Note: From time-to-time, I’ll be blogging about writing. Some of these blogs will feature an author and his/her body of work, some might address an aspect of the writing process (probably as I am dealing/struggling with it in my current work-in-progress), and some might simply be me being a fan-girl over an author’s current release.
The opinions I express in these blogs will be subjective. I’m not trying to take that step back and be objective, because reading and writing is very personal to me. My approaches to writing, editing, and critiquing have been formed over a long life of reading, graduating with a degree in English, several professional editing positions, and twenty years plus of writing fiction.
Today’s premier “On Writing” blog is about Rosanna Leo, a best-selling paranormal and fantasy author, who has a new contemporary romance coming out with nary a shifter or a god or goddess in the mix. Vice will be released tomorrow, September 22nd by Samhain Publishing.
So, the question is — can a popular paranormal romance author make the shift to contemporary and take her fan base with her? My opinion is “yes.” Read on and find out why.
Remember what I said above about being subjective in these blog pieces? So, in the spirit of full disclosure, let me just say I’ve known Rosanna Leo for years – as a fellow author at Liquid Silver Books, as someone whose books I’ve critiqued and bought and read, and as a friend on social media. So, I might be a tad bit prejudiced, but then again … not. Why?
Because … Quality always tells.
I like and appreciate Rosanna’s writing whether it’s her paranormal series Gemini Island Shifters or her myth-based fantasy series … and her recent venture into contemporary romance with Vice hasn’t changed my opinion; in fact, it has strengthened my admiration for her work.
When Rosanna finished Vice, and before she submitted it to publishers, she asked me to read it. She had concerns; she wasn’t sure her fans who loved her shifters and gods and goddesses’ books would follow her into contemporary romance, especially one addressing serious emotional issues due to gambling addiction.
Understanding those concerns (I had similar ones when I took the side trip into scifi romance), I agreed to read the book and give her my honest opinion. After I finished, this is the author blurb I gave her to use in promotion BEFORE it was submitted or accepted by a publisher:
Rosanna Leo’s Vice is the story of Kate and Liam, two people damaged by their pasts who meet as adversaries and quickly become lovers. The sex is burn-the-sheets hot. Their interactions are fraught with deep needs and even deeper desires. But explosive chemistry isn’t everything. How Kate and Liam find their way out of the soul-sucking clutches of their pasts and into a future together makes for one powerful and emotionally satisfying story. I’ll read anything Ms. Leo writes. She’s that good.
“I’ll read anything she writes.” That sentence was my answer to Rosanna’s concerns about her fan base abandoning her – they shouldn’t.
The book was good, probably the best work I’ve ever read of hers, and Samhain acknowledged that by contracting it.
What makes her paranormal and myth-based fantasies so good also translates to her first contemporary: Rosanna knows how to plot, knows how to tug the reader’s emotions, and, simply put, knows how to write a damn good book.
Quality always wins.
And you know it wins with me since I don’t usually read straight contemporary romance, especially where there’s a potential for angst. And Vice had the angst-potential in spades. First, there’s the heroine Kate who’s emotionally damaged by a parent’s addiction to gambling and refuses to have anything to do with gambling in any way, shape, or form. Enter the hero Liam who, after a troubled and mostly loveless childhood, found success and self-worth through his ownership of casinos. Add in the instant physical attraction between Kate and Liam which might not be enough to overcome their emotional baggage, and you have the recipe for angst to the nth degree.
The fact that Rosanna still pulled me in and kept me reading until the HEA is a testament to her writing ability.
Here is what I said to her in my page and a half (single-spaced!!) comments on the story – – Note: Slight Spoiler Alert:
The emotional damage of Liam and Kate comes across strongly. I’m happy– and was relieved quite frankly — they found their way through the hot sex and to their real feelings. I got worried when Kate’s vaunted empathy and patience ran out and she couldn’t let Liam work through the issue she couldn’t live in his world of Vice. I think he was on his way there, but she’d had enough. Her damage from her father was just too much – she couldn’t lose anything else and not gain something she needed (losing her friends was the kicker). I understood why she left. It was a very effective crisis – and my stomach hurt.
BTW I don’t read angst stories usually — and this story has a lot of it — but you also temper it with the very real physical attraction and love that comes through when they interact. I chuckled at some of their early repartee — Kate picketing his casino was a hoot and then befriending his security was priceless. I loved that Liam protected her even after she left him – that was true love if I ever saw it. And she’d have come around to going back sooner if she’d read he was selling his businesses – so you’re handling of that was well done– it made them coming back together so much stronger.
So, the angst worked in this case – it was not made up or fabricated as many authors often do – I felt it and hurt for and with them and was very very happy when I got to The End and they were together.
In Vice, the emotions read true, not made up to the point of over-wrought drama such as the soap operas I used to watch when I was home sick from school. It takes a very good writer to handle the characters’ extreme emotions and traumatic pasts and their evolution out of them and not fall off that tightrope into melodrama.
Rosanna brings to her contemporary writing the same voice, the same deft handling of plot and characterization, and the same straight-forward writing style she uses in her paranormal and fantasy books.
So, to all the Rosanna Leo fans of her paranormal and fantasy novels, give Vice a try. I’m fairly sure you’ll get the same satisfying read from it as you do her other books. And if you are new to Rosanna’s writing, you can’t go wrong with Vice – it’s a winner.
Quality always rises to the top.
He’s much more than a bad habit.
As a Vegas singer and volunteer counselor, Kate Callender has experienced life on both sides of Sin City’s bright lights. The thrill of performing, and gambling’s devastating effect on the addicts’ families.
Liam Doyle is just the kind of man she despises—a handsome, enigmatic businessman with a knack for seducing customers into his casino hotels. Determined to put a lid on his growing influence, she prepares to picket the opening of his newest casino, Vice.
When Liam spots the lone protester hassling his customers, annoyance wars with instant attraction. And he quickly discovers the leggy redhead not only can’t be bought, she tempts him the way the sound of a roulette wheel lures a gambler.
They are natural enemies, but when a vile attack sparks Liam’s protective instincts, they begin a sexual odyssey that dances on the edge of addiction. Dangerously close to losing control…and losing themselves.
He meandered toward her and forced a smile. “You seem to have had a busy day.”
She whipped around and her eyes widened. He saw her give him a quick once-over. Did she like what she saw? Interesting. There was some perverse satisfaction in that.
“It has been busy.” She narrowed her hazel eyes at him. “Do you work here?”
So, she didn’t recognize him. Good. “Yes, ma’am, I do.” He crossed his arms over his chest and nodded, noting how her gaze dropped to his exposed forearms. Her lips parted. Clearly, working out had its merits. “And word inside is you’ve upset the big boss.”
Her nostrils flared as she dragged her gaze away from his arms. “About time.” She put her sign down and picked up her purse. “Do you know Liam Doyle?”
“I’ve heard one or two things about him.”
She stepped closer and her lips did the most amazing thing, curling into a flirtatious semi-smile. “I don’t suppose you’d be willing to share them with me? The other guy kept on sucking up about him as if he was wearing a wire.” She paused. “You’re not wearing a wire, are you?”
He laughed out loud. He couldn’t help it. This was way too much fun. He sidled close to her, leaned in conspiratorially, and put a hand on her elbow. Her very soft elbow. “I’m not wearing a wire. But are you sure you want to know the truth about Doyle? I don’t know if you can handle it.”
She gawked at him and then at his lips. Her voice came out in a whisper. “Try me.”
He murmured in her ear, taking note of her lilac scent. “Well, I hear at midnight he sprouts black wings and horns. And he’s always searching for innocent maidens to add to his coven.” He bit on his bottom lip, suddenly wishing he was gnawing on hers.
At first, her eyelids did this fluttery thing that made his imported pants spring to life. But then she blinked and began to laugh. “And here I thought I was dealing with a mere businessman. I didn’t realize Doyle was cousins with Lucifer.”
“What’s your name?”
She regarded him from out of the side of her eye, her mouth still bearing the same flirty grin. “What’s yours?”
“Consider me a friend who wants to give you some advice.”
The smile disappeared from her face. “And what would that be?”
“Don’t mess with Liam Doyle. He doesn’t take to it kindly.”
The coquettish shine in her eyes hardened. “Is that a threat?”
“No, sugar. That’s not my style.”
“What exactly do you do here? Are you in security?”
“Never mind that.” He waved his hand. “Look, you’ve had your fun. Why don’t you run along home now?”
She reached for her sign and tucked it under her arm. “I will go where I damn well please. And you can tell your friend Mr. Doyle to expect me tomorrow. Maybe next time he’ll be brave enough to confront me himself.” She turned on her heel and walked down the manicured pathway leading to the taxi bay.
Liam stared at her ass as she walked away. Brave?
Game on, sugar. He’d show her brave.
Samhain Publishing: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5577/vice
Rosanna Leo is a multi-published, erotic romance author. Several of her books about Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters have been named Top Picks at Night Owl Romance and The Romance Reviews.
From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.
A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance. Rosanna blogs at www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rosanna-Leo/e/B007X5P4I8