Tag Archives: heroes

Four Days to Becoming Magic: What do I hope to accomplish?

close up of heart shape

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Yesterday I uploaded my files to Createspace, KDP and Smashwords. A few tiny bumps in the process gave me plenty of time to reflect.

What do I hope to accomplish with this book?

It reminded me of the best writing advice I’ve ever been given: Make sure you have a clear goal for each and every scene you write. How does that scene or chapter help move your story along? Before I got that advice, I’d taken as gospel the “just write” theology of writing. Well, just writing can get you into literary holes and take you down paths you never intended. You’ll end up backtracking and deleting a good bit of whatever you “just write”. (I know a lot of plotters are out there shaking their heads at my “pantsing” attitude, but it’s the way I write.) If you have a clear idea of what your scene will accomplish, you’ll stay on track much better.

So what does that have to do with what I hope to accomplish with this book? Well, I think of each and every book I put out there as a chapter in my life. So many chapters of you life are not within your control. But some are. And each book I put out is something I control. What is my goal with this one?

I’ve given up on the getting famous thing. Not every writer is Stephen King. I’ve given up on getting rich. Not every writer is Nicholas Sparks. I doubt I’m writing blockbuster movies here because I’m not J.K. Rowling. I’m not a literary pioneer like Jack Kerouac. And yet, I can’t give up on the hope that my writing has a place out there. Somewhere.

This year is a year of change for me. My oldest graduated and starts college in the fall. I’ll go from being in charge of most of his life to having only the influence of a (hopefully) trusted advisor—though in truth I’ve been making that transition for a couple of years now. We’re in the process of transforming our home into something we actually enjoy living in. My office is nearly at the point of being my dream space now.

And my writing changed.

In the past, I’ve often followed the formulaic manly hero/submissive heroine (not always, but my characters usually had some of those characteristics). I’m proud to say I fought that tendency in Becoming Magic. I want to see a change in the romance genre. I feel like we’ve swung too far the other way of things by accepting casual references to marginal practices into our genre. In today’s world, romance heroines need to take charge of their lives and loves. This is, after all, what our daughters may read.

So yeah. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with my writing and this particular book. In my own little corner of my genre, I hope I will make a difference. In a way, Becoming Magic marks my emergence from a chrysalis of sorts. Though only time will tell if I’m a butterfly or just a stunted caterpillar.

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Five Days to Becoming Magic: What is “a new kind of romance”?

Another romance writer might well ask me what I mean by “a new kind of romance”?

It’s not a new old idea. I’m not saying we need to go back to the days when women were women and men treated them like delicate flowers. I’m not saying you shouldn’t write about sex in your romances. Sex is an integral part of character development in romance. I’m not even saying tying people up isn’t sexy. If you read Escape Magic (which I call my anti-50-shades bondage romance), for instance, you’ll see there are ways for that to be worked in that are definitely okay.

A new kind of romance is not about going backward. It’s about moving forward. It’s about recognizing that the problems women face today are very much rooted in attitudes we’ve faced all along that are perpetuated by the submissive heroines and macho man heroes from the romances of yesteryear. If we don’t want to be dominated, our reading material should reflect that. Here’s my best definition of what a new kind of romance is, followed by the print cover of my new book with the blurb:

Five days to the release of Becoming Magic! If you want to know why I call it “a new kind of romance”, check out my blog at http://michellegflye.com or read this:
 
What is a new kind of romance?
 
A romance where women are in charge of their own fate and aren’t considered property. A romance where rape is rape, not fantasy. A romance about what real women really want—real men secure enough in their own masculinity to be able to both protect a woman who wants it and back off when she doesn’t.
 
That’s real romance. It’s sexy and fun and no holds barred. It’s loving and tender and passionate. And for me it starts with Becoming Magic.
Becoming Magic Print

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My Elvis died.

supermoon

Another one of my heroes died this week, and it’s left a bigger hole in the world than I’d anticipated. I mean, people die. Even the stars we admire from afar. I’ve got more heroes in heaven than I do on earth at this point. Walt Disney, Mark Twain, Bing Crosby, Steve Jobs… Yet, it just seems so wrong that David Bowie isn’t still here.

Why him more than the others? It’s hard to say, really. I wasn’t the best David Bowie fan. I didn’t love everything he ever put out. I didn’t buy every album. I tended to pick and choose, more of a greatest hits than a B-side fan. I never went to a concert. I own a lot of his music, but I don’t listen to it all the time.

I think he was my Elvis. The one artist that won’t be replaced for me. It’s not just that it’ll be difficult. There won’t be another David Bowie. That incredibly elastic voice and personality can’t be replaced. We won’t see another Major Tom or Ziggy Stardust or Jareth or Thin White Duke. Not again.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mourn him. I didn’t know him. But I’ll never listen to his music again without a sense of loss and the impermanence of life. Which means his music doesn’t mean the same thing to me that it did. I can’t just fall in love with his croon and wonder at the hidden meanings to his lyrics. And it’s that loss that I mourn.

So good-bye, Mr. Bowie. I’ll miss you every time I hear your voice.

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The Unlikely Hero and Me: Is There a Future for Us?

Looking back over my romance novels, I don’t find a typical alpha hero in many of them. Dan in Secrets of the Lotus and John in Winter Solstice were the closest I came, and that was because as I started out I thought that was what was required.

Since then, the men of my stories have been pretty much quiet intellectuals or devoted professionals. A physics professor, a family lawyer, a chef, and now…a magician.

Now, keep in mind that most of my life I’ve been a quiet, devoted geek. I’ve seen every episode of Star Trek (original through Deep Space Nine, anyway), and certainly every movie (I love the new ones!). My favorite authors in high school were Anne McCaffrey (dragons!) and Piers Anthony (Xanth!). My favorite hobby? Reading. I’m a librarian for heaven’s sake. (Speaking of which, I’m seriously considering writing a novel with a librarian as the hero.)

So it makes sense that my heroes would tend toward the geek side of the scale, too, doesn’t it?

But is there a future in writing heroes with a geek factor? I may not have found my answer, but I did get a little bit of encouragement the other night while watching Big Brother (another sign of my geekiness!). If you’ve been watching, you know there’s an unlikely showmance going on between houseguests Amanda and McCrae. Amanda is a gorgeous, brash, successful businesswoman. McCrae is a pizza boy…well, I guess you’d have to say pizza man. He’s certainly old enough to have a real job. (Sorry, McCrae!)

Anyway, the two have struck up a relationship and are undeniably cute together, even if they are totally mismatched and would never have gotten together (like, in a million years! I mean who would be caught dating a pizza boy? Really?) in the real world. And McCrae says to Amanda the other night (at least something to this effect), “I don’t even really get it why you like me.” And Amanda starts giggling and just for a second, I got it. I saw it. McCrae’s a geek, but there’s something about him.

Of course, my next hero isn’t going to be a pizza boy (man), and he isn’t going to look like McCrae, but just the fact that I actually could see something in him for a second there made me feel better about my heroes. I mean, hey, why shouldn’t a sexy, devoted, sweet, slightly geeky magician get the girl?

Even in this day and age of fifty shades of twilight, there’s room for a nice guy, too, isn’t there?

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