all this time, I’ve just been too blind to understand
what should matter to me
my friend, this life we live it’s not what we have,
it’s what we believe
As I writer, sometimes I tend to see romance where it doesn’t overtly exist. This song is one of those that I will use to put me in the mood to read or write dark romance for many reasons, the lycis, the beauty of the video, and the themes it evokes, to name a few.
The story told in the video brought tears to my eyes the first time I saw it. A beautiful angel, played by Gabriel Nunez, does parkour across Cincinnati to save a young mother and her child from being hit by a truck at a streetlight. The video is wonderfully shot, using buildings, an angelic fountain, and a skywalk as the background for the stunts.
The idea that a guardian angel is watching out for us, that they would go to extraordinary lengths to protect us from harm, is very close to several themes that philosophers have struggled with as long as philosophy has existed. Where do we come from? Are we alone? Is there anyone out there who watches over us?
It isn’t hard for me to bring romance into this scenario. In my mind, the woman is a single mother, and the angel is her protector. He fell in love with her, but was busy being lectured by another angel until the last minute, when he realized she was in danger. Normally, he would have interfered to move the truck out of the way, or urge her into a different route, but because of the lack of time, he was forced to simply run in front of her car, showing himself.
You know where this story is going to go next, don’t you, lover of dark romance?
Yes, this is the beginning of a wonderful story where the angel is going to sacrifice his wings to live a human life, and she has to come to terms with feeling worthy of that sacrifice, just by being herself.
And no, she isn’t going to be hit by a car the next day for all of you naysayers. 😉 They are going to live happily ever after.
Well, whether you agree with my dark romance or not, this video is wonderful and if you haven’t seen it, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpfhcljJ9bQ
there might be more than you believe
there might be more than you believe
there might be more than you can see
Written and Performed by 3 Doors Down
On the Album 3 Doors Down
arms wide open, i stand alone
i’m no hero, and i’m not made of stone
Today’s song is not a romance ballad…but I think if you look you will see that it is the inspiration for a lot of writers. This song, Wrong Side of Heaven, by Five Finger Death Punch, is intended to show to the plight of the veterans who have returned home with issues but aren’t receiving help.
Why do writers write? I suspect that it’s probably for the same reason that singers sing, and today I am going to share with you another way that songs can inspire me to write – that is, by bringing up an issue or problem that needs to be solved.
In the same way that they were inspired to sing this song, many romance writers have been inspired to write stories about veterans with issues, trying to give them the fictional ‘happily ever afters’ that so many of them desperately need. Three such stories I can think of immediately are:
- Elizabeth’s Wolf by Lora Leigh
- Flashback by Maria Hammarblad
- Her Forbidden Hero by Laura Kaye
It lightens my heart when artists try, in their own myriad ways, to bring attention to real world issues. If nothing else, it can help us open our hearts and minds to those who are suffering. A few science fiction romance novels I could recommend would be:
- Kieran by Jennifer Ashley (the hero has had parts of his brain removed)
- Calder by Jennifer Ashley (the hero is horribly scarred from a plasma fire)
- Taunting Krell by Laurann Dohner (the hero has been tortured and scarred and is considered ‘undesirable’ by other cyborgs)
If you enjoy historical romance novels, I can recommend:
- The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putnam (the heroine has ptsd)
- Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss (the hero was injured in the Civil War)
right or wrong, I can hardly tell,
i’m on the wrong side of heaven, but the righteous side of hell
Written and Performed by Five Finger Death Punch
on the album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1
What does Phoenix Comicon offer authors?
Well, it’s almost that time of year again. Comicon!!! Last night I presented a table talk at Desert Rose on why authors should attend Phoenix Comicon, and I thought I’d share a few key points with you.
The largest reason to attend comicon is to get new ideas. Most authors attend plenty of ‘author’ workshops – by authors, for authors. Comicon is place where you can attend workshops intended for a larger audience, allowing you to take ideas from other genres or media to diversify your writing.
Let me give one great example of this. I taught two comic classes for four years when I was in Korea. I used two books by Scott McCloud, Making Comics for the first semester, and Understanding Comics for the second semester. In Making Comics, McCloud does a wonderful job of covering the six facial expressions that are present in every culture on the planet, how facial expressions scale (sternness > indignation > anger > rage), and how facial expressions mix to create new expressions (anger + disgust = outrage).
Is this useful for an author? That question was entirely rhetorical. The ability to describe facial expressions in unique and interesting ways is one of the hallmarks of a great writer. Attending a course for artists on how to refine facial expressions will teach you a lot about how to break them down so you can visualize and describe them in your work.
This is only one, infinitesimally small portion of what Phoenix Comicon offers. You can attend makeup and costuming classes to bring life and detail to your characters. You can walk through the vendor shops and observe what people are buying. What appeals to the market? What is trending? What age groups are buying certain items, and what classes are they attending?
And hell, if you have no imagination, I guess you can just attend one of the around 100 courses offered for authors. Many of the writing courses can be applied to any genre: Reluctant Heroes, Who’s driving? Plot or Character?, How Evil Should They Be? Villains and Anti-heroes, and Get to Know Your Firearms are just some of the many offerings that can be applied across genres to make your writing better.
Here is a preliminary list of what this year’s comicon schedule is going to look like. There are already more classes up on the site, and if it is like last year, I believe that this list shows only about half the courses that will be offered. The rest aren’t up on the web site yet because they are late with the scheduling.
At $80, you aren’t going to find better value for money anywhere else. The official web site is here: http://www.phoenixcomicon.com/.
2015 Phoenix Comicon Books & Authors Programming (To Date):
- 21 Days to a Novel
- Airships: Creating Steampunk Technology that flies
- Artist/Writer Connection
- Attacking the 9 Senses
- Breaking Those Writer’s Blocks
- British Zombie Invasion
- Build an Impromptu Story (collaborate with other authors)
- Chuck Wendig Spotlight – hard-hitting advice for aspiring authors
- Del Rey Spotlight – what books they will have coming out in the future
- Dialogue: Speech vs. Prose
- Diana Gabaldon
- Dragons and Rare Creatures
- Fan Fic Theater – they will read aloud YOUR story, bring your best work
- From Page to Screen – turning a book into a movie, TV show, etc
- Get to Know Your Firearms
- Good = Perfect – when do we need flaws in our protagonists?
- Have Your Writing Critiqued – General – Read aloud 3 minutes and literary professionals will critique it
- Have Your Writing Critiqued – The First Page – Can You Make the Cut?
- Here on Earth – writing Earth-centric Science Fiction
- Historical and Fantastical and Maybe a Little Magical – spice up your story with a little unreality
- How Big Can It Get? – building massive worlds, creating huge casts of characters, etc.
- How Evil Should They Be? – villains and anti-heroes/anti-heroines
- How to Adapt Your Novel to a Screenplay and Vice Versa
- Hybrid Authors
- In the Beginning – Authors reminisce about how they got published the first time
- Life After True Blood – Vampires in the modern world
- Lighting the Darkness: Creating, Fandom, and Comicon with Mental Illness
- Magic and Paranormal in Steampunk Writing
- Magic Refresh – uses of magic and innovative ways to bring magic to literature
- Marketing Your Novel – cover letters that work, elevator speeches, manuscripts, etc
- Mother Trucking Monsters – What makes a memorable monster
- Mythology – ancient and modern and how it works with modern literature
- On The Outside Looking In – Authors that cross genres
- Outside Influences – Be it peer pressure or possession, how do outside influences get in and change a character?
- Paranormal Romances – Can love survive?
- Rewriting History – how to alter history into a realistic fantasy
- Serial Box Publishing – writing weekly serials
- Sherrilyn Kenyon spotlight
- Space in Science Fiction
- Stepping Up to Social Media
- Super Supernatural
- Technology for Authors – creative ways to publish and promote
- Tension on Every Page
- The Food of Fantasy – feasts
- Unlikely Influences – authors discuss what non-book influences inspired their writing
- Urban Fantasy
- Who’s Driving? – Plot or character?
- World Building
- Writer’s Life – How to: maintain a “normal” life, handle writing time, budget irregular paychecks, deal with travel, and fans. How can family handle this? Hear from authors and their significant others on how to survive the literary life.
- Writing Reluctant Heroes
- YA Bridging the Generation Gap
Very early in becoming an author, you realize that writing is an art. Creating a finished piece does not simply require putting pen to paper – it takes hours of painstaking work to write, revise, revise again, and then revise some more, and often you still aren’t entirely happy with the finished product.
I find that writing lines from the characters’ voices can be especially hard in science fiction. Taking in unique, unearthly situations and using your characters’ perceptions, perspectives, logic and speech to describe and react to those situations is what makes the fictional world truly real.
I have selected a some quotes from Salvation to share over the next few weeks, and hopefully you will get a sense of the characters and the story behind them as each new quote is added to the mix.