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Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" and then went on to finally arrive at "Pubbing from the Darkside".  This little tidbit of information should be able to give you a little hint over what has been happening at the Oliver Homestead since I last posted.

Big News! I am part of a great collaboration with a collection of Writers who decided that if a romance book should be done, it should be done by us! Hence, the beginning of what is now know as Welcome to Serenity Harbor, Maine.

This is huge! This is ginormous! All of the books are set around the fictional coastal Maine town of Serenity Harbor. We didn't limit genre, only that their characters fall in love in Maine.

For me, this was a return to something that I love... well, yes... it was a return to writing. I've blogged a little bit about some of my struggles with illness that left with being unable to write for a whi…

Writing Gothic Romance: 70's Romance to Current Trend

The first romances I was allowed to buy were a series of Gothic romances by Katherine Kimbrough. Their covers all featured the heroine staring up at a castle with one light lit and all with suitably suspenseful. Ironically, they were all centered around the forbidden romance, but they were not shelved with romance in my hometown store. This didn't make any sense to me, but it eased my mother's mind since she really didn't want her 12-year-old reading romance. They certainly read like romance and contained all the trademarks of the romances that the late 70's (maybe minus the sex). Romances authors like Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney were doing so well with their ominous tales of plucky, virginal heroines who found themselves stranded on the moor in front of a castle. And, somehow, the plucky heroine always persevered to overcome her fears and face not only the ghostly figure that followed her, but gain the love of the stoic master of the house who was so haunted by his troubles that he could only find solace in the heroine's arms.
For quite some time the "Gothic" genre languished along with the bell bottoms, Holly Hobbit t-shirts and Bonney Bell lip gloss. "It's dead," everyone said. But with the success of such books as Twilight there is a whole new generation of a readers who are eating up dark, paranormal heroines with a good amount of pluckiness (and sometimes a good amount of denial) who are out there fighting the ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc. etc. etc. and doing quite well in the market. I had a discussion on a Steampunk loop as to the huge appeal of that genre in the YA section, much more than the concentration in the adult market. I think the same can be said for Gothic.
When I read Twilight I loved the story to a point, but it took me awhile to figure out that what bothered me the most was the "I'll-follow-you-anywhere-despite-anything" attitude. I had very frank discussions about whether my daughter understood that giving up yourself completely for someone else was truly not in the best interest of anyone. But then, I remembered my love of the Kathryn Kimbrough novels. I'd lived through it. Though it probably didn't do much for choice of dating material. Still, it had instilled in me that love of a heroine willing to overcome her own adversity in order to save the world. I'm willing to bet that there are plenty of others with musty, old Gothics crowding the back of reader's shelves. And I willing to work at bringing one of my own to the front.
So, for the sake of argument or interest... here is a list that I borrowed from The Otherworld Diner on 13 Typical Ingredients of a Gothic Romance. Check it out and let me know what you think could or couldn't work in today's market.
1. The story unfolds in an eerie atmosphere, full of peril.

2. The setting is forbidding or haunted. Typical sites: A manor in the moors, an isolated ruin or a haunted castle.
3. Often, the writer’s voice is melancholy and in a minor key.
4. The writer and you as a reader expect bad things to happen to the heroine.
5. The story is shrouded in mystery, a past secret that the readers and the heroine must figure out.
6. The heroine enters the story as a victim, someone in the wrong place at the wrong time.
7. Even though the heroine is a victim, she has the potential to unearth the past secrets.
8. The heroine is resourceful and -- even if she doubts it -- she possesses an inner strength equal to the threatening situation she’s thrown into.
9. The hero, usually the master of the menacing dwelling, appears to be sinister, at least at the story’s start.
10. The hero almost always knows about the unfortunate past.
11. As the heroine uncovers the mystery, she enters into a relationship with the hero.
12. If there are two love interests in the story, one will turn out to be the villain.
13. Often the heroine is a virgin. Usually the main characters are so busy solving the mystery and surviving they have little time for intimacy.

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We have the cover and that is a really good thing! Especially, since it's a really great cover!

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