Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Goddess Fish: "Highland Quest" by B.J. Scott Virtual Book Tour (ends 2/15) WW



BLURB:

No longer content in the shadows of his older brothers and on a quest to find his destiny, Bryce Fraser's chosen path is fraught with danger, passion, and decisions. Can his unspoken love for spirited, beguiling Fallon be triumphant in a time of war and uncertainty, or will they both fall prey to the devious plans of a traitorous laird from a rival clan?

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Excerpt
Loch Ryan Scotland, 1307

“Wa . . . water,” Bryce mumbled, but there was no one there to listen.

 His throat was parched and he ran his tongue over dry, cracked lips, but his action offered no relief. An entire loch lay only a few feet away, but he couldn’t muster the strength to drag himself to the bank and quench his thirst. 

“Cold . . . so cold.” 

 Despite the sun beating down on him, he’d swear he was encased in ice. His life’s blood seeped from his wounds, soaking the ground beneath him. He tried to raise his head, but the excruciating pain radiating across his chest stole his breath away. 

Was this what it felt like to die? If so, he prayed the Almighty would be merciful and take him now. 

Bryce moaned, a shift in his position bringing on another nauseating wave of agony. He sucked in a short, sharp, gulp of air and stretched his arm out as far as he could, his fingers grappling in the dirt. 

If only I could reach my sword. 

Beads of perspiration dampened his brow. As the strength slowly drained from his body, drawing a simple breath became more difficult. The end grew near. No time to make amends for sins of the past, and he had committed his share. 

Regrets? He had those, too. “Fallon.” He whispered her name then heaved a ragged sigh. 

Challenges of writing realistic romance novels (Guest Post by the Author)

Thanks you for hosting me on your blog today. I look forward to visiting with you and your guests.

This question is an excellent one, especially for an author who writes primarily historical romance. With so many books on the market and more coming out every day, it is hard to find a fresh plot idea and to pen a novel that a reader can relate to on many levels. . . keeping it real so to speak. As opposed to contemporary books, people who read historicals usually do so because they want to be transported to the past, to get a sense of what it would have been like to live in medieval times, during the Civil War, or in Regency England. So a writer must do their homework if they want their book to be believable and still remain period accurate. Research is the key, along with the author’s own knowledge and passion for the era. If you write what you know and love it will show.

Many readers of historical romance are well versed in the era and expect the settings, dialogue and customs to reflect the period. This means the writer must make sure their book meets those expectations. For someone picking up a historical romance for the first time, it can be an entirely different story. They find the customs and dialogue difficult to understand and can easily become confused in the plot or the motivation behind the characters if the story does not progress in a way a modern romance might. For this reason the writer must keep both seasoned and new readers to the genre in mind.

The dynamics between couples changed dramatically over the centuries and it is a challenge to write your Hero from the past in such a way that the reader does not take an immediate dislike to them. Our Hero while he may be honorable and adore his lady might behave in a manner that the modern-day reader might not approve of or understand. This is primarily because they act or respond the way they would have in a given time period, which in many cases meant  making decision on the spur of the moment, in the face of danger, war and adversity, thereby forcing them to put duty before desire. To live each day as if it might be their last, because it could very well be.

The same goes for our heroine. Until the early twentieth century, women were not even considered to be persons under the law. They were seen as property, had no rights to speak of and basically were at the mercy of the male head of the household, or in the case of Scottish historicals, the laird of the clan. A subservient heroine, one who conforms to tradition and offers no objection makes for a dull and boring book. However a woman that is bright, voiced her opinion freely, is resourceful, tenacious, courageous, and goes against the norm, while desired for a heroine was not the common. So the challenge for the author is to create her in a way that will appeal to the reader, a woman they can cheer on, but still must maintain believability. For this reason some readers find the historical heroine comes across as uncertain, less aggressive and slower to react to an injustice than a modern-day heroine.  What the writer and reader must keep in mind is that in that particular time period, that was they would have behaved. The goal of the author is to have the characters rise above the way things were and forge out a new path for themselves, one that leads to a mutually satisfying HEA ending.

The storyline of a historical is also a challenge because it often encompasses a long period of time. Transitions between scenes that might take place months apart must to be crafted with care. This is a romance novel and not losing that aspect in a historical in not always easy; especially during extended periods of time when out of necessity the Hero and Heroin must be apart. Sometimes this can’t be avoided so the author must try to establish a solid base for their relationship early in the book, yet not have things happen between them too quickly that the excitement and story is over before it begins. Many of the historical romances were take place during brutal or violent times.  It was not uncommon for the men to go off to war and leave their women behind, but this did not mean there was no love or passion between them. Establishing inner conflicts that the characters must come to terms with along with the external conflicts is also important if you hope to keep your reader entertained and what happens in your story believable.

Everyone sees or looks for something different in a book they read so there are many challenges a writer faces if they hope to create a romance that is realistic and entertaining.  But it important to remember, no matter how hard you try, you will not please everyone. Put your best effort forward and always be open to suggestions as to how you might improve your next book.



 With a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, B.J. always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life. A member of RWA, World Romance Writers, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and Savvy Authors, B.J. also writes contemporary, paranormal, time travel, and romantic suspense.

C.S. Lewis first captivated B. J.’s imagination in the fourth grade, and her desire to write sprang from there. Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knight-in-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with three dogs and a cat. When she is not working at her childcare job, on her small business, or writing, you will find her reading, camping, or antique hunting.


The author will award gifts of swag (including a canvas tote bag, a mouse pad, a pen, book thong, bookmark, can cooler, magnet, and key chain -- US/Canada only) to randomly drawn commenters from this tour and her Virtual Book Tour, and a grand prize of one $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter from this tour and her Super Book Blast.
 
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Check it out here.




19 comments:

  1. Thanks for this chance to share book 2 of my series, HIGHLAND QUEST. Book 1 HIGHLAND LEGACY,an Amazon best seller in historical romance, is available in print and e-book. It is currently on sale to celebrate the release of book 2. Book 3, HIGHLAND HOMECOMING will be available this summer. While a series, each book is also a standalone so can be read in any order.


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  2. B.J. I appreciate your posting here. I'm not a regular reader of historicals...I lean more towards contemporary rom-coms. When I do read an historical romance, I don't want to be bogged down by the details, even though--as a librarian--I can appreciate the research and attention to detail that goes into it. I can see that for an author, this would be a fine line to manage.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Cahterine

      As part of the Goddess Fish tour they arrange for us to visit a wide variety of sites. This allows us to reach a larger fan base. Everyone has their favorite genre. Mine is historical and then I like paranormal and romantic suspense. If we all liked the same type of books, things would be pretty boring in the library and book store ;)

      Unfortunately in historical romance it is hard to avoid the history. Othewise it would just be another romance. Finding the balance is the key. The first two books were set during a very turbulent time in Scottish history so there has to be some background and historical accuracy to set the scene and to make the historical romance readers happy. I am just completing my third book and have tried to keep the history to a minimum and the romance at its max. Readers who liked the first two books are now familiar with the time period and the characters so it allowed me to dig a little deeper into the romance. Which is kind of fitting since Alasdair, the oldes brother and least likely to take a wife is the hero ;) I hope readers and lovers of all genres will be happy with the end result.

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  3. I really loved the excerpt. I wish I could know what happens next.

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    1. Guess you will have to read the book and see ;)

      Thanks for your continued support during the tour.

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  4. Wonderful post, very informative. I have been a reader of historical romance for many years so I agree with you that a writer has to make sure the story reflects the period. I have occasionally found mistakes either in the dialog or the customs. It is a lot more difficult to write historical than contemporary so I do give the historical author a lot of credit.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. It is hard to keep everyone happy when writing a historical. Some readers are so into the time period, customs, dialect etc and others are occassional historical readers so find the romance part is not always as fast paced as a contemporary. Nor do the H&H alway arrive at their HEA in the same way they would in a contemporary. I write what I like and hope that I fall in the happy medium. Not getting too much history is something I have to keep a close eye on though. Most history buffs will not mind, but I don't want to bore those who are not. Another thing that has changed and must be watched is the use of Dialect. There was a time when you almost needed a translator to read a Scottish historical. So many ye, thee, 'twould, 'tis etc but the trend now is to use a lot less. A little for flavor but not overdone. That adds another element to the writing process a historical author faces.

      Thanks so much for you support during my tour

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    2. I just have to jump in. I am a historical fiction lover. My favorite genre is historical fiction. I love it when authors strike a good balance between history and story. The first historical fiction books I ever read were from a WWII series, and I learned so much! I can deal with some variance from history. I appreciate it when authors take a moment to explain the research they have done and any alterations they have made. I suppose my absolute love for history makes me appreciate and love this genre.

      While I have not had an opportunity to read B.J.'s books, it sounds like these books would be of interest to me. I don't mind a slow romance if the history and writing is good. My problem is when the romance is sappy and in the middle of a wishy-washy historical novel.

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    3. Thanks for you comment and insight Ruth. I am a history buff and love anything historical so if my readers can enjoy the romance aspect of my book and leave with a tidbit of information they didn't know before, I have done my job ;) When I wrote my first book and submitted it to editors and agents, I was told it bordered on Historical Fiction so the publishers looking for historical romance did not feel it met their criteria. I did a lot of rewrites and managed to find the happy medium that made the publishers happy and kept me satisfied too.

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  6. I'm just starting to read historical fiction. It's embarrassing but I don't remember reading one even in my younger years. I have bought a few historical romance books (3 YA and 1 Adult) and have yet to start. Too many books waiting on my TBR pile. Anyway, I am leaning more towards adult books and would love to read this one. Hope this gets more exposure. Good luck and congrats! :)
    anne.j2 (at) gmail.com

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    1. Thanks for dropping by Anne and for you input. I have always loved historical romances but enjoy a good historical fiction too. There is a very fine line between the two. Basically in a historical romance, the relationship between the hero and heroine drive the story and the history sets the stage. In Historical Fiction the history drives the story and the characters are secondary to the plot. Both are enjoyable. Most fans of historicals have a favorite time period too. I love medieval Scotland...a lot to do with my Scottish ancestry I am sure ;) and I also enjoy books set during the civil war or to do with Native American history.

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  7. Love historical romance! Enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway.
    bhometchko(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Glad you were able to drop by Booklady ;) I hope you get a chance to read my books. As mentioned earlier in my comments this is book two of a series and book one is also available. But you can read them in any order you like

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  8. Very interesting, especially about the roles of men & women in history & then translating that onto the page.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Hi Mary
      Yes the roles were very differnt and a lot of time readers tend to want to put modern twist on the romance. We all want to see the romance bloom and the hero and heroine to have their HEA but sometimes get their in a different way than we think or maybe even like lol But they do get there.

      Thanks for dropping by

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  9. Interesting information.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Just doing the rounds of my blog tour and making sure I did not miss anyone for the drawing to be done this weekend for the grand prize. Have added your name and wish you luck

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