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Spy romance

On Writing Romance

 

I was on the radio earlier this week (thank you, News 95.7 and The Sheldon MacLeod Show !) promoting my Spy Games series and one of the questions was about romance writing and why I chose it. (My husband once asked me the same question, btw–“Shouldn’t you *be* romantic?!?”)

But honestly, that’s not what interests me the most in my writing.

My contemporary books come in with a fairly even mix of romance and plot. I’m as interested in my characters’ daily lives as I am in their developing relationships.

(And I don’t only write romance. I have a dystopian fantasy series—previously published as the Demon Outlaws, now rewritten and with brand-new covers!—coming in the fall of 2017, and they have much more plot to them now. They’re no longer classed as romances.)

I have a background in social anthropology however, and it’s the snapshot in time that fascinates me about romance novels in general, both from a macro and micro perspective. For example, romance novels track the feminist movement. When I started reading them in the 1970’s, heroines were secretaries and nurses, and submissive to the more powerful heroes. We then saw the rise of the “bodice rippers” which showed women asserting themselves more. Now heroines are CEOs, doctors, pilots, (and spies!) and the relationships are more of a partnership. There’s room in these books for the alpha hero, but also the beta. These trends are reflected in the other genres, but I write contemporary romances so I’m talking about what I know best.

Culturally, romances also show glimpses into today’s society and what’s happening in daily lives. They reflect what’s relevant to the Real World. Characters are using Blackberries. (ßThat’s meant to be a dated reference. Who uses Blackberries anymore?) They’re traveling to popular destinations. We now have same-sex romances and multi-cultural romances. You see a lot of romantic suspense involving Navy SEALs. A few years ago, they were all searching for Osama bin Laden… I got tired of those so I wrote about Canadian spies. (If you want to know why, then read more about me here. It turns out I have useful knowledge!)

Even the romantic relationships themselves are snapshots. “Falling in love” is the first step to a lifelong commitment. Women’s Fiction (a separate genre) often follows what happens next in human relationships–or perhaps the murkier, messier side of them.

I know I have a lot of writer and reader friends out there. What’s your take on romance? Why write it? Why pick one up to read?

Why would you not?

Thank you to Syd Gill Design

 

About books, and spies, and silly questions

I have news!

I just signed a contract with Tule Publishing for the second book in a contemporary romance series based in Sweetheart, Montana.

Welcome to Sweetheart, Montana!

The Sweetheart Brand will follow the Brand family (clever, right?) I first introduced in Her Sweetheart Brand, which is Damon and Jess’s story. It’s available now:

Book 2, Branded by a Kiss, is about Damon’s sister Alayna.

And Patterson.

Poor Patterson….

These are redemption stories. There is nothing I enjoy more than torturing a man and each hero has to work hard to prove himself if he wants to win the girl. Alayna might be shy, and unwilling to take chances, but she does know the value of her heart and she plans to protect it. Meanwhile, Patterson’s is about to take a serious beating.

Back to our originally scheduled program.

My fourth Spy Games book, Her Spy at Dawn, is coming soon, so today I want to introduce you to Dan and Alycia.

 

These are two of my more complex characters. They have a past history, complicated by a mutual tragedy, possibly with a bit of betrayal involved, all of which leads them to places in their lives where they both feel they’ve come out the other end stronger for it.

That is, of course, until they run into each other again. Who knew calm, cool, collected Dan had all these issues, while Alycia? She’s always been fiery-tempered, so one would expect hers to be deeper—and one would be wrong.

Dan and Alycia have to figure out that they really aren’t the same people anymore, be willing to forgive and forget, and learn to love all over again.

So let’s get to know them a little:

  1. Me: Dan and Alycia, you parted ways back in university. I’ll leave the details for the story, but tell me—what’s the attraction these days?

A: Dan has all this calm, quiet confidence. He’s all action and very little talk. When something needs to be done he does it, and it’s really rare for him to make a bad decision. (Casts him a sly, sidelong look.) But I think it was his striptease that really tipped the scales in his favour.

D: (Raises eyebrows.)The striptease was all it took? Because for me, it was the way you said, “Give me” and “More.” (Turns to me.) Alycia has a social conscience. She believes in things. She’s also far more resilient than I gave her credit for. While I like her confidence in me, I love that she can take care of herself. What can I say? I like strong women.

  1. Me: Alycia, I hear you have control issues.

A: I wouldn’t call them issues. I certainly don’t have a problem with them.

D: I don’t have a problem with them either…especially when she’s saying, “Give me” and “More.”

  1. Me: Dan, rumour has it you’ve killed a man.

D: The rumour is wrong.

A: (In an aside to me.) Read into that what you like. Dan’s very good at evasion.

  1. Me: (Clearing throat.) Moving on… Alycia. Boxers or briefs?

A: Boxer briefs.

  1. Me: Dan. Bikini or boy shorts?

D: What are boy shorts? (Turns to Alycia.) Are those the lacy little things that ride up like a thong, but still sort of cover your cheeks? (Grins.) Yeah. Those.

  1. Me: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

A: Mind control, like Professor X or Jane Gray. But I’d only use it for good, not invading privacy.

D: She’s lying. She would completely invade people’s privacy. She’s an RCMP investigator. She invades privacy for breakfast.

A: He’s right. I still want it as my super power.

Dan: I’d want invisibility and I make no promises as to how I’d use it.

A: He’d only use it for good. He’s predictable that way. He’s like a white knight in tarnished armour.

  1. Me: If you could change one thing about each other, what would it be?

A: Nothing. He’s perfect.

D: (Taking her hand and gazing into her eyes.) I can’t top that so I’m not even going to try.

Me: Oh! That is aDORable!!!

A: (Rolling her eyes but not letting go of his hand.) Again with the evasion, and again, read into that what you like.

  1. Me: One final question. Tell us a secret about yourself that doesn’t appear in the book. No spoilers, please.

A: I own more than yoga pants and panties to spend my leisure time in. I’m looking at you, Author.

D: I don’t own either yoga pants or panties. I’m thanking you, Author.

* * *

If you’d like to learn more about Dan and Alycia’s story, you can read the first chapter of Her Spy at Dawn here. If you want to check out other books of mine that are already available, follow me on social media, or sign up for my newsletter to hear about new releases, you can find everything you need on my website.

And if you have any questions of your own for Dan and Alycia, or me, you can leave them in the comments section.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Her Spy to Hold Releases on Tuesday

Kale and Irina’s story is the second book in my Spy Games series and it’s coming on Tuesday!

 

I’ve got a soft spot for Kale. He’s a bit of a jock, affable and fun-loving, and he’s met his match with Irina. She’s serious, super smart, and more than able to hold her own with a spy who lies for a living. He thinks he’s pretty good at it until he meets her.

Two can play this particular game.

When software engineer Dr. Irina Glasov’s top secret project is compromised, Irina has no one she can trust and only one place to turn.

Canadian Security Intelligence Services officer Kale Martin is ready to step up to the plate. Finished with his latest assignment, he’s all-in to help the reserved but very sexy Dr. Glasov find her man. Getting the brilliant doctor to let down her guard long enough for things to heat up between them quickly becomes a game Kale plays to win.

Irina’s not foolish enough to trust her heart to a man who lies for a living, and she knows he’s been lying to her. That doesn’t mean she’s not willing to play along.

Unfortunately, a cyberstalker is playing with her, too. Irina soon has no choice but to put all her faith in Kale, because with a higher priority case unfolding for CSIS, he’s left on his own to investigate. Can they work together to figure out who’s hacking into her computer before her reputation is ruined?

Or is Kale the one who will ruin her? 

You can read the first chapter here.

In keeping with my current spy obsession,  I picked up a new book a few weeks ago from a writer friend. Her name is Cindy Anstey and her YA release Love, Lies and Spies is really good. This is her first book and it’s already climbing the charts. If you like Jane Austen, give it a try:

 

Don’t you love that cover?

Back to me.

If you want to read Her Spy to Have, the first in my Spy Games series featuring Isabelle and Garrett, before you pick up the second book, you can find all the buy links on my website.

And be sure to check back to my website on Tuesday so you can pick up your copy of Her Spy to Hold. The third book, His Spy at Night, is coming in September so stay tuned for updates on Harry and Marlies’s story.

The Spy Games series:

  • Her Spy to Have, Book One ~ Available Now
  • Her Spy to Hold, Book Two ~ May 24th
  • His Spy at Night, Book Three ~ September 2016
  • Book Four, TBA

Happy reading!