Category Archives: Marked

Satisfaction… and how to get it.

Two weeks ago I unleashed THIS POST on the world. Ever since then I’ve been thinking about the over-criticism the romance genre as a whole takes and I find myself wanting to talk more and more about the elements of a good romance novel. As I am often wont to do, I’m starting at the end.

The end of the book, I mean. I decided to start there because the ending is the most important part of a romance story. When writing romance, you have two options:

  1. Happy Ever After, in which your characters hook up and will live forever in whatever bliss they create. It is not just implied that they’re happy – we know for a fact they’re happy and will continue to be happy forever. Hence the ever after portion of that tag.
  2. Happy For Now, where your characters are satisfied with the outcome, whether it’s forever or just for the night.

No matter what you do, the only way to satisfy your audience is to make absolutely certain your characters are happy in the end. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. They have to be happy and the story has to be tied up in a nice, neat little package.

Yes, there are exceptions. There are always exceptions, but if you want to be one of them, then you’d better have a damn good reason why your characters aren’t happy.

So you want to write a series and it requires your heroine go missing at the end of the first book? Okay. This is not unusual and something I intend to discuss in more detail later, but for the purpose of this post it’s on the no-no list. But if you insist that she be missing, then make her missing. Just remember that your readers have to know two things before you stop the story:

First, that there WILL without a doubt be a second book. Second, that your hero will stop at nothing to get her back. And I do mean nothing. If he’s required to face Hell itself to get her back, he better be putting on his flame-retardant gear when the curtain goes down.

Nothing disappoints a romance audience faster than a one-and-done ending with no emotion and no satisfaction. Like I said in that original post – the whole point of reading romance is to fall in love over and over again. The best way to accomplish that is by giving the audience the illusion of eternal happiness.

[INSERT DISCLAIMER HERE: I’m getting ready to ruin the endings of two of my books! Consider yourself warned!]

Marked CoverPersonally, I’ve written both endings. In Marked, Russell and Tabitha have their moment of post-coital afterglow, but they’re both satisfied. They’re both happy. And even though there’s not a hard and fast commitment, the implication that they’re going to remain more than friends is there.

I did that for a reason. It’s a stand-alone story but I love Tabitha. One day (and I’ve been asked!) I might get a wild hair and decide to write a sequel. And that’s fair. I’ve not left loose ends, and there’s no unfulfilled anticipation.

I’ve also given my characters Happy Ever After. In Something in the Air, it’s a Something in the Air by Siobhan Kinkadeshort courtship, yes, but Nic and Kelly Ray take it all the way because they know it’s meant to be. But just because a beautiful wedding in the Cayman Islands is right for them doesn’t mean wedded bliss is right for every couple.

It all comes down to personality and timing. Not every scenario needs happy forever. Sometimes they just need happy for now, and that’s okay.

Just make sure they’re happy, and your readers will be too.

Ho Ho Ho-Liday Giveaway!

HolidayGiveaway

Hi, Kids!

It’s no surprise that everybody likes free stuff, right? Well, have we got some free stuff for you!

I’ve partnered up with Alexandra Christian, Lucy Blue, Crymsyn Hart, and Selah Janel to create a fabulous Christmas present for one lucky reader!

What’s in it, you ask? Well, I can’t tell you everything, but I will at least give you this much:

Grand Prize: 1 Giant Gift Basket o’ Goodies, including these books:

“Under the Mistletoe” by Siobhan Kinkade
“Marked” by Siobhan Kinkade
“Jingle Balls” by Crymsyn Hart
“Hairy and Hung” by Crymsyn Hart
“Masquerade” by Alexandra Christian
“Second Skin” by Alexandra Christian
“Tender Bites” by Lucy Blue
“In the Red: by Selah Janel

There will be lots of other stuff in the basket as well, but we can’t give away all of our secrets!

There are two other prizes – a $10 Amazon Gift Code and a $5 Amazon Gift Code.

To enter… CLICK ON THE RAFFLECOPTER LINK BELOW!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Free Food Secrets!

First of all…

♥ ♥ ♥ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I LOVE YOU! ♥ ♥ ♥

Ahem… now that that’s out of the way…

The weather is changing, which means my cooking style is also changing. For those that know me, you know that I love to cook, and it’s fitting that this comes on my mother’s birthday. I learned my love of the kitchen from her.

I’m also one of those weird kitchen savants. Adventurous, fearless, and not afraid to use my family as guinea pigs. This is one of my favorite recipes…and one of the ones my husband absolutely cannot eat. He’s not good with spicy food, and he’s not a big fan of some of the ingredients.

There’s a reason why I chose this particular recipe. Some of you will be happy to know that I’m currently working on a sequel to Marked. This particular food features in the story, so it seemed a nice teaser.

I should probably warn you now that I cook for an army, so this recipe feeds 12. And a hungry 12 at that. Oh, and I like my food heavy, rich, and very spicy.

You’ve been warned.

Shrimp & Crawfish Etouffe

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 small green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 fresh medium-size tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 2 pounds crawfish tails
  • 2 pounds small/medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, keep stirring with a whisk until the mixture turns reddish-brown (15 or 20 minutes – this is a “roux” for those that don’t cook southern/cajun). *Note: This must be stirred constantly and watched carefully because if it burns you have to start over.
  2. Once the roux is browned, add the onions, celery, and bell pepper to the skillet. Cook until onions are opaque and soft, approximately 5 minutes. Keep stirring!
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and clam juice, and season with the Old Bay seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper, and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.

Serve hot over white rice. And don’t forget to put the hot sauce on the table!

Recipe Notes:

– For a smoother base, blend or puree the mixture BEFORE adding shrimp and crawfish.
– This dish is EXTREMELY SPICY. If you aren’t used to heavy spice, leave out the cayenne pepper and cut the Tabasco back to 1 tablespoon. Taste it, and if you want more of a kick, add Tabasco by teaspoons. (Cooking for the hubby means no Tabasco or cayenne…the Old Bay is spice enough for him.)
– If you’re not a celery eater, substitute 2 tsp celery seed for the celery stalks. I personally don’t cook with celery because my husband doesn’t like the texture.
– If you don’t eat crawfish or it’s out of season, feel free to double up on the shrimp. It’s great either way. Also, if you aren’t a shellfish person, this works well with chicken or gator. Yes, Alligator. Yes, I eat it. It tastes like chicken. I’m serious.

If you decide to make it, let me know how it turns out. I’m always curious to see what others do with my recipes!

Backlist Blog Hop

Hey, everybody! Thanks for visiting!

Just for coming through, anyone who comments gets thrown in the pot to win a book. Any book on the list. Just leave me a comment with your email address, book choice, and whether you’d like Nook or Kindle format.

Now, what’s your pleasure?

Do you like Contemporary Romance?  I have three to choose from:

Or are you of the edgier crowd who enjoys a good Paranormal romp? If so, I have just the thing…

"Marked" by Siobhan Kinkade

The covers are gorgeous. The stories, even better (if I do say so myself). Click on any of the pictures…they’ll take you to my backlist page where you can get the scoop on what’s here.

Pick your poison. Any of them can be up for grabs.

Be sure to head back and check out the rest of the backlists!

Convention Goodness!

Here in my head we’re gearing up for Convention Season… and it’s going to be a busy one.

In a week and a half I’ll be putting in an appearance at ConCarolinas in Charlotte, NC.  I’ve been attending for years, but this will be my first time as a guest.  Pretty amazing feeling, if you ask me. I’ll have a table in the Authors’ Alley, too.  Despite the fact that I’ve only got four panels right now I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s a bit more info on the location and my panel schedule:

June 1 – 3, 2012
Charlotte Hilton University Place
Charlotte, NC

PANEL SCHEDULE

Friday, June 1
When Fairy Tales Were Scary Tales
Writing the Horrific

Saturday, June 2
Kidnapping Your Muse – Part Two

Sunday, June 3
e-Books

I guess this means I have to start pulling together my swag, huh?  Might be useful.  I’m already working on the excerpt flyers and I have SOME business cards left.  Time to get creative with the gobs of yarn in my living room.  In between finishing up all the baby afghans.

Sue me…I like making stuff for people and will let myself go in favor of making other people happy.

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Hey, everybody…don’t forget that any comments this week enter you for a chance to win a copy of the Birthday Book, Marked!

Happy Birthday Marked!

Today is a momentous day for me… I have been a published author for one year now.  A whole year.  And I STILL can’t believe it’s real!

This must be what it feels like to get up onstage and accept some sort of award, because I feel the crazy need to thank a whole bunch of people for making it possible.

First and foremost, I need to thank Kelly Ann at Sugar & Spice Press for giving me the opportunity to publish with her.  I’d like to think I’ve made her proud so far.  Without her constant support, I wouldn’t be here.

Next, I need to thank Alexandra Christian and Amy Ravenel for being two of the most awesome friends a girl could ask for.  It was because of their support, poking, prodding, and general aggravation that I got up the guts to submit anything in the first place.  I love them both more than chocolate.

Also, I have to say thank you to my Mom.  She’s my best friend in the world and my biggest fan.  From the time I was little she always told me I could do anything I set my mind to and I could be anything I wanted to be.  Now I am, and without her unconditional love (despite the fact that I’m a rampant smut peddler and am not yet a multimillionaire) I wouldn’t have dared to try.

And one more… my husband, Bill.  He puts up with my crazy, he keeps me grounded, and he isn’t afraid to let me be myself.  (I love you forever, but you already know that!)

Last but not least, I need to say thank you to everyone else.  All of you who read my blog, keep up with me on Facebook and Twitter, and those of you in my life who have been there on this crazy journey… thank you.

Coincidentally, my little girl is four months old today, too.  She’s growing like a weed and continues to amaze me every day.

Because I have a lot to celebrate this week, I’m going to give away books, too.  All week long I’ll be collecting comments.  And this weekend I’ll pick one (or maybe even two) to receive a free copy of Marked – your choice of Nook or Kindle version.

Any comments, any post.  Let the games begin!

And The Hopping Winner Is…….

…or rather, WINNERS.  There are three.

After some pretty stupid technical difficulties this weekend (no internet from early Friday morning until about 20 minutes ago with it being sketchy at best the three days before that), we’re finally here to announce winners and add in a few reminders.

First – I’m terribly sorry that I promised everyone a second part of Bloody Good and failed to deliver. The no internet thing has kind of messed me up on that.  But never fear, it will be up soon.  Check back for more info.

But anyway, on to the important stuff. The winners.

Ahem…

DRUM ROLL PLEASE…

Marked :  BakinStuff

She-Wolf : Wanda Flanagan

Blood Doll: Angel Graham

I will be contacting each of you via email shortly to confirm the selections and deliver your ebooks.  Please sit tight and bear with me in case I lose my technical capabilities again.

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For those of you that didn’t win, you still have other chances to get hold of my stuff.  First – once I finish up here I’ll be heading over to The Romance Studio for their Christmas Party.  Up for grabs over there is a copy of Blood Doll.

And don’t forget my Guess The Date Contest!  If you can correctly tell me when my daughter will be born, you get free stuff!