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Saturday, February 6, 2016

There are no easy romances to write #romance #TinaDonahue #erotic romance

For those of you who are new to writing romance and have stars in your eyes about penning one book - yeah, just one - and making the #1 slot on the New York Times bestseller list, let me set you straight. No, let me slap you upside the head, shake you until your teeth rattle, then scream 'wrong, Wrong, WRONG!'. You have a better chance of being struck by lightning in the middle of the Mojave Desert on a blistering 120 degree day with no clouds in sight than landing at the #1 spot anywhere with any book.

Let me repeat - there are no easy romances to write. As far as writing bestsellers go - if there were a magic formula, we'd all be using it.

That said, I write because I love to do so. For me, not writing is like refusing to breathe or eat. It's who I am, but that doesn't make it easy. For example, this month I have two releases. Loving Lies is an erotic historical, book one of my Dangerous Desires series. Mastering the Beast is an erotic paranormal-romantic comedy, book three of my Taming the Beast series.

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Let's begin with Loving Lies for difficulty. Given that it's a romance, desire and love were paramount between Isabella and Fernando. There also had to be sexual tension. And adventure. And peril. And a thousand other things that make up a book. Coaxing a reader to feel what your characters are going through is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be enough words to convey what I'm trying to say. But the trouble doesn't stop there.

Loving Lies is set in medieval Spain, 1488 to be exact. I chose that period because I had previously written a paranormal romance that began at that time then jumped to present day. I thought, hey, I've done a lot of research already so this shouldn't be too hard. OMG, was I wrong. Since the paranormal only had the Spanish period in the prologue, there wasn't a lot of dialogue to worry about. The scene was mostly action. It wasn't until I started plotting Loving Lies that I discovered people in those days didn't use contractions - at all. Contractions didn't pop up until way later. I challenge anyone who isn't a masochist to write pages of dialogue without contractions and make it sound natural. It's freaking murder.

Then there were the clothes of that period. I thought with Google it'd be a cinch to find out what people wore in the late fifteenth century. Actually, it was, if I had set my romance in England, France, Germany or any number of other places. There were tons of drawings and literature about those people. For Spain there was zip, nada, nothing. I thought I was going to die. I even read Don Quixote hoping to glean something from that period even though it was later than when my novel took place. Finally, I looked at Spanish paintings from the late fifteenth century and used them to describe clothing.

Food turned out to be equally difficult. What did people eat way back then? I found out quickly chocolate was off the menu along with tomatoes. Every time I had Fernando or Isabella pop something into their mouths, I had to stop and research the food to make certain it was actually available in 1488.

Like I said, murder.

Of course, that's an historical. What about a paranormal. Since you make up powers, that should be far easier, right?


I found that out years ago when I wrote my first paranormal. I needed the hero to get out of a tight spot so I gave him the power to do so. Later on in the book, I didn't want him to resolve the problem as easily. I wanted him and the audience to sweat. However, I had given him power that made everything a piece of cake, remember? I had to go back and rewrite that scene so that the power worked sometimes but not always. Sort of like Superman with Kryptonite. Learned a hard lesson there.

In Mastering the Beast, my bad boy demons have power but they're kept on a short leash by their boss, Zoe, a reformed demon. At least until the guys decide to pull rank and seduce her. That's when the fun begins.

Loving Lies is available February 16


Deception knows no limits. Passion knows no bounds.

When she is kidnapped, Senorita Isabella knows the men have been sent by her uncle in a murderous attempt to control her family’s fortune. But when she is rescued by a dashing and mysterious warrior, Isabella can’t imagine why a stranger would risk his life for her—until she discovers her rescuer believes she’s someone else….

Fernando de Zayas loves nothing more than the cry of battle. Defying death is his way of life. But when he discovers his betrothed has been kidnapped, he rushes to her aid—never suspecting that spirited beauty would soothe his warrior heart…

With her uncle’s minions close on their heels, Isabella finds herself drawing closer to Fernando. But as the desire between them builds, her secret could keep them apart forever…

Mastering the Beast is available February 9


Surrender is the only option she desires.

Taming the Beast, Book 3

No one believes that under the tough attitude and schoolgirl fashion sense, reformed
demon Zoe burns for a man, love, and sex. She keeps those urges on ice and well hidden.
She sold her soul for a guy once, and all it got her was a one-way ticket to Hell.

Her job, keeping supernatural creatures in line at From Crud to Stud, is all work and
no play. Until she’s saddled with a trio of new enforcers who ooze so much sexual heat she’s
afraid to be on the same planet with them.

Stefin, Anatol, and Taro try to contain their laughter as their adorable new boss tries
to lay down the law. Apparently, no one told her they don’t take orders. They give them.
And they’re determined to smooth her rough edges and tame her beast with acts so wanton
they’ll make her scream—for more.

Talk about all hell breaking loose. Surrender won’t come easily, but given their devilish
charm and her aching need, her journey to submission is one done deal.

Warning: Contains an unholy trio of demons who don’t like to take turns. Break room…
snacking. After-hours…training sessions. In other words, a sensual ride on the pleasure express. Features m/f/m/m sex in every flavor except vanilla. Bring. It. On.

For those of you who need to write as much as you need to breathe, you will do so, no matter how hard it becomes. And it will, trust me. But, for me, it's a gift to be able to create a world from nothing, to live and grow with my characters as they become real in my mind.

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Paris said...

I was struck by the line about needing to write as much as needing to breathe. That says it all. The new books sound wonderful!

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Paris. At times, having to write is a curse. Mostly though, it's magic. :)

Cara Marsi said...

You're right about it not being easy to write a book. Writing is one of the hardest things I've ever done, and one of the most rewarding, not monetarily, but for the sense of accomplishment. I'm with you about needing to write as much as I need to breathe. I love your covers.

Melissa Keir said...

Writing a good book isn't easy. I've seen a lot of people who write and they love it, but they do it for themselves, not to sell. Once you add the dynamic of selling your book, then you have to take your writing up a notch. Your work ethic overwhelms me. I love how hard you work to do what you love and it's clearly something you love because it shows! All the best with your books!

jean hart stewart said...

Great column. If you gotta write, you gotta write. Loved the excerpts and hope the books will be smash hits, as deserve to be.

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Cara. Someone once asked me if I chose to be a writer. Nope, it chose me. Most people don't understand how horribly difficult it is to write. However, as you said, it's so rewarding.

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Melissa. I have to admit I'm a bit OCD about writing. It's something I simply have to do. In between books, I get antsy. Can't relax. Only when I'm writing do I feel good. Frustrated at times, too, but good. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Jean - yep, gotta write. :)

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