Romance Junkie

Why do women love to read romance? It’s a question I keep asking myself as I work on my new book project, and I keep coming up empty-handed every time. I can’t figure it out. And I’m really starting to believe the reason I can’t come up with any answers is because there are simply so many. I don’t know where to begin.

Maybe it’s because we just can’t get enough of the excitement? Maybe we’re addicted to the passion we find between the pages. Perhaps it’s the dance of the seduction that hooks us. Or we just love to read about the thrill of the chase and imagine that we are the ones being pursued? Or maybe … we just get off on meeting a new, really hot, sexy hero who makes us swoon. After all, anyone who reads romance novels regularly, knows that boyfriends are just better in books because sadly, romance is often sorely lacking in our everyday, real lives. I mean, don’t get me wrong … there are some men out there who do romance very well but, they’re in the minority. Most men just don’t get it. And maybe that’s the crux of it right there. Women are just different.

Women are hard-wired for romance. We crave it. We need it like we need the air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. Maybe we invest so much of our free time into reading romance because it’s something our bodies need but aren’t getting, or aren’t getting enough of. Sort of like when we don’t get enough of a key nutrient and our bodies become deficient in that area. Well, perhaps most of us are romance deficient and, if we’re not getting those nutrients naturally – in the form of a really hot, sexy hero of our own – then we need to get those nutrients in some other way. Like with a daily dose administered via romance novel. (Read two to four chapters daily for best results!)

I know that for me personally, I love reading romance because it fills me with a sense of hope. And actually, I find that I write it for the very same reasons. There is nothing better than when I’m in the middle of reading a story that I just can’t put down – or I’m working on a story that consumes me – because I’m so invested in the hero and heroine and the adventure they’re on. Watching them pursue their happily ever after brings me joy.

Or maybe I’m just a junkie who self-medicates with romance because it feels good!

Baker’s Dozen Finale

It’s finally here! The long-awaited conclusion to the Baker’s Dozen Fiction Story, and I am so excited about it! If you have been following our progress on this little project, you know that our hero has been through some major ups and downs (well, mostly downs) during this story, but that all comes to an end with this final chapter. And what a chapter it is! Written by our fearless leader, Joe Owens, of Joe’s Musings, Forrest finally gets the answers to so many questions, and finds the courage within him to do what needs to be done. Check it out, right here!

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Book Hangover

I read this really great quote on Pinterest. It said, “Book Hangover: the inability to start a new book because you are still living in the last book’s world.” Now, this was meant to be a quote about avid readers. But I’ve learned recently that the same could be very true for writers as well.

For the past month or so, I’ve been itching to begin working on a new story. Not that I don’t have any new story ideas – that’s not the issue. The issue was, like the quote says above, I was suffering from a book hangover. I was still living in, and hanging on to, the whole Pierced world that I created with The Pierced Trilogy. Not that I’m complaining – I adore those characters and their story. But it’s an odd thing about self-publishing. As indie authors, we not only write the books but, we are responsible for promoting that book and doing everything we can to bring that book to the attention of potential readers. So, we’re sort of forced into that book hangover state because even though the story is written, the job’s not over yet. We are forced to hang on a little longer.

Well, I’m happy to report that I have finally begun writing that next book – creating that next world – and it’s going great. I’m four chapters and over 26,000 words in so far. And to be perfectly honest … even though I’m loving this new world, I’m still feeling the effects of that hangover a little bit. And I wonder if all authors feel this way. A few years down the road, when I’ve got 15 or 20 books under my belt, will I still feel as though I have a slight Pierced hangover?

Baker’s Dozen: Chapter 12!

Chapter 12 of the Baker’s Dozen Fiction Story is here, and all I can say is WOW! I am blown away by this installment from blogger David Stewart, of The Green-Walled Tower. With only two chapters left until the story’s end, I had no clue how it would ever be wrapped up. Finally we (and Forrest) begin to get some real answers and it is one heck of a ride! Click here to go check out chapter 12, and to find links to the previous 11 chapters as well!

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Baker’s Dozen: Chapter 11

Chapter 11 of the Baker’s Dozen Fiction Story is live, and boy is it wild! It has a couple of twists and turns that I never, EVER expected! Hats off to blogger Francesca, of Dr. Franny and Mrs. Myself, for the imaginative installment. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it. You can find chapter 11, as well as the previous 10 chapters, right here!

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The Joy of Being a Writer

Okay … so I debated with myself for a couple of days as to whether or not to write this post. I didn’t want it to seem as though I was tooting my own horn or boasting or whatever. Because honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. I have a really hard time believing that people are reading my little romance story and enjoying it. But I had an experience a few days ago that left me astounded, and I just had to share it. I was in a  hotel room in Atlanta (there for my nephew’s wedding), when I just happened to go to Amazon.com to look at the buy page for Pierced Ever After. And, as the book has only been available for about two weeks now, I was surprised to find that it already had two reviews posted.

You know, every writer dreams of having some big-name reviewer or a well-known, best-selling author give a glowing review of their book. One that they can take a snazzy one-liner quote from and attach it to their inside cover. It makes for great promotion. And maybe … if I’m very lucky … someday I’ll get that attention. But, when I was writing the Pierced books and first began toying with the idea of self-publishing them, I remember telling my husband that I just wanted people to read my story and love it and fall in love with the characters. I wanted the story to touch someone. I wanted readers to connect with it and be moved by it.

Lofty dreams, I know.

Both the reviews on Amazon were fantastic. But one of them filled me with such joy, I called my mom and my two aunts (who were all in hotel rooms just across the hall from mine) and made them come read it as well. Then I did something really crazy. I sent an email to the reader who had written the review and asked if I could share it on my blog. And again … I’m aware that this makes me appear boastful and cocky, and I apologize for that. But I saw my first dreams for my story realized in that Atlanta hotel room when I read that review, and I just want to shout it from the rooftops:

I just finished a marathon session of the second (Pierced by Love) and third (Pierced Ever After) books in the Pierced Trilogy by Lashell Collins and I am blown away by this story and am already missing Samantha and Josh. This story could have easily ended after book two, going the route of most romance books in that after the dangerous situation has been overcome the story is all too quickly wrapped up with a supposed HEA that more often than not feels very rushed. After all that emotion and time invested in the characters, I want to delve into and experience their HEA with them, not just have the author tell me that, “Trust me, they lived happily ever after,” after giving us a short epilogue. What Ms. Collins has written in Pierced Ever After is basically (IMO) a book-length epilogue that explores the characters very deeply, and we really get to know them on a personal level, and not just the H&h, but the supporting characters as well.

Their HEA is not without obstacles and we get to experience with Josh and Sam how they are able to overcome them. We see them grow tremendously over the course of this book (especially Josh) and since it is written in alternating first-person points of view between Samantha and Josh, we learn about them right down to their souls. I normally am not a fan of the first-person style of writing, but this is one of the very few books I have read where, for me, it really worked and I actually liked reading this style of book. To me, that means that Ms. Collins is a very gifted writer and I am hoping that we will be reading more from her soon, especially more of Josh and Sam, as there seems to be a teaser at the end of the book that hints of more to come. So, if you are a romance fan, and I mean ROMANCE (whew!) you can’t go wrong with the Pierced Trilogy. ~ Kathy (Amazon reader review)

A reader fell in love with my characters and connected with the story. It touched her. She was moved by it. And I was moved by her words. They made me want to go hide away with my laptop and do it all over again! They inspired me to keep writing! Knowing that at least one reader out there was moved by something I had written; that someone enjoyed and appreciates my efforts. That is the joy of being a writer!

Baker’s Dozen: Chapter 10

Okay, so several weeks ago, I told you about a project I was involved in where 12 random bloggers would come together and write a fiction story together. The brain child of blogger Joe Owens of Joe’s Musings, Joe wrote the first chapter of said story, and then passed it off to blogger number 2 for the next chapter, who then passed it off to blogger number 3, and so on, and so on, and so on. Interesting concept, you say? Yes, it was an interesting concept. One I simply couldn’t pass up; it just sounded like so much fun.

So, if you’ve been following our little story, you know that this week is my turn at the bat, so to speak. And boy, was I scared. I mean, our main character, Forrest, has already been through so much in such a short amount of time: rejection of his marriage proposal, terrorists attacks and threats against his life, people shooting at him, childhood medallions that hold world secrets and strange women who are not what they appear to be. Who can he trust? Where can he turn? And most importantly … what the heck am I going to do with him now that it’s my turn to write the next chapter in his life?

To find out the answers to those burning questions, click here to read my installment of the Baker’s Dozen Fiction Story. And you can also catch up on chapters 1 through 9 while you’re at it!

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Baker’s Dozen: Chapter 9

Chapter 9 of the Baker’s Dozen Fiction Story is now live, and it can only be described in one word … ok, I lied. There are no words to describe it. I am completely baffled by a few of the twists this one takes. Which is not a good thing because the next chapter is mine to write. Yikes!! Blogger Ted Strutz, of TedBook, writer of chapter 9, obviously has some imagination and sense of humor. I love it! You can find chapter 9, and all the previous chapters, right here. Enjoy!

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Baker’s Dozen: Chapter 8

Chapter 8 of the Baker’s Dozen Fiction Story is live and, it is awesome! Written by C.L. Elli of Venti Mocha Moments, it throws yet another twist into the mix, and I’m starting to wonder if Forrest is going to make it out of this thing alive. I’m also getting extremely nervous … only one more writer ahead of me. Then it’s my turn to venture into Forrest’s and Angie’s perilous world! But we’ll worry about that later. For now, go check out chapter 8; you can find it (and the previous 7 chapters) right here!

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Every Day Should Be This Good!

When I woke up this morning, the sky was a very bright blue. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. As I stretched and yawned and reached for my phone, I had no clue what the day would bring. But as I fired up my BlackBerry, my eyes still heavy with sleep, I proceeded to check my messages. And that’s when this most gorgeous day became even brighter.

The very first email I opened was a notification from Twitter. A reader, who had just finished Pierced Ever After, sent me a series of short private messages via Twitter (only 140 characters, you know), to let me know her thoughts on the conclusion of the Pierced Trilogy. She said that it had moved her to tears in a few spots, and she thanked me for making it “emotionally beautiful.” Her words.

Wow! I was floored. I had to read her words again. And again. I was so touched and humbled and shocked. It was, without a doubt, the coolest freaking way to begin the day! And that vibe of amazement has been with me ever since.

The sun is beginning to set now, and as I look out the window at the show, my mind can’t help but remember the beautiful morning and the elation I felt after reading those words. I PM’d her back and thanked her for her kind words and her praise for Pierced Ever After. I still feel touched and humbled and shocked. Every day should be this good.