My friend Genene Valleau has a timely new release called A VALENTINE ANTHOLOGY. After the way I trashed the holiday last Friday, I thought I'd make up for it by showing some love for Cupid and his arrows today. Please welcome Genene!______________________________________
Hello to everyone! And thanks to Emily for having me as a guest on her blog.
When we talked about topics, I mentioned that my latest release was a romantic comedy novella, "Chasing Rainbows," in A VALENTINE'S ANTHOLOGY from Rogue Phoenix Press. My previous three novels contained touches of humor, but sustaining the laughs all the way to happily-ever-after was new to me.
How did I do that? Ironically, the comedy story was drafted during one of the darkest times of my personal life. I can only tolerate things like sobbing and crabbiness and self-pity for so long. Since getting away from myself is a little tough to do and therapy is expensive, I write. So I tossed a bunch of zany personalities into outrageous situations they thought were perfectly normal and came up with a rough draft of a romantic comedy.
As my personal life brightened, the romantic comedy was set aside and I returned to writing stories with a darker edge of reality. Yes, that seems like a contradiction to me also, but that's the way it turned out.
A few years later, a friend asked if I'd be interested in participating in a Valentine's Day anthology. After I said yes, I needed to come up with a story and this romantic comedy came to mind. When I reread it, I still liked most of the characters and still laughed at their antics. However, I had learned a lot about the craft of writing in the meantime and cringed at "minor" details like bouncing point of view and lack of a character arc and weak motivation. Oh yeah, and the story would have to be trimmed from 60,000 words to about 30,000.
Fortunately, I enjoy editing. It gives me an excuse to shop for office supplies and use a half dozen different colors of highlighters. Pink for heroine's point of view; blue for hero's. Lavender to show the romance plot and yellow for the bad guy's role. Orange if there are subplots and, in this instance, a lot of red to show deletions.
After edits, the hero and heroine are pretty much the "straight men" to the heroine's zany family: an uncle whose inventions tend to explode, an aunt who ends up mentoring her kidnapper, a brother who impersonates their artist aunt to pick up women, and a mother stuck in a 1950s time warp. In spite of her family, the hero and heroine do reach their happily-ever-after.
In addition to being my first published romantic comedy, this story is special for a couple of other reasons:
--All three stories in this anthology have a "write-in" part--similar to a cameo appearance on TV--that was auctioned as part of a fundraiser for the Willamette Humane Society. I worked at that animal shelter several years ago, and all six of my beloved doggies are alumni of WHS.
--The other two stories in this anthology were written by my good friends, C.L. Kraemer ("The Lending Library," a faerie fantasy) and Christine Young ("The Gift," which is a romance set during the Civil War). We had such a good time collaborating on this project that we're doing another anthology for St. Patrick's Day 2011, which will include another romantic comedy novella from me.
It will be interesting to see how this one shapes up, since I'm at a fairly "sunny" time in my life. If you want to find out more about A VALENTINE'S ANTHOLOGY, you can visit our author blog at Rogue's Angels or visit my Web site at www.genenevalleau.com.
As a thanks to all who comment, everyone's name will go into a drawing for a chance to win a print copy of A VALENTINE'S ANTHOLOGY, as well as chocolate and beautiful heart pin.
Many thanks to Emily for hosting me!
My pleasure, Genene. Thanks for the tip about color coding POV(Point of View) in the editing process. How lovely that this anthology supports the unconditional love of rescued pets! My Mack (pictured at right) is a puppy mill reject and destined to be destroyed before he was rescued. We're so glad to have him! Hope your animal shelter benefits big time!
Do you like to balance your mood with books on the opposite end of the emotional scale, comedies when you're sad, tragic dramas when you're happy? Do you have a rescued pet that's special to you? Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Genene's book.