Being True To Yourself as a Romance Writer

I just recently read a blog that made me reevaluate my writing or at least the way I look at it. Writing from a place of fear versus from a place of love by Chuck Wendig really hit a nerve with me. Like most writers I thrive on self-doubt and am never sure whether I’m writing the right thing; the thing that readers want, what the readers will devour and beg for more, ultimately the one thing that will sell my books.

I have been tempted to write what seems to sell. As a romance writer I am plenty aware of what romance readers in general are reading, the things that make them tick. But as much as I have wanted to write those books, I couldn’t. They were not me. So cue in another wave of self-loathing; why can’t I be more like others, why am I so weird and different from everybody else? Enter days and days of agonizing over a manuscript; is my publisher going to want it? Will it sell? Will reviewers even be interested in reviewing it?writing

I was recently at a book signing event and decided to attend one of the panels they were offering. As quickly as I went in, I turned around and left, not so much horrified and depressed by what was being discussed but by the fact that if that was what the readers wanted, I would never be able to give it to them. No judgement on the authors of such books but they are not me. I can’t write kinky stuff, just can’t. I love writing about everyday Joes who take great pleasure in making love to their mates in simple ways, men and women who don’t need the aid of tools or pain (or the suggestion of such) to reach an orgasm, couples who won’t allow a third wheel in their sexual life and don’t need to be dominated, women who are not sex goddesses who may in fact even be a little shy about it… in short, people who are so in love with each other that they don’t need anything else to turn them on, keep them on, and reach that apex of pleasure most of us look for.

The reverse of the medal is what it’s usually called clean or sweet romance where sex is either only implied or not mentioned at all. I can’t write these either because I enjoy reading about the characters being intimate and loving, their physical reaction to the love they have for each other. So I like to write spicy scenes. My kind of spice, the kind I keep thinking is not what today’s romance reader want.

Making love

And so the cycle of self-doubt goes on, possibly to never stop. But for now I will stick to what feels right to me at the risk of never selling enough books to keep me fed. I will keep writing from a place of love.

Have you ever been tempted or have in fact written from a place of fear? How did it make you feel?

Ten Tips For Rookies- Romance Writers of America Conference

I attended my first ever RWA conference in NYC this year. As a rookie I walked around in a bit of a daze for the duration of the event and missed some things I really wish I hadn’t, but that’s the nature of the beast.

baggage-hat-indoors-1170187

Picture by veerasak Piyawatanakul (Pexels)

The organizers have a first-timers orientation of sorts which was helpful but some very important points were neglected altogether. For all of you who are planning on going to one of these conferences in the future, here are some nuggets of wisdom that may help you get more of an amazing but slightly overwhelming event.

  1. Wear comfortable clothes and comfy shoes even if you look like a bag lady. Sitting for hours and walking from one workshop to another, often in different levels of the hotel can quickly get to you.
  2. Do bring a nice outfit for the awards ceremony or if you plan on attending any of the parties (I didn’t because I’m a terrible introvert who gets too stressed out in social situations involving lots of people).
  3. Bring a rather large empty suitcase or bag. You’ll need it (you’ll see why further down).
  4. Bring snacks that do not require refrigeration if you can. Snacks at these nice hotels will cost you an arm and a leg.
  5. If you’re an introvert like me, see if you can bring a writer friend. I always feel very lonely at events like this because I am a one-on-one socializer who gets totally lost in groups of people I barely know.
  6. Bring a fan and a sweater. Hotel air-conditioning is insane. One moment it feels like Hades, the next you’re in the South Pole.
  7. Don’t skip the Goody Room. There you can grab some free books and a lot of free swag. I use the swag for ideas to create my own swag and it doesn’t take much space in the suitcase.
  8. Don’t miss any of the signings (reason to follow) even if you have to miss a chunk of an awesome workshop. They record the workshops and you can buy them later for a song (if you don’t buy the whole thing that is).
  9. Take breaks. It is as exhausting as it is exhilarating and inspiring.
  10. The most important tip of all. The so called signings are not like the normal ones where the readers buy books and have them signed by the authors. In these signings you get the books for free AND you get them signed by the author. I was like a kid in a candy store. Refer back to #3 and #8. I missed quite a few of these because I didn’t know what they were. I talked to other rookies who did the same. I still came home with over fifty books. YOU DON”T WANT TO MISS THESE.
Book Loot

Picture by Natalina Reis

 

Romancing Romance

After spending the last four days among other romance writers, attending the Romance Writers of America annual conference in New York City, I came to the troubling conclusion I really don’t know much about romance.

That’s a pretty alarming thing for an author who calls herself a romance writer. It’s not like I don’t know the actual genre with all its tropes and intricacies, but I am pretty oblivious when it comes to fellow authors, now and in the past.

I began reading romance as a teenager, but even before that, I was reading books that normally had a romantic component to them. In my early twenties and shortly after I moved to the US, I even subscribed to Harlequin. I remember a handful of great romances, another handful of stories I didn’t care for, but I remember no author’s names at all. This is no reflection on the authors themselves, mind you. I’m really bad with names. I often tell people that because I am a teacher and must memorize dozens of kids names each year, my mind promptly forgets other names to make room for more.

Writer

 

I have quite a few favorite names in YA lit, names that have become so familiar to me I am sure to one-click them on Amazon, no questions asked. There are a few other authors in other genres I consider favorites, some who no longer write (I’m old) and others who I just slowly came to love over the years. Very few of those are romance writers.

Every time someone asks me to name other authors who write similar books to mine, I can’t name them at all. I was really confused by that, until the day I realized that romance is such a wide and rich genre, an umbrella under which so many different other genres hide, that it is hard to find those few authors whom you may compare yourself to.

So imagine my excitement at finding fellow romance authors who write and think along the same lines as I do. I can’t tell you the relief I felt at finding successful authors who don’t stick to one subgenre, authors who are complete pantsers like me, authors for whom writing books is therapy and the one thing that keeps them sane. I’m looking forward to reaching out to these writers in hopes of not feeling so alone in what and how I write.

Have you ever felt alone in what you do or how you think and then one day you discover someone(s) who share your views or your kind of work? How did that make you feel?

Books Sale and Giveaway

 

GIVEAWAY

NATALINA REIS - GIVEAWAY

In celebration of sales of two of my books, my publisher is running a rafflecopter for your chance at winning $100 Amazon GC. Whoever wins has to share it with me. Just kidding 😉

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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LAVENDER FIELDS

Natalina Reis Author’s incredible M/M paranormal romance opens up the world of angels in a whole new light.

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Sky Heavensent may be able to fly and guide the souls of the recently departed to the gates of Heaven, but he’s just as flawed as you or me. He loves with his whole being and doesn’t hesitate to break rules to defend the man he loves. And he’s fully prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if that’s what it takes to save his love, Caleb.

With Lavender Fields’s mix of fantasy, humor, and drama, it’d take a miracle not to fall in love with Sky and Caleb’s sweet and spicy romance.

 99 cents

Only this week

 

Rainbow Snippet of the Week

From  That Brew That You Do releasing next year.

I realized my mouth had dropped open and that I looked like an idiot. “How did you know I could see magicals?” The languid movement of his long, blue tail was having some unexpected effects on my favorite body part. I wiggled on the seat, my jeans feeling uncomfortably tight all of a sudden.
Naël peered at me from underneath half-closed lids, that damned sensual smile still hanging from the corner of his lips. The bastard knew exactly what he was doing to me. “All magicals around here know about you, Mr. Mercer. You’re sort of a celebrity.”

Visit Rainbow Snippets for more.

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©2019 Natalina Reis All Rights Reserved

Rebel Jewel-Cover Reveal

Author: Natalina Reis
Title: Rebel Jewel
Series: The Jewel Chronicles, book 3
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Release Date: August 31, 2019
Cover Designer: Soxsational Cover Art
 Add to TBR
Now available for preorder!
Amazon links coming soon.
Milenda never wanted the responsibilities that came from being a royal heiress. After three years in exile, she’s called back home to ignite a revolution. A revolution that will spill innocent blood and endanger her husband and baby daughter.
After a lifetime in captivity, Jaali only wants a quiet life with his wife and daughter. But the gods have other plans, ones that promise a wave of destruction. To rescue their people from the Elders and free the enslaved, Milenda and Jaali must put aside their fears, summon all their courage and wits, and march head-on into a bloody revolution.
Even if their love for each other carries them, unscathed and victorious, to the end, the revolution may yet destroy the lives of the ones they hold dearest.
Rebel Jewel is the third and final book in The Jewel Chronicles. A unique interracial romance set against a breathtaking fantasy world with complex characters and twists at every turn. Let Rebel Jewel take you to another world.
 
 
Now available for preorder!

Amazon links coming soon.

All other links: books2read.com/rebel-jewel

*  *  *

The Jewel Chronicles Series

Desert Jewel

book 1

books2read.com/desertjewel

Snow Jewel

book 2

books2read.com/snow-jewel

Author of We Will Always Have the Closet, Desert Jewel, and Loved You Always, Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes.After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.

Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.

 Submissions

 

Fictional-ish- New Release

Title: Fictional-ish
Author: Natalina Reis
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: May 11, 2019
Cover Designer: Soxsational Cover Art
 Add to TBR
 On sale for half price! 
A stand-alone romantic comedy set against the background of Scottish small towns and locks that will make you laugh, cry, and definitely melt your heart.
Livie Dunn, bookworm and aspiring bookstore owner, has been in love with her best friend ever since he dropped a bug down her shirt in primary school. She never stopped hoping that one day he’d realize they were made for each other.
Until Mia got in the way.
Kyle Huang has been taught to always do the right thing. But when that involves ostracizing his best friend by marrying her childhood nemesis, Mia, life as he knows it derails and crashes.
Suddenly, their happy ever after seems like a broken dream, especially when Livie moves across two continents to open a bookstore in Scotland.
To salvage a love that seems all but lost, Kyle must come to terms with his own bad choices and hope that Livie is willing to forgive and help him face his demons—a task that is anything but simple. Will he be able to reignite her love or will he lose it all?
 On sale for half price! 

 

Author of We Will Always Have the Closet, Desert Jewel, and Loved You Always, Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes.After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She li

 

ved in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.

Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Submissions

 

Rone Awards-Voting is Open

 

Infinite Blue is up for a Rone Award this year. I’m so excited. This is the BIG one.

The voting started today and I am asking you if you could take the time to vote for my book. This MM paranormal/shifter romance is set right here in Old Town Manassas and I was tickled pink when I found out it had received five stars on Ind’Tale magazine and nominated for a Rone Award.

IBDonuts
All you have to do is go here subscribe if you don’t already (they won’t bug you at all. All they do is send you a great magazine about fiction every month for free) and then head on to Rones Awards/Second week and my book is listed under Paranormal short. If you’re on your mobile you may have to search the word “vote” once you’re signed in to find the right spot. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out any other way to get to the voting, lol.
I thank you for all your support  

**Voting is on for only from April 22-28**

National Pet Day Book Sale

April 11th is National Pet Day! Come celebrate with us!  Pets of all shapes and sizes enrich our lives and bring us joy.  Some of our favorite authors have included beloved pets as characters in their books.  After all, pets bring people together! If you enjoy stories that feature furbabies, fish and pets of a more unusual variety, have we got a sale for you! For a limited time, only on our website, the ebooks featured below are on SALE, at a discount of up to 75%.  Grab one – or more than one – of these today and discover your next amazing read!

And while it’s our party, we’d love to gift YOU with your choice of ONE of the books included in our Pet Day Celebration Sale.  Sign up for our newsletter to enter! Share the giveaway via the blog post for another entry!

We’ll choose four winners, one paperback book each.  Open Internationally. Follow this link to enter the GIVEAWAY:

AFTER THE SCRUM by Dahlia Donovan

Sherlock is one of those pets who is larger than life. He has more personality than some of his human counterparts. Sherlock is a service dog that recognizes impending anxiety attacks in his beloved human and quickly attempts to comfort or distract.Scrum

AT WAR WITH A BROKEN HEART by Dahlia Donovan

The pets of At War With A Broken Heart are some of my favourites in all my stories. We have Rabbit, who’s a fox, and Fox, who’s a rabbit. Still with me? I love the not-fox and the not-rabbit. And lastly, Haggard, a loyal and intelligent service dog, who lives for his human. Haggard was trained specifically to help a retired military veteran dealing with survivor’s guilt and post-traumatic stress. A blue merle Australian Shepherd. Beautiful, clever, and funny. He’s the perfect companion.

Broken heart

THE TRAIL TO YOU by Lindsay Detwiler

My mastiff, Henry, appears in all of my novels simply because I love him. I’ve always wanted to write a book, however, in which he is a more integral part of the story. In The Trail to You, Henry is a main character; several of the chapters even follow his journey. When his owner, Ronan, returns from a deployment to find his best friend Henry missing, he will set out on an epic journey to get him back. Ronan doesn’t expect that Henry will lead him to the path he was always meant to find, however. Even though my real-life Henry has never been in this situation, there are many true-to-life traits of the character in the book. For example, my real Henry is obsessed with cupcakes and would love Cupcakes of the Abyss as featured in the book. This story celebrates the magic that happens when a human and dog bond, a magic I’ve come to know firsthand with Henry in my life.

Dog

 

THEN COMES LOVE by Lindsay Detwiler

I used to say I was an aspiring crazy cat lady, but now that we have five cats, I think I’m definitely there. Charlotte Noel in my chick lit series Then Comes Love shares my love for cats. When she moves into the nursing home and her daughter is forced to adopt her five cats, chaos ensues. One of the scenes in the book where the cat is stolen by a neighbor is based on a real-life event with my own cat; a neighbor of ours ended up snatching our cat by mistake, and after looking for her for months, I happened to see her in their window.

Love

OUT OF THE PENALTY BOX by Genevive Chamblee

Hockey captain, Christophe Fontenot, is tall, blond, and sexy with a “massive” personality larger than the area he pulverizes his opponents. It stands to reason that this stacked with muscles hunk’s furry companion would be his four-legged match. Claire, a slobbering but lovable Bullmastiff, is a rags-to-riches canine sort of speak. Nearly starved and beaten to death as a pup, Claire was rescued by Christophe. With nothing in his heart to give other than love, Christophe spoiled her rotten with gourmet treats, hugs, and special-order plush toys. Now, Claire’s pastime consists of sunbathing by the pool and chasing Allie, Christophe’s pet gator. Yeah, it’s like that in bayou country. Read more about Claire in Out of the Penalty Box.

Penalty

BREAKING DOWN by Megan Lowe

In Breaking Down Buttons comes along at just the right time for Jax. In her he sees a lot of himself and identifies with her. At a difficult time for the youngest Ryan, she becomes the family he feels he has lost. The relationship between Jax and Buttons is pure love, of two “abandoned” souls coming together to form a family. I think it proves that pets are as much a part of a family unit as any person can be.

Breaking down

BLUE, Dragon Runner Book 3 by ML Nystrom

Toto and Sam were my son’s childhood dogs. My son had turned four years old when Toto joined our family. She had such a variety of DNA, I have no clue of what breeds she had in her. Her version of a doggie hug included walking up to you, pressing the top of her head into your chest, and staying there until you petted her. She was just short of sixteen when she passed. Sam came into our lives with a sadder story. A rescue group found him in a box abandoned in a parking lot. By some miracle, he was still alive and won the doggie lottery by coming to live with my son and me. Sam was a boxer/pit bull mix and the biggest cuddle bug ever. Toto helped Sam tremendously on how to be a family dog. They would play hard in the backyard, eat together, and sleep curled up next to each other. Very often all four of us would crowd in my bed. They took up more than their fair share, and I learned to sleep on a tiny piece of the edge during those times.

Blue

TIME FOR LOVE, Timeless Love Book #2 by Laura N. Andrews

Thor is loved by his two daddies, Nicholas and Caleb. A German shepherd cross husky, Thor’s light blue eyes can sparkle with mischief and shine with intelligence. He’s both cheeky and smart and loves to have his dads chase him around and dote on him. His favourite things in life are sleeping in their bed and running and swimming at the beach.

TRue

OCEANS AWAY by Skye McNeil

In Oceans Away, Gideon Taggart has two Australian Shepherds, Diesel and Dallas. As an owner of a blue merle Aussie and lover of the cute wiggle of the breed, I had to incorporate a little of that into this story. Diesel and Dallas are quite the pair. They help Gideon around the farm with chores of chasing anything that moves. Both dogs also get into trouble when it comes to the woman in Gideon’s life: Ireland Leighton. I won’t give too much away, but I will say that slobber is involved with these cuties. Since Ireland and Gideon live on farms, animals are abundant, and pets are equally as involved in their day to day routine. If you’re an animal lover, Oceans Away is sure to bring a smile to your face and a desire to hug your furry best friend.

 

Oceans

HEARTS ABROAD by Skye McNeil

In Hearts Abroad, Callum Archer has a basset hound named Sherlock. As you can probably guess, the dog is slobbery, lazy, and loving to all. Once a hunter, Sherlock now spends his days lounging in his favorite dog bed near Callum’s desk and chases squirrels every so often. He prefers leisurely walks around the mansion or playing with Callum’s two daughters to hunting these days. Sherlock isn’t the only fun pet in Hearts Abroad, though. Enter Oreo, a black and white tuxedo kitty who also happens to love chicken lo mein and crawling wherever he desires. While Oreo belongs to Londyn Bellerose’s roommate, the chubby cat tends to walk all over Londyn and even hide in her luggage. He’s the epitome of a curious cat who just wants you to sit down long enough to pet him. Both Sherlock and Oreo bring the characters in Hearts Abroad to life. Plus, a little fur makes a story warm in all the right places. Check out Hearts Abroad to learn more about Sherlock, Oreo, and the humans who make the story come to life.

Hearts

FINDING MARNIE by MV Ellis

They say dogs are man’s best friend, and in Finding Marnie Luke puts that theory to the test when he gifts his love Marnie a gorgeous female puppy who is in need of a home. Marnie is going through a rough patch in her life, and wanting to help, Luke thinks the new puppy will be both a distraction, and a source of uncomplicated and unconditional love–something Marnie’s in desperate in need of. It’s fair to say that her life hasn’t been easy–in fact, at various points, including when she was very young, it has been marred by hardship and tragedy. As she points out, it wasn’t the kind of upbringing where she had a pet, or anyone, to love her, or whom she could love in return. Luke’s hunch is right, and Marnie falls instantly in love with her new dependent. If only opening her heart and accepting her love for Luke could be so simple.

finding marnie_ideas_dev2

THE JEWEL CHRONICLES – DESERT JEWEL & SNOW JEWEL by Natalina Reis

In the Jewel Chronicles series, Princess Milenda has a special kind of pet. His name is Mjusi and even though in Afrika they call him a forest lizard, he’s actually a young dragon. Mjusi’s relationship with Milenda is so much more than that of a pet and its owner. They’re best friends who grew up together and would do anything for each other. He might be green and iridescent—and at times cough up smoke—but he was Milenda’s only friend growing up and was always there for her through thick and thin. They found each other in loneliness and filled an empty space in each other’s hearts. Such is the power of a pet’s love.

 

 

 

The Jewel Chronicles

 

Hot Tree Publishing Pet Day Sale

 

Fictional-Ish Cover Reveal

 Fictional-ish

by Natalina Reis

Releases May 11th.

Preorder now for halfprice!

All buy links

Fictional-ish Ebook CoverSmall

A stand-alone romantic comedy set against the background of Scottish small towns and locks that will make you laugh, cry, and definitely melt your heart.

Livie Dunn, bookworm and aspiring bookstore owner, has been in love with her best friend ever since he dropped a bug down her shirt in primary school. She never stopped hoping that one day he’d realize they were made for each other.

Until Mia got in the way.

Kyle Huang has been taught to always do the right thing. But when that involves ostracizing his best friend by marrying her childhood nemesis, Mia, life as he knows it derails and crashes.
Suddenly, their happy ever after seems like a broken dream, especially when Livie moves across two continents to open a bookstore in Scotland.

To salvage a love that seems all but lost, Kyle must come to terms with his own bad choices and hope that Livie is willing to forgive and help him face his demons—a task that is anything but simple. Will he be able to reignite her love or will he lose it all?

Add to TBR
Organizer: Hot Tree Promotions

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