Tag Archives: accent press

I Write Therefore I Am by Jenny Kane

Jenny KaneIt’s pouring with rain outside- it often is down here in the South West of England. Even though it is only 8am in the morning, the corner of the cafe in which I sit and write every morning is filling up fast.

I’m a familiar face in here. I usually sit at the same table- although only because it has good light – I’m not precious about sitting in the same spot or anything. Consequently I am something of a fixture and fitting, and people that come to the cafe regularly see me here, writing away, every time they come through the door. There is even a rumour that I keep a rolled up sleeping bag and pillow under the table, and never actually go home.

“There is even a rumour that I keep a rolled up sleeping bag and pillow under the table, and never actually go home.”

The other regulars here often ask me – ‘Why are you always writing, don’t you ever get a day off?’

It’s a good question. One my husband asks pointedly every now and then.

The answer is simple- well ‘simple’ is probably pushing it!

I need to write.

Don’t confuse this with being the same as ‘I want to write.’ That is a different thing altogether.

Once upon a time I did want to write. I dreamt of completed stories, and maybe one day having a book all of my own.

These days it’s an addiction. An unstoppable, nail biting, obsession of disappointment and triumph. A roller coaster I can’t imagine ever getting off.

I used to fit my writing around my job and my life, now it is very much the other way around. As 9781783758050_FCa consequence of course I get massive hits of guilt. So, rather than giving my job less time, I give it more; as I live in fear of letting my employers down, and am frequently to be found processing spreadsheets late into the night.

Then comes the real guilt- when you find yourself only half listening to what your child has been up to at school because you have just thought of a killer line for your latest book and if you don’t write it down NOW, you’ll actually explode!

My children (who luckily for me are both very creative in their own right, and totally get the feeling of absorption which producing something unique brings), are wonderful. Whenever I apologise to them for being only half as attentive a parent as I should be, they tell me off for being daft. Telling me they are just fine thank you very much- and could they have a lift to karate, their friend’s house, the swimming pool now please…

Sometimes I look around at my undusted house, with the fluff on the carpet sometimes reaching epidemic proportions, and feel very sorry for my husband. He didn’t sign up for this. When we met 23 years ago, I was almost the complete opposite of who I am now. My home was cleaned and scrubbed to within an inch of its life. Dust was captured long before it had the chance to settle, and it was a rare day when there wasn’t a fresh cake baking in the oven. And somehow, alongside keeping our home spotless, I had 3 part time jobs and was doing a PhD.

My husband must miss that multi-talented woman, domestic goddess, and fellow academic. Sometimes I think he deserves a medal for putting up with me, because- to get back to the point of this blog- I have to write. Not because I have a maverick boss yelling at me, not because I am forced to- but because I can’t stop. I just can’t.

I have to write. Not because I have a maverick boss yelling at me, not because I am forced to- but because I can’t stop. I just can’t.

Okay, there are lots of deadlines to deal with, and there are times when I am genuinely very much up against it- but often I have to work because- well, I have to work! If I don’t I’m a ratty, fidgety, grumpy person who is in serious danger of losing my usually permanent smile.

And why wouldn’t I smile all the time- I am addicted to the best job in the world!!

So be warned anyone out here who hopes to write a book some day. You too could also be kidnapped by the world of the imagination- a world that is so much safer than the real one, because you are always in charge. You get to pick the words that shape the lives of everyone you invent- a powerful narcotic indeed…. (Oh- and if you do want to risk it and write-make sure you are married to a very very understanding husband or wife!!!)

Jenny

Bio

Jenny Kane is the author the contemporary romance Christmas at the Castle (Accent Press, 2015), the bestselling novel Abi’s House (Accent Press, 2015), the modern/medieval
time slip novel Romancing Robin Hood (Accent Press, 2014), the bestselling novel Another Cup of Coffee (Accent Press, 2013), and its novella length sequels Another Cup of Christmas (Accent Press, 2013), and Christmas in the Cotswolds (Accent, 2014).

Jenny’s fourth full length romance novel, Another Glass of Champagne, will be published in 2016.

Keep your eye on Jenny’s blog at www.jennykane.co.uk for more details.

Twitter- @JennyKaneAuthor

Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/JennyKaneRomance?ref=hl 

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7255618.Jenny_Kane

Jenny also writes erotica as Kay Jaybee.

THE DREAM CATCHER…How it all started by Marie Laval

THE DREAM CATCHER…How it all started

by Marie LavalMarieLaval (2)

All my novels are very special to me, but THE DREAM CATCHER, my historical romance shortly to be published by Áccent, is extra special, not only because I loved the characters and the beautiful and wild setting of the Scottish Highlands, but also because it is the last of the series featuring a member of the Saintclair family. I say it’s the last, but I have had so much joy writing about the Saintclairs and their adventures that I might find another member of the family to write about one day!

THE DREAM CATCHER is the story of feisty and endearing Rose Saintclair who travels to the far north of Scotland to be reunited with the man she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers. Rose brings with her a very special object that once belonged to her father, Hugo Saintclair, a cuirassier captain in Napoleon’s army and the hero of my debut historical romance ANGEL HEART. Brave, proud and eager to carve his own place in the world and make his own destiny, Hugo was involved in the French defeat at Quatre-Bras two days before Waterloo. This is where he met a Scottish officer from the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, and where the plot for THE DREAM CATCHER was born… but I can’t reveal any
more here or I will spoil the surprise!

 

ANGEL HEART however is much more than a sizzling love story between a dashing, but 9781910939086hardened, cuirassier captain and Marie-Ange Norton, the young widow from England he escorts on a perilous journey across France. Marie-Ange must indeed recover a relic hidden by the Knights Templar which is rumored to give eternal life. With Hugo’s help, she unravels an old family mystery linked to the legendary Count Saint Germain, a man reputed immortal, and returns the cross to its original hiding place in the crypt of the chateau of Arginy in Saône-et-Loire, which is to the North of my home town, Lyon.

 

Hugo Saintclair eventually finds his fortune in the North African oasis of Bou Saada. Rose, and her brother Lucas are later born and brought up there. After ANGEL HEART I realised I wasn’t finished with the Saintclairs, so I wrote THE LION’S EMBRACE and loved every minute of it. The novel features Hugo’s son Lucas, a cynical, tormented and rebellious army scout who helps a young English woman rescue her father and discovers ancient treasures in the Sahara. And when I finished writing it, I still wasn’t ready to forget about the Saintclairs and I set out to tell Rose’s story! I wasn’t however sure about the setting until I came across pictures of the far North of Scotland, and Cape Wrath in particular. I knew straight away that the Scottish Highlands would be the location of Rose’s story and everything clicked into place.

 

DANCING FOR THE DEVIL is a trilogy mostly set in Scotland, and THE DREAM CATCHER is the first book in the series.

Blurb for THE DREAM CATCHER

Can her love heal his haunted heart? – Cape Wrath, Scotland, November 1847.

Bruce McGunn is a man as brutal and unforgiving as his land. Discharged from the army, he is The Dreamcatcher FINAL
haunted by the spectres of his fallen comrades and convinced he is going mad. And he is running out of time to save his estate from the machinations of Cameron McRae, heir to the McGunn’s ancestral enemies. When the clipper carrying McRae’s new bride is caught in a violent storm and docks at Wrath harbour, Bruce decides to revert to the old ways and hold the clipper and the woman to ransom. However, far from the spoilt heiress he expected, Rose is genuine, funny and vulnerable – a ray of sunshine in the long, harsh winter that has become his life.
Rose is determined to escape Wrath and its proud master – the man she calls McGlum.
Will she be reunited with Cameron McRae, the dazzlingly handsome aristocrat she married after a whirlwind romance in Algiers, or will she risk her heart and her honour to help Bruce discover the truth about his past and solve the brutal murders committed on his land?

The Dancing for the Devil trilogy also includes BLUE BONNETS and SWORD DANCE which will be released in January and March 2016.

THE DREAM CATCHER – mybook.to/TheDreamCatcher

ANGEL HEART – mybook.to/AngelHeart

 

5 Star Amazon Reviews

‘Angel Heart by Marie Laval is a stunning piece of historical romantic suspense, exquisitely written and lovingly told, against the backdrop of the close of the Napoleonic era in France. Although a few scenes take place in England, the story unfolds mostly in France.’

‘I found the book absorbing, with a nice blend of fast-moving thriller and passionate romance and with more than enough twists and turns to keep me guessing until the end. The politics of the time are nicely explained, and the inherent danger which confronts Marie-Ange is told in an imaginative mix of suspense and mystical superstition. The story thrives on danger and political intrigue, but, it is in the burgeoning romance between Marie-Ange and Hugo where the story starts to tug away at the heartstrings. I so wanted everything to work out for them, and with this forefront in my mind, I raced through the story with great enjoyment.’

Author Bio

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie has lived in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, Lancashire, England, for the past few years. ANGEL HEART, her debut historical romance, has just been re-released by Áccent Press, together with award-winning THE LION’S EMBRACE. She also writes contemporary romance with A SPELL IN PROVENCE, which was published earlier in 2015. And watch out for THE DREAM CATCHER, another historical romance, coming soon at Áccent Press…

Confessions of a Romance Writer: R J Gould

The following heartfelt confessions are an Accent Press scoop © J

Confession Number One: I’m a male. Although not unique, this is highly unusual, because when it comes to the Romance genre, women dominate. Most Romance writers are female, most readers are female, and plots predominantly centre on the female point of view.

Confession Number Two: I’m a coward. When I discovered that what I write is Romance, (more about this later), a couple of agents suggested I use a female pseudonym to increase the chances of getting published. ‘No way!’ I declared with bold pride, ‘readers are going to have to accept me for who I am.’ So that evening I weighed up Rebecca versus Rosemary versus Rachel versus Rita. I liked Rita best, but in the end opted for the cowardly neither-here-nor-there compromise of using R J instead of Richard.

9781783756537_FCConfession Number Three: I did feel a trifle sensitive when Accent Press put A Street Café Named Desire into a Chic Lit Lovers bundle. However, I am comfortable sitting in the Contemporary Women’s Fiction catalogue because I know that the majority of my readers are female. I’m told that the male insight provides them with a thought-provoking new perspective on relationships.

Confession Number Four: Despite female domination of this genre for more than two and a half centuries, the book considered as marking the birth of the modern Romance novel was written by a man. In Pamela (1740), Samuel Richardson, a middle-aged, middle-class man, successfully writes from his beautiful fifteen-year-old heroine’s point of view as she is pursued by her wealthy landowner master. Apparently the author got plenty of advice from his wife and her friend. Maybe I’m the twenty-first century Richardson because my writing is frequently from the female’s point of view and I admit to getting advice from my wife and her friend.

Confession Number Five: I’m not convinced I write Romance. I did get accepted onto the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and I do turn up at the nice RNA Cambridge Chapter lunches, but I think the Romance tag is largely for marketing purposes. If there was a genre called Relationships that’s where my work would sit, but I can’t see that classification ever being adopted because it sounds too much like a collection of self-help and counselling manuals.

Confession Number Six: I never wanted to be a Romance writer. I just write what I want to write and it’s ended up being defined as Romance. Of course, the genre is broad. My characters are either in search of a relationship, struggling to sustain one, or desperate to revive an old one. They’re ordinary people trying to make the most of their lives while carrying juggernaut loads of baggage. There aren’t too many alpha males or females (they’re round about B- or even C+, ‘requiring improvement’ using Ofsted jargon) and there isn’t much lovey-dovey stuff.

9781783756858_FCConfession Number Seven: The reader is meant to laugh when they read my novels. The humour is often dark, covering compulsive betrayals in The Engagement Party (released May 2015); despicable behaviour in the workplace in Jack and Jill Went Downhill (2016 release); attempted suicide in Nothing Man (2016 release); and even a murder in A Street Café Named Desire (released December 2014). My favourite review states: “Gould’s characters are recognisable in an East Enders meets F. Scott Fitzgerald sort of way.”

 

 

Caroline Dunford: A Death for a Cause

 

A Death for a Causesuff

I always vote. Whether it’s a local, general or European election, I’ll be there making my X on the paper. When friends have commented on this commitment to voting – a surprising amount of people don’t bother  – I used to jokingly reply that if I didn’t vote I was sure the ghost of Emmeline Pankhurst would haunt me. However, it was only  when I was researching for the latest Euphemia mystery, A Death for a Cause, that I came to appreciate how very much suffragettes did to liberate British women.

“I used to jokingly reply that if I didn’t vote I was sure the ghost of Emmeline Pankhurst would haunt me.”

On the 6th February 1918 women over the age of 30 got the right to vote. Let’s think about that. It’s less than one hundred years since women have been able to exercise the democratic right to vote. Or put another way, my grandmother wasn’t allowed to vote. As a woman she was not deemed fit. One glance at the news will tell you that there are still plenty of places left the world over where women do not have equal rights to men. In Britain we’re lucky and it is down to the efforts of the bands of women from all classes, who spoke up, marched and protested, that we have the rights we do. They endured imprisonment, permanent health damage from force feeding and even attacks (from both men and women) who did not agree with their cause.

Euphemia is inspired by my Great Grandmother, who left a life of privilege and wealth, after arguing with her father, to go into service. She never returned to her home, but instead married a tobacconist and had thirteen children, all of whom survived infancy. Like her, Euphemia is a strong woman struggling to make a place for herself in a world where the only future for women of her class was either to marry or cast herself on the mercy of relatives.

But in A Death for a Cause, Euphemia, who considers herself liberally minded and an armchair suffragette, is brought up against the reality of the brutality inflicted upon women asking for no more than the some of the rights men automatically gain at birth. She is introduced to a world where women are prepared to smash windows, sabotage telephone exchanges and even set fire bombs in the name of female emancipation. To be fair although the suffragettes did adopt the motto of ‘deeds not words’ there was some division within the ranks of how far it was right to go for the cause.

But for a long time their efforts were in vain. Prime Minister Asquith appeared to simply not take them seriously no matter what they did. He was known as a lover of women (in the literal sense), but the thought they might have equal intelligence to men was preposterous to him.

Women were constantly under-rated. Even when women began to be admitted to the universities, obviously to all female colleges, there were violent reactions from male students. To begin with women might study the same subjects, sit and pass examinations, but they not awarded degrees. Just as women who studied medicine where not, at first, allowed to practise.

It’s difficult for British women today to imagine this, but it’s true. It took an army of strong women to make a difference. We need to take the time to remember them – and always vote!

A Death for a cause

 

 

 

If you’ve been excited about the film Suffragette then you’ll love this new release A Death for a Cause which shares similar themes! Pre-order today or buy tomorrow! Not long to wait! 

 

 

My Writing Journey (plus giveaway!)

Jane Jackson (aka Rachel Ennis)

582550_481083335286771_1409959728_nI believe writers are born not made. We have an extra something in our DNA.  I loved listening to stories when I was very small. But I had a younger sister and my parents had busy lives so to get my story ‘fix’ I learned to read when I was four.  The books were board with brightly coloured pictures and three words to a page. But they fired my imagination. All writing begins with reading and I was on my way.

I made a weekly visit to the children’s section of Falmouth library, read my way through the ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven, ‘Mallory Towers’ ‘Black Beauty’ ‘Children of the New Forest’ then moved on to H Rider Haggard, Dennis Wheatley, The Raj Quartet, and Barbara Erskine, and persuaded my mother to take out extra books for me from the Boots lending library above the shop. (Remember those?)

When I wasn’t reading I was writing my own stories. I loved English Lit lessons and acted in the school plays and our village Am Dram company. This helped me understand character and motive.

In my late-twenties, a single parent with two small children and an ulcer, I read even more.  My marriage had failed but I still believed strongly in love. I read Mills & Boon novels by the hundred, discovered favourite authors and analysed what I liked about their stories, their characters. I didn’t know it then but this was a vital part of my apprenticeship.

Then I thought I’d have a go at writing one – as you do. I knew competition would be fierce, so rather than aim for the contemporary market I decided to write a Dr/Nurse (as they were called then) I had worked in the Medical Records Dept of City hospital so was familiar with the terminology. I also bought a medical dictionary and begged back issues of medical mags from a doctor friend.

I realised I had to make mine different, so I chose to make both my main characters doctors. Back in the early ‘80s a woman doing the same job as a man had to be twice as good to be considered equal – instant conflict, complicated by the powerful attraction between them.  To avoid hospital procedure – there were ex-nurse authors who had far more experience of this world than I could ever achieve – I decided to set my stories in off-the-beaten-track locations without access to high-tech drugs and equipment.  Mine would be make-do-and-mend medicine.

It paid off. ‘Desert Flower’ was set in an oasis clinic in Egypt. It was accepted and I was invited to Richmond to meet Editorial Director, Heather Jeeves.  I wrote three more medicals, set in the Andes in Ecuador, the highlands of Papua New Guinea – in which I invented a vaccine for malaria; and the clinic boats of Hong Kong harbour that treated patients on the outlying islands where leprosy still occurred.

Then Heather told me my stories deserved a wider audience and I was moved onto the Contemporary list as it was then.  I wrote ten more. These were published in 23 countries and 19 languages.  (All have been/are being re-issued as ebooks by Accent Amour)  I had enjoyed every moment and learned a lot but it was time to move on.

I had always loved historical novels, from classics like ‘A Take of Two Cities’ through Emile Zola, the Angelique stories, The Whiteoaks of Jalna series, everything by Mary Stewart and Jean Plaidy, Anya Seton, and now Elizabeth Chadwick – you get the picture.

We are advised to ‘write what you know.’ Cornwall is my home and where I grew up. It has a rich history and has produced some remarkable people: artists, inventors, musicians, writers.  After reading all Winston Graham’s Poldark novels I wanted to make mine different. That meant no tin-mining.

I chose sea-trade and the Falmouth-based packet service which carried mail all over the world, dispatches to and from theatres of war, and ransom money to free the wives and daughters of merchants captured by pirates in the Mediterranean.

‘Eye of the Wind’ was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award, and ‘Heart of Stone’ was shortlisted for the RNA Historical Prize.

I love writing historical romantic fiction as I’m fascinated by the detail of daily life and social structure in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Then last year I contributed to Accent’s Christmas anthology, ‘Wishing on a Star.’  I hadn’t written a short story in over thirty years, and at 11,000 words it was one of the longest! (I’m a novelist. Short is difficult for me.)

Little did I know then that ‘Family Matters’ would turn out to be the start of a whole new venture: Polvellan Cornish Mysteries.  These combine Cornish village life with history as my central character, Jess Trevanion, is a genealogist.

Number three, ‘The Loner’ will be published on 1st October.

I’m currently completing ‘The Master’s Wife’, second in ‘The Captain’s Honour’ series, which picks
up the story of Caseley and Jago Barata seven years after they meet in ‘The Consul’s Daughter.’   I have three more Polvellan Mysteries outlined and am researching background for a new historical trilogy.

My writing journey – like my life – has had its ups and downs. But all my experiences have contributed to making me the writer and person that I am.

The Consul's DaughterMy ambition now is the same as when I started, to make each book better than the last, featuring characters who capture readers on the first page, hold them through the dramatic, tragic, joyful events of the story, then linger in the memory long after the book ends.

 

 

Like or share this post via our social media channels for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Consul’s Daughter!

Nicola May: My Books are my Babies

My Books are my Babies

By Nicola May

Would you like to write a blog post for us about you or your new book? The lovely Bethan at Accent Press asked me. ‘Of course,’ I replied.

But… sitting here with a blank page I am undecided what to write. I like to be upbeat and fun, but I also want to be real.  Being an author of fiction, I find writing blog posts a challenge, because they have to deal with reality. No characters to hide behind, just me, being me.

I have had the most exciting few months. After nineteen years of writing and of trying to get in the spotlight, I got myself an agent and then, to put the icing on the cake, signed a 7-book deal with Accent at Christmas. Lots of dancing and drinking of champagne ensued and I really feel now that my first major writing ambition has been achieved.

Don’t get me wrong, the sense of achievement I felt when I saw my first self published book, Working it Out, on the shelves of Waterstones in 2011 was immense. In fact, it made me cry, but I feel now that, at last, my books are going to reach a wider audience.

I have cried quite a lot since 2011 to be honest. I had IVF twice, I got pregnant twice. I lost my first baby at 6 weeks, then my beloved twins at 16 weeks. One of them had even danced and waved at me during the scan, but sadly it was not to be. And, sadly, it is never to be naturally, as I had to have a hysterectomy soon after.

9781783758951_FC

However, rather than scream and shout ‘why me?’, I decided to put my experiences and grief to good use and The SW19 Club was born. 

It was cathartic to write and I did let go a lot of my sadness. Many chapters were written with tears streaming down my face. But I persevered and I am very proud of the end product.

I am also happy to say that, despite dealing with very poignant and real issues, The SW19 Club is – in the end – a laugh-out-loud romance.

 

Synsopsis:

Faced with the realisation that she can never have children, Gracie Davies, thirty-eight, is initially at an all time low. Finding the subject almost taboo, she sets up a club on Wimbledon Common, where women can chat openly about the issues of fertility in a fun environment. Gracie also has a passionate fling with Ed, a sexy landscaper, a fairytale encounter with a Hollywood film star and deals with a very persistent ex.

So… now my books are my babies. They cause me frustration at times but ultimately the pleasure they give me outweighs that – without a dirty nappy in sight!

The SW19 Club is out now

As is her sparkling and spiritual Christmas novella, Christmas Evie

 

HLF-2015-adult-lowresCatch Nicola May at the Henley Literary Festival this Friday 2nd October. Tickets still available!

 http://henleyliteraryfestival.co.uk/book-club-friday/ 

www.nicolamay.com

Twitter: @nicolamay1

 

 

Alaina Drake: No More Mr. Nice Guy?

Alaina Drake - Head Shot (2)Alaina Drake

Alaina Drake discovered her love of writing in the fourth grade when she won her first young author writing contest. After attaining a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English Literature, she set out to write novels that combine her two loves: erotic romance and classical literature. She has taught literature and writing at both the high school and college levels, and when she’s not writing, you’ll find her watching sports, baking cookies, and, of course, reading way past midnight. She is an avid rock climber and former ballerina, and she finds a lot of connection between the two activities despite their obvious differences. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and daughter. She loves to interact with her fans on Twitter, Facebook, and on her website where she blogs about writing, reading, and the everyday joys of motherhood.

No More Mr. Nice Guy?

Have you ever found yourself up late reading a book that simply everyone has been talking about? You’ve seen it on Twitter. You’ve seen dozes of posts about it on your favorite blog. So, you pick it up thinking that you will absolutely adore it.

And then you don’t. In fact, you want to throw it across the room. At one a.m., you go onto Goodreads and Amazon, flabbergasted at all of the five star reviews. You then begin to wonder if it’s just you. Everybody else loves it. Why don’t I?

 A year ago, before I wrote my first novel, I had a string of such books, and I tried to figure out why. When I lined up the books I was frustrated by, I realized that they all had one thing in common: the heroes were jerks.

Any reader will tell you that one of the most popular trends right now are the super possessive, ultra-dominant, uber-controlling, stubborn heroes who are so crass that my eyebrows are permanently furrowed.

They make me gape in awe as they are able to woo what are supposedly strong, modern women by their caveman behavior. They are sometimes so rude to everyone that a quarter of the way through the book I’m cheering for them not to get their happily-ever-after, which (of course) they always do.

Which troubles me even more.

I understand the detractors’ argument here. They’ll say, “Yeah, but look how much he grows by the end of the novel. Nobody is perfect. He has to start out a jerk so we can see him grow.” I understand the point here. Really I do. But, I have two problems with that.

First, it is usually the love of a virginal, virtuous woman who often saves him from his immoral or reckless behaviors. This trope is very tiresome to me.

Second, what makes me shake my head is that I wonder why the woman allows him to treat her like that. What is most troubling is that because he’s handsome, because he’s rich, because she lusts after him with every cell of her being, she grants him multiple passes often against her best judgment.

This thematic trope and characterization is not new, of course. My master’s degree is in Nineteenth-Century Literature, so I am well acquainted with the Byronic hero. Remember Mr. Rochester from Bronte’s Jane Eyre? Remember Heathcliff from Bronte’s Wuthering Heights? The list could go on and on. These heroes are considered Byronic because of their qualities: proud to the point of arrogance, moody, rebellious to the point of being anti-social, vengeful, judgmental, keepers of dark secrets and scars…

But they are also maddingly and darkly erotic. We’re pulled to them like a moth to a flame (I think we’ve all read this metaphor at least a dozen times). We’re consumed by them and their ability to have strong affections for the women they finally let in. And when we read such heroes, we get to imagine that we are one of those lucky women who get to fix them.

Sound familiar? Christian Grey? Gideon Cross? I could name dozens of heroes off the top of my head.

So now that we know that the current trend is not separated from a larger movement that crosses centuries and genres, now what? Do we continue to pen erotic romances in 2015 that fall in line? Do we need and want another Byronic hero? Do we need and want the erotic romance “alpha-holes”?

Most importantly, I asked myself, could someone write an erotic romance that was steamy, hot, volcanic (choose your adjective) without such a hero? Was it even possible? Could the nice guy also rip your panties and make the sheets pop off the corners of the mattress?

That was when the idea for my first novel was born: I set out to write the anti-byronic hero. I wanted my character, Beckett Stanton, to be the healer, the man committed to his morals, the approachable man who was easy to laugh and able to poke fun at himself. I wanted him to be honest with his emotions. Soon, Beckett was talking to me as I washed dishes or folded clothes. He told me he was a doctor who healed cancer patients. (I know, I know—surprise! The nice guy cures kids no less!) He was intensely emotional and sensitive. He had no deep scars that made him moody or judgmental. He had no skeletons in his closet (or a crazy woman in his upstairs apartment like Mr. Rochester). He didn’t need saving from a virginal, virtuous woman.

Thus, my heroine Hannah was born, and I fell in love with her. Because Beckett was a whole person who had strong convictions and a working moral compass, Hannah didn’t have to be it for him. She was allowed to grow too. She was given license to be a real woman that I could identify with. In fact, I’d love to sit and drink a bottle of wine with her and her three roommates.

What happens when two confident, assertive people who don’t have dozens of secrets in their past meet? How do they fall in love when their convictions are so strongly rooted in their personalities, not in their scars? These are the questions I wanted to answer, questions the Byronic heroes of today, or yesterday, don’t allow their authors to ask.

Did I succeed? Maybe. Readers will be the judge of that. But, I enjoyed the experiment whose hypothesis was that nice guys sometimes do get the girl.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as well! What type of hero are you most attracted to? What frustrates you about some heroes? What trends do you see in heroes?

An excerpt from her latest novel Forbidden Touch..

An hour later, we landed, retrieved our suitcases, and claimed our rental car. We drove to a suburb where the houses got progressively bigger and the landscaping more Forbidden Touch Newelaborate. During our drive, Beckett’s glances drifted from the road to the passenger seat. “I want you to know I told my parents that we’re friends. While I don’t mind that my parents know we are … physical, I thought maybe this would be easier. We’ll definitely get fewer questions this way. And when I was trying to convince you to come with me, I made you that promise. I intend to keep it.”

“Thanks. I think it’ll make the weekend more enjoyable.” Trusting him was crucial to our arrangement and our friendship. Being able to do so took a weight off my shoulders I hadn’t realized I was carrying.

Beckett soon turned into a gated subdivision. As I looked out through the window, the passing scenes struck me. Gone were the lush green grasses and weeds. Gone were the trees with actual leaves. Those Boulder staples were replaced by rocks, sand, and stone. Gone was the feeling that nature was plush and abundant and warm. Despite the fact that Phoenix’s air was much hotter, it was colder here, harsher. As I stepped out of the car in front of a mansion of terracotta and landscaping boulders, I was sure that I’d never been on more unfamiliar ground.

Out Now