Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is Your Glass Half Full?

Is your glass half full?

Mine is.
Okay, so I'm an optimist. I see things in a positive light mostly. I've learned long ago, not to force things. Let them come naturally. And that's what I do when writing my stories. I like things nice and neat. In fact I'm known for tying "happy bows", both literally and figuratively.

When I began writing my Suite Secrets Series, I set each book in a different location. The prequel, The Corporate Raider's Revenge was set in Los Angeles, Five-Star Cowboy in Arizona, Reserved for the Tycoon coming February 2009 was set in Hawaii and my upcoming November book Do Not Disturb Until Christmas was written to be set in Las Vegas.

Oh, lo and behold, my editor called to tell me I had to change that book's location. Books set in Las Vegas don't sell well.

Who knew?

But I needed a town full of flash and glitz and I'd thought it out thoroughly. I had planned for my pop singer Sarah Rose giving concerts in major casinos. I had planned on my hero, Code Landon, owner of a high-tech security corporation, overseeing new concepts in billion dollar hotels. When I received this news, I had to make a quick decision. Where else could I make this story work?

New Orleans came to mind. I've been there several times before Katrina. I love that city! It's got the flash and glitz I needed as well. But New Orleans had something more … something I hadn't put in the original version of my book. It had a population of people who had been tested, who had known the greatest devastation in the world. It was a city that had seen massive destruction and a tourist industry that many didn't believe could survive.

And a light bulb went off in my head. Of course, my heroine wouldn't be a pop singer at all. She'd be a southern girl who sang country music, a powerhouse singer with beauty, grace and talent like Martina McBride. She'd be wealthy in her own right, and in New Orleans at Christmastime to raise funds for Katrina victims through the Dream Foundation, a charity near and dear to her heart.

It not only worked, but it added more depth and impact to my heroine in the story. I chastised myself with a mental knock upside the head, for not coming up with the idea originally!

And not only did it help develop Sarah Rose, but having the story set in New Orleans added layers to my sexy, hunk of a hero, Code Landon. Code, a millionaire in his own right, ties into this Christmas tale when he offers to match Sarah's concert donations. Sarah can hardly refuse his generous offer, though Code is the last person on earth, her childhood beau and recent nemesis, she wants hanging around.

For me, even though I had moments of sheer panic and doubt, ultimately the change of location only made the story better. I see that as a positive thing. My glass is half full. How about yours?

Romantic Times Magazine
Top Pick! 4 1/2 Star

I hope you get a chance to stroll the streets of New Orleans, stop in at the famous Café du Monde for a warm yummy beignet and light up your holiday spirit with Code and Sarah in Do Not Disturb Until Christmas.
Suite Reading Everyone!


Donna Alward said...

I think you hit paydirt with that cover. GORGEOUS! And the red must be in heaven, yeah?

Dina said...

I love your title.

I've been to N.O once and have gone to Café du Monde, you have to go at least once and that's probably my one time, the weather was way too muggy for me.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Donna,
Thank you. I think it's my all-time favorite cover. And yes, I'm happy that they got the character's "Looks" right on the cover.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Dina,
I was in New Orleans in April and July. Guess which month was more enjoyable?
The humid heat in July was stifling, even at night it felt like you walked into a sauna.
But April was lovely. We had no humidity the week we were there and temps in the 70's. Cafe du Monde was my favorite hot spot. They make the best cafe au lait's there!

Carol Ericson said...

Hi Charlene,

Hmm, no Vegas but she let a country singer fly? I must be writing for the wrong line. LOL My Intrigue heroine who was a rock singer in L.A. got axed. New Orleans is a great setting. Been there once and loved it - humidity and all. The only drawback for me was that I was 2 months pregnant at the time - no drinking and I was naseous and couldn't enjoy the fabulous food. Can't wait to read Five-Star Cowboy.

Mary Connealy said...

Love this series, Charlene. Thanks for the behind the scenes look at how a book grows from an idea to sitting on the bookstore shelves.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Charlene!

Funny how life and writing turn out that way, isn't it? When curve balls get thrown at us, we just have to learn to be better batters. And the fact that you have a deeper and more engaging story line just shows that it's serendipity!

Maureen said...

I try to go with the half full glass. Even when things aren't going well you never know when something great will happen.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Carol,
Well, I was sort of surprised I got no resistance with the country singer. I had introduced her in Five Star cowboy but maybe because it was more about her charity work than her singing that got it thru. Anyway, I was pleased since I'm a HUGE country music fan!!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Mary,
The lady of the 12 book contract. You know how to see the glass half full better than most! Thanks for stopping by today!

Charlene Sands said...

HI Lynne,
Yeah, it's funny how things tend to work out sometimes. I'm always telling my kids sometimes the thing they dread the most, might surprise you in a good way. Eternal optimist that I am.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Maureen,
I know what you mean. I sorta live by that rule. And I also sorta go with my gut instincts. I'm not an advice taker. But when I know something is good, or right, I go with it. :)

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

Hey Charlene,

Great post. I am a glass half full normally, but there are days when mom pops out unexpectedly! Then it doesn't matter how much liquid is in the glass because it look like it will spill, soon!

Congratulations on the 4 1/2 stars and the new cover is gorgeous.

Robena Grant said...

Hi Charlene:
My glass is definitely half full.
It was nice to meet you at the LARA book fair on Sunday. Just started Five-Star Cowboy last night. It's yummy.
I recall N.O. in August. Took a one of those paddle-steamer excursions up the Ol' Miss and nearly died of heat exhaustion. Nothing like being trapped amidst the sweltering masses for four hours.
But Cafe du Monde and beignet's yeah, those were good. And strolling through the French Quarter and listening to the blues, I love the double bass ... fond memories. Guess I'm gonna love your book.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Mia and Robena,

Yes it was great meeting you at the BookFair. It was a fun time and a good workshop that day!

Maybe all of us romance writers are optimists at heart, because we beleive in HEA!

Thanks for the compliments on the cover. The art department got it sooo right this time!

And Robena - I really love those beignets. I haven't found them quite as good anywhere else. I'm told it's the kind of oil they use. And the LOVE they put into them! Really did enjoy the French Quarter too!

LJ said...

Hi Charlene,

My glass is definetly half full. Never been to N.O. but i like reading about it.I am looking forward to Cody'd and Sarah's book.

Estella said...

What a gorgeous cover!
I am basically a glass half full person.

Jane said...

I would like to think I'm a glass half full kind of person, but the truth is I usually think things will go wrong.

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Estella and LJ!
It's great seeing you here. So you're positive thinkers too. It must a trait of romance readers!

Hi Jane - Well, I can see why in today's political and financial market how we can think things might go wrong. They have! In that respect I keep waiting for things to get better, becasue they have to!

Genella deGrey said...

Hi Charlene!

I think the glass is half empty, but that's okay; all the more room for ice.


Gail said...

I am a glass half empty person, and I can live with that. Its just part of life.

Michele L. said...

Hi Donna,

I am definitely the glass is half full type of gal! I am very positive in my outlook in life! Ha,ha! I love to laugh, giggle, and act crazy! I can't stand to mope around and act depressed. Oh, there are days when the mood is down but a good nights sleep always perks me up!

Yes, I have gone to New Orleans but did not have the please to go Cafe' du Monde. I did go to a restaurant and had the most wonderful crawfish and etoufee' in all my life! Extraordinary! I loved New Orleans! Such history and architecture! The cobblestone streets and alleyways are amazing! I loved all the arches that led to hidden alcoves behind the restaurants. They just beckoned you to come in and sit for a while.

Your cover is AWESOME!

Have a happy Friday!
Michele L.