Archive for August, 2010

Good Out of Bad

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Dear Author reports that editor Leah Hultenschmidt, formerly of Dorchester Publishing, is now with Sourcebooks, where she will acquire romance and young adult fiction. Good for her. That didn’t take very long.

Congratulations to both Leah and to Sourcebooks!

Peru, Day 14: Machu Picchu

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Finally, I’m back to posting about Peru! My apologies to those who were following my anecdotes and pictures only to get left hanging as soon as My Liege and I reached Machu Picchu. If you need a refresher, here’s a link to my last post on the subject. If you’d like to follow our travels from the beginning, check out the sidebar and then scroll dowwwwwwn, way dowwwwwwwwwwn (and I’ll call Rusty—sorry, Canadian childhood reference) to “Categories” and then click on “Peru 2010.” That will take you to the Archives for all the Peru posts. Or be lazy and click this link to get to the first Peru post.

For a quick primer on Machu Picchu, check out Wikipedia. I have so many piccies, I’m concentrating on those.

Above, an overview of the terraces and residential sections (minus roofs). See those triangle-shaped peaks? Thatched roofs went on top.

One of the coolest things about Machu Picchu is the fog that rolls and wisps around the site, literally almost like a live thing. It took my breath away. You can see it here just starting to creep in on the right.

The fog reminded me of a cat. Slinking in, then slinking out again. It moved fast!

The clouds and mist swooping over the panoramic view of Huayna Picchu, the biggest peak on the Machu Picchu site.

See what I mean? It was just surreal. One minute there, the next gone again.

The view from inside a bedroom for a very important person. I think it was for a princess, when she visited the sanctuary. Her bed was carved out of rock, and this was the view that greeted her when she woke in the morning.

Steve on the right by the "crappy" Inca wall, and our guide, Wilmington, on the left by the "good" Inca wall. Why such perfect construction on the left and not-as-stellar construction on the right? Because nobility and royalty either lived in the rooms walled in on the left, or the buildings were used for ceremonial purposes. The wall on the right was either "just" a wall or a wall for a building without ceremonial or religious purposes. In Machu Piccu, wall construction = status.

More excellent Inca construction, and an example of the thatched roofs (not an original roof, of course!)

In the mood for a little human sacrifice? Step inside!

Close-up of wall construction shown in previous photo. Isn't that crazy?

Baby Be Gone

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Y.S. turned twenty on Wednesday. Yesterday he flew to geology field school. E.S. and also Y.S.’s girlfriend accompanied me to the airport to see him off. I had a good cry in the bathroom beforehand. As soon as field school is finished, Y.S. starts his second year of university—but his first year away from home. He has a good head on his shoulders, so I’m not worried about him. Much. And I’ll see him in a few weeks when my husband and I drive his stuff up and move him into residence. But my baby is still gone. Empty nest redux around here for the next couple of weeks, I’m sure.

As E.S. points out, at least I have him again! For another year. I call him The Stomach now. Our grocery bill dropped substantially when he was gone.

Those who have been following my Peru posts, I’ll get back to them next week. Finally! I know I left you hanging at the entrance to Machu Picchu, which was definitely the highlight of our trip. But life and deadlines intervened.

They Saved the Best for Last?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I’ve gotta spin this some way.

A couple of days ago I found out that the Five Star Expressions hardcover library line, to which I sold my contemporary romance, WHERE SHE BELONGS, will cease publication after December 2011. That’s when WHERE SHE BELONGS is coming out. Five Star/Tekno is still acquiring manuscripts for their Mystery line, but women’s fiction and romance, which had a home in Expressions, is no more. I was very sad to hear this news. My first sale to the line, and I had hopes for more sales. I really enjoyed working with my editor. She really went above-board for me. For one thing, my submission came about as a result of a conversation on the Novelists, Inc. email loop. My editor contacted me and said when I was ready to submit to Five Star/Cengage, she wanted to see the manuscript. I hadn’t planned on submitting in February. I wasn’t going to submit until after I finished revisions on a single title. But as soon as I heard that she wanted to see my book, I dropped those revisions faster than a flat potato pancake. I polished WHERE SHE BELONGS until it shone, working my way through a dead computer and a new Dell that wouldn’t see delivery for two weeks. Just a couple of weeks ago, we worked on the edits. My manuscript went “into production,” and I expected the next news to be that my cover art had arrived or that proofs needed looking at.

Those will still occur. As far as I know at this point, WHERE SHE BELONGS is still in the queue to be published. I know of at least one other December 2011 Expressions author, Stacey Coverstone. She and I, I believe, will be the last Expressions authors.

I have no idea what this means for my print run, distribution, or how quickly the book will go out of print. At this point, especially in light of everything that’s happening at Dorchester (including the recent axing of two editors), I’m counting myself lucky that my story will see print at all. Working on this book again made me realize how much I love it. It’s a “book of my heart.”

You know what this means, don’t you? When I say, at some point in 2011, that the book is available for pre-order, tell everyone you know to pre-order the heck out of the thing. When I announce, in December 2011, that the book is available, buy it right away. Help me help the Five Star Expressions line go out with a bang.

Strangely, I’m not depressed. I’m sad, but I’m not down and out. I’ve become so accustomed to looking forward in this industry, I’m not sure I even know how to look backward anymore. I’ll dust myself off and move on to the next opportunity. A little sad at the news, but a whole lot glad that I had a chance to become part of the Five Star/Cengage family.

Writing Tortured/Tormented Heroes

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

By Jeanmarie Hamilton

In romance, the tortured hero, or probably more accurately, the tormented hero, provides a main character with a dark, and possibly mysterious past. He may also have a physical problem, or in the case of werewolves and other shape shifters, an other-worldly characteristic, as in MOONLIGHT DESPERADO.

We want to know how in the world he deals with his challenges, how the heroine responds to him and his actions, and how the story problem is resolved at the end with a happily ever after ending. 

At the start of the story, he has shown us at least one good quality, and his dark moods and sometimes harsh words for the heroine don’t fool us. Deep down, he’s a good guy with big problems to overcome.

What drives him? His problems usually stem from something that happened to him in the past. Most of the torment for the hero is mental and emotional. His past keeps him from enjoying the life and love others around him seem to have.

What happened to him? We readers, and writers, want to know. How will he overcome his past that’s still tormenting him? How will the heroine save him, or prove to him that he’s worthy of love and can love her?

What conflict keeps the hero and heroine apart? Usually a tortured/tormented hero doesn’t feel anywhere near worthy of the heroine. The hero’s torment will influence his life on many levels including decisions he makes regarding his behavior toward the heroine, and what he mistakenly believes is “best” for her.

He wants to protect her. He pushes her away for that very reason, to protect her. She deserves the best, which he isn’t in his eyes. He doesn’t believe he deserves her.

The hero fights his demons but doesn‘t believe he can conquer them. The reader hopes he will be successful and the heroine will win her man. Why? When the characters reach success, it makes us feel good and maybe even gives us a sense of everything is possible if we try.

The tortured hero provides the writer and reader escape from daily routines of life, like washing the laundry. (Mine is in the dryer now.) Characters sparring with each other may have you gripping your book, asking the question, “Will they find happiness together?”

The escape for many readers takes the emotional form of angst which is eventually eased with that sense of  success and emotional relief.

When the tortured hero makes the decision to leave the heroine in order to protect her, the heroine will fight against all odds, no matter what they face, to bring the hero back to her side where he belongs.   

The tortured hero drives the journey toward success, for both the hero and heroine, and makes for an edge of your seat emotional experience with an awesome conclusion.

What is your take on tortured heroes? Or heroines? Have you written one recently? Are they your favorite read?


Please leave a comment to enter to win MOONLIGHT DESPERADO. If you’re reading this blog through a feed at Facebook, Goodreads or another social network, please note you need to leave your comment at to enter.

To read the back cover blurb for MOONLIGHT DESPERADO or to read Jeanmarie’s bio, see yesterday’s post. Visit to learn more about Jeanmarie and her books.

Jeanmarie Hamilton Guest Blogs Tomorrow!

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Tomorrow please join me in welcoming paranormal historical romance author Jeanmarie Hamiltonto the blog. Jeanmarie is blogging about Writing Tormented Heroes and will give away an ebook copy of MOONLIGHT DESPERADO, her December 2009 novella from Siren-Bookstrand Publishing.


In post Civil War Texas, Mary Ann Beauclere is trapped by raiders demanding bedding and food. Though she’s outraged when Captain Craig Wolfe steals a kiss, and more, in front of the men, she follows orders, desperate to protect her little sisters asleep upstairs. But when Captain Wolfe helps her, she softens toward the desperado, accepting his kisses as she’s drawn to him like no other.

Admiring Mary Ann’s courage, Confederate spy Captain Craig Wolfe recognizes her as his life mate. But when he claims her as his mate, secret identities and a vicious pack member threaten their lives and their future. Will Captain Wolfe have to spend his life without his mate?

About Jeanmarie:

Jeanmarie Hamilton is an award winning author of western historical and shape-shifter romance. She was a finalist in the RWA Southern Heat Chapter Contest (2nd place Historical), and the 2005 American Title Contest for historical romance for her western, Seduction. With a contemporary shape-shifter story, Moonlight Guard, she was also a finalist in the RWA 2006 Gothic Chapter Contest, (2nd place contemporary paranormal), and the 2007 RWA Dixie First Chapter Contest (3rd place, paranormal). “A couple of my historicals were inspired by my Texas ancestors’ history, their daily lives and the life threatening incidents they faced in the late 1800s.”

Also writing erotic romance as Jenette DuPris, Jeanmarie’s stories have received top ratings in reviews. When not writing, she enjoys oil painting, walks in the desert foothills, gardening, her family and pets, romantic movies, and reading a gripping story.

To learn more about Jeanmarie and her books, please visit her website.