Thursday, July 14, 2011

An Amish Gothic Romance... Really?

What does the contemporary Amish romance genre have in common with gothic romance? Nothing at first glance. That's the challenge and fun of being a writer. I get to make the link between the two and create a story that is a little unique.
            Gothic romance is usually dark and spooky, and sometimes the hero isn't as sweet as you would find in contemporary romance novels. Think Heathcliff from Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and you've got the picture of a common gothic romance hero-- an obsessed man with inner darkness, secrets, and turmoil. That doesn't have to be the case, though, and in Cries from the Past, the hero, an Amish guy named David Fisher, has a sad past, but he is far from a Byronic Hero.
            Setting is another component of gothic romance that fans of the genre recognize and love. Mist, murder, mouldering castles, abandoned graveyards, and ghosts all populate the landscape in the genre. In Cries from the Past, the setting of an old farmhouse where the heroine, Amity Frost, hears strange cries in the night, fits the bill. Other details of setting come into play, but I don't want to give everything away before you've read the novella.
            Another component of gothic romance are the secrets that must be uncovered by heroine and hero. In the novella, secrets from the past threaten the present and those in it. The relationship between David and Amity hangs in the balance as do their very lives. The living also try to thwart the hopes of the lovers in the present in order to protect their secrets or fulfill their own wants.
            So, what can an Amish romance story and gothic romance have in common? I hope you'll read Cries from the Past and find out.

            The   only   thing   she   had   planned  tomorrow  was  that  a  local  Amish  carpenter  was  going  to  come  out  and  take  a  look  at  some  furniture  Gram  had  put  upstairs  in  storage.   She   didn't   know   anything   about   the   man,   but   she   had   set   it   up  through   the   Fishers'   store.   Amity   wanted   to   sell   the   old   pieces  rather   than   see   them   go   to   ruin.   Gram's   pack   rat   ways   were   clear,  and  the  furniture  could  be  better  used  as  money  for  repairs  on  the  house  as  needed  or  for  getting  it  ready  to  sell,  if  that's  what  Amity  decided  to  do.  She   realized   as   she   lay   in   bed,   listening   to   her   watch   tick,  that  she  wasn't  sure  she  wanted  to  leave  here  at  all.   
            Sometime   in   the   night,   she   awoke   to   crying.   Tonight,   the  sound  came  to  her,  muffled  and  terrible,  and  she  whimpered  under  her  comforter,  praying  for  the  first  time  in  a  long  time. 
Please,  God,  make  it  stop.  Grant  him  or  her  peace.  She  fell  asleep  with  the  sound  of  crying  ringing  in  her  ears,  tears  on  her  cheeks. 

Lisa Greer

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Grass May Be Greener, But.......

Courtesy of
Writers spend time (sometimes years), money (books, workshops,       conferences, etc.), sweat (typing away, hours and hours) and tears (from painful critique and rejections) trying to get published. In this day and age, a manuscript has to be practically perfect in grammar, spelling and all the variables (few adverbs, varying sentences, yadda yadda). Writers enter contests and receive helpful (or not) feedback, revise and send in to editors or agents, then play the waiting game.
Once a writer gets “The Call” (or “The Email” in this day of e-book publishing), and accept, they land on the “other side” of the fence. Is the grass greener on the side of being a published author? YES!  You bask in a Sally Field-esque glow (They like me! They really like me!) and accept congratulations from friends, supporters, family and colleagues. You realize (eventually) that you’ll soon see your name in print on a book cover (or an e-book), which is exciting beyond compare. All your hard work is finally over. Right?
The grass in the published “field” may be greener, but it grows *faster* -- whether your book is coming out from the “big six” in NYC or a small press. Promotion is now in the hands of the author. Long ago, a bad cover could tank your book sales but it was out of your hands. Your editor could orphan you—leaving your book waiting to fit into another editor’s schedule. Now plenty of authors are controlling their own cover art and editing their own books to leave the final edits easier to handle. But promotion is still key.
Promotion can range from free to a huge expense (RT ads, chapter excerpts bound with covers, on-line radio time, etc.). The new author has to make a lot of decisions – just how much can I afford? What kind of giveaways should I offer? Do I join a huge blogfest? Do I attend a conference or workshop and offer to present a topic, or spend the money on a professionally designed website, or two, or three?
And then there’s the next book, waiting to be written.
So yes, the grass is greener, but it needs a lot more mowing. The dog and cat might get fed, but dinner may be late getting to the table, the laundry forgotten in the dryer, the kitchen floor still sticky while you, the new published author, plot and plan to build your platform, entice readers with tweets, Facebook and blog updates, and write. Congratulations and best of luck!
You’re gonna need it.

Meg Mims is a freelance writer and author of Double Crossing, a historical romantic suspense coming out from Astraea Press in August of 2011. Are you a True Grit fan? Then check out Double Crossing,