by L.J. Greene
So here are a few things I learned from writing Sound Effects:
1.‘How’s the craic?’ makes for a very bad pun.
Sound Effects, Jamie and Mel’s story, was sort of an accidental one. Over the course of writing Ripple Effects, I absolutely fell in love with this couple, who were important secondary characters. I couldn’t not write their story. But curse my wild imagination while dreaming up Ripple Effects, and curse my inherent loyalty to an idea once it pops into my head, because I made Jamie Irish.
And I’m going to be honest here–writing a dual POV novel, partially from the viewpoint of an up-and-coming, Irish-born musician was a bit daunting. And yet, after listening to and reading countless interviews of native Irish speakers, Jamie’s voice came easily–maybe more easily than any character I’ve ever written. He’s a honey, for sure. Did I take liberties? Yep, a few. But I wanted to make Jamie as authentic as possible, and also give him a voice that was distinct.
So what does this have to do with bad puns? Pronounced like ‘crack,’ ‘how’s the craic?’ is an Irish expression that means roughly ‘how’s it going?’ Jamie says it a few times in its intended context. But I will confess that, in the absence of adult supervision, I couldn’t resist using it once at the end of a love scene. I’ll just apologize in advance for that one.
2.It’s good to break with convention.
Many of my favorite romance novels feature that dark and brooding hero. I’m all for it! But I love the challenge of writing characters that fly in the face of common romance tropes, and creating extraordinary situations from ordinary occurrences. We don’t often see the strong male lead who is unapologetically emotional and demonstrative, not just with his lady-love, but with his friends, as well. And that’s what made Jamie so much fun for me. He’s an open book. He says things easily–big things–without any hesitation or self-consciousness. He’ll cop to his own flaws, and when necessary, he’ll call you on yours. In one of my favorite scenes in the book, Jamie hands one particular record exec his head on a platter. But when it comes to Mel, who better to speak those words of love?
3.Not every idea is a good idea.
Oh sure, as an author, you covet all lightening bolts of divine inspiration, but let’s face it – in the light of day, some ideas are just stinkers. To be fair, my first encounter with this bit of wisdom came while writing Ripple Effects. I am very glad to report that before publication of that novel, I had the good sense to delete a particular scene involving a Butterfinger. Yes, you read that right. A Butterfinger. And trust me on this; you really don't want to know.
But armed with that bit of experience, I came to understand as I wrote Sound Effects that knowing which scenes to cut was every bit as important as knowing which scenes to craft. In fact, I deleted nearly seven thousand words from the final version of Sound Effects, and its pacing is one of the things of which I’m most proud. This book really moves! No mid-novel sag here! There’s a great secondary storyline that keeps everything hopping and provides a compelling through line for the romance. And no Butterfingers, I promise.
4.‘Oh, yes baby!’ only gets you so far in the writing of great love scene.
Well, yes, we do love our oohs and ahs. But it turns out that love scenes are very tricky, and much harder to craft than one might expect. Too much description with too little emotional context for the scene and you have wandered into “Hokey Pokey” territory, my friend. Readers deserve much more than just being told where the right arm presently is.
In fact, I’ll tell you that the first full-length love scene in Sound Effects, told mostly from Mel’s perspective, required at least a dozen re-writes before hitting those critical notes. On more than one occasion, that scene made me want to curl up in a ball and eat cake, but now it’s one of my very favorites.
The portion of it narrated by Jamie took extra special care. My belief was that, as a songwriter, he would describe things in a more artful way, with the precision and economy of a lyricist. So his perspective is exactly 78 words. And believe me, you’ll get it!
5.You are my inspiration.
Maybe the most important thing I learned through writing Sound Effects is how incredibly inspiring and generous an audience can be. The funny/eerie/awesome thing about life is that over the course of writing Sound Effects, my first venture, Ripple Effects, was finding its audience. And periodically romance bloggers or readers would post kind reviews or send me messages via Twitter. And those posts always seemed to come when I most needed a little boost of confidence to push through a tough spot in the process. They were a big part of the reason I never lost steam, and I am profoundly grateful for their kindness and encouragement. In case you may wonder, Chapter 35 (Jamie’s blog) was inspired by them, and is dedicated to them.
Romance, in general, is an underappreciated genre and one that deserves far more respect than it generally receives. We, both readers and writers, are not who they say we are. Romance blogs like Hart’s Romance Pulse play a critical role in giving opportunity to authors like me. Here is a great example: Angel Hart’s thoughtful review inspired me to pick up this book – and I’m not sure I would have ever discovered it without her.
By the efforts of romance bloggers, indie authors can reach an audience that is far more accepting than the publishing industry at large. It is because of their passion that voices like mine can be added to the mix. Talk about inspiration!
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L.J.'s Sexy Contemporary Romance: Sound Effects
Ripple Effects #2
by L.J. Greene
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 10th, 2016
What is YOUR passion?
When an uncharacteristically rash decision lands law school graduate Melody Grayson in San Francisco’s dicey Tenderloin District, she comes face to face with a dangerously tempting man who embodies every mistake she swore she would never repeat. Passionate, sexy, and far more insightful than she’d care to admit, he causes her to question everything she thought she knew about her future. Now she’ll have to decide where the bigger risk lies: in the prudent path she has been working tirelessly to pursue, or in the intriguing but uncertain one he’s offering.
Up-and-coming, Irish-born musician Jamie Callahan is no stranger to chaos; he’s lived a lifetime of it. But in the fall of 2004, when the music industry is on the verge of massive upheaval, the life he aspires to could come at a heavier price than he’s prepared to pay. And while Melody may be the ideal person to help him navigate the gambles he must take, a relationship with her might be his biggest gamble yet.
SOUND EFFECTS is a standalone dual POV adult contemporary romance that captures the gloriously unpredictable nature of life, in which the path from who you are, to who you’re meant to become may not be a straight one. It may also have a few bumps. Sexy, humor-filled, and relatable, Sound Effects is a story about living passionately, staying true to yourself, and finding that one magic person who makes the journey of self-discovery an adventure worth taking.
Available Here: Amazon | iBook | Barnes & Noble