Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#InkRipples~ Tropes



This month we’re taking tropes. A trope is 
a significant or recurrent theme; a motif. For purposes of this post, it means a recurrent theme found in a genre of books.

The romance genre is full of tropes. Billionaire romance. Shifter romance. Step-sibling romance. I'm sure you've picked up at least one of these tropes in your reads.

While every story in a trope is, and should be different, they all carry specific expectations. Billionaire romance contains a a rich guy or girl and someone barely making by on their paycheck. Shifter romances have creatures that appear human but change into something else (wolf, tiger, cheetah, bear, etc.) and the normal human (or sometime unaware shifter) that falls in love with them.



One of my favorite tropes it the best-friend turned lover (or romantic interest.) I've used this trope in The Boyfriend Project as well as the Lightning Quick Reads posts:  Goals, The Best Valentine's Day EverOne Last Camping Trip and The Price of Freedom

I'd love to know, what are your favorite tropes?



#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Katie L. CarrollKai Strand, and me, Mary Waibel. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on the #InkRipples tab above, and link back to our three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #InkRipples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

This year's topics are:

March: Tropes
April: Revision
May: Fairy Tales
June: Blurbs
July: Heroes/Villains
August: Author Options in Publishing
September: World Building
October: Career vs Hobby
November: Finishing that Book!
December: Goals

The Best Valentine's Day Ever!

Can a letter from the past change the worst Valentine's Day into the Best Valentine's Day Ever?

***



My breath puffed out and hung in the air ahead of me as I trudged up the walk to the Airensen house. The heart-shaped box of chocolates I carried under my coat dug me in the ribs, but I didn’t mind. The look of surprise and appreciation that would flow across Ainsley’s face when I gave them to her would be well worth the momentary discomfort.

I shoved a hand through my curls, oddly nervous. Ainsley and I hung out together all the time. In fact, most Saturdays we’d be heading to the movies about now. But today was Valentine’s Day. And Ainsley’s date with Chase Wainwright.

At least it wasn’t that asshat Keith. Of all the guys she could add to her list of potentials she had to go and pick a real dick of one there. And, whether she liked it or not, I was having a say in this one. He was not coming anywhere near her.

Fortunately, he was still dating Samantha Jones, so I didn’t have to worry too much. Yet. But, once he was free, which rumor had it would be soon, I’d be paying him a visit and offering him some physical encouragement to stay away from Ains.

I rapped my knuckles against the wood door, turning the knob when I heard a muffled, “Come in.”

A wave of heat enveloped me as I stepped inside, and beads of sweat broke out on my forehead. A fire roared in the fireplace, making the room a sweltering eighty-something degrees, a shocking change from the ten degree air I’d been walking in.

I undid my jacket, tucking the chocolates out of sight, and wandered over to Ainsley. She looked so cute sitting on the loveseat angled as close to the table lamp as she could get. As I watched her, she reached up and tucked a lock of her honey-blond hair behind her ear. My gaze drifted over her face, taking in the deep blue eyes that were damp and swollen, and the cheeks that held blotchy streaks of red.

“What happened?” I clenched my fists, wanting to slam them in to whoever had hurt her. When I found them, they were going to regret making her cry.

Ainsley jumped and the yellowed paper she’d held in her hand fluttered to the floor.

“God, Jesse,” she set a hand to her chest, “you scared the crap out of me.”

I crouched down in front of her, picked up the paper, and handed it back to her. “Sorry. I thought you heard me knock.”

She gave me a watery grin. “I did.” She sniffled. “I just didn’t hear you come in, is all.”

I arched a brow. “What happened?”

“Nothing.” Ains wiped the sleeve of her sweatshirt across her nose.

“Come on, Ains. You’re sitting here crying. Something happened.” I reached out and played with the string dangling from the hood. “Wait. Why aren’t you dressed up? You’re supposed to be going out with Chase.”

She gave a weak laugh. “Yeah. About that. He cancelled. Said he was really sorry, but a game or practice or something got scheduled and he had to be there.”

“See, I told you hockey was his one and only love.” Ains punched me in the arm and I smiled. “Is that what the tears are about?”

“No.” She let out a long sigh. “Chase is a nice guy, but after talking to him this week I realized that we really don’t have that much in common.”

I grunted. I’d known that when she first mentioned his name. Ainsley wasn’t one to sit in the stands and cheer her guy on. She wanted to be at his side, competing with him. Like she did with me every time we entered a 5K.

“So, why the tears?” I tugged the string I still held.

“Oh, Mom and I found these old letters from Grandma and Grandpa up in the attic. I’ve been reading them, and…well, reading about how they fell in love during the war made me cry.”

I tugged the fragile paper from her fingers and looked at the faded writing. Squinting, I read a few of the lines.



         My Dearest Love,

         All day I thought of you, fearing I might never see you again. Never touch your

        silky hair. Never stare into your sapphire eyes. Never feel the joy seeing your

        smile brings me. I thank God for every minute we had before I left. I thank Him

        for every memory that carries me through the day. And, I thank Him that I made

        it through today and am one day closer to seeing you again.



“Isn’t that the most lovely thing you’ve ever read?” Ains asked, her words coated with emotion.

“Yeah.” I cleared my throat, surprised by how gravelly my voice sounded. Her Grandfather had captured my very thoughts about Ainsley. When I left for college in the fall, those were the words I want to write to her. The things I want to tell her. The things I haven’t found the way to say. Yet.

“So,” Ains poked me in the shoulder, “if you thought I’d be out with Chase, why’d you come over?”

I reached into my jacket and pulled out the chocolates. “To give you your Valentine’s gift.”

She took the box, a mixture of surprise and something I couldn’t define racing across her face. “Thank you.” She jumped to her feet. “Wait here a sec, okay?”

I nodded and she ran from the room. A minute later she returned and handed me a familiar, rectangular shaped box wrapped in heart paper.

“What’s this?” I shook it gently, hearing a quiet rattle.

“Duh. Your Valentine’s Day gift.”

I lifted the paper and smiled. She’d found the war game I’d been looking for. I held up the box and arched a brow. “Wanna play?”

She grabbed it from my hands and headed toward television. “You really have to ask?”

I shrugged out of my jacket and sat on the loveseat, marveling at the twist my night had taken. When I left my house earlier I thought this would be the worst Valentine’s Day ever. But now, with Ainsley at my side, I found myself enjoying the best Valentine’s Day ever.

***

Twisting tales one story at a time.

YA author Mary Waibel’s love for fairytales and happy-ever fill the pages of her works. Whether penning stories in a medieval setting or a modern day school, magic and romance weave their way inside every tale. Strong female characters use both brain and brawn to save the day and win the heart of their men. Mary enjoys connecting with her readers through her website: marywaibel.blogspot.com

***

Goals

When Ainsely's search for love leads to her best friend, she'll need more than Goals to land a boyfriend.
***



Goal oriented.

That’s me. Ainsley Airensen. Give me a goal and a checklist, and there’s nothing I can’t do. Keep my grades up so I’m top five in my class? Check. Participate in clubs and service groups to pad my resume? Check. Get accepted at my top choices of colleges? Check.

See, all I need is a list and a goal and I can conquer anything. Except for one thing. A boyfriend. Not for lack of trying, mind you. I have lists galore on the subject, as well as goals, but it doesn't matter. I can't check it off as a success.

“It doesn’t work that way, Ainsley,” Jesse O’Connor, my best friend since we could walk, said as we jogged around the track talking about my single status and what I planned to do about it.

Jesse had never given me bad advice, and with him being a guy, I always got a different perspective. Like now.

“Of course it does. How do you think those online dating sites work? They use a list.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, of things the two people have in common.”

“Well, I could make a list for that.” I started thinking about what I’d include. Running, watching movies―action flicks more than chick flicks―swimming in the warm months and skiing in the cold ones. All the things I loved. All the things I did with Jesse.

“What you need to do it make a list of guys you think you want to date, and I’ll help you narrow it down to your perfect choice.”

I brushed strands of my dark blond hair from my face. “Right. I’m pretty sure you won't let me put a single name on the list.”

He slowed to a stop and drew an ‘x’ across his heart. “I swear I will let you make a list and help you find the best guy for you.”

Wow. He totally meant it. Jesse never swore oaths unless he meant to keep them.

“Okay.” I bent over, stretching out my muscles as we talked. “How many guys do I need to list?”

He stretched a leg back and shoved his fingers into his chocolate colored curls. “Let’s go with five. Think you can pick five stellar candidates from the population of Roosevelt High?”

I grinned. “Easy. Chase Wainwright.”

“Why him?” Jesse cocked a brow, green eyes questioning.

“Who wouldn’t want him? I mean, he’s gorgeous, and he’s not conceited about it.”

“No. But he’s obsessed with hockey.” He switched legs.

I sighed as I stretched to the other side. It was true. Chase spent mega hours at the rink. “You told me I could make the list.”

“I did, but you need to be realistic here, Ains. He’s not the right guy for the list.”

“He’s going on the list. And so is Jordan Kingsley.” I tipped my head down, my ponytail falling down to swing across the track.

“Two hockey players? You want to be a rink bunny?”

I flicked my hair back as I stood and shrugged. “It can’t be that bad.”

He snorted. “Ask Samantha how it is. She practically lives there.”

“I will. But I’m not taking them off my list.” I glared, daring him to make a comment. Wisely, he kept silent. “For the third name, I’ll add Keith Lattimer.”

“I’m seriously questioning your taste in men. He’s an ass. One that happens to be dating Samantha.” Jesse shook his head and started walking toward his car in the student lot on the other side of the fence. “I just don’t see what you girls see in him.”

Jesse opened my door and I scooted inside, waiting for him to get behind the wheel before I answered. “He’s taller than me and older than me. What more do I need?”

“How about someone who will treat you right? Or, someone with a personality more outgoing than a bump on a log?” He shook his head. “Geez, Ains. You should read a romance novel or take in a chick flick once in a while. Your idea of romance and love is worse than a guys.”

“Like you’d know what to do on a date.”

He backed out of the parking spot then flashed a grin at me. “Add me to your list and see.”

I stared at him, my stomach doing funny flips. If Jesse wasn’t my best friend, he’d make the perfect boyfriend. Hell, most guys already thought he was my boyfriend. But he was my best friend. If we dated, what would happen to our friendship?

His grin faded, and he looked away, watching where he was driving. “Guess that’s a no.” He cleared his throat. I thought I saw a flash of pain in his eyes, but he blinked and it disappeared.

“No.” I set my hand on his arm, pulling his gaze back to mine briefly. “It’s not a no. You just surprised me with the suggestion, is all. ” I looked up at him, praying I wasn’t making the biggest mistake of my life. “I’ll add you to the list.”

“Great. Now you just need one more.”

Right. I couldn’t come up with another name. I’d barely been able to name three. And now that Jesse’s name was on the list, I didn’t want anyone else’s there. How had that happened? I’d never thought of Jesse that way before.

“Let’s just go with four.”

“Then four it is. And may the best man win.” He grinned and my stomach swirled with excitement and fear.

What was wrong with me? I never should have added him to my list. I studied him as we drove down the road, seeing him in a new light. Dark brown hair curled around his ears and neck, begging me to tangle my fingers into each strand and see if they were as soft as they looked. His spring green eyes held mysteries and wonders I’d never noticed before, but now I wanted to discover each and every one.

And just like that, I knew what my goal would be. It wasn’t just to get a boyfriend. No, it was so much more than that. My new goal was to make Jesse fall for me like I was falling for him.

***

Twisting tales one story at a time.

YA author Mary Waibel’s love for fairytales and happy-ever fill the pages of her works. Whether penning stories in a medieval setting or a modern day school, magic and romance weave their way inside every tale. Strong female characters use both brain and brawn to save the day and win the heart of their men. Mary enjoys connecting with her readers through her website: marywaibel.blogspot.com

***
We invite you to return on January 17th for a GOALS inspired story from Eric Price

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

#InkRipples~ Genres ~ FANTASY


Sorry for the delay in getting this week's blog up, but if I'd been thinking about it, this would have been perfect last week when I talked about mysteries. Just look at the suspense I've been building while you wait for me to post this week's thoughts!!

This week I'm talking fantasy.

Magic. Fantastical creatures. Sword and sorcery. All of these elements are things you'd find in a fantasy. Can there be romance? Of course! Mystery? Certainly. But, like in romances and mysteries, these are not the main plot of the story. They are sub plots.

For me, if the story's focus is the magic, or the quest for fantastic beasts or amulets, or trying to stop an evil wizard from ruling the world, the book is a fantasy. And while many fantasies have romantic elements, not all romance readers like the world building that is found in a fantasy.


So, what does this tell us about genres? 
  • Often books have elements of more than one genre.
  • There are great disagreements about how to classify the genre of a book. 
So what's an author/reader to do?

If you're an author, know your target audience and craft your book blurb to entice them to read your book. Don't get so hung up on the genre, but don't mislead readers by labeling your book something it might not really be. (ie: a romance when there's barely any romantic plot line, but there's a guy and girl, and they kiss...you get the idea.)

And if you're a reader, look at the covers. Does it match others in the genre you're looking for? (If you want a mystery and the cover shows a couple embracing, that could be a sign that this might not be the book you are looking for.) Also, does the book blurb set up the type of story you're looking for? 

In the end, sometimes it's worth it to take a gamble with something new. After all, you might find a new favorite author or a new audience.
Hope you've enjoyed my thoughts on genre and that you'll come back next week when I share a few of my favorite tropes.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear some of your preferred genres to read, so leave me a comment!


#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Katie L. CarrollKai Strand, and me, Mary Waibel. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on the #InkRipples tab above, and link back to our three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #InkRipples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

This year's topics are:

March: Tropes
April: Revision
May: Fairy Tales
June: Blurbs
July: Heroes/Villains
August: Author Options in Publishing
September: World Building
October: Career vs Hobby
November: Finishing that Book!
December: Goals

Monday, February 20, 2017

#InkRipples Genres- MYSTERY



This month #InkRipples is focusing on genre, and today I will be taking a look at mystery.

To me, mystery is one of the easier genres to identify. Does your main story line center around answering "Who done it?" Then you've got yourself a mystery.

Like romance, mystery has several sub genres including:
  • Cozy
  • Police Procedural
  • Suspense
  • Noir
  • Legal Thriller
  • Medical Thriller


There can be romance in a mystery, but it isn't the driving plot of the story. Take cozy mysteries for example. The ones I've read have been a series where the heroine has a normal day job (baker, teacher, librarian, etc.) and stumbles across a murder that she helps the hero, usually a detective, solve. The heroine usually belongs to some kind of club (knitting, book, etc.) that is involved in helping to solve the mystery. During the course of the books, the heroine and hero develop a relationship. So, while there is romance, the main point of the story is to solve the murder, making this a mystery and not a romance.


All that being said, it doesn't mean a reader of romance wouldn't enjoy a cozy mystery (or any other mystery for that matter), but you don't want to mislead your reader into thinking they are getting a romance when, to them, it might not be.

What are your favorite types of mysteries? Who are some of your favorite mystery authors? Share in the comments below!

Next week we'll wrap things up with a look at Fantasy.



#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Katie L. CarrollKai Strand, and me, Mary Waibel. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on the #InkRipples tab above, and link back to our three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #InkRipples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

This year's topics are:

  • February: Genres
  • March: Tropes
  • April: Revision
  • May: Fairy Tales
  • June: Blurbs
  • July: Heroes/Villains
  • August: Author Options in Publishing
  • September: World Building
  • October: Career vs Hobby
  • November: Finishing that Book!
  • December: Goals