Archives for posts with tag: Harlequin Romance

This is on my Facebook page this week – to take part, click here and “like” the picture. I’ll draw the winners on 1st May 2017.fFreeFre(1)

I’m starting an irregular column on writing romance. It helps if you know what the reader most enjoys. Obviously there’s room for the new but if you’re approaching an established publisher it’s always a good idea to begin with something they know will sell so I’m beginning with a rundown of  popular tropes.
The Marriage of Convenience

Yes, even in this day and age when single mothers are no longer stoned in the street, it’s still possible to write this fan favourite trope.

Money is a good reason. Tricky Wills give you a lot of scope.  Okay, you can challenge them, but in the mean time you might be left homeless. Or you might discover that the inheritance you thought was safely in the bag is mortgaged up the hilt. The unexpected pregnancy after a night with someone you’ve only just met – or have known forever but as a friend, is still a useful one. Social pressures are still there, or guilt, or maybe the guy plans to do his duty, just being there, providing support and ends up falling in love. Of course you have to come up with a good reason why they ended up in bed together. That’s the fun bit!

The Sheikh Romance

Ever since E M Hull wrote the iconic “The Sheikh” they have sold like hotcakes. The first thing to realise about a sheikh romance, is that it is a total fantasy and has nothing to do with reality. The sheikh has everything. He is in total command of his environment, has unimaginable power and wealth coupled with an air of danger, otherness. He also has the kind of respect for family, a sense of honour, that can leave him in some really tricky situations.

Lots of scope for marriage of convenience here especially if the woman is in some kind of danger, or he has some hidden reason for not marrying the woman his family has chosen for him.
If you struggle seeing him as a hero, a former publishing director of Mills and Boon once described him to me as “a cowboy wearing a different hat”.  Same thousand yard gaze. Same deep seated sense of honour.

Nine to Five

The workplace romance should be tricky in this PC/Human Resources dominated age but it’s is still a much-loved trope. Unlike the sheikh romance, this is something much closer to home, familiar. Most of us will have worked somewhere – office, store, factory – at some point in our lives.  These days, of course, it doesn’t have to be the powerful boss and the woman he doesn’t notice until some crisis occurs and he needs her to play his fiancée. There’s plenty of room to play out a scenario between equals, a boardroom battle that only one of them can win. So much more interesting.
Christmas 
Oh now, this is always fun. You not only have two people trying very hard not to fall into bed with each other but you have it with baubles, fairy lights, Santa Claus and snow.
You can dress your characters in embarrassingly silly costumes, dump two feet of snow on them, cut off the electricity or strand the Grinch and the Sugar Plum Fairy in a place from which there is no escape (it doesn’t have to be snow!)
Mayhem or magic, they go down a treat.

The Mediterranean Hero
Passionate, sexy, with his dark good-looks, the Mediterranean billionaire — Greek, Italian, Spanish or Italian — is the staple hero of romance.

He is very nearly as much a fantasy as the sheikh. You can throw in a palazzo overlooking the sea, helicopters, yachts, private jets, private islands and plenty of angst. Oh, and sex. Lots of sex.

That’s it for now. I should probably have added babies to the list. There is nothing like a cute baby on the cover to set the cash tills ringing, but they have to be tiny (no toddlers or teenagers in series romance – they distract from the hero and heroine and it’s story).

Look at the books being published, what tropes call you? Writing what you enjoy is always the best way to start.

Next time I’ll talk about the “crucible”.

Happy writing.

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Liz Fielding’s Little Book of Writing Romance is available to download from iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

February sees the publication of my latest Harlequin Romance, The Sheikh’s Convenient Princess – and here’s the fabulous cover!

the-sheikhs-convenient-princess

Here’s a sneak peak…

Qa’lat al Mina’a, perched high on its rocky promontory, shimmered like a mirage in the soft pink haze of the setting sun.

Far below, beyond a perfect curve of white sand, a dhow was drifting slowly along the coast under a dark red sail and for a brief moment Ruby felt as if she might have been transported back to some Arabian Nights fantasy, flying in on a magic carpet rather than a gleaming black helicopter.

The illusion was swiftly shattered as they circled to land.

The fortress might appear, at first glance, to be a picturesque ruin, a reminder of a bygone age but behind the mass of purple bougainvillaea billowing against its walls was a satellite dish, antennae — all the trappings of the communications age powered by an impressive range of solar panels facing south where the jebel fell away to the desert.

And the tower did not stand alone. Below it Ruby glimpsed courtyards, arches, gardens surrounding an extensive complex that spread down to the shore where a very twenty-first century gunmetal grey military style launch was sheltered in a harbour hewn from the rock. And they were descending to a purpose built helipad. This was not some romantically crumbling stronghold out of a fantasy; the exterior might be battered by weather and time but it contained the headquarters of a very modern man.

As they touched down, a middle-aged man in a grey robe and skullcap approached the helicopter at a crouching run. He opened the door, glanced at her with astonishment and then shouted something she couldn’t hear to the pilot.

He returned a don’t-ask-me shrug from his seat. Sensing a problem, Ruby didn’t wait but unclipped her safety belt, swung open the door and jumped down.

As-salaam ‘aleykum. Ismee, Ruby Dance,’ she said, raising her voice above the noise of the engine. ‘Sheikh Ibrahim is expecting me.’

She didn’t wait for a response but shouldered the neat satchel that contained everything she needed for work, nodded her thanks to the pilot and leaving the man to follow with her wheelie she crossed to steps that led down to the shelter of the courtyard below.

The air coming off the sea was soft and moist — bliss after hours cooped up in the dry air of even the most luxurious private jet — while below her were tantalising glimpses of terraces cut into the hill, each shaded by ancient walls and vine covered pergolas. There was a glint of water running through rills and at her feet, clove-scented dianthus and thyme billowed over onto the steps.

It was beautiful, exotic, unexpected. Not so far from the fantasy after all.

Behind her the pilot, keen to get home was already winding up the engine and she lifted her head to watch it take off, bracing herself against buffeting from the down force of the blades. As it wheeled away back towards the capital of Ras al Kawi leaving her cut off from the outside world she half lifted a hand as if to snatch it back.

Madaam…’

Despite her confident assertion that she was expected it was clear that her arrival had come as a surprise but before she could respond to the agitated man who was following her down the steps a disembodied voice rang out from below, calling out something she did not understand.

Before she could move, think, the owner of the voice was at the foot of the steps, looking up at her and she forgot to breath.

Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ansari was no longer the golden prince, heir to the throne of Umm al Basr, society magazine cover favourite; a carefree young man with nothing on his mind but celebrating his sporting triumphs in some fashionable nightclub.

Disgraced, disinherited and exiled from his father’s court when his arrest for a naked romp in a London fountain had made front page news, his face was harder, the bones more defined, the natural lines cut a little deeper. And not just lines. Running through the edge of his left brow, slicing through his cheekbone before disappearing into a short-clipped beard was a thin scar — the kind left by the slash of a razor sharp knife — and dragging at the corner of his eye, his lip so that his face was not quite in balance. The effect was brutal, chilling, mesmerizing.

The Sheikh’s Convenient Princess is available for pre-order in paper or as an ebook now at Amazon!