Friday, July 31, 2015

Celebrating the Joy of Romance

August is Read-A-Romance Month and I've been invited to join in the huge celebration. And when I say huge I mean MEGA. After you read my bit visit  the special website dedicated to this party. You'll find a list of 93 of your favorite authors. All of them will be featured and they're all hosting giveaways. Then hop over to Lorelei's Lit Lair where you'll find more participating authors. Lorelei is a huge supporter of the romance community. On August 1 you can read her featured essay here.

The theme for this month's celebration is "The Joy of Romance". Read on for my short essay, a fun Q&A, my personal authors recs, and a giveaway!

Love Knows No Limits

One of the things I love about romantic fiction is that love knows no limits. Romance thrives in every decade, every century. Love conquers in every world--real or imagined. Reading about, writing about, or watching a movie about a man and woman falling in love fills my heart with joy. I don't care where or when that story takes place. I'll follow a well-written and passionate hero and heroine anywhere. Whether it's the wild west, the Victorian Age, Medieval times, an alternate world or a modern-day small town. I'm there! I not only enjoy a good love story, but I'm also keen on a grand adventure. My reading (and viewing) taste also feeds my own writing. My imagination bounces all over the place and luckily, happily many readers are willing to genre-hop with me. Follows a peek into my various "joys".

Joy #1 -- CONTEMPORARY 
Romances that take place in modern times are especially appealing because they seem so real. We can easily put ourself in the hero or heroine's shoes. We're more familiar with their challenges and surroundings than, for instance, a couple from the 15th century. For me contemporary romance is a comfort read and a pleasure to write. I've explored the worlds of CEOs, con-artists, bodyguards, librarians, entertainers, publicists, bakers, and shoe boutique owners to name a few. From small-town romance, to modern-day fairy tales, to romantic suspense--I dabble in it all because I find wonder in every facet of our modern lives.

  

Joy #2 -- HISTORICAL
My first love as a reader was historical romance. Westerns, Medieval, Regency, Victorian. I'm fascinated with the past--how we lived, what we wore, how we spoke. Living vicariously through the characters--without having to sacrifice modern conveniences--is a guilty pleasure I indulge time and again. Aside from reading historical romance, I'm addicted to period films and cable series. Last of the Mohicans, Braveheart, Shakespeare in Love, and Sense and Sensibility are just a few of my longtime favorite films. Current series addictions include: Downton Abby, Musketeers, Outlander, and Poldark. As far as writing historicals, the most daunting aspect is the research. It's intense, but it's also inspiring.Whether I'm writing straight historical or alternate history, fact-based research is key in transporting you to another time. 


Joy #3 -- PARANORMAL
Ghosts, time-travel, reincarnation, steampunk, witches and magick... These are just a few other-worldly or alternate world aspect that appeal to me as a reader and writer. The ultimate make-believe for a happily-ever-after.  

 

Keep scrolling for recs, a fun Q&A, and the Giveaway. 
Also would love for you to chime in... 
What's your favorite romantic genre and why?

Recommendations:

There are a few authors who, like me, enjoy exploring various sub-genres. Authors I'd follow anywhere! If you're not already familiar with them, be sure to check them out! 

Zoe Archer (also writing as) Eva Leigh
Jayne Ann Krentz (also writing as) Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle 

Questions for Author:

1 - Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.

--This past spring my sisters (I have five) and I threw a surprise 75th birthday for our mom. We're scattered in various states and it is a rare moment when all of us are together. This was the first time in quite some time (except for a sad gathering). Seeing the look on my mom's face when she walked through the door--first seeing all the friends and family gathered in one place just for her... and then realizing ALL of her daughters were there... For me that was a moment of sheer joy.    

2 - Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

--England is my happy place. I’ve been blessed and have traveled there several times over the last several years. The first time was my honeymoon. Naturally, I was extremely joyful. Deliriously in love, newly married and traveling overseas for the first time. We spent three short days in London and became instantly addicted. Since then we’ve also visited Bath, Oxford, Canterbury, York, Stratford Upon Avon… The list goes on and every single place filled me with joy. And contentment. Although I was born and raised in America, England feels like home. Perhaps it was… in another life.   

3 - Tell us about a sound that brings you joy. 

--The sound of silence brings me joy. In my former life, I made my living as a performer. Music inspired me and made me deliriously happy. I still love music, but these days silence makes me joyful. It allows my imagination to run wild. Also makes me feel peaceful—a most splendid state-of-being.

4- What recent book have you read that brought you joy.  Why?

I’m presently reading a biography—DREAM MORE—by Dolly Parton. It’s delightful! Entertaining, motivating, and inspiring.  
  
5 - And for fun, the joy of choice. Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) 

Yikes. I have to pick just one? Okay. First thought. Gut choice. Chris Hemsworth. A talented actor who seems incredibly devoted to his wife and children. That's sexy and attractive. Like his smile.


 Giveaway!


Bio:

 Storytelling comes naturally to award-winning author Beth Ciotta. Dubbed "fun and sexy" by Publisher's Weekly, Beth is published in contemporary, historical, steampunk, and paranormal romantic fiction. "I can't think of anything more fulfilling than writing stories where everyone (except the villain, of course) gets a happy ending!" 

Beth lives in NJ with her husband, two zany dogs, and a crazy cat. A retired professional performer, Beth now pours her artistic passion into her writing. To learn more about her colorful life, visit her website at www.bethciotta.com

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Project of Mystical Proportions

As noted in my previous post, I have devised a plan for broadening my horizons. I'm still in the midst of writing MARRY POPPINS, the third book in my modern-day fairy tale series--IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. And I'm jotting story notes for CHRISTMAS IMPOSSIBLE, WANDERLUST, and LOVING A LEGEND. All of these tales fall with the romance genre and they are slated for release within the next seven months. Yes, I'm pushing my limits. As I've said before, I'm not a speedy writer. However I am presently, fiercely focused and inspired.

Part of what's driving me is knowing that I'm working toward breaking into a new genre--Fantasy Mystery. THE EXTRAORDINARY QUEST OF ZOE ALBRIGHT (which I plan to Indie publish) is already a work-in-progress. Meanwhile my goal is to also sell a fantasy mystery project to a NYC traditional publisher. I spent the last three days heavily revising a proposal I started a while back for a fantasy mystery that takes place in the 1920s. I'm working new muscles big time. It's a challenge and it's a joy. I *think* I finally nailed it. I'll be submitting that proposal to my agent in the next couple of days. I hope she'll be as excited about the story as I am. Wish me luck.

Step one in broadening my horizons.



Is there something new you've been wanting to try? Something that will push your limits? Broaden your horizons? Something that seems almost impossible?

 



      

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Looking Ahead!

I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse, but I am constantly bombarded with story ideas. Unfortunately, I'm not the world's fastest writer so it's impossible for me to keep up with my crazy muse. I'm easily distracted by shiny new ideas. Sometimes I give into them. Not a bad thing. Viva variety! But it does put a kink into the schedule of whatever "series" I'm trying to focus on.

I've spent the last few weeks thinking hard about my career. Where I am. Where I'd like to go. One thing I know for sure. I'm going to focus more on what inspires me creatively. What truly sparks my passion. And I'm going to worry less about "breaking out and ahead" financially. I'm going to reconnect with the crazy kind of passion that makes my storytelling unique. I'm going to have FUN.

My new goal is to complete my two Indie romance series (Peacemakers: Old West AND Impossible Dream) by mid 2016. Peacemakers: Old West will consist of four books total. Impossible Dream will consist of five. Then I'll be turning my full attention and creativity to a story that has been in the works for some time. A story of my heart that received a lot of interest from the big NYC pubs, but was ultimately passed over because A) They didn't know how to market it or B) (in one very close but no cigar instance) was a little to close in concept to something that pub had already bought.

This particular story revolves around "The Extraordinary Quest of Zoe Albright". It's a fantasy mystery with romantic elements. Sort of like 'The Discovery of Witches"... but not really. All I know is I adore what I've written so far and honestly think Zoe is me at my very best.

In keeping with that Indie project, I'm working on polishing another fantasy mystery proposal for my agent to pitch to the traditional NYC publishers. I'd be ever so thrilled to remain a hybrid author albeit in a new genre. A slight shift from straight ahead romance and perhaps a risky move on my part but it feels right. So.... I'm going for it.

Based on all of the above here's what you can expect from me in the near and not so near future! (*not including a special project I'm simmering on with an extremely talented artist!)


  • MARRY POPPINS (Impossible Dream--book 3) Sept/Oct 2015
  • ON THE NAUGHTY LIST (holiday anthology w/Lori Foster, Carly Phillips, and Sugar Jamison) Oct 2015
  • WANDERLUST (romance anthology w/Erin McCarthy, Kathy Love and Elle J Rossi) Nov 2015
  • CHRISTMAS IMPOSSIBLE (Impossible Dream--book 4) Oct/Nov 2015
  • LOVING A LEGEND (Peacemakers:Old West--book 4) Feb 2016
  • NO PLACE LIKE NOWHERE (Impossible Dream--book 5) July 2016
  • ZOE ALBRIGHT: THE ASSASSIN'S PRODIGY (An ESCA Novel) Oct 2016          

Unless something totally unexpected puts a glitch in my oh-so-focused plan. ;)

Speaking of MARRY POPPINS, I'll leave you with this beautiful ad designed by my awesoemlly talented sister--Elle J Rossi of EJR Digital Art


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Revitalization and Risk

Bear with me through the set-up. I swear this is not solely a promo shout. It's a promo shout leading up to a peek into how my mind works and ending with a question for you!

If you've been following me on Facebook or Twitter or even here (for the last couple of days), you know that I'm celebrating the reissues of my historical western series: Peacemakers: Old West. LASSO THE MOON, the first adventure in the series is on sale now for .99. Digital version only and only until July 24. If you haven't taken advantage, do so soon!  


Book 2 and 3--ROMANCING THE WEST and FALL OF ROME are also available in digital for bargain prices. If you prefer a good ole book in your hands, they're available in print as well.   

  

Gifting these tales with new covers (thank you EJR Digital Art), tweaked editing, and a sale with a two-week ad campaign allowed me an opportunity to garner new readers. Revitalizing these stories also revitalized my love of the Garrett family and assorted associates as well as the wild, wild, west. I had forgotten how much research and intrigue I'd weaved into these books--along with a lot of heart and humor. I very much enjoyed reconnecting with that part of myself and my writing. This revitalization of the series left me inspired!

Avid fans of the Peacemakers have been asking for Boston Garrett's story for a very long time and, after being waylaid for several professional reasons, I'm finally in a position (and frame-of-mind) to deliver the goods. Although I have multiple projects on my plate right now I am indeed simmering on Boston's adventure--working title: LOVING A LEGEND. Slated for release in early 2016.

You may have noticed that in this post's title I used the word RISK. And here's where that aspect comes in. The first three Peacemaker tales are straight-up historical western romances. I am inspired to approach LOVING A LEGEND in a slightly different way. The inspiration came from various directions. 

  • A 2014 trip to Arizona which included a visit to Jerome. This artsy, unique town is situated on the side of a mountain and has a stunning history. I knew at some point I would write a story that took place in Jerome and it would entail a ghostly or paranormal aspect.

  • A while back I ran a post on Facebook about two television series. FIREFLY and THE ADVENTURES OF BRISCOE COUNTY, JR.  I was thrilled to learn I'm not the only rabid fan of these shows. Both of these series were cult hits and both combined wild west and sci-fi/fantasy aspects. They were also sexy, romantic, and peppered with wit and humor. Everything I love.  
 


  • This past year I fell in love with the cable series (book) OUTLANDER and rediscovered my love of a classic tale by Jude Deveraux--A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. Two words: Time Travel 
 

All this "inspiration" swirled and settled around LOVING A LEGEND as well as a spin-off series--Peacemakers: New Breed.  There's a key scene in FALL OF ROME where Rome tells his younger brother Boston, "Get your own damned life." When that story ends, in my head I knew Boston would head off in search of that life. I also knew he would have a hard time finding it. As a past government agent, current Peacemaker, and a popular dime novel hero, he's pretty much seen and done it all. What and who could shake this man's world?     

One morning not so long ago, I had an epiphany. It involved dropping a twenty-first century woman into Boston's nineteenth-century world. I can see it and even better I can feel it. Here's where RISK comes into play. The preceding linked books are straight up historicals. Will fans of the standing series be intrigued or turned off by a paranormal twist to Boston's tale? And will they follow the Peacemakers into a new world--a spin-off series inspired by my imagination and the cult series mentioned above? 

Would you?