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Digging Deeper: The Psychology of Hurt/Comfort Romances

When most people think about romance novels they focus on stories that work toward a HEA or even HFN ending. But recently, Hurt/Comfort (H/C) stories are becoming more and more popular, where the journey to that HEA is painful, torturous, and downright gut-wrenching. These are the epic love stories that make you hurt so bad that you keep on reading in the hopes that the characters will find that HEA, because, Damn it! They deserve it. But what makes this antithesis journey to romance so desirable?

Defining Hurt/Comfort

Hurt/Comfort stories are defined as stories that have one character who has physical/emotional/psychological trauma and another character who heals/nurtures/comforts them through it.

H/C stories go beyond your average alpha male/spunky female couples (or whatever tickles your fancy), in that in there is an intensity and an openness with which the hurt protagonist’s pain and struggle through that pain is explored. It gives the reader an all-access pass in to the character’s world of pain, and their struggle to overcome or deal with that pain.

They showcase how pain is seldom experienced alone. That the ones around us, the ones who care, have a deep-seated desire to comfort and nurture us through the pain. How the nurturing protagonist learns about themselves in comforting the hurt protagonist.

H/C stories are about the reciprocal nature of hurt and comfort, neglect and nurture, and weakness and strength.

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Subjective Suggestions: Pacing Yourself

One of the most common critiques authors get from a beta read or content edit of their manuscript is to watch their pacing. Pacing will make or break your book, because it’s what helps keep the reader engaged. If your pacing is off, then you’ll lose your reader as they’ll cease to care what is happening, even if your character is perfectly crafted. Therefore, pacing is one of the things an editor will look at to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Defining Pacing

First let’s look at what an editor means when they say the pacing of your book is off.

Pacing is defined as the speed at which a story’s plot moves forward. Now, the pace of your book doesn’t, and probably shouldn’t, stay the same over the course of the book. You want action scenes that read fast and get your blood pumping, but you also want moments where your character has down time to chill with their friends, or reflect on past events. What matters is consistency. A consistently paced book that has well planned plot points ensures that there isn’t too much action or to little in large chunks that make the readers lose interest. Consistent pacing is a God send because it keeps the reader engaged, builds the suspense, and makes for a smoother read.

The standards for what is considered to be a “good” pace are very much determined by the genre of your book. If you are writing an action-driven thriller, mystery, or urban fantasy novel, then you must have a quicker pace than if you were writing a more emotionally driven romance or spiritual journey book.

Continue reading “Subjective Suggestions: Pacing Yourself”

Editor’s Rant: Write Every Day or Quit Now

Or, Some Nutjob’s Opinions on What it Takes to be an Author

A few days ago—ahem, May 26th at 12:01 AM ET—a highly unpleasant individual named Stephen Hunter blogged about what they think it takes to be an author. This was very concerning, because the aforementioned person is indeed a published author of more than 20 novels, if his bio (and google) are to be believed. Heck, this man even has a Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism. He has writing credits many authors dream of.

But in his post, ever so subtly titled If You Want to Write a Book, Write Every Day or Quit Now, he gives a holier-than-thou sermon about becoming a writing automaton, where efficiency is the main pursuit and is defined by the obscene number of words you can crank out daily.

Now, I’ll pause for a second, and let you go have a read of the Becoming an Automaton Writer Bot for Dummies manual in-progress.

Back?

Good, now we can get to the point of this post, which is about the lessons you could take away from this oh, so stellar “advice” from a jaded man with no life (he dumped his only lover for his craft, remember?) or what you really should learn from articles like this that want to simplify a creative process into a basic mathematical equation.

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Fanfiction Review: You Can Do This by osointricate

McDannoYou Can Do This

Author:  osointricate

Genre: McDanno M/M romance & family

Warnings: Typical Hawaii Five-0 violence, serious Rachel bashing, and past child abuse

Rating: MA

Length:  111,845 words (novel)

Synopsis

“What’s it about? Steve and Danny start dating each other, then they start a family, and then they freak out because they realize they are dating each other.” -Kono Kalakaua, age 31

“Uncle Steve and Danno are idiots, they are such idiots, they drive me crazy because what the [“Grace Danielle! Watch your language!”] took them so long?” -Grace Williams, age 13

“‘Mander and Danno are the best except Daddy is pretty cool too. (“Can they all tie for best?” “Yeah, sure.”) They all tie for best.” -Charlie Edwards, age 4

“The motorcycle stuff is my favorite part. The rest is just an exercise in frustration because they should have been dating years ago.” -Chin Ho Kelly, age redacted

“Turns out I get a happy ending, imagine that.” -Nahele Huikala, age 15

Featuring: Giant sharks, family bonding, a bazooka, frustration, idiot fathers, purple casts, mothers that just don’t understand, New Years confetti, and Grace facepalming way more often than she would like it. Rated T for “Throw them in a closet until they make out.” “Grace, no.”

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Book Review: On His Watch by Katie Ruggle

On His WatchOn His Watch (Search and Rescue 0.5)

Author: Katie Ruggle

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Warning: Children in potentially life-threatening situations

Rating: PG13

Length: 84 Kindle pages

Synopsis

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

Ice rescue diver Derek Warner never meant to be a hero. But when two little girls go missing, he’s the first in line to bring them home—even if that means scouring the wilderness with the woman he once loved and lost, Artemis Rey.

Artemis has never stopped wanting Derek. Now, racing to find the girls before it’s too late, minutes turn to hours. Night falls. Old flames rekindle. And a danger grows in the darkest wilderness that may be more than even the Search and Rescue brotherhood can hope to face…

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Editorial Discussion: Managing FAQs From Your Clients

Editorial Discussion

Now this might seem like an no-brainer topic, but let me just say, sometimes telling an author something is not enough. You don’t how many times I’ve given explicit instructions on how to get to the project information form on my website, but I still get e-mails from authors telling me that can’t find the link–despite the fact that there is a direct link on my Pricing & Payment page, and I often include the link in the body of the e-mail I send authors.

The thing is most people either skim e-mails, or don’t really try to remember all the details, because they can always just send you an e-mail and ask, right? So, I think it is important for any business-minded individual to know two ways of fielding questions before they even get asked, and having a quick and easy way to respond your clients’ queries.

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Book Review: The Professional by Kresley Cole

The Professional (The Game Maker Book 1)

Author: Kresley Cole

Genre: Erotica

Warning: BDSM, highly emotionally scarred mafia enforcer, and saucy red-headed curvaceous beauty who should be totally off bounds

Rating: R18+

Length: 452 pages

Synopsis

He makes the rules…

Mafiya enforcer Aleksei “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

Rules are made to be broken…

Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.

Are you ready to play?

Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true…

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Top Ten Tuesday: Three Books to Read if You’re in the Mood for Paranormal Romance

Top Ten Tuesdays (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish. Given that they are many, and there is only one of me, all Top Ten Tuesday posts will really be Top Three Tuesdays.

This week’s topic is…

March 1 2016 TTT Topic Title

This week was a book recommendation week, and as you lovely people know, I am obsessed with paranormal romance. Why? Because you get the edge of urban fantasy with the awww cuteness of romance. So here are three books you should definitely check out if you’re browsing around for your next paranormal romance read.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Three Book Boyfriends I Wish Were Real

Top Ten Tuesdays (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the lovely people at The Broke and the Bookish. Given that they are many, and there is only one of me, all Top Ten Tuesday posts will really be Top Three Tuesdays.

This week’s topic is…

 February 9 2016 TTT Topic Title

This week was a freebie week, as long as your list had something to do with Valentine’s Day, which is coming up this Sunday! Considering that I am indeed single, I’ll most likely be spending V-day with my books and family. Thus, I thought it would be fun to look at my favorite book boyfriends, and judge which one I would date if they were real.

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Fanfiction Review: Life Renovations by Windseeker2305

Life Renovations by Windseeker2305Life Renovations (Life Cycle Book 1)

Author: Windseeker2305

Category: Harry Potter

Main Relationship: Harry Potter / Draco Malfoy

Rating: M

Length: 298,913 words (34 chapters)

Status: Complete

Synopsis

Sometimes people are forced to make many changes in their lives in order to survive. After a summer of torture with the Dursleys, Harry goes into a magical coma, where he decides many things that could very well change the Wizarding World forever.

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