.




IMG_2582Abbie Roads

Seven Things about Abbie Roads:
1. She loves Snicker Parfaits. Gotta start with what’s most important, right?
2. She writes dark emotional books featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages.
3. By day she’s a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. At night she burns up the keyboard. Well… Burn might be too strong a word. She at least sits with her hands poised over the keyboard, waiting for inspiration to strike. And when it does—the keyboard might get a little warm.
4. She can’t stand it when people drive slowly in the passing lane. Just saying. That’s major annoying. Right?
5. She loves taking pictures of things she thinks are pretty.
6. She’s represented by Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary.
7. Her first book RACE THE DARKNESS is available for pre-order.


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The Journey to Publication, The Paranormal


Here I am, another week and another gorgeous cover that I get to help reveal!! This one is from my friend and GH sister Asa Maria Bradley, and besides a yummy cover, this is yet another book that is already on my TBR list! The Vikings are coming, and my, aren’t we lucky!

VikingWarriorRising-300Viking Warrior Rising
by Asa Maria Bradley
Release Date: 11/03/15
Sourcebooks Casablanca

Immortal Vikings are among us.

Leif Skarsganger and his elite band of immortal warriors have been charged to protect humanity from the evil Norse god Loki.

Under attack from Loki’s minions, Leif is shocked to encounter a dark-haired beauty who fights like a warrior herself. Wounded and feverish, the Viking kisses her, inadvertently triggering an ancient Norse bond. But when Naya Brisbane breaks away and disappears before the bond is completed, Leif’s warrior spirit goes berserk. If Leif doesn’t find her fast, he’s going to lose himself to permanent battle fury.

But Naya doesn’t want to be found…and he’ll do anything to find her. Because they’re both running out of time.

“Asa Maria Bradley creates a swoon-worthy hero who sizzles across the pages in this tale full of passion, blood, and destiny! Sexy, stubborn, and smart lovers clash in a tension-filled race to outwit science and control fate. Bradley is a new force to be reckoned with in the paranormal genre! Move over Highlanders…the Vikings are coming!”
– Rebecca Zanetti, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Dark Protector series

“Strong world-building, and a hero that will make you want a Viking of your very own!”
– Paige Tyler, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the X-Ops and SWAT series

“An intensely thrilling and unique romance that whisks the reader into the intricate, smart, and sexy world of these wickedly hot Viking warriors.”
– Sara Humphreys, award-winning author of Vampires Never Cry Wolf

Add to Goodreads List or pre-order from: Barnes & Noble or Amazon

About the Author
Asa-Maria-BradleyAsa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired the immortal Vikings and Valkyries in her paranormal romances. She also writes romantic suspense and currently resides on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with a British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. Asa graduated from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers MFA program at Eastern Washington University with an MFA in creative writing and also holds a Master of Science in Medical Physics from University of Colorado. She’s a 2014 Golden Heart finalist and represented by Sarah E Younger at the Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

The Paranormal, Writing

Paranormal Romance Tropes

I did mention last week I was a tad obsessed with romance tropes lately, right? Well, it got me thinking that while romance has some larger tropes, specific sub-genres of romance, like paranormal romance, can make use of the traditional tropes, and also have some unique ones of their own.

So just in case you’re getting to work, here are some of the tropes I’ve commonly seen in paranormal romance:

  • hates what they are / think they’re a monster – I have a love/hate feeling with this trope, but essentially often the hero despises what they are / their powers and somehow wants to escape it, and potentially is saved by the romance.
  • loves being magical – opposite as above
  • fish out of water – not just a paranormal trope, but frequently appears when a human encounters the paranormal world.
  • two species that cancel each other out / fated enemies – very common, especially in vampire stories where there are “good vampires” and “bad” ones. This also encompasses hunted vs hunter stories.
  • fated mates – also very common, and can occasionally become love at first sight or at least “you’re supposed to be mine” for one of the partners (yep, love/hate with this one too.)
  • mates can save each other -this is where they have to find their mate to somehow gain salvation. But it can also be how they overcome their monstrous / magical nature.
  • soul mates through time – essentially, they find each other in every life time, and may or may not remember their past relationships.
  • protectors / guardians -also very common, where you have supernatural creatures protecting humanity OR other supernatural creatures OR the kind of demon-slayer / vampire slayer type archetype. This concept shows up in early mythology about many supernatural creatures, especially werewolves. 🙂
  • inheritance / awakening of unexpected magical / world-changing powers – one day you wake up and discover you’re a fairy…or a demon, or otherwise the most magical person in the universe. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
  • changeling babies -related to above, this is where somehow a magical baby / important species was lost / hidden amongst humanity.
  • foretold saviors of the world -again related to the above, these are the saviors and prophesized “lucky” characters who get to save the world … or doom it.
  • marked / cursed – similar to above, these characters may have been cursed or doomed from very early, or because of their particular actions.
  • dual universe / parallel worlds -whether aliens or
  • big bad magical vs ordinary human – often combined with other tropes (including fated mates and fish out of water), this is where an ordinary human somehow ends up in love with a supernatural creature … and often proves the power of humanity can equal anything magical out there.

I’ve written a few stories with these. Ironically, it’s especially the ones I’m not sure that I like which challenge me, since I try to write a story that turns the trope into something I would like.  And there are so many days I wish I’d wake up and discover I’m magical. Like, maybe I could read minds, or figure out a way to add an extra day to the week. 😉

Your turn! What tropes have you seen specifically in paranormal romances? Which ones do you love, and which do you loathe? Any I’ve overlooked? Love to hear from you. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and hope you all have a great week. Happy writing! And hey, like this post? Why not follow the blog?


Romance Tropes: Find Your Favorite!

So I’m finally done with revisions (let’s pretend this will really be the last time I’ll revise that WIP, okay?). And, I’m thinking about writing a new book. And thinking about tropes.

Admittedly, I’m a tiny bit obsessed with them. Which is funny, because I don’t tend to write thinking about the common tropes. You might remember an old post about tropes, Tropes: Love Them, Loathe Them.

Anyway, today I wanted to give you a list of some of the most common romance tropes. These can be thought of as storylines / ideas / situational patterns that commonly show up in stories, romances in particular.  I searched for one before, and had trouble finding it, so evidently I didn’t enter the right sequence of words. This time I did, and I found a couple of other author sites that have a fabulous explanation (I’ve shared them below).

Bottom line: many fiction genres use different kinds of tropes that continue to resonate with readers, and somehow seem inherent to that “type” (or genre) of story. It’s what the author does with the tropes, their own personal spin, that can make the story something new and special, even if it makes use of tropes we’ve seen many times before.

  • Secret Baby
  • Reformed Rake
  • Friends-to-lovers
  • Best friends-little-sister-grew up
  • Teacher / Student
  • Billionaire boss
  • Taming the Untameable
  • Alpha hero
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Opposite side of the tracks
  • Boss / employee
  • Friends with benefits
  • Unrequited love
  • One night stand turns into something more
  • Forbidden love
  • plain / average gets the hottie
  • opposites attract
  • marriage of convenience
  • offer she (he) can’t refuse
  • bad boy (or bad girl) with strait-laced
  • reunited lovers
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Cinderella
  • Big Misunderstanding (like Pride and Prejudice)
  • fairy tale re-tellings
  • mutual unrequited love
  • insta-love
  • fated mates
  • amnesia
  • second chance at love
  • secret romance
  • first love
  • rescue
  • stranded
  • eccentric family
  • virgin and the rake
  • wounded hero
  • nerds / betas
  • twins
  • twins/ look-alikes impersonating each other
  • woman pretending to be a man
  • blackmail
  • make-over
  • sudden inheritance
  • instant baby / parenthood
  • revenge
  • runaway bride
  • pretending to be married

For most romance readers (and writers too), we have some favorite tropes we return to, intentionally or not. For me, I can’t resist a good marriage of convenience. 🙂 I also really like the wounded hero, Beauty and the Beast scenario (where the Beauty is able to “tame” and help heal the Beast), and unrequited love (often with best-friend’s-sister-grew-up tied in.) There are also tropes that I’m not a fan of, like: secret baby, revenge, and friends with benefits. Still, I’ve read books (and written them) with these tropes, because sometimes it seems to matter more HOW an author employs them than the original trope itself.

On my hunt today, I also found two fabulous lists of tropes that I wanted to share with you. These authors also provide a bit more of an explanation for some of the tropes that are a bit less obvious.

Mindy Klasky has a very complete and fabulous list of romance tropes.

Amalie Berline also has a nice list, which she’s also sorted / categorized, which is an interesting and informative way to consider tropes.

So now it’s your turn: do you write considering different tropes, or do you only see how your story might fall into those tropes after the story is complete? Are there some big tropes I’m missing from my list? What are some of your favorites and least favorite?

Thanks for reading, and wishing you all a great week. Happy writing out there! 🙂


First Love and the First Pages


Since I write romance, guess it’s not much surprise that I have love on the brain. But I was thinking today, especially as I look back at an older work, about the flush of first love we feel in the early pages of a new book.

I’m in love with my new story. Probably partially because I’m only about 12k in. It’s usually like that.

The first 20k are marvelous. First there’s the charming and those early “dates” between the writer, the freshness of the ideas, the characters, the rosy possibility of unexplored words. Ah! What a marvelous character who’s eager to tell you everything. Oh! The mighty possibilities of where the story might go, where it will take the writer before it ever has a chance to transport a reader.

By about 30k, you’ve started to settle into a steady routine of dates. The writer and the story are getting to know each other. And yes, they may still be in love, but, well, things aren’t perfect. Who is? There’s those plot holes back in chapter 5, and the revision notes written before the book is even complete. But, hey, it’s still fun. It’s still good.

By midway and around the 50k mark, things have settled into a bit of a rut. Is this the one? Or was it just a clever trickster out to seduce and leave you, like a horrible one-night stand? Does the writer have any talent? Does the story have any worth? The story might hit the rocks here, along with the relationship between writer and story, and “I hate you” might be slung around ruthlessly. Around about this mark, as the rut starts to wear on both story and writer is usually when a bright sexy young story spark comes to mind, seductive and tempting as this story once was, before that paunch around the middle. But, if you’ve made it this far, stuck together so long, there must be something worthwhile, and besides, the promise of ’til “the end” do we part is still a promise worth keeping.

The 80k mark. Yes, everything up to this point may suck, probably does. But that’s okay. You’ve reached 80k! You’re almost there. And suddenly … wait! What is that … just ahead … it’s the glimmer of light at the end, and you’re going to make it, and everything will get better, and the story is worth it, and maybe this will turn into the best thing you’ve ever written! And yes, for me, it’s a swift sprint to the end (100K) as I see where everything is coming together, and how it’s all worked out for the best. The story is a glorious, beautiful thing, warts and all. Because, hey, rewrites are to get rid of those warts, right?

Ah, the first draft is done. And you’ve accomplished something … until you open up those first pages, and good gracious! What the heck is that? Okay, so it’s uglier than you thought, but this baby is worth the effort of getting the rewrites done. The first 20k are especially awful, but they can be fixed. And then comes the next draft. And possibly another one after that. Then a good spit and polish, and voila! Done. It is a beautiful thing. And yet, it is also somehow apart from the writer, the sheer madness of the push to finish each draft like a distant memory. Because when it’s done, when the story and the writer have completed their journey, their time together is over.

It’s time to give the story the boot. Because what is that just around the corner? Hello, it’s that seductive new story, just waiting for the writer to lay hands to the keyboard … and start the whole cycle of madness all over again.

I’ve just his 12k on new baby story. Oh, but ain’t love grand? Surely I’ve never written anything better. 😉 (Just don’t ask me in another 20k or so.)

What about you? Ever had a very unusual “relationship” with something so ephemeral as a story?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. 🙂

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Tropes: Love them, Loathe them

Every genre has their tropes, and the sub-genres, too. I must confess that I wasn’t familiar with the term until recently, but I knew what it meant. Google and Wikipedia define it as:

A literary trope is the use of figurative language. For example, the sitting United States administration might be referred to as “Washington”. Since the 1970s, the word has also come to mean a commonly recurring literary device, motif, or cliché.

Here, you have some of the fantasy tropes according to someone on Wikipedia. Fantasy tropes and conventions.

The romance genre is a bit obsessed with tropes, as are the readers. When you pick up a book with say, the “arranged marriage” trope, you have some idea of what to expect. Paranormal fiction has its own tropes, like the vampire who refrains from drinking blood, the werewolf who wishes he were human, the “surprise! you’re paranormal” revelation, and many more.

Now, after reading a bit of discussion on tropes, I’m almost scared to tread into these waters, but I’d have to say that for the most part, I don’t mind tropes – so long as the author doesn’t let them become predictable. And yes, I sometimes avoid books when the blurb contains a trope I’ve had a bad experience with before.

Still, certain story ideas have become “tropes” (ie: almost cliché) because they somehow work well within their genre, whether we like them or not. Perhaps one author did them so well (like Tolkien with his Lord of the Rings), and it forever changed the genre. There will certainly be authors who will try to emulate him, and those who have just been strongly influenced. While certain tropes will rise and fall in popularity like the tides, some remain or return perhaps because of the potential “what if” fun they contain.

What if you were engaged to marry a stranger? This may not have just been hypothetical to historic noblewomen. Many did marry strangers. And perhaps as we look back at this, we try to understand them, to understand their history and experiences, and how it contributes to making us who we are.

What if you were turned into a werewolf and became an uncontrollable beast at every full moon? I can see how this would suck. And I want to know: so what do you do next? What’s your plan?

That’s the excitement of the story for both the author and the reader. How will we answer the lure of “what if”? What journey will we take the reader on? And sometimes, as when it comes to tropes, how do you respond to the trope in a new and fresh way? What possibilities lay inherent? Because each of us plays the “what if” game differently, what we expect – along with what we get, and what we want – are going to be different. Including our love and hate for tropes.

So, what do you think? Do you mind tropes? Ignore them? Intentionally go after them?

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a great week. Oh, and like the post? Why not follow the blog? Have a good one, and happy writing to you. 🙂

Some discussion on Romance and Tropes:

Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books: Romance Tropes by Heidenkind

Dear Author has lots of discussion regarding all kinds of tropes!

The Paranormal

Werewolves: Victims of Bad Press

Shape-shifters have long fascinated me, particularly werewolves, and in this, my first actual paranormal-themed blog, I must come to the defense of the werewolf. Just post-Halloween, it’s become abundantly clear that werewolves are suffering some major PR problems: they’re cast as the villains, or cursed and afflicted (and still the villain). Other fanged-creatures seem to be gaining in popularity despite their life-issues (ie: they’re undead), and yet the werewolf still gets cast as the bad guy.

This is completely uncalled for. There are so many reasons why werewolves are great (and make great heroes). If you’re into alphas, can you get any more alpha then an alpha wolf? They’re alive, hot-blooded, and passionate since – with their animal side – they may be more willing to give into urges and desires. All that aside, there’s mythological basis to dismiss the bad publicity werewolves keep getting.

Throughout the world, different forms of shape-shifters have long existed in myth, many of them having the ability to change into other animals. To keep things simple, we’ll focus on the wolves, the most likely basis for the werewolf myth.

Are there myths that suggest werewolves are evil? Yes. In Nordic and Icelandic lore exist the pagan cult of were-animals, the eigi einhamr, who have the ability to take on the form or powers and characteristics of their animal (Guiley 117). Once transformed, the animals with human intellect devour others and do evil things. Inuit lore tells of the adlet, a race of man-dogs born of an Inuit woman and a large red dog; repulsed by her sons, she sends them to Europe where they marry white women and become flesh-eating monsters (Guiley 2). Similarly, the windigo of Native American lore becomes a flesh-eating wolf-monster after becoming lost on a hunting trip and consuming human flesh (Guiley 324). The consumption of human flesh is so strong a cultural taboo, in other cultures some werewolves are created as punishment by the gods, such as in the case of Veretius, King of Wales, who St. Patrick turned into a wolf (Ingpen 226-227), and King Lycaon of Acadia who Zeus turned into a werewolf for serving human flesh (Steiger x).

The consumption or hunger for human flesh is one of the “symptoms” when looking for a werewolf, along with hanging out in a lot of graveyards, insatiable lust, animal-like actions and instinct, and excessive hairiness even in human form. Oh, and the mark of the pentagram, which starts to give you a clue where some of this bad PR is coming from. After all, the same folks who see a lonely spinster with a few cats and a talent for herbalism as a witch who should be stoned or burned, may be just as likely to see a hairy guy who gets all the women as a werewolf who should be shot with silver. During the 15th and 16th centuries at the peak of the Inquisition, many were accused as werewolves, guilty of murder and cannibalism. In the Pyrenees alone, some 200 men and women “werewolves” were executed as a result (Guiley 316-318).

What it sounds like is the werewolf is a victim of speciesism, that is prejudice or discrimination based on species, along with the assumption of human superiority on which speciesism is based (and yes, it’s a real word, in the dictionary and everything). Further evidence of this is in the fact that much of what werewolves are criticized and feared for has to do with their close affiliation with their animal nature, the wolf itself.

I would argue the more dangerous side could be their human side. After all, humans have a greater tendency to harm or torture others out of sadistic or psychotic desires, whereas this is practically unseen in the animal world. Humans start wars, use material wealth as a marker of worth, whereas animals are more likely to use something like meritocracy (ie: you hunt the best, are strongest, you win). Wolves work together, in highly organized packs led by their alpha. Their desires and needs are primal, for things like food, sex, the hunt, etc. Wouldn’t werewolves be likely to work in similar ways?

Finally, let’s return to myth, where there is evidence for “good” werewolves as well. Perhaps the earliest werewolf may be King Gilgamesh’s friend, Enkidu c. 2000BC. Enkidu is first created to counter Gilgamesh’s extreme lust, as a worthy enemy. Enkidu instead protects the forest creatures until brought before Gilgamesh, and after wrestling they become friends and go on to battle other gods and giants together (Steiger 99). Shetland lore provides the wulver, a man with a wolf’s head and man’s body covered in brown hair who fishes, generally wants to be left alone, but could be helpful to those in need, leaving food on their doorsteps (Guiley 327). In Spain, a 13th century romance by W. Palerne describes the tale of the noble werewolf, Alphonsus (Guiley 324), rightful heir to the Spanish throne, whose stepmother uses charms and potions to transform him into a werewolf so her son can inherit instead. Rather than becoming evil, Alphonsus rescues the infant William, heir to Sicily, falls in love, has lots of other adventures – but no eating of any one.

Perhaps the most compelling is the snippet about the 1691 Trial of the Werewolf (Lecouteux 168). This is a real, documented trial, similar to some of the witch trials at the time. But, this werewolf does not deny he is a werewolf, and in fact claims he and his fellow werewolves are “Dogs of God” and in fact protectors of human society. Quite a different view from the villains they’re so often portrayed as, hmm?

Anyway, I’ll hop off my soapbox now, and hope I’ve given you reason to be pro-werewolf. Below I’ve included a few links for interest, along with some authors and places where werewolves get to be the alphas they deserve to be. Have I missed any? Have I convinced you? Please, share your comments below, and join the Pro-Werewolf campaign! J

You might also be interested in an earlier article I wrote:“Ode to the werewolf”

For a bit of info about other werewolf trials:

Link to a casual English translation of the 1691 Livonian trial:

Other authors who write “Pro-werewolf”:

Kelley Armstrong

Susan Krinard

Christine Bell (thanks M!)

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Lori Handeland

Angela Knight


Coleman, J.A. The Dictionary of Mythology: An A-Z of Themes, Legends and Heroes. Toronto: Arcturus Publishing Ltd., 2007.

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Encylopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2005.

Ingpen, Michael Page & Robert. Encylopedia of Things That Never Were. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1998.

Lecouteux, Claude. Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 2003.

Steiger, Brad. The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-shifting Beings. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press, 1999.

Summers. The Werewolf in Lore and Legend. New York: Dover Publications, 2003.