Consigned to a life without his soulmate, who died 400 years ago and can no longer reincarnate, Hamish has lived the life of a satellite werewolf, always on the fringe of society.
A former policewoman who fled the force due to her ability to read minds, Desiree has taken refuge in the wilderness of Colorado. Now a Forester, she finds herself under attack. When a wolf kills the men attacking her, she locks him into a cage, unaware that it's a werewolf in his wolf form.
Destined to be together, Hamish and Desiree are torn apart as his past comes a'knockin'. Now Desiree must overcome his past and learn the truth of her own nature.
The Sole-Mate Myth
Writing romance comes with an inherent challenge that few people acknowledge or even notice. The recipe for a good romance is relatively simple... boy meets girl (or girl meets girl, boy meets boy, et. al.)... they have to overcome their insecurities... and then happily ever after commences.
So with this simple recipe in place, it seems like all the challenge is gone. We all know that it's a sure thing. In fact, we go into the story 99 of 100 times knowing who's going to get together. We know their name, we even know a bit about them.
And that's where the struggle lies. As a romance writer, my job isn't to get the two together. This is a given. It's going to happen. We know this. The how might vary... this we can accept. But the expectation exists that these are the two who will ultimately love each other.
The work of a romance writer, the art of the genre, is to make that sure thing terribly uncertain. For me, my greatest hope is that I can get the reader so invested in the characters themselves, and so drawn into the story that they can even forget that it's a given. I want my reader to reach the point of climax (ahem, not THAT climax, you pervos), and be gritting her teeth and sweating and wondering how this pair will get to that promised land... and even maybe wondering... if... they will get to that promised land.
My characters end up in impossible positions with terrible odds sometimes. I consider it “job well done” when the reader can't put down the book because she (or he) just has to know... just has to see... just HAS to be there for that moment when the impossible is transmuted into the possible.
The realm of the romance author is taking a known recipe and making the reader surprised when that recipe produces the cookie they expected. A recipe that begins to look like lasagne or penne pasta with beets (a recipe, I might add, that no one likes!). Then they get to the end and they can't wait to bite into that cookie--that love that triumphed--and they find it infinitely satisfying... with a faint lingering sense of, “Oh my god, I can't believe they made it!”
In A Wolf's Song, the recipe seems complete from the beginning. The flour is there, the butter and the eggs... and one begins to think, “Well, this was easy. I've made THESE cookies before.” But then comes nutmeg... and a bit of pepper (seriously??). The reader begins to wonder whether or not Hamish and Desiree can make this work. The odds that once embraced them have turned on them with ruthless fury, devouring their budding romance like vicious beasts. What was once certain has become a quagmire of impossibilities.
In the pages of A Gargoyle's Might, readers will find it even more impossible. The entire world has turned against Lincoln and Ivory. There is no quarter granted. And Ivory... well. Let me be honest here. From the very beginning, most people will hate her. They'll root for the ones against her. They'll throw stones at her. The reader herself will cheer the antagonists on to victory.... because it's hard to see the better side of Ivory.
It's hard to write romance because it has a formula, and there are things that have to happen. How can such a loathsome creature change enough that you'll want her to be with the hero who's so easy to love? How can we relinquish him to her arms when we ourselves detest her?
The secret to a good romance is making the unquestionable outcome into a questioned outcome. The key ingredient is to make what we all know to be fact, into something we can't help but question. To compel the reader to wonder... that is the Mt. Everest before every romance author. That's the elephant in the living room. That's the unspoken knowledge that we all possess and all pretend we don't... this book, when I pick it up, has a foregone ending.
As a reader and a writer, the hope is that, by the end of the book, there's doubt on that foregone conclusion. Tension, pacing, drama... it's all intended to make you question that outcome that you know inherently is inevitable.
Suspension of disbelief is not nearly so important in romance writing as it is in any other genre. Rather, in romance, it is suspension of certainty that we must strive for.
Are you sure that they'll end up together? Are you as certain as you think you are? If at some point in the novel, you question it... then we both win, and win big.
Shannon Phoenix always wrote stories. She watched the characters take on their lives within her mind, and began to write down what they were doing. She would write the stories and then let them go. But a few years ago, she got caught writing those stories. You know... those stories.
To her surprise, the person who found her stories loved her characters as much as Shannon did. She tentatively allowed others to read the stories, as well, and it was from that first foray into the scary world of letting others read her 'little tales' that Shannon Phoenix Books was born.
Shannon lives in New Hampshire with her husband, her daughter, and their family cat. Her full time job is parenting, her part time job is as a mother's helper to a family friend, and her passion is letting the characters in her mind out on paper--or keyboard, as the case may be.
Welcome to Shannon Phoenix's Books. May you find the magic in your own life.
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