I apologize for my lack of posts lately. Things have gotten crazy around here, but I have a lot of new resources to share with authors when I do find the time. First on the list is part 2 of T.A. Grey’s eBook formatting guide.
Please enjoy this guest post by Frederick Lee Brooke, author of the genre-bending mystery Zombie Candy. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
What Dad and I saw in Italy
by Frederick Lee Brooke
I was on the train yesterday returning from Rome back to Basel, where I live, and I mentioned Monte Chianti to my seatmate. We were on the Red Arrow, the Italian bullet train, which cruises at 180 mph and covers the distance from Rome to Milan in just under three hours. Rossana is a banker who was travelling to Milan on business; in her hand was a paperback mystery in English. That’s how we started talking. She sort of nodded and looked to the heavens and tried out the name: “Monte Chianti, hmmm. Nice.”
I like Italy so much I decided that the action in Zombie Candy, my latest mystery, should move to a fictional town in Tuscany called Monte Chianti in the second half. The action starts in Chicago, and moves to Tuscany.
But this trip wasn’t really research for Zombie Candy; for me, more of a victory lap. Plus Dad wanted to see Rome once in his life, so off we went on the train. On the way to Rome we spent three days in Como, in Northern Italy. We did not see Giorgio (that’s what the locals call George Clooney) but we did see some beautiful lake vistas. In the picture below we are coming down the side of the mountain in a cog railway. Sure hope the brakes hold on this thing!
I learned Italian at a language school. I also married an Italian speaker, but don’t ever try and learn a language from the person you’re married to. You have enough to argue about without her correcting your grammar. My wife’s English is better than my Italian anyway, but she likes it when I make the effort.
While in Rome Dad and I visited the Trevi Fountain. If you throw in a coin, legend has it that you’ll come back to Rome one day. I threw in a pocketful, just to be sure. Then we hit the Colosseum. The ancient brick dividing walls in the floor of the amphitheater kept the animals penned in before they were sent in to the ring to fight. How can this thing still be standing, after two thousand years?
This is what was left of our rental car after … no wait, just kidding! This mess was parked right outside our hotel, not far from the Vatican. The hotel desk clerk told us a moped caught on fire next to the unfortunate Mercedes. I didn’t believe him — do you?
We took an all-day excursion to the island of Capri, off Naples. This involved a long, cramped bus ride and a transfer to a ferryboat, but let me tell you, the views were worth it. Just look at the color of the Mediterranean, from halfway up the mountain.
And here is a picture looking up at the branches of a mature maritime pine tree. I couldn’t resist.
It was a great trip. Dad and I had some nice talks, we did a lot of walking, we ate like kings, and we saw some beautiful places. I hope that Trevi Fountain legend really works, and we’ll go back to Rome again soon.
As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Zombie Candy eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
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About the book: Weaving elements of mystery, horror and romance in a hilarious romp that starts in Chicago and ends in a quaint medieval town in sun-drenched Tuscany, Zombie Candy is a genre-hopping knee-slapper of a novel. Get it on Amazon.
About the author: Frederick Lee Brooke has worked as an English teacher, language school manager and small business owner and has travelled extensively in Tuscany, the setting of part of Zombie Candy. Visit Fred on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.
Looks very military. This is a guy who could kick my ass half asleep with both hands tied behind his back.
I can tell he’s giving me the same thorough assessment, although I can’t tell by his expression what he thinks. I hope it’s not, This chick looks like a vampire. That will majorly fuck up the rest of my life.
“What are you doing out so late at night kid?”
To Learn more about Six Sentence Sunday, click here.
- Cheat on the heroine/hero(M/M) – You would think this was a given, but apparently it isn’t. While the acts of infidelity are usually small, in a romance novel they’re ALWAYS unforgivable. A hero never comes back from that. NOTHING can erase it. Prime example, Cabal from Bengal’s Heart (Breed Series).
He spends years whoring around while he knows she’s suffering without him. YEARS. Cabal knows Cassie cannot bear anyone else’s touch. But he goes on with his life like she doesn’t exist. He even considers getting serious with another girl. Even worse, he does it because he blames her for the actions of her dead husband. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he’d just abandoned her, but no, he leaves her in PAIN while he spends his days screwing every other woman he meets.
- Leave the heroine for her own good – This one really irks me. To make matters worse, it’s usually accompanied by some big misunderstanding. But we’ve already discussed that pitfall.
When the hero abandons the heroine because he wants to protect her or save her from himself, I tune out. My first thought is, Oh no, another soap opera melodrama. I’ve seen this plot scheme a million times. I’m tired of it. It’s lost its appeal—not that it ever had much.
While many authors have used this trite device, I’ll use one that everyone is familiar with, The Twilight Saga. While Edward’s I’m scared I’ll eat you angst was bearable in the first novel, it completely got out of hand in New Moon. Don’t these authors know that heroes who are assertive and go after what they want are so much more appealing?
As much as I love Lora Leigh, she’s really bad about using this one.
- Be a bad/virgin lover – While I’ll admit this one can have some exceptions, 98% of the time it should be a law of nature. These are a romancenovels people, and we like our heroes good in bed. If we wanted to be left unsatisfied or be forced to teach our lovers then we wouldn’t need romance novels, reality would do.
Right now, the only author guilty of this that comes to mind is Sherrilyn Kenyon. Although, I really hate to use her because most of the time she fits into the other 2% that actually make it work. Born of Night is one of her novels that she didn’t do as good of a job with making the inexperienced lover thing work out. While Born of Night is one of my all-time favorite novels, I just couldn’t get comfortable with Nik being such an inexperienced lover. And if I’m being honest, when I fantasize about him I always change that about him. (As a side note, Born of Night is also guilty of #2)
- Be ugly – Shallow, I know, but it’s a fact. He’s the HERO. This means better than the average man. This means that the heroine should find him attractive. I’m not saying he should supermodel hot, but he should be sexually appealing. Women have to want him.
I’m Sorry Phantom of the Opera fans, but I just can’t jump on board with this. When I read books with these horribly disfigured heroes, I just pretend like they’re good looking. I can’t picture them any other way, and I don’t even want to try. I know that’s awful, but it’s the truth.
- Have a small penis – Thankfully, I’ve never seen an author do this, but I don’t want it to become a trend. Heroes should be, at the very least, a millimeter larger than the average man. ALWAYS! NO EXCEPTIONS! They shouldn’t all have monster cocks either, but I’ll take that over the a tinie wenie any day.
- Be perfect – While your hero should be better than the average guy, he shouldn’t be good at everything. He can’t be independently wealthy, good looking, well endowed, extraordinarily fast/strong/intelligent, quick with words, moral, etc. He has to be flawed.
I love paranormal romances. I love my alpha males. But let’s face it, the genre is bad about this. Some of my favorite heroes are guilty of this one—Barrons and Bones. While they may be a little too perfect, they too have their flaws. Bones—jealously. Barrons—lack of morality.
I usually only showcase 1 to 3 free novels on Friday, but today when I was searching I found so many that looked good that I decided to post them all. Below is a list of titles and their links.