Striking off in a New Direction

For awhile now, I’ve been reading a lot of non-magical romantic suspense and watching a whole lot of true crime on the ID channel. I used to watch HGTV a lot, but lately, it’s all true crime for me. I’ve been reading Laura Griffin‘s books, as well as Linda Howard, Pamela Claire‘s I-team books, and Linda Castillo, among others. I’ve never thought myself capable of writing a mystery or a suspense novel. I figured my plots would be way too obvious. But lately I’ve found myself thinking in terms of characters and plots and I’m taking notes on a romantic suspense novel and have even written a bit of the opening. If you’re curious, check out this post, and keep in mind, the writing is very rough.

You might ask why I’m switching genres. Well, I’m not. I love fantasy and I have no plans to leave it. But I […]

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Language of Love

Warning: foul language ahead.





I’ve been reading some romances lately. They do relationships–a whole lot of different kinds, not just romantic–like nobody’s business. There’s a lot to learn from them. Plus I enjoy them, particularly the relationships. Except.

I’ve read a couple books lately of the steamy variety. Explicit sex. I have no problem with this. In fact, bring it on! The hotter the better. No, what’s been bothering me about these two was the language of love. What kept throwing me was the frequent use of ‘fuck.’ Don’t get me wrong. I love the word. I like to use it. With gusto. And I don’t mind it in reference to sex. But both of these books had the lovers saying things very casually like, I really like fucking you. Hey, want to go fuck? Or a man talking about the woman he loves with another […]

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On Character (Baseball Players and the Women Who Love Them)

Hello folks! (::waves madly to old friends and new::)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on Magical Words. A lot has been going on in my writing life, as culminated in yesterday’s launch of the Diamond Brides Series. Now bear with me. I know that, here at MW, we primarily focus on speculative fiction. And I know that Diamond Brides is a series of nine short, hot contemporary romance novels. There is not a single fantasy element in the series, and the books definitely aren’t science fiction. But over the course of the next four weeks, I look forward to explaining how my romance novels dovetail with my speculative fiction work, how the craft lessons I learned in the SF&F genres carried over to romance, and how writing is writing, no matter what labels we apply. (Yeah, that’s an ambitious goal, for four posts. We’ll see how […]

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I Give Up

I give up. I’ve twice started a post, and run into snags along the way. One was all about romance in my fiction (kinda like peppermint in my chocolate!) but I realized it was becoming a rant and I needed to cool down and look at it with calmer eyes. The other one wanted to be funny but it’s just…not. Funny is hard, and not-funny that wishes it was funny is pathetic. I thought about writing a post sharing goofy things library patrons have said to me in the last two weeks (and believe me, some of the comments will make you weep for the future of the human race) but then I worried that one of my library coworkers might drop in and decide it was time for my job to be handled by someone who didn’t post things on the internet (There are people who don’t live on […]

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Genres Part Five – Crossovers

Once upon a time, the genre standards were very clearly defined. Mystery meant the discovery of a dead body and the subsequent investigation to find the killer. Romance was a beautiful young woman meeting a handsome man she at first hates, and only comes to love after 200-odd pages of tribulation. Westerns were cowboys on the lonesome prairie, with the obligatory gunfight. Horror terrified the reader and only in the last pages let the hero win. Thrillers were exciting tales of kidnappings, heists or political intrigue. Erotic fiction was….well, you get the idea.

Fantasy and science fiction had, and to an extent still have, their own conventions. But somewhere along the way, writers got bored with sticking to the rule books, and started playing with the standards, borrowing plot devices of other genres and weaving them into the mix to make their own work a little different. These used to […]

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You Got Your Romance In My Fantasy!

When I was in my early teens, I somehow discovered romance novels. I don’t recall now how I made this discovery, I just know that for a while, I read Harlequins and Barbara Cartland stories like other people take deep breaths. Falling in love, according to those books, was a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and even if things looked dark now, all would be happy in the end. After a year or two of saccharine smoochies, I moved on to the big chihuahua-killers by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers, which taught me that love was combat, and that it would be the man I despised on sight who’d eventually win my heart. Not long after that, I found my way to the modern gothic novels of writers like Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. It wouldn’t be the man I’d fight with, but the […]

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