Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Guest Blogger - Melanie Dickerson

It's the beginning of a new month and the Playground welcomes debut author, Melanie Dickerson, who also happens to be a fellow member of our awesome RWA chapter, Heart of Dixie. She's giving away a copy of her book, which hits the shelves in two days. She'll explain a little later just how to qualify. And be sure to check out the book trailer at the end of the post. It's breathtaking. So please scoot over and make room on the swings for Melanie.

Thanks for inviting me to come to the Writing Playground today, girls! I feel honored!

I’ve been pondering romance. What is romantic to you? Flowers? Your husband doing the dishes? Poetry? An old European city like Vienna? I vote for all of the above.

What about story settings? I have two time periods and locations that I think are romantic. Firstly, I like to set my romance stories in medieval Europe. And secondly, the South in the late 1800’s. Those settings are romantic to me.

Why medieval Europe? Besides the fact that it was just such a colorful time in history, I think it has a lot to do with the castles and the knights. There is something uniquely thrilling about a castle, so mysterious and intriguing. And knights are also mysterious, and the whole chivalry thing … what’s not to love?

But then, that’s also what I love about the South. The men are so gentlemanly, deferential, and … chivalrous. Not to mention strong, dangerously gorgeous, and capable of rescuing a damsel in distress.

So what setting do you think is romantic? Or does it even matter? Is it more the situation that makes a story romantic? What is romantic to you?

Since my debut novel, a young adult romance set in medieval Germany, comes out in two days (Hallelujah! I hear the angels singing as I type!) I am giving away a copy to one person who comments on this post. Please answer one or more of the questions above!

And if you’re interested in reading
a short excerpt from The Healer’s Apprentice, Pepper Basham posted one on her blog.

P.S. If you live in the Huntsville area, Melanie will be having a book signing this Saturday, September 4, at the Lifeway Store on University Drive from 12:00 - 2:00 PM. It's in front of Target near Atlanta Bread Company.


robynl said...

I do believe it is the story and characters who make the place romantic but in saying that I find ski resorts, mountain cabins in winter, cabins at the beach, starry nights camping, etc. romantic.

Many things are romantic such as an unexpected gift, kiss or even the day my dh came to me with his hand behind his back and handed me a soft ice cream cone that he'd gotten from the Ice Cream shop)he had them put the cone in a cup to take care of the somewhat melting till he got home- I was so pleased.

Maureen said...

Congratulations on your new book! What a gorgeous cover it has. The setting is not what's important to me, more the actions of the characters. I am always a sucker for the small gestures that show a person is paying attention.

Cheryl said...

Great post Melanie! We are so proud of you and your accomplishments!

I find New Orleans romantic! I love the streets, the ambiance, the people and mostly the music. For some reason I connect with the Crescent City. My hubby and I have spent many an hour sitting in a courtyard there, just enjoying each other's company.

Problem Child said...

Welcome Melanie, and congrats! Nothing quite like being able to go see your book on the shelves!! Enjoy this time!

Playground Monitor said...

Congrats on the release. Every time I watch that trailer I'm taken back in time. They did a wonderful job on it.

I think anything can be romantic in the proper context. Sometimes we just have to open our eyes to see it.

Rebekah E. said...

Loved the trailer. Sounds like a great story. I can't wait to read it. I think any setting can be romantic as long as the story has the ability to grab the reader.

Pamela Hearon said...

I agree that knights and chivalry make me sigh. Even though I don't write about them, I love to read about them:-)
(((hugs))) on your up-coming release day! Go out and celebrate. There's nothing else quite like it!

Pamela Hearon said...

I agree that knights and chivalry make for great romance! Even though I don't write about it, I enjoy reading about it.
Congrats and (((hugs))) on your up-coming release. Go out and celebrate. There's no other day like that in your life!


Pamela Hearon said...

Ack!!! Sorry for the double post! I'm in Yellowstone and the signal is sketchy. Didn't think the first one went through:-)

Sherry Werth said...

Congratulations Melanie! I can't wait to read it!

gigi said...

Hi Melanie,
Whoever did the trailer did a lovely job. I went to the other site and read the excerpt for the book.
I loved it.

Like you I love medieval Europe and pre- civil war set stories. When I was little I dreamed of living in the old plantation houses that are all around in the area I live in.
the chivalry of men makes me sigh.
But there are a lot of contemporary stories where the men are chivalrous in a newer more modern way that I love too.

For me it is the small gestures that are most romantic to me. Bring home small surprises that he knows I one get for myself. Watching a chick flick when I know he would rather watch a guy action movie.
I mean who doesn't fantasize about the big things when it if the little things that matter.

Angel said...

What an absolutely beautiful trailer! I love the book cover too.

When it comes to romance, the actions speak loudest to me. I prefer something directed to the recipient individually (say she loves canollis and he brings her one) as opposed to the classic hearts/flowers thing.

But there are certain settings that can enhance romance. When I visited Scotland, it all felt romantic to me. I think because of the beauty and history. I wonder if that's what creates romance in our own lives--the history and beauty we create between two people as we nurture relationships.


Katherine Bone said...

Melanie, I got goosebumps watching your book trailer just now! Your publisher is taking very good care of you and with good reason. ;)

I read the first pages of your book and didn't want to stop reading. Your characters are wonderfully refreshing. Just on the off chance it was out, I checked B&N today. But no, your book is the best kept secret out there in book land. :D

Romance, to me, is the look in a lover's eye, a smile given just for you, a knowing glint that bespeaks you are both thinking the same thing. Romance is castles, palaces, mansions, and estates, but it is also in huts, villages, and forgotten cliffs overlooking the sea. I've been to many of these places and it wouldn't have been the same without the love of my life by my side.

Romance is what we make it, isn't it? It is in our own mind's eye, what we long for, yearn for, hope for. I long for days of chivalrous heroes and the women who seek to tame them, or vice versa. LOL! But I really want to know what happens when they bring Wilhem to Rose!! ;)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Whew! I'm late to the party! I thought it was tomorrow! ROFLOL!!!

Robynl, you are right, for sure. You could set a romance in a concentration camp and it could still be romantic if the characters were right for each other and the tension was there.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Maureen, the simple things are really sweet! Like Robynl's husband bringing her an ice cream cone!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Cheryl! I am thrilled to be where I am! This time last year I would have been flabbergasted, to say the least, if you'd told me my medieval would be getting published in a year.

I've never been to New Orleans! I need to go some time. I think the architecture is romantic, with the wrought iron scrollwork.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Problem Child and Playground Monitor! Certainly, romance can be many, many things!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Rebekah, for stopping by! Two more days! Woohoo! If you read it, you'll have to tell me what you thought of it. You can email me from my website.

Thanks, Pamela!!! I'm hugging you right back, girlfriend! In Yellowstone!? Oh my, I was seeing pics of Yellowstone on TV this morning while I was working out! That place is amazing. I need to go there too!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Sherry!!! I can't wait either!

Gigi, I've loved antebellum houses all my life. I was right there with you dreaming of wearing big hoop skirts and sitting on the front porch sipping tea and lemonade.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Angel, very well-spoken! And Scotland! Oh my, I'd love to go to Scotland. It seems like a place of such wild beauty, and castles too!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Kathy! Yes, I love the trailer too! They hired "Magnus Creative" to do that trailer. He's really good!

Thanks for your kind words about my book, Kathy! Zondervan is keeping it close until the release date, which is Friday!!! Hopefully it will hit store shelves that day! We should have plenty at LifeWay on Saturday, and they're offering them at $7.99 instead of the reg. price of 9.99. :-)

catslady said...

I really enjoyed the trailer! As to romantic - I think when someone puts the others needs above their own - somthing small is just as important as a grand gesture although those can be exciting too. Different settings are nice but not as important.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, catslady! Yes, I think self-sacrifice can be a really cool element in romance, or in any story.

Instigator said...

Congratulations on the release, Melanie! I can't wait to read it and I absolutely LOVE the cover!


Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Instigator! We have no control over covers, as authors, so I was really grateful to get such a good one!

Aw! My word verification is "bless".
Love it! God has blessed me with wonderful writing sisters! Thank you all for having me here at the Writing Playground! It's been fun!

RedPeril said...

I think in the right hands, it is the situation and not the location that generates romance. That's not to say the setting doesn't contribute. But really, it's almost more impressive when romance is pulled out of the mundane, or even drab.

It's an interesting question. Thank you for making me think about what I personally consider to be 'romantic'. I don't think I'm entirely typical in my mindset. Candlelight, poetry, and soft music never did it for me. I grasp the sensory concepts that are attached to it, but there has always been this immature part of me that giggles awkwardly. I'm an I-can-take-care-of-myself-thankyou-very-much sort of tomboy Yankee at heart, and had no concept of romance at all until I met my southern-bred gentleman husband and had him oppose my stubborn independence by opening doors, insisting on carrying things, putting gas in my car, and otherwise finding things he could do for me. Initially, I was annoyed, supposing that chivalry was motivated by the supposition that I was weaker or inept. I recall arguing this while having some task wrestled away from me one day, laying down an assertion about how I could to anything he could do. He then looked me square in the eye and said, "Absolutely, you can. But you shouldn't -have- to." And for whatever reason, that made me all heart-melty. Probably just because I'm difficult. >.<

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks for sharing that, RedPeril/Angela!!! I used to wonder why some women didn't like it when guys did things for them, and now I understand. You think he's saying that you're weak. But it's such a part of a Southern girl's mindset, for me anyway, to accept a guy's help. I think it's sweet. A girl could even take advantage of it if she were a mind to!!! Not that I ever would ...