Saturday, August 15, 2009

Can a writer love their characters too much?

A few months ago I stumbled across one of those celebrity interview shows featuring Russell Crowe. I believe it was The Actor’s Studio, but not positive. One of the questions asked was whether he loved the wonderful characters he portrays. Russell Crowe's answer was a resounding NO. He said something to the effect that if you love a character or a person too much, you overlook their faults. And by doing so you were overlooking the opportunity to create an extraordinary character. The faults and weaknesses are what give them depth and make them stand out. Say what you will about Mr. Crowe’s temperament, love him or hate him, he’s an amazing actor. His response struck a chord with me as a writer. We’ve all been taught that perfect characters are boring, but does loving them too much get in the way of writing good characters? Exploring their faults and weaknesses does make them more human. I think it gives us as readers something to identify with. By loving them, possibly we’re missing out on the opportunity to create extraordinary characters. What do you as readers and writers think? Can a writer love their characters too much? All those favorite characters on your keeper shelf, do you love them because they are so good or because of their flaws?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Let the Sun Shine in!

August's Household Cleaning Tip

Looking for an inexpensive alternative to store-bought window cleaners?

2 cups water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid

Gently stir these three ingredients and pour the mixture into a squirt bottle. It does a great job of cleaning glass and mirrors, dries quickly, and costs a fraction of what you'd pay at the supermarket. And because it doesn't contain ammonia or alcohol, its a safer alternative for families that have small children and pets.

Lee McKenzie

Monday, August 10, 2009

Late but Breaking News


Laura Bradford is thrilled to announce the debut of the first book in her southern sewing circle mystery series with Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin). SEW DEADLY (written under the pen-name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey) will release August 4th. This kick-off title for the series earned a 4-star review in this month's issue of Romantic Times! To learn more, including the locations and dates of her upcoming mid-west signings, please visit her website.

Pamela Stone is celebrating her second sale—When Hanna Falls—to American Romance.

Mark Your Calendar

August 11: Four wonderful new reads from Harlequin American Romance will be in stores tomorrow. This month’s covers are posted in the sidebar.

August 18: An interview with Roxanne Delaney here on the blog

TBA: An interview with Daly Thompson here on the blog

To find out more about American Romance’s September releases, please visit

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Why do you read romance books?

Hi all!

Sorry for posting my blog entry late. I’ve been running behind since returning from the Romance Writers of America conference back in July. The conference was wonderful – DC and the hotel beautiful! I gave a workshop with Kathleen Scheibling, the senior editor for Harlequin American. While I thought our presentation was going well, the fire alarm went off, and we had to evacuate. There were many theories floating around about why it went off – fire in the kitchen, bomb threat, water leaking from a sprinkler somewhere – but I wonder if it wasn’t because of how I ramble when I’m nervous. I kept teasing a friend who attended our workshop that she pulled it to put me out of my misery or her out of hers...

However, the Q & A portion of the workshop continued as we walked down the eight flights of stairs to the street and up a steep hill to the lobby entrance, so at least some of the attendants were interested in what we had to say about writing mini-series within series. So, although cut short, I guess it had gone well.

I have substantially more nerves about a speech I’m giving this Thursday at a women’s literary club. After booking me to speak over a year ago, they’ve almost cancelled me because some of their members strongly object to what I write. How can anyone object to romance? To happy endings? I know – it was probably more the sex to which they objected. But since they booked me following a newspaper article that had dubbed me the “Steam Queen” I thought they understood what I write.

So my plan is to let them know how popular romance fiction is – the most popular of any other genre of fiction – and that I write for the biggest publisher of romance – a company now celebrating its 60th anniversary. I have facts and figures, graphs and pie charts, but I’m wondering if that’s the best approach. Especially since I don’t want another fire alarm pulled on me – or worse! Maybe I need to share with them why readers love romance books as much as we do. I can tell them why I read – as well as write romance – but please share with me your reason for reading romance. I’d love statements from people all over the world.

Thank you for your help!

Lisa Childs