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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

 

 

 

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Fiction Trends- So Last Century

 

I’ve noticed a trend recently that I’d be willing to bet becomes more popular in the future. This applies to fiction in general, but more specifically to the Romance genre. I routinely do market research for my own education, and I’ve noticed more novels being set in unique time periods, that fall somewhere between Historical and Contemporary.
I’m talking about novels set in the 20th century. Perhaps we are now far enough into this century for the past one to seem nostalgic and interesting. Due to technology, life has changed so much in the past fifteen years that anything before that (pre-internet, pre-cell phones) almost seems quaint.
It’s All In the Details
I experienced this dichotomy between the centuries while writing my upcoming series, Higher Elevation. Set in the 1970’s to 1980’s, in a small town near the Colorado Rockies, I was reminded of how different life was back then. Communication was limited, although it didn’t feel that way at the time. You had to be near a home, building, or a pay phone to call anyone, and not everyone had answering machines. If you wanted to find someone, and they weren’t listed in the phone book, you were out of luck.
It was easy (and fun) to weave in pop culture references, because they were a part of everyday life. The politics of the era, the clothes, the music, the movies, and the cars people drove are just a few of the details which affect a story set in the last century. Modern conveniences also vary widely by decade, so a novel set in the 1920’s will be quite different than one set in the 1960’s.
The Decades
Here are a few examples of popular decades being used for settings of Romance Novels:
1920’s- This was a fascinating era, with flash and intrigue. The changing role of women, the emergence of organized crime, even the popularity of jazz music, all contribute to the romanticism of the time period. Flappers, gangsters, and financial excess are iconic to the Roaring Twenties. This time period is quickly heating up as a backdrop for romance novels.

Retro couple against old car.
1930’s – I haven’t seen many romances set in this decade, but there are many general fiction or literary titles. The Great Depression era lends itself to emotional stories of heartbreak and redemption. Still, romances can be written against any backdrop, because love is universal.
1940’s- The World War II era has also been romanticized, and is a fertile backdrop for military-themed romances. Strong heroines are often featured (think Agent Carter types), and spies add to the intrigue. Maybe it’s an echo of the movie Casablanca that makes this decade so inspirational.

WWII Nurse portrait
1950’s– There have been a few stories popping up set in the ‘fifties, and I think we’ll be seeing more. It was a conservative time, with rigid rules for society, which makes it the perfect backdrop for quirky, rebellious characters, or forbidden romances.

50s
1960’s– An iconic time of rebellion and upheaval, the ‘sixties are a great decade to set a story. Civil rights, war protests, hippies, the Cold War, not to mention sex, drugs and rock and roll. Plenty of fodder for conflict.
1970’s– The disco era was one of flash and not much substance, but the echoes of the previous decade remained. The Cold War was still going on, drugs had become a problem, and young people still rebelled against authority. The New Age movement began to take hold, providing some hope that love still did have the power to change the world.

Carnival in Cyprus
I haven’t seen many stories set in the 1980’s and ‘90’s…yet. In the decades leading up to the current technological revolution, each step forward was exciting. I mean, when microwaves first came out it was a big deal! Cable television changed everything, and so did the invention of mobile phones. But how people fall in love has never changed, so adding an interesting time period to a story can provide a unique, fresh twist.
Nostalgia Lit?
I think there is also a nostalgia factor. Readers who grew up in a particular decade may enjoy the details that bring back memories. Younger people might enjoy learning more about a particular era, one that hasn’t been done to death.
I am excited by this new trend of incorporating different settings for novels, television shows and movies. Our near-history has so much to offer, and it has just begun to be tapped.
Which decade of the 20th Century would you enjoy as a setting for a novel?

Psychics in Fiction vs. Reality

Tarot Card And Candle

It’s been said that everyone is psychic, to a degree. But most people don’t use their latent psychic abilities, so the ones who do seem extraordinary. In fact, we are more likely to gain any knowledge or awareness we have about people with psychic abilities from fiction, television, and movies, rather than true life experiences. Though we are fascinated with the idea of being able to use our minds in unusual ways, it seems to be more acceptable as a fantasy than a reality.

Real-Life Psychics

I have met several “real” psychics in my life, so I know they do exist. I enjoy having a psychic reading now and then, and at least half of those turned out to be accurate, meaning whatever they told me was to happen was specific and verifiable. I’m not talking about generalizations that could apply to anyone, but names, dates, circumstances that no one else would know about in advance, including myself! It seems that some people can “read” you, and tap into something where they can tell you what’s ahead. Sort of like a psychic GPS.

An example- after my husband died, I got a psychic reading in Sedona, Arizona (mother of all psychic places to visit). This was actually a friend of a friend, and I did not pay her, we were just hanging out. She tapped into all kinds of stuff that was going on with me at the time, most of which was so accurate got chills. She even predicted that I would remarry, and she also saw a child involved.

I had just started dating again and being childless all my life, was against dating anyone with children or even contemplating marriage (see my earlier post on that subject here). Well, she told me I would meet him within nine months, but it only took six before I met the man I was going to marry- and his son.

Fictional Psychics

So…that is only one example, and I think it is extraordinary when people can do that. But in fiction we must have conflict, and so here are the most common types of psychics used in fiction:

Crime solvers– can “see” where the bodies are buried, find missing children, etc.

Ghost whisperers– can communicate with the dead

Evil psychics– played for the fear factor, abilities used to hurt and /or control others

Comedic– played for laughs, as in Beetlejuice or Ghost (Whoopie Goldberg)

Being a romance author, I am particularly interested in psychics as people; how they interact with others, how it affects their relationships. But the nature of psychic phenomena lends itself to building tension, or conflict, since we don’t know how it really works or why some people have it. It can be used for good but also things can go horribly wrong, and that is what I am looking forward to exploring in my stories.

Have you ever had a psychic experience? What types of psychics do you enjoy reading about?

How Archie Comics Set Me Up For Romance Novels

Awhile back, I wrote a post on Losing Your Romance Novel Virginity, revealing my first–ever time reading a Romance Novel.  But I later realized there were a series of books that prepared me, or “set me up” for reading stories that featured romance as the central theme:

Comic books.

Specifically, Archie comic books.  Probably around nine to ten years of age, I started reading them and it quickly became a habit.  The stories were about the daily lives a group of teenagers, fascinating stuff when you are looking forward to becoming one.  While the plot lines were silly and the “romance” aspect pretty harmless, there was still enough sexual tension between Archie and his girlfriends (yes, he had two GF’s), Betty and Veronica, that it fueled my young fantasies.  Snuggling and kissing were as far as it ever went, but that certainly was tinder for a fertile young imagination.

I began to wonder what it was like to be kissed, to have a boyfriend.  Barbie and Ken dolls were great to practice with, having them dress up and go on dates.  I also filled the pages of a notebook with my own crudely drawn comics, my own characters that had adventures and fun.  And yes, they kissed, too.  Lots of kissing.

Generations of girls (and likely some boys, too) grew up reading Archie Comics.  They were first introduced in 1941 and have remained popular ever since.  New comics, with storylines and artwork reflecting today’s trends are still being produced, but the old ones have their following as well.  Through the website you can purchase books, comics, games, merchandise, and other collectibles.

The stories have also branched out in interesting ways- my Hubby, who has an obsession with the rock group Kiss, found the “Archie Meets Kiss” series and brought it to my attention.  Kiss is everywhere these days, like it or not, but I wasn’t expecting that one!  It turned out to be a silly story, but great fun.  Monsters, zombies, and Kiss descend on Riverdale!  Also the book I bought had artist sketches in the back, showing the development of the story, which was cool.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Another interesting series in the Archie world is the “Married Life” series, where in one storyline; he marries Betty, in the other, Veronica.  I haven’t read it yet, but apparently it extrapolates out the life Archie might have ‘if’ he married either of girls.  Which one is better?  Can’t wait to find out (personally, I am rooting for Betty.  You?)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Archie also has diverse characters, and has for many years.  There have been characters of different races, a gay character, and in a new release this month, a disabled character.  What a great way to introduce young people to the concept of diversity in fiction!

But the biggest surprise of all for me was to discover there is a series called, “the Death of Archie”.  Scheduled for release this July,    it chronicles the death of the beloved hero, and how his family and friends cope afterward.  Archie Comics will continue, but this particular series’ story line will end with the character Archie’s demise.

I say kudos to the writers and producers of Archie Comics for continuing to explore various topics and creative storylines.  Today, there is so much more going on in Archie’s world than sitting around at Pop’s , going on dates, and kissing.  Although, I hope they never stop doing those things altogether!  The “Teenage Romance” aspect is still important.  Who knows how many budding Romance authors are reading Archie Comics right now?