Wednesday, 30 June 2021

FINDING PLOT IDEAS… TROPES

FINDING PLOT IDEAS… TROPES

Writing a romance can be difficult and ideas for characters and a romantic plot don’t always spring to mind. So, what can an author do when one book is finished and another is about to begin but ideas are in short supply?

If I’m really stuck and the spontaneous “got to write this” inspiration well is dry, I’ve been known to pin TROPES along with ARCHETYPES on a board and fire off the darts. This gets me started and gives me something to work with.

Once I’ve got, eg. FRIENDS TO LOVERS and THE REBEL or the EXPLORER, etc., I work through the STASIS, TRIGGER, QUEST, etc. until a RESOLUTION is found. Using this method, in no time at all, there’s a rough outline of a synopsis that I can work with. And if the characters happen to take me on a different journey to the one I’ve plotted and planned … I go with it!

So, what TROPES are on offer? The most common tropes used in romance are:

 

Friends to Lovers

It might be they work together professionally, or they’ve know one another for years and were the typical boy and girl next door – only now attraction kicks in and things are getting hot. As it says on the tin, their relationships changes from friends to lovers.

 

Stuck Together

Two people are forced into a situation and there’s no getting away from each other. It might be they have to pretend to the outside world that they are a couple, or they could be confined in a location, and a romance evolves between them

 

Soul Mates

The couple are usually destined to be together although more often than not, during the story, they must be driven apart before they can be reunited.

 

Forbidden Love

Something or someone, family, religion, beliefs, etc. are keeping the two lovers apart. But their love for one another is so strong, that no matter what their problems are, they find a way to be together.

 

Fake Relationship

Usually, the couple pretends to be lovers in love. They could be together in a marriage of convenience or they could fake being together to give society a false impression of who they really are. Whatever the reason and whatever the situation, the couple eventually find true love with one another.

 

Secret Billionaire

A billionaire who has everything, a lavish jet-set lifestyle, answerable to one, and can do what he/she likes whenever he/she likes, is mistaken for an ‘ordinary’ person. Usually, the end result is that the billionaire is loved for their personal qualities/goodness, and not for their possessions.

 

Love Triangle

Three characters and only two will find true love. It’s an emotional struggle to choose who to love – the handsome inconsiderate CEO or the hard-working, caring nerdy-looking executive – the beauty queen or the wallflower. You’re rooting for all three characters, but someone has to lose.

 

Enemies to Lovers

They can’t stand one another, but somehow they find themselves in a situation where their hate and dislike for one another turn to respect and love.

 

These are just a few of the most popular TROPES. There are many more, and I hope you find a combination that inspires you…

Arabella

Website:  www.arabellasheen.co.uk 






Friday, 25 June 2021

A Merchant's Daughter - Arabella Sheen - EXCERPT 4

 



A Merchant’s Daughter

Arabella Sheen


A merchant’s daughter and a destitute nobleman. Can a marriage of convenience solve their problems?
Miss Emma Brentry is happy with life, but she feels the time has come to marry. Her father, a wealthy glass merchant, has expectations of grandchildren, and Emma doesn’t wish to disappoint him. Reluctantly, and somewhat halfheartedly, she begins the search for a husband.
Mr. Aaron Trent, a gentleman of noble birth, returns to England fresh from the Napoleonic war with a scar and limp to prove it. During his absence, his estate, Windhurst Hall, has been pledged by his cousin at the gaming tables. He is now in search of the necessary funds with which to buy back his home.
Traveling to Bath, Emma finds herself stranded on the road and is compelled to stay the night at The Stag and Hounds posting inn. She encounters Aaron, an attentive, handsome stranger, who offers her some much-needed assistance. Instant attraction is felt by both, and as dusk falls, Emma makes Aaron an offer he finds difficult to refuse.
With his pride standing in the way, can Aaron stay true to his principles, or will he, with reckless, passionate abandonment, succumb to Emma’s powers of persuasion?

Content Warning: contains explicit, sensual love scenes 


CHAPTER  2   -   EXCERPT  4 continued...

When Mr. Aaron Trent left Bath that morning to call upon his cousin at Merton Manor, he had not expected to lodge overnight at The Stag and Hounds. During previous visits, he’d often used the inn as a watering hole, but had only once before, when a snowdrift had made it impossible for him to reach his cousin’s house, sought bed and board beneath Griffin’s roof.
That morning, Aaron had traveled to Newton Saint Loe, a small village near Corston, with the intention of calling upon his cousin, Lord Phillip Merton. However, upon reaching Merton Manor, Aaron had been greeted at the door by Carter, the butler, and informed his cousin wasn’t receiving visitors that day. Carter had been instructed to say his lordship was indisposed until further notice.
Ignoring this message, Aaron entered the manor, and shrugging off his caped greatcoat, he passed it to the butler, along with his beaver hat and kidskin gloves.
“There is no need to worry.” Aaron touched Carter reassuringly on the shoulder. “I shall see you are not dismissed for allowing me entry. But if you should be, you may call upon me at Windhurst Hall, and I shall find you a position. That is, if I still have a roof over my own head.”
Then, unceremoniously, and with angered haste, Aaron made his way up the grand staircase until he reached his lordship’s bedchamber.
Without a knock, he entered.
The room wreaked of stale smoke, alcohol, and the stench of…sex.
Beneath the curtained canopy of the four-poster bed and shrouded in rumpled, disheveled bedsheets were Lord Phillip Merton and an unknown woman. They were naked and lying entangled in one another’s arms.
Fleetingly, Aaron wondered how long his cousin and the young woman had been asleep. It was nearing mid-afternoon and they were still dead to the world. But with ruthless disregard for their slumberous condition, Aaron walked to the window, pulled back the heavy, velvet drapes, and flung the windows open wide, allowing the chilled air outside to invade the stiflingly hot, reeking room.
The woman was the first to stir. “Oh…lordy, lordy, lordy. I ain’t supposed to be found here. If Mrs. Hawkins should find me…”
She reached for the sheets, trying to cover herself and shield her body from Aaron’s scathing stare. From her accent and words, Aaron surmised that the wench was a house servant of sorts.
“I suggest you leave,” Aaron told her.
Scurrying to collect her scattered clothes, she hurriedly dressed and fled the bedchamber, slamming the door fiercely behind her before Lord Merton had an opportunity to stir.
“Phillip, wake up. Get out of bed, man.” When there was no response from his unconscious cousin, Aaron picked up a pitcher of water from the washstand and poured its contents uncaringly onto the dozing Phillip.
His lordship was instantly awake. Spluttering and shouting, he cursed until he eventually recognized Aaron as his abuser.
“Damnation, Aaron. I thought you were Carter. What in the world are you doing in my bedchamber? And why the sudden awakening?” Phillip put his hand to his brow, shielding his eyes from the bright sunlight as he turned the air blue with profanities. “I feel as if an axe is buried in my head. How much did I drink last night?”
Aaron shrugged his shoulders and returned the now empty pitcher to the washstand. “How the hell should I know? I was not here.”
Standing with his arms akimbo, Aaron assessed his cousin’s condition.
“Well, you ought to have been here,” said Phillip. “That scullery maid was more than accommodating, and I’m sure she could have found a suitable friend to satisfy your needs.”
Aaron gave a snort of disgust. “Your offer, although I’m sure kindly meant, would have been refused. I like my women willing, not coerced. Servants generally feel under an obligation to their masters, whereas courtesans, although more expensive, are less of a problem in the long run. Take my advice and stay away from the servants.”
Phillip scratched his head. “What are you doing at Merton Manor, and at this ungodly hour? As far as I knew, you were supposed to be somewhere on the south coast, recovering from war wounds. I was told it would take at least a year for you to fully recover. There were also rumors you would not make it at all―that you would die.”
“Is that why you spent most of my fortune and entailed my estate?”
Before enlisting and leaving England to fight Bonaparte in France, with the likelihood of not returning from the war, Aaron had signed a document stating that in the event of his death, his cousin was to be the sole beneficiary of the estate. During his absence, Phillip was also to act as trustee and executor of any business involving Windhurst Hall. Only the plan had backfired.
Returning to England, Aaron discovered the trust he had placed in his cousin had been abused. Having gained access to Aaron’s fortune, Phillip had squandered most of the holdings and had entailed Aaron’s home, Windhurst Hall, leaving Aaron with only a pittance upon which to live.
   
A Merchant’s Daughter
Copyright © 2019, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 9781949300468
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: August 2019
Editor: Pamela Tyner
Cover: Fantasia Frog Designs

eBooks are not transferable. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously. 

About Arabella Sheen



Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

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And other reputable ebook retailers... https://books2read.com/u/3kpAog 

Arabella Sheen  http://arabellasheen.co.uk 

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Heat Levels - How Hot Do You Write?

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT FROM EROTIC NOVELS...?



I write contemporary and historical novels and offer them to my readers as: Tender love stories with a hint of sensual passion . . . and moreMy publisher, when choosing search engine categories for my novels, brackets me in the #erotic romance genre. So, how do you decide where your novel fits into the world of romance and erotica.
The “hotness” or “heat levels” in this post have been split into four groups. I’ve tried to include in each section what I believe are the expected ranges of sexual interaction and heat.
The boundaries between these groupings can be a bit blurred and merge, so please don’t take what is written as absolutely true or without variations. Each publisher's requirements are different and every reader's personal expectations are individual.

As a Rule of Thumb...
Sweet/Clean = the bedroom door is closed
Sensual = a romance for the mainstream reader - use imagination
Erotic = a romance story with varying heat levels of sexual interaction
Erotica = a story heavy on sexual interaction, with a high heat level, and some romance in the storyline
Pornography = the graphic depiction of sexually explicit scenes – end of.

Heat Level 1
Minimal or no physical sexual interaction.
There might only be kissing and touching. Physical romance is usually implied or mentioned in vague general terms.
Often described as “sweet or “clean” romance.
The emphasis is on the romantic emotional journey.

Heat Level 2
Usually found in the mainstream romance section of book stores.
Might contain graphic sex, subtle erotic content, and adult language.
A bit of hanky-panky happens and the physical details are described, but they are not “full-on” or graphically depicted. Most of the “bedroom” interaction is left to the reader’s imagination.

Heat Level 3
Contains graphic sex, erotic content, and adult language. May offend mainstream readers.
Explicit descriptive narrative and adult language used. Sex is portrayed in graphic terms. Lots of sex scenes and likely to depict acts beyond intercourse.

Heat Level 4
Hardcore erotic content. Graphic descriptive sex and adult language used. Will offend mainstream readers.
This heat level tends to stray from the elements of erotic romance and enter the boundaries of strong pure erotica.

I hope you find your romantic reading and writing comfort zone...





Tuesday, 22 June 2021

RELUCTANT BRIDE - ANTHOLOGY

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Can Amal commit to an unwanted marriage?


Amal Khan doesn’t want a new man in her life and she certainly doesn’t need a sexy, silver-haired Frenchman nearly twice her age as a lover. But when design engineer, Lucas Martinez, arrives to troubleshoot during the pandemic, he invades not only her world, but also her bed and her heart.

Lucas falls ill with the deadly virus and in an attempt to solve a family problem, he forces the unwilling Amal into a hasty marriage.

Amal’s faced with a dilemma. It’s one thing to have a fling with an older man, but another to marry, knowing Lucas might die.

Dare she take a chance, or would she be out of her depth and facing heartache?

Friday, 18 June 2021

A Merchant's Daughter - Arabella Sheen - EXCERPT 3

 


A Merchant’s Daughter

Arabella Sheen


A merchant’s daughter and a destitute nobleman. Can a marriage of convenience solve their problems?
Miss Emma Brentry is happy with life, but she feels the time has come to marry. Her father, a wealthy glass merchant, has expectations of grandchildren, and Emma doesn’t wish to disappoint him. Reluctantly, and somewhat halfheartedly, she begins the search for a husband.
Mr. Aaron Trent, a gentleman of noble birth, returns to England fresh from the Napoleonic war with a scar and limp to prove it. During his absence, his estate, Windhurst Hall, has been pledged by his cousin at the gaming tables. He is now in search of the necessary funds with which to buy back his home.
Traveling to Bath, Emma finds herself stranded on the road and is compelled to stay the night at The Stag and Hounds posting inn. She encounters Aaron, an attentive, handsome stranger, who offers her some much-needed assistance. Instant attraction is felt by both, and as dusk falls, Emma makes Aaron an offer he finds difficult to refuse.
With his pride standing in the way, can Aaron stay true to his principles, or will he, with reckless, passionate abandonment, succumb to Emma’s powers of persuasion?

Content Warning: contains explicit, sensual love scenes 


CHAPTER  1    EXCERPT  3  continued...

Emma felt flustered and out of her depth. Approached by a stranger, she had no idea how she ought to react. Should she be affronted, or should she simply ignore him? If he was prepared to assist, she decided that perhaps she ought to be civil in case she was compelled to accept his offer of help.
“My name is Emma Brentry, and I’m from Bath, sir.”
Emma stood and dropped a curtsy. She wasn’t used to introducing herself to strangers. Then again, neither was she used to frequenting posting inns.
“Miss Brentry.” The gentleman bowed. “Mr. Aaron Trent at your service. I was about to suggest I collect your belongings. My curricle is outside, and as I have yet to stable my grays, it will be no hardship to drive a mile or two and retrieve your luggage. Is that idea acceptable to you?”
The man before her was olive-skinned and unfashionably bronzed, as if he’d spent much of his time outdoors in the sun. He had a strong jawline and a straight nose that hinted of noble birth. For some unknown reason, Emma felt the immediate pull of his undeniable magnetism and was instantly attracted.
“The idea of you collecting my luggage is more than acceptable, sir. But might I be so bold to suggest I accompany you? You see, my father’s coachman, Gresham, is suspicious of most people we encounter, and he might not relinquish my belongings to you. I would also like to assure him that I am all right. He’s such a worrier, and as you and I are not known to one another…”
“I’m pleased to hear you have a coachman. To be honest, I was beginning to doubt your story. I could not envisage you driving a barouche or tackling the problems of a broken wheel alone. Certainly, you may ride with me. As for my credentials, here is my calling card.” Aaron’s hand delved into his pocket and emerged with a delicately engraved silver card case. He flipped the lid open and handed her a card. “Griffin will also vouch for me. Will you not, Griffin?”
“Course I will, Major Trent, sir. I’ve known you nigh on ten years or more. You’ve often stayed in Newton Saint Loe with your uncle, Lord Merton―God rest his soul. Merton Manor is just down the road. His lordship was always well-respected hereabouts. It’s a shame he passed away. And now that your cousin has―”
“Thank you, Griffin. I’m certain Miss Brentry has no need of my life history. If you could see your good wife prepares a room for her, and also somewhere for the coachman to sleep, we shall be indebted.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll ask Mrs. Griffin to see to it right away.”
Aaron placed his hand beneath Emma’s elbow, and he steered her carefully toward the door. As they stepped away from the inn and emerged into the bright sunlight and fresh air, she was made aware of exactly how dark and musky it had been inside. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she turned to face Aaron.
Glancing briefly at his calling card, she read his details before placing it in her reticule for safekeeping. He seemed an honest enough person, and her instincts told her she could trust him.
“Well, Mr. Trent…what now, sir?” she asked.
Emma tilted her head to look up at Aaron. She estimated he was all of six-foot-two inches, and in the afternoon light, she could see that what she had thought to be dark brown curls were in fact jet-black locks. And then she noticed the rough, jagged line of a scar across his left cheek. It looked raw, fresh, and ugly.
As his eyes looked searchingly into hers, seeking her reaction to his injury, she only just managed not to turn her gaze away with unthinking revulsion. When inside the inn, she had not seen the scar, but perhaps that was because Aaron had intentionally kept his face averted in order to conceal the unsightly wound.
Emma looked across the cobbled yard and noticed an ivory-colored phaeton with two matching grays. It was standing near the water trough.
She hadn’t noticed the carriage earlier and surmised that the stagecoach, while waiting to depart, had blocked her view. It was a fine piece of equipment, and if she was of a sporting nature, which she wasn’t, she would be full of admiration for the elegance of the carriage and the thoroughbreds attached.
“Your carriage awaits, my lady. Shall we?”
As they walked toward the phaeton, Emma detected a slight limp in Aaron’s gait. At first, she’d thought the ivory cane he held was purely a fashionable accessory, as most dandies and coxcombs carried such a thing with them, but she’d been wrong. Aaron wasn’t using the cane for effect; he used it for support and as a walking aid.
Thinking it best not to comment on his disability, Emma remained silent. She didn’t want to offend. If she offered assistance, he might feel affronted.
Reaching the carriage, and without further ado, Aaron took her hand, and then, placing an arm around her waist, he assisted her onto the high seat of the phaeton. It felt strange having a man touch her. But there was no one to see. No one to chaperone, and no one to condemn their actions either. To Emma, it felt excitingly illicit. Being so free with a man and behaving in such a way was not her normal behavior.
Aaron walked around to the other side of the vehicle and joined her. They were perched on high, and to Emma, who had never previously ridden in such an excellent carriage, the ground seemed ominously far below.
She was unusually nervous. She was about to set off with a stranger and was aware that anything could happen.
The phaeton was light and well-sprung, and she’d been told by Harold, her sister’s husband, that to own such a carriage was extremely fashionable.
Emma leaned forward and smiled. “In case I forget, I must say how grateful I am for your thoughtfulness, and I do appreciate your kind offer. I have no idea how I am to repay you for your kindness, but I shall―”
Cutting her speech of thanks short, Aaron lifted the reins and asked, “Left or right?”
“Um…turn right, please. It is not far, and we should be there in―”
Her words were lost as, with a flick of the whip, the horses sprang forward and they were off at a spanking pace. 
  
A Merchant’s Daughter
Copyright © 2019, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 9781949300468
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: August 2019
Editor: Pamela Tyner
Cover: Fantasia Frog Designs

eBooks are not transferable. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously. 

About Arabella Sheen



Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

Social Media


And other reputable ebook retailers... https://books2read.com/u/3kpAog 

Arabella Sheen  http://arabellasheen.co.uk 

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