Friday, January 27, 2012

Guest Blog - Annie Rayburn

Annie Rayburn author of “sizzling romance that tugs at your heart.”

As a reader of romance and erotic romance, I want to be sucked into a book and live in the world the writer has created. I want to laugh and cry with the characters as they live their journey. 

Judy Blume says, "The best books come from someplace deep inside.... Become emotionally involved. If you don't care about your characters, your readers won't either."  

Her quote resonates with me. Not just because I’m a writer, but because I’m sometimes more empathetic than is comfortable. Yep, I’m one of those people who weeps over Hallmark greeting card commercials, sappy movies and even a few Folgers ads. I’d like to think my ability to connect through empathy makes me a better writer when it comes to feeling and expressing the emotions of my characters, but my readers will have to judge that for themselves. 

Sometimes it really sucks that I have to torture my characters before they can have their HEA (Happily Ever After). 

The world I’ve created with Insight, Phantoms & Fantasies and Bittersweet Obsessions is contemporary with a big twist: We’ve humanoid aliens living among us and they’ve been here for decades. They’re as much a part of society as any other immigrant. My books take place in Dallas, Denver, Atlanta and Geneva, Switzerland. My “aliens” are from the planet Crainesian and their main difference from us is in the way they mate. When a Crainesian encounters their ‘life-mate,’ they experience an overwhelming surge of pheromones. To say they’re attracted is putting it mildly. They also communicate telepathically and have the ability to share dreams, both platonic and erotic. 

But what happens if a half-Crainesian has been raised by his Human mother, knows nothing of his Crainy heritage and has never communicated with his thoughts? (Insight)

What if the woman has suffered through a brutal attack that’s left her distant and distrustful of the opposite sex? How would her mate go about winning her heart? (Phantoms & Fantasies)
Yes, when a writer is crazy enough to create characters who immediately recognize their intended life-mate, you have to put powerful obstacles in their path to happiness. Sometimes even taking away the one person they’ve been waiting for all their life, as I did in my latest release, Bittersweet Obsessions:

Three men. One woman. Who will trigger her obsession?

When it comes to love, they believe in one perfect mate,
but putting the centuries-old belief to the test

could bring them everything they desire.

In a culture where it’s believed each person has only one life-mate, what happens when yours is beyond your reach? Teriza feels the mating call to a man married to a Human. Unwilling to be the cause of infidelity, Teriza distances herself from her mate after an intense pheromone-charged encounter that leaves her in precarious health. She requires treatment and is sent to a clinic in Switzerland, where sexual surrogates are employed to heal such conditions.

After Paul Craddock’s life-mate died, he turned to surrogacy to ease the pain of loneliness. His reaction to Teriza surprises him by being more than a casual attraction. He’s intrigued to discover she feels the same. They experiment with the Human way of courtship, but the ultimate bond that Crainesians experience eludes them.

Teriza fears Paul cannot be content with her since he’s experienced heartglow during his previous marriage. Paul worries that the existence of Teriza’s life mate makes him the consolation prize, good enough, but not her first choice.

Though they are falling in love, they’re in uncharted territory without the engulfing pheromone storm of life-mates to guide them. Will they learn to trust their feelings and listen to their hearts before it’s too late? 

If these premises resonate with you, or you’d like to learn more about my writing, you can connect with me on my website, Facebook and Twitter.

As a reader of romance, what do you look for? Alpha or beta heroes? Independent heroines? Do you have favorite story lines, eras or settings? 


marybelle said...

I always find that it is the heroines that make a story great for me. If the heroine is feisty, witty, intelligent & not afraid to stand up for herself, I will generally love the book.

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Me, too, Marybelle! At first, I had trouble writing Deacon's wife, Sally in Bittersweet Obsessions. She was...repressed and shy, so different from Teriza! It took me awhile to get into her head, but once I realized that love was her motivation, I knew there was an inner wild child waiting to escape. She was much stronger by the end of the book.

Michele Stefanides said...

Your characters have very strong identities, very easy to identify with. I really liked how you crafted Sally, she was determined not to lose her man, Cranesian or not. Your characters are so nice, it's a real attraction to your books for me. Good people, good stories, and lots of sizzle.

Tamara Hunter said...

I love the world you created! Your characters are memorable and it's amazing how they stay a part with you long after you finish reading the book!

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Aww, Michele, (blush, blush) thank you so much! I'm ecstatic that you enjoy my stories.

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Thanks, Tamara. I can say the same about your characters. It's rare for me to re-read a book (like I did yours), so kudos!

Lorna said...

Very interesting concept. I love the idea of a life-mate society. After 22 years of marriage, I do believe in the possibility of a 'forever' love.

When you are writing, do you find your character conflict just happens as you are going along, or do you go in to your book with an idea of the conflict and write around it?

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Great question, Lorna. I'm a "plotster", meaning I plot some, write by the seat of my pants some. I started Bittersweet Obsessions, knowing what the situation would be between Teriza and her life-mate and that Teriza would never break up a marriage because of her life experience.

I didn't know that Deacon and Sally's story would play such a large role, or whom Teriza would find happiness with. Discovering all that through writing is what makes the process so exciting to me.

Congrats on 22 yrs of marriage. Hubby and I celebrate 32 years this April!

Tami Brothers said...

Oh Annie! I am so one of those Hallmark people, too.

I agree with Michele, your characters are very strong and easy to relate to. AND that torture you put them through really makes that HEA well worth it. LOVE it (and the books ;) ).


Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Thanks for stopping by, Tami. Your appreciation of my work is gratifying. :D