Helen’s Newsletter

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Setting Research

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy.

One of my great pleasures in writing a new story is researching the setting. If I’m really lucky I get to visit the place I plan to set my book. In pursuit of research, I’ve visited Ireland twice for my paranormal series, the Italian Amalfi coast, which features in a contemporary romance, Finally Home, due out from Carina in September, and the Island of Jersey in the English Channel for Unbreak My Heart.

The setting research for my most recent release, Oceans Between Us, proved a bit of a challenge, as the story included so many places. It starts in London, then moves on to a small Cornish fishing village. I had no problem with these settings as I live in England. The action then goes to New York, a city I’d love to visit, but haven’t yet. I had to depend on the Internet for my research, and my son’s observations as he’d recently visited NY. My hero and heroine finally end up in his home town on the Italian Riviera in Riomaggiore one of five small towns that make up the Cinque Terre or five lands. These are beautiful multicolored towns that are stacked precariously up the cliffs in small bays on the rocky coast.

I would have loved to physically visit this area of Italy as it looks stunning, but time and finances didn’t give me the chance. Instead I turned to the internet again for details on Riomaggiore. What a treasure trove of information there is available to writers on the web! I even found a video shot by a tourist who’d walked around the town, giving a virtual tour.

Free Book Days!!

Oceans Between Us is free for two days, today and tomorrow, June 13th and 14th. And the book is showing up in various places on the internet. Check out Free Kindle Books & Tips. My book is one of eight free books listed today.  The book is also on Storyfinds.

Free Book Promotion

Announcing

Summer Sizzler Free Par-Tay

June 13th – 14th!

Let’s celebrate summer: time to kick back, relax, and read!!!

There’s no better way to ease into it

than with Dozens of Great books that are FREE!

TWO DAYS ONLY

Find romances from sweet to suspenseful to humorous and hot,

Thrillers, Mysteries, Sci-Fi, Historical, Contemporary, YA, Children’s and more!

All FREE!!

Fantastic eBooks, many by award-winning and best-selling authors.

 

Visit www.freepartay.com for all the titles, Kindle & gift card

raffle entries, and links!

Join in the Par-Tay! Let’s sizzle!

New Book Cover

I have a new book cover for Oceans Between Us. The talented Su Kopil from Earthly Charms designed it for me and she did a wonderful job.

Book Lovers’ Buffet – All Books 99cents

 

Romance, mystery, women’s fiction–lots of quality books at the special low price of 99 cents. Snap up some beach reads and vacation bargains for your ereader!

Book Lovers Buffet Starting June 8th!

Top Ten Frugal Find!

Unbreak My Heart is on the Frugal eReader site today as one of their Top Ten Frugal Finds for the month of May. I’m not sure how the popularity poll is worked out, but it’s always nice for one of my books to make a list! Check out the top ten list on the Frugal eReader site.

Romance Hot Buttons

Of the tropes found in romance fiction, if you are anything like me you’ll have certain hot button plot devices or issues that you’re drawn to. I’ve discovered from analysing the films and books I enjoy that my hot buttons are reunited lovers, especially childhood sweethearts who are parted and then find each other again, the classic Cinderella trope, marriage (or engagement) of convenience,  friends to lovers and unrequited love. I also love babies and children in sweet romances. Most books and films that include these elements in the plot appeal to me.

One of my favorite films is Pretty Woman, a classic Cinderella story. More unusual is the reverse Cinderella story like Notting Hill where the roles are switched. Hugh Grant is the Cinderella Character to Julia Roberts rich and famous actress. I still enjoy it this way round if it’s done well, but I prefer the man as the ‘Prince’.

In addition to those I’ve already mentioned, there are many other much-loved romance plots that have been done numerous times but never get old (as Harlequin will vouch for!). Here are a few I can think of, but I’m sure there are many more: secret baby, amnesia, man in love with best friend’s younger sister, the ugly duckling, kidnapping, mistaken identity, reformed rake/playboy, revenge, forbidden love/Romeo & Juliet, tortured hero, boss/secretary (probably falls under Cinderella), Beauty and the Beast. Many of the best romance novels seem to take one of these tropes and give it a twist to keep it fresh.

I also have to admit to loving heroes who have a nerdy side even if they try to hide it. And something that gets me every time is a hero who reveals his vulnerability. I love a wounded hero!

What started me thinking about classic plots devices was the realization that I’d included most of my favorites in my latest release Unbreak My Heart, without setting out to do so. At its heart, this is a story of childhood sweethearts who are reunited and rediscover love, but I blended in an engagement of convenience, friends to lovers and Cinderella.

What are your favorite romance tropes to read and write? Are they the same? Are there any you don’t like?