I am thrilled to share that my paranormal romance, THE RAVINE, took first place in the new adult category of YARWA’s Rosemary Contest! YARWA’s Day of YA was held at RWA Nationals in Denver, and though I couldn’t make it out, the coordinators posted a live stream that made me feel like I was there. Thank you to the contest judges and coordinators and congratulations to all the finalists!
This past Saturday, I joined the fabulous Virginia Romance Writers for their June Awards Luncheon. We all got lei’d (fun tropical theme) and listened to guest speaker Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches give a humorous and thoughtful talk on reviews. Soon after I was honored to learn that my new baby, THE RAVINE, had taken first place in the light paranormal category of VRW’s Fool for Love Contest!
Okay, so super-cheesy awesomesauce to add to this day–my supportive hero husband came down with me for the ceremony, and afterward, we went to check out the botanical gardens in Richmond. It was supposed to rain that day but turned out to be gorgeous-hot. There was a butterfly exhibit in their conservatory that was breathtaking–insects of iridescent blue as big as my hand. I savored the moment. It’s easy to forget, when you’re working hard toward something, to stop and look around you. Here’s to hope and a long journey filled with bright little moments.
Coming out of the writing cave for a quick post about my new project, The Ravine.
Both can see ghosts after dark. Both struggle with silence. They’ll need to work together if they hope to defeat his malicious poltergeists and stop her ex-boyfriend’s blackmail by the end of the summer.
This new adult paranormal romance is the sixth project I’ve completed in my adult life and has special significance for a few reasons. I aim to write atmospheric books, and the landscape in The Ravine moves between two of my favorite settings in New Jersey: The Delaware Water Gap and the shore. The setting rises as its own character, a metaphorical divide between the hero and heroine of the book who are also divided by class and whose houses face each other across a ravine. Silence about the past and overcoming that silence factors largely into this work. My hero is mute, but he is empowered in his ability to communicate through other means. It is the heroine who actually struggles the most with silence as she’s been taught that it is better move on and forget, burying your feelings rather than examining and validating them.
Ghosts factor largely into this project as both the hero and heroine are plagued by poltergeists. They will need to work together to bind friendly ghosts to them in order to keep the poltergeists at bay. It was too fun to write their ghost-hunting scenes, especially with such a dramatic landscape as a backdrop. Without getting too deeply into it, small-town drama and the hero’s fear that a particularly malicious poltergeist will bring harm to those around him threaten to put out the spark that glows between these two characters. They will need to overcome more than ghosts in order to find their happy ending.
Here’s a link to my Pinterest inspiration board for The Ravine:
Biggest reason: I write because I enjoy reading so much, but more on that later. 🙂
I write because it feels good to let my muse run wild. And I don’t have to be perfect–not on the first go. I can write and rewrite a scene until it works. I can put better words in my characters’ mouths and give them stronger motivations. Stronger hearts.
I write because I love to play with words and with plots. An English major to the end, I can’t help deconstructing movies and books. There’s a thrill that comes with uncovering metaphors, themes, and more that I hope to reproduce for my readers.
I write because I hope. That’s the essence of romance–that Happily Ever After.
My first exposure to romance was through fairy tales. I love the darker nature of true fairy tales along with the magic, adventure, and happy endings. Later, I got a taste of romance in novel form including my gateway drug to paranormal romance, L.J. Smith’s Soulmate. (Love you L.J.!) There were also the Harlequins poorly hidden in the back of the family closet and romantic movies from Disney to Dirty Dancing.
I write because I love where I live. Maybe I’m partial because I’m from NJ, but there is so much change over the landscape here. It’s more than the variations over the shore, farmlands, mountains, and cities. It’s the local color and how local–how different it can be from town to town. It’s gorgeous, white-sand pine trails and moldering, ancient, abandoned cinemas. There is darkness to my writing and the alternate Jersey (names changed to protect the innocent, etc., etc.), but it’s infused with splashes of light. With color. With hope and the strange and, of course, magic. I love to play with fantasy, tropes, atmosphere, desires, geek life, grit, and the Jersey world I grew up in to create something entirely new.
Finally, I write because I think there is a place in this world for every strange little story. There are many goals tied into writing for me, but the biggest by far is to connect with an audience who wants this mix of darkness and light in their books. I believe in happy endings and write them, but there’s nothing saccharine about then ends of my stories. Instead, I write endings that make sense with the characters and the story world. Sacrifices are made and happiness is earned.
I would consider myself incredibly lucky to connect with readers who would love romance, world-building, and the way that I twist it all together. Maybe one day. 😉
So I haven’t posted in a while, and I’m curious–how is everyone out in blog land? Have you read any un-put-downable books lately??
I have a few recommendations:
- IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover — Not your usual NA romance. A must-read, heart-breaking, bone-deep book.
- FRIGID by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout) — Incredibly hot friends-to-lovers NA romance.
- WICKED INTENTIONS by Elizabeth Hoyt — The first in her Maiden Lane Series. I went back for this on after reading DUKE OF SIN. This is not your usual historical romance. Hoyt is a master! Check her out for beautifully-written, outside-of-the-box characters.
- VAMPIRE MINE by Kerrelyn Sparks — Sparks is the kind of author that reminds me of why I started writing paranormal in the first place. She strikes a perfect balance between the high stakes of a dangerous universe and the quirky humor of its characters.
So I have news. 🙂 I’m excited to share that my new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, finaled in Virginia Romance Writers’ Fool for Love Contest!
This contest holds special significance for me since I finaled last year with my young adult paranormal romance, BENEATH US. Awards were presented at a tea party themed luncheon hosted by VRW that I attended. I was ecstatic to hear that my YA project took first place in the young adult / new adult category! We were given out tea cups as gifts after the luncheon, and I keep mine on the counter for good luck and as a reminder of all the awesome writers I met that day.
Now, I’m crossing my fingers for my new project, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS! This is the eighth RWA chapter contest in which this project has finaled. TTEK took first place in three contests so far: The Heart-to-Heart Contest, The Beacon Contest, and The Four Season’s Contest. For more, see my Projects page.
Michelle Joyce Bond
I created a Pinterest board for my new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, to showcase its #novelaesthetics. Check it out here: THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS: Pinterest Board
Michelle Joyce Bond
My new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, took first place in the paranormal category of San Francisco RWA’s Heart-to-Heart Contest! This is an incredible surprise–I still can’t believe it! I have my fingers crossed for this project since it is close to my heart in so many ways.
Because every time I post about this project, I try to share a little bit more, I’d like to talk about one of its unique characteristics. My heroine, Bess, works part-time as a medical scribe. In other words, she takes care of the clerical functions of a doctor’s job so that the doctor can be more efficient. A minimum of a high school diploma, computer skills, and a responsible attitude are required for the job. Working as a scribe is a great opportunity for college students who are thinking of aiming for a medical degree and want to see if medicine is for them. It’s also a great way to build experience and can turn into a career! Learn more about it here:
In my book, Bess is working as a scribe in the ER, so the normal risks of the job as well as the stress are compounded. She is also working with an awful doctor who tests her at every turn.
Part of this tale does take place on a college campus, but I wanted THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS to be as unique a new adult book as possible. That meant new jobs, new settings, and unique characters. Oh–and of course–a strange little curse…
Michelle Joyce Bond
I’m incredibly honored to announce that my new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, has now finaled in five contests: First Coast Romance Writer’s Beacon Contest, Mid-America Romance Authors’ Fiction from the Heartland Contest, San Francisco Area RWA’s Heart-to-Heart Contest, Missouri RWA’s Gateway to the Best Contest, and Windy City RWA’s Four Seasons Contest.
**Cue scene in which I spin in circles on a green hill and then break into Katy Perry’s “Roar.”**
These contests are all RWA chapter contests and their first-round judges have provided me with invaluable feedback about my project. The judges also gave me a lot of encouragement. Their comments just made me smile. 🙂 It’s one thing to believe in your book and quite another to hear someone else–a complete stranger–say they love it and can’t wait for it to be published.
Every time I sit down to write a new book, I try to push myself in some way. THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS is my first new adult book. It’s also my first book in dual POV, and I’ve woven my new learning from craft workshops into the fabric of the book. I also can’t help playing with things–like tying the paranormal aspect directly into the romance and its obstacles. The paranormal and romance plots do not coexist but are one in the same.
As always, I couldn’t do this without a few really savvy critique partners. When I was a teenager, I’d lock myself in my room and write and write and write. Those books are still somewhere in my basement on floppy drives (dating myself here)–fantasy paranormals that nobody ever saw but me. But as soon as I decided I wanted an audience and set that goal to be published, I knew I was going to need help. In many ways, it’s all about the journey, and I’m having an absolute blast working with my girls: Kimberley Ash, Arell Rivers, Noella Phillips, and Aryn Youngless. Write on!
Michelle Joyce Bond
I am stoked to share that my new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, finaled in San Francisco Area RWA’s Heart-to-Heart Contest!
Here’s a micro blurb:
A gamer-girl geek puts every guy she kisses to sleep. Her former high school rival is the last guy she expects to try and break the curse.
This was a fun book to write not only because of the new freedom presented by the jump in genre (I usually write YA) but because the chemistry between the characters was so strong.
This is also my first dual POV book, and I absolutely loved being in the hero’s head! A closet artist with a searing intelligence and blunt nature, Serge pushes Bess to her limits. There’s a lot of fun banter between the two throughout the book, and Serge doesn’t pull any punches. He’s my favorite kind of hero–the kind I want to slap.
The heroine, Bess, is bright with tunnel-vision determination and more than her fair share of quirks. Bess and her best friends are retro-gamers which meant I got to write a some fun scenes that include them geeking about in a sweet arcade. Bess is also a medical scribe. This internship offered to college students was interesting to research and definitely helped me to amp up the tension in this book.
I am excited to pitch this new book at NJRW’s Put Your Heart in a Book Conference coming up next weekend. Can’t wait to talk books, make connections, and get my craft on. 🙂
Michelle Joyce Bond
THIS SAVAGE SONG is so much more than an incredible title. Schwab’s question of what defines a monster is pushed to its limits in this inventive paranormal. Kate, a teenage girl, fights for acceptance from her criminal father while August–a monster who takes the form of a teenage boy–fights to control his hunger.
Here’s the blurb from Goodreads.com:
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
What immediately set this book apart from other YA paranormals I’ve read recently is that there is no romance plot. Though I love romance, it was refreshing to read a book in this genre that didn’t automatically go that route just because two teenage characters are thrown together into dire circumstances and had plenty of alone time for kissy scenes. Kate and August don’t need a romantic relationship to know each other at the deepest levels. Each holds a mirror up to the other, girl to monster and monster to girl.
August is, at first glance, the farthest thing one could imagine from a monster. He has a poet’s soul and a near painful level of empathy. Regardless, his basic nature makes him a dangerous–a hollow hunger that, if not satisfied, could lead to a catastrophic loss of control. August is a “Sunai,” a paranormal being that seems a blend of siren and demon.
There are other monstrous beings in the story as well. Malchai have traits that remind me of vampires, and Corsai seem sort of like shapeshifters. I think what Schwab has done is really smart. Many readers are tired of the more classic paranormal creatures, but Schwab was able to take the basic elements of those ideas and spin them into something all her own.
That leads me to the next and probably best part of this book–the world building. Schwab’s world is essentially a dystopia plagued by monsters. The city our main characters are living in is a Berlin of sorts that may fall once again into territory wars. In the midst of this, we have two teenagers (well…one might dispute that fact about August) from opposite sides of the wall who click despite their differences. These two grow to rely on each other when those they trust turn against them…when nowhere in the city is safe.
I hope you pick up this incredible title and check out more on Victoria Schwab’s website.
Michelle Joyce Bond