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Is Silver The New Grey? Older Heroes & Heroines in Fiction

There’s a growing trend in fiction, and it’s not grey, but almost. Silver is in, with older fictional heroes and heroines (not in their twenties) in romance novels, and even in some other genres, too. Which makes sense when statistics show a significant portion of readers who read books regularly are women, and over the age of fifty-five, as shown in this recent Book Bub study. Many readers enjoy stories with characters who are more like them, who have more life experience and are facing problems and challenges they can relate to.

Several social media pages or groups have emerged to provide a place for those interested in reading or writing romances featuring mature or “seasoned” main characters. For example, the “Seasoned Romance” group page on Facebook declares that it is a “place for readers and writers of love stories with heroes and heroines in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Sex and love can get better with age. So let’s read, write, and talk about it!” They have already passed five hundred members as of this writing, proving there is interest in stories with older characters.

I am working on a new series featuring “seasoned” characters, so I did some research to find out what readers are responding to. Here’s what I found:

New York Times Bestselling Author Roxanne St. Claire features “silver fox” heroes in her popular Barefoot Bay Timeless Series. This series promises “plenty of laughs, a few tears, and a chance to fall for a man who’s lived and loved and knows exactly how to treat a woman. I promise you’ll break out a tissue or two with these emotional stories about three handsome, accomplished, and sexy men in their forties who kick off their shoes and fall in love again.” I agree there’s a certain appeal to a man who knows what he’s doing in the bedroom, and older guys usually do. Judging by the models on the covers of Roxanne’s books, they still look hot, too!

The blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has a post discussing the appeal of older heroes and heroines. Here’s the link: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2017/04/rec-league-silver-foxes/   Scroll down to check the comments for recommendations from actual readers─there’s a ton of info here.

Even more proof that Seasoned Romance is now a thing─there will be a Vintage Love panel at this year’s RWA convention in Orlando in July, and also at next week’s (May 1-7) Romantic Times Convention in Atlanta. I will be attending RT, and attending the Vintage Love panel to take some notes. If anyone is going to the one at RWA, I’d love to share info with you! And if you are attending RT, let’s meetup.

Author Natasha Moore has a Silver Fox Series, with the tagline, “Love Can Happen At Any Age”. She also has a book in a multi-author collection of mature romances, entitled, Hot Silver Nights.”

Sometimes only one of the main characters is older, leading to complications due to age differences. It also plays into the fantasy of attracting younger partner. This list on Maryse’s Book Blog, from a few years ago, has several older woman/younger man books recommended by readers. The theme of an older man/younger woman has fans, too─as this list I found on Amazon shows: https://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/RQFUP0JV5QOEA

Heck, even Nora Roberts is on this list of Mature Romances on the Booklist Reader Blog, and of course Goodreads has a list of novels with Older Hero and Heroines (over 40).

Perhaps part of the appeal of older characters is they have more to offer─more experience, more connections, and thus they often have more at stake. They may have children or a business, something significant to lose, more so than perhaps a younger, twenty-something character. They also may have more emotional baggage, since they’ve been around; second chance romances or widows/widowers are a common trope with older characters.

I know diversity of characters is a hot topic these days, and rightfully so─fiction should reflect a wider view of the world than it sometimes does. And that includes characters of all races and origins, in the prime of their lives, who still have dreams, ambitions, and yes, hot sex!

This is one trend I can get behind, because for many of us it’s true that love, sex and romance do not belong only to the young. I’ve had some of the best sex and most romantic moments of my life after I turned forty, and I’m not done yet!

How about you? If you have any recommendations of books featuring older characters that you loved, let me know!

 

 

 

Interview With Author Lexi C. Foss- Two New Series Debut

 

I am very excited to feature a debut author here on my blog. Her name is Lexi C. Foss, and I’m predicting she will be a well-known author in no time! She debuts in May 2017 with not one, but TWO new series, and already has the interwebs abuzz. Her paranormal romance, Blood Laws, and her Contemporary Romance, The Prince’s Game, will both be released in May 2017. Lexi took time out of her ultra-busy release schedule to tell us a bit more about her herself and her exciting new releases.

Welcome, Lexi! It’s unusual for an author to debut two separate series at the same time, so tell us how that came about.

I’m still debating if this was a good decision, or one made in a moment of insanity. I wrote both books around the same time because I needed to balance the dark with the light. Blood Laws is a bit edgier with darker elements, while The Prince’s Game has a humorous undertone and light subject matter. I’m curious to see how they do in comparison to each other with readers. I’ve always loved statistics, so I’m sure I’ll have some fun playing with the results of this case study.

When did you make the decision to write your books and how did you decide on indie publishing?

I’ve always been a daydreamer. On a boring day back in 2009, I decided to write down some dialogue that was floating around in my head. Then I added some description, and suddenly I was staring a 300,000 word monstrosity that I realized was a full blown series. I toyed with various voices, wrote a few other story ideas out, and then I went back to school for my Master of Public Health. My hobby was put on hold until last summer (2016) when a friend of mine encouraged me to get back into writing and take it seriously. She told me about indie publishing, introduced me to an awesome group of writers, and the rest was history.

In Blood Laws, you created a world with paranormal creatures, who appear on the surface to be everyday people. What challenges did you face to make your characters stand out?

I don’t know that I really faced any challenges in making them stand out, but I have faced challenges toning down some of their voices. They are all very loud in my head, demanding I write one thing or another, and sometimes I have to put them in timeout for unruly conduct. Balthazar is the biggest offender. He wasn’t supposed to be in Blood Laws at all, but he kept badgering me until I gave in (he would tell me – “I told you so” – because his scenes did make sense in the end). They all have their own quirks, and I love writing about them. Their voices and unique mannerisms are what makes brings them to life on paper.

The Prince’s Game is a bit different from the intensity of Blood Laws. Was it a challenge to write two series at the same time?

Not at all. The Prince’s Game offered me the mental break I needed after writing Blood Laws. It was a lighter, funnier story that is very different from darkness of Blood Laws. Writing both books so close together kept my creativity fresh, and gave me a break before starting on what will be a very dark novel – Forbidden Bonds.

Will you be attending any conferences this year, so readers can meet you?

I will be all over the place this year:

  • Romantic Times Convention in Atlanta, Georgia: May 2, 2017 – May 7, 2017
  • Romance Writers of America Conference in Orlando, Florida: July 26, 2017 – July 29, 2017
  • Book Obsessed Babes Author Signing Event in Destin, Florida: September 9, 2017
  • Indie Romance Convention: October 4, 2017 – October 7, 2017
  • For the Love of Books & Alcohol in Chicago, IL: October 14, 2017

What’s next? Tell us about your upcoming works in progress or new releases.

Blood Laws will be released on May 2nd and The Prince’s Game will be released on May 9th. So those are my upcoming new releases.  As for works in progress: I’m currently writing Forbidden Bonds, which is book 2 of the Immortal Curse series, and outlining The Charmer’s Gambit, which is book 2 of the Mershano Empire series.

Just for fun, let us know something personal about you…

I was born into a family of Eclipse Chasers. You might be wondering what the means… Well, it means I travel all over the world to see total solar eclipses of the sun. I have see 5 so far in my lifetime (Mexico 1991, Caribbean 1998, Zambia 2001, Turkey 2006, South Pacific 2012), and I will be adding a 6th one to my list in August 2017 (Nashville, TN).

Thanks Lexi! I’m so looking forward to reading all of your books. Here are the important links for everything Lexi C. Foss:

Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Blood Laws Buy Links

The Prince’s Game Buy Links

 

 

 

The Four Elements of Writing

The four elements: earth, water, air and fire

Authors, here’s a tip you may not have considered:

Are there elemental forces influencing your writing? How can you use the concept of the four elements to enhance your stories?

 

Elemental, My Dear

The concept of The Four Elements is an ancient one. Though it varies in different cultures, the most common elements are Air, Water, Fire and Earth. While we may not take the four elements as seriously today as we used to, the basic concepts have endured and can still be applied to gain understanding of a subject. Here’s a summary of the most common descriptions of each element:

Air– Thought, communication, intelligence, the power of the mind

Water– Emotion, healing, the feminine aspect

Fire– Passion, purification, destruction, the masculine aspect

Earth– Physical, grounding, growth, material world

 

On Trend

Currently in Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy genres, there are so many stories featuring “Elementals”, (people or beings with special powers corresponding to an element) that it is almost a subgenre.  The idea of wielding power over nature is appealing, and it’s interesting to see how different authors twist the concept. But you don’t have to use the elements in a literal sense, to gain understanding or benefit. Here’s how I use the element’s influence in my stories:

 

Setting- physical location where the story happens (place), corresponds to Earth. This grounds the reader.

Ideas- the communication of the story (words, dialogue), corresponds to Air. This speaks to the reader.

Emotions– the theme and feeling of the story (characters) – corresponds to Water. This makes the reader feel.

Action– what happens (plot) – corresponds to Fire. This drives the reader to finish the story.

 

Keeping the four elements in mind while writing can help to achieve balance in a story.  Have you used the concept of the four elements in your work?

 

 

 

2017- Taking On A Whole New Level

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

I wasn’t going to do the obligatory end of year post, but what a year it’s been!  When I read over my posts from the past two Decembers, I realize just how far I’ve come. One thing I learned this year─even when your dreams come true, there’s usually a surprise or two in the mix.

Mission Accomplished

In December of 2014, I wrote about how my life in general and my writing career in particular seemed to be gathering momentum. I had goals and plans, and they were taking shape. At the end of 2015, I noted how my goals and plans had changed, but the progress I had made was beyond my expectations. The same was true in my private life as well, as I had begun to consider some major changes to my day job.

Well in 2016, everything happened. I sold some of my business interests, a major change in my day job situation. The universe threw me a wonderful curve ball─as soon as I voiced my true desire and made a commitment to pursue it, the people and resources needed to make it happen came forward without me having to seek them out.  Funny how things begin to happen when you get out of your own way!  The result was I had a bit more time and energy to ramp up my publication schedule for my debut, Unexplained, Book One of the Higher Elevation Series. I also set up my author website and finally learned the whole process of producing an indie book and bringing it to market.  Unexplained, a paranormal romance, was published October 25 and was well received. Book Two, Untouched. followed on November 22.

Fallout Girl

Those surprises I mentioned?  I’m still working through them. There was some fallout from rearranging my businesses, and those you can never accurately predict, because people react to changes in different ways. Some aspects went well, some were difficult. The same was true for my rapid release schedule for my books, which I am still in the midst of (Book 3, Undeniable, comes out January 3, 2017). It was a thrill to finally be a published author, but there was some fallout from that, too. I talked about my unexpected reactions in my last post, Post-Publication Syndrome─Now What?

But that’s how it goes when you’re an entrepreneur, you learn as you go. If you start to think you know it all, you’re heading into dangerous territory. But I say learning is part of the fun, right?

Going Up?

So heading into 2017, it feels like I’m on a whole new level. As seems to be the state of the world, rules and traditions are changing, and all at a pretty rapid pace. The dust is beginning to settle in my personal life, making way for new things to grow.  I have new ideas for some old writing projects that have been fermenting, and a few new stories I’d like to work on.  Looks like the future is wide open, and I’m ready for the surprises yet to come.

What about you? Have you had any surprises this year? What are your goals for 2017?

 

 

My First Author Interview- I’ve Arrived!

unexplained-banner

I know everyone says you are a “real writer” once you start writing. Being published, winning an award, accumulating reviews, or hitting a special list are all wonderful, but if you haven’t achieved any of those, it does not mean you aren’t a writer.

Still, it was a special, exciting feeling last week to finally be published, and have my book, Unexplained, available for sale (on Amazon now, other retailers to come soon). And today, my first interview as a published author went live, so yes, I feel like I’ve finally made it!

The Interview

Author/Professor/Blogger Julie Tetel Anderson contacted me a few weeks ago, and I was thrilled to be interviewed on her blog.  If you haven’t checked out her website, you should. In addition to interviewing up and coming romance authors, she also explores a variety of subjects on her blog.  Romance, travel, and languages are her passions. She’s written several romance novels and also some non-fiction, and her articles have been featured by such publications as the Chicago Sun-Times and the Huffington Post.

I found her questions thoughtfully posed and professional. Here’s the link to the interview:

http://julietetelandresen.com/blog/five-questions-renee-regent/

 

The Appreciation

I’d like to thank Julie for interviewing me, the timing was a great kick-off to my release schedule for the Higher Elevation Series.  I’d also like to thank all the bloggers, authors and readers who shared posts about my debut, Unexplained.  And a huge thanks to those who took the time to leave a review─I so appreciate it!

Thanks also to Funky Book Designs for my awesome cover; and to Enticing Journeys Book Promotions for the cover reveal and release day blitz.

The Future

I was thrilled to see the reviews have been positive. Unexplained (Higher Elevation Series Book One) is a special story. I’ll be sharing some behind the scenes tidbits of how this story evolved in my upcoming newsletters so if you’d like to sign up, see my website here.

My release schedule continues with the cover reveal for Untouched, Book Two of the Higher Elevation Series on November 14th, 2016.  It will be up for pre-order soon, with a release date of November 22.  Book Three, Undeniable, is scheduled to release January 3rd, 2017, so stay tuned for updates on that one.

So if you haven’t achieved some of your writing career goals yet, keep trying!  If I can do it, so can you.

Cover Reveal, Giveaway, and an Excerpt for Unexplained

It's finally here!

It’s finally here!

There are many milestones in an author’s career, but none as exciting (and nerve wracking) as the debut novel.  I am currently in the throes of that particular experience, and I have to be honest- it’s thrilling and frightening at the same time!

After years of preparation, this turtle is finally approaching the finish line. My debut novel, Unexplained, which is Book One of the Higher Elevation Series, is now available for pre-order on Amazon. The actual release date is October 25th, and I hope to have it available on other retailers shortly thereafter.

Enticing Journey Book Promotions is hosting the blog tour and though it just started, I am pleased with the response so far. We are also doing a give away of a $25.00 Amazon gift card, so be sure to enter.  Here’s a link to the info, along with a book description and an excerpt:

 

#CoverReveal #Unexplained #ParanormalRomance

Check out the #cover for Unexplained (Higher Elevation Series) by Renee Regent, set to release October 25th!  Add this new paranormal romance novel to your #TBR list today, and don’t forget to enter the #giveaway!

==Add to your Goodreads TBR==

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31446579-unexplained

==$25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway==

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81aa78941061/

==Blurb==

When it comes to love, some things just can’t be explained….

A skeptical reporter who witnesses the unbelievable…

It’s the late 1970’s, and tenacious journalism student Sarah McKenn doesn’t believe the rumors of strange happenings in her small college town of Fort Winston, Colorado. But a supernatural event she experiences while chasing down a story for her school’s newspaper leaves her questioning everything. In her quest for understanding, she meets and falls for Chris, the only man she believes can help her unravel the truth.

A psychology student determined to prove his psychic talents are real…

Christian Levine is on the cusp of a bright future as a research psychologist when he agrees to participate in a secret experiment at the request of his mentor. Though it’s the perfect opportunity to prove his psychic abilities, the project turns deadly when Chris discovers the real motivation of the man in control of it all. Chris is forced to choose between his own freedom or saving the lives of his mentor and Sarah─the woman he loves.

A bond that transcends all boundaries…

The chemistry between Sarah and Chris surprises them—a soul-filling passion and a deep psychic connection neither thought possible. Can they discover what their bond means before their lives are ripped apart?

 

==Sneak Peak at Unexplained==

“Sarah, look at me.”

She did, and her breath caught at the intense look in his eyes. They were indigo in the muted light, and she wanted to believe she saw sincerity there, and heard the echo of it in his voice.

“We only have a limited time on this earth, and nothing is permanent. But it’s all okay, I’ve seen the other side, and I know that even though experiences and relationships come and go, who we are remains the same. So even though you and I may only be physically together for a short while, our souls will be forever connected. Especially since you have the same gift I have. We can see and feel what others only daydream about.”

Whatever she had expected him to say, this wasn’t it. But she knew in her heart, he was right. There was a soul-deep connection between them.  So who made up the rules on soul mates, anyway? Maybe they were not always the one you marry. Maybe they could be fascinating strangers who stirred up your world and then moved on, leaving you broken, but somehow more yourself than you were before they came along.

=Stay Connected with Renee==

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/Renee-Regent-Author-1625365841109181/

Twitter- https://twitter.com/reneeregent

Google Plus- https://plus.google.com/110476204648135749795

Pinterest- http://www.pinterest.com/reneeregent

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/reneeregent/

Website – http://reneeregent.com

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15611048.Renee_Regent

Cover Reveal proudly hosted by #EnticingJourney Book Promotions

 

I am so excited to share my stories with you. Book Two of the Higher Elevation Series is called Untouched, and it will be released November 22, 2016.  Book Three is Undeniable, which will release on January 3rd, 2017.  All books should be available for preorder before the release dates.

So if you are looking for a paranormal romance read that’s a bit different, I hope you’ll check out the Higher Elevation Series.  Thanks for reading!

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Upcoming Series Release- Three Retro Romances With a Supernatural Twist

Couple holding hands rear view against sunrise over mountains

Are you tired of the same old tropes and settings in Romance novels lately?  Do you like a steamy romance that also leaves you wondering about the mystical side of love and life?

If so, you might be interested in my upcoming three-book series, Higher Elevation. The first book, Unexplained, is due to be released this fall (date to be determined). The other two books will be released within the months following, so readers won’t have to wait long to read the whole series if they enjoy the first book.

The Waiting

My strategy with this series was to have all three books complete before releasing the first one, not only to ensure continuity with the characters and their stories, but to make sure they would all be available in a short time frame. Personally, if I enjoy a book, I hate waiting too long for the next installment. It meant reigning in my excitement to finally be a published author, but I am so glad I waited. By taking my time, I was able to “flesh out” the stories, and add layers and references that make the series a cohesive whole.  That said, each book can be read as a standalone (no cliffhangers), but reading them in order will create a richer experience for the reader.

The Genre

So what does this series have to offer?  The official genre is Paranormal Romance, but there are elements of suspense and mystery.  I often use the term “Supernatural” to describe the stories, as my characters are ghosts and psychics, rather than the usual Paranormal creatures (ala shifters, vampires, etc).  Other themes explored are astral travel, remote viewing, soul mates, near death experience, and the afterlife.  I love exploring the unexplained, but don’t worry, it never gets too deep or heavy!  Just enough to make you wonder…

The Time Period

What is also different about the Higher Elevation Series is that it is set in the twentieth century─in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties. If you lived through that period, you may enjoy the nostalgia factor.  There are lots of pop culture references because they affected the lives of my characters.  If you weren’t around then, it might be a way to experience what life was like with less technology, without having to invent a time machine.  (I can’t believe no one has done that yet, by the way….)

The Description

So, here’s my official series blurb:

 

The Higher Elevation Series- True Love Transcends All Boundaries

Three Retro Romances, set in the 1970’s to 1980’s, about the power of love, with a supernatural twist

Fort Winston, Colorado is a small town nestled against the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Maybe it’s the wind that howls down the plains, or the jagged peaks that cast eerie shadows over the land. Whatever the cause, there’s always something going on there that not’s quite right…or easily explained.

Can love alone prevail against strange psychic powers, tortured ghosts and the secrets of the past?

 

Here’s the titles and a short description of the books:

 

Book One, Unexplained

When it comes to love, some things just can’t be explained…

Can a skeptical journalism student and an astral-traveling psychology major investigate their weird psychic connection (and their scorching attraction for each other) before his talents put them both in danger?

 

Book Two, Untouched

Love isn’t always what it seems, when you’re living in the past…

A hippie photographer with a painful past is haunted by a ghost only he can see. When the ghostly girl shows up in his photos, his beautiful but off-limits (because she’s a virgin) friend agrees to help him solve the mystery. Overcoming his past and getting rid of a ghost won’t be half as difficult as resisting his gorgeous read-headed friend, Amanda.

 

Book Three, Undeniable

Time and distance can’t break an undeniable bond…

After eight years apart, can two people rekindle a love that disappeared? It’s going to be tough, for a psychic astral-traveling dude and a lonely single mom who have lost the sexual-psychic connection they once had─or have they?

 

Okay, so there are some common tropes─opposites attract, trying to resist someone you shouldn’t be with, and taking a second chance at love.  But being set in a time when we didn’t exactly have the world at our fingertips makes the quest for love and solving mysteries a bit more difficult.  Plus it was just plain fun to write!

 

Stay tuned for upcoming excerpts, teasers and a cover reveal date.  I am so excited to share my stories and will be posting more information soon.  You can follow this blog by signing up at reneeregent.com, or my old blog at reneeregent.com/worpress.com.

 

I’ll leave you with the first line of Book One, Unexplained:

“There’s nothing in the world that can’t be explained, eventually.”

 

 

Oh, really?