|The makings of a perfect mix|
On a recent trip away I received complimentary lemonade in my hotel. Not a can of drink. Not a voucher for a soft drink in the bar, but delivery of a tray of ingredients so I could mix to my taste. Cool, eh? There was a big jug plus glasses with swizzle sticks that made me laugh - you'll see why when you scroll down. There was also a lemon, neatly halved, an old fashioned juicer, a bottle of sparkling mineral water and a bottle of lemon syrup, made, I suspect on the premises. All I had to do was mix to taste and enjoy.
|Swizzle sticks just perfect for a romance writer|
Needless to say I enjoyed mixing the ingredients so that soon we (some friends popped in) were having an impromptu lemonade party. The nice thing was that though I used all the ingredients to make the basic mix, people could sweeten their glass to their own taste using extra syrup. We all had the same mix but with slight variations.
Of course that got me thinking about writing romances (hey, I was at a romance writers' conference and the people in my room were other writers!). When you think about it we all start with the same few ingredients - a hero and heroine. They come with their own particular ingredients - a pinch of trauma, a dash of pride or vulnerability or determination, a spoonful of self-doubt or determination, in fact a whole recipe full of experiences that we can draw on to flavour our story.
|Almost finished - yum!|
We put them together where they can't escape - which is why the picture of the male and female swizzle sticks stuck in the same glass makes me grin. We stir things up with a good, juicy conflict to keep our hero and heroine from getting too settled. Then we sip to taste and adjust to suit our preferences.
We all have our personal preferences, not just in mixing perfect summer drinks, but also in romances. Some are drawn to marriage of convenience stories. Some sigh over a gothic set up where an innocent young heroine starts work in the mysterious 'big house' where rumours abound and her darkly enigmatic boss intrigues her. Others love a reunion story, an office romance, a no-holds-barred action adventure romance where the heroine battles against demons or angels for perhaps just old-fashioned criminals. Plus of course there are the wonderful locations that provide settings for our stories, perhaps adding atmosphere to the romance and sometimes almost as intrinsic to the story as another character.
|Then relax and enjoy the results|
People talk about romance writing being about following a formula (aka a recipe). If only it were that simple! There's so much work that goes into writing a compelling romance that others will enjoy. Yet it's true that some standard ingredients come up again and again. The feisty heroine, the virginal heroine, the cinderella heroine, the duck out of water heroine. Then we've got the scarred hero, the reluctant hero, the warrior hero or the geek. Put them together with the right mate, in the right circumstances and the mix is sure to please.
What are your favourite romance mixers? Do you buy on the basis of a catchy back cover copy that talks about runaway heiresses, sheikhs, secretaries, brides left at the altar? Do you like masquerades or historicals with plenty of derring do? Do you prefer witty dialogue or sultry love scenes? Or perhaps you'd like to share a recipe for your favourite summer mixer? Something I can shoe and them bring out to make when the heat arrives Down Under?
To celebrate my upcoming UK release, DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY, I'll give away a signed copy to someone who leaves a comment. Just come back before tomorrow's post to find the winner's name.
Annie is celebrating a couple of releases right now. In Australia and New Zealand, there's 'GREEK AFFAIRS: TEMPTED BY THE TYCOON' which includes her bestseller 'THE GREEK TYCOON'S UNEXPECTED WIFE'. Then in October she has two UK releases - DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY (a story of forbidden passion and the clash between duty and love) as well as another anthology called SULTRY NIGHTS, which includes her sexy story 'THE SAVAKIS MISTRESS'. Visit Annie's website for details on the books and where to buy them. There's also a terrific contest running from the site.