A Closer Look At YA (Young Adult Fiction)
Published on July 11, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 1070

With blockbuster best sellers like J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter Series and Stephanie Meyer’s, Twilight Series, Young Adult Literature has become a booming business.  Even James Patterson stepped into the action when he co-authored the book “Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life.”

YA literature is written for adolescents and young adults, usually those ages 14 to 21.  YA shares the fundamental elements as all fiction, in regards to character, plot, setting, theme, and style.  Theme and style are often lower ranked in importance to more tangible elements (plot, character, and setting) which appeal more readily to young readers.

The majority of YA stories portray an adolescent as the protagonist, rather than an adult or child.  The focus is on the challenges of youth.  YA literature spans all genres.  Some themes include identity issues, sexuality, bullying, family struggles, and many others.

Some Amazon and Barnes & Noble recommendations for YA fiction.

Suzanne Collins – Mockingjay (The last book in The Hunger Games series)
Sarah Dessen – Someone Like You
Charlaine Harris – The Sookie Stackhouse series (This is a great series)
Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Whimpy Kid series (My kids love these)
Stephanie Meyer – The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Goodreads Contest has Ended for London's Quest
Published on July 8, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 1010
The Goodread's Giveaway Contest has ended.  Thank you to the 1062 people who entered.

Congratulations to the winners!!!

How Important Are Your Characters Names?
Published on July 1, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 1090

Choosing names for your characters is not always easy.  The sound of a name adds tone and dimension to your characters, thus making it important enough for you to do your research. 

Origin - Check websites and search for the origin of the name.  You do not want to place a McDuff sir name (Scottish origin) in England, unless he’s supposed to be there.

Social Class – Make sure the name matches the social class of your character.  You don’t name your English duke, Jack since it’s a working class name.

Era Appropriate – Check the year your name became popular so you don’t have the female name Brook in Regency England.

Popular Linked Names – You don’t want to name your hero Jack and your heroine Jill, unless you are doing so intentionally.

Same Letter – Try not to make too many characters names begin with the same letter.  This can become confusing for the reader.

Pronunciation – Try not to make the names too difficult to pronounce.  No one will wish to discuss your book if they can’t pronounce the characters names.

You want your characters names to match their personalities and actions, as well as making the names ring true for your readers.

Of course, I don’t always practice the above rules.  In the novel I’m currently working on, The Wallflower’s Godmother, I have a list of unsuitable marriage candidates, and I named them: The Marquis of Stranded, the Marquis of Byle, the Earl of Waitilater, the Earl of Ifton, and the Count of Nevermore.  These characters never play a role in the story, so I decided to have some fun with their names.  If you find yourself stuck and can’t think of a name, I would recommend a baby name book as a starting point.

If you write Regency, I suggest the fun link below for ideas.


Steampunk is gaining in the romance market.
Published on June 16, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 1827

 Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.  Steampunk novels describe an alternate history, and usually take place in the 19th century, often times during Britain's Victorian Period.

While steampunk novels describe the life and inventions of the time with historical fundamentals, they also explore technology, with an emphasis on steam technology. Steampunk incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy.  The novels often feature futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective of fashion, culture, architectural style, etc.  An example of this would be the fictional machines found in the stories by of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.  

Steampunk novels may include modern technologies like the computer, but developed earlier due to an alternate history.

Some romance authors of steampunk are Gail Dayton, Gail Carriger, Katie MacAllister (Steamed), Calista Taylor, and Paula Volsky.

Goodreads Giveaway
Published on June 7, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 0


  Enter to win a copy of London's Quest


Popular Types of Historical Romance
Published on June 5, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 1030

Americana – stories take place in a Midwestern US setting.  Subgenres feature small farm towns, about 100 years ago.  (Stephanie Mittman. Janet Dailey.)

American West – US west setting.  Often, a strong heroine sets out west to help tame the frontier.  These stories can also center on Native Americans.  Think…cowboys and Indians.  (Linda Lael Miller.  Johanna Lindsey’s - Thunder)

Civil War – set in US south, Confederate side.  (Heather Graham.  Margaret Mitchell)  Think…Gone With the Wind.

Elizabethan – the time during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1558-1603 (Caitlin Scott-Turner.  CJ Arthur.)

Georgian – the time from the accession of George the First in 1714 until the death of George the Fourth in 1830.  Regency is a sub-genre of this category.  (Lucinda Brant. Patricia Veryan.)

Highlander – stories centered on people native to the Highlands in Scotland.  (Julia Garwood.  Diana Gabaldon.  Karen Marie Moning.  Julia London.)

Regency Set Historical – the time when George the Third’s eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled by proxy as Prince Regent.  George the Third had been deemed unfit to rule.  He suffered from what we now know was porphyria.  This is my favorite time in history, and the time era I prefer to write in.  It was a time of excess for the aristocracy, but it was also a time of uncertainty due to the Napoleonic Wars.  There were riots and fears that England would follow France’s example into Revolution.  (Victoria Alexander.  Julia Quinn.  Sabrina Jeffries.)

Regency – shorter than the Regency set historical.  Historical detail accurate, including dialogue and behavior.  (Jo Beverly.  Deb Marlowe.  Georgette Heyer.)

Tudor – An English royal house descended from a Welsh squire, Owen Tudor (he died in 1461).  The Tudor’s ruled from 1485 to 1603.  Monarch’s of the line were Henry the Seventh, Henri the Eighth, Edward the Sixth, Mary the First, and Elizabeth the First.  (Susan Wiggs.  Gayle Callen.)

Victorian – the time of Queen Victoria’s reign.  (1837-1901)  This was a time of industrial progress, colonial expansion, and public fastidious morals.  The Victorian period in the US shared many of the same characteristics.  (Christina Dodd.  Lisa Kleypas.)

Viking – a time in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history spanning the late 8th century to the 11th century.  Scandinavian (Norse) Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare.  Scandinavian pirates plundered the coasts of Europe from the 8th-10th centuries.  (Johanna Lindsey.  Catherine Coulter.  Heather Graham.)

I have read many books by some of the author’s I’ve mentioned.  There are also authors mentioned that I have yet to read.  My to-be-read list is never ending, which is great!

The Importance of the Book Cover…
Published on May 14, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 980

We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and yet initially, we all do.  The book cover, if done well, attracts our attention in a bookstore.  Even if you only sell e-books, the book cover is your marketing tool.  Your cover makes your sale pages, as well as your product, look professional.

Of course, the quality of a novel is found within the pages, but the cover can tell much about the inside of a book.  Your cover should be a reflection of your story and represent the books placement in the market.  The book cover becomes less important to people who learn about books through on-line forums.  I have my book covers professionally designed, but there are many do-it-yourself programs on-line to get you started.

What do my book covers say?

This is my Time Travel.  We can see the clock mechanism in the artwork.  My heroine feels alone and vulnerable, and yet she gazes at the sunlight with a knowing purpose.  She must break free from the grief that binds her.


This is my Historical Regency.  Here we have a young lady with an uncertain future.  Intimidation and fear will not stand in the heroine’s way.  The raven represents the power of thought and the active pursuit for information, representing her steadfast pursuit for answers.



Sex and the Romance Novel
Published on April 28, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 1118

We’ve all seen the scantily dressed figures on the cover of many romance novels, but how much sex is really going on between the pages? 

Well, that all depends.  Inside the romance novel, readers will find two extremes when it comes to sex, chaste to erotic.  I’ve had many conversations through blogs on this topic, and I must say, the opinions vary and emotions become heated when sex is being discussed.  (Reminded me of my F-bomb question some months back.  Hee-hee). 

I guess heat should have been expected since we were talking about sex, but I was surprised I had to simmer the conversation back down. 

Some authors choose the shut the door policy: chaste kisses and hinted at sexual tumbles, while others choose to write erotica, where sex scenes are described in titillating detail.  In romance, erotica has taken on the name of romantica, which is a blend of romance and erotica.  The majority of romance novels fall between these two extremes with description developed and scenes described, but not with enough information to make the reader say ew!  Of course, as the old adage claims, sex sells, which is true.  The most important thing is to write what you love and your passion for words will come across to your readers.  It’s not the sex that makes the scene sizzle, but the sexual tension that makes the story hot.

Romance Novels
Published on April 21, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 960

There are three types of Romantic Fiction:

The Novella: these books are short stories and are about 25,000 words. 

Category:  these books are also considered short stories and fit into a publisher's clearly delineated grouping and are usually about 55,000 words. 

Single-Title: these books are longer and cover a large range of subject matter.  A single-title romance has more of everything — more plot, more characters, and more romance.  They are usually around 100,000 words.

Sub genres

Historical (genres in this category: Highlander, Regency, Victorian, Western, etc.)
Time Travel

As you can see, there are many sub genres in romance and many romance novelists combine genres to widen the salability of their books in the marketplace.  Crossing genres adds extra elements to make the novel more interesting to the reader.

I just finished reading a Contemporary, Time Travel, Paranormal.  My book Desirea’s Escape is a Regency, Time Travel, Historical Romance, with paranormal elements.  The key to marketing is to make sure your novel is tagged correctly so that readers will know what they are buying.

Historical Romance Versus Historical Fiction
Published on April 16, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 1223

Historical Romance  (To be considered a historical, the novel must take place before WWII.)   

Romance novels are about a romantic relationship, the historical setting is nothing more than a prop.  Meaning the book should be able to stand alone if you remove the historical content or set the characters in another setting.  Of course, there can be many subplots in a historical romance novel that don’t have anything to do with the romantic relationship that’s developing.  Nevertheless, the conflict and climax in a romance focuses on the core theme, which is the romantic relationship.  Romance novels also tend to reward characters for good behavior and punish those who are wicked.  History can be woven into the story, to give the novel a sense of realism.  Historical romance novels have a happy ending and are to be emotionally satisfying to the reader.

Historical Fiction

Historical fiction tells a story that is set in the past.  That setting is usually real and drawn from history.  Historical fiction is all about research.  Unlike historical romance, historical fiction does not need to have a happy ending.  Often times real-life personages are the center of the story, and the historical fiction writer modifies the events and motives for the characters actions.  The emphasis is on the history, not the romance, although there can be a romantic involvement in the story; the characters are often apart for many chapters.                              

The most successful historicals focus on fictionalizing the lives of actual historic personages.  Think of how popular the fictional stories of Anne Boleyn or Helen of Troy are in the marketplace.

A few famous historical fiction works are:

Leo Tolstoy’s, War and Peace

Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth

Mark Twain, American South