Crystal Magic and Sapphire Nights

Rice_SapphireNights_600x900Pat here:

For years, readers asked me to write about the descendants of my Malcolms and Ives. But I have a bit of a problem writing about the children of my characters because I have a feeling they would be very interfering parents, and romance needs to be about the couple, not their overbearing, all-powerful families.

So I introduced the Unexpected Magic series and the great-grandchildren of the original Malcolms and Ives. Almost a hundred years after that first generation, I have a dozen fascinating families I can create, if I like, but I’m incapable of writing about the same concepts and setting into eternity. I needed to explore new shores and different conflicts. I’ll probably come back with more stories for the grandchildren at some point, but it might not be in England. My Muse likes to travel!

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Blatant Blather

Lureofsong-300finalPat Rice here:

Happy, happy New Year! I’m just back from visiting family in gorgeous California and Mexico and not ready to accept winter, but the year is still bright and shiny and anything can happen…

First, I’m supposed to tell you that THE LURE OF SONG AND MAGIC comes out tomorrow. Which means, of course I’m blathering about it in hopes some of you might be curious enough to actually buy it. Surely you have a few gift certificates kicking around burning a hole in your pocket? Or maybe someone gave you a new e-reader and you want to try it out? It would make a lovely new year’s present for me if the book shot up the charts! 

Those of you familiar with my historical MAGIC series will know what I mean when I say LURE is about MerelyMagic-SHthe descendants of the magical Malcolms and the logical Ives. Those of you who are not familiar with the series can pick up MERELY MAGIC in print or digital and find MUST BE MAGIC this spring from Sourcebooks Casablanca, but they’re not at all necessary to read this story. It’s just fun knowing that those Georgians who didn’t even know the word psychic have many great-grandchildren running around today’s world with odd gifts as my Malcolms called them.

My Malcolm in LURE is Philippa Syrene Malcolm James, Syrene being the stage name she used as a child singing sensation. The book is set ten years after she crashed and burned at the age of seventeen, convinced her voice kills. Since Pippa, as she’s called now, was abandoned by the side of the road at the age of four, she knows nothing of her Malcolm ancestors or the magical gifts they possess. She just knows her voice is dangerous, and she has spent the last ten years hiding from her past, learning to control her passions and her brilliant soprano. She’s built a rigidly controlled life in a small town in the hills above L.A. where she has friends who like her as she is and know nothing about who she was.

(Photo is from southern California and not the hills above L.A.  I've never learned to organize my photo albums!)

me in CA
And then along comes my Ives—Dylan Ives Oswin, known as Oz for short, because he’s a wizard in the Hollywood production industry for never taking no for an answer. Unfortunately, he’s a failure at family life. His wife died in a tragic car accident and his son was kidnapped by the nanny. Can you blame the man for being desperate when he receives a clue that the former child singing sensation Syrene might be able to help him find his son? Being a logical Ives, he’s not going to believe her voice can kill.

Being a soft-hearted Malcolm, Pippa can’t let a child be abandoned as she once was. But she can’t go back to being Syrene, so how is she supposed to help anyone? It’s a mystery, all right. Before they solve it, they have an entire town dancing to their tunes and behaving like clowns while Oz tracks down Pippa’s past. This isn’t suspense but pure romance.

I had an amazing amount of fun writing LURE. It’s one of those books that make the long hard hours of writing worth every minute. I really hope the magic comes through to my readers as well. If you’re interested in hearing more, there’s a sample on my website at my blog schedule is on my Musing On Writing blog.

Charlotte church
Do you believe some people are magically gifted? Do psychics simply use parts of their brains that the rest of us don’t recognize? Or do you think psychics are a hoax and brilliant singers like Charlotte Church have just been granted an extra dollop of DNA to enhance their abilities?

Sourcebooks will send two commenters a copy of LURE, so don’t be shy about expressing your opinion!

Creating Reality

Patbookmark Pat here, pulling a question from Ye Old Wench Question Basket. Kathy Blush is the winner of a recent Patricia Rice book for asking: As an author, is it more satisfying/challenging to create a story that is based in your own "reality" (i.e., region where you live/grew up, current times, etc.) or one that is based completely outside your personal realm (i.e., fantasy, historical, etc.)?

Fun question and one requiring my thinking cap! I’ve written contemporary romance, historical romance, books that border on fantasy with magical and super humans, and I’m also playing with books that are pure urban fantasy with mythical creatures.

And I think the basic answer to your question is that each book contains some part of my own reality, but most of the books are the world inside my head—and I’m not certain that’s real or even sane!

Historicals, obviously, are based in true history. I can take a piece of the past that interests me and research and form a book around it. I can visit the area I’m writing about, use authentic characters, and do everything possible to ground my romance in the real world, but it’s still fiction. Every iota beyond those tidbits of history comes from me saying “What if…”  I love the research, but I love the freedom of letting creativity roam, too.

The closest I’ve ever come to writing “what I know” was the Carolina contemporaries Mcclouds_woman600x900 ( I loved being able to write about contemporary people and problems and the beauty of the area I lived in. It was fun driving down the road and saying “that’s where that scene took place.” And research made a wonderful excuse to go to the beach! But in a way, those were probably the most challenging books I’ve written. They were modern fantasies about cartoon artists and archeologists and movie stars meeting everyday folk, but the contemporary world I grounded them in changes daily. The Telephone topics I wrote about then were old news by the time the books were published. Romance doesn’t change, but technology creates iPads and ebook readers and 3D televisions faster than I can write! I’ve been reading over books I wrote a decade ago, as I put them up in digital format (they’re available on Kindle and B&N now), and I’m amazed at how the world has changed since I wrote them. But people and love always remain steadfast, thank heavens!

I write romance for the fun and joy of falling in love over and over again. But in the contemporaries, I wanted to play with the realities of the times just as I do with the historicals. While it’s possible to write a book about people on the moon, readers need some connection to those people. We need a Impossible_dreams100x150 reality that we recognize, whether it’s the characters, their emotions or interactions, or the setting. So my contemporaries included people losing their jobs, getting divorced, falling in with the wrong crowd…  Anything that worked within the story. Those topics are close to the heart but no different than the problems people suffered two hundred years ago. It’s just easier to make people believe the fantasy of a lonely spinster marrying an earl than an ex-con marrying a wealthy cartoon artist!

So I think each type of story has its own level of reality—historicals are steeped in history, contemporaries in real people and settings, and urban fantasy probably in injustice and other social topics.  Each one offers a different opportunity to stretch creative wings.

Those of you who write, am I coming close to how you look at it? And for readers, how grounded in reality do you want your books? You don’t have to stick to romance. We read everything here!


And as a PS: my Magic series ebooks will be pulled from the stores by the first of January so they can be reissued in print and with new covers. It may be years before the whole set is available again, so if you're missing a volume, buy now!   Those were books set against a historical period, and I even tried to make the "magic" scientific!