All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Twisting the Tropes

When I started writing, a long time ago now, one of the things that made it fun was playing games with the established tropes. Of course back then I had no idea what a trope was, let alone how to mess with it. I don't have a literary background, educationally speaking.

However I did have an understanding of the frequently used concepts and plot elements in romance stories (aka tropes--just didn't learn the word until later). 

My very first romance novel, the one under the bed that nobody will ever read because it's awful, was an outer-space marriage of convenience story. But by adding the futuristic element, and the twist that it was the heroine saving the hero rather than the other way around, the story became mine. And even though the writing was dreck, the process was fun.

When I decided to try contemporary paranormal, I knew I wanted it to be different from other werewolf or witch books out there. To start with, my werewolf, Jonas, wasn't part of a pack. The only things he knows about being a shifter are from his father who was abusive and neglectful, so Jonas considers his "condition" a curse. He's tough, and definitely alpha, but he's a loner, and a control freak. To keep his "animal" side in control, he's a vegetarian.

Now here's something else my readers may not know. I don't set out to write humor. I really don't. To me, this book was all about their struggles. Melissa, the witch, is under a literal family curse, one that will kill any man she marries. There's also a killer out to get her. None of that says funny to me.

Except, that's apparently the way I write. So, according to one review from the Triskelion version, Curses is a "hilarious, compelling and very creative story."  RT gave it 4 stars and said: “The characters are appealing, and passionate sex leads to a satisfying romance.  Well-developed histories make the couple real and one readers will care about.” It was also a finalist in the EPIC awards, so I'm thrilled to have it re-released.


Some people are really cursed when it comes to love!  For innkeeper and witch Melissa MacRae, a family curse means that falling in love is the ultimate bad idea. Author Jonas Pierce is a werewolf, who has seen too much evil to even  consider  passing on his curse to another generation.  So why does a hot summer fling have them both thinking about happily ever after?


“So tell me about yourself,” Joe began after they’d claimed a corner booth at Rosa’s.  The drive into town had been accomplished in silence while Mel chewed nervously on her thoughts.  One look at Jonas in his soft black shirt had her palms sweaty and her mouth going dry.  His long hair was loose and shining, and it was she could do to keep her hands from running through the strands.  She sure hoped Hattie’s advice had been sound, because otherwise, she was in a whole lot of trouble.

His question caught her by surprise.  A man who actually wanted to talk about her?  She couldn’t tell him everything, of course; she didn’t want to scare him off, but she did give him vignettes.  Stories about growing up in Sanctity, her college years at Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie, and the trials and tribulations of a wilderness innkeeper.  He was a great listener, Mel discovered, and their food was set in front of them before she realized time had passed.

“I spent the afternoon doing plumbing.”  She showed him her ragged fingernails.  “It’s not exactly a glamorous life, but I like it.  How was your day?”  She forked up a bite of Rosa’s Mexican specialty, closing her eyes to better enjoy the explosion of flavors.

“I took a walk in the woods.”  He paused to take a bite of his own meal, then smiled and nodded his approval.  “Then did a little shopping here in town, spent some time getting to know the area.”

“That should have taken all of five minutes.”  His white teeth flashed in response to her quip, and she swallowed hard as her stomach fluttered.

“Actually, you’d be surprised how much you can learn about a place chatting at the local hardware store.”  There was an almost feral gleam in those amber eyes, and Mel suddenly had the sensation of being hunted.  She didn’t know whether to be thrilled or frightened.

“So did you learn anything interesting?”  She licked her suddenly dry lips.

“You could say that.”  His grin reminded her uncannily of the wolf she’d seen this afternoon.  “When I mentioned that I was staying up at Whispering Pines, Jerry at the store felt obligated to warn me about you.”

Her fork clattered against her plate as she dropped it.  “Really?”  She was pretty sure he wasn’t buying her feigned nonchalance.

“Umm-hmm.”  He sipped his coffee slowly, dragging out the suspense.


“Why what?”

“Why did Jerry warn you off?”  Jerry Svensen had never much cared for Mel, not since the day she’d trounced his daughter Jenny at the sixth grade spelling bee.  Still, he’d never been overtly disparaging to the tourists before, at least not that she knew of.  This thing with the Talcotts was apparently stirring up even more dissension than she’d realized.

“Oh, nothing unexpected,” Jonas purred, his deep voice sending shivers down Mel’s spine.  “Rat-trap cabins, overpriced and understaffed.  He even hinted that you might be after my virtue.”

“He did?”  Ouch!  That one hit uncomfortably close to home.

“Yep.  I assured him that that wouldn’t be a problem.”

It wouldn’t?  Drat!

Joe continued with a twinkle in his eye and a lazy grin.  “Of course, there was one more thing he thought I ought to know.”

“And what was that?” 

“According to the good Mr. Svensen, the lovely Miss Melissa MacRae is a witch.”

* * *
Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Multiple award-winning author of the best-selling Gaslight Chronicles, she has released more than sixty novels and stories, which blend fantasy, adventure, science fiction, suspense, history and romance.

Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and two spoiled dogs. When not hard at work writing she can be found restoring her 1870 house, dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.
For more about Cindy and her books, you can find her on her website,


Cara Marsi said...

Cindy, I downloaded Curses to my Kindle last week. I can't wait to read it. Sounds like fun. Like you, I didn't know what a trope was until recently.

Paris said...

I've always loved the natural way your humor shines through your stories. Your characters always seem to have a quirky little twist that makes them a little more interesting. Just one of the many things I like about your style. Best of luck with this one:)

Judy Baker said...

Your book sounds like a great read. Wishing you the best with your book.

jean hart stewart said...

What a fun read...Can't see how you're going to get these two together but sure you are!

Melissa Keir said...

Sounds wonderful! Congrats on getting it put back out there!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Thanks everyone. Hope you enjoy it !

Diane Burton said...

Humor always catches my attention. Bought the book. Can't wait to read it. Best wishes, Cindy.

Share buttons