Sunday, October 28, 2007

How dangerous is too dangerous?

Okay, so we like to push the envelope, think outside the box, write on the edge. Pick your idiom; it’s our goal to have our names listed in the definition. Usually we take a great deal of pride in this. Celebrate our lifelong rebellion against social norms and cultural conventions. We imagine ourselves modern day James Deans with a pen. But how far is too far?

Over the course of our twenty-some-year career, we’ve shined the spotlight on infidelity, an incest survivor, alcoholism, bi-sexuality…you name it, it’s probably popped up somewhere in our forty novels, all of them romance with the exception of the three titles in our Sofie Metropolis, PI series, and even Sofie's love life is an important part of her evolution. We take great pleasure in mixing a hefty dose of reality in with our fiction, mostly because it lends a certain authenticity, partly because – along with our characters – we’re grappling to understand life’s mysteries. And we almost always come away from each book with if not a complete understanding at least acceptance that the world would be a very drab place indeed if we were all cut from the same piece of cloth.

Which leads us to our latest Blaze DANGEROUS.

When our editor Brenda Chin first proposed the Extreme series of Blazes, we were at a loss of where we could possibly take our books that we hadn’t taken them already. I mean, outside those elements that would boost them from romantica to straight erotica. So it took us awhile to wrap our minds around the concept that she wasn’t necessary looking for sex – or more of it – since regular Blazes were already blazing that trail (pardon the pun). She was looking for books that dealt with themes that normally wouldn’t appear in series romance fiction, such as vampires, time travels, witches, etc. But while we’re both fans of paranormal, we feel there are enough everyday elements to deal with without delving into unknown realms (that and we wrote one really dark paranormal years ago that still sits in our attic and haunts us both to this day).

So we went the reality route and found ourselves asking questions like: What if your father were a mafia don? If you were born into a New York family that was a cross between the Corleones and the Sopranos? What would be normal to you? And what would life be like if your father and brother were gunned down in broad daylight and you were sucked back into an existence you knew like the back of your hand but had hoped never to have to confront?

Thus Lady Boss Gia Trainello and FBI Agent Lucas Paretti were born.

The end result was a book we felt was true to the subject matter…as well as the most brutal story we’d ever written. Even Brenda had us take out a couple of the more violent passages and make the end happier (how does one write about the mob without violence?).

But, ultimately, the story is about one woman, and one man, and how they overcome their own unique obstacles in order to claim the happily-ever-after they so deserve. And in Gia and Lucas' case, create their own definition of the word family.

Have you read the book? How do you feel? Was the subject matter distracting? Or did you feel it was in fitting with the story? In the movie industry, sex is what makes a film R-rated, violence is acceptable. Is the reverse true in books? Especially romance novels?

You tell us.

Oh, and as special incentive, we’re giving out a copy of one of our books to one lucky commenter. All you need do is post to qualify. We were going to make the giveaway a copy of DANGEROUS, but decided to open it up to any title in our forty strong backlist, including the three hardcover titles in our SOFIE METROPOLIS, PI series.

For more info on us and our books, and to enter our October on-line drawing for a box of Godiva Halloween chocolates, visit and


Nathalie said...

I don't like violence in a book... especially a Blaze one that I read for the wild sensations. I understand and welcome it in an intrigue book.

Tori Carrington said...

Fair enough, Nathalie. Have you read DANGEROUS? I think one of the greatest compliments we've been given (in response to FORBIDDEN, a Blaze that dealt with infidelity), a reader said that while she disagreed with the subject matter, she trusted us to handle it in a compelling manner.

So our next question to you would be, "If one of your favorite authors wrote a book dealing with a topic with which you disagreed, would you still read that book?"


Lori & Tony

CrystalG said...

I think it depends on the book. If it fits with the characters' story then I think it is ok. I haven't read the book but it sounds fantastic and I want to read it now. :)

Tori Carrington said...

'Kay, we're off to our son Tim's house to feed him Sunday dinner (he usually travels the hour and half down, but every now and again we go up there, you know, so his dad can go thru his stuff to make sure he's staying out of trouble -- something, interestingly enough, Tim seems to enjoy even though he's 26 -- lol).

Will check back later to see what's going on...and to call in to see if I'm going to be required to report for jury duty. This and a high profile local case begins seating a jury tomorrow (15 year-old shot a Toledo police detective to death back in February).

Part of me prays for a plea deal (which is what happened when I checked in for duty three years ago). Another part is curious and welcomes the bird's eye view of the entire legal process. Although I'm not sure how that part feels about the seriousness of this particular case.

All things being equal, I'd rather be writing...



Tori Carrington said...

Thanks, Crystal G. We always strive to make sure that nothing appears in our books that isn't directly related to the characters' emotional evolution. So the violence is relevant, but -- thanks mostly to Brenda -- we don't think it overwhelms the story.


Lori & Tony

Tori Carrington said...

Ah! Let me just say this quickly before we head out, you know, for those Blaze readers like Nathalie who may be turned off by DANGEROUS: our next Blaze, out in February, is more traditional Blaze fare. Well, okay, maybe "traditional" doesn't quite cut it, but the theme of two guys and a girl...well, let's just say it earned an Extreme rating.

Damn. Can't post the cover here, but it's on our site at And if you click on it at the top of our page, you'll see the entire cover, including the blurb.

The artwork is hot, hot, hot!


Lori & Tony

Stacy S said...

I haven't read the book yet. If it fits the story I'm ok with the violence. It sounds like a good one.

Good luck on the jury duty.

Lois said...

I'm someone where it always just depends. . . (and alas, I haven't read Dangerous, so I can't comment on that one. :) ) I may or may not avoid one that I know in advance that has violence, but it all depends on what it's about and if it catches my eye.

If I'm reading something that I'm not aware ahead of time but see while reading along, it doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to stop reading. . . there are plenty of books in my book journal that I rated as a 5 because while it might not be my thing, but it was still very well written.

Ah, is that too much of a long winded "maybe" for you? LOL :) In short, it always comes down to it depends. :)


JC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC said...

sorry, I forgot to spell check my last response, and I made a few embarrassing spelling mistakes. Let me try again.

I'm intrigued. I don't mind violence- well, normally. If an author puts it in there, and it's an author that I know is fairly good, then I trust that the violence has a reason. I actually am bothered more by visual violence- movies or comic books really really unnerve me.

That said, strait violence I can deal with in books, but twisted violence, like torture or sexual violence I can be really bothered by. It's interesting the divisions that you mentally put in the books you read.

I haven't read your book yet, but now that I've read your premise, I'll look it up the next time I get to a bookstore.

Lily said...

I have not read it yet... though I have bought as an ebook :) violence does not distrub me if it treated in a compelling matter!

Tori Carrington said...

'Kay, we're back from Tim's. Sigh, it's always great to see the little devil. I swear, I always want to bring him back home, ply him with cookies and then send him upstairs to do his homework.

Thanks, Stacy! For both the thumbs up and the well wishes on jury duty.

Lois, your response was perfect! Thanks for taking the time to post it. I so know where you're coming from. And publishers can be quite sneaky when it comes to matters of this nature. We've had books where Harlequin has completely masked the theme for fear of scaring off readers, I think, and others where they surprisingly laid it all out on the back cover.

A compelling story is always our utmost goal. Yes, we definitely try to push the envelope when brainstorming, but after that every book we write is about the heroine and hero and their love story, period.

Oooh, more posts! To be cont'd...


Lori & Tony

Tori Carrington said...

LOL, JC! Oh, we so know what you're saying. We enjoyed a nice bottle of Chianti over dinner with Tim (no, no fava beans or human organs involved), and I'm rereading our posts three times before putting them through for fear of typos. Sometimes the fingers just take on a life of their own, don't they? Or how about those days when, for the life of you, you can't remember how to spell a simple word like "boast" and have to look it up. Yeesh. Those are the worst.

I'll take clumsy fingers over brain farts any day!


Lori (& Tony)

Tori Carrington said...

Hi, Lily!

How are the e-books? Do you have a reader? We got a looksee of the new Sony reader and I had to wipe drops of my own saliva off the screen before handing it back to the owner.

I've been intrigued by the format for the longest time but have yet to make the leap, so any words of advice would be mucho appreciated.


Lori (& Tony)

Tori Carrington said...

We just received our author copies of FOUL PLAY on audio and listened to the first CD and a half during the drive up and down to see Tim. Different reader from the first two Sofie Metropolis titles(unfortunately Anna Fields aka Kate Fleming passed away last year), so it took a little while to get used to her, but Rebecca Rogers does a great job channeling our girl Sofie.

Yeesh, I read something like that and think, "What a braggart!" But you have to understand that we view the audio versions of our books much differently than written versions. The actress completely claims the material so we relax and enjoy her interpretation. In fact, we get to the point where we almost forget we wrote the words she's speaking.

Strange, definitely strange. But also wonderful.

Okay, Spike has parked herself against my ankle so I better go feed her...


anne said...

I do read books with violence and feel when it is handled with care and well, it fits in with the story. I don't mind it at times as long as there is a limit to it as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind violence until it goes that step too far (usually meaning it gets too gory for me). It's one of the reasons that I can't stand the genre horror. And I'm not generally fond of violence just for the sake of having some violence in the story... it needs to fit into the plot.

kim h said...

i dont mind it, if it goes with the story.

deseng said...

I am one of those gals who prefers comedy, romance and mystery. Working with Romance Junkies has widened my horizons to all different genres. I now have read paranormals, fantasies, suspense, etc. I even have read some James Patterson books. (A friend loaned them to me.)So, yes, I would read the book!

Michele L.

Maureen said...

A tremendous amount of violence is difficult for me to read in a book but I can accept some violent scenes if they are not too graphic and they create a compelling story.

kim h said...

was there a winner>?