How Cary Grant Made Me a Romance Author

Hi everyone!  As I think I may have mentioned–he, he–Practice Makes Perfect was nominated in the Favourite Contemporary category of the Australian Romance Readers Awards.  They invited the authors to guest blog during the voting period, and my post, “How Cary Grant Made Me a Romance Author,” went live today.

You can check that out here.

And don’t you just love this picture?

Guest blog and Giveaway: Shiloh Walker

Please note: the giveaway is now closed.  The winner will be announced shortly.

I’m so pleased to welcome Shiloh Walker to my blog today!  In addition to being an all around awesome person, she’s a wonderfully talented writer.  I first “discovered” Shiloh after reading Stacy’s (Stacy’s Place on Earth) review of Shiloh’s romantic suspense novel (and recent CAPA winner), Fragile.  Wow, I enjoyed that book. Gripping, dark, romantic, and one that stayed with me for a long time.  After finishing Fragile, I sent Shiloh an email asking one thing: “When are we going to get Quinn’s book?”

Well, it’s almost here.  Quinn (the twin brother of the hero in Fragile) is the hero of Shiloh’s upcoming release Broken.

He he, I’ve been lucky enough to read Broken and I loved it.  If you like your heroes edgy, then this is the book for you.  But enough from me… I’m going to turn this over to Shiloh:

He Wasn’t Supposed to Be a Hero

The first person to read Fragile was Lora Leigh.  It was my first serious attempt at a full length romantic suspense with absolutely no paranormal elements and I was nervous as hell writing the book anyway.

Why?  Well, it was my first attempt at writing a full-length non paranormal…and then there’s the fact that the story kept deviating from my plans.

How did it deviate?  Well… the guy who was supposed to be the bad guy?  He wasn’t cooperating.  From the get-go, he was supposed to be the BAD GUY.  I knew this.  I knew why.  I had it set up from the get-go. That was the focus of the whole damn book.  The entire idea came from him being the bad guy.  It was crucial, you see, to the story. I didn’t want this to change.

But, from the get-go, he wasn’t cooperating.  You see, Quinn didn’t want to be the bad guy.  Yeah, he was a bit antisocial and he was a lot stand-offish, and he’s more than a little unbalanced through half the book, although considering what he was going through, it’s kind of understandable—and I was willing to work with him through all of that—and make him a sympathetic bad guy.

The more of the book I wrote, though, the more obvious it became.  He wasn’t going to be the bad guy.  And not only was he fighting that tooth and nail, his brother was, too.  So I had to change it, had to quit fighting those two and as I did, another bad guy started to emerge.  Fine.  Have it your way.  As long as the story gets told.  Even though that’s not that I wanted it.  Fine.

The story gets written, that’s all that counts, right?  So I finish the book.  After I finished, I sent it to Lora and the first thing she asked me was, “When is Quinn getting a book?”

This was a major HEAD→DESK moment.  Quinn?  What the hell?  No.  He’s not a hero.  He’s half crazy and I just spent a substantial amount of time fighting him over a book that wasn’t even his.

I told her, “I don’t plan on writing him one.”

I mean, why would I?  He wasn’t supposed to be a hero, for crying out loud.

She just laughed at me and said, “You better. Trust me.  People are going to ask when his book is coming out.”

She was right.  The book hadn’t even been out a week before I got the first email and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been asked since then.

So yet again, Quinn had to go and change my plans.  Even though I didn’t originally plan to give him a story, he definitely had one.  And just like he fought me tooth and nail in Fragile, he fought me tooth and nail in Broken.  The heroine I had planned for him?  Hey, I liked her.  She wasn’t a kick-butt heroine—she had a quiet strength, but she was also kind of a damsel—she needed rescuing.  He’s a tarnished knight—he could have rescued her.  Knights like that, right?

But Quinn spent most of his adult life saving people, ignoring himself and it ended up leaving an ugly scar on his soul.  The last thing he really needed was a woman he’d constantly have to rescue.  But of course, I couldn’t figure that out the easy way—I didn’t figure that out until I’d written a third of the book, stalled and then trashed it and started all over.

Turns out, he needed a different kind of heroine and once I met her?  I didn’t like her.  I loved her. Yes, he’s a tarnished knight and he wants to rescue his woman but what he really needs is somebody who can help him save himself.

Broken comes out on March 2.  He really wasn’t supposed to be a hero, but I’ve got to admit, it turns out he made a pretty good one, I think.   If you’d like to read more about Broken, I’m posting some excerpts at my blog through the end of the month, along with a contest.

If you’d like win a copy of FRAGILE, just leave a comment below, telling me what your favorite kind of hero is…the stubborn kind?  The knight…tarnished or otherwise?  Funny? Suave?  How do you like your heroes?  One random commenter will win a signed copy of FRAGILE.


There you have it, folks.  The giveaway will remain open until 10pm CST on Friday, February 19th.  Good luck!

And if you’re in the Chicago area, Shiloh and I are doing a book signing with authors Beth Kery and Joss Ware/Colleen Gleason on March 13th at the Barnes & Noble Webster Place.  Details about the signing can be found here.

Guest Blogging at Penguin

Hey everyone!  I’m guest-blogging over at the Penguin site today.  In the Valentine’s Day spirit, I’m talking about romantic gestures.  And–psst–there’s a tiny, but action-packed, never-before-seen snippet from Something About You.   If you get a chance, you can check that out here.

Guest-blogging over at The Book Smugglers (and a giveaway)

Hi everyone!  I’m hanging out over at The Book Smugglers today, talking about how the films of Cary Grant, and other black and white romantic comedies, have influenced my writing.  If you get a chance, drop on by!  One randomly selected commenter will receive a signed copy of Practice Makes Perfect.  Here’s the link:

The Book Smugglers–Julie James on Inspirations and Influences

Hope you all have a happy Friday and a great weekend!